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The Springbank 12 Year Old Cask Strength (Batch 20)

Tasting notes:
After nearly twelve years, we Impostors have learned a few things.  This despite our best efforts to remain gustatory tabulae rasae.  We have learned, for instance, not to serve salt water taffy at whisky tastings, that the angel’s share is not one of St. Anselm’s proofs of god’s existence, and that innuendo about bung holes and copper thieves is not universally funny. 

To our great surprise, however, Bill has acquired the uncanny ability to surmise the ABV of whiskies we are tasting blind.  The human hydrometer, as we’ve taken to call him, regularly gets the number to within a digit.  With this fine dram, however, he was so very wrong that, truth be told, we actually took some comfort that our impostordom was still intact.

This smooth-driving hot rod noses up with balance and winsome charm.  Green banana peels smoldering in poplar embers.  Ritz crackers soaked in Port, then left in a cloisonne dish.  Grilled pepitas with just enough plane model glue to hint at the 110.6 proof.

The mouth, I’ll have you know, is even more exciting.  Delicious peat and smoke surrounding green pepper sliced on the bias.  There’s a high wine note, the kind you associate with a mountaintop monastery after the last vintage is bottled.  The monks gather around the fire to enjoy their handiwork though they are warmed by the flames within them.

The finish reminds us of the strength of a sturdy leather saddle, but at the same time it is soft, like coin-purse leather gripped by the hand of an anxious child unable to decide which candies should be selected and placed in the brown bag.  We come back through this once again, like pulling a rake across the malting floor.  Nose, mouth, finish.  Savoring.  Studying.  Fruit notes creep out of the nose, more light smoke appears on the mouth, and the finish finds us with tobacco leaf-stained hands thrumming with nicotine jangles.  The poet has wished that Campbelltown Loch was made of whisky.  Our humble addition is that­­­ it be filled with this whisky. 

 
 

Rating:
On the scale of facts about Andy Stewart–

The Springbank 12 Cask Strength Batch 20 is the fact that he wrote one of his biggest hits in ten minutes–“Donald Where’s your Troosers?” poses the question that Stephen often gets on his end-of-the-year job evaluations.  We’re just glad that the good people at Springbank spent 12 years to get this one the way we like it.  

 
 




 
 

                                                                                      —John

 
 




 
 

Woodinville Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Woodinville Straight Bourbon Whiskey 45% ABV $40 Website What the Distillery Says This truly small-batch bourbon starts with traditionally grown corn, rye and malted barley. All of our staple grains are cultivated exclusively for us on the Omlin Family farm in Quincy, Washington. The grains are mashed, distilled, and barreled in our Woodinville® distillery, then …

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The post Woodinville Straight Bourbon Whiskey first appeared on Whisk(e)y Apostle: Proselytizing the way of the malt.

Dickel Sings a New Tune...the Bourbon Blues

Is Tennessee Whiskey Bourbon? That argument has divided whisky lovers for years, but Nicole Austin says it is. She's the head distiller and general manager at Diageo's Cascade Hollow Distillery, the home of George Dickel Tennessee Whiskey. To prove her point, she created the new Dickel Bourbon, and she'll make her case on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Uncle Nearest opens up the latest phase of its new distillery in Tennessee, complete with artifacts from the original distillery Nathan "Nearest" Green and Jack Daniel ran following the Civil War. There's a cease-fire on one front in the trade war between Europe and the United States, and that means the end of U.S. tariffs on single malts from Scotland and Northern Ireland. We'll also have details on an upcoming extra-old whisky from Scotland, and on Behind the Label, we'll look at the difference altitude makes when you're making whiskey.

Inbox / The Week's Whisky News (June 18, 2021)



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 this week's news ... 

________ 


Cardhu 
Diageo have announced the third bottling in their Johnnie Walker 'Four Corners of Scotland' range. Each will represent one of four of the company's single malt distilleries that are important to the creation of Johnnie Walker. Each distillery is undergoing major renovation to its visitor centre. All are bottled at 16 years of age. The third bottling is the Cardhu 16 years old and celebrates the opening of the new visitor centre at the Speyside distillery. It follows the Glenkinchie and Clynelish 16 year olds, representing the Lowlands and Highlands respectively.
The Cardhu 16 years old Four Corners of Scotland is constructed from whisky matured in both re-fill and freshly charred American oak barrels, which are then married together after 16 years. It is bottled at the natural cask strength of 50.6% ABV and there are just 3,000 bottles. These will only be available exclusively at the Speyside distillery's visitor centre. Each bottle will cost £150.   Gordon & Macphail
The family-owned independent bottling company of Gordon & Macphail have announced the forthcoming release of what is thought to be the world's oldest ever single malt to be bottled - the Gordon & Macphail Generations 80 years old from Glenlivet Distillery. The whisky was distilled and filled to cask (Cask #340) on February 3, 1940 and has been maturing in the company's Elgin warehouse ever since. Then in February 2020 the decision was taken to finally bottle the eight decade old whisky. Stephen Rankin, Director of Prestige at G&M, is pictured left with Cask #340.
 The 80th anniversary of something is the oak anniversary, so they have decided to use the oak cask within the packaging of each bottle. This has seen Gordon & Macphail collaborate with Sir David Adjaye OBE, the internationally renowned architect and designer. His design for the decanter and presentation casket will be revealed at the official launch in September. Cask #340 has yielded just 250 bottles and these will be released at the naturl cask strength of 44.9% ABV. More details, including availability and price will also be revealed in September.
  
