The Heart-Cut of Darkness

It's day 3 of our 25 days of Maltmas and the hits will keep on coming. I was not surprised to realize how much I love this malt since the Famous Grouse is one of my all time favorite blended whiskies. With the introduction of the Naked Grouse blended malt to California this year, that line up from the Edrington group just keeps on getting better and better. When we tasted this Glenturret our eyes popped along with our taste buds.

After a rocky history of on again off again production, Glenturret, one of Scotland's smallest distilleries, settled into the portfolio of The Edrington Group - owner's of The Macallan and Highland Park, among others. With this change in ownership so too came a change in the destiny of Glenturret as a single malt. In 2002 Edrington transformed the distillery into The Famous Grouse Experience. While there are official distillery releases of Glenturret, the vast majority of their production goes into the Grouse blends and, if this single cask here is any indication, The Glenturret accounts for much of the lovable richness and intensity of that famous whisky. In full cask strength and at a perfect 12 years of age, this malt is all caramel, cream, toffee, and treacle. Add a bit of water and chew a while on the rich body and sweet spice.

Deep amber in color, this sherried hogshead is DARK for 12 years old! And it tastes every bit as rich and scrumptious as it looks. If you're a fan of Glendronach (and who among us isn't?) don't miss this one. It's chockablock full of candied oranges, crushed dates, dried figs, mocha, baklava, and a little aged leather and dried tobacco. You'd never know it was bottled at 62.3%ABV if you didn't look. It drinks like it's 80 proof, soft and easy, but with the intensity of flavor you want from cask strength single malt whisky. The finish is rich and sweet with just a dash of pepper on top of maple syrup, all spice, caramel, and taffy chews. While I wouldn't want that combination on my pancakes, it's a mighty fine blend in the glass. Once the secret of this cask is out, it will be in every Santa's gift sack this season.

2006 Glenturret 12 Year Old Sherry Hogshead Cask Strength Single Malt - $74.99

Andrew Whiteley