Wednesday, 30 September 2015

News: Bowmore The Devil's Casks III

Bowmore The Devil's Casks III

Double the devil

  • Bowmore The Devil's Casks
  • Bowmore Distillery, Lochindaal (Islay)
  • NAS
  • 56.7% ABV
  • First fill Oloroso & Pedro Ximenez sherry casks

We all knew this release from Bowmore was coming. The third Devil's casks is a combination of first-fill Oloroso casks and Pedro Ximenez sherry casks. And they dropped the age statement. This isn't a ten year old single malt like the previous two releases.

The back label reads:
"On the eye deep mahogany. Breathe in a cornucopia of rich, dark exotic fruits, sultana, mango and raisin, fused with earthy angelica root and treacle toffee. Sip the smooth rounded taste of date oil, chocolate fudge and salted reacle, warmed by orange-laced Aruba coffee. Savour the long-lasting finish of smoked fruitcake, blood orange and sea salt."

Bowmore The Devil's Casks III front labelBowmore The Devil's Casks III back label

Update 21/10/2015: Apparently the bottling is already for sale in some german webshops for €239 - €249. And Bowmore served it at Whisky Live Warsaw. Seems like the people at Bowmore (or the whisky shops) are trying to get the cash away from the speculators...

Update 22/10/2015: The official PR from Bowmore has been sent. Price has been set at £190 / €260 and launch date should be October 26. And this might have been the final Devil's Casks installment...

Source and pictures: Colas Online


Monday, 28 September 2015

News: Ardbeg Dark Cove

Ardbeg's darkest Spirit ever

  • Ardbeg Dark Cove
  • Ardbeg Distillery, Port Ellen (Islay)
  • NAS
  • 46.5% ABV
Somebody already discovered a new Ardbeg on Colas Online. Will Dark Cove be next years Feis Ile release from Ardbeg? Or a new addition to the core range? I'm opting for the latter since it's not a cask strength whisky... Althought it could compete with the heavily sherried Uigeadail. Time will tell.

The Committee edition went on sale a few days ago. Some Committee members got the e-mail, some didn't (yours truly neither). But I wasn't expecting those handbag sellers would wake up all of those 150.000 Ardbeg Committee members to buy a bottle of Dark Cove. Simply because it would be a mission impossible for them to meet the demand. Still, lots of people got disappointed because it sold in the blink of an eye.

Anyway, it sold out, the rest of us should wait the black edition with a lower ABV. Or do what Oliver Klimek advised: stock up on the core Ardbegs and leave those "special bottlings" for the flippers, collectors and investors.
Ardbeg Dark Cove

Ardbeg Dark Cove
The back label reads:
"Its colour is that of copper stills in moonlight. Its nose - dark chocolate, rich treacle toffee and distant bonfires - betrays a secret: a clandestine meeting of Ardbeg matured in ex-Bourbon casks and a heart matured in dark sherry casks. Hints of pepper spice and zesty lime lure you in. Smouldering charcoal and wood polish flit across the palate, with raisins, dates and ginger emerging from the shadows of tarry creosote. Echoes of cured smoked ham and squid ink noodles signal the arrival of a long spicy aftertaste.

Take this whisky and hide it well; For it is Ardbeg's darkest spirit ever."

What's It Gonna Be?

Remember, these are mere speculations:
  • Feis Ile 2016
  • A Travel Retail version of Uigeadail
  • A watered down replacement for Uigeadail (at the same price)
  • An edition to the core range
  • A competitor for Highland Park Dark Origins
  • An e150 experiment (caramel colouring)

UPDATE 14/10/2015: I heard whispers that Dark Cove will be the Ardbeg Day release of 2016 wordt. But at a higher ABV then 46.5%.

UPDATE 20/10/2015: A new label appeared on the American TTB register. Just like last year's Feis Ile, we see different variations on the same label. Two important things to notice here: a higher ABV and a "special Committee only". This means we could actually see two different bottlings. A readily available bottling at 46.5% and a special release at 55% alcohol...

You know something I don't? Feel free to drop me a line!

Source and pictures: Colas Online

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Jura SMWS 31.28 Going nuts in a rugby club changing room

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes

A lightning course in rugby

The Rugby World Cup is in full swing at the moment. Where I live rugby is not a very well known sport. All I know we have a national team that didn't get qualified for the world cup and they play in black.

