I’m Steve from Somerset Whisky Blog, a review, news and opinion website based in the UK. I have toured 60+ distilleries, mostly in Scotland, but also elsewhere in the UK. I have gone from being a “peat freak” to a “sherry bomb” lover, and these days I like a broad selection of tasty, affordable whiskies that I can enjoy without having to spend too much time appreciating them, I like them to be good from the get go.\r\nWith that in mind, here is my personal selection…\r\n
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Each month the Tasting Club is composed by another famous whisky expert, from Keeper of the Quaich to enthusiastic whisky blogger. That way, you'll learn to look at whisky from different perspectives and you'll immediately get to know the 'big names' in the whiskey world. Browse through who has composed the previous editions of the Tasting Club and what whiskies have been selected:
January 2017 by Steve Prentice
I like to warm up my palate with this simple, tasty, good value whisky, and this fits the bill! Very much a starting dram for a summer's evening. I imagine this would take ice without too much trouble to make it even more summery. This isn’t some multi-layered thing you need to spend ages with, just drink it and enjoy.\r\n\r\n
Hazelburn, 10 Y
On to a quality whisky, full of the good stuff, yet still fairly light as we progress on our tasting journey. I was hugely impressed with this whisky when I tasted it on a big Islay tour. It’s a gorgeous dram packed with personality and craft. In my mind, it’s by far one of the best quality affordable 10 year old drams on the market right now, quite a hidden gem.\r\n
This gives me a chance to go back and revisit one of my first, and favourite whiskies. Tasty, pleasurable, Bunna. There’s a fairly fresh malty nose to this whisky, a hint of the sea with a gentle sweetness and a puff of smoke. On the palate it’s nice and oily. The finish is fairly long, leaving sweet malt and gentle oak notes on your chest along with a handful of spices, herbs and sherried hints.
Nikka Pure Malt Black
A quick hop away from Scotland to Japan, though the vision of founder Masataka's on whisky was formed by his experience in Scotland, and he knew that the right environment was essential. This Japanese whisky is a vatted malt; a blend of single malts with the peated malt from Nikka's Yoichi and Miyagikyo distilleries. Full of fruit, balanced oak, peat and toffee.
Ledaig, 10 Y
Moving on to another favourite of mine, a much more heavily peated whisky, from the same owners as Bunnahabhain on Islay. This whisky comes from Mull and is made with the same love with no colouring or chill-filtration. A drop of water might help if you’re not into the slight tar and spice notes. It helps bring it down a wee notch, but you still get good maltiness. Also giving it a bit of space and time to breathe can help here too.
To finish, one of my most favourite drams, and one that doesn’t seem to have been presented to you before. It’s the royalty of Islay, and with the addition of some secondary maturation in Sherry it’s a late night sipper to relax and enjoy, giving you a huge Islay hug as if to say you’re home and all your cares can go away. Superb whisky. Your empty glass will continue to smell wonderful for hours and hours. Slàinte!
December by Tom Thomson
Tom Thomson was born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland. Receiving a bottle of Glenmorangie, 10Y on his 18th birthday was the catalyst to the whisky adventure he's currently on. Over those 23 years he has visited many of the distilleries in Scotland and beyond, and helped set up 2 whisky clubs. In 2012 his love of whisky set him on the route of blogging and his website enjoys great popularity. He also writes for whisky magazines, both in print and online, and even does podcasts. He now is Store Manager of a Whisky and Cigar shop in Edinburgh.
Peat's Beast - Cask Strength
Peat's Beast is a single malt from Islay, with the distillery not revealed, so this allows for lots of guessing as to which it might be. At cask strength this really is a beast and shows great soot like smoke flavours and an underlying sweetness with citrus; notes that I just love. Try it paired with a good blue cheese to bring out the best in both.
Glenkinchie, 12 Y
I feel that lowland whiskies get pushed to the side a lot in favour of heavily peated or sherried drams and people miss the point that by working hard at it, lighter lowland whiskies can be just as rewarding, if not more so. With fruit and floral notes hiding in here, it’s a dram to spend time with.
Balmenach - 2008
Balmenach is another of those missed distilleries, more known for the Caorunn Gin, produced on the same site than it is for the whisky. When matured in ex-bourbon this gives of fruity and floral notes and when combined with some good quality dark chocolate, the notes of almonds and marzipan come through strongly.
Kavalan - Concertmaster
Whisky from Taiwan?? Oh how I scoffed, but then I read that this is finished in Port Casks which are my absolute 'go to' for a sweet finish to whisky. Kavalan is gaining a great reputation worldwide for the whisky and this expression has won them numerous awards in the past, deservedly so!
Clynelish - 1998
There are many iconic distilleries out there; many which have become iconic due to great marketing or others, like Clynelish, because the whisky is sublime. Clynelish has a subtle beeswax note that works well with the oily heavy malt, making this a fabulous 'stick to your ribs'- kind of whisky.
Glenturret - Triple Wood
The Glenturret distillery was the first distillery I ever visited as an adult; long before it became the Famous Grouse Experience. I’ve always had a love for this malt forward dram and with lots of light oak and vanilla, this is a dram that has me relaxing in no time at all.
November 2016 by Ruben Luyten
This Club Edition was composed by Ruben Luyten, the author of WhiskyNotes.be, one of the longest running whisky blogs (since 2008) on which news and tasting notes appear on an almost daily basis. He was elected International Whisky Blogger of 2015 and was Glenrothes Vintage Maker 2012 and also publishes about sherry on SherryNotes.com for several years now. Although on his blog he often focuses on European independent bottlers, this time it are the official bottlings, although from all over the world. 4 of them are (partly) matured in sherry casks, how could it be different?
Benromach, 5 Y
A recent release, a mix of bourbon 80% and 20% sherry casks. The younger brother of the excellent Benromach 10 Y, to which it is clearly related. Mineral, with some earthy notes and very light peat. Real old-style whisky. A little young, but full of character. Moreover, I'd prefer a five-year-old whisky instead of a "Dark Storm Corry Nova" NAS.
Smooth Ambler, 7 Y
Smooth Ambler does "whiskey scouting"; they look for nice bourbon in external stocks and bottle those under their own label. This whiskey probably comes from the MGP distillery in Lawrenceburg. A nice dry bourbon with pretty much rye influence. Many mint and eucalyptus flavor.
Connemara - Distillers Edition
I personally like peated Irish whiskey, which is slightly different from what is produced on Islay. The Distillers Edition has been aged in bourbon barrels and was finished on Oloroso cask. Originally only for the French market, now widely available. Dark aromas of smoke and earth, combined with sweet berries and a spicy hint.
Aberlour A'Bunadh Batch 55
A recent batch of this classic 'sherrybomb'. Intense Oloroso aromas: dates, black cherry, chocolate ... lots of sweetness and spiciness at cask strength. The used casks are usually between 5 and 25 years old and the result is rich and powerful. Feel free to add some water.
GlenDronach - Cask Strength, batch 4
One of my favorite batches of this cask strength version, a blend of Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez sherry casks. A lighter profile than what we know from the single casks. A beautiful fruit mix, yellow raisins and apricot. Some candied ginger and cinnamon. Very nice, juicy whisky with plenty of punch thanks to the full cask strength.
Nikka - All Malt
This Japanese whisky is a blend of pot still whisky (Yoichi Miyagi and Kyou) and column still whisky (Miyagi Kyou). However, both types of stills were fed with malted barley, which is quite unique. A "blended malt" as you might say. Quite sweet and creamy, with pleasant flavors such as marshmallow, coconut and honey. Unbeatable price / performance ratio.
September 2016 by Davin deKergommeaux
Davin de Kergommeaux is the author of the award-winning book, Canadian Whisky: The Portable Expert. He has also contributed to or co-authored 4 other books about whisky, and 2 about spirits and cocktails. He spent 6 university years studying whisky grains and has been a Malt Maniac since 1999. His writing appears regularly in Whisky Magazine and various lifestyle publications. Follow him on twitter and instagram @Davindek.
Amrut - Peated
Bangalore is very warm so whisky is matured in a cellar to help slow down the maturation process. This whisky combines Indian barley from Rajasthan with peated barley imported from Scotland. The peat reeks of wood smoke, subdued on the nose with plentiful fruity aromas. On the palate toffee and caramel come to the fore, followed by peppery notes and gingery spices then the scent of a campfire.
Lagavulin, 12 Y - Cask Strength
Distillery visitors remark on the water supply, turned brown by dissolved peat but none of that contributes to the sweet smokiness of the whisky. Rather, Port Ellen maltings supplies all the malt, peated over Islay smoke. Whiskies lose peat over time and this one is significantly smokier than the 16-year-old core bottling. Sweet with ripe fruits and loads of medicinal smoke. Outstanding whisky, a benchmark, in fact.
