Malt Messenger No. 96 by Andrew Ferguson – Tastings & Whisky Galore – Whisky News

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Lots to fill you in on in this edition of the Malt Messenger, but before I do I want to take a moment to talk about a charity we are supporting with an event this Friday at Kensington Wine Market. I paid a visit this morning to the Brenda Strafford Center, a 2nd stage domestic violence shelter in our area, and the largest one of its kind in Alberta. 100% of the ticket sales from our 2nd Annual Lassies Only Whisky Festival, this Friday, will be going to the Brenda Strafford Center to help them continue to offer a safe place for women and children to transition.

I, like most of you, have had a very privileged upbringing, and am very grateful for all the opportunities I have had. I have never had to worry about a safe place to sleep, where my next meal was coming from or how to acquire the necessities for basic hygiene. But this is the reality for many people in our community, and is an ongoing challenge for the Brenda Strafford Center. We are proud to be putting on the Lassies Only Whisky Festival this International Women’s Day, if only to play a small part in helping make the lives of these women and children a little better. In addition to donations, the center is always in need of volunteers, and I highly encourage you to check them out if you are in a position to donate some of your time or money. There are still a few tickets left for the event this Friday, and there is also an opportunity to meet representatives of the center at the event. I hope all you whisky-loving Lassies out there will join us. Sorry Gents, this one is only for the Ladies!

On to the bread and butter of the Malt Messenger. In addition to the Lassies Only Whisky Festival, we have a number of events coming up over the next couple of weeks, including an Adelphi Master Class with Connal Mackenzie on Wednesday. The cost for the Adelphi tasting is just $25, for a range of 7 new whiskies, including a 1997 Bowmore and the lastest release of Ardnamurchan spirit. Our rebooted  Very Curious Cadenheads tasting is just over a week away. You definitely don’t want to miss this one, it will include Paul John whisky from India, 20 Year Laphroaig and 1989 Highland Park to name just a few. Finally, our first ever Not Scotch Festival is coming up on March 28. It will be a celebration of all whisky styles… except Scotch!

Five long awaited Kensington Wine Market exclusive single casks are here, or arriving in-store tomorrow. First there is the Macallan 1995 23 Year. This ex-Bourbon matured Macallan was delicately finished in an ex-Sherry octave cask. Only 66 bottles, more than half of which are already sold.

Secondly we have our latest exclusive Glenfarclas, the Glenfarclas 15 Year KWM Cask Strength. Our good friend George has bottled up a batch of Glenfarclas 15 year at cask strength for KWM. The whisky is lovely, and the price fantastic, just $110.

Thirdly there are our exclusive bottlings from our friends at Berry Bros. & Rudd. We managed to score more of the lovely Berry’s 40 Year KWM Blended Scotch whisky they bottled for our 25th Anniversary a few years back. This blend tastes like old, sherried single malt (cough Macallan), and at 46% and $440 a bottle it is a steal! We also have 2 new ones: the Berry’s Ardmore 2010 KWM Cask, an 8 year old lightly peated Highland whisky, matured in an ex-Laphroaig cask; and our Berry’s “Orkney Islands” 1999 18 Year KWM Cask. Both are lovely, and very good value, but the Orkney especially so. If I can let you in on a little secret, it is Highland Park18 year old cask strength Highland Park for just $128!

We have some new Cadenhead releases to fill you in on too. Cadenhead Small Batch 23 is here, and it includes some very curious whiskies, as our tasting above has hinted. I am really looking forward to trying the Laphroaig and Paul John. We also have a very curious Cadenhead 20 Year Blended Scotch Whisky! The whisky isn’t even arriving until tomorrow, and only 7 of the 30 bottles remain!

There are some very cool and very limited releases new from Gordon & MacPhail too. There are two new entry level Connoisseur’s Choice releases from Caol Ila (2005) and Bunnahabhain (1998), as well as a pair of “Uppers”, Scapa (1988) and Linkwood (1984). From the new Private Collection range we have a Glenrothes 1974 and an Inverleven 1985. I don’t even remember the last time we had an Inverleven on our shelves, so I checked. It was in 2013!

