Posts tagged ‘Scotch’

Glenfarclas 10 Year Scotch Review

Glenfarclas 10Scotchvember is almost at an end, but fear not, I’ll be finishing up with some delightful drams.  First up in the closing stretch is Glenfarclas 10 year-old.  Glenfarclas is a family-owned distillery in the Speyside valley of Scotland, notable for their sherried style, and their dedication to single malts.  Glenfarclas is one of the few Scottish distilleries still owned by the family that owned it 100 years ago.  In fact, the Grants of Glenfarclas purchased the distillery in 1865, and still own it today.  Very little in production has changed over the years at Glenfarclas, which is also unique among Scottish distilleries.  Personally, I have not dabbled into much of the Glenfarclas range, but their whiskies are always reasonably priced for single malts, and I suspect that there will be more Glenfarclas reviews on Bargain Bourbon in the future.  The Glenfarclas 10 year-old is aged in ex-sherry casks and bottled at 80 proof (40%abv).

The nose on this whisky is sweet and perfumey, reminding me a lot of apples or a hard cider.  There is a distinct (but pleasant) bitterness to the nose, all backed up by sweet orchard fruits and honey.  The palate continues the sweetness, with a creamy entry of honey and apple cider.  The finish is medium-long and quite dry with those same tart apple notes present throughout the whisky.  With water, Glenfarclas 10 year-old begins to show its sherried qualities more.  Water brings out a nuttier palate, along with some raisin and marzipan notes on the finish.

Overall, this is a wonderful whisky that unfolds very nicely with water and time.  I suspect (only judging by the whisky, itself) that the Glenfarclas 10 year-old is aged primarily in refilled sherry casks, as the sherried flavors are subdued in this whisky.  Tasted blind, I highly doubt I would have guessed there was much more than 25% sherried whisky in this bottle.  All that said, Glenfarclas 10 year-old is a spry, young whisky that packs good complexity into a drinkable, delicious dram.  My grade: B.  Price: $45-50/750ml.  In some less expensive locations than Boston, this whisky is available at a very good price, making it a very good bargain buy especially for the holidays.

Bruichladdich Laddie Ten Scotch Review

Scotchvember keeps on keepin’ on at Bargain Bourbon with a review of Bruichladdich Laddie Ten.  As this is the first review I have done on this “progressive Hebridean” distillery, I’ll provide a few brief facts about this Islay gem.  Bruichladdich is located on the western portion of Islay, almost directly across the Loch Indaal from Bowmore.  Bruichladdich is a unique distillery in that they play around with all sorts of different styles of whisky-making and casking.  I do not believe I have seen a Scottish distillery that has the variety of whiskies that come out of Bruichladdich.  I am posting a link to their website, but be careful, you can get lost in cyber Bruichladdich very quickly  http://www.bruichladdich.com/the-whisky/bruichladdich/the-laddie-ten-year-old.

The Laddie Ten is one of the most widely available whiskies from Bruichladdich.  It is an unpeated single malt, meaning the barley is not smoked over a peat fire.  However, the water the whisky is made from is still very peaty, which does lend a peated character to the finished product.  The Laddie Ten is aged in 90% ex-bourbon casks and 10% ex-sherry casks before being bottled in that bright turquoise without chill filtration at 92 proof (46% abv).

On the nose, The Laddie Ten is a wonderful balance of malt, brine, salt, and peat.  There is a lot of sweet malt, surrounded by familiar sweet notes of bourbon casks, with salty brine and earthy peat rolling all around.  The palate is a backbone of earthy peat, but there is orange zest, fresh baked bread, and sweet American oak rounding out the palate nicely.  The finish is medium-long, with peat mixing in well with sweet malt, oak, and the occasional whiff of chocolate wafer.

Overall, The Laddie Ten is a wonderful, lively whisky that combines all its flavor in great balance.  Nothing overwhelms the whisky, and nothing dominates the flavor profile.  It is drinkable and balanced the whole way through.  This is a great introduction to Islay whiskies, as it drastically tones down the peat, and lets all the great flavors of a single malt Scotch whisky shine through.  My only complaint is that it often hovers around $60 for a bottle here in Boston, which is a tad pricey for a 10 year-old malt in my opinion.  That said, this is some pretty damn good whisky.  My grade: B+/A-.  Price: $50-60/750ml. This is a balanced, elegant dram that is definitely very well made, and cared for while it’s in the oak.

