Posts Tagged ‘Bowmore’

Whisky Advocate’s Spring Issue Top 10 Buying Guide Reviews

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

Here’s a sneak preview of Whisky Advocate magazine’s spring 2014 issue Buying Guide. Today we reveal the ten top-rated whiskies. We begin with #10 and conclude with the highest rated whisky in the issue.

BT Extended Stave Drying experiment#10: Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection Extended Stave Drying Time, 45%, $47/375 ml

Richer and fuller when compared to the Standard Stave Drying Time variant in this Experimental Collection. Sweeter too, with creamy layers of vanilla and caramel. The extended drying time influence tames the dried spice and oak resin and is proof that extended stave aging really benefits older bourbons that might otherwise be dominated by oak. Sadly, with whiskey in such demand, I doubt many bourbon producers will take the time to age the staves longer.—John HansellPM10 BottleShot

Advanced Whisky Advocate rating: 92

#9: Compass Box Peat Monster 10th Anniversary Limited Edition, 48.9%, $130

Peat Monster is a staple Compass Box blended malt whisky, but this raises the bar significantly. The nose is “as you were”: peat reek, seaside, very Islay. But on the palate John Glaser’s added some peaty Highland whisky—probably a signature Clynelish—to add a hint of licorice, a softer, fruitier smoke base, and through some virgin French oak, a delightful spiciness. Compass Box is in a purple patch. Again.—Dominic Roskrow

Advanced Whisky Advocate rating: 92

35YO_Dec_Box_White_Front2#8: Glengoyne 35 year old, 46.8%, $4,640

Glengoyne 35 year old has been aged in sherry casks and just 500 decanters have been released. The nose offers sweet sherry, maraschino cherries, honey, sponge cake, marzipan, and soft fudge, turning to caramel in time, with a whiff of worn leather. Slick in the mouth, with spicy dried fruit, and more marzipan and cherries. Long in the finish with plain chocolate cherry liqueur; still spicy. Finally a buttery, bourbon-like note. No negative cask connotations in this well-balanced after-dinner dram.—Gavin Smith

Advanced Whisky Advocate rating: 92

#7: Aberfeldy Single Cask (Cask No. 5) 16 year old, 57.4%, $250

From a sherry cask. Bright and lively. Quite fruity, with notes of golden raisin, pineapple, nectarine, and tangerine. The fruit is balanced by honeyed malt and light caramel. A dusting of vanilla, cinnamon, and hint of cocoa, with black licorice on the finish. Lush and mouth-coating. The best of the Aberfeldy whiskies I’ve tasted to date. (New Hampshire only)—John Hanselltalisker1985

Advanced Whisky Advocate rating: 92

#6: Talisker 1985, 56.1%, $600

This 27 year old Talisker has been aged in refill American oak casks, and the nose offers brine, wood smoke, wet tarry rope, slightly medicinal, with the emergence of milk chocolate. Big-bodied, with lots of peat accompanied by chili and smoked bacon, with sweeter notes of malt, fudge, and apple. A hint of fabric Elastoplast. Long in the finish, with rock pools, bonfire ash, and sweet, tingling spice notes which carry to the very end. A powerful beast, even by Talisker standards. (3,000 bottles)Gavin Smith

Advanced Whisky Advocate rating: 92

#5: Signatory (distilled at Laphroaig) 1998, 60.8%, £100

Any sherried Laphroaig is welcome, and this does not disappoint. Rich, resinous, medicinal, with underlying soft fruits, the smoke is all-pervading, but never dominant. In other words, it isn’t just complex and balanced, but has that other dimension which elevates it in mind (and marks). With water, there’s antiseptic cream mingling with oxidized fruits and nuts; think manzanilla pasada. The palate shows storm clouds gathering over Texa. Rich dried fruits, cacao, and a ferny lift on the finish. Fantastic.—Dave BroomLongmorn

Advanced Whisky Advocate rating: 92

#4: Exclusive Malts (distilled at Longmorn) 28 year old, 51.6%, $250

The nose is fascinating, as if dust is cohering into form, and fruity form at that. When it emerges there’s baked banana, fruitcake, citrus peels, passion fruit, mango, mace flower, and nutmeg. A mossy edge anchors it to earth. Even livelier with water, this is a superbly balanced, mature whisky. The palate is pure, with big retronasal impact of the spice. Layered and long, it’s at its best neat; you need the intensity to amplify all the complexity. Superb.—Dave Broom

