Always remember that I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me.
--Winston Churchill

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David WishartWe try and keep an interesting mix of non-chill filtered whiskies and we are deeply indebted to David Wishart whose book Whisky Classified comes highly recommended and has allowed us to use his notes to add more detail to each whisky description. The book is available from behind the bar and you're welcome to have a look.  It details whisky from the perspective of flavour and not area, it also helps you choose a single malt whisky that suits your palate, not someone else's! Have a read and you'll understand the letters (in brackets) after each whisky from Tullibardine (A) to Ardbeg (J)!

The conventional way to classify Scotch malt whiskies is by region - Highland, Lowland, Speyside, Islay and Campbeltown. But knowing where they are made doesn't explain how they taste. Many distilleries today can produce a variety of flavours, peatiness (or lack of it) and this book guides the reader through the process.

How do you drink yours?  Everyone's preference differs, personally I choose to add a drop of water to release the esters that would otherwise never surface and so enjoy a fuller and flavoursome experience.  I wouldn't add ice as that clouds the taste buds and drinking a neat 46%abv+ whisky is not for me.  I'll not take issue with how you like yours though!  Steve

We try and keep an interesting mix of malt whisky, this list provides a selection of whisky available now.

Aultmore 12yo (H) PDF Print E-mail
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Distilled at the Aultmore Distillery in Moray, Banffshire. Established in 1897 by Alexander Edward Keith, this rarest of Speyside classics has been distilled in handmade copper pot stills, yet for over a century it was only sold in limited editions aimed at collectors - but we got our hands on some!

12 year old Aultmore single malt Scotch whisky, unveiled in 2014 for the Last Great Malts by Dewar's. A refreshing dram, with plenty of vanilla, honey and citrus, alongside a touch of grassiness. It's been quite a while since a distillery bottling of Aultmore has been released, so this is all rather exciting indeed.

The Aultmore name is derived from the phrase An t-Allt Mòr, Gaelic for big burn, referring to its water source the Auchinderran burn which flows off the Foggie Moss.  It was a favourite spot for illicit distilling in the early 19th century due to the numerous springs and the plentiful supply of peat on the Foggie Moss.  However, the distillery's location was chosen for its proximity to the Great North of Scotland Railway, to which it was connected by a siding from the Keith-Buckie line and the village was built solely for the distillery workers. 

For almost three-quarters of a century, the distillery was powered by a 10hp Abernethy steam engine, with an elaborate systems of line shafts and belts connecting all of the moving processes.  In it's heyday, this engine was the last word in power efficiency and is proudly retained as a feature in the entrance hall.

Part of the Dewar's portfolio since 1923, Aultmore has always been rated by the top class blenders and it is used in Dewar's blends which currently account for most of its production. Aultmore was sold to Bacardi in 1998.

An all natural colour with no hint of peat smoke, Aultmore is non chill-filtered for a full clean, smooth flavour.

Click READ MORE for tasting notes...

Redbreast Sherry Finish (E) PDF Print E-mail
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altMidleton Pot Still Irish Whiskey is a style of whiskey which is unique to Ireland in general and to the Midleton Distillery, Co. Cork, in particular. It is regarded as the quintessential style of Irish whiskey.

MidletonMade from a mash of malted and unmalted barley, which is then triple distilled in traditional copper pot stills, Pot Still Irish Whiskeys are characterised by full, complex flavours and a wonderful, creamy mouthfeel. The inclusion of unmalted barley to the mashbill, along with the tradition of triple distillation, defines the character of Pot Still and this uniquely Irish approach to whiskey distillation.

Single Pot Still Whiskeys (whiskeys originating from a single distillery - like the Scottish single malt) were once the norm in Ireland and from the late 18th century to the early 20th century, Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey was the most sought after whiskey style in the world.

Indeed, by the turn of the 20th century, more Pot Still whiskey was exported from Ireland than any other whiskey style from any other country. However, a number of unfortunate coincidences led to the demise of full flavoured Pot Still Irish Whiskeys and to the rise of the lighter, more accessible, blended whiskeys which combined lighter grain whiskeys with the fuller flavoured Pot Still whiskeys or Malt whiskeys.

Redbreast Mano a Lámh, the first expression in the Redbreast range to be matured solely in ex-oloroso sherry butts. This special whiskey is the latest release from the Midleton Distillery as it aims to satisfy the increasing global demand for new and original Single Pot Still Irish whiskeys.

