Blair Athol 11yo 59.1% ABV from The Sipping Shed.

blair athol 11yo sipping shed
the sipping shed

Distilled at Blair Athol distillery and matured for 11 years in a Refill  Sherry cask. A superb Single Malt Scotch Whisky, rich and satisfying in the mouth, a feast of dried fruits with touches of praline and candied orange peel – a classic gently sherried style. Complex, approachable and with depth of flavour beyond it’s years, this is a wonderful example of harmony between cask and spirit.

The Sipping Shed

Appearance

A very natural mid gold in colour, with a medium thick swirl line on my Copita, and thick swift legs. 

Nose

First impressions are of a fruit and wood forward nose, there’s plenty of aromatic wood here, being restrained by lychees, apricots, and icing sugar. As its developing I’m getting botanical aromas, and it’s almost Smokey, evergreen boughs become evident, and I’d say petrichor with the darker fruits I’d expect from a refill Sherry hogshead, but they are lighter here. 

Sitting with it for a while and the fruitiness starts to become more confectionery in style. Liquorice torpedo sweets are here, with cola cubes and lemon fruit jellies. Towards the end of this part of the palate and I’m getting cloves and dark chocolate.

With a small drop of water the nose becomes fruitier, and floral. Turkish delight rose jelly sweets and a hint of perfume come through too.

Palate

The mouthfeel is nice, not overly thick, and yes the spices are here in a flash, and that year in a refill Sherry Hogshead has had quite some influence. Those dark fruits that are quite light on the nose are a lot more prevalent on the palate. Mince pie or Christmas pudding fruits are  quite strong, and it warms the chest rather nicely, cinnamon pastries, apricot pastries too, plenty of vanilla and golden syrup throw themselves at me.

Perhaps a touch of toasted tea cakes, and definitely cigar leaves, and as the palate continues it’s leaning towards espresso coffee, with orange zest, and the spices continue to come. I’ll also say that @ 59.1% ABV it’s rather easy to drink, as someone whose tried a few whisk(e)ys, personally I don’t need to add water, but I might, and see what happens. 

A small amount of water also makes the palate fruitier for me, and it makes that feint smokiness I was getting a little stronger too.

Finish

The finish is long and spicy, mouth and chest warming still, and the flavours from the bulk of the palate continue on through to the end. 

My thoughts

Personally i found this quite a chameleon dram, from the initial aromas and flavours you end up in a very different place by the end, which i love. The exploration and not quite knowing what’s coming next keeps me excited, and reviewing to be honest.

The sherry cask influences take time to reveal themselves, a product of a refill cask i should think, and the build up is rather nice, and once arrived the dram stays spicy. This isn’t a one one trick pony though by any means, plenty of other aromas and flavours come through also, and they come together to create a super dram in my opinion, i’d 100% have one in my whisky cupboard.

I’m pretty sure iv’e tasted everything released by the Sipping Shed independent whisky bottlers, and as The Whiskey Chaps we will be tasting with them again quite soon, something we’re really looking forward to. There are a limited few of this bottle still available at @Topwhiskies, @GoodSpirits Co, and @Whisky Online.


A big thank you goes out to my whisky friend Mike – @whiskyrover on Twitter for the sample so i could finally taste this whisky, please do give Mike and us a follow on Twitter using the buttons below.

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