December 2011 Archives

Beer Fit For A Whisky Blog - Innis & Gunn



Normally we stick to whisky, save for the occasional April Fools joke, but the unique nature Innis & Gunn Oak-Aged Beer makes it worth sharing here. And, to be honest, they're bloody delicious. Through the folks at Your Brand, was treated to a flight of I&G bottles. 

Isle of Arran Machrie Moor

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Machrie Moor.jpgComing from the ever impressive distillers at The Isle of Arran, Machrie Moor is a lightly peated single malt named after the large peat bog on the West side of the island. Built on their fantastic new make spirit, the bottling available now is the second edition, part of a limited run of 12,000 bottles, and weighs in at 46%

Nose: Opening with light peat and smoke, the sweet, malty notes ultimately give way to reveal vanilla crème brûlée. This is matched up nicely with a faint yet interesting combination of apples and citrus.

Palate: Rich, warm, and fruity. The light citrus begins to develop an undercurrent of orange, while red apples remain distant, yet detectable. A light iodine note appears at the same time as a honeyed sweetness, before dashing off to the finish.

Discontinued in Ontario: Grant's Ale Cask Edition

Alas t'is true....
Last week I was searching the LCBO website for blended whisky and was alarmed to find a big red "Product Discontinued" disclaimer next to the entry for Grant's Ale Cask Reserve. Remembering that the labelling has recently changed to Grant's Ale Cask Edition, I re-entered the search terms only to be met with the same results.


Glenfiddich 1974

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Glenfiddich 1974 Rare CollectionScotchblog was recently lucky enough to again have an opportunity to get together with Global Brand Ambassador Ian Millar. Ian was in Toronto showcasing the new and extremely limited Glenfiddich Rare Collection 1974 edition. The entire run of Glenfiddich 1974 consists of only four individual casks, specially selected by Ian and 13 of Glenfiddich's brand ambassadors.

Ian excitedly described to us their process of selecting the casks that went into this product - they sat for hours nosing and tasting cask-strength whiskies, adding water, nosing again, and mixing with other cask samples. He describes some of the challenges they faced; while one cask tasted fantastic, when they added water to bring down the alcohol content, it would become reprehensible. While another cask would take to water nicely, it wouldn't necessarily meld well when mixed with others. The final four casks selected to create this expression were a 1973 European oak cask, a 1974 American oak cask, and two 1975 casks.

Armorik Single Malt Whisky

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Armorik Single Malt WhiskyThe Armorik Single Malt is a French whisky produced by the Warenghem Distillery in the Breton region of France. Armorik has no age statement and is matured in ex-bourbon casks. As one of only three French whisky distilleries in operation, we were understandably curious as to how a French single malt would stand up to its Scottish cousins. 

Nose: A sour sweetness provides extreme notes of overripe fruits. Mashed bananas and apple sauce are the main elements, however this nose is very muddled and does not have any extremely defining characteristics. Some breadiness and waxy butter notes provide an overall strong, but not overly enjoyable nosing experience.
No matter what holiday you celebrate, there is no denying the fact that we are now in the middle of the gift buying season once again. So whether it be for a friend, family member, co-worker, or yourself, if you are anything like me then you could probably use a helping hand in selecting a couple gifts. Well, if you are looking at giving whisky as a gift, then let us help you with that task. 

As always, I'll lay it out into 3 price ranges (based on LCBO pricing) of Under $70, $70 to $100, and Over $100, and this year there are some real treats out there, both rare and wonderful, and many with dwindling supplies. So read on and don't forget, if you provide yourself enough time, inter-store transfers are free in Ontario.

This is your 2011 holiday edition of the Gift Buyer's Guide.

Glen Grant 25 (Gordon & MacPhail)


Glen_Grant_25_Years_Old.jpgGlen Grant distillery's own products aren't bought by the LCBO, so many thanks to Gordon & MacPhail for bringing this sherry cask matured expression to our market.  

There was an earlier release of an 11 year old american oak bottling by Hart Brothers, but otherwise Glen Grant is rarely available in Ontario indeed.  This is especially unfortunate, as for over 40 years, Glen Grant has been recognized as the best selling whisky in Italy and this is surely the reason why Gruppo Campari purchased it as their only scotch distillery in 2006.  

Join Us for a Dram or Two This Saturday

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Over past few months we've received many requests to join our readers for a drink and some good old fashioned whisky geeking. Well, you asked for it, so who are we to ignore peer pressure? 

This Saturday, December 10th we'll be gathering with those whisky lovers willing to join us in downtown Toronto. There will be a couple whisky and food pairing flights available for those looking to indulge, a la carte ordering for all (including a full food menu), and most importantly absolutely no cover or any other charge for entry. So simply put it, it's pay for what you consume. 

The start time will be 3pm to ensure that your Saturday night will not be disrupted, and the venue will be very close to both the TTC and GO Transit lines to leave you no reason to imbibe and drive.

Yes, I know, I haven't told you where it is. That's because we're limiting it to 20 to 30 people. So please use the Contact Us option just up and to the right of this on the main page and send us an email with your name and the name of anyone joining you so we can ensure that your seat is ready and waiting for you. 

On behalf of all of us at I can sincerely say that we truly look forward to meeting as many of you as possible.

Tullibardine 1988 Vintage

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1988 white.JPGOne of the stars of this year's edition of Whisky Live Toronto, the 1988 Vintage delivers everything I have come to expect from Tullibardine and more. Using a combination of bourbon and sherry casks to age the distillery's hallmark fruity new make spirit, this whisky is something worth seeking. An important note for Ontario whisky fans, the LCBO has this labelled as "Tullibardine Single Highland Malt Scotch Whisky" in Vintages with product code 695205 so you'll need to know that when you're on the hunt.

But what makes this remarkably light looking single malt so interesting? Well read on to see what awaits you when you get it into your glass.

The Balvenie 14 Year Old Caribbean Cask

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The Balvenie - 14 Year Old Caribbean CaskThe 14 Year Old Caribbean Cask is The Balvenie's most recent addition to their core product line. Here at ScotchBlog, we can only say that this is simply a work of art. Aged for 14 years then further matured in casks that previously held Caribbean Rum, master blender David Stewart has outdone himself with this incredibly complex, incredibly unique Scotch whisky.

We had the opportunity to sample a small dram of this spirit earlier this year when we met with Dr. Sam Simmons, the Global Band Ambassador for The Balvenie. Now that this expression is available on LCBO shelves, we decided that this release is definitely worthy of its own review.

Nose: Immediately after pouring, my olfactory senses were completely steam-rolled with the smell of freshly baked banana nut bread. I'm convinced that if you boiled this liquid, you could get your house smelling like you just baked. As you work your way through this richly aromatic nose, you're hit with honey and coconut. There's no doubt here, this is definitely a rum cask finish. I'd recommend adding a splash of water, which will evolve the coconut and honey into sweet vanilla.


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