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Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar

Singlemalting # 173 – 4th edition SWAC Day 7 – Ainneamh Sherry Blended Malt 12 Year Old

As most of you already know I love a good blended malt which is a combination of various Single Malts. One of the most misunderstood categories in the world of Scotch Whisky. Combine the right malts and you can find yourself with something much more interesting than just bottling them as Single Malts.

This is the first blended malt that I tasted from the guys at Ainneamh and knowing it was time in our journey for a decent sherry bomb this whisky really fit the bill.

Ainneamh 12 Year Old Blended Malt Sherry Cask – 40% ABV and aged entirely in Pedro-Ximenez and Oloroso sherry casks.

Ainneamh Sherry Malt 12 yo

Colour:   Tinges of red from a painters brush after cleaning between strokes.

Nose:   Rich fruitcake and sherry notes with an interesting medicinal note. Could there be Islay malt in here? lets find out.

Palate:   Definitely some underpinning of peat here, drying berry fruits and that medicinal iodine coming back again. I have to think that a good portion of the malt involved was Islay for sure along with some rich Speyside company.

Finish:   Great balancing act here between fruit and earth. Loving the lingering citrus that kicks in over the top. Seems to be much more on the palate than the 40% ABV. Non chill filtered despite the low number this whisky retains all of its palate coating oily character.

Good work Ainneamh I will definitely contemplate more malty goodness combos from you in the future.

On day 7 in the 3rd edition we had the truly incredible Samaroli Allt a Bhainne that was an absolute winner with many calendar owners.

Scotch trooper has been getting a lot of attention and is already proving to be a really fun addition to the calendar community. Head over to check out what is happening today.

Tomorrow we head back to A.D. Rattray for a distillery bottling never before seen in any addition. Really excited whenever we pop a brand new distillery into the mix and no doubt coming from the skilled bottlers at A.D. Rattray it will be worth the wait.

If you are after today’s dram please send me an email to jonathan@secretspirits.com and I will get you on the list.

Slainte

Singlemalting

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar

Singlemalting #169 – Day 3 4th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar A.D. Rattray MacDuff 7 Year Old

Welcome back everyone as we get stuck into a very familiar independent bottler if you have been following our calendars from the beginning. A.D. Rattray was the first independent bottler I ever worked with and my introduction to the vast world of Scotch Whisky.

MacDuff or Glen Deveron as it is known now with its proprietary label was founded in 1958. Opposite the town of Banff in Scotland it is snuggled into the Speyside region. It is now owned by Bacardi under their subsidiary John. Dewars and sons. We have had a few MacDuff expressions in past calendars including a wild Sushi like expression from Samaroli in the 1st edition that was amazing.

MacDuff Distillery

A.D. Rattray Macduff Single Malt Cask # 701263 – Bourbon Hogshead – 58% ABV Cask Strength 7 Years Distilled in 2009.

Colour:   As pale as you would expect for a fairly young Bourbon casked Single Malt.

Nose:   Canoli dusted with Lemon sherbet.

Palate:   Banana Sundae complete with lashings of vanilla bean ice cream and a spoon of hit fudge. The only thing missing is the Cherry on top.

Finish:   The tingly lemon sherbet makes another appearance but cant take anything away from the banana sundae that continues on long and tasty. The Cask strength of 58% doesn’t seem to even make a dent in the balance of this whisky. Absolutely love the freshness here.

I love MacDuff and all the single casks we have managed to get our hands on for various calendars have been delicious. The last time we had MacDuff in a calendar was the Malt Whisky Company in the 3rd edition and at 16 it was mature beyond its years.

Day 3 of the 3rd edition was the Shetland Reel Blended Malt Batch No. 1. Extremely well put together combination of single malts that has been a real winner at a lot of classes I have hosted this year.

Make sure you head over to Scotch Trooper to check out his amazing take on our 4th edition as the Star Wars universe and the world of Secret Spirits come together for the first time.

