Malt Messenger No. 138 by Andrew Ferguson – 5 New KWM Exclusive Casks & More! – Whisky News

I know it’s only been two weeks since the last full Malt Messenger (insert joke about receiving it three times here… ), but here we are with another exceptional offering of new and exciting whiskies. It seems the shipping logjams that many of our suppliers have been facing for months have all finally broken loose… and at roughly the same time!

As many of you will know, I’m just back from the old countries, after 2 weeks spent meeting up with new and old friends for the first time in nearly two and a half years. This trip was inspired in large part by concerns over supplies in the months and year ahead. My travels took me to Scotland, London, Champagne, and the Catalunya region of Spain, and the fruits of these travels likely won’t be harvested until later this year or sometime in the first half of next. But they will be worth the wait!

Before we get to all the glorious new stuff, a quick wee update on some of the chaos resulting from the last Malt Messenger. To say the demand generated by our ballot was unprecedented would be a gross understatement. We had more than 500 entries, and a little more than 100 total bottles, across the 7 whiskies on the ballot. The individual odds for a few of the whiskies like the Springbank 15 Year were more than 1:50.

I am sure that more than a few of you reading this were left both disappointed and empty-handed. I am truly sorry for that, but I might take this opportunity to make the point that this is why we have put so much effort into, and focus on, sourcing exclusives. Any store can sell the easy stuff, and while we won’t turn down those opportunities when they come our way, we put most of our focus into seeking out the unknown, the underappreciated, and the as-yet undiscovered hidden gems. And this Malt Messenger is packed with them!

Let’s start with the 4th bottling in the Glenfarclas “Andrew’s Ego Collection” series, which is a cask strength 21-year-old. I’ll spare you the cheeky backstory on the ego series here, but if you are unfamiliar with it, you can read a synopsis below, complete with images. The latest bottling features yours truly and Glenfarclas’ George Grant standing in front of Blair Castle, where we were both made Keepers of the Quaich 11 years ago. This was supposed to be a 10th Anniversary bottling of that momentous event… but for Covid… but for material shortages… but for shipping delays… You get the idea. Even though the potential heights of my ego have not yet been fully explored (nor the depths of my depravity), this might be the last bottling in the series. The 4th bottling itself almost didn’t happen, owing to the pressures on Glenfarclas stock. More below.

We’ve been teasing about this next parcel of KWM exclusive single casks for what seems like a year now. As with the Glenfarclas, these are bottlings selected by my team and me more than a year ago. How can I be certain of this? Because some of them were bottled in May of last year! Due to all of the ongoing challenges surrounding international trade, our latest Single Malts of Scotland KWM exclusive casks have only just arrived. This time around we have casks of Ardmore, Mannochmore, Glenburgie, and…calm yourself…Imperial.

I know that last one might trigger some FOMO. Accordingly, we are limiting sales to 1 per customer for at least a month, and based on demand for the last Imperial cask we had, it may not last that long. I hope I’m wrong about that, but we are not expecting to get to the point where we will be offering a 2nd bottle to anyone. But please don’t read that to mean that you should get your partner, children or distant relatives to order bottles too, just so you can have more than one… that’s a dick move… and if we suspect that of happening we could cancel both orders!

My mother expressed concern about my use of the word “dick” in the last Malt Messenger and was worried that some might take offence to my tone. Context is everything, what she doesn’t appreciate is that there is a lot of desperation and FOMO around acquiring a number of increasingly rare things these days, and some people out there are making matters worse with their behaviour. That word in both the last and this current newsletter was surgically targeted at those who are buying things just to flip for a profit, and those who are greedily trying to acquire multiple bottles of very limited things, thereby denying others an opportunity to enjoy them. If either of those things applies to you, then I sincerely hope you are offended!

There is still lots of great whisky out there, and this newsletter is filled with loads of examples of that. Closed distillery bottlings of whiskies like Imperial, though, are increasingly rare, so we’d like to see that love spread around, especially while they are still relatively affordable!

In addition to all of our store casks, we also have other new and returned whiskies from Single Malts of Scotland, Elements of Islay, La Maison du Whisky, Signatory, Kingsbarns, Two Brewers, Kinglake Distillery (Australia), Glengoyne and Glenfarclas!

Stay tuned in the next few days for some tasting announcements, including some of the products in this newsletter!

As always, in the event of a discrepancy in price, the point of sale at KWM will be taken as correct.

Sincerely,

Andrew Ferguson

Kensington Wine Market

In This Edition

1. Introducing: The Glenfarclas 21 Year KWM Cask Strength: Ferg & George – Getting Quaich-y With It!

2. Four New KWM Exclusive Casks from Single Malts of Scotland

3. Other New Whiskies from Single Malts of Scotland

4. New Whiskies from Elements of Islay

5. New Whiskies From La Maison Du Whisky

6. New & Returned Whiskies from Signatory

7. New Whiskies from Kingsbarns & Wemyss Malts

8. Introducing: Two Brewers Yukon Single Malt Release 33

9. Introducing: Kinglake O’Grady’s Stand Single Malt Aussie Whisky

10.  Glengoyne Whiskies Back in Stock!

11.  The Glenfarclas Summer 2021 Family Casks Have Arrived

INTRODUCING: THE GLENFARCLAS 21 YEAR KWM CASK STRENGTH

GETTING QUAICH-Y WITH IT

The 4th and possibly final bottling in the “Andrew’s Ego Collection” series is a Glenfarclas 21 Year, bottled at 51.9%, bottled exclusively for Kensington Wine Market.

