This is a blend of some seriously old scotch, (and I love me some old scotch), with a price tag to match ($250 or so. Eek!). The specs are spot-on. Compass Box was kind enough to tell us EXACTLY what’s in this whisky….
Flaming Heart Fifth Edition is a Blended Malt Scotch Whisky (meaning it consists of malt from different distilleries, but no grain whisky)…. The goal of Flaming Heart has always been to showcase Compass Box’s hybrid barrels with new French oak heads in balance with quality Islay peated malts. This 15th anniversary edition kicks up that formula with some older Caol Ila.
I got a batch of samples from Exclusive Malts’ new 2015 releases… These bottlings tend to go quickly and aren’t widely distributed to begin with, so if you’re interested in any of these… well, it may already be too late. Oops.
…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.
The maker of Beyond Barrels Aging Masts contacted me with an interesting twist on the sticks-in-bottles concept: Minimize the amount of end grain while maintaining a liquid-to-wood-surface-area ratio identical to that of a 53-gallon oak barrel, heat-treat the wood without charring it (charred wood makes spirits taste like char), and then focus on adding interesting flavors through the use of French Oak, Cherry, and even Peach wood.
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).
The Fine Oak series, launched in 2004, offered a look at Macallan with some of the sherry stripped away. Like The Balvenie DoubleWood, the Fine Oak series is a marriage of traditional Macallan matured in ex-sherry casks, with Macallan distillate aged in ex-bourbon.
The aging-at-home industry appears to be picking up speed lately, with products such as Whisky Elements, Beyond Barrel Aging Masts, and even wooden bottles! They all promise more-or-less the same thing: Take under-matured or middling-quality whisky and quickly infuse them with a little extra oak flavor while also filtering out impurities and mellowing the spirit. As I discovered with my testing, the results are not so cut-and-dry.
This special release is a blend of grain from four distilleries of various ages, none of which are younger than 20, and all of which aged in ex-bourbon American oak casks. The result is bottled at 46% ABV with no added color and no chill filtration.
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.