Newsletters may be annoying and clog the inbox, but not all of them are spammy. Some week ago, I received a nice newsletter from the people at Gortinore distillers, that a new Natterjack whiskey was now for sale – the Natterjack cask strength.
I enjoyed the first Natterjack, and was very excited about the idea of one at cask strength. Obviously it wouldn’t be the same batch, but it sounded very intriguing so I ordered one straight away.
The future distillery
In recent days we’ve heard the good news that Gortinore finally have been granted planning approval for their new distillery in Kilmacthomas, county Waterford. The building has been an old woolen mill and later a storage house for Flavahan’s porridge oats. Now, there are big plans for a distillery with a visitor centre, and I wish Aidan, Lisa and everyone else involved the best of luck with everything that lies ahead!
The first Natterjack whiskey was released last year – then a more subtle blend. I wrote a post about it in September 2019, that you can read here.
The cask strength whiskey
While the first Natterjack was what I’d call an entry level whiskey, this new release in my opinion is in a totally different league, with a lot more to offer in terms of flavour and complexity.
The Natterjack cask strength is also a blend of grain and malt whiskey, matured in ex-bourbon casks and finished for at least six months in extra charred virgin oak. This cask has been charred to level 4 which brings out some extra flavour goodness from the wood.
It is bottled at 63%, in 50 cl bottles. I personally really like the idea of smaller sized bottles for this kind of limited release because it means that more people can get access to it. And it looks like there are still bottles available at Celtic whiskey shop. People, go there and buy one right now!
My first nosing of this was an explosion of pronounced aromas of toffee/caramel, like when you open a bag of caramel filled chocolates. There’s mixed dark/lighter chocolate, orange peel, cinnamon, a hint of cloves and nutmeg, and wood. There are also some darker fruit notes.
Nice creamy mouthfeel, with much of the same characters as were on the nose. Intense warm spice, creamy toffee, orange, Riesen chocolates, and oak. The high ABV makes it quite stingy, but a drop of water cuts the alcohol sting nicely to open up the flavours. With more water, the citrus flavours come forward a bit more.
Long pleasant finish with spice, toffee and dark chocolate.
To me this is a gorgeous whiskey. Dense dark flavours mixed with lighter fruit and a touch of spice.
I have a weakness for the toffee/chocolate heavy flavour profile, and with the orange and spice mixed in, it takes me back to the Christmases of my youth.
I’m surprised that this whiskey isn’t sold out yet. There is a high demand for cask strength whiskeys in Ireland and this is a truly lovely dram. Natterjack isn’t among the more talked about brands though, and this is probably the reason.
I want to applaud Gortinore for this expression, and will happily sip it now and then. I have a feeling it won’t last too long though – lucky me that I decided to buy a second bottle!