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Wild Turkey Rare Breed Rye

Wild Turkey Rare Breed Rye Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey 56.1% ABV $60 Website What the Distillery Says Crafted in one of the few distilleries to remain dedicated to the art of rye whiskey, Rare Breed Rye is a blend of non-chill filtered rye. It is barrel-proof, meaning that it’s uncut, bottled directly from the barrels …

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The post Wild Turkey Rare Breed Rye first appeared on Whisk(e)y Apostle: Proselytizing the way of the malt.

Allotment Drams / Tomintoul 16 years old & Mackmyra Brukswhisky DLX

We have two more episodes from our Allotment Dram video series for you. First, Matt takes a look at the Speyside distillery of Tomintoul and the classic 16 years old expression from their core range. Watch to discover a few facts about the distillery and bottling before he cracks open the bottle to give his thoughts and tasting notes.

Then, on his next visit he talks about the brand new Mackmyra Brukswhisky DLX. This is the latest addition to the pioneering Swedish single malt distillery's limited edition Moments series. Watch as Matt gives some background to the distillery and brand, then discusses what makes the whisky special. Then he opens the bottle (eventually) to offer his thoughts and tasting notes.

To watch other episodes of the Allotment Dram or any of our other videos, or to subscribe to our YouTube channel - please click here.






#AllotmentDram

 

Glenrothes 19 Year Speyside Single Malt Scotch

Chieftain’s Glenrothes 19 Year Speyside Single Malt Scotch 53.2% ABV $165 Website What the Bottle Says Distillation Date: January 1997 Bottling Date: September 2016 Wood Type: Pedro Ximenez Finish Cask Number: 91822 Number of Bottles: 437 Unchill-Filtered Natural Colour What Gary Says Nose:  Honey suckle, barley malt, heather, vanilla, hint of spent matches, coffee cake, …

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The post Glenrothes 19 Year Speyside Single Malt Scotch first appeared on Whisk(e)y Apostle: Proselytizing the way of the malt.

Review / Mackmyra Brukswhisky DLX


This new whisky is the latest addition to the exclusive Moments series from the Swedish single malt distillery of Mackmyra. The Mackmyra Brukswhisky DLX pays homage to the classic Brukswhisky expression, which is part of the brand's core range. The recipe and casks used are exactly the same as for Brukswhisky but with much greater maturation time in the casks. All whiskies used are between nine and 14 years. The cask types are ex-bourbon (both 100 and 200 litre size), ex-Oloroso sherry and Swedish oak. All have been matured in Mackmyra's Bodås warehouse, which is housed underground in a former iron mine. Mackmyra was founded in 1999 by eight friends who decided to build Sweden's first single malt distillery. The original distillery was replaced in 2012 by a larger new eco-friendly distillery in the town of Gävle. This state-of-the-art distillery is 37 metres high, cost an estimated £50 million to build and uses gravity during production - malted barley is fed in the top and new make spirit comes out of the bottom. The distillery has recently won an Icon of Whisky award for sustainability. The annual production capacity is around 525,000 litres. 

"Brukswhisky has always had a place close to my heart. The DLX is a celebration to the original, but also stating that we are now an established distillery. With increased age and longer periods in casks the complexity is elevated and with a reinvigorated freshness and fruitiness." Angela D'Orazio - Master Blender at Mackmyra. 

