Monday, 27 December 2010

Clynelish 14 yo

Clynelish 14 yo

Official bottling
Single malt - North Highlands
Amber red
46% ABV
Dram


Nose:
Smoke, five spice powder, pineapples, apples, honey, hints of mint.
Mouthfeel:
Medium body, syrupy, quite static .
Tasting: Sweet sour. Tangerines, pineapples, apples, honey, lemons, hints of mint.
Finish:
Medium. Smoke, five spice powder, honey, mint.

Comments:


Smoky and fruity. With Clynelish, I find that the smokiness has a burnt toast quality, but in this whisky, the smokiness has mellowed to something very much like roast pork. I was reminded very much of char siu pork (hence the five spice powder). The tangerine notes on the tongue make this a very appropriate Christmas whisky.

Verdict:


I like this.


Wednesday, 10 November 2010

SMWS 127.1 (Bruichladdich "Port Charlotte" 8 yo 2001/2010)

SMWS 127.1 (Bruichladdich "Port Charlotte" 8 yo 2001/2010)

2010, SMWS

Single malt - Islay

Golden

66.5% ABV
Dram


Nose:
Tar, smoke, peat, burning rope, honey, brine, vanilla, cream.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, thickens, slippery, oily.
Tasting:
Sweet salty. Chillies, smoke, peat, char siu, brine, honey, hints of pears.
Finish: Long. Smoke, peat, brine, pears.

Comments:


Peaty, meaty, rounded in the mouth. A very appetising dram, though not satisfying. Leaves one wanting more, and more, and more. Not very good for me at the moment, but I did manage to keep myself to one. It was a crime to leave some of the dram on the table though.

Verdict:


I like this a lot.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Royal Brackla 25 yo 1974/2000

Royal Brackla 25 yo 1974/2000

Connoisseur's Choice, Gordon & Macphail

Single malt - Speyside

Golden

43% ABV
Dram


Nose:
Peat, lemons, limes, guava, tamarind, hints of smoke.
Mouthfeel:
Light body, turns watery, smooth, loosens.
Tasting:
Salty sour. Peat, brown paper, limes, guava, tamarind, hints of smoke.
Finish:
Short. Salty, peat, lemons, guava.

Comments:


Tart and refreshing, with the tang of the sea mixed in with refreshing tropical fruits. Something of a cross between whisky and a rum daiquiri. Would be excellent on ice.

Verdict:

I like this.

Lochside 17 yo 1981/1998

Lochside 17 yo 1981/1998

Connoisseur's Choice, Gordon & Macphail

Single malt - East Highlands

Light amber

43% ABV
Dram


Nose:
Honey, orange peel, molasses, vanilla, butter, milk. With water, more oranges, strawberries, plums begin to appear.
Mouthfeel:
Light body, slippery, airy, smooth.
Tasting:
Sweet. Orange peel, black tea, molasses, vanilla, pomeloes, milk, hints of chillies. With water, sweeter, fruitier, plums, strawberries.
Finish:
Medium. Orange peel, pomeloes, black tea, molasses.

Comments:


Light and tasty, easy drinking with a cool citrus bite. Pomeloes are hard to come by in the UK, and it was a pleasant surprise to taste them in this whisky. It's the closed distilleries that make the tastiest stuff!

Verdict:


I like this a lot.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Pittyvaich 12 yo

Pittyvaich 12 yo

Official bottling, Flora and Fauna
Single malt - Speyside
Amber

43% ABV
Dram


Nose:
Oranges, honey, peat, mint, pear, hints of palm sugar.
Mouthfeel:
Medium body, slippery, loosens, turns watery.
Tasting: Sweet sour. Oranges, honey, coconuts, mint, chocolate, palm sugar, hints of smoke.
Finish:
Short. Bittersweet, chocolate, oranges.

Comments:

Sweet and luscious, with a great mouthfeel. I had this for dessert, and it was wonderful. I don't get to drink whisky often now, and this opportunity wasn't wasted at all! A great dessert whisky.

Verdict:


I like this a lot.


Thursday, 16 September 2010

Noah's Mill 15 yo 1987/2002

Noah's Mill 15 yo 1987/2002

Official bottling
Single bourbon - Kentucky
Amber

57.15% ABV
Sampler

Nose: Banana, magic marker, wet stones, cinnamon, palm sugar, brown paper, hints of soy sauce.
Mouthfeel:
Light body, airy, thickens, turns sticky.
Tasting:
Bitter sweet. Banana, sandalwood, soy sauce, honey, orange peel, cinnamon, mint.
Finish:
Long. Banana, honey, cinnamon, pears, mint.

Comments:


Bittersweet, more so than most bourbons, with a savoury note. Fragrant, fruity and slightly herby. From the supposedly defunct Willett distillery, and very very tasty indeed. I wish my health allowed me to drink more.

Verdict:


I like this a lot.


Monday, 23 August 2010

Glen Keith 14 yo 1993/2007

Glen Keith 14 yo 1993/2007

Connoisseur's Choice, Gordon & Macphail
Single malt - Speyside
Pale gold
46% ABV
Sampler

Nose: Raisins, custard, honey, vanilla, orange peel, cream.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, thickens, sticky, mouth coating.
Tasting:
Sweet. Vanilla, raisins, honey, sponge cake, cream, orange peel.
Finish:
Medium. Walnuts, honey, vanilla, hints of apples.

