Sunday, 18 November 2018

Tomatin 30YO (2018)

Tomatin 30YO (2018)

Tomatin launched in September 2018 a new 30-year old single malt in its range. The new whisky will replace the 1988 Vintage.

The single malt was finished in first-fill ex-bourbon barrels and was bottled at 46% ABV.

The first batch of around 3.000 bottles will market for around £300 or a price close to €337.

Graham Nicolson, Tomatin’s Sales Director, said, “This luxurious expression is elegant and flavourful – a neatly packed whisky with taste sensations to delight the senses. From the spices that add an incredible depth to the creamy buttered vanilla that brings an unbelievable layer of richness – the 30 Year Old is definitely one for every whisky drinker’s gantry."
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Monday, 15 October 2018

Halloween Special: Pairing 9 whiskies with classic & contemporary horror movies

Halloween Special: Pairing 9 whiskies with classic & contemporary horror movies

Halloween - or Hallowe'en - is on the doorstep so it's time to open up my cabinet of horror and sci-fi DVDs for a fright night with appropriate drams.

The name Halloween was first used somewhere in the 16th century as a Scottish shortening of the fuller All-Hallows-Even. Scotland's national poet Robert Burns portrayed some of the customs in his poem Halloween. According to Burns, Halloween is "thought to be a night when witches, devils, and other mischief-making beings are all abroad on their baneful midnight errands".

Interested in the 28 stanzas of the poem?

I will once again pick 9 classic horror movies from my collection and pour a matching whisky when the ladies of the house are asleep.

Ready for a long night of horror movies and drams?

Poltergeist (1982) - Glenrothes 13YO Halloween Edition 2018



The Glenrothes distillery in Rothes lies next to the town’s graveyard. For numerous years distillery workers claim to have seen a ghost around the distillery. The ghost was described as a white-haired dark man that resembled Biawa Makalaga, the servant of Major James Grant. After professor Cedric Wilson "had a chat" at Biawa's tombstone, the issue was resolved. Even today it is not uncommon to hear people in Glenrothes doing a “toast to the ghost”. Ghosts, graveyards? Enter the eighties horror classic Poltergeist from Tobe Hooper. A young girl converses with a static TV-channel and a series of supernatural events unfold in the following days. The house had been built upon the site of a cemetery. No surprise that the restless ghosts aren’t exactly friendly to the invading Freeling family… "They're here..."

Glenrothes 13YO Halloween Edition 2018
Picture: The Glenrothes


Horror Express (1972) - Tamdhu Batch Strength



The Tamdhu distillery was built next to the Strathspey railway. Railways were an important part of the logistics chain in the Victorian age to supply distilleries with malted barley and to transport whisky to the brokers and resellers. At first sight, The Horror Express is a classic whodunnit movie. The greater part of the movie is set on the Trans-Siberian Express from Chine to Moscow. A British anthropologist - the late Christopher Lee - travels with a crate containing the remains of a primitive creature. The creature starts a killing spree on the train and slowly its true identity is revealed: a formless extraterrestrial that uses the bodies of living creatures as a host. The two of you together. That's fine. But what if one of you is the monster? - Monster? We're British, you know.

Tamdhu Batch Strength
Picture: Tamdhu


Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) - Bowmore 12



The entry age statement whisky of Islay's Bowmore Distillery is a classic dram. A mixture of sweet heather, honey and dirty smoke. And still readily available for smaller wallets. When looking upon the Bowmore distillery from the coast, it is easy to imagine the infamous boiler room from the teenager's dreams. The habitat of Robert Eglund's character, a ghastly razor-fingered child killer, is filled with smoke and oil fumes. The smell of burnt flesh and sweet perfumy notes of children's bedrooms making it an ideal combo with Bowmore 12. Why are you screaming? I haven't even caught you yet.

