We are pleased to feature a guest blog posting today from Angus at Peatreek.
You can read more about Angus at the end of the review.
Fire is a word that excites, it is a phenomenon that entices and it gives men the world over a huge feeling of power and intoxication (and I think secretly, most women too).
I would love to have witnessed when man first discovered fire. Perhaps a tree was ignited by a lightning strike, or maybe the heat of the summer created a bush fire?
Whatever it was, the image of the faces of the people watching must have been a picture: Fear and confusion leading to a manic glee bordering on drunken elation.
In my head they danced around the fire roasting mammoth meat and occasionally you would hear the yelp of an overly curious caveman putting his hand into the flame.
This response to fire has never changed, when sat at a dinner table and no one is looking I still pass my finger through the candle with just enough speed so as not to burn myself.
As a kid, blowing craters in cowpats with firecrackers stemmed from an obsession with the destructive force of fire. Then as a teenager camping with friends the highlight of the evening, even better than the copious amount of Stella we had garnered, was the thrill of starting a fire, usually with the help of a deodorant flame thrower that would later explode.
Arson aside, fire also brings us back to a sense of safety and warmth, where once a fire frightened off the wolves it now is a thing of familiarity. There is nothing like being inside a country pub as the rain lashes the windows, sat next to the fire with a pint of dark ale and a dog sat on your feet.
Fire is a kindred spirit with human beings, but best of all fire creates smoke and you can probably see where I am going with this.
I love smoky whiskies; I remember just sniffing the Smokehead for the first time and feeling instantly satisfied. I like that smoke can infuse itself in malt and even after distillation it is still a component part of a peated whisky.
The smell of smoke brings me straight back to thoughts of fire and warmth, of camping and companionship. For me, a good whisky requires just a whiff of smoke (peaty or not) to give it structure.
I think it is for this reason that I have struggled with Speyside in the past; it took a Strathisla with a hint of smoke to show me Speyside’s potential years back, so I have long been searching for another Speyside with this quality again.
Even though I am now much more appreciative of the region’s malts when I find one with a smoky quality, I can’t help but get excited.
Here is my latest find:
60.4% – 15 Years Old – Bottled by A.D. Rattray
Nose: Absolutely intriguing, fudge swaggers in first holding a bouquet of flowers before charcoal pirouettes in. This whisky has a smokiness like no other, not at all peaty but reminiscent of a barbeque on a summer’s evening.
Palate: Burnt toast presents itself with buttery popcorn and a touch of vanilla until once again that charcoal muscles in, giving this Speyside something to think about.
Finish: Fruity with a slight smoky quality, a calmer finish to an alcoholic single cask whisky.
Overall: What can I say? Speyside is a region that has to work to impress me and this Caperdonich has. It is that charcoal character that gives this dram the backbone it needs.
Furthermore, that smokiness is somewhat surprising and made me raise my eyebrows. I will certainly be searching for other Caperdonichs to try in the future. Top marks!
You can buy a selection of Caperdonich Malt Whiskies here.
About The Guest Blogger
Angus is a Whisky blogger based in London who runs the website Peatreek.
He is forever in search of newer and more interesting whiskies and having worked as a Whisky & Cigar Sommelier at Boisdale of Belgravia he is well placed to provide good honest malt whisky reviews and insights.
He presently works in the whisky & wine retail sector and writes this blog in his spare time.