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Irish whiskey / Whisky reviews

Fercullen whiskeys revisited

In the autumn of 2020 I had tried many times to attend Tweet tastings but with no success, and wondered what an uninteresting person I must be. Did they only want “influencers” (whatever the definition is)? And if so, why not invite them privately if they only want a certain clique to take part? However, I’ve learned that at least for Talkdram tastings, a certain percentage of the participants is always picked randomly so I kept trying. Then I realised I had missed the detail “retweet the announcement” about Talkdram tastings, and suddenly I was selected to join a Fercullen tasting.

I had the opportunity to taste some of these whiskeys in late 2019, and that time I wasn’t impressed. Now I wonder what my palate was doing that day! These are some lovely whiskeys and I’m so glad I had a reason to taste them again.

Fercullen whiskey tasting

Fercullen premium blend, 40% ABV

First dram of the evening was the premium blend. It consists in 6-year-old grain whiskey and 14-year-old malt whiskey. Since then the Fercullen blend is now changed, it now consists of whiskey that is at least 8 years old and it also has an age statement on the bottle.

When I wrote my previous post, I didn’t mention this blend because I thought it was so light and I struggled to pinpoint the flavours in it. This time my palate had other ideas.

Nose

A pronounced nose with damp oak, porridge, citrus peel, undefined tropical fruit, banana, cereals, Digestive biscuits, baked fruit with toffee, and vanilla.

Palate

Initally there’s a lot of blood orange. It has a nice soft, creamy mouthfeel, with some vanilla, light spice, and a pleasant fruitiness like that of the ‘Fruit drops’ hard candies from tax free shops.
Medium finish with cereals, some oak spice, foam banana and citrus fruitiness. Lovely blend!

Fercullen 10-year-old single grain, 40% ABV

Nose

Cinnamon with baked apple and custard, honey, vanilla sponge cake and chocolate with caramel.

Palate

Soft pleasant mouthfeel. There’s mixed citrus, vanilla, oak spice and coconut. Quite long finish with spice and coconut.

Fercullen 14-year-old single malt, 46% ABV

Nose

Complex and fruity on the nose. Apple, lots of pistachio, clementine, jelly candy cola bottles (do they exist outside Sweden?!). The apple aroma is intense and mixed with something earthy, like mud and decaying leaves, it reminds me of our garden in Vänersborg in autumn. We usually got so many apples from our trees that we couldn’t catch up and take care of them all, and on warm sunny days there was always a sweet aroma of decaying apples and grass in the air. This is mixed with more tropical notes in this whiskey.

Palate

Lovely flavours of mixed fruit, different to what I’m used to. It’s hard to pinpoint specific flavours – I get various tropical fruits, pistachio here too, nutmeg, mint. Long finish with mint, spice and sweet fruit.

Fercullen whiskey tasting

Fercullen Five Elements, 46% ABV

The fourth whiskey in this tasting was a new release that I hadn’t tasted before. Five Elements is an 18-year-old single malt that was released with a batch of 1500 bottles.

Lots of different cask types are involved in this whiskey: American oak, European oak, Ruby port, rum, and red wine. I count that to five, but I’ve also heard that the master’s hand – in this case that of Noel Sweeney, is the fifth element. Anyway, this was a great whiskey and you can still buy it, however it is not among what I would call nicely priced whiskeys.

Nose

Lovely nose similar to the 14-year-old, with tropical fruit and nutmeg, but also caramel, red berries, darker notes of dried fruits, panettone and dark sugar.

Palate

Very nice, there’s a range of inviting dark, chocolatey and sweet flavours. Dark sugar again, punschpraliner – which are Swedish sweets with chocolate and punsch flavour (my goodness, all these Swedish sweets!), then mixed tropical fruits, red berries, nutmeg. There’s a long finish with dark chocolate, orange peel and some dry spice at the end. Absolutely delicious!

This was a lovely tasting! It also made me, more than ever, realise how variable my palate is, or I suppose it’s more about how my brain interprets it! During the past year I’ve learned to always save a few drops from a sample, to come back to it later because my palate may have changed idea. It certainly did about these whiskeys.

Again, I’m happy about the opportunity to taste these whiskeys again, they are some lovely drops. The Five Elements is out of my price range but I’m delighted I could at least get a sample of it.

The Fercullen range is available to buy at the Powerscourt distillery online shop and from the usual online whiskey retailers.

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