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Whiskey news from around the world

Game of Thrones House Lannister Lagavulin 9 Yr Old

Game of Thrones House Lannister Lagavulin 9 Yr Old Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky 46% ABV $50 Website What the Distillery Says Lagavulin is one of the most legendary single malt brands and has been crafted on the shores of Islay for more than 200 years – mirroring the meticulous calculation and tenacity employed by …

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The post Game of Thrones House Lannister Lagavulin 9 Yr Old first appeared on Whisk(e)y Apostle: Proselytizing the way of the malt.

Review / Ardbeg Scorch (Committee Edition)


This whisky is the latest single malt for the Islay distillery's annual Ardbeg Day bottling, which celebrates the final day of the Feis Ile festival on the island. The 2021 edition is named Ardbeg Scorch and is inspired by a mythical dragon that is said to live in one of the dunnage warehouses at the distillery. The whisky has been matured in heavily charred American oak ex-bourbon barrels. This heavy char makes the wood crack and is often known as 'alligator char' as it looks like reptile skin (or dragon skin in this case ...). The Scorch (Committee Edition) is bottled at the natural cask strength of 51.7% ABV. It was available exclusively to members of the Ardbeg Committee but has now sold out.

However, there will also be another version available for general release, which is bottled at 46% ABV. Ardbeg Scorch will be available via specialist whisky retailers, the distillery shop and Ardbeg Embassies globally from May 27. A bottle will cost £100. For further information, please visit www.ardbeg.com.

The Ardbeg distillery is located on the southern coast of Islay and was founded in 1815 by John MacDougall, although records have distilling on the site as far back as 1794. The recent history shows numerous changes of ownership from the 1950s right through the fallow period of the 1980s and 90s, until The Glenmorangie Company (now Moet Hennessy) took over in 1997. This signalled the rebirth of Ardbeg. The distillery has an annual production of just 2.4 million litres per year and boasts an award-winning visitor centre and The Ardbeg Committee, which has over 100,000 members worldwide.

Our tasting notes

The colour is deep gold and the nose is sweet, spicy and peaty. Aromas of heather honey, golden syrup and cinder toffee mingle with a bonfire-like peat that has elements of charcoal ash, damp moss and seaweed. Then comes a big hit of white pepper and wood spice with a late floral aroma of honeysuckle and twist of grapefruit. 

On the palate this whisky follows a similar path - sweet and juicy at first, then smoky and spicy before everything melts together very nicely. The sweetness has a confected and old fashioned sweet shop feel. It is full of cinder toffee, butterscotch, honey lozenges, fruity boiled sweets and candy canes. Then comes the smoke almost immediately after. This has a burnt biscuit-like quality and then becomes ashy, hot and drying. This is reminiscent of charcoal embers and coal tar soap and has a definite salinity to it. This tends towards damp seaweed and coastal moss.

The spices increase with time - first come a good pinch of white pepper and fresh green chilli, and this is followed by developing woody baking spices. A further note of gingerbread also appears late on, along with that twist of grapefruit zest from before.

The finish is long, warming and quite ashy. This gives a delicious drying quality but with an underlying sweetness. Notes of fresh honeycomb and candy floss are particularly evident, along with a hint of slightly tart redcurrants. The punchy peat smoke grips and holds on to the tastebuds.

What's the verdict?

Ardbeg Scorch packs a peaty punch and we would not expect anything else to be honest. But it also has plenty of depth and a delicious confected sweetness that marries together well. The extra charred casks seem to have exaggerated the peat smoke and vice versa. 

Scorch should keep the fanatical Ardbeg fans happy while also showing any new drinkers attending any forthcoming Ardbeg Day events exactly what the Islay distillery is all about. Neither will be disappointed we think. Hopefully the lower 46% ABV version that is on wider release maintains the power of both the smoke and the sweet characteristics.


Inbox / The Week's Whisky News (April 30, 2021)



Welcome to Inbox, our weekly round up of whisky news and PR material that has found its way in to our WFE email. It was created as we cannot write full articles or do justice to every piece received. It features items from around the world of whisky and is published by us each Friday. Within Inbox we aim to write a few lines detailing each press release/piece of news/PR event that we have received and provide links, where possible, for you to find out further information. 

Here is the round-up of this week's news ...

