Friday, 25 December 2009

Tomintoul 27 yo

Tomintoul 27 yo

Official bottling

Single malt - Speyside
Smoky amber
40% ABV
Dram

Nose: Raisins, caramel, orange peel, leather, driftwood, lemon zest, hints of peat.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, astringent, cool, loose.
Tasting: Bitter. Orange peel, vanilla, leather, driftwood, peat, honey.
Finish: Short. Lemons, vanilla, driftwood, orange peel.

Comments:


Light, cool and refreshing. This is unusual in something so old. There's a lot of vanilla flavour from the long wood aging, but this does not overpower the slight salty, bitter flavour components such as driftwood and orange peel. Pleasant and drinkable.

Verdict:

I like this.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

SMWS 14.17 (Talisker 20 yo 1989/2009)

SMWS 14.17 (Talisker 20 yo 1989/2009)

2009, SMWS

Single malt - Islands

Pale gold
52.7% ABV
Dram

Nose: Raisins, coconuts, heather honey, sea salt, seaweed, hints of orange peel.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, smooth, watery, loosens.
Tasting: Sweet salty. Heather honey, sea salt, seaweed, raisins, orange peel, hints of peat .
Finish: Medium. Coconuts, raisins, heather honey.

Comments:


A great salty seaweedy Talisker, very different from the somewhat sweet, smoky official bottlings. There's just a glimmer of smoke in this, with a lot of peat and salt. The orangey characteristics that appear as marmalade in the official bottlings comes through here as orange peel.

Verdict:

I like this.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Drumguish Single Highland Malt

Drumguish Single Highland Malt

Official bottling
Single malt - Speyside
Pale copper
40% ABV
Dram

Nose: Raisins, cinnamon, orange peel, milk, vanilla, hints of banana, hints of peat.
Mouthfeel: Light body, slippery, smooth.
Tasting: Sweet. Vanilla, raisins, cloves, cinnamon, orange blossom honey, milk, hints of leather, hints of peat.
Finish: Short. Raisins, vanilla, chocolate, aluminum foil.

Comments:


A strangely named official bottling from the strangely named Speyside distillery. Anyway, it's very drinkable, if a little middle of the road. Slightly unpleasant metallic edge to the finish, but the nose and the taste are very pleasant, light and sweet indeed.

Verdict:

I like this.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Springbank 15 yo

Springbank 15 yo

Official bottling
Single malt - Campbeltown
Rose copper
46% ABV
Dram

Nose: Apples, raisins, tobacco leaf, smoke, molasses, cotton sheets, hints of wool.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, watery, loose, astringent.
Tasting: Bitter. Apples, honey, vanilla, tar, limes, tobacco leaf, smoke, walnuts, hints of wool.
Finish: Long. Walnuts, tobacco, lime juice.

Comments:


Surprisingly smoky and powerful. Develops in the glass, revealing a fruity character overlaid by tar and limes. Water doesn't mellow this whisky at all.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Glendronach 18 yo Allardice

Glendronach 18 yo Allardice

Official bottling

Single malt - Speyside
Amber
46% ABV
Dram

Nose: Chocolate, honey, vanilla, sea salt, tobacco leaf, dried apricots, hints of peat.
Mouthfeel: Heavy body, thickens, tingly, slightly astringent.
Tasting: Sweet. Chocolate, raisins, vanilla, honey, dried apricots, tobacco leaf, red wine, hints of leather.
Finish: Medium. Chocolate, orange peel, vanilla, honey, hints of lime.

Comments:


Spicy, complex and sweet. Lots of heavy sherry character, but with an astringent citric bite lurking in the mouth and especially in the finish. It's a perfect Christmas whisky. Brilliantly made.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Braes of Glenlivet 32 yo 1975/2007

Braes of Glenlivet 32 yo 1975/2007

Connoisseur's Choice, Gordon & Macphail
Single malt - Speyside
Light gold
43% ABV
Dram

Nose: Raisins, leather, hoppy beer, oats, peat, hints of buttered popcorn.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, loose, watery, tingly, cool.
Tasting: Bitter sweet. Raisins, leather, chillies, hoppy beer, oats, peat, engine exhaust, vanilla, honey.
Finish: Medium. Hoppy beer, honey, engine exhaust, hints of leather.

Comments:


Bitter and robust, with huge bursts of peaty, chemical flavours - engine exhaust (very unusual) and leather (rather more common). Pleasant spicy notes that manifest mostly as vanilla and beery hops. Good and strong, best with food.

Verdict:

I like this.

Friday, 27 November 2009

SMWS 120.4 (Hakushu 18 yo 1990/2009)

SMWS 120.4 (Hakushu 18 yo 1990/2009)

2009, SMWS
Single malt - West Honshu
Dark amber
59.3% ABV
Dram

Nose: Peanuts, raisins, sherry, roast chicken, roast pork, cedar, hints of leather. With water, meatier, saltier.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, oily, astringent, slippery.
Tasting: Sweet. Cedar, peanuts, raisins, roast chicken, roast pork, plums, red wine. With water, meaty, takes on some element of raw, bloody beef.
Finish: Medium. Raisins, roast pork, plums.

