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Tasting notes:
Whiskies 10,322
Others 667

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Index of whiskyfun


Whisky Tasting

 
Aberfeldy (32) - Aberlour (79)
Abhainn Dearg (2)
Allt-A-Bhainne (2
6)
An Cnoc (18)
Ardbeg (3
31) - Ardmore (60)
Arran (66) - Auchentoshan (69)
Auchroisk (26) - Aultmore (29)

Balblair (61) - Balmenach (33)
Balvenie (
73) - Banff (43)
Ben Nevis (
85)
Ben Wyvis (
2)
Benriach (
126) - Benrinnes (43)
Benromach (
41) - Bladnoch (54)
Blair Athol (40) - Bowmore (
364)
Braes of Glenlivet (
29)
Brora (
115)
Bruichladdich (20
8)
Bunnahabhain (
219)
Caol Ila (400)
Caperdonich (
73)
Cardhu (
31) - Clynelish (280)
Coleburn (
15)
Convalmore (1
8)
Cragganmore (
58)
Craigduff (3) - Craigellachie (
40)
Dailuaine (47) - Dallas Dhu (32)
Dalmore (85) - Dalwhinnie (19)
Deanston (22) - Dufftown (41)

Edradour (37)
Imperial (56) - Inchgower (44)
Inverleven (18)
Isle of Jura (82)

Kilchoman (19)
Kilkerran (
7) - Kinclaith (7)
Kininvie
(3)
- Knockando (2
4)
Ladyburn (9) - Lagavulin (95)
Laphroaig (320) - Ledaig (73)
Linkwood (105) - Littlemill (79)
Loch Lomond (26)
Lochside (62)
Longmorn (172) - Longrow (52)

Macallan (228) - Macduff (51)
Mannochmore (2
5)
Millburn (1
9)
Miltonduff (
52) - Mortlach (111)
Mosstowie (1
7)
Scapa (34) - Speyburn (22) - Speyside (15)
Springbank (222)
St-Magdalene (46)
Strathisla (80) - Strathmill (24)

Talisker (105) - Tamdhu (45)
Tamnavulin (14)
Teaninich (40)
Tobermory (28) - Tomatin (98)
Tomintoul (55) - Tormore (33)
Tullibardine (35)

 
 
Pete and Jack


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1 - 2
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March 1 - 2
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2008
Music Awards
December
1 - 2 - 3
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
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June 1 - 2
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April 1 - 2
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2007
Music Awards
December
1 - 2
November
1 - 2
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1 - 2
September 1 - 2
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July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
Feis Ile
Special
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
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2006
Music Awards
December 1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2 - 3
September
1 - 2
August
1 - 2
July
1 - 2
June 1 - 2
Feis Ile
Special
May
1 - 2
April
1 - 2
March
1 - 2
February
1 - 2
January 1
- 2

2005
Music Awards
December 1 - 2
November 1 - 2
October
1- 2
September
1 - 2
August
1 - 2
July
1 - 2
June
1 - 2
Feis Ile
Special
May
1 - 2
April
1 - 2
March
1 - 2
February
1 - 2
January
1 - 2

2004
December 1 - 2
November 1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September
1
August
1
July
1
June
1
May
1
April 1
March 1
February
1
January
1

No archives for 2002-2003

 
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Disclaimer
 

All the linked files (mp3, video, html) are located on free commercial or non-commercial third party websites. Some pictures are taken from these websites, and are believed to be free of rights, as long as no commercial use is intended.

I always try to write about artists who, I believe, deserve wider recognition, and all links to mp3 files are here to show you evidence of that. Please encourage the artists you like, by buying either their CDs or their downloadable 'legal' tracks.

I always add links to the artists' websites - if any - which should help you know more about their works. I also try to add a new link to any hosting website or weblog which helped me discover new music - check the column on the right.

I almost never upload any mp3 file on my own server, except when dealing with artists I personally know, and who gave me due authorizations, or sometimes when I feel a 'national' artist deserves wider recognition. In that case, the files will remain on-line only for a few days.

I do not encourage heavy consumption of alcoholic beverages, nor dangerous motorbike riding. But life is short anyway...

As they say here: 'L'abus d'alcool est dangeureux pour la santé - à consommer avec modération'

   
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Copyright Serge Valentin,
Nick Morgan,
Kate Kavanagh

2002-2015


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January 23, 2015


Whiskyfun

Two official AnCnoc

There’s a new AnCnoc (Knockdhu) 18 years old, let’s try it. As a sparring partner, we’ll have one of the NAS peaters that I hadn’t tried yet.

AnCnoc 18 yo (46%, OB, 2014)

AnCnoc 18 yo (46%, OB, 2014) Four stars A combination of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry cask, the latter also being ex-European oak. Colour: deep gold. Nose: starts with quite some butterscotch, honey-glazed pastries and toffee. Goes on with more marmalade and a touch of clove, coffee beans (torrefaction), a dash of nutmeg powder and  a little cocoa powder. I find rather subtle and elegant, despite these rather heavy notes of butterscotch. But who doesn’t love butterscotch? Mouth: starts rather malty and chocolaty, before more notes of marmalade break through. A touch of ginger and nutmeg from the oak, some sappy honey, hints of walnut skin, as well as not-too-sweet raisins. Solid body, the strength is perfect. Finish: rather long, a tad greener this time, with notes of leather and a touch of mustard. From the European oak? Greenish malt in the aftertaste. Comments: a very pleasant dram that stayed rather close to plain malt throughout the years. I also like the spiciness that may come from European oak. Really reminds me of the 16, with more spices and punch. SGP:451 - 85 points.

AnCnoc 'Cutter' (46%, OB, 2014)

AnCnoc 'Cutter' (46%, OB, 2014) Four stars After Rutter (11ppm, WF 84), Flaughter (14.8ppm, WF 87) and Tushkar (15ppm, WF 86), this Cutter offers 20.5ppm peat, which already means ‘very peaty’. Colour: pale white wine. Nose: yeah, this is very smoky and ashy. Putting your head into a coal stove (that’s not working, eh), smelling cigar ashes, then rather linseed and graphite oils, some damp chalk, soot, a little metal polish… There’s also a wee medicinal side (antiseptic) and only minor fruity notes, such as green plums, perhaps. Mouth: it’s not really multidimensional but it’s got a lot of peat again – reminds me Bunnahabhain Moine – an obvious ashy side, notes of cider apples, lime, a touch of salt that may be triggered by the smoke, all that with a rather oily texture. It’s quite dry globally. Finish: quite long, with interesting yeasty touches, and just like in the 18, notes of fresh walnuts. The aftertaste is unexpectedly coastal, very fresh. Some lemon as well. Comments: certainly an excellent peater, firm and clean, a tad more coastal and medicinal than other peaty offerings from Scotland’s mainland. I really like it a lot. SGP:346 - 86 points.

