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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

Singlemalting # 198 – 5th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 1 – Single Cask Nation MacDuff

Unbelievable that the time is here to begin our 5th Scotch Whisky Adventure together. This year we welcome a whole new community of delicious dram drinkers from the USA, UK, Sweden, Netherlands, Australia, Germany, Italy, Spain, France and New Zealand. It is really exciting to share this journey with so many and experience how incredible Scotch Whisky truly is together.

Our 5th edition has stretched my wife and Secret Spirits partner Cindy and I to exciting new limits. This edition boasts not just another 25 days of life altering drams but for the first time we have two whiskies over 30 years old and more Secret Spirits bottlings than ever before. Hold onto you hats ladies and gents this is going to be a fun ride.

Firstly lets all punch out that big middle hole and grab our Aurora glasses. Those of you that have been drinking along with us from the begining will know that every year we source a different whisky glass to build up a library of options for you. In years past we have had the Spiegelau Whisky Tumbler (1st Edition), Samaroli Custom Spiegelau (2nd Edition), Neat Glass (3rd Edition) and Spey Glass (4th Edition). For our half decade milestone we wanted to do something a little more artistic with a splash of pizzaz. The Aurora glass is a twisted tumbler that feels great in the hand, can handle whisky stones or ice easily and has enough room for even the heartiest splash of your favorite dram. Boasting the largest opening on any of the glasses so far it will work well for those high alcohol cask strength whiskies but may require more nose engagement for delicate drams. As an added bonus the Aurora can even handle some epic whisky cocktails with ease.

Before we get going Cindy and I would like to thank a few people that are coming along for the ride this year as our guest blogger/tasters. Firstly we have The Whiskey Tribe weighing in at an astounding 133K subscribers on their Whisky Vault Youtube channel and backing that up with their Whisky Biscuits channel, Crowded Barrel Distillery and Fang & Feather whisky bar. Daniel  and Rex are awesome and I know you are going to enjoy their take on these whiskies. Secondly we have the intrepid duo at Scotch Test Dummies, Scott and Bart have built up a very loyal following on their popular Youtube channel. With a funny and relaxed tableside tasting style I know these guys are going to have a blast on this adventure with us.

Right then with glass in hand it’s time to grab that booklet and get ready to add some tasting notes for our first dram.

Single Cask Nation

Day 1 – Single Cask Nation MacDuff 14 Year Old – Distilled in 2003 – Refill Sherry Cask No. 900026 – Highlands – 57%

Single Cask Nation is a small independent bottler based in the US. Joshua Hatton and Jason Johnstone-Yellin have made it their ongoing passion to select extremely good casks of whisky from all over the world. They always bottle at cask strength with no caramel coloring added or chill filtration. This is their first time in the covetted day 1 slot. We always like to start the adventure with something especially delicious and a touch unusual.

MacDuff Distillery

MacDuff distillery is more commonly known by the proprietary label Glen Deveron. Founded in 1960 production began in 1963. William Lawson purchases the MacDuff in 1972 and eventually sells to Bacardi in 1993 when it is made part of the John Dewars & Sons operation. Outside of the Glen Deveron range of Single Malts that are not always easy to find it is independent bottlers like Single Cask Nation that select those outstanding single casks and rescue them from being washed into the every day shelf expressions.

Colour:         Refill sherry imparts a lot less colour and this is very evident with the lovely antiqued gold shining out of this bottle at me.

Nose:             Rich honey overtones with wafts of the tropics. Sometimes pineapple, sometimes lychee….sometimes that more pearlike nose that is often a hallmark of a lot of Highland Malts. This nose is doing a lot for me and I could quite happily sit and sniff this for ages. The sherry influence is nicely in the background with the use of a refill cask. No doubt it is why I am getting more tropic notes.

Palate:           That 57% big mouth feel is there but does not overpower the abundance of ripe fruit that fills every inch of my mouth. The honey is definitely a strong contender for biggest note with flaky pastry and some nutty qualities. I would say that for me it’s reminicent of when I was in Rhodes Greece. The honey there had a special floral and fruit quality that I am getting on this. That honey was wrapped in Phillo pastry complete with pistachios and served daily to my wife and I as part of our daily afternoon Baklava adventure. This dram takes me back there in spades.

