Origin: Highlands (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing cask: Ex-Sherry
Added colouring: No
Owner: Morisco Spirits
Price: € 135.00 on Morisco Spirits
Official website: moriscospirits.com
The latest release (in order of time) for the young Italian bottler, who this time has chosen a distillery that isn’t often seen among independents.
Founded in 1824 by Alexander Ramsay by converting an old mill, Fettercairn is located at the foot of the Grampian mountains and in the heart of the village from which it takes its name (which means, in fact, “the foot of the mountain”).
Ramsay started out as a landowner and was one of the first to apply for (and obtain) a distillation licence, also employing illicit distillers who had the experience he felt was necessary to produce his whisky.
Ownership of the land was sold a few years later to the Gladstone family (from which came a famous British Prime Minister), and the middle of the last century saw the introduction of an innovative method to encourage condensation in the still, namely a copper ring placed on top that sprays cold water on the neck, in order to obtain a purer and lighter spirit.
In 1973 they were acquired by Whyte & Mackay, who diverted much of the production to their own blends.
Distilled in 2005 and poured in just 72 bottles in 2021 from an ex-Sherry cask, cask strength and all natural.
Since it has only been bottled a short time ago, it requires particular rest both in the bottle and in the glass, and on the nose it shows its maturity while remaining rather soft, with just a slight acidity in the background. Prunes, sultanas, dates, panforte cake, baked apple and coffee chase each other in the nostrils, a sweetness with rough tones that pampers and doesn’t tire. Impressions of nougat in the background. Rich and elegant.
Coffee and cacao emerge on the palate, a perfect union that introduces a nice oily whisky, full, with a touch of ginger on blueberries, plum, sultanas, dried figs with almonds, nutmeg, candied citrus. And it goes up, especially in length, pushing you dangerously to continue drinking (almost) indefinitely. A vague hint of smoke in the finish.
The finish is long, salty, dry, of candied fruit, coffee, cacao, Cuban cigar and again that vague hint of smoke.
Rich, layered and yet easy to approach, dangerously drinkable, a little gem of balance and complexity for a distillery that deserves more attention, and thank goodness that someone occasionally thinks to give it!