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

Sep 29

Staff Picks - September 2014

Posted on 29th September 2014 by Pierre

This month we pick four blended whiskies from Scotland. None of these are household names but all are worthy of a place in your cabinet.

Staff Picks - our choices for this month

The Naked Grouse

The Naked Grouse

One of those whiskies that makes you confront your prejudices. After all, any bottle with a grouse on the label may not set your pulse racing. But this is different. First there’s no label on the bottle, second its content is quite different to that of its more famous sibling. This is a good quality blended malt - no grain whisky here - much of it distilled by The Macallan and Highland Park. An entirely different bird.

£25.07 at www.masterofmalt.com

Jean-Luc
Black Bottle

Black Bottle

Recently repackaged in a beautiful vintage style, this is a superb blended whisky. Complex and spicy, the new recipe is lighter on the peat than previous incarnations. Complex, elegant and sophisticated, it’s quite a surprise when you see the cost. A very good blend at a very affordable price.

£16.50 at www.thegreenwellystop.co.uk

Pierre
Big Peat

Big Peat

Big Peat lives up to its name with a combination of malts from Ardbeg, Caol Ila, Bowmore and Port Ellen - yes, you read that correctly, Port Ellen! This blended malt from Douglas Laing is created in small batches, isn’t chill filtered and is bottled at 46% ABV. Full flavoured, complex and, of course, peaty.

£34.06 at www.masterofmalt.com

Jean-Luc
Compass Box: Asyla

Compass Box: Asyla

The lightest and most subtle of John Glaser’s creations, this quiet, soft whisky is often overlooked amongst some of his bolder blends. The term ‘whispering whisky’ could have been coined to describe Asyla and the man himself remains justifiably proud of this whisky.

£33.75 at www.abbeywhisky.com

Pierre

Jul 18

Staff Picks - July 2014

Posted on 18th July 2014 by Pierre

We are having some pretty extreme weather here in the UK. Last night we had the fiercest thunder storms I can remember. This morning there was a hail storm and now it’s brilliantly sunny, about 84 degrees and very humid. Why am I giving you a weather report? Put simply this hot, humid climate makes me think of bourbon. So, without further ado, let me introduce four bourbons every whiskey drinker must try.

Staff Picks - our choices for this month

Maker's Mark

Maker's Mark

An iconic bourbon, as much for the striking red wax sealed packaging as for the excellent whiskey in the bottle. Great bourbon for sure but there’s also an important lesson in flavour here. The mash bill is rye free. So this is a perfect whiskey to educate your palate about wheated whiskey. That is, heavily wheat based bourbons which avoid the rye spice kick in favour of softer, sweeter wheat flavours.

£26.95 at www.thewhiskyexchange.com

Pierre
Bulleit Bourbon

Bulleit Bourbon

At the opposite end of the spectrum from the Maker’s Mark wheat rich mash bill is this rye heavy recipe. Bulleit has all the spicy kick that a high rye content mash bill creates. Taken side by side with a wheated whiskey this will not only delight but will also educate your nose and taste buds concerning rye’s contribution to bourbon flavour.

£27.95 at www.thewhiskyexchange.com

Pierre
Woodford Reserve

Woodford Reserve

Produced in Versailles, Kentucky, Woodford Reserve has a decent level of rye in the mash bill. Not as extreme as the Bulleit, this adds a spicy kick without going to the extremes. Accessibly priced and very drinkable, this occupies the middle ground in our opening trio and, once again, you can approach this from an educational and scientific stance. Can you see how I’m making learning fun here?

£28.75 at www.thewhiskyexchange.com

Pierre
Eagle Rare 10 year old

Eagle Rare 10 year old

A great value premium bourbon from the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky. The Kentucky climate makes the bourbon distilled there mature pretty quickly and in three years much of it is ready to drink. So you can imagine what happens after 10 years, not only is this ready it to drink but it is something else entirely. An essential whiskey.

