Showing posts with label sherry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sherry. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

The GlenAllachie 12-Year Single Malt Scotch Review & Tasting Notes

The GlenAllachie (pronounced Glen-Alla-Key) is a relatively new Speyside distillery that's seen quite a bit of ownership changes in its short 55 years. Founded in 1967, its been open, closed, mothballed, reopened, used for strictly blends for Chivas Bros., then sold in 2017 to its current owners, The GlenAllachie Distillers Company.


The GDC completely revamped things with a plan to release whiskies bottled at no less than 46% ABV and are both naturally colored and non-chill filtered. It also allows 160 hours of fermentation time, claiming it gives them additional time to study what's in the tank. The campus is home to 16 warehouses holding 50,000 barrels of whisky!


Today I’m pouring GlenAllachie 12-Year, a single malt Scotch aged in Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso sherry casks, along with first- and second-fill Bourbon barrels and virgin American oak casks. Packaged at 46% ABV (92°), the average retail price for a 750ml bottle is $65.00. 


“[W]e would like to introduce the most important release in the history of The GlenAllachie Distillers Company; GlenAllachie 12-year-old, the heart of our range, a landmark bottling. Our best casks selected and bottled under the careful eye of our Master Distiller Billy Walker.” – The GlenAllachie


Before I get to my tasting notes, I’d like to thank Impex Beverage for providing a sample of this whisky in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Let’s #DrinkCurious.


Appearance: Served neat in my Glencairn glass, GlenAllachie 12-Year appeared as dark mahogany. It created a thicker rim which formed fat, sticky legs.


Nose: From across the room, I could smell the sherry notes.  Raisin, green grape, fig, cherry, and dried apricot were accompanied by dark chocolate and oak. When I pulled the air past my lips, it was a big blast of banana pudding.


Palate:  The texture of molasses crawled across my tongue and didn’t go away. Dark chocolate, fig, and green grape were on the front, with raisin, clove, and leather on the middle. I found ginger, oak, and French vanilla on the back.


Finish:  The medium-to-long finish consisted of Mole Coloradito, ginger, clove, tobacco leaf, and oak.  


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: This is certainly reasonably priced for a 46% ABV 12-year Scotch. The nose was beautiful, the palate flavorful, and the finish; well, if I go to a Mexican restaurant and there’s a mole sauce option, I’m all over it. The GlenAllachie 12 is just lovely all around and deserves my coveted Bottle rating. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.



Wednesday, July 20, 2022

The Spirit of Yorkshire Distillery's Filey Bay Single Malt Reviews & Tasting Notes


(photo courtesy of Impex Beverages)

What is the Spirit of Yorkshire? This English distillery began making whisky in 2016 with the idea that tradition is important and must be respected and weighed against a desire not to copy Scotch whisky production. Its founder, Tom Mellor, and the team worked under the guidance of Dr. Jim Swan, and the result is a proper grain-to-glass operation. It is also the first working distillery in all of Yorkshire.


The Spirit of Yorkshire prides itself in using everything possible from the land. The water comes from the chalk aquifers beneath the family farm, which they have been operating since 1945. The barley is 100% of that farm’s crops. The Molds for the bottles use the local earth to form them. This lets them produce whiskies made of Yorkshire versus making whiskies in Yorkshire.


“Our local area is hugely important to us, and so naturally, it’s where we’ve found the name for our Single Malt: Filey Bay. It’s our local beach, visible from the distillery windows; a beautiful stretch of sand that goes on for miles, from the outcrop of Filey Brigg to the headland of Flamborough Head.” - Spirit of Yorkshire Distillery


I have had English whiskies before, and I don’t mean Scotch. But I’ve never had a Yorkshire Single Malt before. Single malt is the same idea no matter what nation you’re considering. It is 100% malted barley from a single distillery. From there, you can get into differences, such as how Spirit of Yorkshire’s distillation process occurs in two of the largest Forsyth pot stills in the country outside of Scotland and a four-plate rectifying column.


Today I am sipping on four expressions of Filey Bay. Two are core expressions, and the others are single cask whiskies. But, before I get started, I thank Impex Beverages for providing me samples of each in exchange for no-strings-attached, honest reviews. Now, let’s #DrinkCurious and learn more.


Filey Bay Flagship Yorkshire Single Malt

As the name implies, this whisky is the flagship offering of Filey Bay. This single malt aged in former Bourbon casks for an undisclosed time and then married together before bottling at 46% ABV (92°). You can expect to pay $70.00 for a 700ml package.


