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“In recognition of Leif Eriksson as the first European…..”

To celebrate and recognise the fact that Leif Eriksson, as a Norse explorer, was regarded as the first European to land in north America, nearly 500 years before Christopher Columbus, Highland Park have released:
Highland Park Single Malt Leif Eriksson Release Wholly Matured In American Oak Casks 40%
A cornucopia of orchard fruits and pear drops, coated in honey and sprinkled with vanilla powder and almonds. The richness intensified by tendrils of peat smoke stirring their way through the sweet fruity stew.
Vanilla rich initially on the palate, the mid section is all pepper ‘n spice, the finish charred and sweetly oaky.
Water does accentuate the pear drops but boosts the peppery spice. A gentle dram that should be drunk as is, however as HP are celebrating a famous viking’s extraordinary achievements, I think a cask strength release would have been more appropriate…..86 

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A gem of an Independent bottling from Springbank….

Hazelburn 9yo Single Malt Sherry Cask 46% Duthies
Top notes of liquid spicy fruit mince marinade, the middle is all sherry soaked orange marmalade and barley with Liquorice Allsorts and then Matabele ants in the basement.
Full bodied and smoothly tongue coating, sweet sherry and then the orange marmalade with a layer of pepper ‘n spice are evident. The finish of this bold dram is toasted European oak and a fine fino finish. 88
With a touch of aqua, a hint of horse sweat, Bowmore character, briefly emerges and then the sweetest red berries and bubblegum. 
The palate now more viscous and more of the sherried toasted oak on the finish. 90
P.S. This dram only available for tasting in South Africa at the Wild About Whisky bar in Dullstroom!

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The Three Ships 10yo that sailed in 2003 has to be one of the best 10year olds….anywhere…..if you can find it…..

Three Ships 10yo Single Malt November 2003 43%
Vanilla, greengage, gooseberry, sandalwood, floral incense, an astonishing nose, oriental in nature, then dark toffee, a sherry character emerging, then roasted peanuts with the floral jasmine top note a constant in this amazing dram.
Viscous and velvety soft on the palate, sherry sweet, rich spice, a touch of pepper and a long oak-driven vinous finish. Stunning! Master distiller, Andy Watts should be justifiably proud of this South African expression…up there with the best in the world and hopefully repeated one day….92

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“The Big Fellow” has inspired a grand Irish single malt….

Micheal O Coileain was a legendary Irish hero and was the spearhead of Ireland’s struggle for independence. His spirit lives on in this finely crafted single malt.

Michael Collins Irish Single Malt Whiskey 40% Cooley
A rich sweet compote of stewed cranberries and mulberries with coatings of vanilla and marzipan, the barley is there but subdued by the weight of the overpowering richness of sweet berried fruits and caramel. Eventually a hint of the Cooley peat emerges.
Sherry sweet and softly mouth coating, the mid palate kicks in with the fruit ‘n spice battling with the oak and tannins, leaving a lingering vinous and oak finish. 
Very, very drinkable and one of the better Irish single malts. 84. 

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In 1973, at the foot of the Japanese Southern Alps, Suntory’s Hakushu Distillery was born….

                                                           HAKUSHU DISTILLERY

The Hakushu 12yo Single malt 43% Suntory
Boiled sweets, bubblegum and pear drops, these hi hats of sugary sweetness are remarkable , then a kick drum of lemon malted barley thumps through layers of lemon meringue.
Soft, sweet and velvety smooth on the tongue, there is a mid palate of pepper ‘n vanilla spice, crisp and clear, with a warm, charred wooded finish that lingers chardonnay style. Outstanding. 92