Thanks to /u/nsquare14 for sending me some samples. Really appreciate these, as he sent me some I’ve never reviewed as a thank you for the reviews.
If someone offered you a dram of Ellenstown 12 Cask Strength, you may, like me, wonder what that was.
Has Ellen finally made a town, where there’s a distillery, and presumably a big hype train and people having a great time? Sadly no.
When distilleries sell casks to independent bottlers, they can request one of two situations: They can ask that it’s tablespooned, where you take a tablespoon and add an equal or older whisky to the cask, making it a blend. Under the official rules. Under the rest of our common sense, it’s basically the same thing.
Or they ask that it be bottled under a different name. I know some distilleries prefer this, some do this for only some releases. If I was a betting man, I’d say that there is some push by some distilleries to ask for this, offering a 2% discount to say a different name.
That said, I have zero evidence to back that up. So let’s blame the faeries.
But what’s in a name? A rose by any name would smell as sweet, to quote an old play about teenagers overreacting. The whisky is the part that matters, at the end of the day. So the rumour is this is Ardbeg, but that doesn’t mean it’s automatically bad or good.
So let’s try Ellenstown 12 Cask Strength and see how it tastes, shall we?
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Colour: 10Y 9/6
Nose: Peat smoke, pear, pineapple, candy, white cake, brine
Initial young, brash peated dram. Not bad to nose, with more sweet notes coming with time.
It’s on the brink of getting some complexity, though it needs water to really show that off. Initial nose is peat head fuel.
Taste: Pear syrup, chocolate-covered licorice, cloves, light smoked chicken
Very pear forward. At first I enjoy it, however the more sips I have, it becomes hard to pick out anything else.
Which really is too bad, because there’s these interesting, unique flavours that should be great, but then the pear shows up like that one kid from homerun who just didn’t take a hint you didn’t want to hang out.
Finish: Pineapple, caramelized pear, white pear, more pear, chicken, lemongrass
Hey, some pineapple, and then… 50 shades of pear. Not fun.
Conclusion: Good, however it has a rough finish of too much pear, and overall as I drink more of it, I enjoy it less and less.
I was initially enjoying this. And frankly, as a dram you have 1/2 an ounce of, you’d really, really enjoy it. However the more I had, the more I realized it’s pears and more pears.
Which is annoying, because there’s aspects that should make this a no brainer. Big chocolate and peat aspects. Meatiness.
Really I’d say try this yourself. You may like it more than other Ardbegs out there, you may not.
Scotch review #889, Islay review #226, Whisky Network review #1421