Sunday 27 October 2013

Tasted #46: Talisker Port Ruighe

Bit of a Talisker-fest of late, and that's not even including the Scotch Club Talisker night we couldn't attend.

Talisker Port Ruighe (pronounced "Portree") is one of Talisker's recent releases (along with Storm and Dark Storm), though it isn't yet widely available in Australia. The name refers to both the maturation it's gone through, in ex-Port casks, and the historic trading port by the same name, on Talisker's home the Isle of Skye.

Being a big fan of interesting maturation and finishing, I was keen to see how Talisker's salty/smoky nature paired up with port's typical sweetness.

Talisker Port Ruighe (45.8% ABV, NAS, OB, Isle of Skye Scotland)
Nose: Smoky and salty, but with hints of...bath salts and soap? No, I hadn't failed to rinse my glass! Sawdust too. An odd mix, but enjoyable.

Palate: Thankfully, not the big salty smack in the mouth I got from the 30yo, but some real complexity. Smoky but not overly so, silky smooth, rich and syrupy with toffee apples and raisins. In a word, "rich".

Finish: Not overly smoky, but with some bacon notes and some residual ash at the back of the throat, towards the end.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 92/100. A great dram, and one that delicately balances Talisker's typical character with new and unchartered finishing/double maturation territory. I'm looking forward to seeing what else Talisker come out with in the near future.

 - Martin.

Monday 21 October 2013

Glenfiddich - "Celebrating 125 years of pioneering spirit" dinner

Last Monday night those fine folk over at William Grant & Sons Australia held another fantastic event, this time a dinner to celebrate the (very limited) release of the 125th Anniversary Vintage.

Hold up...125th Anniversary Edition? Didn't I cover that already, back in January? That release (whilst bloody good) was a travel retail special (soon to be available off-premise for around $150AUD). This release is somewhat more special, with only 286 bottles available worldwide, 9 of which are available in Australia (8 after the night was over...) and a price tag of $1,250AUD.


Slightly more special, then, and that's not even mentioning the fact that it was casked on Glenfiddich's 100th Anniversary (Christmas Day, 1987), and bottled exactly 25 years later, when Glenfiddich's Malt Master Brian Kinsman selected just one cask (a European oak sherry butt) from the small selection of casks all laid to rest on Christmas Day 1987. Bottled at 55.2% and with an intensely rich, copper colour, it was pretty obvious we were in for a treat.

So how was this incredibly rare whisky celebrated? With a suitably impressive 3 course meal at Centennial Parklands Dining - an appropriate choice of venue it turns out, given Centennial Parklands are also celebrating their 125th anniversary this year.

The sound of bagpipes made the venue a breeze to find, and the "And see my baby" cocktail (Adam Bastow's finalise cocktail from the recent Pioneers Cocktail Competition) was a welcome refreshment. After meeting both friendly and new faces, we were given a brief rundown of the park's history (did you know it was the site of the last officially recorded duel in Australia? Nor did I. #youlearnsomethingneweveryday) while enjoying a 125th Anniversary Edition (yes the one I wrote about in January). James Buntin (regular readers of this blog will probably know who he is by now!) then talked us through the whiskies, before the 30 or so of us took our seats for dinner, which included:

Glenfiddich 12yo cured salmon, beetrooth relish and citrus aioli
Served with Glenfiddich 12yo
Notes: Absolutely fantastic match this one, with the whisky bringing out sweet candied / boiled sweet flavours. Delicious and gone way too soon.

Oregano & Glenfiddich 18yo glazed chicken breast, potato fondant, sautéed spinach and roast wine cherry tomato
Served with Glenfiddich 18yo
Notes: Another excellent match, with the whisky ramping up the sweetness but also the spice.

Vanilla créme brulee, orange chocolate & raspberry garden with a honey & Glenfiddich 21yo infused ice cream
Served with chilled Glenfiddich 21yo
Notes: Not my favourite match, but the Glenfiddich infused ice cream was fantastic, and the chilled 21yo was an interesting and fun twist.

Tea, Coffee & dark chocolate truffles
Served with Glenfiddich 30yo
Notes: You know it's going to be a good night when the 30yo Glenfiddich isn't the last whisky of the night!

With dinner cleared and the taste of Glenfiddich 30yo still lingering, head chef Paul Kavanagh said a few words about the pairings, before it was time to taste the main event - the Glenfiddich 125th Anniversary Vintage.

...which I've decided to save for its own tasting post (because it's just that good). Long story short - I've given it my equal highest rating ever.


