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Singlemalting #231 – 6th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 5 – Ledaig 10 Year Old

Welcome to our first peaty day of the 6th edition. Some of you are going to have a hard time with this whisky and some of you have barely tolerated the so called whisky that has come before in anticipation of this dram.

Today we are grabbing a ferry to the isle of Mull and visiting a fantastic distillery by the name of Tobermory. Now looking at your bottle you will see Ledaig (pronounced le’chig). Ledaig is the Tobermory brand for their peated single malt whisky.

Tobermory was founded in 1798 but closed in 1930 due largely to the 10 years of US prohibition. It was reopened in 1972 under the name Ledaig Distillery. Located in the town of Tobermory it is now owned by the Distill group out of South Africa that purchased it in 2013. It remains the only distillery operating on the Isle of Mull and produces a wide variety of different single malt styles.

Picturesque Tobermory Distillery

Secret Spirits Ledaig 10 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky – Island – 46.1% abv – Bourbon Barrel # 70099 – distilled in 2008.

Colour:       Rich Amber

Nose:          Ahhh there it is……sweet smoke and definitely very reminicent of my brisket smoking exploits this Summer. There is a meaty element to the nose that is really drawing me in. Charcoal and hickory. Can’t wait to taste this one.

Palate:       Oh yeah, this is exactly what I was hoping for with the nose. It’s actually kind of like drinking delicious smoked brisket that is juicy, slightly sweet and dripping with flavor. There is also a touch of that island salt and a hint of pencil eraser.

Finish:       The saltiness increases along with a medicinal rubbery thing (great descriptor) that I can’t quite put my tongue on. The sweet meaty flavors are still there as well. Yummo.

I love peated island whiskies like Ledaig and Highland Park. Even though at times they use the same amount of peat in their maltings and distillations they somehow always come across a little softer and more balanced.

On day 5 in the 5th edition we had the Secret Spirits Craigellachie 12 year old that caused so much controversy. We still have bottles of this amazing Craigellachie available.

Always remember to head over to our guest Youtubers at Single Malt Review in New Zealand. Whisky Whistle in Canada and Scotch Test Dummies in the US.

Tomorrow we will be having a very exciting first for any of our additions with the inaugural whisky release from a new Scotch Whisky Distillery. I don’t want to ruin the surprise so I won’t tell you which region we will be visiting.

That was a great first peated expression and as promised there will be more as our adventure continues.

Looking forward to our landmark unveiling tomorrow.

So until then let this Ledaig warm your cockles and have a good one.

Cheers

Jonathan

Singlemalting #230 – 6th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 4 – Burnside Blended Malt 7 yo

G’day everyone and welcome to day 4.

Today we secretly knock off another distillery from my list. I have a map in my office (needs a bit of updating) and I have been slowly highlighting any distillery that we have included in our calendar editions.

Some of them are going to prove to be very elusive as their owners seldom if ever allow an independently bottled barrel. This is where teaspooned casks can come to the rescue. For those of you not familiar with the practice, teaspooning is the act of dropping in a teaspoon of a different single malt into a barrel and thus creating a blended malt. For all intents and purposes it does nothing to change the flavor of the whisky but it is now no longer categorised as a single malt. From what we have seen, many of these casks are noted on the manifest as blended malt but the physical act of teaspooning the cask never happens. Anyway cloak and dagger stuff.

Today we have a pretty recognisable distillery that was opened in 1893. A Speyside distillery near Dufftown it sits as one of the iconic Scotch Whisky brands around the world. Their 12 year old expression was recently named in the top 50 whiskies by Mens Journal. Enough hints? Here is a slightly blurry photo of the distillery to help you out just a bit. Anyway even though we can’t actually name it, I’m highlighting it on my Secret Spirits Scotland map of featured Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Distilleries just the same.

Name that distillery?

Secret Spirits Burnside 7 year old blended malt – Sherry Cask – 46.1% abv – non chill filtered

Colour:        Golden sunset

Nose:           Cinnamon and Raisin tart. Hints of bitter chocolate and caramel fudge.

Palate:        Some chocolate orange comes into play with the slight bitterness and caramel edge coating everything.

Finish:       Really warming for only just over 46% a lovely lighter dram that plays over the palate with really nice balance. The lingering semi-sweet chocolate on the finish is delicious.

Anyone care to guess now that you have had a taste? Hehehe this just makes the adventure even more fun and is pretty much like doing a blind tasting. Hope you have enjoyed this secret dram.

