Archive for October, 2009

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society Offers a Bottle of Society Whisky with a New Membership! – Scotch Whisky News


(From the Society in Edinburgh);

We have a fantastic new membership offer that your readers may be interested in – A free bottle of Society single cask whisky up to the value of £50 when buying membership online.  Any bottle in our online shop – up to the value of £50

So not only do you get our beautiful membership pack, chocked full of Society goodies, including four 10cl single cask bottle, all the benefits of Society membership, you get a bottle of the very finest single cask single malts available too!

Code  FREE BOTTLE  at  

Your friends at the Society.









Dumbarton 42yo 1964/2007 (46.7%, Celtic Heartlands, 450 Bts.) – Scotch Whisky Tasting Note

example of bottle & box

example of bottle & box

A single grain scotch whisky aged 42 years in oak casks and bottled on Islay by Bruichladdich and selected by Jim McEwan. A nice clean nose that at first is very much like a high quality Canadian rye whisky.  Further investigation reveals clean grains, herbs and fruit along with heather, gentle pot-pouri and further grain. The taste is very sweet and quite simply delicious and is backed up by some really brilliant oak and vanilla. This is simply stunning. This is also like some samples of Canadian whisky from the late 1950’s. The similarities between Scottish grain and Canadian rye whisky is both eerie and wondrous. The later stages of the taste bring forth more sweet grain and bitter chocolate and more oak; magic. The finish charges off to being oaky dry with the sweetness chasing along just behind. It is very long and straight like a rail; it never waivers from the sweetness and the oak.



Score 93 Points

A New Ralfy Scotch Whisky Video Review #84 Available on line – Scotch Whisky News

Ralfy continues the good work; he has published a review; #84 – Balvenie 12yo Signature (Edition 2)

Ralfy Hard At Work

Ralfy Hard At Work

Visit Ralfy at Click on “Whiskyreviews”

Diageo Annual Release Available at Loch Fyne Whiskies – Scotch Whisky News

Loch Fyne Whiskies News has posted some new items (apologies, it’s taken W.I. a few days to catch up);

Talisker 30yo 2009 Bottling
53.1% abv
£207.00 inc vat
£180.00 ex vat


Mannochmore 18yo

54.9% abv
£92.90 inc vat
£80.78 ex vat


Pittyvaich 20yo
57.5% abv
£125.00 inc vat
£108.70 ex vat


Caol Ila 10yo (Unpeated Style)
65.8% abv
£49.90 inc vat
£43.39 ex vat


Lagavulin 12yo 2009 Bottling
57.9% abv
£56.90 inc vat
£49.48 ex vat


Port Ellen 1979 30yo 9th Annual Release
57.7% abv
£230.00 inc vat
£200.00 ex vat


We believe in the UK the majority of bottles are being sold through Diageo’s own shops:

Lagavulin: 01496 302400
Caol Ila: 01496 840207
Justerini & Brooks: 020 7484 6400

Brora 30yo 2009 Bottling
53.2% abv
£240.00 inc vat
£208.70 ex vat


Benrinnes 23yo
58.8% abv
£136.00 inc vat
£118.26 ex vat


Best regards,
Loch Fyne Whiskies

WhiskyCast EPISODE 223 Now Available on Line – Scotch Whisky News


(From Mark at WhiskyCast);

This week, I’m on the road at Proof on Main in Louisville! Heaven Hill is celebrating Parker Beam’s 50th anniversary as a distiller this weekend, and you’ll share in the fun as we hear from Parker and some of his many friends and colleagues. In the news, David Stewart scales back his duties at William Grant & Sons, new travel retail releases, and tasting notes for the Gold Bowmore! We’ll also hear from noted chef Charlie Palmer and more about one of Louisville’s best bourbon bars.

WhiskyCast is starting an e-newsletter for monthly updates on upcoming episodes etcetera; the sign-up is available at the WhiskyCast web site.

Listen to episode #223 at

Gauntleys Whisky Newsletter No.39 October 2009 – Scotch Whisky News

Whisky Intelligence has reproduced (with permission) The Gauntleys Whisky Newsletter for October 2009. The author, Chris Goodrum, has some excellent insights into the whiskies being commented on which makes for excellent reading on a Sunday.  Enjoy!

Dear Whisky Customers

Well finally I get to sit down and begin to tell you about the latest goings on chez Gauntleys! It’s not all about supping drams and writing ebullient prose, I can tell you. Although the other day was a tad unusual – tasting sake in the morning, cognac in the afternoon and then a wine tasting group meeting in the evening. Ah yes and alcoholic’s work is never done!!

So what do I have for your delectation – Well the newsletter has gone over all patriotic and has been tasting the first English whisky to be released for quiet a long time, although it’s a bit too young to be legally called whisky as yet and a brand new English Vodka. There are some superb new bottlings from Dewar Rattray, Duncan Taylor and Raymond Armstrong at Bladnoch. Also included is a first look at some of the new releases from Bruichladdich. Some of these bottlings are already available, but due to a change of distribution company it is only now that samples have been released.

I was going to include my musing’s on the results from the 2009 Independent Bottlers challenge but that will have to wait until the next newsletter otherwise I’ll never finish this one! But first……..

Book Corner

Jim Murry’s Whisky Bible 2010 £10.99

As per usual it’s a cracking good read. In his forward he makes some interesting comment with regard to scoring whiskies. As you know it’s not something I do unless I’m judging the Independent bottlers competition when they want a score out of 10. I just have three criteria when evaluating whisky – Quality, value for money and would I recommend it. If it fails any of those then I don’t buy it, simple.

So whisky of the year is the 2008 bottling of the Sazerac 18 year old. Having not tasted it I can’t comment, although I have tasted previous bottlings and they have all been pretty good. Scotch whisky of the year was the Ardbeg Supernova. Now I tried to get hold of a bottle of that as a consumer when I received my letter from the distillery but guess what! It had all gone!

Which brings me nicely onto the Corryvreckan. Again having failed to get my hands on one the first time around I was glad to hear that a second bottling was going on ‘general release’. So I ordered some from our regular supplier and it didn’t turn up! So I phoned the sales rep and asked if I could have some. The reply was “Fat chance!” He went onto say that they had received a paltry allocation and allegedly they had got more than Moet Hennessey (Ardbeg’s agents). So hardly a general release is it!

