Paul John Whisky Tweet Tasting

I was lucky enough to be chosen to participate in a Paul John whisky tweet tasting run by Steve Rush from The Whisky Wire and on the night we had 4 whiskies to try the Brilliance and Edited at 46%, a classic select cask at 55.2% and a Peated select cask at 55.5%.

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Brilliance 46%, Nose, caramel, vanilla, creamy toffee, slightly floral, with a citrus edge.    Palate, great mouthfeel, wood, spices, some lemon juice drizzled sliced apples to stop them turning brown. This has a lovely sweet slightly hot finish.

Edited 46% Nose, wafts of peat, caramel, spicy, slightly medicinal, old wooden rooms and a touch of cream.                                                                                                          Palate, sweet peat, with juicy fruits and a dirty earthy note that brings it all together nicely leading into a black cardamon dominated finish.


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Classic Select Cask 55.2% Nose, spicy, hot, sweet vanilla, burnt icing sugar, lots in there but the high abv makes it one to approach cautiosly.                                       Palate, dried figs, oak, black pepper, leather leading into a dry spicy finish.

Peated select cask 55.5% Nose, damp wood ash, iodine, peppery and spiced but with a sweetness of vanilla coated pumpkin seeds.                                                             Palate, fruity, peaty, tagine spices, liqourice leading into a dry finish again with liqourice dominating.

Thanks to Steve Rush, Paul John whisky and The Great Whisky Co. for a great tasting.

Lady of the Glen Bunnahabhain 26yo.

logoLady of the Glen founded by Gregor Hannah at the end of 2012, are an independent bottler who’s ethos is to bottle single casks at cask strength and non-chill filtered.                                                                  The Bunnahabhain I’m tasting here is Lady of the Glens first Islay whisky release and is a 26yo distilled on the 16th November 1987, bottled at cask strength 50.01% and is from a refill Bourbon Cask.

Nose, tropical fruit salad, banana, vanilla, hints of lemon and a spiciness tempering the initial sweetness. It develops with summer meadow notes, floral, grassy and hay, also hiding in the background are just a few hints of briny coastal notes.

Palate, fruity, juicy, lemons, black pepper, a nice oak note, a little astringent (makes you want another little sip)

Finish is spicy and dry but with a nice length.

With just a few drops of water added.

Nose develops cream, toffee and some spices cinnamon/nutmeg.

Palate becomes more fruity with an amazing sweet shop sweetness and I found the drying astringent note lessened, for me the water unified the palate.

Finish becomes more fruity and less dry still with a good dose of spice.

This whisky is available to buy here with 205 bottles and available in 70 and 20cl botlles.

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Last week saw the 3rd Wemyss Malts tweet tasting take place with Steve Rush from The Whisky Wire orchestrating the tasting on the night, we had 4 samples lined up to taste and with glasses at the ready we were ready to taste.

We started the evening with Lord Elcho, a blended scotch whisky at 40% ABV with a minimum 40% malt component. The nose gives buttery biscuits, lemon and spicy ginger, there is a little sweetness and as it opens there is a fruity note developing, green apples and slightly unripe honeydew melon. The Palate starts with an almost burnt toffee sweetness, raisins, a hint of mint, it’s creamy and smooth but with the spice and heat of fresh root ginger. The finish is quite short and slightly drying, which keeps making you go back for more. Lord Elcho is available here for £22 at time of posting.

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Next into the glass was one of Wemyss malts single cask offerings, Pastille Bouquet a 1998 Mortlach bottled at 46% in 2013 with 325 bottles released at. The nose has a honey sweetness, old-fashioned sweet shops, floral, honeysuckle? green fruits, hay, lemon thyme, a spiciness that prickles your nose. The palate is sweet, fresh, hot and sour, its like eating pink grapefruit with some of the pith on it still, pink lady apples, drizzled in heather honey, sprinkled with chilli flakes. This whisky really surprised me it starts sweet and finishes sweet and encompasses most other things in the middle and dazzled my taste buds. Pastille Bouquet available here for £58 at time of posting.

We then moved onto a single cask Glen Scotia 1991, bottled at 46% in 2013 yielding 807 bottles and titled Merchant’s Mahogany Chest. You get wood and beeswax polish on the nose, the smell of an old stately home, leather, fresh moist dark pipe tobacco, stewed prunes and muscovado sugar. Onto the palate, wood, spice (clove oil), pipe tobacco, sherry notes abound with glee, bitter chocolate, black cardamon and slightly tannic. The finish lingers with clove and star anise, a lovely sherry bomb. Merchant’s Mahogany Chest is available here for £90 at time of posting.

