The dog days of summer are here, and I hope this finds you well, whether at home, at the cabin or on an adventure. You may not be thinking about whisk(e)y right now, but there are some very cool new things you should be aware of.
The timing of some of these arrivals isn’t the best. I don’t relegate peated whiskies to the winter, but I don’t generally reach for them when the weather is in the 30s and already smoky. But we’ve been waiting for some of these whiskies for close to 6 months, so we’re thrilled they’ve finally arrived.
As to the delays, you can blame the usual suspects: Covid, Brexit, container shortages, port strikes, and railroad closures. Some of our producers have even had a hard time sourcing palettes to load their cases on to in order to load them into containers… I’ve said it before, its chaos out there. And now with the looming prospect of disharmony between the Feds and those who man the border, it looks like the roller coaster ride is set to continue!
In the last Malt Messenger, I told you about our new Teeling 15 Year KWM Armagnac Cask. Now I have the privilege of announcing a new virtual tasting with Master Distiller Alex Chasko set for Friday, August 20. Teeling tastings are typically hosted by Brand Ambassadors, but I think everyone needs to meet the man behind the whiskey, so I’ve convinced Alex to join us live from Ireland.
We received a ton of new whiskies in last weeks and months. As time has allowed – mostly when procrastinating working on the new website – I’ve been writing up some of my own tasting notes. In the last two weeks, I’ve knocked off 8 of the 18 new Boutique-y Whiskies and the two limited edition High Coast releases exclusive to KWM. I’ve also scrambled to write tasting notes for some whiskies which only arrived in-store on Wednesday.
These include the long-awaited Peat’s Beast Islay Single Malt Whiskies! We have just received the Batch Strength, Batch Strength PX, 27 and 34-year-olds. The latter two are rumoured to be Laphroaig and Bowmore respectively, and I’ve written my own tasting notes for both, as well as the PX.
I have also laboured to write up my own notes on a pair of new Dumangin Single Malts, finished in Ratafia Champenois (of course). Ratafia Champenois whisk(e)y finishing is what our friend Gilles Dumangin does… in addition to making award-winning Champagne and Ratafia. There is a 12-year-old Fettercairn and a 13 year Glenrothes.
I was also motivated to write up a tasting note for the new Ardnamurchan AD/01.21:01 Single Malt. Only the second-ever global release from one of Scotland’s hottest new distilleries, and it didn’t disappoint!
We have also just received our first new shipment from Gordon & MacPhail in months including a mix of Connoisseurs Choice and Distillery Label bottlings. There are also a number of new whiskies from Morrison Whisky Distillers (formerly Morrison MacKay), Woodford Reserve, and La Maison Du Whisky (the latter being a trio including Caperdonich 20 Year, Macallan 30 Year and Caol Ila 40 Year)!
In the coming soon department, we are expecting the Compass Box Menagerie and Benromach 21 Year in the weeks ahead. Accordingly, we are taking pre-orders.
Last but not least I’ve rounded up a few of the whiskies from the July and August Scotch Malt Whisky Society Outturns. Evan’s left his corner… so you’ll have to make do with my thoughts!
As always, in the event of a discrepancy in price, the point of sale at KWM will be taken as correct. Please don’t hesitate to email me with any questions or comments. But be patient, I may be head down, working on our new website, which will be launching in a couple weeks (I know you’ve heard that before).
If you want to place an order, please do so online. I will process email orders, but if you don’t want to miss out on something the website is your best bet!
Kensington Wine Market
IN THIS EDITION
1. New Teeling Tasting with Master Distiller Alex Chasko
2. My Tasting Notes on Some Recent Whisk(e)y Arrivals
3. The Peat’s Beast Whiskies Are Finally Here. And They Are Good!
4. A New Shipment of Gordon & MacPhail
5. New Whiskies from Ardnamurchan
6. New from LMDW’s Artist Series
7. New Dumangin Ratafia Finished Whiskies
8. New Whiskies from Morrison Scotch Whisky Distillers
9. Introducing: Woodford Straight Malt Whiskey
10. Coming Soon: Compass Box Menagerie
11. Coming Soon: Benromach 21 Year
12. SMWS Canada Summer 2021 Outturns Recap
NEW TEELING WHISKEY TASTING
WITH MATER DISTILLER ALEX CHASKO
· Date: Friday, August 20
· Time: 5 PM
· Cost: $25
· Pick-Up Date: Target August 9 TBC!
We are thrilled to announce that Teeling’s Master Distiller Alex Chasko will be our special guest for a virtual tasting on Friday, August 20, 5PM MT. Alex agreed to join us from Ireland in the wee small hours of the morning, to celebrate the launch of our most recent KWM Teeling Whiskey cask. Alex will join the KWM Whisk(e)y Team as we all taste our way through a range of six whiskies: the Teeling Trinity (Single Malt, Single Grain, and Small Batch Blend), both of our KWM Casks (the 16 Year Bourbon and our new 15 Year Armagnac Cask) and an unnamed “special treat” which will round out our lineup. 6x 15ml Samples
MY TASTING NOTES ON
SOME RECENT WHISK(E)Y ARRIVALS!
