Google Fettercairn to the very max for Halloween

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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

October 31, 2019


Fettercairn to the very max for Halloween
(Don’t try this at home)

Today we’ll try to have as many Fettercairns as we can, just for the cause. That deserves at least 100 likes on Facebook and 50 retweets on Twitter, don’t you think? And if I die, well, the keys are under the carpet. And we’ll kick this madness off with the lightest of them all, which happen to be the very old ones. Isn't it amazing how life works out? Now let's remember some Fettercairn can also be brilliant!

Fettercairn 40 yo 1977/2018 (48.9%, OB, 818 bottles)

Fettercairn 40 yo 1977/2018 (48.9%, OB, 818 bottles) Five stars
We’ve had an official 40 yo exactly ten years ago, and liked it a lot (WF 89). This newer baby has been finished in palo cortado from long-time Whyte & Mackay partners Gonzalez Byass. So, we expect mustard and nuts. Colour: full gold. Nose: it’s still got this slightly sour doughy side that’s very Fettercairn, some very obvious notes of ham, some old walnuts indeed, some mustard sauce as well, and this pretty game-y side, perhaps grouse, perhaps pheasant. Old woods in an old house, especially pines and firs. Any resinous wood. Mouth: works almost to perfection, unless you cannot stand any wood in your spirit. Wonderful walnuts and baked pecans, then indeed this fantastic sweet mustard, akin to those cassis-flavoured ones they have in Burgundy. They put cassis into just anything in Burgundy, did you know that? Gets then pretty leathery, with some tobacco as well, and a growing bitterness that would never reach the limits. Finish: medium, resinous, mustardy, and with a good glass of walnut wine. Comments: no one makes Fettercairn better than Fettercairn. I know, we’re stating the obvious, but it is a very different and pretty adventurous whisky that’s just a worthy part of the whisky landscape. We need Fettercairn!
SGP:362 - 90 points.

Fettercairn 50 yo 1966/2017 (47.9%, OB, cask #1)

Fettercairn 50 yo 1966/2017 (47.9%, OB, cask #1) Four stars and a half
They’ve finished this old glory in a Tawny Port cask. Imagine, a humble tawny! The price is a little high (err, 20,000€) but we’ll use our new motto again, at this price, better Fettercairn than Don Papa! Makes sense, does it not? Colour: full amber. Nose: very old rhum agricole? Very old Ténarèze? In truth we’ve left whisky territories here, and reached the land of all very old aged spirits, where they all converge. Old rancio, praline, toffee, coffee liqueur, prunes, a little tarry smoke, that black fermented plum sauce they serve with Peking Duck, walnut stain, crude cocoa, cigars, resinous woods, old balsamic vinegar, roasted chestnuts… Indeed, quite a whirlwind, you could spend hours and hours nosing this, while watching all the episodes of La casa del papel. Spanish casks and Spanish series, isn’t that coherent? Mouth: phew, to tell you the truth, I had feared this would be plain oak juice. Well, there is some oak juice, and indeed we’re wandering along the borders of ueber-oakiness, but some bitter oranges are keeping it on the right side. Well, more or less. It’s tight. Finish: medium, tea-ish. Tobacco and very black black tea. Comments: let’s be honest, the nose was otherworldly, but the palate’s a little too oaky. For me, at least. But it’s one of the greatest noses I’ve stumbled upon this year, serious.
SGP:371 - 88 points.

Good, to be honest, we’ve just had the ones we really wanted to try, and all the rest will be purely for decoration purposes. More or less… Oh and why not do this retroactively?

