August's Pour & Sip box awaits!
August is upon us, which means another Bank Holiday (if you’re in the UK, that is), and – most excitingly – another Pour & Sip box for you to tuck into. Ready? Let’s dive into another scrumptious selection!
Benromach Contrasts Peat Smoke
Smoky Speyside whisky alert! This one comes to us from the Benromach distillery (the smallest working distillery in Speyside, don’t you know), which was mothballed four times in between its opening in 1900 and 1983. It remained silent for 10 years until 1993, when it was acquired by independent bottler Gordon & MacPhail – though it took five more years for it to become functional again. While Benromach’s releases often boast a subtle whiff of smoke, this edition was produced using heavily peated barley, so the flavours are much more pronounced. This particular single malt was then matured in first-fill ex-bourbon barrels from 2009 to 2020, and released as part of the distillery’s Contrasts series. Smouldering smoky notes sit alongside the bright tropical, creamy flavours imparted from the maturation.
Glen Moray Rhum Agricole Cask Finish Project
The Speyside Glen Moray distillery has a few cask finishes under its belt, and this is a particularly unique one – originally matured in American oak, the single malt was rested in casks which previously held rhum agricole for around 24 months before bottling! The casks were sourced from St James distillery in Martinique, and held the rhum for between 10 and 18 years before being shipped over to Scotland. Rhum agricole is a style of rum produced only in the French Caribbean islands from freshly-squeezed sugar cane juice (rather than the more commonly found molasses), bringing a flourish of bright, grassy, tropical freshness to the whisky. It was released as part of the distillery’s Curiosity Collection, and it sure is an intriguing, unusual delight.
Filey Bay Moscatel Cask Finish
This is a whisky of firsts – it’s the first cask-finished release from Yorkshire’s first single malt whisky distillery, appropriately named Spirit of Yorkshire Distillery. The range is called Filey Bay, and its whiskies are distilled with barley grown on the family farm. (Watch out for more about this wonderful distillery on the blog later this month!) After an initial maturation in ex-bourbon casks, this expression was finished in Spanish oak hogsheads which previously held Moscatel sherry. While sherried whiskies are common, Moscatel sherry in particular is much less so. These sherries are known for their floral, honeyed, and citrus-forward flavours, all of which you’ll find in this whisky, alongside the more tropical, creamy flavours from the initial bourbon cask maturation.
Compass Box Hedonism
Hedonism isn’t just any blended grain – when independent bottler Compass Box was launched in 2000, this was its very first release! That goes to show how much its founder John Glaser loves grain whiskies. While you’ve probably come across blended malts before, blended grains aren’t at all common, but they are indeed delicious. Hedonism is matured exclusively in American oak barrels, bringing together grain whiskies from a range of wonderful distilleries, though we don’t know exactly which ones. Each year the selection changes, but you’d hardly know it, as the expert blenders behind the scenes ensure that the flavour profile stays the same. What we do know is, featured whiskies have previously hailed from the now-closed Cameronbridge, Cambus, and Port Dundas distilleries, which is pretty awesome. This is a sumptuously soft, creamy inaugural release that more than showcases the merits of often-overlooked grain whisky.
The Yamazaki Single Malt Whisky - Distiller’s Reserve
Yamazaki is Japan’s oldest whisky distillery, founded in 1923 by Suntory's founder, Shinjiro Torii. This is the Distiller’s Reserve single malt, released back in 2014 and matured in a trio of cask types: Bordeaux wine casks, sherry casks, and native Japanese Mizunara oak. The highly-prized Mizunara imparts distinctive notes of sandalwood, coconut, and incense to whiskies, so you can expect to find all of them in this release, along with a medley of red fruit and spices from the wine and sherry casks.
Keep an eye out for all sorts of tasty goings-on this month – we’re chatting to Compass Box founder John Glaser, gearing up for Episode 3 of Diary of a Cask with Aber Falls, and more!