Oban Bay Reserve – Game of Thrones “The Night’s Watch”

I’ve always been a big fan of Oban. It’s one of the few distilleries that come to mind when I want something essentially “Highland” and with such a consistent house character that you know every bottle is going to contain that same predominant biscuity honey quality. Prices have crept up over the years, as they have with everything with the word “whisky” on the label, but I still think of Oban as my go-to Highland malt….

Tullibardine (Alexander Murray: Polly’s Casks)

This bottling is a “Double Cask” vatting of Tullibardine single malt, using both ex-bourbon casks as well as “Double Barrel Ale” beer casks from California brewery Firestone Walker. … The Tullibardine that was finished in the ale casks spent 1 year there, but we don’t know the full ages of the components. Interestingly, those ale casks – 60 of them – were shipped across the Pacific ocean the be filled with Tullibardine and matured in Scotland.

Boutique-y Whisky: Tomatin (11 year) Batch 4

Oh, I’ve had Tomatin before. It’s bland, sweet, banana-y. I’m sure this will be just another ho-hum sample that gets suck in the back of my “tastings notes” folder and never sees the light of day. I’ve even tasted the 12-year. How much different can a batch of 11-year from That Boutique-y Whisky Company (TBWC) be? It’s not even sherried. At least, I don’t think it’s sherried…

Alexander Murray Bon Accord

…agreement that an independent bottler sometimes has to make with a whisky producer to not disclose the distillery name. The bottle has no age statement, so all we really know is that it is a Highland single malt from an ex-bourbon barrel and that is bottled at the bare legal minimum of 40% ABV. The release is a vatting of different ages from that undisclosed distillery, so it’s not a single barrel.

Old Pulteney Navigator

It’s definitely maritime in that it smells like something slathered on a hull to make it seaworthy. I kid. Sort of. There is an intrusion of peat but absolutely no smoke, which makes it smell and taste earthy but without evoking Islay’s style of smoky peat. The overall effect is brooding and difficult, and that so-called partial sherry cask aging is thoroughly in the background…

Tullibardine 500 Sherry Finish

The 500 Sherry Finish is matured for an undisclosed period of time in first-fill bourbon casks before being filled into 500-liter (hence the name) Spanish Pedro Ximenez sherry butts for one year. The final whisky is bottled at 43% ABV, and is both chill filtered and (probably) has added spirit caramel for coloring. (Sigh.)

Boutique-y Whisky: Teaninich (11 year) Batch 2

A very pale single malt from an ex-bourbon cask, and bottled at the potent but also very drinkable 47.9% ABV, this Teaninich makes me want to go find other (cheaper) bottles from the distillery. Those will all have to be independent bottlers as well, as there are no official bottlings from this distillery, aside from an occasional entry in Diageo’s Flora and Fauna series, most of which doesn’t make it to US.

Tomatin Dualchas (or Legacy)

In the UK and other markets this NAS Tomatin expression is sold as “Tomatin Legacy” while in the US it’s sold as “Tomatin Dualchas”, which is the Scots Gaelic word for ‘heritage’ or ‘legacy’. This bottling, whatever its name, is the NAS (no-age-statement) entry-level bottling from the Tomatin distillery in the village of Tomatin in the Scottish Highlands … is vatted from Tomatin single malt aged in a combination of ex-bourbon and virgin (new) American oak casks. The virgin oak is intended to give the under-matured malt component an extra dose of …

Glengoyne (10 year)

Both Glengoyne 12-year and 10-year appear to be on the US market at the same time, which is a little odd. Usually distilleries stick to one of the classic “flagship” ages. The 12 retails for $10-$15 more than the 10, and my review of the 12 shows that I appreciated that one as budget sherry bomb. This 10 year-old (which is the only one of the two I can find near me) is the same bottling strength (43%), also has no added coloring, and also…