Tag Archives: Grain

#70 – Single Grain Whiskies

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.

Distillery: The Girvan Patent Still
Name: New Make Spirit
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 42%
Nose: Saké, sweet, light, grassy, smooth
Taste: Smooth, light, light fruits, vodkaish
Rating: 4/10
Distillery: The Girvan Patent Still
Name: No4. Apps
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 42%
NoseDelicate, vanilla, cream, pineapple, orchid fruits
Taste: Toffee, peppery, vanilla, citrusy
Rating: 4/10

And now onto the rest of the Single Grain whiskies.

Distillery: Undisclosed
Name: 1998 Ayrshire – Single Grain Collection from Signatory
Age: 16
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 43%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 70cl
Price: £31 (Master of Malt)
Nose: Sweet, sponge cake
Taste: Light, spicy, pepper, dry, earthy, chocolate, tobacco
Finish: Short, spicy, dry
Rating: 7/10

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.

Distillery: The Girvan Patent Still
Age: 25
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 42%
Bottle Size: 5cl
Price: £245 (Master of Malt)
NoseSpicy, oaky, raisins, slight vanilla, citrusy, orange, dark toffee
Taste: Dark toffee, sherry, creamy, spice
Finish: Medium, spice, oak
Rating: 8/10

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.

Distillery: The Girvan Patent Still
Age: 30
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 42%
Bottle Size: 5cl
Price: £366 (Master of Malt)
Nose: Sugared almonds, citrus, light fruits, toffee
Taste: Smooth, oily, slight raisin, battenberg cake, woody, spice
Finish: Light spice, dry
Rating: 8/10

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.

Distillery: Girvan Distillery
Name: 1965 – The Clan Denny by Douglas Laing
Age: 46
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 49.7%
Bottle Size: 3cl
Price: Sold out (Master of Malt)
Nose: Old leather, oak, damp cellar, baked fruits, vanilla
Taste: Leather, baked fruit, nutmeg
Finish: Long, dry, spicy, charred wood, salty
Rating: 10/10

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.

WOW! That aroma is amazing! An instant and powerful hit of old leather in a damp cellar, surrounded by old oak. Baked fruits follow with a hint of nuttiness adding to the depth with some vanilla sweetness lightening things a little.
Well after such an amazing nose I am really looking forward to the palate…and, oh dear. Only joking 🙂 The palate does not disappoint, truly amazing just like the aroma. The old leather is there again as are the baked fruits that have now been sprinkled with nutmeg to give a lovely, well balanced spice. There is so much going on with this dram, it just keeps giving. The finish is wonderfully long with a great level of spice and a sense of charred wood and then unexpectedly a hint of salt.
Well it is safe to say that this dram has blown me away. The best grain whisky I have tried by a country mile, I’m just gutted that I can’t get a full bottle now. This has been truthfully one of the nicest whiskies I have had the pleasure of trying.

#68 – Loch Lomond 12 Year Old Single Grain Organic

Distillery: Loch Lomond
Name: Single Grain Organic (Dà Mhìle)
Region: Highland
Age: 12
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 46%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 3cl
Price: Sold Out
Nose: Light, toffee, white fruits, citrus
Taste: Light, toffee, vegetal, spicy
Finish: Short, dry, vegetal
Rating: 5/10

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.

Canadian Whisky Comparison

It’s been a while since my last whisky review I know, sorry about that, but I’m back now and hopefully able to start doing my Whisky Wednesday reviews more regularly again. Up this week is a couple of Canadian whiskies. So without further ado…

Distillery: Seagram’s
Name: VO
Region: Canada
Age: N/A
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 40%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 70cl
Price: £26 (Master of Malt)
Nose: Grain, sweetness, slightly metallic, subtle spice
Taste: Grain, spicy, creamy
Finish: Long, warm, spicy
Rating: 4/10

Canadian whisky, not something I have tried before to be honest as I’ve never really heard many good things said about it. I’m all about new experiences though so I’m happy to give it chance.

First up is Seagram’s VO blended whisky and “Canada’s Finest” if the bottle is to be believed. Well with a statement like that it has a lot to live up to, after all Avril Lavigne is Canadian and she’s pretty damn fine 🙂

So what does the nose serve up. Well…grain. Initial nose is just a basic grain whisky, with that slight sugar sweetness that goes with one. After a bit there comes a slight metallic note but this seems short lived before returning to a basic grain nose again. It does begin to develop a bit more of a spice to it after a while though.

Onto the palate and it is predominately a grain whisky just like the nose. It does have a real spicy kick to it which is good, nothing distinct, just a spicy warmth that continues to the quite long finish. It does have good body to it, quite creamy and smooth which is an interesting combination with the spicy burn.

Overall I’m not hugely impressed though. I enjoy a grain whisky don’t get me wrong, but I want more than just a generic grain whisky taste, something like the Compass Box Hedonism (yes I know it’s twice the price but it shows what can be done with one). If you are after a cheap, spicy drinking whisky then it is okay but do not expect any form of complexity with it.

