Home » Archives for December 2015

Month: December 2015

Day 25 Christmas Day – Samaroli Linkwood 1984 | Blog #114

Merry Christmas everyone and thanks for coming along this year for the 2nd edition of our Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar. It’s been a really fun time for Cindy and I, and we hope that you have found new experiences and diversified your palate for this wonderful drink.

As mentioned a few times we (insert I) overspent a little on the whiskies for this edition and one main contributor to that is todays dram from Samaroli. Having been aged for it’s entire life in lightly toasted new American Oak it will be a unique experience for almost all of you.

This is probably the oldest expression available in the market today that has been aged in this way. I am really looking forward to seeing how much vibrant but complex fruit we will find

Linkwood Distillery Linkwood Distillery

Linkwood is a well known distillery owned by whisky giant Diageo. It was founded in 1891 (Linkwood A) and a second distillery was built in 1971 (Linkwood B). Linkwood was closed briefly during the second World War and was again mothballed by Diageo between 1985 and 1990. Today’s whisky comes just before that period and was distilled at Linkwood A. Again like a lot of diageo owned distilleries most of the Linkwood production is used for Johnnie Walker and White Horse along with many other blends that buy it on contract. Apart from the 12 year old in the Fauna and Flora series there are also other releases available under the proprietary Diageo label.

Samaroli Linkwood 1984 – 30 Years Old aged in a new American oak barrel cask number 5297 and bottled at 45% ABV. There is a little confusion over if this is a 31 Year Old whisky. We erred on the side of caution and claimed it as 30.

Day 25 Day 25

Colour:     The lightest 30 year old whisky I have ever seen. Even knowing the background behind the aging process I was still shocked when I first laid eye’s on it. If I was in the bottling hall with knowledge I would be thinking that a mistake was made and a much younger whisky was bottled in it’s place. A mix of 14k and white gold with a bright sparkle.

Nose:     Some subtle smoke, honey glazed pear, a whiff of fresh earthy peat in the background. A zesty quality of organic lemon tart with a dusting of icing sugar. Quince jelly like nana used to make. So much going on here I could just sit here for ages.

Palate:     Underpinned by the softest of peat smoke there is heather which is a floral note of  a most famous Scottish flower over used a lot for Scotch whisky descriptions. One that I seldom write about unless I can truly pick it up which I can here in lovely waves. The wildflower honey and poached pear intertwine with the soft lazy smoke and oh so subtle peat.

Finish:     An underlining of fresh vanilla bean finally gives evidence of the new American oak. The oak treatment is so understated after 30/31 years it still seems so young and fresh. The stamp of aging proof is the depth of layering and complexity. 45% is just right for this whisky sending a blanket of warmth down to the heart. The pear and touch of lemon come back in bursts while the light honey note holds everything together.

Such a delightful whisky and my personal favorite this year. I could just sit and play with this for hours.

Not a dram to be thrown back or consumed after something bold and heavy. If you are lucky enough to get one of only 18 bottles available this is one to keep and savour. My suggestion would be to employ the marble technique (blog #60) to keep this precious bottle for years to come (if you can stand not to drink it faster).

A few bottles went to Denmark and are selling there for about $ 860 CAD. You will find this Samaroli Linkwood for around $ 730.00 here which is a bargain.

Here are the only retailers that have this amazing dram available:


Zyn The Wine Market


Wine and Beyond

Last year on Christmas Day Samaroli again had the throne with their 33 Year Old Blended Malt that was by far the favorite whisky as voted by owners of the 1st edition calendar. You can read all about it here… Blog #57

Joshua Hatton has done an amazing job keeping up with all the blogging for this years edition and Cindy and I want to extend our sincere appreciation for all his hard work (it’s a tough job and someone has to do it and Joshua did it extremely well). You can read his last blog on this years edition HERE

Along with your wax dipped custom bottle of Linkwood you will all have found a wee little Christmas card. Please jump in and vote for your favorite 3 whiskies for a chance to win a 3rd edition calendar.