“Bringing together some of our very best and oldest whisky, it has been matured in first-fill ex-Bourbon casks […] The true representation of our light and fruity house style, it’s complex and nuanced for those with an experienced palate but welcoming and delicious for those just discovering Single Malt.” – Spirit of Yorkshire Distillery


Appearance: The bright golden liquid left a fragile rim on my Glencairn glass. A combination of sticky droplets and long, wide legs made their way back to the pool.


Nose: The fruity, malty aroma consisted of apricot, apple, pear, and peach. I also came across cinnamon and toasted oak. Peaches and cream rolled across my tongue when I pulled the air through my lips.


Palate:  A light but oily mouthfeel began the tasting experience. The front was bright with orange, lemon, and apple. As it moved across my palate, honey, peaches, and pastry formed the middle, with gingerbread, hazelnut, and vanilla on the back.


Finish:  An amazingly fruity finish included peach, lemon, orange, and apricot. Vanilla, hazelnut, almond, and ginger rounded things out for a medium-long duration.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Filey Bay Flagship could be an excellent introduction to single malt whiskies. I’m not a newbie and found it refreshing and easy to drink, particularly on this hot, humid summer evening. This whisky was delightful to sip, and I’m happy to rate this one a Bottle.




Filey Bay STR Finish


What is STR? That is when a distillery will Shave, Toast, and Re-char a barrel. It isn’t always wine barrels that go through an STR process, but in my experience, it is the most common. In the case of Filey Bay STR Finish, red wine barriques from Sunny Vineyards of Spain were utilized for the finishing process following normal aging in ex-Bourbon casks. Packaged at 48% ABV (96°), a 700ml bottle carries a suggested retail price of $80.00.


Appearance: The STR finish was brassy and generated a medium rim. Long, flowing legs fell down the wall of the Glencairn glass.


Nose: An aroma of rich, red fruits rose from my glass. Malted barley, orange peel, and toasted oak hid beneath them. Drawing the vapor in my mouth led to vanilla and a touch of lime.


Palate:  The texture was creamy with a medium weight. Cinnamon spice, plum, and caramel introduced themselves. On the middle of my palate, I tasted strawberry preserves along with almond, while the back suggested black pepper, barrel char, and clove.


Finish:  Red wine notes that were almost jammy became known and stuck around for a long finish. Oak tannins, black pepper, and cinnamon left my mouth with a dry pucker.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  I appreciated the fruitiness and the influence of the red wine casks. I might have expected those fruits to be muted since the wood was scraped and charred. Perhaps that char drew out the wine? Regardless, the STR finish was completely different from the Flagship expression. The STR was bold, thick, and left a smile on my face. That adds up to a Bottle rating. 




Filey Bay Fino Sherry Cask #674


Once the core releases have been tasted, new exploration comes with single cask whiskies. Rather than releasing the single casks on a schedule, Spirit of Yorkshire simply waits for them to be ready. That’s something I respect from any distillery.


The first single cask I’m reviewing is Fino Sherry Cask #674. It was distilled in 2017 and spent four years in a Fino Sherry Hogshead sourced from Jerez. This whisky is bottled at a cask strength of 61% ABV (122°), and a 700ml package will cost about $110.00. It is exclusive to the US market.


Appearance: Cask #674 was big, bright orange in my Glencairn glass. A medium-thick rim clung to the wall, releasing only a few thick tears.


Nose: The sherry influence had no problem shouting from the rooftops. Raisin, plum, almond, and dry oak permeated my nostrils. But I also smelled cocoa powder. There was candied orange peel when I inhaled that air through my lips.


Palate:  A thin, oily texture greeted my palate. The front consisted of dark fruits blended with nutmeg, while the middle offered lighter flavors of orange zest, pear, and apple. Then a strong wave of cocoa powder, bone-dry oak, and shredded tobacco overwhelmed the back.


Finish:  Bitter dark chocolate, tobacco, and a complete lack of moisture gave a medium-to-long finish.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  You must be a fan of extremely dry sherry to appreciate what this single malt serves. I did like the fruity start and striking finish. However, that’s also not for everyone. The high proof is not the issue; the dryness didn’t come from the alcohol content. If anything, it was indiscernible. If this is your jam, then this whisky won’t disappoint. But because this is so dry, I’m giving Cask #674 a Bar rating.




