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Inbox / The Week's Whisky News (October 15, 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 ... ________  ClydesideThe Glasgow-based Clydeside distillery has released its first ever single malt bottling entitled Stobcross. The name refers to an ancient cross that was located close to the distillery site, that sits on Stobcross Road on the banks of the River Clyde. The whisky has been matured in both American oak ex-bourbon and European oak ex-sherry casks. The spirit was made using 100% Scottish barley and water drawn from Loch Katrine. The Clydeside Stobcross is bottled at 46% ABV and will initially be available from the distillery shop and website. A wider UK and global release is planned for later in the year. A bottle will cost £45/ ¢62 US. 

"This marks a culmination of years of hard work. Our whisky has been patiently waiting for almost four years. This precious time, along with our distiller’s skills and craftsmanship, has created something truly special. We are incredibly proud of our very first single malt."Andrew Morrison / Commercial Director at Clydeside Distillery.


 
Glenmorangie
The north Highland distillery of Glenmorangie has revealed a seasonal limited edition single malt - the Glenmorangie A Tale of Winter. The new whisky is inspired by the cosy quality of a thick winter jumper and was created by Dr. Bill Lumsden, the Director of Whisky Creation at Glenmorangie. The whisky was initially matured in ex-bourbon casks before finishing for a period of time in ex-Marsala wine casks from Sicily. Glenmorangie A Tale of Winter is bottled at 13 years of age and 46% ABV. It is also non chill-filtered and will be available globally via selected specialist whisky retailers from November. A bottle will cost £75/ $105 US. 
 
Johnnie Walker
Johnnie Walker has announced the fourth bottling in its highly acclaimed Blue Label Ghost & Rare series. The series highlights old and rare whiskies from closed distilleries. This new release focuses on the 'ghost' Speyside distillery of Pittyvaich, which operated from 1974 to 1993 and was located in Dufftown. Its creator is Dr. Jim Beveridge, the Master Blender for Johnnie Walker, and features two other 'ghost' closed distilleries of Carsebridge and Port Dundas. Other rare whiskies included come from the Highland and Speyside distilleries of Auchroisk, Cragganmore, Mannochmore, Royal Lochnagar and Strathmill.
 The Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost & Rare Pittyvaich follows previous bottlings focussing on Brora in 2017, Port Ellen in 2018 and Glenury Royal in 2019. It is released at 43.8% ABV and will be available globally via specialist whisky and luxury retailers from November. A bottle will cost £275/ $380 US. 

"Pittyvaich may only have thrived for a short period, but the whisky has something unmistakable. Its distinct character has always intrigued us and fired our imagination to create something really special that would pay tribute to the whisky makers of this Speyside distillery."Dr. Jim Beveridge.


  
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The Simply Whisky “Dream Big” (4 Year Old Balcones Straight Corn Whiskey)

Tasting notes:
From the start, this 65.7% abv whiskey noses like something that a corner man keeps in his bag when the fight reaches the late rounds.  Which is to say, it’s piercing.  Think of it like the Lemon Tart iteration of the Tough Mudder series for your sinuses that, once delaminated, begin to register distinct sensations.  The initial evocation is a memory of the model glue binding airplane fuselage to ape fingers; yes, it’s King Kong athwart the Empire State Building clutching a Curtiss F8C-5/O2C-1 Helldiver that got too close.  Then that initial intensity blows off and gives way to a later memory of corn balls given out at Halloween at the crafty mother’s home long before razor blade scares and Tylenol bottle adulteration changed things.  Soon enough, the vivification settles into a Bach Toccata and Fugue in D-minor, which is the saddest of all keys.  Perfume-atomized fruit candies, line-dried linen sheets, and riptide currents round things out wonderfully.  

With a sip, I see now that it’s a corn current that draws me farther from shore.  Black cherry and swamp orchids are there too, but it’s corn that pulls them together and stretches out like Möbius band of corn taffy extended to the point of translucence.  Imagine a bit of corn-silk bitterness dipped in buttercup softness, and then clipped in as if in preparation for bungee jump.  I leap into ripe persimmon.  Sweet, tannic and drying–my tastebuds are asking for a personal day.  A few merciful drops of water adds delightful mouthfeel, as if my tongue were a latte emulsifier.  

Did I say emulsifier?  Well, on the finish it’s clear that it’s a nitrous-powered NDE scored by an EDM artist.  [Stephen: What?]  [Bill: “Near-death experience” and “electronic dance music,” but I’m not sure what he’s after].  Guys!  It’s the thrummy-throbbing thaumaturgical threat!  You get that, right?  Actually, it’s the ebbing that I’m after: the calm after the storm.  You sense it too: the still-vibrating bass cabinet, the windows rattling in the casements, and the summer air as a thunderclaps approach.  We’re going to be safe.  We’re going to live.

 
 

Rating:
On the scale of 1970 ensemble disaster films–

The Simply Whisky “Dream Big” 4 Year Old Balcones Straight Corn Whiskey is Towering Inferno–With stars like Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, and Faye Dunaway, and the threat of fiery doom, this is a whiskey that sustains suspense and rewards moxie.  

 
 




 
 

                                                                                      —John

 
 




 
 

–Our thanks to Simply Whisky for the sample!

 


 

Cutty Sark 25 Year Old Tam O’Shanter

Cutty Sark 25 Year Old Tam O’Shanter Blended Scotch Whisky 46.5% ABV $200-$320 (released in 2012 @ £199) What the Internet* Says Cutty Sark owner Edrington is celebrating Burns Night 2012 by releasing Cutty Sark 25 Year Old Tam O’Shanter. Tam O’Shanter is the name of the Rabbie Burns poem which introduced the world to …

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The post Cutty Sark 25 Year Old Tam O’Shanter first appeared on Whisk(e)y Apostle: Proselytizing the way of the malt.

