Thursday, September 18, 2014

New release - Glenrothes 'Sherry Cask Reserve'

The Sherry Cask Reserve is the latest single malt released in to the Glenrothes core range by owners Berry Brothers & Rudd.  The Glenrothes distillery is located in the town of Rothes in the centre of the Speyside region and has a current capacity of 5.5 million litres per year. The majority of the whisky produced there has traditionally been used in popular blends such as Famous Grouse and Cutty Sark. The distillery was founded in 1878 and has had its fair share of bad luck - two bad fires in 1897 and 1922, plus an explosion in 1903.

Berry Brothers, who had traditional strong links with the distillery in the past, were involved in the first release of Glenrothes as a single malt in 1987 and have been ever since.  They revamped the single malt range and packaging around five years ago. As a result the sales, reputation and awareness of the distillery and brand are growing all the time.  The core range now includes the popular Select Reserve and numerous Vintages, with each date referring to the year of distillation.

The Sherry Cask Reserve is the first Glenrothes single malt to be full matured in first-fill ex-sherry casks and was released a couple of months ago.  The casks involved were all hand selected by the Glenrothes Malt Master, Gordon Motion.  It has been bottled at 40% ABV and is available now in selected specialist whisky retailers worldwide.  The price is £55/€65 a bottle. 

Our tasting notes
The colour is deep golden yellow with a hint of amber and the nose has a mix of rich aromas.  All of the 'classic ex-Sherry cask' characteristics are present - raisin, caramel, almonds, candied orange peel, fruit cake and cinnamon.  Underneath are hints of more savoury aromas including earthy ginger and a whiff of dried tobacco leaf.

On the palate, this whisky has a lovely mouth coating feel.  It has an instant sugary characteristic (think of crumbly brown sugar) and this mixes with a lovely golden syrup note.  Then come the fruit cake notes from the nose - imagine raisins, sultanas, caramel, candied orange peel and baking spices (cinnamon especially), which are all complimented by a slightly bitter nuttiness.  The candied orange and raisins are particularly prominent.  Further background notes of very buttery shortbread, ginger and a very pleasant hint of bitter tobacco all add depth and complexity.

The finish is of decent length.  The sweeter elements disappear quickly to leave the tangy orange, bitter nuttiness and the more savoury notes to fight it out.  Add a good dose of cinnamon spice in too and it makes the finish increasingly dry.

What's the verdict?
The nose is delicious and the palate feels warm and comforting.  The dry and tangy finish takes the whisky in a different direction, but a pleasant one.  This final twist stops the whisky being too sweet and rich.  This also makes it one of the nicer ex-Sherry cask matured whiskies at this lower price point that we have tried recently.  Very good.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

New release - Ardbeg 'Supernova 2014 Edition'

This whisky is the third edition of the Supernova bottling from the cult Islay distillery of Ardbeg.  It is released to coincide with the return of a very special sample of Ardbeg.  A couple of years ago, a sample was sent in to space.  This has been orbiting the earth on the International Space Station ever since and it has just landed back on earth.  This sample will be analysed against a sample from the same distillation that has been maturing in a warehouse at the Ardbeg distillery, to determine if weightlessness and zero gravity has any effect on the maturation process.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Diageo Special Releases 2014


Around this time each year, there is always a ripple of anticipation around the whisky industry as they wait to see what Diageo, Scotland's largest producer of Scotch malt whisky, are to release in their annual Special Releases programme.  This programme highlights some of the most exceptional single malt stock from within their portfolio of 28 working distilleries, plus remaining stocks from those which have been closed. Some of these stocks have dwindled to almost critical levels.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Inbox - The Week's Whisky News (September 12, 2014)

Welcome to this week's Inbox.  For those that have recently discovered us, Inbox is our weekly round up of whisky news and PR material that has found its way in to our email inbox. It was created as we cannot write full articles or do justice to every piece received. It features items from around the world of whisky and is published by us each Friday.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Have just tried - Arran 17 years old

This whisky is the oldest single malt released to date by the independent Arran distillery. It is the second whisky in a special trilogy, which saw a 16 years old released last year and culminates in an 18 years old bottling next year. It was released back in March but we have only just got around to sampling it.  The whisky has been matured in ex-sherry casks and there are just 9,000 bottles released worldwide.  The bottling is said to contain some of the first whisky that was produced by the distillery when it opened in 1995.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Inbox - The Week's Whisky News (September 5, 2014)

Welcome to this week's Inbox.  For those that have recently discovered us, Inbox is our weekly round up of whisky news and PR material that has found its way in to our email inbox. It was created as we cannot write full articles or do justice to every piece received. It features items from around the world of whisky and is published by us each Friday.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Inbox - The Week's Whisky News (August 29, 2014)

Welcome to this week's Inbox.  For those that have recently discovered us, Inbox is our weekly round up of whisky news and PR material that has found its way in to our email inbox. It was created as we cannot write full articles or do justice to every piece received. It features items from around the world of whisky and is published by us each Friday.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

New release - Highland Park 'Dark Origins'

The Dark Origins is the newest single malt release from the popular and multi award-winning Highland Park.  The distillery was founded in 1798 by David Robertson, although the legendary 'whisky priest' Magnus Eunson had been illegally distilling whisky on the site for years before that.  It is Eunson and those early shady dealings that they are saluting with this new 'no age statement' whisky. The Dark Origins is quoted as having "twice as many first fill ex-sherry casks as the classic Highland Park 12 years old".

Friday, August 22, 2014

Inbox - August 22, 2014

Welcome to this week's Inbox.  For those that have recently discovered us, Inbox is our weekly round up of whisky news and PR material that has found its way in to our email inbox. It was created as we cannot write full articles or do justice to every piece received. It features items from around the world of whisky and is published by us each Friday.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Distillery visit - Glenlossie


At the beginning of May, we paid a visit to the annual Spirit of Speyside Festival. One of the biggest highlights of our trip was a special tour, which is only run once a year during the festival, called The Laich of Moray. This tour takes in four of Diageo's single malt distilleries around the Elgin area of Speyside that are not normally open to the public - Glen Elgin, Glenlossie, Linkwood and Mannochmore.

Our guide for the trip was Eric Walker, the Senior Site Manager in charge of the four distilleries.  The third stop on the tour was Glenlossie, where we were shown around by Sandy McIntyre, the Site Operations Manager.