Mano a Lámh, meaning ‘hand in hand’ in Spanish and Gaelic respectively, represents the relationship and passion between the Midleton Distillery and the collective of artisans in Spain, which has crafted the distillery’s sherry butts for more than 20 years.

Specially commissioned for the Midleton Distillery, oak is felled in the forests of Galicia, north-west Spain, and then crafted and seasoned by some of the country’s most prestigious family businesses. The Antonio Páez Lobato Bodega in the South crafts the oak into casks, which are then seasoned with Oloroso sherry for two years at the prestigious Páez Morilla Bodega in the nearby sherry capital of the world, Jerez.

The freshly seasoned sherry butts are then shipped promptly, during the cooler winter months, to the Midleton Distillery where they are then filled with new make pot still whiskeys.

Redbreast Mano a Lámh luxuriates in this signature sherry style by bringing together whiskeys which have been matured exclusively in first fill Spanish oloroso sherry casks, imparting distinct, rich, fruity flavours and a full body.

Billy Leighton, Master Blender at Midleton Distillery, said: “Redbreast Mano a Lámh celebrates our longstanding relationship with the family of artisans in Spain who craft our sherry butts, which are so synonymous with the signature style of Redbreast Single Pot Still Irish whiskey. It was an exciting challenge as a Master Blender to work on this project; having to ensure that the right balance was achieved and the sherry contribution did not over power in the final taste. For me, Redbreast Mano a Lámh offers a distinctive, rich whiskey with intense flavours of dried fruit, which gives way to the perfection of the Spanish oak.

Limited to just 2,000 bottles, Redbreast Mano a Lámh is non-chill filtered at 46% ABV

Nose: Very deep dried fruit notes, raisins and sultanas with the more earthy tones of figs, dates and prunes. The sweetness is from the fruit and balances perfectly with pot still spices such as dill and black pepper, and the contribution of the toasted Spanish oak.

Taste: Silky smooth and deceptively sweet. Full of rich ripe dark fruit with the leisurely emergence of the signature spices.

Finish:The rich fruit slowly gives way to the perfections of the Spanish oak.

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Laphroaig Cairdeas 200 Cask (J) PDF Print E-mail
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Laphroaig waltere awarded Best Single Malt in the World in 2005 by Whisky Magazine.  Each year Laphroaig Master Distiller, John Campbell, handcrafts a limited edition malt to celebrate friendship (“Cairdeas” in Gaelic).

Released during Fèis Ìle 2015 and marking the distillery's 200th anniversary, for this special edition of Laphroaig Cairdeas Master Distiller John Campbell used 100% floor malted barley (from the distillery's own small malting floor) and used only the two smaller, older stills during distillation! It was matured in ex-bourbon casks for around a dozen years, each blend of Laphroaig Cairdeas is completely unique – something to be savoured with friends old and new. Laphroaig Cairdeas – friendship distilled.

For the technically-minded among you: it's been bottled at 51.5% ABV, is non-chill filtered and is an all natural colour. Here are the official tasting notes on video: YouTube. It's got the distinctive Laphroaig taste but more rounded complex and richer.

Stewed Rhubarb, Huge peat moving into vanilla ice cream and milk chocolaty. Gentle cloves, minty and fresh...
Cairdeas 200 then becomes floral like summer roses, lemon groves and finishes with a long, dry charcoal finish.

A lovely mouth feel and a nice balance, Cairdeas 200 has an initial honey sweetness but becomes dry quickly then creamy and floral, it shows a heavy saltiness and a great liquorice root flavour that really lasts, it then develops into a long, heavy charcoal finish mixing with lemony flavours that really linger on the palate.

Adding a little water releases a rich aroma of peat smoke with some sweetness and strong hints of the sea.

Laphroaig recommend that you add twice as much water as whisky to fully appreciate the taste characteristics of Laphroaig.  Whisky at cask strength may overpower the palate, but adding water will release the rich aroma of peat smoke with some sweetness and strong hints of the sea.

There is more detail on this story here and it'll also tell you why this whisky has won so many awards!

Click READ MORE for our tasting notes...

Port Charlotte (J) PDF Print E-mail
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Port Charlotte single malt, peated to a heavyweight 40PPM (parts peat per million), represents their ongoing exploration into the peat fired legacy of a great distillery, now silent. The Bruichladdich distillery have produced Port Charlotte Scottish Barley which is a cuvee crafted from altcasks hand-picked by master distiller Jim McEwan. It showcases the supreme elegance of this remarkable single malt - a union of the classic floral elegance of bruichladdich and heavy peat.

