Whisky Review – Bunnahabhain 12 year old

Bunnahabhain 12 year old
46.3% ABV
Non-chill Filtered
No added colouring
£32.60 from TheGreenWellyStop

My first entry into distillery bottlings of Bunnahabhain. I’ve briefly tried them at Whisky shows before and always enjoyed the experience, but always after quite a few, so it’s nice to finally kick back with a proper dram and time.

Nose.

Rich. Heather honey. Sweet sticky toffee pudding. Gooey. Really gooey! Vanilla. Cinnamon. Light white pepper. Cake mix. It smells jam packed (and of jam) with calories! My sweet tooth is tingling. Boiled sweetened apple and pear pie filling. After some time in the glass there is just the tiniest inkling of something smokey in the background. Burnt fruit! Possibly a tad of sweet cider brandy in the background.

Palate.

Hmmmmm…mmmmm…mmmmmmmm…all of the aromas transfer to the palate, and the higher ABV doesn’t really present itself in a burning way, the mouthfeel is fulfilling, oily and creamy. The vanillas are creamy, the fruits are jammy and the honey sweetness is rich and magnificent. It’s well balanced and just damn brilliant.
I can taste some sherry dark fruitcake stuff going on in the background as well.

Finish.

Fruity jamminess, heather honey, hugging warmth, with a little drying oak.

Adding water.

It doesn’t need water. But with a drop. The nose has lost a little intensity, is more floral and has a little more charred smoke. The palate again, lost more than gained, still very sweet and moreish, but the richness has weakened, a few more sherry notes, but at the expense of the jam and honey thickness of the undiluted. The finish is a little drier. One not to water in my opinion.

Conclusion.

It’s definitely a sweet tooths kind of dram, if you want minerals and smoke and savoury, I don’t find much of that here. This is a total session dram, one to unwind with and savour at the same time. Quality stuff.

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Whisky Review – Ardbeg Auriverdes

Ardbeg Auriverdes
49.9% ABV
Non-chill Filtered
No added colouring
Ardbeg Day special release
£79.99 from MasterOfMalt

Ardbeg Auriverdes is the new Ardbeg Day special limited release for 2014. Auri(Gold)verdes(Green) is a name used to refer to Brazil’s sports teams (including the football team, of course), but in this case it refers to the golden whisky and the iconic Ardbeg green bottle it dwells within. Which is convenient that it’s the World Cup this year, but being not particularly the greatest football fan, it means little to me. The Whisky inside the bottle, well that means more, let’s sniff and sip.

The maturation of this particular Whisky is acheived in American oak casks with heavily charred lids. The effect of which is said to give a mocha coffee flavour effect. Knowing that information I will probably search for such flavour but will try and stay objective!

Nose.

Distinctively Ardbeg. Rich vanilla, light smoke, earthy and hay. The smoke is more leafy bonfire than medicinal peat for me. Quite sweet overall with some meatier savoury background notes. With more intense nosing quite ashy, some brine and tar going on. A touch of stewed apples and berries deep in the background. Brambles. With time in the glass and a cover on, there’s more wet grass and smouldering bonfire. Something chocolate, salted caramel chocolates.

Palate.

That oily, substantial Ardbeg mouthfeel is ever present. Creamy vanilla, sweet peat, some pepper spice. The higher ABV doesn’t bite, it nibbles. Some chewy toffee and honey. Definitely some milk chocolate going on. And some saltiness.

Finish.

Long. Sweetie peatie. Chocolate, vanilla, spicy oak, salt. Then drying out with a touch of cocoa. The dryness stays for ever with a touch of hay.

Adding water.

Small drop in half a dram. The diluted nose has a little flowering bud to add with the brambles now. The palate, now with a little less spicy nibble exudes with jammy fruit flavours, before the chewy vanilla toffee reasserts itself in the development with more intensity. The finish, still long and drying has a hint more chocolatey-ness. A small drop of water gives this dram a lot more depth and increases the enjoyment considerably in my opinion.

Conclusion.

It’s a good solid, tasty dram. Most definitely Ardbeg, with a nice twist to the normal. Easy drinking and very enjoyable indeed.

Massive thanks to Ardbeg for providing a sample.