Advanced Whisky Advocate rating: 92

Bowmore 50 year old#3: Bowmore 50 year old (distilled 1961), 40.7%, £16,000

The whisky is sensational, a glorious mix of ginseng syrup, baked banana, semi-dried tropical fruits, and an exotic smoked edge. Without the last, you could believe it was a delicate Cognac. In time, there’s peppermint and guava syrup. A sip is all you need to reveal perfect, thrilling harmony: light nuttiness, pollen, subtle fruits, gentle smoke, and light fungal touches. It’s stunning, but it’s £16,000! Whisky this great, even in limited quantities, should be fairly priced. Points off.—Dave Broom

Advanced Whisky Advocate rating: 95Brora_35yo_2013_LowRes

#2: Brora 35 year old, 49.9%, $750

Maturation of this 1978 distillate has taken place in European oak and refill American oak casks. Fresh and fruity on the early, herbal nose; a hint of wax, plus brine, developing walnut fudge, and an underlying wisp of smoke. Finally, wood resin. The palate is very fruity, with mixed spices, then plain chocolate, damp undergrowth, gentle peat smoke, and finally coal. Mildly medicinal. Ashy peat and aniseed linger in the long, slowly drying finish. Brora at its very best. (2,944 bottles)Gavin Smith

Advanced Whisky Advocate rating: 95

General-Dieline

#1: Compass Box The General, 53.4%, $325

With a name inspired by a 1926 Buster Keaton movie, only 1,698 bottles produced, and the news that one of the two batches is more than 30 years old, the clues were there that this blend was never going to be cheap. It isn’t, but it’s superb, rich in flavor that screams dusty old oak office, fresh polish, and Sunday church, with spices, oak dried fruits, squiggly raisins, and a surprising melting fruit-and-nut dairy chocolate back story.—Dominic Roskrow

Advanced Whisky Advocate rating: 96

Rare whiskies pouring at WhiskyFest New York this Saturday

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

At this Saturday’s WhiskyFest New York seminar program, you get to taste these whiskies. (1/2 ounce pours!)

  • Glenmorangie 1963 Vintage
  • The Glenlivet Cellar Collection (1983 Vintage)
  • Gold Bowmore
  • Balvenie Islay Cask 17 year old
  • Brora 30 year old

And that’s just the first seminar! There will be many more great whiskies, many of them debuting at this event, along with legendary Master Distillers,  Master Blenders, and the Whisky Advocate writers.

If you’re in the New York area and have Saturday free, a few tickets still remain.  You can purchase just the seminar program, or combine it with one (or both) of the grand tastings in the evening. Follow the link to find out more.

Bid on some great whiskies for charity

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

This Sunday, Bonhams will be conducting a whisky auction in New York City. You can find the catalog of whiskies here.

You may remember that I posted I’m auctioning my entire collection of Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintages. I have a bottle from each of the 17 vintage, many of them Barrel No. 1 and signed by (Master Distillers) Parker Beam or his son Craig Beam. I’m donating 100% of the proceeds to charity. (I’m letting my wife Amy pick the charity, since she has to put up with me and my crazy passion for whisky.) It’s Lot No. 369. Estimated range is $800-$1,000.

A fine gentleman, seeing my post about donating my Evan Williams vintages, is following suit by donating four bottles of A. H. Hirsch 16 year old bourbons from the long-gone Michter’s distillery. (Lots 388-391.) Each bottle is its own lot, with a range of $400-600.

Finally, for those with a little more pocket change than I have, you can also bid on Lot No. 84: the Bowmore 1957 Vintage, 54 year old. All the proceeds are going to charity. It’s range is set at $160,000-$190,000. Seriously, if you have a lot of disposable income, why don’t you buy this great bottle of scotch instead of the new yacht? A yacht costs a lot of money to maintain, and you need someplace big to story it. This Bowmore requires no maintenance other than a little dusting and drinking and can be stored in a liquor cabinet or display case. And it’s for charity.

