Scotch Single Malt

Black Friday 2018: Orkney 18 Years Old (54.6%, The Whisky Exchange, 1400 Bottles, 2018)

Black Friday 2018: Orkney 18 Years Old

Whisky Review

  • Category: Island single malt scotch whisky
  • Origin: Undisclosed distillery
  • Bottling: The Whisky Exchange
  • ABV: 54.6%
  • Cost: £69.95

2018 Black Friday Orkney 18 YO

What they say

In what is fast becoming a tradition at The Whisky Exchange, we are thrilled to announce that our limited-edition Black Friday Whisky has arrived. This one-off single malt has been bottled exclusively for us by Elixir Distillers from an unnamed Orkney distillery. It’s a reflection of the island’s rich history, with complexity and brooding depth.

This 18-year-old dram has the gently smoky character typical of the distillery, with autumnal notes and a hint of festive flavour. A perfect whisky for the season and fantastic value for money – a Black Friday must.

Only 1400 bottles available.

70cl / 54.6% / £69.95

Available exclusively at The Whisky Exchange, online and in our London shops.

Official tasting notes:

By Billy Abbott, The Whisky Exchange

  • Nose: Heather-covered moors on a chilly day. A bonfire’s almost burnt itself out nearby. Crispy leaves and drooping ferns underfoot as you walk home. Coal smoke drifts from the chimneys. Honeysuckle as you walk down the path, and smoky, dusty, bitter-sweet cocoa powder as you open the polished wooden door. Chocolate flapjacks with candied rose petals are on the coffee table, apple pie sits on the kitchen counter, next to a cooling cast iron stove. Soft spice and citrus rise from freshly prepared clove-studded oranges.
  • Palate: It’s tea time. Wax-polished oak tables and sooty fireplaces. Rich orange syrup poured over spiced fruit loaf – nutmeg, cinnamon and mixed peel. Stewed apples and pears with a handful of sultanas. Heather honey and fruity caramel. The chocolate flapjacks return, with even more fragrant flowers. Buttery pastry and coal dust drifts in from the kitchen, where a rich and sticky fruitcake sits, with a plate of liquorice sticks on the side.
  • Finish: It’s back to the meadows. Bracken, gorse flowers and brown leaves crunch underfoot, as a wisp of smoke wafts across the hill.
  • Comment: It’s Kirkwall on an autumn day. Coal’s burning in the fireplace and we’ve got a serious tea to eat after a walk. It’s much more fun than heading to the supermarket to fight over cut-price TVs.

What I say

Distilled at an undisclosed Orkney distillery (either Scapa or more likely Highland Park, then) and matured for over 18 years. These casks have been selected and married to produce 1400 bottles at 56.4% ABV for release as The Whisky Exchange’s 2018 Black Friday bottling.

My tasting notes:

  • Appearance: Champagne gold (3/20), slow-forming, medium-fine tears and long medium-fine legs.
  • Nose: Soft and sweet, stewed fruits, a little crystalline brown sugar, heather honey, vanilla, malted barley, fruit mixture of fresh apple juice with orange oil or peel, a little sweet ash, bbq banana.
  • Taste: Sweet, vanilla pastries dusted with cracked black and cayenne pepper, prickly, settles into a more mature dried orange peels, still some fresh apple juice here, heather honey and heather brush & Gorse (coconut) smoke, tannic and spicy wood, cinnamon (Fireball) gobstoppers.
  • Finish: Long, mouth-watering sweetness and spice persist, mace, clove oil and more black pepper mixed into heather honey.

Overall

A rather spicy, sweet, spicy, gently smoky, spicy, and spiced woody dram, did I mention a liberal sprinkling of spices here? I want to say fairly pleasant – but for me it’s that horrid example of Highland Park in refill casks that is the Palate-prickling equivalent of chewing on a wasp stuck on a thistle, bbq’d and covered in heather honey then washed down with Lemsip-soaked nettles. If you love that kind of thing then good for you – its a perfect example!

Score 70/100

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