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Serge whiskyfun

 

Tasting notes:
Whiskies 11,907
Other spirits 1,062

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Index of whiskyfun


Whisky Tasting

 
Aberfeldy (41) - Aberlour (91)
Abhainn Dearg (2)
Allt-A-Bhainne (2
6)
An Cnoc (
20)
Ardbeg (3
51) - Ardmore (64)
Arran (
80) - Auchentoshan (85)
Auchroisk (2
7) - Aultmore (41)
Balblair (72) - Balmenach (35)
Balvenie (
83) - Banff (46)
Ben Nevis (
97)
Ben Wyvis (
2)
Benriach (
157) - Benrinnes (43)
Benromach (
51) - Bladnoch (54)
Blair Athol (4
7) - Bowmore (411)
Braes of Glenlivet (
34)
Brora (
117)
Bruichladdich (2
24)
Bunnahabhain (
243)
Caol Ila (450)
Caperdonich (
81)
Cardhu (
31) - Clynelish (306)
Coleburn (
15)
Convalmore (1
8)
Cragganmore (
62)
Craigduff (3) - Craigellachie (
47)
Dailuaine (50) - Dallas Dhu (35)
Dalmore (91) - Dalwhinnie (24)
Deanston (26) - Dufftown (48)

Edradour (55)
Imperial (62) - Inchgower (44)
Inverleven (20)
Isle of Jura (96)

Kilchoman (30)
Kilkerran (
11) - Kinclaith (7)
Kininvie
(3)
- Knockando (
31)
Ladyburn (10) - Lagavulin (114)
Laphroaig (359) - Ledaig (88)
Linkwood (121) - Littlemill (101)
Loch Lomond (29)
Lochside (65)
Longmorn (182) - Longrow (62)

Macallan (254) - Macduff (62)
Mannochmore (2
7)
Millburn (
21)
Miltonduff (
55) - Mortlach (153)
Mosstowie (1
9)
Oban (25) - Octomore (14)
Old Fettercairn (28)
Old Pulteney (71)

Scapa (36) - Speyburn (28) - Speyside (16)
Springbank (2
49)
St-Magdalene (46)
Strathisla (
92) - Strathmill (26)
 
 
Pete and Jack



2016
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2015
December 1 - 2
November 1 - 2
October 1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2014
Music Awards
December
1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1- 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2013
Music Awards
December
1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2012
December
1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2011
Music Awards
December
1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2010
Music Awards
December
1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2009
December
1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2008
Music Awards
December
1 - 2 - 3
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

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

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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The Magical History
of the Great
Brora Distillery
1969 - 1983

   


 

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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

2002-2016


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July 24, 2016


Whiskyfun

Finding malternatives

More rum but let’s be serious today, and avoid any lousy sugar bombs like the plague. Only ‘natural’ rum, no glycerine, no cooked stuff, no unlikely extracts, no faked ages, no made-up stories, and no old-brands-de-la-muerte that nobody’s ever heard of.

Trois Rivières 2001/2014 (43%, OB, Martinique, agricole, cask #L169)

Trois Rivières 2001/2014 (43%, OB, Martinique, agricole, cask #L169) Three stars Trois Rivières is a huge plantation in the south of La Martinique. It was once owned by Fouquet, one of the main ministers of Louis XIV. This is one of the rare official single casks. Oh and remember, agricole means it’s distilled cane juice, not molasses. Colour: gold. Nose: very Martiniquan, starting with tinned pineapples and fresh liquorice, and developing on a bit of oak vanilla and, above all, really a lot of fresh cane juice. Also oriental pastries, honeysuckle, chamomile and just a little yellow curry powder. Mouth: rather powerful, almost hot, and really extremely liquoricy and spicy. The oak feels a little too much for me, but other than that, I find it very fine. Cinnamon cake. Finish: long, oaky, spicy, with some ginger, nutmeg, and cloves from the oak. Comments: very good, for sure, but you have to like oak. Feels ‘modern’, as modern whiskies do. SGP:451 - 80 points.

