Glengoyne Teapot Dram batches #1 and #3

Teapot dram

Glangoyne Teapot Dram is a whisky that is only available for purchase at the Glengoyne distillery in Scotland. It is matured in ex-sherry casks and bottled at cask strength, ready to quench the thirst of some of the whisky faithful who embark on a pilgrimage to the land of Scotch. The Teapot Dram commemorates a 150 year old tradition at Glengoyne which resulted in leftovers from the daily staff ration of three large drams being stored for (quite understandable!) safe keeping in a copper teapot. Fun times.  

Malt Mileage has been very lucky to secure samples of Glengoyne Teapot Dram batch #1 and batch #3, so without further ado let me introduce you to these two fine drams.  

Name: Glengoyne Teapot Dram batch #1

Score: 95/100

ABV: 58.8%

Origin: Highlands, Scotland

Match with: Bocconcini, pecorino or a tea/botanical infused cigar

On the nose batch #1 glistens with poise, elegant yet bursting with the aroma of cherries, cocoa, dry Oloroso, crushed whole walnuts, vanished wood, fresh herbs, mint, anise seed, fruit cake with glazed cherries and undertones of toasted and fleshy coconut with banana and a nutty Moroccan baklawa shining through it all. On the palate batch #1 is smooth, balanced and yet manages to electrify the taste buds to life with a sudden surge of dry woody Oloroso, nuts and the most delightful crumbly cocoa rich cherry pie infused with cinnamon, natural mint, herbs and tea. The finish is long, and the palate gently dries as the flavour of Oloroso, cinnamon and dark honey lingers.

Overall Glengoyne Teapot Dram Batch #1 is the kind of dram that makes most other whiskies seem clumsy, unbalanced and pretty darn average as it ignites the palate with what I can only describe as a dramgasm of heavy Oloroso goodness. For an added bit of guilty pleasure try matching it with some creamy bocconcini, pecorino or a tea/botanical infused cigar.    

Name: Glengoyne Teapot Dram batch #3

Score: 89/100

ABV: 59.4%

Origin: Highlands, Scotland

On the nose batch #3 is sweeter and softer than batch #1, being less dry and projecting less woody Oloroso and varnish notes. Batch #3 offers more sweet vanillas and subtle undertones of sherry, with a herbal cough drop glow that melds with green jelly beans, mixed fruit cake and rummy notes very similar to spiced English style rum, and, an earthy coffee heavily spiked with anise seed liqueur and cinnamon mixed with brown sugar. As the whisky rests notes of toffee develop with banana and coconut. On the palate batch #3 offers more pronounced wood notes and Oloroso than the nose suggests, weaved together with chocolate and a vegetal burn that is accompanied by the taste of vanished wood. The finish is drying and woody with intensifying notes of Oloroso, wood varnish and tannins.   

Overall, Glengoyne Teapot Dram batch #3 is a complex and interesting dram that offers a descent hit of Oloroso on the palate but for me it tasted over-oaked with varnish and excessive tannins, falling short of the delectable Glengoyne Teapot Dram batch #1.  

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Auchentoshan Heartwood

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Score: 94/100

ABV: 43%

Origin: Lowlands, Scotland

Match with: Goats cheese, Buffalo mozzarella, mild cigar

Auchentoshan is a distillery located in close proximity to Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow. The distillery’s claim to fame is its practice of distilling its whisky three times, which, while the norm in Ireland, is unusual in Scotland where most whisky is distilled only two times. Auchentonshan therefore take a page from their Irish cousins and produce a whisky with more concentrated and cleaner ethanol which matures into a light and fruity whisky often described as a “breakfast dram” due its smoothness.

Auchantoshan Heartwood is triple distilled whisky that has been matured in bourbon casks and Oloroso sherry casks, and then bottled for Travel Retail in large 1 litre bottles at 43% alcohol volume.

