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Friday, 24 August 2012

Up, Up And Away. Galileo Blasts Off.


Blimey, this really is turning into a superb whisky week. From our BenRiach, to a bevy of Irish whiskies, comes a monster release.  For the past few months, peat fans around the globe have been trawling the inter web in search of any snippets of information on a brand new Ardbeg release.  Such is the fervour surrounding Ardbeg,  no other whisky brand seems to command such intense interest in the build up to a release.

As we've seen with Supernova, Alligator, Rollercoaster and the recent Feis Ile release,  expectation runs high and the peat police are usually out in force, on high alert and with riot shields and baton rounds at the ready, should the distillery not deliver on their promise.

The thing is, in our opinion, they always do. And then some.  Whilst a few out there didn't like last year's Feis Ile bottling, because of its strong PX connections, others absolutely lapped it up -  because it showed Ardbeg in a totally different light.   We can't think of a distillery in recent memory who seems to have as much fun with their bottlings - and give their fans something other than just the liquid itself to talk about.

Ardbeg's miniatures are also out of this world
But down to business.  Galileo eh.  After the news story a few months ago about sending some peated whisky up into space, comes another whisky staring at the stars.    Galileo, the man, was never adverse to controversy.  His theories on Heliocentricism (basically where a planetary system revolves round a sun, to provide life and warmth) absolutely infuriated the church and Galileo was effectively forced to toe the line.  Of course, his beliefs and teachings were pretty crack on and in addition to making huge strides in developing the telescope and compass, his theories on astrology and comets have helped redefine how we view our solar system today.

So a rebel at heart, a pioneer and a man unafraid to take a wildly different approach to his cause.

Ardbeg's Galileo hails from 1999 and like its namesake, aims to do things differently.  Taken largely from ex-bourbon barrels, the bottling has also included some casks of Ardbeg matured in ex-Marsala wine. Sweet, resonant, rich and full of heady fruit, Marsala wine doesn't cock about. Like PX, it will leave its imprint on even the most robust of whiskies, so they need to be used sparingly.

The great news is that with this Ardbeg, we can all party like it's 1999.  The balancing act of classic Ardbeg and fragrant fruit is exquisite and whilst it hasn't anything like Supernova's levels of peat (which, come on, was a little bit silly, wasn't it) it showcases a distillery at the top of their game once again...


Ardbeg - Galileo - Distilled 1999 - 49%   

Nose: Unmistakable Ardbeg, with wafts of cracked pepper, vanilla, some very medicinal soft peat, lemon zest, chopped nuts and sweet acacia honey.  But then something else emerges. The fruit begins to develop, with some softer perfumed notes at first, then something a little bit richer. Raisins and dates spring to mind, but only just a waft mind.  with a drop of water, the fruit develops and in comes a little spiciness and malt. (cinnamon toast)

Palate: Bang in with the classic peat, but with some vanilla ice cream notes, current buns (with a dusting of cinnamon) some lemon zest and a touch of dried fruit. Again, nothing too over powering but just enough to make its presence felt.  With a dash of water, it becomes creamy and sweet, with Caramac bars (Google them) and an emergence of fresh fruit salad. Superb.

Finish:  Lingering notes of malt, with a backbeat of smoke, pepper light fruits (over-ripe plums) and lemon zest.

Overall:  Well, they keep on doing it, don't they.  Another Ardbeg bottling that has balance, depth, doesn't stray too far from its roots, yet offers plenty more in spades.  It has maturity, where previous bottlings have disappointed and the influence of the Marsala is just sublime.   Yes, old Ardbeg is perhaps in the pantheon of THE all time great whiskies, but we really think that the distillery is hitting a golden era of production with bottlings like this.  

In the words of the great Freddie Mercury - 'Galileo, Galileo Figaro Magnifico...'

Ardbeg Galileo is officially released on 1st September, priced at around £70. For more details, visit 

Behind The Green Door


What a week... Only a few days ago, we released our second whisky and we're pleased to say that it is selling like the proverbial hot cakes... Only a few are available now, so if you fancy one, get skippin' along to Master Of Malt and grab one whilst they're still warm!

Also, I decided that Caskstrength Towers needed a bit of a facelift, given that several of the neighbouring residences all had their fastidious owners out painting, re-landscaping and making their home-from-homes more attractive.

