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5th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 9 – A.D. Rattray Glen Moray 10 Year Old – Singlemalting # 206

So all is revealed in the fullness of time. Glen Moray is our comparison distillery this edition and we have a cask off between Secret Spirits Glen Moray 9 Year old from way back on day 4 and this A.D. Rattray bottling on day 9. If you didn’t keep any of the Secret Spirits bottling and you didn’t take any notes you can always just go back and read my blog or check out Whisky Vault or Scotch Test Dummies for a refresher. So how will the A.D. Rattray compete with my mum’s Creamed Rice Pudding.

I won’t go into the details on the distillery again but I will point out the comparison pieces we had in previous editions.

1st Edition that you cannot get your hands on anymore for love nor money saw a 3 way battle between Samaroli, Wemyss Malts and A.D. Rattray with the Glentauchers distillery. We only had 3 independent bottlers back then and each one put up a really great cask of Glentauchers that were all very different and unique.

2nd Edition that is still available for a fairly hefty pricetag these days saw Wemyss Malts take on A.D. Rattray with casks of Craigellachie. The Wemyss Malts cask was sherry and the A.D. Rattray Bourbon offering very different takes on a great distillery.

3rd Edition that you can still add to your collection had a battle royale between Malt Whisky Company with their amazing 8 Year Old Sherried Glenrothes and Wemyss Malts 27 Year Old Glenrothes. You would think it was a one sided affair however the Malt Whisky Company cask was incredible and showcased how stunning younger whisky can be.

4th Edition that can be found on our online stores had Samaroli up against A.D. Rattray with different expressions from the MacDuff Distillery. It is so cool to be able to try different casks from the same distillery so we promise to search high and low in all future editions to keep the tradition alive.

Glen Moray barrel warehouse

A.D. Rattray Glen Moray 10 Year Old Single Malt – Bourbon Barrel # 5677 – 57.7% alcohol – Speyside

Colour:        Always hard pressed to get a lot of colour from a Bourbon Cask even 1st fill. Light Gold.

Nose:           This Glen Moray goes in much more of a zesty lemon direction. Lemon pound cake with vanilla icing. Like walking into a local bakery in Australia and looking at the delicious selection under the glass. This smell takes me right back there. Ok bang…. lemon tarts, you know the little pastry shells filled with tangy lemon filling. Finally got right down to it. My wife Cindy says that that I am out to lunch and this is way more pineapple/Pina Colada. I have great respect for Cindy’s palate as it is a scientific fact that the ladies percieve a larger range of smells and flavours. Who do you vote for?

Palate:         The citrus meets pastry is all over this for me. Sugar dusted fresh baked lemon muffins with a dollop of cream cheese.

Finish:         High ABV zestiness kicks in big time on the finish for me leaving strong citrus (lemon) continuing for ages. No doubt the finish on this is longer I think than the Secret Spirits Cask.

So which cask do you prefer out of the Secret Spirits and A.D. Rattray Glen Moray’s. Did you find as much difference as I did or were they very simal for you? Both Bourbon casks and very close in age but for me very different.

Last time around in the 4th edition on day 9 we had Wemyss Malts “The Hive” Batch Strength.

Scotch Test Dummies and Whisky Vault share their insights on this cask off so check it out.

Delicious times ahead for tomorrow as we get into double digits with day 10. Another cask from Secret Spirits and another distillery making it’s first appearance in any of our editions. Awesome.



Singlemalting # 201 – 5th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 4 – Secret Spirits Glen Moray 9 Year Old Single Malt

Time for something bottled by us here at Secret Spirits. I do love to showcase a variety of other independent bottlers as a lot of you can attest to with our back editions. Since the 3rd edition however we have steadily been increasing the number of casks that Secret Spirits sources directly. Tougher on our cashflow but oh so satisfying to put our name to something delicious.

Today we visit Glen Moray Distillery up in the great little town of Elgin nestled in the heart of Speyside. Converted from a brewery into a distillery in 1897 it went through a tough time after a fire and years of neglect from the owners that were concentrating their attentions on their other distillery Arberlour causing it’s closure in 1910. It was purchased by the owners of Glenmorangie in the 1923 and was further sold to La Martiniquaise in 2004 who have increased the Glen Moray’s capacity considerably and modernised a lot of the distilling processes.

