3.243 Dark smouldering flamenco gypsy ~ 57.1% (SMWS)

SMWS3.243 WF

3.243 Dark smouldering flamenco gypsy

Islay single malt scotch whisky

57.1% ABV, £80 / members, £120 non-members for 70cl from Scotch Malt Whisky Society at Islay House on 22nd May 2015

Score 86/100

IslayHouseFI2015

What they say:

Cask No. 3.243

Wow – so much on the nose – sherry, tarry wood, clean smoke, dates, figs, roasted chestnuts, Christmas spices, egg custard, maple syrup-glazed pork ribs and HP sauce on bacon rolls. The palate was substantial – liquorice, treacle toffee, coffee and chocolate, with caramelised onions and Demerara-smothered, clove-studded ham over embers. The reduced nose suggested spiced prunes, Branston pickle, fig rolls, treacle tart, duck in plum sauce and warm welly boots by a dying bonfire. The reduced palate’s smoke and sherry combination gave us interest and pleasure – the toffee and oloroso, toasted almonds and barbecued meats gave it a dark, smouldering flamenco gypsy personality.

Drinking tip: Between dances at a Spanish barbecue party. Flavour profile: Peated. Cask: Refill ex-sherry butt. Age: 17 Years. Colour: Coca-Cola spilled on mahogany.

Hello Whisky Loving Friend

For the first time ever, the Society will be hosting an Open Day at Islay’s world-famous Feis Ile 2015. The Open Day takes place on the beautiful lawns at Islay House on Fri 22 May. In celebration we’re releasing a limited edition festival bottling – available to members and non-members alike.

SMWS 3.243

What I say:

Well what a lovely gift! Only the second free sample received here at The Whiskyphiles, this delivery by the eponymous ‘Whisky Fairy’ came courtesy of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. I have hugely enjoyed being a member of this Society for the last 8 months or so. This marks a new venture for the SMWS. Actively taking part in the 2015 Islay Festival of Music and Malt, otherwise known as Feis Ile, for the first time. In conjunction with the newly refurbished Islay House Hotel, the SMWS will be opening the Feis Ile 2015 celebrations with this bottling of Bowmore (SMWS Distillery #3)

Colour:

Autumn leaves / russet gold (12/20), medium/thick tears light trails

Nose:

Sea spray and caramel salted peanuts, salt and sweet popcorn, sherry wood, old leather, cocoa dusted almonds, char sui pork, sweet and perfumed, gentle floral notes but also open fire pit or bbq, old woody rosemary burning under a maple-glazed ham, some fruity notes of apricot and fig chutney served alongside

Taste:

Warming and lively at first and a lot thinner (less syrupy) in texture than expected from the nose, spiced with mixed peppercorns, some fibrous peat, perfumed lavender and rosemary essential oils, moves into more savoury clove and mace before becoming medicinal with aniseed and liquorice. Cured spiced meats, allspice, maple syrup, bbq pork again with chutney, sweet red onion, fig and apricot, and a dash of balsamic vinegar, before sweet caramelised toffee, cinnamon hints and a little bubblegum

Finish:

Medium-long, spiced gingerbread (starts to dry) but moist fruitcake with a dash of shellfish, oysters or smoked mussels adds a twist

Overall:

Very enjoyable, quite chewy with a spiced peaty toffee overall feel to it. There were gentle reminders in here that this is undoubtedly an Islay dram, with the sea-spray and shellfish. A wonderful cask selection for the Society’s first foray into Feis Ile!

Ben Nevis 10 Years Old ~ 46% (Ben Nevis Distillery)

BenNevis10yo&WG

Ben Nevis 10 Years Old

Highland single malt scotch whisky

46% ABV, £32.00 for 70cl

Score: 86/100

BenNevis10yo

What they say:

Our single malt was introduced to the market back in 1996 using whisky produced in 1986, the last year that Long John International produced whisky at Ben Nevis distillery. Initially sales were very slow until we packaged the bottle in a presentation tube since when this has gone on to become our largest selling whisky. In Jim Murray’s “Whisky Bible 2004” he says this:- ‘such a massive introduction to the palate: soft oils, citrus notes and very big oak on the malt, but sweet enough to chew forever; the integration of the oak really makes for some finish: long, hints of bitter roast coffee against the sweet oils; the nose makes you say oh-oh, but you need a knife, fork spoon and napkin for the taste’.

