Intro to White Wine

By Abi

White wine is something to be enjoyed year round. Yes, it is a blistering -20 degrees, and you don’t necessarily want something cold when you’re trying to warm up; But, these white wines will make you forget that hellish cold air outside, trust me.

This tasting will be focusing on the white Noble Grapes, transporting us around the world to some of the most classic examples of each. It’s a tasting that will teach you the basics, but also (hopefully) change your perception on some wines.

So, what is white wine?

Believe it or not: just about any grape, be it red, pink or white can be made into white wine. The grape’s skin colour doesn’t necessarily excuse a grape from being made into a white wine. Indeed: most black or red grapes that you can name actually have white flesh under the skin. In order to make white wine, the juice is fermented without the skins (red and rose wines are fermented with contact to the skins, and thus, extract colour).

Okay, now what?

After the grapes are harvested, pressed and the juice is separated from the skins, the juice then goes through settling (removing any sediment from the clear juice), and then alcoholic fermentation happens (sugar + yeast = alcohol + carbon dioxide). After this, it either goes straight to bottling, or it can go through a few more steps.

Before aging, the winemaker might choose for the wine to go through malolactic fermentation which changes the tart malic acid into smooth and buttery lactic acid. After this choice is made, the wine can be aged.

There are many ageing options to use, but the majority comes down to wood vs. stainless steel. Wooden barrels, mostly seen as American or French Oak, is a beautiful thing. There are so many decisions going into the barrels; How big are the barrels going to be? Are they neutral(used) or new? French or American? Toasted to what degree?  The two types of oak have different impacts to the wine. American oak adds notes of coconut, vanilla and cream soda to the wine, whereas French oak is more subtle with spice and can add a silky or satin-like texture to the resulting wine. Wood is also porous, so the wine can interact with oxygen during the ageing process, where it tends to relax the wine in a way.

Stainless steel is another option. It’s reliable, can be more temperature controlled and doesn’t add any flavour to the wine. Typically they are used for younger, fruitier wines.

And the wait is over…

After aging, the wine is simply filtered and transferred into bottles, where there are then either aged some more (to meet certain appellation regulations) or sent right to our shelves.

Noble Grapes

Noble Grapes are kind of the stars of the wine world. They are the most popular and most planted, which has made them into to royalty. The Noblest of the Whites are listed below:

Sauvignon Blanc
Planted almost everywhere, Sauvignon Blanc owes its success to its humble roots in France. It’s a dry, subtly savoury wine that can be made into a plethora of styles. The primary flavours of Sauvignon Blanc are lime, green apple, passion fruit and white peach. You can also find some herbaceous notes of bell pepper, jalapeno, gooseberry and grass.

Other Names: Sancerre, Fume Blanc (Oaked), Muskat-Silvaner, Feigentraube

What we tasted: Ata Rangi Sauvignon Blanc 2014 $35.99

Notably found in the Loire Valley, France, and South Africa, this wine is a force to be reckoned with. It has a high acidity, and can be made into fantastic wines, from extremely dry to lusciously sweet. Chenin Blanc is a pale yellow/gold wines that has delicate notes of pear, honeysuckle, quince, apple and maybe ginger.

Other Names ; Vouvray, Steen, Coteaux du Layon, Savenniere

What we tasted: Domaine des Aubuisieres Girardieres 2015 $25.99

Riesling
Not all Riesling is sweet. Just like Chenin Blanc, Riesling can make great wines from extremely dry to lusciously sweet. It has a bright, bright acidity, that typically balances perfectly with the sweetness (if produced well), and also is a one of the few grapes that shows terroir extremely well. Expect notes of green citrus, green apple, white blossom, stone fruit and possible petrol.

What we tasted: Schaefer Graacher Riesling Kabinett 2016 $45.99

Chardonnay
Chardonnay is one of those versatile grapes that can show different styles; it can be a buttery, oaky and golden, or a citrus focused pale yellow. Knowing which style you like is half the challenge, and then knowing which chardonnays and what names to look for being the next half. A basic chardonnay tasting note would be : Lemon, apple pear, pineapple with blossom and maybe some honeysuckle. Oak will add those baking spices, vanilla and/or coconut flavours.

Other names: Aubine, Chablis, Maconnais, Meursault, Pouilly Fuissé

What we tasted: Moss Wood Chardonnay 2014 $57.99

Gewurztraminer
This noble grape sometimes seems out of fashion. It typically creates off-dry wine with bold aromatics and low acidity. Gewurztraminer is filled with notes of lychee, rose petal, red grapefruit and ginger, and also is probably one of the best pairings with Middle Eastern and Indian food. It is a rare varietal, but is mostly planted in Alsace, France, where it is one of 4 noble grape varieties.

What we tasted: Colterenzio Gewurztraminer 2016 $33.99

Semillon
A full body wine with similar notes to Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris. It’s a very important grape for the White Bordeaux Blends, adding body and texture. Semillon is also can be made into dessert wine, with the effect of Noble Rot (also known as Botrytis cinerea), and surprisingly is the third most planted white varietal in the world (behind Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay). Expect notes of citrus, grapefruit, apple, peach and honey, with possible notes of dill and honeysuckle.

What we tasted: Boekenhoutskloof Semillon 2013 $39.99

Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio
The same grape, but Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are different wines. Pinot Grigio can mean a wine with more of an Italian flair to it, where Pinot Gris is produced in more a French style. If you’ve had Pinot Grigio before, you know it to be simple, fruity, crisp and easy to drink. Pinot Gris however, typically has a little more going on. The best example comes from Alsace, France, where there sometimes can be a touch of sweetness, mixed with complex notes meyer lemon, ginger and baking spices, with a very long finish.

What we tasted: Domaine Weinbach Cuvee St Catherine Pinot Gris 2016 $83.99

*Favourite of the evening!*

Hopefully in the next round of tastings, we will further explore the world of White Wines! It was a great evening, full of knowledge, laughter and great wine. Thanks to everyone who attended.

Special shout out to Peasant Cheese who supplied us with some fantastic cheese boards!

- Abi
abigail@kensingtonwinemarket.com
Twitter: @babiller_de_vin
Instagram: @babiller.de.vin @abigailjsayer
blog.babillerdevin.com

 

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Intro to Red Wine

by Abigail

Red wine is the drink of the season. It’s cold, snowy and you need some hearty vino to get you through the January blues. The tricky thing about wine is knowing what you want and what to look for.  It’s a challenge to roam through a wine store after a grueling work day/week, and having to really think about what to look for; Knowing certain Domains or Chateaus and their signature flavours, or knowing certain varietals and which ones to go for and which ones to avoid, or even knowing if you want old world earthy vs. new world fruity. So many questions, but so little time.