Last year in the 1st Edition every single whisky in the calendar was voted as somebody’s favourite. I cannot receive any more thanks than that knowing that there was a taste for everyone.

Thank you all so much for supporting our tiny little company, Secret Spirits. Cindy and I are already planning for the 3rd edition and will be in Scotland early February working through the arduous task of tasting the potential line up.

It has been an honor and pleasure bringing this experience to you again this year. Cindy and I both wish you and your family the very best this Christmas season and into what we hope will be an amazing 2016 for everyone.

As we did at the launch party, we raise our glasses and toast Christmas day and the journey’s end of the 2nd edition.


Jonathan and Cindy

Day 24 – Wemyss Malts Old Spiced Balm Dailuaine 1983 | BLOG #113

Welcome to Christmas Eve. The most exciting day of the year when I was young (still is).

Gathering around the tree and taking in the beautifully wrapped presents and spending time with the family. Growing up in Australia I experienced a very different Christmas from most of you. Playing cricket in the back yard and testing out the new bat with my brother. Heading down to the beach on a new bike. Off to Nana’s place for Christmas dinner with her famous pudding and home made custard. When we stayed home for Christmas dinner Mum’s pudding (learned from nana) was something really special. Made the year before it hung in the dark pantry the whole year waiting for Christmas day. My brother and I couldn’t wait and always had seconds with lashings of custard. I can remember barely being able to move after Christmas dinner was done.

Christmas is a special time of year as long as we keep sight of what is most important in life.

Whisky (one definite important part) is what we are looking for behind door number 24. Dailuaine is a Speyside Distillery that was founded in 1852 and changed hands numerous times even going through a 3 year closure due to the pagoda roof catching fire. In 1987 it was purchased by United Distillers (Diageo).

Dailuaine Distillery Dailuaine Distillery

In 2005 only 2% of the production at Dailuaine was kept for Single Malt bottling. Certainly very rare to find this is the first cask I have ever even seen available in over 10 years of working with independent bottlers. The bulk of the Dailuaine production goes to Johnnie Walker.

Wemyss Old Spiced Balm Dailuaine 1983 – 29 Year Old Single Malt bottled at an ABV of 46% and aged in a Bourbon Hogshead cask # 4339.

Wemyss Malts Old Spiced Balm Whisky Wemyss Malts Old Spiced Balm Whisky

Colour:     Polished gold

Nose:     Should we be engaging in any number of back to back manly activities as we sniff this? I can picture the Old Spice guy complete with ripped 6 pack holding a glass of this aloft. More so than usual I have been all over the descriptive names Wemyss have come up with in this edition. Spicy, perfumey, balmy. Walking into a spice shop with open racks of exotic spices. Candle Wax and wood polish. Hints of dried tropical fruits like banana and papaya.

Palate:     Spice cupboard medley with mouth coating fullness. Only age does this to a whisky. This is my first Dailuaine and I like where this is going. There is a little citrus wood polish element to it after it has been soaked into old hardwood. A background note of eucalypt makes me miss being home on Christmas Eve.

Finish:     A really nice 46% tingle that hits the roof of my mouth especially. Long and developing into clove and linseed Oil (I use it to oil my cricket bats).

Delicious old whisky that is extremely rare. It’s a pity Diageo only release a bottling about every 10 years. I would be interested to try more from this distillery. I wonder what a younger Dailuaine would bring to the table.

Joshua gives us his insights HERE

Last year on Christmas Eve in the 1st edition we enjoyed a heavily sherried A.D. Rattray Bowmore 1999 14 Year Old Blog #56

If you would like one of the only 24 bottles available then hurry out to these retailers:


Coop Wine Spirits Beer

Zyn The Wine Market


Wine & Beyond

Well tomorrow Christmas is finally here and the last day of our whisky journey. We have saved something really special from our friends at Samaroli for tomorrow. I promise you a treat you will not soon forget.

I hope tomorrow brings warm feelings of love and appreciation for those you care most about.