We were awarded a grand gold medal by Monde Selection in 1999 and again in 2000. It also won a gold medal in 2001 and a trophy for three consecutive years of being awarded gold and grand gold medals. We were also awarded a silver medal by Monde Selection for this product in 2003.

BenNevis10yo&WG

What I say:

Having sampled several Ben Nevis expressions recently that had really tickled my taste-buds I was on the lookout for more when I found a bottle of their standard (Official Bottling) 10 Years Old. I was in luck as my birthday was rapidly approaching and so this immediately went onto my wishlist and was promptly purchased for me by Paula. Then came the wait before I could crack this open!

Colour:

Russet copper amber gold (11/20), medium-sized droplets with thick trails

Nose:

Cinnamon buns, freshly baked wholewheat bread, Christmas (fruit) cake, spiced gingerbread with orange marmalade, malty cereal barley, hints of soft leather, deep rich fruits, figs, prunes, dates, currants, cherries, some coconut and sandalwood and plenty of toffee and caramel oak wood.

Taste:

Sweet all butter toffee and caramel sauce initially, then some spiced pepper and ginger, nutmeg and clove, sandalwood, earthy peat and wispy gentle peat smoke, dark chocolate, coffee (a little bitter – like espresso), also mocha and latte, full bodied, gingerbread, Christmas cake and plum pudding were called to mind, perhaps a little heather blossom honey and salt caramel too.

Finish:

Medium-long, spiced steamed toffee & ginger sponge pudding

Overall:

This is a lovely expression, brimming with character and very typically adhering to the ‘West Highland’ flavour profile. There is a generous dollop of sherry-influence in here, enough peat to gently declare its presence without being overt. Plenty of sweet and spiced savoury really appealed to my sweet-tooth (or dessert stomach!). Overall I was very pleased with this present and wish I had discovered it sooner!

Water Of Life Society Tasting 15/9 Imperial Tasting 12/03/2015

ImperialTasting

Water Of Life Society Tasting 15/9

Imperial Tasting

12/03/2015

Imperial Distillery

Tickets for this tasting were pre-sold and are now sold out.
If you have a ticket for this tasting, prepare yourself to be amazed by our very own Thomas McEntee of Benromach/Benriach fame. Thomas will be presenting 6 whiskies from the long gone Imperial Distillery.

ImperialSV1995s

Imperial 16 Years Old 1995 (casks 50324+50325) ~ 46% (Signatory Vintage) [left]

Imperial 18 Years Old (casks 50288+50289) ~ 46% (Signatory Vintage) [right]

Thomas started with 2 1995 distilled expressions matured for 16 or 18 years by Signatory vintage in matching ex-bourbon hogsheads

Imperial18yo1993-2011GM

Imperial 18 Years Old 1993 ~ 43% (Gordon & MacPhail)

Next was this Sherry matured 1993-2011 expression from Gordon & MacPhail

ImperialGlenlivet37yoWC

Imperial-Glenlivet 37 Years Old 1977 Single Cask ~ 53.5% (Wm Cadenhead)

The oldest Imperial expression sampled was provided by Wm Cadenhead’s with this 35 year old 1977 vintage single ex-bourbon cask

Imperial10yoWhiskyMagazine

Imperial 10 Years Old 1998 ~ 53.6% (Whisky Magazine)

A 10 year old cask strength bottled by Duncan Taylor & Co Ltd. for Whisky Magazine in 2009 followed

Imperial23yoHunterLaing

Imperial 23 Years Old 1990 Old & Rare ~ 57.9% (Hunter Laing & Co. Ltd.)

And finally my favourite of the evening another Sherry butt matured Imperial, aged for 23 years and bottled at cask strength by Hunter Laing & Co. Ltd.

Many thanks to Thomas for putting together a varied and interesting selection of Imperial whiskies, rapidly becoming more and more scarce to obtain at sensible prices. This tasting was an absolute delight to experience the character of this, sadly now demolished, Speyside distillery.

ImperialTasting

Imperial 23 Years Old 1990 Old & Rare ~ 57.9% (Hunter Laing & Co. Ltd.)

Imperial23yoHunterLaing

Imperial 23 Years Old 1990 Old & Rare Platinum Selection

Speyside single malt scotch whisky

57.9% ABV, £230 for 70cl

Score: 88/100

Imperial23yo1990HL

What they say:

A 23 year old single malt from the dearly departed distillery, Imperial. Distilled in October 1990, the whisky matured in a single sherry butt for 23 years before Hunter Laing came along and bottled 302 bottles of it for the Old & Rare Platinum selection.

