As the collective gold, silver and bronze accolades have been duly divided up across the globe, it is once again time to turn our attention to what makes this site tick - the sweet taste of liquid gold, which kicks our sorry summer laziness into touch and reminds us about what is probably the greatest business to be involved with- the business of F.U.N.... (and whisky)
Last year, Caskstrength decided to do something a little unusual for a whisky website - we decided that whilst writing about superbly well-crafted drams was of course a brilliant way to earn a living, it is ever so slightly scary, yet exciting to actually put our money where our mouse is, pop to a distillery, open the doors of a warehouse and to liberate a particular cask that we felt was exceptional.
Our inaugural release started as we mean to go on - A for Arran yielded a spritely 94 bottles and the follow up release is now upon us. After spending a little time scratching our collective head about the type of whisky we wanted to release next, we chanced upon a cask from the BenRiach distillery, which exceeded our expectations in every way.
Cask 5614 was distilled in 1996 and initially filled into a bourbon hogshead. However in 2008, the decision was made to re-rack the whisky into a rather succulent, spicy Pedro Ximinez sherry cask for the four remaining years of its maturation.
The resulting whisky is something we're very proud to put our name to. It retains a fresh fruity note, which a super spicy backdrop of classic PX richness. Both Joel and myself knew we'd found what we were looking for after the first dram and in no time at all it was bottled, the cask yielding 296 bottles in total, with an abv of 55.2%.
As with the Arran, our great friends at Master Of Malt are the exclusive retailers for this single cask offering - Caskstrength And Carry On BenRiach. It is priced at £54.95 and another exciting piece of news is that the first 50 bottles come complete with a rather fetching premium cotton shopping bag, bearing the Caskstrength and Carry On logo in gloriously 70's flock print! What more could you want from a whisky release!!
Joel and I initially struggled to come up with a combined tasting note. So we turned our phones off, poured two large glasses and got stuck in with a blank page and two pens. Minutes turned to hours, ties were removed, voiced were raised and a scene resembling Peter Griffin and the giant chicken was narrowly avoided by the stroke of midnight, when we finally pooled together our collective thoughts.
We're not in the business of the hard sell, so we'll leave it up to you to decide whether you like the sound of it, but needless to say, if you like your whisky fresh, vibrant and with a bold backbone of spiciness, we think you'll like this one.
Caskstrength & Carry On - BenRiach - Single cask bottling - Cask no: 5614 - Distilled 1996 - Filled July 2012 - 55.2%
Nose: An initial freshness of sliced apples, ripe pears and bananas, dusted in cinnamon, dark chocolate and a touch of clove. given a dash of water, some bold, sweet citrus notes (caramelised blood orange) come to the fore, with more dark chocolate and warming spice.
Palate: The spiciness is carried over onto the palate, with a robust cinnamon mocha/dark chocolate fondant note, some fresh mint, dark tobacco leaf, a touch of ripe plum, all dusted with a little white pepper. Water broadens the sweetness, bringing more of the ripe orchard fruit and woody spice.
Finish: You've probably guessed it, but those spices are determined to linger around and the dark chocolate notes, caramel and cinnamon all coat the palate, giving the finish a very warming conclusion.
If this sounds like your kind of dram, you can dive onto the following link from midnight tonight (that's the 20th August to avoid any doubt) and grab a bottle from Master Of Malt. If you do, we hope you like it as much as we do.
Neil & Joel