Bottles

Lagavulin 2005 (bottled 2020) Pedro Ximénez Cask Finish - Distillers Edition

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£77.95Regular price

While legal distilling at Lagavulin started back in 1816, there’s evidence of illicit distillation taking place on the site as far back as 1742 – making it one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland. Lagavulin is one of the smokiest whiskies about, and its water source flows through peat, which helps give it such a distinctive flavour. Its popularity was unanticipated, and it had to be put on allocation when it joined Diageo’s Classic Malts portfolio in 1989!

After it soared in popularity, it (rather sensibly) increased its two day working week to seven. Sherried Lagavulin like this Distiller’s Edition is a relatively new sight, but delicious nonetheless! After a lengthy oak maturation, it spent a finishing period in sweet ex-Pedro Ximénez sherry casks. The savoury, smoky, meaty nature of the spirit complements the dried fruit-forward influence of the casks beautifully.

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Laphroaig 10 Year Old Sherry Oak Finish

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£53.95Regular price

Founded back in 1815, Laphroaig (pronounced ‘La-FROYg’) might be one of the most distinctive Islay whiskies. There are many factors that contribute to its unique flavour profile. Its coastal location is one, as well as the high moss content of its peat. Unusually, the distillery still has its own floor maltings, which also contribute to the tar-like, smoky character of the whisky.

The brand generally favours bourbon casks, and this expression (which launched just last month!) was matured in both American oak ex-bourbon casks and refill ex-Oloroso sherry casks, as well as being treated to a finish in European oak ex-Oloroso sherry casks for between 12 to 18 months. Those medicinal, smoky flavours of the whisky are glorious with the sweetness of the bourbon and honeyed spices from the sherry casks. It’s bold, but wonderfully balanced!

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Aerolite Lyndsay 10 Year Old Whisky

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£31.95Regular price

Get your detective hat on, because this is a mystery Islay whisky! Aerolite Lyndsay is a 10-year-old single malt that comes to us from The Character of Islay Whisky Company, which sourced the whisky from an undisclosed distillery on the famed Scottish isle. It spent its days maturing in a combination of ex-bourbon barrels and Spanish oak sherry quarter casks. Quarter casks are much smaller than your run-of-the-mill cask, allowing for
more interaction between the spirit and the wood surface.

The tropical sweetness from the bourbon barrels, spicy, chocolatey notes from the sherry casks, and medicinal smokiness from the whisky itself make for one well-rounded expression. Wondering where the name came from? (Look away now if you want to figure it out by yourself!) Aerolite Lyndsay is in fact an anagram of the words ‘ten year old Islay’!

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Bowmore Vault Edition - Peat Smoke

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£62.95Regular price

Not only is Bowmore Islay’s oldest licensed distillery, but it’s also home to one of the world’s oldest Scotch maturation warehouses – the famed No. 1 Vaults, after which this bottling range is named! This is the second release in the Vault Edition series, appropriately titled Peat Smoke.

As you may have guessed, it was made to showcase the distillery’s smoky character, though there’s also a delicious combination of sea salt and fruity sweetness bringing balance. The warehouse was established in 1779, and the Atlantic sea spray which washes against the sea-facing wall of the building helps add a savoury maritime complexity to the whisky slumbering inside.

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Bunnahabhain Stiùireadair Whisky

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£32.95Regular price

Bunnahabhain is one of the few unpeated Islay whiskies, founded all the way back in 1883 in the village of the same name on the north-east coast of the island. But let’s start with how to pronounce it! First off, the distillery is pronounced ‘boo-na-harv-en’, and Stiùireadair is pronounced ‘stew-rahdur’, which means ‘helmsman’ in Scottish Gaelic.

Stiùireadair pays homage to the rugged, dramatic shoreline that the distillery calls home,
combining the coastal, savoury whisky with both first- and second-fill ex-sherry casks. While peat smoke typically defines Islay whisky for most people, this shows a gentler side to the island, brought out and balanced by the fruity, nuttier notes from the maturation. It’s all sea spray, toasted nuts, and dried fruit in this one!

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Bruichladdich Islay Barley 2012 Whisky

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£53.95Regular price

Bruichladdich created its Islay Barley series to showcase terroir in its whisky, so this is a single malt with a sense of place! Growing barley on Islay is no small feat, with torrential rain, Atlantic storms, and even hungry geese all standing in the way of the higher yields you’ll find on the Scottish mainland. This is the 2012 vintage, made with unpeated barley harvested from eight western and central Islay farms in 2011.