Comments:


Wow, with around 3 weeks off from drinking whisky, it's a real pleasure to hold the glass in my hand and inhale the fumes again. I chose a nice easy Speyside, and it tasted very good initially. However, on reflection it's a bit too mild, and there aren't many interesting flavours in there. Very pleasurable none the less.

Verdict:

I like this.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

All good things come to an end...

... but not drinking whisky. Instead, this hobby will have to diminish, and not so much take a back seat as get relegated to the attic.

After 3 solid years of drinking plenty of good, great and incredible whisky, I've had to slow down quite a lot. Doctor's advice, apparently my poor liver wasn't quite up to it. Mrs Red Hare and Little Red Hare are quite keen for me to stay healthy, and they come first, of course.

So this means several things for this blog and my whisky drinking life:
  • Fewer tasting notes each month. Very many fewer.
  • More selective choices of whiskies. Eventually anyway - I have an existing sample collection to work through.
  • Dramming sessions with friends will become (no, stay!) rare. Truth be told, since Little Red Hare arrived, I've been able to dram my way through precisely one evening. But what an evening it was!
  • More than ever, I appreciate that whisky is a luxury, and life's too short to waste on bad or mediocre stuff. Henceforth if a dram or bottle doesn't meet the pleasure standard, it goes into the bin (or the kitchen shelf for cooking).
Hopefully, with these measures, I'll be able to extend enjoyment of this great hobby for a few more years. If you're reading this blog regularly (yes, all 3 of you), please be patient - I'll put up some tasting notes every month, if not quite as often as before.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Highland Park 16 yo

Highland Park 16 yo

Official bottling
Single malt - Islands
Straw

40% ABV
Sampler

Nose: Smoke, custard, honey, peat, orange peel, chocolate, hints of guava.
Mouthfeel:
Light body, static, warm, airy.
Tasting:
Bitter sweet. Smoke, peat, orange peel, guava, honey, melon, hints of chocolate.
Finish:
Short. Lemon juice, peat, orange peel, honey.

Comments:


A wonderful whisky. This is only available at travel retail, and is very much like the great 18 yo official bottling. However, it is less heavy on the tongue, and also less salty. It hits all the right spots though, with lots of honey, tropical fruit, smoke and peat.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Hankey Bannister Blended Scotch

Hankey Bannister Blended Scotch

Official bottling

Blended malt

Dark gold

43% ABV
Dram


Nose:
Vanilla, lemon juice, peaches, peat, strawberries, brass polish, hints of mushrooms.
Mouthfeel:
Light body, watery, loose.
Tasting:
Sour. Lemon juice, orange juice, vanilla, peat, toffee, hints of mushrooms.
Finish:
Medium. Lemon juice, vanilla, orange juice, peat.

Comments:


Interestingly tart, with dark whiffs of fungi. Some fruit is present in this whisky, but it's sour citrusy fruits. Quite an unusual blend, although quite tasty, and great with ice.

Verdict:


I like this.


Friday, 25 June 2010

Johnnie Walker Red Label

Johnnie Walker Red Label

Official bottling
Blended malt
Orange

40% ABV
Dram


Nose:
Vanilla, egg custard, raisins, diesel exhaust, toffee, new plastic, peanuts, hints of lemon juice.
Mouthfeel:
Medium body, tingly, slippery, mouth coating.
Tasting:
Bitter sweet. Vanilla, egg custard, peat, leather, raisins, new plastic, hints of lemon juice.
Finish:
Medium. Walnut skins, diesel exhaust, raisins.

Comments:

I suppose that the hint of smoke in the nose and the taste is done on purpose, with the idea of making a sweeter version of Black Label. Unfortunately it deteriorates somewhat into diesel exhaust and new plastic. Drinkable.

Verdict:

Not bad.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Nikka Yoichi Single Cask 1987/2009

Nikka Yoichi Single Cask 1987/2009

Official bottling

Single malt - Hokkaido

Amber red

58% ABV
Dram


Nose:
Cedar, tarragon, orange juice, red grapes, mushrooms, chillies, honey, peat.
Mouthfeel:
Medium body, loose, watery, smooth.
Tasting:
Sweet. Cedar, tarragon, orange peel, chillies, honey, red grapes, raisins, brown paper.
Finish:
Long. Oranges, chillies, raisins.

Comments:


The barman at the Curio Parlour's Nikka Whisky Bar mentioned that this was the only bottle in Europe. I feel privileged! Unusual fungal and spice notes in the nose, quickly followed by familiar honey and red grapes. The cedar and tarragon last into the tasting, but then disappear. Excellent whisky, absolutely delicious.

Verdict:


I like this a lot.

Miyagikyo 15 yo

Miyagikyo 15 yo

Official bottling
Single malt - East Honshu
Amber gold
45% ABV
Dram


Nose:
Orange peel, honey, blueberries, peaches, vanilla, lemon juice, hints of roses.
Mouthfeel:
Light body, loose, watery, smooth.
Tasting:
Sweet sour. Vanilla, blueberries, lemon juice, peaches, roses, apples, hints of pears.
Finish:
Medium. Roses, apples, vanilla, blueberries.

Comments:


Light and ethereal, remarkably rounded and tasty. Floral and spice notes predominate, but there's a lot of fruit in here. Easy drinking, scarily easy. This is one whisky where a bottle will disappear quickly among friends.

Verdict:


I like this a lot.


