On the odd occasion an almost empty bottle was thrust in front of you before being passed on. It was a very surreal experience and the sheer contrast in whisky tastings that afternoon prompted much debate. One offered the whiskies and little else, whilst the other was overloaded with branded marketing and a youthful selection of whiskies. I’ll leave you do decide which applies to what tasting. Ideally I think I’d prefer something pitched in-between both overall.
Colour: here’s the reason why some do add natural colour as it looks like secretion
Nose: a clay-like aspect initially before apples and a little mint arise. Very fresh almost menthol in its cleanliness and some vanilla. Does this sound like a Jif advert? Botanicals in some respects, very light and very short-lived.
Taste: goddamn it burns. In the background just now on the vinyl deck is the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion playing Pant Leg – that’d be more pleasant in a glass. It’s really light, fresh once again and vanilla infused with some scorching black pepper. This is youthful, fiery and this gentleman should be shown the door for his ill-advised bravado or at least the sole of my boot up his ass.
Overall: apparently a blend of 2 distilleries, as its the Lowlands go figure. If you wondered why Lowland distilleries were a dying breed until the current whisky boom, then this would be definitive proof they deserved their fate. A really poor whisky and excessively overpriced for what it offers.
Perspective: I can appreciate that some whiskies divide opinion that’s part of the enjoyment of discovery. However the Epicurean is so off the mark that a positive review is difficult to digest. Its my forerunner for worst whisky of 2016 to date. If there are favourable summaries out there regarding the Epicurean then I’m tempted to question the transparency and independence of those involved. Douglas Laing arguably – as an onlooker – has formed strong links with writers that potentially has influenced their perspective and grip on reality. Given recent chatter on Twitter and my own thoughts on this generally, it’s a topic I’d like to come back to on a separate article on whisky transparency in reviews.
If you are thinking of purchasing this then I would urge you to ask for a taste initially and then decide for yourself. It’s not for me, but it might be what you have been looking for in a whisky. There are much better and cheaper whiskies from Douglas Laing than this cad as you can read from below.
Aultmore 7 year old
distilled June 2008, bottled March 2016 from a refill sherry butt, cask #11064
Colour: ah your classic honey and lovely it is as well
Nose: interesting almost shy. It’ll need some coaxing. Certainly ginger loaf and a rum and raisin aspect. Remember those flying saucers with sherbet inside them? That’s what this is making thing of. Oh marzipan, almost a grain-like aspect to this with that and the vanilla with caramelised apples.
Taste: it’s pretty much all upfront here and in your face before leaving with a hint of black pepper and maple syrup. Before that sudden departure it’s honey glazed ribs and a mixed herb coating.
Overall: I like simple as that really. Would have been very interesting to follow the development of this over the next decade or so. A reasonably flavourful sherry cask whisky for under £40 and a thumbs up from me.
Craigellachie 15 year old
Colour: a vibrant caramel
Nose: mixed wine gums and red berries. Oh rum and raisin fudge a lovely combination. Crushed walnuts, dark chocolate shavings and toffee chews.
Taste: a very odd tasting one this. Lots of wood and a rather off-putting aftertaste that I’m trying to place. Bitterness to some degree. Plastercine or plasterboard? It’s a healthy sample so I’ll pour another… nah something isn’t right here mission control. Abort.
Overall: I didn’t see this bottle and with the technical slide problem, details are scant but it’s a real perplexing dram. Really engaging nose and well, all the character and effort has gone into the aroma, leaving an actual chassis that’s little more than framework.
Glenburgie 8 year old
distilled June 2008, bottled March 2016 from a refill hogshead
Colour: very colour here a faint apple juice
Nose: chewing gum somewhat then allspice. Plenty of vanilla almost Bird’s Eye Custard actually. A light brown sugar, black pepper and why am I thinking scones and cream?
Taste: tasty not in a layered character type of way but just a couple of mellow core flavours that work well. A little cinnamon and lemon sprinkled on a freshly done pancake.
Overall: delightful and revitalising it’s an 8 year old you can appreciate and £33 it’s a winner all round.
distilled October 2005, bottled February 2016, cask #11030 and 445 bottles
cask #11071, distilled March 2007 and bottled March 2016
Whilst this tasting lacked aged expressions it did show the staple variables of the Provenance range. There were lows yes, but a couple of bottles I would consider purchasing at the prices currently being asked. After this interesting experience our group headed to Glen Moray and their annual barbecue event.