Bowmore 12YO
Picture: Bowmore


Rubber (2010) - Kilchoman Loch Gorm



Rubber is a movie about a tire that starts killing people with its psychic powers. Yes, you read it right the first time. The main character is a car tire with a Jack The Ripper attitude. The first victims of Rollin' Robert are a plastic bottle and a scorpion. Our killer-tire learns to use his psychokinetic powers to kill harder targets such as a beer bottle and a rabbit. To make things even a bit more absurd, there is an in-movie audience that gets completely killed-off by the murderous tire. The rubbery notes of Kilchoman sherry-matured single malt are the portal to this movie. I once nickname this whisky "Bicycle repairer in the E.R. after a mud fight". The teamwork between the Oloroso casks and the peaty Kilchoman spirits is almost as good as the bond between Batman and Robin. Smoke and rubber versus fruit and spices. Hey, wait! It's not the end! He's been reincarnated as a tricycle!




Kilchoman Loch Gorm
Picture: Kilchoman


A lonely place to die (2011) - Ben Nevis 10



A group of mountaineers meet up to go hiking in the Scottish Highlands. They discover a young captured Croatian girl and decide to bring her to safety. The rescue party is followed by the kidnappers who are trying to kill them and get the girl back. The movie isn't the biggest name on the list and Ben Nevis 10 has the same reputation. It is not a big name, it is not the most beautiful bottle but the quality is self-evident. A staple in the cabinet. Complacency is a killer out here.

Ben Nevis 10
Picture: The Whisky Exchange


Night of the living dead (1968) - Wigle Deep Cut Rye



Another classic horror movie that never made it to the previous two lists for some unknown reason. George Romero's first big movie wrote down the rules for the next generations of zombie movies. Although the word "zombie" is never used in the movie. Romero referred to the flesh-eating undead as ghouls. Most of the movie was shot in Pittsburgh., so one could see it as the birthplace of zombies. Wigle Distillery calls Pittsburgh the birthplace of American whiskey. Wigle mainly distills organic rye and wheat whiskeys. Too bad it is nearly impossible to find Wigle in Europe. A widespread investigation of funeral homes, morgues, and hospitals has concluded that the unburied dead have been returning to life and seeking human victims.

Wigle Deep Cut Rye
Picture: Wigle


El Dia de la Bestia (1995) - Compass Box Story of The Spaniard



This is a case where I started looking for a movie to go with a certain whisky instead of the other way around. Compass Box's new blend The Story of Spaniard - a mix of Spanish red wine casks, sherry casks and virgin French oak cask - is a permanent addition to the core range. It will join the ranks of Oak Cross, Spice Tree and Peat Monster blended malt. But back to the movie. This Spanish horror comedy revolves around three characters: a Spanish priest committing as many sins as possible, a death metal salesman and the host of an occult TV show. Their mission: preventing the Antichrist to enter our human world. Well, it's fundamental. lt inspired me to see the Apocalypse not as an allegory but as an equation.

Compass Box Story of the spaniard
Picture: Compass Box


Army of Darkness (1992) - Johnnie Walker Black Label



The loud-mouthed braggart Ash Williams returns once again to fight the Deadites and to retrieve the Necronomicon. Sam Raimi's third instalment gained cult fame in the second half of the 90's. Our oneliner-spitting anti-hero ends up in the Middle Ages with his chainsaw, shotgun and Oldsmobile Delta 88. This part comedy part horror movie is dirt cheap, it looks dirt cheap but it has an army of loyal followers. Much like Johnnie Walkers Black label. It's dead cheap, it is far from the best whisky out there but it has a loyal following, even malt maniacs will grab it from time to time. It is a classic blend and a huge step forward compared to the Red Label. Sure, I could have stayed in the past. I could have even been king. But in my own way, I *am* king.

Johnnie Walker Black Label
Picture: The Whisky Exchange


The Birds (1963) - Caol Ila 12



The Birds is but one of the many classics from Alfred Hitchcock. A quiet harbour town, Bodega Bay, suffers from a flock of violent birds. The attacks are always coming in waves and follow a consistent pattern. The birds gather, attack suddenly and disappear again to gather somewhere else. Say hello to mister Consistency that has his roots in a quiet harbour town: Caol Ila. The official 12YO might be a bit underrated but it is damn fine whisky. And the still house offers a perfect view of the sound of Islay. I have never known birds of different species to flock together.

