The Prince of Whiskies is a Smooth Beautiful Blend
By Matt Goldstein & Amy K. Haight
With more than two centuries’ of history, Chivas Regal 12 year old is an expression of a unique tradition that has continued unbroken since the Chivas Brothers first introduced the world to the rich, smooth Scotch whisky of Chivas Regal. “For more than 500 years, Scotland has been perfecting the art of producing Scotch whisky. Chivas Regal is made from pure, natural, Scottish ingredients. For more than 500 years, Scotland has distilled their original whisky – malt Scotch whisky. Malt Scotch whisky is made from only three natural ingredients – quality malted barley, natural spring water and yeast. A blended Scotch whisky must contain both malt Scotch whisky and grain Scotch whisky. The art of blending is to harmonize the characters and flavours of selected malt and grain Scotch whiskies to produce a blended Scotch whisky of the highest possible quality. This requires the master blender to possess an expert ‘nose’ and many years’ experience of Scotch whisky.
Chivas Regal 12 year is one of the Blended Scotch Whiskies where it’s clear that the master blender skillfully blended the whiskies together for an excellent scotch. The scent is complex and the whisky has a beautiful amber color. A thin Scotch whisky, the Chivas Regal 12 year blended scotch whisky has notes of caramel, toffee, chocolate, vanilla with a smooth, sweet and great flavor. We love this scotch and will drink it again and again. Greatly recommended.
New York — Glenmorangie has won the top honor in this year’s Wine Enthusiast Wine Star Awards in the Distiller of the Year category, beating out an impressive list of nominees. “We are extremely honored to be recognized by Wine Enthusiast for the great yet unseen lengths that we go to in crafting our whisky,” said Brian Cox, Vice President of Glenmorangie. According to Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Glenmorangie’s nomination resulted from its impressive innovation “ranging from polished classics and elegant cask-finished whiskies to its 2011 release of the luxurious Glenmorangie Pride 1981 bottling.”
Glenmorangie pioneered the now widely used techniques of extra maturation, best illustrated in its 12 years old Extra Matured Range: Lasanta (Sherry Finish), Quinta Ruban (Port Finish) and Nectar d’Or (Sauternes Finish). After spending 10 years in American white oak bourbon casks, each expression is extra-matured in superior quality wine casks for two more years. The original smoothness of Glenmorangie is enhanced by the rich layers of flavors and wine characteristics that each cask brings.
Glenmorangie Pride 1981 is the culmination of 28 years of passion, patience and artistry. Pride 1981 is the longest extra maturation Glenmorangie has ever offered. The whisky is matured in the finest oak casks for 18 years before being aged exclusively in Chateau d’Yquem Sauternes casks for another ten years. Presented in a Baccarat crystal decanter, it is an extremely rare, limited edition of only 1,000 bottles worldwide.
The distinguished Wine Enthusiast Wine Star Award comes in addition to more than eighteen ‘Gold Best in Class’ medals from the International Wine and Spirit Competition that the Company has received over the past five years, cementing its reputation for creating an ‘Unnecessarily Well Made’ portfolio of single malt Scotch whiskies.
Glenmorangie will be showcased with other winners in the December 15th issue of Wine Enthusiast Magazine and will be honored at the Wine Star Awards black-tie gala dinner in New York City on January 30, 2012.
The Glenmorangie distillery was founded in 1843 in the Highlands of Scotland and is renowned as a pioneer in its field for uniting tradition with innovation. Glenmorangie is distilled in the tallest malt whisky stills, expertly matured in the finest oak casks, and perfected by the 16 Men of Tain. It has been Scotland’s favorite single malt for over 50 years and is famous worldwide for producing the most complex and perfectly balanced Single Malts in the world.
About The Glenmorangie Company
The Company is one of the most renowned and innovative distillers of Scotch whisky brands worldwide and is part of Moet Hennessy, the wine and spirits division of Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH). Headquartered in Edinburgh, Scotland, the company produces two main single malt brands – Glenmorangie Single Highland Malt Scotch Whisky and Ardbeg Single Islay Malt Whisky.