Comments:


Sweet, sherried, and very meaty. There's a robustness to this whisky, something that brings to mind barbecue and ripping into dripping chunks of seared meat. Water accentuates this, removing the strong sandalwood, incense-y element, and bringing out something irony and bloody. Unusual, and very enjoyable.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Compass Box Hedonism Maximus

Compass Box Hedonism Maximus

Vatted grain, Compass Box

Vatted grain - Invergordon, Cameronbridge
Amber
46% ABV
Dram

Nose: Vanilla, orange peel, bananas, peaches, butter, lemons.
Mouthfeel: Light body, ethereal, watery.
Tasting: Sweet. Bananas, butter, orange peel, peaches, hints of cream, hints of lemons.
Finish: Short. Bananas, peaches, orange peel, vanilla.

Comments:


A special Hedonism, another vatted grain whisky, this time a combination of Cameronbridge and Invergordon. I think this one is clearly more fruity (and more bourbony) than the "normal" Hedonism. Still light, soft and round, perhaps a little too much so.

Verdict:

I like this.

Compass Box Lady Luck

Compass Box Lady Luck

Vatted malt, Compass Box
Vatted malt - Caol Ila Imperial
Pale orange gold
46% ABV
Dram

Nose: Tobacco, leather, soy sauce, raisins, pears, butter, smoke.
Mouthfeel: Light body, watery, loose, ethereal.
Tasting: Bitter salty. Melted butter, leather, soy sauce, pears, butterscotch, smoke, hints of peat.
Finish: Pears, butter, smoke, leather.

Comments:


A limited bottling, named Lady Luck after the providential way in which it was discovered. 2 old Caol Ilas (1980, 1984) vatted with a 1995 Imperial. It's smoky, buttery, sweet and salty, yet light, loose and ethereal. Or more precisely, unreal - I didn't think whisky this light could pack such a flavourful impact.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.

Compass Box Peat Monster Reserve

Compass Box Peat Monster Reserve

Vatted malt, Compass Box
Vatted malt - Caol Ila, Laphroaig, Ardmore
Pale green
48.9% ABV
Dram

Nose: Peat, smoke, leather, tobacco leaf, chocolate, soy sauce. With water, chocolate, raisins.
Mouthfeel: Light body, watery, smooth, volatile.
Tasting: Salty sweet. Smoke, peat, leather, walnuts, chocolate, soy sauce. With water, saltier, hints of coffee.
Finish: Long. White wines, smoke, peat, walnut skins.

Comments:


Deliciously like Ardbeg. They sell this in massive bottles greater than 1 litre - I can see why. Excellent peaty whisky, with the Ardmore tempering a big wodge of smoke and peat.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.

Compass Box Flaming Heart

Compass Box Flaming Heart

Vatted malt, Compass Box

Vatted malt - Caol Ila, Clynelish, Linkwood
Pale copper
48.9% ABV
Dram

Nose: Peat, soy sauce, tobacco leaf, raisins, vanilla, smoke.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, loose, watery.
Tasting: Bitter sweet. Vanilla, tobacco, raisins, smoke, peat, soy sauce.
Finish: Long. Walnut skins, peat, vanilla, tobacco.

Comments:


Big and bold. This is the second edition of Flaming Heart, a vatting of Caol Ila, Clynelish and Linkwood. Talk about a spectrum of hard to soft whiskies! The flavours are very distinct, and don't detract from each other, and it's perfectly possible to discern all three components. Yet the whole works very well.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.

Compass Box Spice Tree (reissue)

Compass Box Spice Tree (reissue)

Vatted malt, Compass Box
Vatted malt - mostly Clynelish

Golden
46% ABV
Dram

Nose: Butter, orange peel, chillies, cloves, cinnamon, plums, hints of coconut.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, loose, slightly astringent.
Tasting: Sweet. Chillies, orange peel, plums, cloves, cinnamon.
Finish: Long. Chillies, orange peel, cinnamon.

Comments:


In John Glaser's own words, this is "mostly Clynelish". It's the new, legal Spice Tree, matured in barrels with toasted French oak heads. Extremely innovative! It tastes different of course, with the spicy fragrance present in the old Spice Tree tempered by slightly bitter cinnamon bark. Still tasty, but I think I liked the older one best.

Verdict:

I like this.

Compass Box Spice Tree (original)

Compass Box Spice Tree (original)

Vatted malt, Compass Box

Vatted malt - Teaninich, Dailuaine, Clynelish, Longmorn
Golden
46% ABV
Dram

Nose: Butter, butterscotch, oak, toast, cloves, orange peel.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, thickens, loosens, slippery.
Tasting: Sweet sour. Chillies, cloves, butterscotch, oak, orange peel, hints of honeydew melon.
Finish: Long. Orange peel, lemons, butter, honeydew melon.

Comments:


This is the famous illegal Spice Tree - illegal because it was matured in oak barrels containing inner staves made of French oak, imparting an interesting spicy, clovey flavour. I feel really privileged to be able to try this. It's a vatting of fruity, light malts, infused with that great spicy, fragrant flavour.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.

Compass Box Asyla "Mariage"

Compass Box Asyla "Mariage"

Blended malt, Compass Box
Blended malt
Light gold
43.6% ABV
Dram

Nose: Butter, vanilla, lemons, orange peel, plums.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, watery, slightly astringent.
Tasting: Sweet. Lemons, toast, orange peel, plums, vanilla Medium Honey, oranges, lemons, vanilla.
Finish: Medium. Honey, oranges, lemons, vanilla.

