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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Isle of Jura (16 year)

An eminently likable malt. Flawless in execution, sweet and mild on the tongue, with a moderately perfumed aroma. This would be excellent with a mild cigar. Jura has a lot of ardent admirers, and I can see why. It is not intense nor challenging, but it is complex enough to reward contemplation.

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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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Yellow Spot Irish Whiskey

Yellow Spot is Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey matured for 12 years in a combination of ex-bourbon, ex-sherry, and ex-Malaga (a sweet Spanish fortified wine) casks. The vatted result is bottled without chill-filtration at 46% ABV.

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Lost Spirits Umami

This certainly has the hallmarks of Bryan Davis’s work – funky and offbeat, its flavor pairings are just as unlikely (and just as successful) as salt with caramel and bacon with maple syrup.

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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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Tamdhu (10 year)

It has a burst of orange peel, with the funky “almost off” meaty/nutty notes familiar to GlenDronach fans. … I know times have changed, still I’m never crazy to pay above $50 for a 10 year-old malt. At least this one delivers in the glass.

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