Yoichi 20 yo

Yoichi 20 yo

Official bottling
Single malt - Hokkaido
Amber

52% ABV
Dram


Nose:
Leather, red grapes, peat, orange peel, strawberries, toffee, raspberries, peanuts, honey, hints of smoke.
Mouthfeel:
Light body, watery, slippery, loose.
Tasting:
Sweet. Strawberries, red grapes, raspberries, peanuts, leather, vanilla, honey, brown paper, hints of peach.
Finish:
Long. Chillies, leather, honey, strawberries.

Comments:


Like burgundy, smooth, round and light - on first nosing and tasting at least. After a while, the caramel, toffee and peanut notes begin to predominate, bringing to mind caramel peanuts at a fairground. Delicious

Verdict:

I like this a lot.


Monday, 14 June 2010

SMWS 77.19 (Glen Ord 22 yo 1987/2010)

SMWS 77.19 (Glen Ord 22 yo 1987/2010)

2010, SMWS
Single malt - North Highlands

Butter

58% ABV
Dram


Nose:
Apples, butter, cedar, chillies, milk, cream, pears, hints of vanilla.
Mouthfeel:
Medium body, thickens, gritty, slightly fizzy.
Tasting:
Sweet sour. Vanilla, lemon sweets, apples, cedar, butter, pears, cream, hints of peaches.
Finish:
Long. Apples, butter, pears, cedar.

Comments:


Deliciously fruity and dry. Tastes like a cider, or perhaps perry, that hasn't been as fermented as English cider normally is. There are nice sweet creamy, milky, buttery notes as well, which round out the whisky and give it some body.

Verdict:


I like this.


SMWS 123.5 (Glengoyne 8 yo 2001/2010)

SMWS 123.5 (Glengoyne 8 yo 2001/2010)

2010, SMWS

Single malt - South Highlands

Orange copper

60.8% ABV
Dram


Nose:
Cinnamon, chocolate, plums, marmalade, peanuts, vanilla fudge, burnt sugar, hints of mint. With water, peanuts, fresh cut grass, walnuts.
Mouthfeel:
Medium body, burning, hot, thickens.
Tasting: Sweet. Burnt sugar, marmalade, chocolate, cinnamon, plums, peanuts, vanilla, oak, raisins, hints of brown paper. With water, more bitter, walnuts, fresh cut grass, hints of red grapes.
Finish:
Long. Fiery, plums, marmalade, cinnamon.

Comments:


Matured in a port pipe - usually these are nice and sweet, with lots of flavour. Christmassy, yet light. Reminds me of the Glengoyne 17 yo official bottling, lots of dried fruit and chocolate. This one is more spicy.

Verdict:


I like this.


Friday, 11 June 2010

Glenburgie-Glenlivet 11 yo

Glenburgie-Glenlivet 11 yo

Authentic Collection, WM Cadenhead

Single malt - Speyside

Pale green gold

59.8% ABV
Sampler

Nose: Mint, raisins, milk chocolate, bananas, salt caramel, hints of brine.
Mouthfeel:
Light body, thickens, smooth, slippery.
Tasting:
Sweet salty. Mint, raisins, milk chocolate, white grapes, vanilla, salt caramel, hints of bananas.
Finish:
Short. Chillies, milk chocolate, white grapes, hints of brine.

Comments:


I don't know the year of distillation or year of bottling for this one. It is fragrant and sweet, with lots of Edradour-like mint chocolate notes. Layered over that base are white grapes and some dried fruit, with a slightly salty bite. Tastes simple, somehow, and doesn't need any water at all, despite the strength.


Verdict:

I like this a lot.


Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Fettercairn 13 yo 1993/2007


Fettercairn 13 yo 1993/2007


Authentic Collection, WM Cadenhead

Single malt - East Highlands

Straw

59% ABV
Sampler

Nose: Mint, raisins, prunes, leather, toffee, chocolate, hints of brown sugar. With water, sweeter, strawberries, lemon sweets.
Mouthfeel:
Light body, smooth, tingly, warm.
Tasting: Bitter sweet. Mint, raisins, prunes, leather, brown sugar, vanilla, strawberries, hints of leather. With water, sweeter, lemon sweets, orange peel.
Finish:
Medium. Prunes, toffee, leather, walnuts.

Comments:


Light, yet complex. Sweet, strong and redolent of dried fruit neat, then opens up, turning more delicate and fruitier with a touch of water. Very tasty, needs just a little bit of water. Adding too much destroys the balance.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.


Friday, 4 June 2010

SMWS 76.70 (Mortlach 15 yo 1994/2010)

SMWS 76.70 (Mortlach 15 yo 1994/2010)

2010, SMWS

Single malt - Speyside

Caramel brown

59% ABV
Dram


Nose:
Coca cola, black pepper, raisins, strawberries, orange peel, balsamic vinegar. With water, orange juice and vanilla appear.
Mouthfeel:
Heavy body, thickens, smooth, syrupy.
Tasting:
Sweet. Strawberries, coca cola, orange peel, balsamic vinegar, honey, black pepper, hints of walnuts. With water, tarter, orange juice and vanilla appear.
Finish:
Long. Vanilla, honey, coca cola, balsamic vinegar.

Comments:


In Italy, they eat strawberries dipped in balsamic vinegar with a sprinkle of black pepper over them - brings out the sweetness and fragrance of the fruit. I get the same feeling when drinking this whisky. Quite special.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.