Just in case you need a bit of direction on the pronunciation of this wonderful distillery… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16hsejGKsNk

Comparison Review: Johnnie Walker Red Label vs. Johnnie Walker Black Label

Today, I am taking a brief hiatus from single malts to do a comparison review of two whiskies from the best-selling Scotch brand in the world, Johnnie Walker.  There is no picture of the bottle in this post because most folks know what Johnnie Walker looks like.  When people think of Scotch, they often think of Johnnie Walker first, helped out by common pop culture references (see Joe Namath and George Thorogood).  Unlike my reviews so far in Scotchvember, Johnnie Walker is Blended Scotch Whisky, which means that the whisky in the bottle contains a blending of single malts and grain whisky.  In Scotch terms, grain whisky is whisky comprised of anything except for 100% malted barley.  This usually entails a lot of wheat, which lends to a smoother, less flavorful Scotch.  That said there are some very enjoyable Blended Scotches on the market today; they usually just require a bit more age to reach their full potential.  Without further ado, let me get into a comparison review that I have had many requests for.

Joe Namath famously said he liked his, "Johnnie Walker red and his women blonde."

Joe Namath famously said he liked his, “Johnnie Walker red and his women blonde.”

Johnnie Walker Red Label is the entry-level blended Scotch from Johnnie Walker.  There is no age statement on the bottle, but most of the whisky in this is around 6 years old on average.  The grain whiskies in the Red Label tend to be a little younger (around 4 years), whereas the single malts tend to be a little older (around 8 years), but those are just conjectures.  Red Label is bottled at 80 proof (40% abv).

On the nose, Red Label is pleasant and sweet, with notes of honeysuckle, vanilla extract, and malted barley.  The palate is sweet and simple, with a nice balance between honey and malt.  The finish is medium in length, starting out sweet, and then presenting a little whiff of smoke after a few seconds.

Overall, Red Label is a simple whisky, but not at all unpleasant.  It knows what it is, and knows what it is not.  Red Label knows it will be drunk with a lot of ice and a fair amount of soda.  No worries, you are not wasting a great whisky if you do.  However, even though Red Label is a thin whisky, it is not at all poor drinking experience.  My grade: C.  Price: $15-20/750ml.  For the price, Red Label is exactly what I expected, a smooth, simple whisky.

Now, for Johnnie Walker Black Label, which carries an age statement of 12 years, which means that all of the whisky in a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black is at least 12 years old.  Judging from the whisky, I do not think Johnnie Walker Black and Red are made up of the same distilleries or the same recipes.  They have notably different flavor profiles, which I applaud them for.  Black Label is not simply an older version of the Red Label; they are entirely different whiskies.  Johnnie Walker Black Label is bottled at 80 proof (40% abv) as well.

The first noticeable difference between the two is that Black Label is a good deal darker in the glass, but that could very easily just be added caramel coloring.  On the nose, Black Label is much darker than the Red Label.  There are notes of toasted bread, wood smoke, dry sherry, and malted barley.  The palate is medium-bodied, with hints of peat, oak, and sherry, all backed up by a strong malt backbone.  The finish is medium in length, with some notes of dried fruits (raisins, dates) and peat smoke.

Overall, Johnnie Walker is a more complex whisky, in that there is definitely some sherry influence as well as more peated whiskies in the bottle.  However, it is a bit harsher on the palate, lacking some of the smooth, seductive qualities of the Red Label.  It is almost as if Johnnie Walker knows Black Label will go on ice, which is the way I see it drunk most often at the bar.  My grade: C+.  Price: $30-35/750ml.  Johnnie Black is a rough, complex Scotch whisky.  My issue with it is the price point; for that type of money, I will buy a 12 year-old single malt every day of every week.

Between the two whiskies, I think the Black Label is the better whisky, but Red Label is by far the better value.  If you put a gun to my head and told me to go to the store and buy a bottle of Johnnie Walker, I would buy a bottle of Red Label.  If I had $35 in my hand, I am going for a single malt whisky over Johnnie Walker Black Label any day.  But, with your money, you can do whatever the hell you want, so give Johnnie Walker a whirl, let it ride, and let me know what you think.

