A few years ago, gin was very much the beverage of choice for many. It was hip, it was fashionable, it was trendy, and it was everywhere. While in the eyes of many, gin was overdone, it’s still popular even now.
When news broke of a new single malt whisky being produced by a company specialising in gin a few years ago, you can understand why it was met with trepidation by whisky connoisseurs. Gin and whisky are drinks lightyears apart, so how could a gin manufacturer be expected to produce a premium quality whisky, a single malt no less? Well, they did that, and much more besides.
Glasgow-based company ‘Courageous Spirits’ ventured out into the exciting world of whisky with their hugely popular ‘King’s Inch’ single malt. As soon as it was released, any concerns about how a gin producer could make a single malt whisky quickly disappeared into the ether, much like the angel’s share in the Glasgow distillery where this exceptional tipple is produced.
Many moons ago, the imperial measurement of an inch was decreed as three fat barleycorns laid end to end. This was known as a king’s inch. In case you were wondering, three fat barleycorns were 25.40mm in length.
On top of that, King’s Inch was also the name of an island on the River Clyde. Glaswegian through and through, King’s Inch whisky is distilled at a renowned distillery in Glasgow. It was the brainchild of two of Scotland’s finest distillers: Jack Mayo, and the late, great, Jim Swan. Upon Jim’s tragic passing, he handed the reigns to experimental distiller Jack Mayo, who took an already exceptional single malt, and elevated it to another level entirely.
Traditionally, the whisky is matured in a combination of first fill oloroso sherry casks from Jerez, along with Kentucky bourbon barrels. This helps to give it its unmistakable aroma, colour, and flavour.
King’s Inch Tasting Profile
Okay, so, enough about the history of this wonderful wee dram, let’s learn more about the drink itself.
The whisky is bottled at 46% ABV. It is un-chill filtered, and has an all-natural colour, which comes from being aged in these fabulous barrels.
Despite being such a powerful tipple, the warming burn is there, without being unpleasant. This is a fine single malt and is best when sipped neat. Don’t let that fool you however, it also makes a great scotch and soda, and works extremely well in cocktails – you won’t taste a finer sour.
On the nose there is a distinct biscuity aroma, with hints of oats, winter spices, and vanilla. A deeper scent, however, reveals crisp green apples and pears lingering in the background. Toasted oak notes complete the sensory adventure.
As for the taste, honeyed malt is the most dominant flavour profile here, closely followed by raisins, pineapple, and orange. To finish, we’re met with toasted nutmeg, cinnamon, and even hints of chocolate and vanilla.
King’s Inch Single Cask Sherry Edition
Another hugely popular entry in the King’s Inch range is this stunning limited edition single cask sherry edition.
This single malt has spent more than 7 years maturing in a single oloroso sherry butt, giving the whisky an even darker appearance and more depth of flavours.
Bottled in November 2022, only 586 bottles were ever produced. This beauty packs a real punch, with a whopping 58% ABV!
On the nose, dark winter berries and festive spices are present, with hints of toasted oats lingering in the background.
As for the taste, macerated dark fruits such as figs, plums, prunes, and raisins are immediately noticeable, with a rich and creamy finish not unlike rice pudding of all things. Crunchy Demerara sugar is also present on the palate. The finish is smooth and lingers, carrying the same rich sweetness you get on the mouth.
With Christmas right around the corner, if you’d like to pick up a whisky similar to the ones covered above, or any other for that matter, be sure to head on over to Greatdrams.com and see the amazing range of whiskies they have available.