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Archive for the ‘Scotch Whisky’ Category

Review: Bowmore Tempest Batch No. 3

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 3, 2014

tempestToday I am wrapping up my short series of Single Malt reviews based upon the small tasting my friend Dennis and I conducted a week ago last Sunday. Although we had a minor disagreement regarding the previously reviewed Sheep Dip Malt and Old Pulteney 12 Year Old as to which was the more enjoyable dram; their was no such argument as to which Whisky we each felt was the most satisfying that day, the Bowmore Tempest (Batch No. 3).

For your information, the Bowmore Distillery is the oldest of the Islay Distilleries in Scotland, (and it is one of the oldest distilleries in all of Scotland). It has sat at the edge of the sea on the craggy coastline of the Hebridean Island since 1779. This location close to the sea and of course close to the rich Islay peat has been linked to the distinctive floral and smoky character of the Bowmore Whisky. This character is a result of rich peat flavours being absorbed by the barley as it dries under the peated fire of the malt drying kiln, and of the whisky aging in the famous Bowmore seaside vaults (which are below sea-level) as the briny seaside air is allowed to mingle with the oak aging casks.

SAM_0604 What Rough Beast

What Rough Beast

The Bowmore Tempest is a relatively new 10-year-old peated whisky aged in first-fill bourbon casks. (A first-fill cask is one which has only been used once before usually for either bourbon or sherry). This whisky has seen five separate releases to this point. Small Batch Release No. 3 which is the subject of this review is non-chill filtered and bottled at a full 55.6% alcohol by volume.

Here is a link to my updated review:

Review: Bowmore Tempest Batch No. 3

” … The nose is full of phenolic peat smoke with plenty of rubbery smells rising into the breezes above the glass. Within this menagerie of peat smoke are some welcome scents of orange peel, lemon grass, and hints of floral woodland (heather, lavender and wood spices). A mild effervescence exists which borders on the edge of astringency, no doubt a reminder that the spirit is a full 56 % abv. …”

Islay whisky presents a challenge to the cocktail buff. The peat, the smoke, and the iodine is a peculiar mixture more usually reserved for the single malt aficionado than the cocktail connoisseur.  I have I found though, that a quality gin may often provide the basis to bring balance to the Islay cocktail, and working from that basis I constructed one of my favourite cold weather cocktails, What Rough Beast which is included (for your enjoyment at the conclusion of my review.

Slanite’!

Posted in Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review: Old Pulteney 12 Year Old

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 31, 2014

OP 12YOAs I indicated a few days ago, my friend Dennis and I had a small whisky tasting this past Sunday featuring 3 malt whiskies from Scotland. The second spirit in the line-up was Old Pulteney 12 Year Old Single Malt. According to the Old Pulteney website, this whisky is produced at the northernmost distillery on the Scottish mainland, in Wick. The distillery lies in the heart of ‘Pulteneytown’, which was created for the fishermen in the area, and the distillery is an integral part of the history of this coastal town.

A couple of years ago, Old Pulteney shocked more than a few people when their 21-year-old expression (click to read my review) won the big award in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible as his choice as the world’s best whisky in 2012. Last year they made a few more waves with the release of the distillery’s oldest production release, a 40-year-old single malt whisky. (The Old Pulteney  40 Year Old (click for more information) is extremely limited; but it has apparently been seen in a few stores here in Alberta.)

Black Donald

Black Donald

Here is a link to my review of the Old Pulteney 12 year Old Single Malt Whisky:

Review: Old Pulteney 12 Year Old

“… The initial breezes above the glass set into my mind a vision of a lowland meadow as the scents carry light aromas of almond, vanilla, honey, meadowland grasses, and wood spice. As the glass sits, I catch some scents of sea brine and it makes me think there must be an ocean nearby. The wood spices build in the glass bringing me images of orange peel, willow, and fresh tobacco …”

For your added enjoyment I have included a nice recipe which mixes Old Pulteney with Drambuie, lime juice and Q-Ginger. The most refreshing, Black Donald cocktail.

