Thursday, December 10, 2009

Glenglassaugh 21yo 46%

Was delighted to see Glenglassaugh reopening in November last year have had some really cracking whiskies from their in the past - a particular favourite was the 1973Family Silver bottling that came out a good few years ago. Anyway I know I am way behind the times in trying this but got the chnace to try the 21yo so here goes.

Nose: sweet, lemony, a little bit dry. Limeade, grape skins, peaches, green apples and faint raw mince!

Taste: quite drying, wet pencil shavings, a touch sour, more green notes coming through. Almost seems a little spirity but not - hints of stainless steel.

Finish: a touch of crayons (waxy) quite sour and again more metalic notes.

Comment: nice nose taste let's it down though. May need to retry a fresh sample some day but at this price unlikely to run out and buy a bottle.

Score: 80 / 100

For alternative reviews try, Whiskyfun or Whisky Pages
Price Checker

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Talisker 10yo RNLI Gift Pack

Ever feel guilty about buying yourself a bottle of whisky now you have the perfect excuse! Diageo have teamed up with the RNLI and are offering a limited gift pack in aid of the RNLI - a truely worthy cause. The proceeds from the sales of these bottles will go to help fund the RNLI which is purely charity based. It cost £378,000 a day to run the RNLI so what better excuse to buy a bottle. And what better excuse for me to taste one of my favourite drams - Talisker 10yo! Tasting notes will follow shortly.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Talisker, Arran, Highland Park, Scapa, Tobermory, Jura all Homeless

Having been reviewing the new SWA rules for Scotch Whisky - yes I know I need to get out more - I see that they have only protected 5 regions. Speyside, Highlands, Islay, Lowlands and Campeltown. So no mention of Islands which most people class as the sixth region so where does that leave these Islanders!

I know that the SWA (please note that there website is and not as I wrongly put in my address bar and ended up at the Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach! ) reinstated Campbeltown as a region as it has 3 distilleries there now - does that mean that if a new distillery was put on Orkney that they would be an official region. Using that Arguement should, Rothes and Dufftown not be designated regions - what about making Longmorn, Miltonduff and Benriach into a region!

Just a thought!

Whisky For Everyone

Just came across this new blog - Whisky For Everyone - definately worth a look and much more active than I am!

Make sure you give them a look.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Octomore 140 parts per million!

I know this is a pointless post as most places have probably already sold out of this second batch of Octomore. They say it is peated to 140 ppm this really must be rocket fuel! At what stage does the peating level become so much that it akes no difference but it just over powers everything!

What my real concern is that can a 5 year old whisky really justify a £80.00 price tag. Obviously as places like royal mile whiskies have already sold out then surely it can. But say a Bunna 5yo came out or a Benromach or any other distillery for that fact bar maybe Ardbeg everybody would be up in arms about the price.

Anyway rant over.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Speyburn 10yo 40%

Two posts in a day! I must lie down!!! Speyburn is a stunning distillery nestled in the valley just out side the not so pretty combination plant in the village of Rothes, so how does the whisky stand up!

Nose: Hard boiled sweets - old fashioned ones! Green apples. Touches of lemon and flour?

Taste: Fairly thin, dried apricots and a little hot.

Finish: A touch of spice, not really much else.

Comment: Sorry but pretty average. I have tried some older Speyburns that I like but nothing about this really appeals to me!

Score: 75/100

Balblair 1997 43%

Not been on here for a while so thought that I should get the finger out and add some new notes - so here goes!

Nose: Sweet, lots of vanilla, creme brulee and hard toffee. Brown sugar and a touch of icing sugar. Some lime and Kiwis coming through and hints of shortbread - (Deans Shortbread)

Taste: A little fresh wood, vanilla warm toffos. Becomes more grassy with water.

Finish: A little bit drying, then a bit of that citrusy kiwi notes coming through.

Comment: A decent summer dram, I actually quite like this. Decent drinking whisky.

