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5th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 15 – Singlemalting # 212 – Secret Spirits Caol Ila 8 Year Old

Caol Ila, workhorse of the Islay underworld. Pumping out more Smoky, Peaty, Islay goodness than all the rest of the Islay distilleries combined by quite some margin. As you already noted on day 5 we actually did a cask of Caol Ila in the 4th edition but were unable to fill any full size bottles for the peaty faithful. This year is a different story and we have managed to get a bit more of the sister cask. These limited bottles will be released along with most of the other Secret Spirits whiskies from the 5th edition in the first quarter of 2019. Stay tuned for the pre-order information.

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. Must have been a tough time for whisky lovers in the mid 50’s when all of those whiskies would have been around 10 years old and hitting the market. 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 Distillery

Secret Spirits Caol Ila 8 Year Old Single Malt – Bourbon Cask # SS006 – Islay – alcohol 59.5%

Colour:             Pinot Gris sparkle gold.

Nose:                Certainly does not smell like Pinot Gris as that classic Islay heavily peated salt, earth and fire leap out of the glass. For me the smokiness is much more subdued than the peat note. Could it be that there is a wee Scottish flower poking up from the bog?

Palate:             Peated Vanilla cookies and Cavendish pipe tobacco. Im my minds eye I’m standing right in the middle of a large Islay farm paddock complete with heavy hoof prints, upturned earth and mud puddles. The rain is just about to hit and the sky is dark and brooding. Scurrying into the farmers house just as the heavens unleash I find myself sipping this dram by the fire and absolutely loving the Islay experience.

Finish:          Very long with a lemon essence that surprisingly jumps in at the end. Certainly on the slightly sweeter side of Caol Ila but there is no mistaking the huge use of peat to malt this barley. Delicious trip to Islay and I hope that has made you peat only peat please hurt me with peat guys happy enough to visit the mainland a few more times.

On this day in the 4th edition we had another smoky expression with the Wemyss Malts Peat Chimney Batch Strength.

I know that Daniel in particular loves younger Islay so it will be interesting to see how this one fares over at the Whiskey Vault. Scotch Test Dummies are not afraid of peat either so will no doubt relish this little trip to Islay.

Tomorrow we are back on the mainland with a delicious malt from the team at Wemyss.

Until then may the finish linger long into the night…..

Cheers

 

Jonathan

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar 3rd Edition Day 11 Blog #145 – Wemyss Malts Kiln Embers Limited Edition

Back to the land of smoke and peat today with a fabulous limited edition blended malt from Wemyss. Their Velvet Fig was one of the hits of the 2nd edition and I am always interested to see what they have coming up when I visit Scotland in January. This year it is something brooding and dark. Ladies and Gentlemen I give you Kiln Embers.

Kiln Embers
Kiln Embers

So a word of warning for those of you that have a hard time with peated whiskies. Kiln Embers has double the amount of peated single malt involved over it’s cousin Peat Chimney which you may remember from the 1st edition way back when and you can read my thoughts here. It will be interesting to compare these two blended malts.

Wemyss Malts Kiln Embers limited edition blended malt – No age statement and bottled at 46% with no chill filtration or coloring.

Kiln Embers Limited Edition

Color:   A nice rolled gold here that adds a richness to the look of the bottle

Nose:   Ahh yeah there it is all smoky up front like an old school Casino. The miasma of smoke does disperse however and allow us to peek through at a bushel of fresh oranges and a cluster of vanilla bean pods.

Palate:   Lovely balance here and really deep notes of burnt caramel over fresh licorice. A touch of Staedler Mars Eraser that always seemed to get rid of your smudgy lead pencil marks when other erasers failed. 46% seems bang on here and even with a tiny tingle I’m super happy with it as is.

Finish:   Flamed toffee and molasses cookies with a twist of burnt orange rind.

Lovely dram for those with a peaty addiction. I’m glad to say that we were able to secure a decent amount of the limited production for Canada so if you love this then please email me at jonathan@secretspirits.com and Ill point you in the right direction.

Whiskylassie is like me an equal opportunity drinker but I really don’t know how far her peat meter goes. Lets find out here.

In the second edition on this day we had the amazing Wemyss Malts Kumquat Cluster Glenrothes 21 Year Old and you can read all about it here.

A great dram for us to sit and relax on a cold Sunday afternoon by the fire. I’ll be enjoying this one for a while as the finish is still rolling on and has moved into the realms of good cigar tobacco now which is awesome.

Tomorrow we head back to the awesome team at the Lost Distillery Company for another take on a really remote distillery that has one of the most unusual stories I have ever heard that brought about it’s demise.

Looking forward to see you for a fresh start to the week and another exciting dramming adventure.

Have a wonderful evening

Slainte

Jonathan – taster of secrets

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