gavin smith




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



    stories features


  

Recent releases, September 2012

Glenfiddich, Millennium Vintage (Scotland)
This whisky was distilled and casked during the Millennium celebrations of 2000 and bottled in 2012, the 125th anniversary of the establishment of Glenfiddich distillery. Spirit matured in both American oak and European oak casks, was selected by Brian Kinsman, the Glenfiddich Malt Master, and a final two months were then spent ‘finishing’ this limited edition in ex-Bourbon barrels. Quite fragrant on the nose, with fondant creams and sherry, oranges, almond and caramel. Initially sweet on the palate, with vanilla notes, drying slightly, with citrus fruits and a certain nuttiness. Caramel, cloves and soft oak in the smooth finish. 40.0% ABV, 70cl, £39.99, Duty Free & Travel Retail.
Balvenie, Tun 1401 Batch 5 (Scotland)
Glenfiddich’s stable mate of The Balvenie also has a new travel retail expression on the market, namely the latest batch of the well-received Tun 1401, the fifth release to date. Balvenie Malt Master David Stewart selected just five ex-Bourbon casks and four sherry butts from warehouse 24, marrying them in Tun 1401 for several months. The result is a classic Balvenie which is sweet and syrupy on the nose, with honey, sherry, vanilla, soft fruits, caramel and a discreet, background note of liquorice. The palate is rich and rounded, with dried fruits, mixed spices and oak tannins. Aniseed when diluted. The finish is long, with plain chocolate and a slightly herbal, spicy note. 50.1% ABV, 70cl, £150.00, Duty Free & Travel Retail.
Wild Geese, Classic Blend (Ireland)
Not new per se, but new to the UK, is the award-winning quartet of double-distilled Irish blended whiskeys marketed under the Wild Geese banner. The entry level expression is branded as Classic. Initial lemon notes on the nose, then ripe pears, banana, honey and grain, with a hint of American cream soda. The palate is smooth and delicate, with citrus fruit, plus more grain and honey. Medium length in the finish, softly spicy, with dark berries. 40.0% ABV, 50cl, £17.99, specialist whisky merchants.
Bowmore, 1985 Vintage (Scotland)
Released along with a 1964 vintage, this well-presented, limited edition expression from 1985 comes with a numbered certificate, signed by Bowmore Distillery Manager Eddie MacAffer. According to a Bowmore spokesperson, this vintage offering has been "Created from a unique combination of hand-selected sherry and Bourbon casks." A nose of beach bonfires, lots of fresh fruit, smouldering driftwood and seaweed. Sweet, buttery, smoked haddock notes develop. The palate is rich, fruity and floral, with violets, sea-salt and peat smoke. The lengthy finish is salty and drying, with liquorice. (747 bottles) 52.3% ABV, 70cl, £300.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Johnnie Walker, Blue Label – The Casks Edition (Scotland)
Described by brand owners Diageo as "A bold and intense special release of an iconic luxury blend – rarity redefined," Johnnie Walker Blue Label – The Casks Edition is a global travel exclusive, limited edition bottling of the world’s best-selling blended Scotch. Johnnie Walker Master Blender, Jim Beveridge says that "This limited edition is a chance to enjoy the remarkable experience of Johnnie Walker Blue Label in a new way. Only one in ten thousand of our casks have sufficient character for Blue Label, and in creating this special edition we really wanted to showcase the incredible flavours that come from the casks themselves. The flavours drawn from these carefully selected casks have intensified to produce a robust and powerfully flavoured blended Scotch whisky." The nose offers butterscotch, tinned prunes, developing sherry and slightly earthy notes, along with oak and background smoke. Very full on the palate, with a silky-smooth mouth-feel; vanilla, ripe oranges, heather, wood smoke and a carry-over of mild earthiness from the nose. Long and satisfying in the pleasantly oaky, bittersweet finish. 55.8% ABV, 100cl, $300 USD, Duty Free & Travel Retail.
Drambuie, 15 (Scotland)
Despite many imitations, Drambuie has long been considered the classic whisky liqueur, and the ‘original’ has now been augmented by Drambuie 15, described by its producers as "A connoisseur expression." It features 15-year-old Speyside single malts, selected by chief blender Derek McInally, together with Drambuie’s secret recipe of spices, heather honey and herbs. The result is a drier and more elegant variation on its stable-mate. Menthol, cloves, nutmeg, pine, citrus oils and soft malt on the nose. Sweet on the palate, with milk chocolate, orange marmalade and spice, though the malt whisky takes centre stage. Long in the finish, with oranges and malt. A showcase for the whisky content, which is not always the case with some competing brands. 43.0% ABV, 70cl, £32.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Duncan Taylor, Black Bull 40-Year-Old Batch 3 (Scotland)
Independent bottler Duncan Taylor & Co Ltd has enjoyed great success with its various Black Bull expressions of blended whisky, and the Huntly-based company has recently launched the third batch of its 40-year-old Black Bull variant. This comprises 14.4 per cent of grain whiskies and 85.6 per cent of malt whiskies, and according to Duncan Taylor, the malts in question include Ben Nevis, Bunnahabhain, Caperdonich, Glen Grant and Highland Park. The result is a dram with a rich, resinous, malty nose, with sherry, sweet spices and caramel. Gentle spice, dark chocolate and smoky citrus fruit on the slightly salty palate. Long and drying in the finish, with persistent malt, old oak, more dark chocolate and a hint of smoke. 41.6% ABV, 70cl, £167.99, specialist whisky merchants.
  

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