March 02/2012 release:
Next up is Kilbeggan's Finest blend. This is one of my favorite Irish blends. Vanilla and caramel one the nose, with hints of wood in the background. In the mouth notes of caramel and golden raisin mix with hints of pepper and spice. The finish is medium and creamy with the wood notes coming through. Check your local LCBO [Sku #657247], for a bottle. Priced at only $35/bottle; it's hard to go wrong.
Irishman Single Malt is a 100% pot still Irish malt. This 10 year old is made up from a bourbon sherry mix and features citrus, creamy notes and floral hints in the background. The mouth reveals red fruits (passion fruit and berries), cereal grains, honey and almonds. The finish is medium and very well balanced. There are both drying notes and warming notes that blend with the sweetness which creates the balance. Check your local LCBO for Sku #250159 for your $60 bottle. I also see the Irishman 70 (70% pot still blend) under Sku #135186, but no stock; A future release?
Last but certainly not least is Writer's Tears Pot Still Blend. This is a bit of an anomaly; rich honeyed notes seem to over shadow the traditional pot still fruitiness. There are peppered throughout; bright notes of sharp fruit like starfruit or fresh passion fruit (very sharp and sour but sweet at the same time). In the mouth, this is a belter! It mingles so well, soft sweet notes, hard brash malt, bright fruit. I strongly suggest you check your local LCBO [Sku #271106], for you own bottle. At only $48/bottle this is the one I'm on the look out for. There were none left where I tried it, but I think it will be an order in for sure.
March 17/2012 re-release:
Here is my single most favorite expression from The Balvenie distillery; 21 year old Portwood. This is a fantastic expression, revealing notes of honeycomb, worked leather, almond brittle (salty sweetness), poached pears, canned peaches, and hints of spice cake or potpourri. In the mouth, an explosion of red and black fruit notes. Plums,cherries, currants, honey and spice notes permeate. the finish is long, drawn out and fantastically smooth and silky. This is my personal favorite Balvenie release (followed by the Carribean cask, and the 15 year old single cask), but I have a real beef with the cost associated by the LCBO. $216/bottle for a standard release served at 40%! That's crazy, and I personally can't justify spending that much on it. If we had the 47.6% ABV that the travel retail stores get; that's a little different. I don't think the value is there at that price; but should you feel flush, check your local LCBO [Sku #500090], for your bottle. All the pricing nonsense aside, should you see this on a menu somewhere, indulge yourself and enjoy some of the best that Balvenie has to offer.
March 31/2012 release:
Auchentoshan Valinch. This is a limited expression of their Classic bottling, albeit unchillfiltered and served at 57.5% ABV. All this for $64/bottle; I think you've got a heck of a good deal on your hands. Auchentoshan is one of the last 3 remaining lowland distilleries, and one of the few to claim triple distillation (I hear they their triple is really 2.5 times but that's beside the point). Nose is quite lively with notes of citrus, vanilla, candied ginger, crème brûlée and hints of rose water. This is a pretty hot whisky in need of a drink to settle itself down. In the mouth, there are lovely notes of sweets, creamy richness, bitter orange zest that blends so well with the creamy notes. With water, it settles quite nicely and opens up with the more typical Auchentoshan floral honey notes. Check you local LCBO for this bottle [Sku #266577] and grab one!
Wow! That was a big one! There are a lot of great items that came out this round, and quite a few that I never see listed in the flyers. I'll have to soon start compiling a list of bottles that I find interesting, but then I'll let my secrets out of the bag. If you follow my twitter feed <HERE>, maybe I'll let you in on some odd finds and interesting bottles that I see. Until the next time, keep your stick on the ice, and the ice out of your glass.