Saturday, October 1, 2016

The ABC of Islay

The evening's line up.
Our September tasting was as easy as ABC, as we tasted five cask strength Islay whiskies from five different distilleries. Ardbeg, Bowmore, Bruichladdich, Bunnahabhain and Caol Ila were in these glasses but because it was a blind tasting, we wouldn't know which was which until the end.

Dram 1: Caol Ila 17yo
Or at least that was the theory. Plenty of the club's members were convinced that dram number one was a Caol Ila. Some thought it wasn't bad but others were a bit more critical of a "bitter finish" and a dram that, on the whole, didn't really hang together.

Right enough, it was a Caol Ila, which didn't exactly surprise too many in the room. But there was a bit of shock around at the age and price of the whisky: a 17yo unpeated clocking in £92.75. Not a bottle that anyone is going to rush out and buy soon, unfortunately.

Dram 2: Bruichladdich 21yo
As well as peatiness, Islay whiskies are often renowned for being on the salty side. And salt was one of the key notes which came through on the second dram. Seaweed was another, while salted caramel was another shout, and it did seem to get a bit sweeter once it was warmed up a bit. There was no doubt that it had seen the inside of a sherry cask at some stage.

It turned out to be a 21yo Bruichladdich, bottled by independent favourites Gordon and Macphail. Distilled in 1994, it came in at 56.2% and £110.67. Again, this didn't exactly blow the members away, perhaps a surprise as both the distillery and G&M are established club favourites. But that's a blind tasting for you.

Dram 3: Ardbeg Uigedail
Dram three went down a lot better straight away. Citrus was one widespread tasting note, with some going even further and pinning it down to orange. Less sophisticated comments included "tasty" and "nice". This was generally the favourite of the night so far, and there was much expectation that it would be an Ardbeg.

And so it was. The Ardbeg Uigedail to be precise. A marriage of Ardbeg from bourbon barrels and sherry butts, it's bottled at 54.2% and is a very reasonable £53.75 from your favourite online whisky retailer.

Dram 4: Bowmore
After the traditional mid-evening break of oatcakes and a pint from the downstairs bar at the Briton's Protection, we were back for dram four. And it was clear straight away that this was not your typical Islay whisky. A little oily on the nose, but on the palate were tropical fruits, almost reminiscent of the Fruit and Fibre you might have for your breakfast (other cereals are available). Mango was another disctinctive flavour, and the drink as a whole seemed to have a thickness that put some in mind of mango lassi.

Not many in the club, if anyone, correctly had this as a Bowmore. It was a Scotch Malt Whisky Society bottling, number 3.278 called Dirty Martinis in the Boatshed. All very un-Islay like, successfully challenging a few of our preconceptions, one of whisky master Matthew's aims for the evening as a whole. It was 52.2% but don't bother trying to find one to buy, as apparently we had the very last one.

Dram 5: Bunnahabhain 7yo
Our last dram of the night was finally the super-peated experience we'd been waiting for all evening. This immediately put the members in mind of one of Bruichladdich's products, either a high end Port Charlotte or, at a push, an Octomore (we didn't know at this point we'd already had a Bruichladdich earlier in the evening). A couple of others thought some coal-y notes suggested a Caol Ila, but obviously it wasn't that either.

Much to his delight, and everyone else's surprise, Matthew revealed this to be a 7yo Berry Bros and Rudd bottling of Bunnahabhain. Although obviously quite a young whisky, at 56.1% and with a price tag of £60, this had a few supporters as the dram of the night.

Not quite enough though. The Ardbeg carried the day with 11 votes, with the Bowmore second and the Bunnahabhain third. It was another excellent evening, and thanks go not only to Matthew and the rest of the committee, but also to the many faces old and new who came along, and of course to the Briton's Protection for looking after us once again.

11 votes for the Ardbeg!

Friday, August 26, 2016

A Taste of India with Amrut

The line-up.
We had a muggy, wet August evening for our latest tasting, which about as close as Manchester gets to simulating the climate of Bangalore, origin of the line-up of whiskies from Indian distiller Amrut.

The Amrut Cask Strength.
Stef Holt from Speciality Brands was on hand to guide us through proceedings, and she started us off with Amrut's Cask Strength offering.

Clocking in at 61.8% this seemed like a bold start to the evening, but, while obviously strong, it didn't pack nearly as powerful a punch as might have been expected. In fact, "worryingly drinkable" was one comment as club members got their mouths around the cereal and buttery notes of this one. At a very affordable £54, it may not be the last time some of us try it, either.

