Monthly Archives: March 2017

A wee new Glenfarclas

Halo Single Malt Mates,

When I was in my salad days (inexperienced) as a whisky educator, I thought Glenfarclas sounded funny. How juvenile of me. Having visited the distillery and owning a thirty, I have since seen the error of my ways.

Thus I can share with you the nothing funny about Glenfarclas, and how great the expressions are.

Here is a new one:

Glenfarclas 2007 Marriage of Casks
TWE Exclusive

Details
Facts

Exclusive to The Whisky Exchange, this 2007 Glenfarclas has been aged in a pair of sherry casks. A subtle and refined style of sherried Glenfarclas, this has notes of raisins, nutmeg,sherry and fruity chocolate.

Bottler
Distillery Bottling
Vintage
2007
Bottling Date
2016
Country
Scotland
Region
Speyside
Cask Number
435 & 456

This is clearly a collectable and with only a few bottles available they didn’t bother to give us tasting notes. Maturing whisky in one or two sherry casks sends me into raptures.

Here are tasting notes from a similarly aged and matured in sherry Glenfarclas:

Staff Tasting Notes
Nose: A fresh bouquet of pears, raspberries, strawberries and other summer fruits, which is nicely complemented by the growing presence of fresh apples.
Palate: Just like the nose, a fusion of green apple skins, ripe pears and juicy berries, underpinned by a fresh summery grassiness. It’s got a long, fresh finish

Here’s tae the heath, the hill and the heather,
The bonnet, the plaid, the kilt and the feather

A h-uile la sona dhuibh‘s gun la idir dona dhuibh!
May all your days be happy ones!

Slainte Mhath

Your Scotch Spirit Master

Whisky Alert Whisky Alert

Halo Single Malt Mates,

Bruichladdich (The Laddie) has introduced the Octomore series of expressions. Here is where the name came from:
The people and the place.  The story behind Octomore 07.3 Islay Barley, the latest release in the world’s most heavily peated single malt whisky series.
 
James Brown’s father was awarded the tenancy of Octomore Farm on the Rhinns of Islay in 1960 and James remembers walking the family’s cattle from Carn where he was born, through the village of Port Charlotte and up the hill to their new pasture. Then aged eight, James could never have dreamed how the name ‘Octomore’ would come to resonate throughout the whisky world, although he soon learned that his new home had once housed a distillery.  The tumble down ruins of the old buildings were still there as part of the farmyard.

Now another bottler has an Octomore peaty expression.

Octomore 2008
6 Year Old Rest & Be Thankful
70cl / 64.1%
Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Rest & Be Thankful

Age
6 Year Old
Vintage
2008
Bottling Date
November 2014
No of Bottles
302
Country
Scotland
Region
Islay
Cask Type
Wine
Cask Number
B000005716
Chill Filtered
No

Part of the first batch of releases from The Rest & Be Thankful Whisky Company, owned by Fox Fitzgerald (producers of Peat’s Beast). This single cask of heavily peated Octomore was distilled on 19 March 2008 and aged in a ex-Rivesaltes (French sweet wine) cask for six years.

This is a collectable for you lovers of Islay Peat Monsters

May you aye ha’e a copper to spare,
And a pinch o’ guide sneeshin’ to share!
And what is the best thing o’ a’ –
A freend at yet beck an’ yer ca’.

A h-uile la sona dhuibh‘s gun la idir dona dhuibh!
May all your days be happy ones!

Slainte Mhath

Your Scotch Spirit Master

A wee pairing experience

Halo Single Malt Mates,

Tonight I paired a collectable Mortlach with spicy Chinese food. It is amazing how spicy food alters the finish and the palate. I am particularly fond of Kung Pao Chicken which has red Chinese peppers included in the making of it,

Some would assume that the spiciness of the food would overpower the palate of the whisky. I have found that in some whiskies they don’t. Particularly aged whiskies that are sherried..

Mortlach has been renowned for its sherried nose and palate. It’s floral and fauna expression has mostly sold out and is a collectable..

The Mortlach I have is a single cask expression bought and bottled by Signatory and by definition is a collectable. It is 18 years old and is so rare they deigned to give out tasting notes. So this forces me to show you a similar Mortlach.

Since I have looked all over for tasting notes I could only find one.

Staff Tasting Notes
Nose: Ginger and fruit cake, with cider apple notes, orange liqueur and pear juice. With a bit of time, crunchie bars, woody notes and polished oak.
Palate: Syrup and cinder toffee give way to a ginger spice and a drying, malty finish.

