Amazing Sub-$80 Whiskies, Aged 18Yrs And Up, : Post-Brexit Cask Selections From Old Particular at K&L California – Scotch Whisky News

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Serious Whiskies At Tremendous Prices

We’re hoping to make 2017 a value-oriented year in our Scotch whisky department; one that begins to put the fun back into the single malt drinking. With new pricing that reflects our direct dollar-to-pound business, we’re back with round two of our post-Brexit cask selections from Old Particular. Featuring a selection of Highland, Speyside, and grain whiskies, we’ve managed to locate serious whiskies between 18 and 26 years of age, at cask strength, and of a tremendous quality at or under $80 per bottle. If last week’s Dailuaine sherry butt edition whet your appetite for single malt value, we suggest moving on to our first main course: classically-styled selections from Glen Spey, Ben Nevis, Linkwood, and the now-closed Port Dundas that highlight the nuances and intricacies of single barrel whisky for prices that haven’t been seen in a decade.

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Vintage Item Name Retail Link
1997 Glen Spey 18 Year Old “Old Particular” K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml) $64.99 View
1996 Ben Nevis 20 Year Old “Old Particular” K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml) $79.99 View
1995 Linkwood 21 Year Old “Old Particular” K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml) $79.99 View
1990 Port Dundas 26 Year Old “Old Particular” K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Grain Scotch Whisky (750ml) $79.99 View

1997 Glen Spey 18 Year Old “Old Particular” K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)($64.99)

Glen Spey is one the Speyside’s unknown gems, a distillery whose sole job is to make single malt for Johnnie Walker and J&B. If you’re a fan of the soft, vanilla-laden, easy-drinking whisky of Scotland’s epicenter, then this 18 year old single cask edition of Glen Spey is going to warm your heart while simultaneously warming your palate. When allowed to shine on its own, the nose emits a concentrated aroma of sweet grains, citrus, and malted barley. As it moves over the tongue those flavors become richer: dried orange, dark chocolate, and a wave of vanilla on the finish. At 55.9% cask strength, all of those flavors are dialed up a notch, which is why a few drops of water helps temper the storm and bring the whisky into a better harmony. Think of the Glen Spey as a single barrel, cask strength edition of something like Glenmorangie or unsherried Aberlour, but for a price that has to be seen to be believed. Glen Spey is good, old fashioned drinkin’ Scotch and for $65 you can afford pour a little more heavily than usual.

David Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 25, 2017

I have to almost ask the question here: can you afford NOT to buy the Glen Spey? When’s the last time you saw cask strength, single barrel, Highland single malt whisky for under seventy bucks? Much like we’ve become the kings of off-vintage Bordeaux value here at K&L, I feel like we’re beginning to become the kings of non-branded Scottish distilleries. Glen Spey is another Johnnie Walker distillery that provides the backbone to J&B, but here in this single cask edition it’s pure fruit flavor and lithe vanilla core are allowed a solo number. There’s nothing out of the ordinary here. It’s just classic Scotch flavor for a damn good price. At cask strength, no less.

Andrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 25, 2017

I’m so excited the new casks of Old Particular have landed. I’ve been craving new, carefully selected whiskey that I can drink absolutely guilt free. The Glen Spey hits the spot! Loaded with apple and vanilla on the nose and palate, it also offers a faint nutty almond and floral note. With a little water the fruit really expands on the palate into orange marmalade and tempering back the 55.9% alcohol releases the softer side of the whiskey. Home run for a modest price tag.

Alex Schroeder | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 25, 2017

Tropical notes dominate the nose on this single-cask Speyside: orange citrus and mango with a little dill spice underlined by a rich butterscotch and caramel layer and subtle notes of preserved apricots and cocoa. Complex and a pure pleasure to sip.

Jim Boyce | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 25, 2017

Delightfully spicy, vanilla, and toffee laden nose, continuing through to a palate of soft spices, candied apricot, and grain highlight this 18 year old Glen Spey. This is delicious Speyside whiskey at a ridiculous price!

