I don’t generally drink any whiskies from the Edrington group. At some point in the last 5 years they have pivoted away from people like me. People who worry about buyers remorse, about value and ultimately about flavour.
This doesn’t mean Edrington distilleries don’t produce good whisky or use good ingredients or casks. It is just they have a particular market segment they are specialising in that I don’t tend to have much interest in.
The ultra premium segment is where we talk less about the whisky in and of itself but rather the overall product because owning the item is the ultimate destination not the glass for most of these consumers. When you buy a 30 year old Highland Park or limited edition Macallan it’s about saying I have made it to the world or completing a collection on a bookcase in a room somewhere in your house to show how amazing you are and getting the buzz entirely having the bottle and not from the alcohol in your system. Like dinky toys or star wars figures to open the packet is to destroy the value. Who would want to do that?
I sound like I don’t understand these people but I do because ultimately I am built the same. I always want to have a full set and consistently struggle with the Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO). In the past I would struggle to not buy every single cask Highland Park or some unusual cask finish or whatever else the twitter influencers (monsters) would make me want so so badly.
However, times have changed because in a bid to fund the new Macallan distillery there is just too many releases and too many cynical marketing campaigns that the spell has now been broken. When I see a once in a generation Macallan release I just think nah this is a mugs game. Sure some people might be flipping bottles and making a nice little profit but like casino’s it’s the house that always wins.
Which is why I am looking at a limited edition whisky with a marketing story, an unusual finishing cask and all from Highland Park of course.
This is another monthly sample from Whisky-Me which I still pay for and still enjoy.
The 16 year old whisky is a combination of casks from first fill bourbon barrels and spanish Rioja wine casks. This is less finishing whisky and more composition which I am much more a fan of. Of course there is a story on the Twisted Tattoo name which is based on damn Vikings again.
So this time we are bringing up the legend of Midgard Serpent for whom the story goes that it got itself twisted around the world and bit its own tail. The silly sausage! The tattoo design on the bottle was designed by Colin Dale.
The whole package of bottle, story and whisky is yours for under £70 which actually I can’t really grumble about. The 18 year old Jura is a similar price and we have to hope this is better than that.
Colour – golden with just the mere hint of a rose hue
Nose – chemically bonfired like a firelighter stick with red chilli’s but actually quite a tight and restrained nose.
Palate – the texture is really good and thick top marks for that. Things get off to poorer start with actual flavours though. There is this weird fight going on between heather smoke and tart fruit. Both are quite subtle and feel like they are mistakes rather than intentional flavours
Finish – long finish of tannins wood sugar and more of the subtle after thought smoke
There is good points to this and indeed I do prefer it to the Jura. There are however problems with the red wine cask and the smoky spirit. They just don’t seem to want to marry and get along which meant I found it jarring between the couple of flavours I could pick out. I think this has to be one to avoid and since there seems to be a lot of stock still available I guess I can’t be the only one to think that.