I’m working my way through our recent Boutique-y Whisky Arrivals in order to write up my own tasting note. 8 down, and 10 to go… work, work, work, work… What can I say, it’s a labour of love, and so far none have disappointed. I’ve also written up both of the two limited edition High Coast releases, one of them for the second time… bloody web tools now saving!
1. Boutique-y Ben Nevis Batch 7 22 Year – 48.8% – My Tasting Note: “Nose: ooh… this is milky… going into lactic territory… I smells me some long fermentation notes… honeycomb, freshly picked blackberries, and boysenberry jam; gherkins, marzipan, Marcona almonds, and lightly salted caramel. Palate: soft, fruity and floral, its silky arrival leads into a plush, coating, and voluptuous mouthfeel; malted milk, creme caramel, and dulce de leche with more salted caramel; nutty tones of marzipan, and Marcona almonds; then melons, kiwi fruit, and canned pineapple. Finish: long, coating, and sweet with fading juicy fruit and more decadent desserts. Comment: this is lush, fruity, and decadent with a beautiful mouthfeel and a nice weight; to borrow one of my employees’ notes on a previous Ben Nevis, “it’s gooey”… love it!” – $210
2. Boutique-y Blended Malt 1 Batch 3 18 Year – 47.3% – My Tasting Note: “Nose: fresh and fruity with cracked nuts and orchard fruits; subtly oaked, with honey and agave nectar; apricot jam and slightly under-ripe mango. Palate: soft, silky and floral with a base of juicy malt and a backbone of firm oak; more honey and agave nectar before it morphs into apricot jam, melons, baked apple, and mango salsa; still nutty and toasty, but yielding. Finish: juicy, fruity, and decadent with more honey and agave nectar; the finish is medium in length with a nice weight and lots of layers. Comment: this is a quintessential summer sipper, perfect for the patio, the lake, or a cult gathering to worship the “teaspoon”; whether it is Balfiddich or Glenvenie matters not, it is lovely, layered, and eminently quaffable stuff! ” – $135
3. Boutique-y Glengoyne Batch 2 19 Year – 50.9% – My Tasting Note: “Nose: polished oak, new leather sofas, sweet dark chocolate, and bright fruits; nutty sherry tones and dunnage warehouse notes; red berry fruits with some more subtle and elegant fruits beneath. Palate: rich, fruity, and earthy with warming spice; a classic old school sherried Glengoyne; more leather, tobacco, and sweet dark chocolate; the red berry fruits are there atop a base of firm spices; darker dried fruits and coffee beans, along with some mango and papaya; thick and syrupy with nutty sherry. Finish: long and coating with more polished oak, spices, and fruits: dried and red; the leather, tobacco, and chocolate return towards the finale. Comment: this is a old-school sherried malt, exactly what you’d expect from a good Glengoyne cask(s); layered, complex, and refined.” – $355
4. Boutique-y Glentauchers Batch 8 21 Year – 47.1% – My Tasting Note: “Nose: this one has breakfast all over it; Honey Nut Corn Flakes, mixed fruit bowl and banana pancakes; granola fried in honey, dried apple chunks and Five Alive. Palate: lush, toasty, and very fruity; more banana loaf than pancakes, though you must leave room for a little corn syrup; a mix of orchard fruits, melons, and tangy berries; thick and almost waxy with vanilla and creamed honey; gentle oak spices. Finish: light, fresh and fruity with a nice balance of sweet honey, spices, and toasted oak. Comment: this is everything we look for in a good Glentauchers, which is a greatly underappreciated malt; it is complex, elegant and dangerously drinkable with loads of fruit.” – $175
5. Boutique-y James E Pepper Rye Batch 1 3 Year – 50% – My Tasting Note: “Nose: thick and syrupy; licorice jujubes, Goodies, candied fennel, and smoked maple syrup; a touch musty with nutty sherry tones and German rye bread. Palate: more German rye bread, Goodies, and licorice Jujubes, candied fennel too; smoked maple syrup, nutty sherry, leather, and tobacco. Finish: long, drying, spicy and earthy; surprisingly approachable for a 3-year-old. Comment: I had very low expectations prior to it being featured in a Boutique-y whisky tasting this Spring; I was so impressed I grabbed a bunch of cases for the store; this is a rich and complex rye, beautifully fused with sherry; drinks great on its own, but would also make a baler Sazerac!” – $95
