Sunday, 29 November 2015

Craigellachie Verticale tasting

Craigellachie Verticale tasting
Last week's big tweet tasting from The Whisky Wire was all about Craigellachie Distillery, one of the so-called Last Great Malts from Bacardi. "Rocky Hill" Craigellachie was never a big name in the whisky industry. Most of its production goes in the Dewar's blends.

In 2014 Bacardi decided to go full frontal with 5 of its distilleries: the already well-known Aberfeldy, Glen Deveron, Aultmore, Royal Brackla and Craigellachie. And with a promise of 46% ABV and age statements, the word spread quickly among whisky geeks...

We'll go through the whole range including the 19yo Travel Retail edition and a 21yo single cask exclusive to the Craigellachie Hotel and its even more famous The Quaich whisky bar.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

News: Laphroaig Lore

Laphroaig Lore

The richest of the rich

  • Laphroaig Lore
  • Laphroaig Distillery, Port Ellen (Islay)
  • NAS
  • 48 % ABV
A brand new Laphroaig named Lore appeared.

Update: The Laphroaig Lore has been confirmed by distillery manager John Campbell. It will be a successor to the bicentennial  anniversary 15yo bottling.

Laphroaig Lore will be available from 18 March 2016. RRP: £75.

What the back label reads:
'Lore' is the passing of skill or tradition through word of mouth.
Encapsulating the craft passed down from generation to generation over two centuries, Laphroaig Lore is our richest expression ever.

Liquid drawn from a selection of aged casks has crafted a rich deep malt with distinctive smoke, peat and seaside minerality.

This is our story. This is Laphroaig Lore.

Laphroaig Lore

So. What do we know? It's Laphroaig. It's NAS and bottled at 48% ABV. It's a label from TTB Online. So we're not even 100% sure this whisky will see the light of day. But it's Laphroaig so fans will rejoice!

Source and pictures: Arno Kemeling

Friday, 27 November 2015

News: Aberfeldy 16

Aberfeldy 16
  • Aberfeldy 16
  • Aberfeldy Distillery, Aberlour (Speyside)
  • 16 year old single malt
  • 40 % ABV
  • Oloroso sherry cask finish

The 16 year old Aberfeldy is a new addition to the Aberfeldy line of Bacardi's Last Great Malts.

Built by the Dewar family in 1898, the distillery is one of a handful remaining in Perthshire (Edradour, Blair Athol, Deanston, Tullibardine, Glenturret and the new Strathean being the others).

The house style is rich but smooth and accessible with an emphasis on notes of honey. Abderfeldy 16  is entirely finished in premium Oloroso sherry casks, allowing a sumptuous and more pronounced sherry accent to the malt, giving a suggestion of dried fruit and spicy notes that only the finest of quality casks contribute.

The long fermentation time of 70 hours allows for greater flavour development as an extended fermentation encourages the creation of more esters which in turn give the whisky fruitiness. Known as The Golden Dram, Aberfeldy’s precious water source, the Pitilie Burn, is steeped in local folklore and its qualities have long been sought-after. The burn is renowned for being rich in mineral deposits including alluvial gold.

Tasting notes

Alba’s rare alchemy, exhaling honey, citrus and spicy cloves. Sherried and full like fruitcake, then dabs of dark chocolate. A soothing Scotch elixir for a favourite couthie corner.

Theis new expression joins the existing portfolio of single malts with a 12yo and a 21yo Aberfeldy. It is described as rewardingly viscous and sweet; full of fresh fruit and buttery notes.

Priced: £62.00 / €88

Available in Belgium, Canada, Germany, France, Japan, Lebanon, Netherlands, Russia, Sweden, Taiwan and the UK.

Source and pictures: Bacardi/Quercus Communications


Tuesday, 24 November 2015

News: Kilchoman 10 year old

The first Kilchoman cask ever!

  • Kilchoman Cask n°1
  • Kilchoman Distillery, Bruichladdich (Islay)
  • 10 year old single malt
  • 58.2% ABV
  • Distilled 14 December 2015
  • Cask 01/2005 | 1 bottle

On the 14th of December Cask No1 at Kilchoman Distillery will turn 10 years old and while we won't be bottling the whole barrel, they will auction one bottle to celebrate the occassion and also raise some money for The Beatson Cancer Charity.

The auction,  is open to Kilchoman fans worldwide and will be hosted on the Kilchoman website on the 14th of December.

The one-off bottle will be hand bottled by Anthony Wills directly from the first cask exactly ten years after it was filled on the 14th of December 2005. Limited stocks mean that there won't be more 10 year old Kilchoman for some years however the recent illness of John MacLellan, Kilchoman Distillery Manager, and a desire to celebrate the milestone sparked Founder Anthony Wills into planning the unique bottling.

