Archive for December, 2009

Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey 2yo (47%, OB, Small Batch #47, D’7-7-06) – Whiskey Tasting Note

Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey 2yo (47%, OB, Small Batch #47, D’7-7-06)

A small batch American whiskey made in Colorado with 100% malted barley. The nose is very sweet and some what bourbon/rye in style along with some dusty malt along with caramel, brown sugar and lots of vanilla. There is also some good fruit in the form of oranges and vague hints of banana.  While it is a very ‘light’ American style of whiskey a more accurate description would be Canadian whisky and in particular the style of the very deservedly stunning Alberta Premium from Calgary, Alberta. The taste is fruity (this time more tree fruit rather than citrus), mildly peated (?), loads of vanilla and mild shades of rye whisky which is quite nice. The mouth feel is very gentle for a higher ABV and it is quite dry, all in all a quality whiskey especially for the age when compared to Scotch whiskies. The finish has some banana, fruit, loads of wood spice from the oak and also some gentle creaminess and lashings of grand malt. The finish is quite long and very enjoyable without any hint of off notes. 

This tastes much older than two years old and is undoubtedly a very high quality whiskey. This distillery is going to be very well known and will give many others a run for their money, it is very drinkable and ‘moreish’. A delight.

Score 87 Points

Many thanks to Sam Filbus for the sample. Visit Stranahan’s at


UK VAT to Increase January 1st, 2010 – Scotch Whisky News From Duncan Taylor


Vat Increase – 1st January 2010

I’m sure you are all aware that VAT (UK Value Added Tax) will go back up to 17.5% at the beginning of next year. We will have to start the new year with a new pricelist, so if you want to buy a Duncan Taylor bottle at the lowest possible price please order now!

Port Ellen 26yo 1982/2009 (56.1%, SMWS, 43.15) – Scotch Whisky Tasting Note


Port Ellen 26yo 1982/2009 (56.1%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, 43.15) – Scotch Whisky Tasting Note

Many years ago the Scotch Malt Whisky Society informed their members of the fact that the Society would no longer bottle any more casks of the famed Port Ellen. In the interim every independent bottler from Gordon & MacPhail through Douglas Laing and a myriad of others (including Diageo) have bottled dozens and dozens and dozens of various casks of Port Ellen. As Sir Sean Connery said in the silver screen; “Never Say Never” and low and behold the Society is once again bottling Port Ellen. It’s about time for pities sake…..

The nose is buttered with lashings of peat reek, some mild juniper and is not hrash but nicely smooth and phenolic followed by BBQ (the official SMWS tasting notes mention roast leg of pork with sage). The nose is very pleasant and the combinaion of the creamy buttery notes and the phenols make for a very endearing combination some what in the style of Caol Ila. The taste is very good, the peat and the juniper are very well integrated and neither are oer powering, there is also some hints of unbuttered pop corn, spie and some dark chocolate. What a delicious dram! The finish is warming and exceedingly long with loads of peat, malt and some really good dark chocolate all very well integrated.

A sensational Port Ellen!


Score 90 Points

Whisky Magazine Forum “Whisky For Sale” Section to Be Closed – Scotch Whisky News


From the admin at

For Sale Section – Closing
Wed Dec 23, 2009

Recently opened, but the for sale section will be closing again. Lots of reasons but here is the official statement.

“We have been contacted by the Trading Standards Authority to inform us that the sale of whisky is only possible between two trading entities, or by a party with the appropriate license to sell alcohol. As it is not possible for us to confirm the status of every member of the forum, or each posting on this matter, we have reluctantly concluded that we cannot allow the sale of whisky on”

Although we can legally allow you to continue selling your whisky, we wouldn’t want any of you to get in trouble. 

Selling is no longer permitted on the Whisky Magazine forums.

Whisky Cast EPISODE 232 Now Available On-Line-Scotch Whisky News


We close out 2009 with a look at bourbon and beer. Devin Zell of Bourbon loves both. He’ll share his dual passions with us in this episode, including how he and his friends aged a beer for 9 months in a barrel used for Pappy Van Winkle’s 23-year-old bourbon. In the news, new expressions from Berry Brothers & Rudd, the BBC discovers a distillery on the Isle of Lewis, and tasting notes for three top-shelf bourbons in the “What I’m Tasting This Week Department.”