The nose presents with nutty overtones of almond, walnut and unsalted pistachio that combine with herbal mint/menthol cough drops and the drying woody aroma of Oloroso, cherries, chocolate, dried fruit and fresh herbs sitting on a newly made wooden table. On the palate the whisky is balanced and very smooth, immediately releasing drying Oloroso sherry with an almond and cashew nuttiness, pistachio shells, dark dried fruits such as raisin and prune, soft licorice, honey, dark chocolate and the flicker of picante spice with cinnamon sugar that fades at mid-palate into a herbal glow of mild eucalyptus and mint hot chocolate. The finish curiously sweetens as undertones of Oloroso remain dry, offering cherries, alcohol soaked raisins, creamy vanilla, dusted cocoa and dry wood.

Overall, Auchentoshan Heartwood is a smooth and light whisky that offers a fusion of dark dried fruit, dry Oloroso with powerful wood notes, nuttiness and a herbal glow. With booming Oloroso sherry notes and a constant nutty hymn, this whisky is delectable with a block of creamy goats cheese or some buffalo mozzarella – absolutely perfect while star gazing, watching a movie or puffing on a mild cigar. Talk about la bella vita!

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ACID Nasty (Nicaragua)

ACID NASTY

Score: 78/100

Draw: Excellent.

Burn: Excellent.

Construction: Poor, despite a careful cut the wrapper unraveled badly on one.

Consistency: OK.

Flavours: This is an intense oily cigar, offering notes of leather and thick medium-rich tobacco with bitter dried rose buds and tarry notes that matched the film of floral oils that lingered on the lips.  It did not however keep my interest and a quarter into the cigar I had lost my desire to keep smoking it – now that ain’t good! By no means is this a “nasty” cigar, but it left me underwhelmed in terms of its flavour profile despite its intensity.

Origin: Nicaragua

Format: Pyramid

Matched with: This cigar matched nicely with an espresso with a dash of Cognac and brown sugar, or some orange liqueur such as Cointreau. The brown sugar with brandy or citrus notes in the liqueur cut through the intense oily notes of the cigar, which complimented the bitter coffee lying beneath the sweetness.

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ACID Blondie (Nicaragua)

ACID Blondie

Score: 82/100

Draw: Excellent.

Burn: Excellent.

Construction: Excellent, no complaints.

Consistency: Good.

Flavours: A very sweet honey emerges after a moment of puffing, but the sweetness does tend to dominate the finish as the tobacco becomes secondary to the infused flavour. Beginners who tried this loved it for its sweetness and subtle flavour profile, which is mild and perfect either for a quick smoke or to get friends interested in cigars. It did not keep my interest after half way, when it lost its sweet honey flavour and became quite harsh – the contrast was huge, from sweet honey to harsh smoke – not a great idea, to shock the taste buds like that.

Origin: Nicaragua

Format: Short Panatela

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ACID Toast (Nicaragua)

Acid toast

Score: 91/100

Draw: Excellent.

Burn: Excellent.

Construction: Excellent, no complaints.

Consistency: Good.

Flavours: On drawing a rich and sweet honey hits the tongue and glows amidst smooth but dense tobacco smoke with hints of cinnamon and wood spice, then a sugary honey brightly shines on the lips with nutmeg and wet bark until it fades softly. This is a flavoursome mild to medium bodied cigar that is infused with sweet honey notes. I think it will please beginners and the cigar aficionado alike.

Origin: Nicaragua

Format: Toro

Matched with: The sweet infused honey in this cigar, and the smooth tobacco smoke carrying wood spice, matches beautifully with old sherry matured whisky with mild peat – the older the whisky the better, because as a peated whisky ages the peat notes soften and the oak notes become more pronounced. Peat can easily overpower this cigar, so stick with something nice and old or a lightly peated sherry/bourbon matured whisky with a clean flavour profile. Try it with Sheep Dip Old Hebridean 1990, Bunnahabhain 25 year old or even Johnnie Walker Black Label, Label 5 Gold Heritage, Black Grouse or Benriach 17 year old.  It also fairs nicely with non-peated whisky of course but nothing too sweet, try it with a medium-dry Oloroso sherry matured whisky if peat ain’t your thing!

