I absolutely love the boys over at JVS distributing and, as well as being the nicest guys in the business, they've also done a fantastic job of bringing in exciting new single malts from Scotland. They represent Chieftains and, since I was so blown away by our new Mannochmore barrel, I was eager to taste some new barrel samples. Val brought me some great specimen that had the magic combination of name recognition, quality, and unique flavor. I was really taken with the 1997 Ledaig that, at 13 years old, should be right in the sweet spot for an affordable new barrel purchase. After bringing the pain with the $150 Mannochmore, I need a $60-$70 malt for everyday drinkers. The Ledaig has great peat flavors, but it isn't that Islay salty peat. When I first sipped it I felt like I was taking a bite of smoky chipotle salsa on a tortilla chip. Very tasty and the aroma has fruit and nuts as well. I think this is a contender for a K&L exclusive!
Next on the list was the Black Adder series, which is a new indy bottler (at least new to me) that is being imported by the guys who bring in Amrut. While I thought the packaging was a bit odd, the malts were quite tasty. Of these four, I thought the Auchroisk 18 and Lochranza 11 were the keepers. The Auchroisk 18 is perfect Speyside without heavy sherry. It reminds me of a high end Macallan, but with more character. Rich malty goodness, nothing more, but sometimes that's all you want. Lochranza? Where the hell is that distillery? Turns out, Lochranza is the name of the Isle of Arran distillery, and this indy bottle is called "raw cask," which not only means cask strength, but also zero filtration - there is sediment floating around in the bottle. This whisky has big time flavor - dark, dense fruits with earthy notes and fat, dripping, oily textures. Very good.
So if I could have my druthers concerning what my family members should buy me for Christmas, and price was no problem, these are what I would want (from our available in stock items). First off, the 1951 Marie & Fils 58 Year Old Single Barrel Cask Strength Cognac from my buddy Palazzi. If you've heard me talk about this a lot lately, there's a reason why! This stuff is off the CHAIN! I can't even go into my tasting notes because it changes every time. There's so much going on in this bottle - fruits, leather, spice, intensity, grace, rusticity. The whole chabang for $600.
Glenmorangie Manager's Choice from 1981. This bottle has fascinated me since we first picked it up. An old and rare option that is really peaking my curiosity. I really want to open it!
The Black Tot Rum! Fresh from Buckingham Palace. Untouched since the wedding of Diana and Charles, I believe. $1000 for the most precious source of rum in the history of the world - the Royal Navy supply! Maybe they'll bust it out for next April's Royal Wedding.
So after yesterday's post about Brora, I got a barrage of email from customers about different bottlings. Turns out many people feel the Brora 25 Distillery Bottling is the favorite whisky of all time for many of you out there! Crazy. Turns out David OG still had a couple bottles lingering down in LA that he had deactivated for some reason, so I am pulling the trigger on one. It's my 31st birthday tomorrow, so I figured I'm worth it!
Stay thirty everyone!