Friday, 21 November 2014

Òrach Slie & Glenfarclas 15

Another half and half post, this time featuring a beer I got sent in return for writing some recommendations for Nottingham pubs on the Harviestoun Blog.

Òrach Slie is the barrel-aged version of Harviestoun's 'Schiehallion' lager, the first Harviestoun beer I ever tried - many years ago. Not only that but it's aged in Glenfarclas whisky barrels, Glenfarclas being a distillery that happens to be one of my favourites. I went for the 15 year old to see if it made a good half-and-half pairing, since it was one of the ones out of Glenfarclas' core range that I'd not tried in the past.

The nose of the Òrach Slie is dominated by the malt, I didn't get much of the whisky/sherry notes to start with, but that malt nose was great, with a lovely spice to it. The nose on the Glenfarclas 15 was classic Glenfarclas, all you'd expect in terms of those big sherry notes; dried fruit, caramel and buttery toffee along with a marzipan sweetness.

On the palate the Òrach Slie is impeccably smooth, the whisky seeming to contribute more to the texture at first than the flavour.  It's initially light but with a weighty finish as the whisky influence comes through, giving it a luxurious sweetness. I suspect the casks weren't as heavily sherry-influenced as they were for the whisky. In this case the beer is embraced and caressed rather than given a hefty kick it often is with the big imperial stouts that are whisky barrel aged. It's different, and very pleasant.

The Glenfarclas 15 on the palate has lots of marzipan and burnt toffee flavours, then the finish reveals more juicy prunes and nutty, cashew notes. that contrast nicely with the relative lightness of the Òrach Slie, that's despite it being a 6% beer. I think as a pairing the Glenfarclas 10 might well have worked better, with it being that bit lighter, but the contrast was enjoyable.

The Òrach Slie is available from the Harviestoun web shop for £17.50 for a pack of three. There are some great Glenfarclas 15 year old (70cl bottle) packs around with a miniature of the 21 and the 25 for about £55 - a fantastic choice if you're looking for a Christmas whisky.

Lastly many thanks to the folks at Harviestoun for the beer - slàinte!

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