Category Archives: Maltmonster’s Lair

sinDicate #001 – Club Launch & Talisker

“The King is dead, long live the King!” A very famous saying, most likely Irish in its origin, and in this case it applies nicely to the coronation of Calgary’s newest Whisky Club.  With that being said “The Dram Initiative is dead, long live the sinDicate!”.

The sinDicate Single Malt Society, Calgary’s* newest incarnation whisky club, was given life in an incubator known as The Green Bean Restaurant & Bar on the 19th Day of September in the Year of the Dog.  In the early evening hours of this hallowed Wednesday, a Tragically Hip Cult of 36 sinners, with a collective drinking weight of over 7,000 pounds, met on this inaugural night of nights, to witness Original Sin with a Titanic Talisker Tasting (let that sink in). The lineup was designed to make even the most squirrelly-headed Westcoast whisky drinker rethink NAS whisky, and bring our newly-founded membership to full Sin.

*Calgary, rated number one city in the world for whisky & enjoyment of life … Edmonton & Victoria not so much.

The orator on this night was none other than the Club President & Crystal Glass Immaculation Specialist, Curt Robinson, AKA Manitoba Sauron.  Curt regaled us with stories of the distillery’s past, which included a history of triple distilling and how it came to pass that yet another incredible distillery is owned by the Plastic Barrel Wrapping, Johnny Wanker Gang.  Curt talked about the direction of the new sinDicate club; a club where members want to gather regularly, not just cherry pick events to attend from a series of tastings; quality of whisky is foremost with six to eight bottles per tasting. Capping membership at 50, ( 44 members to date ) with a waiting list thereafter, guests can attend once but by invitation only.  70% attendance is expected, but the club is flexible in all things whisky.

Under the watchful and all seeing eye of the Manitoba Sauron, the club tasted the following eight expressions of Talisker, intertwined with the history of the Distillery and club business:

1. 10 Year Old 45.8%

It’s been said that he who is without Sin drink the first glass, so as usual this task fell to Maltmonster or Gandalf the Green as I have been shackled with lately, all because at a tasting of Bunnahabhain I said, “Send these foul beasts into the abyss”.  So with great PRIDE & a hearty toast, the evening, the club and a new sinful path began with a sea spray crash of new sinDicate branded Glencairn glasses.

Great intro to Talisker.  Smoked oysters with peppercorns in a lemon & lime brine sauce.  Diageo considers the ten year old to be a classic malt of Scotland, representing the Island style.

2. Distillers Edition 1992 – 2005 45.8%

Both Amoroso and its better-known cousin, Oloroso, are the ENVY of finished whisky. This Amoroso finished Distillers Edition doesn’t disappoint. It is like the sea monster Moby Dick, hooking up with a sexy pole dancer named Chocolate Delight, in a briny creamy raspberry tsunami of sensual debauchery … or not.

Not always a fan of the Distillers Edition, but this one hits the mark of enjoyment and still keeps it within the Talisker’ s uprights.

3. Storm 45.8%

It’s the great and wise blending wizards of Diageoz’ way of saying NAS and proud.  Storm … no … more like the wind from a weekend chili cook off on a cloudy SLOTH-filled day.

More younger whisky than older in this mix.  I believe there is a better use for older whisky than to drown it out in a storm of youth.

4. Port Ruighe 45.8%

Again, another GREED-driven NAS product, but at least this whisky takes on some interesting notes with its Ruby Port finish & cherry liqueur intensity, whilst retaining some farmy unpleasant low tide notes.

Port Ruighe is the Gaelic translation for Portree, the largest town on Skye.

5. 57 North 57%

ANGER in liquid form. Out for a hike in Grizzly Bear country, left your pepper spray at home, this might actually work better, but not for use against Cougars as they may be attracted to cheap whisky.  This NAS whisky seems like a really hot version of the ten year old, without some of the fruity notes.

57° North northerly line of latitude at which the distillery is situated on the Isle of Skye.

6. 18 Year Old 45.8%

This is the stuff of Legend.  The perfect bottling age for this whisky, just like the Lagavulin 16, Loch Dhu 10 or Bowmore 1964, the Talisker at 18 years is truly at its best.  I have loved this expression from the time I was a young wizard traveling middle earth.  The fruits, pepper, liquorice, smoke, orange and tidal flotsam are in balance and taste sublime.

Why Diageo punished Canada by removing sales of the Talisker 18 one can only hazard to guess, but here are my top five reasons with a little SARCASM:

i)             Because Canadians have no inclination for NAS stories or Trump facts.  It’s not that we aren’t gullible, it’s that we prefer stories with Dragons, Hockey or Leprechauns.  Please, no more Vikings riding Unicorns or spend it like Beckham, rich grain sucking sports stars.

ii)            Because Canadians are constantly calling the Bosses at Diageoz, Wankers.

iii)           Because Canadians didn’t buy into the whole Rare/Old Mortlach thing.

iv)           Because Canadians didn’t support Diageo during the Cardhu Pure Malt controversy.

v)            Because Canadians supported the Glenora Distillery in Nova Scotia keeping its name.

7.  25 Year Old 2012 Edition 45.8% 5,772 Bottles

I have been fortunate to have been part of a GLUTTONY of tasters who have tasted a few of these 25 year olds and can say with complete certainty that these maritime titans all have their own distinctive DNA. This 2012 version is at the crossroads of age. It still retains the pepper smoke, lemon and maritime favors, but in lessor amounts while letting the sweet fruit notes say more.

8. 30 Year Old 2009 Edition 53.1% 3,000 Bottles

This is a lovely old refined whisky, with LUSTy sweet fruit notes, banana, vanilla and citrus.  The smoke, pepper & seafood surprise are still there, just way less.

To drink and appreciate a Talisker 30 is a rare privilege, but to drink it with a group of like-minded whisky nerds is beyond words.

Cheers to the Beaners of The Green Bean Restaurant & Bar.  This is a welcoming establishment where you can take a break from your worries, get away, where everybody knows your name (whisky geek) and they’re always glad you came.  You get a real sense that the Beaners are always there to help in any way they can and by help I mean pour a cold beer & provide counter space to rest it on (although they have to work on their shamrock Guinness top).  I know it’s a lot of work to set up, and serve the food, so thank you Beaners of the Green Bean, for all that you do.

Big thanks to our President.  You really do complete us!  Sorry about pissing you off with the last club, but to be fair you said you were moving to some cold wind wept Island in the middle of the F#@king Atlantic during your tumultuous Chronicles of Hernia, Generation X, pre-forty, grass is greener near Ireland phase.  Shout out to the Privy Council Committee Members listed for helping to enable the rank and file at these events, Privy Council Committee Member, Antonio (Tone) Dourado, AKA Radagast the Cool, Privy Council Committee Member, David (Dave) Stephen, AKA Coach Gimli, and Privy Council Committee Member, Maltmonster, AKA,Gandalf the Green.

Éirinn go Brách,

 – Maltmonster

Whisky & Moose – The Untold Story, Tasting Panel Spotlight, Vignette #Deux, Le Bullwinkle J. Moose

Whisky & Moose – The Untold Story, Tasting Panel Spotlight, Vignette #Deux, Le Bullwinkle J. Moose


May contain segments that metrosexual drinkers or Industry shills find offensive. Intended for a malt audience only.


In Spotlight ………….Bullwinkle J. Moose, AKA Moose Knuckles, was a sixties animal heartthrob who rose to stardom in “The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show”. This juvenile moose star was grazing high when he had a run-in with his rum swigging, flying squirrel partner over an actress named Natasha. This falling out, combined with the discovery that his folks had hoofed him out of the majority of his trust fund, followed by the accidental release of a mating tape, aided in his addiction to eating cannabis by the bale. Ill-equipped to act with sufficient tact forced this once majestic moose into a downward rush.


Bullwinkle, however, did manage to play a few small parts in some low budget adult animation movies. He played the oldest child in the short lived TV sitcom “Family Pains” starring Gary Busey as a calm, stay at home dad, dealing with a blended two / four legged family.  He also appeared in one episode of the new reality show called “Wildlife Scared Dead”, hosted by the former, off his rocker, Teddy Nugent. For a while, Bullwinkle performed with the mechanical stuffed tribute band “Chuck E. Cheese and The Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat”, that is, until the incident.

Living in a fish eye lens, caught in the camera’s eye, in May 2006 Bullwinkle married longtime girlfriend Kourtney Love.  Sadly, she filed for divorce a day later, citing animal cruelty. She arranged with wildlife officers to have him corralled, an order he violated twice and was impounded.

Rock bottom finally occurred when in 2008, Bullwinkle was sentenced to three years’ probation. Shortly thereafter, he was arrested at home for possession of pot, during which he threw a bong out the window of his 36th floor apartment resulting in additional charges of tampering with evidence and reckless endangerment to humans.


After a long stint in an animal shelter, Bullwinkle reached out to Bobby Barker the famous Animal Rights Activist and Abused Model Advocate, who directed him to the Wee Moose Sanctuary & Hunting Lodge, a subsidiary of DHARMA, which is located in the shadow of the Alberta Rockies

Now back on his hoofs, and producing more than 200 Louis Vuitton wallets a day, Bullwinkle has agreed to a Tweet-style interview with Maltmonster, in 280 words.  That’s 100 % more of an interview than The Bourbon Advocate Magazine.

Q- What’s the view from your office window?

–  Chicken Wire and Moose shit.

Q- Where are you from originally?

– Frostbite Falls, Minnesota

Q- Do you have any formal education / training?

– I have a Mooster’s Degree from Wossamotta U and studied method acting at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute with the likes of Roberto De Niro.

Q- What would be your desert island dram?

–  I tell you it wouldn’t be grain whisky. I would have to go with a single malt from Glenfiddich. I just think that any distillery with a big rack on their label can’t be all bad, and oh ya, Fettercairn has that unicorn thing, that kind of turns me on to.

Q- Biggest Mistake?

–  Letting that no talent squirrel share the limelight with me.

Q- Hobbies?

–  Squirrel hunting.

Q- Biggest problem in whisky today?

– The Finish is starting to become tiresome, I mean really what next, a quadruple wood  finished Dalmore,  twelve months in a cedar hot tub , nine months in a used oak half cask flower pot, six months in a treated spruce shipping crate and finally three months in an pine framed waterbed owned by dirty hippies. I can hear Dalmore now……………. “Yes we charge more, but we only use the highest quality used oak half cask flower pots”.

– Trying to figure out who’s who in the zoo. Another disturbing trend is overnight self-proclaimed experts that blog & tweet, posing as consumers and are nothing more than shills for the Industry.

– Brand premiumisation, or posers herpes is infecting the industry. First Macallan, Dalmore and Glenmorangie now Mortlach, rumor has it Edradour is next.

