Tag Archives: Strawberries

Wemyss Malts – 20yo Glen Elgin Cask # 2594 “Winter Larder Green”


wemyss_winter_larder-1Speyside region – Single Sherry Oak Cask bottled at 46% ABV

A very short and sweet review for you today.  This is one of the more odd single casks of whisky I’ve had.  Even more odd than the Old Malt Cask Speyside I had the other day.

A big thanks to the folks at Wemyss for the sample.

I LOVED the Weymss Inchgower known as “The Dunes.”  Let’s see what this one brings us…

wemyss_winter_larder-2On the nose — Obvious sherry notes, cola syrup, burnt cherry jam, spiced autumn fruits and heated leather pants (like an 80’s glam rocker’s lower half during the encore at the show).

Ivy school closets and a good deal of wood spice.

On the mouth — A big, huge pungent blast of cola and turning/browning greens.  A solid mouthfeel.

A mass of strawberries and a bit of sulfur/spent match stick.

wemyss_winter_larder-3Lots of what I got on the nose but the pungency and strawberries seem to overtake the show.

Finish — Drying toward the end and a lot (again) of what I got on the nose.

In sum —  An odd, odd duck and a bit over the top with the pungent aspect.  This cask seems to follow suite with The Dunes Inchgower cask I had before in the sense that it’s odd, fun and seems to stand out; but I feel that this cask of whisky might have been better served by being married up with some whisky from an Ex-Bourbon cask to help smooth it all out.


In other Wemyss news (truly fantastic news, if you ask me): The Wemyss folks will soon break ground on a new distillery in Fife Scotland.  Here’s the official press release:

wemyss_winter_larder-4“PRESS RELEASE
9th JANUARY 2013

Wemyss family to build new distillery in Fife

The Wemyss family is delighted to announce that it will shortly begin building a
new single malt whisky distillery and visitor centre by Kingsbarns, Fife, Scotland.

Approximately 6 miles from St. Andrews, The Kingsbarns Distillery will be built within
sight of the world-famous Kingsbarns championship golf course on land which
will be leased from Sir Peter Erskine of the Cambo Estate. The site of the distillery
will be the historic and charming East Newhall Farm steading.

The Wemyss family is being supported in this exciting new development with a
grant from the Scottish Government. It is expected that development of the
existing listed building will begin in early 2013, with a view to beginning distilling
and welcoming visitors a year later.

It is well known that Wemyss family has links with the whisky industry going back
to the turn of the 19th century when John Haig (founder of Haig’s) built his first
distillery on Wemyss land, and since 2005, with the independent bottler Wemyss
Malts. However, it is also the case that the Wemyss family has a historical link
with the site of the new Kingsbarns Distillery as the 7th Earl of Wemyss actually
owned part of the Cambo Estate between 1759 and 1783.

William Wemyss, commented on behalf of the family: “This rare opportunity to
distil our own single malt whisky and develop a new Scotch whisky brand to
support our existing business as an independent bottler will secure the family
interest in Scotch for the next generation. We are delighted to be working with
the Scottish Government, Sir Peter Erskine and Kingsbarns Distillery founder, Doug
Clement, to bring a new distillery and visitor centre to the East Fife area.”

———- END ———-“

Kilchoman Sherry Cask Release – 2012 bottled at 46%


Islay region – 46%ABV – $79 – only 100 cases allocated to the US!  This is already sold out in all of the UK shops I’ve checked.

Following Kilchoman’s success story as the months and years go on is a very fun ride for a whisky geek like me.  And really, they go from success to success with a seeming ease

Kilchoman is Islay’s youngest distillery (as many of you know) and the tiny island’s first new distillery in over 124 years.  If that’s not pressure on this small farm distillery, I don’t know what is.

Thankfully, Kilchoman has a great team on their hands as was evident when I visited them back in March of this year.  You can read about my visit with Kilchoman here on the Jewish Whisky Company/Single Cask Nation blog – the post penned by Seth Klaskin.

So here we are today, again following the Kilchoman story line from start up and now getting ever closer to that 10 year mark. (They opened in 2005 so they’ll turn 7 years old in 2012.)  And for today we have their 5yo sherry cask release, bottled at 46%ABV.

