Balblair 2005 – 1st Release (70cl, 46.0%)

Highland

balblairBalblair Distillery is a Scotch whisky distillery located in Edderton, Ross-shire, Scotland.

Founded in 1790, the distillery was rebuilt in 1895 by the designer Charles C Doig to be closer to the Edderton Railway Station on the Inverness and Ross-shire Railway line. However, so good was the original water source that the rebuilt distillery chose to ignore a nearby burn in favour of the original Ault Dearg burn. To this day, the Balblair Distillery continues to use this original water source.

John Ross, the founder, ran Balblair as a thriving business and in 1824 he was joined by his son, Andrew. The distillery stayed in the Ross family until 1894 when the tenancy was taken over by Alexander Cowan. In 1948 the freehold was bought by Robert Cumming, who promptly expanded the distillery and increased production. Cumming ran the distillery until he retired in 1970 when he sold it to Hiram Walker. In 1996 Balblair Distillery was purchased by Inver House Distillers Limited.

Balblair has one of the oldest archives in distilling, with the first ledger entry dated 25 January 1800. John Ross himself penned that first entry, which read: “Sale to David Kirkcaldy at Ardmore, one gallon of whisky at £1.8.0d”.

It should be pointed out that Balblair Single Malt whisky is not bottled by age but is bottled in four vintages – 2000, 1997, 1989 and 1979 – with the design inspired by the nearby Pictish stone Clach Biorach, which is thought to be 4000 years old. The 1989 vintage won a Gold Medal and was judged “best in class” in the 2007 International Wine & Spirits Competition, and was recommended by Ian Buxton in 101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die.

The distillery is now owned by Inver House Distillers Limited, whose other distilleries include the Speyburn-Glenlivet Distillery, Knockdhu Distillery, Old Pulteney Distillery and Balmenach Distillery.

The distillery  has a visitor centre. Open all year to visitors.

But now to the whisky !!

blbob-2005

The Balblair 2005 expression is, matured in American oak ex-bourbon barrels

I poured the whisky in to a Copita nosing glass, added a half teaspoon of water and left the whisky covered to develop for fiveteen minutes.

The whisky pours a  light golden colour, leaving long slow legs flowing down the inside of the glass.

Initially the nose has notes of vanilla, butterscotch, and pears. This is nicely followed by  notes of barley , sweet soft fruits, and cut grass. Elements of toffee alongside hints of  liquorice, cinnamon, dried fruit, sea salt and the faintest suggestion of smoke

Complex and luxurious !!

Initial sweet candied fruits, followed by vanilla, toffee, butterscotch and boiled sweets. Freshly cut grass appears, alongside cinnamon, citrus peel , a hint of dark spices and fennel. back to toffee and vanilla with oak becoming more prevalent

A really flavoursome whisky that is exceedingly pleasant and warming. It is very well balanced with the sweet spicyness combining very well with the vanilla and oak .

The finish is medium long very clean and smooth with the spicy oak predominating.

I find Balblair 2005 be a highly excellent dram , complex, well balanced and the oak and spice balance is a stand out!! A dram to sit with at the fireside on a wet evening !!

Really enjoyable and highly recommended

Cheers!!

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Talisker Storm (70cl, 45.8%)

