Author Archives: Yoav @ Whisky Gospel

Bimber Re-Charred Oak Casks

It’s always exciting to try a new distillery and this time it’s the London based Bimber distillery. This new distillery was founded in 2016 and in 2019 has released their inaugural whisky followed by the dram we’re reviewing here today – Bimber Re-Charred Oak Casks.

The American oak casks used for this whisky were re-charred to level #4 which is also known as alligator char (due to rough and shiny texture of the wood staves, you know, just like alligator skin). If that term sounds familiar to you it may be because of the Ardbeg Alligator from 2011 that was matured in casks getting similar treatment and was one great Ardbeg back in the day.

5,000 bottles were released at 51.9%

Bimber Re-Charred Oak Casks (51.9%, £61.95/€65)

Nose: vanilla, bit of honey, a lot of malt notes, spelt bread, sourdough, a bit of rye as well. But it’s not all malt here, there’s floral perfume. baked pears, gingery, some mint and pine freshness. the textbook definition of breakfast dram. Continue reading

Longrow 21 Year Old

Longrow 21 Year Old is a late 2019 release from Springbank distillery. This is a permanent addition to the core range, so now Springbank 21 Year Old isn’t left alone at this age bracket.

It was matured in Sherry casks (60%) and bourbon casks (40%) and bottled at the customary abv of 46%. 3600 bottles were released to the market and some are still out there for sale.

Longrow 21 Year Old (46%, £199.95/229)

Source: thewhiskyexchange.com

Nose: Very elegant. For some weird reason my brain keeps popping out images of elegantly clothed gentleman from early 20th century. Smoke, the lovely Campbeltown dirt, oils, toolbox, green tomato vines, fruitiness leaning hard toward exotic and tropical, used leather, tobacco and a spoon of honey. Continue reading

Ardbeg Wee Beastie

When the Ardbeg Wee Beastie was firstly exposed to the public (via the USA bottle label), I got very curious about it for it could be a brilliant marketing move. Or a fiasco.

The last official core range release from Ardbeg was Ardbeg An Oa which was a decent introductory offering for those who are afraid of ‘pure’ Ardbeg peat experience, but was priced a bit high and didn’t appeal many of the hard code Ardbeg fans.

It’s clear that Ardbeg wants to shift demand and our attention from the regular core line up offers and nudge Ardbegians and peat heads toward a young offering that retains the ARdbeg characteristics to elevate pressure on the mature stock. We saw how long it took Ardbeg to release a real mature product (the 19 Year Old Traigh Bhan last year) and they are doing it in small batches and different flavors between batches (due to lack of consistent old stock).

So the Wee Beastie is what Ardbeg hope will captivate the fans as a proper Ardbeg offer and reduce the pressure on the mature stock. For this purpose, this whisky was matured in Ex-Bourbon and Oloroso Sherry Casks and bottled at a slightly higher ABV then the usual of 47.4% (a Wee ABV or Beastie?)

It was due to go on sale in the UK around the Feis Ile Festival which got cancelled but the UK launch time remains similar and it should hit the shelves there sooner than later. However, In Europe it hit the shelves in some markets a month ago and went on sale for ~€40 but initial stock got sold out in a hurry in most places and a few stores have it in a slightly higher price (until next batch/stock is released).

Ardbeg Wee Beastie 5 Year Old (47.4%,€48,90 , $40.97)

Nose: Sweet, lots of vanilla, slightly farmy peat but it goes un-farmy with time. Malt, lemon-y, coconut meat, a dash of honey. After a few minutes a very gentle red fruitiness with wee peat smoke. Continue reading

Cardhu 14 Year Old (Special Release 2019)

Since 2001 Diageo are showcasing their enormous portfolio of distilleries in their Special Releases series. In the coming weeks we’ll cover here a few of the 2019 releases, starting today with this Cardhu 14 Year Old.

