I probably rant and rave about these in every newsletter but here are my favourite whiskies at a great price. Perfect gifts this Christmas or even for a birthday.
Ben Nevis Aged 10 Years
This 10 year old single malt was introduced to the world back in 1996 and since starting out slow at first, has taken the world by storm. It has everything you could wish for in a single malt, everything. There’s a touch of peat, a mouthful of oak, a pinch of bourbon, a tickle of sherry and a smooth mouth watering feeling on the palate. Let’s not forget the sweetness is so well balanced and memorable.
It is the Ben Nevis distilleries largest selling single malt whisky and in Jim Murray’s “Whisky Bible 2014” he explains “such a massive introduction to the palate: soft oils, citrus notes and very big oak on the malt, but sweet enough to chew forever; the integration of the oak really makes for some finish: long, hints of bitter roast coffee against the sweet oils; the nose makes you say oh-oh, but you need a knife, a fork, a spoon and napkin for the taste”.
If you have never tried it you can not call yourself a whisky enthusiast, if you have you’re probably already checking out and anticipating its delivery.
My Tasting Notes
Nose: Fresh with a rich fruitiness. A snifter of oak, a punch of toffee, fresh figs, sultanas softened, plum jam, orange marmalade, full of character.
Taste: The slightly dry mouthfeel is outstanding, you start you start to chew. Creamy toffee mixes with fudge, you get pops of oak. There’s malted barley, christmas cake, subtle vanilla and little peaty notes, you continue to chew.
Finish: This must not come to the end. Balanced spice, dark chocolate, caramel, the richness lingers and the memory remains. The finish is very very long but never long enough.
Edradour Aged 12 Years Caledonia
Caledonia Edradour is a special release, selected by songwriter Dougie Maclean and named after his famous song, Caledonia. The handmade single malt is a small batch bottling.
“I wrote Caledonia, in 1977 on a beach in Brittany, France, when I was genuinely homesick for Scotland. My life has always been based in Perthshire. For me, the location of Edradour, with its neat cluster of whitewashed buildings, traditional equipment and employment of ancient methods of making single malt whisky, combined with its state of the art bottling facility, typify Caledonia. So it is great to be joining forces with Andrew Symington and Edradour Distillery, to bring you this wonderfully rich and complex 12 year old single malt.” Dougie Maclean
At a strength of 46% abv and unchillfiltered, Caledonia retains maximum flavour with great depth and body. Initial maturation in ex-bourbon casks followed by an Oloroso Finish of 4-5 years. An old fashioned whisky for those looking for how whisky used to be made.
My Tasting Notes
Nose: Rich and creamy with honey sweetness. Fresh figs and dates, soft sherry, hints of oak. Manuka honey notes, polished leather and hints of tobacco. Dark chocolate and orange marmalade, toasted nuts.
Palate: Mouth coating, rich and robust, stewed red berries, treacle toffee, splashes of sherry, caramel and toasted almonds. Freshly toasted bread and salted butter.
Finish: Coats the back palate, cocoa, think spiced hot chocolate with fairy floss.
Douglas Laing Fettercairn Aged 8 Years
This independently bottled single cask, single malt Scotch whisky has been matured for 8 years in a refill Hogshead. It was distilled in May 2008 and bottled at 46% in May 2016. It is part of the Povenance range of whisky bottled Douglas Laing.
My Tasting Notes
Nose: A bag of toffee which has started to melt in the heat, violet crumble bars deep-fried, candy floss, toasted porridge oats, stewed fruits and plenty of vanilla.
Palate: Screams barley sugars, lemons and limes, oranges and apples, there’s more toffee, rice bubbles with sugar on top, creamy vanilla yoghurt.
Finish: The vanilla toffee is long and there’s more fruits and barley sugars.
The Macallan Edition 2
Another incredibly attractive bottling from The Macallan distillery. This second release from the Macallan Edition series is a collaboration between Master Whisky Blender Bob Dalgarno and the three brothers behind El Celler de Can Roca which was named World’s Best Restaurant twice by Restaurant Magazine. I’d imagine this partnership would pull a few tempting taste buds together!
This whisky is created by drawing whisky from a combination of European Oak and American Oak barrels. A combination of Sherry puncheons, butts and refill hogsheads to be exact. It is then bottled at 48.2% and is a remarkable whisky, probably our pick of the year so far.
My Tasting Notes
Nose: The oak is very appealing and warm which just parts enough to let through some coffee coated sponge cake. There’s a freshly bag of brown sugar that’s just been opened, so fresh and mildly sweet. A ginger spiciness is lingering as are some summer berries and raisins.
Taste: It starts with figs, prunes, dates and Sherry soaked raisins. Dried apricots and pears drizzled with brown sugar. There’s that ginger again which is balanced well with fennel and citrus peel. The oak on the palate is truly amazing.
Finish: Fresh sponge cake, Christmas pudding with citrus and raisins. A delicious delicate spice.
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