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Malt of the Month | June 2019

Kilchoman Distillery

Kilchoman STR Cask Matured Limited Edition £89.50

It’s no secret that I follow releases from this most modern thinking of distilleries KIlchoman. Since 2005 they have made waves from their quiet corner of Islay in the whisky world with some incredible offerings. Their latest limited edition is the ‘STR’ meaning Shaving, Toasting and Re-Charring. 43 casks were filled in 2012 and bottled at 50% abv. This is a pretty small amount and there are only 15,000 bottles available worldwide.

Utilising old red wine casks to mature the STR, they first remove the ends to expose the inner layer. This inner layer of cask is then shaved to expose the wood which is lightly toasted using oak chips to caramelise the oak and release vanilla flavours. Finally, it is re-charred to maximise extraction. Pop the ends back on and bingo you have a re-vitalised barrel! The whisky has taken on big bold flavours. Peated to 50ppm it is bold, smoky, rich and vibrant.

We have a small allocation and when it’s gone it’s gone. So, pop along to one of our shops to secure your bottle.

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Old Pultenay 12 Year Old | Malt of the month

The core of Kilchoman Machir Bay

Known as the ‘Maritime Malt’, Old Pulteney is distilled in Wick at the most northern mainland distillery in the UK. Being a coastal distillery you really do get a hint of ‘saltiness’ in the malts produced here. I’ve only visited Wick once, while on the last leg of cycling from Lands End to John O’Groats which is only 15 to 20 miles further on; I remember wandering around in my cycling gear attracting strange looks…

Old Pulteney is yet another one of those distilleries that has upped their game recently and has been producing award winning malts over the past few years. Matured in air dried Bourbon casks the 12 year old is the core of the range and is a bright amber colour in the glass. The nose leads with a nutty (hazelnut and almonds), vanilla and cream aroma. Everything is balanced and that faint hint of salt sits nicely in the back ground.

On the palate immediately you notice it is smooth and not overly powerful. Nutty but with hints of dried fruit also. The vanilla from the nose turns into toffee on the palate. Try it with a few pieces of very good quality milk chocolate. Blimey this is easy to drink, cracking price too! Available in our shops and on our website here. Handily, there’s also a half bottle available too

Just a note to say our Kilchoman Malt Whisky tutored tasting in Pulborough shop sold out very quickly, so please keep an eye on upcoming tastings on our events page.

Slàinte.

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Linkwood 12 Year Old | Malt of the month

Malt of the month

Well Spring has finally arrived, and what better way to spend it than treating yourself to a bottle of delicious malt whisky from our ever increasing range.

This month I’d like to sing the praises of the lesser known distilleries. Enter stage left the Linkwood 12. They don’t have a visitor centre or indeed accept the public for tours, they just toil away making some bloody good malt, but alas most of it is destined for blending into the like of Jonnie Walker Blue.

But fortunately a while back someone at Diageo decided that some of its lesser known distilleries deserve to have their spirit bottled and sold as a single malt. And so it came to pass 26 such distilleries initially bottled malt under the infamous “Flora and Fauna” range of malts. Today only about 5 are left as most have long since been sold, mothballed or no longer produce a single malt from their distillery.

If you can lay your hands on older bottles from this range do, as they are very collectible, I’ve had fun tracking down 20 of the 26 bottlings so far, and always on the lookout for the elusive ones to finish the set. I just don’t tell my wife how much the rarer ones cost!

A true Speyside whisky, the Linkwood exhibits an undeniably perfumed nose, exuding floral elegance, barley and rose notes. Take a sip and it is hard not to notice the viscosity of this malt, with a smooth and clean demerara-like sweetness which is balanced to perfection with an extraordinary long finish of subtle wood and toasted almonds.

All in all the Linkwood is an honest example of a lip-smackingly great whisky, it showcases the best of what this traditional malt-producing region can achieve. So next time you step out for some Jonnie Walker Blue, leave the gold bullion at home and give this one a go!

Slàinte.

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Dalwhinnie 15 Year Old | Malt of the month

Dalwhinnie distillery

A classic for you this month in the shape of Dalwhinnie 15 Year Old. It’s easy to overlook this gem of a malt as it has always been on our shelves, but I had forgotten until recently just how bloomin’ tasty this malt is. I still remember this being the one that started my love affair with Single Malt Whisky.

