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Recent releases, July 2010

Oban, ‘Distillery-only’ Single Malt (Scotland)
In common with Blair Athol, Glenkinchie and Lagavulin, Diageo has launched a distillery-only expression of Oban, bottled at cask strength and without an age statement. The West Highland malt has undergone a secondary period of maturation in Pedro Montilla Fino-treated American oak casks. Caol Ila, Clynelish and Talisker already offered distillery-exclusive variants, and Nick Morgan, spokesman for the Classic Malts Selection rang explains that "When visitors take the trouble to visit our distilleries, it's nice to be able to give them the option of buying something that they couldn't get anywhere else. "In fact, with three of these new ones - Lagavulin, Glenkinchie and Oban - we have been able to take advantage of a number of special casks that had been intended for bottling as Distiller's Editions over the past few years but were found to be surplus to requirements, and have been sitting in our warehouse ever since. These have undergone a second (or 'double') maturation in American Oak cask wood that has previously held a fortified wine - in this case, Sherry-treated American oak casks." The nose offers warm honey and is lightly citric, with rich fudge, Sherry, cloves and a hint of wood smoke. Water releases orange fondant cream notes. Full-bodied, smooth and gently spicy in the mouth, with candied peel, Jaffa oranges and a developing edge of subtle salt and smoke. Spicy oak, persistent ginger and a hint of cloves in the lengthy finish. 55.2% ABV, 70cl, £60.00, distillery visitor centre.
Ardbeg, Supernova SN 2010 (Scotland)
Following the success of a limited release of Supernova last year, the team at Ardbeg has now come up with a new limited edition, described as having “...the same very high peat levels as the 2009 release but a higher strength at 60.1% ABV and deeper, earthier character.” Supernova is some 40 per cent peatier than the standard Ardbeg 10-year-old release, and Dr Bill Lumsden, Head of Distilling and Whisky Creation for brand owners the Glenmorangie Company, notes that “We believe with Ardbeg SN2010 that we have created a compelling whisky which will again, like the 2009 release, both delight and challenge those looking for an out-of-this-world whisky experience. With its hot, sizzling and gristy sensations that effervesce and explode on the tongue followed by a powerful peaty punch, this is truly yet another galactic explosion of aromas. The intensity of flavours is Ardbeg at its most powerful and peaty and yet we always have that delightful layered, sweet complexity that makes Ardbeg such a sensational dram!” Brine, kippers in butter, apricots and freshly-wiped ashtrays on the nose. With water there is a whiff of fabric Elastoplast impregnated with ginger, plus a hint of beeswax. The palate is sweet and mashy, with fierce bonfire smoke. Reduced with water it yields lemon, orange peel, oak and almonds. The finish is medium in length and ashy. 60.0% ABV, 70cl, £80.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Dailuaine, Managers’ Choice 1997 (Scotland)
This single cask, cask strength expression of one of Diageo’s principal Speyside blending malts has been matured in a Bodega Sherry European oak cask. The result is an elegant whisky with a nose of toffee apples and sweet Sherry, becoming progressively sweeter, ending at icing sugar. Mouth-coating, with Sherry, toffee, ripe bananas and ginger. The spicy finish is lengthy and gently drying. (564 bottles). 58.6% ABV, 70cl, £200.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Kilbeggan, Distillery Reserve Malt Whiskey (Ireland)
For over 200 years, Kilbeggan distillery in County Westmeath produced highly-regarded whiskey, but the plant finally fell silent in 1957. Then, 50 years later, Cooley Distillery Plc began to distil at Kilbeggan once more, using the oldest working pot still in the world, which dates back to 1830. Now, a youthful bottling from Kilbeggan has been released, with a Cooley spokesperson noting that “The Kilbeggan Distillery Reserve Malt, the latest addition to the Kilbeggan family of fine whiskeys, is produced from 100 per cent malted barley. Due to the distinctive narrow necks of the ancient pot still design, it is an exceptionally smooth and flavoursome Irish malt whiskey of distinctive character.” Highly individualistic on the nose. Oily and herbal, with tarragon, warm leather, paper gum, and even violets. The palate is quite delicate, yet far from fragile, with gentle leather and developing fruity spices. Drying in a medium-length finish. This precocious youngster could be a classic in time. 40.0% ABV, 70cl, €50, specialist whisky merchants.
Tullamore, Dew Black 43 (Ireland)
According to C&C, “Crafted by Ireland’s eminent Master Blender Barry Walsh, Tullamore Dew Black 43 is a triple distilled blend, enriched by spicy full-flavoured pot still whiskey aged in old Oloroso Sherry casks. The ‘43’ in the name indicates its higher-than-usual alcohol strength. Black 43’s distinctive pot still character is blended to appeal to Tullamore Dew drinkers interested in extending their drinking repertoire without moving to the more exclusive aged variants.” C&C International’s Marketing Manager, Benoit Batard adds that “The new Black 43 is packaged in the standard Tullamore Dew bottle as an everyday drink, but the deep matt black labelling and silver foil give it a strongly masculine and sophisticated personality – in line with our target audience expectations. The extra strength and more complex flavour really add to the drinking experience and make a great addition to the award-winning Tullamore Dew range.” Maple syrup, ginger and sweet spice on the nose, plus a hint of lanoline. Becoming more pine-y and citric with time. Discreet oiliness on the spicy palate - drier than the nose might suggest. Dark berries and a hint of cough syrup, with Sherry notes coming through. The finish is even, spicy and medium in length. Initially available in the Czech Republic and Bulgaria, later in other markets. 43.0% ABV, 70cl, €18.50, No known UK stockists.
Irish Distillers, Redbreast 15-year-old Pure Pot Still Irish Whiskey (Ireland)
In 2007 Irish Distillers produced a one-off 15-year-old expression of Redbreast to celebrate the 50th anniversary of La Maison Du Whisky in Paris, and such was its reception that last year a decision was taken to offer ‘Redbreast 15’ as an ongoing release to stand alongside the regular 12-year-old variant. Redbreast is one of the last surviving true Irish pot still whiskeys, triple distilled in pot stills from a mix of malted barley and unmalted grains. The 15-year-old expression is produced at 46%abv and is not chill-filtered. Sherry, marzipan and Christmas cake notes on the nose; lush and oily with figs. A classic, pot still Irish palate, slick and buttery, with spicy Sherry, olives and rye notes. Lengthy in the finish, with enduring oil, citrus fruit and spices. 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £65.00, specialist whisky merchants.
  

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