________

 
Clynelish
The north Highland distillery of Clynelish has announced the release of a special single malt to celebrate the opening of its brand new redesigned visitor centre. The Clynelish 'Four Corners of Scotland' 16 years old has been matured in American white oak ex-bourbon hogsheads and is bottled at the natural cask strength of 50.6% ABV. There are just 3,000 bottles available and they will be exclusive to the new visitor centre. Each bottle will cost £195. The new distillery experience is the second to open as part of Diageo's 'Four Corners of Scotland' programme for their famous Johnnie Walker brand. Clynelish will be the brand's 'Highland home' and joins the already reimagined Glenkinchie distillery (Lowlands). These will also be joined by Cardhu (Speyside) and Caol Ila (Islay) in time. All four single malts feature heavily in the Johnnie Walker range of whiskies.
 
 Glenallachie 
The Speyside distillery of Glenallachie have announced a new series of limited edition single malts and the first three whiskies in that series.  The Wine Cask Series sees whiskies matured in ex-wine barriques sourced from France, Italy and Spain for its first batch. These were hand selected by Billy Walker, the owner and Master Blender for Glenallachie. Initial maturation was in American oak ex-bourbon barrels before a two year finishing period in each wine barrel.
The Grattamacco Wine Cask Finish 11 years old has been finished in French oak casks that have previously held organic Super Tuscan wine from the Grattamacco winery in the Bolgheri area of Tuscany. The Sauternes Wine Cask Finish 12 years old has been finished in French oak casks that have previously held Sauternes dessert wine from the Bordeaux region of France. The Rioja Wine Cask Finish has been finished in Spanish oak casks that have previously held the wine from the famous Rioja region of Spain.
The three whiskies are all released at 48% ABV and are of natural colour and non chill-filtered. They will be available through selected specialist whisky retailers globally. There are 6,000 bottles of each expression. Prices are - Grattamacco Wine Cask Finish £59, Sauternes Wine Cask Finish £61 and Rioja Wine Cask Finish £64.


Glenmorangie
The north Highland distillery of Glenmorangie have announced a premium limited edition single malt - the Glenmorangie Sonoma-Cutrer Reserve 25 years old. The whisky, which is described as one of the brand's 'most rare and unique creations', has seen a long 15 year finishing period in ex-Chardonnay casks from California. These were sourced by Dr. Bill Lumsden, the Director of Whisky Creation at Glenmorangie, from the famous Sonoma-Cutrer winery in the Sonoma Valley region. Only 1,000 bottles are available and these are bottled at the natural cask strength of 55.7% ABV. Each bottle will cost £1,750/ $2,445 US. 

"I can almost taste the sunshine ripening the Californian grapes in our richly delicious Glenmorangie Sonoma-Cutrer Reserve. Finished for 15 years in a small batch of these casks, which we have never used before at Glenmorangie, makes this single malt is an absolute one-off."Dr. Bill Lumsden.



Loch Lomond 
The Loch Lomond distillery have revealed the release of the Loch Lomond 45 years old, which will be the first in the three-part The Remarkable Stills Series. The series will celebrate the Highland distillery's unique straight necked still with a trilogy of rare single malt bottlings.  The Loch Lomond 45 years old was distilled in 1973 and was matured for most of its life in American oak ex-bourbon casks. It was then transferred for a one year finishing period in to a single first-fill ex-Oloroso sherry cask. There are just 200 individually numbered bottles and these are presented in a premium glass decanter complete with a copper debossed plaque. This is housed in an oak casket designed to show off the shape of the straight necked still.  The Loch Lomond 45 years old is bottled at the natural cask strength of 42.2% ABV and is both non chill-filtered and of natural colour. Each bottle will cost £3,450/ $4,790 US.
  
 
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Game of Thrones Six Kingdoms Mortlach 15 Yr Old

Game of Thrones Six Kingdoms Mortlach 15 Yr Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky 46% ABV $95-$150 Website What the Distillery Says This Mortlach Single Malt Scotch Whisky that has been aged for 15 years, is presented in a metallic gold canister that features an intricate pen and ink drawing of the Three-Eyed Raven as seen …

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The post Game of Thrones Six Kingdoms Mortlach 15 Yr Old first appeared on Whisk(e)y Apostle: Proselytizing the way of the malt.

Review / Tamnavulin Sherry Cask Edition

 This whisky formed part of a relaunch for the then little-known Speyside distillery of Tamnavulin in 2016. Prior to that very little from the distillery was available outside of the independent bottling scene. The Sherry Cask Edition sits in the core range of single malts alongside the Double Cask, a travel retail exclusive Tempranillo Finish, a series of limited edition vintages dating back to 1970 and three wine cask finished whiskies featuring ex-Cabernet Sauvignon, ex-Grenache and ex-Pinot Noir barrels. This Sherry Cask Edition has been matured in American white oak ex-bourbon casks before a finishing period in three different types of ex-sherry cask. It is released with no age statement.

