Thursday, 16 July 2009

New ..... Roseisle Malt Factory 74/100

.... A new generation of Whisky Production.

Initially producing 10 million litres of Malt spirit a year using 14 stills, this facility will expand in the future.
With Malts becoming the new Blends, Roseisle will provide various 'expressions' for the increasing range of Branded Blended Malts.
Watch this space.......
........ the times they are a changing.


Thursday, 9 April 2009

NEW .... AILSA BAY (Girvan) 75/100

....... essentially a Malt Distillery built in 2007 within the Girvan Grain Distillery Operation which is part of the William Grant & Sons Group.
Rather like Kininvie, this malt will be for blend-fill with little current evidence that it will see the light of day as a single malt.
Named after Ailsa Craig, a big volcanic plug in the Irish Sea.
......... and sort of an invisible Distillery, unlike Ailsa Craig.
..... Lovely !

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

NEW! .... DAFTMILL 85/100

... deep in the rural 'Bow of Fife' near Cupar lays a charming Farm/Distillery recently started up in 2003 and using own-farmed malted barley to create a low volume crafted single malt which should see the shops in 2013.
Excellent, ... whilst similar in scale to Kilchoman on Islay, this Distillery remains closed to the public at the moment, and it's Lowland style whisky, ... a mystery!
(Well I don't know anyone who's tried it yet, do you?)

Saturday, 7 February 2009


.... new arrival on Lewis, the first whisky distillery on the great Atlantic frontier for many a year!!!
Quite 'Dalwhinnie 'n' brine' apparently.
.... time for a cultural visit to Callanish !




...... a mid-highlander and an Independent Distillery, producing a lot of blend fill, but also some varied single Malt's with a few attaining a very high standard.
The 1993 vintage was poor due to bad provenance but someone knows what their doing here now and some gems are sparkling.
Some 1991's and 1992's as 'craft' presented Malts are fab!
Astringent cold-cream barley, muscat grape, melon, spice and peppery, this is worth a perusal.

TORMORE 80/100

..... contemporary speysider, and foundation to the Long John Blend.
Popular with young Euro-kids, this accessible and undemanding malt accepts coca-cola with dignity.
Grainy, malt-simple and seemingly ready 'wine' finished, it will rarely make the connoisseur's shelves, but it still makes people happy.
...... and that's all right.


.......Independant speysider providing volume light Malts to the Blenders portfolios and putting some zest and zing into Blended whiskies.
Grainy, green-barley, floral, grassy and light.
some cracking aged ones out there, but chose carefully !!!

TOMATIN 83/100

.... north highland, and regular jobbing Malt.
If it's volume you want, this has 24 stills producing over 22 million litres a year. ...... more than I can drink!
Younger versions are a bit two-dimensional, whilst older versions are engaging, and Indi's are few and far between.
Fruity cereal, herbal-tea and caramelised oak make up the basic signature.
Tomatin 12 y.o. 83/100


..... Cinderella Malt from the Island of Mull.
............ so what's the story Tobermory, nice Town, shame about the whisky !!!!
As a 10 y.o. it is the last choice one would make from the supermarket shelf, .. not good, ...and yet, old versions are excellent, being full of character.
So the solution may lay in leaving this whisky till it's 14 y.o..
A fancy 15 y.o. was 'released' in 2008 in a pretty box, and retailers pimped it like mad.
£53, ............. er, ..... noooo, I don't think so
This Malt needs direction, so perhaps the distillers should concentrate on the peated version called LEDAIG, and distil Tobermory elsewhere.
Grainy, vague, barley cereal, mustard and resin.
Tobermory 10 y.o. 65/100


... decent fresh north highland Malt helping out Diageo, and noted for understatement rather than overstatement.!!!
A chameleon Malt, it can be brilliant or mediocre, soft or aggressive, ...but rarely boring.
The signature is cereal/fruit, bitter toffee and soft whitr pepper-honey. This delivery can be very coy! so give the whisky time to open.
Teaninich 12 y.o. (exclusive malts) 92/100


.... a complex malt from speyside, it mainly makes up Whyyte & Mackay Blends.
I call this the 'vermouth' Malt as it is reminicent of Italian herbal, bitter rural vermouth's. I find this quite engaging and although official bottlings fudge the signature with E150, there are some treats to be got from the Indi's.
Tamnavulin 12 y.o. 82/100

TAMDHU 84/100

.... quality speysider providing much needed quality for Edrington Blends.
This whisky only recently became 'noticed' amongst Malt drinkers and is building a slow but sure reputation for itself in the U.K.
Mild, articulate, mannered, toffee, biscuity, citrus fruit/pepper and nutty with good balance.
Indi tamdhu's can be quality if you search.
Tamdhu 83/100


..... the big peat-bruiser Malt from Skye, ... so it's the peat-monster NOT from Islay, and we like the change.
Amazingly complex for such a big-flavoured whisky and, along with Caol Ila, makes the twin foundation flavour signature of the Johnnie Walker Range.
Big Barley, pepper, fennel-liquorice and wet-wood smoke along with an ozone freshness.
Older versions amongst the Indi's are variable, and will be sometimes called 'tactical' for non-identity reasons.
Anyone who wants to learn about Malts must always try this.
It is an education.
Talisker 10 y.o. 91/100


.................. obscure, speyside plodder, filling Diageo's Blend mixture and rarely getting to show itself.
Only see in the Flora and Fauna and a few other nooks and crannies!!! the whisky is not really at it's best due to branding.
Few Indi's have this, but you might be lucky if your up to the challenge......
cereally, smokey, fruity, toffee-creamy.


