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5th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 15 – Singlemalting # 212 – Secret Spirits Caol Ila 8 Year Old

Caol Ila, workhorse of the Islay underworld. Pumping out more Smoky, Peaty, Islay goodness than all the rest of the Islay distilleries combined by quite some margin. As you already noted on day 5 we actually did a cask of Caol Ila in the 4th edition but were unable to fill any full size bottles for the peaty faithful. This year is a different story and we have managed to get a bit more of the sister cask. These limited bottles will be released along with most of the other Secret Spirits whiskies from the 5th edition in the first quarter of 2019. Stay tuned for the pre-order information.

Caol Ila is owned by industry giant Diageo and makes up the backbone of their peaty needs for the Johnnie Walker range. Founded in 1846 it has changed hands many times and seen some closures including during the second World War when due to barley shortages most distilleries ceased operations. Must have been a tough time for whisky lovers in the mid 50’s when all of those whiskies would have been around 10 years old and hitting the market. Caol Ila is taken from the Gaelic Caol Ìle for “sound of Islay” refering to the location of the distillery overlooking the strait between Islay and Jura.

Caol Ila Distillery

Secret Spirits Caol Ila 8 Year Old Single Malt – Bourbon Cask # SS006 – Islay – alcohol 59.5%

Colour:             Pinot Gris sparkle gold.

Nose:                Certainly does not smell like Pinot Gris as that classic Islay heavily peated salt, earth and fire leap out of the glass. For me the smokiness is much more subdued than the peat note. Could it be that there is a wee Scottish flower poking up from the bog?

Palate:             Peated Vanilla cookies and Cavendish pipe tobacco. Im my minds eye I’m standing right in the middle of a large Islay farm paddock complete with heavy hoof prints, upturned earth and mud puddles. The rain is just about to hit and the sky is dark and brooding. Scurrying into the farmers house just as the heavens unleash I find myself sipping this dram by the fire and absolutely loving the Islay experience.

Finish:          Very long with a lemon essence that surprisingly jumps in at the end. Certainly on the slightly sweeter side of Caol Ila but there is no mistaking the huge use of peat to malt this barley. Delicious trip to Islay and I hope that has made you peat only peat please hurt me with peat guys happy enough to visit the mainland a few more times.

On this day in the 4th edition we had another smoky expression with the Wemyss Malts Peat Chimney Batch Strength.

I know that Daniel in particular loves younger Islay so it will be interesting to see how this one fares over at the Whiskey Vault. Scotch Test Dummies are not afraid of peat either so will no doubt relish this little trip to Islay.

Tomorrow we are back on the mainland with a delicious malt from the team at Wemyss.

Until then may the finish linger long into the night…..




5th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 14 – Singlemalting # 211– A.D. Rattray Knockdhu 9 Year Old

Welcome back to another day of whisky adventuring. What a great day to introduce a new distillery to our calendar mix. Knockdhu is a Highland Distillery located in the town of Knock Banffshire right on Speyside’s doorstep. Founded in 1893 by John Morrison after he purchased the land from the Duke of Fife. It had a short closure in 1931 during the depression and again during the second world war from 1940 to 1945. Closed again in 1983 like so many distilleries were in the 80’s it was sold to Inver House  in 1988 with production resuming the following year. In 1993 the bottled whisky was changed to anCnoc to avoid confusion with Knockando. anCnoc in Gaelic simply means “the hill”. Very varely ever seen bottled using the name of the distillery rather than their new branding.

Knockdhu Distillery

A.D. Rattray as you know by now are one of my favorite independent bottlers and Mr Tim Morrison was kind enough to be my Seconder for the Keepers of the Quaich nomination for which I am extremely grateful. Tim is a gentleman in every respect and has championed the Scotch Whisky industry for his entire working life. Their new distillery Clydeside is gorgeous and will I’m sure become a beacon of amazing whisky and tourism in the heart of Glasgow.

A.D. Rattray Knockdhu 9 Year Old Single Malt – Bourbon Hogshead # 700305 – Highland – Alcohol 59%

Colour:           Super light pale gold and makes me think that the cask is a refill although at only 9 years it could have just been lightly toasted.

Nose:               Alrighty then. I was really hoping to find this profile as it struck me when I first tasted this cask back in March. Candy Cane peppermint and licorice. Red glazed salted granny smith toffee apple.

