Monthly Archives: November 2015

Bowmore 1968 37 Year Old Bourbon Wood

Type: Scotch Single Malt Whisky
Region: Islay Whisky
Distillery: Bowmore
Bottler: Bowmore 
Age: 37 Year Old
Alcohol: 43.4%
Bottled: 2006
Current Price: Approximately GBP 1,600 – GBP 2,500

Review

The 1960’s were considered as a golden era for the Bowmore Distillery. This was the same time when the distillery produced the now legendary Black, White and Gold Bowmore series. Hence getting your hands on any spirit from this period is definitely a stroke of good luck. Fortunately a friend of mine sent me a sample of the now hard to find 37 year old Bowmore which was distilled way back in 1968. At 43.4% ABV, only 708 bottles of this whisky were bottled and I had a sample from bottle number 284. This was definitely going to be interesting.

Nose: It all begins with a lot of sweet notes honey, sugarcane and even sweet spices too. Strong earthy notes and wood make a strong appearance. There is peat but it makes a really fleeting appearance. Towards the end there’s some citrus based aromas possibly swaying more in the direction of a lemon tart or lemon cheesecake maybe.

Palate: There’s definitely a honey like sweetness that greets your tongue as soon as the spirit comes in contact with it, however it’s quite restrained and hence not overly sweet. This one has a really oily palate. What comes through very strongly is the flavors of various red and blue berries. It’s almost like someone had emptied a box full of these fruits in the whisky. At 43.4% the impact this creates is quite nice. There is some mild spice and some herbal notes too.

Finish: With so much of those berries of the palate it was probably no surprise that they’d made their presence very clearly felt on the finish too. There are also slight traces of peat along with some woody notes. Bowmore’s have never been known to be overly peaty however in this case how rarely the peat makes its way through is quite surprising. I’d say this one has a moderately long finish.

Overall while this is probably not a Bowmore that packs a massive punch its definitely a very easy going, smooth and thoroughly enjoyable drink.

Advertisements

Stratheden Vintage – The Lost Distillery Company

Type: Blended Malt Whisky
Region: Lowland Whisky
Distillery: NA
Bottler: The Lost Distillery Company 
Age: NAS
Alcohol: 46%
Bottled: 2014

 

Review

A sneak peek into the past??.. Well at least that’s what the guys at The Lost Distillery Company aimed to give whisky lovers from across the world with this unique idea. What’s on offer… A blended malt whisky (I suppose that’s the category this one would falls into) that has been inspired by the spirit that was produced by the Lowland distillery Stratheden between 1829 and 1926. 

Was the resulting liquid as good as the concept itself.. Here’s what I thought of it…

Nose: Right from the its start you begin to get a hint that this is going to be quite a nice experience. Sweet honeyed notes greet the nose along with that smell of new leather. Then comes the fruits.. oranges, apples .. its a good mix along with a bit of raisins and some toffee too. On the whole its quite a refreshing mix. 

Palate: The palate’s sweet too .. again a lot of more of the fruits and raisins..followed by the bite from the peppery notes. Here’s where you get a bit of salt and smoke too.. Overall the delivery on your palate is really smooth 

Finish: The finish on this one is quite long and warm with a bit more of the sweetness than lingers on.

There’s no way of telling how close this whisky is to what was .. but then again .. when what you are drinking now is as good as this .. does it really matter?.. 🙂

Jim Murray’s 2016 – Top 5 World Whiskies Of The Year

Agree with it or disagree with is totally up to you, one thing you definitely cannot deny is that the annual release of Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible and the winner of the title of ‘World Whisky Of The Year’ is definitely something that everyone is curious about and they sure have had an impact on the whisky trading patterns of the winning whiskies during the weeks and months that follow this announcement. Last year for example the Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2013 won this title and what followed was an unprecedented frenzy of people from across the world spending well over a 1000 quid  on an average for a bottle that used to cost lesser than one tenth that price when it was released.   Well I don’t know if we can expect the same kind of trends to follow for this year’s winner but the fact that this year too for the second time running, none of the world renowned Scotch whiskies have made it into Jim’s Top 5 list of whiskies and that a Canadian whisky is what took top honors is sure going give whisky lovers from across the world enough to talk about.

Here’s a quick summary of the Top 5 Whiskies as per Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2016:

1. World Whisky of the Year 2016 – Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye

This whisky as their website describes it combines the distinctive flavor of Canadian rye grain with the unmistakable smoothness of Crown Royal for a truly exceptional Canadian whisky. It is made with 90% rye. This is gently spicy with soft pepper, vanilla and butterscotch notes. It currently retails at approximately GBP 25+

2.  Pikesville 110 Proof Straight Rye

Taken from their website: Produced in Kentucky from extra-aged barrels stored in prime warehouse locations, Heaven Hill keeps this historic Maryland mark alive with this award-winning six year old, 110 proof offering. Retailing currently at approximately GBP 65

3. Midleton Dair Ghaelach 

Once again taken from their website: Midleton Dair Ghaelach is the latest addition to Single Pot Still Whiskeys of Midleton range from Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard. This uniquely Irish whiskey has been matured primarily in refill American Oak bourbon barrels and, for the first time ever, finished in virgin native Irish Oak Hogshead casks.