Tomorrow we will be geeking out with those crazy guys from the Lost Distillery Company with a whisky that was an absolute standout during my 16 dram tasting session with them earlier this year.

So many whiskies… so much time made to enjoy them all.

I look forward to seeing you all on the morrow to jump into yet another leg of this 4th edition journey.

Slainte

Singlemalting

 

 

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar

Singlemalting # 168 – Day 2 – Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar – Wemyss Malts Spice King Batch Strength

Welcome to day two everyone as we get to try something new from the good folks at Wemyss Malts. Wemyss has played a prominent part in all of our editions and was integral in our launch of the 1st edition. For me to not have something from this great historical Scottish Family would make a calendar edition incomplete.

We start our Wemyss Malts lineup this edition with a bit of a new take on an older limited edition whisky that was showcased way back in our first edition calendar. The Wemyss Malts Spice King 12 Year Old blended malt was at an ABV of 40% and you can read all about it here. It was day 19 in the first edition way back in blog No. 51 (wow that seems a long time ago). It proved to be a very popular dram then and so when Wemyss mentioned that they were doing a batch strength version I jumped all over it. More ABV to play with and more toys in the toy box for you to enjoy.

Wemyss Malts Spice King Batch Strength – 56% ABV Blended malt of Highland and Island Distilleries

Only 6000 bottles made and we used a bunch for our 4th edition calendars.

Nose:  A combination of single malts from the Highlands and Island regions of Scotland this indeed seems a lot weightier than the 40% predecessor. Go carefully into the Spey glass here people as there is a lot coming back at you. A briny edge which makes me think of Ledaig the proprietary label for the Tobermory distillery on the Isle of Mull. brown boot polish and wax. Earthy spice here with a medicinal edge that just says “insert peated barley here”.

Pallet:   On the pallet this is a lot weightier and feels like a lot more “island” influence than before. Bitter/sweet peppers and hints of hot spice like paprika and chili. The briny character from the nose gets in there with some salty undertones.

Finish:   The Spiciness fades as some fruit kicks in to take over. Lychee is big on this finish and creates a really interesting complexity as the spices die away. At 56% this does linger on and the Lychee just stays with you…….

Delicious Lychee

Wow I have to like this new expression of Spice King. Way more complex than the 40% counterpart we had in the 1st edition and shows just why having extra ABV to play with can be so awesome.

Coincidence that last year in the 3rd edition we had the Wemyss Malts Barrista’s Dram Craigellachie and here we are again getting into yet another delicious Wemyss whisky. As I have mentioned many times in my blogs I love the Blended Malt category of Scotch Whiskies. A. because I like to root for the underdog and B. when single malts are combined with skill they can be even more interesting than if they were bottled in isolation.

Tomorrow we head to one of our stalwarts of the Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar, A.D. Rattray. This is where my love of Scotch Whisky was born so I am always excited about the chance to showcase their amazing single cask collection.

Please head on over to Scotch Trooper and check out today’s awesome shot. Scotchtrooper-blog.com

Until tomorrow keep on dramming.

Cheers

Jonathan

 

 

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar

Singlemalting # 167 – Day 1 – 4th edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar – Old Malt Cask Tamdhu 18 Year Old

Welcome back Whisky fans to another edition of your hand curated journey through the regions and styles that make Scotch Whisky so amazing. As you might have read from my blog last week we had a lot of fun putting our 4th edition of the Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar together again this year. Loads in store for all of you over the next 25 days or more depending on how long you want to take over these delicious drams.

We have an unprecedented 10 different independent bottlers in this 4th edition which will make for a really fun ride. It seems that each year we are presented with even more to choose from which bodes well for future editions.

Time to punch out your tasting glass door and grab your 4th edition Spey glass. We were inspired to add this glass after tasting whisky in the slightly smaller version that the boys over at Single Cask Nation have been using for their festivals. Knowing that we have many drammers looking to add ice and water we went the next size up.