Malt Whisky Year Book 2010 £12.95

This is the 5th edition of this book and the first time that I have come across it. It’s a very interning read, featuring not only is there a 160 pages of distillery profiles but some really interesting articles, such as ‘Whisky and Recession’ by Ian Buxton, ‘Whisky Innovators’ by Gavin Smith and ‘Peated Malts’ by Ian Wisniewski. Also there is an interesting look at the distilleries of Rosebank, Port Ellen and Brora by David Stirk in ‘Gone but not Forgotten.

There is also a handy presentation of the 130 best whisky shops in the world, in which we have been listed, which is nice, and has absolutely no influence whatsoever as to why we should stock it!

No, honestly it is a really good read.

St Georges Distillery, Norfolk

“I have a dream!” said James Nelstrop. Well actually he probably didn’t, but the St Georges distillery was a dream that this Norfolk grain farmer had been nurturing for 20 years or so. By September 2005 he along with his son Andrew, the managing director, decided that the timing was right to build the first functioning distillery in this country for over a century. Planning permission was granted in January 2006 for the site at East Harling in Norfolk and the distillery was up and running by November 2006 – Blackwood’s distillery, please take note!

As Andrew told me recently. “There was a degree of urgency, as rumour had it that another distillery was being built in England at the time; as it happens they never got beyond the planning stages.” Around 15 fresh American oak barrels (or 2,000 litres) are being filled each week, with some Sherry, Port and Madeira casks also being filled.

The spirit both peated and unpeated is produced from East Anglian barley, yeast and water from its own well, but using traditional Scottish techniques. In fact these techniques were overseen by Iain Henderson of Laphroaig fame, who produced the first spirit and trained up his replacement ex-brewer David Fitt, who quit his job with Greene King to join the team in March 2006.

David has been quoted as saying “There are always going to be people saying we’re mad to be making whisky in England, but that’s our big USP: we’re producing the first English whisky for 100 years! From a technical point of view of course, there is no reason why you shouldn’t make whisky in England; you can make a decent whisky anywhere, provided you have the right malt, water and yeast.”

And of course he is right, it all comes down to what it tastes like. And what does it taste like?

Before we go any further I would like to say a big thank you to Andrew for kindly sending me samples of their spirit, but I did this tasting the wrong way round as they first sent me samples of Chapter 3 and 4, first and Chapter 1 and 2 later, so that I could do a comparative tasting.

Chapter 1 – 13 month old Malt Spirit 46%

First Fill American Oak

Quiet soft aromas of hitch toned ‘new make’ cereal. It is very lowland-esque in character with rose petals, rose water and sweet candied almond notes. Its quiet rounded with the Caol Ila like garden fruits character quiet evident. Over time these floral aromas develop nicely. The palate is much like the nose, a bit straightforward at this stage, but it is quiet drinkable.

Chapter 3 – 18 month old Malt Spirit 46%

First Fill American Oak

The aromas are very much like a light Spey. Quiet delicate with an abundance of high toned orange fruit and vanilla. It is obviously very youthful with some cereal notes and a faint earthiness. The buttery oak aromas arrive fairly promptly, which isn’t unexpected. It has a bit of a bracing/ garden fruit character to it that sort of reminds me of un-peated Caol Ila. On the palate it has more of a ‘neutral spirit’ disposition, not quiet as fruity as the nose would suggest. It ha an obvious raw intensity and some light rose petal notes. The wood dries it out rather quickly.

I tried it with a drop of water and it gives the nose a pleasant sweetness, bringing out a sort of lactose-caramel aroma, along with a touch of violet and liquorice root. The rose petal scent takes on a bit of a manurey-decaying quality. However on the palate it just turns it to sugar water.

Tasting the Chapter 1 against the Chapter 3 the wood influence is definitely noticeable, even after only after an additional 5 months as it has removed a lot of the ‘high toned’ notes and has allowed an orange fruit character to begin to emerge as well as starting to add some vanillin’s. On the palate it has removed some of the sweetness and has for want of a better word dumbed it down. Basically a case of the wood taking more than giving at this stage in its evolution.

In conclusion, I believe that it shows a great deal of potential and I think it would be interesting to see it when it reaches say 5 to 8 years of age, when the oak has actually given something to it rather than just drying it out.

So for those of you who love categories, I would say it was the offspring of a light Spey crossed with a triple distilled Lowland and an un-peated Caol Ila

Right peaty one next!!!

Chapter 2 – 14 month old Peated Spirit 46%

First Fill American Oak

Peated to 50ppm

Oddly enough this seems a lot more immature than the Chapter 1. Its really redolent of the ‘off the still cereal’ aromas. Again there is a sugar water sweetness, and although fairly heavily peated, the peat is pushed well into the background. The palate is very much like the nose. Lovely and fragrant with a pleasant oiliness and a touch of white fruits. The peat flavours have a wonderful purity and the peat has imparted more body and length to the spirit. It has a distinctly Ardbeg-esque character with a real sootiness. The length is pretty good and the peat fades out gently.

Chapter 4 – 18 month old Peated Malt Spirit 46% £35.95 – 20cl £13.95

First Fill American Oak

Peated to 38ppm

I’m surprised at the greater degree of ‘maturity’ the aromas display. This is very good. There is no shortage of sweet-peat, charred wood and heather aromas. It has a touch of the Ardbeg about it (an un-coastal one that is!). It has an impression of greater depth and seems sweeter than the chapter 3, along with some honeyed barley. This all helps to take the edge of the inherent rawness.

The palate is soft and oily. The peat seems to give it a better balance, with the alcohol being less intrusive, although there is an intimation of the expected youthful/ cereal/ marc-like flavours. The peat has a wonderful purity and texture; it’s super clean and crumbly, definitely not a monster but an exercise in how balanced peat flavours add complexity. This oak dries out the finish, just like in the chapter 3, but the peat flavours linger and give it something of an after taste.

Again just like the Chapter 3 I would avoid the addition of water, even though on the nose it emphasises the orangey fruit.

Tasting it against the Chapter 4, my conclusions are much the same as above, however even though the peating level on the Chapter 4 is lower than this sample of Chapter one, you would think it was the other way around. I definitely rate this and I think the quality of the spirit is excellent.

