New Beginnings

I hope everyone had happy new year celebrations. The whisky world doesn’t stop much (okay – two weeks off over the festive period) but more new things have been happening in these first few weeks of 2016.

Already this month there have been some new releases. The first sample to hit my desk is from Glenmorangie. This is Milsean (pronounced Meel-shawn) at 46% abv, the seventh in the Private Collection series. An enticing rich gold colour with coppery glints, the tears on the glass are widely spaced, swift at first then fat, sticky and clingy. I nosed it initially on opening the small bottle and was tempted by a waft of coconut and toffee. On trying it properly from the glass there is the addition of tropical fruit juice, more toffee and sweet spices, a touch of sultana and vanilla. With water it is creamier, with a waft more of oak, tinned peach syrup and sponge cake. On the palate it is lightly unctuous at first and is sweet, spicy, fruity (candied peaches anyone?), citrus peel and quite rich with some mild oakiness and herbs. The finish is quite long with wood, herbs and sweet notes – and drying but with a lingering sweetness at the edge.


This whisky received some further maturation in heavily toasted Portuguese red wine casks after its main maturation in ex-bourbon casks. It’s for sale through specialist stores at about £75.99. A great dram. I bought a bottle of the Glenmorangie Midwinter Night’s Dram before Christmas from their online shop. One for me and one for my wee brother, who usually has good taste in whisky though he doesn’t like the very peaty ones. Was a bit vexed to see it also on offer in Sainsbury’s before Christmas for rather less than I paid for it online!

Other recent new releases are Octomore 7.4 from Bruichladdich – that’s the peaty one. A sample is awaited. There’s also The Glendronach Grandeur 25 from Benriach Distillers. This is batch seven in the series and is a very special 25 Year Old at 50.6% abv, matured in oloroso sherry casks. As there are only 1180 bottles of it I’m not expecting to see a sample but will doubtless be in raptures if I do.

Longmorn, The Distiller’s Choice, a no age statement Longmorn to replace the 16 Year Old is also recently released by Chivas but no tasting sample as yet. I’m hopeful so more on that in February!

Meantime, Wemyss Malts have brought out a whole new range of their single cask expressions representative of Scotland’s whisky regions and the new names are:

“Sizzling Charcoal” 1997 single cask from Bunnahabhain Distillery, Islay,

“Coastal Confection” 1996 single cask from Bowmore Distillery, Islay, Cask Strength

“The Highland Mariner 1997 single cask from Clynelish Distillery, Highlands

“Fallen Apples” 1989 singe cask from Glen Garioch Distillery, Highlands

“Barrista’s Dram” 2002 single cask from Craigellachie Distillery, Speyside

“Toasted Anise” 1996 single cask from Glenrothes Distillery, Speyside.

This column is already long enough so maybe more on those next time. I know one sample will be with me soon.

I think my best laugh of the new year so far was on hearing recently about the new edition of Effen Vodka. I don’t follow vodkas so much so this brand had missed me till late last year. As a Scot, it doesn’t seem like the best choice of name… Matt McGinn and The Big Effen Bee anyone?

As of 26th January, the Scotch Whisky Association has opened its new offices in Edinburgh’s Quartermile district after over forty years in the Georgian grandeur of Atholl Crescent. I’m sure the new offices will reflect the prestige of Scotch Whisky and how contemporary and even more relevant it is in the drinks world than when the association was founded some 100 years ago. I wish them enjoyment of their new space and many more years protecting Scotch round the globe. I think we will still need them for some time to come.

On Thursday 4th February, whisky legend, James McEwan, will be hosting a Bruichladdich tasting at Sloan’s in Glasgow in aid of the Fraser Shaw Trust which raises funds for multiple sclerosis charities. There’s also live music so it should be a great night with a chance also to hear James tell stories. There’s more info on the Bruichladdich website at .

Lastly, the first full spirit run at the new Waterford Distillery in Ireland should have run through this month. I hope to be talking to CEO Mark Reynier soon to find out more.

Will see you gain in February, well after Valentine’s Day and preferably with some more notes on new whiskies.


Caroline Dewar


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