Drop of Whisky

I like whisky, you like whisky, we all like whisky

Eden Mill Distillery

Eden Mill make Premium Scottish Gin in Scotland for the world of gin lovers to enjoy. Traditionally made by hand using copper pot stills, our gin is proudly crafted by our distillers who have a cultural desire to innovate and tingle the taste buds. Perfect as all-year round gin gifts or simply to enjoy yourself or with friends. We’re immersed in our processes. No vast, computerised gin production tanks at Eden Mill. Because of this, every day we create and tinker – we can touch, smell, and taste. We source ethically and locally from the verdant fields and wild coasts of Scotland. Our gin recipes are punchy and exciting. The moment you taste our gin; you know you’ve never tasted anything like it before.

We are the essence of craft.

Craft is becoming ever more popular as a term. It is a word that can be all too easy to dismiss or glaze over. It has no legal definition in our industry. But make no mistake… we are thoroughbred craft distillers – undoubtedly

– We are experts in our field and because we are hands on with our gin distillation from conception to consumption
– One minute we are sommeliers tasting everything in our midst and the next we are mad scientists creating timesaving crazy contraptions and
– Because sometimes it’s about exact measurements and sometimes it’s about intuition and a good feeling

Our gins are craft

– Because we do not cut corners when it comes to flavor
– They are made with care, passion and laughter
– We love what we do

So much goes into what we do, with every sip of Eden Mill gin you taste and smell something new; another layer of complexity – because we take a craft approach, what we do is complex.

Gin lovers and their tastes

Craft distilleries are not new. There is a high demand for great quality gin in the UK and in producing tastes and flavours our fans love, drop of whisky we stay current and in tune with what gin lovers across the UK and Europe are looking for. This is particularly true when we look at cocktail bars and the creative way gin cocktails can be made, garnished and presented. Many of these are true works of art and focus on craft gin. The traditional gin & tonic is still a staple drink but creative bartenders have strayed way beyond tradition to offer the best of available gins and we’re delighted that Eden Mill gin is highly respected in these circles.

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Ardbeg Whisky Distillery

Tours through Ardbeg Distillery are available Monday to Friday all year round plus weekends during summer. Tours are free but pre-booking is advisable.

Ardbeg’s story
Some of the smokiest whiskies in the world are produced at Ardbeg. These are internationally reknowned as some of the best examples of the smoky style. The distillery is situated on the small but productive island of Islay which is the home of smoky whisky in Scotland. Although Ardbeg produce only 1 million litres of whisky a year, they have numerous distillery and independently bottled releases available. Ardbeg is now considered one of the world’s most innovative distilleries for not only their whisky, but also for their unique marketing and advertising style. Their website is one of the best distillery sites around and is worth a visit.

Ardbeg’s history
Built in 1815, Ardbeg has been closed down on a number of occasions only to be reopened by new owners each time. On the first occasion the distillery was mothballed in 1981. Mothballing is the process whereby a distillery ceases production but everything remains intact, ready to start up again. Small scale production began again in 1989 and stock from the following year can still be found in some of the current release whiskies.

The distillery closed again in July 1996 for a thankfully short time and was re-opened in June 1997 by Glenmorangie PLC, whisky tasting who then proceeded to spend over £1.4 million renovating the distillery back to pristine condition. Glenmorangie PLC was in turn taken over by drinks giant Moet Hennessy shortly thereafter. The distillery continues to grow and will shortly have a new warehouse facility on the island allowing all whisky produced to be stored on the island for the first time in its history. Up to this time some whisky has been matured on mainland Scotland due to lack of space.

– Ardbeg 10 years old
– Golden brown whisky with lots of barbeque smoke and peat aromas rounded off by sweet sugar and vanilla.
– click for tasting notes

– Ardbeg Corryvreckan
– Ardbeg’s characteristic peatiness is matched by hot fiery chilli spice. Cask strength.
– click for tasting notes

– Ardbeg Airigh Nam Beist
– Named after a beast that used to terrorise local villagers, this is a 16 years old whisky that is powerfully smoky with meaty, citrus and toasted nutty notes.
– click for tasting notes

– Ardbeg Blasda
– ‘Blasda’ means ‘delicious and tasty’ in Gaelic. Smoky and peaty but lighter and fresher than normally expected from an Islay malt. Limited release.
– click for tasting notes

– Ardbeg Renaissance
– Full bodied, creamy, warming and intense. Peat and smoke and underneath this is a malty sweetness, some vanilla and a hint of toffee or caramel. Cask strength.
– click for tasting notes

– Ardbeg Still Young
– A cask strength whisky from Ardbeg’s ‘Young’ series. This is seven years of age with youthful mossy smokiness, tangy sweetness and grassy notes.
– click for tasting notes

– Ardbeg Supernova
– The smokiest and most heavily peated whisky ever released. Powerful bonfire smoke that is peppery and spicy with vanilla and grassy sweetness underneath. A limited release.

Kingsbarns new Spirit

Kingsbarns started distilling earlier this year and thus the clock started ticking on the countdown for their first official whisky. A milestone for any distillery, the release of their small batch handcrafted new make spirit provides some clues as to the intended characteristics of the whisky that awaits.

I’ve been fortunate to visit the distillery on a couple of occasions as I live in Fife and its a fine drive on the right day along the coastline to the sleepy village of Kingsbarns. Therefore when this new make was announced I was eager to purchase a couple of bottles, noting the alcohol strength of 63.5%, which is what goes exactly into the casks. Highland Park for whatever reason water down their new make to 50% before selling this at the distillery.

It’s been a whirlwind 12 months for the Fife distilling community as Eden Mill located on the opposite side of St Andrews released a trio of limited edition new make spirits. These were part of that important experimentation when the distillery team decide on their new make characteristics and get to grips with the newly installed stills. Their Robert Burns Night new make was particularly enjoyable and I’ll watch all these Fife distilleries with interest including the old fella of the bunch i.e. Daftmill.

The French use the word ‘terroir’ to encapsulate the environment in which a wine is produced, its characteristics derived from the climate and ingredients. This is what the Kingsbarns new make symbolises consisting of malted Fife barley and water from an aquifer 100m below the distillery.

Distillery: Kingsbarns
Distilled: 2015
Age: this is ground zero in whisky terms i.e. zero
Strength: 63.5% alc
Price: £14.95 (200ml) from the distillery

Colour: gelatin sheet

On the nose: a mineral quality to this with limestone chalk and what reminds me of banana chips. A sugary sweetness that takes me back to making tablet over the stove, which I must do again soon. Juicy pears and polo mints combine well for a clean linen fresh presentation.

In the mouth: at 63.5% its the alcohol that dominates with pears, white grapes and apples fighting to come through. With water the palate opens up and vanilla arrives, the malt is noticeable and there’s a real clean freshness with a little lime.

This is a tasty new make and one that suggests Kingsbarns is going for a juicy, light and approachable whisky. We’ll hopefully find out sometime in 2018 how the final product turns out.

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Glendullan 12, 15, And 18 Years Old

My first experience with the Singleton of Glendullan whisky line, back in 2008, seems remarkably simplistic now. The Singleton line actually includes three distilleries, not just the Speyside-based Glendullan, all made by the Singleton family, but Glendullan seems to have the focus. To that end, the original Glendullan, which started with only a the 12 year old release, is now expanding, with a 15 year old and 18 year old expression coming to the U.S. for the first time.

We got all three for review, including a fresh bottle of Glendullan 12, to compare to our 2008 tasting notes. All are aged “primarily in bourbon casks” and are bottled at 80 proof.

The Singleton of Glendullan 12 Years Old (2017) – Malty with cereal notes and plenty of alcoholic burn on the nose, this is a starter Scotch if ever there was one. On the palate, ample apple, banana, and lemon peel give the otherwise grainy whisky some fruity nuance, as well as imbuing the malty core with additional notes of almond and baking spice. Otherwise, drop of whisky the finish tends toward some medicinal character. A bit dull on the whole. B- / $35

The Singleton of Glendullan 15 Years Old – Three extra years finds this whisky with more fruit on the nose, especially apple and banana again, plus some hints of coconut. That ethanol burn endures underneath, but it’s downplayed in comparison to the hot hot heat of the 12 year old. The palate is bolder here than on the 12, its roundness busting out notes of applesauce, caramel, vanilla syrup, and some cola notes. Again the almond makes an appearance, whisky tasting enduring on the finish with some roasted grain notes. A vast improvement over the 12 year old. B+/ $50

The Singleton of Glendullan 18 Years Old – New layers of flavor are revealed in the 18 year old, namely chocolate, which pairs beautifully with that banana and almond, which are common threads throughout the Glendullan experience. A sweeter expression than the 12 and 15, there are notes here of toasted marshmallow and honeycomb, with a gentle scorched wood — not quite smoky — element that wafts in and out. Here the finish ends squarely on the almond notes, a nutty and lasting character that is, surprisingly, the most gentle conclusion of all the whiskies in this range. A great price for an 18 year old spirit.

Glenfarclas 12 Year Old

Glenfarclas, “valley of the green grass,” is a Speyside whisky distillery in Ballindalloch, the same Ballindalloch that hosts one of the newest distilleries in Scotland. In contrast to the new outfit on the Ballindalloch estate, the Glenfarclas distillery was first granted a license in 1836. What is more, and in contrast to Scottish distilleries in general, since 1865 Glenfarclas has been owned and managed by just one family, the Grants of Glenfarclas. To this day, Glenfarclas is one of only a few distilleries in Scotland to remain family-owned and -managed.

Glenfarclas produces a traditional Highland malt with a heavy sherry influence (i.e. it’s a sherry bomb) that some compare favorably to fan favorites like The Macallan. The distillery has approximately 50,000 casks maturing on site, with stock from every year from 1952 to the present. In my mind, the Grant family’s careful cultivation of the distillery and its whisky stock is part of why they have been able to stay independent for so long, because that cultivation has led to some excellent whisky.

The Scotch
Color: Dull copper

Nose: At 43% ABV, this whisky’s aroma carries chocolate, banana, and raisins.

Taste: Creamy dark chocolate, raisins, and old caramel. The core taste doesn’t last long, as this whisky comes at you with more of a quick, tasty beginning, a short middle, and a long finish. The mouthfeel is slightly dry and a little astringent.