This bottling celebrates the 10th Anniversary of the night in 2011 I was inducted into the Keepers of the Quaich (a Scotch whisky industry honour) at Blair Castle, along with my friend George Grant of Glenfarclas. In addition to George, I was inducted along with my friend Jamie Mackenzie of Morrison Bowmore, Simon Brooking of Laphroaig, and many others. It was a night to remember, though so much malt was enjoyed it could easily have been forgotten!

This bottling was intended to mark the 10th Anniversary of our Keepering, but it took a lot longer to get here than anyone expected, and it nearly didn’t happen at all. Glenfarclas is running low on whiskies 17 years of age and older, and the project was nearly cancelled. Most of the credit for it actually coming to fruition is owed to the tenacity of Michelle Sharpe from Pacific Wines & Spirits, Glenfarclas’s importer, who pushed hard to make it happen!

If you are unfamiliar with the story behind the “Andrew’s Ego Collection” – as my staff took to calling it – it all started with a cask strength Glenfarclas 21 Year we called Ferg in the Spey! Long story short, it is a play on a bottling Glenfarclas did for an American, called “Ferd (Ford) in the Spey,” which was bottled to commemorate a visit to Glenfarclas that ended with a Ford rental car in the Spey River. It was intended to be a one-off, but was so popular that it was followed with a cask strength Glenfarclas 15 Year, which we called Ferg in Front of the Store. We were on a bit of a roll now, and starting to have some fun with it, so it was decided a trilogy was in order…

The third bottling commissioned, which only recently sold out, was a 25 Year, bottled at 50%, called Ferg in Homage to George Grant. I wanted the third bottling to be even more whimsical or if you prefer, ridiculous, than the first two. It took its inspiration from an advertisement for Glenfarclas, circa 15 years ago, featuring a reclining George Grant in a kilt with a selection of whisky in front of him. Our version features yours truly in homage, with the 5 prior KWM exclusive Glenfarclas bottlings laid out in front of me. One of our customers referred to it as “Reclining Ferg” and another said it reminded them of a famous photo of a scantily clad Burt Reynolds. Thankfully no one drew comparisons to a less than fully clothed George Costanza!

While I’m sure my ego would continue to inflate with a 5th release, the 4th bottling may very well be the last in the series. This one almost never happened, in fact. Demand is finally catching up with Glenfarclas, who have continued to offer great value older whisky longer than most of us thought possible. For the foreseeable future, all of the whiskies 17 years of age and older will be tightly allocated.

Once more the label was created by our talented friend and former colleague at KWM, Jean-Paul Berube. One of the photos I gave JP for inspiration was a picture of Jamie Mackenzie, George Grant and I, well into our cups (both literally and metaphorically), and rather late in the day!

Evolution of the “Andrew’s Ego Collection”

“Ferg in the Spey”, inspired by Ferd (Ford) in the Spey!

“Ferg in Front of the Store” inspired by Robbie’s Drams… I’m biased, but I think our store front is (was) cooler!”Ferg in Homage to George Grant” inspired by one of my favourite whisky advertisements!

 

JP took our younger selves, set us beside Blair Castle – the spiritual home of the Keepers of the Quaich – and put together yet another masterpiece for us!;

Glenfarclas 21 Year KWM Cask Strength #2: Ferg & George – 10 Years Keeping Quaich’y With It! – 51.9% – My Tasting Note: “Nose: creamy, honeyed, and decadent with toasted oak and crisp spices; toffee chews, Scottish tablet, and dulce de leche; nutty; candied orange, maraschino cherries, and figs in honey; melons, kiwis, and guava. Palate: big, fruity, and creamy with more spice and toasted oak; buttery with more toffee, tablet and dulce de leche; this has some of that warm blueberry pie character with which I have long associated the standard release of Glenfarclas 21; still nutty, and fruity with more candied orange, guava, figs, melons, and kiwis, on top of a firm backbone of leather and decadent spices. Finish: warming, fruity, coating, and long; a lovely mix of cream, fruits and spice.

Comment: as with the standard release of Glenfarclas 21, our exclusive cask strength bottling is on the lighter, likely refill, side of sherry; but it is complex, layered, and elegant, as you’d expect; probably as good a point as any to put a lid on my ego… I could have kept going for quite a while!” – $200

4 NEW KWM SINGLE CASKS

FROM SINGLE MALTS OF SCOTLAND

Another round of KWM exclusive single casks from Elixir Distillers have just landed in the shop. We selected these beauties more than a year ago. How can I be sure of that in the Covid era, when time has lost all meaning? Because they were bottled in May or June of last year! Thankfully, having lost our sense of time due to Covid (not to mention the briefly lost but thankfully regained senses of taste and smell), we didn’t realize how long we had truly been waiting for them until they arrived.

