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. They’ve released blended malts aged in vintage casks from around Scotland. They’ve also built some of the newest distilleries in one of the oldest whisky-producing regions in the world, namely The Reivers Distillery in the Scottish Borders region south of Edinburgh, and Torabaigh on the Isle of Skye.
Torabaigh, being only the second distillery on the Isle of Skye, is certainly immersing itself into the region’s long history and lore. It is now releasing single malts under its own name, and has become the home of Caisteal Chamuis Blended Malt Scotch Whisky.
They didn’t have to look 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 heritage but the “spirit” of the region as well, namely peat smoke.
To do this, whiskies were sourced from other distillers from around Scotland to tell the story of bold flavors being shared around the campfire as they were at a time when wars were being fought over the very ruins they are looking over now. Let us look at this non-age-stated release.
Tasting Notes: Caisteal Chamuis Blended Malt Scotch Whisky
Vital Stats: 92 proof (46% ABV) blended malt sourced from Hebridean distillers. First aged in refill and first-fill American Oak Hogsheads. Two stage re-aging with part of the blend in virgin American oak heavy char 250-liter barrels with fresh Oloroso sherry European oak heads, and the rest into refill hogsheads. Final aging finish in smaller 200-liter fresh bourbon barrels. $43 SRP.
Appearance: Clear, very pale straw hue, with a tint of barely green dried grass
Nose: Distinct peat and juicy fruit mixed with astringent vanilla
Palate: It has a saccharine sweet and smokey start, almost like peated cotton candy. The long and tannic finish offers a variety of flavors such as oily tropical fruit and tapioca.
I anticipated this would be reminiscent of sitting around a campfire, sharing tales that grow more exorbitant as the bottle depletes. But after tasting it, I think it would pair better around the dessert table, alongside rich custards. The sweetness and confection-like quality were not what my palate was anticipating, but that’s not to say it isn’t enjoyable. It would seem that this was intended to appease those afraid of things labeled “heavily peated,” and it may do that, but it may not be for those who look forward to and embrace such descriptions.
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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...