In conclusion, just the right level of peating has given an impression of maturity and I would certainly enjoy a dram or two of it, and hopefully so will a number of you too! I have a feeling that if the light fruitiness of the spirit continues to develop and is enhanced by the oak vanillin’s this could turn out to be a very good whisky indeed.

New Forum and Bladnoch

Bladnoch 8 year old 55% £38.95

A real nose full of briny, floral honey, light earth and peat, bog myrtle and rose petals. It’s quite rounded and deep with an impression of beeswax encrusted fruit along with a background of oak. The palate opens with crisp barley, light honey and a smidge of gentle earthy-peat along with a touch of salinity. Very fresh and mouth watering alcohol leaves white peach and herbal nuances on the middle, finally the oak arrives with a hint of butterscotch on the finish.

A drop of water emphasises the oils on the nose. There is a faint intimation of lanolin, but the fruit still seems reluctant to emerge from its honeyed depth. Later a touch of orange blossom and grass emerges and after what seems like an age it finally reveals some lovely juicy orange fruit. On the palate it has become a tad sweeter and the oak has become more prominent, (which was what was lacking from the first bottling at 6 years of age) adding some natural caramel and toasted butter. The oak dries out the finish a bit but the spirit is robust enough to cope – just!

Bladnoch 17 year old ‘Christmas Bottling 2009’ 46%


The nose is a bit on the high toned side and spirity to be honest. There’s some perfumed rose petals but no real discernable grass or citrus, or fruit to be frank. It’s a bit candied with some late butter and vanilla. The palate is soft and candied-sweet. Reminiscent of old tropical fruit, but some lovely Sauvignon blanc-esque white fruit and grass comes through on the middle. The alcohol however cuts in quickly and stops the fun! The finish is thus a bit bereft and oily with some light spices.

Out of curiosity I added a drop of water and unfortunately it goes all cardboardy on the nose and the palate turned to sugar water. I think it goes without saying that this is not one of Raymond’s better bottlings.

I will add that this was tasted from a 5cl miniature and may not represent the actual 70cl bottling. …….. And would you know that was indeed the case. The cask used for the 5cl was Hogshead 2713, whereas the cask used for the 70cl bottles was Hogshead 1098, for which tasted like this………..

Bladnoch 17 year old ‘The Real Christmas Bottling 2009’ 46%


The nose opens with a very odd aroma that I can only really describe as nettles and pond weed soaked in turpentine. It passes relatively quickly and is not as unpleasant as it sounds. Crisp barley and robust fruit follow as does the vanilla oak and a late orange note.

The palate is soft and honeyed, opening with the milky-vanilla crème caramel oak flavours before the apricot/ fleshy yellow fruit, wood spices and earth arrive. However the flavours are really all on the front palate and once the alcohol (albeit soft) hits the tongue there is not much in the way of returning fruit apart from the herbal/ grass notes.

I have to say that I find Bladnoch far more enjoyable at 55%, so I would definitely recommend the next bottling!

Bladnoch 19 year old 55% £49.95


After ones first sniff I thought it was a dead ringer for the 18 year old bottled awhile ago (Initially very grassy on the nose – Not freshly cut but old, dried grass, rushes and straw) but with a greater degree of oak and an old spirity note, even the orange fruit was just about hanging on by it’s fingertips! – However……….. It just needs some time and a bit of swirling………… and suddenly as if by the magic of the Brownie of Bladnoch (yes I remember that bottling!) the most delightful perfumed white flower note appears, as does some wonderfully luscious, honeyed fruit.

The palate is very much like the 18 year old, with the alcohol dominating the proceedings and only the old grass/ straw notes getting a look in. Adding a drop of water one word springs to mind. Beautiful! The honey caresses the tongue and the liquid orange fruit fills the mouth. Where it may have lost the vibrant complexity of youth it has more than made up for it with the mellow softness of age. There is definitely life left in the old girl!

Benriach 23 year old 49.7% £56.95

Bourbon Hogshead 66438

Light, elegant and mature aromas of crystalised fruit, coffee, grassy-herbs and American oak exude from the glass. Very deep and with a wonderful purity. Give it some time and it becomes almost ethereal – Juicy orange fruit is joined by a brittle/ granity honey note. Heavenly!

The palate is soft and mouth filling. Brittle honey and granity hard fruit mingles with some Sauvignon blanc-esque grass and citrus. The alcohol peaks quickly and reveals a superb complexity of flavours – grass, heather, white flowers, fauna, subtle oak and a touch of white chocolate. Oh and not forgetting the gentle, gorgeous fruit, which resides in the background. Superb length.
In all honesty it doesn’t require any water, even if it does emphasise the gorgeous honey on the nose because it dampens the fun of the palate somewhat.

Glenburgie 25 year old 53.5% £64.95

Sherry Hogshead 5492

A lovely nose of slightly leafy sherry cask along with rich, dried fruit and nutty overtones, enhanced by a violet top note. Over time aromas of rich orange, earth, wood spices and sweet honey can be observed as does a vanilla/ grainy note which would lead me to believe this is an American sherry cask. (which it did turn out to be!)

The palate is ultra clean with a lovely depth of soft, gentle, mature, nutty sherry wood. Exquisitely spicy on the middle with a piquant alcohol bite, which builds pleasantly. Excellent length with coffee and chocolate notes.

A drop of water emphasises the floral notes on the nose along with some light coffee, whilst on the palate it sweetens, giving it a candied edge and a late sooty/ charcoal note. In conclusion this is a very good sherry cask. Not much in the way of distillery character, but as Glenburgie in my experience has a tendency towards blandness this is not a bad thing.

Craggenmore 16 year old 56.4%

Bourbon Hogshead 960

A huge earthy vanilla oaked nose. Almost grainy in character with scrumptious crème brulee. Underneath the oak lies some potential fruit I think, but neat it’s all oak. The palate is soft, lightly honeyed and heavily oaked, with a slight herbal intimation.

A drop of water fails to coax the fruit out into the open and the oak still holds it in a vice like grip. In saying that some floral, orange blossom notes do emerge. The palate is now quiet oily with some deliciously sweet tangerine and light spices. Pleasant, if a bit homogenised. There is nothing wrong with this cask, it reminds me of the distillery bottling – pleasant yet unexciting.

