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Recent releases, April 2015

Midleton, Dair Ghaelach 'Grinsell's Wood' (Ireland)
As reported last month, Irish Distillers have created a new single pot still Midleton expression by the name of Dair Ghaelach – Gaelic for ‘Irish oak.’ The whiskey in question undergoes traditional maturation in second and third-fill ex-Bourbon American oak barrels for between 15 and 22 years, before a unique 10-month-long period of finishing in virgin Irish oak hogsheads. Oily on the nose, with freshly-sawn timber, bananas, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Viscous and spicy on the palate, nutty, with pineapple, cloves and tingling oak. Very spicy in the drying finish, with liquorice and treacle. Available in the UK, Ireland, France, Germany and South Africa (12,000 bottles of batch #1) 58.2% ABV, 70cl, €320.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Tullamore, D.E.W Phoenix (Ireland)
Tullamore Phoenix is a high-strength, non-chill-filtered variant of the popular William Grant-owned Irish brand, and according to the distillers, “This special limited edition is a triple-distilled blend of all three types of Irish whiskey; golden grain, malt and pure pot still whiskey.” It has undergone a period of finishing in ex-Oloroso Sherry casks. Sweet on the nose, with icing sugar, coconut, sultanas and Sherry, plus a sprinkling of white pepper. Mouth-coating, with sweet orchard fruit flavours, cloves, developing honey, caramel, and a kick of ginger. Fruit fades slowly in the finish, and slightly tannic, peppery oak develops. 55.0% ABV, 70cl, £56.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Glenlivet, Founder’s Reserve (Scotland)
Founder's Reserve is a new addition to The Glenlivet’s core range, and according to a Glenlivet spokesperson, the no-age-statement expression "…has been created as the ultimate tribute to founder George Smith’s original vision to craft the most definitive, smooth single malt Scotch whisky." Master Distiller Alan Winchester says that ““It has been an absolute privilege to craft a whisky in tribute to the man whose talent, dedication and vision for creating the definitively smooth single malt has led to The Glenlivet style that we know and admire today. In marrying together a selection of traditional and First Fill American oak casks from our inventory, I have been able to craft a complex whisky in The Glenlivet style with a pronounced creaminess, sweetness and smoothness that I am sure George would have approved of.” The nose is fresh and floral, with ripe pears, pineapple, tangerines, honey and vanilla. Medium-bodied, with ginger nuts, soft toffee and tropical fruit on the smooth palate. Soft spices and lingering fruitiness in the finish, Widely available in UK and Germany 40.0% ABV, 70cl, £36.00, widely available.
Chivas Brothers, Regal Extra (Scotland)
Chivas Regal Extra is the first new global expression of the luxury blend to be released since 2007, and it is conspicuous among its stablemates by lacking an age statement. According to Chivas Brothers, it has been created “…with an exceptional blend of rare whiskies combined with malt whiskies aged in sherry casks from the Oloroso Sherry bodegas in Spain.” The nose offers glace cherries, poached pears, milk chocolate, vanilla, and gingery fudge. Finally, mangos and sweet Sherry. Voluptuous in the mouth, with spicy fruit, developing ginger and cinnamon, plus caramel a hint of marzipan. The finish dries to liquorice and bitter chocolate. Initially available in Australia, with global roll-out during 2015 40.0% ABV, 70cl, $55 Aus, widely available.
BenRiach, 10-year-old (Scotland)
This new 10-year-old BenRiach is the first core range expression to be produced predominantly from spirit distilled during The BenRiach Distillery Company’s eleven-year ownership of the Speyside distillery. Maturation has taken place in both ex-Bourbon and former Sherry casks. Earthy and nutty on the nose, smooth and rounded on the palate, soft fruits, mild spice and hazelnuts. The finish is medium in length, nutty and spicy. 43.0% ABV, 70cl, £34.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Benromach, Organic 2008 (Scotland)
The latest Organic release from Benromach was distilled in 2008, to certified organic standards, and has been matured in virgin American oak casks. A pleasing nose of vanilla, honey, milk chocolate, cinnamon warm Plasticine, and finally soft fudge, Peaches, bananas, ginger and lively wood spices on the palate, and wood spices linger in the slightly oily finish, along with a hint of aniseed and plain chocolate. 43.0% ABV, 70cl, £38.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Smogen, Svensk Sherry Project 1.1 (Sweden)
According to the operators of Sweden’s Smögen distillery, “With a heavily peated house style, this is the first release in a mini-series exploring the impact of sherry cask maturation and finishing on Smögen Svensk Single Malt Whisky. Sherry Project 1:1 was initially matured for two years and ten months in new heavily roasted 120-litre quarter casks, made from European oak, before being transferred and finished for four months in an Oloroso Sherry butt.” The early nose is meaty and peppery, with milk chocolate, new leather and hand-rolling tobacco. Rich and smoky on the palate, with background sherry and citrus fruits. Long in the finish, with peat embers, liquorice and a lingering citric tang. Although this expression betrays its youth at times, it remains a highly impressive creation from a distillery very well worth watching. Only 900 bottles of 50cl produced. 51.8% ABV, 50cl, £95.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Tomatin, 20 Year Old 1994 (cask 10442), Douglas Laing (Scotland)
Distilled in February 1994 this example of Tomatin was aged in a refill mature hogshead for 20 years, and bottled in Douglas Laing’s Old Particular range during August 2014. The cask yielded 282 bottles. Floral on the nose, with peaches and cream, and buttery toffee. Smooth on the palate, with honey, fruit spices and light black pepper. Lingering in the finish, with citric notes, oak and a further sprinkling of pepper. 46.8% ABV, 70cl, £95.00, specialist whisky merchants.
  

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