While the distillery is not explicitly named, considering there are only two distilleries on Orkney Island with quite different characters, and David mentions it is the more famous of the two, it will clearly be Highland Park rather than Scapa.
As for the whisky…. read on…
Orkney 15 years 57.1% 121 bottles
- Colour – Deep copper
- Nose – Smoked pork? Wow! What an active aroma – jumping all over the place in an amazingly powerful way the sweet smoke was initially predominant but not alone. From strawberries to cherries, hibiscus with a bouquet of flowers, citrus then shifted to red berries or French sweet red currents, a gorgeous dessert, underlaid with old wood, dark bitter chocolate, nutty, treacle and ham
- Palate – Fabulous! Sweet, peat, generous berries, bitter coffee, absolutely flavour packed with so many layers, complex… all on the 1st sip. As we went in for our second sip, it was meaty, spicy, some french toast drowning in maple syrup, buttered brioche, caramelized banana, honeyed ham
- Finish – Long and strong, phenomenal, with a rich mocha coffee initially which then also morphed from coffee and chocolate to cherry
- Water – Needed? No. However is it also brilliant with water too? Yes. We found it was even more chocolatey
Even before opening, we started speculating about the cask given its incredibly dark hue and a mere 121 bottles from a hogshead barrel which typically would produce more than double! And then we cracked it open and were amazed at the promise shown just from the cork alone – strawberries and bubblegum!
Then to have the caleidoscope of aromas then richly complex palate and stellar finish? We were floored. Our experience went well beyond any expectation and was decidedly different than recent brushes with Highand Park.
When we set it aside and revisited it was equally enjoyable. This time with a new briney seaside quality we missed in our earlier exploration. It is clearly a whisky to savour and enjoy – over and over!What did David have to say?
This whisky (from the more famous of the two Orkney distilleries) has been matured in a very active cask, giving it the sort of hue you might expect from first-fill bourbon. The nose has waxy citrus, sea water and sticky cherry-flavour cough syrup alongside a lightly fragrant peat smoke. The palate is oily and chewy, with stewed red berries, smouldering wood, rose petals, herbal pastilles and a long coastal finish.
I purchased this in December 2020 for £75 plus tax and courier charges, back when it was still possible to get whiskies directly from the UK.
Here are two more from the La Nouvelle Vague series:
Plus the Chorlton‘s sampled til date from the L’Ancien Régime series:
- Blair Athol 12 years 56.6% – Nurnberg lebkuchen of chocolate and ginger bread in a glass!
- Ruadh Maor 8 year 62.5% (aka Glenturret) – Seasoned meats and fried snacks…. a chameleon quality that evolved differently in each glass
- Mackmyra 12 years 50.2% – Fresh, clean, cherry wood and honey
- Miltonduff 9 year 58.3% – Creamy desert with fruits, breakfast cereals… in short delicious!
- Miltonduff 11 years 62.0% – Great contrast between fruity nose and surprisingly rich palate
- Orkney 9 year 63.1% – Copper, minerals, salted caramel and smoke, all beautifully balanced
- Tomintoul 14 year 57.6% – Jammy cookies and cakes with sweet spices
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