Glen Spey 12yo Flora & Fauna

Glen Spey 12yo Flora & Fauna

Glen Spey is an important producer of whisky used in the world-famous J&B blended Scotch whisky. J&B is the 3rd biggest (not best, biggest) blend in the world, with a mind-blowing 6 million cases sold worldwide each year, though in decline from 64 million bottles in 2008. Glen Spey, located in Speyside in Rothes, is also one of the most anonymous distilleries in Scotland, as there are almost no single malt offerings. In 1878, James Stuart & Co founded the distillery and it became under English ownership in 1887 as it was bought by W&A Gilbey. Then in 1962, W&A Gilbey combined with United Wine Traders to create International Distillers & Vintners (IDV). Finally, a few changes of ownership later, Grand Metropolitan bought IDV and in 1997, Guinness and Grand Metropolitan merged to form Diageo. With a 1.4 million lpa capacity, Glen Spey is the third-smallest distillery from Diageo, only followed by Royal Lochnagar and Oban.

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Brora 9th release 30yo review

Brora 9th release 30yo review

A few weeks ago, I drank the 500th whisky I was able to track since the passion for whisky took me. I had been drinking whisky and enjoying as a very slightly enlightened amateur for years, but got completely and utterly hooked only starting early 2018. Why? What changed? Absolutely no idea. But it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that I’m now hooked, “at last”, and that I became a bit nerdy about whisky, even keeping track of what I’ve tasted in a Google Sheet created by my good friend Brian @MaltMusings. And thanks to this sheet, seeing my 500th dram approaching, I knew what I wanted to drink to celebrate this milestone, another unicorn whisky (at least for me): my first ever Brora, from a sample very generously given by Franck aka @LaCaveDeCobalt in the form of a Brora 9th release with a respectable 30yo age statement. But before talking about this dram and seeing if I enjoyed it, let’s talk a bit about Brora.

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Port Ellen 1982 Old Malt Cask review

Port Ellen 1982 Old Malt Cask review

A few days ago was my birthday, so I wanted to mark it with a celebratory dram. I thought it was the perfect occasion to taste and enjoy a dram from a lost distillery (not for long though). My choice went to a Port Ellen 1982 Old Malt Cask from the independent bottler Douglas Laing, a dram being 26 years old. But before talking about the dram, let’s talk about the famous Islay distillery.

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Dailuaine 11yo SMWS 41.104 Some like it hot

SMWS Dailuaine 41.104 – Some like it hot

Dailuaine is one of the numerous Diageo distilleries located in Speyside. In 1852, William Mackenzie founded Dailuaine, but died only 13 years later. His widow leased the distillery to a banker from Aberlour, James Fleming. After Mackenzie’s son and Fleming founded Mackenzie and Company in 1879, it evolved in 1891 into Dailuaine-Glenlivet Distillery Ltd. A few years later in 1989, Dailuaine merged with Talisker and formed Dailuaine-Talisker Distilleries Ltd (nice couple isn’t it?). Unfortunately, in 1915 Thomas Mackenzie dies without heir and the next year, Dailuaine-Talisker is bought by its previous customers John Dewars & Sons, John Walker & Sons et James Buchanan & Co (nope, not “& Sons”, sorry). After a fire, a closure, and a reopening, it’s bought in 1925 by Distillers Company Limited (DCL) that will later become the company known today as Diageo. Fast forward nowdays, Dailuaine is still active and has a capacity of 5.2 million litres of pure alcohol per annum.

The bottle we review today is a 11-year-old Dailuaine bottled by SMWS under the number 41.104 and the name “Some like it hot”. It was released in 2018 in the Spicy and Sweet category. Matured in an refill bourbon barrel, it was distilled on the 23rd March of 2006. Bottled at cask strength at 58.1% abv, it gave an outturn of 186 bottles.

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Quick review: Clynelish 21yo batch 7 TBWC

Quick review: Clynelish 21yo batch 7 TBWC

Behind the twenty-first window of That Boutique-y Whisky Company’s 2019 Advent Calendar we will be reviewing each day until the 24th of December was hidden a Clynelish 21yo batch 7 single malt, bottled at 47.8% abv by that Boutique-y Whisky Company. The story of Clynelish is a little bit complicated. The First Duke of Sutherlands created the first Clynelish distillery in the Highlands, in the town of Brora, in 1819. After a few bankruptcies, John Walker & Sons bought a stake of the stocks in 1916. However, they mothballed Clynelish in 1931, but started production again in 1939. 1967 saw the construction of a new distillery, also named Clynelish, adjacent to the existing one. Soon after that, the “Old” Clynelish was mothballed in August 1968, and reopened the next year, renamed as the famous Brora, to be unfortunately mothballed again in 1983 (they will reopen soon as the distillery is being rebuilt). The current Clynelish is a vital part of several Johnnie Walker expressions and especially the Gold Label one. The outturn of this 21yo batch 7 was 1174 bottles, and is unfortunately sold out. It seems it was sold for around £130.