6. Boutique-y Longmorn Batch 3 10 Year – 48.3% – My Tasting Note: “Nose: a bit cheesy… Avonlea cheddar perhaps? chocolate smores, burnt orange peels, and old-fashioned glazed doughnuts; malty and a touch meaty with a tinge of spice and floral top notes. Palate: round, rich, floral and coating, a touch meaty, and more Avonlea cheddar; chocolate smores, old-fashioned doughnut and moving into a bit of Dutch licorice and coffee beans; rose petals, dried fruits, and lush vanilla. Finish: long, coating, and fruity; there is a decadence coming from the wood balancing the fruity, meaty spirit. Comment: this one grows on you, and reminds me more of the G&M Longmorns than the distillery bottlings; definitely a touch of sherry casks in the mix.” – $130
7. Boutique-y Mackmyra Batch 2 5 Year – 50.3% – My Tasting Note: “Nose: fresh, fruity and floral; elderflower liqueur, damp jujubes, and agave nectar; vanilla, delicate spice, juicy malt, and subtle gravelly minerality. Palate: soft, toasty and floral with more juicy malt and sweet fruity tones; elderflower liqueur, jujubes, mango, and pineapple; still a touch mineral with late decadent spice. Finish: light, fresh, fruity, and decadent with good length; lush and coating. Comment: this is a perfect summer sipper, light and fruity but layered; don’t let a bit of not-Scotch snobbery get in between you and this bottle… you’ll regret it!” – $115
8. Boutique-y Tobermory Batch 9 24 Year – 49.1% – My Tasting Note: “Nose: sitting by the fire in an old world drawing room with a snifter of brandy; malty with orange peel, jujubes and gentle spices; earthy with a touch of leather and freshly cracked nuts. Palate: leather and tobacco with dark chocolate and nutty sherry tones; more jujubes, dried fruits and firm spices: nutmeg, clove and salty Dutch licorice; earthy and a touch smoky with a faint hint of rubber. Finish: long, warming and spicy with fading dark fruits, leather, tobacco and a trace of clean smoke. Comment: this is a dram for sipping on a cold night, warmed by a fire in a comfy leather armchair whilst nibbling on chocolate and reminiscing with friends.” – $275 – Great price for the oldest Tobermory we’ve seen in ages!
9. High Coast Cigar C.L.A.S.S Series 01 Sherry Oak – 58.3% – 500ml – Oloroso Sherry Cask – 5 Year – Unpeated – My Tasting Note: “Nose: nutty with leather, tobacco and macerated fruits; roasted pine nuts, fig jam, and fruit roll-ups; firm spices with grape-y fruits and a hint of grappa. Palate: Round, rich, and fruity with loads of fruit, spices, chocolate, and classic sherry tones; nutty; a touch of chewy malt, dark chocolate, and firm earthy spices: fennel, clove, and anise; raisins, dates, figs and Glosset Raisins; sticky toffee pudding with treacle sauce drowning in vanilla ice-cream. Finish: still nutty, warm, coating and subtly malty; more sticky toffee pudding, dried dark fruits, chocolate, leather and tobacco. Comment: it is almost shocking to believe that this whisky is just 5 years old… but then we’ve long been impressed by the quality of whisky being made at the High Coast Distillery; it doesn’t hurt that this was finished in a very small bespoke sherry cask; of the two limited releases, this is my favourite.” – $175
10. High Coast Cigar C.L.A.S.S Series 01 Hungarian Oak – 62.1% 500ml – Hugarian Oak – 5 Year – Unpeated – My Tasting Note: “Nose: thick and honeyed with loads of fruit: apricot jam and papaya extract; Strawberry Twizzlers and Starburst fruit candies; toasty with firm spices and Manuka honey. Palate: thick, fruity and very syrupy; there is a touch of green grassy malt, agave nectar and a herbal note reminiscent of mezcal; powdered sugar on a Mexican doughnut; more Manuka honey, candied ginger, fennel and anise. Finish: long, thick, fruity and decadent; more fruits, malt and spices. Comment: it doesn’t taste like a 5 year old, but the wee cask it matured in might have something to do with that; this is a whisky selected to be paired with cigars, and it definitely has the character to stack up to it; I have a slight preference for the sherry cask, but both are excellent!” – $175
THE PEAT’S BEAST WHISKIES ARE FINALLY HERE!
At long last they have arrived. We’ve been waiting for these beauties since March… Blah, blah, blah shipping problems…
The PX and 27 year are exclusive to KWM, and the 34 Year is exclusive to KWM in Calgary. I’ve cracked three of them to write tasting notes. The 27 Year is reputedly Laphroaig, and is surprisingly medicinal and grippy for its age. I like it, Curt loves it!
I’m especially jacked about the 34 Year, which is from a parcel of Bowmore, finished in Cognac casks, which has popped up in a few places. Islay Violets 33 Year ring a bell? It is gorgeous, and very satisfying!
