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Singlemalting #248 – 6th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 25 – Bunnahabhain 30 Year Old

Merry Christmas everyone and welcome to Christmas day. What a journey we have had over the past 24 days. As promised we delivered more sherry (seriously), a bit more peat and possibly the most eclectic range of whiskies in any edition so far if thats possible.

Day 25 – 6th edition style

In todays special little home in your calendar you will find the first ever Islay whisky that we have had in this covetted spot. Bottled by Wemyss Malts the Luxury Damson Jam Bunnahabhain 30 Year Old is something special. We have had Bunnahabhain before starting with the A.D. Rattray 27 year old in our 2nd Edition. We followed that delicious offering up with something from Single Cask Nation as the 28 Year Old Christmas Eve dram in our 3rd edition. Finally we get a 30 year old expression that we can offer up for a warming Christmas day tipple.

Bunnahabhain Distillery

Founded in 1881 Bunnahabhain’s whisky style is known to be the softer side of Islay. Being the most Northern distillery on the island and with Dunnage warehouses right near the coast there is no doubting the influence of the sea on this spirit. It is owned by Burn Stewart Distillers who also own Tobermory and Deanston. Seen regularly now as a proprietary brand this distillery is not shy in parting with delicious casks of it’s whisky to independent bottlers. Also releasing heavily peated malts nowadays this cask is still from a time when Bunnahabhain was using a very gentle peat influence.

Wemyss Malts Luxury Damson Jam Bunnahabhain 30 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky – Islay – Puncheon – 46%

Colour:          Burnt Amber. Some deep notes here from 30 years in this puncheon without being really dark.

Nose:              Right off the bat this smells old. Unmistakable old wood and dried fruits. Havana old town cigar store. Heirloom pipe rack. No discernable peat now, so any that was used in the Bunnahabhain spirit when it went into the puncheon is swalled up by the influence of the cask.

Palate:            Wow, much more fruit here than I was expecting. A bowl of rich dark fruits set on an antique mohogany dining table, complete with dried flower arrangement and well worn table runner. These darker fruits are muted with age but still persist throughout the palate. Lots to linger on here.

Finish:          This is indeed a perfect example of something old and delicate. The fruits continue on here with burnt citrus, old belt leather, dried plums and nectarines. This is like reading an old book in a leather chair sitting in front of the fire. The more time you have to slowly warm this dram up and think about it the better it becomes. Do not be hasty with this one whisky adventurers.

I have to give a big thanks to my brother in law John Haines for splitting his day 25 dram with me. As happened last year someone had a misshap with their day 25 bottle and I needed to send them mine so John stepped up to save the day. Cheers John, thanks for the dram.

Chrismas village dram time with 2 eager glasses ready to go
Jonathan and John drams in hand ready for some 30 Year Old whisky magic

One last time for this 6th edition you need to check out our guest Youtubers at Single Malt Review in New Zealand. Whisky Whistle in Canada and Scotch Test Dummies in the US. Plus the bonus Food Quig reviews. Don’t stop there though subscribe to their content keep checking out their reviews and learn more about the wonderful world of whisky from so many different perspectives.

Well tomorrow we wake up and reach for some Boxing day turkey left overs and maybe a mimosa. Those cricket fans in Australia and New Zealand will be watching the Boxing day test. I managed to wrangle 3 generations of the Bray family to Boxing day at the MCG a few years ago and it was awesome.

On Christmas day in our 5th edition we had the A.D. Rattray 30 Year Old Glen Grant.

Cindy and I want to say a special thank you to everyone that has supported us through this extremely challenging year. It has been the saving grace for us to receive so much encouragement, patience and understanding even when faced with crazy delay’s, rediculous shipping costs and unending roadblocks from so many directions. We feel brave enough to do this all again now armed with the knowledge (at least at the moment) of what we need to do for some of the more difficult markets. Look for a new Indiegogo campaign starting early in February for our 7th edition and shortly after the long awaited Easy Whiskey launch also on Indiegogo.

Please subscribe on our website to keep yourselves in the loop on everything that is going on.