 

Some whisky highlights from WhiskyFest San Francisco

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

WhiskyFest San Francisco was this past Friday. I had a chance to try some new whiskies while I was there and would like to share my thoughts. Some of these are so new, they haven’t even been formally released yet. I was just offered pre-release samples to taste.

One of my favorite whiskies of the evening was a Samaroli Glenlivet 1977 Vintage. It was elegant, well-rounded, and subtly complex. Very nice!

The U.S. finally has Japanese whisky besides Suntory’s Yamazaki and Hakushu. Nikka is making its formal debut at WhiskyFest New York in two weeks, but the importer was also pouring Taketsuru 12 year old “Pure Malt” and Yoichi 15 year old single malt at the San Francisco event. The 12 year old, a blend of malts, was nicely rounded and easy to drink, while the 15 year old was very distinctive. My feeling on Japanese whisky is: the more the merrier!

Angel’s Envy has two new whiskeys coming out. The first one is a barrel-proof version of their flagship Angel’s Share bourbon that’s finished in port pipes. The other one is a high-rye whiskey that is currently being finished off in a Caribbean rum cask. I tasted both. Both were very interesting. The high rye/rum finish combination was unique.

Wild Turkey is finally coming out with a new whiskey that’s not 81 proof! (Thank goodness!) There’s a new Russell’s Reserve Small Batch being released soon that’s 110 proof, with no age statement.

I was able to taste the next Evan Williams Single Barrel vintage release (a 2003 vintage). It was very smooth, easy-going, and dangerously drinkable.

There’s a new Michter’s 20 year old single barrel about to be released. I was concerned that it was going to taste too woody, dry and tannic. Not a chance! I was so impressed with this whiskey, that I kept taking people I knew over to the Michter’s booth to taste it before it disappeared. (Well, it wasn’t officially there in the first place, but I did my best to spread the word.) I know this was a single barrel, but I sure hope they all taste like this!

Gable Erenzo had a unmarked bottle of a Hudson Bourbon he wanted me to try. It was a six year old Hudson bourbon matured in a standard 53 gallon barrel (not a small barrel!) and it was the best Hudson whiskey I have tasted to date. Thanks for the tease, Gable…

One of the most pleasant experience of the evening wasn’t even a whisky. It was a beer! At the Anchor booth, they were pouring Anchor Steam that was bottled just five hours earlier. Damn that beer was fresh. It was the best Anchor Steam beer I ever had outside of the brewery. So, if you saw me walking around with a glass of Anchor Steam, now you know why!

Finally, I couldn’t resist sitting in on one of the seminars: a flight of Bowmore whiskies paired with a variety of West Coast oysters that were flown in that day and shucked right in front of us.  Delicious!

Ridiculously expensive whiskies have just about jumped the shark

Friday, September 21st, 2012

I try to be open-minded and cover all whiskies, regardless of price or category. Some of you give me a hard time for writing about whiskies you can’t afford, while others (as demonstrated in our most recent post on craft distillers making “moonshine“) complain when we cover the opposite end of the spectrum.

That’s okay. I’m a big boy. I can take it.

You can rest assured, knowing that the majority of the whiskies we write about and review are whiskies that most of you can afford. Whisky still is, after all, an affordable luxury.

Well, most whisky, that is. Even I am surprised by the proliferation–no, make that competition–by the whisky companies to see how fancy–and expensive–they can make a bottle of whisky these days. I mean, every major brand seems to have thrown their hand-blown glass, silver-lined, diamond-studded hat in the ring, including Glenmorangie, Ardbeg, Balvenie, Glenfiddich, Glenlivet, Macallan, Johnnie Walker, and Dalmores (plural). I’m sure there are more brands we could include here, but these are the ones that came immediately to mind.

And this craze seems to be getting more prolific. Just within the past few days I’ve been sent press releases for a 1970 Vintage Extraordinary Cask Glenrothes ($5,000), a 70 year old Gordon & MacPhail Glenlivet ($35,888 CAN), and–you better sit down–a Bowmore 1957 54 year old release which will sell for around $155,000. (I’m not picking on these three brands, specifically. They just happened to be the the most recent three. This is a industry-wide issue.)

