The Edinburgh Whisky Blog 5th Birthday Bash
The Place: Micheal Neave’s Kitchen and Whisky bar, Edinburgh just off the Royal Mile
The Date: February 17th 2014 at 7pm
The Purpose: EWB‘s 5th Birthday Bash
Having just enjoyed a hugely entertaining evening from Chris and Tiger at their Prohibition tasting it was rude not to come along and support and thank them during their 5th birthday bash in the centre of Edinburgh’s old town. During a relaxed soiree we and other Water of Life Society (WoLS) members from Edinburgh University got to meet and chat all things whisky with the boys from EWB.
During the evening as well as regaling tales with Tiger regarding his making the Scotland on Sunday’s top eligibles of 2014, we were treated to a a small but very select line-up of beer and whiskies that complimented the EWB boys sense of taste and style.
As well as a couple of great beers from the Harviestoun Brewery we were treated to a few choice drams including:
What else; the EWB‘s own labelled:
Glen Keith from That Boutique-Y Whisky Company, 51.2% ABV, £45.95 for 50cl, NAS, 176 Bottles
Score: 86/100 A delicious cereal-filled dram with oodles of malted barley and oaty character on both the nose and palate, slightly moreish and one which I kept going back to for further nosing.
What they say:
The first batch of single malt Scotch whisky from the Glen Keith distillery, bottled by That Boutique-y Whisky Company, is here! But who’s this on the label? Why, it’s those chaps from that there Edinburgh Whisky Blog: Turbo, Lukasz, Chris, Tiger and Graeme! Which, if nothing else, is proof that people shouldn’t be allowed to choose their own nicknames! (I mean, what kind of a name is Lukasz?)
The tourists seem very excited to see them, and why not? Not only have they chosen some wonderful whisky to adorn, but their blog’s logo is flying high above Edinburgh Castle!
Tasting Note for Glen Keith – Batch 1 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company)
Nose: Green apple flesh and juice, sweet lager syrup (it’s a thing), sweet pea and sugar snap peas (two very different things), a touch of pitta bread too.
Palate: Apple slices, honey and distant ginger biscuits. Quite rich but never in danger of becoming heavy.
Finish: Good length with a little more ginger and a dollop of treacle.
Overall: A gorgeous dram, it’s really no surprise that the chaps from EWB selected it.
Laphroaig Quarter Cask, 48% ABV, £47 for 70cl, 5 year old + 7 months in QC
Score: 82/100 Presenting that Laphroaig signature peaty peanut flavour, though a little less sweet and a lot less harsh than the 10 Year Old. This toning down in palate made it much more drinkable / easy drinking, but then I don’t drink Laphroaig to feel ‘safe’…
What they say:
Laphroaig Quarter Cask offers an irresistible doubling of flavour, due to the double maturation in two barrels made of American oak. Still-maturing whisky from our standard ex-bourbon barrels is transferred to quarter casks and left to rest in our warehouse just a stone’s throw from the Atlantic shore.
This process represents Laphroaig breathing new life into a once-defunct tradition: the use of the smaller cask size, which ensures increased contact with the oak, creating a soft and velvety edge to complement Laphroaig’s distinctive peatiness.
On the nose the sensation is toffee and caramel, caused by the vanillas and tannins of the American oak, plus a dryness from the wood oil. The finish is long and alternates between this sweetness and smoke.
COLOUR: Full sparkling gold
NOSE: Burning embers of peat in a crofters fireplace, hints of coconut and banana aromas
BODY: Full bodied
PALATE: Deep, complex and smoky yet offers and surprises the palate with a gentle sweetness
FINISH: Really long, and dries appropriately with smoke and spice
And finally the zenith of the evening:
BenRiach 42 Year Old 1971 – Single Cask (Master of Malt), 40.8% ABV, £469.95 for 70cl, 42 year old distilled in 1971
Score: 88/100 Fruity tangerines, floral roses, herbal rosemary, sweet heather honey and Demerara sugar sweet woody sugars, a hint of citrus and then amaretti biscuits, zabaglione ice-cream / dessert and further almonds and marzipan lingering into the finish.
