Phil & Simon Thompson, Distilled in Sutherland 2010 (56.5%) - 88/100
Phil & Simon Thompson - oh my goodness - this indie bottler has been a hot (personally, mine too) favourite in the whisky aficionado circle. Hip/pop art inspired labels with consistent cask selection, it is a sure deadly combination.
Sutherland malt eh? As far as I know, only one distillery operates in Sutherland (i.e at Brora, Sutherland KW9 6LR -Phone:+44 (0)1408 623 000, Web: www.discovering-distilleries.com/clynelish) - sooooo, I really wonder what this is. Just in case you still don't catch the ball, Thompson Bros affixes a rather cute enticing pussy on the label - surely, by now, the cat must be out of the bag ?
The hallmark of this distillery is its waxy, oily, fruity, sometimes minerally goodness. So how does this youngling compares with its elder distant cousins?
Nose (22): Initial approach is harsh, but give in time to swim in the glass, a very nice variant of maltiness emerges - some kind of chalky, stoney notes follow closely. Bottled at a strong 56.5% abv, unexpectedly, the nose is slightly closed due to the high proof. But this cute cat really swims well with water! As far as I know only tigers swim, right? 3 drops into a 20ml pour - explosion of minerals, paraffin... on point with what I would expect from the little black cat.
Palate (21): Very vibrant, spicy at the tip of the tongue. With water, fatty wax, oils, with citrus notes at the end. Luscious oiliness coats the top of your mouth cavity. This is a dram worth keeping and holding in your mouth for a longer time - you will be rewarded. 4th sip, citrusy and flinty notes make an appearance - am I eating a candle or what?
Finish (22): This is the best part. Bladesharp grassiness, and surprisingly, a tinge of toastiness - toasted nuts I think?! Finish isn't too long, but don't get me wrong, its not a bad thing afterall. Done with the dram, almost forgot that this is a youngling at 9 years young ... imagine this a decade later in the cask, that surely deserves a tiger on the label.