Okay, I’ve always felt that I don’t care if a whisky company comes out with a ridiculously expensive whisky, as long as they still sell good quality, affordable whiskies for us 99.99%ers. I understand why they might want to create a fancy whisky to commemorate a special occasion, and I’m proud of those companies who tie in a charity component to it. But, it’s gotten to the point where my eyes begin to glaze over when I get a press release on a new whisky that’s priced like a car. Or house! It’s just not cool anymore–especially given the economic woes most of us still struggle with.

Careful, whisky producers. You are very close to jumping the shark. (For me, anyway.)

These older whiskies don’t need to be this expensive. It’s the packaging and marketing that drives the whisky from an affordable luxury for many of us to just display items for the very rich. Take Glenfarclas, for example. They came out with a delicious 40 year old whisky a little while ago for only about $460, not $4,600. It was packaged in their standard Glenfarclas bottle format.

Tell me about a great whisky at an affordable price. That will never go out of fashion. And I will shout it from the highest mountaintops.

Whisky Advocate’s top 10 whiskies of the fall issue

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

The ten highest-rated whiskies reviewed in the fall 2012 issue of Whisky Advocate’s Buying Guide are being announced right here, right now.  We begin with whisky #10 and count down to the #1 whisky. Please note: any whiskies currently available in the U.S. have prices listed in dollars; any whisky priced in other currency is not presently available in the U.S.

#10: Crown Royal XR (LaSalle), 40%, $130

Vanilla and oak nose, with a creamy layer of mint that warns you: Rye Ahead. And what a sweet rye wave it is, rolling in with green mint and grass, more bourbony oak and vanilla, lively spice on the top (with enough heat to keep it bold), and a finish that brings everything together. Beautifully integrated, and not overly woody, a tribute to the blending art of Canadian distillers. —Lew Bryson

Advanced Whisky Advocate magazine rating: 91

#9: Cutty Sark Tam o’ Shanter 25 year old, 46.5%, $329

In my opinion Cutty Sark 25 year old is one of the great blends, so a new version was always going to be a big ask. This one comes with a lot of packaging, so is it a victory for style over substance? Not at all. This is all about big flavors; burnt orange, juicy raisin, and dark chocolate; rich oak and exotic spice. A treat, and worthy of its heritage. But at that price—and bearing in mind it’s a limited edition—are you going to open it? —Dominic Roskrow

Advanced Whisky Advocate magazine rating: 91

#8: Macallan Masters of Photography 3rd release 1989 cask #12251, 56.6%, $2,750 

Dark mahogany with ruby glints and a green rim. Lots of highly-polished oak as we move out of the woods and into a silent country estate. Wax polish and masses of whisky rancio. Sherry-soaked oak, dry leaves, currants, and ripe blackberry. Highly concentrated, but the fruits push their way through only lightly-resisting tannins. There’s a hint of smoke and Seville orange bitterness on the finish. My pick of the quartet. Excellent. Only 285 bottles. —Dave Broom

Advanced Whisky Advocate magazine rating: 91


#7: Blue Hanger 4th Release Berry Bros. & Rudd, 45.6%, £61

This Blue Hanger has sherry and fruit on the nose, but it’s all reined in. Then the palate is big, rich, complex, and fruity, and late oakiness from some 30 year-plus malt in the mix brings the perfect finale. —Dominic Roskrow

Advanced Whisky Advocate magazine rating: 92

#6: Glenglassaugh 37 year old, 56%, $600

A first-fill sherry cask bottling (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.) —John Hansell

Advanced Whisky Advocate magazine rating: 92

#5: Glenfarclas 1953, 47.2%, £5,995

The hits just keep on coming for Glenfarclas. Here we see it not only with enormous age but in relaxed mode in terms of oak. You can tell it’s old: the leathery waxiness and exotic fruits of whisky rancio; you can tell it’s Glenfarclas because of the ever-present earthiness, but both are intensified into a new aromatic realm: gentlemen’s barbershop, rowan berry, and images of an old bonfire next to a gingerbread house. Mysterious, subtle, and highly complex. —Dave Broom

Advanced Whisky Advocate magazine rating: 93

#4: Four Roses 2012 Limited Edition Single Barrel, 54.3%, $95

Elegant, clean, and peppered with dried spice notes throughout (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice). Additional notes of barrel char, vanilla wafer, summer fruits, caramel corn, maple syrup, and candied almond add complexity. Begins sweet, but dries out nicely on the finish, inviting another sip. Very nice! —John Hansell

