Elixir Distillers has recently unveiled a new series of small-batch single malts in the Single Malts of Scotland range, all marriages of four to six casks selected by whisky-maker Oliver Chilton and bottled at 48%.
This Reserve Casks series has a first batch (Parcel No.1) with three bottlings. They are intended as introductions to the brand, leading up to the higher strength single cask releases. The labels even mention the amount of angel’s share over the years, a nice touch.
Glen Elgin 13 yo 2006 (48%, Single Malts of Scotland ‘Reserve Casks’ No. 1 2019, 4 hogsheads, 29.82% Angel’s share)
Nose: fairly green, with lots of freshly cut apples, rhubarb and unripe pears, green banana and big hints of strawberry bubblegum. Cornflakes and hints of coconut and sunflower oil. Crushed (mint) leafs.
Mouth: a white Sauvignon fruitiness. Green apple, lime and gooseberries. Moving towards grapefruit and green tea. A gentle grassy / bitter edge. Barley sugar, white pepper and a hint of vanilla. Subtle waxy notes.
Finish: quite long and drying, with grassy notes, white oak spice and liquorice.
A fresh and green Glen Elgin with thicker, waxier notes on the palate. Springtime whisky really. Slightly on the youngish side perhaps, but a good example of this style. Available from The Whisky Exchange and others.
Orkney single malt 12 yo 2006 (48%, Single Malts of Scotland ‘Reserve Casks’ No. 1 2019, 5 hogsheads, 6.80% Angel’s share)
Nose: citrus notes (lemon, grapefruit), mineral touches (limestone, wet chalk, yeast, beach pebbles), hay and touches of parsley. White bread. Hints of smoked meat and earthy ash in the background.
Mouth: sweeter, with a bigger sooty side and the same light meatiness (pechuga mezcal, you should try that). Hints of olive oil and smoked cereals, lime and chalk. Lemon and salt.
Finish: long, on heathery smoke, sweet herbs and black pepper.
Rather classic again, with minerals and above-average smoke as well as fresh citrus. As good as (slightly diluted) distillate driven Highland Park gets. Available from The Whisky Exchange and others.
Caol Ila 11 yo 2008 (48%, Single Malts of Scotland ‘Reserve Casks’ No. 1 2019, 4 hogsheads, 21.88% Angel’s share)
Nose: a lot of mezcal again, coal ashes, hessian and tarry ropes. Some lemons and apples. Beach sand and rock pools. Slight medicinal touches. A light waxy / vanilla edge in the distance too.
Mouth: drier than expected, on liquorice, plenty of salty brine, some bready notes and earthy smoke. Hints of green tea and herbs.
Finish: rather long and briny, on smoked tea and aniseed but also with rounder hints of almonds.
It’s a constant for this series: prototypical single malts that remain accessible. Perfect for semi-advanced tasters. Available from The Whisky Exchange and others.