vrijdag 22 november 2013

Whisky writer Hans Offringa becomes Kentucky Colonol

Dutch whisky writer Hans Offringa recently recieved the title of Kentucky Colonel.
Only the Governor of the Commonwealth has the authority to appoint a Kentucky Colonel. The actual certificate, by law, is issued by the Kentucky Secretary of State. There is a formal nomination process.

Hans Offringa was nominated for this title by the Kentucky Distillers Association, based upon his book "Bourbon and Blues" that was published in English and Dutch.
Offringa and his wife Becky currently live in Zwolle, the Netherlands, a city which boast a three star Michelin restaurant as well as its own whisky label (casks picked by Offringa).

With the title of Kentucky Colonel Offringa is in good company. Other people who recieved this title are Muhammad Ali, Winston Churchill, George Clooney and Elvis Presley.
For information on the Honorable Order Of Kentucky Colonels look here: http://kycolonels.org/.
More information about (the works of) Hans Offringa can be found here: http://hansoffringa.com/en/

©Whiskytips 2013

donderdag 21 november 2013

International Whisky Festival in The Hague, Netherlands, 15-17 November 2013

The International Whisky Festival in The Hague is the largest indoor whiskyevent in the Benelux. Venue is the Grand Church in the center of The Hague.
The Hague is a somewhat awkward city: it is the place where the Dutch Parliament resides, along with the Ministries, the King and Queen live there, but it's not the capital of the Netherlands.
As we did for previous editions we made a videoreport. Most of the scenes were shot on the Friday afternoon, which is a special VIP session, with less people around.
Other scenes were taken on the Sunday afternoon, That's the day that you can encounter most whisky specialized retailers.

The festival had numerous masterclasses for beginners as well as for the more experienced connoisseur. In the videoreport you can see an impression of the masterclass by Whiskybase, a company based in Rotterdam, with a virtual and a real life shop.

Dutch Whisky Awards 2013
During the festival, the Dutch Whisky Awards 2013 were presented.
These were the winners:
Best peated single malt Scotch: Laphroaig Triple Wood
Best unpeated single malt Scotch: The Balvenie 14 years old Caribbean Cask
Best Blended Whisky: The Naked Grouse
Best non Scotch whisky: King Car Whisky

Whisky Master of the Year Competition
Another competition is the Dutch Whisky Master of the year.
Victory went to Matthijs Hakfoort, for the highest score on the theory questions, but most of all because of a full score on the blind tasting test. Well done Matthijs!
With his first place he won a trip to the Orkney Islands with a trip to Highland Park included. One can only be jealous.

Whisky documentary
Then there is Gwen Jansen, a filmmaker who is currently preparing for a documentary on the whisky scene in the Netherlands. She is raising money through crowdfunding. By the end of December she will decide on the go/no go, but things are looking well. You can find more info on her website www.nederlandwhiskyland.nl.

Festival bottlings
This year's festival bottling were two peated cask strength Arran's, from two seperate casks. We didn't taste it yet, but hopefully we will in the near future. We got some very positive comments from others.

Meanwhile, the date for the 2014 edition is already set: 14-16 November, Grand Church The Hague. Tickets are on sale already. Hope te see you there. For more info check out the website: www.whiskyfestival.nl

©Whiskytips 2013
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zondag 27 oktober 2013

Whisky Xperience 20 October, de Meern, the Netherlands

Whisky Xperience is a series of whiskytastings throughout the country, powered by one of the largest drinks retailers in the Netherlands, Mitra.
Two things are good about these local tastings: they provide an excellent opportunity for the starting whisky connoisseur to explore new varieties and, very important in Holland, you can get there on your bicycle...

For the more experienced whiskydrinker there's a masterclass to enlarge the whisky knowledge.
Some new bottlings can also be tasted like the Bruichladdich Scottish Barley. We tried it and it's got the typical warm, malty Bruichladdich style with that hint of mint.