Signatory declines to give out tasting notes so this will have to do. Signatory always comes through with great collectables.

So if you can find a Mortlach you can pair it with spicy Chinese food and see if you like it. That is the only test for you..

Whisky, drink divine!
Why should drivelers bore us
With the praise of wine
While we’ve thee before us?”

May you aye ha’e a copper to spare,
And a pinch o’ guide sneeshin’ to share!
And what is the best thing o’ a’ –
A freend at yet beck an’ yer ca’.

I would like to make a toast to lying, stealing, cheating and drinking. If you’re going to lie, lie for a friend. If you’re going to steal, steal a heart. If your going to cheat, cheat death. And if you’re going to drink, drink with me.

Slàinte mhòr agus a h-uile beannachd duibh.
Great health and every good blessing to you

your Scotch Spirit Master

Whisky Alert Mark yer Calenders

Halo Single Malt Mates

World Whisky Day is coming!

SATURDAY  20th  MAY  2017

World Whisky Day takes place on the third Saturday in May each year.

P’raps I should host a tasting in honor of World Whisky Day. I will think about it.

Whisky, drink divine!
Why should drivelers bore us
With the praise of wine
While we’ve thee before us?”

To the rapturous, wild, and ineffable pleasure
Of drinking at somebody else’s expense.
—Henry Sambrooke Leigh

A h-uile la sona dhuibh‘s gun la idir dona dhuibh!
May all your days be happy ones!

Slàinte mhath, a-h-uile latha, na chi ‘snach fhaic!
(Good health, every day, whether I see you or not!)

Your Scotch Spirit Master

A wee pairing experiment

Halo Single Malt Mates,

Tonight I experimented pairing a guid single malt 18 year old whisky with lamb chops. Lamb has its own taste as you know, if you have ever had it.

The lamb brought out an interesting taste in the palate and extended the finish. In my opinion. if you try it you might have the same experience.

Here is the whisky:
From Master of Malt. Also available in the States

The Glenlivet 18 Year Old (70cl, 43%)
$60.28

The Glenlivet 18 Bottling Note
This excellent 18 year old single malt from Glenlivet is a classic Speyside dram, it also won two golds at the International Wine and Spirits Competition

Cask: First and second-fill American oak and ex‑sherry casks
Flavour: Ripe citrus, winter spice

Balanced, rich and elegant, this is a whisky for special occasions.
Over the course of 18 years our Master Distiller, Alan Winchester, takes this expression through a combination of cask types, including both first and second-fill American oak (for tropical fruitiness) and ex-sherry oak (for spicy complexity). The result of this deft navigation of the distilling arts is a gorgeous single malt that is complex, yet elegant and balanced.

Tasting Note by The Chaps at Master of Malt

Nose: Quite big and well-rounded. There are notes of chewy sultanas and Sherried peels, barley sugars and toasty cereals with petals and apple blossom. A touch of fudge and gentle wisps of smoke.

Palate: Full and rich with notes of chewy, tannic oak. Manuka honey and walnut with Cox’s apples and orange peels. Cut herbs – fennel and spearmint.
Finish: Long and dry with a spicy oak note.

I love to pair whisky with food. I am simply alerting you to what happened to me while pairing. I hope you try it and like it as well..

May you aye ha’e a copper to spare,
And a pinch o’ guide sneeshin’ to share!
And what is the best thing o’ a’ –
A freend at yet beck an’ yer ca’.

I would like to make a toast to lying, stealing, cheating and drinking. If you’re going to lie, lie for a friend. If you’re going to steal, steal a heart. If your going to cheat, cheat death. And if you’re going to drink, drink with me.

Slàinte mhòr agus a h-uile beannachd duibh.
Great health and every good blessing to you

Your Scotch Spirit Master

Some wee whisky facts.

Halo Single Malt Mates,

Since I am getting many new readers every day, I have to recycle the facts regarding how to taste whisky, in my humble opinion of course.

The main parts of whisky tasting are the colour of the dram, the nose, the palate and the finish.

I have discussed the first two relatively recently, so Now I am going over the finish portion of the tasting.

The finish
The finish is the after taste that comes once you have swallowed the whisky. Some people say that the complexity of the finish in whisky is what differentiates it from all other spirits. Once you get passed the alcoholic burn, then numerous flavours can reveal themselves, some of which can be extremely subtle. The list can be extensive but again try an relate the flavours and sensations to things that you have tasted in the past. Also, ask yourself whether the flavours remain for a short, medium or long time. This is called the length of finish.

