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Recent releases, May 2010

Balvenie, Signature Batch Three 12-year-old (Scotland)
Balvenie Signature was created by Malt Master David Stewart, using whisky matured in a mixture of first-fill Bourbon, refill Bourbon and ex-Sherry casks. It is produced in small, numbered batches, the third of which hits the shelves this month. According to a Balvenie spokesperson, “From the Sherry butts comes rich fruit and spiciness; the Bourbon barrels convey subtle vanilla oak and layers of honey, while the refill casks impart delicate, sweet notes and smoothness. The result of this union is a perfect balance of spice and subtle oak, deliciously enveloped in The Balvenie’s honeyed character.” Malty and gently floral on the nose. Livelier and fruitier with water. The palate is smooth and complex, with spicy malt and a hint of Sherry. The finish is medium in length, with cinder toffee and mild oak. 40.0% ABV, 70cl, £31.49, specialist whisky merchants.
Kilchoman, Spring 2010 Release (Scotland)
The third bottling from the Islay distillery of Kilchoman has recently been launched. According to Kilchoman managing director Anthony Wills, “This release has been matured in fresh Bourbon barrels for three years and finished in oloroso sherry butts for three months. Added to the vatting were four refill Bourbon barrels.” The nose offers sweet smoke, buttery fish, toasted oats and berries. Sweet on the palate, with spicy, youthful oak notes, more berries and vanilla fudge. Medium length in the warming, gently-spiced finish. Remarkably well integrated for its age. 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £44.99, specialist whisky merchants.
Dalmore, Mackenzie (Scotland)
The Dalmore distillery at Alness, north of Inverness, boasts a long association with the Mackenzie family, who owned it until its acquisition by Whyte & Mackay in 1960. The distiller has recently linked up with the Mackenzie clan in order to aid its fundraising efforts, and the initial result is a 3,000 bottle release of The Dalmore Mackenzie. This expression contains spirit distilled in 1992 and matured in American white oak casks for 11 years, before a final period of finishing in fresh port pipes. The result is a whisky which is rich, spicy and fragrant on the nose, with glace cherries and marzipan notes. Water releases an aroma of hot, roasted chestnuts. Mouth-coating, full-bodied and fruity, then very slowly drying to mild, oaky liquorice. The oak is accentuated by the addition of water, which also releases a slightly smoky character. 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £100.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Tomatin, 1997 Single Cask (Scotland)
The Inverness-shire distillery of Tomatin has recently added three new expressions to its line up, as part of an active, ongoing release policy. The 1997 vintage has been matured in a first refill Bourbon barrel. Spice, malt and brittle toffee on the nose, plus Spangles sweets. Buttery oak and peanuts on the palate, which is fruitier and smokier with the addition of water. Oaky in the relatively short finish. (244 bottles), selected European markets and Japan. 57.1% ABV, 70cl, £49.99, specialist whisky merchants.
Tomatin, 1999 Single Cask (Scotland)
This Tomatin release has been finished for two years in a Tempranillo wine cask. Tempranillo is a grape variety commonly used to produce rioja, and originates in Spain. Exotic spices on the nose, Jaffa oranges and an almost savoury note. Sweet and nicely balanced on the palate. Quite full-bodied, oily and spicy, with malt and plain chocolate. Slowly drying, with persistent spicy fruit. (302 bottles) selected European markets and Japan. 57.1% ABV, 70cl, £49.99, specialist whisky merchants.
Tomatin, 21-year-old (Scotland)
This expression comprises a vatting of seven casks, six of which were refill American oak and one of which was an ex-Sherry butt. This is the pick of the trio for whisky-pages samplers. Quite delicate, even reticent on the nose, mildly herbal and leathery, with resin and stewed fruits. Heathery, malty, honeyed and slightly smoky on the palate – eminently drinkable. Fruitier with the addition of water. Medium in length, with pleasant, background oak. (2,400 bottles) specialist retailers worldwide. 52.0% ABV, 70, £115.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Edradour, Ballechin ‘The Discovery Series’ Batch 4 (Scotland)
The Ballechin name is used by Edradour for its heavily-peated spirit, first distilled in 2003 and previously offered in red Burgundy, Madeira and port casks. Batch 4 has been matured solely in first-fill oloroso Sherry casks, and the result is a whisky with a nose of profound, yet polished, notes of peat and Sherry, which merge nicely and give the impression of a considerably older spirit. The palate is luxurious and smooth, with warm leather and stewed fruit notes to the fore, while insistent, spicy peat develops and lasts through a long, warming finish 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £58.00, specialist whisky merchants.
  

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