The Game of Thrones Single Malt Scotch Whisky Collection

Fans of Game of Thrones, take heed. As the White Walkers bring the grim promise of a never-ending winter and the icy breath of its ice dragon, viewers may find some warmth in a fiery dram of seven limited-edition single malts which have each been aligned with a great House of Westeros and the Night’s Watch. Without further ado, I introduce you to the Game of Thrones Single Malt Whisky Collection.

Continue reading “The Game of Thrones Single Malt Scotch Whisky Collection”

A wee taste of Loch Lomond Group’s Glen Scotia and Inchmurrin Scotch whisky

It was a nice warm evening on Tuesday 6 February. That evening, I was making my way to a Loch Lomond Group industry tasting at one of Melbourne’s iconic whisky bars, Whisky & Alement. After carefully weaving my way around the bar’s surprisingly small after-work crowd, I was greeted by a smiling bartender who informed me that the tasting was being held in the bar’s upstairs room. Continue reading “A wee taste of Loch Lomond Group’s Glen Scotia and Inchmurrin Scotch whisky”

Royal Lochnagar Distiller’s Edition

In 1852 Prince Albert purchased an estate at Balmoral, which to this day is an estate of the British Royal Family – Balmoral Castle. Adjoining the estate is the Royal Lochnagar distillery, which was founded in 1826. It is said that both Prince Albert and his wife Queen Victoria came to favour the Royal Lochnagar malt whisky after visiting the distillery at the invitation of the distillery’s manager.  The whisky was then supplied to the Queen and Royal Lochnagar earned a Royal Warrant in 1848. Continue reading “Royal Lochnagar Distiller’s Edition”

Glenmorangie Companta

Glenmorangie Companta

Rating: ★★★★

Type: Single malt whisky

Origin: Highlands, Scotland

ABV: 46%

Overall reaction:  😀

Glenmorangie Companta is said to be inspired by the travels of Dr Bill Lumden, Master Distiller of Glenmorangie and Ardbeg, through the vineyards of France and the friends he met along the way. Suitably called “Companta” (which is Scots Gaelic for “friendship”), this whisky is matured in American oak casks then extra matured in Grand Cru casks from Clos de Tart and fortified wine casks from Côtes du Rhône. This extra maturation in these ex-French wine casks, as the below tasting notes indicate, seems to give the whisky an oaky and spicy kick that is softened by layers cooked fruit, berry jam and cherry rocky road. 

Nose:

The American oak, radiating with vanilla and coconut, beams through textured layers of cranberry, cashews, hay, honey, chocolate, port glazed dates and cherry ripe. While sweet, the bouquet also offers gusts of drying wine and occasionally notes of fruit cake and pear salad with red wine vinegar emerge.  

Taste:

The bite of wood and sharp winy notes is softened by cherry and rose rocky road, caramel and mixed berry jam, and in the backdrop sits a creaminess interwoven with citrus marmalade. Then comes the spice – mostly rigid and peppery – with varying shades of oak and the curious occasional snaps of bitter flowers.

Finish:

The finish offers an electric foray of spice, amidst berry compote, guava and wood. As the spice dies the finish remains warming, and the alcohol fumes off the tongue with mild herbal undertones.

Bottom line:

Buy it, if you want to explore the flavours that can be infused into American oak matured whisky by additional maturation in ex-French wine Grand Cru casks from Clos de Tart and fortified wine casks from Côtes du Rhône. The whisky ignites the palate with spice, berry jam and cherry rocky road in particular, but this complex little number always has a pleasant surprise up her sleeve – a very interesting and tasty dram, highly recommended.

Match with: 

After trying this whisky over some Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream, the sight of the Glenmorangie symbol now makes me salivate on cue like one of Pavlov’s dogs. Try Glenmorangie Companta with a good quality ice cream packed with cookie, nuts or fruit. This whisky also paired nicely with a number of medium strength cigars that offer some spice and wood,  along with chicory bitterness – try it with Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchills Cubans or La Gloria Cubana Dominicans.

Glengoyne 12 year old

Glengoyne 12 yo

Rating: ★★★★
Type: Single malt
Origin: Highlands, Scotland
Reaction: 🙂

Glengoyne is a Scottish whisky distillery located in the southern Highlands of Scotland, about half an hour drive north of Glasgow. It adopts a practice of air drying barley, rather than using peat, which tends to result in a clean fruity flavour profile. The Glengoyne 12 year old is comprised of whiskies that have matured in sherry casks.

