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Archive for the ‘Scotch Whisky’ Category

Introducing – Master of Malts, Iain McCallum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 31, 2012

I would like to welcome Iain McCallum, the current Global Master of Malts for Morrison Bowmore Distillers to my website. I was granted an email interview with Mr. McCallum in early June, and after a bit of back and forth the interview was concluded in mid July.

Iain discusses his job as the Global Master of Malts for Morrison Bowmore Distillers (MBD) as well as the various styles (and brands) of whisky that Morrison Bowmore produces at the three MBD distilleries in Scotland, the Bowmore Distillery, the Auchentoshan Distillery and the Glen Garioch Distillery. The interview moves on to the McClelland Single Malt Whisky brand which is also produced by Morrison Bowmore, and then on to a questions about MBD’s practice of aging the Bowmore Islay whisky offsite.

I am surprised to learn that the The Scottish Whisky Act has very little to say regarding the use of oak casks which have previously contained other wines and spirits (and how much of this liquid may be left in these casks to influence the flavour profile of the resulting whisky). Finally, Mr. McCallum gives his recommendations for the enjoyment of each of the Morrison Bowmore Distillery offerings sharing opinions regarding his favourite Malts, and his favourite cocktails with me.  I am happy to learn that even the Master of Malts allows himself to enjoy a great cocktail!

You may read the full interview here:

An Interview with the Global Master of Malts, Iain McCallum

Please enjoy the Interview!

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

Review: Edradour Gaja Barolo Cask Finish

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 21, 2012

Edradour holds the distinction of being the smallest distillery in Scotland. It is also the last original farm distillery in Perthshire. The same wooden equipment is used to mash and ferment the whisky today, that was purchased by the distillery 170 years ago. They use the smallest copper stills in Scotland, and in fact they are the smallest permissible by Scottish law. They also use the only working model of a Morton refrigerator (used in the distilling process) in the industry. You’ll find this unique distillery nestled in a small glen above Pitlochry in the Southern Highlands. A truly unique distillery, making truly unique single malt whisky.

The Edradour Gaja Barolo Cask Finished Whisky is a fully aged 12-year-old single malt. The whisky was aged for 12 years in American Oak and then finished in a Barolo wine barrel from Angelo Gaja, an Italian wine producer from Piemonte. This is a ‘cask strength’ offering bottled at a whopping 57.1 % alcohol by volume. I expect this to be a bit of a beast in the glass with strong flavours and aromas.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“… I allowed the glass to breathe, and those scents and smells of the grain harvest seem to deepen. I also begin to notice a lightly floral character similar to lilacs and heather nestled in the background of the breezes, and some mixed berries (gooseberry, elderberry, and blackberries) seem to flicker in and out as well … “

Here is a link to the full review:

Review: Edradour Gaja Barolo Cask Finish

Cheers Everyone!

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

For Father’s Day – Avoiding my 10 Whisky Regrets

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 15, 2012

Yesterday I shared a few of my rum experiences which were, let me say, less than enjoyable. The list was meant to help you avoid similar pitfalls in your search for a suitable rum to buy Dad for Father’s Day. Today, I think it is only fair, that I also list a few of the whisky decisions I have regretted as well. The list I came up with, isn’t really a list of horrible whiskies that left me gasping (although a couple are). It is more of a list of whiskies which in some way tainted my enjoyment such that I kind of wished I had never succumbed to their charm in the bottle.

They made me run to them, and then they made me run from them, kind of like that Gloria Jones song covered by Soft Cell:
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

These are my regrets, and I publish this list in hopes that I can help you avoid a regret or two this Father’s Day. (Just for the fun of it, I think I will count them down in reverse order starting with a few minor regrets, working my way to my biggest whisky regret.)

My 10 Whisky Regrets

Happy Father’s Day Everyone!

Posted in American Whiskey, Canadian Whisky, Howls, Irish Whskey, Japanese Whisky, Scotch Whisky, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off

Review: Auchentoshan Three Wood Single Malt Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 31, 2012

The 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. Triple distillation is common amongst Irish distillers, but very uncommon for a distillery producing Single Malt Whisky. The result of the triple distillation is a more laid back easy-going style of whisky which perhaps carries more floral elements, but which also may be a little less robust in character than traditional single malts.

The Auchentoshan Three Wood Single Malt Whisky is a recent addition to that core range of Auchentoshan Single Malts. It is (of course) a triple distilled whisky which has been matured in three different styles of Oak. These are in order: American Bourbon, Spanish Oloroso Sherry, and Pedro Ximenez Sherry casks. This unique aging process leads to a complex whisky with flavours from each style of oak imprinted upon the whisky. I recently received a sample bottle of the Auchentoshan Three Wood from the Regional Manager of Shiralli Agencies who are the local importer and distributor of Morrison Bowmore products. (The Auchentoshan Distillery and its brands are owned by Morrison Bowmore.)