Highland

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Talisker distillery was founded in 1830 by Hugh and Kenneth MacAskill, and built in 1831 at Carbost  they acquired the lease of Talisker House from the MacLeod of MacLeod. The distillery was rebuilt 1880–87 and extended in 1900. When a new lease for the distillery was negotiated with the chief of Clan MacLeod in 1892 the annual payment was to be £23.12s and a ten-gallon cask of best-quality Talisker. In 1960 after a stillhouse fire completely destroyed the distilleryand it now consists of 5 stills; two wash stills and three spirit stills. All the stills use worm tubs (condensing coils) rather than a modern condenser, which are believed to give the whisky a “fuller” flavour (itself an indication of higher sugar content). During this early period, the whisky was produced using a triple distilling method which would have given a smooth spirit, but changed to the more conventional double distilling in 1928. Talisker was acquired by Distillers Company in 1925 and is now part of Diageo. After the 1960 fire, five exact replicas of the original stills were constructed to preserve the original Talisker flavour. In 1972 the stills were converted to steam heating and the maltings floor was demolished. Talisker’s water comes from springs directly above the distillery.   The malted barley used in production comes from Muir of Ord. Talisker has an unusual feature—swan neck lye pipes. A loop in the pipes takes the vapour from the stills to the worm tubs so some of the alcohol already condenses before it reaches the cooler. It then runs back in to the stills and is distilled again. Talisker now has an annual output of three and a half million litres of spirit.

Talisker was the favourite whisky of writer Robert Louis Stevenson . In his poem “The Scotsman’s Return From Abroad”, Stevenson mentioned “The king o’ drinks, as I conceive it, Talisker, Islay, or Glenlivet.” I notice he did not mention Old Pulteney but that is a story for another place and time !!!

For Talisker the malt is peated to a phenol level of approximately 18–22 parts per million (ppm), which is a medium peating level. Additionally, the water used for production, from Cnoc nan Speireag (Hawk Hill), flows over peat which adds additional complexity to the whisky.

But now to the whisky !!

Talisker Storm is a non age statement whisky released at the beginning of 2013.

talisker-storm-whisky

I poured the whisky in to a Copita nosing glass, added a half teaspoon of water and left the whisky covered to develop for ten minutes.I was a bit careful with the water as I was unsure of how the whisky would open up. Caution was my watchword.

The whisky pours a  dark golden colour, leaving long slow legs flowing down the inside of the glass.

The nose is initially surprisingly rich with heavy notes of honey, burnt oak and more and more pleasant smoke , perhaps a little  Christmas cake spice and then some of the pepper associated with other Talisker offerings.

Warm pleasant warm and pleasant!!

The flavour is initially really quite full with honey and dark spices and a little brine, but then the smoke appears , but this is as from peat and burnt oak as you would find on a boatbuilders fire, not acidic but slightly sweet. A little black pepper and allspice appear at the end along with a little soft fruit sweetness .

A really flavoursome whisky that is exceedingly pleasant and warming. It is very well balanced with the sweet spicyness combining very well with the slightly oily smoke and brine.

The finish is medium long very clean and smooth with the peat and oak fire smouldering in the back of the mouth.

This is by definition a non age statement whisky but I find it be a highly excellent dram , intensive perhaps but that is not to its determent. It retains the peppery base of traditional Talisker and combines that with an explosion of very pleasant smoke.

Really enjoyable and highly recommended

Cheers!!

The GlenDronach 12 Year Old (70cl, 43.0%)

Highland

Bildresultat för glendronach distillery

Glendronach distillery is a Scottish whisky distillery located near Forgue, by Huntly, Aberdeenshire Scotland, and therefore is classed as a Highland whisky. It is owned by the BenRiach Distillery Company Ltd.

The distillery was founded in 1826 by James Allardes (referred to often as Allardice) as the second distillery to apply for a licence to legally produce whisky under the Excise Act of 1823, which passed three years earlier and which allowed for the distilling of Whisky in Scotland. Other sources credit a consortium of farmers and businessmen for the foundation of the distillery though this could include Allardes. The Glendronach distillery was purchased by Teachers and Sons Ltd around 1960 who increased the number of stills from two to six. In 1996 the distillery was mothballed and reopened again in 2001 by Allied Distillers Limited. In 2006 the distillery passed into the hands of Chivas Brothers Ltd (part of the Pernod Ricard group) and in 2008 it was sold to the BenRiach Distillery Company. Other notable owners include Walter Scott, who acquired it in 1881 and Charles Grant, son of the founder of the Glenfiddich distillery, in 1920.