Johnny Walker - Double Black
Johnnie Walker Black certainly is nicely peated. For hardcore peatheads, however, Diageo amped up the smokiness, hiding some of the subtleties that have made Black a whisky writer’s favourite and a connoisseur’s go-to whisky for decades. Peat smoke dominates but behind it you’ll find honeycomb, treacle, black licorice and, well, more smoke. Remember this, but some day, try the original too, and tease out its subtle depths.
Laphroaig, 10 Y
To the peated malt they purchase from Islay’s Port Ellen Maltings, Laphroaig adds its own, malted on site with peat harvested not far from the distillery. This is a drier, more austere whisky than other Islays and features a lingering sweetness, blistering peppers and wave after wave of sourish licorice-infused peat smoke. The most extreme of the mainstream peat monsters. Also excellent in the cask-strength version.
Black Grouse - Alpha Edition
This heavily peated version of The Famous Grouse is made combining peat from the Scottish mainland and from Islay. Peat can be a dominating aroma erasing other more subtle smells. In a whisky it is carefully balanced not to overshadow the signature maltiness of The Famous Grouse. Nose is sweet and smoky throughout with toffees, cereal tones, peppery notes and hints of apricots on the palate.
Ardmore - Tradition
Ardmore is an under-appreciated malt, because production has focussed on making whisky to blend in Teacher’s and other blends. The peat is sourced on the Scottish mainland and so differs in composition from the more familiar Islays. A bit grassy on the nose with pleasing hints of smoke, Tradition is richer on the palate with coffee, licorice and citrus notes over hot spices and muted but ever-present peatiness.\r\n
August 2016 by Martine Nouet
Martine Nouet, known as "the Queen of the Still" is the only author and journalist who writes exclusively about food and spirits. She specialises in matching food and whisky and hosts whisky dinners all over the world. She has just releases a cookery book including 60 recipes, all matched with whisky, “A Table, whisky from glass to plate”. She particularly enjoys writing about Scotch Whisky and is a regular contributor to www.scotchwhisky.com. She launched the French edition of Whisky Magazine in 2004 which she edited for 6 years. She is a judge at the annual International Wine & Spirit Competition in London and was made a Master of The Quaich in 2012. She lives on Islay in Scotland. \r\n\r\n
Teeling - Single Grain
Having left Cooley Distillery after its takeover by Jim Beam, Jack and Stephen Teeling have founded the first distillery in Dublin after 125 years in 2015. They also release excellent whiskeys from the stock they kept from Cooley. The single grain has totally matured in ex Californian Cabernet wine casks. Smooth and fruity with a demerara character, this single grain has a satin-like texture and displays lovely notes of peaches and pears. It has been awarded the Best single Grain by Whisky Magazine in 2014.\r\n
Isle of Jura, 16 Y - Diurachs' Own
Often denied the status of an "island" whisky as the marine influence is far from being obvious, Jura is as unique as the island where it is produced. It certainly encapsulates the ragged nature of the place with its heather-clad mountains. The 16 Year Old is rich and malty with earthy and honeyed notes and a distinct nutty finish. Perfectly balanced, with an enticing malty core, this single malt retains a delicious autumnal character.\r\n
Glenrothes - Vintage Reserve
This last addition to the reserve range will replace the Select Reserve. It combines 10 vintages which are said to to reflect the 4 key aromas of Glenrothes: citrus fruit, vanilla, dark fruit and oak. They range from 1989 to 2007. The nose is versatile, changing all the time hence the complexity. It starts with a floral note (bluebells and orange blossom) then a mix of Autumn fruit and juicier Summer fruit enhanced by a spicy festoon. Finally, in the back, an earthy touch. The palate is smooth and mouth coating (between velvet and satin), releasing citrussy, dark fruit and licorice flavours.
Chivas Regal, 18 Y
Designed by talented master blender Colin Scott, Chivas Regal 18 Year Old is a complex and elegant blended Scotch Whisky from Pernod-Ricard portfolio. The heart of the blend is the Speyside single malt Strathisla, hence its fruity and spicy character releasing dried apricot and stewed apples notes, delicately framed by soft spices and orange dark chocolate. The finish is long and generous, soothing on marzipan and elegant oak. \r\n
Mackmyra - Svensk Rök
Svensk Rök means 'swedish smoke'. This is the peated version of Mackmyra single malt. The malted barley is dried above a peat fire on which branches of juniper have been thrown. That juniper note is perceptible on the nose, together with a hint of smoke. The citrus fruit character of Mackmyra is enhanced by a sweet vanilla aroma balanced by spices. The palate is smokier than the nose, with fruit and vanilla framed by oak and spices. And this pleasant juniper flavour. An original profile to explore in the always characterful Mackmyra creations. \r\n
Kilchoman - Sanaig
Now a regular in Kilchoman range, Sanaig is a blend of bourbon and oloroso sherry casks with a predominant sherry influence. It takes its name from a breathtaking neighbouring cove which boasts the most remote art gallery in Europe. The nose is sweet and fruity with tropical fruit notes (candied pineapple, a touch of lime). The smoke slowly comes through with a briny whiff. The palate is oily, smooth at first, releasing lemon curd notes then dries on a sooty and dusty kick. The peaty character is challenged by fruit at first but creeps through on time. A charming dram.\r\n
July 2016 by Dennis Hendriks
My first encounter with Scotland in the early 1990s was love at first sight. Through internships at Bladnoch and Highland Park I experienced all facets of whisky-making at close range. I was pleasantly surprised to be invited to compose this edition of Whisky Tasting Club. As a brand ambassador of The Glenrothes, I have had the opportunity to taste a lot of beautiful and special whiskies for over 10 years. It's my pleasure to present to you, as a member, some fine whiskies that contain the pure passion for me.\r\n\r\n- Dennis Hendriks
Compass Box - Asyla
I've known John Glaser since the creation of Compass Box. A master of surprise and top whisky maker. The Asyla is a blend of solitary elevation that shows how delicate and difficult blending can be. The delicious vanilla notes and beautiful balance of this blend opened my eyes to blends again. Try it once as an aperitif with a slice of slightly spicy cheese. Delicious!
Glenrothes - Sherry Cask Reserve
This, again is a whisky of The Glenrothes showing that the maturity of the selected casks is more important than age. Perfect balance of whisky, aged in 1st refill sherry casks. Deliciously full, lovely spicy notes of, among others, orange. Unmistakably Sherry cask. For me a whisky that can be drank with beautiful dishes, but also a perfect table dram for an evening with friends. The ultimate 'every day dram'.
Cragganmore, 12 Y
Not for nothing one of the original series of the classic malts. Unfortunately, a little forgotten. The complexity of this whisky is more than worth exploring and each sip means a new discovery again. This whisky keeps on giving. Dried fruit, licorice, malt ... it does not stop. A true classic malt!
Talisker - Distillers Edition
One of my favorites comes from the finest Scottish island, Isle of Skye. Choosing is difficult. This 'Distillers Edition' offers everything that a whisky needs. Rich sweet notes, a light pepper, a touch of smoke and cocoa. Which weather or what mood; this whisky gives you the ultimate feeling of enjoyment and brings you the beautiful island of Skye in a bottle.
Benriach - Birnie Moss Intensely Peated
A whisky that you would not expect from a Speyside. Between the tropical fruit and vanilla you would expect from a Speyside whisky, suddenly a bomb of smoke comes to you without being too much. Delicious after a late night at a campfire, after the ultimate BBQ or when you come home in the rain, soaking wet and you need to cheer up.
Dunville, 10 Y - PX
This Irish whiskey has a rich past. Once founded in Belfast in 1801 and now back again. Now on the market thanks to Echinville distillery, the first Northern Irish distillery in 125 years. The 10 year old Irishman, finished on PX casks, is a surprise. Beautiful vanilla and citrus notes next to beautiful notes of wood and of course a little touch of PX casks. A nice long finish. This 'new Irishman' shall surely be an experience for many people.
Juni 2016 door Greg Dillon
Greg Dillon is a brand strategy consultant specializing in premium spirits, author of GreatDrams.com; a one man’s mission to experience, share and inspire with everything great about whisky, whiskey, gin, beer and fine dining. Award-winning brand, business and spirits blogger. Most importantly, a lover and appreciator of premium spirits on a constant quest for knowledge. This passion makes an excellent writer, presenter and host.\r\n
Glen Moray - Port Cask
Why I think this is one of the best value whisky brands on the market; the quality and enjoyment far outweigh the cost of any of their bottles. This port cask finished Glen Moray is lovely, has been aged in ex-Tawny port casks for 8 months ahead of bottling. It looks rather rose wine-esque in appearance. Spicy on the palate that develops sweetness as you spend time with it, creamy mouth-feel with a slightly sweet finish.
Clynelish - Distillers Edition
I always feel that Clynelish is a bit of an underrated whisky and distillery, but this Clynelish Distillers Edition reminds us how impressive their releases can be. It has been finished in Oloroso Seco sherry casks, giving it a really rich flavour profile compared to its stablemates. Stewed apples and winter fruits on the nose develop into a salty, slightly smokey aroma that will raise smiles. The palate exudes sherry richness, lots more of those winter fruits, with just a little bit of smoke again. Marvellous.