Q – What do you like about whisky right now?

– I like the fact that consumers are challenging producers over the NAS, whether through boycotting, selective purchasing or posing questions to brand ambassadors.

Q – Favorite excerpt?

–  “And the men who hold high places must be the ones who start”

Q- Do you know the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything?

–  Yes, yes I do, it’s …………………………

Sorry end of interview at 280 words.


Please stayed tuned for the next instalment of the Tasting Panel Spotlight, Vignette #Trois, A Moose named Hope, who was the former Edmonton Oilers team mascot. Hope talks about the winey glory years and dark years after being thrown under the team bus, leaving the team Hopeless.

The Wee Moose Sanctuary & Hunting Lodge, a subsidiary of DHARMA, again thank you for your support and ask if you could please be on the lookout for are missing Moose comrade, RT, last seen being man/women handled by two cultist, who call themselves the Founders. These Founders lead a cult whisky following called the Canadian sect of the SMWS and have been known to recruit new members through the use of strong alcohol and chanting.


Your humble drudge & shepherd,


Whisky Harmoany: Putting Drinkers and Whisky together since 2014

Whisky Harmoany: Putting Drinkers and Whisky together since 2014

After attending countless whisky tastings and talking with many well-oiled festival attendees, Maltmonster has come to believe that there must be a way to match a style of whisky with a consumer.  He knew, from his vast drinking experience, that some whiskies were ending up in spit buckets, plant pots or poured down the drain, but that many others were enjoyed and found satisfying to the consumer.

Maltmonster thought… “What if I could define the traits most likely to lead to relationship success?  Could certain characteristics predict compatibility and lead to a satisfying relationship?”

Maltmonster set out to test this theory by identifying the characteristics in each whisky that would lead to a successful relationship with a particular type of consumer. After many hours of research and development, Maltmonster successfully identified the key character traits that predicted compatibility and the potential for a rewarding relationship with a whisky.


If you have two or more of following interest/traits:

– Sports: Australian Rules football, Lacrosse and mixed martial arts

– Music: Black Sabbath, Clutch and Violent Femmes

– Entertainment: Watching any movie directed by David Cronenberg, watching reruns of the prison TV series OZ and watching YouTube videos of Don’t Try This at Home

– Hobbies: Manufacturing pipe bombs, online gambling and online Porn

And … You regularly park in Handicap stalls; You have friends with two part names ending with Bob; Have numerous tattoos (which may include your favorite distillery); Whips & chains excite you; You have a hard time holding down a full time job; Have been diagnosed with some type of disorder; May suffer from Tourette’s … You are likely to enjoy any of the following whiskies: Ardbeg 10/ Lagavulin 12/ Laphroaig ¼ Cask/ any Bruichladdich PC or Octomore


If you have two or more of following interests/traits:

– Sports: Hockey, Baseball, Basketball and Real football (non-soccer)

– Music: Flogging Molly, Johnny Cash and Van Morrison

– Entertainment: Watching any Bill Murray movie, watching reruns of the TV series Californication and reading the Classics.

– Hobbies: Drinking good whisky, charity work and smoking good cigars

And … You exercise regularly; Generally like and get along with other people; Think St. Patrick’s Day should be a national holiday; Are not afraid of hard work … You are likely to enjoy any of the following whiskies: Benriach 25 & annual releases/ Glendronach Cask Strength & annual releases/ Talisker 18/ Glenfarclas 21 – 40 YO


If you have two or more of following interests/traits:

– Sports: Polo, Yachting, and Tennis

– Music: Flock of Sea Gulls, Bay City Rollers and Backstreet Boys

– Entertainment: Watching any Woody Allen movie, watching reruns of the TV series Housewives of Beverly Hills and reading Esquire

– Hobbies: Cooking with Truffles, Shopping for Designer Jeans and Watch Collecting.

And … You’ve had a silver spoon surgically installed in your anus at birth; You didn’t know you had a mother until your Nanny introduced you at age ten; You’ve a least one friend whose name is either Chauncey or Reginald; You are a member of numerous private clubs; Have been in therapy most of your life; Are a staunch advocate for the opera … You are likely to enjoy any of the following whiskies: Dalmore Constellation/ Glenmorangie Pride/ Macallan M/ Glenfiddich 50


(***Results are accurate to plus or minus 90% with a 10% margin of error. Only 5% of the focus group was coherent enough to answer questions after sample testing. Clinical Trials with Bourbon Placebos were stopped after serious Hillbilly side effects were observed. No animals were harmed as result of testing except for the chickens that were barbequed.)


What professional people are saying about Whisky Harmoany…

“Getting pissed has never been easier, before I used the Whisky Harmoany system I would always spit, now that I’ve been following the Harmoany way, I’m more relaxed and swallow.”

– Amber Macallan, Professional Stripper


“Following J. Murrey’s recommendations I could never finish any of my whiskies. After Glenmorangie Ealanta and Ballantine’s 17 I almost gave up whiskey completely but being Irish, this was not an option. Thank you Whiskey Harmoany, you’ve made being Irish fun again!”

– Colin Farewell, Professional Actor


“My choices in whisky have always been a little helter skelter. Since I have been following the Harmoany way, I’ve become a true believer. If I ever get out of prison I’m going to look you up. Thanks.”

– Charlie Manson, Professional Criminal


“The up side of being a whisky writer is I get to drink a lot and nobody asks or expects me to pay. The downside of whisky writing are the legions of needy whisky nerds who are constantly fact checking me, along with the crushing deadline of one article a month. Real science like that at Whisky Harmoany may or may not help me. Since I mentioned your name, please pass on my endorsement fee.”

– I. Burton, Professional Writer


Whisky Harmoany will be available this fall for your iPhone 5S.

Coming next year …………..Whisky Rosetta Stone; for translating professionally written whisky tasting notes into English.


Your Humble Drudge & Social Whisky Scientist,

 – Maltmonster


Whisky & Moose – The Untold Story

Whisky & Moose – The Untold Story

It’s a simple fact that moose have the best sense of smell in the world. Moose are Mother Nature’s gift to the whisky note writers of the world. Unfortunately these aquatic whisky loving herbivores, with their special olfactory abilities, have been coveted by the whisky industry and have become easy targets for shady brand agents or inbred distillery ambassadors who coerce them into drinking whisky samples, turn them into addicts and then sell them as tasting panel slaves to the Distilleries, SMWS and so called professional writers.

We, here at All Things Whisky, care deeply about the majestic moose and have started a nature reserve called the Wee Moose Sanctuary & Hunting Lodge, which is located in the shadow of the Alberta Rockies. It is the world’s largest natural-habitat refuge developed specifically to meet the needs of the abandoned, outmoded and unloved moose. It is a not for profit loss organization, licensed by Alberta Liquor & Wildlife, with support from such organizations as the:

LVMH – Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy, bargain labor wallet division

BHWB – Bow Hunters without Borders

WPC – Wildlife Porn Canada

DHARMA – Department of Heuristics and Research on Material Applications

The moose Sanctuary was designed utilizing more than five square meters of high strength chicken wire, it provides a protected, simulated natural-habitat pub environment. As part of the sanctuary rehab program, the patients are required to perform therapeutic wallet stitching for 16 hours each day, followed by a period of measured controlled alcohol ingestion so that they may provide proper humane tasting notes for organizations or persons in need of professional tasting aid. After last week’s tragic hunting accident there are only ten moose residing in the sanctuary. Together, they form one of the most anonymous influential whisky tasting panels in the world called the Keepers of the Meese.

Moose 008

Tasting Panel Spotlight ………………..Spotlight falls on to the moose known as Little Ikea ……………. Darling and star of the 2009 Swedish Ikea catalog, purchased by an affluent Calgary family and discarded by the nanny in 2010, used as a dog chew toy in 2011, tranquilized & captured by Parks Canada in the bathroom of the Glencoe Club lounge. Parks Canada then released Little Ikea back into the wild for the opening of the bow hunting season. Little Ikea was then rescued by the Sanctuary using a modern humane leg hold trap, cushioned in baby seal skin. After deliberating, Little Ikea Lundgren was taken into the care of the Sanctuary for underverse processing, where he remains to this day.


The anonymous Keepers of the Meese are currently working on behalf of a well-known rock band whose members just happen to be master whisky blenders. This merry blend of master musicians was sought out by a major whisky brand for their laboratory research in the ground breaking field of flavored vodka and the exposé they did on the life cycle of beer coasters. This collaboration between the band and distillery was not done in a vain attempt to make the brand look cool to attract younger drinkers, but was actually done to raise money to support one the bands favorite charities “ACPTW”, Abused Cocaine Producers of the Third World. Ironically, the band, in doing so much selfless supporting/snorting of cocaine, has completely lost their sense of smell.

These moose also have a depraved sense of humor, as was witnessed at the expense of an unnamed, unkempt Caligula like, fedora wearing writer when they wrote borderline preposterous scores for Ballantine’s 17 and Glenmorangie Ealanta for his yearly publication. They have also been writing overtime to satisfy the needs of the SMWS outturn; after all, do you really think they could find enough funny, non-serious Scots to write witty, attention-grabbing tasting notes? … Irish maybe!

The Moose Sanctuary has also been retained to consult on a new distillery project in Western Canada by lending the Sanctuaries name and reputation to gain shareholder confidence. The consulting duties for the moose would entail an optional appearance at the opening ceremonies, in the event the project were to open. Photo shop use of the consulting team over other successful distilleries.  Team building session at the Las Vegas Pyramid Luxor Hotel & Casino.

We end this irrelevant awareness article with a plea for the safe return of our lost moose named Road Trip, last seen sitting on a water cooler at KWM. Road Trip also answers to RT but is deaf. He is currently off his medication so be very careful when approaching him. We believe he is presently being held by the Canadian branch of the SMWS to provide tasting notes. Take heed the persons holding him are to be considered radical intellectuals with a limited capacity to tolerate alcohol, so be careful not to engage them sober. We are offering up a reward for the return of RT.


– Your humble drudge & shepherd,


Benriach/BenRiach: The Little ‘r’ Big ‘R’ Tasting

Benriach/BenRiach: The Little ‘r’ Big ‘R’ Tasting

On May 28, 2013, the Dram Initiative sat down to a range tasting featuring BenRiach whiskies.  The tasting was hosted by the ever engaging and knowledgeable, J Wheelock, of Authentic Wine & Spirit Merchants.  This was the second range tasting of the Dram Initiative, Calgary’s newest and most progressive avant-garde whisky club for whiskey swingers that are willing to experiment with all things whisky.

