Home » Scotland

Tag: Scotland

5th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 25– Singlemalting # 222 – A.D. Rattray Glen Grant 30 Year Old

Welcome to Christmas Day everyone. What a journey we have had together in this our 5th edition. I hope that through the varying complexities of Speyside to the honey’s and heathers of the Highlands along with some big hitting Islay, salty Islands and old grain Lowlands that you have come to appreciate how diverse the Scotch whisky landscape truly is.

We finish our journey today with a 30 year old Single Malt from the Glen Grant Distillery bottled by A.D. Rattray. This is the first time we have had a different independent bottler for Christmas day since our calendars began. Editions 1 through 4 were all stolen by Italian Independent bottler Samaroli. It seems fitting then that Glen Grant is the dethroning whisky as it is the number 1 selling Single Malt in Italy.

Glen Grant was founded in 1840 by two illicit distillers, John and James Grant who decided that they should legitimize and seek a license. The distillery was then passed onto James “The Major” Grant who was a true innovator and really laid the foundation for the ultimate success of this iconic distillery. James owned the first car in the Highlands and installed the first electric lights at any distillery in Scotland. He also built taller slender stills and purifiers that gave Glen Grant a freshness and clear sparkle that still defines the whisky today. Major Grant passed away in 1931 and his grandson Douglas took up the reigns. in 2006 Campari acquired Glen Grant as part of the Pernod Ricard Group and still owns it to this day.

Glen Grant Distillery

A.D. Rattray Glen Grant 30 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky – Sherry Butt # 9173 – Speyside – 55.1% ABV

Colour:              Gorgeous 14K Gold. Still lighter than you could have with a 30 year old sherry so definitely at least a second fill.

Nose:                  There is a lovely wafting of tropical fruit. A bowl of bananas, passionfruit and mango. Bahind all of this there is some old library action going on. Polished teak and old leather. A hint of tobacco like sitting in a deep backed leather chair in an old drawing room. This would be the place to retire and relax after dinner with your esteemed guests. I could smell this for half an hour easy. The 55 and change alcohol really doesnt come out at all. I would be very careful about watering this whisky as older drams tend to be quite delicate.

Palate:               This has all of the above and more on the palate. There is no way I am putting water in this. Barely any alcohol burn and an absolutely sensational all over creamy coating on the palate. It tastes old. The tropics are hanging in there and partnering with the old world charm of something that took 3 full decades of time and patience to bring to your wee glass this Christmas day. Thank you A.D. Rattray for allowing us to use this precious whisky for our 5th edition. A bit of a swirl and some over ripe citrus comes into play as well.

Finish:                The effect of 30 years in this cask does have its way with the finish. There is an abundance of dried fruits and lingering oak There is a lot going on here and I wish I had more. Thank goodness we do 50ml bottles. Sharing with Chris to do this blog would have been a real challenge with anything less. This Glen Grant has remained surprisingly spry on the fruit side after so long in cask. There is still a touch of Christmas tingly magic that slowly fades and I mean really slowly. I can still taste it a good full 5 minutes after my final sip and it’s still going. final note is a dried piece of papaya. What a priviledge to drink something that took so long to complete. Wow I love whisky.

Today I actually shared this dram with my good friend Chris Williams. After an unfortunate incident in transit someone received their 5th edition with the day 25 broken and empty. When Cindy and I were recently in Texas I packaged up and sent my own personal day 25 bottle. Chris stepped in and offered his own bottle for us to share so that I could get these tasting notes. What a legend, thanks mate.

My mate Chris saves the day with his day 25 bottle.

On Christmas day in the 4th edition we had the astounding Samaroli Invergordon 30 Year Old Single Grain.

I know Bart and Scott of Scotch Test Dummies are together on Christmas Day and Daniel of the Whiskey Vault is no doubt aching to get to Christmas festivities with his family so check out their take on the Glen Grant.

So the final count on each Region, Style, Cask Type and ABV are below including one heavily peated Highland:

Speyside – 9 – Bourbon Cask 5 – Sherry Cask 4 – Cask Strength 6 – Reduced Strength 3 – Single Malts 7 – Blended Malts 1 – Teaspooned Malts 1

Highland – 8 – Bourbon Cask 4 – Sherry Cask 2 – Sauterne Cask 1 – Madiera Cask 1 – Cask Strength 6 – Reduced Strength 2 – Single Malts 6 – Blended Malts 2

Islay – 3 – Bourbon Cask 2 – Sherry Cask 1 – Single Malts 2 – Teaspooned Malts 1

Island – 1 – Sherry Cask 1 – Cask Strength 1 – Single Malts 1

Lowland – 1 – Sherry Cask 1 – Cask Strength 1 – Single Grains 1

Undisclosed Region Blended Malts – 3 – Undisclosed Cask Type – Reduced Strength 3

The numbers very much mirror the actual balance of distilleries that are active in Scotland today. To be a touch more accurate there would actually be a few less Highlands and a few more Speysides. For our 6th edition we will be asking all of you to have your input on where you would like to travel on our annual Scotch Whisky Adventure.