Palate:            The minty character comes through nicely and takes me back to those extremely politically incorrect cigarette candies I purchased from the school tuck shop. They were a white softish slightly minty vanilla candy with a glazed red sugar tip. I can still see us all standing around pretending to smoke these little candies. Loads of countries have banned them but they are still available in many forms. There is also rich toffee and that little salty element from the nose but it takes a back seat.

Finish:           The toffee apple works but to me now seems more caramel. The high alcohol really kicks this whisky into a lingering tingle that tails off into a slightly peppery climax. Really enjoyed this dram especially as a holiday minty candy cane treat. This would be a great start of the evening drink to get the tastebuds ready for heavier more full flavoured fare.

On this day back in the 4th edition we had the A.D. Rattray Glen Elgin 21 Year Old.

Back to Youtube for some more shenanigans with the boys at the Whiskey Vault and Scotch Test Dummies.

Tomorrow we head to Islay for some more dark side action from non other than Secret Spirits. “I am altering the deal…pray I don’t alter it any further”.



5th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 12 – Singlemalting # 209– Lost Distillery Company Stratheden Classic

I hope you all enjoyed a history lesson with the Auchnagie on day 3. Today we get to travel back to Fife and look into a distillery that stood for almost 100 years. Owned by 3 generations of the Bonthrone family Stratheden officially operated from 1829 to 1926 although there was evidence that illicit distilling was practiced well before that.

What is most fascinating for me as I read through the very indepth and detailed history of the distillery is the account of world affairs during world war 1 and the influence of prohibition in the US on distillery closures in Scotland. You all owe it to yourselves to head over to the Lost Distillery Company website and have a good read about Stratheden. Far more detailed research and material than I can post here.

Stratheden Distillery
Lost Distillery Company Stratheden

Lost Distillery Company Stratheden Classic Blended Malt – 43% alcohol – no caramel or chill filtration.

Colour:             Light Gold. My understanding is that this blended malt is a combination of Bourbon Casks.

Nose:                 Peat influence here but subtle with a layer of under the house crawl space. You know that slightly dark and earthy wet character. Back when Stratheden was around they were using peat to malt their barley much like all distilleries at that time. Coming over the top of this though as you look up into the light from your hiding place under the porch I get almost a Cognac influenced brulee torched orange rind.

Palate:            The under the porch themes tail away more on the palate with the slightly bitter orange peel and a touch of dark high cocoa chocolate. This is a fairly delicate dram that I actually had to sip at for a while to get everything out of. Interesting that this is the Classic range which is the most affordable but will reward more experienced whisky drinkers that take their time with it.

Finish:           At 43% the finish is not long but still leaves that lovely little bitter edge lingering.

Do the guys at the Whiskey Vault and Scotch Test Dummies dig whisky history geeking? Make sure you check it out.

Day 12 of our 4th edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar was one of our own casks. The Secret Spirits Speyside 19 Year Old undisclosed Single Malt.

I do know that there has been some excellent controversy created by the faithfull Tribers of the Whiskey Vault. So far we have spent most of our time exploring the Highlands and Speyside. There have however been a lot of different distilleries, cask types, ages and alcohol volumes. Even within the same region distilleries use different shaped stills, different sources of barley, different cask programs and different water sources. What we have hopefully shown is that every single cask has its own story to tell. It just takes a pause from this in your face busy world we live in to sit for a while and just listen.

Tomorrow we are in for an absolute treat as we delve into something extremely rare from Stuart Nickerson of the Malt Whisky Company. I promise that tomorrow’s whisky is going to blow your minds.

Excited yet?

See you then



Singlemalting # 208 – 5th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 11 – Wemyss Malts Vanilla Burst Blended Malt

Well hello again calendar junkies. Today we have another one of those American TTB label challenges. This whisky from Wemyss Malts is actually called Vanilla Burst but we could not put vanilla on the label so instead we chose Delicious Burst. Hope that no one is as confused as I am. Vanilla is delicious right? Wemyss has been fighting this battle with the TTB for over a decade and still have not really gotten anywhere. It is surprising to me that the Scotch Malt Whisky Society seems to be able to get their bottles into the US as every label is even more apt to include all sorts of non-whisky flavors than Wemyss. Hopefully sanity will prevail and at some point the Wemyss line of delicious single casks will be available in the US market. Looking back at some of the past calendars you can read about whiskies like Aromatic Orange Tobacco and Applewood Bake. We will certainly continue to feature Wemyss Malts in the future and I am hoping that we dont have to water down their great labels.

