Ballechin 10-year-old Heavily Peated. This whisky is a heavily peated expression from Edradour Distillery. Ex-Oloroso Sherry and ex-bourbon casks are used in the creation of this unique dram.
Bottled at 46% ABV.
Nose: Light peat smoke, tropical and orchard fruit, barley and figs.
Palate: Spicy, apple, oaky and wet peat smoke.
Finish: Medium in length, ashy smoke finish.
The Balvenie Doublewood 12-year-old
The Balvenie Double Wood 12-year-old is first matured in traditional ex-bourbon American oak which mellows the spirit imparts layers of vanilla spice. It then has a second maturation in European oak Sherry casks. This increases the complexity by adding fuity and honey notes to this flagship dram. Here’s my take!
Bottled at 40% ABV.
Nose: Sweet fruit and honey, sherry notes and vanilla.
Palate: Incredibly smooth, nuts, sweet sherry, cinnamon and vanilla.
Finish: Long and warming
Ben Nevis – 22-year-old
Ben Nevis 22-year-old. A truly amazing whisky and my favourite advent dram so far!
Nose: At first, a flash of fresh honeycomb wax, then baking spices, stewed fruit, sugared plums, dark chocolate covered espresso beans and sherry-drenched raisins.
Palate: Starts out with subtle creamy vanilla and spice, then gradually builds to big Sherry notes of drak fruit and more chocolate and espresso.
Finish: A long parade of berries, pepper and coffee.
I did not want to finish this wee sample of a dram. It was an incredible sherried expression and will look for full size bottles of this in my travels for sure!
The BenRiach Peated Cask Strength – Batch 1
BenRiach Peated Cask Strength Batch 1 is the first release in their peated cask strength series. This expression is made with whiskies drawn from Oloroso Sherry casks and ex-Bourbon barrels. It is bottled at 56% ABV. is non-chill filtered and natural colour. It was also part of the BC Spirits Release in November of 2019. Here is my take!
Nose: Burnt butterscotch, apples, white pepper, earth, oak, and subtle peat.
Palate: More toasted toffee and apples, sweet, floral smoke.
Finish: Lingering peat, oat cakes
Big Peat Christmas Edition 2019
Christmas Islay Blend is made up of Caol Ila, Ardbeg, Bowmore and Port Ellen whiskies and certainly lives up to the name “Big Peat”! Although this edition is bottled at Cask Strength, it is incredibly smooth and easy drinking, which leads one to believe that there is whisky with some age to it in this blended single malt. Big Peat Christmas 2019 is a perfectly well-balanced representation of all 4 Islay Distillery flavour profiles. A harmonious quartet of Sweet, Salt, Smoke and Earth play and dance their way to the farthest reaches of the palate and back again!
Bottled at 53.7% ABV
Nose: Charred driftwood, Sea salt, Iodine, Caramel
Palate: Salted caramels, Smoldering peat moss, A Saltwater-seasoned driftwood beach fire, Christmas cookie dough.
Finish: Long, Lingering, Christmas baking and more smoldering seaside peat.
Mouth Feel: Slightly creamy and buttery
Paired with a traditional breakfast on Christmas morn.
Black Adder Black Snake Vat No.1 Fifth Venom
The folks at Black Adder are doing some pretty interesting things with the whiskies they acquire. Black Snake is from an undisclosed Distillery. The spirit is matured in ex-bourbon barrels. They then put 3 of those barrels into an Oloroso Sherry Butt and mature for another year. This Sherry Butt is treated like a mini-Solera cask in that they only bottle 2/3 of the the cask. They then add 2 more ex-bourbon barrels, of the same whisky, to the Vat. Each bottling is called a “Venom.” And the whisky gains overall age with each Venom.
Bottled at 60.7% ABV non-chill filtered and no colour added.
