Category Archives: Breakfast Whisky

Octomore Feis Ile 2014 bottling will blow your mind!!


Region – Islay – 69.5% ABV – Price?? – a whole bunch of ££ but you can find this bottle for even more ££ on various auction websites.


While I’ve found myself in bonnie Scotland many a time now, I have yet to get my rear-end over there during the Feis Ile festival that happens every year at the end of May.  Imagine nine days devoted to the malts of Islay, on Islay and each distillery releasing a special bottling for the festival.

Sounds like a wee Bit o’Honey Heaven.  Thankfully, my good friend Matt L ventures out there every year and was kind enough to grab me a few festival bottles.

While I wanted a bottle from each distillery A) bottles are often limited to one per person and B) I don’t want to overload Matt with all of my requests and C) if I spend TOO much money, my wife will give me a “what for” that I’d never forget or recover from.

I had to be really choosey about which bottles to get so some investigation was in order.  I found out that Bruichladdich’s Feis Ile bottling just so happened to be an Octomore.  Once I found out this little detail, I knew I had to get one of those.  However, what I did not know was that this was a quadruple distilled Octomore.

Quad-distilling the spirit kicked the ABV up to insane heights!  After 7 years in first fill oloroso casks, the ABV ended up at 69.5%!  Sweet Fancy Moses!!  Now I was even more excited.  Word on the street was it was so powerful it could bring a tear to a man’s eye.  Matt asked me, “are you sure you want me to get you a bottle?”

How could one *not* want to taste this juice after hearing of the hurt it could inflict on those that dare drink it?!

IMG_4888Thanks to Matt’s good help and to the over-seas shipping gods, I am now the owner of some of those most powerful whisky ever produced on Islay.  Peated to 167ppm, quadruple distilled, matured for 7 years in oloroso sherry casks and bottled at 69.5% ABV… let’s see how this young lady is (and if I survive her).

On the nose Well hello yourself, little lady!  She’s both embracingly sweet and warmingly peat in the same lil’ sniff.

6a00d8341c571453ef0133eef5da66970b-320wiShe is a bag of pork rinds in hand with plastic bag to boot.

A host of cut lemons and ground green peppercorns over a plate of fresh shaved fennel, you are young miss!  “Pour some sugar agave on me and wrap me up in chilies” (to the tune of that crap ass Def Lepard song).

this-spinal-tap-movie-quotes-54419“Your body fits me like a fig skin tuxedo, I want to sink you with my pink torpedo” (to the tune of one of the best Spinal Tap songs ever).

You’re a really wild one.  I’m’a taste you now. (plus, I’m done referring to you as a person.  It’s sort of perverse sounding and I think I my have lost some readers along the way).

dune2On the mouth Ash trays and all things drying (alcohol, salt, hot air, dry-dry sherry, drier than Oloroso dry sherry, Desert Planet, Arrakis).

Must take another sip.  Now that my mouth has a chance to realize what’s happening, it’s starting to react and understand what exactly is happening in it right now.

97960-131216-penguinLet the laundry list begin:  Medium oils, very sherried but somehow not a sherry bomb, dried and sugared dates, cracked oat bran, new rubber umbrella (a la from the closet of The Penguin), chili powder with hints cooked, un-spiced pumpkin.

All in all, for 69.5% ABV, it’s nice to know that I’m not dead (yet).

Finish Long and now with hints of menthol and a bowl of those dried and sugared dates I tasted.

In sum   I love the size of Bruichladdich’s balls.

In this day of sought after, highly up-sellable, Feis Ile bottlings, Bruichladdich dared to release one that I would have thought many would be both afraid to buy and afraid to post on auction sites.  69.5% ABV, Quadruple distilled 7yo juice?!  I mean, come on…

Here’s the thing.  It sold out.  Heck, I bought a bottle (Thanks again to my buddy Matt).  It’s being sold on auction sites, too.

