Hicks & Healey Cornish Whiskey

Spirit Name:
Rating:
Hicks & Healey Cornish Whiskey (Cask #29, 2004)

Score:
88/100
ABV:
61.3%
Region:
Cornwall, England
Body:
Medium-dense
Intensity:
Medium-high
Texture:
Medium
Balance:
Heavenly
Best served:
Neat

Theme(s):
Hicks & Healey’s whiskey brings to life this almost forgotten English biodiversity of apples with a powerful kick that would probably make Alan Shearer proud; whether that be the humble apple in different forms (raw, sliced, cooked) or many varieties of apple it is evident that this whiskey is a fascinating glimpse into the complexity of Cornish apples and superb craftwork of the distillers at Healey’s. This whiskey is a must try! You may not like it, but I am confident that you will be very impressed with the skill of the distiller and the unique character of this whiskey.  
Tasting notes:
When I lived in England, my Australian taste for cold lager was slowly replaced by a love for apple cider and warm ale. I did not much like cider and ale at first, but the taste was slowly acquired and now my mouth salivates at the smell of a mahogany bar of an English pub.
Healey’s is a Cornish cyder farm and it produces the Hicks & Healey’s whiskey, a whiskey made from Cornish barley and distilled twice in the smallest copper pot still in the country before being laid to rest for seven years in its oak casks alongside their reserve brandies and cyder.
This is superbly crafted whisky, and it is extremely enjoyable. This whisky can easily be misunderstood, because it does not blindly replicate a particular flavour profile that is commonly associated with “whisky”. It brings something new to the table. Intelligently, Healey’s have played to their strengths and produced a whisky that oozes with the English taste of dry apple seed cider and notes of ale; certainly an acquired taste in my experience and while it is absolutely beautiful there may be some who need some more visits to the pub to taste all the ciders on offer before they can fully appreciate it.  
All I need now is a Sunday roast with a Yorkshire pudding… in fact, I can picture it now, washing it down with a dark bitter local ale and then once the munching is over sitting back to the piercing cask strength apple rich glow of Hick’s & Healey whiskey. 
Nose: The fragrance of an apple core is first noticeable, as apple cider shines brightly. As though a green apple as been eaten to its core and browned slightly, there is some fresh sweetness that is accompanied by the apple seed and fragrance of an oxidized apple core. There is a plasticine note on the nose that accompanies the alcohol, which is smooth and soft despite this whisky being at 61.3% ABV. 
Taste: Incredibly sweet, it is lucky that I am a cider lover; the symphony of apples is incredible. Raw green apples develop with stewed apple pie and the dry fizz of apple cider, as the oak gives a mild wood theme and a bitter English ale-like twist (there are many types of ales in England); a nice twist given that this whiskey is distilled from a mash that is like beer but without the hops. There is an initial surge of sweetness that is then counteracted by the most unique bitter-dry wave of wood, wood polish, and dryness.
The Healey’s 20 acre estate is scattered with about 3,000 trees which include seven varies of native Cornish apples (such as the Katy used for desserts or the Ashton Bitter which has, according to Healey’s, a ‘sharp green twang’). What is fascinating is that England is home to thousands of apple varieties, and what you see in the supermarket is likely to be only two or maybe three of those. Hicks & Healey’s whiskey brings to life this almost forgotten English biodiversity of apples with a powerful kick that would probably make Alan Shearer proud; whether that be the humble apple in different forms (raw, sliced, cooked) or many varieties of apple it is evident that this whiskey is a fascinating glimpse into the complexity of Cornish apples and superb craftwork of the distillers at Healey’s.   
Finish: The bitter-sweet apple themed dryness lingers. This is an example of a cider farm putting its casks to great use!   
Likes:
Incredibly smooth for a whisky at this strength, I love the uniqueness of the whisky and its apple theme; beautiful work.
Dislikes/
Warning:
Be warned, this may be shockingly sweet for some and not everyone’s cup of tea. This whisky is to be enjoyed with an open mind and an appreciation for creativity and difference.
Price:
₤175 (UK)
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