At the end of January we will be launching a crowdfunding campaign for the 6th edition where you all get to help pick regions and even casks as I comb the length and breadth of Scotland. Secret Spirits is taking the interactive nature of our calendar to a whole new level and making it even more fun and entertaining.

Don’t forget today to head to www.secretspirits.com and vote for your 3 favourite whiskies for a chance to win our 6th edition.

Thank you everyone for coming along with Cindy and I and entering into the most controversy, discussion, tasting notes, chats and drams that we have ever had in 5 years. So exciting to be able to share this with everyone and help expand our experience of this amazing category of whisky.

Until next year

Slainte

Jonathan

 

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

 

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

 

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

5th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 21 – Singlemalting # 218 – Old Malt Cask Inchgower 21 Year Old

Ahh yes Inchgower. I first fell in love with a cask from this distillery that was the first release of A.D. Rattray ever released in Canada. On that occassion it was an inky dark first fill sherried 25 year old. The price that we sold that for 15 years ago would make you cry. Today however is all about Hunter Laing and their Old Malt Cask Range. Inchgower was built in 1871 in Buckie, Moray to replace Tochineal Distillery. Unfortunately it only survived for just over 30 years before being closed. Purchased by the Buckie council in 1936 after another 30 years of dormancy it was sold to Arthur Bell’s & Sons in 1938. Diageo now owns it but still uses the Bell’s logo in connection to Inchgower to preserve its heritage. Rarely seen as a Single Malt it is again more often than not independent bottlings that allow us to peek behind the distillery curtain and try this whisky in all it’s glory.

Inchgower Distillery

Hunter Laing Old Malt Cask Inchgower 25 Year Old Single Malt – Sherry Butt # HL14253 – Speyside – 50% ABV

Colour:           Solid amber hue. Sherry Butt’s are big casks (500 liters) and impart less colour than smaller barrels due to less cask to whisky contact however after 21 years you could expect more colour. Each cask is so unique it constantly amazes me.

Nose:              Orange sherbet, caramel squares and a creamy flat white. Very inviting and quite subtle considering the 50%.

Palate:            This is absolutely fantastic. Delicate sweetness that rolls around the tongue. I’m getting a mix of milk and white chocolate with tiny hits of candied bitter orange rind. The sherry influence here is soft but does not lack in adding complexity to this dram after 21 years. Right up my alley this. A dram that is taking some time to get to the bottom of. Just like lighting up a lovely cigar knowing you will spend the next hour enjoying it’s company and the friend you are sitting across from. Drams like this should command respect. How many other commodities can you enjoy only after they have been sitting in a warehouse for over two decades?

Finish:         The 50% is oh so soft. To my palate this feels more like 40. The gorgeous creamy chocolate feel lingers on and there comes perhaps the faintest of cinnamon notes right at the death. That candied orange keeps on going and going.

Thanks Hunter Laing for this cask. A great way to continue enjoying the last week before Christmas.

On day 21 in the 4th edition we had the Old Malt Cask Glen Keith 20 Year Old.

Dont forget your nightly fix of the Whisky Vault and the Scotch Test Dummies. These guys have been doing great work to keep things rolling all the way through December. Undertaking a blog or review of an Advent calendar is no small feat so my various hats are doffed to these gentlemen for doing such an amazing job.

Tomorrow we are off to discover an older dram from the boys at the Lost Distillery Company.

3 more sleeps and drams before Christmas day and the promise of something old and special.

Cheers

Jonathan

 

5th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 20 – Singlemalting # 217 – Single Cask Nation Stones of Stenness Orkney 18 Year Old

Welcome back everyone. Hopefully none of you died in yesterday’s hospital explosion. Today we are heading to Orkney for a visit to the Island region of Scotland. There are only 2 distilleries on Orkney, Scapa and Highland Park. We have had both distilleries represented in previous calendar editions but it is generally difficuly to find casks of either distillery for independent bottling. I’m going to give it up straight away because I know most of you would skip ahead to find out anyway. Highland Park is the distillery in question and as often happens the cask was sold to the boys at Single Cask Nation on the proviso that they keep the distillery name off the label. Interesting that they came up with Stones of Stenness as their name for this cask. The Stones of Stenness are said to be the oldest neolithic stone circle in the British isles and are located on Orkney.

