Friday, 8 July 2011

LCBO Vintages – Release for July 09/2011

Well the new release is in stores this weekend, and features a classic malt from Blackadder as well as a surprising Isaly Gin.

So first off, I'll apologize for my tyrannical rant last round about the LCBO prices.  I'm still very unhappy, but I understand that many people don't want or wish to hear this.  Instead I'll talk about what I'm good at - that golden elixir known as Whisky.  I took a break, during my lunch hour, and a short jaunt over to an LCBO this afternoon to see what was out on early display for this release.  I didn't see the two bottles I've mentioned above, but I did come across this:

Its a terrible picture, but it's not mine.  Glendower 15 year old Port Wood finished "pure malt".  Now as far as I knew, you were not able to use the terminology " pure malt" any more according the the SWA.  The Scotch Whisky association oversees all that is Scotch.  This means from the harvest to the bottle, they (The Distiller) is to abide by their rules should they wish to call their product Scotch.  That aside, a pure malt is a vatted malt.  This means there are no additional grain whiskies  added to even out the flavor of the final product.  I quite prefer this to a blend which has the added grain whiskies as I find that the malt sometimes gets lost in the mix.  A good friend of mine brought the Glendower 8 to my attention noting it was a bit green (ha-ha the bottle is green too), but it was excellent for the price ($35 from the LCBO).  It shows excellent body, with fresh fruity notes and a slight hint of smoke.  Too my surprise I found a 15 year old Port finished version for $55 and snapped this up.  Even more to my surprise (after stashing this in the staff fridge), the bottle ended up cloudy.  I'm pretty sure this might actually be non-chill filtered whisky (albeit doesn't specify that on the label)!  The big hitch is that there is no distillery called Glendower.  It's just a name from the Campbell Meyer & Co group that created it.  Its a little sparse in the Google search too as it seems that not many people are really interested in trying a ground level whisky.  For the price, an ACE finished vatted-malt like this, is n excellent buy. I'm sure you will not be disappointed!  Check [SKU #182154] for the 8 year old and [SKU #210310] for the 15 port finish.

Onto the release notes!  Blackadder makes an appearance this month with the infamous Peat Reek.  So named for the smell of burning peat, this is an artisan bottling of an unnamed Islay monster.  Kept secret by the distillers, selected casks are pulled at their peak of smokiness and bottled without chill filtration or colour additions.  I haven't tried the latest release, but I have tried previous versions.  Boy oh boy!  This is a knock your socks off blast of phenols and creosols that you won't soon forget.  You will also definitely notice the lack of colouring agents in this.  It is a bit you and tends to be on the honey wine/straw yellow colour, but this is the spirit's actual colour.  Grab a bottle and take it over to a bottle of Johnnie Walker to see the difference (you'll notice the electric marmalade colour rite away).  This offers the buyer a small glimpse into the colour of e150a caramel that so many big distilleries use to pull the wool over your eyes.  At 46% ABV, it's right in the range that I enjoy drinking, and a steal for you peat freaks at the offered price.  It may be a bit out of season (I like this sort of thing in the Winter as a warm up), but for $70 I'd suggest you grab a bottle now.  Check [SKU #38455] for the LCBO item number and get some ordered to a location near you!

Last but certainly not least is a Gin this time.  Yes, another spirit makes it's debut on the MaltBlog (Guess I should have really re-thought that name).  But why gin I hear you ask?  Well hold on tight as this is right up a Scotch lovers alley!  From Bruichladdich distillery come The Botanist (A plant scientist).  It's new make spirit (sort of like single-malt vodka which is delicious in it's own rite),  with the addition of the characteristic Juniper berries and other assorted herbs, spices and such.  This is a limited edition bottling (15,000 Bottles), that features 31 different botanical ingredients (22 of which are native only to Islay) in a base of the infamous Islay spirit (un-peated of course).

I have yet to develop the palate for many Gins (Victoria Gin being my current favorite), so this will be a new foray into another spirit for myself.  Tasting notes paint a picture of a clean aroma with hints of pepper on the nose, briny seas, fresh juniper and wildflowers.  Lots of bitter elements on the palate, smoke and spice present throughout, hints of lemon zest, pear and pine needles in the finish.  If this sounds like a treat for you, find it at your local LCBO [SKU #242610], or get them to order a bottle to your local store. $45

That's all for the time being.  Having been so stressed at work lately, I haven't been able to unwind with a dram.  Not that I haven't  had a few drams, its more that I haven't been able to relax and loose myself in one.  I'll try my hardest as I'd really like to produce some more tasting notes so that I'm actually contributing something to the online community.