Author Archives: Yoav @ Whisky Gospel

A Speyside Distillery 16 Year Old (TWE Black Friday Whisky) Review

Black Friday descends upon us and while it started as a pure brick and mortar retail event in USA, thanks to international commerce and online shops taking a hike on this day (in addition to Cyber Monday), we’re flooded with all kind of deals, including deals on whisky from reputable web shops around the world, including Scotland and England.

The Whisky Exchange shop took this one step forward and also released a special whisky to celebrate this day. A 16 year old whisky from single sherry butt hailing from a family owned distillery in the Speyside region which doesn’t allow independent bottlers to use its name (Glen *cough* *cough* as).

A total of 582 bottles were produced from this sherry butt, bottled at cask strength of 54.6% and on sale exclusively on TWE website.

A Speyside Distillery 16 Year Old (TWE Black Friday Whisky, 54.6%, 582 bottles, £59.95)

Nose: At first it smells young relatively to its age with strong malt, barley and vanilla notes. Then we some sherry notes joins the party in the form of a sweet dried fruit topping . After a few minutes the dried fruit gets stronger and are joined by mellow cinnamon, nutmeg, red currants and milk chocolate. With water: more vanilla and malt, milk chocolate, some ‘straight’ fruitiness with almost no dried fruit. Continue reading

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Rock Oyster 18 Year Old Review

A quick review for Sunday as you’re either slumbering as part of your weekend rituals or you’re swamped with work after getting back to work. Either way, here’s something real nice to end/start the week – a review of Rock Oyster 18 Year Old.

Rock Oyster 18 is a limited edition in the Islands blended malts series from Douglas Laing. It was released along with Timorous Beastie 18 (reviewed here) and it contains whiskies from Arran, Orkney, Jura and Islay. As usual it’s non chill-filtered and without colouring.

Rock Oyster 18 Year Old (46.8%, £72.50/€76,99)

Nose: Soft, starting with salt, meat, seaweed, honey and then then peat and bonfire smoke, a bit of tar, very maritime! Continue reading

Glenfiddich 21 Year Old Reserva Rum Cask Finish Review

When Struan Grant Ralph, Global Brand Ambassador for Glenfiddich, visited Israel last month, I had a rare glimpse into the Glenfiddich 21 Reserve Rum Cask making process. This expression is made from whisky that is matured in ex-bourbon casks for 21 years and then is finished in Rum casks for additional four months before being bottled to create the final result.

Struan brought with him a 21 year old whisky distilled back in 1996 and then matured in ex-bourbon cask (#201). This is one of the casks that is destined to get finished in Rum casks for the Reserva Rum Cask whisky.

Glenfiddich 1996 21 Year Old single cask (54.3%, #201)

Nose: Sweet honey, oak spices, damp wood, nutty, butterscotch, pears, butter and after a few minutes in the glass some fruit perfume.

Palate: Gentle spiciness, white pepper, sweet honey, oak, butterscotch, nutty, very rich and ends with oak spices and cooked pears.

Finish: Medium length, very soft, honey, oak spices, white pepper and nuts.

This is, just like the 19 year old single cask for Project XX tasted in the same sitting, is is the sort of whisky I wish Glenfiddich would release on a regular basis. So this lovely 21 year old whisky is emptied from casks and then finished in Caribbean Rum casks for another few months.

So far so good, but the final result is bottled at 40% and is chill filtered. I think this bodes ill.

Glenfiddich 21 Year Old Reserva Rum Cask Finish (40%, £110/$139.99/€147,50)

Continue reading

Glendronach Peated Review

In the wake of the news that Glendronach Distillery are releasing a second peated whisky, finished in Port casks, I think it’s a good opportunity to review the first one, the Glendronach Peated.

A lot of eyebrows were raised when this one was released. Glendronach are known for something completely different – Sherried whisky and to lesser degree the whiskies finished in other type of casks (like Port, Madeira, etc). But jumping on the peated bandwagon somewhat seems contradicting to the Glendronach we know. Will it work for them?

Glendronach Peated (46%, £35.98/€36,49)

Nose: Nice maltiness but you can’t really hide the fact it’s young, there’s a lot of raw barley and some new make sweetness. Then comes the sweet peat along with a very gentle and mellow smoke. Continue reading

Timorous Beastie 18 Year Old Review

Today’s review is the forth and latest release under the ‘Timorous Beastie’ label from Douglas Laing, the Timorous Beastie 18 Year Old that was released last May. We’ll review this today and next week we’ll check out both the 21 year old and the 40 year old that were released last year.

Timorous Beastie is Douglas Laing label for highlands blended malt. In this case, It’s a vatting of whiskies from Blair Athol, Dalmore,  Glengoyne and Glen Garioch. A quite large batch of 7258 bottles was produced with a bit of an uneven pricing where it’s noticeably cheaper in mainland Europe than in UK. As usual with Douglas Laing, it’s non chill-filtered and without colouring.

Timorous Beastie 18 Year Old (46.8%, £74.50/€67,90)

Nose: Malty, damp wood shows up at first but is waved away later on, honey, pie dough and frankly, it’s quite bready. White pepper, subdued creamy fruitiness and apples and it developed a mineral edge after a few minutes Continue reading

The Gauldrons (Remarkable Regional Malts) Review

Last month Douglas Laing has released the last missing piece of their Remarkable Regional Malt series, The Gauldrons, representing the Campbeltown region.

The Gauldrons in Gaelic means “bay of storms” and this is the bay located west to Campbeltown. The legend says that Robert the Bruce was inspired there by a spider rebuilding his net to keep fighting, hence the golden web on the bottle label and tube.

Since there are only three distilleries in the region, I think we can quite safely assume that 99% (if not 100%) of this blend comes from Glen Scotia and Springbank due to the limited supply from Glengyle which is kept for internal usage. Let’s check just how Campbeltown-y is it.

The Gauldrons (46.2%, £49.99/€54,49)

Nose: Hits the nose with Campbeltown dirtiness with a big infusion of Springbank character, peat and oils but on the other hand is missing most of the greenery and the damp earthy peat (thanks to the Glen Scotia malt in this whisky). Malty with big dose of pastry dough, honey and lemon and a sprinkle of salt. After a few minutes, some of that missing greenery comes up (can’t stop that Springbank!). Continue reading

Glenfiddich Project XX (Experimental Series #2) In Depth Review

Last week, Struan Grant Ralph, Global Brand Ambassador for Glenfiddich stopped in our small country during one of his global tour for a series of events organized by the “Hacerem”, the local Glenfiddich Importer. The events focused on the Glenfiddich Experimental Series along with a bonus of rare view on the whisky making progress for Glenfiddich 21 Year Old Reserva Rum Cask Finish.

So it seemed like a good idea and timing to (finally) have an in-depth review of the Glenfiddich Project XX, so I sat down with Struan to discuss the experimental series, project XX and Glenfiddich in the hope to learn something new and indeed, at the end I came out wiser, impressed yet also wishing for a change in Glenfiddich.

Struan on the Experimental Series

As we all know by now, the first two expressions in the Experimental were very successful and the third one (Winter Storm), finished in ice wine casks is now hitting the shelves around the globe. Are you wondering what’s the next one in the series? I wondered too, so I bluntly asked him if he can tell me anything on the next one in the series and to my surprise he didn’t declined to answer and revealed it will be centered around PX casks. Continue reading