Fettercairn 35 yo 1978/2017 (53.5%, Ukrainian Whisky Connoisseurs Club Choice, 336 bottles)

Fettercairn 35 yo 1978/2017 (53.5%, Ukrainian Whisky Connoisseurs Club Choice, 336 bottles) Five stars
They have an extremely active whisky scene in Ukraine. Don’t worry if the numbers don’t add up, as with Scotch whisky, the stated age is just a minimal age. Indeed, this is almost 40. Colour: full gold. Nose: so very Fettercairn! More walnuts than in a walnut tree forest, more crème de marrons than in Ardèche, and more chestnut honey than in a hive that’s located in the middle of the aforementioned forest. Wonderful. With water: more sour old woods and walnuts, as well as Cuban cigars. Mouth (neat): holy featherless crow, this one would talk! Fantastic jams, honeys (chestnut honey is on eleven here), and a whole crate of raisin buns straight from the baker’s oven. Rather less whacky than other Fettercairns, although I would not say it’s not characteristic. With water: someone must have thrown a few kilos of chestnut honey into this cask, seriously. Do they have chestnut honey in Ukraine? I’m sure they have! Finish: medium, rounded, rather on cappuccino, and always with that honey I’ll stop mentioning from now on. Marmalade in the aftertaste – classic. Comments: it's a rich yet gentler and rounder old Fettercairn, rather leatherless and mustardless. But quality’s extremely high, while it would even remind me of some old Macallans. Stunning old whisky.
SGP:561 - 91 points.

We’ve actually got an avalanche of young Fettercairns by Cadenhead, which we’ll all have today, but perhaps one or two softer ones first?

Fettercairn 12 yo (40%, OB, +/-2019)

Fettercairn 12 yo (40%, OB, +/-2019) Two stars and a half
I know life will be difficult for this little baby, in this tough context… Now the rather art-déco bottle is pretty lovely, is it not? Colour: gold. Nose: yeah, paraffin, cardboard, plasticine, overripe apples, marzipan, and a little baker’s yeast. Mouth: mustard and walnuts, plus bitter cordials and artichoke liqueur. Bitter oranges. A sour background as well, but it’s pretty civilized altogether, while older expressions had been, say ‘wilder’ (you know, baby vomit and gym socks). Finish: medium, dry, rather on walnuts yet again, plus orange zests. Comments: I used to have the 12 at WF 70, but things have improved bigly, as someone in D.C. would say.
SGP:461 - 78 points.

Fettercairn 12 yo 2006/2019 (57.4%, North Star Spirits, bourbon hogshead, 180 bottles)

Fettercairn 12 yo 2006/2019 (57.4%, North Star Spirits, bourbon hogshead, 180 bottles) Three stars
Colour: straw. Nose: Fettercairn can be a little LOL, and indeed this is a little LOL. Fresh concrete, old aluminium pan, brake pads, new magazine, electronics, and bitter chocolate. It’s not challenging, but… With water: mustard sauce and cinchona! Mouth (neat): eau-de-vie and walnut wine, raw kirsch, iron, bitter oranges, Campari, gin… With water: rather sweeter, and more on marmalade, as well as cranberry juice. That’s funny too, how it lost a large part of its challenging mustardy side after reduction. Finish: rather long, bone dry when neat, and fruitier, almost easy when watered-down. Comments: don’t bother, add water straight away to this intriguing, pretty belligerent malt whisky.
SGP:561 - 81 points.

And now the utter fighters, the Navy Seals of whisky if you wish, from the lightest (so to speak) to the strongest…

Fettercairn 29 yo 1988/2018 (54.9%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, hogshead, 252 bottles)

Fettercairn 29 yo 1988/2018 (54.9%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, hogshead, 252 bottles) Three stars and a half
Colour: gold. Nose: butter cream, ink, ashes, walnuts, aspirin tablets, and loads of bread dough, leaven, and just beer. Extreme stuff for sure. With water: vase water and damp magazines in the dustbin. Dough and cheeses. Not for beginners for sure, even experienced and immodest tasters such as this will be finding this Fettercairn a little challenging. Mouth (neat): it’s funny how, with Fettercairn, noses and palates can diverge vastly. That’s more or less the case here, even if there is a sour, doughy side for sure. The rest is cleaner, less fermentary, and more on oranges and nuts. Citrons and white pepper. With water: ah, that worked, this is a nice cordial, with bitter oranges, quinquina, tonic wine, and even a little Buckfast wine. Finish: long, more peppery and chalky. Dry. Comments: by no means you could score these ones with certainty and a free mind. Abracadabra…
SGP:361 - 84 points.