Allthough we thought upfront that this would be a quite straightforward pour-and-drink event it proved to be much more, as you can see in the videoreport we made.
Whisky-related clothes, Scottish food and beverages (Irn-Bru), books and our friends from Whiskyetc magazine were there.
So we left the Xperience with a great pair of Highland Park cufflings and a 1000 page book by Dominic Roskrow (1001 whiskies you must try before you die).

All in all a well spent afternoon and we sure will be there next time.

vrijdag 25 oktober 2013

Whisky and Rum at Sea, IJmuiden, Netherlands, 19th October 2013

When you take the ferry from Newcastle, England across the North Sea to the Netherlands, you disembark in IJmuiden.
IJmuiden is a small harbour city, on the westside of Amsterdam.
It's (Dutch) fame derives from the big steel factory, now owned bij Tata. The steel factory can be seen from far away.
IJmuiden also has a yearly Whisky and Rum festival, located directly near the sea.
The festival is organised by 'Slijterij en Wijnhuis Zeewijck'.

Here you can watch the videoreport we made.

A few facts make this festival different to other festivals.
First there's the strong accent on rum. During this festival the Dutch Rum Awards are presented.

Secondly the festival has a few distinguished guests, namely the Cuban Ambassador to the Kingdom of the
Netherlands Ms. Zelmys María Domínguez Cortina, the Mayor of Velsen (the municipality that includes IJmuiden)mr Franc Weerwind who is accompanied by the deputy mayor Arjen Verkaik.
Great thing is that they stayed at the festival after the official part and took time the visit several stalls and brands

(Brand toolkit of The Macallan)

During this festival you can taste different kind of rum and whisky, but there a nice variety of food as well. Dutch law sadly prohibits the sale of alcohol in bottles but fortunately you can spend your money on other stuff. For example you will find the people of Verspuy Interieur, who sell some nice whisky related gadgets, like the whiskychair (as seen in the video).
There's whisky writer Hans Offringa with his wife Becky, with his wide range of books, that he is happy to sign for you. Or a nice (cuban) cigar you can smoke on the adjacent terrace.

The festival takes place on the top floor of the Holiday in. So after the afternoon session you can take a long walk on the beach and if you visit the evening session you can take the elevator straight to your room.

Check out the website for next year's edition of the festival (11th October), it's worth a visit.

©Whiskytips 2013

donderdag 10 oktober 2013

Potstill Festival Amersfoort, the Netherlands 4-6 October 2013

For the 11th time in a row, Dutch whisky drinks company Van Wees organised the Potstill Festival in Amersfoort, right in the heart of the Netherlands.
Just last June we celebrated the 50th anniversary of mr Han van Wees in the whisky business. You can read our blog about that event here.
Whiskytips was @ the Potstill do make a video report, as we did on two previous occasions.

Nice element in this festival is the combination of Scotch whisky, whisk(e)y from other countries, bourbon, rye and other distillates, like armagnac, calavados and jenever.
First year we went, we only concentrated on nosing and tasting whisky, which is basically a shame, because you're missing out on a lot of other nice flavours and experiences.

This year's edition also had a special limited festival bottling, a 10 YO Glenfarclas, that will become a collectable in the near future for sure. And if not, it's a great dram, we tried it.

Another nice aspect of the festival is the Treasure room. For €20 extra you get the chance to taste rare, often independent bottlings, that are long gone in most cases. What to think about a Rosebank of Macduff 1969? A good deal we think.

Meanwhile moviemaker Gwen Jansen was filming for her upcoming documentary "Nederland Whiskyland", that covers all aspects of the whisky scene in the Netherlands, with its festivals, clubs, restaurants, shops etc. It is a crowfunded documentary and everyone can particpate in this unique film. Just check www.nederlandwhiskyland.nl. (It's in Dutch, but Google will help)

Whiskywriter Robin Brilleman was there to sign his book. In the Netherlands law prohibits the sale of alcohol during events like these (how we envie our more liberal neighbour countries), but you can sell books, so luckily there was some money to be spent.
The Potstill Festival has good connections to some of the brands (not surprisingly also imported by Van Wees), which gives room to new introductions or at least the news about it.
This way we could learn that Arran will be releasing a limited Milennium Cask Bottling and Benromach will do another Sassicaia Finish soon. We can't wait!
Right after the afternoon session people rushed to the retail store of Van Wees in Amersfoort to get a bottle of whisky they just tasted.
A short impression can be found here.

