Syndicate 58/6 Small Batch Release Blended Scotch Whisky

I was recently asked if I would like to try a sample of the Syndicate 58/6 which is a blended whisky, this is quite the award winner having won gold at the IWSC in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. So what is the Syndicate 58/6? It is a blend which contains 18 single malt whiskies and 4 single grain whiskies. The quality has been maintained over the 12 years by operating a “Solera” system*, when the additional 12 year old whiskies are added, they are rebounded with the older stock. Therefore this been still contains small quantities of the original 1958 blend. I was sent this sample by Douglas Laing, ooh! and some chocolates – can’t forget them.

The blend has also been “married” and finally matured for up to 2 years in 4 year old Oloroso sherry casks.

*Solera is a process for ageing liquids such as whisky, by fractional blending in such a way that the finished product is a mixture of ages, with the average age gradually increasing as the process continues over many years. The purpose of this labor-intensive process is the maintenance of a reliable style and quality of the beverage over time…

The nose is sweet and you do get the warm hint of sherry, caramel and dark muscovado sugar. Soft hints of vanilla, honey and orchard fruits and also some orange. Delicate spices come through on the nose too. The palate delivers a very smooth mouth feel, yet it is rich and flavourful, caramel and apple come through. I did try a sip with the flipping brilliant sherry finished (Scotch whisky) dark chocolate truffle and they were fab together. The finish is lovely on this whisky, an easy drinker.

Thanks for the opportunity to try this Douglas Laing.

Sarah

 

Heaven Hill UK Tweet Tasting

On the 4th July myself and a host of other tweeters joined together for an evening of bourbon from Heaven Hill UK. hmm just realised the # I used read #HeaveHillUK…D’oh missing the N!

First to sample was Evan Williams Extra Aged, the nose gave rich sweet honey and caramel yet slightly minty, probably like Pacers if you’re of that generation?! Sweet hint of vanilla and a dash of oak and banana. Palate is quite punchy, caramel, burnt sugar and that minty-ness remains with some spices too. Dry and bitter finish.

Next to try was the Old Fitzgerald Larceny, toffee and fresh baked bread, caramel, vanilla and soft sugar. A touch of cinnamon. On the palate, sweet and a tad doughy a little peppery and some wood too, quite dry on the finish.

Now to the Bernheim Original. Honey and freshly made buttered popcorn / buttered white toast. Sweetex. Sweet and inviting on the nose with a touch of vanilla and a drizzle of honey and maybe a little fudge (it worked well in fudge too.)  Lovely palate sweet and caramel / toffee coming through.

And last but not least the Rittenhouse. The nose delivers honey and a touch of oak, slightly fresh note too. Palate spicy and sweet and a bit tingly. Some delicious bitterness though.

My favourites on the evening were Larceny and the Bernheim. Having just sat with them again, I dare say I enjoyed the Rittenhouse too.

Thanks to Steve, and Heaven Hill UK for the chance to take part and for the samples.

Sarah

 

 

 

Sibling Rivalry – The Dram Team

Sibling Rivalry it’s all part of family life eh? Well on this particular evening it was a battle of ages between these six drams, we were about to sample Glen Moray, Old Pulteney and Glenfarclas siblings. So who would come out as favourite? The elder or the younger? Well I guess there was really only one way to find out, sample them.

First up are the 12 and 15 year old expressions from Glen Moray from their Elgin Heritage range.

The 12 year old nose, lovey soft floral fragrance yet has a depth to it too. Just drawing you in for another sniff. Lovely toffee, vanilla and a bit of milk chocolate. Definitely a freshness to it. Now the 15 year old, lovely and fresh too but with some delicious spice and a note of frangipane and toffee and a delicious hint of oak. Going back to the 12 again and there is a thick creamy custard note (it’s been sitting a while now.) The palate on this delightfully light and fruity with that vanilla and it’s quite lightly spiced too. The 15 is that bit thicker on the palate with a sweetness and lovely spice again. Both are wonderful but I think the 15 just pips it to the post. Just.

Now to the Old Pulteney twosome. The 12 year old at 40%, and the 17 year old at 46%. I do like the Old Pulteney so it is nice to try them again.

The 12 year old on the nose is lovely and fresh like line dried linen with a sea breeze, a slight hint of fresh orange rind with vanilla and a pinch of salt and a the scent of oak.