My hope is that these bottles do terribly on these auction sites.  Dudes, stop trying to make money and drink the juice because, I’ll tell you, it’s damn good.  Yes, you may lose the ability to reproduce after a dram or two but hey… it’s… ummm… Ok, I have nothing after that comment.  But if you sell your bottle, you’re missing out on good whisky.  For those that buy a bottle on auction, open it and do so immediately.  Open and and drink it with lots of friends.  You’ll be happy you did.

Glenmorangie Companta – Private Edition release #5 – 46% ABV


GLENMORANGIE COMPANTAIf I had a million dollars for every time Glenmorangie came out with a Special Private Edition whisky, I’d be five million dollars richer! Also, I’d use a good chunk of that cash to purchase more of these Private Edition Glenmos (though they tend to be fairly priced between $79-$99 whenever they’re released so I’d still have a good chunk of change left over for, well, more whisky!).

This bottle will run you about $99, maybe a little more depending on who you buy from.

So yes, this is the 5th release of the Glenmorangie Special Private Edition whiskies and **spoiler alert** this one is my favorite from the bunch.

A little unnamable birdie told me that this whisky is made up of:

60% of the vatting = 1999 distillate aged in ex-bourbon casks until 2008 then finished 5 years in Clos de Tart casks. Total age = 14yrs

40% of vatting = 1995 distillate aged in ex-bourbon casks until 2005 then finished in fortified Rasteau casks for 8 years. Total age = 18yrs

So, while this is an NAS (no age statement) bottling, it’s not immature whisky by any stretch of the imagination!

Furthermore, this is bottled at a respectable 46% ABV and non-chill-filtered.  Kudos to Glenmorangie for sticking to these quality requirements.

Let’s give is a taste now…

Glenmorangie CompantaOn the noseSo far it smells like my Tuesday morning: massive presence of red wine gums and hazelnut coffee grounds. (Please don’t tell my wife I sneak some wine gums for breakfast or my tea-snob friends that I indulge in the occasional flavored coffee.)

Burgundy soaked peach halves are an obvious and welcome note but I did not expect the presence of Spanish olives, pimento and all (am I sensing manchego cheese too or just getting hungry?).

Glenmorangie CompantaDeep and dark chocolate with some fresh cut roses. Was Dr. Bill Lumsden thinking of a Valentine’s Day whisky when he created this one?  Hollow out those dark chocolates and fill them with raspberry jam.

Not sure if you’re getting it yet but, boy, this is a decedent dram!  At least on the nose it is.  Time to put it in my mouth. (Hey Hatton, keep it clean!  Pfft.)

Glenmorangie Companta

On the mouth —  Mouth-filling-ly dense, rich and oily.  Wow, this is a big whisky!  The heart is pure Glenmorangie but it’s layered so elegantly with flavors of citrus and clove, sugar cooked pecans, a touch of dark caramel and a dash of toasted and spicy oak.

The scents and flavors are very well integrated.

Glenmorangie CompantaLet’s sip again (no water needed here, folks!): That raspberry jam from the nose is still here and the oil on the tongue only helps.  Add some cranberry to that raspberry mix and perhaps a little more spice.

Loads of stewed red fruits and warming potpourri.

FinishMy one complaint: the finish is a bit on the short side however the final flavor is that of red wine soaked blood oranges and, boy, that’s a nice way to end the experience.  Well I suppose you can just take another sip, right?  Right.

In sum I know there were some people that went Ga-Ga over the last special release (Ealanta) but this is, in my honest opinion, a far superior whisky.  This is a whisky that is very sure of what it is supposed to be.

The story stays true from beginning to end and the experience on the whole was a whole lot of enjoyment and fun.  If you can get a bottle, get a bottle.  You will not be disappointed.  This is perfect as an evening or morning warmer-upper.

**Special thanks to DB for the sample and to Billy Lumsden for another fine creation.  Well done, sir!

Springbank 15yo Single Cask, re-charred Sherry Butt 58.3% ABV


Springbank 15 recharred sherry buttCampbeltown region – 58.3% ABV – $139

It is a very true statement that Springbank is a Scotch Whisky that is in a league of it’s own.

The quality of their products tend to be a few notches above the rest and the whisky’s character is, well, unique.  Very unique.