As one might expect, despite the modest increase in price from the last release of Imperial we had, 191 bottles of gorgeous closed distillery whisky won’t last long in this day and age. Accordingly, it is limited to 1 per person!

We will be announcing a tasting with Celine Tetu from Elixir Distillers in the coming days. Save the date for July 22!

1. SMOS Ardmore 2009 Cask 707923 – 58.3% – 11 Year – ex-Bourbon-Barrel – My Tasting Note: “Nose: sweet, ashy, and barnyard-y, classic Ardmore; there is a farmyard-y funk on the nose, I’m thinking an old-school dairy barn… it’s cheesy too; Granny Smith apples, orange, and almond; there smoke rising from a fire fueled with the dried-out wood of a century-old barn; like I said, an old-school farm; there is a slightly medicinal, salty, seafood-y note here… could this be yet another Ardmore from an ex-Laphroaig cask? Curt threw out ‘Deet’… maybe take this camping with you. Palate: tarry, ashy and medicinal, with salted caramel and a hint of creosote; this has that distinctly south coast of Islay style to it, so I think my suspicions from the nose are being born out… ex-Laphroaig cask me thinks… the hay, proper aged Gouda, and barnyard-y tones are still there, along with hickory and old wood smoke; orchard fruits to boot. Finish: sweet, creamy, and cheesy, with fading smoky barnyard tones; white and citrus fruits at the very end. Comment: we literally have a barn burner here… both for the price and the profile; I’m picturing a farmer’s wife in a ruffled apron on the porch, ringing an old-fashioned, dinner bell and yelling ‘come and get it!’” – $100 ($99.99… to be exact)

2. SMOS Glenburgie 1998 Cask 751404 – 54.4% – 22 Year – Hogshead – My Tasting Note: “Nose: Old English Butter Scotch and Rum Raisin ice cream; toasted oak and waxed paper; loads of white fruit, starting with applesauce and evolving into apple strudel with crème Anglaise… despite the two world wars those play nicely with each other, right? as it opens up it gets more tropical, guava and papaya. Palate: big, toasty and sweet; it starts off very nutty: candied almonds, beer nuts, and maple glazed walnuts; it moves quickly and deftly on the sweet-creamy tones; as with its countrymen in said world wars, the strudel makes an appearance but is overpowered by the Old English Butter Scotch and Crème Anglaise (are we still on side?); as with the nose the tropical fruits develop as the whisky breathes and opens up; a touch of smoky barrel char too. Finish: long (not unlike the staying power of the British Commonwealth forces in two global conflicts last century), coating, toasty, and nutty with fading tropical fruits. Comment: this is a nuttier and more cask-driven Glenburgie than our last one, but fret not the tropical fruits are still there… the secret is not to rush it; give it time to breathe and it opens up nicely; also, the price… for a 22 year old single cask… phenomenal!” –  $205

3. SMOS Imperial 1998 Cask 103317 – 54.1% – 22 Year – ex-Bourbon Barrel – My Tasting Note: “Nose: fruity, waxy, decadent, and floral right off the hop; Juicy Fruit gum, beeswax candles, and Wine Gums; silky oak tones, Manuka honey, and pillowy marshmallow; baking spices, brown sugar and fruits galore: orange, grapefruit, mango, papaya, kiwi… I could go on. Palate: big, rich, decadent, and oozing with fruit; crème caramel, agave nectar, and more Manuka honey; more baking spices, brown sugar, and toasted marshmallow; loads of tropical fruits with everything found on the nose and more; it gets a touch darker, moving towards dark chocolate; still waxy in an old school kind of way. Finish: rich, decadent, waxy, and coating, with toasted oak and baking spices; the fruits pop up now and then alternating with honey and other delights. Comment: these twenty-something Imperials from Elixir never seem to disappoint, and this one is no exception; this is an old-school whisky of the sort we don’t see too much of anymore, but if we’re lucky, maybe history will repeat itself and will see something like this from one of the many new distilleries in 15-20 years!” – $300 – Limit 1 Per Customer!

4. SMOS Mannochmore 13 Yr Cask 3778 – 55.3% – 13 Year – Hogshead – My Tasting Note: “Nose: absolutely gorgeous for a 13 year old, so much depth; peaches & cream, dried apricots, and clotted cream with marmalade on a warm scone; it is getting a bit more exotic with some crème caramel, Strawberry Twizzlers, and tropical fruits. Palate: big, round, fruity, lush and coating; this is not what you expect from most 13 years old, so elegant and complex; bags of fruit: white and orchard, plus some tropical to boot; a bit of waxy Strawberry Twizzlers, and Starburst candies; velvety oak tones with crisp decadent spice. Finish: long, coating, and warm, but not hot; more fruits, spice, decadence. Comment: this is ridiculously good for the price, with the depth and elegance of a much older whisky.” – $115

OTHER NEW WHISKIES

FROM SINGLE MALTS OF SCOTLAND

We have a small selection of other single malts from Single Malts of Scotland, including a 12-year-old Glen Elgin cask bottled for Canada. There is also a Ben Nevis, which could get some of you excited, but we don’t expect it to last. We are making half the bottles available for sale now, limited to 1 per customer, and the rest will be offered to participants in a tasting coming up on July 22nd. Tasting details to be posted in a few days!

