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Recent releases, July 2015

Glendronach, The Hielan’ (Scotland)
GlenDronach distillery, near the Aberdeenshire market town of Huntly, has launched a new 8-year-old expression, The Hielan’, to provide an entry point to the brand, whose previous portfolio ranged from 12 to 44-year-old expressions. Maturation has taken place in a combination of ex-Bourbon and Sherry casks (both Pedro Ximenez and Oloroso). Lemon drizzle cake, American cream soda, malt, raisins and Oloroso Sherry on the nose. Ginger, apricots and Jaffa oranges feature on the palate with toffee and almonds. Tangy orange, sherry and walnuts in the medium-length finish. 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £33.95, specialist whisky merchants.

Ardbeg, Perpetuum (Scotland)
Ardbeg Perpetuum has been released to mark the Islay distillery’s 200th anniversary. Dr Bill Lumsden, Ardbeg’s Director of Distilling and Whisky Creation, says that "Ardbeg’s character has endured for 200 years and we hope it will continue for centuries to come. The 2015 Ardbeg Day anniversary bottling, Ardbeg Perpetuum, celebrates this milestone year with a recipe that includes some very old and young Ardbeg, silky Ardbeg from Bourbon barrels and some spicy Ardbeg from Sherry casks." Fragrant leathery peat smoke on the nose, with white pepper. Sweet and biscuit-y, with cinnamon and lime-flavoured milk chocolate fondant creams. Full and peppery on the palate, with vanilla and orchard fruit sweetness, plus treacle and a hint of contrasting ozone. The finish is long, mouth-drying and notably spicy. 47.4% ABV, 70cl, £84.99, specialist whisky merchants.

Compass Box, Hedonism Quindecimus (Scotland)
To celebrate the 15th anniversary of the establishment of the Compass Box Whisky Company, John Glaser and his team have released a new version of the blended grain Hedonism, created from what is described as "A mystery parcel of pre-blended grain whiskies aged for at least 32 years, sourced from Loch Lomond Distillery." Stewed fruits, ginger, linseed and a hint of new leather on the nose. Sweet and smooth on the palate, with coconut, toffee, vanilla and orchard fruits, becoming increasingly peppery. Warming in the finish, with ginger and light oak. 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £130.99, specialist whisky merchants.

William Grant & Sons, Signature (Scotland)
The Signature blended Scotch is William Grant’s latest offering, consciously aimed at younger consumers. Initially exclusive to Tesco stores, it is now widely available. Soft citrus fruits, barley, vanilla and almonds on the nose. Nutty spices, milky coffee and caramel shortcake on the palate. Coffee turns to cocoa powder in the finish, accompanied by light oak notes. 40.0% ABV, 70cl, £18.50, widely available.
Glen Moray, Classic Peated (Scotland)
The Speyside distillery of Glen Elgin has departed from the norm to offer a peated variant in its non-age-statement Classic range. This is the first peated expression to be released by the Elgin distillery. Sweet smoke and vanilla on the soft, light nose. Light-bodied, with fruity peat, more vanilla and black pepper. Drying in the medium-length finish, with citrus fruit and a hint of liquorice. 40.0% ABV, 70cl, £25.00, Morrisons.

Glenlivet, Master Distiller’s Reserve Small Batch Reserve (Scotland)
One of two new additions to the travel retail-exclusive Master Distiller’s Reserve range, Alan Winchester has created this small-batch expression using spirit matured in what The Glenlivet terms ‘traditional oak’ casks, plus European oak butts and first-fill American barrels as well as refill hogsheads. Icing sugar, caramel and milk chocolate on the nose. A sprinkling of white pepper and ginger, fresh pineapple and a hint of cloves. The palate is smooth and silky, milk chocolate orange, fondant creams and soft spices. Gentle fruit spices, hazelnuts and a suggestion of dark orange in the finish. 40.0% ABV, 100cl, $150.00, Duty Free & Travel Retail.

Glenlivet, Master Distiller’s Reserve Solera Vatted (Scotland)
The Solera Vatted variant of Master Distiller’s Reserve comprises whisky matured in ‘traditional oak,’ ex-Sherry and former Bourbon casks, with a relatively high proportion of first-fill Bourbon casks being utilised. The component whiskies are then married in a Solera vat, which is never emptied, leading to greater complexity in the whisky it contains. The nose is floral, with rose petals, ripe apples, chocolate-coated Turkish Delight and caramel bonbons. Initially, soft on the nose, with mildly spicy chocolate and honey, then intense fruit and milk chocolate flavours develop. Bitter orange and plain chocolate in the finish, with a ripple of chilli. 40.0% ABV, 100cl, $75.00, Duty Free & Travel Retail.

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