New Release – XOP – XTRA OLD PARTICULAR From Douglas Laing

Announcing The Launch Of
From Douglas Laing

Established in 1948, leading independent Scotch Whisky specialist, Douglas Laing & Co today announce the release of their rare and ‘antique’ aged Single Cask Scotch Whisky range “XOP” – Xtra Old Particular.

Douglas Laing’s XOP carries aged Single Malt and Single Grain Scotch Whiskies from all across Scotland’s Whisky regions and is bottled in a totally natural a style. Meaning XOP bottlings are from only one selected cask, without colouring, without chill-filtration and at natural cask strength.

Launching this November and available from specialist Whisky retailers, some truly “xceptional” bottlings feature in this first batch including a Macallan 26 Years Old, an Invergordon 40 Years Old Grain and a Caol Ila 30 Years Old.

Every attention has been paid in developing the packaging for Douglas Laing’s XOP Single Casks. From the super-premium wooden gift-box to the regionally coloured bottle labels, screen-printed bottle and individually numbered certificate. The team has work tirelessly to ensure the packaging is befitting of the specialist Whiskies it houses.

Says Douglas Laing’s Managing Director Fred Laing: “Our XOP range will carry our best-of–the-best stocks of particularly old and personally selected Single Casks of both Malt and Grain Whiskies which we intend to slowly release into the market. That is one of the real privileges and pleasures to be doing so with casks laid down by my father, Fred Douglas Laing, perhaps with this moment in mind. He would surely recognise the premium qualities in our XOP selection today which he himself demanded back in the 1940s when he founded his eponymous company.

Douglas Laing’s XOP Xtra Old Particular Single Casks will be available from specialist Whisky retailers from November 2014.


Whisky Review – Penderyn Legend

Penderyn Legend
41% ABV
Non chill filtered
£31.22 from MasterofMalt


Light Amber. I would love to know if there is any colouring in this. There is no mention of the lack of colour on the box, so by default the worst is assumed, although this is very light, so if there is any colouring it would be at a minimum.

note confirmed no added colouring. Penderyn should be proud to add this to their packaging. 🙂


Quite harsh. Spirity. Apples, pears, lots of acetone. It’s clearly a young whisky and initially it feels this way. But with a little time, perseverance and oxygen, it changes. After a good 10-15 minutes in the glass, the harsher edges calm down. We have more of a citrus apple note alongside some vanilla sweetness. A little more time and the nose is now quite tangy, sour fruit in the front with some light icing sugar in the background and a touch of sweet coconut. Some herbal elements also. It’s good evolving and engaging stuff, while being very easily accessible.


The non chill filtering really shows. It’s got some lovely oils which coat around the mouth nicely. Quite astringent, the sour fruits coming through backed up with some malty cereal and biscuit. Herbal throat sweets. There is some vanilla sponge cake in the background, with the sweetness making a short appearance in the development. Time in the mouth and there is more creaminess creeping in.


Short to medium. Throat warming. A touch of fizziness, cream, light dry oak notes. Some desiccated coconut.

Adding water.

This can take a good few drops. The nose retains a lot of tarty fruit, but the sweetness of vanilla and Madeira is coming forward more, giving this a cakey style. The palate reflects this entirely, in fact more so, as the sponge cake is really evident, with some icing sugar, a touch of sweet coconut and even jamminess. This is Victoria sponge cake! The finish is sweeter and moreish.


I really quite like this whisky (went back and bought some more – at time of writing this is £23.99 in Morrisons (til November 2nd 2014 – get yer skates on!)), I think it’s a great one for newbies and experienced whisky types alike, it gives a variation of flavours for those wanting to expand experience and a good solid session dram for those who are a little more experienced.


Whisky Review – Machrie Moor Cask Strength (Arran)

Machrie Moor Cask Strength (Arran)
Non Chill Filtered
No added colouring
£49.95 available from MasterOfMalt

The latest release in the Machrie Moor series of peated malts from Arran. This time cask strength! Ooooh!


A lush grass and mossy peat nose. Very crisp and fresh. Maritime, with salty sea air and a touch of tar. Spicy vanilla. Cinnamon. Cardamom. Quite earthy, countryside rich. Some pear drops. Touches of heather honey. A very slight rubber plimsole note. Some lemon citrus. Quite a developmental and complex nose. Changes with every sniff. Some lactic, almost cheesy elements now (in a good way). Now back to briney sea water. Interesting stuff.


Sweet arrival, ABV kicks in a bit, as it subsides there is a mouth filling sweetness of thick honey. The peat delivers some grassy earthy flavour. Vanilla. Chilli warmth. Creamy thick custard. Very oily. Light saltiness.


Creamy. Sweet peat. It is quite numbing from the ABV so think water will aid a bit. Drying oak, a little sawdust. And some earth. A touch of sea salt. Very creamy all the way through a medium-long finish.