Jeff Garneau | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 25, 2017

A delicate, almost floral nose with loads of honeycomb and spice on the palate. Deft and subtle in style but with genuine presence and weight, drinking this 18 year old Glen Spey is like stopping into your favorite pub and unexpectedly running into one of your oldest and dearest friends. No matter how long it has been since your last meeting there is just an immediate sense of ease and comfort in one another’s presence. It is as if no time has passed at all. A delight to drink and a terrific value.

1996 Ben Nevis 20 Year Old “Old Particular” K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)($79.99)

Ben Nevis is owned today by the Japanese whisky company Nikka, who purchased the Western Highland distillery back in 1989. Since that time we’ve tasted a variety of styles from the Fort Williams facility, both peated and unpeated, but this barrel might be the best expression of Ben Nevis we’ve ever carried. Supple, succulent, and round on the palate, the malt simply balloons over the palate with big, sweet flavors of dried apricot, honey, marmalade, and vanilla. In fact, the whisky is so creamy and sweet on the finish that we had to double back and ask about the cask type (perhaps Sauternes?), but it turns out this was just a cherry barrel; a perfectly aged hogshead that happened to over-achieve. Fans of our Imperial 20 year casks from Signatory will want to take note: the Ben Nevis 20 is a dead ringer for that fruit-forward Highland style, albeit for $20 cheaper per bottle. Naturally reduced to a very drinkable 51.7% cask strength, this is sure to be one of the friendliest and most popular Highland whiskies we sell this year.

David Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 25, 2017

This is one of the most luscious and ripe-fruited single malts I’ve ever tasted where the quality of that richness was 100% natural and inherent to the whisky itself. It’s so fat and bursting with nectarine, apricot, and creamy fruit syrup that I almost had to do a double take when selecting the barrel back in Glasgow last year. This is a glorious Highland whisky, and one that stands out from the pack in a big way. It’s still classically Highland with all the creamy barley and vanilla goodness, there’s just a thick mouthfeel and supple weight to it all. Absolutely gorgeous whisky.

Andrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 25, 2017

Another whiskey that will move you. Bursting with sweet caramel, vanilla, and fresh ripe fruits I found myself whisked away to the county fair. This whiskey wins the blue ribbon for the peach pie. The crust, the syrup, the fresh picked then baked stone fruit is wonderful. Top it all off with a little water and the burnt sugar and extra vanilla kick of creme brulee shine through. This is one easy drinking dram. My favorite of the new guilt free Old Particular casks if I absolutely had to pick a winner.

Alex Schroeder | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 25, 2017

I love this scotch from one of the oldest licensed distilleries in Scotland! Find a spot where you can really concentrate as you taste it because the flavor profile is so complex: cashews, orange marmalade, pear, banana and brown sugar intermingle seamlessly. Its so rich and creamy on the palate, with the fruit really taking center stage, and unsurprisingly being what lingers the longest on the very long finish.

Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 25, 2017

Complex stuff…this has a wild, untamed character like the mountain itself. Dark toasted spices, moss, damp earth, baked orchard fruit and molasses. Quite a textured, round, intense whisky; full of flavor and very crowd pleasing.

Jeff Garneau | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 25, 2017

Ben Nevis is the highest peak in the British Isles. Years ago in my youthful wanderings I traveled to Scotland and climbed to the summit, braving torrential downpours and errant sheep. It was quite an adventure though not as big a thrill as tasting this 20 year old Ben Nevis whisky. This is a tremendous effort, with a pleasantly grassy, malt driven nose that belies its age. Round and compact in style with a lightly spicy finish. The perfect companion to accompany you on the road or with which to toast past and future adventures from the comfort of your favorite chair.

