Tasting Remember Mac Adams 27-09-20

Tasting Mac Adams 27-09-20

Samuel Gelston’s Launches Irish Whiskey Finished in Sam Neill’s Pinot Noir Casks – Irish Whiskey News

Samuel Gelston’s Launches Irish Whiskey Finished in Sam Neill’s Pinot Noir Casks

Samuel Gelston’s has announced the launch of its latest expression – a Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey, matured in actor Sam Neill’s Pinot Noir casks.

The new release is the result of collaboration between Gelston’s owner, Johnny Neill and Sam, who is based in New Zealand. It sees the cousins bringing together the two sides of the family, whilst also merging the brilliant flavours and aromas of the two hemispheres.

The liquid has been triple distilled and matured for 19 months in ex-bourbon casks, before spending a further 21 months maturing in Sam’s French oak casks, which had previously held his prestigious Central Otago Pinot Noir.

It is malty on the nose with hints of strawberry, nutmeg and tropical fruit. On the palate it is big, rich and sweet, with a hint of dryness, a note of blackcurrant and dash of spice – all with sweet, jammy notes on the finish.

Johnny Neill

Johnny Neill, owner of Samuel Gelston’s Irish Whisky, said; “The Neill family have been making quality spirits for generations. My Great, Great Grandfather Harry Neill set up the successful McCallum Neill & Co in Australia in 1851, and Percival, one of his younger brothers set up Messrs Neill & Co in Dunedin in 1882 – Percival was Sam Neill’s Great Grandfather.

Sam Neill

“Sam and I have continued this legacy in our respective sides of the world – I’ve been focused on the creation of artisanal spirits using local ingredients, whereas he has dedicated nigh on 30 years winegrowing super premium pinot noir. For the first time in 150 years, we’re bringing together the expertise from both sides of the family  – the result being an incredibly exciting sweet, honeyed and very inviting Single Pot Still Whiskey”.

Samuel Gelston’s Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey finished in Pinot Casks (40% ABV, 70cl), is available via the Drop Store now.   


More about Samuel Gelston’s Irish Whisky

Samuel Gelston’s Old Irish whiskey was founded in 1830 by Samuel Gelston. It was a time when Irish whiskey was famous around the world.

Samuel, a wine and whiskey merchant from Belfast, made it his mission to source, blend and bottle the best Irish whiskey from across Ireland. At the time there were 88 licensed distilleries on the island, and Samuel selected the very highest quality liquids for each bottle.

In 1869, upon Samuel’s death, the business was bought by Harry J. Neill. Harry had previously left Ireland’s shores with his younger brother Percival in order to make their fortunes in the Australian Gold rush of 1851. Having set up and subsequently sold his successful provisions business in Melbourne & Geelong, Harry returned to Belfast and purchased Gelston’s. His brother travelled on to New Zealand to set up Messrs Neill & Co in Dunedin in 1882.

Harry was the son of a Belfast merchant and French wine importer and was passionate about whiskey – indeed his grandfather and great grandfather had been whiskey distillers in Comber in the 1750s and 1760’s. He therefore continued their and Samuel Gelston’s legacy of sourcing, blending and bottling the very finest whiskeys, and developed the Gelston’s Irish whiskey brand around the world.

However, the Irish Whiskey landscape faced serious challenges as it entered the 20th century, and the combined effects of World War I, the Irish War for Independence and finally Prohibition, resulted in the near collapse of the Irish Whiskey industry – which, in turn, led to the demise of Samuel Gelston’s Irish Whiskey.

The brand remained with the Neill family, and five generations on it has now been brought back to life by Harry’s great great grandson, Johnny Neill. Johnny and well-known master distiller Frank McHardy made it their mission to journey across Ireland again to source, bottle and blend the best liquids they could find and Samuel Gelston’s Old Irish Whiskey was reborn.

The current collection includes Samuel Gelston’s Single Malt, Single Pot Still, 5 Year Old Single Malt, 10 Year Old Single Malt, 15YO Single Malt, 26 Year Old Single Malt. Cousins, Johnny & Sam Neill, descendants of Harry and Percival have joined forces on the latest launch that marries Johnny’s Irish Whiskey with Sam’s Pinot Noir New Zealand Wine Casks.

This exciting brand is back doing what it did best.

More about H J Neill Ltd

HJ Neill Ltd are craft spirit purveyors responsible for Samuel Gelston’s Irish Whiskey, The Pleasure Gardens Distilling Company, Mary-Le-Bone Gin, Yattendon Distillery and the Berkshire Botanical artisan spirit collection. 

