Loch Fyne Whiskies

OUR UNIQUE AWARD

LOCH FYNE WHISKIES - BOTTLING OF THE YEAR

Of all the bottles we stock, and there are plenty of them, we elect just one as our bottling of the year.

How do we decide? There are a variety of factors that come under consideration but by far the biggest is the response from our customers. With a very positive, active tasting policy in the shop, we can test malt whiskies and decide by virtue of vote which is a goodie worthy of our recommendation, our customers voting with their taste buds combined with value and unusualness; it's a democratic selection with (arguably) the world’s largest tasting panel!

 

Bottling of the Year 2013

YEAR 2013 WINNER

MORTLACH 21yo

43%alc.

Bottled by GORDON & MACPHAIL, Elgin

Mortlach 21yo Bottling of the Year 20113

Mortlach is a Speyside Distillery that we don’t see promoted or even bottled very often—it’s loved by blenders like Johnnie Walker as it makes their job easier, being such a top quality malt.

Usually Mortlach is presented as a dark, fresh-sherry-cask-rich single malt, the wood masking distillery character.

This one is a pale gold hue despite its 21 years in refill sherry casks, the distillery characteristic fruitiness of Mortlach is balanced and not masked by the cask.

A nose of bananas, custard creams, slight tobacco, beeswax and much, much more.

The mouth is cool with excellent balance; creamy fruit salad in a perfect fruit syrup, this is very good, a typical Speyside single malt Scotch Whisky.

The finish returns to remind you what a truly great whisky this is.

 

BUY MORTLACH 21yo
ONLINE HERE...

 

 

 

Bottling of the Year 2012

YEAR 2012 WINNER

BRUICHLADDICH 10YO
"The Laddie Ten"

46%alc.

Bottled by BRUICHLADDICH DISTILLERY Co, Islay

The Laddie Ten Bottling of the Year 2012

 

The new owners at Bruichladdich have graduated with flying colours.

Their self-defined ‘flagship malt’ is a clear winner for 2012. A very complex whisky with an oily texture that coats the mouth with a myriad of experiences and stays for a long time with a residue of confectionary.

The choice of Bottling of the Year was relatively easy as this has been universally acclaimed by all those who have tasted it here in the shop and at the Best of the West Festival at Inveraray Castle.

 

BUY THE LADDIE TEN
ONLINE HERE...

 

 

Bottling of the Year 2011

YEAR 2011 WINNER

OLD PULTENEY 17yo

46%alc.

Bottled by PULTENEY DISTILLERY Co, Wick

Old Pulteney 17yo Bottling of the Year 2011

Many years ago, shortly after Inver House acquired the Pulteney Distillery and had released their fledgling 12yo, their Master Blender agreed with me that it had a “unique organoleptic experience” (his terms). After I returned from my dictionary I had to agree with him; you can hardly feel Pulteney on the tongue, you just taste it.

The seventeen year old expression has long been a private favourite but never figured in the shop very much, why?, dunno, just didn’t. That changed over the course of Summer 2010. The response to tastes in the shop has been extremely strong, in the end the decision was between this and Stronachie’s new 18yo and while the Stron is a top ace the Pulteney didn’t need a second round. If you need a second opinion check the Pulteney 17 entry in Jim Murray’s 2011 Whisky Bible.

The aroma is many things, soft and sweet (sherbet) with a citrus zing rather than zest, like orange confectionary, with soft tropical fruits, papaya and mango. Gently a light, fresh, sea breeze comes to you at last… In keeping with Pulteney’s signature unique organoleptic experience this is soft on the tongue, loyal to the aroma with additional light smoke. A gentle whisky, lace-like with a long finish of liquorice, vanilla and salt (i.e. very tasty!)

 

BUY OLD PULTENEY 17yo
ONLINE HERE...

 

 

Bottling of the Year 2010

YEAR 2010 WINNER

SRINGBANK MADEIRA WOOD 11yo

55.1%alc.

Bottled by J. & A. MITCHELL &Co. Ltd., Campbeltown

Bottling of the Year 2010

Once a year, your LFW team debate which whiskies have proved most attractive for our customers following an in-shop taster.

Usually the selection of just one single whisky is a long drawn out debate, strong contenders and strong individuals! This year however we had a clear-cut winner:



SPRINGBANK MADEIRA WOOD

An initial sweetness on the nose, with notes of butter shortbread, Demerara sugar, and chocolate orange. An astounding complexity of flavours: coffee creamer, sugared almonds, lemon drops, skittles and opal fruits all make fleeting appearances on the nose.

The palate will pick up more gentle notes of spice and oak then a balanced combination of brown sugar, creamy hot chocolate and butter.

NOW ALL GONE

 

YEAR 2008 WINNER

LEDAIG 1990

43%alc.

Bottled by GORDON & MACPHAIL, Elgin

This year was a more difficult decision. It was whittled down from either Ardmore OB or An Cnoc 16 to Ledaig CC 1990. All three are worthy of the accolade but the Ledaig wins on unusualness of taste and the unexpected suggestion. The better sell of the three, our customers are very happy with it.



