The Tasting Panel magazine

December 2012

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Page 26 of 152

SCOTCH REPORT Rare Releases JUST IN TIME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, SCOTCH PRODUCERS PRESENT THESE HIGH-END STOCKING STUFFERS by Ian Buxton T PHOTO COURTESY OF BUNNAHABHAIN he whisky industry���s fascination with super-premium limited edition single malts continues unabated with new releases from Bunnahabhain and Balblair. There are just 750 bottles of the Bunnahabhain 40 Year Old Islay Malt (41.7% abv) which will retail at $3,200 in the U.S. In New York it will be distributed by Opici; in California, Wine Warehouse; in Illinois, Tenzing. Not previously noted for its extra-age releases, this expression follows the discovery by the distillery of some previously unrecorded casks, belonging to a long-defunct irm of Glasgow whisky brokers. As the media release would have it, Ian MacMillan, Bunnahabhain���s Master Distiller, ���stumbled upon��� the barrels���possibly not the most felicitous turn of phrase in this era of sensible consumption! HOTO COURTESY OF BALBLAIR Finally, if you move smartly, you may still ind one of the 3,000 bottles of the Laphroaig Cairdeas Origin released this year. With a suggested retail price of $75, this cask-strength bundle of peaty goodness will be available through Beam Inc., with limited distribution in Arizona, Northern and Southern California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, Washington D.C., West Virginia and Wyoming. Pity the good people of Arkansas this holiday season! Nothing for them it seems. PHOTO COURTESY OF BEAM INC. Moving on, Balblair has been more active recently and, fresh from the distillery���s starring role in The Angel���s Share, has just released a new vintage. Curiously, there are exactly 999 bottles of the Balblair 1969 expression available worldwide, though it���s not clear if that includes the bottle cracked at a recent London media launch. Available through International Beverage, recommended U.S. shelf price is $3,500 a bottle, a sharp step up from the 1975 bottling, but critics were impressed with the extra depth, complexity and layers of lavour in the older bottling. I thought it remarkably fresh and vibrant for whisky of this age and full of intriguing fruit and vanilla lavours, with background hints of liquorice root (41.4% abv). 26 / the tasting panel / december 2012 SH-2012 T

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