These are the portions of the tasting and they are all important. The nose and palate are interconnected. The finish is different with every whisky. I like long finishes myself.

It is my belief that the finish comes from the taste buds that are at the back of the mouth and so help me, the esophagus.

The nose palate and finish can be different on different days. I also believe that one can get ‘used’ to a particular whisky and should try some more to train your taste buds.

For example, when I was short a few pence, I would have a wee dram of the best inexpensive single malt I could find all the time. Then when my situation changed for the better, I traded up. After a while, my son and I had a dram of the earlier single malt and we really liked it.

For a long while I didn’t like peated whiskies. Then my son gave me a dram of a good Islay during a tasting and I was floored that I liked it.

So the moral of this story is, if you don’t like a particular whisky, have a few drams of something else and then come back to the original. Chances are you will like it…

Enjoying good whisky takes time and effort. I hope that you my Single Malt Mates will take the time to enjoy your whiskies.

May you aye ha’e a copper to spare,
And a pinch o’ guide sneeshin’ to share!
And what is the best thing o’ a’ –
A freend at yet beck an’ yer ca’.

I would like to make a toast to lying, stealing, cheating and drinking. If you’re going to lie, lie for a friend. If you’re going to steal, steal a heart. If your going to cheat, cheat death. And if you’re going to drink, drink with me.

Slàinte mhòr agus a h-uile beannachd duibh.
Great health and every good blessing to you

Your Scotch Spirit Master

Here is an Islay Whisky

A wee pairing experiment

Halo Single Malt Mates,

Tonight for dinner I decided to pair Lagavulin 16 with Imitation Krab and shrimp salad.

Needless to say, I was interested to see if the peatiness of the Islay overpowered the fish taste of the Pollack used to make imitation crab.

To my surprise the Lagavulin brought out interesting flavors of the fish. And of course, the fish brought out interesting flavours in the whisky

Here is the whisky:

Lagavulin
16 Year Old 43% 70cl

Description
Lagavulin 16 is probably one of the best official bottlings of Islay Whisky. Consistently great throughout the years, we reckon most of our staff have owned a bottle at one time or another. Heavily peated spirit, that has been aged for 16 years in oak casks. They say Johnnie Depp buys a dram just for the aroma (he’s teetotal) and Ron Swanson (if you watch lots of tv, you’ll know him) calls it “mothers milk”. Their distillation produces a robust spirit, which combined with the smoke, produces a complex dram known for its Lapsang Souchong aroma.

Lapsang souchong is a black tea originally from the Wuyi region of the Chinese province of Fujian.

Details
Producer
Diageo
Age
16 Year Old
Bottle Size
70cl
Alc. Volume
43%
Bottler
Official
Region
Islay

Staff Tasting Notes
A real stunner. A complex nose with great depth. Aromas of antiseptic ointment, hot wax, rubber bands and toffee. Once it opens in the glass, meatiness and bbq sauce. A sweet, creamy palate, with a bit of peat to follow.

Lagavulin is my fave Islay, right alongside Bunnahabhain. Krab salad is available almost everywhere in the States. Here, You can make your own crab salad and try that.

In in the UK, I am sure you can get the real thing.

I strongly approve of whisky pairing with guid food. Makes the experience much more fun…

In my humble opinion, naturally.

As my personal guru Ralfy of Glasgow famously says, “It’s your glass, your whisky, so drink it the way you want.”

Whisky, drink divine!
Why should drivelers bore us
With the praise of wine
While we’ve thee before us?”

May you aye ha’e a copper to spare,
And a pinch o’ guide sneeshin’ to share!
And what is the best thing o’ a’ –
A freend at yet beck an’ yer ca’.

I would like to make a toast to lying, stealing, cheating and drinking. If you’re going to lie, lie for a friend. If you’re going to steal, steal a heart. If your going to cheat, cheat death. And if you’re going to drink, drink with me.

Slàinte mhòr agus a h-uile beannachd duibh.
Great health and every good blessing to you

Your Scotch Spirit Master

A wee guid Abelour

Halo Single Malt Mates,

Back in the day I owned an Aberlour A’Bunadh. It is whisky distilled and matured at cask strength in Spanish Oloroso sherry and non chill filtered. Pure whisky to Aficionados like your humble Scotch Spirit Master.

Anyway, Aberlour has come out with its oldest expression which had been matured in Oloroso Sherry Casks. I love that.