Find your door number 1 and away we go.

Old Malt Cask Tamdhu 18 Year Old – Cask Number HL11956 50% ABV – Refill Hogshead

Tamdhu is a distillery in Speyside founded in 1897. No expense was spared and the equivalent of 20 million pounds in today’s money was raised for the construction. It was the most modern distillery built at that time and the quality of the spirit quickly brought about an eager consumer following. Closed in 2010 as surplus to the Edrington Groups needs at the time it was purchased by Ian MaCleod Distillers and reopened in 2013.

Tamdhu Distillery

The first whisky in this edition’s lineup comes from an independent bottler making their debut. Old Malt Cask is a brand owned by Hunter Laing who have a very long tradition of bottling. I was excited to be able to include them this year and slot them in as our first up to the plate dram.

Colour:         Chardonnay light – Refill Hogshead working its magic here on this lovely subtle shine.

Nose:             Bright fresh bouquet of wildflower honey, graham crackers and vanilla cream wafers.

Palate:           Zesty citrus, candied lemon rind with limoncello filling.

Finish:           Vanilla lingers heavily and the zest continues. This reminds me of an amazing desert I had in Florida at the Bull and Bear. The 50% sits nicely with this dram and the Spey glass works the nose well. Delicious fresh Tamdhu expression from Old Malt Cask.

Bull and Bear Lemon Dessert

Funny that this is reminiscent of a certain whisky that was day one of our first edition from Wemyss Malts called Citrus Burst from the Linkwood Distillery. Our day 1 whisky in the 3rd edition however was the delicious 18 year old Speyside Single Malt bottled by Secret Spirits. So in 4 editions our kick of dram has been provided by 4 different independent bottlers. Wemyss Malts, A.D. Rattray, Secret Spirits and now Old Malt Cask from Hunter Laing. I wonder who will grab the coveted spot for the 5th edition.

Great start to this edition and I can promise you many more delicious drams to come. Tomorrow we head back on a bit of a revisit of sorts but this time at batch strength. Let’s see what the folks at Wemyss Malts have come up with for us.

I would also like to introduce to everyone our guest blogger/photographer this edition Scotch Trooper. 

Everyday there will be something amazing from him to check out so be sure to head over to his site daily. Most of his posts will be on his Instagram page so please head over there and subscribe.

A very warm welcome to those in the US that are getting access to our calendars for the first time this year. It’s great to be able to share our love of great Scotch Whisky with you.

Looking forward to a fun December.

Slainte

SInglemalting

 

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar 3rd Edition Day 14 Blog #148 – Ainneamh Speyside 18 Year Old

Whisky Wednesday today, also known as hump day for a lot of people as you climb that hill and then speed toward the weekend. Well no need to be afraid of not having fun every day of the week as we get to dip into the 3rd edition for yet another enticing dram.

Ainneamh bottle

A second expression from the boys at Ainneamh (remember its pronounced an-yoov). We are certainly getting a great pendulum swing from delicate to peaty so far in this edition. Are you keeping up with this roller coaster ride?

So another mystery dram from Ainneamh. I do love these fun whiskies where you get to decipher clues and see if you can figure out the originating distillery.

Ainneamh Speyside 18 Year Old Single Malt, Cask number 14432 refill American Oak Hogshead. Banffshire bottled at the cask strength of 54.7% with no caramel or chill filtration.

Ainneamh Speyside 18

Color:  Yep another light whisky in a refill cask. Makes you really think about the massive amounts of artificial color added to whisky in the industry. Why does a whisky have to be dark to be perceived as quality? Only because that’s the line that has traditionally been pushed on you all these years. As we know even a gorgeous 30 year old single malt can be very light and massive on flavor.

Nose:   Flora in spades on this one with oats and honey like top quality steel cut oatmeal freshly drizzled with honey and topped with cream.

