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Singlemalting # 204 – 5th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 7 – Adelphi Breath of Speyside

Hello there Advent’urers. Hope you are all having a blast so far. Here we are at the end of our first full week and it’s time to get some serious sherry cask action going. Adelphi has made only one appearance before in our third edition with the only closed distillery bottling we have had to date. That Cambus 27 Year Old was truly something special and so we desperately wanted to have them back in another edition. This time around we have a blended malt featuring only Single Malts from the Speyside region and aged entirely in a Sherry butt. There were only 529 bottles produced and we used 150 of them alone just for our 5th edition calendars.

Adelphi is an independent bottler that also boasts distillery ownership. The Ardnamurchan distillery opened in 2014 and it is anyones guess when we will see the first whisky release. My meeting with Alex earlier this year did unlock the fact that it should be just around the corner. So even though this is presented as a blended malt I do have it on good authority that it is a teaspooned Sherry Butt of Glenfarclas. Teaspooning is as way for distilleries to sell casks to independents that cannot then be botted as a single malt or showing the distillery name. All they have to do is pour a teaspoon of another malt into the cask and boom blended malt. For all intents and purposes however one teaspoon makes no difference at all so the character of the cask remains untouched.

Breath of Speyside

Glenfarclas is a Speyside distillery that uses entirely sherry casks for all of their expressions. Planning well ahead they have had barrel programs in place with Spanish Bodega’s for a long time ensuring their uninterupted supply of sherry casks. Glenfarclas is said to have started production in 1791 but was first granted a license in 1836. In 1865 it was purchased by John Grant and is still owned by the Grant family remaining one of the oldest family owned distilleries operating in Scotland. It is located in the wee town of Ballindalloch in Speyside and has a fantastic visitors center and is a must for anyone doing a Speyside distillery crawl.

Glenfarclas Rainbow

Adelphi Breath of Speyside “Blended” (teaspooned) Malt Scotch Whisky 11 Year Old – Aged in a 1st fill Sherry Butt – 57.8% alcohol

Colour:                Some deep colour on this whisky for only 11 years. 1st fill sherry will do that and Glenfarclas has access to excellent casks.

Nose:                    Stone fruit medley, plums, peaches, nectarines all being lightly poached in an Amontillado sherry reduction.

Palate:                  Fantastic weight here with the 57.5% and boy do those luscious stone fruits come through big time. For me perhaps the plum comes out the most. My brother and I used to spend a lot of time at my grandfathers place in Adelaide and apart from the fabulous apricot trees he also had 2 plum trees. In my childhood memory they always seemed to be overflowing with delicious satsuma plums. The slightly dry and faintly bitter note is deliciously reminiscent of that thick satsuma skin. Once the initial bite passes the skin there is an explosion of juicy sweet deep red plum flesh that I can remember like it was yesterday. Sweet and Sour Sauce.

Finish:                  Nice dry tannic finish throwing that 1st fill sherry cask influence right at us. Plum roll please…………..Bud um Bom.

Make sure you dont forget about our friends at the Whisky Vault and Scotch Test Dummies.

On day 7 in the 4th edition we had the Ainneamh 12 year old sherried blended malt. Would have loved to try these side by side as the Ainneamh was a combination of single malts that included some Islay influence.

Tomorrow we are back to a Single Cask expression from our friends at Hunter Laing. Their Old Malt cask range has made an appearance before so lets see whats in store this time around.

Until then don’t drink your dram all at once…. or empty every last drop into your Aurora glass until theres nothing left but memories.



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.


Advent Day 9 – Samaroli 1997 Glenfarclas 17 Year Old Single Malt | Blog #41

Glenfarclas well known for their heavily sherried flavor profiles are a Speyside Distillery (yes I know another one).

Founded in 1836 whisky has been distilled at Glenfarclas by 6 generations of the Grant family. Glenfarclas means the “Valley of the green grass”. Using mainly Oloroso Sherry casks Glenfarclas has built a reputation for providing really great value. Of note was the Glenfarclas family casks vertical release in 2007. The collection started in 1952 and ran through to 1998.

Imagine a Glenfarclas aged in American oak?? Well imagine no longer. This is a very rare animal indeed.

Whisky: Glenfarclas 1997 17 yo single malt

*Cask # 1376 – American Oak – Speyside 45%*

Samaroli Glenfarclas 17yo Samaroli Glenfarclas 17yo

Colour: The first Glenfarclas I have seen that is super light almost straw coloured. After 17 years in cask you would think that there would be a little more colour imparted by the barrel. That’s the great thing about Whisky and individual casks. Each one is different and because there is no caramel added, whatever the barrel imparts is all you get.

Nose: The softer side of Glenfarclas coming through here with lifted delicate honey and Alpine wildflowers reminding me a bit of a hike to Healy’s pass a few Summer’s ago when all the wildflowers were in bloom. The air was fresh and sweet and invigorating.

Palate: Instantly coats the tongue and spreads a soft blanket of sweet spice and just an undercurrent of something exotic… trying to put my finger … er tongue on it. Where is a good nosing kit when you need one.

Finish: A tiny splash of sweet mandarin undercuts the finish. Fresh lively and delicious.

Wow, this is a delightful side of Glenfarclas that is normally well shrouded by heavy sherry treatment.

Not taking anything away from the amazing Sherry profile that Glenfarclas is renown for, it is fantastic to try this whisky with only minimal American oak impact.

Water: I find myself leaving the water out of it with Samaroli as they are pretty good at getting close to my preference with their bottling strength. Let me know if you water it what the outcome is.

**Curt from All Things Whisky has also been “Tasting” along with the calendar. Check out his notes HERE.

There’s a very limited number of the 700ml bottles available:


Crowfoot Wine & Spirits

Kensington Wine Market


Ingredients Artisan Market

So, wade in and let me know what you think of this “unveiled” version of Glenfarclas. Would you like to see more American oak aged versions in the future or do you think that all Glenfarclas should be in sherry?

Tomorrow we visit the style of Scotch that is the beating heart of the industry.

See you on hump day …


Samaroli Website