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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

5th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 22 – Singlemalting # 219 – Lost Distillery Company Towiemore Archivist

Day 22 dawns. It just seems like yesterday that we started this adventure together. It’s been a great ride so far this edition and there has been plenty to learn, plenty to talk about and most importantly plenty to contemplate. Apart from Christmas Day when we had the stellar Samaroli 33 Year Old Blended Malt and the 34 Year Old Blended Scotch we have not normally apart from the odd Samaroli seen anything blended in the last 5 days of any edition. Back in March when I was at Dummfries House tasting through a bunch of whiskies with Brian Woods from Lost Distillery Company this Towiemore really struck a chord. For me it wasn’t just the great story but also the balance of this dram and that it stood out even amongst the many single casks that I was trying (16 different drams I think from memory or lack thereof). It was a great opportunity to showcase a very well put together combination of Single Malts at a time in the calendar when we are really scritinizing everything a little more carefully.

Towiemore was a distillery that really only had a comparitively short shelf life in Scottish terms. Starting it’s production in 1898 it unfortunately only survived for 33 years. As always you can get the complete whisky education story at the Lost Distillery Company Website on the Towiemore page.

Towiemore Distillery

Lost Distillery Company Towiemore Archivist Blended Malt Scotch Whisky – 46% ABV – no caramel or chill filtration

Colour:       Rich dark amber on this one. There are definitely some sherry casks involved as Towiemore was known for their sherry aged malt.

Nose:            Hitting me like a Manuka honey infused hot toddy complete with lemon and a favorite Scotch Whisky plucked randomly off the shelf. It is delicate though and needs some time to delve into. There is a lightly roasted coffee note or is it a fresh crusty bread note? I think maybe both. There is a tinned manderin note as well that pokes its way into the mix.

Palate:         The honey comes across as more creamed honey than Manuka now. Less earthy. The fruit note has gone from a citrusy touch to richer stone fruit like apricot and nectarine.

Finish:        I’m getting cloves and orange and it’s taking me back to kindergarten when we made scented hanging decorations for mother’s day. We all had to bring an orange and the teacher handed out a ribbon and big bucket of cloves. We spent the next 30 minutes shoving cloves into the orange until it was completely covered. Wow did they ever smell nice and my mum proudly hung it up near the kitchen window till it dried out and finally lost its smell. Some Cocoa also coming in at the end.

So on day 22 of the 4th edition we had the 1995 Samaroli Alt a Bhainne, Tormore combination.

Head on over to the Whiskey Vault and Scotch Test Dummies to see if there are enough eager tastebuds left to delve into this delicious but delicate day 22 blended malt.

Tomorrow we try a new category of Scotch Whisky for this edition that we always showcase at least once. Anyone care to guess?

Until then fellow whisky lovers have a great night.

Cheers

Jonathan

5th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 20 – Singlemalting # 217 – Single Cask Nation Stones of Stenness Orkney 18 Year Old

Welcome back everyone. Hopefully none of you died in yesterday’s hospital explosion. Today we are heading to Orkney for a visit to the Island region of Scotland. There are only 2 distilleries on Orkney, Scapa and Highland Park. We have had both distilleries represented in previous calendar editions but it is generally difficuly to find casks of either distillery for independent bottling. I’m going to give it up straight away because I know most of you would skip ahead to find out anyway. Highland Park is the distillery in question and as often happens the cask was sold to the boys at Single Cask Nation on the proviso that they keep the distillery name off the label. Interesting that they came up with Stones of Stenness as their name for this cask. The Stones of Stenness are said to be the oldest neolithic stone circle in the British isles and are located on Orkney.

Highland Park is the Northern most Scotland Distillery at present making whisky. Highland Park was founded in 1798 and is one of the few distilleries to this day that uses some locally sourced peat and heather that they use for fuel combining malted barley from mainland sources. It is owned by the Edrington Group and has been consistently releasing well received Single Malts for decades. They focus a lot on the Viking heritage of this Northern Island and their packaging is easily recognisable on whisky store shelves. Most of it’s production however still ends up at Glenturret to become the backbone of the Famous Grouse experience that drives the Edrington Scotch brands worldwide.

