Royal Mile Whiskies is one of the UK's leading independent whisky and spirits retailers. The company was established in 1991 and has seen it reputation grow and establish a worldwide customer base. They currently have two shops - one on Edinburgh's Royal Mile and one in London's Bloomsbury Street - with a third shop in Edinburgh specialising in cigars. Royal Mile Whiskies have one of the best whisky retail websites on the net and in addition to an expansive range of whisky, whiskey, bourbon and other spirits, the website is home to in depth distillery profiles, whisky history and staff tasting notes. Check it out at www.royalmilewhiskies.com.
Royal Mile Whiskies carefully select and bottle their own whiskies from time to time and the latest of these have just been released. Each of the three whiskies are bottled from a single cask and offer excellent value for money as they are all priced under £30 and bottles are limited. They can be purchased from either of their shops or from the website. Below are the details and tasting notes for each of the three new whiskies.
Islay 9 years old (Bunnahabhain)
Bunnahabhain distillery is located on the north eastern coast of the western Scottish isle of Islay. This whisky was distilled in 1999 and is light and straw like in colour, with a fresh and lively nose. It is full of sweet cereal grains and even sweeter fresh green fruits (think of pears, apples and white grapes). There is also a whiff of saltiness (imagine sea air). On the palate, this is sweet and sugary (think of icing sugar). The sweetness is again coming from the grains and fresh fruit elements but there is also a zingy citrus quality (imagine lemon zest). This combines with the salty note (think of brine) to give a mouthwatering feel. The finish is fresh and reasonably long with just a hint of some earthy smoke coming through.
(46% ABV/415 bottles/£24.95)
Orkney 11 years old (Highland Park)
Highland Park is a distillery on the Orkney islands that lie to the north of the Scottish mainland. Distilled in 1997, this whisky is golden in colour with a slight amber hue. The nose feels rich with a combination of caramel, cereal grains, something floral (think of dried heather) and some lovely earthy peat smoke. On the palate, this feels soft and smooth with the caramel particularly prominent (this has a slight burnt sugar quality). There is also some sweet honey, that dried heather again, a citrus note (think of candied orange peel), a hint of saltiness and rounded, light peatiness that has a spicy edge (think of pepper). The finish is medium to long and particularly sweet and earthy.
(46% ABV/330 bottles/£26.95)
Islay 10 years old (Bowmore)
Bowmore is a distillery famous for its smoky style of whisky and is located in the centre of the western Scottish isle of Islay. This whisky was distilled in 1999 and the colour is a pale gold amber. On the nose, there is an immediate smoky hit (think of bonfire smoke) and then some sweet cereal grains, vanilla and caramel notes start to come through. There is also a lot of alcohol spirit that attacks your nostrils as this is bottled at 62.7% ABV, and this calms when water is added. The palate is robust and intense with the elements from the nose being joined by some dried fruits (imagine sultanas) and some spiciness (this appears especially when water is added). The finish is very smoky, long and slightly bitter and woody. It begins sweetly before becoming very dry.
(62.7% ABV/291 bottles/£29.95)