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

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Inverleven 1990 (Gordon and MacPhail) (70cl, 40.0%)

Lowland, whisky

Sadly a distillery which has reached the end of it’s life, the stills of Inverleven fell into complete silence in 1991. Inverleven was founded by Hiram Walker and Sons in the late 1930’s at the Dumbarton complex.

The site in Dumbarton is owned by George Ballatine and Son and plays host to continuous stills. This allows the production of both malt and grain whisky. The complex produces the whisky for the Ballantines blended products. Inverleven draws its water from Loch Lomond, and sits by the River Clyde.

A 1990 vintage Inverleven, bottled by stalwart independent bottlers, Gordon and MacPhail.

inverleven-1990-gordon-and-macphail-single-malt-whisky

I poured the whisky in to a Copita nosing glass, added a teaspoon of water and left the whisky covered to develop for ten minutes. This whisky is very light gold in colour, akin to new jewelry.

The nose is initially soft with hints of grain, and citrus up front. As the nose builds more sweetness and a light spice from the grain becomes more prominent. Towards the end of the aroma toffee and more notes of cereal round of a very laid back Lowland nose.

The taste is quite soft, laid back and maybe not as much body as hoped. There are is again a malt sweetness, followed by fudge and toffee. Citrus and a slight peppery note come through followed by vanilla and a twist of orange at the end.

The finish is soft and maybe slightly short, this whisky is pleasant and quietly complex. As an introduction to Lowland whisky this, if you find is a great first step.

Cheers!

Bladnoch 1991 14 Year Old (50%)

Lowland, whisky

Bladnoch Distillery is a Single malt Scotch whisky distillery in south west Scotland. It is one of six remaining Lowland distilleries, located at Bladnoch, near Wigtown, Dumfries and Galloway. The distillery is situated on the banks of the River Bladnoch, and is the most southerly whisky distillery in Scotland.

During the 1890s incidents which are not specified struck the distilling industry; these could have been the reduction nationwide in the production of barley, a possible rise in excise duty and the growth of the various temperance movements. The other distilleries in Galloway were forced to close but Bladnoch survived. Between 1911 and 1937 it was owned by Wm Dunville & Co. Ltd, an Irish company, and on the outbreak of World War II whisky production ceased, but malt continued to be produced until 1949 when the distillery closed until 1957.

Upon re-opening under new ownership whisky production began again and continued under a number of different owners until 1983 when Bell’s took over and initiated a programme of modernisation and computerisation. In 1987 the United Distillers Group took over Bell’s and continued the modernisation as a result of which the weekly production rose to over 8,000 imperial gallons (36,000 L), more than eight times the output in 1887.

The mothballed distillery was discovered by Irishman Raymond Armstrong while on holiday in the area in 1994. After several years spent finding and replacing the old plant and equipment, the distillery reopened for production in late 2000. The first 8-year-old product produced by the new team became available in 2009.

The company operating Bladnoch Distillery, Co-Ordinated Development Services, went into liquidation on 10 March 2014. The distillery was bought in July 2015 by Australian yoghurt mogul David Prior, who had sold his five yoghurt business for £52m in August 2014. At the moment the shop is not open, nor are distillery tours available.

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

The nose is initially quite floral with notes of honey and grass coming forward. This is followed by more mineral tones almost like wet sandstone on a beach. As the aroma develops hits of elderflower and red fruit come through initally softly but this becomes more prominent through the development. At the very finish there are waves of white stone fruit and pear. A really fresh and floral opening to the whisky.

The flavour is initially quite soft with hints of stone fruit but as the whisky develops on the palate this almost gain momentum. Floral flavours teamed with peach and apricot flavours build and build. This is followed by notes of baked apple and lime huge amounts going on in this very well balanced whisky. The taste finished with a ribbon of chili spice running through the dominating fruit and floral flavours.

The finish is long and dry with notes of oak and dried herbs.

This whisky is excellent and I will be keeping my eye out for Bladnoch in the future! The only examples I can find are at auction of a Gordon and Macphail bottling available HERE!

Cheers!!

Bowmore 37 Year Old 1968 (70cl, 43.4%)

Islay, whisky

bowmore-whisky-distillery

Even the title of this review has me astir. To be honest it’s mostly just me gushing and I’m not even sorry for doing so. When you’re lucky enough to find a dram this special, you can try not to get caught up in the hyperbole of it all but I found that impossible.

