Posts Tagged With: Diageo

Tasting Notes: Lagavulin – Friends of Classic Malts (Triple Matured)

Lagavulin – Friends of the Classic Malts

In 2014, Diageo started to release a new subset of whiskies within its Classic Malt series, exclusively for the “Friends of the Classic Malts”. Each of the expressions were to be “Triple Matured” and WU got its hands on the Lagavulin FOCM expression. There is no-age-statement associated with the expressions, but the suspicions amongst writers and those in the know seem to be that this is the standard Lagavulin 16 that has received 6 months further maturation in American Oak and 6 months further maturation in European Oak.

ABV: 48%

Nose

M: Instantly smelt more like a Laphroaig from just down the road in Islay, but after going back there’s a cleaner, less iodine-fuelled smoke and power to it. It doesn’t seem to be Lagavulin’s signature full-on smoky nose – it’s a sweeter smoke. It’s definitely got more of a salinity than the gold standard 16yo too. 


Taste

M: Big flavours at play here. Thick, chewy caramel sweetness, with a hazelnut tang and dryness at first sip and then big, big, sweet smoke just rocks up and knocks those other flavours right out of the park.


Finish

M: A long, long finish with that sweet and smoky flavour battle lasting all the way down. Once it seems to have gone away it then comes right back without having to take another sip.


Verdict

M: Given that this is a variation on one of my favourite tipples, I was worried that this release might be sacrilege and just an easy cash-in. That said, there seems to be little variation to the standard template but just enough to warrant its own release. Having since learned that there is (relatively) little development to the original product but for the notes additional maturation, then it is understandable. Not in a bad way either. Its definitely a Lagavulin but it’s got more of a saltier taste throughout. Despite that ageing though it still retains some of that original barley taste in there too. Certainly not for the faint hearted or for having more than (large) one in a night but overall it is well worth a try for any discerning Laga-fan.

 

 

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Tasting Notes: Dalwhinnie – 15 Years Old

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Dalwhinnie 15

Dalwhinnie is based in the Highlands and sits within the core Diageo family of scotch whiskies. What the distillery seeks to master with this tipple is the art of the balanced dram. Not too peaty or too rich, and it sits comfortably within the centre space of the Diageo flavour map. At 15 years old, making it one of their more mature entry-level drams, this whisky is delivered in a short, squat bottle and is available in most U.K. stores and bars.

ABV: 43%


Nose

M: Sherbet tingle with honey notes.

S: Fairly sweet, with apples and vanilla. The spirit is still a bit too present for me.


Taste

M: Really easy going with honey/caramel sweetness and smoothness.

S: Surprisingky sharp for what is meant to be an easy-drinker. Cake-like flavours, including marzipan. Lychee too.


Finish

M: Fairly quick with a Victoria sponge taste and a softness on the throat.

S: Fuller than I expected, given the above. Nutty.


Verdict

M: A refreshing midweeker. Gentle, sweet and vanilla smooth. For something that’s 15 years old, there’s distinctly no “woody” features, which is not all bad. Definitely something that I would recommend to someone who has never enjoyed a single malt before.

S: Don’t be fooled by the “15” on the bottle, this is a bit underwhelming. Not complex enough for me to rate it highly. Feels like spirit hasn’t been balanced out.

 

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Beckham’s New Club

Earlier this week we saw the launch of a new whisky within the Diageo family: Haig Club. This “collaboration” expression was launched by none other than David Beckham. With such a star involved it kinda feels like a real-life version of Bill Murray’s Bob Harris advertising Suntory in the film Lost In Translation, albeit Mr Beckham is far from washed-up!

At WU, we’ve got mixed feelings on this.

Firstly the ad itself talks instantly about the bottle. Obviously, with Becks on board, image is going to be important, but what does that say about the whisky? Also, to be frank, when you look at the bottle itself, it leaves you wondering whether you’d pour it into a glass or put a dash on your neck before heading out for a night on the tiles. It’s unique, we’ll give it that.

Secondly, they talk, very briefly, about the flavour. It’s distinctive apparently. That’s it. And with all participants in the ad raising their glasses aloft, full to the hilt with ice, you’ve got to ask whether that’s a good message about a whisky. WU are yet to taste this dram and a full review is imminent, so we will reserve judgement for now.

Thirdly, and this may be the most important aspect, the whisky itself is a single grain whisky. Haig is, of course, known for its grain whisky, but this has got us thinking: is this an attempt by the big money to stylise grain whiskies and up their game outside of the malt whisky world? The market is definitely becoming more and more saturated with different malts, particularly those that have been matured in numerous different vats – you may have seen that Jura recently released a whisky that has been matured via 7 different casks!! Clearly the marketing team have been trying to think outside of the box here and certainly getting Beckham’s chiseled looks behind it will raise attention worldwide. Are we therefore going to see a rise in sales of grain whiskies? Maybe. Our thoughts are that this could go one of two ways but could very well be a master stroke by Diageo. We’ll just have to wait and see, and put it on ice for now…

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