Until 2020 thank you all so much for coming along on this, our 6th adventure.

Always be dramming

Cheers

Jonathan

Singlemalting #244 – 6th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 20 – Caol Ila 7 Year Old

Welcome to day 20. Right into the heart of the Christmas season we bring together for the first time a combination of first fill Oloroso and Caol Ila Single Malt. For any of you that have done some of the past editions you would have tried several delicious Caol Ila casks from Secret Spirits and other independents. In 6 years of searching I had never been able to access this combination until now. The first time we had a Caol Ila was way back in our 2nd edition from A.D. Rattray. The 4th edition held the first single cask of Caol Ila from Secret Spirits. It went down so well we found another one for the 5th edition from Secret Spirits that became known as Smoldering Secrets. This is now the 4th time we have showcased a single barrel from this distillery and they have all been quite unique.

Caol Ila Distillery

Caol Ila is owned by industry giant Diageo and makes up the backbone of their peaty needs for the Johnnie Walker range. Founded in 1846 it has changed hands many times and seen some closures including during the second World War when due to barley shortages most distilleries ceased operations. Caol Ila is taken from the Gaelic Caol Ìle for “sound of Islay” refering to the location of the distillery overlooking the strait between Islay and Jura. Caol Ila makes more whisky than all of the other distilleries on Islay combined.

Secret Spirits Caol Ila Single Malt 7 Year Old – Islay – 1st Fill Oloroso # 1710 – 55.5% abv

Colour:        Polished teak.

Nose:           Christmas glazed smoked bone in ham. There is salt, something dark and tropical like pineapple reduction. Drunken cranberries. Medicine chest, pork crackling, olive tapenade and fig jam.

Palate:         Yep this is awesome and spot on with the 55.5%. Still plenty of room to play for most of you but I’m loving it just as it is. Fruits of the forest like damp blackberries still clinging to the dank musty ground. The Christmas ham is there too with a healthy dose of caramelization after the whole thing is doused in whisky and set alight. Medicinal still and very palate coating. So many layers to explore here. I’m looking forward to seeing how our Youtubers go with the water they will add.

Finish:          Christmas spices peek through at the finish with nutmeg and cinnamon, chives and sour cherry.

For some the dark and dangerous side of Islay is best served after some years in a sherry cask. This is a great example of a mere 7 years in Oloroso having such an incredible impact and giving us a whisky ahead of it’s time.

For day 20 in our 5th edition we had the Stones of Stenness (Highland Park) 18 year old from Single Cask Nation.

Shame on you if you have not as yet watched, subscribed, liked and even joined patreon for our guest Youtubers at Single Malt Review in New Zealand. Whisky Whistle in Canada and Scotch Test Dummies in the US. Plus the bonus Food Quig reviews.

Tomorrow we are off to Speyside for something special from our friends at Wemyss Malts and a distillery I particularly enjoy.

5 drams to go. How has the adventure been for you so far? I hope it has stretched your way of thinking about Scotch Whisky and that you enjoy an even wider range of flavors than you did before.

Looking forward to your company tomorrow.

Until then

Cheers

Jonathan

 

Singlemalting #238 – 6th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 12 Wemyss Malts Lord Elcho

Today we have the sole Blended Scotch Whisky in the 6th edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar. Coming from those able folk at Wemyss Malts the Lord Elcho is their only Blended Scotch brand.

Some of you may remember all the way back to the 1st Edition and the 15 Year Old Lord Elcho that was found on day 10. This particular edition is the little brother to that dram at a more entry level pricepoint but the same percentage of Single Grain to Single Malt 60% to 40%. That is a very high percentage of malt for such an inexpensive blend.

As a throwback to that 1st edition here is a snippet of info about Lord Elcho and why he is front and center on the Wemyss Blend.

Lord Elcho, 1721-1787, was the eldest son of the 5th Earl of Wemyss, one of the current company owners’ ancestors. Courageous and loyal, Lord Elcho was the commander of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s army. After the Jacobites’ defeat at the battle of Culloden in 1746, Elcho was exiled to France – never to return to his native Scotland.