Three other new whiskies to tell you about. Firstly, the Kilchoman Sauternes Finish, which is not to be confused with the Kilchoman Sauternes Cask Matured from a few years back. The latter was full term maturation, and the former (the new one) a finish. I like the new release a lot more than the previous one. I hope to get a tasting note out soon. I am also hoping to share my own thoughts on the new Arran Marsala Cask Finish. It came in last week, but we have more coming. Also one final one I am afraid to even mention: the Springbank Local Barley 9 Year. This annual release has grown a cult following!

Last but not least, I want to highlight a few other things. Firstly, the Glenfarclas 30 Year is coming back in stock this week. We grabbed some before a huge price increase takes effect this Friday. Also the Springbank 10 & 15, a couple of staples, are back in stock. These whiskies are increasingly hard to come by!

Slàinte!

Andrew

In This Edition

  1. Adelphi Tasting Wednesday with Connal
  2. The 2nd Annual Lassies Only Whisky Festival
  3. Very Curious Cadenheads Resurected
  4. The Not Scotch Festival
  5. Introducing: Macallan 1995 23 Year KWM Cask
  6. Our Glenfarclas 15 Year KWM Cask Strength Is Here!
  7. Our Berry Brothers KWM Casks Are Here!
  8. Introducing: Cadenhead Small Batch 23
  9. Introducing: Cadenhead 20 Year Blended Scotch Whisky
  10. New Whiskies from Gordon &MacPhail
  11. Introducing: The Kilchoman Sauternes Cask Finish
  12. Introducing: The Arran Marsala Cask Finish
  13. Introducing: Springbank Local Barley 9 Year
  14. Glenfarclas 30 Year is Back… and the Price is Going Up!

Andrew Ferguson

Kensington Wine Market

PS – Don’t forget you can follow me on Twitter:

@scotch_guy, Instagram: @thescotch_guy/

or @kwmwhisky and Facebook: facebook.com/scotch.guy.1

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Adelphi Tasting Wednesday with Connal MacKenzie 

Just $25 for a Selection of Adelphi’s Latest Releases!

Connal Mackenzie, Brand Ambassador for Adelphi and their new Ardnamurchan Distillery, is swinging through Calgary for our Lassies Only Whisky Festival, but he’s also going to be putting on a Master Class tasting at the shop. We’ll have an exciting range of new whiskies just in time for his visit!

- $25 – A steal at twice the price!

Register in-store, by phone 403-283-8000 or online!

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The Second Annual Lassies Only Whisky Festival 

In Support of the Brenda Strafford Society, a Domestic Violence Shelter! 

Sorry gents, this whisky festival is just for the ladies! Our 2nd annual Lassies Only Whisky Festival is in support of the Brenda Strafford Society is coming up on International Women’s Day, Friday March 8. 100% of the registration fees from this event will go to the Center, which aids women and children escaping abusive relationships. Guests will have the opportunity to sample from up to 80 different whiskies and chat with representatives of the Brenda Strafford Society.

Register in-store, by phone 403-283-8000 and online!

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Very Curious Cadenheads – Rebooted 

A Tasting So Exciting, We Had to Wait for the Whiskies…  

We had to postpone the tasting due to some rail and port logistical issues in February, but the stock is here now and we are ready to proceed. The 23rd International Release of Cadenhead Small Batch Whiskies has some real curiosities… Paul John whisky from India, 20 Year Laphroaig and 1989 Highland Park to name just a few. We’ll sample 7 of them, so be there, or be square! – $60

Register in-store, by phone 403-283-8000 and online!

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The Not Scotch Festival 

There Will Still Be Tons of Whisky… Just No Scotch! 

A range of more than 80 whiskies from around the world will be featured: Blends, Single Malts, Rye, Single Pot, Bourbon and more… just no Scotch. Includes a KWM Logo glass. $50

Register in-store, by phone 403-283-8000 and online!

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Introducing: Macallan 1995 23 Year KWM Cask 

An Opportunity We Couldn’t Pass Up 

From the people who brought you “The Infamous”, we were offered the opportunity to bottle a bespoke 23 year old Macallan, and who were we to say no?! Matured in Bourbon, finished in a Sherry Octave, then bottled at 46.4%. Only 66 bottles, and at the time of writing, in less than a week, more than half have pre-sold!

