Quite an unusual line up this time, with the brown stuff from five different countries blind tasted with a surprisingly cognisant group of tasters.
- Hibiki 12 year old – Japan
- Penderyn Sherry Wood – Wales
- Glendronach 15 year old – Scotland
- Amrut Kadhambam – India
- Heartwood Release the Beast – Australia
Notes and scores as tasted blind.
Nose – Fresh orange and crayons, tropical backing, a little malt and some rolled oats. A savoury edge to it, almost musky with a herbal note
Body – Sweet, spicy, light wood, more malt. Bit of a rum arrival with a little more orange.
Finish – Medium, malty, not too balanced (some bitterness) and lacking some mid-range but very pleasant.
Penderyn Sherrywood, 46% D
Nose – Austere, a little herbal, bamboo, some pepper. Rosemary, more like sage, a hint of tropical fruit and a band of swimming pool. Then a big belt of natural gas and urinal cake. There are nice things in here, but there are bad things in here too.
Body – Initially pleasant, then a weird, fried oniony thing going on, then this just revolting, quite long belt of rotten onions and tumeric. There is some fruit lurking in here but its smashed to pieces by this sulphurous taint.
Finish – Horrible, long, then when the taint passes, unbalanced with a big wood hit.
That’s the lowest mark I’ve ever given, sorry Penderyn. I tried a £250 quid bottle of Madeira cask Penderyn at the whisky show and it was lovely – this is foul. Funnily enough my reaction was not universally shared. I did try a “known good” whisky at the time to check my palate and have re-tasted one a day since to make sure. Apparently some people are more sensitive to sulphur than others.
Glendronach 15 year old, 46% A⊖
Nose – Light, sherried wood. Very faint – a little malt, a little orange, some fresh oak. Uneventful.
Body – Lovely, sweet malty arrival. Great sherry wood. Dark chocolate orange and beautiful sherried oak.
Finish – Rich, good integration, more chocolate and fruit. Thank god for that…
Amrut Kadhambam, 50% A+
Nose – Deep, rich, biscuity, a little bit meaty – some ham. More cereal bar and a top note of fruit, maybe apple. Very lovely.
Body – Rich, thick, sweet, malty chilli. Fried red chillies. There was a fiery, aniseed and cinnamon flavoured gob stopper (Jawbreaker Fireball, god they still make them!) that I used to love when I was 10 and this tastes of it. Back note of oat cakes, some chocolate cake.
Finish – Short/medium, well balanced, more oats.
A really interesting, unique, well balanced whisky. On the list.
Heartwood – Release the Beast, 65.4% A⊕
A massive, cask strength blockbuster that had me checking my Stagg and Elijah barrel proof – the right colour, the right viscosity, but not the same whisky. Matured in two port barrels then married in an Australian sherry cask, this is crazy stuff – and completely unobtainable. I would buy this if I could. Thanks Arkwright’s for sharing this with us!
Nose – Rich, rich sherry, almost meaty backing with delightful rich rum and raisin. A sweet clove and mixed spice note to it.
Body – Mince pies! This is the mince pieiest whisky I’ve ever tasted, extraordinarily festive. Cloves, orange peel, orange juice, mixed fruit, suet… (maybe that’s just by association)
Finish – Long, massive, loads of heat, loads of wood. “Definitely a cask strength bourbon” (I thought at the time).