Category Archives: Single Malt

Mackmyra tasting at Olrepubliken, Gothenburg.

Pubs are currently closed in Ireland for the COVID pandemic – yet they remained open in Sweden.

On a previous visit to Gothenburg I had the pleasure of enjoying one of them.

There’s a different feel to the bars in Sweden. Licencing laws require food to be served & consequently tables & chairs are common place – rather than nooks & crannies.

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Whisky central! c/othewhiskeynut

At Ölrepubliken I sat myself down by the bar counter to admire the whisky selection & chat with the friendly staff.

Ardbeg was in abundance – Ölrepukliken are ambassadors for the brand – but it was Swedish Whisky that interested me.

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Swedish & Scotch in Gothenburg c/othewhiskeynut

By way of a starter – a glass from the small cask in the corner was offered.

Mackmyra staff regularly top up this barrel with cask strength products in a solera style system.

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Mackmyra Reserve Cask c/othewhiskeynut

How cool is that!

A unique taste experience every time you visit!

Luckily for me the current contents consisted of a smoky – or rök in Swedish – element augmented by bourbon & sherry casks too.

It certainly warmed me up!

Rich notes of vanilla & dark fruits. No chill filtering or added caramel here. A dry savouriness – almost chewy.

Gorgeous!

A whisky menu was proffered &  a private bottling for the bar featuring more rök malt finished in oloroso was next.

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Mackmyra Reserve c/othewhiskeynut

The contrast between the dry smokiness & the sweet luxurious fruits really worked well.

Wonderful!

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Which one? c/othewhiskeynut

To finish off a clutch of silver labelled, black banded Mackmyras caught my eye.

Part of the Moment Range I’d never encountered before.

I chose Jakt – named after the Swedish wine casks it’s finished in.

Who knew Sweden even did wine?

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Jakt Whisky c/othewhiskeynut

At 48.1% Jakt didn’t quite have the punch of the cask strength beauties I’d just engaged with.

Nonetheless rich fruity notes blossomed in a softly complex display of sumptuousness.

Picking a favourite? – it would have to be the Ölrepubliken Cask.

The full strength rök offering in a unique combination of finishes just blew me away.

If your looking for a taste of Swedish Whiskey – Ölrepubliken is the place to go!

Skål!

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Speyside Selection, Glenlivet v’s GlenAllachie.

Lockdown means opening & sampling my accumulated miniature collection.

A Speyside trio surfaced.

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A trio of Glens. c/othewhiskeynut

How would the old established Glenlivet fare against the newly rebranded & refurbished GlenAllachie?

Now Speyside is single malt central.

The largest concentration of distilleries, the biggest sales & market leading brands – but I’m not a fan.

If smooth honeyed sweet, subtle & soft sherry influenced malt is your thing – heaven.

My tendency is for bold & exciting whiskey – but the GlenAllachie design caught my eye and I’d not encountered it before.

So with that caveat in mind – what did I find?

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Glenlivet 12 c/othewhiskeynut

The archetypical Glenlivet 12 delivered it’s subtle sweet Speyside Malt signature statement.

Nothing here for me.

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GlenAllachie 12 c/othewhiskeynut

GlenAllachie 12 was an immediate improvement. Cleaner, fresher & more pronounced flavours. Perhaps the 46% ABV, non chill-filtered & natural colour presentation helps. A nice little bite at the end & longer lasting bourbony notes too.

This raised my hopes for the GlenAllachie 10 Cask Strength.

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GlenAllachie 10 CS c/othewhiskeynut

Oh dear!

The nose was inviting – but not overpowering.

The palate was just – well – empty!

I struggled to get anything here before the 54.8% ABV kicked in giving an alcoholic rush to the proceedings.

Even though I was disappointed with the Cask Strength – sampling this trio solidified 3 truisms of mine.

1 – Speyside doesn’t suit my palate.

2 – Anything without e150 & chill filtering is automatically more agreeable.

3 – If Cask Strength is your only character – something else is missing.

Stay safe & enjoy whatever your having.

Sláinte

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Rampur Select, Single Malt, 43%

With all the COVID travel restrictions – 2km from home in Ireland – it’s great to taste the world of flavour through whiskey.

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Rampur packaging c/othewhiskeynut

Rampur Select is one of a few Indian brands made to European Union rules that allow it to be marketed there.

The actual distillery – Radico Khaitan – has been making spirits since 1943 and have obviously built up a wealth of experience & knowledge.

The packaging is exquisite.

An outer tube embossed in golden lettering extolling the virtues of the Maharajas.

A luxurious inner bag proudly displaying the company logo.

And the bottle itself – replete with an attractively clean design – clearly stating non chill filtered.

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Front label c/othewhiskeynut

So far so good.

But what of the taste?

