Author Archives: Yoav @ Whisky Gospel

Compass Box Myths and Legends 1

The Myths and Legends series from Compass Box was created to challenge some myths and legends about Scotch whisky which became unchallenged facts by the drinkers. The first member in this series, Myths & Legends I, was matured in first-fill bourbon barrels and re-charred American oak barrels, to debunk the myth that a whisky’s region dictates its flavor – it’s all about the casks.

It was blended from a mix of 2 casks parcels from Balblair Distillery. One from 1997 and the other from 2003 (At least according to the whiskybase.com page), so based on this info, it’s in fact a 16 Year Old (or so) single malt from Balblair, and whenever it’s not a single cask whisky, blending is a crucial part in building the whisky characteristic.

Compass Box Myths and Legends I (46%, £130/€148.90/$139.99)

Nose: Apples bowl, green apples peels, pears, even more apples, honey, pastries (apples butter pastries), apple blossoms, meadow, floral perfume tinge, apples compote, yeah I think it’s quite clear there’s a dominating fruit here… Continue reading

Port Charlotte OLC:01

Last month, just a few days after releasing online exclusive Port Charlotte 16 Year Old for the virtual Fèis Ìle festival, came the next member in the PC cask exploration series, the Port Charlotte OLC:01.

We had MC:01 and MRC:01 (Marsala and Bordeaux respectively) and now comes the OLC:01 a 9 Year Old Port Charlotte which was distilled in 2010 and bottled earlier this year after being finished in Oloroso Hogsheads.

This is a major release with 30,000 bottles (at 55.1%) in circulation so it’s wildly available if you want to buy one after reading the review.

Bruichladdich Port Charlotte OLC:01 (55.1%, £90/€96.90)

Nose: Potent and lively, sweet smoke drifts, peat, dried red berries, vanilla, lactic note that disappeared after a few minutes, honey. After left to rest for a few minutes some smoked meat, cured meat, also maltiness and if you wield some wild imagination you could smell there haggis in berries sauce. After a few more minutes more sherry sweetness, more dried fruits and it’s nicely balanced. With a few drops of water the peat is tamed and there’s even more sweet fruits. Continue reading

Glenrothes 10 Year Old (Dràm Mòr)

Dràm Mòr are the new kid in the block of independent bottlers. So far they had a initial launch of four bottles followed by a sherried Ben Nevis (for Belgium and Netherlands).

In that first wave, they had an interesting 10 Year Old Glenrothes that seemed to be finished for an unknown time period in a Sherry hogshead.

Glenrothes 10 Year Old (Dràm Mòr) (58%, £59.95/€73.95)

Nose: Punchy, sweet dried dates and figs, toffee, caramel,  sultanas, somewhat sour vanilla, hazelnuts and cinnamon, butterscotch and pudding. With a few drops of water it’s gaining fruitiness (green shade) and gummy bears sweetness. Continue reading

SMWS 25.61 Lemon and Vanilla Delicacy (Rosebank)

Today it’s a Rosebank under the limelight and the reason for it is an ABC whisky challenge at the regional whisky club and I was selected to toast a whisky starting with ‘R’.

Of course I could go the simple and safe (and boring) route with Royal Lochnagar or Royal Brackla but why not use this occasion to try something more interesting? After a short search in the boxes, I found this 20 Year Old Rosebank sample that was gathering dust for years since Johanne McInnes (@whiskylassie) sent it to me (Check her blog at the WhiskyLassie Blog!)

So Yay for an excuse to drink some Rosebank 🙂

SMWS 25.61 Lemon and Vanilla Delicacy (20 Year Old Rosebank) (51.3%)

Nose: Lemon salad (is there such a thing? lots of different kinds of lemon here!), vanilla pods, dough, floral, honeycomb, a bit of limestone dust.
Continue reading

Caol Ila 2006 13 year old (by Vintage Whisky)

How do you know that your local single malt whisky market is healthy? That it’s growing and developing nicely? There are a few key factors to gauge this: breadth of brands and expressions on the shelves, also seeing on the shelves special and limited editions (beyond the core range offers) on a regular basis, market exclusive bottlings and eventually growth in the local independent bottlers segment.

Of the latter, we’ve seen offers from Goren’s Whisky, Holy Dram and now Vintage Whisky.

Vintage Whisky are the importers of Cadenhead and Asta Morris and now they are also an Independent bottler with a recently released Caol Ila 13 Year Old single cask whisky.

Hogshead #302307 was filled on March 29th 2006 and bottled on February 21st 2020, yielding 263 bottles at 55.6%

Caol Ila 2006 13 year old (55.6%, 499NIS)

Nose: Maritime bonanza, salty, brine, minerality and sea breeze. Vanilla, honey, hay, lemonade, lemongrass, soft smoke, cured meat and grapefruit juice. Lovely. Continue reading

The Singleton of Glen Ord 18 Year Old Special Releases 2019

With the Corona virus raging around us since early 2020, it is sometimes hard to remember that we passed through seasons. From winter to spring with summer season just upon us in the Northern hemisphere.

I thought that for the weekend, it would be a great time to review a whisky befitting spring time (just before we move on to the summer) and weekend, something like Glen Ord 18 Year Old that was part of Diageo Special Releases 2019.

Glen Ord is one of the triumvirate distilleries Diageo uses for The Singleton brand along with Dufftown and Glendulan. Usually Glen Ord is reserved to The Singleton marketed to the Far East region (so we do not get it in Europe, Middle East and America), so it was nice to have the opportunity to check an official release from the distillery.

The Singleton of Glen Ord 18 Year Old Special Releases 2019 (55%, £129.95/€129.90)

Nose: Honey, springtime blossoming meadow, gentle oak wood spices with a dash of white pepper, cereals, au naturale almonds, marzipan. Very fresh and lively with floral tinge. Continue reading

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