BenRiach, for the benefit of the great unwashed, means “The Hill of the Red Deer”.  The distillery is located near Elgin in the beautiful Spey Valley and was built in 1898 by John Duff.  Unfortunately, the distillery only produced whisky for two years before succumbing to the Patterson whisky crash of 1900, and was mothballed. However, the malting floors continued in operation and supplied the neighboring distillery, Longmorn, with malted barley.  In 1965, after the sale of the distillery to The Glenlivet Distilleries Ltd, the distillery was almost completely rebuilt and whisky production started up again.  The distillery was sold again in 1977 to Seagram and then again to Chivas in 2001, who almost immediately closed it in 2002.  In 2004, the distillery was sold to Billy Walker along with two other partners, Geoff Bell and Wayne Kieswetter, who started up production again.

This tasting was designed to pick the top single cask from 1983 – 1986 Bourbon barrel/hogsheads, from the four currently available in the city of Calgary.  The second goal was to highlight the influences on the whisky from Sherry, Port and Madeira and lightly peated and heavily peated malted barley.  The third goal was to speculate on the need to capitalize the ‘R’ after one hundred and six years.  So, whilst we were drinking, enjoying and voting on our whisky, we came up with a top ten reasons why:

Top Ten Reasons For The Capital ‘R’ In BenRiach:

10)  ‘BR’ stands for two chess pieces, the Bishop and the Rook, in honor of Joseph Henry Blackburne, a brilliant British chess player who dominated the game during the latter part of the 19th century. He was nicknamed “The Black Death”, and occasionally became violent when he drank whisky (rumored to be Benriach) during his chess games.

9)  Inspired by Bruichladdich and their complete disregard for convention, BenRiach has capitalized the ‘R’ for Rad or Radical, to point out all the radical types of whiskies being served up by the Rad new owners for public enjoyment.

8)  ‘BR’ means …………. Best Regards. In trying to become a polite company, it was thought that this change could make BenRiach come across more cultured.

7)  Capital ‘R’ in front of a word makes it special, therefore if the distillery is special, it goes without saying that the people who make the whisky must be special too.

6)  Anything associated with the British Royalty helps sell (you can also charge more for it) ………….. So the thinking was to capitalize the ‘B’ & ‘R’ to stand for British Royal, thereby giving the name a sense of entitlement.

5)  ‘B’ and ‘R’ are the initials of the legendary baseball player Babe Ruth, a star home run hitter before the age of steroids for both the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees.  He was also the only player in history to credit his athletic prowess to a steady regimen of cigars, women and of course ……… whisky (rumored to be Benriach).

4)  The name was changed in honor of Billy Walker and his secret love for country music and in particular, a band called B&R, which are short for Big Kenny and John Rich.  In 2004, the same year in which Benriach was acquired, the band put out his all-time favorite song, “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy”.

3)  The capital ‘R’ was for Alistair Walker and his favorite book growing up which was ABC by Dr. Seuss.  His favorite part of the book was “BIG R little r” in which “a one Rosy Robin Ross was going riding on her red rhinoceros”.

2)  Major confusion between the Marketing and Finance departments with the mixed up thought, that by capitalizing the ‘R’ it would solve any potential problem for under-capitalization.

1)  The capital ‘R’ stands for “Resolution” which was made in 2004 by the owners, to stay out of the pub and not to buy another distillery. This resolution was broken in 2008 with the purchase Glendronach now the GlenDronach distillery, and Capital ‘D’ was for “Don’t do it again”.  This “Don’t do it again” was promptly broken, yet again, in 2013 with the acquisition of the Glenglassaugh distillery, soon to be the GlenGlassaugh distillery, with the Capital ‘G’ most likely standing for “God” as in “Oh God, I can’t believe they lent us the money to do it again”.




#1 AWS 1986 – August 2012 Cask # 5458 Bourbon Barrel 50.5 % ABV 217 Bottles

Single Cask Release Bottled by Authentic Wine & Spirit Merchants Alberta by J Wheelock.

Locally known as “Wheelock’s Wicked Whisky”.

NOSE:  Sweet ripe oranges & cherries, cinnamon, banana & apples. Raisins and some yeasty notes.

TASTE:  Creamy caramel sauce, green apples, liquorice.

FINISH:  Long and little tart at the end.

ASSESSMENT:  Nice all around dram, my second favorite of the tasting.


#2 CWS 1985 – September 2012 Cask # 531 Bourbon Barrel 49.9 % ABV 189 Bottles

Single Cask Release Bottled for Co-op Wines Spirits, Alberta.

NOSE:  Smoke and leather. Some floral notes and apricots jam. Like an old Armagnac.

TASTE:  Light smoke and tobacco. Nutty, sour oranges and lots of black liquorice.

FINISH:  Long and warm.

ASSESSMENT:  Odd to get that much smoke from a non-peated whisky, must come from the floor malting somehow.


#3 CSN 1984 – August 2012 Cask # 1114 Hogshead 56.1 % ABV 198 Bottles

Single Cask Release Bottled for CSN Wine & Spirits, Calgary, Alberta.

NOSE:  Ripe sweet honeydew melon, creamy vanilla, flora and waxy.

TASTE:  Butterscotch overload, spices, pears, raisins and almonds.

FINISH:  Long with some nutty liquorice right at the end.

ASSESSMENT:  Interesting, lovely balanced dram.


#4 KWM 1983 – September 2012 Cask # 298 Hogshead 44.2 % ABV 233 Bottles

Single Cask Release Bottled For Kensington Wine Market, Calgary, Alberta.

NOSE:  Pineapple expresses, ripe melons, maple syrup. Five alive fruit salad.

TASTE:  Creamy caramel, coconut milk, sweet ripe fruits.

FINISH:  Medium to long, caramel finish.

ASSESSMENT:  This is a tropical shit storm of fruit. If you like a fruity dram, this is the one for you.



After tasting the first four drams blind, the Dram Initiative club members voted by a show of unwashed hands, which showed their inclination in the following order:

Win           Kensington Wine Market 1983 cask # 298

Place         Centre Street North 1984 cask # 1114

Show        Authentic Wine & Spirits 1986 cask # 5458

4th             Co-op Wines Spirits 1985 cask # 531


#5 KWM 1994 – September 2009 Cask #4810 Madeira Finish Hogshead 57.1 % ABV 250 Bottles

Single Cask Release Bottled For Kensington Wine Market, Calgary, Alberta.

NOSE:  Sweet fruit syrupy, almost like a liqueur. Burnt sugar with vanilla bean.

TASTE:  Sugar & spice and all things nice. Black licorice that coats the tongue and stewed fruits.

FINISH:  Long and spicy.

ASSESSMENT:  Many layers and much depth to this one.


#6 1977 – July 2010 Cask #1033 Pedro Ximinez Sherry Finish Hogshead 52.2 % ABV 331 Bottles

2010 Annual Limited Release Batch 7.

NOSE:  Oranges and cherries. Caramel, rich coffee and cigar notes.

TASTE:  Major dill. Toffee, raisins, dark fruits and nutty.

FINISH:  Medium. Lingering and sweet.

ASSESSMENT:  Excellent sherry cask. Wow, this one really shows just how good a sherry finish BenRiach can be.


#7 1975 – August 2007 Cask #4451 Lightly Peated Port Pipe 53.7 % ABV 707 Bottles

2007 Annual Limited Release Batch 4.

NOSE:  Smokey coke & rum. Citrus and sweet cherries with a little pineapple.

TASTE:  Thick overpowering clove sweet, spices and oily liquorice.

FINISH:  Medium and fades fast.

ASSESSMENT:  You really need to love rum to like this one.


#8 1984 – July 2010 Cask #4052 Tawny Port Finish Peated Hogshead 51.7 % ABV 265 Bottles

2010 Annual Limited Release Batch 7.

NOSE:  Assertive smoke, but pleasant. Stewed fruits and cream.

TASTE:  Minty smoke & pepper. Oranges, a little floral and some coffee notes.

FINISH:  Long and a bit drying.

ASSESSMENT:  I like this one the more I drink it.


Thanks to J Wheelock for hosting the Dramned.  You complete us.

Congratulations to BenRiach for starting up the malting floors again, (sorry to the next generations of hunchbacks) we know it’s expensive, but whisky drinkers do take notice and appreciate the effort.

What’s next for the owners of Benriach?  Well, according to the rules of distillery monopoly, if they buy one more distillery, they can start building a new larger mega distillery!


– Your humble Drudge, Maltmonster

Tullibardine…Calgary Revolution Tully Tasting



For the benefit of the great unwashed, the Tullibardine distillery was founded in 1949 by an architect by the name of William Delmé-Evans.  It is located in the village of Blackford in Perthshire.  William Delmé-Evans, also known as Willie, was involved with the construction of the Jura distillery in 1963 and the Glenallachie distillery in 1967. He remained as managing director of the Jura distillery until his retirement in 1975, but not before overstocking the distillery with more Willies (Willie Tait & Willie Cochrane) to ensure that a Willie would always remain at the head of the distillery.

The Tullibardine distillery was built on the site of an old brewery from which King James IV was said to have purchased beer for his many overnight jousting parties, along with his coronation in 1488.  Hence the 1488 beer that is sold today and the unofficial distillery motto of: “A mounted Knight is a happy Knight”. The Tullibardine distillery was first sold in 1953 to Brodie Hepburn Ltd. and in turn was purchased by Invergordon in 1971, followed by Whyte & Mackay in 1993 nosing their way in and then mothballing the distillery in 1994. The distillery remained closed until 2003 when it was sold to a consortium of private investors who in the same year started up production again. In November 2011 the distillery was then sold to a French corporation and the current owner, Picard Vins & Spiritueux.

Recently Tullibardine altered their lineup and updated their packaging but what was the real reason behind the change? Well the answer may shock you, then again being a whisky drinker it may not, but if you have an open mind and are ready to accept an alternate version of what you have been fed by the whisky industry, then keep reading and we’ll show you how deep the French designer rabbit-hole goes.


Using our extensive connections within the whisky drinking community and for the price of a few drams, we managed to loosen the tongue of a whisky bar patron to talk us about the real story behind the change at Tullibardine, Glenmorangie and so many more Scottish distilleries.

The SHOCKING TRUTH is that some Scottish distilleries may be rubbing the inside of casks with truffles before filling them with new spirit.

This whisky bar patron and self-professed industry whistle blower known only as Jerry is quoted as saying, “The practice of rubbing ones truffle is well known”.  Jerry also went on to say, off the record, that truffle rubbing was born out of desperation after the 1983 downturn. Distilleries turned to bold innovative strategies to attract new consumers to help leapfrog sales. The French were targeted as an unrealized market and, given that the French possess a superior sense of smell and taste, it was thought that by rubbing out a truffle inside a cask would somehow appeal to their senses and give the consumer the ultimate bespoke Roja Dove olfactory experience. Jerry further said that certain distillers experimented using Perrier water to reduce cask strength whiskies, finished their whisky in Burgundy wine casks (now legal but not at the time) and would use subliminal subtitles on packaging to confuse the consumer into thinking the product was high-quality (“soufre est bonne, si elle boit”/”sulphur is good, so drink it”).

