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…

GlenAllachie (12 year)

Official information is a little scarce, but it seems like the 12 year is aged in a combination of virgin oak, PX sherry casks, and oloroso sherry casks. I can’t tell if those are full-term sherry or if they are finishes, or what kind of virgin oak that is (American? European? Was a swallow involved?) or if there was ex-bourbon in the mix that they aren’t…

Tullibardine (Alexander Murray: Polly’s Casks)

This bottling is a “Double Cask” vatting of Tullibardine single malt, using both ex-bourbon casks as well as “Double Barrel Ale” beer casks from California brewery Firestone Walker. … The Tullibardine that was finished in the ale casks spent 1 year there, but we don’t know the full ages of the components. Interestingly, those ale casks – 60 of them – were shipped across the Pacific ocean the be filled with Tullibardine and matured in Scotland.

Lagavulin (9 year) – Game of Thrones “House Lannister”

This bottling is simply a 9 year-old expression of Lagavulin, which sounds young until you remember that peated single malt is usually quite good at younger ages, and between Octomore, Talisker 8 year, and… well… Lagavulin 8 year, no longer seems weird. The “House Lannister” bottling comes from only first-fill ex-bourbon casks (no sherry) and clocks in at 46% ABV.

Boutique-y Whisky: Tomatin (11 year) Batch 4

Oh, I’ve had Tomatin before. It’s bland, sweet, banana-y. I’m sure this will be just another ho-hum sample that gets suck in the back of my “tastings notes” folder and never sees the light of day. I’ve even tasted the 12-year. How much different can a batch of 11-year from That Boutique-y Whisky Company (TBWC) be? It’s not even sherried. At least, I don’t think it’s sherried…

Mortlach (15 year) – Game of Thrones “Six Kingdoms”

This Game of Thrones “Six Kingdoms” edition is Mortlach single malt that has been aged for 15 years in sherry casks and then ex-bourbon barrels. Oddly, the label and tin say it was “Finished in ex-bourbon casks” which is a silly way to convey that the whisky started in first-fill sherry (seasoned) casks and then was finished in ex-bourbon. You’d think they’d focus on the sherry. In fact, before I looked it up online I thought…