The Tasting Panel magazine

December 2013

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Page 26 of 152

SCOTCH REPORT Bottoms Up! SPECIAL RELEASES FOR THE YEAR'S END by Ian Buxton V enerable Black Bottle is set for a U.S. re-launch early next year. Having just undergone a major repackaging exercise, this well-loved brand will be focusing on selected bars in cities such as Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago and Minneapolis, supported by localized offpremise distribution. The product itself, once noted for its Islay components but originally rooted in Scotland's North East, with stronger Speyside influences, has been reformulated. "The challenge was to develop a liquid that was more in line with the original character of Black Bottle, while maintaining all of the quality for which the brand is renowned," said Burn Stewart Master Distiller Ian MacMillan. Look out for Black Bottle from International Beverage (around $26). According to Nielsen's research, Scotch whisky is the second most popular spirit purchased during the holiday season. No surprise then to see iconic Islay single malt Laphroaig pushing its limited release of Laphroaig Triple Wood as a seasonal gift, or as the base for an unusual cocktail. The spirit has undergone an unusual and costly triple maturation process that includes ex-bourbon barrels, 19th century–style quarter casks and specially selected European oak oloroso sherry casks, adding creamy vanilla and rich fruit notes to its signature peaty smoke. And, if you like peaty whiskies, you will definitely want to get a bottle (or three) of The Peat Monster 10th Anniversary Edition from our old friends at Compass Box Whiskies. At around $100 (through Compass Box USA, with distributors in some 23 states) it certainly delivers what it promises. Bottled at 48.9% for rich, deep mouth feel The Peat Monster 10th Anniversary is a fantastic "last whisky of the night" whisky—unless you really like them peaty, in which case feel free to grapple with the Monster earlier in the evening. Like all Compass Box releases, quantities are strictly limited—in this case around 5,700 bottles worldwide. Even harder to track down will be The Dalmore 25 Year Old. Retail customers can expect to pay around $1,000 but this rich Highland malt spectacularly delivers orange peel, chocolate truffles and spiced gingerbread flavors thank to some inspired juggling with top-class casks. A very tasty Christmas dram to round off 2013. 26  /  the tasting panel  /  december 2013 TP1213_001-33.indd 26 11/22/13 8:38 PM

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