Lucky for you, you have come the right place. Our little crash course in Red Wine will teach you the fundamentals, and then it’ll be easy to build from there. We will be covering all the basics, from how red wine is made, what the ageing process is, and focusing on the Noble Red Grapes.

So…What is red wine?

Red wine is wine made with red grapes, and that the juice has had some serious contact with the skins, seeds, and maybe even the twigs. Skin holds most of the power found in red wine, it contains colour, tannin,  and certain flavours and aromas. To extract this, the juice and skin macerate together. This can last from hours to weeks, depending on the winemakers’ preference, and the grape varietal involved.  Fermentation also happens at this time, and much to everyone’s disbelief, most red wines are fermented until dry, leaving very little, if any sugar behind.

Okay, now what?

This is where the waiting game comes in. Depending on the varietal or decisions made by the winemaker, this is the part where the wine is ready for some malolactic fermentation and some ageing. Malolactic Fermentation is simply turning the malic acid (astringent) into lactic acid (smooth).

There are many ageing options to use, but the primary choice comes down to wood vs. stainless steel. Wood, mostly seen as American or French Oak, is a beautiful thing. There are so many decisions going into the barrels; How big are the barrels going to be? Are they neutral(used) or new? French or American? Toasted to what degree?  These two types of oak have different impacts on the wine. American oak adds notes of coconut, vanilla and cream soda to the wine, whereas French oak is more subtle with spice and adding a satin or silky texture. Wood is also porous, so the wine can interact with oxygen during it ageing, where it tends to relaxes the wine in a way.

Stainless steel is another option. It’s reliable, temperature controlled and doesn’t add any flavour to the wine. Typically they are used for younger, fruitier wines.

And the wait is over…

After ageing, the wine is simply filtered and transferred into bottles, where there are then either aged some more (to meet certain appellation regulations) or sent right to our shelves.

Noble Grapes

Noble Grapes are kind of the stars of the wine world. They are the most popular and most planted, which has made them into to royalty. The Noblest of the Reds are listed below (with the exception of Cabernet Franc, which isn’t always seen as a noble grape, but is pretty important so needs to be included here):

Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir is the lightest of the Noble Grapes. It’s typically is a light ruby colour, with notes of cranberry, raspberry, cherry, and mushroom, with a medium body and medium tannins. Burgundian Pinot is considered to be quintessential (with a price point to match), but areas such as California, Washington, Oregon and most of Germany are doing a pretty fine job of making some delicious Pinot Noir.

What we tasted: Domaine A.F Gros Bourgogne 2014 $41.99

Grenache
A touch darker than Pinot Noir, Grenache is a hearty grape found in the warmer regions. Expect notes of raspberry, strawberry, black cherry, with anise and sometimes even some citrus rind, all accompanied by medium tannin and a touch of alcohol. Grenache, predominantly found in Southern France, is one of the grapes used in Chateauneuf-du-Pape but is widely grown in Australia, Spain, and Italy.

What we tasted: Big Easy Radio Perpetual Holidaze Grenache 2016 $32.99

Merlot
Merlot can be made into a lighter or bolder wine depending on the winemaker’s preference. It is full of character,  with black cherry, plum and raspberry taking centre stage with other notes of graphite, cedar, and mocha whirling everything together to make a delicious wine. It is one of the top grapes in France, where it is used in the prestigious region of Bordeaux, but can be found almost anywhere else.

What we tasted: Ex Nihilo Merlot 2015 $44.99

Sangiovese
Think Pinot Noir, but with more tannins and more tart cherry. It also has other aromas of plum, red pepper, dried herbs, and potpourri. This is a high acid, high tannin grape, so ageing is almost always necessary, especially in Italy, where there are regulations around Sangiovese. Tuscany is where you can find the two of the most gobsmacking delicious Sangiovese regions, Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino, with very little plantings seen in other areas other than experimental small plots in Australia, California, and even British Columbia amungst. others..

What we tasted: Il Palagio Chianti Classico Riserva 2013 $39.99

Nebbiolo
Unfortunately not on our list of wines to try this evening, but another fantastic flavour bomb coming from Italy. It is another high tannin, high acid wine that always suits at least a touch of ageing. It is found mostly in Northern Italy, making up the juice in Barolo and Barbaresco. Notes of cherry, blossom, and clay are the most predominant features of Nebbiolo, and the colour is almost always light like Pinot Noir, but can also develop a garnet colour in youth.

Tempranillo
The Grape of Spain.  It’s rare to see this grape planted anywhere else, which is unfortunate. It’s a medium body wine, with high tannin and lower acidity, with notes of cherry, plum, tomatoes and maybe even a touch of dried fig. If you know Rioja, Spain,  you know Tempranillo. Normally it is seen with some oak ageing due to appellation regulations, but we are seeing more Tempranillo that are produced in a modern style.

What we tasted: Conde Valdemar Reserva 2009 $29.99

Cabernet Franc
The father of the infamous Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc is one to get familiar with.  The wine is full of red berries, roasted bell peppers, crushed gravel and maybe even a touch of a chili pepper note. It’s medium body, with a touch high acid and tannin. This wine is mostly produced in France, Italy and the US.

What we tasted: Chateau de Chaintres Saumur Champigny 2011 $39.99

Cabernet Sauvignon
Probably one of the most famous grape varietal, and one of the most widely planted. Cabernet Sauvignon can be some of the most well-balanced, full-bodied wines on the market. Another grape of Bordeaux, France, this wine produces notes of black cherry, black currant, black pepper, bell pepper, and blackberry, with higher tannin levels and a higher acidity.

What we tasted: Rabble Wine Co. Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 $31.99

Syrah
Think purple. Syrah oozes purple. Its full-bodied powerhouse with a range of styles. Syrah is full of blueberry, blackberry, pepper and floral notes, whereas Shiraz (same grape) focuses mostly on those overly extracted fruity characteristics.  Along with the fuller body, this wine has higher tannin and higher acidity.

What we tasted: Saint Cosme Crozes Hermitage 2015 $47.99

Malbec
Another grape we are missing out on tonight. One of the newest additions to the Noble List, Malbec is actually a French grape! Mostly seen in South America, this grape is quite similar to Grenache, but instead of those red berry notes, think more blackberries and blueberries.

