Jan 052020

I’m beginning a review of the Distell Limited Edition for 2019, and we’ll start with the 2006 Fino Finish.


Image result for distell limited edition releases 2019

This release includes eight expressions, three each from Deanston and Bunnahabhain, and two from Tobermory, a Tobermory and a Ledaig:

  • Deanston 1997 21 Year Old Palo Cortado Finish
  • Deanston 2002 16 Year Old Organic Oloroso Finish
  • Deanston 2006 12 Year Old Fino Finish
  • Bunnahabhain 2007 11 Year Old Port Pipe Finish
  • Bunnahabhain 2007 11 Year Old French Brandy Finish
  • Bunnahabhain 1988 30 Year Old Marsala Finish
  • Tobermory 1999 19 Year Old Marsala Cask Finish
  • Ledaig 1997 21 Year Old Manzanilla Cask Finish

I’ve mentioned more than once on these pages that I have a great admiration for the way Distell’s Burn Stewart treats its whisky, having taken the whole range to bottlings of over 46% (to the very specific 46.3%, or higher), with no colorants and no chill filtration used for any single malts. Add that to access to some stellar casks (being used very smartly for various finishes throughout the three distilleries and showcased in the Limited Editions and in the BYO casks at each distillery), and you have a winning formula.

This is the second annual Limited Edition, and Distell has released a beautiful video review of all eight malts. The tasting is led by Master Blender Dr. Kirstie McCallum, Blender Julianne Fernandez and Distell’s Distilleries Manager Stephen Woodcock.  If you want to watch it, you’ll find it here, and this particular bottle is presented at 15:47.

This whisky spent 9.5 years in ex-bourbon casks, and was then transferred to


Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

Deanston 2006, 12 Year Old Fino Finish, 268 Bottles (55% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Deep gold, very thin and slow legs.

Nose: Yellow plums and bright green grapes, with nutmeg, a touch of hay, notes of white pepper and a hit of golden raisins. It’s malty with those golden fruits. Your nose wants to shout banana, but it’s not quite that. Most intriguing…

Palate: Thick and full bodied, you get spices with some chalk and plums and raisins. Almonds with a cinnamon dusting, and a fruity sweetness.

Linger: Pepper and a dry note, with some real fruitiness. The dryness lingers on the tongue and the insides of the cheeks.


This is a dram where the fruit and the spice work very nicely together.

Nov 032014

One of the most popular dream drams at the London Whisky Show was the 1966 Glenfarclas aged in Fino Sherry casks, and no wonder, as you don’t get to see Fino Sherry coming out of Glenfarclas every day. The official story is of long forgotten casks, which then had to be traced back to diaries kept by 4th generation George Grant, who was at the helm from 1949 to 2002.

Photo Credit: thedrinksbusiness.com

This expression is the harbinger of a new series of six whiskies, celebrating each of the six generation of the Grant family, who have owned Glenfarclas since 1865. This one is dedicated to John Grant, founder of the dynasty. There’s no information yet on the next expression. presumingly honoring George Grant. His namesake, Brand Ambassador George S. Grant, with whom I chatted in London, said in a press release that the next expression in the series will be totally different.



Glenfarclas 1966 Fino Casks, Casks 4194, 4195 and 4197 distilled 23/9/1966, bottled 18/12/2013, 1/1444 bottles (50.5% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Bronze, thin legs and quite a bit of residue drops

Nose: It’s clearly Glenfarclas, but gone is the sweetness of the nose, which obviously makes sense when you replace the Oloroso with Fino. The nose starts out with some tart notes with some citrus and becoming more sour as it opens. With the sour notes, a tantalizing sweet distant flower note appears. Curiously, the malt is still on the nose despite all those years in the cask.

Palate: Dry on the palate, with sweet and bitter notes playing across the mouth. It’s spicy, but not peppery (more like allspice or white pepper).

Linger: Long with a tangy sourness remaining on the tongue with light spice and floral notes remaining.


This was another face of Glenfarclas I got to see, following the previous day’s Port Cask I previously reviewed. Fresh, despite being 47 years old, this is a great dram with a very subtle complexity to it.

I can definitely say I’m curiously looking forward to the other expressions in this series.

On another note, I’ll be celebrating my 45th birthday on December 12th.  My friend and fellow blogger Yoav of Whisky Gospel noticed that my tasting list is at 460 malts, and challenged me to make 500 by my birthday by tasting one new dram a day until then. I accepted the challenge (which is considerably faster than my normal rate of tasting, shows and festivals not included), and plan to have my birthday dram – a Glenfarclas 1969 Family Cask, incidentally –  coincide with my 500th single malt.

Jul 262014

Old Pulteney is one of the smaller distilleries, despite the fact that it can make an impressive 1.8 million liters per year. It’s located in Wick, and until 2012 was the most northern distillery on the mainland. Old Pulteney is known for its oily body and brininess and fully stands up to its moniker “The Maritime Whisky” harking back both to its location and to Wick’s prominence in the herring fishing industry of yesteryear, as well as to a maritime set of flavors in the whisky. A little known interesting fact is that between 1925 and 1947 the Burgh of Wick had its own local prohibition, making the town dry for those 22 years.

The distillery is owned by Inver House, itself owned by Thai Beverage, together with Balblair, Knockdhu (AnCnoc brand), Speyburn and Balmenach.

Ran, my friend, is a bit of an OP buff, and has a beautiful selection of expressions in his home. He’s VERY selective about pours from the OP bottles (Which sit way high up out of reach), as you just can’t get them here. So when he offered that we take a look at the 21, I was honored. This is a dram with its own character, with a lovely salt and spice interplay.

The whisky was matured in fino sherry butts and bourbon casks,  is natural color and somewhat oily, which is normally the product of short, stout stills. My fascination with still shapes is well known (you can read more about it here) And Pulteney has an interesting story:

Photo Credit: scotchodysseyblog.com

Photo Credit: scotchodysseyblog.com

You’ll notice that the top of the wash still, on the left, seems sawed off. Legend has it, that when the stills arrived from the coppersmith, the wash still was too tall to fit into the distillery, and had to have to top cut off and sealed. I wasn’t there, but it sure makes for a great story!


Photo Credit: www.whisky-online.com

Photo Credit: www.whisky-online.com

Old Pulteney 21 (46% ABV, NCF, NC)

Color: Copper, thin legs.

Nose: Big spice on the nose, fino sherry, there’s some lacticity there though nowhere near what you’d expect to find in a Bruichladdich, and a little toward the cheesey side, salt and as it settles, the sultana raisins get more pronounced.

Palate: Salt and pepper, sherry and sultana raisins, sweet berries and some lacticity in a mouth filling oily liquid.

Linger: Long and peppery, with some sweetness, somewhat like the linger of a cheescake with berry drizzle.


This is a very maritime whisky, with the which is clearly the character of the distillery. The combination of the brine with the spice and sherry works extremely well. As I mentioned, Inver House brands are not imported to Israel, so again I wish to thank Ran for sharing this beauty with me.