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Singlemalting #248 – 6th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 25 – Bunnahabhain 30 Year Old

Merry Christmas everyone and welcome to Christmas day. What a journey we have had over the past 24 days. As promised we delivered more sherry (seriously), a bit more peat and possibly the most eclectic range of whiskies in any edition so far if thats possible.

Day 25 – 6th edition style

In todays special little home in your calendar you will find the first ever Islay whisky that we have had in this covetted spot. Bottled by Wemyss Malts the Luxury Damson Jam Bunnahabhain 30 Year Old is something special. We have had Bunnahabhain before starting with the A.D. Rattray 27 year old in our 2nd Edition. We followed that delicious offering up with something from Single Cask Nation as the 28 Year Old Christmas Eve dram in our 3rd edition. Finally we get a 30 year old expression that we can offer up for a warming Christmas day tipple.

Bunnahabhain Distillery

Founded in 1881 Bunnahabhain’s whisky style is known to be the softer side of Islay. Being the most Northern distillery on the island and with Dunnage warehouses right near the coast there is no doubting the influence of the sea on this spirit. It is owned by Burn Stewart Distillers who also own Tobermory and Deanston. Seen regularly now as a proprietary brand this distillery is not shy in parting with delicious casks of it’s whisky to independent bottlers. Also releasing heavily peated malts nowadays this cask is still from a time when Bunnahabhain was using a very gentle peat influence.

Wemyss Malts Luxury Damson Jam Bunnahabhain 30 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky – Islay – Puncheon – 46%

Colour:          Burnt Amber. Some deep notes here from 30 years in this puncheon without being really dark.

Nose:              Right off the bat this smells old. Unmistakable old wood and dried fruits. Havana old town cigar store. Heirloom pipe rack. No discernable peat now, so any that was used in the Bunnahabhain spirit when it went into the puncheon is swalled up by the influence of the cask.

Palate:            Wow, much more fruit here than I was expecting. A bowl of rich dark fruits set on an antique mohogany dining table, complete with dried flower arrangement and well worn table runner. These darker fruits are muted with age but still persist throughout the palate. Lots to linger on here.

Finish:          This is indeed a perfect example of something old and delicate. The fruits continue on here with burnt citrus, old belt leather, dried plums and nectarines. This is like reading an old book in a leather chair sitting in front of the fire. The more time you have to slowly warm this dram up and think about it the better it becomes. Do not be hasty with this one whisky adventurers.

I have to give a big thanks to my brother in law John Haines for splitting his day 25 dram with me. As happened last year someone had a misshap with their day 25 bottle and I needed to send them mine so John stepped up to save the day. Cheers John, thanks for the dram.

Chrismas village dram time with 2 eager glasses ready to go
Jonathan and John drams in hand ready for some 30 Year Old whisky magic

One last time for this 6th edition you need to check out our guest Youtubers at Single Malt Review in New Zealand. Whisky Whistle in Canada and Scotch Test Dummies in the US. Plus the bonus Food Quig reviews. Don’t stop there though subscribe to their content keep checking out their reviews and learn more about the wonderful world of whisky from so many different perspectives.

Well tomorrow we wake up and reach for some Boxing day turkey left overs and maybe a mimosa. Those cricket fans in Australia and New Zealand will be watching the Boxing day test. I managed to wrangle 3 generations of the Bray family to Boxing day at the MCG a few years ago and it was awesome.

On Christmas day in our 5th edition we had the A.D. Rattray 30 Year Old Glen Grant.

Cindy and I want to say a special thank you to everyone that has supported us through this extremely challenging year. It has been the saving grace for us to receive so much encouragement, patience and understanding even when faced with crazy delay’s, rediculous shipping costs and unending roadblocks from so many directions. We feel brave enough to do this all again now armed with the knowledge (at least at the moment) of what we need to do for some of the more difficult markets. Look for a new Indiegogo campaign starting early in February for our 7th edition and shortly after the long awaited Easy Whiskey launch also on Indiegogo.

Please subscribe on our website to keep yourselves in the loop on everything that is going on.

Until 2020 thank you all so much for coming along on this, our 6th adventure.

