This week finds me basking in sunny Victoria on the annual Glenmore Cricket Club tour to Vancouver and the island.
Not normally a whisky focused time for me, with beer flowing profusely, darts and billiards the order of the day at the Sticky Wicket after a hard fought game of cricket. This year I decided to pack something a little special to tempt those whisky lovers in the group.
1997 Cragganmore Octave from Duncan Taylor bottled at Cask Strength 53.6% and only 48 bottles for the lucky few all exclusively available at J. Webb Wine Merchants (author’s note: this whisky is now sold out). Cask number 426431 – 16 years old from this well known Speyside distillery.
The concept of Octave’s is not new and many bottlers and distilleries have been playing with smaller barrels for decades. Smaller barrels create a far bigger impact on the whisky with a much bigger barrel surface area to whisky ratio. For their Octave range Duncan Taylor cooper up only sherry casks and this has a big impact on the whisky in a relatively short period of time.
Sherry casks have become much rarer with Sherry sales dwindling over the past 100+ years and the popularity of Single Malts aged in those barrels soaring. By breaking larger barrels up and coopering them into octaves Duncan Taylor is able to create lovely sherry cask affected expressions of many different distilleries and styles. Each Octave is a completely unique whisky and with only such a small haul for whisky lovers to purchase they don’t last long on store shelves.
Tasted after a Thornbridge Wild Swan cleanser in my hotel room in Victoria.
Instead of one of my many whisky glasses this dram was tasted in an individually wrapped plastic cup (the best kind).
I didn’t bother doing a water comparison. This is a no fuss quick take on this yummy whisky without any bells and whistles.
Nose: Even in the tall plastic cup the sherry absolutely bursts forth promising rich fruitcake and spice with not a hint of sulphur anywhere.
Taste: at 53.6% it hits the palate softly with lovely dried fruits and a touch of glace cherry.
Finish: Lingering with dry balanced tannins, I’m sure that a little water would do something good to this whisky but I have to head off shortly for a round of golf 🙂
Lovely rich ruby colour which shows how much the octave impacts the whisky with only 6 extra months of aging.
Next week I’ll be back in civilization talking about one of my favorite Summer drams over the past 5 years.
Write in and let me know about your best down to earth whisky experience. Maybe it was on a camping trip or out fishing. Sometimes whisky drunk rough and ready can be an awesome experience.
Have a great week!