£34.95 at www.thewhiskyexchange.com

Pierre

Jun 17

Staff Picks - June 2014: World Cup Whiskies

Posted on 17th June 2014 by Jean-Luc

Now then, we realise that this is a slightly tenuous link but every man and his wife are jumping on the World Cup band wagon so why not join in the fun. The big news ahead of the tournament is that Scotland and Ireland – the great celtic whisky producing nations – both failed to qualify for the finals in Brazil, so we sent our talent scouts a little further afield to pick four exotic Whisky World Cup choices for your tastebuds to tackle this summer.

Staff Picks - our choices for this month

Millstone 100 Dutch Rye

Millstone 100 Dutch Rye

Netherlands: Like the great Dutch football teams of yesteryear, famous exponents of the 'Total Football' philosophy, this whisky is also very pure and could even be called 'Total Rye'. Millstone 100 Rye whisky is produced by Zuidam and it's all about the number one hundred. It's distilled from 100% rye. It's matured for 100 months. It's then bottled at 100 Proof – which works out at 50% ABV.

£62.45 at www.thewhiskyexchange.com

Jean-Luc
Lark Single Cask Australian Whisky Cask #205

Lark Single Cask Australian Whisky Cask #205

Australia: Not famed for their football or their whisky, Australia are rank outsiders to return down under with the World Cup trophy. The budding whisky scene in Tasmania, however, could one day produce a world champion of its own. Good luck to the 'Socceroos' all the same!

£95.35 at www.thewhiskyexchange.com

Jean-Luc
Guillon Cuvée 42 French Whisky

Guillon Cuvée 42 French Whisky

France: World Cup winners in 1998, France are more famous for Cognac than whisky but a number of distilleries operate in the North of the country, which has a strong celtic connection. Guillon Cuvée, however, is produced in the heart of the Champagne region and is matured in three types of white Burgundy casks for around four years.

£42.58 at www.thewhiskyexchange.com

Jean-Luc
Ichiro's Malt & Grain / Premium Chichibu Blended Whisky

Ichiro's Malt & Grain / Premium Chichibu Blended Whisky

Japan: Ichiro Akuto is the star player of Japan's phenomenal whisky industry. This is a blend of whiskies from Chichibu and other Japanese distilleries - possibly including Hanyu and Karuizawa. Interestingly, it's labeled as a 'worldwide blended whisky' which indicates that it could even contain spirits produced elsewhere in the world. A whisky worthy of the World Cup? We think so.

£87.95 at www.thewhiskyexchange.com

Jean-Luc

May 19

Staff Picks - May 2014

Posted on 19th May 2014 by Pierre

For this month’s staff picks we’ve gone for a loose theme of “great bottles from less well known Scottish distilleries”. Although the four distilleries in question aren’t obscure if you’re a Scotch fan, they certainly aren’t household names. What they have in common is that they all produce wonderful whisky.

Staff Picks - our choices for this month

Arran 12 Years Old Cask Strength

Arran 12 Years Old Cask Strength

The Arran distillery was opened in 1995 so it’s still regarded as something of a newcomer in the world of Scotch. Arran is growing in reputation and popularity - a taste of this cask strength malt will tell you why. Bursting with fruit and spice, this whisky is highly recommended.

£43.36 at www.masterofmalt.com

Jean-Luc
Oban 14 Years Old

Oban 14 Years Old

This gem of a whisky is something of an old favourite of ours. Subtle coastal notes mingle with clean, fruity malt. There’s something quiet about Oban Distillery, it doesn’t release many expressions and owners Diageo don’t really shout about it. Which means you might have missed this whisky. Now may be the time to put that right.

£37.55 at www.masterofmalt.com

Pierre
Balblair 1990 Islay Cask 1466

Balblair 1990 Islay Cask 1466

The releases from Balblair have been of a consistently high standard over the last few years. This whisky is no exception but what is unusual about this expression is that it has been further matured in a cask which previously held peated malt. The peated cask adds a new layer of flavour to the typical Balblair character.

£124.95 at www.masterofmalt.com

Jean-Luc
Tomatin Cu Bocan 1989

Tomatin Cu Bocan 1989

Continuing the theme of peated whiskies from distilleries that aren’t known for the style, Tomatin Cu Bocan appears to be the result of an accidentally produced batch of peated malt. An unusual back story for an unusual, and quite delicious, whisky.

£199.00 at www.thewhiskyexchange.com

Pierre

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