I was On my way from Toronto to Montreal when I stopped at an LCBO to buy a bottle sparkling wine then, there it was, a new Innis and Gunn, the HIGHLAND CASK; a special bottling of I&G. Like some of their special and limited edition, this one also came in a box. I don’t need to tell you how quick the bottle of sparkling wine became an afterthought.
Matured for 69 days in only 490 oak barrels previously used to mature 18 year old single malt Scotch Whisky from the Highlands region of Scotland, this beer proves once again that I&G are on to something and keep perfecting their craft. It is matured in such a way that the end result is a smooth yet complex beer.
Look: Coppery orange with red hues and limited white frothy head.
Smell: Unlike the Original, it has less of a vanilla bean aroma, yet still plenty of Innis & Gunn’s signature buttery aromas of wood, sweet malts, dark fruits like port wine and some whiskey hints.
Taste: This one is Original’s older brother, the one who get’s in trouble all the time. Although it reveals more vanilla than the nose lead on, its whiskey, alcohol and oak taste give a little more attitude. Sweet malts and dark fruits are also present yet hops are not so detectable. This is a well balanced beer, too bad it’s retired.
Finish: It finished a little sweeter with an alcohol kick.
Feel: Creamy with limited carbonation.
Context: Spot on.
Pairing: Goes well with grilled meats and salmon, pepper steak and hearthy cheeses.
Beer type: Strong ale
Brewery: Innis and Gunn
Country / Region: Scotland.
Label note: I have always appreciated the branding for I&G, the tradition of such beer labels mixed with a contemporary image makes it both comforting and relatable. The box is a nice touch and the overall look of the bottle works again and again and again.