Whisky List Single Cask
Included below is our selection of single cask-strength malts. These are all individually described and are unique. Please also note that these whiskies have not been diluted, and so they are at a considerably higher alcohol level (often over 50%). Furthermore, these single-cask whiskies have not been chill-filtered, a process which removes many of the oils in the whisky, and so when you add water to them, a certain cloudiness may appear. This is normal and shows that you are drinking a completely natural full-flavoured spirit.
We recommend that you try adding just a little water to ‘awaken’ your whisky. This will reduce the alcohol strength, remove some of the pungency of the aroma, and allow the whisky to fully develop.
All our cask-strength malts are served by the 25ml measure in a crystal glass at room temperature and with a small jug of water.
Some of the nearby Speyside Distilleries welcome visitors and offer tours around their premises.
Malt whiskies from the lowland area are usually delicate in colour, aroma and flavour and have a dry finish. They are often floral, grassy and sweet in character and are best enjoyed in the afternoon or early evening, perhaps as an introductory dram or as a pre- dinner drink.
BLADNOCH – DISTILLED 1989. 10 YEARS, 59.8% VOL, PROOF 104.6 OUTTURN 198 BTLS LOWLAND-WIGTOWN Scotland’s most southerly distillery has recently come back into limited production. The whisky is pale straw in colour with noticeable legs. It has a fruity nose that develops into cereal and then floral notes. With water, this becomes toffee apples before the strong cereal-based notes again come through. The flavour begins with some sweetness, which is long and continues to the finish.
OSEBANK – DISTILLED 1989. 11 YEARS, 59.0% VOL, PROOF 103.2 OUTTURN 306 BTLS LOWLAND-FALKIRK This lowland distillery was situated close to the centre of Falkirk between the A9 and the Forth-Clyde Canal. Fortunately it took its water from the carboniferous lavas of the Campsie Fells. Production ceased in 1993 and the distillery has since been torn down, so this is drinking history! This example is Chardonnay in colour. The nose is grassy, sweet, floral and with cereal tones. After some time there are hints of tobacco. The taste is sweet and chilli hot. With water, cereal increases on the nose. The taste reduced is very pleasant with hints of liquorish.
Speyside is the heart of the whisky distilling industry in Scotland. It produces whiskies of the highest quality, which are often complex with rich honeyed and chocolaty flavours. There are an enormous variety of different whiskies produced in this region, so be sure to read the tasting notes carefully. Do enjoy exploring this fabulous collection of whiskies…
AS WE GET IT – 59.4% VOL, PROOF 103.0 OUTTURN 306 BTLS HIGHLAND-SPEYSIDE-ABERLOUR Distilled by the Aberlour Distillery and owned, perhaps surprisingly, by the French Pernod Ricard Group. Aberlour pioneered the sale of whisky en primeur. This example was matured in oak casks. It is 103% proof and 59.4% by volume having not been reduced to the more normal 40%-43% with water prior to bottling.
ABERLOUR a’bunadh – 59.7% VOL, PROOF 105 BATCH 18 HIGHLAND- SPEYSIDE-ABERLOUR Distilled by the Aberlour distillery a’bunadh which means “the origin” is produced in the 19th century tradition and matured in Spanish Olorosso sherry buts. On the nose there are red apples, sherry and slight wisps of smoke. The taste is buttery and creamy with intense fruity flavours and a chocolate orange note. The finish is satisfyingly long warming and mellow leaving with a hint of peat and honeyed spice.
AULTMORE – DISTILLED SEPT. 1989. 8 YEARS, 60.8% VOL, PROOF 106.4 OUTTURN N/A GLENLIVET-SPEYSIDE Built in 1896 and “modernised” in 1970, this distillery takes its spring waters from the fields around Authinderran. Pale Chardonnay in colour. The aromas from this dram are difficult to place. Some say coconut flakes, others fruity solvents and hay- like. The taste unreduced is hot and sweet. With water the nose mellows and the taste develops a remarkable sweetness with a long citric finish.
CARDHU – DISTILLED 1987. 13 YEARS, 56.9% VOL, PROOF 99.6 OUTTURN 318 BTLS SPEYSIDE This distillery, the home of “Johnnie Walker”, is located in the Spey valley above the village of Knockando. This malt in its proprietary form is amongst the world’s top ten and is believed to be United Distillers’ best selling single malt. This dram is pale golden colour. The first impression is of ripe Galia melon with a musty leathery after thought. The taste is sweet. With water a vanilla creaminess is immediately delivered and some detected hints of smoke or the mustiness of catching some fragrant zephyr. The finish is short but very pleasing.
