Carn Mor Strictly Limited Williamson 6yo – 46%

IN: MALT OF THE MONTH COLUMNWHISKY

East Lothian locals and visitors from all over the world swarm to Lockett Brothers of North Berwick every year and upon arrival will discover an incredible array of fine wines and in my opinion one of the best handpicked ranges of malt whisky in Scotland. I first met Chris Lockett in 2012 when I visited the shop to flog my wares, unfortunately I chose the day when Bradley Wiggins was marching to a gold medal in the Olympic time trial. Those of you who know Chris will know there is one thing he loves more than whisky and wine and that is cycling! Thankfully our Carn Mor malts were tasty enough to catch his attention that day and I am delighted that we have worked with Chris and Graham at Lockett Bros ever since. It is a privilege for me to work with such masters of their trade and I am proud that our whiskies grace the shelves of this...
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Kilchoman Sanaig

IN: CYCLINGMALT OF THE MONTH COLUMNTRAVELSWHISKY

Perfect time for a Malt of the Month column having just returned from a three day cycle adventure around Kintyre, Islay and Arran visiting many of the great distilleries. Having visited ten distilleries and tasting around forty whiskies the tricky thing now is to pick my number one from the trip. A Bowmore 18yo Single Sherry Cask was pretty special, as was the Cask Strength Lagavulin 12yo but it was from the tiny family owned farm distillery at Kilchoman that had the resounding winner. After visiting six distilleries on day 1 and plenty more drams in the Port Charlotte hotel that evening the next morning involved a gentle peddle over the hill from Bruichladdich to Kilchoman where we were greeted with the greatest bacon roll I’ve ever had followed shortly by a sensational tour and a glass of new make spirit. Everything about this place makes me smile and it wasn’t the whisky that left me with a warm fuzzy...
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Benromach 10yo

IN: MALT OF THE MONTH COLUMNWHISKY

Located in Forres on the western fringes of the Speyside region lies one of our favourite and treasured little distilleries. The Benromach distillery – like many others – was mothballed in the whisky crisis of the early 1980’s. In 1993 it was picked up by one of the most renowned independent bottlers, Gordon & MacPhail. Production restarted some five years later. Since then they’ve been working hard on branding and promotion, with good-looking bottles and interesting releases. While the distillery is still not running on its maximum capacity, there’s a clear progression and lots of expressions are available: this Benromach 10 Year Old, a few oldies, a peated version, an organic version and several wine finishes. They’ve really hit their straps now and are now the most important Speyside distillers of choice for us. This might seem like a strange call with the abundance of heavyweights coming out of this region but trust me, consider this, you won’t be disappointed. Benromach 10 matures in a...
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Carn Mor Stricly Limited Caol Ila 7yo

IN: MALT OF THE MONTH COLUMNWHISKY

Fans of good single malt whisky and visitors to the shop will be well aware of the quality of the Carn Mor Strictly Limited independent bottlings from Morrison and Mackay Whisky Merchants. The quality of their bottlings are always exceptionally high and it’s one of their latest releases that has got us all giggling with excitement and become a default recommendation for anyone looking for an interesting bottle of whisky- Carn Mor Strictly Limited Caol Ila 7yo (£40). You’re not dreaming, I promise this is for real. A Caol Ila bottling from only two bourbon hogsheads and for only £40!!! Another reason why you might not want to hang around is that this is a small batch bottling of which we received less than 50 bottles. Classic peaty Islay nose which I can guarantee will make you grin from ear to ear, however it’s on the palate where the real fun begins. Despite being packed with big bonfire smoke, it’s got the...
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Tamdhu 10yo

IN: MALT OF THE MONTH COLUMN

It doesn’t seem all that long ago when Macallan 10yo Sherry Cask was the benchmark in Speyside whisky and one that was incredibly popular and a global powerhouse. It was a shame when they discontinued this great whisky for commercial reasons however the demand for quality aged sherry cask whisky hasn’t slipped and thankfully there are still plenty of options such as Glendronach, Dalmore and my Malt of the Month, Tamdhu 10yo. This distillery was taken over by Ian Macleod Distillers in 2011 after being mothballed in 2009 and the biggest change made by the new owners was to re-position Tamdhu as a sherried malt, with all maturation done in ex-sherry casks. With the endless supply of relatively inexpensive ex-bourbon casks flowing out of the U.S., most distilleries have turned away a bit from using ex-sherry casks, so it’s good to see a single malt brand deliberately returning to that style. The Tamdhu 10yo is their flagship/entry-level expression, with both first and...
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Old Perth Sherry Cask Blend

