Hey Pandas, its time for another drink. Today we’ve got ourselves the Eden Mill 2019 Release, from Eden Mill Distillery of St Andrews in Fife- part of the Lowlands in Scotland.
Historically, the region of Fife in Scotland had a whisky industry for many centuries which all but disappeared. More recently, Fife saw a resurgence of its whisky industry with hip new distilleries opening since the mid 2000s, with the likes of Daftmill, Kingsbarns, Lindores Abbey and our subject for today’s discussion, Eden Mill.
Eden Mill distillery opened in 2012 and has been producing gin and whisky. However, they are so far better known for their gin for the simple reason that whisky is not an instant product and at least 3 years of patience is required to taste the fruits. Under Scottish regulations, pre-whiskies must be aged for at least 3 years in oak barrels before they can graduate and earn the title of being “scotch whisky”. Before I lull you to sleep with an exposition on Scottish history and Scottish law, we turn to our bottle of Eden Mill released in 2019 – one of the first batches of whisky produced by the distillery.
The pristine packaging that this bottle arrived in almost makes me feel bad opening it. The distillery collaborated with a local artist Hilke MacIntyre to design the art of the beautiful presentation box depicting the famous landmarks of the town of St Andrews. I initially thought this looked like the graffiti of Jean-Michel Basquiat, but I am no expert on Scottish contemporary art. The bottle is complete with a dimpled geometric texture that supplies a retro-inspired premium feel. I feel like I just won an award.
In the glass, the liquid is a nice amber-gold, a sign of considerable oloroso and PX cask influence for a younger whisky? The whisky somewhat clings to the sides of the nosing glass as I swirl the stuff, and appears quite dense and viscous.
On the nose, a delightful burst of flowers, berries and jam! Very forthcoming and rich notes of cherry, strawberry, orange and fresh apricot. The berries and jam really take centre stage, but I could pick up some bready notes in the background of vanilla, Marks & Spencer’s tea biscuits, honey and cinnamon spice. I could definitely pick up both the sherry and bourbon maturation, although the sherry is more dominant.
The first sip is sweet and rich with dark fruits, berries and jam recognizable from nosing. I get cherry, strawberry jam and orange marmalade, nicely warm with a little more heat than expected - the PX cask maturation clearly coming through. There is breadiness- vanilla, spice and even some smoke and burnt toast accompanying the dark fruits- but the dark fruits remain dominant. Some subtle oak and leathery notes now come through, although there are no overwhelming tannins, which are responsible for that dry puckering taste that some wines have (I am personally not a fan of too much tannins in my sherried whiskies). The dark fruits are nicely balanced with the breadiness and not too sweet. The texture is nicely smooth and somewhat waxy with medium density, which allows the flavours, heat and spice to coat your tongue and linger longer.
After adding a small amount of water, I take another sip. There is some more heat- some ginger spice- but the dark fruits recede slightly with now more earthy notes coming through- oak, chocolates and burnt incense.
The finish is medium length, with the jammy sweetness fading to a warming chocolatey character with pepper and spice.
The dominant dark fruits are sweet but not cloying or aggressive, and is nicely complimented by the bready and earthly flavours with a satisfyingly rich mouthfeel. There are no bold flavours that stick out, but there is substantially more complexity than expected from this NAS expression.
All in all, this is a very enjoyable bottle despite the young debuting distillery, and it makes me excited to see its future offerings. I shall be watching Eden Mill closely after trying their inaugural expression.
Have this with some brioche French toast with brown sugar and cranberry sauce. I also imagine you would like this if you would enjoy a ginger spice latte on a cold rainy day at a Starbucks.