Nov 222017
 

Here we are at the beginning of the holiday shopping season again, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday so gift buying is about to kick into high gear! Should we perhaps institute Whisky Wednesday for crazy sales on amber joy? I’ll start with this post!

I’ll give you my top 12 bottles that would make a great holiday gift. Obviously, they are all bottles I’ve tasted, and many of them adorn my own whisky cabinet.

I’ve put stars next to recommendations from last year that made the list again. I guess you could call them my house favorites by now ūüôā

 

The rules? Easy:

  1. It has to be mass produced and widely available
  2. It has to be a bottle I’d be happy to get (hey, it’s my list….)
  3. It can be a limited edition if it fulfills conditions 1+2

Note that bottles are listed in a completely random order!

Category I – Up to¬†¬£50 (Also ‚ā¨50-60 or $70)

1. Springbank 10*

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

Springbank is Capmpeltown’s primary distillery, with every single aspect of the operation done manually, as it was done 100 years ago. The distillery employs some 70 staff, and takes pride in being a source of employment and contribution to the community.

This expression is a mixture of whisky matured in both bourbon and sherry casks, is mildly peated and is presented at 46% ABV in its natural color with no chill filtration. Simply great whisky!

Small tip: The Kilkerran 12 will do just as well with a nice bow around the tube¬† ūüôā

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Big Peat Christmas Edition 2017*

Photo Credit: Douglaslaing.com

I have a small disclaimer here: during 2017 I was appointed to serve as Douglas Laing’s brand ambassador in Israel. Having disclosed that, I will still go on to recommend Big Peat Christmas Edition, as it made the list for the past two years, and did not become any less of a great gift because of my appointment.

This is a fun expression, that will leave your loved one ashy mouthed and smiling ūüôā

 

 

 

 

3. Bunnahabhain 12*

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

The Bunnahabhain 12 is definitely one of my all time favorite entry level whiskies, and serves as my go-to dram at home. You can probably expect this dram on next year’s list as well ūüėČ

In conclusion of my review on this whisky, I wrote: “This is, to me, one of those bottles you can always go back to. Complex and layered, it‚Äôs not really a beginner‚Äôs dram, but one that will hold your interest regardless of how advanced you are in your whisky journey. It‚Äôs also a whisky that delivers one of the better value for money deals out there.”

 

 

 

 

 

4.¬†Aberlour A’bunadh*

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

Now up to batch 60 (released just this week), this young but yummy cask strength whisky aged in first fill Oloroso sherry casks is a favorite.

Each batch has a different ABV, and is non chill filtered and is non colored. Any of the batches is a good choice, and while there are some variations, they’re pretty small.

 

 

 

 

5. Benromach 10 Year Old 100 Proof*

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

To me this is the highlight of the Benromach core range.

The sherry is rubust and vibrant on the nose, the peat owns the palate and the spice dominates the finish. It’s like each of the elements owns a part of the dram, and the higher ABV takes a great dram and elevates it to a whole new level.

Powerful stuff!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Port Charlotte Scottish Barley

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

Islay’s other 1881 distillery (with Bunnahabhain) makes unpeated whisky under the Bruichladdich label, and heavily peated whisky under the Port Charlotte label (and, of course super peated whisky under the Octomore label).

I’m especially fond of the Port Charlotte, as peat works quite well for Bruichladdich, and the whisky lacks that signature lactic notes the unpeated whisky has.

If your recipient is a peathead, this is the whisky to get them…

 

 

 

Category II – ¬£50-¬£125 (Also ‚ā¨115 or $130)

7. Balblair 1990 (2nd Release)

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

Balblair’s somewhat weird labeling system uses vintages rather than age statements. On its own, that wouldn’t be that weird, only that they release different batches of the same vintage without saying anything but bottling year. Thus, you’ll have identical Balblair 1990 that are 24 and 26 years old, which you’ll know only if you look at the label.

Either way, this is a lovely to express your love…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. Balvenie Peat Week 2002

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

This is Balvenie’s first foray into real peated whisky (I’m discounting their use of peated casks in some older 17 year old expressions as a finish). Since 2002 (but not in 2007, for some reason), Balvenie spends one week each year distilling their home malted peated malt.

