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Whisky with a Story. Auld Goonsy is an old timer in the whisky industry and has a wealth of knowledge and experience having worked in the cooperage of bonded warehouses and also in distilleries throughout Scotland. Known as a bit of a joker, he is here to provide his tales of the industry. Some stories that will make you laugh and maybe some that will surprise or shock you! Talking in his conventional Scottish dialect, there may be some of you that don’t quite understand everything he says, but we will try to translate where necessary!

He has called on many of his old friends, ex-distillery managers and whisky enthusiasts to reminisce about their times working with all things whisky. With his pals of old codgers, they have collectively selected special casks of whisky that they think is perfect to put in a bottle.

The main theme of the range is Single Cask bottlings where the panel of ‘auld yins’ select the cask and then have it bottled (we think they enjoy their job too much as they seem to sample too many casks before selecting the ‘special one’). Most casks will be bottled at Cask Strength, others will be bottled at a strength that the panel feel is just right for that dram.

Auld Goonsy is also known for some poems after a few drams so keep visiting our website and social platforms. We tried to get Auld Goonsy to post on his social media but he said he’d ‘rather leave that tae the young yins’.

From a real character, and with real stories, we bring to you a range of whiskies for you to enjoy whilst uncovering many stories that maybe you haven’t heard before!

Enjoy responsibly

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TEANINICH 12 Year Old, 1st Fill Sherry Finish – 55.2% Cask Strength

TASTING NOTES: 

Nose – Lemon cheesecake, softly herbal with a grassy freshness.
Palate – Crisp orchard fruits, biscuity notes, nutmeg spiciness.
Finish – Orange peel and honeyed malt long lasting warm glow finish.

AULD GOONSY SAYS: This Highland malt is like meandering through a mature fruit orchard on a cool summer morning, eating warm nutty biscuits coated in fresh honey.

INFO: Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Cask Number #712134 Filled 18 Jun 2009. Limited to 291 bottles.

BLAIR ATHOL 12 Year Old, 1st fill Bourbon Hogshead Fully Matured- 52.5% Cask Strength

TASTING NOTES:

Appearance – Auburn.
Nose – Malty, floral with caramel tones.
Palate – Spun sugar, nutty, good sweetness.
Finish – Dried apple, toffee and delicate spices.

AULD GOONSY SAYS: This is like an invite to a lively warming get-together in the late evening sun, smooth to drink, a sweetness to delight and a treat to be enjoyed.

INFO:  Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Cask Number #306994 Filled 11 Nov 2009. Limited to 258 bottles.

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CAOL ILA 10 Year Old, American Oak Hogshead – 59.0% Cask Strength

TASTING NOTES: 

Appearance – Warm gold
Nose – Seaweed, beefy, burnt sticks.
Palate – Kippery, smoked salmon and earthy.
Finish – Long, subtle spices, dark chocolate, cinnamon.

AULD GOONSY SAYS: This Islay malt is like the best plate of smoked oysters cooked by the loch on an open fire.

INFO: Isley Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Cask Number #300259 Filled 04 Jan 2012. Limited to 277 bottles.

BENRINNES 11 Year Old, 1st fill Sherry Butt Fully Matured- 56.0% Cask Strength

 

TASTING NOTES:

Appearance – Mahoganay
Nose – A good heavy nose, luscious sweet sherried tones.
Palate – Smooth, sweet and rich, rum baba meets a fine cognac, meety.
Finish – Medium length finish with a sherry aftertaste. Slightly dry finish.

AULD GOONSY SAYS: This Speyside malt is like sitting in your favourite wood panelled library enjoying the musty smell of old books and enjoying the familiar smell of home cooking.

INFO:  Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Cask Number #311599 Filled 23 Nov 2010. Limited to 330 bottles.

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LINKWOOD 13 Year Old, American Oak Barrel – 56.3% Cask Strength

TASTING NOTES: 

Appearance – Golden straw
Nose – Melon, fruit salad, apple cake 
Palate – Apricot marmalade, oaky, peppery.
Finish – Floral, slightly spicey, mixed peel.

AULD GOONSY SAYS: This Speyside malt is like a welcome into summer surrounded by seasonal fruits, long sunny days and interesting spicey evenings to follow.

INFO: Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Cask Number #23940 Filled 19 Mar 2009. Limited to 235 bottles.

