Some more new whiskies I’ve been enjoying
This is a continuation to this post I wrote a few weeks ago. More new whiskies have crossed my desk since then and I wanted to let you know my informal thoughts on them. Unfortunately, one of them isn’t Yellow Spot, which is stuck at the U.S. border in Customs until I sort out the red tape.
(Don’t you find it ironic that whisky retailers across the pond have no trouble selling and shipping whisky to U.S. consumers, but it’s very difficult for a whisky company to get a sample to me, the publisher of a whisky magazine, for the sole purpose of review and evaluation? This isn’t criticism against the whisky companies–they are just following the rules–but this governmental red tape is frustrating!)
Okay, now that I got that off my chest…here they are in no particular order.
This is my favorite of the whiskies I’m mentioning here. It’s combination of three sherry butts and seven bourbon casks. This is a complex, dynamic whisky, loaded with lush, layered ripe fruit, toffee, oak resin, polished leather, and well-defined spice notes . Long, warming finish. (Exclusive to the U.S.)
Willett Single Barrel Cask No. 2504 9 year old, 56.6%, $65
Very graceful, with a nice balance of youth and maturity. Gently sweet notes of toffee, fig, nougat and maple syrup, spiked with cinnamon and vanilla. Dark berried fruit and a hint of coconut round out the palate. Perilously more-ish bourbon with a very easy-going demeanor. (A Park Avenue Liquor exclusive.)
Colonel E. H. Taylor Jr. Barrel Proof, 67.25%, $$70
The fourth in a series of limited-edition Taylor bottlings, and the first barrel-proof release. Layered sweet notes of caramel and nougat, with bright orchard fruit (especially nectarine) dried spice (vanilla, mint) and pencil shavings. The dried spice notes linger on the finish, along with tobacco. Bourbon with attitude. (My favorite Taylor release so far was the third one, dubbed “Tornado Surviving”).
Glenglassaugh 37 year old, 56%, $600
A first-fill sherry cask bottling. (Just one cask, exclusive to North America). Some of the old Glenglassaugh whiskies can be very delicious, and this is one of them. It’s very clean, lush and fruity (bramble, citrus, golden raisin), with a kiss of honey, toffee and soft spice. Elegantly sherried—it’s never cloying. A very nice whisky from a quality cask that tastes more like 21 or 25 years old than 37. (I mean this in a good way.)
This has been knocking about in other countries for a few years now, but it will be available for the first time in the U.S. this August. Some of the Glenrothes vintages from the 1970s have been delicious, and this is one of them. (I don’t think this is my favorite from that decade, but it’s still a beautiful whisky: elegant, balanced, and stylish.
Kilchoman Machir Bay, 46%, $55
Named after the beautiful beach near the distillery, this whisky–in classic Kilchoman style–is fun, youthful, dynamic and brooding, tasting more mature than its age suggests. It’s a vatting of 60% of 3 year, 35% of 4 year and 5% of 5 year old single malt, matured in fresh bourbon barrels from Buffalo Trace, Kentucky. The 4 year old portion was finished in Oloroso Sherry butts for 2 months. It’s not my favorite Kilchoman released here in the U.S. (that would still be the Spring 2011 release), but I do like this whisky.
Glen Garioch Cask No. 986 13 year old, 55%, $100
A lovely example of what not chill-filtering can do for a whisky. Meticulous cask selection also helps plays a part here. Very straightforward on the surface (no surprises), but with vibrant, well-defined flavors and a comforting creamy texture on the palate. Bright fruit defines this whisky (lime, kiwi, ripe melon, sultana, fresh peach), accompanied by honeyed malt, heather, and a hint of spice and smoke. A fun whisky, suitable for many moods and occasions. (A Park Avenue Liquor exclusive.)