Comments:


A special edition of Asyla, bottled for La Maison du Whisky, one of the great whisky shops around. This is 50% Cameronbridge and 50% malt - Linkwood, Glen Elgin and Longmorn. This was more robust than other Compass Box whiskies, with soft fruit and vanilla. The malt is very restrained and unobstrusive.

Verdict:

I like this.

Compass Box Magic Cask

Compass Box Magic Cask

Vatted malt, Compass Box
Vatted malt - Linkwood, Clynelish
Amber rose
46% ABV
Dram

Nose: Coconut, molasses, butter, strawberries, raisins, cherries. With water, sweeter, more strawberries.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, thickens, slippery, astringent.
Tasting: Sweet. Oranges, molasses, strawberries, raisins, cherries, red wine. With water, more red wine, quite tannic.
Finish: Long. Oranges, strawberries, raisins, cherries.

Comments:


A special bottling for the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. It's a mixture of 16 yo Linkwood aged for an additional year in a Madeira cask, and 14 yo Clynelish. Very winey and fruity, nice slippery thick body. Water opens it up, makes it taste sweeter, and more like the Madeira it contains.

Verdict:

I like this.

Compass Box Eleuthera

Compass Box Eleuthera

Vatted malt, Compass Box

Vatted malt - Caol Ila, Clynelish
Pale green gold
46% ABV
Dram

Nose: Wet stones, peat, soy sauce, leather, pears, lemons, hints of smoke.
Mouthfeel: Light body, airy, volatile, watery.
Tasting: Bitter sweet. Peat, soy sauce, leather, pears, raisins, hints of smoke.
Finish: Medium. Smoke, peat, walnut skins, raisins.

Comments:


This is the 1st release of Eleuthera. It's a mixture of 20% Caol Ila and 80% Clynelish, and it's beautiful. There is a flinty, minerally hard heart, overlaid by the great Caol Ila flavours of soy sauce, peat and smoke, and then layered over with lots of lemony fruit. Lovely whisky.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.

Compass Box Hedonism

Compass Box Hedonism

Vatted grain, Compass Box

Vatted grain - Carsebridge, Cambus
Light amber
43% ABV
Dram


Nose: Butter, vanilla, bananas, soy sauce, leather, peaches.
Mouthfeel: Light body, thickens slightly, loose, watery.
Tasting: Sweet sour. Butter, vanilla, bananas, coconut, leather, peaches, pears, hints of lemons.
Finish: Long. Tangy, vanilla, peach.

Comments:


This is the first release of Hedonism. It's vatted grain whisky - a mix of Carsebridge and Cambus. It's got the smooth, light, elusive softness that I associate with grain whisky, but also a great depth of flavour. It's almost bourbony, with lots of sweet fruit. Tasted at a Compass Box retrospective tasting.

Verdict:

I like this.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

SMWS 121.22 (Arran 11 yo 1996/2008)

SMWS 121.22 (Arran 11 yo 1996/2008)

2008, SMWS
Single malt - Islands
Dark amber
58% ABV
Dram

Nose: Caramel, butterscotch, raisins, smoke, redcurrants, leather, molasses, hints of rum, hints of palm sugar.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, hot, tingly, slippery.
Tasting: Sweet. Redcurrants, raisins, molasses, palm sugar, chillies, smoke, butterscotch.
Finish: Long. Chillies, leather, caramel, redcurrants.

Comments:


Sweet, smoky and spicy. Loaded with fruit and sweet things, including the caramelly sweetness that one only finds in palm sugar. Excellent whisky.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.

SMWS 46.12 (Glenlossie 27 yo 1978/2006)

SMWS 46.12 (Glenlossie 27 yo 1978/2006)

2006, SMWS
Single malt - Speyside
Amber orange
55.1% ABV
Dram

Nose: Orange peel, coconut, pine, mint, marzipan, hints of leather.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, slipper, astringent, thickens.
Tasting: Sour. Lemons, orange peel, coconut, pine, mint, hints of mayonnaise, hints of leather.
Finish: Medium. Butter, pine, coconut, orange peel.

Comments:


Tart, leathery, smells a little like a new car. Not very meaty, although the tag line promised roast pork! Reminds me more of cake and sweet desserty things...

Verdict:

I like this.

SMWS 38.18 (Caperdonich 12 yo 1994/2007)

SMWS 38.18 (Caperdonich 12 yo 1994/2007)

2007, SMWS
Single malt - Speyside
White wine
59.4% ABV
Dram

Nose: Vanilla, butter, green apples, black pepper, lemons, hints of smoke.
Mouthfeel: Light body, tingly, volatile, warm.
Tasting: Sour salty. Vanilla, raisins, green apples, black pepper, lemons, smoke, hints of pineapples.
Finish: Short. Lemons, black pepper, pineapples, chillies.

Comments:


Tart, yet smoky. Light and refreshing Caperdonich, a touch less fruity than the other ones I've had. Don't add water - it brings out a rather harsh element of coconut.

Verdict:

I like this.

