Kornog 2005 15 Years (WhiskySponge)
Here’s a kind of niche whisky: a 15 year old single malt from Glann ar Mor, which is a distillery in Brittany, France. As if that isn’t niche enough, this particular bottling was released to celebrate 18 years, 4 months and 17 days of Whiskyfun, the world’s foremost whisky blog run by Serge Valentin, who not coincidentally is from France as well.
Of course that’s just Serge Valentin and Angus MacRaild being a bit silly, the latter involved as bottler, releasing the Kornog as part of his WhiskySponge label. On a more serious note, they made sure that £30 out of every bottle sold was donated to Parkinson’s UK to commemorate the life and work of Michael Jackson, who is considered by many to be the greatest whisky writer ever.
There’s not much Kornog around, but I’ve heard positive things about the peated malt (35 to 40 ppm) produced at Glann ar Mor. This WhiskySponge release is from a first-fill bourbon cask and is the oldest Kornog ever bottled. And to quote Serge, “they’ve done this right as anyone should, so as the best Scots used to do it, that is to say with proper worm tubs, pot-stills, live flames, proper yeast, perfect washbacks and all that. No corners were cut, no Holstein was used, and no pinot noir casks were ever butchered.”
Kornog 2005 15 Years (50.4%, WhiskySponge, 149 bts.)
Nose: Whiffs of stewed apples, leather and shoe polish at first, underlined by gentle notes of tobacco and some diesel as well. Just a tinge of chamomile and mushed bananas. It’s all very well integrated and balanced.
Taste: Sweet, oily arrival that quickly makes way for smoked barley husks, vegetal peat and plenty of brine. Also some bitter greens lik charred Brussel sprouts and arugula. Whisper of pumpkin seeds and tobacco leaves. Somewhat dry.
Finish: Touch of aniseed, licorice and plenty of vegetal peat. Long.
A mature and fascinating single malt by Glann ar Mor. It’s very coastal and after 15 years of ageing the peat has taken a bit of a backseat. But it is also pretty singular and certainly different from most of its well-known Scottish brethren. A distillery to keep my eye on.
Photo: Decadent Drinks
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.