It’s Not Always Grim Up North

Taste Review #43 – Wolfburn Morven

This bottle was one of a selection of miniatures that I bought at Inverness Airport, and the Wolfburn miniature bottles were really eye-catching. The dark olive green bottle of the Morven and the similarly opaque black bottle of Northland were just begging me to buy them – honest! It was the first time that I’d actually noticed any produce from the Wolfburn distillery, so I seized the chance to buy them. I’ve been staring at the bottles in my box of samples and I’ve finally given in to try one of them.

The Wolfburn distillery is the most northerly distillery on the UK mainland, based in Thurso, up on the northern Caithness coast. According to the distillery website, the original distillery was started in 1821, but according to some records it ceased regular production in the 1850’s, but some records indicate sporadic production in the 1860’s. The 1872 map of the area shows the distillery marked as a ruin, and gone by 1877.

The new distillery was founded in 2012 and started production in early 2013. It is about 350m away from the old distillery and shares the same water source, the Wolf burn. The new distillery sits within a modern industrial estate just to the west of Thurso.


Morven (see credits)

This expression is named after a prominent hill in Caithness called Morven. At 706m, it is one of the hills that is instantly recognisable from a distance. It isn’t that easy getting that far north – the A9 trunk road is not the easiest journey to undertake, and it is probably better to take a train on the far north line. This line shows some of the most amazing scenery in North Scotland, travelling north from Inverness. The train travels through what is known as ‘Flow Country’ which is the largest blanket bog moor in Europe, and has many sites of scientific interest. By taking the train you would also visit Wick, which has the Pulteney distillery, but if you take the car, north of Inverness, you’d be able to visit Glen Ord, Dalmore, Glenmorangie, Dornoch, Balblair, Clynelish, Pulteney and Wolfburn. That would be some tour.

Thurso is also close to John O Groats, which is worth a quick visit when the weather is nice, and hadn’t been so commercialised as Lands End.

My last bit of trivia on the area is that Prince George, Duke of Kent, the brother of King George VI, died when the Sunderland flying boat he was a passenger in crashed on a hill close to Morven in August 1942.

Onto the whisky….


Wolfburn Morven

Region

Highland

Age

Wolfburn Morven has no age statement

Strength

46% abv

Nose

Smokey, but not heavily so. Slight aroma of iodine, but nowhere near Ardbeg levels. Fruit – green apples, grapes

Palate

Quite smooth. Smoke, medium peat, nutty malt, slightly tannic, peppery oak, slight fruity notes.

Finish

Sweet smoke and spice. Oaky with a bit of gingerbread.


The Dram


Conclusion

The whisky was quite pleasant, but quite obviously a young spirit. This expression has been matured in ex-bourbon casks and quarter casks. The smaller quarter casks give more wood contact, and this was evident in the tannic notes. There was in my opinion an obvious wood note where the spirit just has had too long in a quarter cask. The quarter cask is a way of maturing whisky that little bit faster with no artificial trickery, but it seems slightly overdone to me, but by no means overly so and it is still a very good dram.

It is in my opinion quite endemic in the industry where a new distillery is rushing spirit out just to start making a return on the investment. But, also in my opinion, Wolfburn Morven gets away with it. And the 2018 FiftyBest Double Gold award highlights that.

The peat isn’t heavy. It’s probably quite low, about 10-20ppm, so nowhere near as peaty as the peat monsters of the west coast islands, but enough of a bite to tell you it has seen a sod or two of the dark stuff during malting.

Like my last review of Glencadam 10, this is also at 46%, natural colour and unchillfiltered. I’d say the age of the spirit is about 4-5 years old, but this has a pleasant smoothness, is not complex but is well balanced.

I personally hope this distillery does move towards age statements, as this has the potential to be an epic whisky.

Do I recommend? Yes, you should try this if you want to dip your toe into peaty whisky. Will I buy another? Not immediately, but will probably buy a full size bottle.You should definitely keeping an eye on this distillery, as with their first releases, it seems everything is in place to make an epic dram.

Slainte Mhath!

Scotty

Index of tastings here

Index of articles here


This blog is written as a hobby. If you liked this article, consider clicking here to visit my Facebook page or following the blog by clicking on the icon at the bottom of the browser page somewhere to get tastings, visits and articles to your email inbox. Also, feel free to share, and spread the whisky love ❤️❤️


Scotty’s Drams encourages responsible drinking. To find out the facts about drink, and where to find help if you need it visit Drinkaware.co.uk by clicking on the link.


