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Water of Life – Fable Whisky

The universal language that is storytelling, i.e. painting a picture with words, is an art that requires creativity, vision and skill.

Especially in the realm of whiskies, weaving compelling tales sets vibrant brands apart from mundane ones and aids in creating a connection and sense of loyalty – all the better when the narrative resonates, ignites the recipient’s imagination and pulls the audience in with engaging and surprising elements, resulting in a picture show being run in the mind of the listener with added imaginative details.

Enter Pendulum Spirits Directors Andrew Torrance and Calum Lawrie, who chose the telling name “Fable” as a moniker for their independent whisky bottling brand for a reason as at its core, it is centred around a memorable, mythical animation – titled “The Legend of the Ghost Piper of Clanyard Bay” based on artwork created by the Bolivian illustrator Hugo Cuellar.

The illustrious characters from the animation, i.e. The Crows, The Hound, The Piper and The Labyrinth are avatars and find themselves adorning the visually appealing labels of the eleven initial, limited Fable expressions, the common denominator of which is that all of them are from single casks with interesting age profiles at cask strength and sourced from carefully curated distilleries across Scotland.

Launched globally in June 2021, it took a while until Fable and its expressions carved their way onto terra australis and I could not wait to get a chance to engage with the raw, first volume of its liquid chapters, all of which have in common that they have been matured in ex-Bourbon casks.

My first exposure to Fable was via their 10 Year Old Caol Ila expression and if you follow this series remotely, it should not be further wondrous that I was delighted given my fondness for everything Islay.

Representing the Clanyard component of Fable’s overarching long form storytelling, upon approach I was tantalized by the bacon-esque BBQ aromas, which are flanked by nuances of citrus and a peppery piquancy, which seamlessly transitions to the top of the mouth, enhanced by ashy and leathery goodness. The elongated, smoky finish had me smacking my lips, lusting for another sip.

A cracker.

Benrinnes is a distillery that has provided quite a few delightful surprises over the years and Fable’s bottling was no exception: Having matured for twelve years, dominant orange and spicy cinnamon notes tickle the nostrils. Things take a turn into savoury and nutty territory on the palate, with the finish reverberating with malty oak and tropical highlights.

Never not excited about making new discoveries, Dailuaine is a Diageo owned distillery expressions of which I have never encountered in the wild, apart from being a component in blends. I was pulled in by a nose dominated by crisp, green apple aromas dancing on a solid barley backbone, with the flavour profile being enhanced by charred oak, vanilla nuances and a delicate sweetness that is anchored by earthy notes. Culminating in a crescendo of apples, vanilla and citrus, a delightful dram to have with a resinous, hoppy IPA.

Fable’s Linkwood chapter catapults us into floral territory, where honey-ed mango aromas prepare one for finely calibrated citrus and apple flavours, which are complemented by traces of nutty nougat. The medium finish peaks with citrussy grapefruits.

Mannochmore is a located in the region of Speyside, so the fact that the nose of Fable’s expression is on the fruity end of the spectrum, interweaved with honeyed vanilla notes and a solid oaky backbone, should not come as a surprise. Via a waxy and oily mouthfeel, orchard fruits delight the tastebuds with sweet vanilla and creamy malt notes, before the sheer endless finish reverberates with the best a mix poached pears, chives and cinnamon could offer.

Given the carefully curated selections, the limited nature of the releases and the attention to detail when it comes to the presentation, if encountered in the wild any whisky aficionado would be well advised to not go past a Fable ( ) expression from one’s favourite distillery region of distillery.

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