Review / Redbreast Pedro Ximenez Edition


The Irish whiskey brand of Redbreast have announced a new limited edition expression that will slot into a newly created range. The Redbreast Pedro Ximénez Edition will join the Iberian Series of Redbreast single pot still whiskeys. The Lustau Edition, which was first launched back in 2016, will also join to become the cornerstone of the series. For this PX Edition the triple distilled Redbreast spirit has been initially matured in ex-bourbon and ex-Oloroso sherry casks. These whiskeys were then re-casked to hogshead barrels that had been seasoned with Pedro Ximénez, a sweet dessert style of sherry. 

The first documention of Redbreast as a brand came in 1912 with a poster for Redbreast JJ Liqueur. The name refers to the robin and was a nickname given to the whiskey by the Chairman of the W & A Gilbey whiskey company, who was a keen bird watcher. The brand disappeared in the 1960s but was revived by current owners Irish Distillers. It is produced at their Midleton distillery in Co. Cork. The core range features age statements at 12, 15, 21 and 27 years of age, plus 12 years old Cask Strength and the two whiskies in this new Iberian Series. 

"Iberia has been central to the history of Redbreast. My colleagues and I have been visiting the peninsula since the 1980s. The close relationships fostered there over decades have led to many delightful discoveries that take the region’s influence on our whiskey to another level." Billy Leighton / Master Blender for Redbreast. 

 

The Redbreast Pedro Ximenez Edition is bottled at 46% ABV and is available in Ireland, Finland and the UK, plus the travel retail sector. America will follow in November. A bottle will cost €80/ £72/ $86 US.

Our tasting notes

The colour is deep amber with a hint of copper and the nose is wonderfully vibrant and rich. Aromas of caramel and treacle toffee appear first and are quickly joined by raisin, sultana and dried orange peel. Underneath are further aromas of golden syrup, vanilla and hints of dried tropical fruits (imagine pineapple with a hint of peach or apricot).

On the palate this whiskey is equally as vibrant, rich and sweet as on the nose. The caramel and treacle toffee notes again rise first and dominate the early stages. With time dried fruit notes begin to evolve and mingle with those initial sweet elements. These show a combination of traditional and tropical dried fruits - think of raisins, sultana, pineapple, mango and apricot. There is also some candied orange peel or bitter marmalade notes in there. Further depth is added with the development of warming wood spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg, along with an intriguing hint of ginger cake. A late floral note, which is most reminiscent of violets, adds to the intrigue.

The finish is long, sweet and warming. The dominant caramel and treacle toffee notes take their time to fade, as do the dried fruits. This reveals some bittersweet cereal characteristics and allows the warming spices to shine.

What's the verdict?

It seems impossible for Redbreast to release a nice but average whiskey. Everything they do seems to turn to gold and this new Pedro Ximenez Edition is no exception. This new expression is rich, bold and full of sumptuous aromas and flavours. It is balanced, utterly delicious and gives a very enjoyable drinking experience.

We will wait with interest to see what else appears in the fledgling Iberian Series - it would not be surprise to see expressions finished in ex-Port, ex-red wine or other forms of sherry barrels in the future. Whatever they may be, they have a hard act to follow after this and the equally wonderful Lustau Edition.


John Walker & Sons Celebratory Blend

John Walker & Sons Celebratory Blend Blended Scotch Whisky 51% ABV $75 Website What the Blender Says John Walker & Sons Celebratory Blend honors the past whilst being an invitation to raise a glass to the next 200 years. 2020 marks 200 years since John Walker first opened the doors to a small grocery store …

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The post John Walker & Sons Celebratory Blend first appeared on Whisk(e)y Apostle: Proselytizing the way of the malt.

Review / Method & Madness Rye And Malt

 This is the latest limited edition from the innovative Irish whiskey brand of Method & Madness. The Method & Madness Rye and Malt is the first product that has been distilled at Irish Distillers' micro distillery within their larger Midleton facility. The Micro Distillery began production in 2015 and this spirit was created by Katherine Condon from the distilling team. The whiskey features a cereal mix of 60% rye and 40% malted barley. This has been double distilled and then matured in American oak ex-bourbon barrels. The creation was inspired by the discovery of notebooks dating back to 1857 that showed rye was being used by John Jameson III. The Micro Distillery is a distillery within a distillery and is owned and operated by Irish Distillers. It is housed in a stone warehouse dating from the 1830s within their much larger Midleton complex in Co. Cork. It was established and began production in September 2015 and is now the centre for experimentation and innovation at Irish Distillers. Everything is produced by hand and using traditional Irish whiskey making techniques such as triple distillation through copper pot stills. Experiments include using different washes, distillation times, distillation cuts, cask types for maturation and improving the efficiency and environmental impact of distillation. The Micro Distillery is small and has an annual capacity of just 50,000 litres.
 

"We have been inspired by the innovators in Irish whiskey who came before us. In turn, we have questioned tradition and challenged convention to follow their inspiration and drive the category forward for a new generation." Katherine Condon.

 

The Method & Madness Rye and Malt is bottled at 46% ABV and is available via selected specialist retailers online and in Ireland and the UK. A bottle will cost £70/ €82.

Our tasting notes

The colour is vibrant gold and the nose is deliciously fragrant and aromatic. Lemon and butterscotch rise first from the glass and they are followed by floral honey and vanilla sponge cake. Further notes of baking spice (think of cinnamon, mace and clove), milk chocolate and candied lime peel follow, plus a hint of ginger oat cookies.

On the palate this whiskey is very woody to begin with. Freshly sawn oak and cinnamon kick things off, followed by some drying tannins, toasted nuts and further warming spice. Much needed sweetness comes through after a short time and settles things down. The butterscotch and floral honey notes from the nose are present, along with golden syrup and milk chocolate. 

Hints of apricot jam, stewed apple and orange marmalade also come through, along with a faint note of super ripe tropical fruit (imagine pineapple especially, but also mango and peach). There is an underlying robust cereal note that is constant and adds structure and grip. This is accentuated by a distinct note of mocha that evolves into espresso coffee. Late hints of white pepper and brazil nut elongate the palate.

