We start the week with another new Independent bottler, Fib Whisky, and a few drams from their Copper & Oak Series 1 release.
Fib Whisky Fettercairn 11yo
This release from new independent bottler Fib whisky was distilled on the 7th February 2011 and bottled on 5th September 2022. It was matured in a bourbon hogshead for 11 years.
A restrained nose at first, showcasing fresh yeast, cardboard boxes, slightly charred twigs and rye bread. It’s on the drier side, with dusty cupboards and malt starting to appear as we let it sit in the glass. We’re also finding more chocolate-forward aromas appearing, rich cocoa and a toasted hazelnut nuttiness. There’s a slight funk underlying the nose, alongside ground white pepper spice and nutmeg right at the end.
The palate starts out with a host of tropical fruits, pineapple and papaya being most prominent, moving quickly into more of a malty, hot chocolate like flavour. The mouthfeel is really nice, it’s oily, buttery and coats the tongue well. You’re then hit by a wave of spice, ground ginger, black pepper and cloves, leaving a warming trail as you swallow. The finish is slightly short for our liking, but we’re getting crisp green apples and soft sponge cake before it peters off.
Nose (with water)
The reduced nose brings some orchard fruit aromas forward, pears and apples mixed with the dustier wood and yeast that was found before. We’re also finding a slight salinity appearing reminding us of seawater. Overall we’re not finding too much difference compared with the unreduced nose.
Palate (with water)
Even sweeter again, sugar syrup, candied citrus peels, a fruit salad with a peppery aftertaste. It still retains a good mouthfeel and the finish seems to linger on for a longer period now. We’re not opposed to adding water, it’s sweeter but feels less spicy and woody.
A relatively dry and dusty nose that blooms into a mixture of sweet fruit and rich chocolatey flavours. It reminded us a little of the milk chocolate confectionary that’s filled with tropical liqueur. There’s still a funkiness about the dram that we tend to get with Fettercairn, but this has a bit more balance to it. The finish is a touch short, and it’s not a cheap bottle of whisky but overall it’s one of the better Fettercairn releases that we’ve tried.
Fib Whisky Ardmore 12yo
This release was distilled at Ardmore on 8th December 2009 and bottled on 5th September 2022. It was matured in a single bourbon barrel for over 12 years.
Fruity at first, we’re finding pear drops and ripe banana. This quickly morphs into lemon boiled sweeties, heather, wet grass and candied pecans. The peat smoke isn’t too apparent at first, there’s something slightly smokey there but it feels far in the background, and we’re finding more of an earthy, toasted rosemary type scent instead. Air begins to reveal the peat, earthy, vegetal, with campfires in the forest crackling away.
The palate begins with sour apple candies, herbaceous rosemary, a hint of custard and that earthy, vegetal peat coming through in a powerful manner. The mouthfeel is good, not thin, and coats your palate well, with the medium length finish bringing a slight brininess, vanilla cream and slightly bitter, charred oak. The alcohol is present, but quite well balanced at the 61% it comes in at, and there’s a lemon-pepper seasoning type of flavour going on as the dram finishes.
Nose (with water)
We’re finding the peat impact is more akin to a cigarette-like ashy smoke now, and it’s much more apparent than it was before dilution. Alongside this, we’re finding less fruit and more bourbon cask vanilla and honey aromas coming through.
Palate (with water)
In a similar way to the reduced nose, the ashy smoke is very present, along with the bourbon cask notes mentioned above. It’s still quite sweet, candied citrus and a slight bit of salted caramel appears too. The dram still manages to retain a good mouthfeel and finish, but reduction hasn’t quite impacted the spice as much as we’d have expected, perhaps even brought more of that alcohol tingle to the fore.
We tend to enjoy Ardmore, and this bottling keeps in with this trend. It’s sweeter than a lot of the other single cask Ardmore’s we’ve tried, the bourbon barrel has really imparted a lot of flavour into the spirit. It’s not overpoweringly peated, but there’s a good bit of earthy peat smoke to round out the sweeter, fruitier notes. We do detect a little youth of the spirit right at the end of the palate, but we’d happily have another dram of this one.
- 10 - Perfection. A whisky that we’ll remember forever.
- 9 - Amazing. We’d pay through the nose for a bottle.
- 8 - Great. Pick this up at RRP.
- 7 - Good. Happy to have a dram or two but wouldn’t buy a bottle.
- 6 - Passable. Would accept a dram, but wouldn’t seek it out.
- 5 - Poor. Would drink if it was the only option.
- 4 - Bad. Maybe it can be saved by ginger beer?
- 3 - Awful. It can't be saved by ginger beer.
- 2 - Pour it out
- 1 - We’ve never tried a whisky rated this low and hopefully never will.
Thanks to Fib Whisky for sending us these samples. As always, this in no way influences our opinion or scoring of the whiskies we review.
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