Water of Life Society (WoLS) meeting 20/03/2014
Whisky & Beer
This week in conjunction with Eden Brewery we were treated to whisky & beer combinations. Even better – thanks to Eden Brewery’s small batch finishing process we were also treated to some of their finest examples of whisky cask matured beer!
Whisky 1: Imperial 18 Years Old, 1995 (Signatory Vintage Un-Chillfiltered)
46% ABV, £41.95 for 70cl available at Royal Mile Whiskies (here)
Score: 85/100; Nose, Vanilla; Palate, Fruity vanilla and coconut cream, mild and delicate; Finish, Short. Bottled in February 2014 at 18 Years Old, the old Imperial Distillery is now demolished but the owners Chivas Brothers aim to build a new replacement soon.
Situated at Carron just across the river from Dailuaine distillery, Imperial was built by Thomas Mackenzie in 1897. Constructed with Aberdeen red brick within a framework of iron beams to a Charles Doig design, the distillery is an attractive sight when strolling along the Speyside Way. Imperial came under the ownership of DCL in 1925 and was closed for a spell until 1955. Its fortunes improved in 1965 with the doubling of its number of stills from two to four, but in 1985 the distillery was closed, before being bought by Allied Distillers in the same year. Imperial has been mothballed since 1998.
Beer 1: Oak Wood Series – Bourbon Barrel
6.7% ABV, £2.50 for 330ml available from Eden Brewery (here)
Score: 91/100; Palate, Toffee, chocolate and vanilla with banana and coconut. Eden Brewery’s beer is interred at ~5%ABV into ex-bourbon barrels, reputedly 2 x Jack Daniels and 2 x Heaven Hill barrels were used for this batch of ~1500 bottles which had grown to 6.7% after 57 days maturation
Rich, smooth, malty and sweet. With a full body.
A rich, smooth and malty aroma with hints of chocolate malt and a layer of sweet vanilla. The palate is extremely full-bodied and creamy; with caramel, toffee and chocolate bitterness interacting to provide a well balanced and smooth flavour. This then fades to sweet vanilla notes with an underlying suggestion of toasted oak character.
Whisky 2: Benrinnes 18 Years Old Provenance, 1997 (Douglas Laing & Co.)
46% ABV, £54.95 for 70cl available at Royal Mile Whiskies (here)
Score: 87/100; Colour, Full Gold; Nose, Toffee, delicate cinnamon and vanilla; Palate, Waxy, cinnamon and cinder toffee, honeycomb, fudge and pineapple cubes,; Finish, long with deep sugary oak wood.
Benrinnes is a whisky that is traditionally incorporated into many different blends. This independent bottling from Douglas Laing is an excellent example of a very unusual single malt. Bottled for Winter 2013.
Beer 2: Oak Wood Series – Whisky Barrel
7% ABV, £2.50 for 330ml available from Eden Brewery (here)
Score: 92/100; Palate, Toffee, Fizzy, Red fruits, European Oak & tannic sherry influences. This time the beer has been interred into ex-Highland single malt whisky casks and sherry butts. Reputedly using ex 2nd refill casks from distilleries such as The Macallan, Old Pulteney and Glencadam. A 94 day maturation results in an increase to 7% ABV from 5% originally.
Gentle hop aroma with flavours of honey and toasted oak spice.
A subtle balance of gentle hop aroma with more powerful hints of honeyed sweetness and toasted oak spice on the nose. These flavours deepen on the palate, mixing with a gentle peatiness which results in a full-bodied, warming and complex beer. A gentle smokiness develops as these flavours mellow, leaving the soft peaty notes to linger with mild hints of honey.
Whisky 3: Finlaggan Islay Malt
40% ABV, £27.95 for 70cl available at Royal Mile Whiskies (here)
Score: 82/100; Colour, Gold; Nose, Sweet peaty and malty; Palate, Young and feisty malt with sherry fruits; Finish, Medium with sweet Icing sugar and peat.
A mystery single malt from Islay, much loved by the Swedish peat fans, and also Jim Murray.
Beer 3: Clock Brew
4.3% ABV, £1.88 for 330ml available from Eden Brewery (here)
Score: 88/100; Palate, Treacle, peppery citrus and liquorice.
A classic Scottish red ale with a hint of pepperiness and hops up front giving way to a smooth multi layer finish.
On the wall of a traditional old mill building proudly sits an icon. Our clock, right here at the Eden Brewery. Our inspired Clock brew blends Pale and Dark Crystal malts with Concerto barley from fields to the west of Cupar. The hops include Bobek, Summit, Cascade and First Gold. The result is a traditional Scottish beer with hints of pepper, spice and a hoppy flavour.
Whisky 4: Port Charlotte Scottish Barley
50% ABV, £44.95 for 70cl available at Royal Mile Whiskies (here)
Score: 88/100; Colour, Rose gold; Nose, Malted barley and treacle toffee followed by seaweed and peat smoke; Palate, Meaty maple-smoked bacon and peaty but also sweet with vanilla and toffee; Finish, Medium length and somewhat cleansing and refreshing.
Every grain of barley used in the creation of this excellent whisky has been grown in Scotland and peated to a hefty 40ppm giving it a unique and full flavour.
Beer 4: Aristeuein Islay Oak Aged
7.2% ABV, £2.50 for 330ml available from Eden Brewery (here)
Score: 98/100; Palate, Treacle toffee, heavy with a dusty ashen but not acrid peatiness, earthy, smooth and full-bodied;
Beer Heaven! or what Guinness should taste like. Following 99 days maturation in ex-Ardbeg barrels this beer has risen to 7.2% ABV and also become imbued with a peaty smoothness – perhaps not to everyone’s taste, this rang my bell!
Strong peat-smoke immediately on the nose, with subtle hints of sweetness. Fresh, red-berry flavours mix with chunky, phenolic notes to give this Islay cask beer a balanced, complex and powerful body.
A strong oaky character fades to leave peaty embers on the palate.