Old Pulteneny 21yo

Old Pulteney is the northernmost distillery in mainland Scotland.  The distillery is situated the harbour town of Wick which means you can expect some maritime notes from this malt.  Old Pulteney being situated within a town is a trait shared with only a few distilleries and is the embodiment of history and tradition.

Old Pulteney 21 Year Old Golden amber with straw highlights catch your eye and wink out at you.  Then comes the nose with ripe fruits of apple and pear, such fragrant malt with a slight spice undertone. the palate is sweet to start with a light fruitiness then hints of honey and vanilla come through followed by a dry finish.

As with the 12YO and 17YO I was lucky enough to taste this up at the distillery itself up at Wick.  Wick back in the day was known for the barrels of silver (herring) and gold (whisky) which left the port in vast numbers.  There is no doubt as to this malt being worth its weight in gold as it has one more prestigious awards that you could throw a stick at including being voted 2012 World Whisky of the Year by the prestigious “Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible.” Scoring 97.5 points out of 100, it is only the third time that a single malt has ever won the prestigious award.  It is undoubtedly a stunning malt and I was blown away by it the richness and depth that it holds is stunning.  A bottle could be anything between £71 and £90 but I have seen it a high as £130!

Malt #10

Old Pulteneny 17yo

Old Pulteney is the northernmost distillery in mainland Scotland.  The distillery is situated the harbour town of Wick which means you can expect some maritime notes from this malt.  Old Pulteney being situated within a town is a trait shared with only a few distilleries and is the embodiment of history and tradition.

Old Pulteney 17 Year Old It is noticeably darker than the 12 Year Old with a rich dark red amber hue on the eye. It has a sweet nose with a trace of apple and pear along with a slightly woody hint  and the faintest whisper of butterscotch. The palate is big and bold, dominated by vanilla and softened by floral notes in the background.  A long-lasting memorable finish that brings you back to this exceptional malt again and again.

As with the 12 Year Old I was lucky enough to first taste this up at the distillery itself last year while on a tour.  The 17-year-old predominantly features ex-bourbon maturation, with the addition of spirit that has been wholly matured in Spanish wood ex-sherry casks, which is where I first tasted this malt surrounded by casks upon casks of the stuff.  There is so much subtle depth and complexity to this malt. I am a big fan of this malt and can’t say enough good things about it. it sits just in the middle between high and lower price malts of its class and you will be hard pushed to find better!A Bottle will set you back anywhere between £51 and £59

Malt #9

Glengoyne 10 Year Old

The Glengoyne distillery sits at the foot of Dumgoyne Hill near Loch Lomond and is steeped in a history stretching back over 180 years. In 1833, George Connell, a local farmer acquired the rights to legally produce whisky in the area. He founded the Burnfoot Distillery, which later became Glenguin Distillery in 1861 and then in 1906 became Glengoyne.  Glengoyne boasts the slowest distillation process in Scotland. Six years are spent preparing the perfect oak casks before they receive their first drop of spirit, but its worth the wait.

Glengoyne 10 year old is a beautiful whisky, rich amber in appearance with slight herbal notes on the nose along with big oak and bourbon influences. The sweet notes are more creamy then fruity, with undertones of apple and a slight earthiness. Barley rich with marmalade sweetness and big influences of oak barrels it was aged in. Air dried barley means no influence at all from peat and that smooth character just jumps out and captures you in a way that’s surprising from lighter styled younger malt. Exquisite, long finish, the barley rich flavours and thick, sticky sweetness linger through from the palate. I really enjoy this whisky has the body flavour and balance of a much older malt!

First tried in work during a staff and customer tasting event, it was an absolute delight, i loved it from the first moment. Smooth and relaxed in character, perfectly balanced with no sharp edges. It is a really laid-back sort of malt that for me could fast become a malt of choice. Bottle will cost anywhere between £28 to £36 so shopping about for a good deal will pay off.

Malt #8

Smokehead

Smoke Head – Contemporary, individual and exciting, this malt is so unlike in character to any other Scottish Malt Whisky I have ever had!  Modern and very distinctive it stands out with in its tin box with a huge skull on it. A real heavy metal rocker of malt! The name suggests that its alot harder than it really is, in fact the smoke and peat are in a perfect balance with a slight whispr of sweetness that takes any rough edges off it!

Smokehead is an explosive Islay rollercoaster.  Stunning rich amber hue that is a joy to observe.  Followed by a sweet bonfire smoke and some delicate spice on the nose.  This smells so good I would wear it on my skin. It has a thick rich full-bodied palate that is both fresh and fruity with that heavy peat and smoky sweetness, but it won’t blast your face off it has a balance that is divine!  Everything I have mentioned in the way of flavour and smell throughout the long smooth finish! It’s a joy to drink, and a seriously big favourite of mine.

