Review – Berry Bros. & Rudd’s Perspective Series.

It is a Wednesday evening in Edinburgh and I’ve made the trek south from Inverness to  head along to the launch of Berry Brothers & Rudd’s new Perspective Series. I’ve already worked up a thirst climbing Arthurs Seat to try the first bottle in the series, the 21 year old, at the top so I am more than ready for a dram…

 

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The Berry Bros & Rudd Perspective Series is attempting to capture the metaphors of landscape photography and whisky, bringing together two art forms: Whisky making and photography.

To this end, renowned photographer Lindsay Robertson was commissioned to match some of his landscape photography to each expression and for it to be featured on the labels.

What became obvious as the tasting went on was that each expression has very different elements to it, it is not a case of each one simply being an older version of the previous one.

Here are my tasting notes and observations on each of the four expressions.

BBR Perspective Series, 21 year old, Blended Scotch Whisky, 43% abv, press sample.

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Full of Apricot danish and over ripe pear and apple. There is a fading fudge note that leads towards some more savoury notes with pretzels and some cereal notes and some faint blossom.

The palate has tarte-tatin, orchard fruits and some hints of marshmallow. Given time there appears a slight sea breeze amidst some soft brown sugar and a big dollop of honey. Alternates between very creamy and soft and then zingy and quite fresh.

In the main it is bright, fresh and quite fruity. Decent depth, apple, citrus and a honeyed intensity. The texture belies the 43%, as it seems to have much more presence in the mouth.

No details were given of the proportions of malt / grain involved nor the component parts.

RRP is £89.

BBR Perspective Series, 25 year old, Blended Scotch Whisky, 43% abv, press sample.

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Bigger and rounder in all directions. More fruit and a larger dollop of honey. More prickly spices giving a drying sensation. The components are different to the 21, less aged grain in this example which contains a proportion of older Invergordon. Giving it a little vibrancy but not overtaking the malt element.

Lightly woody with lots of yellow fruits and quite syrupy. Vanilla butter and red apples mix with orange and splashes of fruit cocktail. There are hints of Cranachan and a red fruit sharpness. Subtle spices coat the mouth and leave a pleasant dryness.

More easygoing than the 21 but bolder, bigger and softer.

Thicker on the palate, more tropical fruits and mouth filling but feels fresher on the nose than on the palate.

RRP is £145

 

BBR Perspective Series, 35 year old, Blended Scotch Whisky, 43% abv, press sample.

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This is very pleasing on the nose, full of tropical fruits, mango, sweet toffee, and muscovado sugar. Laterally there’s a tobacco note, more like unlit cigars. Seems spiced and quite lively. There is a slight coastal character here too.

The palate seems to change continuously, a fruity base with raisins, tobacco and a nice vanilla backbone that comes and goes. The cigar notes are still here along with hints of humidor wood. A nice interplay between the spice driven flavours and the inherent fruitiness.

Doug McIvor, Master Blender for BBR describes this as “a rather seductive old whisky”.

I’d tend to agree.

RRP is £250

 

BBR Perspective Series, 40 year old, Blended Scotch Whisky, 40.1% abv, press sample.

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First point to note is the abv, it is just whisky by the skin of its teeth. Tests prior to bottling showed an alcohol strength of 39.3% abv. A amount of 1968 Glenrothes was sourced to help prop it back up.

There is an interesting phenolic note on the nose but no confirmation of any peated malt or peated casks used in maturation.

The nose is initially reminiscent of a very faint coastal breeze, a little ashy with some nice malty undertones over a faint earthiness and some restrained phenols. There is a slight element of wet ink on paper too and seemingly jumps between dark fruits and a spoonful of seafood cocktail doused in paprika. Quite a beguiling nose. After a while there are some chocolate notes rising up alongside touches of old leather.

The palate is a little ashy with a slight mineral feeling,  but this fades to leave chocolate and a softly spiced maltyness. Honey glazed hams drizzled in brown sugar before being slightly overcooked. Underneath there are some pleasant apple notes that keep a little fruitiness going forward to the finish.

The finish is long and drying, the coastal tang lingering underneath or quite some time. Theres a return to a little sweetness with touches of barbecue sauce and brown sugar.

RRP is £450

An eclectic range indeed. Cutting aside the photography / whisky pairing and concentrating on the liquid leaves us with some interesting drams each with its own unique styles and flavour profiles, each of which is well balanced and enjoyable to drink.

Price-wise the range sits reasonably well with its contemporaries.

If I was to pick a favourite I would take the 35 year old ahead of all the others with a toss up for second place between the 25 and 40 (depending on my mood)

You can find more tasting notes and whisky news in the Amateur Drammers Archives.

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