Vanilla Burst

This limited edition of only 4800 bottles is made up of Single Malts from 2 Speyside distilleries. All the 14 casks used were 1st fill ex bourbon American oak barrels. Vanilla is certainly a flavor profile that a lot of people pick up on with American Oak. Lets see how true to the name this whisky is. We have generally included at least one of Wemyss Malts limited edition blended malts in each edition as they have all been stellar. Some of you may remember with mouth watering fondness an outstanding Wemyss Malts blended malt whisky from our 2nd edition, the very impressive Velvet Fig.

Wemyss Malts Vanilla Burst Blended Malt – 4800 bottles – 1st Fill Bourbon Barrels – 46% alcohol – Speyside

Colour:     Nice rich golden 1st fill Bourbon colour.

Nose:        There certainly is a big hit of fresh vanilla bean, creme brulee, fudge and an earthy grassy undercurrent. I thought there might actually be even more vanilla but am pleased to see some other characters vying for my attention.

Palate:      Nice mouth coating spread of flavor and the vanilla dies down a touch compared to the nose. More cask infuence coming through now with some touches of white pepper and that fresh hay and mown grass cuts through the middle. This is a very easy going dram and as the name implies is meant to showcase the use of American oak with lighter speyside spirit.

Finish:      Vanilla fades as the cask takes over a bit leaving a dry citrus note hanging on.


Remember to TRIBE and DUMMY today and see what those guys think about this little blended malt.

On this day in our 4th edition we had the Samaroli Islay 2017 edition. For those peat heads that are already starting to pine for more in this 5th edition hold tight help is on the way soon.

Tomorrow we are taking a second step back in time with the boys at Lost Distilleries.

Looking forward to getting my geek on again.





5th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 10 – Singlemalting # 207 – Secret Spirits Royal Brackla 11 Year Old

Welcome to another Secret Spirits cask. Today we head to the Highlands and are filling our glasses with a dram from the Royal Brackla Distillery. It is one of only 3 distilleries to ever bear the name Royal. Royal Lochnegar is still in production however the other, Glenury Royal was unfortunately demolished. The Brackla distillery was built in 1812 on the grounds of Cawdor Castle and received it’s royal warrant from the King in 1833 becoming the first distillery to receive this lofty title. As is the case with a lot of older distilleries Royal Brackla has been closed and opened a number of times including during the second world war. A training airstrip was even built alongside it for aerial gunnery practice. After reopening in 1991 following a closure of 6 years it has now remained in continuous production. It is owned by alcohol powerhouse Bacardi. Independent bottlings are still somewhat rare so I was pretty pleased to get the chance to grab this cask for a Secret Spirits bottling.

Royal Brackla Distillery

Secret Spirits Royal Brackla 11 Year Old Single Malt – Refill Bourbon Barrel # 31878 – 57% alcohol – Highland

Colour:                   Pale straw. Another very light whisky in colour. This was a refill bourbon so even at 11 years old there is not a lot imparted. This could actually be the lightest whisky in this edition so far.

Nose:                       Marzipan, furniture polish and linseed oil. There is something funky underlying here…a mixture of my cedar humidor and all the lovely tobacco notes that rise out of it..

Palate:                     Bees wax, new leather (not that I have new leather for dinner often), hints of papaya but very muted. That polished wood tobacco note is still there.

Finish:                    The almond nutty marzipan comes back again in the background while the furniture polish feel rolls on. There is some hints of dried rose petals right at the death.

Nice to see that not all Highland whiskies are all about just sweet honey and dessert. This is a very cool whisky and I am going to be on the hunt for an older expression of Royal Brackla for future calendars for sure. This is a very delicious dram and one that I was super excited to find as it is pretty rare. Let me know if you would like to see some more Royal Brackla in future. Perhaps in a different type of barrel like a sherry cask?

Head over to you know where – Whisky Vault and Scotch Test Dummies – every day without fail…. just do it.