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Mackmyra Misdattssol

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Score: 93/100

ABV: 46.1%

Origin: Sweden

Mackmyra Midnattssol is a limited edition Swedish whisky that has been crafted, its makers say, for bright summer nights. It is matured in sherry casks, bourbon casks and casks made from Swedish and American oak, but the ingenuity of this whisky comes from the fact that it is finished in casks that previously held wine made from birch sap. Yes, birch sap.

As winter draws closer to spring, deciduous trees that have stored sugar in their roots begin to move sugar upwards in their sap. The maple and birch are two trees that produce an edible sap in plentiful supply, so when these trees begin brimming with sap as winter warms people extract that sap and do many wonderful things with it. One of those things is to produce wine, with some help from some good natured yeast which converts all that lovely sugar into even more lovely alcohol. Mackmyra had the idea to finish its whisky in casks that have held birch sap wine to infuse its whisky with the distinctive flavours and aromas of that birch sap wine. Sounds good to me!

The nose presents with a sappy sweetness that radiates vanilla ice cream, varnished wood, raw cedar, sawdust, blueberries and blackberries, banana, anise seed, licorice, dark chocolate, mild coconut, raisins and English style pot still rum with undertones of raw sugar, spice and petals.  On the palate the whisky is less sweet and fruity than the nose suggests, immediately thumping the taste buds with a woody textured bitter citrus rind that gradually dries into the mid-palate when sawdust, spice, dark chocolate coated licorice and mild undertones of vanilla develop with a herbal cough drop glow and honey drizzled over forest berries. The sappy note detected on the nose returns in the finish but loses its sweetness to a woody and astringent dryness that is counterbalanced by the creamy aftertaste of a Sambuca spiked espresso affogato, the sweet bitterness of lime wedges in chinotto and the curious faint shine of menthol similar to the vapour of tiger balm.

Overall, Mackmyra Midnattssol is a creative whisky that harmoniously fuses an array of flavours that are difficult to find in most other whiskies on the market, thanks in part to the fact that the Midnattssol has been matured in Swedish oak and finished in casks that previously held birch sap wine – find the most curious fusion of fruit, citrus, sap and herbal notes with the more familiar vanillas from American oak to smooth it all out. This is a complex and interesting whisky with lots of depth to explore within its layers of integrated and balanced flavours. If you do decide to have a rendezvous with this whisky make sure you cancel your plans, this Swedish beauty deserves your undivided attention.

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Mackmyra Svensk Rök

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Score: 87/100

ABV: 46.1%

Origin: Scotland

The words “Svensk Rök” may conjure images of ABBA or Eurovision, but far from referring to golden haired Swedes singing in spandex tights “Svensk Rök” translates into “Swedish Smoke” – an entirely appropriate name for a smoky Swedish whisky.

Mackmyra Svensk Rök is a whisky that projects a smokier flavour profile than other whiskies in the Mackmyra range, being comprised of whisky that is crafted using peat bog moss and juniper twigs. The use of juniper twigs in particular seems to infuse the whisky with a distinctive smoke that is refreshingly different to the peaty style whiskies from other parts of the world, such as Islay in Scotland.

The nose presents with crisp celery and the waft of peat, as mild juniper smoke dances around raw sugar crystals, orange zest, mild vanilla and a very watery vanilla latte. On the palate the whisky is smooth and slightly more potent than the nose suggests, showcasing notes of distinctive juniper smoke, peat, toasted twigs, raw sugar in espresso, cinnamon, soft vanilla and oak. The finish is particularly spicy presenting with cinnamon, dry chili flakes and the lingering bite of a mildly bitter green olive that seems to morph back and forth into a oven baked pitted kalamata olive.  

Overall, Mackmyra Svensk Rök is a smooth and well balanced whisky that offers a distinctive smoke, peat and spice that is unquestionably Swedish in its design. Its nose was strangely watery, but the thump of Swedish smoke on the palate made up for that lazy start.  

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