The Tamnavulin distillery is located in the hamlet of Tomnavoulin and sits on the banks of the River Livet near Ballindalloch. It was opened in 1966 by the Tamnavulin-Glenlivet Distillery Company, a subsidiary of Invergordon Distillers Ltd. The name of the distillery translates as 'the mill on the hill' from local Gaelic. Tamnavulin was closed for 12 years between May 1995 and July 2007. It was reopened by Whyte & Mackay who remain as the owners. The distillery has a large capacity of 4 million litres a year with most be allocated for blending contracts. The Distillery Manager is Joanne Reaveley. 

The Tamnavulin Sherry Cask Edition is bottled at 40% and is widely available in the UK in both supermarkets and specialist retailers alike. A bottle should cost around the £32-£35 mark, although it can also occasionally be found on offer.

Our tasting notes

The colour is a deep amber and the nose is immediately fruity and sweet. Distinct aromas of green apple and pear mingle with others of muscovado sugar, dark dried fruit (think of raisin and sultana especially) and warming spice (imagine cinnamon and gingerbread in particular. There are also hints of milk chocolate and malted biscuits.

On the palate this whisky is soft, gentle and rich. The green fruits from the nose lead the way and give a lovely freshness. These notes are supported by those of caramel, vanilla extract and brown sugar - this gives an initial feeling reminiscent to toffee apples. Then comes the malty note and this is definitiely more prominent and gripping than on the nose. The maltiness adds structure and other characteristics seem to latch on to it. This is especially true for some delicious warming spice and dried fruit notes - think of juicy sultanas, brandy soaked raisins and candied orange peel mixed with ginger cookies, cinnamon sticks and a grind of white pepper. The combination is reminiscent of a good old fashioned fruit cake.

The finish is a little on the short side. The green fruit, dried fruit and sweeter notes are gone quickly and this leaves the more robust malt and warming spices to play. A late hint of apricot jam comes through, which is both unexpected and enjoyable.

What's the verdict?

This Tamnavulin Sherry Cask Edition is a lovely, gentle and easy drinking whisky. It has some lovely characteristics coming from both the distillery spirit and those three types of ex-sherry cask. It is no 'sherry bomb' or 'sherry monster', but displays some deliciously subtle aromas and flavours. 

The single malt would be a great way to introduce someone to the sherry cask matured genre of Scotch whisky without giving them anything too heavy. Very nice and offers plenty for the money. It is great to see Tamnavulin starting to be more available too. We cannot wait to sample some of the other expressions.


Blood Oath Pact No. 7

Blood Oath Pact No. 7 Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Sauternes casks 49.3% ABV $100 Website We would like to thank Luxco and BYRNE PR for sending us samples to review. What the Blender Says Lux Row Distillers is launching Blood Oath Pact 7 Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. Finished in Sauternes casks, Pact 7 …

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The post Blood Oath Pact No. 7 first appeared on Whisk(e)y Apostle: Proselytizing the way of the malt.

Review / Talisker Xpedition Oak 43 years old


This new whisky is the oldest ever single malt to be released by the Talisker distillery from the Scottish isle of Skye. The Talisker Xpedition Oak 43 years old has been created from just 10 casks, with all being filled in the late 1970s. These have yielded just 1,830 bottles in total - a reference to the year that the distillery was founded. The whisky was finished for a short period in casks made from oak staves that travelled 3,264 miles across the Atlantic Ocean on the yacht of explorer James Aitken when he was taking part in The Atlantic Challenge. A piece of stave is included within the each presentation box.

Talisker was founded in 1830 by two local brothers, Hugh and Kenneth MacAskill, and is located in the hamlet of Carbost on the western coast of Skye. Talisker is currently owned by Diageo and has an annual production capacity of 3.3 million litres. Worldwide sales have risen by over 140% in the last decade and it is now safely within the Top 10 for worldwide single malt sales. Despite its remote location it is also one of the most visited distilleries in Scotland with over 60,000 visitors per year. 

The Talisker Xpedition Oak 43 years old is bottled at the natural cask strength of 49.3% ABV and will be available in specialist and luxury retailers in selected global markets - these include Australia, China, Europe, Singapore, Taiwan and the USA. A bottle will cost £3,500/ $4,860 US.

