St George’s Distillery Tasting Notes

Posted: September 27, 2011 in England, World Whiskies & Spirits

English Whisky Company

ST GEORGE’S DISTILLERY CASK TASTING

 English Whisky Company 30ltr American Oak Cask

Cask B1/0860

Dist: Dec 2010

Tasted: July 2013

A big, big nose of monumental oak vanillins with hints of coffee. No distillery character in sight whatsoever. A huge, full on, sweet palate with loads of creamy vanillins and white chocolate.

With water the nose becomes a bit grainy with hints of citrus coming through. The palate is softer and sweeter with a lovely mouth-feel and again a touch of citrus is now revealed.

English Whisky Company 30ltr European Sherry Cask

Tasted: Sept 2013

A big, clean, sweet and dark nose of sultana, date, walnuts along with a touch of herbalness. Toffee’d and treacly with plenty of gritty wood spices. With time it becomes quite floral (hyacinth?), showing some light chocolaty tannins along with hints of clove, black olives and light tarry notes.

Soft and juicy on the palate (even at cask strength) with dates, raisins and treacle coated walnuts. All the while the chocolaty tannins and alcohol develop. The youthful spirit can be detected as there is a touch of marc-like cereal spirit as well as a little peat. The lightly floral spirit is standing up to all the wood amazingly well and relegates all the sweet sherry character to the background. Wonderfully floral finish with some scented grape and lingering sweet spices.

With water the nose become very floral, yet still showing plenty of raisinated fruit. However the intense, lightly oiled and peated spirit comes through loud and clear. Dilution also emphasises the spirit character and earthy spices. The sherry has taken on a green nutty character, like I often find in Manzanilla sherries. A little short as the tannins encroach but the treacle notes linger well.

English Whisky Company Sauternes Cask

Dist: 2008/ Tasted: Sept 2013

An aromatic nose of sweet toffee, honey and grape. Lightly herbal with hints of barley, caramel, dried fruit and earth.

The palate is quite dry and very toffee’d with crème caramel, fudge, dried grape and oily toffee. Some herbal accented honey appears as well as a light cereal spirit note. Piquant alcohol cleans the palate allowing a little sweet tannin to show along with hints of coffee/ toffee. Quite a drying finish with plenty of lightly oiled tannins.

With water the nose becomes oilier, showing more herbal notes and wave after wave of lovely, warm, grapey spices and honey. A little more barley is noticeable as well as some biscuit spirit notes. The palate is lighter with a gentle, grapey/ honey character plus oily toffee’d spices. Again the spirit shows its youth with some light rose Turkish delight marc notes. Medium length with the spirit dominating the finish. Obviously it needs a few more years to integrate fully.

English Whisky Company Mixed Grain Spirit

Mated Barley, Rye and Wheat with Chocolate malt

Tasted: Sept 2013

A very toffee’d and vanilla laced nose with plenty of dark, spicy rye and spelt-like aromas coming through quite powerfully. The wheat adds a light, starchy, wheat flake note along with some oily barley and dark toffee/ molasses. Very intriguing! Quite spirit at the moment with plenty of youthfull, earthy, nutty cereal characteristics. This is very unusual and very distinctive. With time hints of cassia bark, balsamic vinegar and edgy, oily rye spices emerge.

The palate is intense and pungent. Quite earthy, opening with the oily cereal spirit and some huge rye spices. Very alcoholic, probably close to 65% I imagine but damn those spices are flying all over the place! When that eye wateringly intense alcohol has passed it has a fabulous, treacle, fat barley, coffee, chocolate and crunchy wheat flake finish. The spices are quite woody now but very succulent.. Lovely, oily, nutty after-taste. Wow! This could be England’s answer to the George T Stagg!

With water the nose shows more oily cereal with the dark, toffee’d, lightly chocolaty rye dominating. Maybe a little oily citrus can be discerned but there is still plenty of treacle-toffee. The palate is quite cereal too with a light citrus note appearing within the oily spices. Lightly floral now with hints of sweet violets. Very oily with a light treacle, chocolate finish and those rye spices lingering. Obviously has quite a few years to go, but………. It’s going to be damn good!