What’s it like? Well, for starters, it’s really nothing like Islay peat. The Highland peat is heathery and non maritime, and has none of the medicinal qualities you’d expect from an Islay malt.

In fact, it will remind you of the Glen Garioch of old, when the distillery still used its own malt, way back before 1993. I’ll just say that those who know this blog, know exactly what the last sentence means in terms of a recommendation…..

 

 

9. Glenfarclas 21*

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

The Glenfarclas 21 is a great value, and is definitely my favorite of the range (even more than the higher ups, barring perhaps the 40 year old).

This staunchly independent distillery is exteremely traditional in its approach to whisky making. On one hand, that creates a very consistent line of whiskys. On the other hand, most will find the one expression they favor and stick with it, as the variation between the expressions is relatively limited and¬†they don’t¬†‚Äúdo‚ÄĚ finishes. This is mine…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Category III –¬†Going All Out (Over ¬£100)

10. Diageo Collectivum XXVIII

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

This is the first blended malt (“vatted malt” of old) in the Diageo Special Releases, and has been blended by a very deft hand. It’s not only special, it’s really good too, and while being NAS, it gives the impression that thought was given to the final product, presented at 57.3%.

This bottle includes malt from each of the 28 working Diageo distilleries (hence the XXVIII): Auchroisk, Benrinnes, Blair Athol, Caol Ila, Cardhu, Clynelish, Cragganmore, Dailuaine, Dalwhinnie, Dufftown, Glendullan, Glen Elgin, Glenkinchie, Glenlossie, Glen Ord, Glen Spey, Inchgower, Knockando, Lagavulin, Linkwood, Mannochmore, Mortlach, Oban, Roseisle, Royal Lochnagar, Strathmill, Talisker and Teaninich.

 

 

 

 

 

 

11. Glengoyne 25*

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

If your Christmas gift budget includes bottles in this price range, this bottle is sure to get your intended recipient excited.

One of my alltime favorite sherry bombs, this whisky is well made and is truly a majestic dram, sitting right on the border between a sherry bomb and the old dusty sherry style.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12. Kavalan Solist Amontillado

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

Taiwan has become quite the whisky powerhouse, with Kavalan gaining more and more appreciation and recognition from single malt aficionados the world over. The Solist line – which is the distillery’s cask strength offerings – has included a bourbon, sherry, vihno and fino lineup for a long time.

The sherry is a classic sherry bomb and the bourbon is one of the best specimens in the market for a clean bourbon matured whisky, while the fino was at the top of the range price wise.

Last year, Kavalan also released editions matured in other sherry casks, namely Pedro Ximenez, Amontillado, Manzanilla sherry as well as Moscatel and rum.¬† Having tasted all those, I can tell you that I’d love to have a Kavalan Amontillado under my tree (or menorah).

 

 

 

 

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this selection in the comments!

 

 

Nov 172016
 

Here we are at the beginning of the holiday shopping season and gift buying is about to kick into high gear!

I’ll give you my top 12 bottles that would make a great holiday gift. Obviously, they are all bottles I’ve tasted, and many of them adorn my own whisky cabinet. A small note on exchange rates is in order: Post BREXIT, the exchange rates on the price categories have changed. However, stocks in stores were paid for before the Pound’s freefall, and thus relative pricing in stores has not actually changed, keeping our relative price bracket the same as they were in the 2015 edition.

I’ve put stars next to recommendations from last year that made the list again. I guess you could call them my house favorites by now ūüôā

The rules? Easy:

  1. It has to be mass produced and widely available
  2. It has to be a bottle I’d be happy to get (hey, it’s my list….)
  3. It can be a limited edition if it fulfills conditions 1+2

Note that bottles are listed in a completely random order!

Category I – Up to¬†¬£50 (Also ‚ā¨50-60 or $70)

1. Springbank 10

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

Springbank is Capmpeltown’s primary distillery, with every single aspect of the operation done manually, as it was done 100 years ago. The distillery employs some 70 staff, and takes pride in being a source of employment and contribution to the community.