Rhum J.M ‘Cuvée 1845’ (42%, OB, Martinique, agricole, +/-2015)

Rhum J.M ‘Cuvée 1845’ (42%, OB, Martinique, agricole, +/-2015) Four stars and a half We’re in the north of La Martinique this time, and this is a ‘prestige’ decanter. All rhums inside are more than 10 years and were matured in older casks. Hurray, no excessive vanilla and spices to be expected this time! Unless… Colour: deep gold. Nose: this one’s very floral, pleasantly metallic (old copper kettle), and delicately fruity. Rather overripe fruits, crushed mangos, bruised bananas… Also a little incense, sandalwood, cigarette tobacco, a touch of menthol… This is right up my alley! Mouth: really special, and totally in keeping with the nose, since there are exactly the same flavours and aromas. Chamomile tea, overripe bananas and mangos, a wee metallic touch, some tobacco, a faint dustiness that’s anything but embarrassing, and perhaps a touch of rose jelly. Yes, or Turkish delights. Finish: medium, a tad spicier. Cinnamon and orange blossom water. Comments: sadly no surprise, I knew this was going to be excellent. A perfect malternative! SGP:562 - 88 points.

St Lucia 14 yo 2000/2015 Rum (46%, Berry Bros & Rudd, St Lucia)

St Lucia 14 yo 2000/2015 Rum (46%, Berry Bros & Rudd, St Lucia) Four stars and a half Some high esters to be expected this time… Colour: pale gold. Nose: indeed, you’re putting your head into an old fuel stove, or even above the engine of an old English car (includes leaking engine oil, brake fluid, and petrol). Add fermenting fruits, some tar, some liquorice, and really plenty of hay. I like this a lot, but that was this session’s whole point, wasn’t it. Mouth: really super good, tarry, sardine-y, salty, with more salty liquorice, coal tar, cigar ashes, black olives… It’s the salty side that’s really noticeable, there’s less of that in the Jamaicans that, other than that, share more or less the same style. Finish: long, on rotting fruits, salted liquorice, and tarry ashes. Comments: my style. Very well selected, BB&R. SGP:452 - 89 points.

Speaking of La Jamaïque…

Monymusk 12 yo 2003/2015 (Hunter Laing, Kill Devil, Jamaica, 292 bottles)

Monymusk 12 yo 2003/2015 (46%, Hunter Laing, Kill Devil, Jamaica, 292 bottles) Five stars Please fasten your seatbelts. Colour: white wine. Nose: it’s very interesting to nose this after the St Lucia. This Monymusk is rather less tarry, and rather more citric, but other than that, styles are very similar indeed. Same feeling of old engine oil, Bakelite, liquorice, fermenting fruits, bicycle inner tube… But on top of that, there’s a drizzle of lemon juice. Or is that grapefruit? Or even orange? That’s very lovely, I assure you. Mouth: oh yes, very very good. What’s really superb, once again, is how the tarry Jamaicanness blends well with all this citrus, and make this baby feel like some light heavy rum, if that makes any sense. Half a green olive, some lime, grapefruit peel, and plenty of heavy and tarry liquorice. Finish: long, strong, yet kind of zesty and fresh. Great cask. Comments: great job by Hunter Laing. I find this new range really awesome, and even the price is kind of fair (approx 60€ for this one). SGP:452 - 90 points.

I told you, real malternative rums…

Uitvlugt 18 yo 1997/2016 (45%, Compagnie des Indes, Guyana, cask #MGA4, 637 bottles)

Uitvlugt 18 yo 1997/2016 (45%, Compagnie des Indes, Guyana, cask #MGA4, 637 bottles) Five stars A Demerara from the famous old four-column Savalle still. I think I’ve already written about what I think of la Compagnie des Indes – and of Uitvlugt. Colour: white wine. Nose: it’s really fascinating to notice the parentage between the St Lucian, the Jamaican, and this Guyanese. Same tarry start, same kind of liquorice, same olives and other briny things, and same old English engine. Now, this time it’s the coastal side that’s a little more noticeable, anchovies in brine, old leather grease, dried kelp… In a way, it’s the most ‘Islayian’ of them all. Mouth: to be honest, had I tried this baby blind, I’d have said ‘Jamaica’. And no, this is not the first time I’m trying Uitvlugt. Perfect salty liquorice, anchovies, olives, and a kind of salty smoke. Totally lovable, but please be careful, at this approachable strength, it goes down a little too well. Finish: long, salty, tarry, rubbery in a good way, and always pretty coastal. Smoked oysters? Comments: would kill many high-peaters from that famous island west of Kennacraig. Besides, I found it more phenolic than other Uitvlugts. SGP:352 - 91 points.

