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

Saturday, July 5, 2008

A Fitting End

Hello there.

And so, we have reached the end! I'm happy to report that the Glen Parker experiment has succeeded. I now would confidently serve this stuff to friends. Remarkable, really, given that it was about as appealing as turpentine at the beginning.

The violet blossoms on the nose last week are still here, but it's not overpoweringly floral. The flowers blend into - finally - a vanilla note rather nicely. The liquorice is still there, but it works well. The smoke, which was starting to hide last week, has continued to do so: it's still there, but it's not the predominant aroma by any means. There's still the scent of fresh foliage as well, though my slightly-ill nose has a bit of trouble finding it. An observant reader would, doubtlessly, notice that the description this week uses much the same vocabulary as last week's. There is a reason for this. The ingredients which make up the nose haven't changed significantly, but there has been a transformation nonetheless. It's noticeable on the palate as well.

It's still got oak and sandalwood, though the oak is clearly the stronger of the two. Liquorice. I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that I must have been crazy last week, since I notice a good amount of black pepper this time, which I had thought was starting to be absorbed into the other flavours. Perhaps my cold has something to do with it. I wouldn't describe the smokey component as apple-scented tobacco any longer. There's a faint hint of apple, but the smoke is closer to burning incense now, I'd say. Aromatic and spicey. But it is faint. It's only one segment of a rather tasty combination of flavours.

The biggest change is that it's a smoother dram than it ever has been before. Some of this will be attributable to evaporated alcohol, of course. But the edges of the flavours have been smoothed off, and the unpleasant components removed and transformed into something that's not exactly the most delicious whiskies I've had, but is pretty darned good nonetheless.

Of the two cheap whiskies that I bought to accompany the Whisky Works cask, the McClelland's turned out better. The Glen Parker has become drinkable, and I'm going to enjoy the rest of it, but it's not as rich or complex as the McClelland's managed to become. I'm not sure who actually produced the Glen Parker, so I don't have a more fully-aged cousin with which I can compare, but it seems to me that, while it's tasty enough, it will remain a cheap-tasting whisky. Nevertheless, a worthy experiment!

So this brings me to the end of the first casking series. I don't think I could get any more use out of the wee barrel, as it's had water, sherry and three whiskies in it by this point. It's done its duty admirably. And really, it works with my schedule perfectly. I'm going to buy another cask to play with, but I'll wait until the fall. My summer is looking pretty damned near full, and it involves a lot of not being at home long enough to experiment with a cask.

In the mean time, I'll be plotting what to do next. I've sampled a home-casked whisky done in a sherried cask and an untreated cask. Perhaps this fall should be an experiment with port or something even crazier. We shall see. If anyone is clamouring for any particular vein of experimentation, I'm open to suggestions.

So, until the fall keep yourselves entertained with the other whisky sites I've got in the sidebar.

Cheers,

Ian

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