News: September 2015 Whisky Releases
With September’s new whisky releases already looking busy due to Diageo’s 2015 Special Release schedule, we decided to put this out now and wait to see if there are more to add in a second News posting later this month!
Arran Smugglers’ Series Vol. I ‘The Illicit Stills’, 56.4% ABV
Limited Edition of 8,700 Bottles Worldwide. Peated and unpeated spirit some matured in port pipes.
Bowmore Mizunara Cask, 53.9% ABV
Bowmore finished in Japanese Mizunara oak cask, Limited Edition.
Batch 12 of the annual released single cask series as follows:
1976 cask #541, 48.8%, 38yo, Bourbon Barrel, Peated
1979 cask #517, 46.9%, 35yo, Bourbon Barrel, Peated
1985 cask #10318, 49.0%, 29yo, Bourbon Barrel, Peated
1987 cask #3825, 52.9%, 27yo, Port Hogshead, Tawny Port Finish
1990 cask #4936, 50.4%, 25yo, Bourbon Barrel, Classic Speyside
1995 cask #74743, 58.9%, 20yo, Bourbon Barrel, Classic Speyside
1998 cask #6394, 57.5%, 17yo,Triple Distilled/ Pedro Ximenez Sherry Finish
1999 cask #8687, 56.1%, 15yo, Oloroso Sherry Finish
2000 cask #69116, 56.3%, 14yo, Bourbon Barrel, Classic Speyside
Bottled for The Whisky Exchange
Brora 37 Year Old, 50.4%ABV
Diageo Special Release 2015, 2078 bottles
Caledonian 40 Year Old 1974, 53.3% ABV
Diageo Special Release 2015, single grain whisky, 5060 bottles
Caol Ila 17 Year Old 1997, 55.9% ABV
Diageo Special Release 2015, unpeated style, ex-bourbon barrels
Clynelish Select Reserve, 56.1% ABV
Diageo Special Release 2015, 2946 bottles
Dailuaine 34 Year Old 1980, 50.9% ABV
Diageo Special Release 2015, 2952 bottles
Dalwhinnie 25 Year Old 1989, 48.8% ABV
Diageo Special Release 2015, refill hogsheads, 5916 bottles
Bottled for Whiskybase
Bottled for The Whisky Exchange
Kilchoman 2008 Vintage
The first general release of 7 year old single malt from Kilchoman
Lagavulin 12 Year Old, 56.8% ABV
Diageo Special Release 2015, 15th release
Mortlach 75 Years Old 1939, 44.4% ABV
Bottled by Gordon & MacPhail
Longrow Red 12 Years Old Pinot Noir Casks, 52.9% ABV
The 2015 release from The Longrow red series has been aged for 12 years in total, spending its final year maturing in fresh Pinot Noir casks from New Zealand. A much sought after release, bottled at a cask strength, 52.9%.
Springbank 18 Years Old Batch 2, 46% ABV
The second edition release of Springbank 18 Year Old, an award winning Campbeltown single malt Scotch whisky.
Port Ellen 32 Year Old 1983, 53.9% ABV
Diageo Special Release 2015, 15th annual release, 2964 bottles
Pittyvaich 25 Year Old 1989, ?% ABV
Diageo Special Release 2015
News: August 2015 Whisky Releases
anCnoc Peatlands, 46% ABV
This product is a regional exclusive available in Eastern & Western Europe and Scandinavia. Peated to 9ppm.
Dalwhinnie Winter’s Gold, 43% ABV
In the winter months Dalwhinnie distillery is often subjected to some of the coldest days Scotland has to offer. The spirit distilled in these harsh winter months has been used to create this indulgent, honeyed expression of Dalwhinnie.
Glenturret Andy Murray Bottle-Your-Own/Distillery Exclusive, 60.1% ABV
Johnnie Walker 10 Years Old Select Cask – Rye Cask Finish, 46% ABV
The inaugural expression will form part of a collection of limited edition blends that will be released over the next few years, with each variant featuring a different wood finish. The Rye Cask Finish starts with Cardhu Single Malt and several grain whiskies that form the core of the blend. It has been aged for 10 years in first-fill American oak casks that previously aged Bourbon, before finishing for six months in American rye casks to give “rich layers of flavour with hints of spice and vanilla”.
Royal Brackla 12 Years Old, 40% ABV
Salute a superior Scotch: almonds, vine fruits, opulent spices; steeped in sherried richness. Ennobled nectar, fit for a king.
Royal Brackla 16 Years Old, 40% ABV
A royal flush of flavour: vanilla, soft caramel, ripe apricots; replete with sherry tones. Hold court with a monarch of the glens.
Royal Brackla 21 Years Old, 40% ABV
All hail a high-born spirit: summer berries, dark chocolate, star anise; infused with sherry sweetness. A member of malt aristocracy.
