It has begun!

We’ve arrived at Glasgow airport yesterday evening, woke up real early today and got on the ferry to the Isle of Arran, a beautiful island with a single distillery, the Isle of Arran Distillery, which was opened 16 years ago. The opening of the distillery marked the end of a period of 158 years in which there was no (legal) whisky distilling done on Arran.

Tasting notes soon to come.

After meeting the lovely people of Arran Distillery (Thank you – Chris, Sue and Campbel!), we went on a wee boat that took us from Lochranza to Tarbert on the Kintyre Peninsula, from which we drove down to Campbeltown. More on that tomorrow, after our visit to Springbank and GlenGyle.

J & U

Latest additions to the collection

Two weeks ago I found myself in Edinburgh , and like any Malt fan , no visit to the Scot Capital will be complete without a visit to a Whisky shop , my personal Guilty shop is the “Royal Mile Whisky” shop … and those that have been in it needs not explaining why , True it is not the most extravagant shop or the most extensive one can find , but it does have it’s gems and magic if you take the time to explore.

I had some time and budget limitation ( as always) and so I limited myself in the selection and purchasing.
The final Tally of the purchase was varied — at least I hope so …

  • GlenCadam 10 years old , Distillery bottling
  • Glen Fiddich 14 year old Rich Oak
  • Deersralker 10 years old
  • Out of those 3 the GlenFiddich is the only one that I know what to expect as I’ve posted about it before , the GlenCadam was a bottle I wanted for a while , but always got the Connoisseur’s bottling ( 21 and 23 years) , so I got a distillery one this time. And the “Deerstalker”, well that one was a curiosity so I bought it on a whim.

    Watch this space for reports on when I open them.

    Cornish Whiskey

    A while back I visited the Healey’s Cornish Cyder Farm and had a wonderful time , they produce some wonderful Cyder and we took some home to try ( very short try indeed as one of the bottles was opened and consumed the same night ). During the visit I learned that they are in the process of making their own brand of whiskey Hicks & Healey Cornish Single Malt Whiskey , so I made arrangements to purchase one .

    Yesterday the package arrived and it is so exquisite I am thinking of buying another one so I may be able to open and taste it .

    Kilchoman Spring 2011 Bottling

    I’ve tasted this dram a few nights ago, boy was I surprised!

    This is a bottling of 3 and 4 years old whisky (One must remember the distillery has only been open since 2005).

    Color: Very light yellow, not surprising given the little time it had to mature in the casks.

    Nose: As expected of an Islay scotch, you can smell the peat, although not as strongly as other drams. There is a sweetness to the smell – maybe honey, or some sweet fruit. The raw side of the spirit is still very much apparent, but not in a bad way.

    Palate: This is where it gets interesting. I was expecting to be hit with a very sharp and biting scotch, but was instead greeted by an oily mellowness, very sweet indeed (more caramel than honey), and a slight medicinal taste. After the initial surprise has diminished, a fruity flavor appeared, as well as the familiar peat, although again, much more timid than other Islay expressions. The finish is long and fruity, with traces of peat.

    Overall, a great experience from a very young bottling.

    Score: 3.7/5.0

    Planning the big west coast trip

    Note: It’s about time I started using this blog – with that 1975 St Magdalene bottling almost gone (a bottle following the rule of never drink without the two owners present, which was broken only once, and for a good reason).

    So, I’ve been fantasizing about another Scotch Trip for some time, and now it actually seems as if it might happen, and big time.

    The idea is to visit all of the distilleries on the Scottish West Coast. This of course includes all of the hebridean distilleries (Peat anyone?), as well as Ben Nevis and Oban – All in all, 16 distilleries.

    Details are still vague, but I’m already excited.

    More to come soon.

    Craigellachie 14 years

    A 14 year old distillery bottling from Craigellachie. This is the an edition that was discontinued in 2007, quite hard to find now , and I had a good fortune to get this bottle .
    Craigellachie 14 years

    I went in to The Royal mile whisky shop in Edinburgh shopping for some bottles, a well recommended shop BTW , and went over to look for this bottle.
    As you can see the box is a dark brown color , same as the shelves in the shop , and I am standing there going over the bottles (stacked alphabetically) A …. B…. D ! , this is wrong again , A… B… D! , after the 3rd time I asked a member of the staff to help me and he just came and plucked the bottle from my blind spot – right in front of me , the box and shelf made my eyes just glance over it and miss it completely. Good thing I asked for help.