This whisky is testament to our belief that raw ingredients matter. Trickle distilled from 100% Scottish Barley the spirit gently matures in the lochside village of Port Charlotte before being bottled here at the distillery using Islay spring water.

Two miles south of Bruichladdich, (pronounced brook-laddie with the Gaelic meaning of shore-bank) hugging the shore of Loch Indaal, lies the village of Port Charlotte and ruins of Lochindaal Distillery, that ran spirit for 100 years between 1829 and 1929.

Following his visit here in 1885 Alfred Barnard wrote: "Peat only is used in drying the malt, fired in open chauffeurs", a testament supported in a few surviving faded photographs showing the huge peat stacks waiting to be fed to the kiln fires.

Their heavily peated Port Charlotte single malts are a tribute to the men who once worked this great, now silent, distillery and the skills and legacy they passed on.

Trickle distilled in their cathedral-like still house at Bruichladdich, the spirit is then matured in the original old stone warehouses in Port Charlotte. Living proof that peat can mean elegance.

Tasting from the team at Bruichladdich including Master Blender Jim McEwan at and around the Islay Distillery here.

Character: The texture is extraordinarily rich with a huge depth of character. The smouldering heat of peat fires pulls you into a whirlpool of islay flavours and aromas but with such finesse that you welcome the storm.

Colour: Gilded lily

Nose: Opening with assertive waves of peat smoke and Atlantic squall, the olfactory system is on high alert in anticipation of some major sensory excitement. A swell of aromatics flood the senses with notes of iodine, salty canvas, crushed sea shells, charred oak staves, black pepper, paprika and leather tobacco pouches. The second wave brings vanilla, figs and soft plump dates, marinated pear, freshly milled malt, dark sweet toffee and cracked walnuts. It’s smoky. It’s smouldering. It’s sensuous. Just close your eyes and inhale long and deep. This is aromatic awesomeness.
Wow! Waves of the sweetest, smoothest, warmest smokiest spirit that you have ever experienced flood onto the palate like the atlantic surf on Saligo Bay. It is potent, focused and the flavours explode brilliantly onto the palate. Full of depth and complexity, the smokey sweetness of the barley contrasts beautifully with the marine freshness of the spirit and the richness of toffee and vanilla. The complexity is enhanced further with a citrus twist and then mellow oak tempers the fire. Once the taste buds adjust to what is happening, they rejoice in the company and pleasure of this young Celt.
It’s long and heart-warming, arousing feelings of pride and passion. It brings courage and strength, honesty and faith to your very soul

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Benromach 100 Proof (I) PDF Print E-mail
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altBenromach 100 ProofThis lovely Benromach 100 proof 10 year old whisky is a beautiful golden amber single malt. Take a few small inhalations to start to enjoy the aroma without water. It has an intense Sherry nose with heaps of stewed apple, pear and delightful vanilla pod aromas... delicious toasted malt aromas develop and complement an underlying menthol edge. Now take a sip and savour the taste without water... there’s cracked black pepper with juicy fresh strawberry and raspberry... hints of orange peel and milk chocolate combine with a delicate smoky edge.

Add a smidge of water to release your dram of 100 ̊ Proof and enjoy the aroma with water... it’s fabulous, with initial hints of beeswax polish and peat smoke... followed by sweeter aromas developing with ripe banana and kiwi bound together by honey. Now for the taste with water. Roll it around your palate and enjoy the sweet and salty effect with ripe banana and blackcurrant flavours. Notice the emerging creamy milk chocolate edge with a long rich finish of lingering subtle smokiness and bonfire embers. [well, at least that's what they say at the distillery!]

Benromach distillery was founded in 1898 by Duncan MacCallum, of Glen Nevis Distillery in Campbeltown, and FW Brickmann, a spirit broker of Leith. It was designed by Charles Doig, the noted Elgin architect who was responsible for several other Speyside distilleries. Its original buildings were modernised in 1966, and extended in 1974 and 1998.

The distillery has had a chequered career, with several changes of ownership and dormant periods, the last closure being in 1983 when all the distillation equipment was removed. Happily, it was rescued in 1993 by Gordon & MacPhail, the Elgin whisky merchants, and production commenced again in 1998.

