..Category Archives: Tasting Notes

Malt of the Month - March 2019

This entry was posted in Blog, Malt of the Month, Tasting Notes on by .

We've been racking our brains here at TWSD to think of ways to thank our customers for being, well, our customers! And to show that we really do appreciate the support we receive through places like our social media accounts.

So we've decided that each month, we are going to get together as a team and pick out a whisky (or gin) from our shelves that we think is a fantastic drink. We'll write our tasting notes for it, so that you get our own true thoughts. We'll never be influenced by a distillery or other people, so you can rest assured that we're not being paid by a company or distillery to tell you that their whisky is the best ever. You'll always get our actual thoughts and tasting notes. Truly Independent Whisky Shop.

Oh, and the bottle we pick for the month will be discounted in price too!

For our 1st Malt of the Month, we have picked..... Glen Moray Sherry Cask Finish!

Usual price £23.95       Price for March 2019 - £18.95

Glen Moray Classic Sherry Cask Finish


Tasting Notes


Nose - Lime zest, coffee beans covered in dark chocolate with maraschino cherries and marzipan

Taste - Tiramisu and marzipan covered in chilli chocolate


Nose - Raisins and apricots soaked in sherry. Dark chocolate shavings, followed by fresh wood shavings and sharp citrus fruits.

Taste - Tangy orange marmalade, with sour apple and pears topped off with chocolate covered raisins. It's soft and gentle, with gentle spices coming in at the end to warm up your mouth. I'm not always a fan of sherry cask finished whiskies, but this one is truly incredible!


Nose -  The nose starts with cherry pie and flapjacks. Hints of orange boiled sweets come next and peanut butter.

Taste -  The palate is quite rich and creamy. Bourbon notes mingle with orange and raisins. A cross between an Old Fashioned and a Manhattan.

Finish -  The finish has syrupy elements with vanilla and honey.


The Whisky Shop Dufftown's Next Exclusive Bottling with a Twist

This entry was posted in Blog, New Whisky Releases and Bottlings, Tasting Notes and tagged , , , on by .

Buried at the back of the Morrison & MacKay warehouse, uncovered as they prepared to leave for their new premises, was found a small quantity of an exceptional whisky.  To be bottled as a Celebration of the Cask this Strathmill 1990 was from an ex-Sherry Butt and originally put in to glass in 2015.  It is a stonkingly good dram and we at The Whisky Shop Dufftown have agreed its escape plan.

Interested?  Intrigued?  Here are our tasting notes:

Nose: Garibaldi biscuits.  Rich fruit cake.  Raisin toffee.  Dark treacle and dark cherries.  It's all there on the nose.

Taste: Chewy raisin flapjacks.  So moreish.  Rum & raisin fudge.  Malt loaf (not meat loaf of either variety).  Bonfire toffee.  The complete picture for a well balanced and complex sherry cask whisky.

Finish: Mint humbugs with warming spice.  Warm Cointreau and a touch of menthol.

What's the price for this 25 Years Old masterpiece? Just £105.  How do I get hold of one?  Well here comes the twist.  There will be only 60 of these Celebration of the Cask Strathmill's.  It will be launched at Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival 2017 but we want the guests that come along to Peter Mackay's tasting at 17:30 on Monday 1 May 2017 to be assured of getting a bottle so it will not go on sale until The Final Drop should there be any left after Peter's tasting.

What's more.  Here is the another twist.  If you go along to Peter's tasting you will get the whisky for £90 a bottle (£15 off).  Limited to one bottle each if needs be to slate demand on the night.

Want to be sure of getting a bottle?  Then click here to buy a ticket to Peter's tasting.  Next best thing is to come along to The Last Drop.  You may even get 10% off.  Still cheaper than at Peter's tasting.  Shame The Last Drop is sold out.  Finally it will be available for £105 from 10am BST on  Tuesday 2 May from the shop or from our website.

Here's a little teaser.

WSD Strathmill Teaser 2

For those interested the background is an Ordanance Survey  Explorer Select 1 : 25000 scale centred on The Dufftown Whisky Region.




Dalwhinnie - To be Twinned with Clynelish?

This entry was posted in Blog, Lady of the Drams, Tasting Notes on by .

Recently Mike visited the beautiful distillery of Dalwhinnie in the snow and very thoughtfully brought back some samples for me to try and for us both to write tasting notes on. Quite a few of the samples reminded me of the Clynelish house style as you will see below.

Mike had a great informal tour of the distillery.  It had been a while since he had been round and he was surprised to be reminded how small the facility is.  It is well worth a visit and the Visitor Center is great with a cracking selection of tastings to have after your tour.  All paired with fabulous Highland Chocolatier delights.

Dalwhinnie 20170223 01 Web

Dalwhinnie 20170223 10 Web

One cold, dark winters night by lamplight in the middle of nowhere, here's how we got on with our tasting:

15 Years Old

Nose: Hints of maple and sherry wood mingle together. Sweet wood and mushroom risotto becomes pineapple and pears in a wooden bowl.

Taste: Candy sweetness. Oak sawdust spiced pineapple chunks, becomes clementine liqueur. Macerated opal fruits with a touch of wax.

Distillers Edition

Nose: Pineapple in orange juice with oak sprinkles, becomes cinnamon spiced Granny Smith's apples.

Taste: Spiced creaminess with hints of peppered raisins. A touch of burnt toffee. Christmas oranges

25 Years Old

Nose: Orange scented candles with white pepper. Warm sweet coconut oil and warm pine needles. Becomes tinned tropical fruits with more white pepper.

Taste: Warm pineapple rings with cracked pepper. Midori. Wood spice and powdered ginger.

