In late 2016, North Star launched their first series of whiskies which consisted of six exquisite Scotch expressions – each of which was drawn from a single cask. Recently, the Glasgow-based company put out their second batch of bottlings. On the one hand, series 002 does again feature half a dozen single cask Scotch whiskies. But on the other, we also get an encore in the form of three additional releases: A blend, a bourbon and a sherry. While Aaron will introduce you to three of North Star’s new single cask whiskies next week, I am happy to tell you a bit more about the trio of special pours that complements series 002.
(PX Sherry • Islay casks • NAS • Spain and Scotland • 20%)
Although whiskies matured or finished in sherry casks are super-hot among drammers, sherry itself ain’t the most trendy drink you can pour yourself these days. Despite this downward tendency in popularity, North Star declared it their mission to #MakeSherryCoolAgain. Their first step in this ambitious undertaking: To add a hellishly delicious PX sherry to their line-up. But North Star would not be North Star if they had not added a little twist to it. Hence, their Fortified Wine was produced in Spain, but sent to Scotland afterwards to receive two years of extra-maturation in Islay casks. The result is a sumptuous, smooth and superbly sweet beverage with a syrupy consistency and a blackish color almost as dark as Coca Cola. It is full of plums and grapes as well as that typical balsamico spiciness you often find in sherry bombs such as the Deaston 10yo PX or the Scallywag 13yo.
(Blended Malt • Sherry casks and bourbon barrels • 23yo • Scotland • 51.1%)
Named after the fifth brightest star in the night sky, Vega is North Star’s first blend. Vatted from Speyside malts with a minimum age of 23 years, I found it to be a very exquisite sip that felt really luxurious. The rich and complex nose revealed nutty and woody aromas, but also a slight lemon freshness and a certain flowery note. Additionally, I also made out scents of caramel pudding and hazelnut cake. In the mouth, Vega was equally exciting. The pudding and the cake were there on the palate as well. But this time they mingled with oranges, spices and a mite of sherry relish. Towards the end, green fruits took over… pears, grapes… and white chocolate. And maybe also a hint of pistachio. Damn, what a finish!
Tennessee Bourbon Whiskey
(Bourbon • American oak • 13yo • 51.3%)
Not too long ago, bourbon was pretty much uncharted territory on my spirit map. And even today I am still light years away from being an expert in regard to American whiskey. Still, I am eager to learn more about it at any given occasion – one sip at a time. Thus, I was really happy when I found out that this 13-year-old Tennessee Bourbon Whiskey would be part of North Star’s series 002. Not-too-heavy on the nose, I discovered aromatic fragrances of fresh oranges, red apples, toasted bread and oat cookies in this chestnut-colored spirit. Additionally, I also made out notes of candle wax, boot polish and bleached wood. When I sipped it, I was surprised by how it rich and smooth the liquid was. Of the many flavours that appeared on my tongue, burnt sugar, milk chocolate, apple sauce and vanilla pods stood out the most. The finish then turned out to be really powerful, producing a bit of a burn and staying for a long while.
Fortified Wine (PX Sherry matured in Islay casks / Spain and Scotland / NAS / 20% / ~25 Euro)
Vega (Blended Malt Whisky/ Scotland / 23 Years / 51.1% / ~65 Euro)
Tennessee Bourbon Whiskey (Bourbon / USA / 13 Years / 55.3% / ~100 Euro)
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*** Whisk(e)y samples kindly provided by North Star ***