Caol Ila 12
Picture: The Whisky Exchange

What is your favourite Halloween movie en whisky pairing
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Sunday, 7 October 2018

Gordon & Macphail Private Collection Longmorn 1961 cask #508 & cask #512


Gordon & Macphail Private Collection Longmorn 1961 cask #508 & cask #512

The Longmorn distillery lies south from Elgin and not too far away from the Gordon & Macphail offices. The distillery was founded in the 1890’s in a prosperous period for the whisky industry. The greater part of the production disappears in blends of the Pernod Ricard group such as Chivas Regal and Royal Salute.
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Thursday, 4 October 2018

Game of Thrones presents an army of whiskies

Game of Thrones presents an army of whiskies

In collaboration with HBO, Diageo is unveiling the new White Walker by Johnnie Walker Blended Scotch Whisky and The Game of Thrones Single Malt Scotch Whisky Collection. The limited-edition whiskies are inspired by the iconic characters and the creative world of Westeros and beyond and are here to tide fans over during their wait for the eighth and final season.

(Johnnie) White Walker

(Johnnie) White Walker
  • Blended Scotch
  • Alcohol: 41.6% ABV

House Tyrell - Clynelish Reserve

House Tyrell - Clynelish Reserve
House Tyrell of Highgarden rules over the Reach, the lush and fertile region of Westeros. Like the Reach, Clynelish is positioned among green pastures and rolling hills, with scenic views of the North Sea. This vibrant, golden Scotch is light and floral, like House Tyrell, it’s not to be underestimated with its underlying complex combination of Highland and maritime qualities.
  • NAS single malt
  • Alcohol: 51.2% ABV
  • Price: $59.99

House Tully - Singleton of Glendullan Select

House Tully - Singleton of Glendullan Select
House Tully located at Riverrun, rules as the lord of e River lands. The power of water flows through both House Tully and e Singleton Glendullan Select as it is made on the banks of the River Fiddich in the wooded hills of Dufftown. Here they harnessed the water that flowed through the land utilizing a water wheel to power the entire distillery.
  • NAS single malt
  • Alcohol: 40% ABV
  • Price: $29.99

House Stark - Dalwhinnie Winter's Frost

House Stark - Dalwhinnie Winter's Frost
House Stark’s resiliency, strength and ability to thrive under the most intense situations are greatly shaped by Winterfell’s frigid temperatures. Dalwhinnie, known for being one of the highest distilleries in all of Scotland is cold and remote much like The North where House Stark calls home, making the two an iconic pairing. Extreme conditions are responsible for shaping the signature Dalwhinnie Winter’s Frost honeyed sweetness and spicy warmth. Naturally, it’s best served chilled or over ice.
  • NAS single malt
  • Alcohol: 43%
  • Price: $39.99

House Greyjoy - Talisker Select Reserve

House Greyjoy - Talisker Select Reserve
House Greyjoy rules the Iron Islands and worships the Drowned God. Talisker was a natural pair for House Greyjoy as this single malt is distilled on the shores of the Isle of Skye, one of the most remote and rugged areas of Scotland. The layered flavours and signature maritime character of Talisker Select Reserve are the result of its wave-battered shores. This liquid is an intense smoky single malt scotch with spicy, powerful and sweet elements combined with maritime flavours.
  • NAS single malt
  • Alcohol: 45.8% ABV
  • Price: $44.99

House Baratheon - Royal Lochnagar 12YO

Royal lineage drives the iconic pairing between House Baratheon and Royal Lochnagar. Similar to Robert Baratheon ruling the Seven Kingdoms upon the Iron Throne, Royal Lochnagar was deemed a whisky worthy of a royal family as it was granted a Royal Warrant after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert visited the distillery in 1848. Balanced with delicate fruits and spices, this taste
of royalty is best enjoyed neat.
  • 12-year-old single malt
  • Alcohol: 40% ABV
  • Price: $64.99

The Night's Watch - Oban Bay Reserve

The Night's Watch - Oban Bay Reserve
The Oban distillery sits beneath the steep cliff that overlooks the bay in the frontier between the West Highlands and the Islands of Scotland, separating land and sea, just as Castle Black, home of The Night’s Watch, sits between Westeros and the lands beyond The Wall. The liquid’s richness is balanced with a woody, Spicy dryness that The Night’s Watch could enjoy even on the coldest of nights.
  • NAS single malt
  • Alcohol: 43% ABV
  • Price: $62.99