DUFFTOWN – DISTILLED 1988. 12 YEARS, 59.9% VOL, PROOF 104.8 OUTTURN 294 BTLS SPEYSIDE-GLENLIVET There is no point looking in “Barnard” for this distillery for it was only converted from a meal mill in 1896 though it has been considerably modernised since. Pale Chardonnay in colour with excellent beading this example has an intense, creamy vanilla cereal nose with fishy fruit underlying. With water this moves to hessian sacking with a trace of mint. The palate is sweet with a long finish and mouth drying. An unusual but interesting combination – well worth a try.
GLEN GRANT – DISTILLED 1989. 11 YEARS, 63.9% VOL, PROOF 111.8 OUTTURN 240 BTLS SPEYSIDE-ROTHES Situated in Rothes this distillery has a visitors centre which includes a Victorian woodland garden. Pale gold in colour. Intense sweet aromas of sugar confections (“Love Hearts”) and butter (unsalted) with glycerine on the side. Taste confirms the sweetness. With water the spirit is tamed allowing more earthy notes to come through – green leafiness with a metallic twang. A complex and interesting malt with something for nearly everyone.
GLENBURGHIE – DISTILLED 1978. 18 YEARS, 59.1% VOL, PROOF 107.4 OUTTURN N/A SPEYSIDE-FORRES “Situated in the centre of the finest barley growing district of the North” this distillery is “about as old fashioned as it is possible to conceive” (Barnard 1896). Needless to say it has been refurbished several times since and it produces highly regarded malt. Pale Chardonnay in colour. The initial aroma is of musty lemon grass and the taste is spicy, sweet and lip tingling numbing. With water it is more approachable but the aromas quickly flatten out. The taste however, is an immediate “hit” of spicy sweetness tailing off gently with some mouth drying. The finish is short.
LINKWOOD – DISTILLED 1989. 12 YEARS, 56.3% VOL, PROOF 98.5 OUTTURN 264 BTLS SPEYSIDE-ELGIN This distillery is a little distance from Elgin. It is unusual in that there are two still houses together with wash backs some distance apart – the result of expansion in 1973. This example is the colour of Madeira with fruity, cinnamon and vanilla aromas to match. The taste is sweet, warming and well rounded. With water the sherry influence is abated allowing room for Aldehydic hay-like floral notes. A very pleasing dram.
STRATHISLA – DISTILLED 1989. 12 YEARS, 54.9% VOL, PROOF 96.0 OUTTURN 258 BTLS SPEYSIDE-KEITH This distillery in Keith, one of the oldest in the Highlands, was formerly called Milton and recorded as such in Barnard. It has the colour of old Sauternes. The first nose, through the spirit, has a pudding wine association – honey, glycerine and vanilla. This is a complex dram so don’t be in a hurry to sip. Take time to let the aromas develop. The unreduced flavour is worth waiting for and will not disappoint. Sweet, spicy and warming but not mouth numbingly so with bitterness around the edges. With water more of the same aromas are released. It is a pleasing unusual dram with a medium finish.
STRATHMILL – DISTILLED 1992. 9 YEARS, 65.4% VOL, PROOF 114.4 OUTTURN 228 BTLS SPEYSIDE-KEITH This distillery, Strathisla’s near neighbour, has an unusual “purifier” above the condensers which allows the spirit vapour to mix before turning back into liquid. If you haven’t heard of this distillery it won’t be a surprise. While present in many well known blends, it has not received an official bottling as a single malt whisky. To date it has solely appeared in collectable releases such as this one. Pale golden colour. On the nose some said apple pie and vanilla, others hay-like and leafy.
Quite a surprise on the initial taste, rubber tyres came immediately to mind but diffused to brimstone. “Bitter” is, however, the appropriate term. Water releases a lorry load of aromas – catching them as they rush by is the problem! Lemon grass is, however, constant. The taste remains bitter but very pleasant nonetheless with a long finish.
Geographically, this is the largest region, and produces a great variety of different malts. The whiskies are often complex with flavours ranging from rich toffees and fudges to earthy, spicy and salty tastes. Speyside whiskies are broadly banded under the Highland region, but are so numerous and eclectic that they usually are considered to form their own region. Often distilleries within the Speyside region describe themselves as Highland whiskies rather than simply Speyside whiskies. This usually suggests that they are slightly darker, richer and sometimes more earthy than the norm for Speyside.