Friday, 13 November 2009

SMWS 91.19 (Dufftown 20 yo 1985/2005)

SMWS 91.19 (Dufftown 20 yo 1985/2005)

2005, SMWS
Single malt - Speyside
Pale yellow
56.5% ABV
Dram

Nose: Figs, white grapes, butter, vanilla, marzipan, rubber, hints of peat.
Mouthfeel: Light body, loose, warm.
Tasting: Bitter. Figs, white grapes, butter, vanilla, sponge cake, rubber, new plastic, peat, hints of cedar.
Finish: Short. Vanilla, new plastic, white grapes.

Comments:


Fruity, almondy and fresh on the nose. It started out quite promising. However, there were harsh overtones of rubber and new plastic (the unpleasant sort - like visiting a chemical factory) on the tongue. A little disappointing.

Verdict:

Not bad.

SMWS 72.19 (Miltonduff 20 yo 1988/2008)

SMWS 72.19 (Miltonduff 20 yo 1988/2008)

2008, SMWS
Single malt - Speyside
Golden
57.2% ABV
Dram

Nose: Raisins, lemons, butter, brown paper, vanilla, egg yolk, hints of smoke.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, slippery, warm, tingly.
Tasting: Bitter sweet. Raisins, lemons, butter, egg yolk, vanilla, tarry rope, hints of smoke, hints of peat.
Finish: Medium. Soot, smoke, tar, walnut skins.

Comments:


The nose betrays little sign of what is to come - a milky, sweet, smoky, peaty rush of flavours that overwhelms the palate. Very big surprise on the tongue. I wasn't prepared for this, but it was delicious.

Verdict:

I like this.

SMWS 38.15 (Caperdonich 28 yo 1976/2005)

SMWS 38.15 (Caperdonich 28 yo 1976/2005)

2005, SMWS
Single malt - Speyside
Pale copper
51.2% ABV
Dram

Nose: Lemon zest, lemon sweets, grass, smoke, pineapple, guava, hints of green apple.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, slippery, smooth, loosens.
Tasting: Sour bitter. Lemon sweets, figs, pineapples, green apples, smoke, hints of hazelnuts.
Finish: Long. Walnut skins, pineapples, smoke.

Comments:


A plethora of smoky fruits, among them curiosities such as pineapples and green apples. An amazing, fruity, smoky dram. Great pleasure to drink.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Glendronach 12 yo Original

Glendronach 12 yo Original

Official bottling

Single malt - Speyside
Amber
43% ABV
Dram

Nose: Raisins, honey, brown sugar, molasses, plums, oak, hints of peaches.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, cool, slippery, wet.
Tasting: Bitter sweet. Raisins, honey, molasses, butter, vanilla, oak, plums, cherries, hints of truffle.
Finish: Medium. Walnuts, raisins, cherries, oak.

Comments:


Musty, fruity and dense. This is new-style Glendronach, a reboot of the old flagship bottling. Very oaky, like a slightly dry, less rounded Merlot, with lots of sweet and buttery overtones. Slight bitterness in the finish. Pretty good.

Verdict:

I like this.

Friday, 6 November 2009

SMWS 46.19 (Glenlossie 16 yo 1992/2009)

SMWS 46.19 (Glenlossie 16 yo 1992/2009)

2009, SMWS
Single malt - Speyside
Pale yellow
52.2% ABV
Dram

Nose: Vanilla, peanuts, condensed milk, butter, white wine, lemon zest.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, thickens, slippery, tingly, volatile.
Tasting: Sour. Lemons, lemon zest, vanilla, white wine, peanuts, hints of white grapes, hints of bananas.
Finish: Medium. Lemons, banana, white grapes, white wine.

Comments:


So tingly it's almost fizzy. Whisky isn't carbonated of course, so this feels (and tastes) very much like flat champagne. The similarities don't end there - despite the cask strength, it feels quite light, very drinkable, and quite dry. Got to be careful with this one.

Verdict:

I like this.

SMWS 35.32 (Glen Moray 34 yo 1975/2009)

SMWS 35.32 (Glen Moray 34 yo 1975/2009)

2009, SMWS
Single malt - Speyside
Bright amber
55.1% ABV
Dram

Nose: Jasmine, red wine, cinnamon, blackcurrants, raisins, maraschino cherries, hints of butter. With water, vanilla, condensed milk.
Mouthfeel: Light body, tingly, slightly astringent, warms up. With water, loosens.
Tasting: Sweet. Blackcurrants, raisins, maraschino cherries, orange peel, cinnamon, red wine, hints of jasmine. With water, sweeter, vanilla, condensed milk, orange peel.
Finish: Long. Bitter melon, cinnamon, red wine, soot. With water, soot disappears, more raisins, blackcurrants.

Comments:


Old, and rare. Quite a chameleon, especially once water is added. It's strong, sweet and smoky, even sooty, but once water is added the sooty, ashy element melts away to become even more fruit - blackcurrants and raisins predominate. Very good indeed.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.

SMWS 19.42 (Glen Garioch 19 yo 1988/2009)

SMWS 19.42 (Glen Garioch 19 yo 1988/2009)

2009, SMWS
Single malt - East Highlands
Copper
52.4% ABV
Dram

Nose: Walnuts, sponge cake, smoke, caramel, vanilla, mint, hints of prunes. With water, raisins, plums, more vanilla.
Mouthfeel: Light body, watery, thickens, tingly.
Tasting: Sweet salty. Walnuts, butter, sponge cake, vanilla, mint, prunes, hints of smoke, hints of butterscotch. Changes with water, more prunes, plums, raisins, black tea.
Finish: Short. Smoke, prunes, butterscotch, mint, vanilla.

