The Exclusive Malts is brand of independently bottled whisky from The Creative Whisky Co Ltd. Established in 2005, the goal of the company was to seek out the very best Scotch whisky. Since its founding, it has bottled whiskies from 85 distilleries. David Stirk is the founder of The Creative Whisky Co Ltd and he’s the mastermind behind the selection process. Prior to starting his own label, Stirk wrote for the Whisky Magazine based in Norfolk and worked at Cadenhead; Scotland’s oldest independent bottler. I dug these up from my old samples and decided they were worth reviewing. The below whiskies are from Exclusive Malts Batch #7 and Batch #8.
North Highland 1995, 20yr, 54.6% abv (TEM, Batch #8)
Nose: red wine, red fruits, dark cherry, citrus, hint of oak, sugarcane
Mouth: very sweet, ripe strawberries, raspberries, sweet sugary syrup
Finish: light smoke, tannins, oak spices, green apple, cherry Robitussin
Verdict: The nose on this whisky is a blast of red wine and dark cherries. There’s also citrus, sugarcane and a hint of oak. On the mouth there is raspberries, ripe strawberries and sweet sugary syrup. It’s an extremely sweet dram and tastes almost like a dessert wine. The finish has some light smoke, oak spices, green apple and lingering cherry Robitussin flavors. It’s a quite dry finish which is reminiscent of tannins. This dram was definitely aged in an ex-sherry cask. On the whole this is a very focused whisky in that the flavor profile is unified around red fruits. If you’re into cherry flavors then you will probably enjoy this dram.
Speyside Port 2004, 10 yr, 57.7% abv (TEM, Batch #6)
Nose: dark red cherry, oak spices, hint of vanilla, maple syrup, hints of chocolate, earthy. With water: strawberries
Mouth: strong oak spices (peppery), rich red fruits, strawberries, cherries, prunes
Finish: hot, peppery, lingering sherry notes
Verdict: The whisky is very dark which is due to its aging in a port cask. It smells very earthy with dark red cherry notes. I like to classify whiskies like this as “dirty sherries.” The nose rounds out with oak spices, hints of chocolate, vanilla and maple syrup. With water the nose opens up a bit and you can smell ripe strawberries. The mouth on this whisky is quite rich and primarily made up of strawberries, cherries and prunes. There’s also a very strong oak spice flavors which makes your tongue feel like it’s on fire. With water the whisky becomes a bit more palatable, but in general I really enjoyed it neat at 57.7% abv. The finish is a bit rough on the edges probably due to it’s young age. It’s hot, peppery and there’s lingering sherry notes. Overall this is a very tasty, versatile dram; it’s good neat and good with some water.