Amrut Fusion.
An old club favourite was up next, Amrut Fusion. We last had it during a round-the-world tasting in 2014 and, if memory serves, it ended up with dram of the night.

A flagship drink for the Amrut brand, it's named because it uses a mixture of Indian and Scottish barley, the latter peated for good measure. It's again quite easy to drink considering the ABV (this time 50%), with a nice palate and, according to one club member, a "silky" texture. You can usually get it for under £50, also excellent value.

Amrut Peated.
All of the Amrut whiskies come without an age statement, which Stef explained was to do with the warm climate.

The whiskies are usually only aged for about four years, unavoidable because of the huge annual angel's share of 12-15%, but a figure best kept off the packaging to avoid unfair comparisons with more familiar Scottish whiskies.

The next two whiskies were both Amrut Peated. The first was the standard bottling at 46%, the other its cask strength sibling at 62%. The standard dram was, perhaps surprisingly, a little less complex and actually harsher in a way than the two stronger whiskies already tasted.

Amrut Peated Cask Strength.
Citrus came through almost more strongly than the peat, with orange rather than lemon to the fore. Not bad at all, especially with a £40 price tag, but maybe not the standout whisky from the range.

The cask strength version had a familiar sort of taste, all peat and salty seaside. The surprising thing is that Bangalore is actually nowhere near the sea. Which sort of implies that the distinctive flavour of several well-known island whiskies might have less to do with the exact geographical location of the distilleries than we like to think.

But anyway, that's a bit of a leap. The important aspect is that this one probably shades its little brother for both taste and, at £54, value.

Amrut Portonova.
After the traditional oatcake break, Stef encouraged us to keep a drop of the Cask Strength in our glasses to have before another go at the Fusion. Tasting it after the peated whisky certainly boosted some of the wood and citrus notes, although views were mixed about whether it was actually better or not the second time around!

The evening finished with Amrut's Portonova. Stef described the "sandwich method" used in its production, with the liquid moved from American oak into old-style (and hard to find) port pipes, before going back to American oak to finish.

Stef in full flow.
Again a strong drop at 62%, although this one tasted more like its ABV than the others, at least after the nose which wasn't quite as notable. On the palate some of the fruity and spicy notes which had proved to be a regular feature of the evening were certainly present.

A bit pricier than the others at £80, but the favourite for many of the club members. In fact, it tied in the dram of the night voting with Amrut Fusion, while the very first Cask Strength also picked up a few votes. I suppose we'll just have to try them all again to decide which we really like best.

Thanks to Stef for great evening, and it was particularly good to see so many members both old and new at the tasting. Thanks also once again to everyone at the Briton's Protection for being excellent hosts, as ever.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Lowlands Night: How Low Can You Go?

The line-up.
With several of the group fresh from taking the high road to Loch Lomond for Dramboree 2016, we all took the low road to this month's tasting with a series of whiskies from lowland distilleries.

The Ailsa Bay.
Our first stop was the Ayrshire coast and a bottle of Ailsa Bay, the first release from the distillery of the same name, owned by Grant's.

What's inside is of course always more important than the packaging, but this particular bottle won some early plaudits for a stylish, straight design and a bit of the famous Ailsa Craig granite, better known as the source of the world's entire supply of curling stones, as part of the stopper.

Surprise new club member.
The drink itself is a no-age statement peated whisky. Martin, acting as whisky master for the evening, noted that it was unusual to begin a tasting with something peated, but this certainly isn't the sort of heavy peat monster you'd want to save until the end.

Nice and light, it also tasted on the young side, and there was widespread agreement it would improve further with future expressions. Costing around the £55 mark and bottled at 48.9%, it's one to keep an eye out for.

The Littlemill.
That's not something that can be said for our next whisky, the 12yo Littlemill. This particular distillery on the banks of the Clyde was in and out of mothballs down the years, but finally closed in the mid-90s and eventually burnt down. So to find a bottle is relatively rare these days. Indeed, ours was sourced from a whisky auction site.

Unfortunately, it didn't get a rapturous reception from the members. Good on the nose, it sadly disappointed many with a lukewarm showing on the palate, although it did improve a little after a few sips.

This 40% dram has been well-reviewed elsewhere, so there was some suspicion that this particular bottle's curious history - it had been to Greece and back - may have affected the taste by the time we finally got our hands on it.

Place mat.
Whiskybroker - also known as Martin Armstrong - has long been one of the club's favoured independent bottlers, with an Aultmore of his a particular hit last year.