Score 87/100

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Compass Box Hedonism 43%

It was announced today that Compass Box Hedonism had won best grain whisky in the world for the second year running at the world whisky awards - hosted by whisky magazine. So congratulations to them, however always being one to point out trivial points - should they have really won it? I am lead to believe that the WWA is only open to official bottlers so as an type of (and a very good one at that) independent bottler are they really eligible! Who cares! Their whisky is always good!

Nose: Very sweet, bags of vanilla. Sweet wood, pencil shavings and a hint of honey!

Taste: Again very sweet, lots of oak influence but very balanced. very creamy! A little bit of hay and cheap yellow vanilla ice cream! A hint of white chocolate.

Finish: A fairly short finish but very very soft. A hint of peach yoghurt and soft vanilla.

Comment: I find this whisky to be dangerously drinkable! On a warm summers evening this would be perfect outdoor sipping whisky. Perhaps a little one dimensional but then that is me being over picky! Great whisky.

Score: 89/100

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Darlings Hits Drinkers Again - Duty on Whisky up 2%

I have not got the official figures from Mr Darling yet as to what the new duty rate will be but it says in several sources that it is to rise by 2%. Yet again hitting the whisky drinker in the pocket! All in all though most of this is psychologically damaging than actually financial for serious whisky consumers.

At present duty on spirits is £22.20 per litre of alcohol. 2% on this would increase the duty to £22.64 per litre of pure alcohol. So for a standard bottle of whisky 70cl x 40% Abv the duty will rise from £6.22 to £6.34 per bottle an increase of £0.12 per bottle. By the time you add VAT and say a retailers mark up this will equate to say £0.21.

So even if you were buy 1 bottle of whisky a week this will only see you out of pocket by £10.92!

So yes the budget is a pain in the arse and will cost us money but it is not as bad as people think. Many people think the price of the whole bottle will go up by 2% and that is where budget increases can be dangerous!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Laphroaig 15 No More

Just saw on that Laphroaig 15 year is no more and is going to be replaced by an 18 year old. I hope that this is at a resonable price some of the recent special releases from Laphroaig have been just too high for my price bracket.

On the other hand if you see some of the 15 year old grab it while you can - only 65 bottles left according to their press release!

Black Bull 30 Year Old Blended Whisky 50%

Those good people at Duncan Taylor sent me a wee sample of there new bottling so I thought that I best try it. Hint hint to anyone else that would like to send me stuff please email me at Well you got to try!

Any the Black Bull is 50% ABV and is a mixture of 50% malt whisky and 50% grain whisky. The whisky was married together shortly after distillation and then married together for 30 years in sherry butts. I am not sure how well Red Bull will take to them promoting a brand called Black Bull though!

Anyway lets try it and see what I think:

Nose: Warming, sherry, orange, hint of treacle toffee, stewed fruits and bizarely corned beef. Also flat warm cherry coke.

Taste: Big sherry, touch of oak some aniseed and cinammon. Becomes creamier with time. Doesn't taste 50% ABV. Definate chocolate notes (maybe cause I am just getting over easter eggs!).

Finish: A real mixture, slighty drying almost salty, becoming more creamy and a little bit spicy.

Comment: I like this a lot! The grain just adds a cracking creaminess that tames the the sherry. An ever changing dram one to take your time over.

Score: 92/100

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Campari Acquires Wild Turkey

Subject to approval Gruppo Campari are to buy Wild Turkey for $575 million. A hell of a lot f money but probably better value than they paid for Glen Grant and in Jimmy Russell they get one of the greatest characters in the whisky industry! I think a lot of this deal will be to do with growing distribution channels as is stated in this article.

Will be interesting to see what happens - throwing that kind of money about maybe Campari could buy Whyte and MacKay? Again just a thought!

Read Campari's press release here

Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey corks 1,000th barrel

Noticed this article today that Stranahan's today filled their 1000th barrel - congratulations to them on that. I have to say that I tried this stuff the other day and I was highly impressed ok it was towards the end of the night - or should I say towards the middle of the morning - but I thought it was a decent enough dram. Will need to try it sober some day and get some notes.

Congrats again and raise a dram to the next 1000!

Not to sure about the silver bottle top though!