Where to start?  Well, one of the windows at the back looked a bit jaded, so I stripped it all back and began to repaint it in a rather lovely green smoke shade. Then I noticed the front windowsills looked a little tired, so I bought new masonry paint ('sandstone'), which adheres to the regulations governing the house (CS Towers is actually a listed building!!)

Then I realised it looked ridiculous.  The shade of sandstone made by Farrow & Ball is clearly different to the one the place is already painted in.


So, with a grimace,  I began to paint the WHOLE DAMN HOUSE.

Housework on this scale is a little like becoming obsessed with high-end HiFi.  Once you start meddling, you start to change everything. Then once you've changed everything, you start all over again with the thing you first changed. Why did I have to start meddling...

So after two days, the facade of the house, the windows, the front garden and even the original victorian boot scraper have been tarted up.  Everything -  except the front door.

The existing door (in 'winter emerald green'- although it looks black in the picture above) looks nice enough -  but now it doesn't match the cocking windows.   Now i'm not sure if any of you have successfully painted a front door, but it seems bloody hard. Last time I did this, the pristine smooth finish bubbled and looked like the surface of the moon.  Epic fail.  So tomorrow, I will set out again to get it right, using overpriced Farrow & Ball oil paint, that will no doubt get everywhere, except smoothly across the panels on the door.

But beforehand, rather than thinking nightmarish thoughts about emerald paint, i'm going to enjoy some drams from the emerald isle... (see what I've done there...)

Recently, Joel and I were asked to chair the panel for the Irish Whiskey Masters, an industry awards run by Spirits Business magazine, which once again highlighted what we're all thinking: that Irish whiskey has never had it so good.

Sales across the board are hitting exceptional heights and with the news that both William Grant and Pernod Ricard are investing heavily in the category, the future looks glowing for the Emerald Isle.

So what of the current lot?  Well, you can take a look at the full list of award winners here in the Spirits Business.  In addition to these, last week we were sent a bevy of bottlings from a more obscure Irish whiskey brand.


The Wild Geese is not a name we're used to seeing in the pantheon of great Irish whiskeys.  In fact, taking away the historical puff that fills their website, there is very little to suggest who is actually behind the brand, where it is made and what the strategy is with the brand - (we've since discovered that it is produced by Cooley)  But the recent string of awards they've received gives a clear indication of what to expect.  The collection encompasses a standard blend, a single malt, a limited edition (which I think is a blend but the information available is unclear) and 'rare' (whatever that means)...and pretty decent they are too...

The Wild Geese -  'Untamed' - Classic Blend - Irish Whiskey - 40% 

Nose: Classic Irish whiskey fresh fruit and vanilla immediately burst through, alongside a little spiritiness, some pencil shavings and a light acacia honey.  Very delicate and top heavy. 

Palate: Very sweet and spirity with pear drops, sugar syrup, a little liquorice and a touch of citrus and green tea, sweetened with honey.  

Finish: Short, with a touch of green apple and a subtle maltiness as the palate dries.

Overall:  Lightweight and without a huge amount of character, this blend is inoffensive and certainly will appeal to those drinkers who have yet to really explore the Irish whiskey category. However for those who are already tuned in to the spirit, this blend (as pleasant as it is) is probably a little too light weight in the complexity dept to get your palate dancing a jig. 

Next up Wild Geese single malt:

The Wild Geese - Single Malt - NAS - 43%

Nose: Oily and rich, with liquorice, a touch of clove, unripe banana, fizzy lemon sherbet sweets and fresh nectarine notes.   

Palate: Not what I expected at all.  Slightly biscuity, with a touch of turned earth, a little leatheriness, icing sugar and a touch of medicinal lozenges. 

Finish: Some of the fruity notes (banana and nectarine) begin to make a return to the palate as it dries, with a lingering note of something fresh and green - unripe green apple. 

Overall:  With a nice oily backdrop in the fragrance dept, this will surprise with its more buttery, malty palate.  A very solid Irish single malt -  perhaps lacking the outer edges to make it a real stand out but decent nonetheless. 

The Wild Geese - Limited Edition Forth Centennial - 43% 

Nose: Immediate notes of tropical fruit, golden syrup, vanilla, demerera sugar and fresh cream. very nice indeed. Dig deeper and meringue notes begin to develop, drizzled in fresh raspberries and marzipan.  

Palate: The marzipan continues onto the palate, with a touch of lemon zest, a little nuttiness, some milk chocolate and more red berry fruit.   Given a dash of water, some warming spice (liquorice and clove) develop, alongside a creaminess.  

