Two Brewers started in 1997 when Bob Baxter and Al Hansen founded the brewery in 1997, after a canoe trip in Yukon, Canada. A dozen years later, then decided to take the next step and start making whisky. Using their experience as brewers and knowing the importance of the malt and the fermentation, they pay special attention to those steps as from the start they have a great influence on the final product. Those final products are numbered and unique, without a search for homogeneity, and classified in one of their ‘collections’: Classic, Innovation and their Special Finishes single casks. What we’re trying today is not one of their very latest batches but let’s try it anyway: the release N°26: a Two Brewers Classic
Chestnut. The crown is full of small beads that turn in quick thin legs.
Intense and quite fruity. Orange, plum, peach, pear, apricot and pineapple. A few sharp grain notes, honey, mint, and some baking spices. Fresh brioche from Vendée. Really good.
Fruity and spicy arrival, buttery. Good oily mouthfeel. Multiple fruits again, stone fruits mostly, but also with pear and bananas. Some oak spices, ginger, pear eau-de-vie, blackcurrant liqueur, a teaspoon of honey, and a light citrusy sourness in the back. There’s something sweet as well reminding me somehow of sweet potato.
The yellow stone fruits linger on with the oak spices, and (genuine French) croissant crumb (from the bakery, not the supermarket of course), with a medium length.
This whisky greets you with a beautiful nose, very fruity. Quite gourmand as well with the brioche notes. The palate is very nice as well, though maybe a tad under the nose, and a good finish, maybe a wee bit under as well. Anyway, good surprise as I must admit I didn’t know about this distillery before getting that sample, and I’ll keep an eye out for opportunities to try some more.
Lead photo: Two Brewers. Bottle photo: Whiskybase.Thanks Damien for the sample!
In 1998, Aberlour launched its first A’Bunadh, a sherry matured single malt, delivered at cask strength. Then, they regularly released new batches, clearly stating the batch number, each batch being slightly different from the others, with a different ABV, and always delivered without colouring. At the time, the price was quite low, and it was a success. And it still is, seeing that the last batch released seems to be the #74 already. Unfortunately, as with everything, especially when successful, the low price became a way higher price, and a recent A’Bunadh batch will cost you about £80 when it was less than £60 a few years ago. But Aberlour didn’t stop at that and in 2018, they launched a new expression, matured in ex-bourbon casks. We’re trying its fifth batch today: the Aberlour A’Bunadh Alba Batch #05.
Nc’Nean is a young distillery from the West Highlands, on the Morvern Peninsula. Founded in 2017 by Annabel Thomas, they emphasise on being sustainable. In 2021 they became a certified net zero emissions whisky distillery, the first in the UK, and 20 years ahead of the Scotch whisky industry target. In order to be completely sustainable, they diversified their effort. First, Nc’Nean uses organic barley. Secondly, their fully renewable energy comes from a biomass boiler fuelled by woodships coming from a nearby forest where every tree is replanted. Thirdly, they use 100% recycled glass bottles. Regarding their whisky, they release it by batches, explicitly telling the number of the batch. And though it’s not the latest batch, we’ll try today the Nc’Nean Organic Single Malt Batch 7.
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.
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.
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.
And that’s another country I can now cross off my ‘have I tasted a whisky from this country?’ list. St. Killian is a pretty young distillery, as its foundation just goes back to 2015. Unlike many young distilleries, they produce only whisky. No gin, no vodka, no rum, just whisky. They do produce whisky liqueur, however, but using their own whisky. With a 200.000 litres per year capacity, St. Kilian is one of the biggest whisky distilleries in Germany. By the way, I recently learnt that Germany is second to Scotland only regarding the number of whisky distilleries, with more than 250 grain distilleries producing whisky, and 130 out of those declaring themselves specifically as whisky distilleries. However, when I look at the German distilleries mentioned in the Malt Whisky Yearbook from Ingvar Ronde (a must-read!), I have to admit I’ve ever heard of only two of them. Two possible reasons: either they’re not exported much, or I’m an ignorant. Meh, probably a bit of both. Anyway, time to review two of their oldest expressions (in terms of date of release, not age): the St. Kilian Signature Edition Three and Four.
We’re back to Ireland today, with a Liberator from Wayward Irish Spirits. Wayward, as whiskey bonders, offer several ranges of whiskeys: The Liberator, and the Lakeview Single Estate Whiskey. The first one, Liberator, is sourced whiskey that they mature, finish, and bottle on their estate, whilst the Lakeview is distilled for Wayward but with grain from their own single estate, knowing exactly where do the grain comes from, the target being becoming a grain to glass distillery. They hope to start distilling on site in 2024. But for now, we’re trying a sourced whiskey they matured, finished and bottled: The Liberator Storehouse Special Malt X Moscatel. Yes, that’s a very long name.
The Whisky Cellar is back with its fourth series of Private Cellars Selection bottlings, but not only. Keith Bonnington, The Whisky Cellar‘s founder and ex-Edrington employee, bought, a few months ago, from his former employer, the Brig O’Perth blend brand. One of his other projects, Scalasaig, also is not only an island whiskies blend, but also now a bottler, with, I imagine, single malts coming from all the distilleries making up the Scalasaig blend. So for this fourth Whisky CellarTweet Tasting, we’ll try the Brig O’Perth, a Tobermory bottled under the Scalasaig brand, and three single malts and one single grain part of the Whisky Cellar Private Cellars Selection Series 4. We enjoyed a lot Keith’s selection during the first three Tweet Tastings, so I think we can have high hopes for this Whisky Cellar Fourth Tweet Tasting.
We’ve already tried a couple of season releases from Mackmyra, with Gront Te and Jaktlycka. But these were not the first of their seasonal and bi-annual expressions, as Mackmyra started these seasonal releases quite some time ago. I had for some time now miniatures of some of them in my samples boxes, so I guess we should take a look at these, right? And when I say look, I’ll look with my eyes, nose and palate. Yeah, so much ways to take a look at whisky, it’s crazy. Then, why won’t we review a very special one, bottled for the Whisky Circus? So, låt oss börja.