Highland Park Malting Floor
Highland Park

While not as peaty as whiskies from Islay there is no doubt that Highland Park has a lovely note of peat that runs through every whisky they produce. Lets see what this cask from Single Cask Nation is going to reveal.

Single Cask Nation Stones of Stenness Orkney 18 Year Old Single Malt – Refill Sherry Cask # 75 – Island – 54.9% ABV

Colour:     There is a subtle touch of amber to light red hue just hinting at the sherry influence. As a refill cask it took a full 18 years for even that tinge to show up.

Nose:         The peat influence here is light on the nose but no doubting the savoury overtones. Like the wafting smell of Cindy’s winter warming beef stew simmering away in the slow cooker. There is some denser salty note here as well. Dare I say even a touch of vegemite… Some sweet mesquite beef jerky.

Palate:       Mouth coating and the alcohol hit me as higher than I was expecting for mid 50’s. I took a brief pause and waded back in for another sip. Delicate for a cask strength Highland Park. That rich wine infused beef stew that I got on the nose is certainly front of mind and palate here. A heaping side plate of creamy mashed potatoes which is really interesting. It’s so amazing once the brain takes over and an expirential memory is served up that everything can then fall fully into that moment. A heavy pour of rich red wine splashed into this stew.

Finish:     Some lighter citrus notes hitting me here seemingly out of nowhere as this was all rich savoury but with a wine soaked undercurrent.

A surprisingly delicate dram for the Nation as my experience of their usual picks are more the bigger and more oily offerings. This is very cool to see from them and I’m digging it big time.

Thanks boys.

in the 4th edition on day 20 we had the delicious Exclusive Malts Cameronbridge 25 Year Old Single Grain.

Dont forget to head over to the Whiskey Vault and those crazy Dummies to see what they think.

Tomorrow as we head into the final run to Christmas we check out another dram from Hunter Laing with their Old Malt Cask range.

Fun times ahead ladies and gents so hold tight to your glasses.

Cheers

Jonathan

5th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 19 – Singlemalting # 216 – A.D. Rattray Williamson (Laphroaig) 13 Year Old

Welcome again peat pilgrims to another Islay jaunt along our Scotch Whisky Adventure. Today’s dram comes from a big hitting distillery when thinking about the level of peating the barley undergoes. Laphroaig was founded in 1815 and is now owned by Beam Suntory. Located at the Southern tip of Islay Laphroaig is as coastal as it gets and is constantly lashed by the wind and waves of the Atlantic where it meets the Irish Sea through the North Channel. Unlike the Day 6 dram from Exclusive Malts this A.D. Rattray bottling is somewhat disclosed with the Williamson name that is known throughout the industry as Laphroaigs nickname.

 

Laphroaig Distillery

This is also a great opportunity to compare Laphroaig in a Sherry Cask with Exclusive Malts and in a Bourbon cask with A.D. Rattray. This cask also comes in at full cask strength as opposed to the Exclusive Malts 50% slightly watered down bottling strength.

Colour:           Pale again for 13 years and lends itself to thinking of refill Bourbon. I’m really interested to see what a soft cask influence is going to do to the massively flavorful Laphroaig spirit after 13 years.

Nose:              Ok ladies and gentlemen this here has every medicinal element that a whisky from Islay can impart into a wee bottle. Wow just an absolutely huge assault on the senses. Charred bandages from the hospital disposal unit that takes care of burning blood soaked operating room waste. Loads of earthy peat and dirty rubber lining the floor. Barely able to push through it all is a little bees wax candle burning brightly.

Palate:           Does not dissapoint. This has everything the nose promises and more. This is why cask strength is the bomb. Laphroaig quarter cask has nothing on this. I’m getting all of the medicine combined with layer after layer of big palate bombs. Peat, Iodine, Smoke, Peat again. Tobacco. Rubber. Burning electric panel.