Our tasting notes

The colour is deep gold and the nose is highly aromatic. First come aromas of cinder toffee and green apple, followed by golden syrup and candle wax. Underneath are further aromas of cedarwood, delicate warming spices and something savoury - this is most reminiscent of old leather and dry Autumn leaves. A final hint of bitter orange oil and black pepper round things off.

On the palate this whisky is very expressive and vibrant for something of this age. It is full bodied and feels viscous but with an instant peppery heat. As this spikiness fades, other notes are allowed through. These include plenty of golden syrup, heather honey and toffee to begin with. These are followed by notes of stewed apple, milk chocolate and a hint of saltiness. The combination is reminiscent of mildly salted caramel.

Underneath, and underpinning everything, is that savoury quality from the nose. This has the old leather and Autumn leaf-like feel again, but combines beautifully with the warming wood and baking spices - think of the cedarwood again, toasted oak, cinnamon and a pinch of powdered ginger. Late notes of candle wax and juicy tropical fruits (imagine peach and pineapple especially) add even further depth and complexity.

The finish is deliciously long and warming. The savoury notes accentuate everything - the sweetness, the fruitiness and those tropical notes - and make the finish seem even longer. A lingering peppery and gingerbread-like warmth lingers ever longer. Truly luxurious.

What's the verdict?

Even in our line of work and with our blogging history, we do not get to sample whiskies like this Talisker every day. This 43 years old is exquisite. It does not have the punch of younger or no age statement expressions, but it has a sophistication and complexity that only comes with long maturation in good oak casks. 

The Talisker Xpedition Oak 43 years old is nearly as old as we are and is clearly not a 'whisky for everyone' due to the price. But it is a whisky for someone and we hope they appreciate and enjoy it, rather than putting it on a shelf as a status symbol. It deserves that as it is a fabulous whisky and a great example how an old whisky can maintain its vibrancy and character.


In Memoriam: Gable Erenzo (1980-2021)

Today we got the tragic news that Gable passed away in his sleep two nights ago. We are gutted, simply gutted. For the industry, this is a massive loss. He was too young. We send our deepest condolences to his family.

Even though we are still in shock from the news, it seems right to us to share a little bit about what Gable meant to us and our whisky journeys.

Gable was the first person we ever took a picture with in Groucho Marx glasses. Tuthilltown was the first distillery John, Bill, and I visited together as Malt Impostors, and we had the silly idea to bring Grouchos with us for the visit (they were already a part of our logo by that point). I should note that many people in the whisky industry have been less than thrilled to be invited to don the Grouchos for a photo with us. But not Gable: he was immediately game for it and even encouraged the idea.

But that first distillery visit was extraordinary in a number of ways, most of them having to do with Gable and the grace and ease with which he moved through the world. First of all, I emailed the distillery out of the blue to arrange the visit, and Gable welcomed us as warmly as you’d hope a seasoned brand ambassador would (he was all of 31 at that point, I think). Then when we arrived, an employee told me Gable was in a meeting and that we should wait outside and that he’d be with us in 10-15 minutes. We wandered around the grounds of Tuthilltown Distillery, which at the time featured a deliberately rustic building fashioned from corrugated metal for welcoming visitors. Next to this building, we noticed a large black Mercedes parked with a large man dressed in black behind the wheel. We wondered, half-jokingly, if we had arrived while the owners of the distillery were getting shaken down by the mob. Soon, Gable and a group of people emerged from the building. Gable saw us (and to be clear, had never laid eyes on us before that moment) and immediately waved us over to meet Mr. Charlie Gordon, great grandson of William Grant and at that point the honorary life President of William Grant & Sons. Gable and company had just sealed their initial distribution deal with William Grant, and he introduced us to Charlie Gordon as if we were old friends. We were a bit starstruck, but Gable was cool and self-assured as all hell. Gable saw Mr. Gordon off and then proceeded to show us around the distillery for the next few hours, including all the little tidbits: the speakers they had set up next to the barrels to blast them with music, the apple vodka he was ridiculously proud of, his dad (he so respected his dad and all they had accomplished), every detail of the barrels they’d had Black Swan Cooperage make for them, and even the cat who roamed over those barrels once they were full of whiskey.

