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Recent releases, March 2011

Dalmore, Castle Leod (Vintage 1995) (Scotland)
The Cromarty Firth distillery of Dalmore continues its fund-raising association with Clan Mackenzie in this bottling. It follows 2010’s Mackenzie expression, which raised in excess of £20,000 towards the ongoing restoration of the Mackenzie’s ancestral home of Castle Leod and associated clan projects. The Mackenzies owned Dalmore distillery, now in the hands of Whyte & Mackay, for almost a century, and the connection continues to be prized by the Glasgow-based distillers. According to Master Blender Richard Paterson, “Castle Leod is an exceptional single malt. It’s the first time we have released a whisky matured in barriques from one of the most revered and iconic Bordeaux houses in France.” This secondary period of maturation last for 18 months, and follows an initial period of storage in American white oak and Spanish Sherry wood. The result is a full-bodied and confident dram, with a sensuous nose of spicy fruit cake and orange marmalade, typical of Dalmore, plus blackcurrants, and plums, presumably imparted by the Bordeaux barriques. On the palate, this is elegant, balanced and confident, with oranges, kiwi and even mango flavours, along with vanilla, honey and spice. The finish is long, fruity, spicy and luxurious, with brittle toffee, ginger and a hint of liquorice. (5,000 bottles) 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £100.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Glenmorangie, Finealta (Scotland)
This expression – whose name is Gaelic for ‘elegant’ – is a recreation of an early 20th century Glenmorangie recipe, apparently recently discovered in the distillery archives. Dr Bill Lumsden, Head of Distilling and Whisky Creation, notes that “We decided to recreate this recipe so that whisky connoisseurs could have a taste of this historic Glenmorangie expression which dates back to sometime in the early 1900s. “We followed the recipe as closely as we could, which included marrying whiskies of different ages and from different cask types. The final result is a whisky of such depth and distinction that we selected it as the second release in Glenmorangie’s exclusive Private Edition range.” Finealta contains a portion of lightly-peated malt, and has been matured in a mix of ex-Sherry casks and plain, new American oak. Its release coincides with the re-opening of the Savoy Hotel in London, which was supplied with Glenmorangie at the time when this style of the single malt would have been available. Toffee, bonbons, vanilla, candied fruits, jasmine and a hint of salted butter on the nose. Subtle, fresh leather and pencil shavings emerge, but the final olfactory impression is of a soft, sweet confection. Silky-smooth and luscious in the mouth, with real substance and presence. Ripe Jaffa oranges, caramel, raisins and brittle toffee. Pineapple and slightly smoky coconut when water is added. The finish is lengthy, gingery and assured, with a touch of oak. 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £62.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Inverleven, Deoch an Doras 36 Year Old (Scotland)
Chivas Brothers has expanded its existing Cask Strength Edition range with a brace of veteran single malts from long-defunct distilleries. The term ‘Deoch an Dorus’ is a traditional Gaelic expression for a farewell drink. Inverleven was distilled between 1938 and 1991 within the vast Dumbarton grain distillery near the River Clyde, and was classified as a Lowland malt. A soft, sweet, creamy nose, with vanilla, rum and raisin ice cream, and a contrasting tinge of black pepper. Mouth-coating, with citrus fruits and slowly developing dark chocolate, which lingers through the long and gingery finish. Fruitier and spicier with the addition of water, which also teases out more oaky notes in the finish. (500 bottles), Chivas’ distillery visitor centres. 48.5% ABV, 70cl, £275.00, maltwhiskydistilleries.com.
Glenugie, Deoch an Doras 32 Year Old (Scotland)
Glenugie distillery was located in the north-eastern fishing port of Peterhead, and was established in 1831. It had the distinction of being the most easterly distillery in Scotland until its closure by owners the Distillers Company Ltd in 1983, as the Scotch whisky industry battled to lower the level of the ‘whisky loch,’ caused by a period of prolonged over-production. The nose is quite perfumed, with gentle Sherry, cocoa powder, new leather, blackcurrants, caramelised peaches and apricots. The palate is initially sweet, with fresh fruit, but old-fashioned cough drops and liquorice notes soon arrive. Very long in the spicy, tannic oak finish. Fireworks on the tongue when water is added. (500 bottles), Chivas’ distillery visitor centres. 55.4% ABV, 70cl, £250.00, maltwhiskydistilleries.com.
Cooley, Greenore 18-year-old Single Irish Grain Whiskey (Ireland)
Following the success of its 15-year-old Greenore single grain, Cooley Distillery plc has released a limited edition of what is the oldest bottled Irish single grain whiskey in the world. Zesty on first approach, with sweet, plump grains, coconut and butter on the nose. The palate is initially sweet and creamy, with vanilla and coconut milk notes; then a contrasting bitterness of oak emerges. A soft, medium-length, bitter-sweet finish, with developing spice, old leather and drying oak. (4,000 bottles) 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £69.95, specialist whisky merchants.
Glen Spey, 21 Year Old (Diageo Special Releases 2010) (Scotland)
One of three Speyside single malts included in Diageo’s early 2011 selection of Special Releases, this Glen Spey, distilled in the village of Keith, is the oldest ‘house’ bottling ever undertaken. The elusive whisky has been matured in what Diageo describe as “...new American oak casks that had also contained Sherry.” Resin and malt on the attractive nose, with red wine and subtly spiced apples. Buttery Bourbon with the addition of water. Slightly oily on the palate, rich and spicy, with coconut and soft toffee, plus a developing note of char. Dry oak, vanilla and cocoa in the lengthy finish. (5.856 bottles), specialist retailers. 50.4% ABV, 70cl, £120.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Cragganmore, 21 Year Old (Diageo Special Releases 2010) (Scotland)
The third Special Releases bottling of this Classic Malt from Ballindalloch is also the oldest, having been filled into refill American oak casks in 1989. Orange fondant cream on the nose, with marzipan and malt, deepening to molasses. Fresh citrus fruits on the plate; lively and spicy, becoming drier and more oaky, with ginger and liquorice in the lengthy, slightly bitter, finish. (5,856 bottles) 56.0% ABV, 70cl, £135.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Auchroisk, 20 Year Old (Diageo Special Releases 2010) (Scotland)
This 20-year-old bottling of Auchroisk, distilled near Keith on Speyside, complements the standard, 10-year-old Flora & Fauna expression, which has been the principal offering since the ‘Singleton of Auchroisk’ name was abandoned in 2001. It has been matured in a mix of American and European oak casks. Maltesers, spicy vanilla and orange wine gums on the nose. Closer to treacle toffee with time. The rich, slightly oily palate features ripe oranges and peaches, figs, caramel, ginger and subtle oak. Medium length in the finish, which displays dark chocolate and drying oak. (5,856 bottles) 58.1% ABV, 70cl, £115.00, specialist whisky merchants.
  

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