Advanced Whisky Advocate magazine rating: 93

#3: The Balvenie Tun 1401 Batch No. 3, 50.3%, $250

A combination of three sherry butts and seven bourbon casks. This is a complex, dynamic whisky, loaded with lush, layered ripe fruit (red berries, tropical fruit, honeyed apricot, raisin), toffee, oak resin, polished leather, and well-defined spice notes (cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, clove). Long, warming finish. (Exclusive to the U.S.) —John Hansell

Advanced Whisky Advocate magazine rating: 94

#2: Blue Hanger 6th Release Berry Bros. & Rudd, 45.6%, £68

If you want proof that blended malts can be world class, you’ll find it in any bottle of Blue Hanger. Lovingly created by Berry Bros. whisky maker Doug McIvor, every release has been exceptional. Even by the series’ own high standards, this sixth release surpasses itself. The nose is fresh, clean, and citrusy, with wafts of sherry. But there are smoky hints, too. And it’s that peaty, earthy note on the palate that gives this release a new dimension, enriching the fruity Speyside sweetness at the whisky’s core. The age and quality of the malt asserts itself throughout. This really is stunning stuff. —Dominic Roskrow

Advanced Whisky Advocate magazine rating: 94

And the #1 whisky of the fall issue’s Buying Guide is…
Bowmore 46 year old (distilled 1964), 42.9%, $13,500 

There have been some legendary Bowmores from the mid-60s and this is every bit their equal. All of them share a remarkable aroma of tropical fruit, which here moves into hallucinatory intensity: guava, mango, peach, pineapple, grapefruit. There’s a very light touch of peat smoke, more a memory of Islay than the reality. Concentrated; even at low strength the palate is silky, heady, and haunting, and lasts forever in the dry glass. A legend is born. (Eight bottles only for the U.S.)  —Dave Broom

Advanced Whisky Advocate magazine rating: 97

Miscellaneous whisky news

Friday, July 13th, 2012

I’m still catching up on all the whisky news, being on vacation last week and then with all the Bruichladdich happenings earlier this week. (Not to mention this thing called a magazine we’re trying to put together.) You may have seen some of this information floating around, but in case you didn’t…

Sullivans Cove whisky is finally being imported to the U.S.

From the press release:

“Building on its ever-growing global success, Sullivans Cove, the multi award winning Tasmanian Single Malt, is sending its first shipment to the USA this month. Currently exporting to ten countries across Europe, as well as Singapore and Canada, the USA is the next step in the international roll-out of the brand.”

Yellow Spot is as good as I hoped it would be

I finally got a chance to taste Yellow Spot Irish Whiskey this week and must say that I was very impressed. I can’t imagine any true Irish whiskey enthusiast not liking this. (Yes, I know it’s not available in the U.S., but find a way to get a bottle.

Big brand changes at Macallan

So, this is what I’m being told my my Macallan PR contact:

” The new 1824 Series is being introduced into the UK over the next 6 months. The first expression (a UK exclusive) will replace 10 Sherry Oak and Fine Oak expressions and next three variants will be introduced in April next year to extend the range.  These will ultimately replace 12 Sherry 0ak and 15 Fine Oak in the UK, and other relevant markets in due course.

The Macallan 1824 Series is built on the principle of natural colour, one of our Six Pillars. We believe this approach is both innovative and forward looking in the Scotch whisky industry. This new range has been driven by colour first and foremost with the character derived from the colour. The idea was to look at a broad range of casks which delivered a specific colour, then work with the character these casks delivered.  This range moves us aware from bourbon cask maturation as it is 100% sherry cask matured, but we continue to use both European and American oak.

At this time we are focused on the UK element of this launch as it is the first market to take this range.Only certain markets at the  moment are slated for change but the majority of brand sales and the range in  our largest markets will remain in Sherry and Fine Oak for the foreseeable future.”

A great Bowmore most of you won’t be able to afford

Still, I feel abliged to at least mention it. It’s the new “Bowmore 1964 Fino.” The details: 72 bottles (8 for the U.S.) at $13,500. I just tasted this whisky and feel it’s up there in quality with the other high-end Bowmores (Black, White, and Gold), which means, I really liked it. If you win the lottery this week, buy a bottle or two. And then share it with your friends, okay?

