Thanks to the excellent people at Master of Malt for the sample.
St. Isidore is a saint honored by the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. He served as an Archbishop of Seville for nearly 30 years around the year 600 A.D. and during that time, became widely known as a great historian and scholar. Due to this academic fame (and presumably not his rather startling anti-Semitism), the Vatican decided he should be the patron saint of (are you ready for this? I’m seriously not making this up) the Internet, computers, computer technicians and computer users. Computer users? Come on, that’s like a third of the population of the entire planet, how is one little saint supposed to cover all that territory? Also, and far be it from me to question the motives, effectiveness, morals, ethics, etc., of sainthood, but it seems odd to me to have a patron saint for the internet when nearly 30% of all internet traffic is porn-related, 12% of all websites are porn sites, and the booming internet porn industry brings in nearly five billion dollars a year. Just saying…
Anyhoo, since the internet played a fairly large part in the creation of this whisky, clever of Master of Malt to name it thus, but even more clever was how it came in to being in the first place. In May of 2011, they sent their ingenious blending kits to 10 whisky blogs and charged them with this task: “Create the best blended whisky possible with the ingredients provided, whilst maximizing its value for money.” Once these bloggers had concocted their blends they sent them (and their recipes) back to Master of Malt who then made available small samples of each for their adoring public to vote on. The votes were cast, a winner was chosen, the bloggers picked the St. Isidore name, English artist Ben Sowter designed the label, and, as French saints say, voilà, St. Isidore, The Blogger’s Blend was born. Typical Master of Malt, if you’re not familiar with them, you should be. They are easily one of the best online whisky retailers out there, passionate about the booze and always innovative in the selling of the stuff.
The Nose: A great, unique combination of usually heavier aromas and flavors in a decidedly lighter, blended style. A slightly sherried, fruity sweetness, a baked apple dessert, rice pudding with raisins, and crème brûlée, expertly balanced with soft wood smoke. Warm cinnamon and polished oak, with soft, smoothed-out hints of peat and wet sand.
The Palate: A creamy French vanilla and (Scottish) peat-tinged entry (didn’t want you to think it was French peat, that would be just plain crazy) that picks up some roasted nuttiness and then more wonderful woodsmoke as it moves along. Pepper, clove, and cardamom wood spice grow towards the end with a bit of burnt popcorn as well.
The Finish: Long and satisfying with that same soft, slightly sweetened woodsmoke lingering for a while along with coarse cinnamon and clove.
Thoughts: Delicious. This was a fantastic experiment organized by Master of Malt, and most likely no one would have blamed them if the end result was simply kind of middling. Instead, they’ve got an absolute winner on their hands. A bit of a throw-back in style, it’s got great balance and progresses nicely through its complex yet rounded flavors. I am equally glad this whisky exists in the first place, and that it exists in the UK and is too expensive for me to get all the way out here in San Francisco because I could very easily see this being an oft-consumed, everyday bottle in the ol’ liquor cabinet. Definitely recommended.
*If you don’t want to throw down for an entire bottle, you can always take advantage of Master of Malt’s fantastic Drinks by the Dram program and just get a wee sample of the stuff.
For good measure, here’s a list of the ten bloggers who participated in the making of this whisky…