Finish:          The explosion is over but the smoldering remains of the now destroyed hospital swirl and ascend into a darkened sky.

Drinking this whisky be like:      Boom

Fantastic stuff. This epic cask of Laphroaig should make even the biggest peat head very, very happy.

Thanks A.D. Rattray for offering up this beauty.

On this day in the 4th edition we also paid homage to the peat gods with a much younger and feistier Laphroaig 5 Year Old from A.D. Rattray.

Tomorrow we will be into slightly more epic territory if you can believe that with all remaining drams being no younger than 18 years old. Day 20 is an offering by the boys of Single Cask Nation and will take us to the Islands region of Scotland. Ferry time ladies and gents.

Dont forget to head over to the Whisky Vault and Scotch Test Dummies to watch them get their peat on. Especially Bart from Scotch Test Dummies who has a self confessed abused palate from over peating and Daniel who has basically put up with all this Speyside and Highland nonsense waiting for the next Islay.

Until then peaty drammers have a great night

Cheers

Jonathan

 

5th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 18 – Singlemalting # 215 – Secret Spirits Glenallachie 9 Year Old

Time to unleash “THE BEAST”. Many of you have been sleepily, comfortably nodding along to the clickety clack of our Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Train as it meanders through the hills and towns of Scotland. There has been the occasional sighting of something lurking beneath the peated moors but nothing has really given you cause for alarm. Today that is all about to change. Over in the Secret Spirits corner we have weighing in at the sensationally high ABV of 65.6% the Glenallachie 9 Year Old Bourbon casked Single Malt. This is an extremely high ABV for a cask strength Scotch Whisky as more often than not casks are filled at 63.5%. In the other corner is you and your Aurora glass, a trembling hand holding a water dropper and an impending sense of taste bud destruction.

Glenallachie is a Speyside distillery in the town of Arbelour founded in 1967. Just a touch older than me making it pretty young in Scottish distillery terms. It is now owned by the Glenallachie Distillers Co. being the 4th owner since its opening. At the foot of Ben Nevis the highest peak in Scotland Glenallachie is fed pristine water by the nearby Lour Burn.

Glenallachie Distillery

Secret Spirits Glenallachie 9 Year Old Single Malt – Bourbon Cask # 900537 – The Whopping ABV of 65.6% YeeeHaaa

Colour:            Pretty pale gold again. Even though when I picked this cask all they could tell me was that it was an ex-Bourbon. I think that there is a good chance that it is a refill cask.

Nose:                Baboom Baby Yeah. Holy Smokes that is a huge nose. Ok now that I have taken a few moments to get my bearings I’m going back in…. OK this is very cool and not coming across sweet at all to me as yet. Dirty martini with extra briny olives. Creamy Gorgonzola. Yep this really smells like a charcuterie plate. Maybe some sun dried tomatoes and a couple of figs to round it all out.

Palate:              This is perfect today after taking little Sashes for a walk and then hooking up all the Christmas lights outside in the snow and cold. Definitely a savoury dram overall but I am also getting some wee dried apricots (always a feature on a good charcuterie plate). A tiny jar of red pepper jelly. If we took after Wemyss Malts I would call this dram the Charcuterie Plate Glenallachie. So fun, seriously this is why each distillery, regardless of region, is a unique entity and can offer up amazing whisky. This is especially so when it’s through a single cask bottling. Thank goodness we saved this cask from heading to the blending house.

Finish:          The weight of the ABV carries this dram a long way and the savoury notes just keep on coming. I do get just a touch of fresh apples as the alcohol tails away right at the end. OK water time ladies and gents. The nose does soften but the savoury notes are still there. The palate however shows a much greater fruit influence and the apricot comes through big time. Not sure if I liked it better without…… would depend on my mood. The good news is that at this ABV if you do splash a good amount of water into it that you are likely to get 3 ounces out of this. Absolutely cracking dram this even if I do say so myself. We will have bottles of this available in the New Year….it comes in bottles?…….. I’m getting one.

