Beinn Dubh – The Black Mountain – Speyside Distillery
£49.95 from The Whisky Exchange
I go into this review with a little caution. Cu Dubh was one of those whiskies that a lot of whisky aficionados hated, because it was gimmicky and over coloured and some just didn’t like the taste, personally I never got around to try it. Beinn Dubh is the follow up, the Black Mountain.
First experience of this bottle is interesting. It’s quite dark a liquid after all, but held. Up to the light and it has a very nice red hue about it:
On opening my bottle I did have a bit of a cork fail, it snapped very easily, hopefully just a once off, but be aware nonetheless. Thankfully I have a supply of old corks floating about and quickly utilised a replacement.
This whisky is a NAS (No age statement), with colouring (I would presume for many reasons), in the neck tag included it does state this whisky had been finished in toasted port casks from Portugal. I like port 🙂 On with the taste.
It certainly has a lot of port about the nose. It’s like being in the port cellars in Portugal in fact, more intense, with a glass of ruby hung around your neck. There is some prominent charred oak. Burnt caramel. Burnt strawberry jam. Along with other various juicy berries bubbling away in an overused pan. A little buttered burnt toast. Some cigarette tobacco. Chilli jam. Brown sugar. Grapes. Red berries and more port notes, and more than a touch of dark chocolate.
A lovely thick sweet fruity arrival. Mouthfeel is quite thick for a 43% whisky, I wonder if there is an element of lesser filtration in place for this. The flavours are very port biased, lots of red fruit jamminess, with a little burnt oak. The fruit is the big thing here though, there isn’t room for a lot else. There is some chocolate in the background, and some other burnt confectionary. The development does more of the same, thick, fruity, a little salty butter on some well done (not completely burnt) toast. Later in the development there is a little bit of bitterness, but it’s not too off putting and you really have to search for it. The more sipping done the fruitier it gets. It’s moreish stuff.
Medium length. More red fruits, charred oak, a touch of shaved chocolate. Warming, not harsh.
After a splash of water is added and a little time in the glass the nose has more of the tawny port about it, with oak tannins more prominent within the fruit. Otherwise the nose is pretty much consistent as the undiluted. The palate is slightly let down as it is less viscous now. We still have a nice bunch of stewed berries and toasted bread and butter, but there is also a little added staleness, old dusty warehouse which adds to the theme, or detracts depending on if you like that kind of thing. The finish is still fruity and warming and quite lush. With or without water? Errrrmmm, a big dram, half without, then add a few drops. 🙂
This is thoroughly quaffable stuff. It’s not overly complex or one to spend a lot of time contemplating or finding flavours, it’s a drinker and a bloody enjoyable one at that. I have to say, I REALLY like this whisky. It is an awesome session whisky, easy sipping, frequently sipping and potentially dangerous for that reason. Don’t be put off by the overly dark hue, there’s softness and flavour underneath.
Much thanks to Speyside distillery for the official sample.