Once again had my first dram as part of a tasting at work.  Not only did i immediately fall in love with the smell  but the taste just made me want to buy it straight away.  I however did not have to wait long as I received it as a christmas present this year from my girlfriend Clare’s Parents.  Smokehead is an Award winning Islay single malt. It recently won the Scottish Field Whisky Challenge Gold and the Wine and Spirit Design Awards Gold, Best Dark Spirit Trophy and overall Trophy for Design of the Year.   Truly a single malt whisky of the highest quality!  This is a big big favourite of mine!

Malt#7

Balblair 2001

Founded in 1790 by John Ross, Balblair is the second oldest working distillery in Scotland. It lies in the Northern Highlands on the shores of the Dornoch Firth in the village of Edderton, which incidentally tales its name from the ancient settlement of Eadar Dun, meaning ‘between the forts’. Distillery bottling’s of Balblair single malt whiskies are only available as vintage releases. This is something I have found sets Balblair aside from the rest because every bottle is limited edition, in the sense that only a finite number can be made per year.

Balblair 2001 First Release was distilled in 2001 and bottled in 2011.  Matured in American oak ex-bourbon casks, this Balblair is non-chill-filtered and bottled without the addition of colouring, which means that the beautiful clear light golden colour comes from the maturation process! On the nose there is honey and a slight leather scent. Aromas of fudge, pear accompanies a zesty orange and lemon twang. It is superbly clean and fresh with small barley and grassy notes. The dominating flavours of this full-bodied malt are of lemon and ho0ney with green apple, vanilla, toffee along with a floral flavours. A beautifully layered finish that is both spicy and woody along with cocoa, malt and cinnamon.

I first tried the 2001 as part of a tasting in work, yes once again I am drinking for free!  It is a favourite and though it is alot lighter in style to the 1989 that is to be expected being a much younger malt.  That being said for a young malt it still has an exceptional smoothness about it that has made it a favourite!  A bottle costs in and around £40 to £45 however this price will only go  up be it slightly due to it being a vintage and a finite amount of the first release will be available.

Malt#6

Tamdhu 10 Year Old

Tamdhu 10 Year Old – Recently re-launched after its closing in 2010 Tamdhu Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Tamdhu is located in the town of Knockando in Banffshire, Scotland.[1] Tamdhu comes from Gaelic for little dark hill

The nose is very appealing and fragrant. It has a sugar syrup notes with delicate peach and faint hint of orange that mixes with fresh oak. The palate is a little more oily than i would like. 100% sherry cask matured and full of all the sweet, rich and creamy flavours because of it.The Fruitiness and spice blend brilliantly with a pleasing toffee and sherry richness building as it is held on the palate. The finish is of fruit and vanilla but is is not lasting, the dryness cuts in and the finish is more abrupt than i would like. However it is saved by a pleasant though faint hint of distant peaty smoke.

I had the opportunity to taste this dram at a staff and customer tasting at work. The representative from Glengoyne and Tamdhu came down to the store and had a chat with us. It was really interesting, I found out that it is six years from when the tree is cut down until a drop of whisky touches the wood, and a further ten before it touches the bottle. A bottle will set you back anywhere between £30 and £40. It has a distinct taste and a really great wee speyside with more going on

Malt #5

Caol Ila 12 Year Old

Caol Ila 12 Year Old – Built in 1846, Caol Ila is the largest of the eight working distilleries on the island of Islay, situated off the west coast of Scotland. A distillery with a production capacity of 3 million litres per year, that’s a lot of drinking and the 12 year old is said to be the lighter side of Islay.

From the very first sip of this tempting, easy-drinking malt, you’d know you were in Islay. A nose that is reminiscent of the seashore with grass and that distinct hint Islay smoke. Sipping it the peatiness arrives but it is not the dominant character. Rather the peat drifts through-out the palate like an elegant whisper, allowing other flavours to breathe life into your mouth. Almost sweet in nature the finish is lifting, subtle and warming.

I can’t remember when I had my first sip of Caol Ila, it was definitely when I was in Edinburgh so it’s been sometime in the past 18 months. It has been said to be “ease in” to Islay’s and I would have to agree. If you’re not one for heavy smoke or peat this is the dram to wet your appetite for bigger giants. It has won the International Wine & Spirits Competition 2010: Gold Medal – Best in Class; Trophy for Best Single Malt Whisky Under 15 Years Old and IWSC 2012 – Gold Medal – Whisky – Scotch. A bottle will set you back anywhere between £35 and £40. Definitely worth a dram in my opinion this is one of my absolute favourites!

Malt #4