1995 Linkwood 21 Year Old “Old Particular” K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)($79.99)

What could possibly be better than our 19 year old Linkwood cask from Signatory, the whisky made famous for its role in Johnnie Walker Blue? Well, we’ll tell you. A 21 year cask of the same whisky that improves upon that foundation in every way, yet sells for $10 less due to our new Brexit pricing! Linkwood has long been one of our favorites, but this 21 year hogshead from Old Particular is one of the more concentrated and expressive we’ve tasted recently. Known for its elegant vanilla and stonefruit flavors, this particular selection bursts with oak spices from the first sip, then oozes into a mouthful of butterscotch with green apples and toasted almonds on the finish. It’s just as elegant as any of our previous editions of Linkwood, it’s just that there’s more to chew on here. There’s a depth and complexity in this particular cask that we never knew was missing from the others. Bottled at 53.6%, the baking spices dance on the finish for minutes with the added proof. For the price, this is an absolute no-brainer.

David Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 25, 2017

Every now and again I’ll talk a customer out of Linkwood, rather than into a bottle. I do that when it’s clear the client is looking for big, bold, and concentrated Scotch flavors. Linkwood is and has never been the boldest malt. It’s a whisky that’s cemented its reputation on finesse. This 21 year old edition is the first Linkwood I’ve tried in years that offers a bit more heft behind that delicate whisky flavor. The fruit is rounder and riper, the vanilla is softer and thicker, and the finish has more oak spice that I typically find in the whisky. This is key example of where cask selection can make a huge difference in a single malt. If you’ve never had Linkwood before, this is the one to try. If you’ve had Linkwood before, you still need to buy this bottle if only because of the crazy price!

Andrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 25, 2017

I love the ability of whiskey to evoke past sense memories – sometimes this leads to very odd tasting notes, but great pleasure nonetheless. The 21 year old Linkwood immediately transported me to a cold, dew filled morning in Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park with the overwhelming scent of Pan Del Indio – a small orange ball that grows on trees all over Patagonia and are reminiscent of a lychee in many ways. With a little water the whiskey opens up revealing a fresh wine character, like the scent of newly wet barrels in a winery cellar room and gobs of fresh stone fruits – like a farmers market in late August. It’s not often a whiskey will take you to so many distinct places and surely those places are based on a unique set of experiences. But I find when a wine or spirit transports me someplace special–it often brings others to a special place of their own too.

Alex Schroeder | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 25, 2017

Beautiful spice notes of coriander, clove and cinnamon meld perfectly with pear fruit and almonds in this delicate and ultra-refined single-cask Speyside owned by Diageo. The heat is incredibly tame on the palate when enjoyed neat, and the flavors of caramel, tangerine, apricots and butterscotch are extremely pronounced as a result. This is definitely a favorite from our latest release of exclusive scotches.

Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 25, 2017

Linkwood is always a favorite of mine…it’s a drinker’s scotch…soft, supple, beautifully golden and caramelized, brown butter, sugared almonds, baking spice, clove. Nothing too in your face or academic…just pure, mellow scotch that begs to be enjoyed with hearty pours.

Jim Boyce | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 25, 2017

This Linkwood was a standout among the four new Old Particular casks, which is saying quite a bit as all four are truly exceptional! When I first took a sip, the whiskey showed very clean with a touch of cereal grain and oak spice. It kept building with stronger notes of apple, almond, oak, vanilla, and toffee, then absolutely took off with a huge mineral and stone fruit presence on the finish. Do not miss this!

Jeff Garneau | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 25, 2017

Imbibing this 21 year old Linkwood is pure pleasure, sensuous and seductive. Generous stone fruits on the profile here complemented by notes of vanilla cream and toffee, with just a hint of licorice on the finish. I fear that I can’t do proper justice to the true character of this remarkable whisky with my paltry prose. Words fail me. You’ll just have to trust me on this one and try it for yourself. Heaven forbid, but if I could buy only one single malt this year it would be this one.

