Home » oloroso

Tag: oloroso

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 #243 – 6th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 19 – Dalmore 12 Year Old

Day 19 dawns with an independently bottled (by Secret Spirits) Dalmore 12 Year Old aged in a 1st fill Oloroso cask. So we get to cross off yet another distillery on the list. Still many more to go and some that are going to be neigh unattainable as an indie bottling. Would it be cheating if we just threw a mini of something? Don’t worry that will never happen. Although there are some bottles you can find on the shelf from time to time they are few and far between and always still represent well put together independent bottlings.

Dalmore Distillery

Dalmore has a very interesting history that started way back in 1263 when the chief of Clan Mackenzie saved the King of Scotland from a charging stag. The Dalmore distillery was founded in 1839 and sold 28 years later to Charles Mackenzie who brought with him the Stag crest earned all those generations before. The 12 pointed royal stag has been the emblem on every distillery bottling of Dalmore ever since. For years only the 12 year old was available until 3 different age statements were added to the market. The Secret Spirits single cask will be interesting to compare with the regular Dalmore 12 that is made up of 100’s of casks at a much lower abv.

I have been so looking forward to day 19 and hope this Dalmore delivers some surprises.

Secret Spirits Dalmore 12 Year Old – Highland – Oloroso 1st fill cask # 702099A – 57.2% abv

Colour:          Tarnished copper.

Nose:              Gingerbread house, complete with gum drops and that drizzled icing used to decorate the windows and doors. Every year that I venture to Ontario to spend time with my wifes family there is normally the tradition of making one of those Gingerbread kits. One year we all ante’d up and got a really high end kit with truly amazing gingerbread and top notch decorative accompaniments. This reminds me specifically of that particular gingerbread house. It was rich, slightly soft and super delicious. I might have gained a few pounds that year and eaten most of it over the course of a week. I let this one sit for a while in my Glencairn and am getting some beef Stroganoff with sour cream over al dente penne. Mmmmmm this whisky is just smelling delicious. Righteo lets dive in.

Palate:         The complex and layered meaty element is there along with a spicy sweetness. At 57.2% I feel I want to leave it completely alone and not add any water. A sticky dense balsamic character chimes in and then some chocolate, dark high cocoa chocolate. The Ginger is still there but taking more of a backseat and the spice is turning to sweet.

Finish:          Finishes with poached ripe pears and ginger butter sauce with a citrus twist.

Super delicious. If the regular Dalmore 12 was anything like this I would always have a bottle on my shelf. Alas at 40% the regular offering is a shadowy version of this single cask.

On day 19 in our 5th edition we had an Islay bomb from A.D. Rattray, Williamson (Laphroaig).

You owe it to yourself to always and everyday find yourselves watching 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 taking a ferry to Islay but this time as requested we are bringing the peat and the sherry together.

See you then whisky freaks.

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

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar 3rd Edition Day 8 Blog #141 – Malt Whisky Company Glenrothes 8 Year Old

G’day Sherry Cask lovers…. Today is for you. The peat geeks get their hit every week so shouldn’t you have a turn on a regular basis?

In the bustling (I use that term lightly as Scotland is generally anything but) region of Speyside where most of the Scottish distilleries exist there is one that keeps making appearances in our calendars. Glenrothes seen by many as a fairly innocuous house style has really shined for us with these single cask independently bottled expressions.

The Malt Whisky owned by Scottish legend extraordinaire Stuart Nickerson was one of the big hits in the 2nd edition showcasing especially how amazing younger Single Malt can be.

Glenrothes was built in 1878 and started producing the year after. The distillery is owned by the Edrington Group who used the bulk of it’s production for brands like Cutty Sark and Famous Grouse however in a twist that only Scotland can manage the Single Malt brand is owned by Berry Bros. & Rudd. Glenrothes has survived 4 major fires over the course of its life and as such is probably the hardiest distillery in Scotland. In cat lives does that mean it has 5 left?

Glenrothes
Glenrothes

Malt Whisky Company Glenrothes 8 Year Old – Bottled at the cask strength of 64.2%, no chill filtration or caramel of course. Cask number 37602 a refill Oloroso Hogshead.

Color:   A lovely reddish glow winking at the sherry influence and pretty decent for only 8 years and refill. Every cask is unique and this is a great example of that.

Nose:   Bovril (thick salty meat extract) and dark chocolate, burnt caramel mixed with a bag of asian spices, turmeric, paprika, cardamon and red chili flakes. This nose is immense and broods quietly like a trap door spider waiting patiently for a passing cricket.

Palate:  Freaking delicious and initially no where near the 64.2% on the tongue that I was expecting. Going down however all the way from the back of the throat right past the core to that warm center of my being it leaves a lasting trail. Juicy and coating with an oily parafin feel that keeps pumping flavor into every taste bud. Sweet vermouth and bitters, spices continuing from the nose into rich sherried notes.

Finish:   This whisky will love you for a very long time……. a very long time. The sherry really makes itself felt on the finish finally climbing over those spicy notes and leaving a lasting rich sweetness.

Water:   Just had to try a little splash of water in this beast. Second only to the huge A.D. Rattray Glen Moray of the second edition which was 64.8% this is an anomaly to say the least and especially for a Glenrothes. More of that caramel note and sweetness rises above the meaty spice. More sherry influence here and creamy cocoa with the water taming it a great deal. I think that the raw unbridled power of this whisky at 64.2% is just amazing and today that is how my palate is screaming at me to drink it.

Wow Stuart what an amazing cask of Glenrothes. I never thought I would have something from this distillery that would be so huge. I love my job.

Well sherry faithful did that tide you over for a bit? If you like this whisky lucky for you there are a few and only a few bottles coming to Canada. Please email me at jonathan@secretspirits.com if you want to find out where you can get it.

Whiskylassie is delving deep into this one and has posted her thoughts here.

In the second edition we had on day 8 the Wemyss Malts Dark Treacle Fondant Craigellachie and you can revisit it here.

Tomorrow after we all recover our sense of taste we will be heading back to the Highlands and the first offering from an independent bottler that made their lone debut in the 2nd edition. Single Cask Nation bring something unique and intriguing to the table.

See you then

Slainte

Jonathan – Taster of Secrets