Opening October's Pour & Sip box!
Oh, hey October! Pumpkin spice and spooky season have landed upon us, as well as the chance to explore five new whiskies in this month's Pour & Sip box from England, Scotland, and even Finland, with some unusual smoke, funky fermentation, and local grains taking the spotlight.
GlenWyvis Single Malt 2018 Batch 02/18
It’s the first major bottling from GlenWyvis up in the Scottish Highlands! This is the second release from the distillery’s 2018 vintage, and was distilled entirely from local Concerto barley, fermented for an average of 96 hours (a combination of a long 115-hour and a short 70-hour fermentation). It was then filled into a combination of 23 casks: 60% first-fill ex-Tennessee whisky, 25% first-fill ex-oloroso sherry, and 15% refill hogshead casks, bringing a harmony of creamy sweetness, dried fruit, and spices, respectively. What’s more, not only is the distillery community-owned, found in the valley of Ben Wyvis mountain, but it’s also entirely self-sufficient, powered by its own wind turbine, hydro scheme, solar panels, and biomass boiler.
Tomatin 14 Year Old Port Wood Finish
A rich, cask-finished single malt from Tomatin, which you’ll find up in the Scottish Highlands. At its peak, the distillery boasted 23 stills (the last of which was installed in 1974), though 11 of them were then dismantled in 2002. If you’ve been with Pour & Sip for a while you may also have tried its peated range, Cù Bòcan – but we’re here to talk about unpeated Tomatin! This particular whisky was initially matured in ex-bourbon barrels, before being moved to casks which previously held tawny Port for around 50 years for a one-year finishing period. The Port finish is in no way overwhelming, with a brilliant balance between generous doses of spices, fresh red fruit, and that hallmark gently floral, honeyed Highland character.
Fettercairn 12 Year Old
This 12 Year Old from the Highland-based Fettercairn distillery was first launched in the summer of 2018. Fettercairn is known for its tropical fruit flavours found in its new make, harnessed from the distillery’s unusual pot stills. A copper tube (known as a cooling ring) encircles the neck of the still, drenching it with water, lowering the temperature and increasing condensation so that only the lightest of vapours can make it through to the condensers, which helps create a more delicate spirit. In fact, Fettercairn 12 Year Old was created specifically to embody those tropical characters, with heaps of mango, pineapple, and even coconut making themselves known, further bolstered by over a decade in American oak ex-bourbon casks.
Kyrö Wood Smoke Malt Rye Whisky
A delicately smoky malted rye whisky from Kyrö over in Finland. Wood Smoke is made entirely with malted Finnish rye which, in keeping with an ancient northern tradition, has been smoked with alder wood in a 100-year old "riihi" barn. The whisky is something of an homage to Finnish saunas, because it was inside one where the idea for the distillery was born, but specifically smoke saunas, the oldest kind of Finnish sauna which doesn't have a chimney, and so smoke fills the room. The whisky itself is double pot-distilled, and then aged in a combination of French oak, new American oak, and ex-bourbon casks. While the alder smoke brings a delicate, yet savoury smokiness to the spirit, the cask recipe balances that with peppery spice, and plenty of caramel and vanilla sweetness.
Masthouse Grain Whisky
A brilliant addition to the Masthouse range from Kent’s Copper Rivet Distillery! Owned by the Russell family and opened in 2016, you’ll find it housed in a beautiful former pump house in Chatham Docks. The team behind the whisky is all about provenance and transparency, coming up with their own whisky-making rules called the Invicta charter, which stipulates that grains have to come from within 50 miles of the distillery, all operations after malting (but including fermentation) must take place under one roof, and its labelling system must state the grains and type of still used. So this Grain Whisky is made with barley, wheat, and rye, goes through a long fermentation, and is distilled in a combination of pot and column stills. A gorgeous blend of creamy, nutty, herbal, and spicy flavours thanks to the trio of grains.