1. SMOS Reserve Cask Glencadam 10Yr Parcel No.6 – 48% – 5 ex-Bourbon Barrels – Whisky Exchange Note: “Aromas of freshly-cut flowers, lemon-and-mint salad dressing, pears, coconut and marshmallows fill the nose, complemented by notes of meringue, lemon cream, fresh mint, unripe pear, Key lime pie and green grass throughout the palate.” – $85

2. SMOS Ben Nevis 1997 Cask 105 – 57.7% – 24 Year – Sherry Butt – Whisky Exchange Note: “Aromas of iced cinnamon rolls, hot banana custard, strawberry cordial and iced black tea fill the nose, complemented by notes of pancakes with golden syrup, stewed strawberries, buttery scones, raspberry jam, sponge cake, candied ginger and red fruit throughout the palate.” – $375 – Limit 1 Per Customer! 

3. SMOS Linkwood 2006 Cask 802400 – 57.4% – 14 Year – Hogshead – Whisky Exchange Note:  “Aromas of mint tea, freshly-cut flowers, tarte tatin and freshly-baked pastries fill the nose, complemented by notes of honey cake, elderflower and lemon drizzle cake, warm croissants and pain au raisin throughout the palate.” – $128

4. SMOS Glen Elgin 12 Yr Cask 807785 – 58.8% – Hogshead –  Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Almonds, orange juice and perhaps a trace of freshly cut lumber. Palate: Sweet with some acidity, then coastal (seaweed) and sharper, with olive brine and leafy notes. Finish: Long, drying with a balanced finish.” – $110

NEW WHISKIES FROM ELEMENTS OF ISLAY

We won’t be seeing this range for much longer sadly; even the legends at Elixir Distillers aren’t immune to the taps being turned off by most Islay distilleries. The range will continue, but the single malts will be phased out in the years to come. I know for a fact that this is likely the second last Lagavulin we’ll see as an elements bottling…

Elements of Islay Lg11 – 54.1% – Producer Description: “This is a marriage of two barrels of 2007 Lagavulin, which was aged for 14 years, and a further two 2007 barrels, which were aged for eight years and subsequently rested in glass to maintain their sprightly character. This whisky displays a generous helping of coastal character, along with plenty of creamy and savoury flavours. 1067 bottles produced.” – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Chewy toffee penny sweets and Russian Caravan tea leaves. Dried seaweed and dried meat entwine with juicy red grapes and rolled oats. Palate: Smoked pancetta carbonara and cracked black pepper. A hint of almond butter and a bag of Scampi Fries, followed by fruit with a coastal edge – zesty pear chutney and freshly-shucked oysters. Finish: Punchy and lingering – creamy nettle soup and prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, with lots of earthy smoke.” – $138/500ml – 88pts Whisky Fun – 1 Per Customer!

Elements of Islay Lp12 – 54.7% – Producer Description: “This is a marriage of two refill and two sherry Laphroaig hogsheads, distilled in 2014 and aged for more than six years. This is a dram full of sharply medicinal notes, accented by layers of wood smoke and a touch of fruit. 1672 bottles produced.” – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Burnt toffee cake and cigarillo smoke are followed by the scent of a just-opened first aid kit – bandages and iodine. Palate: Honey-roasted parsnip mingles with smoked, crispy bacon. Lots of brininess and some dried figs combine nicely with well integrated bonfire smoke. Finish: Ash and orange-dark-chocolate along with a touch of thyme. Thick, dense wood smoke remains.” – $90

NEW WHISKIES FROM LA MAISON DU WHISKY

From La Maison du Whisky, we have two trios of whisky; the Artist #11 range, which is a series of 3 whiskies created by Compass Box; and the Artist Collective 5.0 Small Batch bottlings.

Artist #11 LMDW Compass Box Releases

About the Range

“Compass Box has created an entire ARTIST range for La Maison du Whisky. We had no doubt the project would inspire John Glaser — the man behind the Artist Blend — as we clearly speak the same language. The ARTIST #11 PENTALOGY collection is designed to be a work in its own right, presented in five separate acts. Created by the talented whisky maker James Saxon, the range features five whiskies, each with its own evocative name. In tribute to the theme of origins, the names are directly inspired by the Aristotelian philosophy that encourages finding the right balance of virtue and the rejection of all excess. This quest for harmony and balance is a perfect reflection of a master blender’s work.”

Sadly we only received 3 of them, but that’s better than nothing!

