Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Worth the EXTRA Wait!

So why the wait? Mostly to test the a 'long-term-content' blogs resilience. Would people care if regular posts were absent but the overall content was legend? It turns out 'The Whiskey Notebook' blog is supremely resilient.

It was coincidentally opportune to be silent as the whisky world was doing an about turn on aged stated whiskies. I refer to N.A.S. (non-age-stated) whisky. Today matters are settled and most leading whisky producers include N.A.S. whiskies in their range. One company is even promoting 'Flavour is King' without stating 'king over what?'. They actually mean 'king over aged whiskies' but the claim is wrong.
I have embraced NAS whiskies after extensive tastings across the latest offerings from various whisky suppliers. Some were awful and others awesome.

This brings me to this newest post and to a new passion - a N.A.S. whisky from Chivas Brothers - Chivas Regal Extra blended Scotch whisky which won Gold at the recent 2015 San Francisco World Spirits Challenge in the category 'Best Blended Scotch up to 15 years old'.

 Photograph property of Mark Backhouse

"An incredibly rich and discerning interpretation of the Chivas Signature style".
Colin Scott
Chivas Regal Master Blender

There is nothing I do not like about this new expression in the Chivas Regal range. I prefer the uncomplicated studier gift box. The word 'Extra' fully encapsulates the rich, generous and discerning taste of the new blend assembled by the world renowned Chivas Regal master blender. The packaging is a mixture of deep burgundy-red and gold elements representing the REGAL and Classic character of the whisky. I am an immediate fan of Chivas Regal Extra. Chivas Regal further reinforces its credentials as the world's leading premium blended Scotch whisky with this fantastic addition in the range.

Colour: Dark in shade with a warm amber glow. Nose: Fruity sweet with notes of ripe pears and melon, creamy toffee, milk chocolate, cinnamon and a hint of fresh ginger. Taste: Sweet ripe pears in syrup, vanilla caramel, cinnamon sweets and almonds in the background. Finish: Beautifully rounded mouth feel, leading to a long, luxuriant sweet finish.

Friday, 25 April 2014

The Original Whiskey

The re-introduction of the original pure pot still Irish whiskey style takes us on a true journey of discovery into the original whiskey's of the world. A time when only spirit from copper pot stills were allowed to be aged into a whisky. A time before blended whiskey's. A time before quantity jeopardised quality. These extremely smooth Irish Pure Pot Still whiskies are rich in character and abundant in charm.

I am extremely excited about Irish Pure Pot Still whiskey's revival. The complete range of expressions of these Pure Pot Still whiskeys may be viewed on the Single Pot Still website: http://www.singlepotstill.com/
I recently introduced Redbreast Pure Pot Still whiskey to whisky friends and their consensus is a match: "You really haven't experienced whiskey before you taste the Original Whiskey." Redbreast is a perfect place to start and it is now available in all reputable establishments.

Ballantine's releases 17 year old Signiture Distillery Glentauchers Edition


Ballantine’s, the world’s No. 2 Scotch whisky, has today announced the release of Ballantine’s 17 Year Old Signature Distillery Glentauchers Edition. This special blend completes a set of four limited editions, each of which has been created to demonstrate the unique structure of Ballantine’s 17 Year Old and how this is achieved.

Of all of the malt and grain whiskies used in Ballantine’s 17 Year Old, four stand out as ‘signature’ malts – Scapa, Miltonduff, Glenburgie and Glentauchers. Each of these plays a unique and crucial role in the creation of the final masterpiece that is Ballantine’s 17 Year Old.

www.ballantines.comBuilding on the successful global release of the Scapa, Miltonduff and Glenburgie Editions, Glentauchers is the last of the signature malts to be showcased in the Ballantine’s 17 Year Old Signature Distillery Editions. Located in the heart of Scotland’s celebrated Speyside whisky region, the Glentauchers Distillery is one of Scotland’s few remaining manually operated distilleries, where centuries of knowledge and traditional methods of Scotch whisky making are passed down to new generations of craftsmen.

The integrity of Glentauchers malt whisky is safeguarded by three generations of the same family, who have worked at the distillery since 1920. The whisky itself has a light citrus character, which is present after distillation as a result of the production process unique to the distillery. Its soft berry notes are the product of a fusion of influences from both distillation and maturation, while the spirit’s signature nutty character and warm, lingering finish are the result of long maturation in American oak casks. 

The premium packaging for the Glentauchers Edition takes its inspiration from the lightness of the tasting notes: a burgundy colour from the lingering taste of soft berries, and an elegant blush sheen from the sweet, citrus fruit flavours. Staying true to the style of the previous Signature Distillery Editions, the use of metallic paper stock highlights the edition’s exclusive positioning within the Ballantine’s range, while differentiating itself from the original Ballantine’s 17 Year Old with an illustration of the Glentauchers Distillery, ‘limited edition’ script and unique colour scheme.