Macallan 1995 23 Year KWM Cask – 46.4% – Matured in Ex-Bourbon – Finished in a Sherry Octave – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: Caramilk bars, rum-raisin, butter tarts and damp Jujubes; dark milk chocolate with pink peppercorns; assorted wood shavings from a High School shop class, carrot cake doughnuts with cream cheese icing and a touch of black licorice Nibbs. Palate: soft and fruity to start, it quickly builds into thick caramel, chocolate and spices; more rum-raisin, butter tarts and carrot cake doughnuts with creme cheese icing; the black licorice Nibbs are still there with chocolate and spices: pink peppercorn, hot candied ginger and cinnamon hearts; a touch earthy with soft leather, there is underlying honey and sweet-floral vanilla. Finish: fresh and lively with fruits, spices, leather chocolate and lots of caramel; the mouth is left drying and tingling while it salivates for the next sip. Comment: a lovely whisky with lots of layers; I was initially a little concerned about it finishing in a sherry Octave (60L cask); I have experienced many such whiskies which were way overcooked; this is not the case here, the sherry Octave has made its impact but not overwhelmed the spirit; this is not mind-blowing, but it is good, and excellent value for a Macallan of its age!” – $420

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Our Glenfarclas 15 Year KWM Cask Strength is Here! 

A Cask Strength Glenfarclas, Bottled Exclusively for Our Plucky Shop!

Our latest exclusive Glenfarclas bottlings is finally here, and it will be in-store on Wednesday. It is a cask strength version of Glenfarclas 15 Year, bottled at 58.2%, exclusively for Kensington Wine Market. Approximately 390 bottles.

Glenfarclas 15 Year KWM Cask Strength – 58.2% – Sherry Cask – Andrew’s Tasting Note: Nose: decadent and nutty; beer nuts, candied almonds and dry oloroso sherry tones meet treacle sauce, maple butter and bright citrus tones: candied orange and freshly peeled grapefruit; lots going on here, damp leather, dark chocolate and firm spices. Palate: sweet, creamy and fruity to start before the drier, nutty and leathery sherry tones take over; licorice and fennel, milk chocolate almonds and dark chocolate espresso beans; more bright citrus, candied cherries, dried dates as well as cooked raisins and prunes; the maple butter and treacle sauce notes emerge after the spices balance out. Finish: long, drying, spicy and smooth with bold oloroso sherry tones balanced by creamy and decadent notes. Comment: this is a big, nutty and drying almost sherry bomb, balanced with bright fruits and a decadent creamy base.” - $110

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KWM Exclusive Berry Bros. Casks Have Arrived! 

Two New Exclusive Casks & an Unexpected Return 

The following Berry Brothers Whiskies are due to arrive in the next week or so:

