Category Archives: Scottish Whisky

Compass Box Eleuthera

Compass Box Eleuthera Vatted Scotch Whisky
46% ABV
$60
Website
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What the Blender Says:
Originally available in all our markets, “Eleuthera” was our very first vatted malt. Typically it combined 15 year-old malt whisky from the village of Brora, aged in re-charred hogsheads, with 12 year-old malt from the village of Port Askaig. Jim Murray said of our first release: “Quite simply, one of the most complex and truly magnificent vatted malts of all time. A collector’s piece.” Sadly, when the 15 year-old malt we needed was no longer available aged in re-charred casks, we decided to retire “Eleuthera” rather than overhaul the recipe.

What Gary Says:
Nose: Smokey sea mist with peat, earthy floral notes along with citrus and vanilla.
Palate: Rich/silky mouthfeel, fruity with subtle spice notes (nutmeg) along with peat.
Finish: Moderately long and pleasantly lingering.
Comments: Damn John Glasser and the folks at Compass Box for making such a delicious whisky, and then stopping. Ok – maybe it’s my fault for only discovering this gem 10 yrs after they stopped producing it. And I must say that I do respect their choice to not mess with the recipe when they couldn’t get the components. I’ll count my blessings that I did find a bottle so long after. In case it isn’t clear, I really love this whisky. This reminds me of Scotland – the sea air, wisps of floral, peaty earthiness. The first time I nosed this whisky, it transported me to the motherland. I’m a big fan of Compass Box Flaming Heart, and this reminds me a lot of that – a more subdued/tamed version, but with a truly masterful balance of smoke/sweet/peat/spice. This is the kind of whisky I could pour and ponder in any season. If I had a Delorean . . . ok, I guess I’d fill it up with whisky from either further back than 2005 – but I’d definitely make a pitstop there to pick some of these up!
Rating: Must Buy

What Richard Says:
Nose: Heavy notes of grass and campfire ash. Benton’s smoked bacon with a citrus zest.
Palate: Rich and fruity sweet with a well rounded peaty backbone. Sea salt sprinkled vanilla cream.
Finish: The finish is heavier on the than the rest. It is incredibly balanced and lingers for a while.
Comments: Damn I miss this whisky. I was fortunate enough to drink my share way back when. I think this was the second bottle of Compass Box that I ever owned after Hedonism. It is really good and I’m glad that I got to revisit it thanks to Gary finding a dusty bottle in Florida. This hasn’t been made for 12 years so if you see one then definitely buy it. If you don’t like then invite us over and we will help you finish it. But I have a hard time thinking that you won’t like it.
Rating: Must Buy

Clynelish Distiller’s Edition

Clynelish 1997 Distiller’s Edition (2012)
46% ABV
$75
Website
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What the Distillery Says:
Crafted on the coast of Sutherland high in the North East of Scotland, the Clynelish Distillers Edition is double-matured in dry, nutty, spicy Oloroso Seco cask wood chosen to balance and complement the signature delicate maritime flavors of Clynelish with a deeper, spicier, more fruity and richer character.

What Gary Says:
Nose: Thick waxy sherry, chocolate & sea salt, hints of anise and clove.
Palate: Viscous waxy mouthfeel, sherry forward, dark fruit (raisins) with a bit of cinnamon.
Finish: Moderately long and drying, with a little pepper spice.
Comments: I only recently tried Clynelish 14 yr single malt, and wasn’t crazy about it. When I saw this on a shelf, I hoped that the double maturation in oloroso seco cask would bring another dimension, and it absolutely did that. Only one extra year of age on this, but where I’m not a big fan of the standard 14 yr, I really like this. It isn’t quite a “sherry bomb”, but the sherry is quite prominent, and I think plays well with the waxy subtlety that Clynelish is recognized for.
Rating: Stands Out

What Richard Says:
Nose: Creamy and rich with strong notes of sweet dark stewed fruits.
Palate: Black pepper jumps forward and assaults the tongue as it enters the mouth. Mild notes of raisins and plums come through but it is not nearly as sweet as the nose would portend.
Finish: Dry and tannic with more black pepper lingering on the back of the tongue.
Comments: I’m not sure where the disconnect is between the nose and palate/finish. It kind of illustrates my disdain for blenders who only nose and never taste. That said, this was a well integrated spicy dram that I thoroughly enjoyed. I agree with Gary that the oloroso worked a lovely magic on this whisky. If you find it for around the $75 price point then consider picking up.
Rating: Stands Out

Glenmorangie Milsean

Glenmorangie Milsean Highland Single Malt Whisky
46% ABV
$100
Website
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What the Distillery Says:
Glenmorangie Milsean (Scots Gaelic for ‘sweet things’ and pronounced ‘meel-shawn’) is a single malt whisky full of intense candied fruit flavours and mouth-watering sweetness. It has been created from Glenmorangie matured in ex-bourbon casks and then extra-matured in former wine casks, re-toasted for the purpose. This distinctive cask preparation replicates something of the moreish sweetshop flavours in a single malt whisky.