CLYNELISH – DISTILLED 1989. 12 YEARS, 57.7% VOL, PROOF 101.0 OUTTURN 678 BTLS BRORA-N. HIGHLAND-SUTHERLAND A new distillery was built in 1967 adjacent to the old one at Brora. It is highly regarded by blenders as the “Lagavulin of the North”. Its water is drawn from the bare red sandstone slopes of Col Bheinn. Full gold in colour after maturation in a Bourbon butt. As one might expect the nose is sweet and vanilla. The taste, however, is of sweet mild chillies with metallic sea salt. There is a long and gentle finish.
DALMORE – DISTILLED 1989. 14 YEARS, 58.2% VOL, PROOF 102.0 OUTTURN 228 BTLS ALNESS-N. HIGHLAND-SUTHERLAND Round and full bodied with a nose of fruit (marmalade?) sherry and malt. The taste is of spices light peat, heather and bittersweet orange. We also detect notes of chocolate.
GLEN GARIOCH – DISTILLED 1990. 13 YEARS, 56% VOL, PROOF 98.1 OUTTURN 264 BTLS (PRONOUNCED “GLEN GEERIE”) E. HIGHLAND-BANFF This distillery is one of the oldest in Scotland, opened in September 1785 as reported in the Aberdeen Journal (the Malt Whisky File). Pale gold in colour. On the nose smoke and fresh cut oak. The taste is dark, rich and full bodied with acres of oak, smoke and mackerel. Some said this was a dram for breakfast. Perhaps a bit ambitious – try it before dinner!
GLEN LOCHY – DISTILLED OCT. 1977. 22 YEARS, 61.4% VOL, PROOF 107.4 OUTTURN 204 BTLS W. HIGHLAND-FORT WILLIAM This distillery closed in 1983 and has since been dismantled. Pale straw in colour. For one so strong at this age there is a surprising amount of aroma above the spirit. The nose is very complex, take some time and let it unwind. There is a certain amount of woodiness, smoke and rubber underlying but they are not unpleasant. Overall, there is a fruity sweetness – we are definitely in the estery/aldehylic area. The taste unreduced is hot and sweet. With water a lot happens – the hay-like, leafy notes come roaring through but the fragrant solvents are not far behind. The taste remains sweet but is now much more approachable. Definitely a dram to sip and saviour rather than devour in haste.
KNOCKDHU – DISTILLED 1989. 10 YEARS, 56.0% VOL, PROOF 98.0 OUTTURN 306 BTLS E. HIGHLAND-KNOCK, ABERDEENSHIRE This distillery nestles under Knock Hill in the village of Knock near Keith. The water is taken from the springs which emerge from the boundary between the Gabbro rock and the overlying Dalradian Schists. Pale like Fino Sherry. This malt has a complex nose for one of its years. It begins green grass and cereal, after a while your nose may pick up lemon grass. The unreduced taste is surprisingly sweet and light. Not as “hot” as the spirit might suggest. With water the cereal develops and the sweet associated aromas are released. The taste is very pleasant and slightly mouth drying. Try this one as an aperitif but it could just as easily be a digestif.
PULTNEY – DISTILLED 1990. 9 YEARS, 61.9% VOL, PROOF 108.3 OUTTURN 252 BTLS N. HIGHLAND-WICK Old Pultney, the most northerly distillery on the Scottish mainland was completely rebuilt in 1959. It takes its water from the Loch at Yarrows which also supplies the rest of the town of Wick. The first nose is a strange salty brine experience but this seems to wear off after a few minutes leaving a glycerine like sensation. The unreduced taste, through the spirit heat is fruity with vanilla (from the Bourbon barrel). Water releases a waft of ethereal aromas.
TEANINICH – DISTILLED DEC. 1983. 14 YEARS, 59.7% VOL, PROOF 104.5 OUTTURN N/A (PRONOUNCED “TIN-IN-ICH”) HIGHLANDS-BLACK ISLE This distillery draws its waters from the Dairy Well Spring in old sandstone hills to the South of Alness (just north of Inverness). This dram has the colour of Chardonnay wine. The nose is sweet and fragrant – like glycerine, honey and vanilla. Underneath there is a touch of marzipan. With water the fragrance evens out. The taste is hot with a whiff of burnt rubber tyres, which is surprising and after while mouth drying which is even more surprising.
Island and Campbeltown Whiskies
Island and Campbeltown whiskies use peat to malt their barley, and this gives the whiskies a deep earthy, smoky character. The flavours are often heathery or seaweedy, and may be pungent with a briny note. These are whiskies ideally suited to a winter’s day sitting in front of the fire or for enjoying after a good meal or a long evening.