Adding water.

A fair slug added. The nose is even more excited now with bigger peat smoke, more saltiness, and the spices the same, with some addition of fruit. Melon and soft fruits a plenty, some apple, lemon, tangerine . Smelling this blind I would swear Islay. The palate is more settled with the lower ABV. At last getting to the citrus fruits, some sweet shop sugars, heather, honey, melon, mango and various ripe fruits. The finish has some oak tannins and soft fruit going for quite a long while. Tails off with touches of cream butter sweets and more honey. The water makes this dram. It needs it and shines with it.


An exciting whisky. Needs time, water and patience. Lots and lots of flavour locked into this cask strength. Dilution is a must and gives so much to the patient whisky drinker. Absolutely brilliant for blind taste tests. A great Xmas present for a whisky drinker who swears by Islay. They will be shocked and surprised, and love it!

Thank you to Arran for providing this review sample.


New Release – Teeling Single Malt limited release

Crazy excited about this one. I have constantly loved the whiskies Teeling have released. No exception with the anticipation over this one!

Teeling Whiskey Single Minded Approach to Expanding Irish Whiskey

Unique bottling of Teeling Single Malt Irish Whiskey is released

The Teeling Whiskey Company, Ireland’s leading Independent Irish whiskey company, has released a new bottling of Single Malt Irish whiskey, one of only a handful of such expressions in the world.

Teeling Single Malt is the third release in the Premium range of Teeling expressions completing their full range of non-aged statement Irish whiskeys. To add a unique depth of character and flavour, Teeling Single Malt consists of aged Malt whiskey up to 23 years old that has been matured in five different wine casks including Sherry, Port, Madeira, White Burgundy and Cabernet Sauvignon. This combination of cask maturation techniques has never been done before in Irish whiskey and creates a truly innovative Irish whiskey bursting with personality.

This special combination of casks creates a very distinctive, rich colour while imparting a vibrant and balanced flavour of dry fruits, citrus, vanilla, spice and cloves. The proprietary maturation and vatting technique produces a very special Irish whiskey of distinctive character while still being remarkably easy to drink. Like all the Teeling whiskeys, it is bottled at 46% with no chill filtration allowing for all the natural flavours of the whiskey to be retained.

Jack Teeling, founder of the Teeling Whiskey Company, commented, “We are delighted to be able to release another expression of Teeling whiskey that helps expand consumer choice and challenge existing perceptions of Irish whiskey. Our new Teeling Single Malt proves Irish whiskey can have big bold flavours that appeal to Single Malt drinkers without losing its distinctive Irish identity.”

The Teeling family whiskey heritage dates back to distilling in Dublin in 1782 and Walter Teeling, who set up a distillery in Marrowbone Lane in the Liberties. Jack and his brother Stephen, Sales & Marketing Director, are just the latest Generation of Teelings involved in the Irish whiskey industry and have broken ground on their new Dublin distillery in Newmarket, Dublin 8 which is scheduled to come on stream in early 2015.


Whisky Review – Glenmorangie Taghta

Glenmorangie Taghta
46% ABV
Non Chill Filtered
£64.75 available from MasterOfMalt

Taghta. Gaelic for ‘chosen’. This is the whisky which was decided upon by many Glenmorangie fans via the Cask Masters selection programme. Votes were cast over an 18 month period on many aspects of this new release. From the initial cask selection, the packaging, name and release location. The chosen one is a Glenmorangie finished in ex-Manzanilla casks.


A predominantly fruity and floral nose. Baked oranges and crisp apples. Some light white grapes and a touch of plum jam. Some trademark honeysuckle floral notes, with a backdrop of honey. Hints of pepper and ginger.


The 46% and non-chill filtration really helps the palate of this (and any) dram. It would be glorious to experience this on the regular 10 year old bottling (hint hint :)).
A warming mixed fruit jam arrival, followed by a little warmth from the extra alcohol content. Touches of crystallised ginger. Then we have waves of honey and fruit interchanging, a touch of citrus sour here and there, with the occasional hint at sherry fruits, raisin & grapes. Some reminders of fruit jelly sweets (haribo) in the late development.


A spicy fruit jam finish. Oranges, peel and citrus continues with some drying oak and a touch of sherry rounding off the experience. Chest hugging warmth completes the end game.

Adding water.

A few drops added. Mmmm. The nose has more of a wine element to it now. White wine grapes (Chardonnay), a touch of light sultana, less of the spice or floral. The palate is still full of fruit, it’s a touch drier now in development, with less of the citrus sour. Some additional fizzy sweets (refreshers) come about end development with the finish slightly shorter and drier. Personally I prefer without water, but it does give a different perspective and a variation/alter-ego on this dram.


