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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.



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 3 Samaroli Spey 1996 – Blended Malt Glentauchers and Benriach | Blog # 92

Welcome to day 3. For the first time we get to use the Samaroli Whisky glass for a Samaroli whisky.

Samaroli have been around since 1968 (the year I was born). Silvano Samaroli at that time was the only visionary outside of the UK buying up large amounts of Scottish Whisky. Defying tradition and coming at Scotch from a uniquely Italian perspective Silvano filled the majority of his newly purchased whisky into new oak barrels. Scotch has traditionally been aged in either used American or European oak.

The reason for this departure from the norm was the endless search of the delicate complexity that Silvano saw as the pinnacle of why Scotch whisky is so incredible. Certainly this can be achieved using ex bourbon or sherry casks however it does seem to be the odd special cask rather than the norm that keeps the delicate fruits over a long period of time.

Samaroli never chill filter despite many of their whiskies dropping below 46%. The big heavy Italian wine bottles that are a hallmark of the Samaroli brand hide any potential clouding and takes away the possibility of “darker means older” perceptions.

Samaroli whiskies are the lightest in colour for older age statements that I have ever seen. Chalk this down to the use of lightly toasted new oak that leaves subtle and minimal impact on the whisky.

So whenever you are reaching for a bottle of Samaroli it really is time for a navel gazing, eyes closed contemplative think about what is in your glass.

For those that missed my little piece on blended malts please check it out here in blog #89 before going any further. Now that you have some context lets delve into today’s whisky.

Samaroli Spey 1996 – 19 Year Old Blended Malt – 3 single casks #’s 4234, 4235 & 4573. Speyside distilleries Glentauchers and Benriach bottled at 43% ABV.

Colour:     Unoaked Chardonnay – quite pale for 19 years.

Nose:     Wow fruits a plenty here, peach cobbler, pear and sweet ripe fuji apples.

Palate:     Light and creamy, whipped farm cream on fruit flan.

Finish:     A touch of meringue and whisps of cotton candy and swiss white chocolate. I would defy anyone to taste this and think it somewhat inferior to Single Malt or if you could even guess that it was a combination of malts from 2 different distilleries.

43 % is oh so soft and it is with their own conviction about achieving this delicate balance that drives Samaroli to bottle it at exactly the strength they are convinced hits the mark. Many have said they would love to see some Samaroli Cask strength versions. I will certainly put in a request however this is what Samaroli is all about bottling delicate and complex whisky their way.

I am unabashedly in love with what Samaroli bring to the world of Scotch Whisky.

Don’t get me wrong I love a big robust malt and as stated in many blogs before now I am an equal opportunity drinker when it comes to whisky/ey. I am however more impressed by layers of complex notes that require time and thought to get to the bottom of in any style of whisky. For me Samaroli has become a bit of a benchmark for the best of what Scotch whisky can be purely because they seem to be able to achieve this on a regular basis.

**My friend and fellow blogger Joshua Hatton is blogging side by side with me this year as our special guest. Be sure to check out his take on the Samaroli Spey Glentauchers/Benriach 19 year old blended malt.

The First Edition Calendar Whisky on this day last year was the Samaroli Spey 21 Year old Cragganmore Single Malt – 21yo Blog #35

For those that loved this Samaroli Spey 19 Year Old you can find one of only 30 bottles available at the following retailers:


Zyn The Wine Market


Wine and Beyond

Tomorrow time for our 4th Independent Bottler and a whisky that has created quite a stir around the Social media airwaves.

Looking forward to day 4.

Happy dramming!


Till you’re blind – the FUN way to Taste Whisky | Blog # 69

There is nothing I like more than getting blind with whisky… and by that I mean not knowing what you are tasting.

There is something inherit in all of us that despite promising ourselves we will keep an open mind and not be biased that reacts when we see

a.     Packaging

b.     Age Statement

c.     Type of Whisky or Whiskey

d.     Distillery

All of the above can already predetermine a jaded or eager approach to the contents of the glass before us.

Take all that away and you are left perhaps somewhat floundering without a foundation or point of reference. It is by far the best way to taste whisky and also by far the scariest. Throw into the mix an intimate gathering of 30 people and yours truly poking and prodding for you to give your input on the completely unknown dram and it can be downright frightening. At least that is until the first few drams are safely tucked away.

This is the stage that was set for a fun tasting at Keg N Cork in Edmonton last week. An opportunity to run through 7 whiskies that were all part of the 1st Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar from Independent Bottler’s Wemyss Malts, Samaroli and A.D. Rattray.

