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A Taste of Speyside

Our top picks from a region that produces over half of Scotland’s whiskies. These bottles are overflowing with nutty and fruity notes. Think apple, pear, vanilla, and spice. Not to forget the sherry—Speyside’s forte in offering a variety of light and grassy malts. As the region is full of lush glens, Speyside is rather conservative on the peat. Enjoy!

Glenfarclas 12 Year Old

Type Scotch
Style Single Malt
Region Speyside
Country United Kingdom
Distillery Glenfarclas
ABV % 43
Aged 12
NOTES:
RM328.00

Lessons in the Dram

Whisky and whisk-e-y—what’s the difference? Just the spelling, really. If the spirit comes from Scotland or Canada, then spell it as whisky. If it’s from anywhere else, then write it as whiskey with the “e.”

Description

Try shouting, “Glenfarclas!” It sounds like a word you’d use to curse somebody. For example, “That Glenfarclas took my money!” But if you like Speyside and Highland Single Malts, then Glenfarclas has a whole other meaning. In Gaelic, it means “valley of the green grass,” which paints a perfect picture of Banffshire, where the Glenfarclas distillery is at.

First founded in 1836 by Robert Hay, then sold to John Grant in 1865, the Glenfarclas distillery is one of the few that runs independently. More specifically, family-owned by six generations. It is famous for producing a range of classic Speyside whiskies with a sherry influence. Each one unique and delicious. Even the elite group of scotch drinkers are closet fans. Shh!

Awards

Silver
Distillers' Single Malts 12 Years and Under – 2019 International Spirits Challenge
Silver
Speyside Single Malt Premium – 2019 The Scotch Whisky Masters (The Spirits Business)
Bronze
Scotch Single Malt – Speyside – 2013 International Wine & Spirit Competition

Tasting Notes

Sight
Warm gold
Nose
Creamy but light. Easy on the sherry and slightly infused with Manuka honey. Plays a good balancing act with velvety oak, a few pine resins, and the faint smell of smoke.
Palate
A medium-bodied taste of autumn with soft, earthy oloroso characteristics. There are dates, walnut cakes, delectable toffee apples, hints of the forest floor, a lovely malt, and light ashy smoke.
Finish
Long, overflowing with allspice, cinnamon, and cloves. Supplemented with orange peels and sherry for a wholesome spicy end.

Tomintoul 14 Year Old

Type Scotch
Style Single Malt
Region Speyside
Country Scotland
Distillery Tomintoul
ABV % 46
Aged 14
NOTES:
RM448.00

Lessons in the Dram

Here’s a fun fact about beer and whisky: they both share the same ingredients. Whisky comes from the wort, which is technically a malt extract from mashing grains for beer. A wort and a pint of chilled beer both have water, yeast, and malts.

Here’s another fun fact: the process of turning the wort (pre-distilled beer) into whisky can ward off unwanted pests. Just how great is that?

Description

From the highest village in the Highlands comes the Tomintoul 14 Year Old, influenced by the green scenery of Glenlivet Estate, where the distillery is located.

It’s called “the gentle dram”—a moniker befitting its silky smooth and mellow character that reflects the fresh air and crystal clear water of the estate. To produce it, Tomintoul used traditional techniques that date back hundreds of years, though the distillery was only built in 1964. It got its name after a nearby village.

The Single Malt has been deliciously bottled at 46% ABV, a strength higher than its former releases. The higher alcohol content is said to enhance the overall flavours and character of the scotch. We think it did the job.

Awards

Gold
Scotch Single Malt – Speyside – 2019 International Wine & Spirit Competition

Tasting Notes

Sight
Straw gold
Nose
Delicately gentle and sweet. Invites a comforting smell of warm pastries, sugared almonds, icing sugar, and creme brûlée. Then freshens the mind with apple blossoms and orchard fruits, alongside the subtle flavours of toffee and lemon curd.
Palate
More of that blossoms, now with added creamy Madasgascan vanilla, citrus oil, and toasted almonds. Somewhat malty too, thanks to the barley and oat biscuits.
Finish
Continues to warm the soul with a toasty layer of roasted hazelnut, a hot cup of mocha, vanilla, honey, some ginger, black pepper and other spices. As with the nose and palate, a refreshing zing cuts through the warmth with green apple, lemon, and grass. A satisfying finish that hits just right.

Craigellachie 13 Year Old

Type Scotch
Style Single Malt
Region Speyside
Country Scotland
Distillery Craigellachie
ABV % 46
Aged 13
NOTES:
RM398.00

Lessons in the Dram

Here’s a study on etymology—the origin of words. Whisky was first written as “uisge beatha” in Gaelic, which means “water of life”. Over time, people started calling it “uski”. Try repeating “uski” a few times. Did it become whisky? Well, you get the drift.

Description

Released in 2014, the Craigellachie (pronounced Krai-GELLachy) 13 Year Old is mature for its age. Just spend some time with it, and you’d think this typical meaty and oily dram is 18 to 20 years old. It’s a prodigy of some sorts. Already, it shows a lot of flair and depth in its notes.

The Craigellachie distillery was founded by Peter Mackie, in 1891. By then, Mackie was already the owner of the highly acclaimed Lagavulin distillery in the Islay region.

Craigellachie is the few distilleries left to use traditional worm tub condensers: rings of metal coils submerged in cold water. The coils are where the spirit passes through and condenses into droplets. The result? An unusually meatier whisky with additional flavours. It was the worm tub that gave this central Speyside whisky from Aberlour, Banffshire, its reputation for producing a style of old-fashioned whisky that is not commonly found in other distilleries. 

Awards

Gold
Distillers' Single Malts between 13 and 20 Years Old – 2020 International Spirits Challenge
Silver
Distillers' Single Malts between 13 and 20 Years Old – 2019 International Spirits Challenge
Silver
Speyside Single Malts 13 to 18 Years Old – 2015 The Scotch Whisky Masters (The Spirits Business)

Tasting Notes

Sight
Pale gold
Nose
Blooming apple orchards complementing the bittersweet treacle tart. It also releases an appetising aroma of burnt popcorn and subtle meaty notes.
Palate
Enters the palate with an oily malt before unleashing a tropical variety of barbecued pineapple, summer berries, almonds, and pine nuts.
Finish
Leaves biscuit crumbs and apple notes with sulphur peeking in from the shadows.
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