The bar I found this in keep the bottle in a safe and serve the dram with a reverence which only adds to the theater of the whole experience!

As I carried the the whisky back to my seat guarding it like the most precious of jewelry I felt both exited and  scared of the journey which lay ahead!

bowmore-1968-37-year-old-whisky

The whisky was poured in to a Glencairn glass, no water was added to this dram but it was left to develop for ten minutes. The colour was dark gold with a slightly oily look rolling around the glass. A curtain is left on the side of the glass with medium length legs sliding down the inside of the glass.

The nose is rich with with notes of apricots and raisin. This is followed by a lighter note of sea salt and vanilla. As the nose develops the notes of dark fruit come forward more intensely with hits of cooked fruit and rich baking spices.

The taste is again very rich with oak and treacle coming forward. This is followed by dark toffee and victoria sponge. As the flavour evolves we see this move more toward fruit notes with apple pie and soft summer berries which come through at the end of the taste.

The finish is medium long with bread spice going to vanilla followed by dried fruit and apples.

It’s difficult for me to finish this review as it’s something I almost didn’t want to end. Of course this whisky is fantastic and of course if you see it and it’s in your budget you should try it. If you are someone who drinks whisky with huge peat content and live for that smoke, this is maybe not for you.

The whisky is excellent but not at all what was expected. There is a little trace of a traditional Bowmore but allows the other more complex and almost hidden sides of this whisky to come through.

Cheers!!

Pittyvaich 1993 – Connoisseurs Choice (Gordon and MacPhail) (70cl, 46.0%)

Speyside, whisky

Pittyvaich_Distillery,_Dufftown._-_geograph.org.uk_-_162562

It’s always a little sad reviewing a whisky when the distillery is no more. There’s an excitement knowing that you are drinking a little bit of history but also a presentiment that this may be your final or only experience of this dram.

The Pittyvaich distillery, built in 1974 by Arthur Bell & Sons, was among the youngest Scottish distilleries while it was operating. It stood near the Dufftown Distillery in Dufftown.

Originally built to provide malt whisky for blends, Pittyvaich eventually did release an official bottling in 1991. Prior to the official bottling, a number of independent bottlers (including Signatory Vintage and Cadenhead’s) released Pittyvaich as a single malt.

The distillery was demolished in 2002.

pittyvaich-1993-whisky

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 honey golden colour in the glass it’s quite oily leaving long legs inside the glass.

On the nose there is a light almost smokey note. Like light peat smoke from a closed fire. This is followed by notes of Heather, honey, sweet grain and baked apples. As the nose develops more fruity notes come forward, Apple, peach and over ripe dark berries come through at the end.

The flavour is initially sharp with apples, this is quite pronounced as the flavour develops, notes of light smoke, soft citrus peel and sweet green grains follow. There are notes of dry oak and vanilla which is accompanied by a hit of white pepper and a drying grapefruit flavour at the end.

The finish is very long with a citrus bitterness throughout.

This particular whisky isn’t the most widely available and I was only able to pick it up at The Grill (A whisky bar in Aberdeen), but your luck may be better than mine!

I suppose this is a distillery that may have been seen as surplus to requirement in a town (Dufftown) which is awash with distilleries but I still feel that it was a shame to loose it!

Cheers!

The Deveron 18 Year Old 70cl / 40%

Highland, whisky

macduff-whisky-distillery

Look, I know it’s just after new year. You may have over indulged and hopefully you feel better and even if you don’t fancy a dram indulge me. I may save you being duped by the most gorgeous packaged whisky I’ve ever seen! But looks are not everything.

The Macduff Distillery Company was founded in 1962. During its history, the distillery’s official name has fluctuated between Glen Deveron and MacDuff with official bottlings mostly having been released under the former. In 1972, Glen Deveron/Macduff was acquired by William Lawson Distillers Ltd. (famous for a blend by the same name), which became part of the Martini & Rossi corporation in 1980. In 1992 the owners Martini & Rossi were acquired by the Bacardi Corporation.

Bacardi put their subsidiary John Dewar & Sons in charge of the Macduff distillery. Dewar & Sons also controls Royal Brackla, Aberfeldy, Aultmore, and Craigellachie.

Each have now been released as part of “The Last Great Malts of Scotland“. Having tried the majority there are two that particularly stand out in the Aultmore and Craigellachie.

gdrob.18yo

Just look at the marketing of this bottle! Everything is simple and relevant and the price isn’t ridiculous for an 18 year old whisky, as such.