1. LMDW Compass Box Confidence – 55.3% – Profile: Vibrant, Fruity, Subtle – Producer Description: “Produced from one Lowland single grain, one Northern Highland single malt, two Speyside single malts and one blended malt named The Circle, Confidence reveals a palette of flavours and aromas dominated by the single malts. This allows it, throughout the tasting, to confidently reveal superb fruity, floral, herbaceous and honeyed notes.” – $275

2. LMDW Compass Box Fortitude – 52.5% – Profile: Oily, Peaty, Balanced – Producer Description: “Produced from a Lowland single grain, a Speyside single malt, a Highland blended malt and a blended malt dubbed “No Name”, Fortitude proudly proclaims its unmistakable parallels with an Islay single malt. Intensely smoky, its palette of flavours and aromas reveals a peat with multiple faces that nonetheless remains dressed from head to toe in sheer elegance.” – $275

3. LMDW Compass Box Generosity – 51.9% – Profile: Sooth, Generous, Exotic – Producer Description: “Produced from two Lowland single grains, on the nose, Generosity reveals enthralling medicinal, fruity, herbaceous, cereal and spicy notes. Continuing on seamlessly and with the same generosity and fervour, the flavour palette reveals wonderfully delicate honeyed, milky, creamy, exotic and chocolaty flavours.” – $275

Other LMDW Releases

1. Artist Collective 5.0 Auchentoshan – 48% – 2007 – Producer Description: “When tasting this version distilled in 2007 for the first time, one thing is clear: sherry finishing could not be better suited to this iconic Lowland single malt. Even better, its very nuanced and wonderfully fruity palette of flavours and aromas is enriched with generous and spicy notes as well as stunning autumn shades that further bring out its deeply malty character” – $235

2. Artist Collective 5.0 Benrinnes 11 Year – 48% – 2010 – 1st Fill Sherry Butt Finish –Producer Description: “Each linked closely together by a skilfully woven malty tapestry, the three stages in the tasting of this incredible Benrinnes are nonetheless entities in their own right. The nose’s intensely floral character and the palate’s abundantly fruity temperament precede a wonderfully chocolaty, roasted and spicy finish that also reveals an impressively mature and fresh expression.” Tasting Note on Our Website – $210 – 87 pts Whiskybase

3. Artist Collective 5.0 Caol Ila 10 Year – 48% – Refill Sherry Butt – Producer Description: “Following in the footsteps of the outstanding Caol Ila 2012 found in our 2021 Creation Catalogue French Connections, this version showcases the wonderful complexity afforded by the combination of peated malted barley and sherry wine. Further highlighting this complicity, the flavour and aroma palette energetically reveals stunning fruity, chocolaty, malty, salty, smoky, peaty, spicy and floral sequences.” – Tasting Note on Our Website – $220 – 88.15pts Whiskybase

NEW & RETURNED WHISKIES FROM

SIGNATORY & EDRADOUR

We have some cool new and returned whiskies from Signatory, at a pretty broad range of price points. There is the heavily sherried Signatory Edradour 10 Year, a perennial favourite, as well as a 22 Year “Oloroso Cask Finish.” Which begs a question: if the finishing period is 15 of the 22 years, is it still a finish? There are a few other gems from the Signatory range too, all of them with excellent reviews!

NEW

1. Edradour 22 Year Year – 55.8% – 1999 – Matured in Bourbon, Finished 15 Years in Oloroso Sherry – Producer Tasting Note: “The whisky is rich mahogany in colour. Sugared almonds, toffee, raisins, and a nutmeg spiciness from the Oloroso casks, complement the subtle traces of coconut, apple and vanilla from the initial ex-Bourbon cask maturation. A complex dram which is very rich and expansive on the palate with a long warming finish.”- $540 – 90.56pts Whisky Base

2. Edradour Ballechin Sherry 12 Year – 58.1% – 12 Year – Oloroso Sherry Cask Matured – $162

3. Signatory Allt-A-Bhainne 2000 – 52.4% – 20 Year – Hogshead Finished 8 Months in a Sherry Butt – $400 – Limit 1 Per Customer!

4. Signatory Edradour 10 Year Heavily Sherried – 46% – 2011 – Sherry Butt Cask #386 – My Tasting Note: “Nose: deep with loads of sweet dark fruit, chocolate, leather and tobacco; fig & strawberry jams, date squares and Fig Newtons; Fruit & Nut Bar; maple syrup and treacle sauce. Palate: round, fruity and very chocolatey; the delivery is very soft; flat cola, cooked raisins, grilled dates and more Fig Newtons; slightly gamey medium-dark goat’s milk chocolate (yup that’s a thing); creme caramel and Aussie licorice. Finish: Caramilk, Strawberry Twizzlers, fig jam, and Aussie licorice; medium-short in length, but very pleasant. Comment: this is not the most complex batch of this I’ve had, but it is one of the most drinkable; flawless sherry; dangerously drinkable!- $115+gst – Limit 2 Per Customer!