NO. 1 KARUIZAWA 1972, 65.0% ABV Cask 7290

I was a huge huge fan of the 1971 bottling of Karuizawa from this bottler when I tried it last year. So when the chance to try this beauty came along well I didn't need to be asked twice. Amazingly still at 65% after all these years. I heard a story suggesting that because of the distilleries location next to a volcano that the humid in the area keeps the abv high - whether this is true or not I don't know! For information on the distillery try the excellent nonjatta site.

Anyway enough of the chitter chatter lets try this monster:

Nose: Big Sherried nose, not to strong alcohol though, rich chocolaty notes and also a creamy orange like note. Some warm flat Dr Pepper. Warm leather and toffee. A faint hint of sweetened tobacco.

Taste: Big sherry, more orange then the alcohol hits you and adds a woody dimension but oh so good....Touch of spice and then also some fruitier notes and then some cracking sandlewood notes and a hint of smoke. Maybe a hint of lavender but very faint and then the creaminess develops.

Finish: Long, very long and very warming, mouth drying sherry and bursts of some citrus fruits along with a faint whiff of smoke.

Comment: I love this, I really love it. To me it tastes like a really good Macallan or how Macallan used to taste. Looking into this after I had tasted it I found that at Karuizawa distillery they only used Golden Promise barley, mainly matured in Ex-sherry butts and have short dumpy stills so surely no coincidence! If you see this and can afford it buy it, even better buy two bottles cause you could never have enough of this stuff.

Score: 97/100
For more impressive reviews please check out whisky pages that was the only review I could find on the net so I must be one of the first for a change!
Price checker:

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Springbank 15yo, 46%

I have always been a huge fan of Springbank ever since the days of the cracking 21yos that were so exceptionally affordable. Oh those were the days.

The current 15 year old I believe is predominately sherry casks and should make for a cracker of a dram. So let's try it.

Nose: Rich toffee caramel, warm oranges and oily. Also a little bit nutty maybe walnut? Certainly a big dram. touch of blackcurrant and a little salty.

Taste: Unmistakably Springbank, hint of smoke, a little woody and then that sherry notes builds up. Slightly coastal and a lot of oiliness. A really chewy dram - quite clawing in the mouth.

Finish: Quite salty, and a little bit drying. caramel and chocolate - like a slightly melted mars bar! A little bit drying.

Comment: I like this a lot - I really do but the slightly clawing note maybe just knocks it down from being a must try! Actually give this ten minutes in the glass and it is a must try!

Score: 90/100

Loch Fyne Whiskies - £41.35
Royal Mile Whiskies - £43.50
Single Malts Direct - £46.99
The Whisky Exchange - £41.49

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Duncan Taylor Invergordon 1965 Cask 15532 52.7%

I love old grain whiskies so was delighted to get a chance to try this ancient (43yo) Invergordon. Plus I have been writing to much rubbish on here and not trying enough whiskies!

Nose: Big rich and oily, lots of caramel and buttery notes. Big vanilla and a touch of spice. A rather moreish nose. Some dried bananas emerge along with brown sugar.

Taste: Equally big in the mouth, but also very rounded and chewy, wow this really is chewy, some creamy notes and some floral type notes. Freshly butter toast with lashings of golden syrup on it. There is some a sweeter manufactured taste like Irn Bru bars (A Scottish Treat to rot your teeth but so good!)*

Finish: There could be a touch of salt in the finish (or maybe I am mad!) warm leather and a little bit of nutmeg.

Comment: Wow wow wow this is stunning one of the best whiskies I have tasted in a long time. Doesn't taste 52.7%. Not just a great grain whisky but a great whisky overall.

Score 95/100

Price Check

This is a fairly new bottling as this is the only place I could find it on the net.

* Whilst looking for a picture of Irn Bru bars I discovered they have now been rebranded as Wham Brew Bars - this is surely an attempt to stamp down on Scottish Identity - I think a facebook group may need to be started in protest!

Macallan Cutting Back Whisky Production

I heard from one of the stillmen at Macallan that they are cutting back production at the distillery and that they will now be dropping back to only working 5 days a week. Kind of makes you wonder why they spent so much money opening up the second still house again?

