Bruichladdich Octomore 11.3

The Octomore .3 releases are always made from 100% Islay-grown barley from Octomore farm by “The Godfather of Soil” James Brown. This year’s 11.3 release is 5 years old and was aged in ex-bourbon American oak casks from a variety of bourbon distilleries … Jim McEwan talks about the soil of Islay and why he goes to such cost-inefficient lengths to get 100% Islay barley. He talks about how mainland Scottish farms can pull 3 or 3.5 tons of barley per acre in yield while Islay’s difficult climate maxes out around 2 tons. Moreover…

Bruichladdich Octomore 11.1

Octomore, for those who haven’t had the pleasure of shelling out $150+ for a bottle of one of the past ten editions, is the most heavily-peated whisky in the world. It’s bottled at cask strength and comes out every year in either 3 or 4 varieties. In brief, 11.1 is 5 years old and was aged only in ex-bourbon American oak. … this year was distilled in 2014 from the 2013 harvest of Scottish-grown (not on Islay) Concerto and Propino barley. The barley was malted by Bairds in Inverness to 139.6 ppm and the final 30,000 bottles were bottled at 59.4% ABV. The release was aged for…

Sagamore Spirit Rye

A little searching online reveals that Sagamore is blending two MGP products; a high-rye (95% rye, 5% malted barley) and a low-rye (unspecified mash bill). They are also cask-finishing a number of casks in everything from Cognac to Calvados, so they aren’t just resting on MGP’s laurels. If nothing else, at least they are revealing the source of their whiskey instead of trying to hide it.

Craigellachie (13 year)

This official bottling (one of three from the distillery including a 17-year and a 23-year, all new in 2014 after Bacardi assumed ownership) comes from a combination of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks, and is bottled at 46% ABV without added coloring and without chill filtration. … Upon further reading, I wonder if the famous sulphur note that everyone says is a hallmark of Craigellachie might be hitting my jaded senses as banana. That will require more investigation.

J.H. Cutter Whiskey

The liquid, in fact, is a blend of 73% sourced bourbon from Bardstown (aka Kentucky Bourbon Distillers / KBD aka Willett), 17% Old Potrero 18th Century Style Rye Whiskey (which is 100% malted rye), and 10% Old Potrero Port Finish Rye Whiskey. Old Potrero is one of Anchor’s whiskey brands, distilled and aged in San Francisco, California. The reported ages of the components…

Tamdhu (12 year)

Aged exclusively in sherry casks for the full 12 years of maturation for that pure sherry bomb goodness, Tamdhu uses both first fill and refill American and European Oloroso sherry casks. I’ve discussed sherry aging on this blog before, and the topic is (as ever) murky. It’s probably safe to assume that the company is using whatever “real” sherry barrels (those would be the European oak casks) it can get its hands on, while supplementing their supply with American oak (ex-bourbon) that has been “seasoned” with sherry.

Barrell Cask Strength Bourbon (Batch 017)

So here we are, a day late and about ninety dollars short to talk about a bottle you can’t buy anymore. Batch 017 was released in early 2019 and is intended to be an homage to “classic” bourbon — the kind that is suddenly hard to find on shelves. It’s a blend of straight bourbon whiskies from Tennessee, Indiana, and Kentucky. The three component whiskies were all rye-flavored bourbons (mash bill corn, rye, and malted barley) aged 10 years and 4 months, 14 years, and 15 years so this bottle is “officially” 10 years and 4 months old. It’s up to you if you want to mentally count the extra age…

Laphroaig An Cuan Mòr

I’m impressed that in a side-by-side comparison, it’s clear that this is Laphroaig “plus”. You get extra cinnamon, extra vanilla, and extra oaky sweetness from the European oak that’s just simply missing from the standard expression. It does not taste older, nor mellower. If you feel like your standard Laphroaig could use a little more flavor that isn’t peat, you’ll probably enjoy…

Woodinville Straight Bourbon

Woodinville Straight Bourbon is a Washington State straight bourbon that is pot distilled by Woodinville Whiskey Company in Woodinville, Washington state. The distillery, established in 2010, was acquired in 2017 by Moët Hennessy (LVMH), which might explain why it’s now popping up on store shelves. All of the grain for distillation comes locally, from…