the whisky lounge - a journal tracking a whisky maturation project involving a newly-acquired oak cask and a significant amount of patience

Monday, February 25, 2008

Turn, Turn, Turn

Sorry I didn't get this posted yesterday as planned, folks. I ended up working for most of the weekend, so had little time for fun stuff like sampling whisky. Always a pity when work interferes with beverages, in my humble opinion.

Anyhow, we have now come full circle. Literally, in fact. The cask has been rotated four times, meaning it's now right-side-up again, and as happy as ever. Here's what I'm looking at after one solid month of maturational goodness:

[click on the photo to embiggen it]

As I figured, the whisky hasn't changed any further in colour. I guess the cask has added all the dark red-orange-amber tint it will. I'm just fine with that. I've seen some darker whiskies (including one that's insanely ruby red, nearly like a wine) and some lighter ones, and the colour isn't a perfect predictor of how delicious a dram one has in one's hand.

As for the nose, it's really developing a lot more sweetness. Think brown sugar melted over plums served on an oak plank heated over an open flame. It's very sweet on the nose right now. I had noticed brown sugar on the nose last time, but it's more in-your-face now. In comparison, the un-aged whisky really seems pretty insipid. Other than the fierce alcoholic smell, the young whisky smells mildly malty and smoky, but really, really watered down. The maturing spirit is really adding layers upon layers of nosey complexity. Swirling it more vigorously around the glass frees up smoked malt and vanilla, butter and salt.

On the palate, we have a spicy start that lingers, with dried apricot and raisin and oak coming through a moment later, served over a gentle smokiness. There's vanilla and cinnamon. Some tannins, though not overwhelmingly many. The finish is malt and smoke, though not hitting-you-over-the-head smoke, with the spice still lingering. As I've noted before, the fruit seems to be far more highly concentrated in the nose than in the palate. The caramel on the finish isn't as prevalent as it was last week, but it's still there. The finish is long. Quite long.

I'm very happy with how it's coming along, but it's still going to need a few more weeks, I think. The taste is nice, but it's still a bit on the unintegrated side. The spice or heat from the alcohol is still a bit much right now, but the other flavours are slowly chipping away at it.

It's getting there, but it's not quite there yet.

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