A friend of mine on the whisky scene, Greg, runs the website Great Drams, which you should add to your whisky reading list. Greg started Great Drams at a similar time when I started Malt, so we’ve both been around a while. In internet longevity, given that many websites only hang around for a couple of years, we’re well into our retirement.
Recently, Greg suggested a blind whisky exchange, where I’d send him a mystery whisky from my cabinet, and he’d send something from his. That’s exactly what we’ve done! So Greg mailed over a small bottle containing a curious, dark sample. I had no idea what it was until I emailed him afterwards. The whisky turned out to be a very intriguing whisky from the independent bottler and wine merchant Berry Bros. & Rudd. It’s the Blue Hanger – 6th Release, which is an acclaimed and long-running blended malt. It was named after William Hanger, the third Lord Coleraine, and who was meant to wear a lot of blue clothes. The Blue Hanger – 6th Release is bottled at 45.6% ABV and costs about £65. I learned afterwards that it contained sherried Speyside malt with both unpeated and peated Islay whisky.
Blue Hanger – 6th Release Tasting Notes
On the nose: dirty, sweet and leathery and smoky notes – dirty but nice! Most unusual. All the flavours are very tightly bound together and take a while to open up. Dark fruits, blackberry, blackcurrants are masked slightly by an earthy, oily sulphur quality. Maritime notes hidden under there.
In the mouth: Big on toffee, treacle, smoke and tart redcurrants. Slightly ashy qualities mix with those tannic, tart qualities making it feel quite sharp and acidic. Then sherried style dried fruits: raisins, figs – certainly at the richer end. There’s an almost smokey chutney quality to it all. Reminds me of a weird and wonderful Bunnahabhain single cask that I had from the SMWS once, which was love or hate for some (I loved it). Not for the weak-kneed.
The Blue Hanger – 6th Release has stacks character and I like it a lot. It’s brilliant, in fact. Tasted blind it actually tasted very little like a blended whisky, which tend to lean towards a balanced, polished dram. This was aggressive and fun, the sort of thing an in-house skunkworks blending team might come up with (if such a team existed).
Thanks to Greg for sending that one through. Now why not pay him a visit at Great Drams and say hello from me.