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…

The Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve

There’s not a lot of background here: We’re talking about non-age-stated Glenlivet finished in Caribbean rum casks. First off, I think the lack of an age statement here is a little silly. They could dump 12 year-old in for pennies more than whatever younger stuff they’re using, as they proved by releasing a 14 year-old extra-matured single malt for $40 a few years ago, and the fact that Glenlivet 12 year can still be found for under…

X by Glenmorangie

“X by Glenmorangie” is a made-for-mixing single malt. Dr. Bill Lumsden wanted to create a low-cost malt that could challenge ubiquitous blended scotch in the mixing arena. He approached the problem by vatting standard ex-bourbon Glenmorangie malt with some that was finished in new charred virgin oak casks. This resulted in a sweeter and richer…

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…