Bare naked and stripped down, it’s The Naked Grouse


I’ve got to say, it’s a really pretty looking bottle, it will definitely be reused as a candlestick. I’m talking about the premium offering from The Edrington Group’s Grouse portfolio, The Naked Grouse.

They’ve kept it nice and simple. With the discrete neck label and embossed grouse design on the bottle, I can understand the philosophy behind the marketing; they want the spirit to speak for itself without any label influenced preconceptions.

Continue reading “Bare naked and stripped down, it’s The Naked Grouse”

Whisky debate: influences on flavour

I have just had a short twitter conversation about some of the “burnt” or toasted notes present in whiskies. Popcorn, vanilla, coconut, sulphur, and drilled/burnt tooth came up.

The question is, in what whiskies and finishes (i.e. bourbon, sherry) do you associate these flavours? And what do you think causes these flavours to show themselves in the glass?

Please comment, join the debate!

Jura Whisky Festival Release – Boutique Barrel 1996 Vintage

A few weeks ago some friends and I went for a wee wander up a hill north of Glasgow called Queen’s View, and along the Wangie – a stone corridor apparently cut into the side of the hill by the Devil’s whipping tail.

The weather was very much against us, howling wind and ice-cold sideways rain (in June!) – it was great! We  didn’t have this dram with us at the time, but when I nosed it in my glass in the comfort of my warm living room it reminded me exactly of that walk.

Continue reading “Jura Whisky Festival Release – Boutique Barrel 1996 Vintage”

A stag and the king of the castle

The Dalmore Castle Leod

Highland distillery The Dalmore has launched a brand new whisky to help raise funds for the repair of a castle near Inverness.
Castle Leod, the spiritual home of the Clan Mackenzie, has stood for more than 400 years but is now in desperate need of repairs to the upper floors and the roof. Built in 1606, it is one of just a handful which is still occupied by descendants of the original owners.

Continue reading “A stag and the king of the castle”

Review: Lagavulin Distiller’s Edition

There’s a slightly musty nose to this one with smoke and sweetness. There’s also a hint of cured game like smoked reindeer and peppery spice. An interesting nose but just seems too messy and erratic.

With water it’s rich with lemonade sweetness and fresh citrus. It’s one of those whiskies in which the nose gives away no clues as to what the palate may be like.

The palate has spirity peat and salty dryness. There’s a touch of sour milk and pick n’ mix taking the edge off the salt. When the water is added it becomes  dry and smoky, with moss on thick tree bark and a touch of orchard fruit.

The finish has reasonable length, it’s very dry and full of smoke that grabs the inside of your mouth. Not sure why, but it left me with an unpleasant sickly feeling. There are a lot of interesting flavours in this one but they just don’t come together too well – if they did I’d be a pretty happy chap.

Review: Glenkinchie Distiller’s Edition

The nose started off with wood stain and  tangerine sweetness. It seemed quite closed off until I added water. It developed a sweet thickness like that of sponge cake mix, still with a fresh sweetness on the nose but the tangerine is less pronounced.

There’s a hint of pencil shavings and waxy worn wood like a school desk (remember being at school and sharpening your pencil into your desk? – We’ve all done it!); bitter chocolate creeps in there just at the end. After a while the nose has tinned peaches (the peaches, the syrup, and the tin), then a final yeasty hint of bread dough.

The palate is initially quite sweet but then changes quickly to a rich salty dryness. The sweetness of the tangerine is less noticeable than on the nose, so is more like dried orange slices. The addition of water adds a hint of wet charred wood to a nicely simple palate.

The finish is salty, dry and of medium length. A touch of orange and dark chocolate comes through on the breath after a short while.

Review: Oban Distiller’s Edition

First of all, the nose has golden syrup and something like plaster on a concrete garage floor. It’s slightly spicy with hints of powdered cinnamon and fresh burning sappy wood.

With water there’s toffee sweetness, butterscotch, and sweet oranges on a dry chalky country road. After a little time it changes to an open pot of gloss paint with dry coffee around the edges.

The palate has a good early richness giving way to spirity saltiness with hints of almonds around the edges and dull sour pears. With water it became much dryer like passion fruit skin with liquorice sweetness.

The finish is dry leaving you wanting more with tobacco smoke lingering on the tongue and a hint of liquorice at the back of the throat as you breathe out.

This is a seriously good whisky. Amazing complexity, length and great balance. Definitely worth getting your hands on.