We're looking at two more releases from Fragrant Drops, the new Edinburgh based independent bottler.
Fragrant Drops Teaninich 14yo cask #900264
Distilled in 2008, this release was matured in a refill hogshead for twelve-and-half years before it was reracked into a Bordeaux red wine barrique, where it spent 19 months, before being bottled in late 2022. 287 bottles were released.
The nose opens with juicy red fruits, mainly strawberries and raspberries, moving into more malty, chocolatey aromas. It's also got a good amount of dry oak and musty warehouse aromas that provide more of a backbone than overtaking the dram. There's some alcohol here but it's not overpowering, it's got a hint of zingy lemon and vanilla custard that we notice as the dram develops with time and air.
The palate is quite bold up front, a combination of tannic oak, fresh raspberries, a little fresh soil, apple cider vinegar and vanilla essence. It's quite malty, mirroring the nose, with chocolate digestive biscuits and freshly cut grass appearing on the good length finish. The mouthfeel is nice, there's a pleasant oiliness about it.
Nose (with water)
Water brings out some additional sweetness on the nose, a little icing sugar and even a bit of maple syrup. It also feels a touch fresher, more of that freshly squeezed lemon juice coming through.
Palate (with water)
The reduced palate retains the oily mouthfeel, but feels slightly richer with brown sugar and dark chocolate, alongside the tannic oak we noticed before. It's sweeter overall which we enjoy, and would recommend adding a drop of water to see how you find it.
The additional maturation in the Bordeaux wine cask has given this dram some interesting characteristics, lovely red fruit and a bit of acid to balance the sweetness which is nice. We do find the dram a touch dry and overly oaky at some points. Saying that it's a good quality dram and we'd have another.
Fragrant Drops Ardmore 13yo cask #9001334
Distilled in 2009, this release was matured in a refill barrel for twelve years before it was reracked into a Mezcal barrel, where it spent 12 months, before being bottled in late 2022. 213 bottle’s were released.
Funky. We're finding petrol, chimney soot, there's also a cheesiness, slightly mouldy perhaps. There's some salt water, medicinal peat with used plasters and wet moss. The alcohol feels mellow enough on the nose, but does bring a white pepper spice with it. Time and air brings out more smoke, smoked meats in particular, white balsamic and a little bit of pickle brine.
The palate begins with acidity, sour patch kids, moving into a really pleasant sweetness with caster sugar, vanilla infused cream and meringue. There's a lot of sweet smoke here that sits in the background, giving the dram some heft, and the meatiness we detected on the nose starts to appear towards the latter part of the palate. The mouthfeel is good, not thin, and the finish is long, leaving that sweet smoke lingering on your palate.
Nose (with water)
Reduction removes some of those funkier notes from the upfront aromas on the nose, and brings more of the sweet smoke that we enjoyed on the palate. We're now finding some fruit, apples, lime, maybe even some barbecued pineapple.
Palate (with water)
The reduced palate doesn't change too much, other than the mouthfeel losing a bit of its texture. It's still got the sweet and sour balanced well with the smoke coming through on the finish (that's retained its long length).
We found the nose to be a bit funky, maybe a bit too much of the mezcal influence, but the palate brought the dram back for us. There's a really good balance of sweetness, smoke and acid that meld well together. An interesting experiment with a spirit we really enjoy, and it's worked out well for Fragrant Drops.
- 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.