House Lannister - Lagavulin 9YO

House Lannister - Lagavulin 9YO
Lagavulin is one of the most legendary single malt brands and has been crafted on the shores of Islay for more than 200 years – mirroring the meticulous calculation and tenacity employed by the Lannister’s in their rise to conquer the Iron Throne.
Ths single malt whisky is a roaring single malt that recalls the Lannister’s riches and is best served neat or with a single drop of water
  • 9-year-old single malt
  • Alcohol: 46% ABV
  • Price: $64.99

House Targaryen - Cardhu Gold Reserve

House Targaryen - Cardhu Gold Reserve


Fueled by the same fiery spirit of the fierce female leadership of Daenerys Targaryen, this single malt celebrates legendary women and their unwavering perseverance. The Cardhu Distillery was pioneered by Helen Cumming and her daughter-in-law Elizabeth during the 1800s, a time when the whisky industry was almost entirely male-dominated.
  • NAS single malt
  • Alcohol: 40% ABV
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Monday, 1 October 2018

Gordon & Macphail launches Longmorn Twin Casks


Gordon & Macphail launches Longmorn Twin Casks

Monozygotic or identical twins naturally attract more attention from people. The Yoruba peoples have the highest rate of twinning in the world, at 45–50 twin sets (or 90–100 twins) per 1,000 live births, possibly because of high consumption of a specific type of yam containing a natural phytoestrogen which may stimulate the ovaries to release an egg from each side. Europe has a rate of 9 to 16 twin sets per 1,000 live births.
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Sunday, 30 September 2018

Highland Park Loyaly of The Wolf 14YO


A Tasty Dram tasting notes Highland Park Loyaly of The Wolf 14YO

Highland Park unleashed a threesome of fierce animal into the global travel retail shops. The 14-year-old single malt nicknamed "Loyalty of The Wolf" is the middle-of-the-road whisky in the range. This  Orcadian single malt matured in a combination of sherry-seasoned American oak and ex-bourbon casks and was bottled at 42.3% ABV. The packaging states Sweet and Complex. Let's see if we can detect these flavours in the whisky
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Friday, 28 September 2018

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Highland Park Spirit of The Bear


A Tasty Dram tasting notes Highland Park Spirit of The Bear

Highland Park's Spirit of the Bear is the new entry-level whisky for Global Travel Retail - duty-free - shops. The Orkney single malt matured in sherry-seasoned American oak casks and was bottled at 40% ABV. The packaging states Smoky & Bold. Talk about speaking clearly to your customers.
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Friday, 14 September 2018

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

And the tenth Special Release is... Cladach

Nine out of ten Special Releases were already known. We knew Brora and Port Ellen would not be present this year. But what about that mysterious number 10? A closed distilleries malt? An exclusive NAS? A malt from Roseisle? Or a special anniversary whisky from Johnnie Walker?

Drumroll, please! Number ten is ... Cladach, a blended malt from Diageo's coastal distilleries. The blend is the final masterpiece from Keith Law, the man behind Collectivum XXVIII. Cladach is Gaelic for coastline and has been composed with whiskies from Inchgower, Clynelish, Talisker, Oban, Caol Ila en Lagavulin.

Identity Card Cladach 01

  • Official bottling in the 2018 Special Releases
  • NAS blended malt
  • Outturn: unknown
  • Alcohol: 57.1% ABV
  • Price unknown
Image & Source: The Whisky Exchange.
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    Sunday, 9 September 2018

    Friday, 7 September 2018

    Friday, 31 August 2018

    Monday, 27 August 2018

    50 years of Connoisseurs Choice

    50 years of Gordon & Macphail Connoisseurs Choice

    One of Scotland's most renowned independent bottlers Gordon and Macphail celebrates the 50th birthday of the Connoisseurs Choice brand in 2018. Back in the 60's, the majority of (single) malt whisky disappeared into blends. The market for single malt whiskies was virtually non-existent. Some of Scotland's most iconic single malt brands proudly stating to be centenarians or even bicentenarians are indebted to independent bottlers for establishing their name as a single malt.
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    Monday, 20 August 2018