What they say: We’re properly over the moon about our incredible single cask bottling of single malt Scotch whisky from the BenRiach distillery! It was distilled in Serptember 1971, 6 years after the distillery reopened following a 62 year-long slumber. It then matured for a massive 42 years until November 2013, when we went ahead and bottled it up for our Single Cask range.
Nose: Wowsers – fruit salad, Fruit Salad sweets, in fact. Floral notes too, with a little freshly squeezed orange juice. Buttercup cough syrup and travel sweets. Honeysuckle, gooseberry and soft oak.
Palate: Quite syrupy before orchard fruit and light oak take hold and finally gorgeous blood orange develops.
Finish: Long and creamy with grapefruit, melon and more boiled sweets.
Overall: This is a gorgeous, limber 42 year old! Full of flavour, it’s simply stunning.
To top all this off we were treated to various culinary delights such as mini fish & chips, breaded haggis bon-bons (Paula’s favourite), Venison and The Hive whisky pasty (My favourite), and various quiches all cooked up by Micheal Neave himself. We also got to chat a fair amount of whisky banter with a great bunch of whisky geeks. I think it is fair to say that a fantastic evening was had by all! Cheers guys and here’s to 5 more years!
Innis & Gunn Toasted Oak India Pale Ale (IPA)
5.6% ABV, £2.45 for 330ml
What they say:
India Pale Ale first made its name in the 19th century. Here’s hoping our pioneering IPA can make its mark too.
Its fervent hoppy character hails from the unique addition of large quantities of hops at three separate points during brewing. The result is a beer that’s rounded yet refreshing, with delicate floral notes and oodles of zesty freshness.
Colour: Pale gold
Smell: Freshly mown grass, clean grapefruit and pine trees
Taste: Rich vanilla from the oak, with lots of zestiness and a light bitterness from the hops
Finish: Full bodied, but still crisp and refreshing.
Malt: Innis & Gunn Ale Malt, Wheat
Hops: Goldings, Styrian Goldings
Maturation: 41 days; Over lightly toasted American Oakerators®
What I say:
The toasted oak India pale ale (IPA) from Innis & Gunn. India pale ale is a beer brewed from pale malt originally intended for export (to India). IPA is usually well-fermented removing most of the sugars and (occasionally) resulting in slightly higher than average beer ABV. The result is very hoppy and supposedly travels well; and so was a good product to export during colonial times.
Toffee and floral, fruity pear drops and very hoppy
Peachy, floury, doughy/bread, oaky and strong hops
Would I buy it again:
We found this IPA pretty one-dimensional and uncomplex from Innis & Gunn, a real shame as flowery (not floury) IPA is a real favourite of ours and is a welcome summer drink. I suspect the over toasting of the oak; or over-oaking of the IPA, drives this more into a full beer like quality that is insubstantiated with the remaining flavour characteristics. The end result is an entertaining concept that doesn’t fully deliver. It is safe to say we won’t be buying this one again.
Water of Life Society (WoLS) meeting 13/02/2014
Spirit of the movies
This weeks whisky line-up was brought to us thanks to their starring roles on the silver screen. Even the committee got in on the act by dressing up as their favourite filmstars. Despite a little miscommunication it seems Christy’s ‘Flashdance’ outfit didn’t quite match the rest of the ‘Goodfellas’ committee – which she accepted with vociferous aplomb to much applause.
OK which of you f**kers changed the fancy dress code!
Popcorn and whisky duly distributed the lights were dimmed for the stars of the show:
Glenlivet 12 Year Old
Score 76/100 nice but a bit bland and characterless
Favourite of Tony Soprano, ‘this is 12 year old scotch don’t ya know’
The delicate and complex character of the 12 Year Old derives from the height and width of stills at The Glenlivet Distillery.This expression is matured in a mixture of cask types, including American and European Oak. Maturation in American oak imparts vanilla notes and gives the whisky its distinct smoothness. The mineral rich water from Josie’s Well ensures the best possible results during mashing and fermenting to form the flavours that define this expression.