The finish is of decent length and becomes very drying and warm with time. The sweet honey-like and fruit notes fade. The chocolate characteristic remains a little longer and appears more exaggerated alongside the woody notes and spices. Very nice.

What's the verdict?

While this is not the first Method & Madness product that we have sampled, it is the first produced entirely at the Micro Distillery in Midleton. It is always exciting to taste the first product from a new place and this is no different. The mix of barley and rye cereals makes for a very intriguing and tasty whiskey indeed.

This is a whiskey for the modern generation. It is non-traditional for the Irish category and young, flavoursome and highly expressive. The result is impressive and a large company like Irish Distillers should be applauded for entering the artisanal market. We cannot wait to see which other innovations and experiments make it to the shelves in the future. This is a very promising beginning.


Review / Aber Falls 2021 Bottling


This whisky is the new core product from the north Welsh distillery of Aber Falls. The Aber Falls 2021 Bottling is just the distillery's second ever single malt expression and follows the Inaugural Release from earlier this year. The three year old single malt features whiskies matured in ex-bourbon, ex-Oloroso and ex-Pedro Ximenez sherry, plus virgin oak casks. These have then been married together by Dr. Kirstie McCallum, the Master Blender for Aber Falls. It is bottled at 40% ABV and will be available in the UK via Tesco supermarkets (Wales only), online retailer Master of Malt and from the distillery website www.aberfallsdistillery.com. A bottle will cost £26.

Aber Falls distillery was founded in 2017. It is located in the town of Abergwyngregyn close to the Aber Falls waterfall from which it takes its name. Production of single malt began in 2018 and is made using 100% Welsh barley and water that has flowed over the waterfall. Prior to that they distilled gin, which has already started to pick up awards globally. Then in 2019 they also started the production of small batches of Welsh rye whisky. Aber Falls is owned by Halewood Artisanal Spirits.

Our tasting notes

The colour is golden yellow and the nose is fresh, sweet and fruity. Aromas of crisp green apple and heather honey rise from the glass first and these mingle with further aromas of malty cereal biscuits and sultana. Underneath there are suggestions of candied orange, vanilla essence, poached pears in syrup and milk chocolate.

On the palate this whisky is juicy and fruity to begin with. Juicy sultanas and a hint of white grape combines with those crisp green apples and poached pears from the nose. Then comes a wave of sweetness in the form of heather honey, golden syrup and crumbly brown sugar infused with vanilla pod. These notes are accentuated by a hint of milk chocolate and cocoa powder.

There is also a distinct underlying note of malted cereals that evolves and becomes more influential with time. Other elements also come through to add depth and complexity - think of orange oil, raisins, gingerbread and a hint of treacle. A late hot warmth, which is most reminiscent of white pepper, and a good pinch of baking spices (especially cinnamon and clove) bring things to a close. 

The finish is a little on the short side and becomes quite hot and spicy. This is especially true once the fruity and sweet characteristics have begun to fade. Overall, a good and very tasty effort.

What's the verdict?

There is a lot going on here for a young whisky from a new distillery. Aber Falls have put out an impressive effort to follow their equally impressive Inaugural Release. There is a delightful freshness to the nose and the palate has that lovely fruity and sweet quality. The only slight let down is the short and hot finish.

Even more impressive though is the price - £26 a bottle for just the second release from a distillery is unheard of and seriously bucks the trend. It is also a core product, so if you enjoy it then you will be able to buy another bottle. This is another rarity amongst new distilleries. Well done to the team at Aber Falls for all of the above. 


Inbox / The Week's Whisky News (October 8, 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 Kentucky-based Buffalo Trace distillery has announced the line-up of its highly anticipated annual Antique Collection. The collection highlights some of the rarest whiskeys that are maturing in their warehouses. The 2021 edition features four whiskeys - Eagle Rare 17 years old, Sazerac 18 years old, Thomas H. Handy and William Larue Weller. However, the collection regular George T. Stagg does not feature this year due to issues with maturing stocks.
The Eagle Rare 17 years old was distilled in Spring 2002 and has been aged in Warehouse P. It is bottled at 50.5% ABV (101 Proof). The Sazerac 18 years old was distilled in Spring 2003 and features barrels aged in Warehouses K and P. The bottling strength is 45% ABV (90 Proof). The Thomas H. Handy was distilled in Spring 2015 and was matured in Warehouses I, K, L and O. It has a bottling strength of 64.7% ABV (129.4 Proof). The William Larue Weller was distilled in Winter 2009 and was matured in Warehouses C, D, K, L and Q. It is released at 62.6% ABV (125.2 Proof). 
The Buffalo Trace Antigue Collection 2021 will be available from late October in limited quantities in the USA, with small allocations also going to selected global markets. The recommended retail price for each bottle is $99 US.
 DalmoreThe north Highland distillery of Dalmore has announced a new whisky that will be the first in a new annual range - the Dalmore 30 years old 2021 Port Edition. The new bottling and series celebrates the brand's longstanding partnership with Port wine producer Graham's. The 2021 Edition has been matured for almost three decades in American white oak ex-bourbon barrels before spending some time in rare casks that had previously held 30 years old Tawny Port from Graham's.
There are only 1,318 bottle available in the first release and these are housed in a framed casket. It is bottled at 42.8% ABV and will be sold via selected luxury retailers in selected global markets. The UK exclusive retailer is Harrod's. Each bottle will cost £4,500/ $6,125 US. 

"This new annual release is a celebration of our longstanding relationship with Graham’s Port. The whisky is the result of our shared patience and dedication to craftsmanship over more than 180 years. This has created an exceptional single malt which is divinely decadent."Gregg Glass / Whisky Maker at Dalmore.


