Whisky Lady – May 2021

April bled into May as COVID ravaged India. No distraction can counter how senseless and devastating the situation is… family, friends, neighbours… there are no words.

So rather than event attempt to say more, will acknowledge this ongoing human tragedy and send condolences to all directly and indirectly impacted anywhere in the world.

Shifting gears, what did we try this month? Our Whisky Ladies in Europe thought it time to crack open the quintet generously sent by the folks at The Belgian Owl. Tasting notes to come soon…

I also dug into my personal tasting notes “archive”, bringing to light a remarkable tasting evening held last september in London with Sukhinder Singh of The Whisky Exchange. As we tried 10 whiskies – yup 10! – I shared a few observations in three parts:

In Germany, I confessed to augmenting my wee whisky collection with a few Gordon and MacPhail bottles as it is no longer possible to obtain directly from the UK.

Thanks also to the intrepid persistency of a fellow Canadian in Nurnberg, she managed to track down in Vancouver a Shelter Point Artisinal Single Malt from 2020, bringing it back to Germany. Hooray!! I was so touched with her effort and kindness, bringing a wee taste of Canada to my European home.

In the meantime in France, one of our fabulous Euro Chapter Whisky Ladies went to meet Benjamin Kuentz, the man behind Maison Benjamin Kuentz that has enthralled us with his creations. She hunted down at La Maison du Whisky in Paris some earlier editions of Le Guip, Aux Particles Vines, augmented by an eagerly anticipated new edition of Aveux Gourmands. Something for an upcoming tasting!

We also have waiting in the wings another box set of minis from The Whisky Warehouse No. 8… because it is always good to have something to look forward to – particularly in these continued strange COVID times.

Curious to know more? Check out a few other ’round-up’ summaries:

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Additionally, there are the two ‘off-shoots’ with:

Shelter Point – Vancouver to Nurnberg

Life sometimes brings you an interesting twist. Such as a Nurnberg based friend managing even in these strange COVID times to travel to Vancouver to see her family… offering to bring back something and my shamelessly asking for whisky! Which wasn’t so easy as it isn’t like a small craft distillery on Vancouver Island has whiskies widely available… However she is a determined lass and made the “quest” an adventure, integrated with other activities, and came home triumphant!

Have I opened it yet? Nope! I know what to expect – having enjoyed previous batches of this Vancouver Island single malt – starting with their 1st Batch in 2016), then again in 2017 and 2018. So I plan to keep this precious Canadian import tightly shut awaiting the right occasion and company!

What else do I have “waiting in the wings” from Shelter Point?

In Winnipeg there is a Shelter Point trio patiently waiting since November 2020 for a return to Canada.

  • Double Barrelled Single Malt 6 year (2021) 6th Edition 46% (Coastal Black’s Blackberry Wine) (CA)
  • Montfort District Lot 151 Single Grain Whisky (2020) 46% (CA)
  • 7 year Single Cask #5 (2020) 43% (CA)

And by spring 2021, it was clear I wouldn’t be back anytime soon… So I decided to add to my wee Canadian whisky collection two more expressions that are at the distillery for shipping or collection in the coming months:

  • Shelter Point “The Forbidden” 6.5 years 47% – As I’d missed the 1st batch!
  • Shelter Point “Smoke and Oak” 5.5 years 46% – As I had yet to try any of their peated whiskies

Followed by something I’m hugely looking forward to – their oldest single malt yet as Shelter Point celebrates a decade of producing sunshine in a bottle!

  • Shelter Point Artisanal Cask Strength 10 Year (2021) 57.8% (CA)

Who knows when my next trip to see family and friends in Canada will make sense. But in the meantime, I have some “sheer joy” in the Shelter Point Single Malt to look forward to here in Nurnberg!

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An evening with Sukhinder Singh – Part 2

An evening with the co-founder of The Whisky Exchange – Sukhinder Singh – is truly memorable. And naturally, in additional to a fabulous meal, walking and talking with family and friends, the evening also included Whisky!

Our tasting took place at their warehouse, in an exceptional board room surrounded wall to wall with exceptional and unique whiskies. Sukhinder selected an array of different styles, vintages, cask types to explore a diverse array of interesting drams The Whisky Exchange is helping bring to our palates.

We were also introduced to a new tasting glass – 1920s professional whisky blenders – designed to concentrate aromas and flavours.