  1.  Berry’s 40 Year KWM Blend - 46% – Sherry Matured – When we asked the chaps at Berry’s if they had any other old blended Scotch whisky they could sell us, like the 40 Year they bottled for our 25th Anniversary, we were quite pleasantly surprised to learn they had more of the same! So our Berry’s Own KWM 40 Year Blended Scotch is coming back, soon! The exact nature of the blend is a mystery, but we suspect it is mostly composed of sherry cask matured Macallan! – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: Christmas cake, new leather sofas, old Armagnac and paring dark chocolate with Cuban cigars; on top of the candied fruits there is some bright orange and more delicate tropical tones: mango and papaya; silky caramel and creamy vanillas emerge later with some light but crisp spices. Palate: big, rich, fruity and spicy; huge Christmas cake notes merge into espresso beans and more soft but crisp spices; the second sip settles down into tobacco, dark bakers chocolate and loads of fruit: some candied, dried dark fruits and the more delicate tropical ones from the nose; more hints of old Armagnac, there also notes of jujubes soaked in nutty Oloroso sherry. Finish: long, coating, fruity and spicy; dark chocolate, sherry, tobacco and oranges mingle and fade into the distance with the faintest whiff of smoke! Comment: this is a beautiful old whisky in the vein of 25+ year old GlenDronachs, the long lost Gordon & MacPhail Strathisla 40 Year and sherried old Glenfarclas… we can only begin to speculate on the component whiskies, but who doesn’t love a little mystery?!” – $440
  2. Berry’s Ardmore 2010 KWM Cask - 58.2% – Matured in an Ex-Laphroaig Cask – Our first exclusive single cask for a couple of years from Berry Bros. & Rudd is a 2010 8 year old Ardmore. The whisky has been bottled exclusively for KWM at 58.2% after maturing in an ex-Islay Bourbon Barrel… Ardmore is lightly peated as it is, but this is sure to kick it up a notch! As Ardmore is owned by the same company as Laphroaig, is it too much of a leap to assume this was matured in an ex-Laphroaig cask? – Andrew’s Tasting Note: ” Nose: fresh, honeyed and ashy with juicy malt; heathery honey, marmalade and peanut brittle; a touch of pork belly with an apple jelly. Palate: big, honeyed and ashy with loads of chewy juicy malty, more marmalade, a touch of tar and briny maritime notes; crispy pork belly with apple jelly and dark spices: clove and fennel. Finish: big, long and coating; more juicy malt, ashy peat and honey. Comment: young and rambunctious; we are going to try and pretend that this is enormously complex, it is 8 years old, but it is a solid peaty malt and a steal at $75 a bottle!” – $75
  3. Berry’s Orkney Islands 1999 KWM Cask – 53.5% – 18 Year – Sherry Hogshead – This might be the most exciting single cask we’ve brought in, in a wee while (SOMEBODY forgot about the Shelter Point Single Cask Rye! – Evan). Although it can’t be stated so on the label, this is a cask of Highland Park Single Malt Whisky. Selected by and bottled exclusively for KWM from a single Refill Hogshead at 53.5%. So wrap your head around that fact, 18 year old cask strength Highland Park for less than $130! – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: honey pots and marmalade; candied fruits and nuts; beeswax candles and honey comb; hints of clean smoke in maritime air; oak shavings and smooth old leather; Jelly Bellies and orange peels in Old Fashioneds. Palate: honeyed and creamy with ethereal elegant smoke and a silky-coating-waxy mouthfeel; more beeswax and honeycomb; bright Moroccan marmalade, orange peels and Old Fashioned cocktails; clean earthy peat smoke and soft leather with melons and papaya; becomes increasingly savoury with leather and spices; late tobacco and chocolate. Finish: long, waxy, honeyed and smooth with more gentle peat smoke, fruits and a touch of maritime air. Comment: this is not the distillery bottled Highland Park 18 year, but frankly that one hasn’t been itself either for some time now; this is a soft, no silky, middle aged single malt with clean elegant smoke and bags of honey and fruits; this is Highland Park!” – $128

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Introducing: Cadenhead Small Batch 23 

13 Exciting New Releases… 2 Of Which Are Already Sold Out! 

We have been waiting for this one for a while now. We even had to reschedule a tasting around it… Very Curious Cadenheads is now scheduled for March 13. We are only receiving 6 bottles each of the Glenlossie and Highland Park, and they are already spoken for. Springbank Society Members get a head start on both Springbank and Cadenhead whiskies. The Laphroaig and Paul John are also both limited, and will be restricted to 2 per customer. The stock is arriving this week and next.