Fijian Rum 11 yo 2003/2015 (46%, Berry Bros & Rudd)

Fijian Rum 11 yo 2003/2015 (46%, Berry Bros & Rudd) Four stars In theory, some rum from Fiji would have nothing to do within such a session, except that we recently tried some by Cadenhead (South Pacific) and that we thought it was quite splendid. Colour: white wine. Nose: it’s rather less focussed than the previous ones, so a little more disjointed (kind of) but once again it’s some heavy-style rum, with an obvious tarry side and some kind of metallic brine. Say some seawater that you would have kept for one week in a copper pot. I like it because it’s got what many modern boozes are lacking, character and individuality. Mouth: nah, it’s great. Most probably from South Pacific Distillery. Salty and metallic fruits, passion fruits, mangos, liquorice, seawater, olives, sucking old coins, oranges… It’s this feeling of tarry oranges that’s so great. Finish: rather long, tarry, salty, tropical. Perhaps a little hashish in the aftertaste, with this sappy side. Perhaps… Comments: ah, Fiji! We only knew about their rugby team, now we know about their excellent rum. SGP:452 - 87 points.

Perhaps a last one, and since we were talking about Cadenhead, and since we haven’t been on La Guadeloupe yet today…

Bellevue 17 yo 1998/2015 'GMBV' (54.3%, Cadenhead, cask strength)

Bellevue 17 yo 1998/2015 'GMBV' (54.3%, Cadenhead, cask strength) Three stars and a half I’ve seen on a friendly and well-reputed website (an online retailer in the UK) that this baby ‘ought to make quite an impression in cocktails and would also be rather enjoyable served over ice.’ What? The effects of the Brexit, already? Colour: deep gold. Nose: probably the firmest and the most phenolic of all agricoles (cane juice/vesou distillate) but this time, we’re rather finding a lot of bubblegum and jelly babies. A pack of strawberry bonbons and some light office coffee. Perhaps is that the higher strength? With water: ah wait, it changes a lot! Patchouli, Cuban cigars, fresh walnuts, caraway… This is almost a U-turn. Mouth (neat): unexpectedly sweetish and bonbony indeed when neat. Syrups, sweets, maple syrup… I find it rather un-Bellevue when unreduced. With water: yes, indeed, it needs water to display all its agricoleness, even if that comes with a faint soapy/rubbery side. Bitter oranges, peppermint gum, chlorophyll… Finish: long, more herbal. Verbena, mint… Comments: pretty restless, this baby keeps changing. In a way, its greatly un-commercial, but it may lack that unstoppable immediacy that some of the others had. Like it a lot, though. SGP:462 - 83 points.

Seven rums, and six and a half proper malternatives, I’m happy.

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

 

 

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July 22, 2016


Whiskyfun

Butts, no ifs at Blair Athol

What? Anyway, apéritif first…

Blair Athol 8 yo (40%, OB, +/-1987)

Blair Athol 8 yo (40%, OB, +/-1987) Three stars A bottle roughly from when Blair Athol joined the Classic Malts, which did not last very long. That was when Diageo’s predecessors had bought owners Arthur Bell & Sons. Funnily enough, this one did say both ‘Single Malt’ and ‘Pure Malt’ on the label. Colour: gold. Nose: certainly old style, and more or less midway between the distillery’s previous ‘fat fruity’ style and their more contemporary ‘lighter malty’ side. A little dust, a feeling of copper and tin, certainly some kind of camphor (tiger balm?) and then rather freshly squeezed oranges and apples. A little unusual but there may be some OBE at play. Parsley. Mouth: malty and stouty (?) arrival, with a lot of toasted oak and bread, then rather cashews and peanuts. A very dry maltiness, with even a little soy sauce and walnuts. Dry sherry. Finish: medium, extremely malty, as if you had just quaffed some lukewarm Guinness. Comments: good but not as splendid as earlier official Blair Athols, especially as the black labels at 46% vol. SGP:451 - 80 points.

Blair Athol 20 yo 1995/2015 (50%, Hunter Laing, Old Malt Cask, sherry butt, cask #2537, 597 bottles)

Blair Athol 20 yo 1995/2015 (50%, Hunter Laing, Old Malt Cask, sherry butt, cask #2537, 597 bottles) Three stars and a half Colour: gold. Nose: this is funny, there are similar metallic touches at first nosing, especially copper (nosing a cold still, haha), then rather lovely kinds of mentholated oranges. The sherry’s very obvious, as this baby does nose like, well, sherry. Walnuts, touches of mustard, green apples, all that. With water: bread crumbs, toasts, drops of Guinness indeed, and a chalkiness. Mouth (neat): once again we’re not far from the old OB, but of course this packs more punch, with some peppered walnuts and almonds plus a large bag of Seville oranges. Nice bitter feel, with some Fernet Branca or something. With water: good malty development, with also a little mint sauce or something, well, English. I’m sorry, Scotland. Finish: rather long, just as dry as the OB. Roasted malt, bitter oranges, leather, a bit of gingerbread. Comments: just good, just good. Nice dry sherry. SGP:461 - 83 points.