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“…  The whisky is rich with the aroma of oak which has firm stains of the sherry cask  influence (dates, raisins and prunes), as well as some sweet toffee (brown sugar, vanilla and butterscotch) overtones. As the glass breathes, I sense a bit of a woodland aroma with scents of  elderberry and willow thicket rising into the breezes with perhaps a bit of heather as well. Fruity tones are growing which remind me of blackberries and saskatoons …”

You may read the full review here:

Review: Auchentoshan Three Wood Single Malt Whisky

Please enjoy the review as well as my new cocktail suggestion, The Autocrat Cocktail.

Cheers!

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

Review: Old Pulteney 21 Year Old Single Malt Scotch

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 23, 2012

When I first heard that Old Pulteney 21 Year Old Single Malt Scotch had won the accolade of World Whisky of the Year in this years (2012) edition of Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible, I was intrigued at Jim Murray’s selection. Of course I, like many other persons, began to think that perhaps I should find myself a bottle. I have never had an occasion to try any of the Old Pulteney range, and it appears I have been missing out.

Just when I was beginning to get serious about finding that bottle, I was contacted by Woodman Wines and Spirits Inc. who let me know that they were sending me a lab sample of the award-winning whisky to sample at my leisure. They informed that the Old Pulteney 21 Year Old had just arrived in Ontario, but with an allocation of only 50 cases (6 per case) for the entire Province.

I decided to put the lab sample through the paces of my review methodology and share the results with everyone here on my website. Here is an excerpt from my review:

… The initial nose is quite spicy. Within the spice, I sense butterscotch and heather, and a ripe fruit filled presence (green apples and green grapes; some raisins; and light impressions of dates). Over time oak and willow aromas evolve from the spice, and the darker fruit (the raisins and the dates) gain a little momentum …”

You may read my full review here:

Review: Old Pulteney 21 Year Old Single Malt Scotch

Please enjoy my review, and if you get a chance to grab one of these bottles, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section of the review.

Cheers!

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

Review: Glenfarclas 40 Year Old Highland Single Malt Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 13, 2012

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 for a total sum of £511.19sd. It 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.

This review continues my series of examinations of the Glenfarclas Single Malt line-up. I have previously reviewed the Glenfarclas 12 Year, the Glenfarclas 21 Year, the Glenfarclas 30 Year and the Glenfarclas Cask Strength 105. These reviews have been facilitated by Pacific Wine & Spirits Inc who have provided samples for me to assess, and who kindly invited me to a tasting event hosted by George Grant, the Sales Director for the Glenfarclas Distillery where I was able to sample the entire core range of Glenfarclas Whisky. Mr. Grant is part of the 6th generation of the Grant Family who originally purchased the distillery in 1865.

Here is an excerpt from my review”

“…The initial aroma from the glass reveals the scent of old oak tainted by the dry fruity smells of the sherry cask. I like how the two distinct aromas have blended together such that it is hard for me to decide where the oak ends and the fruity sherry begins. There is also a nice herbal quality that reminds me of woodland meadow full of heather and willow thicket…”

You may read my full review here:

Review: Glenfarclas 40 Year Old Highland Single Malt Whisky

Please Enjoy the Review!

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

Review: Glenrothes Select Reserve Scotch Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 1, 2012

The Glenrothes Whisky is a good example of a typical Speyside Scotch Whisky. It carries malt and spice at the forefront of its flavour, and because of its well-rounded ‘speyside’ character this malt has been in use for decades as one of the important blending whiskies in some of the most famous Scottish Blends such as Cutty Sark and The Famous Grouse. In fact, if you are a blended Scotch drinker and feel the inclination to move to the Single Malts, you will find the Glenrothes Blends to be an excellent introductory malt in which to begin the journey.

The Select Reserve was blended by Malt Master  “John Ramsey” to serve as the signature malt to represent the character of the Glenrothes Distillery. In order to capture the essence of Glenrothes, the Malt Master used whiskies from a variety of vintages, and from a variety of aged oak barrels (both Spanish Oak and American Oak).  Thus a spectrum of flavours from this variety of ages and oak is apparent in the final single malt blend. The whisky carries no age statement as the selection of casks from which to construct the final blend is based upon the final taste profile not upon the age of the selected casks.