The addition of water seems to add a little mint to the proceedings, while increasing the astringency and pumping up the spiciness, something I did not expect. It also evens out the soft middle, so that the taste is more consistent throughout.

Finish: Long with a muted and slightly astringent sweetness made of raisins, a slight nuttiness and hints of pipe tobacco.

If you love sherry bomb whiskies, you need to get to know Glenfarclas. Their offerings are better priced that The Macallan, but with just as much sherry. The younger iterations can be a little thin compared to their older siblings, but Glenfarclas is well priced for what it offers, especially as you go up in age.

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Touring the Speyside distilleries

This two part series comes from reader Wayne, who is a staple in our burgeoning Facebook Group. He shares with us his experience touring several Scotch whisky distilleries this past summer. I’ll sprinkle in a few of my thoughts through but this is an awesome recap with some amazing pictures guaranteed to make you jealous! Part two will be published next Monday.

We’ve wanted to do a tour of Ireland / Scotland for a long time, so my wife and I decided it would be a great present to give to each other for our 30th anniversary. The Ireland part was for her – the Scotland part was for me!

Arrival in Edinburgh

For the Scotland portion of the trip, we flew in to Edinburgh on a Sunday afternoon. Before I start talking about our distillery visits, I have to say, Edinburgh was the COOLEST city we’ve ever visited, and we felt a little dopey for not scheduling more time to really enjoy the city.

We also happened to hit it, totally coincidentally during the Fringe Festival, which was a lot like Mardi Gras! What fun!

Okay, enough of that. We engaged a tour service (Exclusive Scottish Visits) and our driver, John Harbour picked us up on Monday morning to start our drive up to Speyside. We were scheduled to be there for 4 days, and it was suggested that we visit distilleries in one region, which was fine with me.

Speyside is where Balvenie is, so that was an easy, if not automatic choice for me! Along the way, our driver called our attention to many points of interest we would have missed had we chosen to drive ourselves.

Edradour

It’s a 3-hour drive to Speyside from Edinburgh, so our first stop was to Edradour in the early afternoon. This is the smallest distillery in Scotland – a statistic they are actually very proud of. Nevertheless, the tour group there was surprisingly large – maybe 12 people.

They bring in the barley but do have a malting barn. They (as every distillery claims to) use water from a nearby mountain spring. The tour guide was extremely friendly and went to lengths to explain their process. After seeing the fermenting process and then the stills, we moved on to the tasting.

Unfortunately, many of the areas at the distilleries are designated as “no pictures allowed” places. They say it’s a safety issue in that either the very fine powder in the air, or the alcohol in the air can explode with the right kind of spark.

That can ruin your whole day!

For a small distillery, they offer a TON of different scotches, AND a scotch-based cream liquor, which we did taste… it was actually quite good!

We also tasted a 10-year scotch aged in Barolo Wine casks. That was different, and I didn’t like it as much as the 8-year regular oak-aged selection we had. Either way, it was evident that their whiskies are of very high quality, but I’d be hard-pressed to say they had a characteristic “Edradour flavor.”

A point of interest was the casks we saw there with other distillery names on them. Apparently the whisky industry in Scotland is VERY incestuous… everybody seems to share with everybody else.

Dalwhinnie

A quick stop for lunch, and we were off to Dalwhinnie, where, because of the late hour of the day, we opted for a tasting instead of a full tour.

Dalwhinnie’s scotches are interesting, with a notably higher level of smoke than the other Speyside choices and they do a really interesting thing by pairing the scotches you can taste with an accompanying piece of “matched” chocolate. It was a nice touch and they were on the mark with which chocolate worked well with each scotch.

As you‘d expect, the 15-year and the sherry-cask have that same distinction from each other, with the more prominent notes of vanilla being in the 15-year and the more prominent notes of spices being in the sherry cask stuff.

An interesting footnote here, the entire Scottish highlands appears to be covered with heather (purple) and as the plants die each year, the roots of the plant compress into the soil, making the peat they use in the drying process.

This is different from the peat used in Islay, which is made up of different vegetation leading to the intensely smoky flavor those scotches have. When Dalwhinnie describes their flavors as including hints of heather-honey, that’s why!

Jim: I did not know that! I always wondered how heather and “heather-honey” got into a spirit… funny enough, even if I knew, I probably still couldn’t pick it out!

Our hotel that night was the Archiestown Hotel, in… well… Archiestown. I described it as being on the Scottish map of Nowhere, directly in the middle. It was a tremendous pleasant surprise.

A very small place – maybe 12 rooms – the opportunity for personal service was great and oh boy, did they ever do that! It was that night, as I went to the bar to see what scotches were available that I was first informed that they don’t call it “scotch” over there – its whisky!

Anyway, they had about 100 “whiskys” to choose from so dinner was enjoyable!

This is in chronological order, so I’m inserting a personal note here… we woke up Tuesday morning to a phone call alerting us to the passing of my wife’s father. After realizing we couldn’t get back to the airport early enough to fly home that day, we had a decision to make – to drive back to Edinburgh and sit out the day in the hotel or to finish up Tuesday’s tours, and fly home the next day. We decided to do the tours, but this cut our Scotland from 4 days to two. It’s okay – the next two visits were really great!

Speyside Cooperage

First up was the Speyside Cooperage.

Jim: I didn’t learn this until I went to Scotland and did some tours but a Cooper is someone who makes “barrels” (of varying sizes) and a Cooperage is where a Cooper does his work.

I gotta tell ya, it was fascinating to see how casks are built.

I never expected that the job was done with no caulking, glue, screws or nails. Those damn pieces of wood are cut precisely enough so that when the metal bands that hold the cask together, they don’t leak! It was also fascinating to realize how much the cask contributes to the final taste of the whisky. The kind of wood (the most preferred is American Oak) the previous contents of the cask (everything from rum to sherry to port wine to even Barolo wine) and the conditioning of the inside of the cask with flames.

These guys are a special kind of craftsmen, and they have to be good because they get quality 100% checked, but they also have to be fast as they get paid by the piece!

Cardhu

After that it was on to Cardhu. This distillery was originally owned by a woman, and these were lovely people. The tour was interesting – much like the Edradour tour.

They made an important point about the shape of their stills. The long necks of stills make a bend at the top, which varies off of an approximate right angle. This bend in the top of the still will affect the flavor and the top of Cardhu’s stills go decidedly upwards. This is one of the factors that lends to their decidedly light floral flavor.

THIS was the whisky product that appealed most to my wife, and would be a lovely desert whisky!

An interesting footnote, for all the distilleries, is that all whiskys that come out of the still are clear – it is the cask that gives scotch the amber color.

The distilled spirits also flow from the stills into a locked collection device, some of which were named “Wines Safe”. It was explained that the lock is needed because the measurement of the flow through that device is how the distilleries get taxed. Only one or two people in the distillery, and tax officials, are authorized to open it. They also measure the ABV in here and “mix” the flow of the distilled spirits from the multiple stills to maintain a consistent strength to the raw product.

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Cardhu Country House

Drag and zoom the map below to your desired level of detail. You can also click on the pointer to get driving directions from anywhere in the UK to Cardhu Country House.

Directions by Car –

From Aberdeen, take the A96 northbound to Inverness toward Huntly and Keith. At Keith take the A95 to Craigellachie, from Craigellachie turn right onto A95 towards Elgin and then take the B9102 for Knockando, passing Macallan, for six miles. Continue through Archiestown and turn right after another two miles following brown “Whisky Trail” signs to Cardhu Distillery. Just before the distillery take the left turn towards Knockando church follow the road turning left again to the church and the house is situated just opposite.

From Inverness, take the A96 eastbound to Forres. Turn right at the roundabout into Forres and follow the “Whisky Trail” signs leaving Forres on the B9010. After approx 6 miles turn right on Pitchaish following Cardhu distillery signs. When reaching B9102 at Upper Knockando turn left, follow road for approx half a mile, turn left following brown “Whisky Trail” signs to Cardhu Distillery. Just before the distillery take the left turn towards Knockando Church follow the road turning left again to the church and the house is situated just opposite

From The South, leave the A9 north of Aviemore and take the A95 and follow it through Ballindalloch to Marypark, and then turn left to Knockando (follow brown “Whisky Trail” signs for Cardhu distillery – right onto B9102 just over the river Spey bridge). After four miles you will pass through Upper Knockando. Turn left after half a mile into Cardhu following distillery signs. Just before the distillery take the left turn towards Knockando Church follow the road turning left again to the church and the house is situated just opposite.

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Lagavulin Distillery

Once there, you will join the legendary Warehouse Tasting before finishing off with a distillery tour. You will also recieve a special goodie bag to take home with you. Pick up approx. 9am. Depart Lagavulin approx 16.15. Please note, this experience is only available on selected days. We strongly recommend booking to avoid any disappointment. For health & safety reasons, children under 8 years old are not permitted in the production areas of the distillery. Disabled persons including those with guide dogs and other assistance dogs are welcome at our distillery visitor centre. The unique layout of each distillery location and visitor centre means that the reasonable adjustments we make at each distillery may vary. If you are a guide dog assisted person we ask you to book your visit in advance highlighting your specific requirements so that we can endeavour to deliver a positive visitor experience. Plane:- From Islay Airport follow the road to Port Ellen then another few miles towards Ardbeg you will find Lagavulin. Lagavulin Distillery is located between neighbour distilleries – Ardbeg & Laphroaig. Ferry:- From Port Ellen travel towards Lagavulin via road or new walk/ cycle path taking you up to the three southern distilleries. Bus:- Islay Coaches (Mundell’s) have buses running throughout the day. However, please note that buses DO NOT run on Sunday’s at any point throughout the year.

One of the most popular and critically acclaimed single malt scotch brands (together no small feat in such a highly competitive category), The Balvenie entices and appeases lovers of Speyside whisky. The winning recipe here is a portfolio of complex spirits, each enveloped in mellow, sweet and delectable sensory package. The experience is as deep as you want it to be, with the single malts easy enough for beginners and considered enough for collectors. As we enter year two of our September Scotch profile series—dedicating quality time to well-produced whiskies—the Balvenie happened to make a rather startling announcement considering its origin region. The brand has released two new peated spirits as part of its core collection, very uncommon for the generally light and sweet whisky-producing Speyside area. There’s The Balvenie Peated Triple Cask (introduced in June, and only available in global travel retail) and The Balvenie Peat Week Aged 14 Years, a 2002 edition. Rather than a percussive palate boom, as one often associates with peat, the Balvenie’s peated tipples gently roll forward, make their way around the mouth and then linger politely at the finish.