HIGHLAND PARK – DISTILLED 1989. 12 YEARS, 55.5% VOL, PROOF 98.1 OUTTURN 276 BTLS ISLAND-ORKNEY The most northerly licensed distillery in Scotland. Chardonnay in colour. This is subtle whisky – you know it is there wafting in on the breeze – but it does not give up its component parts easily. It must be cosseted with warmth. First impression is of sweet dried fruit and mild floral notes. The taste is sweet, chilli hot, dissipating to tobacco. Reduced with quite a lot of water the chilli disappears but everything else is more approachable. A long finish – a dram to go to bed on.
JURA – DISTILLED 1986. 14 YEARS, 59.8% VOL, PROOF 104.6 OUTTURN 702 BTLS ISLE OF JURA This distillery was built in the late 1950s and uses water which is dark with peat. It is therefore surprising how light in colour this whisky is – it is pale golden. The unreduced nose is quite closed giving nothing much more than sweetness and cereal associated with a Bourbon butt. The unreduced taste is quite complex, sweetness moving into bitterness and mouth drying. With water the cereal nose remains but lemon is added. The reduced taste remains sweet with hints of salt, smoke and is again mouth drying.
SPRINGBANK – DISTILLED 1991. 12 YEARS, 58.5% VOL, PROOF 103.0 OUTTURN 5986 BTLS CAMPBELTOWN The most completely traditional of all distilleries even the malted barley is specially grown for Springbank by a local farm. The kiln is fired using Islay peat during the drying of the malt. This smoky residue eventually makes its way into the glass. Old Sauternes in hue having been entirely matured in bourbon wood. The first aroma is of sweet and spicy smoke with underlying dried fruits. The unreduced taste is as expected – mouth tingling, hot and sweet. With water more spice and fruitiness is released especially as the water marries with the spirit. The reduced taste remains sweet, very pleasant and warming with the smoke underlying. Definitely an after dinner dram and one that cannot be missed.
Of the seven working distilleries on Islay two are represented here. Port Ellen, the eighth distillery of Islay has been silent since 1983. The distilleries on the south coast offer the strongest flavours, but all are distinctively peaty. Islay whiskies are renowned for their phenolic, iodine, smoky and seaweed-like qualities. These flavours come primarily from the peat, which covers over a quarter of the island, but the strong sea breeze and the wet climate also play their part in producing these, the most distinctive Scotch malt whiskies.
ARDBEG – DISTILLED 1993. 11 YEARS, 59.5% VOL, PROOF 104 OUTTURN 312 BTLS Ardbeg has always been sought after by malt whisky aficionados particularly all those who love heavily peated whiskies. The peaty origins of Ardbeg’s water as well as the malting process are a big influence in the whisky’s earthy tar-like flavours. Full gold in colour with a nose of tar, ropes, Iodine, Seaweed and slight hints of Sulphur the body is rich and oily. The palate offers gorse and edible seaweed and the finish is long – pepper, perhaps sandy but undeniably salty.
BRUICHLADDICH – DISTILLED 1991. 12 YEARS, 56.0% VOL, PROOF 98.1 OUTTURN 270 BTLS (PRONOUNCED BRU-ICH-LADDIE) This is Scotland’s most westerly distillery overlooking the shore of Loch Indaal. It went silent in 1995 but has recently passed into new independent ownership and production has recommenced. Pale gold in colour. The immediate nose is of floral phenols. It is certainly smokey but there is a delicacy nevertheless. With patience some feints and traces of leathery tobacco come through. With water the nose is of cereal and heather honey with smoke making a cameo appearance. The taste is sweet, slightly mouth drying and the finish is long. This lightly tasting whisky is a good introduction to Islay malts.
LAPHROAIG – DISTILLED 1990. 11 YEARS, 59.8% VOL, PROOF 104.6 OUTTURN 240 BTLS The peat used in production has a high proportion of moss, which is said to give Laphroaig its particular flavour. The colour is pale sunlight and the contents are from a Bourbon barrel. You don’t have to be told that this is an Islay whisky – it comes full throttle out of the glass to let you know. Toasted timber quickly followed by moss, smoke and medicinal notes. The taste is sweet and vaguely minty. Water releases a rush of aroma. Floral notes appear after bubblegum but still that mossy undertow remains. The taste remains sweet with a long metallic finish. This is an experimental whisky. You can experiment all night long and still not plumb its depths.