Sandy Hyslop, Ballantine’s Master Blender, comments: “We are proud to provide whisky enthusiasts with another opportunity to experience the single malts that shape the taste profile of Ballantine’s 17 Year Old, and to showcase the high quality of the single malt produced at the Glentauchers distillery." 
"Lighter and more delicate in style, the Ballantine’s 17 Year Old Signature Distillery Glentauchers Edition highlights some of the more subtle flavours within the original blend, whilst showcasing the key contribution of the Glentauchers malt with a lingering finish of soft berries.”

Peter Moore, Global Brand Director for Ballantine’s, adds: “The release of the Ballantine’s 17 Year Old Signature Distillery Glentauchers Edition completes the picture of how Ballantine’s 17 Year Old achieves its signature style through the art of our skilled Master Blender, Sandy Hyslop. As with the other Ballantine’s 17 Year Old limited editions, the Glentauchers Edition is a highly collectible and giftable expression, and will appeal to whisky lovers looking for something unique, as well as to loyal followers of Ballantine’s.”

Tasting Notes
Nose: Bursting with sweet citrus fruit flavours (tangerine and sweet clementine) with hazelnut notes and a hint of delicate floral heather coming through in the background.
Taste: Coats the mouth with smooth, soft berry flavours of raspberry and blackcurrant, combined with a tantalising taste of barley sugar sweets.
Finish: Incredibly long and luscious.

The Glenlivet Nàdurra Expands into a Range of Cask Experiences

The Glenlivet, the original single malt whisky, is expanding its celebrated The Glenlivet Nàdurra brand into a range featuring different cask experiences as it aims to build on its strong development in the growing single malt whisky market. 
Each expression in The Glenlivet Nàdurra range is crafted in small batches using traditional production methods and is matured exclusively in a different cask-type, showcasing the versatility and flawless quality of The Glenlivet spirit. Unlike most modern whiskies, the range is bottled without chill-filtration, which offers the additional complexity, body, and texture of a whisky that has just been drawn from the cask.

The Glenlivet Nàdurra Oloroso is the first new permanent expression in the range, and is the first major The Glenlivet bottling in living memory to be matured solely in ex-sherry casks.

The first-fill, ex-Oloroso sherry casks from Jerez in Spain impart rich, distinctive dried fruits aromas, warm spices, and notes of cinnamon and liquorice. The spirit combines with the cask influence to produce a sweetness of dark chocolate and a finish which is long and sweet with a slightly dry, spicy effect from the European oak maturation. 

Notes to editors

The Glenlivet Nàdurra Oloroso tasting notes: 
Colour: Bright Gold
Nose: A medley of dried fruit aromas, raisins and apricots, with gentle notes of cinnamon and liquorice
Palate: Smooth and creamy, with the fruitiness of spicy orange marmalade and the sweetness of dark chocolate  
Finish: Long and sweet, leading to a slightly dry, spicy finish
About The Glenlivet

The Glenlivet is the No. 2 single malt Scotch whisky in the world. Crafted in the remote Livet Valley since 1824, it is the only whisky with the unchallengeable right to be called The Glenlivet.

Ballantine's launches limited edition Golf packs for 2014

Ballantine’s, the world’s No. 2 Scotch whisky, recently announced the 2014 release of its popular Limited Edition Golf Packs, available for its 17 and 21 Year Old blends.

Ballantine’s has a long-standing association with golf, dating back to 1960. The Limited Edition Golf Packs, first launched in 2012, are designed to reinforce the shared values, provenance and heritage between the renowned Scotch whisky and one of Scotland’s most revered sports.

The 2014 packaging features the silhouette of a golfer in full swing with the Ballantine’s iconic ‘B’ in the background, while the gold foil and printing of the logo directly onto the glass epitomises the superior quality of both Ballantine’s 17 Year Old and Ballantine’s 21 Year Old. The green colour of the bottle and box of Ballantine’s 17 Year Old links back to golf courses, while the cream box highlights the premium credentials of Ballantine’s 21 Year Old. 
In 2013, Ballantine’s 17 Year Old was named ‘Scotch Blend of the Year’ for the fifth consecutive time in the 2014 edition of the much revered ‘Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible’. The Scotch whisky was given 97.5 points out of 100, and was described by the whisky expert as “one of the most beautiful, complex and stunningly structured whiskies ever created” and “truly the epitome of a great Scotch.” Both the 17 and 21 Year Old were also awarded gold medals in the 2013 Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition.

The Whiskey Notebook will post availability date in South Africa as soon as this information is released.

Note from Mark Backhouse: In my book, Ballantine's is the leading premium Scotch whisky in the world. Unlike the bigger volume brand that really has two aged expression in the range, namely the 12 and 18, the Ballantine's range beyond Ballantine's Finest are all age stated starting at the 12, then 17, 21, 30, 40 and 41 year old expressions.