This week's review focuses on a rather unusual yet interesting interpretation of Fettercairn, which has been finished in a port cask before being bottled at a rather youthful 7 years old by independent bottlers Coopers Choice.
The distillery was founded in 1824 by Sir Alexander Ramsay and had undergone a succession of owners before coming under the ownership of Whyte & Mackay in 1973. Whyte & Mackay themselves were taken over by Indian spirits conglomerate United Spirits in 2007 and were under their ownership until 2014, when Diageo acquired a majority stake in United Spirits.
However, the Office of Fair Trading ruled that Diageo's takeover of United Spirits (and by extension, Whyte & Mackay) posed monopolistic and anti-competitive issues for the industry. They then forced Diageo to dispose of either part or all of Whyte & Mackay and for a time it seemed like a possibility that Diageo would retain Dalmore, Tamnavulin and Fettercairn distilleries within their ownership.
However, Diageo proceeded to sell the entirity of Whyte & Mackay to Philippine spirits conglomerate, Emperador Inc, who are the largest producer of brandy in the world. The deal was estimated to be worth £430 million and was completed in late 2014.
This particular expression of Fettercairn is rather different from the official bottlings in the sense that the port cask finish adds another aspect to the flavour profile and has been bottled at what amounts to a standard abv of 46% by independent bottlers Coopers Choice.
So, let's get on with the review!
Fettercairn 2008 7 Years Old Port Cask Finish (46% abv)
Colour: Red wine
Nose: Fresh barley intermingled with floral notes upon initial entry, with chewy malt and dry red wine notes present. With time, black pepper, cinnamon and a pronounced oakiness emerge and the nose does not exhibit the typical sweetness that one would associate with an interaction with port.
Palate: The sweetness finally emerges and the port cask interaction brings with it a certain dryness. Rather spicy on the palate, with black pepper and cinnamon intermingling with barley and oaky notes. Quite a youthful dram and the vibrancy of the base spirit is definitely evident beneath the port finish.
Finish: Medium on the finish and rather mellow, with the spice notes fading rather quickly and leaving the sweet port and dry, oaky notes to linger for a while.
Balance: A rather well balanced dram for an expression so young, but I honestly feel that it may benefit from further maturation. The port finish definitely brings out the best of the base spirit though and the mouthfeel is rather drying. An interesting representation of Fettercairn undoubtedly!
This expression of Fettercairn is available for in bar consumption by the bottle or the dram at The Single Cask and is also available for takeaway/retail purposes. Please approach one of our friendly bar staff for more information with regard to prices.
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