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Singlemalting #226 – That time of year again – Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar 6th edition

G’day everyone,

The last few months have been somewhat challenging as Cindy and I continue to work hard to get our 6th edition out to as many whisky lovers as possible.

Without going into excruciating detail this has actually been our most difficult year ever. Some of the highlights include embargoes, tariffs, shipping nightmares, bottling and warehousing problems, labelling controversy, our first ever crowdfunding venture and last but not least Amazon UK (would require an entire book to tell that story).

As a really positive counterpoint to all of this has been the super fun trip to Scotland, friends, family and so many in our community that have supported us above and beyond this year. A big thanks to my sister Jayne for helping out with Google, To my bro Peter for being patient with us and helping with the whole Amazon piece. Patrick and Tiana for getting our Facebook on track and a massive thanks to Chris Burrows at The Dram Team. Without Chris there would have been no 6th edition.

So with only half a month to go till D Day I thought I would throw out a customary reminder blog and warm up for the 25 days of non-stop blogging that I do each year.

6th edition calendar all glowy and ready for Christmas

If you have not put your name on a calendar yet there are still some available in Canada the US and around the world but we are almost sold out as we only made 500 this year.

We have amped up content on a lot of platforms if you are interested in following along more closely with our adventures. The Whisky Advent Calendar facebook page has taken on a life of its own including the regular “whats in your glass” segments from yours truly with guest appearances by Cindy, Shadow and Sashes. Our Youtube channel has a ton of content from our Scotland trip and is worth a peek.

As always if you just want to reach out and talk whisky I’m always up for having a yarn pretty much anytime.

Hard to believe that it has been 6 years of creating whisky adventures already. Hopefully there will be many more to come.

Really looking forward to the journey this year as we had so much amazing input while we were in Scotland from everyone that was part of the initial Indiegogo campaign. Spoiler alert, there will be sherry cask influenced whisky in this edition and lots of it.

Come along with Cindy and I this year and join the Secret Spirits Scotch Whisky Adventure Train.

As Cindy says    “toot…..toot”

Cheers

Jonathan aka Singlemalting aka Taster of Secrets

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar 3rd Edition Day 22 Blog #157 – Adelphi Cambus Single Grain 27 Year OId

Welcome to a very exciting addition to our Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar story. Firstly we have the pleasure of having Jason Johnstone-Yellin from Single Cask Nation sitting here with me tasting this dram and secondly we were able to secure our first ever closed distillery cask from Alex Bruce and the fabulous team at Adelphi.
Cambus Distillery
Cambus is a Lowlands Grain distillery that opened in 1836 and was unfortunately closed in 1993. Anything bottled from Cambus now is always going to be over the 20 year old mark which is a bit of a benchmark for us so far in adding Single Grain offerings to our calendar editions. During its time in operation it was considered by many to be the finest grain whisky in all of Scotland. Located near Stirling in what some called “the midlands” it was just below the Highland/Lowland dividing line. Owned by the Diageo group it was deemed to be surplus to requirements as is so often the major factor in a distilleries closure.
So lets get into the whisky
Cambus
Adelphi Independent Bottlers – Cambus 1988 – 27 year old Single Grain Scotch Whisky at the cask strength of 48% cask number 59353 and aged in a Bourbon Refill cask.
Colour:     Pale gold which is a definite result of the refill Bourbon cask not really imparting that much colour at all.
Nose:     Sweet Marzipan icing like wandering past the head table at a wedding after the cake has been sliced. Fresh farm cream like the kind that my nana used to serve over her famous apricot pie which was a staple in my youth complete with the apricot pie note. The marzipan almond piece really kicks in and some other nutty characters emerge including what I would call white chocolate covered macadamia’s. Wow lovely start to this whisky.
Palate:     Savory note here that takes a bit of a diversion from the nose by adding in some fresh rolling in the hay action (in the best way possible)
Finish:     Some earthy char coming into play here with a bit of a brand new tire note. Seriously like when you just pick up a brand new set of tires and that sweet clean rubber jumps out at you and lets you know that you have something bright and shiny in your possession.
Wow this kind of feels like I was just given a new car at my wedding and am driving away with that new rubber meets marzipan package all in one. This is an amazing experience and I have never had a Single Grain with this many layers before. Right at the death when everything is almost fading away the apricot comes back once more complete with that delicious pie crust.
Super cool stuff and thanks so much to Alex at Adelphi for agreeing to part with it just for us. There may be a few bottles that were filled once we had taken our share but not many and probably only to be found in Scotland so good luck hunting one down.
So here below are the extremely enlightened and expert tasting notes from Jason Johnstone-Yellin.
It’s Grrrreat!!
Nose:  Cereal notes lead the way with dehydrated pineapple and mango behind, there’s a heavy sweetness while the wood rests quietly behind (but still present) – after a bit of time a chili heat comes through.
Palate:  Woody with wet barley to the front of the palate with a pleasant oiliness, a flavor like sandalwood runs across the center of the palate before the dehydrated tropical fruit from the nose manifests itself towards the back of the palate.
Finish:  Good length with warming ginger and lingering hints of the tropical fruit.
Overall:  One of my favorite things about Cambus whisky is the weight of it. Combined with that it bypasses the vanilla notes of a grain distillery like Invergordon and instead embraces heavy fruit and mature oak notes. This is a really cracking cask.
So there you have it the first closed distillery done and dusted (literally). Head on over to Whiskylassie to see her take on this Cambus.
On this day in the 2nd edition we had a fantastic Island Tobermory (non peated) from Malt Whisky Company that you can catch up on again here.
Tomorrow as the big hitting week continues we head back to those crazy Italians for something old and peaty.
See you then whisky peeps
Slainte
Jonathan – taster of secrets

