Substantial bourbon character comes through with the ageing in American oak while the colour is drawn from hand-selected sherry casks. The sweeter citrus aromas swirl and dissipate as dried fruit and oakiness fills the mouth. Remnants of vanilla appear though the oak persists, carrying on through the finish. A label that prides itself of embracing the slowest distillation process in Scotland - be sure to return the favour and take your time to admire its finer points.
The surprise should not be that this Bangalore-based distillery is producing whisky, but that it is crafting whisky that with a confidence and class that is going to inspire a following far beyond its borders. This flagship cask strength single malt shows off generous character with layers of fruit, caramel and biscuit, and is tinged with a suggestion of peppermint. Malt and toffee generate some wondrous bass notes as spice, sweet and distinctive winey elements carry through the finish.
What to expect from a single malt that hails from India? Substantial character, for one, starting with the full force of peaty flavours to rouse the palate. Layers of flavour follow on, highlighting smoke, seaweed and tobacco that together tug at the senses. Underneath resides an elusive note of banana, a familiar facet of the Amrut line, leading to a sustained finish that balances deeper shades of chocolate and a gentle bite of bitterness.
A limited edition, oak-aged single malt that proposes a richer shade of flavour for Amrut. You may encounter a passing glance of the distiller's idiosyncratic banana taste up front, but this prepares the taste buds for a combination of sweeter and sour aspects. Lashings of prune, nut, raisin and plum speak to a stickier, grippy texture, though a sour top note adds some welcome balance. There's subtlety here as evidenced by the sherry and oak finish, which takes its time to fade. We suspect each successive sip will reveal greater depth and appreciation.
An expression that perfectly illustrates the assuredness that guides this distillery that has long been cherished in India. This single cask label has been released exclusively in Europe but the Whisky Shop has secured some stock to share. Aged in casks that previously aged sweet PX sherry, there is a rich raisin and chocolate sweetness shares the stage with traces of cinnamon, clove and citrus. The finish: sweet, salty and spicy. Granted, over a billion people in India may recognize the name Amrut, but this is a name that North Americans are only beginning to recognize. Be among the first of the next billion.
An enticing introduction to the Amrut line-up of whiskies, this bourbon cask-aged release draws inspiration from America's favourite spirit and infuses it with flavours of the subcontinent. Prominent layers of toffee, chocolate and vanilla at first blush divulge that bourbon influence but then a wave of fresh coconut introduces an uncommon note to the mix. Vanilla remains front-and-centre while a supporting cast of chocolate and spicy pepper adds character. The finish suggests wood with a hint of nuttiness and coffee on a long fade. Worth the trip to India, but thankfully easier to access here... while it lasts.
Whisky admirers have long declared their preferred spirit possesses those qualities of an elixir, but now the Isle of Jura officially lays claim to the name. Ageing in American white oak and European sherry casks combine to imbue this whisky with a definitively fruity profile. Marked notes of pineapple and plum succumb to a more pronounced sherried and dried fruit character. A warming finish of citrus and gingery spice is enveloped in richer, toffee tones. It may not give life, per se, but it has the capacity to reaffirm it.
Scottish Gaelic for 'pier', Laimrig celebrates Bowmore's ancient stone pier where the distillery's barley would once have been unloaded and our celebrated Single Malt first set sail for the four corners of the world. Finished in the finest Spanish sherry butts, our cask strength, non-chill filtered Bowmore Laimrig has a rich, dark character and colour.
The fourth release of the 10 year-old marks another opportunity for enthusiasts to extend their appreciation of a classic Islay distillery. Aged in first-fill bourbon casks in Bowmore's No. 1 Vaults, this rendition reads as a slightly more cultivated release compared to its predecessors, though there remains a quiet intensity to the flavours. A waft of citrus, sweeter oak and anise precedes toastier spices, smoke and nutmeg that build on the palate, leading to accents of pepper and vanilla, all enveloped in a long fade of smoke and sea air. With a name that suggests such fury, the enduring impression is one of finesse.
A cask strength, non-chill filtered marvel that is finished in Spanish sherry butts. 'Laimrig' refers to the distillery's ancient stone pier from where the finished product would venture off into the world. Much like its kindred Islay spirits, that sense of wild abandon and the salty tang of the surrounding sea is captured in every bottle. Light malt, toffee and smoky aromas prepare the palate for a hotter, edgier zing off the top. As the flavours evolve, nuances of dried fruit, modest peat and sherry ease in, though that spray of brine hangs on. Try it with a drop of water to open it up.
Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage Bourbon is a five-time Whiskey of the Year award winner. Each year our Master Distillers Parker and Craig Beam select barrels that meet their exacting standards. It's a bourbon that is vintage dated, meaning each bottle is marked with the vintage date it was put into oak and the year it was bottled.
