All posts by Josh Bruce

Edradour Caledonia 12 Year

Edradour Caledonia 12 Year

Highland Single Malt

Bottled at 46% ABV

Our club recently sampled the Edradour Caledonia. Edradour is a distillery I always look forward to sampling. If my blurry memory serves me, the Edradour 10 was the first whiskey I ordered while i was in Scotland at the Speedwell pub in Dundee. They also have a surprising number of offerings given their small size.

The nose has a complex floral, fruity aroma. It’s definitely evident that there’s a lot going on here. Overall it presents itself as sweet and clean on the nose but certainly exerts its presence.

On the palate the sherry finish was evident. This came together with the fruit that was on the nose to again deepen the character. The long legs that you’ll note in the glass really lead to coating your mouth.

The finish develops in a lengthy way. The heat creeps up on you and hangs out for a while but not in an overpowering way while things dry out a bit and the flavors from the palate fade.For the price I think this a pretty enjoyable spirit. I think this would land well with most whiskey enthusiasts. There’s nothing mind blowing, but there’s really nothing objectionable either. It’s enjoyable dram which does perhaps get too warm for a summer night poolside which is where we sampled it. But as a springtime whiskey I think the floral & fruity clean nose this has would make you want to enjoy it outside. If this were readily available in Ontario, this would certainly be in my bar by now.

Ballechin Edition

Aged 14 Years

Burgundy Cask Matured, 411 Bottles from Cask 7

Bottled at cask Strength 51.9% ABV

Notes from the distillery:

14 year old single malt from Edradour, distilled using peated barley – and as such, it’s been released under the Ballechin name! It was filled into a Burgundy wine cask in January 2004 and bottled in January 2018 (four days after its 14th birthday), and bottled at cask strength. 411 bottles were produced.

Nose: A generous waft of coastal smoke filled the nose, with underlying blackcurrant sweetness.

Palate: The red berry notes from the wine cask take the lead on the palate, with a hint of chocolate developing along the way. Still richly smoky.

Finish: Cardamom, cinnamon and toasted oak.

Personally this was one of the most unique tastings I have ever participated in. Edradour starts right at the beginning of the experience with the fantastic visuals and feel of their wood packaging. Immediately it looks like nothing else in the market place. Traditionally I’m not the biggest fan of heavily peated whiskies but this was more of a sweet finish rounded off by the burgundy wine finishing. The tasting notes above came through for the most part but still left me puzzled as it was truly one of the most unique flavour combinations I have had the pleasure of enjoying. We weren’t able to source within Ontario and had to reach out to our friends and family in Alberta to find this gem. If you are interested in something exciting, daring, unique and truly tasty look no further that the cask series from Edradour.

Springbank 18 Year Old

Submission and notes by member Josh Bruce:

This one was a special treat to sample. Despite some choice bottles in my collection my Springbank 10 remains one of my favorites. When the club first tried this years ago, I was blown away by how unique the nose was on this single malt. Even now, nothing relaxes me like pouring a glass of the 10, and just breathing it in for a few minutes before I even draw a sip. But to date, the 10 is all I’ve ever been able to sample of Springbank. So for the 18, my expectations are high.In the glass the 18 has a light gold color indicative of the bourbon cask aging. Rolling it around the glass shows long legs and it’s somewhat oily demeanor.

On the nose I wasn’t disappointed detecting a similar briny sea air that is clean and crisp like the 10. Unlike the 10, there’s also the faint sting of alcohol on the nostril just reminding you that it’s there. Accompanying this was a faint citrus & sweetness note.

The palate had a spicy warmth that I’d compare to pepper or paprika maybe. The citrus continued in from the nose. The palate had a flat dryness that came in just after the spiciness and the citrus.

The finish was long and mouth watering with the return of the briny character from the nose, and some of the citrus carrying through.So conclusion time…. judging solely on what’s in my glass, it didn’t disappoint. It had the character I hoped I would find, and that relaxation that comes with the briny sea breeze in every breath.

