Sunday, April 19, 2009

Have just tried ... the new Glenkeir Treasures range

glenkier treasuresThe Glenkeir Treasures are a range of whiskies that are exclusive to and independently bottled by The Whisky Shop, the UK's biggest whisky retail chain. The Whisky Shop has 13 stores located in England and Scotland and this new range is available in each shop or from the website http://www.whiskyshop.com/. The whiskies have been specially selected and purchased as single casks from a variety of distilleries and cover a spectrum of different flavours. Each whisky is bottled at cask strength, which combined with the low number of bottles available from the single cask, make them limited and very desirable.

Mortlach 16 years old
This whisky comes from the cult Speyside distillery that is reknowned for its use of sherry casks during maturation. Distillery bottlings of Mortlach are hard to find as it is held in high regard by blenders, and much of the whisky is taken for blending contracts. It is popular with the independent bottling companies and through these is the best way to obtain it. This whisky is a dark golden brown and exhibits the classic sherry cask notes on the nose - lots of dried fruit (think of sultanas, raisins and candied peel, especially orange) and lots of woodiness (imagine some sort of waxy polish). On the palate, these are both present in abundance and are joined by a complex mix of something bitter (think of dark chocolate and espresso coffee) and some burnt sugar (imagine dark caramel). With water, the orange note comes to the fore. The finish is long and fruity, turning slightly woody and bitter right at the end. This is very nice and a good example of a whisky with a strong sherry cask influence.
Info - 58.5% ABV, 180 bottles only, £65.99

Rosebank 18 years old
Rosebank distillery has been closed since 1993 and the whisky is well reknowned, although stocks are running out. This is pushing up the price of Rosebank and the distillery release is still sporadically available. A good way to try this Lowland whisky is through an independent bottling as a number of these companies still have stock maturing for later release. This Glenkeir release is a pale lemon colour and has a light delicate nose. Despite its lightness, there are a number of characteristics coming through - something citrus (think of lemon zest), something herbal (imagine fresh cut grass), vanilla and honey. It is also delicate on the palate with all four characteristics present with the vanilla and zingy citrus particularly prominent. With water, it becomes even more zingy and the honey element becomes stronger. The finish is short but is a good example of a light, delicate and refreshing whisky.
Info - 55.4% ABV, 180 bottles, £74.99

St. Magdalene 26 years old
St. Magdalene is a Lowland distillery that has been closed since 1983. As a result, whisky from there is very hard to find and is highly sought after by drinkers and collectors alike. It can only be purchased through independent bottling companies and even their stocks are running low, as nothing has been produced there for over 25 years. The distillery is now a block of flats. This bottling is golden brown in colour and the nose is full of vanilla, nuts (think of coconuts and almonds) and some citrus (imagine lemon zest). The palate is creamy but fairly light, with lots of vanilla again. This is joined by a lovely malted barley sweetness, something else sweet (think of butterscotch), more citrus notes (especially the lemon again) and something slightly herbal and bitter (imagine dried grasses). With water, the sugary butterscotch and the grassiness come out further. The finish is quite rich and long. A very enjoyable dram that is complex and rounded.
Info - 59.1% ABV, 144 bottles, £119.99

A Very Special Speyside 40 years old
This whisky is from the Speyside distillery of Glenfarclas. The distillery is well regarded for its use of sherry casks during maturation and the distillery range of bottlings is extremely popular. The owners, J & G Grant release very little whisky to independent bottling companies and when this does happen, they do not allow the name of Glenfarclas to be used. Therefore, the independent bottlers have to use some creativity to name the whisky and this one is named as 'A Very Special Speyside'. This whisky is rich, dark and golden in colour. The nose has become very complex with age - it is full of dried fruits (think of raisins and sultanas), candied peel (imagine lemon and especially oranges), some warm spices (like nutmeg and cinammon) and some sweet sugary caramel. The palate is rich and fruity with a great, rounded balance. Everything from the nose is present and you almost taste a different note with each sip. The candied orange is particularly intense. With water, this softens even more with the caramel coming through more. The finish is long with an interesting battle between the spiciness and a slight bitter woodiness. An excellent bargain for a whisky of this age.
Info - 56.7% ABV, 144 bottles, £139.99

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