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New Releases – Wemyss Malts refreshes Single Cask line up

Wemyss Malts refreshes Single Cask line up

I’m a sucker for Wemyss, their single casks are always quite intriguing and very tasty. My favourites include white chocolate torte and chocolate honeycomb. They do exactly what they say on the label! 🙂

Heres the PR for their latest releases, I hope to try them soon:

Edinburgh based boutique Spirits Company Wemyss Malts is delighted to announce the release of a new parcel of single cask single malt Scotch whiskies.

Each cask is a celebration of the unique and contrasting appeals of the different Scotch whisky regions and the latest release covers three of the regions: from Islay, Highlands, and Lowlands. Wemyss whiskies are each named after their natural taste and aroma and the full cask list of this release comprises:

“Apple Basket” – 1997 single cask from Clynelish, Highlands
“Lead on Macduff!” – 2002 single cask from Macduff, Highlands
“The Bosun’s Dram” – 1997 single cask from Bunnahabhain, Islay
“Peat Smoked Herring” -2001 single cask from Bowmore, Islay
“Lemon Zest” – 1998 single cask from Auchentoshan, Lowlands

Each cask has been selected and named by the Wemyss tasting panel, under the watchful eye of industry aficionado Charlie Maclean. There are only a few hundred bottles from each cask and the suggested retail prices range from £65 to £75. These bottlings will be available in selected retailers in the UK, EU and key Asian markets.

William Wemyss, Founder and Managing Director at Wemyss Malts, commented: “We are delighted to bring yet another selection of excellent single casks to the market. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to source high quality single casks to continue to refresh our list with exciting new whiskies, so we are thrilled to present these releases.”

—- End Transmission —-

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Tomatin presents CÙ BÒCAN 1989

NEW PRODUCT: CÙ BÒCAN 1989

Following on from the launch of our standard batch release Cù Bòcan Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky at the end of last year, we are delighted to announce the release of our first limited edition expression for the range.

Casks 37470, 37471 and 37472 have been lurking quietly in Warehouse 9 at Tomatin Distillery since a rare and unintentional production of peated whisky at the distillery on 7th June 1989.

Now the beast has been unleashed in this sweet and smoky rare edition of Cù Bòcan.


VITALS

Available: 1080 bottles available worldwide except USA from 14th April 2014

Price: RRP £199.99 per 70cl bottle

Cask Type: Matured in a Bourbon casks

Strength: Cask strength; 53.2%

TASTING NOTES

NOSE

The initial smoke is light, like distant burning kindling and has a heathery character which quickly gives way for fresh fruits – pear accompanied by citric lime zestand sweet pineapple. After time in the glass it becomes much sweeter with honey, vanilla, coconut and custard. Herbaceous notes of basil and rocket.

PALATE

The smoke and the floral heather notes are more prominent on the palate. Sweet abundance of fresh fruits; orange and grapefruit followed by blackberry and blueberry. Some ginger and clove spice is also hidden in the background.

FINISH

Very smooth with a long lasting earthy, yet sweet smoke.

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Wemyss Malts launches new blended Scotch Whisky – Lord Elcho

Wemyss Malts launches new blended Scotch Whisky – Lord Elcho

Edinburgh based boutique spirits company Wemyss Malts is delighted to announce an addition to its blended Scotch brand, Lord Elcho.

Originally launched in 2012 as a 15 years old blended Scotch, Lord Elcho is now also available without an age statement.

The whisky is named after Wemyss Malts founder’s 18th century ancestor who was a loyal supporter to Bonnie Prince Charlie and led his lifeguards at the Battle of Culloden during the ill-fated Jacobite uprising in 1745. For his part in the uprising, Elcho was stripped of his title and lands and exiled to France, never returning to his native Scotland.

Lord Elcho’s character has been recreated in this new blended Scotch whisky; crafted from a carefully chosen selection of the finest malt and grain whiskies with a high 40% malt whisky content.

The nose on the new whisky is fresh and lively, with notes of fruit salad and fragrant wood shavings. The palate is full and soft, with waves of chewy caramel and a warm spiciness. Its finish is dry and long, with hints of crushed nuts.