This month's dram number three was a bit of a family occasion as it was an 8yo Bladnoch, from Scotland's most southerly distillery which was run for some time by Martin's dad Raymond (it's now been acquired by an Australian yoghurt entrepreneur - fill in your own punchline).

The Bladnoch.
The nose on this was quite something, and not really in a good way. "Baby vomit" was about as close to a consensus as we got. It had many of the most experienced club members racking their brains to think of a time they'd smelt something quite so pungent in a glass.

It was much better on the palate, although as someone pointed out, that was setting the bar pretty low. Wine finished, a bit buttery maybe and certainly not unpleasant at 43%. It had its supporters in the room but it didn't really do enough to send anyone online to snap up a bottle for £55.

There were high hopes for the last two bottles of the night though, and they lived up to the billing.

The Glenkinchie.
The fourth dram was a limited release 12yo Glenkinchie, a Diageo distillery near Edinburgh. As Martin pointed out, the standard Glenkinchie bottling is also a 12yo and it's probably available in your local supermarket. But this particular expression is a cask strength 58.7%, produced as part of the Friend of the Classic Malts offer and again on this occasion bought from an auction site for just over £60.

And despite the strength, it was very drinkable. This one got murmurs of approval all round straight away. With 5,000 bottles produced it's certainly worth tracking down, even if it may take a bit of searching.

Auchentoshan excitement.
It was back across the country to Clydeside for the final bottle of the night, a distillery cask sherried dram from Auchentoshan. And it was well worth waiting for.

This is officially a no age statement expression, although the dates on the back gave it away as just over 11 years old. Aged in Oloroso sherry casks, this had a lovely, deep colour with a taste to match, all fruitcake and Boxing Day regret.

For dram of the night it came down to the Glenkinchie and the Auchentoshan and, although there was a good deal of support for the former, the sherry lovers of the club won the day.

Thank you to Martin for running another successful tasting and for everyone who came, it was another busy evening with barely enough whisky to go round. And thanks as ever to the staff of the Britons Protection for being generous hosts.

The voting.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Independent Bottlings Night

The line-up.
At our June tasting we were delighted to welcome several new paid-up members to the club, and they had five whiskies from a variety of independent bottlers to enjoy, as yet more summer rain lashed down outside the Britons Protection.

The Inchmurrin 19yo.
Tom acted as whisky master for the evening, and he started us off with a 19yo Inchmurrin, bottled by Signatory. As Tom revealed, Inchmurrin is made at the Loch Lomond distillery and is named for the island in the middle of the loch, which is possibly best known for being the home of a naturist colony.

Not that the dram itself was naked. It's finished in sherry casks, something clearly in evidence just from the nose. That sherried sweetness won quite a few approving nods on first taste, but if anything this whisky disappointed a little thereafter, just sort of fading away after a strong start. However, at £40, it's not bad value.

That TBWC label.
Up next was a no-age statement dram from That Boutique-y Whisky Company from the Allt-á-Bhainne distillery near Dufftown. Somewhat tenuously, because Allt-á-Bhainne sounds a bit like House of Pain, the label features cows listening to old school classic Jump Around, while standing next to a river of milk (which is what Allt-á-Bhainne actually means).

But enough about the packaging, and on to the whisky. This one's herby on the nose, vaguely reminiscent of dandelion and burdock. And we got a range of opinions from the membership, although most could at least agree that this was an "interesting" drop. It retails at a shade under £50, which would be fine if it was in a proper 70cl bottle!

The Glenburgie 19yo.
The most expensive whisky of the night was next and, perhaps unsurprisingly, it turned out to be our favourite. It was a Glenburgie 19yo, not just sold by Master of Malt but also bottled by them.

Appropriately enough for Wimbledon fortnight, this one had strawberries if not cream, along with distinct notes of butterscotch and a bit of citrus later on in the finish. Despite general warm approval, this wasn't a bottle that got the membership reaching for their phones and credit cards - purely because of the price at more than £90.

This led to the quote of the evening from Nic: "I'd buy it, but I wouldn't share it!"

Douglas Laing's Double Barrel.
After a mid-tasting break, we were back with bottle four and a mash-up of Ardbeg and Inchgower in the form of Douglas Laing's Double Barrel. If this was a marriage of Islay and Speyside, it was clear on both the nose and the palate that Islay was the dominant partner, with a peatiness and saltiness that really took over the drink.