  1. Cadenhead Small Batch Creations 2007: Light, Creamy, Smoky 2007 –  60.5% – 10 Year –  Hogsheads – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: “lemon zest, vanilla pods, dunnage warehouse. Palate: Creamy, buttery shortbread, gentle smoke builds. Finish: cloves, rock salt, lemon zest returns. - $115
  2. Cadenhead Small Batch Speyburn-Glenlivet 2008 - 46.0% – 10 Year – Hogshead – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: “Buttery, lemongrass, dried raisins. Palate: Chocolate truffles, Orange sweets, aniseed. Finish: Cinnamon, wood spice, lime zest.” – $110
  3. Cadenhead Small Batch Auchroisk 2006 – 55.3% – 12 Year – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: “Lemon sponge cake, slightly floral, hint of mint leaves. Palate: Milk chocolate, marzipan, coconut shavings. Finish: Cocktail cherries, orange peel, vanilla.” - $120
  4. Cadenhead Small Batch Benrinnes 2004 – 55.4% – 14 Year – Hogsheads – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: “Buttered raisin toast, barley water, watermelon. Palate: Green apples, cucumber water, rhubarb. Finish: Dried herbs, tinned pineapple, honey and lemon.” – $145
  5. Cadenhead Small Batch Deanston 2008 – 56.2% – 10 Year – Hogsheads – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: “Cocoa leaves, wood spice, roasted pine nuts. Palate: Almonds, dry roasted nuts, kiwi fruit. Finish: Hints of ginger. Quite herbal with thyme coming through.” – $118
  6. Cadenhead Small Batch Glenrothes-Glenlivet 2001 - 53.0% – 17  Year – Hogsheads – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: “Honey, toffee, slight waxiness. Palate: Orange marmalade, lemon sherbet, green tea. Finish: Dark chocolate, walnuts, hints of sandalwood.” – $145
  7. Cadenhead Small Batch Inchgower 2009 – 56.5% – 9 Year – Sherry Hogsheads – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: “Raisins, digestive biscuit, parma ham. Palate: Blackcurrant syrup, plum jam, stewed fruits. Finish: Hints of peppermint and green tea. Quite chewy.” – $115
  8. Cadenhead Small Batch Laphroaig 1998 – 54.3% – 20 Year – Hogsheads – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: “Sea saltiness strikes then zesty orange notes follow. Palate: Meaty initially then black cherry fruitiness come through. Finish: Oysters, spiced ham, smoke gradually builds through.” – $395 – Limit 2 per customer!
  9. Cadenhead Small Batch Ord 2005 – 56.5% – 13 Year – Hogshead & Sherry Butt – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: “Strawberry jam, icing sugar, toffee sweets. Palate: Rye toast, blackcurrants, butterscotch. Finish: Treacle toffee, rock salt, dried fruits.” – $125
  10. Cadenhead Small Batch Paul John 2011 – 56.6% – 6 Year – Bourbon Barrel & Hogshead – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: “Green apples, hints of cinnamon, caramel. Palate: Chewy toffee, slight smokiness builds up. Oiliness coats the mouth. Finish: Orange zest. Smoke continues then rye notes come through.” – $225 – Limit 2 per customer!
  11. Cadenhead Small Batch Strathclyde 1989 – 55.7% – 29 Year – Bourbon Barrels – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: “Rummy! moscovado sugar, fudge. Palate: Very chewy. Cinnamon toast, hints of lime. Finish: Hint of paprika, peppermint, dark chocolate.” – $235
  12. Cadenhead Small Batch Glenlossie-Glenlivet 1993 – 53.6% – 24 Year – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: “Tropical fruits with mangoes & peaches. Very creamy. Palate: Honeycomb, pistachio nuts, apricot yogurt. Finish: Cayenne pepper, ginger, cookie dough.” – $250 – SOLD OUT!
  13. Cadenhead Small Batch Highland Park 1989 – 40.6% – 29 Year – Hogshead – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: “Light peat smoke, licorice, salted caramel. Palate: Tropical fruits, gooseberries, white grapes. Finish: Smoke reappears with lemon zest and more orchard fruits.” – $480 – SOLD OUT!

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Introducing: The Cadenhead 20 Year Blended Scotch Whisky 

A Very Small Batch Blend! 

This very small batch blend was created with a cask each of Glenrothes (single malt) and Strathclyde (single grain). It is very heavily sherried… can’t wait to try it! 46%.

Cadenhead 20 Year Blended Scotch Whisky – 46% – Producer’s Tasting Note: “Nose: Rich sherry, chocolate and dark cherries with almonds, hints of bubblegum and faint dry spices. Palate: Obvious dark fruits, brambles, raspberries and a whiff of smoke. Drying wood spice with cloves and orange oils. Finish: Starts soft and then grows chewier with pecans, maple syrup and cracked black pepper.” – $125 – Limit 2 per person!

