Auchentoshan American Oak

Auchentoshan American Oak Single Malt Scotch Whisky
40% ABV
What the Distillery Says:
Triple distilled and matured solely in American bourbon casks. The result: a Lowland Single Malt Whisky with the sweet aromas of vanilla and coconut – along with the signature smooth, delicate, Auchentoshan taste.

Tasting Notes

To The Eye: Bright gold.
To The Nose: Bourbon vanilla and coconut with layers of zesty citrus fruit.
To The Tongue: Refreshingly smooth yet lively with vanilla cream, coconut and white peach.
To The End: Crisp with sugared grapefruit and a hint of spice.

What Richard Says:
Nose: Vanilla sugar, orange marmalade, fruit cocktail, and a little sherry.
Palate: More fruit cocktail, a little melted vanilla ice cream (the cheap stuff not vanilla bean), and sweetened condensed milk.
Finish: Spicy with a lingering grassy finish.
Comments: Auchentoshan is one of those funny drams that has to hit me just right when I drink it or I’m completely turned off. When I’m in the mood it’s great. When I’m not I want just about anything else. The tasting sessions with this American Oak were all right on. A sweet, smooth, and easy drinking dram. Very nice, if a little underproofed.
Rating: Stands Out

We would like to thank Beam Suntory for sending us a sample to review.

Glen Garioch Founder’s Reserve

Glen Garioch 1797 Founder’s Reserve Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky
48% ABV
What the Distillery Says:
The quintessential Glen Garioch, Founder’s Reserve celebrates the brothers who first established the distillery and the 200 plus years of craftsmanship that goes into every bottle that bears the Manson name.

Tasting Notes

Nose – Warm amber in appearance, sweet vanilla and subtle spice combine with fruitier green apple and grapefruits on the nose.
Palete – Butter cream and vanilla pave the way to fruity green apple skin and citrus cleanliness, leading to an elegant and subtle finish.

What Richard Says:
Nose: Damn, I could smell this all day. Creamy vanilla, rich fruits, cinnamon, cloves, allspice berries, grapefruit, and lime hard candies.
Palate: More sweet vanilla cream, apple pie filling, cocoa nibs, fine brandy, and slightly stale cigar tobacco.
Finish: Lingering oak and cocoa powder.
Comments: The palate and finish aren’t bad but the nose is an amazing standout here. I can’t say the last time I smelled a whisky this in captivating. It is worth ordering a dram just to sit and smell it.
Rating: Stands Out, Great Value

We would like to thank Beam Suntory for sending a sample for review.

Bowmore 12 Year Old

Bowmore Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky Aged 12 Years
40% ABV
What the Distillery Says:
Complex yet perfectly balanced, our 12 Years Old reflects the raw essence of Bowmore – thrashing waves, windswept landscapes and generations of tradition. Bowmore 12 Years Old has received much critical acclaim; the late, great whisky writer Michael Jackson proclaimed it “remarkably long and complex”. We like to think of it as vanilla ice cream at a beach bonfire.

Tasting Notes:

On the eye warm amber.
Breathe in subtle lemon and honey, balanced beautifully by Bowmore’s trademark peaty smokiness.
Sip sweet and delicious heather honey and gentle peat smoke.
Savour the long, mellow finish.

What Richard Says:
Nose: Peat smoke, grassy, slight citrus notes in the back.
Palate: Surprising sweetness of honey bar syrup up front followed by a mild smokiness.
Finish: Briney, peaty, and a little nutty.
Comments: This one for the peat freaks out there for have a bit of sweet tooth. The flavors coalesce well and the dram is well balanced overall. Very enjoyable.
Rating: Stands Out

We would like to thank Savona Communications for sending us a sample review.

Ardbeg Dark Cove

Ardbeg Dark Cove Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky
46.5% ABV
Ardbeg Dark Cove General Release Bottle Image
What the Distillery Says:
If you stand on the rocky headland behind Ardbeg Distillery today, it’s hard to believe this idyllic spot has a turbulent and murky past. For Ardbeg was once a notorious hideout for smugglers, who plied their trade within its hidden caves and secret beaches. Dark tales abound of ill-gotten gains, daring deeds and narrow escapes from the island’s excise men, until finally a raid was made, the dens destroyed and the gang scattered. Shortly afterwards, John McDougall founded Ardbeg Distillery on the site of their nefarious operations. From that dark past came the greatest legend of all…
Inspired by our dark past, Ardbeg Dark Cove is a clandestine meeting of whisky matured in ex-Bourbon casks and a heart matured in dark sherry casks. So, take this year’s Limited Edition and hide it well. For it is Ardbeg’s darkest spirit ever.