A huge thanks has to go to the William Grant & Sons and Weber Shandwick crew (especially Mark, James and Steve) who did another fantastic job. The next event is already locked in the diary and we can't wait!

 - Martin.

Sunday 20 October 2013

This Week in Whisk(e)y #1

We get a fair few interesting press releases here at TimeforWhisky, and usually try to feature them with our own spin, experiences or comments. Sometimes though, they come thick and fast, and we just don't have time to do them all justice.

So we've decided to take a leaf out of some other excellent whisky blogs, and feature a "PR roundup" every now and then - basically a wrapup of relevant press releases we've received in the previous week. So on with it then...

Jameson whiskey Honours Sydney in "Love the City" Campaign
A while ago I read about a new Jameson travel retail (aka duty free) release, featuring 8 iconic cities. The good news is one of those 8 selected cities is Sydney, and Jameson are offering a pretty great prize as part of a related competition...
"...All eight iconic cities (Sydney, Amsterdam, Bangkok, Dublin, London, Moscow, Paris and Singapore) have been honoured with a bespoke Jameson¹s label as part of this limited collection of travel exclusives. The special Sydney edition of Jameson is now available for a limited time as SYD Tax & Duty Free at $38.99. 
When consumers purchase a bottle from the "Love the City" range, they are invited to enter a Facebook photo competition for a chance to win a retro-inspired travel trunk, which doubles up as a drinks cabinet and contains all eight "Love The City" limited editions along with four bottles of Jameson Original. They just have to post a picture of their limited edition bottle or the city they love on Facebook at"
Granted the liquid inside is standard Jameson, but these sort of releases are a fun way to engage fans in a specific region, and at $38.99 it's not exactly going to break the bank.

The Wild Rover launches the "Campbell Corner Whisk(e)y Co-operative (CCWC)
Continuing with the Irish theme, Sydney's The Wild Rover (see our review here) are launching an innovative new Whisk(e)y club  starting in November. Stretching beyond just tastings or discounts, the club involves an element of gamification, whereby members have to get through their personal "inventory" before being granted access to rare, discounted whiskies:
"The CCWC is a consumer-based group of like-minded individuals who all have an appreciation of whisky and wish to try, learn about and discover their favourite drams. It is a two part offering focussing on enjoying whisky, with education a secondary thought. 
The Wild Rovers back bar plays host to over a hundred whiskies from around the world and some these are featured in a personalised card called ‘your inventory of whiskies’. Your Inventory is a personal checklist of 50 drams gracing The Wild Rovers back bar. One of each need to be purchased in order to qualify as a ‘Buff’, giving access to purchase from The Wild Rovers ‘reserve selection’ made up of rare, hard to find whiskeys at a massively discounted rate. There are also benefits to signing up your friends and colleagues including passes to whisk(e)y events and bottles of the Co-operatives favourite drams.
The second part to the CCWC is a tasting event focussed on developing each persons interest with offering an experience rather than simply a tasting. Both international and domestic guests from the wide whiskey world are invited to present to the Co-op each month. It will most likely be on the first Monday of each month, or whenever the international presenters are in the country. 
A joining fee of $25 includes a shot of either Bushmills 21yo Madeira Wood or Balvenie 14yo Roasted Malt that can be checked off Your Inventory of Whiskies, invitations to the monthly tasting event and opportunities to receive bottles of Whiskey through the ambassador program. 
For more information regarding the upcoming launch of the Campbell Corner Whisk(e)y Co-operative please email"
No word yet on what the massively discounted rate is, but given you have to work through 50 drams to get there, presumably it'll be decent.

 - Martin.

Wednesday 16 October 2013

Tasted #44 & #45: Koval Single Barrel Whiskey - Four Grain & Rye

World whiskies were a big part of my starting this blog - craft whiskies too. Discovering the weird, wonderful, unusual and unknown, all in the name of blogging science. Giddy up!

I'd like to say I stumbled across Koval Distillery, but it actually happened the other way around. Sitting at the airport one day I received an e-mail out-of-the-blue offering me a few samples, which I graciously accepted and gave my address. One month, two months...nothing. I sent a follow-up, nothing. Then finally a response - turns out the guys at the distillery thought I was a US-based blogger, and weren't too keen to send anything to Australia.

Luckily I had a US forwarder and had planned to have a few things sent over anyway, so shortly after I was in posession of two sample bottles of Koval whiskey - the Four Grain and Rye.

