Whisky Lady – April 2021

Being based in Europe means we have the luxury of both a relatively regular supply of Scottish whiskies – at least from pre-Brexit stock! Plus access to an interesting and growing array of European whiskies.

I like mixing things up with tastings – exploring with different people, gaining insights from the folks making the whiskies – along with having some “steady” tasting companions, so we go on a journey together able to contrast and compare previous whiskies to deepen insight of the dram in front of us at the time. Naturally, these days this is all virtual and as its not much fun being on camera with folks all trying something different, extra effort is needed to coordinate a common beverage to quaff.

With our Whisky Ladies European Chapter we have cracked this conundrum! We’ve relatively easily managed to share between France and Germany – enough to have a few sessions lined up in advance even!

For our Euro Ladies April session, we dove into some French Fancies exploring:

My April posts include our session from last month – held late March. That evening we closed our Diageo Flora & Fauna explorations with a second trio of:

What else? I’ll confess to ordering a few more Scottish whiskies – with a bit of a Gordon & MacPhail slant, added the Forbidden plus Smoke and Oak to my Shelter Point collection stored in Canada.

While those ones may need to wait a while, for more immediate consumption, I picked up a trio from Bellevoye to enjoy with my tasting companions in Paris in the coming months. These bottles join a quintet generously sent by the folks at The Belgian Owl and the Whisky Warehouse No 8 “Regions” boxed set I had purchased earlier. Clearly we are working hard to ensure we have something interesting to distract us each month!

All of this purchasing activity led to being sent a bonus “mini” of the Speyburn 10 year 40%. It was nice to enjoy a revisit of an old familiar after several years.

My month of malty musings closed with a traipse down memory lane with The Scotch Malt Whisky Society...

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

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

Scotch Malt Whisky Society – Malty Musings

Once upon a time the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) were in India… briefly in 2013… However thanks to convoluted rules, it became impossible hence SMWS drams come only personal import.

For me, the SMWS took on a near ‘mythic’ quality. I would delight in their titles and the sometimes hilarious tasting notes.

Now that I am living in Europe, I no longer have such limitations of Indian customs… True there are different ones, particularly with Brexit first making a mess of smooth shipments from Scotland followed by complete stop of direct imports from the UK, however there remain all sorts of options.

Somehow, SMWS just hasn’t made its way into the mix…

Today, I happened to be feeing a bit nostalgic so that to share a summary of SMWS drams past… Curious if others have tried and had other opinions??

Cragganmore

Glenrothes

Laphroaig

Mortlach

Strathclyde

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Whisky Lady – March 2021

How is it that time seems to be both slow and slip past in a blink at the same time? That’s what March felt like… However we did manage to keep up with a few whisky explorations!

Whisky wise we certainly got creative with holding a couple sessions to explore a Campbeltown Trio

Our European Chapter of the Whisky Ladies also had fun with our 2nd quartet from Whisky Warehouse No. 8 this time featuring:

  • Glenturret 8 year (Dec 2020 – Apr 2019) Bourbon Hogshead 57.5% – Be a wee bit patient with this one…. to be rewarded with light peat and sweet
  • Ardmore 16 year (May 2000 / Feb 2017) Bourbon Barrel 52.3% – A more traditional style, something for Après ski!
  • Bunnahabhain 14 year (24 Oct 2002 / 31 Oct 2016) Bourbon Hogshead 3048, 56.7% – One of the best Bunna’s I’ve had in a long time!
  • Inchfad (Loch Lomond) 15 year (Feb 2005 – April 2019) Bourbon Hogshead 55.5% – Also give it time to reveal a bit of fruity ginger, honey spice

Just to keep the creative tasting buds working, I had fun with a wee solo exploration of some minis from Old Particular :

After a long-distance ‘teaser’ in February with the founder and master distiller from The Belgian Owl and his Whisky Ambassador, five 50 cl – yes cl not ml – whiskies made their way to Paris and Nurnberg… impatiently waiting their turn to be tasted together with another set making its way from Brussels to Bombay!

The month closed with another trio from Diageo’s Flora and Fauna range, however will save tasting notes for April!

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

And if you don’t want to miss a post, why not follow Whisky Lady on:

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

The Whisky Warehouse No. 8 – Inchfad (Loch Lomond) 15 year 55.5%

Loch Lomond goes by many names… From Loch Lomond to Inchmurrin to Inchmoan to Croftnegea – including Inchfad like this one. We speculated that this is all a marketing ploy – different brand names for slightly different expressions to tease the curious to select. Do we fall for it? Of course!

However above all, what matters is what we discover when explore… so for the last in our The Warehouse Collection quartet, we dove into this cask strength Loch Lomond dram!

Inchfad (Loch Lomond) 15 year (Feb 2005 – April 2019) Bourbon Hogshead Cask W8 438 55.5%, 300 Bottles

  • Nose – Oh my! Is that Pringles BBQ chips? However a curious thing happened, we went from hello peat to huh? Was there peat? Porridge, wet leaves, a bit metallic
  • Palate – Light peat was back, a bit spicy, coppery, a herbal medicinal quality
  • Finish – Limited
  • Water – To be honest, don’t think we even tried!