Distillery: Crown Royal
Name: Deluxe
Region: Canada
Age: N/A
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 40%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 3cl
Price: £26 (Master of Malt)
Nose: Medium richness, slight spice, sweet
Taste: Rich, creamy, spicy
Finish: Medium, warm, spicy
Rating: 5/10

Onto Canada’s most famous whisky, Crown Royal. First created as a gift for King George VI to celebrate the Royal visit to Canada in 1939, it is a blend of 50 Canadian whiskies according their website.

Well the nose is an improvement on the Seagram’s in my opinion. It has a medium richness to it with a slight spice present also. It does have a sugar sweetness to it to go with the slight grain notes, but much better balanced. That sugar sweetness softens into a slightly more fruity sweetness after a bit and the grain notes lessen.

Onto the palate and it has a lovely rich and creamy feel to it followed by that spice from the nose, not as overpowering spice as the Seagram’s however. When held in the mouth for a bit you begin to get some oak coming through that is not initially present. The finish is of medium length but with a lovely spicy, slightly dry, warmness to it.

Definitely the better of the 2 Canadian options for me. There is slightly more depth to it so it can be enjoyed as part of a quiet evening in but it is still cheap enough and easy enough to drink for when some friends come around. Good entry level whisky that would tempt me into trying some of their other range.

Adnams Triple Grain No2

Distillery: Adnams
Name: Triple Grain No2
Region: England
Age: 3
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 43%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 70cl
Price: £44
Nose: Charred wood, citrus, spicy, sugared almonds
Taste: Charred wood, dark chocolate, smooth, spice, honey
Finish: Long, warm, spicy
Rating: 4/10

Before I started spending my spare time on Twitter, learning about the goings on in the whisky industry, I happened to stumble upon the Adnams website, where I learned they were to be launching their first whiskies in just a matter of months. As I’m sure you can imagine, this got me all excited, after all I love trying new whiskies and the thought of another English whisky hitting the market got me thinking where this whisky boom would take us next.

I signed up to be notified as soon as they were available and was pleasantly surprised about a month after to be invited to the opening day. Now with Adnams being based in Southwold, it is not exactly close, about 450 mile round trip to be exact, but I thought what the hell, why not make a bit of a holiday of it, so booked a B&B and put my name down.

So down (and over) I went to try both the Triple Grain No2 (wheat, barley and oats) and the Single Malt No1, as well as a selection of other goodies they had open such as their gins (very nice also). The Single Malt No1 was as expected, too young with not enough going on to be honest, the Triple Grain No2 however was better, hence I bought a bottle (signed by Mr Jonathan Adnams and the Master Distiller John McCarthy).

On the nose you get a strong charred/toasted wood note which is lighted however by the citrus aroma. There is also a sweetness there but more of a sugary sweetness rather than a honey one, reminds me of sugared almonds. Added to this is a lovely spice, not too much but it is present throughout the length of the nose.

The palate still holds onto the charred wood notes but also with a real sense of dark chocolate, something like a 50% cocoa as it has some smoothness there also. The spice remains but again is well balanced and some sweetness comes through also, but unlike the nose it is more of a honey sweetness. The finish is long, strong, warm and spicy.

I have heard a few people give the Triple Grain a bit of a hard time and I think it is unjust. It is a young spirit and I think they have done very well to get such a powerful flavour in just 3 years. I actually see it more of a Bourbon alternative rather than a single malt alternative, and maybe if more people thought this way it would have a better following.

Compass Box Great King Street – Artist’s Blend

Distillery: Compass Box
Name: Great King Street – Artist’s Blend
Region: Highland
Age:
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 43%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 5cl
Price: £40 (70cl)
Nose: Light, sweet, vanilla, pear drops, apple strudel
Taste: Creamy, light, subtle spice, apple strudel
Finish: Medium, well rounded, slight oakiness
Rating: 6/10
Following my review of Spice Tree, Compass Box were kind enough to send me 3 samples from their range,  all different styles, to help me better understand blended whiskies and hopefully to convert me towards blends a little more, the Spice Tree gave me a hefty shove over to the world of blends though to be honest 🙂
First off we have a blend of Grain and Malt whiskies in the form of Great King Street – Artist’s Blend. It consists of 46% Lowland grain, 45% Highland malt and 9% Speyside malt that have various wood finishes, First Fill American Oak, New French Oak and First Fill Sherry Butt.
So onto the nose, and I am impressed straight away, it has a refreshing, citrus nose but with the sweet, vanilla notes hitting first, then giving way to pear drops and then apple strudel, which I love.
The palate is light and refreshing yet with a creamy body to it and just a slight spice present, beside the ABV heat. There is also just a hint of the apple strudel there again. The finish is a little plain and short but it does have good body and just a slight oaky dryness at the end.
The palate is relatively simple compared to the lovely nose but it is a very pleasant, easy drinking dram. It does open up quite a bit once left to aerate for 15 minutes for so and then greater resembles the nose. It is a great summer dram to sit and relax with, maybe whilst chatting with a few fiends.
Thanks to Compass Box for the sample.