Koval are unique in a number of ways - first craft distillery in Chicago since prohibition, certified organic, certified Kosher, and with a seriously impressive portfolio for a distillery who have only been in operation since 2008 (Caraway or Chrysanthemum Honey liqueur, anyone?)

On the whiskey front, they offer everything from white whisky to Rye, Oat, Millet, Wheat and Spelt, as well as a Bourbon (made from a mashbill of organic corn and Millet). I was sent the Rye and Four Grain (Rye/Wheat/Oat/Barley) for tasting. So let's get on with it then..

Koval Distillery Single Barrel Four Grain Whisky (Barrel #196, 47% ABV, Chicago USA)
Koval Distillery Single Barrel Rye Whisky (Barrel #223, 40% ABV, Chicago USA)


Four Grain: Youthful, spicy, with strong notes of banana fritters.
Rye: Youthful, buttery, with slight....rubber notes? Not in a bad way, but they're there, not dissimilar to those in Balcones Baby Blue (which I loved).

Four Grain: Initial big hit soon softens, almost as if you get the full 47% ABV at first, but then it actually feels like it could use a few more % ABV. Apple crumble notes, with some cinnamon and a creaminess not often found in a lot of whiskies. Very enjoyable!
Rye: Light, very light - great for our upcoming summer. Toasted coconut and oatmeal, banana, spice, but sadly without the creaminess of the Four Grain.

Four Grain: Overall I'd say a medium finish, but sadly the fun bits (creamy dessert notes) are a bit on the shorter side.
Rye: Short, but pleasant. No real dominant notes, save for the toasted coconut which stays around for the short finish.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 
Four Grain: 91/100. Certainly an interesting whisky, and one I'll happily sip again.
Rye: 90/100. Different enough to other ryes out there, while still being very much enjoyable. I don't normally consider Rye a sipping whisky (though a good rye certainly can be), especially not a "summer" whisky, though with its 40% ABV and lighter notes, I think this one could wear both hats with ease.

As far as unique, craft distilleries go, Koval are definitely up there. I'd love to try some of their other whiskies (especially the Oat), and I'm also keen to try the Rye in cocktails (perhaps a Problem Solver - or any other suggestions anyone has?)

Many thanks to Koval Distillery for the samples provided. H&R Craft Beverages are the distributors of Koval in Australia.


 - Martin.

TimeforWhisky pays a visit to Diageo Sydney (and talks George Dickel's Australian launch)

A few weeks ago, my good friend Marty (half of the very highly incredibly successful Mighty Car Mods) passed on a contact he'd made at Diageo who looks after their American Whiskey portfolio in Australia, and suggested I get in touch.

I did just that, and before I knew it, I was sitting at the Diageo Sydney workplace bar, on a beautiful Sydney day overlooking the Harbour Bridge and Opera House, talking whiskey and enjoying a George Dickel 12 "signature serve".

Hold up...George Dickel? Some may know it as the "other" Tennessee Whisk(e)y, and (in my case) as a large supplier of barrels to various Scottish distilleries (due to the American law, no doubt enacted at some point to ensure the viability of the American Oak industry, that states that the barrels used to age Bourbon / American Whiskey can only be used once).

So..I knew George Dickel was a Tennessee whisky, but that was about all I knew. In chatting to the guys from Diageo (who I have to say were incredibly passionate about the portfolio, which always makes for fantastic conversation), I learnt a lot more about the brand, including some pretty fascinating facts like:

  • Only 25 people work at the distillery to make the whiskey
  • ...and they do so without any machines or computers; and
  • Like a number of good rivalries, the distillery attempted to buy out the competition (i.e. Jack Daniels) shortly after prohibition, only to be refused. The refusal spurred the distillery on to return to their roots and re-produce their Tennessee whisky from the 1800s, and that's why we have George Dickel Tennessee Whisky today.
So about that signature serve? Pretty simple really - Dickel No.12, on the rocks, with an orange peel....and a fantastic drink it was too. Smooth, rich but still easy enough to drink on a warm Sydney day. I can see myself enjoying a few of them over summer! Full tasting notes for the No.8 and No.12 will be posted shortly.

Dickel isn't widely known in Australia, but that may change with the official release of both Dickel No.8 (40% ABV, aged for at least 5 years) and Dickel No.12 (45% ABV, aged on average for 8 years) on-premise from 1st November. The No.8 will also be available at several bottle shops around Australia, with limited numbers of the No.12 also available.