Well the nose immediately transported me to a land of exotic fruits – not that I’ve tasted many!

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Back label c/othewhiskeynut

It was certainly enticing & intriguing.

A gentle mouthfeel eased me in.

Rich dark fruits flowed over the palate – reminiscent of sultanas.

A lovely spicy hit on the finish – more peppery than curry – rounded things off on a flourish.

There’s a richness & depth to this single malt that entertained me.

I gladly roamed the Himalayan foothills drinking the delights of this exotic elixir.

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Class cork! c/othewhiskeynut

Roll on Indian Whisky.

Sláinte

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Loch Lomond, Triple Pack, Single Malts, 46% x 3

Oh dear!

Are you ever disappointed reading positive reviews & kind comments regarding a whisky or distillery?

Well Loch Lomond was my moment.

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Loch Lomond miniature pack c/othewhiskeynut

Presented in an attractive triple pack for last years Open Golf Tournament – these 3 whiskies promised ‘innovation & character’.

I got smooth, soft, caramel laden blandness.

It started with Inchmurrin Madeira Cask.

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Mit Farbstoff c/othewhiskeynut

A fudgy caramel nose immediately repulsed me. The palate was far more forthcoming though. Soft fruits danced merrily with a lovely little flourish of gentle prickly spice on the finish.

The Lock Lomond 12yo was a sweet, honeyed, biscuity Single Malt that just lacked character.

I was hoping the peated Inchmoan would save the day.

Alas not!

Any welcome oomph the peat would deliver just got drowned out by soft, smooth blandness on the palate. Only on the finish did a gentle smokiness make it’s presence known.

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Nice design! c/othewhiskeynut

If I’m looking for caramelly single malts, Ben Bracken offers the same experience at half the price. Their Islay version knocks the socks off Inchmoan.

It’s not often I leave unfinished miniatures behind……………

If throwing caramel at your single malts is ‘innovative’ – forget it.

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Michael Collins, Single Malt, 40%

One of the last bars I entered before the COVID19 shutdown was Garavan’s in Galway.

There on the shelves was an old acquaintance of mine – Michael Collins Whiskey.

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Single Malt c/othewhiskeynut

Michael Collins is an iconic figure in Irish history. To name a whiskey brand after him celebrates that history.

When having a glass I not only enjoy the whiskey – I also wonder at the momentous changes Michael Collins witnessed – and eagerly participated in – a hundred years ago. There is a similarity to the current changes we are living through with the pandemic.

I ponder at the beauty and longevity of a brand too.

It can outlive changes in distilleries that supply the spirit.

It can overcome changes in ownership.

It can constantly change & adapt to the availability of casks – altering the blending ratios accordingly to produce the finished product.

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I polished off the blend! c/othewhiskeynut

Yet it’s still remains the same brand.

The Single Malt version before me was the old ‘baseball bat’ shaped bottle originally commissioned by Sidney Frank Importing Co. There is no age statement with this one.

It had a smooth honeyed maltiness to begin with. A characterful bite followed by a touch of dryness on the finish – perhaps reflecting a smidge of smokiness – which is more evident in the 10 Year Old Single Malt offering.

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Michael Collins 10yo c/owhiskyauctioneer

Sazerac now own the brand.

I eagerly await their reincarnation of Michael Collins Whiskey.

Just as I look forward to the end of the pandemic – and welcome in whatever changed reality exists in the future.

Long live the brand!

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Currach, Single Malt Irish Whiskey, 46%

Unprecedented times.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic all Irish Pubs are closed for St Patrick’s Day!

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COVID-19 closures c/otwitter

That didn’t stop a gathering of Irish Whiskey Fans over on the #SundayNightSup twitter site from gathering online to partake of the world’s first seaweed charred whiskey!

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Irish Whiskey – with a flourish of seaweed! c/othewhiskeynut

Yes – you heard that right – seaweed!

Irish Atlantic Kombu Kelp is a natural resource harvested, dried & then used to char virgin oak casks at the West Cork Distillers premises. Their triple distilled single malt is then finished in these casks for three months.

The results are simply fantastic!

The nose had an intriguing earthy, almost savoury appeal.

The palate started off soft & malty smooth – very approachable – as those meaty umami flavours grew to coat the mouth in a creamy silkiness.

A drying white peppery spice added a final flourish to this fabulously engaging whiskey.

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A lovely pour! c/othewhiskeynut

Congratulations to all the team at both West Cork Distillers and Origin Spirits for putting this highly innovative Irish Whiskey together.

Sláinte

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Currach Single Malt Irish Whiskey is available online from Celtic Whiskey Shop & IrishMalts.

The sample was kindly supplied by Origin Spirits.

All views – as always – are entirely mine.

 

Eden Mill, Burns Day 2017, 2 Year Old Spirit, 43%

Well, if your gonna do Burns Night you might as well open something special.