Comments:


Quite light and ethereal. Tastes quite different, and easier on the palate, once water is added. Very fruity, but the hint of smoke tempers this. More smoky on the finish, and sweeter too. Drinkable.

Verdict:

I like this.

SMWS 119.10 (Yamazaki 19 yo 1989/2009)

SMWS 119.10 (Yamazaki 19 yo 1989/2009)

2009, SMWS

Single malt - West Honshu
Dirty brown
62.6% ABV
Dram

Nose: Raisins, palm sugar, cocoa, caramel, burnt rubber, rum, orange peel, hints of wood smoke, hints of roast pork.
Mouthfeel: Heavy body, thickens, astringent, volatile.
Tasting: Sweet. Raisins, burnt rubber, orange peel, dark chocolate, roast pork, caramel, palm sugar.
Finish: Long. Palm sugar, cocoa, wood smoke, burnt rubber.

Comments:


Mmmm. Lovely sherried Yamazaki, tastes old but really isn't. I wonder where this one aged. Anyway, it's sweet with a chemical undercurrent, and a savoury meatiness that's almost textural. Very good indeed, as good as the official 18 yo that won so many awards. I might get a bottle of this.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Millburn 21 yo 1971/1993

Millburn 21 yo 1971/1993

Connoisseur's Choice, Gordon & Macphail
Single malt - Speyside
Orange gold
40% ABV
Sampler


Nose: Lemons, gooseberries, peaches, leather, menthol, oats, hints of peat.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, watery, smooth, loosens.
Tasting: Sweet sour. Peaches, lemons, gooseberries, orange peel, leather, sherry, hints of peat.
Finish: Medium. Gooseberries, peat, lemons, walnuts.

Comments:


A rare find, this. The distillery has been silent since 1985, and this bottling very hard to find. Sweet and unctuous, with a peaty tang that isn't too dense. The fruit is very in-your-face, and the whisky is quite sweet. Lovely. I wish I had more.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Tomatin 12 yo

Tomatin 12 yo

Official bottling
Single malt - Speyside
Golden
40% ABV
Dram

Nose: Lemons, bananas, flint, wheat, leather, dried cherries.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, thickens, warms, slippery.
Tasting: Sour. Lemons, bananas, flint, leather, dried cherries, hints of plums, hints of fermented fruit.
Finish: Medium. Wheat, flint, lemons, bananas.

Comments:


Sour, yet fruity. There's a strong estery whiff of bananas, followed by a sweetish sickly scent of fermented fruit, maybe plums. It smells like what you make before you distil it into eau-de-vie. And it tastes like it too. Strange, but not unpleasant, such whiskies rarely are.

Verdict:

I like this.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Tamdhu 30 yo

Tamdhu 30 yo

The Macphail's Collection, Gordon & Macphail
Single malt - Speyside
Mahogany
43% ABV
Dram

Nose: Raisins, plums, orange peel, sherry, honey, red wine.
Mouthfeel: Light body, cool, tingly, slightly astringent.
Tasting: Bitter sweet. Raisins, plums, hops, red wine, orange peel, hints of oats.
Finish: Long. Red wine, plums, hops.

Comments:


Bitter sweet on the tongue again, but this time the bitter dominates the sweet. A glorious sherried nose, reminds me once again of the very best brandy. Or, in this case, port. Dessert for grownups.

Verdict:

I like this.

Glen Spey 12 yo 1995/2008

Glen Spey 12 yo 1995/2008

Connoisseur's Choice, Gordon & Macphail
Single malt - Speyside
Light gold
43% ABV
Dram

Nose: Butter, oats, lemons, walnuts, leather, hints of peat, hints of peanuts.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, thickens, warm, tingly.
Tasting: Bitter sour. Walnuts, butter, lemons, leather, peat, new plastic, peanuts, hints of roses.
Finish: Short. Leather, new plastic, lemons, hints of roses.

Comments:


Bitter sweet on the tongue, after a very fragrant, sweet nose. Not much grassy character, like Glen Spey is supposed to have, but there's a chemical whiff of new plastic. It's not unpleasant, almost floral. Quite drinkable.

Verdict:

I like this.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Knockando 12 yo

Knockando 12 yo

Official bottling
Single malt - Speyside
Amber
43% ABV
Dram

Nose: Raisins, butter, chocolate, honey, vanilla, plums, prunes, hints of redcurrants.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, loosens, cool, slightly tingly.
Tasting: Sweet. Chocolate, raisins, honey, prunes, apples, hints of cinnamon, hints of redcurrants.
Finish: Short. Peanuts, chocolate, apples, honey, prunes.

Comments:


A refreshingly sweet and fruity whisky. A very decent dessert wine, with slight tart notes on the nose and on the tongue. Not very unusual flavours, but very well made.

Verdict:

I like this.

Glen Mhor 32 yo 1975/2008

Glen Mhor 32 yo 1975/2008

Old Malt Cask, Douglas Laing
Single malt - Speyside
Dark gold
50% ABV
Dram

Nose: Raisins, peat, peaches, oranges, apples, passionfruit, chocolate, hints of limes.
Mouthfeel: Light body, cool, astringent.
Tasting: Sweet sour. Peaches, passionfruit, apples, limes, bread, hints of oats.
Finish: Long. Oats, oranges, coffee, chocolate.

