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Inbox / The Week's Whisky News (May 20, 2022)



Welcome to Inbox, our weekly round up of whisky news and PR material that has found its way in to our WFE email. It was created as we cannot write full articles or do justice to every piece received. It features items from around the world of whisky and is published by us each Friday. Within Inbox we aim to write a few lines detailing each press release/piece of news/PR event that we have received and provide links, where possible, for you to find out further information.  Here is the round-up of the news from this last week.  ________  
Big Peat
The award-winning Islay blended malt brand of Big Peat has revealed its Feis Ile bottling to celebrate the forthcoming Islay Festival on the famous whisky island. The Big Peat Beach BBQ Edition features only single malts from Islay and is bottled at the natural cask strength of 54.2% ABV. The new whisky is limited to just 3,000 bottles and comes with special packaging featuring the character of Big Peat. It will be available in specialist whisky retailers online and in selected world markets including Asia, Europe and the UK. A bottle will cost £55.00/ €65.00.
 
Kilchoman
The family-owned Islay farm distillery of Kilchoman has announced details of this year's edition of their annual Loch Gorm bottling. This is named after Islay's largest freshwater lake, which is near the distillery on the island's western coast. As with previous Loch Gorm releases the 2022 Edition features only ex-Oloroso sherry casks. These have been sourced from Bodega José y Miguel Martín and 22 have been used in total - 20 first-fill and two re-fills. For this they have been filled with Kilchoman's heavily peated (50ppm) spirit.  The Kilchoman Loch Gorm 2022 Edition is bottled at 46% ABV and is both non chill-filtered and of natural colour. There are 17,250 bottles. The price was not revealed in the press release. 
 RedbreastThe Irish single pot still brand of Redbreast has revealed details of the fifth bottling in its rare Dream Cask series. The latest release is a tale of two casks - one chosen by Billy Leighton, Master Blender for Redbreast, and one by fellow blender Dave McCabe. Leighton's choice was a first-fill ex-Oloroso sherry butt that was filled in May 1990. McCabe's was a first fill ex-bourbon barrel laid down in November 1991. The union of the casks has yielded just 714 bottles. All will only be available via a ballot for the Redbreast Birdhouse members from midday on Monday 23 May. The ballot will run until May 30. A bottle will cost €550.
 Talisker 
The famous Talisker distillery from the isle of Skye has launched its oldest ever single malt to date - the Talisker 44 years old : Forests of the Deep. The new whisky is a partnership with ocean conservationists Parley For The Oceans. There are just 1,997 bottles and these will be available in specialist whisky and luxury retailers worldwide. It has been bottled at the natural cask strength of 49.1% ABV. Each bottle will cost £3,800/ $4,740 US. A special tasting will take place in London on June 8, which is World Ocean Day.
 
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Review / White Heather 15 years old


The Glenallachie Distillers Company have just released this new blended Scotch whisky. The White Heather 15 years old joins the 21 years old expression in the White Heather range, which was first launched last year, and forms part of the wider MacNair's Boutique House of Spirits. This includes the Lum Reek blended malt and Exploration Rum brands. The White Heather is blended by Billy Walker, the Master Distiller and co-owner of Glenallachie. It features single malts from Islay, the north Highlands and Speyside plus single grain whisky. These have been matured in a combination of virgin oak, ex-bourbon, ex-Oloroso and ex-Pedro Ximenez sherry casks. 

The White Heather 15 years old will be available globally through selected specialist whisky retailers and is bottled at 46% ABV. It is also non chill-filtered and of natural colour. A bottle will cost £60/ $78.50 US.

Our tasting notes

The colour is golden yellow and the nose is sweet, fruity and floral. Aromas of golden syrup and honey combine well with cooked apple compote and poached pear. Underneath are further aromas of vanilla custard, delicate baking spices and a pinch of cocoa powder. A whiff of Summer flowers gives a light and bright feel.

On the palate this whisky is soft, gentle and immediately sweet. Plenty of vanilla start the proceedings (think of fresh vanilla pods and that vanilla custard from the nose), plus a distinct citrus-like kick - this has a bittersweet twist and is reminiscent of orange and lemon peel. The stewed orchard fruits from the nose are also present and at a good level - imagine apple crumble and poached pears with a butterscotch sauce. Delicious.

The sweetness is accentuated by notes of golden syrup and heather honey. The honey in particular moves the mid-palate in a floral direction, with the Summer flowers from the nose and a hint of rose petal coming through nicely. Underneath are some gentle warming wood spices and soft background peat smoke that ends up wrapping itself around the other notes to give a good savoury element.

The finish is of decent length the sweet, fruity and floral notes slowly drift away and this leaves the woody spices and that delicate peat smoke to shine. A late hit white pepper and gingerbread add warmth and depth.

What's the verdict?

The White Heather 15 years old is lovely and packed with layers of flavour. We particularly enjoyed the brightness and vibrancy. The fruitiness and sweetness work well together and are complimented well by the unusual floral notes. All are underpinned by that warming spiciness and a lick of gentle peat smoke, which is used like seasoning rather than being a dominating force. Well worth a try.


Rossville Union 2022 Barrel Proof

Rossville Union 2022 Barrel Proof Master Crafted Straight Rye Whiskey, Aged 7 Years 58.6% ABV $70 Website We would like to thank Luxco and BYRNE PR for sending us samples to review. What the Distillery Says Ross & Squibb Distillery releases Rossville Union 2022 Barrel Proof Annual, limited-release straight rye whiskey, now featuring a 7-year …

Rossville Union 2022 Barrel Proof Read More »

The post Rossville Union 2022 Barrel Proof first appeared on Whisk(e)y Apostle: Proselytizing the way of the malt.