Craigellachie, 13 Y
One of my go-to favourites. This Craigellachie is a classic and was released in 2014. This whisky is all about the meaty, spicy flavour profile that this distillery is famous for as well as a healthy dose of citrus and malty notes. Very well balanced, thick mouth-feel. This whisky will have you coming back for more and more...\r\n
Edradour, 10 Y
This distillery often gets overlooked and is not as well known to whisky drinkers as it probably should be. Edradour is the smallest ‘traditional’ distillery in Scotland and has been around for nearly 200 years. This whisky is sweet with a spicy edge to it. Lots of vanilla, from the bourbon casks it has been matured in, with fresh apples and hints of tropical fruits on an incredibly smooth, well-rounded palate.
Deanston, 12 Y
Very creamy, fruity and soft. This is a true sipping whisky. One to enjoy after a long day at work or with a BBQ in the summer. Fresh barley notes accompany the fruity notes with soft fruits and just a feint hint of spice make this an all rounder.
Dalmore, 15 Y
Ah, The Dalmore. One of my favourite ranges. The 15 Year Old is a very nice expression put together by the whisky legend that is Richard Patterson. A very nice whisky giving off a very nutty, marzipan-like nose that is distinctly lighter than the 12 Year Old despite its advancing years. The palate is creamy, light again, nutty again with hints of citrus and a medium finish.
May 2016 by Anne-Sophie Bigot (The Whisky Lady)
Anne-Sophie Bigot ('The Whisky Lady') is a French whisky blogger on a mission to turn the amber nectar into a more approachable drink and remove the "old man's drink" cliché attached to it. She is also working as a whisky auctioneer & digital marketer. “All the whiskies I have selected represent a specific milestone on my personal whisky journey. I have a special memory attached to each of those expressions and I believe this emotional connection is what makes whisky more than a product but a genuine experience.”
Armorik - Double Maturation
My chauvinistic pick for this month' selection. Do you know that France is home to 42 whisky distilleries? When you think about its distillation traditions and resources, that actually makes a lot of sense. Armorik were the founding fathers of a whole new wave of distillers. And trust me, what's to come is very promising! Hope you’ll enjoy the malty, woody, fruity, leathery and yummy cocoa notes of this dram.
Glen Scotia - Double Cask
A recently-released expression from one of the only remaining distilleries in Campbeltown - Glen Scotia tends to be often underrated towards its famous neighbor but this expression has nothing to be ashamed of. The nose is a delight of fruity and woody aromas along with a subtle salinity which always remind me of Brittany's salted caramel paste. Slightly oily, spicy and herbal on the palate, the sherry influence speaks for itself with a dark chocolatey finish.
Auchentoshan - Springwood
As all the whiskies I have selected for this box, Auchentoshan Springwood represents a personal millstone in my whisky journey. Its light, vanilla, honeyed and deliciously citrusy profile actually made me discover the joys of Scotch when I was younger. Its refreshing character makes it a perfect easy-drinking everyday dram and my go-to choice when double-digit temperatures start showing up.
Compass Box - Peat Monster
Compass Box has managed to highlight the "art of blending". There's no limit to the brand’s creativity and it's a real breath of fresh air! This peaty expression is proof that some well-crafted blends have nothing to envy to single malts and can show a more complex profile. There's a real "wow effect" at first sip with Peat Monster, and that for me, is the sign of a great whisky.\r\n
Glenmorangie - Quinta Ruban
Glenmorangie's famous port finish expression, matured in casks from the Douro valley in Portugal. A real wintery treat with a sweet, rich and chewy profile and masses of delicious berries and sugary notes flowing onto the palate. Its long and sweet finish will only make you crave for another dram! I especially enjoy Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban at the end of a meal or paired with a venison stew.\r\n
Green Spot - Château Léoville Barton
A perfect mix between Irish and French traditions. First matured in a mixture of ex-Oloroso Sherry, fresh American oak and ex-bourbon barrels, this expression is then finished in the ex-Château Léoville Barton wine casks for 12 to 24 months, making it the first ever Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey finished in Bordeaux wine casks! This refined "French touch" comes as wild red berries and some subtle oak tannins. Some delicious sweet spices, citrusy, red apple and barley sugar notes also participate in making this expression a real "must-taste" !
April 2016 by Mark Dermul
This Club edition is composed by Mark Dermul, mostly known for his love for and extensive collection of Auchentoshan; the triple distilled Lowland single malt. That is why they call him 'The Toshan Man'. He is one of the authors of the recently published book 'Whisky Voor Iedereen' ('Whisky for Everyone') and runs the blog www.whivie.be, on which he posts tasting notes on a daily basis, of which there are 2.500 already. This Flemish lover of the golden nectar also publishes short Whisky Ramblings on YouTube on a regularly basis. He bottled 3 casks under the Star Wars label 'Save Lars Whisky' and co-owns MMMalts.com. "May the Malt be with you" is his motto.
Bushmills Black Bush
The Bushmills Black Bush is a blend composed from 80% malt and 20% grain whiskey. It matured for 7 years on both bourbon and oloroso sherry casks. Soft nose on grain and raisins and mandarin as well as chocolate and rum. Caramel and a light floral note. Spicy on the palate with apricots and sultanas. Wonderfully sweet. Hints of nuts. Nice balance between the fruit and toasted oak in the short finish.\r\n\r\n
Auchentoshan 14 Y Cooper's Reserve
This mix of bourbon and sherry matured triple distilled Auchentoshan was married after 14 years and offers a delicate nose on crème brulée and gooseberries. Orangettes and almonds. That continues on the palate, with the oranges slices in chocolate dominating, leaving a creamy vanilla custard behind. Sour versus sweet in which the latter is victorious in a medium long finish on toffee and spices. Lovely summery whisky to be had by the pool.
This blend, of which the name refers to the initial golf balls that were made of feathers, tar and bird skin, is composed of Highland malt whisky's that all matured on first fill sherry casks. That explains the umami nose, that quickly turns honey sweet on candied oranges, vanilla, nuts and sniffing tobacco. On the palate it is rather bittersweet as if from a fruit tea, oranges and caramel. Loads of tannins, nutmeg and ginger. Medium long and soft finish that leaves your mouth dry.
Caol Ila Moch
Moch is Gaelic for 'dawn'. This no-age-statement Caol Ila has a fresh nose on limoncello, lemon tart with vanilla, hay and a mild stable scent. Becomes wonderfully sweet and smoky if you leave it to breathe for a while. Soft arrival on the palate with a salty edge and ashes before the fruit kicks in. Becomes sweeter with the second sip. Even candied. Nice hint of espresso. The peat and salt dominate the finish. Fresh and lively. On Islay, this is what they call a breakfast whisky.
Smooth Ambler 7 Y Rye
This rye whiskey is produced in West Virginia. At first, the nose reminds more of a rum than an whiskey. Very spicy, true, but also honey sweet with a hint of cocoa powder. On the palate, it is softer than expected, with clear notes of molasses and caramel. There is hardly any fruit. Tasty, though. The finish is very soft - say smooth - but not very long. A light and very sweet rye whiskey that would go perfectly with a sweet desert.
Tullibardine 20 Y
This malt matured solely on first fill bourbon barrels, which resulted in a wonderfully sweet nose on honey, cocoa butter, oats, vanilla and candy floss. There is a hint of oak and banana, but also dried pineapple. Surprisingly fresh and fruity. It is honeysweet on the palate, but also deliciously creamy. All the fruit of the nose returns, upholstered with some oranges and their caramelized peel. The finish is gently spiced and fades on sweet fruity notes.
March 2016 by Charles Maclean
This Club edition is composed by Charles Maclean.\r\n\r\n“Charles MacLean is Scotland’s leading whisky expert” - The Times, March 2010\r\n\r\nMaclean was trained by the Scotch Whisky Research Institute, has written 10 books to this date and globally presents numerous tastings and talks for whisky companies, corporations, universities and clubs, and on radio and TV. He is a member of the Judging Panel of the International Wines & Spirits Competition. Charles was elected Keeper of the Quaich in 1992 and even granted the rare honour of being elected Master of the Quaich, the industry’s highest accolade, in October 2009.\r\n
Adelphi - Private Reserve Blend
I must declare an interest in this whisky: I worked with Jamie Walker, MD of Adelphi to create it, on the instructions of his grandmother – in-house, it is known as ‘Grannie’s Blend’! Sweet and nutty, with mixed dried fruits and a thread of smoke in the finish. I love it: it’s my standard tipple!
Adelphi - Glenborrodale, Batch 2
Glenborrodale Batch 2 is a blend of 4 malts from sherry butts of Islay, Orkney and the Speyside, supplemented by one of those famous, heavy sherried and very high in alcohol hogs heads of Glenrothes. The result is once again amazing with salty savory influences, red fruit, chocolate and oak. It is absolutely a wonderful whisky.