This expression is a mixture of whisky matured in both bourbon and sherry casks, is mildly peated and is presented at 46% ABV in its natural color with no chill filtration. Simply great whisky!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Big Peat Christmas Edition 2016*

Photo Credit: scotchmaltwhisky.co.uk

Big Peat is a favorite blended malt, and I reviewed this particular expression here. The 2016 edition gets a star for making the list again, though obviously last year’s recommendation was for last year’s edition ūüôā

The 2016 edition is an “all Islay” edition, with whisky from all eight operational Islay distilleries, as well as from Port Ellen. This edition is somewhat softer than previous editions and seems to have some first fill ex bourbon casks adding some vanilla and coconut.

Lovely stuff!

 

 

 

 

3. Bunnahabhain 12*

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

The Bunnahabhain 12 is definitely one of my all time favorite entry level whiskies, and serves as my go-to dram at home. You can probably expect this dram on next year’s list as well ūüėČ

In conclusion of my review on this whisky, I wrote: “This is, to me, one of those bottles you can always go back to. Complex and layered, it‚Äôs not really a beginner‚Äôs dram, but one that will hold your interest regardless of how advanced you are in your whisky journey. It‚Äôs also a whisky that delivers one of the better value for money deals out there.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.¬†Aberlour A’bunadh*

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

Now up to batch 56 (released just two weeks ago), this young but yummy cask strength whisky aged in first fill Oloroso sherry casks is a favorite.

Each batch has a different ABV, and is non chill filtered and is non colored. Any of the batches is a good choice, but I’ve heard that the current batch, 55, is one of the steller ones. I have only tasted up to batch 54 at the time of this writing.

 

 

 

5. Benromach 10 Year Old 100 Proof*

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

To me this is the highlight of the Benromach core range.

The sherry is rubust and vibrant on the nose, the peat owns the palate and the spice dominates the finish. It’s like each of the elements owns a part of the dram, and the higher ABV takes a great dram and elevates it to a whole new level.

Powerful stuff!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Lagavulin 16

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

Despite being chill filtered and colored, this is still a great dram. The sherry and the peat work very well together and there’s a good reason this Islay dram is a staple in every whisky cabinet.

Another option is to try the Distiller’s Edition, which is the Lagavulin 16 with an extra finish in Pedro Ximenez sherry casks, although that puts it in the next price bracket.

 

 

 

 

 

¬†Category II – ¬£50-¬£100¬†(Also ‚ā¨120 or $140)

7. Caol Ila “Unpeated Style”

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

This is a regular part of the Diageo Special Releases, with the 2016 edition being a 15 year old, but you can get the 2015 release, a 17 year old, still within this price bracket.

Bottled at cask strength, this bottling represents a lesser known face of Islay’s biggest distillery. Despite being unpeated, there’s an unmistakable smoky signature, placing the whisky pretty much at home on Islay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. Glen Garioch Renaissance Chapter 2 Р16 Year Old

Photo Credit: maltandoak.com

Photo Credit: Lorenzo Dutto for maltandoak.com

I’m really hoping this one actually hits the stores in time for your holiday shopping. It was released in mid September, and I tasted it at the distillery in mid October. This is a 16 year old version of spirit that represents the Glen Garioch’s distillery character, and is the second in a series of four whiskies designed to express the house style of one of my favorite distilleries.

This expression was matured in both bourbon and sherry casks. At the distillery it costs £85, so it should be squarely in this price bracket when it hits the stores.

 

 

 

 

 

9. Glenfarclas 21*

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

The Glenfarclas 21 is a great value, and is definitely my favorite of the range (even more than the higher ups, barring perhaps the 40 year old).

This staunchly independent distillery is exteremely traditional in its approach to whisky making. On one hand, that creates a very consistent line of whiskys. On the other hand, most will find the one expression they favor and stick with it, as the variation between the expressions is relatively limited and¬†they don’t¬†‚Äúdo‚ÄĚ finishes. This is mine…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10. Deanston 18

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

 

Matured in bourbon casks, then finished in first fill bourbon casks, you get the best of both worlds. A soft spirit matured gently in refill bourbon casks with the vanilla and sweet honey punch of first fill bourbon casks. you can read my full review here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Category III –¬†Going All Out

11. Glengoyne 25*

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

If your Christmas gift budget includes bottles in this price range, this bottle is sure to get your intended recipient excited.

