Thanks to /u/throwboats for pouring me this dram.
Whisky nerds end up being odd in that they learn about other casks through what their favourite dram was put into. Well, other than bourbon-only fans.
As different casks are used (when they are allowed), we’re introduced to what they did to the cask and then what happens when that specific cask mixes with whisky. It’s all quite fun.
For instance, I’m not a Calvados fan. The idea of Norman apple or pear brandy doesn’t get me up in the morning. Heck, the idea of any area, French or not, making an apple or pear brandy isn’t doing much. Let’s not blame the Normans.
However take that cask, and as an experiment, though in some Bruichladdich that had previously aged in questionable ex-bourbon casks, and I’m in.
Cue Bruichladdich 22 Micro-Provenance 1990 Calvados. Exactly that. Almost like I too read the title.
So let’s see how this 22-year-old dram with a bit of French apple, shall we?
Date Distilled: 21.02.1990
Date Bottled: 30.06.2012
Age: 22 years old
Cask Finish Used: Calvados Cask
Cask Number: 002
Number of Bottles: 422
Colour: 10Y 9/8
Nose: Mango, basil, apple pie, caramel
Tropical flavours. Like nice tropical flavours. Quite a bit of sweet going on. Bit shy, even at the high strength. Water isn’t helping too much, I get more caramel out of it.
Oh, and yeah, there’s apple. Cue screaming like it’s a Playhouse.
Taste: Lime, cereal, dinner rolls, mint, yeasty bread
Hmm… more citrus and cereal going on here. I start to get more of a developed cereal note, but not too much.
Water brings that yeast ahead. I double check I didn’t, in fact, drink yeast instead of water. Nope, did not.
Finish: Lime pudding, ginger, white cake, yeasty bread
So the previous lime gets creamy and sweeter. More spice, with more earth, and that cereal from before is even sweeter.
Did not, in fact, add Sweetener, good. Water again ramps up a yeast to balance it all.
Conclusion: Water means you end up with yeast. It’s an odd dram, to say the least. The initial flavours are all these sweet aspects with varying success. And I enjoy that. The water ends up bringing this overt yeast forward, cereal hammering thing.
I didn’t hate this. Nor did I love it. I think I just “it” it. Other Calvados have had more apple going on. Perhaps they were longer or used a different type of cask. Suffice to say it leaves me with more questions. When would I serve this? Would I always add water, or never? Is a yeasty bread a good balance on sweets?
I don’t really know. Certainly happy they tried, and also happy this is a Micro-Provenance, and not a Macro-Provenance.
Scotch review #1021, Islay review #269, Whisky Network review #1606
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