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English Whisky Chapter 9

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English Whisky Chapter 9

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English Whisky Chapter 9

Distilled August 2007, aged in ASB (American Standard Barrels) numbered casks 351, 352, 353 and 354, and bottled in August 2010. This is exactly three years old, no more, no less so as near to new make as whisky can be. This bottle was a gift from friends of mine on their wedding for my (inept) ushering services. I didn’t really deserve the whisky, but was very grateful as I’d not sampled this distillery before.

This is a very pale, almost colourless whisky. The aromas are pungent of pine, peat and an oddly musty smoky smell which is not all together pleasant.

Thankfully the mustiness does not transfer to the palate which is much cleaner and sweeter with some chewy peat, ethereal smoke, a touch of wood and a little dusty cardboard. The youth of the spirit is evident in some alcohol burn, but there is a pleasing amount of body to the liquor.

The finish is relatively short and drying with the woody hints rising to meet the subtle fading influences of smoke and peat. Overall this is a good young whisky but the musty aroma colours it a bit for me. Would it better with a couple of years longer in the cask, who can say?


Chapter 9 of the English Whisky Company was launched in June 2010. It is a mere three years old and matured on a first fill bourbonvat. The barley was peated to about 35 ppm. On the label, it proudly states 'Peated/Smokey'. It is a vatting of four casks: 105, 116, 122 and 141. The nose is nice and oily with some sweetness in the shape of toffee and burnt malt with even hints of tropical fruit like pineapple and papaya. Something that makes me think of ice coffee. Summer hay and apples, as well. But the peat is quite prominent. It gives it a sour touch, but it works wonderfully. Citrus slowly shines through. Give it at least ten minutes and you will be amazed of the complexity of this nose. What a pleasant surprise! The attack is somewhat weak, but very tasty from the start. It starts a little less sweet than you would have expected after the nose and the peat also offers a rather big smokiness. Reminds me of a struck match. After the spices (which translates into ginger, cardamom and mostly vanilla and nutmeg), it becomes nicely sweet. Mostly malty hints and butterscotch. Midpalate the citrus reappears. Mint! The smoke fades very gently in the surprisingly long finish. It makes room for apples and vanilla. It dies a very sweet, albeit peppery, death with a touch of oak. I confess that my expectations may have been a bit too low. Hence they were exceeded with flying colors. This is a feisty little animal. Young, surely, but very amusing and tasty. Reminded me, in a sense, of Caol Ila (and that is always good news).


English Whisky Chapter 9 was pure Tropic Thunder. I haven't tried this sweet whiskey that offers as much smoke at the same time. A very fresh and welcome addition to my memory cabinet of smoke. Like the movie Tropic Thunder it gives you both laughter and excitement. And the laughter came purely because of the eccentrics this whiskey gave me. Unlike the movie Tropic Thunder, enjoy this slowly, let it open up in your glass. It gets lot better when you leave it alone for 10 minutes or more.

Even though Chapter 9 was sweet as hell it still was smoky enough. This coming from a fellow who loves the hard and heavy Islay stuff.

St. George's distillery can be proud of their smoky whiskey, a job well done! And most of all, they've done something completely their own, a signature whiskey that will leave an impression.

Nose: Sweet, smoky and oily. Toffee hits you very strongly. One of the most eccentric smoky aromas out there, "Tropical smoke".

Taste: Sweetness continues in the taste. Smoke leaves in the background as the creamy vanilla and butterscotch take over.

Finish: Smoke gets back bigger and stronger but the finish could be much longer. Leaves you yearning for more that coffee-like aftertaste.

Balance: Overall a good and fresh smoky whisky. Give it some time to open up, the taste and aromas get lot better if you let it be for a while.

BTW: Tropic Thunder aired last night in Finland and again, it was filled with fun and napalm...too bad I had already drank all my Chapter 9...


Nose: Subtle Smoke, Grassy perhaps floral.

Taste: Sweet and creamy vanilla then followed with a peaty smoke conclusion

Finish: Short and ginger spice at the end. Makes me want to have more and more.


