If you partake in the celebration of Christmas, then no doubt at some point, you have overindulged. I am certainly guilty of that! More than once, I have sat nursing my food baby and complaining of how ill I feel from stuffing my face. Inevitably, though, I’d be up for seconds, thirds and fourths! It is but the tradition! Coming into 2020, I have decided to detox, like so many other like-minded folk commit to do with their resolutions. New Year, new you right?! Since the tail end of 2019, I haven’t actually drunk too many whiskies, apart from some tastings in November where I may have had one too many. Like my food, I have taken too big a share of whisky enjoyment, and I believe it is time to let my organs repair! My body is a temple… my body is a temple!
I am pretty sure some of you have received a “whisky-themed” present or two, if not simply a bottle of the fine stuff for Christmas. I was given some whisky-flavoured fudge, and I thought how fitting it was for today’s review. However, I come to this task with some trepidation. Even though the present is a thoughtful gift, I am honestly not a huge fan of alcohol-flavoured confectionary or things that are generally super sweet. Oh dear!
I am willing to give it a wee bash, though, as we continue our week of looking at lower alcohol alternatives rather than the usual spirits. Today I have a selection of four fudges to review. These are handmade in Scotland and contain some Scottish single malts; one even won a “Great Taste Award” back in 2014. A gift pack from the Ochil Fudge Pantry, it is presented in a nicely-coloured box which I love. Carefully nestled inside are packs of decadent, soft, gooey richness of which I will gladly enjoy some bites The good thing about highly-sugared sweets (and whisky, for that matter) is that they can be stored away and enjoyed in small quantities over a long time. Quality over quantity is the way forward, good for the palate, and for the waistline! With that, let’s continue with my unorthodox MALT review.
Tobermory Malt Whisky Fudge, 2% – Review
On the nose: immediately sweet (no surprises there) with caramel and butterscotch. The butteriness that comes through turns almost to a milky cheesiness Imagine taking a piece of stale cheddar and giving it a quick whiff!
In the mouth: sweet with a fruitiness not unlike an artificial orange aroma. The mouthfeel is thick and cloying, yet the fudge is very smooth. Buttery tasting with a hint of perfume, like walking past the fragrance section of a department store. The finish is medium; dries the mouth out after a while. The aftertaste and feel are similar to finishing a glass of milk or a piece of cheddar cheese.
Deanston 12-Year-Old Malt Whisky Fudge, 2% – Review
On the nose: again, sweet with caramel and butterscotch. There is a sweet vegetal element that reminds me of carrot peelings with a subtle earthiness.
In the mouth: the mouthfeel is very creamy and buttery, and sweet with a salty tang that cuts through the sugariness and thins it out so it is not as claggy. Very smooth and milky. The finish is not too thick or creamy, with a nice lingering sweetness and a subtle saltiness that stays in the mouth for a while.
Bunnahabhain Malt Whisky Fudge, 3% – Review
On the nose: immediately a smoky citrus hit that becomes creamy and buttery with a slight hint of cheesiness.
In the mouth: initially, before the sweetness kicks in, I get a saltiness on the tip of my tongue. It is both creamy and buttery with a hint of orange. The mouthfeel is very smooth. The tiniest hint of perfume comes through, and it’s the first moment that I have detected a bit of alcohol. The finish is sweet and smooth with a thick and claggy feel as it spreads. Becomes slightly drying.
Ledaig Malt Whisky Fudge, 2% – Review
Colour: definitely fudge.
On the nose: big hit of medicinal smoke. Think tarry and smoked seashore aromas. I get an almost oily, salty tang full of smoked fish.
In the mouth: like the nose, it is very smoky, and the mouthfeel is quite thick and phlegmy. The teeniest hints of salt emerge, and this one seems sweeter than the rest. Buttery and creamy as you would expect. The finish is smoke lingers with a seaside aroma. It lasts fairly long as it stays on the back of the throat.
As you can see, my given scores are pretty average. In order of preference, I would put Deanston as my favourite, and then Bunnahabhain, Ledaig and finally, the Tobermory. The Tobermory has that perfume hit that I found quite sickly, to be honest. The perfume also made an appearance in the Bunnahabhain, but it was subtle and mixed in with the gentle smoke and salt that they complemented each other. As stated in my tasting notes, it was the only one in which I actually detected alcohol, but with 3% compared to the others at 2%, this makes sense; it doesn’t sound like much, but it’s 50% more! As for the Ledaig, that was pretty smoky. It was quite nice: definitely not my favourite, but one recommended for peat lovers.
Finally, to my personal choice: the Deanston with the illustrious award on its CV. It was enjoyable, and alongside a big mug of tea, I could easily enjoy a few slivers. This is a great wee gift for people who are whisky fans with a sweet tooth. I am just particularly fussy; otherwise, the scores would no doubt have been higher. As for the product itself, the fudges are of high quality. I have had a lot of sub-standard ones that are hard and crumbly, wherein you can feel the sugar crystals, but these were soft and creamy with dreamy textures. This was a fun review, and I don’t feel too bad for overindulging, as I had only a little slice or two from each. If you’re looking to have a wee break from whisky but not remove it completely, I suggest having a fun time doing something like this with family and friends. Happy New Year, folks!
Photographs kindly provided by Ochil Fudge.