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Singlemalting # 204 – 5th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 7 – Adelphi Breath of Speyside

Hello there Advent’urers. Hope you are all having a blast so far. Here we are at the end of our first full week and it’s time to get some serious sherry cask action going. Adelphi has made only one appearance before in our third edition with the only closed distillery bottling we have had to date. That Cambus 27 Year Old was truly something special and so we desperately wanted to have them back in another edition. This time around we have a blended malt featuring only Single Malts from the Speyside region and aged entirely in a Sherry butt. There were only 529 bottles produced and we used 150 of them alone just for our 5th edition calendars.

Adelphi is an independent bottler that also boasts distillery ownership. The Ardnamurchan distillery opened in 2014 and it is anyones guess when we will see the first whisky release. My meeting with Alex earlier this year did unlock the fact that it should be just around the corner. So even though this is presented as a blended malt I do have it on good authority that it is a teaspooned Sherry Butt of Glenfarclas. Teaspooning is as way for distilleries to sell casks to independents that cannot then be botted as a single malt or showing the distillery name. All they have to do is pour a teaspoon of another malt into the cask and boom blended malt. For all intents and purposes however one teaspoon makes no difference at all so the character of the cask remains untouched.

Breath of Speyside

Glenfarclas is a Speyside distillery that uses entirely sherry casks for all of their expressions. Planning well ahead they have had barrel programs in place with Spanish Bodega’s for a long time ensuring their uninterupted supply of sherry casks. Glenfarclas is said to have started production in 1791 but was first granted a license in 1836. In 1865 it was purchased by John Grant and is still owned by the Grant family remaining one of the oldest family owned distilleries operating in Scotland. It is located in the wee town of Ballindalloch in Speyside and has a fantastic visitors center and is a must for anyone doing a Speyside distillery crawl.

Glenfarclas Rainbow

Adelphi Breath of Speyside “Blended” (teaspooned) Malt Scotch Whisky 11 Year Old – Aged in a 1st fill Sherry Butt – 57.8% alcohol

Colour:                Some deep colour on this whisky for only 11 years. 1st fill sherry will do that and Glenfarclas has access to excellent casks.

Nose:                    Stone fruit medley, plums, peaches, nectarines all being lightly poached in an Amontillado sherry reduction.

Palate:                  Fantastic weight here with the 57.5% and boy do those luscious stone fruits come through big time. For me perhaps the plum comes out the most. My brother and I used to spend a lot of time at my grandfathers place in Adelaide and apart from the fabulous apricot trees he also had 2 plum trees. In my childhood memory they always seemed to be overflowing with delicious satsuma plums. The slightly dry and faintly bitter note is deliciously reminiscent of that thick satsuma skin. Once the initial bite passes the skin there is an explosion of juicy sweet deep red plum flesh that I can remember like it was yesterday. Sweet and Sour Sauce.

Finish:                  Nice dry tannic finish throwing that 1st fill sherry cask influence right at us. Plum roll please…………..Bud um Bom.

Make sure you dont forget about our friends at the Whisky Vault and Scotch Test Dummies.

On day 7 in the 4th edition we had the Ainneamh 12 year old sherried blended malt. Would have loved to try these side by side as the Ainneamh was a combination of single malts that included some Islay influence.

Tomorrow we are back to a Single Cask expression from our friends at Hunter Laing. Their Old Malt cask range has made an appearance before so lets see whats in store this time around.

Until then don’t drink your dram all at once…. or empty every last drop into your Aurora glass until theres nothing left but memories.

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 10 Blog #144 – A.D. Rattray Glenallachie 8 Year Old

Day 10 and we are starting to really get into this editions heart. There have been some really delicious drams so far and I’m looking forward to the rest of the ride.

Back today with A.D. Rattray the first independent bottler I ever spent time in the market with. Owned by Industry legend Tim Morrison, A. D. Rattray was founded in 1868. Born of a love for the industry after lying dormant for decades A.D. Rattray has been rebuilt by Tim into a world class independent bottler. They are now going to be adding distilling back into the Morrison plan with the opening of the Clydeside distillery in Glasgow.

Glenallachie Distillery
Glenallachie Distillery

Glenallachie is owned by Pernod Ricard and was built in 1967 (just a touch older than me). In the town of Aberlour at the foot of Ben Rinnes. Most of its production goes into blends including the cask strength Clan Campbell and Legendary and White Heather.

The distillery uses mostly lightly peated barley for it’s production so it will be interesting to see if we pick any of that up in today’s dram.

