Seasonal Treat – Arran Gold Cream Liqueur 17%

Tis the season and all that! If I had been back in Canada this time of year, rich, spiced, liberally spiked egg nog would very likely be encountered at some point.

Thinking of this tempted me to try out the Arran Gold Liqueuer… and I’m so happy I did! This is no Bailey’s Irish cream… it is less cloyingly sweet (a good thing in my books!), full flavoured with a delightful whisky kick. It was just the right indulgence to get into the seasonal mood in Nurnberg

What do the folks at Arran have to say?

Since its launch in 2004, it has become incredibly popular and everyone who has tasted Arran Gold agrees that they would happily ditch their usual bland cream liqueur in favour of this deeply delicious treat. Made with a healthy dose of Arran, this is a cream liqueur where you can really taste the quality. Try it on its own chilled, with ice, in coffee or even as part of a pudding.

Here are the official tasting notes:

  • Nose – Toffee, creamy fudge
  • Palate – Chocolate, cassis, a wee touch of fresh mint
  • Finish – Sweetness, Honey.

I would tend to agree! Nothing to argue or add, just sip and enjoy it for what it is.

I picked up the Arran Gold from Dein Whisky for EUR 17 late 2021.

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GlenAllachie Whisky Tasting with Juliette and Richard

There it was… a slightly dull grey December day in Nurnberg… a busy working week that was happily interrupted by a small commitment – an online tasting with many other Germany based enthusiasts with a breath of “virtual” Scottish air with Richard Beattie, Operation Director and Juliette Buchan of GlenAllachie.

The quintet was all lined up – including one specially bottled for Germany:

  • GlenAllachie 12 year 46%
  • GlenAllachie 15 year 46%
  • GlenAllachie 11 year Madeira Barrique Cask bottled for whic.de 60.7%
  • GlenAllachie 12 year French Virgin Oak 48%
  • GlenAllachie 12 year Marsala Wood Finish 48%

Richard kicked off our evening with two from their core range… deliberately postponing the French Oak until Juliette could join – delayed slightly by COVID travel complications.

So we poured our first glass and our tasting began…

GlenAllachie 12 year 46%

  • Colour – Deep mahogany
  • Nose – Butterscotch, honey raisin, really heavy mocha, nutty – mostly almonds,
  • Palate – Vanilla chocolate, fruits and caramel, heavy with dark chocolate and orange
  • Finish – Carried through
  • Water – Lightened and brightened the dram – brought out some delightful notes and the palate softened into an indulgent chocolate christmasy ginger snap treat

Overall I found the 12 year really quite rich and robust – with an intensity that mellowed slightly with a generous dash of water.

As we tasted, Richard regaled us with tales of Billy Walker taking over the distillery from Pernod Ricard in 2017. His desire to slow things down, approach to “listening” to what the casks say to him before deciding what to do next… often moving the golden liquid around 3 or 4 times to achieve the desired effect.


GlenAllachie 15 year 46%

  • Colour – Also mahogany, just a hint lighter than the 12 year
  • Nose – A lovely light caramel and sweet toffee, subtle spices, ripe raisins, chocolate milk and brownies, fruits – particularly cherries and plums
  • Palate – Much more powerful than anticipated from the aromas. Full bodied and fabulous! Tropical fruits, mocha and orange peel…. Toffifee with butterscotch, noughat and hazelnuts, silky smooth
  • Finish – Gorgeous finish with vanilla oak
  • Water – Narry a temptation to add even one drop!

Much more subtle and elegant than the 12 year. Less fire more warmth… simply a delight on the nose and far too easy to sip.

We set it aside and when I came back to revisit – Wow! This really is a lovely dram… something to slow down and simply enjoy.


After such a class act, our hosts shifted gears significantly and plunged straight into a full cask strength Madeira finish. This was selected by the Whic.de folks after an earlier Madeira cask experience… what did we discover with this one?

