When I toured in Scotland last October, we were under serious time constraints so we passed near so many distilleries we wanted to visit and it was really heart breaking for us. But for Glenfarclas distillery we broke the rule and stopped by for some
R&R D&S (dramming and shopping in case you wonder…:) ). Come on, you can’t totally skip Glenfarclas.
How many times can I repeat that I love SMWS whiskies? The act gets boring after a while, even if their whiskies doesn’t. This time – an Arran bottling 14yo old (again, sample provided by my buddy Tom of Toms Whiskies Reviews) So far I had very good experience with Arran whiskies but seems like this one will be the first tasting notes from Arram on the blog (gotta have more ah?)
Most whisky people always complain about blends. Or to be more accurate they complain on bad blends (myself included). There’s no doubt that the majority of the whisky blends created (92-94% of the entire whisky market mind you) aren’t too good – at least at the eyes of whisky single malt lovers.
However, there are some good blenders and blends out there. I’ve previously covered Compass Box blends which are very good and it’s time to try another blend from another artisan blender – The Tweeddale Batch 3 from Alistair Tweeddale.
OK, time for one more whisky from Douglas Laing and this time a whisky from mostly unrecognized distillery bottled for Douglas Laing premium brand ‘Directors Cut’ – Balmenach 30 years old.
Unless you’re a whisky geek/nerd, you probably didn’t hear of Balmenach before. and it’s no wonder as Balmenach don’t bottle their own single malt with most of their production going into blends such as Hankey Bannister. So it’s a great opportunity to try some single malt independent bottling from such distillery (first Balmenach whisky for me), especially when it’s a 30 year old!
This cask was was distilled in September, matured for 30 years in a refill hogshead #10162 before bottling in December 2013 by Douglas Laing.
Douglas Laing Directors’ Cut Balmenach 30 (52.8%, 111 bottles, buy for £192 here)
Nose: Hmm. subdued at first, takes a bit to open up. Creamy and buttery sweet green apples along with vanilla and heather honey flipping to mild sweet floral & farm notes. Very complex, elegant and balanced nose.
Palate: Starts with sweet meadow, cut grasses and huge floral notes followed by second wave of heat and long gentle spiciness and some gentle loving oak wood. Hmmm…delicious!
Finish: Medium-Long length, lingering heat, spiciness and sweetness. oak wood with some burnt/toasted edge still fresh and lively despite being 30 year old.
Conclusion: Superb whisky from the relatively unknown distillery – good combination of floral and sweet notes all tamed down by age in a good cask. Good job by the crew at Douglas Laing for bottling this cask. I should look for more Balmenach bottlings in the future.
(Official sample from the Douglas Laing)
I love Douglas Laing Old Particular line. I’ve tasted a couple of them when I visited their HQ in Glasgow last October (you can see the post here) and they all were rock solid or excellent.
During that visit, we tasted the bit controversial Old Particular Bowmore 25 yo which proudly carry the FWP attribute (Google it if you don’t know what I’m talking about) and the jury was still out there for me.
And now, few months later, here’s another Old Particular Bowmore but this time a 17 years old which was bottled in December 2013. Let’s taste it and see how does it compares to the older sibling.
When I picked up this sample from the box, for a moment my brain froze and I was very confused. is it a way to hide the distillery name and wrap it in a shroud of mystery? But then my brain resumed working – Speyside is indeed a whisky region (and geographic area) in Scotland, but there is a real distillery called Speyside in the Speyside region.
I said to myself, wow, what a cool thing (wonder why there’s no Islay distillery on Islay…). This distillery is not generating lots of buzz in the whisky circles or with whisky fans – I admit I knew almost nothing on it so I went to the internet and found out it’s a relatively new distillery, producing whisky only since 1990 and indeed have a very small capacity (only 500,000 liters a year).
So today, another notch for me – my first Speyside distillery whisky, Douglas Laing Old Particular Speyside 17 years old – is it a classic speyside (region) whisky or not? lets get to the tasting notes
Another day, another young whisky. Yeah, let’s follow yesterday’s young one and check another one and see if it’s any good, and this time a Bunnahabhain, bottled by Douglas McGibbons Co (sister company of Douglas Laing).
Bunnahabhain is one of two distilleries I couldn’t manage to squeeze into my schedule when I visited Islay last October. Old Bunna whiskies are considered very good and are cherished by whisky lovers. That said, I do love their standard 12 yo bottle and I heard good things on previous Y&F Bunnas, so I was curious to see what Douglas
Laing McGibbons has prepared for us when they released a new youngish 9 yo Bunna, bottled winter 2014, under their “Young & Feisty” line.