I had the chance to be invited a few days ago to a Turntable Spirits tweet tasting, allowing me to taste the first three blends released by this new blending company. Turntable Spirits is a brand new blending house founded by two brothers, with transparency about the contents of their blends. Brexit made my participation to Tweet Tastings complicated to say the least, but thanks to Steve Rush, I was able to join this one. Before we start, let’s say on the record (laughs appreciated) that I received as part of this Tweet Tasting three generous samples for free, but that doesn’t have an influence on my reviews.
Turntable Spirits Paradise Funk Blend Review
We started our tasting with Paradise Funk. This blend is made of malt whiskies coming from Knockdhu (the makers of AnCnoc whisky), Blair Athol, Benrinnes and an unnamed Speyside distillery, as well as grain whisky from Invergordon and North British. The malt percentage is quite high at 71% total, against 29% of grain whisky. For the exact blend breakdown (percentages, cask types, and lead notes provided by each), I’ll redirect you to Turntable’s website. Paradise Funk is bottled at 46% ABV, without colouring nor chill filtration, and has a £53 RRP. Available from Tyndrum for instance for just under £50, and between €50 and €60 in Germany and the Netherlands.
Neat: Bursting with fruity aromas of overripe banana, pineapple, and passion fruit. Delicate hints of woody notes akin to waxed wood, accompanied by a subtle touch of honeycomb, cola cubes, and a medley of baking spices. After aeration, the funk gets stronger with something akin of rotten fruits (it is not a bad note).
Neat: The palate starts with a combination of fruity and spicy flavours, and offers a pleasant creamy texture. The palate leans slightly towards a woody character, featuring prominent citrus notes like freshly squeezed lime juice and blood oranges. Additionally, there’s an exotic undertone with hints of pineapple, grapefruit, and passion fruit.I also detect dark chocolate and the essence of a ristretto coffee. The chinkapin flavour is notably pronounced, providing a strong yet balanced peppery element. Caramel notes are present, reminiscent of Werther’s Original candies.
The woody notes persist, accompanied by a subtle exotic fruit undertone. It’s as if the wood has been treated with pineapple oil, if such a thing exists. The initial black pepper spiciness transitions into a milder white pepper sensation. The finish is medium in length.
Fun, funky and fruity note, the name of this blend is spot on. The palate is quite enjoyable as well if a tad too woody. I like this blend.
Turntable Spirits Bittersweet Symphony Blend Review
Our second dram was named Bittersweet Symphony. This sherry oriented blend is once again a mix of malt and grain whiskies. The malt percentage is higher than Paradise Funk, with no less than 81% of the content being malt whisky, provided by Craigellachie, Blair Athol and Balmenach. The grain whisky, 19% of the blend, comes this time only from North British. As for Paradise Funk, Bittersweet Symphony is bottled at 46% with natural colour and no chill filtration, and a recommended retail price of £53. Same price range and stockists than Paradise Funk.
Neat: The nose reveals rich dark red fruits, as well as something akin to orange marmalade with a hint of whisky. Notes of dark cherry liqueur, dried aromatic herbs, freshly tanned leather, and the scent of dusty wood shelves are also present.
Neat: Initially, it might seem lighter and sweeter than anticipated, but soon it unfolds into a deep, rich sherry-led palate. Flavours reminiscent of Black Forest cake, very dark chocolate, leather, abundant dark cherries, and blackcurrant jam dominate the palate. Subtle hints of vanilla pods linger in the background. A bit woody, more than Paradise Funk I’d say.
The finish is marked by the taste of cherries dusted with pepper, complemented by lightly charred oak and lingering notes of rhubarb. It carries on for a duration that feels slightly longer compared to Paradise Funk.
The sherry influence is quite noticeable, and once again the name is well chosen, as sweet fruity notes are playing against a woody bitterness. The wood is a bit too pronounced in my humble opinion, and I prefer the exotic fruitiness of the Paradise Funk.
Turntable Spirits Smokin’ Riff Blend Review
The third and last dram of our tasting was a peaty blend called Smokin’ Riff. 28% of the blend’s composition is grain whisky coming from North British once again. The other 72% is made from malt whiskies coming from Knockdhu, Caol Ila and Craigellachie. Once again, you can check the blend breakdown on Turntable’s website. And as for the other two blends, this is bottled at 46%, without fake colouring nor chill filtration, and a £53 RRP.
Neat: An intense smokiness dominates, reminiscent of Caol Ila whiskies. A strong bonfire aroma and hints of Marlboro cigarette smoke (despite quitting smoking 15 years ago) overpower initially. It seems to require more aeration. With some air exposure, subtle notes of artisanal perry emerge as the smokiness softens slightly.
Neat: The palate unmistakably echoes the essence of Caol Ila. It’s akin to a intensified version of Caol Ila 12, featuring heightened smoke and citrus notes. These flavours are followed by raw American oak with a touch of chocolate, reminiscent of the seaweed used in maki, and a hint of aged leather.
The finish mirrors the palate, showcasing the intensified Caol Ila character. Additionally, there are lingering notes of vanilla and honey, adding a subtle sweetness to the smoky and citrusy aftertaste.
At first, without aeration, Smokin’ Riff felt too smoky on the nose, meaning that I couldn’t get past the smoke to discern other scents. However, aeration fixed that and allowed allow flavours and aromas to go through. Afterwards, it makes me think a lot about Caol Ila 12 but stronger, so you cannot but like this.
Bottle pictures: Whiskybase. Other pictures by me. Samples received provided by Turntable Spirits for the Tweet Tasting.