Comments:


Rounded and sweet, mouth-filling, exactly like a good, red Merlot wine. There is a cereally bite on the tongue that gives the whisky extra body. The finish tops it all - fragrant, slightly bitter, with waves of chocolate and coffee. Excellent whisky.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Glendronach 15 yo Revival

Glendronach 15 yo Revival

Official bottling

Single malt - Speyside

Amber
46% ABV
Dram

Nose: Raisins, leather, brine, toffee, coffee, sherry, hints of rum.
Mouthfeel: Light body, cool, static, watery.
Tasting: Sweet sour. Raisins, sherry, oranges, lemons, honey, coffee, caramel, hints of brine, hints of leather.
Finish: Short. Honey, oranges, raisins, brown paper, brine.

Comments:


Matured in oloroso sherry casks, and named the Revival, as it is meant to be the resurrection of a much-loved sherry monster bottling, discontinued under the previous ownership. It's sweet with sharp hints of brine and citrus, very smooth and drinkable. Sherry monsters can be too sweet, this one is almost perfect. It doesn't quite reach the heights of old sherried Glen Grant, where the whisky could almost be mistaken for brandy, but it's very good indeed.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.

Tullibardine 14 yo 1992/2006

Tullibardine 14 yo 1992/2006

Official bottling

Single malt - Central Highlands
Buttercups
46% ABV
Sampler

Nose: Raisins, salt caramel, oranges, lemon zest, walnuts, roast pork, hints of leather, hints of violets.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, thickens, cool, slightly tingly.
Tasting: Salty sour. Oranges, lemon zest, leather, cooked rice, walnuts, hints of violets.
Finish: Medium. Vanilla, cooked rice, walnut skins, salt caramel.

Comments:


Lots of subtle hints of grains, so faint that I'm not sure if I imagined most of them. There is one that's quite obvious, and unique - cooked rice, with a slight ferment that reminds me of sake. Good whisky, quite salty on the nose and again on the finish.

Verdict:

I like this.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Glenury Royal 22 yo 1984/2007

Glenury Royal 22 yo 1984/2007

Rare & Old, Gordon & Macphail

Single malt - East Highlands
Amber
43% ABV
Dram

Nose: Raisins, oak, salted peanuts, tar, peat, leather, apples, hints of caramel.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, loosens, cool, astringent.
Tasting: Sweet sour. Peanuts, leather, peat, apples, limes, caramel, hints of molasses.
Finish: Medium. Limes, apples, leather, chillies.

Comments:


Sour, but redolent of sweet, heavy fruit, leathery peat and old caramelised sugar. A strange combination, at once unctuous and a little harsh. Very decadent - like Shanghai in the 1920s, a'la Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

Verdict:

I like this.

Friday, 9 October 2009

The Macphunn 18 yo Cask 1

The Macphunn 18 yo Cask 1The Macphunn, Macphunn
Single malt - Speyside
Dark amber
56.9% ABV
Dram


Nose: Sherry, red grapes, orange peel, grilled beef, raisins, hints of brown paper.
Mouthfeel: Heavy body, mouth coating, thickens, warm.
Tasting: Sweet. Honey, sherry, raisins, red grapes, black tea, brown paper, orange peel, hints of plums.
Finish: Long. Brown paper, sherry, raisins.

Comments:


A mystery malt, bottled by the owner of the Creggan's Hotel in Argyll. It's a single cask Speyside (I reckon it's Glenfarclas), matured in a sherry butt. Very nice indeed - complex, tannic, fruity and just a little meaty. Brilliant sherried whisky.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.


Update 24 July 2014:

Someone (well, an auction site) has finally come out and admitted this is sherried Glenfarclas. I gather there's a bit of a question mark over this particular cask, but it's almost certainly from that distillery.

SMWS 54.28 (Aberlour 13 yo 1996/2009)

SMWS 54.28 (Aberlour 13 yo 1996/2009)

2009, SMWS
Single malt - Speyside
Golden brown
60.3% ABV
Dram

Nose: Honey, sherry, rubber, chocolate, rolled oats, ginger, caramel, hints of curry leaf.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, watery, tingly, hot.
Tasting: Bitter salty. Sherry, chocolate, rubber, grilled beef, rolled oats, curry leaf, hints of onions.
Finish: Medium. Onions, chocolate, honey, oranges.

Comments:


Lots of savoury flavours, despite the sherry influence. While this was a refill butt, there was probably quite a bit of sherry left in it. Very eclectic. Water destroys the complexity and variety, reducing it to a single sweet dimension.

Verdict:

I like this.

SMWS 18.28 (Inchgower 24 yo 1985/2009)

SMWS 18.28 (Inchgower 24 yo 1985/2009)

2009, SMWS

Single malt - Speyside
Golden
47.8% ABV
Dram

Nose: Pineapple, limes, apples, oranges, roses, plums, chocolate, raisins, tobacco leaf.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, thickens, cool, a little volatile.
Tasting: Sweet salty. Cinnamon, limes, sea salt, pineapples, apples, plums, tobacco leaf, walnuts.
Finish: Long. Light, faint, chillies, pineapples, walnuts.

