Monday, November 30, 2020

November 2020 Tasting

The full line-up

For our latest Zoom tasting in November, Martin had laid on a selection of six drams from some unusual distilleries.
White Peak

And we started off very close to home indeed. The White Peak Distillery is now the closest distillery to Manchester in the process of making whisky, based in the former Derwent Wire Works in Derbyshire and founded back in 2016. The area is best known for brewing, and the distillery apparently makes use of some interesting yeasts from its near-neighbours.

Martin is one of the members of the distillery's Temperance Club, which gives early supporters the opportunity to try some of its outturn, and he shared a bottle of 24-month-old White Peak Temperance Club bottling 2 with us. Still too young to be whisky, but really very nice indeed already, with a pleasant and subtle taste reminiscent of some of our favourite Irish whiskeys. Hints of marzipan and cream soda. We liked this a lot, and it's certainly whetted our appetite to see what else will be coming out of White Peak in the future. It was 48% but isn't generally on sale.

Wolfburn No. 375
Next we travelled much further away from Manchester, to the independently-owned Wolfburn, the most northerly distillery in mainland Scotland. This was the third release in its Small Batch series, a no-age statement called No. 375, matured in a combination of first fill bourbon barrels and second fill Oloroso sherry hogsheads.

As soon as we got into the Zoom breakout rooms to try this one, some of the drinkers weren't as immediately keen on this as they'd hoped, especially as many who'd tried Wolfburn's stuff before had really enjoyed it. Comments included notes of brown sugar and biscuits, but that overall it just seemed lacking. The price didn't exactly help on this, it's all of £79. For that kind of money, there are better bottles to buy. It's 46%.

1770 Whisky
Staying in Scotland for whisky number three, and it was time to try another new name on the whisky scene, the Glasgow Distillery. I say a new name, it's actually a revival of a very old one, but the distillery opened in 2014 with the claim that it is the first new single malt distillery in Glasgow itself for a century.

We had a bottle of the 2019 release, called 1770 Whisky. A no age statement bottling (but on the other hand, you don't exactly need to be a maths genius to work out roughly how old it is), this was very pleasant on the nose indeed and was very sweet, almost reminiscent of Coke. Certainly sharp but without any sense of burning, a sip of water helped bring the flavours out for some drinkers, with butterscotch coming through. Interesting and a bit different, this is 46% and cost £49 for a 50cl bottle.

Strathearn Batch 001
Another new-ish distillery gave us dram number four, on this occasion the small Strathearn distillery near Perth. Established in 2013, it has already been sold to independent bottler Douglas Laing, allowing the founder a successful 'exit' for all the time and effort spend building up the business. An experimental distillery, Strathearn produces whisky, gin and rum.

We had the Batch 001 single malt, almost certainly three years old (although the label was a little unclear on this), aged in European oak and ex-sherry casks. A "weird nose" and "interesting" were some of the suggestions here, and there was definitely a heavy wood influence. Lots of positive comments all around in fact, and in particular many noted the incredible colour in such a young whisky. This was 46.6% and cost £85 when it was available.

Milk and Honey
A bit of a surprise next as we visited Israel. A nation not exactly known as a whisky hotbed, but the Milk and Honey distillery in Tel Aviv, Israel's first, is trying to change that. With the warm climate, and maturation by the Dead Sea of all places, this already drew comparisons to Indian distilleries Amrut and Paul John before we'd even had a taste.

The bottle we had was called Young Single Malt Aged Spirit, so presumably below three years again, and was matured in a combination of ex-red wine, bourbon and Islay casks. The smoke from the Islay definitely came through very clearly, and we got an interesting mix of sweetness, spiciness and that smoke, with tasting notes suggested including nougat or even incense. Quite a few drinkers really liked this one, although there was a view that adding water did nothing for it. It's 46% and is £41 for a 50cl bottle.

Langatun Old Bear
And we finished off with a visit to another country we've not visited before, Switzerland. There's not much history of whisky making, but things are changing, with the Langatun Distillery in the vanguard. We had a bottle of its Old Bear Smoky, a five-year-old aged in Chateauneuf-du-Pape wine casks, full maturation we believe.

This was certainly unusual once again, with some interesting, weird and spicy bittersweet notes. We couldn't tell if this was from the spirit or the grain. It opened up a bit and mellowed with a little water, bringing forward the flavour and warmth. It's £68.75 and 58.5%.

And so that brought us to the dram of the night voting, and each of the whiskies got at least two votes, a sign of another fine selection. The winner though, and unusually as it was first in the line-up, was the White Peak, which just pipped the Strathearn.

Thanks to Martin and all club members for joining us for another successful evening!

Another Zoom tasting

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.