‘Spirit of Islay II’ 10yo Single Islay Malt Scotch Whisky

The Penultimate bottling of my little collection of Cask Purchases……

This was the last cask purchased in 2008 from a certain Islay Distillery , It was a bit of an impulse purchase at the time as the distillery had just about stopped selling casks at this point and i was on Holiday on the isle at the time they came up for sale , it was also one of my last purchases from this distillery as not long after the then MD of the company decided he didn’t like one of my reviews on the original SOI site of a release i was disappointed in and sent me an email to tell me so , being at that time a very good customer (i.e. spending lots of money there ) i decided to take my money elsewhere…..

Anyway , Purchasing the Fresh Bourbon Barrel #1726 of Lightly Peated Spirit for £1100 in bond , 10 shares of £110 were sold to friends on the SOI forum . in the 10 years a couple of shares changed hands but most of the original purchasers remained .

The Cask was warehoused on Islay but was moved to Whiskybrokers Creetown Site with the Original SOI Cask in February 2017 after discovering that the distillery wouldn’t ship to separate shareholders but only to one address . The cask was bottled by the Good folk of Whiskybroker on the 30th July 2018 (that just happened to be our 24th Wedding Anniversary…..) at 63.9% with an outturn of 224 Bottles (22 bottles each with the spare 4 being sent to 4 lucky shareholders via a lucky dip !) . 

The design wasn’t the original , it did have the distillery name on in large letters but i was informed by the bottler that unless i had permission (which i didn’t….) i couldn’t put it on as they are a bit touchy about their name on Indy bottlings so as not to cause bother for the Bottler i put ‘Spirit of Islay II’ Prominently and reduced the size of the ‘Distilled at…..’ .

(Click on Images to See full Size)

The Costs for this Bottling……

The Original Purchase of shares.   ……………………………………………….£110

Transportation of Cask from Islay……………………………………………… £17.68

1 Years Warehousing at Creetown….……………………………………………£17.19

Final Warehousing in Creetown ………………………………………………  …£1.05

Bottling costs ………………………………………………………………….  £67.32

Duty and VAT…………………………………………………………………. £346.17

VAT on original purchase of Cask………………………..……………………..£22.00

Total………………………………………………………………………….. £581.41

So the cost per bottle is (total divided by 22)……………..………………… £26.43

So How does it taste…….

Colour – Bright Golden Syrup

Nose – At Full Strength , lots of the Distilleries lightly peated characteristics , very fresh and fruity , Apples , pears , exotic fruits , slightly Honeyed , wood spices and sea air . Reduced , Water brings toffee to the front , still fruity fresh .

Palate – Without Water , quite strong on the palate , lots of Fruit and butterscotch toffee , quite spicy , very drinkable at 63.9% ! With Water ,  It can take quite a bit of water , still very fruity and butterscotchy .

Finish – Long , Chewy , lots of spices and pepper  . Water reduces the chewiness but still has the spices and pepper with a nice toffeeness added .

Comment – Another cask i’m really happy with (i’ve definitely been very lucky with the casks…..) , it reminds me of the class of Spirit from when this distillery first reopened , but…. i still prefer the PC Spirit !

The full Islay ! Not a bad wee tasting !

Many thanks to all at Whiskybroker  for their help with this bottling , Debbie you are a star !

Just the Longmorn to go……..

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Spirit of Islay Port Charlotte 15yo

This is the 3rd and final Port Charlotte Cask I’ve been involved with , this one was purchased by members of the Long Gone ‘Spirit of Islay’ Yahoo Club / Group . This cask was a Refill Sherry Hogshead filled and purchased in 2002 , Cask No.1161 is cost £1050 , originally 20 shares were issued at £105 but one shareholder holding 2 shares has since vanished….

Originally warehoused at Bruichladdich , the cask was moved to Whiskybrokers site in Creetown to make it easier for bottling just over a year ago , Bruichladdich would only send the bottles to one delivery address . At one point in it’s life I thought it was going to have to be reracked as it’s maturation wasn’t progressing but it seemed to spring into life .

The cask was bottled on the 1st of May 2018 at 60.2% abv , we got 254 75cl bottles out of it , each share receives 14 bottles .(it was bottled in 75cl’s because a third of it was been sent to the USA ) .

