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Recent releases, May 2013

Caledonian 1984 (G3.4 Scotch Malt Whisky Society) (Scotland)
This single grain bottlings from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) comes from Edinburgh’s Caledonian distillery, which closed just a few months after this distillation was undertaken. Maturation took place in a refill hogshead. Fresh, clean grain on the nose, with pear drops and melon, Becoming maltier, with more soft toffee. Lime, vanilla fudge and oriental spices on the palate. The finish is quite short and spicy, with a hint of eucalyptus. 57.4% ABV, 70cl, £72.10, SMWS.
Kilchoman, Machir Bay 2013 (Scotland)
Kilchoman distillery on Islay has just released the 2013 bottling of its Machir Bay expression. Each successive bottling contains more mature whisky, and Machir Bay 2013 is a vatting of four and five-year-old spirit from ex-Bourbon casks, with the four-year-old being finished in Oloroso sherry butts for four weeks prior to bottling. Citrus fruit, Germolene, sweet smoke and finally wood polish and background cigarette ash on the nose. Initially, sweet and very ashy on the palate, with medicinal notes, rock salt and black pepper kicking in. The finish is medium in length, with lingering Elastoplast and insistent ginger. 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £39.99, specialist whisky merchants.
Cutty Sark, ‘Cask Strength and Carry On’ (Scotland)
Cutty Sark celebrates its 90th anniversary with this limited edition high strength bottling, executed in collaboration with Joel Harrison and Neil Ridley of www.caskstrength.net. 500 signed and numbered bottles have been released and are available exclusively from Master of Malt. The nose is herbal, with brittle toffee, baked apple and shortbread. Light and zesty on the palate, with fresh fruits and black pepper. Medium length, with lots of spice and a hint of smoke in the finish. 51.4% ABV, 70cl, £35.00, Master of Malt.
Carsebridge, 47-year-old, Douglas Laing & Co Ltd (DEN0103) (Scotland)
This veteran bottling of single grain is a new addition to Douglas Laing’s Clan Denny range and was distilled at the now closed Carsebridge distillery in Clackmannanshire. Vanilla, salted butter, strawberry bonbons and freshly-planed wood on the nose. Mouth-coating. Very silky, with honey and brandy butter notes. The finish is short, as is typical of old grains, but surprisingly lacking the astringent oak notes that might be expected. Lingering creaminess. 45.3% ABV, 70cl, £140.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Douglas Laing & Co, Black Bull Special Reserve Batch 2 (Scotland)
Huntly blenders and bottlers Duncan Taylor & Co have revived the Black Bull blended Scotch whisky name in various incarnations, including 12, 30 and 40-year-old expressions. This is the second edition of Black Bull with no age statement and like the rest of the range it is a blend of 50 per cent malt and 50 per cent grain whisky. The out-turn is just 871 bottles. The complex nose offers malt and ginger nuts, tinned peaches, green bananas, pipe tobacco and developing vanilla. The palate is succulently fruity and full, with spicy marzipan. Long in the finish, drying a little, but retaining juicy berry fruitiness. 50.0% ABV, 70cl, £157.61, specialist whisky merchants.
Mosstowie 1979, Gordon & MacPhail Rare Old range (Scotland)
Gordon & MacPhail of Elgin offer some very old and elusive bottlings in its Rare Old line-up, and one of the latest is this 1979 vintage Mosstowie. Mosstowie was the name of the single malt that was distilled in a pair of 'Lomond’ stills located within Miltonduff distillery between 1964 and 1981. The nose is soft and floral, with machine oil, while vanilla and fresh fruit notes are coaxed out in time. Sweet and unctuous on the palate, with a sprinkling of pepper. Drying quite rapidly in the finish, with plain chocolate, oak and liquorice sticks. 46.0% ABV, 70, £465.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Johnnie Walker, Explorers’ Club - The Gold Route (Scotland)
Exclusive to travel retail outlets, The Gold Route is a new addition to Johnnie Walker’s Trade Routes Series, and follows on from the initial Explorers’ Club release, The Spice Road, which appeared in November 2012. According to a Johnnie Walker spokesperson, “The Gold Route takes inspiration from the journeys made by the Walker family and their agents - from Central America through the Andean mountains, passing the Inca pyramids and along the coast of the Pacific Ocean – where they witnessed magnificent scenery and diverse cultures whilst in pursuit of new businesses and rich experiences.” Fruit, malt and ripe bananas on the nose, plus figs and a hint of cloves. Very smooth on the palate, softly spicy, with caramel and tropical fruit. Long in the finish, with dates and raisins, milky cocoa, light oak, and trademark Johnnie Walker subtle smoke. 40.0% ABV, 70cl, $95.00, Duty Free & Travel Retail.
  

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