Incredible Indies: The Firkin Whisky Co

A limited-availability box and The Dram Team's Whisky Tasting Club box of the month for November 2021, this Incredible Indies: The Firkin Whisky Co edition is an absolute banger of a box - with epic-quality whiskies weighing in at about 50% more than our usual budget!

We collaborated directly with industry legend Mike Collings, architect of a series of legendary whisky products (including Johnny Walker Blue no less!) and founder of both the Firkin Whisky Coand Spencer Collings brands, to showcase six drams that give a tasty insight into what he's up to these days...

...and boy is he up to some fun things! Custom-specified casks, soulmate wine pairings... these are six whiskies unlike anything you've tasted before. Check out the line-up below, and read our interview with Mike himself here.

Incredible Indies: The Firkin Whisky Co

The Firkin Ten, Benrinnes 2008 Custom Cask Madeira

Firkin Ten Benrinnes Single Cask Whisky

The Firkin Ten marries this Speyside Scotch with the tangy and spicy richness of Portuguese Madeira wine. Sounds a little bit crazy, but Firkin's hand-built custom casks make it work…and how! For this expression, a combination of American first-fill Bourbon staves and custom-charred new French Limousin oak are used: aka, Firkin’s unique “Double Oak” cask. The wood and Madeira mix creates a compelling flavour profile - rich, lively and more than a little spicy.

Tasting notes:

There’s a time when you need a dram. Whether you have had a hell of a day or you want time for reflection. This is the solution. Bright, lively with a pantry full of kitchen spice and creamy malt. This enlivens and intrigues you and it hangs around to remind you that life is good.

The Firkin 49, Tullibardine 2012 Custom Cask Oloroso & Amontillado

Firkin 49 Tullibardine Single Cask Whisky

"Firkin 49?", we hear you ask… well, both Tullibardine and Firkin's legendary founder, Mike Collings, were "founded" in 1949. This spirit started life in a first fill Bourbon barrel, but then Firkin got their magical hands on it and transformed it with the use of two types of sherry casks (nutty Amontillado and a rich Oloroso) AND their top-secret custom casks (as with the Benrinnes). The end result is a stunningly soft and nutty dram that is creamy and rich. A delight.

Tasting notes:

This is a cracker. It’s kinda long but narrow and jam-packed with creamy butterscotch toffee, crisp malt and some fruit oak. It hangs around with a tad of cinnamon & sweet biscuit. A charmer.

The Firkin Islay, Caol Ila 2010 Custom Cask Marsala

Firkin Islay Caol Ila Scotch

Firkin Islay aims to combine the peaty smokiness of Caol Ila with the Muscat grape sweetness of Marsala, fusing them together in one of Firkin's Double Oak casks, mellowing and softening the peat. Marsala was chosen to season the custom cask here as it shares the depth of Caol Ila, being a complex wine with notes of stewed apricot, vanilla and soft brown sugar. A true soulmate pairing - Belissima!

Tasting notes:

Kapow! Smoke! Call the Fire Brigade! A big waft of peat & smoke. You only need to dig a bit for the malt and creamy oak which holds it together. This has everything. Big burning embers, smoky bonfire and a tad of oak with peppery lively spirit. So chewy and smoky.

The Firkin Rare, Ledaig 2008 Custom Cask Marsala

Firkin Rare Ledaig 2008

Once again with this 2008 Ledaig, we find Firkin working their Marsala-wine-and-custom-cask charm to remarkable effect to tame a feisty peat monster. Hailing from Tobermory distillery on the Isle of Mull, the style of smoke is noticeably different from Caol Ila, but works every bit as well in combination with the sweet complexity of the wine. If you're an Islay whisky fan, this might be the dram that converts you to Island life. One that demands you "Mull" over it at length to get the most out of the remarkable flavours.

Tasting notes:

Chunky peat and bonfire smoke. It just reeks of it and works a treat. Like walking past a fire pit, but then you taste the sweet malt and dry spiced oak lingering in the background. It’s a big mouthful and the smoke and oak linger on. Oaky smoky!

Founder's Reserve, 10 Year Old Cask Strength By Spencer Collings

Founders Reserve

This whopping cask strength release is a fusion of three top quality single malts from Speyside, the Northern Highlands, and Islay - all 10 years old - and has astonishing depth thanks to an impressive wood regime: The Speyside and Islay portions were initially matured in refill sherry butts, before finishing life in a first fill Madeira barrique, and the Highland spirit was matured solely in a 2nd fill Bourbon barrel. At cask strength, not a single ounce of flavour is lost.

Tasting notes:

The initial nose is a waft of toffee, honeycomb and oak spice with a hint of peat. The taste is a medley of dried fruits and spice driven by the Madeira. It then melts into an exquisite richness but finishes crisp and dry. It’s very long and truly moreish.

Imperial Tribute, By Spencer Collings

Imperial Tribute Whisky Tasting Set

Only 300 bottles of this stunning whisky were released, and boy, do they ever look and taste special! Imperial Tribute is a blend of single malt whiskies spanning four decades. 10 year old whiskies bring fruitiness, with older, 20, 30 and 40-year old spirit adding serious complexity. A secondary maturation in custom-made Madeira barriques imbues the whisky with rich, sumptuous smoothness and an intriguing hit of honeycomb sweetness. Perhaps the best qualified "Dream Dram" we've ever miniaturised!

Tasting notes:

Richly wooded, dark Madeira spice which melts into a sumptuous middle, finishes with a hint of peat smoke, honeycombed creamy vanilla and sweet oak. An exquisite blend of richness, subtle spice and elegant complexity. Wonderfully balanced and an amazing depth of flavour.

How to get your Incredible Indies box

This is a fantastic set of unique drams, you're guaranteed to enjoy this box... You can grab your Incredible Indies: The Firkin Whisky Co box here.

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