Doctor Sponge and the Fettercairn Stampede
I’ve been on a quest to try any and all new-to-me Scottish distilleries. Independent bottlers seem to have some unique releases from distilleries I just do not see on my local store shelves. I’m always willing to jump in and experience something new so I went in blind on this one. With zero expectations, I dived into this sample and ended up loving what I found.
Tasted neat in a Glencairn with 25+ minutes of rest. Dilution was added for the second half of the tasting with additional rest, upwards of an hour.
The nose is Tropical with a capital T. I know I just said this about the Allt-á-Bhanne I had last week, but it truly is a tropical fruit bouquet. White peaches, pineapple, lychee, dried papaya, and mango. Succulently sweet and decadent. Grassy cereal grains and clover honey bring a healthy, fresh-baked, homemade granola bar aroma. Blossoming fruit orchard and cinnamon spiced cider. Light vanilla like a boxed yellow cake. A woodiness that reminded me of a sun-bleached deck or pier. Adding water reveals more of that floral component. Water lilies, water grass, and other pond vegetation.
The tropical fruit notes follow you onto the palate. Orange, pear, apples, and ripe peaches. Sangria sans the tart citrus notes. Oak mulls around in the background bringing some earthy and tannic elements. Vanilla and spices, still remind me of fall effervescent ciders. There’s a real kick of heat with this one too. Ancho chili powder or Tajin-coated mango and peach rings. A very pleasant sweet heat balance with the captivating fruit character of the malt.
The finish lands with the cereal grain aspects I caught on the nose. Honey and floral leaning. I can’t help but describe these notes again simple as nectar. The tropical nature has now tapered off entirely. The fruits are now closer to home with pear, candied apple, and sweetened apple juice. With time, a far more industrial and robust flavor emerges. Leather, wet concrete, topsoil. Weathered, patinaed, oak tool handles. A cast iron metallic flavor and a touch of copper round out the finish.
This was a fun and bizarre dram. You get pulled in by those tropical flavors and aromas only to get an industrial back end that throws you for such a loop. It’s so very odd in the greatest of sense.
If you’ve ever had a mule cocktail in a copper mug, this is the best way to describe the flavor change. The wonderful balance of ginger spice and citrus with the lasting, lingering flavor on your palate being the tin, and copper from the glass itself.
I enjoyed this sample thoroughly and I would recommend trying this one if you have the opportunity as the bottle is on the expensive side. I will certainly be giving other Fettercairn releases a second look and eventually add a bottle to my shelf.