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5th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 25– Singlemalting # 222 – A.D. Rattray Glen Grant 30 Year Old

Welcome to Christmas Day everyone. What a journey we have had together in this our 5th edition. I hope that through the varying complexities of Speyside to the honey’s and heathers of the Highlands along with some big hitting Islay, salty Islands and old grain Lowlands that you have come to appreciate how diverse the Scotch whisky landscape truly is.

We finish our journey today with a 30 year old Single Malt from the Glen Grant Distillery bottled by A.D. Rattray. This is the first time we have had a different independent bottler for Christmas day since our calendars began. Editions 1 through 4 were all stolen by Italian Independent bottler Samaroli. It seems fitting then that Glen Grant is the dethroning whisky as it is the number 1 selling Single Malt in Italy.

Glen Grant was founded in 1840 by two illicit distillers, John and James Grant who decided that they should legitimize and seek a license. The distillery was then passed onto James “The Major” Grant who was a true innovator and really laid the foundation for the ultimate success of this iconic distillery. James owned the first car in the Highlands and installed the first electric lights at any distillery in Scotland. He also built taller slender stills and purifiers that gave Glen Grant a freshness and clear sparkle that still defines the whisky today. Major Grant passed away in 1931 and his grandson Douglas took up the reigns. in 2006 Campari acquired Glen Grant as part of the Pernod Ricard Group and still owns it to this day.

Glen Grant Distillery

A.D. Rattray Glen Grant 30 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky – Sherry Butt # 9173 – Speyside – 55.1% ABV

Colour:              Gorgeous 14K Gold. Still lighter than you could have with a 30 year old sherry so definitely at least a second fill.

Nose:                  There is a lovely wafting of tropical fruit. A bowl of bananas, passionfruit and mango. Bahind all of this there is some old library action going on. Polished teak and old leather. A hint of tobacco like sitting in a deep backed leather chair in an old drawing room. This would be the place to retire and relax after dinner with your esteemed guests. I could smell this for half an hour easy. The 55 and change alcohol really doesnt come out at all. I would be very careful about watering this whisky as older drams tend to be quite delicate.

Palate:               This has all of the above and more on the palate. There is no way I am putting water in this. Barely any alcohol burn and an absolutely sensational all over creamy coating on the palate. It tastes old. The tropics are hanging in there and partnering with the old world charm of something that took 3 full decades of time and patience to bring to your wee glass this Christmas day. Thank you A.D. Rattray for allowing us to use this precious whisky for our 5th edition. A bit of a swirl and some over ripe citrus comes into play as well.

Finish:                The effect of 30 years in this cask does have its way with the finish. There is an abundance of dried fruits and lingering oak There is a lot going on here and I wish I had more. Thank goodness we do 50ml bottles. Sharing with Chris to do this blog would have been a real challenge with anything less. This Glen Grant has remained surprisingly spry on the fruit side after so long in cask. There is still a touch of Christmas tingly magic that slowly fades and I mean really slowly. I can still taste it a good full 5 minutes after my final sip and it’s still going. final note is a dried piece of papaya. What a priviledge to drink something that took so long to complete. Wow I love whisky.

Today I actually shared this dram with my good friend Chris Williams. After an unfortunate incident in transit someone received their 5th edition with the day 25 broken and empty. When Cindy and I were recently in Texas I packaged up and sent my own personal day 25 bottle. Chris stepped in and offered his own bottle for us to share so that I could get these tasting notes. What a legend, thanks mate.

My mate Chris saves the day with his day 25 bottle.

On Christmas day in the 4th edition we had the astounding Samaroli Invergordon 30 Year Old Single Grain.

I know Bart and Scott of Scotch Test Dummies are together on Christmas Day and Daniel of the Whiskey Vault is no doubt aching to get to Christmas festivities with his family so check out their take on the Glen Grant.

