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Recent releases, October 2010

Macallan, Oscuro (Scotland)
The latest addition to The Macallan’s ‘1824’ travel retail-exclusive range is Oscuro, which comprises a vatting of whiskies distilled between 1987 and 1997. Medium-sweet Sherry on the nose, with glace cherries, a dusting of cocoa powder, light smoke and new leather. Full-bodied, with raisins, dates and Christmas cake spices. Dries slowly and elegantly to dark chocolate truffles. 46.5% ABV, 70cl, £400.00, Duty Free & Travel Retail.
Springbank, Hazelburn CV (Scotland)
Following the success of its heavily-peated Longrow CV expression, without an age statement, J A Mitchell & Co Ltd of Campbeltown has followed up with a Springbank CV and now a Hazelburn CV. Versions of the trio were previously available in a triple-pack of 20cl bottles. Hazelburn is triple-distilled and was first produced in 1997. Eight and 12-year-old expressions are also available in addition to CV. Initially slightly mashy and herbal on the nose, with acetone and cigarette packets. Citric and maltier with time. Orange, ginger, vanilla and sherbet zest on the spicy palate. The finish is medium in length and spicy, with a slight suggestion of salt. A fresh, breezy, aperitif whisky. 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £31.95, specialist whisky merchants.
Benromach, Origins Batch No.2 (Scotland)
The small, Speyside distillery of Benromach has recently added two new Origins bottlings to its line-up. Origins is a series of special bottlings launched in 2008 to highlight how small changes in the art of whisky making can help shape the character of the final single malt. According to distillery owners Gordon & MacPhail, “Each batch displays the ‘Benromach style’ of peat-smoke with malt aromas and a delicate perfumed nose, while at the same time offering a slightly different sensation for the consumer.” Origins Batch No. 2 was distilled in 1999 and has been fully matured in port pipes. It is the first Benromach expression to be entirely aged in a wine cask. The result is a whisky with a savoury and fruity nose, reminiscent of soy sauce, with a smoky edge. Rich and full-bodied in the mouth, with spicy fruit notes and brittle, smoky toffee. Earthy with the addition of water. Dark chocolate in the lengthy, gingery finish. 50.0% ABV, 70cl, £38.50, specialist whisky merchants.
Benromach, Origins Batch No.3 (Scotland)
Origins Batch No. 3 was distilled in 1990, using Optic barley, whereas the first Origins bottling was produced from Golden Promise. Batch No. 3 has been matured in ex-Sherry casks. According to Benromach distillery manager Keith Cruickshank “These two new batches are quite different but still recognisably ‘Benromach’ in style. Because we are such a small operation, with just two distilling staff, we have the freedom to make changes to the whisky-making process, while maintaining our commitment to handmade quality. This results in interesting and innovative variations.” In the case of Origins Batch No. 3, the ‘variations’ give a nose of figs, malt and toffee, with a touch of peat smoke. The palate displays smoke, leather and fruit, with lemons and developing cough lozenges. Medium to long in the lightly oaky, mildly smoky finish. 50.0% ABV, 70cl, £38.50, specialist whisky merchants.
Clynelish, Managers’ Choice Release 4 (Cask #4341) (Scotland)
This example of Clynelish is from Diageo’s fourth and final Managers’ Choice Release. The cask strength, single cask malt from the Brora distillery on the east Sutherland coast has been matured in a first fill Bourbon American oak cask, which was filled on 10th April 1997. The nose offers vanilla, gingery spice and a faintly maritime background note. Full and rich on the palate, though lacking Clynelish’s characteristic waxiness. Malty, with fresh fruit and a lively, spicy edge. The finish is lengthy and slowly drying, with some oak and aniseed. (232 bottles). 58.8% ABV, 70cl, £250.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Glenlossie, Managers’ Choice Release 4 (Cask #14098) (Scotland)
Whereas Clynelish is now relatively widely available in its ‘standard’ Diageo 14-year-old expression, Glenlossie remains elusive, surfacing only in a 10-year-old Flora & Fauna bottling. Like the Clynelish, above, this nine-year-old expression has been matured in a first fill Bourbon American oak cask, which was filled on 15th December 1999. Zesty on the nose, with lemonade, vanilla and a not unpleasing whiff of wood glue. Very sweet on the palate, with effervescent spice. Lemon meringue pie when water is added. Lengthy and fruity in the finish, with vibrant, youthful oak. Not the most complex dram in the world, but extremely endearing. (207 bottles). 59.3% ABV, 70cl, £195.00, specialist whisky merchants.
  

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