1. Peat’s Beast Batch Strength Islay Single Malt – 52.1% – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Elegant and refined. Soft delicate honey notes are entwined with vanilla spice, creamy caramel and cinnamon. Then suddenly… the growl of bonfire smoke, sea spray, cardamom and tar rope hits you. The beast is awake! Taste: You can feel its immense power as it pours onto your palate like a violent thunderstorm. You need to brace yourself. Its “natural strength” is untamed and ferocious. Yet, seconds later – this beastly peaty, fiery spirit is soon soothed by the warmth of your tongue. Almost immediately a calmness, a stillness pervades as seductive notes of moist banana cake, thick treacle, mocha with whispers of sweet pineapple, ginger and cumin finally come into play to give you an unforgettable aftertaste. Everyone has a little beast in them – this one more than most.” – $82
2. Peat’s Beast Batch Strength PX Islay Single Malt – 54.1% – Finished 9 months in PX Sherry Casks – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: dark, rich and peaty; a touch of malt, smoked oysters and Detol; Fruit Source bars, grilled figs wrapped in prosciutto, coal dust and seaweed wafers. Palate: staying in the food vein, there’s a lot here; more grilled figs wrapped in prosciutto, seaweed wafers and Fruit Source bars; more chocolaty than I was expecting, with juicy malt and barrel aged stouts; the smoked oysters, Detol and coal dust are all still there, as is the earthy peat, all properly tamed by the sweet sherry notes. Finish: long, coating and sherried with ashy peat, Detol and sweet dark fruits. Comment: let it breathe; that’s probably always good advice, but it took about 20 minutes in the glass before the true colour started to show, especially on the nose; the closest thing we’ve had to this in recent months is our Elements of Islay Peat & Sherry.” – $105 – Exclusive to KWM!
3. Peat’s Beast 27 Year Islay Single Malt – 50.1% – Matured in American Oak – Rumoured to be from Laphroaig! – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Generous, bold and powerful, the hand of time has fully crafted this gentle giant as a spectrum of enticing nuances reveal its iconic credentials; ginger spice, Madagascan Vanilla pod, Autumn leaves bonfire smoke and freshly baked banana bread. There is also a seductive interplay of roasted walnuts, thick black toffee, bitter chocolate and liquorice that lingers gently on the aftertaste. Taste: Complex yet intriguing, as a multitude of enticing flavours makes their presence felt. It makes you smile involuntarily, the way a distinguished whisky of this exceptional calibre does with its many fine attributes. Age, along with the gentle hand of “Mother Nature” has truly crafted and moulded this noble Islay single malt to perfection. Like all great things, it must be given time to take in these noble qualities of aged mulled wine, moist Christollen cake, smoked Old English marmalade and treacle tart. However, another level of exuberance quickly follows on with generous flavours of apple tart tatin, thick marzipan, old balsamic and espresso coffee. A hint of sun-kissed raisins, over-ripe Cayenne pineapple and Bakewell tart drenched in maple syrup completes this aged masterpiece. Comment: Truly, a compelling portrait of beauty.” – $380 – Exclusive to KWM!
4. Peat’s Beast 34 Year Islay Single Malt – 47.1% – Bowmore Finished in Cognac Casks – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Divinely decadent with a sophisticated coffret of enticing aromas which immediately makes their presence felt, reverberating seductive nuances of Scottish Heather honey spread over hot buttered toast, Turkish Delight, Doyenne du Comice pear skins and Swiss White chocolate. There is also an exciting vibrancy of caramel fudge, Cape gooseberries, Ogen melon and Vanilla panna cotta slowly unfolding in the background. A gentle kiss of peat smoke and American white oak ebbs away softly on the drydown. Taste: What a stunner! What a beauty! It walks the line between power and finesse and after 34 long years, this is not surprising. This magnificent single Islay malt demands and should receive full concentration, respect and reverence as it reveals so many rich treasures of delight – salted caramel, sticky toffee pudding, lime marmalade and frangipane. Broad-shouldered and well built you must give this aged icon plenty of time on the palate to fully tease out those extra layers of fig cake, liquorice stick, manuka honey and ginger spice. There is just a faint whisper of grapefruit acidity and saline persistency to round off this nugget of liquid gold.” – $595 – Exclusive to KWM in Calgary!
NEW FROM GORDON & MACPHAIL
We’ve been waiting months for many of these whiskies…. cue tiny violins. They got snagged in the complications around international shipping. The Mortlach and Linkwood 15 Years are now bottled at 46%, which is very cool. The upper end Connoisseurs Choice bottlings are all 30 plus years of age and priced accordingly. They don’t disappoint!