The distillery draws its water from the Dronac burn within the distillery grounds. It has its own floor maltings and two wash stills in addition to two spirit stills.

The distillery is protected as a category B listed building.

In April 2016 Glendronach Distillery was purchased by the Brown-Forman Corporation. The deal included BenRiach and Glenglassaugh distilleries.
But now to the whisky !!

Ahh………. but first a word of caution

It should be remembered that Glendronach mothballed its distillery from 1996-2002. The post-2014 bottlings truly are 12 year old whiskies. If you bought this Glendronach 12 bottled in 2013, you were getting a 17 year old whisky as the whisky was distilled and casked in 1996. Those who enjoyed the amazing Glendronach 12 from 2010-2013 were getting a whisky older than the stated age. That is no longer the case.

the-glendronach-12-year-old-whisky

 

I poured the whisky in to a Copita nosing glass, added a teaspoon of water and left the whisky covered to develop for fiveteen minutes.Incidently this is a whisky that water should be added to, to gain the full experience of this heavily sherried whisky.

The whisky pours a  dark golden colour, leaving long slow legs flowing down the inside of the glass. Quite oily

The nose is initially very sweet with heavy notes of raisin, sweet sherry and Christmas cake especially one where the baker has added a little to much of his favourite alcohol !!! A little dark spice begins to build along with notes of cereal at the end.

A really warm  sherried opening to the whisky. Quite luxurious!!

The flavour is initially really quite sweet with sweet sherry dominant ,however notes of mandarin oranges and honey appear and as the whisky develops it becomes a little more complex with hints of dark chocolate and allspice appearing.

A little more complex as the whisky develops and exceedingly pleasant and warming.

The finish is medium long with sweet sherry dominating but with notes of dried fruit, orange peel and dark spice evident

This bottling was pre 2014 and I found it a beautiful whisky ,well made and very satisfying. I did notice that the whisky began to gain complexity the longer it was in the glass, so I would advise leaving it a little longer than 15 minutes  before tasting.

Enjoy this sherry bomb single malt.

Cheers!!

Crown Royal Canadian Whisky (70cl, 40.0%)

whisky

Crown Royal is a blended Canadian whisky owned by Diageo, which purchased the brand when the Seagram portfolio was dissolved in 2000. It consists of around 50 different whiskies.

The then reigning British monarch King George VI, and his wife, Queen Elizabeth, visited Canada in 1939. Crown Royal was introduced that year by Samuel Bronfman, president of Seagram, as a tribute to the royal visit. It was available only in Canada until 1964.

Today, Crown Royal is produced solely at the Crown Royal distillery at Gimli, on the shores of Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. It was also produced in Waterloo, Ontario, until the plant there closed in 1992. Daily production of Crown Royal uses 10,000 bushels of grain  of several different types, namely: barley, corn, rye and wheat and requires 750,000 imperial gallons (3,400,000 L) of water. The whisky produced at the Manitoba distillery is stored in two million barrels, located in 46 warehouses over 5 acres (2 ha) of land. The whisky is then blended and bottled in Amherstburg, Ontario.

crown-royal-canadian-whisky

To the whisky!!!

I must confess that the weather in Göteborg Sweden can take a little chill to my bones and having a little time to kill before meeting some friends, i decided to try something to warm me up. Crown Royal would do the trick I hoped.

I poured the whisky in to a Copita nosing glass, and left the whisky covered to develop for ten minutes.Incidently I am not sure what effect water being added to Crown Royal would have , but a little more of that later.

The whisky pours a light golden colour, leaving long legs flowing down the inside of the glass.
Nose. Initial faint notes of vanilla and fresh out-of-the-oven lemon pie. No spirity overtones here, very simple but pleasant.

Palate. Initially flavours of gentle vanilla and honey appear, then a little cracked pepper with oak and vanilla reappear in the background. Surprisingly delicate, light and warm. Very nice

Finish. Vanilla honey appear predominant but the finish is short if pleasant.

