13.56 The dark side of the melon
Green aromas of ripe melon and freshly cut grass advanced towards the floral feelings of marigold, clover and spice-laden frankincense. Suggestions of cedar beckoned a woody tone that teased with sweet cereals and bread dough to conceal a palate that deployed an altogether darker strategy. The first sip conveyed fresh ginger and a viscous texture that coated the tongue like thick oil. Citrus skin provided a lift towards ice cream cones dipped in muscovado sugar before we headed into unlit territory. The spiciness of mince pie mix blended with bitter chocolate and thick cut marmalade on rye bread before a woody finish gave way to tobacco in a soft leather pouch.
Spicy & dry
- The Scotch Malt Whisky SocietyAromas delicately embraced a lavender bush and sweet perfume before caressing the soft fruits of papaya, pineapple and pears poached in vanilla syrup. A lively streak of quince jelly skimmed over raspberry jam and rhubarb crumble with vanilla custard as we discovered deeper notes of fermenting apples and sugar coated fennel seeds. The palate gently warmed with fresh ginger dipped in brown sugar whilst carrying a creamy mouthfeel reminiscent of buttery shortbread. A fruity glow gently nuzzled mango, mandarin and pineapple as the connections approached perfection. All that remained were lychees and cinnamon buns with a scoop of peach sorbet giving a lively fizz that rounded out an exquisite and harmonious finish.
- The Scotch Malt Whisky SocietyThe Panel found a weighty woodiness in this one at first. Notes of pencil shavings, new leather satchel, salted ham, cedar wood and sawdust in an old workshop. With time more subtle notes of orangeage, blueberry muffins, jasmine and strawberry wine were all noted. With a little water we found a more medicinal side with notes of old cough syrup and gauze followed by mint tea, wet leaves, damson compote and sage. The mouth resembled a whole rack of aged spices with dates, aniseed, prune juice, camphor, polished hardwoods, graphite oil and beeswax. Reduction brought out plum sauce with five spice, mutton, walnut wine, soot, butterscotch and white asparagus. Matured for 28 years in a bourbon hogshead before being transferred to a first-fill Oloroso hogshead.
- The Scotch Malt Whisky SocietyA tad metallic to begin. Like the handle of a shovel. Gets slowly more biscuity with notes of rusk, dried heather, fir tree resin and eucalyptus. Then green tea, chamomile, yellow flowers and mint julep. With water it all shifts towards cinnamon, apple turnover, almond milk, damson jam, nettle cordial and booze-soaked raisins. Neat the palate is very sweet and full of honeyed porridge, clover, green pepper, lanolin, crushed oatcakes, cardamom and allspice. Reduction brings out rhubarb sweets, sherbet flying saucers, toasted trail mix, white chocolate mice, caraway and a big flush of spearmint and toasted pine nuts in the finish.
- The Scotch Malt Whisky SocietyAn impressive nose neat - even more so when taking the age into consideration. Complex, sweet and spicy, nutmeg, fruitcake with rum soaked raisins, strawberry jam filled donuts, caramel and a hint of tree bark. Deep, dark and broody on the palate like brown sugar meringues with a hazelnut butterscotch sauce. With a drop of water plenty of charred/burnt oak reminiscent of a Walpurgis Night bonfire and we skipped around the fire and sung: “the queen will never win the game, for Rumpelstiltskin is my name”! After five years in an Oloroso butt this whisky was transferred into a 2nd fill toasted oak butt.
- The Scotch Malt Whisky SocietyThe panel discovered a nose that was sweet and inviting at first with a big, juicy kiss of vanilla, pocket-softened fudge and then more floral aspects like a scoosh of air freshener and some delicate notes of tea tree oil, lavender sweets and recently emptied malt bins. With a little reduction we found a more complex sweetness; all jam roly polys, pop tarts and marshmallows poised a-top a freshly made hot chocolate. The palate continues the sweetness with notes of warm cocoa alongside cedar wood cigar boxes and almond paste. A few crushed walnuts and a streak of earthiness abound. With water it moves towards buttery porridge, white fruits, damson compote and a scattering a crushed oatcakes.
