Sep 182014
Douglas Laing's Aultmore XO - Much Ado About Marketing

Two things I really like came together one afternoon this summer: I love Aultmore whisky (seriously, I adore this distillery), and I highly respect the Laing independent bottlers (Both Douglas Laing with Director’s cut, Old Particular, Provenance and the blends and Hunter Laing with Old Malt Cask, Old and Rare and Douglas of Drumlanrig) and [Read full post...]

Sep 162014
The Deadly Sins of Whisky - Diageo's 2014 Special Releases

The long anticipated 2014 Diageo releases has arrived, and I sadly stand vindicated. Just a few months ago I wrote a piece on the absurdity of Diageo’s Port Ellen pricing policy, claiming that whisky suppliers are as guilty as collectors for creating the bubble in whisky prices by setting prices that make the whisky so prohibitively [Read full post...]

Sep 152014
Cadenhead's Bladnoch 23 - Lowlands from the Old Guard

Bladnoch is a Lowlands distillery that had been closed in 1938 and has been changing hands since. Brought back into operation in 1956 it changed ownership five times, ending up in Diageo’s predecessor’s hands and was later sold to the current owner Raymond Armstrong on the condition that the distillery not produce more than 100,000 [Read full post...]

Sep 142014
Organic Scottish Barley - Not Bruichladdich's Finest Hour

In the last post, I touted the lovely Black Art from Bruichladdich, mentioning that for me, once you move away from the “regular Bruichladdich” and get into the special editions or the peated ones, the lactic notes disappear and they become palatable. This post, however, visits the dark side of the distillery, which is a shame, [Read full post...]

Sep 112014
Black Art, Ninja Whisky and an Islay That Isn't

I admit that I have a problem with Bruichladdich. On the one hand, this is a very prolific distillery with a large fandom, even among my close whisky friends. On the other hand, I can’t stomach (or nose, actually) the lactic baby spit-up aroma so characteristic of their “regular” products. Yet, I always am willing [Read full post...]

Sep 092014
Clynelish at its Full Glory - Who Let The Candle Maker Out? Who? Who? Who?

Clynelish has one of the saddest human tragedy whisky stories associated with its founding and its founder, the 2nd Marquess of Strafford (later to be created the 1st Duke of Sutherland). During the early 19th century, the Highlands were essentially forced the eviction of all the farmers and crofters traditionally working the land to allow [Read full post...]

Sep 082014
Seven Stunning Sherry Bombs - The Longmorn Sister Casks 1996

The Ultimate (van Wees) hits another home run. Like the Laphoroaig Sherry matured single cask I previously reviewed, these seven sherry cask Longmorns are real treats. I have a sample of cask 105091, and a real beauty it is. Longmorn was founded in 1894 and is now part of the Chivas Group at Pernod Ricard. [Read full post...]

Sep 072014
How High Can You Get? The Highlands "Classic Malt"

Diageo sure knows marketing, and the six “Classic Malts” were meant to display the six whisky making regions of Scotland and to draw visitors, and awareness, for the distilleries. However, Diageo lacks a presence in Campbeltown, so Oban – a Western coastal Highlands distillery 140 km (86 miles) away- got the nod to represent “the [Read full post...]

Sep 052014
Isle of Arran Millennium Cask - Were They off By a Whole Year?

A cute gimmick as far as gimmicks go, the still run to produce this particular cask was started on December 31st, 1999 and ended after midnight on 1 January, 2000 – thus intending to span the turn of the Millennium. Sadly, they were off by a year, as the 20th century ended only at 11:59:59 [Read full post...]

Sep 022014
Staying with Bunnahabhain, an 18 Year Old Pedro Ximénez Finish

I love the effect a good Pedro Ximénez cask has on whisky. I think its interplay with the spirit is beautiful, sometimes to the point of  usurping the whisky in favor of an almost syrupy sweetness (Not unlike the GlenDronach 21 reviewed here). The effect is lessened, of course, in non first fill barrels and in finishes, [Read full post...]