Scapa Skiren, 40% ABV
Scapa Skiren is matured in First Fill American Oak casks, to impose “a smooth creamy sweetness with a hint of tropical, citrus fruit and coastal heather”
Cu Bocan Bourbon Limited Edition, 46% ABV
This exclusive limited edition, launched in July 2015, showcases the influence that Bourbon Oak has on our lightly peated single malt. Rich and creamy with hints of smoke and sweet citrus.
Tomatin Contrast, 46% ABV
We have just released a limited edition pack of Tomatin Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky called Contrast – a unique comparison of fully matured Bourbon and Sherry whiskies from Tomatin Distillery. In each pack, there are two 350ml bottles each containing a vatting of casks from 1973, 1977, 1988, 1991, 2002 and 2006, with one of the vattings being from Ex-Bourbon casks and the other from Ex-Sherry casks. Bottled at 46%, both whiskies are non-chill filtered and natural colour, and display greatly contrasting colours and flavours.
Review: Arran 18 year old single malt scotch whisky
Arran Distillery via Whiskybroker, Cask RHH1023
£46 for 70cl from Whiskybroker
What they say:
This whisky, distilled on 12th August 1996 at Arran Distillery, has been matured in an oak hogshead for over 18 years. The whisky has not been chill filtered, nor has any colouring been added. This whisky has been lightly filtered to remove large particles of wood sediment from the cask, but may still contain small traces, which are visible only when bottle is left standing for a period of time.
Each bottle is individually numbered.
Hogshead number 1023
Distilled 12th August 1996
Bottled 27th January 2015
The cask yielded 292 bottles at a natural cask strength of 53.2% vol.
What I say:
Thanks to Ben at Ben’s whisky blog for sharing samples of all three of the Whiskybroker 18yo Arran releases (see Ben’s notes here). I had been sitting on these for some time, waiting for the right moment to sample them. After our recent visit to Arran distillery and a guided tour through their core range of expressions – now seemed as good a time as any to run these as comparators. The result – Arran are clearly doing a lot of things right in their whisky making as even in this single cask example a good deal of core character is retained and forms the basis of the more enjoyable elements in it.
Refractive full gold, Eiswein (7/20), small droplets with very fine trails
Sweet, sweet, icing sugar, vanilla, a little honey, some apple, peach and white grape juices, floral daisies and fresh linen/fabric softener (laundrette), a touch of clear caramel syrup and some oak wood, heathery honey and plum fruits, tobacco leaf and cigar boxes and sandalwood in equal measure
Cereal malt, barley, oaty, biscuit, a little digestive, milk chocolate – reminds me of the chocolate covered oatmeal cookies I get from Paterson’s (Arran!) biscuit factory right here in Livingston, some sticky woodland or almost heathery honey (a little more sweet than the savoury of true heather-honey), light caramel syrup, a little oak wood fresher/greener than the nose, quite thin in mouthfeel with some vanilla, coconut and white chocolate
Medium, light spice and a little alcohol burn from the ABV recedes into smooth caramel and chocolate covered rich tea biscuits
A very nice single cask Arran example from Whiskybroker. Light on the fruity elements that usually derive from the long fermentation times that Arran distillery brew there wash. Juicy and crisp white fruits on the nose don’t come through on the palate leaving a veritable selection of biscuit and chocolate flavours that are just delicious!
Review: Arran 12 year old cask strength single malt scotch whisky
Arran Distillery – Isle of Arran Distillers
£45.53 from Master of Malt
What they say:
The Arran Malt 12 Years Old Cask Strength our Master Distiller James MacTaggart has selected a combination of First-Fill Sherry Butts, Second-Fill Sherry Hogsheads and Bourbon barrels which have been bottled at Natural Cask Strength. The influence of the Sherry Casks has enhanced the classic Arran characteristics of sweet fruit and spicy oak and the Bourbon casks give the vanilla smoothness to create a rich and powerful new edition of The Arran Malt.
A sweet balance of dried tropical fruits and toasted oak
Complex and refined, notes of dark chocolate and coffee beans dominate while a drop of water brings out fresh orange zest and roasted almonds
A lingering finish with a spicy twist which tempts another sip…
What I say:
The 12 year old expression from Arran distillery has been released as a series of Cask Strength batches made from ~40-50 selected casks. For example Batch 3 was produced from 5 First-Fill Sherry Butts, 13 Second-Fill Sherry Hogsheads and 31 Bourbon barrels. I suspect these numbers are reasonably consistent between batches. At just over £40 this expression represents great value for money as it is bottled at cask strength – this time 52.9% – and will happily take a little watering-down for drinking.
