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Archive for the ‘Speyside’ Category

The Naked Grouse

04 Oct

theNakedGrouseWhisky Details

Country: Scotland
Region: Highland/Speyside Blend
Distillery: Highland Distilleries
Bottler: Highland Distilleries
Years Matured: Varies
Style: Blend
Alcohol:  40.0%
Price: $

Tasting Notes

Appearance: polished mahogany
Nose: smooth, mouth coating
Body: sherried, buttery, vanilla cream, apricots
Palate: more sherry and vanilla, sponge cake
Finish: medium length, woody, bitter chocolate, a hint of peat

Flavor Profile

theNakedGrouse

Final Thoughts

This new offering from the Edrington Group  is truly something special.  Highland distilleries has brilliantly leveraged their widely recognized portfolio of single malt Scotch heavyweights to blend a malt of epic proportions.  What began as Scotland’s most popular whisky (Famous Grouse) has been augmented with the delicate sweetness of The Macallan and floral peat of Highland Park to charm palates of whisky drinkers in the Twin Cities area.

First on the nose are refreshing sherry notes from the extended aging in Spanish oak sherry casks.  The Macallan influence is clearly represented here with wisps of vanilla and dried apricots.  Balancing out the sweetness is a distinct savory/buttery note that hints to the gorgeous rounded body.

Once on the palate this whisky does not let down.  The vanilla is more present here and reminds me of freshly baked sponge cake.  Finally, the finish tapers off beautifully and represents the nose and palate very well.  The well rounded nature of this malt is a real tribute to the blenders skill.  The sweet, winey flavor makes me want to save this one for socializing or for a relaxing after dinner treat.  However, it’s just too drinkable to stay around for that long…

At this time the Naked Grose is only available in limited quantities in the Twin Cities areas.  However, if all goes well (and I immagine it will) you should see the Naked Grouse rustling around the scotch section of your local stores in no time.

Grade: A- (90)

 

The Macallan 12yr Sherry Oak

13 Jul

Whisky Details

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Distillery: The Macallan
Bottler: The Macallan
Years Matured: 12
Style: Single Malt
Alcohol:  43.0%
Price: $

Tasting Notes

Appearance: tawny
Nose: vanilla, margrine, raisins
Body: light
Palate: winey, cereal, white cake,  alcholic, just a little smoke
Finish:  shorter than expected, malty, some pepper and spice

Flavor Profile

theMacallan12yr

Final Thoughts

The young star cut short of its prime.  The tawny color of the spirit (clearly influenced by Macallan’s signature Sherry casks) hints at a richer and more complex nose than other 12yr malts.  However, upon inspection the typical Sherry notes are subdued by margrine and vanilla.  While not unexpected for a younger malt I feel the balance is slightly off.  On the palate the 12yr is hotter and more cereal than its older brother.  Even so, white cake, Sherry, and a just a hint of smoke can all be found in the light body.  The finish is shorter than expected but does exhibit the well loved Macallan spicy tinge.  While still a wonderful dram, I would prefer to keep it in the cask another six years.

Grade: B+ (88)

 

The Balvenie 21yr (Port Wood)

05 Jul

Whisky Details

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Distillery: The Balvenie
Bottler: The Balvenie
Years Matured: 21
Style: Single Malt
Alcohol:  43.0%
Price: $$$

Tasting Notes

Appearance: auburn
Nose: fruitcake, rasins,oranges, nutty, sponge cake, port
Body: rich, oily
Palate: sweet, honey, sweet cream, nutty, winey
Finish:  long, pencils, emphatic

Flavor Profile

Final Thoughts

I am finding myself really enjoying The Balvenie portfolio and this malt is no exception.  I do have to admit I was a bit apprehensive about purchasing a 21yr old finished in port wine casks but at the same time was eager to experience something other than sherry or burbon aged malts.  Luckily I am very impressed with this complex bottling.

This scotch is complex and the  nose is tame so be sure to use the full rnage of distances from the glass to get the full effect.  Fruity, winey, and woody notes are all well represented and in balance.  The body is oily and coats the tounge perfectly without hardly any effort.  The palate matches the nose but the focus here is clearly on the sweet, dry portugeese wine which lent its character during the aging process.  The finish is huge at first then becomes dry and woody as it tapers off.  The finish is very long and stuck with me for at least an hour.

Grade: A (94)

 

Cragganmore (Distillers Edition)

05 Jul

Whisky Details

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Distillery: Cragganmore
Bottler: Cragganmore
Years Matured: 12
Style: Single Malt
Alcohol:  40.0%
Price: $

Tasting Notes

Appearance: tawny
Nose: very complex, candied apples, oranges, cherries, toffee
Body: medium
Palate: very drinkable, sweet, more oranges and cherries
Finish: sweet and light, smoke appearing then turning malty/cereal and smooth

Flavor Profile

cragganmoreDistillersEdition

Final Thoughts

Cragganmore has historically been known for their extremly fragrant and complex malts, this bottling is no different.  This malt has more layers than a parfait and yet manages to keep everything in perfect balance.  This particular whisky was finished in Ruby Port casks prior to bottling, adding another level of depth to this fine dram.

The initial nosing is filled with sweet citric fruit and wine.  As your hand warms the glass, vanilla and toffee notes become more apparent and when combined with the fruit remind me of sugared fruit and Crème fraîche.  The palate matches the nose very well and needs little if any water as the malt goes down smoothly.  The finish is sweet, but only for a few seconds before giving way to clean cereal and smokey phenols.  All in all a great Speyside Scotch and one I will continue to recommend.

Grade: A- (92)