About Wine Enthusiast
Wine Enthusiast Companies is the world’s number one source for wine accessories, storage, information, education, events and travel, and is a driving force in the marketplace. As part of the Wine Enthusiast family, Wine Enthusiast Magazine hosts events for consumers and the trade, such as the Toast of the Town walk-around food and wine event (New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington D.C. and Atlanta) and The Annual Wine Star Awards dinner, during which awards are given to recipients in ten major industry categories.
The Glenmorangie Company advocates responsible drinking and suggests that drinkers savor Glenmorangie whiskies in moderation and in line with recommended daily guidelines for alcohol consumption.
The Balvenie Road Show: Traveling with the Best Range in Scotch
By Tim Rodgers & Matt Goldstein
When called to give the readers of Whiskey Goldmine the vital information that they seek, I answer that calling. Putting family, children, and obligations aside, I make the necessary sacrifice to go to The Palm Restaurant on Broad Street to attend The Balvenie Single Malt range private tasting. After fueling up with the Filet Mignon, Prawns, and Crab washed down with a Hendricks Gin Martini and a Stoli Martini (slightly dirty and light on the vermouth of course) we were ready to taste some Scotch. Was it too much to ask for WhiskeyGoldmine CEO Matt Goldstein to put on a tie for the occasion? Yes it was. Yes it was. After a nice meet and greet, cocktail hour, and some food, it was time to get down to business.
The Balvenie Doublewood Aged 12 years
This is the perfect Scotch for the novice scotch drinker or for those that haven’t quite found an appreciation for scotch. It has a nice vanilla aroma with a subtle sweetness in the finish. If you like whiskey but haven’t made that leap to scotch, this might be your brand. Furthermore, as far as complexity and value for your dollar, there might be a scotch that gives you the bang for your buck on the market today.
The Balvenie DoubleWood is a 12 year old single malt which gains its distinctive character from being matured in two woods. Over the period of maturation, the whisky is transferred from a traditional oak cask to a first fill European oak sherry cask. Each stage lends different qualities to the resulting single malt. The traditional casks soften and add character, while the sherry wood brings depth and fullness of flavor.
The Balvenie Single Barrel, Aged 15 Years
The Balvenie Single Barrel is a 15 year old single malt which is drawn from a single traditional oak whiskey cask of a single distillation. Each cask is subtly different, as The Balvenie Malt Master selects only those casks which have the essential characteristics of The Balvenie Single Barrel. particularly honey, vanilla and oaky notes. Each bottling forms a limited edition of no more than 350 hand-numbered bottles – so each bottle is unique and unrepeatable.
There was definitely a nice delicate balance of sweet notes that complimented the oak notes. Spot on. The Balvenie 15 year Single Malt Scotch won the first ever double blind taste in the history of Whiskey Goldmine. Balvenie beat out Oban 14, Laphroiag 18, Macallan 10, Highland Park 12, The Glenlivet 12, and the Glenmorangie Lasanta 12. The Balvenie 15 year is simply one of the best single malts on the market today.
The Balvenie PortWood, Aged 21 Years
You can really taste the complexity in the Portwood. The aging process really adds layers upon layers of interesting notes in this Balvenie. To create The Balvenie PortWood Aged 21 Years, a marriage of rare Balvenie is transferred to port casks, which have held fine port wines. The Balvenie Malt Master samples this whisky regularly to ensure that just the right amount of character is created by the port casks. Again, here is another excellent and unique Single Malt by Balvenie. In the picture on the left is Matt Goldstein, CEO and publisher of Whiskey Goldmine, sitting in the Balvenie Roadshow Morgan car just minutes before he tore it up Broad St in downtown Philly and smashed it into 4 parked cars and a couple of pedestrians. Oops! We would like to apologize to Balvenie for destroying their beautiful car and for the ensuing law suit. Thanks for the scotch though…
The Balvenie Thirty, Aged 30 Years
The Balvenie Thirty is a rare and especially fine single malt for which David Stewart selects only exceptional casks that were laid down over thirty years ago. By marrying The Balvenie slowly aged in traditional oak whiskey casks with that aged in European oak sherry casks, David creates a rich, mellow Scotch whisky with unusual depth and complexity. ‘Thirty’ is bottled at 47.3% abv to capture all the signature characteristics of The Balvenie. We had the unique pleasure of sampling this little nugget for free. (with free refills) *wink. Flat out one of the best single malts we’ve ever had. There is no doubt that the extended aging process ads a priceless complexity and depth. The Balvenie 30 year is a masterpiece in single malt scotch.
