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

Whisky Review & Tasting Notes: Hunter Laing Highland Journey 46.2%

Last month the blended malt whisky market got suddenly crowded when we got not one but two new highlands blended malt whiskies.

Racing neck to neck are Hunter Laing with their new Highland Journey release and Douglas Laing with Timorous Beastie. Yup, the Laing companies that formed 1.5 years ago are competing one against each other.

But are they? Do they target the same audience?

Continue reading

Whisky News – Laphroaig Live 2014

When it comes to industry news and events, I usually do not publish them on the blog unless it’s accompanied with new whisky release, which frankly, is the kind of news that interest me (and you too I hope).

Laphroaig is my favorite distillery and in the Laphroaig Live 2014 they will introduce A unique 12 year old triple casked Nordic special bottling so I guess it does fall under the news I should provide you.

However, today is eve of new Jewish year which means I’ll be sitting with the family to a feast and so won’t be able to watch the event. But you can can my substitute so go ahead and watch it live at Laphroaiglive.tv. Slainte!


laph live 2014


Here is what you need to know:


Wednesday 24th September

Sweden                 8.00 PM
UK                          7.00 PM
New York            2.00 PM
Los Angeles        11.00AM
Sydney                04:00AM

On Wednesday 24th September at 8pm local time ( 7pm UK,) the eighth annual Laphroaig Live will broadcast live from Sweden.

This year’s show will be streamed live from a tiny island called Fjäderholmarna which is part of the archipelago just outside Stockholm.

During the show a panel of whisky experts will be tasting 4 phenomenal Laphroaigs:

A unique 12 year old triple casked Nordic special, this year’s much acclaimed Cairdeas finished in Amontillado casks, the latest Global expression called Select and a fourth that will be decided by a Friends of Laphroaig online vote.

An expert panel of guests will explore the strong connections between smoke and depth of flavour in what is sure to be a smoke fest!

As always, we’ll be joined by Distillery Manager, John Campbell. This year he’ll be accompanied by a panel consisting of these famous Swedish personalities; Nour el Refai  a comedian, TV personality, host and a well-known Swedish radio presenter, Peter Borg chairman of the Swedish Whisky Association and Håkan Dahlberg a prolific Swedish whisky blogger of I Love Whisky. 

And last year’s Swedish Bartender of the Year Madeleine Solo Rapp will be making a guest appearance and creating something special using Laphroaig.

Watch the event live here: http://live.laphroaig.tv/show/laphroaig-live-2014-comes-to-stockholm

Whisky Review & Tasting Notes – A trio of whiskies from New Zealand

I believe I said it before, but I’ll say it again – I love tasting world whiskies. It’s fascinating to see various people in different places around the world, who love whisky and produce it. In my short whisky journey I was lucky enough to taste whisky from Scotland (doh), Europe, South Africa, Australia and more but it’s time to get to the southern-est place where whisky was produced – New Zealand.


The sad fact is that currently there’s no active and working distillery in New Zealand. The last active distillery was Willowbank Distillery on the southern island in New Zealand and it was closed down in 1997 and mothballed in 1999. Luckily, the New Zealand Whisky Company bought in 2010 the remaining casks and all those New Zealand whiskies are sourced from those barrels, and so it will stay, until a new distillery will be setup there (or barrels emptied).

Continue reading

Whisky Review & Tasting Notes – Highland Park Dark Origins

So what happens when a distillery releases another pricey NAS whisky? One that you could imagine as competition and maybe future replacement? For most distilleries or bottlers, we’ll explode with rage and angry words but in the case of Highland Park distillery it was met with curiosity and very little anger. We shouldn’t forget that HP aren’t strangers to expensive and pricey NAS whiskies, as evident from their high-end Warriors whiskies so maybe this is why Dark Origins wasn’t receiving such a harsh treatment as others did?

Or maybe because Dark Origins fills another niche in their core portfolio, allowing them to sell (and earn) more?

Continue reading

Whisky Review & Tasting Notes – Tomatin Cù Bòcan Sherry cask 46%

I visited Tomatin distillery a month ago and I still owe you a detailed post on it but in the meanwhile here’s a review of one of their latest offering, the Cù Bòcan  – The Sherry Edition.

You probably wonder what is it, so here’s what we were told in the official press release:

With the standard edition comprising Sherry, Virgin Oak and Bourbon casks, this is the first of three limited editions highlighting the flavours derived from each cask type.

Fully matured in first fill Sherry butts, the Sherry edition is rich and fruity with hints of smoke and paprika. There are only 6000 bottles available and it is expected to retail at £49.99 in specialist retailers.

This is a not a new concept in the industry, as previous limited editions were already produced (like Balantines 17) but it’s always a great idea to showcase the stronger impact of specific cask time.

Side note: I know that different glasses will expose different notes, but It’s been a while since the difference was so substantial. I’ve sniffed this whisky in both a Glencairn and the official Tomatin nosing glass and it was so different a whisky. Do you ask yourself which glass was used for the notes below? Go ahead and try both glasses and you’ll see :-)

Tomatin Cu Bocan Sherry cask (46%, 6000 bottles, £42.15)

cubocan sherryNose: It’s young and kicking at first sniff. There are new make notes, lots of malt and of course lots of peat although it’s not sharp but it smells like more than 15 ppm. Buy then the peat recedes and there are all those fortified tropical fruits – Melon, Ananas, Mango. very Tomatin-like but with extra sweetness.

Palate: starts with peat but less so than what I felt on the nose at first, light influence of sherry with pastry, demerara sugar, chocolate, spice, all laced with tropical juice

Finish: short-medium length with nutmeg spice, sweet light sherry and lingering peat.

Toughts: This one felt very young at first (is it younger then the standard Cu Bocan?), then get balanced with some air breathing making it lightly peated with extra sweet tropical fruits. Very tomatin-like whisky with the peat. Real solid offering from Tomatin for those who like the dash of peat in their whisky.

(Official sample was received from Tomatin Distillery)