Aberlour A’bunadh Cask Strength

Aberlour A’Bunadh Cask Strength – Batch 30 and 60

Side-by-side comparison of batch 30 and 60.

Colour: As you can see in the picture the batch 30(on the left) is noticeably darker. I called it Mahogany and batch 60(on the right) Dark Amber.

Batch 30- Almonds, Maple syrup, blackberries, stewed dark fruit, candied orange peel brushed with Sherry.

Batch 60- Orange Zest, Sherry, Oak, Fruitcake, Nutmeg

Batch 30- Warm Cherry cough syrup, Ginger, Cracked black pepper, cedar

Batch 60- Dark Chocolate, more fruitcake, burnt orange peel

Batch 30- Long, Orange syrup, light smoked pepper.

Batch 60- Long, Christmas Spices and pepper.

First of all..I am splitting hairs here… These are both fantastic Sherry-rich drams! However, I would have to say that batch 30 has more depth and complexity. There is a lot going on here. And for that reason I am giving it the slight edge. I am giving both of these expressions very high marks because I feel when it comes to Sherry bombs… It doesn’t get much better…

Rating: Batch 30- 9.5 out of 10

Batch 60- 9.3 out of 10

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Armorik Double Matured

A French single malt – Armorik Double Matured.  This 100% malted barley whisky is matured in new French oak and then finished in ex-oloroso sherry casks and bottled at 46% abv.

Nose:  Apple, salted caramel, buttery, citrus notes.1C5C7F8C-3644-4870-B9D0-F99130370376

Palate: Oak flavours giving way to cereal notes with a fleeting hint of jalapeno sweetness.

Finish: Sea salt and oils, more cereal and honey.  Definitely amaritime malt.

Rating: 8.7/10

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Ancient Grains Quarter Cask Alternative Whisky

Here in Canada, distillers are not bound by as many rules when it comes to whisky production. Although not considered “traditional”, this opens the door to many opportunities for creative grain selection and flavour profiles. Ancient Grains, de Vine Wines & Spirits,  is a prime example of what can be achieved when the reins are loosened. BC Barley, Spelt, Emmer, Khorosan and Einkorn are considered the ancestors of modern grains and are all combined in this distillation and then aged in new American oak quarter casks.IMG_20191109_201347

Bottled at 45% ABV

Colour- Dark Amber

Nose- Intense waves of candied fruit, cloves and Christmas spices. An old whisky writer’s desk with years of citrus furniture polish. A bottle of old fashioned orange soda.

Palate- More candied orange peel, dark chocolate and espresso mousse with sea salt and caramel drizzle.

Finish- Dried oranges and cloves on a charred cedar plank. Long, warm and peppery.

I would pair this cozy dram with dark chocolate dipped candied orange peel and a slice of Mom’s famous Brandy-soaked fruitcake.

Rating- 8.7 out of 10

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Ardbeg 10

In my opinion Ardbeg 10  is one of the all-time best whiskies to be had. It’s a perfect balance of smoke, sweet and spice. For an entry level, flagship expression, it has a lot going on! Bottled at 46% ABV non chill filtered, no colour added.

Colour: Harvest Gold

Nose: At first sweet smoke, tropical fruit with dark chocolate and pepper.IMG_20191023_194242

Palate: Subtle peat smoke and spice at the beginning. Opens to a hugely complex bouquet of peat, pepper, brine and banana. Fresh ground dark coffee beans and licorice.

Finish: Long and lingering, a Smokey fruit basket with banana, pear and salted caramel.

Paired with CAO Dagger Cigar. We found that with the smoke from the cigar the sweetness of the dram stood out and became a completely different tasting experience.

Rating 9.5/10

Ardbeg 10 should be on everyone’s list when starting a whisky collection.

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Ardbeg An Oa

Arbeg An Oa is a combination of spirit matured in PX and bourbon and virgin oak barrels. It is then married in French oak vats. An Oa is bottled at 46.6% ABV. “An Oa” is named after the Mull of An Oa in the south west of Islay where Ardbeg Distillery is located. The Mull of An Oa provides some protection from the fierce Atlantic Storms. With An Oa’s well-roundedness the name fits.80296134_10162526246905391_5839907173135548416_n

Nose: Light smoke, creamy toffee, pine needles and banana.

Palate: Smooth, creamy, Terrys dark chocolate orange, herbs and tobacco smoke.

Finish: Long and robust cinnamon and nutmeg, more chocolate orange and distant smoke.

Rating: 9.4/10

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Ardbeg 19 Traigh Bhan

Bottled at 46.2% ABV during a storm (says so on the box!), Ardbeg Traigh Bhan 19-year-old has all the characters of their 10-year-old at its core but even more refined.  Also found in this cornucopia of a dram is the familiar sweet fruitiness of Ardbeg Drum and the spirited spiciness of Ardbeg Corryvreckan. Most whiskies will have their strengths and weaknesses. However, I have yet to find any negative traits with Traigh Bhan.  

Nose: Smoky charred pineapple, Chocolate banana, sandalwood smoke and chili peppers.

Palate: Creamy velvet, tropical fruit, tobacco and cedar smoke, aromatic spices.

Finish: More cream, fruit and chili chocolate heat.  Sweet charcoal with hints of burnt, abused motor oil…. but in a good way!

Rating: 9.7/10

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Ardmore 10-Year-Old – Morrison & Mackay Carn Mor

 Morrison & Mackay’s 10-year-old single cask version of Ardmore is an ex-Laphroaig cask bottled at 57% ABV. Here’s my take!

Nose: Light peat, vanilla, lemon, ginger spice and applewood smoke.

Palate: Coastal peat, vanilla, caramel, more ginger, clove and dried kelp.

Finish: Medium, dry, more coastal peat, lemon and oak spices.

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Auchentoshan 12-Year-Old

Auchentoshan 12-year-old is triple distilled and then matured is a combonation of ex-bourbon and Oloroso Sherry casks. It is bottled at 40% ABV, chill filtered and colour is added. Here’s my take!

Nose: Toasted vanilla cream, honey, chalkboard shammy, citrus, nuts.

Palate: Butterscotch, orange, lime, ginger, subtle pipe tobacco smoke.

Finish: More ginger and nuts. Sweet but then drying.

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