 

The English Whisky Company Distiller’s Elect 46%

Tasted: July 2014

Nose: Lightly phenolic with herbal accented peat and hints of elderflower, toffee and citrus.

Palate: Soft and caramel flattened. The caramel is probably natural but it flattens nevertheless. A sliver of lime appears but there’s not much happening here apart from the oak!

Finish: Soft and oaky (surprise!) with some light peat smoke and a touch of citrus as the spirit breaks free of the oak shackles.

Conclusion: Far too much oak. The spirit never stood a chance!

The English Whisky Company No Age Statement (Peated) 43%

Tasted: Sept 2014

The nose displays plenty of soft, sweet peat and sweet smoke. Good depth and intensity with hints of barley and salt.

The palate is slightly gristy with a good intensity of barley and sweet peat and more peat! Good length with a sweetly smoked finish.

The English ‘Original’ 43%

Tasted: Dec 2016

The nose displays plenty of soft vanilla oak and sub-tropical fruit – apricot, banana, melon along with hints of grass and barley. Quite Irish in style with the oak becoming quite ice-creamy and slightly perfumed, possibly indicating first fill American oak or even new casks.

The palate shows a little more barley character, but it pretty much follows the nose with sub-tropical fruit and creamy oak. Wonderfully soft and subtly herbal and malty finish with a salty, white chocolate after-taste.

The English ‘Smoky’ 43%

Tasted: Dec 2016

The nose is crisp, fresh and peaty with a passing resemblance to Caol Ila. Lovely sweet barley and creamy oak beneath, which fills the nose out quite well. Lightly spiced with orange, earth and a touch of seaweed.

The palate is soft and rounded with the creamy oak up first, which takes the edge of the peat, but it comes through with a medicinal, iodine edge. Hints of earth, coffee, vanilla and toasty oak on the middle. Long, crisp, salty, medicinal and herbal intense finish.

The Norfolk – Farmers Single Grain 45%

Produced from 8 different grains

Batch 01/2016/ Single Cask Btl: Nov 2016/ Tasted: Feb 2017

A very natural and earthy nose. Quite crisp and fresh with barley, lightly spiced rye, wheat flakes and fat corn notes. Subtle dried fruit follows with plenty of sweet-ish vanilla and toffee, which would indicate first fill American oak. Late chocolate malt notes.

The palate is lightly oiled with subtle cereal notes – barley, wheat flakes, corn and spicy rye. The oak is less intense and allows the youthful spirit notes to be the focus. Dried grainy fruit and a touch of chocolate malt on the middle. good length with lingering oak, wheat, rye and oily dried fruit. Light dusty cocoa powder after-taste. An intriguing mix of grains and oak.

 

 


 

THE CHAPTERS

St Georges Distillery Chapter 1 – 13 month old Malt Spirit 46%

First Fill American Oak/ Tasted: Oct 2009

Quiet soft aromas of high toned ‘new make’ cereal. It is very lowland-esque in character with rose petals, rose water and sweet candied almond notes. Its quiet rounded with the Caol Ila like garden fruits character quiet evident. Over time these floralaromas develop nicely. The palate is much like the nose, a bit straightforward at this stage, but it is quiet drinkable.

St Georges Distillery Chapter 2 – 14 month old Peated Spirit 46%

First Fill American Oak/ Peated to 50ppm/ Tasted: Oct 2009

Oddly enough this seems a lot more immature than the Chapter 1. Its really redolent of the ‘off the still cereal’aromas. Again there is a sugarwater sweetness, and although fairly heavily peated, the peat is pushed well into the background. The palate is very much like the nose. Lovely and fragrant with a pleasant oiliness and a touch of white fruits. The peat flavours have a wonderful purity and the peat has imparted more body and length to the spirit. It has a distinctly Ardbeg-esque character with a real sootiness. The length is pretty good and the peat fades out gently.

