Moor: Benny Havens: Scotch Whisky Barrel Aged (England: Barley Wine: 10% ABV)
Visual: Deep bruised apricot skin. Coffee froth beige head. Much creamier and larger head on second pour.
Nose: Apples. Pepper and ritz crackers. Gooseberry and grape skin. Brown bread. Dried apricot. Blended whisky. Musky. Very milky coffee. Paprika.
Body: Golden syrup. Cloves and pepper. Aniseed. Pear drops. Fairly smooth texture but spicy. Apricot. Cinnamon. Brown bread. Lightly spirity. Toffee. Blended whisky. Apples. Caramel.
Finish: Light charring. Milky chocolate. Aniseed. Mulled wine. Light gin. Toffee. Greenery. Smoke. Apple. Honey. Hop oils. Dried banana.
Conclusion: Bit of a mixed up wee beast this one. Can’t say I disapprove. This leans towards the good side of disorganised, but because of that it does lack a lot of polish.
So, let us rewind a few moments and let’s try to break this down. Note one is that this is spicy – a fact that I would, at a guess, put at least part as whisky influence, but it is hard to say – depending on the region the whisky is from, a barley wine can push a lot of similar notes to a whisky. This feels half way between a Highland whisky and a European peppery noble hopped beer. I am going out on a limb by saying that as I have no idea if either were used to make this -it is just the flavour impression it leaves. The whisky feels a tad spirity in a blended whisky way, but that could just be the already high abv of the beer.
At the base, under all that, is a heavy honey to golden syrup barley wine – a tad rough but with a smooth mouthfeel. Around the edges you get fruitiness, from apricot to gooseberry, rounding notes and most probably the most subtle part, especially compared to the whisky, hop oil and spice punch. Late on a large apple character does grow out of it though to surprising prominence.
So, yeah, a mix of barely related notes – it isn’t one I’d recommend as high art, but there is something to its eclectic mix that I enjoy. So, not polished, nor near the high end of the barley wine style, but it definitely has charms. Decide from the notes if you think that means it will be one for you.
Background: Been far too long since Moor have graced these pages, so here it is, grabbed from Independent Spirit (I promise drinks form another source will turn up soon!). This is scotch whisky barrel aged – I am unsure if all Benny Havens is barrel aged or not, so I listed it in the name – if anyone knows please comment and let me know. Drunk while listening to a bit of a mash up – Erock’s excellent Mad Word meets metal and Rise Against’s Help Is On The Way being the stand outs. I seriously love the song Mad World – one saw a busker doing it on the London Underground and hung around for the entire song. I may have been mildly drunk at the time, but it was still cool.