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New Whiskies from Gordon & MacPhail 

Six New Releases from the Rebranded Connoisseur’s Choice & Private Collection 

Some curious new Gordon & MacPhail single cask single malts have just landed in Alberta. There are a pair of lovely Ileachs: a Caol Ila and a Bunnahabhain. There are also a pair of “Upper” Connoisseurs Choice releases from the 1980s, and two Private Collection releases. The Glenrothes is one of the oldest whiskies we’ve ever seen from the distillery, at 43 years of age. The Inverleven is the first whisky we’ve seen from that distillery since 2013.

  1. G&M Connoisseurs Choice Bunnahabhain 1998 – 47.8% – 19 Year – 71 Bottles – Refill American Oak Hogshead – Producer’s Tasting Note: “Nose: sweet and fruity; a layer of thick honey encases banana, lime and coconut. Malty undertones develop, and with time, gentle hints of menthol emerge. Palate: initial sweetness of soft vanilla fudge and white chocolate opens in to cracked pink peppercorn and tasty grapefruit flavours. Bursts of fresh citrus linger. Finish: sweet and balanced with a citrus and charred oak edge.” – $260
  2. G&M Connoisseurs Choice Caol Ila 2005 AB Cask – 52% – 13 Year – First Fill Sherry Butt - Producer’s Tasting Note: “Nose: distinctive peat smoke aromas layered with sweet cured meats, fine pipe tobacco, and delicate floral notes. A fruity interlude of candied peel and bursts of orange merge. Taste: full-bodied; warming; with nuance of chilli: flavours of chocolate intertwined with cinnamon baked apple, vanilla crème brulee and soft stewed fruits. Finish: lingering bonfire embers and camp-fire ash evolve into warming white pepper.” – $185
  3. G&M Connoisseurs Choice Linkwood 1984 – 58.1% – 34 Year – First Fill Sherry Butt – Producer’s Tasting Note: “Aroma: rich sherry aromas mingle with juicy blackcurrant, blackberry, stewed cherries and plum. Hints of jasmine and rose petals add a distinctive edge. Taste: indulgently sweet; butterscotch flavours infused with aniseed and cinnamon. Orange and raspberry notes, dusted with delicately drying cocoa powder, are complemented by nuances of oak. Finish: lingering; dry tobacco and forest fruit fade in to subtle oak.” – $1200
  4. G&M Connoisseurs Choice Connoisseurs Choice Scapa 1988 – 53.8% – 30 Year – Refill Ex-Bourbon Barrel – Producer’s Tasting Note: “Aroma: initially stewed pear combines with a wax lemon zest note. Gentle aromas of flowering gorse and sweet hints of Turkish delight develop. Fresh vanilla aromas add depth. Taste: intense creamy sweetness balanced by bursts of chili chocolate; grapefruit flavours add complimentary drying element. Walnut and toasted almond notes bring a subtle nuttiness. Finish: nuances of dried tropical fruit and chocolate praline linger.” – $900
  5. G&M Private Collection Glenrothes 1974 – 49.5% – 43 Year – Refill Sherry Puncheon – Producer’s Tasting Note: “Nose: complex; aromas of sherry soaked fruitcake filled with stewed sultanas mingle with sticky medjool dates. Dark chocolate and citrus peel note develop; a gentle woodiness with a delicate herbal edge comes to the fore. Taste: elegant, smooth, and sweet; subtle cinnamon and nutmeg flavours balance the mature oak and sherry influences. Notes of fruit and nut chocolate, toasted walnut, and hints of raisin emerge and evolve into zesty citrus. Salted toffee develops towards the end. Finish: a modest, medium sweet finish fades; hints of charred oak and chocolate remain.” – $2800
  6. G&M Private Collection Inverleven 1985 – 57.4% – 33 Year – Refill Bourbon Barrel – Producer’s Tasting Note: “Aroma: Intense tropical fruit aromas to begin – cooked pineapple, honeydew melon, coconut cream, and little burst of sharp yet sweet lime. A sweet creaminess continues with notes of vanilla ice-cream, sugared red apples, apricot jam, and white chocolate. Hints of overripe cherry and almond marzipan develop into flowering gorse. Taste Creamy and mouth-coating; warming white pepper notes transform into sweet flambéed banana, madagascan vanilla pod, and salted toffee. subtle spicy undertones remain as toasted malt comes to the fore; a drying cocoa and charred oak edge develops. Finish: A long and lingering charred oak finish with a subtle floral edge.” – $2250

