Exclusive Malts: North Highland (17 year) 1996-2014

This is possibly an experimental cask that didn’t make it into one of the Glenmorangie special editions, and was sold on the independent market. It reminds me somewhat of Artein, but only as a single component.

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Deanston Virgin Oak

It pains me to write this review (see Overall, below), because I’m very much in favor of distilleries getting on the NCF bandwagon and bottling at reasonable proofs. I’d love to support Deanston in its efforts, and in its price point, but the whisky is just simply not good.

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Tomatin (12 year)

Underwhelming. There are some nice “sherried malt” effects, but nothing stands out as worthy of attention. Forgettable. Of course, it’s wisely marketed at the bargain basement price of $23 to $26, which is perfectly in line with its quality.

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Kirkland Highland Sherry Cask Finish – 18 year

If you are a budget-minded single malt lover who has a local Costco that sells whisky, you can rest assured that the latest release is (still) worth your money. For how much longer? Who knows.

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Old Pulteney (12 year)

Somewhat of a rollercoaster of unique flavors and aromas, paired with off-putting and off-seeming notes like grimy pennies. It’s a bit like a woodsier, grassier, more tequila-like variant of Springbank.

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Glenmorangie Companta

Companta is a convoluted vatting of standard 9 year-old ex-bourbon Glenmorangie that is finished for 5 years in red Grand Cru Burgundy wine casks from Clos de Tart (from Pinot Noir grapes), with a similar 10 year-old Glenmorangie finished for 8 years in “a lusciously sweet fortified wine from Cotes du Rhone” called Rasteau, made from Grenache grapes. The vatting contains 60% of the first, and 40% of the second. Now that’s a whisky spec I can get behind!

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Glenmorangie Lasanta (12 year)

This is a respectable sherry-tinged malt that is very definitely worth $45 of your money. It’s regularly available, consistent in quality, and can be absentmindedly enjoyed, or analyzed in turn.

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Glen Garioch Founder’s Reserve

This is my first Glen Garioch (usually pronounced ‘Glen Gee-ree’, which is probably not quite right). The ‘Founder’s Reserve’ is the baseline malt for this distillery, and is bottled at the unusual choice of 48% ABV, without chill-filtration, after maturation in ex-bourbon casks. There is no age statement, but it’s probably around 8 years of age.

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Glenmorangie The Original (10 year)

The Original is aged for 10 years in only ex-bourbon casks, both first- and second-fill… Although this is not stated outright, it’s likely that this is the same whisky, aged further, that ends up in Glenmorangie’s cask-finished expressions.

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Kirkland Speyside Sherry Cask Finish – 18 year

…There’s a delicate balance of nice fresh black berries with the standard hallmarks of ex-bourbon aging (namely the butterscotch/caramel note that I can never pin down). It’s a well-constructed malt with no obvious flaws.

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