Archive for November, 2010

Bowmore Distillery Sunday Round Up – Scotch Whisky Tasting Note



Bowmore 12yo (40%, OB, +/-2009)

On the nose there are initial moments of greenness and hints of immaturity; green malt, split peas, palm olive sap and pine resin.  After a few minutes in the glass this changes to a sweeter sample along with malt and now finally some hints of peat smoke (& hints of charred damp firewood). A bit of a wobbly start. The taste is significantly better than the nose and is quite delicious. Good thing defeat was not recognised on the nose or the taste would have been missed. The peat smoke is now nicely intertwined with some dry cocoa, malt and wood spice. There is also some malt and hints of herbs. Nice. Actually very good. This is not a huge Islay but an Islay none the less. Sometimes a more gentle whisky is called for; no need to be beat about the head with the proverbial peat bog all the time. The finish is easy going like the nose and the taste but now the peat is backed by some grapefruit (a bit of bitter and sweet citrus). The peat is starting to rise and is becoming much more dominant. It is long and very good. A late arrival of some black pepper and then a huge dollop of malt.

A great dram to share with a friend.


Score 86


Bowmore 15yo Darkest (43%, OB, New presentation, +/-2009)

To be sure a splendid ‘darkest’ colour and the back label “Bowmore Sherry Cask Finished” however there is no mention of non chill filtered or the addition of spirit caramel so one is forced to arrive at the inevitable conclusion of chill filtration and the addition of colour. The nose is Islay; peat smoke and combined very nicely with sweet sherry notes. When sherry and peat combine it can be sublime. There are also hints of heather and coffee in the back ground; quite light. There is also a combination of malt and fruit cake which contribute to the rich heady aromas. The taste is of peat smoke, sherry and malt. It is clean and vibrant and very good. The peat smoke and the sherry are the big contributors here and the malt is the out of town cousin in for the weekend. All work very well together; there are also tinges of the heather and maybe some gentle rose water. All in all very good. The finish is malty and of peat smoke that quickly becomes quite dry. It is reasonably long and then becomes dry and peaty. Nice.

This is nice, a good dram from Bowmore.


Score 85


Bowmore 18yo (43%, OB, New presentation, +/-2009)

No mention of ‘no chill filtration or added color’ so one is forced to assume the worst. None the less on the nose there is gentle peat smoke and some slight hints that are vegetal but this quickly dissipates to give way to more of the peat smoke which is some spices like clove and nutmeg. These last two are gentle and not over powering. There is also some citrus in the form of oranges and some hints of the ocean plus some black liquorice. So far so good. The taste is very good, cocoa, peat smoke, the citrus and then some spice from the oak. Ah well, this is really nice whisky. There is also some wafts of heather and juniper intermingled with the peat smoke. A moment of freshly cut melon and the gentle peat smoke. The finish is vibrant, fruity and the ever present peat smoke is very much in evidence. The finish is warming, consistent and long; peat smoke and now some cocoa. A very nice finish.

Bingo! This is awesome stuff. Well done Bowmore.


Score 89 points


Bowmore 16yo 1992/2008 (53.5%, OB, ‘Limousin Bordeaux Wine Cask Matured’)

The first maturation was in ex-American bourbon barrels and there remained for 6 years for the final 10 years in Limousin Bordeaux Wine Casks. The color is a rich reddish shade. The nose is of peat and brine accompanied with brown Demerara sugar and loads of fruit (a mixture of berries and tree fruit – warmed apples). The peat takes on a sweet characteristic after a while in the glass with hints of vanilla. The aroma is very rich and very pleasing. The taste is much as the nose; loads of peat smoke and fruit backed by the fruit, vanilla and vanilla. After a moment or two there is the appearance of some dryness and cocoa along with some creamy Red River cereal. That was unexpected but it adds to the over all flavour. The finish is peaty and then malty which becomes very dry very quickly. The finish is long and rich with the malt and the dryness working well together. After 10 minutes some Fry’s cocoa appears.

A departure from the norm for Bowmore however this is not a quick ‘finish’ and the 10 years in the Limousin oak has added depth and character.


Score 87


Bowmore NAS Companions of the Quaich Canada 2000-2010 (54.6%, OB ‘Craftsman Collection’, 3,000 Bts.)

