The opening salvo of the Whisky Baron Founder’s Collection sends us up to Fettercairn for a 10 year old drawn from an ex-bourbon barrel (#4622). 270 bottles at 48% ABV have been produced and they’ll each set you back either £74.95 from Master of Malt (there’s only one left apparently. Or 5 pence more, but a feeling of socking it to the man if you purchase it directly from The Whisky Baron’s webstore.
Nose: Cask-forward notes of split vanilla pods, crème patisserie and toffee custard sit with candied lemon peels, barley water and gingerbread. Running throughout – light floral asides of cool mint, lilies and cut stems. Straight-forward, but focussed and entirely clean. The addition of water reveals further ‘green’ aromas – hedgerow leafiness and angelica – alongside prominent stone fruit – peaches served with a side of whipped cream.
Taste: As it was before, so it shall be again. Firmly ex-bourbon barrel territory here – more vanilla, creamy toffee and fudge and bright toasted cereals. Fruitiness is also similarly composed to the nose – juicy apricots and peaches with some tang provided by preserved lemon. The back-palate offers welcome divergence – a pang of minerality alongside buttercups and freshly mown lawn. Dilution is not required, but it expresses further aspects of the distillate – clean cotton and folded laundry – and a sense of crushed chalk.
Finish: Medium with ginger spices, charred cask ends and drying oakiness.
Whisky Baron’s Fettercairn offers a crisp, fresh and mainstream approach to the often idiosyncratic distillate. It’s light, quaffable and at the ABV presented almost breakfast whisky. However, it’s at the zenith of pricing in terms of its age versus its ABV – which, when you’re talking about a very ‘conventional’ profile makes it hard to recommend.