Photo credits

Morven – The track to Corrichoich and Morven Andrew Tryon under Creative Commons CC BY-SA 2.0

Other Photos – Authors own

Aye aye Captain!

Taste Review #41 – Glenlivet Captain’s Reserve

It has been one of those days when I think it is time I reviewed another full size bottle rather than just the miniatures, plus I do have a few full size bottles that need to be be cleared. This week I added another two, possibly three into my drinking collection and another 3 into my investment collection. Going to have to get a move on in clearing the back log.


The bottle and some incidental Scotty’s Drams merchandise.

The bottle on test for this review is a Glenlivet Captain’s Reserve, which has no age statement and is only 40% abv which as you know I’m generally not a fan of. However, what got me was the fact it had an unusual finishing, having been finished in Cognac casks. Generally speaking, whisky is usually only finished in wine, port, sherry or rum casks. However recent changes to what the Scottish Whisky Association will now allow have seen many distillers experiment. Glen Moray have made a whisky this year that was matured in whisky casks that had also held cider. This Glenlivet bottle however has used a Cognac cask. Shouldn’t be an issue, after all, Cognac is just distilled wine.

Glenlivet is the valley that carries the River Livet, which rises in the hills between Tomintoul in Morayshire and Lumsden in Aberdeenshire. To the northern edge of this area lies the Cabrach, which is an area of limited farming and hilly moorland. Prior to the 1823 Excise Act, the area of Cabrach and Glenlivet was a hotbed of illicit distilling, and it is somewhat ironic that the land owner, the 4th Duke of Gordon was the one who petitioned the House of Lords to pass an act to make the taxes on whisky distilling fairer, especially when on his lands some of Scotland’s finest hooch was being made.

George Smith started his distillery in Glenlivet in 1824, and such was his reputation that many other distilleries in the area appended the word ‘Glenlivet’ to their names. Partly this was because they were in the Glenlivet area, but at one time Glenlivet was used pretty much in the same way as Speyside is used now. However, after the death of George Smith, his son took legal action to stop other distilleries riding on their coat tails. This was only partially successful; Smith was the only distillery allowed to use The Glenlivet name, but other distilleries were allowed to hyphenate their name with the word Glenlivet being used as a geographical marker.

The other distilleries in Glenlivet are the Tamnavoulin distillery which was opened in the 1960’s, and the highest distillery in Scotland, Braes of Glenlivet Distillery opened in 1973, but has changed its name to Braeval in order to avoid confusion with its much bigger and more famous neighbour


Glenlivet Distillery

The distillery has only been fully silent once during World War 2 due to a lack of barley, and once reopened, it didn’t take too long to get up to pre-war production levels.

The Glenlivet distillery currently has the largest capacity of any single malt producer in Scotland. This is massive 21 million litres a year of spirit, which will make a good few bottles. It’s nearest competitor is Macallan at 15 million litres a year. Mass production always concerns me, as it often feels quantity is more important than quality but let’s see…


Region

Speyside

Age

Glenlivet Captain Reserve has NAS

Strength

40% a.b.v

Colour

Rich gold

Nose

Honey, Malt, Apricot, cinnamon buns, rich, dried raisins, grapes

Palate

Sweet. Stewed berries, red grapes, raisins, citrus. Quite creamy and smooth. Slightly waxy mouthfeel.

Finish

Opened up with a short to medium finish. A great explosion of warmth going down your throat but not harsh. Milk chocolate note towards the end of the event.


Captain’s Reserve dram


Conclusion

My initial curiosity about this bottle was the fact it was finished in a cognac cask. I’m going to have to confess with the lack of an age statement, 40% abv, I wasn’t expecting too much. I knew it would be a decent dram, but I was not prepared for how good it is.

As much as I comment about lack of ABV and age statements, as well as the fact it is probably chill filtered and coloured, I am not a whisky snob, and I have to say that this one is a cracker. Indeed, before I finished my review, the dram was gone and I really could use another. Maybe there’s crack cocaine in it. Quite more-ish.

This is a surprise indeed, and despite there not being much complexity, this is a very easy drinker, and would be good for a beginner, or those who like just a whisky that isn’t challenging, but has enough engagement to keep you interested.

