Whisky Lady – May + June 2022

Trips tend to trigger whisky experiences for me! Whilst May was all in Germany, June brought a wedding in Cape Town (fabulous fun!) and every hope of a special whisky weekend in London…. dashed by a rather ill-timed bout with that cursed Covid.

So whilst I was laid flat on my back with complete loss of smell and taste (a true tragedy for a whisky aficionado!), a very special evening took place in London Sukhinder Singh (aka The Whisky Exchange) where our gents cracked open some seriously coveted Chorlton bottles:

  • Glen Elgin 12 year (21 April 2009 / summer 2021) refill hogshead 56.6%
  • Tormore 28 year (16 Nov 1992 / summer 2021) refill hogshead 42.4%
  • Orkney 22 year (9 Jun 1999 / February 2022) bourbon hogshead 53.4% (aka Highland Park) – A true treat!
  • Bunnahabhain 18 year (28 Feb 2002 / Dec 2021) sherry butt 53.4%

Samples were set aside for me to try another day…. in the meantime, I managed to catch two more sets of Chorlton’s:

  • From the May 2022 releases, I managed to snag all three! Now waiting patiently in London…  Teaninich 12 year 54.2%, Benrinnes 14 year 55%Faemussach 21 year 56%
  • And another trio from the Chorlton’s finally available in Europe! Mannochmore 13 year 59% Caol Ila 11 year 60.4% from the April 2022 releases and Staoisha (Bunnahabhain ) 8 year 59.9% from Dec 2021

However before being knocked out of commission, I had a chance to catch up on a few tasting notes…

Whilst I’m still only in India a few times a year (once in 2020, twice in 2021, and aiming for thrice in 2022!) our lovely Whisky Ladies of Mumbai have been very kind to set aside samples of some of their tasting sessions. Though I’d much prefer to join in person, at least this way I can (almost) feel like I’m keeping up with their remarkable whisky journey.

This is how I sampled the whiskies tried during the Whisky Ladies of Mumbai’s March 2022 session. It had a decidedly Canadian theme, courtesy of a fellow Canadian’s trip back in late 2021:

I also explored an assortment of different drams such as:

  • Compass Box Orchard House 46% – Whilst not sunshine and ripe fruits, for an affordable blend, can grow on you….
  • Hunter Laing Hepburn’s Choice Glenburgie 8 year (2007) 46% – Another one where anticipation from reality differed – had to recalibrate expectations from fruit orchard to tobacco leaf… must add water to this one!
  • Plus a return to a favourite distillery – Lochranza – to explore their exceedingly affordable ‘entry level’ Arran Barrel Reserve 43%

So my tasting adventures these months have been rather limited… however with a whisky festival coming up in Heidelberg in July, another in Hamburg I’m considering, plus both Paris and London in September, my hope is to get things back on track!

Curious to know more? Check out a few more monthly summaries:

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

Coveting Chorlton… Delayed pleasures

We’ve been on a bit of a “Chorlton” journey… I’ve become a complete fan of David’s cask choices, his gorgeous labels and so over the last few years I’ve done my best to snag a nice set or two with plans of having a few special tastings.

Last week I was supposed to be enjoying these beauties… carefully collected as a special 60th birthday celebration which was postponed a few times as we struggled to organize a gathering across countries. Finally the night was planned in London, flights booked and the bottles ready and waiting to be opened! And then along came a rather unpleasant bout with COVID…. sigh… So whilst I missed the evening, considerable enjoyment was reported along these lines:

  • Glen Elgin 12 year 56.6%A lovely appetizer dram
  • Tormore 28 year 42.4% One of those rare remarkable whiskies
  • Bunnahabhain 18 year 53.4%Really stood out
  • Plus a bonus bottle purchased by our birthday boy – the Orkney 22 year 53.4% (aka Highland Park) which also made quite the impression!

Hopefully, in a few months, there will be an opportunity to get to London and quite possibly snag a wee sample to experience myself!

Thanks to shipments finally making it to Europe, I have these lovelies with me in Nuremberg;

  • From April 2022 releases: Mannochmore 13 year 59%Caol Ila 11 year 60.4%
  • From December 2021 releases: Staoisha 8 year 59.9% (aka Bunnahabhain)

Whereas I’m not sure when I will be united with these waiting for me in London or Paris:

  • From December 2021 releases: Ledaig 12 year 55.5%Speyside (Glenrothes) 13 year 64.6%
  • From the May 2022 releases: Faemussach 21 year 56%Teaninich 12 year 54.2%Benrinnes 14 year 55%

However, I won’t be sampling these anytime soon! Not being very patient, I’m left with memories of previous tastings…

However rather than long for what I can’t try, here is a quick summary of those from Chorlton’s La Nouvelle Vague series I have had the pleasure of trying:

And from Chorlton‘s earlier L’Ancien Régime series:

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Arran Barrel Reserve 43% – Delicious ‘daily dram’ under Eur 30!

Otherwise known as the evening that proved sometimes the cheapest dram is the best!

The same evening I finally opened a much anticipated but somewhat disappointing Glenburgie 8 year, I also brought out a few Arran bottles…

Whilst there was nothing intrinsically WRONG with the Amarone, it didn’t live up to an earlier edition which was absolutely entrancing! Whereas the Port cask finish held its own. That shared, the real star of the evening was the Barrel Reserve!

Arran Barrel Reserve 43% (EUR 28)

  • Colour – Bright gold
  • Nose – Happy fruits – starts with apple sauce, then shifts into a fragrant apple orchard on a warm summer’s day! Chased by light floral apple or cherry blossoms, then vanilla and a hint of brown sugar spice shifting into salted caramel, candied apple
  • Palate – More substance than the nose alone would indicate, now we have apple crisp, spice and a bit of wood, some salted peanuts
  • Finish – Carries through, lightly bitter but in a good way, more of that vanilla and even a bit of toasty salted peanuts mixed with the light zing at the close….

This is simply one very enjoyable dram! No fuss, no muss, just easy-drinking pleasure. It is exactly as described by the folks at Arran – fresh, light, and elegant. And above all, an excellent reminder that one doesn’t always have to spend a crazy amount of money to buy a decent drink!

I’ve returned to this as a ‘daily dram’ (though naturally, I don’t actually drink daily!), meaning the favoured “go to” whisky. It consistently rewards and I must admit, I may just order another bottle while it can be found at these prices! Bravo Arran for a solid whisky that just hits the spot!

What do the folks at Arran have to say?

Bottled at 43%, the Barrel Reserve emphasizes the delicious, sweet fruit notes which are the hallmark of our distillery. A fantastic discovery!

The brand new Barrel Reserve is a fresh, light and elegant no-age-statement Single Malt Single Barrel Scotch Whisky. It is 100% matured in Bourbon Barrels and is going to become your go-to dram for every occasion – to be served neat, with ice or in a longer drink or cocktail.

  • Nose – Delicate apples and pears
  • Palate – Beautifully balanced citrus fruit and light vanilla sweetness with a burst of apple and delicate marine notes.
  • Finish – Sweetness, Spice, Charred Oak, Citrus, Vanilla

Early 2020, we came together to enjoy an Arran Vertical – 14 year 46%18 year 46%23 year (1996/2020) Sherry Hogshead Cask No 436, 52.6%.

A year later, we explored the Arran Cask Finishes with Sauternes 50%, Amarone 50%, Port 50%, “The Bodega” Sherry Cask 55.8%.

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