GlenAllachie 11 year (2009/2021) Madeira Barrique Cask No. 7654 60.7%, bottled for whic.de 

  • Nose – Curious… and most certainly a significant shift from the 15 year, the Madeira influence was quite clear
  • Palate – Peppery spice, robust with rich wine influence, punchy, heavy and not in the least bit shy
  • Finish Noughat with a hint of fruit
  • Water – For me, an absolute must with this whisky. I found it really opened up the dram, with juicy fruits coming forward

It was described as a hot vacation in a glass – bringing the southern European island character to the fore. Not at all subtle with really strong influence of the Madeira but once you made the adjustment, quite something.

As a sign of the times, distillery tours aren’t possible so the good folks at GlenAllachie put together quite a terrific video which gives a real sense of the team behind the whiskies and their approach.


We continued on with one of GlenAllachie’s “Virgin Oak” expressions – in this case as a nod to Juliette’s French origins, we tasted the French Oak.

GlenAllachie 12 year French Virgin Oak 48%

  • Nose – Fresh cut wood, generous heaps of honey, organ blossoms, peach jam
  • Palate – Juicy, generous honey, butterscotch, hints of mocha and cinnamon with a citrus twist with sweet wood, complex and delicious
  • Finish – Long, with a nice woody bitterness chase by red chilli that added quite a nice element
  • Water – No need

Compared with the standard 12 year, the French Oak was considerably more nuanced, all the more entrancing for its restraint. We found it most enjoyable and the honeyed sweetness kept drawing me back.

Juliette shared this whisky first matured in ex-bourbon casks before spending approx 18 months in “Chinkapin” Quercus Robur hogsheads sourced from the Haute-Garonne region close to the Pyrenees.

Juliette explained the other two – Spanish and American virgin oak casks – were quite representative of the character of the different countries from which the virgin oak barrels were sourced.


Our final dram was one of their wood finish series – with a 12 year (rather than 13) which is available exclusively in Germany.

GlenAllachie 12 year Marsala Wood Finish 48%

  • Nose – Subtle honey, stewed apples, cinnamon and cream
  • Palate – Simply fabulous on the palate, very juicy, bursting with orchard fruits like pears and apples chased by more honey
  • Finish – Light yet lovely and long
  • Water – Again, no need

I will fully admit, I fell for the experience – hook, line and sinker! Ordering immediately a quartet for an indeterminate future date…Who knows when that will be! However I might shift the tasting order a wee bit… Perhaps starting with the elegant French Oak, then play with the Marsala Wood finish followed by the refined 15 year and powerful 12 year.

Overall, it was a terrific distraction and I was most grateful the tasting was held in English so that I could partake!

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Longrow Peated 46%

It has been awhile since I’ve had this Peaty no age statement whisky from Springbank – about four years ago to be exact! For those not familiar, this Campbeltown distillery has three different “brands” – their original Springbank, a mid-peat Hazelburn and their peatiest avatar Longrow.

Longrow Peated 46%

  • Nose – Medicinal, quite industrial or think of an old railway car sleeper, a baked potato cooked in a campfire, starting to become more malty, some cinnamon, then became sweeter and sweeter with a nice fruitiness peaking through, even a dash of salt
  • Palate – Initially a wee bit harsh – wakes you up! Then settles into spice and fruit, solid, chased by a smokey malty cinnamon, peppery
  • Finish – Not so much on 1st sip however by the next, you realize there is just a light peppery peat curl that remains

Reading through our tasting notes you might think, huh? But here is the thing… for me, whisky preferences are vastly influenced by environment. What works fabulously in one context may just flop in another.

What about this one?

Let me set the stage… we had just spent the day walking around the picturesque Kallmunz. I’d been there in the summer and was utterly enchanted…. the old fortress on the hill, the lake below, quaint old colourful homes  Fast forward to November… and it was the opposite! It was overcast, drizzling and frankly frigid… company was great but the weather was frankly miserable.

So when we cracked open the Longrow, all I could think is… Now THIS is the kind of whisky you want when coming in from a cold, wet day… warms you up from the inside! One of those “I’m a serious wake-up whisky”

What do the folks at Springbank have to say about their Longrow?

