Big Peat 25 year old Gold Edition – 52.1% ABV
Info: It’s nearly time for Feis Ile 2018, so what better way to enjoy it than to have a dram of Big Peat’s Gold Edition, a 25yo vatted Islay malt. No chill filtration and no colour.
Colour: Ripe golden barley
Nose: Delicate and slightly floral, a heathery Islay moorland summer day. Beautifully restrained coal and sea breeze peat notes underline what is obviously a well aged gentle dram, and maybe hides the higher ABV? A hint of old oak and wax polish.
Palate: Slightly peppery at first followed quickly be waves of sweet peat laden oils. Exciting to hold on your tongue for ages investigating the silky oils and sweet peat notes.
Rock Oyster 18 Years Old
Info: Made exclusively with 18yo whiskies distilled on Arran, Jura, Islay and Orkney.
Colour: Light golden straw.
Nose: Sweet floral ozone notes which soon deepen into something older. There’s well aged malty tones, gentle caramel toffee notes and hints of gentle heathery smoke puffs.
Palate: It’s oily and gently spiced on your tongue, which starts to give way to heathery floral peat notes with oaky hints which remind you of dark dunnage warehouses. There’s some slight buttery toffeeiness which helps the dram become very easy going and relaxed.
Highland Park – Magnus – 40%
Info: Only available in North America. Matured in Sherry seasoned American oak casks. No colouring.
Colour: Clear straw.
Nose: Fairly young and sweet malt with a good vanilla hit and great wafts of highland heathland peat, slightly floral.
Palate: Very easy to the palate, you can hold it on your tongue for ages enjoying the gentle spices, malt and peat, which all play together nicely with a slight earthy note. The youngish malt is there, and it’s enjoyable, it really helps show off the distillery character. Continue reading
Dewar’s 25 Year Old – 40% abv
Info: Dewar’s 25 Year Old is a blend of malt and grain whiskies that are 25yo or older that have then been married and then further aged in freshly emptied Royal Brackla casks. Available in Global Travel Retail (i.e airport duty-free) before eventually being available everywhere.
Colour: Golden and bright. Hints of rust.
Nose: Straight away there’s older oak cask notes that happily fill your nose. However you quickly find there’s lovely fresh tones there, light summery fruits, slightly pulped down into a sweet compote of flavour.
Palate: Surprisingly oily considering the 40% abv. It’s sweet, tasty and really easy-going on your tongue. Bags of flavour backed up by well-integrated old oak notes that aren’t dominated by tannin.
Finish: The finish is slow, long and gentle; it’s nicely warming on your chest, with sweet barley oils sticking around for ages. Yum.
Glen Grant 18yo Rare Edition – 43% abv
Info: Glen Grant Aged 18 Years Rare Edition was newly released in 2016 and was named Jim Murray’s Second Finest Whisky in the World, as well as his Scotch Whisky of the Year, in his Whisky Bible 2017.
Colour: Lightly golden, ripe straw.
Nose: Fairly complex nose, there’s sweet / candy notes, but they’re not too sweet, tempered by older oak tones. Slight coal hints, probably the cask char coming forward.
Palate: It’s fairly gentle and easy to hold on your tongue to enjoy the flavours that wash forward. There’s sweetness, but that’s balanced with a sourness from oak. The cask char hints from the nose carry on to the palate.
BenRiach Peated Cask Strength Batch 1
Info: Made with whiskies drawn from Oloroso Sherry casks and bourbon barrels. 56% abv.
Colour: Light straw gold.
Nose: Darker and more pungent than expected, yum. Sweet autumnal fruit notes, gentle light peat smoke.
Palate: Thick, oily, creamy, sweet and tasty, awesome.
Finish: Fairly gentle, quite sweet, nice and warming. After a few mouthfuls spices build a fair bit.
Thoughts: I’m a really big fan of this, it beats some Feis Ile releases from Islay I’ve had recently for sure.
Available: Master of Malt – £58.84
Thanks to BenRiach for the sample.
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