SMWS 23.64 (Bruichladdich 7 yo 2002/2010)

SMWS 23.64 (Bruichladdich 7 yo 2002/2010)

2010, SMWS
Single malt - Islay
Light gold

59% ABV
Dram


Nose:
Cured ham, cream, brine, leather, butter, honey, hints of peat. With water, sweeter, vanilla, hints of golden syrup.
Mouthfeel:
Medium body, thickens, smooth, slippery.
Tasting:
Bitter salty. Cured ham, cream, leather, butter, honey, limes, hints of peat. With water, sweeter, vanilla, almonds.
Finish:
Medium. Walnut skins, cream, limes, cured ham, peat.

Comments:


Quite milky, yet peaty and salty, with salty serrano ham. An interesting combination, but one that ultimately doesn't quite do it for me. I enjoyed this less than other Bruichladdichs, perhaps.

Verdict:


Not bad.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Strathisla 18 yo 1987/2006

Strathisla 18 yo 1987/2006

Distillery Labels, Gordon & Macphail
Single malt - Speyside

Golden

40% ABV
Sampler

Nose: Raisins, peaches, magic marker, ink, brine, leather, hints of flint, hints of orange peel.
Mouthfeel:
Medium body, thickens, smooth, oily.
Tasting:
Bitter. Walnut skins, ink, flint, peaches, vanilla, leather, hints of brine, hints of magic marker.
Finish:
Medium. Walnut skins, orange peel, peanuts, hints of peaches.

Comments:


Sweet salty bitter on the nose, but then tightens up on the tongue - for the first 10 seconds all I can taste is harsh bitter walnut skins! Then it loosens up, gains some fruitiness and some vanilla, and the more subtle notes come into play.

Verdict:

Not bad.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Rowan's Creek 13 yo 1989/2002

Rowan's Creek 13 yo 1989/2002

Official bottling

Single bourbon - Kentucky

Dark amber

50.05% ABV
Sampler

Nose: Brown paper, bananas, cream, strawberries, pears, magic marker, hints of pine.
Mouthfeel:
Heavy body, tingly, thickens, mouth coating.
Tasting:
Sweet. Brown paper, cream, strawberries, chillies, pine, red wine, hints of mint.
Finish:
Long. Walnut skins, red wine, mint, chillies.

Comments:


I've a slight suspicion that this wasn't distilled at the Willett distillery, and instead was just bottled by the Kentucky Distillers' Co, but I can't confirm that. Nevertheless, they've produced a very sherry-sweet, brandy-rich bourbon. Loaded with hints of strawberries and pears, winey richness and lots of spice, especially in the finish. The bottle says 12 years old, but the distilling date and the bottling date are definitely 13 years apart.

Verdict:


I like this a lot.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Tomatin 19 yo 1988/2007

Tomatin 19 yo 1988/2007

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


Nose:
Strawberries, vanilla, honey, orange juice, grape jelly, hints of peat.
Mouthfeel:
Medium body, thickens, smooth, mouth coating.
Tasting:
Sour. Strawberries, honey, orange juice, grape jelly, cream, orange blossom, hints of leather, hints of peat.
Finish:
Short. Orange juice, vanilla, honey.

Comments:


Floral and fruity, with an interesting flavour element of fake grape flavour - the stuff used to flavour grape sweets. Unexpectedly tart on the tongue too, despite the strong overtones of honey and strawberries.

Verdict:


I like this.


Monday, 24 May 2010

Benromach Traditional

Benromach Traditional

Official bottling

Single malt - Speyside

Straw

40% ABV
Sampler


Nose:
Peanuts, lemons, vanilla, jasmine, peat, honey, cream, milk, malty beer.
Mouthfeel:
Light body, slippery, watery, smooth.
Tasting:
Sweet sour. Malty beer, milk, cream, jasmine, honey, vanilla, hints of peat, hints of lemons.
Finish:
Medium. Peat, peanuts, milk, jasmine.

Comments:


Light and floral (are all Benromach whiskies like this?), with some subtle creamy notes, plus an overlay of peat. That is a slight distraction - I think the whisky would be more tasty and attractive without it. Very pleasant to drink though, very good for the current hot weather.

Verdict:


I like this.


Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Glendullan-Glenlivet 12 yo 1996/2008

Glendullan-Glenlivet 12 yo 1996/2008

Authentic Collection, WM Cadenhead
Single malt - Speyside
Pale green

58.2% ABV
Sampler


Nose:
Lemons, wet stones, peanuts, malty beer, brine, prunes, hints of raisins.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, thickens, mouth coating, smooth.
Tasting:
Sweet sour. Lemons, malty beer, wet stones, orange peel, chillies, cream, raisins, hints of yoghurt.
Finish:
Medium. Lemons, raisins, wet stones, malty beer.

Comments:


Sweet salty at first, then loses the briney taste and becomes more tart upon sitting for a little while. Retains a chalky, flinty feel throughout, which disappears once water is added (shame!). Pleasant drinking, needs no water despite the high strength.

Verdict:


I like this.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Glenturret 20 yo 1987/2008

Glenturret 20 yo 1987/2008

Authentic Collection, WM Cadenhead

Single malt - Central Highlands

Lemon yellow

51.6% ABV
Sampler


Nose:
Leather, brine, iodine, peanuts, pineapple, palm sugar. With water, loses its saltiness, becomes more tart - lemons, hints of green apple appear.
Mouthfeel:
Light body, watery, slippery, loose.
Tasting:
Sweet salty. Vanilla, peanuts, iodine, pineapple, leather, brine, honey, hints of palm sugar. With water, less salty, more sour - lemons and more pineapple appear.
Finish:
Long. Palm sugar, leather, vanilla, pineapple.