All people had to go on was what was in their glass. Color, nose and flavor were the only indicators of what lay within. Running through the 7 whiskies twice, everyone had a chance for a re-visit that included the revealing of each whisky and also to see the effect of a little time in the glass.

The whiskies in question were:

1.     Samaroli 2009 MacDuff 5 Year Old Single Malt – American Oak 1st Fill

2.     Wemyss Lord Elcho 15 Year Old Blended Scotch

3.     Samaroli 1996 Glentauchers 17 Year Old Single Malt – American Oak

4.     Samaroli 1997 Isle of Jura 16 Year Old Single Malt – American Oak

5.     Samaroli 1993 Sherry Glen Scotia 21 Year Old Single Malt – European Oak

6.     Wemyss Peat Chimney 12 Year Old Blended Malt

7.     A.D. Rattray 1999 Bowmore 14 Year Old – Sherry European Oak

Covering Single Malt, Blended Malt and a premium Blended Scotch made for a really diverse tasting.

The opinions and feedback on the whiskies were every bit as diverse as the group attending. Once everyone warmed up to the realization that there was no wrong opinions and that everyone had their own unique palate all sorts of wonderful flavors began to come out.

The addition of a little water and the extra time in glass also revealed how whisky can change to all present. The extra time in glass which is seldom a feature of most peoples whisky routine had the biggest impact with a lot more bouquet and range of flavors the result.

For my individual tasting notes on the dram’s above you can find them on my blog’s here:

1. Blog #47

2. Blog #42

3. Blog #52

4. Blog #44

5. Blog #54

6. Blog #36

7. Blog #56

Lionel and Dave at Keg N Cork put on a fantastic event complete with a meat and cheese tray which paired really well with different whiskies as the night wore on. Making it a point of pride for the excellent retailer, Keg N Cork have built up one of the best whisky selections in Edmonton and is a must visit for any whisky lover.

What a great way to spend a night and to continue on a whisky journey of discovery. It was exciting to meet many people that were at their first ever whisky tasting telling me that it was most definitely not their last. This is one aspect of what I do that I love the most. Spending time with like minded people and discovering how fun and amazing this drink that we love is. See slide show below …

If you are new to whisky or if you are a seasoned veteran there is something special, fun and challenging in a blind tasting. Alas, they are few and far between if you would like to experience one and have not yet had the chance.

Part of a club or attend regular tastings at your favorite whisky retailer? Then perhaps you can suggest to those in charge that they should throw a wrench in the mix and work on a blind tasting sometime soon.

I look forward to hopefully seeing your smiling and perhaps somewhat bemused face at a blind tasting near you.


Advent Day 20 – Samaroli 1996 Glentauchers 17 Year Old Single Malt | Blog #52

Surprise surprise, for those that had not figured it out from my clues we have the third installment of the Glentauchers experience. Same distillery, 3 independent bottlers and 3 very different tasting whiskies.

This time Samaroli comes up to bat with an American oak version from not one but 2 sister casks.

Samaroli 1996 Glentauchers 17 Year Old Single Malt

*Cask#’s 4232 and 4233 – Speyside 45% alcohol non-chill filtered*

Take a quick refresh from day’s 13 and 17 with the Wemyss 20 Year Old and A.D. Rattray 18 Year Old Glentauchers.

Glentauchers 17yo Glentauchers 17yo

Colour: Scottish Shortbread

Nose: Bananana coupled with some mango and pineapple. A real tropical fruit salad.

Palate: Banana continues on the palate along with the rest of the tropical fruit. This is again a whisky that leads from nose straight into taste hand in hand like a honeymooning couple.

Finish: Not harsh in any way the 45% fits the flavor with just a light tingle. The tropical theme continues on like a hot night in Barbados.

Water: I did add just a splash to this and was rewarded with some additional green tea ice cream character on the finish.

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

Well, could 3 whiskies from the same distillery be any different?

I hope that this little journey within a journey has opened your eyes to how complex and different each unique barrel is. Rather than throwing hundreds of barrels together and meshing all qualities into a consistent flavor, independent bottlers really do try to pick out only the most amazing expressions. Quite often they are looking for a particularly interesting and different take on the distilleries usual flavor profile.

This delicious take on Glentauchers is available from the following retailers in the limited amount of 30 700ml bottles:


Crowfoot Wine and Spirits

Aspen Wine and Spirits

Willow Park Wine and Spirits


Ingredients Artisan Market

Send in some comments as to which cask of Glentauchers you like best.

