Glenmorangie Tusail

Glenmorangie Tusail Private Edition Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky
46% ABV
$100 to $115
Website
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What the Distillery Says:
The 6th release from Glenmorangie’s award-winning Private Edition, Tùsail is the product of a carefully-selected parcel of Maris Otter barley, floor-malted by hand using traditional techniques, and non chill-filtered.

A rich winter variety of barley first introduced in 1965, Maris Otter was bred specifically to meet the demand for a high quality brewing malt and recognized for its ability to impart rich, rustic malty flavours. Now used only by a select few who continue, like Glenmorangie, to uphold an ethos of sacrificing yield for quality by using only the finest ingredients, the result is a whisky celebrating the variety’s renowned taste profile.

Tasting Notes
Aroma: Deep earthy, robust aromas of malty, biscuity tones, with a backbone of nut toffee.
Taste: A rich, rustic profile of nut toffee, sweet barley malt, ginger, cinnamon, and dates in molasses complements more familiar Glenmorangie notes of peaches, oranges and smoked pears.
Finish: Tùsail lingers on with a mouth-coating finish.

What Richard Says:
Nose: Sweet and grainy. Apple pie, wet oak , and overly sweetened iced coffee.
Palate: Sweet and oily with notes of molasses cookies, pear tart, cloves, and honey.
Finish: Dry and herbal.
Comments: It’s funny because when you get into the whiskey there is a lot of depth but if you dip your finger in for a quick taste you would swear it’s beer. This is one of those interesting whiskies that is more of an oddity to explore at a good whisky bar rather and a bottle of your own.
Rating: Stands Out

Peat Monster Reserve

The Peat Monster Reserve Edition Malt Scotch Whisky
48.9% ABV
$125 to $150 (1.75L)
Website
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What the Blender Says:
To celebrate the 5th birthday of our best selling whisky, we bottled a limited release reserve version of The Peat Monster. Even peatier, smokier, richer and higher-strength than the classic version, it was available only in magnums. Only 1,325 cases of 4 magnums each (1.5L and 1.75L) were produced.

What Richard Says:
Nose: Campfire ash and brine with notes of fresh cut pine wood. A slightly meaty back note sits underneath and as you let this one open up turns to a nice bit of hazelnuts.
Palate: Smoke is more peaty and the brine is more salty. There is a little dark chocolate and saltwater taffy sweetness that shows itself more with a nice cigar. Laying over the entire palate is a creamy chewiness that is really nice.
Finish: Shorter than expected and lightly medicinal. There is something reminiscent of Cloreseptic throat spray and Ricola lozenges. It’s also a bit woodsy, not woody. Wet pine needles perhaps?
Comments: I just happened upon this about six months ago in a store I frequent with some regularity. Since then I’ve seen a few more. Even though this was a 2008/2009 release it can still be found on occasion. Don’t let the size of the bottle scare you off. This is delicious whisky.
Rating: Must Try

Peat Monster Cask Strength

The Peat Monster Cask Strength Blended Malt Scotch Whisky
57.3% ABV
$125 (1.75 Liter)
Website
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What the Blender Says:
This is a big whisky.

We’ve taken our already big, already peaty, already smoky malt Scotch whisky, The Peat Monster, and delivered it at cask strength in a double-size magnum bottle. Available only for a short time and only in this large format, it’s a unique opportunity to explore the complex balance of our usual Peat Monster at a higher bottling strength.

Whiskies are traditionally diluted to bottling strength with water, but with this limited edition release we have explored the intensity and power of whisky straight from the cask. Using exactly the same blend of component whiskies as our classic Peat Monster bottling, the aromas and flavours are similar but more concentrated and powerful. The marriage of Islay and heavy peated Highland single malts creates a warming spectrum of seaside and medicinal peatiness, along with smokiness, all surrounding a core of fruity malt whisky character.

Yes, it’s big. Yes, it’s peaty. Yes, it’s smoky. But like our classic bottling, this is far from a one-dimensional monster. We invite you to try it with and without water and see what complexities you can find. However you drink it, share and enjoy!

Availability
Cask Strength Limited Edition release of 2,000 magnums.
Bottled in February 2015.

Flavour Descriptors
Rich and full on the palate with complex earthy peat and smoke characters. Hints of citrus fruit, nuttiness
and toasted oak.

Recommendations
For the bold, this is an incredibly complex and warming whisky to enjoy at cask strength. We also find it fascinating to add small amounts of water as we sip a glass, admiring the slow evolution in taste as the whisky opens up its wealth of flavour compounds.

Bottling Details
Bottled at 57.3%
Not chill filtered
Natural colour
Available only as magnums (1.5l / 1.75l)

What Richard Says:
Nose: Deep smokiness reminiscent of morning after campfires, licorice notes, and fresh split oak.
Palate: Spicier, richer version of the standard peat monster. Blood oranges and roasted peanuts.
Finish: Medicinal, slightly astringent as the oak, black pepper, and soot fade.
Comments: You better really like this because it only comes in really big bottles. Fortunately this is delicious. If you aren’t a fan of peaty scotch then this isn’t going to change your mind. However, if that is your thing then you should grab one of these. The best things of standard Peat Monster, in the vein of Laphroaig cask strength, with the balance of Lagavulin. Great whiskey!
Rating: Must Try

Hedonism Maximus

Compass Box Hedonism Maximus Scotch Whisky
46% ABV
$250 – $300
Webiste
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What the Blender Says:
This reserve version of our classic whisky Hedonism, which we call Hedonism Maximus, is packaged with a label that pays homage to one of Scotch whisky’s classic labels from the early 20th century.

