Today, I’m taking a look at Spirit of Broadside from the Adnams Copper House Distillery. This is unlike anything I have tried before, being an “eau de vie de biere”; Adnams take their Broadside Beer (6.3% ABV) and distill it, before maturing the result in heavily toasted Russian oak barrels for a year. The result is a most intriguing spirit, bottled at 43% ABV.
Broadside Beer was originally produced to honour the tercentenary of the Battle of Sole Bay in 1672, the first naval battle of the Third Anglo-Dutch War, which took place near to Southwold, the home of Adnams. Appropriately, Spirit of Broadside will be released on the 340th anniversary of the same battle.
Spirit of Broadside
The nose was – strangely – both like and unlike a whisky. There were lots of malty notes and a warm sweetness, like a heavy fruit cake. On top of this was a rather pleasant scent that reminded me of the inside of a brand new car, and a woody spiciness with touches of marzipan and cardamom.
The taste was smooth and woody from the outset, this spirit really caught me off-guard; its flavours all worked remarkably well together, presenting dark wood notes in a fashion completely different to any whisky I’d ever tried before. Underlying the wood were soft malt notes and those of hops served to neatly soften the overall flavour and ensure that it was unique and savoury. It also had a good warmth to it, which gradually built up on the aftertaste.
Made with Spirit of Broadside and Ridley’s Victorian Hops Bitters (a specialist product from Neil Ridley at CaskStrength.net), I was initially wary of this cocktail, thinking that the hops would overpower everything else, but I had no reason to worry. The nose was faint, fruity and woody, with the sweetness and hops coming through more than when the Spirit was served neat. To taste, it was very soft and smooth to start, with the warm, woody notes of the Spirit slowly getting stronger. The hops, rather than overpowering the other flavours, seem to support them, producing a really delicious Old Fashioned and one that is in my top three of all time.
The hops were even more subtle in this nose, which was instead somehow dominated by fresh citrus and doughy gingerbread. Yet again, I was impressed at how well the Spirit mixed, producing a balanced and flavourful cocktail. Sweet lemon faded into soft, light oak, with the gentle taste of the hops appearing on the aftertaste.
In case it didn’t come across in my review, I really liked Spirit of Broadside and was even more impressed by it given that I’m not, typically, a fan of beer. This, however, is a versatile and tasty product that I would definitely recommend to Scotch drinkers as something that’s a little bit different, whilst containing a whole host of familiar flavours, all very neatly woven together. We’ll definitely be experimenting with a few more cocktails, if I don’t drink the entirety of our supply in Old Fashioneds in the meantime!
– Mrs. B.
* There was some debate whether we should call this a Rob Roy or Manhattan but given my preference for the former, that’s what we went for.
Special thanks to Alice and Neil for their help.