Tuesday, October 7, 2008

New releases ... Glenkeir Treasures cask strength 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 a regular range of Glenkeir Treasures are available in each shop. These are whiskies that have been selected to cover all whisky tastes and they are actually bottled in the store and can be purchased in different sized bottles. However, this new cask strength range is extremely limited as only one cask of each of the four whiskies has been selected and chosen for release. All are highly desirable and they won't be around for long, so get to a shop or order from their website quickly!!
Macallan 17 years old
This release from this famous Speyside distillery has only 144 bottles. The nose is lovely and full of vanilla and warm spices (think of nutmeg and cinammon). There is also some crisp fresh fruit (imagine green pears and apples). On the palate, this is deliciously sweet, smooth and velvety. Again, there is vanilla, a fresh fruitiness and those warm spices. These are joined by some richer dried fruit (think of sultanas) and just a hint of liquorice. Adding water releases even more of these flavours as this is a cask strength whisky (57.7% ABV). The finish is long, rich and pleasantly spicy. (£69.99 a bottle).

Laphroaig 16 years old
Again, only 144 bottles released and this Laphroaig is bottled at 56.9% ABV. Laphroaig is one of the most famous distilleries in the world and is located on the island of Islay. The nose is wonderfully peaty and smoky. The smokiness reminded me of cured meat or smoky bacon crisps! There is a sweetness as well, that has a malty cereal aroma. This is rich, thick and almost a little bit oily on the palate. That meaty smokiness and sweet grainy character are present again, and are joined by some vanilla, an interesting saltiness (imagine brine) and the classic iodine bitterness of Laphroaig. The finish is long and full of sweet smoke and saltiness. (£74.99 a bottle).

Glen Albyn 29 years old
This northern Highland distillery closed in 1983, so stock is rare and getting rarer. There are only 208 bottles released, so this represents a real bargain for £99.99 a bottle. The nose is light and pleasant with vanilla, something nutty (almonds, i think) and a herbal note (reminding me of dried grasses). There is also an earthy note and something a bit musty, although these clear away upon adding water. On the palate, this is light yet complex with a lovely mixture of vanilla, nuts (think of toasted almonds), dried fruits (imagine sultanas and candied peel), butterscotch and a hint of spice (nutmeg or cinammon, I can't decide). The finish is fairly short but with a spicy sweetness. This is a light, refreshing whisky that is full of flavour and very enjoyable. Probably, my pick of the four.

Glenlivet 30 years old
Old whiskies from this Speyside giant are expensive, so this one is real bargain at £129.99 a bottle. There are only 162 bottles of this and the nose starts off quite dusty and musty (imagine an old book). However, after a few minutes this slightly unpleasant character passes and is replaced with lots of fruity sweetness (think of sultanas and candied peel) and vanilla. It really is very promising. On the palate, there is butterscotch, vanilla, dried fruit and some warm spices (nutmeg and cinammon). Adding water brings out more of the spices and butterscotch. It feel think in the mouth. The finish is long, rich, sweet and spicy. This whisky is very good, especially after adding a drop of water and has a great balance once that initial dustiness has gone.

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