Nose: Very fragrant, aromas leaping out of the glass with ease, as one would expect from such a young whisky. It's very much a vegetal introduction, with yellow and green peppers, as well as courgette and sweetcorn all simmering together, marinated in a citrusy peat drizzle, before being tossed into a bed of sweetened sticky rice. The stir fry is seasoned with sea salt, bubblegum, light toffee, and finally vanilla. A very appetising dish indeed. 23

Taste: As we take a first bite of this intriguing dish, the volume of flavour dampens somewhat on the palate, however it remains very light, nimble and dynamic in its delivery. A dryer sort of vegetation seems to be apparent here, with fresh hay and green nettles acting as a soft bed upon which the light spice of spritely fresh mint and aniseed can frolick, while the more restrained caramel and sherbet watch on hand in hand. 21

Finish: Dried flower petals burst into the air as the finish pops like a balloon, after which there is a reverberating echo of herbal spice and fisherman's friend lozenges, leaving the palate a under a slightly numb minty haze, through which some brown sugar, almond shavings, leather and wood can be faintly picked out. 21

Balance: A very delicate and rewarding dram, and at only three years of one can only be impressed. One must also however compare this effort with similar offerings from other distilleries, most notably from Cooley distillery's Connemara Turf Mor (Ireland), and from Clear Creek distillery's McCarthy's Oregon Peated single malt (USA), two of the finest examples of a three year old peated single malt to be found. In the case of the Turf Mor, they have bridled the youthful zest and exuberance of the whisky and maximised its delivery by bottling it at cask strength, thus offering an extra depth of flavour that is slightly lacking with this 46% ABV English Whisky Chapter 9. In the case of the McCarthy's Oregon Peated Single Malt, although it is bottled at only 42.5% ABV, the extra speed of maturation that american whiskies benefit from means that the flavours have been able to marry more closely, and be bedded into a richer dram from the heightened reaction with the america oak barrel. This is perhaps where English Whisky might be in another three years time, given its slower ageing process with respect to the McCarthy's. As it stands however, the English Whisky Chapter 9 is not quite strong enough in terms of alcoholic boost, nor quite mature enough after three years, to compete on a level playing field with either the Turf Mor or the McCarthy's in the category of Finest 3 Year Old Peated Single Malt. Nonetheless a worthy and admirable contender. 22


English Whisky Company, Chapter 9. 46% ABV, retails at £39.99. Cask: American Bourbon 1st Fill. Age: 3 years. On the bottle it says “Peated/Smokey” It is peated at 35 ppm.

Dominic says:

Nose: A shy and retiring nose with whispy smoke and summer hay

Taste: First wave is creamy honey and sweet apple with a delayed healthy hit of peat. This gives way to a licorce allsorts flavour, the round blue and pink bobbly ones, you know the ones I mean (ed: is there a specific name for these?).

Finish. Surprisingly and amazingly well integrated, the finish gives toffee apples, a bit of pepper and a touch of wood. Its short to medium long and very pleasant.

Tony Says: Very light nose, not much going on there, but it has a lovely light peat taste without any of the barley after taste you get in other young whiskies. As you would expect, its not massively complex, but its very drinkable and high quality. I liked the chapter 6 (bought two bottles), but I think this is a step forward. The peat mitigates the youth of the spirit without compromising the fresh, lemony tasting that seems to be becoming the St George’s signature. I think they were right to not go the whole hog with higher levels of peat, it is balanced as is and seems to work well. I think its a bit expensive at £40, but there is no denying its a quality product, and after our islay trip it think everyone is trying to up the price for premium whisky (err, thats why its premium?)

Pat: Nose: Light with a touch of stewed fruit, merest hint of peat. Taste: Apples and late peat. Finish: slightly woody/oaky finish.

Michelle: Nose: roasted sweetcorn, a bit of diesel and demarara sugar. Taste: peppery wood. Finish: yes I have, want some more!

Overall, I think its safe to say we are all very impressed by it, Tony and Dom more so than Pat and Michelle. Whereas the chapter 6 was young but full of promise, the chapter 9 is a more complete, rounded whisky. The mystery of where chapters 7 and 8 are is explained on their website.

just to clarify, the score is an average of michelle, pat and tony. Dominic does not like scoring under these circumstances!

@WTC Thanks for sharing the review, this sounds like a good step forward for The English Whisky Co.

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