Always be dramming

Cheers

Jonathan

Singlemalting #247 – 6th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 24 – Invergordon 29 Year Old

Welcome to Christmas Eve everyone. Hopefully you are either heading somewhere to spend time with family and friends or having them over to your place.

Here in Ontario there is still snow on the ground so it looks like a white Christmas for us. So lets get into some dramming. Funnily enough I tasted this Wemyss Malsts Strawberry Fondant Icing last year when Cindy and I were in Scotland. They had just bottled this sherry butt and got over 500 bottles from it but we didnt have enough budget left to squeeze it into our 5th edition. I took a sample bottle back with me and tested it on a couple of mates in Calgary (you know who you are) and they were blown away. It was a joy to find out this year when we met with Jacqueline from Wemyss that they still had enough bottles for us to put it into the 6th edition. This is one of the blessings of only making 500 calendars.

We have featured Invergordon Single Grains a few times in past editions. The first was a 24 Year Old found in our second edition from A.D. Rattray. The second showing was again from Wemyss Malts in our 3rd edition with their fantastic Applewood Bake 26 Year Old. Then the only time we have had a Single Grain for day 25 was the epic Samaroli 30 Year Old in our 4th edition.

Invergordon Distillery

Today’s Invergordon is actually my favorite of all of those fantastic expressions. The Invergordon distillery is located in the Highlands North of Inverness and was founded in 1959. Another distillery, Ben Wyvis was contained within the complex but was closed in 1981. Invergordon has been owned by Whyte and MacKay since 1993 and the bulk of production of course is used for their popular blends and a number of other blended Scotch labels.

Wemyss Malts Strawberry Fondant Icing Invergordon Single Grain Scotch Whisky 29 Year Old – Highland – Sherry Butt # WVM286 – 46% abv

Colour:          24k gold – very light for 29 years and showing the 2nd or refill qualities of this sherry butt.

Nose:             Mayday blossoms, strawberry quick (came in a tin) powder, snow man sugar cookies just like the ones Cindy and I had visiting Stirling Avenue Church in Kitchener. After church everyone gathered downstairs for a Christmas cookie potluck and coffee. It is the church we were married in 30 years ago and we will be there again tomorrow on Christmas day. Memories always come flooding back to me when I sit upstairs in the loft looking down on where we both said I do so long ago. Those little sugar cookes were delicious and covered with the exact type of icing that I think Wemyss are pointing to on their label.

Palate:          The soft sweetness is amazing here. Shows the value in gentle casks over a very long time. 29 long years it took to tame the fiery young grain spirit and transform it into this gorgeous layered sweet tray. White Christmas cake with a thick layer of fondant. Getting some cherries bursting through as well and a hint of almond.

Finish:          lingering soft and sweet still. No doubt about it this is a delicate and delightful dessert dram if there every was one.

What a spectacularly light, fragrant and delicious example of an old Single Grain. This is exactly why older grain whiskies are becoming much more sought after.

On day 24 in the 5th edition we had the Secret Spirits Inchmurrin 21 Year Old.

If you have been to busy but are finally relaxing a little then head over to check out our guest Youtubers at Single Malt Review in New Zealand. Whisky Whistle in Canada and Scotch Test Dummies in the US. Plus the bonus Food Quig reviews. There has been some amazing content and a touch of controversy which makes for great viewing.

Christmas day dawns tomorrow and as expected we will be sitting with a whisky that is at least 30 years old. For the first time we will be needing to take a ferry from the mainland to get our whisky. Thats all the clues I can give.

Until then have a fabulous Christmas eve and enjoy the laughter, memories and special moments with family and friends.

Cheers

Jonathan

Singlemalting #246 – 6th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 23 – Glen Spey 21 Year Old

Welcome to day 23 and a trip to Speyside to discover an older expression of Glen Spey from A.D. Rattray. We have had one other Glen Spey as day 1 of our 3rd edition. It was in fact the first ever Secret Spirits bottling in full bottle format and at the legal age of 18 as well. Glen Spey was built in 1828 under the name “Mill of Rothes”. Located in the town of Rothes it is owned by Diageo who use the vast majority of its production for the J&B blends. Glen Spey Distillery has been released sporadically under the fauna and flora range but is most often seen through independent bottlings like this one. Nice that we can occassionally rescue a cask or two from being splashed into J&B rare.

