Have you been feeling the summer heat? Are you in need of refreshment? So much more to fill you in on in this Malt Messenger, including a pile of new whiskies, so let’s get started.
We have 7 new whiskies to tell you about from Gordon MacPhail, including a 1978 vintage Glenlivet, and closed distillery bottlings from Coleburn and Caperdonich. One of the 7 whiskies, a 1984 Caol Ila, is sadly already sold out. Only 3 bottles came to Canada. There is another Caol Ila, as well as whiskies from Glenburgie and Highland Park.
There are also a pair of new Kilchomans. The 2019 edition of Loch Gorm is here, and it is the most mature yet. Even more intriguing is the brand new Kilchoman STR. STR stands for shaved, toasted and re-charred. The casks were designed by Jim Swan (the late, great whisky consultant) and made famous by the Kavalan Vinho, which won World Whisky of the Year a few years back.
We also have a pair of new Benromachs, quite different from the distillery’s core profile. Firstly, there is the Benromach Cask Strength Batch 001, which will be replacing the Benromach 100 Proof (which is still available in Alberta). It is joined by the 2010 vintage Benromach Peat Smoke Sherry Matured. Curiously, I find the Cask Strength both more peated and more sherried than the Peat Smoke Sherry Matured, though both are lovely.
There are four new Sansibar single cask single malts from the Clans Collection available. We have 3 of them in-store as of this morning. I have had a chance to write up all four, and found something to like in all of them. I am especially partial to the Bunnahabhain, which is a classic late 80s refill cask matured whisky from this distillery. The Tobermory and Glen Keith also exceeded my expectations!
Also in the new realm we have the limited edition, Amrut Madeira Finish, which is the first new released we have seem from them in a while. There is also the Eau Claire Ploughman’s Rye, from Turner Valley Alberta. Intriguingly, the Ploughman’s rye grains were harvested at farms near the distillery, by horse and plough! We also have new “Japanese” whiskies from two producers: Togouchi and Junenmyo.
Kavalan is Back! The cult Taiwanese distillery is reentering the Canadian market with an initial core range of five whiskies, including the beloved Kavalan Vinho mentioned above. The new importer has also selected and bottled some bespoke casks, under what they are calling the Chapter Series. Chapter 2: Solist Rum, is a new expression to Canada, while Chapter 3: Solist Peaty Cask, is one of my favourite Kavalan bottlings. The Peaty cask is one of the last such casks in the distillery’s possesion.
Then there is the Springbank Society. The Springbank Society is an appreciation club for the distillery, which offers members exclusive bottlings. Kensington Wine Market is proudly the only place in the World, other than through the Society, where you can buy Springbank Society bottles. There are two catches, you have to be a member to buy the bottles and you have to be living in Canada to buy through KWM. One of the added perks, is membership saves you 10% on all Springbank (excluding Society), Hazelburn, Longrow, Kilkerran and Cadenhead bottlings at KWM.
We have two new Springbank Society releases, a Longrow 11 Year from Refill re-charred Sherry and a 15 Year Springbank finished in Port casks. The Springbank is sold out, and the Longrow is close on its heels. Springbank Society Canada members also get advanced notice of new Springbank, Kilkerran (Glengyle) and Cadenhead offerings at KWM. Which leads into the other limited releases in this newsletter: Springbank 21, Kilkerran Heavily Peated and the WM Cadenhead 20 Year Blend Batch 2.
Last, but not least, I have written up tasting notes on four recent arrivals from Signatory. Signatory is one of our favourite independent bottlers, releasing consistently good middle age and older single malts. These four new arrivals are all lovely, especially the two older expressions from Tormore and Glenturret.
I hope this 101st Malt Messenger finds you well. Please let me know if you have any comments, questions or requests. As always, in the event of a discrepancy in price, the Point of Sale at KWM will be taken as correct.
In This Edition
- New Whiskies from Gordon MacPhail
- New Whiskies from Kilchoman
- New Whiskies from Benromach
- Introducing: Amrut Madeira Finish
- Introducing: Eau Claire Ploughman’s Rye
- Kavalan is Back
- Coming Soon: Two Limited Edition Kavalans
- Introducing: Sansibar The Clans
- New Japanese Whiskies – Togouchi
- New Japanese Whiskies – Junenmyo
- Two More Reasons to Join the Springbank Society
- Springbank 21 Year 2019 – 2nd Chance
- Introducing: WM Cadenhead 20 Year Blend Batch 2
- Introducing: Kilkerran Heavily Peated
- My Tasting Notes: On 4 Signatory Single Malts
Kensington Wine Market
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New Gordon MacPhail Whiskies
A 1978 40 Year Old Two Closed Distillery Bottlings
An assortment of new curiosities from Gordon MacPhail, all of them very limited in availability, especially the high end ones. The Caol Ila was sold out before it even landed in Canada!