Dufftown 26 year old 53.8% £64.95

Hogshead 18586

The nose has a light re-fill sherry character to it with mature honey, hickory and wood spices. It’s quite pleasant by Dufftown standards but there is no getting away from the expected slightly earthy-murky note often associated with this distillery. The palate opens with that almost re-fill sherry note along with some brittle barley and honey. Like the nose the ‘distillery character’ asserts itself with a tart sharpness and after the alcohol passes it leaves a distinctly metallic note behind.

A drop of water brings out a slight linseed/ turpentine note. On the palate, like the nose has become oilier with a briefly sugared light engine oil character. It is a classic down and dirty Dufftown, with a hard, quite woody finish. I actually quiet enjoyed it in a masochistic kind of way.

Dufftown – a malt for when you feel in need of castigation!

Caol Ila 28 year old 55.2% £82.95

Hogshead 8154

A soft and gentle nose of mature honey and re-fill sherry fruit, accentuated by a bucket full of hickory and chocolate as well as a touch of brine, bog myrtle and gentle peat. Over time the fish oils emerge along with a light, sugared note. The honeyed sweetness continues to evolve and build. The palate is quite tannic and mirrors the nose. The alcohol although fairly low really hammers the palate hard but the fishy notes seem to ride it out. It finishes with a lovely dusty peat and charcoal notes. Water please!

That’s better! Water brings out the sherried sweetness and candied fruit. The fish oils are now pushed to the edge, but the balance superbly the deep, dense, gorgeously mature fruit. The palate has now come to life. Soft, juicy and gently sherry-sweet. A touch of mature tropical fruit emerges as does a big hit of herbal-hemp, garden plants, hop heads, leaves and earth. The coastal, fishy flavours lurk in the background as does a light rubber note. Subtle yet intense, rounded and mouth filling, wonderfully mature!

New from Dewar Rattray

Glenburgie 1983 (26 year old) 58.2% £58.95

Bourbon cask 9808

The nose is a bit prickly to start with but the crisp, granity orange, apricot and mature honey arrives promptly. It has quiet a noticeable earthy-peat character along with some lovely buttery oak and coastal salinity. Over time a touch of light coffee and wood spices emerges from amongst the fresh igneous morass!

The palate is soft, oily and slightly creamy. Then the granity apricot and orange arrives followed by the generous alcohol. Its quiet complex and grassy with hints of hay/ straw, white fruit and peat, all accentuated by its mineral/ granity leanings, especially on the finish.

A drop of water and it becomes an ‘Oh Yes’ moment! The orange fruit takes on a beautiful liquid viscosity, coating the tongue with lashings of mature honey and gorgeously soft spices. The oak retreats into the back ground, but it is still garanity and fresh with the salinity noticeable, but unfortunately the peat has all but disappeared. On the palate it sweetens and gives the orange fruit a lovely sheen. Now wonderfully mellow, yet still crisp and fruity. It shortens the length a little bit but leaves a lasting impression of saline-grassy-spices on the after taste.

Glen Elgin 1984 (25 year old) 45.2% £48.95

Bourbon Cask 2863

A nose redolent of sumptuous orange, tangerine, Satsuma and a bucket full of citrus fruit. The aromas have a lovely perfume to them along with some buzzy cinnamon spices and gobs of mature honey – Absolutely stunning! Over time the aromas move into the fleshy yellow territory….. Oooh yes!

The soft, mature honey dances on the palate, viscous orange fruit with loads of soft spices set up a stunning middle of granity fruit. It’s a bit ephemeral by damn it’s a gorgeous fleeting moment. The length is superb all granity crisp with hay and grass notes. Oh and still the spices go on!

A drop of water isn’t really needed but it brings out a lovely perfumed edge to the aromas along with some coffee and a candied gloss. This is a superb old Spey in the Glen Grant/ Rothes mould. The alcohol stops it becoming flabby and a touch of granity hardness keeps it real…….. man!!

Springbank 1997 (12 year old) 59.3% £61.95

Refill Bourbon Cask 827

A lovely, crisp, coastal nose. Quiet heavily peated for a Springbank. The peat is wonderfully sweet(ish), crumbly in texture and full of bog myrtle, fish, coffee-manure (really!) and rubber. There is some lovely, perfume accentuated orange fruit. It could pass for an Islay at a blind tasting any day! Although it has possibly a more rounded character to it. My god, at last a good privately bottled Springbank!!!

Quiet oily on the palate, dare I say it, delicate? The peat is practically the only flavour that emerges from the somewhat piquant alcohol. Water definitely needed!

However said water makes no difference to the nose but the changes to the palate are quiet dramatic. The palate now loosened from the grip of the alcohol displays a lovely sweet, juicy character. It revels in the sweet peat, earth and crisp white fruits. However it is still young, coastal and bracing, possibly a bit short, and although there is some wood interaction and sweet vanillin’s, it could have done with a bit longer in the cask. In saying all that it is definitely a wakey-wakey dram, one to blow away the cobwebs or enliven the senses after a tedious day at the office. And for that reason I think it deserves shelf space. I mean how many time have you heard me being enthusiastic about a privately bottled Springbank?

Highland Park 1995 (14 year old) 57.6%

Bourbon Cask 1479

Pretty heavily peated for a Highland Pak. Fishy and coastal with sweet parma violet notes. It becomes very candied with time – sugared fruit, icing sugar. Quiet raw and unfettered with a suggestion of Sauvignon Blanc-esque white fruits.

The palate is very much like the nose – candied! The peat drifts in pleasantly, however there is some youthful marc like notes and really only an impression of fruit. The alcohol is very intrusive, leaving a dry finish.

Water brings out some coastal fruit aromas along with burnt rubber and light coffee. On the palate it has become even sweeter (if that’s possible!) It’s homogenous and still short. Yes a soupcon of orange fruit puts in an appearance, but it has a real lack of cask interaction and depth. Although this is 14 years old it seems quiet immature and it will join the pantheon of unexciting young-ish bourbon casked Highland Park’s, and reinforces my opinion that at a young age Highland Park really needs some sherry to give it some robustness.

Tamdhu 1967 (42 year old) 56.5% £90.95

Bourbon Cask 9

My God this has some depth! Big, rich and spicy with buckets full, no make that container full’s of mature honey. Amazing complexity of lazy, sweet spices, liquorice, cinnamon, honey coated tropical fruit, banana fritter, coffee, saw dust, hickory a touch of chocolate and the most sublime liquid orange fruit imaginable. My god this is stunning. Seamless, bottomless, fathomless, immeasurable, etc, etc, etc……………….!!!!!