Technically a Highland malt but it has a lot of similarities with a Speyside, even taking its water from a tributary of the river Spey. This distillery is well worth a visit and being just off the A9, running through the highlands on the edge of the Cairngorms about an hour north of Perth, it’s easy to find. There are few malts where the overall package is so polished, from the soft enticing nose of honey and a slight whiff of peat to the palate that is soft and harmonious, medium bodied, sweet and fragrant.

This was the last distillery I visited in September and apart from being extremely friendly and informative they have a unique tasting experience pairing their malt with dark chocolate after your tour. Even if it’s too far for a visit try this pairing for yourselves at home it really is a revelation.

I tend to recommend Dalwhinnie 15 Year Old  to customers who are not sure of the style they want to buy when it’s a gift for someone else, as it ticks all the boxes from first timers to hardened whisky aficionados.

Slàinte.

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Tamdhu 10 Year Old | Malt of the month

The stunning home of Tamdhu 10 Year Old

I look forward to 2019 when hopefully I can get my grubby mitts on a bottle of a ltd 200yr old anniversary edition (although the Tamdhu 10 Year Old is prety darn fine – Matt P!)

Season’s greetings Whisky fans!

I’ve been lucky enough to spend a week every year for the last five years visiting various distilleries around Scotland tasting some very good whisky.

It’s always a risk visiting Scotland even in high summer as the weather can be changeable, and what started with “it’s raining today, let’s go visit a distillery” has become very much a planned visit regardless of the weather.

This year I fulfilled an ambition by visiting Clynelish where I was treated to a very personal tour as no one else had bothered to drive roughly an hour north of Inverness to Brora in Sutherland to visit that particular day so I had the distillery to myself. Not only was the tasting everything I hoped it would be, the visit to the old Brora site next door was an unexpected bonus. (Unfortunately these rare Malts are fetching extraordinarily high prices).

I look forward to 2019 when hopefully I can get my grubby mitts on a bottle of a ltd 200yr old anniversary edition, as I noticed a couple of slumbering casks earmarked for such a bottling. Note to self!

Watch this space as next year I am spending a week tasting my way round the distilleries of Islay. The home of peated malt. Marmite to some people, you either love ’em or you don’t. I’ll let you know how I get on.

Now onto December’s Malt of the month, Tamdhu 10 Year Old

Just south west of Aberlour in the heart of Speyside lies the Tamdhu distillery. In 2012 the distillery was purchased by Ian Macleod distillers who have set about returning this once gem of a distillery back to former glories.

The reason for Tamdhu 10 Year Old being my Malt of the month for the festive season is simple. The whisky is exclusively matured in more expensive sherry casks some first fill. This imparts rich fruit cake like flavours and when I drink this malt I am transported to a large armchair in front of a roaring fire on a cold night, kick off the slippers, with Christmas carols playing in the background. Sheer bliss.

Tamdhu 10 Year Old is the signature malt of the range and I can tell you that this a Christmas cracker of a malt! Totally natural colour from the sherry casks. A hint of peat is used in the malted barley and pure water is sourced from the Tamhdu spring.

On the nose subtle it is not, Demerara sugar, Dundee cake, sweet spice, vanilla and forest floor. Blimey every time I nose something else enters the mix.

Initially the palate is candied orange and sweet spices, then chocolate, honeycomb, caramel, toffee fudge. Oh what a cacophony of flavours all crying out for attention.

The finish is polished, smooth, round and warming and only then do you finally get the faintest whiff of smoke from the peat. The perfect partner on a cold December evening. All this for £37.99!

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Glen Garioch Founders Reserve | Malt of the month

Malt of the month

[ Glen Garioch Founders Reserve is ] Werthers originals in a glass yum!

Glen Garioch Founders Reserve, (Garioch is pronounced “Geary”) is pretty much the most easterly of all Highland Malts, close to Aberdeen. Made in small batches, this is just oh so easy to drink.

You can’t escape the big sweet butterscotch nose. I’m a sucker for anything smelling vaguely vanilla – Werthers originals in a glass yum! Then enters a subtle spice note, very clean with a really balanced citrus edge and then sultanas. On the palate barley makes an entrance as well as mixed spice but it’s soft and creamy. Butterscotch is still present with hints of bruised apple on the finish.

I’ve got to say this is unexpected complexity for such a keenly priced Malt. Great stuff!

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