... very picturesque speysider, noted for its quality addition to Chivas Regal Blends.
Highly regarded by Malt buffs, this whisky sparkles with complexity.
Malty cereal, dried fruit, banana, cream-caramel, and savoury under-tones. ... takes age well.
Old Malts from the Indi's are generally good and reward the persevering nose.
Strathisla 12 y.o. 86/100


.... the legend that is Campbeltown's Malt.
Due to some provenience, and a lot of retained traditional crafting, Sprinbank shines the path for Malt Terroire. And the quality achieved makes this whisky range almost worth the extra cost. (Other distillers take note.) The wash still is a classic in itself, being direct-fired and possessing a bell-chiming rummager, .......... hooray!
This iconic distillery produces it's own double distilled SPRINGBANK, the triple distilled HAZELBURN, and the double plus distilled peated LONGROW.
A second distillery has been opened in conjunction with this one called Glengyle, producing a double malt called KILKERRAN. .. phew! .... busy place.
fruity, bourbony, grappa, toffee, brine, coconut and a good dollop of peat in the peaty one.
Recent bottlings are variable, so ask around.
Springbank 10 y.o. 87/100


.... jobbing indi speysider of average repute, who provides CU DHUB whisky for Halloween!
Also offers a malt called DRUMGUISH, (more Halloween moments with this one), ideal for sprinkling onto grave stones as an offering to the ancestors.
'Nuf said !!!
Speyside Malt isn't actually that bad,
buttery, grainy-barley with mocha threads.
oh! go on .....
try it once.


... almost invisible speysider, bulking up Inverhouse's Blends.
As it is a rather average whisky, perhaps this is just as well.
Caramel-malt, cereal, and fruity honey.

SCAPA 86/100

..... rather quiet Island of Orkney Malt, sharing the turf with Highland Park.
This is a Malt which has resurfaced again recently after a long absence, and is well worth the effort of sampling.
Grassy, cereally, citrus/fresh fruit, and a caramel thread weaving throughout.
Scapa 14 y.o. 80/100 (due to E150 perma-glow)




..... colourful, historic, east highland Malt, and filler for Diageo's offerings in the Blended department.
Called 'Royal' 'cos her maj: Queen Vic visited it and liked it.
Toffee-malty/liquorice, and woody/peppery smoke threads.
....... no wonder her Maj enjoyed it, mixed with Port apparently.
Royal Lochnagar 12 y.o. 85/100


.... easy-going speysider, and erstwhile contributor to Dewar's Blends.
A good natured and affable Malt, this is generally worth the effort, although, bottlings can vary.
Sweet banana-cereal, smoked salty-malt and a balanced finale.
The Indi's have some good older versions of this one.


..... CLOSED 1983
........ gracious Lady of the Lowlands, and sorely missed by all whisky aficionados.
This Malt was triple distilled but seemed to maintain a great character that did not get lost in the refining/triple distillation.
The taste is rich, sweet, tea-biscuity, toffee/honey scented with a perfumed-grassy, summer kiss!!!
Fading away into magpie collectors sterile cupboards, get it while you can.
Rosebank 12 y.o. 91/100


..... a wonderful east highlander, and the most northerly Distillery on the Scottish Mainland.
An immensely colourful Malt with a huge range of flavours, even at a relatively young age.
Balanced, briney-sherbet, marzipan-nuts, tropical citrus, salt, peppers, pear-drops and a lingering flourish of a finish, which recedes like the ebbing tide.
I think you can tell I like it......
Old Pulteney 12 y.o. 89/100


.... CLOSED 1983
... now legendary Islay Malt, remaining as a bulk Malting Factory, but no whisky !
Rarely does a Malt stir up such passions with whisky-buffs as does this one.
The only reason that this malt is quite so good now is due to the length of time in wood!, mainly re-fill bourbon, which was cheapest for the producers.
And quality can still vary, a lot.
But Port Ellen remains a good example of the stubborn insensitivity of those who manage the Whisky Industry.
Cut costs first, ...... customers take it or leave it!!!
Great business model.
Mossy-peat, phenolic-peat, grassy-barley, nippy citrus and a lingering bite!


....... CLOSED 1993
... a sweet juicy speysider, and originally part of the Bell's Blend
This Malt simply fell out of notice,
Sweet, light-natured, toffee, mild-spiced.
Hard to get, even at the Indi's, best option is the Diadeo Flora and Fauna bottlings.

OBAN 87/100

.... a colourful west highlander, and Blend fill for Diageo.
Basically a good Malt and I've never seen it as an Indi which is unusual.
Big, beefy, fruity, tea and herbal spiced, this Malt makes for good company.
Oban 14 y.o. 86/100


.... CLOSED 1983
... a demanding, complex east highlander Malt, and not too much is generally known about this whisky.
Grassy, peppery and astringent, it was probably just too left-field for the blenders, and so couldn't survive.
Also known, and occasionally bottled by the Indi's as BRECHIN.