1990 Port Dundas 26 Year Old “Old Particular” K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Grain Scotch Whisky (750ml)($79.99)

If there’s one thing we can help take credit for here at K&L, it’s been helping to remove the undeserved stigma associated with grain whisky in the Scotch industry. Maligned and misunderstood for years, it wasn’t until we started launching a number of 25-50 year old releases at ridiculously reasonable prices that hearts and minds began to change. When Nikka brought their delicious Coffey Still editions to the market and people saw just how fruity and delicious these corn and unmalted barley whiskies could be, we think grain whisky finally got over the hump. Crazily enough, today our single casks of grain whisky are some of the most anticipated by our customers. The only thing that gets these finicky drinkers more excited than a new cask of mature grain deliciousness is a closed distillery! Port Dundas was officially closed in 2009 by Diageo who had used the whisky for Johnnie Walker and other blends. This single expression, distilled in 1990 before the closure, is absolutely chalk full of brown sugar, toasted vanilla, peaches in syrup, and sweet, sticky caramel on the finish. It lights up the palate from front to back and it pops on the back end with a 51.9% ABV. Drinking 26 year old whisky this good in this style shouldn’t be a luxury. Thanks to our new pricing, you can enjoy this whisky a bit more freely than you might otherwise. The North Glasgow distillery might be shut down, but its legacy will live on in this lovely single cask edition.

David Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 25, 2017

If you haven’t jumped on board the grain whisky train yet, this might be your time to buy a ticket. Grain whisky is made much like Bourbon (from corn distilled on a giant column), but it’s usually distilled to a higher proof and then aged in used oak, rather than new oak. What it has in common with the Kentucky spirit is the fact that it works as a sponge to all the sweet woody flavor. When you drink blended whisky like Johnnie Walker or J&B, you’re drinking mostly grain whisky like this Port Dundas in conjunction with single malt. That’s what makes it a blend (the combo of grain and malt). This Port Dundas is exhibit A in our case for grain whisky to be consumed on its own. It’s so ridiculously inexpensive and jam packed with creamy vanilla, sweet oak, brown sugar, and honey that it practically coats your esophagus as it flows down into your belly. Fans of Scotch will love the twist. Fans of Bourbon will definitely dig this too.

Andrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 25, 2017

There are a lot of things to break down in this single grain expression from Port Dundas. It’s a textbook example of aged grain (not quite as ancient as our 51 year old Signatory casks, but a respectable 26 years…). It’s soft, shows the sweet grain and gentle vanilla you’d expect, but also offers so much more. The toasty nature of the oak really shines through and offers up marzipan and a little cream. With some water the darker and richer notes of conched chocolate and creamed butter come through as Grandma’s fresh baked cookies fill the glass. If you’re looking for the reason all whiskey was blended for as long as anyone can remember, this is it. Try the grain portion of your blend on its own and understand a critical component of the success of Scotch whiskey.

Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 25, 2017

I didn’t know Port Dundas until I asked David our spirits buyer about it but now after tasting it makes perfect sense…this grain whisky was the backbone of Johnnie Walker! I love gain whisky’s voluptuous form and mouth filling texture. This is dense, honeyed, rich whisky that is sure to please. For what grain whisky generally lacks in complexity versus single malt, this bottle more than makes up for with time in cask. You get all the depth and nuance that only comes from this amount of maturation in wood for a miniscule cost because the masses haven’t cottoned on the joys of grain whisky yet. I don’t know how long we will be able to continue offering bottlings of this age and quality for this price point…but for now…enjoy!

Jim Boyce | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 25, 2017

This crowd pleasing whiskey has a standout nose of oak, vanilla, and dried red fruits. It’s the most viscous of the four, with a palate full of baking spice, dried berry, and caramel.

Jeff Garneau | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 25, 2017

One of the most purely hedonistic whiskies among our most recent arrivals from Scotland. This single grain 26 year old Port Dundas combines concentrated dried fruit character with rich caramel and toffee notes. No apologies necessary, here, just tip some into a glass and enjoy.

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