Speyside, Lowland, Highland and Islay. Below are some of our thoughts on each bottle.
Glenlivet is within the Speyside region. Translated from Gaelic, the name means ‘valley of the smooth-flowing one’. The 12 year old expression is matured in a mixture of cask types, including American and European Oak.
Colour: Pale golden straw
Nose: Green apples, honey, vanilla, sweet fruit
Palate: There is an initial bite while the initial sweetness is not as strong as the nose promised. Fruity apples, pear, caramel with spice dried fruit peel. There is also an oak tang bordering bitterness.
Finish: Smooth but fairly short with cinnamon and orange peel. Slightly Christmassy.
Not a bad start and certainly a good bench mark for those to come.
Based in the Lowlands, Auchentoshan they are the only distillery in Scotland to have a third still. This is for the triple distillation which delivers a cleaner, crisper taste as they have distilled away all the impurities in the liquid. Since 1823 they have been producing some really interesting expressions.
Distillation takes the fermented liquid at Auchentoshan from around 8% ABV (alcohol by volume) up to 81%. This is significantly higher than the 70% ABV normally achieved by double distillation.
Colour: Golden honey.
Nose: Citrus, nuts, fruit, caramel
Palate: This is smooth with sweet oranges, citrus and vanilla.
Finish: Long and slightly dry.
Founded in 1798, Highland Park distillery is based in Kirkwall, Orkney. It is the most northerly whisky distillery in Scotland. The name of this whisky does not refer to the area of Scotland known as The Highlands, from which Orkney is excluded, but rather to the fact that the distillery was founded on an area called 'High Park' distinguished from a lower area nearby.
Colour: Golden honey.
Nose: Fruit and molases
Palate: On the palate it slowly builds to a nice well rounded mouth filling flavour. Starting with a sweet honey, orange peel it is smooth and creamy with mild spices and grassy undertones.
Finish: The finish has a nice peppery bite to it and is medium long.
Founded in 1779, Bowmore was the first recorded distillery on Islay and one of the oldest in the whole of Scotland. Located on the shores of Loch Indaal which opens out into the Atlantic Ocean.
They produce their own floor malted barley which is then smoked in a peat-fired kiln and stored in oak casks.
This is a delightful bottle and very honest. What you pick up with the nose, you get on the palate. Sea salt and honey, earthy peat, smoke and orange.
Colour: Light Amber
Nose: Sea salt, honey, earthy peat and Oranges.
Palate: What you get on the nose is delivered on the palate. Salt, honey, orange and dark peat. You also get some smoke. The mouth feel is rich and oily
Finish: The finish is more smoky than the palate. It is long, dry with hints of citrus.