We don’t get to see too many Cardhus out there. There are the staple 12 Year Old and the Gold Reserve but outside these it’s quite rare, especially Cask Strength offerings where the last tone was released back in 2013.

This 14 Year Old Cardhu was matured in Amontillado sherry casks, 4,872 bottles were produced and bottled at 55% and the art work for it and the entire series is magnificent!

Cardhu 14 Year Old (Special Release 2019) (55%, £120/€139)

Nose: Sour fruits with a touch of nuttiness, honey, sweet barley, caramel and toffee. Then a bowl of fruits – pears, peaches and apples with sweet berries sauce, After a few minutes it develops a more nutty profile with cinnamon, cashew and almonds and eventually becoming herbal. Continue reading

Arran Master of Distilling II (The Man with the Golden Glass)

After reviewing Arran Sherry Cask which is a core range offering, we move on to a limited edition expression – Arran Master of Distilling 2 which is a 12 year old whisky finished in Palo Cortado sherry casks picked by James MacTaggart, Arran’s Master Distiller, in Spain.

James MacTaggart has over 40 years’ experience in whisky production. In 2017 we had Arran 10 Year Old (Master of Distilling I) to celebrate a decade since he joined Arran in 2007 and now we have this second edition (released in 2019) to celebrate a dozen years.

12,000 bottles were produced, each bottled at 51.8%.

Arran 12 Year Old – Master of Distilling II (51.8%, £65.00/€64.99)

Nose: Sweet, honeyed fruit, minerality, nutty with nutmeg and hazelnut – love that effect of Palo Cortado casks), limestone and green grape peels. After a few minutes there’s a floral side to the nose with white roses petals and citrus blossoms and eventually also getting tropical fruitiness. Very rich, enticing and balanced Palo Cortado influence. Continue reading

Arran Sherry Cask The Bodega

This week we’ll cover a trio of (relatively) recently released Arran whiskies. The first one we’ll cover is a member of the revamped line up Arran launched late 2019 – Arran Sherry Cask which is a cask strength with no age statement whisky – Another addition to the jammed collection of young Sherry bombs on the shelves.

Arran Sherry Cask The Bodega (55.8%, £53.95/€42.50)

Nose: Dates, raisins, the mineral-y side of Arran shows up in force. toffee, raspberry filled milk chocolate, almonds croissant, marzipan and hazelnuts.

Palate: Far sweeter and fruitier with red berries and blueberry, mandarins, ginger, minerals and rock dust, chocolate and it’s all quite drying. With a few drops of water it becomes a bit woody and there’s espresso, bitter cinnamon, dark chocolate and less fruitiness.

Finish: Medium long length, lingering sweet berries, drying minerality, white pepper and oak spice.

Thoughts: I quite love it. The fresh fruitiness offers a different look at the genre and the minerality adds a lovely depth and it offers a refreshing and different flavors profile comparing to other CS NAS sherried offerings.

Kilkerran 8 Year Old Re-charred Oloroso Sherry Casks

Kilkerran 8 Year Old is the young cask strength offering from Glengyle distillery. So far there have been 4 batches of this whisky (first batch was checked back in 2017 here).

But the last batch (No. 4) deviated from the road paved by the first 3 batches and offers a sherry matured Kilkerran 8 Year Old instead of the Bourbon casks used in the previous three batches.

And it’s not just regular sherry casks but Re-charred Oloroso Sherry casks, making the wood a bit more (or maybe a lot more) active. 15,000 bottles were produced at 57.1%. Let’s check it out!

Kilkerran 8 Year Old Re-charred Oloroso Sherry Casks (57.1%, €74,48)

Nose: Cherries and raspberry chocolate, greenery leaning towards vegetal/farmy side, a bit of wood smoke, cranberries. After a few minutes more dark chocolate (with high cocoa content) and cherries, a minuscule herbal/floral side show up yet still have the dirt and peat in the background to complement and balance the sherry influence. Quite an intense nose! Continue reading