Tasting Notes: English Whisky Company – Chapter 9 

English Whisky Co – Chapter 9 (Peated)

Based down in Norfolk, the English Whisky Co has been making ripples in single malt production as England’s primary whisky distillers. Their marketing from day one has been very clever as it invites people along the distillery’s own journey and development, by inviting drinkers to enjoy each “chapter” within their whisky making book. The Chapter 9 release is their second peated expression, and being such, their first readily available release (with the first one – Chapter 8 – having sold out pretty quickly!), which has been matured solely in  ex-bourbon casks and has been bottled at 46% ABV. 

 

Nose

M: Dry smoke. Pretty gentle, and ‘clean’ smoke, Bit of oak in there too. There’s a sweet, tingly smell there too, that reminds me of Parma Violets.

Taste

M: Really firey. Fresh. Young. Then, when you’ve got used to the booze, there is malt and caramel. After a bit of time and/or a bit of water it mellows to a smooth caramel flavour with a gentle smoky backbone. Like the tingly sweetness of “fruit” flavour sweets like love hearts. Just a touch of the Laphroaig medicinal/iodine about it.

Finish

M; Fantastic peat embers. That firey kick subsides and coats the silky sweet texture and a good smoky aftertaste. Great balance.

Verdict

M: I’ve tried a few of the English Whisky Co’s chapters now but this is the first time I’ve tried a peated one and I like what I’ve tasted here! It’s not a smoky heavyweight but it’s far from being bantam! (Found myself groaning at that one). Pretty light, refreshing and surprisingly more-ish for a smoked whisky. I’m not exactly getting “salty chips” like the Dram Team’s tasting notes though, but am happy to have another go.

 

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RIP Joe Brandie

This Sunday (Sept 24th) we received the sad news that the longtime barman and gentleman of the Fiddichside Inn, Speyside has passed away, aged 88.

We were lucky enough to have met the man in March last year, and had received a tip-off from a friend that no trip to Speyside was complete without having visited the Fiddichside Inn and having a chat with the quaint publican who served fine whiskies, in the heart of scotch whisky country but with the name Brandie! Sure enough, we set off down the old railway line from Aberlour and ended up at a bridge over a rolling stream and saw a little cloud of smoke coming from the chimney of an old whitewashed pub. When we got to the door, we noticed that the pub was not due to open for another 30 minutes or so, but as we started to ponder knocking on the door anyway, Joe opened the door and beckoned our rain-soaked troop into the warm, tiny bar. There we sat in front of a freshly lit fire and chatted with him about his time behind the bar, the history of the area from his perspective and his love of fishing, before the regulars streamed in at the standard opening hour, all happy to be in the company of Mr Brandie.

If you search #fiddichsideinn on twitter, you will find numerous people with similar stories to ours and lots of lovely tweets and dedications to the gentle, spirited man, who reportedly had only taken 4 days off in his 57 years behind the bar.

I won’t gush anymore, but here is a video that we have put together of our short visit and warm meeting (in many senses of the word) with Scotland’s longest serving innkeeper.

Rest in peace, Joe Brandie

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Tasting Notes: Benromach – Triple Distilled

Benromach – Triple Distilled

Speyside’s Benromach have released some of my favourite whiskies of late. Their Organic release and their now flagship 10yo display a great balance of fruit, oak and smoke. When I had read that they were releasing a triple distilled edition, it left me wondering how the third distillation would affect the flavours and profile of their whisky, so I was thrilled to take part in the The Whisky Wire’s Tweet Tasting. The Triple Distilled release sits within Benromach’s “Contrasts” series of releases, which all see have been produced with a distinctive difference to at least one aspect of their standard whisky creation (including the different “Wood Finish” releases – which I will come onto in a later post). The Benromach Triple Distilled, and is available now for £45 RRP.

50% ABV

 

Nose

Very pure/clean. Barley upfront. Soft fruity smells – apricot & papaya. Vanilla and oak. All of these initial smells remind me of Kellogg’s Just Right. After a bit of time there’s a ginger smell and delicate smoky back. Lots going on here.


Taste

Delicious vanilla custard tart at first and then BOOM the 50% ABV (which the nose was not giving away at all) hits you. A few more sips to acclimatise and those vanilla and fruit flavours return.


Finish

It’s a boozy one to begin with and the sweetness fades first and leaves a delicate, classic Benromach smoke.


Verdict 

Given that this whisky was bottled at 50% ABV and has been triple distilled, then I was expecting it to resemble the distillery’s 100 Proof release with a more Irish whiskey finish. In general, the fellow tweet tasters thought that the extra distillation might have removed some of the distinctive character  that Benromach display, but for me, I thought that they had largely remained in tact but where their smoke finish had been taken away slightly, it had been replaced with with a smoother, softer finish. The nose, taste and finish all carried the fruity flavours across, whilst the alcohol, oak and smoke all had to take their turn. The nose really didn’t really let on that the whisky was at a relatively high alcohol percentage, but it soon made itself known one taste and finish, and as the booze burned away some of the more delicate fruity flavours it did let the smoky flavours reveal themselves towards the end. I don’t want to get too wrapped up in it, and too many things these days have a “journey”, but this was a really enjoyable dram that took me on bit of a boozy ride with lots of aspects and places of interest along the way.

 

M

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