Day 15 – A.D. Rattray Invergordon 1991 Single Grain | Blog #104

I love this stop on the Whisky Tour as I love older Single Grain whiskies and the “Lamington” Girvan from last year was one of my favorites of the 1st edition.

Today we head to the Highlands of Scotland to a distillery that was founded in 1959. Invergordon is currently the only Grain Distillery that is not in the Lowlands of Scotland. It is owned presently by Whyte & Mackay. Utilizing several Coffey Still’s Invergordon gets it water from Loch Glass and interestingly is not a member of the Scotch Whisky Association.

Invergordon Distillery Archives Invergordon Distillery Archives

For those unaware Single Malt is distilled in Copper Pot Stills whereas the Single Grain Coffey still that was invented by Aeneas Coffey in the mid 19th Century. Distilling continuously as opposed to single batches, Single Grain is made up of small amounts of malted barley with wheat, maize and potentially any other grains that the distiller can get their hands on.

A.D. Rattray invergordon 1991 24 Year Old Single Grain Scotch Whisky – Bottled at 59.9% ABV and aged in an ex-bourbon hogshead barrel # 39033

Colour:       Dull Copper

Nose:     Vanilla icing atop tropical rum fruitcake.

Palate:     Coconut cream and ripe tropical guava and jack fruit slices topped with vanilla bean seeds.

Finish:     59.9% is certainly there and leaves a lovely tingle all the way down but I don’t feel the need to add water (but will just because). Plush creamy meringue and continuing tropics laden fruitiness drive this Single Grain all the way to the Bahama’s.

Older Single Grain always impresses me. It’s a pity that only the odd barrel seems to be released. I have however, seen a slow but sure resurgence in popularity for Single Grain. Hopefully that will mean more of these lovely expressions on shelves in the coming years.

Water:     Just to see what happens here I added 2 drops of water and was rewarded with even more fruit opening up and candied bitter orange marmalade making a showing on the finish.

Yummo (official Singlemalting tasting note of the highest order).

You can see Joshua Hatton’s take on our lone Single Grain offering in this edition HERE

Last year on this day we tasted the Samaroli 2009 MacDuff 5 Year Old in Blog #47

For those that love this Single Grain you can get one of only 60 bottles available from the following retailers:

Calgary

Coop Wine, Spirits & Beer

Willow Park Wines and Spirits

Point McKay Wines and Spirits

Zyn The Wine Market

Edmonton

Chateau Louis Liquor

Wine and Beyond

Vines at Riverbend

Tomorrow back to Single Malt Land with a very fresh older whisky from Samaroli

Look forward to seeing you then.

Cheers!