So then. Single Cask bottlings, eh? Specifically our Single Cask bottlings. It’s been a little while since we’ve bottled a load of delicious whisky for our Single Cask Series, but we’re happy to announce not one, not two, not four, but six brand new Master of Malt Single Cask Series bottlings! This bunch includes a 23 year old Ardbeg(!), a 23 year old Invergordon single grain, a 17 year old Ben Nevis and two Bruichladdich single malts.
Exciting, yes? Of course it is. What’s also very exciting is that we’re releasing two independently bottled single cask whiskies with innovative glass closures, making cork-taint in single malt whiskies a thing of the past. (To be honest, it’s a bit of an experiment – we’d love to know what you think but we’ll get to that in a minute.)
Look at these handsome devils.
Corks have been used to close whisky bottles for centuries, but cork taint (especially TCA – or 2,4,6 trichloroanisol) has the potential to add undesirable aromas and flavours to a bottle of whisky in exactly the same way as a fine wine. In wine circles, debate has long raged on the subject of cork versus screwcap closures… It should be noted however, that whilst gas-exchange (through the slightly porous corks) is desirable in wine, no such demand is present for distilled spirits, where in-bottle development is a much, much smaller consideration.
Screw tops are viewed by many whisky enthusiasts as ‘cheap’ and aesthetically unpleasing. Our new glass closures are both attractive and functional – scroll up and have another look, or scroll down to see a picture of some of the bottles hanging out on top of a barrel. Also, unlike decanter stoppers, they are air-tight thanks to a thin, specially engineered rubberised seal that perfectly fits each bottle.
Just as shiny, but now on a barrel.
These experimental closures will feature on a pair of stunning 12 year old Bruichladdich single malts, one matured in a first-fill Sherry cask, the other in a first-fill bourbon cask. Now, what we’d quite like from you is some feedback about the glass closures. Like ’em? Dislike ’em? Uncertain? Can’t quite place that song stuck in your head? Discuss. We want to know, so go ahead and leave a comment at the bottom of this blog post (it’s probably I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing by Aerosmith).
How do all these single cask treats taste, though? Let’s have a gander…
Bruichladdich 12 Year Old 2002 Bourbon Cask – Single Cask (Master of Malt) – 57.3% – 114 Bottles
Tasting Note for Bruichladdich 12 Year Old 2002 – Bourbon Cask – Single Cask (Master of Malt)
Nose: Vanilla custard, sugary porridge dotted with just a few blueberries and Rolos. Many, many Rolos. Rye bread and touches of barrel char develop after a few minutes in the glass.
Palate: Almond butter, slightly sweetened with a a dollop of honey. Extra thick double cream, juicy barley and spicy cinnamon sticks. Water brings out comforting notes of salted toffee.
Finish: Berries and barley round off this marvellous Bruichladdich.
Overall: Relaxed but by no means lazy, this is a classic bit of Bruichladdich brilliance.
Bruichladdich 12 Year Old 2002 Sherry Cask – Single Cask (Master of Malt) – 62.3% – 86 Bottles
Tasting Note for Bruichladdich 12 Year Old 2002 – Sherry Cask – Single Cask (Master of Malt)
Nose: Powerful notes of chewy raisin, burnt sugar, campfire embers and chocolate-covered peanuts. Touches of tobacco deeper within, revealing herbal undertones. A drop of water will bring out its perfumed, malty core.
Palate: Gloriously oily and mouth-coating, with intense but balanced notes of rum-soaked raisin and charred oak. A touch of leafy, forest air.
Finish: Lasting oak and tingling clove spices on the finish.
Overall: A big, bold Bruichladdich. Scrumptious.
Ardbeg 23 Year Old 1991 – Single Cask (Master of Malt) – 50.6% – 216 Bottles
Tasting Note for Ardbeg 23 Year Old 1991 – Single Cask (Master of Malt)
Nose: Citrus, grapefruit perhaps, and papaya with honey, Belgian nougat pieces and measured charcoal sitting just beneath with lavender toffee blondies.
Palate: More prominent peat, still quite sooty but there’s plenty of fruit in there too after a couple of sips – mouthwatering smoky starfruit and some Buttercup syrup.
Finish: Flapjacks, the return of those blondies, and the peat goes on and on of course, just as you’d hope.
Overall: A simply tremendous whisky. A couple of drops of water help open its fruitier side, but this one’s a pleasure however you choose to drink it.
Glenrothes 26 Year Old 1988 – Single Cask (Master of Malt) – 53.4% – 40 Bottles
Tasting Note for Glenrothes 26 Year Old 1988 – Single Cask (Master of Malt)
Nose: Soft orchard fruits and ripe tangerines (with a little touch of orange peel too). Sugared shortbread and warm pretzels dipped in butter. Hints of aromatic tree resin and maybe even some sticking plaster notes.
Palate: Opens with clove, cinnamon and woodsmoke – intensely earthy and warming. It turns juicy on the mid-palate, packed full of mango, pineapple and orange, with a suggestion of buttered sourdough bread.
Finish: Vanilla, cluster hops and green apple notes last.
Overall: A Glenrothes single malt on top form right here.
Invergordon 23 Year Old 1991 – Single Cask (Master of Malt) – 52.8% – 82 Bottles
Tasting Note for Invergordon 23 Year Old 1991 – Single Cask (Master of Malt)
Nose: It’s a red berry bonanza! Plump raspberries, baked strawberries and black forest gateaux with plenty of cherries. Give it a minute for oak spices and Mr. Kipling Angel Slices to shine through.
Palate: A refreshing burst of more red fruit opens the palate, soon developing notes of rosewater. This is paired with dark chocolate and a touch of red chili pepper.
Finish: Icing-sugar-dusted blackberries and a lingering flutter of mixed peels rounds this one off.
Overall: 23 year old, pleasingly Sherried Invergordon single grain – tastes as good as it sounds, folks.
Ben Nevis 17 Year Old 1996 – Single Cask (Master of Malt) – 51.4% – 34 Bottles
Tasting Note for Ben Nevis 17 Year Old 1996 – Single Cask (Master of Malt)
Nose: It opens with decadent crème caramel and sponge cake, before moving on to fragrant potpourri (with a good helping of lavender oil). Leave it in the glass and it develops fruity esters in the shape of wild berry ice-cream and flamed orange peel.
Palate: Coffee beans and light hops, balanced by sweet malt, Parma Violets and red apple skin. Earthy, perhaps almost vegetal at its core.
Finish: Long with classic bourbon-barrel-char and a touch of fresh thyme.
Overall: Well layered and intriguing, it’s a unique Ben Nevis for sure.