On the table is a 25 year single cask from The Isle of Jura Distillery. Back then the distillery was owned by Invergordon distilleries. The legendary Willie Tait was already on board and worked his way through the ranks to Distillery Manager.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

News: Douglas Laing's Big Peat Christmas 2015

  • Big Peat Christmas 2015
  • Douglas Laing Regional Malts
  • Blended malt
  • 53.8% ABV
  • 3.000 cases / 18.000 bottles
Big Peat Christmas contains a shovelful of the finest festive Malts from the Whisky island of Islay, including Ardbegg-nog, Coal Ila, Snowmore and Party Ellen. As ever, he is proudly  riding his sledge without chill-filtration or colouring, but for Christmas he’s bottled at heart-wearming cask strength, a punchy 53.8% ABV.

The original Big Peat dates from 2009, two years later he presented his Christmas pal to his peaty groupies.

Fred Laing, Managing Director of Douglas Laing and Big Peat’s best friend, comments: “Big Peat is fully regarded now as a brand, with devotees and consumers in many different markets globally. Some are so enthused by his feisty and slightly rebellious character that they have even tattooed his braw, bearded face on their arms and legs, and of that we’ll forever be in awe. In the months running up to Christmas we see the unique, fun packaging of his Yuletide release attract a new collective of consumers to offer the ideal seasonal gift left at the foot of the chimney, carrying the hallmark Islay character of coal dust, smoky fires and soot.

Just 3,000 cases of Big Peat Christmas 2015 are available globally from specialist Whisky stores and from October 2015. It’s a real cracker!

Tasting notes from Douglas Laing

This very bottling carries a big peaty, salty, beachy, ashy, oceanic and rather chimney sooty selection of Malts from the legendary Whisky Island of Islay…You could say this is “Islay in a bottle” (Wait, I wrote that already on Bruichladdich's Islay Barley 2006...).

Source and pictures: Douglas Laing

News: Compass Box This is not a luxury Whisky

This is not a luxury whisky
The new Compass Box has been inspired by one of the most well known works of art. René Magritte's "Ceçi n'est pas une pipe".

These days we hear more and more people talking about ‘luxury’ whiskies, which are presumably whiskies that are either rare or expensive, or, possibly, both. With this new release, the people at Compass Box wants people  to consider for themselve what a ‘luxury’ whisky is.  Just like the original art defied people to challenge the concept "art".

"This is not a luxury whisky.
Or is it?"

Value for money? I think so!

Tasting notes from Compass Box

Complex, rich, lightly smoky and opulent. Sultanas,  sweet sherry and concentrated floral notes combine  with deep demerara sweetness, cacao and lighter  creamy coconut character. An inviting nose, fat and  full-bodied on the palate with a long, lingering sweet smoke  finish. 

Alochol: 53.1% ABV. Output: 4.992 bottles. Aailable from October 15.

Source: Compass Box


Wednesday, 23 September 2015

News: Compass Box Flaming Heart 15th Anniversary edition

Flaming Heart was born in 2006. It was the first whisky to combine the rich spices of Scotch whisky matured in French oak and the peaty smoke of Islay malt. The whisky, that defied a genre, was smouldering, complex and spicy. It became so popular three more releases followed.

"Every great achievement is the victory of a Flaming Heart." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

This anniversary release is a huge, layered, long-lasting mouthful of a whisky to enjoy late into the night. Brooding, indulgent and older than ever before, this is a whisky born of oak, smoke and fire. And with a big heart all of its own.

Flaming Heart is a marriage of 27.1%  Caol Ila 30 years old (refill Am. Hogshead), 24.1% Clynelish 20 years old (rejuvenated Am. Hogshead), 10.3% Highland malt 7 years old (nieuwe Franse eik) and 38.5% Caol Ila 14 years old (refill Am. Hogshead).

Tasting notes from Compass Box

A unique interplay between spice, sweet and smoke characteristics. Sweet fruits and wood-smoke on the nose. Fat and full-bodied on the palate with a spicy sweetness and a brooding complexity that is rich, sweet and addictively decadent.

Alochol: 48.9% ABV. Output: 12.060 bottles. Available from October 15.

Source: Compass Box


Sunday, 20 September 2015

Chapter 7 Tomatin 2009

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes

Hold your horses!

The Highlands Distillery of Tomatin was founded in 1897. Once a true giant producing over 12 million liters of alcohol, by which they even surpassed Glenfiddich in the early seventies.

The distillery closed its doors in 1985 due to the now famous crisis that forced one third of the active distilleries to close its doors. Tomatin was saved by two former Japanese customers and became the first Scottish distillery in Japanese hands.

