The Famous Grouse – Wine Cask

It’s easy to ignore, or dare I say it, turn your nose up at blended #whisky
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It’s good to dive back in to the world of easily available blends. The success of these consistent, market flooding beauties, have allowed the #singlemalt industry to take off.
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This is a spin on one of the old guard, The Famous Grouse Wine Cask.
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Bottled at 40%, this blend of grain and malt whisky has been finished in Spanish wine casks.
I haven’t got the exact details of what wine yet but I’ll find out before 2020 is out.
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You can pick this up for under £20 in the supermarket and you’re in for a budget treat.
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Nose:
You can pick up the grain element straight away and it’s not the strongest of noses. Shortbread, Turkish delight, almost a sherry note, definitely get that red fruit sweetness. There’s a nutty tone that runs through it, Brazil nuts.
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Palate:
This is rich, viscous for 40% and way better than the nose. You can taste rich dried red fruit, there has to be some sherry barrel influences in here. Milk chocolate and dark chocolate notes with a slight grape skin bitterness. I usually associate peanut skin with this note but it’s different, there definitely sweetness to the bitterness! There’s a vanilla custard note thats there throughout and the odd pop of apple sauce.
Finish:
I wasn’t expecting much for a whisky under £20 but this actually has a lovely mellow finish. Slight pepper, coconut and vanilla. Bring in the kentucky chew and you get those sweet red grape notes.
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Don’t judge a book by the cover.
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If someone bought me this, I would be well happy. If you get one this Christmas, crack it open, share it. Better yet give it out blind🤫, you’ll surprise a few 😉
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The Glenturret

I admit, at times I can be a sucker for marketing. When I saw the bottle shape for the new Glenturret range I was smitten.

Last night I had the chance to try some of the line up in another great tweet tasting, hosted by Steve Rush.

Yes the tree is up early but it’s 2020 so anything goes.

I was sent the New Make Spirit, the Triple Wood, the Peat Smoked 10 Year old and the 12 Year Old.

Jamie Morrison, the Glenturret Brand Ambassador was on hand to give us some details about the processes invloved.

Glenturret have a fermentation average of 90-100 hours. That is a lengthy process and is no doubt how they squeeze so much character in to thier new make. They also have pine washbacks and hand mash. All positive things.

On to the tasting…

First up is the New Make Spirit

Nose:
Super sweet and fruity. Strawberry laces, still get the rich malt note. Takes you to the distillery, catching the wind from the stills.
Rhubarb and custard bon bons

Palate:
Coconut, little bit of lemon zest and a nice orange and coffee note. Spicy and thick… Bottle this and Wray and nephew would be running scared.
Bit of water brings out creamy notes, masses of malt and a bit of sharp green apple.

Second up the Triple Wood

So Jamie told us it’s a combination of AO Sherry, EO Sherry & Ex Bourbon Barrels.

Nose:
Orange lucozade with toasted barley. Strawberries and cream. Victoria sponge with strawberry jam sprinkled with caster sugar


Palate:
Sweet peppers, tangerine, dark chocolate, toffee and fig. Tiniest hint of ginger, whipped cream and baked apples

Third dram the 10 Year Old Peat Smoked

Nose:
Charred apple wood, charred cedar wood. Slight smoked salmon and butter and then sweetness. Icing sugar, delicate lime, cola cubes and limestone. Yes, yes, yes 👍👍👍👍
Orchard fruit at the back end.

Palate:
Sweet icing sugar, then sharp sweet green apple. Smoke then infuses the mouth. Campfire and peat smoke. Citrus then takes over lemon and orange. Five spice kicks in before the smoke drifts in and lingers for a long time. More limestone notes come in swathes as well as Jacobs cracker notes.

Last dram of the night

The Glenturret 12 year old

Nose:
Dear god this is a sweet shop. Refresher bars, cherry jolly ranchers, lemon sherbets, cola bottles and then masses of creamy vanilla. Cherry ski youghut. Honey Glazed carrots(sweet with a touch of salt)

Following on from peat can be a no no generally but it did make the sweet shop feeling explode.

Palate:
Well you’ve done it. Halloween on the nose autumn in the glass. This is the prefect fall dram.
Nutneg cinnamon and ginger. Spiced cake with raisins. Whipped cream. Such a good mouth feel, viscous.
Sherry bomb finish!

The pick of the bunch for me, run closely by the Triple Wood

I have been looking forward to the new lineup and it delivered. I’m waiting for Jamie to send me a magnum of the 12!

As always I was sent the samples for free, I do however give honest opinions. I will never say I like something if it tastes like big foots… Well yes.