- GM Distillery Label Glenburgie 21 Year – 43% – Refill Sherry Butts – Distiller’s Tasting Note: “Aroma Notes of brown sugar covered stewed raisins mingle with hints of roasted hazelnuts. Delicate floral aromas are complemented by sweet vanilla and freshly cut dry hay. Taste Full and fruity; stewed apple, cinnamon, and clove flavours come to the fore initially. Ripe summer berries emerge and combine with fresh mint highlights and refined toasted malt undertones. Finish Long with lingering charred oak and a subtle herbal undertone.” – $215
- GM Connoisseur’s Choice Highland Park 2001 – 57.8% – 18 Year – Refill Sherry Butt – Distiller’s Tasting Note: “Aroma Stewed fruits soaked in a lightly spiced sugar syrup. Aromas of juicy clementine paired with clove are complemented by notes of crème brûlée and hazelnut chocolate. Taste Fresh cracked black pepper opens into subtle sherry flavours. Salted caramel with velvety chocolate gives way to light fruit cake spiced with ginger and cinnamon. Finish Lingering; woody notes with delicate ashy tones.” – $270
- GM Connoisseur’s Choice Caol Ila 2005 Hermitage – 45% – 14 Year – Finished in Hermitage Wine Barriques – Producer Tasting Note: “Aromas of summer fruits. Orange blossoms, and fresh vanilla pods. Creamy; hints of liquorice root, oak, and ripe blackcurrant complemented by a peat smoke undercurrent. Bonfire embers flavours endure.” – $150
- GM Connoisseur’s Choice Caol Ila 1984 – 52.5% – 34 Year – Refill Sherry Hogshead – Producer’s Tasting Note: “Aroma: Delicate vanilla complements savoury smoke cured ham aromas. Strawberry and cream highlights add a depth of sweetness. Warm spice stewed apple notes linger over the subtle oak undertone. Taste: Mouth-warming; initial crack black pepper softens and reveals notes of baked apple with hints of clove. Aniseed flavours develop, balanced by candied citrus peel. Finish: bonfire ash and salty notes linger on the finish.” – $1250 – !!!Sold Out!!!
- GM Private Collection Glenlivet 1978 – 44.5% – Refill Sherry Hogshead – Producer’s Tasting Note: “”Aroma Sweet sherried aromas weave into layers of roasted hazelnut, soft fudge, milk chocolate, and plump, rumsoaked raisins. Flashes of fresh citrus peel break through and, combined with polish notes, balance the sweetness. Taste Smooth and spicy; warm demerara sugar disperses over warming chilli, cinnamon, and clove spice flavours. Intense, thick-cut orange marmalade notes unfold into a lingering charred oak edge. Finish Long, spicy, refined, and well-balanced.” – $2250
- GM Private Collection Caperdonich 1982 – 46.6% – 36 Year – ex-Bourbon Barrel – Producer’s Tasting Note: “Aroma Soft and gentle aromas of citrus peel and traces of toffee combine with sweet hay and dried flower notes. Nuances of honeysuckle emerge, balanced by fresh highlights of newly-harvested mint. Taste Gentle flavours of liquorice root initially. Crisp red apple notes emerge; a drying oak undertone lingers before nutty notes surface. A generous sweetness remains. Finish Sweet flavours evolve into a refreshing element akin to newly-harvested hops. Mature oak endures on the finish.” – $2500
- GM Private Collection Coleburn 1981 – 55.9% – 38 Year – ex-Sherry Hogshead – Producer Tasting Note: “Aroma Sherry soaked fruit aromas with a touch of beeswax polish. Juicy black cherries drizzled with rich caramel leads into fresh coffee with a subtle smokiness. Taste Dark chocolate, coffee, and ripe plums. dried fruits and sherry soaked cherries, reminiscent of rich fruitcake. Subtle flavours of oak and liquorice emerge with a slight nuttiness. Finish Long; rich fruitcake, coffee, and toffee notes evolve into leather with a hint of smoke.” – $2500 – Only 3 bottles. 89pts Serge
New Whiskies from Kilchoman
Including The First Kilchoman from Jim Swan “STR” Casks!
A pair of limited new offerings from Islay’s smallest distillery, Kilchoman. I have yet to write up my own tasting notes, but I can vouch that they are both very good. The STR is limited to per person, and the Loch Gorm to 2/per:
- Kilchoman Loch Gorm 2019 – 46% – The 2019 is a vatting of twenty oloroso sherry butts from 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011, the first edition to contain 12 and 13-year-old casks. – Producer Description: (2019 Edition): “Nose: Dried fig, orange peel and sea salt with hints of bacon, oaky spice, cinnamon and citrus sweetness. Palate: Stewed plums, morello cherries and dark chocolate with layers of salted caramel, herbaceous heather, honey and wet ashy peat smoke. Finish: Cooked apples and pears with waves of all spice, dark chocolate and barbeque smoke.” – $135 – Limit 1 Per Person
- Kilchoman STR Cask – 50 % – STR Cask – Producer Description: “We are excited to announce the arrival of our second (of two) spring limited edition releases; the STR Cask Matured which will be available in the UK from Wednesday (8th May), hitting shelves in Europe later this week and further afield soon after that. A creation of the late Dr Jim Swan, STR refers to a specific formula for the Shaving, Toasting and Re-Charring casks. A total of 43 casks filled in 2012 were selected by Anthony Wills, Kilchoman’s Founder and Managing Director, bottled at a strength of 50% abv without chill-filtration or colouring.” Producer’s Tasting Note: “Nose: Summer fruits with a hearty measure of cinnamon spice, toffee and gentle peat smoke. Palate: Soft caramel at first with layers of red berries, lemon tart and earthy peat smoke. Finish: Long with a pronounced spice, honey and caramel notes.” – $170
New Whiskies from Benromach
Songs of Sherry and Peat!