Jerry also said that a few distilleries went even a little further and experimented with intense potent cheeses infused with pureed land snails, in a process called Escargot Brie Blasting. This was done to new casks after charring, but was halted because the workers couldn’t handle the wafting bouquet…and then there was the problem with the mice infestations.

Nobody ever thought that this practice of truffle rubbing, also known as the Eiffel Effect, would become so successful that French consumers would abandon their beloved Brandy and, like catnip to a cat, cocaine to a lawyer or power to a politician, become so helplessly addicted to the golden malt that the French would become the number one (un) consumers of Scotch whisky in the world.

What happened next no one saw coming. French corporations, as quiet as beret wearing mimes inside invisible boxes, went about buying Scottish distilleries on a Grand Napoleonic scale. The purchasing of so many distilleries, we think, was a belief held by French corporations that by owning distilleries they could make the world a better and more beautiful place, while making enormous profits for themselves.

French corporations believed by designing packaging so exquisite that it would transform the average repugnant whisky bar troll/punter into a striking desirable six pack, yacht owning, polo player by simply holding the attractive packaging in front of their dreadfully average faces. Therefore, the great unwashed whisky consumers would line up like Lemmings on a cliff ledge to pay double, triple or more than previous prices all the while thanking the French distillery owners for the privilege to do so.

Tullibardine translated means “Hill of Warning”, so to sound a warning and to back up this claim, we have noted below the Scottish distilleries purchased by French corporations since 1983:

– 1989 Glenallachie sold to Pernod Ricard

– 1997 Ardbeg sold to Moët Hennessy

– 1997 Glenmorangie sold to Moët Hennessy

– 2001 Allt-A-Bhainne sold to Pernod Ricard

– 2001 Braeval sold to Pernod Ricard

– 2001 Glenkeith sold to Pernod Ricard

– 2001 Glenlivet sold to Pernod Ricard

– 2001 Longmorn sold to Pernod Ricard

– 2001 Strathisla sold to Pernod Ricard

– 2005 Glenburgie sold to Pernod Ricard

– 2005 Glentauchers sold to Pernod Ricard

– 2005 Miltonduff sold to Pernod Ricard

– 2005 Tormore sold to Pernod Ricard

– 2008 Glen Moray sold to La Martiniquaise

– 2011 Tullibardine sold to Picard Vins & Spiritueux

– 2012 Bruichladdich sold to Remy Cointreau

In California they have a saying “if the gloves doesn’t fit, let it go”.  Well…this glove fits. I’m sure along with the changes in packaging at Tullibardine, the price of an average bottle will be raised like taxation on the poor working class just before the French Revolution and we all know how that ended.

In the mean time you can still enjoy Tullibardine at a reasonable price, which prompted us to have a Calgary Revolution Tully Tasting, where we went about storming four liquor stores in Calgary to liberate four exclusive single cask Tully Hogshead bottlings. To be fair to the stores, we tried the malts blind and the guillotine was never used on any of the stores employees (officially).

To quench the blood red sherry thirst of the common people we finished the night by adding in three more single cask Tullies from 1973 , 1993 PX Sherry Cask and a 1966 Sherry Butt ( World Cup Vintage) but drank these disclosed.

“Vive La Revolution Deux”

So…on April 23, 2013, at the first formal club tasting of the Dram Initiative, we tasted the following Tullibardine malts. Members (Herein after called the Dramned) and some guests, judged the first four malts blind to determine which store can claim to have better taste.



1992 – March 2008   53.8 % ABV   Willow Park Wine & Spirits

Bourbon Barrel (Most likely Hogshead) Cask # 239 Bottle # 193 of 241

NOSE: Sweet fruit, vanilla, cherries, cinnamon, flora and minty.

TASTE: Butterscotch, grassy & musty, soft fruit and some raisins.

FINISH: Medium and elegant.

ASSESSMENT: A light delicate mellow dram.


1992 – September 2011   40.3 % ABV   Co-op Wine Spirits

Barrel (Most likely Hogshead) Cask # 1875       Bottle # 22 of 191

NOSE: Candy jujubes, caramel, oranges and some other citrus notes, white chocolate.

TASTE: Blueberry tea, burnt sugar, buttery and marzipan.

FINISH: Vibrant at the beginning. Medium and a tad more.

ASSESSMENT: Nice nose but odd palate.


1987 – March 2008   54.6 % ABV   Kensington Wine Market

Hogshead Cask # 632       Bottle # 117 of 191

NOSE: Burnt cherries, grape juice, little farmy, cinnamon, nicely layered.

TASTE: Green apples, dark chocolate, raisins, almonds and some tannins.

FINISH: Medium to long.

ASSESSMENT: Very robust for a hogshead cask.


1987 – July 2012    50.1 % ABV   Wine & Beyond / Liquor Depot

Hogshead Cask # 650       Bottle # 22 of 207

NOSE: Coke in a can, lots-o-vanilla, coffee and caramel some light stewed fruit.

TASTE: Creamy, marzipan, soft fruit, oatmeal, and some mild tannins.

FINISH: Medium to long. Very gentle fade at the end

ASSESSMENT: Tingles on the tongue. Pleasant candied dram.


********** Score card for the battle of the store picked casks **********


WIN          – 1992    Co-op Wine Spirits Cask # 1875

PLACE       – 1987   Wine & Beyond / Liquor Depot Cask # 650

SHOW      – 1987    Kensington Wine Market Cask # 632

WJWP*     -1992   Willow Park Wine & Spirits Cask # 239


*Whisky Judged Without Pity


1973 – May 2005   45.9 % ABV   Single Cask Release

Hogshead Cask # 2518       Bottle # 21 of 239

NOSE: Sweet honeyed heather, vanilla, cherries and oranges. Honeydew melon.  Some mint.

TASTE: Creamy, almonds, milk chocolate, grassy. A little pineapple & coconut.

FINISH: Medium. Succulent to start and fades softly away.

ASSESSMENT: This is so smooth you would think this is below 40% ABV. Sublime!


1993 – September 2009   54.5 % ABV   KWM

Pedro Ximinez Sherry Cask # 15081       Bottle #96 of ?  (Split with McLeod Dixon)

NOSE: Sharp sherry spices with lots of vanilla, raisins, and tart orange zest and tobacco notes.

TASTE: Sweet cherries, dark chocolate, lots of spices….nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon to start. Some pepper and tannins.

FINISH: Long. Assertive younger sherry with some sweet notes.

ASSESSMENT: WBS ………Welcome Back Sherry, we’ve missed you after the five sweet bourbon hogsheads.


1966 – April 2006   48 % ABV   General Release (World Cup Vintage)

Sherry Butt Cask # 2132       Bottle #251 of 384

NOSE: Ripe melons, creamy toffee, oranges and cherries.  Cocoa & coffee.  Some floral notes.

TASTE: Mellow spices, green tea. Lots of jammy stewed fruits and some cedar tobacco notes.

FINISH: Long with a gentle fading finish.

ASSESSMENT: Complex, the more you drink it the more notes you can find. Sensuous and stunning for a 40 year old sherry cask.



Boire Comme Un Trou.


– Your humble drudge and member of the walking Dramned,



OLD & ROUND vs. YOUNG & FLAT 18, 21, 25 and 30

If you change the looks of the packaging does the product in the packaging change?  Being on the wrong side of midlife, I firmly believe that all things older are better, but hey, that’s just me and I can’t remember the last time I was wrong…except for the time I thought Jim Murray was qualified to pick the whisky of the year.  We, the gang of four, all have our opinions on this smoldering whisky question of which version of the Highland Park is better.  So rather than debate this uncertainty we decided that we should just have a tasting to define the answer.

For the benefit of the Great Unwashed, the Highland Park distillery and its brother from a different mother, the Scapa distillery, are located on Mainland, the largest Island in the remote northern Islands of Orkney.  Highland Park is considered by regional experts to be a Highland Malt, which would make it a Highland-Mainland-Island-Highland whisky but not on the Mainland, not a Park and not part of Highlands.  Highland Park first started producing single malt with a license in 1826 but it is said that the smarter locals were cooking whisky there long before that date.  The distillery is currently owned by the upscale Edrington group which also owns the Macallan and the Glenturret distilleries.

On August 18, 2012, we, the gang of four, gathered to celebrate Denis Leary’s (Sarcastic Irish genius) Birthday and to bring to light the truth behind the bottle change.  We collectively pulled from our vast storehouse of liquid salvation to come up with a selection to accomplish this momentous task.  After much discussion we ended up going with two 18, two 25 and two 30 year old, round & newer flat standard bottle range expressions, the original 21 year old from duty free in a flat bottle and the new standard release 21 year old again in a flat bottle.  We didn’t include the 21 year old at 40 % ABV which was released between these two. We voted for best malt between the same aged contenders and also for our two favorite overall malts of the night.


Barry HP RVF18

18 Year Old, Round Bottle 43% abv   (AGE WINNER 18 YEAR OLD)   (#2 FAVORITE DRAM OF THE NIGHT)

NOSE:  Uber fruit, oranges, pineapple, banana.  Floral and honey sweet.

TASTE:  Creamy caramel, milk chocolate, touch of peat and little tart at the end.

FINISH:  Long, very warm throughout and drying.

ASSESSMENT:  Wow what a great start, does drinking whisky get any more enjoyable, I think not?  The character of this whisky is very, very complex as well as being very well rounded (This whisky is so old that when it was made Captain Crunch was still a private).


18 Year Old, Flat Bottle 43% abv

NOSE:  Cotton candy, mint.  Dark ripe cherries and melon and apricots.

TASTE:  Liquorice, oily, some peat smoke.  Pears and tart green apples.

FINISH:  Short to medium.  Disappears so quickly.

ASSESSMENT:  The character of this whisky is not of the same makeup of the older 18 (This whisky is so young that it needs to be drunk from a sippy cup).


SCORING THE 18 YEAR OLD:  The old 18 round bottle was the clear winner between the two contenders.  It was also the clear winner of “2nd FAVORITE DRAM OF THE NIGHT” with the most number one votes of the evening.


Barry HP RVF21

21 Year Old, Flat Bottle First Release Duty Free 2008 47.5% abv

NOSE:  Big floral notes and vanilla.  Earthy, honey and citrus fruit.

TASTE:  Spicy with cloves, floral with a bit of lemon.  Oaky and lite peat notes

FINISH:  Medium to long.

ASSESSMENT:  Always find this version of the 21 the most floral HP I’ve ever tried (This whisky is so old the candles on its birthday cake raised earth’s temperature by 3 degrees).


