I unaccountably failed to take a picture of the sample bottle before the review and then cleaned it and removed the label before I discovered the omission. And so in place of the picture of the bottle and label (one of Sku’s more staid efforts) here is a picture of Spike Milligan about to cut something with a knife and fork. As for Cut Spike itself, it’s a single malt whisky (whiskey?) distilled in Nebraska in pot stills made in Scotland, but matured in new American oak. So, it could be said to be a hybrid of Scottish and American whisk(e)y styles. For more of its story, I will send you to Sku’s own review. I can tell you that K&L purchased all of the early stock of this new distillery’s product and hyped the hell out of it last year. The first batch sold out double quick and the second batch sold out as well.
I assume this sample was from the first batch, which is what Sku reviewed. You might think that’s unhelpful but whisky geeks are not always quite so fastidious: the first batch sold out fast even though David Driscoll acknowledged that his breathless review in the marketing blast that announced it was of a different batch than they actually sold! His announcement of the third batch noted that “It’s the best parts of batch one and two combined!” and that he expected it to sell even faster than the previous batches. As of current writing, however, there’s a lot of it still available, which may or may not suggest a waning of that initial frenzy.
Cut Spike Single Malt, 2 YO (43%; for K&L; from a sample received in a swap)
Nose: Some raw wood but also floral, almost perfumed notes along with some fruit (red berries, cherry, some banana). The wood gets sharper with each sniff and there’s powdered ginger and more malt now. With more time there’s a bit of pepper too. Water ups the perfume and also brings out some cereals.
Palate: Soft texture and then quite a bit of malt and expanding sweetness (berries again). More oak on the second and third sips but there’s not much tannic grip. There’s also no further development or anything approaching complexity. With more time the wood does seem to get sharper. Okay, let’s see what a drop of water does: hmm it makes it much more astringent and more stereotypically like very young whisky.
Finish: Medium-long. The oak emerges again along with a menthol coolness. As on the palate with water.
Comments: This was a very pleasant surprise. Still a bit raw and the oak is too prominent but I was expecting something far less drinkable. A good move to dilute it to 43%—I suspect at a higher strength the oak would be overpowering. I would not pay $60 for it but if it cost $25-30 I might recommend it as a curiosity; at any price I’d hold the water though. In terms of malt whiskies from other places, this actually put me in mind of Amrut more than any Scottish distillery. I agree with Sku: this is going to be very interesting when it gets to about 10 years old; though I have to say it’s hard to say what it’s profile might be then,
Rating: 78 points.
Thanks to Sku for the sample!