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Quick review: Linkwood 10yo batch 8 TBWC

Quick review: Linkwood 10yo batch 8 TBWC

Behind what is already the twentieth window of That Boutique-y Whisky Company’s 2019 Advent Calendar we will be reviewing each day until the 24th of December was hidden a Linkwood 10yo batch 8 single malt, bottled at 48.2% abv by that Boutique-y Whisky Company. Linkwood is a distillery located at Elgin, in Speyside. It was created in 1821, changed hands several times, and in 1971 a second distillery, called Linkwood B (the original one being Linkwood… A) opened with 4 new stills in addition to the existing two of Linkwood A. However, in 1985 Linkwood A closed down (with its original stills) until 1990 where it came back in production for a few months each year. Owned by Diageo, Linkwood is mostly used for its Johnnie Walker blend and there’s almost no single malt except for the 12yo Flora & Fauna, a couple very old ones, and mostly independent bottling. This batch 8 had an outturn of only 417 bottles and can still be found on the German website whiskytaste.de for a mere 37.90€ (around £32.30 at current exchange rate).

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Quick review: Auchroisk 12yo batch 7 TBWC

Quick review: Auchroisk 12yo batch 7 TBWC

Behind the sixth window of That Boutique-y Whisky Company’s 2019 Advent Calendar we will be reviewing each day until the 24th of December was hidden an Auchroisk 12 year-old batch 7, bottled at 47.9% abv by that Boutique-y Whisky Company. Auchroisk is a quite recent distillery, as it was built in 1974, and is located in Speyside. Owned by Diageo, it was created mainly for blends, with only one official bottling, a 10 year-old in the Flora & Fauna collection and occasional apparitions in Diageo’s Special Releases. Fun fact: Diageo did not bother to pay enough attention to the page dedicated to Auchroisk on their malts.com website: you can still see a filler “lorem ipsum” line just when they start presenting the Auchroisk “range”. Auchroisk has a medium capacity of production at about 5.9 million litres of pure alcohol per year. I could not find any website selling the Batch 7 of this Boutique-y’s Auchroisk unfortunately.

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Quick review: Blair Athol 21yo batch 5 TBWC

Quick review: Blair Athol 21yo batch 5 TBWC

Behind the fifth window of That Boutique-y Whisky Company’s 2019 Advent Calendar we will be reviewing each day until the 24th of December was hidden a Blair Athol 21 year-old batch 5, bottled at 51.5% abv by that Boutique-y Whisky Company. Blair Athol is located approximately half-way on the A9 from Edinburgh to Inverness, and is the most visited distillery owned by Diageo. It is mostly used for Bell’s blend, with only one official bottling, a 12 year-old in the Flora & Fauna collection, a brief apparition sometimes in Diageo’s Special Releases, and a NAS exclusive to the distillery. While better known than Teaninich (see yesterday’s post), it has a way smaller capacity of production at about 2.8 million litres of pure alcohol per year. I could not find any website selling the Batch 5 of this Boutique-y’s Blair Athol unfortunately.

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Quick review: Teaninich 11yo batch 2 TBWC

Quick review: Teaninich 11yo batch 2 TBWC

Behind the fourth window of That Boutique-y Whisky Company’s 2019 Advent Calendar we will be reviewing each day until the 24th of December was hidden a a Teaninich 11 year-old batch 2. Bottled at 47.9% abv, this single malt bottled by that Boutique-y Whisky Company is matured in ex-bourbon casks. Teaninich is a little-known and dull-looking Highland distillery owned by Diageo and mostly used for blends north of Inverness. While little known, it has a big capacity of production of 10.2 million litres of pure alcohol per year. I could find a German website selling the 50cl bottle for around 40€ but not shipping to UK.

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SMWS – A small cigar can change the world

SMWS – A small cigar can change the world

Lineup of the tasting
What a mighty lineup

Early september, I discovered there was events where you could taste SMWS whiskies as well as cigars – and boy what that an excellent discovery.
This time around, the French ambassadors reached out to me and asked me whether I would be interested in an “exclusive” session where we would taste a whisky selected just for France – SMWS 7.217 – Joie de vivre. This session would again be at Gentleman 1919, which I’m starting to love more and more.

Obviously, I accepted – and I can only thank them for that as I missed the Whisky Live due to friends having the bad idea of having their wedding that week-end. This was then the occasion for me to forget about the sheer pain it caused and soothe my broken heart by downing some drams.

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