Finish:         Lingering on and on with a zesty edge that tingles the sides as it all goes down to a warming glow. The fruit, honey and flaky pastry all roll together for a dram to remember.

Thanks Jason and Joshua for such a memorable day one whisky. What a great way to start our milstone 5th year of Scotch Whisky Adventures. I am really looking forward to sharing the next 24 days with you because I know whats coming bwahahahahaha.

Day 1 of our 4th edition was the truly delicious 18 Year Old Tamdhu from Hunter Laings Old Malt Cask Range. It’s always fun to go back and remember these limited edition drams.

Tomorrow we have a fantastic whisky from Wemyss Malts that will also bring up some fun discussion about US labelling laws.

It is so amazing to be here with you our Secret Spirits community. It is an honor and a privilege to be able to share our love of Scotch Whisky with you all.

Until tomorrow

Dram up baby yeah……

 

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar

Singlemalting #169 – Day 3 4th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar A.D. Rattray MacDuff 7 Year Old

Welcome back everyone as we get stuck into a very familiar independent bottler if you have been following our calendars from the beginning. A.D. Rattray was the first independent bottler I ever worked with and my introduction to the vast world of Scotch Whisky.

MacDuff or Glen Deveron as it is known now with its proprietary label was founded in 1958. Opposite the town of Banff in Scotland it is snuggled into the Speyside region. It is now owned by Bacardi under their subsidiary John. Dewars and sons. We have had a few MacDuff expressions in past calendars including a wild Sushi like expression from Samaroli in the 1st edition that was amazing.

MacDuff Distillery

A.D. Rattray Macduff Single Malt Cask # 701263 – Bourbon Hogshead – 58% ABV Cask Strength 7 Years Distilled in 2009.

Colour:   As pale as you would expect for a fairly young Bourbon casked Single Malt.

Nose:   Canoli dusted with Lemon sherbet.

Palate:   Banana Sundae complete with lashings of vanilla bean ice cream and a spoon of hit fudge. The only thing missing is the Cherry on top.

Finish:   The tingly lemon sherbet makes another appearance but cant take anything away from the banana sundae that continues on long and tasty. The Cask strength of 58% doesn’t seem to even make a dent in the balance of this whisky. Absolutely love the freshness here.

I love MacDuff and all the single casks we have managed to get our hands on for various calendars have been delicious. The last time we had MacDuff in a calendar was the Malt Whisky Company in the 3rd edition and at 16 it was mature beyond its years.

Day 3 of the 3rd edition was the Shetland Reel Blended Malt Batch No. 1. Extremely well put together combination of single malts that has been a real winner at a lot of classes I have hosted this year.

Make sure you head over to Scotch Trooper to check out his amazing take on our 4th edition as the Star Wars universe and the world of Secret Spirits come together for the first time.

Tomorrow we will be geeking out with those crazy guys from the Lost Distillery Company with a whisky that was an absolute standout during my 16 dram tasting session with them earlier this year.

So many whiskies… so much time made to enjoy them all.

I look forward to seeing you all on the morrow to jump into yet another leg of this 4th edition journey.

Slainte

Singlemalting

 

 

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar

Singlemalting # 168 – Day 2 – Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar – Wemyss Malts Spice King Batch Strength

Welcome to day two everyone as we get to try something new from the good folks at Wemyss Malts. Wemyss has played a prominent part in all of our editions and was integral in our launch of the 1st edition. For me to not have something from this great historical Scottish Family would make a calendar edition incomplete.

We start our Wemyss Malts lineup this edition with a bit of a new take on an older limited edition whisky that was showcased way back in our first edition calendar. The Wemyss Malts Spice King 12 Year Old blended malt was at an ABV of 40% and you can read all about it here. It was day 19 in the first edition way back in blog No. 51 (wow that seems a long time ago). It proved to be a very popular dram then and so when Wemyss mentioned that they were doing a batch strength version I jumped all over it. More ABV to play with and more toys in the toy box for you to enjoy.

