Elijah Craig 12 Year Old

About Heaven Hill  

Heaven Hill

Heaven Hill was founded in 1935, shortly after the end of the Prohibition in America, by several investors, one of whom was Joseph Beam (Jim Beam’s cousin). The other investors were a part of the Shapira family, who own and run the distillery to this day. The Beam family also continue to work as Master Distillers for Heaven Hill. Heaven Hill pride themselves on their history and traditions. They are located in Kentucky and source their ingredients from local suppliers. They are the 7th largest alcohol supplier in the USA and is the largest family owned, independent producer of spirits in America. They also have a bourbon inventory of over 1 million barrels. In addition to bourbon, the company also produce Burnett’s Vodka and Gin, and a range of liqueurs.

Elijah Craig 12 Year Old 

Elijah Craig gets its name from a reverend who founded a distillery in 1789. Heaven Hill credit Craig as the Father of Bourbon, for first ageing whiskey in charred barrels, after his barn caught fire and burnt all of his barrels. Rather then discarding them, he added whiskey, and found that the flavour and colour of the whiskey was greatly improved. At least, that’s how the story goes! Heaven Hill have kept his memory alive, and their Elijah Craig is currently the second best selling bourbon in America.

Elijah Craig 12 Year Old
Price: £36.83 (Master of Malt), £39.45 (The Whisky Exchange)

Produced by Heaven Hill, this Small Batch Kentucky Bourbon has been aged for 12 years in charred American oak barrels. This dram is 75% corn, and comes in at 47% ABV. 
Appearance: dark amber with a reddish hue. 
Nose: Powerful notes of musky oak and roasted oranges, with the sweetness of vanilla. There are hints of tart cranberries, cloves and just a pinch of salt.
Palate: Initially, there is a big citrus hit and lots of orange peel. Overall, the palate follows on from the nose with oak, vanilla and cloves. There are hints of toffee and adding a dash of water really increases the vanilla sweetness of this dram.
Finish: Peppery and rich. Reminiscent of rum and raisin. Hints of toffee coat the throat, as well as apple cores and just a touch of aniseed. A dash of water brings out some dry coffee tones and there is musky charred oak throughout. 

Tamdhu Tweet Tasting

About Tamdhu

Tamdhu Distillery
The Tamdhu distillery is set upon the banks of the River Spey, not far from Knockando. There’re many independent bottlings of Tamdhu’s single malt Scotch, but only two official releases – the Tamdhu 10 Year Old & the Tamdhu Batch Strength. Tamdhu was founded in 1899 by a group of whisky blenders, including Grant, Dewar and Walker. Inspired by the Diamond Jubilee, this consortium raised the equivalent of £20 million to fund their new venture. The group first purchased the land and then enlisted the help of Charles C Doig Esq. Doig insisted that Tamdhu be installed with the most advance equipment and employ modern techniques. This resulted in a waterwheel positioned beneath the floor for optimal performance, a redesigned kiln to reduce heat loss and waste extracted using the Archimedean Screw.  

The distillery not only produces all of its own malt, but enough to supply malt to the other distilleries owned by the Edrington group – such as Glenrothes – and distils 4,000,000 litres in total. The distillery was purchased in 2011 by Ian Macleod Distillers. 

Tweet Tastings are organised by Steve Rush over at The Whisky Wire. Many thanks for the samples.

Tamdhu Tweet Tasting Set

Tamdhu 10 Year Old

This was an opportunity for us to revisit the Tamdhu 10 Year Old. For our previous review, please follow this link! Produced using a combination of peated and unpeated barley, this 40% spirit was matured in 1st and 2nd fill sherry casks.

Price: £34.84 (Master of Malt), £34.95 (The Whisky Exchange)

Appearance: A hazy, light amber/golden yellow.

Nose: Soft, smooth and sweet. There are notes of juicy red grapes, evidence of the sherry cask finish, with musky brown sugar and oats. Hints of sweetness come through in honeycomb, sultanas and butterscotch with just a hint of almonds. 