IN: MALT OF THE MONTH COLUMN

Old Perth Sherry Cask follows on from the success of the Old Perth Original which is now on its 4th release. Our master blender, Kenneth MacKay, wanted to create a sherry cask whisky that was very much in the typical style you would expect but a much more competitive price. Due to the ever increasing popularity of scotch whisky matured in sherry casks and declining supply of sherry casks the price of sherry cask whisky has increased dramatically, this is why we created Old Perth Sherry Cask. The blend consists of 3 malt whiskies from the speyside and lowland regions. The casks used in the blend covers all three styles of sherry casks- Sherry Butt (500 litres) Sherry Puncheon (500 litres) and Sherry Hogshead (250 litres). All of the whiskies in Old Perth Sherry Cask have been matured in sherry casks for the entire maturation. There is also a significant historical connection between Old Perth and the sherry industry. In the...
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Arran 10yo

IN: MALT OF THE MONTH COLUMN

It’s got to be Malt of the Month time now that there’s an element of winter in the air. I don’t need much of an excuse for a dram but now that the temperatures have taken a tumble it only makes a whisky even more enjoyable. So here’s what I believe is one of the most accessible malts and one that is enjoyable across the palate spectrum. Complex for the most discerning of connoisseur and approachable for the novices out there keen to dip their toe in the water of life. Arran 10yo (£37).  I can still remember working at Oddbins back in 2001 and mocking the young releases from this newly established distillery but it’s quite clear who’s laughing now. As a frequent visitor to Arran and it’s beautiful distillery and considering it was established in 1995 it’s incredible to see such a healthy and thriving business. They can barely make enough to feed its demand and it’s easy...
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Carn Mor Strictly Limited Glentauchers 5yo – 46%

IN: MALT OF THE MONTH COLUMN

My Month of the month on this occasion my surprise one or two folk, a Glentauchers 5 year old Single Sherry cask (£40). This would have surprised me a year or so ago but since then we come across many single malts equally youthful but utterly brilliant. It again emphasises the point that the cask is the most important element in whisky and if you find a good one they can taste sublime after just a few years. This Sherry Puncheon from the Glentauchers Distillery on Speyside was originally earmarked for the next batch of Old Perth Blended Malt (My Malt of the Month for December 2014) but when the cask arrived and bottlers tasted it, they were completely convinced it should be bottled as a single cask despite its relatively young age. The creamy and sweet sherry cask notes come through really well, I am delighted we got a chunk of the small amount of bottles allocated for the...
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Speymalt Macallan 2005

IN: MALT OF THE MONTH COLUMN

The Macallan still remains as one of the most recognised and well-known producers of Single Malt Whisky and is a truly epitomises the ‘Speyside’ style of Malt Whisky. A truly global brand and absolute powerhouse in the drinks business. It would have to be in order for it to be the drink of choice for James Bond. Being such a force, demand outstrips supply so massively that the youngest age statement available is now an 18yo and will set you back around £150. In order to elevate the pressure on spirit, they now have three expressions made up with different combinations of ages and cask types. Understandably this is probably the only option they had but for us the importance of an age statement is paramount. Thankfully there is one albeit from a third party bottling and it’s damn good and true to the original Macallan Sherry cask style. Gordon & Macphail Speymalt Macallan 2005 (£36). A 9yo which was...
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Carn Mor Strictly Limited Tamdhu 2008 7yo

IN: MALT OF THE MONTH COLUMN

The Carn Mor Strictly Limited Tamdhu 2008 (7yo) £40 follows on from the hugely popular Glentauchers 2010 (4 yo) and is a promising sign of things to come for Carn Mor Independent Bottlers. From 2008 onwards, despite the financial crisis at this time, production levels at Scotland’s distilleries has increased and is continuing to increase today. It is also commonly known in the industry that around this time the distillers were investing a lot of money in sourcing excellent oak casks to mature their new make spirit into Scotch Whisky. This has resulted in some fantastic casks that are relatively young coming onto the market. Tamdhu is one of the core malts of the Famous Grouse blend, coincidentally a brand which can trace its origins to Perth, which is still the highest selling scotch in the UK at over 1.2 million cases per annum. Therefore, spirit quality must be high to maintain consistency in such large numbers. This particular pair...
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