These are only a few of all the amazing red varietals we see in the world. There’s so much to explore and too much to know! Hopefully, this tasting and these notes will help you towards a fuller understanding of your favourite red wines, and how they came to be.

- Abi
abigail@kensingtonwinemarket.com
Twitter: @babiller_de_vin
Instagram: @babiller.de.vin @abigailjsayer
blog.babillerdevin.com

 

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Scotch Malt Whisky Society of Canada Outturn for February 2018

If you either follow @smwscanada on Twitter or reside in BC then you may have found news over the past few weeks surreal, bizarre, and discomforting. Talk of the ”prohibition-style raids” of whisky from four SMWS partner bars in British Columbia has taken over what is typically a fun place to talk about whisky. The news even left a slight feeling of unease hanging over the amazing Victoria Whisky Festival and the charities’ supported by the event, though the SMWS Canada still found a way to power through.

Luckily for us in Alberta, it is highly unlikely that something like this would happen here. If you would like to show your support for the Scotch Malt Whisky Society of Canada and your whisky-loving brethren on the left coast in this battle over archaic liquor regulations you are welcome to sign this concerned whisky fan-authored petition here.

#FreeTheWhisky #FreeOurWhisky

It probably goes without saying that the fresh enthusiasm of January is gone and we are currently forced to view reality on its own terms – making our way through the cold, brutal slog of February with Valentine’s Day being the one bright star showing in the distance?

Disregard all of that: it is my own cynicism and overwrought sentiment taking over. These second-month-of-twenty-eighteen blues and this bitter winter weather are taking their toll. For me there is only one cure: I want more cask strength whisky poured from those marvelous green bottles!

February’s SMWS lineup continues on the trend of seeing more new-label bottles with only one of the older look bottles in the lineup (42.30). It also contains no Islay whisky.

The second Outturn of the 2018 seems to have a theme of everything happening in ‘twos’ For this February the SMWS Canada has graced us with:

  • 2 bottles from Speyside aged 20 years or more
  • 2 single casks are at 60% or higher
  • 2 peated single malts from Highland Islands
  • 2 cask finished single malts
  • 2 distilleries we have not seen in a while, including one that has not had a Canada release since 2014!

So enough of the doldrums and bad news. Let’s jump into the lineup!

Cheers,
Evan

The Lineup:

41.95 – JOUSTING WITH FLOWERS
This 11 year old Speysider comes in at 56.2% after maturing in a refill barrel
Flavour profile: Juicy, oak & vanilla
Outturn: 226 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “Armed with huge floral bouquets the two jousting horsemen faced each other and raised their caramel wafer shields. With a kick of the heels they charged and the tremendous impact launched buds of roses, hyacinths and carnations into the air, giving rise to a sweet scent that mixed with the soft leather of the harnesses. A gust of wind blew the surrounding conifer and eucalyptus trees, blending a fresh citrus and peppermint breeze with the smell of wood sap. The falling petals cleared to reveal the two jousters as they stood to their feet clutching their battered flower stems. Taking a tea break of champions they enjoyed marmalade on rye bread toast, crème Brule and vanilla ice cream with caramel sauce.” $139.99

70.20 – SPICED SAINT-TROPEZ TART
From a refill barrel, this 10 year old Highlander is 57.6%
Flavour profile: Spicy & sweet
Outturn: 203 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “A fresh, bright and summery scent filled the room, cupcakes in white fondant icing and topped with a cherry, sparkling strawberry lemonade and a tropical fruit punch iced tea brought a smile to our faces and that smile never left us. Wonderfully sweet on the palate neat, like a vanilla cream filled brioche (Saint-Tropez tart) balanced by the sweet and tangy spiciness of a tamarind date chutney – most unusual but it worked! Diluted the scent of freshly made lemon filled doughnuts and salt & vinegar crackers turned it equally tasty and tempting. The taste was now sweet and slightly perfumed as well as herbal like a ginger lemon mint tisane.” $129.99

7.176 – SILKY SMOOTH SENSATION
At 23 years old, this Speysider came from a refill hogshead and is 51.6%
Flavour profile: Juicy, oak & vanilla
Outturn: 249 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “A friendly, inviting and warm aroma greeted the Panel and we felt like being transported on a soft fluffy magic carpet to the Caribbean to sit in front of the pavilion to watch a cricket match. The floral scent of magnolia mixed with tropical fruits and new leather as well as linseed oil made us all feel very relaxed. Time for tea; ginger banana cake with a lemon frosting, passionfruit vanilla custard slice and sticky chocolate plum cake. Play resumed after a drop of water with chewy coconut macaroons and minty lemon-ginger cookies and the finish was like the gentle cooling trade winds at sunset.” $214.99

9.119 – TASTY AND REWARDING
This 24 year old Speysider comes in at 48.9%; after 23 years in ex-bourbon wood it was transferred to a 1st fill red wine hogshead
Flavour profile: Light & delicate
Outturn: 185 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “The nose gave us toffee, caramel and brown sugar, tinned pears, cinnamon swirls, glazed apple cake and plum flan, with suggestions of prawn cocktail crisps. The palate was tasty and rewarding – Cadbury’s chocolate fudge, dry roasted nuts and amontillado sherry, with clove, chili and burnt wood on the finish. The nose became more delicate with water – oiled wood, apple pie, peach melba and ginger snaps. The palate developed plum jam, Jaffa cakes, vanilla wafers and honeycomb; understated savoury and spicy notes tucked behind – subtle and easy-drinking. After 23 years in ex-bourbon wood we transferred this to a first-fill red wine hogshead.” $236.99

55.46 – COMPLEX LAYERS OF FRUIT AND WOOD
At 58.1% this 16 year old Speysider spent 15 years in ex-bourbon wood before being transferred to a new French oak hogshead
Flavour profile: Deep, rich & dried fruits
Outturn: 293 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “Double maturation has produced a complex nose – oak, aniseed, turmeric, ginger and varnished wood underneath fruity,         perfumed layers of Amarena cherries, plums, prune juice, blackcurrant and Madeira wine. The palate also had attractive fruit and wood – plum, cherry, pear, black grapes and raisins counterpointed by sherry staves, tree bark and cured venison (with a particularly drying finish). The reduced nose – beetroot crisps in a basket, crystallized ginger and Black Forest ham on a wooden board. The palate now added liquorice chews and dark chocolate with ginger. After 15 years in ex-bourbon wood we transferred this to a new French oak hogshead.” 169.99

