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.

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.

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…

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.)

Tamnavulin Double Cask

… It seems like the Double Cask refers to a maturation in American oak ex-bourbon and then a partial finish in ex-sherry casks. There is no age statement, and the whisky is bottled at the bare minimum of 40% ABV, with no mention of the use of color or chill filtration. This is all bad news on paper, so let’s see what happens in the glass.

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.