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!

October 2021 update – Our tasting session kept getting postponed and our London friend also wanted to join so I passed on my set to him in Paris and ordered another for myself. Alas the Broan Peat was out of stock so I replaced it with:

  • Inchfad 14 year (02/2005 – 04/2019) 55.5%

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:

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The Whisky Warehouse No. 8 – Inchfad (Loch Lomond) 14 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) 14 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 – Bunnahabhain 14 year 56.7%

Long back, a very talented multi instrumental, multi country music buddy encouraged “Bunna” explorations as his kind of Islay – not really peaty but having substance and character to spare. Over the years, I’ve had mixed experiences – some excellent, some so so and some that didn’t quite do it for me.

Bunnahabhain 14 year (24 Oct 2002 / 31 Oct 2016) Bourbon Hogshead No. 3048, 56.7% 307 Bottles

  • Nose – Initially greeted us with quite a distinctive coconut oil… which settled down into salt water taffy, candied guava, fresh bread, orange comfy or cointreau, even a bit of coffee candy, swirling about with a hint of smoke too – more like an echo or subtle embers than a live burn…overall leaving an impression of fruity
  • Palate – Silky smooth… some salted caramel, spicy desert, herbal, buttery… with a wee bit of even peanut butter, richly rolling around nicely on the tongue
  • Finish – Lovely and long, delicious
  • Water – No need… truly

I have to confess that this is without a doubt the best Bunnahabhain I’ve had in a long time. Even better as it sits in the glass, opening up more and more. While a different character, there was an element of the lightly salted ‘buttery’ quality that made us think of the insanely delicious Aveux Gourmands.

As for the folks at Whisky Warehouse No. 8? I’ve taken the liberty to ‘google translate’ my way through Julia’s terrific tasting notes:
Whiskeys from Bunnahabhain are always good for a surprise and this single barrel is no exception. Anyone who wants to deduce the taste from the nose impressions of this bottling will be amazed at how different the whiskey ultimately behaves on the palate. At least one can rely on the well-known attributes of most Bunnahabhain bottlings: hardly any wood, a little salt and a good balance of all aromas.
  • Nose: Soft and fully ripe fruit notes such as cherries, star fruit and lychees. Underneath there is a layer of salty peat that has a slightly medicinal effect, but also a damp campfire that was already burning the day before.
  • Taste: Spicy like in a hay barn, herbal notes like dried thyme and thistles, slightly nutty and almond-like, the fruit notes linger in the background, but they now appear much fresher and crisper. The peat and smoke notes also remain surprisingly restrained.
  • Finish: It is especially the herbal notes that stay on the palate for a long time and become dry towards the end. Very late, a pinch of fleur de sel tickles the taste buds.

What about other Bunnahabhain explorations?

My “Last Chance” set also contained:

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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 – Glenturret 8 year 57.5%

This would be my 3rd Glenturret 8 year from an independent bottler! We were rather impressed by the North Star’s Glenturret – which was distilled the same month as this Warehouse cask and bottled within a month of each other. I’d also had the pleasure of trying Chorlton’s Ruadh Maor aka peated Glenturret.

So what about this one from The Whisky Warehouse No. 8?

Glenturret 8 year (Dec 2010 / Apr 2019) Bourbon Hogshead Cask No. W8 181, 57.5% 330 Bottles

  • Nose – Even before putting in the glass, we had a whiff of our wee bottle and went – Mmmm….sweet smoked bacon! And then into the glass it went and… huh? Where did the delicious aroma go? Instead we found a brine, hay… predominantly cereals like hot (slightly boring) porridge, wet fall leaves, rubber gum… is that gym shoe? Curious
  • Palate – Ah.. now here is the light peat smoke, bay leaves, cinnamon spice, a bit of ginger bread… not a heavy peat, more like peat ‘adjacent’
  • Finish – It does last…

Let’s be honest, we were a tad disappointed. I happened to have the North Star Glenturret bottle handy and pulled it out to compare, making my virtual tasting companions a wee bit jealous. Yup! There were all the fabulous elements we enjoyed about the Glenturret – a nuanced peat, tasty cereals, maple bacon… We dismissed the Glenturret and moved on to our other minis..

However a funny thing happened along the way… as it patiently sat there… an amazing alchemy with air took place. We returned for a revisit and we delighted to discover much that we enjoyed in the North Star was now present! Where had all those lovely qualities been hiding?

