• Knight Ponderers

January 2021 - A Scotsman, an Irishman and a Taiwanese man (can't walk into a bar...)

For the new year we welcome some new members from afar - as far as Huddersfield anyway... So a warm welcome to Ali and Alan to the fold. The perks of our new world are that it allows old friends who have moved away as well as new friends to join in with the evenings.

So without further ado, let's look at 2021's first trio of drams.


1. Kavalan Podium

(70cl, 46.0% vol)

The club are no stranger to the delights that Kavalan produce, the distillery has quite the reputation now and really is an exciting newcomer (perhaps not so new these days) to the stage.

This particular example is a mixed maturation of virgin oak and some of Kavalan's refill casks.

Tasting Notes: (Master of Malt)

Nose: Toasty, fragrant perfumed oak and cedar, tuck shop notes, biscuit and star anise.

Palate: Mango and Rich Tea biscuits, banana leaf, caramel and honey.

Finish: More cedar, some cocoa and spiced orchard fruit.

As always we give a nose ourselves before reading the notes that others have made for the whisky, so on the nose we found a lemony, wooded and oaky aroma, with a biscuity undertone to bring a bit of sweetness.

“Better taste than it smells.”

On the palate we had a lot of wood, almost to the point that it tasted of tree sap, it was also remarked that we couldn't get the mango notes that were suggested.


Finally on the finish, more wood and some deeper fruit notes, overall a little disappointing compared to other expressions from the same distillery.


2. Teeling Ginger Beer Cask Finish

(70cl, 46.0% vol)

This is a whisky that at the time was sold out, but looks to have been recirculated again as at time of writing there is availability. But also one that a number of us were excited about trying - the age old classic combination of whiskey and ginger.

Teeling are no stranger to trying different finishes, with the Irish market as a whole pushing the envelope under the slightly less restrictive legislation than their Scottish counterparts have to adhere to. This one is perhaps one of the more off the wall attempts - even as far as they have been known to go.

Tasting Notes (Master of Malt):

Nose: Honeycomb, fresh ginger root and a touch of treacle.

Palate: Melted butter, custard cream biscuits, another helping of spicy yet sweet ginger, leading into cinnamon and dried orange peels.

Finish: Festive spices and fresh vanilla pod.

Our take - on the nose - Ginger nuts, absolutely mega levels of ginger nuts! Plus ginger, lemon and ginger cake, a touch of treacle and molasses.

Moving onto the palate, a real whack in the face of fresh ginger, the nose perhaps belying quite how much the finishing cask has influenced the final product. It really does dominate the whiskey to the point where it is more of a ginger spirit than what we would recognise as a whiskey. Lots of the club absolutely love it - me, I'm not so sure! I wasn't alone in this opinion however.

"I love whiskey, I love ginger, but I think in this instance I would like to enjoy them separately."

On the finish, more ginger(!) but also some orange peel and citrus with spice coming through. A mixed reception from the club, some absolutely loved it, so thought it was so-so, and some really couldn't get on with it. Resulting in a mixed bag of ratings to get an average of 3.


As has now quite rightly become customary for our January meeting, we had a Rabbie Burns reading from our resident Scotsman; Robert. This year we had 'Ode to a Mouse' and we must thank Robert for his gusto when it comes to an authentic and worthy delivery.

For those interested, although unfortunately not from our very own Robert, you can hear a reading of it here -


3. Kilchoman Am Bùrach

(70cl, 46.0% vol)

Finally we have our sole Scotch offering for the night, an Islay no less. As we jest with Eddie about his obsession with Kilchoman as a distillery, no one really minds too much as they have such a distinctive flavour even as far as Islays go - Perhaps we had become accustomed to this from exposure -

“I'm going to throw my hat in and say it's a Kilchoman.” “Spot on!”

This particular expression would be what Bob Ross might refer to as a 'happy little accident' - we are certainly happy that it came into being.

The story goes that some of the Machir Bay was mistakenly mixed with some Port casked Kilchoman, but it was decided that they should roll with it, and created this wonderful concoction which they christened 'Am Bùrach' - Gaelic for 'The Mess'!

Tasting Notes (Master of Malt):

Nose: Honeycomb, red apples, smoky turf earthiness, summer berry tart with extra thick double cream.

Palate: Lemon bon-bons and red liquorice, savoury basil and roasted barley, cassia and black pepper.

Finish: Just a whiff of coastal air on the finish, with continued red berry brightness.

So our take on 'The Mess' - on the nose, a really pleasant, creamy smokiness, with those unmistakeable deep berry notes from the port influence. One of those where no-one takes a sip of it for a good while, as we take in the rapturous aroma.

Onto the palate, phenolic at the beginning moving into the lemony sweets, and then into a pleasing saltiness. For the finish we move into a creamy strawberry, with deep cherries and still the overarching balanced smoke flavour that carries throughout the taste.

This went down a storm, a really rich dram that almost everyone really enjoyed.


As always, a wonderful evening shared with everyone, keeping the club alive during these testing times and giving us all something to look forward to each month!

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