Name: Single Malt
Bottle Size: 70cl
Price: £46 (The Whisky Exchange)
Taste: Honey, malty, coastal, spicy
Finish: Long, floral, smokey, spicy
This is an independent bottling of Glenrothes 25 year old by Murray McDavid as part of their Benchmark Collection. It has been matured in a wine cask from Jurançon, South West France, who produce both dry and sweet white wine, I am unsure which was used for the finish however.
It has a medium body to the nose with strong hints of light toffee, without too much sweetness though, and some initial marzipan. It is picked up a little by some floral notes making it lighter on the nose than the colour would suggest. On that note, Jurançon is known for white wines (according to Wikipedia) which again the colour would not suggest. The official notes also mention anise too which I can get a hint of once left to aerate a while.
The palate has a boldness to it; there is some initial sweetness but it is really well balanced by a dryness that follows and into a soft spice. All of this leads in to a raisin mid-palate. The finish is long and strong. There is an oaky dryness and spice to it too, lovely.
A real winter dram this one; very different finish from the wine cask but in all the right ways. I don’t have a sweet tooth but I like how well this balances the sweetness with the dryness. Credit to the guys at Claxton’s.
This is an independent bottling of Tobermory 20 year old by the York based bottler Claxton’s and is Natural in colour and Non-chill filtered.
Firstly, what an awesome looking bottle, a little more awkward to pour out of, but what it lacks in practicality it makes in style 🙂
So the nose is light and delicate with a lovely hit of straw and some subtle malt coming through. There is also a well balanced herbal note to it making it very refreshing on the nose. There is a soft spice to it on the finish like white pepper.
The palate is light like the nose with a hint of malt to it. As you hold it in you mouth for a while you get some coastal notes coming through, not too overpowering, just enough to work with the slightly sweet mid-palate leading to a soft spice. The finish itself is long and dry with the spice building to a nice fiery heat.
Overall this has been a very enjoyable dram, the whole bottle has gone down well, especially over the summer when the majority of it went. It is light and easy drinking but has some depth to it when you are in the mood to take notice.
This is an independent bottling of the Arran 18 year old offered by Whiskybroker. It was actually available a little before the official 18 year old release which is one of the reasons I bought it.
The sherry cask is very obvious from the lovely rich colour. The nose I found interesting, not as deep as I was expecting but does have some richness from the dried fruits, I can pick out dates in there, it is very sweet though, a sugary sweetness too. The usual fruity nose that I expect from an Arran is not present in this one, the sherry cask has definitely had an affect on that.
The sherry finish becomes very apparent on the palate, very rich with some spicy oak notes, leaving it a little dry. There is also some alcohol burn in there too without water. Speaking of which, in the unlikely event of you finding yourself with a dram of this, add some water as it helps to open it up a little. The finish is long and warm, the spice from the oak seems to go on forever.
Well I have enjoyed the bottle but I do think it is a little too overpowering on the sherry front, the delicacies that I can usually find in an Arran just aren’t there which is a shame. Fantastic value for money though, well worth checking out the website for their ever changing range.
I have noticed I have a number of single grain whiskies in at present and thought it time for a comparison. The bulk of them are from the Girvan distillery but there is also a Signatory bottling of an undisclosed Ayrshire distillery.
I will start with a few notes I found from a previous tasting for 2 whiskies from The Girvan Patent Still, their New Make Spirit and No4 Apps whiskies.
And now onto the rest of the Single Grain whiskies.
This is an undisclosed Single Grain whisky from Ayrshire that was distilled on 21st August 1998 and bottled on 30th October 2015 by Signatory.
So surprisingly this does not have a particularly spicy nose which is a characteristic that I have come to expect from grain whiskies, instead it has a sugary sweetness, sponge cake. It is not particularly complicated but for £30 I’m not expecting it to be. The sweetness lessens after a couple of minutes leaving the sponge cake and a new, slightly metallic crispness.
Onto the palate and you are hit with that lovely peppery spice that I was expecting. It is very light with an initial sweetness that evolves into a slightly earthy note and a hint of chocolate and cigar tobacco just at the end, I wasn’t expecting the chocolate and tobacco. The earthiness is like wet leaves, gives it a surprising depth given the nose. The finish is short in flavour but quite long in a lingering spice.
Overall I am very impressed with this whisky. It is cheap so a great drinking whisky, light and refreshing so a great summer dram but has a lovely warming spice too, will still be good in winter then. A great all rounder by all accounts.
Onto the 25 year old from The Girvan Patent Still and the nose is wonderful, deep and complex with a good level of spice, not too overpowering. You get a little vanilla and toffee sweetness that is well managed by the oak to ensure it is not too sweet, the raisins also help to add depth. There is a subtle orange citrus note there also to lighten it a touch.
Dark toffee again on the palate with a sherry note there also. It is very smooth with a well balanced spice towards the end that continues onto the medium length finish. Depth is added by the raisins, similar to the nose.
A very pleasant dram, plenty of complexity on both the nose and palate making it a great savouring whisky.
Great nose again, light toffee this time along with some sugared almonds. Not as deep as the 25 year old but lighter and more fruit present.
Super smooth on the palate, the oily texture coats the mouth with the subtle spice and notes of Battenberg cake. There is some depth to it also from the raisin notes and wood, also giving it a slightly dry finish.
Another great offering from The Girvan Patent Still, well balanced with good sweetness, spice and dryness. Another savouring dram for sure.