Merry Christmas!

Day 23 – A.D. Rattray Bunnahabhain 1988 | Blog #112

Back to Islay today for one of my favorite Islay Distilleries. 

Bunnahabhain founded in 1881 it is now owned by the South African Distell group. Bunnahabhain boasts the more approachable Islay experience. Indeed it is a lot softer on the peat than the other distilleries on the island although in recent times there have been limited edition peatier expressions released.

Bunnahabhain Distilley Bunnahabhain Distilley

Just 8 miles from the the town of Port Askaig the Bunnahabhain distillery is near the northern tip of Islay looking out on the Isle of Jura.

This is the last whisky we will have in this years edition from A.D. Rattray and as the largest percentage of casks came from this great Independent bottler it is fitting to finish with something extra special.

A.D. Rattray Bunnahabhain 1988 27 Year Old – Aged in a sherry butt # 626 and bottled at the cask strength of 55.4% ABV.

Colour:     Jatoba (Brazilian Cherry) hard wood complete with a reddish hue.

Nose:     This is just an incredible nose, Old leatherbound books in a mahogany chest, A big plate of Christmas pudding slices and gingerbread. Cavendish blend pipe tobacco. One of the most intriguing noses so far in this edition. I could just sit here and sniff this for ages.

Palate:     Warming Christmas spices and flaming brandy over Christmas pudding.

Finish:     Long and throat warming with ongoing waves of earthy sweet spices, the sherry makes a showing which it well should after 27 years.

Water:     Just had to see what a few drops would do given the unusually high ABV of 55.4% after 27 years. Opens to toffee and sticky dates on the nose with a burst of that old Cognac burnt orange character on the palate. Finishing with a healthy portion of brandy infused heavy cream to coat everything.

An old whisky just does not get any more Christmassy than this.

Joshua gives us his take on this big sherried Bunnahabhain HERE

Last year on this day in the 1st edition we had the Wemyss Ginger Spice Glenrothes 1988 in blog #55

If you like this Bunnahabhain as much as I do you can find one of only 48 bottles available from these retailers:


Crowfoot Wines and Spirits

Coop Wine Spirits Beer

Willow Park Wines and Spirits

J. Webb Wine Merchants

Zyn The Wine Market


Wine & Beyond

Mmmm … well I have to say that things are shaping up well for Christmas. I hope that most of your shopping is done and that you can share some special time with family and friends.

Tomorrow we head to a brand new distillery not yet represented in either edition. Wemyss have the honor of providing our Christmas Eve dram this year and I know that is going to be perfect for ushering in Christmas day.

Look forward to see you tomorrow …


Day 22 – Malt Whisky Company Tobermory 1994 | Blog #111

Welcome to the 5th whisky in our 8 day 20 year old + countdown to Christmas.

Tobermory Distillery Tobermory Distillery

Off to the Islands today with a whisky from the Tobermory Distillery on the Isle of Mull. Formally all whisky produced by this Distillery was called Ledaig (le-cheg). Now only the small amount of peated whisky released by Tobermory is given the Ledaig label. It was founded in 1798 and changed hands many times over the years including during the decline in whisky sales in the 80’s having all the warehousing sold off to be developed into apartments. Whisky is no longer aged at the distillery. Now owned by the Distell group of South Africa it remains the only distillery on Mull.

The Malt Whisky Company owned by Stuart Nickerson was originally only going to release whiskies that were 20 years and over. We snuck in a few under that for this edition and now get to taste something that Stuart had planned all along.

Malt Whisky Company Tobermory 1994 21 Year Old – Aged in a Bourbon Hogshead then transferred to and finished in an Oloroso Sherry Hogshead. Cask # 13 (which would have been the sherry). Bottled at a cask strength of 57.3% ABV.

Colour:     A little deeper tarnished gold look to it. The Sherry cask did not really impact with a ton of colour. I’m not sure how long it spent “finishing” in the Oloroso.

Nose:     Sherry influence here, warm forest berry compote and dried prunes. A waft of sea salt and white pepper.