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What’s inside the box? c/othewhiskeynut

This Burns Day 2017 Spirit from the Eden Mill Distillery in Fife, Scotland, was part of a trilogy marking the coming of age of their own distillate.

I picked it up whilst visiting the distillery in Guardbridge a few years ago.

It has a number of things going for it.

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Eden Mill distillate c/othewhiskeynut

The use of different malt varieties –  Crystal & Brown malts have had additional roasting to boost flavour – as well as virgin oak maturation – would suggest this is an eminently quaffable & flavoursome spirit.

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Back label c/othewhiskeynut

In other jurisdictions – America – this is whiskey.  Just as it would have been in Burns day before the advent of age rules.  So I cracked it open to sample the delights within.

First off – the colour.

In keeping with Eden Mill’s ethos, I’m banking this is natural colour from both the toasted malt & virgin oak barrel.

Second off – it’s young, it’s fresh & it’s very engaging!

A lovely strong vanilla from the virgin oak casks comes through with a bit of bourbony toastiness – and a spirity kick.

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In the glass! c/othewhiskeynut

On the palate it starts off smoothly. There’s not much body or depth – but the flavours are clean, fresh & lively!

There’s a slight tannic spiciness on the finish leaving a pleasant prickly tingling.

For a 2yo – there is no new make aroma – this possesses the rudiments of a lovely young malt.

Very enjoyable.

Looking forward to future releases from Eden Mill.

Sláinte

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Burns Nectar, Single Malt Scotch, 40%

Ah – Burns Night.

The annual celebration that elevates the simple act of tucking into haggis, neeps & tatties – washed down with a Scotch – into an extravaganza of a marketing ploy & cultural highlight for Scotland, it’s people, the place and above all – the whisky.

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Burns Nectar, House of MacDuff. c/othewhiskeynut

Rabbie Burns image adorns many a bottle, T-shirt, mug or poster as ubiquitously as Che Guevara’s does in other places. Burns predates Guevara’s rebellious nature by supporting the French Revolution of 1789.

Both have become re-invented & re-packaged as popular icons – often disassociated from the narrative of their actual lived lives.

Burns Nectar Single Malt is just one manifestation of this trend.

A sweet honeyed aroma on the nose.

There’s a touch of character on the palate however.

Smooth & sweet to begin with, it dries out midway displaying some dark fruitiness & a touch of tobacco.

A playful prickly tingling is left on the finish.

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Burns in the Tuath Glass c/othewhiskeynut

Rabbie Burns eked out a living as an impoverished farmer, later elevating his earnings as a tax collector.

His fame as a poet mainly came posthumously – and continues to rise today.

Sláinte

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Mackmyra, Svensk Rök, Single Malt, 46.1%

Swedish Whisky.

Well worth visiting.

I haven’t had a duff one yet.

This subtly smoky Svensk Rök is no exception.

Smoky Swede c/othewhiskeynut

Wholly made with Swedish ingredients, non chill filtered & presented at natural colour – this is a gorgeous whisky.

Pale straw in appearance – the nose is invitingly softly smoky, clean & fresh.

Delightfully smooth on the palate initially, a slowly building warm woody campfire heats up into a spicy dry embracing smokiness.

I didn’t want the flickering embers & warm glow of the long finish to expire.

A highly enjoyable smoky Swede from the Mackmyra stable.

Slàinte

Sample bottle courtesy Irish Drams

Ballechin 10 Year Old, Single Malt, 46%

Mindful of my own advice to not store whiskey too long before consumption, I looked into one of my storage cupboards – dark & at constant temperature – to find a shocking amount of bottles.

The Ballechin was one that attracted me.

It had a few things going for it.

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Class! c/othewhiskeynut

To begin with – it was a small bottle that wouldn’t be around for long after opening. More pertinently it bore 3 phrases pleasing to my palate; unchill filtered, natural colour & heavily peated.

Class!

The nose was a mixture of peat smoke infused with dark stone fruits.

Rather than a dry ashy peatiness – a luscious smooth & engaging fruitiness eased me into a warming peat fire which wrapped me in it’s cosy embrace.

A gorgeously engaging whiskey to savor.

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Info on the box c/othewhiskeynut

Emanating from Edradour Distilley in the Highlands – the Ballechin is a run of peated malt they do.

Interestingly, for the first 160 years of it’s existence from 1825, there were no single malt bottlings. All product was used for fillings in the highly successful blended scotch market. Only in 1986 did Edradour start releasing their own single malts when that category began to rise in popularity.

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Whiskypedia c/othewhiskeynut

All this information was gleaned from Charles MaClean’s Whiskipedia book.

Which is a mine of information on Scottish Whisky Distilleries.

The perfect accompaniment to a great whisky.

Sláinte

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