  • Nose – Gingerbread joined the light puff of smoke,
  • Palate – Some cheese, smoked meats chased by cinnamon spice
  • Finish – Remained dry and long

Even on the first go, we enjoyed the palate more than nose alone… however with the revisit it was clear this had all the makings of a rather enjoyable dram. Certainly one to wait for it…. wait for it… as it just might be “Legend… wait for it…. dary!

Curious about other Glenturret experiences?

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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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The Whisky Warehouse no. 8 – Benrinnes 19 year 52.9%

Unfortunately by the time I got around to suggesting to my fellow European based Whisky Ladies that we might want to try a box from The Whisky Warehouse No. 8 – this dram was long gone – both as a sample and the full bottle. Pity.

However my virtual tasting companions were quite happy with their alternative – a Tomatin 9 year (2011).

Benrinnes 19 year (1997 / 2016) 52.9%

  • Nose – Subtle, fruity with sweet grass, a bit shy yet lovely, some tobacco leaf, walnut and raspberries
  • Palate – Gorgeous! Something very unusual – a curious sweetness that strangely reminded me of skunk – sounds horrible but it wasn’t. There was a rusty rustic spice,  more fruit and berries, beeswax, ginger, cinnamon
  • Finish – More of the sweet spices with a sprinkle of salt on top – lovely

This was again a whisky that needs a bit of time to open up… become sweeter the longer it aired… taking on an increasing honey fruity sweetness mixed with light cereals, sweet grass or fresh tobacco leaf.

Unfortunately just as this dram was no longer available to purchase, the notes and any further details have disappeared from The Whisky Warehouse No 8 website!

However my tasting companions and I overall enjoyed our quartet from The Whisky Warehouse No 8… there wasn’t much debate about our preferences with:

  1. The Linkwood 11 year (2007 / 2019) 58.2% was a clear favourite!
  2. It was followed by our respective separate samples – my companions enjoyed their Tomatin and I think this Benrinnes
  3. Next up was the Auchentoshan 18 year (1998 / 2017) 48.3%
  4. Closing with the Dailuaine 11 year (2007 / 2020) 61.5%

For me it was such a delight to be sampling from India, sitting at my very unique desk… an old piano lovingly refurbished by my husband, repurposed to become a comfortable creative corner in our country home. In the background I could hear the cicadas and soft music selected for the evening… my belly happily full of home made dosas with delicious peanut coconut chutney… our pair of country cats curled up companionably together on the bed behind me… perfection!

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The Whisky Warehouse no. 8 – Dailuaine 12 year 61.5%

From Speyside-Bogie & Deveron, we next tried a single cask from Dailuaine, selected and bottled by The Whisky Warehouse No. 8. You may note that my wee sample looks a bit ‘frosty’. This is because I was sipping in our country home outside of Mumbai, India with the temperature outside a “mere” 32′ celsius… so I had put my samples in the fridge to chill a bit before I sat down with my tasting companions who virtually joined from Paris, France.

Dailuine 12 year (11/2007 – 01/2020) 61.5 vol.%
Garrison Bourbon Cask No W8 22015, 72 Bottles

  • Nose – Brine, sour, a combo of motorcycle repair shop and swarthy fisherman, a touch of medicinal iodine, shifted more into lots of cereals, a bit vegetal, copper… and after the 1st sip increasingly sweet – perhaps a bit of herbal digestif like Kuemmerling? Some citrus, leafy, yet still retains that saline element too, joined by vanilla pod
  • Palate – Sweet tobacco leaf, spice, ovaltine, milk chocolate with cinnamon, a bit fruity, yet also had a mineral quality too
  • Finish – Strong and long… or is that simply the alcohol?

What a contrast from the Auchentoshan and Linkwood! Imagine going from a perfumery to a fishing trawl! And on the palate? Let’s just say it was far more mellow than we expected at 61.5%!

We thought this one could open up with water, so gave it a go! Yes after initially cranking up the spice, it settled down, revealed some toffee and caramel cream, more of the vanilla pod… but in truth we were a bit ambivalent about water in this one. If anything, it had more character at cask strength!

We continued on to our 4th dram in the set and returned to the Dailuaine after some time. It initially had a peculiar sour cleaning aroma however after a sip, the aromas again shifted… that said we certainly found the palate its best feature.

