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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 # 172 – 4th edition SWAC – Day 6 Samaroli Glenallachie 8 YO

Day 6 dawns as we are almost a week into the 4th edition already. Time for us to taste something from one of my favorite independent bottlers on earth Samaroli. I have to at this stage share my sympathies for the Samaroli family at the passing of Silvano earlier this year. Silvano was a living legend in the Scotch Whisky industry and was widely regarded as having one of the best whisky palates in the world. I wish that I had the opportunity to meet Silvano and talk whisky with him as I know we would have been kindred spirits. The Samaroli legacy is in great hands with the Bleve family and Antonio who has been the passion behind keeping the Samaroli quality and name burning bright.

The distillery in question today is Glenallachie. Founded in 1967, closed in 1985 and reopened in 1989 it was sold in 2017 and is now owned by Glenallachie Distillers Company Limited. One of the new owners is Billy Walker formally owner of Benriach and Glenglassaugh distilleries. Glenallachie is in Speyside at the foot of Ben Nevis (Scotland’s highest peak).

Glenallachie Distillery

Samaroli Glenallachie 8 Year Old – 43% ABV non chill filtered, natural colour and distilled in 2009. Cask number 900331 American oak hogshead.

Colour:   Another light looking whisky that could easily be mistaken for Pinot Gris.

Nose:     Pear Blossoms, Cotton Candy and a touch of marzipan.

Palate:   Poached pear dusted with just a hint of chili and vanilla bean.

Finish:   Delicate as is Samaroli’s way but lingering persistent ripe pear and vanilla.

This is a sensationally delicate dram from Samaroli for only 8 years old. Samaroli upon buying this cask re-racked it into new American Oak and the result is delicious. It can take a while for your palate to come full circle and really appreciate the delicate side of Scotch Whisky but believe me its worth it and Samaroli can help you get there. May Silvano’s legacy live on for generations to come.

On Day 6 in the third edition we had the Ainneamh 18 Year Old Speyside Single Malt.

Please head over to Scotch Trooper to see what those little guys are up to.

Tomorrow we are tasting something unique from the Ainneamh independent bottler (pronounced Any oov). If you like sherry casks then you will be a happy camper as you pop open your day 7 door.

As always if you are interested in any of these full sized bottles please email me and we will get you on the list for anything that is available.

Until tomorrow stay warm and drink hearty.

Slainte

SInglemalting

 

whisky advent calendar

Singlemalting # 171 – 4th edition SWAC Day 5 – Secret Spirits Caol Ila 8 Year Old

Only our 3rd ever bottling under the Secret Spirits label and I was excited to include something brooding and smoky from Islay. I managed to find this whisky after a long drive South in Scotland to a windswept warehouse on a lonely road far from the warm whisky bars of Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Tasting through numerous barrel samples is no easy task. Especially when those samples are from Islay. It can all start to get very overpowering even for a palate that has been as abused as mine has. I actually ended up needing an additional sample sent to me in Canada to confirm that this was indeed exactly what I thought I had tasted many months before.

Caol Ila is the workhorse distillery on Islay and produces more whisky than the rest of Islay combined. With the recent announcement that Port Ellen will be reopened there could be a potential challenge down the road for that title.

Caol Ila Distillery

As a side note to the story I ended up encountering a rather challenging road closure that was going to send me an hour out of my way and cause me to be late for my appointment with my next round of drinking. Firm faith in the fact that my GPS said there was a road I took to a narrow and ultimately dodgy farmers track. Several gates and nervous sheep later not to mention steep water laden creek beds and rocky inclines I arrived at the farmers home. Bemused and nodding to his son as he heard my Aussie accent (bloody tourists) he motioned me to the connector that got me back on my way.

Secret Spirits Caol Ila 8 Year Old Single Malt – 59.8% ABV – Refill Bourbon cask. Cask Number SS007

Colour:   Pale horse of the Apocalypse pale. Barely a tinge of white gold.

Nose:   Smoldering Hickory

Palate:   Boom the 59.8% is awesome in its assault bringing plenty of those smoldering embers into play along with a spoonful of medicine that helps the whisky go down. Through it all there is a tingly ball of waxy honeycomb that ties it all together.

Finish:   Just dominates the palate with ABV coating goodness. The smoke just lingers on and on and makes me yearn for my next stint in the backyard poking at the fire pit. This is one big ballsy young Caol Ila and delivers in spades to all you Islay fans.

Every bit as awesome as I remember. There will be some full size bottles available of this dram so just email me at jonathan@secretspirits.com and I will let you know where you can get some.

In the 3rd edition on day 5 we had the A.D. Rattray Ledaig 9 Year Old. Seems that I always tend to insert our first dark side whisky around this time (to keep the peated faithful happy of course).

Check out Scotch Trooper who has no doubt incorporated some dark forces for his photo on this dram.

Tomorrow we are getting our Italian whisky geek on with a dram from those awesome guys at Samaroli.

Until then may your dark side dreams be everything you want and more.

Cheers

Singlemalting

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar

Singlemalting # 170 – 4th edition SWAC Day 4 – Lost Distillery Company Dalaruan Classic

Welcome back everyone to a day that brings a return to the archives. Dusty old books, newsprint and endless hours of pouring over any and all evidence that Glasgow University and the boys from Lost Distillery Company could glean brings us the Dalaruan Classic.

Dalaruan Distillery ran from 1825 to 1925 in Campbeltown and this recreation is worth all the effort the Lost Distillery Company put in. You can read a very long and interesting history on their website here.

Artists rendition of Dalaruan Distillery

Lost Distillery Company Dalaruan Classic Blended Malt – 43% ABV Non chill filtered and natural colour.

Colour:   Rusty Gold that hints at perhaps some sherry influence with a majority of american oak. Lost Distillery Co do not reveal the percentage of cask use (at least not to me and I have spent some time with them trying to pry it out over many drams).

Nose:    True to its Campbeltown roots this hits me with some briny coastal smoke and earth. Undercurrents of a BC Orchard complete with Peaches, Nectarines and Plums.

Palate:    The orchard continues with swirling notes of smoke and salt. Yummo is all I can say about this…. cant talk… drinking…..

Finish:  Belies it’s 43% with strong palate coating consistency. The stone fruit really continues to shine. I can almost taste the peach fuzz and imagine nibbling that last piece of flesh of the coarse and riveted pit.

This is an exceptional blended malt and one of the best that I have had in the Classic range from the Lost Distillery Co. I love the history and can imagine the hussle and bussle of a very vibrant Campbeltown whisky scene.

These guys (Brian and Scott) continue to impress me and it was such a treat to be able to include them in my list of sources for calendar whiskies last year. Looking forward to seeing what they have in store for me early next year.

Please head on over and catch Scotch Troopers take on our 4th edition. As our special guest this year he has what is sure to be the most interesting take on our calendar so far.

Tomorrow we head to the Dark Side for something from Secret Spirits so strap on your lightsaber and remember to use the force. Dram or Dram not… there is no try.

Cheers

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