"A grain whisky?", I hear you cry. "I thought this was a malt society?" Hang on though. This is no normal grain whisky. Some time back around the birth of the interwebs (Christmas 1990), the spirit for this bottle went into an old sherry cask. 19 years on, it's got a Scotch Malt Whisky Society label and a thirst for that Christmas it left behind.
I have to admit to being a born-again Christmas fan. For a while, I joined others in despising the commercialism of the festive period. Then I got older and wiser, and realised Christmas was a time for enjoyment - friends, film, and flavours.
If you're into Christmas flavours too, then you'll be right at home with G1.7. The nose brings up the best of the colder nights - brandy butter, spiced and toasted apples, good ales and warm evening bonfires. To warm you up, there's a seam of lemon, demerara sugar, and woody forest fruits. This is the kind of thing I love in my hip flask on Guy Fawkes' night.
In the mouth, the spiced fruitiness carries on - raisins kick in with a side-helping of cherry, while the Christmas Pudding in the title really comes out, surrounded by something that reminds me faintly of… nettles? With water, this sweetens a little, and prunes, plums and purple drift out.
After kicking it around the teeth for a good while, the finish is left flaming on the cheeks, warming and slightly sweaty. I want more, and I'm happy to imagine this one accompanying me through the smoke-filled night, sitting round the embers of the bonfire leftovers, and on into winter.
At time of writing, there are 17 bottles left of this on the society's site...
(N.B. Didn't take a note on the colour, so the colour here is a, uh, guess.)
There is obviously a lot more to grain whisky than it simply being a bulk spirit to go into blends but I think it needs to be of a good age before it's drinkable as a single-grain.
This sounds very nice though.
I've had my eyes opened to the pleasures of grain whisky after buying a 24 year old Cambus bottled at Bladnoch. It really is quite a different animal from the average malt. From memory, a quite strong and pungent initial alcohol kick that mellows into lots of cocoa, vanilla and coconut notes. Very very nice whisky. I will get a proper review sorted soon.