Various regions of Scotland… 3 different single casks bottled for the Chieftain’s range.
After a few quick points, we will get straight on to the reviews today!
Special thanks to the folks from ImpEx for the cask samples!
To learn more about the Chieftain’s Range in general, click here.
Chieftain’s Glen Kieth 17yo bottled at 54.9% ABV
On the nose – A light peat influence here, or so it would seem.
Salty, hay and a touch of candy-like lemon drops (a thread of smoke?).
Sherry-like influence (getting hints of Amontillado) but also sort of bourbon in character (think wood spice, honey and even a shake of white pepper).
A fun little nose, if a little confused.
On the mouth – Light white berries, unripened plums, sugared plums as well.
Biscuits, undercooked. Pie crusts… Oh! Gooseberry pie. This is nice.
Somewhat simple but nice and focused.
Lightly oily slightly effervescent feel to it.
Finish – Shortish with, again, a thread of smoke.
Chieftain’s Jura 12yo bottled at 58.4% ABV
On the nose — Few whiskies yell at me from the glass saying, “Hey Hatton, I was distilled at such and such distillery… duh!!!” like Jura yells at me.
It always seems to start off with a note that I can only call Eeore’s thistles – like burning pricker bushes.
On top of this is a slight soapy quality. People get a little freaked out about a soap quality in a whisky. For me, done right, the soap “quality” can be just that, a “quality.”
The soap on this is within tolerance but surely on the higher side.
There’s also a touch of lavender in here as well as calking.
On the mouth — Very industrial to taste, window putty, calking, wet cement.
Pushing these notes to the side and now we discover some great gristy notes. You can taste the wash (beer to be distilled into spirit) but it’s very beer-like. Lager-like. But, a good lager (sans hops, obviously).
Rainbow candy buttons.
Finish — Short and slightly drying.
Chieftain’s Craigellachie 21yo bottled at 58.3% ABV
On the nose — You can see why they use so much of this malt in the Dewar’s blend. It’s got a nice, balanced nose.
Let me start of with the fact that, even at 58.3%ABV, it’s not hot on the nose. The scents are all right there.
This noses like a 21yo: Wood spice and dill covered lemon slices. Green wood and honey spice. Apple sauce with brown spices. Are you catching a theme here? Tough to get beyond the spiced quality.
I’m a fan of the spice bombs so, let see how it translates in the flavor profile.
Adding a dash of water brings out some notes of pool water and gobs of malt!
On the mouth — Yeah, yeah… this is it. This is what I look for in, say, some of the older Dailuaines… Fruity little spice bombs.
This is, however, just a little hot. Without water, we’ve got baked pears with a slight hint of cloves. Also, vanilla. A good deal of vanilla. Yeah, water is needed with this one.
Not just to temper the heat but the water *really* opens up this whisky!
Ooey flan comes to mind as I take another sip. Browned sugar and candied fennel.
Finish — A long and overly spiced finish. Perhaps a bit too spiced (if there were such a thing). Wow, very long.
Glen Kieth: An interesting whisky. My first Glen Kieth. Over all, I liked it. I wonder what a few more years in the cask might have done for this whisky…
Jura: Yeah, this is an odd one. Over all, while it was a little all over the place, I enjoyed drinking it. Nosing it was enjoyable mainly because it’s got that Jura oddness that has you coming back for more. This really is a winter-warmer-upper!
Craigellachie: With a dash of water, I am incredibly impressed with this cask. It tells a wonderfully balanced story from beginning to end (with the spice volume turned up just a touch too high at the finish). Without the water….well, I suggest you add a dash. Should you get a bottle, you’ll see what I mean. This is one where the extra H20 makes an incredible difference.
For more solid reviews of Chieftain’s reviews, be sure to check out Peter’s (of “The Casks” fame) reviews.