A second post this month! Well I’ve left it a bit late, but I am compiling the rest of the tasting notes for September as I write this. Currently my desk is covered in scribbled papers and there are a couple of empty Glencarins (you know they seem sad to be empty…), so a blogging I will go.
This second release brings us another pair of bottles; both of which are great offerings. First up will be the first distillery bottling of Glen Grant that I’ve seen at the LCBO. Owned by the Italian drinks giant Campari, this light and floral Speysider is typically sherried – sometimes to the point of breaking. Some expressions are so sublime, they’re to die for while others are so sherried they seem to deter from the original spirit (like drinking 40% ABV Sherry). This is a bourbon cask distillery bottling aged 16 years, not something that we see often enough at the LCBO (they seem to favour the heavy sherries, some indies and a bunch of Islays). With this bottle, we get a real sense of the whisky behind the numbers; a real taste of Glen Grant as it were. Bourbon casks (especially second fill), tend to really bring out the strong and weak points in your base spirit; all the cards get laid out on the table. Musings aside, this is a gorgeous bottling. At 16 years of age, this Grant gives us a really rich and floral nose with loads of peaches and apricots (stone fruits), roasted grains, dried hay and hints of coconut, all bundled with an incredible creamy smoothness like marshmallow creme. Silky creme brulée and more stone fruits dominate the palate (this is very smooth whisky; very more-ish), with more notes of roasted nuts, barley sweetness and some dry notes of oak and hay again in the background. The finish is medium-long and very dry, with more caramel creaminess and oak presenting itself here. Baking spices and worked wood intersperse with a subtle mineral-y mossy note on the finish. Check your local LCBO <HERE> for for your bottle, I have a feeling that these will disappear quick even priced at $85/bottle.
Second up is an offering from the independently owned Glencadam distillery (Congrats on fighting the good fight against the big box distillers!). Owned by Angus Dundee plc since 2003; the only public offering was the 15 year old. In late 2008, this all changed and the entire lineup of bottlings were reinvented by adding a 10 year old little brother. By 2010 3 more bottles were added to fill out the line including the 12 year old Portwood finish and the 14 Oloroso Sherrywood finish. The portwood has made the long journey overseas to our doorstep and beckons to be tasted with all its subtle ruby/amber goodness. I’m not going to mince words or apologize, but those who know me know that I love good port and good wine finishes. The following review might be biased… slightly…. but then again I might be biased… slightly (or warped depending on how much you know me). I have yet to get my nose into the standard Glencadam bottlings, but if this is any indication, I can’t wait. Right away, there is a winey port waft, but hidden underneath and in between there are all sorts of good things like sweet roasted grains, dates, soft macerated red fruits (obviously), baking spices like nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon, and caramel. There is a great balance on the nose, the port notes play hand in hand with what seems to be a sweet bodied whisky. In the mouth I’m hit with ginger spiciness, followed with more dark fruits (red and purples like plums and dark berries). There are chili and chocolate notes and caramel sweetness ever-present. The finish is excellent, with warm notes of candied ginger, cocoa powder bitterness, more baking spices, more caramel sweetness and subtle notes of oak and chili powder (the good kind you find in a Mexican grocery store, the one they make on site that they don’t tell gringos about). This is a heck of a dram, but the LCBO has seen fit to command a heck of a price for it. $94 for a 46% un-chillfiltered and colour-free bottle is a bit much, but coming from an indie bottler/distiller I think once you try it you’ll be sold on it. It will make a hell of a dessert dram. Check you local LCBO <HERE> for your bottle.
Okay so that’s the middle of the month pairing, next up is the last 2 bottles to finish out September. There’s a few more interesting things coming down the pipe and also some changes coming to the blog in the future. I’m at the debate point of changing the blog over to another site, and also adding some founding members of our whisky club as writers. Feel free to inspect the preliminary work at http://cataclysmofscotch.blogspot.ca/ So until the next update: Keep your stick on the ice, and the ice out of your glass.