The Balvenie RumWood, Aged 14 Years
A limited edition bottling in 2006, The Balvenie RumWood spent its final 18 months of maturation in 14 casks which had previous held rum from Guyana and Venezuela. The Balvenie RumWood was non chill filtered and was bottled at a strength of 47.1% abv.
They actually use wood from the United States and import the rum from the Carribean, while all of the actual aging is done in Scotland. What do they do with the rum after they age the barrells you ask? …they sell it back into the market. (Where can I get some of that?) Hey Balvenie, when is the rum tasting? You have my email so just let a brother know.
The Balvenie Islay Cask, Aged 17 Years
One of our favorites, this was perhaps the most interesting of all the scotches. Smoky, but not peated, this single malt is briefly aged in casks formerly aging peated scotch. The smokiness from the cask creates one of the most unique single malts in the world. For many scotch drinkers, the smoky charcoal flavors in numerous brands of Scotch can be overbearing. When tasting the IslayCask, you get sweet honey notes, but the smoke finish in the aftertaste that is not overbearing but rather exceptionally complimentary. It really is something and an absolute must try for all scotch drinkers, novice and pro alike.
In the making of The Balvenie IslayCask, David Stewart selected Balvenie single malt which had matured in traditional oak casks for at least 17 years and transferred it into 94 casks which had previously held Islay single malt. After six months he felt the casks had imparted the desired delicate amount of peaty notes, typical of Islay.
The Balvenie Single Malt Scotch Range:
The Balvenie range is the most diverse in single malt scotch. Not only is it diverse, but it is simply the best. Each cask type and maturation and whisky are carefully selected to create a different single malt experience for each scotch in the range. From the Doublewood, Rumwood, Single Barrel, Islay Cask and Portwood, each has a style, flavor, mouthfeel and finish that can be appreciated by any scotch connoisseur can appreciate, be it a single malt fan or a blended Scotch whisky enthusiast. Don’t believe us? Try it for yourself.
A Black Label Blended Scotch Whisky Barreled in Deep Charred Oak Cask
By Joon Lee, Amy K. Haight and Matt Goldstein
Johnnie Walker distilleries took their classic Johnnie Walker Black Blended Scotch whisky and re-blended the whisky recipe to create Johnnie Walker Double Black. “After hand-selecting a number of whiskies defined by hints of smoldering charcoal, crisp ash and burnt timber, we barreled our blend to mature in deep-charred old oak casks.” Double Black is very smooth with a good peat and smoke balance. Johnnie Walker Double Black is complex, crisp, lighter and sweeter than regular black with slightly less peat. This is a solid Scotch and we will be drinking it again without question.
From Johnnie Walker
Taking cues from the unparalleled flavors of Johnnie Walker Black Label, Master Blender Jim Beveridge struck out to craft a blend that would take the intensity of Black to unexplored territory. He started on Scotland’s vast shores, rediscovering the powerful west coast and subtle east coast scotches integral to today’s world-renowned Black Label.
After hand-selecting a number of whiskies defined by hints of smoldering charcoal, crisp ash and burnt timber, we barreled our blend to mature in deep-charred old oak casks. The result is an unquestionably smokier, more intense experience, but with deep, dark roots in a rich blend that changed the world: Johnnie Walker Black Label. Simply put, it is Black, amplified.
Blended to break the rules, Double Black boasts an edgy confidence in flavor that separates it from its balanced relative, Johnnie Walker Black Label. It is not simply a darker version of Black Label, for it cannot be defined by color alone. Nevertheless, the two blends are intrinsically linked. As any discriminating drinker can see, they share DNA – in their smoky nose, unmistakable spice and slight tones of dried fruit.
