Another one of those weird whiskies from King Cask. And by weird I am talking about the way it came to be instead of the actual whisky.
This one, with an ‘Origin near the Falls of Bruar’, or as is well known by people in the King Cask loop, Blair Athol, matured on a Bourbon hogshead for a decade before being finish in a Cognac cask aboard the Thalassa
This automatically means that it didn’t mature for it’s full time in cask in Scotland and therefore there is no mention of ‘single malt’ or ‘scotch’ anywhere on the label. And while I can be known as a bit of a purist, this doesn’t bother me one bit.
Of course, with this whisky having matured ‘stationary’ in a bourbon cask, and ‘dynamically’ in a Cognac barrel, it’s a bit hard to contribute flavors to specifics during maturation, but let’s see what this one is all about!
Apart from the things that are predictable, there’s a strong note of milk chocolate. The predictable things, without that meaning anything bad, are pastry cream notes from the bourbon cask, and a certain coppery note from the cognac finish. That cognac cask also brings a bit of twig like bitterness, on top of the yellow fruit (apples, pears) note of the bourbon cask. I guess that is all started by the fruity Blair Athol spirit.
The palate brings a bit of a sting, but in a very ‘chili powder’ way. Lots of chili pepper heat. After that there’s oak and ‘low on vanilla’ pastry cream. The slight ‘harsh’ notes of cognac are still here, but the spirit does stand-up to it nicely. A rich spirit, with quite some fruity notes, on top of a bourbon cask with apples and cream, combined with the Cognac bitterness and notes of copper work quite well.
The finish is rather gentle, surprisingly so compared to how harsh the arrival was. A slightly drying taste lingers, and here the slight youth of the spirit shows. The cask influence has been dialed down a little bit, giving the spirit itself more room to shine. Slightly more grainy because of it.
This is a very decent whisky. Cognac casks are a bit of a love-it-or-hate-it thing because they tend to make a whisky quite a bit more astringent and dry, but I’m not averse of that. I think the richness of the spirit really helps keeping the cask notes in check, although I cannot say whether the maturation aboard a ship really did anything for the drink!
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