Thursday, 24 March 2011

LCBO Vintages – Preview for April 02/2011

Well another Vintages email leads to another Vintages Release date:  April 02/2011.  Not a whole lot to report this month, the offerings are a bit sparse.

Just in time for Easter, a new Isle of Arran Single Malt.  A new comer to the single malt world (well relatively new as its only been around since '95-ish).  Isle of Arran distillery is the first legal distillery on the island in over 150 years.  The LCBO does have a few bottles of Arran already on their shelves including the Robbie Burns single malt [Sku #981084] (only a few bottles left of this from Mr. Burns' January birthday), Isle of Arran Sherry single cask [Sku #191783] (A single sherry cask, distillery bottled at cask strength of 54.5% - Absolutely fantastic whisky.  Incredible depth and flavor.), and the Distiller's Pomerol Bordeaux [Sku #202069] cask finished @ 50% (cask finished Scotch, this one showing great selection with heavy red fruit notes and excellent balance of flavors).

Isle of Arran 14 Year Old Single Malt is presented just in time for the egg lay-ing rabbit's arrival. Tasting notes show a well developed 14 year old (to replace the 12 year old), coming from a combined sherry and bourbon casking.  The sherry provides a rich depth, and the bourbon provides the smoothness and the floral notes.  Smooth and creamy on the palate, the nose provides a very perfumed experience.  Floral notes, peaches, brandy and ginger snaps, with vanilla and mild oak.  LCBO tasting notes are provided by Sounds like an excellent Easter present for the Whisky connoisseur in your family.

LCBO product ID: 210229


Color: Sunset Copper

Nose: Dried fruits, vanilla and toffee up front.  With a little water a salty tang appears, with caramelized fruits indicating a depth of flavor.

Palate: An initial burst of brine leads onto warming toffee apples and hazelnuts.  This is followed by dates, chocolate orange and spiced tea cake.  The mouth feel is overwhelmingly rich and weighty.

Finish: A trademark Arran finish with cinnamon spices leading back to where the experience began, with a classic island-style salty wave balancing the sweet-fruit of the palate.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

LCBO Vintages - Preview for March 19/2011

As usual for all LCBO Vintages members we get the sneak preview of the upcoming release.  My main interest lays in the Spirits section (obvious isn't it).

Saturday March 19/2011 brings back Eagle Rare 10-year-old Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon (Say that 5x fast).  A single barrel bottling from Old Prentice Distillery (now known as Buffalo Trace Distillery), aged 10 years served at 45%.  This is an excellent foray into quality American craft bourbon.  Excellent rich mahogany color and fantastic lush vanilla, caramel, oak and root beer flavors dominate this Kentucky straight bourbon.  A good buy at $50 [LCBO Sku #604785].  American bourbon has an excellent reputation amongst quality spirit drinkers.  It is stipulated to made from a minimum of 51% corn, aged at least 2 years (4 years to earn the 'Straight' moniker), only in new American Oak charred barrels.  When withdrawn from its woody cache, it cannot be colored or added to in any way shape or form.  This means no e150a caramel to give it that marmalade perma-glow orange (much the same as Snooki has a seemingly impossible Oompah-Loompah orange glow about herself).

Also featured in the mid-March release is a newcomer to the LCBO:  Smokey Joe Islay Malt.  I've heard many good things about this particular blend, particularly noting that at 46% and non-chill filtered provided a complete flavor palate for the taster.  Produced by Angus Dundee Distillery, this a new and welcome import to the LCBO.  This is a vatted malt (malt-blend or blended malt [meaning no grain whisky added]), providing a much richer and narrower flavor profile.  I personally find that grain whisky (corn, wheat, rye or otherwise), tend to broaden, flavor, and sweeten the spirit.  This isn't necessarily bad, but it's nice to see the depth that a bunch of malts can create when they play nicely together.  If you're a fan of Islay Scotch or would like to try something smokey and fantastic, or know of a 'peat-head'.  Give this a try. $65 for a bottle, served @ 46% ABV with no chill-filtering.  You can't really go wrong.  LCBO item number #223719 should be sought after, but I think it's almost all gone.  Recently; Ralfy did a quick review on this vatted malt; and can be viewed here.

That's all that we got, but not all is lost; more is to come soon enough whisky mates.  Until next time enjoy a dram for me.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Tasting Rosebank (Singatory Vintage 1991)

    On a shitty (pardon the language), cold and dreary spring/winter day; we (both myself and my better half), were invited a friends place for the evening.  We watched the Leafs loose (big surprise there), and shared a bottle of fine vintage wine.  Trius Red from 1999, absolutely fantastic, set our palates for a treat after.

    The wine, bottled in 1998, and quietly aged in the secret cellar of @WineGuyTO was fantastic.  The first nose reveals a closed wine (it's been bottled for a decade), but strong deep fruits.  As the wine opened, amazing red fruits, and rich flavors abound.  A highly recommended wine for purchasing.  Grab a couple of bottles and store them away for a later date!

    Onto the good stuff.....  1991 Rosebank (Signatory Bottling).  Served at 43%, with no colour added and no.  The distillery closed in 1993 and has since become something of a collector's item.  All bottles fetch price's far in advance of the liquid within; which is quite sad seeing as how the spirit is quite good.  There are still some individuals that are determined to show through, collecting is not what Whisky is about.  Open a bottle and taste the spirit within, enjoy something that has taken years to evolve.  Pandering for bottles aside... here is a review on the run.

Rosebank 1991 11 Year Old Single Malt (Lowland Single Malt) (375 ML @ 43% ABV Signatory Bottling)

  • Colour – Pale white wine, much like fresh straw.  No trace of gold or amber.

  • Body – Legs form slowly, tears appear a small (indicative of slightly higher proof)

  • Nose  – Oh Baby!  Young but not underdeveloped.  Faint hints of grain and aftershave, fresh grasses and citrus.  Sharp notes dominate the nose, with undertones of vanilla, flowers and oak smoke.  The grassy youth of this Rosie plays wonderfully into the soft malty notes.

  • Palate – Citrus notes dominate the palate.  Sweet and sour lemon permeates. Very gentle smoke in the background, subtle but balanced with the citrus notes creating a greater effect.  Bourbon cask becomes present with gentle vanilla notes balancing the citrus.  Grassy notes coming through with both subtle florals and gentle wood smoke to round out the palate.

  • Finish – Mouth feel is sharp, and fast. Palate blooms quickly, develops fast and fades. Finish is short, balanced with sweet, sour and smoke. Sweet grass (like wheat grass) and gentle wildfower honey in finish.

  • Empty Glass – Empty glass shows poignant notes of citrus rind (sweet lemons like Meyer) and gentle wood notes. The bourbon cask is apparent; balanced with a gentle subtle caramel note.