Comments:


Quite salty straight out of the bottle, but loses this. Not just with the addition of water either - left alone for a while, the whisky develops, becoming tarter and more acidic. The leathery briney notes soften to lemons and pineapple. Something that requires concentration and patience.

Verdict:

I like this.

Friday, 7 May 2010

SMWS 95.11 (Auchroisk 19 yo 1990/2010)

SMWS 95.11 (Auchroisk 19 yo 1990/2010)

2010, SMWS

Single malt - Speyside

Amber gold

58.6% ABV
Dram


Nose:
Raisins, orange peel, marmalade, red wine, flint, molasses, hints of honey.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, slippery, loosens.
Tasting:
Sweet. Orange peel, marmalade, red wine, flint, brown paper, molasses, black pepper, hints of raspberry jam.
Finish: Long. Tingly, marmalade, raspberry jam, black pepper.

Comments:

A sweet and spicy sherried Speyside. Shows some minerally characteristics on the nose and on the tongue, which make it very pleasant indeed.

Verdict:

I like this.


SMWS 46.20 (Glenlossie 17 yo 1992/2010)


SMWS 46.20 (Glenlossie 17 yo 1992/2010)


2010, SMWS

Single malt - Speyside

Golden

52.1% ABV
Dram


Nose:
Lemons, ginger, vanilla, lemon sweets, sherbet, chillies, hints of white pepper.
Mouthfeel:
Medium body, tingly, fizzy, loosens.
Tasting:
Sour. Lemon sweets, sherbet, ginger, vanilla, orange juice, hints of grapefruit, hints of chillies.
Finish:
Medium. Lemons, lemon sweets, ginger.

Comments:


This whisky reminds me of lemony Rosebank - it has the hard, tart, 'brassy' flavour that I associate with that distillery. However, there's an intense spicy gingery element to it, which sets it apart from all the Rosebanks I've ever had.

Verdict:

I like this.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

SMWS 84.12 (Glendullan 12 yo 1997/2010)

SMWS 84.12 (Glendullan 12 yo 1997/2010)

2010, SMWS

Single malt - Speyside
Pale gold
59.2% ABV
Dram

Nose: White grapes, jasmine, grass, peaches, vanilla, butterscotch, hints of elderflower. With water, less fruity and sweeter, cereally and cakey, lots of vanilla and butterscotch.
Mouthfeel: Light body, volatile, loose, ethereal.
Tasting:
Sweet sour. White grapes, raisins, grass, jasmine, elderflower, butter, hints of peaches, hints of black tea. With water, sweeter, vanilla, butterscotch, sponge cake.
Finish:
Long. Peaches, white grapes, jasmine, chillies.

Comments:


Fragrant and delightful, relaxing and fun to drink. I drank this whisky while feeling slightly stressed out and down, but cheered up quickly! Fruity and delicate, yet complex.

Verdict:

I like this.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Tamnavulin 1966 Forrester

Tamnavulin 1966 Forrester

Official bottling
Single malt - Speyside
Mahogany

52.6% ABV
Dram


Nose: Raisins, brown paper, plums, roses, toast, marmalade, chillies.
Mouthfeel:
Heavy body, thick, mouth coating, syrupy.
Tasting:
Sweet. Brown paper, plums, marmalade, pineapples, toast, hints of chillies.
Finish:
Long. Toast, raisins, marmalade, orange juice, chillies.

Comments:


35 years old, bottled 2001, cask #3807 yielding 472 bottles. Sweet, intense, almost brandy-like. There's a lot of sherry in here, and I'm not sure that there's a lot of whisky left! Still, very, very enjoyable indeed - fruity, spicy, with a little bit of burnt cereally toast to remind me I'm drinking whisky.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Auchroisk 12 yo 1993/2006

Auchroisk 12 yo 1993/2006

Connoisseur's Choice, Gordon & Macphail

Single malt - Speyside

White wine

43% ABV
Sampler


Nose: Raisins, brine, lemon zest, pears, magic marker, hints of camphor.
Mouthfeel:
Medium body, thickens, slippery, mouth coating.
Tasting:
Bitter sweet. Pears, peanuts, raisins, flint, lemon zest, hints of plums, hints of camphor.
Finish:
Pears, lemon zest, flint, walnut skins, camphor.

Comments:


Fruity, yet bitter. The bitterness isn't just the full rounded tempered bitterness of lemon zest. There's a slightly unpleasant harsh chemical bitterness, that is also a little spicy. It runs all the way through the whisky, making it harder to drink. Not the most pleasant of drams.

Verdict:

Not bad.

Friday, 30 April 2010

Scapa 16 yo 1993/2009


Scapa 16 yo 1993/2009

Distillery Labels, Gordon & Macphail

Single malt - Islands
Pale green gold
40% ABV
Sampler


Nose: Peanuts, malty beer, leather, cooked rice, raisins, hints of fried onions.
Mouthfeel:
Light body, watery, loose, airy.
Tasting: Salty sour. Grapefruit, leather, lemons, malty beer, cooked rice, chocolate, hints of fried onions.
Finish:
Short. Grapefruit, cooked rice, lemons, malty beer.

Comments:

Quite salty and tart, loose and light. I think this whisky would have been better bottled at a higher strength. It's got a nice bitter sour grapefruity note that is quite refreshing. Excellent on ice, but you have to drink it quick - it doesn't dilute well.