From then on, whenever we saw Gable, it wasn’t a handshake, it was hug that greeted us. He was such a dude–and sweet as a dude can be, really more so. A couple of years after we visited Tuthilltown, Gable was responsible for one of the best nights in our whisky journeys. We had seen him at WhiskyFest Boston, and got another pic of him in the Grouchos with us (I tend to try to get people to do this with us only one, maybe twice, but I realized going through a lot of old pictures that we have more photos of Gable in Grouchos than we do of any other whisky professional). Afterwards, my girlfriend (now my wife) was driving all of the Malt Impostors home, and we saw Gable on a corner when we’d stopped at a traffic light. We rolled down the window, and he insisted that we come over–right away–to Eastern Standard, a glorious seafood restaurant with an amazing whisky menu, rather than go home. My wife loved Eastern Standard, so even though she was the designated driver, she acceded quickly. Next thing we knew, we were in a back room at Eastern Standard with other William Grant folks, the guys from Julio’s Liquors, Craig Bridger, and others, devouring platter after platter of oysters while the whisky flowed freely. It was truly an epic night, the likes of which we’ll likely never have again.

We were fortunate enough to see him at events, some of which he went out of his way to invite us to, many times over the ensuing years. We even did an interview with him and then Hudson Brand Ambassador Han Shan (and it was one of our better interviews, as they both came to play). We hadn’t seen him in recent years, though, thanks in part to my family’s move to Norway, and we were sad when we thought about that over the last few months (one occasion for thinking about how we missed seeing Gable was the announcement in February that Eastern Standard had closed its doors permanently). Now, we’re considerably sadder. We will miss you, Gable. We were privileged to have been your friend.

Barley: Not Just a "Commodity" for Distillers

In our last episode, we looked at how different types of Rye produce different flavors in whisky. While that's relatively new understanding for Rye, it's been common practice for generations among distillers to search out the latest, greatest Barley strains available for making single malts. However, most of those strains are selected not by distillers, but by maltsters looking for yield per acre and not necessarily flavor per dram. Seattle's Westland Distillery has been working with Barley mavericks in Washington's Skagit Valley to explore strains that don't exist in the "commodity system" for several years, and master distiller Matt Hofmann joins us with the story behind Colere, their upcoming single malt series that focuses on those unique strains of Barley. We'll also have the week's whisky news, including a management shakeup on Islay that caught the island by surprise. 

Inbox / The Week's Whisky News (April 23, 2021)



Welcome to Inbox, our weekly round up of whisky news and PR material that has found its way in to our WFE email. It was created as we cannot write full articles or do justice to every piece received. It features items from around the world of whisky and is published by us each Friday. Within Inbox we aim to write a few lines detailing each press release/piece of news/PR event that we have received and provide links, where possible, for you to find out further information. 

Here is the round-up of this week's news ...

________

 
Ardbeg
The Islay distillery of Ardbeg has revealed details of its annual Ardbeg Day bottling. Ardbeg Day is the traditional last day of the Feis Ile festival on the famous whisky island. The 2021 edition is named Ardbeg Scorch and is said to be inspired by a mythical dragon that lives in one of the dunnage warehouses at the distillery. The whisky has been matured in heavily charred American oak ex-bourbon barrels and is bottled at 46% ABV. Ardbeg Scorch will be available via specialist whisky retailers, the distillery shop and Ardbeg Embassies globally from May 27. A bottle will cost £100.
 
Cotswolds
The English distillery of Cotswolds has announced the second release in its Hearts & Crafts series - the Cotswolds Heart & Crafts Pineau de Charentes Cask. The whisky has been matured in French Oak casks that have previously held Pineau de Charentes - this is a product from the Charentes Maritime region of France that is made from fresh grape juice blended with Cognac, which is then left to mature in barrels. The new whisky is inspired by the Art & Crafts movement championed by Cotswold resident William Morris. It is bottled at 55.2% ABV and will be available exclusively from the distillery. There are 1,600 bottles with each costing £75.  
Glenmorangie 
The north Highland distillery of Glenmorangie have revealed a new single malt in their core range that is designed for mixing - the X by Glenmorangie. The new whisky has been crafted by top bartenders under the watchful eye of Dr. Bill Lumsden, the Director of Whisky Creation at Glenmorangie. X by Glenmorangie features whiskies that have been matured in ex-bourbon barrels with some being finished in charred virgin oak casks for a short period.
X by Glenmorangie is designed to elevate simple serves with mixers such as Glenmorangie X Tonic and Glenmorangie X Cola, but has also led to the development of combinations for those feeling more creative. These recipes can be found at www.glenmorangie.com. The whisky is bottled at 40% ABV and will be available via whisky retailers from the beginning of May. A bottle will cost £30. 

