Whisky Review – Glenglassaugh Octaves Peated. @glenglassaugh

Glenglassaugh Octaves Peated

44% ABV

Non chill filtered

No added colouring

£55.84 from Master of Malt 

It’s getting colder evenings now, so worthy of a wee peaty dram, let’s try this relatively new one from Glenglassaugh. Matured in Octaves (small casks 1/8th the size of a Sherry butt) from a peated spirit, this will be interesting. 

Nose. 

A smokey floral note is immediate on first pour, followed quickly by a light fresh cream dairy amongst the burning heather. Those elements merge in time and the cream becomes more buttery. Soft ginger and cracked black pepper backs things up. The smoke remains dominant, not overpowering or a peat bomb, just a gentle smouldering dram. 

Palate. 

More of a peat bomb on the palate, with smoke transpires to warm coals and ash. Sweetness comes through in the late arrival with a fruity citrus burst of lemon and orange, in time the fruity elements introduce something peachy into the mix. The dirty smoke moves aside and a creamier, meatier edge comes through, I don’t know why, but butter chicken comes to mind! Maybe with a dash of chopped burnt bacon on top! With that brings a slight salty edge to the smoke, with a touch of rose petal (light Turkish delight) thrown in for good measure. 

Finish. 

Smoke fades out during the medium length finish, with fruit retaining some ground and giving a nice juicy peach/orange effect, warming to the core. Nice, revitalising stuff. 

Adding water. 

A touch of water extinguishes the smoke quite significantly, with the floral notes now being the outgoing aroma. There is a little added orange juiciness on the nose now, but the spice is also toned back significantly. The palate has lost some of its bite, but the smoke comes in later in the development, there is more fruit now, softer fruits, almost melon like, with the meatiness quietened and the profile changed a lot. The finish is weaker, a little earthier and far more floral. I prefer this dram without water, but I may have put too much in. Worth further experimentation. 

Conclusion. 

It’s young, and has he peaty backbone for it, which is a good thing. A medium level peat beast worthy of someone who has taken a light step into the peated whisky world and want to try something a little more levelled up. It’s starting to get colder in the evenings and this dram would match it perfectly. 

Many thanks to Glenglassaugh for the review sample

Whisky Review – Timorous Beastie 40 year old @DLaingWhisky @remarkablemalts #TimorousBeastie40

Timorous Beastie 40 year old

54.7% ABV

Non chill filtered

No added colouring


£199.95 from Master of Malt

A 40 year old whisky for £199.95 retail is an exceptionally rare thing nowadays. Timorous beastie is a highland blended malt, normally without age statement it is a nice tasty, easy going dram. This limited (to 1,080 bottles) release presented at cask strength is promising to be something of a special experience. Let’s sip and find out. 

Colour. 

A natural tree sap amber syrupy hue, as if nectar running directly from the oak itself. Glass coating and hanging on for dear life. This is already looking to be an oily and exquisite sip. 

Nose. 

On first pour we have an obvious rich aged oak, with tropical fruit jam intensity. Pineapple, grilled and crushed. Overripe banana. Juicy stewed cooking apples. After a little time the oak sits gently in the background. Freshly varnished. The fruit jam becomes more intense and pronounced. There is a little cinnamon dusting, sweet pepper and a hint of spearmint. This still has a good punch and freshness on the nose despite its long life, which is a great thing. After a little more time the aroma becomes sweeter, like a pour of runny honey over the exotic fruit salad, and a touch of heat added to caramelise the dish. More time only gives this dram added depths. There’s a well refined waxiness to the fruit, and a perfect aromatic balance between oak and juice. Well deserved of it’s own fragrance. L’odeur du Beastie. 

Palate. 

Takes your mind away, a little too far. Difficult to write. Sweet and sour arrival. Lots of oak and tarty citrus. A gentle slap of tasty oak embers. Things evolve quickly and we get lots of tropical fruit punch, fruit salad chewy sweets, the chewiness runs through into the mouthfeel which is coating and viscous. The oiliness brings a sweet cinnamon frosted bun and added tinned pineapple and mandarin juices to the experience. Lots of honey and toasted sugar continue through the development. The flavours change, the order slightly different, the richness of the fruit varying, it’s an amazing dram, that gives each new sip new rewards. 