The Dalmore 12 Year Scotch Review

Red Deer StagUp here in Boston, it is starting to get pretty damn cold.  That wind is starting to whip off the harbor and chill the bones.  Simply put, there is no better time to find a warming whisky (especially if you don’t have much control over your heat).  Today’s review is of The Dalmore 12 year single malt Scotch, a wonderfully warming Highland whisky.  The Dalmore distillery is located on the north east coast of Scotland, but it has very little seaside influence.  The Dalmore 12 year is matured for its first 9 years in ex-bourbon casks before the whisky is separated in half.  Half the spirit is allowed to continue its aging in the ex-bourbon casks.  The other half of the whisky is transferred to ex-Oloroso Sherry casks that previously held 30 year-old Sherries.  The end result is a whisky that drinks well beyond its proof point and well beyond its limited Sherry influence.  The Dalmore 12 year is bottled at 80 proof (40% abv).

The nose has a lot of Sherry influence right away.  There are notes of orange peels, currants, tree bark, and Fig Newtons.  The nose has a good balance of dense and sweet flavors.  The palate is full-bodied, with a lot of Sherry and old oak spices.  The most prominent notes are orange marmalade, cocoa powder, and white chocolate.  The finish is long and very warming, tingling the palate with lingering flavors of wood spices, dry Sherry, and a wee puff of smoke. Red Stag

Overall, The Dalmore drinks beyond its alcohol content, as it has a lot of body for a whisky bottled at 40% abv.  The Oloroso influence hits hard and keeps coming, but there is enough depth and complexity to hold the whisky together.  I would love to see this whisky with some of the big, sherried notes turned down.  Perhaps that experience awaits me in run-ins with the older expressions in The Dalmore range.  All that said, this is still one of my favorite whiskies, especially in the late fall.  I really just like the way it tastes and the warmth it provides.  My grade: B/B+.  Price: $50-60/750ml.  This is a big, full-bodied whisky with a lot of Sherry influence.

p.s. If you are wondering about the red stags in the post and on the front of The Dalmore’s bottles, here is the story told by the distillery.  In 1263, an ancestor of the Clan Mackenzie (who bought The Dalmore distillery in 1891) saved the King of the Scots, Alexander III, from being gored by a charging red stag.  Whether fact or fiction, the legend is an essential part of the story of the Clan Mackenzie and The Dalmore.  The stag head adorns the Clan Mackenzie’s coat of arms and every bottle of The Dalmore whisky.  The Dalmore has also incorporated a “King Alexander III” expression into the distilleries lineup to honor the famous event.  Whatever the real story, its a cool logo for a wonderful whisky, echoing the power and beauty of the red stag itself (unlike that swill coming out of Jim Beam).

Ardmore Traditional Cask Scotch Review

Ardmore Traditional CaskToday, I am continuing Scotchvember at Bargain Bourbon with a review of Ardmore Traditional Cask.  Ardmore is a unique distillery because it hardly fits the flavor profile of its region.  As I discussed in my review of some McClelland’s whiskies, each Scotch region tends towards a specific flavor profile.  Ardmore is usually considered to be within the Speyside region of Scotland (even though Ardmore considers itself a “Highland Single Malt”).  Speyside is the most popular Scotch region, known for soft, elegant, fruity, and malty whiskies.  Speyside has the highest concentration of distilleries in Scotland, and the three most popular single malts in the world (Glenfiddich, The Glenlivet, and The Macallan) all hail from Speyside.  What sets Ardmore apart is that it is smoky and peaty, much more reminiscent of an Islay Scotch than it is of a Speysider.

Ardmore Traditional Cask is the standard entry-level offering from the distillery, and it is aged in ex-bourbon casks for about 6-8 years, and then finished in quarter casks (125 liters) for an extra period before aging.  There is no age statement on the bottle, but most of the whisky in the bottle will be about 8 years old.  If the process sounds similar to Laphroaig Quarter Cask, it is.  In fact, both distilleries are owned by the same parent company, Beam Global.  Ardmore Traditional Cask is non-chill filtered and bottled at 92 proof (46 % abv).

On the nose, this whisky has a medium peat backbone (not quite the dense peat of Laphroaig, for example), with a nice rounded sweetness in the form of honey and vanilla.  The palate is medium-bodied and creamy with a lot of sweet flavors, like brown sugar, honey, and vanilla all wrapped up in a warming peat smoke.  The finish is medium-long and fairly drying.  There is a woody tannic bite that comes in on the finish, but those pleasant sweet flavors from the palate are still present.  There is definitely a lot influence from the bourbon casks in this one, which is allowed to shine through a more gentle peat than in Ardbeg or Laphroaig.

