Over the past year I have had great pleasure in taking part in a few live tastings on Twitter that have been organised by Steve from the Whisky Wire.. Steve is an online whisky writer and consultant who organises these tastings on a regular basis then runs them on the night giving us all the details about each whisky, I am sure this is rather time consuming and we all appreciate the effort this guy puts into these tastings in order for us to enjoy the evening.. The most recent tasting ( 5-10-16 ) was with ” The Exceptional ” range from Sutcliffe and son.. The range included a grain, malt and blend but little did I realise just what was exactly inside and just how good these malts were going to be !! These expressions are released in batches and incorporate some exceptionally fine malts and grains that are available.. The malts used include distilleries such as Glenfarclas, Glenfiddich, Balvenie, Ben Nevis and Macallan to name just a few and grain distilleries such as North British, Loch Lomond, Strathclyde, Cameronbridge and Caresebridge.. The malts and grains are then married together and finished in First fill Oloroso casks before bottling..
On the night we sampled the 3rd edition of the grain whisky, the 2nd edition of the malt whisky and the first release for the blended whisky.. All samples were at 43% abv and I believe all natural colour with NCF..
My notes for the evening..
The Exceptional “Grain”
Nose.. Delicious sweetness but not overpowering, lots of vanilla, toffee, caramel with subtle orange, poached pear, honey and the slightest hint of aniseed/liquorice..
Palate.. Creamy and spicy at first then the sweetness takes it turn to shine, this just has all those flavours the nose suggested it would but nothing is dominating.. very well balanced and full of complexity..
Finish.. Delicate but delicious..
Next up was The Exceptional “Malt”
Nose.. Quite soft with subtle dried fruits, orange peel, peaches, vanilla pods, caramel, Manuka honey ( an earthy note) this is full of “sugar n spice n all things nice”
Palate.. mmmmm this is very good, the flavours just melt together, vanilla, toffee, caramel and butterscotch hit you like an explosion of deliciousness.. candied orange, chocolate and dark fruit remind you this has a little sherry influence and spices like cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg take this in another direction..
Finish.. candy floss meets spice.
Last up was The Exceptional ” Blend”
Nose.. Again quite delicate but so so wonderful.. lots of sweetness and spice. Vanilla, toffee and caramel all mix nicely with citrus notes, old cigar boxes, delicate oak..
Palate.. Again this just carries on from the nose, it delivers everything you expected in a marriage made in heaven.. full of complex flavours and aromas..
Finish.. Sweet with a delicate hint of smoke.
All 3 expressions on the night were “Exceptional” It really was hard to pick a winner, they all showed fantastic qualities and great balance.. These bottles all retail around the £85 mark but when you see the quality of malts used and actually taste them you appreciate what a great bargain they actually are..
“Exceptional by name, Exceptional by nature”
I would like to thank Steve from the whisky wire, The Exceptional malts, and Don from Sutcliffe and Son for allowing me to take part and sample these delights..