There was a lot of separation over cask B and cask C (the final chosen cask) in the blogger sphere. I was quite tied between the two and did edge towards C in the end (sorry!). I kind of wish I still had samples to do another comparison. But I do like this whisky, it’s not a sherry monster, it’s not a winesky (like Glenmorangie Companta was), it’s somewhere in the middle, unique, and well worth a gander.

Thank you to Glenmorangie for providing this review sample.


Whisky Review – The Ardmore Legacy

The Ardmore Legacy
40% ABV
~£30.00 available from supermarket chains

I wrote my notes for Ardmore Traditional Cask over a week ago, thoroughly enjoyed it. So it’s with a level of concern that I am going into this review/note tasting session, as with the lower ABV and chill filtration I’m unsure how much the previous sippage is going to influence my thoughts. I’m hoping I’ve waited long enough to be impartial, and I will not reference my Traditional Cask notes until I finish, and do a little side by side end comparison.


Sweet, smoky heather honey. A touch of spirit in there. Pear drops. Warm sugar. Marmalade. A touch of raisin, pepper and cinnamon. The smoke is of twigs burning with some wet grass trying to ignite, with some oak char. Time in the glass results in the more sugary and floral elements coming forward. A nice pleasant smoky highland nose.


Reasonably sweet. Honey, brown sugar, some peat sweetness. Some apple and pear, green fruits. A touch of oak spices, touch of pine. It’s very easy to drink, quaffable, session dram stuff.


Sweet peaty sugar drops in the finish, which is short to middling in duration. Drying out with a touch of oak, and the smokiness hanging around at the back of the throat.

Adding water.

I’m only adding the slightest drop in this one, it’s quite well diluted from the bottle. More floral on the nose now. The palate has more of a sugar forefront with some of the peaty elements retracting to later development with less intensity, the spices also lessen, with the honey notes taking full flight. The finish is slightly shorter with less smoke and more sweet. I would avoid water unless your not enjoying the smoke.


This is a good beginner whisky for someone wanting to experiment from light, floral, honey highland Whiskies into more smoky grounds. It will certainly give someone a great idea as to if they are going to enjoy peated whisky, in a gentle way.


Ok, so I’ve had to pour a wee spot of my bottle of Traditional Cask to do a side by side. I’ll make it brief. There is a clear reason some whiskies are 46%. The non chill filtration gives an oilier, more fulfilling flavour as the liquid naturally spreads more evenly in the mouth. The additional alcohol transposes more richness of nose and depth of palate. Now, I don’t want to be unfair as to the direction Ardmore is taking here, I’m sure there are excellent reasons, but I personally prefer Ardmore Traditional Cask and I will be buying some to enjoy in the future. Both are perfectly good whiskies. It’s just an opinion.

This whisky is replacing the Ardmore Traditional Cask. Reviewed here.

Thank you to Ardmore for providing this review sample.


Whisky Review – Ardmore Traditional Cask

Ardmore Traditional Cask
46% ABV
Non chill filtered
£25.00 available from Whisky Galore at The Green Welly Stop


Sweet peat smoke. Balanced between bonfire and medicinal. A touch of TCP, but not much. Buckets of rich vanilla. White pepper. There is a pleasant youth to this which combines really nicely with the smoke and spices. Fruit is placed in the background. Dry dark fruits. Raisin. A touch of sweet cherry. The sweetness combined with these elements give quit a scrumptious tasty nose demanding a sip.


Sweet! Vanilla. A hit of alcohol and spice boost of youth. Past this the richness and oily mouthfeel takes over. Sweet turns to peaty earthy damp grass notes. And that oily mouthfeel transfers it well throughout every extremity. Through the later development there is a touch of dark bitterness to the now developed caramel flavours.


The finish retains sweetness and the touch of bitterness. The bitterness fades and were left with dark brown caramelised sugar and treacle toffee with the sweet peat lingering in the background.

Adding water.

A small splash. The nose now exhibits some ashy coal and more bonfire smoke. There is a added touch of heather honey and floral nature. The nose has also some added depths, the smoke is now quite breathtaking. A touch of Parma violets as well! The palate also has more sweet shop confectionary nature to it. Floral sweets, and some candy cough twist notes, a touch of aniseed. The finish is longer, less bitter than the undiluted, continuing the aniseed and liquorice themes, with the barley sugar and sweet shop boiled sweets all going through with the chest warming peaty smoke. This dram explodes with complexity and is quite amazing with a touch of water.


This really is an excellent value for money dram. It’s a lovely complex session dram. Excellent bang for ones buck! It’s younger, and wears that youth very well, lots of great, sweet barley and lighter peat smoke (no competition to Islay, but a great starter for those not too much into their peat – or a nice balancer for someone who’s had a little too much smoke). I’m dead impressed, wish I’d tried this one sooner, but will stock up now that it is discontinued. If you like this whisky, or have an inkling you may, you would be silly not to stock up now. Before its gone forever…

This whisky has been discontinued and replaced with the Ardmore Legacy. Reviewed here.