Character: The smooth and welcoming one
Colour: Bright and lively gold
Nose: Fruity, summer-like fragrances
Palate: Well-balanced and fruity with strong pineapple notes
Finish: Creamy and smooth with marzipan and fresh hazelnuts
The Macallan Amber (from the 1824 series)
Score: 78/100 getting warmer, a little sherry influence and more complex
Avid fans of Skyfall were left believing the expensively product placed Macallan is Mr Bond’s favourite tipple – you will find out later that this is simply not true, though he does tuck away a far splash during the movie, even the gin-soak M get’s in on the act!
Nose: Polite, almost apologetic at first, with a floral, citrus sweet nose that gains presence, commanding a chorus of vanilla notes over freshly harvested grain. Raisin, sultana and cinnamon look on as toffee apples and candy floss step into the limelight.
Palate: Fresh green apples and lemons mingle with cinnamon. Ginger notes hover as fruit takes over, with subtle oak lingering in the wings.
Finish: Light to medium with soft fruits and cereal, slightly dry.
Previously reviewed and scored 83/100
Favourite tipple of immortal Highlander Conner Macleod of the Clan Macleod; loved this movie with the rockin’ Queen soundtrack but never understood why they cast a Frenchman (Christopher Lambert) with his piss-poor attempt at a Scottish accent as a highland Scot, and a scotsman (Sean Connery) as the Spaniard Juan Sánchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez (que 2nd laughable accent attempt)…
Aroma: Dark mint chocolate, tangerines and Seville oranges mingle with sandalwood and walnut before giving way to a spicy finish of pepper and nutmeg.
Taste: Mint chocolate and walnuts envelop the palate like velvet, laying the foundations for rose, Turkish delight and sweet Seville oranges.
Finish: Long lasting silky aftertaste leaving dark chocolate mints and traces of orange.
Colour: Sunlit rose gold
Talisker 18 Year Old
Score 88/100 Simply stunning Talisker at its smooth smoky best.
Mr James Bond’s favourite and only whisky tipple according to Ian Fleming, seems M likes a drop of this too, Bond is a real Scotsman with a good taste for whisky it seems. I guess all the shaken dry martini’s were ordered mostly for throwing into bad guy’s faces.
NOSE: Rich and fruity Victoria plums, greengages, perhaps dried orange peel with some butterscotch or rum toffee and a thread of smoke behind. The smoke soon advances into the foreground and the toffee note is joined by a light mintiness. With water, those maritime characteristics emerge once again dry boat varnish, edible seaweed. Still sweet; now with notes of iodine and the smokiness of an un-struck match.
BODY: Full. Pleasant, smooth.
PALATE: Sweet in front, then more assertive, with a whiff of smoke. The overall effect is warming. The development is towards smoke, coal-tar and toffee.
FINISH: Medium length. The characteristic chilli ‘catch’ in the finish is subtly present in the aftertaste.
McCutcheon 60 Year Old (actually Islay Mist)
Score: 65/100 A young peaty and slightly smoky Islay blend with a little fire in the bottle.
The McCutcheon 60 Year Old Scotch Whisky appears to have been invented for the show Lost. Unfortunately the show got a bit weird got cut short a few seasons and basically left all viewers in a state aptly exactly like its title. The McCutcheon 60 seems to be Hollywood’s favourite Prop-Scotch as it here it is again in the TV Series ‘Once upon a time’
The history of Islay Mist blended Islay whisky goes back to the Laird of Islay’s (Lord Margadale) 21st birthday party (in the 1920′s) where he was served a special blend to mark the occasion. It was so good they started to bottle it commercially.
Thanks to http://www.scotchcinema.com/ for the video clips
Kilchoman Loch Gorm 2014 Release Announced
In the first week of April Kilchoman will be releasing the next edition of Loch Gorm. This full ex-sherry cask matured release was filled into fresh Oloroso sherry butts in 2009 and bottled in spring 2014, which creates a unique balance of classic Kilchoman character and rich Oloroso sherry influence.
This is the second Loch Gorm Single Malt to be released and only a limited number will be available worldwide. Each release is differentiated by the distillation and bottling dates on the front of the bottle and carton.
