Google New Scottish cats, either wood or spirit driven

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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

October 14, 2022



New Scottish cats, either wood or spirit driven

We keep gathering all these within one vast category, but we shall soon have to separate them as some are really growing and about to earn their own pages within WF's index. But let's do this randomly…



Arbikie 'Highland Rye batch: 22' (48%, OB, single grain, 2490 bottles, 2022)

Arbikie 'Highland Rye batch: 22' (48%, OB, single grain, 2490 bottles, 2022) one star and a half
Some new single farm whisky ala Waterford, but this is a single grain that harbours rye, malted barley and wheat. I believe it's the first time I'm trying something by Arbikie, a Distillery that's powered by hydrogen that's also making vodka and gin. Colour: gold. Nose: nothing very 'Scottish' in there, but it is a fine rye, bready and with whiffs of new-sawn planks, plywood, light curry and lavender. Just touches of lavender, no worries... Mouth: pretty sweet, bready and spicy. Pumpernickel, wholegrain bread, some molasses, syrup… Finish: medium, sweetish, with a fresh oakiness that feels. Comments: really fine, but I'm not sure the whisky world needs the Scots here. Wonderful rye's currently been made in North America (obviously) but also in Germany, Austria, France… and even in Oxford (their latest batch is tops, on WF soon). Now we'll try subsequent batches with pleasure, I'm sure they improve mucho.

SGP:640 - 69 points.

Ardnamurchan 2016/2022 AD/09.22 (58.4%, OB, bourbon and sherry)

Ardnamurchan 2016/2022 AD/09.22 (58.4%, OB, bourbon and sherry) Four stars
It's an understatement to say that Ardnamurchan are on the right track, but then again, a personal opinion. Colour: white wine. Nose: this one's dry, almost austere at first, gristy, with various smokes, especially wood and peat, then whiffs of cheesecake and oatcakes. We're close to the raw materials! With water: all powers to smoked barley and overripe apples. Some sour wood too, which I always enjoy. At a winemaker's in Meursault, during the harvest. Mouth (neat): a completely different whisky, clearly in the style of a Distillery that sits on the Kildalton coast, with a rather massive dry peat coated with apple and banana foam. It feels a little young, but remember Celine Dion started very early too (what?) With water: wine gums, marshmallows, pear liqueur, ashes, charcoal. Finish: long, ashy, peppery. Comments: young and excellent.

SGP:555 - 86 points.

Since we were doing peat…

Torabhaig 'Allt Gleann' (46%, OB, Legacy Series, 2022)

Torabhaig 'Allt Gleann' (46%, OB, Legacy Series, 2022) Four stars and a half
From those lovely folks on Skye that made other lovely folks on Skye change one of their baselines from 'the only Distillery' to 'the oldest Distillery' (and, S.?). I'll add that I found the original release, back in 2020, just incredibly superb (WF 88). Colour: pale white wine. Nose: loads of ashes, apple peel, coal, porridge and lemon juice. Very straight, very peaty, pure, uncomplicated, awesome. Quite some mercurochrome too, I'm sure you could use it to heal any wounds, it's just that you would smell like a walking barbecue. Mouth: straight to the point, pure peaty malt whisky as in pure peaty malt whisky. No flannel, no sideways, and just a feeling of... well-being. As our dearest friends in Italy would say, like peat love this, no like peat not like this. Finish: long and actually more complex, with notes of fino, lemon juice, seawater, ashes of course, oysters, lime… IN a way we're getting even nearer to the Cross (understands who can). Comments: amazing, but clearly more an Islay than a Skye. If I may…

SGP:457 - 89 points.

Lochlea 'Harvest Edition' (46%, OB, 2022)

Lochlea 'Harvest Edition' (46%, OB, 2022) Three stars
It was released last month. They've used Port, so let's proceed with caution. They've also used bourbon and sherry (some say rather STR), having said that… Colour: gold. Nose: all fine, the casks have done their jobs, there's some gingerbread, pumpernickel, fig jam, and even a feeling of kougelhopf and battelman. No complains, I think I like this nose better than that of the PX-ed 'First Release', the one with the grey label. Mouth: bready indeed, if a little plankish, with good sweetness, sweet barley, raisins, more gingerbread, breads, rye… It is a pleasant drink for sure, I'd just love to be able to have a better grasp of the distillate. But that's the fate of many a new Distillery, many distillers are really busy with the woods they purchase or, that's new I've heard, rent. Finish: medium, spicier. Cinnamon over zwetschke pie. Comments: goody good… We're awaiting an ex-bourbon expression…
SGP:551 - 80 points.

