Ardbeg Wee Bestie – 47.4% abv
Info: Ardbeg’s latest permanent expression. Five year old matured in a combination of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks.
Colour: Ripe straw golden.
Nose: Barley, toffee and mossy wet peat. Hints of beach fire embers.
Palate: Oily mossy damp sweet peat, grassy barley, hints of creamy toffee. The sweetness shows the distillery character well; the younger age meaning there’s still plenty of sweet new make distillery spirit left undominated by wood.
Finish: Hints of tannin right at the end, along with those lasting barley and peat notes. Long finish, but didn’t overly warm my chest.
Time: With some time hints of coffee grouts and bacon show their head.
Posted in Review, Whisky Tagged Ardbeg
Bruichladdich Islay Barley 2012 / 8yo
Info: Produced using barley grown on Islay in 2011 by eight farmers from western and central farms on the island, which was dried, malted and distilled in 2012. Unpeated, matured in a combination of first-fill American oak barrels and French wine casks. 8 years old, 50% abv. Around £55 (via Bruichladdich’s website).
Colour: Light summery barley tones in the sun.
Nose: Slightly spirit lead, but sweet and moreish. Earthy (but not peaty) barley notes with hints of creamy vanilla and nuts.
Palate: Creamy and easy (considering the highish abv), sweet and full of Bruichladdich signature. Barley sweetness and nuts.
Finish: Warming and long, full of sweetness, with a a small hint of tannin at the end, just how I like it!
The Ternary Project
Info: A mix of roughly 3rds (30%, 40%, 30%) of Bruichladdich, Port Charlotte and Octomore. It’s a NAS, but dates (and I’m giving vaguely informed guesses here) are roughly 28+yo, ~20yo and ~13yo respectively. 4000 bottles, ballot only (closed). £275. 52.1% ABV.
Ex-sherry, ex-bourbon and ex-wine casks.
Colour: Lovely deep autumn gold.
Nose: Initially I’d describe it as a sweet and sour nose; lovely and sweet with rich fruits, but balanced with salt and peaty hints. With time fabolous old hessian and dunnage warehouse notes come out.
Palate: Oily and warming, lightly spiced to make your tongue dance a wee bit. Sweet fruity barley oils mixed perfectly with costal mossy peat. Hints of eucalyptus and tannins.
Finish: Long and warming, sweet yet tanniny and the ever present feeling you’re on a beach with a fire crackling away in the breeze.
Ardbeg Kelpie Committee Release 2017
Info: Ardbeg’s Feis Ile 2017 Committee Release, matured in casks made from virgin Black Sea oak and more traditional bourbon casks. 51.7% abv.
Colour: Fairly ripe straw.
Nose: Fairly strong, salty and coastal with oaky peat smoke.
Palate: Thick and oily, spiced charred peat and maple & bacon.
Finish: Spiced and very long, oak, smoke and tar coal hints.
Thoughts: Fun and slightly different, however I’d like a little more sweetness from this, maybe a hint of sherry maturation.
Available: Sold out, likely only available at auction sites.
My own sample as part of a bottle share.
Posted in Review, Whisky Tagged Ardbeg
Auld Acquaintance Blended Whisky
Info: From Gleann Mór Spirits, 46.1% ABV.
Colour: Lightly ripening barley.
Nose: Barley, hints of smoke, sweeties, red apples, toffee and tobacco.
Palate: Lead by oils and cream, followed by light spices with smoky hints.
Finish: Spiced and lengthy, sweet and easy.
Thoughts: A fairly robust blend where the high percentage (at least 50% we’re told) of malts shines through to give it great flavour.
Available: Various places online including Amazon for around £35, very reasonable.
Posted in Review, Whiskey Tagged Blend
Angels’ Nectar Cairngorms & Islay Editions
Info: Bottled in partnership with the Cairngorms Trust, to support environmental and community projects in the Cairngorms National Park. 46% ABV, 11 years old, 263 bottles, single cask.
Colour: Bright gently golden ripe barley.
Nose: Ripe banana and red apples, wet barley, autumn woodland moss and cracked nuts. A hint of hessian.
Palate: Upfront spiciness which soon mellows into autumn fruits and barley. A fairly good oily mouthfeel.
Finish: A subtle, gently warming and smooth finish, fairly long because of the oils. Sweet with a hint of tannin at the end.
Thoughts: An easy drinking quality dram for after dinner; would work well if I had a log fire, unfortunately my house is too modern.
Available: Whisky Castle – £67.99
The Scalasaig Island Hopper
Info: A blended malt featuring a variety of peated whiskies from the likes of Orkney and Islay, married together in first-fill Spanish sherry casks. 43% ABV.
Colour: Dark golden, very autumnal.
Nose: Pungent, mossy, hessian. Also some lightness there with citrus notes coming though the gentle smoke.
Palate: Sweet, fairly spicy, rich and intense. The mossy peat comes though as if near a bonfire on a beach.
Finish: It seems to get sweeter as it goes on, which it does for quite a long while, very moreish. Some cask tannins and grass / barley at the end.
Thoughts: It’s a whisky that I keep coming back to; packed with flavour that’ll keep you wanting more. For me there’s a vague hint of Black Bottle here, but even better.
Available: Master of Malt – £49.95
The GlenDronach Distillery has announced the release of The GlenDronach Traditionally Peated; a peated expression of the Highland Single Malt, which is best known for its unpeated sherry cask maturation style.
Master Blender Dr. Rachel Barrie has crafted The GlenDronach Traditionally Peated from a marriage of the finest Pedro Ximénez, Oloroso sherry and port casks.
This peated expression is bottled at 48% ABV and, as is the case for all The GlenDronach expressions, is non-chill filtered and absorbs colour naturally over time from the Spanish oak in which it resides.
Info: Matured in a mixture of American ex-bourbon and rejuvenated casks. 6000 bottles available, bottled at 48% ABV. No age statement.
Colour: Natural looking, light straw. You’d hope no colouring here.
Nose: Clean, clear and slightly salty, with gentle wooden dunnage notes and plenty of sweet green ripe fruits among soft waxy hints.
Palate: Bursting with green and red apples and an oily waxyness. It’s warm and tingley on your tongue, with gentle heat and some spice building. Overall it’s nicely sweet and fruity with oaks to back it up.
Finish: The finish at first seems short but quickly comes back with a longer warm sweet fruit and malt note that sticks aronud for a while.
After: It turns more orangey, orange jelly, marmilade. Christmassy!
Thoughts: A slighty sweeter Clynelish than often found, but that suits my pallate just nicely! I really enjoy this dram, snap one up if visiting.
Availalbe: At the distillery, £90 a bottle. Continue reading
Santa Claus is coming to town. Bells are jingling. And Drinks by the Dram Advent Calendars are back for the festive season at Master of Malt!
It’s like a bit of a tradition now, right? But with December powering it’s way towards us at a rate of knots you best get cracking and buy one soon if you’re planning to!
With loads of different ones to chose from (not just whisky!) here’s the link! https://www.masterofmalt.com/advent-calendars Continue reading