1. G&M Distillery Label Glentauchers 2006 – 43% – 13 Year – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Sweet and light fruits; lemon, pineapple and orange. Vanilla pod develops softly and accompanies boiled sweets with a subtle hint of banana. Taste: Gentle spice with grapefruit and cracked black pepper. Finish: Lemon cheesecake comes to the fore alongside subtle white chocolate and soft vanilla.” – $100
2. G&M Distillery Label Linkwood 15 Year – 46% – First & Refill Sherry Casks – Producer Tasting Note: “The nose is quite full with balanced oaked tannins, a touch of Fraise des Bois liqueur and notes of musty port. The palate is full and firm with notes of arak, dark toffee, vanilla spice and buttery oak. The finish is quite long and oaked with a touch of spice.” – $125
3. G&M Distillery Label Mortlach 15 Year – 46% – Producer Tasting Note: “The nose is rich with cereal sweetness and warm barley. Apple blossom rises without effort and notes of malmsey and stewed fruits and Christmas punch emerge with spice and muffin. The palate is quite full and quite sweet. The cereal notes return with a syrupy texture. Shades of sherried sultanas and notes of freshly cut fruit salad, hints of toasty oak with obligatory vanilla spice and peppery warmth. The finish is long with the fruit and spice rising readily from the oak.” – $125
4. G&M Distillery Label Mortlach 25 Year – 43% – First Fill & Re-Fill Sherry – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Rich and full; Sherry and orange marmalade notes combine with stewed dates and prunes. Underlying herbal aromas surface and transform into brown sugar with gentle toffee highlights. Taste: Pronounced Sherry influences join crème brûlée, orange marmalade, sultana, and raisin flavours. Hints of mature oak appear whilst an aniseed edge underscores dark chocolate notes. Finish Medium with lingering charred oak and cocoa powder. – $320 – Limit 1 Per Customer
5. G&M Connoisseurs Choice Glen Grant 1990 – 57.3% – 30 Year – Refill Bourbon Barrel – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Aromatic vanilla aromas lead to ripe pineapple and sweet toffee. Taste: Spicy white pepper gives way to sweet and creamy flavours of baked apple and toasted oak. Finish: Fresh green apple notes linger on the finish.” – $925 – 90.75pts Whisky Base
6. G&M Connoisseurs Choice Glenlivet 1990 – 54.4% – 30 Year – Refill American Oak Hogsheads – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Rich VANILLA aromas complement fresh PEAR and DRIED APRICOT. GREEN APPLE notes develop alongside MALTED CEREAL and gentle aniseed. Taste: Mouth-warming black pepperR leads to a subtle note of lychee and soft dark honey flavours. An undertone of orange peel develops and gives way to a hint of white chocolate. Finish: A long and mouth-coating finish with lingering dried mango and baked apple.” – $1125
7. G&M Connoisseurs Choice Glenlivet 1987 – 49.2% – 33 Year – Refill American Hogshead – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Fresh green apple and sweet dark honey aromas lead to a hint of ripe pear. An undertone of vanilla pod develops alongside subtle toasted oak. Taste: Smooth and delicate; orange peel flavours give way to malted cereal. Soft brown sugar develops alongside baked pear with a hint of cracked black pepper. Finish: A medium-bodied finish with lingering spice and creamy custard.” – $1500
NEW WHISKIES FROM
This is only the second global release of Ardnamurchan, and it comes hot on the heels of the very well-received inaugural bottling. Ardnamurchan is in my humble opinion, one of the most exciting new distilleries in Scotland.
Ardnamurchan Single Malt AD/01.21:01 – 46.8% – 5 Year – 65% ex-Bourbon & 35% Sherry – 50/50 Split of Peated & Unpeated Malt – My Tasting Note: “Nose: honeyed and malty; green Jolly Ranchers, strawberry Twizzlers, and candied lemon peel; clean wood smoke and salted caramel; decadent spices. Palate: Sweet, malty, and smoky over a backdrop of fruits and creamy oak; only one sip down, and it is already so layered; honeycomb, salted caramel, and creme brule; the fruits start with white and citrus fruits before teasing with something a little more tropical; the malt is juicy, the spices decadent and the smoke clean and elegant. Finish: medium in length with a velvety coating mouthfeel; the creamy oak and hint of smoke linger long after the fruits, spices, and malt have exited. Comment: a lovely follow up to the first bottling, it is elegant and complex beyond its years; yet more evidence that they are doing things right at Ardnamurchan!” – $100
NEW FROM LMDW ARTIST RANGE #10
These are pricey, but also very rare; we are only receiving between 1 and 3 of each. They are from La Maison du Whisky, sourced from Signatory Vintage, with whom they have a very close relationship.
These releases are from the 10th Anniversary Artist Range, with artwork by Sei Arimori. Sei splits his time between Belgium and Japan, his art is always abstract, using the technique of egg tempera, often associated with the application of gold or silver leaf.
LMDW Artist Caperdonich 20 Year Cask 29488 – 55.8% – Distilled 2000 – Bottled 2020 – Hogshead – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: refined, distinguished. The very slender first nose is a subtle mix of citrus fruit (lemon, grapefruit), vanilla, wildflower (dandelion, buttercup), ripe fruit (pear, apple), and spices (black pepper). Allowed to breathe, the spices become hot (Cayenne pepper) and Mirabelle plum, pineapple, and banana are added to the fruits found on the first nose. Malted barley then fills the aromatic palette with resinous notes (pine, thuja). As a whole, the nose is remarkably consistent.
Palate: clean, lively. The same citrus fruits from the nose bring lots of energy to the attack, as new fruits (peach, canary melon) appear. On the mid-palate, malted barley creates a beautifully herbaceous transition. The end of the palate is then slightly medicinal (ointment), vanilla, and floral (lily, iris). Gradually, a magnificent chocolate bitterness adds relief to the flavour palette’s mouth-watering character. Overall: long, full. At the start of the finish, noble spices (cinnamon, ginger, cumin) arrive just before exotic (persimmon, guava), honeyed (acacia), and herbaceous (straw, flax) flavours. Refreshing, the very end of the palate is mentholated and then medicinal (tiger balm). Much later, coconut milk, vanilla, and lavender honey bring lots of sweetness to the retro-nasal olfaction. The empty glass is malty (barley pulp), powdery (rice), fruity (William’s pear), and slightly animal (bacon).” – $850 – 86pts Whisky Fun – Only 3 bottles.
