Roger's Hidden Treasure Campbeltown 2015

Roger’s Whisky Hidden Treasures Campbeltown 2015

Roger Tan, a Dutch man coming from a Chinese and Indonesian background, started as a casual drinker then started doing bottle photography for his Instagram account in 2019. But in 2020, he decided to start his own company in the world of whisky, and thus the independent bottler, Roger’s Whisky Company, was born. Roger’s Whisky Co is still a very small operation and since 2020, just 5 bottlings have been released: a small Caol Ila cask, two young Ben Nevis, a Secret Speyside, and this Roger’s Whisky Hidden Treasures Campbeltown 2015 that we’re trying today.

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Brora distillery

Brora 1981 22 years old Signatory Vintage

One thousand. With this Brora, I’ve reached one thousand different whiskies tasted in my life, but I had drunk maybe 25 that I could remember before 2018. And in 2018, everything changed. I discovered the whisky community on Twitter, I discover the sample swaps, I discover the whisky auctions. I had maybe half a dozen bottles before 2018. By the end of 2018 I had about sixty, and I quickly passed a hundred. And with the few bottles I’m waiting the delivery of, I’ll have two hundred bottles at home. Of course this is without counting all the ones I killed these last years. And in 2019, I went to Scotland for the first time, for Spirit of Speyside, to celebrate my 40th birthday that happened earlier that year. I discovered the whisky festivals and the whisky shows, as it was also my first Whisky Live Paris. I celebrated my 500th whisky with my first Brora ever back in March 2020. A bit more than two years later, it’s time to get back to this distillery for my 1,000th whisky, with a Brora 1981 Signatory Vintage.

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Redbreast 12-year-old

Redbreast 12-year-old & Cask Strength

Redbreast is one of the several brands that are distilled and matured in New Midleton Distillery, near Cork. New? Yes, as the original Midleton Distillery was founded in 1825, but was closed in the 1960s as their owners, the Cork Distilleries Company, merged with John Power & Son, John Jameson & Son in 1966 to form the Irish Distillers Group in 1966. They decided to group all their production in a single distillery, built at Midleton as it was the only site with room for expansion. Amongst the brands made at Midleton, the most famous are Jameson, Redbreast, and the Spot (Blue, Yellow, Red…) range. And on the menu today, three 12-year-old Redbreast whiskeys, as we’ll try the classic Redbreast 12-year-old and two different batches of Redbreast 12-year-old Cask Strength.

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Port Ellen 1979 SV

Port Ellen 1979 Signatory Vintage (1993)

A few days ago, as I was approaching quite a milestone for me in my whisky journey, I made a poll on Twitter asking what should be my 1000th dram. Amongst the propositions, I had this Port Ellen 1979 Signatory Vintage and a Brora 1981, also from Signatory Vintage. With more than 60 votes and until the very last seconds, it was a ‘huge’ battle between the two, that ended in… a draw. Since I wasn’t going to do blend of the two as my 1000th different whisky tried, I decided for the Port Ellen to be the 999th whisky (because it had two nines in its vintage), whilst the Brora would be the 1000th whisky I’d try (and also because my first Brora was my 500th whisky, so let’s stay consistent). So here we are, with an old bottling from a closed distillery (for now, as it should reopen next year): a Port Ellen 1979 Signatory Vintage (and from my vintage, thanks for the easy pun).

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Ardnamurchan Distillery

Ardnamurchan AD/07.21:05 (2021)

Ardnamurchan‘s history starts with Adelphi’s, but not the nowadays Adelphi we know. Adelphi is an independent bottler, but the name Adelphi appeared way before the indy bottling company creation. Initially, Adelphi was the name of a distillery. So as usual, we’ll talk about the distilleries (plural) history as well as the bottler’s, then we’ll review their fifth batch, the Ardnamurchan AD/07.21:05.

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Drumshanbo Galánta (2021)

Drumshanbo Galánta (2021)

It’s in the village of Drumshanbo, in the heart of rural Ireland, that Patrick J. Rigney decided to build his own distillery. He was looking for a wild place, and he found it near Connacht, on the shores of Lough Allen, at the foothills of Sliabh an Iarainn (The Iron Mountain, a large 585 metres high hill in County Leitrim). The Shed Distillery‘s production started in 2014, and on the 21st of December, for the Winter solstice, that all the team laid down their first cask of yet to become whiskey. The distillery features five pot stills, three for whiskey and two for their gunpowder Irish gin, and two column stills for their vodka. They use Irish barley for their single pot still whiskey, both malted and unmalted, as well as Irish Barra oats, and Irish malted barley for their single malt. And that’s the Single Malt that we’re going to taste: the Drumshanbo Galánta.

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Glen Albyn Distillery

Glen Albyn 1974 Gordon & Macphail (2003)

Second whisky of my closed distilleries series comes from Inverness in the Highlands. We have today a Glen Albyn 1974 from Gordon & Macphail‘s Connoisseurs Choice’s range, at the time of their map labels. But first, let’s talk about Glen Albyn history and a view about how it ran at the end of the 1800s. Then, we’ll review this Glen Albyn 1974 Gordon & Macphail.

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Glenesk 1980 Gordon & Macphail

Glenesk 1980 Gordon & Macphail (2014)

During my few days in London a few weeks ago, I went twice to the absolutely fantastic Melody Whisky Bar, and treated myself the first time to a Closed Distilleries flight, and the second time other few closed distilleries as well as some unicorns. I took detailed tasting notes whilst taking the time to study these whiskies from now silent stills (for most of the whiskies I tried there), and so now I’ll put those notes down on those pages. Whilst all of these whiskies might not be as good as the melancholy for silent distilleries would want them to be, these are witnesses of other times and stories and as such, deserve respect and attention. And as you’ll have guessed, we start with this Glenesk 1980 from Gordon & Macphail this series of reviews of whiskies from closed distilleries.

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Suntory Hibiki 21-year-old

Suntory Hibiki 17-year-old and Hibiki 21-year-old

In 1987, Suntory’s Master Blender Keizo Saji decided to develop a blended whisky to reflect the sophistication of Suntory’s techniques. Suntory says that their Chief Blender, Koichi Inatomi, sampled and tasted aged malt whiskies from one million casks at Suntory. Maybe not just to make Hibiki, as 1 million casks sampled would mean 91 samples a day for 30 years… Anyway, in the end, Saji and Inatomi found the flavour they wanted by blending thirty distinctive malt and grain whiskies from Suntory distilleries, Yamazaki and Hakushu for the malt, and Chita for the grain. The first Hibiki, Hibiki 17-year-old was released in 1989 to celebrate the 90th anniversary of Suntory whisky. The 21-year-old would follow in 1994. Whatever the expression from the range, they are always presented in the brand’s trademark 24-faceted bottle representing the Japanese seasons. So let’s try those two initial expressions from the range, Suntory Hibiki 17 and 21-year-old.

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Balblair Distillery

Balblair 2008 #717 and 2006 Single Cask #77

We’re back to the Highland and more specifically back to Balblair. This time, it’s another proof of how friends can influence your spendings, especially when you’re weak regarding a specific distillery. You just need to tell some of my friends “new Ben Nevis something” and bam!, they throw money at their computer (not like they’re wrong when it’s for a Ben Nevis). Me… it works with a few distilleries in the same way, including Balblair… So we’ll review today a Balblair 2006 single cask bottled for La Maison Du Whisky, highly recommended by a friend who even offered to buy it back, should I dislike it. That’s how in love with that bottle he is. And we’ll review at the same time another single cask, a Balblair 2008 hand filled at the distillery in 2019.

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