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Archive for the ‘Scotch Whisky’ Category

Review: Invergordon 1984 – 30 Year Old Single Grain Whisky (W&M204)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 9, 2016

Invergordon 30 SAM_2697 Invergordon Distillers (currently owned by Whyte & Mackay) was founded in 1959 in the Highlands region of Scotland and the newly built distillery began to operate in 1959.  The distillery has three working Coffey stills which produce grain whisky (primarily from wheat and corn) for various Whyte and Mackay blended whiskies as well as other Scottish producers.

The 1984 Invergordon 30 Year Old Single Grain Whisky was distilled in 1984 and bottled in 2015. This whisky is part of Wilson and Morgan’s Special Release Series which comprises of special bottlings of Scotch whiskies, all of which are 25 years of age or older, and many of which have received an unusual or special maturation regime. This particular whisky was matured for its entire life in a 2nd fill Sherry butt and bottled at cask strength (57% alcohol by volume).

Here is a link to my review:

Review: Invergordon 1984 – 30 Year Old Single Grain (W&M204)

“… The initial notes of caramel toffee, oak spice sherry-like dry fruit have gained strength and been joined by a light but firm impression of peat smoke. There is a nice winding of vanilla in the breezes as well as firm hints of old leather saddles and bits of baking spice. Impressions of corn syrup and Graham wafers bring the grain into focus with a touch of grassy meadow in the background …”

Please enjoy my latest Single Grain Whisky review.

Chimo!

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Review: Wilson and Morgan – Home Blend 35 Year Old

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 3, 2016

W&M HomeblendWilson and Morgan is an independent bottler of Scotch Whisky based in Italy. The company was founded in 1992 by Fabio Rossi who also founded Rum Nation. Wilson and Morgan specialize in single grain and single malt whiskies which have been purchased by the barrel from selected Scottish distillers. The whisky barrels  purchased range in age from 10 years to 30 years and are left to age (usually at the distillery where they were purchased) until they are ready to be bottled sometimes after they have been re-casked for finishing in port, rum or Marsala casks.

The 1980 Sherry Wood 35 Year Old Home Blend Whisky (barrel  #26) was distilled in 1980 and bottled in 2015. The whisky is part of Wilson and Morgan’s Collector’s Edition which comprises of special bottlings all of which are currently aged 30 years or more. The whiskies within this aged blend were married together in a sherry butt, (barrel number 26) which produced 529 bottles at 47.6 % alcohol by volume (my bottle is number 424). This spirit was bottled with the intent to create a venerable old whisky which would hearken back to an earlier time when well aged blends were the undisputed crown jewels of Scottish whisky.

Here is a link to my full review of this well aged blend:

Review: Wilson and Morgan – Home Blend 35 Year Old

“… The nose brings notes of dark brown sugar combined with rich baking spice and sherry-like notes of dates and raisins. Vanilla and orange marmalade come forward as does a welling of pipe tobacco spice. Hints of ‘old leather jacket’ seem to wisp into the air only to disappear and then reappear as wet burlap …”

Please enjoy my review of this venerable blended whisky, Chimo!

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Review: Girvan 1979 – 35 Year Old Single Grain Whisky (Cask #900009)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 9, 2016

W&M Girvan 35 SAM_2514Wilson and Morgan is an independent bottler of Scotch Whisky based in Italy. The company was founded in 1992 by Fabio Rossi who also founded Rum Nation. Wilson and Morgan specialize in high quality single grain and single malt whiskies which have been purchased by the barrel from selected Scottish distillers. The whisky barrels purchased range in age from 10 years to 30 years and are left to age (usually at the distillery where they were purchased) until they are ready to be bottled sometimes after they have been re-casked for finishing in port, rum or Marsala casks.

The Girvan distillery is located in the Lowland region of Scotland in South Ayrshire. The distillery (currently owned by William Grant & Sons) was founded in 1963 and features six column stills which produce grain whisky from a mix of 90 % wheat and 10 % barley.

The Girvan 1979 – 35 Year Old Single Grain Whisky was distilled in 1979 and bottled in 2015. This offering is bottled at cask strength (51.6% alcohol by volume), and is part of Wilson and Morgan’s Collector’s Edition which comprises of special bottlings all of which are currently aged 30 years or more.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Girvan 1979 – 35 Year Old Single Grain Whisky (Cask #900009)

“… a combination of butterscotch and maple scents have melded themselves into the grain and wood spice bringing about a wonderful richness which almost makes my mouth water. Canned fruit (apricots and peaches) aromas are quite obvious in the breezes and cherry-like scents akin to red licorice are hinted at as well. Baking spices (vanilla and bits of cinnamon) and almond turning to marzipan round out the nose which is extremely inviting …”

Please enjoy my review of the well aged wheat based grain whisky.

Chimo!

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Review: Cameronbridge 1984 – 30 Year Old Single Grain Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 18, 2016

Cameron Bridge 1984Wilson and Morgan is an independent bottler of Scotch Whisky based in Italy. The company was founded in 1992 by Fabio Rossi who also founded Rum Nation. Wilson and Morgan specialize in single grain and single malt whiskies which have been purchased by the barrel from selected Scottish distillers. The whisky barrels  purchased range in age from 10 years to 30 years and are left to age (usually at the distillery where they were purchased) until they are ready to be bottled sometimes after they have been re-casked for finishing in port, rum or Marsala casks.