LMDW Artist Macallan 30 Year Cask 1034 – 53.5% – Distilled 1990 – Bottled 2020 – Hogshead – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Nose: Fine, subtle. Deliciously vanilla and fruity (pineapple, mirabelle plum), the first nose is also honey (acacia, lime), malty and vinous (white port, muscat). When aired, absolutely delicious aromas of apple pie, queen claude and candied ginger rub shoulders with numerous heady flowers (iris, tuberose, lily, dahlia). Then, one can not more “Speyside”, the aromatic palette is covered by a multitude of grains of malted barley. Palate: Rich, powerful. Beautifully liquorice and oily (rapeseed, sunflower), the attack on the palate also reveals citrus fruits (orange, clementine), exotic fruits (passion, mango) and spearmint. On the mid-palate, various spices (cloves, cumin, coriander, dill) bring a lot of vitality to the taste palette. Gradually, exquisite flavors of chamomile, clover and fresh walnuts cover the taste buds. Very creamy, the finish is vanilla, saffron and spicy (black pepper, cinnamon). Overall: Long, fluffy. Very powdery (rice cake), the start of the finish evokes a very large sake. Beautifully herbaceous (boxwood, holly, juniper), it becomes more and more greedy over time (calisson d’Aix, prune flan). Tertiary, the retro-olfaction is animated by notes of iced chestnut, chestnut, pine resin and verbena. Extremely concentrated, the empty glass is slightly camphorated, herbaceous (alfalfa, coriander), lemony and above all malty (barley porridge, porridge).” – $3000 – 90.67pts Whisky Base – Only 1 Bottle
LMDW Artist Caol Ila 40 Year Cask 7709 – 53.5% – Distilled 1979 – Bottled 2020 – Hogshead – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Fine, racy. Animal (leather, bacon) and powdery (ginger, rice), the first nose shows us Caol Ila with a more peaty and roasted (coffee) face than usual. On ventilation, soot settles on the palate while a thick smoke creates a particularly opaque screen. Suddenly, the sun appears, candied lemons, juicy pears, heady bouquets of flowers (peony, gladiolus), acacia honey, aromatic plants (verbena, sage) as well as the breath of a sea breeze irrigates an aromatic palette whose maturity is matched only by complexity. Palate: Rich, fleshy. Harmonious, the attack on the palate is at the same time peaty, earthy, fruity, floral, herbaceous, spicy, saline… in a word, “complete”. All these tones compete in intensity. With great nobility of expression, the mid-palate is simultaneously malty, spicy (saffron), honey (lime blossom), infused (chamomile), finely chocolate and liquorice. Very colorful, the aftertaste transports us to the middle of a field of freshly cut barley lit by the last rays of the sun. Overall: Long, silky. At the start of the finish, tasty notes of lime, vanilla custard and exotic fruits (passion, guava) give the answer to chocolate, liquorice, earthy and saline flavors of great beauty. Intensely smoky and slightly camphorated, the retro-olfaction is radiant with youthful spirit. A long time later, blocks of dry peat escape from the empty glass, spray as well as malted and smoked barley grains.” – $4400 – Only 2 bottles!
NEW DUMANGIN RATAFIA FINISHED WHISKIES
We have two new single malts from our friend Gilles at Dumangin. Champagne Dumangin & Fils is our best selling Champagne producer. Gilles also dabbles in a local fortified wine, Ratafia Champenois, and is a whisky nerd to boot. So he started sourcing casks and finishing them in his own Ratafia Casks. We’ve got a few other Dumangin Whiskies in-stock, but here are the new ones, with my tasting notes!
Dumangin Whisky Fettercairn 2008 – 48% – 12 Year – Aged 10 Years in a Hogshead – Finished 15 Months in Ratafia Champenois – My Tasting Note: “Nose: raspberry coulee, quince paste, and cranberries; Red Licorice Nibbs; clotted cream and strawberry jam on a warm scone. Palate: soft and fruity with building spice; more Red Licorice Nibbs, dried cranberries and quince paste; Fruit Source bars, smooth new leather, and building dark fruits: raisins and prunes; strawberries and raspberries dipped in chocolate. Finish: the vanilla base emerges on the long finish balancing the red fruit notes and toning down the chocolate a touch. Comment: this whisky is bursting with red fruits and doesn’t at all come across as wine-y; another lovely bottling from our friend Gilles.” – $160
Dumangin Whisky Glenrothes 2007 – 46% – Matured 11 Years in a Hogshead – Finished 19 Months in Ratafia Champenois – My Tasting Note: “Nose: firm spices, earthy dunnage warehouse notes, and floral top notes; dark chocolate dipped strawberries, cinnamon stick, and fudge brownies; malty with orange peel. Palate: big, rich, and spicy; earthy and floral the ratafia has only kissed this one, but the French oak spices have left their mark; more strawberry and orange peel, with earthy and leathery with tobacco, espresso bean, and dark bakers chcolate. Finish: warm and spicy with more leather, tobacco, and chocolate. Comment: you could easily confuse this with a sherry cask whisky, maybe that’s how it started out; the ratafia cask has added spices and earthy tones; nice balance.” – $160
NEW WHISKIES FROM MORRISON
SCOTCH WHISKY DISTILLERS
Formerly Morrison MacKay, now just Morrison Scotch Whisky Distillers. There are the new releases of Old Perth, the new range of Mac-Talla whiskies, and a few new Carn Mor Strictly-Limited offerings. Mac-Talla means “echo” in Scots Gaelic, and is a new range of undisclosed Islay Single Malts.
