Posts Tagged With: Single Malt Scotch

Tasting Notes: Glengoyne – 18 Years Old

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Glengoyne – 18 Years Old

Glengoyne whiskies pride themselves on their unique whisky making process, boasting to be the slowest distillation process in Scotland. It seems fitting then that my first dalliance with a Glengoyne whisky is with something that has also been maturing and milling around for a long time too: at least 18 years anyway. The distillery markets this whisky as offering a “perfect balance” and noting that it contains a “generous proportion of first-fill sherry casks”, the remainder presumably being aged in American standard ex-bourbon barrels. The distillation, maturation and bottling is all performed on-site within the distillery grounds in Dumgoyne, making this a Highland single malt scotch whisky, and one that is presented at 43% ABV.

 

Nose

Woah. There are a lot of flavours fighting for attention here. There’s a marzipan type tang and sweetness up front with an apple and raisin fruitiness and an almond-like nuttiness. With a little bit of time there’s a thicker molasses-type sweetness underneath too with a nutmeg spice amongst that icing sugar-style sugary-ness on top. Is this a whisky tasting note or a cake recipe?

 

Taste

All those initial flavours on the nose just seem to intensify when this finally gets into your mouth and do their metaphorical dance on the tongue. The traditional wedding cake ingredients listed above are all supported by a strong sherry influence which soon dominates over the previous sensations and lingers for a while before actually leaving a strong orange marmalade flavour behind.

 

Finish

Well, the cake references have now all gone when it comes to the finish, but that sweet and fruity marmalade flavour lasts and even has a buttery finish to it (presumably having been spread on some toast in this food-heavy review). In fact, long after the whisky and alcohol vapours have gone, the lasting note and aftertaste is that of oranges. That’s some fine sherry work throughout, and I’m not sure how we got there, but it works.

 

Verdict

For a single malt scotch whisky, this whisky review sure reads like a list of cake ingredients! But, I can confirm, that it is still very much a malt whisky at the heart of this endeavour, and one with a great sherry influence. That said, the whisky still remains a light and enjoyable dram, despite all these strong, darker, richer flavours being listed. I tasted this whisky via the Dram Team subscription, and these troops do source a great range of drams, and I think that I’m syncing up with their taste buds as I continue with the subscription, because only after enjoying and writing about the whisky have I since read their notes and they are virtually the same (even on the marmalade note). I’m always put on edge and sceptical about when a distillery describes their whiskies as the perfect anything, but Glengoyne are not wrong when they say that this whisky has a great balance to it.  On that basis, this dram has left me keen to explore what else Glengoyne have to offer, and I would heartily recommend this 18yo as a great choice for anyone to enjoy whether as a newcomer or connoisseur – and one that tends to stay at the less expensive end of the price spectrum for 18 year old scotch whiskies available (though expensive nonetheless).

M

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Tasting Notes: Strathisla – 12 Years Old

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Strathisla – 12 Years Old

When it comes to scotch whiskies, heritage is an important driver in ensuring quality of a distillery’s product. Strathisla distillery in Kieth is no exception to this and boats to be the oldest operational distillery in the Highlands of Scotland. The distillery is also home to the Chivas Regal whisky blends which are probably far more renowned around the world, and are currently in the final stages of a large refurbishment project, which should see visitors and fans of the brand come together in numbers. This whisky is therefore more of a treat in one sense, as it is not part of the blending process and is granted its own single malt profile, being comprised of whiskies at least 12 years old, and having been, in recent years, repackaged in the Stockholm style bottle and sold at 40% ABV.

 

Nose

Oh this is so sweet! The kind of sweetness that you get from candied oranges, or ‘candied’ anything for that matter. It also has a zest and zing to the nose that reminds me of sherbet & love heart sweets. There’s a good bit of citrus too adding to that zing.

 

Taste

That sherbet sweetness and tingle carries on through the palate, but now the malt shows up to play and mingles effortlessly with the sweetness to create a digestive biscuit sort of flavour profile. The citrus fruit zest also develops to apricot and mango. Its definitely a sweet fruit experience.

 

Finish

It has a lip-smacking finish. The  alcohol disappears almost instantly but that sherbet tingle lasts forever and leaves behind the zest and sweetness of oranges and strawberries – definitely one for the summer!

 

Verdict

This is such a light and summery drink. Dangerously so given that it is still a 40% ABV drink, but I’m sure it would lend itself to some very refreshing long or short cocktails if you could bring yourself to put a single malt whisky into a cocktail! On its own though, the booze and sweetness interplay to create a light treat and feels like a very different sort of malt whisky. I would go as far as to say it is the sweetest single malt scotch whisky that I’ve tried (to date), even compared to Cardhu 12 (which I guess is Diageo’s closest equivalent to this Chivas output) and have suggested it as an entry whisky to a handful of people who want to get into malts but from a very light starting point. In the UK, this is often in the larger supermarket stores and can be seen on offer from time to time, sometimes dropping to ca. £25 if you catch it at the right time. For the whisky enthusiast who is a little longer in the tooth, there is the firm old guard who swear that the older bottling at 43% ABV was a lot better and may not have been stirred as much with ye olde caramel stick to ensure consistency in its colouring, but for me, as the nights draw out and the mercury rises, this would be a great choice to have waiting in the wings.

M

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Tasting Notes: Benromach – Chateau Cissac

Benromach – Chateau Cissac

Speyside’s Benromach have been rapidly expanding their range of whiskies available in recent years, with a solid core range and then seasonal additional releases. One area that has particularly piqued whisky enthusiasts’ interests is their experimentation with different cask influences via their “Wood Finish” series within the “Contrasts” range – see notes on their Triple Distilled release here. This limited new release has been initially matured in ex-bourbon casks and “is finished for 25 months in hand-selected casks from the illustrious Château Cissac within the Appellation Haut-Médoc Contrôlée in South-western France” (to use their own words).

45%ABV

 

Nose

M; Bonfire smoke straight away. A lovely dry smoke & then followed by red fruits – the other way round to a usual smoky dram, when the smoke usually comes last. The smoke reminded me of that smoke you get in German smoked sausages or smoked cheese or any of the Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier range (but in whisky form, obviously).

 

Taste

M: It is smoke and fruit in equal parts upfront. Blood orange and oaked red wine.  The toasty smoke intensifies with the booze on the way down.

 

Finish

M: The red berries fade and the smoke peters out and leaves a drying red wine kind of finish.

 

Verdict

M: The more I’ve tried whiskies that have been stored in old red wine barrels, the more I’ve liked them and this is no exception. This is a really rich and fruity whisky that has been coupled with Benromach’s signature smoke, which seems to be more intense in this whisky than in others of theirs, which I guess must have been amplified by the wine casks. There were a lot of flavours at play here and this is definitely one for savouring over time, and definitely fits our current seasonal move into autumn. Sold by the spiel, I may also have to try and find some of the wine itself, but for now, I’ll stick to the whisky.

Benromach Tweet Tasting


PS Many thanks, as ever, to Steve Rush and Benromach for the @TweetTastings via @TheWhiskyWire for the samples and spreading the joy.

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