After starting with a Glen Elgin, Glenburgie and Undisclosed 45 year blend, we moved on to three quite contrasting whiskies. I will fully admit to taking scant notes, focused more on enjoying the experience! So please consider what follows more a ‘teaser’ than true tasting notes…

Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu On The Way (2019) Cask 2089 51.5% Bottle 8543 of 11000

We shifted gears completed and left behind Scotland to explore the far east.

I’ve had some interesting experiences with Chichibu – particularly a young French Oak  cask strength expression that I brought back from a trip to Tokyo many years ago.

This one did not disappoint – fruity on the nose – particularly banana, pineapple – it also had a pronounced coconut quality. And dare I say thyme? Or something with quite a honeyed herbal dimension. We also enjoyed the nice spice on the palate – still fruity with enough other things going on to make it interesting.

Interested in reading more? Check out the TWE blog.

Glentauchers 22 year (23 July 1997 / 29 Aug 2019) Bourbon Cask No 4163 46.6% (Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky / Signatory Vintage 20th Anniversary for The Whisky Exchange) 125 Bottles

Next up was a Glentauchers ex-bourbon cask. This one was quite herbaceous, malty, a bit hot, fall leaves…

Alas I could not find this exactly bottle however there is a Signatory of a similar vintage available for GBP 135.

Ben Nevis 23 year  (21 Oct 1996 / 1 Nov 2019) Sherry Butt Cask No 1479 52.7% (Highlands Single Malts of Scotland) 405 Bottles

I’ll admit, I’m not the biggest Ben Nevis fan, however I’m always game to explore!

This one was bursting with character on the nose and quite savoury, tangy with sweet oil on the palate. Certainly a dram of substance.

What do the folks over at TWE have to say?

A 1996 Ben Nevis single malt from indie bottler Elixir Distillers, matured in a single hogshead for more than two decades before being bottled in November 2019 as part of its Single Malts of Scotland series. Aromas of grapefruit, orange marmalade, caramel and beeswax fill the nose, with earthy, dusty undertones. The palate offers notes of fresh oak, eucalyptus, tangy citrus and tropical fruits.

What else did we try in our special evening with Sukhinder Singh? A whopping 10 whiskies! Check them out from the links below:

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An evening with Sukhinder Singh – Part 1

It almost seems like a dream now… Some nine months ago I was in London and we were so fortunate to have an opportunity to enjoy an evening with Sukhinder Singh of The Whisky Exchange. Much like our last evening a few years ago on our way back from Canada, time spent with this guru of spirits is always a treat.

What did Sukhinder share that fine evening? An interesting assortment of The Whisky Exchange specials…

Glen Elgin 12 year (2007/2020) 4 casks 48% (Speyside Single Malt of Scotland – Reserve Cask Parcel No 3, Elixir Distillers), GPB 62

We started with what Sukhinder called a nice “session” dram… something to whet our appetites for coming goodies.

We found this Speyside fruity and floral on the nose, fresh, sweet… On the palate it was light, with cereals and hay… a simple, spring like easy drinking dram.

What a superb way to start!

What do they say?

A small-batch Glen Elgin single malt from indie bottler Elixir Distillers, distilled in 2007 and matured in four hogsheads for 12 years before being bottled as part of the third parcel of its Reserve Cask series. Aromas of apple cider, warm custard, figs, grapefruit, rosemary-seasoned sweet potatoes and maple-glazed pecans fill the nose. The palate offers notes of cardamom, clementine, vanilla cream, sticky toffee pudding and strawberry coulis that linger in the finish.

Glenburgie 21 year (8 Oct 1998/19 Dec 2019) Hogshead Cask No 90887, 59.4% (Speyside Single Malt of Scotland) 298 bottles

We then moved on to a bright Glenburgie. I will admit that I am quite a Glenburgie fan – I love its elegance, often finding summer peaches with joyful aromas and on the palate? Yum!

Back when Downton Abbey was airing and yes – I will admit to indulging in watching it like a guilty pleasure – I once quipped with the lads at The Whisky Exchange that Glenburgie is for me the “Downton Abbey” of whiskies.

Clearly I have esteemed company as Sukhinder shared how he finds it often under estimated.

Alas the exact cask we sample no longer is available, however I had my eye on this one for GPB 120… and then… oh yeah… Brexit made it impossible to send to Germany… sigh…

So I contented myself with acquiring a 21 year Gordon and MacPhail distillery label edition. After all, what’s a lass gonna do when having a hankering for a fine summery dram?

