Today’s outing sees us heading up to Unst and the site of what soon will be the most Northern whisky distillery in Scotland. I have not yet had the pleasure of getting up there but it is in the works sometime over the next few years. It is a very, very long way from Scottish civilization. So while you are installing your whisky still and distilling gin from your small gin still what else can you do to get the distillery name out there?
Stuart Nickerson is never backward in coming forward and his fast track rebranding of Glenglassaugh is proof. Stuart came up with the fun idea of moving barrels from the mainland all the way up to Unst, aging them there and bottling them as Shetland Reel blended malt. I am a true believer in Stuarts abilities and pedigree when it comes to whisky and so I was not surprised even one bit that this blended malt is really delicious.
Blended Malts are as I’ve mentioned many times before the most maligned and misunderstood Scotch whiskies to ever be bottled. If you are a Single Malt lover then you will also love Blended Malts end of story. A blended malt is simply made up of a number of Single Malts from different distilleries. It’s the word blend that catches most people out and has a lot of consumers dismissing it before even reading the rest of the label.
So we will always showcase a number of outstanding blended malts in each edition and I know that a lot of calendar customers have already become blended malt converts over the past few years.
Shetland Reel – Blended Malt from various regions and distilleries bottled at 47% ABV. No chill filtration or colouring added.
Colour: Nice polished gold hue with a touch of something deeper when you tilt the bottle.
Nose: Char and spice like leaning over an old tandoori clay oven and smelling the years of delicious dishes that have been prepared along with a smoky edge that infuses everything.
Palate: Like what the inside of my pencil case would have tasted like if I decided to eat it instead of what mum packed inside my lunch box when I was a kid at school. Rubber and pencil shavings with a mouth coating waxy character (crayola). Dried mandarin peel and turmeric.
Finish: lovely warming length that carries a long way past the palate. Dates and sweetly burning incense.
The combination of single malts for this whisky are a closely guarded secret that Stuart keeps to himself. It is really delicious and has a lot going on. The combination of some obvious Islay is really nicely balanced with some heavy speyside influence. 47% is really a good ABV carrying a ton of weight but not overpowering and still allowing for us to play if we wish.
Good job again Stuart I cant wait to see what the Shetland Island Distillery has to offer in the future along with the release of their first in house distilled whiskies down the road.
Last year on Day 3 we had ironically enough a blended malt from Samaroli, albeit all of the Single Malts contained in that whisky came from Speyside. You can read about it here.
Please head over to Whisky Lassie and read her take on this bombastic blended malt here.
As we do every year we like to give people a heads up as to where they can find these whiskies in full bottles. As stated earlier we normally have a list but unfortunately it is against the laws of the land for us to do so publically on a web site. Please just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org about any whisky and I will forward a list of retail options for you.
Tomorrow we head back down South and welcome a brand new independent bottler to the party. The guys at the Lost Distillery Company have a fascinating tale to tell and we are going to find out all about it.
Get ready for something to get us all in the holiday mood.
Jonathan – Taster of Secrets