New Kids on the Loch with The Spirit Specialist

Tasting and Review – ‘New Kids on the Loch’ with The Spirit Specialist

We have attended some pretty special tastings already this year, and have a few more booked into the diary. That being said, we both agree that this may have been one of the best ones yet. As the name suggests this tasting was all about new single malt scotches, including a current house favourite the Raasay Na Sia.

You’re all familiar with the routine at this point … so off to Zoom we go!

New Kids on the Loch

As many of you who are familiar with the world of whisky will know, there has been an increase in new distilleries opening over the last few years. You will also be aware that getting your hands on some of these first releases, or new expressions can be particularly difficult. Torabhaig we are looking at you!

Well lucky for us, Ben at The Spirit Specialist had the foresight (and the contacts!) to keep back a selection of these whiskies for a few lucky punters to try in a virtual tasting. Given that we ourselves had struggled to try a number on this list before, we of course jumped at the opportunity!

But without further ado what about the whiskies …

What did we taste …

Nc’Nean Batch 05 – 46% ABV

Nose: creamy malt, vanilla, honey, cut grass, porridge, blossom and spring water
Palate: honey lockets, white chocolate and raspberry cheesecake
Finish: honey, blood orange, white pepper

We felt that this was a comfortable middle of the road whisky. A good starter whisky, and a great introduction to the whisky world. Easy on the nose, palate, and finish. We would be keen to try it at cask strength, and a little bit older.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Lindores Abbey MCDXCIV – 46% ABV

Nose: hay, autumn mud, dairy farm yard, clementines and pine casks
Palate: earthy grass notes, toasted oats, malty, chilli spice and honey – quite punchy
Finish: burnt orange peel, crème brûlée

A whisky we have been keen to try for a while after seeing it all over the ‘gram! For us, it didn’t quite lie up to the hype – again, comfortably middle of the road, pleasant but not hugely sparky. Adding water, did bring out the flavours, and it felt like there was potential here. As with the first, we’re keen to see how this spirit will age.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Daftmill 08 Winter Release – 46% ABV

Nose: white grapes, brown sugar tart, mango, grilled tropical fruit
Palate: passionfruit, mango, pineapple and caramel
Finish: candied ginger, pepper and tropical fruit

A great whisky and a new distillery we will be following. This whisky was sweet and fruity but not sticky like some can be. It was still a well-rounded dram and one we really enjoyed. The ginger added some spice to balance the fruit sweetness and brown sugar notes with buttery pastry notes in the background. Definitely well worth a taste if you can get your hands on some.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Ardnamurchan Batch 3 – 46.8% ABV

Nose: sea air, beach BBQ, vanilla and berry cheesecake
Palate: balanced BBQ, thick creamy BBQ sauce, burnt heather complimented by plums and grapefruit notes
Finish: damp bonfire logs, peppery spice and smokey peppercorn sauce

Full disclosure – we had already been recommended this by Ben earlier in the year, so have a bottle on our shelf. We both very much enjoy it, and have recently purchased the Batch 5 to compare the two – keep your eyes on the blog!

Made up of 50/50 peated and unpeated spirit; the Batch 3 is a well-balanced dram. A 65/35 spit of Bourbon and Sherry casks, there is plenty in this whisky for all palates and preferences.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Raasay Na Sia, Batch 1 – 46.4% ABV

Nose: plums and rich cherries, woody hints, lots of honey, red fruits and a nutty spice
Palate: very smooth, soft peat rolls over apple strudel notes, caramel and hints of tannin from the Bordeaux casks are balanced with rye bread and baking spices from the chinkapin oak casks
Finish: vanilla and toffee sauce, salty butter and more of that gentle peat

We love this whisky, and as always, it was a joy to drink. We love the red wine influence on whisky and this has so much going for it. You can read our full review here, as well as our thoughts on the peated and unpeated components.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

 Torabhaig Inaugural – 46% ABV

Nose: cigar smoke, sea air, warm tarmac, a walk through the new forest
Palate: muddy river bed, creamy rich hot chocolate, rich cocoa powder
Finish: belgian hot chocolate

So this was an exciting dram, the nose offers some great notes however, the palate and finish are very different. The chocolate is more like a 60% cocoa so not too sweet and still has some bite to it. The salinity from the nose carries you through to the palate and the finish for a very well balanced dram and one I am now looking to get hold of! If you can you NEED to try this but good luck getting hold of a bottle. Let’s see what else this distillery can conjure up for us whisky lovers.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Tastings with The Spirit Specialist …

Well what can we say, starting with two drams to warm up the palate and finished off with four absolute stars! We are looking forward to seeing how these distilleries grow and develop. As always a huge thank you to Ben as well for running this session.

We would strongly recommend having a look at Bens online shop and give him a message if you want a recommendation he is more than happy to help. 

We’ve now attended a number of tastings with Ben, you can find links to them below.

Independent’s Day with The Spirit Specialist

A summer session with The Spirit Specialist – looking at independent American whiskies.

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