40, things just got a lot more interesting for Baker’s. 15 less. It becomes a lot harder to justify Baker’s all of a sudden. If someone wants a bold flavorful sip with a similar, yet also slightly different flavor profile, you have Knob Creek. If one wants an age stated bourbon that’s high proofed, you have Old Ezra 7 Year Barrel Strength. Both come in cheaper than Baker’s and deliver satisfactory drinking experiences. A well balanced sip in a bottle that finds itself at a crossroads in today’s marketplace. Baker’s delivers an above average sip, yet one that seems like the odd man out in the Small Batch Collection. If you’re a fan of the other bottles in the collection, it’s worth seeking out a bottle. If, however, you haven’t had any of the Small Batch Collection yet, you may want to seek out a bottle of one of the other three depending on your proof tolerance. In a world of disappearing age statements, Baker’s 7 year statement may help it stand out, however I’m not sure too many people would notice if it went away. Ironically, the same might be said for Baker’s Bourbon itself as it is so easily overshadowed by its more well known siblings.

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Buchanan’s whisky

The Buchanan’s whisky brand is one of the famous old names of the Scotch whisky industry. It is part of Diageo’s extensive blended whisky range, which totals around 80 different brands, and has a particular stronghold in the South America. Within this, the main markets are Argentina, Brazil, Columbia, Mexico and Venezuela. It is also the fastest growing Scotch whisky brand in the USA, as the Hispanic population are introducing it from the established markets.

The brand was established by a man named James Buchanan. He was actually born in Canada but had Scottish parents, who returned to the UK shortly after he was born. Buchanan spent his early working life in the grain business before moving to London as a whisky salesman. He soon noticed that there was room in the market for a new, affordable whisky and set about creating it himself. The Buchanan Blend appeared shortly after and in 1884 he set up James Buchanan & Co.

The blend was a huge success and made him a very rich man, who he also gained a Royal Warrant from Queen Victoria to supply his whisky to the Royal Household. The company joined the Distillers Company Limited in 1925, which through time has evolved in to Diageo. Of particular interest is the question of how Buchanan’s whisky became so popular in South America. Apparently, James Buchanan traveled to the region often in order to buy race horses and much as he had done in London, he spotted an untapped market for his product. The rest is history, as they say …

The Buchanan’s whisky range consists of three whiskies, two of which are reviewed below. These are the 12 years old De Luxe, the 18 years old Special Reserve and the 21 years old Red Seal. In total the brand sells around 1.5 million cases per year, which puts it in fourth place on Diageo’s best sellers list behind Johnnie Walker, J&B and Bell’s. The De Luxe is bottled at 43% ABV and costs around £35 in the UK (we are not sure of the relative costs in South America). The Special Reserve and Red Seal are both bottled at 40% ABV and cost around the £70 and £150 mark respectively.

Our tasting notes – 12 years old De Luxe
The colour is a warm golden amber and the nose is mellow, but with plenty of sugary caramel aromas. These are joined by a distinct hit of citrus peel which has elements of lemon, orange and tangerine. There is also a hint of chocolate and peat smoke.

On the palate, there is again plenty of immediate sweetness – think of honey, chocolate and toffee – plus some creamy, soft vanilla and fresh green apple. The orange-like tang is not as prominent but is in the background, along with faint hint of peat smoke. The finish is much drier than expected, although some sweetness lingers with some lovely tobacco-like smoke. This smoke is accentuated with the addition of a few drops of water.

Our tasting notes – 18 years old Special Reserve
This whisky is dark amber in colour and the nose is packed with contrasting aromas. There is plenty of wood spice (especially cinnamon and nutmeg), along with vanilla, honey, dried fruits (think of prunes and raisins) and a hint of blackcurrant and orange zest.

On the palate, the orange zest is much more prominent and is joined by notes of sweet caramel, vanilla, honey and toasted almonds. Further depth and complexity are added by hints of tobacco-like smoke, chocolate and coffee grounds. The finish is soft, sweet and of decent length, with some burnt sugar and wood spice notes coming through later. There is also a hint of orange again, although this is more reminiscent of marmalade now.

What’s the verdict?
Both of these Buchanan’s are lovely, with the 12 years old being the lighter of the two and the 18 years old showing richer and darker notes. Both have good depth and complexity. As with many of Diageo’s blends we had never had the opportunity to try these due to the distribution pattern. Thankfully, we finally got to sample them at a recent event and both were enjoyable. We recommend trying Buchanan’s when you are in any of the countries listed above …

Trying the Scotch Whisky Experience

Once you arrive, you are greeted by a pretty and picturesque scene: it’s safe to say that Glenkinchie is a beautiful and quaint looking distillery and it sets the scene for the rest of the tour. To start, you have roughly 20 minutes in the museum before you spend some time going through the production areas of the distillery itself. You are then met with your guide who then spends the next half an hour guiding you through the distillery itself and explaining in depth into how Glenkinchie is made. We started off , of course, with the malting and where the distillery’s malted barley comes from. In the past, like most distilleries Glenkinchie had their own floor maltings but that is no longer the case (in fact, their old floor maltings are now the museum where we started our tour). You then move on to the processes of milling, mashing and fermentation whilst being shown Glenkinchie’s Lauter mash tuns and wooden washbacks. The most impressive part of the tour though is certainly Glenkinchie’s two copper pot stills which just happen to be the biggest on mainland Scotland, and which stand out as a highlight of the tour. After that it was time for a quick view of their earth floor dunnage warehouse before sampling some of the final product, Glenkinchie 12 years old, at the bar, alongside many other whiskies from Diageo’s distilleries for comparison. Glenkinchie offers a fantastic tour for any whisky aficionado but it also caters towards any amateurs who wish to know more about Scotch whisky. Find out more about the Classic Malts selection, and about booking a distillery tour at Glenkinchie here. Only in the city for a short break? Come and find us at the Scotch Whisky Experience! Take a whisky tour here in Edinburgh and explore the different whisky producing regions of Scotland from the comfort of our central location.

Lagavulin was jointly owned by the Graham family and James Logan Mackie & Co, a partner in which was Peter Mackie who went on to build the Craigellachie Distillery and establish the White Horse brand. As an experiment Mackie set up the Malt Mill Distillery in 1908 within Lagavulin itself, and aim being to recreate old traditional working methods. The kiln had a haircloth floor and was heated by open chauffers fired entirely with peat. Malt Mill had its own washbacks but shared Lagavulin’s mash tun, and heather was added to the mash (Mackie believed this to be the original practice). The two pear-shaped stills were the same as those at Laphroaig. Mackie even poached Laphroaig’s brewer to work on his new venture. However, if he was secretly trying to duplicate Laphroaig’s product (Lagavulin lost the agency for Laphroaig in 1907) the experiment was a failure. Mackie’s family line ended in 1917 when his son James was killed outside Jerusalem, but Malt Mill survived until 1962, its maltings now converted into Lagavulin’s visitor centre.

Aged in refill and rejuvenated American oak hogsheads and ex-bodega European oak butts. Nose: Without peat to mask any notes, toffee overpowers the dram. Baking spices like cinnamon and nutmeg linger, while citrus and spun sugar pop in at the end. Palate: Heavy with cereal and sawdust. Very much like a spiced cake with baking spices, ginger, and cacao nib. The char from the barrel provides a smokey tar flavor. Final Thoughts: This whisky is a solid winner in my book. Vital Stats: 43.2% ABV. Lowland single grain scotch aged in refill American oak hogsheads. Nose: Funky like some rice whiskies or apple cider vinegar; very pungent. 2 pencil during a test. The mouthfeel is extremely soft. Just the faintest bit of sweetness with a slice of orange. Final Thoughts: I’d prefer not to sniff this dram. Tasting isn’t much better until the finish with the bit of orange. I don’t know if it’s a case of older doesn’t always mean better, or the single grain used that gives this whisky its funk.

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A 12 year Glenkinchie

So my “green apple” might be your “kiwi”. I know they say Lowland malts are “light”. This is the only one I’ve tried, but from what I gather it’s not a triple-distilled malt (like Auchentoshan, which is an Irish whiskey produced in Scotland, nothing wrong with that). Comparing it to unpeated Highlands and Speysiders I wouldn’t call it light, at least not like the much maligned light beers. It’s fresh but no less substance than Glenmorangie, Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, Old Pulteney (perhaps on par with Old Pulteney in terms of interest). It’s not syrupy like Aberlour or Macallan, has its own pleasant character. FWIW I rarely think of different malts as “better” or “worse”, I only compare them to contrast their features. There are very few I didn’t like (Singleton of Glendullan 12). And I like them all – the light bourbon-cask malts like Glenmo10, the syrupy sherry monsters and the peaty Islay bruisers, all depends on the mood, weather and company. Sometimes I even taste bottom shelf blends and I’ve found a few that surprised me, though single malt will always be my preference. I recommend this malt on its own, however it’s also a good way to see if you might enjoy peat. Tasting an Islay bruiser like Laphroaig, Ardbeg or Lagavulin might scare you off (or you might become an instant addict). Instead try this or Glen Moray Peated or Highland Park. The peat is very tame but enough to get you acclimated to it.

Like a previous review says, this is light years ahead of any Jack Daniels, and at only a few dollars more a bottle (where I live). This is a spirit my cabinet will never be without. Light years ahead of any Jack Daniels I have tasted. Nice warming feeling with plenty of taste! Whiskey doesn’t get much better than this. Balanced sweetness. A whiskey man’s whiskey. Quite pleasant, creamy, not complicated. A nice introduction to bourbon. So I have to be honest. I gave up on whiskey after only having one type (i know i’m a horrible person) which was Jack Daniels. I had Jack and I absolutely hated it I thought it was far too bitter and it tasted as though someone had shoved wet woodchips down my throat. Well we had a Firefly party last night at our local bar (Firefly is a western tv show) and I saw this Frontier whiskey sitting on the bar. Well I said what the hell it’s just for the party and I tried some on the rocks.