Finish. 

Long, gentle, sweet and spicy Cinnabon continues alongside some creamy vanilla custard, pineapple and mandarin flesh still cling fresh for a good while. The gentle chest hugging warmth remains true and feels so good. 

A feisty and voluptuous dram, enrobed with matured decadence and thoroughly delicious. Need more. 

Adding water. 

I’m not. I’m enjoying it too much. Sorry. (Plus – I ran out!) 

Conclusion. 

Nectar of the Gods. This dram is swishable and chewable around the mouthparts, the flavours transporting you to the lush highlands filling your being with relaxation and joy. It’s truly gorgeous. Perfect for ending a hard day with. There aren’t going to be many 40 year old whiskies available at such an affordable price. 

Many thanks to Douglas Laing for the competition win review sample

Whisky Review – Loch Lomond Single Grain @LochLomond3 @TheWhiskyWire #WhiskyFlashBlog #LochLomond

Loch Lomond Single Grain

46% ABV

Non chill filtered (confirmed by Master Blender)
£31.32 From Master of Malt (Old design)

#whiskyflashblog. Many online whisky commentators will be posting reviews of this particular whisky today. Follow the action and contrast the reviews by searching for #whiskyflashblog and #LochLomond on Twitter. 

The Loch Lomond Single Grain, is Loch Lomond distillery’s latest re-release (same liquid as previous release but with rather fetching new bottle/tube) after the relaunch of the Inchmurrin range last year. This single grain is made from a malted barley mash, so why isn’t it single malt? Well, it’s distilled through a continuous Coffey still, as it’s not in a pot still it cannot be labelled as a single malt as far as Scotch Whisky Association regulations are concerned.  

I got to try this whisky at Dramboree this year when we had a rather stunning tour/day of activities at the distillery. I thoroughly enjoyed it then. Let’s taste and find out if my memory serves true. 

Nose. 

First sniff from the pour has a fresh pineapple juice intensity. Vanilla ice cream, some pepper & Ginger develop in time, but the fresh juicy tropical fruit is foremost. Some underripe banana, crisp green apple, sugar syrup follow in time. The ginger notes become more ginger snap confectionary like. Some remembrance of tutti fruity chewing gum is now present. A custard rich vanilla is present, but more in the background. This isn’t a single grain the likes of which I have had before. Tasted blind this would be very difficult to identify as grain. The nose is reminding me of some Irish single malts I have had in the past. An additional waxy lemon note comes forward given more time. 

Palate. 

There is an immediately thick, velvety mouthfeel to the first sip which leads me to believe this is non chill filtered though this is not mentioned anywhere as of yet. The oiliness really makes this a pleasure to sip, I’ve had a few and haven’t even started deconstructing yet! Ok, creamy, fresh vanilla up front, custard viscosity. Citrus juices with a waxy mouth coating. Lemons, limes, a touch of orange and pineapple. It’s a beautiful fruit salad all throughout the development. There’s a hint of ginger, some cardamom, vanilla pod & creamy Devon custard. Delicious. Immensely sippable. 

Finish. 

Custard rich with some of the fruit juices floating their way through a medium length sweet finish, with a touch of waxy dryness at the very end. 

Adding water. 

Some drops added to half a dram (although it is easy to drink without dilution). The fruitiness has become drier on the nose, more waxy, a little less juicy, with some added confectionary dusting sugar. Pineapple cubes are the best way to describe the nose now, with some waxy lemon pith! The palate diluted has a slightly lessened texture, but is still quite oily. The fruits are amplified quite significantly, very juicy tarty lemons, sweetened, almost sherbert lemons with a creamier filling that sour sherbert. Custard lemons?! Lemon curd even! It’s beautiful anyway! The finish retains this custard lemon feel, slowly fading, creamy, waxy delightful texture. Lovely stuff. I’m surprised, but a few drops of water enlightens this dram. 

Conclusion. 

This is a superb session whisky. Easy drinking deliciousness. I think it would be very difficult to identify as a single grain in any blind taste test. Complex without overdoing it, the experience is well balanced, very tasty & moreish. The palate has a lovely quality oiliness to it which enhances the great flavours. I would very happily sit and drink this all night long. Purchase is essential for me!