Review / Cotswolds 'Hearts & Crafts' Rum Cask


This new whisky is the latest addition to the Hearts & Crafts Collection from the English distillery of Cotswolds. The series of limited edition whiskies is inspired by the work of designer and craftsman William Morris, who lived in the Cotswolds at Kelmscott Manor. The new release has seen the spirit made from 100% Cotswolds barley, which was traditionally floor malted in nearby Warminster, and then matured in rejuvenated French oak ex-red wine casks that were seasoned with Caribbean rum. All bottles are presented in a William Morris design tube. The exact number of bottles was not revealed in the press release.

The Cotswolds distillery is located in the village of Stourton and was founded in 2014 by Daniel Szor. The company ethos is to only use barley grown on Cotswold farms and filtered water from the village supply. This barley is then malted on a traditional malt floor at the local maltsters in nearby Warminster. Whisky and gin are produced, along with a range of liqueurs. The distillery run tours daily and also have a shop, cafe and tasting room on site.  

"I have always loved a good sipping rum, but often feel let down by 'rum-finished' single malts. This wonderful new Hearts & Crafts bottling really delivers. Our focus on full-term maturation, rather than finishing, making this whisky both finely balanced and immensely satisfying." Daniel Szor.   

 The Cotswolds Hearts & Crafts Rum Cask Matured single malt is bottled at 55.6% ABV and is both non chill-filtered and of natural colour. It is exclusive to the Cotswold distillery's shops, visitor centre and website. A bottle will cost £74.95.

Our tasting notes

The colour is vibrant gold and the nose is bright and expressive. Aromas of candied lemon and lime lead the way, along with a hint of dried tropical fruit. Underneath are further aromas of green apple, golden syrup and peppery spices. Hints of pear, butterscotch and agave sit in the background.

The brightness continues on the palate. There is a youthful peppery quality but this mellows to reveal crisp green apple and pear notes. With time these tend more towards peardrop boiled sweets. This initial fruitiness is accentuated by a vibrant sweetness. This is a mix of honey, golden syrup and some white chocolate. The candied lemon and lime notes from the nose are never far away. The tropical fruit notes also evolve and become more dominant than before. Hints of marzipan and freshly sawn oak develop late on. 

A splash of water softens this whisky down well. The lemon, lime and tropical characteristics leap out even more as the peppery heat is deadened. A hint of bitter grapefruit peel comes through nicely too.

The finish is of decent length. The sweetness and fruity elements fade relatively quickly and this leaves the oak and peppery spices to come forwards. This gives plenty of warmth and a slightly bitter and drying edge.

What's the verdict?

This is another interesting whisky from Cotswolds. We like their experimental approach to maturation and this release follows on well from the inaugural Pineau de Charentes Cask in the Hearts & Crafts series. It will be interesting to see which other directions they take this collection of limited editions in. 

This Rum Cask is expressive and vibrant, and almost not like a whisky at all. It has a set of heady aromas and a flavour profile that reminded us more of a mezcal or rhum agricole. This makes it an intriguing proposition and maybe not for everyone, but we quite enjoyed it.


Review / Fettercairn Warehouse 2 (Batch 003)


This whisky is the latest limited edition release from the east Highland distillery of Fettercairn. It is the third bottling to appear in the Warehouse 2 series. Batch 003 follows the first two batches from 2021. The series is designed to showcase some of the hidden gems maturing within Fettercairn's 14 dunnage warehouses. There are three cask types that feature in this new batch - ex-bourbon and ex-rum barrels, plus ex-red wine barriques from France. These have been used in the percentages of 57%, 16% and 27% respectively. All were distilled and filled in 2015. The casks were hand-selected and then married together by Gregg Glass, the Whisky Maker for Fettercairn.

The Fettercairn distillery is located near the village of Laurencekirk in the east Highlands, between the towns of Montrose and Stonehaven. It was founded in 1824 by Sir Alexander Ramsay but he sold it to Sir John Gladstone in 1830. He was the father to four times UK Prime Minister William Gladstone and it remained in the Gladstone family for nearly a century. It is currently owned by Whyte & Mackay and is considered a prized malt within blending circles. The current annual capacity is 3.2 million litres. 

The Fettercairn Warehouse 2 Batch 003 is bottled at 50.6% ABV. The exact number of bottles has not been revealed but they will be available through specialist whisky retailers in selected world markets. A bottle should cost £60/€70. 

Our tasting notes

The colour is golden yellow and the nose is heady and fragrant. Aromas of honeycomb and green apple lead the way and are followed by fudge, toffee and milk chocolate. There is also a whiff of tropical fruits (especially mango and apricot) with a hint of red berries and cinnamon stick.

On the palate this whisky is lively, bright and expressive. Initial notes of heather honey and vanilla custard give way to something much more fruity. Crisp green apple and pear kick this off and are quickly joined by further fruity notes of sultana, red berries and the tropicals from the nose. The mango and apricot are joined by hints of pineapple and peach. Hints of crumbly brown sugar, toffee and butterscotch accentuate the sweetness. Underneath is something a little earthier and spicier. The woody oak tannins combine with cinnamon, white pepper and a hint of gingerbread to give decent warmth and depth.

The finish is good and those spices from the late palate help to draw it out further. A hint of burnt orange peel appears alongside the sweet and fruity notes. These slowly fade to reveal the peppery heat, which is the only real suggestion of the whisky's youthfulness.

