Category Archives: Scottish Whisky

Advent Day 10: Scallywag 13 Year

And on the tenth day of Advent, my calendar gave to me….

Scallywag 13 Year Old Blend Malt Scotch Whisky
46% ABV

What the Blender Says
Our Scallywag 13 Years Old Speyside Malt Scotch Whisky is a limited edition “big brother” to the original Scallywag and is the first Scallywag bottling to carry an age statement. Matured exclusively in Sherry Butts, Scallywag 13 Years Old is bottled at 46% and proudly without colouring or chill-filtration.

The nose is big, dark, distinctly sherried, raisin-y with home-baked fruitcake and molasses to the fore. Palate-wise, the sweet dark sherry opens, then detect late vanilla, nutmeg and ginger mixing with rich cereal tones: all of which combine in the still spiced finish offering a long and wagging tail-end of mocha.

What Richard Says
Nose: Rich and sherry forward with a bit of toasted fennel seed.
Palate: Less of a sherry monster than on the nose but still notes of dark chocolate fudge, baking spices, and stewed dark fruit.
Finish: The cinnamon and dark chocolate linger in a medium length dry finish.
Comments: This is a great introduction to sherry forward malt. It’s easy to drink with all of the high notes of a good sherry forward whisky with no hang ups.
Rating: Stands Out

Advent Day 9: The Naked Grouse

It gets naked on Day 9 of Advent…Naked Grouse…

The Naked Grouse Blended Scotch Whisky
40% ABV

What the Blender Says
Whisky at its most uncomplicated.

Convention said that blended malt got its flavour from bourbon casks, used again and again. This got us thinking… What if instead, we used first fill sherry casks to add another layer of rich and fruity flavour to our malts? It didn’t just work, it was a joyful exuberance of flavour that changed the possibilities of whisky enjoyment.

So hats off (and everything off!) to Naked Grouse, for taking a liberating leap into the unknown.

What Richard Says
Nose: Oily polished oak, stewed fruits, malt, and vanilla custard.
Palate: Very light flavored with bits of jarred cherries and vanilla cream.
Finish: Short and mellow.
Comments: Meh. Nice and easy to drink but very light and nothing that stands out to make you want more. A scotch for vodka drinkers?
Rating: Average

Advent Day 8: Cardhu 12

A classic from Diageo and Cardhu on the 8th day of Advent…

Cardhu Single Malt Scotch Whisky 12 Years Old
40% ABV

What the Distillery Says
Nose: At full strength, heady, nose prickle, pear drops and tightly integrated heather, resin and sweet honey-nut notes. Enticing. Intriguing. With a little water, still harmonious but less pronounced, allowing some malt cereal, soft, spicy wood, moorland and faint traces of wood-smoke to appear.
Palate: Well balanced, smooth mouthfeel; short punch, sweet and fresh, then a pronounced drying effect. Moorish. Enjoyable at any time, with little or no water.
Finish: Quite short. Some lingering sweet smoke in the attractive, drying aftertaste.

What Richard Says
Nose: Malty and nutty with honey sweetness.
Palate: Wildflower honey, lightly smoky, orange marmalade, sweet nuts, and creamy vanilla.
Finish: Floral and spicy laid on a woody base.
Comments: Cardhu was hard to come by for a while. It was a huge seller in Spain but the decline in their consumption made it more available. Most Cardhu goes into Johnnie Walker blends but more expression are being made available as a single malt. The 12 Year Old is a great introduction to the distillery.
Rating: On the better side of Average

Advent Day 6: Glenfiddich XX

Day 6 of Advent brings another curiosity that has peaked my interest but I had to experience…

Glenfiddich Experimental Series Project XX Single Malt Scotch Whisky
47% ABV

What the Distillery Says
Our second experiment of the series took place privately at our Conval warehouse. Shrouded in secrecy, malt Master Brian Kinsman invited 20 whisky experts from around the world to select any expression of their choosing from the thousands of stacked casks. The final 20 chosen malts, matured in everything from port pipes to virgin bourbon barrels, have created an unusual, innovative and unexpected whisky, one that has exceeded even our expectations.

20 of the whisky industry’s most exceptional minds came together to create this truly unique, pioneering single malt expression.

With its deep golden hue, Project XX embodies the warm, fruity character of a classic Glenfiddich whisky with hints of apple blossom, summer fruits and ripe pear. But its multiple personalities are revealed with hints of sweet candyfloss, cinnamon spice, almonds and rich port tannins with the odd whisper of liquorice. Deep and mellow, the finish is long lasting with a lingering sweet oakiness.

What Richard Says
Nose: Sweet barley wine, under ripe crisp green apples, and wet pine needles.
Palate: Cotton candy sweet, cinnamon Red Hots, and vanilla malted milkshake.
Finish: Black pepper and heavy cinnamon spice with a linger nutty and malty character.
Comments: This is a dram for those with a sweet tooth. While this is enjoyable, it doesn’t quite meld together as well as I would hope. This is nice and easy drink but it isn’t something that I would come back to very often. It is more of a curiosity rather than something you should seek out.
Rating: Stands Out

Advent Day 1: Glenfarclas 25 Year

Day one of my new Whisky Advent Calendar and BOOM! Glenfarclas 25 Year comes roaring out of the gate…

Glenfarclas Single Highland Malt Scotch Whisky Aged 25 Years
43% ABV

What the Distillery Says
Colour: Amber with dark gold highlights.
Nose: Complex, yet refined, with tempting aromas of marmalade, honey, freshly ground coffee, sherry and nuts. Some oaky tannins.
Flavour: Full-bodied and robust, the sherry and the oak fight for your attention yet neither overpowering.
Finish: Intense, long lasting, dry and malty. Beautiful dark chocolate taste at the back of your mouth to complete the 25 years old.

What Richard Says
Nose: Rich, deep, and refined sherry character with just a little bit of oak and tannins in the back.
Palate: Creamed honey, lighter sherry than the nose would foretell, oak, and a pinch of cracked pepper.
Finish: Lots of lingering cocoa powder and oak.
Comments: This is a lovely example of an older sherried single malt. Glenfarclas also seems to be priced rather attractively for a 25 year old. However, this particular malt is a little less complex than I would expect or hope for. Oak, tannins, and sherry are the predominate notes (understandably) but I’m not getting much else. Even still, this is a very nice dram and one you should consider trying, given the opportunity.
Rating: Stands Out