Many thanks to Loch Lomond for the review sample

Incoming Whisky – Timorous Beastie 40 year old

This is somewhat of an exciting release! It’s not very often that affordable 40 year old anything comes out in the whisky world. But this blended highland malt from Douglas Laing is retailing at under £200. I am very much looking forward to trying this one! Cask strength. No colouring.  Non chill filtered. 😀😀😀

PR:

Douglas Laing Reveals a Highland Beast

TIMOROUS BEASTIE 40 YEARS OLD

Limited Edition Highland Malt Scotch Whisky

World Whiskies’ Awards “Brand Innovators of the Year 2016”, Douglas Laing & Co. today proudly unveil Timorous Beastie 40 Years Old Limited Edition Highland Malt Scotch Whisky. Just 1,080 bottles of this aged, Highland “Vatted” Malt exist globally which is bottled at a natural cask strength of 54.7%.  

Packaged in a striking black and gold-foiled gift tube, the new Limited Edition is a first for Timorous Beastie, a now-prevalent brand that first launched in 2014. In line with the Douglas Laing family philosophy, Timorous Beastie 40 Years Old is proudly without colouring or chill-filtration. 

Commenting on the Remarkable Regional Malts’ latest innovation, Cara Laing, Director of Whisky, said:

After 40 long years of maturation, we truly believe that this refined, complex dram is a masterpiece of exceptional quality – a super-charged edition of our much-loved Timorous Beastie!

Whilst there are little more than 1,000 bottles available, Douglas Laing will offer this precious liquid to as many Scotch Whisky enthusiasts as possible, via a competition at DouglasLaing.com. 100 taster bottles of this remarkable 40 Year Old Malt will be given away with consumers being invited to get creative with their own tasting notes. Fred Laing will then select his favourite with the winner rewarded with an exclusive, one-of-only-one gold bottle of Timorous Beastie 40 Years Old.

Timorous Beastie 40 Years Old is available at specialist retailers globally. The competition is open for entries at http://www.douglaslaing.com from Tuesday 30th August 2016. 

Official TASTING NOTES

Our Timorous Beastie 40 Years Old opens aromatically on the nose with a profusion of sweet spices, cereals and honeycomb. The palate is as sweet as anticipated with crunched sugar, a mature Malt style and more spices. The finish is elegant, fructiferous yet understated with a honeyed Highlander heritage.

Whisky Review – Glenglassaugh Octaves Classic. @glenglassaugh

Glenglassaugh Octaves Classic

44% ABV

Non chill filtered

No added colouring


£54.42 from Master of Malt 

Summer has been a bit of a whisky free period for me. What with the hay fever being at its height and screwing with my senses, I’ve quite frankly felt a little bit whiskied out. The break is always a good thing as it gives more appreciation on return. And with that lets press on. A new Glenglassaugh expression here. 

Matured in octaves (small capacity casks – meaning larger ratio of wood to spirit – meaning faster maturation) made from the staves of an old cask with the approximate size 1/8th to that of a sherry butt. 

Nose. 

On first pour we have immediately fresh apple intense fruitiness and a touch of wood char. Pencil cases and some summer berry jam. Quite a feisty young nose to begin with, will let it sit for a while. There’s quite a yeasty, bread note after the dram has sat for a while. Almost a real ale character to the aromas. Spiced apples, some mineral notes, chalky. Light pepper, ginger and a hint of cinnamon. There’s also something green, herbal, almost like cress, or a good quality salad. Tomato vines. There’s a lot going on here, quite difficult to pin it all down. Complex. A little more time and it becomes quite perfumed and demandingly sniffable, can nearly bring my nose away from the glass.  

Palate. 

Barley rich, sweet arrival, apple juice, softer fruits mushed up over a bowl of honey drenched porridge. Each sip changes slightly, now it’s fruitier, more intense with Apple, skin and flesh, almost a maturing cider quality, apples in a cider farm fermenting, cinnamon scattered over the top. The mouthfeel is very nicely oily. There is an almost Springbank like dirty oiliness about it, quite unique. Plenty of honey soaked malt in further tastes. Subsequent sips after extra time in the glass are deliciously well balanced, juicy, oily, supple and thoroughly enjoyable. Quite a mentally relaxing, comfort filled feel good factor on this dram. 

Finish. 

