Ecclesiastical Spirit

Another week, another Tweet Tasting and today we're treated to a selection of Abbey Whisky's wares. They arrived lovingly packaged in straw and wax dipped, certainly some of the most pampered samples I've received to date. We tasted these on 20th November. Review after the obligatory group shot...

Range of colours, producers and ages.
Up first is Caperdonich's 17 year old whisky. Caperdonich 17 Year Old Refill Bourbon – Vintage: 1995 – Bottled: 2012 57.8%
Pale blonde in the glass with spicey woody notes, caramel and some alcohol in behind. Fairly fiery, grainy, sweet. Oils shimmer across the surface on adding a drop or two of water. Still fairly hot with lip drying finish. Little change to aroma too. Its a bit one dimensional and wasn't really a fan tbh.

Bunnahabhain 23 year old up next and noticeably
less alcoholic on the nose. No peat smoke here so probably one of its unsmoked variants. Vanilla and butterscotch bourbon wood character. Slightly vegetal, chartreuse like with bonfire ashes and a meaty finish. water in this one really dulls the nose but really sweetens the palate. goats cheese too? This would work well as an accompaniment to hearty game dishes, with just enough complexity to cut through the rich meat flavours. Ginger comes through in the finish, certainly one that delights long after the glass is drained even if unassuming up front.

Ben Nevis 16 y/o is 55% and noticeably darker on the pour an attractive chestnut brown from its time spent in an Oloroso Sherry Hogshead. Vintage: 1997 – Bottled: 2013.  Pledge and an underlying musty cellar with perhaps a hint of cider vinegar. Fairly boisterous on the palate with copper sulphate and plenty of warmth. Dry coffee roast notes in the finish. water rounds out the nose allowing caramel and orange flower water to the party but the alcohol still singes the nostrils. it makes the body fuller but also highlights the eggy sulphur notes. After that dissipates there's some lemon peel and plasticky notes, the nose opens up on standing and palate calms a bit too but its still a bruiser of a whisky. Blackcurrant ribena notes appear right in the finish.

The final dram is a mystery, the darkest of the lot an enticing copper red. turkish delight, apple cinnamon doughnuts and madeira sweetness, certainly the most interesting nose thus far!warm and spicey, orange marmalade, full bodied, oily finish. really enjoayble even without water. definitely saved the best for last! Turns out it was a 1993 Glen Dronach  again aged in Oloroso Sherry Butt, 20 years old. At £89.95 worth the money if you can spare it!

For me the GlenDronach was the standout star, with the bunnahabhain also enjoyable. I could take or leave the Ben Nevis and wasn't a fan of Caperdonich at all...goes to show that all whiskys are different and reinforces the statement "if you don't like whisky you just haven't tried enough yet!"

Cheers to Steve as always for organising the tasting and Abbey Whisky for sending out such interesting samples. Call by again next week for my summary of Monday's Arran tweet tasting.

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