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.
TWE Whisky Show: Bloggers’ Breakfast
Most serious whisky drinkers have been to, or at least know about the existence of whisky shows… there’s a good variety of them over the UK these days, but one of the largest, best known, and continually popular shows is The Whisky Exchange Whisky Show in London every year at the start of October. It’s always great to see friendly faces and to talk geeky things with industry experts while trying a massive variety of different goodies. Continue reading
Glenfiddich 125 Anniversary – 43% abv
Info: Limited edition released in 2012. Glenfiddich have used a combination of peated and unpeated whiskies aged in a large proportion of Spanish ex-Sherry butts, as well as American ex-bourbon casks. No stated age that I’m aware of.
Colour: Golden sunset.
Nose: Fairly well aged malty notes with slight waxy tints and hints of leather, a good nose! Small puffs of peat smoke that really give it a great background with slight grunt, yum.
Palate: Reasonably thick oils and easy going on the palate with enough background spice to keep it interesting. Quite earthy with gentle dunnage style oak notes. Reasonably sweet with late summer fruits and malt, again with just a hint of smoke.
The Balvenie Peat Week 14yo – 48.3%
Info: Peat Week has been aged for 14 Years, it’s 2002 vintage. 100% of highland peated malt (30ppm) used. Non-chill filtered, fully matured in American oak casks.
Colour: Bright gold with a slight autumn tint.
Nose: Fairly robust spirit on your nose. There’s a slightly early nutty note, backed up with gentle honey and oak, with hints of hessian. Fairly good amount of vanilla, and some milk chocolate notes. Slight puffs of fresh smoke, fairly restrained, and not coastal.
Palate: Reasonably thick on the palate, a fair amount of oils on your tongue. There’s interesting oak spices that hit the top and back of your palate more than your tongue. The malt notes are honeyed and just gently peated, they sparkle on your tongue a little bit.
Posted in Review, Whisky Tagged Balvenie
Jura One And All (20yo) – 51% abv
Info: Limited edition to celebrate the island and it’s islanders, it’s also been chosen by them as well. It’s matured in American white oak ex-bourbon barrels and prepared with Jura aged in sherry wood, sparkling Cabernet Franc casks, Cabernet Sauvignon casks and Pinot Noir barriques. Non-chill filtered and natural colour. 5,000 bottles worldwide.
Colour: Rich, autumnal reddy tints.
Nose: Quite strong, a good spirit hit which is sweetly spiced, with a slightly earthy note coming through behind.
Palate: Lovely, thick and oily; it’s easily accessible at the higher strength without burning your tongue. Gently sweet,and nicely aged, a slight herbal backnote under all the rich fruity flavours.
Posted in Review, Whisky Tagged Jura
Diageo Special Releases 2017
It’s that time of year again where Diageo roll out their Special Releases and treat us with goodies that you might not normally find in their range.
I’ve been lucky enough to attend the launch event, and here are my brief thoughts of all the malts…
Posted in Review, Whisky Tagged Diageo
Glen Garioch 21yo (Abbey Whisky) – 55% abv
Info: Distilled in 1994, this is the 6th release from Abbey Whisky’s Rare Casks series of Glen Garioch. Matured in a refill hogshead, no colour, or chill filtration. 126 bottles.
Colour: Clear and bright summer straw.
Nose: Buttery malt grain hits your nose along with white pepper, some spirit, and tropical fruits.
Palate: Oily and buttery at first quickly followed by the white pepper notes making your tongue dance while you check out the restrained tropical fruit notes. A hint of smoke is there in the background.
Finish: Long and warming, with those hints of smoke turning into more definite light puffs of smoke.
Jura Tastival 2017 – 51% abv
Info: Made using whiskies finished in American oak bourbon barrels and Douro Valley Port pipes from Graham’s. Natural cask strength, no chill-filtration.
Colour: Summer rich golden with slight orange pink tints.
Nose: Rich and pungent; more autumnal than I had expected, packed with rich red port fruits, hints of cracked nuts, lashings of cream and a hint of chocolate.
Palate: Thick and creamy, with spices gently building into very warming peppery tones, backed up by the fruit, (hazel) nuts and cream found on the nose. Hints of damp dunnage.
Posted in Review, Whisky Tagged Jura
Redbreast Whisky’s #RedbreastDreamCask event
Back in May, as part of the celebrations for World Whisky Day I was one of the lucky folk to be invited along to Billy Leighton’s Redbreast Dream Cask event over on Facebook.
It was a 20-minute online live tasting with Redbreast Head Blender Billy Leighton, and Apprentice Blender Dave McCabe from warehouse A1 in the grounds of the Midleton Distillery. They talked us through an anonymous dram that we had been sent through the post. Queue lots of wandering what the dram was going to turn out to be before the event!
The video feed is still available on Facebook, so if you fancy watching it, please head to https://www.facebook.com/RedbreastSinglePotStill.
If you’re going to watch the video, then watch out spoilers below…