Comments:


Laden with exotic fruit and spice, this whisky is quite unusual. There's a great deal of complexity underlying the initial sweetness. Very wholesome.

Verdict:

I like this.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Pittyvaich 14 yo 1993/2007

Pittyvaich 14 yo 1993/2007

Connoisseur's Choice, Gordon & Macphail
Single malt - Speyside
Green gold
43% ABV
Dram

Nose: Raisins, malty beer, lemon zest, leather, hazelnuts, hints of cedar .
Mouthfeel: Light body, mouth coating, cool, thickens.
Tasting: Sour salty. Raisins, malty beer, leather, lemon zest, peanuts, sea salt, hints of peat.
Finish: Medium. Walnut skins, lemons, leather.

Comments:


Surprisingly peaty, yet very light indeed. There are strong whiffs of leather and sea salt that suggest more of an Oban or Old Pulteney. Great underpinnings of lemon zest recall Rosebank. Very pleasant indeed.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.

Convalmore 23 yo 1984/2008

Convalmore 23 yo 1984/2008

Connoisseur's Choice, Gordon & Macphail
Single malt - Speyside
Light amber
43% ABV
Dram

Nose: Lemon zest, lavender, cotton sheets, butter, raisins, chillies, walnuts, peat.
Mouthfeel: Light body, cool, loose, static.
Tasting: Bitter sour. Lemon zest, lavender, chillies, walnut skins, orange peel, hints of butter.
Finish: Long. Lavender, vanilla, lemon zest, chillies.

Comments:


Very light and citrusy, and a great floral overlay. There's even something very reminiscent of freshly laundered cotton sheets in the nose. It's like climbing into bed after a long day.

Verdict:

I like this.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Dewar's White Label

Dewar's White Label

Official bottling

Blended malt
Dark gold
40% ABV
Dram

Nose: Oranges, raisins, cream, butter, toffee, oak, vanilla, hints of peat.
Mouthfeel: Light body, hot, tingly.
Tasting: Sweet sour. Orange peel, raisins, walnuts, toffee, vanilla, cream, peat.
Finish: Medium. Walnuts, vanilla, cream, warm.

Comments:


Easy sipping, easy drinking whisky. Nice after a long day, although not when one wants ice. Pretty sweet and fruity, and the hint of peat rounds it off nicely.

Verdict:

I like this.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Johnnie Walker Black Label

Johnnie Walker Black Label

Official bottling
Blended malt
Dark gold
40% ABV
Dram

Nose: Lemons, peat, caramel, orange peel, smoke.
Mouthfeel: Light body, thickens, cool.
Tasting: Bitter sweet. Peat, orange peel, lemons, raisins, hints of smoke.
Finish: Short. Peat, orange peel, walnuts.

Comments:


Simple whisky, great in its simplicity. A classic. Pretty good neat, but really comes into its own with ice and soda.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.

Cutty Sark Blended Malt Whisky

Cutty Sark Blended Malt Whisky

Official bottling

Blended malt
Yellow gold
40% ABV
Dram

Nose: Rock sugar, caramel, toffee, marmalade, burnt sugar, oranges, butterscotch, hints of fried eggs.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, cool, thickens.
Tasting: Bitter sweet. Caramel, fried eggs, oranges, walnuts, hints of butterscotch.
Finish: Long. Bitter, burnt sugar, fried eggs.

Comments:


Over-caramelised whisky. The whiff of burnt sugar is very strong, perhaps even slightly unpleasant. There is a hard edge of fried egg, like the crisp brown bits where the hot fat meets the egg white.

Verdict:

Not bad.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Glenmorangie Astar


Glenmorangie Astar

Official bottling

Single malt - North Highlands
Dark gold
57.1% ABV
Bottle

Nose: Vanilla, sponge cake, lemon zest, chocolate, cinnamon, biscuit, hints of wood smoke. With water, smokier, biscuitier, sweeter.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, cool, slippery, volatile.
Tasting: Sweet. Vanilla, sponge cake, biscuit, chocolate, elderflower, cinnamon, nutmeg, hints of smoke. With water, biscuit, sweeter, brown paper, hints of smoke.
Finish: Long. Biscuit, chillies, vanilla, chocolate.

Comments:


Bottled in American oak barrels at cask strength. Very spicy and welcoming, the epitome of oak aging. Probably better than the Glengoyne 17 yo. I drank most of this on a beach in Greece. It was delicious.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Tamnavulin 18 yo 1990/2008

Tamnavulin 18 yo 1990/2008

Connoisseur's Choice, Gordon & Macphail
Single malt - Speyside
Pale green gold
43% ABV
Dram

Nose: Peat, rubber, peaches, musk, raisins, driftwood, sea salt, hints of smoke.
Mouthfeel: Light body, cool, watery, volatile.
Tasting: Bitter sweet. Peaches, peat, driftwood, raisins, sea salt, orange peel, hints of oats, hints of smoke.
Finish: Long. Peat, driftwood, walnut skins.

Comments:


Smells chemical, although it's not harsh. Lots of subtle, deeply laid peach flavours, overlaid with sea salt, peat and smoke. Not particularly refined whisky, instead robust and earthy, unusual for a Speyside.

Verdict:

I like this.

