March 2011 Archives

Auchentoshan Three Wood

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AUC3wood.jpgThis Auchentoshan is our second sample courtesy of Saverio Schiralli Agencies Limited which is available at the LCBO for $71.95. It's a Lowland malt that is matured in three different casks (Bourbon, Oloroso and Ximenez) that are later married.

On the nose we detected (aside from the obvious sherry) a rich blend of butterscotch sweetness, spice, fennel and nuts. With the palate, it's tough to get beyond the sherry, even with a drop of water it's a very warm dram. In fact, it seems just when on the cusp of deeper insight into the sweetness of the malt, the heat and sherry sweep it out on the next sip. The finish carries over more of the same with leather and dry fruit notes, eventually turning mildly sour.

It's clear that the Oloroso and Ximenez casks have had their effect here. This foray into the sherry matured realm is brave and likeable, though it comes short of the high water mark of other well established sherried whiskies. There were conflicting views on the value statement, but to add some perspective, see if you can find a (even partially) sherry matured single malt at a lower price. I only came up with one...

Tomatin 18

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tomatin18yrs.jpgOn a recent trip to Las Vegas I picked up a bottle of Tomatin 18, something we have not seen before at the LCBO. Aged in American Oak casks and finished in Spanish Oloroso sherry casks, this single malt proved to be a great selection to bring across the border.

Nose: Almond, candy apple, toffee, nibs, red fruits with hints of sherry and citrus.

Palette: Soft, smooth and gentle with a dry (but not obvious) finish. Medium heat with honey, dark caramel and evidence of the sherry finishing.

Finish: Cocoa and vanilla with a wonderfully complex and dry finish.

Adding water adds complexity on the nose with strong amaretto and touches of vanilla and cocoa. The water brings out white chocolate, almond and a touch of smoke on the finish.

Overall: While water doesn't help much on the palate, this single malt delivered on the promise on its label. We were provided an intense nose, sweet and oaky palate and a long lingering finish. The LCBO has just added this to their vintages collection. We strongly recommend picking up a bottle while it's available as it would quickly become a favourite to have in your collection.

The Macallan - Whisky Maker's Edition

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MacallanWMEditionBOT_BOXWH.jpgInitially, this bottle was received as a gift with much excitement, but that excitement faded as I tucked into it. Produced for the duty free market, and priced at roughly $100 USD, it proved enjoyable yet lacking. Why? Well, do read on.

Nose: Malty with hints of raisin and memories of toffee, it wafts from the glass with a faintly sweet, lightly sherried nose. 

Palate: Initially it is quite nice, but each return visit reveals it to be uncharacteristically woody for its pedigree. Add to this the fact that it is a hot muddled mix of faint sherry, cocoa, and a tart sour note, and I am left grateful for the fact that I did not purchase this one myself. 

Forty Creek Confederation Oak Reserve

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Here at ScotchBlog we have a mixed relationship with Canadian whiskies. In our opinion, there are few truly interesting things happening these days in the Canadian Whisky landscape. A refreshing exception to this is John K. Hall's Forty Creek Whisky. Produced by Kittling Ridge Estates Wines & Spirits, Forty Creek has been increasingly producing innovative and new Canadian whiskies over the past several years.

Across its entire whisky lineup, Forty Creek individually distills and ages rye, corn, and barley spirits separately in small-batch copper stills (the rest of the Canadian industry uses column stills), then blends them together to create a final product that emphasizes the finest aspects of each spirit.

The story of the Forty Creek Confederation Oak Reserve expression began when John K. Hall found a stand of large Canadian white oak trees growing along the Grand River in Southern Ontario. These trees were extremely old, and by Mr. Hall's estimate, over 150 years. Canadian white oak trees typically contain much denser wood than their American counterparts, due to the colder growing conditions which result in slower growth. What Mr. Hall did with these trees is nothing less than a labour of love.

After the trees were cut, they had to be left for several years to dry out. Once they were dry enough to work with, they had to be sent to a cooperage to be turned into casks. Since there are no operating cooperages in Canada, Mr. Hall made arrangements to have an American Bourbon cooperage take the trees to produce and custom char casks for him. Once this process was complete, they were shipped back up to Canada where he separately filled them with his new make rye, corn, and barley spirits for aging.


Recent Comments

  • Isabelle Gurble commented on The Famous Jubilee, Special Edition Reserve:

    This looks amazing, something my husband would love. His birth is coming up soon as well.

  • Ryan commented on Forty Creek Heart of Gold:

    Hi Sherry, I think you might be outta luck on this one. Only 9000 bottles of this delicious whisky were produced and I'd wager most - if not all - purveyors have been sold out for quite some time now. If you're looking to sample it, I'd recommend visiting your local whisky bar and checking their list of Canadian whisky offerings. Your only other option would be to try and track down someone willing to give up their bottle? I've got one 2oz sample tucked away and, sorry, I'm keeping it all to myself! :) Good luck! Let us know if you find a bottle!

  • Sherry commented on Forty Creek Heart of Gold:

    Do you know where I can purchase this item?

    Sherry Boutilier

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