LEDAIG 1990 G&M Connoisseurs Choice bottling

Full of lemon zest, well balanced and a little salty, there's honey and low peat in the finish.

 

YEAR 2006 WINNER

TOMINTOUL YEARS OLD

40%alc.

Bottled by TOMINTOUL DISTILLERY, Speyside

tomintoul 16

Every year the team at Loch Fyne Whiskies discuss which whisky has fared the best when offering tastes to our customers in the shop, an easy sale on quality and value and a little unusual too.

Our customer's choice for this year is a single malt that describes itself on the label as "the gentle dram".



TOMINTOUL 16yo Official bottling

A Speyside whisky that has been largely ignored as a single malt, the new owners are now determined that this whisky be recognised for it's quality.

At 16 years it is sublime. Tomintoul 16 has a soft sherry-sweetness about the nose, (fino sherry La Ina), some oak, black pepper, hardboard sawdust and speyside fruitiness.

On the tongue it is soft, gentle (like it says) perfectly balanced with a fruity-spicy swallow. Best without water.

 

BUY TOMINTOUL 16yo ONLINE HERE...

YEAR 2005 WINNER

SCAPA 14 YEARS OLD

40%alc.

Bottled by SCAPA DISTILLERY, Orkney

If proof were needed that this is a democratic and an apolitical decision, this year’s winner is produced by your correspondent’s betê-noir—Allied Domecq (who are about to implode—another of my curses takes effect!).

This year’s winner is a suggestion by our packing man Andrew Smeaton who spotted its quality and saleability immediately. Once recognised, sales have been better than is usual for a bottling of the year.

SCAPA 14yo Official bottling

An engaging aroma of tropical fruits, toffee, bananas and marmalade with a round and oily nose ‘feel’, some mince pies and nail-varnish remover.

The taste is initially quiet, sour but bounces on the swallow. Sweet and salty and a stimulating, charred throat feel. The finish settles soon but re-emerges— no erupts—several minutes later to remind you that you have recently had a remarkable dram.

NOW ALL GONE

 

YEAR 2004 WINNER

SPRINGBANK 100 PROOF

10 years old 57%alc.

Bottled by J. & A. MITCHELL &Co. Ltd., Campbeltown

Reaction from our customers to this year’s winner makes the decision one of the easiest so far—a whisky that is not too challenging but with enough sophistication and complexity to make it everyone’s winner.

Springbank 100º Proof, 10 year old is a true reflection of the glories we expected from Springbank and of the promises to come as we look forward to the distillery’s return to the single malt premiership.

The nose is malty with lemon zest, bottled at high strength but of such maturation that there is only very slight nose prickle; with water there are sweet floral notes. Tasted, the dram is round and zesty with brine, a little sour and herby. More recent bottles have been giving a lavender note.

100º Proof was released less that three months ago but has won universal approval—witness the depleted bottles at the ‘Icons of Whisky’ dinner!

YEAR 2003 WINNER

CAOL ILA

18 years old 43%alc.

Bottled by CAOL ILA DISTILLERY, PORT ASKAIG, ISLAY

Always a tough decision, this year's runners up were the OB Clynelish 14yo, a peaty variant from Jura called “Superstition”, an un-chillfiltered Signatory Brora (again) and Ledaig 20yo.

But this year’s choice is the new Caol Ila 18 year old. It may not appeal universally, but to those who enjoy a powerful Islay Malt, this is something rather special and worthy of your attention.

Typically Caol Ila (‘Cull-eela’—from Kyle of Islay) is an oily heavyweight of a peaty potency just below Laphroaig, Ardbeg or Lagavulin but no malt has as persistent a finish as Caol Ila—it lasts weeks! Smoky, fishy, rubbery notes make it so appealing (believe it or not).

Eighteen years in a plain oak cask has introduced a new wood character that for other drams often doesn’t work but it does here. It is more complex and better as a whisky—but not as a typical Caol Ila; it’s softer. Tight and round. Apples & pears, floral, Parma violets, oak (lots), card, must, grass and a wee reek of old fish. If you don’t object to a medicinal dram and haven’t tried it, Caol Ila is an essential.

 

 

YEAR 2002 WINNER

THE NEW BRUICHLADDICH RANGE

10, 15 & 20 years old 46%alc.

Bottled by THE BRUICHLADDICH DISTILLERY Co.

It is unusual for a single bottling to produce a universal response of “gosh! That’s gorgeous” from first time tasters in the shop but that’s been the reaction to this year’s bottlings of the year, in particular the 15yo.