 
Glen Moray
The popular Speyside distillery of Glen Moray has announced the latest addition to their Warehouse 1 collection of limited editions - the Glen Moray Warehouse 1 1998 Barolo Finish. The series is designed to show some of the experiments and hidden gems maturing in the Elgin distillery's premium warehouse.  The new addition is the oldest in the collection to date and follows Tokaji and Sauternes wine expressions. It was distilled and filled to ex-bourbon casks in 1998, before being finished for 18 months in ex-Barolo wine barrels sourced from the Piedmont region of Italy.  There are just 863 bottles available and they will be exclusive to the UK market. The Glen Moray Warehouse 1 Barolo Finish is bottled at the natural cask strength of 52.9% ABV and will retail for £140 a bottle. Further releases in to the collection are also planned with the next one being bottled shortly.
 Smokehead 
The innovative Islay single malt brand of Smokehead, owned by Ian Macleod Distillers, has announced the release of an exclusive limited edition - the Smokehead Twisted Stout. As the name suggests, the new whisky has been part-matured in ex-stout beer barrels. It will be available exclusively from www.smokehead.com and joins the core range products of Smokehead, High Voltage, Rum Rebel and Sherry Bomb. The Smokehead Twisted Stout is bottled at 43% ABV and will cost £50 a bottle. 

"Twisted Stout is as far away from a standard single malt as the combination of tastes, aromas and flavours inside the bottle. So, while all our releases come with an original twist, this latest one might just be our most twisted yet. Which is just how we like things."Iain Weir / Brand Director of Smokehead.


  
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The Waterford Rathclogh 1.1 Single Malt Irish Whiskey

Tasting notes:
The Waterford Rathclogh 1.1 begins with slightly fermented pickled raw pistachios–or maybe daikon radish with a jicama garnish plated next to pickling spices–hard to say which. The nose also presents with a woody note that’s really more of a reedy note. Imagine putting the pan pipes St. Patrick used to charm the snakes up to your lips. What’s that? He didn’t Piety Piper them out of Ireland? OK, fine. Then perhaps it’s the smell of a very blond ash wood inlay belonging to the saint that drove the BMW out of Connecticut. What’s that, you say? There are no saints in Connecticut? C’mon, that’s harsh. But I will grant that one in a BMW is a stretch. And just to muck with any hint of thematic unity this paragraph may have had, there are also notes of lacquered magnolia buds on the nose.

The first note on the mouth is simultaneously metallic and replete with tarragon. The acetone-y green note that only John got on the nose is clear to all of us on the mouth. The wood hasn’t gotten this one quite there yet. Unless by “there” you mean a circuit board doused in downspout water.

The finish, however, is much more interesting:  it’s like chewing on the outside of a pineapple that has been fashioned into oven mitts. It’s somewhere between grassy and woody.

[Bill: Which would basically be reedy.]

Fine. It’s reedy. Reedy as a sound, though, too. Maybe even reedy as would describe a person, which is perhaps somewhat more redemptive than John would like to grant. But it is utterly striking how these different farm expressions from Waterford can be so distinct from one another, based more or less entirely on where the grain was grown [See our other Waterford reviews, and our review of the Organic Gaia, coming soon to a Malt Impostor site near you].

 
 

Rating:
On the scale of virtuoso reed instrument performances–

The Waterford Rathclogh 1.1 is this iconic one–The hat. The angle. The contrast with his mother’s comments to the school. The cooly nerdy exuberance of “Never had one lesson!” It all combines to make for a performance that I think of more often than I think of particular works of many jazz greats.

 
 




 
 

                                                                                      —Stephen

 
 




 
 

–Our thanks to Raj Sabharwal and Glass Revolution Imports for the sample!

 


 

Elvis Rye

Elvis Rye Straight Rye Whiskey 45% ABV $50 Website We would like to thank Grain & Barrel Spirits and Ro-Bro Marketing & PR for sending us a sample to review. What the Producer Says Grain & Barrel Spirits announced on September 13, 2021 a long-term licensing agreement with Elvis Presley Enterprises (EPE) to launch a …

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

Elvis Whiskey

Elvis Whiskey Straight Tennessee Whiskey 45% ABV $50 Website We would like to thank Grain & Barrel Spirits and Ro-Bro Marketing & PR for sending us a sample to review. What the Producer Says Grain & Barrel Spirits announced on September 13, 2021 a long-term licensing agreement with Elvis Presley Enterprises (EPE) to launch a …

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

Matt's Chats / Dr. Bill Lumsden & Ewan Gunn

Welcome to our new video series - Matt's Chats. In these short episodes Matt will chat with figures from the whisky industry that will help to bring their roles and brands to life. The first two videos are now live and saw Matt talking with Dr. Bill Lumsden, the Director of Whisky Creation at Glenmorangie, and Ewan Gunn, the Scotch Whisky Global Brand Ambassador for Diageo. Watch as Dr. Bill discusses about Glenmorangie and the new experimental Lighthouse distillery, and Ewan chats about the 2021 set of Diageo Special Releases. We hope you enjoy and like the format.

To keep up-to-date with further episodes of Matt's Chats or to watch any of our other videos, please subscribe to our YouTube channel here.

 






#MattsChats 

Inbox / The Week's Whisky News (October 1, 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 ... ________  Glenallachie 
The boutique Speyside distillery of Glenallachie have announced three new limited editions to go into the Wood Finishes Series. The latest additions feature whiskies finished in ex-Pedro Ximenez sherry, ex-Ruby Port and ex-Madeira wine casks. All have been created in small batches and are bottled at 48% ABV. They are also all non chill-filtered and of natural colour.
The Glenallachie Pedro Ximenez Sherry Wood Finish 11 years old has been matured in American oak ex-bourbon barrels for nine years before being transferred for a final two year period to the sweet sherry casks. The Ruby Port Wood Finish 12 years old has seen ten years of maturation in American oak ex-bourbon casks before being re-racked to Port pipes for the remaining two years. The Madeira Wood Finish 13 years old has been matured for 11 years in American oak before two years of finishing in Madeira barrels. They will be available in limited numbers in selected global markets. The prices are £60, £63 and £68 respectively.
 