Distillery Only Bottling

Nose: Spiced banana with toffee sauce, becomes more tropical fruits - pineapple, mango and then chocolate toffee orange.

Taste: Creamy and fresh. Clean vanilla lime and creme brulee. Just really, really nice orange liqueur.

Single Cask

Nose: Pine fresh. Damp sawdust. Clear varnish. Liquorice and menthol on the breeze. Fennel and wooden raisins.

Taste: Very clean spice with a hint of toffee. Peppered wax and ripe bananas.

WSD Dalwhinnie 20170223 02 Web Dalwhinnie 20170223 03 Web

Dalwhinnie 20170223 09 Web

The WSD Gin Palace

This entry was posted in Blog, Lady of the Drams, Tasting Notes on by .

Well we have given in to the Gin craze that seems to be sweeping the planet at the moment. Not that we're complaining we love gin and there seems to be a new one appearing every week. Woohhooo. So we have given a corner of the shop over to the WSD Gin Palace and it is fast filling up and the shelves bowing.

Whenever we receive a new gin I will endeavour to publish our tasting notes and any other helpful information we can find out for you. So without further ado here's the first one.

Porters Gin. 41.5% abv. Made in Aberdeen.

The botanicals used to create this gin are: Juniper, angelica, almond, coriander, liquorice, lemon, orange, buddhas hand, pink peppercorn, orris root, cassia bark and cinnamon.

On the nose the juniper comes through immediately followed by orange peel, lemon zest a touch of aniseed and fresh lime. With Fever Tree tonic water it is fresh and clean, with freshly squeezed lime juice,cooking apples and dried orange skin.

On the palate it is fresh with a slight touch of bark, closely followed by grapefruit skin, mint, liquorice and lime zest. With tonic fresh green apple skins, pink grapefruit and soft refreshing citrus which cleanses your mouth.

A real easy drinking session gin and I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.



Ailsa Bay - The WSD Team thoughts

This entry was posted in Blog, New Whisky Releases and Bottlings, Tasting Notes and tagged on by .

Having just received the new Ailsa Bay in today we decided to have our first team tasting session. Here are our tasting notes:


Vicky - Soft peat turning to freshly laid tarmac warming in the sun. Cardamon pods appear once it warms up.

Kat - Heather and damp moss. Rusty fence posts and used cooking oil.

Mike - Sweet gentle smoke, smouldering embers with a touch of solder. Singed peach skins becoming cinder toffee and hot dark treacle, caramel and well baked potato chips (scraps maybe)


Vicky - Sweet citrus peatiness leading to white pepper. The tarmac stays but in the background.

Kat - Soft toffee fudge bars, creamy with rich meat gravy finished with smoky leather. Sticky toffee pudding with a facefull of peat.

Mike - Sweet ash and coffee grinds.Becomes more toffee with time. Cinnamon, star anise and hot grill pan.


Mike - Cardamon and white pepper.


This is peatier than the ppm(s) would suggest but that is probably due to its youth which does show.  Mike and Vicky were not bowled over but expectations were high.  The youngest member of the team, Kat, by over 20 years (dam her) really liked it and the packaging so it is appealing to the market it is aimed at.

Aisla Bau Shop 2_s Aisla Bay Shop 1_s

A Look at Some Macallans

This entry was posted in Tasting Notes on by .

Here's a quick look at some whiskies from Macallan.

These tasting notes were not taken on the same day.  Generally, when we put tasting notes together in the same post we will have done the tastings together.  Your palette changes from day-to-day and during the day.  It's also influenced by your environment.  Try a dram inside and then take it outside and try it again.   Therefore we feel tasting notes should be written at the same time in the same place.

Macallan Amber

Nose:  Very fruity with a good toffee base.  This is followed by raisin biscuits which softens to fudge with time.  May be some strawberry smeared on the top as well.

Taste:  Quite powerful but smooth at the same time.  Strong flavours but in balance.  Lots of dried fruit and toffee.  There's a solid oak element running through becoming cinder toffee.  Quite chewy.

Verdict:  Shaky thumb plus.

Macallan Amber copy








Macallan Ruby

Nose:  Spicy chocolate fruit and nut.  That's it in a nut shell.  There's also notes of sweet brittle toffee and then a bowl of assorted nuts comes through.

Taste:  Ultra sweet on the palate.  Dried fruit soaked in sugar syrup.  Then dries a little and hazelnuts come through.

Verdict: Thumbs up.

Macallan Ruby copy


Highland Park Dark Origins

This entry was posted in Tasting Notes on by .

We were very excited to taste this one.  So excited I had to buy a bottle so we could do it.

This is the latest addition to the Highland Park core expressions and another No Age Statement to enter the market - love them or hate they are going to be around in increasing numbers for a while.  Highland Park  describe this whisky as using twice as many first fill sherry casks than in the Highland Park 12 Years Old resulting in a naturally darker, richer flavour.

Nose:  It's a good start, It smells good from a foot away. It's smoky fruit cake with a touch of marzipan which could be maraschino cherries. But there is also a citrus fruit fudge. Floral smoke keeps popping back in and there is a definite orange segment edge - pith and all.

Taste:  Sweet on the palate. Almost dark chocolate orange. There is a balance given by notes of cape gooseberries. And such smooth smokiness which becomes a bit tobacco chewy. It is all benefited by the higher alcohol strength.

Finish:  It's all about dark chocolate orange.  Really dark chocolate that has a rich smokiness to it.

Rating:  Thumbs up from The Whisky Shop Dufftown tasting panel (both of us that is).  [DWP rating - Buy A Bottle]

Highland Park Dark Origin