Palate:     Full and complex right off the bat, some rich sherry flourishes of dried red fruit potpourri underpinned by creamy dark/milk chocolate blend. A little like the Swiss Milka brand of chocolate so creamy and melt in your mouth that once you opened a bar it was history. Not really get much in the way of that saltiness anymore.

Finish:     Drier than I would have expected from an Oloroso cask finish but very long and warming at cask strength. The fruit and creamy chocolate stay and run to the finish line.

Water:     Just a few drops and soft oh so softly she goes. The berry fruits sweeten up a touch and seem more like slightly over ripe rather than dried. The creaminess is there even more and the mouth melting chocolate note is more milk chocolate now than dark. The finish still lingers long with that peppery touch coming in right at the end. For me this one is perfect with the addition of water.


Good work again Stuart on a delicious cask from the Islands.

** Joshua Hatton give us his thoughts HERE

You can find one of the 60 bottles of this sherry infused Tobermory at the following retailers:


Coop Wine Spirits Beer

Zyn The Wine Market


Wine & Beyond

Vines of Riverbend

Bin 104

Interesting that on this day last year in the first edition we also visited the Islands with the 1992 Samaroli Sherry Glen Scotia in this blog #54

Tomorrow we are off to our last stop on another island that has it’s own region. I am really looking forward to it.

See you then…


Day 21 – A.D. Rattray Glentauchers 1992 | Blog #110

Today we revisit the focus of our comparison study in the 1st edition calendar. Glentauchers was close to being the favorite distillery last year and for good reason. All 3 expressions were really delicious and unique.

Glentauchers Distillery Glentauchers Distillery

Given the opportunity to do another single cask from this distillery was not to be passed up. Glentauchers was founded in 1897. Mothballed by United distillers in 1985 it was sold to Allied in 1989 and restarted malt production in 1991. In 2005 Pernod Ricard purchased it and almost 100% of it’s production now goes into the Chivas Brothers blends.

Normally extremely rare as a single cask bottling we have been lucky enough to find 4 casks in the past few years so hopefully there will be more to come in the future.

A.D. Rattray Glentauchers 1992 – 22 year old, aged in a Bourbon hogshead cask # 6042. Bottled at the ABV of 48.7%. Last year the A.D. Rattray Glentauchers was 18 years old and a sherry cask no doubt miles apart from the dram we are about to have.

Colour:     Still quite light for 22 years old perhaps the cask was a second fill. Pale gold.

Nose:     Ahh this promises to be right up my alley. A freshly opened tin of those icing sugar powdered fruit drops. Also some honey blossom and scented candle wax. This is delicate and takes some time. Nosing can sometimes be more than 50% of the whisky experience. White chocolate.

Palate:     Creamy white orange fudge, the cask strength is balanced as is, so no watering for me on this one. Amazing how often citrus is the dominant flavor in delicate whiskies. Especially with American Oak.

Finish:     Throat warming notes of subtle citrus while the creamy mouth feel continues. White chocolaty goodness there as well right to the end.

Yummy at cask strength. Feel free to write in with your watering notes as I unfortunately finished my bottle without adding a drop.

Last year on this day in the first edition we tasted the Wemyss Evergreen Forrest Cragganmore 23 Year Old. Blog #53

** Joshua Hatton give us his thoughts HERE

If you like this delicate Glentauchers then head over to these great retailers for one of only 60 bottles:


Coop Wine Spirits Beer

Zyn The Wine Market


Wine and Beyond

Vines of Riverbend

Everything Wine & More


Coop Wines and Spirits – Saskatoon

4 days to go and tomorrow we go back to one of our new Independent Bottlers for a whisky from an entirely as yet unvisited region – exciting times.

Within sight of some special times with family and friends. I love this time of year and can hardly wait.

I look forward to your company tomorrow.