And the 17 year old? A more robust nose and briny with it. Warm leather and a slight tanginess accompanies a bar of Mr. Toms – so that’s nuts in sugar and it smells delicious! I think there is a bit of a pine freshness there also. The palate of the 12 year old is slightly dry with a hint of vanilla and a bit of cream, soft whipped with a drop of this in it would be fab. Theres a slight spicy caramel to it but it’s sweet. The 17 year old is smoother on the palate, that nuttiness remains albeit lightly, and again it is sweet and fruity and really delicious with a long finish that just has you savouring the whisky.

Lastly we moved on to the Glenfarclas and the 10 year old and the 25 year old.

Up first is the 10 year old and the nose is quite buttery and a bit malty too. Toffee entices you a little with light spices and a little cream and honey, and the 25 year old? A richer nose on this one, the sherry really coming to the fore, Christmas pudding and bitter rind and really quite full on the nose. The 10 year old palate is light yet sweet with some cinnamon dancing on the tongue with lovely vanilla and the maltiness is there also. Against the lovely sherry on the 25 year old which really draws you in, some bitterness from dark chocolate yet rather yummy. Yes there is a difference in them but they both have their own merit, whether 10 years or 25 years old.

I based my thoughts on the Glenfarclas 15 year old that I really do enjoy.

A lovely selection of drams from some of my favourite distilleries. So thanks guys for another interesting box of delights!

And to all those who took part on the night – hello!

Sarah

 

 

Dramboree 5 – I blame Jon and The Dram Team

Hopefully the title had you thinking “huh?”

I’ve called it what I did as they were the main influence in my deciding to buy a ticket and go. Well we all like a giggle don’t we? Or should I say “we all love trying new whiskies, don’t we?”

Maybe it should be “a lost weekend in a hostel in Aviemore?”…

So I was packed with my bottle for the table and my fudge for willing mouths, and I was Edinburgh bound… eventually. Signalling delays had meant I had missed the first train but as I had planned ahead there was plenty of time to get there. I decided to have my first dram of the day while we approached Inverkeithing and as my stash was packed in my case I decided to see what they had on board. Not a lot it seemed. The Auganocean (guess) didn’t fit the bill so I decided on a wee old favourite the Highland Park 12 year old. Upon arrival in Edinburgh and ignoring a tweet about “batten down the hatches Edinburgh” I attempted to meet up with Jon and Tom. Bonus was I also met Chris and Jamie from The Dram Team and lovely Amy Seton too. So we set off for one of the Robert Graham’s shops before a brief visit to look in the cage at Cadenhead’s. Brief note, always accept the proffered magazine and don’t respond with “obviously they’re popular” at the large pile. Still my cheekiness and a smile got me off with a laugh.

Shortly after we headed for the coach station to gather the troops of whisky brethren together. I was kindly offered the job of driving the coach, however being two drams in I gladly declined the offer. So all aboard the bus and we were Aviemore bound. Woo hoo!

Back of the bus banter was refreshing and I soon found myself at ease… and the array of delicious drams most definitely helped the miles just disappear, GlenDronach 2002 Batch 8 PX Sherry Puncheon, and then another Batch 8 the 1992 cask #145 Oloroso Sherry Butt. A brief comfort break in Pitlochry and we were on the last run to Aviemore as we headed through the Drumochter Pass and past Dalwhinnie Distillery. We soon found ourselves at the hostel and cases put away and bottles on the table it was a chance to mingle…a few faces I already knew and a few who knew my face and some new faces to know too. So I think the rest of the evening went a little like this…a whisky tasting and receiving our Dramboree 5 glasses and badges to identify who we were. Then later we all introduced the bottle we brought along. These could be something you’ve wanted to try because they are nice or totally evil drams… I brought Douglas Laing Old Particular Glenrothes 12 YO. We all set about tasting things we fancied, I tried the Glen Moray Peated Port cask finish which was rather lovely and it also brought me a lot of humour on Twitter… If you saw the tweet you’ll know what I mean 🙂 Compass Box Morpheus delighted my palate as did Dickel on the second dram. I tried some lovely SMWS whiskies too, 35.52 Lush, divine and exotic and 73.84 Tug of war in a meadow, I guess these were to build up a friendship with my palate again after subjecting it to Fujikai. If you haven’t “been” there then do give it a try… If I’d ever got close to a post game rugby players sweaty cup then I imagine my initial scent sensation would be “Fujikai”. However, I nosed it, I sipped it and believe that my face said it all as I took one for England and swallowed. It was interesting to see some extremely old looking bottle of Haig’s and I’m still not sure where they had been hiding. I gravitated to the lounge for the lost souls…humorous banter and some music and a chance to swap stories of who we are and what we like, the added bonus was the question “I’m going back to the table, anyone want anything?” to which I handed over my glass with a “surprise me”. All good and most welcoming as it was someone else’s choice.