4.229 – VOLCANIC JAM
This Highland Islander comes in at 60.3% after maturing in a refill butt
Flavour profile: Lightly peated
Outturn: 539 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “The nose was a volcanic eruption of sweet heat like raspberry jam gurgling and bubbling on the stove. Puffs of smoke carried the alluring aromas of burning apple wood and roast duck with honey-coated vegetables. A complex floral character was definitely present like heather and bog myrtle but also with lavender, thyme and rosemary. The palate continued along a path of roasted meat, perhaps venison or pork with devilishly tempting juicy crackling that had been singed to charcoal along its edges. Heavy liquorice and star anise combined with salted caramel and the dark berries of rich fruitcake but also with the citric tang of fresh grapefruit. The finish merged smoky and ashy wood with earthy herbs and the  suggestion of chocolate sauce.” $209.99

42.30 – CHIMNEY SWEEP’S ROMANTIC BBQ
This 9 year old Highland Islander was matured in a refill hogshead and comes in at 60.6%
Flavour profile: Peated
Outturn: 228 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “A dynamic nose, containing sharp fruits (pear, pineapple, sherbet lemons, tinned fruit cocktail), ferns by a rocky waterfall, smoked shellfish and a musket fired up a chimney. The palate had intense, youthful spirit and smoke; also pear ice-lolly, toffee apple, butterscotch, muscovado and bacon Frazzles, then charred logs, wasabi and pickled ginger to finish. The reduced nose conjured up a romantic barbecue with a chimney sweep – lobster, scallops, sweet smoke, snuffed out vanilla candles and hints of Mosel wine. The reduced palate remained voluptuously viscous, bursting with sweet peat smoke, chocolate pralines and liquorice; young and feisty, but totally enjoyable.” $119.99

Thank you to Peasant Cheese for providing the small bite pairings for the tasting!

 

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Introduction to Whisk(e)y with Hunter

When standing in front of imperious and daunting whisky walls as a customer, I oft times felt the urge to buy bottles that I knew. The comfort of spending my money on something that I knew was at the least popular was comforting; it at least indicated that other people enjoyed the bottle I was considering. The individual self I am referring to with respect to the previous passage is that of seven years ago, an individual who was intimidated by the variety of whisky choices available while still wanting to be adventurous. I wanted to experience the excitement of unique tastes, but what I was absolutely unsure of was what I actually liked. My first single malt was a patently poor spirit, but I forced myself to enjoy it. Something similar can be said for my first bourbon experience, but not my first Canadian whisky experience, of which in retrospect I would consider to be quite quality. What is funny about this is that I undertook a search for more single malt and bourbon experiences even though my initial impressions were objectively poor, and, perhaps one might even consider them self-forced. Further, considering that my first Canadian whisky experience was good one might imagine I would further pursue experiences of that sort.

Looking back, I believe what I lacked was a basic understanding of what each spirit had to offer, alongside a belief that certain whiskies were clearly superior with respect to others, hence my lack of Canadian whisky pursuit. No matter the number of articles or posts on whisky that I read, I still had not a clue of what kind of whisky I actually liked. Thinking back, the kind of information that may have been helpful back then would be a fundamental understanding of tastes, outside the abstraction that one might glean from readings. Through this class, Introduction to Whisk(e)y, I attempted to provide such a foundational understanding of different spirits from around the world. It should be obvious that such an approach is difficult, for even within specifically classified spirits such as bourbon, Irish, single malt, etc., finding an appropriate representation is a challenge. Every classification is of itself an umbrella definition for what one should expect experience wise, so no spirit truly reflects the entirety of a distinct spirit class. Instead of trying to craft the perfect tasting to perfectly express each category I have simply chosen what I felt would hopefully, going forward, equip people with the tools to make their own informed decisions. If that was done, wonderful, otherwise, my only other hope was to offer the attendees an enjoyable and diverse whisky tasting, and I daresay this tasting did less than that.

Royal Canadian Small Batch Whisky
Canadian whisky is generally in the territory of sweet, and this whisky holds a fair amount of candied sweetness. Thicker, opulent, toffee driven in style, and easy to drink, this spirit typifies most standard Canadian whiskies. What this bottling does not embody is the new era of true Canadian ryes, of which are a fair amount drier, spicier, and less sweet. $49

Evan Williams Single Barrel 2009
Bourbon at the zenith, this bottle is the Michelin star restaurant chef’s pick. Only the finest bourbon goes into these bottles, and each one is a unique treat. Though bourbon’s reputation in the eyes of malt whisky aficionados is that of sweet personality like its Canadian brother, bourbon more often falls into a spectrum of dry through to sweet character due to the mixing of corn and other grains, the most common being secondary grain being rye. This bottle is spicy, leather toned, peanut brittle-esque, and wonderfully herbaceous. A personal favourite. $53

Jim Beam Pre-Prohibition Rye
Disregard the pre-prohibition part and you have a fairly standard yet excellent quality rye. Peppery, clean, dry, dill tones flitting around, a true stunner for the price. The beauty of rye is the usually clean personality it holds, this one showcasing that character deftly. One thing with rye that is consistent, you always are looking for another thirst-quenching sip. $33

Nikka Coffey Grain
Japanese whiskies, in my humblest opinion, are almost always of the most approachable nature. Everything about Japanese whisky is about expressing ease of enjoyment, silky softness, and a highly polished, no sharp edges spirit. This sometimes leaves one wishing for a bit more depth, but that wish is quickly assuaged by a caressing, sultry experience that settles ones mind into a chaise lounge with silken covers and down pillows. Butterscotch pecan pie with a drizzle of citrusy reductions, sharp lemon tart and vanilla extract, this ephemeral yet hedonistic spirit is full of life. $87

Powers Green Label Pot Still
Crowd favourite of the night for the class, this easy-going pot still spirit is oily, thick with white orchard fruit juices, and quaffable. This makes me thinks of a breakfast fruit bowl, all fruits working at full sugar levels, offering the entirety of their juicy, even slightly overripe character. Pot still whisky from Ireland seems to tend towards this fruity, juicy roundness, and, once more in the general sense, is very easy for a most to get into. $68

Cadenhead Auchroisk 2006 – 10 Year
To identify Scotch in a singular bottle is likely one of the more difficult enterprises, and I reckon I failed with this bottling. That said, this Auchroisk is extremely interesting and uncanny of itself. Imagine acidity in whisky, it is such a weird tone that it puts one off balance. Lime and apple jelly, balsamic vinegar, tangy to the nose and that style follows to the palate. Off memory, I just remember this single malt being out of the ordinary and definitely a spirit worth revisiting. $105

