It’s funny the way the world turns. A short while ago I was approached on social media by a sales rep for a spirits company I wasn’t particularly familiar with – first through a Friend Request and subsequently a Private Message. While this is neither an unusual nor annoying occurrence, it is seldom the type of situation that leads to an ongoing relationship – mainly due to a conflict between the rep’s aims and my own aims with this site. However, this was different. A stunningly polite and engaging introduction regarding King’s Inch whisky finished with an intriguing post script (and I’m about to paraphrase), referring to a hotel I used to work at; ‘you may not remember me, but I was a KP* there when you were a Front-of-House Manager’.
Now, after a while trying to place this lad (and also worrying that I might have thrown a plate at him on a busy night eight years previous), I realised who he was (and, the thing that really brought reality home; who he was the grandson of – a gentleman who I would still consider a good friend, despite not having seen him for a few years). So obviously we caught up, he very kindly gave me some King’s Inch to try and also came along to a tasting at which I featured it. It was a nice reminder of the way the whisky industry (and drink’s industry at large) continues to bring people together – and BACK together – even despite the weirdness the last few years has turned out to be.
Anyway, my life story aside, I’m here to talk about the whisky. King’s Inch is a brand – rather than a distillery – and in fact one that doesn’t discuss where it’s distilled. However, a cursory bit of research will tell you that Jack Mayo was involved in its creation, as well as the late Jim Swan – and therefore discerning its origins doesn’t take more than a slight mental leap. It is clear though that the liquid is far more than just a rebottled product of a known distillery; from its recipe to its ageing it very much has its own DNA.
The liquid itself reflects the style of a lot of new, young whisky coming to market of late. It has a slightly spiritous character – easily showcasing the quality and style of the new make spirit. I’ve talked about this before here but I have a lot of time for distilleries that, especially with an inaugural release, leave wood influence almost at the door and just focus on the quality of what comes off the stills. King’s Inch embraces the cask slightly more than others though – a combination of ex-bourbon and ex-oloroso casks very much compliment the spirit without masking it in any way.
The spirit is certainly reminiscent of a classic lowland style – a bit fruity, light and easy going with a hint of floral and citrus notes. This being augmented by what feel like good quality first-fill casks – the bourbon imparting some vanilla type flavours, the oloroso some richer notes – results in a spirit well balanced between both the different casks and good quality spirit. There is also a slight ambiguity to it – a portion of the flavour profile I can’t quite identify – but this only adds to it’s appeal as a versatile whisky. It’s a good daily drinker, it’s good in a highball and it’s something you can easily pour a big measure of and take time with whilst watching some nonsense on Netflix.
Despite my obvious bias, this liquid is genuinely very good. We’re very lucky as whisky consumers just now to have a plethora of good, young whiskies on the market that champion good quality spirit. King’s Inch sits comfortably among these and very much holds its own. Its well as this it’s well priced, well packaged and as I say – very tasty. And it’s also reminded me I need to take a cup of tea round to an old friend next time I’m back in that part of the world.
*A KP, for those not familiar, is a Kitchen Porter – someone who’s duties mainly revolve around cleaning and prep.
Well, it’s pretty obvious I have a newfound connection to this brand. While I’m in no way in their employ, the whisky was gifted to me – and with the implication that I would review it. I was genuinely a bit worried about that – thinking a whisky with a slight lack of provenance and no age statement might turn out to be simply a label slapped on any old rubbish, possibly questionable in quality and I might have to review it badly. However, I was pleasantly surprised from the first taste and can honestly say everything above is true and my honest opinion.
Distillery/Brand: King’s Inch
Region: Lowland, Scotland
Cask: Ex Oloroso and Ex Bourbon
Non-Chill Filtered: Y
Natural Colour: Y
Price: Approx £45