At one point in time they were billing themselves as Speyside’s smallest distillery. There is at least one smaller one now, but Benromach is still one of the most craft oriented of all the distilleries in the “region”. Benromach is a great example of how whisky regions are all but meaningless today. Any style of whisky can, and increasingly is, being made everywhere in Scotland. Benromach is generally a lightly peated single malt, more typical of whiskies from the Speyside 100 years ago, but not today. They also make a heavily peated version, as you will see below, and have also produced triple distilled single malt whiskies.
- Benromach Peat Smoke Sherry Matured – 59.9% – Matured in ex-Sherry Casks – Produced from Heavily Peated Malt – Producer’s Tasting Note: “Pour your dram of this seriously smoky single malt whisky and prepare to relish an experience as rare as this unique Benromach Speyside whisky produced in very small batches. First, lift your glass to the light and appreciate the beautiful dark amber hue created by lingering for many years in First Fill Sherry Hogsheads as the whisky grew and matured in character. Take a short inhalation, appreciating the wonderful aromas without water… enjoy the hints of honey cured meats mingling with zingy orange marmalade. Creamy vanilla develops with traces of chocolate, spiced dried fruit and a subtle note of dried tobacco. Take a sip. Deliciously sweet top notes and a hint of warming white pepper appear, followed by touches of rich stewed prunes, sultanas and raisins complemented by sherry undertones. Delicate hints of ginger develop on the tongue with a lingering edge of bonfire embers on the finish. Add a few drops of water and take time to savour the nose as it develops. Lemon, honey and vanilla aromas perfectly balance the distinctive smokiness. Now lift it to your lips and enjoy a slow sip… a sumptuous medley of rich fruits, tangy citrus and delicate hint of spice and sherry give way to rich smooth chocolate and a lingering edge of seriously gorgeous smokiness. Superb!” – $115
- Benromach 2008 Cask Strength Batch 001 – 57.9% – Matured in ex- Bourbon First fill Sherry Oak Casks – Producer’s Tasting Note: “”Pour yourself a dram of this beautiful golden amber single malt whisky and 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 Cask Strength 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.” – $108
New Batch – Kilkerran 8 Year Cask Strength
And a Recent Article by Yours Truly, on the Distillery Founded Out of Spite!
The latest release of Kikerran 8 Year Cask Strength hails from all the way back in November of 2018. The whisky is bottled at 56.5% after maturing exclusively in ex-Bourbon casks! Kilkerran is a lightly peated, double distilled Campbeltown single malt. Its distillery, Glengyle, is the only one we know of to be opened out of spite (to the Scotch Whisky Association). We love that!
Kilkerran 8 Year Cask Strength – 56.5% – Matured in ex-Bourbon – Producer’s Tasting Note: “Nose: The exquisite nose begins with a gentle hint of worn leather and pipe tobacco. Changing now to a much sweeter note with sponge cake, vanilla pods and clotted cream combining with some citrus and fruits in the form of key lime pie and green apple skins. Palate: Good cask influence here with lots of sweetness from the bourbon casks. Golden syrup cake, banoffee pie and toasted marshmallows are just some of the desserts you could find in this dram. Finish: The light peat becomes more apparent on the finish, along with an earthy dunnage note typical of Campbeltown whisky. This is followed by a herbal grassy note, marzipan and grape peel.” – $87
My article on Kilkerran/Glengyle, for Celtic Life below is attached and more easily read PDF! If you are curious about the tale of Glengyle Distillery and Kilkerran Whisky CLICK THIS LINK.
Introducing: Amrut Madeira Finish
The First Limited Edition Amrut in Some Time!
The Amrut Madeira Finish is the first whisky from India finished in Madeira casks. Only 4,800 bottles of the whisky were bottled at 50%. It is limited at KWM to 2 per customer. Scored 92pts from Whisky Advocate.
Amrut Madeira Finish – 50% – Finished in Madeira Casks – Producer’s Tasting Note (Ashok): “Nose: Almond (perhaps Marzipan) wrapped up in Toffee, Coconut shavings and complemented by Vanilla pods and Golden syrup. Palate: Almond cake, sweet Orange, Toffee with a fruity tease, velvety. You hesitate to swallow the whisky as the middle ground is so palatable. Finish: Citrus finish with a hint of Toffee and a refreshing end.” – 92pts Whisky Advocate: “This limited edition is quite a color: deep orange with beautiful rose tints. Quite vinous on the nose, with orange peel, crème brûlée, honey, toasted coconut, grated chocolate, and preserved lemons all benefiting from the higher bottling strength. It’s darkly sweet with piquant plums, juicy raisins, sweet shortbread, fig, chocolate, honeyed lemons, and tangy candied peel. Truly excellent, the spice dominating the dark fruits and chocolate throughout the finish. (4,800 bottles)” – $155 – Limit 2 per customer!
