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Recent releases, July 2007

Ardmore, Traditional Cask (Scotland)
Ardmore distillery is located at Kennethmont, on the eastern fringes of Speyside, and for far too long almost all of the single malt from this large, eight-still plant has disappeared into the Teacher’s Highland Cream blend. Formerly owned by Allied Distillers, Ardmore is now part of Beam Global Spirits & Wine Inc, and as this whisky has long been a personal favourite, it is very pleasing to see an innovative ‘house’ bottling appear on the market. Ardmore enjoys a comparatively high level of peating for a Speyside whisky, and Traditional Cask has been matured initially in ex-Bourbon barrels and hogsheads before receiving a second period of maturation in hand-made quarter casks. This bottling carries no age statement, but the small, quarter casks are a proven way of adding maturity to spirit because of the higher level of contact with the wood. Smoked haddock and butter on the nose, plus sweet, fruity malt and spices. Sweet and initially creamy on the palate, spices, peat smoke, tobacco and vanilla emerge and blend together. Water releases ripe fruits and accentuates the peat. The finish is long and mellow. An excellent balance of sweetness and smoke. Speyside whisky as it used to be! Available currently in duty free, but in specialist UK retailers from September 2007. 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £25 (approx), Duty Free & Travel Retail, specialist whisky merchants.
Four Roses, Kentucky Straight Bourbon (USA)
The Four Roses Bourbon brand dates back to the 1880s, but has only recently been introduced to the general UK market, following success in Japan and mainland Europe. The Four Roses distillery is situated in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, and boasts a unique Spanish Mission-style of architecture rarely seen in the state. After many years in the hands of the old Seagram organisation of Canada, Four Roses has been owned by the Japanese Kirin Brewery Company since 2002. The original Four Roses offering, ‘Yellow Label’ is aged for five to six years, according to master distiller Jim Rutledge, and is a comparatively light-bodied Bourbon, with honey, burnt sugar and wood varnish on the nose. Water releases attractive orange and cream notes. Fresh fruits, spice and oak characterise the palate, while ginger nuts and drying oak figure in the medium finish. 40.0% ABV, 70cl, £15.99, specialist whisky merchants.
Four Roses, Small Batch Bourbon (USA)
The most recent addition to the Four Roses range, 'Small Batch' was launched in the USA at the Kentucky Bourbon Festival last September, and a second bottling run has been undertaken in order to meet demand and supply the UK market. "It's a unique combination of four original and proprietary Bourbons," explains Jim Rutledge. "We combine these four flavours to create a smooth and mellow Bourbon that is rich and spicy with fruity aromas. It's perfect for an enjoyable time with friends or a relaxing night on the town." Mild and refined on the nose, with nutmeg and restrained honey. Water releases delicate, toasty, floral notes. Bold and rich on the well-balanced palate, with spices, fruit and honey flavours. The finish is long and insinuating, with developing notes of vanilla. 45.0% ABV, 70cl, TBA, specialist whisky merchants.
Four Roses, Single Barrel Bourbon (USA)
Undoubtedly the star of the show, ‘Single Barrel’ offers a rich, complex nose, comprising malt, fruits, spices and fudge. Long and mellow in the mouth, with vanilla, oak, and a hint of menthol. The finish is long, spicy and decidedly mellow. 43.0% ABV, 70cl, £28.99, specialist whisky merchants.
Bowmore, Gordon & MacPhail Secret Stills 4.3 (Scotland)
Long noted as one of the most respected independent bottler of single malts, Elgin-based Gordon & MacPhail has nevertheless had to resort to releasing a number of expressions in its Secret Stills range when distillers have refused permission for their names to appear on the labels. The range includes a 1955 Talisker, a brace of Cragganmores from the 1960s, two Auchentoshans from 1989 and three variants of 1989 Bowmore. The bottle may not proclaim ‘Bowmore,’ but when the back label declares that the contents was distilled in “…the oldest distillery on Islay” it hardly requires Miss Marple to uncover the ‘secret still’ involved. The third release of 1989 Bowmore comprises whisky from four ex-Sherry hogsheads. The nose is filled with bonfire embers, smoked fish and smoked tea, with a pleasingly contrasting, sweet, heather honey note. Full bodied on the palate, again there is a lovely, contrasting interplay, this time between sweet fruits and medicinal, salty, bitter chocolate. The finish is long and slowly drying, with peat smoke and sweet honey notes. Bowmore is always well served by Sherry wood, and this is a fine example of a really well balanced and satisfying expression. 45.0% ABV, 70cl, £31.95, specialist whisky merchants.
Glenlivet, Nàdurra 16-Year-Old Cask Strength (Scotland)
Nàdurra (Gaelic for natural) is non-chill filtered and is matured in first fill ex-Bourbon American oak casks. Previously only available at 48%abv, it is now also offered at cask strength. Neil Macdonald, Brand Director for Malts at Chivas Brothers, says, "The Glenlivet Nàdurra pays homage to The Glenlivet’s heritage which is second to none - thanks to the lack of chill filtering in its production process. This is a reflection of the original process that would have been employed by founder George Smith and preserves the full flavour of this wonderful malt, giving it more body and a richer texture." Classic Glenlivet floral, fruity, honeyed notes on the nose, with vanilla and gentle spice. The first-fill Bourbon casks add a rich and creamy character. The fruity, floral notes continue on the early palate, with a suggestion of rosewater, before a long drying oaky and nutty finish kicks in. A must for all Glenlivet fans. Available in specialist retailers in the USA, and in duty free. 57.0% ABV, 100cl, £35.0, Duty Free & Travel Retail.
  

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