On this day in the 4th edition we had the Secret Spirits 19 Year Old Glenrothes Bourbon Cask.

Another day another trip to Youtube to watch the ever increasing Speyside controversy craziness of the Whiskey Tribe and the Scotch Test Dummies.

Tomorrow we are off to Islay (and there was much rejoicing) for something from our friends at A.D. Rattray.

Until the morrow

Slainte

Jonathan

5th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 17 – Singlemalting # 214– Secret Spirits Glentauchers 10 Year Old

G’day everyone and welcome back. Today we jump into a dram from a distillery that I first tasted when sourcing whiskies to include in the 1st edition. Glentauchers proved to be absolutely delicious and I have sought out casks every since. Glentauchers is a Speyside distillery founded in 1898 by a distant relative of mine, James Buchanan.  Located in the town of Mulben in Moray it is seldom seen as a Single Malt except through the lens of independent bottling. In our 1st edition we had a comparison of 3 different Glentauchers from Samaroli, Wemyss and A.D. Rattray. They were all unique and one of the favorite aspects for many of that very first edition. Glentauchers is now owned by Pernod Ricard and a very limited amount of their proprietary 15 Year Old Single Malt is available in some markets.

Glentauchers Distillery

There has not been a Single Malt expression of Glentauchers since that 1st edition 5 years ago. I was very excited to find this cask amongst the many offerings I had in front of me this past March in Scotland. This Glentauchers is amongst 4th other whiskies in this 5th edition that are over 60%. It’s so fun to be able to water the whisky as you see fit and cask strength literally means the whisky is taken straight from the barrel put through a rough filter and popped straight into bottle with no water added. Lets see what this Glentauchers has to offer straight up and then we will play a little.

Secret Spirits Glentauchers 10 Year Old Single Malt – Speyside – Refill Bourbon Cask # 900122 – 62.9% ABV

Colour:     Pale straw again as could be expected from a refill cask and of course no caramel colouring added…..ever.

Nose:         This is a big nose and the high ABV certainly gets out of the gate quick. This seems like a whole orchard of fruit. A veritable cornucopia including grapes, pears, apples, some tropical additions like pineapple and mango. This is fruit salad in a glass.

Palate:       Oh wow does that ever go in an interesting direction. The alcohol does not seem over 60 but instead spreads everything over the palate like a layer of creme custard. Warmed white Christmas cake with vanilla custard would do it justice.

Finish:      The alcohol funnily enough seems to kick in finally at the finish asserting itself and creating a lasting zesty connection to the fruit and cream.

This is a big dram for a 10 year old and there is a ton going on here. Water time. Oh and what a nice addition that tiny splash was. The fruit lifts even more and comes charging out of the glass. Does seem to bring the alcohol a little more into focus on the mid palate but not overpowering and I still get the creaminess but that lovely thick custard layer is gone. Finishes much softer with the zest giving way to just a big hand full of lovely fruit.

I have loved every single cask that I have tasted from this distillery and will continue to look for it for future editions.

In the 4th edition on day 17 we had the Samaroli MacDuff 19 Year Old Sherry Cask.

Dont forget to wade in on the Speyside Controversy over at the Whisky Vault or catch up with Bart or Scott or both at Scotch Test Dummies.

Tomorrow we head to……wait for it…….Speyside Bwahahahahaha. This time around we are going to the highest peak of ABV that we have scaled this edition. Keep your water droppers handy because we are going big or going home. Tomorrow’s Distillery is brought to you by the letter G and the number 9 and was picked by non other than Secret Spirits.

Until tomorrow then. I hope you have been able to spend enough time to figure out the nuances of flavor and character between all of these different distilleries and limited edition expressions.

Cheers

Jonathan

5th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 16 – Singlemalting # 213– Wemyss Malts Nectar Grove Limited Edition Blended Malt

G’day there whisky fans. Today we have a delicious treat from those good people at Wemyss Malts.

