Wonderful opening of cigar humidor and tack room, it presents vibrant caramel and vanilla, but really shines with complex fruit, spice, and nuts. Baked apples, canned pears, blackberries, and strawberry jam meet white pepper, followed by roasted walnuts and honey. Then resounding nutmeg appears, with slight hints of smoke, chipotle, and earth. The long finish rekindles the caramel note from the beginning. Must-have sipper.
Chivas Regal 18 year old Ultimate Cask Collection First Fill American Oak Finish, 48%
Blended Scotch Whisky | $120
And you thought all Chivas Regal 18 year old was the same. Luscious toffee, cinnamon, nutmeg, chocolate praline, dry grasses, hazelnut, and just a lift of lime and peppermint. The palate has fudge-like sweetness, caramel, walnut cake, murmuring spices, orange peel, and toffee banana. Water unlocks watermelon and a fruitier side to its character. The spices push hard through the finish as the toffee flavors relinquish their grip.
Glen Moray is celebrating its 120th anniversary with Mastery, a vatting from 1978, 1988, 1994, 1999, and 2001. Maturation—and finishing—has occurred in a mix of bourbon, sherry, madeira, and port casks. Resinous sherry, smoky red wine, caramel, and vanilla on the nose. Voluptuous on the palate, with sherry, succulent stewed fruit, soft toffee, and cocoa powder. Long in the gently spiced finish, with port-soaked oak. (1,000 bottles)
William Brabazon, 3rd Earl of Meath, once presided over Newmarket, the area of Dublin the Teeling Distillery now calls home. Clean lemon-ozone character, with peach, apricot, and melon, the sherry finessing the distillery character. There’s further fruitiness apparent on the palate; oaky chardonnay notes, more melon, and warm orange, though the strength burns through. Grapefruit and gooseberry sharpness keeps this zingy and fresh above a sweet toffee base. €78
Matured in oloroso sherry casks. Confident plum, prune, and raisin notes on the early nose, with developing ripe cherries, sherried fudge, and resin. A slightly earthy undertone. Viscous in the mouth—very sweet—with developing tingling spices, then darker fruit notes emerge, with licorice and plain chocolate. The finish is long, with enduring dark chocolate and fruity spice. (1,180 bottles)
Saturated with tropical fruits, banana, butterscotch, barley sweetness, marzipan, creamed coconut, and a fine thread of spice after the 8 month finishing period in dark Caribbean rum casks. This is a huge vehicle for flavor: silky and thick mouthfeel with sweet citrus, honey, mango, guava, passion fruit, Seville orange, and a sting of bitterness to keep your taste buds on their toes. Spice is merely a bit-part player.
Vague fruitiness, barrel notes, and corncobs on the nose turn to lush caramels, with a plush mouthfeel punctuated by hints of rye spices that become more assertive as notes of cloves meld into candy cane on a long, spicy, then pithy finish. There is more fruit in this special Canada 150 edition of Confederation Oak—sweet ripe apples and tart gooseberries. A masterful example of blending.
This hybrid of bourbon, rye, and blended malt scotch is the dusty trail made liquid flesh. Smoke and cooked meat up front, balanced by sizzling rye spice, red fruit, and dark chocolate. Seaweed, salt spray, and peat are happy to share the spotlight. Barbecue ribs dry-rubbed with paprika, chili powder, and clove, with a smoldering finish. Hot, powerful, and beguiling. A great improvement over earlier releases (2016 batch).
Alexander Murray & Co. The Monumental 18 year old, 40%
Blended Scotch Whisky | $65
Sweet caramel on the boundary of maple syrup flavors, with aging tobacco leaf, walnuts, malted barley, charcoal sticks, and snuffed candle wicks, all cushioned by soft oak. An initial impression of a lighter character, though it’s bursting with juicy toffee, butterscotch sauce, wood spices, and dried banana. The spices vibrate gently around the gums on the dry finish of this high-malt content blend, leaving nutty residual flavors.
