All set for the annual stampede of frenzied shoppers prepared (and in some cases seemingly more than willing) to flatten each other in the name of bargain hunting? Whilst every year, more and more Black Friday ‘sales’ move off of the retail floors and onto the Internet, I read with interest a Which Report tracking the prices of 83 products offered as Black Friday deals in 2018 – 95% of them were still being offered at the same price or even cheaper six months later. Black Friday takes its cues from the most potent of consumer shopping traits – people’s seeming inability to resist what is portrayed as a deal.
Sales are a perennial facet of consumer life – be they stock clearing, or in the case of DFS continually running since 1998. But, certain consumers simply cannot repel the lure of deals and discounts – whether they offer any actual discount or indeed satisfaction. Research has shown that when a sale obsessed shopper is unsatisfied with a discounted purchase, their likely response is simply to continue to shop for more discounted products. As to the causes, look to the modern consumerist human psyche - FOMO certainly plays its part, as does the fallacy of making a saving (see the Which Report above), but so too does the seeming competition that results from something being perceived as a steal – to some there’s bragging rights about obtaining an item at a cheaper cost, or the very last X on the shelf.
Whisky-wise, whilst not nearly as manic as a trip to Curry’s, Black Friday has steadily become a ‘thing’. This year - a large Amazon selection of entry-level whiskies which you’ll likely see at lower prices in the supermarkets early next year, a few pounds off here and there from retailers, Black Glencairn glasses (shhh don’t tell everyone) and of course the latest TWE exclusive bottling.
Taking a leaf from the adage that repetition can be the mother of skill, TWE have lined up their third Black Friday bottling for release tomorrow. This time around we’re offered an undisclosed (more on that in a minute) single malt that is composed of ‘…a handful of outstanding casks of whisky distilled at a secret distillery’. The release is simply labelled as 21 year old from a Speyside distillery. 1,800 bottles (so around 7 casks in the mix – all presumably ex-bourbon) have been produced at an ABV of 53.1%. They’ll be available directly from the whisky Exchange for £79.95 on their Black Friday page from 6am on Friday 29th November.
In a tease, the press release for this year’s Edition leaves a little bread-crumb trail, by highlighting that the whisky-maker was ‘Founded in 1810’ and ‘…sits between Forres and Elgin…’ whilst being ‘..rarely seen as a single malt’. I’ll happily pin my colours to a sensible supposition on that (see information box at the top of the page).
Nose: Expressive sugar-dusted fruits – ripe pineapple and dried mango slices alongside green apples and balled honeydew melon. Barley water sits atop of Genoise sponge whilst shortbread biscuits are livened by candied citrus peels. Resting proves productive - a drizzle of sunflower oil - implying a plumper weight, and a scattering of cracked hazelnuts. The addition of water brings some austerity with glossy oak panelling whilst also adding expressive stone fruits and creaminess – peach yoghurt.
Taste: Polished fruits lead off – apples, pears, tangerines and mango – vivacious and perky and well-supported by lacquered aged oakiness. Then we’re into pastries – croissants and butter-filled rough puff with hints of leafy spearmint. The back-palate positions sugars against spices – well-dusted turnovers with the apples gradually souring and becoming tarter – animated and emergent cinnamon and white pepper. Reduction adds a juicy tinned quality which extends from arrival to finish, whilst also adding in flavours of melon, candy sugars and vanilla-forward crème anglaise.
Finish: Long with fading sweet and sour fruits (orchard and tropical), malt loaf and creamy elderflower tea.
This year’s Whisky Exchange Black Friday release is packed full of well-defined and bright fruit-forward flavours. That these connect so seamlessly and so sympathetically to the ex-bourbon wood is a testament both to the underlying Burgie spirit quality (which is not bottled by its lonesome nearly enough for my liking) and to the careful cask selection/vatting. Oh and it’s well-priced when you look at other similarly aged expressions from this distillery too. TWE Black Friday – The third time’s a charm.
Review sample provided by The Whisky Exchange
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