You know the feeling. For whatever reason, it’s been a tough day and by the time you get some peace and quiet at home, you could do with something to help you focus on the good things in life. Our whisky can certainly help lift your mood, and if it’s a slippers-on-by-the-fire form of relaxation in a glass you’re after, then Cask No. 30.109: Strangely soothing couldn’t be better named.
Just the rich, powerful nose from the 12-year-old Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits flavour profile is a form of aromatherapy in itself. The spicy Spanish oak cask brings a kick of cinnamon rolls, along with toasted almonds and Turkish coffee, while the palate has rich fruit cake followed by the comforting sweetness of a chocolate on your pillow. A wonderful winter chill-out dram, enough to dissipate any stress.
It’s not all about sinking into a comfy chair though – if you’re in the mood to feel energised, Cask No. 10.186: Vivacious vitality is more a form of liquid exhilaration than relaxation. It’s an 11-year-old unpeated malt from Islay in our Oily & Coastal flavour profile, bursting with fruit and sweetness from its first-fill hogshead but with an oily, seaweedy backbone – enough to make you want to grab your surfboard and head for the coast.
In the mood for something indulgent? How about Cask No. 52.31: I dream of creamy, which is from our Juicy, Oak & Vanilla flavour profile, 12-years-old and matured in a bourbon hogshead before we transferred it to a first-fill Sauternes barrique. It’s like raiding the counter at your local bakery or patisserie, full of creamy cakes, honeyed syrup and peachy puddings. Sometimes you have to cast your New Year resolutions to the wind, worry about the diet another day and treat yourself.
Cask No. 66.164: I like big butts could only be for when you’re in a slightly mischievous mood, given its bottle name. It’s a 7-year-old Peated flavour profile Highlander, matured for five years in an American oak oloroso sherry butt before we moved it to a European oak oloroso sherry butt. The sherry and the peat are having a bit of a battle here, but they both come out as winners. I also found this one a bit nostalgic, putting me in mind of drinking Jägermeister as a university student. Tasting Panel chair Olaf told me he picked up similar notes, but for him it was a throwback to what the older generation would put in their hunting flasks in his native Germany. It’s the same trigger, but sent us on very different nostalgic journeys. Check it out and see where it takes you.
Cask No. 64.116: Rave culture is another slightly nostalgic offering – anyone who remembers the sweet, fruity bubblegum flavours of ‘alcopops’ might suddenly be transported to a world of glow sticks and multi-coloured shots on a big night out in their younger days. It’s a Sweet, Fruity & Mellow flavour profile 13-year-old Speysider from a refill hoggie, and full of luscious fruitiness.
If you’re in the mood for something intriguing – and what I think is one of the best value drams in the whole Outturn – then Cask No. 100.21: Caramel, currants, coconut and carpentry has to be my pick of the month. Even at 8-years-old it’s a really dark-coloured Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits bottling from a highly active wine barrique that we’d previously used to mature the sensational Cask No. 29.248: Creaking ships lost in the fog. That awesome Islay pedigree brings an extra layer of complexity to all the chocolate, fruity and dark flavours from the wine cask we used to mature this Speyside spirit. It’s something out of the ordinary and if you’re feeling curious, I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Some final thoughts if you’re in the mood to mix it up: Cask No. 135.17: Taking the high road is a deliciously fruity Young & Sprightly 10-year-old, where the distillery used a wine yeast for its fermentation to create a super fruity new-make, which we’ve matured in a top notch first-fill bourbon barrel. Cask No. 6.35: Cherry cream cheese cupcakes is from a really interesting type of wood, the shaved toasted recharred (STR) cask that was developed by whisky legend Dr Jim Swan and has become popular with several newer distilleries. This whisky is a 13-year-old Sweet, Fruity & Mellow flavour profile, incredibly dark and fruity with the depths of raspberry sauce and cinnamon berry granola bars.
And if you’re in the mood for a tropical adventure, you’ve got to try and get your hands on Cask No. 134.5: Ringo George – it’s the first time we’ve offered a Peated flavour profile bottling from this Indian distillery. After a humid five years of maturation in Goa, it’s already complex, with a huge hit of smokiness.
Comforting, energising, indulgent, mischievous, nostalgic, curious or simply something unusual – I hope we’ve got it covered, whatever your mood this month.
FIND YOUR PICK OF OUR FEBRUARY OUTTURN HERE, AND CHECK OUT AMBASSADOR ANDREW’S PICKS BELOW