CAOL ILA 11 Year Old, 1st fill Bourbon Hogshead Fully Matured- 55.7% Cask Strength

TASTING NOTES:

Appearance – Russetmuscat
Nose – Smoked cheese, rich sweet chutney.
Palate – Bramble pie with a savoury kick. Zesty fruit.
Finish – Lengthy peppery finish with glazed ginger.

AULD GOONSY SAYS: This Islay malt is like grazing on salt on pepper nibbles, honey glazed nuts while sitting by an open beach fire.

INFO:  Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Cask Number #311698 Filled 16 Jun 2010. Limited to 290 bottles.

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BENRINNES 12 Year Old, American Oak Hogshead – 55.2% Cask Strength

TASTING NOTES: 

Appearance – Burnished
Nose – Lemon drizzle, buttered toast and honey, fruit basket.
Palate – Marshmallow, banana, lemon peel.
Finish – Dry oaky finish, peppery with lingering creamy vanilla.

AULD GOONSY SAYS: This Speyside 12 year old lifts the tastebuds, adds a spring to the step and is like visiting the local baker for fresh cakes.

INFO: Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Cask Number #307005 Filled 11 Jun 2009. Release 21. Limited to 283 bottles.

LINKWOOD 13 Year Old,  American Oak Hogshead – 60.1% Cask Strength

TASTING NOTES:

Appearance – Natural Oak
Nose – Floral, grassy, lemon zest.
Palate – Lemon candy and orange blossom honey.
Finish – Unsweetened herbal grassy finish, olive oil.

AULD GOONSY SAYS: This Speyside malt is like a herbal garden walk, followed by a long glass of freshly squeezed home-made lemonade.

INFO:  Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Cask Number #303016 Filled 22 Jul 2008. Limited to 257 bottles.

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TEANINICH 11 Year Old, American Oak Hogshead – 58.6% Cask Strength

TASTING NOTES: 

Appearance – Amber
Nose – Crunchy apple, fruit burst, hints of vanilla.
Palate – Pear drops, buttermint, grassy and fresh green grapes.
Finish – Subtle lingering citrus mixed with almonds.

AULD GOONSY SAYS: This Highland malt is like a good old fashioned fruit scone. It is soft, crumbly, best served lathered with jam or bramble jelly.

INFO: Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Cask Number #706527 Filled 06 Apr 2010. Limited to 285 bottles.

CAOL ILA 11 Year Old, American Oak Hogshead – 51.0%

TASTING NOTES:

Appearance – Pale Gold
Nose – Oily, smokey, salty sea breeze.
Palate – Salted cashews, tapas of smoked ham and ripe olives.
Finish – Charred toasty oak finish, fruit crumble and cream.

AULD GOONSY SAYS:  This Islay malt is like enjoying smoked haddies for breakfast at your weekend bothy.

INFO:  Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Cask Number 312834 Filled 03 Aug 2010. Limited to 311 bottles.

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DAILUAINE 12 Year Old,  American Oak Hogshead – 53% Cask Strength

TASTING NOTES: 

Appearance – Yellow Gold
Nose – Butter and salt popcorn mix.
Palate – Vanilla, cut grass, stewed fruits.
Finish – Dried raisins with herbal undertones. Vanilla lingers.

AULD GOONSY SAYS: This Speyside malt is like spending a warm sunny day in heather honey fields.

INFO: Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Cask Number #307389 Filled 06 May 2009. Limited to 223 bottles.

MANNOCHMORE 11 Year Old 1st Fill Oloroso Sherry Finish- 48.0%

TASTING NOTES:

Appearance – Old Oak
Nose – Candied almonds, nutmeg and marmalade.
Palate – Cinnamon pastry, toffee apple, sweet malt.
Finish – Full fruit cake finish, spiced apples with cedar tones.

AULD GOONSY SAYS: This heart of Speyside malt is like finding an unopened Christmas present. It is surprisingly full of mixed delights to treasure and relax with on a wild winter night.

INFO:  Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Cask Number #8976 Filled 23 Jul 2010. Limited to 288 bottles

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AUCHROISK 12 Year Old, American Oak Hogshead – 57.6% Cask Strength

TASTING NOTES: 

Appearance – Pale Straw
Nose – Buttery, spice, lemon and fresh cut barley.
Palate – Fresh warm bread with lashing of butter, playful and zesty.
Finish – Ginger finish and orange peels, lingering syrup.

AULD GOONSY SAYS:  This Speyside malt is like that big cooking pot always on the go in the kitchen, warm, welcoming, hearty and leaves you feeling full and content.

INFO: Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Cask Number #801419 Filled 29 Jan 2009. Release 15. Limited to 262 bottles.