Longrow Peated offers those who enjoy a heavily peated whisky the chance to enjoy a lingering smoky taste that travels through the senses like the smoke billows from a kiln.

  • Nose: Very creamy, vanilla custard. The smoke develops and toasted marshmallows, herbs and rich fruits appear over time.
  • Palate: Incredibly well balanced – rich and creamy with a slight medicinal hint. The smoke is always present and washes over the palate in waves.
  • Finish: The gentle smoke lingers and lingers.

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Mini Malts – The Arran 14 year 46%

Once upon a time there were apparently several distilleries (or only three?) on the Isle of Arran, naturally these were unofficial away from the taxman’s eagle eyes… fast forward to 2016 when I picked up this mini and The Lochranza distillery was the only one found on the island and one of Scotland’s few independent distilleries. Or so the story goes

Opened in 1995, there is a growing interest in what Arran is producing. Much of what you may find plays around with different finishes… I spotted a ruby red Amarone wine finish at a Manitoba Liquor Mart and have coveted it ever since! A Port cask finish bottle sat in my whisky cabinet for over a year waiting patiently for an appropriate evening to sample.

In one of those twists, I actually sampled the cask finishes – Port and Amarone – before finally getting around to trying its traditional age statement avatars. Even more amusing is after acquiring this mini, I picked up a full bottle and used it to launch a special vertical tasting after an amazing trip to Lochranza distillery on Isle of Arran! Which has now also been joined by its “cousin” – Lagg distillery – both of which I had the pleasure of visiting late 2020.

So what happened to this mini? Well…. I brought it to our wee country home, together with the last drops of the full bottle and shared with a neighbour one fine evening. It was fascinating to contrast and compare the same vintage…

Here’s what we found…

The Arran 14 year 46%Arran 14 year

  • Colour – Rich amber gold, a shade darker than the later edition
  • Nose – Fruity like the full bottle but a deeper sherry influence, richer darker fruits, nutty, also shifted into sweet cinnamon apple pie, chased by caramel toffee
  • Palate – Delicious! Just like its later edition, it was smooth, full and most enjoyable with more of that sherry influence, orange with sweet spices of cinnamon and cloves joined by plump dates and hazelnuts
  • Finish – More sweet spices, satisfying

Overall it was simply enjoyable… a perfect sipping dram to sit back and relax, savouring. An absolute treat and cemented yet again how much I enjoy what the Lochranza distillery produces!

Here’s what the Arran folks had to say:

The Arran 14 year-old is an immensely popular part of our core range of Single Malt. It is a perfectly balanced marriage of both first fill Sherry and Bourbon casks and is a righly rewarding Single Malt with depth of character and zest. It captures perfectly all the fresh character of the Arran 10 year-old with an added layer of intensity and fruitiness.

  • Nose: Dried fruits, vanilla and toffee up front. With a little water a salty tang appears, with caramelised fruits indicating a depth of flavour to come.
  • Palate: An initial burst of brine leads onto warming toffee apples and hazelnuts. This is followed by dates, chocolate orange and spiced tea cake. The mouthfeel is overwhelmingly rich and weighty.
  • Finish: A trademark Arran finish with cinnamon spices leading back to where the experience began, with a classic island-style salty wave balancing the sweet fruit of the palate.

This sample was purchased in 2016 from London’s Whisky Exchange together with:

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Compass Box Enlightenment 46%

It has been awhile since I’ve sat down with a Compass Box blend… more than two years! And this opportunity came completely unexpectedly.

It was an August evening in Mumbai where a few of us from our original tasting group re-united for a special evening. I’d intended to simply share what I had recently opened during that trip. However to my very pleasant surprise, one of our lovely tasting companions came with three unique bottles for us to experience – what fun!

What did we think?

