We tasted two sensationally old single malts from Glen Ord and Glenfiddich, the latter the first-ever awamori cask Scotch whisky, and some very nice age-statement bourbon. It’s the return of what we loved this week!

We don’t know about you, but here in Kent, the weather has been bananas. One moment we’re contemplating digging out the sun cream, the next it’s hailing and the neighbour’s fence is flying through the air. It’s like Crowded House where we are. This is an early ‘90s joke. Young readers, ask your parents. Very young readers, stop reading immediately, this is an alcoholic drinks blog. Although do tell your parents about it. 

Anyway! Whatever the weather we’ve got the perfect drink. This week on the blog we had a competition that will appeal to lovers of whiskey and top American sitcom, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Those who like a meaty dram will want to get their hands on the none-more-sherried Olorosum. Adam was all over the place this week with a look at El Cabron agave spirits, six cognacs for whisky lovers, and he donned his beret for a spot of art criticism courtesy of Glen Scotia.  And if you want to know what to do with your bottle of Cognac, why not make a Sidecar?

But the fun doesn’t stop there, here’s what we loved this week!

Grand Yozakura 29 year old

Behold: the first-ever awamori cask Scotch whisky!

What Henry loved this week

Glenfiddich meets cherry blossom

Unusual cask finishing is all the rage in whisky at the moment but I’ve never had an Awamori cask single malt until this week. It’s the latest release from Glenfiddich called Grand Yozakura 29 year old and it’s the first time a Scotch whisky has been aged in casks that contained this traditional Japanese rice spirit. It’s easy to be sceptical about exotic casks, we’ve all had some that don’t really work, but in this case, the Awamori really does seem to bring something new and delightful to a long-aged Glenfiddich. What’s noticeable is its unctuous creaminess in the mouth, like a fine sake, combined with an intense cherry blossom note plus the more traditional Glenfiddich orchard fruit. It really tastes like springtime in Japan and we have just received stock so you can find out for yourself. 

Glen Ord goes on a 40 year old Odyssey

There’s cask finishing and then there’s cask finishing. The latest edition from the Epicurean Odyssey Series, The Singleton began with a 12 year old Singleton of Glen Ord. It then went on something of a journey, an Odyssey you might call it, through cask types with different batches aged in ex-rum, ex-bourbon, and PX and oloroso-seasoned sherry casks. But the journey didn’t end there. Master blender Maureen Robinson then gave it a third maturation in Zacapa XO and Zacapa Royal Rum casks from Guatemala. The result is an astonishingly rich dram that’s packed with aromatic spices like cardamom and szechuan pepper, balanced by chocolate, dark and candied cherry notes. It’s an outrageous drop. Best of all, it will be landing at Master of Malt any day now (RRP £3500). Keep watching that New Arrivals page. 

Black & Gold 11 Year Old Bourbon Whiskey

Not often you get bourbon this old, especially not for that price…

What Adam loved this week
Black & Gold, Black & Gold, Black & Gold…

This week Black & Gold 11 Year Old Bourbon Whiskey was in my Glencairn glass. Maybe it’s because I can’t get that Sam Sparro earworm out of my head, maybe it’s because it’s cracking whiskey. Anyway, it was what I dug out from my box of many samples and I’m glad I did. Warm weather maturation is tricky because the heat causes more extraction, which can overwhelm the spirit, and the angel’s share is so high it becomes prohibitive from a cost perspective. But when you get a Kentucky bourbon that’s a bit older than what is typically bottled, like Black & Gold, you realise what a treat bourbon of this age can be. It’s full of dense vanilla, toasted brown sugar, honey-roasted nuts, cask char, earthy cigar box, dark chocolate, apple pie, and forest floor richness. If you’re labouring under the misconception that bourbon can’t be as complex as Scotch whisky, then let Black & Gold change your mind. Taste a bourbon a little older than the norm. You won’t regret it. You will regret getting that song stuck in your head. Wash it down with some Crowded House, maybe.