This was bought for my Christmas last year, and I’ve only just opened it. It was a present from my wife, and I don’t know how much it cost her. I’m just glad that I thought this might not be a core release forever more, and have a couple in store.

Even the packaging suggests quality, with a very eye catching purple box and the same colour contained on the bottle label

You can buy this for around £45, and it is good value. I’d make a guess that there isn’t a lot of young whisky in there, which further gives an impression of value. Would I buy another? Yes I would.

A recommended try and would be a worthy addition to your drinking stock.

Slainte Mhath!

Scotty

Index of tastings here

Index of articles here


This blog is written as a hobby. If you liked this article, consider clicking here to visit my Facebook page or following the blog by clicking on the icon at the bottom of the browser page somewhere to get tastings, visits and articles to your email inbox. Also, feel free to share, and spread the whisky love ❤️❤️


Scotty’s Drams encourages responsible drinking. To find out the facts about drink, and where to find help if you need it visit Drinkaware.co.uk by clicking on the link.


Photo credits

Distillery photo – Iggy-x. Used under GNU license version 2

Other photos authors own.

Don’t be a Daftie!!

Taste Review #40 – Daftmill 2006 Winter Release

At the time of writing, this has been a week where everybody seems to have lost their minds (There’s just been a General Election in the UK), I thought that Daftmill would probably be the best whisky to try next. There’s certainly a lot of dafties of all descriptions on-line at the moment, so one more won’t be noticed. However, Scotty’s Drams is a place where we can leave that all behind as it’s solely whisky matters that we are interested in here.

Also, judging by my estimated time of publishing, this should also be the first review of the year, so Happy New Year to you all, and I wish you all the best for 2020.

Situated just to the west of Cupar in Fife, Scotland, Daftmill is a single farm distillery. This means everything takes place on the farm, though being on a working farm means that the distillery is silent for half the year. Distilling takes place in two separate three month periods, from November to February and for three months after spring. Being a small distillery which has a capacity of 20000 litres a year inherently limits production further and consequently isn’t the easiest bottle to get your hands on. Indeed, I’ve never seen one on the primary market, only at auction.

Normally, limited releases like this don’t interest me, as they are often only available at vastly inflated prices on the secondary market thanks to the demand and the greed of flippers. However this was soon to change as I managed to get a small sample from Roy at Aqvavitae.com and one smell of this sample made me realise that one sample would not be enough therefore I had to buy a bottle to drink.

I quickly realised that one full bottle wouldn’t last long and given the rarity, I decided to buy another one for my collection if I could find one at a decent cost. One soon turned up so now I have one in my collection and one that’s open. I still haven’t opened the sample to drink but decided rather to open the full size bottle in order that I can share it with friends.


I’ve done it. The most expensive bottle opened to date on Scotty’s Drams

One of the good things about Daftmill is that Francis Cuthbert is insistent that this whisky is for drinking and not for flipping and a single cask release #68 has not been bottled for sale but have been bottled for sale as drams in selected bars only. This is quite innovative and means that it takes away some of the unicorn aspect of this spirit and allows true whisky enthusiasts a chance to try it without breaking the bank in buying a full bottle. See this article.

There are more and more single cask releases available, some released through Royal Mile Whiskies or Luvians bottle shop in Cupar and St Andrews. Some single cask bottlings are realising high prices at auction.

As Daftmill is a working farm, there is no visitor facilities, as farm work takes priority. However, it’s location is close to other distilleries that do – Lindores Abbey, Kingsbarns and Eden Mill distilleries are all close by, as is the historic town of St Andrews. Or why not try a visit to Dundee? Certainly an exciting regenerating city that is worth a look.

And onto the dram.

Region

Lowland

Age

12 years

Strength

46% a.b.v

Colour

Golden straw.

Nose

Creamy, velvety, rich toffee, peaches, citrus, pineapple, vanilla

Palate

Buttery, pastry. slightly waxy. Barley sugars, vanilla. A touch of pepper and nutmeg.

Finish

Drying, Medium length. Slightly bitter notes, lemon meringue, oak. On a hard exhalation there was a mint choc note.


The Dram

Conclusion

One of the things I have to say that this dram brings immense joy and sadness. The sadness is that I cannot really afford to buy another bottle of this dram. The joy is multi-fold that I am enjoying such a lovely whisky. Very well balanced. This one has been matured in 1st fill Bourbon casks, which will be American Oak, and as such have definitely influenced the creamy and vanilla notes that are present in this whisky. The aroma has quite a fruity note, with juicy oranges in there and I detected peaches and pineapple, but to get that I had to put my nose right into the glass and take a sharp intake of breath.

