Recent releases, November 2009
|Benromach, 10-year-old (Scotland) |
This new release from Benromach represents a milestone, as it is the first bottling of spirit distilled entirely under the ownership of Gordon & MacPhail, who resurrected the silent Speyside distillery in 1998.
It comprises 80 per cent whisky which has been matured for nine years in ex-Bourbon casks, and 20 per cent from former Sherry wood. The sum total was then matured for a final 12 months in ex-Sherry casks.
The result is a complex and well-integrated dram, with a nose that is initially quite smoky, with wet grass, butter, ginger and brittle toffee. Mouth-coating, spicy, malty and nutty on the palate, with developing citrus fruits, raisins and soft wood smoke. The finish is warming, with lingering barbecue notes.
40.0% ABV, 70cl, £28.95, specialist whisky merchants.
|Bladnoch, 8-year-old (Scotland) |
This release comprises spirit distilled entirely under the current distillery ownership regime, in this case that of Northern Irish businessman Raymond Armstrong.
Bladnoch fell silent in 1993, and Armstrong purchased it from United Distillers the following year, with distillation recommencing seven years later. Production is small in scale and includes batches of peated spirit from time to time. The first releases of spirit distilled since the re-opening were a trio of cask strength six-year-olds, bottled last year, one of which was matured in ex-Bourbon casks, a second in ex-Sherry wood, while the third was lightly peated.
The new eight-year-old is bright, fresh and citric, with lemon, cereal, soft toffee and nuts on the nose. Medium in body, the palate is gingery and very lively, with vanilla, hot spices and hazelnuts. The finish offers persistently fruity spice.
46.0% ABV, 70cl, £36.00, specialist whisky merchants.
|Dalmore, Sirius (Scotland) |
The most expensive whisky to pass the lips of your ‘whisky-pages’ sampler for some time.
Only 12 decanters of Dalmore Sirius 1951 cask strength, vintage single malt have been released, each carrying a price tag of £10,000, and available from selected World Duty Free (WDF) outlets.
“The international market for high-end luxury products which have an investment value is buoyant - and the finest whiskies are playing an increasingly dominant role in this sector,” says The Dalmore’s Brand Director, David Robertson.
“Our partnership with World Duty Free allows us to reach an elite group of investors and whisky aficionados across the globe. We will be focusing on key target markets in Taiwan, USA and France.”
The nose is sumptuous, with orange peel, honey, cloves and sweet, background smoke. The palate yields Sherry, dark chocolate, toffee apples, almonds and spice, while the finish is very long and drying, becoming slightly astringent, with lingering notes of cocoa.
45.0% ABV, 70cl, £10,000, Duty Free & Travel Retail.
|Jura, Prophecy (Scotland) |
This is a heavily peated limited release (1,800 cases) by the name of Prophecy.
According to the marketing team at Isle of Jura, “The single malt is inspired by one the island’s most compelling tales – the true story of the wise old ‘seer’ who predicted the downfall of the illustrious Campbell clan who held reign on the Isle of Jura in the early 1700s.
“During this reign, the Campbells evicted the seer – who was believed to have the gift of ‘the third eye’ and the ability to see the future – from the island. As she left she foretold that the last Campbell would leave the island, one eyed and with all his worldly possessions held in one cart drawn by a solitary white horse.
“More than 200 years later, in 1938, Charles Campbell, the last Campbell left… with only one eye, after being shot during World War 1, and with a cart drawn by a white horse.”
Prophecy is not chill-filtered and it offers a nose of smoked fish, brine and butter. Textured and mouth-coating, with flavours of luscious fruit, peat smoke, spice and liquorice sticks. The addition of water sweetens the whole effect. Peat lingers in the spicy finish, which becomes drier and more ashy.
46.0% ABV, 70cl, £56.00, distillery website.
|Bowmore, Tempest (Scotland) |
The latest release from the Islay distillery of Bowmore is a cask strength, limited edition (2,000 cases) bottling by the name of Tempest. It comprises 10-year-old whisky which has been matured in first-fill Bourbon casks.
According to Bowmore marketing manager Kirsteen Beeston, “We are so proud to reveal Bowmore Tempest. It’s a balanced, yet complex, dram that really captures the spirit of the distillery on Islay and the craftsmanship that has been applied to make this beautiful tasting malt.”
Initially, very fruity on the nose, with peaches and oranges, while peatiness develops, along with an edge of salt. Citrus fruit and barley sugar on the palate, backed by quite subtle peat. The finish is clean and lengthy, with lingering brine.
55.3% ABV, 70cl, £39.99, specialist whisky merchants.
|Glen Garioch, 1797 Founder’s Reserve (Scotland) |
Bowmore’s under-rated ‘sister’ Glen Garioch single malt has recently been receiving some welcome attention, with occasional ‘single batch’ vintage releases intended to augment the re-formulated, re-packaged and re-named core Founder’s Reserve bottling.
Senior Blender Iain McCallum says that “The Glen Garioch spirit has always been outstanding; the re-launch has given us a real opportunity to showcase some of the smaller, more unusual batches of stock, whilst taking the whisky back to its original state of non chill-filtered and cask strength in the older vintages”
Morrison Bowmore’s CEO Mike Keiller adds that “With only small batches of hand-selected stock available worldwide, Glen Garioch leads the way in this new era of rarity within the whisky arena. Suited to the enthusiast, the collector and those with a genuine appreciation of craft and quality, Glen Garioch now complements the already successful single malt portfolio of Morrison Bowmore Distillers.”
Founder’s Reserve boasts a nose of soft fruits (pears, peaches and apricots), together with butterscotch and vanilla. Quite full-bodied, with vanilla, malt, melon and light smoke on the palate. The finish is clean and medium in length.
48.0% ABV, 70cl, £26.99, specialist whisky merchants.
|Tullibardine, Aged Oak Edition (Scotland) |
The latest release from the Perthshire distillery of Tullibardine is Aged Oak, which offers no age statement, though it is believed to be a minimum of 15 years old, and has been matured in former Bourbon barrels.
The nose exhibits barley, light citrus fruits, pear drops, marzipan and cocoa. Oily in the mouth, slightly earthy, with Brazil nuts and developing vanilla and lemon on the palate. The finish is drying and slightly woody, with lingering spices. 40.0% ABV, 70cl, £24.95, specialist whisky merchants.