Whenever a new “Limited Edition” whisky expression is released to the market you can hear the rising “oh no” cries from the casual drinkers and distillery fans mixed with their excitement and the glee of whisky investors and flippers. Too often, those limited editions are either too expensive for their age and/or quality and their circulation is too small to sate the market demand and so they are hard to find or get sold out very quickly.
But there are exceptions. Some expressions and some distilleries do manage to find a proper balance of price and bottles count, making sure even late comers can fetch a bottle and Springbank 12 Year Old Burgundy wood is a good example. Initially released in May/June 2016 for £65 (€95-€99), it’s still available out there in Europe and across the USA albeit with some price markup in some countries. The secret? A larger than usual edition of 10260 bottles of 12 year old springbank whisky that was matured in fresh Burgundy wine casks.
Springbank 12 Year Old Burgundy (53.5%, €109.95/$119.99)
Nose: What a rich nose! A very heavy wine influence, sour red fruits, peat, motor oils and the Campbeltown funk just behind it, rich on the front but hints at dryness, nuts, tannins and fruits glazed with brown sugar. Great combo of funk and sweet fruity wine. Continue reading
Benromach keeps pumping out young wine finishes expressions and today we’ll review their latest such release, the Benromach Hermitage 2007.
It’s the forth Benromach Hermitage release. The previous one was released in 2015 and is a 2005 vintage whisky. This time around it’s the 2007 vintage that was bottled earlier in 2016 (9 years old give or take a few months). It has been initially matured in bourbon casks for 6 years, before being finished in casks which previously held wine from the Hermitage Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée for 31 months.
Interesting enough, the finish time here, 31 months, is much longer than the finish time used for the previous release which was finished for mere 18 months. Mind you, 13 months can make a lot of difference when it comes to active wine casks.
Benromach Hermitage 2007 (45%, £39.36/€54.99)
Nose: Sweet and with pungy edge which I can attribute to smoke, rich, full and creamy, sweet red wine, red fruit, nuttiness, fudge. After a long time getting soursweet red berries. It’s not a complex nose and the wine impact is very strong here. Continue reading
Until today there was one big distillery never reviewed on Whisky Gospel. Yes, A few years of reviews and still not a single Glenfiddich whisky review here.
It’s not that I didn’t taste Glenfiddich whiskies, after all it’s one of the most popular single malts around the globe and even my brother who doesn’t drink much whisky (I know, a big failure on my behalf) has a Glenfiddich 12 yo bottle at home. But I must admit that those Glenfiddichs I did taste, like the 12 yo, 18 yo and others just didn’t tingle enough my resolve to sit down and write a proper review.
But then Glenfiddich has released their first two experimental series expressions and the one that was finished in IPA casks definitely piqued up my interest. I’ve seen Irish whiskies finished in beer casks like Jameson Caskmates and Scotch blend (Grant’s Ale Cask Finish) but this is the first single malt Scotch whisky ever finished in IPA casks. It was finished in casks that held IPA beer brewed specially for this whisky by Speyside Craft Brewery for three months, and then bottled at 43%. Let’s see if this experimental is successful.
Glenfiddich Experimental Series IPA Cask (43%, £43.98/€49.95)
Nose: Malt, citrus bitterness (grapefruit and the white layer between the peels and the fruit meat) with that distinct hops greenery and bitterness. Then comes the fruit sweetness, green and unripe pears and apples and yet behind that initial wave it’s still a very classic Glenfiddich, honey, vanilla, bread, very smooth with a touch of white pepper. After a while in the glass it’s pretty much all classic Glenfiddich with a slight IPA bitterness. Continue reading
Once again I’ve been too quite in the last few months on the blog, but since the Jewish holiday season ended last week and I’ve recently celebrated my birthday, I have no more excuses and it’s time to resume activity on the blog. I’ve decided to start with some premium drams that I was very late to the party with them: The Circus and The General, both are matured and aged blends from the Compass Box.
But the blame for such a late review of The Circus doesn’t falls solely on my shoulders. The sample that was sent to me didn’t arrive and has disappeared from what looked like a tampered or damaged parcel. Damn those thirsty Post Office workers! But thanks to #whiskyfabric and its far reaching arms, I’ve eventually managed to secure myself a replacement sample.
But since a lot of time passed until I got the replacement sample, the review got delayed and delayed and I was also less inclined to post a review of The Circus by itself because I didn’t publish a review of their previous old aged blend, The General, and so I thought to myself: why not review them both? Taste and review The General and The Circus head to head and see who’s the better of the two?
So let’s start with the Circus. It’s part of Compass Box previous releases wave (along with The Enlightnment) and it’s a blended whisky. Unlike previous releases, the Ingredients list here doesn’t reveal a lot of information – we don’t know which distilleries were used here and what’s the malt/grain ratio, only that the the old blended whisky parcels are 85% of the final result and that the marrying casks are sherry butts:
Compass Box The Circus (49%, 2490 bottles, €219.90/$240 )
Photo credit: thewhiskyexchange.com
Today’s dram is another fine example from Gordon & Macphail “The Wood Makes the Whisky” campaign. It’s a 16 or 17 years old BenRiach, distilled in 1997 and bottled in 2014 and it was matured in refill Sherry hogshead casks.
BenRiach 1997 Connoisseurs Choice (46%, Bottled 2014, £58.50)
Nose: Elegant and light sherry notes at first: sweet dried fruit with some fresh berries thrown in for a good measure accompanied by cinnamon. Then honey, cereals, pears and white fruit, soft and creamy vanilla with crushed nuts, quite a rich nose and after a while the lovely sherry notes comes back for good. Continue reading
It’s always a treat to taste a whisky from a closed distillery. Imperial distillery was closed down at 1998, mothballed in 2013 and a new distillery, Dalmunach Distillery, was setup on the same ground by Chivas Bros.
1995 Is a very popular vintage with independent bottlers for Imperial whiskies. I had a few of those in the past although most were just meh so this Signatory bottling for The Whisky Exchange has piqued my interest.
Imperial 1995 20 Year Old Signatory Vintage for TWE (50.8%, Cask #50252, £69.95)
Nose: Fruit and herbals, eucalyptus, mint, nuts, flower petals (of light colors), floral meadow on a spring day, oranges, peaches after a while with more flower petals. With water it’s lighter and sweeter with added fragrance. Real nice! Continue reading
I’ve been wary of Laphroaig Lore. In fact, I was a bit dreading to taste and review it as it’s the official replacement for Laphroaig 18 which I dearly love. I admit I was angry at Laphroaig’s decision to drop the 18 year old and bring Lore instead as I hate the on going trend of replacing a good matured whisky with a NAS expression.
Usually we don’t know much about the composition of NAS whiskies but John Campbell, the manager of Laphroaig distillery, told the world that Laphroaig Lore is a vatting of casks aged 7 up to 21 year old. But since vatting can change for future batches, I assume they went the NAS route and also because a 7 years old label doesn’t cut it for a whisky replacing a 18 year old expression ah?
So let’s go ahead and check if Lore is indeed ‘The richest of the rich’ and is a worthy replacement for the 18 year old.