||5 Years; Ex-Four Grain North of 7 cask|
||100% Malted Barley|
|Distiller||North Of 7 (Ottawa, Ontario)|
It has been a pleasure of mine to follow this particular cask of single malt now for 3 years. I tasted it when it was just over 3 years of age in 2020, again at 4 years of age in 2021, and now at 5 years of age. This is North of 7’s first barrel of single malt, matured in an ex-four grain barrel (indeed, matured in their first cask of mature whisky, a four-grain cask 1).
While still young for a single malt, it has changed in some very dynamic ways over the years – being very bright and unbalanced at first, to still having sharp pear and an oily character with some dried fruit emerging, to this year – still fruity and bright, but with a much richer and more integrated cask character with more vanilla, oak, and nutty and roasty grain notes (from the cask). It’s odd since the cask character seemed to have come out more in the past year than the previous – not that it wasn’t present before, but it is further to the forefront.
Batch: Barrel 48
Bottling Code: N/A
Bottling Date: 2022
Very fruity and bright, with green pear, blackberry candy, white pepper, cinnamon, prune, fresh hay, and earth. The character of the four grain is definitely present with roasted grain notes and a nice touch of nuttiness. The oak is present but quite subdued. On the palate, it is quite viscous in body (very nice) with vanilla, a sharp thread of clove, blackberry candy drops, hay, fresh apples that have peachy tones to them (like pizzaz or, less so, royal gala), and with a flourish of fresh peach, pear, and white pepper leading on the finish. It has some decent grip and character to it – and it’s very interesting – big, but not dominating, cask character, very bright (almost piercing) fruit – berries and orchard, and yet a fairly narrow but focused array of spices. A pretty good effort for a first single malt from North of 7!
The character is fairly fruity and grassy, so, while still firmly in the single malts class, it’s a style that isn’t as prominent in Scotch single malt as other styles.
Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher). This will continue to improve with age, but it’s still fairly unique – and very interesting in terms of different flavours juxtaposed, while not clashing.
Value: Low at $60, especially when you compare to the four and three grains that sit at the same price and are at a different level of maturity (even if younger). Pretty high value for a craft/micro distilled single malt, though.