What's the verdict?

This is another fine effort from Fettercairn. We have sampled and enjoyed each of the Warehouse 2 series to date. Each has been pushed in a slightly different direction and it will be interesting to see what appears in the collection down the track. Marrying rum and red wine casks should be tricky, but they have been skillfully combine here to create a lovely, vibrant and bright whisky. And at a decent retail price too.


Review / Glenallachie 8 years old


This new whisky is the latest expression to enter the core range of the Speyside single malt distillery of Glenallachie (pronounced glen-alla-key). The Glenallachie 8 years old sees whisky from four different cask types married together. These are virgin oak casks, ex-red wine barriques, plus ex-Oloroso and ex-Pedro Ximenez sherry puncheons. The casks were hand selected by Billy Walker, the Master Blender for Glenallachie, for this first batch. It is bottled at 46% ABV and is both non chill-filtered and of natural colour. The Glenallachie 8 years old will be available via specialist whisky retailers worldwide and is expected to retail for £42.50/ $55.50 US.

The Glenallachie distillery is located just outside the town of Aberlour in the Speyside region of Scotland. It was founded by Mackinlay, McPherson & Co. in 1967 and was designed by renowned distillery architect William Delmé-Evans. The current owners are The Glenallachie Distillers Co. who took over in mid-2017. 

Under their ownership, and the vision of Master Distiller Billy Walker in particular, the brand has quickly established itself as a single malt brand and has a cult following. Previously, bottlings were rare with most spirit going into popular blends such as Ballantine's and Chivas Regal. The annual production capacity is four million litres, although Walker has reduced this to around 750,000 litres per year.

Our tasting notes

The colour is deep gold with a tint of amber is sweet and vibrant. Aromas of sultana and fresh green apple mingle with toffee, fudge and raisin. Underneath are further aromas of warming wood spices (especially cinnamon), brown sugar, milk chocolate and and a hint of something uplifting and floral. 

On the palate this whisky is immediately sweet and sugary. Crumbly muscovado sugar and plump juicy raisins and sultanas lead the way. These notes are followed by caramel, fudge and toffee with a suggestion of milk chocolate and cocoa powder. Other sweet notes begin to develop with time - think of molasses, stewed apples and vanilla ice cream covered in butterscotch.

Warming spices come through. These follow two tracks - woody oak, which gives a drying and slightly bitter edge, and baking spices. These give warmth, depth and add to the complexity. Think of cinnamon, all-spice and a pinch of mace. A slightly strange burnt characteristic appears towards the end. This is a little bitter and tannic with hints of toasted nuts and burnt caramel.

The finish is of decent length. The sweet and fruity notes hold well but slowly begin to fade. This allows the woody and spicy elements to come to the fore. It gives a gripping and drying warmth. Unfortunately that burnt characteristic from the late palate also reappears.

What's the verdict?

This whisky is now the new entry point into the Glenallachie core range. We can see why they have done this and it is good to see someone putting out an age statement of under 10 years. It presents a whisky at around the £40 price point, which was missing before.

Glenallachie have become known for their sherry cask expressions and experimentation since Billy Walker took over. To this end the new 8 years old feels a little like Glenallachie Lite. There are obvious sherry cask elements there but it lacks the characteristics that can only come with age. Also, that bitter burnt note is a little off-putting and disappointing towards the end.


Inbox / The Week's Whisky News (May 13, 2022)



Welcome to Inbox, our weekly round up of whisky news and PR material that has found its way in to our WFE email. It was created as we cannot write full articles or do justice to every piece received. It features items from around the world of whisky and is published by us each Friday. Within Inbox we aim to write a few lines detailing each press release/piece of news/PR event that we have received and provide links, where possible, for you to find out further information.  Here is the round-up of the news from this last week.  ________  
Benriach
The innovative Speyside distillery of Benriach has announced the second bottling in its Malting Season series. The Benriach Malting Season Second Edition uses malted barley produced on Benriach's own traditional malting floor, which is one of only two operational malting floors currently being used in Speyside. The barley for this batch was malted in Autumn 2013, before being distilled and filled to 30 first-fill ex-bourbon barrels in November. The whisky has been bottled at 48.9% ABV and will initially be available only at the Benriach visitor centre. A global release will follow in June. A bottle will cost £99/ $125 US. 

"The highly skilled process of floor malting keeps a traditional part of the whisky making process alive and pays homage to Benriach’s creative whisky making heritage. The Malting Season releases show this off perfectly."Stewart Buchanan / Global Brand Ambassador at Benriach.



 Gordon & Macphail 
The family-owned independent bottler of Gordon & Macphail have announced the second whisky in their Mr. George Legacy series - the Gordon & Macphail Mr. George Legacy 1957 from Glen Grant Distillery. The series honours George Urquhart, known as 'Mr. George' in the whisky industry, who was in charge of the company when this whisky was distilled and filled to cask.  This was on 10 October 1957. It has spent its entire 64 year maturation in a single first-fill ex-sherry butt (Cask #3483) before being bottled on 9 November 2021. The cask yielded just 298 bottles. It is released at the natural cask strength of 56.1% ABV. Each bottle will cost £6,000/ $7,310 US and be available via selected specialist whisky and luxury retailers worldwide.