Anthony, “While our neighbouring distilleries have been celebrating far longer periods in the industry we wanted to acknowledge 10 years of Kilchoman and also raise some money for a very worthy cause which has become close to the whole Kilchoman team”.

John, “The work carried out by The Beatson Cancer Charity is exemplary in all aspects of research, treatment and after care”.

What we need to know:
  • The acution will run from 12 noon on the 7th to 12 noon on the 14th of December (GMT).
  • The auction is open to Kilchoman fans worldwide.
  • Bids will only be taken through the dedicated auction page.
  • You can bid as many times as you like.

Source and picture: Kilchoman Distillery

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Chapter 7 Irish single malt 2001

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes

The number 13 seems to be far from unlucky for this Irish single malt. The single cask is the younger brother of Chapter 7's bourbon cask from 2000. Thirteen years in a sherry cask made it considerably darker and richer. They are definitely closely related but developed a very different character after all.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Douglas Laing Big Peat Christmas 2015

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes

Holidays are coming!

Big Peat's Christmas edition is already up to its 5th edition. This festive edition from Douglas Laing's popular Islay blended malt is bottled at cask strength and features Big Peat in his Santa outfit on a peat driven sleigh.

Douglas Laing's describes Big Peat Christmas as a shovelful of the finest festive Malts from the Whisky island of Islay, including Ardbegg-nog, Coal Ila, Snowmore and Party Ellen. Pretty hard to beat that piece of copywriting, isn't it?

Thursday, 12 November 2015

News: Kilchoman Club Release 4th edition

Kilchoman Club Release Sauternes
The Kilchoman Club Release - Fourth Edition is exclusively available to members of the Club. Three fully matured Sauternes casks from January 2011 have been hand picked from the warehouse and bottled at cask strength (a whopping 60%!).

Just over 900 bottles of this unique release will be available and every bottle will be individually numbered and hand labelled.

The Club release will be available from Kilchoman's website at 10am on Monday 16th November.

The price will be £75 per bottle (70cl)

Source and pictures: Press release Kilchoman

Monday, 9 November 2015

That dreadfull Christmas and New Years wishlist

Sigh! December is almost synonymous with the question "What do you want for Christmas and New Year"? And every year I'm scratching my head and shrugging my shoulders as in "I dunno".

Well, I'm done with it. From now on I will meticulously prepare my own gift list. And oh surprise, everything in it has to do with whisky.

Book shelf

One cannot simply have enough books. And I take pride in it that every book on the shelves has been read at least once. And two hours of daily train fun help enormously in that daunting task.

200 years of Laphroaig

Hans Offringa was commissioned to update its Legend Of Laphroaig book for their 200th anniversary. The book is based upon the first edition from 2007 but differs in approach and layout. It is aimed at contemporary Laphroaig and whisky fans. The release is planned for November. To be read with a Laphroaig 15 or 16 in hand.

Malt Whisky Yearbook 2016

Ingvar Ronde's yearbook is up to its eleventh edition. The concept remains unchanged: in-depth articles and an extensive distillery section with food for number crunchers and industry stats. Essential reading!

But the distilleries went on: The Morrison Bowmore Story

Ian Buxton has already a fairly extensive number of books on his account. Glenfarclas, Glenglassaugh and The Famous Grouse are but three of the brands for which he dived into the company archives and took up his pen. Last year he wrote down the story of the Morrison family. The family company evolved from an independent player to a true giant on the market with among others, The Old Lady from Islay (Bowmore) in its portfolio.

Spirit of Place: Whisky distilleries of Scotland

Spirit of Place is the new book by grandmaster Charles MacLean. It became a typical coffee table book with a series of stunning photographs from more than 60 distilleries by Lara Platman and Allan Macdonald. And lots of trivia to impress your whisky loving friends.


No list could be complete without a few bottles of course. It's the perfect gift for the whisky geek in your life and chances are you can share in his joy right away. After all, that's what this is all about: sharing and enjoying together.

Wemyss Malts Kiln Embers

Kiln Embers

Wemyss Malts presents for the second year a limited edition blended malt. Kiln Embers is a peaty blend with twice as much Islay whisky as Peat Chimney. It is a celebration to 10 years in the industry, unfiltered and bottled at 46% ABV.

Substitute: Compass Box Peat Monster

Douglas Laing Big Peat Christmas 2015

Big Peat Christmas

Douglas Laing releases every year a special Christmas edition of its famous Big Peat blend. And since it has the word Christmas in it, I could not leave it out this list. Big Peat Christmas offers a shovelful of the finest and festive malts from whisky heaven on Earth with some Ardbegg-nog, Coal Ila, Snowmore and Party Ellen. A lively fisherboy at 53.8% ABV.