This is a 1965 bottle from Douglas Laing as part of their The Clan Denny range. It is a sample that I got in my pack from Whisky Tasting Company a while back that I have been looking forward to.
Bottled by Dà Mhìle, a Welsh independent bottler, this sherry cask matured, organic single grain whisky was distilled in 2000 and bottled in 2012.
It has a light aroma that is lead by light toffee notes and followed by notes of white fleshy fruits. There is also some citrus that comes through near the end. With a little time there comes some marzipan notes that replace the toffee and just a touch of a metallic note towards the end.
Onto the palate and it is nice and light much like the nose and again with the light toffee leading. Following the toffee it develops into a slight vegetal dram, a little earthy and then straight into a lovely spicy lift to the end. The finish is quite short and dry with the vegetal notes sticking around.
I would suggest small pours and quick drinking with this one as it is better without the aeration in my opinion. It suits the sweet and spicy characters that comes on first pour more so than the vegetal notes that come with aeration. An enjoyable dram either way though that is very light, lending itself to a summer evening after a hard day at work.
Scapa is the lesser known distillery from Orkney, Highland Park obviously being the better known one.
The nose is quite light with a metallic edge to it making it crisp and clean. There are some light toffee notes in there too which help to give a bit more depth to it.
The palate has a medium body, it starts as a light grassy whisky with some slightly coastal/salty notes but then, similar to the nose, deepens a little, this time with some oak and spice. It is quite refreshing as it picks up with the coastal notes again on the finish, although the oakyness does give it a dry finish.
Overall a pleasant dram, definitely a summer dram with its coastal notes.
Well this is a first for me that’s for sure, a coffee review. I was contacted by Cooper’s Cask Coffee via this blog informing me of their Whiskey Barrel Aged coffee and asked if I would be interested in conducting a review. Since I love whisky (believe it or not) and I am a fan of good quality coffee, I jumped at the chance, this should be a very interesting combination.
Producer: Cooper’s Cask Coffee
Roast Level: Medium
Bean Origin: Unknown
The beans are sourced as fresh, green, unroasted coffee beans which ‘exhibit the subtle flavours and aromas that will match and compliment the whiskey barrel ageing’. There is no mention as to what country the beans are sourced from unfortunately, that would be nice to know. The guys at Cooper’s Cask Coffee have been testing various roasting levels and ageing time to get what they feel is the ideal balance of coffee and whiskey from the single malt whiskey barrels.
The beans themselves have a lovely aroma, the whiskey presence is obvious but not overpowering. There is a slight sweetness there, some notes of dark chocolate and I also get a hint of cigar tobacco too. I can pickup on some fruit also but I can’t put my finger on what it is, the guys at Cooper’s Cask Coffee say papaya.
When ground you get all of the same qualities, just slightly enhanced, the whiskey aroma does come out a little more at this point.
I recently broke my Bodum cafetiere which was rather annoying as I had this coffee on it’s way for me to review. As I was about to purchase another I remembered a colleague of mine saying that he uses a Aerobie AeroPress coffee maker and he has said that it was a wonderful bit of kit, so I decided to give one of those ago instead. I have made a couple of brews with it since it has arrived and can confirm, it is a wonderful bit of kit.
Water was heated to 80 degrees as suggested by the folks at Aerobie.
I decided to start with an Americano, or Black Coffee as I would usually call it. This is firstly because it is how I usually drink my coffee but also because I think trying it as an Espresso is best saved until after due to the intensity of the flavour.
On the nose it has a lovely sweetness from the whiskey which is again clearly there but not overpowering. The fruitiness also carries over very well, and I now think I know what I am getting, strawberry flavoured chocolates, subtle though. There is still another fruit there but I can’t place it yet.
Onto the palate and the whiskey is really well balanced, it is again present but not overpowering, which I imagine could have been an easy balance to get wrong. There is an initial sweetness from the whiskey and fruit quality, I still get a little of the strawberry chocolate. It is lovely and smooth with just a slight woody dryness at the very end. This is a very fruity coffee but light, refreshing, summer fruits for me making it an easy drinking and refreshing summer evening coffee.
As an espresso I find the base coffee aroma is far more prominent than as an Americano, you still get that whiskey presence but not as much, not what I expected to be honest. The fruitiness is still there, though I hardly get the strawberries now, still get the dark chocolate though. It has a slightly dryer aroma to it, more of the cigar tobacco than as an Americano and a slight smoky quality.
The palate is definitely dryer with intense dark chocolate and tobacco. The fruit flavour is still there but the sweetness is not, though the whiskey flavour picks up at the end to lighten it a little. The finish is long and dry with a slight bitterness which is not present on the initial palate. It turns in to more of a cold winter evening coffee as an Espresso for me.
I really enjoyed doing this review, I have never just sat and concentrated on a coffee like this before. What I liked about the Cooper’s Cask Coffee is that it is both a summer and a winter coffee depending on how you have it. Either way it is an evening coffee though in my eyes, it is one that you want to sit down and really enjoy after work.
I was impressed with the balance that they have managed with this, the coffee is smooth, not too bitter and the whiskey is not overpowering.
On a side note, I also tried the coffee made with my spare cafetiere, it’s not a great one though, and I have to say that I did prefer the results of the AeroPress. Although the cafetiere produces a quality brew, the AeroPress gets the same level of flavour out in a much shorter time, resulting in a smoother, less bitter coffee.