21 Year Old, Flat Bottle Standard Release 2012 47.5% abv   (AGE WINNER 21 YEAR OLD)

NOSE:  Oranges, grassy and waxy.  Some floral notes

TASTE:  Rich spices including pepper and cinnamon.  Fruity, oranges, nutty and a hint of peat

FINISH:  Medium to long.

ASSESSMENT:  The fruit reappears nicely on this newer version of the 21.  (This whisky is so young that the casks in the warehouse sleep with a night light).


SCORING THE 21 YEAR OLD:  The winner between the 21 year olds was the newer standard release edging out the first release.  Also the new 21 got one 2nd place vote for the overall favorite dram of the night.


Barry HP RVF25

25 Year Old, Round Bottle 50.7% abv   (AGE WINNER 25 YEAR OLD)

NOSE:  Lots-o fruit.  Old sherry with oranges.

TASTE:  Dark roast coffee, rich jammy fruitiness.  Dry tannins, liquorice, and some peat.

FINISH:  Long and keeps going.

ASSESSMENT:  Interesting in a nice way, very balanced (This whisky is so old its birth certificate has expired).


25 Year Old, Flat Bottle 48.1% abv

NOSE:  Honey, bananas, melons and dates.

TASTE:  Mocha cappuccino, bananas both on the nose and taste, rich tannins and some lite smoke.

FINISH:  Long and dry.

ASSESSMENT:  Really, really different, falls outside most HP I’ve tried. (This whisky is so young that the bartender serves it with a coloring book and crayons).


SCORING THE 25 YEAR OLD:  The old 25 routed its challenger but failed to be the 1st or 2nd overall choice of the night with honorable mention of a single number one vote for the overall favorite dram of the night.


Barry HP RVF30

30 Year Old, Round Bottle 48.1% abv

NOSE:  Floral and honey.  Mint, caramel and oranges.

TASTE:  Creamy milk chocolate, spices like nutmeg and pepper.

FINISH:  Medium and little drying at the end.

ASSESSMENT:  Not overly complex (This whisky is so old the distiller that made this babysat for Jesus).


30 Year Old, Flat Bottle 48.1% abv   (AGE WINNER 30 YEAR OLD)   (#1 FAVORITE DRAM OF THE NIGHT)

NOSE:  Beautiful nose, tropical fruits, pineapple and coconut.

TASTE:  Very fruity lots of oranges, spices with pepper and some liquorice & mint.  Blueberry tea.  Chocolate.

FINISH:  Long, rich and complex.

ASSESSMENT:  Tastes like 40%, it’s so easy to drink.  Dark sherry colour with lovely fruity sherry notes (This whisky is so young that the distiller that made this still had a bell, basket and training wheels on his bicycle).


SCORING THE 30 YEAR OLD:  Well…the newer 30 kicked ass in both dispatching its older competitor but also winning the number one position of the “FAVORITE DRAM OF THE NIGHT” with one number one vote and three number two votes.


Personally, I’ve always considered Highland Park 18 as one of top single malts in the world but also found it guilty of some big batch variation regardless of round or flat bottles design.  I also consider the standard release 18 as one of the best buys in the range and should be a must try/buy for all serious malt fans. But………………..should you happen upon an older round bottle 18 sitting on the shelve of your favorite retailer, make like a hockey player and get the puck out of there with it.


– Your humble Drudge, Maltmonster


PS – It’s ok to swirl your glass and not chew your whisky if you choose so, in fact after (well during) a GIT* tasting a few years back, I now make it a habit to swirl my glass just a little.

PPS – Dear HP please don’t kick me out of the Inner Circle for the GIT comment, after all I never mentioned anything about the overpriced Magnus series and the surprise that purchasers got as they ** reduced the amount of bottles for the final release making it almost impossible to find and purchase this last overpriced bottle of a very rare 18 year old.


* Gerry Intense Tosh

** ‘They’ refers to the marketing assholes at HP

Doomsday Dram

With The World Set To End…

I’m not one to relive past mistakes; although I seem to have made a few, probably more than a few, maybe likely more than my fair share…but not when it comes to the upcoming apocalypse.  Now, I’m not talking that Chicken Little “the sky is falling” overreaction thing again, and yes…I may have gotten it wrong in 1997 when I was trying to hitch a ride on Comet Hale-Bopp…and I may have reacted excessively in 2000 with the Y2K total collapse of society…and then again in 2011 with the near miss of Earth from Comet Elenin…but given the amount of media attention on this Mayan prediction, I truly believe this is the BIG ONE!  Thanks to some sage Mayan calendar writer we have been foretold exactly when the end of days is going to happen….. December 21, 2012.  This day is fast approaching and rather than dwell on how unfair the whole thing is, I say when life gives you llamas, make llamanade.  Now is the time to stock up and head for the hills.

One of the essentials for surviving in this bold new world would of course be Single Malt Scotch Whisky.  It doesn’t have an expiration date, tastes great, doesn’t freeze, it’s great for cuts and it’s real good for lifting your spirits after you have to shoot some of your close friends that neglected to heed the call of the oncoming catastrophe or worse, may have turned into some flesh eating, half dead rum drinker.

The real question, of course, is which single malts would be the preferred tipple of choice of the modern survivalist.  Well, to aid the decision making process, the following is a list of single malt whisky paired to the particular impending calamity;


POLAR SHIFT – This would signal the coming of the third Ice Age and bring on a real bitter cold…like living through an Edmonton winter.  Peat is what is needed to combat the frozen chill, peat and plenty of it.  The peat smoke lets you know you’re alive and the warm finish stays with you all the way down to your icy toes.  Recommendation would be:  Peated whisky or a really strong drink.


Curt:  Ardbeg Supernova SN2010 60.1% abv

NOSE:  Uh…have to get back to you when my singed nostrils regain sensitivity.  Kidding aside…a true face-melter.  Nearly impenetrable smoke and dense peat reek.  Freshly ground black peppercorn and BBQ.  Salt.  Tangy lemon.  Chocolate.  Tar and asphalt.

TASTE/PALATE:  Smoke and pepper.  Oily and salty.  Anise.  Brine.  Liquid Smoke.  Cola with a citrus twist.

FINISH:  Will linger till the end of days (as few as there may now be).

ASSESSMENT:  Not sure whether this will numb you deeper than the Arctic chill, or melt anything frozen within miles.  Either way?  P-p-p-p-p-please may I have s-s-s-s-ome more?


Don Tse:  Scotch Malt Whisky Society 53.151 / Chinese Hercules  10-years old, refill bourbon hogshead, 58.0% abv from Islay

NOSE:  Salt, alcohol, charcoal briquettes and a hint of bacon fat.  If you threw some freshly printed mimeograph pages onto a charcoal fire and used that fire to fry up some bacon, you’d have a aromas pretty similar to this complex dram.

TASTE/PALATE:  Bacon fat, charcoal smoke and salt-cured meats.

FINISH:  Medium.  The smoke fades, though some remains present throughout, allowing the flavours of oil and fatty meats to shine.  Mmm…pork chops…

ASSESSMENT: The vast majority of Caol Ila expressions can be spotted from a mile away and this one is no exception.  This expression is a meatier, less smoky Caol Ila.  But make no mistake, the smoke is still there to warm you on a cold Canadian, southern hemisphere night.


GIANT SOLAR FLARE – Think of the great tan you’d get followed by the dropping of a few body parts due to an excess of sunshine units.  When I think of too much radiation I think of inbred hillbillies…and what’s the best way to stave off the effects of those long sunny days?  Well, I would have to say it would be a light sweet vanilla refreshing minty drink that can only come from a first fill bourbon American Ozark mountain oak cask.   Recommendation would be:  Whisky from a bourbon hogshead barrel, a bourbon or a really sweet drink.


Roger Hanks:  Bruichladdich Redder Still 1984 50.5% abv

NOSE:  Fruity with a floral touch but the vanilla is there.

TASTE/PALATE:  Creamy smooth, sweet with fruit and vanilla, a nice balance.

FINISH:  The oak comes to the surface with a little smoke.  Mouth drying.

ASSESSMENT:  A nice easy drinking whiskey even at 50.5%.  The vanilla from the Bourbon barrels is there.  The wine finish gives it a different colour (radish orange) and would have contributed to the fruity floral notes.  Definitely a winner.


Maltmonster:  Glen Scotia 1977  33 Years Old  September 5, 1977 – June 17, 2011  Matured in a Hogshead Cask #2751 Bottle #115 of 159 52.0% abv Bottled by Signatory

NOSE:  Peaches, tropical fruit, honeycomb, marzipan and a little doughy.  Wonderful nose with lovely fruits that mostly comes from older casks of the seventies.  You might want to nose this before you apply your sunblock 1,020 for the day.

TASTE/PALATE:  Creamy vanilla, lots of fruit, melons, milk chocolate with a little bourbon mint and cinnamon.

FINISH:  Medium to long.  Very pleasant and a balanced malt.  Just remember the meek shall inherit the earth – after the whisky drinkers are through with it.

ASSESSMENT:  Now if you did manage to survive the extreme radiation, then I think the first order of business (after a nice malt whisky, of course) would be to redo all the lyrics to those happy sunny day songs ……………………. Here comes the sun, here comes the sun, and I say It’s not all right.  Bad day sunshine, bad day sunshine, I need to run when the sun is out.  Sunshine on my shoulders makes me blister, sunshine in my eyes can make me blind.  I’m walking on sunshine, I’m walking on sunshine and it’s starting to make me feel sick.

FYI:  Unfortunately with all the intense radiation it could cause damage to any unprotected whisky.  So remember to put any bottles deep in the basement away from any windows and out of sight from any three eyed messed up DNA mutants hillbillies that might want to harm you or worse ……..steal your whisky.


Gord “g-man” Henke:  Bulleit Bourbon Frontier Whiskey 45% abv Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

NOSE:  Marshmallows, vanilla ice cream and caramel covered raisins.

TASTE/PALATE:  Caramel and vanilla, creamy, viscous, some citrus, a bit of the rye comes out in the corn.

FINISH:  Somewhat long with a little heat. Slightly less peppery than 100% rye would be.

ASSESSMENT:  This is the bourbon that Ian McShane’s Al Swearengen served throughout HBO’s Deadwood series. That alone would warrant a tasting. It was also a tribute to a family recipe lost over 150 years ago and has had great success throughout North America ever since. I enjoy this whiskey for its sweet nose and mellow taste. As bourbons go, it’s easy drinkin’, not overly bold, affordable, available and in my opinion quite enjoyable.


