Glendronach Original 12 Year Old – October 2009

Glendronach Original 12 Year Old
Glendronach Original 12 Year Old

I had a birthday this September past and my lovely sister blessed me with a bottle of Glendronach Original 12 Year Old.  She asked me if I liked it and since I’ve never reviewed anything from the Glendronach distillery, I told her I loved it. I always welcome the opportunity to try a new whiskey, especially when I have an entire bottle to really get a grasp on the subtlties awaiting me inside!

This was a gift, so I’m not sure what the cost in Canada is, but a quick search tells me that it’s going for around £23 overseas.

This is matured in a double cask process; first in sherry wood then traditional oak barrels. The nose has a nice creamy vanilla and, while somewhat hidden, a sharper  sherry as well as a subtle pear. I’m not terribly favourable to sweet sherry flavours and smells, so I have trouble getting past this in the nose.

This scotch has a rich flavour and a very smooth texture. The sherry cask is subtle and deepens the complexity of the palate rather than dominating it. I note oak, spices and a gentle fruit taste as well.

The sherry does make an appearance in the taste but it’s not until the finish that it really comes to light. It’s not overly sweet, but it does sit on top of the finish. It’s here that the fruits come to life and the flavours fill your senses.

As I do say, whenever I sample a sherry cask aged whisky I’m not the greatest fan of this flavour. To me Glendronach 12 has found a balance in where the Sherry and Oak casks work well together, and rather than becoming a sweet sherry dominated drink the Sherry compliments and enhances the overall experience. Which may make sense since this distillery has specialized in richly sherried malts for nearly 200 years. They definitely have the experience with it.

The Glendronach distillery seems to have accumulated a bit of a bad wrap from enthuthiasts over the years, but has recently (2008) returned to independant ownership which may bring new tastes and scotches. They have recently rebranded their 12 year to “Original” and have three other whiskeys; the 15 year old or “Revival”, the 21 year old or “Allardice” and the 33 year old.

The official website is at GlendronachDistillery.com.

If you have tried this scotch and would like to relate your experience with it, please leave me a comment.

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Why Do Many Scotch Distilleries Start with “Glen”

I’m sure that you’ve noticed that many of the famous scotch distilleries follow the same naming convention: Glen as a prefix then something behind it. Someone asked me this very thing last month; Why do all of the scotches start with Glen?

Well, not all of them start with Glen, but a large number of the most successful ones do. Glenmorangie, Glenfarclas, Glenlivet, Glen Garioch, Glenfiddich to name a few. So why is this term used so often in the name of distilleries. Glen does not mean “scotch” and it does not mean “distillery”.

I’m sure you know that the definition of glen is a narrow valley. It can also be a general term to refer to an area of countryside. So, since scotch is often classified by and is often so diverse by the region in which it is produced, it’s not in surprising that the distilleries are named after the rivers they sit beside.

Glen Morangie sits near the Morangie Forest, Glen Livet is on the Livet River, Glen Garioch is with in the committee area of Garioch in Aberdeenshire and so on.

It seems that, within these distilllery names, Glen is just a general term used to identify the area of land being described. I’m sure it’s also a convetion that was just adopted early on when scotch distilleries, as we know them today, were first coming to fruition.

McClelland’s Lowland Single Malt Scotch Whiskey – September 2009

mcclellands-lowlandI’m revisiting the McClelland’s Distillery this month and sampling their Lowland Single Malt Scotch Whiskey. In April I discussed the qualities of the McClelland’s Highland Scotch, and I hope to have the memory to do a bit of a comparison between the two.

As mentioned in April the McClelland’s are easy on the pocket book. I picked this one up at a local merchant for under 30 dollars. It’s my feeling that scotch can come in a variety of qualities that are sometimes not related to the cost of the bottle. In this case I am pleasantly surprised on my first sip. Unfortuantely my senses may have deceived my as I am soon somewhat dissapointed.

The nose is sharp with ginger and a mild peat. A powerfully sweet  berry and tangerine as noted on the sleave.