Our first thought was – better than the Glenturret (this was before the revisit) – has some “oomph!” and character, however… was it something that really stood out for us? Not really.

However like all the whiskies we sampled that evening, we set it aside and revisited. Interesting! After some time there was fruit, a dash of ginger, a bit of honey spice. It certainly improved after some time to open up… becoming an enjoyable drinking dram.

Curious about other Loch Lomond experiences?

What else did I try in the Whisky Warehouse No. 8 “Last Chance” set?

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The Whisky Warehouse No. 8 – Ardmore 16 year

When I think of Ardmore, I tend to think of a lightly peated Highland dram… In many cases, I’ve had only fleeting sips rather than proper tasting… or it has been on offer at a social gathering, leaving a generally pleasant impression. So was looking forward to sitting down and giving an Ardmore some proper focus and attention… Even better, to have company with tasting cohorts joining virtually from Paris on a fine Friday evening in March 2021.

Here’s what we discovered….

Ardmore 16 year (May 2000 / Feb 2017) Bourbon Barrel Cask W80226, 52.3% 159 Bottles

  • Nose – Apricots, walnuts, pineapple and banana, vanilla flambe, some black current or black rasperry, a mix of fresh herbs like myrtle, black old fashioned licorice…
  • Palate – Oh yum! Fabulous on the tongue, cinnamon spice, butter brioche, nuts
  • Finish – A lovely finish – long, strong and very tasty
  • Water – The nose again became fruitier, tobacco leaf, hint of ajwain

Overall there was quite a ‘traditional’ style, with aromas that are less sweet, more savoury in a satisfying way. The kind of dram you would enjoy coming in from the cold like Après ski!

We set it aside and carried on tasting the others in our miniature set… and returned to find it was less fruity but still fabulous, with a nice juniper hint joining the buttery cinnamon spice. It was interesting enough to prompt checking availability of a full bottle – alas it seems out of stock – and like most of these single cask independent bottles, once you missed your chance, that is it!

Curious about other Ardmore experiences?

My Whisky Warehouse “Last Chance” set also contained:

What about prior explorations from Whisky Warehouse No. 8? Here’s our growing list:

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The Whisky Warehouse No. 8 – Last Chance!

I found myself back from India in Germany, considering our upcoming Whisky Ladies European Chapter adventures… 2021 promised to be a good year with a mix of opportunities to explore.

However an unspoken shadow loomed – not only the challenges of COVID but also Brexit. Yes Brexit. What was once easy to accomplish – see what piqued ones curiosity, order online and and eventually it would make its way to ones door – became considerably more complex.

After an overall positive experience with The Whisky Warehouse No. 8 single cask samples, I thought to order another set… to discover fewer and fewer options were available… an no indication of anything new from 2020. Hmm… not a good sign…

So I immediately ordered their 4 Region set and the balance 4 whiskies we hadn’t yet tried. And that was it! Between the Glencadam I picked up at The Village, the earlier quartet, we will somehow manage to explore ALL that is available from this independent bottler currently. Leaving us with sinking sensation that the Scottish side of our explorations may wane in favour of more accessible European options.

My “Last Chance” set contained this quartet – just click on the title link for the full tasting experience!

  • Glenturret 8 year (Dec 2020 – Apr 2019) Bourbon Hogshead 57.5% 330 Bottles – Be a wee bit patient with this one…. to be rewarded with light peat and sweet
  • Ardmore 16 year (May 2000 / Feb 2017) Bourbon Barrel 52.3% 159 Bottles – A more traditional style, something for Après ski!
  • Bunnahabhain 14 year (24 Oct 2002 / 31 Oct 2016) Bourbon Hogshead 3048, 56.7% 307 Bottles – One of the best Bunna’s I’ve had in a long time!
  • Inchfad (Loch Lomond) 15 year (Feb 2005 – April 2019) Bourbon Hogshead 55.5% 300 Bottles – Also give it time to reveal a bit of fruity ginger, honey spice

What about prior explorations from Whisky Warehouse No. 8? Here are a few…

And coming up next will be the Whisky Warehouse No. 8 Regions set with:

  • Lowland – Port Dundas 10 year (Oct 2009 – Oct 2019) Refill Sherry 47.9%
  • Highland – Deanston 10 year (Sep 2009 – Oct 2019) Bourbon Barrel 57.3%
  • Speyside – Miltonduff 11 years (Feb 1995 – Oct 2015) Bourbon Hogshead 59.5%
  • Islay – Braon Peat Batch 7 (15 April 2019) 57.5%

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Old Particular Trio – Jura, Mortlach, Talisker

Ahh…. time to bring back the minis! Sample a wee trio or quartet – preferably from an independent bottler or with some kind of cohesive theme.

Enter my Drinks by the Drams Single Cask advent calendar from 2018 – bought as a ‘welcome’ present for my new home in Germany – back in October 2019!