Worrying times as the whisky loch is growing again!

Happy Animals in Trinidad

I saw an article in the Trinidad Express that four men had been caught trying to smuggle in nearly $2.5 million dollars worth of whisky into the country disguised as animal feed. What they really should have described it as was Sheep Dip! legend has it that it worked for the farmers of Oldbury used to claim they were buying when putting there expenses through! (Although I think this story has been removed from the new packaging). Mind you probably a bit easier to sneak through and a little more justifiable than £60K for a second house!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Visitor centres getting good returns!

It was a report in the paper the other day that 1,236,329 people visited a distillery in 2008 spending a total of £25 million pounds so that is £20.22 per visitor not a bad return really - how much can shortbread cost! All in all I would like to say though that when you think about how many people spend a fortune a distilleries it makes you think how many people spend nothing! Sorry had a few drinks this evening bizarly no whisky though just red wine and port! oh well they need the empty cask for some form of wood finish!

What I am trying to say here is that some people spend an absolute fortune on whisky and this was brought home to me when I was on the Edinburgh whisky blog ( A new blog to me but bloody good make sure you check it out!) when they were speaking about buying a Springbank 1919 for £50,000 a bottle.

Even more bizarre is that I have tried this whisky (twice) the first time it was amazing (actually both times it was) but the first time was really something special to try something so rare and so old was unbelievable. I actually thought that it tasted like a very old cognac and was something very special indeed. It was a little woody but not over the top. A good dram but would I have paid £15,000 a bottle that was what it was worth when I tried it i don't think so but if you can get to try it and not re-mortgage your house I would say that you really should.

The second time I tried it the bottle was corked and the whisky was actually revolting - I don't want to sound like a W-anchor by saying that but actually it was and at least 6 other people agreed with me. Ca you imagine if you had paid £50,000 for a bottle of whisky and it tasted crap! (If only to have so much money to be disappointed!) Anyway I type to much! To those of you who buy the Springbank 1919 either from Springbank or from the world whisky index I wish you luck and hope you get my first experience and not my second!

Having said that if you have the money why not! And it could turn into a tidy investment for you!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Royal Lochnagar 12yo 40%

This is from the new packaging of the Royal Lochnagar 12yo but I don't think that they changed the whisky. Lets have a try!

Nose: Sweet and malty with some stewed fruit notes. A touch grassy, lemongrass, almonds and some white chocolate.

Taste: Light, very drying cereal notes - like a barley loft with some moulding lemons in the corner.

Finish: The finish is a little off, not sure what but just a little bit bitter and very drying with not much else going on. Maybe a faint faint hint of peat smoke but blink and you've missed it.

Comment: If this was a report card it would say something like "must try harder" or "not making the most of its potential!" Ok but should be so much better.

Score: 78/100

Price checker:

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Scapa 16yo 40%

Scapa is the unsung hero of Orkney always over shadowed by her more well known neighbour Highland Park, but just like with women perhaps its the quiet timid ones that you need to watch out for rather than those that are always striving to be in the limelight. (Christ I wrote this drivel before I even had a dram!)

Anyway the 14yo bottling has now been replaced with a 16yo bottled at 40% lets see how it fairs:

Nose: Quite warming and initially stewed apples, a slight musty lemon note, dry compost and a faint coastal note - actually smells a bit stronger than 40%

Taste: Brown bread with salted butter, touch of hessian sack, drying, nutty and quite cereal like. Seems a bit younger than 16yo and bizarrely thin on the mouth yet clawing at the same time.

Finish: Very drying, wet pencils and clawing wood. fairly decent length with saltiness developing - just wish some fruitiness or something would develop.

Comment: Sometimes the shy timid ones are just a little bit dull and boring. I maybe expected a bit much not a bad dram but left me wanting so much more!

Score: 81/100

Price check

Royal Mile Whiskies - £51.95

The Whisky Exchange - £51.99

Single Malts Direct - £48.99

It wasn't until I did the price check on this that I realised just how expensive this is, I think they are taking the piss a little with this when you could get the excellent 14yo Scapa for £39.99 would you pay an extra £12.00 for an extra 2 years I would say no - but maybe I am just being tight!