Glen Grant
The large Speyside distillery of Glen Grant has released its oldest ever whisky in its 181 year history - the Glen Grant 60 years old : The Dennis Malcolm 60th Anniversary Edition. The new bottling celebrates the six decade career of Dennis Malcolm OBE, the legendary Master Distiller of Glen Grant who was actually born at the distillery. He is one of Scotland's oldest serving distillers. The whisky comes from a single ex-Oloroso sherry cask (Cask #5040) that was filled in October 1960 by Malcolm's father, who also worked at Glen Grant before him.  The cask has yielded just 360 bottles and is bottled at the remarkable natural cask strength of 52.8% ABV. The whisky is presented in a crystal decanter that was specially designed by Glencairn, the renowned Scottish glassware studio. The decanter is a representation of Glen Grant's stills and features an engraving of Malcolm's signature. It comes presented in a black wooden casket that is accompanied by a dertificate of authenticity personally signed by Malcolm. Each decanter will cost £21,500/ €25,000.
 
 Method & MadnessThe innovative Irish whiskey brand of Method & Madness has announced its latest limited edition experiment - the Method & Madness Rye and Malt. The new whiskey is the first to be released that has been distilled at Irish Distillers' micro distillery within their larger Midleton facility. The Micro Distillery began production in 2015 and this spirit was created by Katherine Condon from the distilling team. The whiskey features a cereal mix of 60% rye and 40% malted barley. This has been double distilled and then matured in American oak ex-bourbon barrels.  The creation was inspired by the discovery of notebooks dating back to 1857 that showed rye was being used by John Jameson III. The Method & Madness Rye and Malt is bottled at 46% ABV and is available via selected specialist retailers online and in Ireland and the UK. A bottle will cost £70/ €82. 

"We have been inspired by the innovators in Irish whiskey who came before us. In turn, we have questioned tradition and challenged convention to follow their inspiration and drive the category forward for a new generation."Katherine Condon.



 
Scallywag
The blended malt brand Scallywag has revealed a new limited edition - the Scallywag Cask Strength Winter Edition. The seasonal bottling is restricted to just 4,200 bottles and as with all Scallywag expressions is created using only Speyside single malts. To reflect to colder weather and forthcoming festive period, these whiskies have been exclsuively matured in either ex-Oloroso or ex-Pedro Ximenez sherry casks. It is bottled at the natural cask strength of 53.1% ABV and is both non chill-filtered and of natural colour. It will be available globally through selected specialist retailers and will cost £50/ €55 per bottle. 
 
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The Wemyss Spice King 12 Year Old Highlands and Islay Blended Malt

Tasting notes:
The Wemyss Spice King 12 Year Old Highland and Islay Blended Malt nose brings me to the open hearth kitchen I wish I’d grown up in: There are stew-y, prune-y apricot halves in gently simmering simple syrup, slowly coagulating into a compote. My wholly-fictitious, wholly belovéd Aunt Françoise drops in golden raisins and uses a pipette to drip in a tincture of rose water distillate, drop by drop by drop. There’s a faint whiff of peat, perhaps informed by knowing that there is an Islay in the blend, or perhaps my wholly fictitious adorable niece Annabel pooted after nibbling some peat she found playing in the nearby bog. There’s also a light mist of lacquer-y goodness in the kitchen, as if Annabel’s flatulence had aerosolized some of the finish off of our belovéd old mahogany kitchen table. Fortunately, she’s short enough that none of her transformative poot reached the bowl of gooseberry/kiwi/arugula salad.

The mouth takes the all the nose notes and, like an exceptional musician, turns the list of notes into compelling music. The mouthfeel is light and fast, yet there’s a richness and an autumnal ochre coat perfectly fending off the early October nip. There’s a high apricot pitch, a low stonefruit ostinato and an alto/tenor duet of leather and tobacco, despite the composer having thrown those parts away in a pique of anger when neither singer would succumb to the composer’s giddy, awkward advances. The leathery tobacco-y duet remains, not as a memory, but more as the reverberations of the Platonic Ideal of the music.

The finish brings long and de-sweetified molasses, segueing into a caramel melting on the tongue. The ‘melt’ of the malt continues like a between-scenes harpsichord continuo into crème brûlée flavored with star anise. (To be specific, the star is Alnilam, one of the stars comprising the constellation Orion. How a star came to be associated with those bits of shaved anise is a fascinating story, alas, too long to be told here.) It opens evermore, like anti-Poe’s anti-Raven anti-quothing, and the opening is as grand as the prose is grandiloquent.

 
 

Rating:
On the scale of Spice Kings–

The Wemyss Spice King 12 Year Old Highland and Islay Blended Malt is Denis Villeneuve–Nerd alert: First, for any of what follows to make sense, one should be aware of the Dune saga. Second, one might argue that Frank Herbert, the world-building author of Dune, is the Spice King; however, St. Denis of the New House convinced People With Lots of Money and Major Movie Stars to combine to make a movie adaptation that breathes a new kind of life into the world that Herbert built. I argue thus that Villeneuve is the true Spice King. Crowning him in Wemyss glory feels just about perfect.

 
 




 
 

                                                                                      —Bill

 
 




 
 

Chattanooga Whiskey Tawny Port Cask Finish

Chattanooga Whiskey Tawny Port Cask Finish Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Tawny Port Casks 47.5% ABV $45 Website What the Distillery Says Barrel Finishing Series Proof: 95 (47.5% ABV) Mash Bill: B001, B005, SB055, R18025, R18106 & R17113 Cooperage: 53 gal, toasted & charred oak barrels Filtration: Non-chill Finish: Tawny Port Barrels Finishing Time: Greater …

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Review / Diageo Special Releases 2021



The arrival of Autumn is always signalled by Diageo, Scotland's largest whisky producer, announcing the line-up for their annual Special Releases programme. Each year these bottlings are designed to highlight rare or old whiskies from within Diageo's extensive portfolio of maturing stocks and are eagerly anticipated each year since the series was first started with just three expressions in 2001. The 2021 collection marks the 20th anniversary of the Special Releases.