5. Signatory Glenburgie 1995 – 54.7% – 25 Year – Hogshead Casks 6528 + 6582 – $305

RETURNED

1. Signatory 30th Anniversary Bunnahabhain 1978 – 47.8% – 40 Year – – My Tasting Note: “Nose: rich, sherried and nutty; classic sherry cask; Christmas cake, leather, tobacco and chocolate; candied orange, before mango, papaya and other more delicate tropical fruits emerge; waxy and antique-y with cedar shavings; maple syrup and sweet licorice. Palate: big, rich and sherried; nutty, leathery and earthy with loads of tobacco; on the palate classic Christmas cake, dark chocolate and dried dark fruits: figs, dates and prunes; clove, fennel and anise; a touch of orange and more tropical fruits beneath; still waxy and antique-y. Finish: long, nutty, drying and sherried; leather, tobacco, dark chocolate and spices continue long in to the finish; the fruits mature later as the sherry notes tone down. Comment: this is a classic old sherry bomb, and a balanced one at that; layered complex and elegant without even a trace of the dreaded “S” word.” – $1976 – 90pts Whisky Fun

2. Signatory 30th Anniversary Glenlivet 1973 – 43.1% – 45 Year – Sherry Hogshead & Sherry Butt – My Tasting Note: “Nose: hot damn… this is something; antique-y; swirling old Armagnac in a brandy sifter while sitting in a leather armchair in an oak-paneled cigar lounge; fruity pipe tobacco, strawberries dipped in dark chocolate and maraschino cherries; syrupy and then into the tropical fruits: mango, papaya, and guava; rosewater. Palate: big, rich and deep… oh boy this is good; super old-school, more Armagnac, leather, tobacco, and polished oak; maple syrup, chocolate fudge, and quince paste; then we step into the tropical fruits again mango, papaya, and guava… a bit of Kiwi too; the spices build along with a waft of cool mint and something reminiscent of old Jamaican rum; sweet funk and more rosewater. Finish: long, layered and elegant; waves of Armagnac, fruit, chocolate, tobacco, and more. Comment: surprisingly balanced at 45 years of age, with a good synergy between the nose and palate; while I’m not suggesting this is the General or the Black Bowmore, it is trending in that direction… superb stuff!” – $2548 – 92pts Whisky Fun

3. Signatory Glenlochy 1980 – 51.1% – 35 Year – Hogshead – 93pts Whisky Fun: “A bigger one this time, filled a few seconds after the previous cask. Not sure they would have imagined that 35 years later, some overenthusiastic whisky, err, enthusiast would clumsily try to compare both hogsheads. Colour: pale gold. Nose: certainly grassier, but that may be the higher strength. Mown lawn, crushed leaves, even hints of bay leaves, then menthol again and again, its buddy eucalyptus, and perhaps cherry stems and peach leaves, both make for some excellent herbal teas by the way. With water: some adorable farmy and barley-ish whiffs. Mouth (neat): very citrusy, almost citric! Lemon drops, limoncello, melissa leaf extract… I find this totally perfect, and I remember some super-old Bladnochs that used to be like this. You’re right, some Rosebanks too. With water: more of all that, perfect. Finish: medium to long, super-zesty and clean, with a complexity that only age – not oak – can bring to malt whisky. Yeah, rambling on… Comments: totally superlative citrusy whisky. The lighter ones had more ‘obvious’ oak, this one’s truly perfect.” – $3900

NEW WHISKIES FROM

KINGSBARNS DISTTILLERY & WEMYSS MALTS

>Opened in 2014, the Kingsbarns Distillery was built on a dilapidated farmstead near St. Andrews in Fife. The distillery was the dream of a golf caddie named Douglas Clement, but it took the backing of the Wemyss family to move the project forward. One of the distillery’s early consultants was the late, great Jim Swan, so it should be no surprise that some of the whisky was filled into STR casks. The Wemyss family own Wemyss Malts, an independent bottler.

1. Kingsbarns Dreams to Drams Single Malt – 46% – 1st Fill Bourbon & STR Casks – Producer Description: “Under the supervision of the legendary whisky expert Jim Swan a carefully considered combination of 1st fill ex-Bourbon and 1st fill STR – that’s Shaved, Toasted and Re-charred ex-Portuguese red wine casks- were used to mature our flagship whisky.” – Producer Tasting Note: ” Nose: There is banana, pineapple and summer berries, with a slight herbal note. Palate: Soft toffee, custard pastry and redcurrants. Finish: Spicy ginger finish.” – $82

2. Kingsbarns Balcomie Single Malt Scotch – 46% – Matured in 1st Fill American Oak Oloroso Sherry Butts – Producer Description: “This Single Malt from the family owned distillery in the Kingdom of Fife has been distilled using Fife barley and matured in 100% ex-Oloroso American Oak Sherry Butts from Jerez previously used for maturing Sherry. These casks were specifically chosen by Isabella Wemyss for their gentle oak flavours and sherry rich sweetness to compliment the fruit character of the Kingsbarns spirit. The perfect balance between the spirit and the wood.” – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Treacle, sultanas, fruit loaf with cinnamon icing, a touch of dark chocolate with summer berries. Palate: Sweet tinned pineapple up front, orange peel, cake spice. Finish: Lots of dried apricot and a hint of roasted hazelnut on the finish.” – $92

