We are living through crazy, historical and life-changing times right now. Countrywide lockdowns have confined us all indoors with industries and economies coming literally to a standstill.
For whisky, we’ve seen distilleries shut their doors to visitors. Some closing completely and others engaged in creating their own hand sanitisers to help the local community effort. We’ve all rallied together in one way or another. Supporting local businesses; ordering when we can. Fund efforts for those affected by business closures and redundancy. Drives to raise money for bartenders and auctions to provide some needed cash flow. The whisky community has pulled together and we’ve all done our bit – even if it just means ordering a bottle for your favourite retailer.
This is a small beacon of good news and behaviour amongst a sea of darkness. We’ve also embraced technology in rapid fashion. Using Zoom and other social media platforms to keep in touch with friends, family or just broadcasting to the wider community. Brand Ambassadors have been confined to their most unnatural habitat i.e. home. Jumping online to keep in touch, taking advantage of opportunities of a captive audience and sending out tasting packs. As uncomfortable as these past few weeks have been, many have been proactive and worked within the rules that we must all follow for our own and others safety.
In the spirit of supporting local or smaller businesses, Mark and I discussed a return to Chorlton Whisky thanks to our Patreon supporters. We originally interviewed David of Chorlton fame back in April 2019 and the bottler has gone from strength to strength since. A great deal of water has passed underneath the bridge and the variety of releases from this independent label have continued to win new fans.
With any purchases to review here, we discuss the options. And recently we’ve started to involve our Patreons in this as well and vote for a monthly winner. This time around, I picked out the recent Teaninich release as I do think this Alness distillery deserves more plaudits and spotlight. The added twist for this release is that it has matured in a peated cask. I’ve never had a peated Teaninich and given its historical legacy, it would have had a peat influence in a bygone generation. David has been unable to confirm the distillery that previously had the cask, so we can speculate when it comes to tasting whether it is one from the Diageo stable such as Lagavulin, or a competitor.
Mark threw a spanner in the works by picking out a Tomintoul, which has been available for several months, but is often overlooked. This is the way of Tomintoul. Quite often it can deliver a satisfying and well-priced whisky. Yet it fails to grab public attention and move us greatly. The fact that it is a sherry cask and a name we don’t see too often at Malt, no doubt swayed his selection.
A clutch of interesting releases, which again makes me question the validity of my SMWS membership. After all, why pay for an opportunity to buy, or ballot, when indies such as Chorlton are doing such good work and their ranks are about to be swelled with the arrival of Watt Whisky. Money is tight and it is a competitive market, so those with a knack for sourcing good casks and retailing these for a fair price, will be onto a winner.
Chorlton Whisky 11 year old Teaninich – review
The hogshead produced 187 bottles at 57.5% and this was available for £60 each.
On the nose: A light peat greets us, still some Teaninich nuttiness popping through alongside caramel vanilla, fresh pinewood, tea leaves, pears, almonds and lime juice. Not a huge or complex nose, but solid stuff. Water unlocks white grapes, custard creams, coconut and a little smoke.
In the mouth: Very creamy and nutty. Not so much peat now until the finish where it lingers in a pleasing solo routine. Prior to this, there’s oiliness, apples, sawdust, shortbread, white chocolate and Rich Tea biscuits. Water takes away some of the edge leaving the fruits, peat and oils to prosper.
Chorlton Whisky 14 year old Tomintoul- review
This sherry butt produced 455 bottles at 57.6% and they are available for £60 each.
Colour: a light honey.
On the nose: beeswax, varnish, leather, fruit loaf and ginger. Digestive biscuits, boiled ham, pencil shavings and a pleasing malty aspect. There’s honeycomb, chocolate, fennel and sage? Water is beneficial. This unlocks more fruit with apples, pear drops, orange peel and a buttery nature.
In the mouth: chocolate gingers, dried fruits, woody, blackcurrant and cranberry. Some prunes, a little rubber and leathery quality. Pleasing enough without showboating. Dropping some water into the mix unlocks tobacco and a bite of alcohol – more time removes this barrier – leaving a pleasant sipper
I enjoyed the Tomintoul for what it was. Priced to sell and drink. A solid sherry cask and easy drinking whisky without too many thrills or pitfalls. If you’re looking for a leisurely sherried whisky that won’t cost the earth, then, I’ll point you in its direction.
The Teaninich is an oddity, but in a similar fashion is very drinkable. Again, not a whisky that would rock my world in any form. As a consumer, I’m happy enough with the trip and price of admission. Its also proof that a peated Teaninch can work and here’s hoping for more in the future.
Overall, a solid bunch of cask selections from Chorlton. Both offering value and experiences that should satisfy.