The Glasgow Distillery 1770 Cognac Cask Finish (Batch 1) 52% ABV


The Glasgow Distillery 1770 Cognac Cask Finish (Batch 1) 52% ABV. A limited edition release of 1576 bottles at 52% ABV. A marriage of three casks 18/965 – 18/967, this Triple Distilled spirit was filled on 3rd of February 2018 into first fill ex-bourbon casks and laid to rest for two years and ten months before moving in French Cognac puncheon casks on the 17th of December 2020 for two years and six months. Bottled on the 12th of July 2023.

Appearance: Light gold/white wine. An immediate thin beaded tide mark with many short medium trails and a semi-viscous film. After a short time many teardrops appear.

Nose: Nice and sweet with not too much of an ethanol hit. Vanilla, honey, pastry and grape. After a time some deeper and more rich notes of berries and a little cherry come through. Sugar also starts to make its way to the forefront as the dram matures.

Palate: A nice oily mouthfeel with a good ethanol level and a light spice tingle. Vanilla, grape, black pepper and caramel. Pepper-dusted sweeter notes emerge from the second sip: vanilla, honey and a little semolina. Some popping candy appears after a few sips which I like as it morphs the spice tingle into something new, evolving nicely. A good chest warming starts to emerge which is always pleasing in the colder months!

Finish: The vanilla, black pepper and some of that popping candy tingle last for a medium to long amount of time. There’s a very subtle drying in the throat but barely noticeable.

Overall: I like this one, it’s more subtle and has a great balance of friendly flavours (especially for a 50+% whisky). Nice.

The Glasgow Distillery 1770 Golden Beer Finish (Batch 2) 58% ABV


A limited edition release of 340 bottles at 58% ABV and part of the Collaboration Series. The contents of a single cask, their unpeated Double Distilled spirit filled on the 17th of April 2019 into first fill ex-bourbon casks and laid to rest for three years and one month before moving for one year into a Pedro Ximenez sherry cask that previously held Innis & Gunn’s Golden Beer. Bottled on the 12th of June 2023.

Appearance: Pinkish amber. A thin beaded tide mark with some teardrops. Sporadic and sparse thick trails seep towards the surface through a viscous film.

Nose: The ABV is obvious but well-controlled and allows the aromas to emerge from the first sip. Creamy vanilla ice cream, orchard fruits, red berries and an earthy funk. Some lemon, green apple skin grape and a little confectionary sugar next. There is a malty element too, albeit subtle, which adds a nice layer to contrast the sweeter notes.

Palate: A semi-viscous mouthfeel. A spikey spice tingle from that ABV, cinnamon, vanilla, pastry and that apple note. The spice grows with each sip, rather than the normal acclimatisation, mild chilli by the third sip. A little cloying at the back of the throat after a few sips too. A little astringency creeps in after a while too.

Finish: The chilli tingle, vanilla and cinnamon last for a medium to long amount of time. White pepper also lingers for some time and is the last remaining flavour.

Overall: Lovely nose but I didn’t get on with the palate. A little too much spice and the astringent element didn’t agree with me.

The Glasgow Distillery 1770 Tokaji Cask Finish (Peated Batch 1) 53.4% ABV


A limited edition release of 615 bottles at 53.4% ABV. A marriage of two casks 18/961 and 18/962, filled on the 14th of March 2018 into virgin American white oak for two years and eight months before being moved into Hungarian Tokaji Casks for a further two years and eight months. Bottled on the 27th of July 2023.

Appearance: Duracel battery amber. A thin beaded tide mark, viscous film and many thick oozy trails appear when the glass is rolled.

Nose: Very little peat/smoke, possibly a touch of faint sweet BBQ smoke. Christmas spices, barley sugar, orchard fruits and vanilla appear first. A nice balance between the sweet and spice notes and a decent helping of alcohol. Some spring water freshness and damp forest floor elements appear next. Some expressed orange peel and honey emerge after a time.

Palate: A semi-viscous mouthfeel, not oily but quite silky nonetheless and a good level of tingling spicy ethanol. Charred oak, honey, black pepper and faint hot aniseed. There’s some cloying at the back of the mouth and throat from that oak. A slight Campbeltown’esqe funk lingers in the background, as does some more confectionery sweetness. Running through the rest of the flavour profile is a candied bacon/bacon jerky note, really nice and sweet, but also a little salty and lightly smoked.

Finish: Long. The spice tingling, honey, aniseed and some creamy vanilla last for a good amount of time on the finish.

Overall: A really well-balanced whisky with a great ABV level. I like all the flavours and the very subtle smoked candied bacon in this one and would happily sip away at a bottle.

Loch Lomond Distillery Edition 4 ‘Supercharged Floral & Tropical Fruits’ 46% ABV

The fourth edition is a 7 year old single grain whisky which is made using 100% malted barley, fermented for 96 hours using a specially selected yeast, and is distilled in their continuous “Coffey” still.

During distillation, the spirit is taken off the still at 80% abv, a relatively low strength for grain whisky, retaining more flavour.400 Bottles • Natural Colour • Non Chill Filtered.

