The last remnants of this year's new releases trickle through: later than planned, we have 'Golder Still' the bourbon cask expression of Bruichladdich's 'Still' series - and you 'Still' can't see into the bottle, (boom-boom).
Golder Still is joined by the X4, also from Bruichladdich. This 'Islay Spirit' is unaged malt distillate that caused a bit of a hoo-hah when it was originally made, with a lot of hysterical frothing in the press about the 92% strength it was distilled to. The strength of this unaged, unpeated spirit has subsequently been reduced to 50% to pre-empt a similar campaign now that it's in the bottle.
The X4 makes an interesting contrast with another of this week's arrivals - the barely-aged malt from Chichibu. Chichibu is the new distillery from Ichiro Akuto, whose family owned the old Hanyu distillery that was forced to close in 2000, was dismantled in 2004 and has subsequently found fame thanks to Ichiro's 'Card' series. This is one of the first releases in Chichibu's history, with distillate aged in first-fill bourbon barrels for a couple of months.
Also this week, another Jim McEwan-selected malt: an ancient Banff from Jim's Celtic Heartlands bottlings; another new bottling in the unending flow of Japanese malt arriving on our shores - this time, it's from Nikka's Miyagikyo and was distilled in 1989; and finally, a new long-aged blended malt from blend-meisters Famous Grouse. Not a blended whisky, you understand - a blended malt whisky. What used to be known as a vatted malt. Confused? No, no, of course you're not, say the SWA. You just think you are.
Merry Christmas to one and all from The Whisky Exchange - thanks for joining us in 2008 and we hope to see you again in 2009. In the meantime, enjoy your holidays and have a great Hogmanay...