Paul John Classic Cask Strength
Another stunner from the Indian single malt distiller, I’m so consistently impressed by the folks at Paul John I wanted to show them a little love with the international pick of the night. Though international whisky is so nebulous, one can get a feel for motifs when it comes to each distilleries approach. Paul John appears to be assailing whisky from the side of scotch single malt, offering a beautiful, barley forward approach. Big grain presence, perfumed and delicately floral, honeyed, everything about this spirit is just well put together. Give it a try and be impressed by the price and execution. $90

Wemyss Kiln Embers
Scotch whisky is not solely represented by single malt, but also by blends (as well as blended malts). To hit two birds with one stone, I threw in a peaty blend, one in which the smoky, earthen tones of peat combine with the single malt grain concoction so as to express the unique versatility of blends. One might imagine that given the application of blends can be that of a conceptual creation, where a single spirit from one singular distillery is not capable of crafting more than a singular expression of their basic spirit as it is a natural limitation of most distilling apparatuses in Scotland (discounting Lomond stills). That said, if a certain spirit does not hold all the characters one hopes for a product, marry it with something else to create the perfect monster. This is the path to artistry; allow blends to show their Luddite single malt cousins the door. Hark, is that the future I hear? $75

 

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Scotch Malt Whisky Society of Canada Outturn for January 2018

Happy New Year!

We have turned the page on 2017 and we now start another year of great tastings here at Kensington Wine Market. As has been the case for the past five (!) years we ring in the new year with a fresh Scotch Malt Whisky Society Outturn. Nothing can get you excited for another spin around the sun like SEVEN brand new cask strength offerings!

The septet features quite a few familiar distillery numbers though some are shown in a different light when compared to other recent bottlings – much of this due to a total of three cask finishes in the lineup. It also seemed to carry a theme of ‘out with the old – in with the new’: only one of the old-look bottles was on hand. The other six were all showing off the new look for SMWS bottles with the light accents of colour that are not necessarily all SMWS GREEN(TM). I am sure we will see more old look bottles this year but this is surely a sign of things to come.

Another feature of the January Outturn is the inclusion of a bottle some may already be familiar with: SMWS 10.117 – SMOKY, SALTY, SWEET PORRIDGE. Though this Outturn is its regular-sized debut, the is also a 100mL version was included in our sold-out 2017 Kensington Wine Market Whisky Advent Calendar. As we have done over the past few years – we featured a special 100mL SMWS bottle on the 25th day of the Calendar and this time around it was the above mentioned smoky, salty and sweet Bunnahabhain. We have a few extra bottles of the 100mL version for Society Members who would like to add another mini to their collection.

Curious about the Scotch Malt Whisky Society? More information can be found on our website here. Past releases and other available bottles can found on our website as well.

A big thanks as always goes to our neighbor’s Peasant Cheese for supplying the food compliment for the tastings.

Cheers,
Evan

Here is the January 2018 SMWS Canada Lineup:

35.157 – REWARD FOR A BRASS BAND
This 14-year-old Speysider is 58.2% after maturing in a 1st fill barrel
Flavour profile: Juicy, oak & vanilla
Outturn: 228 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “The initial nose was clean, fresh and alluring, offering chocolate, nougat and honeycomb toffee; gradually balanced by dried grass and flowers – we could imagine honeyed apricot flan and corn dollies laid out on a polished boardroom table – classy. The palate had two complementary levels – a lively bugle blast of juicy, succulent sweetness (fudge, cinnamon biscuits, currants, orange zest) underpinned by a very dry, deep tuba-like reverberation of toasted oak. The reduced nose became slightly more perfumed – fresh marigolds and nasturtiums instead of dried. The palate discovered a compromise note of putty, oiled cricket bats and waxed wood. A rewarding dram.”
Drinking tip: “Might be too mouth-watering for playing brass instruments – but could make listening to them more bearable”
$154.99

G9.3 – FRUIT, SPICE AND ALL THINGS NICE
This 16-year-old single grain whisky from the Southern Highlands comes in at 62.6% after maturing in a 2nd fill barrel
Flavour profile: Juicy, oak & vanilla
Outturn: 245 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “First impressions swung heavily towards creamy vanilla and fine powdery sawdust with a sprinkling of cinnamon and nutmeg spice. After a few deep breaths light citrus, milk chocolate and oily walnuts announced their arrival before developing into intriguing peppermint freshness. The palate delivered a punch of intense sweetness as it danced across brown sugar, mango and chocolate orange with the definite shadow of Caribbean rum. Water accentuated the citrus side with a lemon sherbet zing and a much softer and delicate approach on the palate that lead to a satisfying finish of dark chocolate, apple pie and candied orange.”
Drinking tip: “A general purpose dram for all occasions and celebrations”
$141.99

73.84 – TUG OF WAR IN A MEADOW
From a refill butt, this 15-year-old Speysider is 57.4%
Flavour profile: Sweet, fruity & mellow
Outturn: 572 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “The nose had us frolicking in flowery Spring meadows; then we were rewarded with apple strudel, strawberry jam donuts and mulled cider. Spice dominated the neat palate – spiced oranges in mulled wine, cinnamon apple pie and intense dark fruits; the finish contained drying white pepper and chili powder. The reduced nose was a tug of war – spiced wood, old bookshops and black bun* pitted against tinned pears, crème Anglaise and apple and elderflower. The palate found its resolution with water – playful nutmeg spice and sherbet, lemon meringue pie, vanilla and Belgian caramel wafer; strangely mouth-watering and drying at the same time. (*a very dark, spicy fruit cake enclosed in pastry, traditionally served in Scotland on New Year’s Eve).”
Drinking tip: “Perhaps with an apple dessert”
$146.99

37.89 – A COZY SLIPPER SIPPER
This 17-year-old Speysider is 53.9% and after spending 17 years in an ex-bourbon hogshead it was transferred to a 1st fill French oak hogshead for the remainder of its maturation
Flavour profile: Deep, rich & dried fruits
Outturn: 227 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “It was time to sit back and relax in a world of gloriously comforting aromas. Muscovado sugar and melted butter combined with cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg whilst on an open fire we roasted sweet chestnuts. Then figs, dates and porcini mushrooms came to the fore with a fruit zing of blood oranges, blackcurrant sweets and spiced rhubarb and ginger tart. The sweetness turned towards toffee and fudge with a suggestion of heather honey and sweet Malaga wine before finishing with old wood and dark chocolate. After spending 17 years in an ex-bourbon hogshead it was transferred to a 1st fill French oak hogshead for the remainder of its maturation.”
Drinking tip: “Whilst relaxing by an open fire in a robe and fluffy slippers”
$181.99

