Stirling greets spring with a new dram, a fine design and a chat with Patrick Grant…
There was a hint of spring in the air this morning. That moment when winter blinks and lets slip a moment of relief from its tightly-clenched fist of cold, damp Chekovian greyness. Just a hint, but it was enough to remind me that spring might be on the way. I put this break in form down to the bottle of Blas, the latest limited edition Highland single malt from anCnoc, I opened the night before.
Immediately you feel your spirits rise looking at the bottle and sleeve. Fresh, floral tones and illustrations of that embody the nose and flavours of the whisky adorn both. Patrick Grant (Creative Director of Savile Row tailors Norton & Sons), spent over a year designing the bespoke print, which is inspired by the flavour notes of the limited edition liquid, and the time-honoured production methods used at the Knockdhu distillery.
Patrick tells us a little about the process that lead him to the design “I spent a lot of time at Knockdhu not only taking in the landscape and surrounding areas, but getting to know the people that work there and the methods that they use. Everything in the print is from the hill, the village of Knock or within the distillery itself and tells the story of the making of Blas. I’ve tried to interpret anCnoc’s history and tradition in a modern way, and hope this is translated through the aesthetic of the bottle.”
Pop out the cork, take a nose and you get a sweet, fruity hit with lemon and candied orange, perhaps a little vanilla and dark chocolate too.
Then a sip – at 54% cask strength, you might want to add a drop of water to open out those botanicals – but be prudent, and never, ever water another man’s (or woman’s) whisky. Full of flavour, oily, a real mouthful of notes that combine and mingle well. You’ll find more lemon, this time in tart form, a little fruit cake with a dark chocolate topping – and then that essential spring note: cut grass.
I tend to sip more whisky in the colder months, and this leaves me with a dilemma: I long for spring to arrive in all its bright-morning wonder. That arrival suggests the slow drift towards gin and tonic.
With a whisky this wonderful I find myself asking winter to linger a little longer.
The Patrick Grant Limited edition, Blas, retails at £50 for 70cl and is available from Independents and Specialist Retailers throughout the UK.