Glen Spey Distillery

A.D. Rattray Glen Spey 21 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky – Speyside – Sherry Butt # 5980 – 59.2%abv

Colour:          Pale gold – Looks like a 2nd or refill sherry butt given the colour after 21 years. Am expecting this to be quite a vibrant whisky for 21 years old.

Nose:             Soft and delicate nose even at just a pinch under 60%. Wildflower honey, creme caramel, Old cathedral pews complete with old hymnals. Book leather, marble and granite. Loads going on here but needs to be coaxed gently and with time. Turns a touch dusty but in an “im an older whisky” kind of way. Could spend a long time just smelling this.

Palate:          Much more of an explosion on the palate than I was expecting. The almost 60% after 21 years is amazing and bursts across the palate with notes of cavendish pipe tobacco, balsamic reduction and cave aged gruyere on fig crackers. Spicy notes take hold with a touch of chili infused dark chocolate.

Finish:           Some lingering citrus rind and boy is that ever warming me all the way down. The savory backbone of this dram is still the overiding flavor for me although some tangerine sweetness peeks up right at the end. The abv holds large all the way and calls out for a splash or two. I am looking forward to seeing what our youtubers do with water in this dram. Tempting to add a little myself but am sticking to what I have been doing so far for this edition and just focussing on it straight out of the bottle.

There is a lot to discover here and I hope you have the patience and time to spend with this lovely 21 year old Single Malt. A contemplative dram if ever there was one. Mystery, discover and delight all in your glass.

You there with your whisky in hand go, watch, like – Youtubers at Single Malt Review in New Zealand. Whisky Whistle in Canada and Scotch Test Dummies in the US. Plus the bonus Food Quig reviews. Cindy and I have been thoroughly entertained by all of these takes on our 6th edition.

On day 23 in the 5th edition we had the A.D. Rattray North British 30 Year Old Single Grain.

Tomorrow being Christmas eve we are going to have something quite special from Wemyss Malts that is one of my favorite whiskies in this edition.

See you on Christmas Eve.

Cheers

Jonathan

Singlemalting #245 – 6th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 22 – Deanston 10 Year Old

Today is the last of the great Oloroso expedition by Secret Spirits. You, our awesome community asked for a LOT more sherry in this edition and so we delivered. As most of you are aware sherry casked whiskies have become much more expensive and so some sacrifices had to be made to bring you so many amazing expressions of this style of whisky aging. By the comments and feedback I can safely say that it was a huge success and probably delivered some of the more perplexing and palate stretching whiskies in any edition so far.

Of all the Oloroso casked whiskies that we found the rarest and actually most pleasing to my palate was the Dalmore 12. Beef Stroganoff was an absolutel favorite of mine and once my brain tuned into that flavor it was all over.

Anyway today is not about Dalmore it’s about another distillery starting with D. Deanston is a classical Highland distillery that has somehow eluded ever seeing the light of day in any of our editions before.

Deanston Distillery

Deanston lies just 8 miles from Stirling and sits alongside the river Teith. Converted in 1966 into a distillery it began life as a cotton mill in 1786. Belonging to the Distell group, it has for stable mates Bunnahabhain and Tobermory. Nice trio of quality distilleries.

Deanston uses only Scottish grown barley and produced the worlds first Scottish Organic whisky in 2000. Using no computers or additional technology Deanston relies on traditional distilling practices.

Secret Spirits Deanston 10 Year Old – 1st fill Oloroso # 900038 – Highland – 65% abv

Colour:            14K Gold needing just a quick polish to remove the slight tarnish.

Nose:               One last big kick at the Christmas tree with this one offering up big Christmas spices. Marzipan covered dense Christmas cake. Plum pudding and custard with a swirl of brandy sauce. Normally I don’t slot in a 10 year old this close to day 25 but this whisky had everything I love about Christmas in a glass. Can barely believe that this is 65% and the highest abv in this edition.

