About this blog:

This blog will feature tasting notes, reviews, distillery visits and whisky news with focus mainly on Scottish single malts. This will sometimes be accompanied by politically incorrect (whisky) opinions. You have now been warned! :-)
The views expressed here are entirely my own, unless otherwise stated.

Friday, 31 October 2014


Here's a bit of an unusual story, well unusual in whisky circles at least... but never the less a good one :-)
You ever hear of Crowd Funding? ...and the way its been applied here has made a dream come true for the founder of SIA Scotch, Carin Luna Ostaseski.

After a steep self learning curve, reading, attending events and eventually doing tastings herself, Carin found a certain taste profile that she feels hits peoples palates... and the result is the SIA Scotch... and after teaming up with importer Spirit Imports Inc. who then connected with independent bottler Douglas Laing to create SIA, a blend was born...

Currently only available in the US (California and Illinois) Carin hopes to have SIA expand through online retailers both in the US as well as internationally as well as a product line extension in the future.

But let's have a look at what I'm about to taste...

We're dealing with a blend, as in a blend of Scottish malt and grain whisky.... and here's the breakdown:

The malt content is as follows (undisclosed distilleries):
Speyside 50%, Highlands 40% and finally Islay 10%

The malt/grain ratio is 40/60 and all contents are aged between 5-9yo

Carin with the SIA - picture courtesy of siascotch.com

SIA Scotch Blended, 43% by Carin Luna-Ostaseski

Colour is straw

What strikes me first here is the freshness... then Citrus, mainly peeled tangerines, fresh laundry, (powdered) ginger, vanilla, noticeable small grains adds again to the freshness. A hint of smokiness in there as well as fresh toast, cardboard/wet newspaper and black pepper.

The arrival certainly benefits from being 43% rather than 40%. The tangerines are present again along with a slight metallic note. Also quite some vanilla and spicy notes, apple, honey, toasted oak, pine nuts and ruccola (salad). Meanwhile a slight smoke edge builds up in the back of your mouth giving it some added weight.

This is an easy drinker that can be enjoyed both neat, with ice or in a cocktail... and I'm betting that's what Carin was aiming for with this release. I'd suspect some new-to-whisky drinkers might find its smoky edge just bit too much, but its got the right ratio in a blend for me and this will certainly pass the 'session whisky' test. I'm betting this is one you can sip with ice all evening without feeling you've had enough. More here

Official sample and pictures provided by SIA Scotch


Monday, 27 October 2014


The Malt Desk has been silent for a little over 2 weeks now. Its been mainly because of my holiday to Scotland and some of you may have enjoyed the pictures I put up on The Malt Desk Facebook page. So if you're on Facebook, please go like the page to keep up with whats happening here :-)

The good news is that I'm back with a bag full of shopping (whisky, of course!) and new travels under my belt... that and some nice evenings out in Glasgow, Craigellachie and Edinburgh with some people from both the Danish, American and Scottish whisky community.

Thanks, guys! (you know who you are). It was great to meet you all!

I also brought back a cold that decided to set in this past Friday evening - the day after hosting a fantastic sherry whisky tasting in the whisky club. (phew... good timing, huh?). Let's just hope it clears up for the upcoming weekends tasting of some of the bottling from the latest Scotch Malt Whisky Society Denmark outturn... :-O

Today was the day that the day job was calling again, so this seemed like a nice time to start adding stuff to the blog again, but since the olfactory system pretty much out of commission at the moment, its going to be a note from my little black book...

Scapa Distillery and Warehouses from the road, August 5th 2009 © The Malt Desk

Scapa 1993/2013 20yo 58,6% Batch SC20 007, Chivas Cask Strength Edition-series, Distillery bottling

Colour is full straw

Vanilla, salty, hint of strawberry, white chocolate, apple, slight Danish marzipan note in there as well along with a dash of oak and lemon.

Very salty, then a rush of sweetness... vanilla again, barley sugar, confectionery, malt, hint of bitter oak, fruit salad - peach and apple mainly and orange marmalade.

Delicious dram! and thanks to Kalle for the sample!