    So after a long wait (almost 6 years), I will finally sample the flavors of the Craigellachie dram:

    color – golden , light honey color with a very smooth swirl, the thin long legs take a while to form but leave lovely traces.
    nose – The aroma is very delicate and fills the nose slowly and gently, the dominant traces are of honey and fruits with some slight trace of peppers.
    palate -this dram is very smooth in the mouth and goes down very pleasantly and creates a long slow burn in the gut, without a powerful after burn , the lingering traces are of spices and vanilla.

    In this dram we did not do our usual sampling – we did not add water , so this posting is incomplete in that aspect .
    This dram will go well at the start of a meat meal or with cheese platter.
    Conclusion extremely drinkable , and a good value for money at £30 , 3.75 out of 5 .

    Penderyn Tasting

    At the dawn of the new millennium, a group of friends from Wales set out with a simple vision. To be the first Welsh distillers in more than a century ,They produce just one cask per day of malted barley spirit, which, when matured, is recognized worldwide as one of the fine malt whiskies. The majority of the spirit goes into cask for ageing in their cellars. Minute quantities are diverted to craft other award-winning products.

    Penderyn Tasting Set
    I’ve purchased the Penderyn sample set to have some fun with the Welsh dram and to see if it is a good whiskey, the store was surprisingly quick and I got my order the next day , just in time for me to be on Antibiotics .. so after some wait a, and the end of the medicine treatment it is time to actually get some flavors in :

    We’ll start with the Penderyn 46% Sherrywood finish:
    Penderyn SherryWood Finish
    Nose – very rich and full , the impact of the sherry is very profound on the nose , with many fruity aromas coming out.
    Color – very light clear color , with nice long legs .
    palate – smooth , no strong flavor , slow burn , long lingering sensation but no release of taste,a bit too smooth, with no bite .

    water – no legs , no change in color , stronger aroma of wood and fire ,
    palate – nice kick ,caramel lingering taste , nuts , spices.

    Penderyn 46% Mediara finish :
    Penderyn Madeira Finish
    nose – faint , almost non existent compared to the sherry , vanilla, banana ,
    color – light , transparent hue , very slim legs,
    palate – nice burn , traces of dates , pepper , no gut burn ,

    water – opens up the nose drastically , strong banana , tangerine ,no change in color however the dram looses all the flavors.

    Penderyn Peated 46% :
    Penderyn Peated
    nose , soft smoky aroma , easy on the nose , like a dying ambers of a campfire
    color – light hay yellow .
    palate – very light smoky and ash flavour -like a bit of a burned potato from the fire , or a charcoaled carrot/pepper , very nice , with a good burn and kick .
    nice for even non peaty drinkers

    water – brings out a bit more of the peat in the nose but not to over powering
    color – no change ,
    palate– not fun , the peat comes out , not too strong but in a way that wants you to give it back .

    The Penderyn sample kit is a very nice buy from Penderyn and at £12 it is a good value , on the all the one that got the best review from us is the Sherrywood finish , light and a good dram for a a start of the evening .

    Imperial Octave

    IMPERIAL 1997 Octave 53.2% Royal Mile Whiskies Exclusive
    Imperial Octave
    Limited to just 72 bottles (they bought the lot). This is a brilliant example of Imperial finished for just three months by Duncan Taylor in a tiny Octave-sized sherry cask .
    As soon as I heard about this dram I knew I wanted to try it , and I had to get all the way to Edinburgh to get it , as I was told that only the Edinburgh branch had it.
    It has been sitting in my Cabinet since September 2010 and last night I finally had someone to sample it with me …

    color -A deep red honey brown , almost like a Moniack mead with a very short legs and smooth swirl in the glass.
    nose – Very deep and full , the nose is filled with so many things in the aroma you keep on finding new traces and things the more you inhale the vapors : Caramel , vanilla , fruits , spices , roses , traces of earth , pines and some more that I have not identified .
    palate – WOW , It is one of those drams that is just sublime , it feels as if you are submerging into a sweet haze of taste and alcohol , with so many things giving it a tender push for some more , gentle but firm on the tongue ,slow burn going down but no forceful overbite , mellow burn in the gut with after taste that lingers and tempts you to take more in .

