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Regular readers of WhiskyReviews.net will no doubt be familiar with North Star Spirits. For those new to the site however, North Star is an independent bottler founded in 2016 by Iain Croucher, a former brand ambassador for A.D. Rattray.
Over the last couple of years North Star has established itself as one of the most exciting new names on the scene, releasing some intriguing drams along the way, all of which have been bottled in their natural, cask strength state. Previous batches have produced everything from Single Grains to Tennessee Whiskey, to Fortified Wine from Montilla. There’s been a rare single cask Ardbeg, a mystery Orkney and even a series of blended malts released under the ‘Vega‘ brand.
With the release of batch 5 however, North Star have created another new brand, this time a blend of both grain and malt whiskies. Continuing on the astral theme, the blend is named ‘Spica’ after the brightest star in the constellation of Virgo, and the 16th brightest star in the night sky (it was also, apparently, the name of a South Korean girl band which formed in 2012 but this, I hope, is purely coincidental).
Spica is some 262 light years from the Earth and is actually a binary star, made up of two stars orbiting each other just 11 million miles apart. So close in fact, that they are likely egg shaped rather than spherical, such is the gravitational pull towards each other. The two stars which make up Spica are larger and hotter than our Sun, with the larger of the two known as a ‘Blue Giant’ – a huge star nearing the end of it’s life cycle. Spica is burning through fuel at 40,000 F and when it runs out, it will explode in a supernova, seen far across the void of Space, before collapsing into a black hole with gravity so dense that not even light can escape.
If nothing else, such a name gives us something to ponder on whilst enjoying a wee dram. Here, in liquid form, is the essence of the humble grain, grown in the top soil of a rock spinning through the vast nothingness of Space, surrounded on all sides by distant stars and galaxies and maybe even the odd far-off civilization. Out there somewhere, some other being may be sitting there, sipping at his very own glass, wondering if he’s alone in the universe. Wondering perhaps, what the dram of an alien race could possibly taste like…
Smell: Sherry, Cinnamon, Salted Caramel, Dried Fruits, Treacle, Oak Vanilla, Coconut & Orange.
Taste: Sherry – Plum, Prunes & Dried Fruits, warming Cinnamon Spice, bitter Oak and Orange Zest.
Value for Money: At £45 a bottle there can be few complaints over such a well aged, boldly flavoured dram.
Scores: 46 / 50.
North Star have excelled in producing high quality affordable drams (alongside more luxury offerings) and this first version of the Spica blend is another. Aged for a full 20 years there is as much, if not more, flavour here than you will find in any single malt and at the most reasonable of prices. Grab it while you can, because 1000 bottles won’t hang around long.