The liquid honey glides effortlessly onto the tongue. So, so soft and mature. Delicate honeyed spices, cinnamon, a touch of clove, Armagnac-esque dried fruit, figs almonds, liquorice, and black toffee coated dark fruits excite the senses. Simply put this is stunning and one of the most impressive bottlings I’ve tasted this year. The length is amazing, the finish, swathed in pure Colombian (coffee that is!) coats the mouth. Damn this is so more-ish!

Benrinnes 1996 (19 year old) 57% £39.95

Sherry Hogshead 6461

It’s a spotlessly clean and pure sherry monster! – But…… I really like it! (Shock!) Yes, it’s big and leafy but it has a relative complexity. There is some lovely orange fruit and crumbly decadent sherry wood spices, liquorice, dried fruit and coffee.

The palate is very much like the nose. A text book, clean sherry cask with dried fruit flavours – fig, prune, and sultana, by the bucket full. There is a touch of coastalness and the alcohol gives it a bite. It’s very drinkable! Personally I would drink neat as water makes the palate a little bit sticky-sweet.

New Laddies

Do you know that Bruichladdich currently has available 36 different expressions…….. 36!!! If you stocked them all you would need an entire display unit for them! Which of course is the point!

I can’t think of any other distillery that has so many expressions out at the moment. You could say that Glenfarclas tops that but only do the huge selection of Family Casks bottlings which aren’t really different expressions, just individual cask bottlings (in my opinion). This of course leaves one with a dilemma, because I don’t have an entire unit that I can devote to Bruichladdich, even though I’m sure they would love me to, and for those of you that have visited the shop will know that practically every available surface is currently in use. So does that mean that one’s selection criteria is more rigorous? Well maybe!

So with the sword of Damocles at the ready I began……….. (cue drum roll!!)

Classic Bruichladdich 46%
Whoa!! What’s going on here? Good grief it’s a fight in a tropical fruiterer’s! This must be without a shadow of a doubt the most fruity expression I have ever nosed. It begins with ‘classic’ apple and honeysuckle and then the Caribbean comes to town with guava, banana, pineapple and kiwi fruit aromas bursting from the glass. The background oak is only just perceptible. The palate opens with some lush honey and then the tropical fruit arrives in waves of toffee’d cinnamon sprinkled exquisiteness, with a garnish of honeysuckle and lavender. The only problem with the palate is that the oak comes crashing through very quickly and stops the fruity fun stone dead.

As this a ‘multi-vintage’ as they like to call these bottling and designed (if that is the right word) to fit a price point a large proportion is relatively young spirit and just isn’t mature enough to stand up to the oak. I think for now I’ll stick to the 12 year old, but if this is indicative of the quality of the spirit being produced (which I know it is) I would love to see this at 10 or 12 years of age.

Bruichladdich 2003 Organic 46% £41.95
Powerful, youthful aromas of briny and fish with a hint of Bowmore-esque parma violets. The sweetness of the apple, pear, tropical banana and fleshy apricot builds pleasantly and a floral suggestion and light spice note can be detected. The oak begins to assert itself with a beautifully toasted crème caramel character.

On the palate it is crisp, lightly briny and fishy with cod liver oil, followed by gentle tropical fruit and youthful cereal/ barley, which has a lovely honeyed sheen. The alcohol and coastal intensity kicks in on the finish to leave a salt encrusted tropical finale. This is definitely more ‘old skool’ than the ‘Classic’ and I would love to see this at 10 years of age.

Bruichladdich 17 year old Rum finish 46% £55.95
A big, sweet, honeyed nose, which reminds me of the Springbank rum wood. Quiet earthy with a touch of fishy-coastalness. A hint of peat attempts to break through the complexity of honey aromas – acacia, lehua and orange blossom and gentle crumbly spices.

The palate has a lovely, light oily texture. Gently tropical with apricot and honeysuckle. The finishing cask is less conspicuous and adds a beguiling sweetness to the banana, citrus fruit and allows the crisp, coastal character to assert itself. The finish is particularly coastal with hints of peat, coffee and fish oils, but still the rum cask notes linger as does the lovely mature honey. Superb stuff!

Bruichladdich 1992 (17 year old) Fino Sherry finish 46%
Aged for 15 years in American oak and finished for 2 years in Fino casks from Bodegas Fernando de Castilla.

Well this is all about the fino sherry cask to begin with. Buckets of grapey, salty green nuts, followed by a slightly dunnagey/ maurey note. The spirit attempts to asset itself but it is fighting a loosing battle here. Some lovely mature honey and coastal, fishy notes eventually break through. The palate mirrors the nose. Opening with the grapey, woody, green nut and pure unbuttered cashew nut flavours. The tannins and alcohol dries out the middle and finish, as does the salt, and there is a lot of salt! Like the nose the spirit really doesn’t have a hope.

Bruichladdich 1992 (17 year old) Pedro Ximinez Sherry finish 46%
Aged for 15 years in American oak and finished for 2 years in Pedro Ximinez casks from Bodegas Fernando de Castilla.

A deep, leafy nose of molasses and treacle with hints of hickory, earth and blood orange. Seems more peated than the Fino finished. Again it’s all about the PX cask, but like the Fino some fishy notes break through the thick layer of sherry. The palate follows a predictable course – grape – hickory – honey – tannins, which really dries it out. The rampaging sweetness is nicely held in check by the coastal fishiness, but my god it’s a real battle, and eventually the finishing cask holds sway.

As you all know by now I’m more of a purist and these big sherry monsters really don’t appeal to me. However I will say that they are beautifully crafted and there are absolutely no off notes.

Bruichladdich Infinity 3rd Edition 50% £45.95

A multi vintage bottling of a selection of Refill Sherry and Tempranillo casks.

