The Arran Malt 18yo – 46% abv
Info: Arran finally comes of age with its release of their 18yo, the third and final release in a trilogy that started with a 16yo which was released two years ago. More info on the 18yo here.
Colour: Light golden with great legs.
Nose: Malty, oily & full. Spicy but sweet, touches of ozone.
Palate: Thick and buttery, and easier on your palate than you would imagine from the slightly spicy nose. There’s malt, but really well balanced with autumn stewed fruits, red berries, gooseberries, blackcurrants and stewed apple, with a small dollop of vanilla custard. Very pleasant.
Finish: Long with a gentle freshness, slightly herbal, smoothly sweet with those late summer fruits lingering for a good while.
Bruichladdich Classic Laddie Scottish Barley – 50% abv
Info: “Made from 100% Scottish barley, trickle distilled, then matured for its entire life by the shores of Lochindaal in premium American oak, it is a testament to the quality our ingredients.”. NAS.
Colour: Light straw to gold, classic and natural.
Nose: A slightly more easily accessed nose to the Islay Barley 2007, it’s light, fruity, yet strong and oily. There’s ripe melon and cask char.
Palate: Easy, classic unpeated Bruichladdich, yet the higher abv and cask aging has given it quite some bite and spices. It’s fresh but also with a touch of a coastal nature to it, it’s sweet, with some vanilla and gentle oaks.
Bruichladdich Islay Barley 2007 – 50% abv
Info: Harvested in 2006 and distilled in 2007, the grain for this whisky was grown for Bruichladdich in the Minister’s Field at Rockside Farm by Mark and Rohaise French.
Colour: Light straw golden, nice and natural.
Nose: It’s got those deep punchy Bruichladdich oil tones all the way through, along with layers of light malt. There’s floral honey tones. Something funky.
Palate: Lovely, thick and warming. Considering it’s 50% it’s really gentle and velvety, very easy to drink and enjoy. It’s beautifully sweet and balanced with those ever present deep Bruichladdich oils there.
Monkey Shoulder – Blended Malt Scotch Whisky – 40% abv
Info: Monkey Shoulder, launched in 2005, is a no age statement blend of three different single malts from William Grant, i.e. it’s a mix of Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Kininvie; it’s not a blend in the usual way as there’s no grain whisky in it, it’s all single malt. Why’s it got it’s name? The men who used to use shovels to turn the barley on the malting floors would develop large muscles and droopy arms which attracted the nickname of ‘Monkey Shoulder’.
Nose: Surprisingly malty, woody and nutty; a fairly classic, quality speyside profile… gently sweet and fruity.
Info: Distilled 1994, bottled 2014. Single Cask #3400, Abbey Whisky exclusive replacing Cask #33. 54.8% abv.
Colour: Rich deep dark copper with reddy tints.
Nose: Deep, rich and gently fruity, with herbal qualities to it. Tonnes of squashed raisins, sultanas and golden syrup.
Palate: Thick and slightly hot at first (due to the strength), but rich and warming. You get used to the strength very quickly and it becomes drinkable at full strength scarily easily…. There’s some spices – but only a pinch; it’s still smooth and well aged, a gentle giant. There’s cask oak, but it’s balanced and in general just adds thickness to the mouthfeel. Lots of raisins and dried fruits as on the nose.
Redbreast 12yo Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey – Cask Strength – 57.7% abv
Colour: Classic golden yellow.
Nose: Slightly bighty due to the high abv. It’s a malt whisky but has quite a corn type nose to it, with some coffee grouts, nuts, fruits, dried peel and spices.
Palate: Fairly hot at first due to high abv, but it’s smooth and quite thick… although maybe lighter than you might expect possibly due to triple distillation. There’s grass and coconut with chocolatey notes mixed with spices.
Finish: Long and warming, creamy with some spice.
Let’s start with the news… Glenlivet has launched a new whisky into its core range called ‘Founder’s Reserve’ (not to be muddled up with one it had before called the same thing, but was very expensive).
It’s a no age statement whisky that (it’s suggested) is more fruity and creamy. It’s somewhat of a tinkering with the standard recipe, not really a direct head to head replacement for the 12 year old, rather something slightly different / newer. The 12yo will continue to be sold in some markets, but in the UK it’s being withdrawn from sale, so for the regular person in the street it looks like a direct replacement. It’s around the same price (if not slightly more it seems)… and with no age statement to it, it brings with it the regular debate of possibilities of dwindling stocks, whether it’s value for money when you don’t know the age, etc. I have elsewhere suggested it’s a sad move but others have described it positively as a brave step, so when I got sent an official sample I was quite pleased that my comments hadn’t put me out of the reviewing picture.