In the east of Scotland’s famous peated whisky-producing region’s lies a distillery that has long been revered for its commitment to crafting exceptional Scotch whisky – Caol Ila. Nestled on the rugged shores of the Isle of Islay near Port Askaig, one of the two ferry terminals bringing thousands of visitors to Islay every year, this iconic distillery has been a beacon of peaty excellence for close to two centuries. Close, but not quite two full centuries have passed since our exploration, as we try a 24-year-old whisky released in 2021 in commemoration of their 175th Anniversary. We’ll compare it to the 22-year-old released for Fèis Ìle Festival in 2019.Read more
The month of May brings with it a vibrant whisky festival season, and the SMWS (Scotch Malt Whisky Society) takes advantage of this occasion by releasing special small batches specifically crafted for these festivals. These unique releases feature larger quantities compared to their usual single casks. To ensure that a multitude of whisky enthusiasts can savour these expressions, the SMWS organises a virtual whisky tasting event. They offer a festival pack containing five samples, which participants can enjoy alongside SMWS ambassadors during an online session. Now, let’s explore the selection of five drams that the SMWS has chosen for their May 2023 Virtual Festival.Read more
weeks months ago (I’m late again to publish an article, what a surprise!), the Scotch Malt Whisky Society released a few single malts not as single casks, for once, but as small batches, small vattings of a few casks, for the different whisky festivals of the first half of 2022. For each region of Scotland, in a whisky sense, they released one or several bottlings, all of course with a higher outturn than usual. I ordered a tasting pack containing five out of the six releases, and I also bought a bottle of the sixth one, a Bowmore, so now, let’s review them all. And whilst previously it was Ainulindale reviewing SMWS bottlings, this time it’s my turn!
Caol Ila, located on the world’s home of peated whisky, the Scottish island of Islay, is this island’s number one distillery in terms of capacity. Though its peated malt is one of the components of Johnnie Walker, the distillery features a full core range of single malts. But that wasn’t always the case, as until 2002, Caol Ila’s single malt would appear only in the Flora & Fauna and the Rare Malts range. But from 2002, the regular 12-and-18-year-old as well as a Cask Strength version (about 10yo) appeared, joined the next year by the 25-years-old. Since then, Moch – without an age statement – and the Distiller’s Edition, with a moscatel finish, joined the core range. But Caol Ila’s single malt is not just available on the distillery’s official bottlings, it’s also highly available to independent bottlers. Gordon & Macphail, Elixir Distillers, or like today, Signatory Vintage, have bottled dozens and dozens of casks from the distillery located in Port Askaig. And that’s what we’re going to try today, with a Caol Ila 2010 Signatory Vintage.Read more
weeks months ago, The Whisky Cellar, a quite new independent bottler, announced its second outturn, with brand new single casks for whisky amateurs to enjoy. As for the first one, back in September 2020, Keith Bonnington and Steve Rush organized a Tweet Tasting to allow a handful of lucky people to taste a selection of drams taken from this second outturn. I absolutely love the first Whisky Cellar Tweet Tasting with some stunning drams, so boy was I excited for this one…
When I really got into Whisky, I had the opportunity to go on a trip to Scotland for the Spirit of Speyside festival.
We were celebrating Coldorak’s birthday and at the same time planning to enjoy Scotland and its distilleries. And boy we did.
One of the event we attended was Glen Moray’s May 4th 2019. May the fourth anyone? It was cohosted by Glen Moray and the SMWS that I didn’t know before then.
The SMWS is an independent bottler somehow atypical: it’s a club and you need to be a member if you want to partake in the goodies. It releases almost only single casks, cask strength, non chill-filtered whiskies at a very affordable price.
I was intrigued with the SMWS and it didn’t take long for me to commit myself to become a member. Fast forward to August 2019 and I finally did my first tasting session with the Parisian members at Mersea.