Chapter Chatter - Keepers of the Quaich Skip to content

Keepers of the Quaich

Single Malt Ambassadors

Posts by :

Archive

Category: Chapter Chatter

As if they need to advertise

I just spent a week in London with my wife and I was fortunate that The Whisky Exchange was right in the heart of the one of the areas we hung out in. Near Shakespeare’s Globe Theater and the Tate Modern Art Gallery is an elegant and modern wine and spirit exchange called Vinopolis. The Whisky Exchange, a mecca for single malt enthusiasts and a great place to source UK-only or hard to find bottlings, is situated right at the heart of Vinopolis. But, just in case you need reminding they keep this sandwich board advertisement out on the street.

Here I am doing my level best to look the part of a single malt aficionado. This is just one corner of the store. There are at least two glass cases of rare bottlings, one of which you see in this photo. The store is smart and open and you are surrounded by beautiful bottlings. It took me a good while to peruse the store and my wife was very patient throughout and helped me locate certain bottlings.

The shelf full of Talisker was of particular interest; showcasing a number of UK-only Taliskers (the first 2 listed were released in spring 2013) along with the discontinued 175th Anniversary bottling. “Storm” is their 10 kicked up a notch (or two). “Port Ruighe” (pronounced Portree) is their port finish. “57° North” is a limited cask strength bottling. “175th anniversary” we tasted in 2009 which as I remember is a rare beauty. I probably should have snagged some of these as the first three are only currently available in the UK; but I found out after I returned 🙁

I ended up buying three bottles. I wanted to complete Brother Brass’s “Distiller’s Edition” tasting lineup he is designing so I bought the Clynelish “D”. I noticed right away “The Spirit of Lewis” expression which is the first release from the new Abhainn Dearg distillery on the Isle of Lewis which I know you cannot find in the States. I love island distilleries and I was excited to be able to pick this one up. Finally, Fettercairn is a difficult distillery to source in the US so when I saw the Fasque I just had to have it.

One corner of The Whisky Exchange in London

The Talisker shelf at TWE

TWE_haul

Just a heads up to KOTQ. I don’t have a good source yet, but it is heavily rumoured that Bruichladdich is discontinuing the entire “Laddie” line. The 10, 16, and 22 year may all be replaced. I just saw this on a tweet, but it seems authentic. In any case, if you enjoyed the Laddie (I did) at the last meeting that I hosted, now would be a good time to stock up.

Tao

 

Update 9/13/13 :  Saw this on /r/scotch today.  I’m attaching it as an image. Notice that they do not say that they are discontinuing the line, they simply say that they are not doing it because of pressure from the new owners.

While B – Funk, Hoopie and I anxiously awaited the arrival of our brethren at last night’s fantastic tasting, I perused the impressive whisky menu at Delilah’s.  To my shock and awe, there it was on the page, Springbank 21.  I immediately thought of my bachelor party back in 2002 when we last had Springbank 21 due to a major production gap.

Springbank 21

Springbank 21


Despite the $30.00 per dram price point, I didn’t hesitate and dialed one up while B-Funk and Hoopie respectably ordered the new Ardbog from Ardbeg.

My dram of Springbank 21 was worth every bit of the $30.00, albeit I was a bit nostalgic as I dialed it up.  The night only got better from there as the lineup was terrific and our new initiates brought strong presentations to the group.

There was a good debate later in the night though between me and one of our esteemed guests on the relative price to value ratio of some of these spirits.  This is one of those classic discussions we’ve had as a group over the last 13 years, and to which I believe led Brother Bop to come up with Bop’s Select list.  Last night’s debate was Springbank 21 @ $30 per dram vs. Highland Park 18 @ $18 per dram.  Is Springbank 21 really 66% better than HP 18?  Of course this all assumes that price is a measure of quality when it comes to scotch…..

Thoughts?

Mrs. Hoopie thought out of the box for fathers day this year and bought me a product from the Copper Fox Distillery provides a 100% barley single malt spirit and a charred barrel to allow you to age at home.  The product sheet and faq are below.  It recommends the first fill be aged 4-7 months.  I put it in in June, and was planning to crack it around Christmas time to see what comes out.  Being a habitual tinkerer, the best part will be the subsequent fills where I can experiment with how the output changes after the barrel has been used a few times.

http://www.copperfox.biz/images/cp-wasmunds-barrel-kit-product-sheet-2012.pdf

http://www.copperfox.biz/products/distillers-art-faq.php

When I saw this come across my email, I had to see more…. the following is from their website – www.whiskyofthegods.co.uk

“Thor is the first release in the Highland Park Valhalla Collection and like its namesake, shares many of the legendary Norse god’s larger-than-life characteristics.

The most renowned of all the Norse gods, Thor was the protector of Asgard and was feared by his enemies and other gods alike. His powerful hammer, Mjolnir, which we have depicted on the bottle, was said to create a thunderous and terrifying sound when used in battle; legend has it that Thor’s handiwork can be witnessed first hand on Orkney.

Distilled where sea turns to ocean, Highland Park Thor is a meeting point of nature’s forces, resulting in a perfect marriage of classic fragrant Highland Park smoke, balanced with a beguiling inner complexity and natural strength. Aged for 16 years and bottled at 52.1% abv, Thor is limited to 23,000 bottles worldwide.”

Bop and I wondered if they were trying to capitalize on The Avengers but I think Orkney’s proximity to the Norwegian countries and its heritage may actually be what has led the distillers to honor it.  Thoughts?  Regardless, I cannot wait to try it….  Gold Eagle Liquors in Libertyville may have one bottle left…. $200 on sale this month for $175…
APPEARANCE:Rich amber, with an iron ore glow.

NOSE:Concentrated and forceful, with an explosion of aromatic smoke, pungent fresh ginger, antique copper, stewed plums, and golden syrup. With water, earthy notes emerge, like a garden after a heavy rain shower.

PALATE:Thor’s high strength grabs the palate and refuses to let go. Initially dry, with fiery gingerbread then vanilla, blackberries, fresh mango, peach and hints of cinnamon. As its big flavours swirl around the mouth, some softer, sweeter notes develop, giving Thor and unexpected layer of complexity and depth.

FINISH:The finish thunders on, leaving behind lingering notes of sweet vanilla and an intense spiciness.