The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve ~ 40% (Pernod Ricard)

TheGlenlivetFoundersReserve

The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve

Speyside single malt scotch whisky

40% ABV, £36 for 70cl available from The Whisky Shop

Score: 84/100

GLFR

What they say:

The Glenlivet is proud to introduce The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve, a new single malt that has been almost 200 years in the making.

Created to honour the original vision of our pioneering founder George Smith, The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve pays tribute to the uniquely smooth and fruity taste he first envisioned in 1824.

Distilled using the same time-honoured techniques introduced by George Smith himself, The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve is drawn predominantly from a range of traditional aged oak casks. The fruity profile for which we are renowned is complemented by selective use of first-fill American oak casks, which impart a delicious, contemporary twist of creaminess. We believe an expression born of traditional craftsmanship and modern innovation is a fitting homage to the original innovator of The Glenlivet.

Gentle citrus aromas of sweet orange are followed by sweet and zesty notes of oranges and pears, with hints of candy and toffee apples. Exceptionally well-balanced and smooth, with a long, creamy finish.

Replacing The Glenlivet 12 Years Old in the UK from March 2015, The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve is a dram that comes from 200 years of expertise.

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What I say:

As part of the launch of The Glenlivet’s newest, and in some markets replacement for their 12 Years Old, expression the Founder’s Reserve – they have been travelling the country in conjunction with The Whisky Shop to present this and other expression in their core range to W club members and Glenlivet Guardians alike. The Founder’s Reserve reached Edinburgh on wednesday 25th February 2015, where I joined a select group to sample this with the Chivas Brand Ambassador James Collins. The Founder’s Reserve seems to be being introduced in the UK and Germany as a replacement for the 12 Years Old, however not in the US – currently the biggest consumers of the Glenlivet 12. So The Glenlivet are making a bold semi-move away from age statement whisky by introducing this replacement. Here’s what we thought of their newest expression:

Colour:

Yellow amber gold (8/20), medium-light tears

Nose:

Orchard fruits, pears and apples, pear drops and pineapple cubes sweeties, butter candy, toffee and caramel oak with vanilla hints, crème brulee, toffee apple, cereal barley grist and hints of honey sweetness

Taste:

Fruity pears and apples, pear tart, fresh pear and apple juice, sweetened pineapple in syrup (tinned), buttery and oily and reasonably mouth-coating, lots of caramel, lightly caramelised sugar – on the verge of cloying but backed up by toffee, fudge and hints of butterscotch and leads into the faintest hints of spiced cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice, gingerbread or hazelnut latte

Finish:

Medium, spiced and sweet toffee oak, a little drying cinnamon lingers

Overall:

Very impressive, for a no-age statement whisky this had to be a bold flavour-led move by The Glenlivet and they have achieved this in spades. The fruity and light character from the 12 Year Old is here but is supported by a predominantly toffee/caramel from the 1st fill ex-bourbon casks. The result is lively and refreshing compared to the smooth and (for me) forgettable nature of the 12yo. Thankfully no evidence was found of overtly youthful spirit in this expression and the spices give this an interesting lift at the end without being too challenging or pervasive.

Tomatin Launch Cask Strength and Cu Bocan Virgin Oak Editions

Tomatin

Tomatin Launch Cask Strength and Cu Bocan Virgin Oak Editions

TOMATIN HIGHLAND SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY CASK STRENGTH EDITION

This whisky is the first Cask Strength expression to be added to the Tomatin Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky core range, allowing us to showcase the true Tomatin style in its most natural state – natural colour, no chill filtration, full strength. Batch 1 was released in February 2015 at 57.5%. A marriage of full maturation Bourbon and Oloroso Sherry casks, it is spicy, sweet and smooth and an excellent addition to the range.

Cask Type: Matured in a combination of Bourbon barrels and Oloroso Sherry casks

Strength: Cask Strength – 57.5% alc./vol.

Distribution: Worldwide except USA

Price: RRP £44.99 per 70cl bottle

Tomatin Cask Strength

TASTING NOTES

AROMA: Golden syrup. Orange and lemon. Pears. Walnuts. Ginger biscuits. Gets sweeter with time.

