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Recent releases, August 2008

Duncan Taylor, 3Bs 35-Year-Old Blended Islay Malt (Scotland)
3Bs is bottled exclusively for by its associate company Duncan Taylor & Co, the Huntly-based independent bottler, which has something of a reputation for producing very old blended malt whiskies. The name derives from the fact that the three component malts are Bowmore, Bruichladdich and Bunnahabhain, and the use of these ‘lighter’ Islays leads to a nose of fresh peaches, vanilla ice cream, a hint of Sherry, and only the subtlest background notes of smoke. Indeed, from the nose it is difficult to be sure this is an Islay at all. The palate is initially fruity, with pineapples and banana, plus nutmeg and even cinnamon, though smoky oak notes soon begin to close in. The finish is medium in length, with persistent wine gums and dry oak. 40.0% ABV, 20cl, £29.99,
Macallan, 35-year-old (Scotland)
Also bottled for is this vintage expression from Speyside’s Macallan distillery. Offered at natural cask strength and distilled in 1973 it has a soft nose of toffee apples, banoffee pie, spices and a suggestion of smoke. Caramel and more smoked oak notes develop with exposure to air. The palate is very fruity, with peaches and apricots, merging nicely with vanilla and spice. Spicy bananas and custard dominate the finish, with a final hint of liquorice and oak. 44.3% ABV, 20cl, £29.99,


Last month we featured new expressions of Glenkinchie and Littlemill, and Lowlands get in on the act again this time around with a pair of fresh faces from Auchentoshan distillery. Auchentoshan was established in 1823 and is situated at the foot of the Kilpatrick Hills, close to the River Clyde, and ten miles from central Glasgow. Uniquely, it maintains the old, Lowland tradition of triple distillation. Not only have owners Morrison Bowmore Distillers Ltd introduced two new expressions of Auchentoshan, but they have also radically redesigned the bottle shape and packaging for the entire range and are in the process of investing £500,000 in the distillery visitor centre.

Auchentoshan, Auchentoshan Classic (Scotland)
Initially, intensely sweet on the nose, with peaches and Madeira. Vanilla and coconut notes from the Bourbon casks used in maturation then begin to make their presence felt. The addition of water brings out more overt vanilla. Smooth and fruity on the palate, with vanilla ice cream. Classic Lowland elegance. The finish is fresh and floral, with a lingering note of ripe peaches. This expression of Auchentoshan carries no age statement, giving the distillers more flexibility when it comes to component cask selection in a global market where old malt whisky is at a premium. Nonetheless, it has no negative youthful connotations and is a competitively priced and very attractive ‘anytime of day’ addition to the Auchentoshan range. 40.0% ABV, 70cl, £20.99, specialist whisky merchants.
Auchentoshan, 18-Year-Old (Scotland)
An enticing mix of fresh fruits, honey, almonds and vanilla on the nose. The palate is initially fresh and floral, with developing maltiness and a hint of ginger. Fuller bodied than the ‘Classic,’ with more toasted malt and oak characteristics giving a deeper resonance. Comparatively lengthy in the finish, with nuts, raisins and a final dry oak note, which is sweetened by the addition of water. Another well balanced, very attractive addition to the ranks of Lowland malts. 43.0% ABV, 70cl, £49.99, specialist whisky merchants.
Strathisla, 25-year-old (Gordon & MacPhail) (Scotland)
The latest 25-year-old Strathisla expression from Gordon & MacPhail is bottled at 43% rather than the previous 40% common to the whisky across various ranges. The Keith distillery is owned by Chivas Brothers and lays claim to being the oldest in the Highlands, with an establishment date of 1786. Elgin’s Gordon & MacPhail company has a very long association with Strathisla, and for many years bottled the whisky using the official distillery label. The new 25-year-old bottling offers a soft, fragrant, buttery nose, with delicate Cognac and herbal notes, plus a whiff of warm leather. Full bodied in the mouth, with Sherry, malt, plums and oak, plus some gentle background smoke. The finish is long and elegant, with gingery oak which dries considerably with exposure to air, as one would expect from a whisky of this vintage. Good value for money, and a lovely aged example of an all too elusive Speyside classic. 43.0% ABV, 70cl, £60.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Highland Park, Highland Park 1995 (Gordon & MacPhail) (Scotland)
Part of Gordon & MacPhail's cask strength series, this Highland Park expression is from a vatting of three refill Sherry casks, and offers an interesting contrast to the previous 1991 cask strength Highland Park in this line up, which had been matured in refill Bourbon barrels. Initially zesty and heathery on the nose, with delicate Sherry, smoky malt and almonds. Rich, smooth and full-bodied, with spicy, stewed fruits, cocoa, and Highland Park’s signature smoke and heather characteristics. The finish is long, fruity and smoky, with drying notes of Sherry, dark chocolate and a sprinkling of black pepper. A lovely, complex variant of a true classic whisky. 57.2% ABV, 70cl, £44.95, specialist whisky merchants.

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