North London Whisky Club – November 2021

North London Whisky Club – Thanks Giving, American Whiskey Celebration!

Well after the last tasting with Matt from the North London Whisky Club, how could we not come back for more. It felt only fitting having participated in an Independence Day tasting with The Spirt Specialist, that we join in for a Thanksgiving them with the North London Whisky Club. A great selection of American whiskies were available to try, and once again it was a fantastic evening.

Thanks Giving, Celebrating American Whiskey

Understandably all the drams we had were American. That being said, the range was varied! Everything from single-malts, bourbons, ryes, and corn mashes.

We were situated in the heated covered garden of the Gypsy Queen in Belsize Park; which created a cosy, intimate, friendly vibe. The whisky also offering plenty of warming qualities!

It was the largest in-person tasting that we have attended this year. Matt was still able to be a personable and interactive host. Answering everyones questions regardless of pre-existing whisky knowledge. And sharing lots of fun anecdotes and stories!

Tasting Notes

Uncle Nearest 1856, Premium Whiskey – 50% ABV

Nose: furniture polish, vanilla, American oak, honey, Bakewell tart, walnuts, clotted cream
Palate: savoury, woody, oak spice, earth musk, light vanilla, orange oil
Finish: maraschino cherry, vanilla, Bakewell tart, caramel

Rating: 4 out of 5.

 As a minimum this has to be matured for at least 2 years, however as a non-age statement we can on speculate. The mash mix for this whisky is 51% corn then the other 49% is made from wheat, barley and rye.

It claims it’s name from the historic figure Nathan Green who started working in the mid 1850’s.

A good way to start the evening, with some interesting flavours and history to go alongside!

Four Roses, Single Barrel – 50% ABV
Barrel 6.40

Nose: hazelnut, pear, cinnamon, caramel, liquorice, cinder toffee, almonds
Palate: peppery oaky spice, chilli warmth, burnt caramel, cloves, buttered rye toast
Finish: butterscotch, top of a Christmas cake, aniseed

Rating: 3 out of 5.

A traditional bourbon at 51% corn, this had great colour in the glass and wonderful oily legs in the glass.

The distillery name came from the founder proposing to his then girlfriend, the condition of a “yes” was the possession of a Rose Corsage and thus the Four Roses name was born.

Typically, 10 different types of bourbon are married together consisting of five different mash bills and two types of yeast.

This single barrel is just one of those variations hand picked by Brent Eliot. An interesting bourbon where the nose is certainly sweeter than the palate and that sweetness appears again on the finish.

Weller 12 y/o – 45% ABV

Nose: cherries, black-forest gateau, vanilla buttercream, kirsch, earthy 
Palate:  crunchy nut cornflakes, white pepper spice, hint of vanilla
Finish: cereal, earthy, light vanilla with savoury hints

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This is very drinkable, our first wheated bourbon and great to compare with a traditional corn bourbon. It has very cereal-y notes which isn’t surprising and offered some sweet and spice to it.

Although an easy drinker I think personally this would be good in a Manhattan or it would make for an interesting introductory dram!

Rittenhouse Rye – 50% ABV

Nose: creamy, savoury, hot buttered toast, butterscotch angel delight, hazelnuts and walnuts
Palate: spicey, warming, cinnamon, nutmeg, lots of nutty notes, soft and smooth
Finish: creamy vanilla, pepper spice, burnt sugar, buttered toast and caramel

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Well this is up there with some of the best Rye whiskies we have had. It appealed to both our sweet tooth and savoury notes with the nuttiness. Quite complex but straight forward enough for whisky amateurs like us to pick out the elements and how it was crafted.

Certainly would get this for the shelf to have neat but also to have in an old fashioned as it would add so much to the cocktail from the sweet buttery notes to the nuttiness that completed it.

Balcones, Texas Single Malt, Single Barrel – 53% ABV
No. 15958.

Nose: very cereal-y, gooseberry, tart, dry sugar, apple crumble, key lime pie, vanilla custard
Palate: peppery, sweet, brown sugar, fruity, Christmas spices and very warming
Finish: warming burnt sugar, light cream and burnt toast

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Now this is a very special bottle and a huge thank you to Matt at the North London Whisky Club for sharing this as this bottle isn’t available in the UK.

The whisky had a great mahogany colour in the glass and the mouth feel was thick and oily. The cereal notes balanced with tart gooseberry and creamy vanilla custard mixed with burnt toast were incredible. This genuinely maybe one of the best whiskies we have tried this year!

This particular distillery have seven different char levels for their cask with the highest being Alligator (of course it is). We can’t speak highly enough of this dram!

Final Thoughts

Another great evening with Matt, as you would have seen Matt always has an extra special whisky (last time it was the Johnnie Walker Black Label – Princess Street), he is a great host and extremely knowledgeable for both beginners and the seasoned vet in the whisky world. We can’t recommend these events highly enough. On top of this you get to visit some great pubs in London and meet other whisky lovers.

We enjoyed all the whiskies in this tasting but particularly the last two. We were joined by a colleague also who until now exclusively drank Scotch or Japanese whisky and he had a great time broadening his horizons with this selection and picking Matts brains.

We can’t wait to attend more sessions with him and hopefully see some of you there too!


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