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Recent releases, June 2009

Springbank, Madeira Wood Expression 11-year-old (Scotland)
Springbank’s Wood Expression Programme usually involves maturing whisky for its entire life in a batch of non-ex-Bourbon/Sherry casks. The latest, launched in January, has spent 11 years in former Madeira casks, with production director Frank McHardy declaring that “We don’t finish, we mature. We do one Wood Expression each year, usually limited to about 1,600 cases. When it’s gone, it’s gone. The Madeira Wood Expression is a sweet, ‘pudding-like’ whisky – you could drink it with ice cream!” Viscous on the nose, stewed apricots and peaches. Lively spice, white pepper, Demerara sugar. Very fruity on the palate, with dates and figs. Smoky and spicy. Drying quite astringently on the finish, with a final tang of brine. 55.1% ABV, 70cl, £38.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Springbank, 18-year-old (Scotland)
The latest ‘mainstream’ release from the Campbeltown distillery of Springbank is an eagerly-anticipated and virtually sold out 18-year-old, which has been matured in 80 per cent ex-Sherry casks, with the remainder being ex-Bourbon. The nose is rich, with sweet Sherry, angelica and apricots, while the big, creamy palate is rounded and confident, offering fresh fruit, smoke, molasses and liquorice. The finish dries slowly and elegantly. Another lovely Springbank. 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £70.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Kilkerran, ‘Work in Progress’ Five-year-old (Scotland)
This is the first global release of spirit from Springbank owner J&A Mitchell & Co’s ‘other’ Campbeltown distillery, Glengyle, and it will be followed by annual limited releases of 12,000 bottles each successive year until the whisky reaches the age of 12. At five years of age it offers a delicate, slightly smoky and nutty, spiced malt nose, quite full-bodied and peppery, with developing fruitiness, which is emphasised by the addition of water. Lingering spice and walnuts in the finish, with vanilla and a slight tang of peat. Extremely promising. It should be fascinating to keep tabs on future ‘work in progress’ releases. 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £30.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Isle of Arran, Pomerol Bordeaux Wine Cask Finish (Scotland)
The latest release in Arran’s expansive cask finish programme has been matured for eight years in conventional ex-Bourbon barrels before spending six months in 20 casks previously used to mature wine from the Château La Conseillante in the Pomerol region of Bordeaux. According to distillery managing director Euan Mitchell, "We thought the Merlot-based Pomerol clarets would make an interesting fit with our whisky, but we had to be very careful that the oak did not overpower the whisky; we just wanted the French oak to give it a top-dressing of flavour. We gave it a fairly short finish, compared to our previous St Emilion finish, as the whisky took on the character of the Pomerol very quickly. We wanted sweet-sour notes, but not too much bitterness from over-oaking." The nose offers almonds and marzipan, with plums and spicy, red wine. Spicy on the palate, with raspberry, fudge and notes of pepper. Persistently spicy and gingery in the finish. 9,420 bottles. 50.0% ABV, 70cl, £39.99, specialist whisky merchants.

Paps of Jura

Isle of Jura distillery has just launched a trio of limited edition, 15-year-old bottlings under the 'Jura Paps' title, finished in three different types of wine cask. Each of the expressions is named after one of the peaks in the distinctive mountain range that dominates the southern half of Jura. 'Paps' sell for around £100 per bottle and are available from specialist retailers. See also

Jura, Mountain of Gold (Pinot Noir casks) (Scotland)
The nose is somewhat assertive, with grape skins and even a hint of cod liver oil, while the richly-textured palate offers black pepper and cinnamon, hazelnuts and wild berries. The finish is steadily drying and gently spiced. 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £100.00, The Whisky Exchange, specialist whisky merchants.
Jura, The Sacred Mountain (Barolo casks) (Scotland)
46.0%ABV Feminine and fragrant on the pretty nose, with roses in bloom and soft, red wine notes. A whiff of white pepper, ginger and over-ripe bananas. The palate is lively and spicy, with apples, caramel and fruit & nut milk chocolate. Fig rolls and cream in the finish. 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £100.00, The Whisky Exchange, specialist whisky merchants.
Jura, The Mountain of the Sound (Cabernet Sauvignon casks) (Scotland)
Initially quite shy on the nose, with developing pepper, nougat and pot still rum notes. The palate is expressive, with fruity, date and lemon oak notes, berries and vanilla toffee. The drying finish features cereal and nutmeg. 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £100.00, The Whisky Exchange, specialist whisky merchants.


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