Our winner of the festival was the Balmenach 1988 24 YO, cask 2794 bottled by Signatory at cask strength.
The bottle should retail for around €85-€90.
Our happiness was even greater when we found out that Van Wees have bottled a second cask of Balmenach, cask 2795 (also cask strength), for roughly the same price, in their own range, the Ultimate.
The warm flavours just keep popping up and you're used to winter time straight away.

Concluding remarks: great festival, lots of different drinks to be tasted, gives the opportunity to look beyond your whiskyfrontiers and sharpen yer tastebuds, not too big and commercial; let's hope it will stay that way. See you at the 12th edition next year and look out for the Wallace tartan.

©Whiskytips 2013

zondag 8 september 2013

Tasting Kilkerran Sherry Wood 46%

While The Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys is playing through the speakers we are tasting a new release by Glengyle Distillery.
This is the first release to be (specifically) matured in sherry wood, at the same time a bourbon matured version was released.
Glengyle is a distillery in Campeltown, originally built in 1872. Already in 1925 Glengyle was closed for a period of 75 years. After being acquired by the owner of Springbank in 2000, the distillery restarted production in 2004.
In 2007 a first limited 3 year old was released, subtitled "Work In Progress". Meanwhile, apart from the Sherry and Bourbon Woods, four Works In Progress have been released so far.

Another noticeable thing to mention is that Glengyle uses the stills, spirit safe and spirit receivers of the now closed Ben Wyvis distillery (ever tasted Ben Wyvis? We salute you!). This alone is a good reason to buy a bottle of Kilkerran..
By the way, the whisky is not named after the distillery because Glengyle was already in use for a blended malt by Loch Lomond.
Of course this whisky is non chill filtered and has natural colour.
Add a drop of water, swirl gently and enhance your nosing and tasting experience. The water is from Crosshill Loch. They also try to use as much local barley as possible. The malting is done at the neighbouring distillery of Springbank.

Whiskytips tasting notes:
Coulour: Orange gold
Nose: Nutmeg, gingerspices, walnut, orange peels, chocolate
Taste: Sweet (even some dark sugar when water is added), hazelnut chocolate, honey, slightly bitter (wine tannines?), gingerwine, grapefruit
Finish: Tannines again, taste still develops, medium dry and now some (charred) wood appears.

Concluding remarks
Allthough this Kilkerran release is also called Work In Progress and the whisky has the young, quite fierce character, at the same time there's already a wonderful nose and oily feeling to this malt. This makes it an very interesting experience, to see how Kilkerran will develop over the years into the optimal flavoursetting, while keeping in mind the very capable people of Springbank are involved.