Glen Moray Distillery


I had the pleasure of visiting Glen Moray in 2017 with my good friend Joshua Hatton from Single Cask Nation. Spending time checking out the distillery with Iain Allen and then sampling through the Glen Moray range on the outside patio was outstanding.

Secret Spirits Glen Moray 9 Year Old Single Malt – Speyside – 1st fill Bourbon cask number 5634 – Alcohol volume 58.2%

Colour:         Quite pale considering this was a first fill Bourbon Cask. It does have a nice light gold sheen to it though.

Nose:            Vanilla Creamed Rice pudding just like my mum used to make complete with a dusting of cinnamon. Mum used to add a touch of sweetened condensed milk as well and it always took ages to cook while my brother and I sat by anxiously awaiting a generous helping. I know there was a reason I liked this cask.

Palate:          Very creamy but the 58% does not feel overpowering at all. That lovely creamed rice thing is there along with a light drizzle of lemon sauce.

Finish:          This is a dessert dram if ever there was one. So in balance at cask strength for me that water was nowhere to be seen. I love always keeping everything intact so that everyone can play with it the way they want. I understand that there are many reasons for bottling at other strengths but for me Cask Strength is king.

Remember to head over to the Whisky Vault and to Scotch Test Dummies to check out their daily drants (dramming rants). For those of you that loved our Glen Moray cask the good news is that we will be bottling a very limited number of 750ml for sale on our online stores in Canada and the USA. These will be sold on a pre-order basis only so first in best dressed. Info on pricing and timing of the launch coming shortly.

On day 4 in our 4th edition we had the Lost Distillery Company Dalaruan Classic blended malt. I still have a bottle of the Dalaruan kicking around in my collection as I particularly enjoyed this little take on history.

Tomorrow we back up with another Secret Spirits cask…yes thats right its our calendar and we get to do whatever we want. Hanging around in Speyside and visiting a favorite distillery of mine will be the order of the day.





Singlemalting Whisky Blog – # 129 Scotland Forever Part 1

Hard to believe that the last quarter of the year is here and it seems ages ago that it was time to head back to Scotland to oversee the last rites on the 3rd edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar.
This time the trip took a twist with Joshua Hatton from Single Cask Nation meeting up with me for a trip to Speyside and a cask tasting or two. Having never been to Speyside before I was excited to say the least. Having been to Scotland half a dozen times I was well past due to get up North and experience more of the spectacular Scottish countryside.
Making some new friends while pulling wooden bungs out of barrels is awesome. There will be some amazing whiskies around the corner for the 4th edition as a result and those who are members of Single Cask Nation can anticipate some exceptional bottles. A huge thanks to David Stirk of Exclusive Malts for taking us through his warehouse and providing our first amazing meal of the trip complete with what was to be the first of many pints.
Nothing better than whisky from the cask
Our first night was absolutely one to remember as we were literally spoilt rotten at the hands of the Crucial Drinks crew. Treated to a private dinner in the magnificent Dumfries House, a seemingly endless array of courses were presented alongside paired wines and fun conversation. It would have to rank right up there in my top 10 list for dinner experiences in my 40+ years. The tour of this fully restored mansion with Champagne glass in hand was only topped by the incredible service. It was to date the most outstanding attention I have ever received in Scotland and I can’t impress upon you all enough that if you get a chance to visit Dumfries House don’t miss it. Drams and tales in the bar after topped off an absolutely epic evening. Thanks so much Brian, Scott and Ewan for making our first day on the trip one to remember.


