808 Whisky is unlike any whisky I’ve heard of before. Rather than hailing from some ancient distillery in the Scottish Highlands, 808 is the brain child of music producer and DJ TommyD and businessman Paul Pullinger, who have created it with the aim of introducing Scotland’s national spirit to a whole new generation of drinkers. And they’ve definitely gone about this in the right way.
Named after the famous Roland TR-808 Drum Machine, the new dram hails from North British distillery – Edinburgh’s last working distillery and one of the largest and oldest grain whisky producers in Scotland. Yes, that’s right – we’ve another grain whisky on our hands. Created by award-winning distillery Jonathan Driver, 808 has turned to North British to create a spirit that works both as a smooth and characterful neat serve, whilst also retaining the subtleness and versatility that makes a whisky perfect for mixing in cocktails.
The 808 website suggests that the whisky is versatile enough to be served with mixers including Red Bull or coconut water, but I decided to go straight up with it. There’s no doubting the flavours are subtle, gentle whiffs of honey and vanilla on the nose. The palate had much more of a presence than I was expecting though, with lots of sweetness – almost like white chocolate – more vanilla and a lemony hint of citrus. I also threw together an Old Fashioned using 808 Whisky as a base, which proved sweet and refreshing, whilst avoiding those smoky undertones which might put some off.
As I mentioned in my grain whisky article earlier in the week, distillers have created the grain whisky spirit category in a bid to attract a new – mainly younger – consumer to the market. And I suspect 808 Whisky as pitched itself at just the right level to do so.