Monday, November 25, 2019

Review - A Fine Christmas Malt 2019 Edition

A Fine Christmas Malt is the annual festive limited edition bottling from leading specialist spirits retailer The Whisky Exchange. The 2019 Edition is a 10 years old single malt that was distilled at the Speyside distillery of Linkwood on the outskirts of Elgin. The whisky has been matured in a combination of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks and there are just 2,696 bottles of this year's release. These have been released at 54.2% ABV and the whisky is non chill-filtered and of natural colour. A Fine Christmas Malt 2019 Edition is exclusively available now from The Whisky Exchange. A bottle will cost £56.95.

Our tasting notes
The colour is pale gold and the nose has an immediate delicacy and refinement to it. Aromas of fresh citrus (especially lemon) mingle with vanilla, marzipan and icing sugar. Underneath are further aromas of fresh linen, pine needles and hints of acetone, yeast and white pepper.

On the palate this whisky has an interesting initial mix of sugary sweetness with plenty of warming spice. Notes of vanilla, marzipan and sugared almonds combine with white pepper, cinnamon and a hint of green jalapeno. A malty note also begins to develop and becomes more influential with time. Then comes a hit of citrus, although this is not as fresh as one the nose and is more reminiscent of candied lemons and limes. Hints of white chocolate, green apple, creamy yeast and hay add further depth.

The finish is fresh and vibrant with plenty of sweetness up front (especially the icing sugar and marzipan combination). These give way to warming wood and baking spices - think of toasted oak, cinnamon and all-spice in particular - plus a kick of green chilli.

With the addition of water the whisky becomes softer and with a creamy feel. The sugary sweet elements come to the fore and push the spices in to the background. A lovely lemon cream note develops and works well with the marzipan characteristic.

What's the verdict?
If you are expecting the usual stereotyped big sherry bomb of a 'Christmas whisky', then this year's A Fine Christmas Malt' will disappoint you. This takes the festive feel in a different direction - think White Christmas with plenty of Royal icing and marzipan, accompanied by sugar sprinkles on a piece of Stollen. It is icing sugar dusted over your Christmas tree (a real pine one, not fake plastic one ... obviously).

We like that it is a bit different in that sense, and it is also quite delicious. Grab one before it's gone and share with your nearest and dearest when the special day arrives.

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