These are the first two whiskies on the market that have been made from 100% peated barley at the distillery. And while both have good stories, the Peat Week stands out—on the tongue, for its sweetness and elsewhere for its inspiration story. Once a year since 2002, always during the distillery’s maintenance period, The Balvenie’s distillery manager (at the time) Ian Miller would run peated barley through the distillation process. It could only be done during this one week, at this one time of year, because the peat scent is so strong and pervasive it would impact all other production. This week was quite literally known as Peat Week. 14 years later, that 2002 spirit was bottled and now named after the week during which it’s produced. It was aged solely in American Oak casks and hits the market at a strong 48.3% ABV. But why even explore peat at a brand known for smooth, sweet spirits? Gemma Paterson, the Balvenie’s Brand Ambassador, explains that it’s about “harking back to the old way whisky was made. Most malts produced in Scotland were heavily peated because peat is—and was—a fuel source.

There aren’t many distilleries that have universal appeal. Some people adore rich, sherried whiskies; other people despise them. Some love lean, medicinal styles; others run a mile. But there is one whisky distillery that gets praise from all quarters: Lagavulin. Part of the big-hitting trio of distilleries on Islay’s southern coast, Lagavulin celebrates its 200th anniversary this year, and is about to launch a special limited-edition bottling: Lagavulin 8 Year Old. We were lucky enough to try a sneak preview of the whisky before it goes on sale in a few weeks’ time – and it didn’t disappoint. Lagavulin’s distillery manager Georgie Crawford told us: ‘I grew up in a pub in Port Ellen, and I was always of the opinion that Lagavulin was the premium single malt. When I started out, I wanted to be able to drink Lagavulin, but I had this perception that it was too powerful and smoky, so I started with Rosebank, then went on to Mortlach and Dailuaine. ‘With this new 8 Year Old, we were trying to create something as a tribute to Alfred Barnard, and I think the team has absolutely knocked it out of the park. It doesn’t have the big bite of the 12 Year Old; it’s more refined. I find it challenging and serene at the same time. So, how does it taste? Nose: Cracked black pepper and aromatic woodsmoke at first, then fresh notes of orange and lemon peel. Appealing aromas of bonfires, hot shells and a touch of smoked meat. A little water brings out aromas of peach and green apple. Palate: More woodsmoke, plus crunchy oatmeal and honeyed fruit. Rich mouthfeel, with notes of tobacco, bonfire embers and a peppery, spicy note.

Palate: At first it’s salty and smoky, like taking in the sea spray from the deck of an old diesel-powered ferry. Then things take a more savory turn—charred meat, grilled nectarines, chili powder—that takes things in a culinary direction. Vital Stats: 51.2%, no age statement. Appearance: Light mid gold. Nose: Shy and nectar-like. Marzipan croissant, cheese Danish, brioche, plus freshly waxed hardwood floor and clean wool sweater. Creamy, toasty, strange, and a bit tingly in the nose. Palate: Extremely well integrated, with a very crescendo-like feel. Rich papaya, mango, and banana linger on the palate, plus yeated bread and caneles. There’s a touch of very gentle milk chocolate and a whisper of elderflower. The finish is endless, really feeling as if it clings to your tongue. Water brings out more smoky and maritime notes, plus milky white corn and marzipan. Nose: Classic Lagavulin here. Banana and dried mango, puffs of wet smoke, sandalwood, incense, rich malt syrup, and that damp wool sweater you wore to a barbecue and left wadded up in your trunk. Palate: Very sweet and a little earthy up front, with some dried banana, strong smoke, clove, burnt caramel, salty dark caramel, and lots of saline maritime goodness, with mint, cannabis, and lanolin peeking through. The long finish is oddly cooling and refreshing, with spearmint, eucalyptus, ash, and salt.

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A new Balvenie ?

Perhaps no one person’s legacy is as entwined with that of a whisky distillery as David C. Stewart and the Balvenie. The distillery was founded in 1892 by William Grant, who a few years earlier had built the neighboring Glenfiddich distillery. But the Balvenie’s history as we know it really begins in 1962, when Stewart began his employment there. 55 years later, Stewart, known as malt master by the brand since 1974 and as MBE (Member of the British Empire) by the Queen since 2016, shows no signs of slowing down. In recent years, however, he’s begun to consider his legacy. Rather than write an autobiography, he’s decided to curate his career through The DCS Compendium, a collection of 25 exclusive Balvenie whiskies divided into five “chapters,” each with its own theme. The most noteworthy whisky of the group is the oldest Balvenie ever released, a 55-year-old that was distilled in June, 1961 — a year before Stewart’s tenure began. Poor and Shelby, in New York last week for the launch of the Christie’s auction, said they first met at The Balvenie distillery in Dufftown Scotland four years ago when the first chapter was released. The two collectors were among six Americans and six Taiwanese given an opportunity to buy the set, spending a couple days with Stewart and Kirsten Grant Meikle, the great, great granddaughter of the company founder, William Grant. 40,000 apiece. Christie’s is auctioning the fourth chapter—with whiskies distilled in 1971, 1982, 1992, 1999, and 2009— during its current online wine and spirits sale. Included in the sale is a buttercream-colored, handcrafted Morgan V8 roadster, said to be inspired by the famed whisky, and a tour of the distillery. The entire lot, which will be offered until 10 a.m. 80,000 hasn’t been made as of Tuesday morning, Oct. 2., but Christie’s says most bidding for online auctions happens just before the close. The two American collectors are among a network of collectors worldwide who get the right of first refusal to buy special bottles, like the DCS Compendium.

Knob Creek delivers a bold pour in its standard 100 proof bottling and cranks up the proof for its 120 proof single barrel variant. This leaves Baker’s trying to slot in proof-wise between the standard bottling of Knob Creek and the Single Barrel offering. This all brings me back to its age statement. Without it, one really would just scratch their head and ask why they don’t skip this line all together or just bottle another variant of Knob to cover this range. Until that time happens (if ever) the seven years age statement does help differentiate it among its peers. Until recently Baker’s was an overall poor value in the Small Batch Collection. 40 and you could get a bottle of Booker’s for a few dollars more. 100 price point, and Knob no longer contains an age statement, the price becomes a little more justifiable when comparing it amongst its Small Batch Collection brethren. That said, the market isn’t comprised of just Small Batch Collection bottles. Japan, which is the largest market in Asia for Irish whiskey, grew by 15.6 per cent last year, albeit from a low base. William Lavelle, head of the Irish Whiskey Association, said China in particular could be a huge market for its members. “Asia represents one of the biggest engines for growth for Irish whiskey over the next five to 10 years . China is very small but we think that it is ripe for an explosion and we have no reason to believe that it couldn’t see meteoric growth,” he said. Irish whiskey is currently the fastest growing premium spirit in the world with sales growing at more than 10 per cent a year in more than 75 countries. Just under half of all Irish whiskey produced is exported to the United States. Ms Murphy said while there is still plenty of market share to be gained there, the reliance on the US economy is not ideal given how volatile the current political administration there is. “There are huge opportunities but massive threats as well, particularly in China, where copycat brands are an issue,” said Ms Murphy. Mr Lavelle said China was one of more than 30 markets for growth the association has identified, of which many are in Asia. “But because of the rapid increase of the middle classes and their demand for premium products we believe the strong double-digit growth we have seen in Asia over the last three years is just the beginning. We are going to be at this for a long time but the potential rewards are significant,” he added.

Ambitious to a fault, Batch 2 is swinging for the fences. I may be in need of my own tun for mixing any further metaphors. 500 per 750 ml bottle depending on availability. Appearance: Noticeably darker in hue than Batch 2. Deep amber tones with fine, silky legs. Nose: Not as abrasive off the pour as Batch 2. Cinnamon rolls with buttercream icing, mandarin oranges, raisins, followed shortly by a subtle charred oak and the slightest hint of cigar smoke. The layers here segue flawlessly. Loads of cinnamon toast, spiced plums, mandarin orange, golden raisin, ginger candy, and soft wisps of pipe smoke. Though the alcohol by volume on this batch is slightly higher than on Batch 2, the finish is far more rounded and full without providing nearly as much of a bite. Notes of rich toffee lingering long after the swallow. Batch 3 is an absolute ripper from The Balvenie. This dram delivers a fully-formed experience that highlights the flexibility which skillful cask blending offers. There is a level of finesse in Batch 3 that takes the greatest themes of Batch 2 and polishes them to a mirror shine. If this were a regular release, my personal bottle would never run dry. Should you find you are lucky enough to be eyeing this label in person, do yourself a solid and give it a spin. I find it hard to imagine that it could disappoint. Editor’s Note: Samples of these whiskies were provided to us by those behind them. The Whiskey Wash, while appreciative of this, keeps full independent editorial control over this article.

Also a quarter of all our apprentices are female, which is fantastic. The number is increasing and set to continue to do so. Why is Islay so special for Scotch whisky production? Islay Scotch is iconic – the peaty flavours are recognisable worldwide and immediately transport the drinker to Islay. Everything about Islay is special, from the sea, to the people, to the landscape. Islay is a very fertile island; barley and peat naturally live here so it was a natural fit for our ancestors. How did it feel to be involved with Lagavulin’s 200th anniversary special releases and celebrations? I feel so honoured. As well as the 8 Year Old and Lagavulin 1991, we also launched Lagavulin 25 Year Old, which is a special recognition of the contribution the Lagavulin distillery managers have made crafting the whisky over the years. I feel proud to be part of that legacy. The CCC, which assumed authority over the medical market in December, declined to comment on this story. However, other states offer some evidence that suggests medical activity will fall as recreational sales grow. In Colorado, recreational sales started in January 2014 and the number of medical patients has since decreased 23.2 percent to 85,207 in November. Medical marijuana sales, meanwhile, have also fallen while recreational sales have skyrocketed. Shannon Gray, marijuana communications specialist with the Colorado Department of Revenue, confirmed the trends, but declined to speculate why sales were moving in one way and another. “We have seen (recreational) sales increase relatively steadily and medical sales have plateaued,” she said. In Oregon, which has a similar marijuana tax structure to Massachusetts, the relationship between recreational sales and medical activity looks similar to Colorado. Recreational sales first started in 2015 and the number of new and renewed medical card applications has since declined quickly, according to data compiled by the state . Of course, there’s no certainty the same trend will play out in Massachusetts. And because each state establishes its own regulatory framework, it’s possible no two states will look alike in five or 10 years. For many in the industry, there’s confidence the medical market will be doing just fine.

