For those of you that got the email from yesterday, here are the specs on all the new drams. For those of you who didn't get the email, there's a boatload of new stuff coming in, mostly from Diageo. Nothing will be in stock as of today Tuesday December 1st, but it looks like I'm going to get a big fat birthday present on the 2nd (if you think unloading tons of booze and stocking it on the shelves is fun, which sometimes I do).
Lagavulin 12 Year Old Natural Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky $69.99 - A limited edition, natural cask strength single malt whisky from the essential Islay distillery, Lagavulin, on Islay’s rocky south coast.
Eighth of a series of special 12 year old releases from the original distiller’s stocks. Vatted from refill American Oak casks, each at least 12 years old. Available in limited quantities worldwide. An elegant classic; massive smoke and purity of flavour supported by complex aromas and delicious sweetness. Less rich and plummy than the 16 year old yet every bit as refined, with all the hallmarks and a fine, complex nose. 57.9% ABV
Brora 30 year old Rare Edition 8th Release Single Malt Whisky $399.99 - A limited edition, natural cask strength single malt from a closed distillery at Brora on the Sutherland coast. Very rare at this age. Eighth of a very limited series of annual releases. Annual allocation has extended availability of this irreplaceable malt but stocks have depleted. Vatted from a mixture of American Oak and European Oak refill casks, at least 30 years old. Another fine Brora: deep, sweet and rich; yet with great delivery of smoke, as from camp fires in the late summer. Indisputably Brora, yet in an attractive, softer guise. The palate is tongue-coating and surprisingly citric. Firm oak. Shows its refined maturity in waves of flavour that surge across the tongue. It needs water, but just the merest drop, which allows the texture to show itself. Full fleshy fruits. Rich and smooth, with hints of smoke. 53.2% ABV
1998 Caol Ila 10 years "Unpeated Style" Special Release Islay Single Malt $64.99 - A limited edition, natural cask strength single malt from Caol Ila, an active distillery on the Isle of Islay. A fourth limited release of unpeated Caol Ila, the first at ten years old. From a batch made only once a year, from unpeated malt, for blending in the “Highland Style.” From 1st fill Bourbon oak casks filled in 1998. Vibrant, summery and a sure-fire summer hit. Reveals the basic structure of the malt, without the flavours being covered with smoke: plenty of sea-side character, interesting to compare both with recent 8 year old unpeated bottlings and with the peated 12 year old. 65.8% ABV
Caol Ila Distillers Edition Moscatel Single Malt Whisky $79.99 - An extraordinarily stylish and complex double-matured expression of Caol Ila; the Moscatel cask wood not over-evident; richly flavoured yet also drying and finely balanced. Brilliant, clean and refined with great balance. The nose is wonderfully concentrated pure, clean Caol Ila – peaty and medicinal, with rich fruit, spicy and fragrant. With water, the fragrant smokiness comes singing through. The palate: sweetness and maltiness strike first, then are quickly overwhelmed by peat smoke and intense, clean, crisp flavours. Caol Ila’s signature smoky bonfires are here, and build to quite a size. Overall, drying, in a beautifully balanced, complex, elegant development with cinnamon spice. 43% ABV
1993 Lagavulin Distillers Edition Single Malt Whiskey $105.99 - Double matured in Pedro Ximinez sherry cask. A really distinctive and distinguished dram, full of peat and brine, while the sherry wood naturally has a big say. A more mellow Lagavulin, not quite as deep or intense as the 16 year. Powerful, peat-rich, sweet and very more-ish. Distinctive and distinguished. The nose is intense peat and vanilla. A raisiny sweetness checks the smoke. Iodine-edged peat and crisp, roasty malt. Satisfying and enticing. The palate is sweet and luscious; clear, grassy malt, then the peat attacks, smoke filling the mouth. A very salty tang at one point; the middle offers coffee and vanilla with a glimmer of fruit. The finish is incredibly long, even for Islay. Fruit, peat, and long-lasting oak. Very chewable and more-ish. 43% ABV
1991 Dalwhinnie Distiller's Edition Oloroso Cask Single Malt Whisky $79.99 - Double matured in Oloroso sherry cask. A rich, spicy nose, then flavours of heather, peat and the bodega lead through to a very dry finish dominated by oak. Spicy, peaty malt and sherry-sweetness with a dry finish. The nose shows fresh sherry embraces the maltier, more honeyed aspects of Dalwhinnie. Peaty and surprisingly, still heathery. Spicy yet grapey. The palate has a big, spicy buzz, followed by an impressive build up of very clear, well defined malt. After a quick burst of sweetness, a rich, grape effect then moves in towards the middle. The finish has tons of oak. Very, very dry, with vanilla dominating. 43% ABV
1995 Oban Distillers Edition Montilla Fino Single Malt Whisky $89.99 - Double matured in Montilla cask. Fruity, pungent, seriously complex whisky of the very highest order - a glorious zesty nose and masses of sweet fruit attack complemented by salt and chewy, roasty caramel malt. Fruity, pungent, seriously complex whisky of the very highest order. The nose is outstanding. Fruity and pungent; Oban’s salty sea breezes, with crushed grapes, orange zest and hints of smoke - massively complex. On the palate it's the most explosive Oban ever. Soft malt then wave upon wave of delicate yet rich fruit notes on a tide of brine. The finish shows sweetened Jamaican coffee and oak, with an attractive malt-biscuit effect as it dies down. 43% ABV
1991 Lagavulin Distillers Edition Single Malt Whiskey $105.99 - An updated version, but apparently identical in taste to the last batch according to my recent phone call with Master of Whisky Stephen Beal.