Behold! This latest edition of our New Booze Round-up is a Whisky Exchange Special!
A few weeks ago were recently sent four small sample bottles containing new releases from The Whisky Exchange. Each one of them is a little bit special. So special that we’ve decided to feature them in a new booze round-up all of their own.
If you’ve yet to explore the treasures on offer at The Whisky Exchange then you’re in for a treat because it’s one of the best-stocked booze retailers around. Besides housing one of the biggest ranges of whiskies and other spirits you will find anywhere, they also sell exclusive boozes that are bottled under their own label. They’re staffed by drinks experts who share a lot of their knowledge (check out the highly informative features on their website) and we regularly tap into their expertise when researching spirits for features.
The four samples we received are all exclusive releases – three Single Malt Scottish Whiskies and a Jamaican Rum – so if you’re looking for a taste of something rare then read on…
Laphroaig 1998, 21 years old, 54.4%
Anyone who likes a peaty dram sloshing around in their glassware should be familiar with Islay’s Laphroaig distillery. Its whisky has a distinctive smoke and antiseptic tang that can put off some folk for life, but those who develop a taste for such a combination will lap up each new release with gusto.*
This 21 year old suntanned spirit has a typically strong whiff of smoke and leather with that medicinal TCP quality also creeping into the frame. It’s a drink that has bags of flavour, with heavily roasted meat bones, sea spray, cherry pie and Unami all in the mix. There’s a minty tingle to the smooth oak finish and, even when it’s long since gone, those peaty characteristics keep on chugging away.
Ledaig 2005, 13 year old, 57.4%
Ledaig is made at the Island of Mull’s Tobermory distillery but, unlike Tobermoray releases, the whisky is infused with the flavours of peated malt. In trying to describe whiskies, several comparisons crop up that sound far from flattering: TCP (see above) is one of them and, in this instance, one of the key words you might find used is ‘damp.’ We’re going to take this cruel comparison even further and suggest the dampness is akin to steamy compost. And we’re also going to throw in burnt flavours to the flavour-association game: burnt oil and a fruit and chocolate cake that has spent way too much time in the oven.
On more positive sounding territory we’ll also add some sherry sweetness and the kind of sugary hit you might detect when chewing on a licorice stick. In reality – as with most tasting notes – the similarity to these flavours is a personal perception: overall it’s an outstanding peaty whisky.
Glenburgie 1998, 21 year old, 55.4%
You won’t see many bottles of Glenburgie Single Malt Whisky in the shops because the majority of the distillery’s output is destined for blends produced by owners the Chivas Brothers. In fact, this is a first tasting of Glenburgie whisky for us.
The initial supping of this pale dram was at the end of a tasting evening and our notes are verging on the indecipherable. We think they read “bitter lemon sweets, creme brulee and chewed toothpick.” A subsequent tasting does confirm that suckable citrussy sweets can be detected and there is the kind of creamy, crunchy, flame-grilled-sugar flavour that might sit on the top of a creme brulee. As for the toothpick, we suspect that refers to a mature, woody finish alongside which some of the fresher fruit flavours remain.
Worthy Park Rum 2007, 12 year old, 58%
Worthy Park is a Jamaican estate with a distillery and sugar plantation, the ideal combination for the production of rum. This bronzed molasses rum was aged for 12 years (9 years in the Caribbean and 3 in Europe) before being bottled by Thompson Brothers exclusively for The Whisky Exchange.
It’s the kind of spirit that engulfs your senses with every sip, the gingery oak tugging away at the cheeks while the smooth, syruppy, tinned fruit and caramel flavours ease into every pore. It’s a rum that is drenched in Jamaican sunshine, giving you a tropical warmth and happy glow that will last through even the coolest of British evenings.
Note: Prices are correct at time of publication
*Looks like this one has sold out. Already