William Wemyss, Founder and Managing Director at Wemyss Malts, commented: “The continued growth of Scotch whisky across the world has encouraged us to launch our second entrant into the blended Scotch segment. We expect to bring interest from new export markets with our second Lord Elcho whisky. This excellent whisky is presented in high quality gift packaging.”

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Whisky Review – Rosebank 21 year old – Douglas Laing Director’s Cut series

Rosebank 21 year old – Douglas Laing Director’s Cut series
53.8% ABV
Non-chill Filtered
No added colouring
Distilled March 1992, bottled December 2013
141 bottles released
From cask 10146
£396.00 from TheGreenWellyStop

This is the first Rosebank I’ve had the opportunity to try. I do have some of a recent SMWS bottling, but haven’t tried it yet. I’m really looking forward to this, as Rosebank, being a mothballed (soon to be re-animated) distillery is becoming harder and harder to find.

Talisker (one of my cats!) is currently going mad around the house. If he spills this then I’m going to be very upset!

Nose.

Light. A floral bouquet. Sweet, vanilla and honey. Complex sweetie shop. Icing sugar. Lemons, oranges, various citrus notes, but of the sweet variety. Jelly babies in paper bags! A little time in the glass with a lid on, on first revisited sniff there is a tiny bit of smoke. Charred oak. The vanilla is now more forward and there is a touch of liquorice amongst the sweet shop. More time in the glass and it’s gone back to being confectionary focused. This is one nose that changes an awful lot.

Palate.

Sweet, coconut, vanilla, honey, lemon rind. A blast of pepper spices from the higher ABV. The development then goes into drier oak notes, more citrus fruit notes, more lemon oils now, grassy features are also present, like chewing on some wet grass. With time, the fruit is more juice focused, some light sweet lemon juice, with a touch of pineapple added.

Finish.

Flowers, grass and citrus. Drying out with pencil shavings and old oak. With more time the dryness is less dominant and the finish becomes longer and juicier, with the drying finale having that original bouquet back in mind.

Adding water.

I’m conscious of the delicate nature of this dram and it’s age and it’s cost, so I’m adding the smallest dab of water and giving it 10 mins. On the diluted nose things have got more intense! The floral fruit sweet basket is now just that, integrated into one and levelled up, with an added level of chest warming glow. A very definite richer intensity to the honey notes also, glorious. The palate is now less on the spicy side, and super juiced up. The lemon notes are now sweeter and with a touch of sour, but juicy, big, with subtlety right out the window. The diluted finish continues this theme, juicier, longer, more intense, chest hugging and with a pronounced feel good factor. One for a tiny drop of water without fail to really launch this dram to new levels.

Conclusion.

Being my first Rosebank i didn’t quite know what to expect, I had read about the flavour profile, and in honesty I was wondering if this was going to be a little on the bland side. WRONG! This is a bit of a shy Whisky, without water, it’s good, flavoursome stuff, but it’s merits are hidden away. With a small drop of water it becomes a fountain of juicy pleasure.

Massive thanks to Douglas Laing Co. for providing a sample.

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Ancnoc #LightOnDark tweet tasting (Rutter, Flaughter & Tushkar)

Ancnoc #LightOnDark tweet tasting

Ancnoc have recently released a set of peated expressions, a step away from their normal profile, but change and variation is a good, no, excellent thing.

For these releases we have 3 NAS (not getting into the NAS row – not yet anyway!) expressions all named after various peat cutting tools of which I had no knowledge until now, so excellent learning opportunity here also! :-).

The peating levels of each expression are part of their labelling along with the magic statements. Non-chill Filtered. Natural colouring. Lovely stuff!

Ancnoc Rutter

Peating level – 11ppm
46% ABV
£51.00 at TheGreenWellyStop

Website info:

The Rutter spade is used to size and separate the peat blocks producing a turf that is slow burning. This peat creates less reek and therefore gives the whisky a more fragrant smokiness, in this case, with a PPM of 11.0.

Nose.

Light medicinal peat. Earthy. Moss. Wet grass. Spicy vanilla pods. Green apple. Light pepper. Some floral. A little wet wood. With time more sweetness and floral notes come forward and the peat smoke becomes less medicinal or ‘in your face’ and balances into the nasal crowd. More citrus notes now, and becoming creamier. More custardy. There’s a certain meatiness to the nose now. Very complex and whiffable.