PALATE: Marzipan, burnt sugar. Toasted malt loaf. Chestnuts. Polished leather. Vanilla flavoured tobacco.

FINISH: Dry, with a developing spiciness.

 

C Ù B Ò C A N S I N G L E M A L T S C O T C H W H I S K Y limited VIRGIN OAK edition

Cù Bòcan is matured in a combination of Sherry, Virgin Oak and Bourbon casks. This exclusive limited edition showcases the influence that Virgin Oak has on our lightly peated single malt. Clean and zingy with hints of smoke and warm spice, this fully matured Virgin Oak limited edition will not disappoint!

Cask Type: Matured in Virgin Oak casks

Strength: 46% alc./vol.

Distribution: Worldwide except USA

Price: RRP £49.99 per 70cl bottle

Cu Bocan Virgin Oak

TASTING NOTES

AROMA: Lively citrus fruits – lime juice and lemon sorbet. Oak driven flavours of vanilla, coconut and candy floss soon emerge with rosewater, red berries, fresh pear and pineapple in the background.

PALATE: Warm pecan pie with vanilla ice cream. Baked apples with cinnamon and toffee and just a touch of smoke.

FINISH: Clean and zingy with pleasant spice.

Caol Ila 10 Years Old 2003 – Cask Strength ~ 59.6% (Gordon & MacPhail)

CI2003CS

Caol Ila 10 Years Old 2003 – Cask Strength

Islay single malt scotch whisky

59.6% ABV, £53.95 available from Royal Mile Whiskies

Score: 86/100

CaolIlaCS2003GM

What they say:

A 2003 vintage Caol Ila released by independent bottlers Gordon & MacPhail as part of the Cask Strength Series. Distilled on September 10, this was aged for 10 years in a trio of refill sherry butts before being bottled at 59.6% on August 13 2014. Cask Nos. 302381, 302382 & 302833

Nose:  Meat aromas with hints of banana and fruit cake.

Taste: The palate is sweet and spicy with fruit flavours.

Finish: An underlying peat smoke edge lingers.

CI2003CS

What I say:

The 5th and final dram at the Water of Life Society ‘The Blender’s Malts’ tasting on 29th January 2015. This Caol Ila was married from 3 sherry butts and bottled at the resulting married strength (or ‘Cask’ strength) i.e. without dilution by Gordon & MacPhail. Officially 10 years old as it was bottled about a month under 11 years.

Colour:

Copper amber gold (9/20)

Nose:

Sweet peanut/satay and ripe banana, peaty, germolene, iodine and sticking plasters, briny sea salt, ashy cigarette smoke, beach bonfire/bbq, smokey bacon

Taste:

Spicy, mesquite, chilli pepper, tabasco, peaty ash, earthy and dusty, cereal barley malt, some raisin, fig and fruit cake mix

Finish:

Long, peaty, and salty ash

Overall:

A powerful dram from Caol Ila bottled by Gordon & MacPhail. I guess this is almost whisky as it is supposed to be. Plenty of Caol Ila character in here tempered a little by what I would guess are refill Sherry butt influences so there is a hint of fruit and possibly tannin but mostly a spiciness that combines excellently with all that peat smoke influence. Another example of why Caol Ila’s whiskies shouldn’t be considered as the ‘forgotten’ blending distillery on Islay. This one is more than equal of some of it’s more popular Kildalton compatriots.

46.27 Italian chestnut cake ~ 60.5% (SMWS)

SMWS46.27

46.27 Italian chestnut cake

Speyside single malt scotch whisky

60.5% ABV, £46.10 for 70cl

Score: 83/100

SMWS46.27

What they say:

Cask No. 46.27

This dram had plenty to say on the nose neat therefore give it time and you will be rewarded. Comments were; almonds, roasted cashew nuts, warm leather in the sun, chocolate and pear cake, Marsala wine, beeswax and crispy deep-fried aubergine slices coated in honey. Great mouth-feel accompanied by a noticeable Vermouth kick with flavours of banana, coconut and dried apricot. Water brought out more nutty aromas; walnuts, hazelnuts and chestnuts made into that Italian cake ‘Torta di Castagne’. The taste not too sweet, a moist texture and the delicate taste of a Cadbury fruit and nut bar without the chocolate.