As with the other Wemyss whiskies in this edition we had to get a little creative with the label to get around the TTB shenanigans. Nectar Grove is of course how Wemyss labelled this dram however we had to use Garden Grove on the basis of not actually adding any nectar to the whisky (don’t know where to get nectar from anyway). We do of course sell our calendar in the UK, EU, Canada and even remote places like my once home country of Australia but we make all our labelling TTB approved for sale in the US as they have the most “interesting” labelling requirements in the world.

Wemyss Malts Nectar Grove

Wemyss Malts Nectar Grove is a limited edition of 9000 bottles. Taken from only 2 Highland distilleries and then re-racked into Madeira casks for 9 months. This is Wemyss first “finished” whisky and gives us an opportunity to taste this ever growing and popular category of Scotch Whisky.

Madeira is a fortified wine made on the Portuguese islands of Madiera. Rich and delicious Madiera is generally a dessert accompanyment or perhaps dessert all on its own. Going through an interesting heating process during production it is a very unique style of wine not made anywhere else in the world.

Wemyss Malts Nectar Grove Limited Edition Blended Malt – Bourbon Refill Casks and Madeira Cask finished – alcohol 46%

Colour:             Seems to have picked up an orange hue from the Madiera cask. Almost looks like Grand Marnier.

Nose:                 Goo Gone – that fantastic orange oil product that you use to remove sticky labels from jars. A touch of my wife’s Einkorn Flour Sourdough freshly baked. Some fuzzy peach skin and some toasted macadamia.

Palate:               Much bigger explosion of that nectar on the palate. Grilled orange and red grapefruit halves complete with the burnt caramelized sugars. The peach fuzz has turned to full blown juicy ripe flesh and dripping juices.

Finish:              Turns towards red currants and blueberries sauteed in a dash of port. There is no doubt about the influence of the Madiera cask on this one. With the initial refill Bourbon being very gentle the Madiera has climbed in and had it’s way with these two Highland distilleries. For me the Nectar Grove is better on the palate than the nose but once I added a tiny drop of water the nose did get rocking a lot more.

Thanks to Wemyss Malts for providing 3 very interesting blended malts for this 5th edition. Until next year when I’m sure there will be something creative and delicious around the corner. Let’s hope that we can sort out the TTB so that we can actually label these whiskies as they were intended.

On this day in the 4th edition we had the Lost Distillery Company Lossit Classic.

Whisky Vault, Scotch Test Dummies…. Just Do It!!

Tomorrow we are off North to Speyside for another Single Cask of Secret Spirits Goodness.

Looking forward to your company on the morrow.

Cheers

Jonathan

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”.

Wheeze…..wheeze…..

Jonathan

5th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 13 – Singlemalting # 210– Malt Whisky Company Auchinderom (Peated Glenglassaugh) Sauterne Cask

Very excited about todays whisky. Mythical unicorns don’t appear very often and this is indeed a very rare treat. Certainly knowing the gentleman behind this dram was the key to having this offered up to make your adventure extra special. Stuart Nickerson who I am very thankful to say was the amazingly generous chap that nominated me for induction into the Keepers of the Quaich. Whisky has flowed in his family for a long time and just this past week his daughter Jennifer received the Icons of Whisky Irish Whiskey Brand Ambassador of the year award. A big congratulations to Jennifer and to Stuart for such an amazing whisky legacy.

Glenglaussaugh Distillery

So onto the dram itself. Glenglassaugh has had a very long and challenging history founded in 1875 by James Moir and his two nephews. Located right near Glenglassaugh Springs the distillery had an exceptional water source that had previously allowed illicit distilling to be conducted to great acclaim. After James death in 1892 the distillery was sold to Highland Distillers a subsidiary of the Edrington group. It was rebuilt in 1960 but unfortunately closed in 1986 with a downturn in the Scotch industry.

