Latest added in the Whisky news category

Review: Edradour Caledonia, 12 year old

Edradour Caledonia, 12 year old, 46%, $80
A release chosen by Douglas Maclean (and named after his song “Caledonia”). Full sherry impact, but contained—not excessive or sappy. Rich, with nutty toffee, pot-still rum, complex raisin, date, honeyed fruit, polished leather and a hint of tobacco. Good resinous grip on the finish to balance the sweetness. The [...]

Adventures in bourbon

Four Roses Yellow Label (40%, OB, Bourbon, +/-2009) – Heaven Hill 13 yo (61.6%, Cadenhead, Bourbon, 177 bottles, 2010) – America 7 yo 1999 (62.3%, Cadenhead, Bourbon, distilled at Frankfort, Kentucky, 276 bottles) – William Larue Weller 2009 Release (67.4%, OB, Buffalo Trace, Bourbon) – George T. Stagg (70.7%, OB, Buffalo Trace, Bourbon, bottled 2009) – MUSIC: Coco Montoya

Glen Moray 12yo (40%, OB, +/-2009) – Scotch Whisky Tasting Note

Glen Moray 12yo (40%, OB, +/-2009)
Recently sold (2008) by Glenmorangie and Company to La Martiniquaise. Many feel that Glen Moray is a much under rated single malt. It seems that a large proportion of its output goes to France hidden in blends…
The nose honeyed, malty and nicely spiced along with some really nice fruit. Additionally [...]

Highland Park Newsletter – Lodger Footwear – Scotch Whisky News

If you travel around the world, hosting whisky tastings and attending events, you’ll know the most important thing you need – other than The Best Sprit in the World and a winning smile – is a decent pair of shoes.
This goes some way to explaining why I held an exclusive nosing and tasting recently for [...]

Ralfy Posts Whiskey Review #125 Tryconnell 15yo – Irish Whisky News

… whisky reviews #125 Tyrconnell 15yo single cask and #126 conemarra scheduled for this week , and these two Vlogs conclude a month-long run of Irish related whiskies.
Visit Ralfy at

Binny’s Chicago WHISKEY ROADSHOW Thursday, April 15th – Scotch Whisky News

Thursday, April 15, 6:00-8:00pm
If you have a passion for scotch, bourbon and other specialty spirits, Binny’s “Whiskey Hotline” should be on your speed dial. It’s headed up by Brett Pontoni — our resident expert and Duke of Distilled Spirits. Brett’s job is to talk whiskey, sample whiskey, buy whiskey, write about whiskey, and hand [...]

Whisky Mad Regis LeMaitre To Host A Companions of the Quaich Evening – Scotch Whisky News

Cornwall (Ontario) Chapter    

Enjoy a Single Malt Scotch Whisky Tasting and Dinner with one of Europe’s premier Whisky Masters.  Régis is a highly respected and well recognized figure in his field.  
Sample 5 limited edition single with a presentation on each whisky by Régis,  along with a 5 course dinner. All seats are $75, [...]

Single Malt Newborn Double Matured (Cask 447; bottled October 2009)

European importer
No. 1 Drinks

(Scroll down to the bold text below if you want to cut the blather.)

I don’t know what the drink writer’s equivalent of a writer’s block is called. A “drinker’s block”, perhaps? Anyway, I have spent a while now, deeply mired in a “drinker’s block”. While I have been happy tippling away and very happily writing whisky news and features on Nonjatta, I have not been posting my own tasting notes. [The reviews on Nonjatta have been mainly from Serge and, more recently, Dramtastic and I hope we are going to be able to get more reviewers to lend their arms to the oars.]

Back to my block: the reasons behind it are really mixed up in the book I have been writing on Japanese alcohol. My research took me to dozens of breweries, kura and distilleries all over Japan. I met people who were overflowing not only with a passion for their alcohol but a extraordinarily impressive understanding of its creation and appreciation. In some cases, I was meeting people from families with generations of expertise in distilling or brewing. It was an educative but also humbling experience and I am afraid one of the side effects was my “drinker’s block”. I have been tasting quite intensively in the mean time, struggling to work out how I am going to do tastings that I am happy with publishing, but I have felt a much greater weight on me than I used to. It is not that I feel purely subjective tasting notes from a non-expert like myself are a bad thing. Quite the opposite. Looked at logically, I think such notes are actually just as useful, perhaps more useful, for other newbies as the notes of extremely expert reviewers. But whoever said “writer’s block” or, in my case, “drinker’s block”, was a rational thing?

