GlenDronach Cask Strength (Batch 6), 56.1% abv
Info: Matured in a combination of Spanish Pedro Ximenez and Oloroso Sherry casks. Bottled at cask strength, 56.1%, non chill filtered and at natural colour.
Colour: Slightly rusty rich gold.
Nose: Fairly rich nose, lots of malt and lots of sweet sherry notes. Reasonably sour sherry, slightly damp and mossy. With some air there’s plenty of cream, and some milk chocolates notes, and a hint of younger more virgin oak wood cask type smells. The sherry then turns sweeter with some honeyed qualities.
Palate: A nice fairly nutty and reasonably beefy malt greets you, with gentle but well pronounced sherry notes coming out quickly. It’s a little hot because of the high strength, nothing some water wouldn’t sort out no doubt. The strength helps it feel really oily on your palate, with a reasonable pinch of spices, and a good amount of sweetness. Plenty of green and red apples, mushed down with some vanilla custard.
Black Friday – TWE
Info: Single cask, single malt from Speyside. 54% abv.
Colour: Fully golden, fairly autumnal.
Nose: Full, strong, sweet. Sherry tones with oak wood and hessian.
Palate: Silky and oily, very full on your tongue. Marmalade, autumnal fruits, older malt tones and a sprinkling of pepper to keep it a bit spicy.
Finish: Slightly spiced sherry fruits. Long, a little floral and warming.
Thoughts: It’s a good whisky, at an amazing price, well done The Whisky Exchange! For me a drop of water helps reduce the spices to a level that makes it more relaxed, it brings out a floral tone.
Available: RRP £59.95. Sold out within minutes.
anCnoc Rùdhan – 46% abv
Info: Recently awarded gold medal at The Spirits Business Global Travel Retail Spirits Masters 2017 awards.
Colour: Very light and bright, a hint of straw.
Nose: Fairly powerful nose, plenty of spirit, and lots of sweet peat and green fruits.
Palate: Sweet, light and bright, oily and silky. Sweet peat greets you and then the green fruit flavours follow with maltiness in the background. Nice and easy to drink at this abv.
Finish: It’s slightly peppered with spiced earthy peat which lasts a long time and leads to a nice warming chest hug that stays around for a good long while.
Thoughts: I’ve no idea on the age of this, I assume fairly young, but that’s often the best way for peaty drams, and for this dram it works really well indeed; it’s tasty and fun, young and vibrant, excellent!
Big Peat Christmas 2017 & Big Peat Feis Ile 2017
Big Peat Christmas 2017
Info: The now traditional full cask strength Christmas release of Big Peat for 2017, coming in at 54.1% abv.
Colour: Very light indeed, just a hint of gold. Snowey!
Nose: Sweetness comes out quickly followed by a good dollop of coastal ozone breeze and coal tar peat smoke. Very alluring.
Palate: Lovely and oily, the high abv quickly builds on your tongue to make this a spicy number as the peat and sweetness mingle nicely together. The coal smoke is there all along.
Finish: Slightly buttery, and nicely peaty, this gradually reduces to earthy embers which keep going for ages on your chest.
Thoughts: Big Peat Christmas is always a treat, and this is too!
Available: The Green Welly Stop – £49
Octomore 08 Masterclass (8.1, 8.2, 8.3) & OBA
It’s that time of year when a good peated whisky can really hit the spot… and there’s nothing better than a dram of Octomore for that!
Below I review Octomore 8.1, 8.2 and 8.3, and as a bonus Octomore OBA as well!
Let’s get going…
The Gauldrons – 46.2% abv
Info: The latest edition to join the Remarkable Regional Malts family, The Gauldrons is a “vatted” Malt exclusively from Cambeltown produced in very small batches and bottled without colouring or chill filtration.
Colour: Gentle golden straw.
Nose: Fairly strong and full, quite salty with hints of peat and green berry fruits.
Palate: Quite sweet with nice full oils on your tongue, followed by an interplay of salt, and then back to sweet notes, with some toffee creaminess and gentle fruits.
Finish: The finish is probably the most flavoursome part, and it lasts for a nice long time. The hints of peat means it’s good and warming. It’s slightly spiced, fairly sweet, and has a touch of oak tannins.
Drinks by the Dram’s 2017 Advent Calendar selection
Now in it’s 6th year, the Drinks by the Dram 2017 Advent Calendar selection has expanded to include even more goodies than ever before… now’s the time to grab yourself a booze filled Festive calendar before December hits!
Classic favourites are back including Whisky, Gin and Rum calendars, and are now joined by exciting new additions, including a Calendar packed with whiskies from renowned independent bottler Douglas Laing, and another filled to the brim with incredible gins from the world’s best distillers, bottled by That Boutique-y Gin Company.
The Glenturret Peated Drummond Edition – 58.9%abv
Info: Distillery exclusive. This is cask 100, a refill hogshead cask filled on the 25th of March 2009, i.e. an 8yo peated Glenturret.
Colour: Light golden straw.
Nose: Sweet mellow peat amongst sweet distillery character. Light green fruits, green apples, gooseberries, and some gristy malt.
Palate: Surprisingly easy for such a strong dram. It’s fairly oily, nicely peated and tasty with the lighter green fruit tones coming through and malted digestive biscuits with almonds on them.
Finish: Almost fizzy, it’s long, slightly spiced and reasonably warming. Malty tones prevail to the end alongside a wee crack of white pepper.
The Malt Whisky Trail
Have you ever thought about making a whisky holiday pilgrimage to visit some of the most famous names in whisky? I bet you have! There’s quite a few different trips you could do, from island hopping, to mammoth tours all over Scotland… but one great way to see a bunch of great distilleries, along side some fantastic visitor attractions, is to do The Malt Whisky Trail.
The Trail is based around the Speyside area, taking in such names as Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, Glen Moray and Strathisla, amongst others (go here for the full list). Depending on your time in the area you can always complete the whole list of recommended Trail visits, and could probably fit in a few others as well (let’s face it, in Speyside you can literally throw a stone in any direction and pretty much hit a distillery!).
Highland Park Valkyrie – 45.9% abv
Info: Released earlier in the year. Listed as “a slight departure from our core 12 Year Old whisky” this has had more peated malt used than the regular bottlings, around 50% peated malt. Natural colour. This release replaces Dark Origins but isn’t sherried like that was.
Colour: Fairly light and bright golden yellow.
Nose: Malty with honey heather coal peat tones, not at all costal, but high healthland peat. Behind that it’s a summer fruit cup of slightly ripe citrus fruits with lots of vanilla custard after some air gets to it.