Highland Park is the Northern most Scotland Distillery at present making whisky. Highland Park was founded in 1798 and is one of the few distilleries to this day that uses some locally sourced peat and heather that they use for fuel combining malted barley from mainland sources. It is owned by the Edrington Group and has been consistently releasing well received Single Malts for decades. They focus a lot on the Viking heritage of this Northern Island and their packaging is easily recognisable on whisky store shelves. Most of it’s production however still ends up at Glenturret to become the backbone of the Famous Grouse experience that drives the Edrington Scotch brands worldwide.

Highland Park Malting Floor
Highland Park

While not as peaty as whiskies from Islay there is no doubt that Highland Park has a lovely note of peat that runs through every whisky they produce. Lets see what this cask from Single Cask Nation is going to reveal.

Single Cask Nation Stones of Stenness Orkney 18 Year Old Single Malt – Refill Sherry Cask # 75 – Island – 54.9% ABV

Colour:     There is a subtle touch of amber to light red hue just hinting at the sherry influence. As a refill cask it took a full 18 years for even that tinge to show up.

Nose:         The peat influence here is light on the nose but no doubting the savoury overtones. Like the wafting smell of Cindy’s winter warming beef stew simmering away in the slow cooker. There is some denser salty note here as well. Dare I say even a touch of vegemite… Some sweet mesquite beef jerky.

Palate:       Mouth coating and the alcohol hit me as higher than I was expecting for mid 50’s. I took a brief pause and waded back in for another sip. Delicate for a cask strength Highland Park. That rich wine infused beef stew that I got on the nose is certainly front of mind and palate here. A heaping side plate of creamy mashed potatoes which is really interesting. It’s so amazing once the brain takes over and an expirential memory is served up that everything can then fall fully into that moment. A heavy pour of rich red wine splashed into this stew.

Finish:     Some lighter citrus notes hitting me here seemingly out of nowhere as this was all rich savoury but with a wine soaked undercurrent.

A surprisingly delicate dram for the Nation as my experience of their usual picks are more the bigger and more oily offerings. This is very cool to see from them and I’m digging it big time.

Thanks boys.

in the 4th edition on day 20 we had the delicious Exclusive Malts Cameronbridge 25 Year Old Single Grain.

Dont forget to head over to the Whiskey Vault and those crazy Dummies to see what they think.

Tomorrow as we head into the final run to Christmas we check out another dram from Hunter Laing with their Old Malt Cask range.

Fun times ahead ladies and gents so hold tight to your glasses.

Cheers

Jonathan

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 2 Blog #199 | Wemyss Malts Treacle Chest

The United States of America, Land of the Free, Home of the Brave and Bastion of the craziest alcohol laws anywhere on earth. Tapping your Day 2 cubby hole and pulling out your dram you may be forgiven for a bit of confusion. The title of this whisky is indeed “Treacle Chest” however as you can see on that label in your hand it clearly states “Wooden Chest”.

Treacle Chest

The reason for this is the labelling requirements of the Alcohol & Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, United States Department of Treasury. No wonder they are simply known as the TTB. Any flavor definition like Treacle for example could imply that such flavor was actually added to the whisky rather than just being a tasting note or brand name.

Wemyss Malts loves to give each and every limited edition or single cask a tasting note name that gives you a rough idea of the flavor profile. Treacle Chest sounds inviting and delicious. Wooden Chest sounds dry and mothball like but it was the best we could do.

Blended Malts are a difficult category because most of us when reading a whisky label see the word “blend” and stop reading right there. The category used to be Vatted Malt but the Scotch Whisky Association thought that it was to confusing so decided to have two categories starting with the word blend instead because that wouldnt be confusing at all…right?

Single Malt whisky has become for most Scotch drinkers the pinnacle of the Scotch Whisky experience.  The mechanics of Scotch Whisky making for big brands discates that the vast majority of Single Malts are a vatting of 100’s if not 1000’s of barrels from the same distillery. A blended malt whisky is made up of 100% Single Malt casks but from more than one distillery. For a limited edition blended malt like Treacle Chest the number of casks is very small. In this instance only 6,300 700ml bottles or 14 casks. Treacle Chest is only mae up of 2 Highland Distilleries and all the casks were 1st Fill Ex Sherry Hogsheads.

Blended malts are some of the most delicious whiskies I have ever had so for me opening your mind and tastebuds and showcasing this delicious category for all it can be is a high priority.

Wemyss Malts Treacle Chest Blended Malt – 46% non chill filtered, no caramel – 6300 bottles – 14 x 1st Fill Sherry Hogsheads.