Of all the bottles we stock, and there are plenty of them, we elect one our ‘Bottling of the Year’ based on customer reaction in the shop, value and unusualness; a democratic selection with (arguably) the world’s largest tasting panel! We long debated as to which was this year’s winner; the sweet and peaty Ledaig 20yo was the runner up, but we realised the inevitable:

Our affinity for Bruichladdich has long been documented and while it was a favourite before, the new bottlings are just too easy to sell. Careful selection, not chill-filtering and bottling at 46% makes the big difference. Home bottling at the distillery starts this year; can they get even better?

The 10yo has the style of the old 15yo, fresh and crisp, an Atlantic breeze. The 15yo is sweeter—banana cheesecake with pear and kiwi fruit topping. The 20yo) is a medium-heavyweight classic—with chocolate on top!

Read about the new product launch here...

BRUICHLADDICH 10yo

BRUICHLADDICH 15yo

BRUICHLADDICH 20yo

YEAR 2001 WINNER

THE FAMOUS GROUSE VINTAGE MALT

1987 12 years old 40%alc.

Bottled by Matthew Gloag & Son, Perth

An inspired vatting of several malts combined together to make up a delicious rich dram.

Master Blender John Ramsay who created the whisky told LFW: “When I heard that this was going to be part of The Famous Grouse family I completely rethought my original plans for a vatted whisky.

“With the quality of packaging and the Grouse name this had to be a rich and sumptuous vatting drawn from our Groups distillery stocks; Macallan and Highland Park taking the lead with plenty of Glenrothes too. Tamdhu is the carrier on which all these elements hang so gracefully. I’m very pleased with it.

THE FAMOUS GROUSE VINTAGE MALT 1987 40%

 

LFW's Richard Joynson presents the Bottling of the Year Certificate to Brand manager Paula Hardie and Master Blender John Ramsey.

YEAR 2000 WINNER

BRORA 1981

19 years old 43%alc. (Butt No. 1082).

Bottled by Signatory Vintage Scotch Whisky Co. Ltd.

This whisky comes from the old distillery at the village of Brora, on the coast between Inverness and the top of Scotland. It was silenced in 1983 after a new distillery called Clynelish was built nearby.

We delight in selling Brora to Islay fans because they tend to be peaty beyond mainland expectations. This single sherry butt (no. 1082) bottling is a little more restrained than many other Broras.

Medium to full bodied and bright amber, without water it is closed only hinting at some fruit and spice.

Addition of water demonstrates the good sense of such action. Typically Islay characters emerge with a beguiling subtlety, whiffs of peat reek, phenol and iodine jostle with a slight bitterness and stronger salt and sweetness. The fruit promised earlier alternates between soft to citric, limes to peaches.

The finish is the best part. A winner in terms of duration and refreshing stimulation, reminiscent of Lagavulin.

A connoisseurs dram, intriguing and very different.

Now sold out but consider one of the other Brora's here.

1999 - KNOCKDHU

21yo 57%alc.

Owner's Bottling

During 1999 we and our customers approved of the OB bottling of Knockdhu 21yo.

Knockdhu Distillery is in Huntly, on the easternmost edge of the Speyside classification. Its usual product is sold as ‘An Cnoc’ 12yo (this recent handle to avoid confusion with the unrelated Knockando), but the distillery’s real name is Knockdhu meaning ‘black hill’ (as opposed to Knockando—‘little black hill’).

Knockdhu 21yo, 57.5% is a limited edition bottling of 6,400, in a very attractive presentation of black bottle and black box. The whisky is not a novice’s drink; the aroma is of whisky sweetness, on tasting there are mixed and strong characters with the mouthfeel changing from soft to hot/prickly back and forth. The whisky thickens on the tongue to a gingery oilyness and the finish is particularly long and gingery.

Sadly all stock now dried up.

HIGHLAND PARK

18yo 43%alc.

Owner's Bottling

“If I smoked, I’d have this with a cigar” is how Michael Jackson described this great single malt in the last SWR. “It gains in richness, and spiciness: ginger, cinnamon, vanilla, fresh oak, leafiness, tobacco.”

Charles MacLean compares it with the popular 12yo; “(Heathery sweetish aroma, with wisps of smoke and flavour which starts with heather honey and finishes with dry peat). The 18yo is more succulent, fruitier, hotter on the tongue and sweeter overall.” (He also found a whoosh of chilli-pepper in the 25yo!)

For ourselves, we never really understood what the fuss about the 12yo was. Jackson described it as the ‘greatest all rounder in the world of malt whiskies’ but we thought it just fussy and confused. The 18yo put us straight. As with many things, in order to appreciate one you need to experience the better and we now have a good understanding of the 12 as a result of experiencing the 18. Full-bodied, a rich deep sherry-wood boquet, soft taste of honey first then smoky-tary-peat, tongue clinging but not at all cloying, long warming flavoursome finish—clearly a great single malt.

Order Highland Park 18yo here

 
Loch Fyne Whiskies
Inveraray
Argyll
PA32 8UD
Scotland
Loch Fyne Whiskies Logo
Telephone
+44 (0)1499 302 219

Facsimile
+44 (0)1499 302 238