(click on Images to see full size)

The Costs for this Bottling……

The Original Purchase of shares.   ……………………………………………….£105

Extra warehousing at Bruichladdich) ……………………..……………………..£5.72

Transportation of Cask from Islay……………………………………………… £17.68

1 Years Warehousing at Creetown….……………………………………………£17.19

Final Warehousing in Creetown ………………………………………………  …£0.58

Bottling costs ………………………………………………………………….  £92.32

Duty and VAT…………………………………………………………………. £443.28

VAT on original purchase of Cask………………………..……………………..£23.48

Total………………………………………………………………………….. £705.25

So the cost per bottle is (total divided by 28)……………..………………… £25.19

So how does it Taste ?

Colour – Amber

Nose – Smoke loads of it , a very subtle sherriness , cream toffee , the nose isn’t over-powering given it’s strength .

Palate – Wow ! a lovely peatiness perfectly balanced with the sherry , Again no clue to it’s strength , the old cola cubes are there (good sign of a classy sherry to me ) , a slight touch of christmas cake , Peppermint / Menthol appears after a little while . 

Finish – Long , Chewy , good hit of sherry and peat .

Comment – I’m really really happy with this , Martin said the cask was well and truly gone when they’d emptied it , well the spirit seems to have gotten the best out of it and it has ended up perfectly balanced . Nice Sherriness mixing with the peat . I think i may be getting sworn at again by Serge…… 

 

The Trio of Port Charlottes

5 Down , 2 to go…..

 

Wiser’s in the UK

In the year Canada celebrates its 150th Birthday , Wiser’s Whisky is now available in the UK in 70cl botlles (albeit via French / German importers) at reasonable prices . I was informed of this fact by a friend on Facebook (thanks Linoleum Bonypart !) who pointed me in the direction of a well known London based internet whisky shop . Needless to say an order was placed……

(Click on the photos for full size version)

I’d had the 18 and Lot No.40 but had only tried the Pike Creek Rum finish in this years Canadian Whisky Awards (and had liked it !) , So lets see if they are as good as i remembered…..

Wiser’s 18yo

 

The last time we were in Canada this one was on my list of possible purchases (went for the Red Letter instead) , I also had the pleasure on that trip to try an older version of the 18 which was stunning .

The nose on this is at first Rye , then freshly cut saw dust passing on to Butterscotch toffee before returning to Rye toast with butter . The palate is extremely spicy , lots of wood spices mixed in with the Rye and toffee sweetness , an absolute delight ! The finish is medium/ long with bags of spices , pepper and rye .

A wonderful dram , a bargain at £41 a bottle !

Lot No.40

 

According to some ‘The Mother of All Ryes’ and i can’t Disagree ! It’s Rye,Rye,Rye,Rye Beautiful Rye on the nose….. oh and a drop of spices . The Palate is again rye but with a huge spiciness , i reckon this would go great with a proper Indian meal , one from Southern India . It has a lovely silkiness across the mouth , there’s also a hint of fruit about it , small sweet bananas ! The finish is incredible in it’s length and it’s complexity , bags of rye , loads of spices ,  pepper , a slight hint at fruit again and it just seems to go on and on…….

I’m a huge Rye Fan and to say this hits the right notes is an understatement , At £30 a bottle this is an even bigger bargain than the 18yo !!!

Pike Creek 10yo Rum finished

 

In the past I’ve perchased a few of the NAS Port Finishes so i was looking forward to giving this 10yo Rum finish a try even though i found out i had tried it in the Canadian Whisky Awards (Getting old , memory going….)

The nose starts of quite sweet , dark fruits , honey , a hint of rye and a touch of rum . Bags of rye on the palate initially, and a huge splash of rum , again quite sweet but nicely  spiced , the finish is medium with a large dash of the rum and pepper .

This is a great session dram , incredibly easy drinking , very refreshing as well and very easy on the wallet at £26 a bottle !!!!

I really hope people in the UK give these drams a try and i hope this is just the start of more Wiser’s arriving on our shore (especially those lovely specials that have been appearing , oh and the Gooderham & Worts Four Grain !

For more info on Canadian Whisky visit CanadianWhisky.org

Spirit of Islay Cask Samples

Back in the Whisky Good Ol’ Days ( When bottles were reasonably priced and had an age statement on – remember that – and Distillery Casks were reasonably priced…..) the people who were on the Spirit of Islay Yahoo Club (huh?) and Weekly chats ( well before Twitter tastings….) decided to buy first a Port Charlotte Hoggie then a Bruichladdich Bourbon Barrel . Now 14 years and 8 years on they are rapidly approaching bottling .