The day 10 offering in the 4th edition was none other than the Lost Distillery Jericho Archivist. A delicious older blended malt.

Tomorrow we are in for another treat from those tasting note toting Wemyss Malts folks and I can’t wait. We will fight the TTB one funky tasting note label at a time. Let me know your thoughts on the tasting note challenge. Do you think their actual labels are misleading?

See you on the morrow fellow drammers. I hope that you are enjoying the ride and going to places in whisky that you have not gone before.




5th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 9 – A.D. Rattray Glen Moray 10 Year Old – Singlemalting # 206

So all is revealed in the fullness of time. Glen Moray is our comparison distillery this edition and we have a cask off between Secret Spirits Glen Moray 9 Year old from way back on day 4 and this A.D. Rattray bottling on day 9. If you didn’t keep any of the Secret Spirits bottling and you didn’t take any notes you can always just go back and read my blog or check out Whisky Vault or Scotch Test Dummies for a refresher. So how will the A.D. Rattray compete with my mum’s Creamed Rice Pudding.

I won’t go into the details on the distillery again but I will point out the comparison pieces we had in previous editions.

1st Edition that you cannot get your hands on anymore for love nor money saw a 3 way battle between Samaroli, Wemyss Malts and A.D. Rattray with the Glentauchers distillery. We only had 3 independent bottlers back then and each one put up a really great cask of Glentauchers that were all very different and unique.

2nd Edition that is still available for a fairly hefty pricetag these days saw Wemyss Malts take on A.D. Rattray with casks of Craigellachie. The Wemyss Malts cask was sherry and the A.D. Rattray Bourbon offering very different takes on a great distillery.

3rd Edition that you can still add to your collection had a battle royale between Malt Whisky Company with their amazing 8 Year Old Sherried Glenrothes and Wemyss Malts 27 Year Old Glenrothes. You would think it was a one sided affair however the Malt Whisky Company cask was incredible and showcased how stunning younger whisky can be.

4th Edition that can be found on our online stores had Samaroli up against A.D. Rattray with different expressions from the MacDuff Distillery. It is so cool to be able to try different casks from the same distillery so we promise to search high and low in all future editions to keep the tradition alive.

Glen Moray barrel warehouse

A.D. Rattray Glen Moray 10 Year Old Single Malt – Bourbon Barrel # 5677 – 57.7% alcohol – Speyside

Colour:        Always hard pressed to get a lot of colour from a Bourbon Cask even 1st fill. Light Gold.

Nose:           This Glen Moray goes in much more of a zesty lemon direction. Lemon pound cake with vanilla icing. Like walking into a local bakery in Australia and looking at the delicious selection under the glass. This smell takes me right back there. Ok bang…. lemon tarts, you know the little pastry shells filled with tangy lemon filling. Finally got right down to it. My wife Cindy says that that I am out to lunch and this is way more pineapple/Pina Colada. I have great respect for Cindy’s palate as it is a scientific fact that the ladies percieve a larger range of smells and flavours. Who do you vote for?

Palate:         The citrus meets pastry is all over this for me. Sugar dusted fresh baked lemon muffins with a dollop of cream cheese.

Finish:         High ABV zestiness kicks in big time on the finish for me leaving strong citrus (lemon) continuing for ages. No doubt the finish on this is longer I think than the Secret Spirits Cask.

So which cask do you prefer out of the Secret Spirits and A.D. Rattray Glen Moray’s. Did you find as much difference as I did or were they very simal for you? Both Bourbon casks and very close in age but for me very different.

Last time around in the 4th edition on day 9 we had Wemyss Malts “The Hive” Batch Strength.

Scotch Test Dummies and Whisky Vault share their insights on this cask off so check it out.

Delicious times ahead for tomorrow as we get into double digits with day 10. Another cask from Secret Spirits and another distillery making it’s first appearance in any of our editions. Awesome.



Singlemalting # 205 – 5th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 8 – Old Malt Cask Balmenach 13 Year Old

Old Malt cask get their second appearance in our calendars and showcase Balmenach Distillery. This is the first time we have had the pleasure of bottling a cask of Balmenach in any of our editions so I’m excited to share this dram with all of you. As you may be aware Old Malt Cask is a brand owned by Hunter Laing. They always bottle at 50% alcohol for this brand and always do single cask expressions. No chill filtration or caramel colouring ever touches these whiskies so you can be happy that every ounce of deliciousness is still in the bottle.