Compass Box Enlightenment 46%

  • Nose – A bit shy at 1st then blooms, has blown candles, waxy, honey, tobacco leaf, green peppercorn, black vanilla pod, lemon, fragrant – lightly floral and fruity
  • Palate – Good an spicy, lots of character, powerful, waxy and oily… the spice tamed… and softened into fruitiness – now more berry than apple or citrus, underneath it more of that delicate floral almost herbal quality
  • Finish – Fruity honey

We tasted it blind and began speculating about the cask – could it be French oak 1st fill? American? And where was the spice coming from? Was it a single malt or something else? Ah.. we were definitely having more questions than answers until the reveal!

And what a reveal – you have to appreciate Compass Box commitment to transparency – pushing the boundaries of what is permitted.

I brought a couple samples back with me to Germany, forwarded on to Paris to revisit some evening – hopefully in the not to distant future.

Here is what John Glaser has to say about Enlightenment:

Inspired by the writers, philosophers and scientists of the Age of Enlightenment it sets out to encourage the industry to consider the absurdity of a system that prevents producers from telling consumers exactly what has gone into the whiskies they are drinking.

And of course the whisky itself is something rather special. A blend of fruity, fragrant Highland Single Malt Scotch Whiskies, it is bursting with aromas of fresh orchard fruit, flavours of vanilla, soft spice and pear and an alluring apple peel waxiness on the finish. An uplifting, enlightening whisky with which to ponder the world of Scotch not only as it is but also as it could be.

What’s the recipe?

  • 48.2% Clynelish 1st fill American standard barrel – Bright apple, waxiness
  • 36.7% Glentauchers 1st fill American standard barrel – Fruity, herbal
  • 10.8% Balblair 1st fill American standard barrel – Perfumed, bright
  • 4.3% Mortlach rejuvenated American standard barrel – Muscular, weighty

And the official tasting notes?

Fresh, vibrant and uplifting with a mouthfeel that is moreish and mouth-watering. On the nose you will find bright apple and pear, vanilla cream and light violet; on the palate soft spice, gentle citric notes and more of that uplifting orchard fruit character.

Enlightenment is a limited edition blend bottled in April 2016 with 5,922 bottles. As for the price? Hard to say as it isn’t so readily available now.

What else did we try that evening?

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Back to blends – James Eadie’s Trade Mark ‘X’ 45.6%

For the most part, our whisky wanderings are firmly in the single malt category… with a few exceptions. This James Eadie that made an appearance in Aug 2021 was one such occurrence.

It was hunted down by a fellow whisky explorer who after we tasted shared the story of Rupert Patrick – the current owner – who found records of his great-great-grandfather’s blend, sampled some surviving bottles (turns out they were from the 1940s!) and then worked to reconstruct with a whisky expert (Norman Mathison).

What more do we know about James Eadie? For this particular “X” edition, their website shares:

In recreating Trade Mark ‘X’, only whiskies form distilleries which he personally bought from have been included in this blend – including some which have long ceased production.

As he specified, these whiskies were matured in either American oak or sherry wood.

Finally, we invited veteran Master Blender Norman Mathison to use his four decades’ worth of expertise to bring Mr. Eadie’s whisky back to life.

The result is an elegant, peaty dram, which offers a rare glimpse into the art of blending from the first Golden Age of Scotch whisky.

So that was the promise, what about our experience with the liquid?

James Eadie 2017 45.6%

  • Nose – Oh my! Initially quite sharp, lemon varnish, the fruity, cereals, bourbon sour, some yoghurt then… it started to shift dramatically to reveal hints of savoury meats, yet throughout retaining a “light” style.
  • Palate – Flavourful, fruity, silky sweet with spice at the back, lots of white peppercorns and fresh capsicum, hay, buttered toast
  • Finish – Hmm… is that cinnamon? With a dash of ginger?

We tasted this blind and initially thought it may have quite a high alcohol strength… however as it settled in the glass though perhaps not after all as it went from punchy sharp to quite light.

We didn’t initially think of adding water but thought, why not?

What a discovery! It became quite lively with a lovely peat revealed. While it made the body lighter, it gave more character and style. Well worth trying that way.

With the reveal we were all surprised – while we couldn’t guess the distillery we didn’t catch on to it being a blend either. Interesting. Our whisky “host” shared the cost – which I later looked up as being EUR 45.

