Saturday, 30 November 2013

A flight of Big Peats

The original Scallywag, DLaing’s Big Peat is a high quality blend of Islay single malts (Ardbeg, Caol Ila, Bowmore and Port Ellen according to the labels - presumably not too much of the latter but you can really taste the Ardbeg!).

Like other high quality blends the producer buys casks from distilleries of a specific age and type but the contents can be variable.  In a large blend individual casks don’t make much difference, but in a relatively small batched whisky such as this, its feasible that the contents will change depending on the batch (the vatting) so Big Peat ordinaire might be different depending on the month. 

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Old Pulteney Tweet Tasting

A rare TT not organised by the whisky wire!  I tried the 12 and the 21 at The Whisky Show (amazing to see I’ve given the 12 the same score in the dark quiet of my study compared the insanity of the whisky show!) and thought the 12 was good but the 21 better.  OP has been on my hit list since then, so I was pleased to get a spot on this tasting.  We tried the 46% Navigator (NAS), the 12yo and the new “peated cask” 23yo 1990 vintage.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Kilchoman 2007 Vintage

Kilchoman is a “new” distillery on Islay (2005) which is showing no fear and no weakness in its entrance straight into the big league (its pretty tough sharing your geographic designation with Ardbeg, Bowmore, Bruichladdich, Bunnahabain, Coal Ila, Lagavulin and Laphroaig!).  Kilchoman has its own maltings, grows its own barley and has an expression entirely produced at the farm/distillery to show that off.  This focus on terroir inevitably shows through in the quality of the distillate and the whisky.

I bought a bottle of their second club release simply because it entered the world on the same day my daughters entered the world – so I won’t be tasting that until 2031.  However I did secure a sample of the new 2007 vintage to try at the same time.

Kilchoman 2007 Vintage (6yo), 46% A+

Kilchoman 2007 Vintage

Nose – Fresh fruit, peat, fresh cut cherries.  A dusty, wooded edge with barley and backed by phenols. Really fruit, fresh peat nose, beautifully done.  A university library (un-laminated books, floor cleaner, linoleum, dust and polished wooden book cases). 

Body – Fresh apples (without skin), barley, some numbing citrus.  Very fresh but structured, no off notes, lovely integration.

Finish – Reasonably long, good peat fire and finish, well balanced.  Wood bitterness very well balanced right to the end.  Extremely well made, big fan.

What's not good about it:  Not quite a blockbuster yet.

What’s good about it: Clean, fresh, fruity, well balanced, refreshing, effortless, beautifully made. 

Many thanks to Kilchoman distillery for the sample.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Arran Tweet Tasting November 2013

Another cracker from the Whisky Wire, this time on Arran, one of my favourite distilleries.  Loads of character, interesting and beautifully made whiskies, lots of variety, single casks, different finishes.  What’s not to like?

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

English Whisky Company Chapter 7, Rum Cask

I missed out on the English Whisky Company at the Whisky Show due to extreme excitement and my inability to pass by other stands without embarking on a full vertical.  In other words I didn’t get round to them (and they were pretty busy).  So when bottle swapping with Steve Prentice (of Somerset Whisky Blog) I jumped at the chance of a drop of his bottle of Chapter 7.  

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Glendronach Cask Strength Batch 3

This expression from BenRiach owned distillery Glendronach appeared nearly a year ago as a small batch, cask strength whisky.  Combining PX and Oloroso sherry casks creates a deeply sweet but balanced whisky.  I’m a fan of Glendronach (and BenRiach) and this expression in particular, and so I was really keen to try out batch 3.

Yes it’s a NAS, but so is Tomatin Decades.

Glendronach Cask Strength Batch 3, 54.9% A⊕


Nose – Rich raisin, fruit and nut bar, lots of malt, lots of cracked black pepper and honeyed breakfast bar.  Sweet and richly honeyed, fresh pineapple, but backed by woody Oloroso giving balance.  A little waxy bookcase, honey glazed pistachios and toast with honey.  Lovely, addictive nose.

Body – Chocolatey, sweet, real dark malt note, very nicely integrated.  Some cherries.

Finish – Medium to long, fizzing.  Sweetness slightly overstays its welcome but isn’t cloying as it’s initially balanced by oak and then by citrus elements which survive to the end.

Whats not good about it: Just steps one foot the wrong side of sweet.

What’s good about it:  Stunning nose, well balanced, fresh but rich, bit spicy and absolutely delicious.

Thanks for Glendronach for the sample. I’ll be buying a bottle of this.

Friday, 15 November 2013


I’ve been waiting eagerly for this to find its way to me.  I’m a huge fan of Big Peat (Douglas Laing’s other vatted malt), and a huge fan of sherried Speyside malts which bodes well for this.  Thanks to Scott Munro (aka @KiltedMoose), expert drammer and games journalist for the sample.

Scallywag, 46%, A


Nose – Sweet sherry and waxed pears.  Structured, fresh orchard fruit – quite floral.  Some wood, a bit one dimensional but very pleasant given the cost. 

Body – Stickily sweet, PVA glue.  Good, rich malt comes to the rescue.  Structured, a little uncomplicated, but a lovely drop.  Very moreish.

Finish – Surprisingly long, good wood.  Balanced finish.

Whats not good about it: Lack of complexity.

What’s good about it: Scratches the sherry itch with style, great value

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Two older Whisky Broker casks–Ardbeg & Bunnahabhain 21

I owe my discovery of the Whisky Broker ( to Tom Thomson of Tom’s Whisky Reviews, who revealed to me that my much loved Tomatin Burns Malt (at Whisky Barrel – inexplicably still available) is actually a WB cask that was previously released for a tenner less by WB before being bought up and sold by Whisky Barrel.  Since then I’ve realised that if you look really closely it says in tiny tiny letters at the bottom of the bottle.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Milroy’s of Soho–Tweet Tasting 2

Another well executed TT courtesy of Whisky Wire.  All the whiskies are exclusive Milroy’s bottlings (and only the first has added colour or chill filtering).  Here’s the line-up (my notes and ratings are as tasted blind)

  1. Milroy’s Finest Blended Scotch Malt
  2. Glen Elgin 17 yo 1995, 348 bottles
  3. Zuidam Dutch Rye Single Cask
  4. Milstone 14 yo
  5. Milroy’s Single Cask Peated Malt
  6. Milroy’s Exclusive Glen Garioch 1978 Single Cask