I've been a big fan of Jack Daniels for a while (as you can probably see from this collection) and I have to say I'm really enjoying George Dickel too. Whilst the brands obviously have some similarities, I really do think there's enough of a difference (especially in focus and marketing - with Jack having a heavy music influence and Dickel more of a craft influence) that the two should be able to happily co-habit the back bar of any decent Australian bar.

Exciting times.

(We also spent a good chunk of time talking about Bulleit Bourbon, the fantastic Bulleit 95 Rye, the upcoming 10yo and the new pre-batched Bulleit cocktails - think classy RTDs that actually taste good. To be covered in a future post.) 

 - Martin.

Sunday 13 October 2013

Tasted #43: Talisker 30yo

Talisker - known by many (often incorrectly as a "peaty Islay dram"), loved by many. The ubiquitous 10yo dram from the Isle of Skye can be found in most bottle shops and bars around Australia, and at the $60-$70AUD it usually goes for, is an excellent value single malt.

What a lot of people don't realise though is how many current Talisker releases there are - and how many can be found in Australia. As well as the 10yo, the 57˚ North (NAS), 18yo and new(ish) Storm can all be found at various bottle shops in Australia. Add to that the new(er) Dark Storm, Port Ruighe (pronounced "Port-ree", tasting notes due soon), Distillers Editions and the older releases like the 25, 30 and 35 etc...Talisker has an impressive portfolio of single malts.

Having tried a few Taliskers and loved every single one of them, when the chance came up to try the 30yo (without shelling out $649 for a bottle), I jumped at it. Steph and I split up the dram and got on with the tasting... (obligatory photo from my visit to the Talisker Distillery in 2009 below).


Talisker 30yo (45.8% ABV, 30yo, OB, Isle of Skye Scotland)
Nose: Fresh cut grass, surprisingly light on the sea air / peat I get on the 10yo. I know older, peated whiskies tend to lose some of the peatiness with age, but I expected at least some on the nose. I also got slight notes of seaweed, vanilla and a hint of salted caramel. 

Palate: Wow, salty. Really salty. Light and extremely easy-drinking, but the salt really dominates. No fruity notes here - some bacon, and the slight vanilla notes still evident, but if this dram was a highway, the vanilla notes would be a Smart car and the saltiness a Mack truck...

Finish: Medium-length, with lingering salt, very subtle smoke and slight ashiness at the very end.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 90/100. Out of curiosity, I saved a little and compared it back to back with the 1L bottle of 10yo I have at home. Whilst the 30yo is certainly a LOT more complex (as you'd expect), I'm a little shocked to say I actually preferred the 10yo (which I rate 91/100)! I wouldn't have picked the 30yo as a Talisker at all, and while it has complexity equal to its 30 years, and is an enjoyable dram for me the salt just dominates everything - to the point of excess.

I'm heading to a Talisker tasting this week at Shirt Bar, where I'll be comparing the 10, Port Ruighe, Distillers Edition and Storm. Can't wait.

 - Martin.

Thursday 10 October 2013

PR #14: The Macallan 1824 Series launches in Australia from November

The Macallan has always a bit of an odd one for me. When I was first getting into Scotch, I'll admit I wasn't a huge fan. Even when pulling together my #101drams list, I included the 21yo Macallan as the previous ones I'd tried I hadn't been hugely fond of (not that they were bad whiskies, just not up there with my favourites). That was before the 1824 Series though.

Anyone who's been following the world of Scotch Whisky lately (or anyone who's been to a decent bar in a major city in the past 3 years really!) would know that whisky (Scottish single malt in particular) has experienced a huge rise in popularity. As a result stocks of aged malt whisky have been reduced, to the point where distillers have realised something needs to be done, lest they run out of aged whiskies in the near future (terrible thought, I know).

The answer? NAS (No Age Statement) whiskies. Whilst not a new thing, Macallan are the first major Scottish distillery to release a core range with no age statements (and others are following suit). Previously NAS Scottish whiskies have either been from smaller distilleries, or special releases like the excellent The Balvenie TUN1401.

NAS doesn't necessarily mean "young" (in fact, I'd hazard a guess that there are some seriously old whiskies in the new 1824 series, especially in the Sienna and Ruby). The thing is, with whisky, an age statement has to refer to the youngest whisky in the bottle. If you bottled a Macallan which contained 95% of its content from a 50yo cask, and 5% from an 8yo cask, guess what? That's an "8 year old" whisky. You can see why NAS is a growing trend.

