Tag Archives: PX Casks

Arbikie, Highland Rye, Aged 4 Years, Single Grain Scotch Whisky, 46%

Dry January?

Not me.

I prefer Rye January.

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Rye, wheat & barley. c/othewhiskeynut

And not just any old rye at that.

I choose Arbikie Highland Rye. The first Scottish Rye for over 100 years.

In reality –  the 3rd interpretation of a grain I love from this boutique distillery.

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Scottish Rye c/othewhiskeynut

The first bottle – at 2 years old – was young , feisty & flavoursome.

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Highland Rye in a Tuath Glass c/othewhiskeynut

The second – at 3 – with additional PX cask finishing – superb.

This third release – at 4 years old – has Armagnac finishing. A suitably symbiotic pairing as Armagnac is the more artisinal & craft produced brandy to it’s mass marketed Cognac sister.

Can this latest release top the other 2 for a tasty trifecta?

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Reviving tradition. c/othewhiskeynut

A deep earthy nose segues into a sweet rye spiciness.

Lovely luxuriant mouthfeel – reminiscent of dark fruits soaked in brandy –  mellows & subdues that signature peppery spice.

The long finish exhibits a joyful prickly tingling dancing away to leave a lip smacking juiciness in contrast to the dryness I normally associate with rye.

A class whisky.

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Single estate whisky. c/othewhiskeynut

Rooted in terroir, tradition & tastiness.

Trifecta indeed!

Sláinte

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Nb, this bottle was kindly supplied by Arbikie Distillery.

 

 

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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Arbikie Highland Rye, Aged 3 Years, Single Grain Scotch Whisky, 46%

It’s not everyday you get a whisky sample sent through the post – especially one as outstanding as Highland Rye Single Grain Whisky from Arbikie Distillery in Arbroath, Scotland.

To begin with, this is a farm to bottle operation.

The grains used – barley, rye & wheat in this instance – are grown in the fields around the distillery.

There is also no chill filtration nor added colouring to mute the fabulous flavours within.

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Arbikie Highland Rye Whisky c/othewhiskeynut

And it’s a rye.

The first for many a year Scotland has produced.

Rye at one stage was a common grain used in a mixed mashbill distillation by both Scottish and Irish distillers as testified by a certain Mr Jameson at the 1909 ‘What is Whisky’ enquiry.

Rye mashbills
Quotes from 1909 enquiry c/oblackwaterdistilleryblog

It happens to be a grain I’m very attracted to.

It adds a bit of bite, a dash of dry peppery spice, a certain boldness, a touch of character and a degree of complexity to any whiskey.

Rye has no legal definition in either Scotland nor Ireland. Yet in America – often seen as the home of rye – it must have a mashbill content of at least 51% rye to gain the title – which this Highland Rye does.

So what’s it like to drink?

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Highland Rye in a Tuath Glass c/othewhiskeynut

Absolutely fabulous!

The nose captures the classic dry peppery spice augmented by elements of cherry sweetness from the PX cask finish.

The barley & wheat bring a silky smoothness to begin with, coating the palate in a warm snug of dark fruitiness before the rye makes itself known.

The palate gradually dries off into a wonderfully prickly peppery spice with hints of cherries dancing around on the enjoyably long finish.

The PX finish adds another layer of depth & complexity to this rye.

On a back to back tasting with its  2 year old sibling – which I purchased on first hearing Scotland had produced a rye – the youthful exuberance & freshness resulted in a cleaner, more classic peppery spice experience balanced with a barley smoothness.

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Rye Spirit vs Rye Whisky c/othewhiskeynut

The PX finish of the 3 year old  – which is still a relatively unusual style of rye even in America – boosts that joyful youthfulness with richer, darker elements.

Arbroath – more famous for stovies & smokies – can now add rye to the culinary & quaffable delights on offer.

My thanks to all at Arbikie for the opportunity to taste this gorgeous rye whisky.

Sláinte

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