Visit Whisky Cast at

Ralfy Whisky Review #99 Now Available On Line – Scotch Whisky News


… hello and seasonal snowy situations to us all !!!

… recently lodged at  “whiskyreviews” is No: 99 – snow and Lagavulin Distillers Edition     … and for all those ralfy-fans a big thanks for all the e-mails and comments over the year.

It has been a busy, busy time,  … and will be even more so next year.

Gauntleys Whisky Newsletter No.18 July 2006 – Scotch Whisky News

Whisky Intelligence has reproduced (with permission) The Gauntleys Whisky Newsletter for July 2006; a look back in time. 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

We are well into larger weather, but someone has to do the dirty job of tasting new whiskies, and I can tell you that there are some interesting bottlings due to be released onto the market. I spent an interesting couple of hours in the company of Andrew Grey of Bruichladdich tasting their forthcoming releases and generally chewing the fat. Although we may have had a few professional disagreements in the past, it was nice to hear that one’s opinions are highly regarded throughout the industry. This is mainly down to the fact that I have no secret agenda or party line to tow and I would like to think that any comments I make are truthful and hopefully helpful.

While on the subject of being truthful, I have had several people within the industry agree with the comments that I made in the last issue of the newsletter with regard to the whole Scotch Whisky Association vs Bruichladdich and Compass Box, and they have ALL agreed with what I have said but for several reasons would not be able to come out in print and say it themselves, which goes to show how powerful and far reaching the influence the SWA reaches.

Anyway that is enough ego stroking for now. I know that you all want to know what is up Bruichladdich sleeves!


One of the criticisms I have levelled at Bruichladdich/Murray McDavid is there obsession with cask finishing (or enhancement as they like to say) and Andrew was candid in the reasons why. The big problem is that getting hold of top quality sherry casks is now becoming a very expensive business, and Bruichladdich decided to look for cheaper alternative casks, and with Mark’s network of contacts in the wine trade it is allowing them to do just that. Although I will still stand by my comments, that if it’s a great spirit, you just want to taste it uncluttered by finishing. My case in point being the superb 17 year old. Superb spirit matured in Bourbon oak and tasting good!

So what did this tasting show? Well there is no let up on the enhancing, but the key point is that they are getting more experienced at doing it and that means less heavy handedness (like the third edition 20 year old). Apparently in the beginning Jim McEwan had to be dragged kicking and screaming to look at these casks, which is not a surprise as Jim is a traditional whisky man, through and through. But, now. He’s fully converted and is as happy as a kid in a sweety shop!
Bruichladdich 7 year old Waves 46% £TBC

Bourbon/ Malmsey Madeira Cask

Stocks of the 10 year old are now coming to an end as they are reaching the point at which the distillery was almost silent. So this 7 year old made from malt peated to 20ppm represents a three month period when Jim Beam Brands were running the distillery continuously in order to attract a buyer, and for two of those months they were using medium peated malt as apposed to the more usual lightly peated. I was a bit suspicious of it being finished in Madiera cask after not enjoying the 3rd edition 20 year old, but this time they have got the finish absolutely spot on.
The peat is evident on the nose from the word go. Thankfully there is very little influence from the Madeira cask? It just hovers in the background adding a touch of smoke, rich coffee/ toffee fruit and roasted ginger. Quality wise it reminds me of the very young Ardbeg, but judicious use of the Madiera cask has given it an added edge. On the palate, again the peat open the proceedings, which is softer than the nose suggests, slightly medicinal with a whiff of smoke and coastal fruit. Finally the Madeira fruit comes through on the finish. Obviously this is very young, but there is no ‘off the still’ notes and it is crisp and clean with soft peat and an extra dimension given to it by the Madeira cask. Highly recommended!
Bruichladdich 12 year old 46% £TBC


Why replace one age statement with one when you can do two. Marketing? Maybe, but this one is for the purist and when they are both exceptional good, I’m not going to argue!
Ah, I love this nose. Classic Bourbon oaked young Laddie! With those familiar aromas of honeysuckle, green apples and coastal notes. There is a touch more complexity that the old 10 year old. It develops a lovely creamy vanilla and light toffee notes along with a touch of orange/ tangerine fruits. Dry on the palate, initially quite salty with the honeysuckle and vanilla fruit laced with a delicate spice. Softer and a bit more rounded than with less of the ‘Sauvignon-esque’ character of the 10 year old, and much more spicier, but it retains the lovely crisp nature which makes it such a good aperitif whisky.
Bruichladdich Links 14 year old Royal Liverpool Hoylake 46% £37.95

