That Boutique-y Whisky Co – Dailuaine 15 Year (2018) 47.5%

For our That Boutique-y Whisky Co samples from Master of Malt, we deliberately focused on distilleries not yet sampled in their single malt avatar.

We began with a whisky from Speyside – Dailuaine. Part of Diageo stable, it is rarely seen outside blends… in 2005, it seems only 2% of the distillery’s output was bottled as a single malt.

Fast forward a bit and Diageo finally did a “Flora and Fauna” bottling, describing it as:

Sweet, nutty and rich.. This is not just an after dinner dram, it’s an after-dinner mood in a liquid. Thick, rich yet pleasantly, palate-cleansingly sweet. Try Dailuaine whisky with the cheese course, or just nose the cheese rind, fruit and citrus aromas hidden in its depths.

What did we think of our TBWC sample?

Dailuaine 15 year (May 2018) 47.5% Batch 2, 950 bottles

  • Nose – It initially came across as young and fruity, dripping in honey, then shifted and began to reveal a more vegetal sour dimension, organic and musty, leafy, woodsy even a touch of hay, yet still sweet and delicious
  • Palate – Very easy going yet with a bit of spice too, straight forward with more of that slightly sour element, then spice… Revisiting after some time, the woodsy quality was even more apparent with a nice light oak, something of depth and character in this one yet still approachable
  • Finish – A touch bitter

After time, yet comfortable like a cashmere sweater… even the gentle soap used to wash one too! We found the nose a bit more interesting than the palate. Overall it was an excellent introduction and a terrific way to kick off our evening!

Dailuaine 15 Year Old - Batch 2 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company).jpg

And what do the folks over at That Boutique-y Whisky Company have to say?

The Dailuaine distillery lives up in the Speyside region, and has done since 1852. It was home to Scotland’s first pagoda roof, an architectural element used by quite a few Scotch whisky distilleries over the course of history. Sadly, the Dailuaine pagoda roof burnt down in the early 1900s, which did stop production for a short while, but soon enough they were back to it! Interesting to note that until recently, some of the condensers at the Dailuaine distillery were made from stainless steel instead of copper, which resulted in their single malt having a touch of sulphur to it – some people are well into that, some aren’t. Our Dailuaine label features a pair of sulphur molecules, one seems to be nice and the other seems to be some sort of terrible nightmare creature from the netherworld. Steer clear of that one.

Tasting notes:

  • Nose: Meaty at first, with leafy hints and molasses developing later on.
  • Palate: Barley sweetness, juxtaposed intense oak spiciness.
  • Finish: Lingering red berry and cinnamon.

Depending on where you acquire it (if still available), a 50 cl bottle would set you back approximately £55.

Dailuaine B2.jpg

What other That Boutique-y Whisky Company samples did we try?

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Blair Athol 12 year 43%

Blair Athol is a Diageo whisky that previously was found either in blends or independent bottles… our previous brushes with Blair Athol was the robust sherry cask strength Signatory 27 year and the Hunter Laing 16 year.

We sampled it blind….

Blair Athol 12 year 43%

  • Nose – Initially quite organic, sharp old cheese, fresh rain, slight salt behind the spice, cranberry sour not sweet, a bit acetone sharpness, narrow profile, edgy fume, nutmeg… After sipping, spice, yoghurt. Leave for some time and get caramel and fruits, then goes back to spice, then gulkand rose.
  • Palate – Very smooth, silk, sweet, fruity spice, buttery oily, liquorice, so easy and light, nice and enjoyable. Such spice, fruit and something else.
  • Finish – Grapey, coffee
  • Water – Absolutely no need

We found it had no off notes, quite a “happy” whisky. We thought it likely did not have natural coloured likely low alcohol.

And the reveal?

Not one we would have guessed but also only had limited past opportunities to sample whiskies from Blair Athol.

The official tasting notes share:

A rich, sweet malt best drunk with only a drop of water, when it holds its sweetness better.

  • Nose – Muscat grapes and Madeira wine, brimstone in the background, even tar. Dried apricots in the foreground, and treacle toffee.
  • Body – Medium to full bodied, but not cloying.
  • Palate – Rich and mouth-filling, with a good balance.
  • Finish – A curious sweetness is introduced at the end, after the acidity and dryish finish has passed.

