gavin smith




 home    about    forum    tasted    features    whisky A-Z    directory    books    links    sign-up    beer    wine



    stories features


  

Recent releases, January 2010

Glenlivet, 1973 Cellar Collection (Scotland)
The eighth release in the ongoing Glenlivet Cellar Collection is a 1973 bottling, comprising spirit from three individual casks, giving an out-turn of just 853 bottles. It is the first expression to be the responsibility of Chivas Brothers’ Alan Winchester, who has recently been appointed Master Distiller for The Glenlivet, following in the footsteps of Jim Cryle, who has retired from the role. Winchester’s involvement with The Glenlivet dates back to his appointment as brewer there in 1986, and Chivas point out that during the 36 years in which this whisky has been maturing, Winchester has never lived more than 20 minutes’ drive away from the distillery! The 1973 Cellar Collection has been matured in one ex-Sherry butt and two American oak refill hogsheads, and offers a nose of sweet Sherry, Jaffa oranges, custard powder and cinnamon, while the palate is smooth and refined, yet bold, yielding spicy Sherry, ginger and peaches. Drying, nutty and gently tannic in the finish, with a suggestion of aniseed. 49.0% ABV, 70cl, £800.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Inverarity, Limited Edition Blend (12-year-old) (Scotland)
The Lanarkshire-based Inverarity Vaults wine and spirits company has added an eye-catching, limited edition 12-year-old blend to its line-up. Founded in 1991, the firm offers a range of Scotch whiskies under the Inverarity brand, and also provides own label bottling for many outlets, including The Scottish Parliament. The latest Inverarity release features a striking landscape label design by renowned Scots artist and author Alisdair Gray, and, according to a company spokesman, “The bottle contains a unique blend of Highland malts and grain whisky, all distilled in 1997. Ronnie Martin, founder of Inverarity, felt that such whiskies, after 12 years’ ageing, produced the optimum union of flavours and complexity in a well-blended Scotch.” The nose is gently floral, with citrus fruits, desiccated coconut and hazelnuts. Notes of damp moss and lichen appear with the addition of water. The age shows on the palate, which is luxurious and rounded, with a spicy, citric edge. Nuttier with water. The finish is pleasingly lengthy. (3,000 bottles). 40.0% ABV, 70cl, £25.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Glenrothes, Alba Reserve (Scotland)
40.0%ABV Unlike many Glenrothes bottlings, this expression has been matured exclusively in ex-Bourbon casks, with no European oak component. Due to the absence of casks which formerly contained Sherry, Alba Reserve has Kosher certification, making it ideal for those of a strict Jewish persuasion. This is a multi-vintage expression, lacking an age statement, and it provides an attractive, if youthful, nose of pears, cloves, coconut and white chocolate. The palate is soft and approachable, with ripe berries. Clear coconut flavor emerges when water is added. The finish is relatively sweet and consistently elegant. 40.0% ABV, 70cl, £49.99, specialist whisky merchants.
Glencadam, 30-year-old (Scotland)
Although there are ‘house’ bottlings of Glencadam available at 10 and 15 years of age, this single malt tends to be as elusive as the Angus Dundee distillery that produces it, hidden away in the back streets of the Angus town of Brechin. A limited edition 25-year-old expression sold out very quickly, and has now been replaced by a 30-year-old, distilled in 1978 and matured in Sherry butt number 2335. The butt has yielded 615 bottles, and the nose offers lots of sweet Sherry, ripe berries, talcum powder and a hint of paper gum. Full-bodied and rich in the mouth, with oranges and earthy spice. The finish is long and dries steadily, briefly giving fruit pastilles, with oak tannins. Quite bitter with the addition of water. 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £199.95, specialist whisky merchants.
Talisker, 25-year-old (Diageo Special Releases 2009) (Scotland)
The seventh release of 25-year-old Talisker comprises whiskies matured in a mixture of European oak casks and refill American oak casks. The nose offers vibrant fruit, damp tweed, smoke, oak and ginger. Elastoplast and subtle vanilla with the addition of water. The palate is notably bold, with powerful chili and black pepper hits, followed by peat and brine. The finish is long and peppery. (5,862 bottles) 54.8% ABV, 70cl, £160.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Talisker, 30-year-old (Diageo Special Releases 2009) (Scotland)
As with the 25-year-old, this 30-year-old Talisker, the fourth ‘edition’ from Diageo released in 2009, has been matured in refill American oak casks and European oak casks. Almonds, vanilla fudge and gentle smoke on the nose. The palate is smooth and fruity, with hints of vanilla. Less of a blunt instrument than that of the 25-year-old, yet retaining all of Talisker’s characteristic fire in the belly, with no shortage of pepper. Big, confident, citric chili notes linger for a very long time in the finish. (3,000 bottles) 53.1% ABV, 70cl, £210.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Port Ellen, 30-year-old (Diageo Special Releases 2009) (Scotland)
This is the ninth annual release from the much missed Islay distillery, which closed down in 1983, and the first official 30-year-old Port Ellen. The nose is a gem, initially featuring peaches, apricots and vanilla, rapidly becoming sweetly peaty, with pine needles mild pepper and brine. Viscous in the mouth, rich, fruity and smoky, with brine, coal and liquorice. Fabric sticking plasters with the addition of water. The finish dries steadily, and smouldering peat lingers. (5,916 bottles) 57.7% ABV, 70cl, £240.00, specialist whisky merchants.
  

 home    about    forum    tasted    features    whisky A-Z    directory    books    links    sign-up    beer    wine