6 Fabulous Whiskies To Make The Holidays Better

Stalla Dhu Cask Strength Linkwood 13-Year-Old Reserve – 57.3% 70cl


Toffee apples on the nose and toasted caramel notes emerge beautifully. The palate is complex and rich with notes of nougat and woody tobacco hints. Definitely one of our favourite’s!

Kavalan Classic Single Malt Whisky – 40% 50cl


The Taiwanese distillery, despite only being in business since 2005, has stunned the industry with their young but full-flavored whisky, focusing on their distinctively enjoyable tropical fruit notes.

Nikka Miyagikyo No Age Statement – 70cl 43%


Masataka Taketsuru, known as the; Father of Japanese Whiskey; created Nikka in 1934. The Miyagikyo distillery, located close to Sendai in northern Japan, produces this rich, fruity, and smooth Single Malt which presents flavours of honey, citrus peel, and freshly cut grass.

The Lakes Whiskymakers Reserve No.5 – 52% 70cl


The fifth edition in The Lakes Whiskymaker’s Reserve series is a great example of an outstanding English single malt! This bottling presents a distinctively sherried style, bottled at 52% ABV and made using a combination of Pedro Ximénez sherry, Oloroso sherry, and red wine casks.

Legent Bourbon – 47% 70cl

Legent bourbon is truly unique while remaining true to the core of bourbon’s principles, bringing together over 225 years of bourbon-making heritage and nearly 100 years of Japanese whisky artistry. Partially finished in red wine and sherry casks, it has a complex combination of spice and fruity undertones.

Lindores Cask of Lindores STR Wine Barique – 49.4% 70cl


This is the second release in the Casks of Lindores series from Lindores Abbey distillery, and has been matured exclusively in STR (shaved, toasted; re-charred) red wine barriques and bottled at 49.4% vol. A warming, sweet dram with complex spice.

 

10 Great Tipples for Cold Evenings

1- Laphroaig 10 Year Old Sherry Oak Finish – 48% 70cl


Peat and sherry go hand in hand, and this whisky proves it! The 10-year-old release was finished in ex-sherry casks for up to 12 months, adding an amazing layer of fruitiness to the Islay smoke bomb, followed by dark chocolate sweetness, and of course peat.

2- Oban Little Bay – 43% 70cl


With Oban literally meaning “Little Bay” we must say they used some pleonasm for this release, nevertheless, the liquid in the bottle is very robust and pleasant, with complex flavours invading the palate, like orange, chocolate, spices, and nuttiness. Yum!

3- Hennessy XO Cognac – 40% 70cl


Up for a fancy dram? The XO is Hennessy’s synonymous with excellence. The iconic Cognac is well-rounded and full of heat, sweet notes, woodiness, chocolate, and a spicy edge. Created in 1870 for Maurice Hennessy’s circle of friends, it was one of the first Cognacs to be classified as “extra old”.

4- Stalla Dhu Linkwood 13 Year Old Reserve Cask Strength – 57.3% 70cl

Nothing better than a cask-strength whisky to warm you up. This “handsome” release of 13-year-old Linkwood will surely surprise you, as even if bottled at the high abv of 57.3% it carries itself extremely well. Balanced notes of nougat richness, silky mouthfeel, and hints of salinity on the finish. Just delicious.

5- Lagavulin 16 Year Old – 43% 70cl


Brine, orange, exotic fruits, kippers, and smoke. The age statement on this release from Lagavulin adds in more complexity to the dram. As expected from an Islay malt, the peat is heavily present, but it also has a lovely sweetness to it, making it a great sipping whisky.

6- Kavalan Classic Single Malt Whisky – 40% 50cl


Due to Taiwan’s warm and humid climate, this whisky has an incredible complexity, even without an age statement. Kavalan, being a relatively new distillery, has achieved a great following in the whisky world, winning multiple international awards over the years. Tropical and elegant would describe this dram well.