On the nose Peat smoke upfront however, it’s somewhat abbreviated and what follows is a good deal of black licorice (salted licorice at that).

Citrus sweetened green cabbage.  Now *that’s* an odd yet fun note!

More medicinal than expected given Kilchoman’s usual sweet peat profile and the fact that this whisky is from sherry casks.

Some notes of canvas sneakers (slightly loved).

A very promising nose.  The black licorice-like quality is quite nice.

On the mouth Window putty and fresh caulking.  Somewhat artificial/industrial in flavor.

Slightly sweet yet very drying/tannic from the start.

A touch hot given the strength – it tastes closer to 50-55%ABV or more.

Unripened banana, hints of softening strawberry.

Better yet, Starburst artificial strawberry flavor (subtle though).

Finish Long finish, the window putty and caulking notes last for a while as does the unripened banana element.

In sum  This is the first time I’ve tried a 100% sherried Kilchoman.  Comparing this to the others I’ve tried,  I think I more prefer the 1st fill bourbon matured ones or the releases that were a mix of ex-bourbon and sherry (E.G.  the Kilchoman Machir Bay which is just lovely).    I was not really able to connect with this one as I would have hoped.  However, a lot of people out there will enjoy this one for sure. (In fact they already have, seeing as this has completely sold out in the UK and EU where most of the bottles have gone.)  It does show promise for future.  I look forward to trying more sherried Kilchoman.

Special thanks to the good folks at ImpEx for the sample!

Arran Peacock – Vintage 1996

Islands region – 46%ABV – £42 | €50

The Arran Peacock made some big noise when it was released.  It seemed as though every blogger and whisky writer from here to there tasted it, loved it, wrote about.  I thought it might be a good idea to do the same but then second guessed it.  I wanted to be the Johnny-come-lately to the party and post my review AFTER all this precious fluid was sold out.  No, not really.  I just made a funny.

Truth be told, I’ve had a sample of this whisky for some time and shame on me for not tasting and posting about this stuff sooner.  This is very nice.  So nice that Jim Murray, in his 2011 Whisky Bible, awarded it the Best Single Malt Scotch 11-15 years old with a whopping 96pts out of 100.  Not to shabby!

A special thanks goes out to Jason of Guid Scotch Drink for the sample!

So, what does Joshua Hatton, author of the Whisky Torah think about this stuff?  Read on.

On the nose Oh, you big sweetie!  Aren’t you just filled with all sorts of fun candies?

Did you just come back from trick-or-treating?  Well, this is surely no trick – it’s quite the treat!

Strawberry & raspberry pixie stix.

A full roll of smartees and a pack of pineapple lifesavers.

Vanilla is right there.

Some plastic shopping bags (I get this in whiskies every now and again, huh).

On the mouth Pow! Big caramels upfront followed by golden delicious apples.

Pineapple, white pepper and chloroseptic.

All of these notes hit me at the same time.

The mouthfeel is peppery and abrasive.

Yellow onion.

Lemon custard.

Finish– Short but with lasting pepper.

In sum Everything is in it’s right place.  A mid day dram, summery and sweet.  Smell the roses.  Revel in all the small things that makes life so beautiful.

A special thanks goes out to Jason of Guid Scotch Drink for the sample!

Balvenie Portwood 21yr & 21yr Duty-Free – a side by side tasting.

Speyside region — 43% ABV (standard bottling) & 47.6% (duty free only bottling) – SB: $125 | £75 | €88DFO: £69 | €81

It’s no secret my love for The Balvenie runs deep.  Their whiskies can be delicate, complex, bold, intriguing, thick and rich, light and peppery, etc…  However, what you can always count on are the “classic honeyed Balvenie notes”.  Unmistakable.

You can find all of my Balvenie reviews here.

A while back Sam Simmons gave me a sample of The Balvenie 21yr Portwood Duty Free expression which is both non-chill filtered and has a higher ABV (47.6% as opposed to the standard 43% — the 43% being chill filtered, by the way).

Sam, thanks again!

I’ve been holding off on posting my thoughts on that whisky as I had not yet posted my thoughts on the standard 43% ABV Balvenie Portwood.  I now have some of that 21yr Portwood.

A big thanks goes out to Andrew Weir for that sample!