©Whiskytips 2013

Whiskypedia- Charles MacLean
Malt Whisky Yearbook 2013 - Ingvar Ronde

zondag 23 juni 2013

Tasting Benromach 12 YO Portwood Finish

The Benromach distillery in located in the northern of Forres, just off the A96 in Speyside, Scotland.
Benromach was founded back in 1898 by Duncan MacCallum and F.W. Brickman.
The distillery has an on and off history of production (as many other distilleries by the way). The own floor maltings stopped in 1968 and in 1983 the distillery was closed and dismantled.
Fortunately independent bottlers Gordon and MacPhail (one off the largest, if not the largest in Scotland) saw this as an opportunity for a constant supply of their own malt whisky not far from their head office in Elgin. They decided to buy Benromach in 1993 from United Distillers (Diageo). After this, other independent bottlers followed them by buying (Signatory) or building a distillery (Adelphi).
All new equipment was installed (except for the spirit safe that came from Millburn distillery) and the refurbished distillery was officially opened in 1995 by Prince Charles.
The first bottling from the new production was released in 2004.
Story goes that after going back into production, United Distillers gave Benromach a box of new-make samples from before closure and the spirit character turned out to be quite identical. Only the water was the same.
Although Benromach doesn’t do its own floor maltings anymore, it’s still a handcrafted whisky, being produced by only two men. The measuring of the volume of the casks after filling for example is done with the old gross and tare system (Weighing the casks before filling) instead of using automatic gauges.
The yearly capacity of Benromach is 500,000 litres of alcohol per year, but in 2012 less than 150,000 litres were produced, making Benromach the smallest working distillery in Speyside. The distillery also has a visitor centre awarded four stars by the Scottish Tourist Board.
The good news is that more and more people worldwide are picking up this small batch malt whisky (most of the production is marketed as single malt), so Gordon and MacPhail decided to double production and an extra employee will be added to the current staff.

After this introduction we finally come the tasting notes of this Benromach Port Wood Finish expression.
Benromach has done more Port Wood Finishes, this one is distilled in 2000 and bottled in 2012. It was finished for a period of 8 (!) year in Port Casks. Now this raises the question what is the definition of a finish. Maybe the Scottish Whisky Association could step in.
The whisky is bottled at 45% ABV strength. Just 1460 bottles were released in this batch.
Tasting notes
Nose: soft sweet wine notes (the port is there allright), dried plum, pineapple/coconut (tropical), ashy, smoky
Taste: wine, sweet (with added water even sugarlike), plums again, red fruit jam, smoke, tannins, clove
Finish: wite pepper, medium dry, slightly bitter, warming

Concluding remarks: Benromach fans as we are, we tend to be a bit biased, but this is definitely one of the better port wood finished whiskies. Some port wood finishes simply to have too much of the port character and this one goes very well with the smoky/ashy tones that characterizes Benromach so much. Be quick to get a bottle though, since there are only 1460 (-1..) around.

Whiskypedia - Charles MacLean
The smart guide to single malt scotch whisky - Elizabeth Riley Bell
Malt whisky yearbook 2013 - Ingvar Ronde

©Whiskytips 2013

zondag 2 juni 2013

Celebrating 50 years Han van Wees in the world of whisky

Today over 100 whiskylovers gathered in Amersfoort to celebrate the 50th anniversary of mr Han van Wees in the spirit and whisky-business.
Amersfoort is a city in the heart of the Netherlands and home to the family run business of Van Wees which was founded in 1921.
Van Wees opened up the Dutch market for good quality whisky. A very nice story is the one about a ship with blended whisky, that had sunk in Dutch waters. Van Wees bought the whisky and it proved to be A-quality scotch, intended for the South American market. Since the Dutch had to deal with lesser quality (A- quality went to dollar countries in those days), these bottles sold like hotcakes. However, the importer and producer were not happy with this lot being on the market and bought it back from Van Wees, who made a profitable deal.

Van Wees was also the first company to import Glenfarclas, Springbank and Macallan. They also have very good ties with Gordon and MacPhail, one if not the largest independent bottler in Scotland.
Apart from this, Van Wees releases its own brand of independent bottlings, the Utimate Collection. Most of these bottlings are single cask, for a very good price.
The afternoon was divided in two parts.
The first part kicked off with a nice calvados. Meanwhile mr Van Wees lectured the audience, not only on the history of Van Wees but also on the spirits, that were tasted blindly. So we learned that calvados is not only made from apple, but also from pear.
Some more great spirits from France followed, with an 1972 Armagnac Domaine Boingneres as our personal favourite.
The line up was closed by a 21 YO Whyte and Mackays blended Scotch, which was simply marvellous and a good bridge to the things to come.