Day 20 – Wemyss Malts Aromatic Orange Tobacco Glenrothes 1988 | Blog #109

Here we are with our second comparison tasting of the calendar. You will remember back to day 11 and blog # 100 where we tasted the Glenrothes Kumquat Cluster. Well today we have an older Single Cask Glenrothes (sherry butt).

Given how rare Glenrothes is as an independent bottled expression I did not think when looking for 2 distilleries that we could use for double up comparison that this would be on the cards. Let alone both over 20 years old. Don’t know if you have any left or if you took notes on the Kumquat Cluster but it will be interesting to compare the two.

I already delved into the background of the distillery in blog 100 so lets just get stuck into the whisky. I must say given the name this was a whisky that I was really excited about (love a nice cigar).

Wemyss Malts Aromatic Orange Tobacco Glenrothes 1988 – 25 Years Old aged in a sherry butt cask # 420. Bottled at 46% ABV.

Colour:     Rich amber

Nose:     Aromatic…check, Orange….check, Tobacco…check. OK now that we have established that I agree wholeheartedly with the Wemyss team lets see if I can delve a little deeper. Reminds me of a Cognac barrel aged cigar I had last year. The Cognac residue really infused the cigar with hints of burnt caramelized orange. It was a medium bodied cigar and smelt inviting and amazing just like this whisky. An old wood crate full of mandarins. The old wood crate could be the sherry note chiming in but it is very subtle. I would think second fill cask used here. Good descriptive would be an old humidor.

Palate:     Viscous mouth feel like orange infused olive oil, plenty of rich citrus here and all deep, dark and condensed like reduction sauce. Some light peppery notes and very soft delivery. Feels like 40% not 46%.

Finish:     Continuing softly with lingering grilled rind with barely a touch of zest left. The easy tobacco is there as more of an earthy note.

Great after dinner dram. I would like to try this with a light bodied aged cigar. Delicate here was achieved by age and a sherry cask that did not overpower. Could definitely chill by the fire and coax an hour or two of enjoyment out of this one.

Joshua Hatton give us his thoughts HERE

Last year on this day in the 1st edition we tasted the Samaroli Glentauchers 1996 in blog #52

If you want a bottle of this then you had better hurry as only 6 came to Canada.

**They can be found only at the Wine and Beyond stores in Edmonton. (Sorry Calgary)

Well that was a treat and the oldest whisky so far. Tomorrow we head back to A.D. Rattray for a single cask of what was the most popular distillery in the 1st edition.

Until then, hope your Christmas plans are coming together.


Day 19 – Samaroli Miltonduff 1995 | Blog #108

7 Days and counting as we force ourselves to struggle through dealing with 20+ year old drams. 

Today’s 20+ is actually 20 Years Old and hails from the Miltonduff Distillery in Speyside. Miltonduff was established in 1894 on the site of the meal mill of Pluscarden Abbey which was built in 1236. An original stone from the Abbey makes up the foundation of the distillery. So awesome to have history dating back so far as part of a distilleries heritage.

Miltonduff Distillery Miltonduff Distillery

Changing hands several times it is now owned by Pernod Ricard (Chivas Bros) and most of the production goes into the Chivas and Ballantines (would have been part of the best whisky in the world a few years ago in 2011 in the infamous Whisky Bible) Blends.

I have had quite a few delicious expressions over the years and I have to agree with Homer Simpson “can’t get enough of that wonderful Duff”.

Samaroli Miltonduff 1995 – 20 Years Old aged in New American Oak at an ABV of 45%. Cask # 2848.


Colour:     Yep 20 years in new oak and its another Samaroli light colour pale gold.

Nose:     Savory notes, cardamom and caraway seeds, Some light fruit there too although more in the background, sun ripened Roma tomato (it’s a fruit you know). A touch of spicy ginger.

Palate:     Earthy subtle peat which I was not expecting, Rye toast & fennel infused butter.

Finish:     A delicate beast to get my mind around. Even on the savory side of the scale Samaroli still finds a way to make me think about it. Wet slate and cedar and warming all the way down. A tongue coating splash of fire roasted tomato which is a really delicious but unique flavor for me in a whisky.

