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Archive for the ‘Single Malt Whisky’ Category

Beyond Islay: Part 3 – Highland Park Dark Origins

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 12, 2017

dark-originsThis is the third Single Malt Whisky which I tasted at the Beyond Islay tasting event hosted by Ryan Engen who is the Director of Spirits, for Liquor Stores N.A. Inc. at the Edmonton Wine and Beyond McTagggert Ridge location. At the tasting I enjoyed 7 different Single Malts in what was termed the Beyond Islay Single Malt Whisky Tasting. The Whiskies at the tasting were selected to represent the diversity of Scotland’s Island Whiskies reaching beyond the popular Islay Whiskies to the malts produced on the lesser known Islands. Highland Park Dark Origins showcases the Island of Orkney in the north of Scotland.

Highland Park Dark Origins is the latest addition to the Core Expressions Range of Highland Park Whisky. It features a higher proportion of Sherry cask whisky than the other expressions in the range (twice the amount as is found in the Highland Park 12 Year Old). This give the Dark Origins a richer sherry influence than the other whiskies in the range.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Highland Park Dark Origins

“… I taste an oily peat with both floral heather and willow thicket impacting its flavour. Some sherry-like raisins and prunes are merging into the peat as are some light baking spices honeyed oak and citrus spice. The overall result is a smokier, heavier version of Highland Park …”

Please enjoy my review which includes the cocktail suggestion, the Rusty Nail.

Chimo!

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Posted in Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review: The Glenrothes Bourbon Cask Reserve

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 8, 2017

the-glenrothes-bcrBerry Bros. & Rudd is one of London’s oldest Wine and Spirits Merchant with over 300 years of experience and tradition from which to draw upon. The company began its operation at 3 – St. James’s Street (in London, UK) in 1698, and still operates from that same location today. Although they are primarily merchants of wine, the company has a strong presence in the sale of distilled spirits as well.

Their presence within the spirits industry had its beginnings approximately 100 years ago when Berry Bros. & Rudd developed the Cutty Sark brand in 1923. In 2010 Cutty Sark (the brand) was sold to The Edrington Group. As part of the arrangement Berry Bros. & Rudd acquired The Glenrothes Single Malt Whisky brand.

The Glenrothes Bourbon Cask Reserve was formerly known as Alba Reserve. It is a Kosher expression which has been matured entirely in ex-bourbon barrels. Here is a link to my full review:

Review: The Glenrothes Bourbon Cask Reserve

“… I begin to notice new smells of roasted coconut, canned apricot, and interestingly some fresh-cut corrugated cardboard. The oak and sandalwood spice has brought a few willow trees into the breezes, and the almond and vanilla seem to have morphed into a plate of graham wafers …”

Please enjoy my review and the cocktail suggestion which follows (Alpine Meadows).

Posted in Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Beyond Islay: Part 1 – Tobermory 10 Year Old

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 29, 2017

tobermory-10The Tobermory 10 Year Old is an unpeated Single Malt which I tasted at an event hosted by Ryan Engen who is the Director of Spirits, for Liquor Stores N.A. Inc. at the Edmonton Wine and Beyond McTagggert Ridge location. At the tasting I enjoyed 7 different Single Malts in what was termed the Beyond Islay Single Malt Whisky Tasting. The Whiskies at the tasting were selected to represent the diversity of Scotland’s Island Whiskies reaching beyond the popular Islay Whiskies to the malts produced on the lesser known Islands. The Tobermory brand is distilled upon the Isle of Mull.

While I normally do not write full reviews based upon my impressions tasting events, in this case I thought the theme of the event (going beyond Islay) was such a good idea that I did indeed write full tasting notes for each whisky as I tasted it. Later I expanded these tasting notes into a full review for each whisky and I plan to publish them in my 7 part Beyond Islay Series.

Here is my link to my full review of the Tobermory 10 Year Old Single Malt Whisky:

Review: Tobermory 10 Year Old Single Malt Whisky

“… The light peatiness I noticed was enveloped in orange and citrus notes. Herbal impressions of heather and menthol come through, and perhaps there is a clump of willow trees setting in the background. Grassy notes of fresh hay compliment the herbal notes and the nose is rounded out with light vanilla and almond impressions …”

Please enjoy my review which includes my cocktail suggestion, the Single Malt Crusta.