Bourbon/ Rivesaltes (Grenache)

The latest bottling in the links series is a stunner! It has a wonderfully complex nose. The vanilla oaked Laddie is wrapped in a delicate blanket of dried fruit, light coffee and spice. It has a lovely balance with no component over powering the other. Quite creamy with coastal notes wafting in. Soft and smooth on the palate, again a superb balance between the vanilla oaked Laddie and the Rivesaltes finish. Superb complexity with oodles of spicy, delicate, dried orange fruit, fudge and dates. All the flavours are well integrated and it finishes with lashings of coastal notes.
Bruichladdich Infinity Second Edition 46% £TBC

Bourbon/ Rioja

The first edition contain malts that were peated to around 13-15ppm, whereas the second edition is peated to 20ppm

Initially on the nose it is very winey and faintly astringent, but once these vague red wine aromas have passed it is actually quite pleasant. It has loads of earthy/ bog myrtle, peat, charcoal, a touch of TCP and gentle, delicate fruit and smoke. On the palate however it is frankly disappointing. It opens up with a mouthful of winey tannins and wood followed by loads of evolving peat flavours, moving from softly smoky peat through to vegetation/ bog myrtle peat. But, the problem is that it seems hollow and it left me cold. There is a distinct lack of fruit and depth, and it certainly doesn’t have the charm of the 7 year old.
Port Charlotte 5 year old ‘PC5 Evolution’ 67% £TBC

Fresh Sherry

Peated to 40ppm

Finally some of this amazing sprit will see the light of day, probably around September time. The plan is to do a yearly release of numbered bottles, with the first release being limited to 6000 bottles world wide. It will be bottled at cask strength, somewhere around the 66/7% mark, and is going to be an instantaneous collectors edition, so if you would like a bottle, please let me know as soon as possible, and I will put you on the shortlist. Once a price has been set I will let you know.
So what does it taste like ? my notes read as follows. Wow, wow and thrice wow! ? This is stunning, loads of luxurious, silky sherry fruit aromas lift from the glass. Complex and inviting with loads of stinky bog myrtle peat, smoke and brine. This has buckets of character with honied malt and a cereal note. The palate is equally luscious with honied sherry fruit, Bowmore-esque smoky-peat and tangy fruit. This has been matured in casks of the highest quality, no off notes, just luscious, juicy fruit finishing with lazy smoke, coal tar and coastal notes. Water mellows the sherry intensity on the nose brining out a coffee/ spice note and emphasising the earthiness. Whilst on the palate it brings out a mellow light orange/ apricot and citrus note. Just barley noticeable on the finish is a touch of new make spirit, just to remind you how young it really is, but it is brief and only really noticeable if you have had the opportunity to taste this remarkable spirit in its formative years. It has a lovely length and exits with a mouthfilling smokiness.
So what of Octomore I hear you say. Well the word is that it may be released next year. Bruichladdich decided that one at a time is probably the best way. Also they haven?t quite decided how it is going to be released. They have so far produced three batches so far, the first was peated to 80ppm, the second at 120ppm and the third at a monstrous 200ppm! Apparently Jim prefers the 80ppm batch and the release may come all from that batch, or it is a possibility that they may well put together a vatting. Which ever way they do it, It will certainly be a treat.


While on the subject of all things peaty, Ardbeg has recently released a new age statement of its malt that dates back to the take over of the distillery by Glenmorangie. Now proudly 8 years old, they have called it ‘Still Young’. As you will recall I rated the previous bottling, the 6 year old ‘Very Young’ very highly and was looking forward to seeing how the malt had evolved, and I have to say that I wasn’t disappointed. In actual fact I took the opportunity to taste it against the old 10 year old, 17 year old and the 24 year old Kidalton. I have never been a fan of the 10 and 17 year old, and thought it was time to re-taste them and see if I was being unduly harsh on them.
The Kidalton, which is now unavailable was glorious, being only very lightly peated it showed amazing depth of sexy, luxurious apricot and orange fruit. Just like tasting the underpinning of great Ardbeg. Then onto the 10 year old, and I?m afraid to say that my opinion of it hasn?t changed. It was muted, one-dimensional and rather vague. The 17 year old again didn?t excite me. It had obvious maturity, a vague fruitiness, a bit of spice and loads of linseed oil, but practically no peat or smoke. Frankly my dear, it’s quite dull.
Ardbeg 8 year old ‘Still Young’ 58.3% £36.95

