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Berrys' Select

by Gavin D Smith, 02/10

Leading wine and spirits merchants Berry, Bros & Rudd traces its origins in London's exclusive St James area back to 1698, and the company's most recent accolade is Whisky Magazine's Independent Bottler of The Year 2010 award.

Whisky-pages regulars will be familiar with some of Berry's independent whisky bottlings, but the firm has recently launched a 'Selected by Berry's' boxed set, which would make an ideal birthday or father's day present for a spirit lover - even if it is only yourself!

According to Berry's, "Created as an introduction to the world of Berry's spirits, each one has been carefully chosen and blended by Berry's expert spirits team. The four represent the standard-bearers of flavour, style and quality from classic spirits producing regions - Speyside Reserve Blended Malt; Islay Reserve Blended Malt; XO Caribbean Rum and XO Cognac."

Berrys' Spirits Manager, Douglas McIvor, says "I have sniffed my way through the world of spirits for more than 20 years. Each one a unique personality and quite a few have become close friends. I am sure this quartet will join them."

The present line up is, essentially, a 'first edition,' with the composition of the products evolving over time as Berry's buyers continue to source characteristic spirit from regional suppliers for each bottling. The new expressions are available to buy individually (Speyside Reserve Blended Malt £30; Islay Reserve Blended Malt £35; XO Caribbean Rum £30 and XO Cognac £55) or as a pack of four, being marketed as the 'Berrys' After Dinner Spirits' collection, for the special price of £143.05. For further information and online shopping visit www.bbr.com/whiskies-and-spirits.

THE SPIRITS

Berry Bros & Rudd, Speyside Reserve Blended Malt (Scotland)
According to Berry’s, “The first edition of The Selected by Berry’s Speyside Reserve Blended Malt combines whiskies from two well known Speyside distilleries, balanced to produce an approachable yet complex dram with rich, rounded character.” Pretty and feminine on the nose, floral, with damp hay and ripe bananas. Sweet on the palate, with ginger, hazelnuts and soft fruits. Malty, rounded and well-mannered. The finish is medium in length, with a mild liquorice note. 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £30.00, Berry Bros & Rudd.

Berry Bros & Rudd, Islay Reserve Blended Malt (Scotland)
Berry’s say that “The current Selected by Berry’s Islay Blended Malt has been created by combining full, peaty, medicinal malts to capture the very warming essence of the smoky Islay style.” The nose embraces fish, brine, wood smoke, oat cakes, fresh leather and citrus fruit. The palate is big, yet comparatively soft, with lots of peat and citrus fruit. Long and warming in the finish. 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £35.00, Berry Bros & Rudd.

Berry Bros & Rudd, XO Caribbean Rum (Trinidad)
"This edition of The Selected by Berry's XO Caribbean Rum comes from Trinidad's Caroni Estate distillery, which is sadly now closed, leaving just this small piece of liquid Caribbean history," says a Berry's spokesperson. "This single estate, single age (10-year-old) rum is some of the last ever produced here." Oily on the nose, with new leather, summer fruits, brown sugar and ginger. The palate is smooth, fruity and notably spicy, while the finish dries slowly with delicate tannins. Final notes of bananas, butter and linseed oil. 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £30.00, Berry Bros & Rudd.

Berry Bros & Rudd, XO Cognac (France)
Berry's note that "The Selected by Berry'' XO Cognac has been carefully fashioned using long matured barrels of Grande Champagne from our extensive inventory to create a luscious, complex brandy that makes the perfect digestif." Icing sugar, glace cherries, marshmallows and gentle spice on the nose. Tangerines and soft leather with time. The palate is rich, textured and moreish, with nuts, raisins, worn leather and dark chocolate. Drying in the finish, with red wine notes and subtle oak. 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £55.00, Berry Bros & Rudd.

  

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