I kept aside two small samples – one to take back and keep in Nurnberg and another to forward on to Paris. In a few months some additional impressions may join our original thoughts. I’m looking forward as this definitely was one I’d like to revisit!

What else did we try that evening?

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A venerable Glenglassaugh 40 year (1965) 47.8%

One of the best things about a good Whisky Festival or very well stocked bar is an opportunity to try something that ordinarily you would never be able to buy on your own… That is exactly why at Berlin’s  Union Jack we shared a very clear brief – we wanted to end our evening with something truly exceptional and rare. Our preference was a discontinued distillery – something that we would otherwise never ever have a chance to experience….

My tasting companion mentioned interest in a Port Ellen however we were open to anything. Our whisky guide for the evening consulted the Union Jack owner and came up with a remarkable short-list: Rosebank 25 year, Glen Ord 1975, Brora 27 year (2015), Macallan-Glenlivet 1968/1983 (Berry Bros)… to which we also added the Glenglassaugh 40 year (1965), which my eye had spotted as soon as we walked in the door… A light sniff of each bottle made the choice very clear…

Obviously you can tell which one we selected!

We had earlier discussed the Glenglassaugh distillery and how challenging it is to have stock of remarkable old vintage whiskies produced before its closure vs a young upstart that was – frankly speaking – initially bottled before it was ready. I shared how malt maniac Krishna Nakula was so enthusiastic about the “old” and had once shared a sample of the “new” make spirit from the re-start.

For those not familiar, Glenglassaugh followed the path of many a Scottish distillery. Founded in 1875 until its closure in 1986. It was re-opened in 2008 and had a wee bit of a rocky re-start however understand it is getting its game together and was joined a few years ago by master blender Rachel Barrie.

However enough pre-amble… what matters most is what we discovered!

Glenglassaugh 40 year (1965) 47.8% (Murray McDavid Mission) Bottle 084/411

  • Nose – Simply superb, berries mashed and fresh, nuanced, like an Eaton mess – full of crunchy mirage, berries and cream, an antique quality opening up further to reveal a hint of coffee richness, a fruity compote, red liquorice, red candies
  • Palate – Exquisite, soft yet big, silky smooth, full flavoured yet elegant, more of that hint of coffee, so balanced with a curl of smoke sneaking up from behind, chocolate coffee cream
  • Finish – Gorgeous – such a long fruity fabulous finish

Having the great fortune of sampling a few venerable, I was poised for something a bit shy… instead this was an absolute delight. Classic and yet still full and flavourful, not a single off note instead it was pure indulgence.

There was such sophistication – from bursting berries to that hint of smoke… it was simply outstanding and well worth choosing as our grand finale.

What more do we know? The label shares it was matured in Sherry and Rivesaltes Casks. I’ll admit I had to look up “Rivesaltes” to find it is a sweet wine made from red or white grapes from the Languedoc region of France. Like sherry, it is a fortified wine of which there are several variations using Grenache, Muscat, Malvoisie with styles ranging from amber, garnet, tuilé or rosé. I will certainly keep my eye out for “Rivesaltes” in future as it clearly did great things for this particular whisky along with the Sherry cask.

The best quote of the evening came from our guide?

“I just cry that they don’t make whisky like this anymore.”

To put into perspective, the average value of this bottle in auctions is approx € 1755 though likely impossible to find now. As for us? It set us back a hefty EUR 80 for a glass however we both felt privileged to have had an opportunity to try.

Before this “penultimate” dram, we had  explored three sets of “pairings” which included:

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Dynamic Duo 3 – SMWS Glenlossie 21 year vs Glenfarclas 21 year

For our last “pairing”, our guide selected two from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society – both 21 year and both cask strength. The idea this time was to play with different finishes – red wine vs PX sherry. Without further adieu – what did we think?