Midleton Dair Ghaelach is crafted in the classic Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey style; a mash of malted and unmalted barley has been triple distilled in traditional copper pot stills and matured for between 15 and 22 years in American refill casks. Uniquely, the whiskeys were then married together for two days and filled into Irish oak casks for almost a year, a process which was overseen by Midleton Master of Maturation, Kevin O’Gorman, and Master Blender, Billy Leighton.

Currently retailing at approximately GBP 200 

4. William Larue Weller Bourbon – 2014 

One of the highly sought-after 2014 Buffalo Trace Antique Collection releases, the William Larue Weller is a superb Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey, bottled at a sturdy 70.1% ABV. The William Larue Weller name comes from the clever chap that pioneered the method of using wheat in bourbon production in place of rye. This one usually flies off shelves. It used to be retailed at GBP 125+ 

5. Yamazaki Mizunara 2014 

This single malt was composed exclusively with whiskies aged in Japanese Mizunara Oak. 1600 bottles of this whisky were released in the first half of 2014 exclusively in Japan. This one’s going to be tough to find. It used to retail at approximately GBP 140 when it was released  but now I’m fairly certainly it’s probably going to cost a lot more. 

Well that’s it .. a round up of all who won.. Whether they are worthy winners or not is for you to decide. I for one will definitely try most of these (IF I can get my hands on them .. at a reasonable price..:))!!

 

 

Glencadam 22 Year Old / The Rare Casks / Release 4

Type: Scotch Single Malt Whisky
Region: Highland Whisky
Distillery: Glencadam
Bottler: Abbey Whisky
Age: 22 Years Old
Alcohol: 55.3%
Bottled: 2014
Initial Price: GBP 76+

Review

To be honest when Mike from Abbey Whisky sent me a sample of the Glencadam 22 Year old along with one of my purchases I was as excited as a little kid who noticed an extra gift below his Christmas tree. However I have to admit, up until then, I was fairly ignorant about this distillery and the spirit that came out from their stills. This obviously made me very curious and impatient to crack it open get down to spending some quality time with the whisky. Unfortunately though this date took a bit longer to come by then I’d have liked, the experience that followed was pretty spectacular. This particular expression is the 4th release from the Rare Cask Series by Abbey Whisky and was distilled in 1991, laid to rest in refill bourbon casks for 22 long years and then just 96 bottles of this spirit were filled in at 55.3% ABV. For all those folks who are sailing on the same boat as me when it comes to knowing more about this distillery, Glencadam is from the Highland region of Scotland and is the only existing distillery from the Angus region. It was mothballed in 2000 and reopened in 2003.

Now finally to the spirit itself:

Nose: This was one whisky where I really had to push myself to go beyond the nose simply because the wonderful medley of sweet spices, apples, lots of sweet barley notes and oodles of honey just kept me wanting to stay there and enjoy them for a wee bit longer. Surprisingly and rather strangely I could also get some rather strong sherry notes coming through too …no complaints though.

Palate: Once again it all began with those sweet notes of honey which continued from the nose, followed by some peppery spice notes. Two simple words that describe the palate are powerful and creamy. That fear of having a disappointing palate after a fantastic nose had definitely vanished. There were a lot of orangey citrus notes along with other tropical fruits too. I also found some caramel and nuts thrown into the mix too.

Finish: A honey comb from the start to the very end with the honey making its distinct presence felt at each stage. A velvety smooth and fairly long finish with more fruit notes along with strong, unmistakable traces of caramel and sweet barely. Wow that was one impressive first time experience!! Top grade whisky… hard to find any shortcomings at all…moves straight up into the list of one of the best whiskies I’ve had in the past few months. Enough said I guess. Saying thanks to Mike would never be enough for this.. I had to get my bottle!!.. And that’s exactly what I did!

