Winning! BenRiach Distillery Company Ltd wins ten medals including two “Golds” in the 2013 International Wine and Spirits Competition

BenRiach Distillery Company Ltd wins ten medals including two “Golds” in the 2013 International Wine and Spirits Competition

THE BenRiach Distillery Company has won 10 medals at this year’s International Wine and Spirits Competition, with BenRiach, GlenDronach and Glenglassaugh expressions all scooping major awards.

It was gold for two BenRiachs – the 16YO and the Authenticus 25YO.

In addition, there were three Silver Outstanding Medals – for BenRiach 12YO Arumaticus Fumosus, GlenDronach 12YO and BenRiach 17YO Solstice.

Four silver medals followed – for GlenDronach Cask Strength Batch 2, GlenDronach 21YO Parliament, GlenDronach 18YO Allardice and Glenglassaugh Evolution.

And completing the ten awards was a Bronze Medal for Glenglassaugh Revival.

Founded in 1969, the International Wine and Spirit Competition is one of the most prestigious in the world. It exists to award excellence to wines and spirits worldwide, encouraging consumer and trade recognition for quality products.

BenRiach’s Sales Director Alistair Walker said: “We are thrilled to win these awards, especially as they are spread across all three of our brands, and winning two gold medals is particularly satisfying.

“The 16 year-old is a really nice, smooth single malt – of all the whiskies we produce this specific expression probably best captures the ‘house-style’ of BenRiach – a real classic Speysider!
“And our full-bodied 25YO Authenticus, formerly available as a 21YO, continues to get rave reviews. Bottled at 46%, non chill filtered and at natural colour, the peated malted barley produces a unique, smoky, phenolic taste that’s very unusual for a Speyside malt.
“These are two sublime malts…perfect for toasting the health of a new baby Prince and his proud parents!”

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Whisky Review – Benromach 10 year old

Benromach 10 year old
43% ABV
£31.09 from MasterOfMalt

Nose.

Quite smoky, bonfire. Salty brine. Vanilla. Light cream toffees. Honey. Apples. Quite hot on the nose.

Palate.

Vanilla. Light sweet peat. Honey. Creamy mouthfeel. Light and creamy. Some cereal and biscuit notes.

Finish.

Vanilla. Some salt. Smoke lingers. Light easy going biscuity malt.

Adding water.

Tiny drop added. The nose is more medicinal peat smoke now. Layers of vanilla, honey and light fruits are easier to identify with some pineapple coming into play. On the palate. Fruitier, still light and with a hint of peat sweet, but the fruit is more up front, with a honey vanilla development. Finish is still lovely and light, vanilla, honey, and a tiny amount of smoke.

Conclusion.

A very different speyside dram. Another good introductory dram for beginners who haven’t experienced peat, with a drop of water that peatiness can be toned out and it wouldn’t be wasted that way if the beginner didn’t like the peat smoke effect. It’s very light, no harshness there, nice and smooth for a 10 year old malt. It’s good stuff!

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Whisky Review – Bowmore 15 year old Darkest

Bowmore 15 year old Darkest
Sherry Finished Islay Malt
43% ABV
£46.17 from MasterofMalt

Nose.

Bonfires! Dark fruits. Raisins, sultanas. Sherry influence is prominent on the nose, the smoky peat bonfires are on the backburner(!). But they are there and a very pleasant addition they are! A little time in the glass though and they switch places with the bonfires coming forward and the fruit being scorched in the embers. It keeps changing. Very intriguing. Definitely some coffee in the mix. More time in the glass and the sherried fruit is dominant again. It’s a switcheroo of a dram!

Palate.

Quite a bit of sweet fruit, raisins, sultanas are here up front and not a lot of Islay, not a bad thing as I will conclude. But if your a smoke head then this may be a little disappointing. The development goes onto a little pepper, more chewy coffee with the fruit. A little chocolate pops up and a little peaty earthiness and damp burning leaves.

Finish.

Quite long. Damp grass. The peat earthiness is there all along. Some fruit stays for a little while. But peat and smoke of the bonfire variety lingers.

Adding water.

Not putting a lot in. The nose is more about the fruit and sherried malt now. Bonfires in the background again. The nose is lighter and more pleasant to smell with the addition of water. Lighter fruits are coming about as well. Some orange and citrus added to the mix. The palate has lost a little in the way of mouthfeel (understandable), but the tastes are easier to enjoy with the citrus notes joining in the enhanced fruity taste mix. The finish is much the same, long with fruity smoke piles. It’s worth a small drop of water in this one, though it does make the dram go down very very easily!

Conclusion.

I think this is a very pleasant. Easy, yet complex dram. A very good introducer to someone who likes sherried/speyside whiskies or a beginner, who hasn’t experienced Islay yet. It’s not one of the big Islay experiences, but its a nice introduction and definitely a nice variation for someone like me who is a bit of a sherry head wanting an alternative experience.

