Updated: Dec 1, 2021
54% ABV, Single cask, specially bottled by Waxhouse Whisky
The guys at Waxhouse have pulled a rabbit out of the proverbial hat with their 4th release. What I genuinely love about this small and very new independent bottler is the fact they buck the trend and like to throw a few curveballs. This latest bottle is no exception. An English (yes, ENGLISH), whisky that is just 1 month off celebrating its fifth Birthday, and one that has gone through that magical STR process. This is a 3-step process that the late Dr Jim Swan pioneered with a number of distilleries he worked with. It stands for Shave Toast Re-char.
Shaving is where the residual material/remains of the previous contents & impurities of the cask are removed by using a process that shaves the inside of the cask to expose the oak. Toasting is done by inserting a piece of equipment inside the empty cask that heats up to such a degree, that the interior surface is effectively 'toasted', caramelising the natural sugars found in the wood. Re-charring is where the inside of the cask is basically set on fire resulting in a layer of charcoal being created allowing greater penetration of the spirit and promoting a greater extraction of flavour. Clever stuff, eh. STR is generally carried out on ex-wine casks, and the end-result on the whisky is just beautiful.
Appearance: Golden honey. Thin, waxen legs.
Nose: Honey- drizzled fruit with a subtle spiced-sweetness. Moist and slightly under-baked pain au raisin straight out of the oven. Vanilla sponge. Sat in the glass for a little longer, there are notes of a red berry compote sitting on some warm custard with a side helping of Lyle’s Golden Syrup. A subtle vanilla-laden oakiness sits in the background.
Palate: Sweet & oily with a lovely balance of tongue-prickling mild pepper. Again, that sweet pastry element is there in the flavour with emphasis on the custard filling. A very faint grassiness appears before the sweet buttery viscosity washes over it.
Finish: Mouth coating, sweet & viscous. The gentle pepper-tingle tapers off leaving a lovely warm glow.
Conclusion: 4 years old. (actually, only a month off 5 years old), but wow. The effect the STR process can have on a cask and its contents is just incredible. And when the quality of the spirit is so good, it's quite literally a marriage made in heaven and is a beautiful ongoing 'tip of the hat' to the late Dr Jim Swan’s genius.
I could drink this anytime.
Available exclusively for £65 on the Waxhouse Whisky website: https://waxhousewhisky.com/products/release-004