COLOR: The darkest Ardbeg ever.
NOSE: At first meaty, earthy and spicy. Bold notes of dark chocolate emerge against orange, rich treacle toffee, coffee and oak. Wafts of a distant, smoky bonfire in the background, along with a mysterious floral note, like flowering blackcurrant bushes. And lashings of linseed oil.
TASTE: The mouthfeel is almost tart, or zesty lime. Raisins, dates,ginger and pepper spice surge forward, then retreat. Waves of smouldering charcoal, wood polish and huge, tarry creosote notes follow. Finally, a more savory note escapes; cured smoked ham and squid ink noodles.
FINISH: Long, spicy and rich with lingering notes of toffee, coffee and tar.

What Richard Says:
Nose: The nose is full on smoky Ardbeg. If there is sherry in there I surely can’t find it. Spicy, herbaceous, and campfire smoky. Give the whisky a good bit of time to sit and open up and it gets a little jammy sweet.
Palate: A rich raisin and toffee sweetness jump out front. Smoked bacon wrapped dates with freshly grated ginger comes to mind. More please!!!
Finish: The finish is long, peppery, and sooty.
Comments: So…when I read about this year’s committee bottling I was less than pleased. The recent scotch intersections of peat and sherry I’ve found to be very wanting. Ardbog I thought was medicinal and meh. Dark Origins is to this day the only thing I’ve ever had from one of my favorite distilleries that I didn’t like and it was basically Highland Park 12 with “twice the sherry”. In the same vein the Glasgow Blend is the only disappointment I’ve had from Compass Box. I’m not saying these whiskies weren’t well crafted because by all means they were. It’s just that bastard child of sherry and peat tends to make me cringe…until now. With this release Ardbeg has somehow isolated a great smoky nose and finish with a rich pruned fruit sherry taste and married then without disturbing the other. The palate doesn’t scream Ardbeg. It’s a delicious example of well sherried single malt that is sitting like a cherished pearl in the middle of a smoky Ardbeg storm. Color me very impressed.
Rating: Must Try

We would like to thank LVMH and The Baddish Group for sending over a sample for review.

The Deveron 12 Year

The Deveron Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky Aged 12 Years
40% ABV
What the Distillery Says:
John Dewar & Sons Ltd. has announced the release of The Deveron single malt which hails from MacDuff distillery, located on the northern edge of Aberdeenshire.

The new expressions of THE DEVERON® 10 year-old, THE DEVERON® 12 year-old and THE DEVERON® 18 year-old have never been released before now and will be available from October 2015.

Located where the river meets the sea, Macduff distillery sits near the mouth of the River Deveron, shortly before its cool waters join the restless surge of the North Sea. Sheltered from the worst of the seaboard storms and winter winds, this tranquil spot has seen the creation of The Deveron malt whisky for many a decade.

A comparatively modern distillery – its spirit first began to flow in 1960 – Macduff was brought into being mainly for the purpose of supplying malt whisky to the blending industry. It was commissioned by a consortium of four businessmen, who called themselves Glen Deveron Distillers Ltd.

Emanating from five small copper pot stills, and unusual horizontal condensers that gently coax extra character from the spirit, The Deveron is an approachable dram which has a tang of coastal air about it. The distillery is set up for a light, fruity spirit that’s replete with apple tones and nutty notes.

Stephen Marshall, Bacardi’s Global Marketing Manager – Single Malts remarks: “The final one. We’ve done it and it tastes great. People underestimate the quality of whisky that can be made at a comparatively modern distillery, this is really top notch stuff. Get yourself up to Macduff, or if you can’t then stick Local Hero on the telly and pour yourself a dram”.

The new portfolio consists of three age statements, each bottled at 40% ABV: The Deveron 10 Years Old (only available in France), The Deveron 12 Years Old and The Deveron 18 Years Old. Each expression has been launched in selected markets around the world including Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, Sweden, Taiwan, United States and United Kingdom.

Tasting Notes
When billows break and haar ghosts in, then haste ye home or some bit warm, Unwind with toasted grain and apples, seaborne spice; calm from the storm.

THE DEVERON hails from Macduff distillery, found beside the River Deveron just before it meets the North Sea. Sheltered from those restless waters and the worst winter winds, this tranquil spot offers calm from the storm; the perfect place to craft a mellow fireside malt.

Distillation employs five small copper pot stills and unusual horizontal condensers which are arranged for a light and fruity spirit. The result is a rare coastal whisky which holds the tang of shoreline air alongside sturdy apple notes, dried fruits and nutty warmth.

What Richard Says:
Nose: Baked apple tarts and malt-o-meal.
Palate: Sweet, nutty apple dumplings drizzled with butterscotch syrup overlaid with a grassy freshness.
Finish: Dry, nutty, woody, and slightly chalky.
Comments: This dram makes me think of the fall apple harvest. I think of apple cider, apple cider donuts, and apple pie at Mercier Orchards (if you’re a Georgia local). A tasty whiskey for sure. And additional kudos for Bacardi shining the light on this underrepresented malt.
Rating: Stands Out

We would like to thank Bacardi for sending over a sample for our review.