Scotch Malt Whisky Society 46.74 “Orchard perambulations” 21 year (18 September 1997) 54.4%

  • Nose – Mmm…. red currents and strawberries, a nice jammy mash, sour citrus cherries, wood, cinnamon, light liquorice, fresh cut bamboo, coconut and sweet hay
  • Palate – Intense flavours, tart enough to prompt puckering up, spice and berry burst, peat, very dry… as the aromas opened up the palate did too… revealing milky chocolate, creamy caramel… simply beautiful rolling around in your mouth
  • Finish – Long, subtle and really quite fabulous

Quite interesting, particularly as it opened up. One that is well worth trying with none of the tannins one sometimes finds with slightly ‘off notes’ in red wine cask matured whiskies. Instead just sit back, relax and enjoy the rather marvellous malty experience.

As for the folks at SMWS, what do they have to say?

Sweet warm fruits and creamy textures give way to darker fruit compotes, spices, nectars and wood resins. Previously in a bourbon hogshead.

What more do we know? As the label shares, it was matured in a 1st fill barrique / ex red wine with 245 bottles. Unlike some red wine matured whiskies… this one worked!

As for the distillery, it is an open secret that 46 = Glenlossie, in east Speyside. You won’t find official bottlings aside from a Diageo “Flora and Fauna” offering. In truth, it is actually two distilleries – Glenlossie and Mannochmore – a distillery we’ve increasingly started to appreciate more and more.

Scotch Malt Whisky Society 1.208 “Long Conversations by the crackling log fire” 21 year (5 March 1997) 54.3%

  • Nose – Mmmm… a lovely classic dry Sherry, robust, sweet, intense, a dash of spice with a nice nuttiness… fabulous
  • Palate – Just no comparison. Again – quite a marvel, sweet, tart, spice with a full burst of rich Sherry flavours – a proper sherry bomb! Well-rounded, rich, delicious, joined by orange marmalade with sweet spices of cloves, cinnamon
  • Finish – A peppery finish – specifically red cayenne or fresh paprika

The label shares that this whisky was matured in 1st fill hogshead / ex PX with 234 bottles.

What do the SMWS have to say?

Salted plums and cherry chilli liquorice, whilst diluted: tobacco and spiced oven dried orange cloves. previously in an ex-bourbon hogshead.

As for the distillery? Again it is relatively well known that the 1st SMWS distillery offering is none other than the family owned Glenfarclas.

This was the last of our “pairings” from our evening at The Union Jack before a complete indulgence!

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Dynamic Duo 2 – Bunnahabhain 25 year vs Tobermory 20 year

For our next dynamic duo, we went to independent bottlers – both new to me! From what little I could find, both seem to be German based… and were chosen by our whisky guide to contrast and compare drams in their 20s from Islay and Island.

Now I must admit, I’ve had a mixed relationship with Bunnahabhain – particularly their older whiskies which haven’t always lived up to expectations. However I’m always game to be be pleasantly surprised!

Bunnahabhain 25 years Single Cask (2016) 47.7% (Wiebers Brothers)

  • Nose – Citrus, hay, honey and yoghurt, very light toffee, milky and a bit shy, mineral, musty
  • Palate – Surprisingly light and effervescent, then took a slight odd turn – was that sweet pickles?? Followed by some cayenne pepper, tangy, more of that mineral quality, a tough vegetal
  • Finish – Verbena and cayenne

This definitely fit into the category of “ya gotta work it”… what was interesting is how the empty glass held more aromas than when it held liquid.

I still haven’t been able to find any details on Wiebers Brothers with this having a mere 120 bottles. We aren’t sure when the bottle was originally opened however it is possible it was for some time or not… one never knows the impact of oxidation on a whisky’s character.

Tobermory 20 years (1996/2016) 58.8% (The Alambic Classique Collection)

  • Nose – Lemon balm, beeswax, fresh, sweet grass, honey, fresh raw cashew nut… it began evolving becoming fruitier
  • Palate – Quite a contrast to the aromas! Sweet spices, pink and white peppercorns, lots of character without heat, beautiful and well rounded, light cinnamon
  • Finish – Wonderful! The flavours just carry on and on and on….