As you may already know this range is named after the famously peaty loch in front of the distillery; Kilchoman draws the water for Loch Gorm from the burn that runs into the loch.
mixed preserved fruit, particularly lemon and rich peat smoke
dry cereal flavour develops in honey and biscuit with lingering peat
richly sweet and smoky
From Kilchoman Distillery Co.Ltd.,
THE SINGLETON OF DUFFTOWN SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY LAUNCHES TWO NEW VARIANTS, “TAILFIRE” AND “SUNRAY” IN 2014
Originally posted on Media Releases from Cognis PR:
Whilst keeping the smooth, rich nature of The Singleton of Dufftown, both “TAILFIRE” and “SUNRAY” have been created using specially selected casks to enhance particular elements of the flavour profile of this classic Speyside malt whisky. We want to inspire a new generation of whisky drinkers by putting flavour at the heart of everything we do and continuing our quest to create amazing tasting whiskies.
TAILFIRE has a vibrant and enticing character, which comes from maturation in a higher proportion of European oak casks specially selected to enhance the juicy red berry freshness and sweet aromas of vanilla and fresh cut grass. This variant will be launching in both grocery and whisky specialists in March 2014 across a number of markets in Western Europe (UK, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark, and Germany in July 2014). The Recommended Retail Price of TAILFIRE in the UK market will be £33.
Originally posted on Media Releases from Cognis PR:
In 1823 Mortlach was the first distillery to be built at Dufftown, now one of the epicentres of Speyside whisky distilling. Its most eminent owners were the entrepreneurial Scottish civil engineer George Cowie, and his gifted and equally ambitious son Dr Alexander Cowie.
Diageo unveils new Mortlach bottle design,
Tomatin 19 Year Old 1994, Fidra – Lockett Bros
55.5% ABV, £69.99 for 70cl
What they say:
Available from Lockett Bros, North Berwick (and online) http://www.lockettbros.co.uk/shop/fidra-tomatin-19yo/
A sweet, buttery Tomatin, distilled in 1994 and aged in a refill hogshead for 19 years before bottling in November 2013. A lovely little 20cl bottle in the latest in our Island series.
Cask type: Hogshead
Cask No.: 12351
Cask Strength 55.5%
Nose: Spiced, vanilla, potpourri, marmalade, bread and butter pudding.
Palate: Cinnamon, nougat, coconut ice, a little peach nectar.
Finish: Spiced and long with citrus zest and peppermint.
What I say:
Another excellent offering from the Keith, Chris & Graham at Lockett Bros, Keith showed us the empty barrels that they got to keep after bottling the latest island series. My favourite on sampling them in the store was the latest ‘Bass’ bottling 24 year old Bunnahabhain. I couldn’t resist a cheeky wee bottle of this Tomatin at 19 Years Old though. I have pretty much sampled the complete range of original bottlings from Tomatin having visited the distillery and also been treated to a tasting event (read all about it here: Tomatin whisky tasting masterclass at Wood Winters). I had not as yet come across an independent bottling of Tomatin and was intrigued at sampling this, especially at cask strength, and comparing it to their 15 and 18 Year old OB’s.
New paint and nail polish at first revealing its cask strength nature, sweet and gentle aromas of honeysuckle and jasmine flowers become increasingly woody
Warming, malted cereal barley, honey and golden syrup sweetness and sugary wood a little fruity grapefruit pith and zest give way to more oak wood, pineapple, vanilla and coconut
Fruity and mouth-watering with hints of tropical fruits
Would I buy it again:
Absolutely, this is a very fine Tomatin expression revealing some of the tropical fruit character that is a signature of their distillate, combined with a little more oaked ageing to develop slightly thicker and creamier vanilla and coconut flavours from the bourbon cask. Very drinkable at cask strength, this one was so smooth it did not need water. The Tomatin 18 year old is a sherried bottling and so has little to draw comparison. This 19 Year Old Fidra bottling by Lockett Bros is similar to the Tomatin 15 Year Old OB that has been extra-matured for a further 4 years. With this extra-maturation comes a temperance of the fruit flavours and a balance leaving a pineapple and coconut cream (pina-colada) smoothness that is delicious.
The Loch Lomond Distillery Company, which owns Loch Lomond and Glen Scotia single malt whiskies as well as Glen’s vodka, has been bought by Exponent Private Equity for an undisclosed sum.
Maker’s Mark plans $67 million expansion as bourbon booms