Glenfiddich 18 year old

Glenfiddich 18 year old 01Distillery: Glenfiddich
Region: Speyside
Age: 18 years old
abv: 40%

Part of Glenfiddich’s core range, the 18 year old has received a double maturation in bourbon and Oloroso sherry casks. Since this whisky is aged in small batches, one bottle may taste slightly different from another. Each however is a definite step up from the rather bland 12 year old and the overly sweet 15 year old. The extra years of maturation, along with the sherry influence, give this whisky much more character, resulting in a complex, distinguished dram. While this is perhaps not the most exciting of whiskies, it never fails to put a satisfied smile on my face.

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Isle of Jura Turas-Mara

Isle of Jura Turas-Mara 01Distillery: Isle of Jura
Region: Islands
Age: No age statement
abv: 42%

Located next to its more famous neighbour Islay, the Isle of Jura has only one road, one pub and one distillery. Fortunately, this distillery produces far more than the island’s 200 inhabitants could ever hope to consume, meaning there is lots left over for whisky aficionados like you and me. This particular expression of Jura is quite a special one, and is the sole member of Jura’s Travel Exclusives range. Turas-Mara means ‘Long Journey’ in Gaelic, and pays tribute to the many Diurachs who left their Scottish homeland behind as a result of the Highland Clearances in the 19th century. Indeed the name is fitting, as this whisky is quite the piece of international synergy. Matured in a mix of bourbon, sherry, port and Bordeaux wine casks from the USA, Spain, Portugal and France respectively, and sold at airports all over the globe, this whisky has travel written all over it. The result is an enticing, complex dram that I personally can’t get enough of. Well worth a try!

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Glenlivet Master Distiller’s Reserve

Glenlivet Master Distiller's Reserve 01Distillery: The Glenlivet
Region: Speyside
Age: No age statement
abv: 40%

Part of Glenlivet’s Travel Exclusives range, the Master Distiller’s reserve pays homage to Alan Winchester, Master Distiller at Glenlivet since 2009. He decided to craft a triple cask matured whisky, which was first aged in traditional American oak (used as the standard cask for most Glenlivet expressions), followed by a first-fil bourbon barrel and ex-sherry European oak. The result is a whisky with a wide-ranging flavour palette that’s very easily drinkable. Nevertheless, as a NAS bottling, this dram has likely not aged for very long, and this youthfulness means that the sophistication found in more mature Glenlivet expressions is sadly lacking.

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Bunnahabhain Eirigh Na Greine

bunnahabhain-eirigh-na-greine-01Distillery: Bunnahabhain
Region: Islay
Age: No age statement
abv: 46.3%

Bunnahabhain distillery is a bit of a rarity on Islay, given that most of its whiskies are unpeated. This fact does not make it the ugly duckling of the island however, as Bunnahabhain produces some very enjoyable whiskies, with the 12 and 18 year olds being a particular delight. Over past years, the distillery has been adding limited editions to their core range, with Gaelic names such as Darach Ùr, Ceòbanach, Toiteach and Cruach Mhona. This particular release has been finished in casks that previously held red wine, giving the whisky an extra layer of fruity, spicy influences. Eirigh Na Greine is Gaelic for ‘Morning Sky’, which is reflected in the stunning red packaging of this expression. For a distillery that’s located on Islay’s eastern shores and faces the sunrise every day, this is of course more than appropriate. This is my first tasting of this whisky, so let’s hope the Eirigh Na Greine does not prove to be a false dawn!

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Laphroaig Tasting

laphroaig-finishes-tasting-02Tonight I was lucky enough to get together a fantastic line-up of different Laphroaigs for a comparison. While each of these whiskies is made of identical spirit flowing from Laphroaig’s stills, the end result is vastly different. As such, this tasting gives a great insight in the effect that maturation has on a whisky. Although Laphroaig is secretive about the age of their whiskies, clearly some of these expressions have matured longer than others. With no actual ages at hand, we are limited to looking at the effects that the different casks have had on the Laphroaig spirit. And indeed, this choice of cask makes a world of difference, producing a spectacular range of diverse drams. Below is a short description of each of the whiskies, including a link to the full review.

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