In the mouth it hits an excellent balance between creamy and oily, giving a very pleasant mouthfeel, but it is a bit drying. A hint of spice appeared after I added some water, but even though this is 46% it didn’t really need water.

The finish wasn’t as impressive as I had hoped given the wonderful nose and palate, but it’s still very pleasant. It took a while to get some of the flavours, but still engaging enough. I expect this dram to improve as the level in the bottle goes down


The lower full level got opened. The JE Benrinnes is up for tasting at some point.

Suffice to say that this is close to a unicorn dram, so there won’t be a lot available. I know of a good handful of these that have been opened, and as there was only 1625 bottles released, if you see one in the wild at a price you can afford, jump on it. You’ll thank me. have two bottles, and I had to pay at auction £168 for one and £212 for the other and while admittedly a bit steep given that the release price was £95, that’s the going rate on the secondary market, and has since climbed. This hopefully is the peak price, although it’s an early release and prices may drop for other editions as supply increases. You still have a lot of people desperate to try this whisky, and that is also driving prices up. As it goes, if you want one the cost will vary and there is sense in not chasing one too hard just yet unless you HAVE to try it, as one will turn up. But now there is now another 3rd release open, and will now never return to the secondary market, and therefore the price for this edition will invariably climb. However, this will make the Cuthbert Family happy knowing that another of their whiskies have been opened and enjoyed.

Keep your eyes open for these being released and certainly take a peak on the Daftmill website www.daftmill.com

Lastly, is this the best whisky I have tasted in 2019? All I will say is that it’s up there in the top 5, but over the years there has been whiskies I’ve enjoyed more. It goes without saying that Daftmill will definitely be a distillery to watch.

Slainte Mhath!

Scotty

Index of tastings here

Index of articles here


This blog is written as a hobby. If you liked this article, consider clicking here to visit my Facebook page or following the blog by clicking on the icon at the bottom of the browser page somewhere to get tastings, visits and articles to your email inbox. Also, feel free to share, and spread the whisky love ❤️❤️


Scotty’s Drams encourages responsible drinking. To find out the facts about drink, and where to find help if you need it visit Drinkaware.co.uk by clicking on the link.


Photo credits

All photos – Authors own.

Another Dram From Angus

Taste Review #39 – Glencadam 10

This week’s review also comes from a random selection, and it’s a ten year old whisky from Glencadam. I did wonder if I should re-select the dram, as that is now the 4th 10 year old whisky I’ve reviewed in a row. I’m concerned that it is starting to seem I’ve had more 10 year olds than Jimmy Savile….


Did somebody mention 10 year olds?

Still, I decided it would be maybe good to continue with this taste test as Glencadam is owned by the same owners as the 10 year old from Tomintoul three weeks ago, so I thought despite the change in whisky region, let’s have a look to see if there are many differences.

The Glencadam distillery has been owned by Angus Dundee, a Scottish Independent distiller, since 2003. Glencadam sits in the region of Angus, which extends from just north of the city of Dundee up to the border with Aberdeenshire. It is bounded by the North Sea to the East and the Cairngorm Mountains in the West. It was founded in 1825, 2 years after the Excise Act was passed, and has been generally in operation since, being mothballed during both world wars and in 2000 when owned by Allied Domeq.


Glencadam Distillery

Glencadam is the last distillery in the Angus region; North Port, only a couple of hundred metres away in Brechin closed in 1983. Lochside in Montrose was closed forever in 1992, and Glen Esk (aka Hillside) distillery closed in 1985. The distillery sits on the north side of the town of Brechin (pronounces Bree-chin) with the ch being the silent sound as in Loch, not Lock. However if you pronounce it as Breekin, few will notice and less will care.

****Geek Fact**** Famous celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay mispronounced Brechin as ‘Breckin’ on on his road trip program. However, all of Scotland noticed and proceeded to take him to task. He’s Scottish? My ar*e!! See here for newspaper article and video!

Anyway, there’s not a lot to be said for Brechin, so we will move on. There isn’t a visitor centre at Glencadam at the time of writing, although one was approved for construction by the local council in May 2019, utilising existing buildings. Until that opens then if you are in the area, Fettercairn distillery is not too far away.