"X by Glenmorangie came from a dream of creating even more flavour possibilities, with a single malt that is made to mix. Consulting with top bartenders, we crafted this sweeter, richer single malt for all those enjoying mixing at home. This whisky will bring your drink a real X-factor!"Dr. Bill Lumsden.


 

Kilchoman
The family-owned Islay distillery of Kilchoman have announced the release of their Feis Ile 2021 Edition. The annual festival will again be virtual this year due to the Covid pandemic. The Kilchoman Feis Ile 2021 Edition features just eight casks - 2x ex-Oloroso sherry butts from 2011 and 6x ex-bourbon barrels from 2012. These are 100% Islay with spirit made from barley grown on Kilchoman's own farm. It has been bottled at the natural cask strength of 56.3% ABV and the eight casks have yielded just 2,832 bottles. Each will cost £99.95 and are available exclusively from the Kilchoman website

Talisker
 The Talisker distillery, which is located on the isle of Skye, has revealed the oldest ever single malt to be released by the brand - the Talisker Xpedition Oak 43 years old. Just 10 casks have been chosen with all being filled in the late 1970s. These have given just 1,830 bottles - a reference to the year that the distillery was founded. The whisky was finished in casks made from oak staves that travelled 3,264 miles across the Atlantic Ocean on the yacht of explorer James Aitken when he was taking part in The Atlantic Challenge. A piece of stave is included within the each presentation box.
The Talisker Xpedition Oak 43 years old is bottled at the natural cask strength of 49.3% ABV and will be available in specialist and luxury retailers in selected global markets - these include Australia, China, Europe, Singapore, Taiwan and the USA. A bottle will cost £3,500/ $4,860 US.
 
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Stellum Rye

Stellum Rye Cask Strength Blend of Straight Rye Whiskies 58.12% ABV $55 Website We would like to thank Stellum Spirits and Ro-Bro Marketing & PR for sending us a sample to review. What the Blender Says Stellum Spirits is a new national brand created and produced by Barrel Craft Spirits® (BCS). Please see this release …

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The post Stellum Rye first appeared on Whisk(e)y Apostle: Proselytizing the way of the malt.

Allotment Drams / Bladnoch Vinaya & Grace O'Malley Blended Irish Whiskey

We have two more episodes from our Allotment Dram review series for you. This is where we sit and talk about different whiskies in the surroundings of our allotment plot in north London. 

First, Matt takes a look at the Bladnoch Vinaya. This is a new addition to the core range of single malts from the Lowland distillery. Watch to discover more about the distillery and brand, and how it has come through a different recent past, before hearing Matt's thoughts and tasting notes.

Then on his next visit he goes Irish in the form of Grace O'Malley, a blended whiskey that has just been launched in the UK. Watch to find out the inspiration behind the brand and details of the bottling, before Matt gives his thoughts and tasting notes.

To keep up-to-date with our latest videos or to catch up on previous Allotment Dram episodes, please subscibe to our YouTube channel - click here.






#AllotmentDram

 

Review / Grace O'Malley

Grace O'Malley is an blended Irish whiskey that has recently been introduced to the UK market. This follows successful launches in Ireland and the USA. The whiskey is named after Grace O'Malley, a legendary Pirate Queen from Ireland in the 16th century. The blend contains whiskeys with age statements ranging from three to ten years old. There is a relatively high percentage of single malt included (both double and triple distilled malt, and 46% of the recipe), along with single grain and pot still whiskeys. These have been matured in ex-bourbon and ex-rum casks plus some French Oak barrels, before being blended together by Paul Caris the Master Blender. It joins the Dark Char Cask and Rum Cask, plus a gin in the Grace O'Malley range.

Grace O'Malley is a brand created by the Irish Whiskey Company (IWC). The heritage of the company sees the Teeling family, formerly of Cooley distillery and now the Teeling distillery in Dublin, as majority owners and has The Great North Distillery in Dundalk, Co. Louth at its heart. This started production in August 2015 having been converted from an old brewery by IWC. They produce all three styles of Irish distillery on the site - single malt, single pot still and single grain - and is now the second largest Irish distillery after Midleton.

Grace O'Malley is bottled at 40% ABV and is available in selected retailers in the UK. As mentioned, it is also currently available in Ireland and the USA. A bottle will cost around the £30 mark. For more details on Grace O'Malley, please visit the brand website www.graceomalleywhiskey.com.

