When I write a tasting report, I usually try to do more than just describe the drams we had. In this case, however, I am having a hard time providing that “extra value”. The reason: Fary Lochan’s recent “Cask Finishes” tasting was held entirely in Danish. I am sure the expert panel consisting of Distillery Manager Morten Jørgensen, The SMWS Brand Ambassador Thomas Korsgaard, and former Danish international Ulrik Laursen had many interesting notions, backgrounds, and ideas to share; yet I only understood a few isolated phrases here and there. Apparently, I should have paid better attention at that language class I took at university. But hey, afterwards you are always smarter. So, without any more detours, let’s get straight to the drams …
As the name suggests, the line-up of the “Cask Finishes” tasting consisted of five Danish single malt whiskies that were extra-matured in special casks, butts, and barrels. I found this to be a super-exciting topic. After all, it gave me the chance to sip some Fary Lochans I had never had the chance to try before! Sure, I already knew what the distillery’s spirit would taste like when kept in a PX or Rum cask. Yet, I had no idea how it would develop amidst Sauternes-, Moscatel- or Port-soaked wood. Thanks to this tasting, I was able to fill that gap. And that was not the only thing that made the line-up special. Another noteworthiness: Prior to the tasting, none of the drams had been commercially available; the Fary Lochan team had sampled them all exclusively from the stock that rested in their warehouses. After the event, however, they released one of the savored sips – the Rum Finish – as their Virtuel Edition #04. A little spoiler: It is one helluva dram!
But first things first. Before we got to taste said bottling, we savored three other drams. Our kick-off malt was an unpeated Fary Lochan 5 Years Old with a Sauternes Finish. It was heavy, creamy, punchy, and complex! To the nostrils, it offered sponge finger biscuits, nutmeg powder, and wood shavings. On the tongue, it placed toffee, gobstoppers, grapefruit zest, and citrus spritz as well as breakfast cereals with milk chocolate chips. At the end of the very satisfying degustation, the whisky culminated in an endless finish that emphasized on licorice, grain, orange, mint, and wild honey. A superb starter, no doubt! Next up, it got all sweet and juicy; our second whisky of the evening had a PX Sherry Finish. The finger-licking good 6 years Old brimmed with sticky notes of brittle, raisin, marmalade, syrup, cake, and orange-flavored refreshment sticks. In the mouth, the whisky felt velvety, almost furry. I really enjoyed this “dusty cushions” vibe, which got ever-stronger during the honey-sweet, mid-long finale.
Our third pour was the youngest and strongest of the line-up. It was a Vintage 2016 with a Moscatel Finish. During the sniffing, the tasting and the swallowing, one particular flavor was omni-present for me: sweet n’ sugared peach rings! Especially in the nostrils, I absolutely loved this intense, in-your-face sensation. When I concentrated a bit more, I also made out a number of other nice aromas and flavors such as apple juice, pancake, lemon, tangerine, ginger, and canned pineapple. Compared to the other drams, which were slightly older and more settled, this one was pretty fierce, sharp, and wild. It showed a side of Fary Lochan I had not yet known, namely the young and agitated whirlwind-kinda malt.
Next up was the afore-mentioned 8 Years Old with a Rum Finish. It was partially made from nettle-smoked barley (one of Fary Lochan’s most striking USPs). This special technique gave the whisky a smoldering, somewhat ashen smokiness that was most peculiar: On the one hand, the smoke lingered in the back in a rather shy and unobtrusive way. But on the other hand, it was also mouth-coating and all-encompassing. Underneath this dense-yet-delicate smoke cover, I made out a multi-layered potpourri of highly intriguing smells and tastes! My nostrils registered herbs, oak, toffee, vanilla, raisins, salt crystals, and wild honey. My taste buds yelled “Mars bars! Puff pastry! Whipped cream! Coconut flakes! Tobacco leaves!” All notes interplayed perfectly with each other, bringing forth a top-notch Danish single malt whisky that left a very lasting (and very good) impression on me.
The fifth and final member of the tasting kit had quite a special smokiness, too – albeit one that came to be in a different way. After its initial maturation in an ex-bourbon barrel, this unpeated Fary Lochan 5 Years Old spent some extra-time in an ex-Islay Port pipe. So whatever smoke there was in this Port Finish variety, it all came from the maturation rather than the malting. Personally, I found this whisky to be an incredible closer to an utterly fantastic tasting! It brimmed with red fruits, some fresh-picked and some cooked. I smelled, among others, cherries, raspberries, and strawberries wrapped in a tar-like shroud of peat smoke. In the mouth, the juice was heavy, sticky, and jam-like. It produced funfair sweets, caramel pudding, cocoa nibs, and red berries with lots of sugar on top. The aftertaste echoed on for a long while. Its most dominant aromas included stewed fruits, winterly spices, charred wood, and modestly expanding smoke. Believe me: While this already sounds pretty nice on paper, it was even better in the glass!
Vintage 2015 Sauternes (Single malt whisky / Denmark / 5yo / Sauternes finish / Unpeated / 61.3%)
Vintage 2015 PX Sherry (Single malt whisky / Denmark / 6yo / PX finish / Unpeated / 61.5%)
Vintage 2016 Moscatel (Single malt whisky / Denmark / 5yo / Moscatel finish / Unpeated / 62.5%)
Vintage 2013 Rum (Single malt whisky / Denmark / 8yo / Rum finish / Peated / 60.3%)
Vintage 2015 Port (Single malt whisky / Denmark / 5yo / ex-Islay Port finish / Unpeated / 60.7%)
Fary Lochan @ Web: https://farylochan.dk/
Fary Lochan @ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/farylochan
The tasting video @ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=876525433068752
*** The tasting was streamed publicly and I got the samples for free from Fary Lochan. ***