Filey Bay Pedro Ximénez Sherry Cask #685


The final whisky in today’s tasting is not yet available for purchase but should be at the end of July. It is a single malt aged in a Pedro Ximénez (PX) sherry cask. While I enjoy sherry cask whiskies, those aged or finished in PX casks tend to be extra-special, and as such, I’m admittedly excited. It, too, should be cask strength at 61% ABV (102°) with a suggested price of $110.00 for a 700ml bottle.


Appearance:  Of the four whiskies, the PX cask was the deepest and darkest, appearing as burnt umber in my Glencairn glass. A thinner rim formed sticky droplets that just hung in place.


Nose: A rich aroma wafted from the neck of the glass, with raisin, dried apricot, molasses, and chocolate.  Dried apricot rolled across my tongue as I breathed air into my mouth.


Palate:  An oil slick coated the inside of my mouth. The first flavor I encountered was French oak and caramel. As the liquid moved to the middle, raisin, prune, and dried apricot melded with the oak, and the caramel vanished. The back was a mix of clove, black pepper, and dark chocolate.  


Finish:  Very long and spicy, the finish continued the clove, black pepper, and dark chocolate, while the French oak carried through. There was also a sizzle left on the tip of my tongue.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  This PX cask whisky didn’t disappoint. It was mostly what I had hoped for with an added twist of the French oak. Of the four single malts, this held the boldest flavors. Anyone who lusts for sherry bombs will find Cask #685 satisfies their every desire. I loved it, and have no issues crowning it with a Bottle rating.


Final Notes:  This was a fascinating sipping experience. I’m interested in what else this distillery has to offer, especially in its core expressions. Which was my favorite? You may assume Cask #685, and that would be a great, educated guess, but I’ll tip my hat to the Flagship Single Malt. The second would be Cask #685, and the third would be the STR Finish. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.


Friday, June 24, 2022

The GlenDronach Cask Cask Strength Batch 10 Single Malt Scotch Review & Tasting Notes

One of Scotland’s oldest legal distilleries is in the Valley of the Forgue. In 1826, The GlenDronach was founded by James Allardice,  and about 45 years later, it was the largest duty-paying distillery in the Scottish Highlands. Fast-forward to 1996, and The GlenDroanch was mothballed until 2002.


The GlenDronach was one of the last distilleries to utilize coal-fired stills, and in 2005, it was converted to steam heating. Then, in 2016, Brown-Forman purchased the distillery, along with Glenglassaugh and BenRiach, forming the company’s Scotch whisky footprint.


The GlenDronach Cask Strength Batch 10 is a Highland Single Malt aged in both Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso sherry casks. It is non-chill filtered, naturally colored, and carries no age statement. You’ll find a 750ml package for about $99.99 and available across the United States.


“The GlenDronach Cask Strength Batch 10 is incredibly rich and full-bodied with the full depth of sherry cask maturation at its heart. Presented at natural cask strength, it offers a cornucopia of flavor, from richly spiced fruitcake to dark cherry and ginger jam. The limited release showcases the distillery’s crafting the most exceptional, richly sherried Single Malts, representative of The GlenDronach’s rare dedication to its craft, embodied in every expression.”Dr. Rachel Barrie, Master Blender


I’m ready to #DrinkCurious, but before I do, I thank The GlenDronach for a sample of this Scotch in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review.


Appearance: Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, this Highland Scotch presented as burnt umber. A medium-weight rim created no legs; instead, it was tiny droplets glued to the wall.


Nose: Have you ever had an excellent rum-soaked fruitcake? Not the garbage passed around from family member to family member as if it was a white elephant gift, but the stuff you fight over and eat immediately. My memory was triggered as I smelled what was inside the glass. I also found apricot, citrus, nougat, and leather. When I drew the air past my lips, the rummy part of the fruitcake was more pronounced.


Palate:  The mouthfeel was silky and full-bodied. Raisin, cherry, and peach exploded in the front of my mouth, while roasted almond, orange peel, and mocha formed the middle. The back offered old leather, oak tannin, and ginger.


Finish:  My mind did a double-take at this point. Wasn’t this over 117°? You’d never know it because there was no burn in my mouth or throat whatsoever. Instead, there was a caress of raisin, cherry, honey, ginger, and oak. It was lengthy and left me with a smile.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Sure, there’s no age statement, but who cares? This is a cask-strength sherry bomb of a Scotch that is affordable, approachable, and amazing. Nothing would cause me to second guess buying a Bottle. It would be well worth it. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.



