Winter Warmers Tasting - 2017
Every year in February we host a Winter Warmers Tasting. The idea is to come up with a range of whiskies which will keep you warm until Spring arrives. It’s always a popular gathering and once again we sold all the tickets.
Muckle Flugga – 40%
Muckle Flugga is a small rocky island north of Unst in the Shetland Isles. Home of Muckle Flugga Lighthouse. Name is Old Norse meaning rocky island. The island used to be the furthest North anyone lived in the British Isles, but now the lighthouse is automatic so no one lives there.
This whisky actually comes from Longmorn Distillery on Speyside, and is bottled by an Independent bottler. Part of its maturation takes place on the Isle of Unst, very near to the Isle of Muckle Flugga. It is a lovely honeyed, butterscotch style of whisky.
Glenfiddich 18 y/o – 40%
I must admit that we tend to stay away from Glenfiddich as it’s such a commonly known brand, but at Dram Fest last year the Glenfiddich team did a great job and lots of people re-visited their range, and enjoyed it. Glenfiddich distillery first ran on Christmas Day 1886, (New Year has always been the more important celebration in Scotland). The distillery was built by William Grant, and when I say built by him, Grant, his wife and kids all helped along with a stone mason, actually built the distillery. Today Glenfiddich is the highest producing malt distillery in Scotland, producing 14 million litres of Alcohol a year. It’s also the best-selling single malt in the world. If William Grant and Sons hadn’t released the Glenfiddich single malt in the 1960’s we wouldn’t have so many single malts available today. The bottling I’ve chosen is the 18 year old.
Tomatin 14 y/o – Port Wood Finish
Situated just south of Inverness. Founded in 1897, was the largest malt distillery in early 80’s, but went bust in 1985, it was brought by a consortium formed by two of its Japanese customers – first Scottish distillery owned by the Japanese. More recently they have switched from primarily making for blend to concentrating on the single malt brand, very successfully. This bottling has been finished, spent the last part of its maturation, in an ex-Port Cask, which gives some porty flavours to the whisky.
Edradour 10 y/o Unchilfiltered
Edradour still calls itself Scotland’s Smallest Distillery, producing about 130,000 litres per year. There are other distilleries of a similar size, some only work part time, I tend to think of Edradour as the smallest serious distillery. A lot of distilleries, including Edradour, started as a small part of a farm, and Edradour is still that small. Since 2002 the distillery has been owned by Andrew Symington, who also owns Signatory Vintage independent bottlers. Because of its small size, Edradour has small stills, they also have old fashioned worm tubs – which give a complex, heavy spirit. This bottling is also sherry cask matured so a big, rich whisky.
Poit Dhubh – 12 y/o – 43%
This is not a single malt it is a blend of malts, however no grain whisky. I have a bit of a soft spot for this whisky as it was the first whisky we ever sold. December 1997, we had a licence but had not taken over the shop. I liked the sound of this whisky, so brought a case, kept one and sold the other five to friends. Poit Dhubh is blended by a company called Praban Na Linne, based on the Isle of Skye. They call themselves Gaelic Whisky Company, the idea was to blend big bold, smoky whisky fit for Highlanders. This is also unchilfiltered.
Ardbeg Uigeadail – 54.2%
From the Magical Island of Islay. The first record of Ardbeg distillery was in 1794 – the distillery was closed in the 80’s then ran part time from 1990 – 1996, in 1997 it was brought by the Glenmorangie Company. On 10th March 2007, Micky Heads became Distillery Manager. So next month it will be a decade that Micky has been Manager.
Ardbeg Uigeadail is the best Winter Warming whisky. This bottling uses old sherry cask matured whisky as well as some younger Bourbon Cask matured, it’s bottled at cask strengths 54.2%. It’s still one of my favourite all time whiskies.