I think I went to bed at 1:30am.

Saturday was an earlyish start and after brekky a walk down to Loch Morlich, love this area of Scotland. A fresh morning and the beautiful views to just lose yourself in for a moment or two. Breathtaking! We then all met up for a blind tasting with the whisky guv’nor and the Science of Peat with Mark and Kate from the Manchester Pyromaniacs manchesterpyromaniacs.blogspot.co.uk a fun and interesting look into heated whiskies including a blind tasting, and I managed to guess one to, the Laphroaig and won a fab Boutique-y Whisky canvas of the Back to the Future Sale label of the Williamson 6 YO Batch 1 bottle. A welcome addition to my other framed cards at home.

After a quick wee dram (as you do) it was time to leave now gloriously sunny Aviemore and head to Forres, en route passing by a whole host of distilleries and had we stopped I’m sure a lot of money would have been spent. But first a stopping Rothes for lunch and the best flipping fish ‘n’ chips I have had in years. Fun and capers in the park with the human fish and then onward to The Benromach distillery. A whistlestop tour of this lovely distillery and an ambush on the distillery shop and we were all aboard the coach back to the hostel for a BBQ. So full of meat and and a happy day behind us it was time to mingle and share a dram or two or… well what ever you liked really. Prize giving for the best bottle and the worst and thanks applauded for a wonderful weekend it was time to wind down in the lounge for the lost souls and share a few giggles. One day I might explain why when asked what biscuit I’d be resulted in me saying “I can’t say (laughing), before sheltering my face behind a cushion”. Then it was time for bed as tomorrow we are heading home.

I guess that all that’s left to say is thanks. Thanks for suggesting I go, thanks for eating and enjoying my fudge, thanks for the banter and giggles but mostly and more importantly thanks to those that run these weekends – Jason B Standing, Jonny M.

Thanks to all those that made this fun!

Sarah

SMWS 25.61 Lemon and Vanilla Delicacy

When I was down in Edinburgh I finally had the opportunity to meet someone I have tweeted with for probably 5/6 years. This would be Tom Thomson, and as I left to race off to The Whisky Lounge he kindly gave me a sample to try, SMWS 25.61 Lemon and Vanilla Delicacy a 20 year old Rosebank at 51.3% abv.

Bright golden colour

Lovely fresh nose lovely sweet lemon. Enticing sugar and fresh cut grass. Slight sherbet hit too and of course there’s the gorgeous vanilla.

Hmm vanilla on the palate and the lemon mingles delightfully. There’s a bitterness too that just adds some heat. Slightly oily (waxy) mouthfeel, yet full.

Lovely finish.

Later that evening I tried another whisky from the SMWS… watch this space 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

The Balvenie Tweet Tasting – The Craftsmen’s Dinner

Imagine the excitement of knowing you are going to participate in The Balvenie twitter tasting, and then the rush of excitement as a big parcel marked “fragile” arrives and you open it up and you are greeted by The Balvenie DoubleWood 12 year old, the 14 year old Caribbean Cask and the 17 year old DoubleWood… these are accompanied by a jar of honey from Bermondsey Street Bees and cheese washed with Balvenie from Wildes Cheese and lastly chocolate from Pump Street Chocolate.

So the evening of the 7th June was here and we had all unwrapped our delicious bounty and with greetings said we set about a delicious tasting. The tasting was to celebrate The Craftsmen’s Dinner Series with Michel Roux Jnr.