Producer Description: “Amrut had really worked their way around to make this bottling with a near perfect balance of aromas.”, says Ashok Chokalingam, Amrut Distilleries. “We are very delighted with this bottling and the flavours emanating out of this whisky is truly mind boggling. It is a fantastic addition to Amrut stable and yet it is distinctive. We have pretty much produced every style of whisky and pushed the boundaries on maturation techniques that are possible. A few more are now in the pipeline to complete the course” he observes. 4800 bottles have been bottled and are now heading to the North American, European Asia Pacific markets to be picked up by lucky customers who can lay their hands on them! “The angels of India have done it again”, concludes Ashok, “this land can make whiskies that will amaze and stun you every single time.”
Introducing: Eau Claire Ploughman’s Rye
Farm to Bottle Whisky from Alberta’s Foothills!
Eau Claire puts a lot of effort into being a ‘Farm to Glass’ distillery, and this is something their Ploughman’s Rye epitomizes. Made from a very high percentage of rye, plus a small amount of malted barley. The rye used in the distillation was harvested by horse from three local farms. After aging for two and a half years in Virgin American Oak Barrels, it was finished for a period of six months in two casks that previously held Batch 2 of Eau Claire’s own Single Malt Whisky. Bottled at 43% ABV.
Producer Description: “Ploughman’s Rye Whisky is a nod to Alberta farm pioneers. Eau Claire combines the first horse-farmed rye since the turn of the century, with our special barley blend. From land in the Alberta foothills, we planted, harvested and distilled rye to produce this unique spirit. We named it Ploughman’s Rye to produce in honour of our hose farming heritage. Young, bold and flavourful. This will be a limited edition Rye release and the first of its kind from Eau Claire Distillery.”
Eau Claire Ploughman’s Rye – 43% – 2.5 Years Virgin Oak / 6 Months Refill ex-Bourbon (from Single Malt Batch 02) – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: decadent, nutty and oily; butter tarts right from the oven, German rye bread and dill pickle flavoured Ruffles; doughy with Mandarin orange, muddled mint and sugar and a touch of musty oak. Palate: creamy, dilly, decadent and spicy with floral vanilla cooling mint and more butter tarts fresh from the oven; more sweet Mandarin orange, cooked raisins and a touch of mojitos? It’s that cool mint again; building wood spices, candied fennel and clove; classic earthy-oily-rye tones. Finish: medium-long; fresh, creamy and coating; still decadent and a little less layered than the palate, a sign of youth?; but still very balanced. Comment: this is brilliant stuff, I like it better than their inaugural single malt; for a 3 year old this is a solid base hit, maybe a double; give it 5 to 10 years and we are talking home run territory!” – $82
Kavalan Is Back
With An Initial Core Range of 5 SIngle Malts
After a brief hiatus, we’re thrilled to welcome Kavalan back to the market. Local representation has changed hands, and we’re happy to report that the new team repping Kavalan is as fired up about its renaissance as we are. This ground breaking Taiwanese distillery has been producing excellent single malt whisky for years now; whisky that somehow manages to defy its age statement with flavours much deeper than should be possible at these ages. They’ve created a style all their own. The distillery’s reputation is on the rise and rightfully so. We have a handful of Kavalan releases arriving any day now, but watch this space. There is much more to come in the near future.
- Kavalan Distillery Select – 40% – Producer Description: “KAVALAN Distillery creates rich yet mellow layered taste using exquisite barrel art with consummately skilled blending workmanship; the unique tropical fruit fragrances of KAVALAN and the cream caramel embellished with wood and vanilla scents offer the ideal lingering flavors, these are the meticulous works specially selected by the bartenders.” – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Aroma of ripe tropical fruits, floral notes, and warm vanilla. Palate: Sweet, mellow and smooth in the mouth, the balanced taste is the perfect blending of barrel craft workmanship.” – $85
- Kavalan ex-Bourbon Oak 46% – Producer Description: “Kavalan ex-Bourbon Oak dilutes Solist ex-Bourbon with Kavalan spring water to 46% strength. It is incredibly smooth with a soft sweetness, losing the harshness and the alcohol edge and lingering over those unique flavours. It is clean and fresh tropical fruitiness with pleasant vanilla, coconut and spices.” – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Clean with fresh tropical fruitiness and pleasant vanilla, coconut and spices. Imagine being soothed by that comfortable sea breeze with a calming and refreshing effect. This malt can do that for you after a hectic day at the office. Palate: Soft, well-balanced natural sweetness, vanilla and oak spices, round and complex with silky smoothness.” – $148