 The Mackmyra Brukswhisky DLX is bottled at 46.6% ABV and there are just 1,999 bottles. These are available in specialist retailers in selected markets including Germany, Sweden and the UK, plus via www.mackmyra.com. Each bottle will cost £109/ €122.49. Our tasting notes The colour is pale golden yellow and the nose is fresh, vibrant and uplifting. Initial aromas of honey, vanilla and crisp green apple rise from the glass. Then come hints of white chocolate and lemon zest, following by a developing warmth and spice. This has a peppery feel with some woody aromas - imagine cinnamon bark with some fresh oak shavings or sawdust. 
On the palate this whisky continues on the fresh and vibrant theme. The crisp green apple and white pepper notes from the nose rise first and these are followed by the sweeter elements. This includes lovely notes of honey and vanilla plus hints of butterscotch, dessicated coconut and a twist of lemon zest. This delicious combination is enhanced by the developing woody and spicy note - think again of freshy shaved oak or sawdust and pinches of cinnamon and all-spice. There is also a hint of something like apricot jam in the background. Further hints of white chocolate, cocoa powder, and gingerbread add further depth. These are joined late on by an increasing note of liquorice and aniseed.
The finish is of decent length and becomes more drying and warm with time. This seems to come to a head once the sweeter characteristics and green fruit notes have faded. This leaves the woody and oaky notes, plus the white pepper and ginger, to thrive and this is accentuated by another late hit of liquorice.
What's the verdict?
This Brukswhisky DLX is another delicious offering from Mackmyra. We like their ethos of 'controlled experimentation' and innovation, and this has produced some unorthadox yet delicious whiskies over the years. This one is also delicious but has more of a traditional feel. Only the use of a small percentage of Swedish oak matured whisky elevates it above that.  We also like the idea of recreating a classic, such as the Brukswhisky, by using the same recipe and percentages of casks but older. Our only query is really whether this is different enough from the original to warrant being nearly three times the price as that original? Only you can decide that, but we are glad to have our bottle.

The Uncle Nearest 1884 Small Batch Whiskey

Tasting notes:
This whiskey reminds me, appropriately enough, of my childhood in Tennessee. Not that I drank whiskey as a child there–I did not–but more that the sensations this whiskey engenders remind me of my home state. The nose offers notes of wood honey, crushed ivy leaves, and daffodils churned through a mower on a dewy morning. But more than anything else, it’s the magnolia flowers here that remind me of Tennessee: sweet and perfumed, but here as if they were under a layer of lacquer. There’s also some burnt oak that’s been used to candy ginger for gingersnap cookies, but inflected with orange zest. 

The mouth is hot for a 93 proofer! Yet it’s simultaneously cool and slick, like a mountain stream. We added water and then all we could taste was a runner doused in Jasmine perfume running by. Though Bill did wonder aloud if he also caught a whiff of pumpernickel. Being duly skeptical about the existence of other minds, we didn’t think the question worth pursuing further.

The finish is a lemon Easter egg accompanied by a long, full-mouth tingle. It holds on and on and has a distinct Bourbon note on the finish, even though this is a product of the Lincoln County Process. Bright and lively, this one stays with you.

 
 

Rating:
On the scale of quotes on the history of race in America–

The Uncle Nearest 1884 Small Batch Whiskey is Paul Mooney’s line: “I could drop dead tomorrow, the truth will be here. Truth is forever; when you read our history, truth is forever, and it always outs itself.”–Mr. Mooney passed recently, we’re sorry to add, but the truth is still there. And we’re glad the Uncle Nearest brand is making more people aware of this one part of the history.

 
 




 
 

                                                                                      —Stephen

 
 




 
 

–Our thanks to Uncle Nearest for the sample!

 


 

Bringing Transparency to Japanese Whisky

Earlier this year, Japan's whisky makers agreed on a voluntary definition for "Japanese Whisky" after decades of quietly blending their own whiskies with imported whiskies from Scotland, Canada, and elsewhere. That new definition requires "Japanese Whisky" to actually be fermented, distilled, and matured in Japan, while whiskies blended with imports are now to be labeled as "world blends." The change has put Japan's whiskies under increasing scrutiny and demands for transparency, and one American-based upstart launched its whiskies last October with transparency in mind. While Shibui produces "world blends," it also works with distillers on the island of Okinawa to create single grain Japanese whiskies made from rice. Shibui co-founder Nicholas Pollacchi explains the difference on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. We'll also talk about Danish Whisky and a Whisky Danish, too...

Inbox / The Week's Whisky News (June 11, 2021)



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 this week's news ... 

________

 
Bladnoch
The Lowland distillery of Bladnoch have announced the latest addition to their Annual Release range - the Bladnoch 19 years old. The whisky has been matured in ex-Pedro Ximenez sherry casks and is the first ever expression of Bladnoch to be released using such casks. These casks were hand selected by DR. Nick Savage, the Master Distiller at Bladnoch. It joins the 11 years old and 14 years old in the range. The Bladnoch 19 years old is bottled at 46.7% ABV and is will initially be available exclusively via the distillery website - www.bladnoch.com. There is a limit of one bottle per customer. Each bottle will cost £180.
  