But what I can’t get past is that for 40% of the cost of this, you can still get a stellar Campbeltown whiskey in the Springbank 10. The 18 has a lot of character, but so does the 10 – they’re just different. So given that, I would recommend this bottle for someone who very much wanted to see the range of what Springbank offers – the 18 certainly would not disappoint. Or someone who wants a high profile bottle from a lesser known region. You’d be sure to have guests commenting on just how unique this offering is. 

But then again, the 10 would do that for you too!

Springbank 18

Canadian Club 40 Year Old

Tasted January 27,2018

It was on our 10 year anniversary meeting that our club sampled the Canadian Club 40 year old Canadian whisky. After sampling so many bottles over the years, I was excited for this one. There aren’t many new Canadian Whiskies that get launched, especially ones at this age. I always hope that a higher age really showcases a whisky for all it can be (a measure very rarely met).

Distilled in 1977 this is an all corn whiskey distilled in American white oak casks with just 7000 bottles produced at 45%. But you can find all of that on the label if you can get your hands on what’s currently the oldest Canadian whisky available.
I’m generally remain skeptical with old bottles like this because sometimes the distillery has done something radical, or just not very well at all, and you pay more than usual for an experiment that’s gone wrong. Thanks to the presentation of this bottle, I wasn’t too worried about that here. The bottle itself was refined and classy, and the colour of the whiskey is exactly what you would expect from a Canadian whiskey: rich amber.
Nosing the whisky I remained hopeful that this was an evolution of what Canadian Club does well. The aromas from the whisky presented themselves cleanly with a very to the point sweetness. I could easily pinpoint the caramel that comes with just about all Canadian whiskys (especially the corn based ones), along with maybe a bit of honey and citrus. The caramel was front and center on the nose and detecting much else was difficult (I’d rather be honest here than list everything that might possibly be present like other whisky reviewers seem to, but maybe my palate just isn’t as refined as being able to pull 20 flavors out at once).
On the palate, I got a pleasant surprise with a light spice to accompany the sweetness of the caramel. The spice was reminiscent of pepper and clove which did fade to the back. Surprising for a 45% whisky, there was a very gentle numbing with a light but sharp acetone flavor that came with the palate that seemed to help compliment what was going on. Thanks to this, the sweetness was slightly muted and I got a touch of smoke & oak.
The finish was shorter in length and very easy going. The sweetness hung there in my throat for a bit as caramel but also a perhaps vanilla too. The spice that I got on the palate didn’t come along for the finish though.
All in all what I found here was an aged corn based Canadian whisky. There was nothing revolutionary involved in this. I wouldn’t put it on a ‘whiskys to try before you die’ list. But with that said if you like Canadian whiskys and are a bit of a purist that doesn’t want radical – this would be a bottle for you.
I found the extra time focused this whisky rather broadened it which was interesting in that you get to become really familiar with the foundation of what a Canadian whisky – and really Canadian Club in particular – is at its core.
ET Member: Josh Bruce

Balblair 2005 Highland Single Malt

In the glass, the spirit is extremely light in color and certainly likes to show off it’s legs. Swirling it in the glass highlights it’s oily consistency.
Bringing it to the nose yields a crisp and sweet aroma that was underscored by a distinct note of alcohol. There were no real standouts in the nose to prepare for what the palate had in store, yet somehow it still made my mouth water with anticipation.
On the palate, things started very mellow with a bit of sweetness, and a twist of citrus. This didn’t evolve much deeper until the finish which presented itself with immediacy. A warming developed along with the oakiness and light smoke. Some spice seemed to shine through as well on sips 2 and 3 which were reminiscent of clove for me.
Paying homage to the nose, the finish left my mouth watering still, eager for the next sip! Trailing the finish was a lingering and comforting warmth that just somehow makes you content.
I really enjoyed this Balblair expression. Its timing for the setting was perfect: poolside on a surprisingly cool summer evening. The whiskey didn’t have a wide flavor profile to my mind, but it didn’t need one to be successful here. It delivered on being a whiskey that wanted to be drank, and leaving you content to do so.
Bottom line: likely not one for the aficionado who likes to analyze their whiskey, but a great social choice since you don’t have to concentrate to much to enjoy it.

