[Tasting Session] Whisky Shop - New Release 23/07/16

Being on holidays allows me to attend a few more tasting sessions at the Whisky Shop Manchester. I was there last Saturday for their "new release" session, and on Wednesday again for their Japanese session, which I will present in a future post. 
Today is about the 5 new releases that we got to try last Saturday, and here was the line-up:

1. The Loch Fyne Living Cask Batch 4 (43.6%)
2. Inchmurrin 12 years old (46%)
3. Glen Ord 11 years old Hepburn's choice single cask  (46%)
4. Glen Scotia Double Cask (46%)
5. Ardbeg Dark Cove (46.5%)

Out of these 5, Dark Cove is the one I was most looking forward to as I got to try the Committee release at the distillery and really enjoyed it.

We started with the Living Cask from Loch Fyne. The idea for the Living Cask is that the company started with a vat of single malts, took 1/2 to release as batch 1 and topped up the vat with fresh single malt, and repeated the process for batch 2, 3 and now 4. In case you are not aware, the Loch Fyne started as and still is a shop in Inveraray but just expanded its web presence with their website. It is not linked to the chain of restaurant. Let's get back to the dram. I am not personally a big fan of the taste, the design of the bottle and the fact that it is sold in 50cl rather than 70cl... As far as taste is concerned, I found batch 4 sweet and spicy but unusually more bitter and peppery with a few drops of water. If you want to make up your own mind about it, call in at the shop and the guys there will be more than happy to make you sample it.

After the Loch Fyne, we moved to Loch Lomond and Inchmurrin 12 years old. It isn't a name most people are familiar with and it is produce on an island on Loch Lomond. As far as the 12 year-old is concerned, I got floral notes, peach, brioche both on the nose and palate, a rather buttery whisky too. Not unpleasant at all but nothing amazing either.

Moving on to a single cask of Glen Ord, bottled by the independent bottler Hepburn's Choice. Again, Glen Ord and Hepburn's Choice were both new experiences for me. Glen Ord is not a name you tend to find in Europe, and the reason why is simple, the only Glen Ord official bottles are sold under the Singleton umbrella and are only destined to the Asian market. I therefore presume that if you want to get hold of some without having to fly to Asia, you'll have to go for the independent market as we have here. This one is an 11 years old Glen Ord, one of only 282 bottles filled from a refill hogshead. Taste-wise, it was rather rich, sweet, spicy even a bit meaty.

The fourth of the night was Glen Scotia Double Cask from Campbeltown. Why double cask? Because the whisky is finished in "mature American oak" and Pedro Ximenes Sherry casks. I had never tried Glen Scotia before but was very pleasantly surprised by its nutty and salty nose which made me think more Oloroso than PX. Great palate too, sweet, raisin, chocolate, vanilla. Excellent dram!

Finally, we reached the Ardbeg Dark Cove. I wanted to buy a bottle of the standard release as I already own a committee release but when it came out, the £100+ price tag really put me off. Now having a dram of it in hand, I could judge whether the money was worth it. Straight away, the nose was something else compared to the previous 4: sweet and meaty, rich, not too much peat though. On the palate, again, wonderful, it starts sweet and heats up with some spices before finally revealing some peat on the late palate/finish. A really great dram, shame the price has gone so high. I still cannot believe the price of the standard release compared to the one I paid at the distillery for the higher ABV committee release... But if you get the opportunity to try it, go for it, in my mind you will not be disappointed!

Once again, a great night. Thanks to Craig and Phil for running it!

On my way home, I decided I hadn't had enough for the night and called in at the Briton Protection pub for one more. And my extra dram was the Glenlivet Nadurra Oloroso. A cask strength Glenlivet matured exclusively in ex-Oloroso sherry casks, like the Aberlour A'bunadh.

Nose: Sweet sherry, rich, raisins, the nose is actually very close to the A'bunadh in my mind.

Palate: Spicy, rich and sweet again, plum, sherry, raisin, fruity, brown sugar, you can taste it is cask strength however it doesn't bite you as much as the A'bunadh, the alcohol is a bit softer even if it is bottled at 60.7%ABV.

Finish: Spicy and sherry still

With water: More treacle but still spicy

So all in all, a very enjoyable whisky evening!


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