Three quarters of the whisky was matured in first-fill American whiskey casks, while the rest was aged in ex-French wine casks, before being bottled up at a hearty 50% ABV. The distillery (known for its unpeated expressions) has been key in encouraging Islay farmers to grow their own barley – where there was just one farm back in 2004, in 2020 there were 19! It’s a rather honeyed, gently creamy, fruity whisky, with just a smidge of that savoury coastal influence making an appearance.

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Glenfarclas 15 Year Old

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£43.95Regular price

The Glenfarclas distillery was founded in 1836, and came into the hands of the Grant family in 1865 – and remains family-run to this day! Glenfarclas and sherry casks are pretty much synonymous; while the Speyside distillery doesn’t exclusively age its whisky in them, it does use them for a very high proportion of its maturation. It’s easy to see why, with the casks resulting in a warming medley of juicy, festive flavours – all of which you’ll find in this sherry-matured 15 Year Old!

This particular release is bottled at 46% ABV, for the simple reason that it’s the strength that George Grant’s (sixth generation of the family) grandfather preferred it at.

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Glen Scotia 18 Year Old

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£74.50Regular price

There are just three whisky distilleries in the small region of Campbeltown, and Glen Scotia is one of them! It’s not just based in the smallest whisky region, it’s also one of the smallest Scotch distilleries, with its coastal location adding a distinctive salinity to its whiskies.

This 18 Year Old release spent its first 17 years in a combination of refill ex-bourbon casks and refill American oak hogsheads. Then, Glen Scotia malt master Iain McAlister vatted the two cask types together in first-fill Oloroso sherry casks for a 12-month finishing period. It’s not unusual for Campbeltown whiskies to showcase some smoke and funk, though you won’t find any of that here – it’s light and creamy, while retaining a rich oiliness and subtle coastal influence.

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Daddy Rack Small Batch Straight Tennessee Whiskey

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£32.95Regular price

A Tennessee whiskey with a showstopping name, Daddy Rack was founded by J. Arthur Rackham, and its moniker comes from a nickname that his eldest daughter Grace bestowed upon him. Rackman was in the drinks industry for over 50 years before crafting his own delicious whiskey – we don’t know what took him so long!

Daddy Rack is made up of a mash bill of 80% corn, 10% rye, and 10% malted barley, with all the corn sourced from local farmers within 50 miles of the distillery. As Tennessee whiskey legally has to, the whiskey goes through The Lincoln County Process, whereby the spirit is filtered through maple charcoal before it’s filled into lightly-charred American white oak barrels. But Daddy Rack goes one step further, maple charcoal-filtering the whiskey after it’s been in the cask, too.

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Stauning El Clásico

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£53.95Regular price

An experimental rye from the Stauning distillery, based in Denmark! El Clásico is said to be the world’s first rye whisky matured in ex-vermouth casks, so this is pretty special. The idea behind the expression was that rye whisky and vermouth go so wonderfully together in a Manhattan cocktail, why not combine them in another way?

The whisky itself is made with 51% malted rye and 49% malted barley (both harvested in the village of Stauning), so while there’s a generous dose of spice, the high proportion of malted barley mellows things out. After an initial maturation in virgin American oak, it’s finished in ex-Spanish vermouth casks. The sweetness of the grains coupled with the herbaceous bitterness of the cask finish makes for a well-rounded, thoroughly enjoyable sipper.

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Bladnoch Vinaya

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£44.95Regular price

Vinaya is a shiny new release from the Lowland Bladnoch Distillery! Since its origins in 1817, the distillery has had something of a rocky time, changing hands and being mothballed several times throughout its history. With this release, the team wanted to pay homage to the original founders of the distillery. ‘Vinaya’ is a Sanskrit word meaning respect and gratitude, and that’s exactly what this expression shows to the original team.

A duo of first-fill ex-bourbon and first-fill ex-sherry casks have been used to showcase the Lowland style of Bladnoch whisky – the former highlights the classic florals and adds bright citrus fruit, while the latter brings richer, chocolatey notes. It’s then brought down to bottling strength with water sourced from the River Bladnoch, from which the distillery takes its name. Bourbon and sherry is a cask combination that hasn’t been seen before from Bladnoch, so this is something of a first!

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John Walker & Sons Celebratory Blend

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£48.95Regular price

The limited-edition Celebratory Blend from Johnnie Walker was created in 2020 in honour of the brand's 200th anniversary, taking inspiration from John Walker & Sons’ Old Highland Whisky which was first sold back in the 1860s. This was the whisky that launched the brand to great heights, and it was also the first expression to be housed in the hallmark square bottle with the label slanted at precisely 24°!

