huxley rare genius

Huxley Rare Genus Whiskey

Huxley Rare Genus Whiskey is a new introduction to the Whisky of the Month category that has a lot of folks discussing the merits of innovation within the whisky industry, the Scotch whisky industry in particular. It’s a delicate subject and can raise a whisky drinker’s ire faster than a barman yelling “last call”.

Huxley Rare Genus is a “new” breed of whisky, a whisky hybrid that marries whisk(e)y from three countries; Scotland, Canada and the United States. They are not quick to share the exact nature of the combination but I am led to believe it includes a blended Scotch, a rye and a bourbon.

To the traditionalist such alchemy is sacrilege; to the innovator it’s a journey into “uncharted territory”. Either way it’s reflective of a wild new world! In reality though, it’s not that new, the Japanese have been blending their whiskies with batches from Scotland for some time now. But, the fact that Huxley Rare Genus is being produced in Scotland by none other than Diageo is just too much for some folks to swallow (pun intended).

Whiskey Union

Technically, Huxley Rare Genus is being made by Whiskey Union, note the “e” in the name. Whiskey Union is an “experimental craft whisky” distillery within the larger Diageo corporation.  The whiskey itself is a creation from Caroline Martin, Master Blender of the Whiskey Union.

The start up’s goal is to capitalize on the high-energy and sense of adventure sweeping the industry, the American crafts industry in particular. They have stated that it’s their “ . . . aim to recruit new consumers into the expansive whiskey category with distinctive and exciting brands that are cultural discovery magnets.”

To the cynic, it’s just a knee jerk reaction to a tumultuous market. And a move to shore up Scotches’ sales within an increasingly competitive industry. It’s not surprising that some critics are claiming Diageo is more interested in chasing trendy follies rather than concentrating on making a better, i.e. traditional scotch.

T.H. Huxley

That sounds a bit harsh but you have to admit, Whiskey Union has built quite a slick marketing campaign to capture the whiskey drinker’s attention. They named their creation after Thomas Henry Huxley, a nineteenth century biologist and comparative anatomist. He was an avid evolutionist and a peer of Charles Darwin. In fact, he earned the moniker “Darwin’s Bulldog” because of his staunch support of Darwin’s theory of evolution.

Now here is where things start getting a bit cagey. To drive their literal allusion home, they did a little evolutionary work of their own and created the ‘Mobsprey’. A mythical, hybrid beast combining characteristics of Scottish, Canadian and American animals. A moose, a bobcat and an osprey to be precise.

Slippery Slope

Absurd you say! Ah, come on, they’re just having a little fun. Okay, okay, perhaps they are on a slippery slope. After all, the vodka industry did get a little carried away with ‘Bubblegum’ and ‘Cinnamon Bun’ concoctions. But this is the whisky industry, that would never happen here!

Besides, who among you, (while staring at your liquor cabinet), hasn’t wondered at least once, “What happens if I mix a little of this with a little of that?”  So, let’s cut the folks at the Whiskey Union a little slack and give Huxley, and their other innovations, ‘Smoky Goat’ and ‘Boxing Hares’ a try before we judge.

However, getting to try Huxley Rare Genus may take a little creativity of your own. You see, it’s only available in Germany and Austria. So, be nice to your jet-setting friends and they may just bring you home a bottle. The rest of us will have patiently wait and hope sales are strong enough to justify a wider release.

Tasting Notes

In the meantime, here are the tasting notes from Flaviar.

Colour: Antique gold.

Nose: Inviting butter toffee, resin, new-sawn timber, candied citrus peels, toffee apple, a hint of smoke, sticky cranberry/apple jelly

Flavour: Rich, medium-bodied, caramel, fudge sweetness, a tad of tannin, peppery spice, maritime peat smoke, fruitiness, candied peels, apple, tropical fruits.

Finish: Smooth and custardy, ginger syrup, nutmeg and a hint of banana.

Flavour Spiral: Smoky, caramel, candied, butter, ginger, spicy, apple, pepper, grassy.