Thanks to /u/smokedherring for handing me a sample.
I’ve explained the LCBO, the provincial alcohol authority in Ontario, Canada. Just go back through some of the old posts.
So after years of people asking, myself included, for single cask selections in Ontario, the LCBO seemingly listened. And we had tequila and scotch selections available to us. We’re like real people now!
However you should always read the fine print. A private cask by anyone means that someone, somewhere, is picking what’s being sold. There’s some people who own stores that can’t pick anything bad. There’s people who own stores who’s picks are debatable.
However once you’ve had a few of them, you get an idea. And like reviewers (myself included) you either find one you agree with, or find one you never agree with. So if you never agree with me, you never read it. Or you read it and do the opposite. If you do, you read it and seemingly try to drink what I give high marks.
There’s a rumour that the LCBO let’s the people who make the whisky pick their own casks to send them.
So my bias up front: That defeats the purpose of single casks. And bothers me. However it’s just a rumour, I don’t know it for certain, and I’ll keep going.
Which brings us to Arran 20 1996 Private Cask for LCBO is the second LCBO bottling I’ve had. It’s also the second Arran LCBO bottling I’ve had. It’s 10 years older and a sherry cask.
We’ll have to see what it tastes like. Let’s dive in, politics be damned.
Price: $211.95 CAD at the LCBO
Cask No. 1266
Cask Type: Sherry Hogshead
Distillation Date: 09/09/1996
Bottled Date: 11/08/2017
Bottle No. 103/245arr
Colour: 5Y 8/8
Nose: Peach, cream, ginger, earth, lime sorbet
Initial nose of peach, some cream. It’s nice and fruity. That said, there’s this earth in the middle of it that’s sticking out.
Simple though nice to nose, other than the earth. Damn earth, getting in the way.
Taste: Nectarine, lots of cumin, brine, nutmeg, creamsicle
Take the earth from before: Make it spicier, and then amp that up with some heat. What do you get? Cumin. Tons, and tons of cumin. Which is good in taco meat, not so much here.
If you ignore the sheer amount of cumin, then you end up with a good, creamy fruit filled dram. Lovely flavours. That said, they’re covered in cumin.
Finish: Peach preserves, nutmeg, cumin, garden salad, brown sugar, brine
Big peach flavours, lovely finish, great molasses and brine. All the way through we’ve had a build up of Autumn flavours that work nicely.
Oh, and even more earth and leaves. Hear that? It’s the sound when you get an obvious Jeopardy question incorrect.
Conclusion: Too much earth throws this all of. I don’t know if it was due to being in the cask too long or not long enough. It’s like trying to watch an amazing movie with some idiot telling a boring story in the way.
But enough about you guys reading my reviews while movies play (insert drum rimshot here).
I enjoyed this. But it really should have been blended or finished or had something happen. It’s not quite ready. If I had to presume what person would pick this and the 10 year old pick, I’d say they really enjoy one flavour. A lot. And if that flavour has earth to it? They are in boner city.
If that sounds like you, great! If not, then don’t kink shame, time to find something else. Good, not great.
Scotch review #887, Island review #101, Whisky Network review #1418