This whisky is a well-balanced if not very sophisticated drink that is in my opinion best enjoyed for what it is. One of the strange things about drinking Canadian whisky, or even Rye whisky is that many people look upon these as a base for cocktails or that they require a mixer to be palatable. For me that is a shame as whiskies such as Crown Royal have a unique character which should be enjoyed without any additions particularly on a cold Swedish evening !!!!.

Cheers

Mackmyra Svensk Ek (70cl, 46.1%)

Swedish whisky

mackmyra-svensk-ek-whisky

I received a taste of this offering from Mackmyra recently and in view of trying and really enjoying some private cask Mackmyra recently I was a little bit more optimistic when this one arrived in front of me. Firstly however for the non Swedish readership I should explain that Svensk Ek means Swedish Oak . This whisky is matured in barrels made from oak trees planted on the island of Visingsö centuries ago, oak originally intended for shipbuilding. Before being turned into barrels the oak is dried and worked to open the wood fibres to give a spicy taste to the whisky  

I poured the whisky in to a Copita nosing glass, added a half teaspoon of water and left the whisky covered to develop for ten minutes. The whisky pours a very light golden colour, leaving quite strong legs flowing down the inside of the glass.

The nose is initially quite sweet and spicy with notes of citrus, allspice, perhaps cloves in the background but theen back to citrus and fresh cut green apples .  Soft malt and and  lemon cake appear. there is quite a lot going on but it is a little understated and really quite nice

The flavour is initially quite soft with a pronounced elements of black pepper allspice and ginger but this on a fruity base of green apples pears and soft fruit but as the whisky develops on the palate it goes more to vanilla , highland toffee and milk chocolate before a little pepper arrives. There is quite a lot going on here

The finish is quite long with citrus and vanilla notes dominating, drying, then back to vanilla with a little chilli

The addition of water added to the flavour of the whisky but a little more, perhaps a full teaspoon would be ideal

This is a quite busy whisky which would probably gain by being left to mature for longer. However to to its credit it is very pleasant, well made and well balanced which would make a fine pre meal dram!!

Cheers

Teaninich 2004 – Connoisseurs Choice (Gordon and MacPhail) (70cl, 46.0%)

Highland

teaninich-whisky-distillery

The almost unknown Teaninich single malt comes from the village of  Alness in Ross Shire ,and it is a near neighbour to the much more famous Dalmore distillery. It was founded and built in 1817 by Hugh Munro on his estate of Teaninich Castle.Despite an initial difficulty of procuring barley owing to a high demand from illegal distilleries, by 1830 Teaninich produced 30 times more spirit than it did at its founding. At that point Munro sold the distillery to his younger brother Lieutenant-General John Munro. As an officer he spent most of his time in India, so he decided to rent the distillery out to various people until1898 Robert Innes Cameron took a stake in the distillery, and Munro and Cameron renovated and extended the distillery, investing £10,000 in the process. In 1904 Cameron, who also owned stakes in Benrinnes, Linkwood and Tamdhu, took over the distillery completely. After Cameron died in 1933 the distillery was sold to Scottish Malt Distillers. In 1970 the distillery was greatly expanded, and an entire new building with six new stills was taken in operation. The four older stills remained in operation alongside the new stills. The old side of the distillery was then updated over the next decade. First, new installations for milling, mashing and fermentation were built in 1973, and in 1975 the distillery added a dark grains plant, which produces cattle feed from the draff. In 1984 the old side of the distillery was mothballed, and the new side followed the next year, temporarily ending production. The new side of the distillery resumed production in 1991. In 2000 a mash filter press was installed in the distillery, which is unique in Scottish malt whisky production; all other Scottish whisky distilleries use mash tuns.