Warming, lots of creamy barley, porridge intensity. Fruit fades to jammy aftermath, with gentle sugar sweetness tingling around for a medium length finish. 

Adding water. 

Just a few drops added, I think it’s at perfect drinking strength at 44%. The nose now is more like the initial experience, Apple and oak char, it’s toned down a little as well, less intensive. The palate has lost a little of its oily mouthfeel, has an introduced fizziness, still quite fruit intense and jammy, with some added spice and oak, very pleasant, but less intense. The finish is more oaky, and has a slight bitter note at the very end. This dram is best consumed as presented. 

Conclusion. 

A beautiful, chilled out dram, very complex whilst being relaxing and rewarding as a nightly sipper. I can see a bottle of this wouldn’t last long at all, it’s very moreish.

Many thanks to Glenglassaugh for the review sample

Whisky Review – Highland Park 1999 16 year old. Gordon & MacPhail TWE Exclusive. @whiskyexchange

Highland Park 1999 16 year old. Gordon & MacPhail TWE Exclusive

56.6% ABV

Cask #4260

First-Fill bourbon barrel 

Non chill filtered

No added colouring

£79.95 from The Whisky Exchange

Nose. 

First sniff from the pour brings quite an amount of citrus and tropical fruits forward. Lemon, mango, grapefruit, pineapple, all very fresh and juicy. Second sniff and some light dry smokiness comes in, grilling the fruit quite deliciously. Subsequent sniffs get drier and introduce some chalky mineral notes to the mix. After a few minutes standing fruit retains the fore, lots of juicy, sweet citrus, some orange now, a touch of melon also added in. A delicious fruit cocktail. Light smoke wafts in and out, and a slightest liquorice and ginger in the background. A lovely nose. 

Palate. 

A big fruity explosion complete with smoke aplenty on the arrival, quickly becoming vanilla intense, with custardy notes accompanying the fruit cocktail. Smoke wonders in and out during the development, with touches of ginger ale, liquorice root and a bitter touch of grapefruit skin. A deliciously evolving palate, which changes as you sip and sit. Later sips have more smokiness and touches of charred oak during the development and into the finish. 

Finish. 

Barbecued pineapple rings, grapefruit and smoke holds in the mouth for a medium to long length finish. Later sips give more charred oak.  

Adding water. 

A few drops added into a half dram (although I would happily finish this one undiluted). The nose has become dustier and more intense. Fruit is livelier and riper. The smoke elements are more floral and waxy, almost a floral aromatherapy candle is burning brightly with intense flame. Oh yeah, even more waxiness evident on the palate now, this dram is shocked into a higher state of being with a few drops of water, loads of big, explosive, waxy fruit, smoke is almost silenced, but it’s sweet residue is still lingering. The finish slowly fades from the intense palate, the bittersweet elements of grapefruit previously found in the undiluted is gone, this is now well balanced all the way through. 

Conclusion. 

It’s an evolving dram which changes very frequently and is quite fascinating to spend time with. Deliciously fruity, sometimes smoky, sometime mineral and herbal. It’s highland park at its best in single cask form. With water, it becomes total brilliance, absolutely beautiful stuff. On my shopping list. Very recommended. 

Many thanks to Speciality Drinks for the review sample

Whisky Review – Tomatin Cù Bòcan 1988 vintage @Tomatin1897

Tomatin Cù Bòcan 1988

51.5% ABV

Non Chill Filtered

No Added Colouring

£199.95 from Master of Malt

This time Tomatin’s Cù Bòcan is getting its smoke from a different place! The spirit (distilled December 2nd 1988) used in this bottling is not peated, but was matured traditionally and then finished (from October 2014) in 2nd and 3rd filled ex-Islay sherry casks. 

Limited only to 2200 bottles!

Nose.

Fruit is the first thing on the nose from the pour. Lots of apples, ripe, rose apples, with hints of citrus, mainly lemons. Smoke is lingering in the background, a slightly medicinal style of smoke. This is 27 years old, so a little time is needed to settle. After 15 minutes of so things start to balance out, the fruits are richer and more tropical, with hints of charred pineapple, pear and peaches coming into the mix. There is some fresh cereal malty notes, a light cinnamon, touch of clove and the medicinal smoke has become sweeter, with some sweet dew laden grassiness. 

