Whisky is not often thought of as something you could have for dessert. However, in many whiskies, there is presence of flavour compounds that can create aromas and notes of cream, vanilla, honey and sweet fresh fruits- rich, sweet and sugary notes that are associated with desserts.
To create honeyed, floral and fruity notes in whisky, distilleries usually increase the duration of fermentation to allow more sweet, juicy and fruity esters to be created in the liquid. The distillation process could also help intensify fruity esters, creating bright notes of honey, florals and juicy fruits such as apple, pear, peach, mandarins or cherries.
Mild-tasting American oak is typically used during maturation (as opposed to European sherry oak) to avoid overwhelming the delicate fruity notes in the spirit. Then, natural compounds from the oak, such as wood sugars, vanillin and maltol help to infuse notes of vanilla, cookies and darker notes of baked goods such as chocolate, toasted coconut flakes, croissants, or apple pie.
Do you have weakness for cakes, cookies, gummy bears or chocolate? If so, put down that donut and read on! Our bartender recommends the following three whiskies that are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. Let’s have some liquid dessert instead!
1. Cake in Liquid Form: Glenmorangie A Tale Of Cake
First up, a bottle that allows you to have your cake and drink it too. This aptly-named bottle is filled with flavours like white chocolate, honey, vanilla, and pound cake.
This is a creation of Glenmorangie’s director, Dr Bill Lumsden, who has quite literally engineered a slice of cake in the form of liquid whisky. Dr Lumsden was eating a pineapple upside-down cake baked by his daughter one day, and was inspired to create a Glenmorangie expression that mimicked the taste of pineapple cake.
How are the flavours achieved? This expression was finished in casks that used to hold Tokaji wine- a type of very sweet white wine from the Tokaj (pronounced to-kah-yai) region in Hungary. Unlike the classic Glenmorangie expressions, this Cake expression is much richer in flavour, with a layer of rich white chocolate and light baking spices to boot.
So how does it taste?
As you pour this into your glass, you would notice a very rich and fragrant bouquet. Opens with sweet and creamy notes of tangerines, honey, crème brulee and vanilla.
The aroma then develops and leads into thicker and richer notes of white chocolate, caramel and apricots.
As you begin sipping this whisky, you would notice how heavy-bodied and viscous this Glenmorangie is. Entry is smooth and rich, and very sweet. Primary notes of honey and vanilla. This develops into some butteriness and maltiness reminiscent of buttery pound cake.
After some exposure to the air, the flavours develop and turn to slightly darker notes of toffee and caramelised white chocolate with candied orange.
Feel free to check out our full review of the Glenmorangie A Tale of Cake expression.
2. Fruits, Coconuts and Aromatic Florals: Taketsuru Pure Malt 2020
After some rich cake, it’s time to cleanse your palate with a brighter and sweeter expression.
The Taketsuru series is Nikka’s most popular core range of whiskies. This series had to be discontinued and re-launched because Nikka’s distilleries faced a sudden shortage of spirit from an unanticipated spurt in global demand.
The 2020-relaunched Nikka Taketsuru (which features a white label) tastes slightly different from the original Taketsuru (featuring a black label). In fact, our experience is that the newer Taketsuru is much fresher and fruitier in flavour. It conjures up a basket of juicy fruit gummies.
So how does it taste?
On the nose, lots of bright, estery fruitiness with green apples, peaches and black berries, buoyed by a coconut-like musk.
At first sip, this is sweet, delicate, lightly honeyed and floral, much like drinking iced Jasmine green tea with honey.
(Image Source: Jessica Gavin)
You may notice some heat and spice that is unusual to Japanese expressions. This quickly subsides and develops to desiccated coconut and a note of grilled pineapples.
Feel free to check out our full review of the Nikka Taketsuru 2020 expression.
3. Malty Lavender Earl Grey Cookies: Ichiro’s Malt, Double Distilleries
Finally, we end off with Ichiro’s Malt from the owner of Japan’s most well-regarded craft whisky distillery- Chichibu (read all about its story here).
The Ichiro’s Malt “Double Distilleries” edition is a blend of two Japanese distilleries’ whiskies- younger whisky from Chichibu Distillery and rare older whisky from the closed Hanyu Distillery.
So how does it taste?
This expression evokes memories of grandma's kitchen with its sweet, floral and malty notes of lavender earl grey cookies.
On the nose, this immediately feels rather sweet. Smooth with a floral, creamy sweetness that is a mix of lavender, honey, honeysuckle and ixora. There’s a maltiness to it as well, much like lavender earl grey cookies.
The initial palate brings lashings of honey sweetness and bright fruity notes with freshly cut red apples, apricots, peaches. Very crisp and succulent.
(Image Source: Produce Report)
Fresh fruits develop into a satisfying cookie-like maltiness and oaky, vanilla and milk chocolate notes. Reminds one of Tim Tams or Penguin cookies with malt biscuits coated with a sweet milk chocolate coating.
Feel free to check out our full review of the Ichiro’s Malt Double Distilleries.
Tasting set available!
And there we have it- the 3 delectable treats from whiskyland that make you feel like a kid in a candy store, while you maintain the respectability of a whisky-drinking adult.
Don't just take our word for how this whiskies taste. You can try them for yourself! We have put together a tasting set of these three whiskies on our online store. Do check it out!