Johnnie Walker master blender Jim Beveridge OBE delved into the archives for this one, as the blend features whiskies from distilleries that were in production at that time (though the exact blend in this release remains a mystery) – he even took a look through the stocktaking books from John Walker’s shop for flavour inspiration. It’s also bottled at 51% ABV as that was the strength that whiskies were sold at from the 1860s to 1890s. The aim was to create a flavour profile as close as possible to what you may have found in the old shop in the 1800s.

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Balblair 15 Year Old

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£62.95Regular price

Balblair is one of Scotland’s oldest distilleries, founded in 1790 in the Scottish Highlands. The idyllic distillery is surrounded by rolling hills, with its water source, the Allt Dearg, flowing nearby. In 2019, Balblair said goodbye to vintages and hello to age statements, which is when this 15 Year Old was released!

The distillery’s new make spirit boasts a balance of estery ripe fruit and florals, along with the heavier, oilier flavours of nuts and tobacco – and the duo of cask types used to mature this expression emphasises all those flavours wonderfully. It was initially matured in vanilla-forward, tropical American oak ex-bourbon casks, before it was moved to first-fill Spanish oak butts, which impart spicier, warmer nuances.

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Sagamore Spirit Signature Rye

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£43.95Regular price

Back before World War II, Maryland was synonymous with rye whiskey – at its peak pre-prohibition, the state was producing 14.1 million gallons of it in a year! Though it was nearly lost to history, Sagamore Spirit is bringing the tradition back, opening the distillery in 2017 on the banks of the Patapsco River.

Maryland rye whiskey puts more emphasis on the sweeter side of the grain, rather than the dry, burley spiciness often associated with rye. How does Sagamore do this? The distillers make two batches of whiskey – one made with a mash bill of 95% rye and 5% malted barley, and the other with just 52% rye and the rest mostly corn, which is sweeter – and blend them together. Then it’s all brought down to bottling strength with limestone-filtered water from Sagamore Farm. It’s sweet and approachable without becoming cloying – we bet you haven’t tried rye whiskey like this before!

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Kavalan Concertmaster - Port Cask Finish (50cl)

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£43.95Regular price

A Taiwanese whisky from the Kavalan range, produced at the King Car Distillery! ‘Kavalan’ is the former name of what is now known as the Yi-Lan County, where the distillery is based, and its first expression was launched in 2008. The high humidity and temperatures (the top floor of the maturation warehouse can soar to 45°C!) mean that the whisky battles with an angel’s share of up to 15% each year. Because this increases the wood and spirit interaction, all of Kavalan’s whisky is matured exclusively in American oak, which is gentler than its European counterpart.

This is the Port Cask Finish release from its Concertmaster series, made with whiskies initially matured in American oak before being finished in a range of Ruby Port, Tawny Port, and vintage Port casks. It’s jammy fruit, dry spices, and wood influence galore here!

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Benromach Contrasts Peat Smoke

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£41.95Regular price

A lesser-spotted smoky Speysider from the Benromach distillery, which was mothballed four times in between its opening in 1900 and 1993, when it was acquired by Gordon & MacPhail – though it took five more years for it to become functional again.

While Benromach’s releases often boast a subtle whiff of smoke, this particular edition was produced using heavily peated barley, so it’s much more pronounced. The single malt was then matured in first-fill ex-bourbon barrels from 2009 to 2020, and released as part of the distillery’s Contrasts series. Smouldering smoky notes sit alongside tropical, creamy flavours imparted from the maturation.

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The Yamazaki Single Malt Whisky - Distiller’s Reserve

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£64.95Regular price

Yamazaki is Japan’s oldest whisky distillery, founded in 1923 by Suntory's founder Shinjiro Torii. This is the Distiller’s Reserve single malt, released back in 2014 and matured in a trio of cask types: Bordeaux wine casks, sherry casks, and native Japanese Mizunara oak.

Mizunara imparts distinctive notes of sandalwood, coconut, and incense to whiskies, so you can expect to find all of them in this release, along with a medley of red fruit and spices from the wine and sherry casks.

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Compass Box Hedonism

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£54.95Regular price

When independent bottler Compass Box was launched in 2000, this blended grain, Hedonism, was its very first release – which goes to show how much its founder John Glaser loves grain whiskies! Blended grains aren’t at all common, but they are indeed delicious.

It’s matured exclusively in American oak barrels, bringing together grain whiskies from a range of distilleries, though we don’t know exactly which ones. Each year the selection changes, though the expert blenders behind the scenes ensure that the flavour profile stays the same – featured whiskies have previously hailed from the now-closed Cameronbridge, Cambus, and Port Dundas distilleries. A sumptuously soft, creamy release that more than showcases the merits of often-overlooked grain whisky.

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