Wemyss Malts Spice King Batch Strength – 56% ABV Blended malt of Highland and Island Distilleries

Only 6000 bottles made and we used a bunch for our 4th edition calendars.

Nose:  A combination of single malts from the Highlands and Island regions of Scotland this indeed seems a lot weightier than the 40% predecessor. Go carefully into the Spey glass here people as there is a lot coming back at you. A briny edge which makes me think of Ledaig the proprietary label for the Tobermory distillery on the Isle of Mull. brown boot polish and wax. Earthy spice here with a medicinal edge that just says “insert peated barley here”.

Pallet:   On the pallet this is a lot weightier and feels like a lot more “island” influence than before. Bitter/sweet peppers and hints of hot spice like paprika and chili. The briny character from the nose gets in there with some salty undertones.

Finish:   The Spiciness fades as some fruit kicks in to take over. Lychee is big on this finish and creates a really interesting complexity as the spices die away. At 56% this does linger on and the Lychee just stays with you…….

Delicious Lychee

Wow I have to like this new expression of Spice King. Way more complex than the 40% counterpart we had in the 1st edition and shows just why having extra ABV to play with can be so awesome.

Coincidence that last year in the 3rd edition we had the Wemyss Malts Barrista’s Dram Craigellachie and here we are again getting into yet another delicious Wemyss whisky. As I have mentioned many times in my blogs I love the Blended Malt category of Scotch Whiskies. A. because I like to root for the underdog and B. when single malts are combined with skill they can be even more interesting than if they were bottled in isolation.

Tomorrow we head to one of our stalwarts of the Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar, A.D. Rattray. This is where my love of Scotch Whisky was born so I am always excited about the chance to showcase their amazing single cask collection.

Please head on over to Scotch Trooper and check out today’s awesome shot. Scotchtrooper-blog.com

Until tomorrow keep on dramming.

Cheers

Jonathan

 

 

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar

Singlemalting # 167 – Day 1 – 4th edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar – Old Malt Cask Tamdhu 18 Year Old

Welcome back Whisky fans to another edition of your hand curated journey through the regions and styles that make Scotch Whisky so amazing. As you might have read from my blog last week we had a lot of fun putting our 4th edition of the Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar together again this year. Loads in store for all of you over the next 25 days or more depending on how long you want to take over these delicious drams.

We have an unprecedented 10 different independent bottlers in this 4th edition which will make for a really fun ride. It seems that each year we are presented with even more to choose from which bodes well for future editions.

Time to punch out your tasting glass door and grab your 4th edition Spey glass. We were inspired to add this glass after tasting whisky in the slightly smaller version that the boys over at Single Cask Nation have been using for their festivals. Knowing that we have many drammers looking to add ice and water we went the next size up.

Find your door number 1 and away we go.

Old Malt Cask Tamdhu 18 Year Old – Cask Number HL11956 50% ABV – Refill Hogshead

Tamdhu is a distillery in Speyside founded in 1897. No expense was spared and the equivalent of 20 million pounds in today’s money was raised for the construction. It was the most modern distillery built at that time and the quality of the spirit quickly brought about an eager consumer following. Closed in 2010 as surplus to the Edrington Groups needs at the time it was purchased by Ian MaCleod Distillers and reopened in 2013.

Tamdhu Distillery

The first whisky in this edition’s lineup comes from an independent bottler making their debut. Old Malt Cask is a brand owned by Hunter Laing who have a very long tradition of bottling. I was excited to be able to include them this year and slot them in as our first up to the plate dram.

Colour:         Chardonnay light – Refill Hogshead working its magic here on this lovely subtle shine.

Nose:             Bright fresh bouquet of wildflower honey, graham crackers and vanilla cream wafers.

Palate:           Zesty citrus, candied lemon rind with limoncello filling.