So the final count on each Region, Style, Cask Type and ABV are below including one heavily peated Highland:

Speyside – 9 – Bourbon Cask 5 – Sherry Cask 4 – Cask Strength 6 – Reduced Strength 3 – Single Malts 7 – Blended Malts 1 – Teaspooned Malts 1

Highland – 8 – Bourbon Cask 4 – Sherry Cask 2 – Sauterne Cask 1 – Madiera Cask 1 – Cask Strength 6 – Reduced Strength 2 – Single Malts 6 – Blended Malts 2

Islay – 3 – Bourbon Cask 2 – Sherry Cask 1 – Single Malts 2 – Teaspooned Malts 1

Island – 1 – Sherry Cask 1 – Cask Strength 1 – Single Malts 1

Lowland – 1 – Sherry Cask 1 – Cask Strength 1 – Single Grains 1

Undisclosed Region Blended Malts – 3 – Undisclosed Cask Type – Reduced Strength 3

The numbers very much mirror the actual balance of distilleries that are active in Scotland today. To be a touch more accurate there would actually be a few less Highlands and a few more Speysides. For our 6th edition we will be asking all of you to have your input on where you would like to travel on our annual Scotch Whisky Adventure.

At the end of January we will be launching a crowdfunding campaign for the 6th edition where you all get to help pick regions and even casks as I comb the length and breadth of Scotland. Secret Spirits is taking the interactive nature of our calendar to a whole new level and making it even more fun and entertaining.

Don’t forget today to head to www.secretspirits.com and vote for your 3 favourite whiskies for a chance to win our 6th edition.

Thank you everyone for coming along with Cindy and I and entering into the most controversy, discussion, tasting notes, chats and drams that we have ever had in 5 years. So exciting to be able to share this with everyone and help expand our experience of this amazing category of whisky.

Until next year

Slainte

Jonathan

 

5th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 24 – Singlemalting # 221 – Secret Spirits Inchmurrin 21 Year Old

Today’s dram was probably the most drama we have ever had in bottling a whisky. Needing at least 105 bulk liters to fill 2000 mini’s we of course only chose casks that have all of that and some to spare. When this cask arrived at our warehouse it was substantially lower than what we needed. How do you at find more Inchmurrin 21 year old at the last minute? Well it’s almost impossible but luckily for us the ABV on our barrel was above 60%. Extremely rare for a 21 year old cask that had actually leaked as well to still have such a high ABV. Saved by this anomoly we were forced to reduce the strength to 45.2% to eek out enough whisky for all the calendars. This little hiccup believe it or not almost caused everyone to miss out on getting their calendars altogether.

Fun times when everything comes down to devil’s cut and angel’s share.

So disaster averted we have for our Christmas Eve whisky at the very last minute and great expense a single cask of Inchmurrin 21 Year Old for your dramming pleasure.

Imchmurrin is actually one of the brands that comes out of the Loch Lomond Distillery. Loch Lomond is a unique distillery in that it produces both Single Malt and Single Grain whiskies and by utilizing varying distilling methods actually creates 10 different styles of Single Malt under the one roof. We have had the heavily peated Croftengea from A.D. Rattray and also a heavily peated Loch Lomond from Single Cask Nation who prefers to use the name of the distillery as part of our third edition.  Inchmurrin is on the lightly peated end of the Loch Lomond scale with only the distilleries namesake Single Malt having the lightest peat profile.

Loch Lomond was first established in 1814 but was closed after only 3 years of production. The new Loch Lomond was founded in 1964 by the Littlemill distillery owners. Closed for a brief period in the 80’s the Single Grain operation was started in 1993 and at the time it was the only distillery in Scotland to do so. In 2014 the distillery was acquired by a private equity group and is now owned by the Loch Lomond Distilling Corporation.

The Inchmurrin spirit is said to have an intensely fruit driven character that fades to grass and meadow flowers with age. Lets see what has happened to this tortured cask of Inchmurrin after 21 years in a sherry hogshead.

Secret Spirits Inchmurrin 21 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky – Sherry Hogshead # 407 – Highland – 45.2% ABV – No Chill Filtration.

Colour:    Despite the sherry cask the colour is still lightly tarnished gold.

Nose:       Comes out of the glass feistier than I would have expected. There is a soft earth and hay quality to the nose that gives way to Cedar fence pailings and old farm equipment. Like stepping into an old barn closing your eyes and taking in all the different smells. There is a sweet note here as well though like someone is baking apple pie in the nearby homestead and it is wafting into the barn.

Palate:     The delivery is initially light and grassy but quickly builds up a coating tingle that transitions all the way to the back of the palate and down to your very core. The sweet pie crust comes through as does the Jonathan apple (slightly sweet). The earthy notes are almost non existant but still detectable.

Finish:     The alcohol seems to linger more on the finish than up front. Persisting soft floral notes and wafting meadow breezes.

