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Recent releases, August 2011

Highland Park, Earl Haakon (Scotland)
Earl Haakon is the third and final release in Highland Park’s ‘Magnus Series,’ and is an 18-year-old cask strength expression of the Orcadian single malt. According to Gerry Tosh of Highland Park, “”This Orcadian beast encapsulates the spirit of Haakon, a true berserker and warrior, to capture the depth of flavour of Highland Park’s multi-award winning 18-year-old but adding a new dimension, achieved through one vatting.” Sweet and fruity on the nose, with initial icing sugar notes. Caramel, ginger, new leather, malt and gentle smoke develop. More fruit on the palate, vanilla, spice, fudge and heather. The finish is long, with treacle and spice. (3,300 bottles). 54.9% ABV, 70cl, £ 160.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Kilchoman, 100% Islay (Scotland)
‘Kilchoman 100% Islay’ is three years old and has been distilled from Islay-grown barley, while malting, distillation, maturation and bottling all took place at the distillery. ‘100% Islay’ has been matured in first fill Bourbon barrels from Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky, and is lightly peated (10 to 20ppm). Lots of brine, peat smoke and overt citrus notes on the nose. Lemon pith and beach bonfires. Sweet, fruit notes on the early palate, then Germolene and ashy peat. Relatively lengthy in the finish, with smouldering peat to the very end. 50.0% ABV, 70cl, £ 69.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Glendronach, 15-year-old Tawny Port Finish (Scotland)
GlenDronach 15-year-old Tawny Port finish replaces the previous 20-year-old variant, which sold out within a short time of its release. Sales Director Alistair Walker says that “We have carefully selected whisky that has been gently maturing in lighter casks so that aficionados experience the full impact of the port. The very pleasing result contributes extra depth and concentrated stewed fruit flavours.” Musty port overlying icing sugar and fresh-picked cherries on the nose. Slightly metallic in time. Big fruit flavours, very focused red grape notes, figs and vanilla essence in the mouth. Rich spice and oak in the medium length, fruity finish. 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £ 40.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Amrut, Herald (India)
The Indian distiller Amrut is making a name for innovative releases, and its latest has spent a period maturing on the German island of Helgoland. After four years of maturation at the Amrut distillery, 3,000 feet above sea level in Bangalore four casks of single malt whisky were shipped to Helgoland, 45 miles off the north German coast, where it spent a further 18 months. According to a company spokesperson, “Not only was the Helgoland climate a big contrast to tropical India, but the barrels were stored close to the sea.” The whisky’s strength fell from 64.8% to 60.8% while on the island. Ashok Chokalingam of Amrut Distilleries adds that “Making this malt whisky was a real adventure. It travelled 5,000 miles to the edge of mainland Europe. Then we were able to mature and bottle whisky on Helgoland, for the first time in the island’s history. And in Amrut Herald we have created another unique malt whisky which will satisfy the connoisseurs who have come to expect the best from us.” Very floral on the nose – carnations and roses – with malt, caramel, vanilla and a sprinkling of salt. Developing milk chocolate, and finally, spicy soy sauce notes. Sherbet dips on the palate. Intensely fruity. An explosion of oriental spices. Long in the finish, with spicy oak, and a final touch of brittle toffee. 60.8% ABV, 70cl, Price TBC, specialist whisky merchants.
Glenfiddich, Madeira Cask Finish (Scotland)
Glenfiddich Madeira Cask Finish is the first release in the Glenfiddich Age of Discovery Range, and ithas been matured in oak casks previously used to age Madeira wine. According to Glenfiddich, “The majority of the Madeira casks came from the Canterio warehouse of Henrique & Henrique, a famous family owned Madeira company established in 1850. This is where the casks were first used to mature wine made from luscious Tinta Negra mole grapes before being transported to The Glenfiddich Distillery.” Tinned peaches and apricots on the nose, white pepper, Sherry, vanilla and a hint of fresh tobacco. The palate is smooth and elegant, with ginger, cinnamon, sultanas and oak. The finish is quite dry, finally becoming slightly sweeter and nutty. 40.0% ABV, 70cl, £ 124.99, specialist whisky merchants.
  

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