But the similarities end there. Double Black is un-aged and different to Black Label in the way it’s been blended. With this newest blend, taste trumps all. And since its recent release, accolades have solidified Double Black’s place within the world’s most popular scotch portfolio.
While its finish will undoubtedly linger, Double Black itself will not. Its stunningly small run is characteristic of a blend best suited to the most ambitious and adventurous Johnnie Walker enthusiasts, eager to explore another side of Black.
Worlds Most Expensive Whiskey: Dalmore Single Malt Scotch Breaks Own Record
The most expensive bottle of whisky ever sold in retail has been revealed by Whyte & Mackay at the Tax Free World Association Show in Cannes. The last bottle of The Dalmore 62, released from the personal collection of master distiller Richard Paterson, was sold at Changi Airport in Singapore for £125,000 just two weeks ago.
This breaks the previous retail record set by the same brand after the final bottle of Dalmore 64 was sold in Harrods for £120,000 three months ago. Whyte & Mackay has also revealed that Jura is the fastest growing malt whisky in the world with a sales increase of 38%, while The Dalmore is the third fastest growing malt with a rise of 34%.
This success is emulated in travel retail where Jura has grown by 48% and The Dalmore by 55% in the last 12 months. When The Dalmore 62 was first released in 2002 it went down in history as being the most expensive bottle of whisky ever bought and consumed in one sitting. An anonymous business man paid £32,000 for the bottle at the Penny Hill Park hotel in Surrey. After sharing it with friends, the buyer left a tip for the waiter in the form of the last drop of whisky in the bottle estimated to be worth £1000.
The Dalmore creator Richard Paterson kept one of the original 12 bottles back and gave it exclusively to DFS in Singapore. The rare whisky, with spirit dating as far back as 1868, was decanted in to a bespoke hand blown crystal decanter and adorned with the brand’s iconic 12 pointer royal stag’s head – hand crafted in platinum. All this sits in a specially made bespoke wooden presentation case which took over 100 man hours to create.
Dalmore 62 Year Tasting Notes
The Dalmore 62 was released in 2002 and first sold for £25,000 at auction.
The three bottles of The Dalmore Trinitas 64 year old became the world’s first whisky to break the six figure barrier for a single bottle. Two collectors paid £100,000 each at launch for a bottle, and the third sold in Harrods for £120,000 rising in value by 20% in less than six months.
If you had bought Dalmore 62 (2002), Dalmore Sirius (2009) and Dalmore 64 (2010), upon their release, it would have cost you £129,500 in total. Today they are worth £265,000, an increase of nearly 105%………from just three bottles.
Dr Vijay Mallya , Chairman of Whyte & Mackay and United Spirits
“I always knew there was massive potential with both of these award winning whiskies. With the right focus and investment, it was clear that Jura and The Dalmore could be highly sought after brands. I’m particularly pleased about Jura as it was my father’s favourite whisky, and it’s great to see it getting the plaudits and success it deserves.”
Mallya continued: “And as for the record breaking Dalmore 62. This is an absolute bargain in my mind. The owner of this fabulous bottle now owns one of the rarest and most exclusive whiskies in the world. It’s a fantastic investment, rising in value by £100,000 in 10 years. How much will it be worth in another 10 years?“
The Dalmore creator Richard Paterson
“The Dalmore 62 is legendary and so many people have asked about buying the last bottle. In the space of 10 years it is has grown in value and is worth five times the original asking price, verifying the luxury credentials of The Dalmore, and confirming that whisky – our “liquid gold” – is an investment worth making.”
Blended with Talisker and Cragganmore Single Malts
By Matt Goldstein
Johnnie Walker Green Label is a rich blend using only malts drawn from the four corners of Scotland. Each of the malts is specially selected by the Master Blender to create the perfect balance in the whisky. Each malt whisky is matured for a minimum of 15 years to deliver rich, full layers of flavor. Coupled with the blending mastery of Johnnie Walker, it ensures the characteristic smoothness and distinctive flavor of Green Label. Four signature malts provide the key taste influences for this 15-year-old whisky. This blended scotch whiskey is a stud!