Last edition on day 4 we had the Secret Spirits Glen Moray 9 year old Bourbon Cask. One of the range of full bottles that we just released in October this year. There still might be a few left.

Tomorrow we are heading to the Islands and diving into something on the heavier side for all of you peated whisky lovers out there.

Don’t forget to go check out our guests at Single Malt Review in New Zealand. Whisky Whistle in Canada and Scotch Test Dummies in the US.

See you all tomorrow and keep on enjoying your whisky adventures wherever they may take you.

Cheers

Jonathan

Singlemalting #229 – 6th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 3 – Towiemore Classic

Welcome to day 3 of the 6th edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar. We will be at the end of the first week before you know it so stop and savor each whisky. Try to find some contemplative moments amid the hussle and bustle of this busy time.

Today we head into Blended Malt territory. Those of you that have followed our adventures and read through many of my blogs know of my love for this very maligned category of Scotch Whisky. Bottom line… if you love Single Malt then by extension u must enjoy a combination of the aforementioned whisky, especially when put together by experienced and skilled guys like the Lost Distillery Company.

To steal a snippet from the Lost Distillery Company website “The Towiemore Distillery was built in 1897 in the parish of Botriphnie just outside of Dufftown where it distilled for just thirty years. In this time it garnered a fine reputation as an excellent pure malt whisky. Owned and supported by renowned whisky entrepreneur Peter Dawson. Dawson was appointed purveyor of Scotch Whisky to Alfonso XIII, the King of Spain, and any bottle produced by Dawson featured the Monarch’s seal. Dawson’s whisky was also selected for the pleasure of the Prince of Wales, later George V, on the maiden voyage of HMS Indomitable to Canada in 1907. In 1910, Captain Scott chose Towiemore as his spirit of choice for his Terra Nova expedition to the South Pole; he took six cases of Towiemore with him.”

Artists rendition of Towiemore Distillery

Lost Distillery Company Towiemore Classic Blended Malt Scotch Whisky – non chill filtered – 43% abv combination bourbon and sherry cask aging.

Colour:        Darker than anything that has come before it so far this edition. Like an outside edge of a small piece of violin bow resin (used to play when I was a kid).

Nose:           Peach cobbler and dried banana chips.

Palate:       Peach Cobbler a la mode (vanilla bean ice cream of course). Can almost pick the fuzzy juicy peach out of my teeth. Plenty of weight for only 43% and thanks guys for not chill filtering. If you have ever had a bottle of Lost Distillery you will notice it is black. You wont see any clouding if the whisky does get cold. A great way to avoid tearing out all those delicious fatty esters.

Finish:      Lingering sugar coated peach rings (chewy rings of jelly like peach candy dusted in sugar). Lovely nice soft finish. If Towiemore was still around it would be awesome to explore a lot more whisky in this vein.

I have always enjoyed the Lost Distillery Company recreations. I love the historical work that they did on each offering and especially the stories of the distilleries from bygone days. Towiemore is one of my favorites from their classic range that also happens to be very affordable as an every day dram.

On day 3 of the 5th edition we had funnily enough the Lost Distillery Company Auchnagie Classic – I didn’t even check back before organising the order of the whiskies this time around…I promise.

Tomorrow we have for the first time a Blended Malt from Secret Spirits. In fact it is a teaspooned barrel from an unmentionable distillery. All will be revealed tomorrow.

Until then don’t forget to go check out our guests at Single Malt Review in New Zealand. Whisky Whistle in Canada and Scotch Test Dummies in the US.

Cheers

Jonno

Singlemalting #228 – 6th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 2 – Tomintoul 13

So here we are in Speyside (one of my favorite regions) with a delicious offering from the folks at A.D. Rattray independent bottlers.

We have had a few Tomintoul single casks in previous editions but none that were aged in a sherry butt. You may remember earlier this year while travelling through Scotland we asked for input on whisky selections. Questions on sherry and peat etc. Well there will be a few more peaty whiskies along the way and we had a huge thumbs up from the vast majority for more sherry casks. Due to the expense and rarity, Sherry casking in the Scotch Whisky world has decreased considerably in recent years. We have heard your cry for more and will be delivering it in spades this edition.

Aerial view of Tomintoul Distillery

Tomintoul located in the bustling distillery region of Speyside is a relatively newish distillery on the Scottish scene having been founded in 1964. Changing hands on numerous occassions including being owned by Whyte and Mackay it now belongs to the Angus Dundee group. There are now proprietary bottles available in many markets around the world in contrast to a decade ago where single casks were only found under independent labels.