In April 2013 owner Diageo announced a new renovation of the distillery. They also announced a new distillery with 16 new stills will be placed next to the old distillery. The new distillery is planned to have a different name than Teaninich, and produce a separate whisky.

The distillery mainly produces malts for blending, and it is used in Haigs Dimple and Johnnie Walker Red Label. There is no visitor centre and there are no official bottlings of the malt

But now to the whisky !!

teaninich-2004-connoisseurs-choice-gordon-and-macphail-whisky

I have previously reviewed the  10 years old Teaninich in the Flora and Fauna range and now let us look at the 2004 Connoisseurs Choice edition  which was matured in refill sherry casks and bottled in 2013.

I poured the whisky in to a Copita nosing glass, added a half teaspoon of water and left the whisky covered to develop for ten minutes.Incidently this is a whisky that water should be added to, to gain the full experience of this quite subtle whisky.

The whisky pours a  light golden colour, leaving long legs flowing down the inside of the glass.

The nose is initially quite aromatic with notes of citrus and pear drops and candied fruit. This is followed by notes of  strawberrys and cream , the nose keeps reminding me of Edinburgh rock and entering an old fashioned sweet shop!!!!

A really warm  citrus opening to the whisky. Georgeous!!

The flavour is initially quite dry and soft with hints of chocolate and strawberries.  Now stronger notes  of Galaxy style chocolate and strawberry ice cream appear on the palate. A little digestive biscuit note appears as we approach a longish elegant finish where notes of chocolate dominate  and wisps of faint smoke appear.

Even at at 9 years old this is an extremely enjoyable  whisky which like the 10 year old makes one wonder why these beautifully balanced, well made single malts  are not more widely available.

Cheers!!

Teaninich 10 Year Old – Flora and Fauna (70cl, 43.0%)

Highland

 

 

teaninich-whisky-distillery

The almost unknown Teaninich single malt comes from the village of  Alness in Ross Shire ,and it is a near neighbour to the much more famous Dalmore distillery. It was founded and built in 1817 by Hugh Munro on his estate of Teaninich Castle.Despite an initial difficulty of procuring barley owing to a high demand from illegal distilleries, by 1830 Teaninich produced 30 times more spirit than it did at its founding. At that point Munro sold the distillery to his younger brother Lieutenant-General John Munro. As an officer he spent most of his time in India, so he decided to rent the distillery out to various people until1898 Robert Innes Cameron took a stake in the distillery, and Munro and Cameron renovated and extended the distillery, investing £10,000 in the process. In 1904 Cameron, who also owned stakes in Benrinnes, Linkwood and Tamdhu, took over the distillery completely. After Cameron died in 1933 the distillery was sold to Scottish Malt Distillers. In 1970 the distillery was greatly expanded, and an entire new building with six new stills was taken in operation. The four older stills remained in operation alongside the new stills. The old side of the distillery was then updated over the next decade. First, new installations for milling, mashing and fermentation were built in 1973, and in 1975 the distillery added a dark grains plant, which produces cattle feed from the draff. In 1984 the old side of the distillery was mothballed, and the new side followed the next year, temporarily ending production. The new side of the distillery resumed production in 1991. In 2000 a mash filter press was installed in the distillery, which is unique in Scottish malt whisky production; all other Scottish whisky distilleries use mash tuns.

In April 2013 owner Diageo announced a new renovation of the distillery. They also announced a new distillery with 16 new stills will be placed next to the old distillery. The new distillery is planned to have a different name than Teaninich, and produce a separate whisky.

The distillery mainly produces malts for blending, and it is used in Haigs Dimple and Johnnie Walker Red Label. There is no visitor centre and there are no official bottlings of the malt.

Since 1992 a 10-year-old malt has been available in the Flora and Fauna series from Gordon and MacPhail along with offerings in their  Connoisseurs Choice range.

But now to the whisky !!