Blair Athol 27 yo 1988/2016 (55.7%, Signatory Vintage for The Whisky Exchange, refill sherry, cask #6845, 565 bottles)

Blair Athol 27 yo 1988/2016 (55.7%, Signatory Vintage for The Whisky Exchange, refill sherry, cask #6845, 565 bottles) Four stars I like these coloured labels that they also use for La Maison du Whisky. Colour: gold. Nose: perhaps a few used matches at first nosing, but those do go away and quickly. After that, it starts to resemble the 1995, with some dry sherry, walnuts and all that, but a fruitier side then appears, with dates and raisins, fruitcake, and a je ne sais quoi that makes me think of… artisan cognac. Also toasted croissants, while I’m in France. With water: oh, green tomatoes and autumn leaves! Changes a lot once reduced. Mouth (net): excellent, even if it’s a tad rustic at times. Bitter oranges, white pepper, pipe tobacco, triple-sec, old rancio, perhaps one Turkish delight, orange zests… All that works in sync. With water: still a notch rustic, leafy and leathery, but the dried fruits – dates first – just lift it. A wee glass of marc de gewürztraminer may have been thrown into that butt. Finish: rather long, with good balance between the leather and leaves, and the dried fruits. Comments: much to my liking, but if this was a refill cask, they mustn’t have kept the first whisky for very long in wood. SGP:561 - 86 points.

 

 

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July 21, 2016


Whiskyfun

Little duets, today Tamdhu

Ah Tamdhu, whoever has tried the 1966 by Samaroli knows how great Tamdhu can be. And 1967, you may ask? Exactly, we’ll try one today, but first, a younger buddy…

Tamdhu 24 yo 1991/2016 (54.4%, Cadenhead, Small Batch, bourbon hogshead, 486 bottles)

Tamdhu 24 yo 1991/2016 (54.4%, Cadenhead, Small Batch, bourbon hogshead, 486 bottles) Four starsColour: white wine. Nose: Tamdhu is super-classy distillate. It’s got this slight waxiness, it’s got these fruits that could be quite tropical in the olden days, but that got more ‘western’ in recent years, like almost everywhere else (but why that, I wonder? See Benriach, Tomatin, or Bowmore…) and it’s got almond milk, which could make you think of soap, while it isn’t quite soap. With water: plain natural malt and apples. Elementary. Mouth (neat): average in the best sense of that word. Apples, lemons, grass, malted barley, and a touch of honey, with a wee bit of shortbread. Greengages. Like this ‘nervousness’. With water: guest a little more honeyed, rounder, more candied. Mirabelle tarte. Finish: medium, extremely natural. Sweet beer and mead, fifty-fifty. Comments: it’s funny that many Speysiders were making this kind of natural malty whisky in the early 1990s. Longmorn, Glen Keith, or this… Probably blending stock, and certainly flawless. Very good. SGP:551 - 86 points.

Tamdhu 33 yo 1967/2000 (48.2%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #8.27)

Tamdhu 33 yo 1967/2000 (48.2%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #8.27) Five stars We’ve got quite a few old SMWS yet to try, we’ll simply distil them in the coming months. Of course I’m speaking figuratively! Colour: gold. Nose: oh! The 1960s in full glory and with flying colours!  Depressingly extraordinary, fruity and mentholy with a grassy backbone and an honeyed coating… And an avalanche of ‘things’, crème de menthe, raisins, figs, quinces, apricots, pollen, pipe tobacco, amaretti, candied citron, earth, wax, moss… Oh well, it’s just got everything. Why oh why have they broken the mould? Mouth: the whiskies that are both smooth and firm are the best if you ask me. Starts with quite a lot of chestnut purée, goes on with honeys and waxes, keeps singing with old sweet wines and herbal liqueurs (fir tar liqueur, the most hygienic of all according to old adverts), and starts to dance with many teas and herbs, from verbena to wormwood. The best absinth ever. Finish: long, superbly honeyed, with an oakiness that’s both obvious and perfectly integrated. Now, the aftertaste is a little a little too oaky/peppery indeed, which makes it lose one point. There! Comments: like listening to an old 45rpm by the Rolling Stones. There are scratches, but it’s good. SGP:561 - 92 points.