Johnnie Walker Green Tasting Notes:
With a light smoky and malty scent, Johnny Walker Green has a smoky flavor yet smooth, light and complex. It’s a smoother sweeter better blended Johnnie Walker Black. This is a brilliant blended scotch whiskey we absolutely recommend it.
From Johnny Walker:
Four signature malts provide the key taste influences for this 15-year-old whisky. Talisker™ introduces power and depth of character, Caol Ila™ contributes mystery and intensity and, at its heart, Cragganmore™ provides a sweet maltiness, while Linkwood™ adds a final touch of finesse.
Blending exclusively with malts produces a rich, powerful whisky, with each one giving its own intense flavor and aromas to create a perfect combination.
With its rich gold amber appearance, this medium-full malt summons up a multiplicity of complex natural aromas. It starts on the seashore and drifts inland over moist moss and through evergreen forest. Then come the exotic notes of orange peel, stewed peaches, cooked black fruits and sour cherry.
John’s grandson, Alexander II, was a master of the art of blending. Learning his skills from his father and his grandfather, he was also an apprentice at Robertson & Baxter, an established distiller and wholesale wine and spirit merchant. While first-class training is important, natural talent and a Master Blender’s perceptive nose are crucial when creating a complex blend – like Alexander Walker, today’s specialists possess both.
Like a gourmet dish, a Blended Malt Whisky’s success depends on its individual ingredients. Alexander and George, the grandsons of the founder, realized the necessity of using quality products, and after a long search for a distillery producing whiskies of the stature required for their blends, purchased the Cardhu™ distillery, along with interests in several other prime sites.
This tradition has continued and Johnnie Walker now has the whiskies of 27 distilleries at its disposal, giving its blending team exactly the resources it requires to create the perfect balance of flavors for Green Label.
Today the House of Walker uses this unique range of distilleries to handpick four single malts to create Green Label.
Every once in a while, for a special occasion, it’s nice to break out the good stuff. This weekend just happened to be one of those occasions. As a groomsman in our dear friends’ Jimmy and Shana’s wedding, I thought it was a good idea to pick something nice for the guys for a little pre-wedding get together. We were considering both Jameson 18 year and Johnnie Walker Gold Label. Since my man Jimmy has been more of scotch man lately, the Gold Label was our choice. This was the perfect choice! Johnnie Walker 18 Year Gold Label Blended Scotch Whisky is an absolute masterpiece. There is no question about it. The bottle was basically gone less than an hour after we opened it, but it was worth every dollar. Special occasions demand special whiskies. Everybody seemed to want more and more, even the ladies. There is no need to put this whisky on ice; the Gold Label is more than perfect when served neat.
Johnnie Walker Gold Label is a rich blend of rare whiskies each aged for a minimum of 18 years. Buried in the Kildonan Hills in the Northern Highlands, the Clynelish Distillery draws its water from a unique source. Gold Deposits are released into the water from the local granite rock, hence, Johnnie Walker Gold Label.
The Johnnie Walker 18 Year Gold Label Tasting Notes:
Lightly smoky, grainy, thin but complex. Exceptionally smooth. Slightly sweet, with hints of malt, grain and oak. WE LOVE THIS WHISKEY!
Johnnie Walker Gold Label was blended to celebrate the first 100 years of the House of Walker in 1920. A well-kept secret, it’s only been available outside the company since the 1990s. It has a distinctly smooth, sweet and luxurious character, with a stylish elegance and refined quality. Gold Label is crafted using whiskies such as Clynelish for a honeyed flavor and creamy teure yet still retaining the signature Johnnie Walker smokiness.
With its rich gold color and old-gold glints, it reveals a full, round, deep nose. There are notes of soft raisins and toffee, fresh malt and light cream – Gold Label is as enticing as it is sensuous. Its palate is rich and broad with full malt flavors and honeyed spices with almonds and marzipan, which leads to a distinctive creaminess.