Heavily Peated Yamazaki 1993

I love Japanese whisky - ok I love all whisky - within reason! So when I got the chance to try this I jumped at the chance. Was just a shame I had already had a few drams before this one!

Cask 3Q70041 62%

Nose: Smoke is like that of a smoked cheese - and also a slight fishy note. The white oak doesnt give much vanilla though.

Taste: The smoke comes through on the taste and it id quite dry and almost a little young tasting. - does not taste like it is 62% abv though.

Finish: Warming and dry lingering dry ash and maybe a touch of lemon.

Comment: Nae a bad dram at all but nothing overly memorable.

Score: 87/100

For a better review head to the best Japanese whisky site there is Nojatta so good he includes reviews of a similar cask by Serge off of Whiskyfun.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

15000 visitors but still way behind whisky fun!

As I celebrate my 15000th visitor to my blog - I thank each and every one of you for visiting. I must admit I have not been the most regular poster unlike Serge over at Whiskyfun who on the first of March had his 2 millionth visitor! Keep up the good work Sir! And thankyou once again!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Whyte and Mackay and Burn Stewart for Sale

It was revealled in the Sunday times that it is rumoured that Whyte & Mackay and Burn Stewart distillers are both up for sale. Worrying times for all those who work there but who would be likely to purchase these companies. My thinking is that perhaps they would need to break up the groups before anyone in today's market would be willing to buy them. I doubt anyone would take the whole company off of either of them.

Looking at Whyte & Mackay then maybe La Martiniquaise could be interested but having bought Glen Moray (interestingly nothing seems to have changed at Glen Moray since the takeover) they probably have enough bulk malt so maybe they might just be interested in taking Invergordon. This would allow them to scrap their plans for a major grain distillery and potential small malt distillery in Bathgate. As for Burns Stewart obviously Bunnahabhain would be of interest to people but I can't see many people falling over themselves to get Deanston or Tobermory and definitely not at the prices distilleries were going for last year.
The one prediction that I would see as being plausible but not really probable would be that William Grant's could go for Bunnahabhain, It would seem to make sense to add an Islay to their portfolio. I had expected William Grant's to have announced their purchase of Parkmore distillery by now but all seems to have gone quite on that front maybe they are saving their money for elsewhere. Pure speculation but you never know.

Anyway it will be interesting to see what happens!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Brand Development Manager - Glenglassaugh

I saw this job advertised in the Northern Scot - if any one gets this job having seen it on here I am due a bottle!


This is a unique opportunity to join a small dedicated team based in Portsoy, Aberdeenshire. Within the last 12 months we have re-furbished a silent distillery re-commencing production at the end of 2008 after a 22 year gap. We have also launched a series of Highland Single Malt Scotch Whiskies in selected UK outlets and have more exciting projects under development and in the planning stage. This position is for a commercially-orientated Brand Development Manager to join and carve out a career with us. This role is not for an academic marketer but will require someone who is entrepreneurial, creative and results-focused. The role is based at the distillery but there will also be some requirement to travel throughout the year. Knowledge and experience of the drinks industry is preferred but not essential as the most important elements are being commercially astute, having highly effective people skills, being results focused, adaptable, ambitious and energetic and being a team player.If you feel that this is the challenge for you and that you have the attributes that we are looking for then apply on-line enclosing a full CV with salary expectations to: marked for the attention of Stuart Nickerson. Closing date for applications is 13th March 2009

Monday, February 09, 2009

The Drammies

The Drammie Nominations from the excellent Scotch Blog have been announced make sure that you cast your vote. Intresting that the Benriach Famagusta have been nominated as most inovative products after what I said the other day. I do love the whiskies just I struggle with the names!

Get voting!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

GlenDronach to team up with Phil Collins

Ok so I made that bit up. But Glendronach are to be releasing a non-age statement whisky called GlenDronach Genesis! A strange name but then not as strange as some of the names that have came out of now sister distillery BenRiach such as the Anorthisis Famagusta bottling. Ok so I made that one up too and I know it would wind up the Rangers daft Walker from BenRiach as I remember a certain Illian Kirakov running rings round Rangers in a European game, shame he didn't do that when he played for Aberdeen. Anyway I digress....