More tasting notes Check the index of all AnCnoc I've tasted so far

 

 

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January 22, 2015


Whiskyfun

Dirty and crystal clean Ben Nevis

Ben Nevis can be very rock and roll, sometimes extreme, and sometimes brilliant. No doubt these babies will all be pretty different…

Ben Nevis 16 yo 1997/2013 (53,2%, Maltbarn, 91 bottles)

Ben Nevis 16 yo 1997/2013 (53,2%, Maltbarn, 91 bottles) Two stars and a half Colour: straw. Nose: if find this one very grassy and sooty. Bags of cut grass, then apple peelings, green apples, ultra-dry champagne, with in the background, some kind of sour herbs as well as some very dry lemony touches. This baby seems to be very tense and austere. With water: it’s the soot that further stands out, with also gravel and some kind of metallic dust. Even more cut grass as well. Mouth (neat): a rather extreme blend of green apple juice, mustard, and grapefruits, with some peppery sawdust. Very, very austere, a bit like some extreme sauvignon that ‘allows you to double-check the good shape your vertebras when it goes down’. With water: a slightly soapy dustiness, quite ‘Ben Nevis’. Finish: long, rather astringent, grassy and green. Green bananas. Comments: very extreme indeed. For Jansenists, perhaps. SGP:262 - 79 points.

Ben Nevis 18 yo 1996/2014 (50.7%, Liquid Treasures, bourbon hogshead)

Ben Nevis 18 yo 1996/2014 (50.7%, Liquid Treasures, bourbon hogshead) Four stars Colour: gold. Nose: this time it’s rather a combination of seaweed and fresh butter that we’re nosing, all we’re missing is a dozen oysters. It’s certainly butyric, maybe a little acetic as well, and even a tad metallic, so very ‘Ben Nevis’. Strange and fun spirit. Pleasant notes of cut apples, passion fruits and peaches in the background. A few jelly babies too. Fun indeed. With water: farmy notes, slightly muddy, farmyard after the rain… A lot of cut grass as well. Mouth (neat): strange fruits! Muscatel, passion fruits, peaches again, plus a wee feeling of sawdust and ashes. With water: the lemony flavours woke up! Grapefruits, lemons… All that with an oaky undertone. And drops of ginger ale? Finish: quite long, on ginger tonic and limoncello. Nice cocktail. Comments: a much cleaner, fruitier Ben Nevis. Less challenging than the 1997. SGP:552 - 86 points.

Ben Nevis 18 yo 1996/2014 (50,9%, The Whisky Mercenary for Whisky Troef)

Ben Nevis 18 yo 1996/2014 (50,9%, The Whisky Mercenary for Whisky Troef) Four stars Colour: gold. Nose: this baby’s very extremely close to the previous 1996, except that the passion fruits and maybe notes of melon seem to come earlier. With water: same farmyardy notes. Mouth (neat): very similar again. Passion fruits, peaches, jellybeans, a very wee touch of salt… With water: again, extremely similar. Pink grapefruits, sweets, jell-o, ginger and pepper… The salt is gone, it seems. Finish: rather long, with some tinned fruits, liqueurs, this ginger again, a little quinine perhaps… And a touch of soot. Comments: really very close – so very good, I think. The cleanest side of Ben Nevis. SGP:552 – 86 points.

Ben Nevis 18 yo 1996/2014 (53.1%, Single Cask Collection, sherry butt, 454 bottles)

Ben Nevis 18 yo 1996/2014 (53.1%, Single Cask Collection, sherry butt, 454 bottles) Three stars and a half Colour: amber. Nose: oh this is weird. Metallic oranges? Metal polish blended with peony liqueur (does that even exist?) Old wine vinegar? Some sides remind me of the official 10, I have to say. Plenty of soot, concrete dust, then touches of Tang or Fanta… Very unusual, that’s for sure. With water: the sooty/dusty side comes out more. Whiffs of fresh parsley. Mouth (neat): much less weird. Peppered overripe strawberries, kirsch-filled chocolate, bitter oranges, some kind of caraway-and-grenadine combo… In short, lots happening in this one, but it ain’t dissonant. With water: nice! Orange flavoured Schweppes, some pepper. Finish: rather long. Seville oranges, ginger, white pepper. Comments: we’re close to the style of some OBs. There’s always something happening in a Ben Nevis. SGP:452 - 84 points.

Let’s try to find a much older one as today’s last drop…

Ben Nevis 43 yo 1970/2014 (44.6%, The Nectar of the Daily Drams, bourbon)

Ben Nevis 43 yo 1970/2014 (44.6%, The Nectar of the Daily Drams, bourbon) Three stars and a half 1970 used to be a great vintage as far as the officials were concerned, so we’re having deep hopes… Colour: gold. Nose: starts with truckloads of marzipan, fresh almonds, then ‘Seccotine’ glue, kirsch, maraschino, amaretti biscuits, nail varnish… Well, you see what I mean. I’ve rarely come across malt whisky that was that almondy. Mouth: the wood’s talking loud. Plenty of almonds once again, white pepper, bags of cinnamon, these varnishy notes once again, the kirsch as well, some bitter oranges, orange blossom water… Tends to get drying after a few seconds, with this feeling of crunching some cinnamon sticks. Finish: of medium length, with even more cinnamon. It’s a miracle that it isn’t even too drying. Comments: you’ve almost the impression of drinking some oak-aged sloe gin. Interesting, but mixed feelings here… SGP:361 - 81 points.

More tasting notes Check the index of all Ben Nevis I've tasted so far

 
Pete McPeat and Jack Washback
PJ

PJ

 

 

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January 21, 2015


Whiskyfun

Auchentoshan vs. Auchentoshan

Let’s have a little Auchentoshan today, that’ll give us ‘an illusion of summer’.

Auchentoshan 23 yo 1990/2014 (47.7%, Whisky Fässle and Whiskybase, hogshead)

Auchentoshan 23 yo 1990/2014 (47.7%, Whisky Fässle and Whiskybase, hogshead) Four stars A joint bottling, two different labels. Colour: white wine. Nose: no wham-bam-here-I-am whisky at all, this is a light whisky that needs your attention before you notice these notes of Haribo bears, of tinned peaches, of cut grass, of freshly brewed Japanese green tea, and of unlit menthol cigarettes. I also find beautiful whiffs of honeysuckle tea, as well as touches of artisan marzipan. You just have to not rush it. Mouth: almost desert. Limejuice, custard, liquorice allsorts, some kind of sweet oil, some barley sugar and, once again tinned peaches and apricots. Would be perfect to wet some fruit salad. Oily texture.

Finish: of medium length, just as fruity and oily as before. Comments: most certainly one of the better Auchentoshans. It’s got something Irish and reminds me of Redbreast 12. Yeah, honest. SGP:531 - 85 points.

Auchentoshan 21 yo 1992/2014 (52.1%, Whisky Fässle, hogshead)

Auchentoshan 21 yo 1992/2014 (52.1%, Whisky Fässle, hogshead) Four stars This one’s younger but it’s also pretty stronger, so I thought we’d have it as #2. The colour is also darker. Colour: gold. Nose: styles are obviously similar, but this one feels a little rougher and more spirity. That might just be the higher strength, so… With water: wow, we managed to copy the 1990! Aren’t we good? Ok, ok, ok… Mouth (neat): oh excellent, this is tart and zesty, and is a little reminiscent of Rosebank. Bags and bags of all things made by Haribo, rather of the lemon-flavoured kind. Sweets, drops, jellies and other less reputable things. Really fun! With water: once again, we replica-ed the 1990. So proud… Right, this one has a tad more citrus, perhaps, as well as a little more fudge. Finish: medium, citrusy, slightly candied. Comments: these Auchentoshans aren’t deep whiskies, but I find them refreshingly joyful, and I think they like not to be ridden with oaky flavours. SGP:531 - 85 points.