Balmenach Distillery

Balmenach is a Speyside distillery that was established in 1824 by James MacGregor from farmers and illicit distillers living in Tomintoul. It stands beneath the nearby hill of Tom Lethandry where the Jacobites were defeated in the battle of Cromdale in 1690. Never a shortage of serious history to discover in Scotland that just adds to the awe surrounding this delicious spirit. It is now owned by Inver House Distillers who also own Knockdhu, Speyburn, Balblair and Old Pultney.

Old Malt Cask Balmenach 13

Old Malt Cask Balmenach 13 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky – Refill Bourbon Barrel number HL14727 – 50% Alcohol – Speyside.

Colour:          Super light Sauvignon Blanc colour as a result of aging in a refill Bourbon barrel.

Nose:             Custard Apple, ginger snaps, vanilla wafers and fresh cream.

Palate:           Creamy vanilla custard over baked Fuji apples. Light but with a lot of swirling delicate flavor. You can guess by now that this little adventure is meant to take you well out of your comfort zone and make you think a little more than perhaps you do normally when sitting down to a dram. I do like drams that take time to discover so hopefully you blanked out time in your busy schedule to really dive in.

Finish:           Very gentle for 50% ABV and the delicious vanilla wafers and cream continues on. The apple dies away but I get that touch of ginger or perhaps the alcohol finally kicking onto the tip of the tongue and making me think spice.

Balmenach is very rarely seen so it is a real treat having this cask. Thanks Hunter Laing for adding this distillery to the list of Advent Calendar Adventure stops. I would like to see more Balmenach in future editions and perhaps something older or in a first fill cask just for comparison.

Whisky Vault………Scotch Test Dummies………must visit……..must watch……….

On day 8 of the 4th edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar we had the A.D. Rattray Fettercairn 11 Year Old.

Tomorrow it is time to have our yearly taste off. Every edition we bottle at least two casks from the same distillery. This is so that you can see how different each single cask is even if the whisky is from the same distillery and close to the same age. Always done from different bottler’s perspectives this excersise has generated some of the most interesting discussion over the years.

See you tomorrow then same dram time same dram channel.



Singlemalting # 204 – 5th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 7 – Adelphi Breath of Speyside

Hello there Advent’urers. Hope you are all having a blast so far. Here we are at the end of our first full week and it’s time to get some serious sherry cask action going. Adelphi has made only one appearance before in our third edition with the only closed distillery bottling we have had to date. That Cambus 27 Year Old was truly something special and so we desperately wanted to have them back in another edition. This time around we have a blended malt featuring only Single Malts from the Speyside region and aged entirely in a Sherry butt. There were only 529 bottles produced and we used 150 of them alone just for our 5th edition calendars.

Adelphi is an independent bottler that also boasts distillery ownership. The Ardnamurchan distillery opened in 2014 and it is anyones guess when we will see the first whisky release. My meeting with Alex earlier this year did unlock the fact that it should be just around the corner. So even though this is presented as a blended malt I do have it on good authority that it is a teaspooned Sherry Butt of Glenfarclas. Teaspooning is as way for distilleries to sell casks to independents that cannot then be botted as a single malt or showing the distillery name. All they have to do is pour a teaspoon of another malt into the cask and boom blended malt. For all intents and purposes however one teaspoon makes no difference at all so the character of the cask remains untouched.

Breath of Speyside

Glenfarclas is a Speyside distillery that uses entirely sherry casks for all of their expressions. Planning well ahead they have had barrel programs in place with Spanish Bodega’s for a long time ensuring their uninterupted supply of sherry casks. Glenfarclas is said to have started production in 1791 but was first granted a license in 1836. In 1865 it was purchased by John Grant and is still owned by the Grant family remaining one of the oldest family owned distilleries operating in Scotland. It is located in the wee town of Ballindalloch in Speyside and has a fantastic visitors center and is a must for anyone doing a Speyside distillery crawl.