A special bottling to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the founding of the Companions of the Quaich . Normally this bottling “Maltmen’s Selection” is exclusive to the distillery however they made an exception for the Companions and bottled 300 bottles with a commemorative back label which were quickly picked up by the members. As an aside the box is really nice and lined with a velvet like material with a snug lid; quite suitable for burying small house hold pets should the need arise.

The color is quite dark with some nice ruby highlights however the nose is big and assertive and very Bowmore at first. While it still remains very Bowmore-ish (which is good) there is also peat and some lemon along with some more peat (just a turn above gentle and some what below aggressive but there is a duality to the peat level; sometimes it’s gentle and some times it’s not.) and then toffee mixed with heather. Finally there is some Christmas cake and clove. My goodness, quite a complex sample! The Christmas cake has an almost over sweetness verging on cloying (however this isn’t a complaint). The taste is warming, peated and very dry, very active and a slight fizziness along with a cream soda like taste and, oddly, grapefruit. There are also hints of malt and herbs. It’s a big whisky and very good, what a grand selection. Ah, a moment of brine in amongst the other descriptors. Black Java pepper. The finish is creamy, peated and warming, there are also hints of Oxo cubes and then the dryness after a while. After a few minutes some vague hospital almond bitterness pops up (if this makes any sense).

Very complex and loads of nice peat smoke intermingled in with everything else.


Score 87 Points

Visit Bowmore Distillery at



JUST in time for Christmas, GlenDronach, the richly-sherried Highland single malt, is issuing its latest batch of single cask bottlings. As always, it’s very limited, of exceptional quality and available worldwide.
Founded in 1826, GlenDronach produces an award-winning range of 12, 15 and 18 year-olds. But in addition, it also offers a superb selection of limited edition expressions, and Batch 3 is the latest.
Handpicked by Master Distiller Billy Walker, it comprises five outstanding casks from 1989 to 1996 for GlenDronach aficionados to savour. In nose, appearance and palate, the five are classic fruit-laden GlenDronach – offering brambles, ripe plums, raisins, dates and toffee-apple elements.
Three have matured in Pedro Ximinez Sherry Puncheons while two have been carefully aged in Oloroso Sherry Butts.
The five, in ascending chronological order, are:
Year    Number        Strength      Age             Cask Type                                                    
1989    3833                53.5%        20yo         Pedro Ximinez Sherry Puncheon                       
1990    3059                54.9%        20yo         Pedro Ximinez Sherry Puncheon
1990    3068                52.6%        20yo         Pedro Ximinez Sherry Puncheon
1991    2512                51.9%        18yo         Oloroso Sherry Butt   
1996    202                  58.3%        14yo         Oloroso Sherry Butt      
The range is astonishingly subtle and varied. On the nose, the 1989 bottling commences with full earthy aromas leading to a huge portion of dried fig and sweet date pudding. And on the palate, it offers concentrated dried fruit with figs and dates, with toffee-nut brittle on the finish. Contrast that with the 1996, which on the nose suggests super-ripe morrelo cherries and stewed plums combining with spiced raisins and all-spice while on the palate it delivers sweet plum pudding and chocolate-coated raisins with an elegant sherry finish.
Batch 3 has been bottled at cask strength, with natural colour and non chill-filtered. The bottles are individually numbered by hand and presented in a gift box.
Marketing Manager Kerry White said: “Our limited edition expressions have been very successful in the past and we are confident this latest batch will give huge pleasure to our customers. We believe they balance perfection, rarity and sweet delicacy in one glass – the perfect antidote to long winter nights!”
Visit GlenDronach Distillery at

Loch Fyne Whiskies Stocks Inchgower Dewar Rattray 1974 36yo – Scotch Whisky News


Inchgower DR 1974 36yo 56.4%alc.

Distilled 16.09.1974

Bottled 22.10.2010

From Bourbon cask # 7762

Limited to 229 bottles

(Abridged tasting note:

Superb!, so much going on, just buy it! and now!)

Here’s a theory, it’s mine (Richard J at LFW)  and unresearched so please don’t try and test it…

Once long ago, if the seventies fits that description, a chap called Raymond Miquel was in charge of Bell’s Scotch Whisky Distillers, who owned four distilleries (I think, I’m not going to check this stuff) one of which was Inchgower. Mr. Miquel (who is still active in Scottish business as head of Lee’s Confectionary) was an exceptionally dynamic entrepreneur who sent a well drilled army of impeccably blazered (double-breasted) reps out into the UK market to promote Bell’s whisky, and it rather worked well, today Bell’s remains the number one blend in the UK.

