“Rare by Nature” Diageo Special Releases

Fall is here and that means Diageo’s Special Release Collection has been let out into the world! Exciting Times! Sticking with the theme that debuted last year, “Rare by Nature”, this year’s collection is eight cask strength whiskies. All carefully chosen by master blender Craig Wilson to give the whisky drinkers around the world a unique look into what Diageo brands have to offer. The releases range from 8 – 30 years and offer a different look at your favourite distilleries!

The bottlings will be online soon and we will be sure to let you know when they go live! Until then, here is a short rundown of the Special Releases!

SINGLETON 17 YO:

ABV: 55.1%

DISTILLATION YEAR: 2002

CASKS: First ever release from 100% refill American oak hogsheads

REGION: Speyside

PLACE OF ORIGIN: Dufftown

An unusual and very fine example of The Singleton

Dufftown, exceptionally good at this age.

TALISKER 8 YO:

ABV: 57.9%

DISTILLATION YEAR: 2011

CASKS: From refill casks, then finished in pot – still Caribbean Rum casks

REGION: Isle of Skye

PLACE OF ORIGIN:   Carbost

A vigorous example of Talisker with bags of distillery character that is best enjoyed at reduced strength.

MORTLACH 21 YO:

ABV: 56.9%

DISTILLATION YEAR: 1999

CASKS: Finished in fresh – toasted Pedro Ximenez & Oloroso – seasoned casks

REGION: Speyside

PLACE OF ORIGIN: Dufftown

A classic example of ‘The Beast of Dufftown’, extraordinarily ‘well – mannered’ for its strength.

LAGAVULIN 12 YO:

ABV: 56.4%

DISTILLATION YEAR: 2007

CASKS: From refill hogsheads and butts selected for quality alone

REGION: Islay

PLACE OF ORIGIN: Port Ellen

An elusive aroma for Lagavulin, with a big taste, especially at natural strength.

CARDHU 11YO:

ABV: 56.0%

DISTILLATION YEAR: 2008

C A S K S: Refill casks and new and ex – bourbon American oak hogsheads

REGION: Speyside

PLACE OF ORIGIN: Knockando

Crisp and fresh, elegant and perfectly poised, this Cardhu would be a perfect accompaniment to an al fresco lunch – especially if chilled.

CRAGGANMORE 20YO:

ABV: 55.8%

DISTILLATION YEAR: 1999

CASKS: From refill and new fresh – charred American Oak hogsheads

REGION: Speyside

PLACE OF ORIGIN: Ballindalloch

A lively example of Cragganmore at natural strength, with considerable complexity, which benefits from a little water.

DALWHINNIE 30YO:

ABV: 51.9%

DISTILLATION YEAR: 1989

CASKS: From refill American Oak hogsheads.

REGION: Highland

PLACE OF ORIGIN: Dalwhinnie

A very pleasing expression of a famously accessible whisky; easy drinking at any time of the day.

PITTYVAICH 30 YO:

ABV: 50.8%

DISTILLATION YEAR: 1989

CASKS: Matured in refill and finished in first – fill ex – bourbon casks

REGION: Speyside

PLACE OF ORIGIN: Dufftown (closed distillery)

An outstanding example of Pittyvaich, proving that the make deserves to be better known, richly rewarding on both nose and palate and very easy to drink straight.

Slainte

Anthony

Key West Rum

Some of you may have already seen two of the bottlings that we have from Key West First Legal Rum Distillery. For those of you that haven’t, you are missing out on some fantastic rum that you would be hard pressed to find normally. We are the importer and distributor for the UK, so get them while you can!

Like the name suggests, the distillery is Key West’s first legal rum distillery since prohibition. The distillery was created in 2012 by Chef Paul Menta in a location that formerly held a 1900’s saloon and after that a Coca-Cola bottling facility in 1903. Their rums are Chef Distilled, they bring together both chef and distiller skills to bring out the best flavours. As they say, they are Chefs first and Distillers second, and that’s what led to the process name. They also salt cure their barrels in the ocean just off the Keys which creates a unique flavour and raises the PH level in the barrels to make it smoother. They take the new barrels down the street to the ocean and fill with sea water. The barrel is left to swell overnight, then drain the ocean water and then is left to cure.

Now the distillery produces an array of tasty rums, like Key Lime, Creme Brûlée, and Cuban Coffee flavoured! For now, we stock The Bad Bitch and the Raw & Unfiltered, both amazing rums

Bad Bitch is named after a Rum Runner called Spanish Marie who smuggled high proof rum from Cuba to Key West. Bad Bitch is aged in French Oak barrels that previously contained red wine, which creates a wonderful taste from the tannins with a smooth caramel-y finish.

Raw & Unfiltered was aged in new American Oak barrels with a number 3 char inside. Great flavours of vanilla, figs, plum, and has a peppery finish from the magnesium in the salt. A real representation of the Key West style.

Make sure to check our social media as we regularly have virtual tastings with Chef Paul Menta.

