Our intrepid Whisky Lady host brought back from her trip to Iceland some remarkable images, memories and yes a malt too! She shared how she considered the Sheep Dung (smoked with Icelandic sheep poo) but settled on the Young Malt.
As we opened the bottle, she told us tales of her winter adventures in Iceland. With others chiming in with their experiences too. Stories swirled about a remarkable land of exceptional natural landscape, socializing in hot springs, quixotic nightlife, music and more…
Flóki Young Malt 47% 1st Impression
Nose – Lots of hay, like being inside a granary, dusty, a bit yeasty, young, a little metallic, quite organic
Palate – What a contrast! Cinnamon candy, a bit peculiar- not necessarily in a bad way just something very unfamiliar, a tough whisky with a hint of light leather from tannery, rubber
Finish – Back to hay with a bit of spice, had an almost “flat” quality with cedar
At one point we joked that we’d stumbled inside a barnyard! It was quite rustic, unique and definitely different. We began to joke it was like wandering into a set of Game of Thrones.
There was no doubt it would be welcome after hiking in the glaciers! Very apt for Iceland.
Here is what the folks who create Flóki have to say:
100% Icelandic locally grown barley. Named after one of Icelands first explorers, Hrafna-Flóki (Flóki of the ravens).
Carefully distilled using our custom made distillation equipment to extract the full flavor of the barley and then matured in new wood american oak barrels.
Flóki is a complex and unique malt with a blend of characteristics you´d expect in Bourbon, Irish Whisky and Scottish Highland Whiskys.
Not sure I’d call it complex, but it is certainly unique and worth exploring for the novelty!
This wasn’t the 1st, 2nd or even my 3rd time sampling this particular whisky. However it was an exceedingly apt way to kick start our Whisky Ladies evening exploring whiskies with a Northern Lights connect.
As soon as the bottle came out, a fellow Canadian couldn’t help but recall her youthful follies with a quintessential Canadian drink – Rye and Ginger aka ginger ale.
Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye 40%
Nose – Maple, very sweet, light rye yet accessible, sparkling cider, juicy fruit gum
Palate – Ginger, sweet, bit spicy then back to sweet
It can be a lot of fun playing around with a whisky theme. With the right combination, you can discover something different even in a familiar dram, or appreciate nuances in a spirit you may otherwise dismiss.
It was one of those kinds of sessions, held together by a distinctly “northern” theme. So while it it was swelteringly hot outdoors, we retreated to the cool ac of indoors and enjoyed our Northern Lights evening of:
We closed with a return to Canada to accompany Icelandic chocolate with Shelter Point’sBarrel of Sunshine whisky liqueur
While none would be considered outstanding, yet each was unique and as a set, enabled us to appreciate their different dimensions.
Talk turned to affordability… these days in the quest for something special, prices can become daunting. This was a terrific reminder that in the right company, context and frame of mind, there is no need to spend a “bomb” to obtain something quite enjoyable.
Case in point, when we looked up prices discovered:
Northern Harvest Rye $32
From our perspective, these are all eminently affordable for quite affable drams.
What was even better was the tales of how each made it from their respective locales to Mumbai… details coming over the next few days!
Nose – Distinctly different, pot still, chocolate, hazelnut, milky, bit of varnish, oily, green and spic, tumeric, cinnamon, organic. Opened up and took on a forest quality – particularly spruce wood, green apple, some cumin, bay leaf, a bit of floral like rose essence…. After a long time came back and it was pure candy sweet!
Palate – Quite tasty and with spice! Pineapple, more of that gulab jaman with rose essence, while it certainly wasn’t completely, was quite sociable with a happy easy style
Finish – Butter, spice, not long but nice
Water – Absolutely no need
One immediately identified it as Irish pot still. Talk turned to Bushmill Black, Powers.. we all found it to bhquite
And the reveal?
Guess what? Powers! It was a nice amiable ending to our evening.
Powers John’s Lane Release is a Single Pot Still whiskey that celebrates the origin of the Powers Whiskey tradition and provides a glimpse of the whiskey style that made Powers famous. The distillate has been matured for no less than 12 years, mainly in American Oak casks with a small inclusion of Iberian Oak for balance and complexity and then married to create the distinctive honey and spice flavor of Powers.
Nose: An abundance of earthy aromas, leather, tobacco with layers of charred wood, dark chocolate and treacle toffee.