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I must confess to have been a fan of this 10 years old for some time and let me explain why

I poured the whisky in to a Copita nosing glass, added a half teaspoon of water and left the whisky covered to develop for ten minutes.Incidently this is a whisky that water should be added to, to gain the full experience of this subtle whisky.

The whisky pours a  light golden colour, leaving long legs flowing down the inside of the glass.

The nose is initially quite aromatic with notes of citrus and vanilla  coming forward. This is followed by a little cedar wood, a touch more of vanilla and fresh cut thyme

A really warm  citrus opening to the whisky. Very easy on the senses!!

The flavour is initially quite dry and soft with hints of soft malt,barley grist,and a touch  of white  chocolate but as the whisky develops on the palate  citrus and barley sugars gain momentum.

This is followed by notes of citrus,  biscuit, and freshly cut grasses in a fairly long dry finish.

Superb whisky which makes one wonder why this beautifully balanced, well made single malt  is not more widely available.

Cheers!!

Dalwhinnie 15 Year Old (70cl, 43.0%)

Highland

Bildresultat för dalwhinnie distillery

 

This is a bit of a strange one as I had frequently bypassed Dalwhinnie whiskies in the past , I think it was due the fact that Dalwhinnie seemed to be omipresent in every bar in Scotland for a time. However it appeared in our cupboard one day and I remembered Dalwhinnie 15yo being recommended to me by an old friend who is very good at these things. He was also born in Dalwhinnie !! So my curiousity was aroused and I endeavoured to see what my friend meant about this representative of the Diageo Classic Malt range!!!

Dalwhinnie distillery is owned by is owned by the Diageo spirits conglomerate having been founded in 1897, John Grant, George Sellar and Alexander Mackenzie founded the Strathspey distillery. Production started in 1898 but unfortunately the partnership was bankrupt the same year.. The site was chosen for its access to clear spring water from Lochan-Doire-Uaine and abundant peat from the surrounding bogs. Set in splendid mountain scenery, Dalwhinnie is the one of the highest distilleries in Scotland at 1164′ above sea level. The name Dalwhinnie is derived from Gaelic word Dail-coinneeamh, which means meeting place, referring to the meeting of ancient cattle drovers’ routes through the mountains.

The distillery was sold to AP Blyth in 1898 for his son who renamed it Dalwhinnie. Later in 1905 the Cook & Bernheimer took control over the distillery. The distillers were looking for malts to produce blended whiskies for the US market. This was the very first US investment in the Scotch whisky industry. The US adventure continued until the prohibition in the US in 1920 and the distillery returned to Scotland when it was purchased by Lord James Calder, shareholder of whisky blender MacDonald Greenlees. MacDonald Greenlees was later acquired by Distillers Company; Dalwhinnie later became part of the blender group James Buchanan.

A fire in 1934 stopped production for 3 years, and the reopening in 1938 was short-lived because the second world war brought restrictions on the supply of barley. Since reopening in 1947, the distillery has continued to operate through to the present day, although on-site malting ceased in 1968.

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I poured the whisky in to a Glencairn glass , added a teaspoon of water and left the whisky to develop for ten minutes. The whisky pours a light amber colour with a medium consistency. On rolling around the glass the whisky leaves long legs which bead on the inside.

The nose is initially quite aromatic and floral, with toffee, honey, barley sugar , and perhaps citrus coming through but then honey seems to reassert itself more and more .

The flavour is a quite soft and light with  smooth malt and a slight nuttiness combing with honey and vanilla sponge. A touch of salt and cracked pepper but the predominant flavour is of honey with perhaps a whiff of smoke now.

The finish is long with hits of citrus and honeyed malt lingering on the palate.

Very elegant smooth whisky,  Clean flavours, gentle and totally in balance.

Wonderful !!!

Diageo should be applauded for letting this whisky run its course to its full 15 years. It is gentle yet crisp and fresh and is totally flawless.

This is a very fine example of a highland whisky which I would recommend to any one

Cheers!!