Had to spend some mulling time over this one. Samaroli is not a get whisky quick scheme. It takes some quiet time and patience to get to the bottom of the whisky and the glass. Love it.

Joshua Hatton regales us with his insights on todays Samaroli HERE

Last year on this day we tasted the Wemyss Malts Spice King 12 Year Old Blended Malt in blog #51

If you also can’t get enough of this wonderful Duff then head on over to these retailers and grab one of the only 30 bottles available:


J. Webb Wine Merchants

Zyn The Wine Market


Andrew Hilton Wines and Spirits


Wine and Beyond

Tomorrow we are off to Wemyss Malts again for a whisky that is so rare we could only bring in 6, yep you heard me 6 full bottles. I hope not many of you like it.


Day 18 – A.D. Rattray Auchroisk 1993 | Blog #107

Right then we are into the business end of this years edition. Starting out our 8 day 20 year + countdown to Christmas.

Auchroisk Distillery Auchroisk Distillery

We kick it off with a distillery that has not been part of the Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar before. Auchroisk (A-thrusk) is a Speyside Distillery founded in 1974 to produce whisky for the J&B blends. Proprietary bottling’s can be found from this distillery under “The Singleton” brand as Auchroisk was just deemed pretty much unpronounceable. Rarely seen as an indie bottling this is a treat to see what this Distillery can do in a single cask format.

A.D. Rattray Auchroisk 1993 22 Year Old Single Malt bottled at 52.6% and aged in an ex-bourbon hogshead # 2789.

Colour:     Polished 14k gold

Nose:       Milk chocolate coated marzipan, honeycomb & fresh cookie dough.

Palate:     Scottish Porridge complete with fresh cream, sultanas and dried apricot pieces topped off with a healthy dram.

Finish:     Turns back to the marzipan at the death with custard apple and still some dried fruit hanging on. the full cask strength sits nicely but it will be interesting to see what a drop or two does.

Water:     Softens more to white chocolate and stewed rather than dried fruit. Introduces a bit of Springs first freshly cut grass with dandelions right on the finish really interesting.

Not a distillery that I have had very often so was great to be offered it as one of the choices for this year. Independents are awesome at giving us snapshots of unique distilleries that we would never otherwise see.

Joshua as he has been doing everyday gives us his terrific insights HERE

Last year on this day in the 1st edition we tasted the Samaroli 1994 Braes O Glenlivet (Braeval) 19 Year Old. Blog #50

You can find this Auchroisk and one of the 60 bottles available from the following retailers:


Coop Wine Spirits Beer

Zyn The Wine Market


Wine & Beyond

Vines of Riverbend


Andrew Hilton

Tomorrow we are in for a treat with another rarely seen distillery from the boys at Samaroli

See you all then…


Day 17 – A.D. Rattray Craigellachie 2008 | Blog #106

Last year we compared three different expressions of Glentauchers. One from each of the 3 independent bottlers. 

It was a great experience to see how unique each cask can be and the differences in each of them was remarkable. This edition we wanted to do the same thing but instead of 3 from the same distillery we decided to do 2 different expressions from 2 different distilleries. Today we head back to Craigellachie but this time from A.D. Rattray. Let’s see how different this is from the Wemyss Dark Treacle Fondant Craigellachie from day 8 Blog # 97.

A.D. Rattray Craigellachie 2008 – 6 Year Old Single Malt aged in a Sherry Butt cask # 900861 and bottled at the cask strength of 58%.

Colour:     Pale Gold – After only 6 years this colour is pretty much identical to the Benriach 19 year old that we tried yesterday.

Nose:     Soft chewy caramel squares right off the bat and in spades. This is like ripping off the top to the fresh caramel packet and sticking my nose right in there. Barley Sugar and fresh hay throw in to undercurrent the caramel.

Palate:     The caramel is there though softer than the nose. Balanced for 58% the sweet barley note hits a chord wrapped up in white chocolate and topped with macadamia pieces.