One of my alltime favorite sherry bombs, this whisky is well made and is truly a majestic dram, sitting right on the border between a sherry bomb and the old dusty sherry style.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12. Kavalan Solist Fino

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

 

Taiwan has become quite the whisky powerhouse, with Kavalan gaining more and more appreciation and recognition from single malt aficionados the world over. The Solist line – which is the distillery’s cask strength offerings – has included a bourbon, sherry, vihno and fino lineup for a long time. The sherry is a classic sherry bomb and the bourbon is one of the best specimens in the market for a clean bourbon matured whisky, while the fino was at the top of the range price wise.

This year, Kavalan released also editions matured in other sherry casks, namely Pedro Ximenez, Amontillado and Manzanilla sherry. Those I have yet to taste, so obviously, I can’t recommend any of them.

 

 

 

 

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this selection in the comments!

 

 

Dec 072015
 

Here we are just twelve days¬†before Christmas (and it’s the first day of¬†Hanukkah), and gift buying is at its height!

I’ll give you my top 12 bottles that would make a great holiday gift. Obviously, they are all bottles I’ve tasted, and many of them adorn my own whisky cabinet.

Christmas 2015

The rules? Easy:

  1. It has to be mass produced and widely available
  2. It has to be a bottle I’d be happy to get (hey, it’s my list….)
  3. It can be a limited edition if it fulfills conditions 1+2

Note that bottles are listed in a completely random order!

Category I – Up to¬†¬£50 (Also ‚ā¨50-60 or $70)

1. Aberlour A’bunadh

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

53 batches strong, this young but yummy cask strength whisky aged in first fill Oloroso sherry casks is a favorite.

Each batch has a different ABV, and is non chill filtered and is non colored. While the batches are all good, some are better than others. Specifically, the current batch, batch 53, is said to be particularly good.

 

 

 

2. Big Peat Christmas Edition 2015

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

Big Peat is a favorite blended malt, and I reviewed this particular expression here.

In short, when you think of a cold night with a fire roaring in the fireplace, this is what you want in your glass. Young and fresh, there’s something soft in it like the smell of a new log cabin, with the pine resin still faintly noticeable.

Another option: Douglas Laing’s Rock Oyster. Fabulous malt blend, of which I can only wish it was also available in cask strength.

 

 

3. Aultmore 12

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

One of the big surprises for me last year was this expression. Released at 46% ABV and at natural color, this is a beautiful dram (reviewed here)

When Dewar’s announced that alongside the long standing bottlings from Aberfeldy they’ll be bottling single malts from all their distilleries (Aultmore, Royal Brackla, McDuff AKA Deveron and Craigellachie) and doing so at 46% without chill filtration, I rejoiced. The Craigellachie 13 was a little less to my taste, but the Aultmore hit it right on the head.

Sadly, the new Deveron and Brackla expressions were released at 40%.

 

 

4. Bunnahabhain 12

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

Definitely one of my all time favorite entry level whiskies, and my go-to dram at home.

In conclusion of my review on this whisky, I wrote: This is, to me, one of those bottles you can always go back to. Complex and layered, it’s not really a beginner’s dram, but one that will hold your interest regardless of how advanced you are in your whisky journey. It’s also a whisky that delivers one of the better value for money deals out there.

 

 

 

5. Clynelish 14

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

Despite being chill filtered and colored, this is still a great dram. Waxy, dry, floral and citrusy, this is a staple whisky in any collection.

This is a classic every day dram. It won’t blow you off your chair, but it will also never disappoint you, and you can see my review of it here.

I had a hard time deciding if I wanted to recommend this whisky or the Lagavulin 16, which is equally dependable, just on the peated side. Since the Laga will make an appearance in the next bracket, I chose the Clynelish.

 

 

6. Benromach 10 Year Old 100 Proof

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

To me this is the highlight of the Benromach core range.