BLAIR ATHOL 12 Year Old, 1st Fill Bourbon Hogshead Fully Matured – 58.3% Cask Strength

TASTING NOTES:

Appearance – Amontillado Sherry
Nose – Sweet grist of the mill, malted barley, floral.
Palate – Hint of wood, smooth, easy on the palate, sugary citrus.
Finish – Warming fruitcake, subtle spice, mellow.

AULD GOONSY SAYS:  This is like a traditional Scottish night out, lively, surprising and no-one wants to go home.

INFO:  Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Cask Number #304006 Filled 15 Jun 2009. Limited to 209 bottles.

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TEANINICH 2008  13 YEAR OLD BUTT @ 51.5%

TASTING NOTES: 

Nose – Rose petals, strawberry yoghurt, tea biscuits.
Palate – Refreshingly fruity, soft sweet vanilla tablet.
Finish – Crunchy ripe apple tones, butterscotch.

AULD GOONSY SAYS: This Highland malt is like dancing from spring into summer, a fresh morning dew, a gentle floral breeze and a warm summer’s night spent outside with good friends.

INFO: Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Cask Number 709849 Filled 16/05/2008. Release 13. Limited to 549 bottles.

CAOL ILA 2008  13 YEAR OLD AMERICAN OAK HOGSHEAD @ 55.0% CASK STRENGTH

TASTING NOTES:

Nose – A chargrilled meatiness, smoky and rich.
Palate – Glazed sticky bbq ribs, nutty, rich malted barley.
Finish – Long, subtle smokey finish, chocolate shavings.

AULD GOONSY SAYS: Matured for 13 years in an American Oak hogshead, this Islay malt is a wee peaty beauty, perfectly balanced malty taste with waves of camp fire smokiness.

INFO: Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Cask Number 311551 Filled 11/05/2008. Release 12. Limited to 279 bottles.

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BRUICHLADDICH 2006  15 YEAR OLD BOURBON BARREL @ 50.0%

TASTING NOTES:

Nose – Toasted barley, buttered scone with summer berry jam.
Palate – A touch of white chocolate, strawberries and cream with fragrant apple.
Finish – Lasting sweetness with vanilla barley.

AULD GOONSY SAYS: Matured in a Bourbon Barrel for over 15 years, this Islay malt has an earthy spiciness and a good serving of a dreamy sweet treat. Pleasure in a glass.

INFO: Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Cask Number 722 Filled 14/05/2006. Release 11. Limited to 196 bottles.

ARDMORE 2008  12 YEAR OLD, SLIGHTLY SMOKED @ 50.0%

TASTING NOTES:

Appearance – Old gold.
Nose – Subtle smokiness, honey, toffee apple and the deep forest.
Palate – Creamy vanilla toffee, waves of peat smoke, subtle spice.
Finish – Lingering full body, dry, gentle spicy finish.

AULD GOONSY SAYS: Matured for 12 years in a second fill barrel from an Islay distillery, this Highland malt is uplifting, like familiar old gold, friendly, inviting and a dram you want to last forever.

INFO: Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Cask Number 706110. Filled 10/11/2008. Release 10. Limited to 258 bottles.

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LOCHINDAAL 2010  10 YEAR OLD FIRST FILL BOURBON BARREL @ 46.0%

TASTING NOTES:

Appearance – Burnished
Nose – Camp fire smoke, toasted marshmallow and orange peels.
Palate – Apricots, oak, seaweed, smoky.
Finish – Peach, dry and lingering pipe tobacco smoke

AULD GOONSY SAYS: Distilled at the Bruichladdich distillery, this Islay malt will awaken all senses, lively whiffs of smoke with a breath of sea air.

INFO: Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Cask Number 4359. Filled 02/12/2010. Release 9. Limited to 292 bottles.

DAILUAINE 2009  11 YEAR OLD @ 49.0%

TASTING NOTES:

Appearance – Pale Gold
Nose – Fragrant, fresh linen, fruity and floral
Palate – Baking spice, nutmeg, young apples
Finish – Pear drops, fresh fruit and lingering sherbet.

AULD GOONSY SAYS: Matured for 11 years in a sweet hogshead, this Speyside malt is like walking in a flower meadow, smells like spring has sprung with a sweet and fruity treat.

INFO: Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Cask Number 310721. Filled 13/07/2009. Release 8. Limited to 331 bottles.