The first taste brought me quite a lovely vanilla flavour that filled my palate and slid down smooth. The texture is thin however, and doesn’t match the initial taste.

I continued to my second and third sip before I noticed a sweetness inside a  slight berry overtone that fit better with the texture. 

The finish digresses to the vanilla that I noticed with my first sip with a slight hint of peat at the end. This is not a peaty scotch, but it’s not meant to be.

I haven’t tried McClelland’s Lowland on ice or with water. I feel that this would it would not stand up if thinned any further. As with the Highland from McClelland’s this is a great budget scotch. Over all it’s sweeter and lighter than most scotches I’ve had, which might suit your preference.

With that there are two more varieties from McClellands that will be on my list; the Speyside and the Islay. I trust these will provide me with equally unique tasting experiences.

McClelland’s penchant for heritage is apparent in its packaging and website. This is a distillery that is loyal to its culture, its history and its whiskey. The official website is at McClellands.co.uk.

If you have tried this scotch and would like to relate your experience with it, please leave me a comment.

Talisker 10 Year Old – August Scotch of the Month

This 10 year old is my personal favourite – it’s just perfect to sit and savour at the end of the day.” That’s what Murray Campbell, Talisker’s Process Manager says about this month’s scotch.

I was lucky enought to sample this scotch from three separate bottles this summer. My first sip came while visiting a friend in Canada’s beautiful Britich Columbia. My second when visiting my Father in the Alberta wilderness. And the third occasion I sampled this scotch was, with a friend who gave me a bottle and asked that I make it the subject of my next review. Talisker 10 year what my obvious choice for this months scotch.

Talisker 10 Year Scotch Whiskey
Talisker 10 Year Scotch Whiskey

“This 10 year old is my personal favourite – it’s just perfect to sit and savour at the end of the day.” That’s what Murray Campbell, Talisker’s Process Manager says about this month’s scotch.

I was lucky enought to sample this scotch from three separate bottles this summer. My first sip came while visiting a friend in Canada’s beautiful Britich Columbia. My second when visiting my Father in the Alberta wilderness. And the third occasion I sampled this scotch was, with a friend who gave me a bottle and asked that I make it the subject of my next review. Talisker 10 year what my obvious choice for this months scotch.

The nose is sweet and sharp. With this, there is some clear foreshadows of the smoke and peat to come.

My first taste brought to me strong peat flavours, but what was unexpected was the distinct smoke that emerges fromthe peat. This isn’t just a peaty whiskey there is some definite character that creates a flavour that is really quite unique.

At the start it seems like a thin, sharp edged drink but a gentle full cream unfolds as you reach the finish. A slight pepper emerges along with this fuller finish which is something that made me stop and think. It’s not complex, but not apparent either.

I am undecided on whether I prefer this scotch over ice, with water or neat. Each seems to offer it’s own unique experience, but I didn’t find myself leaning toward any particular method. Although, I am having it over ice as I write this.

 

Talisker has always drawn it’s water from 14 underground springs beside the distillery. Being the only single malt distiller on the Isle of Skye, talisker also has an apparent connection to the sea. It’s clear that they try to convey this spirit through their range of scotches, and I can see why elements of the sea are brought into the tasting notes on all of their whiskeys.

 

Like most distilleries I’ve seen Talisker takes great pride in their heritage, their process and their scotch. More information can be found on what I can only describe as the most beautifully designed distiller’s site that I’ve seen. It is definitely worth taking some time to visit the official Talisker website at http://www.taliskerwhisky.com.

 

That’s it for this month, see you in September!

April 2009 – McClellands’s Highland Single Malt

In light of the economic times, I’ve chosen a scotch with a more conservative price than the one we reviewed last month. I find that a number of the less expensive single malts I’ve chosen tend to have a cherry tone in them. Something that I generally equate with a blend.

 

The Highland is the first expression of McClelland’s that I’ve tasted, but they offer a selection distilled in each of the four regions of Scotland, which intrigues me to try the next three!

