The annual Whisky Show in London starts today, and as usual, there are a few exclusive bottlings available. As this is the 10th anniversary of the festival, the whiskies have a little something extra. Or I should say, the packaging does. Each bottle has a lenticular label, which ties into the Future of Whisky theme for this year’s show.
Three whisky’s where picked as festival exclusives and unveiled beforehand, while a few others will be revealed during the weekend. The three that we now know of, are the Ben Nevis or ‘Past Future’ (what they thought the future would be in the past), a Ledaig or ‘Present Future’ (what they presently think the future will be), and a Invergordon or ‘The Future’ (what they think the future might be in the future.
The Ben Nevis and Ledaig were drawn from a sherry butt, while the Invergordon matured in a hogshead. Let’s get on with it, shall we?
Ben Nevis 21 Years Old (47.5%, Whisky Show 2018, 144 bts.)
Nose: Stewed pears and apple sauce, with luscious plums and cherries, and a hint of menthol, as well cocoa powder. A whiff of cigar tobacco too, followed by sweet oranges. However, the apples and pears are easily most present, and you’ll find them throughout. Taste: Oh yes, lots of goodness here. Licorice and tobacco, with brown sugar and menthol. Nice mouthfeel too, and a lovely tropical fruitiness, as well as orange marmalade. Finally a hint of cloves. The sherry butt has done a proper job here. Finish: Lingering menthol and plenty of sweetness.
Ledaig 12 Years Old (58.4%, Whisky Show 2018, 636 bts.)
Nose: Voluptuous notes of peat, yet not as intense as I expect from Ledaig. Subtle notes of barbecued bacon, burlap and salty sea air. However, it has a lovely sweetness as well. Cherry syrup comes to mind, maybe some milk chocolate. And finally some of that sauerkraut that always seems to signify Ledaig to me. Taste: Lots of peat, quite a bit of tar and some soot as well. There’s a subtle sweetness, leading into a touch of menthol and some meaty, smoky barbecue notes, followed by demerara sugar. A good salinity adds a layer of complexity. Finish: Cocoa powder and medicinal peat. Very long.
Invergordon 44 Years Old (51.6%, Whisky Show 2018, 246 bts.)
Nose: This needs time to open up, starting off on big glue notes, as well as furniture polish and oak shavings. There’s hints of vanilla beans, fudge and caramel, as well as milk chocolate. It has a fruitier side as well, with some raspberries, and orange zest. Finally some perfumed floral notes as well. Taste: Fudge-y, orange-y, oak-y and spicy. That about sums in four word-y words. The caramel is ever-present, as is the vanilla. The orange is undeniable, as is—after 44 years of aging—the oak. The oak and spices go hand-in-hand. A bit of pepper, some cloves, and a tad dry. Finish: Spicy, turning into a lingering sweetness.
A worthy trio, and each of them really does represent their era. The Ben Nevis is of an old-school style, while the Ledaig stands for one of the better modern day whisky the industry has to offer presently. A single grain as the future? Coul very well be. This Invergordon is certainly one of the better iterations I’ve had the pleasure of tasting.