Finish:     Longer than I would have expected from such a young malt (the youngest in this years edition). More maturity here than I would have believed. Still some of that youthful sweet barley present throughout with the caramel softly ebbing and flowing through till the end.

We have certainly given you a lot of interesting sub 10 year old malts to look at this edition and for good reason. Younger whiskies are absolutely delicious and bring a youthful exuberance to the table especially when they are aged in really good barrels and bottled by top notch companies like A.D. Rattray, Samaroli and Malt Whisky Company.

I hope you have enjoyed the experience of all these different younger whiskies because it’s all over for this years edition. From here on in we are luxuriously entering into the spirit of Christmas with only 20 year old whiskies and above for the last 8 days.

Did I mention that I overspent on this years whiskies? All of you are now going to reap the benefits of my lack of self control 🙂

Goody goody goody (rubs hands together gleefully)

Ho Ho Ho ladies and gentlemen I usher you into a week of Wonder.

Joshua who is a lover of younger whiskies gives you his insights into the A.D. Rattray Craigellachie HERE

Last year on this day we tasted the A.D. Rattray Glentauchers 1996 18 Year Old. Blog #49

You can find the only 60 bottles of this caramel infused Craigellachie from the following retailers:


Coop Wine Spirits Beer

Point McKay Wine & Spirits

Zin The Wine Market


Wine and Beyond


Coop Wine and Spirits Saskatoon

See you tomorrow as we begin our 20+ year old countdown to Christmas

Can’t wait …


Day 16 – Samaroli Benriach 1996 Single Malt | Blog #105

G’day everyone and welcome to day 16. Time seems to be flying by as we start to feel the excitement of the lead up to Christmas Day.

Today we have another Samaroli Single Malt that has been a big hit with those that came along to a few of the “sneak peek” events that I did in November at Zyn Bankers Hall and the Taste of the Season events at Wine and Beyond.

BenRiach Distillery BenRiach Distillery

Benriach was established in 1898 next to the Longmorn Distillery and the two distilleries were joined by a private railroad with a private steam driven locomotive called the Puggy which ran barrels and distilling supplies between the two. Closed in 1900 Benriach did not produce spirit again until 1965. In 1978 it was sold again to Seagrams but was only utilized for 3 months of each year for production. In 2004 Billy Walker along with South African partners purchased Benriach and has since added Glendronach and Glenglassaugh to their list of distilleries.

Samaroli Benriach 1996 – 19 Year Old, bottled at 43% ABV and aged in new American Oak cask # 45763. Speyside.

Colour:     Actually a lot darker than most Samaroli whiskies found in this years edition it is still light for 19 years, pale gold.

Nose:     Ripe Honeydew Melon and tangerine compote. This would be a fabulous nose for a Breakfast Whisky. Home made Apricot jam on sourdough toast.

Palate:     Dominating apricot still with tangerine a plenty here on the palate. Vibrant and bursting with flavor easily the most fruit forward Benriach I have ever had at 19 years. The toast comes through as well adding an underlining character to all the fruit.

Finish:     Lingering but softening, the apricot fades away leaving the citrus acidity to finish things off.

This is an exceptionally well balanced whisky that keeps the promise of the nose running right through to the very end. This is delightful whisky and another big tick in the usage of new oak to keep the fruits rolling along year after year as the barrel sits in the darkened warehouse awaiting the nod from our Italian friends.

Joshua Hatton the literary library of tastes and descriptive foods writes about the Samaroli Benriach HERE

Last year on this day we tasted the Wemyss Pastille Bouquet 1998 Mortlach 15 Year Old. Blog #48

If you liked this fruity Benriach number from Samaroli you can find one of the only 30 bottles available from these retailers:


Highlander Wines and Spirits

Zyn the Wine Market


Wine and Beyond

Tomorrow we have our last younger expression of Single Malt in this years edition this time by A.D. Rattray and an opportunity to compare a different age and cask from a distillery that we have already visited earlier.

See you tomorrow.