Let’s just get straight to the point here; Steel Bonnets is way overpriced. With a RRP of around £65, my personal opinion is that it’s about forty quid over what I’d expect to pay even if I liked it. Which, I’m afraid, I don’t.
In an effort to be diplomatic, I’ll just say that this whisky really doesn’t suit my palate at all. I’ve had conversations with others who’ve said that they thought it was an OK dram, despite the price, but this isn’t the whisky for me. And whisky is subjective, right? We all know that.
Steel Bonnets – NAS – 46.6% abv
Nose: initial cereal notes – a grist and Weetabix combo. The nose becomes more like hay after a while. There’s a slight hint of Ginger Nuts biscuits and a very slight note of red apple in the background. A smokiness emerges given time in the glass. Overall, though, there’s a strong nail varnish remover note that never really subsides.
Palate: there’s a synthetic, plastic like note to start off with. After a while, there’s ginger and the heat of that sits right in the centre of the roof of the mouth. This seems very youthful; new make spirit characteristics come through greatly on the palate. On the finish, it’s dry and slightly bitter; kind of reminds me of rocket.
As far as Steel Bonnets goes, all I know is that it’s a blend of English and Scottish malt whisky. Hence the name*. There’s no information on the Scottish components, but we do know from the site that “at its heart is single malt whisky from The Lakes Distillery”. Which explains the youthful nature of this blended malt; The Lakes Distillery opened in December 2014 with the first malt whisky released only this year.
And, unfortunately, it’s this youthful characteristic of the whisky that I just can’t get passed. I have nothing against young whisky – one of my favourite drams was a five year old Caol Ila and I’ve enjoyed the Cotswolds single malt – but this just comes across as too harsh for me.
Thanks to The Lakes Distillery for the sample.
*Steel Bonnets was the nickname of The Border Reivers, raiders of both English and Scottish nationality who raided both sides of the border from the late 13th to the early 17th century.