Homeblend 17: Double Whinnie

by Matti

Yes, I know, i’ve been gone for a while. I love you too, I’ll never leave you again and let’s get to the drinking, shall we? Actually, I’ve been working on another whisky related project (my dutch visitors may know it: WhiskyVinder), which has been taking up a lot of my spare time. As a result I’ll be posting a little more infrequently here, but the upside is my experimentation is going on at the same pace, so you will be seeing only the cream of the crop (and occasionally, for comic relief, the bottom of the barrel).

Right, this week I have two variations on a theme. Both are based on a blend of Dalwhinnie 15yo and Glen Elgin 12yo, with one very affordable Speyside malt added to each. Before doing these blends, having tasted both the Aberlour and the Glenfarclas (and having found them fairly similar), I did not expect a big difference. I was wrong.

A schematic representation of the whisky homeblends 'El Aberwhinnie' and  'El Farwhinnie', containing Aberlour 10yo, Glenfarclas 10yo,  Dalwhinnie 15yo and Glen Elgin 12yo Single Malts.

El Aberwhinnie is a surprisingly tart smelling blend. I detect lemon, white grapejuice, a trace amount of vanilla and some sherry in the background, but the overall impression is fairly acidic (not unpleasantly so, I must add).

The taste is very spicy! Aniseed is very much present, as well as ginger and cinnamon. The sultanas from the Aberlour do get a say, but not nearly as much as I would have expected. In the finish, which is medium-long, the sultanas have turned into raisins and the general spicy theme continues.

Overall, this reminds me of Amrut due to the spicy nature, but it lacks the koriander flavour I tend to associate with the Indian single malts. It is quite good, but is let down slightly by the fact it doesn’t linger very long and has a fairly watery mouth-feel.

El Farwhinnie starts off bold: the nose exudes sherry and vanilla. In spades. Not much else seems to be happening, but as simple as it is, it pleases my olfactory receptors immensely.

The taste then:  sweet raisins, sherry and sweet ginger remind me distinctly of ‘boerenjongens’ (a Dutch drink consisting of raisins soaked in brandy). This continues into the finish, which is raisiny, spicy, fairly long and ends on a slight metallic note.

Compared to the El Aberwhinnie, this is much sweeter and much more sherried. It adds a finish to the Glenfarclas where as a single malt it doesn’t have much of one. This, to me, makes it more interesting than the Glenfarclas by itself. And that is what we call: a result.

It’s amazing what difference 33% can make. Even though both Speysiders have very similar tastes when tasted separately, they have a decidedly different effect in a blend. The Aberlour takes a back seat and lets the flavours in the other malts shine through whereas the Glenfarclas muscles its way to the front. Very useful information for future blends! For now I’ve mixed up some more of both, as I like both of them at least as much as the base malts.