7.167 – CHOCOLATE PRALINES IN AN OAK BOX
This 26-year-old Speysider is 54% and after spending 25 years in an ex-bourbon hogshead it was transferred into a 1st fill American oak Pedro Ximenez hogshead for the remainder of its maturation
Flavour profile: Spicy & sweet
Outturn: 234 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “The distinctive woody whiff of old dunnage warehouse opened the doors for suggestions of soft fudge, nougat, toffee and dark chocolate pralines. Fruit followed with roasted peach and demerara sugar, overripe strawberries, gooseberries and rum soaked cherries before rich notes evolved of bitter chili chocolate, freshly ground coffee, tobacco and spiced orange chocolate covered marzipan. The extended finish combined perfumed talcum powder with Chantilly cream and a varnished cricket bat. After spending 25 years in an ex-bourbon hogshead, this was transferred into a 1st fill American oak Pedro Ximenez hogshead for the remainder of its maturation.”
Drinking tip: “With a box of pralines and a bunch of flowers”
$239.99

10.117 – SMOKY, SALTY, SWEET PORRIDGE
This 9-year-old from Islay comes in at 61.2% after maturing in a refill barrel
Flavour profile: Peated
Outturn: 150 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “Plenty of peat smoke, chimney soot and tar right at the beginning, but it did not stop there as we discovered an underlying sweetness which needed to be unearthed. In time we discovered aromas of brown sugar glazed parsnips, honey roasted chocolate peanuts and black currant wine gums. The taste was like a sweet golden syrup, but at the same time, smoky salty austere, steaming hot creamy porridge – most unusual. Water calmed tempers somewhat, on the nose now sweet potatoes and honey glazed carrots whilst on the palate grilled hot dogs with mango chutney and red onion relish.”
Drinking tip:  “Experience the difference between neat and diluted”
$131.99
$32.99 for the 100mL version

66.99 – PINE-SMOKED SALMON AND BURNING HEATHER
This 8-year-old Highlander comes in at 60% and after 7 years in an ex-bourbon barrel it was transferred into a custom new oak barrel with a #4 char and heavily toasted heads
Flavour profile: Peated
Outturn: 216 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “On first nosing we were surrounded by “new age shop” fragrance (incense), and very intense smoke. With time, we imagined an old desk with lining paper. Upon it sat a bottle of rose water, some potpourri, a bowl of dried raspberries and a sprig of scorched heather. A final hint of peppery pine-smoked salmon invited us to delve deeper. Plumes of burning heather to taste, toasty and nutty. The smoke grew, and finished with smoked bacon crisps and aniseed. Water brought pencil shavings, herbal notes of rosemary and lemon thyme, and hot smoked salmon. The taste was still more savoury, like creamy whisky sauce poured on chicken stuffed with haggis. After 7 years in an ex-bourbon barrel, we transferred this to a custom new oak barrel with a #4 char and heavily toasted heads.”
Drinking tip: “A post-meditation dram”
$114.99

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Kensington Wine Market 2017 Whisky Advent Day 25 – The Grand Finale – Scotch Malt Whisky Society 10.117

KWM Whisky Advent 2017 Day 25 – The Scotch Malt Whisky Society 10.117: Smoky, salty, sweet porridge

Words by Andrew and Evan

As has become a tradition, we are capping off the Kensington Wine Market 2017 Whisky Advent Calendar with a special 100mL bottle from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. Why a 100mL? Because you made it through the first 24 days and you deserve it… actually, it is because the Society doesn’t bottle 50mls, but they do bottle 100ml whiskies, and we redesigned our Whisky Advent Calendar box a few years back to accommodate it.

About the Scotch Malt Whisky Society: The Scotch Malt Whisky Society is the world’s largest whisky club, and also an independent bottler. As a club it has close to 30,000 members all over the world, and branches in close to 20 different countries. It is an independent bottler that has been thrice accorded the honour of Independent Bottler of the Year by Whisky Magazine. It bottles as broad a range of single cask, single malt Scotch whiskies as any other firm, and it doesn’t stop there. It has also bottle Japanese whiskies, Bourbon, Grain whisky, Cognac, Armagnac and Gin. Whether it is a whisky, or another spirit, the Society always bottles the spirit from a single cask, straight from the cask, Unfiltered. Undiluted. Unrivaled.

Kensington Wine Market is proud to be the original home of the Society in Canada, and its exclusive retailer in Southern Alberta and all parts east. Over the last six years we have introduced more than 500 whiskies to more than a thousand Canadian members. Every month we launch at least 6, and usually 7 new whiskies. Membership is easy and gives you exclusive access to the widest selection of single cask single malt whiskies anywhere in the world. We also hold month outturn tastings at the shop. Only Scotch Malt Whisky Society members can buy our exclusive single cask single malt whiskies, but anyone can try them. We’re confident once you’ve had a taste you will want to join the club. For more information on the SMWS you can visit our web page or www.smws.ca .

For the second year in a row, this year’s Scotch Malt Whisky Society whisky is a cask selected especially for the Kensington Wine Market 2017 Whisky Advent Calendar. Cask 10.117 is not yet available for sale, and will be launched early in 2018. We can’t tell you what distillery #10 is, but there isn’t much you can’t find on the internet anymore. This is the 117th cask of Distillery #10 bottled by the Society. It is from a refill Ex-Bourbon Barrel, bottled at 61.2%. Its name, is “Smoky, salty, sweet porridge”, a named inspired by the Tasting Panel’s tasting note.

SMWS 10.117 – Smoky, salty, sweet porridge -  61.2% ABV

This Scotch Malt Whisky Society bottle hails from a northern Islay distillery. It is 9 Years Old from a refill ex-bourbon barrel.

SMWS Tasting Notes: “Plenty of peat smoke, chimney soot and tar right at the beginning, but it did not stop there as we discovered an underlying sweetness which needed to be unearthed. In time we discovered aromas of brown-sugar glazed parsnips, honey roasted chocolate peanuts and black currant wine gums. The taste was like a sweet golden syrup, but at the same time, smoky salty austere, steaming hot creamy porridge – most unusual. Water calmed tempers somewhat, on the nose now sweet potatoes and honey glazed carrots whilst on the palate; grilled hot dogs with mango chutney and red onion relish.”

Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: peanut brittle and chicken satay on egg noodle; glazed pork, grilled bbq unagi, dried orange and mango salsa; sugary and floral with willow branches. Palate: more bbq unagi, chicken satay and glazed pork belly; fatty, oily and smoky; fresh orange and lime citrus; a shade of dark chocolate and sooty-oil-soaked mechanics rags; becomes tarry and more medicinal with each passing sip, but also more tropical and fruity. Finish: warming, smoky and fruity; the engine-oils coat the mouth with flashes of citrus and more tropical fruits; long, very long. Comment: this is going to be a very popular malt… Society members will be clambering for a bottle; thankfully we have the whole cask!”

 

Evan’s Tasting Note: “Nose: Oily smoke, earthy peat. Salt, brine, and iodine. Light citrus, bell pepper, laundry fresh out of the dryer, lavender and the slight hint of parma violet. Butter on toast. Chocolate fudge, fennel, sunflower seeds, malted barley, and a squeeze of lemon. Palate: Salt, black pepper and smoke. Spicy up front before it settles in and switches to creamy. Starchy plantains dipped in chocolate, fresh roasted peanuts, oatmeal with blackberries and cinnamon, lemon pepper seasoning, vanilla yogurt plus a dash of honey. Finish: Warming. Smokey and creamy with a dash of salt and a light touch of sweetness all the way down. Comment: Your kids may have gotten up far too early on Christmas morning but feel free to forgo the coffee – this is a delicious way to wake up. Let the kids open their gifts. For you perhaps the presence of this is present enough.”

Merry Christmas and a Peaty New Year from all of us at Kensington Wine Market!

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Kensington Wine Market Whisky Advent Day 24 – Kilchoman 2007 KWM 25th Anniversary 10 Year

KWM Whisky Advent 2017 Day 24 – Kilchoman 2007 KWM 10 Year

The Isle of Islay is the home to some of the most iconic distilleries in Scotland: Bowmore, Ardbeg, Lagavulin, Laphroaig, Bruichladdich and more. It is a Mecca for whisky lovers the world over, and when Anthony Wills had a dream to open his own distillery Islay was the only place to do it. He didn’t want to build a large modern distillery when the barley is trucked in and the spirit trucked away. The industry has changed a lot over the last century, and some of the charm and tradition has been lost along the way. With Kilchoman (pronounced Kil-ho-man) Anthony wanted to build a farm distillery, returning Islay’s whisky industry to its roots.

Kilchoman not only malts some of its barley on site, but it grows it in the fields surrounding the distillery. The distillery was founded at Rockside Farm on the Western side of Islay. For a few short years it was the westernmost distillery in Scotland. An even smaller distillery on the Isle of Lewis bares this honour today. Rockside farm is located a mile inland from the beautiful white sands of Machir Bay, and beyond that lies thousands of miles of open ocean until you hit the east coast of Canada. For most of the 11+ years it has now been producing whisky there was a bit of an uneasy relationship between Kilchoman and the farm, that came to an end a couple years ago, when the distillery literally bought the farm.

In addition to producing the whisky on site, Kilchoman is also one of the few distilleries in Scotland to bottle on site. Would it disappoint you to learn that some of the best know whisky brands in Scotland are reduced to bottling strength with de-ionized city tap water? Both Kilchoman and Bruichladdich Distillery on Islay bottle their whiskies with the same water they use to produce them.

With more than a decade of distilling behind it, and demand that seemingly outstrips supply each and every year, Kilchoman has a lot of wind in its sails. The distillery is in the midst of a big expansion, at least by Kilchoman’s standards, with production set to more than double from 200,000L a year, to more than 450,000L a year. This might sound like a lot, but it is still less than 1/8th of Laphroaig’s production and not even 7% of Caol Ila’s. But still fans of this bold but smooth Islay malt, can expect to see a lot more of it in the decades ahead.

And more importantly, this year we have a special treat. To help us celebrate our 25th Anniversary, Founder and Owner Anthony Wills was kind enough to let us select and bottle one of Kilchoman’s oldest casks. Our 2007 Kilchoman is the oldest whisky from the distillery to be sold in Canada, and it doesn’t disappoint. A sign of even greater things to come!

Kilchoman 2007 KWM 25th Anniversary 10 Year

– 56.6% – Ex-Bourbon Barrel – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: creamy, decadent and briny with a whiff of smoke from the coals of a smouldering beach fire; classic Kilchoman fresh lemon, goat cheese and Old English Butterscotch; smoked mussels and pan seared scallops. Palate: big, sweet, oily and malty; sweet vanilla and butterscotch morph into tendrils of vanilla, chewy malt and tarry-medicinal-peat; more lemon and goat cheese, firm toasted oak, fennel and Dutch licorice; underneath it all a thick layer of ripe orchard fruits. Finish: bold, long and rich yet smooth and so so salty: more Dutch licorice, juicy malt and tarry-peat; the smouldering beach fire returns with some sweet vanilla, lemon and orchard fruit. Comment: we are honoured that Anthony Wills was willing to share one of these precious early vintage Kilchomans will us; bottled just days past its 10th birthday!” $200 for 700ml – or – $30 of 50ml

Stay tuned for the last day of Kensington Wine Market 2017 Whisky Advent Tomorrow!

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Kensington Wine Market 2017 Whisky Advent Day 23 –

KWM Whisky Advent Day 23 – Gordon Macphail Highland Park 8 Year

Highland Park was until recently Scotland’s northernmost distillery. Officially established in 1798 it was also one of the first to be licensed. But the distillery’s actual origins are shrouded in the mists of time, and the fog which frequently blankets the Orkney archipelago. The distillery was either founded by the legendary and larger than life priest Magnus Eunson, or a farmer named David Robertson. There is also some indication the distillery may have originally been called Rosebank, and later Kirkwall. But for today lets work on the assumption the distillery was established as Highland Park by Magnus Eunson.

Before he took his distillery legit, he was said to have been a prolific illicit distiller and smuggler. In one tale he caught forewarning of a raid by the exciseman, or gauger…  Legends suggest he hid his barrels in a church and covered them with a white cloth. When the guagers arrived they found the men kneeling in prayer. Eunson is said to have whispered “small pox”, and that was all the taxmen needed to hear!