Appearance: Olive oil gold. A decent beaded swirl mark circles the glass when agitated, along with a pleasing viscous film forming. After a short while the beading morphs into teardrops as well as several medium to thick trails.

Nose: The ABV is judged well, it’s obvious but not intrusive or off-putting. Loads of honey, vanilla, cereals, digestive biscuits, malt and a melon/apricot combo aroma. It makes me think of tinned fruit salad with crumble and custard. There’s also a slightly damp earthy note, like woodland after rainfall. The damp notes turn more like petrichor than the earlier earthy aroma. After a short time the confectionary sweet side to the dram starts to come forward, reinforcing the typically friendly and alluring grain profile.

Palate: A nice semi-viscous mouthfeel with an immediate lemon pepper tingle. The second sip starts to reveal the sweet elements such as that honey, vanilla ice cream and confectionary sugar combination from the nose. Cinnamon, black pepper and grilled pineapple balance the dram nicely. It’s a little dry on the palate but nothing offputting. The pepper notes start to intensify into a mild chilli tingle towards the middle of a 50-60ml dram. It’s a pretty full-on dram, especially for a grain whisky, bold and forthright.

Finish: Long. The pepper/chilli tingle and lemon pepper linger for a good amount of time, longer than other grain whiskies I’ve tried. The sweet notes take a backseat during the finish but last well too.

Overall: Packed full of flavour (more tropical than floral for me) and a good punch from the ABV. The flavours all have individuality but work well together to create a balanced dram. The final result is a dram that’s more than the sum of its parts, even though those parts are all lovely. For £45 if won’t last long, so get involved ASAP.

Imperial 31yo 51.2% ABV

A private bottling for a friend of mine. Imperial was initially built as a second distillery for Dailuaine, and the name ‘Imperial’ was to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, which occurred the same year.

Appearance: Yellow gold. A trick jagged and headed ride mark forms above a viscous film which coats the glass with ease. Many thick oozy trails form after a short while and cling motionless.

Nose: A good waft of alcohol and immediate notes of icing sugar, orchard fruits, honey, a little damp cellar funk and tree bark. Orange blossom and a little jam on buttered toast appear soon after. A mellow vanilla cream aroma appears after some time.

Palate: Not particularly oily, a little thin even. Sweet and tingling with chilli and spice. Lots of honey, vanilla and some caramel. The fruit jam and toast appear on the palate too. Some drying occurs at the back of the throat.

Finish: Medium in length. The chilli tingle, honey, some black pepper and vanilla linger for some time. Burnt toast appears right at the end.

Overall: A nice dram, but I can’t help but be left wanting considering the time this took to mature. Something this old should be very special and this isn’t really unfortunately, it’s ‘nice’. There’s good balance and a nice flavour profile though.

Spey Fumare Cask Strength – Batch 4 58% ABV

spey fumare cs batch 4

Fumare is the Latin for ‘Smoky’ and also Gaelic for ‘Peat’. This cask strength edition, bottled at 58% ABV, is Batch 4 of Speyside Distillery’s Fumare range, the first ever peated distillery bottling, which is made using peated malt and matured in ex-burbon barrels. With an outrun of 1500 bottles, non-chill-filtered and no added colour.

Appearance: White wine in colour. A lightly corrugated film made up of a lightly viscous film and thin to medium legs forms around the glass when swirled. After a short while the swirl mark beads up a little and a few droplets are also present.

Nose: A good level of alcohol from that 58%, but not overwhelming, the aromas make it through quite easily. Distant beach BBQ, dying embers, lemon zest and floral notes. There’s a nice balance between the smoke and the lighter notes.

Palate: A nice mouthfeel, not overly oily but definitely not thin. The ashy peat is still there, as is some tingling mild chilli heat, some numbing on the tongue and a little lime pickle. This dram doesn’t disguise its 58% at all. After a few more sips there’s a nice shift towards more fruity flavours. Some strawberry jam, honey and a little buttered (possibly burnt) toast. The peppery spice does build constantly in the background, increasing that chest warmth.

Finish: Medium in length. The jammy BBQ smoke dominates the finish, as does the fact that it’s a big dram.

Overall: It’s a lovely dram, full of flavour and uncompromising.

Beinn Dubh The Black 43% ABV

Beinn Dubh The Black

Beinn Dubh (pronounced ‘Ben doo’ and meaning Black Mountain) from Spey Distillery. After the success of Cu Dhub, the black whisky made at Speyside for Danish bottler Mac Y, the distillery decided to launch this one, its own version. Fully matured in American oak and finished in heavily toasted ruby port casks from the Douro Valley.

Appearance: Cola brown, very dark indeed. A thin tide mark and many very thin trails quickly form. After a time more thin to medium trails appear. A semi-viscous film clings to the inside of the glass.

Nose: Even though I know this is 43%, the colour tricks my mind into thinking it’ll be a big and bold nose when actually, it’s quite gentle at first. Again, possibly the colour, but I get Cola syrup, forest fruits, honey, pear and plum. There’s a little basement funk, cherry-encrusted chocolate and damp oak too. A faint furniture polish note emerges after a while, along with damp leaf litter.

