I was excited to try this from the beginning of our meeting. Let’s get the first part of this review finished quickly so we can get to the tasting……. The pleasantly golden amber, blah, blah, blah. Sparkled ever so subtle in the right light, blah, blah, blah. And so on. Now that all that garbage is out off the way, lets begin.
The nose immediately punched me like a heavyweight prize fighter. Despite my best efforts to hide it, I’m sure anyone watching me noticed my head swivel back and to the side as if actually hit by that haymaker punch. Again, but more slowly, and with a degree of caution I didn’t know before, I brought my nose close to the glass. Strong heat, with just a touch of smoke as if someone were barbecuing in the neighbourhood, but you couldn’t tell from where. This had all the characteristics of burning all the way down like drinking pure hot sauce.
What did I get myself into? This, the loudest of my many regretful thoughts going through my mind as I prepared to drink and pulled the glass closer. Initially my gut was telling me I was right. This started to burn with no sign of stopping, making me regret not having any heartburn medication on me. I was not prepared for a sleepless night of tossing and turning. But I was wrong. All of a sudden this opened instantly like someone threw open very heavy and thick blinds in a dark, black painted room, allowing the sunlight to rush in. New flavours started to come to light. Dry spice, fresh ground pepper, clove, waxy smoke, oak, and a sweetness, maybe slight cinnamon. What I once thought was pungent on the nose, turned and became pleasant. How could I have been so wrong?
I was a little braver with my next sip and held it on my tongue. My tongue immediately went fuzzy as if covered in thick fur. But the flavour was worth it. Strong waxy smoke, if there is such a thing, and a slight sweetness. I wanted to try this with a drop of water to see how the profile changed. Although quite tasty, but much better without the water. Drink this one neat.
Never judge a book by its colour is what I was taught, but tonight, this whiskey taught me another lesson. Never judge a whiskey no matter how repulsive that first nose is. This would pair well with sweet fruit like pear. In fact this would be a perfect sipping whiskey for an antipasti platter. Nice stinky blue, or stilton cheese, spicy, salty, and fatty cured meats, bitter olive, sweet pear or grape, crostini, and a smoky dram of Jura.