Finish: All too fleeting unfortunately, with remnants of the cream and fruit dashing from the palate swiftly, leaving a lingering note of vanilla.

Overall:  A very approachable whiskey, with a fine balance of fruitiness and sweetness. 

Finally -  Wild Geese Rare.  As we've mentioned on here before, a bugbear of ours is when companies use unquantifiable terms like 'small batch' and 'rare'.  If this is rare -  tell us why it's rare!! grrr. 

The Wild Geese - Rare - 43%

Nose: Stewed apple, some cinnamon spice, candle wax, a little fresh gooseberry and a more floral note than the others - powder puffs and lavender draw liners perhaps? Quite why I know such aromas is another matter, not for discussion on here... ;-) 

Palate: Creamy, with a toffee note, followed up by vanilla notes, some light citrus zest (lemons) and a little crumbled digestive biscuit.  A dash of water reveals a more spicy side with some liquorice notes developing nicely. 

Finish:  A little thin, but with lingering notes of chocolate malt, lemon zest and green apple.

Overall: Well, I'm still not sure quite why this is deemed to be 'rare' but it is certainly an enjoyable and easy drinking Irish whiskey.  It probably hasn't got the dancing legs of the Forth Centennial release, but is well worth seeking out in its own right. 










Monday, 20 August 2012

The Second Coming...


As the collective gold, silver and bronze accolades have been duly divided up across the globe, it is once again time to turn our attention to what makes this site tick -  the sweet taste of liquid gold, which kicks our sorry summer laziness into touch and reminds us about what is probably the greatest business to be involved with- the business of F.U.N.... (and whisky)

Last year, Caskstrength decided to do something a little unusual for a whisky website -  we decided that whilst writing about superbly well-crafted drams was of course a brilliant way to earn a living, it is ever so slightly scary, yet exciting to actually put our money where our mouse is, pop to a distillery, open the doors of a warehouse and to liberate a particular cask that we felt was exceptional.

Our inaugural release started as we mean to go on -  A for Arran yielded a spritely 94 bottles and the follow up release is now upon us.   After spending a little time scratching our collective head about the type of whisky we wanted to release next, we chanced upon a cask from the BenRiach distillery, which exceeded our expectations in every way.

Cask 5614 was distilled in 1996 and initially filled into a bourbon hogshead.  However in 2008, the decision was made to re-rack the whisky into a rather succulent, spicy Pedro Ximinez sherry cask for the four remaining years of its maturation.

The resulting whisky is something we're very proud to put our name to.  It retains a fresh fruity note, which a super spicy backdrop of classic PX richness.    Both Joel and myself knew we'd found what we were looking for after the first dram and in no time at all it was bottled, the cask yielding 296 bottles in total, with an abv of 55.2%.

As with the Arran, our great friends at Master Of Malt are the exclusive retailers for this single cask offering - Caskstrength And Carry On BenRiach.   It is priced at £54.95 and another exciting piece of news is that the first 50 bottles come complete with a rather fetching premium cotton shopping bag, bearing the Caskstrength and Carry On logo in gloriously 70's flock print! What more could you want from a whisky release!!

Joel and I initially struggled to come up with a combined tasting note. So we turned our phones off, poured two large glasses and got stuck in with a blank page and two pens.  Minutes turned to hours, ties were removed, voiced were raised and a scene resembling Peter Griffin and the giant chicken was narrowly avoided by the stroke of midnight, when we finally pooled together our collective thoughts.




We're not in the business of the hard sell, so we'll leave it up to you to decide whether you like the sound of it, but needless to say, if you like your whisky fresh, vibrant and with a bold backbone of spiciness, we think you'll like this one.


Caskstrength & Carry On  - BenRiach  - Single cask bottling - Cask no: 5614 - Distilled 1996 -  Filled July 2012 - 55.2%

Nose: An initial freshness of sliced apples, ripe pears and bananas, dusted in cinnamon, dark chocolate and a touch of clove.  given a dash of water, some bold, sweet citrus notes (caramelised blood orange) come to the fore, with more dark chocolate and warming spice. 

Palate:  The spiciness is carried over onto the palate, with a robust cinnamon mocha/dark chocolate fondant note, some fresh mint, dark tobacco leaf, a touch of ripe plum, all dusted with a little white pepper.  Water broadens the sweetness, bringing more of the ripe orchard fruit and woody spice. 

Finish:  You've probably guessed it, but those spices are determined to linger around and the dark chocolate notes, caramel and cinnamon all coat the palate, giving the finish a very warming conclusion. 