Drinking tip: With a bowl of quality mixed fruit and nuts

Date Distilled: 31 May 2002 Colour: Sauternes sweet wine Age: 12 years Flavour : Spicy & dry Cask Type: Refill ex-sherry butt Whisky Region: Speyside Lossie 
Outturn: 567 bottles

What I say:

Dram No.4 at the Water of Life Society ‘The Blender’s Malts’ tasting on 29th January 2015 – a Glenlossie (distillery #46) from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. Similar to Cadenheads, the SMWS are another huge independent bottler and unlike Cadenhead’s they focus purely on single cask bottlings at cask strength. Another distillery owned by Diageo, in Speyside, and producing mostly blending whisky apart from the official Flora and Fauna bottling: Glenlossie 10 Years Old Flora & Fauna ~ 43% (Diageo) . Again similar to Dailuaine we have sampled numerous expressions by numerous bottlers and on the most part have been summarily impressed with Glenlossie whisky every time, barring perhaps a couple of overaged examples.

Colour:

Light copper gold (8/20), medium tears

Nose:

Nutty and fruity sherry, fruit cake, pecan and hazelnut, walnut and plenty of toffee

Taste:

Sweet, spicy, menthol and cinnamon, peppery black pepper, raisin, prunes, malty cereal barley, nutty, cocoa, black/espresso coffee, slightly butter

Finish:

Smooth and long, slightly drying, liquorice and sweet fruits

Overall:

 A little spicy on the palate for me but plenty of lovely nutty and fruity flavours from the sherry-maturation. I had hoped a little water would take away some of the spicier menthol, liquorice and peppery notes to reveal more luxurious cocoa, fruit and nut but was sadly disappointed as this went in entirely the opposite direction. Best served neat.

Benrinnes 25 Years Old 1988 ~ 53% (Wm Cadenhead)

Benrinnes25yo1998WC

Benrinnes 25 Years Old 1988

Speyside single malt scotch whisky

53% ABV, £84.50 for 70cl available from Wm Cadenhead

Score: 87/100

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What they say:

Only 270 Bottles in the world last case now in stock

Nose: Starts meaty and earthy then juicier notes emerge. Pineapple with some limoncello and dates with a hint of dark berries and coca
Palate: Sweet and chewy, faint lavender, aniseed, fresh roasted coffee beans and cinnamon sticks, some sweet caramel and whipped cream, so many white soft fruit notes like baked pear and apples.
Finish: Soft dunnage warehouses, autumnal fruits and soft spice in the start the finish off perfectly before a more rounded fruity note lingers as this dram ends its incredible journey across the palate.

Benrinnes25yo1998WC

What I say:

Dram No.3 at the Water of Life Society ‘The Blender’s Malts’ tasting on 29th January 2015 – Yet another Diageo-owned Speyside blending distillery. This time Benrinnes, again the only widely available official bottling being a leftover from DCL’s Flora and Fauna range Benrinnes 15 Years Old Flora and Fauna ~ 43% (Diageo) . Benrinnes is a little oddity in that the distillery possesses 6 stills that were for a time used as 2 sets of 3 and triple distillation or ‘semi’ triple distillation was employed. Sometime after 2000 this was rearranged such that standard double distillation is undertaken using 2 wash and 4 spirit stills. This example from 1988 was more likely triple-distilled.

Colour:

Amber gold (8/20), medium/heavy tears

Nose:

Vanilla, ascerbic and old oak wood, tannic, old furniture and antique shop smell

Taste:

Vanilla, spiced cinnamon and nutmeg, cereal barley malt, brown sugar and molasses, full-bodied and chewy, dates, toffee and caramel oak wood, butterscotch fudge with espresso coffee and stewed apples and pears, hints of brandy

Finish:

Medium/long, spiced tannins, cinnamon sticks and old musty oak wood

Overall:

A beautiful aged expression, plenty of old oak notes in this one and some wonderful almost caramelised sugary flavours. Hints of waxiness characteristic of Benrinnes and presumably partly what makes it so appealing for blending.