Here is the whisky:

Aberlour
18 Year Old 43% 70cl

Details
Producer
Pernod Ricard
Age
18 Year Old
Bottle Size
70cl
Alc. Volume
43%
Bottler
Official
Region
Speyside

Description
The oldest in the delightful Aberlour core range, this is a fitting finale. Lots of Oloroso sherry character, lots of choccy-coated raisin flavours, and lots of after dinner drinking pleasure to be had

Official Tasting Notes

Nose: Rich and complex, with notes of toffee and butterscotch combining with ripe peach and bitter orange.

Palate: Superbly structured, with initial notes of soft apricot and cream, offset by developing flavours of old leather and oak, with a touch of honey. The finish is very long and well balanced, progressing from Crème Brulè to a gentle oak flourish.

I think that this would be a good addition to your collection. I am thinking about buying it myself..

May you aye ha’e a copper to spare,
And a pinch o’ guide sneeshin’ to share!
And what is the best thing o’ a’ –
A freend at yet beck an’ yer ca’.

I would like to make a toast to lying, stealing, cheating and drinking. If you’re going to lie, lie for a friend. If you’re going to steal, steal a heart. If your going to cheat, cheat death. And if you’re going to drink, drink with me.

Slàinte mhòr agus a h-uile beannachd duibh.
Great health and every good blessing to you

Your Scotch Spirit Master

A wee bit of humorous whisky labeling

Halo Single Malt Mates,

Adelphi selection is an independent bottler of rare whiskies.
They have an expression that has a humorous label. Here in the States we could see this meaning one way. In Scotland the title means quite another. Thus the humour

Here is the expression:
Adelphi
Wee Shyte Blended Whisky 40% 10cl

Description
This humourously named bottling from Adelphi is, in fact, quite wrong; it’s a great little blend! Created specifically to be a pleasant and well rounded whisky, with a little bit of every style, to suit any mood. Indeed, the man they credit with the creation of the original blend recipe describes it as being “ideal for a long sitting indoors or outdoors, before or after breakfast”.

Producer
Adelphi Distillery
Bottle Size
10cl
Alc. Volume
40%

Here is what a wee shyte means in Scotland.
From the Urban Dictionary
wee shite
a term originating in western Scotland generally pertaining to a small man with some kind of attitudinal adjustment problem relating to his inferior stature.

So the small (10 cl) bottling is supposed to have an attitude because it is a wee shyte, but it actually is quite good. According to my sources.

May you aye ha’e a copper to spare,
And a pinch o’ guide sneeshin’ to share!
And what is the best thing o’ a’ –
A freend at yet beck an’ yer ca’.

A h-uile la sona dhuibh‘s gun la idir dona dhuibh!
May all your days be happy ones!

Slainte Mhath

Your Scotch Spirit Master

For those single malt mates who can afford a collectable,(unlike Your humble Spirit Master)

Halo, Single Malt Mates,

For those of you, dear single malt mates, who can afford a collectable here is a new expression from Arran. Arran is an island whisky which is getting so popular they are thinking about installing additional stills and maturing stations.

Here is the collectable:

Arran
1997 Singe Cask 1186 58.2% 70cl – Bottle No.3 of 357

As you can see there are only 357 bottles available in this vintage. Therefore they are rare and collectable…

Producer
Isle of Arran Distillers
Bottle Size
70cl
Alc. Volume
58.2%
Bottler
Official
Region
Island
Vintage
1997
Country
Scotland

Description
These days the whisky from Arran is in such high demand that they’re currently working on building another distillery! Back in 1997 not many people had had the chance to try their whisky. This single cask from that very year is quite special and this is bottle number 3 of only 357.

This is so rare that there are no tasting notes. AND it is cask strength..

Here are tasting notes from the Arran 18, hopefully a similar vintage.

Official Tasting Notes
Nose: Peaches, honey and toasted almonds. A burst of Christmas cake, spice and a charred sherry cask note.
Palate: Ginger notes and a sweet, creme brulee note with caramelised brown sugar note. With water there are floral notes, macadamia notes and a Seville orange marmalade note.

So many guid Whiskies! So little time and money! your Scotch Spirit Master

May you aye ha’e a copper to spare,
And a pinch o’ guide sneeshin’ to share!
And what is the best thing o’ a’ –
A freend at yet beck an’ yer ca’.

A h-uile la sona dhuibh‘s gun la idir dona dhuibh!
May all your days be happy ones!

Slainte Mhath

Your Scotch Spirit Master