Glenfarclas Rainbow

Adelphi Breath of Speyside “Blended” (teaspooned) Malt Scotch Whisky 11 Year Old – Aged in a 1st fill Sherry Butt – 57.8% alcohol

Colour:                Some deep colour on this whisky for only 11 years. 1st fill sherry will do that and Glenfarclas has access to excellent casks.

Nose:                    Stone fruit medley, plums, peaches, nectarines all being lightly poached in an Amontillado sherry reduction.

Palate:                  Fantastic weight here with the 57.5% and boy do those luscious stone fruits come through big time. For me perhaps the plum comes out the most. My brother and I used to spend a lot of time at my grandfathers place in Adelaide and apart from the fabulous apricot trees he also had 2 plum trees. In my childhood memory they always seemed to be overflowing with delicious satsuma plums. The slightly dry and faintly bitter note is deliciously reminiscent of that thick satsuma skin. Once the initial bite passes the skin there is an explosion of juicy sweet deep red plum flesh that I can remember like it was yesterday. Sweet and Sour Sauce.

Finish:                  Nice dry tannic finish throwing that 1st fill sherry cask influence right at us. Plum roll please…………..Bud um Bom.

Make sure you dont forget about our friends at the Whisky Vault and Scotch Test Dummies.

On day 7 in the 4th edition we had the Ainneamh 12 year old sherried blended malt. Would have loved to try these side by side as the Ainneamh was a combination of single malts that included some Islay influence.

Tomorrow we are back to a Single Cask expression from our friends at Hunter Laing. Their Old Malt cask range has made an appearance before so lets see whats in store this time around.

Until then don’t drink your dram all at once…. or empty every last drop into your Aurora glass until theres nothing left but memories.



Singlemalting # 203 – 5th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 6 – Exclusive Malts Regional Islay Sherry Cask

Here be some Peat for the People. I understand…you’ve been waiting paitently and smirking with restrained amusement as we talk about “delicate complexity” and the incredible array of flavor to be found in Scotch Whisky. All the while we really needed to be schooled in what “real” Scotch is all about, right? Big peaty, smoky, briny, boggy monsters that terrorize towns, devour the countryside and destroy tastebuds. There is certainly no more polarizing category of Scotch Whisky than that which involves the abundant use of one of Scotland’s most plentiful natural resources. Love it or hate it you cannot ignore the fact that there is no other whisky style in the world that lights such a fire in your mouth and slowly burns you down from the inside out with an incredible warmth and flavor that leaves us all begging for more.

Today as we wander off the ferry, we grasp in out hot little hands a bottle of Islay Magnificence. Bottled by David Stirk of Exclusive Malts this fully sherry matured Islay Single Malt comes from the Laphroaig distillery so is right up there with the highest levels of peat in Scotland. This here little dram should make even the heartiest of peat fans happy.

Recently David successfully sold his company to overseas interests so this may be the last time we get to bottle something from him so it is only apt that we go out with a bang.

Laphroaig Distillery

Laphroaig is one of only 9 distilleries on Islay and was founded in 1815 by Donald and Alexander Johnston. Trading hands many times over the years it is now owned by the Japanese alcohol giant Suntory who aquired Beam in 2014. With a great visitors center Laphroaig is a major attraction for any Islay whisky hunter. In 1994 they started the friends of Laphroaig whereby visitors could purchase a square foot of Laphroaig land and in return receive the rent of one dram of Laphroaig each year when visiting the distillery.

Laphroaig Pagoda Chimney

Exclusive Malts Regional Series Islay – Refill Sherry Cask – 50% Alcohol – Laphroaig Distillery

Colour:          Some darker tinges here that point at least a touch to the refill sherry cask that this Laphroaig spent its life in.

Nose:             Bart from Scotch Test Dummies should be a happy man today as he has a self confessed peat obsession. For my substantial shnoz I am getting salty, smoked, pork crackling with a a rich red wine jus poured over everything. My oh my this is an inviting nose. Tailing in at the end is the coastal medicine that helps the whisky go down.

Palate:           All of the above and more. Actually softer than I was anticipating with the 50% ABV. The sherry infuence seems to enhance that sweet medicine and the smoky salty layer ebbs and flows with charred sweet pork holding it all together.