Glenturret 10 yo

Glenturret 10 yo

Official bottling
Single malt - Central Highlands
Pale gold
40% ABV
Dram

Nose: Raisins, peanuts, limes, lemon zest, orange peel, hints of peat.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, cool, watery, loose Sweet sour.
Tasting: Sweet sour. Peat, raisins, strawberry jam, lemon zest, limes, oats, hints of peanuts.
Finish: Medium. Peanuts, orange peel, lemon zest.

Comments:


Light and refreshing! Very cool, almost cold on the tongue. This whisky is great with ice, no mixers required. Delicious aperitif.

Verdict:

I like this.

Monday, 14 September 2009

SMWS 29.64 (Laphroaig 18 yo 1989/2008)

SMWS 29.64 (Laphroaig 18 yo 1989/2008)

2008, SMWS
Single malt - Islay
Amber
54.6% ABV
Dram

Nose: Peat, smoke, sherry, grilled fish, raisins, hints of tarry rope.
Mouthfeel: Heavy body, thickens, slippery, warm.
Tasting: Bitter sweet. Peat, smoke, cinnamon, raisins, grilled fish, sea salt, honey, hints of tarry rope.
Finish: Medium. Warm, raisins, peat, chillies.

Comments:


Sherried Laphroaig doesn't come along very often, and I'm usually grateful when it does. I find this a little too sweet though, but that's probably the peat-head in me having too much say. This is a very good whisky indeed.

Verdict:

I like this.

SMWS 7.39 (Longmorn 38 yo 1968/2007)

SMWS 7.39 (Longmorn 38 yo 1968/2007)

2007, SMWS
Single malt - Speyside
Dark amber
51% ABV
Dram

Nose: Raisins, orange peel, cloves, cinnamon, plums, prunes, hints of walnuts.
Mouthfeel: Heavy body, thickens, slightly watery around the edges.
Tasting: Sweet. Raisins, oranges, plums, orange peel, prunes, vanilla, honey, cinnamon, hints of walnuts.
Finish: Long. Raisins, walnuts, cinnamon, oranges, honey.

Comments:


Sweet and sherried, with great structure and body. A whisky at the pinnacle of perfection. I could drink this all night long, without water, because that's surely as good as it gets.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.

SMWS 105.10 (Tormore 21 yo 1983/2005)

SMWS 105.10 (Tormore 21 yo 1983/2005)

2005, SMWS
Single malt - Speyside
Orange amber
57.2% ABV
Dram

Nose: Oranges, orange peel, marmalade, aniseed, molasses, raisins, hints of fennel. With water, sweeter, more oranges, orange peel, coriander seed.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, loosens, slippery, warm.
Tasting: Bitter sweet. Orange peel, molasses, oranges, raisins, lemon zest, aniseed, hints of fennel. With water, sweeter, orange peel, coriander seed.
Finish: Medium. Orange peel, molasses, raisins, walnut skins.

Comments:


Smells a little bitter, with marmalade notes in the nose that didn't bode well. Very different on the tongue though, filling and satisfying, with a slight bitter note. The sort of whisky you have instead of dinner.

Verdict:

I like this.

SMWS 45.20 (Dallas Dhu 31 yo 1975/2007)

SMWS 45.20 (Dallas Dhu 31 yo 1975/2007)

2007, SMWS
Single malt - Speyside
Bright gold
49.4% ABV
Dram

Nose: Pineapples, peaches, plums, honey, vanilla, hints of apples, hints of brine.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, thickens, clumps together.
Tasting: Sweet sour. Pineapples, plums, peaches, apples, orange peel, cloves, hints of brine.
Finish: Medium. Pineapples, brine, honey, peaches.

Comments:


Tangy and more than a little tropical. Lots of fruit, very estery, with a slight hint of salt that is pretty attractive. You don't get many whiskies like this often. This was the unanimous favourite of the evening.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Four Roses Yellow Label

Four Roses Yellow Label

Official bottling

Single bourbon - Kentucky
Golden
40% ABV
Sampler

Nose: Pears, apples, brown paper, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, magic marker.
Mouthfeel: Light body, thickens, cool, mouth coating.
Tasting: Sweet sour. Pears, apples, cinnamon, honey, brown paper, chocolate.
Finish: Medium. Pears, apples, banana, cinnamon.

Comments:


Pleasant, drinkable bourbon. Ultimately though, a little too light and bland. I prefer robust, strong spirits. I could drink this one all day in front of the TV though. Maybe that's what it's been made for.

Verdict:

I like this.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

SMWS 93.31 (Glen Scotia 16 yo 1992/2008)

SMWS 93.31 (Glen Scotia 16 yo 1992/2008)

2008, SMWS

Single malt - Campbeltown

Golden
65.5% ABV
Dram

Nose: Vanilla, honey, peat, smoke, roast pork, tobacco leaf, peaches, hints of plums.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, loosens, turns watery.
Tasting: Bitter sweet. Honey, iodine, peat, smoke, plums, leather, roast pork, grilled fish, tobacco leaf.
Finish: Short. Iodine, peat, honey, tobacco leaf.

Comments:


Very medicinal, yet I get the feeling that I'm being a bit naughty when I'm drinking this. It's probably the very high alcohol content, as well as the tobacco flavours. It's like smoking in a hospital. None of this prevents the whisky from being absolutely delicious.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.
 

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