Dalwhinnie 15 Year Old Vs. Dalwhinnie Winter’s Gold

It’s time for another post on those entry level classics I drank in the past before starting blogging. A few months ago we had a Dalwhinnie event at our local whisky club, going over the full official line up of the distillery, giving me a perfect opportunity to check out again the Dalwhinnie 15 Year Old after not tasting it for a while. But this time I’m going to spar it with a review of its younger sibling, the 2015 NAS variant Dalwhinnie Winter’s Gold.

Dalwhinnie resides on the spot between the western highlands and Speyside regions. if you drive from the south to Inverness you can easily stop there (or see the distillery and the pagodas from the railroad if you’re on the train going north).

Dalwhinnie Winter’s Gold was distilled in the Scottish winter (between October and March), when it’s cold so the whisky went through quicker condensation with less copper interaction, making the new make heavier. (Diageo offers to serve it from the freezer but I’ll stick to the regular method of tasting it at room temperature.)

Dalwhinnie Winter’s Gold (43%, £39.95/€35.95)

Nose: Malty, sweet with gentle nuttiness, honeyed citrus with lots of oranges and mandarins, heavy and full bodied, cake-y and bread-y, Continue reading

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Glenmorangie ALLTA is the 10th Private Edition Release

A weekend full of Glenmorangie news. After we reported on the new label design of Lasanta, a new Glenmoangie label reveals the Tenth Glenmorangie Private Edition: Glenmorangie ALLTA is the next edition and we probably can expect it in January 2019.

This time the focus shifts from casks to yeasts – in this edition wild yeasts from barley fields near the distillery were used in the process.

Also notable that the ALLTA label shows a deviation from the standard Private Edition ABV of 46% and sports ABV of 52.1%.

Lost Spirits Abominations: Crying of the Puma & Sayers of the Law

Lost Spirits are a Californian Distillery (Yeah, USA California) producing American whiskey, Rum and other spirits including some interesting whisky under the Abomination brand. Why Abomination? Because what they did here is very unique and different, harnessing their technology to create them. They got some 45-55 ppm peated whisky from Islay, aged for 12-18 months in Bourbon casks before crossing the ocean to California. Some late-harvest Riesling seasoned oak staves were added and then those young spirits were  ‘tortured’ by the Lost Spirits Reactor for a few days. The reactor bombs the whisky with light, pressure, oxygen and who know what else, all to fast track the aging process – maybe even up to 15 years in a few days.

Both Abominations were named after a chapter of the island of Dr. Moreau and the difference between them is that Crying of the Puma was ‘reacted’ with Toasted Oak staves while Sayers of the Law was ‘reacted’ with Heavily charred Oak Staves (late harvest Riesling seasoned oak in both cases).

So does the reactor really works? How does it taste with speed aging?

Lost Spirits Abomination – Crying of the Puma (54%, £56.75)

Nose: Unmistakably Islay peat, malt, sweet vanilla and concentrated wood extracts like bourbon , soft sweet smoke. Continue reading

Strathearn 3 Year Old Single Cask #115 ‘Sauron’s Eye’

It’s a great feeling crossing off another distillery from the “yet to taste” list of Scottish distilleries. And it’s even more satisfying when it’s the smallest active distillery in Scotland – Strathearn distillery.

“Strath” means valley and so Strathearn means “the valley of the River Earn”. The distillery near Perth started distilling back in 2013 and is known for using a variety of small casks for the 30,000 liters or so of new make they made every year.

Since there are no official bottlings out there (The special inaugural release notwithstanding), the best way to acquire a Strathearn whisky bottle is to purchase a private cask. I didn’t purchase a cask but Anders, a Finnish friend of mine did purchase such a private cask back in 2014 and I was lucky enough to taste the result.

The Sherry Octave cask was fully filled with 49 liters of unpeated new make on 07/08/2014 and was bottled on 17/11/2017 at 57.1%

Strathearn 3 Year Old Single Cask #115 ‘Sauron’s Eye’ (57.1%)

Nose: Fresh. Malt, sweet dried fruit, pine and mint spiciness. The sherry influence starts in the far background slowly creeping forward a bit with milk chocolate and berries but the malt and freshness still leads the way for a very balanced nose.

Continue reading

Compass Box Phenomenology

Along with No Name I reviewed yesterday, there was another interesting and engimatic Compass Box release coming out last year called Phenomenology with the slogan “Phenomenology – There’s No Right or Wrong”.

Phenomenology is a school of thought in psychology that focuses on
phenomena, or, the experiences that we get from our senses–what we
see, taste, smell, etc. It is a way of thinking about ourselves and the
very personal, subjective nature of experience.

True to its name, when Phenomenology was initially released, it was an enigmatic whisky with no recipe nor official tasting notes released, but it’s been months since the release and by now we do have the recipe information:

It doesn’t happen too often that you get to see Glenlossie and Tamdhu as the main ingredients of a whisky costing £150.

Compass Box Phenomenology (46%, 7908 btls, £143/€147.5)

Nose: Fruity pears, apples, salt and subtle peat smoke, sweet oak spices, fizzy minerals, sour hard candies.

Continue reading

Compass Box No Name Review

When Compass Box released No Name last October, there was a lot of buzz around it. It is the peatiest whisky ever from Compass Box with 75.5% of it hailing from Ardbeg. Take into account that the Ardbeg portion carries an unpublished but still obtainable (via email) age statement that wasn’t seen from indie Ardbegs in ages (although recently a few indie Ardbegs popped up with similar age) and you can see why people were enamored by it. And let’s not forget the sexy black presentation and the added wink in the form of the ‘No Name’ name.

So the large portion in this blended whisky, 75.5% comes from Ardbeg (from re-charred barrels,) 10.6% comes from Caol Ila (refill barrels), 13.4% from Clynelish (re-charred hogsheads) and measly 0.5% of Compass box Highland malt blend (which is 60% Clynelish and 20% of both Dailuaine and Teaninich) finished in Compass Box’s heavy toasted French Oak hybrid cask for 6 months.

15,000 bottles were produced, bottled at 48.9% without added color or chill filtering.

Compass Box No Name (48.9%, £98.00/€98,90)

Nose: Very clean peat, lemon and lime, lots of smoke and a bit of tar. Quite fatty with oil wax, fruitiness lead by pears, red apples and some peaches. Continue reading