The bottle

Region

Highland

Age

10 years old

Strength

46% abv

Colour

Light straw

Nose

Quite light. Estery, fruity, floral, a touch of barley and vanilla. Light spices. I also got a touch of coconut after 20 minutes.

Palate

Fruity on arrival. Pleasant mouthfeel. Toffee, vanilla, creamy popcorn, light oaky sort of taste.

Finish

Medium. Oak spiciness continues. Barley notes. Fades out to a slight salinity. A wee bit of creamy custard in the background.

The Dram

Conclusion

I’ve seen plenty of people saying that this is a not a well known distillery, and their whiskies are lost in amongst the noise made by others promoting their brands. I have to agree, this is not a brand I am too familiar with.

I wouldn’t have guessed that this dram is 46% by its mouthfeel and taste. That’s how smooth it is. There are no over powering flavours and to be honest, I feel a lack of depth, but perhaps that is being unfair, as there is nothing really wrong with this whisky. Personally I don’t feel a strong connection to this whisky, as there aren’t any flavours in there that grab me, but that is just my palate.

There is an unusual fact about the two stills at Glencadam, and that is the Lyne arms that carry the evaporated spirit to the condensers from the stills are actually angled up rather than the usual downward slope. This increases reflux and copper contact, and makes a much lighter, floral spirit. Plus let’s not forget at 10 years old, this is still a relatively young whisky, and there are older expressions from this distillery that may be worth having.

This is a malt that has a lot in common with last week’s Tomintoul in the level of flavour, but this dram holds a bit more integrity with natural colour, a decent ABV that allows you to play with the strength by adding water, and non-chill filtered. For that it scores 4/4.

If you want a relatively uncomplicated, smooth taste at a slightly higher ABV, this one is a winner. My miniature cost me £6.05 at the Whisky Shop Dufftown. A full size bottle is around £36, and this I feel is good value, and I can recommend this malt. Though would I buy another? No. Based on this would I try more of the range? Definitely yes. And that brings me to a very convenient truth as I’ve just discovered the 15 year old in my sample box.

Certainly this distillery deserves to be better known

Slainte Mhath!

Scotty

Index of tastings here

Index of articles here


This blog is written as a hobby. If you liked this article, consider clicking here to visit my Facebook page or following the blog by clicking on the icon at the bottom of the browser page somewhere to get tastings, visits and articles to your email inbox. Also, feel free to share, and spread the whisky love ❤️❤️


Scotty’s Drams encourages responsible drinking. To find out the facts about drink, and where to find help if you need it visit Drinkaware.co.uk by clicking on the link.


Photo credits

Distillery – Angus Dundee. Used under fair use.

Jimmy Savile – Daily Record, used under fair use.

Other photos – authors own.

Almost Antique Auchentoshan

Taste Review #38 – Auchentoshan 10

When getting ready to pick a dram, it was a blind pick into the box of miniatures to have a taste of, and it was an old Auchentoshan that came out. It was part of my auction bulk buys – a hoovering up of the cheap selections of miniatures at the end of an auction by seeing what had not been bid on.

Today’s miniature is somewhat of a relic, but I include these tastings, as I feel they are still relevant. They show the distillery character and from them and tasting what the distillery does now, we can see how the distillery is moving forward. However this whisky is no unicorn, and you can still find the 90’s style packaging bottles on occasion at auction. While not an antique itself, and certainly of little value, this is a small delve into the past of a popular and under represented distillery.


My dram

Auchentoshan is on the North West side of Glasgow. When you think of Glasgow, you think of Taggart, ship building, knife crime, Rab C Nesbitt, Irn Bru, and incoherent alcoholics. But that’s the Glasgow of imagination. It’s a vibrant city, which is well worth a visit, even if the local dialect can be hard to understand if you aren’t Scottish. And sometimes if you are…. 😉. Stereotypes can be funny, but while Glasgow may have its fair share, it’s a great place with friendly people. I’ve had a fair few nights out in the city and never had any trouble.

Scottish place names can always be tricky to pronounce, as what is written is not how it is said. Glasgow has a couple – try saying Milgavie? Auchentoshan is pronounced “Ock-en-tosh-an” and this is directly from the distillery website, followed by quite a good slogan – Hard to pronounce, easy to to drink – we’ll find out later!

