Arran Machrie Moor Peated Malt Whisky (plus a way to win a full bottle for yourself)

Islands Region – 46%ABV – £39 (soon to be released in the US this March, 2011) – Limited to 9,000 bottles for this first release.

I’m going to skip some of the preamble today as I think the most important parts of today’s post is the review (of course) and the details of an exclusive giveaway below!

Special thanks to Andy Hogan for the sample and for working with the JSMWS on this great giveaway!

While I did say I’d be bypassing some of the preamble, that still does imply that there will be a little of it for you to read.  Just what is the story behind Arran’s naming of the Machrie Moor??   Here’s what they tell us:

“On the west coast of the Isle of Arran lies a windswept and mystical peat bog called Machrie Moor. Bronze Age stone circles and standing stones are strewn across its barren, undulating terrain. One of the stone circles is known as Fingal’s Cauldron Seat, where sits a stone with a carved hole. The legendary warrior giant Fingal is said to have tethered his favourite dog Bran to this stone. This peated expression of the Arran Single Malt perfectly captures the rugged beauty and lore of the landscape. Unleash the legend that is Machrie Moor.

Well, roar (or, woof)!!  Let’s try this stuff:

On the nose — Salted & sooty chimney pipe (chim-chimney-chim-chimney-chim-chim-ka-booze).

Root-like vegetables and very grassy.

Perhaps even a little salted fudge – YUM!

After a minute of so, the peat is not as sooty.  Rather, it’s adding a really nice earthy tone to the whisky – sort of like a brackish stream snaking it’s way through a field of wild-flowers.

Additional notes range from lemon zest to shortbread dough (unbaked).

Very salty/coastal nose.

On the mouth — Oh yeah – just the right amount of peat gives a great brush-fire flavor in the mouth.

Baked apples, even apple-sauce.

I can’t shake the feeling of campfire/brushfire out of my head as I sip this.

Very comforting and bringing me to my childhood happy place.

Lemons galore – lemon marmalade and cream custard.

Salted and a touch peppery (just a touch).

Chewy mouthfeel and, as we get into the finish…

Finish — There’s a superb butteriness here, salted butter that creeps up and does not wish to leave you.

Added to that are hints of apricot, warmed margarine and bread.

In sum — I don’t often talk about color or how the whisky looks in the glass (E.G. legs) but I have to say, the legs on this whisky are gorgeous!  A wonder to look at.  For me, I encounter the same wonderment when watching a Guinness form it’s head – that beautiful head!

This whisky has legs and knows how to use them.

A thoroughly enjoyable treat.  Very salty stuff!  I’d imagine chocolates would go wonderfully with this whisky giving you that salty/sweet goodness many of us seek out.

Peated to a level of 14ppm, the folks at Arran knew what they were doing!!  Enough peat to add some dimension to the whisky, enough to give the peat/smoke-heads something to get excited about yet not so much so as to overpower all of the natural beauties of Arran Malt whisky (Apples, butter, lemons & a superb saltiness).  A nice late summer, near dusk type dram.


The fun part – a way for you to win a full bottle of the new Arran Machrie Moor and signed by the Master Distiller – James McTaggart!!

Yes, thats right.  We here at the JSMWS worked closely with Arran and they were kind enough to partner up with us on a very exclusive giveaway.  A full bottle of Arran Machrie Moor peated whisky signed by none other than James McTaggart, Arran’s Distillery Manager!!

“How do I win a bottle!?” you ask.

“Easy.” says all of us at The Jewish Single Malt Whisky Society.

We’re looking to reach 1100 followers on our Facebook page.

If you’re already a fan, cool.  You’re currently in the running.

If you’re not yet a fan, click here to join and get in the running.

Do you know someone who loves whisky?  Ask them to join The Jewish Single Malt Whisky Society Facebook page.

The quicker we get to 1313 people, the closer we’ll be to announcing, perhaps you, as our winner of this great whisky.  The lucky person will be picked at random and named on the Facebook page.

Welcome to the Facebook group and good luck!!

Penderyn Peated Welsh Whisky

Wales — 46%ABV — $70 | £36 | €55

Penderyn is a new distillery in Wales.

