Today we’re looking at new independent bottler for us, Little Brown Dog. These guys have been going for a while but have slid under our radar, so we're excited to be looking at their Wee Mongrel series.
Little Brown Dog Spirits Wee Mongrel Batch 1
Price: £49.00 (500ml bottle)
Batch one was matured for twenty years in a single sherry butt. 850 50cl bottles were released.
Sawdust from a carpenters workshop, caramel still cooking on the stove, orange marmalade, a hint of white chocolate and ground ginger. It's a dry style of sherry cask, with leather, walnuts, burnt toffee and light metallic aroma right in the background. Giving it some air and we're finding moist dunnage warehouse aromas along with stewed rhubarb. You can definitely tell there's some age on this whisky, with the sherry being very well integrated with the spirit.
The palate opens with fresh lemon, slightly charred oak, red currants and strawberries, then finishing with raisins, dark chocolate and cinnamon. It's a lot sweeter than expected based on the nose, however the sweetness is really well balanced with the drier, nuttier oloroso flavours. Air brings out synthetic cherry, custard cream biscuits, a little apple and roasted coffee beans. The mouthfeel is nice, not overly syrupy but not thin at all. The finish is long, with chocolate orange and oaky tannins lingering on.
Nose (with water)
There's a fresher sensation appearing now, with apple, strawberry and lime zinging out of the glass. There's still a dusty warehouse aroma appearing, alongside some darker chocolate and dry oak notes.
Palate (with water)
The reduced palate brings a little more vanilla, strawberry and sweet cakiness to the forefront, whilst some of the deeper, richer flavours are pushed into the background. There's a little ginger spice here, along with coffee and cocoa powder too. We're happy with the whisky with or without water.
A cracking whisky that manages to be very sherry forward, whilst still maintaining a balance of sweet and dry flavours/aromas. The age on this is very apparent, helping to get the most from the sherry butt. Incredible value as well, this is a perfect example of why we take price into consideration when scoring a whisky. An easy 8.5/10.
Little Brown Dog Spirits Wee Mongrel Batch 2
Price: £55.00 (500ml bottle)
Batch two was matured for 18 years in an Oloroso sherry butt, before it was split into two fresh Pedro Ximinez hogsheads for a 9 months finish. 850 50cl bottles were released.
We're met with rich sherry aromas, light ginger spice, cinnamon, cloves, raisins and sultanas aplenty. These aromas are met with well balanced alcohol, present. warming but not overpowering. There's a lovely syrupy quality to the nose, along with a hint of caramel, oak and leather in the background. A very promising start.
The palate begins with cherries in syrup, milk chocolate digestive biscuits, freshly squeezed orange juice, gingerbread and simple sugar syrup. The texture of the dram is nice, it's light yet still has a good body to it. Going back after some air, we're getting Christmas trifle, with the strawberry jam, whipped cream and vanilla sponge cake all coming through prominently. The finish has a good length with chocolate and cherries lingering on.
Nose (with water)
Some of those richer aromas have unfortunately mellowed, and the nose has tightened up considerably. We're still able to detect some of the caramel, sultana and cinnamon aromas, but water hasn't really done anything positive to the nose.
Palate (with water)
The reduced palate has more of a strawberry syrup flavour up front, moving into almonds and walnuts then finishing on candied orange rind and blackcurrants. Again, reduction doesn't harm the whisky, but doesn't bring anything additional to the table.
On paper, this is incredible. £55 for a 19 year old malt fully matured in sherry. We were skeptical at first, but this dram really delivers. The sherry is really well balanced, a good mixture of sweetness and richness with no off notes in sight. Our only complaint would be the alcohol on the palate is a touch too hot, however this is a perfect winter dram and you won't go wrong if you can get your hands on a bottle. 8.5/10.
- 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.
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