Way back in December of 2016, the good people at Single Cask Nation (SCN) announced that they would be launching a retail line of whiskies in 2017. In the initial announcement (dated 12/19/2016), they said that 4 whiskies would released. One month later (on 1/23/2017 to be more precise), they announced the release of a 5th whisky.
Now I don’t know what happened between 1/23/2017 and the day that we received a package of samples from SCN (for those keeping score, 4/15/2017 is when they landed on our doorstep), but the total number of retail releases has now grown to 6 different whiskies. Below is the most current list of SCN retail releases:
- Glentauchers 8 YO
- Glenrothes 8 YO
- Ardmore 8 YO
- Ben Nevis 8 YO
- Girvan 10 YO
- Ben Nevis 20 YO
Limpd and I split the bounty equally and will review them on our own. The first 3 whiskies listed up above are the subject of this here blog post, while the last 3 will be reviewed by Limpd in a separate post.
Let’s get on with my impressions of the Glentauchers, Glenrothes, and Ardmore whiskies…
SCN Glentauchers 8 YO
Detailed specs from SCN: This cask bottling, distilled in May 2008, spent eight years maturing in a refill ex-Oloroso sherry hogshead. It was bottled at cask strength in September of 2016 at 58.1% ABV. Cask #900250 yielded 222 bottles.
- Appearance: Pale golden color.
- Aroma: Not particularly vapory given the ABV. Rich and fruity with some dark raisins, candied orange peel, dark brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon, fennel, and pipe tobacco.
- Taste: Somewhat oily with a medium mouthfeel. Dark brown sugar and hot cinnamon at the start with all of the flavors concentrated on the tip of my tongue. Sweet raisins and orange zest in the middle. Baking spices and tobacco in the finish with a dry, lingering herbal and light spice aftertaste.
- ABV: 58.1%
The Verdict: Given its ABV, this was nowhere near as hot as I was expecting. Nor was it as much of a Sherry bomb as I was expecting. Overall, a nice whisky that would pair nicely with an after dinner fruit and cheese plate.
SCN Glenrothes 8 YO
Detailed specs from SCN: This cask bottling, distilled in October 2008, spent eight years maturing in a refill ex-Oloroso sherry hogshead. It was bottled at cask strength in September of 2016 at 56.3% ABV. Cask #10763 yielded 318 bottles.
- Appearance: Rose gold color.
- Aroma: Quite a bit more Sherry funk on this one (I’m guessing that this is the note that our good friend The Coopered Tot refers to as rancio, “a rich nutty flavor of noble rot usually associated with Madeira, Sherry, and Cognac”). Deeper and darker fruit notes when compared to the Glentauchers 8. I’m getting allspice, nutmeg, leather, Rum soaked raisins, caramelized sugar, and cinnamon.
- Taste: Lightly oily and somewhat viscous. Starts off lightly spiced and sweet with a dark sugar flavor that reminds me of the syrup that you’d pour over a flan. Gets very winey (as opposed to whiney) at the middle with the dark dried fruit coming through. The finish brings a light burst of baking spice and more of that sweetness. The aftertaste is lightly astringent with lingering dark sugars and some leather.
- ABV: 56.3%
The Verdict: I haven’t had many Glenrothes expressions that I’ve really liked. There’s just something about their flavor profile that rubs me the wrong way. I am happy to report that there is no “wrong rub” with this SCN Glenrothes release, i.e. this one really works for me! I found this to be a good bit better than the Glentauchers thanks to its deeper and richer flavors. This would be a delicious accompaniment to the aforementioned Flan (in case you haven’t noticed, whisky drinking gives me the munchies!).
SCN Ardmore 8 YO
Detailed specs from SCN: This cask bottling, distilled in July 2008, spent eight years maturing in a refill ex-Bourbon hogshead. It was bottled at cask strength in September of 2016 at 56.9% ABV. Cask #0703820 yielded 228 bottles.
- Appearance: Pale rose gold color.
- Aroma: After two sweet smelling, Sherry matured whiskies, it’s nice to smell a bit of smoke. I’m picking up some vanilla, licorice, black pepper, cigar wrapper, and a bit of eucalyptus.
- Taste: A little bit oily with a light and wispy mouthfeel. Vanilla, fresh cracked black pepper, and some buttercream icing at the start. Herbal notes and light peat kicks in at the mid-point. The finish brings tobacco, more vanilla and sugar, and a light cinnamon sugar bite. The aftertaste is long and lingering with sweet peat and a touch of sea spray.
- ABV: 56.9%
The Verdict: While all three 8 year old whiskies were very good, this was easily my favorite of the three. It’s soothing, lightly sweet, and has just enough smoke to satisfy my peat cravings (rumor has it that The West Coast Office bought a bottle of this recently). I want this alongside that Banana Brown Butter Tart with Fleur De Sel Caramel that Mrs. G-LO had at Herbsaint in New Orleans way back in 2004 (and yes, that dessert was so good that we’re still talking about it!).