Lord Elcho - Nas
The Wemyss blend celebrates the family’s famous ancestor, Lord Elcho, eldest son of the Earl of Wemyss and Bonnie Prince Charlie’s aide-de-camp during the ill-fated Jacobite Rising of 1745. Rich and mellow, with traces of bruised apple and sandalwood; a smooth texture and a sweet taste, with fruit and cooking spice, and a cool finish.
The Hive, 12 Y
A blend of at least 16 malts to achieve a honey-sweet, slightly waxy flavour. Smooth and easy to drink, with spun honey, heather pollen and orange blossom on the nose; lightly waxy and teeth-coating to taste, with orange zest mid-palate and toffee apple in the finish.
Tapping The Birch (Dailuaine) 2001
This is from Dailuaine Distillery, but is unlike the proprietary bottling, having a spritzich, nose-feel – fizzy cider, fresh apple juice, lemon sherbet, lime lozenges – and a sweet taste (pear drops, apple chews, melon balls) on a base of pine sap and freshly cut birchwood.
A dry nose, at once smoky and malty – smouldering straw; earthy, with a suggestion of smoky bacon. The taste is sweet, with a herbal note (rosemary?) and well-toasted, buttered English muffin (this lingers in the aftertaste). A long, warming finish
February 2016 by Marcel Bol
This edition has been composed by Marcel Bol, co-founder of Whisky Import Netherlands (WIN). Marcel drinks whisky all since his student days and infected his then colleague Jan Kok, now co-owner of WIN, with the whisky virus and soon the first trip to Scotland was booked. After many wanderings and in-depth courses and studies Marcel and Jan are now deeply rooted and respected Keepers of the Quaich, which import some very renowned whiskies.
Armorik - Maître de Chai
The Warenghem distillery of this Armorik is in Lannion in beautiful Brittany in France. The Maitre de Chai, Nas comes from former sherry casks and was released in a limited edition of 1,000 bottles. The nose is soft with apples and yellow fruit, the flavor gives a nice mix of fruit and bitter. The finish is long and gives some lime as extra. A delicious whiskey!
Hyde, 10 Y
In my view, Hyde is THE most tasty Irish whiskey, named after Douglas Hyde; the first president of Ireland. The nose opens with peach in cream, vanilla, honey and caramel before lemon, chocolate, banana and light take herbs. The taste is soft but full and complex with apricots and plums, caramel and honey. The finish is rich and smooth with spices and oak. It is clear that these very tasteful 'Irishman' has matured in First Fill Oloroso sherry casks from Cadiz in Andalucia.
Islay Cask is a bottling A.D. Rattray. From Islay and as a good "Ileach" befits, firmly peated. Unfortunately I cannot mention the name of the distillery, but if you look closely at the name you must have a hunch. This Islay Cask is basically a sweet whisky with vanilla custard and light earth tones. The taste has light white herbs covered in this sweeter influences, then taken over by the smoke and peat. In our opinion, an extremely pleasant Islay whisky.
The supple and accessible range SPEY whisky from Speyside distillery offers a selection of different ages and styles that suit different parts of the day, season or year. Each version has a unique additional period of aging in specially selected barrels to add complexity and texture to the whisky. This one has initially matured in bourbon barrels. Then 6 months in Tawny Port barrels, creating a subtle ruby hue and lively, fruit-filled taste profile. A wonderfully soft, but very tasteful whisky.
The Old Perth is the first, very limited, batch from sherry casks and consists of a blend of 3 malts from the Speyside and low-lying areas fully matured in sherry casks from 3 styles of sherry casks; Sherry Butt (500 liters) Sherry Puncheon (500 liters) and Sherry Hogshead (250 liters). The nose gives caramel, fruit yogurt, and solid red fruit syrup. The tongue is experiencing robust flavors of oak, dark red fruit, white chocolate and "treacle toffee."
Ledaig 2008 - First Cask
Bottled in the First Cask series of WIN. The First Cask series is our own label and consists entirely of single cask and cask strength bottlings selected by Jan and me. This Isle of Mull single malt was distilled on May 13 2008 and has matured in cask 700694. Bottled on August 14, 2015 at cask strength of 60.7%, non-chill filtered and no dyes. A limited release of 220 bottles. Extraordinarily full of flavor with lots of salty, smoky and peaty influences.
The Tasting Collection team wishes you a happy and healthy 2016! Also this year we hope to be able to let you discover new whiskies and their creators because there is so much to discover in the world of whisky. This year also, a number of well-known whisky experts will introduce theirselves to you and will compose several club editions for you. This month you will taste some special Scottish malts and an Irish whiskey. Each one very different in character, but all definitely worth trying!
This malt was re-released in February 2007, as the leading whisky in the core range of the distillery. The earlier version had less sherry influences and was therefore lighter in color than the current one. This version has matured exclusively in sherry casks of European oak. An upgrade of the distillery as sherry casks have increased sharply in price and therefore are not used so much.
Scapa, 2001 Gordon & MacPhail
More than a century ago originally started as a delicacy shop, Gordon & McPhail has established itself as a name specialized in bottling Malt Whiskies licensed for famous distilleries such as Macallan, Glenlivet, Glen Grant, Linkwood and Mortlach. This bottling is from Scapa and is part of the Distillery Labels set. This beautiful malt has matured from 2001 at 1st Fill Bourbon Barrels.
Kilchoman - Machir Bay
Named after the beautiful bay at the distillery. In 2012 presented as the first standard release and available in annual batches. Although the average age of this bottling would be higher each year, this 2015 edition claims to be the quality they had in mind and for the first time has no year indication more. This whisky matured 6 years in first-fill bourbon barrels, plus a small portion Oloroso barrels.
Tullamore Dew, 12Y
The reputation of Tullamore Dew whiskey is largely to thank to a brilliant pun of Daniel E. Williams, then director. He linked his initials -D.E.W. - to his product. This gave Tullamore Dew the easy to remember slogan. 'Give every man his Dew'. This 12 year old is a rich blend of Irish whiskeys, aged in American oak barrels in which the characters of the combination of malt and potstill are nicely coalesced.
Tullibardine - 225 Sauternes
The Tullibardine distillery was founded in 1949, situated in the beautiful surroundings of Blackford in Perthshire and recently renovated. This Tullibardine with afterripening in 225 liter drums, which previously matured Sauternes dessert wine of Chateau Suduiraut. Therefore this Sauter Ness 225 is a rich and sweet whisky, often served with strongly flavored, savory snacks or dessert.
The Tomintoul distillery, pronounced Tom-in-'t-Owl, lies a few kilometers from the village on the edge of the forest, near Avon in the town of Glenlivet. This gentle, 10-year-old single malt has matured in the best ex bourbon barrels and is the first bottling of Distillery Tomintoul since the acquisition in 2000. Gold medalist in China in 2006 and silver medalist in 2007 at The International Wine & Spirit Competition in London.
December; a month of looking back and looking forward. We like to do this with you, because we can look back on a good year, in which a number of special editions where published by the hand of our Club Composers. We want to thank them for their commitment to present surprising, beautiful and special whiskies!
Millstone, 2008 - Oloroso Cask
The Millstone Special No. 5 Sherry Cask 2008 is a nearly 7-year-old single malt from Zuidam distillers, matured in Oloroso sherry butt. Distilled on April 24, 2008 and bottled on April 17, 2015 at 46%, non chill filtered and no colours added. A limited edition single cask release of 924 bottles.
Nikka - Pure Malt, White
This Japanese Whisky is the most peated whisky the Nikka range. Intense smoke and peat flavors dominate the aromatic palette, complemented with a light salty touch- and vegital tones. An exciting malt, which will attract the bold whisky drinkers, but with its soft texture this pure malt does not lose its distinctive Japanese touch.
Highland Park - Ambassador's Choice
Highland Park malts on its own malt floor and kiln are green malt with homegrown peat. Thanks to this, Highland Park distillery gets its distinctive and smooth taste. Highland Park Ambassador's Choice 10 Year Old is a whisky made by Senior Brand Ambassador Martin Markvardsen. For the whisky he chose mainly ex-bourbon casks, which is spacial, because Highland Park normally matures exclusively in sherry casks.
Glenfarclas, 12 Y
Glenfarclas is owned by the Grant family since 1865 and led by the 6th Grant generation now and is one of the few remaining independent family owned distilleries; most notably in the whisky world. Therefore Glenfarclass praises its products also as ''The spirit of independence''. This 12 year matured won the 'Best Sherried Whisky' award in the Single Malt World Cup 2006. And won 2 gold medals at the Stockholm Beer & Whisky Festival.
Macallan, 12 Y - Sherry Casks
The Macallan was founded in 1824 in Speyside and was one of the first distilleries in Scotland with an official license. Typical is the use of natural, pure products, combined with traditional methods and old-fashioned craftsmanship. In the course of its existence, the Macallan distillery is often praised for its extraordinary quality. The Macallan Sherry Casks 12 Y has only matured in Sherry casks from Jerez, Spain. Because this malt is no longer produced, it is exclusive available and rises in price rapidly.
