Have you ever had an experience so good or profound that it made you wish you could willingly forget about it, just so you can relive the experience again and again?
Repeating those certain experiences just doesn’t give the same feeling. A personal example of this was watching the first installment of Robert Downey Jr’s. Iron Man in 2008. I’ll admit that it’s not one of the best movies of all time. The script is typical of a superhero movie, but the presentation was mind blowing. To say the movie was cool is a severe understatement. Showing us how Tony developed the suit, how he suited up, how he interacted with and saw through the suit and the suit’s combat capabilities had me reacting like that Vince McMahon falling-out of-his-chair gif throughout most of the film. While the movie was just a sign of things to come, the sequels didn’t give the same wow factor.
The most recent whisk(e)y equivalent of this for me was trying Loch Lomond’s Inchmurrin 12. I won’t be focusing on the distillery as Graham has already done a great job of discussing Loch Lomond in, also, an Inchmurrin review.
For a brief background: the Inchmurrin 12 is one of the three single malt brands coming from the Loch Lomond Distillery. It’s an unpeated single malt that’s distilled in their straight neck pot stills, the other two being the semi-peated Loch Lomond (a blend of unpeated distillates from the traditional pot stills, peated and unpeated straight neck still distillates) and their heavily peated Inchmoan (a blend of highly peated distillates from both the traditional pot still and straight neck still).
Doesn’t this make you think of Springbank? Inchmurrin being unpeated is the equivalent of Hazelburn. Loch Lomond, being semi-peated, is the equivalent of Springbank. Inchmoan, being heavily peated, is the equivalent of Longrow. But, Loch Lomond distillery is more versatile, having more varieties of stills including the column stills for single grain production. For me, Springbank gets more attention because of it’s the face of Campbeltown, plus small production and being an old distillery adds a romantic factor.
I can still remember the moment I first tried an Inchmurrin 12. At that time, I didn’t know anything about Loch Lomond. I can’t even remember what led me to be curious about Loch Lomond’s products. It may have just been me trying out unfamiliar brands “blind”. The moment I smelled the whisky in my glass, my eyes went wide. There were so many dark fruit aromas. It made me think there was some ex-wine cask influence in it. Being sensitive to sulfur that comes from most ex-wine cask matured spirits, I was surprised that I couldn’t smell any sulfur from this. After some Googling, I found out that it’s a blend of 80% refill ex-bourbon and 20% first-fill ex-bourbon casks.
Inchmurrin 12 – Review
On the nose: This is a fruit bomb. I get medium-intense aromas of blackberry jam, orange marmalade, peppermint, concentrated cherry juice, dried apricot, canned peaches, blueberry jam and burnt caramel at the end. In between are flashes of banana-flavored candy, dehydrated lemon peels, ginger candy, honey and Granny Smith apples.
In the mouth: It’s still a fruit bomb but is less tart and more peppery. I get medium-intense tastes of caramel, vanilla, honey, orange marmalade, caramelized orange peel, DoubleMint chewing gum, blackberries, cherry jam, milk-chocolate, blueberry syrup, dried apricots, canned peaches and Granny Smith apples at the end. In between are light creamed corn, assortment of berry skins with some pulp, more caramelized orange peel and mocha.
Similar to what I said regarding the Iron Man movie, the Inchmurrin 12 isn’t close to being the best single malt… but if you’re looking for something new, then this is for you. Just like how Iron Man was a breath of fresh air for the comic book superhero industry, Inchmurrin will breathe a new style of single malt into you. There’s a strong chance that tasting this will make you forget about trying different single malts that come from traditional pot stills and are then aged or finished in ex-wine casks for a while.
Brands love to talk about innovation. While this isn’t new anymore, and I don’t know the history of this still to call this innovative, who else in Scotland uses this still? I feel like the straight neck pot still is a kind of innovation or rare equipment that has not gotten the attention it deserves due to the dominance of barrel talk and the lack of understanding of how stills work.
A steal of an every-level single malt. This variety of “being different” might be the idea of a big brand’s limited edition release… but most fail at it, and they’re going to fail as long as they rely on half-assed cask finishes that just keep getting recycled. To have this as an entry-level expression at this price is just amazing. Quality-wise, this would get a 7, but the price and availability gives this a plus one.