First Impression: Samaroli Ferry to Islay First Edition

[55.1%・NAS・Bottled in 2014・Coilltean Bottling・Limited Release of 300 Bottles] Nose: A generous wave of salty oceanic aromas, oysters and seaweed with that creme brûlée note from fresh bourbon casks.  The peat is understated but serves to accentuate the maritime influence.  Light top notes of baby powder stringing out the natural characters of the spirits elegantly, with…

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First Impression: Heartwood The Beagle 5

[62.4%・NAS・Bottled in 2017・Limited Release of 175 Bottles] Nose: The casks give off an earthy and oaky vibe, the brute strength is obviously there.  It’s syrupy, presumably a product of involvement from the thicker textured casks with a prominent fortified wine led acidity; but otherwise it’s held quite tightly and requires some time for the richness…

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First Impression: Pure Scot

[40.0%・NAS・Bottled Circa 2017・General Release] Nose: There is a dose of juniper berries that can be picked up rather effortlessly.  Some unedited characters of the distillates are still on display with hints of olive oil and cardboard paper in the mix as well.  The caramel influence doesn’t feel entirely like it’s a product of bourbon cask maturation…

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First Impression: Black Gate BG021

[49.3%・ Distilled in 2014・Bottled in 2017・3 Years Old・Official Bottling・Single Cask Release of 213 Bottles] Nose: The thickness of old Black Gate has been replaced in favour of a more balanced delivery.  The aged lemon from the “Port” cask is in play here with subtle notes of basil, oregano, minerals and copper.  With time the familiar…

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First Impression: SMWS 53.239 Caol Ila “Ham Hock and Blackcurrant Jam”

[59.7%・ 19 Years Old・Bottled in 2016・SMWS Bottling・Single Cask Release] Nose: The peat smoke politely arrives on scene, smoked trout and iodine fill the room with a touch of anise.  A fireplace getting started by burning scrunched up newspapers. Palate & Finish: Forest berries and sweet peat make for a friendly entry.  A chilli zing brings…

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You’re Invited: Not a Masterclass

Thanks to Mr. Fitzsimons and the rest of the Oak Barrel team for once again hosting our whisky sharing session, this one will be on Friday, 20 October 2017. No theme for the evening, there will just be whiskies I want to try myself.  A little single cask omakase if you will, here’s the line…

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First Impression: Glenmorangie Grand Vintage Malt 1990

[43%・ Distilled in 1990・Bottled in 2016・Official Bottling・Limited Release] Nose: The nose is courteously restrained, mildly floral and showing its greenness.  Some faint suggestions of Oloroso amidst the more obvious caramelisation of the Bourbon barrels.  Green mango, Lotus Biscoff, golden honey and caramelised banana with a sprinkle of white pepper and cut basil. Thoughts & Finish:…

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First Impression: Ballantine’s 17 Years Old (Bottled Circa 1970s)

[86 Proof・ 17 Years Old・Bottled Circa 1970s・Ballantine’s Bottling・General Release]  Nose: Quite rounded and gentle on the nose, a classy build-up of rose petals, sticky dates and malt. Palate & Finish: Sugary dates, a gentle delivery infused with subtle citrus, blood oranges perhaps.  The wee grain content has been smoothened out on this occasion. The finishing…

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First Impression: Adelphi’s Breath of Speyside 10 Years Old

[58.4%・ 10 Years Old・Distilled in 2006・Bottled in 2017・Adelphi Bottling・Limited Release of  541 Bottles] Nose: Rich and indulging with milk chocolate, caramel fudge, banana skins and grilled pineapples, some dried dates surface in time. Palate & Finish: Quite a heavy sweetness with the toffee and honey, the tone is a bit weighted down.  Rum and raisins…

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First Impression: Sullivans Cove Double Cask DC090

[40.0%・ 9 Years Old・Distilled in 2007・Bottled in 2017・Official Bottling・Barrels HH0245, TD0224, HH0355, & HH0497・Limited Release of 1235 Bottles] Nose: Faintly aromatic, clean grass and mango hand cream.  Laid back vibes signifying how approachable this is. Palate & Finish: Mango sorbet and honeyed granola dressed with toasted almonds.  The delivery is on the thin side with…

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