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LINKWOOD 2008  12 YEAR OLD @ 50.0%

TASTING NOTES:

Appearance – Barley corn
Nose – Lemon drops, fresh barley and sour apple sweets
Palate – Juicy green fruit, oak, banana split, patisserie
Finish – Plum tart, vanilla, green tea.

AULD GOONSY SAYS: Matured in an American oak hogshead for over 12 years, this Speyside malt is invigorating, refreshing like a burst of jellied fruits in yer auld sweetie shop.

INFO: Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Cask Number 303023. Filled 22/07/2008. Release 7. Limited to 319 bottles.

INCHGOWER 2008  12 YEAR OLD AMERICAN OAK HOGSHEAD @ 58.4% CASK STRENGTH

TASTING NOTES:

Nose – Fragrant, floral, hints of cream.
Palate – Zesty burst, grassy with lingering drops of mandarin.
Finish – Nectarines, marmalade.

AULD GOONSY SAYS: Matured in an American oak hogshead for 12 years and bottled at cask strength, this Speyside malt is like watching honeybees on heather and eating fresh fruit salad with a touch of cream.

INFO: Speyside single malt scotch whisky. Cask Number 806929. Release 6. Filled 08/07/2008

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BENRINNES 2008  12 YEAR OLD @ 55.9% CASK STRENGTH

TASTING NOTES:

Appearance – Pale Gold
Nose – Biscuity, tangy with a touch of ginger
Palate – Ripe plums, stewed fruit, dry and malty
Finish – Roasted almonds, hints of raspberry, slightly dry finish.

AULD GOONSY SAYS: Matured in a refill hogshead for 12 years and bottled at cask strength, this Speyside malt is like home-made fruit pies with secret spice from a well kept larder.

INFO: Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Cask Number 307314. Filled 01/07/2008. Release 5. Limited to 267 bottles.

MANNOCHMORE 2009  12 YEAR OLD, OLOROSO SHERRY CASK FINISH @ 48.5%

TASTING NOTES:

Appearance – Dark copper
Nose – Sherried spice, bramble pie with marzipan notes.
Palate – Mixed raisins, Christmas cake and nutmeg.
Finish – Warm finish of nectarines, marmalade and crème caramel

AULD GOONSY SAYS: Matured in a first fill European hogshead for 11 years and then finished in a first fill oloroso cask, that this Speyside malt is like a good old rich Clootie dumpling, covered in cream.

INFO: Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Cask Number 917. Filled 30/01/2009. Release 4. Limited to 203 bottles.

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DAILUAINE 2008  12 YEAR OLD SHERRY BUTT @ 57.8% CASK STRENGTH

TASTING NOTES:

Appearance – Mahogany teak
Nose – Caramel, chocolate shortcake.
Palate – Toffee, fruit salad, honey, creamy sweetness.
Finish – Sweet, slightly nutty, cinnamon.

AULD GOONSY SAYS: Matured for the full 12 years in a large Sherry Butt, this Speyside malt is like a Scottish waterfall, gushing with tongue tingling flavours and as dainty as the sugarplum fairy.

INFO: Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Cask Number 308909. Filled 01/07/2008. Release 3. Limited to 574 bottles.

Auld Goonsy’s Dram Good Stories

What a laugh we had enjoying a wee dram and telling our stories about how the distillery boys used to sneak whisky out of the distillery and I remembered a few tricks from my cooperage days too.  I’ll never forget Willie’s story about ‘Walking the dog’ and Angus’s tale about a ‘Hot Water Bottle’. My old pal Tom from Islay has shared many stories with me over the years and I might just tell you a few more.

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Walking The Dog

Tom told me many a story over the years, sitting by his coal fire sharing a dram. He was a man who had been brought up by a mother who worked in a distillery for many years. Aye, it’s true, there were quite a few women involved with whisky through the years. Have a look at the history of Cardhu and who do you think looked after the distilleries in the war years when the men were away. They may not have been making whisky at that time but the stills had to be protected and the precious distilleries looked after. Tom had a great memory and one of my favourite stories of his was when he was a little boy. He was fascinated with the men who carried their bible under arm on the way to Church. They were protective of their Bibles, ‘a man’s bible has to be treasured’ he was once told by an old Uncle. It wasn’t until many years later that Tom’s old uncle passed away, and he was left his Uncle’s bible. He wasn’t overly interested until one day, he picked it up, only to discover that the binding looked a little bit bigger than a normal book. Imagine his delight, when he discovered as he lifted back an un unusual covering at the top of the binding and there below, he could see a wee flask in the hidden compartment. He’d heard of me cutting out pages in the bible to fit in a hip flask but he hadn’t known that they had actually made little slimline flasks to slip inside the binding. In Tom’s eyes from that day on, it was well and truly ‘The Good Book’.  I have enjoyed a wee chuckle on many a night, thinking of all of those men at the back of the church, enjoying a wee dram as they heard the good word.