Overall, Ardmore is a lighter, softer take on a peated whisky.  It does drink a little young, but it is still a very pleasant pour.  Ardmore offers new drinkers a great introduction to peated whisky without knocking all the wind out of your palate, nor is it an especially deep whisky.  Despite its youth, Ardmore drinks well below its elevated proof point, making for a warming, yet delicate dram.  My grade: B.  Price: $25-30/750ml.  At the price point, Ardmore Traditional Cask is a fantastic value whisky, well worth letting it ride on this peated Speysider.

Scapa 16 yr. Scotch Review

Scapa 16 yrAround this time of year every year, I get a lot of questions from friends and colleagues about Scotch ideas for the holidays.  For some very wrong reasons, Scotch has much more holiday allure than other whiskeys.  But, I figured that since I have not done much with Scotch reviews in a while, I will be spending the month of November reviewing some affordable Scotch whiskeys.  To kick off Scotchvember at Bargain Bourbon, I am doing a review of Scapa 16 yr., a single malt Scotch whisky from the Isle of Orkney off the north coast of Scotland.

Orkney is most known in the whisky world for Highland Park, and for good reason; Highland Park is a beautiful single malt.  That said, Scapa is a wonderful distillery with a much different profile from that of its Orcadian neighbors at Highland Park.  The standard offering from Scapa is their 16 year-old, an old offering for a standard entry bottling.  One of the most unique aspects of Scapa distilling process is that they usually slow down their fermentation process (sometimes taking up to a week to ferment), which elicits a fruity backbone to the finished spirit.  The waxy characteristics of Scapa are also aided by a “Lomond” wash still, which produces a heavy, oily low wine before being transferred to more traditional copper pot still.  The Lomond still allows for a lot of reflux, holding heavier vapors in the still for longer periods of time before condensation.  The end result is dense, waxy mouth feel in the finished product.  Scapa 16 yr. is aged in refill bourbon casks for a minimum of 14 years before being transferred over to first-fill bourbon casks for at least two years before being bottled at 86 proof (43% abv).

On the nose, Scapa is sweet, with a lot of honey and vanilla notes.  There are also some notes of barley and heavy whipping cream mixed in.  The palate is very distinct, with its buttery mouth feel.  There are a lot of sweet notes here as well, with caramel, honey, vanilla, and fresh oak.  The finish is medium, and exposes some oak spiciness along with the sweetness of the caramel and vanilla.  The whisky really coats the throat well, and goes down buttery smooth.  I hate when people say that a whisky is smooth, but this one is very much that on the finish.

Overall, I really enjoyed this malt.  Scapa’s sweet flavors and distinct mouth feel tend to get mixed reviews, but it all worked well for me.  I think this is a great dram to have on the shelf for the holidays because of its flexibility across different palates.  I think Lagavulin 16 yr. might be a better whisky, but Lagavulin certainly is not for everyone.  I think most of the folks at your holiday parties will enjoy Scapa, but you know your guests better than I do.  My grade: B+.  Price: $70-80/750ml.  The price point is very affordable, considering its age, making it a great whisky to let it ride with if you’ve been looking for a Scotch to delve into this holiday season.

Whisky Live Boston 2013

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend Whisky Live Boston, a massive alcoholic drinks exhibition in downtown Boston.  For nearly four hours, vendors, brand ambassadors, and sales representatives discuss their products, while hundreds of patrons sample the aforementioned products.  Most of the exhibits are whiskeys of some kind (bourbon, Scotch, Irish, Australian, etc.), but rum, tequila, vodka, gin, and cocktails of all kinds can also be found at Whisky Live.  It is a great event to try new spirits, socialize with other whiskey enthusiasts, and eat some very good food cooked with whiskey (Four Roses supplied the entrées this year).

If you ever get the chance to attend Whisky Live (or another similar event), I highly recommend it.  However, an evening at Whisky Live requires planning and pacing.  If you love whiskey as much as I do, it is too easy to become overwhelmed and go crazy.  This usually results in irresponsible drinking, a rough night, and an even worse morning.  But, if you pace yourself, drink plenty of water, and make your rounds well, you can have one of the best evenings of your calendar year!  Here are a few of my highlights of Whisky Live Boston 2013.