So successful was the sales drive that more malt had to be made to meet demand, a demand that was not prepared to wait five years for stock to mature, ‘but no matter, they thought, make it faster and pile it higher in what facilities we have, no problems’, they thought.

So Bell’s distilleries turned up production, fermentation time was reduced (as I say, not checked), stills went into overdrive and new make crammed into casks and stuffed into warehouses while new ones were being built.

You can’t rush Scotch, that’s why we love it and that’s why the boffins and accountants have been unable to streamline the production, leaving it a quality sensitive quirky hands-on process, even at state-of-the-art Roseisle.

So what is now predictable with hindsight happened, the quality of 3-5 years old malt for Bell’s plummeted and the Scottish Scotch drinker turned to Grouse. (Quality recovered by the late eighties by-the-way).


We noticed during the Rare Malts releases of ten years ago some superb old drams being offered at about 25 years matured and some were, after so many years, still at strengths of 65%alc! Blair Athol, Dufftown, Inchgower and Rosebank in particular, the Bell’s distilleries! Duff angels or concentrated filling strength? Although they forced their spirit production and stuffed it into tired wood at very high strength eventually mother maturation has done her job and produced exceptional drams.

And here at 36 years is another example.

Further reading, ‘Business As Usual – The Miquel Way’

Flavour Map Ref: Debatable E5

A Dewar Rattray Independent single cask strength bottling.

See ‘label explanations’ above for more information.

Price excluding VAT: £84.25
£98.99 Including VAT at 17.5%

Visit Loch Fyne Whiskies at


Ralfy Is On The Road Agian In Review #168 – Scotch Whisky News


.. time for some TamTime @ Tam’s Drams with Tam & how a small Whisky shop get’s going in Scotland! WhiskyReview 168 – Tam’s Drams !

Tam & The Guzzlers

Tam & The Guzzlers

‘Straight from the still’ At Templeton Rye – American Whiskey News


Straight from the still

Dear friends,

Greetings from Templeton. It is a very exciting time here at the distillery as we have finally reached a date we have been looking forward to for a long time. We called it “Whiskey Birthday” in our calendar and it was the date that our Batch 4 turned four years old. Batch 4 is our first product from when we started to scale up production four long years ago. Our volume is still a pittance in the grand whiskey world but it is a nice step forward for us that we will continue to build on for the next several years.

In our last newsletter we asked if anyone was interested in helping us bottle Batch 4 and to our amazement we had over 150 people sign-up to work in conjunction with our existing team. Our first bottling was yesterday, and our volunteers did a great job. In fact, we shattered our previous record. We worked hard and had a fun day. Thank you all for your interest and help! We still have some slots available for next week, Nov 29-Dec 3. If you are interested in helping out please send us an email at

We are looking forward to having product delivered to the State of Iowa and available for order on Monday, December 6th and at stores later that week. We will also be resupplying Illinois and entering San Francisco and New York on a very limited basis.

We are also excited about the Templeton Rye Mobile Speakeasy Tour December 8th-17th. Our team will be driving all around the State of Iowa with our new mobile speakeasy and doing events at various bars and restaurants. Please watch our Facebook Page for more details.

Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!

Scott Bush, President, Templeton Rye


Federal Wine & Spirits Boston Big Sale – Scotch Whisky News


The Federal Wine Black Friday (& Saturday) Sale

Carefully Selected Great Values

The Way It Works:

You need not come to the store!! Order by email or phone. Prices good till Saturday Midnight only or available stock is sold. Sale prices net per bottle. First come, first served. Some items will not be available for pickup or shipping until Tuesday. Call before coming in. Payment Must be Made with Order. Sale is for Pickup or One Delivery to one location only by Sat Dec 4


Joe writes

Glenfarclas reigns supreme!!!

Glenfarclas 40 Y.O. 43% Sale Price $499.99 – Reg. 549.99
Absolutely Stunning, there is not enough that I can say about this single malt. This bottle was rated very highly with critics and reviewers and could have been sold for $2000 – $2500. It is a Single Malt Scotch that is fit for a King or a Queen and you do not have buy the castle.