- The Scotch Malt Whisky SocietyLike being hooked on a line the nose drew us in with tarragon, dill and a minty liveliness. Then through a thin incensesmoke cycled barbequed prawns with freshly oiled chains and handlebar baskets full of daffodils. More meaty notes then appeared as chicken gravy drizzled over roast pork with herbs. Nutty tones merged with buttery textures on a table of freshly polished wood. A few drops of water revealed barbequed pineapple with singed edges and flambéed banana served with vanilla cream. A fresh note reappeared like green grass and pickles before it became engulfed by roast beef with horseradish sauce. Then on the finish came burnt honey that faded into the horizon with dried thyme.
- The Scotch Malt Whisky SocietyA tough nose. Brutal and full on with baking soda, sourdough, fabric, linene, sea greens, lambic ales, citrus peel, raw lemon juice, sheep wool, soy sauce, smelling salts and kelp. Water softens it only slightly with notes of wild gorse, tart gooseberry, forest floor and trampled ferns. Gets animalistic with these notes of goat and cow stable. New leather and bovril. The mouth is pin sharp on green peppercorns in brine, salty lemons, saline porridge, savoury pastry, brioche, salted butter and cooling wort. Water gives lemon curd, salty popcorn, lemon thyme, beach sand, cloves, caraway, salty liquorice, sour cherries, plum sauce, five spice and miso.
- The Scotch Malt Whisky SocietyA beautifully pink hue introduced aromas of salty sea air and sea shells as the sweet reek from burning peat wafted over barley. Fresh seaweed provided a mineralic edge that merged with sour cherries and morphed into cranberries on the palate, with a glass of port. Big and chewy chunks of charcoal rolled with tar and chimney soot before vanilla ice cream introduced wonderful textures. Water on the smouldering ash unleashed more bellowing clouds of smoke but this time from sweetly scented pipe tobacco. Burning gorse and kelp combined with smoked ham as more medicinal notes of antiseptic cream and cough sweets united. Finally plum and gooseberry tarts brought a sweetness to the finish alongside liquorice and heat rub. After spending 10 years in an ex-bourbon hogshead this was transferred to a 1st fill red wine barrique for the remainder of its maturation.
- The Scotch Malt Whisky SocietyGreen aromas of ripe melon and freshly cut grass advanced towards the floral feelings of marigold, clover and spice-laden frankincense. Suggestions of cedar beckoned a woody tone that teased with sweet cereals and bread dough to conceal a palate that deployed an altogether darker strategy. The first sip conveyed fresh ginger and a viscous texture that coated the tongue like thick oil. Citrus skin provided a lift towards ice cream cones dipped in muscovado sugar before we headed into unlit territory. The spiciness of mince pie mix blended with bitter chocolate and thick cut marmalade on rye bread before a woody finish gave way to tobacco in a soft leather pouch.
- The Scotch Malt Whisky SocietyA thrillingly autolytic aroma of cooking oils, yeast, bread pudding, rice paper, grappa, gooseberry, hessian, stone fruits and white balsamic. With reduction this opens up towards mustard seeds, mushroom powder, baking soda, brown seed bread, cough mixtures, hawthorn, menthol tobacco and charcoal. The palate initially displays lemon rind, rice crackers and aged saki. Then thyme, Thai basil, bay leaf, buttered and toasted cereals, salty popcorn and aspirin. A little waters gives lemon oils, butter biscuit, green tea, chamomile and chamois leathers. Some desiccated coconut and toasted trail mix towards the finish.
- The Scotch Malt Whisky SocietyThe initial whiff of over-ripened pineapple and a struck match soon faded and comforting aromas of Hong Kong style egg tarts as well as apricot & frangipane tarts fresh from the oven emerged. Round and smooth on the palate neat like sweet cream and cookies ice cream and homemade custard creams biscuits, but then every so often spices and tannins peek through making this an engaging experience. With water we found ourselves again far afield with Japanese sweetened adzuki red beans and lemon verbena tart with physalis compote. After 14 years in an ex-bourbon hogshead, we transferred this whisky directly into a 2nd fill Sauternes barrique for the remainder of its maturation.