Cruising through the Heather covered hills of the Carn Gorms National Park next morning was glorious and with the sun making some brief appearances spotlighting a patchwork of purple and green I indeed wondered why I had never ventured North before.
Elgin was the destination but not before a wee stop at the Highland Bar for a dram and a pint (see a pattern forming here). Glenfarclas was the first distillery visit and the absolute highlight of not only this trip but my entire whisky experience was a sneak into the Family Cask warehouse where Callum proceeded to dip his magic whisky wand into the 1953 cask. Upon giving the sample to Joshua he claimed that it had been a while and a refresher nosing was in order. Joshua quickly complied handing the glass back to Callum who promptly sniffed then dumped it back into the barrel. The look on Joshua’s face was something akin to how he might look while watching a particularly gripping horror movie. Callum fully reveling in his fun dipped back in and replenished the glass for both of us to have not only a nose but a precious taste.
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I have had many older whiskies some of which have been amazing and some that have been disappointing. This was neither, as amazing would not do it justice. It was without doubt the best older whisky expression I have ever had and at 63 years of age I could scarcely believe the soft fruits and balance. This was one expensive dram and I savored the moment. It could be the setting added to the effect but why not it’s a rare experience to delve into such old and scarce whisky.
Next distillery on the docket after a fabulous lunch (and a pint) at The Mash Tun was Glen Moray and the tour with Ian was fantastic. Glen Moray has been a favorite of mine and the 6 whisky tasting lineup at the end was everything I have come to love about Glen Moray and more. Dinner, pints, drams and cigars with Ian, Joshua and Ronnie capped off another perfect day of whisky adventure in Speyside.
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Week one came to a close all too quickly and it was time to have a last evening with Joshua on “the mile” at the fringe festival with my good mate James Cowan and Jennifer Nickerson. The Edinburgh festival is really fun and any chance to be part of the buzz in such a beautiful city is a must.
With Joshua winging back to the States it was time to roll up the sleeves and do some actual work. Stay tuned for part two.


Day 9 A.D. Rattray Glen Moray 2007 | Blog #98

What Now 64.8%??? This is for me the highest ABV for a Single Malt Scotch or any kind of Scotch for that matter that I have tried.  This was one tight barrel kept somewhere dark away from the angels.

Grab your Angel’s Share water dropper I think it will come in real handy in a few minutes.

Glen Moray Distillery Glen Moray Distillery

Glen Moray is a Speyside Distillery that after starting life as a brewery was converted into a distillery in 1897. With their focus on the Aberlour distillery Glen Moray was closed in 1910. It sat idle until the mid 1920’s when it was purchased by the Glenmorangie company. It was sold again in 2008 to France’s 2nd largest spirits company La Martiniquaise. They utilize most of the spirit for their Blend No. 5.

A.D. Rattray Glen Moray 2007 – 8 Year Old Single Malt Aged in a sherry butt and bottles at the cask strength of 64.8% ABV. Cask number 900029.

Colour:     A fair old impact of the cask here as it is really richly reddish gold after only 8 years.

Nose:     Go softly into the fray good people. 64.8 is there lurking in the shadows like a big cat poised for passing prey. Keeping my nose a safe distance from the rim of my Samaroli I get some amazing tropical fruits, Ripe sweet pan fried banana bunch with caramel sauce. Note I have had plenty of practice nosing from a distance and softly going in to unveil the hidden secrets that some cask strength whiskies take time to give up. For those of you new to cask strength just take it really slowly. This is after all something you should be taking time over when the kids are all in bed and you have some quality time. Going back to it there is also a spicy savory note here almost like grinding some fresh peppercorn medley with the tiniest pinch of chili flakes over the bananas.

Palate:    Ba Boom….. I was ready for it and it was still big. Definite sherry influence here with semi sweet dried fruit, burnt orange and blackberry tart. Can’t wait to water this and see what happens.

Finish:     Warming all the way down, tingly and massive as you would expect from a monster ABV. The savory pepper comes back at the death as the fruit takes a backseat.

Water:     Lightens up the nose and is more like candy bananas now with a ton more citrus on the palate and lingering seemingly longer. I actually liked the nose full strength better but have to admit that for sitting and sipping purposes that adding water just smoothes everything out and tames this wee beastie adding even some floral notes to intermingle at the end.

What an amazing experience having such a high ABV Scotch. This was added for impact folks and I’m sure it has fulfilled it’s purpose with impunity.

**My mate Joshua Hatton over at Jewmalt is blogging every day through the 2nd edition. Check out his take on the Glen Moray HERE

Buying a bottle of this is definitely a bottle and a half worth. You can grab one of the 60 bottles from these fine retailers:



Co-Op Wine Spirits Beer

Zyn The Wine Market



Andrew Hilton



Wine and Beyond

Everything Wine and More


Last Year on this day we tasted the Samaroli 17 Year Old Glenfarclas in Blog #41


Well I can promise a very different tack tomorrow as we head back to that wee isle that so many love with another Samaroli offering.

Can’t wait…