Verdict:

I like this.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Balblair 10 yo

Balblair 10 yo

Distillery Labels, Gordon & Macphail

Single malt - North Highlands
Pale green
43% ABV
Sampler


Nose: Salt, leather, brown paper, raisins, cloves, plums.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, thickens, slippery, oily.
Tasting: Sweet salty. Vanilla, brown paper, leather, raisins, dates, prunes, plums, hints of pineapples.
Finish:
Long. Brown paper, dates, prunes, vanilla.

Comments:

Young, but tastes old! Lots of dried fruit, not as fresh and as tangy as the official Balblairs are, although there is still a nice tart hint of pineapple. Instead, this whisky is sweet, vanilla-laden, and slightly briney.

Verdict:
I like this.

Monday, 19 April 2010

SMWS 29.83 (Laphroaig 20 yo 1989/2010)

SMWS 29.83 (Laphroaig 20 yo 1989/2010)

2010, SMWS

Single malt - Islay
Brown
52.3% ABV
Dram


Nose: Smoke, cream, vanilla, oranges, honey, grilled pork, hints of raisins, hints of oatmeal.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, syrupy, smooth, tingly.
Tasting: Bitter. Vanilla, oranges, smoke, honey, raisins, black pepper, cloves, hints of grilled pork.
Finish: Long. Black pepper, smoke, honey, walnuts.

Comments:


Not as sweet as I thought it would be. Instead, there's a nice spicy, tingly peppery bite, with a meaty, tasty feel on the tongue. Laphroaig is one of those whiskies that takes sherry finishing really well, and it's hard to go wrong when I find one.

Verdict:

I like this.

SMWS 25.52 (Rosebank 18 yo 1991/2010)

SMWS 25.52 (Rosebank 18 yo 1991/2010)

2010, SMWS

Single malt - Lowlands
Golden
55% ABV
Dram

Nose: Lemon sweets, cream soda, limes, pine, cloves, hints of honey, hints of vanilla.
Mouthfeel: Light body, watery, loose, airy.
Tasting: Sour. Lemon sweets, limes, honey, vanilla, coconut, cloves, hints of cinnamon.
Finish: Medium. Lemon sweets, limes, cloves.

Comments:


Very tart and citric, turning spicy on the tongue. It's not like other Rosebanks, much less sweeet, with the lemons really coming through. There's an overtone of limes as well, which isn't something I've encountered before in this type of whisky.

Verdict:

I like this.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Glencadam 25 yo 1982/2007

Glencadam 25 yo 1982/2007

Authentic Collection, WM Cadenhead

Single malt - East Highlands
Golden
51.2% ABV
Sampler


Nose: Leather, iodine, lemons, malty beer, sea salt, molasses, hints of raisins. With water, sweeter, less leathery and salty, pears, magic marker appear.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, tingly, warm, thickens.
Tasting: Sour salty. Honey, leather, iodine, vanilla, cream, oats, raisins, hints of molasses. With water, sweeter, more cereally and oaty, raisins really come to the fore.
Finish: Medium. Hot, lemons, iodine, leather, sea salt.

Comments:


Throat-tickling, and salty cereally when neat, but takes water pretty well. I added more than a splash, way beyond my usual two dribbles, and it opened up a lot - much sweeter, a little more like Juicy Pear jelly beans, and more fruity too.

Verdict:

I like this.

Friday, 9 April 2010

SMWS 2.76 (Glenlivet 16 yo 1993/2010)

SMWS 2.76 (Glenlivet 16 yo 1993/2010)

2010, SMWS

Single malt - Speyside
Pale amber
56.3% ABV
Dram

Nose: Ink, pears, magic marker, coca cola, lemon juice, molasses, hints of thyme. With water, slightly cardboardy, plums, orange peel appears.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, syrupy, thickens, mouth coating.
Tasting: Bitter sweet. Coca cola, pears, molasses, lemon juice, honey, hints of thyme. With water, more sour, plums, cloves appear.
Finish: Long. Walnut skins, molasses, pears, coca cola.

Comments:


Quite a chemical bitter nose, but this gives way in the mouth to bitter sweet sour flavours reminiscent of Coke. With water the nose unfortunately doesn't improve, turning a bit cardboardy, but in the mouth the whisky gains fragrance and spice. A strange one.

Verdict:

I like this.

SMWS 16.29 (Glenturret 21 yo 1988/2010)

SMWS 16.29 (Glenturret 21 yo 1988/2010)

2010, SMWS

Single malt - Central Highlands
Golden
46.9% ABV
Dram

Nose: Vanilla, honey, plums, lemons, cardamom, ginger, cloves, hints of balsamic vinegar. With water, sweeter, bubblegum, five spice powder.
Mouthfeel: Light body, airy, watery, loose.
Tasting: Sweet sour. Honey, plums, marmalade, cardamom, ginger, cloves, hints of cinnamon. With water, sweeter, more honey, preserved Chinese sour plums.
Finish: Long. Marmalade, ginger, plums.

Comments:


Quite oriental, sweet sour. Like licking ginger preserves and damson jam straight out of the jar. Very tasty and spicy, a great dessert whisky.

Verdict:

I like this.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Kilchoman Autumn 2009 Release

Kilchoman Autumn 2009 Release

Official bottling

Single malt - Islay
Bronze
46% ABV
Sampler


Nose: Peanuts, peat, dates, honey, smoke, butterscotch, hints of soy sauce, hints of mint.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, slippery, turns watery.
Tasting: Bitter sweet. Peat, dates, honey, butterscotch, peanuts, mint, hints of fish sauce.
Finish: Short. Oats, dates, cream, peat.