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 is a light amber colour. On rolling round the glass it’s quite thick and oily.

The whisky is citrusy and sweet with notes of Fudge, red berry and a slight grassy salty note in the background this is followed by some subtle sea salt and tobacco smoke.

The flavour is light and smooth, notes of red berry and soft golden sugar come forward. And some bitter grain comes through at the end.

The finish is medium long with notes of coffee and Fudge.

As you’ll notice for me this is quite a short review. This is because there isn’t much more to say about this whisky. It’s a bit flat, there’s no real determinable character, it’s just a very well packaged easy to drink whisky and if that’s what you like all power to you! Macduff – Batch 1 bottled by That Boutique-y Whisky Company at 52% on the other hand was absolutely gorgeous, complex and feisty with all the citrus, spice and marine notes you could ask for. It showed of the true potential of this dram.

Bacardi or John Dewar & Sons have put together a group of whisky with a huge amount of potential and demonstrated the value of independent bottlers.

Cheers.

 

 

My dearly departed.

Highland, whisky

The elation I felt that day was immeasurable. My first foray in to the whisky drinking world. A Christmas gift which opened my eyes to a spirit that I had very little experience with and no real knowledge of. I was assured is was a good choice.

This gift I shared with many others through good times and bad my bottle of Dalmore 15 year old started far more than any gift I’ve had before or since. Sharing a shelf with over 50 spirits this initial bottle was my gateway drug as such.

Sadly now you are empty and to pay my respect I will eulogies you and hope that your legacy lives on!

The Dalmore 15 year old was first launched in 2007. Matured in matusalem, apostoles and amoroso sherry casks.

dalmore-15-year-old-whisky

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

The nose is rich with cocao powder, orange zest along with soft cinnamon and ginger spices. Hints of oak, vanilla and soft grain follow. There is also an aroma not unlike a dunnage warehouse. You can almost smell the barrels and spirits around you!

The flavour is rich and smooth, notes of orange zest, dark chocolate and cubes of ginger in syrup. Notes of honey confectioners sugar and hits of Christmas spice follow. Stewed dark fruits and a liquorice follow in the background.

The finish is medium long with notes of chocolate and spice.

This as a whisky for a beginner or a seasoned whisky lover can’t be recommended enough. At it’s £50 price tag it’s still very good value for money and has given me so much enjoyment!

It’s available from Master of Malt HERE!!

Cheers!!

Benromach Organic 2008 (70cl, 43.0%)

Speyside, whisky

benromach-whisky-distillery

Benromach is a relatively small distillery based in the Speyside region. Founded by Duncan McCallum and F.W. Brickman in the 1890’s. Having opened and closed a number of times since it’s establishment Gordon and Macphail of Elgin took over the distillery in 1993 and restored it to full working order in it’s current guise.

It is situated near Forres in Morayshire and is fed with spring water from the Chapelton Springs in the Romach Hills beside Forres.

This Benromach was distilled in 2008 using Scottish organic barley and left to mature in virgin American oak casks until 2014, when it was bottled. This whisky was also the first single malt whisky to be fully certified as organic by the Soil Association.

benromach-organic-2008-whisky

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

The nose is initially quite spirit forward with notes of soft peat ash and roasted malt coming through. This moves away quite quickly to reveal a much more sweet and fruit forward aroma. There are notes of toffee, roasted banana and vanilla. This is rounded of by notes of stewed pear, citrus and ginger.

The flavour has a big hit of marmalade and jam sugar to start. This is followed by chili, tropical fruit and peaches. These flavours move toward something a little softer and creamier as it develops with hits of dark chocolate, light citrus and a soft malt sweetness right at the end of the flavour.

The finish is long with hits of citrus and spice lingering long after tasting.

As a younger expression this whisky doesn’t leave you wanting. The experience is engaging and ever changing through each sip! The notes of fruit, spice and sweetness from this sophisticated whisky keep you coming back for more!

The whisky is available from The Whisky Shop Dufftown HERE!

Cheers!!

Wolfburn Distillery Tasting!

Highland, whisky

On the cusp of releasing their first whisky Wolfburn who are based up in Thurso, Caithness are very new, well…. sort of. Originally founded in 1821 Wolfburn was thought to be a reasonable size and ceased production somewhere in the 1850’s.

The new distillery founded in 2012, is located around 400 meters from the site of the original distillery. The distillery began production in earnest in 2013.