 Loch Lomond 
The Loch Lomond distillery has announced the second bottling in its Remarkable Stills series - the Loch Lomond 46 years old. The series is designed to celebrate the distillery's unique straight-necked stills.  The unpeated spirit used was distilled and filled to American oak ex-bourbon casks in 1974. This was then split and then transferred to either ex-Oloroso or ex-Pedro Ximenez sherry casks for a two year finishing period. It is bottled at the natural cask strength of 45.3% ABV.  The Loch Lomond 46 years old is limited to just 200 bottles and is presented with a handcrafted oak casket. It will be available in selected specialist retailers worldwide and each bottle will cost £4,500/ $5,485 US.
 
Timorous Beastie
Douglas Laing & Co. has announced a new limited edition bottling for its Timorous Beastie blended malt - the Timorous Beastie 'Meet The Beast' 13 years old. The new whisky is a marriage of Highland single malts and all have been matured in American oak ex-bourbon barrels for a minimum of 13 years. It is released today (May 13) and is inspired by the superstition surrounding Friday 13th. A coordinated marketing plan for the launch includes engagement with 60 global specialist retailers, e-commerce site takeovers and targeted social media campaigns.  Timorous Beastie 'Meet The Beast' 13 years old is limited to just 3,000 bottles. It is released at the natural cask strength of 52.5% ABV and is both non chill-filtered and of natural colour. A bottle will cost £75/ $92 US.


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Blood Oath Pact No. 8

Blood Oath Pact No. 8 Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Calvados casks 49.3% ABV $110 Website We would like to thank Luxco and BYRNE PR for sending us samples to review. What the Blender Says Lux Row master distiller John Rempe continues his annual pact with bourbon drinkers with the release of Blood Oath …

Blood Oath Pact No. 8 Read More »

The post Blood Oath Pact No. 8 first appeared on Whisk(e)y Apostle: Proselytizing the way of the malt.

Inbox / The Week's Whisky News (May 6, 2022)



Welcome to Inbox, our weekly round up of whisky news and PR material that has found its way in to our WFE email. It was created as we cannot write full articles or do justice to every piece received. It features items from around the world of whisky and is published by us each Friday. Within Inbox we aim to write a few lines detailing each press release/piece of news/PR event that we have received and provide links, where possible, for you to find out further information.  Here is the round-up of the news from this last week. 
________

Diageo 
Scotland's largest whisky producer has revealed details of two special bottlings for this year's Fèis Ìle festival, one each from its two Islay distilleries - Caol Ila and Lagavulin. Each bottling features casks selected by each distillery team. Both whiskies are released at their natural cask strength and are non chill-filtered and of natural colour. They will be sold on a first come, first served basis.
 The Lagavulin Fèis Ìle 2022 Edition (pictured, above) is a 12 years old small batch release. It has been initially matured in re-fill American oak ex-bourbon hogsheads before being finished in virgin American oak barrels. There are 6,336 bottles in the batch and these are released at 57.7% ABV. It will be on sale at the festival from Lagavulin Day (May 28) onwards from the distillery and via www.malts.com. A bottle will cost £165. 

The Caol Ila Fèis Ìle 2022 Edition (pictured, above) is bottled at 15 years old. It has also been matured in re-fill American oak ex-bourbon hogsheads and finished in virgin American oak barrels. There are just 3,072 bottles and these are released at 55.2% ABV. It will be on sale from Caol Ila Day (May 30) onwards.  Caol Ila is currently closed for major refurbishment so Caol Ila Day will instead be held at the nearby Islay House. Bottles will be on sale there and at Lagavulin distillery and via www.malts.com afterwards. A bottle will cost £165.




Dunville's
The Irish whiskey brand of Dunville's has announced a new single cask limited edition that has been bottled the Belfast-based retailer The Friend At Hand. The Dunville's Cask 2058 Grosvenor Reserve is bottled at 21 years of age and has seen the original cask of whiskey finished first in an ex-Oloroso sherry hogshead and then an ex-Pedro Ximenez sherry barrel. There will be just 324 bottles, which are released at the natural cask strength of 53.8% ABV. Bottles will be available from midday today (May 6) and only from The Friend At Hand shop in Hill Street, Belfast. A bottle will cost £275. 
  Jack Daniel's The Tennessee whiskey brand of Jack Daniel's has announced a new series of premium bottlings, and the first two whiskeys in that series. The Bonded Series will celebrate the Bottled In Bond Act of 1897 - this states that a bonded whiskey must be distilled by a single distiller during a single season, matured in a bonded warehouse for at least four years and bottled at 100 proof (50% ABV). The new series kicks off with the Jack Daniel's Bonded and Jack Daniel's Triple Mash. Both bottlings will be available in America from mid-May and then selected world markets later in 2022. 
Jack Daniel's Bonded is a classic Tennessee whiskey and features a mashbill of 80% corn, 12% malted barley and 8% rye. It is expected to retail for $30 US. Jack Daniel's Triple Mash is a marriage of three different whiskeys - Tennessee Rye, their classic Tennessee Sour Mash and American Malt. These feature in quantites of 60%, 20% and 20% respectively. It is expected to retail for $33 US a bottle. Both are released at 100 Proof (50% ABV) as the law requires. 

"Bonded and Triple Mash are a nod to our heritage, and the Bottled In Bond Act, with a touch of innovation and craftsmanship. These whiskeys give another opportunity for our friends and new drinkers to explore and discover everything Jack Daniel’s has to offer."Chris Fletcher / Master Distiller at Jack Daniel's.




