.the arran - white stag - first release

Coming of age in May, after which she will be bottled to be 18yo at the release in June 2015, during the Arran festival. It will be a special bottling for the Arran White Stag Ambassador programme, chosen by their tasting panel. She has matured in a refilled ex-Oloroso hogshead and will only give 214 bottles worldwide.

.the arran - premium single bourbon cask - #99/130

Once in a while a cask of whisky seems to stand out so much, it would be a shame to marry it off and lose it in a larger batch of whisky. In such case, a sack gets special treatment and is bottled on it's own and released as a premium single cask with the Arran distillery. In case of cask number 1999/130, there were only 164 bottles left to be sold at the distillery's Visitors Centre.

.the arran - 18yo - first release

Starting with the first official 16yo two years ago, followed by the 17yo last year, now the Arran have released their first official 18yo. As with her predecessors, she has matured in a selection of ex-Sherry casks and is bottles in a limited release of only 9000 bottles. Unlike the previous two, the plans for the 18yo are to remain in the core range, albeit in a (most likely) different cask composition. Rumour has it that there are plans for a similar 21yo in three years time...

.the arran - sauternes cask finish

Originally she started her maturation for about eight years in [most likely] refill ex-Bourbon casks, after which she received an extra period of [undetermined] months in an ex-Sauternes sweet white Bordeaux dessert wine cask.

.the balvenie - cask sample - #17703

In October 2014 we were touring the Speyside area with some friends, and for obvious reasons we had booked a tour at the Balvenie distillery. After an awesome tour there was the option to sample our own 20cl bottle in the warehouse straight from a second fill ex-Bourbon, a first fill ex-Bourbon cask and / or an ex-Sherry butt. That is exactly what most of us did, prior to the fantastic tasting in the visitor's centre of their core range. It turns out that if you are a member of Warehouse 24, you get to sample another bottle, that will be added to the tasting.

.tullibardine - 225 - sauternes finish

Tullibardine is expanding their terrain at this moment, with the purchase of a closed shopping centre next door. I had tried this before and was not really enthusiastic about it, but after today's re-taste I have come to a different conclusion. The matured spirit has undergone a finish for 12 months in Chateau Suduiraut Sauternes casks, 225 litres in volume.

.the balvenie - 21yo - portwood - 2008 bottling

Some time ago, I have tasted a 21yo Portwood with a friend. I was not really flabbergasted about it, and had another go at several other moments. Never was I impressed enough to purchase a bottle, but there is always a mythical aura around the expression, to get me triggered to try it again. On a tour at the distillery, I had another chance and decided to take it home with me, because I was the designated driver...

.the balvenie - tun 1401 - batch #5

We bought a bottle of this - blind - when it was just released. We were looking for a gift for a good whisky friend, and the owner of the shop had some specials in the back, he was thinking of saving for a rainy day. Sorry man, your price was too good to be true. Our friend got something else...

.the balvenie - 12yo - single barrel #12760

Twelve long years in one ex-Bourbon barrel that was used for the first time after emptying the Bourbon out of it and shipping it to Scotland. After maturation only 300 bottles are drawn from each cask and sold in this Single Barrel range. The remainder of the cask is undoubtedly used in the Grant's blends or the Balvenie DoubleWood expression.

.the balvenie - 15yo - single barrel - sherry cask #609

"The Balvenie Single Barrel Sherry Cask has been matured exclusively in a single European oak sherry butt for at least 15 years. The term ‘Single Barrel’ conveys the unique nature of the expression, which has been drawn from a single cask of a single distillation."

.the balvenie - 17yo - doublewood

"The DoubleWood 17 Year Old is an elder sibling to DoubleWood 12 Year Old and shares its honeyed, spicy characteristics, but it is distinctly different, with deeper vanilla notes, hints of green apple, creamy toffee and a striking richness and complexity."

.the balvenie - 14yo - caribbean cask

This whisky keeps coming back to us, but still has not found her way into our cabinet. After making the note today, I find that it is about time we go to the sore and change that.

.the balvenie - 16yo - triple cask

The 16 year old triple cask release from the current the Balvenie travel retail series. This has matured in three different casks; a first fill ex-Bourbon, a re-fill ex-Bourbon and an ex-Sherry cask. To my understanding the whisky was fully matured in these cask types for 16 years before they got married in a marrying tun.

.highland park - 30yo (2007 bottling)

Speaking about flagships (I know we weren't, but suppose we were)... This is really one to open for special moments and think of as many as you can.

.highland park - 25yo (2006 bottling)

See what you did there Highland Park? This is much more like it. The actual sample I have tasted is a 25yo bottled in 2006, so I am open for more like that. Let me check my wallet...

.highland park - 18yo

Highland Park. There is a love-hate thing going on with me and the core-range Highland Park expressions. At some moments they are really enjoyable and when that happens, most of the time it is this one.

.highland park - 15yo

This might be the reason I am not a big fan of modern day Highland Parks...