Nose: 

Oranges, tea cake, Earl Grey tea and mild hints of licorice are all buoyed by chocolate, dried dates, lychee skins, nuts, cinnamon and citrus oils.

Palate:

On the entry the whisky is balanced, with flavours of vanilla, red toffee apple, spice (especially cinnamon), orange cake and a gradually intensifying Italian hot chocolate. The flavour profile then morphs into gooey caramel and melting orange and Champagne truffles. Despite these sweet sounding descriptors, the whisky is not what I would describe as sweet and it is nicely balanced.

Finish:

The finish is mildly warming, with the lingering taste of a wedge of lemon doused in lager (think Corona and a lemon wedge), cinnamon spice, caramels, honey, coffee lollies and chocolate.

Bottom line: 

Buy it, if you want an easy drinking but complex Highland single malt with a very fair price tag. I have tasted Glengoyne 12 year old a few times in bars and at Whisky Live, but its intricate flavours did not leap out as they do when I taste it at home. This is a dram that can be easily under-appreciated, and while it is not very challenging, it is a supremely drinkable whisky.  It is a fruity whisky with a toffee apple/citrus theme and soft hues of vanilla, spice and chocolate from the oak – delicious, if you are in the mood for something elegant and poised

Match with: 

Pair this whisky with a mild-medium cigar with zesty undertones, such as a Perdomo 10th Anniversary Champagne cigar or a Romeo y Julieta Habana Reserve, the latter of which set my palate abuzz with spice when puffed alongside Glengoyne 12 year old – find a curious chilli flake burn and cinnamon spiced chocolate entanged in the tobacco smoke, smoothed by the vanilla and toffee in the whisky.

Dalwhinnie Distiller’s Edition (Distilled 1995)

dalwhinnie 1995Rating: ★★★★

Origin: Highlands, Scotland

Type: Single malt whisky

ABV: 43%

Dalwhinnie single malt whisky is produced in the village of Dalwhinnie in Scotland, which sits at an altitude of 351 meters. As you can probably imagine, Dalwhinnie is a very cold place up high in the lush green countryside of Scotland and the whisky produced in the little village by the Diageo owned Dalwhinnie distillery is consistently in tune with this pristine image – a fresh, crisp and clean single malt. While much of the whisky that the Dalwhinnie distillery produces is used to make blended whisky Diageo also releases Dalwhinnie single malt whisky,  a 15 year old and a “Distiller’s Edition”. The “Distiller’s Edition” is a peated malt whisky that has been finished in Oloroso sherry casks.

Nose:

Soft peat sits beneath juicy barley, vanilla, honey, peach, orange peel, lime, wilted roses and overtones of wafting Oloroso dryness. The peat is very subtle. Forget Islay or a big smoky malt. The peat in this whisky adds a grassy and hay-like dimension to the whisky. The alcohols are somewhat piercing, as the vapours grind and scratch in the otherwise fragrant bouquet. 

Taste:

The peat is more prominent on the palate than the nose suggests but it is counterbalanced by sugars – honey especially – cinnamon, nutmeg and cocoa dusted orange segments. Floral and grassy notes emerge at mid-palate, and linger into the finish. The presence of sherry is soft, but certainly noticeable.    

Finish:

The finish is astringent and drying, the fading grassy/floral notes are slowly replaced by more crystalline sugars, liquor filled dark chocolates, spice and cooked steaming hot rhubarb.   

Bottom line:

Consider it. This whisky was very easy to drink, but it did not impress me any more than any other easy drinking whisky. The use of peated barley to make this whisky and having finished the whisky’s maturation in Oloroso sherry casks gives it an added complexity, grassiness and dryness that the standard Dalwhinnie offering simply does not have, but despite the added bells and whistles the whisky did not put a big fat smile on my face. It kept me content. The whisky did seem to change once opened, and the honeyed cream undertones that once jumped out in this whisky now flicker much more dimly.

Match with:

The Dalwhinnie “Distiller’s Reserve” paired with a honey infused cigar, such as a Drew’s Estate ACID 1400CC. The honey infused tobacco smoke in the ACID cigar complimented the peat and honey notes in the whisky.

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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

Rating: ★★★★★

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: ★★★★

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.