(And merci Jean-Michel)

 

 

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July 20, 2016


Whiskyfun

Blend, grain and malt by Loch Lomond

Ah Loch Lomond, Captain Haddock's favourite brand! It's a mysterious distillery that’s just been bought by some new owners last year or in 2014. I have to say we’ve always sort of liked their very humble Loch Lomonds, Old Rhosdhus, or any other funny brand/combinations of stills and mashes, such as Inchmoan, Inchfad, Inchmurrin and a few others. Not that they weren’t quite whacky at times, but the prices have always been fair, if not cheap. Now what the new owners seem to have done first was to raise those prices. Question, may you premiumise even bottom-shelf spirits? Let’s see…


"This is enough... thanks!..."

Loch Lomond ‘Signature’ (40%, OB, blend, +/-2015)

Loch Lomond ‘Signature’ (40%, OB, blend, +/-2015) one star and a half I guess if you use the name of a distillery on a blend, all constituents have to come from that very distillery, which suggests that this is a revamped version of Loch Lomond’s ‘Single Blend’ that we tried last year (WF 72). This new one has seen some ‘olorosso’ casks according to the official website. Ha! Colour: gold. Nose: intrinsically spirity, with a little vanilla, overripe apples, toasted oak, and some kind of smoked ale. Very lightly smoked. Some cut grass too. Mouth: malty and sweet at first, then grassier and a little feinty, perhaps. It remains me of some brands that you see quite a lot in Africa, such as Passport. A little dusty and thin. Finish: short, and not very pleasant. Oak dust, beer, and green tea. Bitterish and sourish aftertaste. Comments: not really convinced it’s worth 30€, which is more than the price of Johnnie Black, while the latter sure is better. SGP:351 - 68 points.

Loch Lomond 12 yo 2000/2012 ‘Dà Mhile’ (46%, OB, organic single grain, +/-2016)

Loch Lomond 12 yo 2000/2012 ‘Dà Mhile’ (46%, OB, organic single grain, +/-2016) We had tried the older version of the same batch last year, a 15 yo (WF 50, whoofff). Colour: white wine. Nose: acetone, varnish, almond glue, apple jelly for kids, vanilla. The last part is not unpleasant. Mouth: hyper-bubblegums and mega-coconuts on a raw spirit. Very thin body, everything is peripheral on your palate. A feeling of oak-doped vodka. Finish: short, oakier, more vanilla-ed. Not the worst part, I have to say. It’s even kind of pleasant, now that you got used to the massive coconut. Strawberry-flavoured candy floss. Comments: no show frog but it seems that I liked this 12 better than the recent 15. SGP:520 - 60 points.

Loch Lomond 18 yo (43%, OB, +/-2015) Three stars Still in the ‘older’ packaging that used to look so very Nicholas II… This is the single malt. Colour: gold. Nose: muesli, cereals, dandelions, honey, toasted brioche, sweet ale, apple crumble, vanilla cake… This is totally not unpleasant this time. I like these whiffs of warm barley in the background, and the absence of any dirty/dusty parts. Mouth: indeed, I find this good! Perhaps not the most coherent malt ever, but I do enjoy these speculoos, the gingerbread, even the bready side (pumpernickel), and the obligatory overripe apples. Tends to become a little caramelly, but that’s fine. Butterscotch. Finish: medium, on sweet ale and more roasted malt and peanuts. Comments: I would say it is a surprise, but it… well, it is a good) surprise. In the style of Cardhu, or perhaps Glenlivet. Better than earlier batches. SGP:441 - 80 points.

Loch Lomond 18 yo 1996/2015 (46%, Murray McDavid, single grain, bourbon, casks #42929, 42970, 42980, 850 bottles)

Loch Lomond 18 yo 1996/2015 (46%, Murray McDavid, single grain, bourbon, casks #42929, 42970, 42980, 850 bottles) I remember Murray McDavid had a stunning old Old Rhosdhu around ten years ago (Mission series, it was a 1979, WF 88) but that was a malt, while this is ‘only’ a grain. Caution… Colour: straw. Nose: nada, niente, nichts, nothing, rien. Almost. Raw alcohol, wood smoke, charcoal (working barbecue)… But many grains are not nosing whiskies anyway, so, perhaps, on our palates… Mouth: there’s a little more happening. Cheap bourbon, alcohol, vanillin, a little fudge… Finish: short, still bourbony – I don’t mean first-class bourbon. Comments: very dispensable, I think. Ethanol with a little sweet wood. I have to say I’m surprised, I had really enjoyed MMcD’s recent offerings – I mean, the ones I could try. Even the Dà Mhile 12 was a little more to my liking. SGP:320 - 55 points.