Lord Elcho Blended Scotch Whisky

Wemyss Malts Lord Elcho Blended Scotch Whisky – NAS – 40% abv

Colour:        Light Gold. Even though this is youngish whisky Wemyss do not colour it like so many inexpensive blends.

Nose:            Very fresh, apples, pears, hints of malt, certainly a young nose but very pleasant.

Palate:           Candy apple. Like a green granny smith with the sticky red toffee coating. Bing, that it 100% what this whisky is saying to my palate. Nice and light. A very easy drinking dram with enough sweetness and a touch of crisp fruit to carry it all along.

Finish:        Longer than I was expecting with a tingle of oaky spice at the end.

A delicious little blended Scotch that shows well with the high malt content. Without the mass quantities of blended Scotches sold around the world we would not be able to find any delicious single and blended malts on any shelves.

It will be really interesting to see how all the blind tasting goes today with the boys in NZ and Foodquig. Can they pick the blended Scotch?

So to see for yourself how everyone does on today’s blended Scotch you will want to go and check out our guest Youtubers at Single Malt Review in New Zealand. Whisky Whistle in Canada and Scotch Test Dummies in the US. Plus the bonus Food Quig reviews.

On day 12 of the 5th edition we had the Lost Distillery Company Stratheden Classic blended malt.

Tomorrow we are boarding another ferry to the islands for something truly epic from Douglas Laing.

Well we are at the tipping point tomorrow where we start to head down the hill to Christmas day. Hard to beleive that we are half way through the 6th edition. Thanks so much for joining in again.

See you on the morrow.

Cheers

Jonathan

Singlemalting #236 – 6th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 10 Big Peat

G’day all of you peat heads out there. Sorry for the delay this year in getting around to some serious peat. With all of the sherry votes we had this year we just had to make sure that we were off to a very sherried Christmas.

The peat votes also had a win and we promise that there are one or two more peated expressions in the 6th edition than there have been in the past. Good things come to them that wait I guess.

So today we are back with Douglas Laing and their well known Big Peat brand. Funny story here in that this was supposed to be the limited release cask strength Christmas edition of the Big Peat but some wires got crossed at the warehouse and we got the 46% edition instead. Whoops. By the time the mistake was caught it was too late and so here we are. Delicious anyway but wow that Christmas cask strength Big Peat was pretty special.

All of the single malts contained in this skillful blend are from Islay and this was the first of Douglas Laing’s regional brands. We have already had the Scallywag earlier this edition. Can anyone name the other of the trio?

Douglas Laing’s Big Peat

Douglas Laing Big Peat Blended Malt Scotch Whisky – Islay – Bourbon Casks – 46% abv

Colour:          Very light and now the front runner for the lightest colour this edition so far. Sauvignon Blanc.

Nose:              Baaaad Medicine is what I need……. sorry throwback to the 80’s there. Definite medicinal note along with some latex, pencil shavings, eraser dust, and vegemite. Love these notes and the fact that all of this is fantastic is why Islay whisky is so cool.

Palate:           Whoa ok big medicinal hit with some iodine, burnt rubber, salt, a wisp of smoke here but this is all about what that peat brings to the table.

Finish:          Very warming all the way down and all of the above lingers and coats the palate, throat, tongue, breath. I can even still smell the stuff seeping out of my glencairn from a foot away. It’s like some sort of Islay presence has possessed all my olfactory senses.

This is a really great balanced islay dram for every time the urge hits you that nothing other than beastly peat with fix. Having not had this until out trip to Scotland in May I can see why this has been such a popular brand for Douglas Laing.

Great blending work again from DL. Phew well hopefully that should hold the peaties for a wee bit.

On day 10 in the 5th edition we had the Secret Spirits Royal Brackla 11 Year Old that is still available in full bottle size.

You know you want to go and check out our guest Youtubers at Single Malt Review in New Zealand. Whisky Whistle in Canada and Scotch Test Dummies in the US. Plus the bonus Food Quig reviews.

Tomorrow we get back to something a little tamer and get back into something from Secret Spirits. There may or may not be sherry involved again hehehe.

