Thursday, 26 January 2017

The Macallan 12 year olds - Burn's Night Tweet Tasting

Thanks to Steve at @TheWhiskyWire for organising, @The_Macallan for supplying the whisky and @Sietse the Brand Ambassador for answering our questions, I was able to take part in a very enjoyable Tweet Tasting on Burn's Night. About twenty of us were supplied with The Macallan's three 12 year olds (Fine Oak, Sherry Oak & Double Cask) and an engraved nosing glass.

The event itself was very enjoyable, tasting each whisky in turn and sharing our thoughts via twitter, each of us had our own opinions on each of the whiskies, mine are shown below. You can follow the tasting here , it started at 7pm GMT on 25th Jan.

If you want to take part in a future @TweetTastings follow Steve at @TheWhiskyWire on Twitter and sign up for the next one - you never know you might be selected!

Fine Oak

Distillery : The Macallan
Whisky : Fine Oak 12 Years Old

Presentation : 50cl Miniature
Source : Distillery
Price : £60 Master Of Malt

Characteristics : 700ml, 40% ABV, Not Coloured, Chill Filtered πŸ˜’
Box/Bottle Information : "A lighter style of The Macallan with flavours of citrus, vanilla and coconut. Triple cask matured in a unique complex combination of exceptional oak casks; European oak casks seasoned with sherry and American oak casks seasoned with bourbon."

Colour : Amber.
Glance : Oily, leaves thin trails when swirled around the glass.
Nose : Inner tubes, Icing sugar, Orangy citrus.
Taste : Vanilla, Brandy Sauce, Grapefruit.
Finish : Medium length, drying finishing with dried pineapple.
Link : Fine Oak

 

Distillery : The Macallan
Sherry Oak

Whisky : Sherry Oak 12 Years Old

Presentation : 50cl Miniature
Source : Distillery
Price : 700ml £70 Master Of Malt

Characteristics : 700ml, 40% ABV, Not Coloured, Chill Filtered πŸ˜’
Box/Bottle Information : "Exclusively matured in selected sherry oak casks from Jerez, Spain. Spanish oak, with it's open grain and high tannin content, imparts the classic aromas and flavours of dried fruit, spices and chocolate orange."

Colour : Amber
Glance : Oily, leaves thin trails when swirled around the glass.
Nose : Rich Dundee cake, apples.
Taste : Christmas cake fruit soaking in sherry - raisins, cherries.
Finish : Not drying like the Fine Oak, slight smoke, chocolate.
Link : Sherry Oak

 

Distillery : The Macallan
Whisky : Double Cask 12 Years Old

Double Cask
Presentation : 50cl Miniature
Source : Distillery
Price : 700ml £48 Master Of Malt

Characteristics : 700ml, 40% ABV, Not Coloured, Chill Filtered πŸ˜’
Box/Bottle Information : "Created from the perfect balance of sherry seasoned European and American oak, presents similar flavours familiar to both the Fine Oak and Sherry Oak. Sweet yet balanced and honeyed in character."

Colour : Deep Gold (slightly darker than the previous two - looks great).
Glance : Oily, leaves thin trails when swirled around the glass.
Nose : Malty, nutty, a punch in the nose of marzipan and a little smoke.
Taste : Buttery spices, creamy, chocolate hobnobs.
Finish : Honey, slight smoke, initially not drying then dry red apples slide out.
Link : Double Cask


Overall : The Fine Oak was a lovely sipping malt, suitable for a summer bbq with chicken maybe not a cold Burn's Night. The Sherry Oak was definitely for sipping around a log fire, lovely mouth feel - like Christmas cake mix. From the description I expected the Double Cask to be somewhere in between but that wasn't the case - it was a step up from the Fine Oak and, I think, just slightly better than the Sherry Oak. I can see both of the final two filling a hole on my whisky shelf.

View the Tweet Tasting Unboxing post.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

The Macallan 10 year old Sherry Oak

Distillery : The Macallan
Whisky : 10 Years Old

Sherry Bomb
Presentation : Cardboard box, some whisky and distillery information, clear bottle with cork stopper
Source : Manchester Airport Duty Free
Price : £83 Master Of Malt

Characteristics : 700ml, 40% ABV, Not Coloured, Chill Filtered πŸ˜’
Box/Bottle Information : "Colour Pale Gold, Nose a hint of sweet toffee balanced with dried fruits and sherry, Palate smooth with dried fruits, sherry, sweetness and wood smoke, Finish dried fruits, sweet toffee and a hint of wood spice."

Colour : Tawny (looks great).
Glance : Oily, leaves thick trails when swirled around the glass.
Nose : Sherry, sultanas.
Taste : Smooth, creamy, mouth filling sherry, leaving mild chilli on the tongue.
Finish : Not overly long, drying, smokey, malty.