One other thing that seems to becoming clear is that GlenDronach will follow in BenRiach's footsteps by putting an absolutely pointless capital letter in the middle of the distillery name. I wonder what other distilleries could do this, EdraDour springs to mind....
Anyway can't wait for the new Glendronach's to come out should be some belters.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Lonach Caperdonich 1969 39yo 42.2%

A new Lonach release from Duncan Taylor. I usually am a fan of Caperdonich so lets see how this goes.

Nose: Sweet vanilla, lemons and honey. Sour apple sweeties and a hint of rhubarb rock.

Taste: That sour apple sweet note comes sweeping through. A touch of drying oakiness and a bit of orange rind. Then more grassy and herbal notes.

Finish: Fairly short and quite drying with a touch of aniseed.

Comment: A very good dram but just not quite up there with the best of the Caperdonichs. Mind you I will still drink another of these!

Score: 88/100

Monday, January 26, 2009

Nikka 12yo Single Grain 70th Anniversary

This was part of a collection of four bottlings that came out to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Nikka. It is unusual to try young grain whisky these days as most of the stuff coming out from Independents like Duncan Taylor or Douglas Laing are of far greater age. Duncan Taylor's 1965 Invergordons spring to mind. So it will be interesting to try not only a younger single grain but a Japanese one at that.

Nose: Cracking - lots of butter on digestives with some caramelised onion - very sweet.
Taste: Drying slightly and maizy oily sunflower note.
Finish: Cracking whisky tastes older than it is. Long lingering creamy caramac bars.
Comment: Well matured cracking whisky that defies its younger age, this is up there with some of the best older grains but just a little bit thinner.

Score: 88/100

Friday, January 23, 2009

Balvenie 12yo Doublewood V Balvenie 12yo Signature

A rare head to head tasting for me - taking inspiration from Whiskyfun although unlike Serge who will taste 19 Bowmores at a time I am only doing two Balvenies and 12yo's at that. Anyway here goes!

Balvenie 12yo Doublewood is in Blue Writing and The Signature is in Red Writing

Sig Nose: Dry marzipan, and some dry sherry notes. Quite malty in fact. With time whisky becomes more sherried on the nose.

DW Nose: Still dry and with almonds and the sherry note is more pronounced although there is more of a background creaminess! Plums! And a hint of dark chocolate.

Sig Taste: Initially starts out like it is going to be thick - if only not 40% abv! Again drying and a little woody, touch of marzipan and faint cherries. Reasonably nice just a little thin.

DW Taste: Fuller in the taste - still a little dry and with a touch of hessian sack but strangely in a good way. Also decent amounts of creaminess, reminiscent of ice cream toffee sauce.

Sig Finish: Very short - I thought there was none then a warming hit me in the middle of the throat and subtle oak.

DW Finish: Dry and slightly sherry clawing but fairly short bar the front of the mouth that is puckered dry.

Comment: Both good staple everyday drams but nothing spectacular. If I had to plump for one I would be hard pushed and I would say doublewood edges it on the finish.

Scores: 86 doublewood and 85 signature

BenRiach 1998 Triple Distilled

I know I haven't been here for ages but nevermind I will try harder. I found this interesting bottle of Benriach triple distilled and thought I would give it a try. As far as I am aware this cask was exclusive to Japan.

Cask 78622 and 58.0% !

Nose: Smells a little bit spirity on the nose but it is strong and 8yo. There is a strong sherry note? Christmas cake overloaded with marzipan. With water nose is more marzipan and a bit of raisans and sultanas.

Taste: Again intially young alcohol, but quite a big sherried richness like the sherry is overpowering. Warm balloons covered in toffee sauce - yes I know its a stupid tasting note! Water brings out a note of licking batteries and warm brown sugar.

Finish: pretty short - and a little dry?

Comment: I kind of like this but it seems a bit thin. An experience, yes - but one I want to do again - I dont know. Just tastes a bot young and unbalanced
Score: 79/100