Cheers

Jonathan

 

 

Just do it. Check out our guest Youtubers at Single Malt Review in New Zealand. Whisky Whistle in Canada and Scotch Test Dummies in the US. Plus the bonus Food Quig.

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 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 15 – Singlemalting # 212 – Secret Spirits Caol Ila 8 Year Old

Caol Ila, workhorse of the Islay underworld. Pumping out more Smoky, Peaty, Islay goodness than all the rest of the Islay distilleries combined by quite some margin. As you already noted on day 5 we actually did a cask of Caol Ila in the 4th edition but were unable to fill any full size bottles for the peaty faithful. This year is a different story and we have managed to get a bit more of the sister cask. These limited bottles will be released along with most of the other Secret Spirits whiskies from the 5th edition in the first quarter of 2019. Stay tuned for the pre-order information.

Caol Ila is owned by industry giant Diageo and makes up the backbone of their peaty needs for the Johnnie Walker range. Founded in 1846 it has changed hands many times and seen some closures including during the second World War when due to barley shortages most distilleries ceased operations. Must have been a tough time for whisky lovers in the mid 50’s when all of those whiskies would have been around 10 years old and hitting the market. Caol Ila is taken from the Gaelic Caol Ìle for “sound of Islay” refering to the location of the distillery overlooking the strait between Islay and Jura.

Caol Ila Distillery

Secret Spirits Caol Ila 8 Year Old Single Malt – Bourbon Cask # SS006 – Islay – alcohol 59.5%

Colour:             Pinot Gris sparkle gold.

Nose:                Certainly does not smell like Pinot Gris as that classic Islay heavily peated salt, earth and fire leap out of the glass. For me the smokiness is much more subdued than the peat note. Could it be that there is a wee Scottish flower poking up from the bog?

Palate:             Peated Vanilla cookies and Cavendish pipe tobacco. Im my minds eye I’m standing right in the middle of a large Islay farm paddock complete with heavy hoof prints, upturned earth and mud puddles. The rain is just about to hit and the sky is dark and brooding. Scurrying into the farmers house just as the heavens unleash I find myself sipping this dram by the fire and absolutely loving the Islay experience.

Finish:          Very long with a lemon essence that surprisingly jumps in at the end. Certainly on the slightly sweeter side of Caol Ila but there is no mistaking the huge use of peat to malt this barley. Delicious trip to Islay and I hope that has made you peat only peat please hurt me with peat guys happy enough to visit the mainland a few more times.

On this day in the 4th edition we had another smoky expression with the Wemyss Malts Peat Chimney Batch Strength.

I know that Daniel in particular loves younger Islay so it will be interesting to see how this one fares over at the Whiskey Vault. Scotch Test Dummies are not afraid of peat either so will no doubt relish this little trip to Islay.

Tomorrow we are back on the mainland with a delicious malt from the team at Wemyss.

Until then may the finish linger long into the night…..

Cheers

 

Jonathan

Singlemalting # 203 – 5th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 6 – Exclusive Malts Regional Islay Sherry Cask

Here be some Peat for the People. I understand…you’ve been waiting paitently and smirking with restrained amusement as we talk about “delicate complexity” and the incredible array of flavor to be found in Scotch Whisky. All the while we really needed to be schooled in what “real” Scotch is all about, right? Big peaty, smoky, briny, boggy monsters that terrorize towns, devour the countryside and destroy tastebuds. There is certainly no more polarizing category of Scotch Whisky than that which involves the abundant use of one of Scotland’s most plentiful natural resources. Love it or hate it you cannot ignore the fact that there is no other whisky style in the world that lights such a fire in your mouth and slowly burns you down from the inside out with an incredible warmth and flavor that leaves us all begging for more.

Today as we wander off the ferry, we grasp in out hot little hands a bottle of Islay Magnificence. Bottled by David Stirk of Exclusive Malts this fully sherry matured Islay Single Malt comes from the Laphroaig distillery so is right up there with the highest levels of peat in Scotland. This here little dram should make even the heartiest of peat fans happy.

