Whisky Marketplace Blog US brings you news, reviews and tasting notes from the world of whisky.

Apr 04

Glenglassaugh release treasures from the warehouse

Posted on 4th April 2014 by Pierre

The revival of Glenglassaugh continues under new owners the Benriach Distillery Company who have announced the release of a number of small batch, single cask whiskies.

Glenglassaugh 1968

The distillery was silent between 1986 - 2009 and these releases are of whisky produced pre-1986. In fact some of them are from quite a while before 1986, the oldest being a 45 year old whisky from 1968 and the youngest a mere whipper-snapper aged just 28!

We don’t have any details regarding price at the time of publishing, however these releases are sure to cause a stir. Sales director Alistair Walker comments:

We took over Glenglassaugh last year and were thrilled to discover a treasure trove of old and rare spirits slumbering in the warehouses. Revived from the dark, selected by Billy Walker for their excellence and personality and bottled last month, this is an extraordinary collection of rare casks which will be warmly welcomed by connoisseurs worldwide. Taken together, they are stunning examples of Glenglassaugh at its finest.

The range is elegantly packaged in simple bottles with an attractive golden box. Full details of the releases as follows:

1968 cask # 1601 / 45 years old / Finished a Sherry Hogshead / 44.3% vol

1972 cask # 2114 / 41 years old / Matured a Sherry Butt / 50.6% vol

1973 cask # 6801 / 40 years old / Finished a Manzanilla Sherry Puncheon / 52.1% vol

1975 cask # 7301 / 38 years old / Finished a Oloroso Sherry Hogshead / 40.7% vol

1975 cask # 7801 / 38 years old / Finished a Moscatel Hogshead / 42.4% vol

1978 cask # 1803 / 35 years old / Finished a Sherry Hogshead / 41.6% vol

1978 cask # 1810 / 35 years old / Finished a Port Hogshead / 42.9% vol

1986 cask # 2101 / 28 years old / Finished a Hogshead / 43.7% vol

Apr 03

New limited-edition peated anCnoc

Posted on 3rd April 2014 by Pierre

anCnoc - distilled at the Knockdhu Distillery - is a brand that has won many friends in recent years with its elegant, well made, and delicately flavoured whiskies. One thing it isn’t known for is rich, peated whisky. But that is about to change with the release of three, limited edition, peated expressions.

Here at Whisky Marketplace we’re fans of good graphic design and we’re always struck by the beauty of anCnoc’s packaging. These expressions are no exception. Each carries an illustration of, and is named after, a traditional peat cutting tool.

anCnoc peated expresions: Rutter, Tuskar and Flaughter

The three expressions are called Rutter, Flaughter and Tushkar. They range in peating levels from 11ppm to 15ppm which stops some way short of what one might describe as “heavily peated”. To put that in context, Ardbeg typically has a ppm of 54 and Laphroaig a level of 40ppm. So it seems likely that the peat in these expressions will be an added dimension to the fruit and spice notes we associate with anCnoc rather than completely dominant.

At the time of publishing two of the expressions are available through our regular retailers, prices for anCnoc Rutter can be found here. For up to date prices and availability of anCnoc Flaughter, see this page.

Mar 28

Ardbeg launch limited edition "Auriverdes"

Posted on 28th March 2014 by Pierre

Another year, another Ardbeg Day, another Ardbeg Limited Edition. If I make that sound humdrum I don’t mean too, any new Ardbeg release is greeted with excitement around here!

Ardbeg Auriverdes

This year’s release - Auriverdes - was matured in american oak casks fitted with custom cask lids. The lids are specially toasted to add distinctive additional flavours to the profile.

The name Auriverdes - an amalgamation of “auri” (gold) and verde (green) - is a nod to this year’s World Cup as the Brazilian team are nicknamed the Auriverdes. Of course Ardbeg bottle their liquid gold in green bottles so it’s self referential too!

Dr Bill Lumsden, who created the expression, explains:

“When creating Auriverdes I had a distinct flavour profile in mind that I wanted to achieve, so I specifically created the heart of the recipe to bring that to life. It is an expression of Ardbeg which has exceeded all my expectations – it has the trademark Ardbeg undertones with a distinct new taste experience.

Ardbeg Auriverdes has an explosive mouthfeel which gives way to complex flavours of coffee grounds, liquorice, maple smoked ham, malty/biscuit notes, white pepper and a good sweet/salty balance.”

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to try it.