Substitute: Finlaggan Cask Strength

Caol Ila 17 Unpeated

Caol Ila 17 Unpeated

Caol Ila is a well established name in the Special Releases from Diageo. This year's edition is a 17 year old unpeated single malt. According to Dave Broom the whisky is fresh with lots of citrus and fruity notes and traces of smoke. I do hope it stays below the €100 limit (update: pricing is set at £90). But nevertheless high on my list!

Substitute: Bunnahabhain 18

Port Askaig 100° proof

Port Askaig Cask Strength

Port Askaig is a sister company from The Whisky Exchange and was (at least, it used to be) a Caol Ila in disguise. The new series consists of a 16 year old, a 30 year old and a 45 year old. And this new 100° proof Port Askaig is rather young but full-bodied whisky with a serious punch.

Substitute: Port Charlotte Islay Barley 2008

Ben Nevis 10

Ben Nevis 10

A whisky that is far from new, but a classic dram that really surprised me earlier this year. I tasted this one in a small spaghetti restaurant with an extensive whisky collection. The lovely old fashioned sherry notes made me think of older Mortlachs. And the bottle is pretty old fashioned. Or retro. Or vintage...

Substitute: Aberlour A'bunadh

Glendronach 15 Revival

GlenDronach 15 Revival

A sherry bomb from GlenDronach that is getting scarce. Even more since the rumours about a temporary drawback from the market got confirmed. And it is definitely one of the best GlenDronachs available (a close call with the 18yo).

Substitute: Glenfarclas 15

Teeling Whiskey 15 The Revival

Teeling The Revival 15

Teeling is a relatively new name on the whisky scene. Jack and Stephen Teeling managed to put the brand on the map in record time. The distillery itself is already up and running in the centre of Dublin. The 15 year old The Revival is a brand new expression.

Substitute: Redbreast 15


Just like our significant other has to have a few accessories for her outfit, every whisky lover deserves to have a few accessories.

Perfect Dram glas

This is a smaller version of the classic glencairn glass. The perfect size for a family picnic or at tastings where they serve your favourite drink in a plastic cup. The tasting experience is undeniably different in glass compared to a plastic thimble.

Hip Flask

hip flask

Another indispensable picnic or hiking attribute: a small flask to carry your favourite outdoor whisky with you without having to pack a full bottle. Less risks of breakage and it has a certain charm. Available in all shapes and sizes. Choosing the perfect hip flask will not be an easy task.

Allright, that should do the trick to compose your own Christmas list. Feel free to share it!


Thursday, 5 November 2015

Ardmore SMWS 66.51 Hospitals on Guy Fawkes Night

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes

A for Ardmore

Guy Fawkes Night or Bonfire Night is an annual commemoration of the failed Gunpowder Plot of 5 November 1605.

A member of the plot, Guy Fawkes, was arrested while guarding the explosives beneath Westminster Palace. The conspiracy attempted to assassinate the protestant King James I and install a catholic monarchy.

The image of Guy Fawkes gained immense popularity by the Alan Moore comic V for Vendetta and its 2006 movie adaption. The main character and protagonist V revolts against the fascist government in a dystopian London. V wears the now iconic Guy Fawkes mask that was adopted by Anonymous in 2008.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

News: The Glenrothes Peated Cask Reserve

  • The Peated Cask Reserve
  • Glenrothes Distillery, Rothes (Speyside)
  • NAS
  • 40 % ABV
  • Exclusively available through Marks & Spencer
The Glenrothes has always taken an interest in different approaches in which to showcase the depth of the distillery’s character. At first, classically by experimentation with different casks, sizes and wood then, secondly, by looking outside the current box.

By delving into the distillery’s heritage it was discovered that one of the first associations with another distillery was with a company called Highland Distilleries back in 1887. This was an association formed between The Glenrothes and the Islay Distillery Co Ltd.

The research provided the inspiration for the new expression, the task now was to identify some excellent whisky. Deciding on Vintage 1992, The Glenrothes was given a temporary home in a cask hailing from the peaty lands of Islay. It doesn’t take much time to add a kiss of peat smoke to complement but not overpower the usual Glenrothes characteristics.

Ronnie Cox, The Glenrothes Brand Heritage Director, describes the Peated Cask Reserve as: "A wonderful surprise. Another first! The first modern-day marriage of elegant, fruity, and, of course, mature Glenrothes with subtle but intriguing peaty mists of Islay."

Malt Master Gordon Motion’s flavour notes appear on the front label: "Lemon fruitiness, spicy and deliciously smoky."

Tasting notes From The Glenrothes

Colour: Mid gold.
Nose: Nettles, new leather, peat, nutmeg and white wine.
Taste: Peat smokiness, light vanilla, spices and citrus peel.
Finish: Spicy and lingering.

The Glenrothes Peated Cask Reserve will be sold exclusively through M&S in the UK from November; it will be priced at £45 per bottle.

Source and picture: Press release Glenrothes