Recently David successfully sold his company to overseas interests so this may be the last time we get to bottle something from him so it is only apt that we go out with a bang.

Laphroaig Distillery

Laphroaig is one of only 9 distilleries on Islay and was founded in 1815 by Donald and Alexander Johnston. Trading hands many times over the years it is now owned by the Japanese alcohol giant Suntory who aquired Beam in 2014. With a great visitors center Laphroaig is a major attraction for any Islay whisky hunter. In 1994 they started the friends of Laphroaig whereby visitors could purchase a square foot of Laphroaig land and in return receive the rent of one dram of Laphroaig each year when visiting the distillery.

Laphroaig Pagoda Chimney

Exclusive Malts Regional Series Islay – Refill Sherry Cask – 50% Alcohol – Laphroaig Distillery

Colour:          Some darker tinges here that point at least a touch to the refill sherry cask that this Laphroaig spent its life in.

Nose:             Bart from Scotch Test Dummies should be a happy man today as he has a self confessed peat obsession. For my substantial shnoz I am getting salty, smoked, pork crackling with a a rich red wine jus poured over everything. My oh my this is an inviting nose. Tailing in at the end is the coastal medicine that helps the whisky go down.

Palate:           All of the above and more. Actually softer than I was anticipating with the 50% ABV. The sherry infuence seems to enhance that sweet medicine and the smoky salty layer ebbs and flows with charred sweet pork holding it all together.

Finish:          Laphroaig always seems to take me to Porky places….. with BBQ. Especially when it’s aged in Sherry casks for some reason. Perhaps the added sweetness from the sherry influence and pork is such a sweet BBQ meat. This is a delicious Laphroaig and the finish is just lingering and yummy. What a great potentially last dram from Exclusive Malts. I understand that there are a few bottles of this to be had from K&L in California so if you are keen jump on it before it’s never seen again. Sorry Canada.

On day 6 of our 4th edition we had the delicate Samaroli Glenallachie 8 Year Old.

Head straight over to the Whisky Vault and Scotch Test Dummies and watch today’s video’s…..seriously what are you waiting for get over there.

Tomorrow we find something from yummy from Alex Bruce at Adelphi. Hold onto your hats sherry fans.

Until then drammers

Cheers

Jonathan

 

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar 3rd Edition Day 24 Blog #156 – Single Cask Nation Bunnahabhain 28 Year Old

Happy Christmas Eve everyone. Just seems like yesterday that we started on this journey and now we only have one more night to go before it all comes to an end. Being a special day we always plant something fantastic behind the #24 door. This is the oldest whisky ever bottled by the dynamic duo of Joshua Hatton and Jason Johnstone-Yellin at Single Cask Nation. A privilege to be able to share it with you all.

Bunnahabhain

Founded in 1881 Bunnahabhain’s whisky style is known to be the softer side of Islay. Being the most Northern distillery on the island and with Dunnage warehouses right near the coast there is no doubting the influence of the sea on this spirit. It is owned by Burn Stewart Distillers who also own Tobermory and Deanston. Seen regularly now as a proprietary brand this distillery is not shy in parting with delicious casks of it’s whisky to independent bottlers like Single Cask Nation.

Single Cask Nation was initially based on a club model in the USA but have branched out with a fantastic retail line that will be available to anyone in Canada from a select few stores in Alberta. The Nation has only been available in Alberta for a few years and already they are building a bit of a cult following among discerning whisky drinkers. Their passion and love for whisky is very apparent in their cask selections.

Bunnahabhain 28 Year Old

Single Cask Nation 28 Year Old Bunnahabhain aged in a refill Sherry Hogshead # 7403 and bottled at the cask strength of 51.3% without any mucking about. Islay rocks.

Color:   Getting a little deeper here in color after all those years in refill but still pretty light for a 28 year old whisky.

Nose:    Tony wisps of smoke from smoldering coals, Heather infused waxy honeycomb, candied ginger and soft caramel fudge along with a background grassy edge that add’s some depth. Very fresh and inviting for an older whisky.