The first dram of the evening was the DoubleWood 12 year old, this is a whisky that I have most certainly enjoyed for a few years. The nose delivers gorgeous honey and vanilla, the palate is smooth and delicious with delicate cinnamon and that perfect sweetness and a lovely finish. Just hitting the spot. This was paired with Bermondsey Bees honey which really brought out the sherry and some wood too.

Next was the Caribbean Cask which is a 14 year old. I have liked this for a number of years. You know you sometimes have a recollection of a time and place where a whisky first touched your lips? I do. This was on a little trip I took and while at dinner at the Angel’s Share in Edinburgh, where sadly my Caeser salad didn’t live up to their standards, and as an apology I was handed the whisky menu…and I chose the Caribbean Cask. So little old me and a fire place enjoyed a bit of quiet time together. I think the same now as I did then, a pleasant nose with oak and vanilla and lovely sweetness. The palate delivers some more lovely oak and sweetness with some caramel and a lovely finish too. This was paired with Wildes Cheese that had been washed with The Balvenie whisky. A lovely smooth cheese with a little mustiness and a slight slight tart note which did bring out the sweetness of the whisky. Lovely cheese indeed!

The final whisky of the evening was the 17 year old DoubleWood. Gorgeous honey and vanilla greet your senses with a delicious oak and fruitiness, the plate is smooth with a slight spicy warmth with some cinnamon sprinkles and the vanilla is there and that reassuring oak. I do like wood. This was paired with the chocolate from Pump Street. It intensified the fruity spices and the honey for me. Likewise the whisky brought out the deep flavours of the chocolate.

So, the night had drawn to a close and with thanks given and favourites noted it was time to bid all a fond farewell.

Apology time…I’m not sure what happened on Twitter that evening, the wrong hashtag or gremlins in the works, but it had seemed a tad quiet. Though I was able to see the feed on my TL. So I’m glad I had the chance to do it all over again this evening. A delicious treat for one.

A huge amount of thanks and gratitude to Steve @thewhiskywire, Alwynne @themisswhisky and @balvenieuk for a truly fab evening.

Now it’s time to book my tour there 🙂

Slàinte

Loch Lomond Tweet Tasting

On the 31st May I had the absolute pleasure of taking part in the Loch Lomond Tweet Tasting with Steve Rush of the The Whisky Wire. This included three Loch Lomond whiskies, and two Glen Scotia. Since I hadn’t tried any whiskies from either distillery before, this was going to be another journey of discovery…

The first whisky of the evening was the Loch Lomond Inchmurrin, this is a 12 year old whisky. The nose was lovely and fresh, with cream and caramel and a softness about it. Fresh cut grass, and lovely fresh fudge. The palate delivered maltiness and and a lovely fruitiness, with a little pear and a sprinkling of pepper. I got a little saltiness too, yet this wasn’t at all unpleasant.

Next we moved on to the Loch Lomond 12 year old which presented me with ginger and vanilla and a lot of sweetness on the nose. Lovely caramel and fresh green apples and maybe a malted milk biscuit. When I had a sip I thought it was lovely a rich, smooth and fruity, with the malt there again. Citrus fruits, lemon and a little orange with some vanilla too. A nice finish too.

The final Loch Lomond of the evening was to be the Inchmoan, another 12 year old, yet this time a peated whisky. A quite savoury nose with a not too fierce peatiness to it, yet accompanied by delicious vanilla and burnt sugar too perhaps. Again a lovely smooth mouthfeel lovely peat and a lot of sweetness, yet it has that lovely savouriness also with a spice and some apple.

We then took a look at the Glen Scotia malts, this was the 16 year old. Fudge, sweet vanilla (morello cherry too?) and a rather inviting floral freshness…

Again, a delightfully smooth mouthfeel, sweet vanilla and fudge, a bit of orange and a definite delicious richness. I had previously written that it had a little tobacco at the end too.

Now on the to final dram of the evening and the Glen Scotia 25 year old. This one had me a little lost for words… yeah, me 🙂

Lovely, fresh, floral and oh so appealing… it gave me a certain musky note which just drew me in, and upon revisiting it this evening a lovely beach walk on a summers afternoon comes to mind. There is just something about this. A lovely rich palate of sweet vanilla and lovely caramel and fruit. A real delight!

So a huge thanks to Steve and the distilleries for another wonderful journey in whisky.

Slàinte