“Come – my friends – let’s get our mounts and hunt for an adventure! To the glory! To the pages of legends!”
Those were most likely words of some knights and intrepid fortune-seekers in past centuries. They did seek to become legends, to become center of tales that were unfolded carefully in taverns from the east to the west coast, where roaring waves of deep sea crashed sharp rocks on shallow, treacherous, waters. They were bold and daring, dashing and charming. In the fight, they laughed at the dark robed man wielding a scythe. And thus they fell. One each time, until the last man realized they will be forgotten. No one would tell their tales, no one would sing about their deeds and victories. They would not even be a star in the winter night sky. No, they were light those mystical Northern Lights and vanish as silently and quickly as they emerged. He rode to the undiscovered countries. Far away lands, that were only haunted by vicious men wearing kilts and wielding trunks of trees. There he wandered and found a place where to hide their secrets and treasures, and where to write some stories. It is there, where he teach those savage warriors something that would make the land famous. In the last night he was imprinted to the big books of history, when the wildest tribe chose to take his name to honor the dram he created, Speyside.
The story may be a slightly different in today’s history books but something remained for us to taste. The famous house of Adelphi wields many secrets. One of their mysterious drams is called the Breath of Speyside. Nobody knows, how it is created or from what it is created, but there are whispers in shady corners of those-not-that-reputable taverns. Not a big surprise, but I did stay away from them. So all I know is, that ‘The Breath’ is 18 years old. Distilled 1991 and bottled 2009. The Drampower is nice, 54.2%, which makes it a very interesting cap. The stories and the color tell that some kind of ex-sherry barrels were involved, but the actual enchantment cask has the code 5145 imprinted on it with ancient letters. Probably there are some 600 (full size, not a baby bottle like this one) bottles in the world. A big cask, I take it.
The dram itself. The color is deep and dark. The oil is stubborn and beautiful. The nose is overwhelmed with sherry and a hint of old knight’s gauntlet slapping your cheek with a mighty force. Promising.
First mouthful burns with sherry and .. strong sherry. It is a sherry bomb, that’s what rushes through my unprotected mind. I knew it would be. I should have known. But yet, it strikes deep, dodging all of my defenses. A bit more careful approach is needed and that’s when you start to find some of the magic. I find myself missing the smoke and peat, however. Fruits, sweetness and even some chocolate is present when you taste it carefully. There is no tale, there is but a everlasting thunder of sherry drums that echo through ages and planes.
What remains, is the taste of.. sherry. Dryness and bitter ending. This is not a aftertaste I enjoy, I must admit. Usually I like Breath of XXX but I must admit this is an exception that confirms the rule.
Once you empty your glass, and choose not take water on top of this and wait. I kept on writing this story and waited. The taste do remains for a long time, but what is better – it changes. It burns, it boils, but it does change for the better. There are burned fruits, fried sugar and melted chocolate. There are remains of sherry, slightly readjusted with a flame-thrower or a sherry-seeking missile. But I do like the feeling, the taste in my mouth. Perhaps my advice is, in case you have similar receptors than I have, to drink this rather quickly, and enjoy the afterglow. Slainté!