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Whisky Review – An Cnoc. Peter Arkle. ‘Bricks’

An Cnoc. Peter Arkle. ‘Bricks’
46% ABV
More details to come.

Colour.

Amber -1 I would say. Knowing An Cnoc I would expect this is natural coloured.

Nose.

Initially plastic like, chemical even. Wonder if its the bottle it was in. Letting it sit for a bit. The harsher smells dissipated after 15-20 mins. Leaving a thick dark fruit jam nose. Quite malty with vanilla and a little rum and raisin.

Palate.

Sweeter than the nose suggests. Sweet honey malt. Very sugary indeed. Vanilla definitely. A minimal fruitiness (rum and raisins) behind the waves of sugar.

Finish.

Sweetness with old fashioned icing sugar coated boiled sweets. Drying into some still sweet oak chips at the back of the tongue. Quite strange because of the simultaneous sweet and dry.

Adding water?

A few drops into my half a dram. Becoming nice and cloudy. Non-chill filtered goodness. Nose becomes creamier with a little more identifiable fruit. Apples. Pears. Vanilla is more prominent. But then so is the sugar. It’s a baked sugar encrusted fruit tart. On the palate the sugar is dulled in favour of more malty cereal notes. The finish still has all the sweet and dry going on. Definitely one for me with water. I (and I do have a serious sweet tooth) definitely prefer this with water. It’s sugar dominance without was a little sickly for me.

Conclusion.

I’ve found this an intriguing dram. I don’t think I’ve ever tried a Whisky as sugar coated as this before and initially that did disappoint me. With the addition of water it becomes better balanced and more rounded with other smells and tastes to locate.

Thanks to An Cnoc for the review sample. Much appreciated.

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Whisky Review – Glenlivet Alpha

Glenlivet alpha.
50% abv (nothing else known at this time)
Around £100 if you can find it!

Colour.

Amber +2. I would assume no added colourings.

Nose.

Rich tropical fruits. Pineapple rich. Tooty fruity. Juicy fruit chewing gum. Apples. Vanilla. A little oaky age in there. Maybe a touch of varnish or pear drops! Lots of boiled old school sweeties.

Palate.

Fruity sweetness covers the tongue and envelopes the mouth. Initial burn gives a little sweet and sour effect but soon subsides into that fruit fuelled glory. Time in the mouth just makes the dram chewable and thoroughly integrated into taste heaven. A very easy drinker considering the alcohol level.

Finish.

Drying fruit salad sweets. Some oak chips and dust. Fruit layers come through in the medium-long finish. Interchanging between fruit and oak as time goes on. Very smooth going down.

Adding water?

This dram is pretty easy going out of the bottle. But need to try what water will do for it. Will put in a few drops into my half a dram. On the nose the sting is lowered which gives more depth to the fruit station. More citrus. Fruits are more stewed. Lemons. Grapefruit. Ripe pineapple. On the palate the heat is reduced and the fruit explosion is higher in the megaton dept. The oaky sawdust age is more evident also giving an excellent balance. The finish continues to interchange between fruit and oak and is just very beautiful. Very enjoyable. Want more! A lovely mistiness has entered the dram. Non-chill filtered then! 🙂
A little more water added causes the fruit to diminish and the old oak sawdust effect to shine. So it’s a matter of taste to how much water. For me. A little water. Not a lot! Let the fruit come through and balance remain.

Conclusion.

Initially I was very dumbfounded by the idea of a bottle coming out at the near 100 quid range which had no info whatsoever about it. In honesty my experience with the blind tasting of the 12 blends of Easter did give me more of an interest in the whole unknown nature of Whisky tasting and that made me more open to the idea of trying this with that zero info element. I have to say its been very interesting so far. I haven’t done a lot of reading about this dram or followed the info provided so far online/Facebook. But now I’ve made my judgement I will follow it and see what info comes out and how wrong I am! 🙂 So. Was it worth it. Yeah, I’d say it was worth a go! I did get a sample pack through from Chivas for this and I would like to thank them wholeheartedly for allowing me to test and be a part of this experiment. It’s been great fun. I did buy a bottle in as well! :-). I guess as far as maturation is concerned I would either go with bourbon casks. Possibly an older refill Whisky. Or of course it could be a mix of old and newer. Refill+first fills! :-). Whatever it is its a tasty dram.

My thanks go to the Glenlivet for including me on the alpha tweet taste.

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Whisky Review – Bally delicious blended malt.

Bally delicious blended malt.
23 year old. Single cask.
54%

£59.95 from Master of Malt

Colour. Light amber.

Nose.