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Variations Among Whiskys Of The Highlands

Whiskey, also spelled whisky, any of several distilled liquors made from a fermented mash of cereal grains and including Scotch, Irish, and Canadian whiskeys and the various whiskeys of the United States. Whiskey is always aged in wooden containers, usually of white oak. The whiskeys produced in each country are distinctive in character because of differences in the method of production, the type and character of the cereal grains, and the quality and character of the water employed. Straight whiskeys are unmixed or mixed only with whiskey from the same distillation period and distiller. Blended whiskeys include mixtures of similar products made by different distillers and in different periods (Scotch) and also whiskeys made with combinations of the neutral whiskeys (which have no distinctive flavour characteristics) and straight whiskeys (United States and Canada). Small quantities of other flavouring materials (e.g., sherry, fruit juices) may be included in blends. Governments may require that some whiskeys be aged under their supervision for specific periods.

They’re bottled at a variety of ABVs, from 40% up to 51.2%. Some have age statements, others don’t. Here’s the good news: You don’t need to be a Game of Thrones superfan to enjoy many of these whiskies. So go ahead. Get your Game of Thrones buddies together, tell everyone to buy a bottle, and then taste them all together. You’ll probably investigate some unexplored territory, and you’ll all definitely learn more about what kind of Scotch you like. Vital Stats: 40%, no age statement. Appearance: Slightly dark gold. Nose: A simple, fruity, modest nose of apple rings, pear, toffee, vanilla, and malt. Palate: The sweet, malt-driven palate brings orange, peanuts, toasted almonds, and the crunchy edges around a well-baked chocolate chip cookie. The finish is short and a bit spirit. Vital Stats: 43%, no age statement. Nose: A very fruity, almost-brandy like nose delivers white grape, pineapple, kiwi, Meyer lemon, and a touch of sherry. Lagavulin celebrated its 200th Anniversary in 2016, with the release of a Lagavulin 8 Years and a Lagavulin 25 Year Old. This limited edition was matured in sherry casks and bottled at cask strength. The name of each distillery manager and the dates of their stewardship have been etched onto each bottle, with the names of founders John Johnston and Archibald Campbell located prominently above their 19 successors. Nose: very nice, it has this sherried, dark profile of the original 21 Years but it’s more elegant. Lots of Pu-Erh teas, charred wood, some dried Cecina beef, hints of dates and toffee underneath. Oranges add freshness. A touch of cedar, leather, cigar leaves and chestnuts. Flax and corroded iron. Belgian chocolate. Plenty of tiny notes, you can spend hours with this nose without getting tired. Mouth: excellent again. Same cigar / tobacco feeling, tarry smoke, but also coastal notes and fresh oranges and sugared mint tea. Hints of fig syrup and cinnamon pastry. Barbecued meats with a honey coating. Immaculate balance of smokiness and sweet sherry. Finish: long, leathery, with dark black tea, burnt grasses and leafy notes. This is a classic Lagavulin, one that goes beyond the Lagavulin 21 Years in my opinion, and comes close to other masterpieces like the Lagavulin 37 Year Old. Originally around € 1100. The Whisky Exchange still has it (at a premium).

The moment of truth showed Chivas wasn’t ready for this. It started well enough. Isaac Brizuela passed to himself on the right wing in the third minute, getting free and putting in a cross that Angel Zaldivar finished off. That sparked a first half in which Chivas had far more energy than their Japanese opponents. The Liga MX club allowed only one shot in the opening 45 minutes. Whether it was a lack of match fitness or simply that Chivas didn’t have the conditioning to hang, the second half shifted the balance in the opposite direction. The Antlers’ second goal, which came from the penalty spot without a visit to the video screen, may be controversial. The other goals can be put down to the defensive issues Chivas have shown all season. Ryota Nagaki’s opener came after both Chivas center backs decided to go after the man with the ball, letting Shoma Doi pick out an unmarked Nagaki with a lofted ball. On the third goal, no one closed down Hiroki Abe, and the teenager sent a gorgeous, curving shot past goalkeeper Raul Gudino. Cardozo told the television cameras after the match. We had to be calm, we’ve talked about that a lot and worked on it a lot, but we lost our heads. I don’t know why because we were in the game. We’re really confident in the players we have.

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Getting to know more about Bourbon

In recent years, bourbon and Tennessee whiskey – sometimes regarded as a different type of spirit but generally meets the legal requirements to be called bourbon – have enjoyed significant growth in popularity. ] Higher-end bourbon and whiskeys experienced the greatest growth. ] Gross supplier revenues (including federal excise tax) for U.S. ] In 2014, it was estimated that U.S. 1 billion, making up the majority of the U.S. ] Major export markets for U.S. ] The largest percentage increases in U.S. Bourbon’s legal definition varies somewhat from country to country, but many trade agreements require the name bourbon to be reserved for products made in the United States. ] Canadian law requires products labeled bourbon to be made in the United States and also to conform to the requirements that apply within the United States. But in countries other than the United States and Canada, products labeled bourbon may not adhere to the same standards. The first Texas Bourbon Shootout is happening on February 1, 2019, in Longview, and that got us thinking. There appears to be a revolution of sorts in Texas bourbon – a change in tastes, if you will. Although revolutionary thinking is nothing new to the Lone Star State, the concept of such a great American product being made as a top-of-the-line beverage, earning top marks in high-end tastings is something we haven’t seen before. And soon there will be a title champ for the Best Bourbon in Texas! To the bourbon aficionado, this isn’t news. To the average person who felt that this was traditionally the “working man’s drink,” it’s surprising. What’s not surprising is the quality and craftsmanship of the bourbon product coming from several top Texas distillers. Texas is going to be to bourbon what California is to wines. Love it or hate it, there’s something special about it… High humidity is really good for aging bourbon.

Over the next 12 months, The Balvenie will highlight the pioneering work of Malt Master David C. Stewart MBE to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its most famous expression – The Balvenie DoubleWood Aged 12 Years. The Speyside distillery is having a year of celebrations to mark the milestone which will pay tribute to not just Stewart but also the many distillery craftsmen and women who made DoubleWood the expression it is today. The Balvenie DoubleWood Aged 12 Years traces its origins back to 1982, when Stewart began experimenting with double-cask maturation, or ‘wood finishing’, by transferring 12-year-old Balvenie into Oloroso Sherry Casks. Now commonplace in whisky production, wood finishing involves taking mature liquid from one cask and finishing it for a number of months in another – a process that further develops its character, flavour and depth. Commenting on the anniversary, Stewart says: “DoubleWood’s creation and subsequent success is an achievement of major personal pride for me. It makes me very happy to know that a technique I helped pioneer all those years ago has now become a common practice in the whisky industry. “But DoubleWood wouldn’t be the whisky it is today without the hard work and dedication of all the distillery craftsmen who have contributed to its development over the years. The year of celebrations includes The Balvenie releasing a limited 25th anniversary edition of DoubleWood 12, with redesigned commemorative packaging containing information about David’s pioneering work. Further 25th anniversary events and activities will continue throughout the year, including the release of three short films looking back and exploring key moments in DoubleWood’s rich history as well as looking ahead to the future of the expression. David C. Stewart MBE appeared on the cover of the May edition of National Liquor News and a further article will appear in the June magazine.

McKechnie’s journey to the role began at the University of the West of Scotland, where she studied Biology and Biological Sciences. After graduating in 2014 with a fascination for the technique and skill behind spirit distillation, McKechnie went on to further study for an Msc in Brewing and Distilling at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, which she graduates this year. “It goes without saying that it’s both an incredible honour and a privilege to be announced as The Balvenie’s new apprentice Malt Master,” McKechnie said. “Over the past four years, the team at William Grant & Sons have provided me with a wealth of support, guidance and knowledge on all things spirits, and I look forward to continuing my journey and development under David’s tutelage. “One thing I really love about nosing and tasting different whiskies is the memories it immediately invokes. I’ll always remember the first sip of The Balvenie whisky I tasted. It was up at the distillery and just the smell alone took me straight back to spending time with my family, in particular with my Grandfather. In her role as apprentice malt master, McKechnie’s main responsibilities will include ensuring excellence and consistency in each bottle of The Balvenie, while also maintaining that spirit housed at the distillery in Dufftown is maturing in the desired direction. She will also play an active role in assisting Stewart with the distillery’s work in whisky innovation, sampling and assessing and launching expressions of the future.

The home of Chivas Regal and location of its visitor centre is located at the Strathisla distillery. ] and is the oldest working distillery in the Highlands of Scotland, located in Speyside. The Strathisla distillery is owned by Chivas Brothers, and Strathisla single malt is one of the malt whiskies used within the Chivas Regal blend. Strathisla single malts have a natural sweetness and help to define the taste of Chivas Regal. Chivas Regal whiskies have performed well at international spirit ratings competitions. In the 1973 film The Exorcist, the character Father Dyer brings this whisky for Father Karass to drink after the death of his mother. In Only Fools And Horses Series 2, episode 3, A Losing Streak, first broadcast in 1982 Delboy asks for a ‘Large Chivas Regal’ at the bar to try and impress Boycie. Kelly Clarkson’s 2007 album My December includes a hidden track entitled “Chivas”. Despite a quiet offseason, Ferretti’s team is blessed with a deep roster and the return of Luis Quinones, who spent the last two-and-half years on loan. Though entering his mid-thirties, striker Andre-Pierre Gignac is showing no signs of slowing down, evidenced by his 14 goals in the Apertura. Santos Laguna, on the other hand, went through its semi-annual ritual of replenishing its roster with under-the-radar signings to replace departed stars. Gone is Jonathan Rodriguez, but former Morelia midfielder Diego Valdes should be a massive arrival, especially for striker Julio Furch, who is coming off a career year. The defending champs have not addressed their only pressing need — signing a striker, and will likely lose 18-year-old wunderkind Diego Lainez to Ajax in the coming days. Last season, Club America rode a horde of unlikely goal scorers who stepped up in key moments to deliver the title, a tendency that history tells us should not be expected again.

