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

Whisky Review – Glen Moray Sherry Cask Finish @GlenMorayDist

Glen Moray Sherry Cask Finish

40% ABV

£22.00 from Sainsbury

Glen Moray is on my short list of favourite distilleries. Their staff are passionate, personable, helpful, open and fun! I always have a great time with Iain and Emma on the stands at all the shows they are at. While I’ve yet to visit the distillery, it is at the top of my list when I get to Speyside. The distillery has only known 5 managers in its lifetime, the current manager, Graham Coull also seems a great, open and approachable guy. I’ve yet to meet him, but had a few discussions on Twitter, always frank and fun. 

The people of the distillery aside, the whisky is pretty damn good as well! More importantly affordable. I don’t want to say cheap, because it degrades what is a eat range of products. It’s excellent value for money. The classic (bourbon cask matured) is the entry to their range. Non-age statement, and so I’m told without colouring (although I would love to see this declaration on the packaging). In addition to the classic there is the peated, port cask (bloody excellent), 10 year old Chardonnay (also bloody brilliant), 12 year old, 16 year old (bloody amazing!) and 25 year old vintage port cask finish (bloody fantastic)!

This new addition is a Sherry Cask finish to join at the same price areas as the classic, peated and port cask finish, retailing around £22 and available on line and in Sainsbury. 

Nose. 

On first nosing from the pour we get a nutty rich, citrus fruit and honey led experience. A scattering of soaked raisin and fruitcake becoming more prominent in time. Some clove spice and a background of vanilla sponge cake.

A lovely nose not too overtaken by the sherry finish, but complimented by the additional maturation. A little time and I sense some Jamaican rum infused ginger cake alongside the, now boozey Victoria sponge. 

Palate. 

A nutty dry walnut skin arrival, quickly morphs into ginger laden fruit cake, with a thick buttercream topping. A dusting of crushed hazelnuts and a sprinkle of chocolate shavings. 

Finish. 

Short to medium in length, fruit and drying nuttiness subside leaving some chocolate sauce, which fades into chopped hazelnuts. 

Adding water. 

Doesn’t need it. Drop added for experimentation. The water has weakened the whole experience and concentrated things around the nutty elements. This is not one to water. Enjoy it immensely neat. 

Conclusion. 

Another great addition to the Glen Moray base. The sherry finish enhances the classic into the field of sherry mini monster, though doesn’t overpower the lovely classic style too much. For me the Port Finish is still the winner of the set, but this comes a very close second place. Highly recommended. £22 is a flipping bargain. 

Many thanks to Glen Moray for the review sample. 

Whisky Review – Jameson Caskmates (Stout finish). @jameson_uk

Jameson Caskmates (Stout finish)

40% ABV

£25.95 from The Whisky Exchange

Nose. 

Grain and creamy richness on first sniff. Copper pennies. Devon vanilla custard. Treacle toffee thick sweetness. A light liquorice. A touch of melted dark chocolate. There’s faint background whiffs of freshly ground coffee beans. The dram as a whole smells that little bit darker, more complex than the original. A little bit of time in the glass and the darker chocolate malt and coffee notes become more apparent. 

Palate. 

A very sweet, brown sugar, Creme brûlée rich arrival, some ginger comes through in the development, lots of chocolate, malted cereal and coffee from the nose, some burnt caramel, and more in depth dark creaminess in the development taking the form of rich fudge. There’s quite an oily mouthfeel throughout. Very nice. 

Finish. 

Short to medium in duration there is a slight letdown in that there is a metallic bitterness, but this goes side by side with some lovely creamy toffee. It’s goes down very smoothly and is easy to sip regardless. 

Adding water. 

Tiny drop added. The nose is becoming creamier and fudge focused, the chocolate gets heavier, it’s actually making me hunger for a finger of fudge. The palate reflects the creamier edges found on the nose and is delightfully sweet and moreish. The finish has lost the bitterness from the undiluted. It’s actually rather bloody lovely. Ok, this one wins with water. 

Conclusion. 

Great value for money, it’s only a few quid more than the classic, and the quality is far superior. With a touch of water this whiskey really shines though, it’s a lovely, easy drinking, creamy, gorgeous thing. 

Final thoughts. (Original vs Crested vs Caskmates)

This is the last of the trilogy for Jameson for now. I’m sure there will be more to come in the near future with the relaunch of their core range, there’s a lot of interesting stuff coming out. Out of the three I’ve reviewed I prefer the Caskmates overall. It’s got some really good value for money, and one I will be buying again. 

I bought this. 

Whisky Review – Jameson Crested. @jameson_uk

Jameson Crested

40% ABV

£26.88 from Master of Malt

Nose. 

On the first sniff this comes across quite young and spirited. Reminds me a lot of single grain whisky. But with some time to settle we get more creaminess. A touch of foam banana sweeties. Lots of sweet grain. Light runny honey. Some sweet ginger and a touch of clove. Lemon juice and peel with a little oak dustiness. It’s a light, very pleasant summery sniffer. 

Palate. 

Sweet, chewy arrival, with some spicy bite. Lots of honey, pepper, ginger. A touch of sweet citrus and some sugar rich fruit bonbon sweets. There’s a little oiliness to the mouthfeel which makes things stretch a long way on the palate, a touch of dry spices at the back of the mouth, all together quite tasty and easy sipping.

Finish. 

Spicy ginger and light honey hangs around for a short-medium duration. The mouth drying spices being the last to fade. 

Adding water. 

Added the smallest drop. The nose becomes slightly more spirity and looses some of the complexity, having a more of a powdered sugar dominance now. The palate looses a lot of intensity and becomes quite watery, the development still goes places, but the oils that once were are lost. The finish is a little sweeter, more corn and less oomph. Don’t water this one, it looses more than it gains. 

Conclusion. 

This is a good session whiskey. It won’t blow your world away, but as a starter dram for a tasting it’s a great palate awakener, and that’s what I would use this whiskey for and will continue to do so until the bottle runs dry. This dram has added complexity and smoothness over the regular Jameson release. 

I bought this.