Whisky and Wisdom, by Andrew Derbidge
Chief’s Son has released their 2021 Distiller’s Select release. Matured in French Oak ex-Apera casks (some of the earliest filled by the distillery), it’s a special drop that seriously delivers. My personal thoughts as follows….. Nose: The fragrant, resiny scent of apera and the traits of French Oak immediately waft out of the glass. Sweet confectionery notes abound: Musk, licorice all-sorts, sarsaparilla, and wine gums. Also some leatherwood honey. Palate: Rich, dense flavours. Hints of coffee and Kopiko lollies. Crème caramel with a particularly dark toffee on top, or perhaps something chocolatey. Then come the dried fruits notes you’d associate with a dark and particularly boozy Christmas pudding…. with brandy butter dripping off the sides! The strength of 48% is near perfect and delivers all the flavour with just the right balance of heat. Finish: The Christmas pudding flows on for a stretch, leaving a solid footprint that slowly turns a little herbaceous. It’s slightly drying, but not unpleasantly so. Comments: Fans of sherried whiskies who cut their teeth on Scotch examples of the style will be accustomed to sherried whiskies that have been matured in either American or Spanish oak. This example – like so many other Australian apera casks – is actually French oak. The difference is subtle but clearly identifiable, and it has a marked impact on the resulting flavours, generating notes of coffee and chocolate. The mouthfeel is rich and slightly oily. Well made and very drinkable, this is certainly one of the most well-balanced and integrated apera cask Australian releases.
Well done, Naomi and Stuart! . . . . .