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Recent releases, April 2008

Glenglassaugh, Milroy’s of Soho Single Cask 1976 (Scotland)
This 1976 Milroy’s of Soho Glenglassaugh is a topical bottling, as it was recently announced (see Whisky News, March) that the Portsoy distillery is to reopen later this year, having been acquired in mothballed state by a Dutch investment consortium. Much of the present distillery dates from a late-1950s reconstruction programme, and the plant is equipped with a single pair of stills. Glenglassaugh is a rare beast in any form, and this 30-year-old expression from an ex-Bourbon hogshead has an enticing nose of new-mown hay, apricots and cream, subtle vanilla and just a whiff of smoke. The palate is big, malty and pleasingly spicy, drying slowly with persistent fruit, and barely a hint of the sort of oakiness that would be excusable, given the whisky’s vintage. A fine example of a very rare and often underrated whisky. Here’s to seeing more coming off the stills before too long! 318 bottles. 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £90.00, Milroy's of Soho.
Glen Grant, Milroy’s of Soho Single Cask 1995 (Scotland)
Not too much Glen Grant finds its way into Sherry wood, and only modest quantities get to spend any great length of time relaxing in warehouses, but as distillery manager Dennis Malcolm notes “When it does, it matures beautifully in ex-Sherry casks.” This example by Milroy’s of Soho is not exactly in the veteran stakes, being bottled as an 11-year-old, but it has been matured in a fino Sherry butt, giving it a pale, white-gold hue. Honey and yeasty, cereal notes initially dominate the delicate nose, along with citrus fruits, but drier, more grapey characteristics emerge in time. Firm and nicely weighty in the mouth, with fresh oranges and more honey, but ultimately comparatively dry grapes from the fino Sherry. The finish is satisfyingly dry and flinty. An unusual but extremely desirable expression of a classic Speyside malt. 875 bottles. 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £35.00, Milroy's of Soho.
Longrow, CV (Scotland)
Longrow is the highly regarded, heavily peated whisky produced in Campbeltown’s Springbank distillery, and two new expressions have recently reached the market. According to the distillers, production director Frank McHardy and distillery manager Stuart Robertson were told “We want a Longrow with the maximum smoke and peat, yet with balance and complexity and maturity.” The result is Longrow CV, which contains 6, 10 and 14-year-old whiskies, matured in a variety of casks ranging in size from 50 to 550 litres. Initially slightly gummy on the nose, but then brine and fat peat notes develop. Sweet, vanilla and malt also emerge. Exposure to air reveals deeper, more intense notes than are at first apparent, and everything is imbued with a persistent bonfire smokiness. The smoky palate offers lively brine and is quite dry and spicy, with some background vanilla and lots of ginger. Water teases out more overt peat. The finish is medium in length and peaty with persistent, oaky ginger. 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £29.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Longrow, Gaja Barola Wood Expression (Scotland)
The second new Longrow is a seven-year-old which has been finished for approximately one and a half years in Italian Barola wine casks, after an initial maturation period in refill Bourbon wood. The wine casks are from Angelo Gaja’s winery in Piemonte, and 13,200 bottles have been released. This youthful Longrow is initially much more reticent on the nose than the Longrow ‘CV’, with less brine but, again, plenty of smoke - this time of the bonfire, rather than peat, variety. It becomes altogether more floral and fragrant with time, with developing notes of rose water and marshmallow behind the smoky curtain. Big, fruity and comparatively dry in the mouth, with dried grapes and subtle oak tannins. Red wine meets sweet peat. Quite long and drying in the finish, with fading fruit and lingering peat smoke. 55.8% ABV, 70cl, £41.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Talisker, 57 Degrees North (Scotland)
The latest expression of Talisker is named in recognition of the fact that Talisker distillery on the Isle of Skye has an unusually high latitude, and it becomes the only regularly available ‘full strength’ version of the acclaimed island malt. The whisky carries no age statement, but brand owner Diageo confirms it has been matured exclusively in American oak refill casks. The nose offers a very attractive blend of rich, spicy fruit and smoke from a bonfire beside the sea. With time, the fruit fades somewhat, and spent matches appear. Perhaps they were used to light the bonfire! Full-bodied and warming on the complex palate, with initially intense fruitiness followed by increasing smoky spice and pepper notes. Water teases out sweet peat and barley sugar. The finish is long and gently smoky, with characteristic Talisker chilli powder lingering to the very end. Another cracker from the shores of Loch Harport! 57.0% ABV, 100cl, £43.99, Duty Free & Travel Retail.
Tullibardine, John Black Blended Malt 8-Year-Old (Scotland)
Tullibardine distillery manager John Black is currently celebrating a remarkable 50 years working in the Scotch whisky industry, and to commemorate this achievement he has created two blended malts with notably different characters. The first is described by John as a 'honey' blended malt, and the soft, gentle nose offers honey, Caramac bars and summer fruits. Water releases floral and freshly-squeezed orange notes. The honey and fruit theme carries over from the nose on to the palate, with vanilla and spices. Slightly musty with the addition of water. The finish is medium in length with slightly dull oak. 40.0% ABV, 70cl, £24.00, distillery website, specialist whisky merchants.
Tullibardine, John Black Blended Malt 10-Year-Old (Scotland)
The second of John Black’s creations is a ‘peaty’ blended malt, which is big and robust on the nose, with appealing, sweet and fruity peat smoke notes. Sweet peat and an early hint of mint appear on the palate, with developing oak. Water releases more nutty characteristics. Slightly ‘thinner’ than might be expected from the nose. The medium-length finish is drying, with bonfire embers rather than peat at the slightly, tarry, fishy close. 40.0% ABV, 70cl, £25.00, distillery website, specialist whisky merchants.
  

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