Comments:


3 years old, finished for 3 months in a sherry butt. Sweet, like the new make spirit, this time with hints of savoury notes. The date and butterscotch comes through very strongly, cutting through all that peat.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.

Monday, 5 April 2010

North Port-Brechin 19 yo 1981/2000

North Port-Brechin 19 yo 1981/2000

Connoisseur's Choice, Gordon & Macphail

Single malt - East Highlands
Yellow gold
40% ABV
Dram

Nose: Peanuts, mushrooms, lemon zest, lemon sweets, orange juice, hints of chillies.
Mouthfeel: Light body, watery, loose.
Tasting: Sweet sour. Mushrooms, lemon zest, limes, orange juice, chillies, red peppers, hints of oranges.
Finish: Short. Peanuts, mushrooms, limes, red peppers.

Comments:


Quite musty and fungal at the beginning, although this is soon joined by spicy, sweet, citrusy notes. A very brisk whisky, hurries the drinker along, and pretty soon, is all gone...

Verdict:

I like this.

Glen Esk 15 yo 1985/2000

Glen Esk 15 yo 1985/2000

Connoisseur's Choice, Gordon & Macphail

Single malt - East Highlands
Amber
40% ABV
Dram

Nose: Raisins, caramel, plums, prunes, green apples, roses, hints of leather.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, loosens, slippery, slightly watery around the edges.
Tasting: Sweet. Raisins, caramel, plums, prunes, green apples, roses, honey, hints of leather.
Finish: Medium. Chillies, honey, plums, prunes.

Comments:


Something like Chinese sour plums, reminds me very much of Oban 14 yo, except that Oban whisky is saltier. This is more fragrant, and more caramelly sweet. Quite tasty.

Verdict:

I like this.

Coleburn 21 yo 1979/2000 Rare Malts

Coleburn 21 yo 1979/2000 Rare Malts

Rare Malts, official bottling

Single malt - Speyside
Golden
59.4% ABV
Dram

Nose: Vanilla, white grapes, molasses, pineapples, coconut cream, apple juice, hints of limes. With water, sweeter, notes of honey, orange peel appear.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, thickens, syrupy, smooth.
Tasting: Sweet sour. Apple juice, pineapples, coconut cream, white grapes, walnuts, black tea. With water, sweeter, notes of honey, molasses, orange peel appear.
Finish: Long. Walnuts, black tea, apple juice.

Comments:


Coleburn single malt is as rare as hen's teeth, but I was lucky enough to find two in a single session! This one is thick and fruity, like a pina colada, except that it fades to bitterness, slightly tannic, at the end. Great indeed.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.

Coleburn 24 yo 1972/1996

Coleburn 24 yo 1972/1996

Connoisseur's Choice, Gordon & Macphail

Single malt - Speyside
Dark gold
40% ABV
Dram

Nose: Pineapples, roses, apple juice, honey, cloves, leather, limes, hints of cinnamon.
Mouthfeel: Light body, loose, watery, smooth.
Tasting: Sweet sour. Pineapples, roses, apple juice, plums, limes, honey, cloves.
Finish: Short. Pineapples, plums, limes, cloves.

Comments:


A drink fit for the gods! Tastes very much like mead, perhaps a little less heavy on the honey, and loads more fruit. Extremely good whisky, delicious as an aperitif.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Macduff 16 yo 1989/2005

Macduff 16 yo 1989/2005

Authentic Collection, WM Cadenhead

Single malt - Speyside
Pale amber
59.8% ABV
Sampler


Nose: Malty beer, leather, brine, peanuts, black pepper, hints of iodine. With water, more fragrant, honey, marmalade, hints of molasses.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, slippery, loosens, smooth.
Tasting: Sweet salty. Peanuts, black pepper, cardboard, vanilla, salt caramel, leather, brine. With water, sweeter, more vanilla, custard, marmalade.
Finish: Long. Iodine, salt caramel, peanuts, vanilla.

Comments:


I don't often drown my whisky in water. Even the 70%+ (!) whiskies that I've had needed a touch, or two touches, from my water jug. This one, however, improved a lot with a large slug of water. It was a better dram at around 40%, or just under, than at nearly 60%. Maybe they took it out of the cask too early...

Verdict:

I like this.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Littlemill 16 yo 1991/2007

Littlemill 16 yo 1991/2007

Connoisseur's Choice, Gordon & Macphail

Single malt - Lowlands
Golden, tinge of pink
43% ABV
Sampler


Nose: Roses, vanilla, honey, gooseberries, ginger, grass, hints of lemons.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, thickens, tingly.
Tasting: Sweet. Vanilla, ginger, gooseberries, honey, orange peel, cream, hints of roses.
Finish: Medium. Gooseberries, grass, roses.

Comments:


Light and floral, with a nice herbal, vegetal something that reminds me of gooseberries laced with ginger wine. Refreshing, something to sip while relaxing at the bar, waiting for someone to show up.

Verdict:

I like this.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Mannochmore 16 yo 1992/2008

Mannochmore 16 yo 1992/2008

Authentic Collection, WM Cadenhead

Single malt - Speyside
Dark amber gold
55.6% ABV
Sampler


Nose: Grilled pork, sherry, magic marker, pears, brine, malty beer, orange peel, marmalade, hints of strawberry jam. With water, sweeter, caramel, molasses, even more strawberry jam.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, tingly, slippery, loose.
Tasting: Sweet. Orange peel, sherry, vanilla, honey, strawberry jam, marmalade, hints of lychees, hints of pears. With water, even sweeter, more red fruits - plums, raspberries - then toast and coconut oil.
Finish: Long. Vanilla, sherry, honey, marmalade, strawberry jam.