Our tasting notes

The whiskey has a deep golden colour and the nose has an instant freshness and sweetness to it. Aromas of green apple, heather honey and milk chocolate are followed by those of toffee, caramel and vanilla. Underneath are further aromas of malted cereal biscuit and hints of cinnamon and toasted hazelnut.

On the palate this whiskey has the same freshness and sweetness as seen on the nose. Crisp and tart green apple notes mingle with a hefty pinch of white pepper and a good dollop of honey. This honey-like note becomes more pronounced with time and heads more in the direction of honeycomb and golden syrup as it does so. These are then joined by further sweet notes such as milk chocolate, toffee and a hint of caramelised pineapple.

Underpinning everything is an increasingly robust maltiness and this adds depth and structure. This again has a biscuit-like quality and grips the tastebuds. A late note of toasted nuts (imagine hazelnut but also a suggestion of walnut) accentuates this. Some even later baking and wood spices add to the initial peppery warmth - think of cinnamon and a pinch of powdered ginger especially.

The finish is a little on the short side. It is the gripping malty characteristic that lingers most as the fruit (that green apple and hint of pineapple) and confected sweetness fade rapidly. This has the effect of bringing the white pepper and warming spices to the fore.

What's the verdict?

Grace O'Malley would be a lovely introduction to Irish whiskey for anyone wanting to try it for the first time. She is not the most complicated whiskey, and nor would you expect it to be for the price, but it is well blended and flavoursome. It offers plenty for the drinker and presents a great entry level experience. 

If only the finish were not so short or slightly aggressive, then this would elevate it from a decent dram to an excellent one. This would be delicious over ice or with a mixer too because of that defined sweetness, which we will definitely be trying soon.


Stellum Bourbon

Stellum Bourbon Cask Strength Blend of Straight Bourbon Whiskies 57.49% ABV $55 Website We would like to thank Stellum Spirits and Ro-Bro Marketing & PR for sending us a sample to review. What the Blender Says Stellum Spirits is a new national brand created and produced by Barrell Craft Spirits® (BCS). Please see this release …

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The post Stellum Bourbon first appeared on Whisk(e)y Apostle: Proselytizing the way of the malt.

Review / Jura Rum Cask Finish


This single malt whisky is the third bottling in the Cask Editions series from the Hedbridean island distillery of Jura. The Jura Rum Cask Finish has been created by Gregg Glass, the Whisky Maker & Blender at brand owner Whyte & Mackay, and has seen the spirit first matured in American white oak ex-bourbon casks before being transferred to ex-Caribbean rum casks for a finishing period. It is presented with tropical themed packaging to reflect the cask influence. The Jura Rum Cask Finish is bottled at 40% ABV and will initially be exclusively available in a one litre format in UK supermarkets. The price will be £45. A 70cl bottle will also be released to other markets later in 2021.

 

"Summer is on its way and with it consumers are seeking fruity and vibrant flavours. The Jura Rum Cask Finish offers an easy-sipper that will transport tastebuds to tropical islands by way of the remote Scottish island of Jura." Kirsteen Beeston - Head of International Malts at Whyte & Mackay. 

 The Jura distillery is located on the Hebridean isle of Jura and was founded in 1810 by Archibald Campbell. It was originally called the Small Isles distillery after the numerous islands located in Craighouse Bay, which the distillery sits on and overlooks. It was closed for a long period between 1901 and 1960, at which point it was rebuilt using a design by renowned post-War distillery architect William Delmé-Evans. It was only then renamed as Jura. 

Production restarted in 1963 and it has been operating ever since. The distillery has an annual production capacity of just over two million litres and is currently owned by Whyte & Mackay, who took control in 1993. Under their ownership the brand has seen sales grow massively, especially within the last 10 years or so.

Our tasting notes

The colour is golden yellow and the nose is full of vibrant and fruity aromas. Golden syrup and honey mix with dried pineapple and mango, which are backed up with hints of green apple and cocoa powder. Further aromas of peach, apricot and vanilla add depth and interest, and these are accentuated by hints of gingerbread and cinnamon.

On the palate this whisky has an instant luscious and juicy feel. Those tropical fruits from the nose, particularly the pineapple and peach, are expressive and have a delicious vibrancy. These notes are supported by an increasingly influential suggestion of bittersweet malted barley and a hint of soft and gentle distant peat smoke.

Then comes the next layer of sweet and fruity characteristics - sultana, green apple and a twist of blood orange peel combine well with the golden syrup and floral honey from the nose, plus icing sugar. There are also notes of vanilla, dessicated coconut and a good pinch of baking spices (especially cinnamon). Late hints of powdered ginger and cocoa are joined by a drying grass-like quality, which is most reminiscent of raw sugar cane and straw.

