The Fisherman’s Retreat, set in the Lancashire countryside near the small town of Ramsbottom, hosted a selection of fine drams one crisp Saturday a few weeks back. With a mixture of well-known names and rare editions, the entourage of myself, Manchester Whisky Club founder Andy, and fellow member Christina had been looking forward to this since it was announced. So, without further hesitation, you can dive in nose first and check out what I enjoyed on offer, and hopefully give you an insight into some of the smaller whisky festivals available these days.
The Dalmore Cigar Malt Reserve – 44%
Drawn from casks of three types: American white oak ex-bourbon casks, 30-year-old Matusalem oloroso sherry butts and premier cru Cabernet Sauvignon wine barriques. A nose of ripe sherry with a slight chocolate finish combined with vanilla aromas. A fruity, smooth palate with orange zest that creates a slightly dry ending with hints of malt and spice.
Isle of Jura Prophecy – 46%
A nose of soft peat and smoke, with dry aromas of aniseed present. Dry peat smoke hits the palate, with lots of cinnamon spice and fresh sea cracking freshness to create a long, well-balanced finish.
Fisherman’s Retreat Edition 2 – 53.8%
16yr matured in ex sherry-hogs head. Fresh green apple and banana on the nose, with flavours of fruit cake and caramelised pears creating a long, thick finish.
Scotch Malt Whisky Society 9.72 Lockets Honey and Lemon Lozenges – 62.1%
Fresh smoke aroma on the nose, with hints of summer garden berries, honey and orange. The palate dominates with a kick of spice, before developing into a aromatic blend of honey and lemons. A sweet dram with a syrup texture that lingers on the finish.
Bruichladdich 10yr – The Laddie Ten – 46%
Peat notes on the nose with hints of vanilla, citrus and citrus fruit. A softer peat flavour on the palate, with the vanilla still present alongside apples and citrus fruits. The peat smooths the dram out with a lingering finish.
Bruichladdich Islay Barley 2007 – 50%
Heather mixed with ripe fruits of pears and pineapples on the nose, with a palate full of the fruits and floral notes blending well.
Bruichladdich 23 Year Old 1990 Black Art 04.1 – 49.2%
Rich notes of honey on the nose, with a strong hit of sweet chocolate blended with cinnamon on the palate. A lingering finish of roasted fresh fruits.
Bruichladdich Port Charlotte Scottish Barley – Heavily Peated – 50%
Iodine, black pepper and heavy smoke dominate the nose, with a sweet, smooth and slightly warming palate of toffee and vanilla create a long-lasting finish.
Bruichladdich Octomore 06.1 5yr Scottish Barley – 57%
Notes of the crisp sea mixed with iodine aromas, with a little pepper and heather following. Lots of flavours on the palate – barley, oak, vanilla, pear and citrus dancing nicely. A warm finish.
Aromatic pears on the nose has a subtle smoke lingering soon after on the nose. Soft peat on the palate, with some flvaours of citrus lemons coming through for a long finish.
Kilchoman Machir Bay 2013 – 46%
Smoky aromas on the nose, cut by the odd aroma of citrus. Hits of sherry immediate on the palate, with the oak from the ex bourbon barrels coming through too. Rich cocoa and a spice finish create a long after-taste.
Tullibardine 228 Burgundy Finish – 43%
A blend of spice, fresh red berry and vanilla on the nose flowing onto a creamy palate. A mix of green and red fruits are present, with some orange and spice coming through on the finish.
Balblair 2002 – 46%
Floral fruits on the nose with hints of vanilla and toffee following, A good mix of spice and sweetness on the palate with orange and lemons dominating.
Balblair 1989 – 46%
Apple and raisin notes on the nose and then combines with spice flavours on the palate. A long, rich offering with raisin dominating throughout.
Balblair 1997 – 46%
Tropical fruits on the nose with apples, honey and vanilla coming through. A hit of sweetness on the palate, but spice soon follows that creates a long, long finish.
Old Pulteney 17yr – 46%
Sweet nose of white fruit and butter with a scent of wood on the nose. Rounded hits of vanilla on the palate with the white fruit more delicate on the long finish.
Old Pulteney 21yr – 46%
A good hit of pear and apple on the nose with a little spice following nicely. Sweet on the palate with flavours of vanilla and honey making its presence. Dry finish.
Strathisla 12yr – 40%
Soft nose of floral and spice. A good malt flavour on the palate with a good hit of fruit on the long finish.
Longmorn 16yr – 48%
Fresh nose of apple and herbs. Citrus creates a rich palate combining with spice and oak which leads to a dry finish.
Aberlour 12yr – 40%
Soft red apples on the nose that flows onto the palate and blends with ginger, cinnamon and rich chocolate. Creates a warm, sweet finish that lingers.
Aberlour a’Bunadh Cask 33 – 60.9%
Lots of sherry notes on the nose hitting the senses left, right and centre, with plenty of bursts on every breath. Spicy flavours coat the palate, but its enjoyed on a silky smooth texture caused by the sherry casks.
Scapa 16yr – 40%
On the nose there’s lots of sweet honey aromas which move onto the palate and combine with ginger to create a rich and long-lasting finish.
Isle of Jura Origin 10yr – 40%
Aged in ex bourbon barrels. Fresh nose of malt with hints of peat and oak. The palate enjoys honey flavours, with some coffee and apple to create a balance. Fudge is also present, creating a smooth finish with a slight kick of spice.
Isle of Jura Superstition – 43%
Contains whiskies of 13 and 21yrs. Light on the nose with aromas of iodine mixing with smoky aromas. Again rather light on the palate, with a slight sweetness that develops with an oily texture of honey as a long nip of spice becomes apparent.
Isle of Jura 16yr (Diurachs’ Own) – 40%
Spends 14yrs in American white oak and finishes with two years in ex-Amoroso Oloroso sherry casks. Deep nose of dark chocolate and honey which carries onto the palate. A buttery texture, with flavours of apples and oranges creating a sweeter finish, with the orange sticking around on the long end.
The Macallan Amber – 40%
Soft vanilla and ginger on the nose, with a hint of barley following. Dry dates, apples and cinnamon on the palate, with the sherry notes giving off an aromatic presence. Lingers slightly.
A cracking selection of drams enjoyed, with highlights having to be the Aberlour a’Bunadh Cask 33, Balblair 1997 and the Scotch Malt Whisky Society 9.72 Lockets Honey and Lemon Lozenges. It’s always a pleasure to be introduced to the majority of the Isle of Jura expressions as well as the Bruichladdich varieties in one go, and to fill in the gaps from previous whisky festivals.
A pleasure as always.
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