Mar 28

The Irishman launching in the UK

Posted on 28th March 2014 by Pierre

Those of you keeping a close eye on the Irish whiskey scene may have spotted “The Irishman” brand. A relative newcomer, it’s been highly rated at various international awards and by whiskey critics such as Jim Murray. Unfortunately, so far, it’s been fairly hard to come by outside of Ireland.

The Irishman range

That’s all about to change as The Irishman gets its official UK launch.

There will be four expressions available in the core range - The Irishman Founder’s Reserve, The Irishman Single Malt, The Irishman 12 year old & The Irishman Cask Strength.

The Irishman Irish whiskey is being imported by UK distributor Emporia Brands. The whiskey will be available through all the main online retailers and, as usual, you’ll be able to find who stocks it via the product search here on Whisky Marketplace. We’ll be publishing detailed reviews of the range soon but we can already tell you that this is excellent Irish whiskey and a very promising addition to the category.

Mar 07

Master of Malt 60 Year Old Speyside

Posted on 7th March 2014 by Pierre

A sharp knock at the door from the postman still triggers that childish thrill - “Hey Mr Postman have you got a parcel for me?” All too often he hands us an oversized catalogue or some other boring promotional item destined for the recycling.

But not this morning. Oh no. Because today he gave us this...

Master of Malt 60 year old package

With “Introducing the Master of Malt 60 Year Old Speyside” emblazoned on the box it was enough to set hearts racing here at Whisky Marketplace HQ.

A quick skim read of the covering letter informs me that a 70cl bottle of this will retail at the really very reasonable price of £999.95, which is an absolutely steal for a whisky this age. But even at that low price it still means that the 3cl sample enclosed would set you back a few quid. Fortunately it was me, and not a colleague, who opened the door to the postie, because 3cl is really too small a size to share...

Master of Malt 60 year Old Speyside sample

“What does it taste like?” I hear you cry. Well the sun isn’t yet over the yard arm and Friday morning is not the right time to sample a delight such as this. Instead I’m going to sit and look at it for a little while. My parents hadn’t even met when this flowed from the still and I'm all grown up with two kids of my own... sometimes whisky puts things in perspective. And that's even before I've had drink.

When I do get round to tasting I’ll be sure to let you know the verdict. But those chaps over at Master of Malt seem to know what they’re doing so I reckon it’s a safe bet.

If you can't wait you can buy a bottle, or a sample, here.

Mar 07

Staff Picks - March 2014

Posted on 7th March 2014 by Pierre

It’s March already and we’re only just delivering our first Staff Picks of 2014. Why? Well our post-Christmas detox lasted 2 months... and if you believe that you’ll believe anything! But we’re back now and what a quartet we have for you this month. An Irish, a bourbon and a pair of scotches.

Staff Picks - our choices for this month

Signatory, Clynelish 1995, 17 Year Old, Sherry Cask

Signatory, Clynelish 1995, 17 Year Old, Sherry Cask

The beauty of some - although not all - single cask bottlings is that they can deliver a truly unique flavour profile at the extreme end of the tasting spectrum. Forget about subtlety, this intensely sticky, fruity whisky is firmly in that category and is all about taking things to the max. Come along for the ride, its great fun.

£69.95 at www.thewhiskyexchange.com

Jean-Luc
Noah’s Mill, small batch bourbon

Noah’s Mill, small batch bourbon

No age statement, but clearly aged to perfection, Noah’s Mill produce beautifully crafted American whiskeys which show just how great bourbon can be. Delicate flavours, but still packing a punch at natural strength this is perfect for sipping but also as a dessert whiskey to accompany puddings.

£46.51 at www.masterofmalt.com

Pierre
Jameson Select Reserve

Jameson Select Reserve

Back in the day, Jameson used to market themselves on the tag line “The Old Smoothie” and, were they still doing so, this whiskey would remain true to that promise. Smooth and harmonious, yes, but that’s not to say it doesn’t offer excitement. Full of Irish pot still flavours, this has a sense of place, it’s bursting with juicy notes and delivers what you want from a good blend - complexity and balance.

£34.45 at www.thewhiskyexchange.com

Pierre
Bruichladdich Scottish Barley

Bruichladdich Scottish Barley

Bruichladdich say the Scottish Barley expression is their flagship bottling. As the name suggests its made from 100% Scottish grown barley which they say matters and shapes the flavour profile. Whatever gives this clean, crisp malt its delightful flavours it’s certainly doing a good job. Whole-heartedly recommended.

