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SPICE KING ‘BATCH STRENGTH’ (2016, WEMYSS, 56%)

A year ago we drank the Spice King, a blended malt by Wemyss, and we celebrated the end of Game of Thrones sixth season with the last episode soundtrack. And like in a circle, today, in the week in which the seventh season begins, we drink the same whisky at its cask strength version. We liked the regular Spike King a lot, let’s see if it the more they raise the strength the more we raise the pleasure.

N: very fragrant and aromatic, very open in spite of a potentially dangerous abv. It seems quite complex, let’s go with order: on the one hand we have a malty and quite sticky sweetness (orange peel, cinnamon, cloves, pepper). It has a big spicy and citrus influence, that we can refer to an italian dessert called “Panforte” (orange peel, cinnamon, pepper, cloves). Then apple, raisins and cinnamon: strudel? On the other hand, the nose tell us something more: surprisingly, it also shows an unexpected mineral and slightly peated side. 

P: it’s remarkable how the alcohol is able to step aside. We immediately notice a growing island character, made of acre peat smoke, with a seaworthiness in great rise and hints of salt. Behind, there is a sweetness made of apples and cinnamon, then a fat toffee, honey and an exuberant orange. Again we recall a panforte. Distinct peppery notes complete a spicy and a little burnt profile. Really good.

F: lots of smoke, then salt, pepper, caramel, strudel… Long and persistent. 

It is not by chance that we evoked composite suggestions, in fact everything is very dense and compact and complex. We liked the reduced-grade version, this one convinces us even more, and again we bother big names like Talisker, Springbank and Laphroaig. We are more and more convinced that blending is an art, and not a simple way to mix decent stuff and make money: who doesn’t agree, should allow himself to spend 40€ for this bottle. Then please he should explain us that this stuff is easy to do: 87/100 is our score. To tell the truth, we judge it much less young and porridge-y than Serge does… Thanks to the great Francesco Saverio Binetti for the sample!

Recommended soundtrack: Ed Sheeran – Hands of gold.

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