St Georges Distillery Chapter 3 – 18 month old Malt Spirit 46%

First Fill American Oak/ Tasted: Oct 2009

The aromasare very much like a light Spey. Quiet delicate with an abundance of high toned orange fruit and vanilla. It is obviously very youthful with some cereal notes and a faint earthiness. The buttery oakaromasarrive fairly promptly, which isn’t unexpected. It has a bit of a bracing/ garden fruit character to it that sort of reminds me of un-peated Caol Ila.

On the palate it has more of a ‘neutral spirit’ disposition, not quiet as fruity as the nose would suggest. It ha an obvious raw intensity and some light rose petal notes. The wood dries it out rather quickly.

I tried it with a drop of water and it gives the nose a pleasant sweetness, bringing out a sort of lactose-caramelaroma, along with a touch of violet and liquorice root. The rose petal scent takes on a bit of a manurey-decaying quality. However on the palate it just turns it to sugar water.

St Georges Distillery Chapter 4 – 18 month old Peated Malt Spirit 46%

First Fill American Oak/ Peated to 38ppm/ Tasted: Oct 2009

I’m surprised at the greater degree of ‘maturity’ the aromas display. This is very good. There is no shortage of sweet-peat, charred wood and heatheraromas. It has a touch of the Ardbeg about it (an un-coastal one that is!). It has an impression of greater depth and seems sweeter than the chapter 3, along with some honeyed barley. This all helps to take the edge of the inherent rawness.

The palate is soft and oily. The peat seems to give it a better balance, with the alcohol being less intrusive, although there is an intimation of the expected youthful/ cereal/ marc-like flavours. The peat has a wonderful purity and texture; it’s super clean and crumbly, definitely not a monster but an exercise in how balanced peat flavours add complexity. This oak dries out the finish, just like in the chapter 3, but the peat flavours linger and give it something of an after taste.

Again just like the Chapter 3 I would avoid the addition of water, even though on the nose it emphasises the orangey fruit.

St Georges Distillery Chapter 6 46% 70cl

First Fill Bourbon Cask 011-011/ Unpeated/ Tasted: Apr 2010

The colour shows that the additional 18 months has imparted more wood character, and it does show adding a more toasted note and maybe muting the natural oils that were more prevalent in Chapter 4. In saying that the initialaromasare of crisp barley, light grass and citrus. Although showing a tad more maturity than Chapter 4 it still retains a youthful cereal character. Finally the sweet American oak builds adding a touch of natural caramel.

On the palate the sweet oak sets out its stall from the off, with those caramel and toasted notes. Yes the oak dominates after a fashion but the spirit has developed more ‘whisky’ character with the gristy barley, citrus and grass flavours balancing the oak. It has a lovely intense middle with a touch of neutral-spirit-botanicals. The combination of the oak and alcohol shortens the finish. Again less oily than the Chapter 4.

With water the nose is more youthful with flower petal marc notes mingling with the botanicals. However the is a gloriously juicy apricot core surrounded by gristy porridge notes. The oak has become fudgeier in nature and is wonderfully clean and pure.

On the palate water releases some of the hidden oils and as the alcohol is not as sharp it has a more rounded mouth feel. Like the nose the oak is marvellously fudgey but the marc and botanical noteare still there. The oak comes back again on the finish leaving an oily/ oaky coating and a slightly lemon sherbet after taste. Coming along nicely!

St Georges Distillery Chapter 6 46%

First Fill Bourbon Cask 0449 – 0452/ Dist: Feb 2009 Btl: May 2012/ Tasted: Feb 2013

A lovely nose of juicy barley with a hint of cereal and lightly perfumed white flowers. Lovely crisp honey along with a touch of fleshy banana adds depth along with some creamy oak and herbs, all topped off with some delightful granulated sugar notes.

The palate is quite light in a Lowland-esque manner but with plenty of sweet barley and soft American oak. The oak does begin to bitter a touch but it’s countered by some lovely oils. Good length with hints of oily cereal and toffee in finish along with a slight minerality.

St Georges Distillery English Whisky Chapter 7 46%

Bourbon and 6 months finishing in Rum casks

Tasted; Dec 2012

Quite a youthful but wonderfully silky aromas of fresh apricot, grass and citrus. The rum casks add a beguiling juicy honeyed sweetness and a touch of dried fruit. Beautifully layered with a restrained demerara note.