The 1984 Cameronbridge 30 Year Old Single Grain Whisky was distilled in 1984 and bottled in 2015. The whisky is part of Wilson and Morgan’s Collector’s Edition which comprises of special bottlings all of which are currently aged 30 years or more. Because of the small number of bottles obtained from cask #12973, it was most probably an ex-bourbon hogshead. (After checking with Morgan and Wilson, I learned that the whisky had never been re-casked or subjected to any special finishing process.) This 1984 Cameronbridge offering is bottled at cask strength (56.7% alcohol by volume).

Here is a link to my full review of this well aged Single Grain Whisky:

Review: Cameronbridge 1984 – 30 Year Old Single Grain (Cask #12973)

“… Coarse brown sugar mixed with vanilla and bits of cinnamon make my mouth water as impressions of my Mom’s famous cinnamon rolls  have began to form in my consciousness. Within all of that rich goodness are light herbaceous impressions of grassy meadows and piny forests …”

Please enjoy this review, and you can look forward to more reviews from the Wilson and Morgan Collector’s Edition Series in the months that follow.

Chimo!

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Review: Catto’s Rare Old Scottish Blended

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 15, 2016

Catto'sJames Catto launched his Rare Old Scottish Highland Whisky in 1861. Today the brand is within the portfolio of Inver House Distillers.

According to the information provided to me and what I could glean from the James Catto’s Blended Scotch Whisky website, Catto’s Rare Old Scottish blended scotch whisky is Catto’s flagship whisky brand. It is produced from a blend of Inver House Distilleries’ (Old Pulteney, anCnoc, and Balblair)  Highland and Speyside unpeated Single Malts, and from Lowland grain whisky.

The whisky was presented to me as a low-cost ‘bar rail’ brand, although the Ontario Agent for the brand (Woodman Wines and Spirits) was also quick to point out that Jim Murray had given the whisky an astonishing score of 92 points of his 2015 ‘Whisky Bible‘ publication. The blend is reputed to have a very high malt content which might be part of the reason it appealed to Jim so much.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Catto’s Rare Old Scottish Blended

“… The initial nose rising into the breezes above the glass has a firm aroma of malt and honey which is accented by a hint of peat (or perhaps sherry smoke), some fine grain spices, and a light herbaceous note reminiscent of heather and mint. Bits of orange peel add another dimension of spice, and some green grapes and cherry-like impressions …”

Please enjoy the review!

 

 

 

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Review: Highland Park 12 Years Old (2015)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 23, 2016

Highland Park 12

The 12 Year Old Highland Park Whisky is the core expression of Highland Park Distillery, that is to say, it is their flagship brand. Highland Park prides itself in not making any compromises when making whisky. The twelve-year expression is bottled at 43 % alcohol by volume, and is the youngest in Highland Park’s impressive lineup.

I reviewed this particular expression of Highland Park Single Malt Whisky back in 2009, and for several years it was one of my all time favourites. Recently, I received a newer bottling. I decided to put the whisky once again through the paces of my review system to see how this bottling (2015) compared to the great 2009 bottling.

Here is a link to my latest Single Malt Whisky Review:

Review: Highland Park 12 Years Old (2015)

“… The whisky has had more time to breathe, and when I examine the breezes above the glass I sense more of the familiar aromatics of Orkney peat. There are light heather and lavender smells as well as smells of willow trees sitting atop a boggy peat. A very light butterscotch and honey sweetness is present as well, and this helps to make the Orkney peat more approachable …”

Please enjoy my review.

Chimo!

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#5 Signatory Dufftown 1984 – Aged 26 years (Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 20, 2015

Signatory Vintage was founded in 1988. It is family owned and managed, and the company proudly identifies itself as one of the few truly independent bottlers of whisky in Scotland. By calling themselves ‘truly independent’, Signatory is making a distinction between the independent companies who bottle their own products, and the independent companies whose products are bottled under contract.

Dufftown 1984 SAM_1875Dufftown is the largest distillery in Scotland belonging to Diageo. The whisky from this distillery is primarily intended for blending. Bell’s, Islander, Dewar’s White Label, and of course Johnnie Walker all require Dufftown Whisky as part of their construction.

The Signatory Dufftown 1984 is a single malt whisky matured in a single refill Sherry Cask (no. 79). 311 bottles were produced, and in April 2011, I reviewed bottle number 61. Fortunately for myself, I had also purchased bottle number 62, and when I was sampling the various spirits for this countdown, I decided that this particular spirit was the best Scotch Whisky I had ever tasted.

