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5th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 24 – Singlemalting # 221 – Secret Spirits Inchmurrin 21 Year Old

Today’s dram was probably the most drama we have ever had in bottling a whisky. Needing at least 105 bulk liters to fill 2000 mini’s we of course only chose casks that have all of that and some to spare. When this cask arrived at our warehouse it was substantially lower than what we needed. How do you at find more Inchmurrin 21 year old at the last minute? Well it’s almost impossible but luckily for us the ABV on our barrel was above 60%. Extremely rare for a 21 year old cask that had actually leaked as well to still have such a high ABV. Saved by this anomoly we were forced to reduce the strength to 45.2% to eek out enough whisky for all the calendars. This little hiccup believe it or not almost caused everyone to miss out on getting their calendars altogether.

Fun times when everything comes down to devil’s cut and angel’s share.

So disaster averted we have for our Christmas Eve whisky at the very last minute and great expense a single cask of Inchmurrin 21 Year Old for your dramming pleasure.

Imchmurrin is actually one of the brands that comes out of the Loch Lomond Distillery. Loch Lomond is a unique distillery in that it produces both Single Malt and Single Grain whiskies and by utilizing varying distilling methods actually creates 10 different styles of Single Malt under the one roof. We have had the heavily peated Croftengea from A.D. Rattray and also a heavily peated Loch Lomond from Single Cask Nation who prefers to use the name of the distillery as part of our third edition.  Inchmurrin is on the lightly peated end of the Loch Lomond scale with only the distilleries namesake Single Malt having the lightest peat profile.

Loch Lomond was first established in 1814 but was closed after only 3 years of production. The new Loch Lomond was founded in 1964 by the Littlemill distillery owners. Closed for a brief period in the 80’s the Single Grain operation was started in 1993 and at the time it was the only distillery in Scotland to do so. In 2014 the distillery was acquired by a private equity group and is now owned by the Loch Lomond Distilling Corporation.

The Inchmurrin spirit is said to have an intensely fruit driven character that fades to grass and meadow flowers with age. Lets see what has happened to this tortured cask of Inchmurrin after 21 years in a sherry hogshead.

Secret Spirits Inchmurrin 21 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky – Sherry Hogshead # 407 – Highland – 45.2% ABV – No Chill Filtration.

Colour:    Despite the sherry cask the colour is still lightly tarnished gold.

Nose:       Comes out of the glass feistier than I would have expected. There is a soft earth and hay quality to the nose that gives way to Cedar fence pailings and old farm equipment. Like stepping into an old barn closing your eyes and taking in all the different smells. There is a sweet note here as well though like someone is baking apple pie in the nearby homestead and it is wafting into the barn.

Palate:     The delivery is initially light and grassy but quickly builds up a coating tingle that transitions all the way to the back of the palate and down to your very core. The sweet pie crust comes through as does the Jonathan apple (slightly sweet). The earthy notes are almost non existant but still detectable.

Finish:     The alcohol seems to linger more on the finish than up front. Persisting soft floral notes and wafting meadow breezes.

This is a very layered whisky and it would have been really cool to allow everyone to play with it at 60+ %. Everything I have had from Loch Lomond has been stellar and I will continue to seek out all of these different expressions in future editions.

On this day in the 4th edition we had the A.D. Rattray Tamnavulin 29 Year old Single Malt.

Check in on this Christmas Eve with Daniel at the Whiskey Vault and the boys of Scotch Test Dummies.

Christmas day is here at last and tomorrow we finish this engaging adventure with a 30 Year Old offering from A.D. Rattray.

Looking forward to having you here one last time for this 5th edition tomorrow.

Cheers

Jonathan

 

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar 3rd Edition Day 18 Blog #153 – A.D. Rattray Croftengea 11 Year Old

