Water of Life – Rest and Be Thankful
So far we have our focus mainly set on covering distilleries, which makes sense as they make the spirit. However, given that distillers swap, sell and exchange their emissions both old and new, there are a myriad of whisky companies that specialise in releasing whiskies the characteristics of which can be quite different from what one is used from their mothership, no matter if we are talking single malts, blends, grain or literally everything in between.
In other words, independent bottlers keep the whisky game interesting and a relatively new one has sparked by curiosity, as word around the campfire had that it was founded by a former Bruichladdich sales manager. Given the ties with the great Hebridean progressive distillery, it was not further wondrous to find bottlings of two of my all-time favourite whiskies, i.e. Bruichladdich’s Octomore and Port Charlotte, in the line-up of Rest and Be Thankful – the name being an ode to a landmark that graces the peak the road out of Glen Crow.
The first Rest and Be Thankful whisky I was introduced to was a Ledaig, which left originally left the still at Tobermory in 2007 after having been matured for eleven years in a single sherry cask. Bottled at 58.5%, the Ledaig packs a punch, yet not overwhelmingly so, as the relatively high alcohol content is embedded in a complex melange of fruity, spicy and smoky notes.
Nuances of fruity and nuts along with smoky bacon tickle the nostrils and hint at the delicious peaty smokiness that caresses the palate. Berry and plum flavours are omnipresent and culminate in an elongated finish that leaves one thirsting for another dram.
Now, given previous instalments of our Water of Life series, it should not come as a surprise that I have yet to come across an Octomore expression that does not make me wax lyrical.
Needless to say that I was excited to try the Rest and Be Thankful variation, which upon being distilled in 2009, spent six years maturing in a barrel that previously contained Tempranillo wine.
I would not go as far as claiming that this is an exotic Octomore as the trademark idiosyncratic iodine peatyness and earthy aromas are there, yet there is a creaminess on the roof of the mouth and sweetness specifically in the finish that is reminiscent of a great mezcal. Clocking in at 65.7%, this rust coloured beauty of a drop is dangerously more-ish and each sip resulted in lip smacking while inhaling the wonderful aromas.
Fancy drams from the Highlands? R&BT’s Fettercairn aged for ten years in a single bourbon cask and is a nice variant based on to the nutty flavours and balancing sweetness the distillery has become known for.
Fruity aromas on the nose – think bananas and mangoes – transcend to spicy vanilla and malt flavours that seamlessly transition into a peanut and almond infused finish, which finds its crescendo in peppery highlights.
If you are more into the Speyside and a fan of Benrinnes’ expression that are part of the Flora and Fauna series, R&BT’s eleven-year-old will delight you: Once uncorked, the wafts of cinnamon and caramel remind one immediately of their core expression, yet this one has a more defined earthiness and orangey aromas that give it a bit of a twist. On the palate it unfolds its savoury, big-bodied character that is spicy yet more on the fruity end of the spectrum with a medium-length finish that lingers with nuances of apples and berries.
Summa summarum, if you are remotely into appreciating fantastic whiskies and dead set on your favourite expressions, you do want to check out Rest and Be Thankful’s bottlings as not only the network the founders are able to source from is unparalleled, but the careful curation of the casks they gain access o tensures consistency in terms of quality across their by now more than fifty bottlings from over twenty distilleries.
Photo from company website
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