Whisky sweet Christmas Pudding on the nose with sherry toffee and vanilla notes. It is initially sweet to taste with sherry-soaked sultanas and raisins. A long, satisfyingly sweet finish with a touch of sherry wood.

Imperial23yoHunterLaing

What I say:

The 6th and final dram from Thomas McEntee’s Imperial Tasting for the Water Of Life Society held on 12th March 2015. This Imperial expression was distilled in October 1990 and matured a full 23 years in a sherry butt, producing 302 bottles at cask strength of 57.9% ABV at outturn in November 2013.

Colour:

Full amber gold (10/20) light and fast tears with oily trails

Nose:

Vanilla crème brulee, brown sugar, musty woody oak and dunnage warehouses, fruity apples, tropical mango, pineapple, toasted coconut and ginger nut biscuits

Taste:

Zesty ginger root, slightly spiced, pineapple fritters in syrup, fruity apple and mango, heather blossom honey, caramel and toffee wood, becomes slightly ascerbic, antique polished oak, polished walnut cabinet and spun sugar

Finish:

Long, rich woody oak and brown sugars, pineapple fritter in syrup persists with a little nuttiness

Overall:

My favourite expression of the tasting, some deep rich woody sugars in this on display its age well. The sherry influence is subtle but persistent and the fruitiness has definitely gone over into the truly tropical section. Just wonderful!

Imperial 10 Years Old 1998 ~ 53.6% (Whisky Magazine)

Imperial10yoWhiskyMagazine

Imperial 10 Years Old 1998

Speyside single malt scotch whisky

53.6% ABV, £55 at auction see Whisky Auctioneer item

Score: 83/100

Imperial10yo1998WM

What they say:

An Imperial selected by the Editor of Whisky Magazine and bottled by Duncan Taylor. Distilled in November 1998 and bottled in February 2009 from a single American hogshead, aged 10 years old at 53.6% ABV cask strength. Bottle number 29 of 252.

The Whisky

From the carefully selected stocks of Duncan Taylor & Co. Ltd, Whisky Magazine’s Independent Bottler of the Year 2009, we are proud to offer this commemorative bottling of 10 year old whisky. Distilled at the mothballed Imperial Distillery, in the heart of Speyside, the distillery nestles on the banks of the Spey river. Matured in an American oak hogshead cask, this is a wonderful expression of this rare whisky.

Tasting Note

Nose: Herbal, autumn leaves, wet cotton, sharp green fruits, lemon and cream, a little coconut and toasted marshmallow.

Palate: Cream and big green fruit notes with a little sweet wood at the end. Rich with oils and a great mouthfeel.

Finish: A restorative dram. Keeps entertaining with waves of sweetness.

Imperial10yoWhiskyMagazine

What I say:

Dram #5 from Thomas McEntee’s Imperial Tasting for the Water Of Life Society held on 12th March 2015. A cask strength 10 year old Imperial expression, specially selected by Whisky Magazine from their Independent bottler of the Year 2009; Duncan Taylor & Co. Ltd.

Colour:

18 carat gold (8/20), fast-moving medium-sized tears

Nose:

Vanilla cream and custard, acetone/nail polish remover, cereal barley flour/grist, light grassy aroma, honey, fruity and estery, caramel, cooking/bramley apples, pine sap and cider vinegar

Taste:

Creamy vanilla and honey, almost greek yoghurt & honey, fruity and zesty, orange oil, some spiced pepper and cinnamon, raw cooking apple/bramley apple, caramel oak wood.

Finish:

Short and sour, woody oak, citrus lime, soor plum and rosey apple sweeties

Overall:

I found this expression quite short and simple, a little sour with unripe/green fruit and some green/virgin oak

 

 

Imperial-Glenlivet 37 Years Old 1977 Single Cask ~ 53.5% (Wm Cadenhead)

ImperialGlenlivet37yoWC

Imperial-Glenlivet 37 Years Old 1977 Single Cask

Speyside single malt scotch whisky

53.5% ABV, £260 for 70cl from Wm Cadenhead’s

Score: 86/100

imperial-37yo-cadenheads

What they say:

Distilled 1977, Bottled January 2015, Aged for 37 years in a single bourbon hogshead and producing 204 bottles at cask strength of 53.5% at outturn.

Nose: Soft stewed fruits, rhubarb and spiced apples

Palate: More fruitiness and then some faint medicinal creamy notes. Lots of honeycomb.