Palate.

A gentle arrival, slowly builds, some dry and tarty citrus fruit initially, then the oils become very evident giving a substantially coating mouthfeel. Pears, apples and other soft fruits are very prominent with a coating of liquid smoke, some malt creaminess, custard cream biscuits, and the leftovers of a smouldering forest campfire, along with mossy excretions run through the development. 

Finish.

A gentle smokey powerfulness remains for a long oily finish, with some gently grilled fruit kebabs and some creamy custard. 

Adding water.

Only a couple drops added, this is old and wouldn’t want to damage its structure. The nose has a reduced fruit intensity in favour of increased smokiness. Fruits have become slightly fizzy, with the malty cereals taking a more forward role. The palate retains the previous fruitiness, with some added zing. The fruits are drier now, and more crystallised, with concentration on the pineapple notes. There is also some additional herbal notes, something akin to light aniseed. The finish has a slight oaky fizziness, and more sweet smoke. It’s a tale of two halves, and I can appreciate them both. I personally prefer the undiluted, but it’s worth an experiment with the later part of your dram. 

Conclusion. 

Surprisingly vibrant for such an old whisky. This is no overoaked affair, it’s a beautifully delicate, fruity flavoursome and creamy whisky, with a touch of smoke added in. It seems on the surface as expensive at £200, but given the age (knocking on 28 years old), this is actually good value in today’s official bottling market. 

Thanks so much to Tomatin for providing the sample, also bought a bottle to split between friends. 

Armagnac Review – Comte De Lauvia Extra 15 year old Armagnac 

Comte De Lauvia Extra 15 year old Armagnac 

40% ABV

£48.27 from Master of Malt (sold out, but drink by the dram still available)





Day 7 of my Armagnac Advent Calendar. Loving this!

Read more on the Armagnac Advent Calendar and other Calendars (still available with time to catch up!) here.

Nose. 

Rich rum and raisin on first pour. Marzipan intensity overwhelming the breath in a great way. Lots of juicy dark fruits, some overripe strawberry and a little hay. Almost a farm like backnote, very countrified and organic. Some rich mahogany, old wood also backing things up. Lovely. If this were whisky you would swear it’s older than 15 years. 

Palate. 

Thick fruits, grape, raisin, strawberry, blackberry, all mushed ready for boiling down into jam. Some dark sugars and molasses. Gently warming and oily on the palate. Very chewy, some fruit laden toffee and gentle pepper spice. Quite delicious indeed. 

Finish. 

Warming, spicy ginger back note alongside a touch of pencil shavings, and a whole lot of fruit. 

Conclusion. 

Lovely stuff, Armagnac continues to amaze and be exceedingly drinkable stuff. Sad I didn’t try this before it was sold out, but I’m sure I’ll find a bottle somewhere. 

Thanks to Drinks by the Dram for the awesome advent calendar. I am going to blissfully enjoy the new Armagnac Adventures. 

Whisky Review – Enlightenment. Compass Box. @compassbox

Enlightenment. Compass Box

46% ABV

Non chill filtered

No added colouring

£59.45 from Master of Malt 

Enlightenment. We’d all like a bit of that in our daily lives I’m sure. Well, there are only 5,922 bottles worldwide! So buy sooner than later if you like what you read below! 

Compass Box produce great blends, it’s as simple as that. This one is a blended malt whisky made up of Clynelish, Glentauchers, Balblair and Mortlach. The percentages can be seen below. I would have loved to have known the ages, but alas the antiquated and quite frankly stupid EU and UK laws prevent it. 

Nose. 

First sniff and there is a rich, juicy orange and citrus led nose. A touch of oak char. Very light pepper and cinnamon. A slight meaty background note with a suggestion of nuts. Letting it sit for a bit. A little time sat and some lovely spices come forward. Pepper, ginger, and some waxy lemon rind. There is some powerful floral elements amongst the fruit. Honeysuckle. Orchard fruits of Apple and pear come forward now, fresh and crisp. A touch of high cream content vanilla pod infused custard, drenched over that fruit. Lovely stuff. Very summery. More time and some vanilla sponge cake essence comes into the mix. 

Palate. 

