Hidden Gems: September 2020
When it comes to single cask whisky, I am continually amazed by the fact that the most memorable casks are usually the most unexpected. Quite often they come from lesser-known distilleries or appear relatively unassuming on paper. Yet when finally uncorked, these spirits will thrill and delight unlike anything before it. I love this element of surprise and find it nourishes my unending quest for new discoveries.
As Society members, we have access to the most diverse collection of single cask whiskies in the world. Yet with so many unique styles and flavours to choose from, finding the “hidden gems” can often be a challenge, especially without first tasting them.
To help you with your own selection, I’ve tasted through the vast selection of unique whiskies available to Society members in the USA to uncover three hidden gems worth considering. All of these casks offer both a fantastic tasting experience and remarkable value.
I am continually impressed by the casks in our Juicy oak & vanilla flavour profile and this is a great example of why. There’s something about the bright and zesty character of a Speyside whisky matured in a fresh bourbon barrel that evokes a feeling of joy and happiness. That’s what we have here. Cask 35.257 ‘Eau to joy’ offers a vibrant, slightly tropical profile of mango and papaya mixed with warm oak, barley sugar and oregano. It’s a very viscous spirt, which makes for a lengthy finish. A classic Speyside whisky that packs a real punch.
I can think of a dozen problems of reality right now but a dram of this one and they all seem to fade away. I would venture to bet that for most of us, whisky is enjoyed at the end of a long day. Setting aside time to enjoy a dram offers a chance to disconnect, relax and reflect. We all have our own preferences as to what type of whisky is best suited for these moments but for me, it’s the deep and complex style of Scotch whisky often achieved through a long maturation. Cask 7.238 ‘The problem of reality’ is a 26-year-old Speyside whisky matured in an American oak, ex-bourbon hogshead. It’s not the bold, in-your-face type of whisky. Rather, it’s an elegant spirit that evokes a feeling of calm and serenity. There are layers upon layers of subtle flavours that can be unpeeled by anyone willing to give it the time. I love that about a whisky and this one is exceptional.
Opposite of the old and elegant Speyside whisky described above is this: Cask 72.83 ‘Raiders of the lost malt bin’. This is a raw and assertive spirit that quite literally smells and tastes like a working distillery in the Scottish Highlands! It’s a big and malty whisky with a wonderful undertone of breakfast cereal, dampened hay and eucalyptus. At 7 years young and 57.1% ABV, it’s surprisingly palatable neat. With fall now underway, this is the type of whisky that I like to bring with me on an outdoor adventure: bold and earthy with tons of personality.