Glenfiddich (14 year) Bourbon Barrel Reserve

If you’ve been around the single malt scotch market for any length of time, you probably had the same reaction to this label that I did. “Uhh… basically every single malt is aged in bourbon barrels.” So what’s so special about this particular bottle that they felt the need to slap it in large type on the label? Let’s not forget that “Reserve” means absolutely nothing….

Inchmurrin (12 year)

Inchmurrin is (confusingly) one of the brands of single malt produced by the Loch Lomond distillery near Glasgow. The brand is named after the largest island on Loch Lomond (the lake). … The custom stills at Loch Lomond are fascinating: By using a modified rectifying column instead of a traditional swan neck, the distillery is able to artificially “lengthen” the neck that condensing spirit vapor travels up before…

Torabhaig Legacy 2017

The Torabhaig Legacy Series represents the first batches of whisky from the young distillery, with this first “Inaugural” edition of 100 barrels of single malt which were distilled and casked in early 2017. It’s somewhere between 3 and 4 years old. The whisky in this first edition was mashed from heavily peated (55-60ppm) Concerto malt using Pinnacle MG+ yeast (nice to know, whatever that means)…

Glen Grant (12 year)

Glen Grant is one of those sleepy distilleries known for producing bulk malt for blends (Chivas, in this case) which has lately been dressed up in new packaging (in 2016) and pressed into service as a standalone single malt by its owners, the Campari Group. … This 12 year is aged in ex-bourbon for 12 years and bottled at 43% ABV, after being chill filtered. While Glen Grant does use sherry casks in some of its expressions, I can’t find anything online that indicates…

Boutique-y Whisky: Macduff (10 year)

One always approaches the tasting of a new or unfamiliar distillery as a potential for opening new, exciting doors of previously undreamt flavor… and while sometimes that’s true, I’ve found that more often you realize that the “unknown” distilleries are largely unknown for a reason. They exist to provide malt for blended whiskies because they blend well. They blend well because…

GlenDronach Port Wood

The port wine in question is a finish, but unusually the whisky is first aged in GlenDronach’s typical combination of Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez (PX) sherry casks. That makes this bottling kind of a “Double Fruit”, if you will. The whisky is bottled at 46% ABV, without chill filtration or added color, which is standard practice for GlenDronach, and always a laudable choice.

BenRiach Heart of Speyside

Why anyone bottles any single malts at 40% ABV anymore is beyond me. This would probably be a rich, inviting example of classic Speyside single malt at 46% ABV, but instead it’s thin and watery. The thinness allows bitter elements to show through instead of being the foil to sweetness that they are in more robust malts. In essence, by taking out the things that make a single malt expensive (time in oak and high proof), they’ve taken out the things necessary to…

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….

Westward American Single Malt

Not to be confused with Seattle producer Westland (which also makes amazing American single malt whiskey in the US Pacific Northwest), Westward is a Portland, Oregon based distillery founded in 2004 by Christian Krogstad, who has a brewing and winemaking background. Westward uses a two custom-designed copper pot stills to distill an ale-style wash…