Jameson has announced the global release of Jameson Caskmates. it’s been Created at Midleton in collaboration with micro-brewer, Franciscan Well Brewery in Cork.
In 2013, Jameson Master Distiller, Brian Nation and Master of Whiskey Science, Dave Quinn, first met Franciscan Well Founder and Head Brewer, Shane Long, in a Cork bar. They agreed to loan some Jameson casks to the brewery to discover their influence on Irish stout and when the stout-seasoned barrels were returned to the Midleton Distillery, Dave Quinn re-filled them with Jameson Irish whiskey. Over time, the maturation resulted in a new taste sensation: Jameson Caskmates.
The product of curiosity, collaboration and innovation, Jameson Caskmates retains the triple-distilled smoothness of Jameson Original, while adopting additional notes of coffee, cocoa, butterscotch and gentle hints of hops.
Dave Quinn, Master of Whiskey Science at the Midleton Distillery, says: “When the stout-seasoned Jameson barrels arrived back at Midleton from Franciscan Well, curiosity got the better of us and we experimented by maturing our Jameson Irish whiskey in the casks. We found that after around six months, the perfect balance of flavor was achieved and we couldn’t be happier with the results”.
Nose: There is certainly a core aroma which is Jameson, so orchard fruits and sweetness, but there is less nose prickle. The whiskey is smoother and more rounded. Spices appear, deepening from herbaceous to nutty aromas and a little chocolate. In the background the hops can just be sensed.
Taste: initial sweet mouth coating typical of the Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey. Smooth, still fruity and distinctly Jameson’s with a subtle touch of hops and cocoa beans. Some marzipan and charred oak add to the complexity. The hops return at the back of the palate.
Finish: Sweet with chocolate and butterscotch with a medium length.
There are other experiments being carried out in collaboration with the brewery, so there should be some interesting whiskies arriving later.
Bottled at 40% ABV, Jameson Caskmates is available from September 2015 in eight markets including the USA, South Africa and Ireland, at the RRP of €38.99, $29.99 or local equivalent, supported by global ATL and BTL campaigns, POS and merchandising support tools.
This morning, as a freelance journalist, was not what I am used to. Getting up well before sunrise.
Another thing I am not used to is premium whisky being sold by a supermarket chain, and rather than that supermarket being the rarefied Waitrose, Aldi was the shop to go to.
To find (having been tasted by Jim Murray, amongst others), the best value 40 year old whisky on the market. With only 3000 bottles produced and 450 stores country wide to distribute them around, there were to be only 6 bottles for most of the stores.
I decided to go to Aldi on the Old Kent Road in London. A good choice I found. I arrived at 7.30 for an 8 o’clock opening and was the 6th person in the queue. A couple of minutes later a 7th joined us and within ten minutes there were 40 of us. A nice lady popped out of the shop, explained there were only 6 bottles and gave us lucky 6 a ticket each.
The other lucky five were a mixture of two present baggers, a real whisky fan, another whisky journalist writing for Whisky Magazine and a brand ambassador for Drambuie. So for once, the idea of first come first served, no exceptions had worked. There was no preferential treatment for journalists or big whisky buyers, even the staff were not allowed first dibs.
Joel, of Whisky Magazine was getting texts from other stores around the country where people had started to queue pretty early, from 3am in Oxford, and there were stories from others turning up that other shops in London had very long queues, up to 200 in Catford.
So was all the fuss and early starts really worth it for the luck few?
Well I supose one has to start by saying that even if the whisky wasn’t good, there would be elements of it at 40 years old which would certainly make it interesting, at £50,
But no, the lovely amber brown liquid wasn’t good, it was very good. A bigger bargain one could not imagine for a 40 year old dram.
So what did it taste like, well.
On the nose:
Dried Fruits, lots of sherry, a little bit flinty, and a touch of spice
On the Palate:
Sherry again, and chrystalised fruit, nuts and dates folowed by some spice, nutmeg, sweeter on the end.
Bits of spice and a little orange peel. Oaky from the cask, but not overbearing.
All in all a pretty good dram, I certainly have poured myself another, and leaving it to open out a little gives it a bit more complexity in the spice range.
This would be good value at four times the price, so I can’t really complain about getting up early for once!
Well, apart from the distinctive underlying style of Highland Park, these two whiskies are really very different. Both are good whiskies, but one is most definitely better than the other.