Art deco exuberance

Thanks as always to Steve Rush and Glenturret for the cnahce to try these drams. Thaks also to Jamie Morrison

The Wine Society’s Reserve Cask Selection Highland Single Malt Whisky 1989

1989, the year that George H. W. Bush was sworn in as the 41st President of the United States, the Soviets pulled out of Afghanistan, Tank man made headlines around the world at the Tiananmen Square protests, Sky television launched in the UK and Mike Tyson launched Frank Bruno in the UK.
In Scotland however, focus and attention was elsewhere…

The Society’s Reserve Cask Selection Highland Single Malt Whisky 1989
Aged: 30 yearsCasks: Sherry – 7 Hogsheads & 3 ButtsPrice – Members only(read on), £95.00 including delivery.


Nose:

Marmalade, icing sugar, heavily buttered pie pastry, prunes, an empry raisins box(with that sticky raisin residue on the cardboard), cranberry, hazelnut and monkey nuts.


Palate:

Viscous, covers your whole mouth immediately. Ginger, prunes, fig and raisins. Swathes of rich vanilla linger. There are hints of walnut and hazelnut. The richer Christmas cake notes change in to a truly long finish that is bursting with seeded strawberry jam. Oak notes come and go throughout the palate and finish.

This is a truly great dram, I am overjoyed and being asked to try it. Thank you @winesociety for the #gifted sample.

As you know, I don’t recommend a #whisky unless I am willing to part with my own money and buy a bottle myself(a recent makers mark jumper has proved that).


I signed up for membership immediately(£40 for life) and I will be dramming to the tunes of New Kids On The Block and The Bangles with this bottle.


Oh and you get £20 off your first order so, if you sign up below, you’ll get this 30 year old whisky for £75.00 delivered and access to fantastic wine for life. If you have zero interest in wine then you can sign up and get this bottle with a total outlay of £115.00 and have access to future whisky releases from the society. 


https://www.thewinesociety.com/reserve-cask-selection?utm_source=instagram&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=reservecask-whiskywings

Mike – WhiskyWings 🥃

Gullivers Whisky from Samuel Gulliver & Co.

Well what’s in the whisky glass tonight?
It’s two drams from Samuel Gulliver & Co.

Gullivers 47 Single Malt
47% abv to mirror the year of 1747 • Made using Concerto Grain – a two row variety grown in East Anglia • Malted at Crisp Malting’s in Norfolk • Distilled and aged with thier distilling partner, the English Whiksy Company • Four hogheads direct from Jim Beam • Gold Medal 2019 The Spirits Business Luxury Masters

Nose:
Blackcurrant, the biscuit from a twix, lovely lovely peat smoke and custard

Palate:
Sugar cane up front, really sweet, pinPple upside down cake then a strong peaty explosion. Vanilla, coconut rice, oak and ginger towards the end.

At for years old this is a big bold whisky that’s calling out for your attention! It has mine.

Gullivers 47 10 Year old Quarter Cask
• 47% abv to mirror the year of 1747 • Made using Concerto Grain – a two row variety grown in East Anglia • Malted at Crisp Malting’s in Norfolk • Distilled and aged again with English Whisky company in Norfolk • 10 year old English single malt matured in ex-red wine quarter casks • Apparently its the oldest English singlemalt currently on sale.(was for about a week🤣)

Nose:
Wow, buckets of rich red fruit, raisins, cherry with a delicate smoke. Coca cola and red jolly ranchers after the smoke.

Palate:
Super fruity initially. Sweet cherry, maple, touch of smoked bacon. Lime and Strawberry with white chocolate and notes.
Long finish of smoke, ginger and malt with the odd cherry note and leather

Another big hitter. This is made for evenings by the fire in a comfy leather chair chatting to pals.

Puffing Billy Vodka

Yes vodka!

When I was offered the chance to take part in a review of the Puffing Billy, I jumped at the chance. Having now sampled rather a lot of whisky, I thought my palate might be able to draw some half decent notes out of even vodka. It may have been a bit of over confidence in my tongue and nose maybe but hey ho.

For me vodka brings back memories of drinking in parks as a teenager, attempting to drink skinny drinks as a weight watching adult and as an alcohol booster in a cocktail.

On the whole, vodka isn’t well known for its depth of flavour, in fact you could argue that the strengths it’s distilled at, along with the number of distillations it goes through, are purely to strip it of too much of anything.