Overall : In advance of taking part in The Macallan TweetTasting next week I thought I'd have another look at a bottle of the 10yo Sherry Finish sitting at the back of my shelf. I think Macallan have retired this version now, in preference to the 12yo, but you can still find a bottle at some retailers. Most of my recent drams have been from Islay (I'm turning into a bit of a fanboy!) but this malt was completely different - full on sherry in the nose and mouth - yummy!

Link : Not currently on the Macallan website.

TweetTasting #TheMacallan

Huge privilege to have been selected to take part in a Burn's Night @TweetTasting, many thanks to Steve at @TheWhiskyWire.

On the night we’ll be sharing, sipping and savouring The Macallan’s trilogy of 12 Year Old’s; Fine Oak, Sherry Oak and Double Cask.


I'll update this blog with photos and tasting notes nearer to the time and on the night.

More importantly please join in the Tweet Tasting live on Twitter by following the hash tag #TheMacallan


View the Tweet Tasting Post.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Laphroaig Fest

I've been meaning to do a side by side tasting of my two Laphroaigs for a while, then a sample of the Select, from my mate Andy, gave me three to compare! So without further ado here's my thoughts on the 10 years old, Select and Quarter Cask.

On pouring these three drams the whole room filled with a smell of smoke!


Distillery : Laphroaig
Whisky : 10 years old

Presentation : Card tube with metal ends, some distillery information; green bottle with cork stopper, some whisky information.
Source : Duty Free (a number of years ago)
Price : Now on offer in Tesco/Asda for £25 for the 70cl 40% ABV

Characteristics : 1l, 43% ABV, Chill Filtered πŸ˜’, Coloured πŸ˜’
Box/Bottle Information : "In the making of Laphroaig, malted barley is dried over a peat fire. The smoke from this peat, found only on the island of Islay, gives Laphroaig its particularly rich flavour."

Colour : Deep Copper (looks great but is artificial).
Glance : Oily, leaves thick trails when swirled around the glass.
Nose : SMOKE, SMOKE and more SMOKE! With oil and seaweed. (With a little water there is also a faint hint of sweetness)
Palate: Iodine hits you straight away with seaweed and a little liquorice. (With a little water the sweetness comes through in the taste).
Finish : Long, lingering smoke.
Link : Laphroaig 10yo.



Distillery : Laphroaig
Whisky : Select (NAS)

Presentation : Green bottle with cork stopper, some whisky information.
Source : Sample from Andy
Price : Now available in Tesco/Asda for £33

Characteristics : 70cl, 40% ABV, Chill Filtered πŸ˜’, No colour πŸ˜€
Box/Bottle Information : "This special Laphroaig is created from carefully selected casks of each of our key styles, stretching back in time - with one notable addition.  The heart of the spirit is drawn from a final maturation in new American Oak casks, rarely used for Scotch Whisky maturation. Bottled at natural colour, the result is an exquisite Laphroaig with our trademark 'peat reek' matched by an additional layer of complexity and depth brought about by the fusion of the Maturation styles and different casks."

Colour : Deep Gold (slightly paler than the other two but genuine).
Glance : Oily, leaves thin trails when swirled around the glass.
Nose : SMOKE, quickly giving way to fresh porridge and faint fruity pear drops. (With a little water the pear drops seem to disappear and the porridge comes through more).
Palate: Lots of vanilla, Brazil nuts and ashes. (With a little water a toffee sweetness shows itself).
Finish : Medium, smokey and very dry.
Link : Laphroaig Select.


Distillery : Laphroaig
Whisky : Quarter Cask (NAS)

Presentation : Card tube with metal ends, some distillery information; green bottle with cork stopper, lots of whisky information.
Source : Christmas Present
Price : Now available in Master Of Malt for £38

Characteristics : 70cl, 48% ABV, NCF πŸ˜€, No info on colouring πŸ˜’
Box/Bottle Information : "The additional oak influence creates a soft sweetness and velvety feel when first tasted, then the intense peatiness so unique to Laphroaig, comes bursting through. The finish is very longs and alternates between the sweetness and the peat."

Colour : Deep Copper (the same colour as the 10yo which could indicate Colouring?)
Glance : Oily, leaves thick trails when swirled around the glass.
Nose : Smoke & more Smoke (not as intense and the 10yo), oil, seaweed, lemon, raisins. (With a little water a sweetness of pear drops comes through).
Palate: Iodine, oily, creamy. It's smooth but feels very heavy, the smallest sip seems to fill your mouth, a chilli burn finish. (With a little water the sweetness comes through in the taste and actually makes this a better malt.)
Finish : Surprisingly short, then unexpectedly, come back for a longer smokey, dry finish.
Link : Laphroaig Quarter Cask.

