All posts by Chad Nagle

The Sovereign: 30 Year Old Cambus Distillery

I was excited to try this unique Lost Distillery bottling at our July Expensive Taste Meeting. Cambus distillery in the Speyside region closed in 1992, the building and remaining casks are owned by Diaego. Most of the Whisky still currently sitting in the warehouse are used for blends so coming across a Single Malt offering from independent bottler The Sovereign was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up when the chance to buy was presented.

Coming in at 45.6% ABV and bottled at Cask Strength and Un-Chillfilrered, this expression was aged in a Re-Fill Hogshead cask that was selected exclusively for TheWhiskyBarrel.com. This Golden and Honey coloured whisky looks beautiful as it sits in my glass, the nose hints of sweet fruit like peach or apricot and is very mild, much of this carries over on to the palate with notes of a tangy tropical fruit and light oily texture. The finish carries a mild tangy zip of sweetness and provides a quick mild to medium quick burn in the chest followed by a quick finish which leaves sugary taste.

It was a great dram for a warm Canadian summer night, but overall I felt a little underwhelmed as this whisky lacked the complexity I was expecting from a 30 year old scotch bottled at Cask strength. It was very much what you would expect from a Speyside, easy to drink, light and almost refreshing! For the price of $110.00 USD I couldn’t resist a try, I’m glad to say i was able to have a Single Malt from Cambus distillery since there will never be whisky produced from there again, however I wouldn’t go out of my way to seek another bottle.

Little Book II

Little Book II

Bottle: Little Book II

ABV: 59.4%

118.8 Proof

139.90 CDN

Limited Availability at LCBO

Review and notes by member Chad Nagle:

At a point in history when there is more political divide across North America since the war of 1812, what better way to come together and celebrate than to share a glass or two of Whisk(e)y together. Using a blend of 8 Year Kentucky Rye, 13 Year Canadian Rye and 40 Year Canadian 100% Corn Whisky, Little Book II is a harmonious blend of Canada / U.S relations, in bottle form! This is the second Chapter or Release from Beam Distillery recognized world wide for Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon amongst others. This is the creation from Freddie Noe who is the son of current Master Distiller Fred Noe and an eighth generation Beam family member, he wanted to make a blended whiskey to honour the legacy of his ancestors Whisky distilling past.

I am not sure of what percentage of each whisk(e)y is used or which Canadian Ryes have been selected, if I am able to find this out I will re-post at a later date.

The nose was typical of an American Bourbon, although it seemed a bit heavier and more congested which muffled the aromas, But i was able to get a bit of fruit through the ethanol.

The palate was rich and mildly sweet, pepper spice and honey were the most noticeable, there were hints of the Canadian Rye grains but not enough to offset the heavy oily American Oak.

The finish was surprisingly smooth and warming, at 118.8% Proof I thought it would hang around longer than the In-Laws visiting from out of town, but it was over quickly as the black licorice dominated and took over.

I must say I always prefer my American Bourbons or Whiskeys with a heap of ice, I think it enhances the flavours and makes it more sippable, usually at the $40-50 Canadian price point you can justify lots of ice, but for $140 Canadian for this release it had to sit in my glass sans ice.

Truthfully I would much prefer to spend this type of money on a Single Malt but I get the appeal for collectors or American Whiskey enthusiasts, the packaging is great and the uniqueness makes it desirable, however I feel it lacks any qualities of Canadian Rye Whisky and is more of a novelty than a true contender in the High-end whisk(e)y market.

Stalk & Barrel 100% Rye Cask Strength (Green Label)

If you are looking for a Cask Strength Whisky to sip on this weekend, check out the Stalk & Barrel 100% Rye Cask Strength Edition, coming in at 60.2% Alcohol it is a surprisingly mild Cask Strength Bottle. I wasn’t able to track this bottle down on the LCBO website, but it is available for Sale on the Stalk & Barrel website (www.stillwatersdistillery.com).

I found this whisky very light on the nose with a Woody aroma it leaves you wondering what to expect in your first sip….. Well, let me tell you! Expect Strong Oak and Grassy flavors followed by a quick finish that brings through the Ginger or a Sweet & Spicy flavor at the end.

A fellow Expensive taste member sitting next to me had added a small drop of water to his glass on a suggestion to open up the whisky! I personally didn’t do this in my glass because I enjoyed it in it’s original form, but I did try theirs with the water and WOW!!!! It was an eye watering experience which I did not enjoy, in fact I think it ruined the whisky and turned it into fuel with no particular flavours.

Overall, I enjoyed this Whisky, it is not as mature as some others on the market in the Cask category, but I am always one to support local distilleries and the products they create, the story that comes along with the samples always makes me enjoy the experience much more.

Jameson Whiskey Makers Series – The Blenders Dog

Crafted by Master Billy Leighton, this whiskey is named for a tool of the trade, a small metal tube used to check levels and collect samples straight from the cask, the Blenders Dog is never far from its masters side.

Billy is the Head Blender at Jameson so the pressure is on him to ensure all of the Jameson family blends being made are of the highest quality, his whiskey is his art, like a conductor orchestrating a melodic symphony.

This particular blend from the Jameson Masters Series is aged 5-7 years, mellow with a creamy butterscotch flavour followed by notes of kiwi fruit. This Whiskey has a great balance of fruit and sweet flavours, perfect for a mid-day snack!

Available at the LCBO (Product # 476697) and priced at $99.95 you may get a bit of sticker shock if you’re used to only shelling out $40 for the original Jameson but…. these special editions have been made with a unique story to share and incredible detail right down to the fingerprint of Billy Leighton on the front label.

In my opinion this bottle at its current price point may not appeal to a wide audience, but don’t let price scare you off as you will certainly be getting a high quality Irish Whiskey crafted by a true master in the whiskey making world.

Purchasing this bottle should be a no brainier for collectors and fans of the Jameson brand, it would also make great gift with the bottles appealing presentation and unique distinction as a Special Edition series.

Glenrothes Sherry Cask Reserve

glenrothes-sherrycasksreserveThis was a pleasant and enjoyable Speyside.  I recommend letting this single malt breath once you pour it into the glass to enhance the aromas.

A hint of citrus with lots of spice that stays with you well after you have had a swill of this well crafted dram. Overall I enjoyed this Scotch, if the first sip doesn’t quite appeal to your palate don’t be discouraged, there is much more to be discovered in the next mouthful.

Glenrothes Sherry Cask Reserve is available at the LCBO.

Midleton Very Rare Irish Whisky

For someone who has only tasted a handful of Irish Whiskeys this one was by far the best I have ever tried!

midleton-veryrareA well balanced nose which was pleasant and addictive, but that was only the beginning of this memorable experience. The palate was even more exciting with a sweet full flavour that had hints of vanilla, cinnamon and candied fruits. The finish was spicy and long lasting. When it was all over I was sad to say goodbye.

 

 

I would highly recommend this bottle to any amateur or experienced whiskey drinker. A great bottle! If you can get your hands on one…