There is a wild raging debate on the Internet about the actual source of Alexander Murray & Co.’s big-age, low-price malts. Some rumors suggest that the majority of the company’s barrels come from Tullibardine (a whisky chameleon of sorts), while the company has definitely bottled Macallan before, and is reported to have contracts with both Diageo and Edrington.
…his experiments resulted in the founding of Copper Fox Distillery in Sperryville, Virginia. Copper Fox not only has its own maltings – a rarity for any distillery in the world, even Scotland – but also malts 100% of its own barley. The barley is a 6-row hybrid grown locally and is smoked (“gently”) using fruitwood smoke (apple and cherry wood)…
Wolfburn Aurora was released in 2016 from 3 year-old Wolfburn malt aged in a variety of casks. Reportedly, this means 40% of the whisky was aged in second-fill quarter casks, 40% in first-fill ex-bourbon barrels, and the remaining 20% in first-fill Oloroso sherry hogsheads.
The Single Malt from Teeling is a vatting of 5 (or more) difference Irish single malt whiskies of different ages, consisting of whisky aged in – get this – Sherry, Port, Madeira, White Burgundy, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Apparently one of the barrels was filled in 1991 (age approximately 23 years at time of bottling), although I’d guess the rest are in the “slightly under 10” category.
The Glendullan distillery is yet another one of those industrial factories that Diageo uses to spit out tens of thousands of liters of whisky every year, almost all of which goes into blends. There have been both official and independent bottlings of Glendullan for a long time, but they haven’t been marketed or distributed with much effort, nor received much attention.
Springbank 10 is classic stuff. Aged 10 years (It even says it on the bottle! How old-fashioned!), not chill-filtered and bottled at 46% ABV without artificial coloring. Springbank does things the “old way” and is unapologetic about it. On-site floor maltings, worm tubs, and even (some) direct-fired stills. They also do a crazy “2.8-time” distillation and the malt is partially peated. Why? Because that’s how they’ve always done it.
Along comes an Annual Limited Edition (This is the 2016 edition, number #01… I guess the ‘0’ signifies that they have confidence there will be at least 9 more?) called “The Bartender’s Malt”. This is an NAS release assembled via some media stunt involving a cadre of 12 “international” bartenders of some renown, apparently.
I’m always up for a chance to try something new without having to purchase a whole bottle! The “Unpeated Style” releases, from an annual run of unpeated Caol Ila made by the distillery for blending purposes, are a Special Release series bottled by Diageo once a year, often at different ages and always at natural cask strength. …
Mortlach, one of those “only for blends and independents” distilleries that has graduated through sweat and perseverance (or marketing and PR) to official lineup status, is actually one of my favorite distilleries. … The Rare Old is a non-age statement bottling at an appropriate 43.4% ABV (Why not 43%? Who knows.) from a mixture of ex-sherry and ex-bourbon casks, the Rare Old shocked everyone with its initial price …
The “First Fill” on the label, of course, refers to the use of first-fill ex-bourbon casks (casks the previously aged bourbon but haven’t been used for anything else). These first-fill barrels have been used to age Balvenie malt for at least 12 years, and watered down a little bit to a reasonable 47.8% ABV. The whisky is not chill-filtered and has no added coloring (which is obvious by its pale straw appearance).