1. Old Perth Original Blended Malt – 46% – Sherry Casks – Producer Tasting Note: “Sophisticated sherry-sweet tones and subtle spice are the heart of this Original malt, giving way to warm dried fruits and honeyed cloves.” – $63
2. Old Perth Cask Strength Blended Malt – 46% – Sherry Casks – Producer Tasting Note: “Delivering a robust, earthy palate with powerful ginger and cinnamon spice, this unadulterated whisky is bottled at cask strength to reveal a full-bodied aroma” – $79
3. Carn Mor Mac-Talla Mara – 58.2% – American Oak – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Intense bonfire smoke with hints of citrus zest. Taste: Smoked barbecue meat, charred oak and a long powerful finish. Intense and smoky for those adventurous palates.” – $89
4. Carn Mor Mac-Talla Terra – 46% – American Oak – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Citrus notes, smoky barley and fresh sea air. Taste: Clean woodsmoke, salty sea spray and a crisp, clean smoky finish. An absolute delight for any classic Islay Whisky enthusiast.” – $74
5. Carn Mor Strictly Limited Ben Nevis 6 Year – 47.5% – Sherry Hogsheads – Producer Tasting Note: “Smoked bacon and maple syrup.” – $98 – Limit 1 Per Customer!
6. Carn Mor Strictly Limited Glen Elgin 13 Year – 47.5% – 1st Fill ex-Bourbon – Producer Tasting Note: “Ripe summer fruit salad with fresh pineapple and juicy peaches.” – $115
7. Carn Mor Strictly Limited Glen Keith 7 Year – 47.5% – Virgin Oak Finish – Producer Tasting Note: “Salted caramel and juicy tropical fruits.” – $100
8. Carn Mor Strictly Limited Glenrothes 10 Year – 64.4% – Sherry Hogshead – Bob Kyle’s Tasting Note: “….on the palate immediately I get strawberries and cream served with a burning stick of barley sugar. There are Fireworks in the mouth and the taste continues long after the fireworks have gone. Lots of creamy barley but this whisky needs to sit in the glass and wait for its owner (rare drammer) to come along. Another wee sip brings out the power of the dram…but a second sip shows the whisky who’s boss…it’s the whisky…..ha ha.” – $120
INTRODUCING: WOODFORD RESERVE
STRAIGHT MALT WHISKEY
It isn’t a Single Malt, but rather a high malt mash content whiskey. I’m curious to see how this turned out, as I’ve long found Woodford’s spirit, distilled in a trio of copper pot rather than column stills, to be more Scottish in-style than most American distillers.
Producer Description: “Unlike a typical 100% malt whiskey, Woodford Reserve is a Kentucky Straight Malt Whiskey crafted from 51% malt and aged in new charred oak barrels, making it the malt whiskey for bourbon drinkers. The base of 51 % malt results in a whiskey that is richly flavorful and complex and amplifies the nutty characteristics found in the original Woodford Reserve.”
Woodford Reserve Straight Malt Whiskey – 45.2% – Matured in New American Oak – Producer Tasting Note: ” Nose: Soft nutty notes drizzled with light caramel and milk chocolate coat a layer of fruit character (apple, dried fruit, tropical fruit). Hints of brown spice, savory mint and brown sugar mingle with a rich note of freshly milled toasted oak. Taste: Dark chocolate and caramel coated nuts are dried out with a dusting of cocoa powder and brown spice. A fruit medley brightens a trace of toasted coconut and rich, bright oak character. Finish: Nutty and subtly sweet chocolate malt notes.” – $58 – Limit 1 Per Customer!
COMING SOON: COMPASS BOX MENAGERIE
Built around a parcel of Mortlach, Compass Box Menagerie is a whisky composed from many different “species of spirit” from light and from heavy to light, fruity to smoky, and pungent to ethereal.
Producer Description: “Certain whiskies taste that little bit wilder than others, and we have brought together some of these strange and beautiful creatures to create our Menagerie. We have focused on parcels of malt whisky that in addition to their fruity or spicy charms have something animalic about them just beneath the surface. This is a whisky of mossy woods as opposed to floral meadows; Menagerie is what you put into the hipflask ahead of a Tuscan truffle hunt.
