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Whiskies By The Ten: An Intriguing Series

08/03/2016

A selection of whiskies from the latest release of The Ten series – a collection bottled to represent different regions and styles around Scotland – has landed at The Oak Barrel.

Bottled by French whisky giant La Maison du Whisky, they have a reputation for selecting exceptional casks. On top of that, these expressions were drawn from independent bottler Signatory Vintage’s stocks – one of Scotland’s most prestigious bottlers.

The Ten, originally launched in 2010, is intended as an ‘educational’ series – from #0 to #9 the lower the number the lighter the whisky, the higher the heavier. But these expressions are more than ‘entry level’.

Bottled at natural colour, all the focus has been placed on flavour and style – not whether they’re going to look sexy enough on a shelf. In the lower numbers, particularly, the use of older casks has allowed distillery and regional styles to shine through without being overpowered. Often than results in bizarrely light-coloured whiskies.

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Even after 13 years in the cask the Longmorn (#4) still has little more than a light Chardonnay tinge to it, but the flavour is quite meaty.

The gun smoke-y Edradour (#5) and as-clear-as-Sauvignon Blanc Clynelish (#3) are also intriguing drinks, carrying the trademarks of their respective distilleries.

An equally clear Caol Ila (#7) has a strong ember-driven nose but quite a light palate. Just as you think it’s going to dry up the finish emerges and lasts longer that the palate would have suspected.

Often with The Ten series, what the eyes see and what the tastebuds receive are two different things.

The heaviest of the range, the Bunnahabhain (#9), is a classic Moine (peated) cask – dense and earthy with salty, oily textures.

In a whisky industry that more often than not will employ colouring agents – even for light coloured whiskies – it’s both refreshing and fascinating to see these pure forms. 

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Scott Fitzsimons