Discovering the world of golden spirits. The latest whisky news and tasting notes from a Belgian whisky geek and SMWS member.

News: Kilchoman 10th anniversary

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Another landmark for the Wills family

  • Kilchoman 10th anniversary bottling
  • 58.2% ABV
  • Sherry & bourbon casks | 3,000 bottles
As many of you know 2015 marks the 10th anniversary year of Kilchoman Distillery and a special bottling to mark the occasion was to be expected!

The 10th anniversary release was selected from sherry and bourbon casks throughout the years of Kilchoman dating back to the very first casks in 2005.  This special bottling will contain whisky from 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.

This is limited edition is just 3,000 bottles at cask strength (58.2% abv). Bottles are all individually hand numbered and will be available from Saturday 23rd. This will be on sale from the distillery shop only and not online.

The price will be £88.80.

Glen Grant SMWS 9.84 Playing Sea Battle in the Garden

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Afternoon tea on the battle ship

  • Glen Grant, Rothes (Speyside)
  • 25 year old
  • 55.6 % ABV
  • Distilled on 18 April 1988
  • Refill ex-sherry butt | 534 bottles
Glen Grant SMWS 9.84 Playing Sea Battle in the Garden

The SMWS bottles Glen Grant whiskies under distillery label 9. The Rothes distillery was founded in 1840 by John and James Grant. The four wash stills and four spirit stills produce over six million liters of spirit on an annual basis.

Glen Grant is now owned by the Italian Gruppo Campari. The most common (and widely available) whiskies are The Major's Reserve named after James Grant junior, son of the founder, and the 10yo. The name provokes far less emotion than "Laphroaig" for instance but Glen Grant is one of the top 5 best selling Scotch single malts worldwide.

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News: A new look for the Antiquary blends

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Tomatin distillery decided to give its premium blended scotch brand, The Antiquary, a new look in a move to give it a new lease of life, while still retaining the history and provenance of one of the oldest whisky brands in the market.

The iconic diamond cut bottle remains, however it is in a taller, sleeker, and more sophisticated form.  Pocket Rocket Creative has designed new labels and secondary packaging to highlight the unique shape of the bottle which, aside from the high content of malt whiskies inside, is arguably one of the brand’s biggest selling points.

The Antiquary, along with its 12 year old and 21 year old expressions, is popular in France, Portugal, Russia, Angola, UK and the USA. The new label designs were trialled in Chile in 2014 and will now be rolled out worldwide.

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Tomatin Cuatro Oloroso

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Spanish dessert buffet with Christmas cake

Tomatin Cuatro Oloroso

  • Tomatin Cuatro Oloroso sherry cask finish
  • 12 year old
  • 46 % ABV
  • Distilled January 15, 2001, moved to Oloroso sherry cask on June 29, 2011 
  • Bottled on August 20, 2014
  • 9 years maturation in American oak, 3 year finishing in first-fill Oloroso sherry cask | 1500 bottles
The four whiskies from the Cuatro series come from a spirit batch distilled on the same day, the whisky matured for nine years in American Oak casks before being transferred to four different types of Sherry butts for a period of over three years. As a result each of the four expressions have developed their own unique characteristics. Today I explore the third from the series: Oloroso sherry cask.

Oloroso sherry is a different style from Fino and Manzanilla. The base wine is fortified to at least 18% ABV and thus prevents the yeasts to form the flor layer. The wine is exposed to the air and will oxidise during its time in the cask. The resulting sherry is a dry, slightly stronger and round wine.

How did this Oloroso finished whisky compare to its two paler brothers?
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Feis Ile 2015 Special Bottlings

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The Islay festival of Malt and Music is almost upon is. A lot of peatlovers will undertake a pilgrimage to their Valhalla on the inner-Hebrides. Others, like myself, will watch things from a distance.

It has become a tradition for the distilleries on the island to invite visitors to their Open Day and offer them a (mostly) one-day only special single malt. For the first time we will see some special releases from two independent bottlers, The Scotch Malt Whisky Society and Douglas Laing.

