On the back of our Cask Strength Armageddon Whisky tasting last month and given the winter blast we’re going through, we thought what better time to offer a few of our favourite recent discoveries.
Mortlach Rare Old answers that oh-so-common question these days of what to drink when you can’t find some Macallan in your price range!
Mortlach Rare Old Speyside Scotland (500ml) 43.4%
With investment and refurbishment pouring in from owners Diageo, this whisky aims to re-launch Mortlach as a top shelf, no-age statement, and it most certainly delivers. While its partial-triple distillation has brought a comforting pillowy texture of crème caramel and sherry oaked fruits, it is the lifting notes of citrus and a peppery brine that add a lovely buoyancy and life.
Benriach Birnie Moss Intensely Peated Speyside Scotland (700ml) 48%
Sure it’s peaty. But really within the context of what’s available out there these days it’s actually not the excessive smoke explosion the name suggests. What it does deliver is intense sweet green mossy peat within the context of great progression and build through the palate. It’s atypical for Speyside in its larger peat profile, but it’s deliciously balanced and unique within a typical light and bright Speyside framework.
THE BEAUTY OF CASK STRENGTH
While the great question of to add water or not to your cask strength is surely a personal preference, what’s a little more certain in our minds after last month’s event is the importance of higher alcohols to add drive and direction to richly malted and oaked offerings. Extra density and richness responds well to a little extra alcohol heat.
Glendronach Cask Strength Batch 3 Highlands Scotland (700ml) 55.3%
The real draw of Glendronach Cask Strength is its truly wonderful and hulking mid palate of sweet sherry oak. Matured in Glendronach’s trademark blend of Oloroso and PX casks, this batch 3 release is all about the incredibly honeyed, dried fruits and sweet spice. 55.3% alcohol adds an explosive drive and does a fantastic job of balancing any excessive sweetness. One for the sherry oak fanatics!
Springbank 12YO Cask Strength, 9th Release Campbeltown Scotland (700ml) 54.3%
For us, Springbank is always one of the most unique whisky producers operating in Scotland with a long-term presence in all of our venue’s whisky lists
Decidedly savoury, immensely intriguing aromatics of struck match, lemon oil and ashy peat give a great window into the distiller’s style. Take a sip and you are exposed to caramelised citrus and smoky embers with a chalk-like drying texture to the finish. A little teaspoon of water and the aromatics wake further with an extra dimension of spice and a softening of alcohol heat. The finish builds further under a sweet sherry oak influence. This is springbank as we like it, full of character and not for the ‘feint’ hearted!