Filey Bay
The Spirit of Yorkshire have announced the latest single malt in their Finishes Series - the Filey Bay Peated Finish. The whisky features distillate laid down to mature in first-fill ex-bourbon barrels during 2017. This was then transferred to casks for a finishing period. These casks had previously held peated whisky. It joins the Filey Bay Moscatel Finish and STR Finish in the Finishes Series, and is designed to 'add a new dimension to the spirit'. The Filey Bay Peated Finish is bottled at 46% ABV and is available via the distillery website. A bottle will cost £60.   
MackmyraThe Swedish distillery of Mackmyra have announced the latest addition to their exclusive Moments series - the Mackmyra Brukswhisky DLX.  This latest whisky pays homage to the classic Brukswhisky expression, which is part of the brand's core range. The recipe and casks used are exactly the same as for Brukswhisky but with much greater maturation time in cask. All whiskies used are between nine and 14 years. The cask types are ex-bourbon (both 100 and 200 litre size), ex-Oloroso sherry and Swedish oak. All have been matured in Mackmyra's Bodås mine warehouse.  The Mackmyra Brukswhisky DLX is bottled at 46.6% ABV and there are just 1,999 bottles. These are available in selected specialist retailers and via www.mackmyra.com. Each bottle will cost £109/ €122,49. 

"Brukswhisky has always had a place close to my heart. The DLX is a celebration to the original, but also stating that we are now an established distillery. With increased age and longer periods in casks the complexity is elevated and with a reinvigorated freshness and fruitiness."Angela D'Orazio - Master Blender at Mackmyra.



 
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The Domaine de Charron Armagnac Fanciful Flight

We now interrupt your regularly scheduled whisk(e)y review for a discussion of a fanciful flight of Domaine de Charron Armagnacs, all of which are single vintage. This is in sharp contradistinction to many Armagnacs and most Cognacs, which are typically blent by master blenders with an eye towards achieving the Platonic ideal of the Cognac/Armagnac region. 

The samples were graciously provided to us—perhaps a little blackmail was involved—by their US importers, Taylor & Taylor Whiskey Company. We were able to taste the core range of the 2020 release, as well as a few ‘single cask’ bottlings, unique to fine local purveyors.

Now, as faithful readers of our ancient-in-internet-years blog know, we typically only review Cognacs or Armagnacs that are at least 150 years old. (If you, dear reader, have any such that are in dire need of tasting, please contact us, asap.) Also, I developed my palate on Cognac and Armagnac, before giving them up in favor of whisky, which was considerably cheaper once upon a time. (It’s the Circle of Life, I reckon: Good Cognacs and Armagnacs are now cheaper than equivalent whiskies.)

The core range of the Domaine de Charron consists of bottles of age 12, 14, 20, and 30 years old. I proposed that we taste them in “Benjamin Button” order, starting with the oldest and moving to the youngest. This is a method memorably shown to us when touring Highland Park. Our guide recommended so doing in order to experience the ultra quiet and stillness of a whisky conferred by aging 40 years, then the 30 year old, then the 25 year old…you get the picture.

As it turned out, as is so often the case, I was an idiot. What I hadn’t counted on is that Domaine de Charron considers a carefully-calibrated woody—tannic—component to be fundamental to their range. This is because, as per T&T, all their barrels are crafted by a fourth-generation cooper using local Gascon oak.

Thus when we began, what I thought would be a subtle evocation of the late 1980s as inscribed into spirit form instead spoke of the Power of the Wood. I was looking for what I considered to be the traditional old Cognac/Armagnac ideal; a balance of fruits and sweets, with caramel piquantly poking and tweaking the wood. Those notes were all there—they were there with varying degrees of intensity in all of the samples—but for me, the balance was off in about half of them. 

When I wrote to T&T wondering about the goals of Domaine de Charron, I was gifted with a fascinating disquisition on what Nick Taylor calls “palate transience,” but I prefer to call “receptor deceptor syndrome.” The notion is that receptors can overload, like tactile nerves, and stop transmitting certain flavors. Nick claims he’s going to write it up in the detail it deserves, but for now, you’ll have to make do with the bare bones of the theory, such as they are.
In particular, I found the 12 year old and the 20 year old to be lovely; a marvelous balance of orchard fruit and caramel, frolicking, in frilly frocks, around a beribboned maypole made of Gascon oak. After drinking the younger Charrons, I found, upon huffing and puffing the 30 year old expression, more of the expected sense that wood is a frame or pegboard that the fruits and sweets and rich Rhenish white wine notes hang on. (That Nick: He knows of what he speaks.) Not unexpectedly, we also found that simply allowing each of the Armagnacs to linger in a glass, perhaps with a small drop of water, allowed for a Grand Opening, a long-term exposure that brought out the motion of the stars and the music of the spheres.