Saturday, 11 October 2014


Once upon a time there was a bottling of Glenfarclas that wanted to be an American Bourbon...
That could certainly be the case with this particular bottling released by The Scotch Malt Whisky Society.

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) has since it started, been one of the few independent bottlers regularly releasing casks of Glenfarclas, many of them ex-bourbon casks, which is not a part of the Glenfarclas Distillery normal sherry profile. This, however, could easily be mistaken for just that, at least judging by the colour of it the whisky. 

Glenfarclas is one of those whiskies that is held very much in high esteem with both whisky professionals and drinkers and IMO one of those Speyside whiskies that can stand the test of time (read: long term maturation), along with Glen Grant but just looking at it, I wonder if this one will fall through... ?

Glenfarclas Distillery, May 2nd 2014 © The Malt Desk

Glenfarclas 1965 1.183 (07.07.1965) 48yo ' A vibrant Enigma' 48%, Refill ex-bourbon hogshead, 127 bottles, The Scotch Malt Whisky Society

Colour is deep golden mahogany

Like a US bourbon with a slight malty edge? sun dried tomatoes, dominant oak, spice and herbs - lots of it, pepper, cumin, myrica, hints of oregano and a floral note. Mint, herb liqueurs, handful of warm raisins.
This could be anything after a while... Cognac, Bourbon, Rum, Malt Whisky - take your pick

Certainly a great nose!

Dry as the Kalahari :-O not any distillery no. 1.xxx left in this one... this one, as I suspected, tastes a bit more like an American bourbon than a malt. Syrup, molasses, dark rums, cinnamon, bit of mint, cloves, bit of marzipan and orange peel and white inner skin, fresh pine and wood sap, burnt caramel and bitter oak.

Sadly, I suspected this - finally a Glenfarclas over the edge, having spent just too much time in the cask - at least to my taste. It's not a bad whisk(e)y... it just spent a little too much time in the cask.  I'm thinking that if you like Bourbon you'll like this one too - its certainly closer to that in style than a 'Farclas.

Thanks to TK for the generous sample!


Retasted on 6. november 2014... Now 82/100!

Monday, 6 October 2014


Ben Nevis Distillery is one of the last working West Coast (mainland) distilleries left in Scotland.
Located on the outskirts of Fort William below the highest mountain in the UK (1344m) with the same name.

The distillery is carries it own distinct style, which this blogger never has been taken by... Ben Nevis has released some bottling from the early 70's that has received much acclaim in parts of the whisky community, I've tried a couple but even those haven't really been favourites of mine.

It was then with much anticipation I had a dram of this at a private function last month as I already had my Ben Nevis alarm going off when I saw the tasting lineup for the function and I pretty much decided that at some point there has to come along a Ben Nevis that will cater to my taste.

The whisky I'll be reviewing this time is an attempt from Ben Nevis to try and recreate the style of whisky from back when the distillery was started in the late 1800s. Carrying the name of the Distillery's founder, John McDonald, this bottling has gotten good reviews in several places already, let's see how it fares landing on this bloggers palate....

Ben Nevis Distiller, October 15th 2009 © The Malt Desk
McDonald's Traditional Ben Nevis 46%, Distillery bottling

Colour is light amber

Straight out of a newly opened bottle there's.... cheese!! and I'm not much of a cheese eater, especially not the strong stuff this one reeks of. I'd pretty much decided to fail this whisky right here and then but decided to try and give it 10min in the glass before returning to it. 10mins later the cheese is gone (thank you!) and instead there's peat, ozone, sherry as in dried fruit, oranges, slight burnt toffee and, in general, quite a heavy feel to the nose.

Spicy, wood chips, nutty, peat on the mid palate and finish and with a brackish feel to the whole thing. Mid palate you get a citrus fruit coating to live things up only for it to quickly return to some metallic notes along with the peat, fruit muesli mix with dried fruits and oak bitterness.

Allright... except for the cheese hit straight out of the bottle, this is actually a pretty nice dram, although this is maybe not a style I'd actively seek out - a bit like some (most) Glen Scotias.

Finally, thanks to JH for putting this on the table at his whisky get-together