FEW has had a bourbon on the market ever since the beginning of their whiskey endeavors. Also, what turned me in their direction was a single cask they bottled for Master of Malt some two years ago.
That single cask was in a previous American Whiskey bottle share and was rather spectacular. I remember it fondly and as I have said in earlier messages on Twitter and Facebook, it wasn’t the best whiskey from the bottle share, but it was the one that stuck. In a good way, because the Leviathan II stuck too, but more as an alarm than anything else.
When I announced this bottle share I was a lot later than I intended to do this, because the guys at Master of Malt and FEW Spirits had told me there was another single cask on the way. Not specifically for Master of Malt, but for the entire UK this time. I decided to wait for that, also because it would drop at more or less the same time as the Boutique-y Whisky Company’s bottling of a FEW bourbon. That one will be reviewed next time.
So, their regular small batch bourbon, and a single cask, which is an even smaller batch. Interesting comparison, if I may say so.
FEW Bourbon, 46.5%, Batch 14j2
The sweetness and youth of the whiskey is comparable to the rye I tried a couple of days ago. The sweetness is just a bit more pronounced by the increased corn contents. A certain level of vegetal scents like celery sticks. Spicy too, with vanilla and oaky spices. Lots of new oak.
The palate is gentle and maybe just a tad thin. It has a sweetness of corn syrup, but is surprisingly fruity. Like the syrup of tinned fruit salad. Spices too, and cherries, oak. Maybe the oak is a bit balsamic vinegar like. Coffee and chocolate.
The finish has a spiciness not unlike rye whiskey, with the celery again. Long, cherries and the stones too, so slightly bitter.
Few Bourbon Single Cask 13-311 for UK, 58.7%
The alcohol is way more pronounced on the nose, but that’s far from a surprise. However, that does more to the sweetness than anything else. That’s quite increased with a riches corn scent too. Some banana and other sweet fruits. The youthful scent is here too, but less. New oak, ginger and other wood spices.
The palate is a lot more dry, and I mean a lot. Oak, rancio and more tannins too. Sweet, with something that reminds me of wood sap. It has something of those eastern European wood flavored liqueurs, but a LOT stronger. It’s deep and autumnal even.
The finish is surprisingly fruity and less dry. Oaky and warming but still quite sharp!
What to say now? I tell you. Those two whiskeys are very similar. My tasting notes differ because in the cask strength version I found they were easier to pin down. The flavors are a lot more pronounced and identifiable.
This makes them hard to appreciate separately, especially because the single cask should be very appealing. Mostly because of the higher ABV and its limitedness. There is, however, a rather significant difference in price, with the higher ABV one being about 50% more expensive (€ 62 vs € 92).
So, neither of them is particularly cheap, but I think the best value for money is gotten from the 46.5%, especially because they are so similar. I have to say that Master of Malt picked a particularly epic cask in 2013. That one was comparable to these ones, but just ‘better’. Which is always a good thing.
Still, either of them are very good whiskeys. I love them. I am starting to like young whiskey, I think. At least in some cases. Highly recommended!
Oh, and again: Some of the most awesome labels I’ve seen in the industry.
Master of Malt also sells samples of both