One things for certain though, not all things are made equal and not all vodka tastes like either nothing or lighter fluid. Enter Puffing Billy…

On the Nose:

Creamed coconut, pineapple, mango, barley and strawberry

On the Palate:

Chocolate, vanilla, ginger, double cream, cardamom and a floral note

To me this is mellowed out new make spirit. It’s not just watered down, it’s charcoal filtration has smoothed out some of the harsher elements associated with new make that would normally get removed by wondrous oak.

This will add something to your cocktail or mixer… It’s called flavour

I could drink this neat over ice and that’s not something I can usually say about a vodka.

Nothing is black and white

Fettercairn 12 Pedro Ximénez Sherry Cask Edition

I was sent a sample of the new Fettercairn 12 to try. It differs from the last 12 y/o offering due to its finishing in ex Pedro Ximénez barrels.

Nose – Creamed coconut, canned tangerine, icing sugar, and raspberry. The malt comes through but in a very subtle way.

Palate – Sweet up front, the icing sugar from the nose is definitely here. That tangerine has turned into orange but with a slight bitter zest note. The bitterness turns in to barrel spice. The malt remains understated for me, the odd hint of fresh french baguette pops up but quickly disappears. There’s the red fruit you’d expect from a sherry cask but not a load of them for me.
Finish – Lots of barrel notes on the finish here, nice delicate spice and wood notes. Slight strawberry note still present, definitely more or a weak strawberry jam.

I’m not finding a whole heap of red fruit notes from the Pedro Ximénez. I wish this was a 46% dram, I think a little kick would certainly bring it to life and wake up some of the sherry notes.

An Evening with Fettercairn

In the Eastern Highlands lies a distillery known as Fettercairn, it was one of the first “Legal” Distilleries in Scotland being built in 1824 by Sir Alexander Ramsay.

Fettercairn has been nurtured by many owners since then and historically, most of its output was going in to making blended whisky. Current owners, Whyte & Mackay, continued to show the world that this workhorse knew how to make a good whisky.

Recently the folks in charge of this old workhorse, which proudly boasts a unicorn logo, decided that the quality of the whisky it produced, deserved to be recognised and efforts went in to producing a line up of single malt, official bottlings.

Back in December 2018, I got to try the current line up thanks to Steve @TheWhiskyWire

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Below are my tasting notes for each of them.


The 12 Year Old:

Aged for 12 years in American White Oak ex-Bourbon casks and bottled at 40% Abv

On the Nose: Vanilla and cinnamon up front with bursts of range citrus. I then picked up some white chocolate undertones with an infusion of tropical pineapple.

On the palate: Huge floral and herbal notes initially. Hints of Ginger, cardamon, molasses and raw cocao. Honey then comes to the palate followed by a lovely oak note.


The 28 Year Old:

Aged for 28 years in American White Oak ex-Bourbon casks and bottled at 42% Abv

On the Nose: Minty mango with shortbread biscuits. I also picked up a salty note which wasn’t coastal as such but definitely reminiscent of Salt Water Taffy

On the palate: Huge floral and herbal notes initially. Hints of Ginger, cardamon, molasses and raw cocao. Honey then comes to the palate followed by a lovely oak note.


The 40 Year Old:

Aged in American White Oak ex-Bourbon and finished in Apostoles Sherry Cask No.6 and bottled at 48.9% Abv

On the Nose: Caramel, coconut, red fruits, vanilla, orange and classic dunnage warehouse notes. “This is a dram I Could sniff all day. Christmas cake and custard anyone?”

On the palate: “Wow, that’s a big flavour” A Sherry bomb, masses of fruit, vanilla and herbal notes. More and more notes began to reveal themselves, Tobacco, cherry, ginger, plums, prunes vanilla treacle. Strawberries, white grape and grapefruit at the back end.

This is a complex dram that deserves your time in order to get to know each other.


The 50 Year Old:

Aged in American White Oak ex-Bourbon and finished in Tawny Port Pipe and bottled at 47.9%

On the Nose: “Now this is a treat. What a nose” Port wine finishes have always been a love of mine and this is no exception. Honey roasted nuts with luscious red fruits swirl around along with mulled wine, leather red apples and cheesecake. Port finish and a sour cheesecake note… this is special

On the palate: “Gorgeous” Rich red fruits, Christmas cake, dusty dunnage warehouse notes, oak, vanilla. Lashings of ginger with herbal notes. The Fettercairn logo is a unicorn and it certainly suits this beauty.


I really enjoyed the chance to try these samples.

The chance to try a fifty year old whisky is a rarity that most of us can only dream of and Fettercairn are right to be ploughing money in to their single malt whisky and showing off what they have worked on for the last five or six decades.

Currently priced at £46 for the 12 y/o, Fettercairn have priced this well and it’s going to be a competitive dram.

