The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2016

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Page 24 of 116

24  /  the tasting panel  /  september 2016 SCOTCH REPORT O n a recent tour round many of Scotland's island distilleries, I found these operations in good heart, plan- ning new releases and in many cases actively increasing production for what remains a buoyant global single malt market, especially for niche producers. Kilchoman, on Islay, was typical with founder Anthony Wills in a buoyant mood. Little wonder: the distillery is expanding output; their Sanaig expression has been awarded Best Single Malt Scotch Whisky (No Age Statement) at the IWSC 2016—a fantastic result from a "new" distillery at one of the most respected competitions in the industry—and his sales team will shortly hit the U.S. East Coast with their distinctively branded Land Rover for a multi-state tasting and educational tour. One product on show will be Kilchoman's latest edition of their annually released 100% Islay style, a vatting of fresh and refill ex–Buffalo Trace Bourbon barrels filled in 2010 and bottled in 2016 at 50% ABV. This latest edi- tion will be the most mature 100% Islay to have been released to date and is available through Impex Beverages. A little further north on the beauti- ful island of Mull, I was fortunate to visit the tiny Tobermory distillery, first opened in 1798 and still distilling on the original harbor-side site. The distillery was closed for some years but re-opened in 1972, and some of that rare spirit has now been released as a 42 Year Old (48.1% ABV), albeit initially restricted to tax-free outlets. It's a rich, dark, full- flavored dram. The historic distilling town of Campbeltown is not an island, though it feels remote enough to be one, and has famously experienced excep- tionally hard times. Malt mavens will therefore be excited by the news that Mitchell's Glengyle Distillery, re-opened in 2004 after a lengthy closure, has launched its 12 Year Old Kilkerran Single Malt, the first global age-statement release from this legendary producer. The distillery has been producing its Kilkerran Single Malt since early 2004 and bottled a series of releases under the Work In Progress label over the last few years. However, Ranald Watson, Sales and Marketing Manager for Kilkerran, said: "Bottling of the 12 Year Old Kilkerran is a celebration that marks not the culmination of our work, but the real beginning of what are sure to be exciting times for the distillery." Also on Scotland's mainland is Tomatin, and the Highland-based distillery has launched a limited 2005 vintage edition of its peated Cù Bòcan single malt, named after a mythical Highland hellhound said to haunt the village and distillery. Bottled at 50% ABV, the whisky is stronger than its core range counterpart and described as having aromas of butterscotch and toffee apples with flavors of candy floss and a gentle touch of peat smoke, typical of the Cù Bòcan range. There are only 11,400 bottles of this limited edition available worldwide (SRP approximately $65). Lastly Inchmurrin, another little- known malt that's likely to tickle a few enthusiasts' palates. A. Hardy USA, Ltd. of Des Plaines, IL, has announced the introduction of Loch Lomond Distilleries' Island Collection of three distinct single malt whiskies to U.S. markets. The Island Collection includes Inchmurrin 12 Year Old, Inchmurrin 18 Year Old and Inchmurrin Madeira Wood Finish. All are medal winners; all are packaged at 46% ABV and naturally non-chill-filtered. by Ian Buxton Island Adventures

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