Nov 12, 2016

Hepburn's Choice Inchgower 20yo...

Hepburn's Choice Inchgower 20yo (57.5%): Another single cask bottled exclusively for K&L Wines under the label Hepburn's Choice... This time the distillery is Diageo's Inchgower which we rarely see independent bottlings from. It usually produces malt for the blends Bell's, Johnnie Walker and White Horse and doesn't have a regular official release. The sherry butt hosting this whisky for 20 years was filled in 1995 and yielded 496 bottles at 57.5% abv when it was time to get bottled. There is no indication on the label or on the tube that it is bottled at cask strength so if it is not I have no clue why they chose that particular abv at the end... Not chill filtered and not colored...

Color: Dark amber, chestnut honey.

Nose: Soft caramel and sticky toffee pudding. A little bourbon-like... Milk chocolate, cold latte and nutmeg. Dried jonquils. Some alcohol burn because of the high abv. After adding quite a few drops of water it opens up: Apple pie, cinnamon and rosewater. Dried sour cherries, cranberry juice and ripe red plums. Yes, juicy ripe red plums... Funny, after detecting that plum note it's hard to concentrate on anything else.

Palate: Hot before adding water... Some toasted wood, crushed red peppers and very old calvados. Old leather upholstery, tobacco and buckskin. Adding water and allowing some time in the glass helps immensely: Chocolate is still there but much darker on the palate than it was on the nose. Prunes, zante currants and salted caramel. Pineapple skillet pie scrapings and poached pears and quinces. Roasted hazelnuts, macadamia nuts and fireplace smoke. Ginger candy. Chewy and thick... 

Finish: Long. Nutty and peppery... Salted almonds, burnt charcoal and salted butter. Paprika and ground ginger. Mouth tingling, almost fizzy. Starts salty but then gets sweet at the very end. Loved the finish.

Overall: A very particular sherry monster... Nutty and spicy with a big bonus of red fruits on the nose and on the palate. It grows in you very quickly. Let's sum up what we have noted till now: Sherry monster? Check... Winter warmer? Check... Conversation starter? Check... Good price/value? Check... Well, what can I say other than: Kudos to Dave Driscoll and his team for the pick. I know now what my holidays flask will have in...

Price: $100

88/100