More tasting notes Check the index of all Auchentoshan I've tasted so far

 

 

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January 19, 2015


Whiskyfun

Newish Glenlivet aplenty

Simply more Glenlivets, all very recent. Especially two fairly new official NAS. Not too sure age still matters… ;-).

Glenlivet ‘Master Distiller’s Reserve’ (40%, OB, +/-2014)

Glenlivet ‘Master Distiller’s Reserve’ (40%, OB, +/-2014) Two stars and a half Some kind of NAS whisky for travel retail (where anything seems to be getting more expensive than anywhere else). Colour: full gold. Nose: rather modern, that is to say with the usual overripe apples and even bubblegum and liquorice allsorts, plus a layer of maple syrup, vanilla and raisins. Then we rather have whiffs of humus and fern, which can’t be bad news. Mouth: bags and bags of caramel, fudge, vanilla, Ovaltine… The mouth feel is light, even thin, but the whole is pleasantly smooth. Ha, smoothness. I have to say some sides of it make me think of Chivas 18. Finish: a little short, malty. Vanilla fudge and a touch of tobacco in the aftertaste. Comments: this harmless baby should please the travelling crowds. I think it’s very well composed, but the low strength is frustrating. SGP:441 - 79 points.

Glenlivet 'Nàdurra Oloroso' (60.7%, OB, batch #OLO614, 2014)

Glenlivet 'Nàdurra Oloroso' (60.7%, OB, batch #OLO614, 2014) Three stars and a half The oloroso-ed version of Nàdurra 16 years old. You may have noticed that while it’s gained sherry, it’s lost an age statement. How surprising. It’s a cask strength version. Colour: deep gold. Nose: starts with a lot of varnish and marshmallows, then a lot of coffee and chocolate, rather ala GF 105 or A’bunadh. I do really enjoy the notes of soy sauce, game, ham and tobacco that start to come out after a while. With water:  some flints, hay, farmy notes, old leather, walnuts… The sherry’s doing its job. Mouth (neat): rich, fruity, with a sweet and liqueury side instead of those gamy/meaty notes that we had found in the nose. Oak aged Cointreau? With water: some green oak coming out, green peppercorns, more leather, ginger… Finish: quite long, oily, with more fruits than grass. Perhaps blackcurrants. Comments: I think I enjoy the traditional Nàdurra’s vibrancy better, but there’s no doubt this works. Funny palate with a glissando from jammy fruits to green oak. SGP:461 - 83 points.

Glenlivet 15 yo 1998/2014 (54.8%, Signatory Vintage for Whiskybrother, South Africa, oloroso sherry butt, cask # 128811, 419 bottles)

Glenlivet 15 yo 1998/2014 (54.8%, Signatory Vintage for Whiskybrother, South Africa, oloroso sherry butt, cask # 128811, 419 bottles) Four stars I’ve already tried South African whiskies, or whiskies finished/matured in South African wine casks, but I think it’s the first time I’m trying whisky that was done for a South African bottler. Colour: amber. Nose: we know that Signatory’s got some very fine middle-aged sherried Glenlivet, and this is another fine example. Starts with tobacco and tobacco smoke, tamarind jam, cassis, espresso and prunes, and gets then a notch meatier, although the whole remains clean and rather fresh for full sherry. After five minutes, we’re rather finding bags of chocolate mints. With water: traces of rubber, bicycle inner tubes and such, then hay and farmyard. Normal. Mouth (neat): excellent, clean, fruity, jammy, and yet fresh, easy, sexy… Yes, sexy. Fruitcake, raspberry jam, wheelbarrows of dried figs, cups of cappuccino and then some kind of spicy pipe tobacco. All good. With water: bitter oranges coming out, as well as a little ginger. Finish: long, on marmalade, candied ginger and sweet pepper. Comments: only flaw, we knew this was going to be excellent – while we love surprises. SGP:551 - 87 points.

While we’re at it…

Glenlivet 32 yo 1981/2014 (52%, Signatory Vintage for The Whisky Exchange, refill sherry, cask #9460, 140 bottles)

Glenlivet 32 yo 1981/2014 (52%, Signatory Vintage for The Whisky Exchange, refill sherry, cask #9460, 140 bottles) Four stars and a half I guess it’s a sherry hogshead, according to the outturn. Colour: amber. Nose: a better polished, subtler, more elegant version of a sherry monster. Love this ‘old’ tobacco, the leather polish, the bitter chocolate, the walnut liqueur, or nicer yet, the herbal teas, or the old dry sherries, manzanilla and such. Or palo cortado? Not exactly oloroso, I mean. With water: hints of manure, cut cactus, old horse saddle… Mouth (neat): perfect. Some leathery and spicy fruits, all that in a great way. Crunching a cake of pu-erh tea (don’t try that at home), green oranges, mint lozenges, plenty of walnuts, both fresh and old, bay leaves, even some juniper… What’s sure is that it’s no sultry or luscious sweet sherry at all. With water: indeed, excellent. Some mint, fennel, lime blossom, a drop of lemon juice (very unusual in sherry monsters)… Finish: long, on herbs and fresh walnuts. Comments: dry sherry at its best – even if the distillate didn’t have much to say in this context. Maybe a little challenging at times, but yeah… SGP:361 - 89 points.

Glenlivet 35 yo 1979/2014 (51.3%, Silver Seal)

Glenlivet 35 yo 1979/2014 (51.3%, Silver Seal) Five stars‘Whisky is Art’, says the label. Indeed, whisky can be art. Sometimes. Let’s see. Colour: full gold. Nose: it is more ‘Glenlivety’ than the 1981, thanks to some much milder sherry – provided it’s sherry cask, but in that case it’s Xth-fill. That means that we find overripe apples again, almond oil, some light honey, blond tobacco, fresh walnuts yet again, maybe drops of sunflower oil, just bits and pieces of old leather (grandma’s patch box)… In truth, the jury’s still out, this could be either fantastically subtle, or rather flat. With water: it’s not flat. This is a walk in the forest after a summer rain, or in an old herbalist’s shop. Mouth (neat): if you love porcinis and other mushrooms as much as I do, this is for you. Lemon liqueur with porcini powder. How funny, how good. With water: delicate spices, crystallised citrus, mints, a drop of cough syrup, some bitter herbs. Finish: medium, on various herbal spices from the oak. Only the aftertaste is a bit too drying and green, which makes it lose one or two points. Comments: it was a lovely refill cask. Only time can do this. No ‘technology’ could do this. Now, do we really need this pre-Photoshop style of whisky? Yes we do! SGP:361 - 90 points.

I had some very old digestif at hand but since we’ve found a 90, we could as well stop here.

More tasting notes Check the index of all Glenlivet I've tasted so far

 

 

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January 18, 2015


Whiskyfun

Malternatives on Sunday, today armagnac

I really find it amazing that after decades of (almost) silence, more and more lovers of aged spirits are talking about armagnac again. Especially in America! We’ll try to build a wee – I mean, a petit – crescendo.