What else did we sample that evening?

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When an International Scotch Day celebration is NOT about the whisky

From time to time, our Whisky Clubs are invited to events… Let’s just say it is convenient to extend an invite to one and get a bunch of whisky aficionados – particularly if it is a rollicking group of “Whisky Ladies.”

And that is how we found ourselves at Diageo’s International Scotch Day… Yet given what we assumed would be the whiskies on offer, our interest was more the multimedia artist’s ‘odes’ to the water of life, live music and good company.

In short, it is known as the evening the “Whisky Ladies” became the “Bitchy Ladies!”

Why?

Just peruse some of our Tasting Sessions or Ladies Corner and it easy to see we are an adventuresome bunch, exploring a wide range of whiskies sharing frank, fun and sometimes brutally honest opinions about what we sample.

Which means the bar is set pretty high to impress these ladies. We strolled in, traipsing after actress Freida Pinto and headed straight for the bar.

We knew the stuff on offer would not make our normal “cut” yet we still gamely did a tasting round of the whiskies available – Johnie Walker, Black and White, Black Dog and Vat 69. I’m too polite to reproduce what was said. 🙂

1st you.. then you.. like this not that!

Cocktails was clearly the way to go! However the “Old Fashioned” approach also didn’t make the “cut” either so one Whisky Lady took charge telling the poor beleaguered bartender how to go about it!

Getting an Old Fashioned right?

The food? From a fabulous chef yet with pairings that seemed a tad random and mostly got quizzical curious reactions.

And the Art? “Not so finely disguised advertising” was one comment, however it was fun playing around with the “Black & White” exhibit.

Black + White Whisky Lady?

Lest we seem like complete ingrates, what finely pleased these picky ladies? Oh the music, merriment and mischief we caused!! In the end, we had a mighty fine evening!

PS – It was interesting to read the somewhat “random” quality we found was echoed in other cities..

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Mini Malts – Auchroisk 1996 46%

Up next up in our miniatures sampling was a duo from Gordon & MacPhail from their Connoisseurs Choice line.

From the prodigious Speyside region, Auchroisk was built in 1974 with high necked stills intended to produce a lighter elegant spirit. Today it is owned by Diageo with some official bottlings released under the label ‘The Singleton’ (until 2001) which confusingly now is used for three different malts in three different regions: Dufftown (Europe), Glendullan (USA) and Glen Ord (Asia).

Primarily used in blends such at J&B, you may find it difficult to track down a bottle. Only a few casks have been acquired by independent bottlers and there are very limited official releases such as a 20 year, 30 year and a few single casks.

I previously sampled an Auchroisk 20 year old from independent bottlers Duthies – a sub-brand of Cadenhead. This experience didn’t enamour me as my impression was “dishwater soap meets dry wood”… however I also speculated my sample had become tainted, so was keen to try again.

This time, I went with a Gordon & MacPhail bottling of approximately 17 years.

Auchroisk (1996/2014) 46% (Gordon & MacPhail)

Auchroisk + Glen KeithHere’s what we found:

  • Nose – Initially quite organic, overripe fruit – especially banana, think sour mash, leaves in the spring damp after a rain,  flowers, then a delightful honeydew melon. After airing, revealed fresh crisp pears
  • Palate – What a contrast! A soft, subtle yet delicious peat, sweet, smooth, beautifully balanced, still quite fruity with a nice coating, like sucking on gumdrops
  • Finish – A lovely long finish, sustaining a gentle sweetness

Absolutely delightful! We quite enjoyed how the nose shifted from over-ripe fruit to crisp fresh pears… the taste brought another dimension but above all it was the finish that invited us to slow down and enjoy.

This is no frivolous dram, instead one for a meaningful relationship.

My sipping companion is now a full convert to the “If it is Gordon & MacPhail… buy it!”

Here’s what the Gordon & MacPhail folks have to say:

Without water:

  • Aroma – Fresh and fruity with ripe plum and kiwi aromas. Toasted malt and subtle herbal notes with hints of old leather and aniseed.
  • Taste – The palate is peppery initially with stewed plums and lemon flavours. A lingering milk chocolate edge develops.