The sherry is rubust and vibrant on the nose, the peat owns the palate and the spice dominates the finish. It’s like each of the elements owns a part of the dram, and the higher ABV takes a great dram and elevates it to a whole new level.

Powerful stuff!

 

 

 

Category II – ¬£50-¬£100¬†(Also ‚ā¨120 or $140)

7. Lagavulin 12

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

This is a regular part of the Diageo Special Releases, with the 2015 edition being the 15th release.

Bottled at cask strength out of great ex bourbon casks, this is a perennial favorite. There is some variance from year to year, but overall this is a great expression with a lot of consistency.

 

 

 

8. GlenDronach 21 Parliament

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:  thewhiskyexchange.com

Oloroso and Pedro Ximénez aged GlenDronach spirit, from the time that the stills were direct fired. This gives a coal smoke quality to the whisky, which is a pleasure to pick out from under the sherry.

This expression takes the term ‚Äėheavily sherried‚Äô to new heights. The PX imparts a very heavy sweetness, and it’s a real sipper for those long winter nights.

Why is it called “Parliament”? You can find the answer in my full review here.

 

 9. Glenfarclas 21

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

The Glenfarclas 21 is a great value, and is definitely my favorite of the range (even more than the higher ups, barring perhaps the 40 year old).

This staunchly independent distillery is exteremely traditional in its approach to whisky making. On one hand, that creates a very consistent line of whiskys. On the other hand, most will find the one expression they favor and stick with it, as the variation between the expressions is relatively limited¬†as they don’t¬†‚Äúdo‚ÄĚ finishes. This is mine…

 

 

10. Laphraoig 18

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

This is probably the last year that you’ll be able to get this expression as it’s, sadly, designated for discontinuation.

Milder and deeper than the 10 year old, and somewhat different than the 15 year old, this is, nevertheless, a modern Laphroaig.

If the recipient of your gift likes peat, they’ll love this expression.

 

 

 

Category III –¬†Going All Out

11. Glengoyne 25

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

If your Christmas gift budget includes bottles in this price range, this bottle is sure to get your intended recipient excited.

One of my favorite sherry bombs, this whisky is well made and is truly a majestic dram, sitting right on the border between a sherry bomb and the old dusty sherry style.

 

 

 

 

12. Talisker 30

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

Originally, both the 25 and the 30 year old Taliskers were part of Diageo’s annual Special Releases series, and at that point they were released at cask strength.

Both were taken off ‚Äúspecial release‚ÄĚ status¬†in 2011 and reduced to 45.8% ABV, now part of the core range of the distillery.

You can find my full review here. As far as core range whiskies go, this one is right up there at the pinnacle, and a bottle I would love owning.

 

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this selection in the comments!

 

 

Feb 162015
 

This post completes the current Aultmore trilogy, as the future holds a release of a 30 and a 35 year old expressions. To this point, we have explored the Aultmore 12 (and loved it), and the travel retail exclusive 21 year old (and was less than blown away), which brings us to the 25 year old.

Photo Credit: GEOGRAPH.ORG.UK

Photo Credit: GEOGRAPH.ORG.UK

The distillrey was established by Alexander Edward (owner of the Benrinnes, Craigellachie and Oban distilleries) in 1897, just in time for the big whisky bust years, and being partially owned by the Pattison brothers, it promptly closed until 1904, then¬†stopped production during World War I due to barley shortages. The distillery didn’t really make it back on its feet until its 1923 purchase by Dewar’s, bringing it into the DCL fold in 1925.

In 1971 Aultmore was expanded and capacity doubled with the installation of 2 new stills, currently producing at full capacity making 3,000,000 litres of spirit per year, the vast majority of it going into Dewar’s blends. There were only three official bottling: A Flora and Fauna 12 released in 1991, a Rare Malt Selection 21 year old cask strength release in 1996 and an official 12 year old released in 2004 that just disappeared off the markets at some point (some digging brought up this picture).

The current release of a full core range is part of Bacardi’s very recent push into the single malt market with the “Last Great Malts” series bottling full core ranges from the Dewar’s distillery portfolio. Craigellachie came out in 2014 with a 13, 17, 19, 23 and 31 year old series, Aultmore with a 12, 21, 25 and in the future adding a 30 and 35 year old with Royal Brackla and Macduff (The Deveron) to the offerings in 2015.