Peated to 20ppm

I have no idea what the moon has to do with infinity, maybe it’s because it lives in the infinite reaches of space? Either way I love the packaging. I mean you have to hand it to these guys; they have the art of presentation completely sussed! Anyway what does it taste like? (bearing in mind that I wasn’t a fan of the 2nd edition)

The nose opens with leafy sherry and a deep, herbal fishiness along with a touch of peat. I guess as this is a controlled vatting rather than a finish that the winey, tempranillo aromas are quiet subtle and just adds a top note. The peat aromas build to a lovely sooty crescendo and we’re now in stinky Islay territory – brine, iodine and bog myrtle. This is amazingly good. The palate shows a greater degree of winey-ness, but the strength of the fishy peatiness soon puts paid to that. Wow, what a middle! Spicy and a bit tart, but flooded with a lovely mouth filling melange of all things Islay – Fisherman’s friends, menthol, bog myrtle-peat and oodles of fresh iodine (of the Laphroaig persuasion!). Strewth this has become medicinal. Like I said all those ‘Islay’ flavours boot the sherry and wine into touch, but they are still there adding a delightful touch of coffee-spice and red fruits to the finish. Stunning balance!

Bruichladdich 1989 (19 year old) Black Art

Matured in American oak and a variety of wine casks. Only 6000 bottles world wide.

 ‘The dark alchemy of Bruichladdich’ – It says on the tin. And what a tin. I love it! – Ok I’m a bit of a sucker for all things gothic as you probably well know!

So is it all for show? Is it a case of aprons and funny handshakes and no trousers? Well, let’s see shall we!

Incredibly earthy and winey aromas greet the nose. There are spicy red fruits by the crucible full here with quite a sugary sheen to them. However some stinky/ manurey peat and hickory keeps it on the straight path. This is amazingly complex. Did I say it was spicy, it is! And they buzz around like a swarm of conjured homunculi (?). Underneath all this thick, viscous, winey alchemy is some wonderfully mature honeyed fruit, but the wine fights back with an amazing pure strawberry jam note, but hang on back comes the fishy coastalness! Oooh I could sniff this all night and I still wouldn’t get to the bottom of it!

The palate displays a lovely purity of spicy raspberry and pomegranate fruit, pepper, sherry wood and fishy peat before the alcohol wades in and that’s about it. I think this definitely needs a drop of water. I hope it weaves some magic!

And what theurgy does a splash of water bring? On the nose it conjures up a magical, beguiling liquid orange and mature honey note as the wine casks are banished to the background. It could pass for a rich Spey now! On the palate it accentuates (if possible) the glittering purity of the red fruits, so pure that you can almost taste the pips! However the downside is that the palate has become rather one-dimensional, short and a bit too sugary-sweet.

I had to re-taste this several times because after the magnificence of the nose the palate was to be honest a disappointment. I though maybe I wasn’t getting it, or that my palate had become jaded, but each time I came to the same conclusion, and to be honest at £80, there are other whiskies that I would be happier to recommend.

Bruichladdich X4+3 63.5% £53.95

The nose offers up a lot of American oak – vanilla, toffee, butterscotch and American cream soda. The spirit itself has become more neutral in character and has lost that raw cereal character. On the palate the oak is less intrusive and that cereal note is very much in evidence. The alcohol masks the mid palate and the rushes into the space with toffee and caramel notes. Finally a touch of classic honeysuckle arrives.

With water the oak is pushed back on the nose and the soft, succulent cereal notes are more noticeable. On the palate it reminds me more of the first edition and the floral Bruichladdich character shines through as the oak plays a supporting role.

It’s not as candied or as coastal as the first edition, but I found that with more oak character it seems more rounded and personally I preferred it.

New Duncan Taylor

NC2 Jura 10 year old 46%

Quiet a high toned nose, and frankly evanescent. There are some pleasant hints of citrus and earth along with some sugary-sweet barley. However over time it gets increasingly sugary. The palate is dry and slightly coastal with some light honeyed fruit and earth. Again it descends into a sugary morass, with some late spices trying to safe the day.

Isle of Jura 1990 (19 year old) 52.4%

Bourbon Cask 6401

Again the nose is a bit evanescent, but there is a greater degree of crisp citrus and barley. A brief (very brief) whiff of some lovely, slight mature honey appears as does some earthiness. Quiet sp[icy on the palate with apricot and honey. Pretty straightforward with again that candied sweetness. The alcohol crashes in and leaves a faint grassy/ leafy finish.

A drop of water possibly emphasises the citrus but really turns it into sugar water. Likewise the palate has become quite watery and sugary with the oak attempting to lend some butterscotch flavours.

I must say that there is nothing wrong with the above bottlings, it’s just I find Jura to be pretty but ultimately unexciting.

Tomatin 1991 (18 year old) 55.9% £65.95

Bourbon Cask 14193

A lovely, dense and earthy nose, with maturing honey along with a slight floral top note and some sweet spices. Finally the oak puts in an appearance adding a buttery note to balance the citrus. Soft and deliciously fruity on the palate, apricots wrapped in wood spices plus crisp white pear and a hint of elderflower. The alcohol is piquant and after it subsides it leaves a very distinctive hoppy/ leafy/hemp note. A lovely not too sweet finish which fades into a light coffee-malt after taste.

A drop of water really ramps up the floral aromas and a slight violet note is discernable. The fruit has become lovely and juicy with orange, tangerine and grapefruit. On the palate it removes the oak interaction, however it sits at the back of the tongue. It’s still very herbal but some gristy spices appear as does that violet note, which intensifies towards the finish.

Glenlivet 1970 (39 year old) 54.4%

Bourbon Cask 2003

Initially there is a lot of dry oak on the nose. Slowly a vein of rich, mature honey and juicy barley fight their way through. Over time it becomes quite saw dusty, finally moving into fresh herbal territory. The palate leads off with the oak, which like the nose is quite drying. There is a suggestion of honey and barley, but that’s rather short lived. Once the alcohol has passed there is some lovely Armagnac-esque dried fruit, walnuts and light oil and it finishes with a dry, resinous quality.

A drop of water brings out some lovely, soft and squidgy orange fruit, but still the oak grips. The palate becomes a shade watery and insubstantial and drifts rather aimlessly into a herbal, woody/ hickory finish.

Glen Grant 1970 (39 year old) 49.1% £115.95

Bourbon Cask 3492

The nose reeks of maturity. Dark hickory and chocolate combine with lush mature honey, crystalised fruit and dark spices. Later some rich tangerine/ Satsuma along with a sweet barley note appear as does a touch of heather. The palate likewise reeks of age, opening with dark honey and chocolate. Oh my this is immense and woody, however that is balanced by some sharp citrus-barley and brittle honey on the middle. It fades beautifully into a chocolate coated orange, with chunky spices and orange zest. The finish envelops the mouth leaving a slight peat and heather conclusion. An engaging and entertaining dram!