Finish: Lots of mintiness in the finish along with a soft medicinal creamy note. More stewed fruits and also aniseed balls.

ImperialGlenlivet37yoWC

What I say:

Dram #4 from Thomas McEntee’s Imperial Tasting for the Water Of Life Society held on 12th March 2015. This recently released Imperial expression from Cadenheads was distilled back in 1977 and has been matured in a single cask for 37 years!

Colour:

Light amber gold (8/20), medium quick medium-sized tears

Nose:

Buttery, homemade butterscotch, caramel and fudge with a hint of copper pans reacting to open flames, cereal barley malt, honey, heather blossom, Murray mints (hard butter candy with gentle toffee and mint flavours), gristy

Taste:

Zesty grapefruit, cinnamon and white pepper spices, lemon juice (sweetened), butterscotch, toffee and fudge, again a strong reminiscence of eating Murray mints, butter candy, sweet minty (not menthol), toffee and oak wood

Finish:

Medium-long, caramel toffee oak, light latte coffee with mint/spearmint

Overall:

A well-aged expression, surprisingly little vanillins and also light on the woody notes suggest to me that this Imperial expression has whiled away the years in a refill or gently active hogshead. Actually very pleasant to drink (I love Murray mints!) though I would be disappointed at paying the price for this expression. The presence of the Mentha mint has clearly resonated with the official tasting note writer as medicinal, though to me with those butter and caramel association of flavours I found this more pleasing and candy-like.

 

Imperial 18 Years Old 1993 ~ 43% (Gordon & MacPhail)

Imperial18yo1993-2011GM

Imperial 18 Years Old 1993

Speyside single malt scotch whisky

43% ABV, ~ £45 for 70cl

Score: 87/100

Imperial18yo1993GM

What they say:

Colour: Golden amber.

WITHOUT WATER: Nose: Initially creamy, perfumed and fresh. Followed with hints of fudge, cooked fruit, and toasted malt. Palate: Starts off vary peppery with a slight bitterness (dark chocolate) and mouth coating. Followed by some spicy notes with hints of dates and liquorice.

WITH WATER: Nose: Fresh with hints of perfume and potpourri (fresh flowers). Vanilla and toasted malt elements linger. Palate: Continues to be peppery with hints of paprika. A Creamy bitterness with hints of coffee beans and dried fruits (figs).
Body: Medium.

Finish: Medium.

Cask Type(s): 1st fill Sherry Butts.

Whisky Style: Speysider – fresh and flavoursome

Imperial18yo1993-2011GM

What I say:

Dram #3 from Thomas McEntee’s Imperial Tasting for the Water Of Life Society held on 12th March 2015. From the Gordon & MacPhail Distillery Labels range is this Imperial expression distilled in 1993 and bottled in 2011 after ~ 18 years maturation in 1st fill sherry butts. A slightly younger version of the Imperial we tasted here: Imperial 19 Years Old 1995 ~43% (Gordon & MacPhail)

Colour:

Dark copper/ruby amber (11/20), quick/fast flowing medium sized tears

Nose:

Orange zest, supple new leather – like at shop ready for crafting, zesty and fruity citrus, jelly babies, lemon, orange, raspberry, strawberry a real fruit mixture – but still refreshing and individually identifiable within that mixture.

Taste:

Zesty and creamy, orange oil, smooth and creamy vanilla, brown sugar, lemon and orange segments/jelly slices (the kind I associate with Christmas time) grapefruit zest, caramel and toffee, butterscotch and fudge, oak wood

Finish:

Medium length, zesty fruit mellows into caramel oak and butterscotch

Overall:

Fruity and zesty, this sherried Imperial expression had the potential to be my favourite of the tasting, on serial dramming however I noticed a tendency for a little eucalyptus oil and menthol to creep into the finish though it wasn’t strong enough for me to find it unpleasing.

Imperial 18 Years Old (casks 50288+50289) ~ 46% (Signatory Vintage)

ImperialSV1995s

Imperial 18 Years Old (casks 50288+50289)

Speyside single malt scotch whisky

46% ABV, £42.52 for 70cl

Score: 86/100

Imperial16yo1995UCF

What they say:

An un-chillfiltered Imperial single malt, bottled by the lovely folks at Signatory. Taken from two hogshead casks filled in September 1995 and emptied in April 2014. 742 bottles of whisky from this closed distillery were produced.