Today we do a comparison piece which is really going to showcase how much impact casks have on the flavor profile of a whisky. Earlier on day 9 we tried the Single Cask Nation Loch Lomond, Croftengea and now we get to compare an A.D. Rattray Croftengea in a completely different barrel.
For those that missed the earlier piece and want some background on the distillery and for comparison you can check out the blog here.
So without further preamble lets delve into this wee bottle.
A.D. Rattray Loch Lomond – Croftengea at the full cask strength of 58.9% and aged for 11 years in a sherry hogshead. Loch Lomond is as we mentioned in that earlier blog a Highland distillery.
Croftengea
Color:     Just the palest whiff of a darker reddish hue giving perhaps a hint that this was aged in a refill sherry cask.
Nose:     Montreal Smoked meat on Pumpernickel with a dark molasses and black bean sauce. I will be honest here and say that no such sandwich exists but I want one in the worst way.
Palate:     The weight of the 58.9 seems just perfect with the oily palate coating experience of this dram. Earth Wind and Fire could write a song about this whisky with their sweet soul vibes adding a smooth backdrop. Dark heavy chocolate here and warming dark stone fruit compote with an earthy smoky essence running right through everything.
Finish:     Softening peat that fades to a lasting finish that throws in a sparkle of burnt Tangarine zest.
Loads going on here and the first sherried Croftengea I have ever tried. Amazing that both this and the Single Cask Nation cask have some similarities and yet so much that makes them completely different. Highland peat is certainly a different animal than Islay or Island and I like the flavorful and yet somewhat softer character.
I have the fun and honor of having Jason Johnstone-yellin from Single Cask Nation here with me as I taste this dram and it is fantastic for him to give us his perspective in the light of his excellent company bringing us the earlier Croftengea. I love being able to shed some light on how unique and different each single cask of whisky is. For those that have never done this sort of comparison you can see for yourselves that whisky is incredibly complex even from the same distillery and aged for similar amounts of time.
So over to you Jason what do you think?
mmmmm
delish
Nose:   Funky and Pungent with charcoal bricks dipped in cherry cordial, wet kelp drizzled with soy sauce, and driftwood dropped on a beach campfire.
Palate:   Smoky and salty with Camphor, warmed dark cherries, and abundant cinnamon. Hints of eucalyptus as it transitions into the finish.
Finish:   Lingering smoke with some cinnamon heat, hints of grey pepper towards the end of the finish.
Overall:   Oily and mouth coating with drying smoke, a certain waxiness, and pleasant heat. Another winner in the Secret Spirits Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar.
Thanks Jason for jumping in with another perspective on this dram. Head on over to our official taster this edition at Whisky Lassie and see how she fares with this sherried peated Highland.
I can hear the ocean…in stereo
On this day in the second edition we had the fantastic Samaroli Miltonduff.
Tomorrow we are in for a real treat from Samaroli as we head into the business end of the 3rd edition.
Slainte
Jonathan – taster of secrets

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar 3rd Edition Day 9 Blog #142 – Single Cask Nation Loch Lomond (Croftengea) 10 Year Old

Here we are on day 9 of our little jaunt through the glens and moors of Scotland. Today we welcome back Single Cask Nation to the lineup. You may remember a particularly delicious Undisclosed Islay from the 2nd Editon that was their debut. Thanks to Joshua and Jason for spending time rooting through warehouses in Scotland to find us today’s dram.

“It’s a Highland Jim but not as we know it”. Loch Lomond is a distillery in the Highlands that was originally founded in 1814 and there are no actual records of exactly when it closed. The Loch Lomond distillery as it stands today was founded in 1964 by the then owners of the famed but closed Littlemill distillery.

Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond

Certainly industrial by Scottish standards Loch Lomond is a work horse of a distillery. Unique among distilleries Loch Lomond opened a Grain distillery in 1994 and was at the time the only distillery in Scotland able to produce both Grain and Malt whisky.

Croftengea is the proprietary name for their peated range of Single Malts that to my knowledge is not seen here outside of the odd independently bottled cask.

Loch Lomond Croftengea
Loch Lomond Croftengea

Single Cask Nation Loch Lomond Croftengea Peated Highland Single Malt bottled at a cask strength of 55.6% with no chill filtration or colour. Aged in a refill Bourbon Hogshead cask number 486. 10 Years Old.

We have had a few refill Hogsheads so far and for good reason. Using a refill cask can work well in leaving vibrant fruit characteristics that would otherwise be drowned out by a first fill barrel.

Color:   Light again as you would expect but as we have come to learn so far light in color does not mean light in taste. This might be our lightest whisky so far in the 3rd edition and is saved from being almost clear by the tiniest fleck of gold.

Nose:    Pan fried Lamb chops and roasted root vegetables that get all crusty and almost burnt. Pumpkin, Potato, Broccoli and Carrots. This is like Sunday dinner in a glass.

Palate:   Wow thick and unctuous with smoldering rubber and a lovely bitterness that only adds more depth. completely fills the palate with an oily mouth feel that reaches out to every crevice. Some creamier aspects flow along adding just a soft sweet ride to it all.

Finish:   Finally there is some fruit that peeks through all the vegetables and for me it is burnt citrus and specifically thick skinned blood orange cut in half and grilled. The finish rolls on and down warming right to the heart.

Fantastic peated Highland that will fulfill all those peat lovers dreams and maybe take some Highland loving folk along for the ride as well.

Lets see what whiskylassie has to say about this here.

In the third edition on day 9 we had the monster Glen Moray from A.D. Rattray that I mentioned yesterday in comparison to our behemoth Glenrothes from Malt Whisky Company. You can read all about it here.

There will be bottles available of this dram so please email me and I will point you in the right direction. jonathan@secretspirits.com

Well onward and upward as they say.

Tomorrow we head back to Speyside for another single cask from the folk at A.D. Rattray.

See you then

Slainte

Jonathan – Taster of Secrets