The palate opens with some silky barley and apricot, flecked with honey. Elegant and light with just the perfect amount of oils. The American oak comes through on the middle with some gentle vanilla along with some poised, crisp citrus. The finish is a tad austere with that citrus note continuing but at the same time it’s wonderfully juicy as the light honey dovetails with the lime notes. Stunning!

The English Whisky Company Chapter 7 (Rum Finish) 46%

2014 Release/ Tasted: July 2014

Nose: Gristy and fresh aromas with plenty of lemon, grass and soft apricot. Lightly mineral with hints of white fruit and a touch of oak.

Palate: Soft and creamy with the emphasis firmly on the coffee/ caramel oak. The oak has reigned in the freshness of the nose but a touch of apricot and spices appears.

Finish: Reasonable length with the citrus finally emerging from the oak grip leaving a light Sauvignon Blanc-esque grassy after-taste.

Conclusion: I could have done with a little less oak on the palate.

St Georges Distillery Chapter 9 46%

First Fill Bourbon Casks 110/113/117/134

Peated/ Tasted: Sept 2010

Surprisingly astringent and coastal aromas, which bearmore than a passing resemblance to Laphroaig (although not as pungent). Briny and subtly peaty, developing a slight floral top note. Underneath there is a depth of youthful cereal/ barley with a hint of honey and the oak adding a burnt toffee/ caramel/ coffee nuance.

Slightly oily with an Irish softness and plenty of sweet, chewy malt along with an almost grainy nip. A touch of floral marc gives away its age as the delicate peat fires up, becoming more coastal and floral on the middle. The finish shows the clean underpinning oak structure although it does grip quite tightly at the end, giving a peppery-bitter finale.

Just like in the Chapter 6, it is evolving well and quiet quickly. The oak is only now starting to add character as opposed to taking away, although just like in the Chapter 6 it does bitter out the finish. I wasn’t able to taste this against the earlier peated bottling (Chapter 4) but after reading my notes, the Chapter 9 appears to be a lot more coastal in character, which can only, obviously come from the peat, asEast Harling, when I last looked was way inland!

St Georges Distillery Chapter 9 46%

First Fill Bourbon Cask 659 – 664/ Dist: Dec 2007 Btl: Apr 2012/ Tasted: Feb 2013

The nose has a lovely degree of slightly perfumed but earthy peat along with some gristy, lightly oiled cereal. Lightly phenolic with a touch of sweet barley and charred wood.

The palate opens with the gentle earthy-peat along with a touch of barley and some soft cinnamon-like spice. The sweet cereal melds with some lovely, fleshy apricot and banana on the middle and a hint of light charcoal. Quite a fresh, slightly spirity finish but a delightful peat dust finish.

St Georges Distillery Chapter 11 – 3 year old Heavily Peated 46%

Bourbon Casks 6.45, 6.47, 6.48

Dist: Mar 2008 Btl: 2011/ Tasted: July 2011

The nose is quite phenolic with dry, cumbly peat and Ardbeg-esque burnt wood, which adroitly masks the youthful cerealy spirit. There is a thankfully brief aroma of heavily burnt caramel before the lovely soft, sweet barley with hints of violets and leafy herbs arrives.

The palate is a bit on the shy side with the gentle, earthy peat flavours taking awhile to get going. Briefly some youthful cereal, shot through with a vein of crisp citrus appears before the alcohol finishes it off. A tad on the short side to be honest but the dry peat and burnt wood notes tarry awhile (as they say!)

Overall the palate is probably not quite as impressive as the nose but it’s not bad for its age.

The English Whisky Company Chapter 11 – 3 year old Heavily Peated 46%

Bourbon Casks 217, 218, 219, 220

Dist: Oct 2010 Btl: Nov 2013

Tasted: Feb 2015

A lovely nose of white fruit and intense, dusty peat. Plenty of sweet barley lurks beneath with a light mineral note. With time some burnt wood, liquorice and tar emerges.

