gavin smith




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



    stories features


  

Recent releases, January 2014

Compass Box, The General Blended Scotch Whisky (Scotland)
The latest release from Compass Box comprises two batches of blended whisky, both of which had been blended at a young age and then returned to cask by the companies that owned them as surplus to requirements. One of the parcels is 33 years old, but Compass Box refuses to disclose the age of the other – much younger – parcel. 1,698 bottles have been released, with just 240 in the UK. The whisky is not chill-filtered and maturation has taken place in both ex-Bourbon and ex-Sherry casks. Very fruity on the nose, with ripe, golden sultanas, cloves, sherry and caramel. The medium-bodied palate is perfumed and spicy, with notes of oak and more cloves. Further oak and a hint of liquorice in the long, luxurious finish. 53.4% ABV, 70cl, £200.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Convalmore, 1977 (Diageo Special Releases 2013) (Scotland)
Convalmore 58.0%abv A bottling of 1977 Convalmore from the ‘lost’ distillery on the outskirts of Dufftown first appeared in the Special Releases programme in 2005, as a 28-year-old, but is now offered at the age of 36. Opal Fruits, brittle toffee, and a little wood smoke on the mildly herbaceous nose. Big-bodied and initially fruity on the palate, which becomes earthier and oakier. Dark chocolate and malt in the spicy, lengthy finish. A superb survivor. (2,680 bottles) 58.0% ABV, 70cl, £600, specialist whisky merchants.
Lagavulin, 1976 (Diageo Special Releases 2013) (Scotland)
Old Lagavulins are in short supply, and the Special Releases series provides rare opportunities to sample the Islay malt with veteran status. This 37-year-old expression has been matured in a mix of European and American oak casks. Initially, quite reticent on the nose, with developing pipe tobacco, brine and coal smoke, plus farmyard aromas. Viscous on the palate, with citrus fruits, seaweed, black pepper, spicy peat, dried fruits and developing dark chocolate. The finish is long and ashy with oak. 51.0% ABV, 70cl, £1,950.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Caol Ila, Stitchell Reserve (Diageo Special Releases 2013) (Scotland)
This is the eighth unpeated Caol Ila to have appeared in the Special Releases series and it celebrates distillery manager Billy Stitchell, who is retiring this year after almost 40 years’ service. This cask strength Caol Ila with no age statement was matured in a combination of American oak, rejuvenated American oak and European ex-bodega casks. The nose is sweet and grassy, with cereal and vanilla notes. Oily on the palate, with a carry-over of sweet and grassy notes from the nose. Liquorice and newly-planed timber. The finish is relatively long, with lively spices and a squeeze of lemon. 59.6% ABV, 70cl, £70.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Glendronach, Cask Strength - Batch 3 (Scotland)
This is the third batch of no-age-statement cask strength GlenDronach, and is a non-chill-filtered vatting of Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez sherry cask-matured whisky. Fresh ginger, milk chocolate, dates, orange peel and late vanilla on the nose, plus a hint of new leather. Terry’s chocolate orange and more ginger on the palate, with sultanas, toffee and spicy new oak. Spicy through the medium-length, sherried finish. 54.9% ABV, 70cl, £52.50, specialist whisky merchants.
Glendronach, Single Cask Batch 9 – 1990 (Scotland)
This 23-year-old GlenDronach is from Batch 9 of single cask releases. Maturation of cask #1243 took place in a Pedro Ximenez Sherry puncheon. A nose of cocoa powder, dates, raisins and Christmas spices, along with antique polished furniture. Progressively more oily. Full and sweet on the palate, with overt sherry, caramel and figs. Gingery oak develops in the lengthy finish. 50.6% ABV, 70cl, £116.25, specialist whisky merchants.
Glendronach, Single Cask Batch 9 – 1992 (Scotland)
This 21-year-old single cask GlenDronach from Batch 9 was aged in an Oloroso sherry butt (#195). Initially a hint of starch on the nose, oil of lemon, ginger, Jaffa orange, milk chocolate and fresh leather. A voluptuous sherried mouth-feel, with cloves, oak notes and a citric edge. Tingling spices, plain chocolate and oak in the long finish. 59.8% ABV, 70cl, £101.25, specialist whisky merchants.
  

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