Clés Des Ducs V.S.O.P. (40%, OB, armagnac blend, +/-2014)

Clés Des Ducs V.S.O.P. (40%, OB, armagnac blend, +/-2014) Two stars and a half VSOP means a minimum of four years of maturation. This one comes in a traditional flat bottle called a basquaise. It’s like a racquet if you will. This brand is widely available in France and a bottle of VSOP goes for 25€. Colour: gold. Nose: fairly easy but not downright fruity, or that would rather be greengages. Also raisins, as usual, apples, a touch of eucalyptus to balance the fruits, and just hints of toasted oak and liquorice. Easy, fresh and clean for an armagnac. Mouth: easy and fruity again, with a few rough notes (feeling kirsch), and perhaps a sucrosity, but it’s otherwise pleasant, with good body. Notes of dried figs and raisins, as well as a little oak. Finish: of medium length, with soft tannins and some plums again. Comments: I find this pleasant, rounded, fruity and easy. Not too ‘commercial’, goes down well. SGP:441 - 79 points.

Janneau VSOP (40%, OB, armagnac, blend, +/-2014)

Janneau VSOP (40%, OB, armagnac, blend, +/-2014) Two stars and a halfThis VSOP is said to be rather older than 4, like many others. Probably around 8. The bottle is quite spectacular, there is some BFYB effect here. Unless… Colour: amber gold. Nose: it is a rounder, more candied and more vanilla-ed version after the Clés des Ducs, more polished, more fudgy, with many more raisins. As a consequence, it’s a little less fresh and clean, but it’s nicely aromatic. Oh and easy, or so it seems. Mouth: good, easy, maybe a tad gritty at times, but that’s Armagnac. Apple peelings, cherries, oranges and raisins. Nit as soft and smooth as the nose suggested, that’s for sure. Pleasant mouth feel, even if it tends to lose steam. The 40% again… Finish: a little short and maybe a little too grassy. More apple peelings, little roundness. Comments: the nose was quite something, the palate was a little too rough. One point below the Clés des Ducs in my book – tell me about a crescendo. Fail! SGP:451 - 78 points.

Gélas 18 yo 'Single Cask Double-Matured Porto Barros' (42%, OB, bas-armagnac, 800 bottles, +/-2014)

Gélas 18 yo 'Single Cask Double-Matured Porto Barros' (42%, OB, bas-armagnac, 800 bottles, +/-2014) Three stars and a half Gélas seem to be trying to mimic Scotch with these bottlings. The grapes they used for this were mainly baco and ugni blanc. Colour: amber gold. Nose: the Port is very discreet, and that’s great news if you ask me. It’s a rather firmer armagnac after the Janneau, with more leaves and leather on top of the obligatory raisins, more prunes as well, then a little caramel, café latte and maybe a touch of rancio. Maybe a little more rustic than the others, in a good way. Mouth: pretty excellent, really makes the difference after the VSOPs. Blood oranges, Seville oranges, dry liquorice, pink peppercorns, maybe a touch of blackcurrant from the Port – maybe – and then rather hawthorn and rosewater (oriental pastries, Turkish delights). Good body, 42% are already enough, no frustrations. Finish: of medium length, rather fruity. More blood oranges and Corinthian raisins, with a touch of earth and white pepper in the aftertaste. Comments: very well executed, even if the Port may have imparted a wee feeling of Spanish brandy. Yup, I know where’s Oporto. SGP:541 - 84 points.

Francis Darroze 29 yo 1985/2014 'Domaine de Bertruc' (45%, OB, bas-armagnac)

Francis Darroze 29 yo 1985/2014 'Domaine de Bertruc' (45%, OB, bas-armagnac) Four stars Darroze have got an excellent reputation. This baby wasn’t reduced, it’s cask strength and, of course, single domaine. Colour: deep amber. Nose: this is something different indeed, it’s much wilder, with a lot of tobacco and prunes, hay, wee whiffs of clean manure (I’d say), rotting oranges, which is nice, then a mustiness, mushrooms, cigars, a little camphor… Sounds like malt whisky? Indeed! Mouth: lovely wild armagnac again, with good body, this typical grittiness (grape skins), oranges, white pepper, a little gingerbread, certainly some tobacco again and then a little green wood, which might be a tiny flaw. Really small house armagnac, with again a rustic side that goes so well with this spirit. The 29 years don’t feel much. Finish: quite long and quite dry, with some tea and pepper. Maybe a little drying, in fact. The aftertaste is a tad dusty. Comments: I find this excellent, only the oak in the finish was a little less entrancing. Oh, a price, you ask. 68€ for a 29yo cask strength armagnac de propriétaire. Enough said. SGP:551 - 86 points.

Dartigalongue 1959 (40%, OB, bas-armagnac, +/-2010)

Dartigalongue 1959 (40%, OB, bas-armagnac, +/-2010) Five stars Dartigalongue are one of, if not the oldest house in Armagnac. They are located in Nogaro, in the Gers region, where there also is a magnificent racing circuit. Just saying. This kind of bottle typically goes for around 200-250€. Yes it’s fifty years old. Colour: deep amber. Nose: sweet Jesus, Mary and Joseph! This is admirable, polished, rounded, loaded with prunes and black raisins, fudge, chocolate, coffee, then more complex notes of old orange liqueur, cigars, rancio, a drop of oyster sauce perhaps, medlars, rich chestnut honey, menthol, camphor… Absolutely endless, this one really does the peacock’s tail. Sure the low strength augurs ill for the palate, but you never know. Stunning nose nonetheless. Mouth: no, really, it’s fine, the spirit’s thick and heavy enough to stand the low strength. Starts with clear notes of Port (there’s more Port than in the Port-finished Gélas!) and goes on with several varieties of raisins, certainly bags of prunes, as often, and a fruity combination that we call ‘confiture de vieux garçon’ over here. Ripe strawberries, oranges, red wine, bits of cloves, cinnamon, zwetschke… Finish: pretty long, with a curious, but lovely blend of cinnamon, raisins and strawberries. The aftertaste is a little grapy, as it should be. Comments: this is going to be some big fat… SGP:651 - 90 points.

Great session methinks. Lovely armagnacs – oh yeah, in French, you write armagnac without a capital A when mentioning the drink, and with a capital letter when mentioning the place. I know, a little weird…

(with thanks to Olivier and Michal)

More tasting notes Check the index of all armagnacs I've tasted so far

 

 

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January 16, 2015


Whiskyfun

A little bag of Tomintoul

Some sometimes call the official Tomintouls ‘malts for tourists’, as indeed, you see them absolutely everywhere in Scotland, from the tiniest ‘Celtic’ shops to airport retail (where whisky’s become more expensive than anywhere else in the world, or so it seems).

Tomintoul 10 yo (40%, OB, +/-2014)

Tomintoul 10 yo (40%, OB, +/-2014) Two stars It seems that it’s been eight years since I last tried Tomintoul 10! Colour: pale gold. Nose: light and relatively malty and barleyish, with some overripe apples and a very wee metallic side, Irish style. It’s also rather floral, I do seem to find lilac, for example, as well as violets. Rather reminiscent of some blend, I’d say. Mouth: very easy, and once again a little ‘blendy’. Apple pie, a little fudge, butterscotch (quite a lot), a little candy sugar, a touch of maple syrup, a little liquorice, cornflakes… Quite pleasant but it’s also a little thin. Finish: rather short, somewhat ‘Kelloggy’ (what?) Grassier aftertaste. Comments: I’m always glad to try these whiskies because they perfectly represent what 75 points mean. Honest malty whisky without bells and whistles. For tourists indeed? SGP:341 - 75 points.

