Saturday, 21 April 2012

Whisky Discovery #74

Cutty Sark Tam O'Shanter 25 Year Old (46.5% abv)
Blended Scotch Whisky
circa £200.00 70cl
The Tam o'Shanter - aimed at the collector, but a stunning whisky none the less
Cutty Sark Tam o’ Shanter is a new variant of the existing award-winning Cutty Sark 25 year old blend with a distinctly darker, wilder side.

Released to celebrate Burns Night 2012. This Cutty Sark Blend is named after one of Burns's most famous poems, the epic Tam O'Shanter, a tale of staying too late in the pub and the ghostly visions that Tam saw on the way home.

Now I must admit I didn't know this beforehand so had to research and read the poem before the event, a quick search on the internet revealed dozens of pages and a couple of them had the original poem on one side of the screen, and an English translation on the other!

The whisky comes in a bespoke oak box and both box and bottle are adorned with scenes of the horrors that Tam encountered. It comes with a beautiful book featuring the full text of the poem, some history and a over 50 illustrated scenes by the late Alexander Goudie, widely considered to be one of Scotland’s finest figurative painters. The book and bottle are presented the box which has also been decorated in the style of Goudie.

Limited to 5,000 bottles, the glass bottle has been created specifically for this new expression and is based on the oldest in in the Cutty Sark archive. It features the famous chase scene from the Robert Burns poem Tam o’ Shanter, etched around the entire bottle, as well as a wax closure showing Tam’s face in relief.

This was the last dram of our Cutty Sark Tweet Tasting and for most of us it was the highlight of the evening, with tweets of anticipation:

  • @boardsy I have been waiting all week for the Tam O' Shanter. It smells like xmas, feels like I've been waiting for xmas!
  • @LRWhisky *pours excitedly*
  • @rborghma with a roll of drums I'm pouring the Tam O'Shanter 25yo in my glass
  • @TheWhiskyWire Could quite happily just nose this whisky for the rest of the night.
  • @TWLJoe dark, deep and musty, caramelised orange, dark chocolate, toasted marshmallows and plenty spice. What a nose!
  •  @TIA568B Deep, an old high backed leather armchairm sherry, spices, pipe smoke, dried fruits, som one bottled a classy old guy!
  • @jonmbryant Indeed, one Sherlock Holmes would drink in his den
  • @TWLJoe Sherlock Holmes, catching Watson snuffling fruit cake in a sheesha bar on an egyptian adventure

Tweet Tasting
So what did I think?

Colour: Rich, dark amber

Nose: A great spicy nose, with some light smoke behind some scented jasmine. This was certainly the best 'nose' of the evening and eventually we mostly agreed on the sweet pipe smoke note in the nose, but there was so much more. Rich, sherried with overripe banana, soy sauce, nuttyness, raisins, sandalwood

Palate: Sherried fruitcake with delicate peat smoke, tar, waxy orange zest and a pinch of spice. Full bodied, sweet and velvety smooth, dark chocolate, eucalyptus, cracked black pepper and toffee. Waves of flavour and texture teasing your taste buds.

Finish: Lingering, long, rich, sweet yet spicy. A magnificent dram!

This is an outstanding whisky, and seemed to be the favourite for most. The nose on this whisky is very complex with plenty to tease out. However I fear that because of the market it is aimed at, I doubt too many will get to experience this which is a great shame. I would have liked to have compared this with the standard 25 year old expression, which should be similar, but without the expensive packaging should be within a drinkable budget.

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