According to the distillery website, the Auchentoshan distillery was originally set up in 1817 on the banks of the River Clyde, and known as the Duntocher distillery. I’m not sure if it is still on the original site as Duntocher is north of the current distillery on the other side of the A82 Glasgow – Inverness road. It was 1834 before the distillery was taken over and renamed to Auchentoshan. Perhaps artistic license has been used as ‘by the side of the road’ isn’t as marketable as one the banks of a river’ when it comes to whisky.

The distillery was in close proximity to the many ship yards on the River Clyde, and during the Second World War, these weee targeted by the Luftwaffe. The A82 road was disguised as the river with the use of lights. It must have worked to a degree and large warehouses must have made an attractive target, for the distillery was bombed and three warehouses were destroyed during the war. There is a fanciful tale that the distillery pond was created by an exploding bomb, but this is pure fiction – a quick look on an old map reveals it was there even before the First World War!


A more up to date bottling with 2 more years on the clock

The unusual aspect of Auchentoshan is that it is currently the only Scottish distillery that fully triple distills all its production, having only three stills – Wash, Intermediate and Spirit stills. This is in common with Irish Whiskey, and as Auchentoshan was founded by people of Irish heritage, this will probably explain why this occurs. Other distilleries do triple distill, Springbank being one of them, but this is not across all of their range. The re-emerging Rosebank distillery in Falkirk will also be a distillery that will fully triple distill, and it expected to open in 2020.

The triple distillation helps further purify the spirit, and the new make strength is around 81%. I guess you wouldn’t be drinking too much of that Clearic!

Another very unusual aspect to Auchentoshan is that it is one of the only (if not the only) whisky that is only used as a single malt, although casks are sold to independent bottlers.

Auchentoshan does have a visitors centre, so pop on in if you are ever in the area. It certainly is a unique distillery. Let’s see how the spirit matches up.


Full Size Bottling

Region

Lowland

Age

10 years old

Strength

40% a.b.v

Colour

Warm gold

Nose

Warm, malty, sweet, floral, honey, banana, caramel.

Palate

A bit of spirit buzz on the arrival, wee bit on the harsh side, but not overly so. Similar experiences in taste as on the nose, but a wee bit fruitier, orchard fruit – pear.

Finish

Short to medium with a malty fruity sensation.


No Half Measures!

Conclusion

I was expecting not to be disappointed in this tasting, but I wasn’t. I had already partially set my expectations low given the age of the bottle and the 40% abv. Given the slightly lower level in the bottle, it is obvious that the seal had been a wee bit more porous than it should have been. The plus point for me was the aspect of the triple distillation which gives a smoother, more delicate spirit, and on this count it was definitely present. For a spirit that had been in the bottle for probably for about 20-30 years, and had probably oxidised a bit, I must say it was a very pleasant experience.

I don’t think there was much complexity there. All the flavours and aromas were all there on show. It didn’t change that much with water added and it was a very relaxing dram to sip.

Of course, this is a dram that has been discontinued, so you will only be able to pick this up in auctions. But why not try their current range? The current core range has recently been repackaged and consists of three bottlings – American Oak, 12 year old and Three Wood, along with 18 and 21 y.o in their aged range.


New style packaging


It’s been some time since I’ve had some Auchentoshan but on this experience I won’t be leaving it so long until next time. As mentioned previously, my sample was as the result of my bargain hunting at auction, so I can’t give a price for it. But the American Oak whisky can be had as low as £20 on offer at Tesco, but expect to pay around £30 elsewhere. The 12 year old whisky can be had for about £35 – £40. Very recently the packaging has been rebranded, so keep a lookout for deals that are getting rid of older stock.

Slainte Mhath!

Scotty

I need to apologise if people have seen this article published multiple times. WordPress on my phone hiccuped and wouldn’t publish properly….

Index of tastings here

Index of articles here


This blog is written as a hobby. If you liked this article, consider clicking here to visit my Facebook page or following the blog by clicking on the icon at the bottom of the browser page somewhere to get tastings, visits and articles to your email inbox. Also, feel free to share, and spread the whisky love ❤️❤️


Scotty’s Drams encourages responsible drinking. To find out the facts about drink, and where to find help if you need it visit Drinkaware.co.uk by clicking on the link.


Photo credits

2019 Auchentoshan bottle – Tesco.com

1990’s Auchentoshan bottle – whiskybase.com

Images used under fair use and not intended to promote any sales, but for education purposes.

all other photos authors own.

