Friday, December 14, 2018

Douglas Laing's Rock Oyster & Rock Oyster 18 Year - Limited Edition

Independent bottler Douglas Laing & Co are keeping themselves busy adding new additions and special releases to their Remarkable Regional Malt Series. Last year - 2017 - the first batch of their vatted Campbeltown malt; The Gauldrons saw the light of day and this summer the second batch followed suit.

Over the last couple of years, special age stated, barrel finished and limited editions of the standard Remarkable Regional Malts has been released, from the 25 years old - Gold Edition - Big Peat, to a 13 years old Scallywag, a 18 years old Rock Oyster, and no less than 3 different age stated editions of Timorous Beastie. 10, 18 and 21 years old to be exact. The Epicurean was released as a cask strength edition, the Rock Oyster as a sherry cask and cask strength edition and Scallywag as a vintage 2009 ”chocolate” edition.

The most reason limited edition release from Douglas Laing’s Remarkable Regional Malts series was the 10 years old; With A Twist” which is a blend of Single Malts from all of Scotland’s Whisky producing regions, representing the various brands from the Remarkable Regional brands series. In Douglas Laing’s own words; “the specialist packaging has been created to raise a smile and to reflect the ethos of Douglas Laing and its Regional Malts. The labels are individually numbered while the gift tube panels rotates enabling Big Peat’s iconic bearded face to sit on top of Scallywag’s furry canine body, or to line up the Timorous Beastie's Mouse body with the Epicurean’s top hatted head”. Or in some other bloke’s words; The packaging is a real marketing gimmick, and was created to make the whisky collectors head spin faster than a flying bullet.

Yep, the party is going strong over at Douglas Laing and Mr Fred Laing seems to want a piece of the limited edition action that are rocking some whisky fans worlds, but after all, charging 190£ for his 25 years old Big Peat edition, seems to have been setting the bar a tad too high, because it's still gathering dust in several whisky retailers stores.

Today we are putting the standard edition Rock Oyster head to head with the limited 18 year old edition.

Apart from the 18 years old age statement, nothing divides the two malts. Both editions are blended malts, said to include whisky from Orkney, Jura, Arran and Islay, both bottled without the use of artificial coloring or chill-filtration, at a solid 46.8% ABV. The  
Rock Oyster is Douglas Laing’s Remarkable regional malts representative for “The Islands”, though according to SWA “The Islands” isn’t officially considered one of the Scotch Whisky Regions.

Douglas Laing's Rock Oyster
Blended Malt Scotch whisky

Distillery: Undisclosed Islands distilleries.
Bottler: Douglas Laing
Region: Islands
Age: NAS
Proof/ABV: 46,8%
Dk price: $50USD/330dkk

Points: 54/100

Not surprisingly the nose opens with coastal sea air and salty waves, followed by sweet peat smoke and pears. All in all very inviting but also a bit too predictable, but since Douglas Laing aimed to create a whisky to represent the islands, I say, as far as the nose goes, that the mission is accomplished.

Overly salty with bitter lemon, cinnamon and white pepper. With an overall sharp and rough around the edges “youthfulness” surrounding the whole tasting experience.

Short to medium finish that doesn’t leave much more than a dry bitter taste in your mouth.  

Truth be told, and it isn’t often I say so, but I actually finds this dram quite awful, and I’m actually having a hard time finishing the glass I poured. Instead of complimenting each other, the salt and the bitter lemon is fighting bravely to dominate the palate and mask the unpleasant sharp youthfulness of the dram.


Douglas Laing's Rock Oyster 18 Year – Limited Edition
Blended Scotch whisky

Distillery: Undisclosed Islands distilleries.
Bottler: Douglas Laing
Region: Islands
Age: 18 Year
Proof/ABV: 46,8%
Dk price: $91USD/600dkk

Points: 78/100

The same coastal/maritime nose, but more rounded and not so much in your face as the standard Rock Oyster, with deep fruity layers of green apple and gentle peat smoke, followed by freshly cut oak.
A mix of sweet malt and vanilla up front that quickly turns salty dry, but to my pleasant surprise, develops into a single fruity note of green apples.   

Medium black peppery finish.

It’s a big step above the standard Rock Oyster, but that isn’t exactly saying a lot. Judging on its own, I find it to be nothing more than your average enjoyable daily dram. Nothing more, nothing less.

Review By: Hasse Berg
Photos By: Matthias @blue_dram Blau



The Adventures Of Whisky Pete - Part #114

Here's a Bookers Pete ain't mad at.