And finally…Early Times Fire Eater

To balance out the ink I gave to Bowmore, I’ll tell you about this new product. Straight from my press release:

“Early Times Fire Eater combines the heat and spice of cinnamon liqueur with aged Early Times whisky to craft a warm, inviting and smooth whisky character. For enjoying as a shot, on the rocks or in a variety of cocktails, Early Times Fire Eater offers cocktails like the ‘Elephant Man’ and the ‘Stilt Walker’ to reflect various carnival acts.

‘With Early Times Fire Eater we wanted to deliver a level of curiosity and fun while ensuring the taste consumers have come to expect from Early Times,’ said Therese McGuire, brand manager for Early Times. ‘One look at a bottle of Early Times Fire Eater and you’re taken back to a time when carnivals would travel the country bringing astonishing acts of amazement to the community.’

As the bottle suggests, Early Times Fire Eater evokes an old world carnival feel and an exciting flavor experience. Additionally, the illustration of a big top carnival tent encompasses the bottle with bold red and white stripes.

‘Building on the theme of curiosity, vivid carnival imagery and language are used on the packaging for Early Times Fire Eater,’ said McGuire. ‘A silhouette of a carnival barker with an uplifted cane invites one to ‘step right up’ while the side panel warns ‘it is not for the timid’ for a lighthearted approach to this exciting product.’

Early Times Fire Eater will initially be sold in select cities of Kentucky, Indiana, Washington, Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina, Wisconsin and California with more to follow in 2012. Each bottle is presented at 66 proof with a suggested retail price of $14.99-$15.99 for a 750ml bottle.”

No, I haven’t tried it yet. Have a good weekend everyone.

WhiskyFest New York 2012: A whisky enthusiast’s dream weekend!

Monday, May 7th, 2012

The agenda for the saturday seminar program has been finalized. It’s going to be a great day: rare whiskies, debut whiskies, award winning whiskies, master distillers and blenders, and leading whisky writers all in one place.

A summary of the day’s events is below. If you follow the link to the WhiskyFest website (click on the logo), you’ll find the details in outline form and also be able to purchase tickets to this exciting event.

WhiskyFest New York: imagine a weekend of the world’s best whiskies, two nights of grand tastings and a day of seminars presented by the world’s top whisky distillers and blenders, bringing their best, their oldest,and their newest. The seminars on Saturday, October 27th, 2012, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. will be an unprecedented whisky event for those fortunate enough to attend. This educational experience takes the hands-on approach to learning, engaging every sense as we nose and taste our way through a line-up that is not to be missed. Legendary master distillers, blenders, and whisky makers will be pouring their finest—and newest—whiskies!   

The Whisky Advocate writers—the best in the business—will moderate the five 45-minute seminar sessions, and a special whisky-themed lunch, along with several whiskies making their U.S. and world debuts. A brief summary of this very special day follows.

Debut Scotch Whisky

The first debuting whisky of the day will be presented by John Glaser of Compass Box Whisky, featuring mixologist and Whisky Advocate contributor David Wondrich.  In addition to treating us with a world-debut Compass Box whisky, they’ll also be serving it up in a breakfast cocktail. A great way to start a day!

Whisky Collecting and Auctions
Jonny McCormick, Whisky Advocate contributor and Martin Green of Bonhams will enlighten us on the auction and collecting scene that has exploded lately. They will offer tips on collecting and participating in whisky auctions. Attendees will taste some of the very rare whiskies that have been seen on the auction block. The whiskies speak for themselves, as do the personalities presenting them:

Gold Bowmore – Iain McCallum,
Balvenie Islay Cask 17 year old – Nicholas Pollacchi,
Glemorangie 1963 Vintage – Dr. Bill Lumsden,
Brora 30 year old - Dr. Nick Morgan,
The Glenlivet Cellar Collection (1983 Vintage).

Debut Irish Whiskey
Then, legendary Barry Crockett from the Midleton distillery will present the U.S. debut of his very own Midleton Barry Crockett Legacy bottling.