Maturation took place in refill bourbon casks before a final 12-month period in first-fill bourbon casks. Lemon, ginger, pine resin, and a hint of sea salt on the nose, then banoffee pie develops. Luscious on the palate, with subtle spice, a touch of ashy smoke, and principally big orchard fruit notes. Drying in the lengthy finish, with a wisp of smoke, brine, and peppery oak. Glen Scotia at its characterful best.£250
This vintage bottling was distilled during the 1970s and spent 41 years in a refill bourbon hogshead (#3434). Spicy on the early nose, with fresh oak. Increasingly malty, with ginger and apricot. The palate is rich and full, with Jaffa orange, stewed apples, cocoa, and pipe tobacco. Plain chocolate and increasingly tannic oak in the finish. Ultimately, warming spicy citrus fruits and smoky black pepper. (162 bottles) £1,250
That Boutique-y Whisky Company (distilled at Bruichladdich) 23 year old, 47.4%
Single Malt Scotch | $111
There is a beautiful interplay between the lemon and sharp lime set against the bracing coastal nature of this dram. Gentle vanilla, honey, lemon zest, and gooseberry compote waft from the glass. Vanilla frosting, coconut macaroon bars, malt drinks, peach, lemon, and an undercurrent of pepper. Creamy chocolate once the spice subsides, it ends with a fantastically chewy mouthfeel. Nuts, pepper, and cocoa make for a mouth-coating finish.
Yes, there is a cute, mewing black kitten on the label. Turkish delight, pomegranate, rose water, lemon, lime zest, clementine, and sandalwood. A syrupy texture with the sweetness of hard fruit candy; there are flavors of cooked apple, mandarin, butterscotch, melon, ginger, and chili pepper. The slow crescendo of spices is particularly impressive. The pleasantly fruity finish sees a drop-off in the spices. Distinctively aromatic and exotic.
Whiskeys made from 100% Irish barley are not abundant, so at sweet sixteen, there is much to celebrate about this grown-up version of Tyrconnell. Honey, pear, crème brûlée, clementine peel, tinned peach, and pencil shavings on the nose. Citrus, candied peel, lemon, and grapefruit mingle among the sweetness, but it’s anchored by layered spices and rounds out with a finish of juicy spiced oranges and peach. Moreish and delicious.
The standard Gooderham & Worts blends corn, wheat, barley, and rye whiskies. This special edition forgoes the barley but not the flavor. A lovely hard toffee start slides into a wealth of cereal notes: barley sugars, Cream of Wheat, and oatmeal. Lovely soft caramels send a smooth sweetness gliding over the palate. Little Trinity exemplifies luxurious mouthfeel as much as it does breadth of flavor.
Rich and bold, it’s loaded with caramel notes that range from macchiato to salted caramel chews. Then complexity sets in, with brown sugar, vanilla cake batter, cinnamon-dusted molasses cookies, candied pecans, brown-sugar butter, and cornbread. The key here is that each note appears with that initial caramel richness and follows this to the long, warm, and satisfying finish with a hint of spice.
What happens when you light a bonfire underneath Green Label? Earthy peat smoke with medicinal characteristics of lanolin and antiseptic, a salty tang balanced with creamy vanilla, strands of citrus, and touches of menthol and aniseed. Smooth as a thief in the night; mouth-coating toffee, growing smoky notes, and peppered mackerel push back the waxy, citrus elements. Now the fire is alive; the sweetness gets out while it can. (Travel Retail exclusive)
That Boutique-y Whisky Company (distilled at North British) 27 year old, 56.3%
Single Grain Scotch | $51
This slippery little rogue exudes sweet popcorn, lemon peel, summer florals, linseed, and Quaker Oats pillows adrift in a sea of butterscotch sauce. Rather tasty; the cask strength alcohol rips through the juicy mandarin and toffee opening, overcoming an active peppery middle section, then relinquishing its grip to leave herbal notes, corn, and fudge. Reverberating lengthy toffee and spice finish. Water brings out more cereal notes and soft orange.