13 Nov 2012
While I’m hardly an expert on the thousands of varieties of scotch, I’ve gotten to know my way around most of the better-known brands and a few lesser-known malts. So when I noticed a bottle I hadn’t seen before at my local Virginia ABC liquor store (I’m still getting used to the fact that in Virginia liquor stores are a state-run monopoly), it piqued my interest.
Edradour is billed as “Scotland’s smallest distillery” and the numbers support the claim, although recently even smaller distilleries have opened. Edradour is a three-man operation (though I read they recently are down to two) and it produces only 95,000 liters per year, or 12 casks a week. (By comparison, Glenlivet, the best-selling scotch in the U.S., produces just under 6 million liters a year.) Interesting fact: With 100,000 visitors a year, Edradour is almost certainly the only whisky distillery in Scotland with more visitors than liters produced per year.
While the distillery traces its roots to 1825, it upped its quality in the past decade when new owners took over. Before that it was known for variation from batch to batch. With those problems behind them, it now makes a variety of single malts, including a number of special finishes using Bordeaux, Sauternes, and port barrels.
The only variety available at my store was the 10 Year, which I picked up for about $50. It’s bottled at 86-proof and is copper amber in color. The nose shows sherry, dates, and candied almonds. On the palate, it’s thick with rum notes, toffee, dried fruit, and toasted barley. The relatively short finish features more dried fruit, cream, and hints of vanilla.
It’s hardly the most refined single malt I’ve tried, but its rich mouthfeel and thick sweetness make it an excellent pairing with a fine cigar. It stands up to full-bodied Nicaraguan smokes. I tasted it with both the Tatuaje TAA Edition 2012 and the Cuenca y Blanco (now known as CyB), and found both to be excellent with a straight pour of Edradour 10.
photo credit: Stogie Guys