Palate:          Gingerbread man, Terry’s chocolate orange, brandy snaps,

Finish:          More of the same and still at 65% is giving me everything. Lingering caramelized orange, semi sweet chocolate, rich booze laden pudding just like mum used to make. Finally that 65% after multiple sips is warming me all the way down. Maybe I have become just a little too acustomed to such high ABV. Takes something immense like 65% to get any burn going.

What a beast of a dram to take us into Christmas week. With only 3 drams remaining we will not be returning to sub 20 Year Old whiskies. This 10 year old Deanston belies its age except for the abv that seems to be crazy in it’s balance. What an awesome cask.

On this day in the 5th edition we had the Lost Distillery Company Towiemore Archivist (using mostly whiskies aged close to 20 years).

No need to even read this paragraph just get your dramming selves over to our guest Youtubers at Single Malt Review in New Zealand. Whisky Whistle in Canada and Scotch Test Dummies in the US. Plus the bonus Food Quig reviews. They have worked tirelessly to bring us interesting and well edited content over the past 21 days. They deserve your views and likes.

Tomorrow we have another older expression from our friends at A.D. Rattray. Looking forward to this one.

See you all tomorrow

Cheers

Jonathan

Singlemalting #245 – 6th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 21 – Linkwood 18 Year Old

Day 21 dawns frosty and cold here in Ontario (spending Christmas with the in-laws this year). Thankfully today I am in my jammies all toasty and warm and about to hop into today’s delicious dram from Wemyss Malts. Gardener’s Biscuit Break Linkwood 18 Year Old is the flavor of the day and Linkwood has seen several appearances in past editions including the truly incredible 30 year old Linkwood from Samaroli found on day 25 of the 2nd edition. That was absolutely breathtaking whisky at its best and I think about it often. Almost makes me want to crack open a rare 2nd edition just for that bottle. The very first whisky in our very first edition was also a Linkwood and from Wemyss Malts to boot. The Citrus Burst Linkwood 16 Year Old was a huge hit for many and had the honor of kicking off 6 years of whisky adventures.

Linkwood Distillery

Linkwood is a Speyside Distillery that was built in 1821 and is owned by industry giant Diageo. The original Stone still house and pagoda topped malt house are still in use today. The majority of the Linkwood production is used for blends like Johnnie Walker and White Horse.

Wemyss Malts Gardener’s Biscuit Break Linkwood 18 Year Old – Speyside – Butt # WVM326 – 46% abv

Colour:          Super pale for 18 years old. The only information we got from Wemyss was that this was a butt. Could possibly be a sherry butt refill as in 3rd time use. Butt’s are large 500 liter barrels and so impart less colour than smaller casks. Having said that on rare occasions bourbon casks are broken down and built into butts as well (had a 30 year old Teaninich in a Bourbon butt many years ago). My bet is on Sherry refill Butt.

Nose:            Antique book store, Vase of dried flowers on an old doily, Tea biscuits in granny’s kitchen.

Palate:          Wow wasn’t expecting a burst of sweet fruit based on the nose. Orchard fruit, pears and custard apples. Arnott’s yo yo biscuits with a touch of honey. A lovely creamy mouthfeel that is soft with layers of flavor.

Finish:          Finishing with Quince jelly just like my grandma used to make. I loved it and had it smothered all over my toast every time I visited. Quince on it’s own as a fruit is rock hard and almost inedible, but when nana turned it into jelly wow was it amazing.

An intriguing and subtle Linkwood that is right up my alley. Linkwood for me has always been about delicate but complex flavors and this version confirmed that.

On day 21 in the 5th edition we had the impressive Old Malt Cask Inchgower 21 Year Old.

Lets fully get behind all of our guest Youtubers at Single Malt Review in New Zealand. Whisky Whistle in Canada and Scotch Test Dummies in the US. Plus the bonus Food Quig reviews. They have worked tirelessly to bring us interesting and well edited content over the past 21 days. They deserve your views and likes.

Tomorrow we are heading to the Highlands for yet another cask from Secret Spirits. This distillery will also be showing up in one of our Scotch Whisky Advent Calendars for the first time.

Only 4 more sleeps till Christmas Day.

