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Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar 3rd Edition Day 21 Blog #156 – Wemyss Malts Marmalade Appeal Glenrothes 27 Year Old

G’day everyone and welcome to another comparison tasting. As you know we like to do one or more comparison casks from the same distillery so that you can appreciate both age and cask differences. Today we try a Glenrothes that is 19 years older than the Malt Whisky Company expression we tried earlier on day 8. Wemyss also tend to bottle all their casks at 46% which no doubt will make a big difference as well.

I’m sure that the whisky is not why they have so many permanent residents.

No need to rehash distillery details as you can just re-read the previous blog. I will say that Wemyss have provided some really sensational older casks of Glenrothes in the past few years. We even converted Joshua Hatton who is not normally a Glenrothes fan to concede that the Aromatic Orange Tobacco was “drop dead gorgeous”.

Wemyss Malts Marmalade Appeal Glenrothes 27 Year Old aged in a Sherry Butt cask # 5376 and bottled at 46% with no caramel or chill filtration.

Glenrothes 27

Color:   Light for such an old Sherry aged whisky but no doubt being a butt and potentially 2nd or refill (3 or more fills) we only get a shadow of what we might have if it was a first fill. I actually really like refill for older sherried expressions as a sherry cask can very quickly overwhelm especially delicate malt.

Nose:   Orange oil furniture polish, clove and Terry’s dark chocolate orange.

Palate:   Orange sponge cake and there is that slight bitterness that could be marmalade semi sweet icing that tops and forms a layer right in the middle.

Finish:  A slight burnt character leading me to flamed orange rind topping a rye based Manhattan or maybe just pouring Grand Marnier over the top and lighting it all while you stand back and bask in the stunning beauty of it all.

Yummo again Wemyss. Certainly the cache of delicious Glenrothes casks you managed to acquire have been good to you and also thankfully for me. We have increased with age each edition and now sit at 27 Years Old. Does this mean we may yet have a 30+ year old at some point?

For those that love this delicious old Glenrothes the good news is that there is some available and if you email me at jonathan@secretspirits.com I will be more than happy to point you in the right direction.

In the 2nd edition we had the truly epic A.D. Rattray Glentauchers 22 Year Old that you can re-visit here.

Let’s see is Whiskylassie loves old Glenrothes as much as Joshua and I do over at her blog here.

Now that we are rolling with the old stuff lets see what tomorrow brings from a fantastic independent bottler that is gracing our cubby holes for the first time. The fantastic Alex Bruce from Adelphi is to thank for tomorrow’s whisky and thank him you will.

So all I can tell you is that tomorrow we head South to the Lowland’s.

Until then have a fantastic evening. Only 3 more sleeps till Christmas.


Jonathan – taster of secrets



Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar 3rd Edition Day 15 Blog #150 – Malt Whisky Company MacDuff 16 Year Old

Back in the drivers seat today is Stuart Nickerson from Malt Whisky Company with a bit of a favorite distillery for me. I have had some really good MacDuff whisky over the years and one single cask in particular from A.D. Rattray always stands out for me. Knowing how good Stuart is at picking great casks I have been anticipating this for quite a while.

MacDuff is a Highland Distillery that was originally known as Glen Deveron. You can still find whisky bottled under this name but mostly older casks as even independent bottlers have embraced MacDuff. It was founded in 1962 and is now owned by Bacardi who used the bulk of its Single Malt Whisky for their blends like Dewar’s.

MacDuff Distillery

It seems to me that a lot of the independent bottler’s that I work with are finding the merits of using good quality refill casks to allow all of the delicious distillery character to shine through. Today’s whisky is no exception with Stuart choosing a refill cask for this 16 year old MacDuff.

Malt Whisky Company MacDuff 16 Year Old aged in a Refill American Oak Hogshead # 500720 and bottled at the cask strength of 54.9%. No shenanigans involved like caramel coloring or chill filtration here.


MacDuff 16

Color:   Another extremely light whisky which is the norm for refill casks especially American oak. After 16 years however it is a touch darker than the other refill casks we have seen so far. A nice light wedding ring gold.

Nose:    Hot buttered rum tropical notes. Pineapple and papaya over vanilla bean sorbet.

Palate:   Crunchy fresh breakfast waffle with hints of chunky pineapple and strong Seville orange marmalade sauce dusted with white chocolate flakes. This should be a thing…

Finish:  The orange marmalade comes through more strongly than the hint of tropical once we get to the finish. Very fresh and mouth watering. 54.7% is warming and long with just the right amount of bitter orange rind to bring the marmalade note to a delicious conclusion.

Yummo Stuart I know that you guys in the UK love your marmalade but sprinkling in some tropics as well is just crazy. Enough of this frilly Highland nonsense I hear some of you peat inclined saying. Well just because I love you too we will be heading to Islay tomorrow for a dram from those beloved Italians Samaroli.

We can see just how much Johanne loves this MacDuff at whiskylassie.