7- Hakushu Distillers Reserve Single Malt Japanese Whisky – 70cl 43%


Herbal, slightly smoky, and citrusy Japanese Single malt, Hakushu distillery is located at the foothills of Mount Kaikomagatake. Heavily peated and lightly peated malt was used to create this no-age statement whisky.

8- Edradour 10 Year Old – 40% 70cl


Once the smallest distillery in Scotland, Edradour’s 10-year-old is a classic sherried Highland dram, matured in both ex-bourbon and Oloroso sherry casks. Dried fruit richness, spice and nuttiness notes on the palate are followed by a syrupy warmth.

9- High West Whisky Campfire – 46% 70cl


The distillery founder, David Perkins, sought to combine peated single malt with bourbon and rye to create a unique and interesting dram. These three types of spirit balance each other beautifully, bringing together toffee sweetness, honey, rye spiciness, and a slight peat influence on the finish.

10- Tobermory 17 Year Old 2004 Oloroso Cask Matured – 55.9% 70cl


This Scotch comes from the Islay of Mull, aged for 17 years in Oloroso Sherry casks, and bottled at the cask strength of 55.9%. Full-bodied, rich, and spicy, the palate brings forest fruit sweetness with lingering orange and warming spices. Perfect for Autumn.

Old or New Old Fashioned

Ok, I’m a fan of the classics. From Fall of Rome to Poseidon – as a sailor, his ability to create storms was a note to tread softly. Don’t forget the queen of the sea Amphitrite, or Escoffier the king of chefs and chef of kings…finisher of French mother sauces that are the basis for France’s stunning classical cuisine.

That also applies to Cocktails! Yep, classic cocktails. None more so than the Old Fashioned, named around 1880. Now there were claims from Kentucky to New York as to the original creator. No matter who it was, we are all grateful, as it’s one of the top most popular cocktails in the world!

Ok, so my point is there are many new variations, some ok, some good, and some brilliant ones. I am currently enjoying exploring it with Stalla Dhu Glenrothes Late hour port cask. That really hits the spot! More about new styles later, this is about my venture into classics.

So I’m in Edinburgh doing a little research *wink wink*, I decided to go for an old-fashioned solo walking tour, why not, this is the best city in the World to walk around. Where to start though!? Since the high-end Hotels are proclaiming to be top of the game for cocktails, that’s where I’ll start.

The first stop was the Caley, or Waldorf Caledonian as it is properly known, the place of my first job as a trainee manager back in the ice age! Anyway, it is also a Waldorf (claimed as the first to serve the famous cocktail at its namesake in NY). I sat in lovely Peacock Alley and waited for my first of the day after a prolonged wait (apparently needed to find someone skilled), it arrived with a wee bit of orange rind floating over the correct block of ice. I asked which bourbon was used and the charming young lady left, and returned a few minutes later with the answer; Woodford reserve! Well done, pleasant, light on bitters, no orange oil detected but all in all, pretty good.

Next, off to what used to be her sister hotel at the other end of Princes Street, The Balmoral. Formerly the Victorian North British. In the now deco-influenced bar, I grab a stool, one of the few available. I was pleasantly attended to by the suited-up deputy manager. I ordered and watch the preparation. Let’s just say, the service is the best of the day…although I could have done without the cherries! Correctly proportioned, correctly stirred, correct block ice, and orange rind rub made with the very acceptable Angels Envy. The result was very good. Hope filled with enthused anticipation, I follow off to the next venue. 

It’s an uphill hike to Hotel du Vin. It plays double duty as I can have a cigar in their little Bothy, so that’s a bonus. I Settled down with my Placencia Orchant Seleccion as I awaited my third of the day. In the shelter of the windy weathered hut, I did sit next to the timer on the fireplace to assure continuity of comfort.

Now, this is one of my go-to spots in Edinburgh, so expected a good result. Unfortunately what arrived was rather void of flavor and my rather preoccupied waitress was unable to advise what the bourbon was. No matter, the small ice cubes were rapidly diluting what flavor may have been there. 