Fettercairn 10 yo 2008/2019 (56.6%, Cadenhead, Wine Cask, Pinot Noir, 264 bottles)

Fettercairn 10 yo 2008/2019 (56.6%, Cadenhead, Wine Cask, Pinot Noir, 264 bottles) Three stars
Pinot noir (from New Zealand)! In fact it’s a finishing. But pinot noir! We’ll fasten our seatbelt and put our helmet on before we start. Good, I’m ready… Colour: apricoty. Nose: fumes, red pepper, sour dough, cassis, silverware, ink and carbon paper, tomato sauce, scoria, leaven… Well well well… With water: breadier, sootier, more on some kind of insane Eastern-Swiss muesli. Mouth (neat): works much better on the palate. Cherry wine and green peppercorn, then just plain cherries. Cloves. It’s odd, but not unbalanced, even if there’s feeling of premix. Whisky + Cherry Heering, like. With water: no, wait, this is some kind of stronger sangria. Peppers playing the main parts. Finish: medium, sweeter, and even kind of honeyed. Cherries again in the aftertaste. Comments: certainly not the utter disaster I was expecting. They got me (again).
SGP:551 - 80 points.

Fettercairn 11 yo 2007/2019 (56.7%, Cadenhead, Small Batch, bourbon hogsheads)

Fettercairn 11 yo 2007/2019 (56.7%, Cadenhead, Small Batch, bourbon hogsheads) Four stars
Colour: straw. Nose: ah, roasted nuts and cereals, plus shortbread and butterscotch! Totally un-Fettercairn this time, rather ‘average Speyside’, in the best sense. Cakes, brioches, chocolate, custard, praline, malt, barley… With water: more of all that, with lovey notes of panettone and kougelhopf. Orange blossom, perhaps (no, not in kougelhopf). Mouth (neat): is this really Fettercairn? All boxes ticked, breads, pastries, cereals, oranges, shortbread… With water: same, and even better. Classic mocha, chocolate, malt, popcorn, butterscotch. It’s only in the distant background that a few fermentary and dirtier notes keep singing. Finish: rather long with, there, some mustard and some walnuts. Mind you, we had forgotten that this is Fettercairn. Comments: recharred wood? I find this young baby excellent – while it showcases what some well-worked dynamic oak can do to a spirit. More about that in the coming weeks, but don’t hold your breath.
SGP:551 - 86 points.

Fettercairn 10 yo 2009/2019 (57.3%, Cadenhead, Small Batch, bourbon hogsheads, 516 bottles)

Fettercairn 10 yo 2009/2019 (57.3%, Cadenhead, Small Batch, bourbon hogsheads, 516 bottles) Three stars
Colour: straw. Nose: barley, porridge, a little sawdust, some bread, and not much Fettercairnness once again. Perhaps wee whiffs of lavender and indeed, mustard, but that’s all. Forgot to mention wet chalk and fresh plaster. Not a profile that displeases me, but this is not quite Botticelli’s Birth of Venus.  With water: dry and austere. Grassy. Mouth (neat): ah good! Ales and custard, liquorice, Christmas cake, pepper and chalk. I like this little one. With water: yep. Too bad the nose was a little non-existent. Nice liquorice and bitter oranges. Finish: long, firm, tight, on liquorice and grapefruits. Comments: some ups and some downs here, but it is a very fine malt on the palate.
SGP:551 - 81 points.