Glenfarclas 17 Y.O. 43% Sale Price $99.99 – Reg. 109.99

Port Ellen has been closed as a distillery since 1983 but now acts only as a maltster supplying all of the malted barley for the Islay distilleries, except The Bruichladdich Distillery.  Port Ellen America has only received 3 releases and this year none of the 2010 Release From what I have been told there will only be two more. I think at a huge price tag, I hope I am wrong. If you do not want to gamble and just want to drink some great single malt. Port Ellen 29 Y.O. 55.3% $415 NET ( Tasting Notes Call or email Joe)

Gordon & MacPhail Speymalt Macallan 1972 34 Y.O. 43% This line of single malts has been so precious to me, I have seen so many smiling faces, tell me of a wonderful night tasting this single malt. ( Tasting Notes Call Joe) Speymalt Macallan 1972 34 – 35 Y.O. Reg.$ 325 – $279.99

Len Rothenberg
Federal Wine & Spirits


Phone: (617) 367-8605

Glengoyne 21 Years Old Wins Gold at Scottish Field Whisky Challenge – Scotch Whisky News

Glengoyne 21 Years Old Wins Gold at Scottish Field Whisky Challenge



Caption: Alan Wardrop, UK Sales Manager for Ian Macleod Distillers collects the Gold Award for Glengoyne 21 Years Old.

Glengoyne 21 Years Old has scooped a prestigious gold award at the highly respected Scottish Field Whisky Challenge for the third year in a row underlining its consistent, exceptional quality.

The panel of expert judges, which include Richard Joynson of Loch Fyne Whiskies, Keir Sword of Royal Mile Whiskies and Darren Leitch, of The Whisky Shop group, rated Glengoyne 21 Years Old in the £30 – £75 category for its “Well balanced palate and pleasant finish”. Judge Tatsuya Minagawa, Whisky Bar Manager at the Highland Inn, commented that the whisky had a “Soft warm and creamy nose with a good level of sherry and weak coffee. Creamy to taste with a delicious and complex finish.”

Launched in 2001, the SFWC, is a ‘blind’ tasting of Scotch whiskies and universally acknowledged as one of the most significant taste tests with an esteemed panel of judges.

Alan Wardrop, UK Sales Manager for Ian Macleod Distiller’s, commented: “It is a real honour to be so highly commended by a team of such well respected judges. It really is testimony to Glengoyne’s craftsmanship and heritage passed down over the generations, including the slowest distillation process of any Scotch whisky, that makes our whisky stand out.”

Glengoyne fought off stiff competition from Big Peat, Strathisla 30 Years Old and Glen Grant 25 Years Old to take the Gold Award with a score of 3.83 out of 5.

Richard Bath, Editor of Scottish Field said of the competition: “This is the 10th year of the Scottish Field Whisky Challenge and a landmark moment for us. The reason for the awards success has been its unimpeachable credibility.

“Any whisky that appears in these pages is guaranteed to be a gold standard dram.”

Glengoyne Distillery earlier this year announced a new long-term marketing initiative based on the concept “SLOW” centred on Glengoyne’s distillation speed, which is SLOWER than any other Scotch Whisky. Glengoyne attributes its high quality, smooth tasting malt to its slow distillation, which is about one third the normal rate. Glengoyne 21 Years Old uses 100% first fill European Oak Sherry Casks and, as with all Glengoyne bottlings, is natural colour.

Only the slowest distillation process, untainted by peat smoke, creates Glengoyne THE REAL TASTE OF MALT.

For further details on stockist and distribution details for Glengoyne, contact Alan Wardrop, UK Sales Manager, Ian Macleod Distillers.

For further information visit:

For more information on the Scottish Field Whisky Challenge see

Ian Macleod Distillers encourages responsible drinking 


Aberlour 10yo (Bourbon & Sherry) vs. Aberlour 10yo Sherry Cask Finish – Scotch Whisky Tasting Note


Aberlour 10yo (43%, OB, +/-2008)

Please note that in higher tax markets such as the UK and some parts of Europe that the 10yo standard bottling is normally available at 40% ABV while the North American bottling is available at 43% ABV, a difference of +/-7%.

The nose is clean with fruit, vanilla, caramel and a significant amount of oak notes in the form of alcohol infused cold tea and apricot. A little hand warming brings out more of the same however intensified with the addition of a little citrus and malt. After some time in the glass it opens up to reveal some increased sweetness. The taste is malty backed by bourbon notes, some sherry sweetness along with some raw tobacco and leather. Despite the 43% it is not an aggressive mouth feel and the spicy wood notes grow in complexity. It’s very tasty whisky! The finish is long with bitter dark chocolate, the oak spiciness and is quite dry and is, like the taste, quite complex. After a number of minutes there is still some chewy malt present…

A cracker of a malt with lots going on and a good value as well.


