Not too long ago, I had my first touchpoint with the new Scottish indie bottler The Uncharted Whisky Co., when I reviewed their GlenAllachie 13 Years Old here on my blog. Now the company’s German importer DeinWhisky.de has send me two more samples to check out: The first is a 14-year-old peated Loch Lomond called “You Take The High Road” and the second is a 30-year-old Secret Islay going by the name of “Rumours: Chapter Two”. Both whiskies totally support the impression I already had from The Uncharted Whisky Co. after trying the afore-mentioned GlenAllachie: These guys have an outstanding talent for sourcing top-quality casks. Sure: Once they are bottled, the contents of these casks usually come with a premium price tag. But in my opinion, these releases are well worth the asked-for sums! After all, these are truly great drams!
“You Take The High Road” – Loch Lomond 14yo
(Single Malt Scotch Whisky • Highlands • Bourbon barrel • 56.2% • 210 bottles)
“A fresh lemon squeezed over a cooled-off ashtray” – That’s the first image that formed in my mind after I had sniffed this 14 years old Loch Lomond from The Uncharted Whisky Co. Other associations sparked by the mighty fine bouquet were bonfire smoke, pineapple chunks, pear slices, vanilla muffins, icing sugar, and caramelized almonds. In the mouth, the contrast between freshening fruits, sweetened treats, and smouldering smoke continued: Grapes and kiwis mingled with chimney soot. Gooseberries and citrus fruits mashed up with BBQ grease. Custard and pastry mixed with cigarette puff. Ultimately, the whisky culminated in a memorable finale. At the end of the high road, there waited all kinds of delish rewards: cold ash, sweet smoke, sugared fruits, aromatic zests, and crushed pepper corns. If ever I were to sip a dram on the bonnie, bonnie banks o’ Loch Lomond, this one would make an excellent choice!
“Rumours: Chapter Two” – Secret Islay 30yo
(Single Malt Scotch Whisky • Islay • Bourbon barrel • 51.3% • 250 bottles)
The Uncharted Whisky Co.’s “Rumours: Chapter Two” is a three-decade-old single cask bottling from the most time-honored distillery on Islay. When I first drew this magnificent Scotch to my nostrils, an ashy smoke cloud evaporated from the glass. It got thinner with time, revealing a well-balanced array of aromas underneath: spritzy citrus, soft peach, crisp malt, and warm porridge as well as all kinds of mineral and maritime notes. Plus a faint dustiness. Everything in the bouquet seemed bright and harmonious like an unhurried stroll along the beach on a calm day in spring. This sensation continued on the tongue, where the whisky presented itself in a very pleasant and satisfying way. It felt sweet, fruity, and smoky in equal shares. Despite its over-proof ABV, the spirit was wonderfully complaisant to the tongue and taste buds. No sting, no burn, no ache – just a through and through classy tasting experience! In regard to the offered flavors, I made out natural vanilla, sweetened pomelo, candied ginger, fresh-baked scones, and ashtray smoke. And let’s not forget the delicate violet drops either. Even though they remained in the back, they were still present enough to have an impact on the tapestry of tastes (thus giving a good hint at the distillate’s origin). The smooth and silken finale was rich with thin ash, sweet licorice, pureed apple, and even a pinch of pulverized wasabi (but not the aggressive kind). Furthermore, the candied ginger and the fresh-baked scones were present at this stage as well; as were the violet pastilles. All in all, I perceived “Rumours: Chapter Two” as a beautiful sip that showed how great an effect a long (and good!) maturation can have on a whisky. The many differing notes to be found in the sample blended in with each other perfectly, forming a masterfully arranged gesamtkunstwerk.
“You Take The High Road” – Loch Lomond 14yo (Single Malt / Highlands / Vintage 2007 / Bourbon barrel / 56.2% / ~85 Euro)
“Rumours: Chapter Two” – Secret Islay 30yo (Single Malt / Islay / Vintage 1990 / Bourbon barrel / 51.3% / ~380 Euro)
*** Whisky samples kindly provided by DeinWhisky.de. Thank you. ***