The finish is short and sweet. The fruitiness fades and allows the malt, mild peat smoke and warming spices to come through. This also has the effect of giving more prominence to the golden syrup and honey, but then even these are gone.

What's the verdict?

Rum casks are becoming increasingly popular over recent months it seems and Jura are the latest brand to join the party. A couple of the best examples that we have sampled have been quite smoky and the combination seems to work well. Jura's peat smoke is much more subtle and just gives a savoury suggestion, rather than being a dominant feature here. 

The rum cask influence is also much more subtle here than in some of those other examples. The expected tropical notes weave around the savoury and sweet elements, complimenting them well. The result makes Jura Rum Cask Finish a delicious and easy going whisky. Very enjoyable.

 

Rye is Rye, Right? Not So Fast...

Whisky lovers can probably name at least a few varieties of barley commonly used to make single malts, but rye? Rye doesn't get the same respect for its diversity, even though it's been around for hundreds of years. Mike Swanson of Minnesota's Far North Spirits has led a team of researchers looking into the flavors different strains of rye have when they're distilled into whisky. That study has just been released, and he'll discuss the findings with us on WhiskyCast In-Depth. We'll also compare some of the whiskies from that study, cover the week's whisky news, and much more!

Inbox / The Week's Whisky News (April 16, 2021)



Welcome to Inbox, our weekly round up of whisky news and PR material that has found its way in to our WFE email. It was created as we cannot write full articles or do justice to every piece received. It features items from around the world of whisky and is published by us each Friday. Within Inbox we aim to write a few lines detailing each press release/piece of news/PR event that we have received and provide links, where possible, for you to find out further information. 

Here is the round-up of this week's news ...

________

 Buffalo Trace 
The multi award-winning American distillery of Buffalo Trace has announced the release of three Kosher whiskeys - the Kosher Rye Recipe Bourbon, Kosher Wheat Recipe Bourbon and Kosher Straight Rye Whiskey. The releases are planned to appear every year going forwards and follows a trial release in 2020. It follows a 10 year project of the distillery working with the Chicago Rabbinical Council to give consumers what they believe to be the world's first truly Kosher whiskey.
Strict rules were followed both during the production, maturation and bottling to ensure that the whiskey remained Kosher throughout. All three bottles are released at 47% ABV/ 94 Proof. The Buffalo Trace Kosher bottlings will be available via specialist retailers across the USA and in selected markets worldwide. Each bottle will cost $45 US/ £33.
  
Highland Park 
The Orkney distillery of Highland Park has revealed details of its latest 50 years old release. It is the third such single malt bottled at this age and the 2020 batch follows releases in 2010 and 2018. The Highland Park 50 years old 2020 Batch has been taken from nine re-fill casks that were filled in 1968. These casks were then combined in 2008 and filled to first-fill ex-sherry casks.
Then in 2020 just one of the ex-sherry casks was chosen by Gordon Motion, the Master Whisky Maker at Highland Park. He introduced a small quantity of the 2018 batch to this and left it to mature for a few more months. In turn, the 2018 edition had previously had some of the 2010 batch introduced. This has resulted in just 274 bottles at the natural cask strength of 43.8% ABV.
The Highland Park 50 years old 2020 Batch is presented in a heavyweight glass decanter that is embossed with the brand's Nordic inspired design. This is housed in a handcrafted wooden casket made from walnut and is accompanied by a book that tells the journey of the whisky over five decades. It will be availabke in selected specialist and luxury retailers globally and each bottle will cost £20,000/ $27,450 US. 

Old Fitzgerald
The Kentucky straight bourbon brand of Old Fitzgerald, which is owned by Heaven Hill, has announced the details of the Spring 2021 edition in its Bottled-In-Bond series. A new release has been added each Spring and Autumn since the series launched in 2018. The Spring 2021 Edition is bottled at 8 years old and at 50 % ABV/ 100 Proof. The term 'bottled in bond' carries strict requirements - the whiskey must be from a single distillation season at a single distillery, then aged for a minimum of four years and bottled at 100 Proof. The Old Fitzgerald Bottled-In-Bond Spring 2021 is available across the USA and will cost $85 US.

 

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The post The Singleton of Dufftown 15 Yr first appeared on Whisk(e)y Apostle: Proselytizing the way of the malt.