Cardhu provides strong yet smooth malt and oak flavors. Extra-mature grain whiskies deliver some of the lingering sweetness, while Clynelish™ from the northern Highlands is responsible for the unusual aromatic creaminess. The finish is multidimensional and satisfyingly long.
Over 120 years later, Glenfiddich is one of the few single malt distilleries to remain entirely family owned and our whisky has become the world’s most awarded single malt*, a true reflection of the passion, integrity and innovative spirit that have been passed down through the generations. The Glenfiddich 18 Year Ancient Age Reserve Highland Single Malt is produced in small, individually numbered batches, Glenfiddich 18 Year Old combines the Spanish Oloroso wood traditional American casks. After being married in wooden tuns for at least three months, each batch is unique and is of an exceptional quality.
Tasting Notes: The Glenfiddich 18 Year Ancient Reserve Single Malt
Scent of honey, syrup, flavor of honey. Full bodied, full flavored, with a slightly bitter taste and notes of wood, and oak. When opened up the single malt is sweeter, crisper with a complex finish. It’s a full bodied finish and full textured finish also with a softer scent when opened. This is an excellent single malt scotch and must be opened up with a few drops of water to fully appreciate the complexity and excellence.
The Making of Glenfiddich Single Malt Scotch Whisky
MALTING & FERMENTATION
At The Glenfiddich Distillery we use the finest malt from specialist maltsters, produced to our own specification. Ripe barley is steeped in water for two days, which triggers germination. The barley is then left to germinate for four to five days, which starts the conversion of natural starch into sugar. The resulting ‘green malt’ is dried over fire, and delivered to the Distillery as malted barley.
INSIDE THE MASH HOUSE
Two of Glenfiddich single malt Scotch whisky’s essential ingredients – malted barley and soft clear water – are brought together in the mash house. The malted barley is ground into ‘grist’ – a coarse flour that is mixed with heated pure Robbie Dhu spring water from the nearby Conval Hills and then poured into giant ‘mash tuns’. Here a slowly rotating set of mash knives lift and sift the mash to ensure good sugar drainage. In the mash tuns, the natural bubbling chemistry and clouds of steam rise, filling the air with a pleasantly pungent aroma. The hot water completes the conversion of starch to sugar, which dissolves into the water, producing a sweet liquid called ‘wort’, some six hours later. The wort is drained, cooled and made ready for fermentation. The ‘draff’ – the left over barley from the process – is sold to farmers and fed to their cattle.
FERMENTATION IN THE WASHBACKS
Yeast is added to the wort as it is pumped from the cooler into the traditional wooden fermentation vessels, the ‘washbacks’. Our handmade washbacks are made of Douglas fir rather than the stainless steel that many other distilleries use. This traditional method of production is kept so as to not alter the flavour of the whisky. These washbacks are a towering 17 feet high (5 metres), and are filled to within 3 feet (1m) from the top. As fermentation raises the temperature from around 19°C to about 33°C, the resulting carbon dioxide gas creates a massive, hot frothing head to the wort that foams up the remaining 3 feet (1m) to the top of the washback and has to be kept down with mechanical beaters.
After around 64 hours of fermentation, the furious bubbling subsides, leaving a brown liquid of 8-9% ABV, similar to a strong beer – the ‘wash’.
ALCHEMY AND DOUBLE DISTILLATION IN THE STILL HOUSE
The heart of the distillation process lies in the still house, where the wash is distilled in copper pot stills that exactly match the shape and size of the original stills bought over a century ago by William Grant. Every bump and dent is reproduced – we’re not taking any chances with our unique flavour.
The stills continue to be heated by ‘direct firing’ (applying a naked flame directly under the base). The wash in the stills is gradually heated until the alcohol turns to vapour. The vapour rises through the narrowing neck of the still and is guided downwards and through a water-cooled condenser. This condenses the vapour into an intermediate liquid, known as ‘low wines’. The low wines, containing about 21% alcohol, are heated in remarkably small ‘spirit stills’, smaller versions of the wash still.