Happy Holidays all! Cheers!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Liquid Treasures. Wardhead 21yrs Blended Malt (Entomology Series) & Glen Scotia 23yrs (Charlie Special Edition)

Information’s regarding the German Independent bottler Liquid Treasures is scarce, or to tell the truth of it, almost non-existing. A quick visit to their webpage, to hopefully gain some sort of information’s regarding their brand and work methods, doesn’t remotely qualify as being helpful, it only leaves you wondering, who actually starts a company with such a poor marketing strategy? But hey! At least the good news is, that the owners aren’t trying to oversell their brand, or have created some made believe stories, about how they acquired the casks that they are bottling, as some other brands have done in the past. But in this rare case, I might actually have preferred the bullshit branding methods over Liquid Treasures. Because at least it would have proven the fact, that someone, somewhere, actually cared enough about their brand, and felt so passionate about it, that they had put in an effort, to get it out there, into the world. But instead, all Liquid Treasures defines themselves by is the following; “Liquid Treasures Single Malt Whisky is a bottling range of eSpirits Whisky in Germany. We use selected single casks of scotch malt whisky & rum for our bottlings”, and that’s all she wrote! Please corrects me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t that pretty much sum up all Independent bottlers from here to entirety?

From what little information’s I manage to piece together, it seems that Liquid Treasures or bottled by eSpirits for Liquid Treasures, like a lot of their bottlings are labeled, dates back to 2011, though the majority of bottlings are from around 2014 – 2018. If you follow the trail to eSpirits webpage, it seems that eSpirits act as a whisky and rum retailer, selling bottles from Liquid Treasures and other German independent bottlers like Sansibar Whisky and The Whisky Agency. The Belgian independent bottler The Nectar, with its bottling; The Nectar of the Daily Drams, and the west Australian bottler; The Liquid Library, and last but not least eSpirits own bottlings for the Limburg Dramclub, bottled between 2013 – 17 where the first bottling from this series; a blended malt, bottled at 46,3 ABV, caring a no age statement, will set you back $153USD. Who’s’ up for buying?
Liquid Treasures are currently advertising on their webpage, that they are looking for import partners and retailers, so it seems that things aren’t quite working out for Liquid Treasures at the moment, but let’s dive into the tasting, to see if the people running Liquid Treasures are doing a better job at selecting their barrels, than they are advertising for their brand.     

Liquid Treasures Wardhead 21 years (Entomology series)
Blended Malt

Distillery: Undisclosed Speyside distilleries
Bottler: Liquid Treasures
Region: Speyside
Age: 21 Years Old
Proof/ABV: 55,5%
Distilled: 1997
Bottled: 2018
Release: Limited 214 bottles release
Cask: Bourbon Hogshead
Dk price: $114USD/750Dkk.  

Points: 79/100

The first of the two whiskies from Liquid Treasures that I’m about to be acquainted with is a 21 years old, so-called mysterious bottling from Speyside called Wardhead. Now, as many of you probably know, Wardhead is a well-known independent bottler alias for a blend of 99% Glenfiddich and 1% Balvenie, also referred to as the tea-spooning method, where a single “teaspoon” of another malt is being added to the cask, so the cask no longer can be called a single cask or single malt, and the distillery’s name or rather names stays undisclosed.

I must say that a 21 years old cask strength Glenfiddich for $114USD sounds like a pretty sweet deal, especially since the official 21 years old Glenfiddich, bottled at 40% ABV cost price is around $214USD here in Denmark.

Malty sweet with pears, pineapple and a bit of hay in the background.

Salty and raw sugary sweet. Again with an overall taste of pears, and hints of acacia honey, with just enough dried spices in the background to keep it interesting.
Surprisingly short finish, with a taste that mostly reminds me of the Danish desert; Plums in Madeira.

Liquid Treasures. Glen Scotia 23 years - Charlie special edition
Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Distillery: Glen Scotia
Bottler: Liquid Treasures
Region: Campbeltown
Age: 23 Years Old
Proof/ABV: 53,6%
Distilled: 1992
Bottled: 2015
Release: Limited 214 bottles release
Cask: Bourbon hogshead

Points: 88,5/100

Absolutely delicious nose, where the many years spent in the bourbon hogshead not surprisingly reveals itself. We got vanilla and brown sugar up front, followed by crisp apricot, whipped cream and raisins.
Mango, pineapple-juice and prunes with vanilla ice-cream. This dram is really one big Campbeltown dessert.

As it reaches its medium finish, it turns dry, with spicy pipe tobacco and nutmeg.

The Wardhead is a pleasant, though slightly boring dram, that’s, in my opinion, is priced a tad too high, the quality taking into consideration, where the Glen Scotia is drawn from a really solid barrel, that once again proves, why Campbeltown is one of my favorite Scotch whisky regions.    

Reviews By: Hasse Berg
Photos by: (All rights reserved)

The Wardhead sample was graciously sent to us by for the purposes of this review.
Son of Winston Churchill has kindly been granted permission to use the above photos in this review. 


The Adventures Of Whisky Pete - Part # 113

Whitmeyers is dope!


