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Recent releases, January 2011

Kilchoman, Winter 2010 Release (Scotland)
Islay’s farm distillery of Kilchoman has recently launched its fifth single malt expression, Winter 2010 Release. It is three years old, was distilled using barley malted in Islay’s Port Ellen Maltings to 50ppm, and has been matured in fresh ex-Bourbon barrels from Buffalo Trace distillery in Kentucky. According to Kilchoman’s managing director Anthony Wills, “In 2011 Kilchoman will launch its ‘100 per cent Islay’ single malt from barley grown, malted, distilled, matured and bottled on Islay, as well as a five-year-old.” Winter 1010 Release offers lots of sweet peat and citrus fruit, along with a hint of vanilla, on the nose, which is nicely mannered for its youthful age. The good manners continue onto the palate, which is smoky and spicy, with fresh fruit, and nuttier with the addition of water. The finish is relatively lengthy, with spicy peat, a touch of aniseed and lots of vibrant oak. Full of promise! 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £46.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Balvenie, Tun 1401 (Scotland)
Balvenie Tun 1401 comprises whisky from six different barrels of varying ages, named after the marrying tun into which the half dozen whisky barrels were emptied and aged for a few months, before being returned to barrels and then bottled. The whiskies in question are from a 1973 Sherry Butt, a 1972 Sherry Hogshead and American casks filled in 1966, 1974, 1978, and 1988. Sweet Sherry, raisins, sultanas and spicy vanilla cream on the nose. Full and confident in the mouth, rounded and notably spicy, with notes of vanilla, blackcurrant and oak. Long in the finish, with citrus fruits, a hint of liquorice and oak. 48.1% ABV, 70cl, £499.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Tweedale, Blended Scotch Whisky (Scotland)
The Tweeddale Blended Scotch Whisky has been created by Alistair Day, and is made to a blend recipe last produced 70 years ago by his great-grandfather, Richard Day, who operated in the Borders town of Coldstream between 1899 and the start of the Second World War. The blend is 10 years old, is bottled at 46%abv and is not chill-filtered. It has a malt content of 50 per cent, which is provided by eight distilleries. The first batch, from which our sample comes, comprises just 1,253 bottles, though another batch to the same recipe will be released in the very near future. For more information visit www.stonedean.co.uk Robust on the nose, with malt, brittle toffee and vanilla, becoming more floral. Fresh and zesty, lemon and lime, with the addition of water. Nicely mouth-coating, lots of confident malt character, but nicely balanced grains, too. Smooth and approachable, with peaches, ripe pears, caramel and ginger. Drying subtly in a long, satisfying, slightly spicy finish. An unapologetically old-fashioned blended Scotch – and all the better for it! 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £29.99, specialist whisky merchants.
Glenkinchie, Diageo Special Releases 2010 (Scotland)
The Lowlands are represented in Diageo’s latest batch of annual Special Releases by this rare, 20-year-old Glenkinchie, which has been matured in ex-Bourbon refill casks. A sweet nose, with heather, malt, vanilla and subtle spice after a slightly sharp opening. Soft, lemonade notes with the addition of water. Rich and very fruity on the rather floral palate, with toffee, honey, oak and mild liquorice. The finish is medium in length and steadily drying. (6,000 bottles). 55.1% ABV, 70cl, £125.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Brora, Diageo Special Releases 2010 (Scotland)
Brora single malt, from the silent distillery adjacent to Clynelish in Sutherland, has long been a favourite of the Special Releases line up, and this year’s offering has been matured for 30 years in a mixture of ex-Bourbon and ex-Sherry refill casks. Mellow and warming on the nose, with prunes and a whiff of graphite. Developing wood smoke with time, and orchard fruits. Very drinkable at cask strength. Peat, pineapple, peach and fudgy malt mesh beautifully on the rounded, confident palate. Ginger and cough lozenges when water is added. The finish is lengthy, with malt and toffee giving way to slightly briny smoke at the last. (2,958 bottles). 54.3% ABV, 70cl, £280.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Talisker, Diageo Special Releases 2010 (Scotland)
Like Brora, Talisker is a firm favourite in the Special Releases line up, and, as with the Brora, this 30-year-old expression of the Isle of Skye malt has been matured in both ex-Bourbon and ex-Sherry refill casks. Pepper, sweet peat, vanilla, milk chocolate raisins and dried fruits on the lovely, complex nose. A huge palate, initially quite zesty, with heather, caramel, smoke, spices and malt. The finish is classic Talisker – cereal drying to smoky black pepper and chilli powder, and it seems to last forever! (3,000 bottles). 57.3% ABV, 70cl, £230.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Port Ellen, Diageo Special Releases 2010 (Scotland)
Yet another Special Releases favourite, the 2010 variant of this ‘lost’ Islay single malt is 31 years old and it also comes from a mix of ex-Bourbon and former Sherry casks. Initially dry on the nose, with smoke, then developing fragrant lavender notes, vanilla, old leather and a slightly savoury note. Finally a touch of smoky antiseptic. Very complex. The palate offers cereal, caramel, fruity peat and bonfire smoke. Fruitier with water and the peat smoke softens. Long in the finish, becoming bitterer, with peat, aniseed, rock salt and drying oak. (3,000 bottles). 54.6% ABV, 70cl, £250.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Tomatin, 1973 Single Cask (#25602) (Scotland)
The Inverness-shire distillery of Tomatin has recently released a brace of single cask bottlings, selected by long-serving Master Distiller Douglas Campbell. The 1973 expression has been matured in a refill Bourbon cask, and just 184 bottles of this 36-year-old whisky are available. Zesty on the nose, with lemonade, vanilla, cream, malt and increasingly caramel notes, plus a hint of coconut oil. The addition of water teases out more citrus fruits. Fresh fruit, honey, more coconut and spicy oak on the palate. Drying steadily in a lengthy finish. 44.0% ABV, 70cl, £450.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Tomatin, 1982 Single Cask (#92) (Scotland)
From a refill Sherry puncheon, which has yielded 560 bottles, this single cask Tomatin bottling offers an interesting stylistic contrast with the simultaneously released 1973 variant from a refill American oak cask. Sherry and caramel on the big, confident nose, cocoa powder, aniseed and treacle with time. Full-bodied, mouth-coating, spicy Sherry, plain chocolate, hazelnuts and liquorice on the palate. Oranges and soft toffee when water is added. Finally, quite astringent in the lengthy finish. 57.0% ABV, 70cl, £340.00, specialist whisky merchants.
  

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