Auchroisk 13 Years Old 2001 ~ 46% (Wm Cadenhead)

Auchrosik13yo2001WC

Auchroisk 13 Years Old 2001

Speyside single malt scotch whisky

46% ABV, £44.50 for 70cl available from Wm Cadenhead

Score: 78/100

Auchrosik13yo2001

What they say:

Bottled January 2015  This is a nice speyside for those of us who like a more softer elegant dram.

Nose: Wow a fruity banquet welcomes your nose to lemon and dried bananas with just a hint of soft white pepper and a rather tantalising note of coriander that opens up to a soft whipped white chocolate mouse with a pineapple drizzle coating.
Palate: Crisp topped vanilla pod creme brûlée with soft sweet sliced apple, juicy raisins with pineapple and fruit salad syrup. The next flavour delivery is a fresh toffee fudge.
Finish: Quite simply the finish is soft and soothing with a rich creaminess with vanilla pods and a slight hint of sweet mint to give the finish a truly lovely sweet freshness.

Auchrosik13yo2001WC

What I say:

Dram No.2 at the Water of Life Society ‘The Blender’s Malts’ tasting on 29th January 2015 – A 13 year old Auchroisk expression bottled by Cadenheads as part of their small batch range. As Dailuaine, Auchroisk is another distillery that is also owned by Diageo and produces whisky mostly for blending. Sadly left out of their Classic Malts collection, this used to be bottled as a ‘Singleton’ and has been used for decades purely for blending (i.e. 100 % except that sold to independent bottlers) until a couple of recent ‘special edition’ bottlings of which we sampled the 30 Years Old released in 2012 at the Glasgow Whisky Festival in 2014.

Colour:

Light straw gold (6/20), oily/heavy tears

Nose:

Neutral, neither sweet nor sour, paper/linen, some honey aroma, oil seed rape honey (mostly sugars), cereal flour and draff, new oak wood

Taste:

Again neutral on the palate, cereal barley, caramel, new oak wood, honey flavours without the sweetness, floral and soapy, patchouli and lavender

Finish:

Short and neutral

Overall:

Switzerland in whisky form, I have never tasted so much neutrality in a whisky. This is like blender’s base or filler whisky. Perhaps slightly overshadowed by the preceeding Dailuaine I really struggled to get much specific flavour out of this. It is not flavourless however, it just possesses very little in any great quantity, there is nothing unagreeable or dislikable either.

Dailuaine 16 Years Old 1997 ~ 46% (Wm Cadenhead)

Dailuaine16yoWC

Dailuaine 16 Years Old 1997

Speyside single malt scotch whisky

46% ABV, £57 for 70cl

Score: 88/100

 Dailuaine16yoWC

What they say:

Distilled at Dailuiane distillery in Speyside in 1997 and bottled at 16 Years Old by Wm Cadenhead at 46% ABV

Official tasting notes:

Colour: Golden hues

Aroma: Sweet and spicy

Taste: Explosion of citrus, cinnamon, allspice, cloves and a hint of honey

Finish: Long and lingering sweet and spice

Dailuain16yo1993WC

What I say:

Dram No.1 at the Water of Life Society ‘The Blender’s Malts’ tasting on 29th January 2015 – a bourbon matured 16 year old Dailuaine expression. Dailuaine is a relatively unheard of single malt as the only official bottling currently available is the sherry-influenced Dailuaine 16 Years Old Flora and Fauna ~ 43% (Diageo) bottling. That said, Dailuiane make a very fine distillate that fares well in bourbon casks and has a particularly gentle and approachable character, such that numerous independent bottlings are easily found.

Colour:

Light straw gold (7/20), medium tears

Nose:

Foam banana and pear drop sweeties, vanilla, custard, honey, cereal barley, sweet heather honey and some spicy hints of cinnamon and nutmeg

Taste:

Cereal Barley grist and malt, sweetie shop flavours, dolly mixtures, foam bananas, pear drops all in a paper bag like pick’n’mix, sweet pastries, cinnamon Danish, iced buns

Finish:

Short/medium, sweet, icing sugar and pastry

Overall:

Another delicious example of Dailuaine’s spirit, well matured by Cadenheads. While most of Dailuaine’s output invariably goes into Johnnie Walker and other blends around 2% escapes each year to be bottled as single malt. So far every one of these I have tried has not failed to impress me! I think I’m becoming a bit of a Dailuaine fan and found this particular example my favourite of the tasting.