William Gemmell (of A Dram Good Time) and I at  Whisky Live Boston 2013

William Gemmell (of A Dram Good Time) and I at Whisky Live Boston 2013

I got to try two bourbons from Heaven Hill that I have wanted to try for some time – Parker’s Heritage Collection Promise of Hope and Elijah Craig 12 yr. Barrel Strength.  Previous editions of Parker’s Heritage Collection have been some of the best bourbons released in the last decade, but I was disappointed in this particular edition.  That said, it is still a worthy investment, since 25% of the proceeds from every bottle goes to ALS research.  The Elijah Craig Barrel Strength is quite a bourbon.  It is nearly black in the bottle, but it takes water very well and equals a very good bourbon in the end.  I am definitely going to be looking for a bottle to review this fall/winter.

I also got to try two very good rye whiskeys that I will be reviewing in the next few weeks: Angel’s Envy Rye and George Dickel Rye.  Stay tuned to the blog for more information on these fine ryes.

Now, for my whiskeys of the evening…  The three whiskeys that really won the evening for me were Glenmorangie Signet, Redbreast 12 year Cask Strength, and Sullivan’s Cove French Oak Port Cask (if you are reading the blog and thinking about present ideas for me this holiday season, take a hint).

Glenmorangie Signet is a wonderful single malt Scotch that is made with 20% chocolate malt in the grain bill, and then batched together with older Glenmorangie barrels.  It truly is a wonderful sip, with a lot of dark mocha notes, as well as some Sherry influence, and a warming sensation that will warm you up even on the coldest nights.  It is not a cheap or easy to find whisky, but if you find it, it might be worth it to bite the proverbial bullet ($225 or so) and grab a bottle, because this is damn good juice.

Redbreast 12 year Cask Strength is simply a cask strength offering of the single pot still Redbreast 12 year.  At 119.8 proof, this sherry-aged Irish gem leaps out of the glass and across the taste buds with dark fruits, floral notes, sherry, and coffee.  This whiskey is the best Irish whiskey I’ve experienced to date  (although the Jameson Rarest Vintage Reserve at Whisky Live came close), and it is usually around $70 for a bottle, making it a great choice for the holidays.

Last, but certainly not least, Sullivans Cove French Oak Port Cask is a Single Cask Malt Whisky from Sullivans Cove Distillery in Tasmania.  This juice is very hard to find in the United States, and it usually sells for about $150 per bottle, but it is some phenomenal whisky.  It is a single malt, aged exclusively in a French Port pipe, which lends the spirit dark chocolate notes, plums, port sweetness, all with an upright malted backbone that comes through with some burnt toffee and vanilla pound cake.  This stuff is really good, and its limited availability means you should pick up a bottle if you ever find one.  (Much thanks to Terry from Drink Insider for recommending this one; otherwise, I probably would have never ventured over to the Sullivans Cove booth.)

Those are my thoughts on some whiskeys that impressed me at Whisky Live.  What whiskeys have impressed you lately?  What whiskeys are you looking forward to trying this fall (whiskey season)?

Some Thoughts on Glenmorangie’s Finished Whiskies

I recently reviewed Glenmorangie Original, a wonderful whisky, and a great value.  Although the 10 yr. Original is the most well-known of the Glenmorangie range, Glenmorangie also crafts a series of finished whiskies, which are offered in the standard range as well.  As I discussed in my review of Angel’s Envy, the process of finishing a whisky simply means that the spirit’s final aging process occurs in a different type of wood than its primary aging.  In the case of Glenmorangie’s range, they produce three standard 12 yr. editions of finished whiskies, all of which are aged 10 years in American Oak casks, and finished in their respective casks.  Without further ado, let’s get into the whisky.

The three Glenmorangie whiskies I am discussing today are The LaSanta (sherry-finished), The Nectar D’or (Sauternes-finished), and The Quinta Ruban (port-finished).  All three whiskies are bottled at 92 proof, and are usually available between $55 and $70 (The Nectar D’or is typically a few dollars more in my experience).  All three whiskies start with a lot of the Glenmorangie profile, especially orchard fruits and sweet malted barley.  However, each different finishing cask brings its own influence to the spirit.

