Loch Lomond Verticale

A Loch Lomond Verticale

We previously provided a technical introduction to Loch Lomond distillery while reviewing a superb Croftengea whisky from Les Grands Alambics, a French bottler and shop. As mentioned earlier, Loch Lomond is a remarkably versatile distillery employing various types of stills, including pot stills, straight-neck “Lomond” stills, and both short and tall column stills. This diverse array of stills enables them to produce a wide range of malt and grain whisky profiles, providing Master Blender Michael Henry with an extensive palette to work with. While our exploration of Loch Lomond single malts may be limited to affordable options, we shall proceed with a vertical tasting of Henry’s creations nonetheless.

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Glenglassaugh Revival, Evolution & Torfa

Glenglassaugh Revival, Evolution & Torfa

We already tried on these pages a Glenglassaugh, but one that was independently bottled, during one of the several Whisky Cellar Tweet Tastings I was able to attend. It’s time to see and learn a bit more about this distillery, by trying their core range. Well, the recent liquid part of the core range, as you’ll learn why below. So let’s have a quick look of the distillery’s history, then we’ll try the Glenglassaugh Revival, Evolution and Torfa expressions.

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Aberlour 2011 CA & A'Bunadh Batch #65

Aberlour 2011 Cadenhead & A’Bunadh #65

We’ve already reviewed a few Aberlour on these pages. Aberlour is a distillery with a strong presence in France, which is not surprising as it is owned, through Chivas Brothers, by Pernod Ricard. Aberlour’s range is kind of separated in two parts. The first part is the ‘supermarket range’, with age statements but low 40% ABV and quite affordable prices, and the second part is more like the ‘off-licence range’, with higher ABVs up to cask strength and single casks, but mostly non-age statement expressions, like the famous A’Bunadh. We’re reviewing today a recent (but not the latest) batch of A’Bunadh, the #65, and put it against a single cask Aberlour 2011 bottled by Cadenhead’s.

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Tormore Distillery

Tormore 14 & 16-Year-Old

Tormore Distillery was constructed in 1959 by Long John Distillers, with Sir Albert Richardson as the designer. The distillery began distilling in 1961, and its make was mainly used in Long John’s blends, which were popular in North America. Tormore’s stills were extended from four to eight in 1972, and in 1989, Allied Distillers purchased Tormore, which was previously owned by Whitbread. Pernod-Ricard (Chivas Brothers) took over the distillery in 2005 after acquiring Allied Domecq. Tormore 12 Year Old was released in 2004, and in 2014, it was replaced by 14- and 16-year-old bottlings. Tormore completed the installation of a shared gas pipe with The Glenlivet, Cragganmore, and Tomintoul in the same year. Today, Tormore is one of the malts used in Ballantine’s, which has a long-standing association with the distillery. Finally, Tormore was sold to Elixir Distillers in 2022. We’ll be reviewing both Tormore 14-year-old and 16-year-old.

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Springbank 1969 Signatory Vintage Rare Reserve

Springbank 30yo & 1969 Signatory

Recently, I celebrated my birthday and decided to indulge in some excellent whisky. To start my evening, I savoured my cherished Balblair 1979 OB before moving on to Springbank. Since I plan to visit Springbank for a few days in July, I want to be adequately prepared. Surprisingly, I haven’t yet reviewed any Springbank whisky on More Drams. Therefore, let’s begin with a bang: the 2022 release of the yearly Springbank 30-year-old. I will also compare it to a Springbank 1969 bottled by Signatory Vintage, which I could taste last year and fill a sample.

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Wolfburn Distillery

Wolfburn Northland & Morven

Wolfburn Distillery is located in the most northerly town on the British mainland, Thurso. It was first established in 1821 by William Smith and was the largest producer of whisky in Caithness in the 1820s. However, the distillery was closed in 1837 and remained inactive for over 160 years. In 2012, a private consortium from Caithness called Aurora Brewing received planning permission to rebuild Wolfburn, 350 m from the ruins of the original site and using the same water source, the Wolf Burn. Production commenced on January 25, 2013, marking the revival of this historic distillery. We’re trying two of their core releases: Wolfburn Northland and Morven.

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The Easy Sipper, Brig O'Perth & Pintail Tweet Tasting

The Easy Sipper, Brig O’Perth & Pintail

It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to participate to a Tweet Tasting, thanks to Brexit and the pain it is to ship whisky, even samples, from the UK to Europe, especially France. More paperwork, duties, taxes… many distilleries don’t include European tasters any more in their Tweet Tastings. Sometimes just French ones, because it’s even more of a pain here, thanks to Customs and our taxes agency. No thank you to all those responsible! But Keith Bonnington, The Whisky Cellar founder, that we now know very well here, wanted me to be able to participate anyway, so he had the same tasting pack (and tee-shirt) sent to me as the other tasters. Thanks again Keith! No Whisky Cellar release this time, but five drams, four whiskies and one rum, from his other brands: The Easy Sipper, Brig O’ Perth and Pintail.

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Benriach The Twelve & The Smoky Twelve

Benriach Twelve & Smoky Twelve

Benriach Distillery, located in the heart of Speyside region of Scotland, was founded by John Duff in 1898. However, the distillery’s story is not without its twists and turns, as it was one of many that fell victim to the Pattison crash of 1899 and was forced to close just two years after opening. It remained dormant for the next 65 years, until it was finally restarted in 1965. Despite being part of Seagram’s Classic Malts range, it struggled to gain recognition among whisky drinkers. In 2003, it was bought by the Benriach Distilling Co. and under the leadership of Billy Walker, it has become a strong performer on the global market. The distillery was acquired by Brown-Forman in 2016, and it is now back in full production, with the floor maltings reopening in 2013. Benriach renewed its core range in 2020 with two ten-year-old and two twelve-year-old, each of those in peated and unpeated versions. We’ll be reviewing the latter two, the Benriach Twelve & Smoky Twelve.

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Speyside 1988 Le Gus't

Two Speyside 1988 Le Gus’t

Last year in December, we briefly mentioned Le Gus’t when we reviewed a Tomatin they bottled for La Confrérie du Whisky. Le Gus’t / Cave Conseil is a French off-licence and independent bottler located in the south-east of France, in Manosque first, but they also have a few shops around Marseille. They became an independent bottler in 2013 when their team went to Scotland to taste and select casks, and they started with a 1999, 12-year-old Bowmore very well received. We’re trying today two undisclosed Speyside 1988 from Le Gus’t, Selection XVIII and XXVI, as each of their bottling is numbered. Rumour has it that they both may be secret Mac***…

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GlenDronach Grandeur Batch 9

GlenDronach Grandeur 24yo Batch 9

Grandeur is a term that refers to the quality of being grand or impressive in size, appearance, or manner. It often implies a sense of splendour or magnificence, and is often used to describe things that are grand in scale or opulence. Grandeur can be applied to a wide range of subjects, from architecture and art to natural landscapes and events. It means something is impressive and awe-inspiring. High-end whisky is often associated with grandeur due to its luxurious and refined nature. Premium and aged whiskies, in particular, are often described as having a sense of grandeur due to their complex and rich flavours, as well as the impressive appearance of their bottles and packaging. GlenDronach distillery used Grandeur as the name of one of their expressions from the Special & Limited Releases range, so let’s see with this GlenDronach Grandeur batch 9 if the qualificative is deserved.

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