This is a very layered whisky and it would have been really cool to allow everyone to play with it at 60+ %. Everything I have had from Loch Lomond has been stellar and I will continue to seek out all of these different expressions in future editions.

On this day in the 4th edition we had the A.D. Rattray Tamnavulin 29 Year old Single Malt.

Check in on this Christmas Eve with Daniel at the Whiskey Vault and the boys of Scotch Test Dummies.

Christmas day is here at last and tomorrow we finish this engaging adventure with a 30 Year Old offering from A.D. Rattray.

Looking forward to having you here one last time for this 5th edition tomorrow.

Cheers

Jonathan

 

5th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 23 – Singlemalting # 220 – A.D. Rattray North British 30 Year Old

Today we head to the Lowlands for a visit at the North British Distillery in Edinburgh. Single Grain Scotch Whisky is a fascinating category and one that we have always included in every adventure. All of the single casks that we have ever presented in this category have been over 20 years old. Normally I am a big proponent of the fact that older is not necessarily better however when it comes to Single Grain there is no doubting that additional aging really does bring big rewards.

Single Grain Scotch Whisky can be made from any number of grains but has to be distilled by the same distillery. As the workhorse of the blended Scotch world Single Grain is also typically filled into casks at a higher ABV than Single Malt. North British was founded in 1885 and is now jointly owned by Diageo and Edrington under the Lothian Distillers umbrella. No doubt both these Scotch Whisky powers share the benefits of the high amount of Grain Whisky that NB pumps out every year to keep their blends rolling. For Diageo of course Johnnie Walker and they even distill spirit for their Smirnoff Vodka Brand at NB. For Edrington its Cutty Sark and Famous Grouse. Their job was made much easier with the closure of the Caledonia Grain distillery in Edinburgh in 1988 and has cemented NB as an Edinburgh Icon.

The vastly larger portion of the mashbill for North British is corn with smaller amounts of barley. This leads to some comparisons between older Scottish Single Grain and aged Bourbons. The biggest difference of course is speed of maturation. Taking 30 years to tame the sweet brightness of Corn in Scotland can be achieved much more quickly in most bourbon producing climates in the US.

North British Distillery

A.D. Rattray North British 30 Year Old Single Grain Scotch Whisky – Sherry Butt # 24767 – Lowlands – 56.7% ABV

Colour:       Amazingly light for 30 years and speaks to the possibility of the Sherry Butt being a refill cask.

Nose:          Give that nose just a wee bit of time with air contact and it all starts to unfurl. An old wood spice chest of cardamon, ceylon cinnamon sticks, orange taffy and mahogany.

Palate:        D Dutchman Dairy in Sicamous British Columbia make amazing hand crafted ice cream including a fabulous Rum and Raisin that I absolutely have to stop for everytime I’m passing through. This takes me back there last Summer when Cindy and I visited the Dubh Glas Distillery in the Okanagan. Sicamous is right on the way so Cindy, Sashes (our Maltese Yorkie) and I all enjoyed some delicious ice cream on the way. There is also a developing herb garden note that I can’t quite pinpoint. Parsley and sweet Spring onion.

Sashes in the Snow

Finish:       The chewy orange taffy keeps kicking with a dusting of burnt demerara and some spikes of very subtle Chicago Steak Spice. A really interesting Single Grain that has taken 3 decades to build this delicate complexity into something that is well worth spending time with.

In the 4th edition on day 23 we had the Single Cask Nation Tormore 21 Year Old.

Make sure you head over to the Scotch Test Dummies and Whisky Vault as we get close to wrapping up this 5th Edition.

Tomorrow we have a whisky from Secret Spirits that caused probably the most headaches for this edition. The story will unfold tomorrow.

Cheers

Jonathan

 

5th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 22 – Singlemalting # 219 – Lost Distillery Company Towiemore Archivist

Day 22 dawns. It just seems like yesterday that we started this adventure together. It’s been a great ride so far this edition and there has been plenty to learn, plenty to talk about and most importantly plenty to contemplate. Apart from Christmas Day when we had the stellar Samaroli 33 Year Old Blended Malt and the 34 Year Old Blended Scotch we have not normally apart from the odd Samaroli seen anything blended in the last 5 days of any edition. Back in March when I was at Dummfries House tasting through a bunch of whiskies with Brian Woods from Lost Distillery Company this Towiemore really struck a chord. For me it wasn’t just the great story but also the balance of this dram and that it stood out even amongst the many single casks that I was trying (16 different drams I think from memory or lack thereof). It was a great opportunity to showcase a very well put together combination of Single Malts at a time in the calendar when we are really scritinizing everything a little more carefully.

