Friday, 7 February 2014

Tasting Note: 10 Year Old Rip Van Winkle

Last night I helped an ex colleague out by running a wine tasting for him (he was double booked, and doing another wine tasting upstairs in the Art Club). It was something of a boozy affair, with a welcome glass of fizz, eight wines, and a half-time Mezcal. My friend, having finished his tasting and returned, decided that the best way to encourage the punters to leave was by mixing up G&Ts and playing darts with them. Once we had seen them off the premises we tidied up a little and sat down to a few drams.

I offer this preamble as some sort of excuse for the rather vague tasting note which follows, but also to remind myself that the best way to enjoy whisk(e)y is in good company.

Old Rip Van Winkle 10 Year Old  (53.5%)

The nose is an attractive mix of spicy oak wood and what seems like rye to me (I know, I know, wheated bourbon. Nevertheless, I feel obliged to report my perception). It's also much more fresh and lifted than most distillates (as if it were a wine) and there's even a minty note. Over time it seems to develop a nutty aspect (I wonder if that's down to the wheat?).

The palate is soft and round, but also somehow alkaline. Perhaps that's because it's my first whisky after a selection of wines (or, I guess I could blame the Mezcal).

The flavours match the nose nicely. There's spicy rye, and it's  soft, woody, and very easy to drink. There are lots of American white oak notes like coconut, and a lovely mild spice in the finish.

I'm not usually all that enthusiastic about American whiskeys, since I usually find them too sweet and oak dominated. But this I enjoyed - as I said already, the best way to enjoy whisk(e)y is in good company. It was a great night.

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