When you're in Scotland, it's easy to get stuck in a whisk(e)y rut. I'd been drinking whisky and whiskey for close to almost a year straight (HA PUN). We had a bit of rum in there one night but the majority of my consumption was barley based: beer and whisk(e)y. So I had gotten into a comfortable, albeit staid, position of what I was drinking. Then along came Tim Olsen. I reached out to Tim on Twitter in the hopes of getting an analytical sample of a spirit I had never even heard of, much less tasted. Arrack is what I needed, which is a beverage made out of coconut flower sap collected in large pots that is wild fermented and distilled in pot stills. Tim was kind enough to send along a substantial volume of his White Lion VSOA for me to "analyze" (he was vague on this) and he told me that it would be imported to the US soon. I needed it for lab testing but since Tim sent me such a large sample, who was I to pass up an opportunity to try something new. And baby, it shook me. It was the wake-up call I needed. It fueled the fire of branching out into rums, into calvados, into cognac. Into things not influenced by the alluring touch of my good pal John Barleycorn.
|Literally a blank bottle. The label I put on there to keep me from confusing it with a blended scotch I had.|
Nose: Almost rum-like. Heavy molasses. Touch of sulfur and a little pot still funk, like a Jamaican rum. Nice fruit bouquet in there: pineapple, mango, exotic fruits.
Taste: Mango and pineapple. Watermelon? Raspberries too. Definitely a fruity spirit. Almost like a fruit infused honey. A little hot and prickly on the finish but overall agreeable. Tim LIES. It's quite good.
I am intrigued. To be honest, I've never had arrack before and I was a little scared when Tim said that it was pretty rough and tumble but it's a fine beverage. Would I buy it? Sure would, depending on the price. It's an import so import taxes can be a bear but I could see myself putting down $20-$25 for a bottle to see what concoctions I could make with it. I think the crux of the spirit is the fact that it has NONE of the traditional malt characteristics and, since it uses a sap as it's fermentation bill, it's got a whole lot more chemical processes to go through, resulting in different flavors. And the fruit forward nature of it, with such intensity, makes it pretty cool.
Bear in mind that this is the batch from...gosh...almost a year ago so things may have changed. But I can't see it changing much more. Ignore Tim's "warning" that it's an "unrefined" product. S'good. And trust me Tim, I've had MUCH more unrefined stuff. Like distilled Olde English 800.
But I don't talk about that.