Palate:   Pretty soft on the palate initially for 51.3% but the tingle does build at the edges of the tongue. The smokiness is gone now but it was only a wisp anyway. Sugared lemon drops, cinnamon topped custard tart (Aussie specialty). Flavors come through in a delicate cascade and it takes some time to develop. This is not a whisky that you want to rush.

Finish:   Fresh cut grass, lemon tart, star anise and sunflower and flax sourdough (this is a thing and its delicious).

Complicated whisky this and I was loath to throw water in it but perhaps those braver than I can comment on their watering experiences.

Let’s head on over to Whiskylassie to share in her thrilling adventures today with this lovely old Bunnahabhain.

For those of you keen on this whisky the good news is that 24 bottles will be available in Canada and you can email to get the lowdown on those special retailers that are ambassadors for Single Cask Nation. jonathan@secretspirits.com

Tomorrow is Christmas day and I will be blogging from Down under after safely stashing my day 25 whisky in my suitcase snuggled in a huge amount of bubble wrap. So while many of you are enjoying the white Canadian Christmas I will be outside in shorts cranking up the BBQ and listening to magpies warbling and kookaburra’s getting their cheek on.

Until then have a fabulous Christmas eve with close friends and family. Cindy and I wish everyone a very special time together and thank you all so much for being part of our Calendar community this year.

One more sleep till Christmas Day

Ho Ho Ho

Jonathan – taster of secrets

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar 3rd Edition Day 16 Blog #151 – Samaroli Islay 8 Year Old

It’s been pretty cold here in Alberta of late to say the least so it is well overdue for another return visit to Islay the land or warming peat and smoke. Samaroli have done an amazing job with their blending of Single Malts over the years and I like to showcase how well this can be done by popping one or two of their new expressions each edition.

Today we are looking at a blended malt that is a combination of over 99% malt from one distillery. This cask comes under the definition of tea-spooning. This practice is a touch controversial in Scotland circles as some believe that there is no spoon….ing.

There is no spoon

When a distillery releases a cask but does not want it interfering with their own sales they can prohibit mention of the distillery and even prevent it from being released as a Single Malt. They do this by allegedly throwing in a teaspoon of another malt into the barrel thereby transforming it into a blended malt. There is a considerable number that theorize the fact that the teaspoon never happens and that only on paper is it considered a blended malt. Of course it is impossible to tell either way as the tiniest dash of single malt from another distillery thrown into an entire barrel will have absolutely no impact whatsoever.

So unlike the Samaroli blended malts where various amounts from a number of distilleries are involved really in this case we are looking at an undisclosed Islay Single Malt for all intents and purposes. Lets see if we can figure out which distillery.

Samaroli Islay teaspoon-ed blended malt. Aged for 8 years in a new American oak Hogshead and then bottled at the Samaroli chosen strength of 43% with no chill filtration or caramel added. A bit of an indicator here is the cask number 1883 which tells us that it is just one cask.

Samaroli Islay

Color:   Golden lager

Nose:     Team trainer bag, salt shaker and jerky.

Palate:   Distinctive bowl of burnt rubber and iodine leaking some organic citrus toothpaste (for the mouth feel).

Finish:  Bitter lemon rind among the consistent notes of tanned leather, rubber gloves and medicine cabinet.

The medicinal character even goes so far as to give my palate a bit of a numbing effect and at only 43%. This is a very big whisky and again belies the light color. So you be the judge… spoon or no spoon? Distillery options anyone?

This should satiate even the hardcore Islay fan for at least a few days.

In the second edition on this day we had the Samaroli Benriach 1996 Single Malt which you can revisit here.

Lets see what the Lassie has to say about this Samaroli Islay.

For those of you looking for a bottle of this delicious Islay you can email me here at jonathan@secretspirits.com and I will point you in the right direction.

Tomorrow we are grabbing a ferry away from Islay and heading to the mainland for another visit to the Highlands to discover yet another style of whisky that we love to add in each edition but is largely unknown for lovers of Single Cask Scotch. This will be presented to us by the fabulous team at Wemyss Malts.

Looking forward to seeing you all tomorrow

Slainte

Jonathan – taster of secrets