Category Archives: Single Malt

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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My Irish Whiskey Release Of 2019

Irish Whiskey has had a tremendous year.

It is finally coming out of the doldrums first entered in the late 1800’s.

It’s true potential is demonstrated with exciting new Irish Whiskey expressions being released on an almost weekly basis by a growing band of blenders, bottlers, bonders & distilleries.

One market Irish Whiskey has re-entered with a bang is the ultra premium category.

It was done with aplomb, style and a certain amount of swagger.

I give you J.J. Corry’s The Chosen.

Chosen independent.ie
Louise McGuane launches The Chosen c/oindependent.ie

Now I can’t say I’ve ever tasted the whiskey, but having sampled a few of the casks maturing at J.J. Corry’s bonded warehouse in Co Clare, I can appreciate the high quality of spirits being nurtured there.

Presented in a stunning handmade cut crystal decanter – along with an ultra deluxe hand carved ash cabinet too – The Chosen set the whiskey internet buzzing.

Chosen 4
The Chosen c/o@ChapelGate

It puts Irish Whiskey centre stage – where it belongs.

Congratulations to all the team at J.J. Corry, J. Hill’s Standard and John Galvin Design for delivering this stunning package to market.

Let there be many more.

Slàinte

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Islay Storm, Single Malt, 40%, The Sequel

After my initial findings with a washed out bottle of Islay Storm from last year – available here – I chanced upon a miniature bottle sporting a shiny new label & thought I’d check it out.

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A fresh Storm c/othewhiskeynut

I still had the old bottle – so did a comparison.

First off – the older bottle is slightly darker.

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Dark Storm v Light Storm? c/othewhiskeynut

More added caramel?

Longer in the cask?

A completely different source of single malt?

All of the above?

Who knows?

Being an independent bottling for C.S. James & Sons Ltd of Glasgow there is no guarantee what was in the old bottle is the same as the new. It’s the same for all bottlings – they change & evolve -and I have no problem with that.

On the nose the miniature was cleaner, fresher & more lively.

A lovely bright & full on smoky peat hit enveloped my palate from the start. Briny & a tad sweet at the end – but very enjoyable.

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Dull Storm c/othewhiskeynut

The old bottle was dull & flat in comparison. Only on the finish did the ashy peat rise up to give some life to the washed out contents.

If you enjoy a smoky number – Islay Storm clearly delivers.

Just drink your bottle in timely fashion to get the full effect!

Sláinte

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The Ileach, 40% + Cask Strength, 58%, Single Malts

The Ileach can mean a number of things.

The Ileach – the people of Islay – an island off the west coast of Scotland.

The Ileach – an independent newspaper read on Islay.

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A miniature Ileach c/othewhiskeynut

The Ileach – a pleasantly sweet peated whisky distilled in one of the nine whisky distilleries on Islay.

The nine are – in alphabetical order;

Ardbeg

Ardnahoe

Bowmore

Bruichladdich

Bunnahabhain

Caol Ila

Kilchoman

Lagavulin and

Laphroaig

If you’re looking for something a bit more punchier – The Ileach Cask Strength at 58% is yer man.

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A Cask Strength Ileach c/othewhiskeynut

Packing a lot more peat for yer pennies – or should that be pounds?

I picked up my miniature at the Wee Couper Of Fife Whiskey Shop in Anstruther last summer.

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The Wee Couper Of Fife Whisky Shop c/othewhiskeynut

They kindly gave me a taster of the Cask Strength Ileach.

Smashing!

Sláinte

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W.D. O’Connell, Bill Phil Peated Series, 47.5% vs 17 Year Old PX Series, 46%, Single Malts.

W.D. O’Connell are part of the next generation of Irish Whiskey brands/bottlers/bonders and distillers that have exploded onto the scene.

Labelling themselves as ‘Whiskey Merchants’, W.D. O’Connell source their spirit from existing distilleries – and have it finished to their own requirements.

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Bill on the left, PX to right c/othewhiskeynut

Showcased for the first time at Whiskey Live Dublin 2019– where I had a quick sample – as well as a tweet tasting I missed – I did get a couple of sample bottles for my tasting pleasure.

Bill Phil, Peated Series, 47.5%

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Peated Series c/othewhiskeynut

Peat – or turf in Ireland – is a flavour profile that has been absent in Irish Whiskey for too long. It’s a style I enjoy & I celebrate with open arms any newcomer’s reinterpretation of this distinctive character.

That lovely warm smokiness just captivated me straight away. Clear, crisp & slightly meaty. A joy to behold.

Delightfully young & fresh on the palate. The ashy peat smoke develops into an all embracing toastiness that wraps you heartily like a turf fueled fire.

A frisson of nutmegy spice dances merrily on the finish.

A stunner of a malt.

17 Year Old PX Series, 46%

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PX Series c/othewhiskeynut

A much more ‘traditional’ Irish style.

Cooley malt matured in ex-bourbon casks & finished in Pedro Ximenez barrels for 6 months.

A dark cherry sweetness on the nose.

Lucious fruitiness on the palate – more stone fruits than orchard apples – with a gentle spiciness to enliven the whiskey – finished off by a softly drying prickliness.