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Inbox / The Week's Whisky News (April 29, 2022)



Welcome to Inbox, our weekly round up of whisky news and PR material that has found its way in to our WFE email. It was created as we cannot write full articles or do justice to every piece received. It features items from around the world of whisky and is published by us each Friday. Within Inbox we aim to write a few lines detailing each press release/piece of news/PR event that we have received and provide links, where possible, for you to find out further information.  Here is the round-up of the news from this last week. ________  
Cotswolds
The English distillery of Cotswolds has announced the latest addition to its Hearts & Crafts Collection. The series of limited edition whiskies is inspired by the work of designer and craftsman William Morris, who lived in the Cotswolds at Kelmscott Manor. The new release has seen the spirit made from 100% Cotswolds barley and then matured in rejuvenated French oak ex-red wine casks that were seasoned with Caribbean rum. All bottles are presented in a William Morris design tube. The exact number of bottles was not revealed in the press release.  The Cotswolds Hearts & Crafts Rum Cask Matured single malt is bottled at 55.6% ABV and is both non chill-filtered and of natural colour. It is exclusive to the Cotswold distillery's shops, visitor centre and website. A bottle will cost £74.95.
 

"I have always loved a good sipping rum, but often feel let down by 'rum-finished' single malts. This wonderful new Hearts & Crafts bottling really delivers. Our focus on full-term maturation, rather than finishing, making this whisky both finely balanced and immensely satisfying."Daniel Szor / Founder of Cotswolds.


 Glenallachie 
The Speyside distillery of Glenallachie has announced the release of four single cask bottlings. Three will be exclusive to UK specialist whisky retailers with the fourth exclsuively for sale at this weekend's Spirit of Speyside festival. All are released at their natural cask strength and are of both natural colour and non chill-filtered. Each single cask was selected by Billy Walker, the Master Blender for Glenallachie.
The UK exclusive trio form Batch 6 of Glenallachie's single cask series. These feature Cask #1036 - an ex-Bordeaux red wine Premier Cru Classé Barrique that was filled in 2011 and aged for 11 years. It is bottled at 59.9% ABV and will cost £100. Cask #5386 is an ex-Tawny Port Hogshead and is bottled at 10 years old and 56.5% ABV. A bottle will cost £95. Cask #806890 is a true rarity. It is an ex-bourbon barrel that was filled with peated spirit in 2012. This was not distilled very often at Glenallachie. It is released at 9 years old and 60.1% ABV. A bottle will cost £90.
The Spirit of Speyside exclusive will only be available at the distillery, which is located near Aberlour. Cask #3292 was distilled in 2006 and is bottled at 15 years old. It started life in an ex-bourbon barrel before being transferred to a first-fill ex-Oloroso sherry puncheon and finally an antique ex-Oloroso sherry butt. A bottle will cost £175.

 
Glen Scotia
The Campbeltown distillery of Glen Scotia has announced details of its special limited edition bottling for the forthcoming Campbeltown Malts Festival. The Glen Scotia Festival Release 2022 is an 8 year old single malt that has been maturing in ex-bourbon barrels before being transferred for a 12-month finishing period in ex-Pedro Ximenez sherry hogsheads. The spirit is heavily peated, unlike most from Glen Scotia. It is bottled at the natural cask strength of 56.5% ABV and is both non chill-filtered and of natural colour.  The Glen Scotia Festival Release 2022 will be available at the distillery and on Glen Scotia's online store during the festival and via selected specialist whisky retailers worldwide. A bottle will cost £55/ $70 US.
 
TOAD
The Oxford Artisan Distillery has announced the release of Batch #6 of their rye whisky - Crafty Little Rye. The whisky continues the brand's exploration of heritage cereal varieties and is made from a mix of 90% maslin (70% rye and 20% wheat grown in the same field) and 10% malted barley. The resulting spirit was matured in a virgin American oak cask for two years and one month, before being transferred to an ex-Vintage Port cask for a finishing period of one year and two months. It has been bottled at 45.2% ABV and in 20cl glass flasks - a decision taken to try an improve accessibility for consumers.  Bottles of Crafty Little Rye will only be available via a ballot through the TOAD website today (April 29) or from the distillery shop in Oxford. Each 20cl flask will cost £25.

 
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Review / Bladnoch Alinta

The Alinta is the latest addition to the core range of the Lowland distillery of Bladnoch. It is the first known smoky expression in the distillery's history. The spirit was distilled from peated malt that is produced for just a short period each year and accounts for under 10% of all spirit made there. Alinta has been matured in first-fill ex-bourbon barrels and first-fill ex-Pedro Ximenez casks. The casks were hand selected and married together by Dr. Nick Savage, the Master Distiller at Bladnoch. The word 'alinta' translates as 'fire' or 'smoke' from indigenous languages found in southeast Australia and references the heritage of David Prior, Bladnoch's Australian owner.

Bladnoch is located in a remote spot of Dumfries & Galloway, close to the village of Wigtown, in southern Scotland. It was founded in 1817 by brothers John and Thomas McClelland. The name is derived from the ancient Gaelic name Blaidzenoch and the nearby River Bladnoch supplies the water for the whisky production. The distillery has had a chequered history with numerous closures in its two centuries due to operational, financial and location reasons. 

The most recent closure came in 2014 when the previous ownership went into liquidation. David Prior took over a year later and completed a major refurbishment of the distillery. Production restarted in the Summer of 2017 with a new visitor centre later opened by HRH Prince Charles in September 2019. Production capacity is now 1.5 million litres per year.

Bladnoch Alinta is bottled at 47% ABV and is both non chill-filtered and of natural colour. It is initially available at the distillery shop or via www.bladnoch.com. Distribution to selected world markets will follow later in 2022. A bottle will cost £80/ $105 US.

