Today we’re tasting the second Glenrothes single cask in the 2015 Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar bottled by Weymss Malts. This one is a 25yo that was matured in a sherry butt. The previous one, “Kumquat Cluster,” was a 22yo also matured in a sherry butt.
These guys seem to like big butts.
No, not that kind of butt! This kind (the one on the left, that is. The one on the right is a bourbon barrel):
Being that the “Kumquat Cluster” was perhaps the first Glenrothes I’ve truly enjoyed, I wonder if this big butt whisky will procure a similar result. Let us see…
On the nose — Very fragrant, almost incense like.
Damp sandalwood, indiscernible cooking spices, walk-in humidor, loads and loads of CT Shade Grown cigar wrappers, whisky spilt on a leather bound book, used books, cedar oil. I could live in this glass right now.
In the mouth — Orange oil, new suede, tinned fruits, orange juice/soy sauce mix for basting, warm honey, hints of clove.
Lightly oily mouthfeel.
Finish — Slightly spicy and fairly long with lasting citrus and used books.
In sum — These guys are going to turn me into an old-Glenrothes junkie! Drop dead gorgeous whisky.
A whiff of peat lurks beneath like a boat carrying passengers such as anise pizzelle cookies, gooseberries, acrylic varnish, fresh mustard seeds, and clementine compote with honey along the River Styx (I hope they have money for the boatman!).
In the mouth — Starts off quiet but as the mouthfeel begins to thicken, the clementine-like citrus note I got on the nose presents itself.
Celery stalks, celery salt, and jicama, like being thrown through the CERN particle collider, smash into notes of kumquat, paraffin wax, white pepper, and asian pear.
Finish — Short to medium. Hints of white pepper and *maybe* a little more citrus.
In sum — A great whisky that you can either just sit and enjoy or pick apart. On a day like today, I wish I had more of this so I could just sit and relax!!
Having one of the more difficult distillery names to pronounce, Craigellachie is a massive distillery located in the distillery-rich Speyside region of Scotland – just a few miles from the Aberlour distillery.
This powerhouse produces 4.1 million litres of spirit per year (!!). After having toured the distillery this past May, I was surprised to see more references to the Dewars blend throughout the distillery as opposed to references to the actual distillery name itself. Then I reminded myself that the purpose of this production house was not for Single Malt (even though they just released some age statement whiskies – 13, 17, 19 & 23 years old). No, the purpose of Craigellachie is to provide malt whisky for your various Dewars products.
If you ever find yourself in Scotland, be sure to check out the Craigellachie distillery. Its massive production house factory-like feel acts as a great counterpoint to more classic style distilleries such as GlenDronach, Aberlour, Glenmorangie and many others. After your visit to the distillery, head over to the Craigellachie Hotel for a dram or four.
On Advent Calendar Day # 8, we’ve got another malt bottled by Weymss Malts. And wouldn’t you know it? It’s a Craigellachie.
This one is titled “Dark Treacle Fondant.” Have a think on that name while we pour the whisky into our glasses.
One the nose — Oh, that name is so suggestive. It smells of cake fondant! There’s even this waxy-like texture in the nose and the scents start off with dark chocolate and toasted brazil nuts.
I am then hit by the smell of sweet barbecue sauce on the grill on the day you re-open your outside cooking apparatus. Hints of licorice and hazelnut nougut rubbed with confectioners sugar.
In the mouth — Highly decedent stuff. While the mouthfeel is not super thick, the flavors sure are.
Let the laundry list begin: Molasses, Nutella, dark chocolate, rubber tires, burnt applesauce, old-school lickable stamps (the sticky side), fruit cake, candied orange peels, cloves, on and on, and on and on, and on and on (was that last bit grammatically correct? Was any of this grammatically correct?)
A little spice at the back of the throat: tell-tale sign of sherry butt matured whisky.
Finish — Really just a fading version o the favors I go on the palate.
In sum — If you like your sherried whiskies, the one would be right up your alley. It ticks all the boxes. The more I drink Craigellachie, the more I like it.
Region – Kentucky – Special pick by Gene at Warehouse Liquors – Single Barrel # 922 Rick House “N” – Floor 5-3-3, 55% ABV (multiply ABV x 2 to get “proof” – I really prefer the use of ABV, less multiplication, and more direct – come on America!!!).
Number of bottles ?? Cost: $55
I bought this bottle on the suggestion of Warehouse Liquors store proprietor, Gene. If you’re ever in Chicago, Warehouse Liquors is a sight for sore whisk(e)y eyes. Like Binny’s, Kenwood, Antioch (and many others… the list could go on, really), Warehouse Liquors is a whisk(e)y destination that helps put Chicago on the map. Beyond the store itself (300+ ‘Murrican whiskeys, and 650+ single malt whiskies, Scotch and otherwise), it is Gene himself that puts Warehouse liquors on the map. A fountain of knowledge, that one.