Classic stuff indeed – and very well done.

Preference?

Without a doubt – Bill Phil.

It’s young, it’s fresh, it’s exciting.

It marks the welcome return of peat to the Irish Whiskey cannon.

W.D. O’Connell sourced this one from the Great Northern Distillery. Hopefully it will be the first of many interpretations using peated malt from this distillery.

What would make it even more outstanding was if Irish turf was used to dry the barley.

But that’s for another day.

Slàinte

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Ben Bracken, Triple Pack, Single Malts, 40%

I’m a big fan of miniatures.

The opportunity to try out a range of styles – or in this case regions – before committing to a full bottle is always a treat.

Having said that. I’d already ruled out buying more supermarket own brand labels. They tend to be chill filtered with added caramel & whilst perfectly fine – they lack finesse.

But spotting these miniatures in my local Lidl.

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A tasty trio! c/othewhiskeynut

I couldn’t pass them by.

Nosing the Speyside first – I choose to do Speyside – Highland – Islay starting from mildest to strongest flavours as recommended by many tasting journals – revealed a pleasant easy honeyed malt.

On a blind tasting this would sit well with any big label brand.

The palate was a bit watery & insignificant to begin with – common to all three malts – before a typical Speyside softly sweet & gentle flavour profile presented itself.

There was even a slight dry spice on the short finish.

Not bad at all.

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Which region is your preference? c/othewhiskeynut

The Highland gave a bit more malt biscuity depth to the proceedings.

The Islay – which was my favourite – offered a straight forward satisfying smoky hit.

Each gave a perfectly decent snapshot of the regional styles – perhaps lacking in depth & complexity – but nonetheless an extremely enjoyable way of discerning your palates preferences.

Nice one Lidl!

Slàinte

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Irish Reserve 12 Year Old, Single Malt, 40%

Aldi continue their well received own label Irish Reserve series with a 12 year old single malt.

Tastefully packaged in a light green bottle with a thick neck & cork stopper – Irish Reserve 12 uses the same attractive label design as previous 26yo and similar 4yo offerings.

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Irish Reserve 12yo c/thewhiskeynut

At only €25 – I couldn’t resist.

A golden brown hue in the glass.

Sweet honeyed nose – delicate & restrained.

The palate was soft & warm. No real flavour explosion – just pleasant easy drinking with a gentle drying prickliness at the end.

After the richness & depth of the 26yo – or the fresh graininess of the 4yo – this 12yo left me a tad disappointed.

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Basic info, basic single malt. c/othewhiskeynut

Like a decent Speyside – it was smooth & easy.  Just lacking a certain sparkle or character to engage me.

Having said that – it’s obviously a popular style.  My bottle was the last on the shelf.

Get it while you can!

Slàinte

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Glenfiddich Reserve Cask & Select Cask, Travel Retail, Single Malt, 40%

I picked up these a while ago.

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Travel retail miniatures c/othewhiskeynut

Travel retail NAS – non aged statement – offerings seem to be the ‘thing’ right now.

Being a category leader – I thought I’d give them a go.

Bad decision.

This is soft, sweet easy going malt for the masses.

Any sparkle of life & vitality has been sucked out by added caramel & chill filtration.

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Glenfiddich Reserve Cask c/othewhiskeynut

The Reserve Cask did have a prickly spice on the finish to give it a lift – but the Select Cask was just sweet, honeyed, biscuity malt.

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Glenfiddich Select Cask c/othewhiskeynut

Fine if you like that sort of thing – but no – they did nothing for me.

Sláinte

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Dingle Single Malt Batch 4 & Dingle Distillery Reserve, 46.5%

Attending the Irish Whiskey Awards 2019 has it’s attractions.

Like having a tour round the fabulous – and extremely shiny – copper pot stills of Dingle Distillery itself.

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Gleaming! c/othewhiskeynut

As well as tasting the latest Batch 4 release – along with a special Distillery Reserve.

Apart from the spartan label – I had limited time to ask questions. It is fully matured in port casks was all I could glean. Perhaps it’s a component of Batch 4?

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Distillery Reserve c/othewhiskeynut

The rich dark fruity nose was a delight.

Very gentle on the palate to begin with. It took a while for the wonderful port influence to make it’s presence known – but when it did – very rewarding.

Not overly complex, it’s youth hadn’t developed hidden depths. A simple yet satisfying single malt.

Batch 4 by comparison was more rounded – even cultured – with greater depth courtesy of the triple barrel ageing  – bourbon, port & sherry.

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Batch 4 at Dingle c/othewhiskeynut

The nose was gentle & light – yet the palate opened up right from the start.

Sweet warming vanilla & caramel from the ex-bourbon casks mingled with darker fruits from the port interwoven with a gentle drying spice from the sherry.

There was a lot going on and plenty to pull out from this one.

Both were highly enjoyable single malts displaying differing flavours & influences from the woods matured in.

It also demonstrated – to me at least – the art of blending different individual single malt components together to build a more layered & complex whole.

A big thank you to Dingle Distillery for the warm hospitality & conviviality displayed throughout the evenings awards.

Sláinte

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