Finish:           Vanilla lingers heavily and the zest continues. This reminds me of an amazing desert I had in Florida at the Bull and Bear. The 50% sits nicely with this dram and the Spey glass works the nose well. Delicious fresh Tamdhu expression from Old Malt Cask.

Bull and Bear Lemon Dessert

Funny that this is reminiscent of a certain whisky that was day one of our first edition from Wemyss Malts called Citrus Burst from the Linkwood Distillery. Our day 1 whisky in the 3rd edition however was the delicious 18 year old Speyside Single Malt bottled by Secret Spirits. So in 4 editions our kick of dram has been provided by 4 different independent bottlers. Wemyss Malts, A.D. Rattray, Secret Spirits and now Old Malt Cask from Hunter Laing. I wonder who will grab the coveted spot for the 5th edition.

Great start to this edition and I can promise you many more delicious drams to come. Tomorrow we head back on a bit of a revisit of sorts but this time at batch strength. Let’s see what the folks at Wemyss Malts have come up with for us.

I would also like to introduce to everyone our guest blogger/photographer this edition Scotch Trooper. 

Everyday there will be something amazing from him to check out so be sure to head over to his site daily. Most of his posts will be on his Instagram page so please head over there and subscribe.

A very warm welcome to those in the US that are getting access to our calendars for the first time this year. It’s great to be able to share our love of great Scotch Whisky with you.

Looking forward to a fun December.

Slainte

SInglemalting

 

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

Day 13 – Single Cask Nation Undisclosed Islay 2008 | Blog #102

Like a kid at Christmas, I promise you the excitement will build as we count down to day 25. 

Welcome to day 13 which is hump day for our 25 day journey. I hope you have all enjoyed the variety and unique flavors of the first half. Today we focus on Single Cask Nation. You will find an information page in the left hand door of your calendar giving you some background. This was a last minute entry into the selection this year and an opportunity to help these awesome guys launch their exclusive whisky club into Canada.

Head on over to the Single Cask Nation website and you can see what sort of awesome whiskies they have been bottling there.

Bottling not just Scotch whisky, Single Cask Nation has really shone bottling some really unusual American, Indian and Irish expressions as well. These guys just love great whisky aged in a Single Barrel. Check out their recent Jewbilee Festival bottling that I tasted here in blog #85

My apologies or cheers of jubilation (depending on your particular bent) for another Islay a mere 3 days after the last one as I left the cask choice up to the Nation for this slot – Day number 13 and their pick was from the famed Isle.

In an interesting side note with their whisky falling into day 13 (insert dramatic music here), we found that for some reason their cask only barely had enough whisky to fill the calendar bottles and so each wee 50ml is all the whisky you will ever be able to have from this cask.

There are two launch expressions available for budding club members but alas this Undisclosed Islay is not one of them. The only whisky in this edition to not have any full bottles available and sitting at number 13. Coincidence?

So onto the first official Canadian release for Single Cask Nation. 2008 Undisclosed Islay 7 Year Old bottled at a cask strength of 56.3% ABV and aged in a first fill Bourbon cask # 2112 – Region Islay – They got no more information than what is here and from what the whisky can tell. Write in with your guesses and thoughts on which Islay distillery this hails from.

2008 Undisclosed Islay Whisky from Single Cask Nation 2008 Undisclosed Islay Whisky from Single Cask Nation

Colour:     Pale Straw

Nose:     More smoke than either of the previous Islay offerings in this edition. Sizzling BBQ’d marinated pork with applewood smoking chips. I love to use smoking boxes on my Weber BBQ during the Summer months and this whisky makes me long for Summer once again. Normally Islay whisky is for me a Winter dram but I should get into drams like this one more often while tending the Weber. Topped off with some lovely floral characters that I normally associate with Spring time when our Mayday tree is blossoming.

Palate:     Sweetness in the form of caramel jonathan apples with a dusting of burnt sugar. Some background asphalt and rubber but not dominating. Smokiness throughout, wispy and tantalizing like a good medium bodied cigar with hints of pepper and sea salt.