Closer to the distillate he said…

Holyrood 2020 'Chevalier' (43%, OB, Spirit Drink, Charmed Circle, +/-2022)

Holyrood 2020 'Chevalier' (43%, OB, Spirit Drink, Charmed Circle, +/-2022) Four stars and a half
Obviously not whisky, but they've used Chevalier, an older, higher-quality strain of barley. In French, chevalier means knight, just so that you're in the know. Colour: white. Nose: exactly what we've always dreamed of, some proper barley eau-de-vie, rather than just raw newmake. I find this utterly stunning, deep, complex, with some buttered caramel, quince pie, dried jujubes, goji, even umami, lees, ale… Wow wow wow! Mouth: perfect. This is the spirit. Barley in majesty, breads, ales and stouts, figs, fudge, butterscotch, pear liqueur… Even the strength of 43% vol. is perfect in this context. Finish: medium, earthy, terroiry (hey hey) and just f…… good. Apologies. Comments: I remember when I first tried white Clairin from Haiti. Similar feelings. Oh and yes, some new clairins soon on WF!
SGP:561 - 89 points.

Holyrood 2020 'Golden Promise' (43%, OB, Spirit Drink, Charmed Circle, +/-2022)

Holyrood 2020 'Golden Promise' (43%, OB, Spirit Drink, Charmed Circle, +/-2022) Three stars and a half
Golden Promise, superb barley (think Macallan), but lower yields than those of newer and blander strains. What would you think the industry did when those came out? Bingo. Colour: white. Nose: chevalier was deeper and sweeter on the nose, golden promise is fatter, less 'sweet', more on grassy and fattish elements, oils, earths, root vegetables… Chevalier just killed you, this is more introspective… Mouth: indeed, fat, rawer, tougher, probably needing more aging (and perhaps proper sherry casks). Even at 43%, it is a tad tough and brutal. Finish: artichokes, perhaps? Comments: I could down a magnum of the chevalier, I'm not sure I would quaff a wee glass of the golden promise in this state. But what you do get here is the potential. Remember the old saying, when the new-make's too good, the whisky will be crap.
SGP:461 - 84 points.

A last one, for glory.

Isle of Raasay 'Unpeated' (63.5%, OB, virgin Chinkapin oak, 2022)

Isle of Raasay 'Unpeated' (63.5%, OB, virgin Chinkapin oak, 2022) Four stars
A brand new release, picture is that of an earlier bottling. Chinkapin oak reminds us of Doctor Bill at Glenmorangie, who, around fifteen years ago, did explore and try strictly all variants of American white oak anyone could think of, even some pretty esoteric variations such as 'more than 50 years old oak tree timbered using a Husqvarna chainsaw while listening to Bachman Turner Overdrive'. Quite. As for our general feeling about Raasay, let's say it stands at 'very favourable'. Colour: gold. Nose: I remember, some very raisiny oak. This is ridden with raisins indeed, rye bread, figs aplenty, then we have Swiss fondue, plum spirit, gazpacho… Indeed, this is pretty unusual. With water: the fondue remains, together with miso paste, fig wine, a drop of cider vinegar, and certainly other fermentary matters. Maybe a little avant-garde, but lovely whisky. Mouth (neat): heavy spicy concoction, I'd have sworn this was some crazy American whisky made by ex-traders. It's probably just that it needed water… With water: ah, there, pure oak spices, cinnamon in majesty, curry, allspice, ras-el-hanout… and baked lemons keeping it a little easier. Finish: very long, very spicy, with black olives chiming in. Comments: almost liquid tajin. Hard to score, but choukran, Isle of Raasay!

SGP:661 - 85 points.

Bye-bye, we'll have many Dornochs next time we tackle 'new Scotland'…







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