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Recent releases, September 2007

With the exception of one Highland single malt, this month's releases all relate to Islay.

Glengoyne, Vintage 1972 (Scotland)
Since the acquisition of Glengoyne distillery in Stirlingshire by Ian Macleod Distillers Ltd in 2003, a wide range of new Glengoyne expressions have been released. The latest dates from 1972, and in keeping with the trend for ever more luxurious and inventive presentation in the ‘super-premium’ category, it is offered in a gold spirit safe, complete with gold bottle label and black neck tag, plus a velvet pouch for the safe’s lock and key. A tasting notes booklet is also included. Iain Weir, Marketing Director for Ian Macleod Distillers Ltd, notes “I am delighted with the creation of this 1972 vintage. It not only tastes superb, but really looks fantastic too. I am sure it will have real appeal to the connoisseur, collector and gifting market. We pride ourselves on quality and style but I think we have really outdone ourselves this time!” A lovely, sweet, floral nose. Notably fruity, with peaches, pineapples and melons. Big bodied and viscous in the mouth. Rich malt and fresh spicy fruits. Intensely fruity when diluted, with a greater emphasis on spice. The finish is long and slowly drying, with nothing negative to suggest 35 years in a cask. Remarkably fresh and vibrant for its age. Great maturation of first class ‘new make’ spirit. 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £275.00, specialist whisky merchants.

Laphroaig Super-Premiums
We have already seen Beam Global Spirits & Wine Inc release a welcome house bottling of Ardmore single malt (Recent Releases - July), and now the US-based distiller has turned its attention to augmenting the Laphroaig line up with a contrasting pair of super-premium expressions. A 25-year-old is currently hitting the shelves, and a 27-year-old is due to appear next month. Just 2,500 bottles of the former have been initially released in the UK, and less than 1,000 bottles of the latter in the UK, USA and duty free markets.
Laphroaig, 25-year-old (Scotland)
Partly matured in Oloroso casks, this Laphroaig offers Sherry, sweet peat and soft spices on the nose. Developing plums, Germolene, smoke and new leather. Water releases more vibrant fruitiness. Rich and full-bodied, with restrained Sherry, more peat, spices and apples. The finish is lengthy, with gentle smoke, sustained fruit notes, liquorice and Laphroaig’s hallmark iodine sting. 40.0% ABV, 70cl, £150.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Laphroaig, 27-year-old (Scotland)
Offered at cask strength and not chill-filtered, each bottle is signed by the master blender and distillery manager. Fully matured in Oloroso Sherry casks, this expression contrasts significantly with its slightly younger sibling. The nose is big and heavily Sherried, with blackcurrant and smoked fish, but virtually nothing to remind you it is a Laphroaig. However, older Laphroaig’s rarely have a pronounced peaty nose. Massive dry Sherry on the palate, with liquorice and slowly emerging bonfire smoke. Water releases spicy Christmas cake aromas and flavours, along with caramel notes. The finish is exceptionally long, with developing peat, drying steadily to a not unpleasant oakiness. So different, this is a must for all Laphroaig lovers with deep enough pockets! 57.6% ABV, 70cl, £500.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Bruichladdich, 18-year-old (Scotland)
As reported in August’s ‘Whisky News,’ Bruichladdich has just added an 18-year-old expression to its core range. This lightly-peated whisky spent 18 years maturing in ex-Bourbon casks before being finished in red pinot wine casks. The result is a malt that should appeal to lovers of Sherried whiskies, since the effect of the finishing process has been to give the whisky increased richness and complexity. Warm, sweet and slightly spicy on the nose, with a hint of rum and raisins. Full bodied in the mouth, quite viscous and smooth, with sweet Sherry, vanilla fudge, red wine and brittle toffee. Decidedly spicy in the finish. Bruichladdich dislikes the use of the term ‘finishing,’ preferring ‘additional cask evolution,’ but whatever you call it, this new addition to the distillery’s line up proves that when done well, the process can give a whisky a very attractive new dimension, without detracting from its original integrity. 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £54.99, specialist whisky merchants.
Famous Grouse, The Black Grouse (Scotland)
As reported in this month’s ‘Whisky News,’ The Black Grouse is the Edrington Group’s latest extension to the Famous Grouse range, and contains a significantly higher proportion of Islay malts than usual. Quite dry on the nose, with developing cut grass, cereal notes and bonfire smoke. On the palate it is smooth and sophisticated in the best ‘Grouse’ tradition, full-bodied, with succulent fruit, grain and overt peat. The peat lingers in a satisfying, medium to long finish. A fine blend for Islay lovers who enjoy refinement as well as character in their drams, and who don’t necessarily want to pay the price of a single malt. Currently available in Germany and The Netherlands, and from next month also in Nordic and Baltic regions, plus South Africa. Other European markets will follow. 40.0% ABV, 70cl.

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