Origin: Spesyside (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing casks: Ex-Bourbon and ex-Port
Added coloring: Yes
Owner: The Speyside Distillery
Average price: € 60.00
Official website: speysidedistillery.co.uk
This is a whisky that certainly doesn’t go unnoticed, thanks to its very dark (and, sadly, adulterated) colour to live up to the name chosen by the Spey distillery, which in Gaelic means ‘Dark Mountain’, a nickname given to Ben Macdui in the Cairngorm mountain range in the Highlands.
And just to reiterate its dark and ‘alternative’ nature, the launch took place during a big Harley Davidson motorcade in Aviemore in 2015, Thunder in the Glens, immediately establishing its target audience.
Apart from the addition of caramel (regrettable, but useful to make the various releases uniform), the colour of the whisky comes from finishing in toasted casks containing Port, specifically Ruby, bought from Tanoaria Josafer in the Douro Valley in Portugal.
The water used for the distillate comes from the same mountains, and the barley is locally produced.
In the words of the distillery’s CEO, John Harvey McDonough, “Whisky drinkers know all about the Angels’ Share – the term for the whisky that evaporates into the atmosphere during maturation – but with the launch of our new whisky at a motorbike rally, it’s possible that the angels who were looking over Beinn Dubh were wearing black leathers and biker boots.”
Basically, Hell’s Angels…
Obviously, it’s the Port that is immediately evident on the nose, with plenty of red wine and a marked acidity, presenting ripe grapes, black cherry, dates, dried figs, plum jam, almonds, nutmeg, baked apple and Catalan cream. The vinous part is rather overbearing and showy.
Dry and full-bodied on the palate, the vinous part loses its strength (but not completely) in favour of more decisive notes of fruit with a few touches of citrus, liquorice, toasted caramel, coffee, dark chocolate. Handful of spices (nutmeg, pinch of black pepper) and aniseed on the length.
Medium long and dry finish, spicy, liquorice, rhubarb, plum.
A pleasant dram, rather simple, with the influence of Port a little overpowering but all in all integrated, and recommended for those who like these finishings. The marketing aspect is largely questionable, especially because of the non-natural colour on which it practically hinges, but after all what counts is what you find in the glass, not what they tell you, even if you pay a decidedly inadequate price for it.