Breaking Barriers 12/02/2015 in Musings

Are you a hard core scotch enthusiast, who would fancy a drink with water and ice or stretch it maximum to a soda. Some of you may almost experience a convulsion to see those precious 12 year olds die under the whisky sours or Rob Roy’s of the world.

My distillery hopping expedition, into the inner realms of Scotland, in pursuit of the latest in the craft credentials, made me appreciate the artistry and the evolution of certain trends in the recent times.

Demystifying age, maturity, cask strength, impact of barrels, being a part of endless discussions on malt vs blends and variations thereof.

Of these the Master Blender’s skill to not just maintain consistency but also the skill and genius to craft new products is admirable.

In todays world his job is daunting, a finite stock passed across generations resting in the holy grail, ever increasing wood prices given the diminishing sherry lovers and Bourbon industry recession – Chemistry and Art at work, no child’s play !

Look across the decade or so, the launches have been extremely powerful, challenging, yet evolutionary. Brands are not stuck in the past, trends are gravitating towards “batches”, “exclusive” and “Limited”. However this rarity is not defined on a single parameter alone of age or cask.

The Glenlivet Nadurra for instance gets a complete shake with the launch of its Nadurra Oloroso Sherry. Its the first from The Glenlivet to be matured solely in first fill ex-sherry casks (barring single cask editions). Dried fruits on the nose finishing with chocolate on the palate. This Nadurra carries no age claim and if you like this one, there should be more to the range shortly. Overall this one’s a rich beasty experience !

Kilchoman, the farm distillery from Islay, announced its Limited release in October ’14. 35 ex-bourbon barrels filled in 2009, 52.9% ABV, non-chill filtered at natural cask strength. Purest form with intensity of flavour and texture, a chemistry of youthful malts.

As whiskies come out of their neolithic eras and archaeological digs into a more enthusiastic today delivered via promises and taste profiles of the blenders of the present world, it only becomes natural that we as consumers are not rooted in the world of “overt snobbery”.

As consumers you got to take a plunge ahead and relish your whisky experience. If the drink is undergoing a change, try some variations, break the myths and the scotch codes. Dave Broom, in his book, Whisky, The Manual, talks about the coconut water beginning to be one of the beverage of choice in mixology.

On my visit to the London bars few weeks back, i was delighted to pamper my taste buds with a gracious mixology experience with bartenders pushing the limits. Single malts resting with flavour packs, malt + larch + citrus + mushroom & honey.

I am done but you gotta deal with this, perhaps its no fun anymore to categorise oneself into aficionados or beginners, lovers as we call them !