Towiemore was a distillery that really only had a comparitively short shelf life in Scottish terms. Starting it’s production in 1898 it unfortunately only survived for 33 years. As always you can get the complete whisky education story at the Lost Distillery Company Website on the Towiemore page.

Towiemore Distillery

Lost Distillery Company Towiemore Archivist Blended Malt Scotch Whisky – 46% ABV – no caramel or chill filtration

Colour:       Rich dark amber on this one. There are definitely some sherry casks involved as Towiemore was known for their sherry aged malt.

Nose:            Hitting me like a Manuka honey infused hot toddy complete with lemon and a favorite Scotch Whisky plucked randomly off the shelf. It is delicate though and needs some time to delve into. There is a lightly roasted coffee note or is it a fresh crusty bread note? I think maybe both. There is a tinned manderin note as well that pokes its way into the mix.

Palate:         The honey comes across as more creamed honey than Manuka now. Less earthy. The fruit note has gone from a citrusy touch to richer stone fruit like apricot and nectarine.

Finish:        I’m getting cloves and orange and it’s taking me back to kindergarten when we made scented hanging decorations for mother’s day. We all had to bring an orange and the teacher handed out a ribbon and big bucket of cloves. We spent the next 30 minutes shoving cloves into the orange until it was completely covered. Wow did they ever smell nice and my mum proudly hung it up near the kitchen window till it dried out and finally lost its smell. Some Cocoa also coming in at the end.

So on day 22 of the 4th edition we had the 1995 Samaroli Alt a Bhainne, Tormore combination.

Head on over to the Whiskey Vault and Scotch Test Dummies to see if there are enough eager tastebuds left to delve into this delicious but delicate day 22 blended malt.

Tomorrow we try a new category of Scotch Whisky for this edition that we always showcase at least once. Anyone care to guess?

Until then fellow whisky lovers have a great night.

Cheers

Jonathan

5th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 21 – Singlemalting # 218 – Old Malt Cask Inchgower 21 Year Old

Ahh yes Inchgower. I first fell in love with a cask from this distillery that was the first release of A.D. Rattray ever released in Canada. On that occassion it was an inky dark first fill sherried 25 year old. The price that we sold that for 15 years ago would make you cry. Today however is all about Hunter Laing and their Old Malt Cask Range. Inchgower was built in 1871 in Buckie, Moray to replace Tochineal Distillery. Unfortunately it only survived for just over 30 years before being closed. Purchased by the Buckie council in 1936 after another 30 years of dormancy it was sold to Arthur Bell’s & Sons in 1938. Diageo now owns it but still uses the Bell’s logo in connection to Inchgower to preserve its heritage. Rarely seen as a Single Malt it is again more often than not independent bottlings that allow us to peek behind the distillery curtain and try this whisky in all it’s glory.

Inchgower Distillery

Hunter Laing Old Malt Cask Inchgower 25 Year Old Single Malt – Sherry Butt # HL14253 – Speyside – 50% ABV

Colour:           Solid amber hue. Sherry Butt’s are big casks (500 liters) and impart less colour than smaller barrels due to less cask to whisky contact however after 21 years you could expect more colour. Each cask is so unique it constantly amazes me.

Nose:              Orange sherbet, caramel squares and a creamy flat white. Very inviting and quite subtle considering the 50%.

Palate:            This is absolutely fantastic. Delicate sweetness that rolls around the tongue. I’m getting a mix of milk and white chocolate with tiny hits of candied bitter orange rind. The sherry influence here is soft but does not lack in adding complexity to this dram after 21 years. Right up my alley this. A dram that is taking some time to get to the bottom of. Just like lighting up a lovely cigar knowing you will spend the next hour enjoying it’s company and the friend you are sitting across from. Drams like this should command respect. How many other commodities can you enjoy only after they have been sitting in a warehouse for over two decades?

Finish:         The 50% is oh so soft. To my palate this feels more like 40. The gorgeous creamy chocolate feel lingers on and there comes perhaps the faintest of cinnamon notes right at the death. That candied orange keeps on going and going.