Aultmore 18

For those who want a quick trip to a buzz and to have a unique ride there, this may be the spirit for you! The Aultmore 18 year old is in between a regular 40% scotch and a cask strength. At 46% Aultmore delivers a whiskey that has an alluring golden color (from maturing in bourbon casks I’m guessing), a mellow nose, and a palate that builds like cayenne pepper.

The mellow nose on this spirit left me curious how the palate would present itself. Breathing it in, I picked up faint sweetness, pinpointing it to vanilla & caramel. I didn’t really find much else in it, especially noting an absence of the sharpness that can accompany a higher proof whiskey. I also didn’t pick much warmth out of it either.

Diving in and taking a sip, the first impression was that it was light, but briny, and had a very quick finish. This seemed to be a fitting conclusion given the nose of the scotch. But there was more there than it initially presented. The second and third sips gave way to a building spice and warmth, though I found the finish refused to linger, and lasted less than half a minute or so.

But as I mentioned earlier on, I likened this scotch to cayenne pepper. With each sip, the spice built. The warmth built. And my enjoyment of it built too. I like this scotch for it`s easy going nature and the fact that its character builds over time. I think to truly enjoy this you would need at least 2 glasses to let it evolve BUT at $180, I don’t know that I would add it to my bar. It’s a unique scotch in the way it unfolds itself to you, but at that price I’d prefer more complexity of flavor. The fact that the flavors build is a unique trick for a scotch in my experience, so it all comes down to what you`re looking to get from a $180 bottle, and I can’t weigh in on that.

My conclusion is that I loved the scotch, but not the price though I’m glad I got to sample it.

Cu Bocan

Forest Gump said “life is like a box of chocolates”. If the world of scotch was a box of chocolates, I would imagine Cu Bocan is the gross orange flavored one that everyone avoids once they find out what it is. I can usually find elements of almost any whiskey to enjoy, but I was hard pressed to find that here.

In the glass, Cu Bocan showed long legs that really clung to the glass. On the nose, I found it pungent and perfumy. A rather bold dose of a high proof whiskey. Before I knew what it was, I had assumed it to be a cask strength because of this. It vaguely reminded me of the Glen Livet Nadura, though the Nadura had some pleasant undertones on the nose that made you want to drink it to see what flavors that would turn into on the palate. Cu Bocan really lacked that character and really just had that high proof on the nose. If I was forced to stretch, there may have been some caramel notes there too.

On the palate, heat and oak were what this malt was packing! The warmth stayed with me, and the rest seemed to evolve to predominant oakiness. There were some spicy elements to it that I would compare to cinnamon, with very little else at play. I found on the second sip no evolution past this, and on the third, even with a drop of water, nothing else really presented itself. The heat of the malt lingered, but not in an incredibly cumbersome way as the tongue went a bit numb with each passing sip (or maybe my taste buds were just bored with how little there was offered by the whiskey).

All in all, as an eight and a half year veteran of the club, travelling Scotland visiting distilleries, and with a decent collection of my own, I’d like to think I know a bit about this stuff. And if in fact I do, my verdict on this malt is a solid pass for lack of depth, complexity and refinement. But for a sanity check I read some other reviews online after writing the above, and there are a lot of people speaking to the opposite and praising the merits of Cu Bocan.

So I put this to you: those who care enough about the whiskeys you drink to read up on them. Let me know what you think on this bottle. Have I missed something, or are the online reviews nothing more than gimmick and hype? I appreciate everyone has their own taste, but I really struggle to find anything about this whiskey to praise.

Send your thoughts to I’m interested to see what you, the real scotch drinkers think.