This year is one of the smaller recent collections and sees just eight bottlings. The eight have been put together to show the stories of whisky from different environments and terrains across Scotland. This incorporates a set of mythical creatures that reside in the sea, lochs and mountains and  can be seen on the packaging. The 2021 collection is subtitled Legends Untold as a result. The striking artwork has been created by illustrator Ken Taylor.

As with all previous years the whiskies are all bottled at their natural cask strength and colour. This year's selection has again been curated and hand picked by Dr. Craig Wilson, one of the Master Blenders at Diageo. The Diageo Special Releases 2021 : Legends Untold will be available in limited quantities via specialist whisky and luxury retailers in selected markets worldwide (including Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe, UK and USA) and www.malts.com. They can be purchased individually or as a set.

 

"We have delved into the core characteristics of several classic distilleries for Legends Untold. The mythical creatures of this year’s collection represent the true expressions of these distilleries and we have taken inspiration from them." Dr. Craig Wilson.

 

Our tasting notes


Cardhu 14 years old
The Scarlet Blossoms of Black Rock Speyside / 55.5% ABV / Re-fill American oak with ex-red wine cask finish / £120 
The colour is pale lemon yellow and the nose is packed with aromas of green apple and honeycomb. These are joined by hints of milk chocolate, tropical fruit (especially pineapple and lychee) and some increasingly influential malted cereals. A pinch of cinnamon and white pepper add extra depth and complexity.
On the palate this whisky has a luxurious feel and creamy texture. Notes of vanilla and heather honey kick things off, followed by baked apple, toffee and fresh honeycomb. These are followed by luscious red fruits (think of strawberry, raspberry and cranberry) and dried fruit (imagine juicy sultana and a hint of candied orange). Everything is underpinned by a developing robust maltiness. This is accentuated by that tropical note from the nose, plus hints of milk chocolate and gingerbread biscuits. Fresher notes develop towards the end, particularly crisp green apple and newly cut grass. Delicious.
 

Lagavulin 12 years old
The Lion's Fire Islay / 56.5% ABV / Re-fill American oak casks / £130 The colour is pale gold and the nose is fiery and vegetal in nature. Spicy and feisty peat smoke dominates and has a mossy and earthy edge to it. Cracked black pepper and clove are also evident, along with vanilla and malted cookies. A late twist of lemon zest and fresh red chilli round things off.
On the palate this whisky continues on its fiery path. The peat smoke again dominates and shows notes of damp moss and vegetation, freshly turned soil and bonfire ash. This is finished off with a hint of dried seaweed. The malty and biscuity note follows next and gives a distinct bittersweetness. Then comes some much needed sweetness in the form of sugar syrup, honey and vanilla. A hint of milk chocolate, peardrops and cocoa also contribute to this. The spiciness is never far away and continues to be feisty and peppery. A note of clove gives a hint of antiseptic, before the black pepper and red chilli appear. Further spice comes in the form of pink peppercorn.
 

Lagavulin 26 years old
The Lion's Jewel Islay / 44.2% ABV / Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez sherry seasoned first-fill casks / £1,650
The colour is coppery amber and the nose is highly fragrant. Elegant sweet peat smoke rises from the glass and is wrapped around aromas of caramel, baked figs and apples drizzled in honey, orange oil and lingering wood spices. There are also hints of raisin, toasted nuts (think of almond and walnut especially), damp moss and treacle.
On the palate this whisky is weighty and oozes class. Notes of baked fruit (those figs and apples again, plus peach) with honey rise first and are followed by the distinct nutty and earthy characteristics. Toasted almonds, walnuts and pecans lead the way and are joined by notes of damp moss, dried leaves, seaweed and bittersweet peat. With time these are joined by warming wood and baking spices, especially cedarwood and cinnamon, plus dried fruits (raisin, dates, sultana and a hint of candied orange) and some black treacle. The smoke elegantly weaves itself around everything and has a sweet and bonfire-like feel that is reminiscent of dying embers and ash. Such a treat.
 

Mortlach 13 years old
The Moonlit Beast Speyside / 55.9% ABV / Virgin and re-fill American oak barrels / £135 The colour is vibrant gold and the nose is packed with earthy and woody aromas. The savoury nature dominates with aromas of malted cereals, dusty wood shed and old cigar box evident. Underneath are whiffs of red apple, manuka honey, toasted coconut and a distinct nutty quality - think of hazelnut and walnut in particular.
On the palate this whisky is big, rich and bold. The savoury feel continues with robust malted cereals, punchy wood spices (think of cinnamon, nutmeg and old oak furniture) and a hint of dried tobacco leaf along the cigar box line from the nose. Golden syrup, honey and a hint of caramel bring much needed sweetness and also add depth. A suggestion of dried apple is also evident, along with toasted nuts and coconut. A pinch of cocoa and ginger powder comes through as does a distinct note of vanilla sugar. However, the savouriness is never far away and returns towards the end with further notes of cigar box, wood spice and drying biscuity malt.
 

Oban 12 years old
The Tale of Twin Foxes West Highlands / 56.2% ABV / Freshly charred American oak ex-bourbon casks / £105 The colour is golden yellow and the nose has welcoming aromas of honey, toffee and coconut. Further aromas build on these - think of white chocolate, fresh lemon zest and oatcake biscuits. There is also a touch of spice on show in the form of white pepper and green chilli, plus a whiff of sea spray and brine. Very interesting indeed.
On the palate this whisky has an uplifting and scintillating vibrancy. The fresh lemon zest and white pepper from the nose combine with candied lime peel and the brine-like notes to give this feel. Richer and sweeter notes develop - imagine heather honey, toffee and milk chocolate with a drip of bitter orange oil. Earthy malted biscuits come through also, along with a hint of green apple and that green chilli from the nose. Woody oak spices begin to evolve towards the end and add a lovely vanilla note, plus some gripping dryness and warmth on the tongue. That peppery and chilli-like heat returns for one last hit right at the end.
 

