Whisky Review & Tasting Notes: Wemyss Malts ‘Bench with a Sea View’ 1997 (Clynelish)

October is the hot season for new whisky releases and reviews. In fact, many new whisky announcements starts during September, but taking into account a distribution period of a month or so for the whisky to arrive to shops, October is main stage.

Following their success last year, Wemyss Malts again released 12 single casks last month geared toward holiday shoppers. One of them is a Clynelish 1997 vintage (so it’s either 16yo or 17yo, probably 16yo) named “Bench with a Sea View” which yielded 373 bottles (ex-bourbon cask/barrel).

I loved those Wemyess single casks I happened to taste and review, therefor I hoped this one won’t disappoint. Continue reading

Book Review: Malt Whisky Yearbook 2015

We’re deep into October and it means that a new Malt Whisky Yearbook was released. I got my copy of the 2015 edition last week (bought and signed at the TWE whisky show, Thanks Michael!) and I spent the last week going over it and enjoying it a lot.

MWY2015

Since it’s the first time I’m reviewing the MWY on the blog let me tell you what’s in it:

The first part contains different articles from various knowledgeable writers covering different aspects and fields on whisky. This year there are chapters on: Continue reading

Whisky Review – Royal Lochnagar DE 1998-2011

I believe I wrote it before but it’s a fact that can bear a repetition: Wine finishes are a notorious hard thing to do correctly. It’s not easy to do it and keep it balanced and mesh the flavours together to elevate the whisky to another level.

Therefor it’s not really surprising to see why they aren’t too common and it’s mostly done with special editions and not official bottlings. Heck, take out Sauternes finish segment and the count is even rarer.

But there are a few braves expressions out there, like this one: the Royal Lochnagar DE. It’s using a dessert win but not the Sauternes but Muscat.

Our local airport shop carries this bottle and few months ago it was in a 50% discount (about $50) so a good friend of mine, Yori, who passed through the airport, grabbed a bottle and I got to try it. (Thanks Yori!)

How well does it integrate with nature of Royal Lochnagar highland spirit? Continue reading

Whisky Review & Tasting Notes: Glen Garioch 15 year old Renaissance 51.9%

Glen Garioch aren’t sitting on their hands basking in the success of the 1998 Wine Cask Matured release earlier this year (which was a mystery blind dram and I loved it a lot!) and two months ago released a new limited edition: Glen Garioch The Renaissance 15 year old.

This release is the first of 4 limited (and exclusive) editions (15, 16, 17 & 18 year olds) to be released annually, aptly named Glen Garioch Renaissance Collection which is here to celebrate the new house character that Glen Garioch took after the re-opening in 1997 following the purchase of Morrison Bowmore by Suntory. As such, all whisky was distilled after 1997 to reflect the new distillery style.

This initial release was matured bourbon and sherry casks for 15 years and only 12,000 bottles were produced. Do they keep striking gold?  Continue reading

Whisky Review & Tasting Notes: Bowmore The Devil’s Casks Batch 2

Well, well, see who’s back? the devil has returned for a second round!

devilscask2

Following the HUGE (huge? Godzilla was dwarfed in comparison) success of the first incarnation of the Devils Casks release in 2013, Bowmore has released the 2nd batch a while ago. And guess what? It took less than a nano-second to get sold-out across UK/Europe. As with the first batch, bottles are available in auctions for x4 (and more) of the original price.

I loved the first batch (see my review here) after getting a sample from my friend Ben (of Ben’s Whisky Blog) so I thought of getting a bottle of the 2nd batch but I didn’t really have a chance as my favorite stores didn’t get any serious bottles allocation (1 bottle in some cases!). But then Ben came to the rescue as he managed to get a bottle of the 2nd batch as well (and he opened it! and drink it! not flipping in auctions!) and generously sent me a sample of it.

So, will I love the 2nd batch as I loved the first one? Also, should I build a shrine for Ben? Continue reading

Whisky Review & Tasting Notes: Big Peat Xmas Edition 2014

It was finally cold last night and I had to turn off the ventilator and use a blanket! We’re past the equinox and finally winter is showing signs of life. And do you know what does it means? Winter is coming indeed but I was thinking of: Holidays are coming!

We’re seeing a big wave of releases geared toward holidays shopping. As usual there are also some annual releases in that wave and one that I’m always waiting for is Big Peat the Xmas Edition.

I have a bottle of the regular Big Peat, which is a huge success around the world (and I should really publish the tasting notes for it, I know!) and during my visit to Douglas Laing HQ tasted 2 of their special editions which were awesome for blended peated whisky. And how does the new edition fare? Continue reading

Whisky Review & Tasting Notes: Douglas Laing Timorous Beastie

Last October I had the honor to visit Douglas Laing HQ on the day when they released Scallywag (my visit recap here and the liquid recap here :) )

Scallywag was Big Peat companion, and now, almost a year after, we meet Timorous Beastie, the companion to Scallywag, right?

TimorousBeastie (2)

Scallywag was sherried speyside and Timorous completes it by being a highlands whisky. It contains single malts from Dalmore, Glengoyne, Glen Garioch and others and is bottled at 46.8%.

so how beast-ly is this mouse? Continue reading