Let’s try an older official…

Tomintoul 16 yo (40%, OB, +/-2014)

Tomintoul 16 yo (40%, OB, +/-2014) Two stars and a half The 16 has got a new livery as well. I really liked it last time I tasted it, but that was in 2007 (WF 81). Colour: gold. Nose: similar, obviously, just more on butterscotch, warm croissants, a pastry shop early on Sunday morning (yeah yeah) and maybe with the faintest hint of menthol and liquorice. Rubbed dill or fennel. Far from unpleasant. Mouth: same differences. A creamier body, more vanilla or rather custard, plenty of cornflakes, maybe walnuts and almonds, and certainly a lot of malt. Probably one of the maltiest malts around. Guinness. A few berries. Finish: rather short, candied and malty, with once again a grassier aftertaste. Comments: fine fine fine. Tourists are not being swindled. SGP:441 - 78 points.

Time to have an old indie, perhaps…

Tomintoul 45 yo 1968/2013 (48%, The Whisky Agency, The Perfect Dram, bourbon hogshead, 143 bottles)

Tomintoul 45 yo 1968/2013 (48%, The Whisky Agency, The Perfect Dram, bourbon hogshead, 143 bottles) Four stars and a half Watch out, in my experience, these oldies can be a little flat and tired… Colour: bronze gold. There really are green hues, which may come from a nail and/or a patch. Nose: lovely lovely lovely (that’ll do, S.) Some very delicate notes of blood oranges, pomegranates and tinned litchis, coated with a little honeydew and a trace of olive oil, then more and more flowers, around dandelions, buttercups and other wild flowers. A very subtle and elegant nose, but you know, palates… Mouth: a little miracle, this one hasn’t got flat and oaky, it’s still pretty much alive, rather on oranges this time. Also earl grey tea, herbal teas, mint lozenges, a drop of Cynar (artichoke), or what we call amer bière in France (some kind of traditional bitter than some pour into their beers – don’t ask). Maybe also a touch of soap? Finish: rather short, fruity, soft, with only minor oakiness – a miracle indeed. A touch of peppery grass in the aftertaste. Comments: it’s a good opportunity to try a very old malt at a fair price (still available for +/-250€). SGP:551 - 88 points.

More tasting notes Check the index of all Tomintoul I've tasted so far

 

 

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January 15, 2015


Whiskyfun

New Aberfeldy 12 plus two

Just like Craigellachie and Aultmore, Bacardi’s Aberfeldy has just been repackaged in 2014. Let’s try the new 12, and maybe a few others…

Aberfeldy 12 yo (40%, OB, +/-2014)

Aberfeldy 12 yo (40%, OB, +/-2014) Two stars and a halfI do love this new livery, although I have to say that I find this retro craze a little scary. Why do they all, including some indies such as DL, go for the 1920s or even the 1910s these days? Or is it only a temporary ‘hipster brand’ thing? So much for ‘innovation’! Colour: gold. Nose: really light, nutty and grainy, with a touch of praline and a very soft floral side. A little marmalade as well. Tinned peaches. Very inoffensive so far, this really is the lighter side of malt whisky. Mouth: bigger and fatter, very malty, with notes of ale and a touch of honey, as well as more grass than expected. More marmalade as well. Finish: rather lighter again, clean, with some Ovaltine and an unexpected salty touch in the aftertaste. Comments: I’ve just read my notes for the older ‘livery’, and it seems that what’s inside this lovely new bottle hasn’t changed. Solid malty malt. SGP:441 - 79 points.

Aberfeldy 1995/2014 (55.8%, Gordon & MacPhail, Cask Strength, refill sherry hogshead, casks #2488, 2489 & 2491)

Aberfeldy 1995/2014 (55.8%, Gordon & MacPhail, Cask Strength, refill sherry hogshead, casks #2488, 2489 & 2491) Three stars and a half This might be the total opposite of the new OB. Colour: straw. Nose: probably a rather good example of a very punchy malt that’s aromatically quite light. I find some candy sugar, caramelised apples, then the same kinds of flowers as in the 12, then plenty of barley, both malted and unmalted. And cereal bars, breakfast biscuits and such… With water: freshly mown lawn, a little mud, maltbarn, then rather grapefruits… Swims very well. Mouth (neat): very thick, with the texture of honey, then an immense maltiness. It’s maltier than malt! Also toasted bread and roasted peanuts. Spectacular in its own genre, while the sherry’s quite shy. Maybe a handful of raisins? With water: gets fruitier. Again, oranges and grapefruits. Having said that there’s a rising bitterness. Bitter oak? Finish: long and a little astringent. Lemon skin and grass. Comments: some parts were exhilarating (the nose with water) while others have been harder (the finish). SGP:461 - 84 points.

And a last, older one…

Aberfeldy 23 yo 1978/2001 (50%, Douglas Laing, Old Malt Cask, 186 bottles)

Aberfeldy 23 yo 1978/2001 (50%, Douglas Laing, Old Malt Cask, 186 bottles) Three stars Colour: full gold. Nose: a rounder, fatter and more mentholated version of the G&M, reeking of oak oils, pinesap, cough syrup, then rather earth and clay… It’s a style, as they say. These whiskies are often very interesting on the nose, but the palate may be much more difficult. With water: full grassy maltiness and no mint and sap left anywhere. Fun and strange. Mouth (neat): probably a love-it-or-hate-it malt, because of these rather extreme menthol and sap notes that are striking again. A lot of honeydew mixed with cough syrup and Bénédictine. Thick mouth feel, you’d almost feel you need a spoon to get it out of your glass. With water: oh, the same phenomenon happens, water kills anything resinous and opens the door to fresh oranges. Finish: long, with a profile that depends on the amount of water you added. Comments: two whiskies in one! These beastly babies are always hard to score. Bah, let’s say… SGP:461 - 82 points.

More tasting notes Check the index of all Aberfeldy I've tasted so far

 

Pete McPeat and Jack Washback
PJ

PJ

 

 

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January 14, 2015


Whiskyfun

Bunnahabhain bottled 2014,
vertically, part two

We're back after some pretty long (kind of) holidays. So let's go on with our little 'Bunnies'...

Bunnahabhain 24 yo 1989/2014 (45.9%, Lord of the Drams, Corps Flaminea)

Bunnahabhain 24 yo 1989/2014 (45.9%, Lord of the Drams, Corps Flaminea) Four stars This one by another small Belgian bottler. It’s incredible how passionate about whisky some Belgians can be. Good people! Colour: white wine. Nose: another very orchardy one, that’s all I can say. Sweet apples, pears, gooseberries, plums, peaches, also a little honey, also hints of ripe bananas, also a little barley sugar, also drops of oranges. A few leaves and grass in the background, then a little antiseptic, as if this was an ex-peater cask. Mouth: spicier, but all the fruits are there. I won’t list them all again. Some fresh oak, white pepper, cinnamon, vanilla… Good body, good balance, alles in Ordnung. Finish: quite long, slightly more astringent, with some liquorice wood and green tea. A salty touch in the aftertaste. Comments: impeccable Bunnahabhain, not always flabbergasting, but consistently… err, consistent. This is one of the better ones. SGP:551 - 87 points.