Speyside Blended 45 year (1973/2019) Sherry Cask 45.1% 549 Bottles, GBP 399

Next up was a wonder. A rare aged treat with a “mere” 45 years to its credit.

And the aromas and taste? Wow! Fruity, rich without being heavy, clear sherry stamp both in aroma and palate. Simply delicious!

What a beautiful autumnal dram, the kind of mature, classic, complex whisky you imagine slowly sipping and savouring while sitting in a leather armchair of an old family library, full of dusty books, a thick carpet, relaxing in warmth from the fireplace.

Shhhh….. we understand it is nearly completely Glenfarclas with a touch of another Speyside distillery to bottle undisclosed as a “blend”.

What do they say?

Released at Whisky Show 2019 as part of our Magic of the Cask series, this 1973 Speyside blended malt has been matured in a single sherry butt for 45 years, before being bottled in 2019. Aromas of brown sugar and fruitcake open on the nose, followed by brown bread with butter, maraschino cherries, raisins, cinnamon-baked apples, dried mango and rich, earthy aromas. The palate offers notes of toasted oak, baked apples, sultanas, bitter char, soft spice and light fruitcake.

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An evening with Sukhinder Singh – Part 3

The last set we sampled with Sukhinder Singh were decidedly peaty from Highland to Islay and back to the Highlands.

It was a fitting close to an evening of remarkable drams – showcasing bottles having a special connection with the company started over 20 years ago by two brothers which lead to The Whisky Exchange and its many supporting and complementary brands and enterprises.

Loch Lomond Inchmurrin 9 year (June 2010 / July 2019) Single Cask 2493 55.3% (TWE) 1 of 121 Bottles

Loch Lomond’s Highland distillery plays around with different labels – from Croftnegea to Inchmoan to Inchmurrin. This particular bottle was bottled exclusively for The Whisky Exchange in 2019.

What did we think?

  • Nose – A distinctly autumnal dram, leafy supported by fruits
  • Palate – A curious mix of bitter and sweet, fruity too

What more do we know? Only the TWE tasting notes:

Soft aromas of ripe apricots, plum, quince and vanilla fill the nose. The palate offers notes of banana, mango, honey and peach cobbler that lingers in the finish.

You won’t find a full bottle of this so easily, however last check you could still get a sample for GBP 5.45.

Port Askaig 12 year (Spring 2020) 45.8% 

This wasn’t my first brush with Port Askaig – I first was introduced to an interesting trio at Whisky Live Singapore in 2017. I knew Port Askaig was a special ‘project’ of Sukhinder and his brother, creating a distinctive brand as a precursor for the ultimate dream of setting up a new distillery in Islay.

What about this particular edition? It greeted us with a lovely peaty aromas, cinamon toffee sweet on the palate. Quite enjoyable.

What do the folks at The Whisky Exchange have to say?

The 2020 Spring Edition of Port Askaig 12 Year Old has been made with 18 ex-bourbon hogsheads from both 2006 and 2007, creating a perfect balance between sweetness and smoke. The palate offers notes of lemon sherbet, peach, sooty smoke and toffee, with hints of barbecued lemons and fresh mint lingering in the finish.

When we sampled it, this whisky was available at The Whisky Exchange for GBP 65.95.

Between the Port Askaig and the last whisky, we snuck in a quick nip from Elements of Islay – a special series dedicated to exploring different distilleries from Islay. Launched in 2006, each distillery has a “code”, however beyond that, there is no indication of age or vintage to prevent any distraction from discovering the flavour. So you could be sipping a young five year old or a 30 year old.

Which one did we try? Peat & Sweet 55.2%… which we found it was distinctly “khatta meetha” (sour and sweet) with juicy berries and of course peat! And yet completely balanced in the different elements.

Ballechin Heavily Peated 15 year (1 April 2019 / 2 May 2003) Sherry Cask No 204, 55% TWE 20th Anniversary 482 Bottles

Ballechin is another name for Edradour in the Highlands – representing the “peaty” line. We  closed with a whisky that was clearly a “two for one” deal! It was an incredibly robust sherry on the aromas and full fledged peat on the palate – truly flavour packed and intense.

After sampling so many whiskies, I will admit to not jotting down any further tasting notes, however when I read what Billy Abbott shared, it “rang” true! Unfortunately if you are tempted to track it down, it is no longer available except on whisky auction sites!

What did the folks at TWE have to say?