Score 86 Points

Aberlour 10yo (43%, OB, ‘Sherry Cask Finish’, +/-2008)

An unusual departure for the Aberlour distillery in that their 10yo has been finished in a sherry cask(s) for an undisclosed period of time. And a bit of a secret itself since it’s only available in France, the Whisky Exchange in London and rumored to also be available at the distillery. The core range for Aberlour features the 10yo, 10yo Sherry Cask Finish, the 12yo Double Cask Matured, the 16yo Double Cask Matured and the 18yo.

The nose is rich and creamy along with some good fruit in the form of light Christmas cake, warm banana (hints of), pear and then hints of heather. There is some added complexity over the standard 10yo (which is hardly a shock, finishing is done for extra complexity). The taste is richer in the mouth and smoother than the standard 10yo and the turbo fruit boost from the sherry casks is a nice addition. The pears really jump out and the raw tobacco and leather are muted below the sherry. There is also some really good malt lurking in there. Nice. The finish is much like the standard 10yo and is quite dry however this does not last very long as the fruit takes over and offers a calming influence. The finish is quite long and fragrant but the malt has been slightly muted as compared to the standard 10yo, more fruit however.

Another excellent single malt from Aberlour; perhaps we’ll this version more widely available. But for pities sake keep the 43%!


Score 88 points

It's the two bottles on the LEFT! <---- <-----

It's the two bottles on the LEFT! <---- <-----


No! It's the TWO on the left!!!

No! It's the TWO on the left!!!



FOUNDED by the Scottish entrepreneur James Allardice in 1826, Forgue’s GlenDronach distillery shows it’s just as enterprising today…by hiring out its historic premises to the corporate sector.
Marketing Manager Kerry White explained: “As well as being an award-winning malt whisky distillery, GlenDronach is also an excellent corporate events venue. So if companies are seeking somewhere fun, memorable and unique, we’re the perfect choice for that perfect event.
“Whether it’s a corporate lunch, meeting, conference, product launch, incentive, in-house training or team-building day, our recently-refurbished facility will provide a very comfortable and enjoyable environment for hosting that special event. We can comfortably accommodate up to thirty people Monday-Friday all year round.”
She added: “Research shows that workers who are happy and who feel valued make good companies even better. We can help create that special “feelgood” factor for organisations that want to motivate, entertain or innovate, and we’re offering a professional service, expert planning, some wonderful malts and of course a phenomenal location.
“GlenDronach, with its twenty acres of ground, nestles in the valley of Forgue amidst rolling hills which are home to some of the most breathtaking scenery in Scotland. It’s peaceful, calming and far from the madding crowd – yet only fifty minutes from Aberdeen. With atmospheric historic stone buildings, an 18th century cobbled courtyard and many of the time-honoured distilling methods still intact, GlenDronach is the jewel in Aberdeenshire’s crown.”
Facilities include a flexible conference room, presentation facilities and broadband Internet access plus friendly staff and excellent food. And as it’s a distillery, there’s a range of tours and opportunities for whisky sampling and expert talks on whisky production and distilling.

Visit GlenDronach Distillery at




On the 15th of October we randomly drew a name from the Warehouse 24 membership as the winner of our VIP trip to The Balvenie Distillery.

We are delighted to announce the winner as Jeff Goldrich from New Jersey, USA.

Jeff, who has been a member of Warehouse 24 for two years, has been a fan of malt whiskies for 15 years now, after being introduced to the world of whisky by a friend.

His first dram was Dewar’s, but his favourite Balvenie is our 12 year old DoubleWood.

Jeff, who works in the world of finance, is married with two children. He hopes to visit in May and will be joined by his wife Marie.

I very much look forward to meeting Jeff and Marie, and showing them around our distillery.

If you are in the Speyside area and want to visit us, take the tour and enjoy a generous nosing and tasting of The Balvenie range, simply arrange it using our online booking tool.

Look forward to seeing you in person some day.

Slainte mhath,

David Mair

The Balvenie Distillery Ambassador

Balvenie Maltings, Dufftown, Banffshire, Scotland AB55 4BB


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