Rich barley gold (7/20), slow and oily medium-sized droplets with med-fine trails
Herbal and spicy, fennel and a little clove, grassy, cereal barley malt (a little lighter than the 10 year old), sweet syrup and honey, fruity and fusty apples almost tropical mango, chocolate, milky coffee, toffee and caramel, oak wood
Peanut brittle and salted caramel, waxy and warming, oaty cereal barley malt, old tanned leather, nutty, peanut butter, Reese’s pieces, cinnamon and chilli powder spices and fruity mango and stewed/cooking apples or warm apple sauce
Medium-long, sweet spiced caramel persists
Another lovely Arran expression, fortunately the ABV pervades in this whisky so straight from the bottle this can be a little powerful and direct! A little water softens and opens up this whisky to reveal those characteristic sweet and chocolate Arran flavours, we found the fruity plum had over-stewed into mango and apple and there were definite leather and nut influences from the Sherry casks used too. In all a great range of flavours to be found though a little water is advisable to appreciate this fully.
Arran 10 year old single malt scotch whisky
Isle of Arran Distillers
46% ABV, £31.90 from Master of Malt
What they say:
The classic expression of Arran – our fresh and unique island style is captured beautifully in our 10 Year Old Single Malt. First released in 2006, this is the flagship Single Malt of our distillery and one that we were very proud to launch to great acclaim. It is without doubt a ‘must have’ in the collection of all Single Malt Whisky enthusiasts.
Ripe Golden Barley
The initial rush of rich vanilla sweetness gives way to the fruits of slow distillation – kiwi, banana, cantaloupe melon – with just a dusting of cocoa powder. It is undoubtedly complex and yet the aromas are in complete harmony with the malt.
A touch of cinnamon adds a spicy edge to the soft and sweet texture which captivates the palate. The classic Arran citrus notes have rounded with age and reveal new depths of character against a background of sweet oak.
It drifts over the tongue like golden syrup and fades ever so slowly to tempt another sip. This is a beautifully made whisky.
What I say:
Moving on and up from the Lochranza reserve we have the youngest Arran age statement whisky the 10 Years Old, released in 2006 almost precisely 10 years after they opened and starting distilling at the Arran distillery.
Rich straw gold (7/20), numerous slow-moving medium-sized tears with medium-fine trails a little oily?
Rich cereal and honey, almost oaty, maize/cornflake and malted barley, reminds me of golden syrup flapjacks and honey-nut cornflakes, fruity apple, plum, pear and peach orchard fruits, a little heather blossom to the honey notes, some milk chocolate, more chewy cereal aromas accompanied by coconut and vanilla essence
Rich, oily and buttery in texture, more chewy cereal barley and malt, toffee and thick caramel add to the sugary sweet honey flavours, fruity and a touch of zest with apple, plum and peach, some citrus lemon juice on fresh hot pancakes becomes more cereal like digestive biscuits
Medium-short, more chewy and malty cereal barley becomes sweet and bitter
We found this one very rich and mealy, especially for a 10 Year Old whisky, testament to Arran’s unwavering non-chillfiltration and also delivery at 46% ABV, whereas many other staple 10 year old offerings are diluted to 43% or even 40% in this introductory category. The result is a full-bodied whisky that gives the impression of chewing on freshly malted cereal barley, this one is very moreish and Arran distillery’s output continues to impress us.
Arran Lochranza Reserve single malt scotch whisky
Isle of Arran Distillers
43% ABV, £34.95 from Master of Malt
What they say:
A citrus-y, light and elegant no-age-statement single malt Scotch whisky from the distillery on the Isle of Arran. The Lochranza Reserve replaced the Arran Original in mid-2014. The name comes from the village on the Isle of Arran where the distillery is located.
Tasting Note by The Chaps at Master of Malt
What I say:
The entry level single malt whisky from the Arran Distillery, produced with no age statement but still with natural colour, non- chillfiltering and at a substantial 43% ABV. This is Arran single malt at its simplest, selected to highlight the lighter side of maturation effects upon the Arran spirit by master distiller James McTaggart.
Straw gold (5/20), medium slow-moving droplets leaving medium/loose trails
Sweet, honey, cereal barley malt, slight citrus lemon and lime fruits, golden syrup, caramel sauce with a hint of salt, floral violets, with time a little more fruity apple and light plum with hints of chocolate can be found
Sweet honey and lemon, cereal barley a little gristy/mealy, grassy and dry hay, parma violet sweeties, hints of sour and bitter elements add a depth and complexity, apple, pear, plum and milk chocolate again are revealed with time giving this quite a medium-bodied feel (quite weighty for NAS – as many are obviously thin and zesty/youthful)
Medium-short, sweet cereal barley and bitter lemon
Very pleasurable dram, a surprise to find a NAS whisky that has clearly been well-matured (no hiding behind added caramel here), initially a little honey and lemon standard NAS fare gives way to some real depth and true Arran distillery character. If I were to stock a standard NAS expression, I would be proud to have this one from Arran on my shelf any day.