If this sounds like your kind of dram, you can dive onto the following link from midnight tonight (that's the 20th August to avoid any doubt) and grab a bottle from Master Of Malt. If you do, we hope you like it as much as we do.  

Slainte!

Neil & Joel


Monday, 13 August 2012

The Glorious 105


As normality returns to the streets of London after what has been a sensational display of national pride, one's mind turns to the British traditions, which have seemingly stood the test of time and the letter of the law.

Yesterday was what is known in the UK as 'The Glorious Twelfth', a day celebrated on  country estates the length and breadth of the land ( and surprisingly, many notable estates across South London...).  It remains glorious to those who enjoy nothing simpler than donning one's stalking gear, polishing one's barrels and bagging a couple of Red Grouse for the supper pot.  Hunting legislation has marked out the 12th of August as the start of the shooting season and the day itself is often marked with huge hunting parties.  If, like this year, the 12th falls on a Sunday, the date is often postponed to the 13th, so we thought it rather timely to bring you news of a whisky release timed to perfection.

Glenfarclas are no strangers to high-powered drams of a certain calibre. Their fiendishly strong 105 release has bedazzled and bamboozled palates around the world with its heady mix of hard hitting spice, dried fruit and brown sugar.  Originally released as an 8 year old in the late 1960's, the bottling subsequently became a 10 year old and in 2008, to commemorate its 40th anniversary,  a 40 year old.

To celebrate the game season, a special limited edition 20 year old edition of 105 has been put together, released as a batch of 4,000 bottles.   Now according to royal records, King Edward VII and his shooting party once managed to take out 1,300 partridge in a single day's shooting on the Sandringham estate. Quite a remarkable number of birds really -  some would probably call this avian genocide, others probably a skill that would have won the King several golds at the Olympics.

Whatever your feeling is on shooting, or for that matter eating game,  in our opinion Glenfarclas hits the mark for a classic, big flavoured outdoor-beast-of-a-whisky, perfect for celebrating a successful tally of felled fowl, or equally suitable to commiserate one's party when the League Against Cruel Sports scares them all away before a single shot is fired.


Glenfarclas 105 - The Glorious Twelfth Edition -  20 Years Old - 60% 

Nose: Initially, notes of gunpowder (we kid you not) mixed with smoked orange peel, warming clove spice notes, fruit pie (apple and rhubarb) dark chocolate, fresh mint and a touch of white pepper.  Being that this is 60%  I am duly obliged to take a big swig without water, of which you will see the results below. Given a few drops of water, woody sherry notes begin to take hold, alongside a touch of burnt bonfire cinders, cherry jam and dark toffee.  

Palate:  Wow, hitting squarely with both barrels, the palate is blasted by an elephant gun of flavour, including more of the cloves, bitter coffee, mint chocolate, caramelised oranges and malt.   With a sensible dash of water, the soft fruits begin to get a look in with plums, ripe red apples and marmalade hitting the spot, alongside a backdrop of malty digestive biscuits. 

Finish:  The drying spices linger, giving this warmth and a distinct note of the morning after bonfire. 

Overall:  105 has always been a super dram, packed tightly with spice and punch, rather like a shotgun cartridge. The Glorious 12th Edition ups the size of the weapon, but gives it a distinct air of complexity and class-  rather like being handed an £80,000 Purdey side-by-side for a day's shooting.  

Pull!!




Glenfarclas 105 Glorious Twelfth Edition is available from www.glenfarclas.co.uk, priced at £200


Monday, 6 August 2012

Knoc, Knoc.




Being of dual nationality, I'm very much choosing this week to be a blatant glory hunter; wrapping myself in the Union Flag (not literally; there is a line...), standing side-by-side with my fellow countryman, whisky in hand, singing God Save The Queen.

For at this very moment we have a huge haul of gold medals, needing just one more to equal #TeamGB's achievements four years ago in Beijing.

However, it isn't just the extreme haul of medals that is pleasing; it's everything that comes along with it. Unlike a roast dinner, with the Olympics, the trimming are even tastier.

From the unsung heroes mentioned in my previous post, to the jokes on twitter ("Spelling is important. The difference between won and one: Great Britain have just won gold. Australia have just one gold") right the way through to news that, despite still having to contest the 200 meters and the 4x 100 meter relay, Usain Bolt was seen in a night club at 3.45 this morning celebrating his gold medal win with... the Sweden women’s handball team. This Olympics has been pure soap opera.