The prices of the 28, 40 and 50 do shoot upwards, currently £460, £3000 and £17,995 respectively. It puts them out of my price range but if your in a position where you can drop that kind of money on whisky, then well done you and why not have a look?

That Boutique-y Whisky Company – Tennessee Bourbon Whisky

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I have had a real craving for bourbon in the last six months. This might be down to the warmer weather or it could just have been inspired by planning and visiting the states this last summer.

I was lucky enough to sample some real beautiful bourbons from the bargain of the century, Henry McKenna 10, through to some great single barrel offering from Bookers, E H Taylor and Blanton’s.

When I saw that Boutique-y were putting out a single barrel Tennessee Bourbon I knew I had to try this thing! I initially thought it was going to be an offering from Jack Daniels until the spelling of Whisky was highlighted to me.

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George Dickel is the other famous brand of whisky/whiskey/bourbon(I’m not even going there), to come out of Tennessee and they spell it like we do… Whisky!

As with most things in Bourbon history the facts get a bit blurry at times, George Dickel started producing whisky in 1870, if the bottles are to be believed and 1877 if you refer to actual documentation, either way its been going ever since and is currently owned by that small brand Diageo.

The most popular regular bottlings are the Dickel rye and the Dickel No. 12, both great drams.

This Boutique-y beast however is 14 years old and bottled at 52.2%. Whisky#1 got me excited.

Tasting notes:

N vanilla, vanilla ice cream, caramel, orange custard. Milky way stars!

P butterscotch creme, toffee popcorn, masses vanilla, oak and cacao

F vanilla, oak, chocolate truffle and more vanilla!
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Conclusion:
Great kick, amazing chocolate notes and masses upon masses of sweet vanilla. If you like vanilla, this is the one for you, I could taste it for about twenty minutes after drinking it.
I’d happily get another one when this one has been heel slayed!
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I’ve been slacking

I’ve had a whole heap of things going on this year.

Rest assured I will be stepping up my review game and you should see a few more soon.

I’ve been building my collection nicely and have expanded in to bourbon and rye’s.

Watch this space.

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#BlindTasting Session 2

The reason I chose E2…

From the moment I first discovered my beloved Laphroaig 10, I was hooked on that glorious Peat smoke flavour. Not long after buying my first bottle of Laphroaig, I wanted more peat and more smoke; naturally I went looking for the Compass Box Peat Monster.

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Being new to whisky I didn’t really fancy paying over £40.00 for a blended whisky. Call it being easily influenced by the snobbery that surrounds blends by “serious” whisky drinkers. As time progressed and my palette evolved, I moved away from drinking solely Islay whiskies. I was swayed by more delicate flavours and smoothness, less commonly found in the rocky shores of my beloved island drams. I started trying a few non-island blends and discovered that maybe I had been overlooking the truly spectacular art of blending whisky.

I began bolstering my collection with whisky from all over Scotland and the world (I’m yet to acquire a Mongolian whisky), however I made sure I always had a good few Islay drams to keep me ticking over and to satisfy my peat fix. I was buying blends but hadn’t yet stumped up the cash for a truly peated blend.

Whilst at WhiskyLive in London this year, I caught sight of the Compass Box stand and their International Commercial Director Phil Keene. Phil asked me what I liked and after a quick chat, his finger moved towards the Peat Monster blend…but it didn’t stop. His finger carried on moving and settled on their Great King Street Glasgow Blend. “you’re going to like this one the best and it’s the cheapest here”.

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Phil was not wrong. I was blown away by this smoke bomb of a dram.

On the nose it gave me a big old smokey punch in the face but it then brushed me down and apologised with some fruity sweetness – limes, cherry, oak, hints of fudge, nutmeg and cocoa.

On the palette I was getting that wonderful Laphroaig taste along with plums and cherry.

The finish comprises of smoke and cherry with the odd plum popping up now and again.

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It’s made up of:

34% Grain Whisky from Cameronbridge, 11y/o, First Fill American Standard Barrel

35% Malt Whisky from Benrinnes, 12 y/o, Sherry Butt

17% Malt Whisky from Laphroaig, 11 y/o, Rejuvinated Hogshead

8% Malt Whisky from Clynelish, 8 y/o, First Fill American Standard Barrel

2% Malt Whisky from Miltonduff, 14 y/o, First Fill American Standard Barrel

4% A marriage of Clynelish, Teaninich and Dailuaine, 11 y/o, New French Oak Barrels.

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I picked up my bottle for under £30.00 and for that price I’m more than happy to punched in the face a dusted down many, many times by this gorgeous blend.

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