In August 2018 the Fettercairn distillery underwent a stylish rebrand to great success and reviews. The seasoned whiskymakers’ revamp saw the release of a core range of age statement whiskies of very fine vintages (12, 28, 40, and 50 years old) set to appeal to the young and more established consumer. The branding looked clean and modern, whilst nodding towards their heritage and their unique river-water-cooled swan neck copper still. We were very happy to experience the ‘new’ releases (see notes here), with the 50yo proving to be our favourite dram of 2018 (see here). This year has seen the first varietal of that core range released for the duty free market in the shape of a Pedro Ximenez (“PX”) sherry cask finished single malt. Made available in July 2019 via certain airports and specialists, the new release has been captured at the minimum 40% ABV mark. The constituent spirit was first distilled onsite and housed in ex-bourbon barrels before a final (and decent) 18-24 months of being finished in the PX casks.
There’s an initial wave of orange fruits, which just then intensify as the booze vapours settle. You could even say that they are kinda taking the pith with all the zest packed in there. And I do mean all the zest! That’s all the zest and sweetness of oranges and clementines. It also has a bit of a raisin flavour that you’d expect from a PX cask but this all about the orange and gold.
Wow. This has such a buttery and silky texture. It just slides across the tongue and manages to keep your tastebuds in tact and fills the mouth with that same orange juiciness, sweetness and zestiness. Now it’s accompanied by a warm vanilla and strawberry set of flavours and some sweeter tropical fruits to boot. Summer in a glass!
It’s swift and it’s fruity. You can’t say much more than that really. A delicious orangey lip smacker to round out the full set of zesty notes on the full profile. Some final warming gentle spices tingle on the way down to show a final oaky signature but it is the summery sweet notes that fade out last.
Well this is very drinkable. It fits the summer release that it was given actually. Maybe a higher percentage would challenge the tastebuds a bit more for the discerning malt head but with a release like this which has 40% as their target and the travel retail consumer in mind then it’s all about the simple sip. Compared back to the notes of their regular 12yo (which I have since bought a bottle of), then the PX seems to have rounded off all the edges and any of that chocolatey bitterness in favour of a sweeter zestfest. That texture is so crazy too. It reminds me more of the mouthfeel (though I hate that word) and creaminess you’d expect from an Irish pot still whiskey. Dangerously drinkable. A perfect gateway dram for a newbie or a simple sipper for the more seasoned sampler.
Sample disclosure: This sample was received directly from Fettercairn for promotional reasons. All tasting notes are made however as an honest, fair and independent review of the whisky. I thank Fettercairn for the opportunity and especially thank them for sending a second sample when I mentioned that the original had leaked when in transit.