Ok beer review #3 and another polarizing choice. So yeah, brettanomyces… the wild yeast that causes reviewers to say the word funk more than James Brown did. Let’s go with the musical analogy for a little longer.
Funk/psychadelia can be a powerful weapon in the right hands, think of someone like Bootsy Collins, who embodied that Motown groove and then just took off to outer space with it. Then you can hand the funk down to someone else and get something like Stu Hamm. Ok no offense to Stu Hamm, he is a phenomenal player, it’s just too steeped in comfort and forced for me.
I feel that way about my experiences with Brett. In the right hands you get really special beers where there is integration and balance with just enough strange, to get your mind guessing.
On the other hand we have this beer.
Nose: Bad charcuterie, moist gym bag, salami, the hops smell like a ganja fiend. Moldy lemon slices also a floral musky scent.
Mouth: spicy, strange and sharp. Grapefruit, curdled milk, astringent citrus pith.
This is an interesting experience, not something I could see myself consuming with any regularity. Again I’m not Brett-phobic, I just don’t get enough wow overall to wade through the tang of that dank funk.
I have a theory some of the more successful brett beers are ones that have been blended with a mix of new and old batches or refermented with fruits. It removes some of the uncertainty in the result.
Ok let’s start by saying I will not be referring to any lighter style/floral scotch with the prefix “lady” and yes I know there difference between men and women but I wouldn’t call all women rather delicate flowers either, not for fear of backlash but because it’s trite and frankly just so ridiculous.
Nose: Malty, golden delicious apples, slightly sour honey/mead, there is also a delicate floral nectar side, orange blossom and seabuckthorn. It’s all fairly subtle, there is a touch of white wine on the nose (the first time it made me think of vinho verde). Despite the lightness the nose if very different, kind of heady, in time you get touches of blond tobacco and white pepper.
Palate: Warm, spicy and sweet. It’s got a good malty and creamy body, cookie dough, malt biscuits, milk chocolate & corn flakes. Then ginger both fresh and a bit of pickled, honey a touch of wax and vanilla.
The finish is rather short and the mouth while round is not very fat, the biggest deception is the palate that loses all the promise of the nose, none of those tobacco and pepper and super weird fruity flavors really come to the fore.
I really want to dig this whisky, I never dislike it when I have a dram but believe that overall there isn’t one aspect that grabs my attention enough. Perhaps a good place to start someone who has only encountered harsh blends. That said it doesn’t turn me off trying other expressions from the same producer. I am very intrigued by their vintage range, same goes with the peated ones that seems to be getting quite a lot of attention.
*Birds and bees illustration by Tom Lindsay.