May14-GlenScotia1991 May14-WemyssPeatChimney8

The final whisky of the night was Peat Chimney 8yo, a blended malt bottled at 40%. Up to 16 different single malts are blended together before introducing the signature malts to create its distinct taste profile. The nose is a coastal breeze, briny, sweet and smokey, imagine a BBQ with apple wood chips smoking the meat and peat. The palate is sweet and delicate, ripe fruit notes, papaya, mango, peat building to dominate towards the finish, there’s a fresh green note, gooseberries maybe and a hint of pine resin. The finish is quite spicy and drying. Peat Chimney is available here for £28 at time of posting.

So 4 whiskies, 2 single cask malts and 2 great blends with the Mortlach finishing on the top step for me and the Peat Chimney not far behind in second.

Many thanks to Steve  “The Whisky Wire” for organising the tasting and Wemyss Malts for the samples, you can read all the other tweets by searching #WemyssTT3


#WhiskyWeekender Tweet Tasting

Last Thursday I was among a group of people who took part in a tweet tasting, conducted as always by Steve Rush from The Whisky Wire but with a slight change because rather than being from one distillery or independent bottler it was to help showcase some of the offerings which will be available during the London Whisky Weekender on the 16,17 7 & 18th of May at The Oval Space, Hackney, full details HERE.

The tasting was to be conducted blind, leaving us to look daft as we guessed wildly what each dram possibly was, so onto the tasting notes.

whisky weekender So starting with dram 1, a nice light golden colour and once poured the nose was light and approachable with lots of ripe fruits, slightly tropical, papaya and lime, the sweetness of a spiced mead and as it opened more citrus notes developed along with a creaminess. Onto the palate, sweet but with a slight savoury edge (like a salted caramel), a hit of chilli heat but there is fruit in the form of apple and pears. The finish is quite lingering slightly tannic, cinnamon and apples prevail. Dram 1 was revealed as Berry Bros & Rudd 1992 Longmorn (46% ABV) Speyside Single Malt. longmorn

The colour of dram 2 in the bottle screams heavily sherried whisky, into the glass it goes and the nose gives floral notes, pine needles, aniseed, stewed plums, it’s sweet and fruity and the more I nose it I start to think it’s maybe matured in a rum cask. Onto the palate and there is a slight fizz on the tongue, sweet, cola bottles, woody and slightly reminiscent of hints of a sipping rum like Diplomatica Reserva. The finish is spicy and has hints of aniseed and oak. Dram 2 was revealed as Tiffon Chateau de Triac (40% ABV) Cognac, a curveball.tiffon

Onto dram 3 and immediately on opening there’s no mistaking the peat. The nose gives peat, pepper, savoury and on the night I couldn’t shake of a hint of Campbell’s cream of tomato soup, in the background there is some vanilla sweetness. The palate is lovely the peat is much less pronounced than the nose would suggest, it’s vanilla sweet and  slightly spicy as it develops on the tongue, with plenty of fruit in there. The finish is slightly spicy with sweet peat and nice and long. Dram 3 was revealed as anCnoc Rutter (46% ABV) Highland Single Malt.ancnoc

Onto dram 4, less pronounced peat on the nose, malty, oily, coastal, subtle peat and smoke, the remnants of a driftwood bonfire on the beach and lemon note which cuts through it all. Onto the palate a kick of alcohol, definitely cask strength, more smoke and peat than was promised by the nose, again there’s the citrus note of lemon, it’s also sweet and hot (a chilli crunchie note as one taster noted). The finish is long and smoky still with the lingering heat. Dram 4 was revealed as an SMWS Bottling, 53.197 ‘A stoker in drag’ (57.4% ABV) Islay Single Malt (Caol Ila).caol

All in all a great line up with the anCnoc Rutter being my favourite whisky of the night but I was also really impressed by the Cognac. As always there was great company on the night and if you want to see others views just search for #WhiskyWeekender on twitter.

Thanks once again to The Whisky Lounge for the samples and The Whisky Wire for his hosting on the night.

A pair of Glengoynes.

Today i thought I’d taste a couple of whiskies from Glengoyne distillery, the first will be the 14yo that is exclusive to Marks & Spencer and the second is the 1st batch of the cask strength release from 2012.

Glengoyne 14yo 40% M&S (2)

This whisky is solely matured in Olorosso casks and is uncoloured and has a lovely golden hue.On the nose there is lemon, creme caramel, hints of oak, a pinch of spices, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. It is a very approachable nose which is very open.
On the palate it is soft and buttery and has a great mouthfeel, flame raisins, again some cinnamon and nutmeg, caramac bars and a slight nuttiness.                                         As we head on to the finish there is a slight dryness similar to the skin from walnuts but still with a nice hint of spice and some caramel.
I would happily buy another bottle of this and would happily share a few drams with friends during the course of an evening.

