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Whisky World News

Win a Trip to Scotland from the Glenrothes:

The Glenrothes is launching the a brand new video to coincide with the second-annual Vintage Maker competition (running now till Jan 31). The Are You The 2012 Glenrothes Vintage Maker? video can be found here.

A little more about the competition:

The Glenrothes®, the preeminent vintage distilled single malt Scotch whisky, is launching its second annual Vintage Maker contest. This bespoke dram, which prides maturity over age, (you won’t find any pre-determined age statements here) wants you to recall and share a game-changing or halcyon moment in your life. The winners will be the entries that in the opinion of the judges best represent the definition of a Glenrothes vintage moment: a perfect combination of time, place, people and/or occasion when everything comes together to create a moment that will stay in the memory forever. . .

Four of the most compelling stories will be selected from the US and the winners will be flown to the Speyside region of Scotland – home of The Glenrothes – in May 2012. Alongside The Glenrothes Malt Master, Gordon Motion, the winning four will nose a wide gamut of whiskies, before selecting the best casks to be laid down for maturation, to eventually be bottled and released as The Glenrothes 2012 vintage. This year’s Vintage Maker contest follows hot on the heels of over 10,000 budding whisky makers entering last year’s draw.

Morrison Bowmore Distilleries Appoints Rachel Barrie As Master Blender:

Morrison Bowmore Distillers (MBD), one of the major names in Scotch Whisky and producers of Auchentoshan, Bowmore and Glen GariochSingle Malt Scotch Whiskies, announces the appointment of Rachel Barrie to the newly created position of Master Blender effective immediately. Barrie will also head up the company’s Spirit Quality Control and laboratory functions. She will join Morrison Bowmore’s Operational Senior Executive Group and report directly to Andrew Rankin, MBD Operations Director and Chief Blender. Barrie joins the company bringing a vast amount of knowledge and experience having served many years in a similar role within The Glenmorangie Company.

Commenting on the appointment Andrew Rankin says, “Rachel is one of the most experienced Master Blenders in our Industry and I am extremely delighted that she will be joining our team here at MBD. We have a very strong blending team within the company and this appointment will massively strengthen and reinforce our commitment to producing the ultimate in quality single malt Scotch whiskies.”

Another New Release of Hanyu:

Not that we are complaining! Following up on their very successful single cask bottling of the now extinct Hanyu distillery, the Game, Shinanoya is slated to release another single cask bottling. This release will also be called the Game – distilled in 2000 and bottled in November 2011 at 59.4%ABV, Mizunara Heads Hogshead Finish. Shinanoya is taking reservations/orders on January 26th. Like all Hanyu malts, jump on this as soon as possible if you have the chance.

Update: this bottle is now available for purchase here

Update to the update: sold out now. That was faster than I expected

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Glenrothes Night

Another one of San Francisco’s whisky seasons has come, drunk, and conquered. With events ranging from time-well-spent to a-mediocre-night, I have been remiss in not commenting on a tasting that was decidedly pleasing. Some weeks back, the opportunity to attend a Glenrothes promotional event found me willing and able. The event played out in a private room of Nihon (a local whisky bar of note featuring Japanese fare). The powers that be did more than a few things right to make this event a cut above. Firstly, it was small. This was not a meet-and-greet party for gregarious inebriates sponsored by Glenrothes. While such events can be delightful, it is not always the best circumstances under which to get personal with a whisky. That Glenrothes held the event at Nihon also spoke to the caliber of the event. To revel in a little whisky promotion in the confines of a smaller, cushy chamber of wood and dimmed lighting plays to the strength of whisky sampling and related conversation. The garish lighting of warehouse-events is great for illuminating a huge space and helping you recognize people from across the room, but give me the intimate confines of a little faux candle-lit space with comfy seating (and the knowledge that there is a huge and varied selection of quality liquor downstairs) and I am more than satisfied. Glenrothes’ representative, one Mr. Ronnie Cox, it must be said, sealed the deal. A well-spoken man who is spoken well of, Mr. Cox proved a good host and a superior orator on Glenrothes’ behalf. Prior to the tasting I enjoyed the opportunity to share a beer and a few words with him concerning Glenrothes and whisky in general, as well as some incidental conversation. A seasoned veteran of much alcohol appreciation and promotion, I’m of the opinion that not only has Glenrothes provided Mr. Cox with a respectable product to laud, he has brought to Glenrothes his wide-ranging experience wrapped in a refreshingly mellifluous take on the English language.

And so, to bastardize the Bard (Romeo and Juliet, Act I, Prologue), we lay our scene. Glenrothes straddles a rare whisky ridge, it is well-known but not famous (or infamous, for that matter). You will not find it at a convenience store (don’t get me wrong, many good things are) and you might not even find it at your local bar. You will, however, find it at many a drinking establishment and any liquor store serious about good whisky. Its has a distinctively rotund bottle that steps outside the typical mold, and its had it since before fooling around with bottle shape was cool. A signature look. This coupled with their school report card-inspired label makes for a curious combination of a whisky that is distinct but not in your face… which accurately describes the whiskies themselves (if I can give the whiskies personhood). The age statement on the bottle is a rare and curiously refreshing approach to whisky bottling (one they have been doing for quite a while). They do not release a twelve or eighteen year that is regularly supplemented with like reproductions. Glenrothes places the year of distillation on the label and when that version is gone it is gone. No repeats, just an evolution of what they are aging and outputting. These are Speyside whiskies. These are whiskies that represent the Speyside palate well. These whiskies do not rely upon esoteric barrel agings or experimental approaches. I am crazy about bizarre and eclectic approaches to whisky aging, my taste buds can not get enough of it, be it an Islay finished in a Zinfandel barrel or a lowland in a Bordeaux (or an Ichiro in a port pipe!). But if one looses appreciation for the art, the time-proven work of crafting a traditional Scottish whisky, one is lost.