In conclusion, the younger Domaine de Charrons should appeal to anyone who likes finely crafted spirits. The older ones, whose methods and goals have been honed over—literally—centuries, are drinks for a sophisticated palate; one that knows what to look for in an older Cognac or Armagnac, and how to best elicit it from the snifter.

 
 




 
 

                                                                                      —Bill

 
 




 
 

–Our thanks to Taylor & Taylor Whiskey Company for the samples–and the photos!

 


 

Barrell Bourbon Batch 029

Barrell Bourbon Batch 029 57.94% ABV $90 Website We would like to thank Barrell Craft Spirits and Ro-Bro Marketing & PR for sending us a sample to review. What the Blender Says The base of Barrell Bourbon Batch 029 is an herbal and viscous blend of Indiana bourbons. The blend was expanded with 6 and …

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The post Barrell Bourbon Batch 029 first appeared on Whisk(e)y Apostle: Proselytizing the way of the malt.

Review / Lagavulin 13 years old Feis Ile Edition


This whisky is one of two limited edition single malts from Diageo to celebrate this year's Feis Ile festival. The other is from Lagavulin's fellow Islay distillery of Caol Ila - read our review of that release here. This Lagavulin is a 13 years old expression and this was initially matured in re-fill American oak casks, before being transferred to high char ex-Port barrels for a finishing period. These were selected by Pierrick Guilaume, the Distillery Manager at Lagavulin. There are 6,000 bottles and the whisky is released at the natural cask strength of 54.4% ABV. Each bottle will cost £160. Both whiskies will be available exclusively from the Lagavulin distillery shop and www.malts.com.

Lagavulin is located on the south eastern coast of Islay and sits on Lagavulin Bay, a small bay dominated by the ruins of the 13th century Dunyvaig Castle. The name is taken from the anglicised name of the village in which the distillery is located - Lag a'Mhuilin, which translates as 'mill by the bay' from the local Gaelic dialect. 

The Lagavulin distillery was founded in 1816 by John Johnston and is currently owned by Diageo. It has an annual production of approximately three million litres. The whisky produced there is split between the Lagavulin single malt range and for use within Diageo's extensive set of blends, where it is one of the prominent malts in White Horse.

Our tasting notes

The colour is pale gold and the nose is rich, vibrant and smoky. Savoury aromas of damp moss, peat and coal tar soap rise from the glass. Underneath is a distinct malty aroma that is reminiscent of oat cookies. Sweetness comes through later in the form of honey, vanilla, milk chocolate and dried fruits - think of raisins, currants and sultanas especially with a hint of candied orange peel.

This whisky switches on the palate and brings the sweeter notes forward, then the peaty and smoky ones. Runny honey, golden syrup and milk chocolate appear first, followed by crumbly muscovado sugar and the dried fruit selection from the nose. This gives a delicious viscous and luxurious feeling. There is also a hint of treacle toffee that comes throough late on.

Next comes the biscuit-like note (again think of oat cookies, but with a pinch of powdered cinnamon and ginger added this time), before the full force of the peat smoke develops. The high ABV gives this element plenty of power and punch, with a peppery and almost chilli-like feel. Notes of damp earth and moss evolve into bonfire ash (imagine charcoal or dying embers) and a hint of something surgical (think of antiseptic, bandages and that coal tar soap again.)

The finish is very long, warming and drying. The luscious sweet and dried fruit notes gradually fade and this leaves the distinct maltiness and peat smoke to shine. The ash and peat give a gripping dryness while the peppery nature and a late hint of ginger biscuits give depth and warmth.

What's the verdict?

This Lagavulin 13 years old Feis Ile 2021 Edition is a stunner. The combination of the robust peat smoke and the sweetness from the American oak and Port casks is sublime. The result is balanced and delicious, so hats off to those that have created it. The layers of aroma and flavour within the whisky are also superb and give great complexity. We shall definitely be adding a bottle to our collection. If you are also interested, then do not hesitate as it will undoubtedly sell out soon.