Highland Park is one of the most beautiful distilleries in Scotland, tucked into the hills on the outskirts of the Orkney capital of Kirkwall. The buildings are built from an assortment of dark stones, which if memory serves, would have originally served as ballast in the many ships that visited the island. The island was the final stop most British ships traveling to Hudson Bay would have made. They would have taken on provisions including fresh water and whisky. One of the earliest purchasers of whisky from the island would have been British traders sailing for Hudson’s Bay. By the 1850s Highland Park had a reputation for good quality single malt, and was also supplying the biggest blended whisky brands: Ballantines, Dewars and Chivas with stock.

Highland Park is one of less than a dozen distilleries to retain its tradition floor maltings. This malting accounts for about 20% of Highland Park’s production, and is heavily peated with Orkney peat. Orkney peat is famous for having a lighter more delicate impact than other Scottish peats, owing to the archipelago’s geography and climate. The Orkneys are so far north, and exposed to such power winds, that few trees can take root. As a result the islands peat does not contain any wood or crucially pine needles, which give a more acidic, medicinal profile. The 20% of heavily peated malt is blended with unpeated malt from the mainland before mashing.

Gordon Macphail Highland Park 8 Year 43% – Refill Sherry Hogshead & Ex-Bourbon Barrels – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: honeyed and waxy; very herbal and floral with heather honey, the whiff of a distant sea breeze and kippers in a pan; diced pineapple and dried apricots. Palate: creamy, waxy and subtly smoky; floral, heather honey, very maritime and savoury with more kippers; more dried apricots and pineapple cubes; still floral and herbal. Finish: a touch nutty with cigar ash, fading fruits, honey and cream. Comment: this is young but a maturity beyond its years; very pleasant, layered and approachable; a gateway whisky for those afraid of peat. ” - $75 for 700ml

Stay tuned for Whisky Advent Day 25 Tomorrow!

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Kensington Wine Market 2017 Whisky Advent Day 22 –

KWM Whisky Advent 2017 Day 22 – Glenfiddich 18 Year

For the second time in the 2017 Whisky Advent Calendar we are featuring a distillery bottled Glenfiddich, and we are excited to do so, because revisiting the Glenfiddich 18 Year is a little like reconnecting with an old friend. While some things changes, others standfast and hold true. The family owned firm of William Grant & Sons, parent company of Glenfiddich and Balvenie distilleries is a good example of this, as their 6th generation starts to get involved in the business.

In some ways, it is remarkable that the firm is still family owned and going strong. In 1953 William Grant Gordon, the 3rd generation of owners, passed away, bequeathing the firm to his sons. Charles and Sandy were young, 26 and 22 years of age at the time. Many a business might have suffered from such a loss, but William Grants was in safe hands. Charles continued to grow the Blended Scotch whisky side of the business and built the firms grain distillery, Girvan in 1963. A malt distillery was run at the facility from 1968 to 1965, called Ladyburn. In 2007 William Grants opened a new malt distillery on the site called Ailsa Bay.

The other son, Sandy, is the one credited with taking Glenfiddich single malt global. The firm heavily promoted their product in print and on television. They sold an impressive 4,000 cases in their first year, a figure that grew to 174,000 cases in just a decade. Glenfiddich has been the World’s bestselling single malt whisky, with the exception of 2014, when for a year Glenlivet took that honour. Demand for the distillery’s single malt is continuing to grow today. The distillery currently produces a little over $13 million litres of spirit a year, but this figure is set to sky rocket with a whole new production site set to open!

Glenfiddich 18 Year- 40% – Oloroso Sherry & Ex-Bourbon – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: creamy and tropical, treacle sauce and maple butter; melons, mango and papaya; chocolate shavings and cinnamon dusted on top of a foamy cappuccino. Palate: still creamy, tropical and fruity with maple syrup and more subtle treacle notes; more mango, papaya and flambéed banana; more dark chocolate shavings and cinnamon, soft leather and some salted caramel. Finish: long, coating and fruity. Comment: it is nice to revisit the old standbys and remind yourself how pleasant they can be.” $153 for 750ml – or – $13for 50ml

Stay tuned for KWM Whisky Advent Day 23 Tomorrow!

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Kensington Wine Market 2017 Whisky Advent Day 21 – Glengoyne 15 Year

KWM Whisky Advent 2017 Day 21 – Glengoyne 15 Year

Glengoyne was officially founded in 1833, as Burntfoot Distillery by the Edmondson family, who were the areas major landowner. There was distilling taking place on the site for decades before the 1830s. The distillery sits on the edge of the Highlands, its warehouses technically in the Lowlands. A great hill rises behind the distillery, shorn of trees by Scotlands tempestuous climate. It would have provided an excellent vantage point from which to spot the taxman approaching.

The distillery was acquired by the McLelland family in the 1850s and passed on to the Lang brothers of Glasgow in 1876. The changed the distillery’s name to Glen Guin, which was anglicised to Glengoyne in 1905. The distillery was acquired by Robertson & Baxter in 1965. This firm would later become part of the Edrington Group (A Trust) who own Macallan, Highland Park, Glenrothes and Glenturret). It was an important component in their blends.

The distillery’s single malts slowly started to gain a following in the mid-2000s, after it was acquired by Ian Macloed Distillers in 2003. Ian Macleod had and eye to increasing Glengoyne’s exposure as a single malt. The Glengoyne 15 Year, the whisky we are sampling tonight, was introduced in 2012 and has been a staple in our shop ever since. Glengoyne, like Macallan, Glenfarclas and Glendronach, is a whisky predominantly matured in European oak Ex-Sherry.

The distillery’s production, a little over 1 million litres, is small. It’s focus is on quality over quantity, and it is not afraid to take its time. It has very long fermentations and distillations in comparison with other distilleries. The consistency of its spirit profile the most important consideration.

Glengoyne 15 Year – 43% – Cask Specifications: 30% 1st Fill American Oak Bourbon. 20% 1st Fill European Oak Sherry, 50% Hand-selected quality Oak Refill casks. – My Tasting Note: “Nose: English marmalade on burnt toast, firm leather and milk chocolate; creamy and fruity; citrus fruits and new rubber boots in the rain. Palate: big, rich and smooth; loads of caramel, toffee and milk chocolate; Toffifee; more marmalade on burnt toast before heading out in the drizzle in a new pair of rubber boots; the silky fruits follow with tropical tones and dried apricot. Finish: medium, it tapers off but gently lingers. Comment: very easy drinking, complex but not a thinker; the kind of dram you want after a long and exhausting day!” - $90 for 750ml – or – $11 for 50ml!

Stay tuned for KWM Whisky Advent Day 22 tomorrow!

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