Thursday, December 18, 2014

Chasing The Dream - SIA Blended Scotch Whisky

Founder Carin Luna-Ostaseski and that unique SIA Scotch Whisky bottle
What makes someone want to create their own blend of whisky and how to approach such notion? Why now try crowdsourcing a start up whisky company and see how it goes! That is exactly what SIA Scotch Whisky did. When there is so many whiskies now in the market we have to assume there must be a driving force filled with a passion and ambition to make a go of it. So kudos to Carin of SIA (pronounced See-a, Gaelic for Six) for getting it right.

Carin Luna-Ostaseski, founder of SIA Scotch Whisky, pretty much chased the dream and funded the business through her Kickstarter campaign back in mid 2013. The target was to gain $39,000 USD to purchase enough whisky to fill 250 cases / 1500 bottles at 750ml each, order glass, etch, package and then distribute. Exceeding the target within 40 days, Carin managed to get the product off the ground and sell the first 1500 bottles. SIA is now in its 2nd run of 3500 bottles has the intention of a 3rd release of 5000 bottles soon. Unfortunately we are yet to see the product distributed and sold into Australia. If you want to discover the full story check out Carin’s story: How I Funded my Company with Kickstarter.

SIA is a self styled “superior blended Scotch Whisky” created to appeal to the modern consumers palate. Take it neat, iced, or in a cocktail the preference is yours. The bottle is elegant and well designed with a label displaying a lush feminine touch. Carin worked with with Douglas Laign and Co. Ltd. to created a Scotch whisky matured, blended and bottled in the mother country. The contents are a blend is a ratio of 40% malt to 60% while the region percentages range from 50% Speyside, 40% Highland, 10% Islay malts and grains. Bottled at 43% ABV and priced at $49.00 USD per 750ml bottle I can imagine, with how Australia’s tax work, we would easily see this bottling hit the $70+ AU mark if it ever makes its way here.

SIA Scotch Whisky
SIA Blended Scotch Whisky
Location / Region: Scotland
Alcohol / ABV: 43%
Blender: Douglas Laign and Co. Ltd.

Nose: Vibrant and fruity, vanillas, spice, maple wood, citrus, pears, green tomatoes then also  and a light mix of smoke and iodine thus giving it a mild maritime feel. There is a lot going on in the nose and the maritime effect is much more apparent after the initial sip. On a first pour though I find the whisky is locked up and a bit of air needs to be swilled through to open it up but it is not an uncommon effect to be seen.

Taste: At the beginning it is smooth to the lips which lets go to become a little mouth puckering. A spice tingle starts at the lips and moves all the way to the back of the tongue. Pears and green tomatoes again make an appearance but the fruitiness is more stewed with the vanillas maple woods before the drier smoke wafts through.

Finish: Long and drawing on the breath. Not necessarily hot as can be expected with a blend but certainly a fire is smouldering deep down as the palate dries out even more. The spice lingers in an enjoyable way.

Overall there is a lot of vibrancy in the scotch whisky blend as a whole and much more than I have found in others I have tasted recently. I find this blend quite reasonable as the palate remains excitable long after the last dram. I enjoyed it neat though I can see it working very well in a cocktail as it holds a complexity that won’t be moved to the background when mixed. Unfortunately my sample was only enough for 2 medium drams so I did not attempt making a cocktail out of it. I would love to see it make its way into Australia.

I have to pass thanks to Carin for sending me the sample and correspondence that has followed all the way from the US. This blend is a real challenger not only to the palate but against many mainstream blends on our shelves. Lets hope we see it soon.

The Baron

D.T.W.C. was supplied a sample for review. All views and opinions are our own unless otherwise stated.