Under the Whisky Influence

Taste Review #37 – Laphroaig Coffee

Let’s set the scene – It’s a Friday night. I’m sitting at home watching TV with the dog at my feet. And I’m not consuming any alcohol, but am drinking coffee.

All stop on the bus!!

Now that the brakes have been firmly slammed on with our last thought, all is not what it seems. My wife is working late tonight and I have to pick her up. Due to the tough drink drive rules in Scotland, it’s not worth the risk. Besides, drink driving is not cool or clever. But how do I get a whisky-tastic start to the weekend?

One of my fellow whisky bloggers, Tobi from www.barleymania.com had tried a coffee that had been seasoned by placing the beans in a whisky cask for a few weeks. Seeing as coffee is pretty much in my top 2 of drinks, this was something I had to try.


Whisky Influenced Coffee? Aye!!

The coffee roasters in question are Ovenbird Coffee Roasters, based in the Ibrox* (edit, now in Castlemilk) area of Glasgow. They do a series of whisky influenced coffees using Laphroaig and three Auchentoshan coffees. The Laphroaig beans have been in the cask for 10 weeks and the Auchentoshan for 12, 18 or 21 weeks. Almost like an age statement!

I was a bit apprehensive about trying from a small independent coffee roaster. A couple of years ago, one of my colleagues had invested in a start up coffee company near him. He brought a bag of it offshore, as us ROV pilots appreciate a good brew. This coffee was called ‘Wee Stoater’ – a Scottish term named after an event, person or object that brings great joy, especially unplanned euphoria. As an investor, he went around the ship taking pictures of the bag in various places, and hash tagging this on instagram. It all went a bit sour when we actually tasted the coffee – it was crap. No palate and a bitter aftertaste. I had to stop taking milk in my coffee to taste anything. Now I’ve discovered all ground coffee tastes great without milk. But not Wee Stoater. It’s the coffee equivalent of Bells. Or Jura Journey. Needless to say, the hash tags used by my other colleagues probably were responsible for the ending of that particular business relationship. Wee Stoater turned out to be more like stoats wee wee.

However, the Ovenbird Roasters coffee was a completely different kettle of fish. And I’m full of beans ( hahahah – get it?) to share the experience with you. Let’s get going!


The distilled, oops! I meant brewed coffee!

Region

Ibrox, Glasgow

Age

10 weeks

Strength

0% a.b.v

Colour

Forest Whitaker

Nose

Liquorice, coffee, molasses, wee bit of peat smoke.

Palate

Dark chocolate, Liquorice, Demerara sugar, treacle tart. Caramelised sugar.

Finish

Long and luxurious. Smooth and dark. Dark chocolate and more treacle.

Conclusion

This coffee is delicious. In fact it may be that has been one of the coffees of my life. And God knows, I drink a lot of coffee. I didn’t mean to be offensive by mentioning the colour was like Forest Whitaker, but the coffee made me want to grin like he does in many of his films, especially as Ed Garlick in Good Morning Vietnam. It really is good. I didn’t taste the whisky in it, but without a doubt whatever influence the whisky has had has left us with a mighty fine coffee.


Scotty’s Drams Mugs. Great for Coffee, crap for photos

However, it left me with two problems. Firstly, it has shown up the Mk.1 Scotty’s Drams Coffee mugs are crap for photographing liquid. Secondly, since I’ve ordered, Ovenbird have sold out of all their whisky coffee. You can see this at Ovenbird.co.uk. Get in contact to see if they will make more, I know I will be when this lot runs out. (Update. It’s back in stock!)

By the way, the local cheese shop now stocks cheese smoked by the shavings from whisky casks, and I’ve since found out the same company makes a cheese one 1/3rd of a bottle of Ardmore in the recipe per 15kg. Whatever next? This blog may have to have subsections on food influenced by whisky!

Slainte Mhath!

Scotty

Update: 17/12/2019.

Ovenbird have more whisky coffee in stock. They’ve also moved to Castlemilk, which is a bit further from the centre, but I popped into their facility to pick up my new beans and it smelt A-M-A-Z-I-N- G ! I met Davide Angeletti and Nicole his assistant. Both really nice people. Can’t wait to try more of their coffees, but going to take it easy and keep these as a treat. Sorry – still prefer Douwe Egberts instant as a day to day coffee, but that’s down to ease of making a quick cuppa!)