Anyway, disappointed, I enjoyed the rest of my smoke and headed to Apex back at the east end of Edinburgh where I had a room. It’s a newish, rather slick minimalist hotel, but very trendy. So I thought maybe a trendy old fashioned? Oh boy, I should end it here because nothing to say but wow. Dreadful, watery demise of one of the greatest of cocktails. Poor Makers Mark couldn’t save this from the soulless presenter of libations…agh!

Ok, we shouldn’t go out on this note, so let me tell you of two brilliant Variations!

The Puffin Rooms; Old Tabashioned Late Hour with Stalla Dhu Islay and Perique Tabac Liqueur and smoked Bad Bitch Old Fashioned with rum of same name aged in the Gulf of Mexico soaked wine barrels made in Key West. Just wow.

Available at Cgars St James see Sam or fabulous Puffin Room in Liverpool where Lucy or Mark offer up superior-cocktail making skills

New or old, Sláinte to a cocktail for the generations.

 

RM

Skipper

Tomatin’s Final Warehouse 6 Release

The final release in the distillery’s outstanding Warehouse 6 Collection is available. This release was created from casks 32 and 33, which had been distilled over 45 years ago. Maturing peacefully the entirety of its life in hand-selected Traditional Oak Hogshead casks. These casks were married together resulting in only 350 bottles total. Bottled at 46%.

This release is absolutely an exquisite bottling that is going to be for those looking for an investment, or better yet, to drink on a special occasion. It is not getting past the fact that this is an über luxury bottle. If you find yourself in the presence of an open bottle, with the opportunity to taste it, I’m sure you won’t be let down! This release is in the company of only two other whiskies to receive a score of 99 from the International Wine & Spirit Competition.

This is the perfect expression to conclude Tomatin’s successful Warehouse 6 Collection. The first time I tried this whisky I knew it was something very special. Throughout my career, I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy some extraordinary whiskies, but this one still stands out from the rest for me. Over four and a half decades of watchful waiting has seen this exclusive expression instilled with great complexity, yet it presents a tremendous youth and vibrancy which is a remarkable balance to achieve – I’ll be sad to see it go!

Graham Eunson, Tomatin’s Master Distiller
Each of the 350 units is decanted into an exquisite hand blown Glencairn Crystal decanter with unique copper decoration. This luxury bottle is presented with two glasses (also Glencairn Crystal), a solid copper stopper, along with a numbered certificate detailing the remarkable journey of the whisky.

In perfect harmony, aromas of strawberry liqueur, tropical fruits and roasted coconut balance out with an exotic spicy character. Golden syrup and marzipan add to the complexity, developing into rich chocolate, coffee and brown sugar on the palate. The exotic spices appear once again with a long, refined, lingering finish.

Tomatin Tasting Notes.

If you want to own a piece of whisky history, you can grab yours here!

2 New Releases from Snowdonia Distillery

New incredibly delicious releases from the folks behind the award winning Forager’s Gin! 2 unique spirits created to excite our taste buds.

1 gin and 1 liqueur!

These two are staying on the same path as all the other releases from the Welsh distillery. Quality craft spirits from a small team, using the best ingredients, to deliver their customers something special. From start to finish, the team there puts their heart and passion into every step of the process. I love when you find small distilleries like that!

The new additions are:

Forager’s Winberry Gin

“Foragers Winberry Gin encompasses the flavours foraged along our Welsh coast and throughout its cascading hills.

A complex blend which presents a profile of fresh citrus, robust berries and warming floral notes.

The Winberry is the most unique of berries, only being ready for one very short harvest a year. This then results in a very rare botanical to find.

It is stunningly sweet, small in size but generous in flavour with a long tart finish. A vibrant colour, candied like sweetness to an award winning spirit.

Celebrate this marriage of flavours with muddled blackberries, fresh mint leaves and tonic water.”

Marsette Monsoon Coffee Liqueur

“Marsette presents an artesian liqueur from the heart of the Indian Monsoon Rains – Handcrafted, copper distilled, small batch production.