Palate: All flavours of nose follow through in the palate, with creamy toffee and maple syrup, vanilla butter and a little citrus in satsuma and nectarine.

Finish: Subtle floral notes with a hint of salt, bitter almond and marzipan, A dry smoke lingers. 

Tamdhu 10 Year Old

Tamdhu 10 Year Old Limited Edition

Matured in 100% first-fill sherry casks, there are only 1000 bottles of this 46% ABV spirit.

Price: £120 (Tamdhu Online)

Appearance: Dark amber

Nose: Lots of gingerbread and honey, this smells like a christmas dram! There is a touch of almond and grassy hay, but also waxy wood polish, in the nicest possible way!

Palate: Musky and deep sherry notes of plum, grapes, cloves, cinnamon and allspice, with a little citrus of mulled orange peel.

Finish:  Lightly smoked, grassy with just a hint of aniseed in caraway seeds.

Tamdhu 10 Year Old Limited Edition

Tamdhu Batch Strength 2

No age statement and matured in 100% first-fill sherry casks, this spirit is bottled at 58.5% ABV.

Price: £57.53 (Master of Malt), £57.65 (The Whisky Exchange)

Appearance: Darker than the 10 year old, but not as dark as the 10 year Limited Edition.

Nose: Sherried fruits, red grape and marischino cherries. There is a slight saltiness to this dram, with hints of wood and barely coming through with vanilla and almond.

Palate: A real tongue tingler! Warming oak, ashy and smokey, with the sweetness of vanilla, butterscotch and cinnamon, and a hint of citrus.

Finish: The sharpness of the palate follows through long after this whisky is gone. It is smokey, with a hint of aniseed and chilli.

Tamdhu Batch Strength 2

Tamdhu New Make Spirit

Bottled at 69.7% ABV, this is the stuff that gets aged in the barrels.

Price: Not available for purchase.

Appearance: Colourless and transparent

Nose: Sweet and buttery popcorn, with sunflower oil and chives. The nose is smooth and there is suprisingly no burn. There are hints of burnt flapjack.

Palate: For almost 70% ABV, this dram has no burn! The palate is doughy, but with hints of agave and plant stems. There is a sweetness like concentrated Dandelion and Burdock.

Finish: Custard creams and just a little kick of spice.

The Verdict

Our favourite dram of the night was the Tamdhu 10 Year Old Limited Edition. Whilst it may be a little pricey, we do not recommend missing out on this tasty Tamdhu,

UK vs UKA – Glen Grant vs Wild Turkey (Tweet Tasting)

About Glen Grant Distillery

Glen Grant Distillery

It was in 1840 that the Glen Grant distillery was founded by brother John and James. The distillery
was in the perfect location to flourish with the sea and port of Garmouth nearby, the River Spey to the south and Speyside’s abundant barley fields. In 1872, the original founders died and were followed by James ‘The Major’ Grant. The Major was a man of innovation and new ideas – he was the first man to own a car in the Highlands, ensured that Glen Grant was first distillery to have an electric light and introduced the tall slender stills and purifiers that resulted in the Glen Grant we know today. In 1972, the Glenlivet and Glen Grant Ltd merged with Hill, Thomson & Co Ltd and Longmorn Distillers Ltd to form Glenlivet Distillers Ltd. The original families’ interest in the distilleries was maintained but was then supported by shareholders – including Suntory. In 2006, Glen Grant was acquired by Campari following the acquisition of Allied Domecq by Pernod Ricard.

About Wild Turkey Distillery

Wild Turkey Distillery

Wild Turkey can trace its heritage to 1855, when Austin Nichols started selling wine and spirits as a wholesale grocer. It is the business that would later own Wild Turkey. Fourteen years later, in 1869, the Ripy brothers open their family distillery on Wild Turkey Hill in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. The
Ripy brothers sold bourbon to various wholesalers who bottled it under their own brands – Austin Nichols was one of those wholesalers. It would be fair to presume that this is where the distillery got its name, but it’s not. The name originated in 1940, when an Austin Nichols’ executive took a batch of bourbon from the warehouse out on a hunt with friends. Of course, they were hunting wild turkey. After that trip, his friends would constantly ask if they could get some of “that wild turkey bourbon”. In 1942, the first ever Wild Turkey bourbon was bottled. In 1971, Austin Nichols purchased the Ripy’s distillery and it was renamed Wild Turkey distillery.