It was felt that the Inchgower got a little lost up against its distinctive bottle-mate. While decent value at £45, some of Douglas Laing's offerings which we've had at the club in the past - Scallywag in particular - are probably a better bet for a slightly lower price.

The Paul John 6yo.
We finished with a passage to India and the 6yo Paul John, another bottling by Master of Malt. A young whisky, but not by Indian standards where, it's said, the heat makes six years equivalent to three times as long in rainy old Scotland.

Reactions to this one can be divided into those who drank it before and after adding water. Initially, it tasted very strong, as well it might at 59.7%. In the words of one member, it tasted "like cardboard". But when we started to put a few drops of water in there, things opened up considerably and it became much more palatable. That dreaded word again - "interesting" - but probably not worth splashing out the £78 retail price for.

The vote at the end of the night when decisively in favour of the Glenburgie. No chance of a 52/48 split here! Thanks to Tom for leading another great tasting, and to the faces old and new who came down.
The vote. No secret ballots here.

Friday, May 27, 2016

A Taste Of Teeling

The Teeling range, about to be sampled.
Bottles of Ireland's Teeling whisky have been well received at the club over the past couple of years, so we were delighted this month to host an evening dedicated to the stuff, courtesy of Craig from Eaux de Vie.

The Poitin!
Before opening the first bottle, Craig filled us in on the story of Irish whiskey and how Teeling fits into that. Ireland had once been a far larger player in the world whiskey market than it is today, but its share was devastated by the twin issues of prohibition in the US, and trade restrictions in the UK related to the fallout from Irish independence.

At one stage, Irish whiskey was down to the merged Irish Distillers and that was about it. But, things are looking up, with Craig telling us that sales of Irish whiskey are now going up at the rate of about 20% each year, impressive growth albeit from a low base.

Teeling Small Batch
We didn't get straight into the whiskey. Instead, the first drink of the night was Teeling's poitin, a drink usually known here in its anglicised form as pocheen. It's basically very strong Irish moonshine, and a few club members had hazy memories of having some in the past. Teeling's poitin is not as powerful as some, but at 61.4% it still packs a significant punch alongside a pleasant sweetness reminiscent of pear drops. Not one for a session, but as Craig suggested, a drink to have a bit of fun with from time to time. It retails for £30.

On we went to the first of the four whiskies. The Teeling family has a long history in distilling, going right back to 1782. The modern Teeling company was founded in 2012 by Jack Teeling, who left his job running the Cooley Distillery when it was sold to Jim Beam, but struck a deal to keep 16,000 barrels to get him started with his new venture.

Teeling Single Grain
And the first drop of that we got to taste was the Teeling Small Batch. Finished for six months in old rum casks, it again had a sweetness about it, although at 46% it was a lot lighter than the Poitin. This got an enthusiastic reception from virtually everyone. Available at £33 from Master of Malt, it's good value, too.

This was surpassed by the next dram, though, the Teeling Single Grain, fully matured in Californian red Cabernet Sauvignon casks. If we'd had pear drops earlier, this was a move further into the sweet shop to the toffee jar. As Craig noted, another lighter drop, particularly good for enjoying at this time of year. And again super value, at about the £35 mark.

At the half time break, Craig generously offered the bottle around again and there were several enthusiastic takers!

Teeling Single Malt
The fourth drink of the evening was Teeling's vatted Single Malt, and what a mixed bag it was. The bottle features whiskies aged up to 23 years, matured in a real range of wine casks: sherry, port, Madeira, white Burgundy and Cabernet Sauvignon.

While another enjoyable drop, there was a general feeling in the room that all those influences meant there was just a bit too much going on here. It possibly suffered slightly having come after the outstanding Single Grain, but "it just needs a bit more knitting together" was one comment echoed by a few of the members. It's a little more expensive than the others, but can still be found for less than £40.

Teeling Revival
Craig finished off the evening with Teeling's 15yo Revival, aged in rum casks and produced in honour of the fact Teeling's is the first new distillery to open in Dublin for 125 years. This was another light and very enjoyable whisky with a bit of sweetness, clearly hallmarks of Teeling's range in general.

This turned into a strong contender for the dram of the night, but coming in at over £80, the value offered by the Single Grain perhaps allowed it to edge ahead as our favourite of the evening.

Thanks once again to Craig for a great tasting, and to the team at the Briton's Protection for looking after us as always. Thanks also go to the folks at Aston's of Manchester, who have generously offered club members a discount on these Teeling bottles when we produce our tickets on our next visit.

