Tag Archives: Whisky of the Month

Glengoyne 25 Year Old


On January 26, 2019 we had a the opportunity to have the Glengoyne 25 Year Old as one of our featured tasters as we celebrated our 11 Year Anniversary as a Whisky club.

Club member Tamara has added her notes:

Glengoyne 25 Years


Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Aged: 25 years

Matured in: Sherry Cask

Alcohol: 48.0%

Our purchase price: $485 CAD

Glengoyne 25 was not a hard sell on me from the get-go, generally being a fan of sherry casks.

Rich & spicy, with no peat, this whisky is a beautiful and impressive amber colour, a baseline signature of the sherry cask. My first impression, it tastes like it looks! On the brown sugary sweet side, but not too sweet, it reminded me of Grandma’s Christmas fruitcake, which would perennially appear on the kitchen counter around December 25 throughout my childhood, and which would still be there come March, mysteriously intact. I never developed the taste for indestructible cake crammed with old dried fruit, but I’ll take these homey flavours in my whisky. Throw in a little orange flavour, a few nuts (walnuts, almonds?) and bam! A bottle that I certainly would include as a highlight of my personal collection. Apologies however, the LCBO does not carry this bottle, making it difficult to obtain in Ontario.

Other common comments from online reviews are notes of old leather, cinnamon and licorice, which were not the stand out elements for me in sampling this bottle. Kensington Wine Market reviews this whisky on their website as “one of the best releases by any distillery in the last few years”. This whisky also won Gold at both the Asian Spirits Masters 2018 and the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2017.

The distillery’s slogan, “Unhurried since 1833”, reflects perfectly in this bottle. Very easy to drink and a definite go-back-for seconds experience. Overall, a great selection for those who want a complex, rich whisky without the smoke. Skip the dessert, just have a Glengoyne!

Wow what an endorsement, if the above notes strike you we would highly recommend this Glengoyne expression.  Cheers!

Craigellachie 23 Year Old Single Malt

The club recently celebrated our 11 Year Anniversary and this was bottle #2 in our tasting range for the evening, notes by member Adam Buchholtz.

Craigellachie 23 Year Old Single Malt

Specs: Speyside Scotch Whisky

Matured in: American Oak Cask

Alcohol: 46%

Our Purchase Price: $535.85 (LCBO in Ontario)

Nose: The first impression on the nose of this whisky is quite complex. I picked up some peppery notes, with an aromatic spice blend, along with something akin to sulphur. It seemed like quite a pungent smell, with a hint of sea salt mixed in. Absent for me were the fruity notes that are mentioned in many a review of this whisky, however I was so excited to taste it, that it may not have had the requisite time in the glass to fully envelope my senses.

Taste: Immediately I got an old leathery taste, almost rawhide-esk, to go along with a very oily mouthfeel. I was surprised at how different this expression is from their younger age statement bottles. With the taste also came a range of fruits, mostly tropical and citrusy in nature, like pineapple, orange, or even grapefruit. It meshed surprisingly well with the leathery flavours and made for a complex dram.

Finish: Again the oiliness was evident on the finish, with some heat from pepper notes, but also sweet citrus, with a touch of honey. It lasted quite a while, with a dryness to it that allowed it to linger.

Overall: The Craigellachie 23 is a complex scotch, as should be expected from anything that has been matured in American Oak for 23 years. However at the price point, it isn’t a bottle that I would strive to add to my personal collection. It is definitely worth a taste if you should be able, but I would not go out of my way for another dram

Sexton Irish Whiskey

The Sexton Single Malt Irish Whiskey is a new face on the Irish Whiskey market, but unlike most new faces it’s not a blend, but a sherried single malt which was honestly a bit shocking to see. I was first lured in with the crazy looking bottle and the macabre gothy label but it was the fact it was a sherried Irish single malt that intrigued the mind.

Put out by Proximo spirits the distiller of The Sexton Single Malt Irish Whiskey is unknown, but we have a pretty good idea who it is. Not too long ago Bushmill’s (located in the north of Ireland) released a sherry cask single malt for its Steamship series and Proximo has been the owner of Bushmill’s since 2014. I can’t help but think this comes from some of the same stocks.

Glenglassaugh Torfa

Torfa bottling notes: We’ve seen the Revival and the Evolution, and now Glenglassaugh are adding a peated expression to their range. The Torfa (which refers to the Old Norse word for turf or peat) has been matured in ex-bourbon barrels and weighs in at 20 PPM. We love to see that Glenglassaugh is back up and running again after being closed for over 20 years, and they’ve even got enough momentum to try new things, as this is their first peated single malt Scotch whisky!


Glenlivet Cipher

At our May gathering we had the pleasure of tasting the Glenlivet Cipher.  This month we wanted to try out some duelling reviews.  Chad Nagle and Mark Buchholtz offer up some perspectives.