Slainte

Anthony

Forager’s Gin and Snowdonia Distillery

We have brought in some fantastic gin into the shops that are easily some of the best gins that we have ever had. We have brought in 2 bottlings so far, but will be adding more in the future. For the gin lovers out there, these gins are a must try. The freshness and quality is unmatched. I am always excited when we get gins that I have not tried, but the excitement goes through the roof when they turn out to be this good!

They come from Snowdonia Distillery in the North of Wales. I’ll give you a quick rundown of the operation.

  • Founded by the Marshall Family in 2015.
  • The first copper micro-distillery in North Wales after 100 years.
  • Founder and distiller Chris Marshall was an investment manager and professional skier before getting the distilling bug.
  • Chris brought in the best botanists, sensory analysts, master distillers, and master coppersmiths to create the best distillery.
  • Ran by Chris and a small dedicated team passionate for bringing the best spirits.
  • Focused on incorporating the local Welsh nature around them.
  • Hand foraged local botanicals.
  • Six times longer than the normal distilling process that helps release more flavours and capture subtler notes.
  • Limited 5000 bottle run per expression.
  • Have received multiple awards for their gins.
  • Their portfolio includes Forager’s Gin, Marsette Liqueurs, and a yet to be released rum.
  • The botanicals used: Juniper, Sea Buckthorne, Apple, Elderberry, Gorse flowers, and Bell Heather.

I have been so impressed with the two gins we currently have in stock and hope to visit the distillery at some point. We have received the Yellow Gin and Black Gin in stock. Yellow is aromatic floral with autumn fruits, a gin with such finesse that your senses will dance! The long maceration shows up in layers of flavour. The Black is clean, cutting edge, austere sophistication. Juniper driven with hints of rich citric tones from the Sea Buckthorne. The team is amazing at distilling these botanical and pulling out certain flavours!

Grab a bottle or two and we’ll keep you posted when we get new bottlings in from Snowdonia Distillery.

Slainte,

Anthony

A Japanese Dram

I am always happy when we crack open a bottle of Japanese whisky! Today is one of those days, and the bottle I am enjoying SO MUCH, is Hakushu’s Distiller Reserve.

I’ll be honest, I am a fan of most of the whiskies I have tried from the different Japanese distillers, some more than others, but mostly positive. This Distiller’s reserve is no exception! Suntory is doing a fabulous job facilitating the creative Japanese spirit when it comes to the different brands they put out. Hakushu Distillery is one of the top distilleries I want to visit on this planet! Just a picturesque distillery nestled in the deep forest of the Japanese Southern Alps. It is one of the highest distilleries in the world! Looks straight out of a movie. They do say that Hakushu is a green and fresh whisky, so I would say the setting is quite perfect.

Set up in 1973, Hakushu is Suntory’s second malt whisky distillery. The area is famous for its water sources, which adds to the whisky’s gentle and crisp flavour profile.

This Distiller’s Reserve is a No Age Statement whisky that wonderfully incorporates a variety of cask from across their range! Using both lightly peated and heavily peated whisky, along with some aged around 18 years. A wonderful representation of the distillery if you have not had any of their bottlings before! You are getting a perfect amount of smoke, that doesn’t overpower the other flavours. You can taste the freshness, with delectable hints of spearmint, pine and orchard fruits, superbly ushered in by that light campfire smoke. Towards the end you get a burst of the Yuzu citrus and vanilla.

Grab a bottle of Hakushu’s Distiller Reserve, then start planning your trip to Japan for when things calm down!

Slainte

Anthony

Fettercairn 16

Can’t believe it is already the middle of August! This year came in swinging and it hasn’t let up! Ha. We have been trying to dodge and weave our way through it the best we can! That’s why finding the small things we enjoy is so important these days! Whether it is getting out to exercise, finding something delicious to eat, or just relaxing with a fantastic dram!

That’s where I am now, enjoying a tasty dram! This Fettercairn 16 to be exact. This expression was just released in June to be added to the Highland distillery’s revamped line-up. I always thought Fettercairn was underserved with a lot of casual whisky drinkers, so I’m glad to see new life being injected into it. It’s proving to be very fruitful as well!

This is the first batch of the 16 released, and I’m really enjoying it. This one is distilled with chocolate malted barley, that just means it is heavily kilned barley at over 200 degrees. A process that is usually seen in craft breweries. This heavily kilned barley is almost like a dark roast coffee. Gives it a unique flavour profile. It is then aged in American white oak, ex-bourbon casks, then finished in specially selected Sherry and Port casks. Ultimately bottled at 46.4%.

Definitely not your run of the mill monotone whisky, there are great flavour changes going on here that you are bound to appreciate. Definite coffee notes come through, almost like a mocha with those added chocolate flavours. The wonderful tropical fruit notes burst through coffee, with raisins and candied apples. Vanilla cinnamon round off the finish giving you a nice hearty mouthfeel!

This bottle is most definitely worth your time if you are a fan of highland malts!

At the time of writing this, we have the Fettercairn 16 on sale…so you have that going for you! 🙂

Slainte

Anthony