A.D. Rattray Glenallachie
A.D. Rattray Glenallachie

A.D. Rattray Glenallachie 2007 – 8 Year Old Single Malt aged in a sherry cask # 900831 and bottled at the huge mark of 64.9% making this the absolute stand out winner of the highest ABV in any calendar edition to date. It’s so fun that we are finding these special casks that are lurking beasts hiding out in dunnage warehouses for unsuspecting whisky drinkers to pass by.

Color:   I’m suspecting a second or re-fill sherry cask on this one even at 8 years of age as a first fill cask would normally impart a little more. SLightly amber to reddish hue the only sign of sherry here.

Nose:   Go gently into the fray people there be monsters about. Quite closed initially and I think my tameness due to the ABV is stopping me from getting my considerable appendage deep into the glass. OK here goes….. could be my mind playing tricks here but I do detect a hint of earthy smoke here sitting atop a deep vein of Oak and Barley.

Palate:  Yep it’s big and lets you know all about just how big a stick it has. Really coating with a touch of zest sipping off the tongue betraying all of the 64.9% worth of octane rating. Simmers down quite quickly though and allows some tea biscuits and raisin scones to come through.

Finish:  Dry sherry here and a lasting tingle kind of like the aftermath of chewing on a particularly juicy and hot jalapeno.

Just had to water this and hey presto just like magic a whole bag of fruity goodness erupts. Satsuma plums and deep red ripe watermelon but all with that smoky edge still present. The mouthfeel is immediately creamier and softer and the raisin scone is still there but this time with a healthy dollop of fresh farm cream and a dash of aged balsamic on top.

This is exactly why cask strength is so awesome. Please play with this as much as you want as there are plenty of layers to find with more watering here.

Unfortunately there are no full bottles available. You can console yourself with the knowledge that the big ABV means with more watering you get almost twice the amount of whisky.

In the 2nd edition on this day we had the Samaroli Islay Blended Malt which you can revisit here.

Whiskylassie has been having almost as much fun anticipating her daily dram as she has drinking it. Catch up with her take on today’s whisky here.

Tomorrow we head back to those fun folks at Wemyss Malts for another special limited release. If the popularity of the Velvet Fig last year is anything to go by this should be excellent.

Looking forward to your splendid company then

Slainte

Jonathan – taster of secrets

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

Advent Day 22 – “Samaroli Sherry” 1992 Glen Scotia 22 Year Old Single Malt | Blog #54

G’day everyone and welcome to Monday! So far we have had some outstanding casks from Samaroli and today we have our first experience of a whisky aged in Sherry from them and I can say I’ve been eagerly awaiting this day to dawn.

Glen Scotia is one of only 3 distilleries that reside in the small region of Campbeltown. Licensed in 1835 it is thought that Glen Scotia operated as an illicit still long before that. Campbeltown was once a thriving whisky mecca with 21 licensed distilleries and is the only town that is also a region.

Whisky: “Samaroli Sherry” 1992 Glen Scotia 22 year old single malt

*Cask # 4 – Sherry butt – 40% non-chill filtered*

“Samaroli Sherry” Glen Scotia 22yo

Colour: Still not really dark after 22 years it has a lovely rich reddish hue and polished bronze look about it.

Nose: Big for 40% and reminds me of getting into a brand new luxury car with full leather interior and mahogany wood trim. In the back seat is a bowl of dried fruit potpourri.

Palate: Creamy fruit driven double espresso with a marzipan and bitter orange biscotti.

Finish: Soft and long yet dry with some subtle tangy English marmalade.

This is a very complex dram and one that I could take a long time over to fully dig to the heart of everything that makes it tick.

Water: Didn’t do it as it is already at 40%. Please let me know if you had the courage to splash a drop or two.

**Curt from All Things Whisky has also been “Tasting” along with the calendar. Check out his notes HERE.

This is a great late night by the fire dram. Something that you want time and quiet for so you can contemplate what the heck is going on as different flavors intertwine and evolve.

The dry finish is typical of older Sherry casks but I love that it is still soft.

Fantastic whisky Samaroli good work guys.

This deep and complex Glen Scotia has only 60 bottles available from the following retailers:

Calgary

Britannia Wine Merchants

Coop Wine and Spirits

Willow Park Wine & Spirits

Kensington Wine Market

Saskatchewan

Ingredients Artisan Market

Tomorrow we stay on the Sherry theme (very Christmassy) with another Wemyss Single Malt that will be sure to warm your hearts.

Tomorrow is the day before Christmas Eve and the excitement is building. Presents are safely tucked under the tree and if you have kids it’s probably already difficult to get them off to sleep.

The only sad part about tomorrow being day number 23 is that this years 1st Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar will soon be coming to an end.

See you tomorrow …

Slainte!

Samaroli Website