Whisky Lady – June 2021

Confession time – with Europe cautiously opening up again I simply couldn’t resist hopping on a train to Paris for a week!

A highlight of the trip was meeting Benjamin Kuentz, the man behind Maison Benjamin Kuentz that has enthralled us with his creations. As one Whisky Lady had hunted down the 1st edition of Aux Particules Vines, our focus was on that series joined by samples of the 4th and 5th editions. After our tasting, we were connected with a Parisian distributor who had the 3rd edition however so far the 2nd edition remains elusive!

We also avidly discussed our impression of the 2nd edition of Aveux Gourmands compared with the original – which we found more pronounced in the buttery salted caramel.

I took advantage of this trip to bring gifts of my much beloved Chorlton bottles and other samples for us to enjoy together. One evening we sat down together to try:

Before joining our Whisky Ladies in Europe, we held a virtual session exploring the quintet generously sent by the folks at The Belgian Owl.

  • Trying the spirit with Origine provided interesting insights into the underlying qualities
  • Their flagship Identité at only 3 years is friendly with delicious aromas
  • For us, the 3-year single cask Passion was the only disappointment, coming across as a bit unbalanced and ‘not quite there’ the way Identite nailed it… and curiously lacking “passion”
  • When we first tried the 4-year Evolution, we loved how it was a clear step forward from Identite, building on what we appreciated with the added maturity really augmenting the experience on the palate in particular
  • And with Intense? Remarkable! At 72.7% we thought it would be too intense – not at all!

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:

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…

  • The Belgian Owl Origine Pot Still unaged spirit 46%
  • The Belgian Owl Identité 36 months, first fill bourbon 46%
  • The Belgian Owl Passion 36 months, first fill bourbon, single cask 1538337 46% Bottle 29
  • The Belgian Owl Intense 40 months, first fill bourbon, single cask 1538452 72.7% Bottle 177
  • The Belgian Owl Evolution 48 months, first fill bourbon 46%

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:

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

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

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:

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

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.


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

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?

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

The Whisky Warehouse No. 8 – Regions

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

  • Lowland – Port Dundas 10 year (26 Oct 2009 – 31 Oct 2019) Refill Sherry 47.9%
  • Highland – Deanston 10 year (Sep 2009 – Oct 2019) Bourbon Barrel 57.3%
  • Speyside – Miltonduff 11 years (8 Feb 1995 – 30 Oct 2015) Bourbon Hogshead 59.5% 363 Bottles
  • Islay – Braon Peat Batch 7 (15 April 2019) 57.5%

I picked this up early February 2021 and sent also to my tasting companions in Paris so we could virtually explore together.

The folks at Whisky Warehouse have this to say?

We have put together a wonderful tasting and gift box for you from the legendary limited single cask bottlings of the Whiskey Warehouse Collection. The breadth of taste nuances will delight both beginners and true connoisseurs. A 10-year-old Port Dundas from the Lowlands is stored in a sherry barrel, a Deanston 10 years old from the Highlands, a Miltonduff 11 years old from the Speyside and a peaty Baron Peat from the island of Islay, in English “peaty drop”.

As for what we thought? You’ll just have to be a wee bit patient!

What about prior explorations from Whisky Warehouse No. 8?

And upcoming, I also picked out the remaining “last chance” whiskies from Whisky Warehouse No 8 to make another quartet:

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

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:

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

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

Don’t want to miss any posts? Why not follow Whisky Lady on:

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?

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