Monday, May 9, 2022

Glengoyne 10 Single Malt Scotch Review & Tasting Notes


There are only a handful of distilleries out there that can claim to be truly unique. I’m not talking about the whisky; my point is the distillery itself. When discussing Scotch whisky, an inarguably different distillery is Glengoyne.


Founded in 1833 in Dumgoyne, the distillery is a divided one. Half of it, where the stills are located, is in Scotland’s Highland region. On the other hand, the warehouses are located in the Lowland region. The Highland Line, the border that divides the two, runs right through this distillery!


Forgetting geographical uniqueness, something special exists with its distillation process. Glengoyne is known for having the slowest stills in all of Scotland. Fermentation takes roughly 56 hours, and the stills keep the distillate in contact with copper longer with its boil bulbs. The distillery is one of a couple that still uses Golden Promise barley, a strain that is more difficult to grow, offers a small yield, yet is revered for its quality.


Another aspect is that Glengoyne uses no peat in its malting process. In the Highland region, even distilleries that don’t use peat to dry the barley have some minuscule amount of peat from the air, but Glengoyne’s ppm is at zero.


Glengoyne has run continuously since its opening. George Connell first owned it under the name Burnfoot Distillery, then sold it to the MacLelland family, who, in 1876, sold it to Lang Brothers. The Langs held it for 90 years, renamed the distillery Glengoyne in 1905, and later sold it to what is now Edrington Group. Edrington considered Glengoyne to be excess to its needs and, in 2003, Ian Macleod purchased it and has owned it ever since.


Glengoyne’s flagship expression is Glengoyne 10. Because of where the stills are located, it is considered a Highland Single Malt, made from that Golden Promise barley and aged at least a decade in a combination of former Bourbon barrels and European Sherry butts. The whisky is non-chill filtered, naturally colored, and packaged at 43% ABV (86°). I picked up my 750ml bottle for $37.99.


Did I do well with my purchase? The only way to know for sure is to #DrinkCurious.  


Appearance:  Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, this Scotch was brassy gold. A medium-thick rim almost refused to give up anything, finally releasing slow, fat droplets that glued to the wall.


Nose: An aroma of apple cider flowed freely before I could even get the glass to my face. Raisin, apricot, honey, and almond were dead giveaways to the sherry cask influence. When I inhaled through my lips, the honey continued across my tongue.


Palate: A creamy, medium-bodied mouthfeel started things off. There was nothing that anyone could describe as “hot” about it. Apple, apricot, and honey were on the front, while cocoa powder and almonds formed the middle. The back consisted of oak, nutmeg, and dry hay.


Finish: Oak spice, nutmeg, dry hay, almond, and honey remained for a medium-length finish.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  There are summer days when I want to sit on my back deck and drink something light and refreshing. Glengoyne 10 is perfect for that occasion. Sans the peat-craver, there’s something here for any Scotch-lover: lots of fruity goodness, significant sherry influence, a touch of spice, a lovely texture, and even those who are price-conscious in this economy yet demand a quality pour. If you’ve not yet figured it out, Glengoyne 10 grabs my coveted Bottle rating and runs away with it. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.


Wednesday, April 13, 2022

The GlenDronach Cask Bottling Batch 19 Single Malt Scotch Reviews

It isn’t often that I get to sip older Scotch whiskies. When I do, it is usually due to the generosity of friends who, like all good whisky ambassadors, believe that whisky is meant for sharing, and they make that happen.


Once a year, The GlenDronach rolls out a batch of its Scotches referred to as The Cask Bottlings. These aren’t your average Highland whiskies; instead, these tend to fall into the ancient category. They’re all single malts, naturally colored and non-chill filtered, and the distillery is renowned for its use of high-quality Spanish sherry casks in the aging process. The 2022 release is referred to as Batch 19.


“The GlenDronach Cask Bottling Batch 19 offers an insight into our sherry cask maturation history and the exceptional quality of the casks we have at The GlenDronach. I have personally chosen these casks to celebrate and share the very best of the distillery’s character. Each represents the rich selection of barrels, Hogsheads, Puncheons and Butts that have been used throughout The GlenDronach’s history. This release reflects our enduring commitment to crafting the most exceptional, richly sherried Single Malts representative of The GlenDronach’s rare dedication to its craft, embodied in every expression.”Dr. Rachel Barrie, Master Blender


Batch 19 consists of three different casks:  Cask 5080 (1994), Cask 6052 (1992), and Cask 217 (1992). 


