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

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  • Crios Malbec 2016

    Crios Malbec 2016

    Susana Balbo, Argentina's leading and most innovative winemaker, was inspired to change the perception of Malbec from a forgotten grape to Argentina's iconic varietal. Against the odds, Susana bravely created a wine that elevates Malbec to world-class quality full of signature notes of black cherries, oak spice, and violets. 

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  • North Star Aultmore 11-Year-Old Single Cask Whisky

    North Star Aultmore 11-Year-Old Single Cask Whisky

    A full bodied, sweetly rich Aultmore in a rare showing of the distillery in cask strength, single cask nakedness.

    This cask has been released by Iain Croucher’s Glasgow-based independent bottler, North Star. This is part of their fourth series of releases.

    This was distilled at the Speyside distillery in October 2006 and spent 11 years in an refill ex-bourbon hogshead when it was bottled in February 2018. At 52.3% the cask yielded just 150 bottles worldwide.

    Aultmore found fame as a key component of the Dewars blend and it is usually on the sweeter, fresher end of the flavour scale. This particular cask is fuller, however, the cask strength nature giving oils and heavier sweets.

    Official tasting notes:

    Nose: Caramel, toffee, light spice and ginger sponge.

    Palate: Angel cake, nutmeg and light oak.

    Finish: Ginger, orange sweetness and lasting spice.

    Tasting notes by Serge at

    Nose: Very nice, with some fudge, cappuccino, shortbread and butterscotch, custard, brioche, Ovaltine… Not much to add, this is modern in the best sense of that word. With water: lovely waxy tones ala Clynelish. More raw barley as well.

    Palate: Really very good. Lemon liqueur, mocha, panettone, custard, orange blossom, fudge… In short it’s one of those newish Scottish bourbons, with extra-care given to the wood. Again, nothing against that. With water: it is perfect, everything was under control, it’s full and oily, it’s got pastries and just a few spices (caraway)… But the finish will tell. The finish always tells…

    Finish: Indeed the oak’s a little louder, with more tea tannins, but no scandal.

    Comments: wondering if that refill HHD hadn’t been rejuvenated (scratched and re-burnt), since it’s bright as a penny. In any case, very very good whisky. 

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  • Gozenshu Bodaimoto Nigori 720ml

    Gozenshu Bodaimoto Nigori 720ml

    Using the oldest practical sake production method developed by the Bodaisen monks, this sake is incredibly creamy, made more so by the fact It is a nigori (cloudy) which means natural sediment has not been filtered out. Very few producers make this ancient style of sake.

    we recommend this chilled and when serving, gently tilt the bottle to distribute the sediment evenly. 

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  • Moorilla Muse Extra Brut Rose 2012

    Moorilla Muse Extra Brut Rose 2012

    Salmon pink, this dry aperitif patiently reveals its refinement, elegance and longevity. Hand-picked and whole bunch pressed, an addition of a barrel of Pinot noir balances a pressings component. It adds an extra layer of complexity, berry flavours and an elegant salmon pink blush. The bouquet and palate offer fresh apples, white cherries, quince, citrus blossom, brioche, hints of minerals and hazelnuts. The creamy mousse is full and creamy, soft and plush, framed by chalky tannins and underlined by racy acidity for a long and poised finish.

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