The vaporised alcohol is drawn off and condensed as before, and then trickles down into the imposing, gleaming brass and glass ‘spirit safe’, where the flow of spirit can be controlled. This liquid is now legally a bonded, taxable spirit, so it is kept under lock and key. The stillman runs the delicate operation of monitoring this distillation – any mistake can ruin the whisky’s flavour. Only the fine middle cut, or ‘heart’ of the distillation is retained for maturation. The stillman catches it at the flick of a tap – a new batch of Glenfiddich is born.
COOPERING & MATURATION
HAMMER AND TONGS – INSIDE THE COOPERAGE
The new spirit is reduced to around 63% alcohol with natural spring water from our Robbie Dhu springs and then filled into hand-built oak casks, prepared and maintained at the Distillery’s own cooperage. All casks filled at The Glenfiddich Distillery are first checked by one of our qualified coopers, a practice unique to the making of Glenfiddich whiskies.
The coopers, who apprentice for approximately five years (as much as a doctor!), work with incredible speed and agility to assemble, repair or reconstruct around 25 casks each every day. We use only the very best casks made from the very best wood, such as sherry butts from Spain and bourbon barrels from America that have had only one filling of sherry or bourbon whisky.
By using these ‘second-hand’, high quality casks, we achieve a high quality spirit. Mellowed by previous use, the oak helps mature the Scotch whisky, allowing it to breathe, soften, assume subtle flavours and absorb a pale golden colour. Sometimes we char the inside of the cask with a blast of fire to open the grain of the wood, allowing the Scotch whisky to interact more easily with it.
We know that the quality of our barrels is vital, as this is where the magic happens. Even when pressure-testing our sherry barrels, we use sherry instead of water so that their integrity is not compromised.
MATURATION – WHERE THE MAGIC HAPPENS
Our distillery is the only single malt whisky still using wooden marrying tuns (2,000 litre plus vats). We also marry our whiskies for an unusually long period of time…
These wooden casks are then stored on-site in our traditional warehouses, and the spirit is left to mature. The atmospherically dark, damp interior of the warehouse and the temperature, humidity and climate of this environment provide optimum conditions for maturing the best quality Scotch whiskies. It is here that the Glenfiddich spirit acquires its distinctive, well-balanced character.
As a cask ages and develops, it breathes in the pure Highland air through the porous oak. Consequently, alcohol compounds evaporate off the whisky, through the wood, back into the air – roughly 2% from each cask per year. It is estimated that throughout Scotland, approximately 16 million litres of Scotch whisky is lost this way each year. This lost spirit is known as “the Angels’ Share”.
MARRYING & BOTTLING
The perfect match – marrying the whisky
As no two distillations ever taste exactly the same, before bottling we perform one further practice not used by many distilleries today: marrying. To maintain a consistent quality of flavour, aroma and palate, we combine or “marry” various casks, post-maturation, in a marrying tun – a large oak barrel which holds approximately 30 casks of whisky.
Glenfiddich is the only single malt which is still made using these oak Marrying Tuns. Our whiskies are married for up to nine months so that the different elements become unified into the special and distinctive taste of Glenfiddich single malt Scotch whisky. It is a dying art in the whisky world but for the maker’s of Glenfiddich the time spent marrying is important because it ensures all the flavours of the whisky are in harmony and makes the product even more unique.
Glenfiddich comes of age – the bottling hall
When the spirit has matured to perfection, the casks are emptied and the whisky is ‘cut’ with pure Robbie Dhu spring water. This reduces the alcohol by volume once more to around 40% ABV.
Nearly all of the Glenfiddich single malt Scotch whisky range is then bottled on site at The Glenfiddich Distillery, other than 12 Year Old (which is made bottle ready, ensuring all quality-control parameters are kept on site). Glenfiddich is the only Highland single malt distilled, matured and even bottled at its own distillery, using a single source of spring water throughout the process.
