Fear of missing out is described as “a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent”. And in the whisky world, I believe it to be just a prevalent as buyers regret. There’s a *lot* of whisky out there – over 6000 releases in 2018 alone, but for some, playing Pokemon with a bottling series, or distillery’s entire release calendar can become a near obsessive pursuit. Beyond that, craving and longing focusses on the individual bottle level – a stunning, historically significant or unexpected whisky that has an allure that feels irresistible – often to a whole host of people. Cue crazy auction results. I missed the release of today’s Edradour – but, having now tasted it, I’m rather kicking myself that I didn’t have a FOMO moment at the time.
When you talk to fans of Edradour, there’s always several common threads – it’s beautiful situation, it’s easy to reach location, and, rather pertinently for 2019, it’s almost total lack of marketing – particularly of the bullshit kind. Edradour, and it’s associated independent bottler Signatory simply go about their business – the most I tend to see is the occasional release announcement on Whisky Intelligence. No stories of 19th Century endeavours, no tenuous links to the distillery’s past, present or future, and most pleasingly of all, no fucking Vikings.
As a particularly small distillery, it would be counterproductive to over-market Edradour’s output – supply would outweigh demand – indeed, to some extent it already does. But, there’s enough to meet the demands of the large numbers of visitors to the site each year, and for the small but growing number of Edradour fans. Production is, I believe, being expanded – with replica equipment being installed – but the distillery is never going to be anything more than diminutive when compared to most of its Speyside neighbours. And, that’s part of the charm right? Whilst you might see the distillery’s 10 year old expression in a large number of places (including in travel retail), both the Natural Cask Strength and SFTC bottlings require looking out for. Edradour is not forced down your throat (whisky pun intended) with a constant stream of near-weekly releases. There's time to breath and appreciate the distillery's output rather than panic buy every release.
The distillery has an incredibly broad selection of casks to form a flavour palate from – so the diversity of Edradour bottlings is incredibly large. Despite its relatively size. That said, to my mind, it’s heavier style spirit is particularly suited to oloroso sherry cask maturation. Yesterday, I reviewed a bombastic, punchy sherry bomb. Today’s tasting note is also drawn from sherry – but it’s enormousness is accompanied by a delightful equilibrium that has me yearning for a more accurate FOMO radar.
Edradour Vintage 2005 is a 12 year old 1st fill oloroso matured whisky offered as an exclusive for The Whisky Exchange. It was bottled in March 2018 as part of the retailer’s’ 10th anniversary celebrations. 567 bottles were produced at punchy ABV of 61.4%. Whilst the bottling sold out in quick order (as word of its quality was muttered around writer circles), there’s still 3cl ‘Perfect Measure’ drams available for £8.95 a pop.
Nose: Intense, compact sherry. Defined dried fruits - raisins, sultanas and dates – sit with lacquered wood tables, polished bookshelves and leather armchairs. Jammy fruits (raspberries) and macerated cherries are joined by rich chocolate cake, tinned golden tobacco and drizzle of sweet balsamic vinaigrette. Reduction is well-advised, its takes the dense, intense sherry and allows it a much more expansive playground – tree resin and sap with soy sauce, miso soup, coffee and walnut cake and cola cubes. None of these things sound like they should go together – all of them do.
Taste: Bombs away! Cavernous and thick with a highly mouth filling viscosity. Raspberries and plums reduced down to jams and preserves sit with a particularly ‘green’ sherry – leaf mulch and pan sugars, forest bracken and sponge cake, pine needles and spicy ginger and cinnamon spicing. Madness. The density remains huge throughout the development with introduces meat juices (Bovril), camphor and liquorice. It’s profuse and almost tar-like, but at the same time integrated, expansive and above all else fascinating. Dilution unsurprisingly softens things up and takes the edge off the megaton bomb characteristics – chocolate, cakiness, soft baking sugars and fresher fruit coming to the fore. It’s still impressively big though.
Finish: Long, with pepperiness pushing through and anise and cinnamon fading into the distance.
This TWE pick shows off the best of Edradour – powerful and penetrating, but with a near miraculously evenness between spirit and wood. Big whisky at its best and the sort of bottling that makes me wish my FOMO gene was more readily developed. Go hard or go home.