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Singlemalting #232 – 6th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 6 Dream to Dram Kingsbarns Single Malt

Welcome to the Lowlands everyone. As promised today is the first time we have ever been able to feature the very first whisky release from a Scottish Distillery. Many of you whisky adventurers that have been through our Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar journies before will recognize the Wemyss Malts name. We certainly have had some epic single casks from them over the years.

All the while they have been quietly aging away their very own Single Malt at the Kingsbarns Distillery near St Andrews in the lowlands. Cindy and I have had the pleasure of visiting the distillery on several occasions and it was really exciting this time around to be able to taste “whisky” and see how far they have come since our visit to see the first distillation run.

Have a look at this wee little interview with Jacqueline Sutherland who is the brand ambassador for Wemyss Malts and Kingsbarns. It was a gorgeous sunny day for this visit and the golf courses in the area were calling but alas no time for recreation, there was great whisky to drink.

Kingsbarns Distillery

Kingsbarns Distillery Dream to Dram Single Malt – Bourbon & Portuguese Wine Barrels # KBL1003/1 – Lowland – 46% abv

Colour:       Very pale straw on this as there is no caramel added and the Bourbon and STR (shaved, toasted and re-charred) wine casks impart just a touch of colour after only around 4 years of influence.

Nose:           Fresh hay and honey, snowdrops (gorgeous white flowers that blanket the forrest floor on the drive up to the distillery) and vanilla pudding.

Palate:       Super fresh and warming at 46%. Vanilla in spades along with more of that fresh hay/grain adding a tiny touch of barn loft in Spring when the doors are thrown open and everything smells fresh and new. Creamy vanilla custard.

Finish:       The fresh vanilla stays with the finish along with some just out of the oven, thick crust sourdough topped with butter and creamed honey.

Fantastic start for this distillery. If you start with a quality wood programme backed up with outstanding distilling and top notch equipment, there is no way you can not make something truly delicious.

I am going to be very excited to try some of the new expressions as time rolls along. It amazes me that Cindy and I were there for the first run off the still and here we are with whisky in our glass. Time marches on so fast it seems even though when you are visiting Scotland the pace of life seems a wee bit more relaxed.

On day 6 in our 5th edition we had the now sadly no longer operating but extremely delicious last offering of the Exclusive Malts Regional Islay Sherry.

Always remember to head over as in (DO IT GO ON RIGHT NOW THEY ARE AWESOME) to our guest Youtubers at Single Malt Review in New Zealand. Whisky Whistle in Canada and Scotch Test Dummies in the US.

Tomorrow we are heading North for something delectable from Douglas Laing who are making their first appearance in any of our editions.

A big thanks to Jacque and the team from Wemyss and Kingsbarns for allowing us to share this first ever release of their whisky Dream to Dram. We hope to feature many more expressions in future years.

Until tomorrow keep your glasses handy.

Cheers

Jonathan

Singlemalting #227 – 6th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 1 – Auchentoshan 17

Welcome everyone to another December Scotch Whisky adventure.

It is so exciting for Cindy and I to be able to bring you our 6th edition this year. So many amazing people helped to make this happen and so many delicious whiskies are in store for those of you that managed to snaffle one of the only 500 available.

As always you need to grab your tasting glass that just happens to finally be the ubiquitous Glencairn. Every edition boasts a different glass and this year we pay homage to the most popular Scotch whisky glass in the world. You would be hard pressed to find any Scotch whisky drinker that did not have at least one of these kicking around in the cupboard. For those that love collecting Glencairns and have been waiting for us to get around to this little gem – you’re welcome 🙂

This edition the Collector’s lapel pin is also matching the Indiegogo pink as we used their crowdfunding platform for the first time to raise the funds needed for production.

Also newly launched is the Augmented Reality app. You can download it on either your Android or Apple device and then activate it and point it at the calendar and boom a wee 3D adventure ensues. All the details of the app are found on the inside of the right door on the envelope.

We always start off each edition with something a little special for December 1st and this year we are so pleased to showcase our feature distillery (the one on your postcard). Auchentoshan is as some of you know a favorite of mine as it was the epic dram of the night on my first evening in Scotland with the 1976 Sherry Cask. Finished that bottle last year sadly but what a whisky it was.

Auchentoshan is a lowland distillery that triple distills all of its spirit making it unique in the Scotch Whisky landscape. With a lighter and grassier style of whisky, Auchentoshan has been a great entry for many trying their hand at Scotch for the first time. In fact the very first Scotch that my wife Cindy had in Scotland was the Auchentoshan three wood at the Bow Bar in Edinburgh.

Auchentoshan was built in 1800 and was part of the Morrison Bowmore stable along with Bowmore and Glengarioch. Sold to Suntory in 1986 it is now part of the much larger Beam Suntory group that merged in 2014.

Auchentoshan means corner of the field and with it’s close proximity to Glasgow has been an accessible tourist attraction for whisky fans.

Secret Spirits Auchentoshan 17 Year Old – 1st Fill Oloroso Sherry Cask – Cask 12184 – 54.4% abv – Lowlands

Colour:           After 17 years I would have thought that there might be a bit more colour, however as we have discovered every cask is completely unique. Just a hint of reddish amber that might lead you to think perhaps this could be a sherry cask.