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Introducing: Kilchoman Sauternes Cask Finish 

The Latest Release in Kilchoman’s Wine Finish Collection 

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This is a limited edition 2012 vintage Sauternes cask finished single malt bottled at 50%. Little more than 120 bottles are coming to Alberta, we are limiting it to 2 per customer. I had a chance to sample it at the distillery the day before it was released, and it is lovely. I wasn’t a huge fan of the previous release, but this one is lovely!

Producer Description: “Sauternes Cask Finish, a limited edition release of just 30 casks, is on its way around the world, hitting shelves any time from Monday 1st October. The Sauternes Cask Finish follows a range of wine cask releases we’ve bottled over the previous five years. This latest offering differs in that it was initially matured in ex-bourbon barrels before being transferred into fresh Sauternes hogsheads for five months prior to bottling. This finishing period allows the caramel and vanilla influence of bourbon barrels to be accentuated by the buttery sweetness of the desert wine casks. Meanwhile the classic peat smoke and citrus character of the Kilchoman spirit brings a distinct depth and punch to the whisky, emphasised at the increased strength of 50%.”

“We have previously favoured full-term maturation for our wine cask releases, bottling fully matured Port, Madeira, Red Wine and Sauternes editions every other year since 2013. The Sauternes Cask Finish approach has arguably provided a more balanced character, combining both the maritime peat smoke and tropical fruit typical of Kilchoman with the softer buttery floral notes characteristic of the Sauternes casks. As with all recent limited editions, a neck tag details the number of bottles (10,000), casks, ages and cask types used in the vatting; in this case, the Sauternes Cask Finish is a combination of thirty 2012 bourbon barrels married in Sauternes wine casks for five months before bottling.”

Kilchoman Sauterne Cask Finish - 50% – Matured in Ex-Bourbon / Finished in Sauternes Barriques – Producer Tasting Note: “This latest offering differs in that it was initially matured in ex-bourbon barrels before being transferred into fresh sauternes hogsheads for five months prior to bottling. This finishing period allows the caramel and vanilla influence of bourbon barrels to be accentuated by the buttery sweetness of the sauternes cask.” - $135 – Limit 2 per customer!

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Introducing: The Arran Marsala Cask Finish 

A Limited Arran Release, Only Coming to Alberta in Canada! 

Apparently this is coming only to Alberta in Canada. Bottled at 50%, the Marsala Finish is a limited edition released late in 2018. The whisky began its life in more tradition oak before finishing in casks sourced from an artisan Sicilian wine producer.

Producer Description: “After initially maturing in traditional oak casks over a number of years The Arran Single Malt in this bottling was ‘finished’ in a selection of Marsala wine casks sourced from an artisan producer of this iconic Sicilian wine. Our Master Distiller, James MacTaggart, has carefully monitored this period of secondary maturation to ensure the perfect balance is struck between the Marsala casks and the intrinsic sweet-fruity character of The Arran Malt. The end result is a Single Malt with a decadently fruity, gourmet character, full of complexity and quality.”

Arran Marsala Cask Finish – 50% – Finished in Marsala Casks – Producer’s Tasting Note: “Nose: A rich, sweet spiciness that carries hints of pear and candied orange peels, beautifully complimenting the signature citrus flavor of the Arran Single Malt. Palate: A delicate fruitiness that develops into a deep caramel and vanilla, followed with roasted chestnuts. Finish: The Marsala expression leaves memory of a sweet oak and toffee apples, under toned by notes of fresh ginger and pine nuts. A complex yet well-balanced dram which demonstrates perfectly the balance between the rich Marsala cask and the fruity Arran Single Malt.” - $82

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Introducing: Springbank Local Barley 9 Year 

I’m Afraid to Mention This One… Because it is So Limited! 