There is something so rewarding about The Balvenie Portwood.  Come on folks, this is expensive stuff.  Not an everyday drinker.  You break it out for that special, joyous occasion; or perhaps you buy it for a loved one or your boss.  So, to taste two different Portwood whiskies in one sitting… Man, I felt like I was treating myself to a world class massage — my happy ending being The Balvenie x 2!

Balvenie, me love you long time!

Time to share the experience:

On the nose 43% Classic honeyed Balvenie nose with a good deal of black pepper notes.  Something astringent here; perhaps a touch of witchhazel.  Black grapes.  Honey peppercorn salad dressing.  Poached pear and a touch of green apple.  Oranges.  A tad salty.

On the nose 47.6% Duty Free Somehow, even with the higher ABV, the nose is softer here.  Much like the off the shelf stuff but with added elements of salted toffee.  Not as peppery as the standard stuff.

On the mouth 43% Sweet blessed Benjamin, that’s good!  Big grapes.  A good deal of pepper & bite.  Hot pepper and honey.  There’s a creaminess to this whisky that somehow offsets all of the spicy bits I’m getting here.  Cool.

On the Mouth 47.6% Duty Free A world of difference in the mouth feel.  Excessively oily.  And, though I really don’t like to use this as a descriptor, Sssssmmmmooootttthhhh!  Buttery smooth.  It must be the non-chill filtering – leaving in all of those great fatty acids! Earthier in flavor, almost mushroomy but still very sweet with the grapes and the “hey-hey and the pretty lady!!” (sorry, my inner Jerry Lewis came out.  Yes, I have an inner Jerry Lewis.  You don’t??).

Deep red fruits – over ripe strawberry, strawberry & rhubarb compote.

G-d, I love this!

Finish 43% Long with hints of hazelnuts and vanilla.

Finish 47.6% Duty Free Much more nutty on the finish, lasting vanilla and more honey.

In sumIt’s amazing what 4.6% more alcohol and non-chill filtering can do!  I am not knocking the standard 43% 21yr Portwood – it’s a solid, kick-ass dram but, this duty-free stuff was on a whole other level – especially with the mouthfeel – ah’good G-d y’all!

Both are celebratory drams.  Go ahead, give yourself a happy ending and enjoy some Balvenie Portwood soon!

Glenmorangie Astar

Highlands region – 57.1%ABV – 750ml bottle – $65-75 | £52 | €63

Do you think you know Glenmorangie?  Perhaps you knew Glenmorangie but, man-o-maneschewitz, things have changed.  Today’s Glenmo is not your daddy’s Glenmo.

Whether is the Signet, Nectar D’or (Sauternes finish), The Traditional (not a standard in their new line up but a damn good whisky), Sonnalta PX, The Quarter Century… we sure as shite can’t discount their  “Original” Ten year or Quinta Ruban (Port finish) — Glenmorangie has kicked it up a notch (many, many notches).

I find their line to be so refreshing, different, complex as all heck and just… well, wonderful.

So again — Hi, My name is Joshua and I am a Glenmorangie devotee. (“Hi Joshua”).

Let’s see how this expressions fares with the others I’ve mentioned and lined to:

On the nose Loads of Mexican vanilla extract.

Wisps of strawberry.


Spice, spice, spice.

A bowl full of lemons (you know what to do with a bowl full of lemons, right?).

A strong backbone of oak.

Some malt notes (I guess you should expect such a thing from Scotch malt whisky).

With a touch of water, some brighter and different fruits come out: pineapple and unripened pears.

On the mouth Big creamy vanilla attack.

Made my mouth water uncontrollably.  I haven’t drooled in a while but… wow.

Citrus notes for sure.

Warmed peaches and cream.

With the addition of water the creaminess goes away (unfortunately) but a stronger spiciness comes out.

Finish Malt, toffee and pure hot firey alcohol.

In sum New wood goodness.  This is a big, strong, in your face yet strangely lighter style of whisky.  I’m not sure about this one.  Oh, it’s a nice whisky.  A really nice whisky; don’t get me wrong here.  It’s just I’m not quite sure of where in the Mood-And-Season-O-Meter™ it fits.  I would reach for this in the dead of winter for sure (due to the high-octane quality of this whisky).  However, it’s very light in style – something you think would be great for the summer time…  Hmmm, I’ll let you decide.