Whisky-wise and beyond, the year was really awesome! So it deserves to be ended with a bang. Therefore, I have chosen a special whisky triple for my last blog post in 2019, namely three blended malts from Glasgow’s North Star Spirits. Having started as an indie bottler releasing single cask whiskies, the company has stepwise added a variety of premium blends to its portfolio as well. The newest such bottling is Sirius, which hit the scene earlier this year with a stunning 31-year-old debut expression. Below, you find my tasting notes for it alongside descriptions of two other highlights from North Star’s most recent Series 009: Vega 22yo and Campbeltown 5yo. As always, thanks for stopping by and have fun reading my runny ramblings. See y’all in the new year – same place, different dram!
North Star Sirius 31yo
(Blended Malt Scotch Whisky • 1st Fill Bourbon • 43.1% • 3,582 bottles)
Following up on Vega and Spica, Sirius is the third instalment in North Star’s line of premium blends. Its recipe contains only malts from the Highlands – all of which were matured in 1st-fill ex-bourbon barrels for at least 31 years. The whisky’s delish bouquet is rich with beeswax, vanilla, toffee, treacle and all kinds of funfair sweets. It also has nutty and floral nuances as well as very sweet fruits: juicy tangerines, sugared cherries and overripe kakis. When it hits the tongue, the voluminous liquid unleashes a flood of awesomeness! There’s more treacle and vanilla, followed by sugar-glazed hazelnuts, soft advocaat ice cream, zesty orange perl and fruity bramble puree. Plus a certain dustiness. The fresh finish emphasizes on strawberries and gooseberries with whipped cream and grated ginger on top. There is also some oak and a bit of white chocolate in the aftertaste. Sirius ain’t no regular whisky star. It is a superstar!
North Star Vega 22yo
(Blended Malt Scotch Whisky • Am. & Eur. Oak Barrels • 43.9% • 1,205 bottles)
This is the sixth edition of North Star Vega, a brand originally established in mid-2017. With an age of 22 years, it is the youngest expression in the series so far (the other Vega bottlings were between 23 and 41 years old). Pretty crazy, if you ask me. To the nose, the opulent and savory Scotch offers a lot of red berries, mushy apples, plum jelly and burnt pastry. Underneath these notes lies a dry spiciness. In the mouth, the dram is both mellow and full of flavor. It has toffee apples, wine gums, cocktail cherries, rum truffles and whipped cream. The mid-long aftertaste is light, sweet and berry-some. Other notes in the finish are peach, plum and raisin as well as grapes, wood and saw dust. No doubt: This is (another) gorgeous addition to the celebrated Vega range!
(Blended Malt Scotch Whisky • PX Finish • 49.1% • 378 bottles)
This is a brave release! Not many bottlers put an age statement onto a whisky – let alone a blend – that only spent five years in the cask. In the case of this PX-finished Campbeltown malt, however, North Star had reason to show confidence. ‘Cause the drop’s a cracker! It opens with a malty, savory and slightly grimey nose. Cough drops, brittle bites, banana chunks and licorice drops are the most prominent smells. The mouthfeel is edgy with a metallic sting. Yet, it also has a softened side. There is a lot of malt in there. It appears together with raisins, nuts, herbs, caramel and a peculiar Pepsi sweetness. The strong, flavorsome finish puts the cough drops upfront again. Other parting gifts are brown sugar, cocoa nips, toffee crumble and dried apricots.
North Star Sirius 31yo (Blended Malt / Highlands / 31yo / 1st Fill Bourbon / 43.1% / ~160 Euro)
North Star Vega 22yo (Blended Malt / Scotland / 36yo / Eur. & Am. Oak Barrels / 43.9% / ~100 Euro)
Campbeltown 5yo (Blended Malt / Campbeltown / 5yo / PX Finish / 49.1% / ~60 Euro)
North Star @ Web: http://www.northstarspirits.com/
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Sansibar @ Web (German Importer): http://sansibar-whisky.com/
*** Whisky samples kindly provided by North Star ***