Tomorrow is time for a nice relaxing dram by the fire to help warm up the winter chills.

For some of you, heading out to see a Christmas play or musical might be an annual tradition. I know that my wife and I have seen a Christmas Carol in many formats including a zombie version at Loose Moose theater which was hilarious.


Samaroli Website

Advent Day 17 – A.D. Rattray 1996 Glentauchers 18 Year Old Single Malt | Blog #49

Think back to day 13 and Wemyss “licorice Spiral” Glentauchers 1992 20 Year Old. Look at your notes and get ready to compare.

I wanted to show how unique each single cask is and having the same whisky from the perspective of two bottler’s is a great experience. The “Licorice Spiral” was in a Bourbon hogshead and at 46% which should give it vastly different character than the A.D. Rattray cask that we are about to try.

Whisky: A.D. Rattray 1996 Glentauchers 18 yo single malt
*Cask # 1177 – Sherry 56.1% alcohol cask strength non-chill filtered*

Glentauchers 18yo Glentauchers 18yo

Colour: Deep amber
Nose: Big at cask strength so go carefully into the fray. Sticky date pudding (sticky toffee pudding is the Canadian version), miles apart from the Wemyss Glentauchers.
Palate: Zingy on the tongue at cask strength but not overwhelming. Rich caramel sauce and bread and butter pudding.
Finish: Long and evolving this finish is delicious. elements of spiced citrus make a play.

Water: The nose develops a ginger snap character and the palate gets a soft chocolate wrapping and just a touch of anise.

This is a really delicious example of Glentauchers and couldn’t be more different in contrast to the 20 Year Old Wemyss cask. It’s exciting to see how different the same distillery can be given varying cask types. These two casks are only 2 years apart in age but vastly wide apart in flavor.

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

This is why whisky is just so much fun.

To remind yourself a little of Glentauchers history just zip back to day 13 to refresh your memory.

This sherried version of Glentauchers is available from the following whisky mad retailers – only 60 bottles:


Britannia Wine Merchant


Vinestone Wine Co.


Sherbrooke Liquor


Andrew Hilton Wine and Spirits

Tomorrow we are off to a Distillery that had to change it’s name to avoid consumer confusion.

See you on the morrow …



A. D. Rattray Website

Advent Day 13 – Wemyss 1992 “Licorice Spiral” Glentauchers 20 Year Old Single Malt | Blog #45

Official half time show here at Singlemalting for the 1st edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar.

I don’t have any big name artists or flashy award winning commercials. What I do have however is a 20 Year Old Glentauchers from Wemyss that if we are to go by the label promises a Licorice Spiral flavor profile.

Whisky: Wemyss 1992 “Licorice Spiral” Glentauchers 20 yo

*Cask No. 6036 Bourbon Hogshead – 46% non-chill filtered*

Glentauchers is predominantly used for Ballantines and Teachers blends. Founded in 1897 solely for making whisky for blending it’s first famous brand was one of the founders James Buchanan’s Black and White blend.

The nearby Packhorse bridge was also the site of a deep pool called Guan’s pot where witches were “tested” to see if they floated or sank. Not good news either way really.

Colour: Very light in colour for a 20 year old in a bourbon cask. I love seeing whiskies that have not had caramel added to them. It’s fascinating just how variable casks are in imparting deepening hues.

Nose: As advertised on the label there is some sweet licorice here reminding me of licorice allsorts with a wedge of white and yellow confectionery in between.

Palate: Even more Anise coming through baked into a Jonathan apple crumble (could be a different sort but why not throw my namesake apple into the mix).

Water: Lifts the apple and softens the licorice with continued flavor bursts for a long finish.

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

How cool is whisky??? Seriously there is nothing on the planet as a spirit that can compete for such a wide range of flavor. All coming from one humble little ingredient.

This amazing whisky is available from the following switched on retailers:


Willow Park Wine & Spirits

Highlander Wine and Spirits

Kensington Wine Merchants

J. Webb Wine Merchants


Andrew Hilton Wines and Spirits


Ingredients Artisan Market

A great way to hit the mid point of our journey.

I hope you are beginning to appreciate (if you were not already) how wonderfully diverse the world of whisky is. This is why independent bottling’s of single casks are so great. What better way to enjoy a distillery than a snapshot in time of that age and that barrel especially when released by top quality bottler’s like the 3 in this calendar that are always looking for a unique expression.

Tomorrow we up the ante with a trip to yet another new region.

See you then …


Wemyss Malts Website