With water:

  • Aroma – Stewed pears, banana and grapefruit aromas. A subtle hazelnut and toasted malt edge lingers.
  • Taste – Sweet with cinnamon, nutmeg and black pepper. Fruit flavours develop with plum and lychee.

More malt miniatures picked up from The Whisky Exchange:

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Linkwood 24 year (1991/2015) 53.8%

Our quest for great cask strength whiskies around 100 pounds began with a Linkwood…

Interestingly, our last session also featured a Linkwood – a rather delightful 25 year old from Gordon & Macphail. So hopes were high!

linkwood-24

Linkwood 24 year (16.061991/04.08.2015) 53.8%

Cask No 586497, 268 Bottles, Hogshead  (TWE The Single Malts of Scotland)

Here is what we found:

  • Nose – Quite summery, grass, vanilla, flowers, sweet, light, hay, light toast. As it opened further a little spice, honey, sweet tree sap. Post our initial sips, took on more wormwood, resin and the sweetness subsided
  • Palate – Great kick, a blaze of unexpected spice, big mouthful
  • Finish – An elongated burn
  • Water – With a few drops, spice and more burn… added more and started to open up

In short, this one needed water. A very generous dollop not a mere drop or two… bringing closer to 46% seemed a more balanced level.

I couldn’t help but wish we had the the Gordon & Macphail 25 year bottling to compare. At 43%, that Linkwood was truly superb. Fabulous value for a quite lovely whisky.

Whereas this one, at cask strength, had terrific promise on the nose but no follow through on the palate. It wasn’t that the whisky was ‘wrong’ it simply wasn’t really ‘right’ either.

We gave it even more time and returned after sampling the other whiskies… once again a lovely aroma yet just didn’t deliver on the taste. One even remarked this was a ‘heartburn’ whisky?!

Our quest was clearly off to a shaky start…

What else did we sample in our trio?

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Whisky Ladies Scottish Tour – Glenkinchie 12 year 43%

First up in our Scottish regions tour was a whisky from the Lowlands… a region that is the backbone of blends producing primarily grain whisky.

In terms of single malts, there are now only a few active distilleries in the region with Auchentoshan probably the most recognized, Alisa Bay the newest entrant and Glenkinchie, our feature whisky for the evening, part of the Diageo stable. Three new distilleries are joining the Lowland ranks – Daftmill, Eden Mill, and Kingsbarns.

Lowland whiskies are reputed to be light, grassy without peat, typically triple distilled to make for a more delicate whisky, earning the nickname “The Lowland Ladies.”

It seemed a good place to start our evening…

Glenkinchie 12

And what did our Whisky Ladies find?

Glenkinchie 12 year 43%

  • Nose – Apple cider, honey sweetness, quite fresh, then began to reveal an earthy moss, floral perfume and sweet cinnamon spice
  • Palate – Alcohol then spiced apple cider, plank of wood, bit oily, musty cardboard
  • Finish – Chocolate heat, some star anise
  • Water – Bit a debate whether it was needed – for some made it flat, others felt it opened it and made it even sweeter, smoothened it as it damped down

Here’s what the folks over at Glenkinchie have to say:

  • Nose – Aromatic and floral notes.
  • Palate – Sweet with a slight liquorice aftertaste
  • Finish – Dry finish

Did we agree? Sure about the nose but not so sure about the succulent, fleshy, juicy elements…

The Whisky Ladies of Mumbai’s Scottish Regional Tour continues…

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Road trip anyone?

An exciting development with my Canadian trip is an opportunity to go on a whisky distillery tour.

After a year of writing about whisky many folks are surprised to learn that I’m a distillery tour ‘virgin’. Yup!

2015-Gimli-ClarinaTaylor-image3

I received confirmation the tour is set up and they shared a wee list of ‘guidelines’… which sounded vaguely familiar to Inver House’s global marketing head Karen Walker’s fashion advice to Mumbai’s Whisky Ladies!

