I haven’t reviewed many Fettercairn on this blog, and it’s fair to say I haven’t tried many more either. It’s one of those distilleries that used to have a bit of a shitty reputation with their whisky being too funky, too rich and not showing enough depth.
It seems, however, that they’ve been remedying that consensus over the last couple of years, although I’ve not tried many more since that has started to happen. It just never crossed my path, or didn’t catch my fancy when getting bottles for tastings and shares and such.
A while ago, though, I got a sample from whisky friend TT that just said ‘guess’ on it. It took me a while to get around to it, and after tasting it, and then asking what it was, and TT thinking long and hard because he forgot as well, it turned out to be this one. It’s been verified by tasting it again.
The nose starts subtle with a light whiff of orchard fruits, on top of heavier, and slightly funky, notes of candied orange and pastry. White grapes, green apples and some fresh barley too. Some grass, wildflowers, and a minor note of vanilla. Some baking spices too. A bit like raisinbread without the raisins.
The palate continues down the same lines, but brings some astrigency. Some slate, hessian and straw, but still the green apples. The grapes turn into the slight bitter note of their seeds. A bit of syrupy vanilla, with a floral note too. Orange pulp and pith, oak and barley.
The finish brings a surprising note of acidity, not unlike white wine, but not the lightness. Although, it must be oak aged white wine at that. Apples, grapes, flowers and, once again surprising, a note of charcoal en graphite. The bitter note of the palate turns into grapefruit instead of orange.
It’s a highly complex and interesting dram, and the sherry influence, while present, isn’t too overpowering. Quite different than I’d expect from a quartercask.
I can’t really tell which kind of oak was used because there’s notes of American oak in the grapes, apples and vanilla. It could also be European oak based on the spices and hessian.
Anyway, good whisky, although ‘they’ seem to be a bit more enthusiastic about it than I am.