Origin: Spesyside (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing casks: Ex-Bourbon
Added coloring: No
Owner: The Speyside Distillery
Average price: € 61.00
Official website: speysidedistillery.co.uk
You can’t say they hide their origin, from the name of this bottle and the distillery who makes it!
Proudly a speysider, the distillery is very young by Scottish standards, having only started production in 1990 although its origins go back several years, when in 1962 George Christie bought an old barley mill (dating back to the 18th century), which took over twenty years to convert into a distillery.
Production has always been modest at around 600,000 litres per annum, even since ownership passed to Harvey’s of Edinburgh in 2012, who have decided to maintain the tradition.
The new owners’ target market is mainly Taiwan, where more than a million bottles are sold, so much so that a Taiwanese company, Vedan, is also listed as a co-owner.
The permanent bottlings under the Spey label are Royal Choice, Chairman’s Choice, Byron’s Choice, 18yo, Tenné, Trutina and Fumare: you will see reviews of the latter three on these pages a little at a time.
The one I’m reviewing today is a limited edition of 3,000 bottles, peated as the name suggests, sister to the other smoky version under the name Fūmāre.
Straw yellow in the glass.
It’s obviously peat that rises to the nose, herbaceous and toasted with a pleasant and tantalizing meaty verve. BBQ sauce, marshmellow, salted caramel, blood orange, dried fruits (nuts and hazelnuts). Could easily pass for an Islay distillate.
On the palate, fruit and peat fight for attention, with a crescendo of citrus (tangerines and orange), pineapple and plums thrown on the grill and stirred in with seaweed and a generous handful of salt, light dusting of pepper and a touch of aniseed. Vanilla, caramel and cereals stand by, a little envious of this toasted gangbang.
The finish is quite long and savoury, of burnt wood, hazelnuts, vanilla and aniseed.
Not particularly complex or profound, but balanced and varied enough to be entertaining, a variation on the theme of the region that lacks the inventiveness to achieve excellence.