Finish:     Very soft and pliable for full cask strength. I never felt at any time like reaching for water with this one. Mouth filling texture from top to bottom and lingering smoke and sweet pork and apple sauce. I am desperate for some BBQ now and scanning the internet for the closest BBQ restaurant. Don’t worry Nation guys, I’ll send you the bill  🙂

Really interesting to try 3 relatively young islays and having them all distinctively different. The Nation is not at all shy about bottling great younger whisky and in fact they deliberately seek it out for many of their bottling’s.

If you are interested in becoming part of this fledgling club in Canada then please head over to their website or drop into either of the two Single Cask Nation Ambassador stores in Canada. Unwined in Edmonton or Point McKay Wines and Spirits in Calgary and they can help you sign up.

The first two bottlings available before Christmas are a refill sherry Cooley Double Distilled 13 Year Old Irish Single Malt and a 10 Year Old Peated Tobermory (Ledaig). Be part of the Nation and get your self a membership for Christmas.

It will be interesting to see Joshua Hatton’s review today given that his partner Jason picked this cask.

Last year on this day we had the Wemyss Malts  Licorice Spiral Glentauchers 20 Year Old in blog #45

Tomorrow another offering from our Italian friends Samaroli.

So this whisky is not available anywhere but if there had been any left in the barrel would have been available from the following Single Cask Nation Ambassador stores:

Calgary

Point McKay Wines and Spirits

Edmonton

Unwined

Until then enjoy your rush out for mid winter BBQ night (maybe we will see you there)

Cheers!

Chicago Whisky Jewbilee Festival Bottling | Blog #86

As promised last week here is my review on the very exclusive Chicago Jewbilee Festival bottling.

To say that these guys think ahead would be an understatement. Everything from the ongoing story told by the labels to the tie-in of barrels being re-used. In this case, the whiskey was firstly aged for 8 years in new American Oak and then transferred into a barrel that was initially used to age a 6 year old Midwest Grain Products Rye (bottled for a previous Jewbilee) and then used again to age a special edition Schmaltz Hop Manna IPA which was bottled in celebration of the New York Jewbilee festival earlier this year.

The amount of time in the beer soaked Rye barrel is not disclosed so lets get into some numbers that we do know.

Whisky Jewbilee American Light Whiskey – 8 Years Old Finished in a beer barrel.

Bottled at Cask Strength 65.1% and only 255 bottles produced tasted in a crystal rock glass (Glenglassaugh).

Colour:     Has that nice classic IPA Amber look to it but with a touch of reddish tinge that I can’t figure out. Could be the back of the label reflecting the light as the red does not really transfer to the glass.

Nose:     Good thing I am sitting down as my knees were feeling a little weak upon smelling this unique and ridiculously interesting nose. Like smelling a freshly baked Hungarian Chimney cake (yes I have had this experience and in Budapest, albeit almost 30 years ago, amazing how smell and memory are so strongly linked) with sweet orange popsicle topping. There is something so unique about this……. Perhaps it is just knowing that this spent time in a beer barrel but as I slowly inch my nose closer I find myself searching for beery elements and thinking that the extra sweet nature of this nose could be partly related to the previous inhabitant. IPA’s are normally quite citrus dominated and even though I never got to try the Jewish Whisky Company Beer I bet is was a big Citrusy, Hoppy IPA that I would have loved. This is also the first whiskey ever, that I have heard of being aged in a barrel used to age beer. It’s messing with my nose and head in the most fabulous way possible.

Palate:     The 65.1 percent does make itself known so a wee sip is a good start. Real fruit Orange and Tangerine pastilles. I used to sometimes get some super soft high end pastilles in Australia that came in a really nice box and far surpassed the quality of the everyday brands. This takes me right back with a dusting of fine sugar. As it develops the tiniest hint of Rye spice comes through and a touch of vanilla essence. When I close my eyes and really concentrate on letting the flavor roll I can get a nice soft hop influence in amongst the citrus.