Invergordon 1965 (43 year old) 51.6% £105.95

Bourbon Cask 15536

Deep and not so overtly oaky on the nose. Retrained and earthy with what appears to be a touch of manurey-peat! The oak attempts to assert itself but it whispers rather than growls (well as far as grain whiskies go it does!) Beautifully grainy with some crumbly spices and hints of liquorice, charred oak and violets. Lovely bitter/ sweet balance. The palate is soft, subtle (as far as gain whiskies go!), quite earthy with hickory, coffee, and like the nose, the oak is quiet restrained. It opens into a rich, spicy middle, with some lovely soft, embellished grains and some seriously conspicuous violet notes. Still the oak is impeccably behaved and adds a lovely bitter liquorice, cocoa and pure 90% dark chocolate notes. This is a very crisp Invergordon which could easily pass for a rye whisky. Stunning!!

And finally, The Round Up

Willowbank Distillery, New Zealand

Milford 10 year old 43%

Batch 321MY2

The aromas are quiet light and have a high-toned spiritiness to them. There is some oily honey, vanilla along with some pleasant wood spices, but it has a rather strange metallic character. However the honey does have a rather lovely maturity to it. The palate is much like the nose, with that metallic note, although it displays a great deal less maturity that the nose would indicate. Its quiet simple with a butter-vanilla finish and a suggestion of smoke. Altogether not unpleasant, yet not exactly stimulating

George Dickle Superior No12 45% £45.95

A wonderful perfumed floral start.  Quiet light in texture and very laid back, although once it gets going it has a lovely complexity and purity of rich vanilla oak, corn, toffee, honey, violets along with a touch of light earth and a refreshing rye bite. The palate begins in a similar lazy fashion, quiet sweet to begin with but the corn and crisp rye grains balance that out. Gentle oak follows as does a developing floral-violet note. Lovely balance with a short burst of alcohol on the middle. Elegant and long with a dry, peppery, soft, wood spice finish.

Glen Garioch 15 year old 43% £33.95

A crisp, clean, barley and honey nose. Lovely and granity with a touch of rose petal marc, soap, heather, gorse and highland scrubbery! There is a lovely background of sherry fruit and spices along with a late developing perfumed sheen.

The palate is soft and a tad watery to begin but once the lovely oils have kicked in loading the palate with sweet, sugar coated barley we are off. It has a full-on, big malty middle which becomes incredibly chewy. Again there are hints of heather, gorse and a late dusting of peat and coal dust in the finish. All in all a very pleasant dram.

Glenglassaugh ‘The Spirit Drink that Dare Not Speak It’s Name’ 50% 50cl £31.95

New make spirit.

 Actually the aromas are rather sweet in character and quite light and not overly oily. There’s the obvious youthful cereal aromas but they are pretty soft. It’s quite floral with a white cider vinegar note and a touch of pear drops.

The palate is of a greater oily disposition, opening with the youthful cereal. The malt begins to arrive with a chocolate-maltiness and it has become quite chewy. The alcohol is soft and unobtrusive which is impressive considering its abv. It finishes with a mouth coating grist/ flour impression.

Bunnahabhain Toiteach 46% £53.95

 An intensely youthful nose full of all things fishy and crumbly bog myrtle-peat. A wave of coastal-fresh astringency powers from the glass as does hints of burnt wood, camphor and seaweed. Beneath all this stinkiness is some lush sherried honey and citrus fruit, liberally doused in brine I hasten to add! And the peat aromas evolve with a sweet-ish earthy overtone.

The palate is like the nose, young, phenolic, yet very manly and robust with a good depth of sherried, herbal fruit and honey. The alcohol is very piquant for 46% (do not add water under any circumstances!) and when that fades, it leaves a fishy, pure coal dust and crumbly peat mid palate which in turn leads to a coal scuttle licking finish!
Gordon & MacPhail Glen Elgin 1995 12 year old 45% £34.95

Bourbon Cask

The nose is delightfully grassy and citrusy with a touch of light earthy-peat and some orange fruit. Creamy/ buttery oak follows with a touch of white chocolate and late peppery spice. Lovely balance and complexity. On the palate it is soft, smooth and honeyed. Delicate yet substantial and mouth filling with citrus, honey and a developing spice note. Long, crisp and piquant finish – Very nice with a touch of salt.

No G&M haven’t taken to sending me samples (although I did get some Benromach samples out of them awhile ago!) This bottling took Gold in the 12 years under category of the 2009 Independent bottlers Challenge – Conclusion: Lovely nose. Pleasantly fruity with a good length. Spot on!

Well that’s a bout it for this edition. I hope you enjoyed it!


Chris GoodRum

Limited Release of Spirit From The Refurbished Pot Stills in The Old Kilbeggan Distillery – Whiskey News


The Spirit of Kilbeggan

The limited release of Spirit from the refurbished pot stills in the Old Kilbeggan Distillery

Cooley Distillery, Ireland’s only independent whiskey distillery, has released a limited bottling of the new Spirit distilled by the 19th century refurbished still in operation in the Old Kilbeggan Distillery in County Westmeath.

The Old Kilbeggan Distillery is the oldest distillery in the world and to mark its 250th anniversary, a pot still from the 19th century was refurbished and distilling recommenced on the 19th of March 2007. This is the oldest pot still in use in the world and will revive a traditional age old style of distillation not seen in Ireland for many years. Earlier this year a second pot still, handcrafted by Forsyth’s Copper Smiths of Scotland to match the original still, was commissioned. The full distillation process is now on show to the public in the Old Kilbeggan Distillery.

There is significant consumer interest in the distillery and in the nature of the new Spirit produced by the ancient pot still. To satisfy this interest and whet the appetite for the launch of mature whiskey in mid 2010, Cooley has released this limited bottling of aged Spirit distilled in Kilbeggan. Cooley has bottled 3,000 small six centilitre bottles of Spirit, each matured for one month as well as another limited bottling of 1,000 packs of three by six centilitre bottles containing Spirit aged for one month, one year and two years, which will enable consumers to sample the maturing Spirit.

