Number two in my Christmas rundown, and probably no surprise after my last post, is Mighty Oak’s Wilde Spirit (40%). For those coming here without reading that entry first, Wilde Spirit is distilled from the Maldon, Essex-based Mighty Oak Brewery’s Oscar Wilde mild (3.7%) beer at the English Spirit Distillery in Cambridgeshire, after which it appears to receive a dose of rapid wood ageing gaining an attractive honeyish sheen on the way.
Without knowing the full details of the production processes involved, Wilde Spirit proves a bit of a wild card on sampling properly. Sweet oranges and a little almond on the nose (the rich orange aroma carries way beyond the glass), the spirit manages to come over both light and quite oily, at least in the way it coats the mouth. Here the orange gains a slightly clove-like character (possibly fanciful but very appropriate at Christmas!) while the almond note becomes richer and more like marzipan.
After some time in the glass the spirit gains an almost agave-like vegetal note. As I said, it’s a bit of a wild card and hard to know whether this is intentional or a design flaw. Still, while it’s not bursting with complexity, I can see Wilde Spirit working well in cocktails as a more subtle cousin of triple sec, or maybe as an alternative to tequila.
There’s no doubt that Wilde Spirit’s a bit of an oddity. But don’t let that put you off trying it.