Note: My most recent 700 ml sample bottle of Old Pulteney 12 Year Old Single Malt was provided by Woodman Wines and Spirits Inc. who are the importers/distributors of this brand in the Province of Ontario. I am told that this whisky is currently in about 90 locations (Whisky Shop Sections) of LCBO stores across that Province. It is also quite readily available in Alberta.

Posted in Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review: Sheep Dip Malt Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 29, 2014

Sheep DipMy friend Dennis, and I had a small whisky tasting at my house this past Sunday where we sampled three interesting malt whiskies from Scotland. As we sampled each dram, I wrote up some tasting notes based upon our impressions and then we had some fun arguing about what we liked and disliked. The first whisky we sampled was Sheep Dip Malt Whisky, produced by the Spencerfield Spirit Company.

The Spencerfield Spirit Company was created by Alex Nicol, the former Marketing Director of Glenmorangie, and whisky aficionado who has held directorships with major spirits companies such as Whyte and Mackay, Beefeater Gin, and Laphroaig as well as with Scottish and Newcastle and Cadbury Schweppes. The company he formed is a family run business dedicated to an eclectic handful of whisky brands.

SAM_1024 The Presbyterian

Presbyterian Cocktail

Their Flagship brand, Sheep Dip Malt Whisky is a vatting of malt whiskies crafted by Scotland’s only third generation Master Blender, Richard Paterson. It is comprised of sixteen separate Single Malt Whiskies chosen from all four of the traditional malt whisky regions of Scotland. These chosen whiskies range in age from between 8 and 21 years and they have all been married together in fresh (first-fill) American oak barrels to produce the Sheep Dip Malt.

Here is a link to my new review of this interesting Malt Whisky:

Review: Sheep Dip Malt Whisky

“… The initial nose brings to mind impressions of ready to cut grassy hay fields waving in the wind with a few spruce and poplar trees standing in the background. There is a gentle sweetness which grows as you sniff the glass, which as it builds, gave me indications of raisins and sugared dates …”

Included with this review is a nice cocktail suggestion which combines two high-end mixers from Q-brands with the Sheep Dip Malt Whisky, the Presbyterian Cocktail.

Note: You only get out of a mixed drink what you put into it. Better ingredients in the form of not only better mixers, but also better spirits definitely results in tastier cocktails!

Posted in Scotch Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Rare Dram Masterclass Features Glenfarclas 60 Year Old

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 23, 2014

glenfarclas 60Last April, J & G Grant launched the release of their new 60 Year Old Glenfarclas Single Malt Whisky with only 360 bottles available world-wide.  According to George Grant, Glenfarclas’ Sales Director and 6th generation of the Grant family:

“At a time when more and more distilleries are going down the no age statement route for their super premium products, we are delighted to be able to release this magnificent 60-year-old Glenfarclas. My grandfather started laying down stocks for the future way back in the 50s, so it is thanks to his incredible foresight that we are able to bottle this today.I’m sure he would have been as impressed by it as I am.”

In describing his 60 Year Old whisky, George Grant tells us that the spirit was matured in a first fill sherry butt and has a very dark rich mahogany colour. George goes on to say:

“It is surprisingly vibrant with lots of dried fruits, demerara sugar and spice coming through on the nose as well as the rich, oaky tannins that one would expect from a whisky of this venerable age. The sherry influence really comes through on the palate, with rich treacle, bitter coffee and espresso notes all making an appearance. The finish is the longest I have ever experienced – 20 minutes later you will still be able to taste the subtle nuances of this incredible dram.”

Fortunately for those of us who live in Alberta, a few of these special bottles have made it into our marketplace and George Grant has arranged a very special tasting featuring not only the Glenfarclas 60 Year Old Whisky, but also 3 special Family Cask Whiskies each paired with decadent appetizers on the evening of November 3rd at 8:00PM.

Tickets are available for the November 3, 2014 Glenfarclas Rare Dram Masterclass via telephone or email from:

Willow Park Wine and Spirits
10801 Bonaventure Dr SE Calgary
Telephone: 403-296-1624
Email: events@willowpark.net

Cost: $500.00 per ticket

I have been invited to the event, and if I can clear my schedule for that day, I will certainly do my best to attend!