As confirmed by yet another stellar release from Nikka, Japan is well beyond the stage of serving notice that it has arrived. Correction - it is to be emulated. And, naturally, enjoyed. Named for the company's founder, Taketsuru unleashes a malt that balances an enviable depth and finesse. Toasted layers sweetened with honey and malt impart such a substantial presence. Robust is an understatement. Generous through the finish with a touch of marmalade alighting. Truly, a must for those looking to be enthralled by a new experience.
From the true north strong and free comes an absolutely superb single grain (corn) small batch whisky that deserves slow sipping admiration. Handsomely packaged, this premium release is a beautifully composed combination of classic flavours, with soothing shades of honey, butterscotch and vanilla building towards an assertive oak-spice finish. Take this opportunity to relish a rare pleasure.
A point of departure for the whisky curious, Sheep Dip is an engaging blend of 16 malt whiskies drawn from the four main distilling regions of Scotland, and aged between 8 to 21 years. Deemed a 'vatted malt', there is no grain element, though the flavours speak more to a Highland and Speyside style. The result is a highly refined, fruity blend that arouses soft flavours of melon, pear and citrus with a note of almond underneath holding on the finish.
How to make an impression that will be savoured over time? Take a note from famed distiller George Smith who not only established The Glenlivet, but forged a reputation that defined Speyside's signature character. This 21 year-old draws on whiskies produced in only the finest of The Glenlivet's casks, the result being a rich, intensely satisfying spirit. Dried fruit aromas open up to accents of cinnamon and ginger on the palate, as nuttier tones of hazelnut ease in over a lingering, wonderfully warming finish.
Crown Royal celebrates another coronation, this for the newest blend from one of Canada's most beloved whisky producers. Royal Cask 16 combines 50 different aged whiskies and casks them in cognac oak barrels to produce a rich, silky smooth blend. The opening introduces sweeter elements of caramel, vanilla and chocolate that fill the mouth. As the flavours progress, accents of toffee and dried fruit lend even greater depth and linger on a sustained fade. A crowning achievement, to be sure, but devotees would expect nothing less.
A lighter touch for those who seek an easygoing option, Asyla explores a softer, more delicate side of whisky. Drawing its subtle flavours from first fill American oak casks, this 'aperitif whisky' reveals layers of vanilla, malt and grain, rounding out smooth, silky and gently sweet. Composed of soft grain whiskies and an unusually high 50% malt whisky, Compass Box produces only 350 cases of this acclaimed whisky every year. Don't let the opportunity slip by to indulge in what distillery founder John Glaser claims is his personal 'desert island' whisky.
Not an homage to a long forgotten golf club but rather a single malt whose name honours the process of maturing the spirit in three different types of casks. From American bourbon to Spanish Oloroso sherry and, lastly, Pedro Ximenez sherry casks, this single malt lures rich toffee, hazelnut and oak flavours from the aging. Triple distilling produces an abidingly smooth expression while the finish gently fades as touches of fruit and oak linger.
From a distillery that reveres the age-old methods of handcrafting small batch bourbons, Knob Creek creates a sensational, award-winning rye. Comprised of a blend of premium rye, the unmistakable spice of this whiskey is balanced by an unparalleled smooth. Layers of vanilla, oak and herbs intermingle, revealing the steady hand of a seasoned talent at work. Master distillers Booker Noe and his son Fred stand by their principles of creating forthright spirits that make a great impression wherever they are poured.
For those who subscribe to the notion that a single malt can never be too assertive, prepare to be wowed. Ardberg 10 Year Old is an unabashed powerhouse, fashioning itself as the peatiest and smokiest of the single malts. We've come to expect such bold expressions from Islay, but this release matches that intense depth of flavour with a surprising poise, too. It accents the natural sweetness of the peat, lending a greater complexity to the spirit rather than a tidal wave of smoke. Persistent notes of citrus, chocolate and toasted almond dazzle. Clearly a single malt to be cherished.
Don't make assumptions about what Irish whiskey is meant to be before sampling the subtle sweet and smoky surprise that this single malt has in store. Double distilled in small pot stills and then patiently aged in ex-bourbon oak casks imparts a brillaint depth and undeniably smooth character. First impressions are of honey before richer malt and fruit tones nudge in. In short order a surge of peatiness fills the mouth, intensifying over a sustained finish that strikes the senses in a most appealing way.
A slight variation for Aberlour as this natural cask-strength whisky is aged exclusively in Oloroso ex-sherry butts rather than the distillery's more familiar double-casking. As the Gaelic name translates, 'of the origin', the reference is to serving at the original cask strength rather than undergoing the more modern method of chill filtering. The result is a firm, full-bodied spirit with accents of spiced orange, dried fruit and ginger, with sustained notes of dark chocolate and oak. Serve with a drop of water to appreciate the fuller flavours this whisky proposes.
For a distillery that once turned the world of whisky on its head with a string of outstanding releases, enthusiasts now recognize that Nikka is a name synonymous with consistently delivering excellence. For some, the Yoichi represents the most definitive expression of Nikka's flair. This is a generous single malt as flavours of citrus, sweet toffee, baked fruit and smoke steadily emerge on the palate, revealing a robust core and a wonderfully refined finish.
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