KWM 2022 Whisky Calendar Day 22: Paul John Peated Select Cask
Posted on December 23, 2022BONUS CONTENT: Read Andrew's post on our very first Clynelish KWM Cask, as well as our most recent Clynelish from That Boutique-y Whisky Company!
Remember back, ages ago, on Day Three of the 2022 KWM Whisky Calendar? It was a long time back from where we are now.
We had this quaint idea that this would be the year we got all of our holiday shopping done and wrapped by the beginning of the month, and not leave it to the last minute like every year before this. We were going to set ourselves up to relax and enjoy December. The Farmer’s Almanac told us that it would be mild weather throughout the month until after new year’s, so we didn’t have to worry about the engine block in our vehicle becoming a giant ice cube and not starting one morning.
We would get to all of our children’s ice times and Christmas concerts and other activities promptly and get absolutely filthy wallowing in the festive spirit of it all. Plus, we were going to eat meals full of fibre and vegetables, stay away from sweets and caffeine and set ourselves up for a reasonable, obtainable goal of healthy living and moderation without having to resort to a knee-jerk and extreme resolution in the new year.
Wait... You don’t remember any of those best-laid plans and hopes for staving off the general holiday panic and anxiety? Well, neither do I!
What I do remember is the excellent Paul John PX Select Cask mini bottle we enjoyed back on Day Three of this year’s KWM Whisky Calendar. I don’t remember it like it only happened a scant 19 days ago, though. It almost feels like a bottle from a previous lifetime at this point. But this all brings us back around to today’s whisky, which is also from Paul John. Crack open Door number Twenty-Two and you will find the Paul John Peated Select Cask Indian Single Malt Whisky!
Now, perhaps you made slogged your way through that preamble and are just now realizing that I have not said anything new about Paul John Distillery, which resides in Goa, India and was founded in 1992 but didn’t start releasing single malt whisky until 2012…
Sadly, you are right. I don’t have much else to say about Paul John that wasn’t already covered in my blog post from Day Three.
So, let’s stick to a quick recap regarding this specific bottle. For their peated malt, John Distillers sources peat from the UK. It is brought to India and then used to dry malted 6-row barley that was grown within India itself. It is matured in ex-Bourbon casks and bottled at a healthy 55.5%. Shall we try it out?
Paul John Peated Select Cask – 55.5%
Full-size bottles can be found here
This is a peated cask-strength Indian single malt whisky from the state of Goa. Matured in Ex-Bourbon barrels before bottling ...
History In A Bottle Day 22: SMOS Clynelish 24 Year KWM Cask 10204
Posted on December 22, 2022This post is Bonus Content. It has information on one of the KWM Cask bottles that are featured on the back of our 2022 KWM Whisky Calendar box.
You can find the blog post for the mini bottle for Day 22 of our 2022 KWM Whisky Calendar here.
Clynelish is a distillery that eluded us for quite some time, as far as store casks go, and then in the last 5 years, we have bottled 5. This 24-year-old was the first, and it certainly set the bar high, very high, it is safe to assume we won’t be bottling another 24-year-old Clynelish anytime soon. We have our friends at Elixir Distillers to thank for this one, a name that has come up in more than a few of these posts over the last 3 weeks.
It is funny to look back and think that it seemed expensive at the time… in actual fact, it was a steal. The whisky had that classic Clynelish waxy profile and oodles of sweet honey, but it was the bags of tropical fruits which really made this one shine. A whisky from another time… the likes of which we won’t often see again.
SMOS Clynelish 24 Year KWM Cask 10204
Andrew's Tasting Note
Nose: oozing with dripping candle wax and honey; then bright tropical fruits: grilled pineapple, mango dusted in pepper and plantains; very floral, like walking into a botanical garden on a hot day; then some nutty tones: cashews and macadamia nuts, the latter with white chocolate.
Palate: rich, honeyed, waxy and oozing with fruit; quite decadent, creamed and heather honey; the body is thick, creamy and waxy, you could almost spread it with a knife; bags of fruit, starting on the citrus side with Wine Gums and Starburst candies; with each sip, the fruits become more exotic, dried apricot, baked apple and poached pears; with patience, the tropical fruits emerge: mango, papaya and pineapple.
Finish: staying thick and waxy the finish is long, decadent and fruity; loads of honey and bags of fruit ending in toasted oak and spices.