Thanks Hunter Laing for this cask. A great way to continue enjoying the last week before Christmas.

On day 21 in the 4th edition we had the Old Malt Cask Glen Keith 20 Year Old.

Dont forget your nightly fix of the Whisky Vault and the Scotch Test Dummies. These guys have been doing great work to keep things rolling all the way through December. Undertaking a blog or review of an Advent calendar is no small feat so my various hats are doffed to these gentlemen for doing such an amazing job.

Tomorrow we are off to discover an older dram from the boys at the Lost Distillery Company.

3 more sleeps and drams before Christmas day and the promise of something old and special.

Cheers

Jonathan

 

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

5th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 19 – Singlemalting # 216 – A.D. Rattray Williamson (Laphroaig) 13 Year Old

Welcome again peat pilgrims to another Islay jaunt along our Scotch Whisky Adventure. Today’s dram comes from a big hitting distillery when thinking about the level of peating the barley undergoes. Laphroaig was founded in 1815 and is now owned by Beam Suntory. Located at the Southern tip of Islay Laphroaig is as coastal as it gets and is constantly lashed by the wind and waves of the Atlantic where it meets the Irish Sea through the North Channel. Unlike the Day 6 dram from Exclusive Malts this A.D. Rattray bottling is somewhat disclosed with the Williamson name that is known throughout the industry as Laphroaigs nickname.

 

Laphroaig Distillery

This is also a great opportunity to compare Laphroaig in a Sherry Cask with Exclusive Malts and in a Bourbon cask with A.D. Rattray. This cask also comes in at full cask strength as opposed to the Exclusive Malts 50% slightly watered down bottling strength.

Colour:           Pale again for 13 years and lends itself to thinking of refill Bourbon. I’m really interested to see what a soft cask influence is going to do to the massively flavorful Laphroaig spirit after 13 years.

Nose:              Ok ladies and gentlemen this here has every medicinal element that a whisky from Islay can impart into a wee bottle. Wow just an absolutely huge assault on the senses. Charred bandages from the hospital disposal unit that takes care of burning blood soaked operating room waste. Loads of earthy peat and dirty rubber lining the floor. Barely able to push through it all is a little bees wax candle burning brightly.

Palate:           Does not dissapoint. This has everything the nose promises and more. This is why cask strength is the bomb. Laphroaig quarter cask has nothing on this. I’m getting all of the medicine combined with layer after layer of big palate bombs. Peat, Iodine, Smoke, Peat again. Tobacco. Rubber. Burning electric panel.

Finish:          The explosion is over but the smoldering remains of the now destroyed hospital swirl and ascend into a darkened sky.

Drinking this whisky be like:      Boom

Fantastic stuff. This epic cask of Laphroaig should make even the biggest peat head very, very happy.

Thanks A.D. Rattray for offering up this beauty.

On this day in the 4th edition we also paid homage to the peat gods with a much younger and feistier Laphroaig 5 Year Old from A.D. Rattray.

Tomorrow we will be into slightly more epic territory if you can believe that with all remaining drams being no younger than 18 years old. Day 20 is an offering by the boys of Single Cask Nation and will take us to the Islands region of Scotland. Ferry time ladies and gents.

Dont forget to head over to the Whisky Vault and Scotch Test Dummies to watch them get their peat on. Especially Bart from Scotch Test Dummies who has a self confessed abused palate from over peating and Daniel who has basically put up with all this Speyside and Highland nonsense waiting for the next Islay.

Until then peaty drammers have a great night

Cheers

Jonathan

 

5th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 18 – Singlemalting # 215 – Secret Spirits Glenallachie 9 Year Old

Time to unleash “THE BEAST”. Many of you have been sleepily, comfortably nodding along to the clickety clack of our Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Train as it meanders through the hills and towns of Scotland. There has been the occasional sighting of something lurking beneath the peated moors but nothing has really given you cause for alarm. Today that is all about to change. Over in the Secret Spirits corner we have weighing in at the sensationally high ABV of 65.6% the Glenallachie 9 Year Old Bourbon casked Single Malt. This is an extremely high ABV for a cask strength Scotch Whisky as more often than not casks are filled at 63.5%. In the other corner is you and your Aurora glass, a trembling hand holding a water dropper and an impending sense of taste bud destruction.