Herby and floral at first followed by white fruits and iodine, wisps of smoke, spice and then sea salt.
More of the above and in the same order, the heather becomes more prominent and there is a sweetness of boiled sweets.
Dry and long, especially concentrating on the high floral notes.
Caramel and vanilla, honey sweetness, lots of depth, meadow flowers on the high notes.
Bananas and caramel, followed by flowers and heather, little bits of toffee and milk chocolate, some spice and smoke comes through towards the end.
Very smooth with waves of smoke followed by the sweet caramel and finally, flowers again.
A belter of a whisky, one of my recently tasted favorites. Both these whiskies have the spice and smoke of Highland Park, but the 1971 has all the extra depth.
There’s nothing to mock about the Moch
Bottled at 43% ABV and has no age statement.
The Whisky Exchange wrote “A hugely enjoyable romp throughIslay’s middle ground.” and I absolutely agree with them.
I got a few different things out of the whisky on tasting (as most of us do I think) so here are my thoughts.
On the nose:
Sweetness and iodine at first and then the smoke hits you, not too much nicely balanced. Followed by a few dried fruits before becoming tropical, melon and bananas present. left for a few minutes the banana becomes more banoffee pie and then a little white fruit on the end all mixed in with a gentle hints of peat.
On the palate:
Smoke and peat in spades, but not so much as to unbalance the whisky, followed by sweetness and nice citrus and spice, oranges and limes rather than lemons. On the edges there are notes of heathers and woodland flowers ending on a bit of black truffle.
Primarily smoke and peat again with spice as a constant with waves of citrus. There is nutmeg prevalent in the spice with cinnamon and mace in the background. Not a very long finish, but very even leaving you wanting more!
To be found through friends of classic malts in theUKlinked to The Whisky Exchange. Great value for a very good and fairly complex whisky.
Having been luck enough to obtain a bottle of the St. George’sFounders Reserve from the recent bottling, I was even luckier that Andrew Nelstrop sent me a miniature for tasting. My thoughts were as follows.
On the nose:
Lots of vanilla and spice with a bit of soft fudge. A very slight citrus edge followed by a wisp of smoke. Quite heavy on the nose.
On the palate:
Much lighter on the palate, typical characteristics of the bourbon cask, caramel and vanilla with some toffee with strong citrus and spice, there is a touch of sweetness which develops into oaky notes. with a little water non of the flavours are lost and non really gained, but the whisky becomes smooth and creamy, so if you like this mouth feel then a little water helps, but it doesn’t need water.
The deeper notes of caramel and toffee keep going with a bit of spice at the end. Not a devastatingly long finish, but pretty good for a youthful whisky.
As with all the other whiskies produced so far at St. George’s this is good stuff, and with well under 100 bottles filled so far is difficult expression to find, but hunt hard and dig deep (especially if you find it on the secondary market), and it won’t disappoint the drinker or keeper.
If I was going to take a reptile to bed, this would be the one.
There are two new things this week. A new expression of Ardbeg and an embassy in London to go with it.
To make life easy, the nice people at Ardbeg have joined the two together for their launch. And so it came to be that I found myself in The Whisky Exchange in London tasting the Ardbeg Alligator. All committee members can go down to The whisky Exchange and have a dram courtesy of Ardbeg and The Whisky Exchange.
A medium gold.
On the nose:
Sweet honey joins the expected BBQ notes with a hint of caramel in the background. After tasting, and coming back for a second go floral notes and a little cut grass had joined the party. There is also a hint of pipe tobacco.
On the Palate.
As with the nose a good dose of honey and sweetness on the front of the tongue citrus then takes over with a nice amount of spice following through to a warming smooth dollop of caramel and wood from the new American oak and then smoke, which keeps on going for a while. This is a beautifully balanced whisky with a surprising amount of maturity for the age of its whiskies.
More spice and citrus, followed by fat cigar smoke (non of your slim panatelas here, aromatic rather than sweet dried tobacco). Then smoke and spice, leaving you with a little cheek burn and a burning desire to delve in to some more.
Once you have been on a few, honey, citrus and smoke trips and feel like stopping, then the finish goes on for a very long time, having tasted this well over an hour ago I still have smoke and spice coming back to me.
For the moment, it is lucky committee members who can get some and for everyone else, I guess they will just have to wait for the general release in September. In the mean time I am going to hide my bottle from covetous eyes.