Note: The Glenfarclas Distillery is located on the Recherlich Farm at Ballindalloch in the heart of Speyside. The Distillery was purchased by the Grant Family in 1865, and has remained in the control of the Grant Family for six generations up to the present day. In fact, Glenfarclas is one of only a few distilleries remaining in Scotland which is independently family owned and managed.

Posted in Howls, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review: Ballantine’s Finest Blended Scotch Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 17, 2014

ballantine-finestThe heritage of Ballantine’s Scotch Whisky can be traced back to 1827 when George Ballantine set up a small grocery store in Edinburgh supplying a range of whiskies to his clients. In 1865, he opened a larger establishment in Glasgow where he concentrated on the wine and spirit trade and catered to a more upscale customer base which apparently included the Hindu Royal Family. It was at this time that Ballantine started the experimentation which led to the creation of his own whisky blends. By the time his son George Jr. took over the business, Ballantine’s was a growing concern and the family eventually sold the prosperous business to Barclay and McKinlay in 1919. As the business and the brand continued to grow, the brand attracted the attention of the Canadian firm, Hiram Walker Gooderham & Worts who acquired Ballantine’s in 1937. Growth continued especially in new markets in Europe. Then in 1988, the Company became part of the global beverage conglomerate Allied Domecq, and later (in 2005) was acquired by Pernod Ricard who own the brand today.

Mamie Taylor

Mamie Taylor

Ballantine’s Finest Blended Scotch Whisky is the flagship whisky of the Ballantine’s brand. It is blended from a mixture of malt and grain whiskies all of which are aged (as per Scottish Law) for a minimum of three years in oak barrels.

You may read my full review of the blended Scotch whisky by clicking on the following except:

Review: Ballantine’s Finest Blended Scotch Whisky

“… The initial nose rising into the breezes above the glass have a firm honeyed butterscotch taint which is accented by heather and fine grain spices. I also detect light notes of raisins and cherry licorice which hints at a few sherry barrels which may have been utilized in the aging of at least some of the whisky. As I let the glass sit I notice fruity aromas of apple juice and canned peaches and apricots, as well as more grain-like scents which remind me of orange and lime zest and damp cigarette tobacco …”

Please enjoy the review and the recipe suggestion which follows, the Mamie Taylor Cocktail.

Slainte’

Posted in Scotch Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off

Review: Tomatin 12 Year Old (Single Malt)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 29, 2014

tomatin12The Tomatin Distillery is located in the Monadhliath Mountains near Inverness, the capital of the Highlands of Scotland. The Distillery was established in 1897. (For those who do not know, the term “established in 1897″ is a code term which represents an acknowledgement by the distillery that the company began to legally pay taxes on the spirits it produced in that year. When the Distillery actually began to produces spirits is not acknowledged.) Because of its location in the Monadhliath Mountains, Tomatin is one of the highest distilleries (elevation wise) in Scotland at 315 metres above sea level. In 1985 as the Distillery was expanded and was at that time renamed, The Tomatin Distillery Co Ltd..

The company now operates 12 stills, in a process which perhaps more closely resembles a large-scale industrial factory rather than a typical Single Malt Distillery. This is because the distillery has always been a large-scale producer of whisky for Scotland’s major blends. However, Tomatin has recently began to focus their efforts on also producing their own Single Malt Whisky as well as establishing their own brand identity.

Blood and Sand

Blood and Sand

The Tomatin 12 Year Old (Single Malt) is matured in what the company calls ‘traditional’ oak casks. However for the last 6 to 9 months of its aging life the whisky is moved to Oloroso Sherry Casks. You may read my full review which includes a nice recipe suggestion, Blood and Sand, by clicking the following excerpt link:

Review: Tomatin 12 Year Old (Single Malt)

“… The delivery shows more wood and baking spice than the nose implied with pleasant flavours of oak sap combining with vanilla, cinnamon and hints of clove. The sherried fruit is obvious as well demonstrated by flavours of green grape accented by raisins and figs. Although the whisky is sherried, the Oloroso influence comes across as a firm flavour accent rather than as a sherry bomb. …”

Please enjoy the review!

