Hidden Gems: April 2021
As the end of April nears, Spring is fully underway. Like so many others, I am ready to embrace the warm weather and spend some time outside. And judging by the way things are shaping up, it may actually be with real people!
Each month I am tasked with the unique responsibility of tasting through the selection of casks available to Society members in America. The objective? To identify the “hidden gems” that offer tremendous value for experience.
Since I (and presumably you) will be spending a bit more time outside this month, the whiskies I’ve chosen are not simply great, they are also perfectly suited to be enjoyed outdoors with your friends this season. So, without further ado, I present to you my Hidden Gems of April:
Cask 135.24 Intrigued? You should be.
And I am! Not only does cask 135.24 bear one of my favorite names in quite some time, but it also just so happens to be one of the most memorable. A 12-year-old whisky hailing from the southern Highland region of Scotland, this spirit spent the majority of its life in an American oak ex-bourbon hogshead before it was transferred to a first-fill charred red wine barrique for a final year. Double maturation is a unique art that I’ve come to appreciate more in recent years and this whisky is a great example as to why. The vibrant and malty Highland spirit has been significantly enhanced by an additional layer of stewed red berries, grape skins and cinnamon pastries, all thanks to the unique influence of French oak. Such a satisfying whisky experience and a wonderful dram for Spring evening on the back patio.
Cask G10.30 Bonbons
Well, here we go. Cask G10.30 Bonbons is a 15-year-old single grain whisky produced in the Lowland region of Scotland. Single grain whisky differs from single malt in that it is made from a variety of grain (e.g. barley, wheat, corn, rye) and distilled in a column still. In terms of production and general availability, single grain whisky is very small as most of the spirit is designated for blended Scotch. For this reason and more, the opportunity to enjoy a single grain whisky is one that I always welcome. Both the aroma and flavour of this one is vibrant and fresh. Mango, banana chips, toasted coconut, and olive oil give way to fresh pine needles, petrichor and a flavour I can only describe as licking a forest floor. It’s a fun whisky and one that I would recommend taking with you on your next hike or camping trip.
Cask 66.174 Vintage dinner suit
Another style of Scotch I’ve grown to appreciate in recent years is the old peated Highland whisky. When we think of peated whisky we tend to think of the region of Islay and reputation for producing young, intense, medicinal smoke bombs. There’s no denying my own love for this unique style of whisky. But as the years have gone by, I have also become drawn to whiskies that offer a similar profile but perhaps with a bit less abrasion. Simply put, I don’t always wish to be knocked off my feet. Sometimes I just want a gentler smoky whisky that enhances my thoughts in the moment rather than take them over. Cask 66.174 Vintage dinner suit is just that: a 22-year-old peated Highland whisky with a bold and robust profile in a gentler presentation. It’s the ultimate whisky to enjoy alongside a bonfire on a cool Spring evening in the company of your closest friends.