In 2008 Glenglassaugh was sold to the Sceant group by Edrington and Stuart Nickerson who was their whisky consultant elect was instrumental in not only finding Glenglassaugh as an option but also brokering the deal. With a considerable amount of money needed to refurbish the distillery and one of the warehouses Stuart was able to utilize a small parcel of older Glenglassaugh that had been distilled before the closure. I was lucky enough to be the representative for Glenglassaugh in Canada and can vouch for the incredible 20, 30 and 40+ year old whiskies that were part of the rebuilding of the brand. Stuart did so well that the distillery was sold in 2013 well ahead of schedule to the Walker family, owners of Benriach and Glendronach. Within a few years Benriach, Glendronach and Glenglassaugh were subsequently sold to industry powerhouse Brown Foreman.

Once production started Stuart was canny enough to lay down some casks for himself and so we have today in front of us a whisky that was distilled, casked, aged and bottled by the same man.

Glenglassaugh barrels

I tried some of the early peated new make that Stuart had distilled many years ago. While chatting in his lounge earlier this year he mentioned this cask and jumped at the chance (actually may have jumped off my seat). Several editions ago we had the Portsoy Sauterne Cask. One of the most delicious Sauterne casked whiskies that I have tried to date and only around 7 years of age.

Auchinderom Peated (Glenglassaugh) Sauterne Cask 7 Year Old – Cask Number 007 – Highland – Alcohol 58.6%

Colour:                     Lovely deep gold. No doubt the Sauterne Cask is at work here. Smaller barrel size than a Bourbon Cask so more wood to whisky ratio imparting a lot more.

Nose:                        No mistaking that this whisky lives with peat. Large and in charge is a big hit of glorious seaside. Like stepping out onto the beach and taking a big deep breath of sweet fresh salty air. Glenglassaugh is right on the coast so this is not unexpected. I find myself taking a long time over this nose to try and get some of the Sauterne cask influence. That sweet freshness could be it and does hold the promise of luscious things to come on the palate.

Palate:                     Wow ok the dense vegetal peat character is right at the door asking me to shake the sand off my shoes and come in. That medicinal note that a lot of people relate to coastal Islay is lining the walls of this old school drawing room. As I sink down into my deep backed leather chair I can almost picture the old tobacco swirling in the air, an old leather bound book in my hand and a century old persian rug beneath my feet. Through it all though there is a lovely little sweetness that is completely unopposing but may be the most beautiful part of the whole experience.

Finish:                   I just had to try this with a dash of water. The sweetness on the nose headed towards dark marmalade balsamic reduction. The dainty little petit four that I loved at cask strength has blossomed into a full blown over cooked ginger cookie. In the best way possible. The finish just carries on and the lingering effect is the Briny Highland Peat holding steady as it sails to the horizon. With all of this going on it feels like a much, much older whisky than 7 years. Sauterne casks seem to equal much more rapid aging characteristics in Scotland.

On this day in the 4th edition we had another fine dram put together by Stuart Nickerson. The Shetland Reel Batch No. 3 Blended Malt was a cracker.

Please remember to head over to the Whiskey Vault and Scotch Test Dummies. I am literally chafing at the bit to see what they thought of todays dram. I would think today’s dram will be a big winner but as I say all the time everyone has their own palate and there are no right and wrong preferences.

We are now just over half way through the calendar and it is worth mentioning what we have had so far. 5 Speyside Distilleries, 4 Highland Distilleries one of which was heavily peated, 1 Islay and 3 blended malts. Barrels have included Refill Sherry, 1st fill Sherry and both Refill and 1st fill Bourbon and a Sauterne cask. We have had 9 different distillery single casks 2 of which were teaspooned. We have done a distillery comparison and both casks while having some similarities were very different animals. As we head into the back end of the calendar we will go to even more new places and see some much older drams. Stay tuned whisky fans and always try to keep a childlike eagerness and delight in learning more about this amazing drink.

Tomorrow we have another distillery making a first appearance in our calendars. Coming from that amazing independent bottler A.D. Rattray.

Looking forward to seeing you all then.

Cheers

Jonathan

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

Cheers

Jonathan