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Recent releases, April 2011

Glenlivet, 70 Years Old (Scotland)
Following on from its highly-acclaimed release last year of a 70-year-old expression of Mortlach, Elgin-based Gordon & MacPhail recently launched the second bottling in its ‘Generations’ range. The dram in question is a Glenlivet, filled into cask on 3rd February 1940, on the instructions of John Urquhart, grandfather of current Gordon & MacPhail joint managing directors David and Michael Urquhart. This expression of The Glenlivet had been matured in a first-fill Sherry butt, but unusually one made from American rather than European oak. The nose is sweet, with apples, faint vanilla and old leather. Soft and complex. Slightly waxy in texture, with faint smoke on the fruity palate, and fruit acidity in the lengthy, well-balanced finish. Stands up nicely to the addition of water, as not all veteran whiskies do. Another classic old-timer from Gordon & MacPhail! 100 decanters have been produced, plus 175 20cl decanters priced at £3,200 each. 45.9% ABV, 70cl, £13,000, specialist whisky merchants.
Highland Park, 1978 Vintage (Scotland)
This travel retail-exclusive expression of the leading Orcadian single malt is the fifth vintage bottling to have been undertaken, following on from 1998, 1994, 1990 and 1973. Releases to date have showcased various facets of the Highland Park character, and this one offers a complex nose which is initially sweet and fruity, with freshly-squeezed oranges, and a hint of spicy vanilla and coconut. Then an edge of smokiness develops, followed by treacle and dark chocolate, along with a note that is almost savoury. The palate is less complex than the nose, smooth and full, with spicy fruit, a hint of pepper and ginger. Finally, oak and orange wine gums. 47.8% ABV, 70cl, Euros 300, Duty Free & Travel Retail.
Black Bull, 40 Year Old Batch 2 (Scotland)
Huntly-based Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky Ltd offers 12 and 30-year-old variants of this blend, but a 40-year-old also made an appearance, and a second batch has now been issue to follow the well-received original. It features a high malt content and comprises Invergordon grain and Tamdhu, Bunnahabhain and The Glenlivet malts, with a significant percentage of ex-Sherry casks having been used for maturation. The result is a blend with a balanced, mellow, mature nose; Sherried, with old leather, candied fruits, orange marmalade and developing vanilla notes. Rich, smooth and spicy in the mouth, with dark fruits, raisins and contrasting vanilla. Drying slowly with fruit to urbane oak, ginger and liquorice. (957 bottles) 41.9% ABV, 70cl, £120.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Milroy's, Single Cask Allt-a-Bhainne (1992) (Scotland)
Allt-a-Bhainne is one of the more elusive Speyside malts, produced principally by Chivas Brothers for blending purposes, and any bottlings of it come courtesy of independents. This example in Milroy’s of Soho’s ‘Single Cask’ range presents a nose which commences with citric oiliness, and in particular, limes. Freshly-peeled tree bark. Vanilla and malt lurk in the background, and the whisky sweetens with time, becoming less citric, and with icing sugar notes emerging. Medium to full-bodied, with spicy malt and pears on the palate. Treacle toffee notes linger in the relatively long finish. 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £45.00, Milroy's of Soho.
Milroy's, Single Cask Mortlach (1994) (Scotland)
Mortlach distillery in the Speyside ‘malt whisky capital’ of Dufftown belongs to Diageo, and although, unlike Allt-a-Bhainne, its highly-regarded make is available in ‘house’ bottlings, these are not always easy to come by, with the bulk of the distillery output destined for Johnnie Walker blends. This Milroy’s expression, which is limited to just 339 bottles, offers a delicate and floral nose, with violets and spicy Maltesers. Quite full-bodied, fruity, almost sherbet-like, then soft, spicy and malty. The finish is gently oaky, with a hint of plain chocolate. 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £45.00, Milroy's of Soho.
Weymss Vintage Malts, The Spicy Gentleman (Scotland)
The latest trio of releases from Wemyss Malts comprise three 12-year-old blended malts, exclusive to travel retail outlets. Wemyss has retained the descriptive names previously applied to five and 8-year-old expressions. Thus we have The Smooth Gentleman, which has an emphasis on Highland malt from a first-fill ex-Bourbon cask. The nose is quite floral, with figs and malt, plus a slightly mashy note. More fresh fruits with the addition of water. As the name suggests, smooth and urbane on the palate, eminently drinkable, with milk chocolate, brittle toffee, mild spices and sultanas. There is a medium-length, gentle finish. 40.0% ABV, 70cl, £24.99, Duty Free & Travel Retail.
Weymss Vintage Malts, Peat Chimney (Scotland)
Peat Chimney has 12-year-old Islay single malts at its heart. The nose offers brine, and is initially dry, before sweetening and becoming fruitier, with new leather also in evidence, plus a hint of marzipan. Sweet peat and bonfire smoke in the mouth; notably fruity, then becoming more like a damp ashtray. The finish is ‘dirty’ and fruity. 40.0% ABV, 70cl, £24.99, Duty Free & Travel Retail.
Weymss Vintage Malts, Spice King (Scotland)
The focus for Spice King blended malt is 12-year-old island whisky. Quite fragrant on the nose, with lemonade, hand-rolled tobacco and Sherry. Fruit malt loaf on the slightly earthy palate, with ginger and cashew nuts. Lingering spice and fresh oak in the finish. 40.0% ABV, 70cl, £24.99, Duty Free & Travel Retail.
  

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