The palate is full and barley’d with hints of white fruit, earth, burnt wood and dusty, sweet peat. Some youthful spirit notes show on the middle. Good length with plenty of peat and a lightly salty, dry, almost stony finish

St Georges Distillery Chapter 12 46%

Sherry Cask 0872/ Unpeated/ Tasted: Oct 2012

A pleasant, softly sweet nose of brown sugar and clean leafy Oloroso. The sherry pungency develops into dried fruit, liquorice and camphor along with some intertwined malty notes. The spirit itself can just about be discerned and it has an almost crystalised feel to it.

Oh dear that gun flint/ sulphur note wasn’t noticeable on the nose, but it is on the palate! The alcohol is quite piquant and it gives the middle a sort of hollow feeling, but the flavours are all back loaded, coming through on the finish with a touch of brown sugar sprinkled dried date, walnut and sherry spice. There’s not much in the way of distillery character evident but the after taste is all about the mouth-coating, chewy treacle.

A drop of water lightens the sherry aromas, bringing out a touch of burnt wood, earth and toffee. The palate has now been stripped down. Now there is some slightly oily, rose petal spirit character showing, but the sulphur taint is still unfortunately still noticeable. Lovely finish, all smoked bacon and rum like dried fruits and treacle. If it wasn’t for the sulphur this would have been a lovely sherry cask. Lets hope they release a cask that hasn’t been tainted.

English Whisky Company Chapter 13 (Haloween Label) 49%

Sherry/ Tasted: Dec 2013

Beautifully fresh aromas of lightly nutty sherry and light treacle. Quite malty with a lovely, crisp, herbal freshness. Very well balanced with hints of apricot, apple, barley and some buttery vanillins. With time the barley becomes sweeter and more aromatic with just a wisp of salty peat smoke emerging.

The palate is soft and nutty with light treacly sherry, malt, apricot, barley and green apple. Wonderfully complex with hints of white fruit, honeysuckle and vanilla coming through on the middle. Lovely intensity and freshness with a long, smoky, lightly peated, nutty and dark chocolaty finish.

The English Whisky Company Chapter 13 (St George Label) 45%

Tasted: July 2014

Nose: Aromatic and dusty with plenty of mature oak and tropical pineapple, apricot and melon. Elegant and deep with a touch of creamy vanilla, light coffee, oxidised fruit and earthy tannins.

Palate: Soft and elegant, opening with some coffee’d tannins followed by beautifully honeyed apricot and pineapple. Lightly creamy on the middle with vanilla and hints of granulated sugar sprinkled barley.

Finish: Very long and juicy with the succulent fruit lingering and a light spice note appearing. It finished with a delightful fresh citrus twist.

Conclusion: Beautifully mature and elegant.

English Whisky Company Chapter 14 46%

Unpeated 5/6 year old

Tasted: Dec 2013

Lovely, complex aromas of crisp, crunchy apple, maple syrup, toffee and chunky cinnamon spice. Beautifully aromatic barley and oodles of Bourbon-esque notes mingle with some lightly perfumed honeysuckle and citrus. With time the oak becomes quite fudgy.

The palate opens with the crisp green apple notes, followed by lightly herbal accented sweet barley. The honey although light is quite mouth-filling and some toffee fudge-like oak notes balance. Deliciously spicy and very long with a tongue tingling citrus finish. This spirit is maturing very well indeed!

English Whisky Company Chapter 14 46%

American Standard Barrels 057, 059, 487, 488

Dist: Sept 2009 Btl: July 2015

Tasted: Mar 2016

Slightly gristy and dusty barley to begin, followed by sweet apricot, sweet cereal and light honey. Succulent, yet subtle vanilla oak with late notes of apple and honeysuckle and building freshening citrus.

The palate is slightly herbal and grassy with barley and light honey. Crisp and gently citric on the middle with hints of bitter oak and an almost rye-like herbal character. Lovely balance as the subtle, creamy oak comes through on the middle. Long and citric with hints of green apple, pear and dusty barley on the finish. Dangerously drinkable!