I reflected back on other Dailuaine’s I’ve sampled and simply must admit while this style of whisky has its place, it isn’t a favourite of mine – at least their ex bourbon casks. That said, I did enjoy the Dailuaine 11 year sherry cask Dailuaine bottled by Gordon & MacPhail, so perhaps a bit sherry cask would – for me at least – suit this spirit better.

Here is what the bottlers have to say:

There are only a few single malt bottlings from the Speyside distillery in Dailuaine, which is beautifully situated in the countryside. The distillery only brings out a handful of original bottlings.

In addition, a number of independent bottlers, who appreciate the special quality of Dailuaine whiskeys, fill one or the other barrel. Only about two percent of the whiskey produced by Dailuaine is marketed as single malt, the rest is mainly used for the blended whiskey Johnnie Walker. We had this single malt rarity Dailuaine stored in a Garrison Bourbon barrel. The specialty of these barrels is their size of just 60 l, which accelerates the maturation process due to the small size.

The vanilla aromas of this bourbon barrel storage are intensified. The disadvantage of these barrels is their availability. There are only 72 bottles of the already rare Dailuaine single malt scotch whiskey.

What more do we know? This single malt is from a single cask No W8  22015, priced at € 80 for a 700 ml bottle.

Overall what did we think? It was worth trying but wasn’t the ‘hit’ of the evening which was clearly the Linkwood with a bit of competition for the ‘runner up’.

What else did we try from The Whisky Warehouse No 8?

As for other brushes with this distillery?

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The Whisky Warehouse no. 8 – Linkwood 11 year 58.2%

From Speyside-Lossie, we’ve sampled quite a few Linkwoods over the years – from 8 to 28 years – some fabulous, some average, but generally enjoyable. We even have one from Diageo’s Flora and Fauna collection planned in the coming month or so!

Linkwood 11 year (06/2007 – 01/2019)  58.2% Bourbon Hogshead Cask No W8 804350, 283 Bottles

We first sampled it ‘neat’…

  • Nose – Bananas, raw pastry dough, a bit of cherry liqueur, toffee, bakewell tart, raspberries,  javitri (the dried flower around nutmeg), raw almond oil shifting into coconut over time, yuzu lemon, as it continued to open, it further evolved – revealing malt, figs, caramel and vanilla
  • Palate – Remarkable! It was – dare I say it – floral? It also had a delightful peppery quality, a zesty spring that complimented its exceptional floral quality. Quite unusual – in a rather appealing way
  • Finish – Nuanced

The 1st sip was a surprise. We didn’t find it overly floral on the nose but it was like sipping a garden bouquet, not the gulab (rose water) of an India sweet but something more like stepping into a flower shop or perfumery. While sometimes we find something this pronounced on the nose, rarely on the palate. How unusual!

While we didn’t feel compelled to add water, I thought to try anyways…

  • Nose – The aromas shifted back to banana – but this time banoffee pie – that fabulous mix of bananas, dulce de leche, graham cracker crust, fresh whipped cream… and in this case an extra boost of vanilla
  • Palate – Could it be possible that the floral element has become perfume? Yet equally it was stronger, spicier, bringing out more ‘oomph’ and character while still being silky smooth and temptingly sippable…
As I wrote up my tasting notes, I realized several aromas and flavours we found were items that may not be so common – combining experiences from UK to India to Japan.
Much like the whisky, our reactions were a joyful enjoyment of its diversity and pleasure in how it evolved. Distinctive and delightful. There was zero doubt this was a class act and definitely something special.
We also found that we liked it both with and without water. While cask strength of 58.2% may seem intense – it really wasn’t with this Linkwood.

Here is what the bottlers have to say:

This Linkwood has everything you would expect from a smooth whiskey. It is clean, the aromas are very well balanced and the aging notes are well integrated. You can call it an ‘all-day whiskey’ with a clear conscience, because it goes with almost any occasion. It’s actually a shame that there are only 283 bottles!

  • Smell : Red, ripe apples and cherries, milk chocolate with a little amaretto, mace and lavender, pleasantly malty with a distinct malt sweetness.
  • Taste : Not quite as fruity anymore, but still a lot of chocolate, which is now a little darker and mixed with roasted almonds. Warm spicy notes such as mace and long pepper can be recognized. The tire notes are very clean, but remain elegantly in the background. With dilution, the whiskey becomes softer and develops a light orange-zest aroma.
  • Finish : Warm and spicy, the dark chocolate notes remain oily on the palate.