Index of tastings here

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This blog is written as a hobby. If you liked this article, consider clicking here to visit my Facebook page or following the blog by clicking on the icon at the bottom of the browser page somewhere to get tastings, visits and articles to your email inbox. Also, feel free to share, and spread the whisky love ❤️❤️


Scotty’s Drams encourages responsible drinking. To find out the facts about drink, and where to find help if you need it visit Drinkaware.co.uk by clicking on the link.


Photo credits

all photos authors own.

Gently Does It…..

Taste Review #36 – Tomintoul 10

The Tomintoul Distillery sits about 4 miles outside the village of Tomintoul, which is the highest village in the Highlands. It is close to the River Avon (pronounced a’an), which flows from Loch Avon, nestled behind the Cairngorm mountain. One might think all that lovely, fresh mountain water is what goes into the whisky, but it isn’t; the water comes from springs on Cairn Ballantruan, just behind the distillery.


Tomintoul Distillery.

The distillery isn’t an old one and was founded in 1964. It was taken over by London based Angus Dundee in 2000 and this core range 10 year old was released in 2002. Other ages in the core range are 14, 16, 21 and 33 year old, and these are matured in ex Bourbon casks made with American White Oak. The 12 year old is limited and is finished in Oloroso casks or Port casks . There are releases that are a mixture of peated and unpeated malts, known as ‘Peated Tang’ available in 15 year old or NAS. The distillery also releases Old Ballantruan, which is a peated malt at 50% abv.


The ‘Gentle Dram’ so the label says.

Angus Dundee also own the Glencadam distillery in Brechin, which is another miniature that I have to taste.

Tomintoul sits in close proximity to Glenlivet, so while currently it isn’t possible to visit the Tomintoul Distillery, there are other nearby options.

The A939 road goes through Tomintoul, and it links Speyside to Royal Deeside. It is usually the first road in Scotland closed by snow, normally on the Cockbridge – Tomintoul section. The same road takes you over the Lecht, which has a ski centre at the road’s summit of 2090 ft above sea level, which is one of the highest roads in the UK. If you want to achieve the highest, take the A93 route to Perthshire from Royal Deeside through Glenshee. This is 2199 ft above sea level at the Cairnwell Pass and also has a ski centre. It is also a quick way to last weeks review of the Ballechin malt made by Edradour distillery in Pitlochry.

Enough of the tourist advice and onto the whisky! Let’s see what the dram with the logo strap line of “the gentle dram” does for us.


Dram and Bottle

Region

Speyside

Age

10 years Old

Strength

40% a.b.v

Colour

Gold

Nose

Initial sour smell off the bottle. Quickly dispersed to one of barley, butterscotch and coffee beans

Palate

Smooth mouthfeel, very light. Sweet, creamy, toffee notes. Honeycomb, toasted barley.

Finish

Short. Too short. Honey and malted cereal, chocolate at the extreme end.


Close up after more whisky added and a bit of cold water. Clear, so clearly chill filtered.

Conclusion

For me this was a completely flat dram. No excitement at all to start with. Perhaps I was expecting too much, because all said and done this was a pretty uncomplicated malt. And while I am writing this, perhaps that this should be celebrated.

While this might not set the world on fire for me, it is actually a very accessible malt for those starting out in a whisky journey. It certainly would be great at the start of a whisky flight.

It’s age or abv might be the issue. I got the flavours, but just not enough. I craved more. Even upping it to 43% might be better, and a couple of years more in the cask. While this malt isn’t for me, based on the uncomplicated flavours got, I would definitely be interested in trying the older malts from this distillery.

Would I give this a thumbs up? For the price point, it has probably been diluted to 40%. It has been chill filtered and there is colour added. But for a dram that costs about £30 for a 70cl bottle, that’s not bad value.

My miniature cost me about £6.50 from The Whisky Cellar at Inverness Airport.

Slainte Mhath!

Scotty

Index of tastings here

Index of articles here


This blog is written as a hobby. If you liked this article, consider clicking here to visit my Facebook page or following the blog by clicking on the icon at the bottom of the browser page somewhere to get tastings, visits and articles to your email inbox. Also, feel free to share, and spread the whisky love ❤️❤️


Scotty’s Drams encourages responsible drinking. To find out the facts about drink, and where to find help if you need it visit Drinkaware.co.uk by clicking on the link.


Photo credits

Distillery Photo – Ann Harrison (Under Creative Commons license CC BY-SA 2.0

Other photos – authors own.