Now it wouldn’t be an “About Wild Turkey” without mention of the Russells. Jimmy Russell and son Eddie are the only father and son master distillers in the world. As well as this, Jimmy is the world’s oldest master distiller at 82 years old and has been distilling for 63 years. Son Eddie joined his father at Wild Turkey in 1981 and worked his way up the ranks to earn the position of master distiller after 34 years.

The Tasting

Thanks to Steve at The Whisky Wire for organising this UK vs USA tasting! The pairings were Glen Grant 10 Year Old vs Wild Turkey 101, and Glen Grant 12 Year Old vs Wild Turkey Rye.

Glen Grant 10 Year Old

Matured in ex-bourbon casks and bottled at a modest 40% ABV.

Price: £30.34 (Master of Malt); £30.45 (The Whisky Exchange)

Appearance: Pale yellow, like straw, in colour.

Nose: The sweetness of pear drops and tropical pineapple, with just a hint of apple. This is met with fresh ginger. It is reminiscent of lemon cheesecake, with the graininess of  oats and hints of dry bark.

Palate:  Soft, sweet and smooth. The sweetness from the nose is carried forward with more notes of pear drops, honeydew melon and green apples. There’s also caramel and toffee, and just a little vanilla and clotted cream.

Finish:  Soft again, with more pear drops and a light salted caramel. There is a hint of smoke and grassy or herbal undertones. Surprisingly quenching.

Glen Grant 10 Year Old

Wild Turkey 101

75% corn whisky aged for at least 6 years in charred barrels before bottling at 50.5% ABV.

Price: £31.43 (Master of Malt); £31.55 (The Whisky Exchange)

Appearance: The colour of burnt toffee; a dark amber.

Nose: A mellow nose. Vanilla and burnt caramel are the initial notes, slowly overwhelmed by banana, and hints of sultana. Like dark wooden furniture that’s been lightly varnished, and waxy, bruised red apples.

Palate: Sweet, with just a hint of smoke. Banana dominates the palate, along with rhubarb and custard, with a dash of toffee and possibly a light cinnamon. There is the softness of honey yet the spice of black pepper. .

Finish: The finish is oaty, corn-like and quite dry, with the bitterness of walnut skins. The banana from the nose and palate can also be found long after the whisky has gone.

Wild Turkey 101

Glen Grant 12 Year Old

Matured in ex-bourbon barrels for 12 years, with an ABV of 43%.

Price: £42.83 (Master of Malt); £42.95 (The Whisky Exchange)

Appearance: Pale yellow

Nose: A strongly honeyed barbecue sauce, lightly smokey and with hints of chili. There are fruity notes of green apple, orange zest and pear drops, with some subtle oats and grassy tones.

Palate: Honeyed barbecue sauce with hints of chili. There are also notes of green apple and hints of citrus from grapefruit, with a little bit of toffee, or dulce du leche. 

Finish: A sharp finish with a little smoke. The grapefruit from palate shines through to the finish, as do tones of toffee.

Glen Grant 12 Year Old

Wild Turkey Straight Rye

This 65% Rye, 23% corn and 12% malted barley dram was aged in heavily charred American Oak casks and bottled at 40.5% ABV.

Price: £27.55 (Master of Malt); £27.45 (The Whisky Exchange)

Appearance: Light amber in colour, slightly orange.

Nose: Salty, like driftwood and wet sad, with hints of vanilla, powdered ginger and caramel. There is slight citrus in dry orange peels, and a savoury, starchiness of cumin, nigella seeds and boiled rice.

Palate: Strong notes of caraway and aniseed, with black pepper are met with the sweetness of caramel.

Finish: The finish is packed with caraway, and a light bitterness. There are notes of bay leaf and orange peel, with a hint of vanilla.