As a committee member this can be bought through the Ardbeg Website.
Macallan Royal Wedding Whisky tasting
Just before last weekend I received the very last sample available from Macallan of the whisky released for the Royal Wedding this weekend. So I settled myself down with a glass and began to taste.
Deep Golden Amber
Cinnamon, ginger, clove, toffee apples, layered in vanilla. Chocolate orange flits in and out, along with summer fruits. Lightly floral and barley notes all come together in a delightful creamy overtone. These were aromas over the first few minutes of opening. Having left the whisky for 20 minutes further to open up I also found Caramel, Cedar, Aniseed under flavour and sweet Rose Petals topping the floral notes.
Abundant wood spices deliver an initial hit to the palate, giving a slightly oily texture. Fruits develop, balanced with soft oak tones. Orange zest, floral notes and barley all make an appearance later in the journey as do crystallised citrus fruits.
Soft, full, long lasting giving way to a clean spirited end.
As the excitement mounts for the first Royal Wedding in 12 years, The Macallan has announced the release of a limited edition of 1000 bottles celebrating the Royal Marriage of Prince William to Catherine (Kate) Middleton on29th April 2011.
The unique and collectable edition will feature exceptional single malt whisky taken from two casks, both filled on 29th April – one from 1996 and one from 1999. Bottled at 46.8%, the single malt gives abundant wood spices combining with orange zest, floral and barley to produce a creamy overtone.
The creation of this special bottle follows the release of a commemorative edition to mark the marriage of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer in 1981. This comprised two casks, one from each of their birth years. At the time, the bottle sold out and today is a highly sought-after item for collectors of The Macallan around the world.
Commenting on the release of this special commemorative edition, Patricia Lee from The Macallan said, “Having created a limited edition to mark the wedding of his parents in 1981, we wanted to follow this with a special bottling for Prince William’s own marriage. Our Whisky Maker, Bob Dalgarno, has excelled himself once again by selecting two exquisite casks, each filled on 29th April, to create a whisky which brings together cinnamon, ginger and spice with toffee apples and vanilla giving a soft, full and long lasting finish.”
In keeping with this original bottling, The Macallan has commissioned the creative force behind the 1981 bottle, David Holmes, who was also one of the architects of the brand’s advertising campaign in the 1980s and the early 1990s, to create the label and packaging design.
The label design incorporates striking duck egg blue, featuring interwoven monograms and silver roses, whilst the bespoke silver coloured presentation box is designed with a ‘viewing window’ to show off the stunning bottle.
The collectible status of this whisky is already starting to show. With the 1000 bottles released selling very quickly, bottles of the whisky are already on the secondary market, such as Ebay. Bottles have selling for as much as £450 three times it’s original price. With great interest in people collecting Macallan and those interested in ryal wedding memorabilia especially with high demand from outside the UK, it is clear to see this whisky demanding a high price once it finds it’s way onto the secondary retail market, and even then may still be collectible as an investment as demand for such a rare and good whisky continues. I hope some gets drunk and enjoyed, especially over the Royal wedding when it looks as if a little warming drink during the showers forecast for Saturday might not go amiss!
There is a little help detecting the fraudulent bottles which may come on the market in the future. Macallan have placed a little metallic holographic sticker on the bottle on the edge of the foil, it has an image of Easter Elchies House as the hologram.
The English Whisky Company’s new limited edition William & Kate Commemorative Decanter
I visited St George’s distillery today and met with Andrew and James Nelstrop and had a good chat and tasting with David Fitt their distiller.
David Fitt has chosen a mix of casks which have been married together to create a beautifully flavoured single malt whisky.
Included in the mix of casks is rum, bourbon, red wine and even a port cask. Around 3600 bottles will be produced for the world market at 46%
Aroma: The whisky is fresh with citrus notes with orange zest some spice and hints of vanilla
Palate: The freshness still runs strong and the citrus calms to marmalade with spice with a little light toffee and vanilla, the whisky (like their others), is amazingly forward for it’s age, belying only 3 to 3 1/2 years in cask. Left for a little while, the whisky really opens up and hints of the different casks come through.
The finish although not long, but long enough and certainly longer than you would expect for it’s age, mellowing on the tongue and ending with a little flurry of spice.
Much more complex than any of the whiskies I have tasted before from St George’s. James, Andrew and David are happy men, and so am I with a couple of bottles on order.