Slainte!

Posted in Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off

Review: The Balvenie 12 Year Old Single Barrel

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 10, 2014

Balvenie 12 SAM_1113The Balvenie Distillery is located at Dufftown which is of course, pretty much situated in the heart of the Speyside region of Scotland. This is a Single Malt Distillery; but one which holds the distinction of being the only such distillery where every part of the process of making whisky takes place right at the distillery. The distillery grows and malts its own barley (about 10 % of its total requirement); it has its own cooperage; and it has its own copper-smith. Owned by William Grant and Sons, the distillery is one of the top 10 producers (by volume) of Scottish Single Malt Whisky.

The Balvenie 12 Year Old Single Barrel is one of the company’s most recent offerings to arrive in Canada, and it replaces The Balvenie 15 Year Old Single Barrel whose stocks have been dwindling such that this expression is now quite hard to find (at least where I live). The 12 Year Old (like the 15 Year Old before it) is a true Single Barrel Whisky as each bottle is drawn from a single first-fill Bourbon cask selected by The Balvenie Malt Master, David Stewart. These casks were chosen to represent a consistent Balvenie character; however, each barrel will have its own unique character, and therefore each bottling from each unique barrel will be slightly different from each other. (And yes, this whisky spent its entire 12 year aging life in one single first-fill barrel.)

You may read my full review here:

Review: The Balvenie 12 Year Old Single Barrel

“… The breezes above the glass indicate that the whisky has a firm oak character as those breezes are filled with a firm presence of clean oak spice. This woody spiciness is accented (quite nicely) with vanilla, sawgrass and almond scents. As the glass breathes, the whisky breezes become more complex bringing forward additional hints of butterscotch, honey and some sweet beer-like malt …”

Note: Only 300 cases of this limited edition single malt are available for purchase at LCBO stores across Ontario starting February 2014. There were previously 300 cases released for purchase in Alberta in December 2013.

Posted in Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Review: Glenfiddich 12 Year Old Single Malt

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 6, 2014

Glenfiddich_8321_Original.tifGlenfiddich is credited by most whisky writers as being the distillery which brought Single Malt Scotch Whisky into prominence after World War II. According to Michael Jackson in his wonderful publication, Scotland and its Whiskies (pages 101-103, Copyright Duncan Baird Publishers, 2001), the independent operators of the distillery began to produce and sell their whisky with an emphasis on the Single Malt expression rather than depending upon selling their whisky to blenders. The result of this foresight is that Glennfiddich is now the most popular (by sales) producer of Single Malt whisky with a market share which accounts for over 30 % of world-wide sales. The flagship whisky of the brand is their 12 Year Old Glenfiddich Single Malt Whisky.

SAM_1027 Mamie Taylor

Mamie Taylor Cocktail

The 12-year-old expression is a Single Malt Whisky produced from a blend of stocks which were aged in American bourbon and Spanish Sherry oak barrels. I received a sample bottle of the Glenfiddich 12 Year Old just prior to Christmas, and I decided to share the results of my examination here on my website.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Glenfiddich 12 Year Old Single Malt

“… As the glass breathes I sense impressions of some lowland sawgrass, a few crushed gooseberries, and fruit-like hints of spicy raisin as well as sliced green apples and pears. Over time the air above the glass develops more of an herbal quality with indications of lemon balm and heather …”

Please enjoy my review which includes a nice recipe recommendation, the Mamie Taylor Cocktail!

Slainte’

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Important Note: In June of 2013, Glenfiddich Single Malt Scotch announced that $2.00 from every bottle sold of the older Glenfiddich 15 Year Old Solera Whisky in Canada would be donated to benefit Canadian Forces Members as part of their continued support for Wounded Warriors Canada. This program is ongoing and I have been informed that as of the end of 2013, $161,616 have been raised for Wounded Warriors Canada through these $2.00 donations. Founded in 2006, Wounded Warriors Canada is a non-profit organization that helps Canadian Forces Members (be they full-time members or reservists) who have been wounded or injured in their service to Canada.