Wild Turkey Straight Rye

The Verdict

The winner in our eyes? Now that is hard to say. Sometimes you’re in the mood for a light scotch, sometimes a straight rye! All of the drams are well worth their money, affordable luxery! That being said, if we had to pick a bottle to buy first, we would choose… Glen Grant 10 Year Old! A delightful, smooth, quenching drink that can be enjoyed by whisky newbies or seasoned enthusiasts.

The Winner!

Glenfiddich Experimental Series IPA Cask

About Glenfiddich

The Glenfiddich Distillery

Glenfiddich is situated in the glen of the river Fiddich and is Gaelic for Valley of Deer – hence the
stag symbol on the bottles. Owned by William Grant & Sons, Glenfiddich was the first distillery to be built by Grant and his nine children (seven sons and two daughters)  in 1886. In just a year Grant and his children, with the help of a single stone mason, completed the distillery and production began on Christmas Day, 1887. Glenfiddich became so successful that in 1892 the Grants built the Balvenie distillery less than a mile away. Daughter Isabella married Charles Gordon, Glenfiddich’s first salesman who, in 1909, travelled the world and established distribution networks in thirty countries. Now Glenfiddich is sold in one hundred and eighty.

In 1923, grandson Grant Gordon joins the distillery. In spite of American prohibition being in full swing, Grant Gordon increased Glenfiddich’s production. This allowed Glenfiddich to meet the demand for fine, aged whisky following prohibitions repeal. Whilst being traditional Glenfiddich was also pioneering for the whisky industry. In 1957, Grant Gordon brought in the first on-site coppersmiths. In 1959, he established the distilleries cooperage – one of the few remaining to this day. In 1961, Glenfiddich reveals their iconic triangular bottle. In 1998, Glenfiddch’s fifth Malt Master creates the Solera Vat – now found throughout Scottish distilleries.

Glenfiddich Experimental Series IPA Cask

Late in 2016 Glenfiddich announced they would be pushing the boundaries of Scotch whisky by releasing a series of experimental bottlings. This began with them releasing IPA experiment and Project XX – a bottling consisting of 20 different casks chosen by the brand’s 20 global ambassadors! They intend to release a new experiment every year.

The IPA cask is a no age statement,  43% bottling that was finished in casks that contained a bespoke IPA created by Speyside Craft Brewery. The whisky was aged in ex-bourbon American Oak barrels. It was then removed, and beer added to the cask for 1 month. The beer was then removed and the whisky returned for an additional 3-4 months.

We also got to try the IPA that seasoned the cask of this whisky, called Brew Two as it was the champion of the three brews developed and tested by the distillery! This 6% challenger hop beer is not for sale. It’s easy to see why it was used in the barrels, it’s zesty and strong and holy hell is it bitter! That ought to have seasoned the cask perfectly. Next we want to try the beer after it has come out of the cask…

Many thanks to Steve at The Whisky Wire for this Tweet Tasting!

Glenfiddich IPA

Price: £44.95 (Master of Malt), £45.55 (The Whisky Exchange)

Nose: you can tell from nosing this dram that it’s going to be an interesting one. Initial hints of cereals, grass and a subtle orange zest are followed by sweet honey and caramel. It’s reminiscent of apple pie straight from the oven, but also makes us think of carrot cake, down to the creamy icing!

Palate: sweet and smooth! We get hints of melted butter just starting to burn, honey and pecan nuts. There is a certain maltiness to this whisky – it may be the power of suggestion but this is perhaps a little hoppy? You can taste the ex-bourbon casks and subtle suggestions of roasted pears and grilled pineapple.

Finish: a memorable, sharp finish, packed with the typical Glenfiddich citrus! There’s the fruity sharpness of oranges, mango and ripe grapefruit, as well as ginger and slightly softer hints of honey. Dried oak lingers long after the whisky is gone and, once again, it is perhaps a little hoppy!

Overall: Quite a dessert-y, summery dram! We would definitely consider buying a bottle for such a reasonable price. It’s a dram that’s got character.