    Old news: Ardbeg Drum

    Old news: Ardbeg Drum

    Earlier this week Ardbeg had its new Ardbeg Day label published in a well-known American registry. Those labels hardly remain a secret for a few hours and are leaked by whisky bloggers and journalists worldwide. However 'leaked'is not the correct word anymore. I truly believe Ardbeg sees it as the very first opportunity to raise awareness of the upcoming product and ignite the hype. And we gladly participate in it...
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    Sunday, 12 August 2018

    Highland Park Wings of The Eagle 16YO

    A Tasty Dram tasting notes Highland Park Wings of The Eagle 16YO

    The Orkney-based distillery Highland Park sent its Viking Warriors Svein, Einar, Harald, Sigurd, Ragnvald and Thorfinn to Wallhalla. They went hunting in the woods for replacements and came back with three mystical beasts from the Viking lore: a bear, a wolf and an eagle.

    Wings of the Eagle is a 16-year-old single malt matured in a combination of American and European oak sherry-seasoned casks. It's the top of the line from Highland Park's new global travel retail threesome.
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    Friday, 27 July 2018

    Sunday, 27 May 2018

    Port Charlotte 10 (2018)

    Tasting notes Port Charlotte 10 (2018)

    The new Port Charlotte 10 is Bruichladdich's third iteration - or fourth if you count the collectable PC10 too - of the popular heavily peated 10-year-old Port Charlotte. This edition marks a departure from the iconic minimalistic Laddie bottle. Port Charlotte has now its own distinctive dark green - a popular colour on Islay - steampunk apothecary-style bottle. Looks like Bruichladdich is working towards a unique identity for each of its subbrands Bruichladdich, Port Charlotte and Octomore.

    Bruichladdich's Feis Ile festivities focus on their heavily peated brand Port Charlotte. Their special Open Day Whisky is called The Heretic. The Laddie team married the last five remaining casks of Port Charlotte spirit. Hence its name "The Last of the First". Trivia Time: Did you know the very first spirit run at Bruichladdich after it reopened was heavily peated new make destined to become Port Charlotte whisky?

    Back to that regular Port Charlotte 10 single malt, which will replace the multi-vintage and highly transparent Scottish Barley expression. Things are still rolling out as we speak, but I suspect we will be getting more details about it after the Feis Frenzy.

    And in the meantime, I'll have a sip of the new kid on the block and give you my tasting notes.

    Identity Card Port Charlotte 10

    Port Charlotte 10
    • Official bottling from Bruichladdich Distillery, Lochindaal (Islay)
    • 10-year-old single malt Scotch whisky
    • Vatting of first-fill American oak, refill American oak, refill French wine casks
    • Alcohol: 50% ABV

    Tasting notes

    Colour: Straw yellow with a golden hue. White port perhaps? With water, things get very cloudy.

    Nose: Sweet rubber and aniseed notes. Fennel seeds. Nougat and nuts. Greek rose liqueur. Citrus smoke coming from an antique apothecary's cabinet. Tangerines, smoked salt and marzipan.
    With water: A handful of sweets. English wine gums, vanilla and liquorice. Some wood flavours. Melon, golden syrup and salted caramel. A slightly metallic note.

    Taste: A peppery start transforms into a silky soft mouth texture. Smoked pears and almonds. A bitter Belgian tripel beer with spices. Clove, bay leaf and rose petals.
    With water: Vanilla, pepper and sand cookies. Melon. Coconut on the barbecue. Tobacco smoke. Toasted brioche buns with coconut fat. Milk chocolate and figs.

    Finish: Warm and dry on the tongue. Toasted nuts with coconut oil and traces of old red wine.

    Port Charlotte 10 (2018)

    Damn! The team at Bruichladdich nails it every time. The new Port Charlotte 10 looks great and tastes great. The bottle size has been reduced, but the flavours haven't.  Smoky, sweet, sour, salty and bitter. It's all there. A well-balanced smoky Victorian steampunk beast. There's no need to put it side by side with the second edition of the Port Charlotte Ten and the Port Charlotte Scottish Barley, as I did. It truly is Port Charlotte from the first sniff.