Glenallachie is a Speyside distillery in the town of Arbelour founded in 1967. Just a touch older than me making it pretty young in Scottish distillery terms. It is now owned by the Glenallachie Distillers Co. being the 4th owner since its opening. At the foot of Ben Nevis the highest peak in Scotland Glenallachie is fed pristine water by the nearby Lour Burn.

Glenallachie Distillery

Secret Spirits Glenallachie 9 Year Old Single Malt – Bourbon Cask # 900537 – The Whopping ABV of 65.6% YeeeHaaa

Colour:            Pretty pale gold again. Even though when I picked this cask all they could tell me was that it was an ex-Bourbon. I think that there is a good chance that it is a refill cask.

Nose:                Baboom Baby Yeah. Holy Smokes that is a huge nose. Ok now that I have taken a few moments to get my bearings I’m going back in…. OK this is very cool and not coming across sweet at all to me as yet. Dirty martini with extra briny olives. Creamy Gorgonzola. Yep this really smells like a charcuterie plate. Maybe some sun dried tomatoes and a couple of figs to round it all out.

Palate:              This is perfect today after taking little Sashes for a walk and then hooking up all the Christmas lights outside in the snow and cold. Definitely a savoury dram overall but I am also getting some wee dried apricots (always a feature on a good charcuterie plate). A tiny jar of red pepper jelly. If we took after Wemyss Malts I would call this dram the Charcuterie Plate Glenallachie. So fun, seriously this is why each distillery, regardless of region, is a unique entity and can offer up amazing whisky. This is especially so when it’s through a single cask bottling. Thank goodness we saved this cask from heading to the blending house.

Finish:          The weight of the ABV carries this dram a long way and the savoury notes just keep on coming. I do get just a touch of fresh apples as the alcohol tails away right at the end. OK water time ladies and gents. The nose does soften but the savoury notes are still there. The palate however shows a much greater fruit influence and the apricot comes through big time. Not sure if I liked it better without…… would depend on my mood. The good news is that at this ABV if you do splash a good amount of water into it that you are likely to get 3 ounces out of this. Absolutely cracking dram this even if I do say so myself. We will have bottles of this available in the New Year….it comes in bottles?…….. I’m getting one.

On this day in the 4th edition we had the Secret Spirits 19 Year Old Glenrothes Bourbon Cask.

Another day another trip to Youtube to watch the ever increasing Speyside controversy craziness of the Whiskey Tribe and the Scotch Test Dummies.

Tomorrow we are off to Islay (and there was much rejoicing) for something from our friends at A.D. Rattray.

Until the morrow

Slainte

Jonathan

5th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 17 – Singlemalting # 214– Secret Spirits Glentauchers 10 Year Old

G’day everyone and welcome back. Today we jump into a dram from a distillery that I first tasted when sourcing whiskies to include in the 1st edition. Glentauchers proved to be absolutely delicious and I have sought out casks every since. Glentauchers is a Speyside distillery founded in 1898 by a distant relative of mine, James Buchanan.  Located in the town of Mulben in Moray it is seldom seen as a Single Malt except through the lens of independent bottling. In our 1st edition we had a comparison of 3 different Glentauchers from Samaroli, Wemyss and A.D. Rattray. They were all unique and one of the favorite aspects for many of that very first edition. Glentauchers is now owned by Pernod Ricard and a very limited amount of their proprietary 15 Year Old Single Malt is available in some markets.

Glentauchers Distillery

There has not been a Single Malt expression of Glentauchers since that 1st edition 5 years ago. I was very excited to find this cask amongst the many offerings I had in front of me this past March in Scotland. This Glentauchers is amongst 4th other whiskies in this 5th edition that are over 60%. It’s so fun to be able to water the whisky as you see fit and cask strength literally means the whisky is taken straight from the barrel put through a rough filter and popped straight into bottle with no water added. Lets see what this Glentauchers has to offer straight up and then we will play a little.

Secret Spirits Glentauchers 10 Year Old Single Malt – Speyside – Refill Bourbon Cask # 900122 – 62.9% ABV

Colour:     Pale straw again as could be expected from a refill cask and of course no caramel colouring added…..ever.

Nose:         This is a big nose and the high ABV certainly gets out of the gate quick. This seems like a whole orchard of fruit. A veritable cornucopia including grapes, pears, apples, some tropical additions like pineapple and mango. This is fruit salad in a glass.

