New Ardbeg is coming: Ardbeg Twenty Something 23 Year Old

Seems like Ardbeg is preparing a new release for the rich among us. A new label shows they intend to release another whisky from the stock that was distilled prior to the current owners regime (with Ardbeg 21 being the first one). The label states it was bottled in 2017 after being aged for 23 years so it’s a 1993/1994 spirit distilled when Ardbeg was part of Allied distillers.

The label hints at a series of releases as the title is Ardbeg Twenty Something so we could (and probably will) see other future releases that carry 2x age statements.

Will it be released in time for the next month Feis Ile? Stay tuned.

Another new Highland Park whisky: Highland Park Full Volume 47.2%

There’s a flurry of activity with Highland Park distillery in the last few months. It’s like they are the hyperactive kid in the playground – too many single casks to different markets, stores or occasions, rebranding the core 12/18 year old whiskies with a new labels and viking theme, new expressions (Valkyrie and Magnus) but the dust didn’t settle down yet as there’s another new Highland Park whisky coming – Highland Park Full Volume according to the new label that popped up in the TTB Database.

This time we have age statement – it’s a 17-18 Year Old whisky, and from the short tasting notes it seems like no (or very little) sherry casks were harmed making this whisky. Is it a core line expression or a limited edition? Will it be a USA exclusive or will we see it out in a global release?  What does it means it’s Full Volume – is it cask strength whisky (the ABV is not too high)? stay tuned.

Ardbeg Kelpie Committee Release (51.7%) Review

You know the annual ritual of Ardbeg fans: late March, rushing, hammering and encountering an overload Ardbeg site, then curse, gets angry when site goes down, makes F5 key stuck forever and all just to grab a bottle (or case) of the latest Committee Release which precedes the Ardbeg Day general release. But the truth is that nowadays the site is usually more responsive and manage to handle the load, but the other part stays true and the bottles are quickly gone usually within the hour (site downtime notwithstanding).

I have to admit that up to Ardbog, the 2013 Ardbeg Day release, I was very happy with the special releases but I admit there had  been a lapse of faith after the last few releases with Perpetuum being rock bottom, so when I heard on Kelpie, the 2017 bottling I was again very skeptic and thought to myself: Oh come on, what’s that wood voodoo of using casks from oak that grows in a remote region in Russia? It’s not like we really know (at least now) how exactly those casks were used: full maturation? finish? a mix?

But those questions won’t stop me from tasting it because a true whisky geek will be curious and will want to try it – hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

Ardbeg Kelpie Committee Release (51.7%)

Nose: Hmm, not your usual Arbeg or at least isn’t similar to anything Ardbeg released in the last few years. Lots of salt, Kabanos and salami (really! I was utterly shocked!), wet peat smoke, coals, pickled herring. Peat is very restrained, rounded and not sharp like recent releases, honey sweetness. With water, more malt, gets fresher, smoke and peat becomes more like recent releases. Continue reading

Springbank Local Barley 11 Year Old (2006-2017)

I’ve finally lay my hands on a bottle of the hyped and highly sought-after Springbank Local Barley 11. It’s a refreshing change after striking out with last year’s 16 year old.

It’s the second Local Barley release (out of planned five) and this time it’s Bere Barley (Last year it was Prisma) grown in Aros Farm in Kintyre (near Campbeltown). It was malted in Springbank malting floor, distilled February 2006 and bottled in 2017. Let’s check it out!

Springbank Local Barley 11 Year Old (2006-2017) (53.1%)

Nose: What a weird nose at first after opening it. Big time funk with heavy glue note. Some greenery (like those green tomatoes), weak peat smoke and strong maltiness, then a hint of white pepper, green and fresh eucalyptus leaves (almost mint). The industrial glue turns to makeshift glue from flour and water (like kids do in kindergarten), green tomatoes again with diesel oil – more like a traditional Springbank. After a few minutes in the glass, the fruitiness appears and takes over, pears and apricots with perfume edge but the funk stays to balance it. Phew, not a friendly one! Continue reading

Aberlour 12 Year Old (Non Chill-Filtered, 48%) Review

Most malt heads are familiar with Aberlour Distillery due to it’s heavily popular A’bunadh series (58 batches and counting) as they (and I) love a good sherrybomb. But we shouldn’t forget there are other whiskies in the line-up ranging from 12 Year Old to 18 Year Old and bottled at 40% or 43%.

But there’s an interesting variant to the 12 Year Old, one non chill-filtered and bottled at 48%, priced very similarly to the standard 40% and chill-filtered.

Aberlour 12 Year Old Non Chill-Filtered (48%, £35.99/€43.50)

Nose: Rich and full, malt and strong dried fruit, figs, cinnamon, nutmeg, cookie dough, fresh sweet berries juice. Then getting soaked raisins, a lot of dark chocolate, coffee grounds, still keeping the honey and light fruitiness in the background for balance. Continue reading

Wolfburn Aurora (Bottled Aug 2016) Review

Wolfburn Aurora is the second release from Wolfburn Distillery at Thurso. I had the pleasure of visiting there, tasting some spirit and very much liked their first release the Wolfburn Northland.

So naturally I was eager to try Aurora which was released last September. It’s a no-age-statement whisky, aged for three years in 3 different cask types: A minority (about 20-30%) in first fill Oloroso Sherry hogsheads and the rest in refill quarter casks and first fill ex-Bourbon barrels.

Wolfburn Aurora (46%, Bottled 30/8/16, £48.43/€44.95)

Nose: Malty, creamy, with gentle red fruit (strawberries and raspberries) in the background. They do get stronger over time but it never dominates and leaving the stage to the malt. Honey and a few drops of lemon juice, limestone dust just like in their first release (Northland) and a touch of peat, brine and some random whiffs of youth (young spirit). Continue reading

Longrow RED 2017 release: Longrow RED 13 Year Old Malbec Wine Cask Finish

It’s not really a secret as information on it was flowing quite freely since last year but people were anxiously waiting for the official release of the next Longrow RED.

Although it’s not the official release, the Label has been officially revealed and now we know for sure that the next Longow RED release is:

Longrow RED 13 Year Old Malbec Wine Cask Finish

It spent 12 years in Bourbon casks and then finished for 15 months in fresh Mabec wine barriques from the De Toren Private Cellar in Stellenbosch South Africa.

Only 9000 bottles were produced and it will be bottled at 51.3% and it should hit stores around the globe during May 2017.