Tag Archives: Single Malt Scotch

60 Second Whiskey Review — Ardbeg Perpetuum

A few quick thoughts on the Ardbeg Perpetuum Scotch single malt whisky.

The Geekery

In Whisky Classified David Wishart notes that Ardbeg was founded in 1815 by John MacDougall on the southeast coast of Islay at the site of a popular landing spot for smugglers.

The source of the distilleries soft water is the nearby Loch Uigeadail. The water flows over peat bogs on the way to the distillery giving Ardbeg peaty water to go with the peated malt.

Today Ardbeg is owned by Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH) where it is part of a portfolio that includes fellow distillery Glenmorangie as well as Belevedere Vodka and Champagne houses Dom Perignon, Veuve Clicquot, Krug and Ruinart.

The Perpetuum was a special limited edition bottling released in 2015 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Ardbeg’s founding. A non-age statement (NAS) whisky, the Perpetuum is a blend of batches that have been aged in a combination of ex-bourbon and Sherry casks.

The Whiskey

Photo by FotoosVanRobin. Uploaded to Wikimedia Commons under CC-BY-SA-2.0

The combination of sweet and savory smoke in this whiskey reminds me of bacon-wrapped bananas.

Medium-plus intensity nose. Distinctly iodine and bandages with some earthy forest floor.

On the palate, those medicinal elements give way to a savory meatiness that is very intriguing–like cured salume. Noticeable sweetness on the tip of the tongue suggest some tropical fruit character like bananas. A little on the light side at 47.4% ABV but well balanced with no need to add water or ice.

The Verdict

Full disclosure–I’m not a smokey-peaty whiskey fan in the slightest. I greatly prefer more malt driven whiskies where cereal, fruit and spice notes take center-stage like those of Glenfarclas, Glenmorangie and Balblair–though I can appreciate some elements of salinity and subtle smoke from island whiskies like Talisker and Oban.

That said, while the Ardbeg Perpetuum is too peaty for me, it is a well made whiskey. It certainly has complexity which would merit its $90-100 price for those who appreciate this style more.

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60 Second Whiskey Reviews — Dalwhinnie Winter’s Gold

Some quick thoughts on the Dalwhinnie Winter’s Gold Single Malt.

The Geekery
According to Charles MacLean’s Whiskypedia, Dalwhinnie is the coldest distillery in Scotland with an average annual temperature of 42.8 °F (6 °C).

Founded in 1897, Dalwhinnie was sold in 1905 to American distiller Cook & Bernheimer, making it the first Scottish distillery under foreign ownership. The advent of US Prohibition in 1919 ushered its return to Scottish hands. Through mergers and acquisitions, the distillery changed owners multiple times over the years with it eventually ending up in the Diego stable where it is part of the Classic Malts series representing the Highlands.

The Winter’s Gold is a non-age statement bottling sourced from spirit distilled during the heart of winter between October and March. Like others in the Dalwhinnie line, it is crafted with lightly peated malt from Roseisle and water sourced from Lochan Doire Uaine in the Drumochter Hills. The whiskey is aged in mostly ex-bourbon barrels.

A unique expression, the distillery recommends enjoying the whiskey straight from the freezer.

The Whiskey
(Room temperature) Fruity nose, like candied citrus and honey. Some subtle oak spice. No note of peat.

(Freezer) Still very fruity but instead of citrus there is a mix of apple and tropical fruit. The spice completely disappears.

By Andrew Wood, CC BY-SA 2.0 on Wikimedia commons

The Dalwhinnie distillery is often snowbound during the winter.

The palate at room temperature is sweet with the honey and fruit being very prevalent. The peat appears finally but is slight. Very light in body at 43% ABV.

From the freezer, everything gets more muted except, paradoxically, the peat which becomes more of a floral heather peat like a very lightly peated Highland Park.

The Verdict

An interesting dram but I’m not sold on the “enjoy from the freezer” marketing angle and preferred it at room temp. It follows the typical light & sweet Dalwhinnie style and would be a good “Breakfast Scotch”.

At around $45-50, it offers a decent value but, personally, I think the jump to their 15 year in the $70-75 range delivers a lot more depth.

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60 Second Whiskey Review – Glenfarclas 30 year

Some quick thoughts on the Glenfarclas 30 year Single Malt.

The Geekery
Owned by J. & G. Grant, this Speyside distillery has a long history dating back to 1787 as illicit still in Ballindalloch. It came into the Grant family’s possession in 1865 when John Grant bought it and hired John Smith, formerly of Glenlivet, to manage it. Today it is ran by the sixth generation of the Grant family.

The name “Glenfarclas” means “the valley of the green grass”, refering to its location in the valley at the foot of Ben Rinnes with the mountain’s snowmelt being the key water source of the distillery.

According to Charles MacLean’s Whiskeypedia, the distillery is noted for having the largest stills in Speyside that are fueled by direct fire as opposed to gas. In 1968, it was the first to release a cask strength single malt. It was awarded Distiller of the Year in 2006 by the Icons of Whiskey Awards.

The whiskey is aged in majority ex-Oloroso Sherry casks with about third aged in ex-bourbon cask.

Smelling this whiskey reminded me of the coffee houses in Kuşadası, Turkey


The Whiskey

Beautiful dark color. Hugely aromatic nose with lots of spice and brown sugar. It makes me think of cooking gingerbread cookies at Christmas time. The sherry wine notes are present but they smell richer and deeper than typical sherries–more PX than Oloroso–with dried raisin and Turkish coffee aromas.

The palate is delightfully seductive. Creamy and silky with lots of weight. The spices carry through to the palate but the brown sugar and Turkish coffee aromas seemed to have morphed more into a rich, dark chocolate note that is far less sweet than what the nose suggested. The long finish delivers a load of freshness like freshly brewed herbal tea that was unexpected and entrancing.

The Verdict

A bloody fantastic dram! It’s a bit pricey at around $437 on Master of Malt but it is simply exquisite. I would say the cost is justifiable if you think of the years of pleasure you can get nursing it but it is so utterly scrumptious with its combination of power, depth and freshness that I fret the bottle wouldn’t last long in anyone’s house.

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