J Wheelock:  Isle Of Jura Boutique Barrels 1996 Bourbon Cask  56.5% abv

NOSE:  Vanilla (naturally), some citrus plays around the edges, hints of cinnamon and warm toffee notes

TASTE/PALATE:  Burst of warmth, slowly developing into a much more fruity dram than expected. Undercurrents of classic American oak vanillin playing in two-part harmony with the welcome heat.

FINISH:  Lengthy, gentle cinnamon spice and ever-so-slight bitterness on the back of the palate. Excellent for a post-feast comtemplative sipper.

ASSESSMENT:  Classic Jura can be a good “starter” whisky, in every respect of the term.  This offering is less “Angels peeing on my tongue” and more “Fire in the Sky”.  Finally – a focus on using Small Batch Bourbon casks sourced from Kentucky and a higher abv have made Jura burn brighter than ever.


ZOMBIES – What can I say?  It’s possible.  Hollywood seems to support the idea, and I have always trusted Hollywood.  Now, I’m old school and my understanding of the playing field has always been that Vampires don’t glitter in the sun and Zombies, although very persistent, still move slow but are attracted to sound and possibly smell.  So what to do?  Well, I wouldn’t go with a rum finished whisky for fear this odd flavor may actually attract them.  I would think triple distilled whisky would be the answer; the less the impurities, the less they would sense your presence.  Recommendation would be:  Triple distilled whisky, Irish whiskey or a drink with less impurities.

Maltmonster:  Auchentoshan Valinch  2011 57.5% abv Lowland Triple Distilled

NOSE:  Oranges, oranges and more oranges.  Ripe tangerines, lemon.  Creamy vanilla and a little floral.  So fresh and so vibrant and so very, very much alive.

TASTE/PALATE:  Honey sweet, oranges, cherries and strawberries.  Bourbon mint and caramel.  (As I bit into the dead ripe nectarine, it had a crisp juiciness about it that was very pleasurable ……………….until I realized it wasn’t a nectarine at all, but a human head).  Unless you want your head to become that sweet nectarine to a Zombie or become a manwich, you better stick with the triple distilled malts.

FINISH:  Medium.  Very drinkable…hard to belive this is a cask strength bottling.

ASSESSMENT:  I have never really fully embraced the younger versions of Auchentoshan malts until now.  Thanks to the DEAD-ication of Suntory/Morrison Bowmore Umbrella Corporation we finally get a great younger Auchentoshan, and at cask strength which is outstanding.  Remember…after the Zombie apocalypse…when you think you have someone eating out of your hand, you better count your fingers.

NOTICE:  If the Zombie apocalypse were to happen and if AF were to turn or was about to turn or I suspected he was going to turn (bit of a judgment call on my part) then I invoke the right of Primoris Rudimentum (Latin for first attempt) dealing with him with extreme prejudice, to help him achieve a more restful state.


Curt:  Laphroaig Cask Strength Batch 001  57.8% abv

Never one to play by the rules, I had to put a different spin on the Maltmonster’s approach to handling the impending zombie apocalypse (oh yes, friends…it will happen).  Sorry, Maltmonster…sometimes a little out-of-the-box thinking is required to best these mindless bastards.

Fellow zombie nerds will know right where I’m heading with this one.  In order to order their escape from a horde of slathering cannibals in Episode 2 (infamously titled ‘Guts’) of Season 1 in AMC’s The Walking Dead, Rick and the gang resort to one of the most brutally disgusting bits of brilliance I’ve ever seen in zombie canon.  The hack apart a dead walker, lather themselves up in the reek of death and decay and stroll out amid the hordes of flesh eaters.  Seemingly smelling more of their own…the zombies leave ‘em alone.

So…in homage…my whisky selection will take the same approach.

The plan…disguise my inherent purity (yeah…right!) by pouring dram after dram of strong Islay malt, full of the pungent peat reek of decaying organic matter down my throat.  This, all in the attempt to walk among them undetected, possibly smelling even more strongly than the dead.  In honor…

Laphroaig Cask Strength Batch 001

NOSE:  Smoke and brine.  Cocoa.  Iodine.  Tar.  Burnt and fishy.  Sweet and candy-ish (sour ju-jube?).  Capers.  Lime candy and…uh…cannabis?  Caramel apple.  Ash.  Dill, honey and white chocolate.

TASTE/PALATE:  Sweet and smoky as hell.  Like chewing farm-fresh barley.  Black licorice.  Hefty, hefty smoke notes.  Oily and viscous.  And some fish.

FINISH:  Poached apple, salted meat, oak, tobacco and tart fruit skin.  Long, long linger.

ASSESSMENT:  The smell of this one certainly deters the living…why the hell not the dead?!


Davin de Kergommeaux   Glenlugie* nas, “The Zombie Killer” abv unknown. 

NOSE:  Wafting whiffs of damned near everything. Damned, I tell you, damned! Sherry, cognac, rum, red wine, white wine, peat, no peat, malt, no malt, napkins, bottled who knows what, and unbottled tap water.

TASTE/PALATE:  Not so much integrated as congealed, and with a slippery mouthfeel, it goes down in a single gagging glug, glug, glug. There’s no stopping; it’s all one lump.

FINISH:  Not nearly soon enough.

ASSESSMENT:  Behind the tasting tent and ¾ through a second bottle of Satan, I heroically seize the challenge to taste the dump bucket. Age statements tell of the youngest whisky in the blend, so best to call this nas – age as uncertain as a Zombie invader’s. And this happenstance vatting of glory knows what could be anywhere from 15 to 65% abv. It’s a little of everything and little of anything. Disturbing? Yes! Disgraceful? Even more so! But will it bring a Zombie to a disgusted full stop? Dead in its tracks I tell you, as dead in its tracks as I now wish the Beelzebub had done to me. If only he can hold the bucket to his lips without a hand falling off, we live to dram again.

*not to be confused with Glenugie.  Or maybe exactly that…


LARGE METEOR IMPACT OR SUPER VOLCANO – Both come with a nuclear winter scenario, with permanent dark ash-filled skies and acid rain.  Very similar to living in Vancouver or Victoria, with their permanent dark cloud cover (although they don’t have acid rain, they do however have acid-crazed hippies from the seventies which can appear threatening).  The only way to fight back against the lack of sunshine would be to have a malt with added favor, like that imparted from a first fill sherry European oak cask, this would be enough to improve your mood to get you through another dark day. Recommendation would be:  Whisky from a sherry barrel or finished in a sherry barrel or intense wine finish whisky.


Phil Aldred:  Glengoyne Ewan’s Choice, one of a series of single cask bottlings from the Glengoyne Stillmans’ range. Wood type: Sherry Puncheon

Cask: #441 Bottle: 406/600 Strength: 51.5% Distilled: 13 April 1986 Bottled: May 2005 Gold Medal winner in the Malt Maniacs Awards, 2005

COLOUR:  Dark walnut with golden highlights. Flashes of brilliant burgundy when held to the light.

NOSE:  Christmas cake in a glass. Dried fruits, with mulled wine and cloves providing balance, and fleeting hints of leather and mocha.

TASTE/PALATE:  Not surprisingly, dried fruits dominate the flavor – raisins, sultanas and prunes. Some early drying which subsides as the rich luscious fruit layers return.

FINISH:  Exceptionally long and warming. This whisky is guaranteed to sustain through the longest nuclear winter.

ASSESSMENT:  Not an overly complex whisky, but very elegant and stylish. The palate is firm but deftly avoids the overwhelming sweetness found in some sherry heavyweights. Considering the limited quantities and the fact that it is jealously guarded by those few who are fortunate enough to have acquired a bottle, this is a little-known gem. What a pity so few bottles were made, and even fewer remain.


CHRISTOPHER COLLOM:  Ardbeg Corryvreckan 57.1% abv

NOSE:  Salt, smoked meats, pine needles, raw oysters and seaweed, even a hint of vanilla (believe it or not). Medicinal. Did I mention brine du mer?!

TASTE/PALATE :  Got this off the web, and actually agreed with it — though not verbatim (rare indeed. I will concur with Andrew Ferguson’s notes more often than not, but rumor has it that he gets those sent to him by Maltmonster! OK, now I’m just dropping names.):

“Chewy peppered steak soaked in pepper sauce with the tang of crispy seaweed; black tarry espresso coffee that coats the palate with rich dark fruits (blackcurrants, blueberries and cherries) and bitter almonds; as the taste soaks in deeper, star anise and hickory emerge.”

FINISH:  More hot pepper sauce, bing cherries, chocolate, coffee even.  Might remind one of SMWS 33.114 (Sweet versus Savoury), or 33.70 (Keith Richards Meets Socrates), if you are lucky enough to have hovered around those single barrel offerings from Edinburgh.

ASSESSMENT:  Maybe our visit to the Ardbeg distillery in 2009 is too much bias to overcome, … but the peat, Macleod!  The PEAT! I’ve even forgiven them for distributing Corryvreckan in Canada (despite claims of an Islay-exclusive status whilst in the good company of Mickey Heads).  Jim Murray hasn’t mumbled much about this Ardbeg, but then again he didn’t know about it at the time he was giving the 10 year old it’s third consecutive WWOTY crown. C’est la vie.  Or, as they say in Gaelic … ” Sin é an saol .” Malt Advocate thought otherwise in ’09 — t’was their whiskey of the year!

Naming this after a whirlpool ties nicely into local lore, but to see the tempest without traveling to the Inner Hebrides, just rent and watch “I Know Where I’m Going” (1945); among the greatest post-WWII black and white films EVER! Yes, the Corryvreckan is in there.

and the protagonist even has a dram, if I recall correctly. Too bad they didn’t have as refined a single malt as THIS back in the day, eh …  slainte!


Jeff Paterson: Glenfarclas 105 – 10 Years, 60.0% ABV, Speyside

NOSE:  Dense oak, round sherry and shellac, maple/caramelized sugar. There’s also a persistent floral note, reminiscent of Nadurra Triumph. Beautiful amber +3, with razor-thin legs and molasses tears.

TASTE/PALATE:  This is where the sherry shines, sweet and medium dry. Oak and tannins are somewhat neutral, but this improves with water, as does the mouthfeel. Not as complex as the nose, but holds the ABV better.

FINISH:  Long and dry with an even fall-off, coming to a conclusion rather than just… the bitter end.

ASSESSMENT:  As Guy Fawkes said, a desperate disease requires a dangerous remedy, but this one is a 90-class mixed blessing, coming with its own sensory ABV-EMP if you crowd it or try it neat. The cork on mine started to decay in the neck. On Oct. 2, 2012, the Grants launched a 20-year-old version for tactical use – the age of the smart sherry bomb has arrived.


Andrew Ferguson:  Glenfarclas 1997 KWM Family Cask  56.3% abv & Glenfarclas Chariman’s Reserve 175th Anniversary 43 y.o.