Palate: Not a particularly oily mouthfeel, but not thin either. The chocolate, cherry and a slight menthol note remain, along with some medicinal (Benelyn) notes. Lots of oak and a little drying to accompany it, some aniseed, white pepper and Blackcurrant Lemsip.

Finish: The blackcurrant medicial and oak drying elements last for quite some time.

Overall: A little confused and not that interesting.

Spey Trutina 46% ABV

spey trutina

Released in late 2016 (alongside their first peated whisky – Fumare) and matured in bourbon casks. The name comes from a Latin way of expressing balance, and the whisky certainly falls in line with that idea. A release of 18,000 bottles.

Appearance: Very light, a white wine shade off of clear. A thin beaded tide mark and semi-viscous film form quickly when swirled. The small beads slowly morph into teardrops. After a short while several long and thin to medium sticky trails form.

Nose: Lovely and sweet. Confectionary sugar-dusted orchard fruits, pastry, brown sugar, malt, and custard/vanilla ice cream. After a bit more nosing the aromas become lighter and more refreshing: fruit chews, a little more tropical/lemon-like and some floral honey too. Definitely a summer dram this one.

Palate: A lovely silky mouthfeel and pleasingly sweet/spice balance on the first sip. Plenty of vanilla and honey, along with gentle black pepper, cinnamon and a little chocolate. Some malt and cereal appear next, honey nut cornflakes. The gentle heat and spice build to warm the throat and chest, there’s a touch of drying in the throat too.

Finish: Medium in length. The vanilla, honey and general confectionary notes flow through the palate to the finish. A little black pepper heat and cinnamon chocolate make it too, adding that nice balance present on the palate. Good consistency.

Overall: It’s a very nice dram indeed, very moreish and a real easy sipper. Great balance of lovely confectionary sweet and floral aromas and flavours. The mouthfeel is great too, a real surprise. Recommended.

Spey Tenne CS – Batch 4 57.5% ABV

spey tenne batch 4

This is the fourth batch of Cask Strength whisky from the Tenné (Tawny in Gaelic) range. Spey Tenne Back 4 was initially matured in ex-bourbon casks, before being finished in Tawny Port casks from the family-run winery, Quinto de Filoco for 6 months. Limited to 1500 bottles, non-chill-filtered and natural colour.

Appearance: Light honey gold/diluted amber. A hairline swirl mark and thin film form when agitated. After a short while the tide mark beads up and a few teardrops and thin trails form and seep to the surface.

Nose: A decent reassuring waft of ethanol from that higher ABV. Deep and chocolatey, plum, a little coffee, blackcurrant jam and baking spices. Golden syrup, dark brown sugar and caramel greet the senses next.

Palate: Slightly oily mouthfeel. The first flavour I get is sulphur which means a dram is gonna go one of two ways. Then there’s, thankfully, more pepper-dusted jammy notes and some gentle warming on the chest. Quite a build-up of the spice, overtaking the fruitier notes, a little drying also. There’s an element of forest fruit brown sugar-dusted pie and custard, white chocolate and an increasing flavour of oak.

Finish: The oak, caramel and fruit jam notes last for a decent length of time. The dryness lingers too, unfortunately.

Overall: I really like all the flavours in this but not the oak layer that envelops them. I reckon a bottle would be a different matter though and want to believe that it would mellow slightly and become more jammy than oaky and drying. I think I had a bottle of a previous batch and LOVED it.

Dràm Mòr Benrinnes 10 yo 1st Rancio Sec Hogshead 55.7% ABV

dram mor benrinnes

This Speyside, with an outrun of 285 bottles, was finished in a first-fill Rancio Sec Hogshead.

Appearance: Amber with a definite pinkish hue. Many medium trails gently seep towards the surface through a viscous film. The swirl mark eventually beads up and slowly morphs into teardrops and droplets.

Nose: As you’d expect from nearly 60%, a decent hit of ethanol. This is followed by icing sugar, foam and chewy sweets (especially Fruit Salads and those banana and toffee chews) and apple Chewits. Toffee, caramel and forest floor/leaf litter next (my first thought was toffee-covered leaves!). Many deep and rich flavours run through this dram, like a box of high Cocoa content chocolates, slightly bitter, but also decadent. An almost smokey aroma swirls around too. The more I nose this one, the more an intensely fruity vein appears through it. For a 10yo, this dram has an amazingly deep and complex aroma profile.

Palate: An immediate ABV tingle on the tongue, but coated in a buttery mouthfeel and flavour. That fruit syrup vein runs through the palate too, from the start. The second sip is just a wonderful balance of gentle spice, creamy notes and that fruit indulgence. These lovely flavours simply remain while you sip, no surprises, just beautifully married flavours.

Finish: The fruit, subtle spice tingle and a little ABV heat last for a medium length of time.

Overall: Banger. Gonna search for a bottle now.