Bunnahabhain 25 yo 1988/2014 (50.4%, The Single Malts of Scotland, hogshead, cask #4344, 193 bottles)

Bunnahabhain 25 yo 1988/2014 (50.4%, The Single Malts of Scotland, hogshead, cask #4344, 193 bottles) Four stars Colour: straw. Nose: styles aren’t dissimilar – an euphemism – but this one has got a little more of Bunnahabhain’s flowery honeyness, as well as a little more herbal teas (loud and clear lime blossom). With just a drop of water: a bit of humus and green tea. Chlorophyll? Mouth (neat): almost the same whisky as the 1989. Maybe a little more liquorice, maybe not. The saltiness is there as well. With water: all good. Green apples, then a growing feeling of honeydew (pine honey) and cough lozenges. Eucalyptus? Finish: good length, good grassiness and sappiness. More honeydew. Comments: I was rather having it at around 85 until I added water. I love honeydew, but this baby doesn’t take its mate’s crown. SGP:451 - 87 points.

Bunnahabhain 26 yo 1987/2014 (50.01%, Lady of the Glen, cask #2470)

Bunnahabhain 26 yo 1987/2014 (50.01%, Lady of the Glen, cask #2470) Four starsI’m serious, they really wrote ’50.01%’ on the label. How funny is that? Colour: straw. Nose: these are the limits of such an exercise, this wee Bunny is very close to its siblings yet again. Fresh garden fruits, light honey, herbal teas, tinned fruits, yellow flowers, mild grassiness, moderate earthiness, and all that. With water: same. Maybe a little menthol. Mouth (neat): almost the same whisky as the 1988, really, which was almost the same whisky as the 1989. With water: the whiskies are almost undistinguishable. Now I could try to sound smart and tell you that the 1988 rather had Red Delicious apples, while this one has Pink Lady apples (of course, the lady of the glen). How stupid would that be? Finish: medium length, fruity and grassy, with chlorophyll and other green stuff in the aftertaste. Comments: excellent again. The whiskies are great, but the set is a little boring. All my own fault of course. SGP:451 - 87 points.

And as a punishment…

Bunnahabhain 26 yo 1987/2014 (51.1%, Highland Laird, Bartels Rawlings)

Bunnahabhain 26 yo 1987/2014 (51.1%, Highland Laird, Bartels Rawlings) Four stars Colour: straw. Nose: same as above. I can’t find any differences, not even when trying to look smart. Same parcel of casks, if not the very same cask. With water: same. Or maybe is there a little more vanilla? Not too sure. Mouth (neat): same. Totally undistinguishable. With water: totally indeed. Finish: same. Once again, a grassier aftertaste. Comments: I’m feeling bad, this is great whisky, I did not want to mess it about. Great freshness, excellent fruits, perfect herbal and grassy side, good body, and balance is perfect. Very good. SGP:451 - 87 points.

I think we’ll go down to older vintages, it was about time…

Bunnahabhain 34 yo 1980/2014 (44.7%, James MacArthur, bourbon and sherry, cask #87)

Bunnahabhain 34 yo 1980/2014 (44.7%, James MacArthur, bourbon and sherry, cask #87)Four stars and a half I remain a James MacArthur fan. Colour: gold. Nose: it certainly is more ‘tertiary’ than the others, with more polished wood, old furniture, cakes, light jams, kumquats, touches of tinned pineapples, Juicy Fruit… I also find an admirable fresh coastalness to this, not quite iodine or ‘old boats’ but yeah, a walk on the beach early on the morning. Great light and very elegant nose that reminds me of some officials that were distilled in the 1960s. No, not the heavily sherried ones, of course. Mouth: lovely old wood, like in an old Chambertin, no less. I even find black cherries, mind you. And kirsch, which is rougher, slivovitz, Swiss abricotine… so yeah, eaux-de-vie, and yet this isn’t spirity. It is oaky, but it’s great, fresh greenish oak. But watch the finish with those notes… Finish: indeed, the finish is a little tannic and drying, just like some strong unsweetened green tea, but I think that works, since it comes with notes of green bananas. Comments: lovely lovely lovely. There’s too much oak for 90, even 89, but that’ll be some big fat… SGP:551 - 88 points.

Could the Germans win again?... (don’t m… the w…)

Bunnahabhain 34 yo 1980/2014 (47.1%, The Whisky Agency, The Perfect Dram, refill butt, 504 bottles)

Bunnahabhain 34 yo 1980/2014 (47.1%, The Whisky Agency, The Perfect Dram, refill butt, 504 bottles) Four stars and a half Not too sure about the pink colour, but after Kilkerran’s latest, there’s pink and there’s more pink. You’re right, who cares? Colour: gold. Nose: shamelessly fragrant. Patchouli, old roses (really), pot-pourri, peonies, then old gamay (say a great old Brouilly that kept particularly well), oranges, strawberry jam, old quality barrels, mead… And yet this baby isn’t winey, but I’m starting to understand why the bottlers decided to paint it pink. Yes sherry is a white wine. Mouth: falls back into line a bit, it’s now very close to the James MacArthur. Same kind of pleasantly green oakiness, plum spirit, kirsch, fresh almonds and marzipan… Certainly stone fruits. Finish: quite long, tannic but not too tannic, maybe a little more on oranges. Quite some white pepper in the aftertaste. Comments: I think these babies shouldn’t have been bottled any later, the oak really feels in the finish and the retro-olfaction’s a little problematic. But other than that, it’s all very fine. And the nose was great. Brouilly, he said… SGP:551 - 88 points.

More tasting notes Check the index of all Bunnahabhain I've tasted so far

 

 

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January 8, 2015


Whiskyfun

The greatest rum for
Charlie Hebdo’s greatest pirates

I guess you’ve all heard the terrible news about the killing at Charlie Hebdo in Paris yesterday. Among the dead were four well-known cartoonists named Cabu, Charb, Tignous and Wolinski. In truth, those guys were freethinkers who were having no master and no god, an attitude that may sound a bit out of fashion these days, but which is bound to make a thundering return sooner or later if you ask me. In short, Cabu, Charb, Tignous and Wolinski were genuine fearless pirates (which killed them), that’s why I thought that instead of our usual whisky tastings or unlikely line-ups, we could toast to their memory with a genuine pirate’s drink, a very old rhum from Martinique.

