Author: Bobby

Hello. My name's Bobby, and I'm no whiskey expert. I'm here to share my thoughts as a novice whiskey enthusiast. So, when I try new whiskies (mostly bourbons), I'll tell you about them here.

Review: GlenDronach Master Vintage 1993 and Cask Strength Batch 8

Photo courtesy of Glendronach

As the air starts to turn crisp, my urge to grab a bottle of sherried malt grows. Mind you, I enjoy a quality sherried malt year round. But, there’s something about the fruit cake characteristic of a sherry bomb that screams autumn dram. Thankfully, The GlenDronach has just released a couple of new expressions to quench my thirst.

The GlenDronach Master Vintage 1993

This single malt has slowly matured in Andalucian casks for a quarter of a century. The Pedro Ximenez and Oloroso casks that make up this bottling were hand selected by GlenDronach Master Blender Rachel Barrie and bottled at 48.2% ABV. These casks were filled and laid to rest in 1993.

The dark, heavy nose carries aromas of dried fruit, dark toffee, sultanas, and cocoa. On the palate, I agree with the whisky’s official tasting notes of “cocoa-dusted coffee and sultana brioche brightened by a twist of baked orange rind and the juiciness of prune oil.” The finish is long and accompanied by hints of espresso roast and raisins.

The GlenDronach Master Vintage 1993 hit the spot. It’s rich, dark, fruity, and sumptuous – everything I look for in an old sherried malt. I do like the slight brightness offered by the orange note. It plays well against the whisky’s darker nature. Great on it’s own, The GlenDronach Master Vintage 1993 becomes incredible when paired with a quality Comté. Highly recommended! $350

The GlenDronach Cask Strength Batch 8

The second of the distillery’s recent releases is The Glendronach Cask Strength Batch 8. Bottled at 61% ABV, this cask strength whisky has matured in Pedro Ximenez puncheons, quarter casks, and Oloroso sherry butts for at least ten years. The result is a robust, full-bodied whisky.

Hints of slightly burned caramel, toasted oak, and stewed fruit are found on the nose. Taste-wise, chocolate-covered cherries meet sweet malt and a dark honey note. Dried fruits (raisins, prunes) develop on the mid-palate along with a sprinkling of spice. The long, warm finish sees hints of toasted oak, coffee, and orange peel.

The last cask strength sherried whisky I tasted was too young, bright, and vibrant. That’s not a problem here. Though not as complex as its 25-year-old sibling, this cask strength bottling is firing on all cylinders. It delivers fruity, malty notes in a more concentrated form. The cask strength whisky is extremely drinkable at 61%, but a splash of water doesn’t hurt. Lovely stuff, especially given its $95 SRP. By the way, try this whisky with Parmigiano-Reggiano. You won’t regret it.

Thanks to The GlenDronach for the samples, and to Gabriela for the cheese pairing recommendations. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Review: Game of Thrones Six Kingdoms Mortlach 15-Year-Old Single Malt

Photo credit: Diageo

At last we have arrived. The HBO epic Game of Thrones is complete. Say what you will about that divisive last season (I’m on the ‘it was okay’ camp, BTW), it was a game changer in the current TV landscape. Diageo celebrated by releasing their Game of Thrones Single Malt Collection, which ranged from pleasant to very good.

The final entry in that collection is here – Six Kingdoms. According to press materials, it “pays tribute to the fate of Westeros, whose long-held Seven Kingdoms ultimately became six at the conclusion of the show’s climactic battle for the Iron Throne.”

Diageo has chosen to create a new Mortlach expression this time. The famously meaty whisky has matured in first fill sherry casks for 15 years followed by a short secondary maturation in ex-bourbon casks. The whisky has been bottled at 46% ABV and is available in limited quantities for an SRP of $150. I really like Mortlach’s recently released range of whiskies, so I’ve been anxiously awaiting this bottling. Let’s get to it.

Aromas of dried fruit, vanilla bean, toffee and oak spice characterize the nose. Taste-wise, a rich toffee sweetness coats the palate, giving way to hints of vanilla cream and dried fruit. A slight nuttiness also appears, thanks to the sherry cask maturation. A wave of baking spice. leather, and toasted oak increases in intensity through to the long, fruity, and slightly dry finish.

Of all nine whiskies of the Game of Thrones Single Malt Collection, Mortlach 15-year-old is by far the richest and most complex. The ex-bourbon barrel finishing period adds layers of creamy vanilla and caramelized sugar. Combined with Mortlach’s big and fruity nature, the result is a whisky made for toasting a special occasion, after dinner, or any time you want a damn good whisky. This is easily my favorite of the collection.

Thanks to Diageo for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Review: Lagavulin Offerman Edition

Actor, comedian, woodworker, and America’s sweetheart Nick Offerman loves Lagavulin. After all, it was featured as the favorite whisky of Ron Swanson, Offerman’s iconic character on Parks & Recreation. He’s also starred in a series of whisky-related videos on Youtube. Let me reiterate: the man loves Lagavulin.

So much so that Offerman teamed up with Lagavulin distillery manager Colin Gordon to create his very own expression. The result is Lagavulin Offerman Edition, an 11-year-old single malt bottled at 46% ABV. As Mr. Offerman himself says:

I have traveled the world and sampled many attempts at pleasing nectars, but it is solely this distillation of Islay; a tiny, charismatic Scottish isle, that has claimed my palate. Yah, and my heart into the bargain.

Nick Offerman

On the nose, a blend of campfire smoke and grilled pineapple presents itself rather nicely. A sprinkling of kelp, red pepper and sweet oak round things out. The palate offers what I love about Lagavulin: a full-bodied, full flavored smoky malt. Hints of salted toffee meet a wave of campfire-like peat smoke. Grilled tropical fruit (I assume a lot of ex-bourbon barrel maturation here) bring an element of sweetness. The mid-palate offers a hearty helping of oak spice and sprinkling of dried fruit and dried herbs. The long finish is warming, sweet, and smoky.

Photo credit: Diageo

Lagavulin Offerman Edition is a fantastic expression from the distillery. It comes across as bolder than the core 16-year-old offering, but not as intense as the annual 12-year-old release. Showcasing some of the whisky’s spicier notes was a good decision, and one that plays well with the big, smoky distillery character. At $74.99, Lagavulin Offerman Edition is a must buy for Lagavulin fans. I can’t think of a better pour during a Parks & Recreation binge session.

The press sample was accompanied by special pieces from the Offerman Wood Shop.

Thanks to Diageo for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.