Comment: when we first sampled this whisky we were absolutely stunned, and desperate to bottle it; I’ll admit, it came in a little higher priced than we had hoped, but that was wishful thinking on our part; mature Clynelish is becoming increasingly dear, and this bottling is spectacular; it would still be a must-have at twice the price!
Since then, we also bottled Clynelish from Signatory, Gordon & MacPhail and That Boutique-y Whisky Company over the intervening years. The Signatory 12 year was a cask Evan and I selected while touring the warehouses at Edradour Distillery in 2019. The Gordon & MacPhail was a sherry bomb that our friend Richard Urquhart saw fit to bestow upon us, and it was a smash hit.
And then there is the relatively new and still available That Boutique-y Whis...
KWM 2022 Whisky Calendar Day 21: Isle of Raasay Single Malt
Posted on December 21, 2022BONUS CONTENT: Read Andrew's post on another curious Blended KWM Cask - this time from Elements of Islay!
Welcome to Day Twenty-One of our 2022 KWM Whisky Calendar. We are getting so close to the end that a retrospective is almost needed. Ahh, nostalgia. Remember way back on Day One, when the Whisky Calendar was all pristine and all those doors were just begging to be opened? Look at the sad state of the box now! There the calendar sits, almost entirely gutted of all its treasures. It has shed a lot of weight over the past three weeks. I personally think I have gained about the same amount it has lost in the same amount of time. Time may fly, but gravity is keeping me grounded by hitting my body harder now than it ever has before!
Before falling in love with the sound of my own prose and going off on that tangent, I was trying to arrive at a point. Not sure what it was now.
Oh, yes! The bottles we have gone through so far. So, if you have been through a KWM Whisky Calendar in years past, you will probably see some similarities and patterns between them. I touched on this yesterday in talking about some of the distilleries and brands that have popped up repeatedly over time. Many of those distilleries made an appearance this year as well. However, we have also had quite a few new bottles from new distilleries featured in the box this time around. Today’s whisky joins the list of Lindores Abbey, Kingsbarns, Milk & Honey, Paul John and Dubh Glas. In the spirit of those bottles: Day 21 marks the first time we have had a mini bottle from the young Isle of Raasay Distillery in the calendar!
The Isle of Raasay Distillery Company was founded in 2014 but production did not start until 2017. It is located on (get this…) the Isle of Raasay itself. It is the first legal distillery to operate on the island, which lies Northwest of the Scottish mainland. The Isle is wedged between the mainland and the Isle of Skye, which nearly surrounds it, sheltering it from the Atlantic Ocean. Its nearest distillery neighbour’s are Talisker and the also new Torebhaig, which reside on Skye itself.
R&B Distillers, the ambitious company behind Raasay, already has plans to build a second distillery near Campbeltown with the hopes of starting production there in 2025.
Like many newer distilleries, Raasay’s first product out of the gates was a gin. The Isle of Raasay Gin is created using 10 botanicals including juniper grown on Raasay itself, orange peel, lemon peel, rhubarb root, angelica root, coriander seed, liquorice root, orris root, and cubeb pepper. Some of these gingredients are steeped directly in the spirit still and the rest are infused using a copper gin basket.
We aren’t here to try the gin today though. Let’s see what the Isle of Raasay Single Malt Scotch is all about!
History In A Bottle Day 21: Elements of Islay Peat & Sherry KWM Cask
Posted on December 21, 2022This post is Bonus Content. It has information on one of the KWM Cask bottles that are featured on the back of our 2022 KWM Whisky Calendar box. You can find the blog post for the mini bottle for Day 21 of our 2022 KWM Whisky Calendar here.
If you were to ask me which of all the KWM Casks was most likely to show up on European Auction sites, the Elements of Islay Peat & Sherry would not have been in even my top 10 guesses. But a chunk of it found its way there somehow, and not by my hand. Even to Serge Valentin of WhiskyFun fame managed to taste and review it. While I agree with his sentiment that it should have been called Sherry & Peat, I do feel his 86pt score was a few notches too low. The Whiskbase average of 88pts seems a bit more accurate, IMHO.
Blended at Birth, and matured 9 years in a single very active sherry hogshead, this 9-year-old was bottled after 9 years at 55.4%. The whisky as with our Single Malts of Scotland casks came about through the generosity of our friends at Elixir Distillers, who have for a few years now been lining up some absolute belters for us. The bottles were only 500ml, but at $75 they were a steal!