Jack Teeling, Sales & Marketing Director for Cooley Distillery commented, “For over 50 years the pot stills in Kilbeggan were cold until distilling recommenced in 2007. Since then there has been keen interest and intrigue in what style of whiskey the ancient pot still will produce. This limited release of the Spirit of Kilbeggan offers consumers a chance to anticipate the outcome.”

This limited edition bottling is exclusively available through the Visitor Centre Whiskey Shop in Kilbeggan and the Celtic Whiskey Shop on Dawson Street, Dublin 2 (

For More Information:

Jack Teeling                                                                +353-1-8332833

Sales & Marketing Director

Additional Information

The Kilbeggan Distillery dates back to 1757 and is acknowledged as the oldest distillery in the world. The distillery was a stalwart of the Irish whiskey industry through the glory years of the 1800’s when Irish whiskey was the spirit of choice around the world.

However the early 1900’s saw the demise of Irish whiskey due to a combination of factors including the Irish War of Independence, Prohibition in the US and resistance to change to modern whiskey distillation techniques. This resulted in a major slump in traditional Irish whiskey export markets and caused many well established distilleries to close. The Kilbeggan distillery was a victim of the industry malaise and stopped distilling in March 19th 1954.

The Old Kilbeggan Distillery was rescued in 1988 when Cooley Distillery bought the old distillery “lock, stock and barrel” with the aim of restoring distillation. While developing the company, Cooley kept the working distillery as a museum and utilised its extensive warehouses to mature whiskey. As part of Cooley’s strategy to resurrect ancient brand of Irish whiskey they named their flagship brand “Kilbeggan”.

Kilbeggan Irish whiskey has won a host of different medals over the past 10 years including a Gold Medal and “Best in Category” at Los Angeles International Wine & Spirit Competition (LAIWSC) in 2009, and Silver Medal from International Review of Spirits 2009.

The Old Kilbeggan Distillery and the Kilbeggan whiskey brand are celebrated their 250th anniversary in 2007. To celebrate this landmark Cooley decided to take a further step to resurrect the heritage of the Kilbeggan brand by re‐commencing distillation on site in the Old Kilbeggan Distillery. This began on the 19th of March 2007, 53 years since distillation stopped. One of the old stills was re‐commissioned and is the oldest pot still distilling in Ireland producing a style of whiskey not seen in Ireland for many years.

This is another step in the rejuvenation of the Irish whiskey industry which has been enjoying tremendous growth on a global scale and has re‐emerged as the drink of choice for many people around the world.


British Columbia WHISKY RELEASE (OCTOBER 31, 2009) – Scotch Whisky News

Subject: Whisky Release Tasting in Vancouver

If you plan to be in Vancouver early next week, here is an opportunity
to taste a few of the Release offerings:

Premium Whisky Release Preview Tasting

Tuesday, October 27  (two sessions available)

6:00 – 7:30 pm OR 8:00 – 9:30 pm

39th & Cambie Tasting Room (5555 Cambie Street, Vancouver)

Tickets $35 per person at 39th & Cambie Customer Service  – 604-660-9463

*Special guest speaker: Gerry Tosh, global ambassador for
Macallan and Highland Park distilleries.  Gerry was just awarded Whisky Magazine’s 2009 Ambassador of the Year.

*Featuring limited-edition whiskies from the Islay, Orkney and
Highland regions of Scotland; Japan, India and the United States.

*Tasting flight includes:
+125633 Amrut Cask Strength Limited Edition, $90, India 
+546366 Nikka Whisky From the Barrel, $59, Japan 
+870550 Woodford Reserve 1838 Sweet Mash Master’s Collection Bourbon, $140, USA 
+364224 BenRiach 15 YO Tawny Port Finish, $95, Highland 
+107441 Bruichladdich 1989 Guigal Blanc Cask, $190, Islay 
+748152 Highland Park 15 YO, $95, Orkney  
+292862 Macallan 21 Year Old Fine Oak, $350, Highland 
+500231 Highland Park 18 YO, $150, Orkney  (not part of the
Whisky release)

Southern Comfort Cocktail Launch Party with Celebrity Interviews!

Southern Comfort cocktail launch party with celebrity interviews!

You can also read the full release at the website:

Southern Comfort cocktail launch party with celebrity interviews!

23 October 2009

Southern Comfort would like to invite you to try its new range of Christmas
cocktails at an exciting launch party on Wednesday 28th October.

The UK’s top mixologists including legendary creator of the Mahiki
treasure chest and London’s most distinguished, classic mixologist have
teamed up with Southern Comfort to create a fantastic range of cocktails
for the festive period.

They will wow you with molecular mixology (using nitrous oxide and a
specialized cocktail gun!) and the use of unusual cocktail ingredients such
as horse radish!

If you want to learn how to mix impressive cocktails, or if simple easy to
follow steps are more your thing, then Southern Comfort has something to
suit every taste!

Southern Comfort ambassadors, Sophie Ellis Bextor, Remi Nicole and
FrankMusik visited New Orleans, the home of Southern Comfort to experience a taste of the big easy first hand. At the launch you will see the brand new campaign images featuring the celebrities and exclusive behind the scenes footage.

Interview time with Remi Nicole, FrankMusik and Sophie Ellis Bextor (TBC)
is also available on the night upon prior request. The mixologists are also
available for interviews/ cocktail making tips.


Where: W1 (close to Oxford Circus tube)

When:  Wednesday 28th October

Time: 4:30-5:30pm – Intimate mixology class

5:30pm-8:30pm – After work drop in sessions

Places are limited so please RSVP or call 0207 3128 6616
to secure your place (and fantastic Southern Comfort goody bag!)

We hope to see you on the 28th for a New Orleans experience you won’t

Southern Comfort Team

New Douglas Laing Provenance Bottlings Now Available in British Columbia – Scotch Whisky News

From Rare Drams (The Douglas Laing Agent)  in Vancouver, British Columbia;


Now Available in BC: 20 New Single Malts from 20 Different Distilleries.The Biggest Selection in BC. If you want to know where to get your favourite Dram on the List , drop us an email.

If you purchase a Bottle of one of these in BC, let us know where & what you purchased & Rare Drams will send you a Douglas Laing Distillery Map.





Clynelish – Douglas Laing Provenance 11 YEAR OLD

















Visit Rare Drams at

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