The LaSanta (finished in ex-sherry casks) brings some darker, sweet flavors to the Glenmorangie spirit.  There are more nutty notes, and there is definitely a lot of sherry present, especially on the nose.  The Nectar D’or (finished in ex-Sauternes casks) brings the wine influence in very well.  It brings out the sweetness of the spirit, and also rounds out the whisky with some oak spices.  The Quinta Ruban (finished in ex-port casks) incorporates many of the flavors of a young port, with a lot of red grape sweetness, and a drier mouth feel.

Overall, my personal opinion in sampling the three whiskies over the span of a few tastings was that The Nectar D’or was the best of the three.  It added the most to the Original.  I felt that The Quinta Ruban altered the Glenmorangie profile the most, and brought the most difference to the table.  I was the least impressed with The LaSanta, but it is still a very quality whisky.  All that said, none of the three finished whiskies that I tried made me salivate enough to warrant the $15 price jump over the Glenmorangie Original.  The standard 10 yr. bottling is still the best value in the range in my opinion.  Just because a whisky is finished, is two years older, and is more expensive does not mean it is the better spirit.  Let your taste buds decide.  Of course, if you want to get experimental and see what finishing whiskies does to the spirit, I highly recommend picking up a Glenmorangie sampler pack, and giving it your full attention.  In the meantime, let it ride!

Glenmorangie Original Scotch Review

Glenmorangie OriginalWell, I have to admit that I’ve never been a huge fan of Glenmorangie.  A few years back, I had the Glenmorangie Original in a bar, and didn’t care for it.  Of course, that was casually in a bar, and I suspect that it wasn’t my first drink of the evening.  The point being that it was hardly the ideal conditions for tasting a whisky.  So, when my roommate offered a sampler pack of 200 ml bottles of Glenmorangie whiskies to me as a graduation present, I was ecstatic to give Glenmorangie another look.

Glenmorangie is a Highland Scotch distillery perched on the northern part of the East coast of Scotland on the Moray Firth.  Glenmorangie has always been known as an innovated whisky company, a tradition which continues with their staple lineup of 12 year-old finished whiskies.  Nevertheless, the signature whisky of the Glenmorangie line remains the 10 year-old Original, aged in American oak and bottled at 86 proof (43% abv).

On the nose, the Original is heavy with barley notes, sweet heather, honeyed sweetness, a note of sweet potpourri, and a wee bit of smoke.  The palate is well-balanced, with a great combination of pears, honey, and the strong backbone of barley.  The finish is medium length, and rather oily as it works its way down the throat.  There is a hint of smoke that weaves in and out of a flavor profile of sweet pears, apples, and a bit of floral airiness.

Overall, this is a fine single malt and one quite worthy of trying.  It is a great way to get interested in single malt Scotch, especially because of the great price and the soft, accessible character of the whisky.  My grade: B-/B.  Price:  $40-45/750ml.  This is a whisky emblematic of the mission of Bargain Bourbon, in that it provides a wonderful whisky experience at a great price.

The Balvenie 12 yr DoubleWood Scotch Review

The Balvenie DoubleWood 12 yearSorry for my hiatus folks, but I was busy becoming a Master of Theological Studies.  This, of course, means that I was drinking more and reviewing less, which I am hoping to remedy over the next few weeks (the reviewing, I mean).  Today’s review is of The Balvenie 12 year DoubleWood, a single malt Scotch from the Speyside valley.  The DoubleWood label refers to the fact that all the whisky has been aged primarily in American oak, and then transferred to first-fill Sherry casks before bottling.  The Balvenie has an extensive range of whiskies, many of them finished in various other barrels (the 21 year Portwood is my favorite of the editions I have tried), and The Balvenie has recently won a lot of accolades for their Tun 1401 collection.  However, like most distilleries, The Balvenie still makes their money off their flagship whisky, the 12 year old DoubleWood.  It is bottled at 86 proof (43% abv).

On the nose, this whisky is mostly sweet.  There are notes of honey, sweet malt, rum raisins, spiced pecans, and toasted wood.  The palate is medium-bodied, smooth, and sweet.  There is a nice balance of malt, oak, and a wee bit of peat.  The finish leaves a bit of oaked spiciness, but it is a rather short finish.

Overall, I wish the finish would last longer, but this is a fine whisky.  It is a great example of what a little bit of sherry influence can do with a light Speyside malt.  It is a short, sweet, well-put together Scotch whisky.  My grade: B-.  Price: $50-60/750ml.  This is a good, solid single malt, but I do think there are better whiskies at lower prices, especially if you are looking for a simple, light Speysider.