Up until March they resided at Laddie Distillery but we had to move them as Laddies shipping policy ( to the registered owners address only ) wasn’t favourable so given that the shareholders don’t all reside around me it was decided to move them somewhere that would be able to bottle and ship them to various countries . The obvious choice was Whiskybroker . So off we went today to meet up with Martin and get a sample from SOI 1 and II . It was only this time last year we were over to get a sample from the Longmorn cask and things have certainly progressed at Whiskybroker central ! Loads more racking , loads more  casks and a new super- duper bottling machine , Martin and Jane are certainly doing a cracking job in Creetown ! So onto the samples……

Spirit of Islay II Bruichladdich 2008

In an ex-Buffalo Trace 1st fill Bourbon Barrel , coming in at a whopping 64.2% ABV . Straw in Colour , since the last time i tried it it is now definitely a Laddie , for the ABV there is no burn on the nose , fresh green fruit , apples , pears , touch of the tropicals as well – Bananas , mango , pineapple . Vanilla custard , Lovely stuff !

The strength hits you on the palate , the fruit is there again covered in custard , quite a long finish but i need to try it with water…..

With Water the fruit explodes even more on the nose , it takes the burn off the palate and brings the flavours forward beautifully , actually noticing the Laddie fudge / toffee now  , it actually takes quite a bit of water . Have to say i’m very happy with how this cask has gone .

Spirit of Islay Port Charlotte 2002

In a (possibly 2nd , 3rd or 4th) Refill Sherry Hogshead , measuring a respectable 59.9% ABV . light Amber in colour , this has moved on so much since the last time i tried it (2014) , the colour now looks like a sherry cask matured whisky , the nose is amazing , still has the PC ash , Coal Smoke , a touch of seashore , there is a lot going on in the nose , really complex , too complex for my nose , where’s Serge when you need him……

Wow ! the palate is beautiful , nice and peaty , a touch of the fishermans friend , menthol , nice hint of lemon , again very complex with a lovely long finish . Water smooths the edges off , but i think i prefer it in it’s original state . Another excellent cask , as Serge once said to me i’ve been a luck B……. with casks and i have to agree !

 

Whiskybrokers site is HERE

A Triple Amrut Taster

Postings have been fewer and farther between of late so to make up here are three new/recent releases from the Wonderful Indian Distillery based in Bangalore . 

Greedy Angels 12yo Chairman’s Reserve

ga_12Continuing on from the 8yo and 10yo we now have a 12yo Greedy Angels , definitely the oldest whisky from Amrut Distillery ! This one is bottled at 60% and limited to around 100 decanters .

This is extremely oily in the glass lots of lingering legs when swirled . The Nose is a fruity little beast , a cocktail of exotic ones , this particular fruit cocktail has a huge dollop of Vanilla custard on top with a finger of shortbread stuck in it for effect ! After a short while there’s a hint of chocolate  and a blast of wood spices , a delightful nose !

The palate again has the fruity blast , like a very thick condensed smoothy , a lovely spiciness along with a hint of the Amrut Liquorice , this is so damn good at 60% i’m very reluctant to put water into it…….. The finish is extremely long , spicy and a touch of wood (nice wood) . 

A wee touch of water actually doesn’t seem to do a lot , only increasing the volume of dram in the glass ! (which was a relief as i’ve seen water completely collapse ‘other’ older whiskies . )

To say this is a stunning dram would be a bit of an understatement , as with all other Amruts a great deal of care and attention has gone into it , it was definitely botlled at the right time !

Amrut Double Cask

double_cask_2
Back at the end of February 2010 a group of Geordie Whisky enthusiasts gathered at The Hilton Hotel in Gateshead for the launch of a brand new Amrut release , Double cask . It’s the only Whisky release i’ve been to…….  Now 6 years on have Amrut released a 2nd edition , the first was two ex-bourbon casks aged 7 and 7 1/2yo , this one is one ex-bourbon 7yo (#3452 filled June 2009) and one PX-sherry 6yo ( #3803  filled May 2010 ) both made with unpeated Indian Malt , it was bottled in August 2016 at 46% .

This one is slightly darker than the 1st edition ! The PX cask definitely makes a difference….. Again very oily in the glass , the sherry is the first thing that catches the nose , lots of dark fruits and especially cherries , there is nothing subtle about this sherry nose !

The sherry is a tad more relaxed on the palate but is still the most prominent , again dark fruits with lots of cherries , eventually the Amrut traits do sneak past the sherry but the PX does dominate . The finish is very smooth , dry and very long and sherried with a touch of vanilla , spice and  liquorice .

Amrut sherry cask fans are going to love this (the intermediate Sherry Brigade) , i will say it’s dangerously smooth and quaffable , an ideal Christmas dram and very warming on a cold Autumn night .

