The autumn report is loaded with good whisk(e)y. From new single malt releases and standard whiskies to luxury old stuff, with a special corner for ridiculously old Glen Grants. All collectors should listen up, we have actually tasted the severely costly whiskies out there. If you consider investing in certain bottles, read our score/notes so you know how a £2795 dram will taste. Glen Grant 1949 is worth every penny for those with deep pockets. Somewhat cheaper but as good as it gets are Highland Park 40, Tomatin 36 or Dalmore 1978. Independents like Balmenach 1979 (The Nectar) Royal Brackla 1976 (Silver Seal) shouldn’t be missed either.
There are plenty of normal aged favourites to choose from. You must try Arran 18, Laphroaig Lore, Glendronach Virgin Oak and Springbank Green Label. And you should keep an eye on Indian distiller Paul John. A peated expression was awarded with 95 points! Talking about smoke, we got those infamous peated malts, Islay VS Islay. A snapshot of what’s available from the island just now, with a close-up vertical on Ardbeg (falling in love with Ardbeg Day 2012 and the last Supernova).
We even went to Ireland this time and pulled out a bunch of Irish blends, battling Jameson against Tullamore Dew – who do you think won? And we had some lovely pure pot-still/malt/grain whiskey. Redbreast 15 is something else, and Bushmills 16 plus a 24-year from bottler Sansibar are two must-haves.
Based in Sweden all the talented Swedes are at our doorstep. Mackmyra is well-known throughout the global whisky community but more interesting is minor players like Box and Hven with a higher overall score. Anyone curious about what the New World has to offer should seek out bottlings from these two. Sweden is growing rapidly as a whisky region. Distillers are bread on Scottish malts and there is no need for awkward deviations. The Swedish style is close to what you get from Scotland, and in years to come the high quality distillates put away up here in the North will produce stunning expressions.
Finally, the vertical tasting of Dalmore is very interesting since it grabs not only the standard line but also Constellation Series. The world’s most exclusive and high-priced whisky collection at a whopping £178,582! I was invited by Master Blender Richard Paterson to taste the complete series (released 2012). It was a tremendous morning session at the distillery. Digging deep into The Dalmore’s unique psyche unearthing some truths on what sort of cask environment the Northern Highlands distillate thrive in. Among more accessible Dalmores we choose the new 21-year and a beautiful 10-year bourbon-casked premiere – an energetic exception from the all-mighty sherry wood rule (developed for France & Sweden). Lastly, those of you who occasionally lit up a cigar, check out our web site for a sit-down with Mr Paterson, pouring the Cigar Malt and a wonderful 30-year puffing away into the night.
Please indulge yourself and savour the treats of the whisky world. And remember with humble admiration – every sip is a snapshot of a whole whisky life.