Palate.

Very sweet and light initially. Development goes on to Creamed hay, light apple juice, pepper spice. Quite moreish and chewy. Some nice honey, barley sugar notes, with a little peat fire in the back of the throat. More time and more buttery cream. Like a dairy with a peat fire!

Finish.

Juicy fruits, crisp apples and pears. Drying oak and vanilla spices.

Adding Water.

Small drop added. The nose is less peat focused. The palate while lighter on initial taste, is juicier through the development, and intensifies the peat fire on the tongue. With the juicier nature going into the very very tasty finish, definitely moreish. Lovely stuff.

This is very easy, summery stuff. Complex nose, Very tasty palate, and excellent on the finish with a drop of water.

Ancnoc Flaughter

Peating level – 14.8ppm
46% ABV
£51.00 at TheGreenWellyStop

Website info:

The Flaughter spade is used to remove the top layer of peat which is richer, more rooty and produces more reek. This gives a heavier, smokier flavour to the whisky, in this case, with a PPM of 14.8.

Nose.

Light floral. Lots of honey. Soft and sweet smoke. Waxy apples, pears, green fruit, a little varnish. The nose is very rich and fulfilling. Doesn’t smell like 46%. Considering the slightly higher ppm, it doesn’t have as much reek to my nose. It is very very pleasant and warming. With time in the glass we have more fruit jelly notes, and some confectionary.

Palate.

Very sweet and dry. Some tastier fruit notes, bitter lemon. Lots of thick but dry honey. Peat stack fires are more prominent in the palate than on the nose. Some vanilla custard notes. A little bit of aniseed end development. Quite spicy, some ginger and chilli notes.

Finish.

That aniseed/liquorice note continues into the finish. Sweet peat, hay, dry oak, crusty earthy notes. Dusty dirt. Some serious spiciness as well, quite different.

Adding Water.

Small drop. On the nose. The smoke is a little more out there now. The fruit has taken a slight back step. On the palate, the fruit and sweetness is still right up front, the peat stack is burning slightly hotter, some more juices there, but still quite a dryness present all the way through the experience. The finish is dry, oaky, some spices, but a little more vanilla Creme (Twinkie like) at the end.

Ancnoc Tushkar

Peating level – 15ppm
46% ABV
Swedish Travel Exclusive

Website info:

The Tushkar spade has a long blade that cuts down through the peat, producing a turf with a medium to slow burn. This peat creates and adds a complex but medium smokiness to the whisky, in this case, with a PPM of 15.0.

Nose.

Intensely fruity, lots of green apples up front, sweet, intense honey, thick and richness exudes this nose. Coconut milk. There’s a sweet shop going on here that can be extracted as well. Cola cubes, pineapple cubes, pear drops, sherbert pips. The smoke is very well integrated and almost quiet, but it is there.

Palate.

In a word. Fulfilling. So much fruit and juice, with rich sugars and thick honey. Sweet shop sweets in abundance. Fruit. Apples, pears, some orange juice in there. A real fruit mix explosion. Very well integrated peat, it’s no peat monster, it just has enough smoke to enrich the fruit and make the whole experience.

Finish.

Fruit juices drying out into lovely oaky spiciness and some green grass and just a touch of smoke.

Adding Water.

A small drop. The diluted nose has more sugary dust, confectionary. Lemon citrus and floral notes. The palate reflects this in a very juicy manner, flavours joust coating and exploding, so citrusy and fruity, it’s really lush. Still a little peat wafting around which is very pleasing. The diluted finish continues that enhanced juicy feel. Excellent.

Conclusion.

Well, there was something for everyone here tonight. Something for people who like sweet juicy drams (Rutter), something for if you prefer the drier dram (Flaughter), and something for Sweden (Tushkar).

For me. If they were all available in the UK, then I would be seriously torn between Rutter and Tushkar. And end up getting one of both. But as I would have to choose just one, I would go with Rutter. Don’t get me wrong mind you, all of them are bloody lovely. It’s just my tastes that sends me that way.

I’m going through a serious juicy Whisky phase at the moment, and Rutter and Tushkar hit me well and truly on the flavour spot!

Much Thanks to Ancnoc (Knockdhu distillery) for providing the samples and running the tweet taste.

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