Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Knappogue Castle 16 year old.

I have long been a fan of Knappogue Castle whiskeys and have yet to come across a bad whiskey within their range, so im looking forward to getting my hands on this. However what the hell is going on with the label and the description???

First we had “finished” then some buck on Islay “aced” it, now Knappogue have “twinned” it. Utter garbage. I can handle “finished”, a whisky matured in one type of barrel for many years then “finished” in another different barrel for either a number of weeks, months, or years. Whatever Jim Mac wants to do on Islay is his call. But lads at Knappogue (Castle Brands) get your act together. Okay the whiskey has spent over 15 years in Bourbon barrels and then finished for 9 months in former sherry barrels. Correct me if im wrong but isn’t the meaning of twin the following: -

1. One of two offspring born at the same birth.
2. One of two identical or similar people, animals, or things; a counterpart.

1. Being two or one of two offspring born at the same birth: twin sisters.
2. Being two or one of two identical or similar people, animals, or things: twin cities; a twin bed.
3. Botany. Of or relating to structures, such as flowers, that occur in pairs.
4. Consisting of two identical or similar parts: a twin lamp fixture.

The only thing the barrels have got in common is that they are made of wood. But not even the same wood, American oak and European oak I presume. They never even grew up together, were they long lost twins? One matured bourbon, the other sherry. Enough. Surely if you want to “twin” your whiskey you should mature it in 2 barrels produced from one tree. Or mature it in barrel “A” take it out, swish it around and re-mature it in barrel “A”.

Re-mature, now there’s a thought…

Whiskey of the Week- Glen Garioch Founders Reserve

The Glen Garioch distillery has been on the go since 1797 and is one of Scotland's oldest distilleries. Like most Scottish distilleries it had its ups and downs and funny moments. While visiting several years ago I learned a funy story about one of the previous owners:

William Sanderson was one of the most prominent  whisky barrons in the 1880’s. At that time he launched VAT 69. Yawn! Here comes the blarney: Yep, he selected the 69th barrel from 100. As a result, Glen Garioch became the major malt in this blend. Not so today, Glen Garioch is soley used in single malt bottlings. Sanderson then went on to produce several other blends , SVG (Specially Vatted Glen Garioch) OBG (Old Best Glen Garioch) and my favourites A.M. & P.M. , which were for drinking before and after lunch!

The distillery was sold to Morrison Bowmore in the 1960s and has stayed under their control since (albeit, they in turn have been taken over by Japanese giants Suntory). Suntory with a bit of Scottish vision, temporary closed the distillery in 1995, to make sure of its long term survival. The distillery got a bit of a makeover and reopened in 1997, the results of the re-vamped distillery are clearly evident in the Glen Garioch Founder Reserve.

Rich and malty with lashings of toffee, dried prunes and hints of charcoal.

Friday, February 11, 2011

A belated WoW for last friday

Due to technical issues and myself galavanting around the Higlands of Scotland consuming whisky, the whisky of the week wasnt "put out there" properly so below is what i wrote for last week.

The guid Glendronach* 12 year old

The Glendronach distillery has been around for over 170 years but has been relatively silent in the marketing of its single malts whiskies.

The distillery was founded by James Allardice in 1826 and he was a bit of a pioneer to the whisky industry- he was one of the first to use sherry barrels for maturation.

At the beginning things weren’t easy for Allardice. On a sales trip to Edinburgh where he had hoped to flog his wares he was left feeling like a broken man when noone took him up on his offer. However, following the rejection, he wandered the streets of Edinburgh he bumped into certain ‘ladies of the night” who, after tasting Allardice’s whisky, thought it was amazing. Their affection (for the whisky) kept Allardice happy and more importantly, probably in business.

As recently as the 1970’s Glendronach played a major part in blends such as Teacher's and Balantine's, thus was rarely seen as a single malt. Since the distillery's acquisition by the Ben Riach Distillery PLC in 2008, the single malt is now getting the exposure and credit it deserves.

This is a very rich sherried dram with lots of stewed fruit (apricots and dates) flavour, it has a long and lingering Christmas pudding like finish.

* guid= good in Scottish slang