Monday, April 12, 2010

Whisky Review - Gordon & MacPhail tasting


I recently attended a whisky tasting in Malmoe, Sweden.
We tasted 6 different and interesting expression from Gordon & MacPhail,
the independent bottling specialist.
It was hosted by our local whisky club and was carried out by lovely Nicole Hizett from Gordon & MacPhail.


As always these tastings are very popular and this time 54 persons attended.


We enjoyed the following 6 whiskies:

1. Benromach 10 years
2. Strathisla 25 years
3. Longmorn 1972 - 37 years
4. Caperdonich 1969 - 40 years
5. Strathisla 1969 - 40 years
6. Ardbeg 1995 - 10 years

As you see on the image the colour is very dark (old oak-brown sherry) except for the two 10 years old ones (gold).
To be fair when tasting you'll have to separate the Benromach and Ardbeg from the older ones.
I'm normally very fond of Ardbeg and peaty whisky but in this company it was not suitable.

The other 4 were very fruity, some spiciness, 2 and 4 a bit dry and 3 and 5 sweet.

Body: Full
Finish: Medium long - long, big.

Although they were all very good, my favourites were
3. Longmorn 1972 - 37 years and 5. Strathisla 1969 - 40 years

Friday, February 5, 2010

Whisky review - Arran


I recently attended an Arran whisky tasting in Malmoe, Sweden.
It was hosted by a local whisky club and was carried out by lovely Louisa Young, who is Sales Manager at the Arran distillery.


Arran distillery is an independent distillery and was founded in 1995 and is the only distillery on the isle of Arran, which is situated in a bay on the west cost of Scotland.

The tasting was a great success and 65 persons did attend.


We tasted 6 different whiskies:
They are all single malts, non-chill filtered and no colouring.

1. 10 years, 46%
2. 12 years, 46%
3. 8 years, 57% (100° proof)
4. 8 years, 50% + 9 months Pinot Noir Finish
5. 8 years, 50% + 6 months Pomerol Finish
6. 8 years, 55% + 10 months Moscatel Finish

Arran is a young distillery and does not have any old whiskies in stock yet, so they are experimenting to find good expressions. This results in several different finishes as no. 4-6.

Here is a summary of the tasting notes:

Colour: 1 and 3 pale straw. 2, 4-6 amber

Nose, without water: 1-2, 4-6 fresh, 3 warming.

Nose, with water: 1 fruity, citrus, malt. 2 sweet, fruity. 3 fruity, fudge. 4 sweet spiciness. 5sharp. 6 sweets, nuts.

Body: All medium

Mouth feel: 1-3 oily. 4 and 6 rough. 5 dry.

Overall flavour: All of them had some spiciness. 1-2 fruity and some sweetness. 3 fudge. 4 rubber. 5 fudge. 6 Cask, wood, nutty.

Finish: Medium long, medium big

Conclusion: There is a fruity spiciness in all expressions. Both 1 and 2 are very nice malts and I look forward to the 14 year old which will be released later this year. My personal favourite was the 100° proof, a smooth spicy fruity malt with a taste of fudge. Personally I’m not a fan of finishes in wine casks but a lot of people are. When we voted for the best whisky this evening, number 3 and 6 were voted the best.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Whisky Review - Rosebank 1990


This is a whisky review of Rosebank 1990, 18 years, 50,0% (Lowland)

This 18 year old Rosebank was bottled by the Independent bottler Douglas Laing (Old Malt Cask). It has matured in a bourbon cask. 1 of 672 bottles. The whisky is triple distilled. The distillery was closed in 1993 and there is now a restaurant in one of the buildings.

Pale Yellow

Nose, without water:

Nose, with water:
Fruit, sweets, citrus


Mouth feel:
Oily, creamy

Primary taste:
Bitter, salt

Overall flavour:
Wood, spicy

Medium - long


Unfortunately, this whisky did not meet my high expectations, although it is still a very good whisky.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Pure malt is now banned


On Nov 23rd 2009 Scotch Whisky Regulations covering every aspect of the making, bottling, and labelling of Scotch Whisky come into force.

The key provisions of the new law include:

Five categories of Scotch Whisky are defined for the first time; Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Single Grain Scotch Whisky, Blended Malt Scotch Whisky, Blended Grain Scotch Whisky, and Blended Scotch Whisky.

These compulsory category sales terms will be required to appear clearly and
prominently on all labels.

A requirement to only bottle Single Malt Scotch Whisky in Scotland.
New rules to prevent the misleading labelling and marketing of Single Malt Scotch Whiskies.

A ban on the use of the term ‘Pure Malt’.

A ban on the use of a distillery name as a brand name on any Scotch Whisky which has not been wholly distilled in the named distillery.

Protection of five traditional whisky regions of production; Highland, Lowland, Speyside, Islay, and Campbeltown.

A requirement that Scotch Whisky must be wholly matured in Scotland.
Clear rules on the use of age statements on packaging.
Designation of HM Revenue & Customs as the verification authority for Scotch Whisky.

Read the News release:

Friday, December 11, 2009

Swedish Christmas Goat Made From Whisky Straw

The Christmas goat in the City of Gävle in Sweden is made by straw from the barley that Mackmyra is producing its whisky from.
Mackmyra Distillery is placed just outside Gävle.

There is tradition to try to burn down goat every year. Sometimes someone succeeds and sometimes they don't.

Click the link to see a live cam of the goat.

Christmas goat

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Whisky Review - Ardbeg Renaissance 1998


This is a whisky review of Ardbeg Renaissance 1998, 10 years, 55,9% (Islay)

This is a distillery bottling.


Nose, without water:

Nose, with water:
Sweet, vanilla, tar



Mouth feel:
Oily, creamy

Primary taste:

Overall flavour:

Salt liquorice, smoke, tar pastilles

Long - big


This is a perfect dram for the winter season to enjoy after a nice outdoor walk.
If you are an Islay fan, this one will certainly not disappoint you.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cooley Named European Distiller of the Year

Cooley Named European Distiller of the Year - Again

Cooley Distillery named European Distiller of the Year for 2nd Consecutive Year

Cooley Distillery, Ireland’s only independent Whiskey distiller, has been named European Distiller of the Year for the second year running at the 2009 International Wine and Spirit Competition Awards banquet in London last night.

In 2008, Cooley Distillery won the World and European Distillery of the Year awards becoming the first Irish distiller to do so. This year, Cooley Distillery eclipsed its 2008 IWSC medal haul with a record 10 gold medals and nine Best in Class awards securing the European Distiller of the Year award in the process.

To top the night off for the Louth based distillery, its Kilbeggan 15-year-old collected the prestigious Brown Forman Trophy for Worldwide Whiskey of the Year. The Brown Forman Trophy is awarded to the best Whiskey in the world produced outside of Scotland.

The Kilbeggan 15-year-old, which was launched in March 2007, has now won back to back IWSC gold medals and has been recognised as the best in its class for two years running. The Brown-Forman Award cements Kilbeggan as one of the world’s best Whiskeys.

The awards were accepted on the night by Noel Sweeney, Master Blender and Jack Teeling, Sales & Marketing Director of Cooley Distillery, at the 40th IWSC Awards ceremony at the Guildhall in London.

Jack Teeling, commented,

“To win European Distiller of the Year award in back to back years is a unique achievement. This award is testament to the innovation and dedication of the entire Cooley staff. Their continued hard work and our focus on quality has allowed us to produce an extensive portfolio of world class Whiskeys as evidenced by winning Worldwide Whiskey of the Year for our Kilbeggan 15-year-old.

Irish whiskey is traditionally renowned for its quality. We are playing a key role in the renaissance of the category.”