The Oak Barrel: Wine, whisky, spirits, craft beer and cider

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  • Berrys' Own North British 1996 Single Grain

    Berrys' Own North British 1996 Single Grain

    A single grain single sherry cask from the North British distillery in Edinburgh.

    Founded in 1885, it is one of Scotland’s biggest distilleries and is currently joint owned by Diageo and the Edrington Group who use much of the spirit for their various blends.

    There has never been an official bottling from North British, but it has appeared on the odd occasion through independents.

    This 18-year-old expression has been released by the historic Berry Brothers & Rudd under their Berry’s Own label.

    Distilled in 1996, this was aged for18 years in cask #224766 – an ex-oloroso sherry butt.

    Bottled unfiltered and uncoloured at 56.8%.

    With all the classic soft, buttery notes of North British the sherry cask adds dimensions of marmalade, dried fruits and toffee. Coffee grounds and cracked pepper on the finish – a fantastic showcase of what single grains can do.

    The previous North British expression brought in by Berrys was snapped up completely by bars around Canberra before it had a chance to be showcased anywhere else, so this release is in demand.

    Berry Brothers & Rudd has operated out of the same shop in London since 1698, making it Britain’s oldest wine and spirit merchant. The brand also holds warrants for both HM The Queen and HRH The Price Of Wales, to further cement their prestige. 

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  • Westland Distillery Peat Week Single Malt

    Westland Distillery Peat Week Single Malt

    The third annual limited edition release from ‘Peat Week’, the whisky-fuelled party thrown by Washington’s Westland Distillery each year.

    A newcomer to the Australian market, Westland has established themselves as an American single malt leader in just a matter of years. The Peat Week festival was held 10-16 October in 2016 and featured parties, panels and peated whiskies.

    The 2016 commemorative bottling was married from eight “fantastically peaty casks in a most marvelous display of graceful, tangled and dashing peatism.”

    In their own carnivalesque tones: “Round and round, the brash and precocious casks chase the veterans in a daring and delicious dance of smoke. Don’t let the expected first approach – mossy and earthy and filled with iodine – fool you. Move in closer.

    “The smoke juggles funky green peat and medicinal cherry notes. Still closer. Now soot and ash with circling tropical fruits. Not too bitter. Instead a great depth of peat flavor. What a performance!”

    Very limited stocks in Australia.

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  • Bowmore 12-Year-Old Straight From The Cask

    Bowmore 12-Year-Old Straight From The Cask

    A 12-year-old Bowmore matured in a single ex-sherry cask and bottled as part of the ‘Straight From The Cask’ series.

    A range from Signatory Vintage, this was distilled 2 October 2002 and bottle 12 years later on 25 August 2015. There were 342 bottles at 57.4%.

    The oldest working distillery on Islay – the island famed for its peated whisky – if we believe their 1779 foundatio date, and one of the few distilleries in Scotland with its own malting floor (about 30% of their requirements come from here), Bowmore is a distillery coming back into fashion.

    This cask was selected by the team at French whisky company La Maison du Whisky, who themselves have sold out of the expression.

    Official tasting notes from the LMDW team:

    Nose: Firm, lively. Smoke, peat and iodine initially play the role of troublemakers, leading us to forget that this Bowmore is also intensely exotic (passion fruit, kiwi). Allowed to breathe, it becomes very spicy (white pepper), while the peat cloaks itself in marine (seaweed) and medicinal (sleet) aromas. With magnificent smoothness, it becomes increasingly full-bodied, almost fleshy.

    Palate: Clean, invigorating. With gusto, the palate continues the peaty, exotic duality of the nose, which it transcends by dissecting each note to draw out the very substance. Next, heady florals (hyacinth, pink peppercorn), mint and salted butter caramel fill-out the mid-palate. The peat gradually gains in consistency. Its creamy texture and freshness are absolutely magnificent.

    Overall: Long, silky. Like inhaling deep lungfuls of salty sea air. Exoticism that matches the nose and the palate. Very “Bowmore”, the end of the palate alternates between oily peat, dark chocolate, fine spices (saffron, cardamom) and heady florals. In the retro-nasal olfaction, smoky malted barley shines with purity and presence. The empty glass is characterised by notes of straw and leather.

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  • Lucy Margaux Gris Blush 2016

    Lucy Margaux Gris Blush 2016

    An approchable, easy drinking pinot gris with plenty of skin contact.

    Part of Lucy Margaux's April 2017 release.

    Search all Lucy Margaux.

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