Fresh citrus arrival of sweetened orange and lemon juices, a nice coating and waxy mouthfeel. It’s very yummy, and three sips in I’m still reeling over the experience rather than deconstructing it. Vanilla comes in waves surrounded by some light pepper and sweet ginger spice integrated into splashes of orchard fruit cocktail. Honey, syrup soaked fruit pieces with lots of juice. This is loud, lush, fresh and vibrant. It forced your eyes closed and a smile to form. It’s that nice. Fresh fruit intense.

Finish. 

Medium to long in length, a gentle, slow fruit demise, leaving a waxy dry mouth and some lemon peel and zest sticking around for a very long time. 

Adding water. 

Only a couple drops added to not much liquid left (it’s a compulsory sipper). The nose has a spicier and more floral edge now, still fruity, but dusted in pepper and flower petals. The palate reflects this also with some more acidic citrus fruit. The waxiness is slightly toned down in the palate, but increased on the finish. Personally I prefer this without water, but I would recommend trying both to experience the variation. 

Conclusion. 

This is really hitting my spot, as it did when I got to try it at Bristol Whisky Festival, and off the experience gained there I immediately bought a bottle when it was available. It’s high in the fruit factor. It’s all American oak, so nothing in the way of sherry richness, this is fruit juices on overload and it works really well. The Clynelish is the concentration, and I bloody love it.

Many thanks to Compass Box for the review sample. 

Whisky Review – The Circus. Compass Box. @compassbox

The Circus. Compass Box

49% ABV

Non chill filtered

No added colouring

£185 from Master of Malt (sold out but drinks by the dram available for £14.16)

2,490 bottles of the Circus has been released worldwide and is quickly selling out in every marketplace. It’s the sequel to the previous old blended whisky release, the General, which was highly regarded by all, including myself. 

The circus is made up of several long term marriage packages of blended whiskies. 2 packages of blended (malt and grain) whisky and 1 package of Blended grain whisky. With an extra consignment of first fill sherry butt matured single malt from Benrinnes. All in all the blended components were married for a long period in refill sherry butts. The split can be seen below. 

Nose. 

On first pour and sniff the age is evident and in your face. Old dusty museums, dunnage warehousing, polished mahogany. The intense dark fruit is initially in the background but quick to come forward. The sherry casks are old, you can smell it, no sulphur at all, just old school sherry maturation, intense and soft at the same time. Lots of aged fruitcake, a touch of mustiness, lots of old sherry seeped oak, cloves, soft sweet ginger. There are touches of nuttiness, but sweetly mellowed, like marzipan with icing sugar. The fruitcake develops touches of orange peel. With the next step I’m reminded of my breakfast of toast and marmalade. This has a lot going on, immensely complex, highly sniffable. One of those whiskies that should be made into a fragrance. Beautiful. 

Palate. 

Sherry monster arrival, lots of sherried dark fruits, fruitcake soaked in rum, kirsch cherries. Thick and velvety on the mouthfeel. It’s a continuing abundance of fruit throughout the development, with some spicy vanilla frosting, some clove, sweet cinnamon. A gentle, almost juicy nut oil essence visits amongst the mouthfeel. There’s some sweeter cola and extra thick honey amongst the fruit jam reduction now. Small sips of this dram go a very long way, the flavours are concentrated and intense. This is a old aged sherry monster with bite and vigour. Delicious. 

Finish. 

Medium to long length. The dark fruits and clove spice linger for a long while, intermixing with some old oak essence. Warming on the chest and reassuring in the soul, this is a feel good finish of some significance. 

Adding water. 

1 drop only. The nose has more vanilla and that drop of water has diminished the sherry quite significantly. The palate is still quite intense, but isn’t as intense as the undiluted. The finish, now softer with less of the fruit lingering. Do not water this dram. It’s perfect as it is. 

Conclusion. 

This is a stunning old whisky. I’m making a massive assumption that the packages of blends are going to be quite old indeed with the younger (guess) Benrinnes adding some zing into the mix. I would love to know the age of the parts, but either way, they are blended together masterfully and taste amazing. The General was a tough act to follow, and The Circus does it well, but doesn’t quite reach the high that the General set. It is still a fantastic old blend though. Very impressive. 

The world maybe a Circus, full of fear and doubt, but this dram makes you forget about it. Even if just for a while. 

Many thanks to Compass Box for the review sample