Home » Highlands

Tag: Highlands

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

Singlemalting # 198 – 5th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 1 – Single Cask Nation MacDuff

Unbelievable that the time is here to begin our 5th Scotch Whisky Adventure together. This year we welcome a whole new community of delicious dram drinkers from the USA, UK, Sweden, Netherlands, Australia, Germany, Italy, Spain, France and New Zealand. It is really exciting to share this journey with so many and experience how incredible Scotch Whisky truly is together.

Our 5th edition has stretched my wife and Secret Spirits partner Cindy and I to exciting new limits. This edition boasts not just another 25 days of life altering drams but for the first time we have two whiskies over 30 years old and more Secret Spirits bottlings than ever before. Hold onto you hats ladies and gents this is going to be a fun ride.

Firstly lets all punch out that big middle hole and grab our Aurora glasses. Those of you that have been drinking along with us from the begining will know that every year we source a different whisky glass to build up a library of options for you. In years past we have had the Spiegelau Whisky Tumbler (1st Edition), Samaroli Custom Spiegelau (2nd Edition), Neat Glass (3rd Edition) and Spey Glass (4th Edition). For our half decade milestone we wanted to do something a little more artistic with a splash of pizzaz. The Aurora glass is a twisted tumbler that feels great in the hand, can handle whisky stones or ice easily and has enough room for even the heartiest splash of your favorite dram. Boasting the largest opening on any of the glasses so far it will work well for those high alcohol cask strength whiskies but may require more nose engagement for delicate drams. As an added bonus the Aurora can even handle some epic whisky cocktails with ease.

Before we get going Cindy and I would like to thank a few people that are coming along for the ride this year as our guest blogger/tasters. Firstly we have The Whiskey Tribe weighing in at an astounding 133K subscribers on their Whisky Vault Youtube channel and backing that up with their Whisky Biscuits channel, Crowded Barrel Distillery and Fang & Feather whisky bar. Daniel  and Rex are awesome and I know you are going to enjoy their take on these whiskies. Secondly we have the intrepid duo at Scotch Test Dummies, Scott and Bart have built up a very loyal following on their popular Youtube channel. With a funny and relaxed tableside tasting style I know these guys are going to have a blast on this adventure with us.

Right then with glass in hand it’s time to grab that booklet and get ready to add some tasting notes for our first dram.

Single Cask Nation

Day 1 – Single Cask Nation MacDuff 14 Year Old – Distilled in 2003 – Refill Sherry Cask No. 900026 – Highlands – 57%

Single Cask Nation is a small independent bottler based in the US. Joshua Hatton and Jason Johnstone-Yellin have made it their ongoing passion to select extremely good casks of whisky from all over the world. They always bottle at cask strength with no caramel coloring added or chill filtration. This is their first time in the covetted day 1 slot. We always like to start the adventure with something especially delicious and a touch unusual.

MacDuff Distillery

MacDuff distillery is more commonly known by the proprietary label Glen Deveron. Founded in 1960 production began in 1963. William Lawson purchases the MacDuff in 1972 and eventually sells to Bacardi in 1993 when it is made part of the John Dewars & Sons operation. Outside of the Glen Deveron range of Single Malts that are not always easy to find it is independent bottlers like Single Cask Nation that select those outstanding single casks and rescue them from being washed into the every day shelf expressions.

Colour:         Refill sherry imparts a lot less colour and this is very evident with the lovely antiqued gold shining out of this bottle at me.

Nose:             Rich honey overtones with wafts of the tropics. Sometimes pineapple, sometimes lychee….sometimes that more pearlike nose that is often a hallmark of a lot of Highland Malts. This nose is doing a lot for me and I could quite happily sit and sniff this for ages. The sherry influence is nicely in the background with the use of a refill cask. No doubt it is why I am getting more tropic notes.

Palate:           That 57% big mouth feel is there but does not overpower the abundance of ripe fruit that fills every inch of my mouth. The honey is definitely a strong contender for biggest note with flaky pastry and some nutty qualities. I would say that for me it’s reminicent of when I was in Rhodes Greece. The honey there had a special floral and fruit quality that I am getting on this. That honey was wrapped in Phillo pastry complete with pistachios and served daily to my wife and I as part of our daily afternoon Baklava adventure. This dram takes me back there in spades.

Finish:         Lingering on and on with a zesty edge that tingles the sides as it all goes down to a warming glow. The fruit, honey and flaky pastry all roll together for a dram to remember.

Thanks Jason and Joshua for such a memorable day one whisky. What a great way to start our milstone 5th year of Scotch Whisky Adventures. I am really looking forward to sharing the next 24 days with you because I know whats coming bwahahahahaha.

Day 1 of our 4th edition was the truly delicious 18 Year Old Tamdhu from Hunter Laings Old Malt Cask Range. It’s always fun to go back and remember these limited edition drams.

Tomorrow we have a fantastic whisky from Wemyss Malts that will also bring up some fun discussion about US labelling laws.

It is so amazing to be here with you our Secret Spirits community. It is an honor and a privilege to be able to share our love of Scotch Whisky with you all.

Until tomorrow

Dram up baby yeah……

 

Singlemalting 194# – Keeper Time

G’day everyone,

It has been an extremely eventful year thus far and overdue for me to ket the fingers flying on the keyboard for another Singlemalting Blog. Earlier this year I had the absolute honour to travel to Scotland and attend the Spring induction of the Keepers of the Quaich. If you are unfamiliar with this organization for Scotch Whisky you can read all about them on their website here.

After living my whisky passion that has been for the most part a Scotch Whisky Journey for the past 15 years it was thrilling to be included alongside so many incredible people. Everything from the walk up the red carpet surrounded by an honor guard and pipers to the swearing in ceremony, epic banquet and opportunity to talk whisky together was nothing short of mind blowing.

Even the whiskies on the table paired with dinner were extra special including a Single Cask bottling of Talisker especially for the Keepers of the Quaich that had me more than a few drams in by the end of the night.

My gorgeous wife Cindy has been a big part of my inspiration and journey into this fantastic world of whisky and I was so glad to have her alongside me for such a special moment.

Red Carpet Arrival

There are roughly only 2500 Keepers in the world and there are only 60 to 70 added each year shared between two ceremonies in the Spring and Fall. In this elite company of Scotch Whisky lovers are some absolute industry legends. As I sat listening to the achievements of the other Masters and new Keeper inductees I had to pinch myself that I was becoming part of it all.

From across the globe the 38 new keepers at my induction all had amazing stories to tell. Some working tirelessly for big brands, some breaking new markets, some like myself working with independents but all living and breathing the world of Scotch Whisky.

To my knowledge there are very few Keepers that are Canadian and even less that are Australian. I could probably safely bet that I might be the only Keeper that is both.

I have to say a massive thankyou to my nominator Stuart Nickerson of the Malt Whisky Company. Many of you have read my reviews of his whiskies over the years and having the chance to stay with Stuart and Wilma at their home was hospitality of the highest order. A special thankyou to Wilma who somehow even with a 30 minute roadblock managed to get us to the ball on time. The other industry legend that I must thank is Tim Morrison of A.D. Rattray and Clydeside Distillery who backed up Stuarts nomination by seconding it and endorsing my membership. I have been working with A.D. Rattray for over 15 years now and so it was very special for me to have Mr Morrison as part of this milestone.

Grinning Keeper

Thanks to everyone who has supported Cindy and I and Secret Spirits as we work to bring you amazing whiskies and our labor of love the Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar. Without you this would not have been possible.

Slainte

Jonathan