Speyburn Clan Single PX Cask from 1975


Image shown is not of the 1975 bottling

Speyside region – 55.8%ABV – Pricing is TBD.  Will update this post as soon as I have more information.

One of the upsides to being a whisky reviewer is that now and again whisky shows up to my door.  Cool, right?

Sometimes the whisky is in sample form, sometimes it’s my own purchase.  Both scenarios do a fantastic job of setting my lovely wife’s eyes a’rollin.  Oh boy, *more* whisky.

A common question posed by me to my wife: “Did the whisky fairy arrive today?”

I quite enjoy it when the answer is “yes.”

Occasionally, one of my daughters will tell me as I walk in the door, “Hey daddy.  Surprise, surprise, more whisky.

I love my daughters.  They really know how to bust my butt with the snark of a 22 year old.  You’d never think they were 3 & 5.

…so one day, not too long ago, I received a completely unsolicited sample of this 1975 Speyburn single cask from Lucas D saying: Enjoy!  Let me know what you think.

In addition to the “enjoy the sample” bit, he gave me the following information on this whisky:

“The whisky comes from a single mature Spanish oak sherry butt acquired from Pedro Domecq – the oldest Bodega in Jerez founded in 1730. The cask was most likely used to mature Pedro Ximenez sherry. This helps to explain its exceptionally dark colour, at 20 Lovibond (45.9 EBC) it is one of the darker naturally coloured Scotch whiskies out there. The sample was drawn at the distillery in March 2012 and the ABV is 55.8% (!).”

Well, thank you Lucas for the sample.  It’s much appreciated!

Here are my thoughts:

On the nose  The initial offering from the nose on this whisky is that of pen ink (from a ball point) and summer pool water.

Fresh pulled garden greens, a salty smelling nose.

Fired apples (granny smith) and cherry stones here as well.  More apples yet in sauce-form with brown spices and burnt sugar.

It’s a wild nose here as it straddles the line between real and artificial (man-made) scents and does so fairly well.

With water some notes of a Cadbury Fruit and Nut bar say hello.

On the mouth Whoa, this is a hot one!

Chocolate chunks (dark) and fresh black pepper.  Cinnamon and walnuts, shells and all.  Let’s add water.  A bit too hot for me.

Much better with water – and a decent mouthfeel to boot!

Black strap molasses, drunken raisins and chocolates.  Sugar cookies and sugary butter cookies.

Nutty – hazelnuts, walnuts, no salt, crushed into a paste and sweetened (with some vanilla added in for good measure).

Finish Long and peppery (with lasting heat).

In sum It’s nice to drink history.  I was only 2 years old when this was distilled.  That in and of itself is a bit mind boggling.  All of the parts were there and in the right places.  I think some of the heat detracted from the overall experience (even with water) but pair this with some nice Stilton cheese and/or 70%+ cacao chocolate and you just might find yourself in a little place I like to call “Heaven.”

Be sure to check out Gal’s (of Whisky Israel) post on this whisky.  It’s a great read and he seemed to like it as well.

It’s not everyday that I get a mention on Islay’s “The Ileach” newspaper…


Special thanks to my good friend Andy for pointing this one out to me and sending the pic (as blurry as it is)!

Oh, and in other news, Bruichladdich just sold to Remy Cointreau…

In case you missed my Islay Distillery/Rock Band comparison posts, here is a link to each one:

  1. Part one:Bruichladdich as The Sex Pistols
  2. Part two: Ardbeg as Slayer
  3. Part three: Caol Ila as The 80′s (They get their very own decade!)
  4. Part four:Bowmore as David Bowie
  5. Part five: Kilchoman as the Jackson Five (somewhat fitting, in retrospect, with them both bearing the number five).
  6. Part six: Bunnahabhain as R.E.M.
  7. Part seven: Lagavulin as Led Zeppelin
  8. Part eight: Laphroaig as Iggy Pop

Islay distilleries explained thru Rock and Roll comparisons – Part 8 – Laphroaig and my review of a Chieftain’s Single Cask of Laphroaig

Islay distilleries and their whiskies explained through Rock and Roll – Part VIII (of VIII)

This is the end, my only friend, the end.

Yes, you guessed it.  Eight active distilleries on Islay, eight Islay/Rock Band comparisons by yours truly.

G-d damn. I am sad to see this series end.  Such is life and all things must pass.

There were many Laphroaigs I could have chosen for this final Islay/Rock Band review and to be honest, I’ve got enough of the hooch in house for me to have chosen from. However, I’ve never had a single cask of Laphroaig from the Chieftain’s range so I figured I’d ask for a sample and if I were lucky to enough to get one then, cool, I’d review that.

Thanks to the good folks at Impex, they’ve got a new Chieftain’s 14yo single cask of Laphroaig and they were nice enough to pour me a few cl to review.  Special thanks to SF & EK from Impex for the sample!