Palate:   Candy apple toffee, the red sort (not caramel apples). Crunchy apple acidity like Jonathan apples (yep my namesake fruit). A zesty creaminess like cream stirred with sherbet.

Finish:   Tingly and long, coating and fresh. This is a fantastic aperitif whisky as a palate freshener before dinner. Perhaps between courses instead of the high end ball of shaved lemon ice. I could see a serving of this kind of whisky really taking off in some white table restaurants. I know I would be making my reservation.

If you were in doubt that there is a whisky for every occasion then doubt no more. Fantastic little Speyside here Ainneamh team and amazing freshness for an 18 year old. I do love quality refill casks for this reason. Almost emulates what Samaroli do with their lightly toasted new oak casks.

On this day in the second edition we had the Samaroli Blended Malt comprising of Glenallachie, Glentauchers and MacDuff. You can re-read all about it here.

Whiskylassie is having quite the journey and you can continue to follow her in-depth experiences by visiting here.

If you love this whisky then I unfortunately have bad news for you. Nothing left for us after filling our calendar bottles. We had an unusually high amount of whiskies that ended up being done and dusted once the mini’s were filled this edition. We will try hard to make sure that there is more of each delicious whisky next time around.

Tomorrow we are heading back to my mate Stuart at the Malt Whisky Company for another one of his amazing casks. Highlands here we come.

Slainte

Jonathan – taster of secrets

 

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar 3rd Edition Day 6 Blog #139 – Ainneamh Highland 18 Year Old

Ainneamh (pronounced any-oov) means a rare thing in Gaelic and is an apt name for the independent bottling company owned by Brian Woods and Scott Watson. Releasing only a small number of bottling’s each year means that this whisky geek pair seek out only the most delicious drams. Today we visit the Highlands of Scotland and taste an undisclosed 18 Year Old Single Malt aged in a refill American Oak Hogshead.

I’ve been sworn to secrecy on the distillery but can give you a bit of a clue. The distillery has Two seperate words in the title.

I am a big fan of what most people think of as the “Highland” style of Single Malt. There is of course a lot of blurring of the lines these days but Honey and Heather have been two hallmarks of quintessential Highland Malt.

Ainneamh Highland 18 Year Old

Ainneamh Highland 18 Year Old Single Malt – Aged in a refill American Hogshead barrel bottled at a natural cask strength of 57%

Color:   Another light in color whisky after 18 years in a refill barrel.

Nose:    Lemon drop candies and ripe pear halves. A hint of salty sea air adds a layer to the otherwise fresh and crips nose.

Palate:   A teaspoon of malt powder stirred with some creamed honey. Oak influence is nicely subtle on this allowing even more fruit like ripe honeydew and Starfruit to appear.

Finish:   Long and zesty at 57% and the melon just keeps on coming. Like the ubiquitous side of honeydew and cantaloupe with your Eggs Benedict.

Lovely breakfast dram if ever there was one. I think I might have to put that to the test sometime soon.

Ainneamh does bottle whiskies with declared distilleries as well as undisclosed. Unfortunately this delicious dram was all snapped up to fill the calendar bottles and a few 700ml’s that were sold locally in Scotland. If you are looking for more of this then grabbing another 3rd edition will be your only chance.

Let’s check out what Whiskylassie has to say about today’s dram here.

In the 2nd edition on this day we visited the excellent Highland Distillery, Tullibardine (another coincidence that we had Highland today) from the eyes of The Malt Whisky Company. You can read or re-read it here.

It’s been really fun to be able to bring you some new small independent bottlers to add to the mix and offer up even more variety as we work to keep the 25 new whiskies in each edition interesting and unique.

Tomorrow we head back to Speyside for the first Samaroli in the 3rd edition. Any of you that have read some of my blogs know that I love the Samaroli style of bottling whisky so I can’t wait.

See you tomorrow

Slainte

Jonathan – Taster of Secrets