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Thursday 4 September 2014

A Quick Post: Spey Royal Single Malt Scotch Whisky

The Queen with a pint of Spey Royal Choice single malt whisky.
Or beer, we're not quite sure which.
It’s rushing towards the end of the week and despite the seasons taking a very clear turn from summer into autumn the sun has crept out again to warm our backs here at Caskstrength HQ.

With an early start this morning to send off some bits of work and generally get our house in order for the weeks ahead, we find ourselves with a rare moment of calm; a peaceful oasis in the middle of a busy few weeks. 

So while we have this comma in the middle of a long sentence, it gives us a chance to pick a sample off our review table and write a brief post on something that, quite frankly, probably should have been reviewed a while ago. Thanks goodness this isn’t a film blog, or some of the samples on our ‘To Be Reviewed’ list would have gone from the cinema, to DVD, to Netflix and then Channel 4 already...

The stand out offering on our table of drams is a rather unusual one; a quite majestic bottle from the Speyside Distillery. Bottled in limited quantities, it simply known as Spey Royal Choice and is only available for purchase at Historic Royal Palaces, which includes the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House, Kensington Palace and Kew Palace.

Having decamped from my Central London apartment to the Royal Borough of Windsor late last year, I’m a little put out that this isn’t available at Windsor Castle (which does stock their own selection of wines and spirits), but the idea appealed to me nonetheless. 

The Speyside Distillery is a distillery that you don’t see a whole lot of malt from. Only starting production in 1990, it took from the early 1960’s to lay all the stones and install the stills. The bottle itself comes in a huge wooden and leather box, with a certificate of authenticity. Not styled to my taste, to be honest... but then their focus seems to be on the Asian market with a new partnership with ex-footballer Michael Owen, announced earlier in the year to promote their products in the Far East. 

Royal Choice - Spey from The Speyside Distillery – Single Malt Scotch Whisky – Bottle No. 92 of 3194 bottles. 46% abv - £150.00

Nose: The initial aroma on this screams youth, with some light notes of honey nut cornflakes and vanilla and rose petal marshmallow. Some ginger and herbal notes (green veg steamed) develop into oaty creaminess (think porridge with whisky on top).

Palate: A world away from the nose, which isn’t too inviting, this does give some honey, heather and ripe banana notes. It isn’t overly complex or powerful, and isn’t trying to be too clever. Rather large and mouthfilling, after the honey the herbaceous notes attack giving it a rather oaky tone. A pretty simple whisky but at least the palate isn’t following in the footsteps of the nose.

Finish: More herbs, honey and delicate spices (cinnamon/nutmeg) but a slightly bitter after taste.

Overall: This whisky feels youthful and over coloured. The construction has probably done the best it can using the whiskies available, but this might have been better as a blend and not a single malt. Not adventurous enough for me, this sits on the fence from a flavour perspective.

Time to move on, and move on quickly, we think.