Made in 2003 at Edradour distillery, this 15-year-old Ballechin single malt has been matured in a single refill sherry butt, before being bottled in April 2019 to celebrate The Whisky Exchange’s 20th Anniversary. A heavily-peated Highland whisky, it has rich aromas of dark chocolate, treacle, earthy peat smoke and roasted coffee beans. The palate offers notes of sugared almonds, cocoa, coffee, peat and soft fruits, before a lingering, smoky finish.

Billy Abbott, The Whisky Exchange

  • NOSE – Dried cherries, plump raisins and rich, leathery notes lead. Smokiness sits at the centre, a mixture of charred oak, coal and thick, savoury peat smoke, with a touch of singed roast beef. Fruit builds, with more cherries and raisins joined by mixed peel and wood-roasted apples. Bandage and sticking-plaster medicinal notes sneak out through the gaps in the dense aromas, with a touch of bittersweet, grown-up chocolate brownie to follow.

  • PALATE – Rich and thick, with chocolate sauce and cherry jam interleaved with layers of rich earth and leather. Burnt raisins sit at the core surrounded by tingling menthol and aniseed notes, all balanced by raisin jam and black liquorice sweetness.
  • FINISH – Tar and leather are joined by blackcurrant jam, dark mint-chocolate chips and cherry jam spread thickly on black bread.
  • COMMENT – A beast of a dram, with waves of sherry oak teeteringly balanced against Edradour’s intensely peated spirit.

So there you have it! Quite an exceptional array of whiskies – ranging in character from delicate and nuanced to robust and lively! Truly a special evening…

What else did we explore that night with Sukhinder Singh?

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The Whisky Warehouse No. 8 – Regions

So how many Scottish regions are there? Six (Campbeltown, Highland, Island, Islay, Lowland, Speyside), five (dropping the unofficial Island) or in the case of The Whisky Warehouse No. 8 there are four regions represented in their tasting set:

I picked up two sets of the initial quartet in early February 2021 – one for me and one for my tasting companions in Paris. Our tasting session kept getting postponed and our London friend also wanted to join, so in October 2021 a third set was acquired with two substitutions: Miltonduff 14 instead of 11 year and Inchfad 14 year (02/2005 – 04/2019) 55.5% for the Braon Peat. It still took until February 2022 – yes one year later! – to finally sit down and taste together.

It was such a terrific experience that we enthusiastically ordered another set from Whisky Warehouse No. 8! So don’t be surprised if the list of tastings from this German independent bottler grows longer. In the meantime, here are a few more we’ve tasted so far….

We’ll openly admit we also really like the wooden box with its 2 cl bottles that can tightly seal and hence travel well. They have become my preferred way to carry samples across borders. Whilst a 3 cl bottle is preferable if sharing with another, for one person we truly find 2 cl more than enough to get a good feel for a whisky’s character.

With Whisky Festivals still curtailed or limited, being able to explore this way has been terrific fun – all thanks to an introduction at The Village whisky fest in Nurnberg back in 2020.

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PS – Photo reproduced from Whisky Warehouse No. 8 website

Gordon + MacPhail – Coming treats!

It has been far too long since I enjoyed whiskies bottled by Gordon & MacPhail. So as I was doing a wee online whisky “window shopping”, I found myself giving into temptation…

What did I pick? One distillery label dram with Glenburgie… and two from their Discovery range. I’d first tried their “intro” range in Singapore at Whisky Live in 2018... including this Miltonduff – enough to know I wanted to try it again!

  • Glenburgie 21 year 43% – EUR 109 (in photo) and Glenburgie (2004/2019) 43% – EUR 62
  • Miltonduff 10 year 43% (G&M Discovery) – EUR 50
  • Glenrothes 11 year 43% (G&M Discovery) – EUR 49


Glenburgie is one of the distilleries that has granted Gordon & Macphail the right to use “Distillery Label” on their bottles. It is also a distillery that I generally find delightful with its lighter, elegant character… Hence why I bought two – approx 15 years and 21 year to join a 3rd 200 ml bottle picked up in Glasgow last year.

I may search for another Gordon & MacPhail Discovery dram to split into two sessions: Gordon & MacPhail Discovery and Glenburgie. Recommendations welcome!!

For now… these whiskies will patiently wait for the right opportunity and company.

All bottles were purchased from an online distributor in Germany – Whic – at full price. Which lead to a wee ‘bonus’ dram of Speyburn 10 year 40%.

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Additionally, there are the two ‘off-shoots’ with: