Uncharted – Smokestack Lightning

At thirteen years old Chester Arthur Burnett hopped aboard a train to get away from his abusive uncle. The steam train would billow dark black smoke from its chimney and sparks of coal looked like lightning crawling up through the billowing smoke. Cue 1956 and Chester, by then known as Howlin’ Wolf, released his most famous song: Smokestack Lightning. Cue 2023 and Jack & Dana release their own Smokestack Lightning with their Uncharted Whisky Co. as an homage to the famous song.

Jack is a talented guitarist himself and for this reason they name all of their bottlings after famous songs. When they tasted this 13 year old peated BenRiach they instantly knew which song would go well with this dram: Smokestack Lightning. As this dram was billowing with smoke. So, let’s turn up Smokestack Lightning on the stereo, and sip and savour this stunning dram!

Tasting Notes: Uncharted Whisky Co. – Smokestack Lightning

ABV: 53,4% (106,8 proof)

Age: 13 years old

Distillery: BenRiach Distillery

Bottled by: Uncharted Whisky Co.

Cask: Ex-Bourbon Hogsheads

Category: Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Chill-Filtered: No

Natural Colour: Yes

Picture by @peaty.dominique

Smoke is indeed billowing from the glass as soon as you approach this dram and I find myself imagining the shape of my Dram1 whisky glass as an old train chimney. There’s tons of woodfire here to explore, with burning oak and pine trees coming to mind in particular. But there’s also a lighter side to this dram, with notes of vanilla, apples, and moss. There’s also a bit of funk with hints of shoeshine.

Vanilla custard, caramel apples, and hints of cinnamon pair with charred wood. If you’ve ever made a turnover apple pie on the bbq, you’ll recognise that note in here. A dusting of black pepper on a charred piece of meat comes to mind as well, balancing out the sweet and fruity sides of this dram. There’s a lovely contrast going on here.

The finish is long and rather tannic. It leaves the mouth quite dry, but the flavours themselves are pleasant depsite their rough edges. The charred meat continues in the finish and brings forth the sense of biting into some ash that landed on a pork chop. Perhaps not the most appealing tasting note on paper, but my fellow peat heads will know they are in for a treat with this one when I’ll tell them something tastes like ash.

I wanted to add something with plenty of peat to get my fellow peatheads through the hars winter months, and I’m certain this will do. This is a dram that is “billowing with smoke” as Jack and Dana themselves put it and I for one can truly appreciate that. For those who are not into peat, this dram might be a bit overwhelming, but they might still find things they love as well, because it has plenty of complexity beyond just being a peat bomb. Good job Unhcarted Whisky Co. for bottling this gem of a dram!

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