From an Amaro-inspired liqueur, to collectors' limited editions and cognac-finished scotch, here are some of the most recent whisky launches in time for World Whisky Day (16 May)
Tamdhu Dalbeallie Dram 003
Tamdhu Single Malt Scotch Whisky has launched its third distillery exclusive, limited edition Dalbeallie Dram, in homage to the Dalbeallie train station that sits near the distillery in Banffshire.
From 1899 until its closure in 1951 Dalbeallie Station has brought the distillery its Sherry oak casks from Spain.
Dalbeallie Dram 003 is a non-chill filtered, naturally coloured whisky, and has been matured in European and American oak Oloroso Sherry casks from Jerez.
The liquid is said to be 'balanced and creamy, with hints of banana and lime, toasted marshmallow and spiced bread and butter pudding on the nose. The mouthfeel is luxurious, thick and syrupy on the palate, oozing with vanilla, dried fruits and soft spice, with gentle waves of oak. And building sherry notes join with the oak and sweet liquorice to give Dalbeallie Dram 003 a velvety and pleasingly dry finish'.
There will only be 1,000 bottles of Tamdhu Dalbeallie Dram 003.
60.7% abv, RRP £90/700ml, tamdhu.com
The Epicurean Cognac Finish Limited Edition
Douglas Laing & Co has launched a cognac-finished Lowland malt scotch whisky as part of its Epicurean Wood Series. As a follow up to 2019's Côte-Rôtie Cask Finish, this single cask is offered without chill-filtration and is 100% natural (its golden colour coming from the Cognac-season cask).
'After many trials, blind tasting and careful planning, the casks selected for this experiment were the perfect representation of a five-star Cognac cask,' said Chris Leggat, managing director. 'We’ve paired with our Epicurean Lowland Malt Whisky to produce this resulting limited edition: A rather exciting – certainly distinguished – addition to the family.'
The final spirit is described as having an 'overriding tropical style with lychee, fiery ginger, sandalwood and coconut'.
48% abv, RRP £59.99/700ml, douglaslaing.com
Crabbie 1994 Island Single Malt
There are only 247 bottles of this new expression from John Crabbie & Co in the UK.
Distilled at the Tobermory Distillery, Crabbie 1994 Island Single Malt has spent 25 years in an ex-Sherry hogshead cask, with each bottle being non-chill filtered and naturally coloured.
The results are a whisky that is 'dark gold in colour, has rich notes of fruitcake, dark chocolate and warming spices and is presented in an elegant presentation box'.
'Crabbie 1994 Island Single Malt is one of our most carefully planned releases to date,' said John Kennedy, head of sales for Scotland. 'We’d had cask samples from distilleries all across Scotland and it was a difficult choice, but this sherry cask from Tobermory was absolute stand out with its nose of sweet macerated dates, fruit cake, warming spice and its orange marmalade and rich dark chocolate finish. It will most certainly appeal to those who take their whisky seriously.'
46.2% abv, RRP £300/700ml, email@example.com
The Legendary Dark Silkie Irish Whiskey
Sliabh Liag Distillery in Donegal has released a second iteration of its Legendary Silkie Irish Whiskey. This 'Dark' expression is made up of a triple-distilled peated single malt, matured in sherry casks, giving it a 'rich, sweet, smoky flavour'. It is then blended with a double-distilled single malt matured in bourbon barrels, and a soft grain whiskey matured in virgin oak casks.
'The Dark Silkie... adds a smoky overlay to the signature Silkie style. It has always been my intention to bring peat smoke to blends and this is the first time we have been able to source the right smoky whiskeys for our Silkie,' said James Doherty, founder and managing director of Sliabh Liag Distillers.
The liquid is described by Doherty as having 'on the nose, fresh apple, pipe tobacco and the comforting dry smoke of a peat fire. To taste, the whiskey is super soft with a salted-caramel sweetness, dark chocolate and liquorice, oak, leather, and a dry spicy smoke. The finish is warming with smoky malt, peanut butter and melts away.'
46% abv, RRP £34.99/700ml, sliabhliagdistillers.com
Cotswold Amaro No 1
The Cotswolds Distillery has released the first expression of its new Cotswolds Amaro Whiskey Liqueurs range.
The first in the range, which is inspired by the traditional Italian digestif, the Cotswolds Amaro No 1 uses the distillery's flagship single malt as its base, and is blended with botanicals including vanilla, citrus and spice, giving the liqueur herbal and floral notes. It is also non-chill filtered.
'I have always loved Amaro and wanted to create Cotswolds Distillery’s own Amaro liqueur,' said Daniel Szor, Cotswolds Distillery's founder. 'Launching Cotswolds Amaro No 1 on World Whisky Day seemed the perfect way to celebrate this wonderful day.'
On the nose, you will find 'fresh peach with bitter black tea and subtle orange citrus fruit,' while on the palate it is 'thick and creamy with vanilla and bitter marmalade, floral with a hint of spiced honey'. It is said to have a 'slightly bitter finish'.
The Cotswolds Amaro is suggested to be served well-chilled or on ice. The second expression will be launched in the autumn.
40% abv, RRP £34.95/500ml, cotswoldsdistillery.com
The Edge of Burnhead Wood 19yo
The Balvenie has released the fourth edition of its Balvenie Stories range. It joins The Sweet Toast of American Oak 12yo, A Week of Peat 14yo, and A Day of Dark Barley 26yo.
The Edge of Burnhead Wood is made from locally sourced ingredients found in the distillery grounds – home-grown barley malted at The Balvenie Maltings, water from the Convel hills, and fresh heather from Burnhead Wood.
The result is 'a delicate fruitiness, as well as notes of light spice and juicy fruits. A balanced honeyed sweetness and spicy outburst with hints of cloves and caramelised baked dates' which develops into 'oaky dryness, whilst a lingering oaky finish features notes of fragrant dried blossom'.
Drinkers can hear the story of The Edge of Burnhead Wood via a specially recorded podcast series, featuring the craftsmen behind the expression, as well as The Balvenie global ambassador Gemma Paterson and malt master David C. Stewart.
48.7% abv, RRP £260/700ml, whiskyshop.com