Friday, 16 September 2011

Vintages Releases for Sept 2011

Alright, as promised a second update with the featured releases for September up to the  coming release date of September 17th/2011.

First off, what we missed at the start of this month:

Dougie MacLean's Caledonia (Edradour 12 Year old Select Bottling).  Dougie MacLean is the most successful singer/song-writers in Scotland.  His list of talents don't stop at composing, he is a multi-talented instrumentalist playing more instruments than a high school band.  This single malt scotch came about with passion to bring a part of the Highlands to the rest of the world.  Unchillfiltered, colour free and served at 46% ABV this is a fine-looking specimen from the smallest distillery in Scotland.  Run by 3 passionate men, and distilling in the methods of old, Edradour uses equipment you would find in a museum with a process that includes no automation.  This results in a time-honored flavor that is faithful to the way Scotch was distilled by our forefathers.  Simply stated: Edradour is a heck of a dram, and the Caledonia release is a special selection of those heck-of-a-dram casks.  Grab a bottle for that special something you have coming up.  At $90 for a limited bottling, I think you have a safe investment in good taste on your hands.  LCBO SKU#242578.

The second bottle is another independent bottler with the right notions in play.  Unchillfiltered, and no colour added are right up the enthusiasts list of wants.  Montgomerie's is a division of the Dundee distiller's PLC group.  They cater to the enthusiast with single cask malt whisky from all regions of Scotland.   This bottling comes from a Glen Grant 1990 cask, and aged 17 years.  The single cask bottling limits the amount of production to a very rare 3700 or so bottles, making it a collector's item.  At $135, this is definitely a collector's item!  I think the colour looks a little pale, making me believe that this is not a prized first fill cask (more of a second/third filling).  I'm on the fence about it, the tasting notes say things like brilliant gold colour, and notes of saltwater taffy with leather, tobacco and marmalade.  It doesn't inspire confidence in me, and a quick internet search pulls up very little information about Montgomerie's.  If you happen to have $135 burning a hole in your pocket, go for and let me know what you think!  LCBO SKU #247643; but sorry folk's I've got the last bottle in Ontario.

Last but not least is a prized bottling that is high on my list of purchases!  I can't stop singing the praises of Isle of Arran, and this month marks the release of The Amarone Cask Finish Single malt.  At a whopping 50% ABV with no chill-filtration and no colour added; yes please! Amarone is a desiccated Italian Red wine (made from partially dried grapes), that boasts a rich incredible flavor.  Granted a DOCG certification in 2009 (Controlled designation of origin), it is an Italian treat for those rich full-bodied reds.  What does this impose to the Scotch?  In a word flavorization-ness..... is that a word?  It may not be a word, but that's what I've got to say.  Rich copper/mahogany red hues lead the nose on a trip.  Turkish Delight, toasted almond, cranberry hints and rich malted chocolate give way to cherry, toffee, apricot and rich almond nuttiness.  This is a keeper!  In fact at $72, grab a second bottle for that rainy day a few years down the road when you need a burst of flavor to get yourself back into the game.  Jim Murray scored it a 96 and said "I'm astonished at its total brilliance..."  LBCO SKU #50070.

So that takes care of what's on the shelves now.  This weekend marks another release without any whisky.  For you Cognac fans there are a few new bottles arriving that have peaked my interest.  Check the Vintages booklet HERE, or better yet take a trip to your local LCBO and see what looks good to you.  SO I've told you what I think looks good, and in the words of Levar Burton '...but you don't have to take my word for it!'.  Take a trip to your local bar or an LCBO tasting room, or a good friends place with a good selection and get out there and try something new.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Long Overdue Return

My apologies to all my readers (what's left of the lot of you).  I have been neglecting the blog and am slowly getting back into the swing of things.  I have acquired many moire bottles, many more stories and a few more items of interest.
So a quick recap of  what you missed in the LCBO vintages catalogue..... nothing really!  Summer is not the time for Whisky (or so the LCBO thinks), so they don't seem to be displaying their wares.  They are importing a ton for release over the fall/winter months when people can use a 'warm-up'.  The only thing that did catch my eye are listed below:

Rittenhouse Straight Rye :  That is American straight rye (Over 6 Years in oak and 51% Rye in the mashbill).  Well let's delve into this, super rich on the nose with loads of vanilla, peppery fruits and rich punchy rye.  There is also an earthy note that might be a little off-putting.  In the mouth; it's hot and sharp to start but fades into rich vanilla covered fudge and more fruit covered with pepper.  Then it's back!  That earthy note actually becomes dirty in the mouth, like eating a handful of dirt.  You know thouhg, it really grows on you (at least for me), and then it becomes a foundation to the finish.  That earthiness drops into the peppered fruit and melted vanilla ice ream come out of the finish.  If this is RYE; SIGN ME UP!!  It's also a hell of a lot better than the paint stripper they call Crown Royal nowadays.  LCBO SKU #230813.  The guys at Heaven Hill distillers really have a winner on their hands., this is a heck of a buy for $35.

   Ledaig 10 Year old (Isle of Mull) - This is the only distiller on the isle of Mull.  Tobermory (formerly Ledaig), is an island scotch, and a rarity to see in our market.  Tobermory is a standard single malt with some characteristic isle flair, Ledaig (pronounced Luh-chaig), is the slightly grumpier peated sister.  With a full peaty punch and a brisk stride (seems a bit sharp and youthful), there is a wonderful earthy nose featuring vanilla and bourbon florals with barley grains, and a soft, subtle, sweetness.  At $67, the LCBO is asking a bit much, but for the a bottle, but it's a chance for you to seek out a dram somewhere and try something different. LCBO SKU#315721.
Check your local LCBO stock, as I don't expect to see this one around long.  Toronto seems to be a peat-head's playground.  There are a lot of peat-smoke lovers in Ontario, and the LCBO preys upon that for the imports.

The Highland Park St. Magnus Edition (That's him on the right of the Ttrio), was released to celebrate the six canonized Norsemen born in the 11th & 12th century on Orkney Island.  Bottled at 55% ABV (natural cask strength), it has an intensity that can't be beat.  I found a rich and sour nose with notes of toasted oats, spice, moss and damp wood.  Incredible depth with a hot finish giving heat, toasted walnuts and ripe green fruits.  With only 11,994 bottles for the world to share, it's a sort of rare breed.; but at $180 it's not everyone's cup of tea.

Also tasted was the Adelphi Fascadale Batch number 2.  Adeplhi (another excellent indie bottler), tends to pander to the Whisky lover with cask strength bottling, no colour added and non-chillfiltration.  The Fascadale  is an unknown distillery(as in we're not telling no matter how many emails you send them), from the isles.  Limited to 3746 bottles world-wide, this is a definite collector's item, but a fantastic dram.  I found rich and vibrant peat heavy hitting, with a fascinating olive note on the nose (Seems very Talisker-ish).  The bite was definitely not what I had bargained for!  All that peat upfront the nose gives way to gentle smoke woven through the whisky.  Wildflowers and cracked pepper with a lime/chili note in the finish (Also very Talisker-y... hmmm).  Excellent dram!  At $120/bottle it might not be up everyone's creek but I can assure you that you won't be disappointed should you crack this bottle.  LCBO SKU #238154.

 There were a few other.  If you follow my twitter feed @ScotchCuyTO, then you'll surely have read some rare vintages that were sampled recently.

That being said; I guess that should be enough to fill you baskets with good tidings and golden whisky.  I will update again soon with the missed Sept 3/2011 Vintages release, and the coming Sept 17/2011 releases.

Until Then,

Happy Dramming!

Mr. Allen