Mr Van Wees is never afraid to say the things as he sees them so he wholeheartedly shared his opinion on whisky blends. For him A-quality blends from the sixties are better than most single malts these days.
After lunch we proceeded bravely first with a 1963 Glen Grant bottled by Gordon and Macphail. Now, there is one thing when drinking whisky of such provenance: it gets hard to appreciate a lot of other stuff that’s around, your taste gets somewhat spoiled..
In our case we got spoiled even more, since the second one was a Tamdhu 1962.
Mr Van Wees picked these bottlings because he is convinced that coal fired distilleries, as most of them were in these days, make better whisky than the present steam fired boilers.
So we moved one to another jewel from the sixties, the Strathisla 1964, again a Gordon and Macphail bottling.
Fourth sample was a Glen Avon 1961 apparently produced by Glen Farclas.
After savouring this magnificent dram we tasted the Glen Elgin 1968. Last one was (we thought) a sherried 32 YO Tobermory, a whisky with it’s own definite character.
Then came the surprise malt… a 16 YO Port Ellen, by the Ultimate, one of their own bottlings. Almost impossible to find these days, and if so, only for big money.

This treat was definitely a worthy closure of this memorable day.
We can only hope that the stories mr Van Wees has told and probably many more will be put to paper someday. We did hear that plans are made to make a documentary on the whiskyworld, with mr Van Wees and the Van Wees company with a prominent role in it.
We will keep you posted!

©Whiskytips 2013

dinsdag 30 april 2013

New Ardbeg Embassy in Rijswijk, the Netherlands, 27th April 2013

On Saturday 27th April 2013 a new Ardbeg Embassy was appointed in the Netherlands to Whiskyspecialist Van der Boog.
For this occasion owner Stefan van der Boog had invited customers to a genuine Ardbeg BBQ.

As you can see in the videoreport the peat fires were burning and some fine Ardbegs were tasted, including rare gems as the Rollercoaster, the Gallileo and the Alligator, provided for by Moet Hennessy.
Around 50 people enjoyed nice food and fine drams. The guests were also able to win some (Ardbeg) prices, like cufflings, hipflasks and mini-bottles. All in all a successful event.

The shop of Stefan van der Boog is located in Rijswijk on the Prinses Irenelaan 359, close to The Hague in the Netherlands.

The place is lterally packed with whisky, single malts as well as blends, from all over the world. Van der Boog also releases his own bottlings, Boogieman.

Bottles are sold through the webshop, www.passievoorwhisky.nl, but not all bottles available in the shop are sold in the webshop. Stefan also buys and sells whiskycollections, so when you're in the neighbourhood, be sure to pop in.

Wijn-en Whiskyspecialist Van der Boog
Prinses Irenelaan 359
2285 GA Rijswijk, the Netherlands

©Whiskytips 2013

maandag 22 april 2013

Whisky in Leiden, 20th April 2013

On Saturday April 20 2013 the "Whisky in Leiden" Festival took place.

Leiden is a city in the west of the Netherlands, between Amsterdam and the Hague and well worth a visit when you're around. In Leiden the first university in the Netherlands was founded in 1575.
Venue of the festival was the "Stadsgehoorzaal", a 19th century building, still used for plays and concerts.
The people of Whiskysite.nl picked exactly the right spot for this event. Right in the middle of town and, very important, easy accessible for public transport.
The day was divided in two sessions, one in the afternoon and one in the evening. Whiskytips visited the afternoon session.

