It’s become an annual thing for The Whisky Exchange to release special bottlings for some holidays, or things that are seen as holidays. There’s the Christmas malt, and for Black Friday there’s been a release too, for the last couple of years.
To my huge surprise, a sample of said Christmas Malt arrived early this week, without any tax or customs shenanigans.
This year’s edition isn’t the big sherry’d stuff one normally associates with Christmas, but a well rounded blend of five casks of Highland Park. Three of these casks were hogsheads, while the other two are sherry butts.
Of course, Highland Park isn’t mentioned on the label, and in this case they haven’t even gone with ‘A Secret Orkney Distillery’
Surprisingly rich and fruity, which I didn’t expect for some reason. There’s a hint of flint and soot, with date pulp and apricot behind it. I’m getting rusty iron and apple too. Gunpowder and straw.
The palate is somewhat more sweet, but has a note of black and white pepper for bite. It still has that fatty, sweet note of soot, with a layer of extreme minerality (apples, iron, flint) behind it. The way it bites, combined with the sweeter note is very interesting.
The finish veers back towards the nose again, with more focus on the flint and soot. The peppery bite lingers around the edges of your tongue with the apple and a slight honey sweetness sticking to the middle.
This is a very interesting whisky. It shows a profile I’ve not encountered before, or at least not in recent memory. While this might not appeal to everyone, I do think TWE has picked a high quality malt that shows yet another aspect of whisky.
Now, up to figuring out how to get a bottle or two my way, because this is great stuff!
It is currently available at The Whisky Exchange for £ 79.95. With a release of 2200 bottles, I don’t expect it to last very long.