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.
I’m very fond of Craigellachie distillery due to the seemingly irrelevant fact that I slept at a B&B in the Craigellachie village on my first Scotland pilgrimage. Since then I tasted a few Craigellachie bottles, indie and official and it’s time to review another one, a 1997 vintage from the Connoisseurs Choice lineup of Gordon & Macphail.
It was bottled in 2014 (making it about 17 year old) and it was aged in refill ex-bourbon casks, unlike the 1997 vintage that was bottled in 2013 that was aged in first fill sherry casks. I do know that Craigellachie works well with sherry but how about bourbon?
Craigellachie 1997 Connoisseurs Choice (46%, Bottled 2014, £64.45/€88,90)
Nose: Fruity with apples, red apples peels, a touch of peaches, it very much reminds me some of official Craigellachie lineup traits with those apples, roasted/burnt matches and the oily and smooth feeling. bakery full of fruit cakes, some nuttiness, cream, ginger and spices. Continue reading
Blair Athol distillery is a distillery which most whisky drinkers never heard of. It’s acting as a workhorse for Diageo, producing 2,500,000 liter of alchol a year with most of its’ output going into blends (and a very minor portion goes towards the Blair Athol 12 in the Flora and Fauna series).
But a few years a go a big batch of 1988 vintage casks found itself in independent bottlers hands with Signatory leading the way here and one of those Signatory casks popped up lately as an exclusive release for The Whisky Exchange. Let’s check it out!
Blair Athol 1988 27 Year Old Signatory Vintage for TWE (55.7%, £120 ,Cask #6845)
Nose: Sherried and a bit dirty nose with struck matches, weak sulphur, sour berries, cinnamon and nutmeg, espresso, dark chocolate and wax. After a while more coffee and dark chocolate shows up and it becomes less sulphury. With water it’s fruitier with cherries and raspberries, some malt and chocolate with lower percentage of cacao. Continue reading
There are some distilleries you play love/hate games with and in my case one of them would be Dalmore. I usually just can’t stand the caramel and the chill filtration they do with their official line up, hence the sparseness of Dalmore reviews here. Of course when you go to special aged editions the situation is a tad bitter (like the 1981 Amaroso I reviewed) but the global picture is pretty gloom.
That’s why I was happy to receive a sample of an indie Dalmore from Gordon & Macphail. There aren’t too many of those in the market, and I instantly grabbed the chance to try this Dalmore 2001 – it’s au natural without additions or damaging filtering!
Dalmore 2001 Connoisseurs Choice (46%, Bottled 2015, £32.08/€54,90)
Nose: It’s a very fruity nose with a lot of pears and pineapple notes. Also some creamy malt, liqorice, bitter grapefruit and gentle oak wood spices. After it sat down in the glass for a few minutes there were red apples, lemon, herbal eucalyptus and light spearmint perfume. Continue reading
Better late than never but it’s about time I’ll check out the latest batch of Scallywag Cask Strength. I had the magical opportunity to be at Douglas Laing HQ when the original Scallyway was released and I loved it so lets check it out and see if this batch of the Cask Strength (4800 bottles) manages to keep up to the high standard of the original.
Douglas Laing Scallywag Cask Strength Batch #2 (54.1%, £45.98/€54,90)
Nose: Malty which isn’t surprising as I assume it will be young, and energetic (thanks to those extra %), strong sherry impact, dried berries, sultanas, white pepper, demerara sugar, vanilla pods are scatter through, quite lively and punchy. Continue reading
Going back to Scotland after a short detour to SA, let’s check another one from the latest batch of The Whisky Exchange exclusives, a peated young Caol Ila.
It’s a 2007 vintage that was bottled in May 2016 making it a 8 Year Old whisky. 320 bottles were bottled from this 200L barrel thanks to a non cask strength ABV of 46%.
Caol Ila 2007 8 Year Old Signatory Vintage for TWE (46%, £55.95, Cask #315325)
Today we do a small detour from Scotland to the southern hemisphere, all the way down to South Africa. It’s only in recent years that the Three Ships brand name got recognized outside SA, thanks to the internet, bloggers and whisky aficionados who hunted and carried in their luggage SA whisky to Europe. I got introduced to Three Ships a couple of years ago thanks to Mark and with his help I managed to secure a bottle of the 10 Year Old limited edition (see my review here).
But it’s been quiet on the Three Ships front for a while until Distill (the owners of James Sedgwick Distillery and the Three Ships brand) finally listened to the public calls, saw the rise of single malts around the world and let Andy Watts go on with new releases: An annual release of the 10 Year Old (Starting next month!) along with a few special bottlings and the first one was a 10 Year Old that was was aged in bourbon casks for almost 11 years and finished in a PX cask for 14 months. And once again, thanks to Mark (and the couriers) I got a bottle to drink from.
Three Ships 10 Year Old PX Cask Finish (46.2%, 800 bottles, $60)
Nose: For a 10 year old it’s very mellow and very mature. Good sherry influence here with mellow dried fruits and lots of nuttiness, definitely not overpowering. Wood spices and gentle peat smoke. I really like it.