£38.60 at www.thegreenwellystop.co.uk

Pierre

Jan 30

Glenmorangie release new Private Edition: Companta

Posted on 30th January 2014 by Pierre

This year’s release from the Glenmorangie Private Edition series is named Companta - Scots Gaelic for "friendship" - a nod to the "Auld Alliance" between France and Scotland, because this is a whisky whose maturation has been completed in French wine casks.

Wine finished whiskies are not easy to get right so it comes as no surprise that Dr Bill Lumsden - head of the Whisky Creation Team at Glenmorangie - spent a good while seeking out the perfect casks for this latest expression. For the Companta recipe whiskies matured in two types of wine casks were used, Clos de Tart from Burgundy and a sweet fortified wine from Côtes du Rhône.

He explains:

"Having spent over 20 years traveling to some of France’s most renowned vineyards, I’ve had the opportunity to sample many rare and intriguing wines in search of the finest casks to complement the extra maturation of our whisky. As a true wine aficionado, some of my most memorable visits have been to Burgundy, where the dedication and attention to detail that goes into their craft never ceases to amaze me. The smaller vineyards of the region don’t seem to worry about yields, costs, or timings. They work tirelessly, simply to produce the very best wine. In the same spirit as Glenmorangie, they stop at nothing in the pursuit of perfection."

"To complement the bold, spicy character imparted from the Grand Cru casks, I selected a parcel of Glenmorangie which had been extra maturing in casks having previously contained a lusciously sweet fortified wine from Côtes du Rhône. It took some time, but with careful fine-tuning we reached a harmonious assemblage which proved the perfect balance; neither too bold nor too tame!"

We attended the launch night last week and we were struck by Bill Lumsden's passion for wine - he's certainly worked meticulously to source the very best wine casks for this whisky.

Glenmorangie Companta marries quite an exotic mix of spicy notes - fennel seed, nutmeg and star anise - with a natural acidity from the wine tannins. It also has quite a prominent earthy, vegetal note which compliments the obvious wine flavours, and plenty of fruit with hints of greengage and fresh stone-fruit.

Glenmorangie Companta is non-chill filtered and bottled at 46% ABV and in the absence of the now discontented Glenmorangie Burgundy Finish, this offers something very interesting to the range.

Here are a few photos from the launch event...

Glenmorangie Companta launch - Clos de Tart wine

A drop of Clos de Tart prior to the tasting.

Glenmorangie Companta launch - cocktail

One of the lovely Companta cocktails on offer.

Glenmorangie Companta launch - taking a closer look at Companta

Chap with beard takes a closer look at Companta.

Dec 26

Staff Picks - December 2013

Posted on 26th December 2013 by Pierre

The festive season is upon us. Here are a few selections from our Christmas whisky cabinet - a premium blended scotch, a pair of fantastic independently bottled single malts and an Indian whisky from Goa. Enjoy the holidays!

Staff Picks - our choices for this month

Abbey Whisky - Rare Casks - Caperdonich 17 year old

Abbey Whisky - Rare Casks - Caperdonich 17 year old

Independent retailer Abbey Whisky recently started bottling a series of malts under their Rare Casks label. This 17 year Caperdonich is an excellent expression from a distillery which has sadly joined the ranks of the “lost distilleries” - having been knocked down in 2010. Clean cereally malt, plenty of spices and fruit notes - especially bruised bananas - and it has that quality you only really find in a mature scotch.

£59.50 at www.abbeywhisky.com

Pierre
Paul John - Brilliance

Paul John - Brilliance

The unpeated “Brilliance” is one of a pair of standard expressions released this year by the newest Indian Single Malt producer, Paul John Distillery. This young whisky shows why Indian single malt is catching peoples’ attention - its amazing what can be achieved with a relatively short maturation time in the Indian climate. Complex and spicy, this Goan whisky deserves serious attention. If you haven’t tasted Indian whisky this would be a great place to start.

£37.65 at www.thewhiskybarrel.co.uk

Pierre
Ballantines 17 year old

Ballantines 17 year old

Smooth, balanced, integrated... this premium blend has a strong peaty backbone running through a dense nose with aromas that are by turns sweet, floral, honeyed and fruity. A blend like this has a flavour spectrum rich and malty enough to entice the most hardened single malt drinker. Wonderful.

£44.00 at www.abbeywhisky.com

Pierre
Berry Bros & Rudd “Boisdale Collection” : Clynelish 14 years old

Berry Bros & Rudd “Boisdale Collection” : Clynelish 14 years old

Berry Bros rarely put a foot wrong with their single cask bottlings and this whisky is no exception. A rich & fudgy nose, with plenty of fruity goodness and soft coastal notes. This is immediately appealing and approachable. A perfect whisky for the festive season.