The whisky can be pre ordered from their website shop: http://www.englishwhisky.co.uk
There is some cracking stuff to come from them as well. I had a little taster of another peated whisky. Not yet a year in cask, you wouldn’t have believed it. The colour, already a golden amber, nose with a good dollop of peat with under lying smoke. The smoke comes through on the palate but not too strong, a nice balance. Their is a bit of spirit at the end still as it is so young, but expectations are high for when the time is right……
On the 8th of March 2011 Gordon and Macphail launched a Glenlivet 70 year old which I attended at Edinburgh Castle.
Put into cask in February 1940! and bottled in December 2010. Launched 8th March 2011
In the evening there was a vertical tasting. A black tie dinner with single cask Glenlivets from 1954, 1963, 1974, 1980 and 1991
Well. What a day it was. One to remember.
The Glenlivet 70 Years Old was matured in a First Fill Sherry Butt, and bottled at cask strength (45.9% ABV). Only 100 70cl bottles and 175 20cl bottles will be released in 2011. The 70cl decanter has a recommended retail price in the UK of £13,000 and the 20cl version has a recommended retail price in the UK of £3,200. It is the second in a series of extremely rare malt whiskies to be released by Gordon & MacPhail under its ‘Generations’ brand.
Fifty limited edition collector’s packs are also available, containing all five Private Collection whiskies, priced at £2,850 per pack. The packs contain one bottle of each of the following whiskies: Glenlivet 1954 50.6%; Glenlivet 1963 40.6%; Glenlivet 1974 50.1%; Glenlivet 1980 48.5%; and Glenlivet 1991 54.4%.
The Private Collection: Glenlivet Decades bottlings are also available individually, with recommended retail prices in the UK ranging from £95 to £1,250
The whisky was unveiled by Fiona Urquhart and her cousin Richard Urquhart to the sound of a fabulous jazz band playing music form the 1940’s, the year the new spirit was put into a cask.
Various members of the Urquhart family covering several generations gave us a little history on Gordon & MacPhail and the whisky. They were followed by Charlie Maclean who brought us back to 1940 with stories of what was happening at the time in the whisky industry and Gordon & MacPhail’s part in it.
Charlie Maclean then took us through a tasting of the whisky. what a whisky!
Charlie’s tasting notes were as follows.
Appearance: Deep amber, with tawny lights.
Aroma: A mild nose-feel. The first aroma is of an old cocktail cabinet, with Sherry notes predominating: polished wood, soft leather and a trace of candlewax. Behind this are fruity notes, lightly baked apples (even Tarte Tatin), but also fresh orange juice, and just a thread of smoke or ash in the distance. Adding a drop of water suppresses the fruity notes and slightly enhances the sweetness (now tablet) and smokiness.
Taste: A waxy, teeth-coating, mouthfeel; smooth and voluptuous. The taste is sweetish to start, then savoury, with a trace of salt – might this be a rare example of ‘umami’ in whisky, the elusive fifth primary taste? The finish is long, with a faint smokiness
in the aftertaste. Drinks well at natural strength. With a drop of water the flavours remain intact.
“Made at the height of the Battle of Britain, The Glenlivet 1940 opens a door into a different time, another country. To smell and taste this exquisite whisky is to experience the past in a unique way – layer upon layer of flavour, profound and evocative. Its companions from the succeeding five decades provide an unrepeatable opportunity to explore subtle differences in the flavour of this Prince of Whiskies over half a century – as well as being a Blue Chip investment!”.
In the evening we gathered back at Edinburgh Castle. The evening began with a private viewing of the Scottish Crown Jewels facilitated by Historic Scotland, followed by a Champagne reception (Cordon Rouge)
The diner was in the Jacobite room which has views from the castle overlooking the whole of southern Edinburgh. With each course we were served one of ]The Glenlivet Private Collection. With Charlie Maclean setting the scene for each decade. He described the music, products and political landscapes of the periods with eloquence and amusing anecdotes.
We were then taken though the tasting of each whisky by a member of the family, with the younger generations guiding us through the younger whiskies and generation above the older whiskies. David Urquhart took us through the 1940 tasting. Between whisky we were served with a lovely Château Kerwan 2005.
The whiskies and their tasting notes:
GORDON & MACPHAIL PRIVATE COLLECTION GLENLIVET 1954 50.6%
135 x 70cl bottles available for sale in selected markets worldwide. Recommended retail in the UK is £1,250 per bottle
Appearance: Deep amber, with rose lights.
