Hidden Gems: June 2020
When it comes to single cask whisky, I am continually amazed by the fact that the most memorable casks are often the most unexpected. Quite often they come from lesser-known distilleries or appear relatively unassuming on paper. Yet when finally uncorked, these spirits will thrill and delight unlike anything before it. I love this element of surprise and find it nourishes my unending quest for new discoveries.
As Society members, we have access to the most diverse collection of single cask whiskies in the world. Yet with so many unique styles and flavours to choose from, finding the “hidden gems” can often be a challenge, especially without first tasting them.
To help you with your own selection, I’ve tasted through the vast selection of unique whiskies available to Society members in the USA to uncover three hidden gems worth considering. All of these casks offer both a fantastic tasting experience and great value.
It’s no secret that I have special affinity for the Campbeltown region of Scotland. The smallest region in Scotland (only three working distilleries!), Campbeltown is known for producing a unique style of whisky that combines a bright, malty profile with a gentle seaside influence. Campbeltown whisky is often peated but I find the unpeated style, one with little to no smoke present, to be the most unique. Cask 93.126 ‘Campbeltown comedown’ is a perfect example of this: a bright and zesty malt spirit with a hint of cracked sea salt and iodine. A real stunner of a whisky.
There was a time when I always thought of whisky as a cold-weather drink. But as my appreciation for the spirit has grown over the years, I find myself seeking out different styles of whiskies for all four seasons. Having been in lockdown for a few months now, I’ve been trying to take advantage of every opportunity to get outside and take a walk or find some time to hang out in a nearby park. This month, I’ve been packing a bottle of Cask 71.70 ‘Rubbed with fragrant body oils’ for the much-needed outdoor picnic dram. It’s a young & spritely spirit with a friendly array of lavender, rhubarb and chamomile tea. Admittedly, this is not a style of whisky that I usually gravitate to but as a summertime dram, this one has been spectacular.
I am continually impressed by these 35’s. Among all the casks we’ve bottled from the Speyside distillery, there is a consistent level of depth and complexity that never ceases to amaze me. Cask 35.249 ‘Herbal tea and hot cross buns’ is no exception. It’s a rich and warming spirit with a profile that evokes freshly baked bread (or hot cross buns as the name would suggest), chestnuts, and an exotic note of herbal tea and chili spice. Above all, the texture is brilliant. The spirit’s thick and oily character amplifies the flavour and makes for an impressively long finish. It’s the sort of whisky to just sit in a quiet room and be with, admiring the multitude of flavours in the glass and remind yourself that if you’re lucky enough to be sipping on something like this, you’re lucky enough.