Some constructive thoughts have come out of this block. Quite early on, I concluded that all I could honestly offer was a purely subjective description of my drinking experience. I have always tended towards this assessment of my tasting abilities (and so, for example, have never gone beyond a very crude 5 star rating system), but, more recently, I have been thinking about how this relates to my method of writing reviews.

What struck me was that there was often a divergence in my experience of a whisky, depending on whether I was just drinking it for pure pleasure or sitting down and trying to “taste” it. Since alcohol is made for drinking for pleasure, this was a problem. I also noted that I would have quite different impressions of the same whisky in different tastings. And, perhaps most significantly, that the taste of many whiskies evolved and changed in one sitting: my mouth would change with the whisky, the second sip of a whisky would sometimes have a totally different world to offer me than the first, and the seventh sip was different again; the nose after 10 minutes of relaxed drinking was utterly different from the first sniff. This was probably a physical reality, to do with the coating of the glass and the exposure of the whisky, but it was also a subjective phenomenon too. So, how did this relate to my old: colour, nose, mouth, finish, final comments, method of writing my notes? That is the clearest, perhaps the only way for professional tasters to categorize a whisky for their readers but, for someone like me, who only aspired to subjective description of my experience, did copying this method from the experts really allow a free flowing enough structure?

To cut a long story short, the outcome of this is a slightly different, slightly less compartmentalized structure for my notes. You might not notice the difference, but I am hoping I will. I hope this will help conquer my “drinker’s block”. For my comeback match, I am going with the bloody marvelous Single Malt Newborn from Chichibu distillery:

I drank the double matured newborn from the new Chichibu distillery watching the Fulham-Liverpool match after a great meal over a shared bottle of Japanese white wine. My overall impression of the spirit was that it was extraordinarily good for such a young whisky. Quite phenomenal really for a drink distilled at recently as April-May 2008. It had quite an intense and complex smell. The first impression reminded me of standing in a hot field when pollen is heavy in the air: a floral, sweet smell. Later sniffs brought out a sharp lemon and honey (this had been my overriding impression on a previous tasting) and touches of melted butter. Sipping it straight, I got distinct lemon and pine tastes but little else because it was so overpowering. With a couple of drops of water, the lemon and honey really came out with an underlying wholemeal bread substance underlying the citrus sharpness. It finished with quite a piney taste. Later sips brought out liquorice flavours for me. I found this a really relaxing drink, much easier to drink than either of the newborn Chichibus from last year, which were interesting but extremely challenging (will try to dig out and post my notes on those over the next couple of weeks).

Some more data on the Newborn Double Matured Cask 447. It is a single cask whisky, distilled April-May 2008. It was first put in a Heaven Hill Bourbon barrel in May to June 2008. It was transferred to a New American Oak Hogshead in June 2009 and was bottled in October 2009. There are 352 bottles of it and it is 61.3 per cent alcohol.

My rating

(“Pour another one, would you?”)

Disclosure: I was sent a sample of this whisky by Number One Drinks. The image is taken from this Rakuten listing.

Review: Signatory (Glen Ord), 1998 Vintage

Following up on my Friday post, here’s my review of another cask-strength Signatory whisky.
Signatory (distilled at Glen Ord), 1998 Vintage, 11 year old, Cask #3465, 60.3%, $110
Bright gold color. Big and firm on the palate. Quite fruity too (tangerine, pear, sultana, pineapple), on a dry malty foundation. Lighter notes of grass, hay, linseed oil and [...]

Tasting 1974-1964 Old Pulteney

Old Pulteney 1974/2009 (43%, Gordon MacPhail) – Old Pulteney 1970/2008 (43%, Gordon MacPhail) – Old Pulteney 34 yo 1964/1999 (50%, Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask, 197 bottles) – MUSIC: Chapel Club (concert review)