I want to thank The GlenDronach for providing me samples of the three in exchange for no-strings-attached, honest reviews. Now, it is time to #DrinkCurious.


First up is Cask 5080. Aged 27 years, this single malt Scotch rested in a former Oloroso sherry puncheon. It yielded 667 bottles packaged at 54.3% ABV (108.6°). While you’ll find this on some store shelves in AZ, CO, DE, DC, IL, FL, MD, MN, MD, NV, and SC, you should expect to spend at least $600.00.


Appearance: Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, Cask 5080 looked like burnt umber. A medium-thick rim formed long, wide legs.


Nose: A fruity aroma of fig, raisin, date, cranberry, and vanilla cream started the journey. It was joined by toasted walnut, and when I drew the vapor into my mouth, a wave of cherry vanilla caressed my tongue.


Palate: The silky texture featured fig, black cherry, and caramel on the front of my palate, while sweet pipe tobacco, orange zest, and cherry cola were on the middle. The back offered old oak, clove, and dark chocolate.


Finish:  Pipe tobacco, dark chocolate, fig, clove, and dry oak remained for a long, lingering finish.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Cask 5080 is, in a word, stunning. The nose was enticing, the mouthfeel rich, and the combination of flavors complimented one another as if they were designed to do so. I can’t help but give it a Bottle rating.

Adding another year, the next Scotch is Cask 6052. I’m assuming it aged a few months shy of 28 years in a former Pedro Ximénez sherry puncheon. There are 658 bottles available at 50.8% ABV (101.6°), and the suggested retail is $720.00.  Availability is limited to CA, ID, IN, KY, LA, NM, NC, ND, NE, MT, OH, OK, OR, TX, UT, WA, and WY.


Appearance: A deep, caramel color filled my Glencairn glass. It took an effort to create an ultra-thin rim. It generated sticky legs that crawled back to the pool of whisky.


Nose: I found cherry, plum, fig, strawberry, and red grape entwined with dark chocolate and oak. English toffee rolled across my tongue when I inhaled through my lips.


Palate: A medium-weight, silky mouthfeel released flavors of sweet vanilla, orange, and apricot on the front of my palate. Espresso and tobacco leaf fell on the middle, while dark chocolate, oak, and a kiss of caramel were on the back.


Finish: French oak, dark chocolate, and espresso remained for a long, steady finish.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  While the nose was fruity, the palate was far less so. The spice notes dominated. I frankly didn’t expect that from a PX cask – the sweeter notes were anticipated. I don’t mean to imply that I didn’t enjoy Cask 6052; I was merely caught off-guard. Age allowed the spiciness to be mellow, keeping it from becoming a punch. I can see this whisky being particularly attractive to fans of mature American rye whiskeys (and I fall into that category). A Bottle rating is warranted.  

The final whisky is the oldest: Cask 217. It spent a whopping 29 years in an Oloroso sherry butt. Only 383 bottles were filled, and as you can imagine, its distribution is much smaller. GA, MA, NY, and NJ were the handful that can sell it for the suggested $820.00 price. You’re getting 55.4% ABV (110.8°) for that investment.


Appearance: Served neat in my Glencairn glass, Cask 217 looked like maple syrup. Not the artificial stuff you buy at the grocery store, but real syrup from places like Vermont. The thick rim made husky legs.


Nose:  A bouquet of plum, raisin, leather, and fudge tickled my olfactory sense. Plum plowed through as I pulled the air into my mouth.


Palate: Whereas the previous two whiskies had silky textures, Cask 217 was oily. The uncomplicated palate started with dark chocolate and nutmeg on the front. The middle featured rum raisin and black cherry. The back was an interesting blend of leather, oak, and fresh ginger.


Finish:  Remember the fudge from the nose? That came out from nowhere like an angry bull let loose for San Fermin. There were oak tannins, nutmeg, old leather, and cherry mixed with that fudge.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  I appreciate how simple the palate of this Scotch was. That finish was mind-blowing. I happily convey a Bottle rating for the finish alone.


Final Thoughts:  For the three whiskies of Batch 19, my recommendations purposefully ignored price. Why? Because I don’t purchase whiskies in this price range. That doesn’t mean you (or someone you know) don’t. Experiencing something the caliber of Batch 19 is a rare opportunity, and the only thing I took into account were the aromas, flavors, and finish.


Of the three, my favorite pour was Cask 5080, which happened to be the youngest. The second was the elderly Cask 217, and the third was, of course, Cask 6052. Cheers!

My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.