Distilled 18th September 1995 and matured for 18 years in Hogsheads 50288 & 50289 this was bottled on the 16th March 2014 and produced 742 bottles at 46% ABV.

ImperialSV1995s

What I say:

Dram #2 from Thomas McEntee’s Imperial Tasting for the Water Of Life Society held on 12th March 2015. Again an Un-Chillfiltered Signatory bottling from 1995 but this time matured for 18 years in a pair of Hogsheads.

Colour:

Straw gold (6/20), numerous medium tears

Nose:

Woodier than the 16yo this had toffee oak, cereal barley malt, vanilla crème brulee, brown sugar, fruity apple, orange, heather honey and tarte aux poires/pear tart with a hint of almond essence

Taste:

Creamier, vanilla, custard, crème brulee, caramel oak wood, cereal barley flour and grist, slightly over-oaked perhaps, zesty grapefruit, sour citrus or citric acid, sour lemon barley sugar sweeties, spiced ginger, slightly pickled

Finish:

Medium-long finish, zesty citrus fruits and a more mealy gingerbread

Overall:

I found this expression a little deeper in body than the 16yo comparator, showing signs of the extra ageing with much more oak wood influence and a slight shift to more acidic fruit flavours

 

Imperial 16 Years Old 1995 (casks 50324+50325) ~ 46% (Signatory Vintage)

ImperialSV1995s

Imperial 16 Years Old 1995 (casks 50324+50325)

Speyside single malt scotch whisky

46% ABV, £39.95 for 70cl

Score: 86/100

Imperial16yo1995UCF

What they say:

From Signatory’s Un-Chillfiltered range, this Imperial was distilled on the 9th October 1995 and it was aged for 16 years in hogsheads 50324 and 50325 before bottling on the 24th August 2012. A release of 739 numbered bottles. Tasting Note by The Chaps at Master of Malt Nose: Beeswax, cut hay, honey and toffee apples on the nose with notes of dried flowers and oak. Palate: Rich, malty and spicy with notes of aniseed and toffee, waxy honey, oak, potpourri and butter. Finish: Spicy, slightly herbal and malty. ImperialSV1995s

What I say:

Kicking off Thomas’ Imperial Tasting for the Water of Life Society (held on the 12th March 2015) were a pair of Signatory Vintage Imperial whiskies from their Un-Chillfiltered range. Both expressions were distilled in 1995, the first was matured for 16 years in a pair of Hogsheads before bottling at 46% with an outturn of 739 bottles, this being #138

Colour:

Straw gold (6/10), numerous slow/fine tears

Nose:

Sweet honey, vanilla cream, crème brûlée, coconut, custard, bourbon-cask/vanilla essence, cereal barley malt, fruity peach and pear, brown sugar, prickly/spirity

Taste:

Sweet honey and vanilla, a little zesty orange oil, cereal barley malt, caramel oak wood, brown sugar, vanilla crème brûlée, hints of zingy fresh root ginger

Finish:

Medium length, zesty thick cut Seville orange marmalade and cereals

Overall:

This had a lovely aroma and nose, on the palate this was a little zestier and fruitier than I was expecting but was fairly accomplished. Signatory’s non chillfiltration and decision to bottle this at the weightier 46% has definitely paid off, with water or filtered I expect this would be a little too thin and astringent. Very nice! I really enjoyed this starter.

Kilchoman to release 100% Islay 5th Edition

Kilchoman 100%ISLAY

On the 4th of April at 10am Kilchoman will release the 5th Edition of the 100% Islay range.

Kilchoman 100%ISLAY

The 5th Edition 100% Islay is a vatting of ex-bourbon barrels filled in 2009 and 2010. This will be bottled at 50% abv and rrp £67.50.

First released in 2010, the annually released limited edition bottling is produced solely from barley grown at the distillery and is only lightly peated compared to the Machir Bay and Loch Gorm.

Anthony Wills, Kilchoman Founder and Managing Director; ‘There is a clear difference between the 100% Islay range and other releases, the lighter peating level and maturation exclusively in ex-bourbon barrels gives the whisky a beautiful fragrance and balance’
‘When we first set out to build Kilchoman the ambition was to produce a single malt from barley grown on the distillery farm to give complete control and traceability, we also wanted to echo how whisky was once made on Islay and across Scotland.  We are incredibly proud to continue these traditional practices.’
‘We expect that followers of Kilchoman will enjoy this latest Edition of the 100% Islay, the added maturation time compared to previous releases has given the whisky added depth and balance, we expect it to be a hit’

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