The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2015

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24  /  the tasting panel  /  august 2015 SCOTCH REPORT I  mentioned last time a new expression from Kilchoman, Islay's tiny farmhouse distiller. But while whisky production has proved a great success for Kilchoman, it's an open secret that relationships with the adjacent farm haven't always been entirely smooth. And, with the distill- ery operating on a relatively short lease, that's long been a worry. However, all has now been resolved with the sale of Rockside Farm to Kilchoman (effective November this year). Anthony Wills, Managing Director of Kilchoman Distillery commented: "We have always been proud to produce whisky from barley to bottle and the purchase of Rockside Farm secures this vision for the future." With Wills's son Peter running sales and marketing, we may just be seeing a family dynasty in the making. John Walker & Sons are arguably the best- known names in Scotch, and, of course, that company also started as a family concern. Now owned and run by Diageo, they have released a number of premium and super-premium expres- sions in recent years, so it's pleasing to be able to report something more affordable. Johnnie Walker Select Cask Rye Cask Finish is a limited release that will be available from September 2015 across the U.S. This will be the first in a series of limited-edition blends that will be released over the coming years, each featuring a different wood finish. Johnnie Walker Rye Cask Finish is a Scotch whisky blend based around Cardhu Single Malt and a number of fine grain whiskies, which have been matured for ten years in first-fill American oak casks that have previously held bourbon, and then finished for six months in American rye casks. This combination imparts rich layers of flavor with hints of spice and vanilla woven throughout. The significance of innovation on this scale—and the ten years of age proudly declared on the label—will not be lost on whisky connois- seurs who I expect will be more than happy to try this, especially with the $45 recommended retail price; the reassurance of a storied brand endorse- ment and the higher than usual 46% ABV (92 proof) bottling strength. Perhaps some bottles will change hands next Father's Day. That might seem a long way off (it is, actually) but not for Glenfiddich Single Malt who, until August 31, is inviting consumers to submit a three-minute video on YouTube "telling a meaningful and inspiring story" about their father. The four highest-scoring entries will win a trip for two to visit Glenfiddich in Dufftown, Scotland— the award-winning family-owned and -operated whisky distillery from William Grant & Sons. Here, they'll get a hands-on experience detailing the company history, as well as a tour of the distillery and tasting of the award-winning portfolio. Learn more and enter at Once in Scotland, the lucky winner (and, one presumes, their grateful dad) might just sneak a quick visit to The Dalmore, where they can try the new Distillery Exclusive bottling. Available, as you've guessed, only at the distillery's brand home, this is a 450 bottle limited release, at a rich and warming 48% ABV, yours for £150 (around $230). According to the distillery, "history, bravery and workmanship" go into every bottle. I've encountered history and workmanship before, but bravery is a new one to me! Perhaps it takes courage to open your wallet. No such problem with Tomatin Distillery's "new" 36 Year Old, but only because the price hasn't yet been announced. Just 60 out of the 800 bottles are destined for the U.S., available shortly through USDP, Minneapolis. Remember, fortune favors the brave. Of Farmers and Fathers by Ian Buxton The Kilchoman Distillery.

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