Rhum des Plantations St James 1885 (OB, Martinique, French import Ernest Lambert, imported 1950s)

Rhum des Plantations St James 1885 (OB, Martinique, French import Ernest Lambert, imported 1950s) Five stars This is the first vintage rhum ever, and it’s a miracle that it survived the eruption of the Montagne Pelée in 1902, which destroyed both the city of Saint Pierre and a large part of the rhumerie Saint James. Amazingly, these bottles could still be bought at the rhumerie’s museum in the 1990s. Now I’m not sure the casks had been kept in Martinique from 1885 to the 1950s, neither do I know how old this superb baby exactly is. Colour: black coffee. Nose: utterly amazing. It’s prune juice blended with mocha, crème de cassis and cane juice at first nosing, but the cane keeps growing – so to speak – with whiffs of capers, brine, olives, lemon juice and this very special sourness that’s almost agavy. Let’s just add a little tar and liquorice and you’ve got a good picture of this beast, which remained as fresh as a daisy. Some wonderful aromas and a stunning heaviness on top of the freshness, a combination that is quite uncommon.

Mouth: hurray, no sugar! And yet this a big fat daddy, syrupy in a good way – so rather oily -, starting with a truckload of liquorice, some notes of chestnut purée, plenty of black tobacco and tea, and a touch of cassis again. Then the briny brigade comes back, with olives, agaves, some smoked ham German style, more olives, and even more olives… This dry and concentrated style is quite amazing, you just wouldn’t quaff 50cl in one go, because of the thickness. There is quite a lot of oak for sure, but everything’s under control. Amazing. Finish: long, with a little earth and salt, plus always bags and bags of liquorice. A drop of old chartreuse as the signature. Comments: here’s to you Cabu, Charb, Tignous and Wolinski, legendary pirates! And to the ship's boys who died with you. SGP:372 - 92 points.

Cabu

(and grazzie mille, Luca)

More tasting notes Check the index of all rums I've tasted so far

 

 

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January 7, 2015


Whiskyfun

Bunnahabhain bottled 2014, vertically

It’s a fact, Bunnahabhain has become the malt that’s most bottled by the indies these days, while that rather used to be Caol Ila two or three years ago. I have to say it’s not easy to keep up, but let’s try… Oh and we’ll only have Bunnahabhain that was bottled in 2014.

Bunnahabhain 7 yo 2006/2014 (46%, Malts of Scotland, Gaja red wine hogshead, cask # MoS14010, 358 bottles)

Bunnahabhain 7 yo 2006/2014 (46%, Malts of Scotland, Gaja red wine hogshead, cask # MoS14010, 358 bottles) Three stars and a half Strange pedigree, I supposed that was a hogshead that was recoopered from some ex-Gaja barriques. Ex-Springbank? Certainly not first fill, the whisky would be much redder, especially if it was nebbiolo. Colour: salmony. Nose: it’s a peaty Bunny, and frankly, this time the red wine kind of works as far as I can tell. There are whiffs of rose-scented soap, then peonies and oranges, red peaches, and a little mulled wine, with the peat working as the spice combo. I rather like this! Mouth: funny and again, not bad at all, since balance has been found. It’s not very ‘whisky’ to tell you the truth, but I like this feeling of smoked marshmallows and oranges, as well as the ginger liqueur and the pepper that arises. Strange, but good! Finish: long, clean, still balanced, fruity and smoky, with something such as salted strawberries in the aftertaste. Comments: really a surprise, I had thought we’d start with a very ‘unlikely’ one. Seems like I rather failed. SGP:645 - 83 points.

Bunnahabhain 10 yo 2003/2014 (58.8%, La Maison du Whisky, Artist #4, sherry butt, cask #1149, 579 bottles)

Bunnahabhain 10 yo 2003/2014 (58.8%, La Maison du Whisky, Artist #4, sherry butt, cask #1149, 579 bottles) Three stars and a half Colour: dark amber. Nose: raisins and oranges! It’s the fresh fruitiness that first comes out, then some rather unusual spicy cigars, cloves, something like these Indonesian clove cigarettes (gudang garang), then quince and pomegranates for sure, a drop of muscatel… And then massive amounts of vanilla fudge and butterscotch. I have to say I find this superb, and certainly unusual. With water: patchouli and tobacco. Turns as cloudy as milk on a bad Beijing day. Mouth (neat): extremely rich yet kind of light, certainly bubblegumy, and very grassy. Haribo’s strawberry sweets, Turkish delights, pink peppercorns, then some peat coming out, as well as a little salt. Really unusual, what kind of sherry was that? With water: spicy chocolate and raspberry jam, plus a drop of brine. Was the sherry butt sourced in… Oporto? Finish: quite long, rather on crème de cassis, ginger, chocolate and smoke. More walnuts on the aftertaste. Comments: as unusual as the 2006, and of similar quality, I’d say. I’m not sure it really likes water. SGP:653 - 83 points.

Bunnahabhain 16 yo 1997/2014 (56.4%, The First Editions, refill hogshead, 170 bottles)

Bunnahabhain 16 yo 1997/2014 (56.4%, The First Editions, refill hogshead, 170 bottles) Four stars Ah, this should be more ‘natural’… And peaty. Colour: straw. Nose: indeed, it’s one of these slightly simple, yet fruity whistle-clean peaters from northern Islay. Peaches, beach sand, sea air, seashells, iodine, hay and pears. With water: quite perfect, clean peat, hay, seaweed and lemon. Mouth (neat): sweet peat, zesty, lemony, clean and concise. Very simple and very good. More peaty pepper after a few minutes – does that exist? A blade. With water: perfect balance between the lemon, the smoke, the brine and… well, that’s all but that’s already more than enough. Finish: quite long, very clean, on the same notes. Comments: gotta love this. These 1997 ‘moines’ are starting to bear the right age – and a resemblance to their closest neighbour C.I. SGP:456 - 87 points.

Another sixteen please…

Bunnahabhain 16 yo (55.6%, The Whisky Exchange Whisky Show 2014)

Bunnahabhain 16 yo (55.6%, The Whisky Exchange Whisky Show 2014) Four stars and a half This un-vintaged baby might well be another 1997… Colour: straw. Nose: right-o, it’s the 1997, only with much more vanilla, fudge, butterscotch and white chocolate. The cask was much more active, obviously, or it’s even seen some newish US oak pretty recently. I think this works extremely well, because you’ve got both the cleanliness and the sexier vanilla. With water: the spirit wins, the vanilla’s been brought down, hurray! I even find wee hints of freshly cooked langoustines. Not kidding. Mouth (neat): impeccable zesty sharpy lemony sweet vanilla-ed peatiness. Not much to add, this is perfect, just a little, cough, cough, strong (S., you sissy!) With water: hi-def peater. Simple yet total pleasures. Finish: long zesty clean lemony briny peat. Comments: it seems that these ‘moines’ are currently losing their slightly ‘dull’ pearish fruitiness. It was worth the wait. SGP:456 - 88 points.

Bunnahabhain 1991/2014 'Oysters with Lemon Pearls' (46%, Wemyss malts, hogshead, 265 bottles)

Bunnahabhain 1991/2014 'Oysters with Lemon Pearls' (46%, Wemyss malts, hogshead, 265 bottles) Four stars Another Bunny by Wemyss… Colour: straw. Nose: a little older, a little smoother, with a little more fruits (pineapple and oranges), a touch of coconut and barley water, then some clean grapefruits and apples, and a milder, easier, slightly more complex peatiness. A discreeter peatiness, that is. As for the oysters, I protest, that’s rather whelks. Jo-king. Mouth: so good, so clean, so quaffable, so pure, so easy… And they were right, that would be oysters with lemon pearls. And a dash of black pepper. Finish: long, even more lemony. Zing! Comments: there, you have your muscadet at high strength to drink with your oysters! Seriously, this works extremely well, it’s in the same league as that ‘Seaweeds on the Rocks’ by Wemyss that we tried last year. Same batch, same purity. SGP:352 - 87 points.

