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Sunday, 1 March 2009

new release notes from Hurlingham...

Wow! what a hectic weekend of whisky activity, folks.  Firstly, Friday saw caskstrength trying a few exceptional older treats which boggled the mind and left us gasping for more...(more of which later) 
Then, this Saturday we visited the splendid surroundings of the Hurlingham Club in Fulham, SW London for the Whisky Magazine's annual bash, Whisky Live.  Having played a few games of tennis at Hurlingham in the past (unbelievably, your humble writer used to be quite sporty!) I was thrilled at the prospect of tasting a fair few fine whiskies and bourbons.  I was not disappointed.  Despite fewer exhibitors present this year, the hall was packed and was apparently a sell-out. It is my pleasure to give you an update on a few superb new releases, coming over the next few months:

First up, Glenmorangie and something new, juicy and exclusive to the duty free market!

Glenmorangie Sonnalta - 46% abv - exclusive to the duty free market.
The lovely Annabel Meikle gave us a sneak preview of this young bottling of Glenmorangie and it certainly played a merry dance on the palate! Finished in Pedro Ximenez  sherry casks for just under a year, it is likely to be available from April onwards:

Nose: Lots of tropical fruits including banana, pineapple and passion fruit.  Lovely floral hints develop over time and a few heady whiffs from the PX casks, but nothing overpowering.  Superbly fragrant stuff.

Palate: More floral elements, coupled with light vanilla note, Banoffee pie and a slight cigar note leading into dryness.  

Finish: Back to the tropics again, as the fruit just keeps getting bigger and more concentrated.  
Overall:  This would be a super whisky for that perfect beach moment, under a palm tree as the Caribbean sea lap gently at your sun tanned toes. Worth taking a trip to Heathrow for, even if you're only flying to Manchester!!

Next up, the sister bottling of something we've been banging on about for some time... will it be as much of a looker? 

We have eulogised long and hard about the delights of the Longrow 18 year old bottling. It disappeared off the shelves faster than a free ticket for Slumdog Millionaire and left us wondering where we'd get another bottle from.  It very nearly won our Best in Glass awards last year, so when I heard there was to be a release of a Springbank 18 year old - in identical packaging my eyes immediately widened and my palate started getting ready. just 1,000 cases will be available world wide, which is considerably more than the Longrow, but expect it to sell out in no time at all when it is released later this month.

Springbank 18 year old - 46%  - 70cl - limited to 1,000 cases

Nose: lots of dark brown sugar, slightly spirity mixed with a hint of wet wool, lanolin and lemon zest. Also something perfumed?  Part of me wanted to dab this behind my ears as well as drink it.

Palate: Sherried notes (the balance is 80/20 sherry casks to Bourbon) mixed with rose water, sliced apple and fudge.  Hints of malt, cereal and something slightly farm yardy, but all unmistakably Springbank. 

Finish: relatively short, with more dried orchard fruit and green shoots. 

Overall: Something really strikes me about this bottling and i'm pleased to grab one whilst it's still around.  Whether it will outstrip the Longrow for me in the long run is tricky to say but, rest assured, we'll try to bring you a side-by-side tasting at some point soon!

Stay tuned over the coming days - we'll be ringside for an epic 'Battle of the Peated Monsters' and will be bringing you news of 3 great new japanese whiskies, including the new Hibiki 12 year old blend! will it live up to the current legend in the making?