Established in 1824, the Macallan distillery is Speyside in Easter Elchies, Craigellachie, in the Highlands. The Macallan 15 Years Aged Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky is triple cask fine oak aged. A two time double gold medalist at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, a gold medalist from the Chicago Beverage Institute, and overall critically acclaimed, The Macallan 15is matured in European Oak Sherry casks, American Oak Sherry Casks and American Oak Bourbon Casks. This triple cask fine oak aging for 15 years gives this Speyside Single Malt a unique and exceptional flavor. The Fine Oak series is made in 10 years, 15 years, 17 years and 18 years. We’ve sampled both the 10 year and 15 years aged Oak Series and both are exceptional.
The Macallan 15 Year Single Malt Tasting Notes:
Medium to lightly smoky, smooth and sweet with hints of syrup, grain, malt, and bit of burn in the finish. This is a complex and excellent single malt for those looking for something with medium to light peat.
The Classifications of Scotch, by Macallan
In order to be classed as a ‘Scotch’ Whisky, the spirit, made from a mash of cereals, must have been matured in an oak cask in Scotland for a minimum of three years. It must also be bottled at a minimum strength of 40% alcohol by volume.
‘Blended’ Scotch Whisky is Scotch Whisky distilled at more than one distillery from a combination of malted barley and other cereals.
Blended ‘Malt’ Scotch Whisky is Scotch Whisky distilled at more than one distillery entirely from malted barley.
‘Single’ Malt Scotch Whisky is Scotch Whisky distilled at a single distillery entirely from malted barley.
The Glenrothes was founded in 1879 and their whisky is matured in a combination of Spanish and American oak casks. The Glenrothes Select Reserve was voted Best in Class at the World Whiskies Awards 2008 and won two Double Golds at The San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2007.
The World Cup of the whisky world – also known as The Glenrothes Whisky Maker contest – reached its thrilling conclusion in June, with amateur whisky aficionados from Taiwan, England and the USA coming together in Speyside, Scotland, to tough it out in a series of challenges and tastings that would have tested the nerves of famed Scottish outlaw Rob Roy, let alone a malt expert.
The Glenrothes Single Malt Scotch Whisky, one of the world’s top single malts and the pre-eminent vintage-distilled single malt, launched its quest to bring together top whisky enthusiasts from around the world 12 months ago. Following entries in the thousands, from as far afield as Albania to Zimbabwe, four finalists from Taiwan, England (where two hailed from) and Ohio, USA, were selected to go head to head, and nose to nose, in the glens of Speyside, the home of The Glenrothes Single Malt Scotch Whisky.
Finalists faced off in everything from gauging the purity of the water source at the distillery’s two springs to milling the malt to achieve the golden proportions of husk, grits and flour to making casks at the cooperage and rolling them into the warehouse. The contest culminated in a blind tasting, and individual blending and bottling, in the distillery’s fabled Inner Sanctum, where Eliott Edelstein, the American representative, remembers “sniffing and blending [our] way through three casks that had never been used for bottling before. We then took on the holy grail of taste-tests: every vintage whisky ever put out from The Glenrothes, from Vintage 1975 through to the new 1995; it was truly a religious moment.”
At the close of Whisky Maker, Ronnie Cox, The Glenrothes’ Global Brand Heritage Director and comedic star of the accompanying You Tube video reel on the contest, declared all the entrants winners, meaning this dual ended in more of a draw than an all out thrashing. “The Glenrothes is a whisky unrivalled in terms of heritage and uniqueness, from its distinctive vintage offering through to its commitment to unearthing the next generation of would-be master blenders, via programs such as Whisky Maker. Not only does something like Whisky Maker unite the passion felt globally by people for The Glenrothes, it ultimately invests in the quality of the dram in the bottle, to be enjoyed by enthusiasts of The Glenrothes for years to come.”
More Awards for Glenrothes Single Malt Scotch Whiskey:
The Glenrothes 1972 was awarded a Trophy at the 2005 International Spirits Challenge
The Glenrothes 1978 was voted Best Speyside Single Malt at the World Whiskies Awards 2008
The Glenrothes 1975 won a Double Gold award at The San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2008
The Glenrothes 1991 won a Gold Medal at The San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2010
The Glenrothes 1994 won a Gold Medal at The San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2010
The Glenrothes Alba Reserve won a Double Gold at The San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2010