Bowmore, 15 Y - Darkest
The Bowmore range is reduced from 10 products to 5 five premium qualities. The adjustment of the range is associated with a new livery of both bottles and packaging. This new 15 year old Bowmore Darkest is finer of taste and more elegant than the old version, without the dominant floral notes with underlying delicious aromas of peat. For the finish it has aged in Oloroso casks for 2 years.
November 2015 by Jan Beek
Because it has been my mission for a long time to help people find good affordable whisky, I thought it was an honor to create this club edition, but with relatively unknown and especially affordable brands. Each tube is, in my humble opinion, a whisky that is more than worth it to taste. You may find one so tasty that you are going to buy a whole bottle. In that case you will taste that good quality can be affordable. I hope you enjoy tasting them! \r\n\r\nJan Beek - Keeper of the Quaich
It is a fact that Blended Whisky was formerly often better than today. The main reason is at that time Single Malt time was much less popular and best vessels often went into the blend. Glen Park is such an ancient blend, presumably bottled in the last century. The name is clearly an invented name, it is unknown for which market the blend was intended. So it is a kind of 'leftover' Blended Whisky.
Ben Nevis 10 Y
Since 1825, the Ben Nevis distillery is making whisky at the foot of the eponymous mountain. In mid-1989 Ben Nevis passed into Japanese hands, Nikka still owns it. There is not much whisky of Ben Nevis on the European market and that is a shame because it is a fine whisky. This 10 year old has matured in sherry casks. It is a well-kept secret that most whisky in the bottle is actually much older than 10 years.
The Ultimate - Linkwood, 2008
Linkwood has been making whisky for Johnnie Walker blends. Occasionally a private bottling of this distillery is released. A pity really, because connoisseurs judge Linkwood as a very good whisky. That is why the so-called independent bottlers like to bottle Linkwood. This young Linkwood, matured in a bourbon barrel is bottled by the Ultimate, the most famous Dutch bottler.
Arran 'The Bothy' Quarter Cask
The Arran distillery has existed only since 1995. So very old whisky of them is not there yet. But they release regularly special bottlings like this one; the Bothy. Matured in a so-called Quarter Cask (125 ltr.). A 'Bothy is a freely accessible shelter or refuge where one can stay during long walks. There are pretty much of them in Scotland, as well as on the beautiful Isle of Arran.
Benromach - Chateau Cissac
The smallest distillery in Speyside, but a distillery with a mission. Benromach makes whisky like the old days, without compromising on quality. Occasionally they bring out a Woodfinish, like this Chateau Cissac. A limited bottling, ripened at the beautiful vessels in which the Chateau Cissac, a red wine of great class in the Haut Médoc, ever matured.\r\n
Ballechin, 10 Y
Ian Henderson worked half his life at Laphroaig. After retirement, he joined Edradour. The smallest distillery in Scotland had just been taken over and Ian was asked to bring back everything to the original state and ensure that the Edradour whisky got back to the old level. As thanks he could then make the whisky he had always wanted to make at Laphroaig but was not allowed; this Ballechin is the result.\r\n
October 2015 by Jock Shaw
This edition has been composed by Jock Shaw. Jock was born in Scotland has been living in The Netherlands for over 30 years. His parents worked for the owners of many Scottish whisky distilleries. In 1999 he became nationwide champion in blind nosing and tastings and in 2009 he started his business' Scotch and Folk. In April 2014 he became the Keeper of the Quaich. Jock organizes Single Malt Whisky tastings at any suitable location, for anyone interested in the Netherlands, Belgium and Scotland.
Penderyn - Myth
A young distillery in the village of Penderyn in South Wales. They produce only one barrel of whisky a day! Usually their whisky is finished in Madeira casks, but "Myth" is 100% matured in ex-bourbon casks. The taste is fresh and lively with citrus, apple, pear and a little tropical fruit. Tastes in the distance as a Jamaica Rum. A light style of whisky. The fruitiest of new whiskies I know at this time.
Tomatin, 14 Y - Portwood
The Portswood is a new expression in the Tomatin core range. Tomatin calls himself "The Softer Side of the Highlands'. And that is certainly true. Portwood has matured in a combination of Bourbon Barrels and barrels of port wine. The nose gives honeycombs, melon, apple pie, toffee and chocolate -keep on smelling! It really opens up- Taste: raisins, dried nuts and sweet dried fruit. Apricot and plum with a medium aftertaste, in which the fruitiness lingers.
Taketsuru - Pure Malt
Named after the founder of Nikka, Masataka Taketsuru. A blended malt, mostly with whisky from the distillery Myagikyo, but also from that of Yoichi. Winner of 'Best Blended Malt Japanese, No Age' at the World Whisky Awards. The nose gives a lot of sherry with a touch of bourbon and smoke. The taste is very rich, sweet with a hint of vanilla. The finish is quite dry with a tiny bit of smoke coming from the Yoichi.
Tamdhu - Batch Strength
Tamdhu; a gem of a distillery with one's own old station, complete with waiting rooms, right on the River Spey. This expression is a bottling at full strength. Fully matured in sherry casks, often as first fill. The nose shows red berries, raisins, walnuts and pecans. Delicate oak aroma and cookie dough. Powerful and rich in the mouth with sherry, cakes and dried fruit, orange and Crème Brûlée and a very long, malty aftertaste with biscuits and toast with marmalade.
The Lost Distillery - Lossit
Lossit is now reborn since its closure in 1867! The Lost Distillery analyzes old whisky archives and provides a flavor profile with a Whisky Archaeologist. Next, the malts are blended with a modern interpretation of the original flavor. The nose: peat, woody and soft. Bourbon sweetness, dark roasted coffee. Full in the mouth with spices, dark chocolate, pepper and ginger. The peat is trying to dominate the now fruity aftertaste with espresso and pure cocoa.
Paul John Single Cask #739
A barrel, selected by myself and Hans Bresser. 4 years matured in American oak but, due to the rapid aging in the Indian climate, feeling much older. Notes of sweet and earthy peat smoke, slightly salty maritime. Grass, hay and curry leaves, anise, cumin. Very complex in the mouth and surprisingly easy to drink despite its 57%. Earthy peat, oak, clove, (Armagnac-like) black pepper and delicate tannins. Very long, rich light dry finish with peat and honey. Slightly bitter tannins. A Gem!
September 2015 by Rianne Tol
This edition has been composed by Rianne Tol; since several years the only fixed writer for whisky magazine Whisky Passion. In her articles and columns she regularly gives her unvarnished opinion about the goings on in the world of whisky. In addition, she is a committed board member of the Dutch Whisky Society and gives tastings at various locations in the Netherlands on a regular basis.\r\n\r\n
Benriach - Heart of Speyside
The Heart of Speyside is a whisky No Age Statement of Benriach. Billy Walker introduced it in 2004 as ‘entry level whisky’ 'in the same year that the distillery reopened after a closure of 2 years. A young, fresh and simple whisky, what some call, a ‘countrified tone’. The smell of honey, hay and some soft herbal tones. In the flavor more herbs, again honey and a hint of peat. The finish gives oak and vanilla.
Clynelish - 1997, Signatory
Signatory is an independent bottler, specialized in superior bottlings of whiskies that would otherwise end up in a blend. Signatory never adds colorants to the whisky. 1997 is known as a very good Clynelish-year with very pure whisky. This Clynelish is a 15 year old single malt, matured in Hogs Heads and unchillfiltered. In the nose exotic fruits, honey, malt, fudge and vanilla. In the mouth marshmallows, mandarin, juicy sweet pineapple and spices.
Nikka - From the Barrel
The first Japanese who studied ‘making whisky’ in Scotland, Masataka Taketsuru is called "the father of Japanese whisky. He helped to set up the first whisky distillery in Japan in 1934 and founded his own whisky house Nikka. This whisky is a blend of grain whisky and matured single malt. In the nose herbs, apple, floral with some wood tones, strong taste again with herbs, caramel, vanilla, dry sherry and orange tones. The finish is warm and fruity.
Glendronach 15Y, Revival
This ‘Revival’ is a fine example of a whisky for 100% matured in Oloroso sherry casks. This is the new version, created after the distillery was reopened in 2001. The powerful smell has orange, intense dark chocolate, walnuts, blackcurrants and balsamic. In the mouth intense flavors of coffee, chocolate, dates, warm spices like cloves and cinnamon and walnuts. The finish is quite long, fruity and spicy.
Bowmore Laimrig, 15 Y
‘Laimrig’ is Gaelic for' pier'. Bowmore named this whisky after the place where once arrived the barley and still offers stunning views over Loch Indaal and the distillery. Oloroso finished at cask strength. The scent is powerful, spicy and pungent. Red fruit, orange, chocolate, tobacco and smoke. A spicy sherry onset, intensely situated in the mouth , milder than with raisins, salt and chocolate, drier towards the end, herbs, wood, tobacco, ash and soft smoke that linger on the long finish.