Amrut Rye

amrut_rye

Yes , Amrut Rye ! 100% pure Malted Rye , it says ‘Single Malt Whisky’ on the label and it is !  Made from European Rye and matured in New American Oak casks . I have to admit to having tried this before , in 2015 while we were visiting the Distillery , Ashok and Surrinder gave us a wee dram of this , not telling us what it was , we were gobsmacked by it ! So what is it like 14 months on ?

Bottled at 50% , the Nose is….. Rye , lovely warm Rye bread , surprisingly there is quite a bit of tropical fruit in it ( usually found in some of the more elderly Amruts i’ve found) , there is a touch of butterscotch after a while .

The palate is WOW !

The Rye explodes on it , there’s no other way to say it but it’s Rye , there is a slight hint of the tropical fruit on the palate but it’s super smooth rye 99% of the way . The finish is long, smooth Rye ( surprise surprise ) and spices , wonderful !

What can i say ? It’s not like Canadian Rye ( i love the stuff ) , it’s closer to Zuidam’s Millstone 100 Single Rye…… only better . It’s so easy drinking and very tasty .

 

Once again Amrut have come up with the goods , Surrinder you are some Man !

Thanks to Ashok for the samples .

Two 15yo Longmorns……

I like Longmorn , it’s the best Speyside ( and Non-Islay) Whisky by a mile in my humble opinion .

I like it so much that when i got a chance i bought a cask of new make with a group of like minded Longmorn lovers . I had a few bottle through my hands , especially SMWS bottlings ( oh to buy those ancient ex Sherry beauts again at the same price……) , today we’ll be sampling 2 15yo’s……IMG_0506Longmorn 15yo Bottled by Gordon and MacPhail  

Distilled in 1999 and bottled in 2014 at 43% , from Refill Cherry casks apparently , pale gold in colour , lots of ripe bananas and malt on the nose initially . Then rich vanilla custard with a huge dollop of marzipan , the palate kicks off a bit spicy , then progresses to a fruit cocktail with cream . The finish is again spicy and goes on a while for 43% .

An absolutely delightful Longmornt hat doesn’t disappoint even at 43% , so glad i picked this one up when i saw it at The Lindisfarne Winery!

Longmorn 15yo O.b.

THE Classic Longmorn , bottled at 45% and unfortunately no longer available . Golden Marmalade in colour , Once again the nose commences with malt , then digestive biscuits , loads of vanilla and a touch of the Longmorn fruitness . The palate is definitely a cocktail of fruit mixed in with a delightful spiciness . The dram flows smoothly across the mouth , the finish is long and extremely spicy .

The extra 2% certainly seems to make a difference giving it a tad extra punch .

Both are really good drams but the O.b. takes it with a bit more presence .   

The Last Barrels

Unfortunately this year we haven’t managed a trip to Canada (next year hopefully….) and to be honest i’ve missed it , One thing i have really missed , apart from the wonderful country and our good friends , is picking up a few Canadian Whiskies to bring home as there is a slight lack of them available in the UK ! Only Canadian Club is available here on a regular basis , although a well known UK online shop does carry a selection of USA Canadian releases the good ones tend to be at an inflated price . A few months ago – about the time we’d regularly visited Toronto in the previous two years –  a new release from Wisers was announced as an LCBO exclusive . This release was interesting in a few ways…….

last_barrelsIt was the Final Distillation by Distiller Jim Stanski before he moved up into Management at Hiram Walker * and it was made Bourbon style in the mash , In Canadian whisky the grains are distilled individually then blended later where as with this one the grains were blended before mashing them (  80% corn grist, 11% rye and 9% barley malt ) * .

Luckily for me our good friend Paul ( @MarkhamWhisky ) kindly offered to purchase and send over a bottle to my good self , you are a top man Paul ! So What’s it like……

Matured in used Bourbon Barrels for 14 years , the colour is of Olde Orange Marmalade , the nose is exquisite , a cross between a well aged Bourbon and Rye . To me there is still a strong presence of Rye . Bags of vanilla , freshly cut sawdust , wood spices and a Butterscotch sweetness , A joy on the nasal passages ! It is definite more bourbonesque on the palate , Again loads of vanilla and wood spices , not over-powering but very pleasant , the finish is long and spicy .

A Beautifully Different Canadian Whisky ! I just wish Wiser’s and several other Canadian Drams were more available this side of the pond , i’m sure they’d go down a storm….. Well i love them anyway ! 

* Additional info from Davin’s Wonderful CanadianWhisky.org Site