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Recent releases, May 2012

Wemyss Vintage Malts, The Hive 8 Year Old (Scotland)
Following the success of its 12-year-old blended malt under The Hive name, Wemyss Malts has now introduced an 8-year-old variant. The component malts are from the Speyside region, and there is an emphasis on the use of fresh sherry casks. Initially, farmyard straw on the nose, then honey, ginger snaps, vanilla and a hint of oak. The palate majors in honey, malt and caramel, with accompanying nutmeg and drier oak notes. Lingering honey and ginger in the mildly oaky finish. 40.0% ABV, 70cl, £26.95, specialist whisky merchants.
Old Pulteney, Row to the Pole (Scotland)
In celebration of explorer Jock Wishart's successful 'Row to the Pole' expedition, Old Pulteney has released a commemorative edition of its Wick-distilled single malt. This variant has been matured in ex American and ex Spanish sherry casks, selected by distillery manager Malcolm Waring. It carries no- age-statement and just 3,000 35cl bottles are available. The nose boasts hay, eating apples, brine and even a suggestion of smoked fish. Spice, drinking chocolate and fresh fruit on the palate, with notable presence of medium-sweet sherry. Sweet and quite long in the finish, which features a final flourish of sea salt. 40.0% ABV, 35cl, £20, specialist whisky merchants.
Cutty Sark, Tam O'Shanter (Scotland)
New from Cutty Sark is this limited edition release (5,000 bottles), the firstblend created byCutty Sark Master Blender Kirsteen Campbell, and a development of the existing Cutty Sark 25-year-old. Tam O'Shanter is named after one of Robert Burns' most famous poems, and Jason Craig, Brand Controller, Cutty Sark Blended Scotch Whisky, explains that “Our Tam O'Shanter bottling is an exploration of the Cutty Sark brand's fascinating heritage, and tells the story of how our whisky got its name. Our Master Blender Kirsteen Campbell has brought a darker, wilder edge to our award- winning 25-year-old blend, echoing the sinister imagery of the Alexander Goudie artwork adorning the bespoke gift box and bottle, which stays true to the adventurous spirit of the Cutty Sark brand.” Figs, stewed apples and pears on the nose, plus caramel and ginger. Mature and rounded. Full-bodied, with a big fresh fruit hit on the palate, becoming smokier, with molasses and spice.Liquorice and soft, old oak in the slowly-fading finish. 46.5% ABV, 70cl, £199.00, The Whisky Exchange, The Whisky Shop.
Famous Grouse, Black Grouse Alpha Edition (Scotland)
The Famous Grouse has recently released a new variation on its Black Grouse blend, initially exclusive to travel retail outlets in the Nordic region and Russia.The Black Grouse Alpha Edition contains a higher percentage of aged, peaty malts to accentuate its smoky flavour. The name derives from the 'alpha male,' the most successful Black Grouse during the mating season displays. Steven Sleigh of brand owner The Edrington Group says that "We are pleased with the initial reception to this new, rather exotic, member of The Famous Grouse family. Travel retail has in the past provided an excellent showcase for additions to the family, such as The Snow Grouse and The Black Grouse, so it was the natural habitat for the first flight of The Black Grouse Alpha Edition." The nose is mashy, with salted popcorn and singed wood notes. Initial fruit on the palate, then dark notes of peat, liquorice sticks and char develop. Very moreish.Lingering spicy char and aniseed in the finish. 40.0% ABV, 70cl, €33, Duty Free & Travel Retail.
Jim Beam, Honey Spirit Drink (USA)
Flavoured whiskeys are all the range in the States right now, and have been responsible for some impressive sales figures. Following on the heels of Red Stag, Jim Beam Bourbon has produced a honey-infused Bourbon, which by law must be described as a 'spirit drink.' The Beam take on whiskey and honey liqueur offers a floral nose, with coconut ice, honey, cinder toffee and developing vanilla, while the palate offers lots of not unexpected honey, along with caramel. Lingering honey in the soft, smooth finish. This works well when served 'on the rocks' or from the freezer. 35.0% ABV, 70cl, £22.95, specialist whisky merchants.
Glenmorangie, 15 Year Old Nectar d'Or (Scotland)
Initially marketed as a 12-year-old expression, Glenmorangie Nectar d'Or has now been given an extra three years of maturation in ex-Sauternes barriques from Bordeaux, following the same initial 10 years of ageing in former Bourbon barrels. The nose opens with lemon and vanilla notes, while honey and maple progressively develop. The palate is full and sweet, with more honey, cinnamon, Jaffa oranges, a sprinkling of white pepper and toffee. Milk chocolate, ginger and toffee in the finish. 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £40.00, specialist whisky merchants.
  

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