Palate:       Oh wow does that ever go in an interesting direction. The alcohol does not seem over 60 but instead spreads everything over the palate like a layer of creme custard. Warmed white Christmas cake with vanilla custard would do it justice.

Finish:      The alcohol funnily enough seems to kick in finally at the finish asserting itself and creating a lasting zesty connection to the fruit and cream.

This is a big dram for a 10 year old and there is a ton going on here. Water time. Oh and what a nice addition that tiny splash was. The fruit lifts even more and comes charging out of the glass. Does seem to bring the alcohol a little more into focus on the mid palate but not overpowering and I still get the creaminess but that lovely thick custard layer is gone. Finishes much softer with the zest giving way to just a big hand full of lovely fruit.

I have loved every single cask that I have tasted from this distillery and will continue to look for it for future editions.

In the 4th edition on day 17 we had the Samaroli MacDuff 19 Year Old Sherry Cask.

Dont forget to wade in on the Speyside Controversy over at the Whisky Vault or catch up with Bart or Scott or both at Scotch Test Dummies.

Tomorrow we head to……wait for it…….Speyside Bwahahahahaha. This time around we are going to the highest peak of ABV that we have scaled this edition. Keep your water droppers handy because we are going big or going home. Tomorrow’s Distillery is brought to you by the letter G and the number 9 and was picked by non other than Secret Spirits.

Until tomorrow then. I hope you have been able to spend enough time to figure out the nuances of flavor and character between all of these different distilleries and limited edition expressions.

Cheers

Jonathan

5th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 16 – Singlemalting # 213– Wemyss Malts Nectar Grove Limited Edition Blended Malt

G’day there whisky fans. Today we have a delicious treat from those good people at Wemyss Malts.

As with the other Wemyss whiskies in this edition we had to get a little creative with the label to get around the TTB shenanigans. Nectar Grove is of course how Wemyss labelled this dram however we had to use Garden Grove on the basis of not actually adding any nectar to the whisky (don’t know where to get nectar from anyway). We do of course sell our calendar in the UK, EU, Canada and even remote places like my once home country of Australia but we make all our labelling TTB approved for sale in the US as they have the most “interesting” labelling requirements in the world.

Wemyss Malts Nectar Grove

Wemyss Malts Nectar Grove is a limited edition of 9000 bottles. Taken from only 2 Highland distilleries and then re-racked into Madeira casks for 9 months. This is Wemyss first “finished” whisky and gives us an opportunity to taste this ever growing and popular category of Scotch Whisky.

Madeira is a fortified wine made on the Portuguese islands of Madiera. Rich and delicious Madiera is generally a dessert accompanyment or perhaps dessert all on its own. Going through an interesting heating process during production it is a very unique style of wine not made anywhere else in the world.

Wemyss Malts Nectar Grove Limited Edition Blended Malt – Bourbon Refill Casks and Madeira Cask finished – alcohol 46%

Colour:             Seems to have picked up an orange hue from the Madiera cask. Almost looks like Grand Marnier.

Nose:                 Goo Gone – that fantastic orange oil product that you use to remove sticky labels from jars. A touch of my wife’s Einkorn Flour Sourdough freshly baked. Some fuzzy peach skin and some toasted macadamia.

Palate:               Much bigger explosion of that nectar on the palate. Grilled orange and red grapefruit halves complete with the burnt caramelized sugars. The peach fuzz has turned to full blown juicy ripe flesh and dripping juices.

Finish:              Turns towards red currants and blueberries sauteed in a dash of port. There is no doubt about the influence of the Madiera cask on this one. With the initial refill Bourbon being very gentle the Madiera has climbed in and had it’s way with these two Highland distilleries. For me the Nectar Grove is better on the palate than the nose but once I added a tiny drop of water the nose did get rocking a lot more.

Thanks to Wemyss Malts for providing 3 very interesting blended malts for this 5th edition. Until next year when I’m sure there will be something creative and delicious around the corner. Let’s hope that we can sort out the TTB so that we can actually label these whiskies as they were intended.

On this day in the 4th edition we had the Lost Distillery Company Lossit Classic.

Whisky Vault, Scotch Test Dummies…. Just Do It!!

Tomorrow we are off North to Speyside for another Single Cask of Secret Spirits Goodness.

Looking forward to your company on the morrow.

Cheers

Jonathan