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The Hot Water Bottle.

Working in a warehouse at a remote distillery in the middle of winter is no easy task. It’s cold damp work, these guys are moving casks in and out, checking on casks and even although the aroma in the warehouse is really quite wonderful as they breath in the ‘Angel’s Share’, it’s a bloody cold place to be. Angus remembered the day that one of his workers had a hot water bottle drop right out of his jumper, landing on his feet. There was Malky, face bright red as he looked down at the Hot Water bottle. “It’s cold in that warehouse Boss” he quickly says to Angus, I need it to keep me warm. “Aye, right says Angus” not knowing whether to turn a blind eye or take him in for a warning. “We’ll let it go today but I think you should think about wearing an extra jumper in future. From that day on, Angus often looked at Malky, wondering if he was still using his hot water bottle, especially in the height of summer when he was spotted wearing his big Fair Isle Jumper, sweating like crazy. If you haven’t worked it out by now, the water bottle was just another fine method used by the boys to dip the whisky casks and take home a few drams for the week-end. I’ve never looked at a Hot Water bottle the same, since Angus told me that story.

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The Bible

Tom told me many a story over the years, sitting by his coal fire sharing a dram. He was a man who had been brought up by a mother who worked in a distillery for many years. Aye, it’s true, there were quite a few women involved with whisky through the years. Have a look at the history of Cardhu and who do you think looked after the distilleries in the war years when the men were away. They may not have been making whisky at that time but the stills had to be protected and the precious distilleries looked after. Tom had a great memory and one of my favourite stories of his was when he was a little boy. He was fascinated with the men who carried their bible under arm on the way to Church. They were protective of their Bibles, ‘a man’s bible has to be treasured’ he was once told by an old Uncle. It wasn’t until many years later that Tom’s old uncle passed away, and he was left his Uncle’s bible. He wasn’t overly interested until one day, he picked it up, only to discover that the binding looked a little bit bigger than a normal book. Imagine his delight, when he discovered as he lifted back an un unusual covering at the top of the binding and there below, he could see a wee flask in the hidden compartment. He’d heard of me cutting out pages in the bible to fit in a hip flask but he hadn’t known that they had actually made little slimline flasks to slip inside the binding. In Tom’s eyes from that day on, it was well and truly ‘The Good Book’.  I have enjoyed a wee chuckle on many a night, thinking of all of those men at the back of the church, enjoying a wee dram as they heard the good word.

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There’s Smoosh Loose Aboot this Hoose!

The Cooperage was no different to the distillery, we men would always find a way of making the most of what was on offer, it was seen as a perk of the job. We were working with the finest oak wood casks, some of them had been used for many years, sometimes as much as 80 years to store whisky in warehouses in Scotland’s finest distilleries. You can imagine the fantastic smell from the casks, it was just too tempting and we knew that those casks still held in them the makings of a wonderful dram. So, putting the kettle on for a cup of tea, took on a new meaning. The kettle would be popped and the men would beam with excitement as the water was then smooshed around the inside of one of the finest malt casks. The water would draw out of the oak wood, sometimes from the finest sherry casks having matured whisky for so many years and it resulted in a very fine cup of tea for all the men to enjoy. We called it ‘Smoosh’. In my memory, it was well and truly amber nectar, it was warming, dark in colour, rich in flavour and always left me in high spirits!

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Jimmy’s Camera Case

For many years, I enjoyed a wee trip to the lovely Solway Firth with my family and extended family. We often took the car but occasionally joined family journeying by train. I was in good company with my brother-in-law Jimmy and we loved to meet people on the train with the family, we share a few stories but the highlight of the trip was always when Jimmy took out his Camera Case. Well…to everyone else, it looked like a Camera Case but when Jimmy unzipped the top, there it revealed three specially shaped bottles inside and that was it, the bar was open and we shared a few drams with our fellow travellers, comparing notes on malts and telling even more tales of some of the best whisky days. It all had to end with a wee sing-along of some of our favourite songs like ‘Campbeltown Loch I wish you were Whisky’ and ‘A wee Dochan Doras’. I might even sing them for you one day – so keep yer eye on my blog.