We take the Monsoon Malabar bean to produce a coffee liqueur like no other. The bean swells in the humidity of the Monsoon Rains, allowing us to play with robust aromatic flavours, perfect for the mixologist.

The cold brew rests with a blend of Welsh Spirit and Madagascan Vanilla essence, creating a subtle hint of Tiramisu and a long, mouth coating finish of whipped cream and blue agave. “

Grab a Black Friday Deal or Two!

It’s that time of year again, where everything and anything is on sale! Most of which ends up being unnecessary clutter. We may be biased, but I think our industry has the best kind of deals. Consumables that make you happy! The contents go away over time, the container can be repurposed or recycled, it isn’t something that becomes obsolete over time, and most importantly it brings you joy! We don’t need more random stuff…consumables, quality wearables, and things you can use all the time are the way to go.

With that said, we have an abundance of sales across the site at every different price point. Here are just a few of those on offer:

These are only a handful of what we have on offer! Pop on over to our Specials Page to see al the other tasty bottlings we have on sale!

Til next time,

-Andrew

Balvenie 25 y/o Rare Marriages

Curtesy of The Balvenie

Balvenie is a distillery I have all the time in the world for! They may be one of the largest distilleries out there, but they sure have been disconnected from what the people want. I don’t care if it’s their entry level bottlings, i have room on my shelves for any of it! Caribbean Cask is an all time favourite.

As you slowly work your way up to the higher age releases you realise the phenomenal work and skill the team has! The 21 year old PortWood is a fantastic shift in complexity and complex flavours. You can tell how the aged spirits from Balvenie has a whole new set of flavours that just sets them apart from the younger bottlings.

This 25 y/o is one of three in the new Rare Marriages Range designed by David Stewart, Balvenie’s Malt Master. A selection of individual casks perfectly married together and matured in traditional American & European Oak.

On the surface, these whiskies are immediately The Balvenie with the distinct runny honey and underlying rich oakiness, they are exceptional drams. But to those who enquire further, who give the whisky time, let the flavours unfold; they will discover the flavours slowly dissipate to reveal layers of toasted marshmallows, fresh fruit and cinnamon, a continuous unveiling of discovery.

Not only do the folks at The Balvenie have the talents to create a whisky symphony over and over again, but you can tell creating something special means everything too them.

It takes skill to make something great. It requires heart to make something extraordinary.

NOSE

Smooth and honeyed on the nose with mellow oaky tones and hints of candied orange peel.

TASTE

The initial bold vanilla oak flavours slowly dissipate to reveal layers of toasted marshmallows, fresh fruit terrine and cinnamon infused apple tart.

FINISH

Exceptionally long lasting sweetness.

Grab yours here!

Until Next Time.

– Andrew

BenRomach

Delivering that true Speyside sweetness with a less obvious subtle smokiness is what Benromach does so well! This family run distillery set out to create whisky that is reminiscent of days gone past. The reopening of this distillery signaled the rebirth of a lost style of Speyside single malt where peat was used.

They like to keep things simple. They believe there are only four ingredients that create this fantastic whisky…the finest grown barley, water from the Romach Hills, yeast, and the distiller’s touch!

 ​Check out these four fantastic offerings:

Benromach 10 Year Old – 43% 70cl

“Only ever matured in the finest oak casks, our signature TEN YEAR OLD single malt delivers delicate forest fruits and creamy malt, a touch of smoke and rich, lasting sherry notes.”

Benromach Organic 2012 – 46% 70cl

”The world’s first certified organic single malt whisky since 2006. UK Soil Association accredited from start to finish, Benromach Organic is matured in Virgin American Oak and gives sweet, malty notes with creamy pepper, banana, coffee and cocoa flavours.”

Benromach Cask Strength Batch 4 Vintage 2009 – 57.2% 70cl

“Our cask strength single malt whisky delivers sweet sherry aromas, dark forest fruits and subtle chocolate with a palate of black pepper, red berries, zesty orange and soft smoke.”

