The Whisky Market

It's all about whisky!

To Chill ... or ... Not to Chill

To Chill ... or ... Not to Chill

In modern times Whisky has seen the growth of an added process called ‘chill filtration’ or ‘cold chill filtered’.

This is the process of filtering whisky before bottling, so that it will not be cloudy if ‘ice’ is added during enjoying a tasty dram, sitting in a cold room or from natural oils and alcohol separating from too long a rest (although why would any tasty bottle rest too long between dram sessions!). This was thought to be off putting to consumers who are seeking the clarity of whisky in whichever manner you prefer to consume it. Some constantly give the explanation that this process was introduced because North Americans enjoy ice in their whisk(e)y. Although this is true in a lot of cases, why change a great thing?

The process is non-invasive to the liquid and one cannot truly taste a difference between a chill or not chill filtered whisky, however this is not entirely true. Now there is simply one way to prove this fact, and that is tasting the same expression in both versions, which is very hard to find.

I for one do think there is a difference! I had a tasting session with one identical expression in both versions. Although the flavour and aromas were similar, if not the same, there was something missing. I can add that it was the ‘waxiness’ of the non-chill filtered whisky. This allows for the whisky to remain longer on the palate and have an added liquid consistency that was lacking from the chill filtered version. Also what’s with ‘non-chilled filtered, how about ‘naturel’ or we did not touch a thing?

Now, is this a bad or good thing? That is a personal preference, much like adding ice to whisky is. There is no right or wrong.

Yet why mess with a great whisky! If it came out of the still and barrel that way just leave it alone to its grand beauty! I prefer the unchill filter and do not mind the louche effect of an ice cold whisky, as the waxiness which is caused by the natural oils in the whisky are spectacular.

Do your own test and let us know your thoughts, we think a whisky should remain naturel. From grain to still to casks to bottle!

Slainte!

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Don't whine about wine casks!

Don't whine about wine casks!

Don’t whine about wine Casks!

Wine casks in the whisky industry are becoming ever more present in single malts. This is the discussion of red, white, and sweet wine casks such as Sauternes, Bordeaux, Barolo, Pinot Noir, and not the equally delicious fortified wines like; Sherry, Porto, Madeira.

It may come as a surprise that usage of wine casks in the Scotch industry is not a new edition. Historically wine casks have been used in the whisky industry for a long, long time even when it was dominated by sherry. Stemming back to when casks of wine would be shipped to Scotland or England to be bottled locally and the used casks would be gobbled up by the distilleries for maturation. It is true that at this time the casks were not chosen specifically but were taken based on availability.

The new growing trend or experimentation, is to select specific quality wine casks to bring a variant flavour profile to the Whisky. This has been producing great results. An added bonus is the fact that these casks are readily available from wineries and at a much lower cost. They are being used for finishing, full maturation, and as part maturation. Which process they are used for depends on the experienced palate of the Malt Master.

Using these types of casks gives a new dimension to the spirit from the particular oak used. French oak is a common occurrence with wine casks, which does vary in character from an American oak giving the spirit a spicy, less sweet, and silky tannin structure. Given the multitude of wine grape assemblages be it dry, sweet or robust the variance of expressions is massive.

This was recently experienced at a lowland distillery which had a 9 year old fully matured in a red Bordeaux casks. The expression was a lovely, full character of French oak and a fine red wine. The Whisky Market Ltd has some tasty Tullibardine resting in some fine red Grands Crus … sadly not ready yet, but maturing fabulously … We cannot wait!

Characters: Dry, fruity, smoother tannins, ruby colour, robust, honey

There are various distilleries that are releasing wine cask finished whisky, which is gradually gaining more admiration by single malts drinkers. Be it a sweeter finish of a sauternes or a more robust profile from a heavy red wine …. How could you not like it or be curious?

 

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The Boom Continues

The Boom Continues

Auction prices for fine whisky are soaring....

...ACCORDING To the investment grade scotch index the top 100 single malts gave an average return of 440% from the start of 2008 until July 2014.
At auction sales of rare bottles are expected to reach 6.75 million BP up from 5 million last year (Bloomberg). On the other hand, investors in fine wine have seen the market, over the last 4 years drop by 45%. The best performer, chateau lafite has decreased in certain vintages 70-80%. Food for thought.
There are 100 distilleries in Scotland all producing single malts, and many are unable to keep up with the huge increase in demand, due to whiskies lengthy ageing process.
Sourcing casks is becoming increasing difficult and they are becoming rarer and rarer

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