Posted in Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off

Review: Ron Burgundy “Great Odin’s Raven” Special Reserve

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 2, 2014

Ron BurgundyRon Burgundy “Great Odin’s Raven” Special Reserve is a result of a collaborative effort between Paramount Studios and Celebrity Cellars International (CCI). The aim of the project was to create a blended scotch to capitalize on the ‘celebrity status’ of Ron Burgundy, the Scotch-loving main character of Paramount Studio’s original Anchorman movie, and to launch the Ron Burgundy Scotch coinciding with the release of Anchorman 2, The Legend Continues.

According to Scott Roddick and Jeff Harder (Managing Partners of CCI), one of the major criteria for both parties (Paramount and Celebrity Cellars) going forward was to create a ‘good’ blended Scotch whisky which would be well received by both fans of the Anchorman character, Ron Burgundy, as well as by whisky enthusiasts. Neither side wanted the spirit to become merely a “souvenir brand”. To that end the, whisky was crafted and bottled in Scotland by Old St. Andrews Distillery, featuring a blend of grain and mature malt whiskies from the Speyside, Highlands, and Islay regions of Scotland. The whisky is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume and was released (as planned) in North America on December 1, 2013.

Great Odin's Raven's Presbyterian Cocktail

Great Odin’s Raven’s Presbyterian Cocktail

The early returns are in, and they are quite positive. Since the December 1st release, over 14,000 cases of Ron Burgundy Scotch have been sold in North America. Building upon that success, the Ron Burgundy Whisky was recently launched in the UK and Australia.

I was provided a sample bottle by the folks at Celebrity Cellars, and you may read my full review by clicking on the following excerpt:

Review: Ron Burgundy “Great Odin’s Raven” Special Reserve

“… The initial scents and smells from the glass are rather interesting. They bring a combination of  wood spices; some sweet honey and butterscotch; bits of heather and saw grass; and a mild dollop of boggy peat into the breezes above the glass …”

Please enjoy the review which includes my suggested cocktail, Great Odin’s Raven’s Presbyterian Cocktail!

Slainte’!

Posted in Scotch Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Review: Auchentoshan 1999 Bordeaux Cask

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 20, 2014

Auchentoshan Bordeaux1999The Auchentoshan Distillery is somewhat of an anomaly amongst Scottish Distillers. It is the only Scottish Distillery that triple distills their entire core range of whisky on three separate stills. Triple distillation is common amongst Irish distillers, but very uncommon for a distillery producing Single Malt Whisky. The result of this triple distillation is a more laid back easy-going style of whisky which perhaps carries more floral elements through to the new make spirit; but which also may be a little less robust in character than traditional single malts. As such, the Auchentoshan Whisky is considered by some to be a more approachable single malt whisky with a wider range of appeal than a heavier malt whisky.

The Auchentoshan 11 Year Old Bordeaux Cask Single Malt Whisky is part of the Auchentoshan Distillery’s Freedom of Expressions Limited Edition Range of Single Malts. The whisky is (of course) a triple distilled Single Malt which has been produced from aged stocks  which were barreled in French Oak (Bordeaux Casks) for 11 years and bottled at 58 % alcohol by volume.

SAM_1029 Black Donald

Black Donald

You may read my full review here:

Review: Auchentoshan 1999 Bordeaux Cask

“… As the glass breathes I begin to detect hints of the Bordeaux wine finish. Some Turkish Delight candy bar and red licorice seem to have woven themselves into the breezes with both willow bushes and fresh-cut poplar wood also finding their way into my consciousness. Hints of vanilla, and some light nutty almond aromas round out the nose which is pleasant …”

For your enjoyment I have included a nice tall Scotch Whisky cocktail (Black Donald) which tastes great when mixed with the high-octane goodness of the Auchentoshan 1999 Bordeaux Cask.

Slainte’

 

Posted in Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off

 
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