Many Things

I’m delighted to hear, this week, that Scapa Distillery is opening a visitor centre up there on Orkney. It means Highland Park no longer has things all to itself. No disrespect there – Highland Park does a great tour and it’s one of my favourite whiskies but Scapa is one of the brands I used to work on as a marketeer and it’s good to see it developing in this way. Also good in that it may encourage even more tourism to Orkney and give the whisky enthusiasts more to see. A number of people have asked me over the years if they could visit Scapa and I always had to disappoint them. Not now. It’s a long way up to get there but worth the effort so I’d urge you to go. Also lovely to be able to try both whiskies on the island of their birth – quite different one from t’other.

Laphroaig 15 Year Old (3)the-glenlivet-founders-reserve-with-carton (3)BenRiach10YearsOld

Also great news is that another of my former brands, Laphroaig, has put out a limited release of its 15 Year Old to commemorate the distillery’s 200th anniversary. This expression hasn’t been available for years. I always liked it for sampling with Islay whisky newbies as it can be a gentler introduction to Laphroaig than 10 Year Old, which is too big in flavour and character for many beginners. 15 Year Old is mellower, richer and still “large” but with the corners lightly sanded down. A brilliant dram and useful for vertical tastings of Laphroaig. I’m certainly planning to buy some. It’s a round £70 – £75 a bottle but I can’t pass this up.


In recent times, The Glenlivet has brought out The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve in the UK. It first saw light of day in October in other markets and is “the ultimate tribute to founder George Smith’s original vision to craft the most definitive, smooth single malt Scotch whisky.” They’ve certainly achived that smoothness and  balance here.  On the nose I got white chocolate and maybe a hint of rosewater, pear juice, a little vanilla and some toffee/caramel and soft candy – a bit like Dolly Mixtures. On the palate it’s slightly unctuous and creamy – more so than 12 Year Old; it’s really smooth and rounded with a touch of oak and peppermint. There’s the slightest hint of smoke and toast with some citrus zest. The finish is medium – long with toasted barley and a lovely spritzy sensation.


Also new is BenRiach 10 Year Old from, funnily enough, BenRiach Distillers. It’s the first 10 year old distilled largely under the current ownership and it was their first distillery purchase. Now, of course, they have The GlenDronach and Glenglassaugh too. Anyway, they’re pretty proud of this achievement.  On the nose this one has a slightly rubbery note initially but that fades, warm woolly socks just out of the dryer and malty, toasted grain. There’s Granny Smith apples (sharp green apple), some tropical fruit juice and stewed fruit, a dab of citrus and a touch of smoke and gingery spice. It’s quite a creamy nose with a tiny hint of toffee and some honey. On the palate it’s slightly mouth–coating and toasty with some smoke, heather, a touch of oak and grain sweetness, a hint of anis in the background and some citrus zest bitterness. This one has a medium – long finish, quite dry and astringent with some wood tannins, toastiness and residual sweetness.


I think that’s enough for this month – see you in May with, hopefully, some other new offerings.



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