Drinkaware is an independent UK-wide, alcohol education charity with the objective of positively changing public behaviour and the national drinking culture. It aims to reduce alcohol misuse and minimise harm by helping people make better choices about their drinking. It achieves this by providing impartial, evidence-based information, advice and practical resources; raising awareness of alcohol and its harms and by working collaboratively with partners (including the medical community, public health, third sector organisations, local authorities, police and the drinks industry).

Drinkaware has more than 100 funders, including UK alcohol producers, retailers in the on-trade and off-trade, and wholesalers.

Bunnahabhain sherry cask 68.4% 🤯 at The Whisky Barrel – Scotch Whisky News

Bunnahabhain 11 year Old 2009

Matured in a single 1st fill sherry butt this is another monster ABV from Signatory Cask Strength. Cask #900081 bottled October 2020. Bunnahabhain 11 Year Old 2009 vintage Islay single malt Scotch whisky. Single cask first fill sherry butt #900081 bottled October 2020 by Signatory Vintage for the Cask Strength Collection. 600 bottles.

Shop – Bunnahabhain 11 Year Old 2009 Signatory


Bunnahabhain Distillery was established in 1881 on the north eastern tip of the Isle of Islay by the shore of Bunnahabhain Bay and overlooking the Sound of Islay. All the building materials were transported by puffer and unloaded at the distillery pier. Now tucked away at the end of the single track ‘main’ road with spectacular scenery all the way. Bunnahabhain Distillery is equipped with four huge pear shaped stills and produces Scottish malt whisky which is released in blends and in single malt and single cask bottlings. A participant in Feis Ile, the annual Islay Festival of Malt and Music. Core editions include Bunnahabhain 12 Year Old and 18 Year Old.

Mark’s Whisky Ramblings 347: Mortlach 14 Year Old Alexander’s Way – Scotch Whisky News

Mark’s Whisky Ramblings 347: Mortlach 14 Year Old Alexander’s Way

Mark Dermul, Belgian whisky blogger, tries the Beast of Dufftown. Originally the 14 years old Alexander’s Way – which refers to the fiendishly complicated process of 2.81x distilled that creates that typical umami spirit that Mortlach is known for – was only available as a travel retail expression, but today you can find it quite easily.


Scotch Malt Whisky Society of Canada November 2020 Outturn – Scotch Whisky News

Enjoy shelter from the storm with our curl-up collection of new whiskies. The perfect remedy for the season.


CASK NO. 35.246

CASK:  1st fill barrel

AGE:  23 years

FLAVOUR PROFILE:  Sweet, fruity & mellow


CASK NO. 71.68

CASK:  1st fill barrel

AGE:  8 years

FLAVOUR PROFILE:  Light & delicate


CASK NO. 58.23

CASK:  1st fill barrel

AGE:  9 years



CASK NO. 10.188

CASK:  Refill sherry butt

AGE:  14 years

FLAVOUR PROFILE:  Deep, rich & dried fruits


CASK NO. 66.144

CASK:  Refill hogshead

AGE:  12 years

FLAVOUR PROFILE:  Lightly peated


CASK NO. 53.314

CASK:  Refill hogshead

AGE:  10 years




The Scotch Malt Whisky Society Canada
Suite 160
104 – 1240 Kensington Road NW
Calgary, AB  T2N 3P7

Bunnahabhain Yin / Yang (Daily Dram)

Our biggest Belgian whisky festival Spirits in the Sky was supposed to take place last week-end, but it was replaced with a series of Coronaproof virtual tastings. In one of these founding father Mario Groteklaes presented some of latest releases in their series The Nectar of the Daily Drams.

We had Bunnahabhain releases among others: Bunnahabhain Yin 2008 (first-fill sherry) and Bunnahabhain Staoisha Yang 2014 (dechar/rechar hogshead, heavily peated). Both casks were selected from the warehouses at Signatory Vintage.

In a way this is a younger remake of the Yin / Yang bottling they did in 2013, which were from the same distillery.


Bunnahabhain 12 yo 2008 ‘Yin’ (59,1%, The Nectar of the Daily Drams, first-fill sherry hogshead)

Nose: a wee maritime note to start off (dried seaweed), before it gets more sherried. A fruity style of sherry, mainly on dried apricots, plum sauce and red berries. Polished wood and light tobacco. Needs some time to open up, but it becomes nicely aromatic.

Mouth: a lot of punch. Dried fruits (berries and apricots again, a bit of fresh citrus), some nuts (walnuts), cinnamon and mint. There’s a light tannic astringency towards the end (dark brew coffee and leather) but it fits this intense (European oak?) sherry profile.

Finish: long and a tad hot, increasingly drier and quite peppery.

This has a great balance of dark fruits and drier notes of tobacco and oak. A high quality cask that brought heaps of character to this whisky in a short time.



