Glen Elgin 1995 (Cadenhead)

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 21.01.26Distillery: Glen Elgin
Bottled: 2015, Distilled: 1995
ABV: 55.6%
Cask: Bourbon
Bottler: WM Cadenhead
More Info: WhiskyBase

Glen Elgin isn’t a name you hear often in single malt land. It tends to all go into blended whisky. As a relative unknown, you can get these single (or in this case double) cask bottlings at great prices and the liquid is very nice indeed.

Nose: Buttery and herbal, with wood and fruit: oranges, raspberries, blackberries, and limes. Minty toothpaste, wood varnish, deodorant spray and acrylic paint.

Palate: Creamy Easter egg chocolate. Malty toffee. Mint ice cream, menthol, cherries, gooseberries and cinnamon.

Finish: Long and tangy with citrus leaves and bourbon spice.

This is a glorious bourbon cask treat.

I bought a bottle to split with Andy and it really hasn’t disappointed. There’s still some available on Cadenheads at the time of writing so bag a bottle if delicious bourbon cask Scotch is your thing.

Still on Cadenheads for £63.10 per bottle.

Kilchoman Sanaig

Screen Shot 2016-03-27 at 16.18.05Distillery: Kilchoman
Bottled: 2016
Age: 4/5 years
ABV: 46%
Cask: 50% Bourbon & 50% Sherry
More Info: WhiskyBase

Here’s a new release from the Islay Farm Distillery.

Kilchoman’s Sanaig is the latest addition to the core line-up and combines Bourbon and Sherry cask influences upon the distillery’s peaty spirit.

As with all Kilchoman’s whiskies, this is very young but full of Islay character.

Nose: Chocolate raisins, prunes, fried pineapple, salty crisps, earthy peat smoke, bandages, milky coffee, wet towel funk.

Palate: Soft plum flesh, pears, and a floral perfume. Toffee and vanilla leading to spicy white pepper and cinnamon with a touch of creamy oak. The signature coastal peat tang comes through too.

Finish: Chewy peat and liquorice strips with more sweet toffee and sea salt emerging.

A sweet peat treat. The sherry influence here brings soft fruit notes, much sweeter than the relatively dry and meaty Loch Gorm 100% sherry release.

Some people aren’t a fan of young peaty whisky but I think Kilchoman are doing extraordinarily well with the stock they have (founded in 2005, it’ll be a while before we see older releases). Mind you, young peaty malts aren’t to everyone’s taste I suppose (though I bloody love them!).

At around £50 per bottle, it’s not cheap. But given this is uncoloured and non chill filtered Islay from a tiny farm that malts and peats their own barley on site, I’d be happy to part with my cash to support their endeavours.

The Kilchoman Sanaig is on Master of Malt for £49.84.

Glenmorangie Milsean

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 20.39.46Distillery: Glenmorangie
Ex-Bourbon + retoasted wine casks
Bottles: 30,000
More Info:

Glenmorangie recently released this limited edition “Milsean” bottling amid a mild furore of whether or not their re-toasted wine casks constituted as “added flavouring” (banned by the SWA as it contravenes the definition of a Scotch).

Allegedly the wood was still wet with wine and the toasting caramelised the remnants, hence the sweet shop profile and old-fashioned ice cream parlour decor of the bottle and box. Given that the industry allows caramel colouring, I think it’s more than a little hypocritical to lay these accusations at Bill Lumsden’s feet!

Regardless, they didn’t uphold their misgivings and it got the green light to be released. It’s not age statemented, but it is non chill filtered and bottled at 46% (without E150 colouring too).

Nose: Takes a while to open up but it evolves well in the glass. Very clean. As predicted, lots of fruity candy notes: Orange pith, dusty sherbet, hard candy, pear skin, lemon drops, wine gums, apple peel, peach gums. Suddenly there’s coconut ice cream! Very nice.

Palate: Vanilla bean, chilled bananas, and malt sugar with a prominent oakiness developing. Some barrel spice: white pepper and liquorice. Watered down white wine (like ice cubes have melted in it, but in a nice way).

Finish: That oaky wood note really lasts and lasts with double cream and tingly pepper.

I like the nose a lot! The palate is a little unbalanced but I like that; Glenmorangie is usually very mellow and predictable so a few rough edges gives it an appeal that I enjoy. It’s a bit too woody, if I’m honest, but it’s definitely drinkable.

However, at £90 a bottle I think the marketing has overtaken the liquid. You can get really, really good Highland malts (like Pulteney 21) for less.

Laphroaig Brodir

Screen Shot 2016-03-04 at 20.37.09Distillery: Laphroaig
Bottled: 2015
Cask: Bourbon barrels, finished in Ruby port
More Info:

Peaty Islay whisky, finished in port casks?? Yeah, go on, why not.

Another travel retail release from Laphroaig, Brodir’s been around a couple of years as you may have noticed if you’ve been through duty free lately. Bottled at 48%, without chill filtering – let’s see how it fares in the glass.

Nose: Coal dust, charred sausages, salty pretzels, wet oil paints. With time, dark cherries and plums emerge through the thick, salty aroma of wood smoke.

Palate: Coal tar soap, orange marmalade, with a kick of chilli calming to reveal chamomile flowers, loose leaf tea, liquorice all-sorts, bitter grapefruit, vanilla pods, and a twist of blackcurrant.

Finish: Soap and smoke, black pepper, liquorice and lingering dry ashes.

Not a bad dram at all, this.

Reminds me very much of the Amontillado-finished Cairdeas from 2014. All the coal-tar and acrid peat you expect from Laphroaig but with an interesting dark fruit influence from the port casks.

Available at Master of Malt for £89.95.