Littlemill 25 Year Old Private Cellar Edition

Type: Scotch Single Malt Whisky
Region: Lowland Whisky
Distillery: Littlemill
Bottler: Littlemill
Age: 25 Years Old
Alcohol: 50.4%
Bottled: 2015
Initial Price: GBP 2000+
Review 
Getting to sample a 25 Year Old from a distillery that shut its doors in 1994 is quite a privilege in itself. Add to that the fact that this one’s a distillery bottling that’s been bottled in 2015 after 25 years of maturation initially in ten American and European oak casks before being married and finished in first-fill Oloroso Sherry casks. This makes the offering a fairly unique one too given that you don’t find too many distilleries that are still bottling their spirit so many years after closing down. The 2015 edition which is limited to only 1500 bottles only comes in a 70cl bottle and also comes with a 5cl miniature of the whisky, as well as a section of a stave from one of casks that matured the whisky!
Keeping all of this mind a special thanks is in place for Steve Rush from The Whisky Wire who has nice enough to let me be a part of their inaugural Flash Blog (which by the way is another unique initiative by these guys) and of course the guys from Loch Lomond for sending the 5cl samples out to all those participating. 
Now coming to whisky itself, here’s what I thought of it.. 
Nose:  
This ones got a really nice sweet nose with lots of honey coming through along with butterscotch, vanilla and some definite notes of wood too. Then comes the scent of sweet spices, a good dose of gingery notes and finally some really nice juicy apples. 
Palate:
The palate on this one is extremely distinctive.. I mean those bitter sweet notes coming from the citrus and lush ripe tropical fruits are almost unmistakable. Totally enjoying it by now. Hold on to it for a bit longer and I also get some licorice, lots of berries and some black tea notes too. 
Finish: 
The finish is just as grand as the entire packaging of this whisky itself.. long, smooth and very warm.. with a bit more of those sweet spices from the nose and more of the berries from the palate that carry their way through. Just like the distillery its whisky too definitely keeps you thinking about it for a long time after its gone!! 
A lot of people have been commenting about the price and whether I’d buy it for what its been priced at. To be honest.. I don’t know.. all I can say I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this dram and if someone did put their money on it… I’m fairly certain they’d enjoy the whisky!  

Bowmore 10 Year Old Devil’s Casks II

Type: Scotch Single Malt Whisky
Region: Islay Whisky
Distillery: Bowmore
Bottler: Bowmore
Age: 10 Years Old
Alcohol: 56.3%
Bottled: 2014
Initial Price: No Info
Current Status: Limited Availability with a few retailers in Europe at approximately GBP 200+

Review 

So as I mentioned in my previous review.. tonight was the night of the Devil’s.. I started with Arran and now time for this Bowmore.. which is a small batch release matured exclusively in first fill Sherry casks. That by the way is pretty evident from the lovely ruby color that this spirit possesses.

Nose: Bowmore often mentions maturing its finest whiskies in its legendary No. 1 vaults by the sea.. well if you ever wanted some help in imagining how that place would have felt.. this expression can give you nose… the smells of that peaty spirit maturing in those sherry casks.. along with rows of the other casks.. the dampness that comes from being right next to sea.. it all right there. After this brief introduction comes the first fill sherry influence… the cotton candy.. maple syrup.. black grapes.. basically a lot of sweetness.. and there’s a touch of perfection to it

Palate: The darkness of this expression slowly begins to reveal itself further as you move to the palate a lot more of those black grapes and sweet dark berries along with some mild notes of peat. This one has a very rich palate with each flavor coming out nice and strong. Initially the spice is more of clove and as the spirit oxidizes its more peppery spice that comes through. This is accompanied by some liquorice too.

Finish: A fairly long finish .. which leaves a mildly dry feeling in your mouth .. with some wood shaving and the final showing of the darkness with some sweet dry black raisins

Even at 56.3% there’s an exceptional smoothness to this both on the palate as well as on the finish.

On this particular night .. its this Devil from Islay that has got me smiling ‘devil’ishly at the end of it all!!

Arran The Devil’s Punch Bowl Chapter III (The Fiendish Finale)

Type: Scotch Single Malt Whisky
Region: Island Whisky
Distillery: Arran
Bottler: Arran
Age: NAS
Alcohol: 53.4%
Bottled: 2014
Initial Price: GBP 80+
Current Status: Available with a few retailers in Europe at prices starting at GBP 85
 
Review

This has been a month of the ‘Devil’ with Arran and Bowmore bringing out two Devilishly good limited releases into the market. So I decided to pit the two the devil’s against each other. Here’s what I thought of the Arran first..

Nose: The nose which was the best part of this one.. was a exceptionally pleasing medley of fruits and spices.. Apple, bananas.. with cinnamon’s and vanilla. As it opens up further you get some dried black raisins and towards the end .. what remains is some refreshing lemon zest.

I kept it aside with a few drops of water in it.. and that brought out a lot of ripe oranges and wood..

Each of those French Oak.. Bourbon and Sherry casks used for maturing this one.. made their presence clearly felt here.

Palate: The palate does have more of those fruits coming through.. although this time it was harder to point out which ones exactly.. I’d say they were definitely more tropical .. There were also some dark chocolatey flavors coming through with an interesting orangy tang to it. A sprinkling of white pepper and some woody notes were part of the mix too. Overall the palate is fairly creamy with a hint of dryness that begins to appear initially but it loses this completely and just gets a lot more creamier once it marries the tiny bit of water that I’d put in.

Finish: The finish wasn’t too long.. but not too short either.. a bit of the spices and some mint.. that was more like toothpaste to be honest..

Overall this is indeed was a fine finale.. to what has now become somewhat of an iconic series from this young distillery. Whether or not it has been better than the previous two editions of this series.. is for you to decide.. 🙂