August 2015 by Ronald Zwartepoorte
Keeper of the Quaich Ronald Zwartepoorte runs a consultancy for foreign wine and spirit producers and, thanks to Han van Wees and spirits connoisseur and whisky writer Malcolm Greenwood, developed a great passion for whisky. In addition he gives advice to organizations of whisky festivals, -clubs and -specialists. In April 2006 he started 'Whisky Passion', which became one of the most widely read whisky magazines in the Benelux.
Deanston Virgin Oak
This is a young whisky, matured in new oak barrels from Kentucky. The color is light golden. The nose gives nice show of new oak with light aromas of apple and citrus, followed by a hint of smoke. The taste is creamy with pleasant notes of vanilla, toffee, honey and wood. This malt gives a slightly spicy aftertaste with notes of honey and sweet malty tones.
Glendronach 8 Y The Hielan
Minimum eight years matured in a combination of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks. Light amber in color, this malt has aromas of orange, citrus, raisins, currants, ripe plums and a hint of vanilla. The taste gives warm spicy oak, raisins, apricot jam and gingerbread, followed by notes of cocoa and toasted almonds. In the aftertaste Sherry tones predominate, but they are still nicely balanced with the influences of the bourbon barrels.
Benromach, 10 Y
The maturation of this whisky takes place in a combination of 80% and 20% bourbon barrels Sherry hogs heads. Gold. Beautiful sherry aromas with dried fruit, nuts, chocolate, herbs, green apples and a hint of peat smoke. The taste gives Sherry tones with light peat and hints of raspberry, blackberry and creamy malt with beautiful sweet sherry notes and light smoke in the finish.
A special variation of Bunnahabhain. Normally, the whiskies of this distillery are not peated. ‘Toit’ means 'Smoky' in Gaelic. Bright gold in color with a nose of full tones of peat and fine grain with a light bitter in the background. Warm tones in the mouth of peat, followed by fruit aromas and sweet notes of oak and delicate pepper. The finish is long with recurring notes of peat and fruity aromas
Glenfarclas, 18 Y
This 18 year old Glenfarclas has been developed for the "travel retail", but is lately also limitary available at the whisky specialist. Golden amber color with an aroma of fine sherry notes, followed by citrus and honey and a hint of vanilla. The flavor is heavier than expected with sweet honey, creamy fudge, dried fruit and almonds. A lovely subtle aftertaste with a hint of sweetness.
No whisky festival goes by that I'm going to get a glass of this beautiful Glenlivet. Golden yellow. Fresh on the nose with lots of fruit, flavors of green apples, vanilla from lightly roasted oak. Showing lovely balance of sweet malt and mint. Spicy. excitatory by the high alcohol content. The taste is full, robust, peppery, hints of nuts, honey, toffee, tasty fruity with a nice, medium finish. Soft, sweet, yet dry with notes of oak, ginger and plums.
July 2015 by Ad de Koning
Ad de Koning has spent his entire working life in the whisky industry. His commitment to popularizing whisky in the Netherlands is second to none and therefore he is regularly asked by importers as a consultant in the field of marketing and public relations. Honored for a career in the whisky world which now spans 50 years, Ad King is the only 'Master of the Quaich' in The Netherlands.
The Dalmore Cigar Malt
Dark gold. Specially designed for lovers of a good cigar. Cinnamon, vanilla and red fruit go hand in hand. Then tropical fruit, banana, toffee and vanilla ice cream. In the aftertaste orange, bergamot and ground spices come forward. Adheres excellent standing in a cloud of cigar smoke.\r\n
Glen Garioch, 12 Y
Honey. Tones of heather flowers held in balance by poached pears and sweet malt. First crème brûlée ripe banana, then a slight oak tone and pear, resulting in a long, smooth, creamy and fragrant finish. Because of the creamy / spicy aroma Glen Garioch is excellent with a cheese platter.
Yamazaki Distiller’s Reserve
Gold. A pleasant aroma of cherries, strawberries and Japanese oak. (Mizunara). The taste is reminiscent of raspberry, white peach and a hint of coconut. In the aftertaste sweet vanilla comes forward with a sigh of cinnamon. In Japan whisky is made since the mid 20-ies of the last century whisky. The great hero of Japanese whisky makers is Masataka Taketsuru who, around 1925, tarried in Scotland for a longer time to cheat the trick there. Yamazaki D.R. is a beautiful, mild, clean and fruity dram, great for summer evenings.
Highland Park, 12 Y
Glowing amber, yes! Aromas of heather honey, sweet peat smoke. That sensation continues on the tongue and the palate. The smoke is sweeter, with pronounced malt tones. The finish lingers pleasantly for a while in the oral cavity. Highland Park is ideally a good reference whisky because he has everything. You can use it to compare with other fine whiskies. Indeed, it is a real all-rounder.
Strathisla, 12 Y
Light gold; full and fruity with a hay-like character, surrounded by a soft-sweet nuttiness. The heart of this whisky is very recognizable with notes of honey. Strathisla is the core where the blend Chivas Regal is built. The distillery is the oldest working in the Speyside region and perhaps the most photographed. The double pagoda and the waterwheel placed, sure are very suitable for that.
Talisker Port Ruighe
Gold with a hint of red. First smoky, like a dying campfire, followed by the smell of rich, ripe plums. Salt dissolves into a creamy / smoky flavor, mixed with spices and dark fruit. The finish seems first sweet, but will gradually dry / smoky. Lingers. The name comes from the capital of the Isle of Skye, the picturesque town of Portree, whose harbor is lined with pastel-colored houses.
June 2015 door The Whisky Couple
The Whisky Couple\r\n\r\nHans Offringa is an internationally known writer and photographer. He wrote more than 25 books on whisky, numerous articles and received several awards including the Scotsman and Honorary Kentucky Colonel.\r\n\r\nBecky Lovett Offringa is a marine biologist with a passion for whisky, painting and photography. She provides for research, layout and editing, as well as marketing and social media at The Whisky Couple.\r\nTheir books, pictures and articles are published worldwide.
Tyrconnell - Madeira Cask Finish
Supple, flaxseed, citrus, slightly spicy but not overwhelming. Delicate. Appetizing aftertaste. A distillate from the distillery Cooley. The name refers to a famous Irish racehorse ever with 100: 1, a match won and its owner was pleasantly rich. The additional maturation in a barrel Madeira gives a fruity extra-velvet taste sensation with it.
Glenfarclas, 15 Y
Sherry, light peat smoke and butterscotch aromas with a hint of dried fruit. Full, good balance between sherry-like sweetness, malt and smoke show. Long lasting, pleasant, distinctive taste. Once, owner John Grant advised Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, at the time Britain's Prime Minister, to serve this version at 10 Downing Street, instead of brandy.
Four Roses - Single Barrel
Made from one of the ten distillates that Jim Rutledge is able to produce with his 5 yeasts and 2 mash bills. Selected By himself from the tens of thousands of barrels of maturing Four Roses bourbon. Spicy and powerful with cocoa, maple syrup and oak, hints of ripe plums and cherries. Robust and full, but nimble with a smooth, delicate, long aftertaste. The flavor varies fractionally per batch.
Fresh flowers, freshly sawn oak. Spicy, a touch of red. Silky, smooth, fruity and balanced peat smoke; then sweet oak and heather honey. Ends soft, elegant with nutmeg, pepper and a friendly smokiness that lingers. Reportedly sit all Islay single malt whiskies in this pleasant blend, complemented with a dash of grain whiskey.
Old Pulteney, 17 Y
Fresh dry and salty in the nose. Remarkably light, seasoned with salty malt. That salt lingers in the warm, lingering finish. The distillery is located in Wick. This was once an important fishing harbour, particularly for herring fishing. Today it is a recreational harbour for seaworthy yachts. On the bottle an old herring cutter is shown.
Talisker Dark Storm
Spicy, spicy and smoky, honeyed, sweet and malty, followed by a blast of pepper. Begins soft and sweet but spicy hot develops as a rising storm. Ends balanced with sweet, smoke and salt. Clean, long and warming. Fits also the spot where this dram is made, Loch Harport, near the village of Carbost. As the weather can occasionally be really nasty.
May 2015 by Wouter Wapenaar
This edition is composed exclusively for you by Wouter Wapenaar, Keeper of the Quaich.\r\n\r\nIn 2000, he first organized the still leading International Whisky Festival in the Netherlands. Since 2004 he organizes the International Malt Whisky Festival in Ghent. Wapenaar was the founder of the first Dutch whisky magazine "WhiskyEtc." and holder of the Guinness Book of World Records in 'tasting whisky'. On January 31, 2009 in Ghent 2,253 participants tasted six different whiskies. As Ambassador of Scotch Single Malt Whisky Society he gives a lot of of whisky tastings on location.