Our tasting notes

The colour is pale gold and the nose is full of youthful peat smoke. This has an ashy, woody and slightly mineralic quality. Underneath are aromas of vanilla, green apple and white chocolate along with a distinct whiff of malted cereals and biscuits. There are also suggestions of raisin and lemon zest.

On the palate this whisky has a pronounced freshness and vibrancy to it. The expressive and youthful peat smoke dominates and has a slightly acrid edge to it - think of bonfire ash and embers, charcoal and hints of dried seaweed, iodine and bitumen. The malted cereals and biscuit notes from the nose are also strong. These add to the earthy feel and give a pleasant bittersweet note. 

It takes a little time for other elements to battle through. First to appear is green fruit (think of apple and pear especially), creamy vanilla and a hint of dessicated coconut. Then a blob of honey, some white chocolate, raisins and sultana with a late twist of lemon zest. 

The finish is long, warm and drying. Having battled their way through the smoke, the fruity and sweet notes fade rapidly. This leaves the earthy cereals and gripping peat smoke to dominate again. A late pinch of cinnamon, cocoa and powdered ginger warm things further.

What's the verdict?

It is always interesting to sample new things from a distillery, especially when it is in a style that they are not necessarily known for. The Bladnoch Alinta is good and joins a couple of other Lowland peated single malts that have been released in recent years. 

It is clearly youthful so it will be intriguing to see how the smokiness settles with more time. As it stands now the whisky is expressive, bold and a little brash. If you are a fan of smoky whiskies and want to try something different, then definitely search the Alinta out.

Woodford Reserve Bourbon Personal Selection

Woodford Reserve Bourbon Personal Selection Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Personally Selected By Discount Drinks Etc. #1 Selection Date: 02/19/2020 45.2% ABV $46 Website What the Distillery Says WOODFORD RESERVE BOURBON PERSONAL SELECTION Because each barrel matures at its own rate, they take on a character of their own. So you’ll taste several as you craft …

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Review / Glendronach Cask Strength Batch 10


This whisky is the latest in the annual cask strength series from the east Highland distillery of Glendronach. The Cask Strength Batch 10 has been delayed by the Covid pandemic and was created by Dr. Rachel Barrie, the Master Blender for Glendronach. The new no age statement release is constructed using whiskies of differing ages that have been maturing in ex-Oloroso and ex-Pedro Ximenez sherry barrels. These have been hand-selected and married together by Barrie. The Glendronach Cask Strength Batch 10 is bottled at 58.6% ABV and will be available in limited numbers in selected markets worldwide. A bottle will retail for £77/ $105 US. 

The Glendronach distillery was founded in 1826 by James Allardice and is located in the Aberdeenshire countryside, close to the town of Huntly. The majority of the present buildings date from 1850 when the distillery was rebuilt following a devastating fire. It was the last in Scotland to use stills directly fired by coal - this practice only finished in 2005. The distillery is known for its use of high quality ex-sherry casks and is currently owned by Brown-Forman, who took control in 2016. The annual production has recently increased to around two million litres.

Our tasting notes

The colour is deep golden amber and the nose is big, bold and expressive from the beginning. Caramel and dark dried fruits (think of currants, raisins and sultanas) rise first and are followed by aromas of toffee, fruit cake and toasted nuts. There is a delicious background earthy and spicy quality also. It is very enticing.

On the palate this whisky is equally as big and bold. Initially, expressive dried fruit notes hit the taste buds with the raisin and sultana coming through strongly. These are accentuated by further notes of candied orange peel and a hint of prune. The hefty caramel note from the nose is never far away and wraps around everything. A hint of sugary toffee and Christmas fruit cake simmer away underneath. The earthy baking spices from the cake-like element begin to build towards the end - think of cinnamon, all-spice, mace and a grind of pepper. The combination is wonderful. Late hints of gingerbread, cocoa and those toasted nuts (especially hazelnut and walnut) add even further depth.

The finish is long and flavoursome. The high ABV drags the bolder notes along. The sweeter and dried fruit characteristics fade first and this leaves the nutty and spicy notes to fight amongst themselves. This makes the whisky drier and a little hot. A late pleasant oaky element also comes through.

What's the verdict?

We have long been fans of this Cask Strength series from Glendronach. They really are one of the best exponents of sherry cask maturation. Batch 10 is superbly well balanced for such a high strength whisky. The high ABV carries the aromas and flavours through very well and leaves a powerful impression.  

A few drops of water softens the whisky down well and it becomes more fudgey and toffee-like. The power and boldness is lost a little, with the woody and spicy notes deadened. A lovely whisky overall and a definite if you like your big sherry bombs.


Inbox / The Week's Whisky News (April 22, 2022)



Welcome to Inbox, our weekly round up of whisky news and PR material that has found its way in to our WFE email. It was created as we cannot write full articles or do justice to every piece received. It features items from around the world of whisky and is published by us each Friday. Within Inbox we aim to write a few lines detailing each press release/piece of news/PR event that we have received and provide links, where possible, for you to find out further information.  Here is the round-up of the news from this last week. 
________


Douglas Laing
The independent bottler and blender of Douglas Laing & Co. have revealed a new limited edition of The Gauldrons, their Campbeltown blended malt brand. The Gauldrons Sherry Cask Finish features only single malts from Campbeltown and has seen the blended malt created, before a final finishing period in ex-sherry casks from Spain. The Gauldrons was an area of small coves and inlets on Campbeltown's western shoreline. There are just 2,125 bottles. The whisky is released at 46.2% ABV and is both non chill-filtered and of natural colour. It will be available from selected specialist whisky retailers in the UK from late-April. A bottle will cost £60. 
Loch Lomond 
The independent and award-winning Lowland distillery of Loch Lomond has unveiled a new look for its branding and packaging. The redesign features a new bottle shape and labels with deeper, richer colouration and bolder lettering. It will feature across the entire Loch Lomond range and includes the Inchmoan and Inchmurrin bottlings, plus the limited editions released as part of the brand's sponsorship of The Open golf tournament. The transition to the new packaging will begin from late-April and will incorporate both domestic and global travel retail markets.