Comments:


Matured in a sherry butt (as if you couldn't guess!). It doesn't smell sweet at first though, with lots of savoury elements, and even a very faint suggestion of peat. Left for a while, it turns sweet as sin, lots of cooked concentrated fruit, honey, and vanilla. Water opens it up beautifully, turning it fragrant and toasty.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Ledaig 15 yo 1990/2006

Ledaig 15 yo 1990/2006

Connoisseur's Choice, Gordon & Macphail

Single malt - Islands
Dark gold
43% ABV
Sampler


Nose: Grilled fish, leather, smoke peat, grass, cooked rice, malty beer, blueberries, hints of oats.
Mouthfeel: Light body, loose, airy, fizzy, slippery.
Tasting: Sour salty. Cooked rice, grass, smoke, oats, malty beer, blueberries, peat, hints of cream.
Finish: Medium. Chillies, cooked rice, peat, malty beer.

Comments:


This whisky is something of a chameleon. When first poured, it reeks of grilled fish, leather and salty sea breeze. Left to sit for 5 minutes, it softens to smoky, starchy cooked rice, sweet malted wort, and light cereal and fruit. If you smoked rice, then fermented it into sake, maybe it would taste like this.

Verdict:

I like this.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Bulleit Bourbon

Bulleit Bourbon

Official bottling
Single bourbon - Kentucky
Amber gold
40% ABV
Dram

Nose: Brown paper, black pepper, honey, orange peel, lemons, hints of strawberries.
Mouthfeel: Light body, smooth, airy, loose.
Tasting: Sweet. Peanuts, black pepper, orange peel, strawberries, honey, vanilla, brown paper.
Finish: Short. Mint, black pepper, honey, orange peel.

Comments:


Distilled at the Four Roses distillery. Apparently has a high percentage of rye in the mash (close to 35%). Light and airy, quite a lot of flavour. No age statement, but this must be 4 or 5 years old, as it tastes youthful and fresh. I like the spicy, peppery fruit.

Verdict:

I like this.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Caol Ila 12 yo 1996/2009

Caol Ila 12 yo 1996/2009

Connoisseur's Choice, Gordon & Macphail

Single malt - Islay
Pale gold
43% ABV
Sampler


Nose:
Smoke, peat, dark chocolate, plums, lemon juice, hints of lavender, hints of soy sauce.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, thickens, smooth, slippery.
Tasting: Bitter sweet. Smoke, peat, honey, dark chocolate, walnut skins, plums, lemon juice.
Finish: Medium. Honey, peat, walnut skins, smoke, hints of new plastic.

Comments:


This whisky doesn't taste like the Caol Ila I thought I knew! There's little sign of the usual salty-sweet umami taste that reminds me so much of soy sauce. Instead, there's sweet chocolate and red fruit, mainly plums, with a tart little hint of lemon juice. The expected peat and smoke are present in abundance.

Verdict:

I like this.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Aberfeldy 20 yo 1989/2009

Aberfeldy 20 yo 1989/2009

Connoisseur's Choice, Gordon & Macphail

Single malt - Central Highlands
Bright gold
43% ABV
Sampler


Nose: Lemon sweets, orange peel, dark chocolate, malty beer, mint, raisins, hints of vanilla, hints of peanuts.
Mouthfeel: Light body, loose, watery, airy.
Tasting: Sweet sour. Lemon sweets, orange peel, dark chocolate, malty beer, vanilla, orange juice, hints of cherries.
Finish: Medium. Peanuts, orange peel, lemon sweets, orange juice, vanilla.

Comments:


Terry's Chocolate Orange with lots of real orange? And a hint of fizzy lemon sherbet filled sweets? Yes, and with a sprinkle of peanuts on top. That's what this whisky tastes like. Absolutely delicious.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Ben Nevis 10 yo

Ben Nevis 10 yo

Official bottling
Single malt - West Highland
Amber
46% ABV
Sampler


Nose: Raisins, coconut oil, leather, peanuts, strawberry jam, olive oil, sea salt, orange peel.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, mouth coating, slippery, loose.
Tasting: Sweet salty. Raisins, honeydew melon, leather, sea salt, chocolate, strawberry jam, peanuts, hints of olive oil.
Finish: Long. Chocolate, strawberry jam, peanuts, leather.

Comments:


Pretty decent strength for a flagship official bottling - nice to see some distilleries still keep their whiskies strong! This one is complex and rich, with lots of different layers of flavour, something quite unusual for a 10 yo. Nice, and good for a relaxing afternoon.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Ardmore 16 yo 1991/2008

Ardmore 16 yo 1991/2008

Distillery Labels, Gordon & Macphail

Single malt - Speyside
Pale yellow
43% ABV
Sampler


Nose: Malty beer, leather, chillies, lemon zest, smoke, soy sauce.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, thickens, tingly, warm.
Tasting: Salty. Lemon zest, orange peel, leather, cardboard, chillies, malty beer, soy sauce, hints of grilled fish.
Finish: Long. Chillies, orange peel, leather, hints of prunes.

Comments:


Surprisingly smoky and salty. Uncompromising, and very spicy for the low-ish strength of 43%. I'm very pleasantly surprised. This is excellent whisky. It's not only the Scotch Malt Whisky Society's Ardmores that are unusual and interesting.

Verdict:

I like this.
 

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