- Kavalan ex-Sherry Oak 46% – “Kavalan Sherry Oak dilutes Solist Sherry with Kavalan spring water to 46% strength. It is easy to drink and could be a perfect malt whisky to share with friends and family on most occasions. It is clean and complex with multiple layers of dried fruit, nuttiness and spices with some marzipan and vanilla touches to it.: – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Clean and complex with multiple layers of dried fruit, nuttiness and spices with some marzipan and vanilla touches to it as well. Palate: Smooth, well-balanced natural sweetness, full of pleasant dried fruit and spices. The whisky leaves a beautifully elegant and long finish.” – $172
- Kavalan Solist Port – 57.8% – Producer Description: “Port is a Portuguese fortified wine that is robust and sweet with a fuller and richer body. It is therefore usually served as a dessert wine or digestif. Kavalan Solist Port Cask is fully matured in Portuguese Port barriques under the subtropical climate to create the multiple fruity flavours such as plum, blueberry, blackberry and strawberry just to name a few, with chocolate as the main background note.” – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: The rich fruity and nutty flavours combined and enhanced by orange and citrus notes that can be enjoyed together with gentle and elegant wood spices of our American oakiness. Palate: Satisfying fruitiness blended with quality chocolate aromas that melt delicately on your palate. A wonderful and long lasting after taste for your unique sampling pleasure.” – $212
- Kavalan Solist Vinho – 56.3% – Matured in STR Casks – Producer Description: “Vinho is fully matured in used American oak wine barrels that have been toasted and recharred in a way that brings out fruity vanilla notes from the whisky and wood overlaid on a delicate background of complex fruitiness. It has a complex and multi-dimensional background of pepper, spice, dates and other fruits, such as ripe melon and mango together with kiwi and a delicate blend of citrus fruits burst.” – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: A rich fusion of vanilla and caramelized sugars with dark chocolate on top. Ripe melon and mango together with kiwi and a delicate blend of citrus fruits burst. Pepper is also present in the background waiting to be noticed. This bouquet is simply a sensational feast to your olfactory organ… Palate: The taste ends with clean and complex flavours embodying all that is best in the finest malt whiskies enjoying a long aftertaste.” – $276
COMING SOON: Two Limited Edition Kavalans
Chapter’s 2 3 from Canadian Importer Truth Malters
Kavalan’s new Canadian importers Truth Malters are bottling their own casks under what they call the “Chapters Series”. Chapters #2 a Rum Cask (the first we’ve ever seen from Kavalan) and #3 a Peat Cask (reputedly one of the last), are curiously slated to arrive before Chapter #1. These single casks are old for Kavalan, at 7 and 9 years of age respectively, and very limited, at 144 and 114 bottles each. The Peaty cask is especially curious, it is one of the distillery’s last such casks, which is a shame, as the Peaty Casks were my favourite Kavalan release.
- Kavalan Solist Rum Cask Chapter #2 – 57.1% – 7 Years 6 Months – Only 144 Bottles – $245
- Kavalan Solist Peaty Cask Chapter #3 – 57.8% – 9 Years 4 Months – Only 114 Bottles – $245
Introducing Sansibar The Clans
Whiskies Hearkening Back to a Romantic Vision of Scotland
These are my kind of malts: old, probably refill ex-Bourbon barrels. Even the Tobermory, which is from a PX cask (of undisclosed size), may have been an American oak seasoned PX cask. Regardless, they are all interesting. The Glen Keith stacks up well with the Signatory and Archives bottlings we have. The Bunnahabhain is the star IMHO!
- Bunnahabhain 28 Year – 45.8% – 1989 – ex-Bourbon – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: hello; waxy, tropical and floral; savoury with juicy malt and melons; decadent, dusty and a hint of Flintstone Vitamins; honeyed with lavender. Palate: round, creamy, fruity and honeyed; dusty, floral(lavender) and still tropical: beautiful layers of melons, orange rinds, mangoes and bing cherries; more Flintstone Vitamins and a touch of cough syrup; still savoury with maritime notes and juicy malt; some delicate spices: ginger and cinnamon. Finish: long, coating, creamy and floral; juicy fruits and barley with spices, sea salt and lavender. Comment: Flintstone vitamins, that note is a first for me; similar to the Thompson Bros cask;another beautiful late 80s Bunnahabhain from an IB, no surprise there; this isn’t the best of them, but it is very good, near the top of the pile!” – $510 – 90pts Whisky Fun
- Glen Keith 24 Year – 52.2% – 1993 – ?? – My Tasting Note: “Nose: decadent, floral and honeyed; lemon and pear drops, Dutch Baby pancakes with powdered sugar and maple syrup; polished oak and tropical fruits: bananas, pineapple and nectarines. Palate: creamy, toasty and floral; rich, fruity and decadently spiced; more Dutch Baby pancakes and powdered sugar with maple syrup; lots going on on the fruit side of things: lemons, nectarines, pineapple and dried apricots; some nice layers, very pleasant and lively. Finish: light and floral with good length; the fruits and decadent notes fade out slowly. Comment: while they may not be the most memorable, I have yet to be disappointed by mid 20’s Glen Keith’s; my style of malt, old refill cask matured whisky where the delicate fruits and floral notes are given space to shine.” – $375 – 86pts Whisky Fun
