My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

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Most Recent Whisky Review

Grangestone Sherry Cask Finish

The third expression in this series is, like the other two, bottled at 40% ABV.  The nose has lots of dried fruits, prunes, raisins, digestive biscuits and a slight farmyuard, vegatal funkiness.   The taste is more dried fruit, prunes, bitter dark chocolate and citrus peel.  The mouthfeel is quite creamy, chewy and even oily.  The finish is spicy with fresh cut jalepenos and black pepper.  Not massively complex... consider if Macallan had an off day.  However Macallan's bad days are still better than many distilleries good days.

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  • Sunday, 08 January 2012 21:28

    Dalmore 1926 Goes on Sale for EU 250,000 while Whyte and Mackay Profits Plunge… Surely a Coincidence?

    Written by
    One whisky story (actually two) caught my attention over the holiday season.  My first reaction was to ignore them, but like so many slightly irritating things, by leaving it alone the itch just grew and grew and in the end I had no choice but to scratch (and write this). 

    First l became aware that Dalmore had released a single bottle of a 1926 vintage whisky for the staggering price of 250,000 EU.  One quarter of a million Euros for a single bottle of whisky!  I can buy one bottle of Ardbeg Alligator for $100, and I suggest that it is highly unlikely this Dalmore actually tastes 2,500 times better than that Ardbeg.  OK, so Dalmore throw in a 1.83 carat diamond in the stopper –deduct $60,000 or so – which means the actual whisky is only 1,900 times more expensive than the Ardbeg.  I haven't tasted it of course (and never will) but I seriously doubt it is worth it.   I have written (ranted) about whisky pricing and speculation before and will not repeat myself here and if that had been the only story I would not even have mentioned it. But then I saw that the Dalmore's parent company, Whyte and Mackay, reported a significant drop in year over year profits.


    The Whyte and Mackay position is that they are investing in promoting their premium brands and that is why their profits have dropped, a short term dip while they refocus their business.  I am sure (and hope) that is the case but this to me, as a business person first and a whisky aficionado second, is a red flag.  I happen to think their blends and the Jura and Dalmore single malts (the ones that cost $100 or less) are great value whiskies.    To my mind all whisky is luxury product, no-one has to buy a bottle of whisky, and certainly none of the whisky people I know are multi millionaires who will be willing or even able to spend 250K on a bottle.  Whisky lovers simply wants good product at a reasonable and fair price (taking into consideration this is often a hand crafted, artisan product).  I believe if Whyte and Mackay focus on producing good, accessible whiskies I am sure they will be successful.  If this business "re-focus" goes towards more of the "ultra premium" brand stuff and 250,000 Euro bottles with 1.83 carat diamond stoppers, I suspect this may not be the last we hear of their financial concerns.

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    Random Whisky

    Scotch Malt Whisky Society 3.177

    The SMWS is a private club that bottles cask strength whiskies and only identifies the bottling by the code format X.XXX and a "nickname" based on the characteristics of the whisky.  The first X refers to the distillery (a quick internet search reveals that SMWS distillery 3 = Bowmore)  and the second number is the cask that was bottled. So 3.177 is the 177th SMWS cask from Bowmore and this is bottled at 61.3% ABV and was named "The Gentle Giant".  The bottle is also identified as "1 of 223".   So it would be fair to assume that I am keen member of this society and many more of my blog entries will be dedicated to this wonderful collection of rare whiskies.  Fair yes, correct, no.  I actually have an issue with the idea of exceptionally strong whiskies (see earlier blog) and rare and limited bottlings.  My primary concern is alway the same... what if I find The One?  The One being that perfect dram that captures everything I love about whisky in a single glass.  My dream drop of heaven and the constant companion for the rest of my whisky journey?  Well that would  be tough **** beause they are all one off bottlings.  I think I fear the heart break more than I anticipate the joy and so I stay away to protect myself.  I also have another fear, probably irrational, that some (maybe many) of the people who do join are the sort of whisky "fans" that feel whisky isn't good unless it is bottled at aviation fuel strength and from a distillery rarer than a Scottish World Cup victory and would turn their nose up a Glenfiddich 12 or a great blend.  At the end of the day I simply don't need to join a club to get good whisky.  All that said this was rather good.  I found this dram at Malmaison bar in Aberdeen which has an excellent selection including some SMWS bottlings.  The nose was, according to my notes, like being smacked in the face with kipper.  Pungent but not overpowering and with a fresh air salty note as well.  The taste was stringent as you might expect, sweet with some citrus hiding behingd the clout.  The finish is a cloudburst of heat and pepper. Guess what.... this one needs water.  Water brings out the citrus notes as lime peel and smoke receeds and it becomes nicely balanced with a sweet cake taste.  Overall good, but not The One.