Nose:            Wow cherry cola. A hint of medicine cabinet and fresh bandages that can definitely be a cherry colaesque type of smell. Been a while since I nosed this directly from the barrel and oh boy it’s taking me back to Scotland in May. I do recall thinking it was really a unique nose for an Auchentoshan and here I am reliving the moment.

Palate:           The Oloroso note comes through nicely with a little of that toffee sweetness. A little fernet note is the earthy quality that could be stemming from the medicine cabinet I got on the nose and also carries the cola theme along for the ride. Auchentoshan is quite often described as “grassy”. This cask is certainly providing an earthy element after 17 years working away on this whisky.

Finish:            Just a touch of dry sherry finish and a lingering soft layer of dark cherry. This is a pretty complex example of triple distilled Single Malt. Great balance on this. Not even contemplating adding water here but go ahead and experiment, just be gentle.

What a great dram to start of our 6th edition journey. I have been wanting to include an Auchentoshan since we started creating these adventures 6 years ago, so finally here we are fulfilling a dream.

For our 5th edition on day one we had the Single Cask Nation MacDuff 14 year old sherry cask. Something about kicking off with a sherry casked whisky that makes it feel like Christmas is coming.

As always we have some guest bloggers and Youtubers along for the ride.

For the 6th edition we have the boys down in New Zealand on Youtube at Single Malt Review. Whisky Whistle in Canada and Scotch Test Dummies in the US.

A fabulous bucket list item for me to kick things off for our 6th edition. Thanks to everyone for joining in on the Secret Spirits action and finding your way to this blog that is very busy every December and pretty much crickets chirping the rest of the year.

Tomorrow we have something delicious from our friends at A.D. Rattray as we head up North from the Lowlands and arrive in Speyside.

Fun times ahead everyone hold onto your Glencairns and buckle up.

Cheers

Singlemalting

5th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 23 – Singlemalting # 220 – A.D. Rattray North British 30 Year Old

Today we head to the Lowlands for a visit at the North British Distillery in Edinburgh. Single Grain Scotch Whisky is a fascinating category and one that we have always included in every adventure. All of the single casks that we have ever presented in this category have been over 20 years old. Normally I am a big proponent of the fact that older is not necessarily better however when it comes to Single Grain there is no doubting that additional aging really does bring big rewards.

Single Grain Scotch Whisky can be made from any number of grains but has to be distilled by the same distillery. As the workhorse of the blended Scotch world Single Grain is also typically filled into casks at a higher ABV than Single Malt. North British was founded in 1885 and is now jointly owned by Diageo and Edrington under the Lothian Distillers umbrella. No doubt both these Scotch Whisky powers share the benefits of the high amount of Grain Whisky that NB pumps out every year to keep their blends rolling. For Diageo of course Johnnie Walker and they even distill spirit for their Smirnoff Vodka Brand at NB. For Edrington its Cutty Sark and Famous Grouse. Their job was made much easier with the closure of the Caledonia Grain distillery in Edinburgh in 1988 and has cemented NB as an Edinburgh Icon.

The vastly larger portion of the mashbill for North British is corn with smaller amounts of barley. This leads to some comparisons between older Scottish Single Grain and aged Bourbons. The biggest difference of course is speed of maturation. Taking 30 years to tame the sweet brightness of Corn in Scotland can be achieved much more quickly in most bourbon producing climates in the US.

North British Distillery

A.D. Rattray North British 30 Year Old Single Grain Scotch Whisky – Sherry Butt # 24767 – Lowlands – 56.7% ABV

Colour:       Amazingly light for 30 years and speaks to the possibility of the Sherry Butt being a refill cask.

Nose:          Give that nose just a wee bit of time with air contact and it all starts to unfurl. An old wood spice chest of cardamon, ceylon cinnamon sticks, orange taffy and mahogany.

Palate:        D Dutchman Dairy in Sicamous British Columbia make amazing hand crafted ice cream including a fabulous Rum and Raisin that I absolutely have to stop for everytime I’m passing through. This takes me back there last Summer when Cindy and I visited the Dubh Glas Distillery in the Okanagan. Sicamous is right on the way so Cindy, Sashes (our Maltese Yorkie) and I all enjoyed some delicious ice cream on the way. There is also a developing herb garden note that I can’t quite pinpoint. Parsley and sweet Spring onion.

Sashes in the Snow

Finish:       The chewy orange taffy keeps kicking with a dusting of burnt demerara and some spikes of very subtle Chicago Steak Spice. A really interesting Single Grain that has taken 3 decades to build this delicate complexity into something that is well worth spending time with.

In the 4th edition on day 23 we had the Single Cask Nation Tormore 21 Year Old.

Make sure you head over to the Scotch Test Dummies and Whisky Vault as we get close to wrapping up this 5th Edition.

Tomorrow we have a whisky from Secret Spirits that caused probably the most headaches for this edition. The story will unfold tomorrow.

Cheers

Jonathan