A.D. Rattray Tomintoul 13 Year Old – Speyside Region – Sherry Butt – Cask No. 11 – 60% abv

Colour:       A very similar colour to yesterday’s Auchentoshan but with 4 years less time in the barrel. Sherry butts are one of the largest barrels used for aging Scotch and because of the volume of whisky they hold, generally speaking they impart less colour than hogsheads and other smaller types of casks.

Nose:         Strawberries and cream, almond cookies and freshly toasted pop tarts. Fantastic array of aromas fairly leaping out of my Glencairn. Be a wee bit careful though as the 60% can make it a touch focussed so forge ahead, but gently does it.

Palate:       Yep BINGO, more of the same notes as on the nose and the higher abv just intensly spreads it all over the palate. Like biting into that first yummy warm taste of Strawberry Pop Tart as soon as the toaster give up the goodies. I know that normally I reach for obscure references to unique Aussie fare but you have to remember that I am also now Canadian and have been here for 18 years. Pop Tarts are delicious. My wife Cindy once had an awkward moment with an Australian Customs official on our return from a trip to Canada. Having taken all the shiny little pop tart packets out of the box for more streamlined packing, they looked for all intents and purposes like carefully laid out stashes of goodness only knows what drugs to a rather stern official. Anyway disaster was averted and they didnt even open any of the packets. Pop tarts can be addictive but at least they are not illegal.

Finish:       The fruity tingle and creamy palate just roll on with the 60% keeping it all going for a long time. The marzipan/almond comes back again at the finish and the tiniest whisp of strawberry is the last thing I think of.

Love, love, love this style of whisky. Magical casks that provide such delicate and intriguing flavor all from fermented and distilled barley. Crazy, fantastical stuff this.

On day 2 of our 5th edition we had the fantastic Wemyss Malts Treacle Chest Blended Malt. Wow 2 years in a row starting off with 2 sherry cask influenced whiskies. Coincidence? I think not 🙂

Don’t forget to check out all our guests for this 6th edition at Single Malt Review in New Zealand. Whisky Whistle in Canada and Scotch Test Dummies in the US.

Tomorrow we have something from those boys at Lost Distillery Company and the first blended malt of this 6th edition.

See you all then

Cheers

Singlemalting aka Taster of Secrets aka El Presidente (old business card title and Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes identity) aka Jonno

 

Singlemalting #227 – 6th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 1 – Auchentoshan 17

Welcome everyone to another December Scotch Whisky adventure.

It is so exciting for Cindy and I to be able to bring you our 6th edition this year. So many amazing people helped to make this happen and so many delicious whiskies are in store for those of you that managed to snaffle one of the only 500 available.

As always you need to grab your tasting glass that just happens to finally be the ubiquitous Glencairn. Every edition boasts a different glass and this year we pay homage to the most popular Scotch whisky glass in the world. You would be hard pressed to find any Scotch whisky drinker that did not have at least one of these kicking around in the cupboard. For those that love collecting Glencairns and have been waiting for us to get around to this little gem – you’re welcome 🙂

This edition the Collector’s lapel pin is also matching the Indiegogo pink as we used their crowdfunding platform for the first time to raise the funds needed for production.

Also newly launched is the Augmented Reality app. You can download it on either your Android or Apple device and then activate it and point it at the calendar and boom a wee 3D adventure ensues. All the details of the app are found on the inside of the right door on the envelope.

We always start off each edition with something a little special for December 1st and this year we are so pleased to showcase our feature distillery (the one on your postcard). Auchentoshan is as some of you know a favorite of mine as it was the epic dram of the night on my first evening in Scotland with the 1976 Sherry Cask. Finished that bottle last year sadly but what a whisky it was.

Auchentoshan is a lowland distillery that triple distills all of its spirit making it unique in the Scotch Whisky landscape. With a lighter and grassier style of whisky, Auchentoshan has been a great entry for many trying their hand at Scotch for the first time. In fact the very first Scotch that my wife Cindy had in Scotland was the Auchentoshan three wood at the Bow Bar in Edinburgh.

Auchentoshan was built in 1800 and was part of the Morrison Bowmore stable along with Bowmore and Glengarioch. Sold to Suntory in 1986 it is now part of the much larger Beam Suntory group that merged in 2014.