Review / Caol Ila 12 years old Feis Ile 2021 Edition


This whisky is the annual limited edition Feis Ile bottling from the Caol Ila distillery. It is joined by a 13 years old expression from Diageo's other Islay distillery of Lagavulin. This Caol Ila is bottled at 12 years of age and has been matured firstly in re-fill American oak casks before being transferred to ex-Moscatel wine casks for a finishing period. These casks were nurtured by Samuel Hale, the Distillery Manager at Caol Ila. The Caol Ila 12 years old Feis Ile 2021 Edition is released at the natural cask strength of 56.6% ABV. There are just 3,000 bottles and each will cost £130. Both whiskies are available via www.malts.com and the Lagavulin distillery shop.

Caol Ila was founded Hector Henderson in 1846. It is located on the rugged north eastern coast of the Hebridean island of Islay, close to the hamlet of Port Askaig. The distillery looks across the Straight of Islay, the fast flowing channel of water after which it is named, to the neighbouring island of Jura. It is a large distillery with an annual production capacity of 6.5 million litres and is owned by Diageo. 

Caol Ila is a major ingredient in their Johnnie Walker range, especially in the smoky Black Label expression. The visitor centre is currently closed but will reopen later in 2021 as the fourth destination in Diageo's 'Four Corners of Scotland' Johnnie Walker experience. The other three distilleries are Cardhu in Speyside, Clynelish in the Highlands and Glenkinchie in the Lowlands.

Our tasting notes

The colour is pale gold and the nose has a heady mix of aromas. First comes the peat smoke - this has a charcoal and ashy quality with a hint of damp vegetation or moss. The smoky aromas are backed up by a sumptuous sweetness. This is most reminiscent of honey, golden syrup and toffee with a suggestion of milk chocolate and sultanas evolving later on.

On the palate this whisky is immediately juicy and sweet. The honey and golden syrup notes from the nose rise first, as does the chocolate and sultana. The sultana in particular adds to the sugary and juicy nature of the mouth feel. There are also notes of green apple, vanilla pod and butterscotch along with a pinch of white pepper and clove. The peat smoke punches through the sweetness and entangles itself around everything. This again feels charcoal-like and is reminiscent of wood ash and dying embers. There is also a hint of damp moss and seaweed in the background, along with a developing malty note of oat biscuits. A twist of lime zest and more juicy sultanas round things off.

The finish is long and warming with the ashy smoke and biscuity notes particularly prominent. This gives a drying quality, especially as the sweet and fruity characteristics fade to reveal the ashy and biscuity elements further. A hint of ginger and cinnamon spice also come through nicely. 

What's the verdict?

This is a delicious offering from Caol Ila for this year's Feis Ile, the annual festival held on Islay to celebrate the island's whisky and music. Sadly this year it has been held virtually again due to the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions in Scotland. But that has not stopped most of the distilleries releasing a special bottling. 

This limited edition wraps up classic Islay peat smoke with sweet and juicy fruit notes from the exotic ex-Moscatel cask. This cask type is not used often to mature Scotch whisky and this bottling makes you wonder why as the Caol Ila 12 years old Feis Ile 2021 Edition is a cracker.


Cadenhead’s Small Batch Mortlach 21 Yr Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Cadenhead’s Small Batch Mortlach 21 Yr Single Malt Scotch Whisky 53.5% ABV $150 Website What the Producer Says Distilled in 1994 at the Mortlach Distillery. Matured in Bourbon Hogshead for 21 years. Bottled in 2015. One of only 492 bottles. What Gary Says Nose:  Vanilla sponge cake, raw almonds, subtle peat and vegetal notes, nectarines, …

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The post Cadenhead’s Small Batch Mortlach 21 Yr Single Malt Scotch Whisky first appeared on Whisk(e)y Apostle: Proselytizing the way of the malt.

Review / Aber Falls Inaugural Release


This bottling is the first ever single malt whisky from the Aber Falls distillery in north Wales. The Aber Falls Inaugural Release features some of the very first barrels of single malt produced at the distillery back in 2018. This was the first whisky distilled in north wales for 100 years. It has been matured in a combination of three cask types - European oak first-fill ex-Pedro Ximenez sherry casks, American virgin oak barrels and rare European oak ex-orange wine casks. These have then been married together by Dr. Kirstie McCallum, the Master Blender of Aber Falls. The Aber Falls Inaugural Release is bottled at 46% ABV and is limited to just 2,000 bottles. Each bottle was sold for £45.

Aber Falls distillery was founded in 2017. It is located in the town of Abergwyngregyn close to the Aber Falls waterfall from which it takes its name. Production of single malt began in 2018 and is made using 100% Welsh barley and water that has flowed over the waterfall. Prior to that they distilled gin, which has already started to pick up awards globally. Then in 2019 they also started the production of small batches of Welsh rye whisky. Aber Falls is owned by Halewood Artisanal Spirits.

