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Recent releases, December 2011

Kilchoman, 2006 Vintage (Scotland)
Kilchoman has released its 2006 vintage expression, the first five-year-old from Islay’s newest distillery. It has been distilled from Optic barley peated to 50ppm, and matured in 80 per cent first-fill and 20 per cent refill Bourbon barrels. According to Kilchoman’s managing director Anthony Wills, “This is another milestone for Kilchoman, the additional two years of maturation has given the 2006 vintage an extra dimension and depth of character.” Brine and bladderwrack on the nose, with hand-rolling tobacco. Notably mellow. Heather, soft leather and Plasticene when water is added. Very spicy peat on the palate, with cloves and citrus fruits; becoming nutty. Dries quite steadily, with a very slightly metallic note in the finish. 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £49.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Cardhu, 26-year-old, Duncan Taylor - Rare Auld Collection (Scotland)
It is rare to find old expressions of Cardhu, and this one was distilled in 1984, being matured in cask number 2873, which yielded 222 bottles. Sweet and malty on the nose, with vanilla, cinnamon, orange-flavoured chews and figs. Very sweet and fruity on the palate, with rum and raisin ice cream and hazelnuts. The finish is long and malty, with rich chocolate notes. Delicious! A great example of what Cardhu can be like if it is allowed to get some real age behind it. 54.4% ABV, 70cl, £99.95, specialist whisky merchants.
Glenlivet, Cellar Collection 1980 (Scotland)
The latest addition to The Glenlivet’s Cellar Collection is a 1980 vintage, drawn from three first-fill American oak casks. It is the ninth release in the award-winning range, launched in 2000. According to a distillery spokesperson, “The Glenlivet Cellar Collection showcases some of the most remarkable expressions of The Glenlivet, selected from rare aged stocks within the distillery and laid down for further maturation and eventual release. Each bottling exhibits the distinctive personality of The Glenlivet whilst displaying its own unique characteristics.” Master Distiller Alan Winchester adds that “With the added complexity that comes with 31 years of maturation, this vintage displays The Glenlivet’s fruity character with both an intensity and a remarkable freshness - a classic. It is my responsibility, and privilege, to continue a long tradition of excellence started by George Smith in 1824, and this latest release is no exception to that legacy.” Tinned apricots and peaches on the initial nose, with fresh ginger, banana and desiccated coconut notes developing. Malty. The palate is smooth and sweet, notably fruity, with creamy vanilla and spice. The finish is long, spicy and slowly drying. (500 bottles) also available in specialist retailers in Japan, Portugal and Taiwan. 43.3% ABV, 70cl, £1,000, Duty Free & Travel Retail.
Caol Ila, Unpeated 12 Year Old 1999 (Diageo Special Releases 2011) (Scotland)
The latest expression of Caol Ila in Diageo’s annual Special Releases selection is the sixth unpeated variant of the Islay single malt and the second to be bottled at 12 years of age. It has been matured in first-fill ex-Bourbon casks. Discreet rolling tobacco, pear drops, vanilla and a hint of cocoa powder on the nose. Sweet and lively on the palate, with summer berries, honey and intense spicy fruitiness. Lingering spices in the finish. (Fewer than 6,000 bottles) 64.0% ABV, 70cl, 55.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Lagavulin, 12 Year Old (Diageo Special Releases 2011) (Scotland)
This is the 10th 12-year-old limited edition release from Lagavulin and has been vatted from refill American oak casks. It offers a big hit of Islay on the nose. Salt, seaweed and Germolene. A newly-opened cigarette packet. The palate is sweet and fruity, with developing wood smoke, spice, mixed herbs and bonfire embers. Carbolic soap. Citrus fruit, sweet peat, pepper and medicine chests in the finish. 57.5% ABV, 70cl, £63.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Rosebank, 21 Year Old 1990 (Diageo Special Releases 2011) (Scotland)
Some of the oldest stocks of the lost Lowland classic held by Diageo went into this bottling, which comprises spirit matured in both American oak and refill European oak casks. The nose is floral, slightly herbal, with pineapple, orange and cereal notes, fleeting icing sugar and then damp earth. Slightly tart on the palate, with unripe oranges and white pepper. Drying significantly to Java coffee and spicy oak in the finish. 53.8% ABV, 70cl, £160.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Bunnahabhain, 32-year-old, Duncan Taylor - Rare Auld Collection (Scotland)
This expression of Bunnahabhain from the Huntly-based bottlers and blenders was distilled in 1979 and matured in cask number 38408. Mellow on the nose, quite fragrant, with lots of malt and nuts. The palate is full and fruity, with pineapple, lime and lemonade, plus big spice notes, toffee and liquorice. Long in the finish, with toffee, cocoa, a hint of oak, and an underlying creaminess. 47.1% ABV, 70cl, £104.95, specialist whisky merchants.
  

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