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[Review] Benromach 40 years old (2022 Release) 57.6%

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  Today, I bring you something special: the second annual release of the Benromach 40-year-old single malt. This is an annual release of just over 1,000 bottles, and the first one was awarded ‘Best in Show’ at the 2022 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. As I mentioned in previous posts, I am a big fan of Benromach releases and having the opportunity to try their 40-year-old is an absolute privilege! So, let’s pour it and savour every drop… The whisky was matured for 40 years in the finest sherry casks. It is dark amber and natural in colour, non-chill filtered and bottled at the cask strength of 57.6% ABV. My tasting notes: Nose: Oak and citrus, with orange, old bookcase and oak spice. It is fruity too with some ripe yellow peach, honey, apple and cinnamon compote, mango, dried fruits, raisins and a drop of lime. There is also a gentle earthiness and slight smoke, tobacco leaves / cigar, vanilla, hints of walnut, ginger and wood polish. Even at 57.6%, the alcohol is very well int

[Quick Review] Fettercairn - 24 years old The Loch Fyne Whisky 53.6%

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www.lochfynewhiskies.com Distillery : Fettercairn Bottler : The Loch Fyne Whisky Age : 24 years old Distilled : n/a Bottled : 2022 Cask : Ex-bourbon hogshead until 02/2020 followed by first-fill Sauternes cask Abv : 53.6% Unchillfiltered : Yes Natural Colour : Yes Nb of bottles : n/a Extra : n/a My tasting notes: Nose:  Sweet, oaky and fruity, with peaches, almonds, ripe bananas, vanilla, oak spice, slight fudge, milk and white chocolate, fresh barley and some hints of lemon and dry straw. Palate:  Not at all like I was anticipating from the nose! Nutty and spicy, with some old oak, roasted pistachio nuts, toasted cereal, dark chocolate, espresso and quite drying oak spice. There is some slight liquorice at the back of the tongue, a little honey, some toffee and some poached pears. Having checked the official tasting notes afterwards, they're absolutely on point! This is a really interesting and unexpected dram! Finish:  Citrussy and nutty again, drying oak, old bookcase, slight gr

[Review] Bushmills - 1991 Madeira Cask The Causeway Collection 50.2%

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  Together with Bushmills UK, I bring you something incredibly special for Father’s Day: the GB exclusive 1991 Madeira Cask release, part of the Causeway Collection.   Bushmills is the oldest licensed distillery with over 400 years of whiskey-making experience, and this 1991 Madeira Cask epitomises the brand’s heritage and craftsmanship. After over 13 years in a mix of Oloroso sherry butts and bourbon barrels, the whiskey spent its remaining 15 years in first-fill Madeira casks before being bottled with no chillfiltration, colouring and at the natural cask strength of 50.2%. This single malt has a story to tell, just like the Giant’s Causeway which gave its name to this Bushmills series.   I think it’s time to try it… My tasting notes: Nose: Rich and fruity with plump sultanas, mandarins, vanilla, honey, and rich caramel. Old oak and old cognac with chocolate, some sweet resin and tobacco leaves. The honey turns into Manuka after a little while, with brown sugar, toasted cereal, toast

[Quick Review] Speyside Single Malt - 12 years old (Ferg & Harris) 55.7%

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Distillery : Speyside Bottler : Ferg & Harris Age : 12 years old Distilled : n/a Bottled : 2022 Cask : Pedro Ximénez Sherry Hogshead Finish (6 months) Abv : 55.7% Unchillfiltered : Yes Natural Colour : Yes Nb of bottles : 1192 Extra : n/a My tasting notes: Nose:  Rich and dark, you definitely get the PX influence straight away with dates and raisins. There’s an old Cognac vibe to it too. Wood spice, old oak, dark fruits, blackberry jam, stewed dark cherries, muscovado sugar, nuts, chocolate and orange. A big start! Palate:  Dark, rich and thick on the palate. Sticky toffee pudding, old oak, dark chocolate with some bitterness from it, prunes. The higher abv is there and the dram is quite dense and closed without water. This is definitely one I want to add more than a couple of drops to…! Finish:  Very nutty, walnuts, oak, leather, dried tobacco leaves, old bookcase, very warming. With water:  More manageable to access flavours I feel. The nose gets more milk chocolate, dried fruits

[Review] Arran - 24 years old (Vintage Bottlers) 51.6%

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  Photo courtesy of  Vintage Bottlers ltd More from Vintage Bottlers today with their first named release: a sherried 24 year-old Arran. As I mentioned in a previous post, Vintage Bottlers are a new independent bottler, which are not looking at young cheap whisky but only “the very best whisky Scotland has produced, past and present”, as stated on their website. After a Secret Highland (Clynelish) 30 years old, this Arran 24 is also a big boy! Arran has only started production in 1995, so with this one, we are looking at whisky produced in the first couple of years of production, some of the oldest Arran around at the moment. All I know about the cask however is that it was an ex-sherry cask. All I have is a 5cl sample of it sent to me by the guys at Vintage Bottlers but the colour (natural) is pretty dark (walnut), the whisky has not been chillfiltered and is bottled at 51.6% (cask strength I presume) My tasting notes: Nose: Sweet, fruity, oaky, lots of vanilla, almonds, raisins, oak

[Cultural] Sherry Chéri! What is sherry? The production, the types and their impact on whisky

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It has been a while since I wanted to write an article about sherry, so when David from  clandestine-whisky.com  asked me for a contribution, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity. So here it is!   ‘The darker the better’ seems to have been a longstanding misconception in the world of whisky and many will decide on a bottle of the ‘brown stuff’ purely based on its shade of ‘brown’.  I guess that with the whisky boom of the last few years, sweet sherried whisky is ‘easier’ to get into for new-comers than heavily peated bottles. Names like Macallan, Dalmore, GlenDronach and Glenallachie more recently, are also on everybody’s lips, whether they are whisky beginners, afficionados or collectors, and they are all synonymous with dark liquid. Most are naturally coloured by the wood that encapsulated it for years, some are just a mix of wood imparted colour and E150 additive to boost the ‘colour consistency’ of the range of bottles (as well as their sellability and matching price-tag

[Quick Review] Raer - Blended Scotch Whisky Oloroso Expression 40%

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  Distillery : Jackton Distillery Bottler : Distillery Age : NAS Distilled : n/a Bottled : 2022 Cask : n/a Abv : 40% Unchillfiltered : n/a Natural Colour : n/a Nb of bottles : n/a Extra : This is their blended scotch aged for a further 9 months in Oloroso casks. Raer is produced by the Jackton distillery in the Lowland region of Scotland. Production started on 12th February 2020 with a view to release their own single malt “with a true seed to spirit experience.” As they currently cannot bottle any of their own single malt for now, they are releasing gin, vodka and a Blended Scotch. This one is their blended scotch aged for a further 9 months in Oloroso casks. My tasting notes: Nose: The first pour was surprising with some burnt caramel notes but a bit of air cleared most of it. The nose is sweet with quite a bit of Oloroso nuttiness, vanilla, raisins, milk chocolate and a slight rum vibe in the mix. With a bit of time, some pine and strawberry ice cream come to play too. Not a bad st