Category Archives: Reviews

Golan Heights Distillery Golani Brandy Finish Review

Yesterday we celebrated our 70th Independence day and with such a round nice number our lively local whisky scene didn’t kept quiet. The Golan Heights Distillery released a special limited anniversary edition of their two grain whisky Golani that was finished in a Brandy cask.

The Golani spirit spent 2.5 years in red wine cask (like the regular Golani Vino) and then 50 liters were finished in a 50L cask which held Brandy (distilled at the distillery) for another 6 months. 70 bottles were released to the market bottled at 49.7%.

Golan Heights Distillery Golani Brandy Finish (49.7%, 250NIS/~€57)

Nose: Soft brandy influence, sweet grapes, red wine, then there’s the trademarked toffee and butterscotch of the distillery in the backseat and green apples. Continue reading

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Octomore 8.3 Masterclass Review

After being a bit distracted by the Old Pulteney 2004 we’re back at some more Octomores and today we’re checking Octomore 8.3.

Unlike Octomore 8.1 and Octomore 8.2, Octomore 8.3 is only 5 year old which is more or less in line with previous Octomore generations. The barley was grown in a single field at Octomore farm (Bruichladdich Distillery neighbors) and 56% of the whisky was matured in ex-Bourbon casks and 44% matured in European oak casks. 18,000 bottles at 61.2% were produced.

The 309 PPM (Phenols per million) figure for Octomore 8.3 is mightly impressive, and probably holds the unofficial Guinness world record for the peatiest barley, but we do know that the PPM level drops rapidly from the malted barley stage to the final product (depending on distillation, barrels, etc). Nevertheless, I guess we still should expect heavy influence in the whisky so let’s check it out.

Octomore 8.3 Masterclass (61.2%, £156.55/€189,95)

Nose: Malt, damp peat bomb, thick and dense heather honey with little vanilla. Salt and meat. Vinegar (like pickles in vinegar), overripe pears and peaches, cream. With water: the intensity goes down and we get some wood smoke, chocolate and more pears and peaches. Continue reading

Old Pulteney 2004 Single Cask #128 (TWE Exclusive) Review

Whenever The Whisky Exchange has a new single cask exclusive it is quite a thrill. Usually Sukhinder Singh does his magic and conjure some uniqe and good (or interesting at least) cask. I had my issues with their last Kilchoman exclusive but this time he actually managed to get Old Pulteney Distillery to bottle him a sherried Old Pulteney.

How rare is it? I can’t recall any fully matured sherried Old Pulteney from the last few years besides this one and the LMDW bottling. and to boot – this single cask is a first fill sherry cask (a sherry butt probably with 612 bottles available) so a proper Old Pulteney sherry bomb? Let’s find out.

Old Pulteney 2004 Single Cask #128 (TWE Exclusive) (62.1%, £99.95)

Continue reading

Octomore 8.2 Masterclass Review

I reviewed Octomore 8.1 last week but I can’t really stop here so let’s head on to the next one in the series – Octomore 8.2.

Just like Octomore 8.1, it’s 100% Scottish barley peated to 167 ppm level and carries an 8 year old age statement.

The x.2 suffix in the series is reserved for wine maturation or finish, but this year it’s kind of extreme as the casks composition is complex. At first, the Octomore spirit spent six years in one of three different types of wine casks (all second fill casks):

  • French Mourvedre
  • Austrian sweet wines
  • French Sauternes

And then finished (or as Bruichladdich call it: ACEd) in fresh Amarone casks for additional two years. From those Amarone casks, 36,000 were produced for the travel retail shops.

Octomore 8.2 Masterclass (58.4%, ~€159.90)

Nose: Sweet malt and sweet red wine, tannins, nuts, lactic, moss, big time leather- new shoe leather and smoked leather. Red gooseberry, freshly cut wet peat. After a few minutes, perfume, bay leaves, cloves, and more and more leather. Continue reading

Octomore 8.1 Masterclass (Scottish Barley) Review

Currently we’re having here a short spell of rainy days and a bit colder weather (unfortunately just a bit) which is refreshing to have in April after yet another too dry winter. Let’s use the occasion to check out a heavily peated whisky, Bruichladdich Octomore 8.1.

This Octomore 8.1 is peated to 167 ppm level, was distilled in 2008 using only Scottish barley. The casks used for this expressions are all first fill american oak casks. According to Bruichladdich casks from Buffalo Trace, Clermont Springs, Four Roses, Heaven Hill & Jack Daniels were used here and the long list explains how 42,000 bottles were made.

Octomore 8.1 Masterclass (Scottish Barley) (59.3%, £109)

Nose: Soft smoke, creamy with vanilla and fruitiness, green melon (that weakens over time), orange orchard, pastry and almonds and more fruit sweetness after a few minutes. Continue reading

The Balvenie Peated Triple Cask 14 Year Old (Travel Retail) Review

Last October I reviewed the Balvenie Peat Week 2002 14 Year Old which I quite liked but I neglected to review its sibling Peated Triple Cask 14 Year Old which is an exclusive offering for Travel Retail market so it’s time to fix that.

The Balvenie Peated Triple Cask 14 was matured in three (hence the Triple brand) different cask types: first it was matured in first-fill bourbon, then in refill bourbon and finally in sherry casks.

Let’s check it out and see how it compares to the Peat Week 2002.

The Balvenie Peated Triple Cask 14 Year Old (48.3%, £71.79/$99.90)

Continue reading

Glengoyne 30 Year Old Review

After I reviewed Glengoyne 25 yesterday for the International Whisky Day, I really had to raise the bar today so let’s check out Glengoyne 30 Year Old which was released a few months ago.

Glengoyne 30 Year old is a vatting of ~33% first fill European oak sherry butts and ~66% refill sherry butts (split the remaining 1% between them…). It’s un-chill filtered, natural colored and  6000 bottles were made to the public at RRP of £600.

Glengoyne 30 Year Old (46.8%, £539.94/€588,95 )

Nose: Old sherry, sherry vinegar and balsamic vinegar, dried fruit, milk chocolate. Lots of sherry fruits instead of the chocolate and spices that dominate the 25yo. After a while cherries and strawberries, more sherry vinegar, sour sweet dried and fresh berries and a bit more chocolate but not on the same chocolate levels of the 25yo. Continue reading