Colour: Harvest Gold
Nose: Butterscotch, Demerara Sugar, Chocolate Raisins, Vanilla Bean, Dark Fruit, Light Grassy notes in the back, Shortbread, A hint of Banana and Pecan
Palate: Pear Cobbler, More Dark Fruit, Cedar, Caramel, Honeydew melon.
Finish: Long, Mouth Drying, Malty, Honey and then Pepper.
Paired with Homemade Shortbread
Rating 7.8 /10
Black Bottle Blended Scotch Whisky
Gordon Graham’s Black Bottle Blended Scotch Whisky is produced today by Burn Stewart Distillers. This brand was originally introduced in 1879 by Charles David and Gordon Graham. After many years of decline Black Bottle was brought back to life in 1990 with a blend of multiple Islay single malts. It was then re-launched in 2013 and now features a more balanced blend of fruit, spice and peat smoke.
Bottled at 40% ABV.
Nose: Malty, hints of struck matches, fruit and spice.
Palate: Rich but not super complex, hazy cigar smoke, herbs and fruity.
Finish: Surprisingly long, from sweet to salty brine and smoke.
The expression we have chosen to share with you today is the Bowmore 18-year-old. This is one of their more expensive and harder to find whiskies but is worth the hunt. Bowmore 18-year-old is a wonderfully deep and complex whisky with an incredible balance of smoke, chocolate and fruity sweetness.
Bottled at 43% ABV. No Chill Filtration but there is colour added to Bowmore expressions.
Nose: Tobacco, dark fruit, oak furniture salvaged from a structure fire.
Palate: Fragrant fruit, plums, lovely, glorious peat smoke.
Finish: Fruit jam, floral, heavy peat smoke, seductive and sultry finish.
Bunnahabhain 10-Year-Old – Douglas Laing Single Minded
I had the opportunity to sample another single cask Bunnahabhain from independent bottler, Douglas Laing. This expression was from their “Single Minded” line and was from a refilled ex-bourbon hogshead. This 10-year-old whisky was bottled at 43% ABV and here’s my take!
Nose: Tidal pools, light smoke and malty sweetness
Palate: Buttery wholegrain bread, smoldering driftwood charcoal and double smoked bacon.
Finish: Toasted sugar, charred oak and vanilla, lingering light peat smoke.
The official distillery bottle is a beautiful 12-year-old expression created from a blend of sherry and ex-bourbon casks. Their entry level core expression is non-chill filtered and no colour added. Bottled at 46.3% ABV.
Nose: Fruity, floral, dried apricots and wisps of smoke.
Palate: more dried, dark fruits, nutty, all-spice, vanilla bean.
Finish: Lingering for a bit, sweetness fades to a lovely pepper note.
Bunnahabhain 12-Year-Old – Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask
Douglas Laing’s Old Malt Cask Bunnahabhain 12-year-old single cask is from a refilled hogshead (ex-bourbon) and 1 of 331 bottles. This whisky was distilled June of 1996 and bottled June of 2008. It’s non-chill filtered and no colour added and no nonsense! Bottled at 50% ABV.
Nose: Light, fruity, driftwood.
Palate: Tropical fruit, berries, rose hips and oak spices.
Finish: Lingers for a while, spicy and tangy.
Bunnahabhain 20-Year-old – Duncan Taylor Dimensions
Bunnahabhain Distillery is a very special distillery located on Islay. Founded in 1881. Is one of the milder single malts on the island with their core age statement range being unpeated. Translated it means “Mouth of the River.”
Colour: Light Gold
Nose: Butterscotch, Peanut butter and jam on almost burnt whole-wheat toast, candied pears, strawberries and heavy cream.
Palate: More peanut butter and jam on toast, creamy vanilla pudding, salted caramels
Finish: Long and drying, ashy smoke and white pepper.
Mouth Feel: At first, mouth coating and then drying.
Paired with: Aged Farmhouse cheddar, bacon wrapped scallops or the darkest of dark chocolate.