Here is the review for the #5 Spirit in my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#5 – Signatory Dufftown 1984 (Aged 26 years)

“… I smell a delightful alpine forest rising from the glass as the whisky is poured. Punky woody notes take shape with spongy moss, willow thicket, and floral notes abounding. Rich vanilla scents follow accented by a wonderful backdrop of honeycomb and oak. Caramel builds in the glass coexisting very nicely with a developing marzipan. Even though this whisky stems from a well aged barrel and arrives at a full 55 % alcohol strength, the whisky smells rich but not astringent. This has quickly become one of my favourite whiskies to nose …”

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You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

 

 

 

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#13 Bruichladdich 1989 Black Art – 1st Edition (Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 12, 2015

The Bruichladdich (Pronunciation = Brook Laddie) Distillery was built in 1881 on Hebridean Isle, in what is now known as the Islay region of Scotland. It was one of many distilleries, which despite its long history and tradition of whisky making, was closed in 1994 due to industry consolidation. The distillery no longer produced whisky, but the existing stocks left inside continued to age. The good news is that on 19th December, 2000, the distillery was purchased by a small band of investors. It was renovated and reopened, and on May 21, 2001 the distillery once again began to distill whisky.

This small band of investors then proceeded to turn the Scottish whisky world upside down. They blended and bottled their whisky in small artisan production runs using a multitude of unique finishing casks. Borrowing ideas from their own past experiences, they brought to market a variety of one of a kind whiskies, the like of which the Scottish Whisky World had never seen before.

Bruichladdich 1989 Black Art SAM_1877The Bruichladdich 1989 Black Art is just such a bottling. Master Blender, Jim McEwan, used 1989 Vintage whisky stocks and a secret combination of wine finishing casks to create this unusual Vintage Single Malt Whisky. Although I have tried to find out which types of wine casks were used to finish this whisky, my research was to no avail. Apparently, Mr McEwan didn’t allow anybody to see. All we know is what is written on the bottle …

Here is a link to the original review of the #13 Spirit in my Rum Howler 2015 Top 100 Spirits Countdown:

#13 – Bruichladdich 1989 Black Art (1st Edition)

“… These flavours practically leap into the mouth out of the whisky. Wine filled cherries and grapes take the lead pushed forward by a firm smoke, filled with raisins,  prunes and dried apricots. I taste baked apples with spices of cinnamon and sweetened with brown sugar. Within this array of flavour the whisky carries a mild seawater brine with traces of iodine …”

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You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirit

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#23 Highland Park 12 Year Old Scotch Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 2, 2015

The 12 Year Old Highland Park Whisky is the core expression of Highland Park Distillery, that is to say, it is their flagship brand. Highland Park prides itself in not making any compromises when making whisky. The twelve-year expression is the youngest in their impressive lineup. All of Highland Park whiskies are matured in Spanish and American Oak in warehouses with earthen floors and stone walls. The combination of different oak provides some of the whisky with an American whiskey enhancement and some of the whisky with a Spanish sherry enhancement. The whisky is matured in a cool consistent climate, and blended to create the unique Highland Park taste and character that the distillery is famous for.

Highland Park 12Of particular note is the heather rich meadows which provide a rich floral backdrop around the aging warehouses which seems to impart its character to the whisky as well. I note the floral character in the review.

Here is a link to the review of the #23 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown of the best spirits I have ever tasted.

#23 – Highland Park 12 Year Old Scotch Whisky

“… I smell that boggy muddy creek bottom in the glass when I fill it with Highland Park whisky. It is not an intense boggy smell, just a whisper of that muddy creek and sawgrass meadow rising from the glass. I smell the willow thicket, and a faint floral scent which I am told is heather. This is the aroma of the Orcadian peat of which Highland Park is famous for …”

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You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

Posted in Awards, Extras, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on #23 Highland Park 12 Year Old Scotch Whisky

#26 The Macallan Fine Oak 15 Year Old

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 29, 2015

The Macallan Fine Oak Series is a series of single malt Scotch whiskies, produced at The Macallan Distillery at Craigellachie in the Speyside region of Scotland which are matured in seasoned American oak casks, (sherry as well as bourbon), as well as sherry casks from Jerez Spain. The Fine Oak Series has drawn rave reviews some quarters (Jim Murray for example awarded it “Best New Scotch Brand” when it was launched), and dramatic criticism from others who considered the American barrels inferior to the Sherry oak casks from Spain due to the lighter flavour profile of the American Bourbon Cask.

The Macallan 15 Fine Oak SAM_1741I find myself siding with Jim Murray as I find the lighter influence of the American oak barrel allows the whisky to express more fully the subtle nuances of oak and whisky flavours which can be drowned out by the strong sherry influence of a first fill Sherry barrel. Unfortunately for myself, The Macallan Fine Oak series has been discontinued in Canada, although it is my understanding that this series is still available south of the border in the USA.

Here is a link to the review of the #26 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown of the best spirits I have ever tasted.

#26 – The Macallan Fine Oak 15 Year Old

“… my nose is greeted by a soft honeycomb/butterscotch, a firm little dollop of vanilla and firm oak spices. A light sherry smoke is in the air carrying wisps of dry fruit (prunes and raisins) and a smidgen of treacle.  As you allow the glass to decant, a demerara sweetness  becomes evident as does a wonderful floral meadowland with saw grass, timothy and wild flowers presenting themselves to the delight of the nostrils …”

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You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

Posted in Awards, Extras, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on #26 The Macallan Fine Oak 15 Year Old

 
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