Your average visitor to Yellow Stone National Park, transfixed by the beauty of the landscape, the wildlife and the McGeysers is blissfully unaware of the smoldering lava-bomb ticking away beneath their feet. Every 70 to 100 thousand years the Yellow Stone caldera erupts ejecting 1000 times the ash and lava of Mount St. Helens. A blast wave destroys everything in a several hundred kilometer circumference, ash falls several meters thick over an area of tens of thousands of kilometers, skies darken cooling the planet for decades giving rise to a nuclear winter or mini ice age. Crops fail, forests burn and all of sudden everyone is pining back to the good old days when you could follow your favourite celebrity’s self-destruction on Twitter. Most concerning of all, we are due for another eruption.

With such a dire (short term) and bleak (longer term) future ahead, what whisky would be best to soften your harsh new reality? The answer is both one and twofold and always Glenfarclas. If Hollywood can be trusted, and I think Charlie Sheen has shown it can be, the super volcano apocalypse would begin with a short but violent burst lasting around a week.

This first week or party period would be a feast for both the eyes and ears, not unlike a series of YouTube rants by a Grand Warlock. Such an exciting and dramatic event would need a strong whisky to calm the nerves and flavours to contrast with the ashy-smoke clogging your lungs. Some might think a peaty malt would be in order to compliment the newly smoky air, but contrast is the way to go. I can think of no better whisky for this scenario than the Glenfarclas 1997 KWM Family cask. This Oloroso sherry cask matured whisky is very nutty and candied with leather and tobacco notes. Dried dark fruits make for a long pleasant finish, which is good, because clean potable water with which to rinse after brushing will henceforth be harder to find. Added bonus, the 56.3% abv will allow the whisky to double as a disinfectant in a post-apocalyptic world.

The second or scenic period will begin a week to a month after the start of this new geologic age. Those of us without Tiger Blood in the veins will quickly succumb to the post party depression and give up. Sure the sunsets will be magnificent for the next couple of decades, but that won’t make up for the dust storms, raging forest fires or lack of new “winning” moments. You need a whisky to balance things out, something with a sense of history and place to anchor you while you adjust to your new post Two and a Half Men Reality. For this you need the Glenfarclas Chairman’s Reserve 175th Anniversary. This 43 year old whisky has all the classic elements of a good older whisky and none of the more negative elements (too much oak, bitterness and excessive price) The Chairman’ Reserve is a marriage of four casks collectively 175 years of age. The palate is round and full with enormous depth and complexity. Dark Christmas cake notes, Cuban cigar tobacco, rich dark spices, layer upon layer of fruit and treacle sauce too.

A super volcano event like a new Charlie Sheen outburst is not just a possibility but a reality; it is just a matter of time. If the discovery channel can be trusted it could happen tomorrow.


…and finally…I had to save the piece de resistance for last.  Our mate with the soul of a poet, Jonathan Bray put together a brilliant little piece worthy of its own showcase…


Jonathan Bray:  Stranahan’s Snowflake Paladise Cask Finish Colorado Whiskey 47% abv

Giant Solar Flare


Snowflakes…. I used to curse the sight of them after endless months of frigid Winter. How I wish now to close my eyes with an upturned face and feel the soft caress of gently falling snow and the fresh invigorating aroma of blanketed pines.

Awaking with a start I roll out of the superheated beam of blazing light piercing through a jagged crack in the rock. Also scurrying away from the searing shard and looking decidedly worse for wear are my beleaguered companions Barry, Curt and Pat. Blessed with fortune and giving us pause to reflect on the random nature of survival, the four of us blissfully unaware of the impending End of Days Apocalyptic phenomenon about to descend, were on a Whisky hike through the majestic Rocky Mountains.

Not wanting to mix whisky and anything even remotely challenging we had sauntered through easy trails and soft pine needle laden paths reaching our first stop the Cave and Basin in Banff.

Wondering if a few drams of choice whisky would induce a miraculous sighting of the almost extinct Banff Springs snail we had slipped packs and proudly produced each of us a special bottle in the hopes of wowing and amazing our whisky crazed peers.

It started as a bright flash that lit up the open expanse of the cave mouth and instantly overloaded our retinas sending sharp pain lancing through even the insulating layers of just consumed whisky. Snatching up our packs we began scrambling back and away from the superheated sunlight as we retreated deeper into the recesses of the cave. After our panicked spelunking excursion Barry the Apocalyptic expert among us confidently gave voice to answer our bewildered looks of questioning horror. “Giant Solar Flare”.

Faced with the enormity of the realization that we were now in a post-Apocalyptic world we took stock of our situation and more importantly our resources for further survival.

Given the nature of the day trip and the overwhelming emphasis on whisky being the key ingredient of the experience, we began to take stock of the rations on hand. We all realized that a couple of meager cheese portions along with a sliced French Baguette and a single link of cabanossi, was not going to go far amongst the four of us.

How long then could we expect to survive in a cave devoid of any nutrition beyond what we had on hand? The tourist area beyond the cave entrance once complete with a café laden with delectable goodies was now nothing but a wasteland of debris and baked earth seared beyond recognition by the intensity of the biggest Solar Flare in Earth’s History. Given the rarity of a snail sighting in the warmth of the cave’s natural mineral spring we weren’t expecting escargot supplements to come into the survival equation.

With Oakley Thermonuclear Protection Pat was able to venture closer to the mouth with his ever present camera and take only a few hurriedly snapped photos before the heat and glare drove him back to our subterranean prison. The pictures as seen through the small LCD screen of Pat’s formidable SLR showed the utter devastation of the outside environment and squashed all hopes of venturing out.

Resigned to our fate we made ourselves as comfortable as possible on our packs with whisky glasses in hand we began what we expected would be our last whisky experience.

Bringing forth a cherished bottle each in turn poured healthy drams and waxed lyrical about what little we could see of the color in the gloom of the recessed interior along with what seemed to be a heightening of our other senses allowing for what we all agreed was an epiphany that seemed to define our search for the perfect dram.

Coming to my turn I pulled out my bottle of Stranahan’s Snowflake Paladise Cask Finish Colorado Whiskey.  This lovely Whiskey is distilled from 100% Rocky Mountain Barley with nothing else but yeast, Rocky Mountain Water and passion.

1 of only 156 bottles, bottled at 47% without chill filtration or any coloring. Beginning its life in new American white oak for 2 years and 2 months it was then transferred into white Hungarian oak previously used to mature Sonoma Red Wine to complete its maturation.

Deep amber color infused with a subtle red hue when held up against the backlight of our now defunct i-phones.

NOSE:  Bananas Foster with hints of caramelized orange. Warm and inviting, the nose just draws you in. With patience more subtle influences swirl into focus, Meyer lemon, a whiff of subtle clove and vanilla.

TASTE/PALATE:  Creamy mouth-feel with dark orange chocolate undertones. Caramel toffee and roasted almond appear with background sweetness – creamed honey?

FINISH:  Lingering and touching on soft dry tannins, reminiscent of some red wine influence. Definitely feels a lot older than it is with rolling fruitcake and bitter orange marmalade evolving over a lengthy finale that makes this one extremely yummy whiskey.

ASSESSMENT:  Like its namesake this Snowflake is a unique and beautiful creation that exemplifies why Stranahan’s rose from a backyard boutique distillery to be bought out by Proximo Spirits last year. I just hope Jess was able to have fun spending his money before roasting like a marshmallow on a campfire under the instantly radiating pulse of torching flame.

With our tasting done, bottles empty and meager rations consumed all were in agreement that walking out to face the world one last time would be preferable to being forced to draw straws for who was to become the next meal. Settling in for our final night in the cave I eventually drifted off into a contented sleep and dreamt about Snowflakes…..


Final Thoughts…

Now…come December 22, 2012, if the world as we know it has not changed, then no big deal, at least you will have some great single malts to enjoy for any occasion.  A peated malt for a cold winter’s day, refreshing bourbon vanilla malt for a warm summer’s day, a triple distilled malt for before dinner and a hardy sherry malt for after dinner.  Just remember, if this Armageddon doesn’t materialize then at the very least you will have the jump on being prepared for the next major event…

MEGA-FLOODING from the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet in 2016!!! (For which we will start to take advanced bookings and deposits December 23, 2012 on the new and improved “ Titanic Ark 2”).


– Your humble drudge, Maltmonster

Glenglassaugh….Berserkers At The Gates

WARNING – The content of this article is not intended for Diageo.  If you are in anyway related to Diageo you should not read, disseminate, distribute or copy this article.

Glenglassaugh….Berserkers At The Gates

What drives the world? ……………… Energy.  Who controls the riches of the world? ………….. Energy Companies.  Who has the most influence over of the governments of the world? …………………… Energy Company Executives.  What better business to get into if you’re trying to get plunder?  How does this relate to Glenglassaugh you ask?  Well…you have to step back in time to fully  understand and grasp the meaning of what I’m about to say.  The story starts hundreds of years ago, around 793 AD, when the Swedish Vikings raided along the coasts of Ireland, Scotland and England to obtain riches, whisky and land.  The Vikings stopped raiding around 1066 AD but they didn’t just disappear.  The weather cooled and Vikings entered into a state of dormancy, called the “Ikea  Period”, after living large from all their successful years of plundering.

As with the last global warming period, called the “Medieval Warm Period”, which seemed to stir the Vikings into action, we now have entered into the next global warming period, called “Gore’s Meltdown”, which has triggered yet another period of Norse expansion. Well now…back to my original point of who has sway over the world; Big Energy companies and their executives, and what has replaced Medieval raiding …………….. Corporate raiding.  So who is the face of big energy in Sweden? ……………… The Scaent Group, which was  founded in Sweden in 2003 shortly after the start of second global warming  period.  What was the first business started by the Scaent Group? ……………. You  guessed it…Nordic Power, followed in 2004 with corporate pillaging into BaltEnergo, an electricity company in Latvia, and then marauding in 2006 with  Scaent Europower, a new company responsible for energy activities in Ireland,  Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Austria and the Balkans.

Are the Vikings up to their old tricks?  Is Sweden gearing up for whisky raiding once again?  As in the past, are the English the target of a bloody good ransacking ,and if so who has the right asset mix of riches, whisky and land that would lure the attention of the modern day Vikings? ………………………….The British multinational alcoholic beverages company headquartered in London called Diageo seems to have the right mix.  Now if Diageo  were the target you would likely need a beachhead in which to lay an assault.  Now what is really interesting is what the Scaent Group did in 2008.  They  purchased the distillery Glenglassaugh and joined the SWA, a not so secret  society, which influences Scottish law.  We would of course ask Jonas Garbaravičius, Chairman of the managing board of the Scaent Group, for a comment on his plans for Viking whisky domination, if we spoke Viking or Latvian.