Soak the charred cubes starting on brew day in Bourbon or rye of your choosing (mid-shelf). 164 °F (73 °C) strike water to achieve a mash temperature of 150 °F (66 °C). Hold this temperature for at least 60 minutes, then begin mashout process. Collect 7.5 gallons (28 L) of wort. Total boil time is 2 hours. Add hops and licorice root as indicated. You may want to add a yeast nutrient as well to give the yeast an extra boost to help finish fermentation. Chill the wort, aerate, and pitch the yeast. Try to hold fermentation at around 68 °F (20 °C) but be careful that internal fermentation temperatures may be quite a bit higher than ambient temperature. Once fermentation begins to die down, add the candi syrup and chopped vanilla bean. When your beer is ready for transferring into secondary (about 3-4 weeks), pour the liquor off the oak cubes (reserving for cocktails!) and place cubes into the vessel. Rack the beer on top of the cubes. Replace the Golden PromiseTM malt from the all-grain recipe with 6.6 lbs. Maris Otter liquid malt extract, 2 lbs. 2 lbs. (0.9 kg) Golden PromiseTM malt. The remainder of the ingredients remain the same as the all-grain version. Soak the charred cubes starting on brew day in Bourbon or rye of your choosing (mid-shelf). Starting with 2 gallons (8 L) of water, bring temperature to 160 °F (71 °C). In a large grain bag, submerge the crushed Golden PromiseTM, the kiln coffee and Victory malts into the water. Hold the mash temperature at 150 °F (66 °C) for 45 minutes, then stir in the remaining crushed grains while bringing the temperature back to 150 °F (66 °C). Hold this temperature for at least 15 minutes, then wash grains with 1.5 gallons (5.7 L) of hot water. Top off the kettle to 6.5 gallons (24.6 L) and stir in malt extracts while off heat until fully dissolved. Return to heat and bring wort to a boil for 60 minutes. Follow the remainder of the all-grain recipe.

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Get To Know Glenkinchie

Have you ever wanted to travel to Scotland with a likeminded group of whisky lovers? This summer, September 2-9, we’re co-sponsoring our first-ever whisky-themed trip with Customized Journeys, a boutique travel agency specializing in memorable vacations. Interested in coming along? Check out the trip page here. Of the many distilleries we’ll visit on our upcoming trip to Scotland, Glenkinchie is the only Lowland member of the bunch. Located in East Lothian, a district of bucolic rural landscapes and gently rolling fields, it’s a quick trip from the brooding city of Edinburgh, yet a world apart. Glenkinchie Distillery is owned by Diageo. Its malt goes into blends like Haig’s and Dewars, and its flagship 12-year-old single malt (sometimes referred to as the “Edinburgh Malt” for its proximity to the city) is part of Diageo’s Classic Malts of Scotland collection. The Glenkinchie Distillery in its current form was founded in 1880, although Diageo traces its lineage back to 1825, the year the Milton Distillery commenced production on the same site. It’s fantastic over ice and has a drink-ability that’s almost dangerous. This will always be on my shelf. JD is good but this is far more interesting – the complexity of the flavors and how they fit well together is quite impressive. Delicious, smooth. Not too firey, vanilla and blackcurrant, easy to drink straight. Sweet, easy drinking, well priced. Does it get any better? I really do like Bulleit Bourbon, mainly because of it’s high rye content (I do love my rye whiskeys). It’s reasonably priced and very good value for money, and makes a great Old Fashioned. Obviously it’s no W L Weller, Bookers or Pappy, but for a utility Bourbon I think it’s great. Buffalo Trace is possibly my favourite utility Bourbon, but I love the peppery start (it’s that rye again) and smooth finish of the Bulleit. Tried this bourbon for the first time and was very pleased with it.

The pie isn’t overly sweet but is rich in baking spices such as cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. As for The Balvenie Caribbean Cask 14 Year Old it gives light sweetness which brings out a similar sweetness in the pie. The ginger in the pie works well with the pineapple notes found in the Caribbean Rum cask finish, which also adds a peppery spiciness that compliments the abundance of baking spices found in the pie. This is a classic pie (remember American Pie movie?) with classic whisky, pairing the fruit pie and DoubleWood 12 perfectly. The rich stewed fruit notes from the DoubleWood 12 whisky, the apples in pie and the cinnamon in both play nicely together. The sherry cask finish brings the baking spices (nutmeg, cinnamon) and the rich stone fruit flavours (plum, cherry, date) of the DoubleWood 12 to the forefront. These pair with the sweetness of the apples. The room itself is large, but it is home to only a single pair of stills. Having said that, at 30,963 litres, Glenkinchie’s wash still is the largest in Scotland. The spirit safe is given pride of place towards one end of the still room, and if production is under way it is possible to see the clear spirit pouring through the safe. When we visited Glenkinchie it was not possible to visit the bonded warehouse, but plans were in place to add this atmospheric and memorable element of the process to the distillery tours. Either way, you finish your tour in the very nicely done tasting area, where you can sample Glenkinchie or a number of other single malt whiskies from distilleries owned by Diageo. Glenkinchie Distillery has origins dating back at least as far as 1837, when local farmers John and George Rate are recorded as holding a licence to distill whisky at what was known at the time as Glen Kinchie. As has already been mentioned the floor maltings closed in 1968, which gave the space needed for the very early distillery visitor centre that opened the following year. Today Glenkinchie receives some 25,000 visitors each year, and is a great half day out for anyone visiting the Edinburgh area.

Bottled at 41.6% abv, The Balvenie Fifty: Marriage 0962 is made from four American oak casks aged 50 years or over, selected by malt master David Stewart. The expression is a result of Stewart’s “ongoing commitment to experimentation and innovation”. The numbers ‘0962’ relate to the month and year that Stewart joined William Grant & Sons. On the nose, the expression has hints of brown sugar, toffee and spiced ground ginger. The palate has “delicate notes of oak, layered with maple syrup, tangy citrus and a trace of nutmeg, developing into a delicious honeyed sweetness”, and leads to a “long and lingering” finish. Stewart said: “Marrying aged whisky stocks is undoubtedly one of the most challenging, yet enjoyable facets of my role as The Balvenie malt master. “This was a chance to explore the furthest reaches of our precious aged stocks and see how their extremes could be controlled and combined. Despite enjoying more than 55 years in the business, I’m still discovering and learning new things about the science and art of whisky making. “The creation of Marriage 0962 took months of patience to complete, as we’re dealing with liquids with extremes in abv, taste and age. Marriage 0962 is presented in a wooden tube comprised of 50 layers, 48 of walnut and two of brass, created by Scottish wood craftsman Sam Chinnery. It also comes with an etched brass certificate and bottle glorifier, inscribed with the tasting notes of each cask. The design of the glass decanter is a “sleek reinterpretation” of the classic Balvenie bottle shape, which mirrors the distillery’s copper stills. The Balvenie Fifty: Marriage 0962 will launch in the UK in August. Twelve bottles will be available at specialist whisky retailers including Harrods, Hedonism and Selfridges.

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Get To Know Glenkinchie

Have you ever wanted to travel to Scotland with a likeminded group of whisky lovers? This summer, September 2-9, we’re co-sponsoring our first-ever whisky-themed trip with Customized Journeys, a boutique travel agency specializing in memorable vacations. Interested in coming along? Check out the trip page here. Of the many distilleries we’ll visit on our upcoming trip to Scotland, Glenkinchie is the only Lowland member of the bunch. Located in East Lothian, a district of bucolic rural landscapes and gently rolling fields, it’s a quick trip from the brooding city of Edinburgh, yet a world apart. Glenkinchie Distillery is owned by Diageo. Its malt goes into blends like Haig’s and Dewars, and its flagship 12-year-old single malt (sometimes referred to as the “Edinburgh Malt” for its proximity to the city) is part of Diageo’s Classic Malts of Scotland collection. The Glenkinchie Distillery in its current form was founded in 1880, although Diageo traces its lineage back to 1825, the year the Milton Distillery commenced production on the same site. It’s fantastic over ice and has a drink-ability that’s almost dangerous. This will always be on my shelf. JD is good but this is far more interesting – the complexity of the flavors and how they fit well together is quite impressive. Delicious, smooth. Not too firey, vanilla and blackcurrant, easy to drink straight. Sweet, easy drinking, well priced. Does it get any better? I really do like Bulleit Bourbon, mainly because of it’s high rye content (I do love my rye whiskeys). It’s reasonably priced and very good value for money, and makes a great Old Fashioned. Obviously it’s no W L Weller, Bookers or Pappy, but for a utility Bourbon I think it’s great. Buffalo Trace is possibly my favourite utility Bourbon, but I love the peppery start (it’s that rye again) and smooth finish of the Bulleit. Tried this bourbon for the first time and was very pleased with it.

The pie isn’t overly sweet but is rich in baking spices such as cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. As for The Balvenie Caribbean Cask 14 Year Old it gives light sweetness which brings out a similar sweetness in the pie. The ginger in the pie works well with the pineapple notes found in the Caribbean Rum cask finish, which also adds a peppery spiciness that compliments the abundance of baking spices found in the pie. This is a classic pie (remember American Pie movie?) with classic whisky, pairing the fruit pie and DoubleWood 12 perfectly. The rich stewed fruit notes from the DoubleWood 12 whisky, the apples in pie and the cinnamon in both play nicely together. The sherry cask finish brings the baking spices (nutmeg, cinnamon) and the rich stone fruit flavours (plum, cherry, date) of the DoubleWood 12 to the forefront. These pair with the sweetness of the apples. The room itself is large, but it is home to only a single pair of stills. Having said that, at 30,963 litres, Glenkinchie’s wash still is the largest in Scotland. The spirit safe is given pride of place towards one end of the still room, and if production is under way it is possible to see the clear spirit pouring through the safe. When we visited Glenkinchie it was not possible to visit the bonded warehouse, but plans were in place to add this atmospheric and memorable element of the process to the distillery tours. Either way, you finish your tour in the very nicely done tasting area, where you can sample Glenkinchie or a number of other single malt whiskies from distilleries owned by Diageo. Glenkinchie Distillery has origins dating back at least as far as 1837, when local farmers John and George Rate are recorded as holding a licence to distill whisky at what was known at the time as Glen Kinchie. As has already been mentioned the floor maltings closed in 1968, which gave the space needed for the very early distillery visitor centre that opened the following year. Today Glenkinchie receives some 25,000 visitors each year, and is a great half day out for anyone visiting the Edinburgh area.