Not sure we agree… Though you could, this certainly is not an “all day” drinking dram! As we considered the tasting notes realized it comes across as something ‘ordinary’ rather than extra-ordinary. While the description certainly sounds ‘nice’, we found a whisky that went a good deal beyond mere ‘nice’, instead more of a special treat – something both delicate and complex – even into the ‘exquisite’ territory.

What can we say but well done – both for Linkwood and the cask selection!

What more do we know? This single malt is from a single cask – Bourbon Hogshead – which produced 283 bottles, priced at € 80 for a 700 ml bottle.

The Whisky Warehouse no. 8 – Auchentoshan 18 year 48.3%

We began our journey through The Whisky Warehouse No 8 sample pack more or less in the order suggested – Auchentoshan, Linkwood, Duilaine and then we diverged – me to the Benrinnes and my tasting companions to their Tomatin.

What all four had in common is that they are single casks, bottled at cask strength and all ex-bourbon rather than sherry casks. They also were all without peat.

Our lone entrant from the Lowlands, Auchentoshan, can sometimes be overlooked…

Auchtentoshan 18 year 48.3% (1 Dec 1998 – 2 Feb 2017) Bourbon Barrel Cask No W8 23553, 168 Bottles

We initially sampled it neat:

  • Nose – Initially some hay and cereals, oats, maybe even a bit of hops, a bit oily, malty, woody… no pronounced floral elements but had some dried fruits in the background
  • Palate – Quite direct with no subtlety, more of the cereals, malt, wood, a bit imbalanced to be honest…
  • Finish – There… but limited to a light spice

While the nose had promise, we weren’t all that impressed. There wasn’t anything ‘off’ but it was just wasn’t exceptional.

So we decided to add a bit of water and see if there was any impact… we didn’t have high expectations given it was already 48.3%…. and wow! In short – you MUST add water!

  • Nose – Now here we found more fruits! Herbal, cardamom… then shifting into a lemony citrus… over time a delightful orange marmalade
  • Palate – Delicious! Opens everything up – making it spicier, fruitier, sweeter, tastier and just balanced out everything that was earlier not quite in synch. From ‘meh’ to sponge cake!
  • Finish – Lovely… now the inviting aromas, equally following through on the palate can be found lingering on the finish too

We set it aside to sample our other drams and returned after an hour.

  • Nose – Could it have taken on a bit of smokey paprika? There was a nice tobacco leaf aroma mixed with cured sweet meats
  • Palate – A balanced spice and fruit

Overall we concluded this was a nice ‘aperitif’ style whisky – a nice ‘starter’. Reflecting back, it is entirely possible we would have caught more without water had we given it more time to open up. Either way, still think adding a few drops of water is the way to go with this one.

Here is what the Whisky Warehouse No 8 bottlers have to say:

It is not a really typical Auchentoshan single malt, it is not fruity and not slim enough. But if you accept that this Lowlander tastes more like a Highlander, the flavors fit together again and you will be rewarded with a muscular, strong, but also very clean whiskey, which a few drops of water to dilute it do very well.

  • Smell: Cactus blossom and fresh Italian herbs like oregano and thyme, a bit floral like hay and slightly buttery, subtle green wood note, a bit spicy like cardamom and lemon balm.
  • Taste: Initially quite spicy, mainly cardamom and pepper, roasted aromas like dark cocoa powder, again culinary herbs. With a little dilution, biscuits and ripe fruit aromas can also be seen.
  • Finish: At first a pepper note dominates, which lingers on the palate for a long time and warms up spicy later, it is mainly the roasted aromas that only fade very slowly.

So… cactus blossom? I must admit I’m unfamiliar with that aroma. Same with my tasting companions – one of whom looked it up. Apparently it is a ‘thing’ – so much so that she also found cactus flower scented candles. Who knew?

We would completely agree about the dilution. And overall we could understand their tasting notes except the buttery one – we didn’t catch that – and of course our lack of familiarity with cactus blossom!

What more do we know? It is from a single cask – Bourbon Barrel – which produced 168 bottles, priced at €100 for a 700 ml.

If we hadn’t known the age, I’m not sure we would have guessed 18 years. As for value for money? I’m glad we had a chance to try it in a sample pack. While enjoyable, it didn’t have that extra appeal of the Glencadam – which initially got me ‘hooked’ on these bottlers and was truly superb. However it was an entirely respectable offering from the distillery.

What else did we try from The Whisky Warehouse No 8 in our tasting set?

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