So to honor the Scaent Group, these modern day Berserkers of the business world, with their undeclared secret plans to take over Diageo, we that are about to drink salute you and will remain supportive and vigilant until the day you invade Diageo, set things right and reopen the Port Ellen distillery one day soon.  To show our unwavering support, we, a multifarious collection of six whisky drudges, sat down together on June 14, 2012, to enjoy the fruits of the Glenglassaugh distillery, both past and present.  With the help of The Collective, Curt and I decided to post our tasting notes together in a joint effort and Pat did the honors of the photos.  Tasting mats were supplied by Clint and outside smoking accommodations provided by Jay.  Illumination of this great whisky was supplied by a Purple Valley Importer and Australian cricket player, with a broken finger, named Jonathan Bray.


#1      Revival 3 Years Old 46 % ABV First  distillery bottling from the new owners. Matured in First and Refill Bourbon casks and finished for 6 months in Oloroso Sherry Butts.


NOSE:  Caramel, feinty, lemons, raisins and plums.

TASTE:  Chocolate, coffee beans, green apples and nutmeg.

FINISH:  Medium and tad briny at the end.

ASSESSMENT:  All in all a great start down the path towards a standard older release.  This malt would be for Váli (Viking God of revenge) for obvious reasons.


Nose:  Feinty.  Somewhat sweet.  Plum and raisin.  Liqueur-soaked cherry.  Lemon.  Chocolate mint.  Oak.  Smoked…er…something.

Palate:  New Make-ish.  Nutmeg.  Weedy.  Waxy.  Wine-y and briney.  An applish finish.

Thoughts & Impressions:  Kinda feinty, but not too ‘off’.  How much of this is saved by the Oloroso?  In all honesty…a good start (or restart) for this distillery.  “Wi nøt trei a høliday in Sweden this yer?”

#2       26 Years Old  Rare Cask Series 46 % ABV – A triple pack of 200ml bottles containing 26, 37 and  43


NOSE:  Sweet cherries and ripe oranges, somewhat floral and a touch of mint.

TASTE:  Yumm-o (Australian of yummy) nice stewed fruits, black liquorice and lemon.

FINISH:  Medium to long with a hint of pepper.

ASSESSMENT:  This malt would most likely have been born in the last year prior to it been mothballed, therefore the most innocence and the most fitting dram for Baldr (Viking God of  beauty, innocence and peace).


Nose:  Cherry.  White Chocolate.  Orange.  Mint.  Latex.  Wine gums.

Palate:  A little sharp and woody.  Tannic.  Anise that grows and grows through development.

Thoughts & Impressions:  Fruits!  ‘I said gawdamn!’  Phenomenal nose, but only a great palate.  “See the løveli lakes…The wonderful telephøne system…And mani interesting furry animals”


#3      37 Years Old Rare Cask Series 54.8 % ABV – A triple pack of 200ml bottles containing 26, 37  and 43


NOSE:  Jammy stewed fruits,  caramel, vanilla, dill and mint

TASTE:  Fruit-o-plenty,  floral and some pepper

FINISH:  Medium to long

ASSESSMENT:  According to  the Kangaroo Cowboy in the group this is Cougar malt, didn’t know they had  Cougars in the outback. This was one of the best malts of the night and loved by  all, so we thought that it was best enjoyed by Sjöfn (Viking Goddess of  love)


Nose:  Deep, dark fruits.  Briny dill.  Latex paint.  Marmalade.  Eucalyptus.  Hints of red licorice.

Palate:  Deep, dark notes reminiscent of old sherry casks, but…apparently not likely sherry.  Licorice All Sorts.

Thoughts & Impressions:  Austere maturity, but still vibrant.  “Including the majestic møøse”


#4       43 Years Old Rare Cask Series 48.7 % ABV – A triple pack of 200ml bottles containing 26, 37 and  43


NOSE:  Honey comb, sweet ripe cherries & oranges and some nice floral notes.

TASTE:  Ripe juicy peach, pineapple, black liquorice and bananas.

FINISH:  Medium to long with a little salt at the end.

ASSESSMENT:  Gorgeous nose with delicate floral notes to inspire Bragi (Viking God of  poetry).


Nose:  Scottish shortbread.  Fruits are big and bordering on exotic.  Tobacco.  Suede.

Palate:  Oak is pronounced.  Bittersweet chocolate.  Toffee.  Very sharp orange rind.

Thoughts & Impressions:  Like sipping a pipe.  “A Møøse once bit my sister …”

#5      1986 – The Expedition Cask Series 45.2 %  ABV Cask # 1  25 Years Old Feb 19/86 – July 19/11  Bottled for CSN Wine & Spirits  Bottle # 203 of  204


NOSE:  Raisins, prunes and caramel.  Melons, bananas and a touch of dill and other spices.

TASTE:  Honey, orange  marmalade, cloves and nutmeg.

FINISH:  Medium to long and little tart.

ASSESSMENT:  This cask was pretty much the end of the line before the distillery was closed in 1986 so it’s right that this malt is for Forseti (Viking God of justice and truth).


Nose:  Caramel.  Banana crème.  Fig and raisin.  Grape.  Bread-like and malty.

Palate:  Mocha.  Honey candy.  Oranges…oranges…oranges…and…oranges.

Thoughts & Impressions:  Where’s the s3x on the nose?!  More impressive on the palate than nose.  Though still tasty, to be sure.  “No realli!  She was Karving her initials on the møøse with the sharpened end of an interspace tøøthbrush given her by Svenge – her brother-in-law – an Oslo dentist and star of many Norwegian møvies:  “The Høt Hands of an Oslo Dentist”, “Fillings of Passion”, “The Huge Mølars of Horst Nordfink”.”


# 6       1976 – Ronnie  Routledge –The Chosen Few Series 49.6 % ABV Release #1   35 Years Old May 1976- 2011 Sherry  Butt  Bottle # 218 of 654 New range of distillery single cask  releases following the four Manager’s Legacy Series, each of ten bottlings  chosen by a different employee. This cask was chosen by Ronnie Routledge, Sales  and marketing representative.


NOSE:  Ripe cherries, melons, sweet juicy peach, bananas.  Blueberries and nutmeg.

TASTE:  Winey, leather and tobacco.

FINISH:  Long and warming.

ASSESSMENT:  With all that  fruit, this would be a drink to enjoy under the Sun with a few good friends, so  it’s a natural to be the malt of choice for Sol (Viking Goddess of  Sun).


Nose:  Cinnamon bun dough.  Vanilla.  Orange.  Blueberry.  Sugar cookies.  Pear-heavy fruit cocktail.

Palate:  Rather sharp.  Stewed fruit.  Leather.

Thoughts & Impressions:  Great drinker, okay noser.  Nose is just slightly less than I wanted.  “Mynd you, møøse bites Kan be pretty nasti…”

#7       1974 – Jim Cryle – The Manager’s Legacy Series 52.9 % ABV Refill Sherry Hogshead Bottle #154 of  200 The first in a series of four bottlings to celebrate the  achievements and influences of Glenglassaugh distillery managers during  the period 1964 – 1986.


NOSE:  Butterscotch, grape juice, citrus, cedar and dark roast coffee.

TASTE:  Oranges, cream and mangos.  Black liquorice and raisins.

FINISH:  Long and very balanced.

ASSESSMENT:  The second favorite of the tasting and is a balanced and virtuous drink which can give you dreams of grandeur which is in keeping with Kvasir (Viking God of inspiration).


Nose:  Creamy MacIntosh toffee.  Lemon.  Pear. White Pepper.  Cinnamon stick.  Tempered fruits.  Chocolate cake.  Cool hot cross buns.

Palate:  Fruits.  Oh, fruits.  Orange and exotic.  Lovely.  Vanilla.  Some said licorice…yep, I think so.

Thoughts & Impressions:  Absolutely lovely, if slightly safe.  Beautiful really.  Ok, yeah…I almost love this.  This is no Viking…this is the Viking’s plunder…the hawt chick he throws over his shoulder while plundering!  “Møøse trained by TUTTE HERMSGERVORDENBROTBORDA”

#8       1967- Walter  Grant – The Manager’s Legacy Series 40.4 % ABV May 1967 – 2010 Refill Sherry  Hogshead Bottle # 149 of 200  The last in a series of four single cask releases to  celebrate the achievements and influences of Glenglassaugh distillery managers  during the period 1964 – 1986.


NOSE:  A tropical fruit shitstorm.  I said it had some of the same notes as the 1960 Bowmores and Clint said it was a lesser brother, more like a Tito Bowmore.  Some floral notes, waxy and cinnamon.

TASTE:  A little thin after all the cask strength drams.  Floral and fruity, liquorice.  Dark chocolate and a bit winey.

FINISH:  Long and floral.

ASSESSMENT:  The number one rated malt of the eight and an exemplary malt worthy of the noble Odin (Ruler of  the Viking Gods).


Nose:  Pineapple.  Peach.  Cherry.  Eucalyptus.  Latex.  Oak.  Pepper.  Bubblegum.  Faint spice pantry.

Palate:  Somewhat ‘thin’.  Fruits are impressive, but die rather quickly and turn a little bitter.

Thoughts & Impressions:  Simply astounding nose.  The fruit blend is absolutely beautiful.  Rich, rich tropicalia.  If only it had been a little bigger in terms of abv, but…40.4% tells me they just barely saved this one.  “Suggestive poses for the Møøse suggested by VIC ROTTER”


For the benefit of the great unwashed, the Glenglassaugh distillery was built by James Moir in 1875, near the Craig’s  Mills Farm, bordering on the North Sea very close to the small scenic town of Portsoy, Banffshire.  This Highland malt distillery operated until it closed in 1907.  The distillery remained silent until 1959, when it was rebuilt, enlarged and operated until it was mothballed in 1986. The Scaent Group leaped to purchase the distillery on Leap Year day 2008.  On December 4th of the same year, the water of life started flowing yet again.

In 2011, I was pressed into a Ferguson raiding tour from Calgary that descended onto this enchanting timeworn whisky institution. Under the gaunt eye of the Managing Director, Stuart Nickerson, we were given a first rate tour befitting our Canadian status, which included a top of the still house tower of Pisa like panorama view of the distillery, the old abandoned stone windmill, the lush fields and the seaside beach and dunes.  We inspected some of the less than 400 remaining cask inventory resting in the warehouses and finally we were led by Stuart in a range tasting which included a 30 & 45 year old whisky.

This Glenglassaugh distillery, I  believe, has unlimited potential both in producing great whisky and as a major tourist destination with all its natural beauty.  The people that work there are friendly and dedicated to their craft ,and I only hope to someday make it back  there to once again taste their product.


– Maltmonster (God of  mischief)

– Photos:  Pat

– Swenglish:  copyright…the Pythons.