At Oak Barrel's Whisky Fair 2013 recently, I was lucky enough to try the range ahead of its Australian release. While I didn't take any notes (detailed tasting notes to be posted in the coming months when I taste the range again), I did remember the Sienna and Ruby as seriously enjoyable whiskies - especially the Sienna.

..but enough from me. Here's some more info on the whiskies from Beam/CCA:

The Macallan has unveiled The 1824 Series, a range showcasing two of its greatest strengths; oak sherry casks and natural colour. The luxury single malt whisky brand, distributed by Beam Global Australia, is delighted to launch three expressions in October including Amber, Sienna and Ruby. 
Grounded in an unwavering commitment to sourcing the very best oak sherry casks, the most expensive in the industry, The 1824 Series showcases the signature style of The Macallan, embracing the defining elements which have made it one of the world’s truly great single malts. 
Bob Dalgarno, The Macallan Whisky Maker, has created expressions by identifying the natural colour formed during maturation in different casks types to create the character informed by these colours. The expressions are Amber, Sienna and Ruby, all names reflecting the actual colour of the whiskies in the range, but also describing naturally occurring mineral and metals. 
This innovative approach to whisky making is the first to derive the final character from the natural colours drawn into The Macallan from the oak sherry casks over the years of maturation. It has allowed Bob Dalgarno to assess the broadest range of casks delivering an unrivalled range of natural colours. The casks chosen for the range deliver a gradation of colour from light to dark, with the wood character defining each expression’s flavour, moving from lighter, lemon citrus to richer, dried fruit notes. As the whiskies become darker and richer, so the pool of casks able to deliver this character becomes smaller and rarer. 
Bob Dalgarno, Whisky Maker, The Macallan, said, “The Macallan world of colour is the true inspiration of the 1824 Series. Using colour to drive and define a whisky differs dramatically from the conventional age approach, allowing us to explore different casks and take a more flexible approach to our stock. We have been able to work creatively with the full range of matured stock available, rather than working to a pre-determined character based on age. For me, the key thought in this range is that great single malt doesn’t need to be 30 years old to taste like a 30 year old.” 
By drawing on his broadest range of skills in cask selection, Bob has been unshackled by the need to draw on casks selected first and foremost for their age. His expert skills ensure consistency through the effective management and selection of the casks which provide the spectrum of natural colour and character essential to The Macallan. 
Commenting on this latest innovation, Ken Grier, Director of Malts, Edrington said “As some 60% of the aroma and flavour of The Macallan derives from the oak maturation casks, this new range is a genuine opportunity to demonstrate the critical role of these exceptional casks and also to challenge perceptions about bottling at arbitrary ages. Taking colour as the basis for shaping these whiskies, an industry first, is testimony both to the innovative approach to whisky making and to the long experience of our Whisky Maker. This truly is Bob’s work at its very best.” 
Cheryl Tang, Brand Manager, Beam Global Australia states “The 1824 Series showcases its signature style of The Macallan, embracing the defining elements of natural colour and exceptional sherry casks which have made it one of the world’s truly great single malts. The series is one of the most anticipated new releases in whisky times and we are excited to introduce the Amber, Sienna and Ruby to the Australian market.”
The Macallan 1824 Series will be available in major liquor outlets and leading bars nationally from November 2013. RRP for the 700ml series are; The Macallan 1824 Amber, $105 per bottle, The Macallan 1824 Sienna, $160 per bottle and The Macallan 1824 Ruby, $220 per bottle.

The full range is being released in Australia this November. I'll be tasting the range again soon, so will post detailed tasting notes then. In the mean time, here's a photo of me (a younger me, I should point out!) at the home of this very whisky:

 - Martin.

Wednesday 9 October 2013

Distilleries of the United Kingdom - Part 1 (Oban, Talisker)

Every year since I was 8 years old, my dad and I have taken a fishing trip somewhere within Australia. Over time, the distances covered gradually became longer, and the fishing time less and less (we're both car nuts and love the open road, so neither of us were too upset at the shift). We eventually stopped calling them "fishing trips", and recognised them for what they were - road trips (there was a time when it wasn't unheard of for us to cover 1,000km each day).

In 2009, after building up a hefty balance of Frequent Flyer points from work travel, I decided we needed to step it up a notch and take the road trip overseas. Where to? Germany of course (conveniently timed with not only that car-nut mecca known as the Frankfurt Motor Show, but also Oktoberfest). Nürburgring, Autobahns (we hired a brand new E92 M3 for a week, because it was ridiculously cheap), was going to be the ultimate boys' trip.