The core range now exists of a NAS entry malt called Legacy, a 12 year old and a 14 year old finished on port casks. They also market a lightly peated whisky by the name of Cù Bòcan, named after a ghost dog that stalked the village of Tomatin for generations.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

News: Suntory The Chita

Suntory The Chita
Suntory launches The Chita 2015, a single grain from Aichi prefecture in Osaka.

The design is features the characteristic shodo calligraphy. The white Japanese washi paper symbolises the subtle flavours.

This is a single grain whisky without an age statement (NAS) and bottled at 43% ABV.

As far as I know only available in Japan at the moment. Price unknown.

They seem to favour The Chita in a whisky highball

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Chapter 7 Ben Nevis 1996

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes

A late summer trip to the mountains

The remote distillery of Ben Nevis in Fort William lies in the shadow of Scotland's highest mountain Ben Nevis. Originally founded in 1825 by "Long" John McDonald, the distillery changed hands multiple times to end back up in the hands of Long John Distillers in 1981. It is the last surviving distillery in a town that once counted three distilleries.

In the fifties Ben Nevis was able to produce malt and grain whisky at the same site. A victim of the Scotch crisis of the eighties, the distillery was sold to Japanese whisky producer Nikka. It now is an important supplier to their blends and one third of the new make is directly sent to Japan.


Wednesday, 9 September 2015

News: Wemyss Malts Kiln Embers

  • Wemyss Malts Kiln Embers
  • Blended malt
  • NAS
  • 46 % ABV
  • Non chill-filtered
Wemyss Malts celebrates 10 years in the industry with a peated limited edition release containing smoky Islay whisky.

The new 'Kiln Embers’ blended malt is a smoky addition to the Wemyss Malts line up, containing double the amount of smoky Islay malt whisky than its relative Peat Chimney.

Following the popular Velvet Fig, the team at Wemyss has created
this no-age statement expression to offer an additional peaty dimension to its
blended malt range. Kiln Embers is also non-chill-filtered and bottled at 46% ABV (bonus points!).

This is limited release of 12,000 bottles globally. Available soon in specialist spirits stores at around £42/€58.

Source and picture: Wemyss Malts

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

News: Kilchoman Vintage 2008

The brief Islay summer is slowly coming to an end but there is plenty to be happy about at Kilchoman. The Wills brothers are touring Europe with a few brand new expressions from the Islay distillery.

On Monday the 7th of September Kilchoman will release a seven year old single malt, the most mature expression to be released since  filling casks in 2005.

The Limited Edition 2008 Vintage is a vatting of fresh ex American bourbon barrels filled in July 2008 and bottled in August 2015. This is the latest in a continuation of the by-annually released Vintage range, the distillery having previously bottled 2006 and 2007 Vintages.

As is customary at Kilchoman., the whisky is bottled at 46% ABV, natural colour and unchillfiltered.

Anthony Wills, Kilchoman Founder and Managing Director; ‘The 2008 Vintage is a classic bourbon barrel aged Kilchoman however the additional maturation has added layers of soft fruit and sweetness not seen in previous releases. This latest vintage release makes me very excited about the future development of Kilchoman single malt.’

Official Tasting Notes from Kilchoman

Colour: Honey Gold
Nose: Lemon, citrus and butterscotch notes are prominent with soft peaty aromas in the background.
Palate: Soft sweetness first with peat smoke and ripe fruit notes following.
Finish: Long, clean and sweet with peat smoke and soft fruits at the end.

RRP - £55.50 / €76 - available from 7th September (already sold out online).

Source and image: Kilchoman

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Chapter 7 Glenrothes 1997

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes

Sweet and bitter dessert from the Middle East

The Glenrothes distillery is a peculiar story. The brand itself is in the hands of London wine merchants Berry Bros & Rudd. However the day to day operations are done by the Edrington Group, owners of The Macallan and Highland Park. They own the site and the equipment.

Most of the distillery output goes into Cutty Sark and The Grouse Blends. The remaining 2% single malt from Glenrothes, just like wine companies, is released as specific vintages. Currently they offer a 1995, a 1998 and a 2001 expression with distinctively shaped bottles.

In 1979, after some major building works, distillery workers reported sightings of a ghost on the site. The ghost was recognized as Byeway Makalunga. Byeway was a black South-African distillery worker (a very rare sight those days) who came to Scotland with Glenrothes-owner Colonel Grant and died in 1972. The distillery workers still perform a daily "toast to the ghost".