Glenrothes delivered. Tasting notes? If I had not enjoyed the evening as much as I did, I would probably have better notes to impart, but then if I had not enjoyed it so much I probably would not be writing this. Do your own homework. Try the line-up and you are like to find something more than agreeable.  And if you get a chance to try the Editor’s Cask, consider yourself lucky. Cheers to Glenrothes and all those involved for putting on a whisky tasting that stood out not only for its whisky, but for the places and persons involved. –Nate

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Some Quick Notes on Tasting the Chieftain’s Lineup

Chieftains is another IB, however it was not widely available in the US until a couple of months ago.  So when I learned that K and L Wines was hosting a tasting for some of the US lineup, I signed up immediately.  The event was limited to 35 people and filled up quickly.  It was a little bit of a trek to make the tasting: Martin’s West in Redwood City, but I was betting it was going to be worth it.

The lineup was quite extensive, covering varying regions and flavor profiles:  Allt A Bhainne 31, Dalmore 11, Glencadam 22, Glenrothes 14, Longmorn 13, Linkwood 16, and the great Port Ellen 25.

Allt A Bhainne is a fairly obscure distillery and not many people know about it.  It is located in the Speyside region and is used primarily for Chivas Regal blends.  So it is very rare to get the opportunity to try a single malt Allt A Bhainne.  This malt was surprisingly lively for its age – full bodied, butter, grassy with a slight hint of smoke which was also a surprise.

Dalmore is a distillery that we are a lot more familiar with.  It is located in the Highland region of Scotland and generally has deep-sweet flavors.  This malt was enhanced in a Madeira cask.  I found the Dalmore to be rather underwhelming unfortunately.  There was some tropical fruit sweetness, caramel, you can taste the wine influence but it faded rather quickly.

Glencadam is another Highland malt but it does not release many single malts.  The Glencadam was viscous and chewy with lots of malt.  There was some licorice and grain notes with some fruit underneath it all – a decent dram.

Glenrothes is a very well known distillery out of the Speyside region.  This Glenrothes was finished in a Burgundy cask to add some wine flavors.  The distinctive dark red fruits and sweetness immediately came to the forefront.  The wood was definitely present as well.

Linkwood, like Glenrothes, resides in the Speyside region of Scotland.  However, you probably won’t find a bottle of Linkwood at your local bar.  My first thought was WOW! Big fruit, malt and green apples.  I also found flowers and some heather in the palate.  I really enjoyed this malt, it tasted almost like a Lowland malt to me.  A big surprise.

Longmorn is a neighbor of Linkwood in Speyside.  This malt had baked bread, oak and grain with a slight hint of smoke.  Unfortunately, it faded really fast and I didn’t find it all that interesting.

Finally, I was able to taste the Port Ellen.  For those that don’t know, Port Ellen is one of the most sought after malts out there.  Port Ellen, located in the Islay regions, was demolished in 1982 making whatever was left aging in barrels at that time the last whisky to ever be produced from this distillery.  Unfortunately, the price point for Port Ellen’s is extremely high and keeps increasing as the years go by and the stocks of the whisky dwindle.  This Port Ellen was a nicely balanced malt.  A perfect balance of peat, coastal brine, seaweed, smoke and ashes.

Over all the Chieftain’s line up is solid but to be honest I was expecting a little more.  I really enjoyed the Linkwood and the Port Ellen.  The others weren’t bad but they didn’t stand out for me.  It is nice to see another IB enter into the US market.  I am hoping that Chieftains line will flourish and continue to grow so that we can all experience different and unique flavors from more great distilleries.


Filed under Allt A Bhainne, Dalmore, Glencadam, Imbibed Musings, Linkwood, Longmorn, Port Ellen, Whisky Impressions

Glenrothes 1995 Signatory Un-Chillfiltered Collection

I have only had some of the more recent OB releases of Glenrothes and to be frank nothing really stood out for me.  There wasn’t anything necessarily bad about them, they just didn’t leave much of an impression.  Too middle of the road and “safe” for my likings.  So which ones have I tried?  I simply can’t remember.  And no, it is not what you are thinking – I was enjoying in moderation each time.  The surgeon general would be proud of my efforts.  The reason I can’t remember, is a lot of the line is identified by year only and the labels and bottles all look the same.  It is like a mini-version of my Bruichladdich confusion.  In any event, I decided to give this Signatory bottling a try and see if it would be any different.

Color – Pale straw

Nose –  Sweet, cola, rootbeer, watermelon jolly rancher.

Palate –  Cream, spices, nice sweet tones (strawberries?), grassy, malt, hotter than I expected.

Finish –  Full mouth feel, heat.

This Glenrothes was memorable I am happy to say.  The nose was playful and interesting.  The creaminess on the palate was a delight.  I wanted to post a picture but I have to dig through the empty bottle stash to find it first.  It was a hit so the contents were not long for this world.  I will edit and post a picture as soon as I can find it.


Filed under Glenrothes, Whisky Impressions