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

Friday, June 6, 2008

How Do You Do, Mr. Radd?

If you read comic books (which I don't), you'll be familiar with the story of a Mr. Norrin Radd, a young astronomer from the far-off planet Zenn-La. He's a rather regular chap, with friends and a family and all the usual stuff, but he does have one characteristic which distinguishes him from all the other Zenn-Lavians. He and only he is the Herald of the Devourer of Planets.

Why am I mentioning Norrin Radd at all? Well, his story actually has some significance for this week's (slightly belated, sorry) test of the Glen Parker Speyside which has been in the Whisky Works cask for about a month now. Both were introduced in their respective realms as villains, and both ended up having characteristics rather heroic.

OK, it's fair to say that calling Glen Parker "heroic" is about the overstatement of the century, other than perhaps "your mobile phone plan will cost only $30 per month," but it's fitting. The Glen Parker started its life as abysmal. It then was merely terrible. Then only bad. Today, I'm happy to report it's merely somewhat unpleasant. It's not exactly going to rise against its boss and help the Fantastic Four save humanity, but it is going to be something I don't want to immediately pour down the drain. Not that I think it's enjoyable yet, but still: any improvement is good in my books.

On the nose, the faint tobacco smoke I noticed last week is still there. It's still quite faint, though. Weirdly enough, I'm finding a butter frosting, like you'd get on cheap store-bought cinnamon rolls. There's also that weird fruit that I still can't identify despite my best efforts. Not quite strawberry and not quite lychee, it's along those lines. There's the faintest hint of black tea as well, but it's so faint, I barely notice it. It's far from the nicest smelling whisky in my collection, but it's now not thoroughly malodorous, either.

The taste is still reminiscent of conifers, though it's rounding out with a robust oakiness as well. There's even a vein of sandalwood running through it, but not overwhelmingly. It's tarry, iodiney. The same mystical fruit in the nose is here, and it's equally impossible to identify. The fishiness I'd noticed earlier in the process is gone now, I'm happy to report. It's still a bit too pungent for me, with the tang of iodine and the fruit combining in a less than pleasant way, but it's getting better.

My mission this week is to go out and buy a bunch of different types of fruit to see if I can figure out what the heck I'm tasting and smelling in here. I promise I'll do my damndest to identify it for you guys.

At the rate the whisky is improving, but also accounting for how awful it was at the beginning, I'll have at least a few more weeks before it becomes drinkable.

Oh, yes: colour. The colour hasn't changed a bit since last week. In the past, that has meant that it's acheived the final colour it will reach, so I don't expect it to change any further. But who knows, maybe it'll surprise me...

Until then,


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