gavin smith




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



    stories features


  

Recent releases, October 2012

Macallan, Gold (Scotland)
The first expression in the new Macallan 1824 Series, ultimately intended as a replacement for the current 10-year-old. The 1824 Series comprises bottlings from casks chosen for their colour rather than age or wood type, though all casks have formerly held Sherry. Future expressions will be Amber, Sienna and Ruby. The nose offers apricots and peaches, fudge and a hint of leather. Medium-bodied, with malt, walnuts and spices on the palate. Quite oaky in the medium-length finish. 40.0% ABV, 70cl, £35.99, specialist whisky merchants.
BenRiach, 16-year-old (Scotland)
This limited edition BenRiach bottling has been selected by Neil Ridley and Joel Harrison of www.caskstrength.net and spent four years undergoing secondary maturation in a Pedro Ximinez Sherry cask before being bottled during the summer. Cask # 5614 yielded just 296 bottles and the edition has been produced in association with online retailer www.masterofmalt.com Spicy and sweet on the nose, with bananas, ginger, caramel, cinnamon, icing sugar, vanilla and sweet sherry. Ripe bananas, vanilla custard and summer berries figure on the palate, along with lots of sweet spice. The spiciness is enhanced when water is added. Long and warming in the finish, with caramel, spice and drying Sherry. 55.2% ABV, 70cl, £54.95, Master of Malt.
Ardbeg, Galileo (Scotland)
The latest release from Ardbeg is called Galileo, and according to a company spokesperson, this limited edition 12-year old “…named after the father of modern astronomy, celebrates a two-year experiment to test micro-organic compounds drawn from the distillery’s production on Islay: US space research company NanoRacks LLC invited Ardbeg to take part in a maturation experiment between normal gravity on earth and micro-gravity which is taking place in the International Space Station.” Ardbeg Galileo is “is a vatting of different styles of Ardbeg laid down in 1999, married together to give a sweet, smoky texture. In addition to the traditional first and second-fill ex-Bourbon casks used for the maturation of Ardbeg, some ex-Marsala wine casks (from Sicily) have been used for Galileo.” The result is a nose of smoked fish in butter sauce, drying fishing nets, seaweed and lemon juice, along with richer and sweeter fruit notes. Very sweet on the palate, with apricot and banana, fabric sticking plasters, pepper, ginger and aniseed. Long in the finish, with more pepper, liquorice and persistent smoked fruitiness. 49.0% ABV, 70cl, £70.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Ardmore, 16 Year Old (Scotland)
Ardmore Recently bottled by Glasgow-based independents Douglas Laing & Co in their Old Malt Cask range, Ardmore is a classic example of a peaty Speysider in the old-fashioned style, and the ‘heart malt’ for Teacher’s Highland Cream blend. The nose boasts citrus fruit and sweet peat, with cinders of a log fire. The palate mirrors the nose, with citric, sweet peat notes, becoming ashier in time. Lingering in the finish, with peppery smoke. 50.0% ABV, 70cl, £75.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Wild Geese, Rare Irish Whiskey (Ireland)
The ‘Wild Geese’ was the name given to Irishmen who served in various European armies during the 17th century and 18th centuries, and the expression has been applied to a range of Irish whiskeys which have recently become available in the UK. ‘Rare’ is positioned at the second ‘price point’ among the four expressions in the line-up after ‘Classic,’ and the nose offers peaches, apricots and sherbet. Zesty on the palate, with winter berries, spice, honey and brittle toffee notes. The finish is medium in length, with dark oak notes. 43.0% ABV, 70cl, £35.50, specialist whisky merchants.
Wild Geese, Limited Edition Fourth Centennial Irish Whiskey (Ireland)
The rarest of the Wild Geese collection, and like the others, it is distilled in Cooley distillery, County Louth. It is a blend of double distilled malt whiskey and grain whiskey, aged in ex-Bourbon casks. Linseed oil, new leather and warm plastic on the nose. The palate is oily and nutty with malt and very lively spices. Lingering nuttiness in the finish, which dries steadily, with background ginger and subtle oak. 43.0% ABV, 70cl, £44.99, specialist whisky merchants.
Wild Geese, Single Malt Irish Whiskey (Ireland)
This single malt is double-distilled in the Scottish style by Cooley and the nose initially offers Vaseline and cornflakes, before becoming more floral and fruity. Smooth and peppery on the palate, with malt, vanilla and a suggestion of damp soil. Very drying and gingery in the finish, with persistent oiliness. 43.0% ABV, 70cl, £54.99, specialist whisky merchants.
Isle of Arran, The Eagle 1999 (Scotland)
Named in honour of the pair of golden eagles that are a feature of the landscape around Arran distillery at Lochranza, this limited release (6,000 bottles) in the Icons of Arran series was distilled in 1999 and matured in 14 ex-Bourbon barrels and seven Sherry hogsheads. The nose features coconut, vanilla and spices, plus pears, melons and pineapple. The palate is full and fruity, becoming maltier and nuttier, with stem ginger, and honey. The finish is spicy and dries slowly. 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £42.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Balvenie, DoubleWood 17 Year Old (Scotland)
The Balvenie’s 12-year-old DoubleWood has proved to be extremely successful, and to coincide with Malt Master David Stewart’s 50 years of service with distiller owners William Grant & Sons Ltd, a new 17-year-old variant has just been launched, created by the Malt Master himself. The whisky in question spent 17 years maturing in ex-Bourbon casks before a final few months of European Sherry cask maturation, and the outcome is a quintessential Balvenie, slightly silkier and more profound than its younger sibling. Honey, malt, vanilla, unripe bananas and green apples on the nose. Smooth and well-mannered. The palate majors in fresh fruits, vanilla, creamy spices and cloves. The finish is medium to long, with more honey and vanilla, plus aniseed and warming oak. 43.0% ABV, 70cl, £80.00, specialist whisky merchants.
  

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