3. Wemyss Malts Glen Keith 22 Year Cherry Bakewell Tart – 46% – 1996 – Refill Sherry Butt – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: A warming nose of freshly baked tarts alongside almonds, peanuts and coconut. There are also more savoury and spicy aromas of leather, dried mustard seed, fenugreek and old wood. Palate: Red berry sweet with ripe cherry and raspberry cordial. The baking theme appears again with a sponge cake and brioche. The palate is spicy with a mild pepperiness. Finish: Soft vanilla notes and gentle wood tannins in the finish.” – $310

INTRODUCING: TWO BREWERS

YUKON SINGLE MALT RELEASE 33

Release 33 is a 9 year old single cask single malt, from their Special Finishes label. Bottled at 58%, the whisky was made with a portion of peated malt. After an initial maturation, it was finished 3 years in 2 different PX casks before bottling.

Producer Description

“The whisky is 9 years old, has a bit of peated malt in it and spend the last 3 years in a PX barrel (actually two PX barrels, the first one split a stave after about a year). And we filled 299 bottles.”

Two Brewers Yukon Single Malt Release 33 – 58% – 9 Year – PX Sherry Finish – Producer Tasting Note: “The fragrance appeals, familiar, a collage sharp with spice, oak and subtle peat, pineapple with cinnamon. The entry teases, quiet, buttery syrup drizzling, coating through the palate. The fringes fold in with drying oak and peat tones, fusing in a gentle intriguing finish.” – $180

INTRODUCING: KINGLAKE O’GRADY’S STAND AUSSIE SINGLE MALT WHISKY

This is the first Aussie single malt we’ve seen in more than a few years, and it is pretty decent!

O’Grady’s Stand Single Malt is the core whisky from Kinglake Distillery in Central Victoria, Australia. It is made with 4 different malts, 3 of them sourced from New South Wales and malted locally (one of which is roasted to the level of chocolate malt), and the balance is peated malt from the borders of Scotland. The spirit is cut to emphasize a heavy, oily spirit, which is matured in “small format” ex-Bourbon casks.

Kinglake O’Grady’s Stand Aussie Single Malt – 46% – Almost 3 Years – ex-Bourbon – 4 malts, 3 of them Australian (including a chocolate malt) and peated Scottish malt – My Tasting Note (Bottled 22/2/22): “Nose: caramel, chocolate, leather, and bonfire smoke; juicy malt; chocolate-dipped bacon, with whipped cream; nutty, baked apple, and mandarin oranges. Palate: round, rich, and malty with building smoke, and more juicy malt; still on the bacon dipped in chocolate with whipped cream (served at our last whisky festival); nutty with more baked apple, candied orange peel and fittingly a touch of Aussie licorice. Finish: drying, coating, and smoky with fading bacon dipped in chocolate.” – $135/500ml

GLENGOYNE WHISKIES BACK IN STOCK!

Think Macallan-style… only way better priced, and actually available!

1. Glengoyne 18 Year – 43% – 50% Sherry Matured – Producer Tasting Note: Nose: Awash with red apple and ripe melon. Heavenly and well rounded, it drifts into hot porridge topped with brown sugar. Palate: Full bodied, round and rich. At first macerated fruits, marzipan and walnuts; then warm spices, dry cocoa and lingering Seville marmalade. Finish: Long, warm and dry.” – $190

2. Glengoyne 21 Year – 43% – First & Refill European Oak Sherry – Producer Tasting Note: Nose: Red apples, spicy strudel, toffee, sherry and dried fruits. Christmas cake in a glass. Palate: Lots of Sherry, honey, oak with a developing aromatic sensation. Ends with a heavenly cinnamon nip. Finish: Long, sherry, spicy, warm and dry.” – $265

3. Glengoyne 25 Year – 48% – 100% Sherry Matured – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Red Fruits, old leather and brown sugar. Palate: Soft oak, cinnamon, stewed fruits and a Seville marmalade tang. Finish: Very long, with spicy liquorice, slowly drying.” – $600 – 1 Per Customer!

4. Glengoyne 30 Year – 46.8% – 100% Sherry Matured – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Black Cherry, Sherry Trifle, Marmalade, Tea Rose, Rum & Raisin Chocolate. Palate: Burst of sweetness changing quickly to Plum compote, Cinnamon, Cloves and Tangy Marmalade. Finish: Soft Oak dryness and Cinnamon.” – $1450 – 1 Per Customer!

THE GLENFARCLAS SUMMER 2021

FAMILY CASKS HAVE ARRIVED!

The Summer 2021 Batch of Glenfarclas Family Casks has arrived, and even though we bought a good chunk of them, many have already sold out, or are close to being sold out. There are very good reviews on most of these, and despite the modest increases in price on many of them, they still represent reasonably good value for single cask distillery bottled whiskies of their respective ages. And the prices are only going in one direction.