Teeling Small Batch
The Teeling Family is in whiskey for centuries. This time scion Jack Teeling is at the helm. The result is this beautiful, innovative new whiskey. This is a high malt blend, which is further aged in various barrels and cast in ultra small batches. This party was aged for 6 months in barrelswhich previously contained high quality rum. The rum barrels provide a wonderful bloom on the soft supple qualities of Irish whiskey.
Arran Cask Strength 12 Y Single Batch
A rich and powerful Arran. In this 4th batch of 12 years old Cask the influence of sherry casks is greatly increased. Master Distiller James MacTaggart has made a selection of first-fill sherry butts, Second-fill sherry hogs heads and bourbon barrels. The larger proportion of sherry casks creates tones of sweet fruit and spicy oak, while the vanilla of the bourbon barrels take care of roundness and refinement.
Talisker Skye was introduced in early 2015, named after the island on which the distillery is located. This whisky will make a fantastic "1st impression" by those unfamiliar with the Talisker flavoring profile, but also certainly popular among the diehard fans of Talisker. Matured in a combination of recycled and toasted American oak barrels, with a slightly higher proportion of toasted barrels.
Bowmore Small Batch
Islay Malts are known for their smokiness. Bowmore is no exception. This whisky matured in a combination of first and second fill bourbon barrels, which give the whisky the sweetness of vanilla, spices and subtle smoky wood tones that perfectly complement the delicate peat smoke of Bowmore. Second fill barrels enhance fruitiness and complexity and allow Bowmores distinctive notes of honey and creamy malt to be presented even better.
WouterWapenaar Private Cask Cask Strength
The Bruichladdich distillery is situated on Loch Indaal, at the Rhinns and is the most western located distillery in Scotland. This distillery offers third parties the opportunity to purchase their own cask, maturing them and to decide for themselves when this cask is being bottled. This nearly 10 years aged Cast Strength Single Malt whiskey was bottled in 2014 from a vessel that has been purchased by Wouter Wapenaar himself at this distillery.
David Stewart, Malt Master of Glenfiddich and Balvenie distilleries, has selected 3 whisky casks from the in Dufftown established distilleries for the composition of the Monkey Shoulder Blended Malt Scotch; Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Kininvie Each with its own flavor and identity, which coalesce to this particular blended malt whisky. There is no grain whisky or something else added. The name Monkey Shoulder comes from the shoulder injuries that the staff at the distillery was confronted with by continuously stirring the barley.
Bruichladdich - Bere Barley
This limited Bere Barley bottling of Bruichladdich is an experiment in their Provenance series. Completely distilled from Bere-grain, a very old cereal. It proved a very difficult crop, partly because the yield is half of that of modern cereals. Moreover, there were problems with the hardness by the milling and malting. Eventually, all the problems were overcome, resulting in this un-peated, un-chill filtered and uncoloured Limited Edition. Only 7200 bottles of this malt have been bottled.
Glenkinchie - Distillers Edition
In 1969 the distillery, which was originally called the Milton Distillery, stopped with malting its own grain and part of the building was converted into a Malt Whisky museum . The Glenkinchie label remained relatively little known until 1989, when United Distillers started to the marketing of the brand under their Classic Malts brand. This 14 year old Distiller's Edition is double matured in Amontillado sherry casks. Sherry flavor competes with the freshness, but not overpowering.
Benromach - Traditional
The first whisky, which came on the market again after the reopening of the Benromach distillery in 1998. By only using the best, and somewhat peated malted grain and the purest water from the nearby Romach hills is this malt of very pure taste. A beautifully balanced whisky, of which 80% has matured in ex-bourbon and the remaining 20% in sherry casks.
We seldom come across this 1997 vintage whisky of Inchgower as a single malt, due to the fact that the vast majority of the production goes to the Bell's family of blended whiskies. However, this single malt was bottled by Gordon & Macphail under their Connoisseurs Choice label. Now we can test this whisky with only its own characteristics we are pleasantly surprised.
Bottled by independent bottler Signatory as part of the Un-Chillfiltered Collection. Distilled on 18 February, the whisky was aged and bottled in 786 bottles on 17 November 2014. The sometimes extremely rare single cask bottlings are traditionally labeled and packaged by hand. Additionally Signatory offers whiskies usually with a specific reference to the day of the distillation, the vessel and the date of the filling and provides each bottle individually numbered.
Longrow - Peated
Longrow is one of the 3 whiskies which are distilled in the Springbank distillery and is very popular with collectors as investors. This Longrow Peated is seen as the successor to the Longrow C.V. Characteristic of this whisky is the smokiness. He has aged in sherry casks from which he gets his sweet flavor. Connoisseurs without exception find this malt to be fantastic value for money.
Highland Park, 18 Y
With the use of local peat of the Scottish Orkney Islands, containing heather, Highland Park distillery owes its characteristic flavor. This 18 year old Single Malt is a light smoky whisky with sweet notes of honey. The whisky is in perfect harmony; there are no rough edges and all flavors melt together beautifully. Winner of the Gold Medal of the 2005 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.\r\n\r\n43% Vol.
Inchmurrin, 15 Y
The packaging of this single malt can be described at least as ' wondrous'. The whisky has aged 15 years in bourbon casks, is non-chillfiltered and uncoulored. The nose is very fruity and gives a hint of cinnamon, apricot and melon, which is reflected in the taste with cream and vanilla with a nutty finish.\r\n\r\n46% Vol.
Glenturret, 10 Y
Glenturret distillery was founded in 1775 and is thus the oldest distillery in Scotland. With just one wash still and one spirit still, Glenturret is one of the smallest distilleries in Scotland. This is wonderful whisky, sweet of taste. Honey, oily and salty accents with a rustic charm. Tannin, spices and green fruits compete for dominance, but none of them wins.\r\n\r\n40% Vol.
Singleton Of Dufftown, 18 Y
Singleton is longer fermented and distilled slower than many other whiskies; something that provides the softness and deep flavor. Then matured in containers which are made from a combination of US and European oak for an extra rich flavor. This smooth, naturally rich single malt has sweet fruity tones and pleasant warmth that lasts. The unique bottle is inspired by the traditional hip flask.\r\n\r\n40% Vol.
Aberlour, 10 Y
Matured in a combination of ex-bourbon and sherry casks, this single malt whisky has a sweet and full nose and a full, slightly spicy sherry flavor. This Single Malt is therefore recommended to the novice whisky drinker, but also appreciated by the more experienced whisky lover. Thanks to its accessibility, this popular whisky is now exported to more than 50 countries.\r\n\r\n
Paul John Edited Indian Malt
‘Edited’ is the peated version of John Paul. The turf is the only ingredient not from India but from Scotland. Edited is fully matured in bourbon casks and 'un-chill filtered' and bottled uncoloured. This Single Malt has a deep golden color and a nose of light, sweet aromas of smoke, honey and licorice. With the powerful taste with notes of fruit, honey and smoke and a long, spicy finish.\r\n\r\n46% Vol.
Aged in oak barrels, and with a subtle aroma of apple-wood smoke, this whisky has a pure, graceful and enticing freshness. In the background, there's the merest hint of green figs on the silky texture as well as a subtle touch of phenol. Gentle, oaky, and wonderfully satisfying bitter touch. Faintly fruity and extremely impressive.\r\n\r\n40% Vol.
Jura, 10 Y
A core bottling from the Isle of Jura’s only distillery. This 10 year old exhibits the distillery’s classic oily, briny characteristics.
Scapa, 16 Y
The Scapa distillery is the second most Northern located distilleries in Scotland and is located on one of the Orkney Islands, which are only accessible by ferry from the place Stromness. Scapa only has one wash still and one spirit still and is one of the smallest distilleries in Scotland. Therefore, every drop of spirit that is produced here is intended for their own single malt.\r\n\r\n40% Vol.
The Macallan - Amber
Amber is part of The Macallan's new no age statement range of Speyside single malts, which concentrates on colour. The theory is that by using 100% sherry casks and natural colour, the darker the whisky, the older and more complex.\r\n\r\n40% Vol.
The Balvenie, 14 Y - Caribbean Cask
After being matured for 14 years in traditional oak casks the spirit is transferred to Caribbean rum casks to give it some extra flavour. This gives the whisky very nice notes of fruit and vanilla.\r\n\r\n43% Vol.
The Dalmore, 18 Y
Matured initially for 14 years in American white oak ex-bourbon casks, the whisky is then transferred to 30 year old Matusalem oloroso sherry wood for a further four years. Bottled at 43% alcohol by volume, The Dalmore 18 year old offers a provocative and intense taste experience with an enduring aftertaste of cinnamon and nutmeg.
Ardbeg - Uigeadail
Ardbeg Uigeadail is named after the mysterious loch which supplies the peat-laden water used to make Ardbeg. This Ardbeg is a combination of different Ardbeg’s that have matured in bourbon and sherry casks, Ardbeg Uigedail therefore has a pleasant sweet and smoky flavor that will please any whisky lover. Named ‘World Whisky of the Year’ in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2009.
