What am I trying to describe when I talk about whisky?
When you read tasting notes or reviews people are always talking about particular flavours coming through. Take sherry. It’s one of the most common descriptors you see (naturally considering what's been in many of the whisky casks previously). And I do understand what that means. But then again, I don’t really drink sherry. I’ve tried it but probably only once or twice. But if I’m talking to someone that hasn’t had sherry before then it’s not that useful for short-hand. Which ultimately it led me to wonder if you could ever accurately describe what whisky tastes like to somebody that has never tasted whisky before. But that made my head hurt. I’ll leave that question for if I ever start up a Whisky and Metaphysics blog.
Anyway, from there I started to have a bit more sympathy with the Malt Whisky Society descriptions. Their highly esoteric descriptions are something I was mildly critical of a couple of posts ago - I’m nothing if not inconsistent. But I can see the value in linking whisky to time or place. Basically all of this preamble is a preface to what I’m about to write;
this whisky reminded me of Saturday evenings as a child.
I don’t quite know why. It's not like I was knocking back single malt as 10 year old. But it’s a highly evocative mix and it took me to a place that I’m not even sure existed. But it reminded me of being young on a Saturday tea-time. Maybe it’s something to do with the rich sweetness reminding me of old fashioned desserts. It also feels a bit stuffy, a bit musty. Not in a bad way, in fact it lends it a certain grandeur - the kind of smell you might expect to in the library of a stately home. Not that I lived in a stately home either, maybe just a badly ventilated one.
Imagine reading an old book and eating hot syrup sponge. That’s this whisky. I don’t remember ever doing those things together as a child but now I wish I had done.
I can give you the bits and bobs I wrote down – deep dark colour, treacle and toffee smell with a hint of old damp wood. Sweet orange peel. That’s what I got but I can’t put my finger why it feels so… retro. There’s something distinctly old-fashioned about this.
To be honest this trip down False Memory Syndrome Lane is a bit much for me. The sweetness is a little stifling, somehow constricting. I much prefer the Macallan 10 which from memory (clearly not that reliable) is a lot lighter and fresher. But it's still a good 'un.
Pricewise – it’s £40+ and only available to travel (I picked this up at the airport pretty much at random before an internal flight). It's a 1 Litre bottle so that’s good value, but then again you can pick up the 10 year old for a similar price. This is a No Age Statement - no bad thing in and of itself but it does obfuscate things a little. There is an interesting article about NAS whisky here;
I might expand on that in the future but I’ll leave you with that link for now.
Next time: more whisky, I should expect.