Once upon a time, we discovered “mouth breathing” whisky – where you take a good waft of aromas then swig and then breath, seeing what the whisky has to say. In this case, it was like having a lovely aromatic hookah.

Some whiskies are all the nose with the palate a pale shadow, others are the reverse. That would be the case here – an absolute stunner on the palate – really outstanding. This is also one of those drams where just a little goes a very long way – particularly with that remarkable finish. A true class act.

Alambic Classique has been an importer and wholesaler of specialty spirits since 1981, and is also an independent bottler for rare and exclusive single malt whiskeys from Scotland. Our bottle was from their Special Vintage Selection – cask strength, uncolored and not chill-filtered.

What more do we know about this one? It a bourbon barrel from a single cask with 247 bottles.

If you haven’t already gathered so far  – the Tobermory was for us the clear winner!

What else did we explore that evening at The Union Jack in Berlin?

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Dynamic Duo 1 – Benromach vs Cragganmore

It has been nearly three years since I first traveled to Berlin – one of those “live wire” global cities that has a palpable pulse of its own. A fellow whisky explorer let me know he was coming from London for the weekend so it made a perfect excuse to pop over for the weekend.

We went to the very well stocked Union Jack whisky bar! Turns out we were lucky to go on a Saturday – one of the two days in a week they are now open.

We were very well taken care of with carefully thought through choices. Our mandate was clear… we wanted to explore – two at a time til the grand finale of something utterly indulgent and extremely rare.

We wanted to start with an “appetizer” duolll something to ease into the evening. Our guide recommended

The thinking was to match to interesting yet ‘lighter’ options to whet our appetites. Particularly with the Cragganmore, we were assured this Distillers Edition is like none other and well worth trying. As for Benromach, we’ve enjoyed many a solid dram from this distillery.

So what did we think?

Cragganmore Distillers Edition (2008/2020) D6572 40%

  • Nose – Dried fruit, light spice with a woody musty malty aroma, mixed with the sweetness was a salty sour caramel. As it opened up further, it revealed orange marmalade with a citrus twist… and with even more time honeysuckle and a touch of hay
  • Palate – A nice spice, more whisky marmalade, woodiness…even resin, sweet spices of clove and black pepper, oily
  • Finish – More of that light spice, dry in a way that prompts you to ‘pucker up’ chased by oak and a touch of sweetness

It had a nice understated quality…. as for the marmalade? It was a distinctly “whisky” marmalade… which worked rather well. There was also much more body than the aromas would have suggested.

Overall it was an enjoyable start and much more interesting that we expected – particularly at a mere 40%.

Benromach 15 year 43%

  • Nose – Citrus oranges and calvados then a bit “woodsy” and beeswax polish, a dash of ginger and then…. after the 1st sip – wow peat?! Like having sweet roasted marshmallows crisped on a campfire, then sour cherries and a hint of sherry
  • Palate – Silky smooth with a lovely peat, elegant and balanced with toffee sweetness and fruity, hint of chocolate
  • Finish – A lovely long finish, truly lovely

Carrying on from the Cragganmore to the Benromach was a good choice! It was like shifting into an antique – it was like opening a lovely 1930 Art Deco cupboard to discover a special treat.

What else do we know? It was matured in 1st fill bourbon and sherry casks. An official bottling that is currently still available.

What do the folks at Benromach have to say?

  • Colour – dark amber
  • Aroma – Aromas of sweet toffee leading to notes of cracked black pepper and peat smoke. Rich forest fruits develop with dark chocolate and dried banana.
  • Palate – Creamy and sweet with ripe apples and an undertone of charred oak. Dark chocolate develops and leads to toasted malt and orange peel with a subtle hint of smoke.
  • Finish – Medium creamy finish with soft smoke and dried fruit

No doubt for us – the Benromach was the winner! What a treat!

If you were curious to try, they are both still available with the Cragganmore currently retailing for approx EUR 53 and the Benromach 15 for approx EUR 70.

As for what next? We had a few more to come…

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