Benromach's whitewashed buildings and tall red brick chimney create a striking local landmark in the lush arable landscape of the Laich of Moray on the northern edge of Forres. Process water is drawn from the Romach Hills and Chariot barley is supplied lightly-peated to order. Benromach operates a large stainless steel mash tun, 4 larch washbacks and 2 traditional steam-heated stills. The stills are shorter than most to distil a full, rich spirit, and are currently producing about 0.5 million litres a year. The malt whiskies are matured in traditional dunnage warehouses using new Spanish sherry casks, while the whisky for use in blends is matured in American oak bourbon barrels and refill sherry casks.

Benromach "Traditional" Speyside Malt whisky was the first to be produced by the new distillery, and contrasts with the whiskies distilled under the previous management which are also available. Benromach malt whiskies have won several awards in international competitions.

Bottled at the old Imperial measure which equals 57% alcohol volume. A combination of 80% bourbon and 20% sherry casks for the first 9 years, then finished for one year in sherry casks.

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Chapter 14 (G) PDF Print E-mail
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altBenromach 100 ProofThis lovely The English Whisky Co Chapter 14 is their classic single malt whisky, aged in bourbon casks for a minimum of 5 years (ours is 6 years old), in constant production and Jim Murray's European whisky of the Year 2015!and collects 15 Liquid Gold’s in Jim Murray’s 2015 Whisky Bible

The English Whisky Co. Ltd have continued their year on year award winning streak by producing the best whisky in Europe according to Jim Murray, author of the famous Whisky Bible. In what must be a blow to some of the world’s traditional distilling nations The English Whisky Co. not only produced the winning European whisky but also produced a further 14 whiskies that were deemed worthy of the coveted “Liquid Gold” Award which is presented only to whiskies scoring 94 points or higher each year.

Nose: Warm vanilla Danish pastry. Fruity with lychees and rum soaked raisins. Demerara sugar and mandarin oranges.

Palate: Very fruity, bananas and light fruits. Hints of crème brulee. Almost like a light brandy. Warm alcohols and a long dry finish.

St George’s is the home to The English Whisky Co. The beautiful distillery was designed and built by the Nelstrop family for the specific purpose of producing the very finest English Malt Whisky.

Why England and more specifically Why Roudham, Norfolk? Well there are only 2 main ingredients in whisky and they have them both. They have the purest, cleanest water in the Breckland aquifer deep beneath their distillery, they have the barley as Norfolk is one of the world’s premier growing regions.

The only other thing needed to create the very best malt whisky is oak casks. They don't add colour or flavour, they let the barrels do that, so they buy only the very finest oak casks. Most of theirs are supplied by direct from America, having first been used for the maturation of bourbon. They also mature in sherry casks, and various other wine casks.

Their whisky really is batch made by hand with no computers, filled into casks and then left to sleep until their distillers consider it perfect for bottling, which of course they do by hand - one bottle at a time.

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keyDavid Wishart's book Whisky Classified details whisky from the perspective of flavour and not area, it also helps you choose a single malt whisky that suits your palate, not someone else's! 

The conventional way to classify Scotch malt whiskies is by region - Highland, Lowland, Speyside, Islay and Campbeltown. But knowing where they are made doesn't explain how they taste. Many distilleries today can produce a variety of flavours, peatiness (or lack of it) and this book guides the reader through the process.  The following is a key to the cluster groups used within the book and on our website.  If you lookup your own favourite whisky in th ebook and find what cluster it is in you are bound to find some equally enjoyable whiskies in the same and adjacent clusters that will suit your palate.  Here is a summary of the clusters...

A - Full bodied, sweet, pronounced sherry with fruity, honey and spicy notes.
B - Full bodied, sweet, pronounced sherry with fruity, floral and malty notes, some honey and spice evident.
C - Full bodied, medium sweet, pronounced sherry with fruity, honey, nutty and smoky notes.
D - Quite full bodied and sweet, fruity, floral and nutty notes, fairly spicy, hint of smoke.honey and spicy notes.
E - Medium bodied, medium sweet with fruity, honey and winey notes, and a whiff of smoke and spice.
F - Quite full bodied, sweet and malty with fruity, spicy and smoky notes.
G - Light, sweet and honeyed, with floral, fruity and spicy notes, mostly unpeated, an aperitif style.
H - Very light, sweet and malty, fruity and floral, an aperitif style.
I - Medium bodied, medium sweet, quite smoky, some medicinal notes, spicy, fruity and nutty.
J - Full bodied, dry, pungent with peat smoke and medicinal notes, some spice, malt and fruit in the background and a hint of polished leather or libraries.

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