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The Good Spirits Co. Living Cask Batch No. 1

A Stately Winter Warmer

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@dbkReview by @dbk

28th Dec 2011


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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  • Brand: The Good Spirits Co.
  • ABV: 48%

The Good Spirits Co. is a wonderful little shop in Glasgow, specialising primarily in—you guessed it—whisky and other spirits. The store was opened in May 2011 by three spirits enthusiasts (including the venerable Mark Connelly, also known as ‘butephoto’ on Connosr, founder of the WhiskyWhiskyWhisky online forum), and stocks an impressive array of good whisky. The staff are extremely knowledgeable, friendly, and charming.

The folks at The Good Spirits Co. blend their own whisky using a ‘living cask’ scheme, which they have dubbed ‘Cask 23.’ They fill an octave cask (donated to the effort by none other than Ralfy) with a blend of their making, allow it to age for a time, then bottle a portion of the contents in batches. As a portion of the blend in the cask gets bottled, they add new whisky to the cask to change the profile.

Batch No. 1 was a blend of Highland Park 14 year-old and Bunnahabhain 21 year-old. The former whisky was bottled for the Glasgow Whisky Festival (another of Mark Connelly’s projects), whereas the latter was matured in first-fill sherry casks. They have since added younger whiskies from Aberfeldy, Ardmore, and Deanston to the mix, and I look forward to trying it again some day soon.

The nose on Batch No. 1 is delightfully, if predictably, sherried, with prominent notes of raisins, butterscotch, and cinnamon, alongside a gentle but assertive wave of smoke.

The palate begins quite sweetly, with a commanding sherry influence: raisins and figs make a welcome appearance here. This is all nicely balanced by an undercurrent of smoke and a gradual increase in heat, the latter cutting through the syrupy nature of the spirit before it becomes cloying. The Bunnahabhain in here is perhaps a touch too mature, and has rendered the whisky overly mellow. Still, it is lovely stuff, and I imagine the younger whiskies that have since been added to the cask will help to brighten the palate somewhat.

This is a wonderful winter whisky. It’s a shame I’ve run out!


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