Andean oak – also known as Quercus Humboldtii – is a rare commodity in the Scotch industry. At least to my knowledge, the recently released Andean Oak entry into Black Bottle’s experimental “The Alchemy Series” is the first-ever whisky from Scotland to be drawn from such wood. Due to lack of experience, the whisky makers opted for a controlled and careful application of the never-before-used barrels: To be able to study the Andean oak’s effect on the liquid especially accurately, they filled their virgin Andean oak casks for round about one year with very soft and mild grain whisky. According to Master Blender Julieann Fernandez, the well-balanced, easy-natured spirit constituted a perfect canvas for the specially sourced wood to work its magic upon, loading up the adaptive liquid with an extra-dose of tannins and spices (among others). Also, to let the Andean oak shine in the final product, Julieann and the team decided to use only a small proportion of peated whisky in Black Bottle Andean Oak’s recipe. The result is a complex, deep, and satisfying blended whisky with a subtle smokiness, a generous malt-to-grain ratio, and a wood formula unlike any other!
Eye: More on the light side. Yet, Andean Oak is still a bit darker to the eye than the heavily peated Smoke & Dagger, which got released simultaneously within “The Alchemy Series”.
Nose: The whisky’s aroma is fruity, powdery, and slightly zesty. My first association is shortcrust cake with plums. Furthermore, I get raspberry, grape, citrus, sour apple, and dark cherry. Underneath, there looms fine-grated cinnamon and dusty woodshave. A piercing sweetness is noticable, too – reminding me of dextrose. And puffy tabacco smoke.
Palate: Creamy and tongue-coating with lots of red fruits and dark berries as well as plums and raisins. Plus Black Forest cake, brittle chips, nut splinters, and over-baked choc-muffin with fruit topping. The smoke becomes a bit stronger and darker now.
Finish: The immensely chocolate-y finish is complemented by strawberry mousse, whipped cream, and pear drops. Around these flavors, there is a fleeting cloudlet of puff n’ fume.
Type: Blended Scotch Whisky
Alc. volume: 46.3 per cent
Cask: Andean oak finish
Bottle size: 0.7 litres
Price: 35.00 Euro
More info: https://www.blackbottle.com/ (Brand)
*** I got the bottle for free from Distell Group. Thank you. ***