Clean, rounded aromas of smoky-peat, coastal bonfires, coastal fruit, along with a note of rubber wellies, fisherman’s friends, oily orange fruit and tarry old rope. The nose is displaying a lot more depth; it is mellower, a lot less ‘in your face’. On the palate it has a lovely complexity, opening with peat smoke, oily rubber notes and Arbroath smokies. Very intense and mouthfilling, still youthful but it is monumental in its intensity? Powerful peat, smoke, coal, blood oranges and oily kippers fill the senses. Two years has made a huge difference. It is mellower, more rounded, but it still has more front than Jordon!
As with all cask strength whiskies I like to taste them neat to begin with and then add a drop of water to see how the character evolves. However sometimes it kills the nose stone dead, just like it did with this one. It brought out a soapy, earthy, vegetal note ? which wasn?t unpleasant, just a bit disappointing. However on the palate it adds sweetness and brings out a menthol/ eucalyptus note and a touch of vegetation. It reminds me of a classic British sports car. Looks good, is fun to drive, but being British inevitably it would be a flawed beauty. So here it is flawed, yet beautiful, and maybe its flaws make it more real?


Gordon & MacPhail, proprietors of Benromach distillery has launched Benromach Organic Speyside Malt Scotch Whisky. Hand made by just two men [and a dog!] at Speyside?s smallest working distillery. This is the first bottled single malt whisky released to be fully certified by the Soil Association.
The whole process  ‘raw ingredients, distillation, maturation and bottling’ is certified 100% organic to the rigorous standards set by the Soil Association. Using pure spring water from the nearby Romach Hills and the finest Scottish organic barley and organic yeast, the spirit was then filled by hand into selected virgin American oak casks. These virgin casks are made from natural wood from wild growing forests. The trees are not sprayed with pesticides or any other form of chemical prior to or after felling.
The first limited batch has now been released and is bound to become highly collectable, and we have been allocated a very small number of bottles. Thus if you would like a bottle, please contact me as soon as possible.
Benromach Organic 43% £28.95

The nose opens with sweet charred oak aromas plus fresh fruit notes (bananas and pineapples). This is followed by an earthy toasted note. It is quite sweet and rich on the palate with vanilla and toffee flavours along with a hint of green apples, orange peel and a rich resinous note. A drop of water brings out gorgeous, sweet malty aromas along with a perfumed note. There is a touch of creamy toffee and peaches. On the palate, like the nose, it emphasises the malty sweetness, but brings out a touch of dried fruit (sultanas and raisins).
OK, that’s it for now. Short and sweet, I think. If you have any comments or would like to place an order, please get in touch in the usual way.


Chris Goodrum

Whisky Intelligence Update for Christmas 2009 – Scotch Whisky News


Whisky Intelligence is celebrating Christmas with family and a few drams and would like to take the opportunity to wish the myriad of WI readers a Merry Christmas and may all your drams come true! Whisky Intelligence will be back at full cask strength after Christmas and Boxing Day (depending on the availability of whisky news!).

Merry Christmas!



(A message from our good friends at Rare Drams)

A Sneak Pre-View of Activities at the Dundell Dell – Scotch Whisky News


Hey Dellrods! We are open on Christmas Eve until 3:00 PM for last-minute gifting! Monique and Rachel will be hanging out tomorrow to help you with any scotch sampling or recommendations that you may need. Free advice? Now that’s the spirit of the season! 
Next Single Malt Tastings are Sunday, January 3rd at 4:00 and Thursday, January 7th at 7:00. We needed a bit of extra warmth, so we decided that Cask Strength whiskies were in order. The theme is “Cask Strength: Weak Excuse?”

Inverarity 12yo Blend “Alasdair Gray” at Loch Fyne Whiskies – Scotch Whisky News


Loch Fyne Whiskies News has stocked a new item, ‘Inverarity 12yo Blend “Alasdair
 Inverarity 12yo Blend
 Label and box artwork by Alasdair Gray
 40% abv
 £29.90 inc vat
 £26.00 ex vat

Best regards,
Loch Fyne Whiskies


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