gavin smith

 home    about    forum    tasted    features    whisky A-Z    directory    books    links    sign-up    beer    wine

    stories features


Recent releases, May 2009

The English Whisky Co., English Single Malt Spirit – Chapter 3 (England)
The English Whisky Co Ltd is now offering its Single Malt Spirit not only as ‘new make’ but also in both peated and unpeated formats after 18 months of maturation. This allows for interesting comparisons as the oak casks subtly influence their contents. Our sample of unpeated ‘Chapter 3’ from cask 31 was distilled on 20th February 2007, two months after the St George’s Distillery at Roudham in Norfolk first fired up its stills, and was bottled on 20th November 2008. Maturation took place in a first-fill American Bourbon cask, which has imparted a pale golden colour to the spirit. The nose displays less yeast than the new make, and is sweeter, softer and more rounded, with gentle vanilla. This vanilla aroma becomes more prominent with exposure to air. Quite full-boded and textured on the palate, where hazelnuts and cereal are prominent. The finish is longer, creamier and less metallic than spirit straight off the still. Very promising work in progress! 20cls also available for £11.95. 40.0% ABV, 20cl, £27.95,
Amrut, Peated Indian Single Malt Whisky (India)
First released in limited quantities last year at cask strength, Amrut Peated Indian Single Malt is now available at 46.0%abv, initially in France, Germany and Holland. In time it will also appear in the UK marketplace. Due to the extremes of temperature and humidity in Bangalore, where Amrut is distilled, prolonged maturation would result in empty casks, so the whisky is bottled while comparatively young. However, its ‘forced’ maturation results in a spirit that is often said to appear much older than its actual years. This peated expression is rich and attractive on the nose, with aromas of mild peat, smoky citrus fruit and caramel. Fresh oak, spice, smoke and malt characterise the palate, while the finish is spicy, nutty and oaky, though a little ‘raw,’ betraying lack of age. 46.0% ABV, 70cl, Euros 35.00, specialist whisky merchants.


The Aberdeenshire distillery of GlenDronach, near Huntly, was acquired from Chivas Brothers last year by the BenRiach Distillery Co Ltd, and the brand's new owners have lost no time in launching a new line up of expressions.

According to company managing director Billy Walker, “GlenDronach is a very special, sherried malt; a big, rich whisky which deserves a big wood experience. It's a whisky that works really well with sherry.”

Older vintages and single cask bottlings are likely to appear later this year, but for now the revitalised range comprises 12, 15 and 18-year-old single malts.
Glendronach, 12-year-old (Scotland)
The youngest of the trio of GlenDronach ‘core’ expressions is matured in a combination of Spanish Pedro Ximinez and Oloroso Sherry casks and offers a sweet nose of Christmas cake fresh from the oven. Smooth on the palate, with Sherry, soft oak, fruit, almonds and spices. The finish is comparatively dry and nutty, ending with bitter chocolate. 43.0% ABV, 70cl, £26.95, specialist whisky merchants.
Glendronach, 15-year-old (Scotland)
GlenDronach 15-year-old carries the apt name of ‘Revival,’ and has been matured in Oloroso Sherry casks. The nose provides more worn leather and furniture polish notes that its younger sibling, and it is fuller and more luscious on the palate. Spicy leather sweetens into fruit. Apricot jam when diluted. The finish dries to raisins. 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £36.95, specialist whisky merchants.
Glendronach, 18-year-old (Scotland)
The 18-year-old expression of GlenDronach is named ‘Allardice,’ after the distillery’s founder, James Allardice. It, too, has been matured in ex-Oloroso Sherry casks. Soft and rounded on the nose, with milk chocolate and instant coffee. More intensely focused than its stable mates, with cherries and hazelnuts. The finish is longer, too, with some smoke and cherry liqueur chocolates. 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £45.95, specialist whisky merchants.

 home    about    forum    tasted    features    whisky A-Z    directory    books    links    sign-up    beer    wine