English Whisky Company Chapter 14 46%

ASB 290, 291, 292, 293

Dist: Nov 2011 Btl: Nov 2016/ Tasted: Mar 2017

A lovely nose of soft but edgy barley, white fruit, apricot and hints of grass, malt and subtly toasty oak.

The palate, lightly oiled and soft with barley, grass, apple, pear, apricot with hints of vanilla and sweeter barley. Lightly herbal middle, with an almost rye-like character. Crisp, citric and almost salty finish.

English Whisky Company Chapter 15 46%

Peated 5/6 year old

Tasted: Dec 2013

The nose opens with a blast of briny-peat, tar, charcoal and bog myrtle with hints of iodine and burnt driftwood. Beneath is some fresh citrus notes and the nose definitely reminds me of old skool Caol Ila. When the peat calms down some rounded barley and fleshy apricot, banana and pineapple can be discerned.

The palate is quite citrus to begin with. Quite limey before the dry, dusty, tarry-peat arrives. Quite salty but that’s countered by the sweet barley, white fruit and apricot. There’s a big hit of tarry/herbal peat on the middle and it fades into a lovely dark chocolate and burnt wood finish. Like Chapter 14 the spirit is maturing amazingly well and definitely has the complexity of an 8 or 10 year old spirit now.

English Whisky Company Chapter 15 46%

Re-Tasted: Jan 2015

Nose: Deep and initially very honeyed – manuka and hyacinth with hints of citrus and a profusion of salty/ chlorinated notes which puts paid to the honey! With time it becomes strangely flat in the glass.

Palate: Soft, opening with oily caramel and slightly fleshy fruit. The honey builds pleasantly and hints of seaweed, salt and lightly medicinal peat comes through.

Finish: Reasonable length with an oily, salty finish.

Conclusion: It’s an odd one this. Left in the glass the aromas completely disappear! The palate has more character even if it is a little simplistic. A bit underwhelming to be honest.

English Whisky Company Chapter 15 46%

2016 WWA – Best English Single Malt

Re-Tasted: Feb 2016

Nose: Estery and fruity with pineapple, apricot and barley. Slightly perfumed with a delightful barley sheen. Hints of salt and peat emerge along with a slight savoury note.

Palate: Like the nose it is soft, estery and fruity with apricot, pineapple and barley. Subtly peated with a touch of vanilla oak and spice.

Finish: Long and barley’d with quite a salty finish an lingering peat.

Conclusion: A great whisky to start with.

English Whisky Company Chapter 15 46%

ASB 170, 171, 172

Dist: June 2011 Btl: July 2016/ Tasted: Mar  2017

Aromas of burnt wood, malt, barley and phenolic peat. Intense and crisp with hints of apricot and white fruit.

The palate opens with the dusty peat and barley with a touch of citrus, white fruit, tar and phenolic peat. Quite rich and oily on the middle with a long, burnt wood and sweet, heathery peat finish.

The English Whisky Company Chapter 17 ‘Triple Distilled’ 46%

Dist: Jul 2008 Btl: Sept 2015/ Tasted: Nov 2015

Light aromas, but showing a lovely barley sweetness along with hints of sub-tropical melon, apricot, honey and hints of herbs. With time the oak comes through with a distinct toasty, buttery, almondy, ‘Bourbony’ character.

The palate is light and elegant, opening with some slightly floral, sweet barley and fleshy apricot and melon. The creamy, slightly toffee’d oak underlies and a touch of citrus brings a fresher element. Long and creamy with a light, herbal, rye-like note joining the oak, which bitters ever so slightly at the end.

The English Whisky Company Chapter 17 ‘Triple Distilled’ 46%

ASB 533, 534, 535/ Dist: Jul 2008 Btl: Sept 2015/ Re-Tasted: May 2016

A fresh, grassy and estery nose of apricot, banana and hints of vanilla and earthy spices.

The palate is a little fuller as the toasty oak gives it more weight an hints of coffee. Again estery and fruity with barley, apricot and banana. Earthy, malty middle with a long, spicy and citric finish.

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