Bottled at 41.6% abv, The Balvenie Fifty: Marriage 0962 is made from four American oak casks aged 50 years or over, selected by malt master David Stewart. The expression is a result of Stewart’s “ongoing commitment to experimentation and innovation”. The numbers ‘0962’ relate to the month and year that Stewart joined William Grant & Sons. On the nose, the expression has hints of brown sugar, toffee and spiced ground ginger. The palate has “delicate notes of oak, layered with maple syrup, tangy citrus and a trace of nutmeg, developing into a delicious honeyed sweetness”, and leads to a “long and lingering” finish. Stewart said: “Marrying aged whisky stocks is undoubtedly one of the most challenging, yet enjoyable facets of my role as The Balvenie malt master. “This was a chance to explore the furthest reaches of our precious aged stocks and see how their extremes could be controlled and combined. Despite enjoying more than 55 years in the business, I’m still discovering and learning new things about the science and art of whisky making. “The creation of Marriage 0962 took months of patience to complete, as we’re dealing with liquids with extremes in abv, taste and age. Marriage 0962 is presented in a wooden tube comprised of 50 layers, 48 of walnut and two of brass, created by Scottish wood craftsman Sam Chinnery. It also comes with an etched brass certificate and bottle glorifier, inscribed with the tasting notes of each cask. The design of the glass decanter is a “sleek reinterpretation” of the classic Balvenie bottle shape, which mirrors the distillery’s copper stills. The Balvenie Fifty: Marriage 0962 will launch in the UK in August. Twelve bottles will be available at specialist whisky retailers including Harrods, Hedonism and Selfridges.

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Variations Among Whiskys Of The Highlands

It was first produced in Bourbon county, Kentucky, and the name bourbon eventually became a general term for similar corn-mash whiskeys. Sour mashes, used mainly in bourbon production, are fermented with yeast, including a portion of previously fermented yeast; other whiskeys are made from sweet mashes, employing only fresh yeast. In the United States, straight whiskeys are named for the grains predominating in the mash, with at least 51 percent required for whiskeys designated as straight. If a mash of at least 51 percent barley malt is employed, the product is straight malt whiskey; if rye malt is used, it is straight rye whiskey. Straight bourbon mashes contain at least 51 percent corn; straight corn-whiskey mashes contain at least 80 percent. Combinations of similar straight whiskeys of different distillation periods or from different distillers are designated as blended, rather than straight. Whiskeys are consumed both unmixed and mixed in cocktails, punches, and highballs. The United States is the world’s largest producer and consumer of whiskey. I feel I should preface this review: I don’t know anything about Game of Thrones. I’ve never read the books. I’ve never watched a single episode. While the rest of the world has been going bonkers over “white walkers” and “the Iron Throne”—phrases I learned via Wikipedia—I have been doing…something else. Living under a rock, I guess. At first I thought that meant I shouldn’t review these whiskies, but then I reconsidered. The Internet is full of commentary, analysis, memes, and other detritus related to Game of Thrones. It doesn’t need more. And perhaps this glaring blind spot in my pop culture knowledge actually gives me an advantage as a reviewer, in that I can taste Diageo’s Game of Thrones releases simply as whiskies, not as some kind of titillating fan service. Some background, for those who have been living under neighboring rocks. Earlier this fall Diageo announced the release of several Game of Thrones-themed whiskies, including a range of eight single malts. Whiskies from Glendullan, Dalwhinnie, Cardhu, Royal Lochnagar, Oban, Talisker, Clynelish, and Lagavulin are all accounted for, each one representing a different house or group from the show.

Lagavulin is one of the three Kildalton Distilleries in the south of Islay and sits comfortably in between Ardbeg and Laphroaig at the “Hollow by the Mill”, translated from the Gaelic lag a’mhuilin. By 1837 there was only the one distillery, “Lagavulin” occupied by Donald Johnston. The still house was rebuilt in 1962 and incorporated the stills of the Malt Mill Distillery and in 1996 a new mashtun was installed, and automated controls put in place. The visitor centre dates back to 1998 and was established in the buildings that once were the maltings and kiln of Malt Mill Distillery. Lagavulin Single Malt Whisky is characterized by its strong peat flavour and iodine overtones. The iodine flavour tends to divide tasters into love it or hate it groups with no middle ground, and it may not be suitable for new Scotch drinkers. The standard Lagavulin single malt is 16 years old, though they have also released a 12 year old cask strength variety, as well as their Distiller’s edition, finished in Pedro-Ximenez casks. Phenol levels running at 40 p.p.m. Lagavulin is produced by White Horse Distillers which is owned by United Distillers & Vinters which in turn is owned by Diageo plc. Lagavulin was chosen to represent Islay Single Malts in UDV’s Classic Malts of Scotland.

But underneath that, there’s a great big ocean of sweet, caramelized malt, all baked apples and cobbler crust. Plenty of industrial character, too—soot, rubber, hot electrical equipment, and that magical, grimy petrichor of a dirty urban sidewalk after a summer’s rain. Palate: You know that saying “turns to ashes in your mouth? ” This is like the opposite. At first, it’s like a mouthful of recently extinguished ashes—charred, powdery, astringent—but then a lush, maritime garden quickly comes into Technicolor focus. Basically, Lagavulin 16 tastes just like a real boat: varnish, diesel, salty nets, ocean spray, and the sticky lanolin-rich smell of a thick wool sweater a hardworking man has been wearing one too many days in a row. Over several minutes in the glass, ghosts of fruit emerge—orange and red cherry, mostly—but never seem to break through the low-hanging haze. That’s alright – a suggestion is enough. Lagavulin 16-Year-Old is satisfying in a way that many other things are not. You might not like it, but if you enjoy whisky, it is essential for you to buy a bottle of Lagavulin 16, and drink it. It might take you the rest of your life, but it’s important.

This is one of those rare, perfect occasions on which the essence of this story can really, truly be communicated by the headline alone. Nick Offerman, painted bronze, slowly sipped Lagavulin at a Chicago Blackhawks game. That’s it. That’s what happened. Look at the picture. The once and forever star of the world’s best yule log video last night recreated that experience before a Chicago Blackhawks game. The “statue induction ceremony” (hence the bronze), hosted by former Blackhawks Patrick Sharp and Adam Burrish, began when a curtain unveiled the “statue,” which was, I remind you, actually just Nick Offerman, painted bronze. Then the “statue” proceeded to slowly sip whiskey—like, very slowly—for 45 freakin’ minutes. Is this brand marketing? Absolutely. Does that make it less deliriously weird? There’s video of the event, which unfortunately can’t be embedded, but you can watch it on Lagavulin’s Facebook page. Later, Offerman did a shoot-the-puck contest, but again, who cares, he was covered in bronze paint and sipping whiskey for 45 minutes. Lagavulin is a good whiskey, Nick Offerman is a cool dude, Ron Swanson would never, and the Blackhawks lost to the Calgary Flames, 3-2. That concludes this piece of journalism.

Each stage lends different qualities to the resulting single malt whisky. The traditional casks soften and add delicate character, the sherry wood brings depth and fullness of flavour and the final few months in our tuns allow the whiskies to marry harmoniously. 2017. I thought it would be interesting to compare the scores on an open 2014 bottling (had been open for about 3 ½ years) to a brand new 2017 DoubleWood 12 Year Old bottle. We have scored the 2014 bottling seven different times between us in the Proper Pour Whisk(e)y Club- twice known for me and twice completely blind; for Jeremy, he tasted the 2014 known twice and blind once. ] of the 2014 bottling it was tasted and scored 10 times by 7 different people in the club (I for example tasted it all three times). The average of those 10 scores was 87.7 points (rounded from 87.67 – you’ll understand the reasoning for the detail here later). Club members had not interacted with the 2014 bottle for 28 months before we tasted from the last third of the bottle again this past January.

Balvenie Auctions Whisky And Car For $150k

Themed around the notion of ‘Expecting the Unexpected’, the set, created by Balvenie malt master David C. Stewart, contains five malts with vintages from 1971 through to 2009, which ‘bring to life the mystery and magic inherent in whisky maturation’. Meanwhile the Balvenie Morgan Roadster, of which only a handful were produced by the Malvern-based car manufacturer for exclusive use by the brand, is also included in the lot. 80,000, the two-seater features a Tudor body with V8 engine, and is described as the ‘perfect addition to any whisky-lover’s collection’. To top the lot off, the successful bidder will also be invited on a behind-the-scenes trip to the Balvenie distillery in Dufftown. ‘This is the first time Balvenie has participated in an auction of this nature,’ said Balvenie brand director Greg Levine. Chris Munro, head of wine department for Christie’s Americas, said the lot has the highest ever value for any individual lot in its category. ‘It’s… an interesting lot for us, as it combines luxury handcrafted goods with a one-of-a-kind experience, making a lot that is already extremely exclusive even more enticing,’ he said. The first chapter in the Balvenie DCS Compendium was launched in 2015, with five whiskies themed around the idea of ‘Distillery Style’. With a price tag of £27,000, it was billed as the distillery’s ‘biggest launch to-date’.

