gavin smith




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



    stories features


  

Recent releases, March 2012

Glen Grant, 60 Years Old Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee (Gordon & MacPhail) (Scotland)
No doubt the first of several whiskies released to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, this veteran offering from Gordon & MacPhail comes from first-fill sherry cask 465, which was filled in February 1952 and bottled on 2nd February 2012, precisely 60 years after the whisky was distilled. Just 85 bespoke Glencairn decanters of this cask strength expression are on sale. Apricots, sherry, brittle toffee, sweet eating apples and soft vanilla on the nose. Finally, marzipan and Madeira. The palate is succulent and offers more apples, plus citrus spice and cinnamon. Very long in the drying finish, with liquorice, cloves and oak tannins. 42.3% ABV, 70cl, £8,000, specialist whisky merchants.
Kilchoman, Machir Bay (Scotland)
Machir Bay is the first general release from Islay’s Kilchoman distillery, and will be available throughout 2012. It is a vatting of three, four and five-year-old whisky, matured in fresh Bourbon barrels and finished in Oloroso sherry butts for eight weeks. Anthony Wills, Managing Director of Kilchoman explains that “Machir Bay is one of the most beautiful beaches on Islay, close to the distillery. This expression will give continuity of supply to our customers around the world. Each year we will add more mature malt to the vatting.” A nose of sweet peat and vanilla, undercut by brine, kelp and black pepper. Filled ashtrays in time. A smooth mouth-feel, with lots of nicely-balanced citrus fruit, peat smoke and Germolene on the palate. The finish is relatively long and sweet, with building spice, chili and a final nuttiness. An Islay classic in the making. 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £38.50, specialist whisky merchants.
Speyburn, Bradan Orach (Scotland)
The Bradan Orach expression of single malt from Inver House Distillers’ picturesque distillery on the outskirts of Rothes on Speyside has been around for a while in the USA but is a relative newcomer to the mainstream UK market. Bradan Orach is Gaelic for ‘golden salmon,’ and is so named in tribute to the River Spey, renowned as one of Scotland’s finest salmon rivers. This version of Speyburn carries no age statement. Uncooked oats, mashtuns, ripe bananas and honey on the nose. Malty on the palate, with brittle toffee, vanilla and spice on the palate. Hazelnut when water is added. Ginger and vanilla in the medium-length finish. In most of the major supermarkets. 40.0% ABV, 70cl, £22.00, widely available.
Ben Nevis, Macdonald’s Traditional (Scotland)
For this offering from Ben Nevis distillery in Fort William the distillery team has attempted to produce something in the style of single malt being produced there in 1882. The malt is peated to around 30ppm, and an initial edition of 700 bottles with no age statement has been released. Distillery manager Colin Ross says that “I had read somewhere that at that time Long John's Celebrated Dew of Ben Nevis Malt Whisky far outsold many of the larger and more famous malts of today, and I felt that by introducing a peated malt we may be able to replicate the whisky of that era. This whisky differs from the 'standard' bottlings of Ben Nevis single malt in that it has been produced from peated malt and is being sold at a younger vintage, having been matured in only fresh sherry casks.” Initial starch on the nose, then buttery smoked haddock, a hint of chili, sherry and gentle wood smoke. Full-bodied, spicy on the palate, with hazelnuts and peat. Stewed fruit and lingering spicy cigarette ash in the finish 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £70.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Wemyss Vintage Malts, Smokehouse Caol Ila 1996 (Scotland)
From Wemyss Malts comes the latest batch of single cask releases, headed by this offering from Diageo’s Caol Ila distillery on Islay. This 15-year-old variant carries the ‘Smokehouse’ descriptor. Briefly, smoked haddock on the nose, then peat ash, sherbet fruits, developing black pepper and brine. Smooth on the palate, with Germolene, gammon, rich spices and treacle. Medium-length in the finish, with ginger, Germolene and peat embers. A big beast for a Caol Ila! 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £60.00, specialist whisky merchants.
  

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