Strong pepper and spice. Baked apple. Cinnamon. Complex oak spice. Not much in the way of smoke. Orange peel. Marmalade. Sat in the glass for 10-15 minutes. Rich oak coming through and citrus peel. Some floral. A very complex and compelling nose.

Palate.

Hot pepper. Spicy. Then fruit in the development. With chilli heat. Complex fruits. Exotic even. Pineapple. Oily mouthfeel coats everywhere. Very chewable.

Finish.

Drying spices and oak influence. Vanilla. Old style chewy fruit sweets. Fruit salads that’s it. Some peach long after tasting and subsequent drinking of water! Nice and warming going down.

Adding water?

It’s quite high abv so adding a few drops into my half a dram. Nose becomes increasingly floral. Still has the complexity of the wood spices. But lacking some of the fruitiness. Some Parma violets coming through now. Lesson heat but still has a chilli bite. There’s more sugary elements and less of the fruit seen before. Sweet shops. The finish has a little more mustiness and saltiness.

Conclusion.

A cracking deal this. Good age gives damn good complexities and that means its a great sipping dram to explore. Thoroughly enjoyable.

Thanks to MoM – Review sample provided by Master of Malt

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Whisky Review – St. Isidore

St. Isidore.
NAS.
41.4%.

£59.95 from Master of Malt

Colour. Gold.

Nose.

Intense and busy. Seaside coastal. Smokey brine. Something sherried in the background. Left in the glass for 10-15 mins I find it gets less intensive with more fruit coming through. Some creamed plummy jam. Bananas. Smoke and saltiness subsided but in background. It’s as if the fruit/smoke intensity swaps place with time. Creamy toffee sweets.

Palate.

Oily warmth. Fruit and cream compote. Some summer berries. Black pepper. Toffee caramel.

Finish.

Medium. Rich fruit Toffee chews. Ends with smokey spiced wood chips.

Adding water?

A small drop into the last half of my dram. More coastal smoke becomes evident in the nose revitalising the original assessment. Some more buttery notes are apparent also. Palate is better integrated with the lesser alcohol. A creamier texture and very chewable. The finish is smoother and better balanced. Personal opinion. A little water in this dram goes a long way.

Conclusion.

A very special blend indeed. Has a lot going for it. Some good complexities and variations makes it both an easygoing dram but also one to challenge the senses with.

Thanks to MoM for review sample of St. Isidore

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Whisky Review – Boxes Blend

Boxes blend.
NAS.
40.9%

£55.95 from Master of Malt

Colour. Gold.

Nose.

Light and spicy with some peat smoke hanging around. Toffied Bananas.

Palate.

Creamy, some nice oils to the mouthfeel, easy, fruity development moving onto grass and hay.

Finish.

Short-medium and dry. Very dry hay/straw. With some warming oak spice.

Adding water.

Added a tiny drop. Nose opens a little providing more fruit variation. A definitely more creamy nose with toffee apples overriding the previous banana notes. Peat smoke subsides with that drop of water. Palate is less oily and feels more integrated with less definition in the development. Finish is drier and more grassy. Personally would I add water. No. I prefer the layered oily nature of the undiluted dram.

Thanks to MoM – Review sample provided by Master of Malt

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Macallan batch 3 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company) – Review

Macallan batch 3
That Whisky Boutique-y Company
50cl – £66.95 (Master of Malt)
43.4%

Nose

It’s got that Macallan character in a good way. Lots of toffee. Thick spicy fruitcake with rich dark fruity joy. Spices aloud, cinnamon dominating. With time sat in the glass I get more intensive fruit layering evident. It’s one that you can have sat for a long time, revisiting the nose, different every time, and just begging to be drank, but still has so much to give before hitting the tastebuds.

Palate

Surprisingly delicate. Scrummy plums and prunes hit first along with that lovely spicy fruitcake heaven. Spices meander around gently. Rich malt. There’s a creamy texture to the mouth feel which just makes my mouth salivate even more.

Finish

A medium long finish. Dry, leaving those dark fruits, some sawdust, a little mustiness (in a good way), and creamy leftovers.

Adding water?

I added minuscule water due to its already low strength. On the nose the fruit is toned down, but exposes more age, developing more oak notes and sawdust. Other fruits become forefront, with stewed apples and pears coming into play. Very complex. The palate increases the varied fruit compote and is a joy to explore. The finish is slightly lighter and creamier.

Personally I would be very sparing with adding water, but it is worth the trip. Just don’t drown it!

Conclusion

A relaxing, complicated, but easy and enjoyable experience. A loving dram. It embraces the soul and says your worth it! An adventure of an exploratory dram, well worth chilling out to. I’d love to know its actual age!

Would I buy it? I already have! Lol.

Available at Master of Malt
Also available as a dram for £6.32

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