Royal Lochnagar 16 years old
The Spring Stallion East Highlands / 57.5% ABV / Re-fill American oak and European oak casks / £200
The colour is deep gold and the nose is lovely and malty with plenty of biscuit-like and brown sugar aromas. Then comes a lovely combination of burnt orange peel, crisp green apple and something reminsicent of damp Autumn leaves. There are also aromas of vanilla, caramel, baking spices and a hint of earthiness.
On the palate this whisky feels incredibly rich and creamy. The velvety texture accentuates the sweeter notes to begin with and the palate is loaded with vanilla, toffee, confected apple patisserie and crumbly brown sugar. Then the malty cereals kick in and add weight and structure to the whisky. Earthy malted biscuits and oat cakes start this before developing more towards woody and baking spices, plus that Autumn leafy note from the nose. It is an intriguing and tasty marriage. These savoury and spicy characteristics wrap around late notes of baked apple and dried orange peel. Feel slike a hug in a glass on a chilly afternoon.
 

Singleton of Glendullan 19 years old
The Siren's Song Speyside / 54.6% ABV / Re-fill American oak with ex-Cognac cask finish / £140 
The colour is deep gold and the nose is rich, sweet and decadent. Aromas of baked apple and pear rise first but are quickly joined by suggestions of dried apricot, sultana and Victoria sponge cake. Then comes golden syrup and vanilla custard, along with a good pinch of baking spices and cocoa powder.
On the palate the decadence continues. This is silky and velvety with initial sweet notes of vanilla fudge and toffee coming through. Baked apple and poached pear are again evident and they are drizzled in a butterscotch sauce with a pinch of cinnamon and star anise. The combination is wonderful. Extra depth is added by evolving dried fruits. The apricot and sultanas are present as before, but are joined by raisin and fig. Another layer is added with the development of a lovely note of vanilla pod and toasted almond late on, along with further baking spices. Ginger powder, cocoa and a crack of black pepper add warmth and depth. Fabulous.
 

Talisker 8 years old
The Rogue Seafury
Isle of Skye / 59.7% ABV / Heavily peated re-fill casks / £90
The colour is pale lemon yellow and the nose is spiky and peppery. Punchy, hot peat smoke mingles with aromas of fresh green chilli white pepper straight from the pepper mill. Underneath are further aromas of green apples, malted barley, vanilla and lemon zest plus a hint of something confected in the background that reminded us of lime jelly.
On the palate this whisky is as bold and aggressive as the nose suggested. The hot peppery notes bombard the tastebuds and join forces with the robust ashy peat smoke. The combination is quite drying and gives a slight flinty edge. Some sweetness comes through in the form of vanilla, white chocolate and sweet malty cereal bars. These are quickly joined by a suggestion of two delicious desserts - lemon meringue pie and key lime pie. Further depth is added with a hint of clove and an increasing note of salty seaweed. This combines well with the peppery smoke to give a brightness and vibrancy to the whisky. Certainly a feisty one. 
#SpecialReleases2021#LegendsUntold2021


Allotment Drams / Glenmorangie Lighthouse 12 years old & Redbreast Pedro Ximenez Edition

We have two more recent episodes from our Allotment Dram review series for you. Both are exciting and brand new releases. Firstly Matt discusses the Glenmorangie Lighthouse 12 years old, a distillery exclusive that he recently picked up when visiting. It has been created to celebrate the opening of the new experimental Lighthouse distillery that has been built next to Glenmorangie up in the north Highlands. Watch to find out more about the innovative project and the whisky, before Matt pops the cork and gives his thoughts and tasting notes.

Then on a very warm late September afternoon, Matt returns to the allotment and takes a look at the new Irish single pot still whiskey of Redbreast Pedro Ximenez Edition. Watch to discover more about the whiskey and the new range that it is joining, plus his thoughts and tasting notes.

To keep up-to-date-with all of our videos or to watch previous episodes of the Allotment Dram, then please subscribe to our YouTube channel.






#AllotmentDram

 

Watershed Barrel Strength Bourbon Batch 002

Watershed Barrel Strength Bourbon Batch 002 Finished in Apple Brandy Casks 60.4% ABV $90 Website We would like to thank Watershed Distillery for sending us a sample to review. What the Distillery Says Watershed Distillery announces its most mature spirit to date—a highly limited barrel strength bourbon—will be released on Saturday, September 18, 2021 at …

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Review / Torabhaig Allt Gleann


The Allt Gleann is just the second ever single malt release from Torabhaig (pronounced tora-vaig), the newest distillery on the isle of Skye. This follows the inaugural Legacy Series 2017 bottling that was released earlier this year in February and sold out immediately. Allt Gleann, meaning 'old glen' in Gaelic, is the second of four planned releases for 2021 and 2022 in The Legacy Series. The new whisky has been created from just 30 first-fill and re-fill ex-bourbon barrels that were distilled and filled in 2017. It is bottled at 46% ABV and is both non chill-filtered and of natural colour. Torabhaig Allt Gleann is available from the distillery shop and via selected specialist whisky retailers. A bottle will cost £50.

The Torabhaig distillery was founded in 2016 by Mossburn Distillers. It is housed in old farm buildings dating back to the 1820s and located in the village of Sleat, close to the mainland ferry terminal on the south western tip of Skye. Production started in January 2017 and the visitor centre opened a year later in March 2018. They use barley peated to level of 55-60ppm (phenol parts per per million), which puts it on a level with some of the heavier Islay malts. The annual capacity is half a million litres, but they are currently operating around the 400,000 per annum mark.

Our tasting notes

The colour is pale lemon yellow and the nose is powerful and peaty. The hefty peat smoke rises from the glass and has a distinct earthy and seaweed-like quality to it - think of damp moss, dried kelp and bonfire embers. Underneath are further aromas of green grass, crisp apple, malted cereals and a whiff of salty brine.