Being a bit of a Frequent Flyer geek though, I didn't want to waste 128,000pts each on a simple trip to Germany, when for 140,000pts Qantas offer a fantastic round-the-world airfare. And so it was that we were off on a trip which took in China, Dubai, England, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Liechtenstein, Spain, Estonia, USA and yes, SCOTLAND!

(..and here you were thinking this post has nothing to do with whisky ;)).

At the time admittedly I was still finding my whisky feet, but I knew what I liked (which at the time, remember this was 2009, was Speyside and "none of that iodine crap") and so we set off to visit as many distilleries as we could. We didn't tour or taste at all of them (and some that we did didn't allow photography), and I certainly didn't take any notes expecting to write a blog post 4 years these posts will mainly consist of photos, for nothing other than viewing pleasure (and to make me get cracking on planning a return in 2014 2015). 

First up - Oban and Talisker. Enjoy!



 - Martin.

Sunday 6 October 2013

Tasted #41 & #42: Jack Daniel's "White Rabbit Saloon" and Old No. 7 (#101drams)

Thanks to a recent Master of Malt order (yes they're FINALLY shipping to Australia again), I've managed to get my hands on a number of harder to find #101drams whiskies. First up - Jack Daniel's "White Rabbit Saloon". Turns out I've amassed a bit of a Jack Daniel's collection over the years (including a rare-ish Green Label, bottled from the bottom row of barrels in the JD barrelhouses), so I was keen to add one to the list (if anyone knows where I can sample the Sinatra Select, please let me know!)

The White Rabbit Saloon is a limited release JD released in 2012 to commemorate the White Rabbit Saloon in Lynchburg Tennessee, over 120 years ago. It was actually sold at Dan Murphy's for a while, but seems to be gone now. From what I can tell, it's similar to regular Old No.7, but bottled at 43% ABV (vs 40%). So we could expect it to have a similar flavour profile then, right? I've tasted it back to back with a fresh bottle of Old No.7, so let's see...

White Rabbit Saloon: Rich, big, strong honey and butter notes. Slight hint of banana, but it's subtle. Actually a pretty amazing nose!
Old No. 7: Same notes as the White Rabbit Saloon, but just "less". There's only a 3% ABV difference so you wouldn't think the difference would be too noticeable, but it really is. It's like a fair amount of water has been added to tone everything down. 

White Rabbit Saloon: Lighter than the nose suggests. Fruitier too. The banana notes are still there (and still subtle), with some coffee and honey notes towards the end. There's a bit of a rye character too - which is surprising given the low percentage of rye in the JD mash bill.
Old No. 7: Again, light. More banana notes and more spice than the WRS (again, interesting given the mash bill on these is, as far as I know, the same).

White Rabbit Saloon: Shorter than I expected. Vanilla dominates. Pleasant, just over very quickly.
Old No. 7: Pretty much as per the White Rabbit Saloon, with a bit less on the vanilla front and a bit more final spice notes towards the very end.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 
White Rabbit Saloon: 90/100. 
Old No. 7: 88/100. That 3% ABV really does seem to make a difference.

 - Martin.

Thursday 3 October 2013

Tasted #40: Glenfarclas 40yo (#101drams)

Glenfarclas 40yo has been on my list for a while now, mainly because there aren't too many 40yo whiskies in this price bracket (so I'd at least have a chance of trying it somewhere), and because I'd enjoyed the Glenfarclas' I'd tried previously. Also, why not give myself an excuse to seek out a 40yo whisky?

At The Whisky Fair Sydney recently, Glenfarclas were generously tasting their standard range, right up to and including the 30 and 40yo. I thought it would be fitting that whisky #40 from my #101drams list was a 40yo...

Glenfarclas 40yo (46% ABV, 40yo, OB, Speyside Scotland)
Nose: Flint and spice. Flint? Yes, odd. Not quite the leather and oak I was expected from a dram of this age, but nonetheless, a nice nose.

Palate: More flint? Smoke too - that was unexpected. I was pleased to see this wasn't an overpowering sherry monster (given that most Glenfarclas whiskies are heavily sherried), but was well balanced, also showing some sweeter citrus notes.

Finish: Very lengthy (I think that was going to be a given), and still with that smoke! Not overpowering peat smoke or anything of that nature, just a subtle undertone of smoke, let's call it campfire smoke. Some of the aged leather and rich nutty notes started to come through towards the end too.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 90/100. An enjoyable whisky - no question, but if I'm honest, not quite what I'd expected. I actually preferred the 30yo.

 - Martin.