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Recent releases, September 2009

Highland Park, Hjarta 12-year-old (Scotland)
‘Hjarta’ is the ancient Norse word for ‘heart’, and this new expression from Highland Park has been launched to commemorate the recent refurbishment of the Orkney distillery’s visitor centre. Some 3,900 bottles are available, exclusively from the distillery itself, the online shop, or in Scandinavian outlets. Hjarta is a natural strength 12-year-old variant of Highland Park, and it offers a sweet, buttery nose, featuring orange fondant creams, heather and a suggestion of sweet smoke. The smoke is more overt when water is added, along with a hint of rubbery Sherry. Smooth, aromatic and spicy on the palate, with lemon, coconut and smoke. The finish is refined, lingering and discreetly smoky. 58.1% ABV, 70cl, £65.00, distillery website.
The Balvenie, Madeira Cask 17-year-old (Scotland)
This month sees the launch of The Balvenie Madeira Cask 17 Year Old, which follows up on last year’s limited release Balvenie Rum Cask 17 Year Old. The Balvenie Malt Master David Stewart says that “Each bottling is its own alchemy of spirit, wood and time, but knowing how well port and Oloroso Sherry cask maturation complements The Balvenie’s honeyed sweetness we were sure that a Madeira cask would produce interesting results. The 17-year-old whisky extracted some wonderful rich spice and distinct raisin flavours from the Madeira cask, which we hope malt enthusiasts will enjoy discovering in the glass.” Where the use of former rum casks for finishing purposes gave The Balvenie a rich sweetness, the use of ex-Madeira casks provides a spicy counterpoint. Warm and sweet on the nose, with spicy vanilla, cinnamon and stewed apples. Full-bodied and fruity on the palate, with notes of vanilla and dates. The finish is long and initially sweet, with a developing dry oakiness. 43.0% ABV, 70cl, £69.99, specialist whisky merchants.

WEMYSS MALTS

Wemyss Malts have recently released a trio of 8-year-old blended malts to follow up on their previous range of five-year-olds, each identified by the aromas and flavours that describe each expression. According to William Wemyss, managing director of Wemyss Malts, "After the success of the five-year-old range customers were asking us 'where next,' and we felt that an older range would offer greater complexity for those consumers who had already enjoyed our five-year-olds."

Weymss Vintage Malts, The Peat Chimney 8-year-old (Scotland)
Smoky, slightly herbal and medicinal, with fresh, citrus fruits. Peat smoke and fruit on the palate, with background barley sugar and malt notes. The finish is long and drying, with hazelnuts and black pepper. Becoming ashy, with orange wine gums at the end. 40.0% ABV, 70cl, £25.00, Constantine Stores, Handford’s, The Wine Mill.
Weymss Vintage Malts, The Smooth Gentleman 8-Year-Old (Scotland)
Fragrant, with new-mown hay, fresh fruits and hand-rolling tobacco on the nose. The palate is smooth, as the name suggests, malty and spicy, with a hint of tobacco. The finish is medium in length, spicy, with a hint of milk chocolate and ultimately drying. The addition of water makes the finish much nuttier. 40.0% ABV, 70cl, £25.00, Constantine Stores, Handford’s, The Wine Mill.
Weymss Vintage Malts, The Spice King 8-year-old (Scotland)
Initially spicy aromas, ginger, pepper and nutmeg, with a gently smoky background and a whiff of soy sauce. Approachable on the palate, with angelica, Sherry, a tang of Islay and cough syrup. The finish is drying and nutty, with mild peat and oak. 40.0% ABV, 70cl, £25.00, Constantine Stores, Handford’s, The Wine Mill.
  

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