Here are our latest newcomers!
Sanaig Single Malt Scotch – Kilchoman’s Master Distiller John MacLellan may be gone, but his legacy lives on in this new regular release from Islay’s farm distillery. Sanaig, named after a rocky inlet close to the distillery, is predominantly Oloroso sherry cask-dominated and takes up residence on the shelf next to the bourbon barrel-aged Machir Bay. Fans of Kilchoman (myself included) will be very pleased with this new offering. It is classic Kilchoman: the peat, smoke and earthy malt components are all there, but with added depth and dimension provided by the sherry casks. Notes of toffee, stone fruits, herbaceous smoke, vanilla ice cream sandwiches, mocha and salty sea breeze are blended beautifully, creating a soft, elegant and very moreish dram.
BenRiach 2000 12 Year Old Single Cask No. 3105 – I tasted a lot of BenRiach cask samples on my most recent trip to Scotland and while there were many good ones, none stood out as an absolute must for Vine & Table’s single cask program. Some people could call me fussy when it comes to picking out single casks, but my reputation and your loyalty mean more to me than the chance to make a quick buck. I returned home empty handed from BenRiach, which was certainly not my intention. I really was hoping to bring back a cask from what I regard as one of the best distilleries in Speyside, but a lack of superb casks and steep pricing kept me at bay. Once I got back to Indy, I got on the phone to BenRiach’s importers to see if they had anything laying around at their warehouse in California. A week later I was sitting at home with a sample of Cask No. 3105. Distilled in the year 2000 and bottled in July of 2013, this 12 year old single cask, cask strength Oloroso sherry butt was the missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle.
Now this is a superb whisky. The nose is chock full of rich sherry flavors, with sultanas, clove, cinnamon, caramelized sugar, Madagascar vanilla pods and sweet soft fruits all vying for your attention. The entry on the palate is medium sweet, with toasted hazelnuts, walnut, Christmas fruit cake, winter spices and mulled wine. At 58.1% ABV this is a full-throttle whisky, becoming soft and sumptuous with just a dash of water added. Yet the character of BenRiach’s spirit (literally) shines through with its floral delicacy. A beautiful whisky. Now comes the kicker. I bought as much of Cask No. 3105 as I could; I would have bought all 619 bottles if I had known this was in the U.S. before I set off for Scotland! Alas, by this time there were just a handful of cases left, and I took them all as this is a whisky where everything is in place, from flavor, to age, to cask style and of course one of the most important pieces, the price. $89.99 gives you a lot of bang for your buck!