Aroma: Very mild nosefeel; with an increasingly drying effect. Immediately, a profoundly fruity nose – juicy to start, then raisins and currants macerated in liquor; dry dates and figs; a trace of glace orange peel. A shake of fine hard-wood sawdust. Add only a spot of water to open it: now the aroma becomes sweeter, with an initial trace of fondant, then more vinous (old Madeira?), with a hint of pencil-boxes.
Taste: Sweet, then drying, with considerable spice in between and a long dusty finish, leaving a venerable ‘old wine’ aftertaste. A drop of water reduces all these characteristics slightly but leaves them intact.
GORDON & MACPHAIL PRIVATE COLLECTION 1963 40.6%
169 x 70cl bottles available for sale in selected markets worldwide. Recommended retail in the UK is £750 per bottle. Pricing in international markets may differ due to exchange rates and local taxes.
Appearance: Pale amber.
Aroma: The low strength means a very mild nosefeel and a low aromatic intensity. The first nose was lightly fruity (fresh peaches in mixed fruit salad, becoming more acidic after a while – Kiwi fruits?), with a slight eucalyptus-leaf medicinal note, combined with a faint smokiness. Fresh and interesting.
Taste: Sweet and smooth, even slightly oily. A predominantly sweet taste, but with a slight citric tingle and a lengthy, warming finish. Liqueur chocolates in mid-palate and peach cream, soft-centre chocolates in the aftertaste.
GORDON & MACPHAIL PRIVATE COLLECTION GLENLIVET 1974 50.1%
189 x 70cl bottles available for sale in selected markets worldwide. Recommended retail in the UK is £500 per bottle. Pricing in international markets may differ due to exchange rates and local taxes.
Appearance: Deep amber, with crimson lights; Cream Sherry.
Aroma: Very mild nose-feel. Takes a while to open up, but then cooked fruits, led by fresh strawberry jam, becoming ‘Jammy Dodger’ biscuits, then mince pies. Lightly nose-drying, with traces of lint bandages and sunflower oil. Water increases the oily note, and momentarily introduces a whiff of sulphur, soon vanishing into crème caramel.
Sweet and voluptuous; plenty of body; warming and drying as you swallow. A sweet taste overall, with a long finish and some bitter dark chocolate in the aftertaste. Becomes sweeter and drier with water, with some burnt caramel in mid palate and chocolate in the finish.
GORDON & MACPHAIL. PRIVATE COLLECTION GLENLIVET 1980 48.5%
61 x 70cl bottles available for sale in selected markets worldwide. Recommended retail in the UK is £250 per bottle. Pricing in international markets may differ due to exchange rates and local taxes.
Appearance: Dark gold.
Aroma: Very slight prickle, and somewhat nose-cooling (pine sap). Dusty, with faint dried mixed herbs, and slightly waxy, but then increasingly sweet (even apricot-jammy for a moment), with an elusive scent of sweet chestnuts. Opens considerably when water is added; light coconut to the fore, with natural turpentine and fragrant wood behind.
Taste: Sweet and smooth, but with some peppery spice over the surface of the tongue. A return of the apricot jam in the aftertaste, which is surprisingly long. Water sweetens it, simplifies it and reduces the spiciness. Pleasant and easy to drink, with desiccated coconut in the aftertaste.
GORDON & MACPHAIL PRIVATE COLLECTION GLENLIVET 1991 54.4%
203 x 70cl bottles available for sale in selected markets worldwide. Recommended retail in the UK is £95 per bottle. Pricing in international markets may differ due to exchange rates and local taxes.
Appearance: Light gold.
Aroma: Mild nosefeel. A predominantly fresh-fruit aroma – fruit salad including apples, pears, figs and pineapple. Behind this a trace of marzipan, becoming sweet fondant. Somewhat shy and withdrawn before water is added, but with a dash of water opens up, becoming more floral-fragrant, with whin flowers and almond cream chocolates. Also more typically Speyside.
Sweet and fresh, with a fresh citric acidity, and light coconut (whin flowers) in the finish and aftertaste. Warming. A soft texture at reduced strength; not so sweet, but retains the lively acidity, and a curious taste, possibly umami, the mysterious fifth primary taste, rarely encountered in whiskies, and loosely described as ‘savoury’.
A great night was had by all.