Finish:     Tingly 65% goodness that makes itself felt all the way down and keeps the gums and tongue dancing. Citrus is certainly the dominant characteristic of this whiskey and the finish is no exception and that lovely sweetness just keeps on coming. Orange Sherbet stands out especially with that zingy tingle going on. What a whiskey.

I have never had a whiskey like this….ever.  Great job on this Jewbilee special. I’m sure that in years to come this will be just as rare and sought after as the other editions. My humble opinion, maybe more so as this is one unique dram.

Rush out and join the Nation and see if you can get hold of this bottle somehow.

My passion for how amazing whisk(e)y is and how diverse it can be just gets underlined when trying funky bottlings like this one.

Next week I will be going even more obscure with a whisky that is another first and will fall into the weird and wonderful category.

Until then feed your thirst with awesome whiskey!

Jewbilee | Blog # 85

Off to the Windy City (Chicago) for my first ever whisky Jewbilee as a guest of the Jewish Whisky Club, Jason, Joshua and Seth.

One of the fun opportunities in putting together the Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar this year was the inclusion of a whisky from these guys and to help launch the Single Cask Nation club in Canada.

Spending 3 days in Chicago is always an exciting prospect. When you add a whisky event like Jewbilee and a chance to spend time with some really quality guys that just love to get their whisky geek on well lets just say that I have been looking forward to this trip for a long time.

Chicago put on an amazing day of fall weather for our arrival and Cindy and I took full advantage wandering the length of Michigan Avenue and taking in the sights.

No trip to Chicago is complete without some Italian and our dinner experience at Volare was awesome. Despite the restaurant being packed we were treated with personal care and seated as fast as humanly possible. Creamy chicken risotto along with fresh pasta topped with black truffle really made the wait worth it. An extensive Italian wine list gave us plenty of yummy options and even after a bottle was unfortunately corked, a fresh glass of Barbaresco was quickly delivered with a touch more added for good measure.

Rounding off the whole amazing evening was in house Limoncello. Thanks Volare for such a great evening. A leisurely walk back to the hotel and whisky dreams of the coming Jewbilee.

Started 3 years ago in New York Jewbilee has grown from 150 to a maximum cap of 450. The Chicago version was the inaugural event and the 4th Jewbilee. Every event warrants it’s own bottling that is only available to Single Cask Nation members and those attending the festival. I promise a review of this extremely rare whisky in the coming weeks.

On show at the Chicago Jewbilee was an array of whiskies from all over the world. Small local producers like Koval had some mind blowing whiskies on offer, how many of you out there have had 100% Millet whiskey? I spent a lot of time at the Koval table.

Keeping the number of consumers to a reasonable limit meant that everyone was able to have great conversation with each table and really delve into the story behind the whiskey/y.

Being careful to sip and dump, Cindy and I were able to get around and try a large array of delicious drops. The other most notable table was manned by Jason with a host of Single Cask nation bottlings. We are very excited that the Nation has officially come to Canada (Alberta). Everyone buying or receiving the 2nd Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar will not only taste their first Single Cask Nation Whisky but also find all the details they need to become part of this exclusive club.

While Jason was working hard pouring all things Nation for the Jewbilee whisky goers Joshua was wandering the aisles shmoozing and making sure that everyone was having a great time.

Salvage One was a really interesting venue loaded with amazing items from times past. It set such a great backdrop for the event and will no doubt be the regular venue for years to come.

Get ready Canada because the Nation is coming. The first whisky has already landed and will be available to the first new members soon. In Edmonton the ambassador store is Unwined that has two locations, downtown and St Albert. In Calgary the ambassador store is Point McKay Wines and Spirits.

Head on over to Single Cask Nation to check out all the goodies and send off an email to Jason and Joshua at info@singlecasknation.com to get full details on the Canadian memberships.

Next week as promised the Jewbilee bottling will be tasted and dissected. I know this is a teaser as you will not be able to get a bottle unless you a) join the Nation and then b) head to the US and arrange to get one from Jason or Joshua.

Our evil plan is to eventually have a Canadian Jewbilee in Alberta which would be more fun than you could throw a kippah at.

L’chaim!