Before I review this Laphroaig, let’s cover what’s been reviewed in this series to date:

  1. Part one:Bruichladdich as The Sex Pistols
  2. Part two: Ardbeg as Slayer
  3. Part three: Caol Ila as The 80′s (They get their very own decade!)
  4. Part four:Bowmore as David Bowie
  5. Part five: Kilchoman as the Jackson Five (somewhat fitting, in retrospect, with them both bearing the number five).
  6. Part six: Bunnahabhain as R.E.M.
  7. Part seven: Lagavulin as Led Zeppelin

Today we’re reviewing:

Chieftain’s Single Cask Laphroaig, cask #4127, bottled at 46% ABV$?? to be announced.

On the nose  Tell tale Laphroaig peat, somehow a bit less dirty but surely Laphroaig peat.

Scratch the surface and we find a good deal of unripened fruits (banana strings, hard peach, crab apple).

I also get the sense of an ashtray minus the butts but all of the ash.

All of this being said, though it might not sound it, it *is* a bit of a delicate nose.

I’d be scared to add water to this, there is very little alcohol punch.

On the mouth Very sooty and stingy-like along the sides of my tongue.

Salted rhubarb and on hot linoleum counter.

Not-so-sweet star fruit and on the 2nd sip, I discover this has a really nice mouth feel.

Out of the blue, a floral/lavender-like note makes itself known (coming back to the nose and I discover it there as well).

Salted still and drying toward the finish…

Finish Drying, a touch of citrus and decent length.

In sum Not a bad little cask of whisky!  Based on the light color at 14 years of age, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I found a nice evolution from nose to palate to finish.  It’s an easy going whisky for the peat heads among us.  Not very challenging but very pleasing.  I’d suggest this one right after a snow storm and right before you start shoveling your driveway (if’n that applies to you). ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Laphroaig – The Band!

Comparing Laphroaig to a band was perhaps the toughest one of them all, hence my saving them for the last.  (Sorry grandpa, I know you always said to do the hard stuff first and save the easy stuff for last.  Note to self: I should have listened to you.)

So many bands came to mind.  I think of the dirty, gritty, filthy and delicious peat and I instantly think of The Melvins.  But, most people don’t know The Melvins.

However, there’s more to Laphroaig than just peat.  Their 30yo expression, a manly yet feminine and elegantly heavy dram makes me think of Into Another.  Like The Melvins, chances are, you’ve not heard of their awesomeness.

In the end, I have to admit, Laphroaig is a powerhouse whisky.  So, I’ve decided that you are Iggy Pop.  And, not just any Iggy Pop but Iggy from his 1973 “Raw Power” Record.  And not just any song on “Raw Power” but actually, Laphroaig, you are Iggy Pop’s “Search and Destroy”.  But not just any version of “Search and Destroy.”

With the often salty/briny character, you are “Search and Destroy” as heard/seen on the “Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” during the gun fight seen.:

So, congrats Laphroaig – you are RAW POWER.  You are Iggy Pop.  Thanks for playing!

Gordon & MacPhail’s Connoisseurs Choice gets a make over (and it’s more than just new bottles and packaging)!

If you don’t own a bottle or six from the Connoisseurs Choice range of Independently Bottled whisky then, at the very least, I’m sure you’ve seen them on the whisky shelves.

Rather than me blather on about the good news from Gordon MacPhail, here’s the info I was given:

“The Connoisseurs Choice range was developed in the 1960’s by George Urquhart the second generation of Urquhart’s that have run G&M.  It made a number of distilleries whiskies available as a single malt for the first time ever.  It has become wildly popular and gone through a number of slight enhancements to the label over the years.

This most recent change however also deals with the whisky in the bottle.

Ongoing, all whiskies bottled for the Connoisseurs Choice range will be NON-CHILL FILTERED, NATURAL COLOR & bottled at 46% abv.  

This will ensure the highest quality whisky is made available for future generations. ”

Now THAT’S news!!  Yet another bottler that’s listened to consumer demand for higher ABV, natural color and no chill filtration.

Kudos to G&M for making this strong move!

Here’s a link to the PDF that was sent to me which gives you more details on this gutsy move from Gordon MacPhail

Forwhiskeylovers.com is looking to expand. Can you help a brotha out?


Have you ever shopped at forwhiskeylovers.com or perhaps you’re part of the FWL community?  If so, then you’d know that Doug Stone’s website/community is a wonderful and thriving place that is about one thing we all know and love: WHISK(E)Y!

Due to the success of the website model, Doug is looking to launch a whole new set of For-Lovers communities and to do so, he needs your help, OUR help.  (Yes, I did the good Jewish boy thing and chipped in.)

Why am I talking about Doug Stone’s website(s) on this blog?  Well, Doug and those on the For-Lovers/contributing editors team (Ian Buxton, Kevin Erskine, Charles MacLean to name a few) do a whole heck of a lot for the world of whisk(e)y.  That and Doug is a friend that I think should be supported.

Here’s a video of Doug explaining the venture:

If you want to learn how you can help, click here.