gavin smith




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



    stories features


  

Recent releases, June 2010

William Grant & Sons, 25-Year-Old (Scotland)
The family-owned distiller William Grant & Sons Ltd has entered the ultra-premium blended Scotch whisky sector with a 25-year-old expression. According to company chairman Peter Gordon, “Grant’s 25 Year Old contains 25 whiskies from every region of Scotland, with the most unique element being our Girvan Grain – the backbone of all our blends.” Indeed, some of the grain whisky distilled at Girvan and included in this blend was the first ever laid down after the Ayrshire coast distillery opened in 1964. 2,000 bottles will be available from this month onwards until the end of the year exclusively in selected international airports, after which it will also find its way onto the shelves of specialist retailers. Mellow and balanced on the nose; warm, floral and peachy, with butter, background vanilla, worn leather and an elusive whiff of smoke. The harmony of the nose follows through on the well-integrated palate. Fresh fruits, creamy spice, discreet vanilla and oak feature here. The finish is luxurious, with ginger and mellow oak. 43.0% ABV, 70cl, £125.00, Duty Free & Travel Retail.
Abhainn Dearg, Spirit of Lewis (Scotland)
Just 1,000x 50ml bottles of ‘The Spirit of Lewis’ have been released from Abhainn Dearg distillery on the Hebridean Isle of Lewis, with 500 being earmarked for the UK and 500 for mainland Europe. Each is signed by founder Mark Tayburn. According to a spokesperson for Scotland’s westernmost distillery, which came on stream in September 2008, “The Spirit of Lewis is a traditional Outer Hebridean dram, a relatively young spirit, matured for a short period of time in a Sherry cask. It is then reduced to 40.0% ABV.” The result is a spirit with a grassy nose of tinned pears, with the emphasis on tin, sweet cereal, and a mildly herbal note. Reduced with water, there is a distinct impression of houseplant cuttings. Quite voluptuous in the mouth, smooth, with plump barley, and very drinkable. The finish is short to medium in length, gently spicy and slightly metallic, with a final fruit and nut chocolate taste. Too young to be allowed out on its own for long, but this is an extremely promising ‘work in progress,’ and with a few more years behind it Abhainn Dearg could be a serious dram indeed. 40.0% ABV, 70cl, £46.00, distillery website, distillery website.
Glenfarclas, 40-year-old (Scotland)
Glenfarclas 46.0%ABV The family-owned Glenfarclas distillery on Speyside is notable for offering well aged expressions of whisky matured in ex-Sherry wood, and the latest edition to the line-up is a stunning 40-year-old bottling. Full and lush on the nose, with sweet Sherry, orange marmalade, new leather and spicy fruit. A whiff of pepper. Big-bodied, rich and supremely confident on the palate, with initial milk chocolate and sweet fruit, followed by developing black coffee and liquorice notes. The finish is very long, with spicy liquorice, leather and ginger at the last. This whisky holds up extremely well for its age. Another Glenfarclas classic. 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £290.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Inchgower, Diageo Manager's Choice 1993 (Scotland)
The third batch of Diageo’s Managers’ Choice line up of single cask bottlings was released recently, and it includes an Inchgower, distilled close to the north-east fishing port of Buckie, and matured in a European oak bodega Sherry cask. The result is a sweet, fruity, caramel and Sherry trifle nose, which has hints of rubber and vegetal notes when diluted with water. Full-bodied, with tarmac, treacle and cough syrup on the palate. The finish is complex, with bitter oak notes vying with sea salt and even molasses. (564 bottles) 61.9% ABV, 70cl, £200.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Caol Ila, Diageo Manager's Choice 1997 (Scotland)
This variant of the Islay single malt emanates from a European oak bodega Sherry cask. The nose evokes smoked fish cooked in butter, a whiff of chlorine and brine, with contrasting sweet, fragrant notes of Sherry and Turkish delight. Fabric sticking plasters, pine needles and wood smoke when water is added. Full-bodied and phenolic, with pine, citrus fruits and nutty peat on the palate. The finish is long and slightly earthy, with sweet peat, pepper and spice. (366 bottles) 58.0% ABV, 70cl, £300.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Glenkinchie, Diageo Manager's Choice 1992 (Scotland)
This expression of Glenkinchie has also been matured in a European oak cask, rather than the more usual ex-Bourbon wood predominantly associated with the brand. The nose is initially sweet and fruity, with toasted coconut and fruit malt loaf notes developing. Water releases more vanilla. Smooth and malty in the mouth, with fresh oranges, spice and brittle toffee. Subtle vanilla, walnuts and a hint of Cognac in the gently drying finish. (528 bottles) 58.1% ABV, 70cl, £250.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Mannochmore, Diageo Manager's Choice 1998 (Scotland)
The Speyside single malt of Mannochmore is much more elusive than either Caol Ila or Glenkinchie, and this expression is another to have been matured in a European oak bodega Sherry cask. Sweet on the dense nose, with apricots, ginger, cream soda and Demerara sugar. Rich on the palate, with milk chocolate, orange marmalade and raisins, changing to dark chocolate orange in the lengthy, luscious finish. (588 bottles) 59.1% ABV, 70cl, £200.00, specialist whisky merchants.
  

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