- Tobermory 23 Year -57.9% – 1994 – PX Sherry Hogshead – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: treacle, soft licorice, dark chocolate and chili oil; Christmas cake and candied fruits, firm leather, fruity tobacco and some musty dunnage notes; mince meat pie and marmalade. Palate: softer than expected, sweet and fruity; round, rich and spicy; more treacle, Christmas cake and dark chocolate; on the spices side of things, candied ginger, cinnamon hearts and licorice Jujubes; vanilla with creme brule and candied orange; soft leather and more fruity tobacco; still earthy, but delicately so. Finish: medium long with sweet fruits, spices and Christmas cake; drying with tingling spices. Comment: I am really torn on this one, I can’t decide whether I like or love it; reminds me of PX GlenDronach; if I were a betting man, I would wager this started in ex-Bourbon and transferred to PX; either that or the PX Cask was made from American oak; either way this is a very interesting malt, and worthy of consideration; disagree with the Whisky Fun chaps on this one, I think this is closer to 90 than 84.” – $460 – 84pts Whisky Fun (I think this is uncharitably low )
- Tullibardine 24 Year – 52.5% – 1993 – ? – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: waxy, floral with honey, beeswax and kirsch; peaches in cream, vanilla pods, sage and sawdust; Honey Nut Cheerios, Cherry Nibs, doughy and malty. Palate: soft, waxy, malty and honeyed; very floral, fruity and toasty; vanilla pods, sage and more peaches and cream; more malty-doughy notes and loads of spices: dill, fennel and caraway; Cherry Nibs, fresh peaches and melons. Finish: long, coating, toasty and spicy; floral and fruity with vanilla. Comment: this is classic signature 1993 Tullibardine; when the distillery first re-launched, 1993 was one of the key vintages; it doesn’t have as much fruit as I’d like, but it is a lovely malt; great depth and presence; crisp, but no rough edges.” – $345 – 83pts Whisky Fun (I would put it closer to 86/7)
New Japanese Whiskies from Togouchi
With Canadian Scottish Components, Are They Japanese-ish!
There is a lot of excitement about Japanese whisky right now, which in some ways is a shame, as the industry is at a low point as far as mature stocks go. And yet new whiskies keep sprouting up. I think consumers should know that what passes for a Japanese whisky, is not quite as rigorous as the rules around Scotch. Most Japanese whisky is Blended, compose of single malts and grain whisky. There is no getting around single malts: those have to be produced by the distillery they are named after in Japan. But few of the new whiskies are single malts, and those that are available are typically NAS, and pricey. Blends are a different story: seemingly the only regulation for Japanese blends is that they be blended and bottled in Japan. This may come as quite a surprise, but it has almost always been common for Japanese firms to import whiskies, and then blend and bottle them as Japanese products. This trend began in 1920, even before the first Japanese distillery opened. Even today both Suntory (Hibiki) and Nikka (Taketsuru and Nikka) also import foreign components for their blends.
I’ve seen the Togouchi blends around for years in Europe, and to their credit, they are fairly transparent about the fact their whiskies are composed of malt whiskies from Scotland and grain whiskies from Canada. They go a step beyond the minimum requirements, and actually age their components in Japan. Most intriguingly, the whiskies are matured in a never-used train tunnel, in the village they are named for, Togouchi. We have 4 Togouchi whiskies in stock. I’ve only had a chance to write up one of them, so I have borrowed tasting notes for two of them. Will write up the other 3 before the next malt messenger. Only 60 bottles of each have come to Alberta:
- Togouchi Premium Japanese Blended Whisky – 40.6% – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: honeyed and decadent with bright citrus and jammy berry fruits; a touch floral with French soap and more muddy peat. Palate: soft, honeyed and creamy with more bright citrus and jammy berry fruits; corn syrup, light muddy peat, a touch floral with more French soap; late spices. Finish: warm, spicy and fruity; medium length with a light touch. Comment: light, fresh and very approachable.” – $65
- Togouchi Kiwami Japanese Blended Whisky – 40% – It’s been referred to as ‘elegant’ and ‘subtly spicy’ – $65
- Togouchi 9 Year Japanese Blended Whisky – 40% – Master of Malt Tasting Note: “Nose: Sweet apricot and plum notes, with a dusting of baking spices. Palate: Lemon and orange peel notes develop, with a pinch of peat smoke underneath. Finish: Anise, cardamom and caramel. – $95
- Togouchi 15 Year Japanese Blended Whisky – 43.8% – Master of Malt Tasting Note: “Nose: Soft pastry dusted with cinnamon, pear and hints of dried earth. Palate: Nutty malt complemented by milk chocolate, joined by a helping of caraway. Finish: Peppercorn, vanilla and a lingering peatiness.” – $158
New Japanese Whisky – Junenmyo
And It Is Peaty…
As with the Togouchi whiskies above, these are produced with foreign components. The producer references the use of Scottish grain whisky and peated Scottish malt. What is less certain is whether they are importing Scottish single malt whisky, or distilling the imported peated malt themselves. Either way, the whisky does have a Japanese feel to it, and is one of the better new bottlings we’ve seen of late. The blend has a high malt content, at least 50%, which is produced from heavily peated Scottish malt.
40% – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: big caramel, plum wine and gentle peat; salty Dutch licorice chews, dark chocolate and candied cherries; Demerara sugars, orange peels and waxy Strawberry Twizzlers. Palate: soft, and smoky with a prominently salty maritime note; lots of chewy barley, candied orange and cherries; silky grains, soft spices and fennel seeds; mossy peat, more salty caramel and Dutch licorice. Finish: lush, coating and malty; lasting malts and peat. Comment: not what I expected for a Japanese blend, prominent peat and maritime notes; the components may be Scottish, but the style is Japanese; elegant and understated.” – $100
Two Reasons to Join the Springbank Society
Did You Know KWM is the Only Springbank Society Embassy?
Kensington Wine Market is very proud to be the only place in the World, other than via the distillery, where you can buy Springbank Society whiskies. There is a catch, though: you need to be a Springbank Society Member, and you need to reside in Canada.
It is easy to join the Springbank Society, and membership is a one time, lifetime fee of £50, paid to the Springbank Society. We can help sign you up. Simply reply to this email and I will forward you a membership form. Perks include access to Springbank Society bottlings, like the two below, and 10% discounts on all Springbank, Hazelburn, Longrow, Kilkerran and Cadenhead whiskies. You will also get informed of the release of the aforementioned whiskies before other customers. You won’t find either of these on our website, or on the shelf at KWM. They are strictly available to Springbank Society members.
- Springbank Society Longrow 11 Year – 56.9% – Re-Charred Refill Sherry Butts – Distilled: November 2007 – Bottled: March 2019 – Producer Tasting Notes: “Nose: Toffee apples, orange peel and marmalade shreds. Burnt caramel and Jaffa cakes. Taste: Chocolate eclairs, smoked beef jerky, chunky peanut butter and pistachio. Finish: Ginger, sea salt, smoked gouda cheese, milk chocolate, raisins, walnuts and pumpkin pie. – $114+gst – Less Than Half a Dozen Left – Exclusive to Springbank Society Members
- Springbank Society 15 Year – 56.2% – Fresh Port Hogsheads – Distilled: May 2003 – Bottled: September 2018 – Producer Tasting Notes: “Nose: Sweet and creamy; milk chocolate and mandarins closely followed by cinnamon and Scottish tablet. Taste: Strawberries, plum jam; fruit cake. Cloves and a soft pepperiness emerge with rhubarb crumble and brambles. Finish: The classic salty and misty coastal notes of Springbank sweep through the mouth. The finish is balanced and rounded with dry pepper, orange chocolates, ripe bananas and coconut shavings.” – $145+gst – SOLD OUT!
A Second Chance at the 2019 Springbank 21 Year
Matured in Port and Rum!
We only received an additional 6 bottles. So this is limited to one per customer, first come first serve. 88pts Angus @WhiskyFun.
Springbank 21 Year 2019 – 46% – Matured in 45% Port and 55% Rum – My Tasting Note: “Nose: fudge-y, doughy and leathery with rum and raisin pudding; salted caramel ice cream; Caramilk, milk chocolate and dried dark fruits; jammy, Strawberry Twizzlers and Big Turk candy bars; leaning towards more tropical fruit notes; clean smoke and some tin-y metallic notes. Palate: thick, coating, oily and rich; earthy and leathery with fruity tobacco and both dark and milk chocolates; the oily peats peak through, with some maritime edges and a more over salted caramel; firm smoke, cloves and fennel; dried dark fruits: dates, figs and Glosset raisins; more Strawberry Twizzlers and Big Turk; so salty and savoury. Finish: long, coating and creamy; more oily peat, salted caramel and jammy fruits; so juicy and thick. Finish: loads ofsalted caramel, briny maritime smoke and firm oily peat smoke; still jammy and fruity; long and coating. Comment: I wish I had some of the 2018 edition at hand to sample beside this; both were at least partly matured in ex-Rum casks; if my memory is correct this edition is nowhere near as subtle or delicate as the 2018, but it makes up for that in richness; fine stuff.” – $425+gst – 1 Per Customer – Only 4 Left!
Introducing: William Cadenhead 20 Year Blend
Sherried, 46% Only $130. What More Can You Ask For?
The first release was awesome, the second is supposed to be too. I haven’t tried it yet, and I can’t find an official tasting notes, but Batch 2 scored 89pts on ScotchWhisky.com. We only have enough for one bottle per person.
William Cadenhead 20 Year Blended Scotch Whisky – 46% – Sherry Butt – Distilleries Used: Glenrothes, Benrinnes, Strathclyde – Scotch Whisky.com Review 89pts: “Nose: Super-ripe, rich and sweet. Cherry cola, chocolate ganache, Seville orange and sweet ginger develop into muscovado sugar, plump raisin and a hint of clove. Things dry ever so slightly in time but continue to head toward a hot, buttered, Demerara rum. Water adds sweetened coffee and a slightly more savoury quality, but ‘slightly’ is the operative word. Palate: As you might expect, a very soft delivery, with a thick, plush texture: old roses, red velvet cake and a jam-like sweetness (damson, mulberry and sloe). Although things remain sweet when it’s diluted, there’s also some black cherry, cassis and finally a little (and much-needed) grip. Finish: Lush. Conclusion: Completely the opposite of the Scapa expression – and equally some might not go for this heart-on-the-sleeve richness. It might not have massive complexity, but by goodness it’s a good glass.” – $130+gst – 1 Per Customer – Only 3 of 30 bottles left!