Could the essence of their individuality be connected to terroir (Campbeltown and they, Springbank,  being one of only three distilleries in Campbeltown)?

Perhaps it’s their distilling process (2.5 times distilled which is explained here)?  I think not as their other products, Hazelburn (3 times distilled and unpeated) and Longrow (2 times distilled and heavily peated) still have that Springbankiness to them…

Maybe it’s the fact that they handle every step of the process whisky-making process from malting on up?

Perhaps it’s the fact that their wash (beer to be distilled in to spirit) spends 70 hours or more fermenting in Boatskin Larch wash backs? (Most Scottish distilleries ferment their wash between 48 & 54 hours in either Oregon Pine or Stainless Steel).

I am not sure any one of the above points really offers up answers.  Regardless, Springbank Scotch Whisky  is pretty amazing stuff.  While I am a known Glenmorangie freak, I have to say that Springbank produces my favorite whisky.  Ever.  And when they do it right. Boy howdy, they do it right-right!

Today’s Springer is a 15yo single cask matured in a re-charred sherry butt.  This is a highly unusual style of Scotch whisky and it sounded simply super fun and interesting to me so I had to get a bottle.  Had to.

On the nose — As I might have guessed (and surely hoped), the nose is very Bourbon-like due to the re-charred oak.  There’s a high sweetness here and a sharpness in scent.

Springbank-recharred-Sherry-Cask-1Brown sugar and peat!  What a combo!  Paraffin wax and molding clay.  Pencil shavings, albeit burnt pencil shavings.  A wide combination of dried fruits (dates, prunes, dried banana, etc…), pickled walnuts and cherries pits.

Springbank-recharred-Sherry-Cask-2There’s a salty/briny quality to this as well.  Heavy leather gloves (well used) and a brush fire.

This is like nosing a 50-50 mix of George T Stagg and a sherried Springbank.

Springbank-recharred-Sherry-Cask-3On the mouth — Big, salty and massively sherried (but without being like a run-of-the-mill sherry bomb).  There is no unidimensionality going on here.  In fact, there’s a lot going on here and it’s part of a nice flavor story:

Springbank-recharred-Sherry-Cask-4Salted dates floating in a bowl of Mexican vanilla extract and grated chicory.  Soft yet driving peat and dank malt (a la Malta Goya).

A lovely mouth feel.  Very bourbon like in experience (mouthfeel, very sweet and prickly on the sides of the tongue, charred-oaky-goodness) with the addition of cherry-twizzler sweetness!

The nuttiness returns but it’s like a nutty-syrup mixed with unlit cigars.

Finish — Medium finish loaded with dates and a touch of salt.

In sum — As if Springbank was unique enough!  This is a wildly fun ride of a whisky that would impress the Bourbon lovers out there.  Heck, this should impress whisk(e)y drinkers anywhere.  Very tasty and quite balanced.

One could sit and dissect this whisky or just relax and simply enjoy it.  This is a desert (and dessert) island dram for me.  I better get another bottle before you all buy it out on me!!

Exclusive Malts – Clynelish 15yo – 53.5%ABV


ClynelishHighlands region – 53.5%ABV – US only — Price: unknown at this point.

Many of us here in the states have not heard of the Exclusive Malts or The Creative Whisky Company who are responsible for bottling this selection of single casks.  The Exclusive Malts range is a new range to the US brought to this side of the pond by the fine folks at ImpEx Beverages.

So, what makes this line of whiskies so special?  I’d say it comes down to David Stirk, owner of The Creative Whisky Company, and his ability to consistently choose and bottle fine and fun casks of whisky, both young and old.  In the UK and EU, Mr. Stirk is known for bottling good hooch; I’m just glad that he and ImpEx are working together to bring some of these bottlings our way.

I was sent 5 samples in all from ImpEx (thanks again!) and we will launch the review of the Exclusive Malts range with this 15yo Clynelish.  Bottled at cask strength and matured in what I assume is an ex-bourbon cask – the bottle simply says “aged in oak.”

