I do love my Wednesdays. A time to dive into something new that I’ve never experienced always makes my day fun, enjoyable, and all the more tasty. Now with the current lockdown situation I’ve been making do with lots of samples ordered and given to me by some fantastic folk in the community (cheers guys), but more recently I’ve been able to stretch my legs and get out. I made a wee journey to a whisky shop the other and picked up a bottle of something new from somewhere I’ve always enjoyed, so todays World Whisky Wednesday is the Gouden Carolus Sherry Oak Single Malt.
Lets get something out of the way, I love me some Gouden Carolus. I love De Molenberg Distillery. I love their standard expression, their anniversary, the story, everything about them. It’s just great. A distillery built by a family with a history steeped in brewing in distilling, on the ground that once housed their Genever distillery, a wash made from an award winning beer sans the hops and spices and then matured in some of the world premium casks. How could you not love every second of that? Now I hope it doesn’t sound too lazy but as I’ve covered De Molenberg in previous articles (see here and here) I’ll be focusing entirely on the whisky today. So, what’s in the glass?
We start with the wash. While some might use a standard wash, as a brewery De Molenberg and Het Anker are more than equipped with some of the finest beers available, so they make a wash of their Gouden Carolus Tripel Beer (without the spices and hops that go into it) and double distil through traditional copper pot stills in a Scottish fashion. After the spirit is distilled it is filled into ex-bourbon barrels for a minimum of three years though more generally around the 30 month period. Once matured the whisky is finished in American oak Oloroso Sherry barrels for an unspecified time. After that, its bottled at 46% and pours into the glass very easily. Lets find out how it tastes…
It all starts with some warm raspberry coulis, firm plums and some strawberry gelato. It then moves onto touches of dark chocolate, red apples and apples sauce with some hints of honey as well, not too much but adding some texture to the nose. Vanilla custard starts to emerge, no doubt coming from the bourbon barrel with rich with hints of chai and some Belgian waffles dipped lightly in chocolate.
The palate opens up with warm spice and red fruit, but its the mouthfeel that really opens the dram. Soft, velvety and quite buttery. The spice starts with the familiar chai, and then moves onto pepper, hints of clove that go far for a puckering taste but not too much, and some touches of ginger. The fruits come in with plums, strawberry and raspberry ice cream and then some extra touches of grapefruit, red grapes, raisins and a touch of chocolate cream.
The finish is easy and soft, with apple sauce coming through and strawberry gelato making up the main stream but the mouthfeel is again the main draw, smooth, velvety and with a silken touch.
I really like De Molenberg, I’ve said that already. This whisky is no different, I quite enjoy it, though I would say that to date it seems the weakest of the offerings. The sherry comes through quite well though is at odds with the wash and distillery profile, and while neat I found it very good upon adding ice and water I found the flavours disappearing and some off notes starting to appear, this is definitely a summer time dram.
All in all though I would recommend the Sherry Oak Gouden Carolus. It carries the sherry well and exceptionally showcases different cask styles. I cant wait for another sunny day to try it in an old fashioned and a Manhattan, and hope you will too.