Taste: Full bodied spice front followed by vanilla, honey and dried apricot.
Nose – Initially quite organic, sharp old cheese, fresh rain, slight salt behind the spice, cranberry sour not sweet, a bit acetone sharpness, narrow profile, edgy fume, nutmeg… After sipping, spice, yoghurt. Leave for some time and get caramel and fruits, then goes back to spice, then gulkand rose.
Palate – Very smooth, silk, sweet, fruity spice, buttery oily, liquorice, so easy and light, nice and enjoyable. Such spice, fruit and something else.
Finish – Grapey, coffee
Water – Absolutely no need
We found it had no off notes, quite a “happy” whisky. We thought it likely did not have natural coloured likely low alcohol.
And the reveal?
Not one we would have guessed but also only had limited past opportunities to sample whiskies from Blair Athol.
One fine evening our original Mumbai tasting group settled down to sample a trio… completely blind followed by the reveal.
We began with a Highland single malt picked up by our host’s father-in-law in Russia.
Glengoyne Distiller’s Gold 15 year 40%
Nose – Clear stamp of an ex-Bourbon cask, banana, vanilla, boiled sweets, honey, a bit floral, quite sharp, scented erasers, candied orange, lavender, marigold, like wandering through a garden, bit oily, grapes and wine tannins. After the first sip, the perfume settled down and the spice stepped back too to make way for a more vegetal, honey, caramel, biscuits, something heavier underneath, pumpkin seeds, yeasty
Palate – Starts off quite mild, quite thin to the point it almost evaporated, none of the oiliness promised on the nose…. after consideration it had a light to medium body, quite “neutral” in character. Keep sipping and found a light hint of brine, a hint of tobacco or leather, nescafe coffee powder
Finish – Began a bit bitter yet a nice bitter, white pepper corn, black raw licorice, mineral, while not long shifted between different elements
Water – While it seemed a contradiction given how light we found it, the whisky is quite enjoyable with a bit of water. It rounds it out, particularly if you let it sit for some time. It also then reveals fruits like green apple.
Return – And be rewarded with butterscotch!
What did we think?
There was a familiar quality with a classic approach. We found it quite nice and all shared how it grows on you. Easy to sip and while there were no distinctive qualities that shouted out one particular distillery over another, it was quite pleasant.
For most, the nose was its best quality – enjoying how it would change and evolve. We also found it best to give more time, let it sit – worth the wait.
As we speculated about it, our general conclusion was that it was Scottish, low 40%s, primarily bourbon cask. One suggested it came from “pedigree”.
And the reveal?
What complete surprise! Previous Glengoyne’s had a much heavier sherry influence – it was quite different than what we recalled. We wanted to learn more about the casks used and were surprised to learn it spent six years in a sherry cask? Really? Could it be a 3rd fill…..? The wording on the bottle was a imprecise.
It was originally released only for travel retail, only natural colour.
A warm evening in Mumbai brought a trio of drams… Our original group kept with tradition and sampled completely blind, giving us an opportunity to discern and dissect our impressions without the distraction of past experience with any of the distilleries.
Last in our original club’s “The Vault Collection” trio was a a Compass Box blend. Our guest writer Nikkhil had the following tasting notes to share.
Pour 3: Compass Box Spice Tree 46% | Non-Chill Filtered & Natural Colour
Color: Pale Gold
Nose: Boiled confectionery, a little varnish, lemon citrus. Then very quickly a lot of cloves and nutmeg. Notes of walnuts, apples, orange rind and ginger follow. Almost perfumey.
Palate: Gorgeous mouthfeel. Lovely arrival with a bouquet of spices and vanilla. Warm bread pudding. Follows the nose very closely. Oily and waxy. Some old leather, pencil shavings and that ginger from the nose. I did get just a wee hint of smoke. Again, nicely balanced.
Finish: Medium with lingering spices. A perfect after dinner dram on a cold night.
We couldn’t place this one even though most of us have had it in the past. That’s the beauty of blind tastings. You think you know your whisky but blind tasting is such a leveller. The reveal surprised us. Compass Box Spice Tree. Enough and more has been said about Compass Box and Spice Tree in the past so I will not repeat myself but instead I urge you to pour yourself a dram and enjoy this expression. Sláinte!
Big, sweet aromas of clove, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. The palate is full, round and sweet, with the spice and vanilla complementing the core distillery characters and leaving a long finish.