Craig in full flow.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Speyside Spring Special

The latest monthly tasting was a springtime Speyside special. And while some unseasonal Manchester hailstorms raged outside, we enjoyed a cosy evening upstairs at the Britons with a fine selection of drams.

First up was this 12yo Aultmore. Hopes were high after the particularly good independent Whiskybroker bottling of a 25yo sherried Aultmore went down extremely well at a tasting last summer, but this particular drop ended up getting more solid rather than spectacular reviews from the group.

Very light and pale and with a definite hint of apples and pears, it reminded at least one drinker of the Tesco Finest whisky we'd had at January's budget supermarket night (not necessarily a bad thing, the Tesco dram had been well received and not just because of the amount of Clubcard points it could earn you). Currently retailing at the £42 mark, there's certainly better bottles available for the price.

The evening's whisky master, Tom, came up trumps with the next bottle. This now-discontinued 16yo Longmorn was sourced from Manchester's World of Whiskies, and was one of the last they still had. Hearing this, Tom wisely secured one for himself and one for the club, which is of course as it should be.

There was more apple here and a hint of lemon, although some of us thought it a little chemically. Now retailing in the £70 bracket, considerably more than Tom got his bottles for, the club generally agreed it was now a bit pricey. A reasonable dram all the same, though.

BenRiach is one of the club's favourite distilleries, with expressions such as its 17yo Septendecim getting a delighted reception at past tastings. And the bottle of Cask Strength Batch 1 we had on this occasion proved to be another to add to the list.

Some thought this creamy and others noticed vanilla, but many were pleasantly surprised by how drinkable it was at 57%. So pleasantly surprised in fact, that before long phones were out and bottles were being ordered all over the room at the good value of price of £52. We think we ended up getting nine between us, a new club record!

While no doubt all contributions to the BenRiach coffers are welcome, this was not the only significant financial injection they received last week. Boss Billy Walker announced he had sold BenRiach, along with sister distilleries Glenglassaugh and GlenDronach, to Jack Daniel's owner Brown-Forman for £285m, with a third of that going to the Walkers themselves.

The Aberdeen Press and Journal quoted Billy as saying "it really isn't about the money" which we're sure is true. But then, £95m never hurt anyone.

On we went with another great whisky, this time a Cadenhead's bottling of a 22yo Glen Moray. Initial thoughts were that this was basically an alcoholic Bakewell tart, something of an achievement considering the Peak District is about 400 miles away from Speyside.

It really was very nice indeed, although the price tag (nearly £90) meant there wasn't the same rush to snap it up on the night. One to ask Santa for, perhaps.

The last dram of the night was also the strongest, the peated Glenlivet Nadurra (it means 'natural' in Gaelic) coming in at 61.5%.

It certainly tasted like it which led to a mixed reception from the crowd, some enjoying sensation of having a whisky that slaps you around the face a bit, others finding it a bit off-putting. But at less than £50, it's good value if you like that sort of thing.

The voting for dram of the night initially came down to a tie between the BenRiach and the Cadenhead's Glen Moray (the Glenlivet had a couple of staunch supporters, too), but the BenRiach just got the nod in the end.

Thanks to Tom for an excellent selection of whiskies and thanks once again to the Britons for being gracious hosts. We're all looking forward to May's tasting already.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Islay Farm Distillery

This month we welcomed George Wills from Kilchoman to tell us more about the youngest distillery on the Isle of Islay.

One of three brothers, his father Anthony founded the distillery in 2005. The eldest of the three, he's really lucked out coming to talk to us in Manchester while his unfortunate brothers have been shipped off to two awkward corners of the world (New York and Hawaii) to do similar tastings. It really does pay to be the firstborn sometimes...

Kilchoman was founded with the goal of being small and artisanal. Based at Rockside farm on the Rhinns, just north of the Bruichladdich distillery, they're the only distillery on the island that isn't directly by the sea. In their small mash tun, stills, malting floor and kiln they produce very small batches of whisky at a time and fill around 20 bourbon casks per week, occasionally filling into other cask types. At this pace, they manage about 160,000 litres per year.

Manchester - who'd want to be anywhere else?

Generally Kilchoman release 35-40% of their stock each year, usually when it's around 5 years old. They then keep the rest to age further, except for around 10% of their annual production which is used to experiment with.

They only ever buy fresh casks with the bourbons all coming from Buffalo Trace. They arrive still assembled, often still damp with even a little bit of bourbon left in the bottom. All the refills they use are their own refills.

