Review: Spirits of Single Cask Nation, Spring 2023 Releases

Review: Spirits of Single Cask Nation, Spring 2023 Releases

More than just the packaging has changed for indie bottler Single Cask Nation (SCN) since last we checked in on them. At the beginning of 2024, the brand announced their acquisition by Artisanal Spirits Co., owners of another, bigger bottler you may have heard of, The Scotch Malt Whisky Society. Founders Joshua Hatton and Jason Johnstone-Yellin tell us that the whole SCN team is staying on board and not much will change with the “Nation” other than new access to a lot more whisky.

While we’ve covered quite a few SCN online-only releases in recent years, we haven’t taken a look at the retail side of things and never anything from their international markets. We’re correcting that today, albeit embarrassingly late, with a deep dive into the spring 2023 offerings, some of which may still be sitting on a few shelves in the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, Germany, and Israel. It’s an eclectic lot that includes some more unusual Scotch offerings as well as a Swedish single malt and a Guyanese rum distilled on a wooden pot still. Without further ado.

Single Cask Nation Mackmyra 13 Years Old – Aged in a first-fill bourbon barrel and reportedly selected alongside the 2022 release that was offered exclusively to Nation members online. It’s flexing another impressively low-proof cask strength offering from the Swedish distillery’s subterranean cask storage, but it’s quite a different animal from the virgin oak-aged offering. The aroma is fresh and woodsy with sawdust, a bit of barrel char, and pecan shells. On the palate, top notes of fresh grated baking spice are rich and warming, giving way to a bit of gooey apple turnover on the midpalate and a sweet, peppery finish of fresh cut firewood and stone fruit. 256 bottles. 95 proof. B+ / $110

Single Cask Nation Linkwood 12 Years Old – Aged in a first-fill French oak hogshead. Thank the team at Single Cask Nation for rescuing this one from some of Diageo’s more popular blends, where it surely would have ended up otherwise. The nose is elegant and earthy and gently spiced, layered with cinnamon syrup and a fragrant grassiness like freshly mowed hay. On the palate, a burst of rich, syrupy barley sugar segues to apple butter and soft pipe smoke. The finish is long and velvety with dark caramels, a bit of black pepper, and candied orange peel. Outstanding. 270 bottles. 110.4 proof. A / $125

Single Cask Nation Uitvlugt Rum 24 Years Old – This rum was distilled at the Uitvlugt Distillery in Guyana on a Versailles still, one of the oldest pot stills in the world and one of only two wooden stills left in existence. Aged in a second-fill bourbon hogshead. The aroma is punchy with a sugary funk, a bit of industrial – but not unwelcome – plasticity and airy notes of canned pineapple juice and honeycomb. Early, candy-sweet notes of Haribo peaches and banana Runts become cream soda and coffee ice cream on the midpalate before a long, lush finish of clove, vanilla bean, and Twizzlers. All rum stills should apparently be made of wood. 219 bottles. 100.2 proof. A / $210

Single Cask Nation Croftengea 18 Years Old – One of the most heavily peated styles from Loch Lomond Distillery, this expression of Croftengea has been aged in a second-fill bourbon hogshead. The nose showcases an unusually exotic smoke with notes of burnt cinnamon stick, a Christmas tree bonfire, and overcooked S’mores. On the palate, things are more familiar with silky notes of baked apple, flamed lemon peel, and baklava. The smoke doesn’t even really show itself until the finish with hints of burning fatwood and cigar ash. A captivating single malt. 284 bottles. 101.2 proof.  A- / $125

Single Cask Nation Benrinnes 11 Years Old – Finished for 21 months in a first-fill sherry hogshead. This is a brooding, meaty whiskey with a well-balanced sherry dimension. The aroma kicks off with currants and aged balsamic vinegar before going full cask house with old oak, dark chocolate, and damp basement notes. The palate is initially savory with mesquite BBQ and some peppered bacon before quickly turning sweeter with stewed dark berries, Demerara syrup, and sugared almonds. The finish continues to pile on the sweets with warm praline and chocolate cherry cookies. 240 bottles. 106.4 proof. A- / $90

Single Cask Nation Longmorn 23 Years Old – Aged in a second-fill bourbon hogshead. Soft and supple on the nose with notes of lemon curd, green tea, and dark vanilla bean. As it opens, a bit of tinned pear emerges alongside a subtle old furniture note. The palate is oily with an even, simmering warmth. Notes of poached pear, spice cake, and lemon shortbreads dusted in powdered sugar are impressively hefty but dissolve a bit too quickly in a finale of herbal tea and minted syrup. 260 bottles. 103.6 proof. B+ / $250

Single Cask Nation Linkwood 12 Years Old

$125
9.5

Rating

9.5/10

Drew Beard is assistant editor for Drinkhacker and winner of several booze-related merit badges, including Certified Specialist in Spirits and Executive Bourbon Steward. A former federal employee turned hotelier and spirits journalist, he looks forward to his next midlife crisis.

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