Hey Pandas, its time for another review (or maybe just an excuse to have a drink). And today we’ve got ourselves a bottle suspiciously titled “Distilled in Sutherland”, 2000 vintage, from the Thompson Bros.
The Thompson Bros are…well, brothers, which goes without saying, but they also bottle really good whiskies for a fairly reasonable price. They’ve managed to get their hands on some pretty good casks which they regularly slap on with a nicely drawn label. Very neat! A sucker for nice labels as you can tell. But we assure you from some of the bottles we’ve tried, the liquid is definitely the star. They’ve got a bar at Dornoch Castle over in Scotland and are due to release their very own whisky soon (whisky has to be aged for 3 years before bottling in Scotland), but till then they’ve come up with independently bottled whisky, rum, gin, blends, you name it.
So here, we’ve put on our stereotypical straw hats and have done the thinking… ‘cos Asian, and we have identified this to be a Clynelish. The cat and Sutherland were pretty big giveaways (given the age probably not a Brora eh?). Right so let’s get our paws down and dive in.
On the eyes, very much like sunflower oil, a slightly richer amber. Very clear, no hints of leftover barley (which is responsible for shimmery flecks you sometimes see. No it’s not dirt, you goof.).
On the nose, you get an initial whiff of gasoline but very light, the characteristic Clynelish oiliness is there as well, so not too far off from what you should be expecting from the cat. You get some earthiness and very slight smokiness. Rounds off with some dried black teas leaves, that deeper Oolong scent hints at the age. It actually is mildly floral, almost like Chrysanthemum or Osmanthus, with a touch of green apple peels. It is quite gentle on the nose, very structured, very harmonious, nothing sharp that pricks the nose like wasabi.
On the palate, good density and weight, it is smooth and oily, and you can feel its age in that it doesn’t break apart and its very rounded (longer ageing tends to help dampen any sharpness and makes for a more unified whisky). Very very earthy and oily, with some smokiness that forms a very good base. Smoked nuts (almonds, walnuts) and this buttery texture, that goes towards truffle umami.. Recedes into a sweeter side with candied fruits, almost like tangerine peels (the kind you get at Chinese medicine halls), the earthiness of Shiitake mushrooms cooked in butter, smoked ham even. It certainly has that woodiness that just gives it such a great mouthfeel and texture that makes it seem so complex and full. A touch of peppery-ness like white pepper and ginger candy.
The finish, a good length, medium to long, and that waxy coat does linger. The finish is very much texture than it is taste, but you do still continue to have that earthy nuttiness. Very much distillate-driven and the cask takes a backseat here.
All in, a great bottle, as to be expected from the Thompson Brothers, it is very rich and has a lot of depth. It is a good density and is very full on the palate and very structured at that, something you get with the age. You’ll like this if you like black tea (Oolong), Osmanthus or Chrysanthemum, earthy notes like mushrooms basted in butter, ginger sweets or smoked nuts and charcuterie cold cuts. This would pair well with some seafood.
😸 😸 😸
Good whisky makes for happy cats.
Bottomline, very good structure, very earthy and nutty, a good solid bottle that will definitely anchor your flight.