Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Sloe me the money

Apologies for the dreadful pun in the title, but it was the best I could do at short notice, and anyway; this week's post is about Glenglassaugh Sloeberry Liqueur so, yeh, now you see. All right, enjoy.

A few months ago I introduced Mrs Cake to sloe gin. I didn’t really know what it was like at the time, but there we were, in a bar in West Didsbury, and Mrs Cake asked me to get her something to surprise her. I asked if they had anything “a bit different” that my wife would like. I barely gave the barmaid time to think before continuing, “have you got any sloe gin?

Mrs Cake loved it, and proceeded to buy herself a bottle (which was savagely and repeatedly purloined by another guest) the next time we needed to take some booze to a friend’s house.

In the meantime, I’d been doing some online research, trying to find a special bottle to get her for Christmas or, as it turned out, her next birthday. And that’s when I found this – Glenglassaugh Sloe Liqueur. It’s not gin, it’s actually new make spirit – the stuff they normally age in oak barrels for at least three years in order for it to become whisky – that has been infused with sloeberries in the same way that gin is when they make sloe gin.

It caught my eye straight away, because I recalled seeing Glenglassaugh’s The Spirit That Dare Not Speak Its Name in the 101 Whiskies book – that being a bottling of their new make spirit (you can’t call new make spirit whisky).

Being intrigued, and having had the opportunity to taste some new make spirit at a couple of the distilleries on Islay (which I’d enjoyed and compared to grappa), I thought this would be cool.

It is bottled at 26% and you get 50cl for £25 or so, it comes nicely presented in a Bruichladdich style bottle with a tasteful label and stopper.

Now, because it’s a gift I can’t really give it a full appraisal because that would mean I needed to drink the whole thing. Instead I can only go on a couple of tastes that Mrs Cake was kind enough to let me have. I have to say, I think this is delicious, and even better than sloe gin. The complexity of the new make spirit is stimulating and challenging, soft and comforting, spicy and warming. You don’t even need to drink it over ice, it’s just lovely as it is. Mrs Cake likes it too, which is nice because she wasn’t that happy when she received it as one of her birthday presents… she’s demanding, that Mrs Cake.

Nevertheless, it isn’t one for everyone. Mrs Cake took it for an evening with her friends, and they seemed to find it confusing. When I went over to pick her up later on I had to explain what it was and how it was made as Mrs Cake was struggling to do so herself. She was actually a little annoyed as she had poured a little for everyone, and they didn’t even finish it.

In the main, liqueurs are made purely for mixing – they are too sweet to be enjoyed neat or over ice – but every now and then you come across one that you could happily enjoy that way. This is one of those. Try it for yourself, or if you’re looking for an unusual booze gift for a friend, stop searching. This is it.

Now, I'm moving house on Friday and the movers are in tomorrow, which means I won't have a computer to blog on. That's why you're getting this now. Also it's because I came home from band practice and Mrs Cake hadn't finished watching The Help. I assure you, normal service will be resumed by next week - as long as the internet connection has been sorted out. Till then, happy drinking.

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