And now, another… I’m joking. But we’ll have some better Inchmurrins soon.

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

 

 

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July 19, 2016


Whiskyfun

Little duets, Dailuaine twenty years later

Shouldn’t we expect some meat, some leather, some ‘good’ sulphur, and a certain fatness?

Dailuaine-Glenlivet 11 yo 2004/2016 (46%, Cadenhead, sherry wood, Small Batch)

Dailuaine-Glenlivet 11 yo 2004/2016 (46%, Cadenhead, sherry wood, Small Batch) Four stars Colour: gold. Nose: it does have this typical leathery start (that comes with one struck match), as well as roasted chestnuts and Corinth raisins, which gives a rather warm feeling. I really enjoy the malty meatiness too, and that’s not Marmitte! Rather ham and mint, or something similar. Excellent balance, as often with small batches (vs. single casks). Mouth: excellent, firm, rich. Spicy cake, cloves, cumin, green peppercorn, marmalade, Japanese crackers (the ones that have quite some soy sauce around), a little coffee, some grass… A lot of action in this wee baby that’s very fairly priced. Finish: long, a little mustardy, perhaps. In France we have a recipe called palette à la diable, which is some ham cooked in a sweetish mustard sauce. Comments: an excellent price, some very good and ‘typical’ whisky, we don’t need more, do we. SGP:462 - 87 points.

And twenty years earlier…

Dailuaine 30 yo 1984/2015 (53.3%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, refill bourbon hogshead, #41.64, ‘Sharing, caring loving dram’, 210 bottles)

Dailuaine 30 yo 1984/2015 (53.3%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, refill bourbon hogshead, #41.64, ‘Sharing, caring loving dram’, 210 bottles) Three stars and a half Colour: pale gold. Nose: it’s interesting to notice that what’s usually associated with some sherry (sulphur smells) may also be there in an ex-bourbon malt such as Dailuaine, or Mortlach, or a few other malts that are sulphury ‘by design’. Having said that this is fresher, fruitier, and more citrusy than the 2004. It’s even kind of green, with some rhubarb and kiwi. How green is that? A touch of meat too. Steak! With water: some chalk and saltpetre. Mouth (neat): very intriguing. Sulphury honey, does that ring a bell? And again, it is ‘good’ sulphur. Expresso coffee and lemon rind, an unusual combination. With water: good maltiness, sweeter grapefruits, orange blossom honey, and always a wee sulphury touch. Finish: medium, marmalade-y and rather gingery. Cinnamon in the aftertaste. Comments: very good, just less ‘immediate’ than the 2004 – which, I agree, wasn’t very ‘immediate’ either. SGP:551 - 84 points.

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

 

Pete McPeat and Jack Washback
PJ

PJ

 

 

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July 18, 2016


Whiskyfun

New Tomatin 1971 and compadre

There, in the midst of summer, when everyone’s busy quaffing mojitos or rosé-pamplemousse, Tomatin are launching a new series. It’s called the ‘Warehouse 6 Collection’, and they just issued the first release, no less than a vintage 1971. We’ll try it today, but first a worthy sparring-partner. Sadly no other 1971 Tomatin at hand, so let’s have a younger sherried one by a good house…

Tomatin 1988/2014 (53.7%, Malts of Scotland, sherry hogshead, cask #MoS 14026, 265 bottles)

Tomatin 1988/2014 (53.7%, Malts of Scotland, sherry hogshead, cask #MoS 14026, 265 bottles) Four stars Colour: white wine. Nose: Extravagantly fruity. I’ve not often found this many peaches, blood oranges, and ripe (but not overripe) gooseberries in any whisky. These fruits are very fresh, so you’d think you’re actually wondering throughout an orchard. Or perhaps even some vineyard, since I also find grapes. Big golden muscat. But not wine as such. With water: even more grapes, and vine peaches, in all logic. Only a small amount of malty beerness in the background. Mouth (neat): really very fruity, it’s almost a fruit salad, or rather some kind of barrel-aged fruit cocktail since there are some peppery spices as well. Strawberries and pepper work well together, according to Hollywood. With water: a greenish tannicity starts to interfere, but it comes with some sweets and syrups, so balance is maintained. Finish: quite long, fresh, we’ve almost quaffed a good glass of muscat d’Alsace. Better than rosé-pamplemousse, I’m telling you. Comments: this one was very ‘Tomatin’, which could not be bad news. SGP:751 - 86 points.

