Without the barrel Whisky isn’t Whisky, it’s New Make Spirit. While this doesn’t necessarily taste bad, it also doesn’t have the variety and depth of flavour that Whisky has.
And that depth and variety comes directly from the barrel. The spirit interacts with the wood on a molecular level and a rich assortment of flavours is born.
Independent bottlers Gordon & MacPhail pride themselves on their incredible knowledge of the barrel.
They recognise the importance of a good barrel and the key role this plays in the outcome of any Whisky. And with this in mind, they have released their Wood Makes the Whisky campaign.
Seeking to show us just how important the correct combination of wood and time is, Gordon & MacPhail have selected certain Whiskies from their portfolio to demonstrate this.
The campaign focuses on the relationship between wood and spirit and how these come together to create masterful drams.
The brand sources their Whiskies from all across Scotland and so it is important that they understand how each will interact with the wood differently.
They manage a huge collection and it is vital that they know every detail and quality test every drop.
This is a knowledge that the company have been building on for the last 120 years, giving them a expertise that they want to share with their customers.
This has culminated in their sample room, a library of countless different variations of distilleries, ages and flavour profiles.
One of their most interesting releases in this range is a Glen Grant 1954. That’s a pretty impressive age statement right there! It was matured for 52 years in refill sherry caks.
With that amount of age one would assume the Whisky would go too far the other way and take on too many wooded qualities, but Gordon & MacPhail know exactly what they are doing.
This is an amazingly smooth expression that is packed full of flavour.
The nose opens with a trip down a country lane on a hot summer day, when berries are appearing on every hedge. Blackberries, strawberries and raspberries are all present to give a nice sweet tang.
They are joined by crisp green apples and dried fruits like figs and dates to add depth and freshness to the dram.
There is also a nod towards dark chocolate with a hint of spices and oaky cinnamon.
This dram is refined yet bursting with flavour, even more so on the palate.
The berries are again present and become darker and almost over-ripe. They melt in the mouth alongside a nice warmth that is given off from chilli peppers and nutmeg spices.
The fruit and spice of the sherry can really be tasted with a delicate menthol note in the background.
These combine well and are accompanied by a smooth and easy going mouth feel that has a slight creaminess coming off the dark chocolate.
The fruits are also joined with a little hint of lemon and lime, which can be brought out even more with a little drop of water.
The finish has a medium linger filled with more sherry fruits and chocolate.
This dram is definitely a testament to just how skilled Gordon & MacPhail are in their marrying of wood and spirit and this range is not to be missed!