Lindores Friar John Cor Cask Strength Congregation Chapter 1 60.2% 70cl
Lindores Abbey is a Tironesian monastery built in the late 12th century on the edge of Newburgh, Fife. It’s claimed that the first written reference to whisky being produced in Scotland relates to the abbey, as the Exchequer Rolls of 1494 list that, by order of King James the 4th, ‘eight bols of malt’ be presented to the monk Friar John Cor to produce ‘aqua vitae. It’s thought that Friar Cor resided at Lindores and it is more than likely distilling of some form was taking place well before this date, and as such the Abbey has become known as the ‘spiritual home of Scotch whisky’.
Now a ruin, the grounds and a neighbouring farm became to be owned by the MacKenzie Smith family, who held the title of ‘Custodians of Lindores’. Drew MacKenzie Smith and his wife had long wanted to build a distillery to honour the historical links to whisky in their grounds, and excavation began in 2013. However, archaeological investigations delayed full construction until 2016, with a visitor centre opening in October 2017 and distillation commencing in December.
The water for whisky production is taken from a borehole near the distillery, meaning the water used is from the same source as would have been used at the Abbey. Barley is sourced from the Fife region, and in June 2019 to local farms have supplied Concerto barley from fields that would have been Abbey lands.
Whilst most new whisky distilleries have produced a gin to provide an ongoing revenue stream while spirit was maturing in cask, Lindores Abbey instead released an Aqua Vitae, based on recipes found at the abbey. Whereas originally this would have been a new make spirit infused with herbs found in the local area, Lindores Abbey Aqua Vitae uses a blend of herbs and spices including Douglas Fir and sweet cicely, along with a maceration of dried fruits.The distillery has one wash still and 2 spirit stills which are dubbed ‘sister’ stills – this allows for experimentation with differing cuts to produce a variety of flavour profiles.
Following the 'Casks of Lindores' trinity of seperate bottlings matured in the three cask types that make up the core Single Malt Whisky, Friar John Cor is a new series from the distillery - the ‘Cask Strength Congregation Batch – Chapter 1' was matured in a combination of ex-Bourbon, STR, ex-Oloroso Sherry and also barrels that previously held Monbazillac Sherry wines. As with all Lindores bottlings it has no added colouring, is non-chill filtered and bottled onsite at the batch cask strength of 60.2% ABV.
The introduction of the Monbazillac casks provide a gentle honeyed sweetness that adds an extra dimension to the already classic fruit forward Lindores flavour profile, adding depth to an already rich texture and mouthfeel. It does benefit from a touch of water, as the light body is a little overpowered by the high ABV - but you don't need much!
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