Cheers

Jonathan

Singlemalting #244 – 6th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 20 – Caol Ila 7 Year Old

Welcome to day 20. Right into the heart of the Christmas season we bring together for the first time a combination of first fill Oloroso and Caol Ila Single Malt. For any of you that have done some of the past editions you would have tried several delicious Caol Ila casks from Secret Spirits and other independents. In 6 years of searching I had never been able to access this combination until now. The first time we had a Caol Ila was way back in our 2nd edition from A.D. Rattray. The 4th edition held the first single cask of Caol Ila from Secret Spirits. It went down so well we found another one for the 5th edition from Secret Spirits that became known as Smoldering Secrets. This is now the 4th time we have showcased a single barrel from this distillery and they have all been quite unique.

Caol Ila Distillery

Caol Ila is owned by industry giant Diageo and makes up the backbone of their peaty needs for the Johnnie Walker range. Founded in 1846 it has changed hands many times and seen some closures including during the second World War when due to barley shortages most distilleries ceased operations. Caol Ila is taken from the Gaelic Caol Ìle for “sound of Islay” refering to the location of the distillery overlooking the strait between Islay and Jura. Caol Ila makes more whisky than all of the other distilleries on Islay combined.

Secret Spirits Caol Ila Single Malt 7 Year Old – Islay – 1st Fill Oloroso # 1710 – 55.5% abv

Colour:        Polished teak.

Nose:           Christmas glazed smoked bone in ham. There is salt, something dark and tropical like pineapple reduction. Drunken cranberries. Medicine chest, pork crackling, olive tapenade and fig jam.

Palate:         Yep this is awesome and spot on with the 55.5%. Still plenty of room to play for most of you but I’m loving it just as it is. Fruits of the forest like damp blackberries still clinging to the dank musty ground. The Christmas ham is there too with a healthy dose of caramelization after the whole thing is doused in whisky and set alight. Medicinal still and very palate coating. So many layers to explore here. I’m looking forward to seeing how our Youtubers go with the water they will add.

Finish:          Christmas spices peek through at the finish with nutmeg and cinnamon, chives and sour cherry.

For some the dark and dangerous side of Islay is best served after some years in a sherry cask. This is a great example of a mere 7 years in Oloroso having such an incredible impact and giving us a whisky ahead of it’s time.

For day 20 in our 5th edition we had the Stones of Stenness (Highland Park) 18 year old from Single Cask Nation.

Shame on you if you have not as yet watched, subscribed, liked and even joined patreon for our guest Youtubers at Single Malt Review in New Zealand. Whisky Whistle in Canada and Scotch Test Dummies in the US. Plus the bonus Food Quig reviews.

Tomorrow we are off to Speyside for something special from our friends at Wemyss Malts and a distillery I particularly enjoy.

5 drams to go. How has the adventure been for you so far? I hope it has stretched your way of thinking about Scotch Whisky and that you enjoy an even wider range of flavors than you did before.

Looking forward to your company tomorrow.

Until then

Cheers

Jonathan

 

Singlemalting #242 – 6th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 16 – Ardmore 9 Year Old

Hello whisky adventurers. Welcome to day 16 of this 6th edition calendar. Today we have done something very naughty. For those of you doing blind tasting, good luck. This is the first time we have ever had a Highland whisky disguised by aging it in a deep dark and dirty Islay barrel (Laphroaig). Ho ho ho…….. this edition has been so fun to put together I can barely stand it. I sure am looking forward to watching both Food Quig and the boys in New Zealand at Single Malt Review to see just how messed up their blind tastings are. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA (insert maniacal laughter and evil pose here). Whoops Tim got it 100% right, darn my evil plan was thwarted by the good guys.

Ardmore Distillery

Ardmore Distillery was built in 1898 by William Teacher’s son Adam. The bulk of the spirit went to into the Teacher’s Highland Cream brand and still does today. Now owned by Beam Suntory, Ardmore has been uniquely using barrier filtration rather than chill filtration which I’m sure leaves a little more delicious goodness in every bottle. Located in Kennethmont Aberdeenshire it is seen as a classical Highland distillery that does use a touch of peat.

Not sure who had the plan to pop this lovely Highland Single Malt into a Laphroaig barrel but I sure was happy to have a chance to buy it after 9 years.