Tomatin 1971/2016 (45.8%, OB, Warehouse 6 Collection, oloroso sherry cask, cask #30041, 252 bottles)

Tomatin 1971/2016 (45.8%, OB, Warehouse 6 Collection, oloroso sherry cask, cask #30041, 252 bottles) Five stars There’s something very smart written in the leaflet, ‘With patience comes reward’. It’s not a cheap bottle but that’s only the price of a full week in a five-star resort in Moldova (£2,500) and they did put a lot of effort into the presentation. Actually, spending some time in Moldova is something I’ve always wanted to do. Colour: deep gold. Nose: we’re visiting a high-class bodega in Jerez. It’s not that it noses just like sherry, it noses like a, eh, a bodega, with some old oak, many wines resting, and perhaps a little saltpetre. And there are raisins, cigarette tobacco, quite a lot of milk chocolate, praline, dried figs, and a rather precious spicy combination, not easy to describe. A little wine sauce, perhaps. Beef Bourguignon or something. It’s all extremely complex. Whiffs of hessian (hessian around the bungs, of course). Mouth: it does start with quite some cinnamon and a feeling of cedar wood, but after all, this is +/-45 years old whisky, so the oak did have to feel a bit. What’s perfect is that the wine sauce is back, and it came with prunes, black chocolate, cassis, black cherries, and this lovely wine-y sourness. Burgundy indeed, this is almost some Chambertin. Did you know that Napoléon used to ask all his troops to present arms whenever they were passing near the Chambertin? Whether he was with them or not? Mad man… Finish: medium, and even more ‘Chambertin’. Fermenting raisins, marc... Leafier aftertaste - that’s the stems. Comments: excellent pinot-noiry old wine. Great wines and great whiskies, same battle! SGP:561 - 91 points.

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

 

 

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July 15, 2016


Whiskyfun

No fun.

 

July 14, 2016


Whiskyfun

Little duets, today Glencadam

Another single malt that’s rather uncommon. I remember Jim McEwan telling me (and everyone) that beside Bruichladdich, Glencadam was his favourite malt whisky.

Glencadam 17 yo ‘Triple Cask Portwood Finish’ (46%, OB, 1128 bottles, +/-2015)

Glencadam 17 yo ‘Triple Cask Portwood Finish’ (46%, OB, 1128 bottles, +/-2015) Two stars and a halfMy my my, what a pedigree! Couldn’t we talk more about barley or yeast one day? It’s becoming tiring, really. Hope the Scots will stop at quintuple casks, or it’s going to become like in watchmaking in the 1960s, 32 jewels, 43 jewels, 65 jewels – while most of those jewels were just anecdotal, for advertising purposes. Colour: gold. Nose: a funny feeling of a blend of sangria with mint leaves, plus Ovaltine and butterscotch. Mars bar. What’s good is that the Port tends to become relatively discreeter, apart from these wee touches of raspberries. Not un-nice. Mouth: spicy, even peppery arrival, with strong herbal teas. Cherry stems, peach leaves, these sorts of things. On top of that, raspberry jelly babies, café latte, and green pepper. The whole is a little dissonant, I think. Certainly not bad, but I feel it lacks coherence and cohesion. Finish: rather long, peppery and raspberry-jelly-like. Maltier aftertaste. Comments: I’m having troubles understanding this one. I know it’s good to widen a range of products from a marketing POV, but I feel this one went too far from base. SGP:571 - 77 points.