On to the review; begin the begin:

Clynelish-1On the nose –  Quite a classic representation of Clynelish – waxy smelling, a touch of smoke, lemon bars and paraffin.  Bright wood spice nose – a house in the framing stage of being built – fresh sawn wood.

A touch of mild mustard seed.  Actually, if one could figure out a way to candy mustard seeds, I imagine it’d smell a bit like this.

Clynelish-2Fresh tropical fruits and some crushed pecans (sans any bitter nut skin).  Boy, nut skin just sounds wrong – forget I even mentioned nut skin.  Seriously, stop with the nut skin!!  *Why* are you obsessing…


Some warmed caramel or perhaps the caramel from a Milky Way bar.

Clynelish-3On the mouth – Oh, hell yes.  Warming and oily mouth feel.  Much of what we got on the nose with a touch of hayseed to boot.

Waxy, spicy (not overly so)… Actually, the spice is increasing here — if you’ve ever had Dailuaine, the level of spice is similar to Dailuaine.  Very nice.

Clynelish-4Plastic candy wrappers, wax wrappers for vanilla caramels.

Finish – From mouth coating and oily to a medium length, slightly drying finish (like biting into a red grape seed).

In sum – Here is where knowing how to bottle a good cask at the right time pays off.  This is a great whisky that’s both easy going but also has wonderful levels of complexity to it.  At 53.5% ABV, it’s not hot at all… very approachable and perfect for a weekend morning pick-me-up.  Start your day with this one (so long as you’re not driving or operating heavy machinery… or have to vote).










nut skin.

Abbey Whisky’s own bottling of Caperdonich. A 17yo Good Morning single cask of whisky.


abbey-whisky-caperdonich-17-year-old-the-rare-casks-250Speyside region – 57.8% ABV – £59.50 – Bottled by Abbey Whisky and only 96 bottles!

Another one of those surprise samples that came across my desk, we have this here Caperdonich bottled by Abbey Whisky.

For a long time, it seemed that Abbey Whisky was *THE* online shop to go to for hard-to-find, rare and ultra-premium bottles of whisky.  I think they are still that source but Abbey has seemed to expand their offerings to include more off-the-shelf bottlings.

Expanding their presence even further Abbey has begun bottling their own whiskies.  This 17yo single cask of Caperdonich is one of those.

Abbey whisky is well worth your time and perusal.  What’s more is you’ll find their customer service to be among the best around.

Special thanks to MS from Abbey for the official sample.

With all of the Caperdonichs I’ve had, I can’t believe this is the first official review I’ve done of one of their whiskies…

On the nose — Upon initial sniffing, this seems like a hot lil’ bugger.  Stinging in the nostrils and quite peppery.

Give it a few minutes and things become a bit different.

abbey-whisky-caperdonich-17-year-old-the-rare-casks-2Loads of dried pineapples and green apple.

Maybe just a touch of cardboard and cigarette ash (minus any hint of smoke, if’n that makes sense to you.  It does to me so, there.).

abbey-whisky-caperdonich-17-year-old-the-rare-casks-3Seasoned oak and orange pekoe infused honey.

abbey-whisky-caperdonich-17-year-old-the-rare-casks-4On the mouth — Big ol’ m*ther f*cking pepper fight in the mouth.  Explosions of peppery and spiced oak, vanilla and unripened citrus fruits.

Give this some time (as with the nose) and you’re rewarded.

There are flavors behind the heat and the heat does, in fact, dissipate.

abbey-whisky-caperdonich-17-year-old-the-rare-casks-5The whisky gets creamy and I am reminded of vanilla bean ice cream.

Wood spiced vanilla and honey (and again, just a touch of ash without the smoke).

Finish — Lasting spice and vanilla, and I mean LASTING.

In sum — Take heed the words of the very smart Chinese Sage, Confucius.  Patience, good friends is a virtue.  Sure I could have used some water but I held off when I found the amazing evolution on the nose.  I wanted to let this one ride out in its most natural form, without the addition of water.  This is, without a doubt a Sunday morning dram.  Sit down with the newspaper (remember those?), get disgusted with the news, say “F” it all and just enjoy some fine whisky and a true pick-me-up.