Coming up to ten years old this year, they do plan on releasing a 10 year old. However, in 2005, their first year, they only filled 7 casks so they're not quite ready just yet for that milestone. Perhaps next year... George tells us they'll do a seven year old soon, and a Madeira cask finish as well - exciting!

Our evening's glorious line-up

Kilchoman 100% Islay 4th Edition

Up first is the 100% Islay 4th edition. The barley is grown, malted, smoked, mashed, distilled, matured, and bottled  at the farm and they grow 100 tons of optic barley per year just for this annual release. Bottled at 50% and matured exclusively in 1st fill buffalo trace bourbon, this one's a light and floral introduction to the range with a lighter peating level than the others in the line-up.

Nose: Sweet vanilla, spring blossoms, wax crayons. Earthy, like the smell you get with fresh soil while gardening. Slightly nutty.
Palate: Sweet grassy barley, lots of vanilla with salty earth and dry vegetal peat.
Finish: A little waxy with smoky ashes.

Kilchoman Machir Bay 2014

Second in the line-up is Machir Bay 2014. This one's made with barley from Diageo's Port Ellen maltings, produced at a similar spec to Ardbeg. 90% of the whisky is matured in Bourbon, and 10% in Oloroso, which are then vatted together and bottled at 46% ABV.

Nose: Wafts of citrus, with sea breeze and sweet barley. Rock dust and linen.
Palate: Sweet vanilla and lemon candy, dry peat, barley sugar and a little mint.
Finish: Gentle oak with a tingle of peat. Drying.

Kilchoman Loch Gorm 2015

Now here's a treat! The brand-new Loch Gorm 2015, released just this week. This is a full maturation in Oloroso Sherry hogsheads (not butts). It's not overpoweringly sweet, and has a lot of interesting savoury notes coming through.

Nose: Rubber shoe soles, struck matches, sultanas, glace cherries, custard powder, salted nuts, dry dusty earth.
Palate: Peated salty syrup with sweet barley malt, plums and figs, a little dark chocolate, leading to herbal oregano and peppercorns.
Finish: Spicy clove with lime juice. More delicious dry peat, quite sticky this time.

Kilchoman Original Cask Strength

After a short break, we move onto the cask strength section of our tasting, starting with the Original Cask Strength. This was released October 2014 round about the time of the London Whisky Show. A limited release, this was produced with 35 fresh first fill Bourbon casks and bottled aged five years.

Nose: Wood spice, candy, liqourice, hay, farmyard, salty rocks, herby vegetation and dry straw.
Palate: Oily and sweet. Vanilla, peated custard with cinnamon. A little bit of seaweed. Peat rises to become salty and dry.
Finish: Long and warming with savoury smoke, oak, and salt.

Kilchoman Port Cask Matured

Now this is a really interesting one... A Kilchoman matured for three years in a Ruby Port Cask. The distillery started with 20 fresh 1st-fill port casks and filled them with spirit straight away to capture the flavour.  At 3 years old they decided to release it because the port was having such a strong influence on the whisky. Any longer and it'd have looked like Ribena! The colour after 3 years is already pretty fantastic...

This was released last year and sold out very quickly indeed. We're very lucky tonight because this isn't the official 55% release. George managed to get a full cask strength sample at 59%!

Nose: Smoked cheese with brandied cherries. Musty dunnage warehouse. Barley grain.
Palate: Fizzy sour strawberry laces, with tart raspberry, soft grape, and a Lapsang Souchoung smoke running through.
Finish: Drying with chewy peat and savoury oak.

Kilchoman Cask Sample Oloroso 2009

And now the piece de resistance, a single cask Kilchoman from a 1st fill Oloroso sherry butt. Distilled in 2009, and bottled at a cask strength of 59.2% ABV. This particular release will be released in Belgium but there'll be a very similar one in the UK soon so keep your eyes peeled.

Nose: Sesame seed, caramel wafers, coal tar, plasticine, marzipan, plum sauce.
Palate: Sweet and syrupy with tangy cough drops, cola, orange zest, and tingly sour smoke.
Finish: Long and smoky with plenty of earth and tar. Reminiscent of Ardbeg.

Staggeringly good for a 5 year old. This one really made the night for a lot of the club members. Wow!

What a brilliant tasting. Thanks so much to George Wills and the Kilchoman distillery for coming down to Manchester and sharing such beautiful whisky with us. It'll be lovely to see just how much this already delicious whisky improves over time...