Norfolk’s St George’s makes a welcome return with this peated 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel.
Nose: Mango slices, rosehips, sage and bergamot sit with porridge, wallpaper paste, mezcal and olive oil. So far so out there. The smoke offers sootiness, hospital bandages, antiseptic, rubber bands and envelop glue. It’s still out there – but it works. Water reminds me of a garden shed – earthy, moist – an aroma of damp wood, whilst also adding green bell pepper vegetalness and a pang of chiselled minerality.
Taste: Tea tree oil, menthol, wax candles and smoked kippers. Clearly we’re staying in the left-field. Bromine and brine are joined by chopped herbs whilst floor cleaners and cold cream sit alongside machine oil, axle grease and salinity. Reduction adds overt meatiness – gravy and finishing jus – as well as discernible minerality – gravel and shingle.
Finish: Long with clay, moss, olive oil, smoked chip pan fat and salt.
What just happened? I not quite sure whether to be in awe or bemused. On balance – I’m both. This peated English whisky offers intensity and complexity in spades – it’s fascinatingly perverse, and yet miraculously balanced. Sit ten people down and I guarantee you ten very different tasting notes. Whilst not impenetrable, this is complexity personified. if you're looking for an adventure - highly recommended.