Overall : Wow - smoke! I liked all three of these even though I'd promised myself I wouldn't like any NAS malts. The 10yo is the typical taste of Islay, peat smoke and seaweed on the nose, the other two share these characteristics but not to the same extent. The Select's porridge is surprisingly nice and probably comes from it's marriage of 6 different cask types. The Quarter Cask seems more complex and, with the addition of a little water, adds yet another layer.
My overall favourite was the Quarter Cask with the added water but the 10yo was not far behind. From what I've read the Select is a marriage of 5-11 year old whiskies from 6 different cask types and whilst I was wanting to dislike it (as an NAS) it was surprisingly good - not a typical Islay Peat Monster but good never the less!

Thursday, 12 January 2017

#Transparency

I had an interesting chat with the great folk at Bruichladdich today after their latest go at transparency. As you may know a number of companies, notably Compass Box and Bruichladdich, are trying hard to get the law changed on what distillers and bottlers can tell us about the drams we drink.

Laddie CEO Simon Coughlin wrote to outlining the next step in their programme, you can read the article , but basically what they want to be able to do is be allowed to give us consumers more information about the whisky they are selling us. A fair thing to do you would think but unfortunately it's against EU regulations
How was this dram made?
So whilst we wait for the EU to change the law, if you want to find out what's in your whisky and where it came from ask the distiller or bottler. Bruichladdich will tell you #TerroirMatters, they have even started putting a link on their website to allow you to get the information yourself, all you need is the code from the bottle. Currently this works for some of their range e.g. The Classic Laddie and PC Scottish Barley but hopefully will expand across the whole range in time.


I asked them for some more details about my current favourite whisky, the PC Islay Barley Heavily Peated (review coming soon), whilst there is some information on the box/bottle regarding the farms where the barley was grown, they were also able to tell me which varieties of barley were used: Optic & Oxbridge; when it was harvested: September 2008; when it was distilled: December 2008 and that my wonderful dram was matured in American & European oak casks.

Why wouldn't we want to know this information?

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Bowmore 9 years old Sherry Cask Matured

A beautiful colour, but?
Distillery : Bowmore
Whisky : 9 Years Old, Sherry Cask Matured, Limited Release

Presentation : Cardboard box, some whisky and distillery information, clear bottle with cork stopper
Source : Asda Supermarket
Price : £15

Characteristics : 700ml, 40% ABV, NCF, Coloured πŸ˜’
Box/Bottle Information : "Matured in a combination of the finest Oloroso sherry and bourbon casks. Bowmore 9 Years Old reflects the natural elements that surround the No. 1 Vaults and the generations of tradition within. On the eye treacle amber, Breathe in rich cocoa, pepper and raisins balanced with citrus tang and wisps of Islay smoke, Sip complex sherry with peak smoke followed by dark fruits and sweet crème caramel, Savour the perfect balance of sea salt and peat smoke."

Colour : Old Oak (looks great but is artificial).
Glance : Oily, leaves thin trails when swirled around the glass.
Nose : I was expecting a typical Islay peaty whisky with sherry tones but actually got pleasant earthy toffee with smoke.
Palate: Watery, yes very plain with a touch of sherry.
Finish : Slight alcohol burn, short smoke, no real aftertaste.

Overall : I've not tried a Bowmore in an awfully long time - I think it was a 12yo (Clear Label) in around June '07. This bottle had a lot to live up to but ultimately disappointed, yes it was only a 9yo and yes it was only £15, but as a limited release I get the impression they are just trying to dump a few bad casks - it might have been better to release them as a NAS mixed with some better quality casks. Michael Jackson claimed, about Bowmore, that some "tasters have found it difficult to unfold it's complexity", once again he was right.

Link : Not currently on the Bowmore website.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Late night visit to Asda

Following recommendations from the amateurdrammer and mashtunandmeow I made a late night visit to Asda.

£30 later I was the proud owner of 2 bottles of Bowmore 9 year old!

You're mine!

Tasting notes to follow.

Hello

After reading some great whisky blogs from writers such as whiskypilgrim, craigleewatson, amateurdrammer, greatdrams etc. I've been inspired to start my own!
I've been enjoying whisky for nearly 20 years, ever since an unplanned visit and tour of the beautiful Edradour Distillery in 1999. Only £5 for the tour, OK I said, 1 hour later we came out of the gift shop with a bottle of 10 year old, a crystal glass decanter and 4 glasses. A little more than £5!
This blog will be my thoughts on Malt Whiskies, especially those from Scotland, but occasionally some from further afield! I'll include my own thoughts on tastings and other malt related subjects.

Edradour - where the adventure started!