Unfortunately, this Inaugural Release sold out very quickly on the date of release so is no longer available. If you like the sound of it, then you will either have to search auction sites for bottles or wait for the distillery's second release.

Our tasting notes

The colour is deep gold and the nose is heady and fragrant. Aromas of vanilla and manuka honey lead the way, and are followed by further aromas of baking spice and oak. Think of cinnamon stick, all-spice and fresh wood shavings. Underneath are juicy fruits, especially sultana and peach. Later aromas of apricot compote, cocoa powder and orange oil add further depth.

On the palate this whisky feels juicy and luscious. There is an initial white pepper-like heat but this quickly subsides to reveal notes of juicy plump sultanas, candied orange peel and golden syrup. These are followed by further notes of apricot jam, heather honey and milk chocolate. There is also a hint of confected sweetness in the form of marshmallow or cream soda.

Then the warming spices and woody notes begin to develop in earnest. Gingerbread comes through nicely and is joined by pinches of cinnamon and clove powder. These spices continue to become more oaky and woody with time. Think of fresh sawdust and oak shavings in particular. This brings back the initial heat and gives a pleasant dryness to the end palate.

The finish is of decent length and carries on the warm and drying direction. The ginger-like note, cinnamon and oak are particularly influential now, especially once the sweet and fruity characteristics have faded. Delicious.

What's the verdict?

We, like many other whisky fans, are always interesting in tasting the first release from a new distillery. We always like to see what the spirit is like and which direction a master blender decides to take it. This Aber Falls Inaugural Release is very promising on both counts. The spirit character shines through but is complimented well by a creative mix of cask types. The result is lovely.

Hats off to Halewood too for the pricing. They could have charged much more for this inaugural release, as others have in the past. This is a double edged sword though, as it sold out quickly and left people that missed out disappointed. But there is always next time. It will be very interesting to see what future releases bring.


Review / Glasgow 1770 'The Coopers' Cask Release'


This bottling is a limited edition single malt whisky from The Glasgow Distillery Co. The release is designed to celebrate the unique relationship that exists between a cooperage and a distillery. The whisky is a collaboration between the Glasgow-based distillery and the Kelvin Cooperage in Louisville, Kentucky. The cooperage is one of the largest independently-owned cooperages in America. It was founded by Ed McLaughlin in 1991 when he moved his coopering business from Glasgow to the famous whiskey state of Kentucky. 

The cooperage, now owned by Ed's son Paul, has created a cask made from a combination of two different cask types - half of the staves are heavily charred virgin American oak and half are from a lesser charred cask that has previously held Glasgow 1770 single malt. This unique cask was then filled with Glasgow 1770 spirit that had previously been maturing in ex-Port barrels.

The Glasgow Distillery Co. began production in February 2015 and in doing so became the first distillery to produce single malt whisky in Glasgow in the modern era. The brand is named after the Dundashill distillery, which was Glasgow's first ever whisky distillery and was founded in 1770. The Glasgow Distillery Co. was founded by Mike Hayward, Liam Hughes and Ian McDougall, and is located in Hillington to the west of the city. The distillery has an annual capacity of 270,000 litres and initial reaction to the single malts has already led to an expansion being planned. 

The company has three expressions in their single malt core range - the 1770 Original, 1770 Peated and 1770 Triple Distilled. They also own Makar gin, which is produced at the distillery in a dedicated gin still, and the rare aged single malt label Prometheus.

The Glasgow 1770 'The Coopers' Cask Release' is bottled at the natural cask strength of 53.3% ABV and is both non chill-filtered and of natural colour.  There were just 403 bottles available and these have now sold out. Each bottle cost £59.

Our tasting notes

The colour is golden yellow with a faint red tint and the nose leaps out of the glass. Juicy fruit aromas come first - think of sultana, plums and peach - and these are followed by further aromas of brown sugar, toffee and vanilla fudge. Later hints of orange marmalade, cinnamon bark, white chocolate and raspberry jam also come through.

On the palate this whisky is immediately hot and peppery. As this settles it is the woody notes that come first - imagine vanilla, fresh oak shavings and cinnamon. These calm a little to then let the sweeter and fruitier characteristics from the nose to develop. The sweetness comes in the form of heather honey and toffee notes, which evolve in to fudge and white chocolate with a hint of marshmallow and cream soda.

The fruitiness begins with fresh fruit but then becomes more confected or dried. Think of fresh and almost over ripe peach, apricot, plum and a hint of pineapple to kick off. Then come notes of that marmalade and raspeberry (or is it strawberry now?) jam from the nose and a handful of raisins, currants and juicy sultanas. A dash of water takes away that initially negative heat and makes the whisky softer and creamier.

