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.

Monday, 7 March 2016

HIGHLAND PARK ICE 17YO - DISTILLERY BOTTLING

Another anticipated release for this spring, is the Highland Park 'Ice'...

It's the first Highland Park Limited Edition after their 'Valhalla'-series and with this one, they remain with the Norse Mythology, this time going back to the legend of the creation of the realms, starting with 'Ice' and ending with 'Fire' in late summer/early autumn of 2016. Official sources confirm that there will not be 9 bottlings even though there are 9 realms in the Norse Mythology - Just to clear that up right away :-)

What else, you ask? well, the 'Ice' is made up of 100% ex-bourbon casks. There is, however, a small twist to these casks... they all had toasted oak cask ends, adding just a bit more to the whisky. It's also 'limited' to 30.000 bottles, 'limited' here meaning its a one-off bottling, there will not be another batch. Its RRP is £190, which is about 5% more than the last bottling in the 'Valhalla'-series, but it may, of course, vary depending on your location.

Preliminary rumors say this will taste much like the 'Freya' from the 'Valhalla'-series, so let's see if that's true...

Official picture by Highland Park

Highland Park 'Ice' 17yo 53,9%, ex-bourbon casks, 30.000 bottles, Distillery bottling

Colour is pale straw

Nose:
Very closed right after its poured - this needs a little TLC. After 10 mins with my hand around my Glencairn, this is a whole other creature. The nose is very deep and warming with vanilla, papaya, pineapple, orange blossoms, fresh ginger, sugary wort, hints of mint, buttered toast and a dash of smoke. Very nice :-)

Taste:
The arrival is thick and creamy and right away it gives off a little alcohol bite. This is replaced with lashing of honey, vanilla, spicy malt, overripe lemon, hints of cinnamon, gingerbread, orange liqueur and and some mellow peat. The finish shows a little licorice and spicy/peppery and vanilla'ed malt.

Not as light in style as expected, this one...

It carries that warm and thick feeling through both on the nose and palate and I don't really think it lives up to its name in that respect, but I do see where the official statement about this one being similar to the 'Freya' comes from. They are similar, yes, but I think if Highland Park had called 'Freya' for Ice and vice versa, the names and styles, would have fitted more properly.

Other than that, its there's not much to comment on other than its good straight forward whisky...

86/100!

Sample provided by Edrington Denmark

Friday, 4 March 2016

WOLFBURN 3YO (2016) - DISTILLERY BOTTLING

A very anticipated released in March 2016 is the first whisky from Wolfburn Distillery in Thurso, on the very edge of Caithness in northern Scotland.

Those of who you doesn't know Wolfburn, the distillery is rebuilt very close to where the original Wolfburn Distillery was built in 1821. The original distillery only operated for about 40 years before fell silent and into ruin.

The planning for the new Wolfburn Distillery started in 2011 and already in January 2013 the first spirit flowed off the stills at the new Wolfburn Distillery and for the past few weeks the guys at Wolfburn have been bottling their first release - a 3yo from ex-bourbon casks.

Read more about the story and resurrection of Wolfburn on their official website here: http://www.wolfburn.com/

You're probably very interested in what this tastes like, so let's get down to business...

Wolfburn Wall of Casks - Picture from Wolfburn Media Kit

Wolfburn 3yo 46% ex-bourbon barrels & quarter casks (2016) - Distillery bottling

Colour is pale white wine

Nose:
Picture by Wolfburn DK
A sweet and very mellow nose with vanilla and some apple, lemon, ginger shortbread, green banana and warm laundry out of the dryer. Yes, its young whisky, but served blind I would have guessed around 6-7 years as it has no real rough edges - you really have to take you time to find just vague hints of real youth in this, very impressive in fact!

Taste:
Just a slight bit more youth on the palate than on the nose, but still far from anything invasive. Lots of grassy and lemony notes. If left for a short while it gets slightly more fruity with nectarines coming through, along with ginger and a bit of vanilla again. Eventually some green grapes and an acidic and peppery and drying punch comes along with some cooling cucumber notes towards the very finish - a finish which is surprisingly long for such a young whisky!

OK, this is perhaps not a super complex of whisky, but people, it's just 3 years old and what they've managed at Wolfburn in such a short time is really commendable and its probably some of the best 3yo whisky I've tried.

Gonna love watching this one grow up... it definitely has potential!

83/100!

Wolfburn is available from March 18th 2016 in the UK and around Easter elsewhere, though it may vary from country to country.

Sample provided by the Danish Wolfburn Distributor