A straightforward but very well-executed malt. This is a quintessential ex-bourbon Highland malt, with primary characteristics of summer fruits, flowers, and honey. … In this way, with no peat or sherry or wine-cask influence, you can appreciate the elemental building blocks of single-malt.
Loch Lomond, unfortunately not available in the United States, offers an NAS entry-level malt for bottom dollar. … Loch Lomond is a small distillery that quietly churns out product, and that product goes by many names including Loch Lomond, Inchmurrin, and Old Rhosdhu (among others). While classified as a Highland (or West Highland) distillery based on its location in Alexdandria, near Dumbarton, it is literally just up the road from Glasgow. Its style is also in line with Lowland malts: simple, subtle, light, and crisp.
It has everything on paper that whisky buffs have been asking for: 46% “craft presentation” bottling strength, non chill-filtration, and no added coloring. It’s made more-or-less by hand and with traditional methods. … Does the 12-year redeem the Deanston name for me, and let me buy the “Craft” hype?
At any rate, this is an ex-bourbon single malt from the Deanston distillery. (The bottle says “Matured in Oak Casks”. Duh.) It was distilled in 2003 and bottled in 2015 at 40% ABV after 12 years of aging. Deanston’s official releases are bottled without chill-filtration, but there’s no telling what Alexander Murray chose to do when bottling this. I found it at Trader Joe’s in California for $30.
The 15 is interesting. It’s widely-distributed, very cost-effective for a 15 year-old malt, and has something that no other (or almost no other) scotch on the market has: malt from a modified sherry-style Solera system. It’s miles ahead in quality from Glenfiddich 12 (which is just passably drinkable), but still usually under $50
…at Trader Joe’s I saw this bottle of undisclosed-distillery 10 year-old from somewhere the Highlands (which describes, like, most of them) which has been “matured in oak casks” like… all of them… It’s 10 years old, 40% ABV, and costs $20. That’s pretty much all anybody knows about it.
Tùsail was made from a batch of floor-malted (by hand) Marris Otter winter barley, distilled and aged for an unspecified length of time in ex-bourbon casks. It was bottled at 46% ABV without chill-filtration and retailed for $99 (it’s probably all sold out by now).
I did not expect this level of peat from Linkwood. While it teases on the nose, it makes itself felt once it hits the tongue. A nice example of the hay-and-heather style of Highland peated malt, which is representative of the style of Highland malt made before the advent of maltings with non-peat heat sources.
Here’s a weirdo. Dalmore, in my mind, means two things: Heavy sherry, and orange peel notes. This independently-bottled Dalmore from The Exclusive Malts was distilled in 2000 as cask #6952 and bottled in 2013 at 53.5% ABV. And it’s peated. What?!
I’m particularly impressed with the interplay of sherry notes (which are fleeting) with peat notes (which are understated but dominant), without the two ever conflicting. I’ve had $80 peated malts finished in sherry casks that didn’t integrate half as well.