Elements of Islay Peat & Sherry KWM Cask
Andrew's Tasting Note
Nose: dark, rich and peaty; treacle sauce and sticky toffee pudding; dark chocolate infused with smoky bacon; brandy-soaked Christmas cake and loads of dark fruits; salted caramel and spicy mole sauce.
Palate: a surge of big tarry peat, salted caramel and more spicy mole sauce; rough new leather, cigar tobacco and crisp spices: allspice, clove and cayenne; dark chocolate with chilli oil and smoky bacon; chewy malt, medicinal smoke and dry nutty sherry tones.
Finish: long, coating and drying; big spices, tarry peat, dark chocolate, tobacco and all sorts of intense nutty sherry notes.
Comment: this is an unapologetic intense smoky sherry bomb; a beast of a whisky and very good value.
86pts Whisky Fun
"Peat & Sherry (55.4%, Elements of Islay, Canada exclusive, Kensington Wine Market, sherry hogshead, cask #47, 475 bottles, 2020) [Four stars]
I find it pretty cool that some Canadian bottling would end up in Alsace. But it's true that we've always got special relations, since WWI. Having said that, I'll have to work on my Canadian whiskies, but I'm sure my dear friend Davin would help. Anyway, this is Scottish, not Canadian… Colour: red amber. Nose: rather oak than sherry at first, ground coffee, walnut stain, teak oil, stuff like that. Chestnut honey and Guinness. No real lace at this point, but let's go on… (by the way, do you know Alice Cooper's sweet record 'Lace and Whiskey'? Check it out). With water: wood, 'an afternoon at Ikea's', pinecones, hot chocol...
KWM 2022 Whisky Calendar Day 20: Boutique-y Inchfad - Batch 1 - 13 Year
Posted on December 20, 2022BONUS CONTENT: Read Andrew's post on the latest of our Imperial KWM Cask bottles from The Single Malts of Scotland!
Day 20 is here – we are very much in the homestretch of our 2022 KWM Whisky Calendar with only five more bottles to go. Today we are hopefully taking a turn for the weird and interesting with this bottle of Boutique-y Inchfad - Batch 1 - 13 Year!
This is our fourth mini bottle from That Boutique-y Whisky Company so far for the 2022 KWM Whisky Calendar. As with the other three, Andrew, and Dave Worthington of That Boutique-y Whisky Company, have collaborated on a video, where they talk about the label and taste the whisky. You can find that video on YouTube here.
There are a few of what I like to think of as unofficial traditions that have survived multiple years of the KWM Whisky Calendar. For one: there is usually at least one of our own KWM single casks hiding behind one of the doors. Another is we almost always have a bottle from Kilchoman in there.
Two more recent traditions have cropped up over the past three years. The first is finally getting Andrew to let me inflict Bourbon upon the Calendar and those that consume it. The second is something I can’t take any credit for but nevertheless am very happy about: having Loch Lomond Distillery highlighted within.
What does this have to do with this bottle and why did I say weird and interesting? Well, Inchfad is a style of whisky made at Loch Lomond Distillery. ‘Nuff said, right? Well, perhaps not. For those of you new to Loch Lomond Distillery, here is the reason I typed that:
Founded in 1965, Loch Lomond is a bizarre operation that is capable of making multiple different styles of spirit all under one roof. The distillery can produce Single Malt, Single Grain, and Blended Whisky entirely at one site. It can and does this, and it also makes Single Malt in a wide variety of styles, including both peated and unpeated types.
There are a total of thirteen stills within the Loch Lomond Distillery, however, they are not all the same. Included in this number are your typical swan-neck style pot stills: the type you see at most Scottish distilleries that make single malt whisky. Beyond that though, things get weird. There are also three pairs of straight-neck pot stills, which are sometimes called Lomond stills. One of these pairs has a water-cooling system installed on the top of the still that the heated vapour hits before going through the narrowing neck/pipe for collection. This results in much more reflux and leads to a lighter, softer, fruitier spirit being produced.
Last but certainly not least, there is a six-story Coffey/column still that is split in two to accommodate the three-story building it resides in. This still is used to distill malted barley, but due to SWA regulations, it is s...
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