Beer Reviews

Innis & Gunn Original


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While whisky is drink of choice in a lot of contexts, I’m not so single minded as to drink nothing else. In fact, I may have sampled an even wider range of beer in my day than I have whisky. Since I think it’s important to try different things in life, and not just stick to what you know and love (whisky, in this case), I thought I would introduce you to one of my favorite beers.

What makes Innis & Gunn so special is that it is matured for 77 days in an oak barrel which has previously been used to mature American Bourbon, which imparts a lovely combination of vanilla, toffee and (surprise surprise) oak. There are several other varieties available as well, including Canadian and Highland barrels, which are both good but unfortunately don’t match up to the expectations set by the original. There’s also a rum cask expression and a couple of others, which I may post about in the future!

Having become quite popular with novice beer enthusiasts, a lot of snobby experts will turn their nose up at it and class it as mediocre. I find that is often the case in the beer world; once something becomes popular, it seems to lose flavor and drinkability, according to critics. In all fairness, though, it is not worlds’ most well-balanced beer, nor is it as interesting – I actually don’t think interesting is the right word, but I can’t quite think of the right one – and complex as some of its competitors; but it is really darn good, and extremely drinkable (which, at around 6.60%, is a bit dangerous).

The nose will be familiar to those of you who enjoy bourbon every once in a while; a smooth vanilla-toffee-oak blend leaves no doubt as to the maturation process used. The palate goes along the same line, starting off with mellow vanilla which elegantly and seamlessly moves into a toffee blend. As you allow it to move towards the back of your mouth the oak undertones will make themselves well known indeed, and their warm embrace will linger in your mouth and throat as you swallow. The aftertaste is a sumptuous combination of the three flavors, which leaves you with little patience in waiting for the next sip.

A beautiful beer, well suited for social occasions where tipsiness is welcomed but the pace a medium slow. By no means a so called “session beer”, as this would be a waste, enjoy this lovely Scottish beer in company of a good friends, or as relaxing companion to a good book.

About Whisky Critic

My name is Martin and I live in Scotland. I love fine things in life, such as gourmet food, travelling around the world and, last but not least, whisky (naturally, I’m partial to a tipple of whiskey or bourbon as well). I have tasted hundreds of whiskies during the recent years and I finally decided to share my experience.

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