Editor’s Note: This whisky was provided to us as a review sample by Mossburn Distillers. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
Mossburn Distillers has been steadily making inroads into the world of Scottish whisky for the past few years. The brand has released blended malts aged in vintage casks from around Scotland, and built some of the newest distilleries in one of the oldest whisky-producing regions in the world, including Reivers Distillery in the Lowlands region south of Edinburgh, and Torabaigh on the Isle of Skye.
Torabaigh is only the second modern-day distillery on a Hebridean island with a long whisky history, and is certainly immersing itself into the region’s long history and lore. It has released single malts under its own name, and is now the home of Caisteal Chamuis Blended Malt Scotch Whisky.
Torabaigh didn’t have to look far for the inspiration for this expression. Within eyesight of the new distillery lies the ruins of Knock Castle, which, in Gaelic, is known as Caisteal Chamus (which translates to the old fortress for the non-Gaelic speaker). By telling the story of the ruin, Mossburn has returned to its own history by again releasing a blended malt with the intent of capturing not only the history, but the “spirit” of the region as well – namely peat smoke.
To do this, they have sourced spirit from other whisky distillers from around Scotland to tell the story of bold whiskies being shared around the campfire as they were enjoyed at a time when wars were being fought over the very ruins they are looking over now.
Let us take a taste of the 12-year-old expression.
Tasting Notes: Caisteal Chamuis 12 Year Old Blended Malt Scotch Whiskey
Vital Stats: 92 proof (46% A.B.V.) blended malt. Aged for twelve years in refill American oak hogsheads, and re-aged in American oak 230-liter barrels that held Oloroso sherry for five full years and were shipped directly from a Bodega in Jerez de la Frontera. The whisky is then re-aged in a solera style in specially coopered 500-liter European oak butts, which were also originally seasoned with Oloroso in Spain. 18.7ppm residual phenolic content. $62 suggested retail price.
Appearance: Light and turbid, Dijon mustard and honeybee-hued.
Nose: Buckwheat honey and marshmallow with a wisp of smoke.
Palate: Confection and marzipan. The sherry is very present. It is fruity from the Oloroso, with very short astringency. There is also a faint campfire and a hint of figs and dates.
This is an enjoyable sip. Without the Island lore behind it, it comes across as more of a Highland sherry bomb. 18.7 parts per million is not very smoky, and you really have to search for it. You get it at first, but it fades to sweetness quickly which the slight astringency helps to cut. It would be very interesting to try this with some soft cheeses and strawberries.
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Jason Marshall has spent his career as a bartender advocate and mentor , providing an opportunity for the best new faces and ideas to flourish. The process has given him opportunities to stretch creatively, develop wonderful people who branched out to their own passions, and host cocktail competitions with a...