Bunnahabhain 24 yo 1990/2014 (48.3%, The Whisky Agency, refill hogshead, 190 bottles)

Bunnahabhain 24 yo 1990/2014 (48.3%, The Whisky Agency, refill hogshead, 190 bottles) Four stars Colour: white wine. Nose: this is completely different. Very little peat this time, and rather a very delicate and complex flowery side, some acacia honey, plus aniseed, fennel and wormwood, plus damp earth and beach sand after a heavy shower. On Islay. Beautiful and kind of feminine. I’m sorry, ladies… Mouth: there certainly is a little smoke, and perhaps a little too much caramel/fudge (the feeling of Werther’s Originals is a bit too big for my taste), but other than that, we have a typical honeyed and orchardy Bunnahabhain, the style that’s the closest to that of most OBs. Not talking about the NAS oak-doped ones of course. Bakes apples, poached apples, honey and caramel sauce. A faint bitterness in the background, but that’s all right. Finish: of medium length, a little more tea-ish and green. Loses points now. Comments: very good, in my opinion, but the finish has got a little too much bitter oak. On the other hand, the spot was tricky after the peaters, so, kudos. SGP:541 - 85 points.

Break! But we’ll have more tomorrow…

More tasting notes Check the index of all Bunnahabhain I've tasted so far

 

 

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January 6, 2015


Whiskyfun

A hotchpotch of Glen Grant

A few Glen Grants can’t do any harm. Let’s start with a little aperitif, as we often do…

Glen Grant 12 yo (43%, OB, +/-1980)

Glen Grant 12 yo (43%, OB, +/-1980) It’s one the old square bottles. Colour: pale gold. Nose: dry and light, with a little cardboard and burnt wood, then overripe apples aplenty. Something slightly metallic, maybe something musty as well… And very faint whiffs of stale turpentine, or something like that. Largely uninspiring. Mouth: a little flat again, starting with quite some mint and other spicy herbs, some dried tea, a little leather, and that’s more or less all. Not much development I’m afraid, we’re far from a glorious old bottle. Weak body. Finish: short and flat. Comments: either it’s partly gone, or it was like this when it was bottled, which I doubt. Some parts remain ‘okay’. SGP:341 - 65 points.

While we’re having old ones…

Glen Grant 10 yo (70° proof, OB, Moray Bonding, 1950s)

Glen Grant 10 yo (70° proof, OB, Moray Bonding, 1950s) Three stars A genuine antique, as this tall round baby had been bought in 1957 according to a handwritten mention on the label. A beautiful bottle! Colour: gold. Nose: the good side of Old Bottle Effect. I mean, its greatest side. Plenty of old waxes and oils, old books and other papers, old leather jacket, then rather beeswax, wax polish, hints of overripe bananas, quince juice, a whole bag of figs… The exact opposite of the 12 years old, I’m afraid. More old-style cough syrup after ten minutes, a touch of plasticine… Mouth: a wee bit drier, so a little less sexy than on the nose, and perhaps a little drying (pepper and black tea), but other than that the waxy and raisiny fruitiness is lovely. It’s all revolving around dried raisins, figs and dates. Good body after eighty years in glass. Finish: a little too drying, with some sawdust and more pepper. Some other parts remain lovely, such as notes of tarte tatin and quinces again. Comments: often the same story with very old bottles, a great nose and a palate that got a little too dry and flat. Flattish. It’s all time-barred anyway. SGP:441 - 82 points.

Glen Grant 37 yo 1970/2007 (44%, Duncan Taylor, Rare Auld, cask #3496, 143 bottles)

Glen Grant 37 yo 1970/2007 (44%, Duncan Taylor, Rare Auld, cask #3496, 143 bottles) Four stars and a half We’ve already tried a good dozen 1970s by Duncan Taylor, those used to be very fairly priced and pretty excellent. Not great, but excellent.  Colour: gold. Nose: typical slightly mouldy beehivy notes, with some warm pinewood, beeswax, honey, pollen and all that, plus overripe apples, croissants and other buttery pastries, then rather fresh oranges. It’s perfect fresh and complex nose, an ode to ageing. Mouth: excellent again, with a mild spiciness (cinnamon, white pepper), then plenty of oranges, both regular and bitter, honey sauce, lemon balm, then more liquorice, grass and hay. Finish: quite long but a little drying again. A lot of cinnamon, black tea and nutmeg. Pinesap in the aftertaste. Comments: those used to be bargains, you could buy them for a song and a dance. They’ve multiplied the prices by ten since back then. SGP:451 - 88 points.

Let’s try a stronger one…

Glen Grant 22 yo 1992/2014 (57.8%, The Single Malts of Scotland, bourbon, cask #35936, 222 bottles)

Glen Grant 22 yo 1992/2014 (57.8%, The Single Malts of Scotland, bourbon, cask #35936, 222 bottles) Four stars and a half Colour: pale gold. Nose: typical modern Glen Grant with bags and bags of apples and a few pears, then gooseberries, then peaches, all that being covered with a little barley water and sugarcane syrup. Very average malt whisky, in the best sense of the word ‘average’. With water: more of all that with an added freshness. How could anyone be against this? Whiffs of dough and flowers. Mouth (neat): sweet, big, very orchardy again, and punchy as well. Young calvados plus apple and pear juice, some barley syrup and some honey. It's simple, but it's perfect. Maybe a hint of Irishness, pure pot still style. With water: perfect sweet maltiness. Some cask! Finish: not too long but clean, fruity, sweet, and perfectly balanced. Comments: a tad more complexity could have made this baby fetch 90 in my little book. Great spirit. SGP:541 - 88 points.

Glen Grant 40 yo 1972/2012 (51.6%, Maltbarn, sherry)

Glen Grant 40 yo 1972/2012 (51.6%, Maltbarn, sherry) Five stars Colour: full gold. Nose: there, this is it. This series is famous for its perfect honeyed notes, the very elegant dried fruits and the marvellous floral side. Mead, acacia honey, figs, dandelions, wax polish, mirabelles, apricots, bergamottes de Nancy (lovely bergamot flavoured sweets), then rather cinnamon cake and custard, zwetschke pie... How superb! With water: more of all that, with something slightly resinous/sappy. Hashish? Mouth (neat): perfect fresh and 'nervous' fruits, apples, oranges, quinces, plums... Then some crystallised angelica, more bergamots, raisins, and of course, a lot of honey. Some white pepper and cinnamon from the oak start to make it a little bitterer after one minute, but that's an asset. Also rosehip and honeysuckle teas. With water: little change. Not that we needed any. Finish: quite long, maybe a little drier and more cardboardy, and a wee tad too earthy and tannic, but hey, it's 40 years old. Comments: it lost one or two points during the finish, but it remains a great, very typical 1972 Glen Grant. SGP:551 - 91 points.

(Thanks a bunch Konstantin, Phil and Simon)

More tasting notes Check the index of all Glen Grant I've tasted so far

 

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