We recommend that you try a serving of this dram with ice and a peel of blood orange! Their signature serve.

Port Askaig Tasting!

About Speciality Drinks Ltd. 

Speciality Drinks Ltd is the work of Sukhinder and Raj Singh, two brothers with fifty years of experience in the drinks industry between them. It’s more than likely you have heard of the Singh brothers, the creators and owners of The Whisky Exchange. The Speciality Drinks range includes a number of brands: The Single Malts of Scotland, Port Askaig, Elements of Islay, Black Tot rum and Ilegal mezcal.  

We tried four drams in one tasting from the Port Askaig range that we have not tried previously, and we’ve compiled the tasting notes for your convenience! Here’s what we thought:

Port Askaig Tasting

Port Askaig 8 Year Old

The 8 year old is the youngest expression in the Port Askaig range. This bottling comes in at 45.8%. 
Port Askaig 8 Year Old

Price: £40.55 (The Whisky Exchange)

Nose: BBQ, young – like a fantastic new make with strong peppermint. Nevertheless there is a grassy freshness with a distinct saltiness. There are also familiar notes of charcoal. 

Palate: peppery- it burns the gums! Hints of smoke with citrus lemon and savoury seaweed. There is a burst of green apple and fresh grape. Burnt sugar adds a dark, dessert feel.  

Finish: The spice of chili heat blends with smoke and a medicinal tang. The peppermint on the nose is resurrected in the finish with an orange zest.

Port Askaig 15 Year Old

Price: £75.40 (Master of Malt), £75.55 (The Whisky Exchange)

Port Askaig 15 Year Old

Nose: It’s like a cake – seriously. It is markedly different to the 8 year old & 100 proof. It is reminiscent of a Battenberg, with cream and sticky raisins. A strong suggestion of rhubarb before a hit of smoke. 

Palate: Initial hints of salted caramel. There is a wave of stewed red fruits with notes of roughly crushed peppercorns. A strange combination of spicy leather and smoke is followed by chocolate and cream.

Finish: A much shorter finish with a combination of smoky, sweet and spiced flavours.  

Port Askaig 16 Year Old

Price: £79.80 (Master of Malt), £80.55 (The Whisky Exchange)

Port Askaig 16 Year Old

Nose: More in tune with the 8 year old and 100 proof! Hints of vanilla blends with spice, salt and quite a heavy amount of peat. It develops into a suggestion of tobacco and is rather musty. Nevertheless, it remains sweet & fresh. 

Palate: Deeply peaty. The freshness is there and there are some autumnal notes. Powerful hints of ginger combines with subtle nutty flavours. Citrus notes of orange and grapefruit emerge with sweeter notes of red fruit and the bitterness of dark chocolate.

Finish: Sweet and smooth flavours of peat and smoke with the distinct tones of coffee beans.

Port Askaig 19 Year Old

Price: £99.74 (Master of Malt), £99.95 (The Whisky Exchange)
Port Askaig 19 Year Old

Nose: A fresh nose of subtle peat and cut grass followed by vanilla fudge and a slight saltiness. 

Palate: Tropical! Possibly pineapple? A continuation of the fresh nose with apple, mint and white grape. This gives way to smooth smoke and ash notes.

Finish: A quick finish! Very smooth and clean with an abundance of salt. 

Port Askaig 30 Year Old

Price: £375 (Master of Malt), £375 (The Whisky Exchange)

Nose: A burst of white grape, it is almost reminiscent of wine but not quite acidic enough. The grape is followed by salted vanilla. 

Port Askaig 30 Year Old

Palate: A plethora of smoke, vanilla and caramel. The initial flavours of dessert are followed by savoury notes of salt and barley. These, in turn, give way to natural notes of wood and grass. It is almost a damp flavour, a wood that tastes like whisky rather than the other way round. 

Finish: A smokier finish than either the nose or palate would suggest; both char and ash! There is also a powerful woodiness. This dram is not as intense as the others in the Port Askaig range and the peat has mellowed out. 

We tried this one paired with Lindt Salted Caramel Chocolate, and strongly recommend that you do the same!