Bowmore 11 Years Old 2003 ~ 58.7% (Wm Cadenhead)

Bowmore 11yo2003wc

Bowmore 11 Years Old 2003

Islay single malt scotch whisky

58.7% ABV, £47.70 for 70 cl

Score: 84/100

Bowmore11yo2003

What they say:

Distilled in 2003 at Bowmore distillery this was matured for 11 years in an ex-Bourbon Hogshead before producing 240 bottles at outturn in December 2014 at 58.7% Cask strength

What I say:

The 5th and final dram at the Jolly Toper Christmas Tasting (18th December 2014) was this enigmatically dark 11 year old Bowmore. Upon presenting this Mark commented that Wm Cadenhead’s do not (nor have they ever) added any colouring to their whisky – and that this was one of the darkest ex-bourbon cask matured whiskies he had seen.

Colour:

Dark mahogany brown (13/20)

Nose:

Machine or gun oil, sweet icing sugar and Madagascan vanilla essence, cereal barley malt, beef stock powder (OXO),  hints of peat

Taste:

Rubbery and sulphuric, spicy hot chilli, figs, prunes, sweet dark fruits, molasses, hints of barbecue sauce or sticky glaze/marinade, toffee and caramelised sugar, crème brulee and oak wood

Finish:

Long, deep treacley sugars and fruits, some zesty citrus peel – oranges or red grapefruit

Overall:

Delicious but confusing dram, a rich intenseness of sugars were present but also some spice, heat and fruits that would suggest more than Bourbon cask influence. I wondered if this was a heavily charred cask – or one left to dry as the sulphur would suggest some candling or treatment to sterilise this cask before its use?

Highland Park 22 Years Old 1992 ~ 59.6% (Wm Cadenhead)

HP22yo1992SM

Highland Park 22 Years Old 1992 – Sherry Cask

Island single malt scotch whisky

59.6% ABV, £96 for 70cl

Score: 84/100

HP22yo1992SM

What they say:

Distilled at Highland Park distillery in 1992, bottled in December 2014, 234 bottle outturn at cask strength of 59.6%

What I say:

Dram No. 4 at the Jolly Toper Christmas Tasting (18th December 2014) was this sheer cask matured Highland Park expression. Matured a full 22 years before bottling at cask strength as part of Wm Cadenhead’s Single Malt range.

Colour:

Copper amber gold (7/20)

Nose:

Floral rose and heather, fruity gooseberry and kiwi, malty, island peaty – heather brush fire

Taste:

Cereal barley malt, salty, fruity, apple, kiwi, pear and gooseberry, orange and grapefruit zest, heather honey and wisps of heathery peat smoke

Finish:

Medium/long, drying tannins and woody oak, salty and gently peaty

Overall:

A classic Highland Park expression, perhaps a little light on the Sherry influence for my liking but this allowed some interesting and unusual fruity notes to shine in this dram. The favourite of many in the tasting, though I preferred the Tullibardine preceeding this one.

 

New GlenDronach Marsala Cask Finish release

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Today (February 19th 2015) Glendronach have released a new 18 years old Marsala cask finish which owes its distinctive flavour to the influence of a small number of Marsala hogsheads.

 

This unique expression was initially matured in European oak casks and thereafter finished its maturation in a small batch of Marsala hogsheads.

The aromatic influence of the Italian fortified wine cask on the sweet Highland malt whisky is spectacular, creating a new layer of depth that stunningly marries together summer fruits with peppery oak spice.

Colour: Rich burnt amber edged with sparkling gold.

Nose: Golden syrup over stewed orchard fruits infused with a touch of candied ginger, hazelnut and warm, deep oak spices.

Taste: Richly-spiced wildflower honey pours over fire-roasted apples, softening to golden sultanas and ripe pear. All balanced with vibrant ginger, white pepper, fresh-cut oak and stewed barley.

Finish: Torrents of delicious contrasting full-bodied characters, rolling from dominant summer fruits to peppery, richly toasted oak spice.

This new expression follows the recent Sauternes and Tawny Port Wood finish releases and is a strictly limited release.

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