The Winter Queen (Adelphi)

"A coming-together of three good casks. The nose is slightly one-sided with strong cask influence, while the palate shows more maturity and complexity"

(Photo from Whiskybase)

(Adelphi)

The independent bottler Adelphi has been releasing several special bottlings of so-called ‘fusion whisky’ that commemorate bonds between Scotland and some other countries. We have seen Japan (The Glover), India (Kincardine) and recently Australia (E&K). At WhiskyWobles, we have been tasting the Dutch connection of Elizabeth Stuart (1592-1662), who was born in Fife as the oldest daughter of James VI (of Scotland)/I (of England). After marrying Frederink of the Palatinate, she was only Queen of the Bohemes during one winter season, hence she was given the name of ‘The Winter Queen’. After losing to Ferdinand II of the Holy Roman Empire, the couple fled to The Hague, where stayed for most of her life. She is grandmother to Charles I, the first of the Hannover line, of which Great Brittain’s current queen Elizabeth II is a direct descendant. But enough history lessons for now, let’s go back to whisky! This time Adelphi has chosen to blend two Scottish whiskies, a bourbon barrel of Longmorn and a few litres of a sherry cask of Glenrothes, with two Oloroso sherry casks of Millstone from the Dutch Zuidam distillery located in Baarle-Nassau. 

Nose

Initially, the nose is filled with a combination of winter spices like cinnamon, aniseed and liquorice root and melted dark chocolate. Then follows the sweet smell of melted caramel, welled raisins and burned bag of figs. The latter composed of dried figs, a hint of burned rubber and heated aluminium foil. Remarkable… The sherry infused raisins, figs and spices develop towards a more acidic profile. There is a slight hint of some chemical solvent or furniture polish. The metallic notes, which remind of the Ben Nevis 10, take a more prominent position in the palate. After some time, it settles down, giving a more balanced feeling. Notes of ahorn sirup, red berries mixed with whipped cream, and black currant juice arise. Maybe some kind of tropical fruit juice, but I cannot put finger on the exact nature of the ingredients. Although the nose is not overly complex, I find it very tasteful.

 

Taste

Powerful! Full on sherry notes (dried fruits and spices) combined with juicy pears and tasty sappy wood features. But my advice is to give it some airing time. Long aftertaste after the first sip. This reminds of the good side of bourbon or even armagnac. Not too dry, surprisingly fruity compared to the nose, and very well balanced. I find notes of rabarber crumble pie, cinnamon covered sour apples, fluid caramel, pear drops, and again a slight metallic note, a very pleasant addition. Add to that some freshly prepared apple compote, chocolate milk made with not too much cacao powder, pancakes with ahorn sirup, and a sandwich soaked in a good gravy. I must I like this, despite the major influence of the different casks. But when the cask maturation is properly done, well then you really have something. Lovely! Long and juice finish with a soft side, where the cask influence becomes more pronounced with some pencil shavings and pine tree wood.

Overall

A coming-together of three good casks. The nose is slightly one-sided with the sherry cask doing much of the talking. The palate, on the other side, shows more of its complexity. I really like the sauce of melted caramel dripping over the sherry influence accompanied some juicy fruitiness. I do not want to bother you too much with the price (which is slightly too high imho), I mean, if you like this kind of (blended) whisky, this is a recommended bottle.

What others say

Whiskybase: 88.57 (16 votes) * Words of Whisky: 90/100 * Scotwhisky: 81/100 * Dave's Whisky Reviews: 84/100
Read for yourself

Big thanks to for sharing the sample!

Scores

these are my personal views, so do not take them too seriously… nothing beats tasting these for yourself •

Cask influence
60%
Peat/smoke
5%
Nose 86.5%
Taste 88%
Balance 87.5%
Depth 87%
Finish 85%
Score