Friday, 22 February 2019

Rumour: Ardbeg Traigh Bhan

Ardbeg Distillery is planning a new (pricey?) release with an age statement called Ardbeg Traigh Bhan. It is a small batch 19-year-old single malt matured in American oak and oloroso sherry casks.

The whisky is named after Traigh Bhan beach, also known as the Singing Sands of Islay.


Ardbeg Traigh Bhan


Identity Card Ardbeg Traigh Bhan

  • Official bottling from Ardbeg Distillery
  • 19-year-old single malt Scotch whisky
  • Matured in American oak and oloroso sherry casks
  • Alcohol: 46.2% ABV
Ardbeg Traigh Bhan back label

The back label reads:
The Singing Sands is the local name for Islay's beautiful Traigh Bhan beach. For this captivating place has white soft sands that sing beneath your feet, a hum that ebbs and flows with Islay's winds and tides.

This rare, small batch 19 Year Old Ardbeg has tantalising notes of PINEAPPLE, gentle TOFFEE and LIME SHERBET on the nose, with a sweet and sour mouthfeel of smoked CHILLI CHOCOLATE, PAPRIKA and chocolate cream. Aromatic WOOD SMOKE resonates through the long finish.


Source: Colas Public Registry

Entries from the TTB Public Registry (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau) are a fairly reliable source for upcoming new whiskies. Although not all entries make it to the market. There’s always the possibility a brand decides not to launch a whisky, even if the label has been approved. Until the distillery sends out a press release, this whisky should be considered a rumour…
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Monday, 18 February 2019

The Big Fat Feis Ile Releases List

The popular big fat list of Feis Ile - The Islay Festival of Malts & Music - special releases returns!

Ardbeg Drum

  • Official bottling(s) from Ardbeg Distillery
  • Alcohol: 46% ABV (regular release) or 52% ABV (Committee release)
  • Matured in ex-bourbon casks, finished in American ex-rum casks
Ardbeg Drum Committee Release
Ardbeg Drum - Ardbeg Committee Release

Ardbeg Drum
Picture: Colas Online

Laphroaig Cairdeas Triple Wood

  • Official bottling from Laphroaig Distillery
  • Alcohol: TBD (51.9% ABV?)
  • Matured in ex-bourbon, quarter and oloroso sherry casks
Laphroaig Cairdeas Triple Wood Original Cask Strength
Picture: Colas Online

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society

The independent bottler SMWS already has plans to bottle a 10YO Caol Ila for Feis.

SMWS 53.286 - Salt strewn on smoky marmalade (Caol Ila)

SMWS 53.286 - Salt strewn on smoky marmalade
Picture: Colas Online

Source: Colas Public Registry

Entries from the TTB Public Registry (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau) are a fairly reliable source for upcoming new whiskies. Although not all entries make it to the market. There’s always the possibility a brand decides not to launch a whisky, even if the label has been approved. Until the distillery sends out a press release, this whisky should be considered a rumour…
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Sunday, 27 January 2019

Armorik Sherry Finish

Picture: Distillerie Warenghem
Armorik whisky is produced by Distillery Warenghem in Brittany. They claim to be the first French distillery to bring a whisky and later on a single malt to the market.

The distillery dates back to 1900. Léon Warenghem started distilling l'elixir d'armorique, a liquor containing extracts from 35 plants. His son introduced numerous flavoured liquors such as mint and cassis. In 1983 they started working on the concept a whisky Breton.

Today we'll focus on an entry from the core range. The NAS Sherry finish is bottled at 40% alcohol and serves as an introduction to the brand. It is widely available in French supermarkets.

Identity Card Armorik Sherry Finish

  • Official bottling from Warenghem Distillery, Bretagne (France)
  • NAS French single malt (some sources say 4YO)
  • Maturation in ex-bourbon casks, finished in sherry casks
  • Alcohol: 40% ABV

Tasting notes

Colour: Gold. Fast legs reveal a thin texture.

Nose: Lots of candy, dates and raisins. A whiff of triple sec (Cointreau). Cinnamon and juniper berries. Sweet malt and vanilla. Burnt sugar, dried apricots and almonds.
With water: Caramelized malt, Werther's Original caramel candy. Cinnamon and liquorice candy. Dusty cardboard, oatmeal, oranges and dried mandarin oranges.

Taste: Caramel and oak. A soft and silky mouthfeel. A tiny pinch of pepper with raisins and blue grapes. Even a faint hint of smoke. Honey, nutmeg and brown spiced biscuits or speculoos.
With water: Liquorice candy and/or liquorice root. Salted caramel and buttery nut cake.

Finish: Warm sugar and brown spiced biscuits.

This is a fairly generic whisky from Armorik. There's nothing wrong with it, but it does not excite either. Given the price point, it's a decent daily driver. I've got nothing more to report on this except that I've heard some very good things on their higher strength single casks. So this won't be my last Armorik...

Sample: This Armorik came from a bottle share with a colleague at work coming back from Brittany.
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Sunday, 20 January 2019

R&B Raasay While We Wait First Release

R&B Raasay While We Wait First Release
Picture: R&B Distillers

The Raasay Distillery from R&B Distillers was initially part of a diptych dreamed up by Alasdair Day. The Borders distillery has been (temporarily) shelved, but the Raasay distillery is up and running. The first youngster-whisky is to be released somewhere in 2020.

In the meantime, we already got a taste of things to come with the While We Wait whiskies. This single malt is a blend of unpeated and lightly peated malt whisky from the same unnamed distillery. The liquid was finished in Tuscan red wine casks.
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Sunday, 13 January 2019

R&B Borders First Release

R&B Borders First Release
Picture: R&B Distillers
R&B Distillers had very big plans in 2015. They wanted to build not one, but two distilleries. One was to be located in the Scottish Borders and another one on the Isle of Raasay. The Raasay Distillery is already producing and will release their first whisky in 2020. The Borders Distillery was to be located in Peebles, but the whole project has been shelved to focus on the Raasay production unit.
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