Oct 26, 2014

The Maltman Glen Keith 21yo...

The Maltman Glen Keith 21yo (52.5%): It has been a long week for Boston whisky lovers. We had Whisky Live Boston, SMWS's Whisky Extravaganza and Julio's Whisk(e)y Roadshow amongst other small gatherings and tastings all over the city in such a short period of time. I had extraordinary fun with old friends, made many new ones and needless to say tasted amazing whiskies. But now it is the day for me to stay at home, rest a little bit and continue to take care of the sample bottles accumulating on my desk. The second sample I received from The Maltman is 21 years old and coming from the Speyside distillery Glen Keith owned by Pernod Ricard. Glen Keith is one of the first post-war distilleries built in Scotland and was known about their triple distillation practice till they converted the operation to double distilling in 1970. It got mothballed in 1999, saved by their new owners in 2012, went through a massive restoration and reopened in 2013. It now serves as a work horse for Chivas Brothers blends and not bottled as single malt. This particular Glen Keith is a single cask bottling. It is matured in a first fill sherry cask and bottled at cask strength. Since the distillery was known of making all kind of experiments under the ownership of Seagram you never know what to expect from older whiskies coming from the distillery. Color: Clear dark amber, chestnut honey. Nose: It's like walking into a warehouse filled with sherry butts: Black dirt, tobacco leaves, processed leather and musk. Green walnuts, rum and raisin ice cream and very subtle peat smoke. Just a few drops of water add straw, dry clay and malted barley aromas. Palate: Thick but velvety texture. Cooked raisins and prunes. Beef stew, mild cigars and not treated but toasted wood. Adding water to this dram is kinda tricky. You just need a little because you really don't want to loose that meatiness. But even a few drops of water release some nice spicy notes like cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon. Peat smoke far back in a distance. Finish: Long. Almost perfumy notes followed by baklava syrup with cinnamon and nutmeg. Overall: A very good cask indeed... I hesitate usually when I see a single cask expression from a first fill sherry butt aged more than 20 years old but this one held it together very well. It is bold, thick almost syrupy and, so to speak, comforting but not tired. It is a matured and layered whisky still maintaining its vibrancy. Highly recommended for sherry finished whisky lovers... Thanks to Brad Jarvis a.k.a. The Whisky Professor for the official sample.

Oct 25, 2014

Great King Street Glasgow Blend...

Great King Street Glasgow Blend (43.0%): Glasgow Blend is the second permanent edition of Great King Street line-up. It is hitting the shelves as we speak now all over the world and made its debut in several whisky shows in US this week. The inspiration comes from Aeneas MacDonald's book "Whisky" which was published back in 1930. There MacDonald refers that Glaswegians prefer fuller bodied and more flavorful whiskies than any other whisky drinkers from all over the world. So, if you created a whisky that fits the description above and if you are confident enough to think that you can satisfy the Glaswegians and other whisky lovers with it you probably couldn't come up with a better name for your brand: Glasgow Blend it is... The whisky is a blend of 67% malt whiskies mainly sourced from Clynelish, Laphroaig and Benrinnes and 33% grain whiskies distilled by Cameronbridge distillery from Lowlands. It is not chill-filtered and doesn't have caramel coloring. Color: Chardonnay, lemon chiffon. Nose: Dusty, chalky with a touch of sourness which disappears in seconds after airing a little... Damson plums, fresh cranberries and dried fruit cake. Vanilla powder, sea spray and extinguished campfire still smoking next morning. Powdered latex gloves and rubber band balls. Palate: Orange zest candies, prunes, zante currants, whole cloves and fresh cardamom pods. Orange blossom honey, unripe bananas and spearmint leaves. Smooth and sweet soot, dusty charcoal. Finish: Medium long with fresh orange zest and campfire smoke after a successful afternoon barbecue on the beach.. Overall: Hands-down one of the best price/value ratio blends in the market with a price tag in high thirties, low forties if not the best. It is being distributed in the States now and you better make sure that you secure a bottle from your local shop. Because this bottle will be flying off the shelves in a heartbeat without a doubt. It is a great tasting whisky. Kudos to John Glaser for another great creation and many thanks to Robin Robinson for the sample.

Oct 20, 2014

The Maltman Glenrothes 25yo...

The Maltman Glenrothes 25yo (46.0%): It's a gorgeous fall Sunday here in Cambridge. It's sunny, chilly and breezy. The wind brings smells of all kinds of fallen leaves... An absolute perfect day to treat myself with a wee sample of one of my favorite Speyside distilleries... Glenrothes Distillery is owned by Edrington Group but the single malt brand is operated by London based wine and spirit merchants Berry Bros & Rudd. The distillery's huge annual capacity of 5.6 million liters serves mainly to the blends like Cutty Sark, The Famouse Grouse, Blue Hanger but the distillery bottles different vintage releases and special reserve series' every year as well. What I have today on my desk is a 25 year old single cask sample from a first fill sherry butt bottled by The Maltman. The Maltman is an independent bottling company from Glasgow owned and ran by Donald Hart and his son Andrew Hart. I liked more or less every single cask they picked to bottle in recent years and am very excited to sample three of their upcoming releases I received the samples for including this beauty. Color: Orange blossom honey, medium amber. Nose: First whiff is sulphury. Cheese brine, unstruck matches and fresh goat cheese... Let's leave it air for a couple of minutes. Here we go, all cleared up: Maltesers, milk chocolate and old school diner style vanilla shake. And those beautiful sweet hazelnut aromas I expect to get from Glenrothes all the time. Hazelnut praline spread and Hazelnut sorbet. Brown sugar, walnut liquor and halvah cake. A second layer underneath with ripe Fuji apples and aged calvados. Palate: The palate shows its age very well. Warming, silky smooth almost wooly and slightly musky... Quince paste, lemon zest jam, a lot of cinnamon and ground cloves. With just a couple drops of water I get dried strawberries and fresh spearmint leaves. Finish: Long and warming... Leaves with a never ending tingling sensation covering the back of the mouth. Overall: It's a classy dram without a doubt. Very mature, bold but not overwhelming. Glenrothes spirit ages very well even in active first fill casks and somehow keeps its vibrancy. I wonder how much a bottle will cost when released but definitely worth to check. It can be a great companion for coming winter months if I can afford. Thanks to Brad Jarvis for the official sample and Teresa Hartmann for additional tasting notes...