gavin smith




 home    about    forum    tasted    features    whisky A-Z    directory    books    links    sign-up    beer    wine



    stories features


  

Recent releases, January 2012

Compass Box, The Last Vatted Malt (Scotland)
Produced by Compass Box Whisky Company, The Last Vatted Malt is described by the firm’s ‘Whisky maker’ John Glaser as “A testament to the high merit of blending single malts—to create a whisky flavour profile that no single distillery can produce.” It commemorates the change of legally permissible terminology used by the Scotch whisky industry, with the term ‘vatted malt’ now being outlawed in favour of ‘blended malt.’ Glaser explains that The Last Vatted Malt “…is composed of two single malts: approximately 22 per cent of the recipe is whisky distilled at the younger of the two distilleries in the village of Aberlour in 1974 (36 years old), aged in a first fill Sherry butt. The balance is from the famed distillery in the village of Port Askaig on Islay, made in 1984 (26 years old), aged in an American oak hogshead.” Wood smoke, coal tar soap, pine resin, sweet sherry and developing vanilla notes meshing nicely on the nose. Rich and full-bodied, with orange marmalade, peat and black treacle on the palate. Dries steadily and elegantly in a lengthy, smoky finish. (1,323 bottles) 53.7% ABV, 70cl, £175.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Jameson, Select Reserve Black Barrel (Ireland)
As part of the increasing diversity within the Irish whiskey sector, Jameson has released its Select Reserve Black Barrel variant. This differs from the ‘standard’ Jameson offering by virtue of a higher than usual proportion of pot still whiskey, matured in former Sherry casks, and grain spirit matured in deep-charred ex-Bourbon barrels from Wild Turkey. The component whiskeys also boast an approximate age of 12 years, rather than the regular five to seven years. Oily and fragrant, with orchard fruits and vanilla on the nose. Full-bodied; initially prune juice and a hint of sherry, becoming moreish, with cocoa powder. Developing liquorice and charred oak in the finish. Significantly fruitier with the addition of water. Initially available only in the USA (as of January 2012). 40.0% ABV, 70cl, $35, specialist whisky merchants.
Aberlour, 1993 Dimensions (Scotland)
This 18-year-old single cask Aberlour is one of the first releases in a new range from Aberdeenshire independent bottler Duncan Taylor & Co Ltd by the name of Dimensions. According to a company spokesperson, “The Dimensions collection is an outstanding range of single malt and single grain Scotch whiskies encompassing the full breadth of the Duncan Taylor portfolio. Containing whiskies aged up to 39 years, the Dimensions collection showcases the multi-dimensional levels of character and flavour available from individual distilleries and casks. The Dimensions collection consists of single cask, cask strength releases and exclusively numbered small batches at 46%ABV.” The Dimensions Aberlour was distilled in November 1993 and aged in cask 7371 until being bottled in November 2011. Vanilla, tinned peaches and brittle toffee on the nose. Rich on the palate, with spicy Sherry and milk chocolate. The milk chocolate darkens to plain in the finish, with citrus fruits and mild liquorice notes. (277 bottles) 54.3% ABV, 70cl, £67.95, specialist whisky merchants.
Bunnahabhain, 24-year-old 1987 (Scotland)
This 24-year-old cask strength expression from the Islay distillery of Bunnahabhain was matured in cask 1598 before being bottled by Duncan Taylor & Co Ltd in their Rare Auld range during November 2011. Ready-salted potato crisps, sweetening with violets and Sherry on the nose. Full-bodied, muscular and sweet on the palate, with apples and black pepper. Long and gingery, with aniseed in the finish. (399 bottles) 55.7% ABV, 70cl, £86.95, specialist whisky merchants.
St James Distillery, Orbis Aged World Whisky (Scotland)
Orbis is a unique blend of Scotch, Irish, American, and Japanese whiskies, produced by St James Distillery Ltd of London. St James Distillery’s Marketing Director Janet Murphy says that “In developing Orbis, the brand has not been limited by geography, history or convention; our Master Blender has travelled the world in search of the finest whiskeys – in some cases aged 15 or 16 years, although Orbis is not about an aged statement. The result is a product which is unique for the travelling consumer who has a global outlook, is confident, cosmopolitan, broadminded, and – like Orbis – not restricted by boundaries.” Initial wallpaper paste aromas give way to apricots, vanilla and a hint of maple syrup. Tinned peaches in syrup followed by a slightly metallic note. Some of these nations are not co-existing in total harmony! Relatively short and slightly bitter in the finish. Available in global travel retail outlets. 40.0% ABV, 70cl, $58, Duty Free & Travel Retail.
Caol Ila, 1997 Hermitage Wood Finish (Scotland)
A recent addition to Gordon & MacPhail’s Private Collection line up, this Caol Ila variant has undergone an additional maturation period of 30 months in casks that formerly held red wine from the Rhone region of France, after an initial 10 years spent in ex-Bourbon barrels. Smoked haddock, medicinal notes, summer fruits and treacle on the nose. Big bonfire notes on the palate, with spice, fruity red wine and Germolene. The finish is long, medicinal and spicy, with a hint of smouldering peat. 45.0% ABV, 70cl, £48.95, specialist whisky merchants.
Linkwood, 1991 Côte Rôtie Finish (Scotland)
Also from Gordon & MacPhail’s Private Collection, this expression of Linkwood has spent 30 months being finished in casks that previously contained the robust and full-bodied wines of the Côte Rôtie region. Fresh pineapple, milk chocolate, a hint of pepper and fragrant spices on the nose. Dark berry notes on the palate, with malt, lots of spice and more milk chocolate. Dries slowly. Persistent fruit and finally red wine tannins. 45.0% ABV, 70cl, £60.95, specialist whisky merchants.
  

 home    about    forum    tasted    features    whisky A-Z    directory    books    links    sign-up    beer    wine