Want to get creative during lockdown?
I admit that lockdowns come with a whole range of less-than-wonderful side effects: queuing to get into the supermarket and everyone watching you buy toilet rolls, not being able to get a proper latte, not being allowed out, and rubbish TV programmes (if you don’t count the Paralympics, which are amazing!).
And some of the postings on social media indicates that a lot of people have way too much time on their hands!
But every cloud has a silver lining. Not having to dress properly for work means less laundry (who needs to wear pants for a Zoom meeting?), no cars on the road and heaps of empty parking spaces. And a tank of petrol lasts forever!
To top it off, there is the chance to stretch your metaphorical legs and stroll gently through your whisky stocks without having to drive home.
Email traffic crossing my desk in the last few days indicates that we are finding innovative ways to fill in the time. Previously unopened bottles are being opened, previously opened bottles are being quietly “killed off”.
And the swapped samples that we talked about recently are being tasted.
Some Tasting Notes
Here, in no particular order, are a few of our recent tastings for you to mull over. The whiskies definitely range is from the mediocre to the superb.
Divergence Sloe Gin Barrel Cast Strength
A cask strength offering, from The Spirits Workshop, Christchurch, NZ.
Nose: floral, dates, steed prunes, cranberries, slight vinegar.
Palette: tongue heat, sourness, full mouth, mouth numbing.
Finish: loooong and sweet,
Comment: Wow!! Get some. Very young and very powerful. What would this be like with some reduction?
Divergence Port Wood
Nose: Intense fruit cake mix, golden syrup, burnt brown sugar, Leather polish, chocolate.
Palette: toffee, caramel, lip-smacking, smooth.
Comment: I could nose this all night, intoxicating aroma and I just can’t put it down. Way too easy to drink .Ahhhhhhhhh.
Score: 8.5, could be 8.7
Appearance: a rich gold colour. The liquid holds on well to the glass. Good legs.
Nose: rich, sweet, golden syrup, vinous. There is a slight coppery note, with stewed prunes in milk custard.
Palette: soft and attractive, a bit thin at first but widens out, sweet (rich melon), heat in the cheeks, sweet tinned fruit, treacle, a slight but not unpleasant sour note.
Finish: medium/long. Woody, drys on the tongue.
Comment: very tasty, indeed. Well-matched standard to the French Oak expression. The Port Wood has been matured in smaller barrels, giving a greater wood contact for the liquid – enhancing the colour and flavour.
Amrut Fusion X (Tenth Anniversary) – sample from John S
Appearance: Flash bottle. The whisky colour is a light fold/amber. Thin & watery. No legs.
Nose: A small sherried note, fruit (cake mix), ash, toast at the seaside, no nose prickle.
Palette: What on earth happened here??? Burnt toast, tannic & dry, sour note (too much wood?). It hits the back of my nose with something unidentifiable but manufactured, sweet peaty note. Weird.
Finish: dry, short/medium at best.
Comment: A flash ceramic bottle might make this a desirable item to collect, but not if you want to have it to drink! Considering what Amrut can have done in the past – Batch 1 Spectrum, for example – why did they do this? Well below expectation.
Score: under 6.
Initial nose: paint stripper. After warming up in hand: Wheat, milk bottle lollies, vanilla, peach, bitter orange peel and a dirty smell.
Palate: hot, thin, hint of smoke and sweet.
Finish: dry and hot
Comment: I would not buy this. I think they found a bad cask and tried to sell it with a ceramic bottle.
Glenallachie Distillers Edition 43% 2017 – sample from Daniel
Appearance: Light gold colour. Good adherence to glass.
Nose: Salty (not marine salty), nutty, butter chicken and parsley.
Palette: smooth and soft, a wide mouth feel considering the abv. Small pepper at the back of the throat. A bit watery (on 2nd sip) but throat-warming.
Comment: A pleasant quaffer. Non-threatening and non-demanding.
Puni Arte – sample from Thomas
Here’s a whisky brand I had never heard about and had to research on Uncle Google.
Visit their site even if you only take a look at their amazing Visitor Centre!
Nose: Vanilla, furniture polish and alcohol driven.
Palate: smooth, peaty/smokey.
Finish: Drying, short and bland.
Comment: needs more age in a good cask.