Benromach 15 Year Old – 43% 70cl

“Only ever matured in the highest quality oak casks, our FIFTEEN YEAR OLD single malt whisky gives cracked pepper, charred oak, apples, dark chocolate and forest fruits with rich sherry notes and a touch of smoke.”

Tomatin French Collection

If you’re a big fan of special cask finishes, you may want to check out Tomatin’s newly released French Collection! Created to showcase what exceptional French spirits can do to impart their array of flavour profiles on some of the best Highland whisky!

This collection has been 12 years in the making!  It is a 4 part release, with the first three already out in the wild. The 4th installment will be released later on this year.

Here is a rundown on the current releases:

THE MONBAZILLAC EDITION

Distilled on 25th April 2008, the Monbazillac aroma dances between notes of dark, maple syrup and intense espresso, balanced with cinnamon baked apples. On the palate, there is a sweet cereal flavour combined with sweet milk chocolate and honeycomb ahead of subtle spices and emerging nutty flavours. The finish is rich with walnut and maple syrup.

THE SAUTERNES EDITION

Distilled on 19th September 2008, the Sauternes brings a burst of peach and apricot on the nose, calmed by rich Manuka honey. The sweet honey continues on the palate accompanied by coconut and ginger. The finish is wonderfully sweet and fresh with a syrupy mouthfeel indicative of the Sauternes wine that once occupied the cask.

THE RIVESALTES EDITION

Distilled on 19th September 2008, the Rivesaltes marries our characteristic fresh fruit notes incredibly well with the sweet nutty flavours for which Rivesaltes wine is known. Contrasting sweet and bitter flavours dominate the palate, held together by an underlying barley aroma. The finish is velvety with the flavours from the palate lingering for some time.

The 4th and final release will be The Cognac Edition. 

The French Collection is a great example of Tomatin’s dedication to craft and excellence, with each expression showcasing how respective finishing cask affects the original spirit – a concept Tomatin championed in the Cuatro series released in 2014, which was very well received.

We have produced four remarkable expressions which will appeal to not only whisky enthusiasts and collectors alike, but also a wider audience. On top of this, we are also very excited for consumers to be able to experience each expression with the ambisonic content series launched today.

– Graham Eunson, Master Distiller at Tomatin

Grab a bottle of your own HERE.

Eminente Rum

We have received our shipment of Eminente Reserva Rum, which is new to the UK shores! A beautiful Cuban rum is from the Central province of Villa Clara. Created by César Martí, one of the island’s ten Maestros Roneros.

Eminente pays tribute to Cuba’s untainted nature, down to its bottle and logo. Its textured glass and crocodile-shaped island on the label are reminiscent of the native animal.

César Martí grew up in working in sugar cane fields, learning his craft from his grandparents. From there he dedicated his career in the pursuit of discovering the highest quality of rum. After studying physics and engineering, Martí found himself being mentored by Cuba’s first Maestro Ronero. César Martí eventually became the island’s youngest Maestro Ronero, in an unmatched 9 years!

I HAVE BEEN WANTING TO CONVEY CULTURE AND TRADITION AND MAGNIFY THE ART OF CUBAN RUM THROUGH EMINENTE.

– César Martí

Eminente combines occidente (western-style rum) from one end of the island and oriente (eastern-style rum) from the other end. This style is a perfect balancing act of refreshing and robust, smooth yet complex. Making it so versatile in however you want to enjoy it!

Aged for a minimum of 7 years in white oak ex-whisky barrels, Eminente is inspired by 19 century traditions in the way it brings forward a depth of a very old rum!

Eminente Reserva is at once intense and delicate on the nose.

The initial aroma of freshly roasted coffee gives way to softer notes of dulce de leche, toasted almond and cocoa.

Full-bodied and incredibly deep, the palate is rich with vanilla and smoky notes, coffee and raspadura, which is the taste of unrefined cane sugar.

Spicy notes of ginger and Sichuan pepper with a slight taste of prune in the background. Unsurprisingly, this is a long finish, fresh and creamy with notes of chocolate and a hint of smoke.”

Eminente will be available online soon! We will let you know!

Til next time,

Andrew