On the palate this whisky feels robust and hot. Peppery spices and that punchy peat smoke lead the way. The combination has a hot, acrid and savoury feel to it. Black and pink peppercorns mix with green chilli and clove, with the ashy ember-like smoke drifting around them. There is also the damp earth and moss from the nose, plus the dried seaweed and salty sea spray and brine. It grips the tastebuds and becomes a little chalky and flinty with time. A distinct underlying note of malted cereal is also evident.

Then comes some much needed sweetness to temper the robust savoury notes. These are barely detectable to begin with but evolve as the savoury notes mellow a touch. Vanilla and honey come through first, followed by white chocolate and coconut cream. Then comes a hit of sweetened cooked fruits - imagine baked apple with bitterscotch sauce and poached pear with milk chocolate.

The savoury nature returns for the long finish as the sweet and fruity characteristics fade after their brief appearance. This brings back the warmth and spiciness taking the whisky in a drying and peppery direction once again.

What's the verdict?

It is always interesting to taste a whisky from a new distillery, so we were delighted to receive this sample from Torabhaig. This is a very expressive whisky for one so young and has a feisty and fiery edge to it. The peat smoke and savoury notes dominate but it shows potential. For us, these notes need taming a little to give balance and make this an easier whisky to digest and enjoy.

Torabhaig should also be congratulated for putting this whisky out at a competitive and accessible price. This is not always the case with new distilleries when they release early limited editions, so £50 for a bottle (if you can get hold of one) is an excellent price. We look forward to seeing what the future holds for Torabhaig and how their whiskies will evolve with a bit of extra time in the cask.


Inbox / The Week's Whisky News (September 24, 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 ... ________  Big PeatThe blended malt brand of Big Peat, owned by Douglas Laing & Co, has revealed details of its annual Christmas bottling. As with all expressions of Big Peat, the whisky consists of only single malts from the famous whisky island of Islay. The Big Peat Christmas 2021 Edition is bottled at the cask strength of 52.8% ABV and is both non chill-filtered and of natural colour. No details of the numbers within the limited edition or the price were given in the press release. It will be available from the end of September via www.douglaslaing.com and specialist whisky retailers worldwide including Asia, Europe and North America.

 Bushmills 
The Irish single malt distillery of Bushmills has announced the 2021 line-up for its annual Causeway Collection. This years selection, which is named after the Giant's Causeway that is located close to the distillery, features 12 whiskeys. The youngest is bottled at nine years of age (the 2011 Sauternes Cask Finish, pictured, above left) and the oldest at 32 years old (the Port Cask, one of the oldest ever releases from Bushmills).
Other highlights include two Marsala Cask Finishes from 1991 and 1995, another Port Cask Finish from 2000 and a Jupille Cask Finish from 2008 featuring a cask from the famous Belgian brewery. The 12 whiskeys will be spread across eight world markets - Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Scandanavia, UK and travel retail. All are non chill-filtered with prices ranging from €55/ £47 to €950/ £815 per bottle. 

"The Causeway Collection celebrates our extremely rare and unique cask finishes, our passion for single malt and honours our rich heritage. It is a privilege to work with such rare liquid, these special cask-finished whiskeys really are our greatest treasures."Colum Egan / Master Distiller at Bushmills.


 Glenmorangie 
The north Highland distillery of Glenmorangie has revealed a limited edition collaboration with botanical sculptor Azuma Makato. Special packaging for the brand's 18 years old expression has been designed by Makato to celebrate the unveiling of his Dancing Flowers of Glenmorangie sculpture at the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea, London. The artwork is inspired by the delicate floral aromas and flavours of Glenmorangie 18 years old and consists of 100 blooms from both Scotland and his homeland of Japan, some of which are scented with the whisky.

The Glenmorangie 18 years old Azuma Makato Edition is bottled at 43% ABV and will be available from specialist whisky and luxury retailers globally, Amazon and www.clos19.com from November 1. A bottle will cost £100/ $137 US. 

"Azuma Makoto’s stunning work deliciously translates the sweet, floral lushness of Glenmorangie 18 years old. A mere glimpse of his limited-edition design brings to mind the whisky’s scents of geranium, rose and jasmine, plus tastes of honeysuckle and sweet pea."Dr. Bill Lumsden / Director of Whisky Creation at Glenmorangie.

 
 MacallanThe famous Speyside distillery of Macallan has announced the oldest expression yet for its Double Cask range - the Macallan Double Cask 30 years old. The new whisky has seen maturation for three decades in sherry seasoned American and European oak casks. These have then been married together by Kirsteen Campbell, the Master Whisky Maker at Macallan. The Macallan Double Cask 30 years old is bottled at 43% ABV and is presented in an oak casket. It will be available from specialist whisky and luxury retailers, plus Macallan Boutiques globally. Each bottle will cost £2,950/ $4,000 US.

 
Redbreast
The Irish whiskey brand of Redbreast have announced a new limited edition expression that will slot into a newly created range. The Redbreast Pedro Ximénez Edition will join the Iberian Series of Redbreast single pot still whiskeys. The Lustau Edition, which was first launched back in 2016, will also join to become the cornerstone of the series.  For this PX Edition the triple distilled Redbreast spirit has been initially matured in ex-bourbon and ex-Oloroso sherry casks. These whiskeys were then re-casked to hogshead barrels that had been seasoned with Pedro Ximénez, a sweet dessert style of sherry. It is bottled at 46% ABV and will be available initially in Ireland. Other markets including Finland, travel retail and the UK will follow shortly after with America following in November. A bottle will cost €80/ £72/ $86 US. 

"Iberia has been central to the history of Redbreast. My colleagues and I have been visiting the peninsula since the 1980s. The close relationships fostered there over decades have led to many delightful discoveries that take the region’s influence on our whiskey to another level."Billy Leighton / Master Blender for Redbreast.


  
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