Auchentoshan means corner of the field and with it’s close proximity to Glasgow has been an accessible tourist attraction for whisky fans.

Secret Spirits Auchentoshan 17 Year Old – 1st Fill Oloroso Sherry Cask – Cask 12184 – 54.4% abv – Lowlands

Colour:           After 17 years I would have thought that there might be a bit more colour, however as we have discovered every cask is completely unique. Just a hint of reddish amber that might lead you to think perhaps this could be a sherry cask.

Nose:            Wow cherry cola. A hint of medicine cabinet and fresh bandages that can definitely be a cherry colaesque type of smell. Been a while since I nosed this directly from the barrel and oh boy it’s taking me back to Scotland in May. I do recall thinking it was really a unique nose for an Auchentoshan and here I am reliving the moment.

Palate:           The Oloroso note comes through nicely with a little of that toffee sweetness. A little fernet note is the earthy quality that could be stemming from the medicine cabinet I got on the nose and also carries the cola theme along for the ride. Auchentoshan is quite often described as “grassy”. This cask is certainly providing an earthy element after 17 years working away on this whisky.

Finish:            Just a touch of dry sherry finish and a lingering soft layer of dark cherry. This is a pretty complex example of triple distilled Single Malt. Great balance on this. Not even contemplating adding water here but go ahead and experiment, just be gentle.

What a great dram to start of our 6th edition journey. I have been wanting to include an Auchentoshan since we started creating these adventures 6 years ago, so finally here we are fulfilling a dream.

For our 5th edition on day one we had the Single Cask Nation MacDuff 14 year old sherry cask. Something about kicking off with a sherry casked whisky that makes it feel like Christmas is coming.

As always we have some guest bloggers and Youtubers along for the ride.

For the 6th edition we have the boys down in New Zealand on Youtube at Single Malt Review. Whisky Whistle in Canada and Scotch Test Dummies in the US.

A fabulous bucket list item for me to kick things off for our 6th edition. Thanks to everyone for joining in on the Secret Spirits action and finding your way to this blog that is very busy every December and pretty much crickets chirping the rest of the year.

Tomorrow we have something delicious from our friends at A.D. Rattray as we head up North from the Lowlands and arrive in Speyside.

Fun times ahead everyone hold onto your Glencairns and buckle up.

Cheers

Singlemalting

Singlemalting #226 – That time of year again – Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar 6th edition

G’day everyone,

The last few months have been somewhat challenging as Cindy and I continue to work hard to get our 6th edition out to as many whisky lovers as possible.

Without going into excruciating detail this has actually been our most difficult year ever. Some of the highlights include embargoes, tariffs, shipping nightmares, bottling and warehousing problems, labelling controversy, our first ever crowdfunding venture and last but not least Amazon UK (would require an entire book to tell that story).

As a really positive counterpoint to all of this has been the super fun trip to Scotland, friends, family and so many in our community that have supported us above and beyond this year. A big thanks to my sister Jayne for helping out with Google, To my bro Peter for being patient with us and helping with the whole Amazon piece. Patrick and Tiana for getting our Facebook on track and a massive thanks to Chris Burrows at The Dram Team. Without Chris there would have been no 6th edition.

So with only half a month to go till D Day I thought I would throw out a customary reminder blog and warm up for the 25 days of non-stop blogging that I do each year.

6th edition calendar all glowy and ready for Christmas

If you have not put your name on a calendar yet there are still some available in Canada the US and around the world but we are almost sold out as we only made 500 this year.

We have amped up content on a lot of platforms if you are interested in following along more closely with our adventures. The Whisky Advent Calendar facebook page has taken on a life of its own including the regular “whats in your glass” segments from yours truly with guest appearances by Cindy, Shadow and Sashes. Our Youtube channel has a ton of content from our Scotland trip and is worth a peek.

As always if you just want to reach out and talk whisky I’m always up for having a yarn pretty much anytime.

Hard to believe that it has been 6 years of creating whisky adventures already. Hopefully there will be many more to come.

Really looking forward to the journey this year as we had so much amazing input while we were in Scotland from everyone that was part of the initial Indiegogo campaign. Spoiler alert, there will be sherry cask influenced whisky in this edition and lots of it.

Come along with Cindy and I this year and join the Secret Spirits Scotch Whisky Adventure Train.

As Cindy says    “toot…..toot”

Cheers

Jonathan aka Singlemalting aka Taster of Secrets