February is upon us, and I doubt I will win “Blogger of the Year” anytime soon with this speed. Even though it might look like I have given up whisky altogether, please rest assured this is not the case. We have some upcoming exciting news, so watch this space for more information!

Today, I will talk about the inaugural release from Foghouse Spirits. Let us start with the bottle. It is black, it is matte, and it is very sleek. I am generally not someone who cares about the bottle; it is all about the liquid for me, but Foghouse has done a great job selecting a design for theirs. As a bonus, the bottle was filled to the brim and caught me by surprise, making me spill a few drops upon pouring the first dram.

As you might have figured out from the title, this is a seven-year-old Balmenach. It was matured in an Octave cask, yielding only 71 bottles – and this is one of them. Unfortunately, when I post my two cents about this whisky, it’s sold out and long gone, although I might be persuaded to share a few drops if you ask nicely.

For some reason, the Foghouse took me by surprise. I don’t know what I expected, to be honest. I have little previous experience with Balmenach, but the nose is slightly floral, a little shy and soft. I do not usually pick up chocolate notes in whiskies, but I instantly find milk chocolate. I can also pick up pencil shavings, creamy vanilla – almost vanilla custard and fresh coconut. It has a relatively strong honey note, something familiar yet unfamiliar and slightly herbaceous. Celeriac, perhaps? I am also getting a light dusting of cinnamon, almonds and a clear citrusy note that I would characterise oddly precisely as blood orange. However, the most puzzling thing about the nose on this Balmenach is a note placing me beside a burnt-out fire, all while not being smoky in any shape or form. Maybe it is the soul of the fog house itself?

This Balmenach is viscous and deliciously oily on the palate, just like I prefer my whisky. I perceive it to be spicy, peppery, and possibly even gingery. It is one of those warming whiskies, hitting me in the back of the throat like eating chillies would. The oak adds a little extra spice, and the same kind of heavier citrus note follows through from the nose to the palate, leaving me with childhood memories of indulging in those rare blood oranges.

It has such a long and oily mouthfeel, mouth-coating and moreish. I am also getting some toasted coconut, and the citrus lingers on the tongue way into the finish, but the texture makes it stand out, in my opinion. It is so smooth and velvety, making it difficult to put down the glass to write this review. It paints a picture of an old, weathered cabin in the woods, combining the aroma of old wood with damp greenery, nuts and citrus, and all these elements make up a fine bottle of whisky.

Oloroso Octave
ABV: 56.8%
Country: Scotland

Foghouse Spirits was founded in 2021 by Mike Stuart, the leading man behind Inverurie Whisky Shop. If you are anything like me, you might not know what a “fog house” is. These were somewhere to relax and escape to, found throughout Scotland, and the fog house on the local landmark Bennachie was Mikes’s inspiration for the launch of Foghouse Spirits.


Tasting notes and opinions about this release are strictly my own.