Sometimes I feel like a dumb American.  I’m feeling like one right now as I can not tell you anything about Wales; nothing.  All of the geographical and societal information regarding Wales that I learned way back in high school went through my brain like a sieve.  I hope the Welsh people do not take this personally.

“Every time I learn something new it pushes some old stuff out” – Homer J. Simpson

I decided to learn a bit about Wales before I posted about this whisky and was lucky enough to find this great informational video from Ali G:

I hope this video helped you as much as it helped me!

On the nose Quite light on the nose – difficult to pull out the scents.

Let’s give it a few minutes to open up here…

Fruity and flowery on the nose (but as if you’re downwind of the orchard and flower garden).

Still, a very light & restrained nose.

A slight smokiness is revealed here along with some flinty & grassy notes and touch salty.

On the mouthSurprise!  This is a much bigger whisky than I would have expected from the hints the nose was giving me!

Very youthful with tones of juniper and even a bit of sage.

The peat here is very understated, practically minute.

Barbecue sauce.

Finish A sea breeze finish that lasts a good while.

The peat becomes more clear here and there’s a peppery quality to it.

In sum This is the off beat, odd duck, alt-country indy rocker of whiskies.  Don’t go into this thinking you’re going to get a Scotch-type like whisky.  Don’t go into this thinking that, if the label says it’s peated that you’re going to get a smokey whisky.  This is a whisky all its own.  That aside, and as much as I enjoy a young whisky, I think this would have gotten some benefit from a bit more time in a cask (or perhaps to another type of cask to add other elements).

Special thanks goes out to Luke O’Mahony for the sample!!

Single Malt and Scotch Whisky Extravaganza – 2011 Schedule – plus a discount for you!

As you may or may not know, I am a member of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (of America).  And in case you’re not aware, the SMWSA does a series of tasting events called “The Single Malt & Scotch Whisky Extravaganza“.  The “Extravaganza” is now in it’s 18th year.  If you’ve never been to one of their events, you may want to change that, and soon!

Perhaps I can help.  I’ve been working with the good folks at the society and they were kind enough to extend to me a discount code for my readers; specifically for people who are not members of the SMWSA.  Tickets to one of their Extravaganzas, for members, are $120.00ea, non-members are $135.00ea.  If you use the discount code JMSWS11, those of you that are currently not members can purchase your first two tickets at the member price of $120.00.  Not bad!

For more information on the SMWS events and on how to purchase your tickets, click here.

I was at the 2010 Boston event and it was fantastic.

See below for a full listing of their Spring & Fall events schedule.  I always jump at a chance to meet my readers so, for those wanting to come out and meet yours truly, I will be at both the New York & Boston events.


This month, we brave knights of The Whisky Round Table talk WhiskEy!!

Happy new year to you all from the knights of the Whisky Round Table!

Say what?  You’re not familiar with the The Whisky Round Table?  That’s OK – we’re only 8 months in.  I hope you’ll return every month to join in on the discussions as they’re a shit ton of fun and, without being too modest, very interesting!

So what is the “Whisky Round Table”?  It’s a group of 12 whisky bloggers (listed below) that get together every month to discuss a single question/topic that is whisky related.  The Round Table is hosted on a different blog every month (12 months, 12 bloggers) and the host gets to choose the question/topic of the month for us all to discuss – and we urge you to join in on the conversation using the comments section of our blogs!

Today’s great question is brought to you by the good folks at Whisky Party and the question is:

The American whisk(e)y industry is in a so-called ‘experimental’ period, in which new microdistilleries are offering a multitude of less traditional and less regulated variations on single malt and traditional American whiskey styles.  How long do you predict this trend will continue, and what will be the ultimate impact on the American and/or global whisk(e)y industry?

Follow this link for the answers to this great question.

As a reminder, the valiant knights (and links to their blogs) of this round table are:

Chris – Nonjatta
Keith – Whisky Emporium
Karen & Matt – Whisky For Everyone
Ruben – Whisky Notes
Mark – Glasgow’s Whisky (And Ale)
Neil & Joel –
Lucas & Chris – Edinburgh Whisky Blog
Jason – Guid Scotch Drink
Gal – Whisky Israel
Mike – Whisky Party
Peter – The Casks
Joshua (hey, that’s me!)– The Jewish Single Malt Whisky Society

For all of the Whisky Round Table discussions, click here.