It is the seventh annual release in our multi-award-winning and always intriguing Private Edition range. And Glenmorangie Milsean, with its remarkable sweetshop allusions, may be the most intriguing of them all.

Aroma: Perfumed, sweet and spicy with hints of sugar cane, ripe fruits, sherbet lemons and fudge
Taste: A sweet, luscious candy-like flavour followed by a mix of tart plummy fruit, candied orange peel, cherries, and angelica.
Finish: Long and spicy, but always with a sweetness in the background, with flavours of ginger, brown sugar, sweet tobacco and cake mix.

What Richard Says:
Nose: Cotton candy, pina coladas, and buttercream frosting with a dry herbal backbone.
Palate: Very sweet in a fruit candy kind of way with parts of saltwater taffy. Candied ginger lingers in the background.
Finish: The finish holds onto some of that sweetness but fades into a spicy cinnamon and cigar tobacco finish.
Comments: These private edition Glenmorangies are always odd beasts for me. With the exception of the Ealanta which I loved, they all have very strong points but never seem to come together in a way that appeals to me. The Milsean is no exception. The is a nice, well made dram but it just isn’t my cup of tea.
Rating: Stands Out

Loch Lomond Single Grain

Loch Lomond Single Grain Scotch Whisky
46% ABV
$30
Website
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What the Distillery Says:
Single Grain is an elegant and full bodied single grain with a smoothness making this exceptionally easy to drink. A single grain scotch whisky with a distinctive background character of soft fruits and creamy vanilla with a hint of smoke and peat. Perfect anytime over ice or with a hint of water.

Nose: Fresh cut barley fields with a malty edge, biscuity with baked apples alongside gentle lemon peel.
Palate: Crisp and delicate. Pineapple juice and a lemon zestiness with a lovely vanilla sweetness at the end.
Finish: Gentle with soft fruits alongside a juicy sweetness.

What Richard Says:
Nose: Lemon zest, fresh grated ginger, and pineapple flavor Lifesavers candies.
Palate: Very sweet. All the sweetness hinted at in the nose follows through here. More citrus and candied pineapple with a peppery kick.
Finish: The spiciness kicks it up in the finish but playing around edges of fruity sweetness.
Comments: Usually, I find really sweet scotch to be off putting but with the extra kick of proof it works. This is almost a fresh fruit dessert in a glass. Traditionalists may not be the first to line up for this but old and new hands alike should give it a try. It is kind of like lemoncello, bourbon, and grain scotch had a love child.
Rating: Stands Out

We would like to thank the Loch Lomond Group for sending us a bottle to review.

Loch Lomond Reserve

Loch Lomond Reserve Blended Scotch Whisky
40% ABV
$20
Website
loch-lomond-reserve-blended-scotch-1
What the Blender Says:
This unique premium blended scotch whisky contains both malt and grain whisky distilled and matured on the banks of Loch Lomond in the very heart of Scotland. Each barrel is selected for its character and maturity, then expertly blended to create a well-balanced whisky that delivers a perfectly smooth finish.

Nose: NEAT – Big broad malt aromas build on first impression. There is strong hint of depth, body and weight behind these early flavour notes. However there is, when looked at carefully, a very subtle light fruit, soft fruit sweetness evident just behind the bigger more developed malt notes. DILUTE – A soft, floral note appears once water is added. More the hint of early spring blossom than anything heavier and with that a subtle honeyed sweetness that develops a warming spiciness as time passes with the sense of cinnamon and nutmeg.

Palate: NEAT – An extraordinarily dark, fruity and sweet first impression. Seville Orange Marmalade on hot bread, both sweet, sharp but with a creamy maltiness. The fruit becomes fresher and more candied as the palate develops and once again there is a sweet but firm ginger quality to the mid palate. Marmalade notes give way to ginger snaps. DILUTE – The wood influences become far more evident. Now there are soft vanilla notes that then combine with emerging lighter, fresher, softer fruit flavours. More melon and apple with a light honeyed texture in the background. Honeyed, sweet, softer.

Finish: NEAT – The remarkable palate with the pronounced cooked fruits and spice slowly subsides and there is a gentle fading sweetness, a hint of floral notes on the wind. DILUTE –
Gradually the soft fruits become softer and more luscious. There is a sense of very ripe melons giving way to a light syrupy finish.

What Richard Says:
Nose: Fruity, and floral with dominant malty cereal notes.
Palate: A nice delicate sweetness. Honey and fruit infused simple syrups play with lighter floral and grassy notes. Orange blossom honey maybe?
Finish: A little fruit and ginger tang that quickly fades to a more peppery spice.
Comments: This is a blend for those who like their scotch a little more on the light and sweet side. It’s a very pleasant dram. At $20 a bottle, I think it is a solid value and stands above other like priced blends.

Also, a quick clarification about the name. The “Loch Lomond” name is used by the company for the single grain and single malt that they make at the distillery in addition to blends like this one whose components come from that malt and grain. A bit confusing so take a close look at the bottle and make sure you are getting what you think you are.
Rating: Stands Out

We would like to that the Loch Lomond Group for sending us a bottle to review.