Trending Scotch
Keeping the momentum going, Dave Broom, Whisky Advocate contributor, examines the trends in Scotch whisky. Join Dave to explore smoky blends, designer whiskies, single malt extremes, and brand premiumization. Dave will be joined by the A-list of master distillers and blenders from Scotland who are making some of these special whiskies. Here they are, with the whiskies they will be pouring:

Dr. Bill Lumsden – Glenmorangie Malaga Wood Finish 30 year
Jim McEwan – Bruichladdich Octomore 4.2
Matthew Crow – Johnnie Walker Double Black
Richard Paterson – Dalmore Castle Leod

Debut Bourbon
Here we will feature the world debut of a very special bourbon presented by Truman Cox,  master distiller from  the A. Smith Bowman distillery.  He knows what the whiskey will be, but for now he’s keeping it a surprise.

Understanding Irish
Dominic Roskrow, Whisky Advocate contributor, follows by taking us on a tour of Ireland, explaining the difference between the single pot still, single malt, grain, and blended whiskeys of Ireland. And, of course, we will taste some very special examples of each, and we will be joined by the master distillers who make them:

Barry Crockett of Midleton distillery will pour Powers John’s Lane (Single Pot Still) and Jameson Rarest Vintage Reserve (Blend)
Noel Sweeney from the Cooley distillery will be pouring a very special grain whiskey – Greenore 8 year old
Colum Egan of Bushmills distillery treats us to a very special Bushmills 21 year old single malt.

Lagavulin Lunch

The whisky fun continues at lunch. Diageo’s Dr. Nick Morgan, Head of Whisky Outreach, along with Whisky Advocate writer Gavin Smith, will lead us through a tasting and comparison of three special Lagavulin whiskies: Lagavulin 16, Lagavulin Distillers Edition, and the very limited 2012 Lagavulin 21 year old Special Release.

Bourbon and Rye Innovations
Immediately after lunch, we focus on American whiskey. Whisky Advocate contributor and managing editor Lew Bryson will lead a session focused on innovations in bourbon and rye. Joining him will be three legendary master distillers and one whiskey pioneer, and they will be pouring some very special new releases:

Chris Morris – Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection new 2012 release
Harlen Wheatley  – Buffalo Trace Single Oak Project, comparing two Single Oak bottlings
Parker Beam – Parker’s Heritage Collection new 2012 release
David Perkins – High West’s “Campfire” (a blend of bourbon, rye and scotch!)

Award Winning Whiskies
Finishing up our special day, attendees will taste a sampling of the 18th Annual Whisky Advocate Awards winners published in the spring issue of Whisky Advocate magazine. Here they are, along with the Whisky Advocate contributors who will be presenting them:

Gavin Smith: Lowland/Campbeltown Single Malt of the Year: Springbank 18 year old (2nd edition)
Dave Broom: Islay Single Malt of the Year:Bruichladdich 10 year old
Lew Bryson: Canadian Whisky of the Year:Wiser’s 18 year old
John Hansell: American Whiskey of the Year:Elijah Craig 20 year old
Dominic Roskrow: Blended/Blended Malt Whisky of the Year: Compass Box Great King Street

Tickets for this special day of seminars can only be purchased through a combination package with one of the evening grand tastings.  Tickets are available at whiskyadvocate.com  or by clicking here. We hope to see you at this very special event.

Review: Bowmore Tempest (Second Release)

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Bowmore Tempest (Second Release), 10 year old, 56%, $100

The first Tempest to be imported to the U.S. Aged exclusively in first-fill bourbon casks. With the bourbon cask, and relatively young age, you can really feel all the Islay love. Bracing, with plenty of sea character, along with honeyed vanilla, citrus, floral notes (especially lavender), rumbling peat smoke, tobacco, and resinous oak on the finish.  A bit steep in price for a 10 year old, but very dynamic.

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 88

Review: Signatory (distilled at Bowmore), 11 year old

Friday, May 6th, 2011

Signatory (distilled at Bowmore), 11 year old, 1999 vintage, 46%, $55

Aged in a used bourbon barrel. Rather soft for Bowmore — especially for its age — with a gentle foundation of honey, vanilla, and malt. Interwoven notes of summer fruit, coconut, lime, and gentle peat, with teasing brine and smoke on the finish. A straightforward, unpretentious, pleasant Bowmore.

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 83