As the distillery prepares to celebrate its 200th anniversary this year, Lagavulin is readying to launch a celebratory single malt Scotch whisky – Lagavulin 8 Year Old. The whisky was created in honour of whisky scribe Alfred Barnard from the 19th century, who sampled an eight-year-old Lagavulin during a visit to Islay and described it as “exceptionally fine” and “held in high repute”. Aged exclusively in refill American oak casks, Lagavulin 8 Year Old is said to be “magnificently full” with tasting notes of charred, minty, dark chocolate, and sweet, smoky and warming flavours. Georgie Crawford, distillery manager at the Lagavulin distillery, described the variant as being “both challenging and serene at the same time” and “very sophisticated for its age”. ],” added Crawford. “We wanted to look as far back as possible in the 200-year history that we have. “We went through the stories, looking at the age of the stories and took that to the blending team and asked whether based on the stories, could they come up with something for us? To me, Lagavulin, at least in late-teen form, is the sepia scent of late evenings in formative lounges; of glinting crystal glasses, dimmed lights and the unpicking of the world through low murmurings. It is a whisky I drank before whisky mattered so much; something elevated and august amidst the cheap pints, the nameless neon shots, the stale, dark stickiness of night clubs bleak by daylight, the caliginous uncertainties of the future. The smoke of Lagavulin hung over the bridge into my post-University adulthood, and enveloped me again four years ago, when adulthood seemed its most stygian and inexorable. When I was offered a list of samples a month or so back, this Lagavulin Distiller’s Edition stood out, and I’m not sure why. Perhaps I thought it might be cathartic. Perhaps it was something that hadn’t been reviewed on Malt before. Perhaps I just fancied a Lagavulin. It’s a progression of the standard 16-year-old, finished briefly in Pedro Ximenez casks; the darkest, sweetest, most glutinous of sherries.

But there are beer styles you often see distilled, and then there are those I’ve never had a chance to taste. When I heard that the classic Bend, OR brewers had released a distilled version of their legendary Black Butte Porter, I knew that was something I needed to try. I’ve only sampled one other whiskey that was distilled from a mash with a percentage of dark roasted malt, and the results were utterly unique. I can honestly say that going into this experience, I had little to no idea how exactly a distilled porter would taste. Turns out, the answer is pretty damn great. 4 char American oak barrels. It’s sold only via the Deschutes taproom and via Bendistillery, which means access is sadly limited. It’s a 94 proof spirit that was apparently aged around three years, picking up some pretty substantial color along the way. 80, but it’s a very unique bottle to be able to add to your collection. The Balvenie is located in the Speyside region of Scotland. This Dufftown distillery continues to produce (some of) its own barley, which is quite impressive in a time when a great deal of the malting is outsourced. It’s hard work turning barley, after all. Monkey shoulders be damned! These days, modern technology aids in keeping maltsters from developing crooked shoulders and bad backs. The Balvenie is no exception to this rule with its top-of-the-line malting floor. Today’s review concerns a limited release that sounds more like a mathematical equation than the title of an expensive whisky. Whatever happened to the unpronounceable Scottish Gaelic that we all know and love? If I were naming this one, I might call it, “A bheil Beurla agat.” Or perhaps “Dance If Ye Can,” to quote the late great William Wallace. The “tun” in Tun 1509 Batch 4 makes reference to an oak marrying vessel that’s really just an exceptionally large cask. Obviously, the number of the tun vessel used to produce this series is 1509. You might have already surmised that there were three other batches married in Tun 1509, prior to the one currently under review.

In 1843, Chivas Brothers was granted a Royal Warrant to supply goods to Queen Victoria. During the 1850s James Chivas decided to respond to his affluent customers’ demands for a smoother whisky, by beginning to blend whiskies to create a blend proprietary to Chivas Brothers. In the early 1900s, Chivas Brothers decided to create its most aged blended Scotch whisky to export to the United States, where the booming economy after the turn of the century was fueling demand for luxury goods. Chivas Regal 25 Year Old was launched in 1909 as the original luxury Scotch, and became a leading brand in the United States. Chivas Regal was purchased by Seagrams in 1949, which enabled a much wider distribution and marketing system. ] the company was able to buy the Strathisla Distillery, which produces the Strathisla single malt whisky used in the Chivas Regal blend. Chivas Regal was re-launched as Chivas Regal 12 year old in the US following the disruption of both Prohibition and World War II. Only 6,000 bottles of the latest Lagavulin Islay Jazz Festival tie-in are available for purchase from the distillery’s on-site shop. The annual festival, which is promoted by Jazz Scotland and the Islay Arts Association, took place this year on 15-17 September at venues across the island, including various distilleries, Bowmore’s Round Church and Bruichladdich Hall. The 2017 Lagavulin Islay Jazz Festival expression was matured in a combination of refill American oak hogsheads and first-fill American oak barrels. It’s described as a sweet and typically peaty expression, with ‘hints of almonds, brazil nuts, pears and smoked ham’. Lagavulin distillery manager Georgie Crawford said: ‘It’s been a special time for Lagavulin, as in 2016 we celebrated the 200th anniversary of the distillery. The non-age-statement, cask strength release is bottled at 57.6% abv and available for £99. Only visitors to the distillery will have the chance to buy the special edition, which is limited to two bottles per customer.

Whisky For Everyone: Have Just Tried … The Famous Grouse

The Famous Grouse is the UK’s biggest selling whisky. It is a blend that is made up of single malts from the Glenrothes, Glenturret, Highland Park and Macallan distilleries and some grain whisky. The four distilleries are all owned by the Edrington Group and the success of the blend can be traced back to the 1960s, when whisky sales boomed. In 1980, The Famous Grouse finally overtook Bell’s, its long term rival, to gain first place for UK sales and has never looked back. It has maintained first place ever since although the rivalry means that figures are always close. The Famous Grouse accounts for 15% of all blended whisky sales in the UK, which is its primary market.

The Famous Grouse was created by a company called Matthew Gloag & Son. The company was set up in 1800 by Matthew Gloag in the town of Perth and was originally a wine merchant and importer. They supplied wine to Queen Victoria whenever she stayed at Balmoral Castle, as well as other wealthy clients. In 1860, Matthew’s son William took over and started buying whiskies from various distilleries around Scotland and blending them, as was the trend at the time. The popularity of his blends grew and in 1896, his son (also called Matthew) launched The Grouse, which later became The Famous Grouse. The name was given so as to attract the sporting type of gentleman who frequented the Highlands in the late Victorian era to go shooting, hunting and fishing. The iconic grouse logo was a pencil drawing by Matthew’s daughter and a version of this original drawing is still used on the label today.

The colour is a light amber and the nose is youthful with some caramel, dried fruits (think of raisins or sultanas), woody oaky vanilla and some yeast. There is also plenty of raw spirit, especially at the very beginning, although this fades the longer the whisky is in the glass. Despite the initial spirity quality, the nose is quite light and delicate. On the palate this is slightly richer than the nose suggests with lots of sugary caramel and toffee up front. This is followed by some creamy vanilla, dried fruits (especially raisins), some cereal grains and just a whiff of earthy smoke. Unfortunately, the raw youthful spirit is never far away and it is exposed in a short, crisp finish that offers little else and is therefore slightly disappointing.

The Famous Grouse can get bad press from some whisky afficiandos but it is easy to see why it is so popular and outsells everything else in the UK. It has enough interesting characteristics yet remains uncomplicated and easy drinking. Having never tried it and having only read various contrasting reports, it gave me a pleasant surprise and was certainly better than expected. The Famous Grouse is widely available in nearly all pubs, bars, convenience stores and supermarkets throughout the UK and should cost £13-17 a bottle, which is a decent price for a solid, if unspectacular, whisky.

Whisky For Everyone: Have Just Tried … Lagavulin 30 Years Old

Lagavulin (pronounced lagga-voolin) is a distillery on the western Scottish island of Islay. The majority of distilleries on Islay produce rich, smoky and complex single malt whiskies and Lagavulin is renowned as giving some of the best examples of these. The distillery is located on the south eastern coast of the island. Lagavulin was founded in 1816 by John Johnston and currently has a production capacity of just under three million litres per year. They have unusual pear shaped stills and they believe that a combination of these stills, a slightly lower peating level in their malted barley and one of the longest spirit distillation times in Scotland, give Lagavulin its own unique character and quality.

A ‘classic’ malt
Lagavulin release a very limited core range of three whiskies – a 12 years old cask strength which is released once a year, the regular 16 years old and a ‘Distiller’s Edition’ (a special release that is finished in specially selected Pedro Ximenez sherry casks). The 16 years old forms part of the ‘Classic Malts’ series. Diageo, the current owners, have chosen one distillery from within their portfolio to represent each Scottish production region and highlight whiskies that typify the style of each of these six regions. Lagavulin is the ‘Classic Malt’ representative for Islay. This 30 years old is a very limited edition that is released sporadically, when they have casks that are deemed to be of the suitable quality and age. As a result, bottles are very hard to come by (only 2340 in this release) and are very expensive at £750-850 each. This was last released a couple of years ago, at 52.6% ABV, and is the oldest official release from Lagavulin – we thank Colin Dunn from Diageo for supplying this sample for us to try.

Our tasting notes
The colour of this Lagavulin 30 years old is golden and the nose is expressive and unusual. It feels fresh and vibrant, especially when for its age. There is an initial aroma of ripe tropical fruit (predominantly banana and a hint of pineapple) and this is followed by a soft smokiness (think of tobacco smoke). These two main notes combine with a number of other aromas to give a wonderfully complex nose – these include tar, wood varnish, nuts (imagine toasted almonds), caramel, toffee, vanilla and some floral heather. The palate is rich but again surprisingly fresh and hot with a pepper/chilli-like heat. The smokiness is more evident here and increases with time, changing from the soft tobacco smoke to become more and more peaty. Again, there is an interesting combination of characteristics present – tar, coal, sweet caramel, vanilla, bittersweet wood spice (think of cinnamon and nutmeg), honey, a hint of antiseptic clove and an overly floral perfumed sweetness (imagine parma violet sweets). The finish is long, dry and complex, with the soft peat and tobacco smoke smouldering on and on. There is more tropical fruit sweetness coming through and plenty of spicy alcoholic heat.

What’s the verdict?
This is a multi dimensional whisky. The sweet, ripe tropical fruit notes seem to clash with the more bitter tobacco smoke characteristics through out – it certainly creates an unusual and slightly odd flavour profile that jarred with us a little and they don’t seem to sit together correctly. It also has a good vibrancy for something of its age and the high alcohol level helps with this. The addition of water makes the whisky sweeter, with more of the floral and tropical fruit notes coming out. It also softens the smokiness and makes it very tobacco-like (think of sweet chewing tobacco or snuff). A very interesting dram.

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