There is one issue with this series which I have addressed in my review of the Craigellachie 23 – pricing. Bar none, this series was priced at the very top of their age classes (with the Craigellachie 23 even overreaching the class), and the Aultmore isn’t different. The 25 year old is priced at ¬£296, compared to Glenfarclas’ ¬£117, Glenlivet’s ¬£199, Glengoyne’s ¬£235 and Bunnahabhain’s XXV at ¬£218, all of whom are better whiskys (in this writer’s humble opinion and with any other applicable disclaimer inserted¬†here ūüôā ).

Photo Credit: whiskyshop.com

Photo Credit: whiskyshop.com

Aultmore 25 Year Old (46% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Gold, thin legs with liquid residue left on glass.

Nose: Deep clean honey, floral notes, dusty spices and a hint of that clean coal fire I detected in the 21 year old. There’s citrus, but less lemony than the 21 and some orange showing up in the sweetness.

Palate: Sweetness first as it runs on the tongue, then the spices hit followed by the very zesty citrus. A mature freshness is to be found in this bottle, with a full bodied yet light mouth feel.

Linger: Honey, light bitterness, a lingering sweetness with spice in the back of the throat. After some time, the very long finish produces green apples once the spices abate. This expression has an excellent finish!

Conclusion

Putting the price issue aside, the extra four years deliver a dram which has matured into a more interesting dram than the 21, and has a little more of what made the 12 a great tipple in it. Nevertheless, I like the 12 better, so I won’t even go into the value for money aspect, which is self evident.

 

Feb 142015
 

This is a milestone post for Malt and Oak, as today’s post is our 200th. I did a year in numbers post on December 31st, so I’ll spare you the numbers recap, but will take this opportunity to thank you for your readership, feedback and engagement!!

Photo Credit: almightydad.com/

Photo Credit: almightydad.com/

On to the whisky now….I’m tasting the new Bacardi “Last Great Malts” Aultmore releases. My (very positive) review of the 12 year old appeared within the series on entry level malts, and can be found here. Having completed that series, I’ll explore the other two Aultmore expressions, the travel retail 21 year old and the 25 year old, with a 30 and 35 year old expressions planned for the future.

Photo Credit: whisky-discovery.blogspot.com

Photo Credit: whisky-discovery.blogspot.com

Like the Craigellachie expressions, the official bottlings are ex bourbon cask matured. On the one hand, this allows the spirit to really shine through, on the other hand, with the younger Craigellachie expression, this choice was to the detriment of the whisky. With Aultmore it isn’t, and the 12 year old is actually a wonderfully complex and fresh whisky, and one that will make its way to my own cabinet. And here’s where the 21 year old came up short: On the one hand, it lacks the endearing freshness of the 12, and on the other hand, it has not truly developed a character of its own. I haven’t yet had the 25 (I’ll get to it over the weekend), so I can’t make the comparison to it yet, but the 12 year old is the better of the two, and if you factor in value for money considerations, is a walkaway winner.

Aultmore 21 Year Old, Batch 107 (46% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Gold, slow forming slim legs.

Nose: Honey, light spices, wet moss, a sour note, lemon (but not a clean lemon scent), lightly vegetal note and a curious coal fire note. A few drops of water tease out more of the toasted/coal scent.

Palate: Lemony citrus, dusty spice, some sweetness and then a light note of bitter citrus comes through.

Linger: Sweet lemon, very spicy in the back of the throat and a tartness on the inside of the cheeks. A sensation remains in the mouth for a while (a warmness and a tartness) but almost no discernible flavors.

Conclusion

On the one hand, the 21 lacks the delightful freshness of the 12 and on the other hand has not developed any type of gravitas from being older. So in one word, this is a disappointment. It also explains why there’s not 15 or 18 year old in the range – there’s simply nothing going on there…

I don’t know how much it costs, but given the pricing the 12 year old and the Craigellachie range, it’s surely priced well beyond its value.