Here is an excerpt from my review (written in December 2009):

“… Vanilla and oak spies are met by a wave of fruity sweetness, which when combined with the anise and heather, creates a banquet of complex flavour in the mouth.  The Select Reserve is a blend of Scotch of differing ages, and barreled in differing oaks.  This, I am sure, gives rise to the abundance of complexity…”

You may read my full review here:

Review: Glenrothes Select Reserve Scotch Whisky

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

Review: Glenfarclas 30 Year Old Highland Single Malt Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 26, 2012

This review continues my series of examinations of the Glenfarclas Single Malt line-up. I have previously reviewed the Glenfarclas 12 Year, the Glenfarclas 21 Year, and the Glenfarclas Cask Strength 105. These reviews have been facilitated by Pacific Wine & Spirits Inc who have provided samples for me to assess and who kindly invited me to a tasting event hosted by George Grant, the Sales Director for the Glenfarclas Distillery where I was able to sample the entire core range of Glenfarclas whisky. Mr. Grant is part of the 6th generation of the Grant Family who originally purchased the distillery in 1865. His family still controls and manages the distillery today.

All of the Glenfarclas whisky is matured in two styles of oak barrels, plain oak barrels which have previously contained Bourbon or Scotch Whisky, and Spanish oak which has previously contained Oloroso or Fino Sherry from Seville. The barrels are stored in traditional ‘dunnage’ warehouses which date from the late 1800s. The Glenfarclas 30 Year Old Highland Single Malt Whisky which is the subject of this review has been bottled at 43 % and is produced from both first fill sherry casks and refill bourbon casks.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“…This whisky is rich and luxurious on the nose. Chocolate, coffee, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, cardamom and wonderful oak spices all rise up in a veritable bouquet for the nostrils. The whisky show its age in the glass but it also shows its character with a complex oakiness which is almost perfectly melded into the 30-year-old sherried whisky…”

You may read the full review here:

Review: Glenfarclas 30 Year Old Highland Single Malt Whisky

Please enjoy my review!

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

Review: Highland Park 18 Year Old Single Malt Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 17, 2012

The Highland Park Distillery traces its heritage back to 1798 where it was apparently founded by Magnus ‘Mansie’ Eunson, a local butcher, beadle (lay official of the church) and part-time smuggler. (The association with Magnus Eunson is by no means certain but it does provide a wonderful back story for the distillery.)  The distillery  is located in the Highlands of Scotland on the Island of Orkney which is famous for its heather rich meadows, and its unique organic Orcadian peat. At this distillery, all of the Highland Park Whisky is matured in two styles of oak barrels which are stored in warehouses with earthen floors and stone walls. Some of the whisky is matured in Spanish (Sherry) oak, and some of the whisky is matured in American (Bourbon) oak. Maturing the whisky in two different styles of oak allows the blender to capture characteristics of each in the final blend.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“…The initial sip of the HP 18 brings forward a dollop of smoky peat melded almost perfectly with the butterscotch-toffee flavour of malt whisky. At first this seems slightly sweeter than the other expressions of Highland Park I have tasted; although as the glass is allowed to breathe, the flavours become drier and woodier in the glass…”

You may read the full review here:

Review: Highland Park 18 Year Old Single Malt Whisky

Please enjoy the review!

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

Review: Glenfarclas 21 Year Year Old Highland Malt

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 22, 2012

This review continues my examinations of the Glenfarclas Single Malt line-up. I have previously reviewed the Glenfarclas 12 Year, and the Glenfarclas Cask Strength 105. All of the Glenfarclas whiskies have been matured in two styles of oak barrels, plain oak barrels which have previously contained Bourbon or Scotch whisky, and Spanish oak barrels which have previously contained Oloroso or Fino Sherry from Seville. The whisky is then stored in traditional ‘dunnage’ warehouses that date from the late 1800s. These warehouses have thick stone walls and earthen floors.

The Glenfarclas 21 Year Old Highland Single Malt Whisky which is the subject of this review has been bottled at 43 % and is produced from aged stocks of both first fill sherry casks and refill bourbon casks.

Pacific Wine & Spirits Inc have facilitated these reviews by providing samples for me to assess and inviting me to a tasting event hosted by George Grant, the Sales Director for the Glenfarclas Distillery. Mr. Grant is part of the 6th generation of the Grant Family who originally purchased the distillery in 1865. His family still controls and manages the distillery today.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“… The initial aroma from the glass is well-rounded and balanced. The smells of dried fruit from the sherry barrels, the spicy orange peel from the oak, and the scents of toffee and caramel seem to be melded together such that each impression is part of the others… “

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Glenfarclas 21 Year Old Highland Malt

Please enjoy the review!

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

 
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