Glengoyne Cask Strength Batch 1 58.7%

So next up is a sample received from Thomas and Ansgar which is from the 2012 release it is still available in a few places but has been replaced by batch 2 which can be found at  Green Welly Stop.This whisky is a blend of first fill and refill sherry casks, un-chillfiltered and natural colour.  On the nose, buttery, cookie dough, malt, lemon zest, a polished wooden floor and a peppery tingle.                                                                                                       The palate is rich and oily and delivers liquorice, orange peel, cloves, coarse ground black pepper, BBQ’d bananas with a splash of rum, soft gooey toffee and a lovely oakiness.                                                                                                                             The finish is drying with lots of spice.                                                                                  Thanks Ansgar and Thomas for the sample, a great whisky at a good price still only £45 if you look in the right places and i think I will keep an eye out for another Glengoyne to add to the shelf soon.

Limeburners M92, M76 and M61

Limeburners whisky comes from the Great Southern Distilling Company in Albany, Western Australia and these samples were kindly supplied by one of their brand ambassador’s Andrew Purslow.

Limeburners M92 43%

The nose gives, cream, white chocolate, lime leaves, straw, wood and a slight dusty note, with water there is a sweeter element and the wood is enhanced.The mouthfeel is fairly light and the palate is sweet and has a slight wine note at first with a kick of white pepper heat, theres orange oil and then right at the end there is a grapefruit pith tartness which leads into a drying finish. With the addition of water it became sweeter and less complex.

Limeburners M76 43%

Starting with the nose, it’s big and slightly meaty, ripe red fruits and a nice menthol note. Adding water brings out tropical fruits. The mouthfeel is more oily and rich than the M92. The palate has fruits in the form of Summer berries and ripe red plums, the menthol note from the nose is present and there’s a spice influence, possibly cumin seeds. Adding water make’s this dram hotter and spicier with a tannic edge.

Limeburners M61 60%

The nose gives, creamy toffee, muscovado sugar, oak, dried fruits, lemons, nutmeg and cocoa. Water brings the cocoa notes to the fore and also releases the wood notes. On first tasting the high alcohol content isn’t apparent, the mouthfeel is nice and thick. This whisky has a lovely rich stewed fruit start to the palate but it’s got a slight savoury edge like melon and parma ham, then there is a nice chilli heat building, menthol notes again and spices cloves and cinnamon and a lovely bit of oak influence. Adding water increases the menthol notes and chilli heat but reduces the initial fruitiness.

For me the M61 goes into first place followed by the M76 and the wooden spoon goes to M92, thanks once again to Andrew Purslow for the samples and for my first chance of trying Australian whisky.

The London Wine and Spirits Show

On the last Saturday of November i ventured up to London to meet Dave Worthington and to attend the last session of the London Wine and Spirits Show an annual event organised by Spirited Wines and Nicolas a French wine specialist.

First on the agenda for the day was a catch up over lunch and a trip to the SMWS members rooms at Greville Street, where we tried the Malt of the Month which was 36.63 There is chilli in the fruit pie, a 15yo 58.7% and one of 195 bottles, it was very nice and aptly titled, next we went for 4.181 A muscle man from Orkney, a 16yo 54.6% and one of 650 bottles all sadly sold out although it was lovely to get to taste it. Next up was 33.131 ‘The Mad Scientist on the Dockside’ a 7 Year Old, 61.3% which was a very  fine dram to send us on our way to Northumberland Avenue and the show.

This was my first time at this show and on entering we had a look round the wine exhibitors, where there was a really good selection of wines I would of quite happily tried a few but I decided to avoid mixing the grape and the grain and instead we headed downstairs to the spirits, cheese and chocolate exhibitors where the first stop was the Tomatin stand to see Alistair Mutch and to enjoy a rather nice Tomatin 18 and we did pop back later for a dram of the 30 which is still a big favourite of mine  (Dave and Alistair pictured below).

The next stop for me was the Diageo stand where i tried a Cardhu Special cask reserve, which had a great pineapple and tropical nose and taste and was a really nice dram. Bunnahabhain then came into view and with only the 12 year old previously tasted the 18, 25 and Toiteach were all sampled and enjoyed.

Of course the great thing with shows is getting to try new whiskies so Tullibardine was next up an untried distillery for me personally, they had Sovereign a NAS 43%, 228 Burgundy finish 43% which is the Sovereign with an extra maturation and the 20 year old. Also at this table I took the chance to retry the Armorik Double Maturation and Classic malt which I highly recommend as worth a buy.

Gordon & Macphail were also on hand with a nice selection including a nice Connoiseurs Choice Benrinnes 1997 and the Benromach range with the lovely Origins Port Pipe.

There were plenty of other whiskies to try but I’ve concentrated more on those I hadn’t previously tried. Also it goes without saying there was a good selection of other spirits to sample and with a good location and never over crowded I will be looking to head back to this show next year.

It goes without saying that Dave was a great companion for the day and the surprising drink of the day was a smoky Mary made with Ardbeg sounds wrong but tatses really refreshing.