Hands and balls, indeed...

But alongside such well known sports as track & field, tennis ('Mon The Muzz!), football and gymnastics, we're being given the option to watch, learn and enjoy some fantastic events which usually we might not turn our eyes to.

Let's face it, we all have a limited capacity; both time-wise and financially, and in this modern age there is always something looking for our attention or our almighty dollar. So it has been a real pleasure to drop in for small snippets on events such as equestrianism, clay pigeon shooting, Greco-Roman wrestling and the aforementioned handball.

In a similar way, it is very easy to get stuck in a rut when it comes to your favourite whiskies: daring to venture outside of your usual few bottles ('few' being defined however you like) takes not only a leap of fiscal faith, but also time to find out if you really enjoy said liquid.

And what if you do like what you try? Shock! Horror! It means yet another item for the Christmas list. Yet another range to discover. Yet more time and money. But, oh! The joy of finding a new friend.

One good way to see if you like a whisky is with the purchase of miniatures. Much like flicking over to BBC3 and checking out the water polo, you can always retreat to the comfort and safety of Clare Balding taking about someone simply running as fast as they can, if the water-based sport is not to your liking.

Phew.

Of course, here at Caskstrength.net we're always trying to provide you with interesting alternatives (as well as plain old simple ones, too) to your usual tipple. So, inspired by this taster of sport, I've decided to cast my net in to the world of the miniatures and try a couple of things which are not usually on my radar nor in my standard cabinet of delights. Why? Because I've never really had a chance to get to know them, despite their relative ubiquity in most decent whisky retailers.

Firstly, I'm gonna kick off with Speyburn. A small distillery just outside Rothes in, as the name suggests, Speyside. I was due to visit a few weeks ago but due to illness couldn't make the trip, so here’s hoping this brings me good luck and not bad memories...



Speyburn - 10 Years Old - 40%

Nose: Water melon, barley water, unripe kiwi fruit, some buttery notes with a hint of lemon juice.

Palate: Sweetened grapefruit juice,  custard creams, heather and a drizzle of light honey. Some green apples, too.

Finish: Every such a small amount of spices but very light and delicate.

Overall: I don't know why, but I wasn't expecting a lot from this whisky yet its clean and crisp palate is really lovely. Would be great on a summers day with a block of ice. Something I'll try of this biblical weather ever ceases.

The next mini is actually from a distillery owned by the same team as Speyburn (who also boast Balblair and Old Pultney in their ranks, too) but it's one of the odder names bottles out there, ancnoc.

Hailing from Knockdhu distillery, I'm led to believe that the bottling name was changed due to the original distillery sounding too much like Knockando. And a fair point that is. So, when asking the locals what it should be called they simply replied ‘Ancnoc‘ because that was their name for the local distillery anyway.



Ancnoc - 12 Years Old - 40% abv

Nose: Minted peas and steamed garden vegetables develops in to dried figs and some earthy tones (forest floor). At the back of the nose lies some cream soda notes.

Palate: the palate is soft with brown sugars and some green tea. It develops light cigar tobacco flavours which, in turn, mould in to the over ripe figs from the nose.

Finish: subtle Christmas spices of cinnamon and ginger.

Overall: well, a totally different beast. A whisky to snuggle up to the open fire with on Boxing Day.

Two solid drams working hard to squeeze their way in to my Olympic team, these are different drams for different seasons. Right now, of the two, I’d sit back with a large glass of the Speyburn in the vain hope that the sun may well start to shine again.

Right, I'm off to learn Greco-Roman wrestling. Look out, Ridley...

Friday, 3 August 2012

You Can Not Be Sirius




So, London 2012, the Olympics, has finally hit us. Living so close to the middle of London has proved, against all odds, to be a total and utter joy. The streets are deserted; you can get in to any restaurant, bar or theatre and hotels seem to be dumping rooms at discount prices, like they're going out of fashion. Live anywhere near London? Come on in! You won't find a better time to visit...

And with this smorgasbord of sport available, why would you stay away? Well, one main reason: it's all on the telly. And when I say 'all', I mean ALL! The BBC have done an amazing job covering the event so far with a mind-boggling selection of ways to watch your chosen sport, support your nation live or even catch up on the action from previous days. It really is a joy to behold.

But all has not been plain sailing for this whisky writer. Oh, no. When the time came to apply for tickets, I decided to have a go. Throw my credit card in the ring and see what I got.

