Thursday, 23 April 2015

Cry God for Harry........

English Whisky Chapter 16 - Peated, Sherry Cask - 46%

Kicking arse and taking names (and slaying dragons)

Englishmen. We're a strange breed. An historic hotch-potch of Anglo-Saxons, Normans, Norsemen and Celts, we love a good queue, think nothing of going out in the midday sun and have a nasty habit of getting a bit 'fighty' and invading other countries (sorry about that, by the way). Where we really excel, however, is in the art of tutting; we're World Champions at it.

Walter J. Stumbler frowns upon your shenanigans
I myself come from a long line of accomplished tutters. In fact, I have it on good authority that my grandfather tutted for Oxford and would have gone to the '48 Summer Olympics had he not relinquished his amateur status shortly after the war.

One thing guaranteed to provoke a chorus of tuts up and down the land is the subject of St. George's Day. What follows is a conversation heard in my office yesterday:

#1: "St. George's Day tomorrow."
#2: "Yeah."
#1: "Why don't we ever celebrate it?"
#2: "Dunno."
#1: "The Irish go mad for St. Paddy's"
#2: "Yeah."
#1: "Tut."
#2: "Tut."

Every. Bloody. Year.

Definitely worth a visit
Evidently, those chaps down at the St. George's distillery in Norfolk have bucked the trend of apathetic patriotism and, by putting out some excellent young whisky, have been doing their damnedest to put the spirit back into St. George. Therefore, I think it's only fair that on today of all days, I do my duty as an Englishman and sample the spirit coming out.

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more.

School pencil cases, or rather, the contents. The first thing that comes through here is old pencil sharpenings mixed with wax and wisps of burnt rubber. This isn't giving off a lot of peat but there's a pleasing smoke there. Sweeter aromas come to the fore as the casks start making a play, although with a sugariness that puts me in mind of rum rather than sherry. A bit of patience brings dates, sugared almonds and toffee. 20

A little thin to begin with. Hot, spicy and a tad flat. Give it a while though and a sweet creaminess builds, the woody smoke makes an appearance and...yep...there's the peat. Ten minutes go by and the palate becomes more fleshed out, more structured and more-ish. Orange oil, cinnamon, cardamom and a touch of clove. Still a tad on the fiery side so a few drops of water is advisable to calm things down. 21

Roaring finish with a decent amount of wood, spice and sherried nuttiness. Excellent length, if a little numbing. 22

Very good. A bit of wood, a bit of smoke, a whisper of peat and some sherried sweetness to hold it together. Balancing peat and sherry can be a tricky business but I'm glad to say that nothing really gets too boisterous to take away from the overall presentation. 21

This took a lot of opening up before the quality came through, but come through it did. It's a precocious malt with some excellent traits. Wish I'd bought a full bottle.


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