£49.99 at www.shop4whisky.com

Pierre

Dec 17

Diageo Special Releases: Convalmore & Lagavulin

Posted on 17th December 2013 by Tim

Today I'm taking a look at two expressions from the latest group of Diageo Special Releases, one is something of a perennial distillery for this range and the other is altogether rarer.

The 36 year old Convalmore was one of the most interesting of this year’s Special Releases. Convalmore distillery was closed in the 1985 and during its lifetime almost the entirety of its stock was reserved for blending – at one time it was a key malt in the make-up of the Black & White blend. Remarkably, this is only the third official bottling of Convalmore in the modern era, following a Rare Malts bottling in 2004 and a previous Special Release edition (also from the 1977 vintage) which appeared in 2005 and was referred to recently by Dave Broom as “One of my favourite whiskies ever”. High praise indeed, giving this follow-up from the same vintage a lot to live up to.

From one of the rarest of Special Releases, let’s turn our attention to the most prolific of all. This year’s edition of Lagavulin 12 year old is the 13th release and there’s no doubt that this is one of the most consistently excellent of the range. At an RRP of £80, it’s one of just two of this year’s Special Releases with a price tag under three figures. The good news, however, is that despite its relative cheapness (and cheapness is only ever relative when we talk about the Special Releases) it’s one of the best of this year’s crop.

Convalmore 1977

Convalmore 1977

36 Year Old

Nose:

Very nice aromas of sugar-coated almonds, with sharp exotic fruit and some spicy old oak – cloves, cinnamon, faint hints of tweed – all of which are hallmarks of good old-fashioned aged Highland malt of a style that modern whiskies just don’t seem to be able to reproduce. Develops a little creamy vanilla with time in the glass.

Taste:

A rather grand combination of tweedy oak, astringent, clovey spice and more subtle hints of unripe mango and kiwi fruit. These fruity notes give the mouthfeel an a slight tangy sharpness that offsets the wooliness of the very venerable wood. A drop of water is recommended as it subdues the oak and ripens the fruity notes.

Finish:

The peppery spices fade slowly, ensuring that the oak has the last word.

Comment:

Always a privilege to taste such a rarely-seen single malt. It’s fascinating to consider how a whisky that was made to be blended and drunk young can turn out so well despite being put in whichever tired old casks were available.

Find the best price to buy Convalmore 1977

Score89

Lagavulin 12 year old

Lagavulin 12 year old

2013 Release

Nose:

A pleasingly rounded nose, with notes of wet sand, gravel and even some grassiness alongside the expected soot, tar and wet burnt wood, which are comparatively muted here.

Taste:

Much sweeter than expected, with strong honey flavours prominent alongside charcoal and coal tar soap. It still packs a punch, though. Lovely notes of oyster shells, sand and a chalky minerality. A honeyed, grassy sweetness that sits well with the sodden bonfire notes.

Finish:

The phenols linger with the honey. Exceptionally moreish.

Comment:

It’s hard to rank degrees of excellence, but I really can’t remember when I last enjoyed a Lagavulin 12 year old quite as much as this. One of the standout drams of the 2013 range. I’ve always preferred these cask strength 12 year olds to the standard issue 16 year old Lagavulin and this is the best one in ages.

Find the best price to buy Lagavulin 12 year old

Score92

Dec 05

Box Whisky - Toasting Masterclass

Posted on 5th December 2013 by Pierre

Here at Whisky Marketplace there’s nothing we like more than an educational whisky product because, let’s face it, whisky appreciation is a voyage of discovery. Every whisky we taste teaches us a little more about the magic of the cask, or the still, or the mash, or the type of oak... you get the picture. Unsurprisingly this new release from Box, one of Sweden’s newest distilleries and a very stylish looking player on the world whisky scene, caught our eye.

Box Whisky - Toasting Masterclass

The "Box Advanced Masterclass: Toasting" is a collection of five 20 cl malt spirits matured in Swedish oak casks for 30 months. The difference between the spirits is the level of toasting of the cask each has matured in. Box Distillery Manager, Roger Melander explains, “Toasting is essential when making barrels. Whisky literature often disregards how important toasting is for the development of flavours; it can impart around 100 flavours to a whisky. Just how this process works and its significance for the whisky experience is what we shed light on in our first Master Class.”

This beautifully packaged collection would make an ideal Christmas present for your favourite whisky lover, or you could treat yourself! Enjoy some fine Swedish malt spirit and learn all about an aspect of whisky making that, perhaps, isn’t discussed as often as it should be.

For more information visit boxwhisky.se