This festival has it's own character amongst the other festivals around. First of all there's a relaxed atmosphere, due to the limited number of people per session (ca. 500) and the fact that there is no real commercial drive. Sure, the people manning the stalls want to enlighten the products they represent, but since it's not allowed by Dutch law to sell products during these kinds of events, you get more than a sales talk. You don't have to wait too long to get a dram and there's time for a serious whisky chat. If something like that exists in the first place.
Another good thing is that rolls, with (Dutch..) cheese and ham are included in the ticketprice. So you see most people taking a little break to have something to eat, which also helps preventing people becoming too enthusiastic in tasting.
At the festival there is a nice blend between official importers and bottlings and small independents, like Kintra, Sansibar and Whiskyman.
For the starting whisky aficionado there are a lot of drams to be tasted without having to pay extra. For the more experienced whiskytaster you can spend a few extra euros and try some excellent old malts. This brings us to one dilemma: tasting the rare and old first to prevent the risk of becoming taste-numb at the end of a session or, save the best thing for last to prevent the tastebuds becoming too spoiled right at the beginning.

We chose the latter option. Which brought us to the people of Van Wees, a famous Dutch importer of whisky, who have their own range called The Ultimate Collection. For just € 6 we tasted a Mortlach 1971, bottled by Gordon & MacPhail. For a whisky like that you really have to take your time, so we started to nose this gem half an hour before closing time, giving this whisky the respect it deserves.
All in all a great event, well organised by the people of Whiskysite, let's hope they will keep this concept (and venue) for next year's edition.

©Whiskytips 2013

dinsdag 26 maart 2013

Whisky Festival Noord Nederland, Groningen, NL, 22-24 March 2013

The Whiskyfestival Noord-Nederland (North Netherlands) took place from the 22nd to the 24th of March 2013 in the lovely city of Groningen. Venue was the Der Aakerk, a medieval churchbuilding, right in the citycenter.
Around 5,000 enthusiastic whiskyfans visited this 8th edition of the festival.

Allthough it seemed slightly more crowded than last year's edition, it is still an easy going festival.
This festival attracts a wide variety of whiskydrinkers. For people who are just getting introduced to the world of distilled grain spirit, the festival offers a wide arrange of drams to choose from. And this for an entrance fee of €25,-.
For the more experienced whisky-enthusiast there's a variety of options. Numbers of masterclasses, a special whiskydinner on the night before the start of the festival at the Prinsenhof and lots of rare whiskies to choose from, for just a few euro extra.
As you can see in the video, besides drinks the festival has a lot of other things to offer, like great cheese, chocolates and all kinds and clothing.

What we really can recommend is the VIP-option. For a price of €85 you have admission to the festival with a few extras. One of them is that you don't have to stand in line in or out, no waiting for your jacket and some really rare drams to try.

A bonus is the nice food that is being served with the drams, all prepared by Inge Lanckacker, a great chef from Gand, Belgium who is specialised in cooking with whisky.
But, the greatest bonus is the chance to meet the rock and roll stars of the whisky trade, who come to the VIP-tent after finishing their masterclasses and present a special dram in a relaxed mood. People like Ad de Koning, Hans Offringa, Martine Nouet, Gordon Muir and Charles Maclean, they were all there.
All in all another great event, a big hand to all the volunteers who helped turning this festival into a success.

©Whiskytips 2013

vrijdag 15 maart 2013

Tasting Tomatin 12 YO 40% highland single malt whisky

Tomatin distillery, lying 315 metres (almost 1,000 feet) above sealevel, just 15 miles outside Inverness, was built in 1897.
The name means something like “the hillock of the juniper”.
It was the first Scottish distillery that came into Japanese hands.

It is one of the lesser known brands, that is, as a malt whisky, allthough it was once the largest malt distillery in Scotland during the seventies with 23 (!) stills.
The blends that belong to Tomatin, the Antiquary (great bottledesign) and Talisman are well known.
Tomatin malt whisky is also used in other blends, so we understand. Tomatin however is investing in promoting its own single malts a lot more. You can find them at many festivals around the world for one thing.
Also the whiskyshops seem to have picked up the enhanced attention for Tomatin whisky. We were recommended to try the 12 YO, which is basically the start of the range, with indeed a nice price. Certainly when you compare this to the prices of other Scotch whisky that are skyrocketing lately.
The 12 YO comes in a nice black box. “Distilled with pride” is the payoff. That's always good to hear.