Secret Spirits Ardmore 9 Year Old – Highland – Ex Laphroaig Cask # 709328 – 61.3% abv

Colour:         Pale gold. I’m thinking that this ex Laphroaig cask is a refill Bourbon barrel.

Nose:            OK so this initially on the nose talks a lot about the spoon full of sugar that makes the medecine go down. Manuka honey, the good stuff you buy at Planet Organic and pay $ 30 for a small jar. Manuka honey is made from bees using the pollen from Tee Trees and has huge earthy notes (btw Manuka honey makes the best hot toddies ever).

Palate:         Wow yeah that 61.3% abv is awesome and imparts all that lovely peat, earth, honey and what now……. ok I am getting caramelized rose petals…. have I gone crazy….nope wow there is definitely a rose petal floral note in here with caramelized sugars and all the while the manuka honey and earthy notes continue to unfold.

Finish:       long, delicious and calling to me to just keep drinking more and more of this friggin delicious dram. Seriously this is a pretty amazing dram and marries together some very iconic Scottish whisky styles. Love, Love, Love it.

So much scope to play with this whisky at 61.3% and the marriage of Highland honey and medicinal Laphroaig peat is awesome. Wish that more fun experimentations like this happened in Scotland. Certainly companies like Kavalan and Amrut have released many different types of cross barrel aged whiskies. Of course their maturation is so fast they can figure out what works really quickly. Scotland on the other hand is the land of slow. Every year that passes softly nudges the whisky in the direction that the cask wants to take it.

On this day in our 5th edition we had the extremely popular Wemyss Malts Nectar Grove blended malt.

Especially today you need to check out our guest Youtubers at Single Malt Review in New Zealand. Whisky Whistle in Canada and Scotch Test Dummies in the US. Plus the bonus Food Quig reviews.

Tomorrow we have something very special from our friends at Wemyss Malts. Can’t tell you much more or I will give it all away. Suffice to say that tomorrow will be a surprise for everyone.

Closing in on our last full week of whiskies for the 6th edition. I hope you have enjoyed the eclectic selection so far. Even though this has been the most challenging edition Cindy and I have ever made and distributed it has also in many ways been the most fun.

Looking forward to having your company tomorrow.

Cheers

Jonathan

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar 3rd Edition Day 5 Blog #138 – A.D. Rattray Ledaig 9 Year Old

Welcome back for a little fire breathing today as we finally give those that love a little smoke in their whisky their due. Sourced from the Tobermory distillery on the Isle of Mull today’s dram is labelled Ledaig by A.D. Rattray in deference to the brand used for their peated Single Malt.

Tobermory aka Ledaig
Tobermory aka Ledaig

We always try to have at least one or two island distilleries represented throughout the 25 days of dramming and it is fantastic to finally have a heavily peated Island expression in front of us.

Tobermory is the only distillery on the isle of Mull and was founded in 1798. One of the oldest commercial distilleries in Scotland, Tobermory has a rich history. It was closed for 41 years from the mid 30’s till the 1970’s and then still struggled with uncertain markets and difficult economic times and in the 1980’s some of the distillery warehousing was converted into flats (townhouses) and it looked like another closure was inevitable. Burns Stewart purchased it in 1993 and breathed a new lease of life into the distillery. With a unique spirit that captures the heart of the Scottish Isles Tobermory is amongst only a few distilleries that boast two house styles.

Enter the Dragon
Enter the Dragon

Today we get to try Ledaig (pronounced Le chig) as seen from the eyes of the excellent team at A.D. Rattray. Ledaig Single Malt 9 Year Old aged in a refill Bourbon cask and bottled at the cask strength of 57.9%.

Colour:    Light as you would expect from only 9 years in a refill cask boasting a lovely polished Pinot Gris effect.

Nose:        Buttered Popcorn on the cusp of being over popped. Topped with bacon bits and sea salt.

Palate:      Lamp oil and colored pencil shavings, smoked cod and smoldering latex not necessarily in that order 🙂

Finish:     Long salty, earthy, rubbery and all with a backbone of a smoky sweetness.

