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Issue 146 - The task of seasoning

Whisky Magazine Issue 146
September 2017


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The task of seasoning

Our blenders start their journey

George Keeble
A new year, a new cask, a new battle! I learnt a lot from last year's challenge. I knew the style of whisky I wanted to make and, with calculation and sensibility, I made it. Balderdash to that, I say! I've decided to throw all caution to the wind… Last year I chose to season my cask with Solera 1847, a cream sherry from the world-renowned producer Gonzalez Byass. This year, in the spirit of crackpot adventure, I've decided to use a libation I've never heard any whisky-maker toy with before. I have chosen to season my cask with a liquid that was once the most popular drink in the world. This is a tipple that most are familiar with and one that has seen a great resurgence in recent years… I speak of mead.

So once again a dainty cask perches on the end of the bar at Soho Whisky Club, this time absorbing honey wine. There are several styles of mead; still, sparkling, sweet, dry, and many that are flavoured with a wide variety of herbs, flowers and spices. I have opted for the most classic style of mead – one made simply from water, honey and a little yeast. As an occasional imbiber of mead, not only am I eager to discover the effect it has on my blend, but I'm also excited to taste the oak-aged mead post-seasoning. Two birds, one stone, as they say. I have wondered why whisky producers have never experimented with mead. Perhaps some have but found the result to be unpleasant. Or perhaps it's because mead is not generally oak-aged, although no doubt it used...

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