Whisky News: Laphroaig Announces Two New Expressions Exclusively for Duty-Free

Winter is still with us but we’re inching closer to spring time and the whisky market is waking up: the Glenmorangie Bacalta was launched and now we have two new Laphroaigs for Travel Retail – Four Oak, available now and The 1815 Legacy Edition, available from April 2017.

laphroaig-four-oak laphroaig-the-1815-legacy-edition

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Cockram, Global Marketing Director, Travel Retail at Beam Suntory, comments: “Peated Malts are having their moment in the spotlight, currently leading growth globally in the total malt category. This growth is being driven by European and GTR powerhouse markets, where there is a preference for quality products and heritage cues. We are launching these two exceptional new products exclusively in global travel retail to meet this demand; Laphroaig is a brand with a rich history and both releases appeal to consumers’ desire for a compelling story.”


Whisky Gospel Take: I’m wary of those expressions. Last time they tried such a thing of rich smoke and/or multiple casks, we ended up with the Select and QA expressions. I hope this time they got their act together and bring us something drinking worthy (and not too expensive)


FOUR OAK: A FUSION OF FAVOURS

laphroaig-four-oakAged in four different hand-selected casks; ex-bourbon barrels, quarter casks, virgin American oak barrels and European oak hogsheads, vigilance and craftsmanship hold the key to this complex Islay malt. Bright golden in colour, Laphroaig Four Oak has aromas of peat smoke with stewed fruit and warm, toasted vanilla. With hints of sandalwood, pine, fir and willow, experience oak embers and seaweed with smooth buttercream on the palette and a salted liquorice and peaty finish.

THE 1815 LEGACY EDITION: TWO CENTURIES OF PEAT-SMOKED RICHNESS

laphroaig-the-1815-legacy-editionFor two centuries, Laphroaig master craftsmen have worked to shape the most richly flavoured of all Scotch whiskies. This exceptional edition was created by current Laphroaig Distillery Manager, John Campbell, to honour those who have gone before him. Left to rest in first-fill, ex-bourbon barrels before further maturing in large, new European oak hogsheads maturation occurs slowly, resulting in a whisky of great depth.

Deep sunset orange in colour, with aromas of burnt apricot and raisin, Laphroaig The 1815 Legacy Edition combines the signature peat smoke of Laphroaig with soft oak and notes of rich caramelised dark fruit and a dried fruit, nut, peat and oiled-wood finish.

 

Bruichladdich Micro Provenance 5 #LaddieMP5 Review

I know it’s been a while since my last post on the blog, but it’s not a paying gig and there were other things that were occupying my free time. I’ll try to get back to posting on a more regular basis and I’ll start with a recap and review of the #LaddieMP5 event held by Bruichladdich last Thursday.

In case you aren’t familiar with the MP term, MP means Micro Provenance as Bruichladdich are keen on testing and exploring the impact of terroir, barley and casks on the final result and last Thursday was the 5th public MP event (hence the #LaddieMP5 hashtag) where multitude of people around the world were tasting 3 whiskies chosen especially for the events. You can see the full live broadcast right here:

This time it was all Port Charlotte whiskies, peated to 40 ppm (as is the usual rate for PC whiskies), all of the same age (+/- few months).

Here are the notes I gathered on the #LaddieMP5 drams:

Bruichladdich Port Charlotte 10 Year Old (Fresh Bourbon cask) (56.9%, cask #1999)

laddiemp5-pc-10-year-old-cask-1999Nose: starts malty and intense with promises of spices with pepper and freshly sawed oak wood. Now the peat shows up and there’s a strong feel of freshness and sweetness despite strong note of salt. A few whiffs of fish sauce like being on the beach near the fishermen with their fresh haul, honey and vanilla pudding, I did say fresh, right? Getting sweeter over time, more vanilla pudding and the peat can’t rise farther and stays relaxed with a bit of perfume and peaches. Continue reading

Springbank 12 Year Old Burgundy Review

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)

springbank-12-burgundyNose: 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 Hermitage 2007 Review

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)

benromach-hermitage-2007-2016-webNose: 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

Glenfiddich Experimental Series IPA Cask Review

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)

glenfiddich-ipa-experimentNose: 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

Compass Box Battle of the Titans: The Circus vs The General Reviews

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:

the circus ingredients

Compass Box The Circus (49%, 2490 bottles, €219.90/$240 )

compass box the circus

Photo credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

Continue reading

BenRiach 1997 Connoisseurs Choice (Bottled 2014) Review

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)

BenRiach 1997 Connoisseurs ChoiceNose: 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