The plan was simple: go for big ticket items such as the Men's Tennis Final at Wimbledon, Opening and Closing ceremonies, 100m final... but to add a touch of realism in the mix, I also chose some more 'attainable' tickets: anything at the tennis and football were my two picks... especially the football, as I was advised that I would get two matches over the course of an afternoon / evening. What better way to spend an August afternoon than kicking back with a couple of mates and watching four international teams play on the world stage?

Or so I thought. When the draw for tickets was made, I came away with just one pair of football tickets, for Wed afternoon at Wembley. "Excellent", I thought "I might get a Team GB match and then something else as an entree."

But, just a few weeks before the official start to the games, the draw for the football was made. With great anticipation I waited until the conclusion of the draw and, with bated breath, looked up which games I had got for my money.

The result? Just one match. And that match? Gabon vs South Korea. Oh, dear.

Well, this is what I was given in draw by the Olympic gods so, taking it on the chin, I awaited my tickets. But the punishment from the Olympian deities didn't stop there. 

Oh, no. 

Each set of tickets is hand delivered, to be signed for by the recipient and my tickets chose to turn up, with a loud knock at the door, at 7am on a Saturday. 

Great. Thanks.

When the day of the game came around, I duly made my way across the ghost town and found myself with 76,000 other people, watching Gabon play out an incredibly dull nil - nil draw with South Korea. And thus ends my Olympic experience.

But think for a moment of the chaps from Gabon. Running out to a stadium well over three quarters full (total capacity of Wembley: 90,000). A situation, without being disparaging, that many of those players may never find themselves in again, in their sporting careers. Because that is what the Olympics is all about: providing a world stage to many athletes who you may have never heard of, but who have put themselves in a position of attaining glory through a mix of talent and sheer hard work.

Many new names have appeared just in the last 24 hours. Rowers Heather Stanning and Helen Glover, Shooter Peter Wilson, Gemma Gibbons (left) in the judo... all new names to me, and all new superstars in the UK.

In a similar fashion, there are many indie bottlers out there in the whisky world, trying to battle weekly against the giant single malt and blended brands on our supermarket shelves.  Maybe they don't have the budgets or the resources of their gigantic counterparts, but occasionally someone you have never heard of can turn in a gold medal performance.

Two weeks ago, I headed over to The Whisky Shop in London's Patanosta Square for the launch of a new range of independently bottled whiskies, under the banner Sirius.  This series of bottlings has been put together by Mahesh Patel, the man behind the Nth Whisky Show in Las Vegas, a seriously top-end event which its bottlings aim to replicate.

Having chosen his casks with great care, Patel has gone not for the common man here, but for serious collectors and drinkers, with his bottles starting at £1,000 and going up to £3,750, with all the hooch (two single grains, two single malts) coming from casks in the 1960's.

Working backwards in price, the collection hails a 1967 Dalmore from a rum cask, yielding 89 bottles, for £3,750.



The Dalmore - Sirius Collection - 1967 - 89 bottles - 64.3% abv

Nose: Cocoa (chocolate mousse), strong notes of dark sugar and rich oak.

Palate: Rich fruits, honey-heather, dark chocolate and a hint of candied orange.

Finish: Sweet, unctuous and delicious.

Overall: A great whisky but second on the rostrum with silver in this competition...


The continues with a North British from 1962 (138 bottles, £1,250 bottled at 44.5% abv) and a Fettercairn from 1965 (39 bottles, £1,750 bottled at 52.6% abv) but the real star of this show is a new name to me: Carsebridge, the grain distillery which was closed in 1983.




Carsebridge - Sirius Collection - 1965 - 63 bottles - 41% abv

Nose: Figs and honey, orange and the lovely subtle tones you always get from a grain whisky of banana and pine. This is very well aged and has a simply wonderful nose.

Palate: Fantastic oddly malty tones with cooked banana and maple syrup. Smooth and incredibly drinkable.

Finish: Orange creams, milk chocolate.

Overall: Simply stunning. A gold medal winner of a whisky. Seriously awesome.


As a collection, this series does a great job of showcasing some great old malts and, more importantly, some great old grains. It may not be aimed at people with a limited income, but for those out there with some serious (sirius) cash to splash, it'll be a great education as to what sort of quality can be attained from the right casks at the right age, especially with the grain examples here.  

And if this is what a grain from 1965 tastes like, I'm off to find some more undiscovered superstars...