Orkney 17 2000 The Whisky Agency & Heads & Tails

Orkney 17 2018 TWA 2.jpg

This year we changed things up with the Toronto Whisky Society: We had two releases. Due to feedback, people requested both a more expensive release and a less expensive release.

This brings in Orkney 17 2018 The Whisky Agency & Heads & Tails, not just a whisky with a lot of Ampersands in the name, but also the more expensive release for this year. We don’t know for certain which distillery it comes from. There’s two on Orkney. One known for peating their whisky, using sherry casks, and what not, and the other is Scapa. Which is known for honey flavours.

So we have a bottling with the Harry Poppins label from an unknown distillery, aged in an ex-bourbon hogshead for almost 18 years. But how do we find out more about it?

By putting it in our face. Let’s see how it tastes, shall we?

Orkney 17 2018 TWA.jpg

Price: $186.62 CAD, though you have to be part of the Toronto Whisky Society

Region: Island

Distilled on: Orkney

Distilled: 2000

Bottled: 2018

Matured in a Hogshead

Aged: 17 years

Colour: 10Y 9/6

Nose: Grilled corn, ash, canned pears, hay, banana bread, caramel

Immediate smoke, grilled, and even some ash. Is that like honey? Or is it like a peated whisky. We may never know.

Lovely sweet pears and some barnyard come out. Water brings out that banana funk that everyone should love, and even some sweeter caramel notes to round it out.

Taste: Papaya, ash, rich caramel cake, lemon juice, pineapple, bay leaf

Tropical, ashy, and even richer caramel/cereal notes. Lovely acidity that just gets better with fruit.

Gee, what distillery is known for acidity? The normally acidic Highland Park, or the honey-based Scapa? We may never know.

Nice herbal comes out with water. Pairs well with the fruit as it is far enough away from the dessert flavours.

Finish: Grilled steak, black peppercorn sauce, banana, mango

Umami, pure and simple, with big grill marks. Know a good steakhouse? Yeah, you get that big ash/grilled flavour.

Finish is a bit less complex than I’d like, especially compared to the rest.

Conclusion: Ash/herbal bomb, purely delightful. When I sat down to drink this the first time, it had a bad habit of evaporating. Or perhaps I just couldn’t keep drinking it. It’s a generally fun and high-quality dram like this. Is it perfect? No, the finish is a bit short. Water helps that out, adding in some tropical fruit, like ordering the grilled pineapple at a Brazilian steakhouse.

The taste has more going onto it, and frankly, I’ve yet to meet a person who isn’t drawn in by the nose.

So, should you have bought this? Yes, according to me, one of the people who okayed it for the group. This is the first dram we’ve had where everyone involved said: “Yeah, we’re getting this”. It’s a wonderful dram.


Scotch review #1014, Island review #117, Whisky Network review #1593

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