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Posts Tagged ‘Scotch’

Beyond Islay: Part 7 – Ledaig 18 Year Old

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 12, 2017

ledaig-18yoIt is back to the Isle of Mull for the finale of my Beyond Islay Single Malt Whisky review series. The series of reviews has been based upon 7 different Single Malt Whiskies I taste 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,Ryan had selected Single Malt Whiskies which represented the diversity of Scotland’s Island Whiskies produced on the lesser known Scottish Islands.

As indicated, Ledaig is produced at the Tobermory Distillery upon the Isle of Mull. The peated spirit was matured for 18 years in oak casks and then finished in ex-Sherry casks.

Here is a link to my review:

Beyond Islay: Part 7 – Ledaig 18 Year Old:

“… The breezes above the glass carried a complex aroma with peat smoke entwined with sherry-like scents of cherry licorice and raisins. Baking spices came forward with rum-like dark brown sugar mixed with vanilla and bits of cinnamon and clove. The peaty scents were somewhat pungent as organic boggy smells mixed with oily phenols, licorice root and menthol …”

Please enjoy my review which ends with a short cocktail, What Rough Beast.

Chimo!

 

 

 

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Review: The Glenrothes Peated Cask Reserve

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 22, 2017

black-cove-sam_3014Berry 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.

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 Peated Cask Reserve is produced from 1992 Vintage stocks which were given an added maturation time in selected casks which were acquired from Islay. The intent od this second maturation was to add a hint of peat smoke to the Glenrothes Whisky flavour profile. This bottling represents the first such whisky produced by the distillery.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: The Glenrothes Peated Cask Reserve

“… I taste a firm but mild herbal peat complemented by orange peel and oak spice. The flavour is sweetened just a little with a light winding of butterscotch. There is some menthol and herbal grassiness, and when I chew the whisky, an intense oak spiciness manifests itself with an increased build-up of malty sweetness …”

Please enjoy the review which concludes with my cocktail suggestion, the Black Cove.

Chimo!

 

 

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Beyond Islay: Part 4 – Scapa Glansa (Single Malt Whisky)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 19, 2017

scapa-glansa-75cl-bottleThis is the fourth 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. Scapa Glansa continues our exploration of the Island of Orkney in the north of Scotland.

Scapa Glansa is a non age stated (NAS) whisky produced from unpeated malted barley. It was first aged in American oak casks, and then finished in casks which had previously contained peated whisky. It is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Scapa Glansa (Single Malt Whisky)

“… The initial nose is light and somewhat musty. There is a soft ashy peat in the background with scents of willow trees and fresh hay in the foreground. I also sense some fruity notes of pear, banana and pineapple with a mild sweep of vanilla and almond …”

Please enjoy my review which concludes with a nice recipe suggestion, the Mamie Taylor Cocktail.

Chimo!

 

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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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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).

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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!

 

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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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