  • Close-toed shoes
  • No skirts
  • No large pieces of jewelry
  • Please bring your ID
  • No photos are allowed on the tour

As for where we are going?

Let’s just say I’m proud to share that my first tour will be in my home province of Manitoba, Canada… and delighted to be hopping in the car for a little road trip from Winnipeg…

Gimli (Photo: Clarina Taylor)

Gimli (Photo: Clarina Taylor)

Those who haven’t figured it out yet don’t know their whisk(e)y!

PS Photos all courtesy of a dear friend living in Gimli – Thanks Clarina!

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Canadian stash – Duthies Auchroisk 20 year 46%

Ever have something you were rather curious to discover but then were massively disappointed?

Last year my aunt and uncle in Canada made an offer I couldn’t refuse. They are fellow whisky aficionados who run a whisky tasting group in Fort Francis, Ontario and gave me a chance to sample anything in their current whisky collection!

Duthies Auchroisk 20 year was part of the ‘list’ and intrigued me as:

  • Not yet had something from Duthies independent bottler – the sub-brand of Cadenhead
  • Also not had a sample from Auchroisk and 20 year seemed a rather good place to start!

The Auchroisk distillery opened in 1972 and produced its first whisky in 1978. Currently owned by Diageo, it is mostly used in J&B with its latest slogan of Scotch whisky “made for mixing.” Some may also have tried whisky from this distillery under the  “Singleton” brand.

Photo & sample courtesy Whisky Lady's Aunt & Uncle

Photo & sample courtesy Whisky Lady’s Aunt & Uncle

Excited, I cracked open the sample jar….

  • Colour – Light gold
  • Nose – Quite striking, barley, salty, brine, slightly rotten fruit, as it opened more a hint of sweet vanilla, slight dry sweet spices… mostly cloves, then something that is vaguely reminiscent of marshmallows that have gone slightly sour
  • Taste – Very dry, odd undertone of sweet resin, something a bit peculiar, rubber, soapy… the more I sipped the more ‘off’ it seemed
  • Finish – Warm, malt and – don’t laugh – manure

I began to speculate that something from the container tainted the whisky – possible as it was from last year and the rubber seal had become stuck on the glass. There is just something very strange about this whisky. Imagine dishwater soap meets dry wood.

Bottom line – it simply doesn’t work for me.

Here’s what others say:

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Highland wildcat Clynelish 14 year 46%

After an Irish racehorse – Tyrconnell – our palates turned to the coastal highlands with the Clynelish wild cat.

As a tasting group, this was our first foray to the Clynelish distillery, near Brora, Sutherland in the Highlands. Much relied upon for blends – particularly Johnnie Walker Gold – the distillery was bought by United Distillers (aka now part of Diageo) in the mid 80s.

The official bottling of the Clynelish 14 year was only introduced in 2003 and marketed as part of Diego’s Classic Malt Selection.

And the wild cat mark? It was inspired by the Sutherland family coat of arms.

We sampled it blind before revealing the whisky.

Clynelish 14

Clynelish 14 year 46%
  • Nose – Sweet yet stronger than the Tyrconnell, bright, perfume, some sweet citrus, micro greens, tickle of pepper, orchids?
  • Taste – Delicate and sits nicely, sweet spice, subtle orange, pronounced “very nice”, as it opens, more sweet spice, a little tumeric, both capsicum and cayenne pepper
  • Finish – Sweet spice, surprisingly long
  • With water – REALLY kicks up the spice – a mini explosion, sizzler
  • Speculation – Likely from the Highlands with the sweet, light spice without any heavy peat notes
  • Overall – Easy drink when you want.
After the unveiling, we were surprised with the distiller notes on the bottle as we completely missed the smoke, though would certainly agree about the fruit!

Here’s what the Clynelish folks say:

  • Offers sweet floral fragrances and maritime flavours with a light, dry finish.

And what others say:

My final verdict? I passed over purchasing the Clynelish when trying different whiskies as was looking for a bit more substance for an upcoming tasting session. However I appreciated the opportunity to revisit it properly. Of the trio we sampled in January, this was my favourite – neat.

PS I got bragging rights for guessing the distillery, though had an advantage having briefly ‘met’ a Clynelish before!

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