Bushmills Malt, 16 Y - Three Wood
Bushmills whiskey is the oldest whiskey in the world. The distillery was established in the village of Bushmills and received a license to distil from King James I in 1608. Only in 1784 they became a registered trademark. This whiskey is matured for 16 years, first a part in American bourbon barrels and a part in Spanish oloroso barrels. Then they are put togheter and ‘married’ in port casks, hence the name ‘Three Wood’ or ‘Triple Wood’, it has a soft and honeyed flavor. The finish is slightly sweet with vanilla and honey-like tones.
Bruichladdich - Scottish Barley
The Bruichladdich Scottish Barley in it’s remarkable bottle is made from 100% Scottish organic barley, a distillation process called Slow Trickle Distillation and the premium American oak Barrels have produced one of the creamiest Whiskies we have ever tasted.
Knockando, 18 Y
This Knockando has ‘slowly matured’ in sherry casks for 18 years. It is an elegant, light, delicate and fruity malt. Well balanced a little grain-like and easy to drink.
Tobermory, 10 Y
Tobermory’s world-renowned 10 year old has evolved with stunning new depth. Matured for 10 years in ex-bourbon casks, the slight peat influence of the water at the distillery gives a unique character to the smooth notes of fruit and spice.
Loch Lomond Single Malt
Loch Lomond is probably Scotland’s most versatile distillery, in terms of the number of different styles of whisky produced for different purposes on one site. This Single Malt whisky is double matured, so all the goodness can be collected before being bottled. It is a mellow single malt that is slightly peaty to the nose. There is also a hint of brandy butter. The taste is sweet and smoky with a long mellow finish.
Glenmorangie, 18 Y
The Glenmorangie 18 Years Old is a single malt Scotch whisky of serious distinction. Once it has spent fifteen years maturing in American white oak casks approximately 30% is transferred into Spanish Oloroso casks to spend a further three years maturing. Then, when both elements have reached 18 years, Glenmorangie blends them back together to create a whisky with a rich bouquet and full, rounded flavour. For a whisky of this age, this expression has maintained, thanks to our delicate floral spirit and fine Oloroso casks.
Arran, 14 Y
The Arran 14 year-old is an immensely popular part of the core range of Arran. It is a perfectly balanced marriage of both first fill Sherry and Bourbon casks and is a righly rewarding Single Malt with depth of character and zest. It perfectly captures all the fresh character of the Arran 10 year-old with an added layer of intensity and fruitiness.
Highland Park - Einar
Highland Park - Einar has been crafted as a tribute to one of the most feared and ruthless Vikings of his time. Driven by a heady mixture of peat smoke and American oak casks, the result is a whisky of bold complexity brought together with the addition of some broody spiciness.
Caol Ila, 12 Y
Fresh, sweetly fruity and smooth-bodied, Caol Ila 12 year old single malt Scotch whisky is the colour of pale straw, with a delicate balance of tastes. The clean, appetising nose shows subtle citrus fruit with just a puff of smoke. Firm and smooth, it begins sweetly then yields a fragrant smokiness and a sweet-smoky, lingering finish.
Mortlach, 15 Y - G&M
A 15 Year Old Single Malt whisky from the Mortlach Distillery. This whisky is bottled by the famous independent bottlers Gordon & Macphail. It has a dark golden colour, light to medium body and long and delicate finish.
Glenfiddich, 18 Y
The specialist on-site coopers at Glenfiddich personally look after every precious cask they use for this outstanding single malt throughout its long maturation, ensuring the oak is in the best condition to imbue the whisky with its notes of baked apple, cinnamon and robust oak. Married for at least three months in small, individually numbered batches in wooden tuns, the Glenfiddich 18 Year Old has a unique depth and complexity that has been acclaimed in the industry.
Islay has a long and rich history. The mild climate and rich peat soils make it ideal for making whisky, and it is home to no fewer than eight distilleries, Bowmore was the first recorded. Islay Whiskies are known for their fatty smokiness. Bowmore is no exception. With a maturation of 18 years, the flavours and aromas are developed into adulthood.
Again a powerful Islay whisky with a higher alcohol content and the classic smokiness. The Laphroaig 18Y is characterized by the very full nose. The whisky has an elegant, complex body with the classic smoke of a good Islay. In the mouth are hints of burnt apricot, raisin and toffee. Enjoy this whisky with a few drops of water to reduce the smokiness and let the taste of chocolate come forward.
Talisker, 10 Y
The Talisker Distillery is the only distillery on the Isle of Skye which obviously gives it a unique character. Talisker is used by Johnnie Walker for their blended whisky and is also used in Drambuie. This indicates that this is a very special whiskey. A powerful malt you should learn to drink, with a complex and long firm finish.
This Gold Medal Award-winning single malt is the only whisky from a distillery in Wales. This whisky is matured in bourbon casks and finished in Madeira casks which gives it a subtle flavor and complexity. Distilled in a unique copper pot still. This single malt whisky has a smooth and light character. Madeira finish defines the 'whisky' style of Penderyn.
The Macallan, 12Y - Fine Oak
The 12 year old expression from Macallan’s Fine Oak range, matured in a selection of American and European oak casks seasoned with Sherry, as well as American oak casks seasoned with bourbon.
Four Roses Small Batch
Blending several bourbons is an art itself. 4 Original and limited Bourbons have been professionally selected at the peak of maturation and blended into a perfectly balanced small batch bourbon. Four Roses is conquering the world from Kentucky, by making a particularly fine and unique blend and the fact that the taste and quality is almost exactly the same as in previous batches. Sweet and spicy with a generous amount of vanilla.
The Glenlivet, 18 Y
Glenlivet is one of the most famous distilleries and whisky brands in the world. The location is considered by many as the perfect place to make whisky in a natural environment with high quality water and climate. This 18 year old single malt has a nice balance between fruit and dry tones, which arose under the influence of aging in oak and won gold at the International Wine and Spirits Competition 2 times!
Glen Ord, 28 Y
In the year 1840 there were 9 stills registered on the small peninsula Black Isle. The only remaining distillery is Glen Ord, built in 1838 by Robert Johnstone and Donald McLennan. This exclusive whiskey was distilled in 1975 and bottled in 2003 at cask strenght of 58.3%. Jim Murray gave this malt 90 points in the Whisky Bible, and called him "blisteringly beautiful".
Balvenie, 12Y - Doublewood
This 12 year old single malt owes its character to the two types of wood which it has matured in; a traditional oak whisky barrel and a first-fill European oak sherry barrel. The traditional barrel gives the whisky character, sherry wood depth and creates a rounded flavor. This particular combination makes each stage in the maturation of the best factors to emerge.
Glenfarclas, 17 Y
This 17 year old Glenfarclas single malt whisky is available limited and released specifically for the North American, Japanese and travel-retail market. Glenfarclas is one of the few remaining Scottish distilleries, independent family owned. All whisky here matures in two types of oak barrels. Casks which previously Bourbon or Scotch whiskey matured and vessels, which previously contained Oloroso and Fino Sherry from Seville. A complex, full-bodied malt with a long finish.
Macallan Director’s Edition
A prestigious and highly sought Macallan, complexity and character, created in collaboration with The Whisky Shop. Traditionally aged in ex-sherry casks, this is a special no-age-statement edition, stop put in 2012 as part of the rationalization of the range of the distillery.
Milford, 10 Y
Whisky, coming from New Zealand. This area, with its clear rivers and fine soil for growing quality barley, making it ideally suited to stoke whiskey. Milford always aspired to create a whiskey that could compete with the best in the world. A well balanced powerful whiskey with a distinct style. Special "Limited Edition" whiskey distillery because the Milford some time ago is closed.
Tomintoul - Peaty Thang
Hammerhead, 23 Y
Tomatin, 18 Y
Kavalan King Car
Lagavulin, 16 Y
Singleton - Tailfire
Oban, 14 Y
Auchentoshan - Three Wood
Dalwhinnie, 15 Y
Bunnahabhain, 18 Y
Bowmore, 12 Y
Glenfarclas - Heritage
Longmorn, 16 Y
Amrut Single Malt
Glenrothes Select Reserve
Old Pulteney, 12 Y
Black Burn Reserve Malt
Royal Lochnagar Distillers Edition
Clynelish, 14 Y
Redbreast, 12 Y
James E. Pepper 1776 Rye
AnCnoc, 12 Y
Macallan - Sienna
Glen Garioch - Founders Reserve
Benromach - Origins Batch 5 ‘Golden Promise’
Tobermory, 19Y - Single Cask
Glenlivet 12Y ± ’80
Dunfife ± ’70
Inchmurrin 1996 Signatory
Cardhu Amber Rock
Tullibardine 500 Sherry
Old Pulteney Duncansby Head
Glenlossie 1993 Connoisseurs Choice
Classic of Islay by Jack Wiebers