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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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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Three Glenburgie in their twenties

Sixty-eight years of Glenburgie

Glenburgie is one of those distilleries with a severe lack of love from their owner company for the brand as a single malt. Glenburgie is currently owned by Chivas Brothers (Pernod-Ricard) and has been for a long time one of the main components of the world’s second best-selling Blended Scotch whisky, Ballantine’s. They don’t have a dedicated website for the distillery, nor a visitor centre at the distillery. The only current official bottlings are branded with the blend name: two Glenburgie 15 and 18 years old from the Ballantine’s Signature Malt range, also having two of its other main components, also owned by Chivas: Miltonduff and Glentauchers. But they’re bottled at 40%. It seems cheap but very hard to find, the only shops I could find for this being in Greece and Germany. So, it means that Glenburgie fans must turn to independent bottlers, as luckily, they don’t seem to run out of good Glenburgie casks to bottle, allowing us to have a ‘burgie fix. And let’s have our fix today, with three independent bottling of Glenburgie, all in their twenties.

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Caol Ila 2010 Signatory Vintage in front of the distillery.

Caol Ila 2010 Signatory Vintage

Caol Ila, located on the world’s home of peated whisky, the Scottish island of Islay, is this island’s number one distillery in terms of capacity. Though its peated malt is one of the components of Johnnie Walker, the distillery features a full core range of single malts. But that wasn’t always the case, as until 2002, Caol Ila’s single malt would appear only in the Flora & Fauna and the Rare Malts range. But from 2002, the regular 12-and-18-year-old as well as a Cask Strength version (about 10yo) appeared, joined the next year by the 25-years-old. Since then, Moch – without an age statement – and the Distiller’s Edition, with a moscatel finish, joined the core range. But Caol Ila’s single malt is not just available on the distillery’s official bottlings, it’s also highly available to independent bottlers. Gordon & Macphail, Elixir Distillers, or like today, Signatory Vintage, have bottled dozens and dozens of casks from the distillery located in Port Askaig. And that’s what we’re going to try today, with a Caol Ila 2010 Signatory Vintage.

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Auchentoshan 2000 Signatory Vintage in front of the distillery

Auchentoshan 2000 Signatory Vintage

After a short break for the daily articles about drams from the advent calendar, we’re back today with another distillery there was nothing written about on those pages: Auchentoshan. I must admit Auchentoshan it a distillery that was quite under my radar, even though I have a couple bottles from them at home. I haven’t tried many drams coming from them, the only ones that come to mind are the American Oak, an entry-level NAS, and the 21-years-old, a bottle my parents brought back from the distillery with a handfill I have yet to open. Now while, in my opinion, Auchentoshan flies a bit under the radar of many whisky drinkers, it has something setting them apart in Scotland (with just a very few other distilleries doing – partially – the same thing): they use triple distillation. While this is quite often seen at Irish distilleries, this stays an exception in Scotland and other countries, as I’ve told you in my Armut Triparva review a few days ago. So today, we’re having (well, I am) an Auchentoshan 2000 Signatory Vintage 20 rue d’Anjou.

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