    And as this is a sampling entry – we will add some water :

    nose – the drop of water is releasing a strong aroma of chocolate and leather , and those are overpowering the other flavors that were apparent without the water .
    palate – violent overturn and aggressive in the mouth , but not in the good way that some drams do , but all in all very pale shadow of the non watered version .
    Conclusion : DO NOT ADD WATER !!!! .
    This is a brilliant dram , too bad it is out of stock to be purchased . I’d give it 4.25 out of 5

    Talisker 10 years old

    Did I mention before that I do not like peaty whiskey , well if I didn’t , let me state it loud and clear , I do not like the Peaty Scotch.

    That being said I was told by numerous drinkers that I must try the Talisker. And following those advices I obtained a bottle of the Talisker 10 years old and last night I opened it and sampled this dram …

    Yeah , I really don’t like the peat .. the nose wasn’t that bad ,even with the aroma of a slight ashtray coming out of it , what absolutely killed me was the flavors, lots of fruity traces in there but the sensation I was drinking a cigarette in a glass with an alcoholic fruit juice is not my cup of pleasure .

    I even tried it twice , so it can’t be said that I didn’t give it a fair chance , but in the end all it did was affirm my initial statement – No to Peaty malt.

    For those of you that do like the smoky malts , this one is a nice one to sample from : nice nose, beautiful color , smooth swirl and an good mouth full of flavors . As for the after taste/burn – I can not say all I felt was the smoke , but I guess that is what some people want in their dram .

    St Magdalenes

    St Magadlene distillery , St Magdalenes
    Linlithgow Owner: United Distillers & Vintners (Diageo) Creation date 1765

    St Magdalae Distillary

    The distillery is build on the site of an old leper colony dating back to the 12th century. It has been altered to settle a covent and later an hospital .
    The distillery, situated in Linlithgow dates from 1765. It was originally called Linlithgow.
    The distillery is build near the Union Canal, which made it easy to carry the whisky.
    St Magdalene was the property of Adam Dawson, one of the first to apply for a legal distilling licence.
    DCL (which would later become UDV, after merging with Guinness) bought the distillery in 1912, and closed it definitively in 1983.

    The story of this whiskey and our group started in the Whiskey Show of 2009 ,when we took one of our group on his Stag weekend , in the Show we participated in the Lost distilleries Master Class and were presented with is old and very rare whiskey .We all liked it and enjoyed the sample we had in the class.
    Fast forward 2 days and we are now in Dufftown after a splendid tour of the Glenfiddich Distillery and walking in to the The whiskey shop Dufftown looking at the vast number of choices on the shelves. Just before we were about to exit the shop one of the group noticed a bottle half hidden in the lower shelves – and Lo and behold if was a St Magdalene Rare Old 1975 .Without much thought it was purchased and taken home .

    It’s been a year and the bottle drank with love – but up to now no one of the group ( lazy bastards) took the time to write the notes , so here goes … MaltGeeks tasting the St Magdalene Rare Old 1975:
    Nose – The nose is light , some what faintly hiding it’s contents , traces of pines ,Sap and a slow creeping pepper -almost as an after thought .
    Color – The gold-ish haze color is clear and very smooth , with no legs and very swift swirl.
    Palate – The dram in the mouth feels very smooth but with a light burn in the back of the mouth , strong taste of peppers , Vanilla , Toffee and some remainder of pines in the mix , as the liquid goes down you get a nice slow burn in the gut.
    Water – Has no affect on the color , and it wipes clean the nose , the aroma is all gone – very disappointing.
    The taste becomes bland to a point of annoyance however it maintains the slow burn it had before and adds a gentle overbite to it.
    Summery – A very lovely Whiskey , that is a credit to a good craftsmanship , but lost for good .
    It is a hard find to get but worth the price – although keep the water away from it – it will be a shame to ruin a 30 year old bottle – especially if you can’t be sure you can get another one. 3.75 ( out of 5)