1. Glenfarclas Family Cask 1989 S21 – 51.9% – Matured in Sherry Butt #13007 for approximately 32 years. 90.3pts Whiskybase. – $1190+gst

2. Glenfarclas Family Cask 1990 S21 – 58.9% – Matured in Sherry Butt #9256 for approximately 31 years. 91.6pts Whiskybase. – $1155+gst – SOLD OUT

3. Glenfarclas Family Cask 1991 S21 – 55.3% – Matured in Sherry Butt #5676 for approximately 30 years. 91.3pts Whiskybase. – $1121+gst – Only 3 left!

4. Glenfarclas Family Cask 1992 S21 – 56.5% – Matured in Sherry Butt #872 for approximately 29 years. 89.5pts Whiskybase. – $721+gst

5. Glenfarclas Family Cask 1993 S21 – 57.6% – Matured in 4th Fill Butt #4669 for approximately 24 years. 81.4pts Whiskybase. – $652+gst

6. Glenfarclas Family Cask 1994 S21 – 54.3% – Matured in Refill Sherry Butt #1583 for approximately 27 years. 89.4pts Whiskybase. – $623+gst – SOLD OUT!

7. Glenfarclas Family Cask 1995 S21 – 57.7% – Matured in a 4th Fill Butt #1583 for approximately 26 years. – $596 – 88pts Whiskybase

8. Glenfarclas Family Cask 1996 S21 – 52.3% – Matured in Sherry Butt #1070 for approximately 25 years. 89.7pts Whiskybase. – $568+gst

9. Glenfarclas Family Cask 1997 S21 – 58.9% – Matured in 4th Fill Sherry Butt #5964 for approximately 24 years. 87.4pts Whiskybase. – $541+gst

10.                Glenfarclas Family Cask 1998 S21 – 58.2% – Matured in Sherry Butt #2937 for approximately 23 years. 87.4pts Whiskybase. – $520+gst

11.                Glenfarclas Family Cask 1999 S21 – 58.2% – Matured in Refill Sherry Butt #1202 for approximately 22 years. 87.0pts Whiskybase. – $500+gst

12.                Glenfarclas Family Cask 2000 S21 – 57.9% – Matured in Refill Butt #3387 for approximately 21 years. 89.0pts Whiskybase. – $475+gst

13.                Glenfarclas Family Cask 2001 S21 – 58.8% – Matured in Sherry Butt #3932 for approximately 20 years. 89.1pts Whiskybase. – $454+gst 

14.                Glenfarclas Family Cask 2002 S21 – 55.4% – Matured in Refill Port Pipe #3335 for approximately 19 years. 86.4pts Whiskybase. – $444+gst

15.                Glenfarclas Family Cask 2003 S21 – 58.1% – Matured in 4th Fill Butt #1964 for approximately 18 years. 85.7pts Whiskybase. – $434+gst

16.                Glenfarclas Family Cask 2004 S21 – 59.2% – matured in Sherry Butt #2382 for approximately 17 years. 89.1pts Whiskybase. – $423+gst

17.                Glenfarclas Family Cask 2005 S21 – 59.7% – Matured in Sherry Butt #2461 for approximately 16 years. 88.9pts Whiskybase. – $413+gst

18.                Glenfarclas Family Cask 2006 S21 – 60.0% – matured in Sherry Butt #3424 for approximately 15 years. 86.3pts Whiskybase. – $403+gst

UPCOMING TASTINGS

!!NEW DATE!!! Oddball Distilleries – A+ Malts from the B Team 

·     Date: Tuesday, August 9

·     Time: 7 PM

·     Cost: $75

·     Pick-Up Date: Friday June 3!

Overlooked, underappreciated, and in some cases, flat-out unknown distilleries will be the focus of this tasting featuring some of the most neglected distilleries in the Scotch Whisky world. We had to drag some of these poor unloved drams out from the orphanages, the cupboards under the stairs, and other assorted nooks and crannies, in order to bring you a line-up that is bound to appeal to the most discerning of whisky geeks. This has a truly stellar range, if you can look past the brands and distilleries, to see some diamonds in the rough. 7 PM, Tuesday, June 20

To Peat or Not to Peat!?

·     Date: Tuesday,

·     Time: PM

·     Cost: $60

·     In Person Tasting!

The days of a distillery making only one style of whisky seem to be going the way of the Dodo. With the fight for our dollars, many distilleries in Scotland (and elsewhere) have decided to diversify. Making only unpeated or only peated whisky is so last century – why not make both? In this tasting, we will explore four different distilleries that do just that. If our math is correct, that should mean that we will be tasting eight different whiskies! 7 PM, Thursday, June 23

FREE DELIVERY

We are proud to offer Free City Wide Delivery on all orders over $100 Monday-Friday! Orders under $100 are subject to a flat rate $10 delivery fee. Note we likely cannot offer delivery before Christmas at this point!

CURBSIDE PICKUP

Physical distancing is made easy with curbside pickup. Order online or by phone, wait for confirmation your order is ready then call us when you are parked in the back or out front. Be sure to let us know what your vehicle looks like!

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