Tamnavulin
The Speyside distillery of Tamnavulin has announced a new expression to its core range - the Tamnavulin White Wine Cask Edition. It follows a series of successful ex-red wine cask expressions that have been launched over the last two years. The new whisky was initially matured in American white oak ex-bourbon barrels before being transferred for a finishing period in ex-Sauvignon Blanc wine casks. The Tamnavulin White Wine Cask Edition is bottled at 40% ABV and is available now in the UK and USA, and will be shortly available in selected European markets. A bottle will cost £32/ $42 US/ €38.



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KOVAL Susan for President Barreled Peach Brandy

KOVAL Susan for President Barreled Peach Brandy 43% ABV $45 Website What the Distillery Says Ethereal and delicate, the nose has surprising hints of white tea, wild flower, and bergamot. Whiskey dringers will appreciate the subtle, peppery entry resulting from the barrel-aging process, while the soft essence of peach will appeal to those with sweeter …

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Santa Fe Apple Brandy

Santa Fe Apple Brandy 40% ABV $45 Website What the Distillery Says Northern New Mexico with its centuries-old fruit orchards of apple, peach, pear, and cherry has been producing top-quality brandies for years. What better way to preserve one’s crop of fruit than to ferment it into wine and distill it into brandy? The end …

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Inbox / The Week's Whisky News (April 15, 2022)



Welcome to Inbox, our weekly round up of whisky news and PR material that has found its way in to our WFE email. It was created as we cannot write full articles or do justice to every piece received. It features items from around the world of whisky and is published by us each Friday. Within Inbox we aim to write a few lines detailing each press release/piece of news/PR event that we have received and provide links, where possible, for you to find out further information.  Here is the round-up of the news from this last week. ________  
Bowmore
The Islay distillery of Bowmore has announced a new single malt that will be exclusive to the travel retail sector - the Bowmore 22 years old Pedro Ximenez Cask Finish. It features 18 year old pockets of whisky that were matured in different cask types including barrels butts and hogsheads. These were then married together and matured for four extra years in European oak ex-Pedro Ximenez sherry casks. The whisky was created by Ron Welsh, the Master Blender for Bowmore. The Bowmore 22 years old Pedro Ximenez Cask Finish will be exclusively available in China. No details of price were given in the press release.
  Gelston'sThe up-and-coming Irish whiskey brand of Gelston's has announced the release of an Irish cream liqueur to add to its ever expanding range. The new product has been created using a blend of triple distilled Irish whiskey matured in ex-bourbon barrels, cream and chocolate. It has been created by Johnny Neill, the great great grandson of Samuel Gelston. He originally founded the brand in Belfast in 1830, before Neill resurrected it in modern times. The Gelston's Irish Whiskey Cream Liqueur will cost £14/ $18.50 US a bottle and will be available via Tesco in Northern Ireland and online via The Drop Store for the rest of the UK.   GlenallachieThe Speyside distillery of Glenallachie has released a new expression into its core single malt range - the Glenallachie 8 years old (pictured, left). It sees whisky from four different cask types married together - virgin oak casks, ex-red wine barriques, plus ex-Oloroso and ex-Pedro Ximenez sherry puncheons. These casks were selected by Billy Walker, the Master Blender for Glenallachie. It is bottled at 46% ABV and is both non chill-filtered and of natural colour. The Glenallachie 8 years old will be available via specialist whisky retailers worldwide and is expected to retail for £42.50/ $55.50 US. 
The Glenallachie Distillers Company have also announced a new blended Scotch whisky - the White Heather 15 years old (pictured, right). It joins the 21 years old expression in the White Heather range, which forms part of the wider MacNair's Boutique House of Spirits. This has been belended by Walker and features single malts from Islay, the north Highlands and Speyside plus single grain whisky. These have been matured in virgin oak, ex-bourbon, ex-Oloroso and ex-Pedro Ximenez sherry casks. Again, it will be available globally and is bottled at 46% ABV. It is also non chill-filtered and of natural colour. A bottle will cost £60/ $78.50 US.

 
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Cooper & Kings American Craft Brandy

Cooper & Kings American Craft Brandy 45% ABV $35 Website What the Distillery Says A blend of superb exclusively copper pot-distilled brandy with real character and depth of flavor mingled in a unique, modern American style. Small batch distillation of superior, highly aromatic wine selected for exceptional quality. Non-Chill Filtered For An Authentic, Uncorrupted Natural …

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The post Cooper & Kings American Craft Brandy first appeared on Whisk(e)y Apostle: Proselytizing the way of the malt.