Finish:          Laphroaig always seems to take me to Porky places….. with BBQ. Especially when it’s aged in Sherry casks for some reason. Perhaps the added sweetness from the sherry influence and pork is such a sweet BBQ meat. This is a delicious Laphroaig and the finish is just lingering and yummy. What a great potentially last dram from Exclusive Malts. I understand that there are a few bottles of this to be had from K&L in California so if you are keen jump on it before it’s never seen again. Sorry Canada.

On day 6 of our 4th edition we had the delicate Samaroli Glenallachie 8 Year Old.

Head straight over to the Whisky Vault and Scotch Test Dummies and watch today’s video’s…..seriously what are you waiting for get over there.

Tomorrow we find something from yummy from Alex Bruce at Adelphi. Hold onto your hats sherry fans.

Until then drammers




Singlemalting # 202 – 5th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 5 – Secret Spirits Craigellachie 12 Year Old Single Malt

Hope you are enjoying the journey so far. I can promise amazing whiskies to come as the Secret Spirits Advent Calendar train winds its way across the Scottish countryside. It is so much fun putting this together every year that the inevitable challenges that come along are a great way to keep us balanced.

Craigellachie has made appearances in several of our Scotch Whisky Advent Calendars as a definite fave of mine. Being able to access this cask to be bottled by Secret Spirits was a real bonus. Founded in 1891 it now belongs to John Dewar’s & Sons and is one of the backbones of their Dewar’s Blended Scotch Whisky. Located in Arberlour, Banffshire near the wee village of Craigellachie. Perhaps one of the reasons why this is such a favorite is an afternoon dram or 3 that I had while visiting the iconic Craigellachie Hotel. Sporting an overflowing bar of amazing whisky options it is a must stop for any fan doing a Speyside tour.

Craigellachie Hotel
Craigellachie Hotel Bar

Secret Spirits Craigellachie Single Malt Whisky 12 Year Old – Speyside – Hogshead number 900674 – 61.6% alcohol volume.

Colour:             Super light Chardonnay’esque colour here on this Bourbon Hogshead. Love the no caramel on these as we have learned that colour does not equal flavour.

Nose:               Freshly washed hotel towels. Have you ever just pushed your face into a fresh towel that is all soft and snuggly? I do travel a fair bit and can say this is almost a ritual for me when I finally get away from the crazy airport and find myself safely deposited in my room. It’s the floral note and linen undertone that brings this to mind. Along with that there is a lovely freshly roasted fruit driven espresso note. My wife Cindy agreed with this and pictured herself wrapped up in fresh sheets sipping espresso that was just delivered by room service. What a great way to delve into this whisky.

Palate:             Baboom baby….. 61.6% is huge and wow oh wow is there a massive basket of fruit that was just dumped on my palate. Ok lets try to figure it out….tinned pineapple chunks that quickly give way to a massive hit of poached pears, those little tins of tiny cubed fruit pieces that I used to take to school as a kid. Pear was always the standout flavor in those even though there was “supposed” to be 4 other fruits involved.

Finish:           The lingering pear note is crazy on this. This may just be the most Pear influenced Single Malt that I have had in a very long time. When I close my eyes I can picture myself sitting on a bench at recess with my wee teaspoon gulping down those tiny pear chunks and then draining the syrup. Anything over 60% normally gets a mandatory drop of water and I found that the agressive pear note diminished a touch. Actually liked this more while it was spanking me. Kind of like lying under a pear tree at the end of the season and having them rain down on you, ripe soft juicy but just a touch painful every time one hits you. Love it.

The good news is that a very select few will be able to access a bottle of this Craigellachie thanks to a remnant of whisky still sitting in the cask once we were done with the mini’s. It will be bottled in 750ml format and be available on a pre-order basis only from our online stores in Canada and the USA. Keep pestering us for details. We will announce pricing and launch date as soon as we know when the bottling will happen.

What a treat to bottle a Craigellachie. Well It’s a fun viewing to see how the Whiskey Tribe and Scotch Test Dummies are coming along so don’t forget to check them both out.

In the 4th edition on day 5 we had the creamy and delicious Secret Spirits Caol Ila 8 Year Old. This could be a potential spoiler alert for the region we might be visiting tomorrow as we never want you peat heads to miss out for long. Hop aboard the ferry to Islay as we sail across the mountainous seas off the Western Scottish Coast to the land of all things peaty.

Looking forward to your company then