Berry Bros. & Rudd, one of Britain’s oldest family-owned wine and spirits merchants, recently introduced their 2022 winter release made up of eight single malt Scotch expressions, as well as a rare Japanese whisky along with a French whisky.
This quarterly release is anchored by Scottish whiskies from four varying regions: Lowland, Speyside, The Highlands, and Islay.
These include small batch releases such as the Blair Athol 2012, a single cask Dailuaine 2009, the Linkwood 2011 Oloroso Finish, Williamson 2013 Moscatel Barrel, Blair Athol 2008 Tokaji Gonchi Finish and Kornog 2006.
In the release, there’s a rare Chichibu whisky from one of the world’s most in-demand distilleries.
Doug McIvor, Reserve Spirits manager, said in a prepared statement that every quarterly release is centered around celebrating the finest quality spirits and producers from around the world and bringing them together in a collection that covers a breadth of flavor profiles and style.
“Looking at the 2022 winter release, we are especially honored to be granted access to the rare liquid that is Japanese whisky,” he said. “Given its rising popularity in recent years, we were thrilled to accept a cask from Chichibu, not only for its rarity, but outstanding quality.”
The 2022 Winter Release can now be purchased from their website, www.bbr.com. The expressions’ prices are: Blair Athol 2012 (£60), Dailuaine 2009 (£75), Linkwood 2011 Oloroso Finish (£95), Williamson 2013 Moscatel Barrel (£96), Blair Athol 2008 Tokaji Gonchi Finish (£105), Kornog 2006 (£160), Glen Garioch 1988 (£450) and Chichibu 2014 (£475).
The Winter Collection tasting notes:
Blair Athol 2012 – Retail price: £60
Maturation in refill hogsheads (generally, Blair Athol is filled into heavy first-fill casks). The nose shows stewed apple with a touch of spice, a little vanilla, peach skins and some ground almonds. A full-textured palate gives a similar ride through fruit, spice and nuttiness, with a hint of wood smoke on the end.
Dailuaine 2009 – Retail price: £75
This Speyside offers notes of waxy honeycomb, fruit-salad chews and a pleasing floral note. The palate continues with added green fruit: Granny Smiths and pear drops, as well as dried barley, cigar papers and waxy notes, complex for a dram of this age. More fresh fruits linger on the palate, as well as a touch of spice.
Linkwood 2011 Oloroso Finish – Retail price: £95
This delicate Speyside, re-racked into juicy ex-Oloroso wood, on the nose offers apricot jam, figs and under ripe peach, growing into spiced creamy carrot cairn. The palate builds from fresh fruit into dried fruitcake. The addition of a little water reveals more fresh peaches and coconut, along with further wood spice. The finish delivers a lasting medley of spices, fruit jams and hot crossed buns.
Williamson 2013 Moscatel Barrel – Retail price: £96
A big whisky, with aromas of peat fires, ash and iodine. This is combined with a subtly spicy character from an ex-Moscatel cask, giving notes of gingerbread, apricot and sultana bread. The palate features Islay notes of peat smoke, leather and seaweed, all rounded by a fruity cask adding a luxurious mouthfeel. The thick texture adds length to the finish, giving more dried fruit and ash.
Blair Athol 2008 Tokaji Gonchi Finish – Retail price: £105
Rich, sweet and chewy aromas rise from the glass, offering apricot, figs, almonds and zingy marmalade. This dram takes a little time to open up, but some air brings forth ripe green apples and a little cinnamon. The palate is thick and full, giving more jammy apricot notes and some dried fruit, but with clear distillate character coming through in the form of stewed apples and pears. A long, mouth-coating finish shows baking.
Kornog 2006 – Retail price: £160
This cask came to Berry Bros & Rudd from the writer Martine Nouet, a long-time friend of the company. It was filled for Martine by her friend Jean Donnay of Glann ar Mor distillery in 2006. This is the oldest cask bottled from the distillery to date, and the following notes are written by Martine herself. “The nose displays an enticing fruity basket of plums and caramelized pears delicately entangled in smoke. Vanilla lusciously swirls up with a briny whiff. The palate is oily, almost velvety and brings out flavors of banoffee pie and intense fruit with a lingering finish on ginger, liquorice with vetiver. Elegant and complex, a true Celt character from Brittany.
Glen Garioch 1988 – Retail price: £450
This rich, turfy Glen Garioch harks back to the days of the distillery’s own floor malting and direct fire stills throwing out earthy aromas of Highland peat bogs, roasted barley, dark chocolate, honeycomb, leather and cigar leaf. The palate gives a massive whack of herbaceous peat, resin, oak smoke and tar, moving to dried fruit, cocoa powder and dates. Spice rises on the finish giving lasting waves of smoke and turf.
Chichibu 2014 – Retail price: £475
Aromas of ripe mango and lime juice drift out of the glass, mingling with spiced custard over apple sponge cake. A little time in the glass brings a chiseled maltiness into play along with a touch of desiccated coconut. The palate is noticeably thick. The character is initially of dried malt, but soon develops into fresh citrus fruits, apricot yogurt and banana bread, with a suggestion of wood smoke on the rear palate. The finish brings spiced crème brûlée, dried apple and a mouth-watering note of ripening pineapple.
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