Wolfburn: Aurora (Scottish Highland Single Malt Whisky: 46% ABV)

Visual: Very light vanilla gold. Fast, thick streaks fom the spirit.

Nose: Sugared orange. Clean. Pear drops. Pencil shavings. Water adds vanilla and apple pie.

Body: Apple pie. Oak undertone. Pear drops. Slight alcohol burn. Water adds thick toffee. White pepper. More water adds sherried spice. Light soot.

Finish: Dry sherry and spice. Dry oak. Pear drops. Water adds dry toffee. More oak. Malt chocolate. More water adds spicy red grapes. Paprika and tannins.

Conclusion: This is quite the experience and not what I expected. For a sherried whisky this barely shows that side when drunk neat. Instead it comes in fresh and clean with sweet pear and orange notes, calling to a younger spirit style, but very clean and with some, but less than expected alcohol burn.

The sweet fruit continues through to the very end where finally the dry spice and sherry character comes out to underline the experience. While there is a touch of alcohol warmth, as referenced before, here it is bright, fresh and very pleasant with only that final hint of the sherry.

Water brings out a heavier character with the brighter front quickly moving out of the way to reveal a stodgy, thick dry toffee character and waaaay more of that sherried experience, with peppery and dry spice notes coming out.

While much more what you would expect from a sherry whisky with water, I actually prefer it neat. The contrast between the light, bright notes and the underlying sherry is striking and enjoyable – more than worth the trade off for the slight extra alcohol presence. By comparison with water it feels ok, good, but much more standard and doesn’t really stand out.

So, two very different takes on the whisky, both good, but much better neat in my opinion.

Background: Yay, had free time to to hit the Hideout again! Spotted that they had some Wolfburns there last time I went, and since I have not tried anything from that distillery before, promised myself I would drop back to give them a try. So I did. Success! Plus ten experience points. Quest Complete. Anyway this one is their sherry oak aged version, which sounded mighty tasty to me so I gave it a try. The place was bloody busy when I was in, turns out it was post a rugby match, so I couldn’t find a seat to use while doing my notes, but I tried my best for y’all.