Sirius 1988 31 Years (North Star Spirits)
North Star Spirits made a splash a few years ago (when they were just starting out) with a number of very affordable blended malts aged 40 years and over, all part of their Vega range. They’ve since continued that tradition and many more Vega Blended Malts have been released, providing great value for money. Two years ago North Star Spirits launched another blended malt, this time called Sirius, which I’ll review today.
I’m not sure why, but so far the Sirius 1988 31 Years has been the only release under this label. It’s been rumoured to be a teaspooned Clynelish and based on the official description, I could certainly see why people would reach that conclusion. It says, “a waxy citrusy spirit you only find from the finest Highland distilleries.” In writing that NSS founder Iain Croucher must have realised what he was suggesting.
Sirius 1988 31 Years (43.1%, North Star Spirits, 2019)
Nose: Notes of orange marmalade and soft oak tannins go hand-in-hand with vanilla yoghurt, coconut milk, crème brûlée and meringue. Quite juicy and sweet. Some stewed apples, honey and cinnamon-sprinkled apple compote too, but also some overripe bananas.
Taste: So, pretty juicy and fruity with plenty of sweeter notes on the arrival. Sprinkles of coconut shavings with plenty of pomelo and bitter pink grapefruit, as well as lemon pith and varnish. Also a minty/cough-syrupy note usually only found in Irish single pot still whiskey.
Finish: Somewhat spicy, tannic and drying. Hints of tobacco and white pepper. Finally some citrus fruits.
Nose and palate are pretty far apart and each deliver a completely different experience. Creamy, sweet and fruity aromas seem to continue on the palate, but quickly transform into a bitter, coconut-y and minty symphony. Certainly not boring!
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.