Jim McEwan Signature Collection 6 (6.1, 6.2 & 6.3)


We're starting the week looking at the 6th release from the Jim McEwan Signature Collection.

Jim McEwan Signature Collection 6.1 Bruichladdich cask #2513

Region: Islay

ABV: 56.5%

Price: £325.00

Distilled on 22nd September 2008, this whisky spent its life maturing in a 1st fill Grenache Blanc Barrique and was bottled at 14 years old in February 2023. 215 bottles were released.

Nose

The nose opens with fresh peach and pear, it’s quite juicy up front with a bit of salinity appearing as you go back to it. We're also finding vanilla sponge, freshly zested lemon, a hint of petrol and a touch of dunnage warehouse funk as well. It's got quite a buttery, oily sensation going on, alongside a little honeyed sweetness too.

Palate

The palate opens with pear chutney and boiled sweets moving into coffee revels. We can't really stress how distinct a flavour of the coffee revels we're getting, it's the milky chocolate and slightly artificial coffee flavouring that is quite lovely. Giving it time and air, and we're starting to get salted caramel and digestive biscuits. The texture of the dram is quite good, oily enough although not overly viscous, and the finish lingers on for a while with ground ginger and warming clove spice.

Nose (with water)

The reduced nose shows a combination of more salt and more sugar. The coastal aromas have been intensified, hessian rope, wet oak, salty sea air, alongside icing sugar and custard filled doughnuts. We've lost a little bit of the fresher fruit aromas.

Palate (with water)

The reduced palate brings some more of those oily and coastal flavours forward, alongside a little minerality too. Lots of salt, lots of malt character and a little maple syrup as well. The mouthfeel and finish remain mostly the same. We'd say that the palate without water just edges out the reduced palate, but we can appreciate both versions.

Conclusion

This is quite lovely. The nose has this really pleasant mixture of sweetness, mellow spice and coastal salinity, giving the whisky a lovely balance and complexity. We can definitely get the wine cask influence... we did expect something a little fresher, and instead got something quite rich.. but we're not complaining! Really well made whisky in a great quality cask, we have to go with 8/10.

Score: 8/10


Jim McEwan Signature Collection 6.2 Port Charlotte cask #2125

Region: Islay

ABV: 60.2%

Price: £265.00

Distilled on 15th June 2012, this whisky spent its life maturing in a 1st fill bourbon cask from Jack Daniels, and was bottled at 11 years old in February 2023. 209 bottles were released.

Nose

An initial mellow bonfire smoke moves into creamy bourbon cask aromas, vanilla essence, barley sugars, forest floor, saltwater and runny honey. The nose isn't muted as such, but most of the aromas meld together into something quite harmonious. Giving it some time, we're starting to find some singed plastic, watered down lime cordial and dried autumnal leaves.

Palate

The palate delivers much more punch than the nose, we're getting zesty lime, charred wood, ashy peat smoke and creamy vanilla custard. The palate begins quite sweet, but moves into a drier, woodier finish with orange rind, dark chocolate and a hint of spent coffee grounds. The mouthfeel is really nice, it's oily and viscous, and we're finding the 60% ABV brings us some white pepper spice towards the latter part of the dram.

Nose (with water)

We're getting a little more citrus and peat coming through now, and the singed plastic has become full on burnt. It's got more of a herbal, rosemary-like aroma coming through now along with the same style of ashy, bonfire smoke from the unreduced nose.

Palate (with water)

The reduced palate has more up front sweetness, the bourbon cask maturation really coming through. It then morphs into something nuttier, roasted hazelnuts, toasted barley and earthy cinnamon spice appearing towards the latter part of the palate. We'd probably avoid adding water as we're finding it a touch too dry on the finish now.

Conclusion

We expected to be blown away with big peat smoke on the nose, however it was very mellow and balanced... but then the palate delivered the hit we were looking for. It's a pleasant nose and a big, bold palate that delivers the classic Port Charlotte flavours with a great mouthfeel and good length finish. There's a touch too much spice at points but it's still pretty delicious. We're going with a 7.5/10, however it's pretty close to an 8.

Score: 7.5/10


Jim McEwan Signature Collection 6.3 Octomore cask #4354

Region: Islay

ABV: 63.7%

Price: £295.00

Peated to 156PPM, this whisky spent its life maturing in a 1st fill bourbon cask from Jim Beam, and was bottled at 11 years old in February 2023. 226 bottles were released.

Nose

We're met with quite a bit of spice, ginger, rye, freshly ground black peppercorns and burnt shortcrust pastry. There's prominent peat smoke that only gets more powerful the longer you leave it in the glass. Even with the high ABV and spice-led aromas, you can get your nose deep into the glass without much issue. Time and air reveals Jamaican ginger cake, diesel, tar and wholemeal bread.

Palate

The palate is super oily, very viscous with burnt wood, cloves, nutmeg and spicy black pepper coming through. There's a lot of ginger spice appearing too, ginger snaps and some brown sugar sweetness appearing in the mid palate. There's a good whack of peat here, very earthy, with a little burnt toast and molasses on the finish.

Nose (with water)

The water brings forward more of the bourbon aromas, fresh vanilla cream, smoked custard, whilst mellowing some of the spicier aromas we experienced previously. There's a touch of acetone now, but we're still getting ginger ale and wholemeal bread as we did on the unreduced nose.

Palate (with water)

The reduced palate loses a touch of the viscosity we experienced before, and we're getting some woodier flavours appearing earlier in the palate. It's still got the big whack of Octomore peat we expect, albeit a little drier than before.

Conclusion

We're getting some flavours and aromas that would lead us down the path of a spicy Jamaican rum-finished whisky, as opposed to the Jim Beam cask used to mature this Octomore. There's the expected big and bold peat flavours that mix in well with more of the rich brown sugar and ginger spice that we get. A little left-field but still great quality whisky. We'll go with 7.5/10.

Score: 7.5/10

  • 10 - Perfection. A whisky that we’ll remember forever.
  • 9 - Amazing. We’d pay through the nose for a bottle.
  • 8 - Great. Pick this up at RRP.
  • 7 - Good. Happy to have a dram or two but wouldn’t buy a bottle.
  • 6 - Passable. Would accept a dram, but wouldn’t seek it out.
  • 5 - Poor. Would drink if it was the only option.
  • 4 - Bad. Maybe it can be saved by ginger beer?
  • 3 - Awful. It can't be saved by ginger beer.
  • 2 - Pour it out
  • 1 - We’ve never tried a whisky rated this low and hopefully never will.

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