    The DNA literally jumps out of the bottle when the cork is popped. And probably some liquid too. The short bottleneck may cause you to spill a few drops so make sure to pop the cork gently and pour a generous measure the first time.

    Sample disclosure: A sample was offered by Bruichladdich. Opinions expressed in this review are of course my own. In this case, my opinion might be a bit biased, but that's due to me being a fan of Bruichladdich and has nothing to do with free samples.


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      Friday, 25 May 2018

      Sunday, 20 May 2018

      Ben Nevis 10

      Tasting notes Ben Nevis 10

      The Ben Nevis distillery lies in the shadow of one of Scotland’s highest mountains and carries the same name. Its whiskies often overlooked, its new make spirit often shipped to Japan to be bottled as overpriced Japanese whisky. Ben Nevis produces blends and single malt whiskies. It is one the very few brands once producing a single blend since they had both pot stills and Coffey stills at the distillery. The pinnacle of this feat is a 40 year old “blended at birth” single blend in 2015.

      The 10-year-old single malt, first introduced in 1996, still looks like it was teleported from the 1960’s, even after its 2017 redesign. The contemporary bottle shape is a clear hint to its current owner, Nikka.
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      Friday, 18 May 2018

      Catching Up on Friday (18 May 2018)

      Catching Up on Friday (18 May 2018)

      I'll try to get you up to speed in less then two minutes on the latest whisky news, rumours and interesting blog posts from the past week.

      News

      A brief summary of press releases and industry news from the world of whisky.

      Douglas Laing Scallywag 10

      Douglas Laing celebrates its 10 "dog years" in the whisky business with a special Scallywag. The proud fox terrier-themed Speyside blended malt is a vatting of 100% sherry matured whiskies. Scallywag at “70” is well-bred with great pedigree from a long line of wire haired Fox Terriers owned and loved by the Douglas Laing family.

      Source: Press release Douglas Laing

      Royal Salute Royal Wedding

      Pernod Ricard is celebrating the upcoming royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The Royal Salute Royal Wedding whisky is an exclusive blended malt containing some of the oldest and rarest whiskies, presented in a Darlington crystal decanter. The price tag is is fairly royal with it's £10.000.

      Source: The Spirits Business

      Suntory discontinues Hibiki 17 and Hakushu 12

      Japanese whisky producer Suntory will stop selling the 17-year-old Hibiki blend and the 12-year old Hakushu single malt in certain markets. The supply constraints forces the company to temporarily discontinue the sales. At the same time Suntory invests heavily in its production facilities to meet the demand. Patience is the answer.

      Hibiki 17
      Picture: The Whisky Exchange
      Hakushu 12
      Picture: Suntory

      Rumours

      Some exciting whispers we heard through the barley. True or not.

      Johnnie Walker White Walker


      The White Walker isn't a rumour anymore but the label art discloses a few details on the GoT-whisky. The heart of the whisky consists of Clynelish and Cardhu single malts. The chill-filtering, often seen as a flavour-depriving element, is a selling point and should be served directly from the freezer. Dalwhinnie Winter's Gold USP's applied to Johnnie Walker in short. But no doubt the Game of Thrones fans will absolutely love the whisky.


      Source: Colas Online

      Interesting reads, seas and hears


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      Sunday, 13 May 2018

      Port Charlotte 2005 cask #0013


      Port Charlotte 2005 cask #0013

      Bruichladdich announced earlier this week they would be rebranding and restructuring its Port Charlotte brand. The iconic Laddiebottle disappears and is replaced by some sort of dumpy green bottle. The 10YO will become a permanent expression and a Bordeaux cask matured single malt is planned for October. Bordeaux cask you say? Wasn't there a bordeaux cask in one of the #LaddieMP's?

      #LaddieMP5 microprovenance digital tasting
      Image: Bruichladdich

      This cask  #00013 sample may very well lie at the base of the code named MRC:01 single malt. Bruichladdich distillery has some exceptional wine casks from the big chateaus in their warehouses, courtesy of former wine merchant and Bruichladdich CEO Mark Reynier. Great casks and great spirit can only give great whisky.

      Let's prepare our taste buds for the upcoming MRC:01 with this sample from cask #0013.


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      Friday, 11 May 2018