For those of you that enjoyed this MacDuff, I have good news. We will be getting a very small amount and it will be available for those that act quickly. Please email me at jonathan@secretspirits.com for details. (Late breaking news as I was just informed that inexplicably the cask in question was empty when they went to fill the remnant – authorities are looking into this heinous crime).

On this day in the second edition we had the A.D. Rattray Invergordon Single Grain that you can read about here.

I hope you have enjoyed the variety so far as we head into the last 10 days of the calendar which as some of you know is perhaps the best part of the whole experience counting down to Christmas day and hopefully getting more and more family time and fun in along the way.

I look forward to our Islay encounter tomorrow


Jonathan – taster of secrets

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar 3rd edition Day 1 Blog # 134 – Secret Spirits 18 Year Old Speyside

Welcome again to another rollicking 25 days of whisky whisky whisky. What a ride it has been this year to get to this day. Unfortunately with the best intentions we inadvertantly killed our launch parties. We had some challenges with calendars on display being “played” with a little too much by some customers resulting in holes being punched out and whisky dropped on the floor and tears flowing. Having applied the awesome shrink wrap to deal with that we now find that no one has unwrapped it to find the launch party invitation. Just can’t win on this one. Anyway today is an awesome snowy day in Calgary and I’m looking forward to getting stuck into the first dram.
It is a real treat for us this year to be able to offer up the first ever whisky selected and bottled by Secret Spirits. We are not looking to turn ourselves into a full time independent bottler but rather just throw our hat into the ring a little as we go on this journey. I feel extremely humbled that we are amongst great companies like A.D. Rattray, Wemyss, Malt Whisky Co. Samaroli and Single Cask Nation that have all been a part of making it all happen in previous editions. This time around we are even adding a few more amazing companies that we will get to meet in the coming weeks.
So without further ado lets look at Whisky No. 1 for the 3rd edition SWAC. Our first stop is the Speyside region which as you are probably aware accounts for the vast majority of Scottish distilleries and as such normally makes up a good portion of the SWAC offerings every edition.
Secret Spirits Speyside 18
Secret Spirits Speyside 18 Year Old undisclosed Single Malt Whisky – 58.1% cask strength. No coloring, no chill filtration, refill Bourbon cask # 3299 – Region Speyside
Coming from or near the town of Rothes there are a few distilleries that could be potential candidates for this one lets check out the nose and the taste and you can make up your own minds because I have been sworn to secrecy. A quick look online will reveal the small number of distilleries to choose from so get googling.
3rd Edition NEAT Glass


Time to grab that NEAT glass and get stuck into the fun part. We decided to go with this unusual glass to further the cool collection of unique whisky glasses that we have started and because I was really impressed with how open this glass is and yet how much the nosing is enhanced without being overpowering. This will be going into my next series of whisky glass comparison blogs coming in 2017.
Colour:     Firstly it is light in color more like a rich Chardonnay than an 18 year old whisky. This is no doubt definitely due to this being a refill cask that is probably on its third time around the block aging delicious whisky just for you.
Nose:     Peaches and Cream on a pavlova base. No wonder I liked this whisky. Flavors from my childhood. Cindy got Creme Brulee which is her absolute favorite dessert so when we looked up from the wee sample bottle on a wild and wet day in Scotland and gazed deeply into each others eyes we knew straight away that this was going to be our first Secret Spirits whisky.
Palate:     Very slightly sweet and creamy palate here bursting out all over with notes of honeysuckle and French vanilla.
Finish:     58.1 leaves a little lingering tingle to let you know its up there but does not take away from the whisky. The finish takes on an earthier note with a hint of aromatic bitters that I like a lot and actually has me craving another sip to load up the sweetness again. Dying hints of watermelon salad with just a touch of mint.
This is one unique whisky with a lot of interesting layers. So fun to find this our first time out looking to bottle our own selection. I didn’t play with water but I’m sure it would be interesting to give it a little splash.
Anyone like to take a guess at the distillery in question here? We of course could have and will in the future bottle whiskies with the distillery name on the label but those that have read some of my blogs in the past will know that sourcing an “undisclosed” cask can be really fun and invariably less expensive than it would otherwise be. Besides Secret Spirits just had to release a Secret Whisky its first time out right.
So thank you for joining in either on your first journey through our Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar or for coming along again. For those that want to reminisce over the Day 1 whisky last year you can look at my blog here and think about that lovely sherried Tomintoul from A.D. Rattray here. Please head on over to Whiskylassie to read Johanne’s take on our Speyside 18 along with all the whiskies from the 3rd edition over the next 24 days.
If you like this whisky and want a full bottle you can email me for a list of retailers that will be carrying it at jonathan@secretspirits.com.
Tomorrow we will be tasting something from those fun people at Wemyss Malts that love to tell you all about the whisky in the title.
Heres to the next 24 days and by the way my calendar is number 736 what’s yours?
Jonathan – taster of secrets