Chimo!

 

Posted in Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review: Glenmorangie the Sherry Cask Finish Lasanta

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 18, 2016

sherry-cask-lasanta-sam_2868The Glenmorangie Distillery was officially licensed to produce whisky in 1843 (how long the distillery was unofficial is unknown to me). Glenmorangie, from the beginning, established a tradition of innovation beginning with the construction of tall gin styled stills which would be used to distill their whisky rather than the traditional shorter onion shaped stills in use at the time. They were also amongst the first distilleries to use American oak for maturing their whisky, and in the early 1990’s they were at the forefront of the new style of ‘extra matured’ whiskies which are finished (or perhaps we can say flavoured) by spending time in used wine barrels. (I suggest flavoured because these used wine barrels rarely impart any oak into the whisky, and the primary result of their use is to impart some of the previously held wine’s flavour into the whisky.) The core range of Glenmorangie includes three of these unique extra matured whiskies, the Sherry cask Finish Lasanta, which is a Sherry finished whisky, the Nector D’or, which has a Sauternes wine finish, and the Quinta Ruban, which has a Ruby Port Finish.

Recently the Lasanta received a bit of a make-over from the distillery. Previously the expression was branded Glenmorangie the Lasanta, and to produce the whisky the distillery began with a spirit very similar to their Glenmorangie Original (a ten-year old spirit matured in first and second fill bourbon barrels) which was finished or extra matured in Spanish Olorosso Sherry Casks. The new Glenmorangie the Sherry Cask Lasanta on the other hand carries a full 12 Year Old age statement in clear view, and this spirit is extra matured for the two final years in a combination of  Olorosso and PX Sherry Casks.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Glenmorangie the Sherry Cask Finish Lasanta

“… The initial aroma in the breezes carries obvious scents of dry raisins and dates. It is also oak filled with assertive wood spice, and it is stained with coca and cola.Taking my time with the glass I notice a few citrus notes and building baking spices (vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon) in the air as well …”

Please enjoy my review of the new Lasata expression from Glenmorangie.

Chimo!

 

Posted in Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Review: Glenmorangie the Sherry Cask Finish Lasanta

Review: Glenmorangie Milsean Single Malt Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 12, 2016

milsean-sam_2872Glenmorangie was among the first Scottish distillers (1960s) to use ex bourbon barrels to age their whisky rather than Spanish oak (sherry casks). This helped to change the taste profile of Scottish Whisky in a significant manner, and today ex bourbon barrels are use extensively alongside ex sherry casks in many Scottish distilleries. Then, in 1996, Glenmorangie introduced their wood finish range which began the distillery’s experimentation with a range of new wood finishes like port wood casks and wine barriques. Again, the industry followed suit, and now wine finishes have become common in the Single Malt industry. Once again Glenmorangie can claim credit for helping to extend the range of the Scottish whisky flavour profile.

Today Glenmorangie continues to extend the taste profile of their whisky with their annual Private Edition Range which features limited edition whiskies which are meant to bring a new or unique characteristic to the Glenmorangie line-up. I was introduced to the newest (the seventh) of these Private Edition bottlings, Glenmorangie Milsean in an old-fashioned St. Louis Streetcar at the top of Edmonton’s High Level Bridge during a whisky tasting hosted by Glenmorangie’s global brand ambassador, Karen Fullerton.

Here is my Review:

Review: Glenmorangie Milsean Single Malt Whisky

“… The initial breezes bring hints of butterscotch and maple that are quickly drowned out by oaky spice and nutty barley grain. There is a bit of leather and burlap giving the dram an earthiness which is quite pleasing.  As the glass sits, the wood and grain spices build up bringing more of that leathery earthiness forward as well as undertones of licorice root and Angelica …”

Please enjoy my review of this wonderful new dram from Glenmorangie.

Chimo!

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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!

Posted in Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off on Review: Highland Park 12 Years Old (2015)

#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

 

 

 

Posted in Awards, Extras, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on #5 Signatory Dufftown 1984 – Aged 26 years (Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits)

#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

Posted in Awards, Extras, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on #13 Bruichladdich 1989 Black Art – 1st Edition (Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits)

#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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