Mortlach (12 year) ‘Wee Witchie’

The “Wee Witchie” is the name of Mortlach’s small experimental pot still, and “some” of its output was included in the batch for this bottling. “Some” is one of the worst words in the English language, so we don’t know if we’re talking about a literal teaspoon, or if 30% of the vatting comes from The Wee Witchie, so it’s kind of an irrelevant piece of information…

Kirkland Islay Single Malt (2022)

Getting the easy stuff out of the way: This is a single malt scotch whisky, from a single distillery on the island of Islay in Scotland. It is heavily peated like other Islay stalwarts (Ardbeg, Lagavulin, Laphroaig, Caol Ila, etc.) and should not be considered unless you know you’re ready for a face-full of smoke and weird brine flavors in your whisky. It is bottled at the impressive strength of…

The Exceptional Grain

The Exceptional is a line of sourced scotches blended and bottled by Sutcliffe & Son. They began with The Exceptional Grain in 2013, and then expanded to an Exceptional Malt and Exceptional Blend. Putting aside the hubris involved in referring to your own work as “Exceptional”, Sutcliffe has garnered renown for his blends and continues to release new editions each year. Each edition of…

808 Whisky

I get the problem: You’re a DJ or whatever and you want to start a whisky brand. It worked for David Beckham, right? But what can you do that’s new? You get an idea: A YOUNG whisky, for YOUNG people. You’ll sell it with dance music and a story about how using young blended grain whisky makes the drink refreshing, not heavy like those old-fashioned malts. You pepper the marketing materials with euphemisms like “sublte”, “light”, “smooth” and suggest emphatically that…

Kirkland Speyside Sherry Cask Finish – 19 year (2022)

You’re not going to pick up an 18 year-old Kirkland single malt for $50 and find the next best whisky in the world. What you’re going to get is a whisky that has a few relatively minor flaws but is otherwise quite good for the price. I’ll say this for Alexander Murray (the independent bottler that supplies both Costco and Trader Joe’s with their own-branded scotches): they…

Mackinlay’s ‘Shackleton’ Blended Malt Scotch Whisky

Anyone who was around the whisky blogosphere back in 2011 can’t have avoided the media fervor surrounding the discovery of several crates of antique scotch whisky preserved beneath the Antarctic heritage site of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ill-fated ‘Nimrod’ expedition base camp. … This version, bottled at the bare minimum 40% ABV, is comprised of Highland single malts aged in a combination of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry (Spanish oak). Unlike the more-expensive prior re-creation, we know little to nothing about the composition of…

The Ardmore Legacy

Ardmore is one of the pantheon of venerable scotch distilleries that nobody has heard of, because the vast majority of its output goes into blends – in this case mostly Teacher’s. The Aberdeenshire distillery was built in 1898, straddling the imaginary line that divides Speyside from the arbitrary region called The Highlands. Ardmore’s lightly-peated malt serves as…

The Balvenie (21 year) PortWood

The Balvenie PortWood is a marriage of casks of The Balvenie aged for 21 years in ex-bourbon barrels, which have been finished for an additional period – likely a few months – in port pipes. The bottling strength depends on where you buy it. In the UK, it’s 40% ABV. In the US market (at 750ml size), it’s 43%. In Duty Free aka Travel Retail, it’s 47.6% and non-chill-filtered. It’s probably safe to say that Balvenie is using fairly inactive refill…