Every once in a while, you get to try a spirit which isn’t quite yet whisky but which is definitely on its way to becoming one.
I recently received this lovely shaped bottled from Glen Moray, which it calls, quite simply, Peated Spirit and which comes from Cask #141. The spirit cannot be called whisky yet as it’s not been aged for three years, but the team at the company thought it was so good they wanted to release a small batch of it in 200ml bottles, which have been selling for around £14.50+ at specialist whisky retailers.
But, despite the age, it was clear this was going to develop into something quite lovely. The Speyside based company has not experimented with peat before this, preferring to focus on more classic flavours, so it’s quite a jump from the standards.
This spirit definitely has a lot of, well, spirit. As soon as I poured it in my glass, my brain told me I was about to consume a spunky Islay whisky. On the nose, I picked up a bit of citrus, caramel covered peanuts, chlorine and a resounding smell of damp, sappy pine trees being burned in a fireplace. There was a great balance of sweet and smoke, making it appealing to me as I like a peated whisky (or, in this case, spirit) which balances between these two flavours.
On the palate, the 60.6% ABV came rushing through like a roaring river pushing through a dam. At full strength, it sets a slow fire burning across the tongue but I was still able to pick up an almost chalky texture, with notes of coal BBQs, hickory woodchips and that swimming pool chlorine again.
It definitely needed a wee dash of water to help calm it down a bit. With a few drops, it relaxed considerably, almost like I’d given a screaming child a soother. On the nose, there were more notes of buttery popcorn while on the palate, the coal smoke dissipated slightly and that chlorine hint faded to near non-existence. In its place was a creamier dram, featuring BBQ prawns, grass in a field after a fresh rainfall and creamy caramel cubes.
All in all, this was exciting. It’s great to see a distillery like Glen Moray experimenting and being bold enough to get out there and say, “We think our spirit rocks and we want you to try it.” If you decide to give it a go, The Whisky Exchange still has some bottles, last I checked, which you can find here.