Thursday, November 29, 2018

Rebel Yell Small Batch Reserve

Rebel Yell. Small Batch Reserve
Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Proof/ABV: 90,6 proof/45,3%
Mash bill: Unknown wheat, corn and malt mash bill
Distillery: Luxco
Release: Ongoing
DK Price: $62USD/400DKK

57/100 points

Rebel Yell doesn’t reveal their mash-bill for their Small Batch Reserve other than the whiskey was made using wheat, corn and malt just like their 80 proof edition is, but what they do say on their webpage is; “Our new small batch reserve is bottled in smaller batches to bring out the bourbon’s best qualities” which is pure gibberish, and completely out of context, because smaller batches in comparison to what exactly? I have said it before, and I’ll keep saying it; Since the term small batch has no legal definition, it means everything and absolutely nothing, which means that the distilleries freely can use it, and define “small” however they damn please. The real reason the distilleries slap the small batch term on their bottles, is to lure the consumers into thinking that they are buying a premium product, because small batches sound like something that has been produced in a “smaller scale” instead of being mass-produced.

A steam of alcohol rises at once, which isn’t exactly a very good first sign, especially since I'm using a pretty wide and tall corpita glass for this whiskey, so my nose isn't really that close to the whisky itself. Besides, this whisky isn’t exactly what I would refer to as a high proof whiskey, bottled at 90,6 proof/45,3% ABV. Giving it a damn good swirl in the glass seems to help quite a bit, and notes of vanilla, raisins, buttery popcorn and toasted wheat-bread with sweet apricot marmalade start to emerge.

Grassy and buttery with sweet corn and caramel.

Medium finish, that doesn't leave much more than a faint alcohol burn in your mouth.

Rebel Yell’s 80 proof edition received an all-time rock-bottom score back when I reviewed it, and sadly their Small Batch Reserve is heading in the same direction, not to mention that the Small Batch Reserve costs $15,5USD more than the 80 proof edition. Tell the truth of it, it’s an almost impressive poor made whiskey, and I’m having a hard time remembering when I last had an American whiskey that flunked on all parameters… Well… besides the Rebel Yell 80 proof edition. It’s too young, too alcohol forward and spirit driven. Too thin bodied, one dimensional and light, with an almost non-existing finish.

If you want to learn more about the Rebel Yell brand, then click here to read Seth Brown’s introduction.     

Photo & review by: Hasse Berg

The Adventures Of Whisky Pete - # Part 112

Just going to squeeze right in here between these two bottles...


Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Maltbarn. Tullibardine - 24 yrs

Highland distillery Tullibardine was the first new distillery to be built in Scotland since 1900. The distillery sits on top of the old Sharp’s Brewery, in the village of Blackford. It was designed and built in 1947 by William Delmé-Evans, who later went on to design Macduff, Jura and Glenallachie distillery. Delmé-Evans and C. I. Barrett ran Tullibardine until 1953 where it was sold to Glasgow blenders Brodie Hepburn, who was bought in 1971 by Invergordon Distillers, who then got sold to Whyte & Mackay in 1993. The Tullibardine distillery was close down from 1993 until 2003, where Tullibardine Distillery Ltd. gained ownership over the distillery. Today the distillery is owned by the France wine and spirits company Maison Michael Picard.

Beside Tullibardine’s NAS expression; Sovereign, their current core range is divided into three categories. Their aged collection: which holds a 20 and 25 years old single malt. Their wood finished cask line, with their NAS 225 Sauternes Finish, 228 Burgundy Finish and 500 Sherry Finish, and their Marquess Collection, with its The Murray’s 2004, 2005 and Châteauneuf -du-Pape.

This Tullibardine is the 88’Th release from German independent bottler Maltbarn, since they started their company back in 2011. It is bottled at 48,7% ABV and has been fully matured in a bourbon cask. It is an outtake of 132 bottles, distilled in 1993, bottled in 2017.

Did you miss my previously description of Maltbarn? Hit this link, and we will take you right to it!

Maltbarn. NO. 88
Tullibardine – 24 yrs

Single Malt Scotch Whisky.
Non Chill-Filtered/No added colouring

Distillery: Tullibardine
Bottler: Maltbarn
Region: Highland
Age: 24 Years Old
Proof/ABV: 48,7%
Distilled: 1993
Bottled: 2017
Dk price: $173USD/1120Dkk.  
Release: Limited 132 bottles release
Cask: Bourbon

Points: 83,5/100

Herbal notes at first, followed by pineapple juice, muskmelon and a single slice of overripe pear.

To my surprise, it starts off with a pretty zesty overtone. There’s an overall oily and mouth coating fruity feel to it, with vanilla, honey and light grapefruit notes.

Long lingering finish with licorice root ( that I’m not in particular found off in any context at all, I guess the taste of it made my shit-list after way too much Jägermeister in my teenage years) and pipe tobacco.

It’s not really my kind of dram, my preferred tasting profile is simply different from where this Tullibardine is at, but I wouldn’t dare to hold that against it. We all have our preferred tasting profiles, right? For starters, the nose is spot on. It’s inviting and lures you in. The palate and finish are balanced and the notes come together and accompany each other nicely, but it lacks development and never succeeds to rise above the average tasting experience.     

Review By: Hasse Berg
Photo by: (All rights reserved)

This sample was graciously sent to us by for the purposes of this review.
Son of Winston Churchill has kindly been granted permission to use the above photos in this review.