Once in a while the nice postman delivers a package containing whisky samples. We like those kinds of packages very much! A couple of days ago David from the Chorlton Whisky Co very kindly sent a couple of samples across for us to try. I thought I would ask my friend Dom, chairman of the local whisky club, if he would like to write the tasting notes for me.
David started bottling his own whiskies, most of which are single cask single malt whiskies a few years ago. Chorlton Whisky was born out of David’s passion for top quality single cask whiskies, and through wanting to share good whisky with others. His philosophy reminds me of ours when we launched The Queen of the Moorlands Rare Cask whiskies a number of years ago, the number one priority being quality and flavour over necessarily super star brand names. If the quality is there then that cask is a candidate for bottling.
When I first came across Chorlton Whisky the first thing that struck me was the packaging. I loved it, very striking, original, interesting and not at all traditional. The labels are of top quality and have all the information on them required by the collector or severe enthusiast like me. As well as the legally required information such as age and strength, there is also extra information such as wood types used during maturation.
I bought some whiskies from David to show in some of my tastings in England but also at the Islay Whisky Festival 2017. The first was an incredible 14 year old Glenturret Highland single malt whisky matured in a port pipe, the sweetness and complexity totally appealing to my palate and the second an amazing 23 year old Bunnahabhain that totally stole the show at all of my Islay Whisky Masterclasses at Feis Ile 2017.
We received two samples in the post, the first being a Burnside 20 year old malt whisky and the second being a Ledaig 10 year old single malt whisky. I invited Dom to nose and taste the samples and take some notes.
There is no distillery called Burnside. It is generally believed that the name Burnside is used when casks of the Speyside whisky Balvenie are married together and ‘tea-spooned’, that is a small amount of Glenfiddich being added so that the casks cannot legally end up being bottled as single casks from either of the distilleries, having even the smallest amount of another whisky added to your single malt means that it can no longer be known as single malt, it is now a blended malt whisky. This practice therefore protects the brands of both Balvenie and Glenfiddich. Brands aside however, this is still a whisky of incredible quality.
Ledaig (pronounced Led-chig) single malt whisky is primarily the name given to the peated new make spirit that is sometimes produced at Tobermory Distillery on the Isle of Mull. Tobermory usually produces unpeated spirit so casks containing peated spirit are marked as Ledaig to differentiate them from the others. Similarly, Caol Ila on Islay produces predominately peated spirit, occasionally however it produces unpeated spirit and this is known as ‘Highland’ Caol Ila because of it’s Highland flavour profile. Ardbeg produces peated spirit most of the time but it’s occasional unpeated style is known as Ardbeg Kildalton. Bunnahabhain usually produces largely unpeated whisky but it’s peated style is known as ‘Moine’.
We loved both of the whiskies but I have to say, if I was forced to choose one, it would have to be the Ledaig. I found it to be fully of peaty smokey flavours with none of the pungent rubbery character of the proprietary bottling and with less notes of feints. It isn’t surprising that the Ledaig is unfortunately sold out already!
Here are Dom’s tasting notes:
Chorlton Whisky Burnside 20 Year Old Malt Whisky 51.7%abv
Light green tinged golden crumb.
Caramel, vanilla, watered lemon, burning soldering flux, mashed white grape, apple blossom, suggestions of sliced sweet gherkin.
Hazlenutty, dry mulched leaf, burnt sausage, dry waxy crispness.
Short and fresh…clearing to pine needle.
Chorlton Whisky Ledaig 10 Year Old Single Malt Whisky 57.4%abv
Watery wine, light olive.
Frazzles, licking a key that mellows to dirty brasso wool, light creosote wafting on a summers breeze, Bavarian cheese.
Ultra fudgey and heavy butter. Marshmallow melting into sweet meringue and creme brûlée. Only hint of peat, more roasted pork bellies for me.
Meaty, low echoes of toasted cream cracker.
We are hoping to feature Chorlton Whiskies in our future tastings, you might even be able to buy a bottle or two from us at our events.
In the meantime, you can visit the Chorlton Whisky website here to see what they are up to and check out fantastic new bottlings. Thanks again for the samples David!
Dom coordinates the local whisky club in Leek known as HOW (Heroes of Whisky). This group of like minded chaps get together once a month at the wonderful Earl Grey Inn, to try new whiskies and to generally have a good blether. It’s all about sharing whisky, it’s not high brow and all are very welcome. Check out their website here for contact details and information.
Slainte and happy drams!