 

In the nose I found a woody peat, and a slight cherry sweetness.

 

The first thing I taste when sipping this scotch is the Scottish gooseberries noted in the tasting notes. It does remind me of a blended whiskey, but then it refines itself to a smooth buttery vanilla flavour that is quite nice.

 

The finish is definitely lasting, as promised on the container. It has a creamy tone that emphasizes the vanilla as it diminishes.

 

I always like my scotch on ice, but the flavours in this one are better enjoyed on their own. Over all this scotch is impressive when compared to its price and I will be trying others from this group.

 

McClelland’s penchant for heritage is apparent in its packaging and website. This is a distillery that is loyal to its culture, its history and its whiskey. The official website is at McClellands.co.uk.

McClelland’s Drink Recipes

These recipes were discovered while researching April 2009’s Scoth of the Month. The folks over at mcclellands.co.uk have taken the time to put together a cocktail for each of the regions they distill in.

These recipes were discovered while researching April 2009’s Scoth of the Month. The folks over at mcclellands.co.uk have taken the time to put together a cocktail for each of the regions they distill in.

HIGHLAND Blazer

50ml Highland whisky
25ml Grand Marnier
2 Dots of Orange Bitters
12.5ml Gomme
4 Orange skins (Cosmo size)
2 Cloves
Glass: Brandy Balloon
Method: Blazer style

Region: HIGHLAND

Whisky: HIGHLAND SINGLE MALT 
 

SPEYSIDE Daisy

25ml Speyside Whisky
25ml Calvados
Br Sp of Sweet and Dry Vermouth
Dash of Grenadine
25ml Grapefruit Juice
Glass: Rocks
Method: Shake and single strain over cubed ice
Garnish: Grapefruit Twist

Region: SPEYSIDE

Whisky: SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT

LOWLAND Promise

37.5ml Lowland Whisky
2 Br Sp of Amaretto and Cherry Brandy
12.5ml of Lemon and Lime Jucie
Dot of Angustora Orange Bitters
Glug of egg white
Glass: Rocks
Method: Shake and double strain over cubed ice
Garnish:Lemon Twist

Region: LOWLAND

Whisky: LOWLAND SINGLE MALT

ISLAY Smokestack

37.5ml Islay Whisky
12.5ml Gordons gin
Br Sp of Honey
25ml of Fresh pressed Apple Juice
2 Cardomon pods
Glug of egg white
Glass: Rocks
Garnish: 2 Dots of Angustora Bitters
Method: Muddle down Cardamon seeds(empty out of the skin and discard)
add liquids , stir in honey till it dissolves shake and triple strain
over cubed ice

Region: ISLAY

Whisky: ISLAY SINGLE MALT

March 2009 – Glenfarclas 21 year

The six generations of this family business has been recognized in the award of the Icons of Whiskey, Distillery of the year award.

I received a bottle of this scotch over Christmas this year. In managing the Scotch of the month club, I’ve found that people consult local liquor merchants on what to get me when looking for a present. I believe me there is no better gift than a single malt that I haven’t tasted yet. This bottle of Glenfarclas is no exception.

 

This distillery, in the heart of Speyside, has been family owned since 1805. They are proud of their history and passionate about their trade. The six generations of this family business has been recognized in the award of the Icons of Whiskey, Distillery of the year award.

 

The Glenfarclas 21  has a complex nose and once water is added a distinct malty musk is evident among toffee and sherry aromas.

 

This is the only whiskey I’ve tasted from this distiller, but is touted as their personal favourite. There is a noticeable sherried fruit to both the nose and the taste that can be an irritation for my likings, but I find it easy to accept in this drink.

 

The finish does have a slight chocolate just at the back of your throat mixed with a strawberry or cherry tone.

 

I’ve tasted this scotch on ice, straight up and with a little water. I definitely prefer it straight as this seems to keep the sherry from dominating the taste and nose.

 

This distilleries website does a wonderful job of presenting the history of the distillery as well as it’s internal workings. The official website is at Glenfarclas.co.uk.