First up Chad:

Glenlivet Cipher

Tasted on May 25th 2018

The idea behind the Glenlivet Cipher is mystery, with no age statement and only information about the casks printed on the bottle left me intrigued. Glenlivet is trying something different this time around, I mean I appreciate consistency, no matter where I am I can get a dram of Glenlivet 15 or at least a 12 year and be content after a long day of travelling or working.

With that in mind, here is what I was able to decipher from Cipher.


Nice Dark Amber with rich tones, typical of a Sherry Cask


Smooth, Fruity, pears and honey with dark chocolate standing out.


Short mild burn, no heat and a quick finish.


Typical of a Glenlivet, nothing new or surprising about this bottle….

With no age statement on this bottle, I would compare it to their 18 year with a slightly higher price tag.

The marketing, design and presentation of the bottle is very well done, definitely desirable for any collector and with limited availability of the Glenlivet Cipher this will make it surely sought after by collectors. I am a fan of Glenlivet but I was a little disappointed as I was expecting something different or unique out of the Cipher. But as the old adage goes, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

Next up Mark’s take:

For our May 2018 taster we had the pleasure of securing a bottle of Glenlivet Cipher from our club’s friend and Glenlivet brand manager Frank.  The first thing that strikes you is the mysterious box that the bottle comes in. When you angle it in the light letters show up in different shades and you can make our groupings of letters that seem to form words of flavour profiles.  It presents an intriguing proposition right from the get go. The mystery grew deeper when taking the bottle out of the box as it was opaque black and you are unable to see the spirit. This bottle and packaging is truly unique and it will stick out on your whisky shelf/cabinet, and act as an eye catcher and conversation piece.

Bottling and packaging aside let’s get to the spirit.

You could certainly look up tasting details and notes of the bottle before hand but half the fun is drinking it blind.  Upon pulling out the cork of the bottle the nose was soft, smooth, sweet with a subtle bit of spice, certainly mysterious in it’s own right as  I couldn’t quite place a label on the sweetness.

Pouring out a dram into my glass the spirit was amber in colour and I was able to get more of the spicier parts of the nose with a more pronounced swirl of my glass. The aroma was absolutely inviting and it didn’t take long to delve into the first sip.

Initial flavouring was a combination of sweet, spicy and then a little bit of heat (which after reading the notes it was bottled at 48% explained the heat factor) The sweetness reminded me of a sweet apple like the Honey Crisp variety, got some raisin flavours in there as well, hints of toffee almost like a bit of a darker caramel, leaning into the realm of dark chocolate.  All these blended together in a smooth drinkable dram.

The finish was warm with hints of spice, it didn’t linger overly long but that was tough to judge based on my eagerness to drink some more so shortly after the first sip. This expression to me was flawless in its makeup and was all the more exhilarating due to the mystery of the Cipher!

Price point here in Ontario at the LCBO is $199.99, I would highly recommend the purchase should your budget allow.

Details taken from Glenlivets website for further details:  

“Using a combination of casks never seen before in The Glenlivet portfolio, our latest, limited-edition expression is truly unique. First-fill American oak imparts delicious notes of vanilla, honey and spices. First-fill sherry adds the opulence of dark chocolate, toffee and dried fruit. The combination: an intriguing fusion of intense, long-lasting flavours.

The Glenlivet Cipher is not chill filtered, so the full taste profile is maintained. The colours are natural, reflecting the personality of the wood. Bottled at 48%, this expression has the spirit to match its bold, yet balanced, flavours.

Intriguing and original.”

Mark Buchholtz


Highland Park Valkyrie

Highland Park Valkyrie was reviewed by Michael Bridgman:

Valkyrie is the first of the Highland Park viking legend series. A valkyrie is an angel who came down from Valhalla to take a fallen warrior off the field of battle to Odin. Hence the black bottle representing death.

On my initial smell I got a light fruity aroma of a fresh peach, with some vanilla and a slight hint of peat, a very traditional highland park aroma. But i was still a little surprised by this since it was a medium to dark in colour.
My taste palate is always a little different from most people,  but I did get the fruity vanilla taste, the peat was less than i expected, it was not at all overwhelming and I could have used a little more of it. I also got nutty flavours in the aftertaste. It is a very nice flavour that I persoanlly loved, thus my glass was empty far too quickly.
I really like the story and the art work of the bottle. I am also a fan of highland park for many years now. I liked the flavour and aroma of the this scotch it’s a very well rounded and complex, my only complaint is at $100 for the bottle is that with the great flavour and short after taste the bottle could be gone very quickly and I’d be shelling out for another in short order.
Some additonal notes from the HP website.


Fiery amber
Average colour tint 9.6


Green apples | Sun-ripened lemons | Oriental spices | Vanilla | Preserved ginger | Dark chocolate | Salty liquorice | Warm aromatic smoke