Yes… I realize it is already 2021… but who says you need to crack things open immediately? Some could argue patience is a virtue!

However what it does mean is that the exact cask I sampled is likely long ago sold out or only available via auction.

That said, the bottler – in this case a trio from Old Particular from Douglas Laing – is very much bottling other single casks for your current sampling pleasure.

So what did I select?

This particular range focuses on single casks – bottled not at the typical “Connoisseur’s” strength of 46% but 48.4%.

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Whisky Lady – February 2021

February began in India – desultory summer-like days of sunshine in our country home, quick zip back to Mumbai before hoping back on a plane and train for a chilly overcast welcome back to Germany. A bit of snow, some rain and sunny days… lots of work and in a mere blink, the month was finished!

On the whisky side, I re-packed my 2018 Whisky Advent Calendar (That Boutique-y Whisky Company)…. confident there will be future opportunities when back in India – hopefully in July or December 2021!

Overcoming various logistical hurdles, I had an opportunity to ‘catch-up’ with a missed session, share with others a ‘repeat’ of an earlier session and continue our Euro-Indian sub-continent connect! There was also couple ‘teasers’ – chat with the folks behind The Belgian Owl and an Elements of Islay evening the I experienced vicariously through friends in Mumbai.

Our Diageo Flora & Fauna explorations started with a trio of:

A bit of an Xmas hangover, I had a wee gift trio from vom Fass which featured:

Our fabulous Whisky Ladies of Mumbai held a December session with a decidedly Peaty theme… Kindly samples were set aside and one quiet evening in Nurnberg, I

Also in a ‘catch-up’ type mode, I shared with a couple gents in Mumbai the Arran vertical flight… with another session with our Euro ladies coming up!

The month’s tasting adventures closed with the 1st of two sessions exploring a mystery “C” trio… to be revealed next month! So stay tuned…

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

And if you don’t want to miss a post, why not follow Whisky Lady on:

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

Peaty persuasion – Laphroaig, Spirit of Hven, High Coast

One of our fabulous Whisky Ladies is known for her “peaty persuasion”… a penchant for a smoky dram with a bit more substance…

While based in Mumbai, she hails from Sweden so this means over the years, through various trips to spend time with family, she has generously brought back quite an interesting array of whiskies from her homeland.

During these strange Corona times, her most recent journey was extended and enabled sparking the creation of our wee Whisky Ladies European Chapter. Coming back to India, she injected much needed new drams to perk up the palates of our Whisky Ladies of Mumbai at the close of 2020.

Alas I was still in Europe so missed the session, however she very kindly kept aside minis which I brought back with me from Mumbai to Nurnberg.

Why not try in India?

Truthfully, over the years unlike my friend, I’ve found myself shifting away from peaty whiskies. I don’t dislike them, just simply find I’ve enjoyed other profiles more. And yet a curious thing happened since moving to Europe… I’m starting to gravitate back to a smokier style.

Context is everything when it comes to whisky appreciation. When the ambient temperature hovers around 30’c or more, somehow a peaty whisky for me at least, isn’t quite right. Dial down the temperature, come in from the cold and voila! Suddenly that peat is perfection and just hits the spot!

Think of it like having a fireplace – for us in Canada, growing up with a fireplace is fairly common. We would spend a winter evening enjoying the ‘toasty’ aroma and warmth that comes from a happy crackling fire. For me, it is particularly associated with Christmas time in Winnipeg with family.

But would we light it in summer? Huh? Seriously?!

You get my drift…

And with that, I present the trio shared in December 2020 with the Whisky Ladies of Mumbai that made it back to Germany in February 2021:

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That Boutique-y Whisky Company Advent Calendar (2018)

Once upon a time, a lass thought to creatively sustain whisky explorations by acquiring a collection of miniatures. And what better than cask strength, single cask bottlings from That Boutique-y Whisky Company?

A little off-season, a 2018 Advent Calendar was bought early 2019 and brought from the UK to India, patiently waiting for the right opportunities to explore, a few minis at a time, preferably with a tasting companion.

And then? Well… priorities shifted including a move from India to Germany, so my lovely calendar had to be even more patient… for a full year until I was finally permitted to return home.

So there I was, in 2021… finally back in India… contemplating which choices from such plenty should accompany a quiet evening or two during my long pending trip home…

And then once again, deliberately delayed cracking open these beauties – opting instead to polish off/chuck partial minis from past tasting sessions to free up sufficient small bottles for virtual tastings.

Before putting my advent calendar back into storage, I decided to check what actually came! Knowing full well so many years later it may be challenging to track down official tasting notes let alone a full bottle if I discover a real stunner.

So consider this a teaser – for you and for me – as these lovely little samples have been carefully repacked to patiently wait many more months…

Campbeltown

Highland whiskies:

Islay whiskies:

Speyside whiskies:

British / Irish whiskies (non-Scottish)

World whiskies:

Undisclosed Scottish Blends:

And with that, this lovely box goes back to await another trip and another time…

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