The finish is of decent length especially while the sweetness and fruitiness lasts. As they begin to fade the woody and spicy notes come through heavily again, especially the peppery note and oak shaving characteristics. A late and previously undetected note of gingerbread, plus a hint of cinnamon round things off nicely.

What's the verdict?

The Coopers' Cask Release has plenty of delicious aromas and flavours present. The initial palate and later part of the finish are a little hot and drying, but other than that the whisky is lovely. It, along with the core range products that we have sampled to date, show a real promise for future releases from The Glasgow Distillery Co. 

The whisky is also a fitting tribute to Kevin McLaughlin, Ed's son and Paul's brother, from Kelvin Cooperage who sadly died during the project. It will also be interesting to see what other collaborations  that the distillery enter in to or are in the pipeline. Hopefully there will be a few more bottles available should such a thing happen, so more people can enjoy it.


Back to Basics for Brendan McCarron

Brendan McCarron had a safe, secure job as Dr. Bill Lumsden's hand-picked "heir apparent" on the Glenmorangie and Ardbeg whisky creation team, but he was missing something. Earlier this year, he jumped at the chance to get back to distilling when Distell offered him the chance to become master distiller for its Bunnahabhain, Deanston, and Tobermory distilleries. Brendan did his first public appearances for Distell during Bunnahabhain's virtual Feis Ile events this past week, and we'll hear from him on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Islay's distilleries have starting to gradually reopen to tourists as pandemic-related health restrictions are easing, while whisky tariffs may be back on the table as the European Union tries to push Great Britain to follow through on key Brexit agreements. We'll also have the details on Uncle Nearest founder Fawn Weaver's mission to help other minorities succeed in the spirits industry and much more!

Inbox / The Week's Whisky News (June 4, 2021)



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 this week's news ... 

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Glenfarclas
Glenfarclas have revealed a special limited edition single malt to celebrate the 185th anniversary of the family-owned Speyside distillery. The Glenfarclas 185th Anniversary Edition marks the time since the distillery began legally distilling in 1836. The whisky features maturing stocks taken from six decades with two thirds of the casks used being ex-sherry casks and the other third being ex-bourbon barrels. The result is just 6,000 bottles and they will be exclusively on sale in the UK. The Glenfarclas 185th Anniversary Edition is bottled at 46% ABV and will cost £120 each. 

"Due to my grandfather’s foresight we are very fortunate to have casks in our dunnage warehouses from seven different decades spanning the 1950s to the 2020s. To mark 185 legal years we have selected some of our finest casks from across these decades."George Grant - Sales Director & sixth generation family member at Glenfarclas.


 
Glen Moray 
The Speyside distillery of Glen Moray have announced a new series of whiskies, plus the first release and details of forthcoming releases in that series. The Private Cask Collection is designed to showcase some of the distillery's quirkier cask maturations and each bottling will be exclusive to a specific market.  The first is a 13 years old that has been finished in ex-Marsala wine casks from Sicily, which will be exclusive to the USA. The whisky was distilled in 2007 and has been released at the natural cask strength of 56.6% ABV. There are just 238 bottles. No indication of price was given in the press release.  The Glen Moray Private Cask Collection will continue later in the year with two further releases - a 10 years old finished in ex-Pauillac Grand Cru red wine barrels from Bordeaux, which will also be for the USA, and a 26 years old finished in ex-Madeira wine casks that will be exclusive to China. 

Jim BeamThe famous American bourbon brand of Jim Beam has extended its flavoured whiskey liqueur range with the addition of Jim Beam Orange. It joins other flavours that include Jim Beam Apple, Honey, Peach and Vanilla plus Kentucky Fire (cinnamon) and Red Stag (cherry). The Jim Beam Orange is designed to be enjoyed within a simple Summer cocktail such as the Orange Highball - one part Jim Beam Orange and three parts soda water over ice. It is bottled at 32.5% ABV (65 Proof) and will be available exclusively in the USA. A bottle will cost $16 US.



Laphroaig
The Islay distillery of Laphroaig has announced details of its annual Càirdeas bottling. Càirdeas translates as friendship from Gaelic and the 2021 Edition has been created by John Campbell, the Distillery Manager at Laphroaig. The whisky has a triple maturation process, first in ex-bourbon barrels then quarter casks and finally in European oak ex-Pedro Ximenez sherry hogsheads. There are 42,000 bottles and these are released at the natural cask strength of 58.9% ABV. The Laphroaig Càirdeas 2021 Edition will be available from July 1 via www.laphroaig.com and specialist retailers in selected world markets, including the UK and USA. A bottle will cost £90/ $127.50 US.

 
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