Colour:          Tinged amber sherry hues abound tailing to fine gold at the edges. Lovely looking whisky.

Nose:              Stewed plums and dates in butter sauce. Very Sticky Date Toffee Pudding…..mmmmm one of my favorite desserts.

Palate:            Oh yeah this is delivering that nose. 46% is spreading everything nicely like butter on toast. This is sticky date pudding complete with a swirl of fresh cream and toffee sauce. Im loving this and it’s nice to know that out there somewhere are several thousand bottles in the market that you can snap up and add to your whisky cupboard.

Finish:           Toffee is the fading note for me as the sweetness drops off and leaves a dry date and raisin note. Not a super long finish but works perfectly with the weight and balance of this dram.

On day 2 in our 4th edition as seems to be an ongoing tradition now we had another delicious blended malt with the Wemyss Malts Spice King Batch Strength.

Dont forget to head over to the Whisky Vault and to Scotch Test Dummies for their unique take on the Day 2 Dram.

Tomorrow we travel back in time through the skills of those awesome guys at Lost Distillery Company.

Until then my friends drink hearty and often.

Cheers

Jonathan

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

Singlemalting Whisky Blog # 130 – Scotland Forever Part 2

What could be more fun than sourcing 25 unique Scotches every year along with a new tasting glass, pin and booklet? The answer is of course to launch a new product so you can source 12 amazing rums, a skull glass, pin, map, chest and ship in a bottle.
The funny twist to this reality is that we were able to source most of the Rum’s from Scottish independent bottler’s. Scottish bottler’s have been working with single cask rums for a long time and there is a surprisingly large amount of rum casks aging away in Scottish warehouses. With aging profiles typically well advanced before the casks hits Scottish shores, many are bottled straight away or transported in drums to preserve the snapshot in time of when the rum was tasted and transported. More on this later when I get right into the mechanics of building a rum adventure in a chest.
Before I could roll up my sleeves at Craigton there was the small matter of connecting with long time Whisky mate James Cowan and sneaking in a round of golf and soaking up the excellent Cowan hospitality. Thanks James and Kerry for another fantastic visit. One special little moment was having a dram of the 1973 Auchentoshan Sherry cask that James and I had shared over a decade before on my first night in Scotland. Having since procured a bottle I was able to use my trusty Whisky Connoisseur Travel Kit to make sure that we could relive the moment.
photo-aug-07-2-52-49-pm
Auchentoshan 1973 Sherry cask – delicious
My week at Craigton is becoming a yearly event as the team throws itself into full Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar mode. This year with some frustrating hold ups and delays from all facets of production I found myself a few weeks early to actually help out with the third edition run.
Getting back up in the warehouse though and going through left over 2nd edition parts was great fun. There were a bunch of slightly incomplete 2nd edition calendars that needed various bits and pieces and I was able to scrounge through the empties and find everything I needed. As with any production it is always wise to over produce which means we have a ton of leftovers. For those collector’s out there the good news is that we have been able to complete more 2nd editions which we will release in very limited amounts over the coming years.
Also coming to the UK and select European markets will be some Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar mini packs. Made up of 6 random whiskies from all editions these packs will be a lot of fun for a fraction of the cost. Sorry Canadian and US customers given the revolving nature of the whiskies and subsequent alcohol volumes it would be impossible to import these into North America. This will probably be released in 2017 or 2018.
Taking my daily commute through Glasgow to and from Craigton was really cool as I do not normally  drive to and from work operating mostly from home when I am not on the road. Upon my arrival it was not long before I had a fresh cup of tea in hand from the amazing and energetic Rachel. I was always feeling excited about what I could do to help get everything done and no doubt a big part of it was helping to create some magic for whisky lovers out there.
So long story short all 2nd editions that can possibly be created have been and the stage was set for the third edition to hit the production floor. Great week and a big round of thanks to the Craigton packaging team for their hard work and enthusiasm.
With all that warehouse work done and dusted I was able to finally find some sunshine for my third round of golf in Scotland in over 10 years. On a day trip to Ayr I got onto a lovely course with Single Cask Nation founder Jason’s brother Murray. Wow what a fantastic day and topped off no less by Lobster dinner at the local hangout. The sun shone for almost the first time since my arrival and hitting the green off the tee on the par 4 18th hole was certainly a highlight for this barely passable golfer.
photo-aug-13-1-07-55-pm photo-aug-13-7-46-03-am photo-aug-13-10-55-39-am
Scotland spoils me so much I can hardly wait for our first 2017 trip at the end of January.
Next blog we talk about another fabulous Whisky Jewbilee in Chicago and the first presentation of our brands in the US.
Until then
Scotland forever
Slainte
Jonathan