This is a delicious Ledaig and I love the contrast here from what Islay brings to the table in terms of peated whisky. This is every bit as large and consuming but definitely has a much different feel. Younger peated whisky is something I find myself reaching for when I want some big smoke and peat flavors that are underpinned by youthful fruit. This Island variant fits the bill perfectly and absolutely warms all the way down. Even now I can still feel it’s magic all over my tongue and throat. Certainly the cask strength here just absolutely gives it wings.

Water:   Just a couple of drops here adds even more sweetness and just takes that living large edge away. Some marzipan kicks in at the death stealing the limelight. I think for most occassions I would go big or go home on this one personally but I did really like the slightly softer and sweeter version that mutated with a little water.

Tomorrow we head to the Highlands to welcome a brand new independent bottler to the calendar.

On this day in the 2nd edition we had the delicious A.D. Rattray Caol Ila I didn’t actually mean for this to be so spot on with the order from the 2nd edition but I do know that keeping the peat lovers away from their favorite flavors for too long is a dangerous thing so there will always be something to sooth the aching need at least once a week.

For those looking for this delicious Ledaig alas there was none to be had after we took our stash for the 3rd edition. Whatever you have in your glass or still in your bottle is all there is.

Johanne has her take on this A.D. Rattray Ledaig here.

Until tomorrow have a fabulous night

Slainte

Jonathan – taster of secrets

Singlemalting Blog # 128 – Whisky for a good cause – I’m in …

Things have been busy here at Secret Spirits over the Summer as we ramp up a new look Singlemalting website and get deep into preparations for launching the third edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar and the first edition Rum’s Revenge.

Before departing for my second Scotland trip of the year I was invited along to a very special Ardbeg tasting by Curt from Allthingswhisky.com. Those pursuing whisky and everything that it brings to the table understand that not much is needed in the way of enticement to turn up to a mega tasting of no less than 11 Arbeg expressions.

More than just a tasting of epic proportions it was first and foremost a way to raise some much needed funds to help send a fellow whisky lover on a trip of a lifetime to Islay. The gentleman in question will remain nameless to protect the innocent (see picture attached).

Run for the hills the Vikings are coming
Run for the hills the Vikings are coming
All proceeds for the evening went into a “trip to Islay” kitty with Curt donating all the bottles from his own stock which was amazingly generous and speaks volumes about his qualities as a whisky fan and a great guy.
So let’s look at the lineup of the most amazing Ardbeg array ever to grace a tasting mat.
1. Arbeg 10
2. Ardbeg Airigh Nam Beist 2008 release
3. Ardbeg Perpetaum 2015 200th anniversary edition
4. Ardbeg Auriverdes 2014 edition
5. Arbeg Uigeadail
6. Ardbeg Dark Cove
7. Ardbeg Ardbog
8. Ardbeg Galileo
9. Ardbeg Corryvreckan
10. Ardbeg Rollercoaster
11. Ardbeg Supernova SN2014
Whoa it almost hurts my taste buds again just thinking about all those heavy weight drams. Absolutely amazing and gave me an even greater appreciation for the depth of complexity that heavily peated whisky can deliver.
It's going to take a while for my taste buds to recover from this
It’s going to take a while for my taste buds to recover from this
I was really bummed that I had not cleaned out my whisky connoisseur kit to take along as I had to leave many a delicious dram behind.
Suffice to say that a grand time was had by all with some amazing cigars on offer to make the night complete. Hoping to get a report from our Viking friend on his Islay travels at some point but I know that it will be incredible.
A lot of you might have been hoping for me to write detailed tasting notes on each but alas it was not that sort of evening and I just enjoyed each one for its own sake.
Let’s just say that I really like Ardbeg a lot more than I thought I did at the start of the night.
I want to add a note about how whisky geeky my mate Curt can get and sporting a freshly pressed Ardbeg tablecloth might just be the pinnacle that any budding geek can aspire to.
For those of you on this whisky journey remember to share and share often. The more you open up your dram cupboard the more opportunities will come your way.
A little tag line I coined as an email signature is “a dram shared gives twice the reward” I can say on this night that it did 10 times over.
Thanks Curt for a memorable evening.
Slainte
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