We came to the following tasting notes:
Colour: deep copper/chestnut. But, so it says on the label, it’s colored..we can’t guess why because the label also states that this whisky was finished in Spanish sherry casks, which usually gives enough color to the whisky. Maybe too much color difference between the casks, but if you blend a lot of casks those differences will only be noticable to experts or a spectrophotometer (look it up on Wikipedia).
Nose: Funny enough it took some time for the nose to release. But after a gentle swirl the first note was honey, then ripe pear. The sherrynotes appear. While discussing the nose we also came up with the nose of liqueur
Taste: Sugarbarley, vanilla, apple, tangerine, charred wood, mouth coating. You can see it in the glass too: the “tears” are long.
Finish: Medium long, sweet, not too dry, bit of white pepper but not too sharp.

Our conclusion: this is definitely a whisky to try, a wee dram at a festival or just buy a whole bottle, it is affordable. We in any case are curious for the other Tomatin expressions.
And when you are in the neighbourhood of Inverness, make a stop at the distillery. There is a visitor centre that just has been refurbished in 2012. The distillery also has a cooperage with two coopers working, a thing you will not find at a lot distilleries.

Website: www.tomatin.com

Sources: The Malt Whisky Yearbook 2013, Whiskypedia and Discovering Scotland's Distilleries

©Whiskytips 2013

zaterdag 9 februari 2013

Tasting the Macallan 12 YO Sherry Oak Cask

One of the prestige brands in the world of single malt whisky is The Macallan. They have managed to build up quite a reputation and people are willing to pay good money for a bottle of Macallan. Not so many people know that The Macallan is also used in the Famous Grouse, a well respected blended whisky.
Last week we came across a bottle of Macallan 12 year old, matured in Sherry Oak Casks from Jerez, in the south of Spain.
Now, maturing in sherry casks will tell you something about the taste to be expected. Usually: sweet, cinnamon, nutty, chococalate, sherry of course, dried fruits, stuff like that. That doesn't make a sherried whisky a good whisky at once. Thing is that, unlike the seventies and eighties, sherry isn't that popular anymore. That itself is a pity: just treat yourself to a good bottle of sherry and you will fully understand what we are talking about. Just ask you local wine merchant.
Since less people drink sherry, there are simply less sherried casks available. Within this limited stock of casks, it is the challenge for the whisky producers to find the best barrels. Especially those ones that haven't been sulphured badly, which is by far the biggest risk fail for sherry casks.
The Macallan is one of the brands that carefully select the casks, for Scotch stills goes very well in sherry casks, allthough most of the malt whisky these days is matured in bourbon casks (and makes very good whisky as well for that matter).
We came across this bottle during the "Wild Whisky Weeks" at the Gall & Gall, a large chain of liquor stores in the Netherlands. Price was € 37. Normally a bottle like this will cost you around € 50.
To be honest: the bottle was opened and tasted upon the day of purchase. Result was that we went straight back to the shop next morning to get an extra bottle, since this bottling is in stock for only a limited time.

Because of its reputation and quality, the Macallan is a whisky that's victim of imitation. To ensure customers they buy the real deal, Macallan seals their bottles with a special green hologram (see pic.). The hologram depects the Easter Elchies House, built in 1700, that, according to the Macallan, is their "spiritual home".
Tasting notes for this bottling:
Colour: Deep copper
Nose: Sweet, barleysugar, After Eight (yes with the mint), dried apricot, spiced cake
Taste: chocolate, there's the mint again very subtle, cinnamon, caramel, some (charred)wood, clove
Finish: smooth, pleasant, medium long, sweet, milkchocolate

Conclusion: If you like sherried whisky, this is a well balanced whisky for you. Of course, an older sherried whisky will give you more complexity than this 12 year old, especially if you let the older one rest in your glass for a while. But you will pay a lot more and this is just a very tasteful example of how whisky in sherry cask matches, already at a relatively young age.

©Whiskytips 2013