This is the 5th release of Springbank Local Barley. It is a beloved annual release because it is even more variable than the core releases, relying on local barley, subject to more difficult growing conditions on the cold, damp, Kintyre peninsula. We limit this release to one per person out of fairness.

Springbank Local Barley 9 Year – 57.7% – Producer Description: “Matured in 80% Bourbon casks and 20% Sherry casks, this release is the fourth in our series of 5 annual bottlings from barley grown in the local area. For this year’s release we used Optic barley that was grown at High Cattadale Farm.”  Producer’s Tasting Note: “Nose: Traditional Springbank aromas; saltiness, sea shells and fresh oysters bursting through. Followed just as intensely by pepper-jack cheese, honeycomb and vanilla pods. Palate: Whipped cream, pear drops and a heathery note are quickly engulfed by barley water, sherbet mix, sugar cane, nectarines and dandelions. Finish: A gentle dry peat circulates before squashed plums, raisins, cracked pepper and dry straw emerge.” – $170 – 1 per Person

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Springbank 10 & 15 Year Back In Stock 

Two of Our Favourite Every Day Drams are Getting Increasingly Hard to Come By 

I think what I love most about Springbank whisky, other than the quirks of the distillery and its lovely people, is the batch variation. The distillery does everything by hand, including the malting, which is the first opportunity for variation. Floor maltings are notoriously inconsistent, but in the best possible way. Some batches of Springbank are lightly peated, others much more heavily so. I have never had a bad batch of Springbank 15, but a few of them, especially in recent years, have been spectacular. I credit this to Frank McHardy, the long-time distillery manager who came to the distillery in the late 1990s. He overhauled the wood policy, and much of what has been distilled and filled into cask since has been spectacular.

  1. Springbank 10 Year – 46% – Producer Description: “Our 10-year-old offers whisky drinkers the perfect introduction to the Springbank range. Matured in a combination of bourbon and sherry casks, it is perfectly balanced from the first sip through to the full, rich finish.” –  Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Orchard fruit (pear) with a hint of peat, vanilla and malt. Palate: Malt, oak, spice, nutmeg and cinnamon, vanilla essence. Finish: Sweet, with a lingering salty tingle.” - $82
  2. Springbank 15 Year – 46% – Producer Description: “Like a storm gathering off the Kintyre coast, our 15-year-old Springbank is dark and ominous, yet delicious. Best enjoyed after dinner or with your favourite cigar, this is a true classic.” – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Demerara sugar, dark chocolate, Christmas cake, almonds, toffee, oak. Palate: Creamy, raisins, dark chocolate, figs, marzipan, brazil nuts and vanilla. Finish: Oak and sherry notes sustain and mingle with hints of leather.” – $120

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Glenfarclas 30 Year is Back! 

The Price is Moving on Up! 

To be honest, with the recent surge in pricing on the Glenfarclas Family casks, I’m surprised this didn’t happen sooner. I just got notice that the Glenfarclas 30 is going up in price by $75, from $625 to $700. We have a modest amount of stock and access to a few more bottles later this month. If this is of interest, best be letting me know sooner than later!

Glenfarclas 30 Year – 43% – Matured in Sherry Casks – Distiller’s Tasting Note: “Nose: Full complex aromas with fruit and full sherried malty tones. Palate: With Sherry, cognac, brandy, fruit, nuts, marzipan (and even icing), this is a wonderfully indulgent Christmas cake, in a glass! Finish: A whisky you never want to end and it very nearly doesn’t. The finish is exquisite with a real taste of burnt chocolate at the back of your mouth.” – $625 for now, but going up to $700 very soon… shortly after the next order arrives!

Thank You for Reading the Malt Messenger! 

Contact & Disclaimers 

If you have any whisky questions or comments concerning The Malt Messenger please contact me by e-mail, phone, or drop by the store. All of the products mentioned in THE MALT MESSENGER can be purchased in store, over the phone or from our website at www.kensingtonwinemarket.com. All prices quoted in the Malt Messenger are subject to change and don’t include GST. In the case of discrepancies in pricing, the price in our in store point of sale will be taken as correct.

Slainte!

Andrew Ferguson

Owner & Scotchguy

Kensington Wine Market

403-283-8000

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

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