Review / Craigellachie 13 years old Armagnac Cask Finish


The Speyside distillery of Craigellachie has revealed a new range of single malts and the first whisky in that range. This Craigellachie 13 years old Armagnac Cask Finish bottling kicks off the Craigellachie Cask Collection. The series is designed to show off the distillery's heavy style of single malt, which is created through the use of traditional worm tub condensers. The concept will see whisky finished in barrels from other spirit producing regions that use similar traditional methods. Initial maturation was in re-fill and re-charred American oak ex-bourbon barrels. The whisky was then transferred to French oak Bas-Armagnac brandy casks sourced from a distillery in the Gascony region of France.

Craigellachie was founded in 1891 by Alexander Edward and Peter Mackie, and was designed by renowned Victorian distillery architect Charles Doig. It is located in the Speyside village of Craigellachie, which translates as 'rocky hill' from Gaelic. The distillery sits on that rocky hill and overlooks the village. The distillery is large and has an annual production capacity of around five million litres. Most of the whisky produced is used in the Dewar's range of blends, although occasional releases do turn up through independent bottlers.

The Craigellachie 13 years old Armagnac Cask Finish is bottled at 46% ABV and will be available France, Germany and the UK, and released later in 2022 to Taiwan and the USA. A bottle will cost £53/ €50/ $65 US.

Our tasting notes

The colour is bright gold with an orangey tint. The nose is expressive, fruity and sweet with initial aromas of vanilla, crisp green pear and white grapes. Underneath are further aromas of juicy dried fruits (especially sultana and apricot), white chocolate and honey. Something floral lingers in the background along with some woody spice.

On the palate this whisky has a rich mouthfeel and kicks off with plenty of juicy fruits and wood spice - imagine a combination of dried apricot and pear, sultanas and sweet vanilla cream with cinnamon, ginger powder and toasted oak. The mix between the sweetness and drying woodiness is intriguing. 

Something floral and confected then comes through. This is reminiscent of citrus blossom and candied limes. An evolving cereal-like biscuity note begins to show itself and adds further depth and complexity. The juicy fruits and sweetnessstart to fade a little and the whisky becomes drier and warmer as it progresses towards the finish.

The finish is long and is all about the wood and baking spices. Both add a another dimension to the whisky and a growing warmth. This is refreshing and leaves you wanting another sip. The oak has a toasted feel that heightens the woodiness and the baking spices include pinches of cinnamon, all-spice and ginger.

What's the verdict?

Craigellachie have set the bar high for their new Cask Collection series with this first release. It is delicious and a bit of a stunner. The distillery's robust character compliments the notes from the American oak and ex-Armagnac barrels. The result is a multi layered whisky that takes you through a true tasting experience - sweet, fruity, biscuity, spicy and woody. The combination of elements is great and it seems very well priced also. We cannot wait to see what else appears in the series now.


Review / Kentucky Owl 'The Wiseman'

The Wiseman is a premium American bourbon from the brand of Kentucky Owl. The expression has just been released in the UK for the first time, following its launch in America last Autumn. The whiskey has been created by John Rhea, the Master Blender of Kentucky Owl. Rhea is a 40-year veteran of the bourbon industry with just over four decades of service at the Four Roses distillery. The Wiseman is a blend of four Kentucky-sourced bourbons - two four year olds (one with a high wheat content and one with high rye), a 5.5 year old and an 8.5 year old. The Wiseman forms part of a larger range in the USA. This range is scheduled to be introduced to the UK market in due course. Plans for the Kentucky Owl distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky are also being drawn up.

Kentucky Owl was found by Charles Mortimer Dedman in 1879. The distillery operated until the onset of Prohibition in America and the Government seized 25,000 gallons (113,500 litres) of maturing whiskey. Kentucky Owl never restarted once Prohibition lifted. Almost 100 years since its closure, Kentucky Owl was revived by Dedman's great, great grandson. After several years of research and blending the first product was released in 2017. Since then the small-batch range has expanded and has been shaped by an ethos of experimentation and innovation.

The Wiseman is bottled at 45.4% ABV and will be available in selected spirits retailers and via Amazon in the UK. A bottle will cost £60.For further information on Kentucky Owl, please visit www.kentuckyowlbourbon.com.

Our tasting notes

The colour is bright gold and the nose is vibrant, bold and peppery. Sweet vanilla and cereal aromas rise first and these are joined by plenty of coconut, orange oil and a hint of apricot jam. The peppery nature softens with time to reveal pinches of cinnamon and cocoa.

On the palate this whiskey is full bodied and robust. It follows a similar path to the nose in that it is vibrant, bold and peppery to begin with. Heavy notes of sweet vanilla and freshly sawn oak kick things off and these are supported by further notes of dessicated coconut, candied orange peel and some drops of citrus oil. Underneath are some delicious tropical fruit characteristics that have elements of ripe pineapple, peach and apricot to them. Everything is underpinned by the distinct peppery nature, which evolves to become softer and warmer with time (think of baking spices especially). This warmth helps to drive the length of the palate and elongate the finish.

The finish becomes a little dry, spicy and oaky. The sweet and tropical notes fade quite quickly but this just accentuates the woodiness and warming spices. Charred oak, toasted coconut and warming cinnamon-like spices begin to dominate. A pinch of white pepper hits right at the end.

What's the verdict?

The Wiseman is a delicious bourbon that is full of flavourful characteristics. It is also versatile and we saw this at the UK launch event, where it worked well in such diverse cocktails as an Old Fashioned or Bourbon & Soda. We hope it does well, but it is entering a crowded market. 

Our initial feeling is that the price could be a touch high compared to similar bourbons that are available, but only time will tell. Kentucky Owl has done well in America, but we will follow with interest how it develops. Especially once the distillery is built, in production and making their own liquid.