Let's start with an overview of the distillery bottlings.

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May The Fourth be with you

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International Star Wars Day

May 4 is considered a holiday by Star Wars fans to celebrate the cult Sci-Fi movies. The date was chosen for the easy pun on the catchphrase "May the Force be with you" - "May the fourth be with you". Even though the holiday was not actually created or declared by Lucasfilm/Disney they still choose to embrace it annually.

What does this have to do with whisky? For this is still a whisky blog after all...

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Aultmore 21

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Travelling along Buckie Rd.

  • John Dewar & Sons (Bacardi)
  • Aultmore Distillery, Keith (Speyside)
  • 21 years old
  • Travel Retail edition
  • 46 % ABV
  • Natural colour & unchillfiltered

Founder Alexander Edward opened Aultmore in 1897, during the peak of the Victorian whisky boom. After inheriting Benrinnes, Edward co-founded subsequently Aultmore and Craigellachie. The distillery was built to supply the blending houses. For years the whisky was called "Rarest of Speyside" and only locals knew where to ask for a "nip of the Buckie road".

The 21 year old single malt is a Travel Retail exclusive and can only be found in "duty free" shops at airports. Although some specialised whisky shops laid their hands on some bottles and offer them too (but beware of their pricing strategy!).

Let's see what Stephen Marshall and Bacardi discovered in the thick fog along Buckie Road.

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News: Ledaig 42yo 'Dùsgadh'

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Burn Stewart Distillers has released a rare, one off malt to key international markets - Ledaig 42YO, a robust, smoky malt whisky with a rich and distinct history. 

Named Dùsgadh, meaning ‘awakening’ in Scot’s Gaelic, reflecting the long, dormant period of maturation, this is the rarest and oldest Ledaig ever released and the next 40YO Ledaig single malt won’t be available until 2036.

The story of handcrafted Ledaig 42YO begins on the Isle of Mull at the Tobermory Distillery, the only distillery on the mystic island and amongst the oldest commercial distilleries in Scotland. The malt’s old world charm reflects the brand’s spirit to do things the traditional way, by hand. 
In a rare feat of master blending, this Single Malt Scotch Whisky has retained all of its deep, peaty intensity, which is almost unheard of for an expression of this age. Throughout its four decade history, the Scottish landscapes and climates to which Ledaig 42YO has been exposed, have strengthened the malt’s distinctly rich and smoky flavour.   

Source: Burn Stewart Distillers

News: Kilchoman 100% Islay 5th edition

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  • Kilchoman Distillery
  • Multivintage 2009 - 2010
  • 50 % ABV
  • Ex-bourbon barrels
On the 4th of May at 10am will release the 5th Edition of the 100% Islay range. The 5th Edition 100% Islay is a vatting of ex-bourbon barrels filled in 2009 and 2010. This will be bottled at 50% abv and rrp £67.50.

First released in 2010, the annually released limited edition bottling is produced solely from barley grown at the distillery and is only lightly peated compared to the Machir Bay and Loch Gorm.
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News: Glendronach Cask Strength batch 4

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Another sherry bomb from Billy Walker

Glendronach Cask Strength
  • Glendronach Distillery, Forgue (Highlands)
  • NAS
  • 54.7% ABV
  • Pedro Ximenez & Oloroso sherry casks | 17,806 bottles
The fourth batch of Glendronach's Cask Strength expression is bottled at 54.7% alcohol and comprises 17,806 bottles, The GlenDronach Cask Strength is a delicious, creamy sherry bomb! The whisky sensationally explodes on the palate with dark fruit, ginger and oak flavours at the fore, and with gingerbread, barley, roasted coffee beans and a hint of walnut softening to a long, satisfying finish.
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Whisky news, Scotch and whiskey tasting notes by A Tasty Dram

Single malt and blended whiskey reviews, industry news, recipes and tasting notes from around the world. Discovering the world of golden spirits . A Belgian whisky geek, beer lover and Scotch Malt Whisky Society member.