Hazelburn 13 Sherry Cask Matured

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A while back I mentioned some interesting Campbeltown releases, among them this one. I reviewed the other two, an 8 year old Kilkerran Cask Strength and this year’s Longrow Red release, but didn’t get round to this one for a bit. Unfortunately the heat has been getting the better of me and I’m not often in the mood for whisky.

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Two Elements of Islay

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This week our local whisky club, Malt Mongers Israel got together for our monthly meeting. The theme this time was Elements of Islay, a series of “undisclosed” single malts from Islay put out by independent bottler Specialty Drinks. They’re modeled after elements of the periodic table with each element’s symbol hinting at the source of the whisky inside. If one goes over to their website they usually provide more information about each bottle to varying degrees.

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Heaven Hill 20 Cadenhead’s 175th Anniversary bottling.

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I’ve been active in the whisky community on reddit for around 3 years now and it’s been a really amazing time and has put me in touch with some really great folks who share my love of spirits. Some really cool stuff has come out of it and one such thing is a bottle share we recently did of this fine stuff.

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Bunnahabhain 8 G&M The Macphail’s Collection

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This is a peated malt from one of my favourite distilleries. While the majority of their output is unpeated spirit they put out some really nice peated whiskies as well. This one was bottled by independent bottler Gordon & Macphail as part of their “Macphail’s Collection” range, which largely consists of younger, budget friendly single malts.

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Ardbeg Dark Cove Committee Release

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Thanks to /u/buddy_dosser for the sample via /r/ScotchSwap on reddit

So every year around the time of the Feis Ile, Ardbeg release a limited edition whisky, usually with some kind of interesting finish. There are actually two versions each year, a batch strength committee (Ardbeg’s fanclub) release which is usually for sale at the distillery and to committee members which has a cream coloured label, and a regular edition usually at a lower ABV and a black label which is more widely available. Lucky me as this sample is the committe release.

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Kilkerran 8 Cask Strength

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A while back Glengyle Distillery (read: Springbank) released the long awaited Kilkerran 12 which received quite a lot of praise, from myself included, hacing purchased a bottle. Now they’ve gone and released a young, cask strength version, along with an oloroso matured Hazelburn (which will be reviewed shortly, hard to keep up the pace as summer has just hit and even at night we’re dealing with temperatures of close to 30C).

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Appleton Estate 12 Rare Blend

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My explorative journey into rum continues. This one being from Jamaica. One of the major issues with rum is the lack of regulation, especially concerning labelling and additives. Jamaica is actually pushing for recognition of Jamaican Rum as a protected appellation and has fairly coherent regulations for labelling rum, which means Jamaican rums are usually of good reputation.

This particular one is from Appleton Estate, a sugarcane estate which has been producing rums since the 18th century. This is one of the more aged rums, 12 years being quite a lot for the Caribbean, and is likely a blend of column and pot still rums (Appleton produces both). Appleton do not add sugar to this after distillation (something quite common in rums).

Aged 12 years. 43% ABV. 

Nose: Sweet candied fruit notes. Brown sugar. Bubblegum. Pencil erasers. Dusty oak. Slight vanilla and gentle woodspice. Overripe stone fruits & bananas.

Palate: Brown sugar. Bitter stone fruits. Sour pineapple. Dry oak. Dark maple syrup. Cloves. Fennel. Anise. Ends in menthol.

Finish: Long. Menthol and anise from the palate follow through along with licorice pastilles. Bitter wood. Dark chocolate. Orange peels.

Would I buy this: Yes

Would I order this in a bar: Yes

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes

VFM: 5/5

This isn’t quite as funky and in-your-face as some of the rarer Jamaican rums I’ve tried and is indeed very mellow. It’s got a really nice wood influence to it and is just a really good sipping rum well suited to someone who’s new to the whole thing (like me) but wants to try an authentic, unsweetened rum. It’s also available at a really good price considering what you’re getting.