The View from the Golden Promise is a chance to see the bottles under the hammer at finespirits.auction in a new light. To give you this fresh perspective, we’ve called on two experts from the Golden Promise Whisky Bar.
43%, 75 cl, 1984
Old Macallans are well worth their reputation. Some are full of exoticism and softness, while others like this 1958 focus instead on a very elegant rancio. It reveals notes of old cigars, nuts (walnut, roasted almond), coffee and bitter orange. Heather honey and dried fruit are also expressed but only their flavours and not the sugary sweetness. As a whole, this whisky repeatedly mimics an oxidative wine, and, for us, more specifically, an aged Amontillado.
55.2%, 70 cl, 2011
This Karuizawa is a gem I am particularly fond of, being as it is the second I ever tasted and the one that made me truly understand the incredible quality this distillery is capable of. It is packed with everything Karuizawa is renowned for, revealing notes of forest floor (moss, humus) and precious wood (sandalwood, incense). The sherry is earthy, peppery and herbaceous, similar to certain styles of pu-erh, seemingly offering a summary of the tea’s qualities, both in its youth and in its wisdom.
57.1%, 70 cl
Indian distillery Amrut’s single malt first made a name for itself abroad before later gaining renown in its own country—indeed, it first caught people’s attention in Scotland, no less! I had the honour of translating Dave Broom’s presentation of this Intermediate Sherry to a French audience when it was launched at Whisky Live Paris in September 2010. Everyone was literally blown away by this incredibly innovative expression of Amrut. After being matured first in ex-bourbon casks, it was then transferred to a sherry cask for a certain period of time, before then being finished for almost a year in ex-bourbon casks. Ageing in an Indian climate, this young whisky has taken on the airs of an old Speyside, while still maintaining is spicy characteristics. The nose is full and gentle, before being flooded with spices (pepper, ginger, nutmeg). Notes of candied apricot and milk chocolate bring lots of roundness. The palate is lively, with spice bread and dried fruit revealing the sherry’s influence, alongside chocolate. The finish is long, bringing raisin and vanilla, and, of course, now-softer spices. Finesse, complexity and vivacity—outstanding!
58.8%, 70 cl
In the early 2000s, the Talisker distillery offered cask strength bottlings of whiskies aged for 20 and 25 years, all of excellent quality—much to the joy of iodine and peat fans, who didn’t know where to start! This 2003 bottling is one such example of this great era. The nose is fresh and salty. Lemon bonbons precede peaty smoke and, in a still-sweet register, liquorice caramels. Next come freshly ground black pepper and samphire. The palate is oily, rich and spicy. A wonderful minerality is enveloped in peaty smoke, while tangy notes create an almost effervescent texture. The alcohol is perfectly under control. The finish is long, salty (we’re still salivating!) and focused on dried peat. Talisker through and through!