I mentioned in my last review that I ended up drinking a dram that was one of two that changed my mind about things. The other was an independent bottling from a dead distillery that was torn down a year after I was born. From one of the best independent bottlers on the planet that no longer exists. From Italy.
Take a moment for that. This bottle comes out, and I don’t recognize anything. And it’s not one of those situations like when you find out she’s got a penis and you were in a mood for vagina. At no point was I lazily sucking a D, so it was a good surprise.
North Port was created in 1820, eventually became part of DCL, and SMD, then was mothballed in 1983… then a Safeway bought the land. So it’s gone. It’s not coming back, unless people can start growing their own food and using photosynthesis to gain energy. Then we’ll be cool.
But this isn’t just any North Port Sestante Very Rare. Sestante is a legendary independent bottler that ceased working in 1990. So basically once Grunge was in, they were out, though it was probably for different reasons. The bottles are rare, and there’s quite a few 70s Ardbegs from them as well.
So it’s a dead distillery from a dead Independent Distiller and we’re all dying, one second at a time. Anymore death and it’d be a goth orgy.
Let’s see how this is, shall we?
Age: 15 years
Colour: 10YR 6/6
Nose: Coconut, honey, chocolate, cherry foam, raisin
Initial nose is just coconut and honey. After some what, it’s a slight chocolate element, with some honey. More water? Cherry foam and raisins.
Three different types of whisky, none of which are impressive on their own. But it’s the same dram (unless I was way more drunk than I thought and someone’s playing a game on me) that changes only due to water. It’s… odd.
Taste: Cinnamon, cloves, almond, floral, chocolate, bitter cherry, milk, raisin
Initially this is all cinnamon and cloves. Water? More almond, floral aspects. More water? Almond turns to bitter cherry (but not too bitter), with milk and raisins.
Confused? Join the club. Again, by themselves, each of this whiskies distinct flavour profiles aren’t that complex. Taken together? Odd.
Finish: Nutmeg extract, raisin, wasabi peas, nutmeg, marzipan, cherry, chocolate, coconut, basil
Initial finish is nothing but nutmeg extract. Pure extract. The kind of stuff that you make in high school Chemistry class, are told not to drink it, do anyways, and then wake up in time to have some whisky in your 30s.
Again, water changes this finish from some one-note nonsense into a hot, raisin mess. And then more water makes it tastes really interesting, with lots of chocolate and coconut. Probably my favourite aspect of the chameleon dram.
Conclusion: So again, I run into an issue of how to score this. At the end of the day, this was 3 interesting drams with nice finishes (save the first) that all came out of the same bottle. Under normal circumstances these would be 76 for me. Or maybe a 78 for the third aspect, due to the finish. A 72 for the first one due to the NUTMEG.
However given it’s all in the same malt, I can’t really give it that. This is quite unique, so it gets bonus points. You add water, you’re surprised. Rinse (literally) and repeat. It’s a lot of fun, and certainly an experience.
Scotch review #589, Highland review #104, Whisky Network review #982