Thursday, 4 July 2013
My enormous apologies for the long intermission between reviews. As much as I wish at times that life would pause at least long enough for me to nestle back in my favourite chair and ever so slowly sip and savour a large dram, it doesn’t seem to happen often enough.
21 Years in a variety of casks (of-course most notably the last 4 months in ex-Caribbean Rum) has made the Gran Reserva by Glenfiddich an interesting and complicated whisky. The nose is elegant, blowing wafts of roast almonds, brown sugar toffee and mixed spice, with a firm backbone of sweet rum, while to taste there is a bitter flavour similar to pine-needles (the things I ate as a kid hey…) balanced by sweet over-ripe fruit and more mixed spice (cinnamon is definitely present). Not the longest finish around, but decent nonetheless.
Definitely worth a look if you are hunting for something different.
Age: 21 YO
Cask Type: Caribbean Rum-Cask finish (4 months)
Bottle size: 700ml
Monday, 8 April 2013
The first time I tried Edradour single malt was at the distillery. Not an experience I’m likely to forget. The stunning setting is burnt into my memory. The mountains. The stream. The fields. The cool Perthshire air. It get’s into your blood. Not to mention the amazing smell of the heated draff sitting on a carriage waiting for delivery to the local cows (draff is the waste product of barley husks post fermentation).
Edradour 10 year old, unchill filtered edition is dark amber in colour with a woody, spicy and ever so slightly musty nose. There is also a big punch of alcohol heat on the nose, which may be due to the bottling being at 46% alcohol.
The spice promised on the noses is very present on the palate, and is joined by some generic citrus flavours as well as pine needles and aniseed. There are also some rather interesting forest floor characteristics; a kind of dirty, mossy, mustiness that I really enjoy. The finish is very long, which is satisfying considering the complexity of the flavours.
A great whisky for the Chrissy pudding lovers. Get it. Try it.
Region: Central Highlands
Bottler: Signatory Vintage
Age: 10 YO
Cask Type: gotta be ex-Sherry fill
Bottle size: 700ml
Distilled/bottled: 30.10.2000 / 24.08.2011
Cask no.: 435
Bottle no.: 20 of 907
Monday, 11 March 2013
Relaxing in an antique leather wing-back chair by a large open fire with a slowly smouldering pipe in hand peering out to a rocky, wind-smashed coastline. It’s romance. It’s rich, bold and seductive.
Golden amber in colour with a punchy peaty nose, this has got to be my favourite of the smokey Islay tipples. Even with the highly phenolic tones the palate is extremely smooth. I get creamy vanilla with mild citrus balanced by spice and dry dates. The ocean spray saltiness works nicely with the generous oiliness that persists the entire length...which is unrelentingly long.
I know this style isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but for the fans of peaty whisky’s they don’t come much better.
Age 16 years old
Cask type Refill European Oak (…mainly)
Strength 43.0 % Vol.
Bottle size 700 ml
Thursday, 3 January 2013
Greetings Malt lovers, and a Happy New Year for 2013!!
I hope you were able to bring in the New Year with special friends and a special dram (if you did find an interesting dram, I’m keen to hear about it so feel free to comment about it on this post). I was able to do both, but choosing the dram proved a lot harder than choosing the friends! In the end I settled on 2; a 16YO from Lagavulin distillery and a bottle of 31.23 from the gurus of independent cask bottling, the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. I’m sure I’ll review the Lagavulin at a later date because it is one of my favourites, but for now I’d like to share my thoughts on the SMWS 31.23.
For those of you who aren’t familiar the Scotch Malt WhiskySociety are a membership based organisation that buy single casks directly from a number of distilleries and then bottles them at a later date for sale directly to its members. I purchased this bottle from the members rooms located in Leith shortly before leaving Edinburgh (after having a few wee drams of course), and man I am glad I did!
The pale straw colour of 31.23 reflects the ex-Bourbon barrel treatment the whisky has enjoyed over the past 23 years, but on the nose there is a lot more complexity going on then the typical notes of an ex-Bourbon cask whisky. There is a of savouriness about the nose that I liken to a combination of sawdust and the mustiness you might find wafting off a soft rind cheese. There is also some smokiness that doesn’t truly come through on the palate until water is added.
To the taste 31.23 is long, elegant and silky with a decent pepperiness balanced with green apple like sour sweetness. There is also a mild hint of maple syrup and good saltiness. Once water is added the smells and flavours really open up and intensify considerably. I also picked out floral notes (lavender) when drinking this with water that I didn’t notice before.
I rarely drink Single Malt Scotch Whisky while eating food, but something about this one had me appreciating how well it would go with natural oysters or mussels in a white wine sauce. I made sure I left some in the bottle just for this purpose and I’m keen to try it soon.
Until next time, Slainte!
Distiller Isle of Jura
Bottler Scotch Malt Whisky Society
Distillation date 27th of September 1988
Age 23 years old
Number of bottles 235
Cask type Refill Hogshead, ex-Bourbon
Strength 51.7 % Vol.
Bottle size 700 ml