Introducing Kilkerran Heavily Peated
Peat in Progress
Strictly limited to 1 per customer. Stock is very tight on this, so I can’t make exceptions. It is not on the website.
Kilkerran Heavily Peated – 59.3% – 55% Ex-Bourbon 45% Ex-Sherry – Producer Tasting Notes: “Nose: Fresh apples, mixed seeds, strawberry laces and confectionary sweets. Smouldering campfire and toasted marshmallows. Palate: Grilled fruits, cooking popcorn, caramelised brown sugar, puff pastry and peppermint creams. Finish: Toasted oats, salted beef, butter, parma ham and crushed vanilla pods.” – $86+gst – 1 per customer
My Tasting Notes on 4 Signatory Single Malts
Spoiler Alert… They Are All Good, Two Are Excellent!
Signatory has long been one of our favourite independent
bottlers. Here are 4 more reasons why:
- Signatory Ben Nevis 1991 – 57.5% – 27 Year – Refill Sherry Butt – My Tasting Note: “Nose: decadent and nutty; cold tea dregs with demerara, burnt brown sugar and building spice; very nutty: beer nuts, candied almonds and maple coated walnuts; mincemeat pie right from the oven; cooked raisins, orange peel and clove. Palate: rich, spicy, nutty and decadent; more candied nuts, demerara tea dregs and mincemeat; the spices are bold and decadent: ginger, nutmeg and clove; more cooked raisins, apple and orange; some creamy-tropical bits underneath; leather and tobacco to boot, but they don’t steal the show. Finish: long and medium in weight; more rich sherry notes: leather, candied nuts, cooked fruits and spices with late tobacco. Comment: this is a lovely Ben Nevis, not quite as nutty and leathery as the 30th Anniversary, but lovely none the less; very good value for a sherry cask whisky of this style.” – $300
- Signatory Glenturret 1989 – 44.7% – 29 Year – Hogshead – My Tasting Note: “Nose: bright, fruity and honeyed; waxy, antique-y, honeycomb and creamy; clotted cream, Maroccan marmalade, fresh goat cheese with lemon slices; Turkish delight. Palate: soft, creamy and floral; toasty and creamy with more honeycomb, clotted cream and fresh goat cheese with lemon wedges; candied ginger, citrus wedges, white orchard fruits and dried apricots; very waxy, a touch of white pepper and old school ex-Bourbon. Finish: long, creamy, toasty and floral; waxy and coating; fresh orchard fruits. Comment: this is an eminently drinkable whisky, reminds me a lot of Littlemill; fresh, floral, fruity and creamy; no hint of the advancing bitter oak you often see in a whisky of this age!” – $290
- Signatory Longmorn 2002 – 55.3% – 16 Year – Bourbon Barrels – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: bam, fruit bomb: cherries leaping out of the glass, jammy with berry fruits, strawberry puff candies and Twizzlers; cream soda and French crepes with powdered sugar and lemon juice. Palate: big, honeyed and fruity with rich spices; the whisky comes at you and keeps growing; crisp malt, Manuka honey and flowers in a botanical garden; more cherries, lemon juice, waxy Twizzlers and jammy berry fruits; the spices are firm: angelica, cardamom and fennel. Finish: medium-long, drying with fading honey, fruits and spices; pleasantly warms the palate. Comment: Longmorn is not a single malt we see a lot of, with the exception of Gordon MacPhail and the Scotch Malt Whisky Society; this is a lovely malt; honeyed, fruity and spicy; a good warm you up dram on a cool fall night or after a vigorous thunder storm.” – $185
- Signatory Tormore 1988 – 45.8% – 29 Year – Hogsheads – My Tasting Note: “Nose: soft doughy and waxy with lychee fruit, sliced orange and melons; honeyed and decadent; soft, floral and delicately spiced with a touch of white pepper; a touch perfumed. Palate: sweet, toasty and spicy with delicate floral top notes: roses, geraniums and violets; still decadent with some chewy malt, white chocolate and lots of spice: more white pepper, a touch of cayenne and chili flakes; melons, citrus and lychee fruits are still there, but they are overpowered by the oak spices and floral tones. Finish: long, toasty and drying; still floral, fruity and spicy; soft coating oils. Comment: almost 30 and not even close to over the hill; this is a delicate, floral and spicy malt with lots of staying power; a great summer sipper, and very well priced for its age.” – $275
Thank You for Reading the Malt Messenger!
If you have any whisky questions or comments concerning The Malt Messenger please contact me by e-mail, phone, or drop by the store.
All of the products mentioned in THE MALT MESSENGER can be purchased in store, over the phone or from our website at www.kensingtonwinemarket.com. All prices quoted in the Malt Messenger are subject to change and don’t include GST. In the case of discrepancies in pricing, the price in our in store point of sale will be taken as correct.
Thanks for reading the Malt Messenger.
Kensington Wine Market
Calgary, Alberta, Canada