Fettercairn 11 yo 2007/2019 (57.6%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon hogsheads, 312 bottles)

Fettercairn 11 yo 2007/2019 (57.6%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon hogsheads, 312 bottles) Three stars and a half
Pff, losing a bit of steam at WF Towers, but we’ve done worse things before. Take heart! But really, looks like Cadenhead have got more casks of Fettercairn than Fettercairn themselves. Quite. Colour: gold. Nose: a rounder, un-Fettercairn one again. Breads, butterscotch, brioche, custard, halva, shortbread, yadda yadda yadda… With water: same. Pastries, including oriental ones baked by lovely Kurd women. Let’s not forget them, and let’s stop being greedy and cupid. Mouth (neat): oh goody good! Cointreau, pumpernickel, ginger ale, speculoos, malt extracts… With water: just excellent! Malt, cakes, bonbons, butterscotch, Cointreau, custard… Reeks of well-burnt American oak. Finish: medium, very cake-y and a tad international (what?) Perhaps a little too much fresh oak in the aftertaste? Comments: a pretty malty young Fettercairn that I enjoyed, but the other 2007 was a notch ‘higher’ in my book
SGP:451 - 84 points.

Speaking of being high, I believe we’ll soon have to put a stop to this madness. Not now though…

Fettercairn 9 yo 2008/2018 (57.8%, Cadenhead, Small Batch, hogsheads, 564 bottles)

Fettercairn 9 yo 2008/2018 (57.8%, Cadenhead, Small Batch, hogsheads, 564 bottles) Three stars and a half
Cadenhead have called this one ‘sublime’ on one of their websites. I know we are our own best advocates, as the saying goes, but still, that’s a little un-Campbeltown… (LOL) Colour: white wine. Nose: fudge and caramel, custard, a few fresh herbs (grass, basil), and some kind of indistinct plum spirit. Sublime? Not yet. With water: all right, barley and earth. Nice, but perhaps not quite sublime? Mouth (neat): it’s good, ale-y, caramelised, malty, pleasantly spicy, peppery, with some chocolate, but it’s not quite sublime in my humble opinion (as we used to say when the Web was still kind of civilised and not taken over by silly brands and fake hipster experts with creepy agendas - did I just write that, really?) With water: really, it’s good. Good maltiness and Guinness-like beerness. Finish: long and very malty, as in malty beers. Comments: something’s happening with this one, it’s kind of closer to the raw materials, but it’s lost the largest part of any Fettercairnness. Mustard? Zilch! Walnuts? Barely! Ham? What ham? Remember, active oak kill distillates. This is going to become an issue in the coming years, hope I’ll still be around to discuss the matters and carry the flag high.
SGP:551 - 84 points.

Quick, a very last one (this is getting both insane and unnecessary)…

Fettercairn 9 yo 2008/2018 (58.8%, Cadenhead, Warehouse Tasting)

Fettercairn 9 yo 2008/2018 (58.8%, Cadenhead, Warehouse Tasting) Four stars
This one got transferred to a sherry hogshead in 2015. May we still try this, even if we aren’t currently in any sort of warehouse? Does a garage work? A kitchen? Colour: gold. Nose: ah, rum? There’s something South-American to this baby, and indeed, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s rhum vieux from Martinique. I am not exaggerating, cross my heart. Nice cakes thereafter, cigarettes, even mushrooms, sand and earth… With water: oh, bouillons, stocks, marrow, and beef jerky! A first within this little session, beyond the notes of ham that the old OBs used to showcase. Mouth (neat): it’s one of these young malts that have seen some very active oak and which would consequently display fair amounts of deep stout. Not bad at all, but it doesn't exactly play with kid gloves, if I may say so. With water: crikey; this works ,once again! Great soups and bouillons, it’s just that you need to add water or you’re missing the point. Finish: a little unconvincing when neat, pretty great when reduced with care (and a good pipette). Comments: thank you Tomislav and everyone in Campbeltown!
SGP:461 - 87 points.

Didn’t we just have twelve (12) Fettercairns in a row and no dud? Could you please confirm? (Many thanks, Tom)

More tasting notesCheck the index of all Fettercairn we've tasted so far







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