Ok, so, the whiskey… I have never, ever, been a fan of the Russell’s Reserve Single Barrels. Most people love these releases but it tends to not fit my flavor profile. Each to their own, right?
However, Gene is one of those in the whisky industry that I trust. His knowledge, his taste, etc… He’s been able to gauge my palate pretty well, and he’s done so in a fairly quick fashion. So, when he suggested I buy this RR SB that he picked, I said no (the first time). Did I mention that I just don’t like RR SBs?
Then I came back to Chicago this week, and he pressed me again. Who am I to say no to someone a second time? Sometimes you just gotta say…
So, against my better judgement based on the releases I prefer to stay aware from, but in favor of my judgement on Gene, his selections, and suggestions based on his knowledge of my palate, I pressed ahead and got a bottle.
My thoughts? Funny you should ask…
On the nose — The first note is big, and it is buttered popcorn (and not a bowl of cherries, as I assume to be smacked with when it comes to the RR SBs).
The nose is a little hot, which is to be expected (potentially) given the 55 ABV%. After a couple minutes in the glass, the heat goes away (far away), and I detect cooked tangerine skins, citrus pith, crushed vanilla pods and soft oak.
Surprisingly, given that this is a #4 char (which is a heavy char, by the way), I’m not smacked in the face with oak. This makes me happy as the grains are fully present here, as are bourbon soaked cherries (subtle note, and yum!).
There’s a cologne note here, too. Elegant. Not Axe, not old spice, something old worldy.
Wow, now there’s a note of turkish delights, too (rose water, pistachio and powdered sugar). Call me happy so far!
In the Mouth — *Easy* entry, oily mouthfeel. Slightly herbaceous but balanced by candied orange peel and stewed fruits.
I can not stress this enough – the mouthfeel is fantastically unctuous.
Because this is not smacking you with oak, this whiskey demands that you focus on the grains. So, let’s do that, shall we?
There’s a corn sweetness here that makes me pine for autumn. Subtle rye spice, hints of caraway. Maraschino cherries (real homemade ones, not that jarred stuff you find everywhere).
Finish — Hints of citrus, spice and soft oak. Slightly tannic, and medium in length.
In sum — Either I’m starting to dig RR SBs or I’ve found two this year that I like (the other being from Gordon’s Fine Wines out of MA – review to follow shortly-ish).
What I really enjoyed about this one was that it wasn’t all wood and cherries. This is complex, and a fine pick that brings you out of your bourbon-comfort zone, and challenges you. Not that bourbons aren’t challenging. Rather, the oak tends to make flavors dense. And with this one, it’s all about the grain with oak as a component instead of a dictator. This one is a drinker and worth the $$ paid, no doot aboot it.
Thanks for pushing me, Gene. You were right. Great barrel selection!
Springbank 15yo is a whisky that I find myself revisiting over and over and over again. I think it’s perhaps one of my favorite whiskies, like… ever.
While I may revisit it many times over, I’ve not revisited it from a let-me-disect-it-and-post-it-on-my-blog point of view. I just spend a lot of time enjoying it. Isn’t that what whisky is all about anyway? Enjoyment?
So, here we are almost 4 years later. Let’s see what the 2015 version is like.
On the nose — Lots of lime and orange marmalade (mostly orange) at first but it’s got a veil of peat it’s hiding behind.
Blue slate wet with rain water and a stick of hard and powdered chewing gum you found from that package of Topps baseball cards released in 1980-something.
A hint of mint but a good dose of coastal breeze and dying beach grass.
On the mouth — Chewy and thick with bold notes of Duerr’s coarse cut orange marmalade.
A touch of peat is present but so is some now-cold potpouri.
There’s a touch of oak to let you know you’re dealing with a 15yo whisky but the oak’s true impression upon the juice is that of dark fruits, spiced citrus drops and still more marmalade.
Oh, and burning sticks as we reach the now drying finish.
Finish — Drying and pleasant with a good deal of orange spice with the tiniest hint of clove.
In sum — What’s difficult to explain about this whisky — about all Springbank whiskies — it’s how unique the spirit itself is. Yes, there are lots of notes here that you’ll find in other whiskies but you’ll never taste a more unique spirit than Springbank. It’s too difficult to put it into words, sorry. If you’ve never had Springbank before, it’s worth seeking out.
If I could, I would likely drink the $(*& out of this whisky every single day. It’s that good.