An Homage
A reserve version of our classic grain whisky Hedonism, you will find that Hedonism Maximus has similar character, but the flavours are much deeper, even sweeter and much more intense given the very old age of the whiskies chosen. For Hedonism Maximus we have used 42 year-old whisky from the Invergordon distillery in the northern Highlands, and complemented it with 29 year-old whisky distilled at Cameron Bridge in Fife, Scotland’s oldest continuously operating distillery. The result is a truly rare and truly remarkable whisky for the serious Scotch whisky hedonist.

The label and packaging pay homage to one of Scotland’s seminal whisky brands, Andrew Usher & Co.’s “Old Vatted Glenlivet Whisky.” In the UK’s National Archives we located an advertising poster for this whisky from 1905 and asked our designer, Chris Edmunds, to create a label based on this.

Very Limited Availability
Availability is limited to just 250 cases (of 6 bottles each) worldwide.

Flavour Descriptors
Intense aromas and flavours reminiscent of crème caramel, spice-laden vanilla cream and toffee. Big, fat and sweet on the palate. Tremendously long finish.

Recommendations
Sipped neat.

Distillery Sourcing
The Invergordon distillery (distilled in 1965) and the Cameron Bridge distillery (distilled in 1979).

Wood
First-fill American oak ex-bourbon barrels.

Bottling Details
Bottled at 46%. Not chill filtered. Natural colour.

What Richard Says:
Nose: Pralines, leather, infused tobacco, toffee, and creme brulee.
Palate: Rich and oily with a fruity sweetness. That classic 30+ year old scotch flavor of rich polished leather and aged tobacco is there but in a more subdued and balanced way. It’s like a brighter “old scotch”. More vanilla and toffee sweetness dance in the background but it is kept a bay by a considerable bitter tannic quality.
Finish: The finish is dry, long, bitter, and tannic.
Comments: The back of the palate and the finish are oddly bitter. It really stands out on counter point to the sweetness. If that bitterness was a little more subdued it would be an absolute must buy. As it is this is still probably the second best grain scotch I’ve every tried. (The best being an independent bottling of 40+ year old Girvan) It has so much going on you really have to try this if you can.
Rating: Must Try

Hedonism Quindecimus

Hedonism Quindecimus Blended Grain Whisky
Fifteenth Anniversary Limited Edition

46% ABV
$175 – $200
Website
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What the Blender Says:
‘Everything in moderation, including moderation.’ – Oscar Wilde

Since we launched the Compass Box Whisky Company in 2000, we have always believed there can be a certain elegance in excess. Our first bottling – the original Hedonism – explored a brave new world of flavor previously uncharted in the world of Scotch. Eight years later, with Hedonism Maximus we used exclusively older, rarer whiskies in pursuit of the indulgent, unctuous, august pleasure that we knew only mature stock could deliver.

In this our fifteenth anniversary year, we felt it was time to go back to where it all started for Compass Box and reinvent Hedonism once more for a very limited edition celebratory bottling.

Hedonism Quindecimus uses grain whiskies of varying ages from five distilleries to create a riotous, intergenerational celebration of all that the interplay between grain spirit and American oak can deliver. The joie de vivre of youth and complexity of age combine to create something seductive, mouth-coating and irresistible.

So join us in this, our fifteenth anniversary toast to all of you that have joined us on the journey since our first bottling. To fifteen years of joyful pleasure. To the thrill of exploration. And of course to the spirit of occasional, unabashed excess.

Availability
Fifteenth Anniversary Limited Edition release of 5,689 bottles.
Bottled in February 2015.

Flavour Descriptors
The combination of grain whiskies from different distilleries and of varying ages has created extraordinary complexity and juxtapositions of flavour. Indulgent yet lively, unctuous yet light, you will find a deep, sweet caramel coconut succulence combining with exultant tropical fruits.

Recommendations
Drink this whisky as any true Hedonist would – however you like it, whenever you feel like it and in whatever quantity you deem appropriate. We particularly enjoy Quindecimus paired with sweet desserts, salted caramel or Highland fudge.

What Richard Says:
Nose: Vanilla bean ice cream, honeysuckles, and fresh cut grass.
Palate: Light and creamy on the palate with a lovely crisp apple and fruit mix sweetness.  Floating in the back is this oddly coy hint of milk chocolate (somewhere near Cadbury or UK Kit Kat).
Finish: A slight white pepper kick followed by a slow fading oak.
Comments: This is another tremendous effort by John Glaser and Compass Box. Hedonism changed my religion on grain whiskey many years ago and I continue to enjoy it to this day. It’s a delightful light dram that plays well in many occassions. This is a more refined specimin in the same vein. Grab a bottle if you are a Compass Box fan and you won’t regret it. If you are new to grain and/or Compass Box $175 may be a bit of a hurdle for your first foray.

For those that want more specifics on the components of this one it would be:

  • 17.6% North British 20 Year Old from first-fill American standard barrels
  • 36.6% Port Dundas 25 Year Old from rejuventated hogsheads
  • 8.4% Dumbarton 28 Year Old from American standard barrels
  • 19.4% Port Dundas 20 Year Old from first-fill American standard barrels
  • 18% 32 Year Old Loch Lomond provided “mystery” grain which was a previous grain blend aged in American standard barrels

Rating: Must Try