Having spoken to Daniel Smith from Wolfburn he told me a little about the aim for the distillery.

“Our aim has been to create a very smooth and easy-drinking single malt whisky, and the process by which it is crafted was defined back in early 2013 by Shane Fraser, Wolfburn’s production manager (a master distiller with over 25 years’ experience).”

“We mash 1.1 tonnes six times per week, and the fermentation that follows is very long – up to 90 hours. This releases some wonderful fruit and floral flavours into the worts, which then undergoes a long a gentle distillation process – both wash and spirit distillations take a little over four hours. The result is an exceptionally sweet, light spirit, which still maintains a hint of the malty aroma from the mash.”

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I have been sent the new make spirit and the soon to be released ex-bourbon quarter cask matured (soon to be) 3 year old.

I poured the whisky and the new make in to Copita nosing glasse. I then added two teaspoons of water and left them covered to develop for fifteen minutes.

I’m going to start with the new make which was distilled in 2015 and is 69.6%. Which pours completely clear and on rolling around the glass almost moves in slow motion.

The nose is initially sweet with notes of chocolate, dark fruits and notes of yeast in the background. Sweet grain, some soft sea air freshness and a citrus freshness which sits in the background. This is rounded of by soft hits of coffee and a light nip of the alcohol in the background.

The flavour is sweet with a hit of roasted grain and dark chocolate off the bat. This is followed by a light nip of the alcohol and a drying herbal flavour. Prickles or soft spice and salt crystals roll down the tongue.

The finish is long with a lingering warmth from the alcohol and soft spice.

Next is the 2 year old ex-bourbon quarter cask at 61.2% which was distilled in 2013. It pours a light golden colour and is oily in the glass. The spirit coats the sides of the glass with beads rolling down the inside.

The nose is already very different with notes of white fruit, fresh sea air, ginger and spice hits come forward. The undertone of sweetness is still there with notes of chocolate, vanilla and some soft tropical fruit right at the finish.

The flavour is much softer than expected with notes of lychee, white grape and hints of spice in the background. This is followed by notes of honey, vanilla and some soft floral flavours. The end of the flavour has hints of coffee and dark chocolate.

The finish is long and dry with notes of oak and wood spice lingering long after drinking.

This whisky will be available from 25/01/2016 and is very much worth looking in to! These expressions have been very interesting and as a little glimpse of what’s to come from this very young distillery I have to say I can’t wait to see what’s next!! Wolfburn are very worth keeping any eye on and you can find more information about them at their website HERE!

Cheers!!

Green Spot Single Pot Still (70cl, 40.0%)

Irish Whiskey, whisky

The buildings of the Midleton distillery began life rather abstemiously; used as a wool mill in the very late eighteenth century. Leased by Marcus Lynch, the buildings were sold to the government, who subsequently sold them to the Arch Bishop of Cashel in 1823 for the sum of £1,750.

The Arch Bishop died later that year and the buildings were inherited by Lord Midleton. It was the three brothers Murphy who converted the mill into a distillery in 1825. They had acquired the buildings for £4,000. Stills were installed, including the world’s largest still with a capacity of 31,618 gallons.

The distillery produced a range of brands and in 1966 the company joined John Powers and John Jameson to form the Irish Distillers Group and a new distillery was built at Midleton to produce all of their brands. This new distillery now has a capacity of 60m litres, following a large expansion project in 2013.

green-spot-single-pot-still-whiskey

I poured the whisky in to a Copita nosing glass, added a teaspoon of water and left the whiskey covered to develop for ten minutes. Pouring a golden colour this dram becomes slightly cloudy when water is added… I will call it Irish mist!

Lots of floral, grassy and menthol notes come forward to start off with. This is followed by notes of creamy malt, confectioners sugar, pear, vanilla and some soft spice in the background. Throughout the nose this cooling menthol comes forward. It can actually be felt on the tongue which is quite fantastic!!

The flavour starts with notes of soft spice, vanilla and bourbon. This is followed by notes of grass, mint, roasted malt and soft fruit. The finish is drier with notes of oak, red berry and coffee.

The finish is long and dry with hints of mint and soft spice! A fantastic introduction to Irish whiskey!

This is my first Irish whiskey and it didn’t disappoint. A combination of flavours which delight and evolve with each sip! This is fantastic stuff!!

I bought this from The Whisky Shop Dufftown for £36 HERE!

Cheers!