This review was completed with a sample provided by The Devils Distillery, this has in no way altered the opinion of the whisky.
Today it’s all about the Winter Feast Release.
A special 2020 release, the Winter Feast was scheduled to be released for the DARK MOFO festival. The winter version of the MONA FOMA (Museum of Old and New Art: Festival Of Music and Art) while the MONA FOMA is held in January, DARK MOFO (get it?) is normally held in June, celebrating arts, culture, music and the darkness of the southern winter solstice.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic DARK MOFO 2020 was cancelled, but not wanting to miss out on a release and helping towards what would have been the festival Devils Distillery took the decision to release the Winter Feast bottling anyway. What makes this release so special?
Aged for three years in ex-bourbon casks, the whisky was then transferred to a 200L ex-bourbon barrel that had been used to mature maple syrup for 18 months. Bottled at 55.7%, it’s full of flavour and takes it’s time to develop. Time to jump in.
It’s a burning open on the nose, thick honeycomb and sugar caramelizing alongside terracotta pots. Maple syrup drizzles over BBQ’ed pineapple chunks, with a thick spiced loaf full of cinnamon, raisins and cooked fig. It starts to get deeper with aniseed and toffee moving through in a strong wave, with fresh ginger nut biscuits, dark chocolate fudge, nutmeg, cinnamon, star anise and roast apples with a lingering spiced chai latte.
A sip is first hit with old iron pipe water, before maple syrup over pikelets with pineapple and mango. Nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger join the fray, forming biscuits and candy bites dusted with icing sugar. It’s an amazing mouthfeel, velvety at first before moving into prickly and then a full blown party in the mouth. The whisky pounds into heavy caramel, orange marmalade, pepper, dried plums and thick vanilla custard mixed with honey and spices before some oak, leathery butterscotch and hot coffee.
The finish is long and thick, plenty of spice and dark chili chocolate, hints of apricot and surf wax.
This is a damn fine whisky. It hits the high notes and the low, full of great intensity and complexity as swings about the spectrum. The maple syrup is a curious choice but really works, fully showcasing a huge level of flavours. The disappointment around cancellation of the DARK MOFO Festival due to COVID-19 isn’t great but seeing Devils Distillery still release the whisky is fantastic. An unexpected, but brilliantly matured and finished whisky is something always worth waiting for.
Down to all these factors the whisky suits something high and low in tones, complete with being unexpected but full of intensity.
This review is not sponsored or endorsed by any whisky or distillery, Devils Distillery or otherwise, and is entirely the thoughts and opinions of the authors Somewhiskybloke.
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