Bunnahabhain Staoisha 5 yo 2014 ‘Yang’ (59,2%, The Nectar of the Daily Drams, dechar / rechar hogshead)

Nose: a very warm, deeply peated and ashy profile. Pure kiln. Smoked bacon, bonfires and tiger balm. Iodine, vanilla, a hint of cookie dough and tweed jackets after the rain. Some overripe oranges and limoncello behind it.

Mouth: big ashy notes again, with stewed fruits behind it. Caramelized apple, graprefruits, I even got a hint of cherries in the background. The leather and mint are here again, then moving towards herbal liqueurs and tobacco leaves.

Finish: long, all very clean and deeply smoky.

Mario said both casks were examples of the fact that there is still very good whisky to be found at affordable prices. I can only agree, the quality exceeds the age expectations. Staoisha is a name you should check out if you haven’t already.
Score: 86/100

Woodinville Bourbon Finished In Port Casks

It’s interesting to see a young craft distillery doing so many things to their bourbon, first a double-barreled offering and now this: Woodinville Bourbon Finished In Port Casks. I like that it’s a bit a-typical of an approach, though,. I’m not exactly sure how to perceive this “covering” of their whiskey.

Woodinville Bourbon Finished In Port Casks Review

In one light it can be seen as early innovation attempts, which should mean that they’re going to keep doing more and pushing the direction and diversity of their products. In another light, it could be seen as a lack of confidence or not having things fully dialed in and using the double barrel and port finishes as a way to cover up flaws in whiskey not fit to be in their Straight releases.

I don’t know their true intentions, only what their marketing copy says, but what I do know is that this whiskey is… interesting.


Woodinville Bourbon Finished In Port Casks – Details and Tasting Notes


Whiskey Details

Region: Washington, USA

Distiller: Woodinville
Mash Bill: 72% Corn, 22% Rye, 6 % Barley
Cask: New Charred Oak and Used Oak
Age: 5 Years
ABV: 45%

Price: $45

White background tasting shot with the Woodinville Bourbon Finished In Port Casks bottle and a glass of whiskey next to it.
“We take our fully matured 5-year straight bourbon and transfer it into Ruby Port barrels for 6 additional months. The Port finishing process adds a viscous mouthfeel with notes of candied cherry, dried plums, berries and chocolate on top of the traditional bourbon flavor characteristics. Very limited availability in our tasting room and select retailers in Washington state.” – Woodinville Whiskey Co

Tasting Notes

Ruddy caramel

Oak, grapey port sweetness, taffy, vanilla, spice, sweet toffee and a touch of olde candy.

Grapey port sweetness, taffy, oak, vanilla, spice, sweet toffee and a touch of olde candy.

Med-Long -> Port, oak, and vanilla frosting fade to smoke.

Not fully balanced, medium body and a touch syrupy feel.

Woodinville Bourbon Finished In Port Casks – Overall
Aroma is port is dominant making it super sweet but the oak attempts to balance it out, and almost manages to do it, but it ends up needing help from the candy and spice notes… but still falls just shy; Palate runs the same trail but pulls up some touches of roasted nuts and citrus, however, here the port is even more dominating and the whiskey borders one noted; Finish starts cloying but the fade-out to oak and smoke ends up making it not terrible.

There is just too much port for me here, it’s so sweet and cloying it just does me in and I can’t find anything that resembles their bourbon in this. Just oaky port.

Woodinville Bourbon Finished In Port Casks – Final Thoughts and Score

This is not a balanced or deep whiskey and ends up coming across topical, sweet, cloying and darn near one-noted. The port has eviscerated anything that reminds me of the bourbon and tasting it side-by-side with the Woodinville Cask Strength Bourbon (watered down) I’m struggling to find the thread that connects them.

With the Woodinville Double Barrel Whiskey, I’m a bit on the fence about it being a way to cover up flaws in bourbon that didn’t make the Straight cut. I’m not on the fence about this one. I feel that’s exactly what this is and why something as heavy as port was chosen.

It’s heavy, it’s obstructive and can coverup a lot of flaws with its dense sweetness. But, on the flip side, if you enjoy super sweet whiskeys or drinks, then this Woodinville Bourbon Finished In Port Casks is perfect for you.

SCORE: 1.5/5

Woodinville Bourbon Finished In Port Casks Back Label

Woodinville Bourbon Finished In Port Casks Review


This is so sweet and cloying that it’s all but obliterated the essence of the bourbon, only the woody character remains and it ends up coming through like a port enhanced by a bourbon barrel rather than a bourbon enhanced by a port barrel.


  • Nose


  • Palate


  • Finish


  • BBF



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