Chieftain’s Range (4th release for the US) – Glenrothes 12yo single cask # 16415, first fill sherry

Speyside region – 46%ABV – $53 – $67 (pretty wide spread here – I’ve provided a link to the store that offers it for $53)

What is “Chieftain’s“?  Chieftain’s is a well respected and award winning independent bottler owned by Ian MacLeod Distillers (the same people that own Glengoyne) and have the good fortune of being able to choose their whiskies from one of the largest (if not THE largest) whisky warehouses in Scotland: The Ian MacLeod warehouse which houses many tens of thousands of casks of whisky at any given time.  That’s a nice position to be in for an independent bottler!

This single cask of The Glenrothes interestingly enough, was bottled at 46% ABV rather than cask strength.  When it comes to independent bottlers, and as ABV’s are concerned, Chieftain’s seems to do things a bit different.  As a rule of thumb, most indy bottlers will bottle single casks at 40%, 43%, 45%, 46%, 50% or cask strength and they will stick to that ABV for nearly every release.

Rules, however are meant to be broken.  Chieftain’s seems to bounce around a bit and will bottle somewhere between Cask Strength and 46% depending on the release, yet they are always non-chill filtered (thankfully) and have no added coloring.

As mentioned, this whisky was bottled at 46%; a full 3% higher than nearly all OB bottlings of The Glenrothes (and again, non-chill filtered and no added coloring).  Let’s see what happens.

On the nose  Seems very true to the Glenrothes house style – Soft sherry, saw dust and slivovitz (plum brandy) fill the nostrils.

It’s like an off-the-shelf, owner’s bottling, Glenrothes with a bit of a kick (the extra 3% ABV points, perhaps?).

Notes that I usually associate with a nice Sassacaia wine – cedar wood, cherries, earthy chocolate.

Fresh birch tree bark (golden birch).

On the mouth Decent attack with a touch of burn and mild viscosity.

While this isn’t a peated whisky, I’m struck with some coal soot from the start then a slight metallic quality (household knives and forks).

After that I’m presented with spiced apple sauce and spice drops.

Bitter chocolate (80% cocoa bars).

Cedar bark and fresh gardening mulch.

Finish Bitters and a touch of mint.  Decent length.

In sum Comparable in experience to The Glenrothes standard 90’s vintages out now – the Glenrothes quality really shines through and if that’s your bag – you’re in for a treat here!  While I think of sherried whiskies as digestifs, I’m more apt to suggest this as an aperitif.

Special thanks goes out to Impex Beverages for the sample!

The Scotch Tasting Bums seemed to like this one.

A bit of an announcement, yet things will remain the same here on the JSMWS blog

In the coming weeks I will be posting up some reviews of whiskies from the Kilchoman, Isle of Skye, Smokehead, Arran and the Chieftain’s range of single cask whiskies from Ian MacLeod.

Reviews of whisky is what you’ve come to expect from me so, there’s no news there.

The news is that I’ve recently signed on with Impex Beverages, importers of the aforementioned whiskies, and will start hosting whisky tastings/seminars for them (mostly in Connecticut).  This is a side gig for me, by the way (yet one I am very proud to be a part of).  I’m keeping my day job.

I tell you this news because I need to remain upfront and honest with you.  With regards to whisky reviews, things will remain the same here at the JSMWS blog – open, honest and unbiased.  I’ve told the good folks at Impex Beverages the same thing.  If I love something, I’ll review and report it that way.  The same goes for whiskies I like, sort of like and dislike. 

You can chose to believe that things will remain the same (which I hope you do) or not.  That is up to you.  Either way, as I mentioned in myWhere I standpost back in October of 2010, when I do reviews from samples given (even if the samples are from companies I work with) the reviews I do are mine and will not be swayed one way or another by outside forces.

Happy dramming folks – as always, I really appreciate your readership, support and loyalty to the blog.

Joshua “Yossi” Hatton
President & Co-Founder of the Jewish Single Malt Whisky Society & Blog