By Father John Rayls
There are many opinions about Orphan Barrel Distilling and they are all over the map from pure love and devotion to pure cynicism and avoidance. However having found several sourced whiskies that I thoroughly enjoy, I find myself very open-minded concerning the whole Orphan Barrel Project coming from Diagio. Sure, I’m cynical about suddenly finding “lost” barrels that are 12 to 25 years old because we know they’re paying taxes on each barrel and computers are tracking each of them very closely. In addition, these barrels weren’t chosen originally for a reason. But, the story line is enticing and who can resist a 25 year old whisky regardless of how it came to be bottled. Orphan Barrel Distilling was kind enough to send me a sample of the 82 proof Entrapment 25 Year Old Canadian Whisky. This is the 11th release in the Orphan Barrel series from Diageo. This one came from Gimli, Manitoba the home of Crown Royal, the best selling Canadian Whisky in the US market and a favorite in Texas as well. It was distilled and aged near the banks of Lake Winnipeg, the 11th largest fresh water lake in the world at the Diageo owned distillery. Although this idea of bottling “one-off” offerings from “lost” barrels has been going on successfully in Scotland for years, it’s still a relatively new idea in North America. Bottlers are entering this new market very carefully.
The look in my Glencairn glass was a very beautiful color of medium brown with a strong copper tint. It was very much like seeing a color I had never seen before. It was difficult to describe, but very uniquely beautiful. The highlights were of very bright polished copper. The legs were eventually prolific and thin. However, they were initially reluctant and then suddenly formed and rushed to the bottom of the glass. The nose was somewhere between subtle and medium in intensity. It didn’t rush out to greet me, but was readily available. There were notes of toasted oak, a faint aroma of walnut and vanilla over some light toffee.
The first sip brought a light creamy mouthfeel. Entrapment is a light and delicate whisky; not at all what I was expecting. The tasting experience is a mid mouth forward activity. The flavors on the palette are light oak and walnut over some balanced vanilla. The initial experience occurs in a relatively short period of time as the finish makes an appearance early on. The flavors transition into a growing warmness with semi-sweet flavors of dried fruit. It never becomes overly sweet but maintains a good balance in all areas. The finish is a medium to long one that presents a very nice and welcoming presence.
Orphan Barrel Entrapment 25 Year Old Canadian Whisky is by definition a very limited release. Unfortunately, no information is available on the total number of bottles available. It currently is widely available with a suggested retail of $150.00. However, I have seen it listed at more than double the price at a few places. I know I don’t normally recommend a “delicate” whisky, but this is a very enjoyable whisky for those rare quiet moments