Earlier this year, Glaswegian indie bottler North Star celebrated its fifth anniversary. So, before I continue, here is a little insert: “Happy Birthday, Iain and team! Keep up the stellar work!” And now, on with the text … For my latest review here at BarleyMania, I have spent some quality time with North Star’s jubilee release. For this special occasion, the company has picked something out-of-the-ordinary, namely a 5-year-old single cask whisky from Glasgow Distillery with an opulent sherry cask finish. The moment I first saw it on social media, I knew I had to buy it right upon launch. After all, I am a big fan of North Star since their very first outturn; and I consider Glasgow Distillery one of the most awesome new(-ish) players in the game! So when I found out that these two faves of mine were about to do a bottling together, I was all excited and eager to get it into the sweaty palms of my greedy hands. Due to the ongoing post-Brexit shenanigans, however, I had to wait quite a bit longer than planned. If I remember correctly, it took this bottle (and the rest of the outturn) almost two months to cross the pond and arrive here in Germany. But the wait was worth it. Not only does North Star’s Glasgow Distillery 5 Years Old look absolutely stunning with the black label and frosted bottle, but also does it taste like sheer, sherried awesomeness! My conclusion: This is a well matured, well chosen and well deserved anniversary edition from one of the coolest indie bottlers out there!
Eye: Shiny hazelnut.
Nose: What a build-up! The bouquet starts dry and powder-ish, but then it becomes gradually more juicy. At one point, intense and piercing spice is the most dominant note; then it’s burnt brittle; then it’s cooked fruit; then it’s red wine gum; then it’s freshly picked redcurrants, brambles and cherries. A wow-ing experience through and through!
Palate: Lots of weight! And a dense, oily texture! The oloroso cask, in which this 5 years old single malt was finished, is the driving force here. It has instilled total sherry darkness in the strong, slightly edgy spirit: elderflower, plum, licorice, brimstone, and even a drop of soy sauce. Every now and then, a lighter and sweeter note pierces through: burnt almond here, strawberry crème there. Plus fluffy vanilla pudding and runny caramel sauce.
Finish: The whisky bids its farewell with a stormy, medium-long flavor rush. Red fruits and berries appear together with salted caramel, oatmeal cookies, grapefruit peel, and charred wood. If you pay extra-special attention, you might also recognize a fiery blaze that reveals the whisky’s youth in a flamboyant, alive ‘n’ kicking way!
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Region: Scotland (Lowlands)
Age: 5 Years
Cask: Refill hogshead & Oloroso hogshead
Alc. volume: 51.5%
Bottle size: 0.7 litres
Number of bottles: 358
Price range: ~90.00 Euro
More info: https://www.northstarspirits.com/ (Bottler) ; https://www.glasgowdistillery.com (Distillery)
*** I bought the bottle as a regular customer. ***