“Building on chocolatey and meaty malt whisky from the Mortlach Distillery, we have added whiskies of a citrusy and earthy nature from the Deanston Distillery. Our Highland Malt Blend – aged for a number of years in custom French oak barrels – lends a brooding spiciness, while malt whiskies from the Glen Elgin and Laphroaig distilleries bring musky tropical fruit and tarry smoke, respectively.”
Compass Box Menagerie Blended Malt Scotch Whisky – 46% – Producer Tasting Note: “Menagerie boasts a complex aroma of baking spices, leather, tar and musky fruits. The palate is engagingly lush with even more fruit, while oily smoke and forest floor notes linger in the finish.” – $155
COMING SOON: BENROMACH 21 YEAR
We saw a bit of this earlier in the year, but barely enough to satisfy half of our requests. Thankfully, we are expecting more in the weeks ahead, and enough this time to spread the love around.
Lightly peated and matured in only first-fill casks, as is the Benromach way, for 21 years before bottling at 43%. The whisky is the culmination of nearly three decades of work since Gordon & MacPhail bought the distillery in 1993. It took fully 5 years to bring it back into operation, with the first spirit running in 1998. Two decades and change on from that, the distillery can now boast of a core range 21-year-old whisky, which they distilled themselves!
Benromach 21 Year – 43% – Producer Tasting Note: “Aromas: Sweet sherry aromas with underlying citrus, ginger and oak notes, accompanied by a touch of smoke. Palate: Sweet, initially with cracked black pepper, Seville orange and raspberry flavours lead to baked apple and subtle spice. Finish: Charred oak and soft smoke.” – $235
SMWS CANADA SUMMER OUTTURNS RECAP EVAN’S MIA
SO I’VE PUT MYSELF IN HIS CORNER!
Evan’s on vacation, so you’re stuck with my thoughts this time around… cue Bat Man reference!
Let’s begin with the August Outturn, because it’s fresh in my mind, as we sampled them on Thursday night. I won’t waste your time with the ones which have already gotten away, rather I’ll share a few thoughts on the ones we still have stock of.
The good news for the August Outturn, is that we still have plenty of stock of my favourites, which were: 41.36 and 12.50.
1. 41.136: Varnished crumpets is a 12 year old Speysider with a complexity and maturity well beyond its age. It is thick fruity and rather lovely. To be honest I was convince in our blind tasting that it was an older whisky from a different Speyside distillery in the same tasting. – $145
2. 12.50: Four-layers and fudge-frosted is an 11 year old Speysider from 1st Fill ex-Bourbon Barrel which is so chocolaty, I can’t believe it wasn’t sherry cask. This was distilled and put in to cask in the Billy Walker years, and it punches well above it’s weight! – $150
3. 9.201: Major sweetie was Evan and Cam’s 2nd favourite. It is a fine malt, and it grew on me, but IMHO it didn’t stand up to the two above. If Evan were writing here, I’m sure he’d strongly disagree with me. – $212
4. 53.335: Wine and brine is Caol Ila finished in a Refill Madeira cask. Caol Ila is hard to screw up, unless you put it in some kind of a wine cask. Thankfully this one was finished in a refill cask and it worked. Lots of character here and surprisingly approachable for its age and strength, 61%. – $150
The July Outturn Tasting was only a month ago, but that feels like a lifetime for some reason. I only half-jokingly say that I can’t remember anything before Covid-19… but since that isn’t a thing in Alberta anymore, maybe I’m just choosing not to remember!
I know I really liked the 38.30… but no real surprise there, I think my second favourite was 35.266. The whiskies remaining from the Just Outturn are:
1. 38.30 An abundance of hidden delights is a delicate, tropical and antique-y 25 year old from a seldom seen closed distillery. Bottled from a marriage of casks, rather than a single as is usually the case, it is right in my wheelhouse. I adore this style of whisky, but know the price tag will give some of you pause. – $680
2. 35.266 Traditional butterscotch fudge at a dozens years of age is a fine and elegant Speyside malt from the Chardonnay of distilleries. A light fresh summer dram with lots of layers. – $152
3. 44.134 Souper trooper is a very pretty and elegant malt with soft fruit tones. A perfect summer sipper. – $200
4. 93.145 Sweet filth is in my opinion if you’ll have it, a bit mislabelled. I got really excited because I love it when this distillery is talking dirty to me. I found this one to be rated more PG13 than rated R. – $145
5. 16.43 Oddly satisfying was a hit in the Outturn tasting, and lived up to its name being a bit weird but still enticing. It is a peated malt from a tiny distillery, but could easily have passed for an Ardmore (which it is not). – $132
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*All Prices Quoted here are subject to change and do not include GST. In the case of pricing discrepancies, the price at our point of sale will be taken as correct.
The Kensington Wine Market | 1257 Kensington Road NW, Calgary, Alberta T2N 3P8 Canada