Glencadam 43 yo 1972/2015 (47%, Signatory Vintage, hogshead, cask #7820, 95 bottles)

Glencadam 43 yo 1972/2015 (47%, Signatory Vintage, hogshead, cask #7820, 95 bottles) Four stars and a halfA super mini outturn. Ah, 1972, wasn’t it one of the best vintages ever for Scotch? Provided vintages do make sense with whisky? What’s sure is that sister cask #7821, bottled in 2001 at a much younger age for SV’s famous ‘Silent Stills’ series, had been very ‘bubblegummy’. Fourteen more years may have fixed that. Colour: gold. Nose: ah, these lovely mentholy old casks! Barley water, fresh almond paste, crushed mint leaves, raisins, overripe apples (cider), honeycomb, mild Virginia tobacco, old chardonnay… And, above all and everything, bags and bags of dried figs. Love dried figs. Mouth: it doesn’t harm the OB, it kills it. The oak’s a little loud at times (strong mint-flavoured tea) but all is well since balance is kept and since this mentholy freshness works so well. For me. More dried figs, bergamots, chamomile, earl grey, peppermint… And then more cinnamon and nutmeg from the oak. Plus a little lemon. Finish: long, fresh. One of the rare very zesty and fresh old oaks. Comments: super-mega-hyper good old Glencadam. You just gotta enjoy mint. SGP:561 - 89 points.

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

 

 

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July 13, 2016


Whiskyfun

Little duets, today Port Charlotte

Many PCs to taste, as many ‘private casks’ that have been bought from Bruichladdich in the early to mid 2000s are now coming out, but since this is our lighter summer programme, we’ll have only two. And make that two officials please!

Port Charlotte 10 yo 2005 (55.1%, OB for Islay House, Feis Ile 2016, 300 bottles)

Port Charlotte 10 yo 2005 (55.1%, OB for Islay House, Feis Ile 2016, 300 bottles) Three stars and a halfThis one was matured in ‘premium French oak’, which suggests a wine cask, possibly refill. Hopefully refill. Colour: gold. Nose: French oak indeed. It’s quite big, spicy, gingery, and kind of medicinal. Mercurochrome and gingerbread, with a ‘green’ smokiness. Some camphor, some eucalyptus, some newly sawn oak and even pinewood. The jury’s still out. With water: nicer, with more citrus. Grapefruit skin, patchouli, grass, good mud, hay. Mouth (neat): really, the oak feels. It reminds me of many a craft whisky, especially American ones, except that those are super-young and do have to rely on good oak. Don’t get me wrong, this is very good, but I’m finding the oak a little too obvious. Not unlike some of Mackmyra’s earliest bottlings, for example (while Mackmyra got much better in my book). With water: once again it improves mucho, becoming more citric and ‘nervous’, and losing a part of the oakiness. Finish: long, green, oaky, bitterish, gingery. Not too fond of this finish. Comments: mixed feelings here. Great spirit in some oak that was a little too active, in my humble opinion. SGP:467 - 83 points.

Port Charlotte 7 yo 2008/2016 (61%, OB, Valinch, Feis Ile 2016, cask #3821, 410 bottles)

Port Charlotte 7 yo 2008/2016 (61%, OB, Valinch, Feis Ile 2016, cask #3821, 410 bottles) Three stars and a half Made out of Islay-grown Chalice barley from Starchmill Farm, which lies near Bridgend. Aaah, terroir! Ahem, well, not sure the Rivesaltes cask that’s been used to mature this baby is very terroir, having said that… I mean, Islay terroir… Colour: straw. Nose: no Rivesaltes that I can get. That is to say almost no raisins, no rancio, no walnuts, just plain almost unadulterated peated barley, with just, granted, a wee mossy/earthy side that may come from the cask. Around boletus and other lovely wild mushrooms that, to my knowledge, do not grow on Islay. With water: Islay mud and grass, farmyard, porridge, and seaweed smoke (on a beach, on Islay, etc etc etc.) Very little wine, great. Mouth (neat): it seems that the wine cask feels a little more, this time with an orange-y side and a feeling of baklavas and other oriental pastries. Makrouts? But the big peaty spirit stands that, easily. With water: feels a bit like second fill sherry, in my humble opinion. Rubbery raisins, smoked nuts… Finish: long, a little gingery. Bitter oranges. Comments: hybrid malt whisky of very high quality – but not the highest. Rivesaltes, why? SGP:557 - 84 points.

Okay, I had planned to do a duet, but I feel we desperately need an all-natural PC. Let me see what I can find, stay tuned… (rummage rummage rummage…)

Port Charlotte ‘PC12 Oileanach Furachail’ (58.7%, OB, 2015)

Port Charlotte ‘PC12 Oileanach Furachail’ (58.7%, OB, 2015) Two stars Oh well, what a name, sounds like a dresser from Ikea’s, doesn’t it. Or some guy from Game of Thrones. Colour: gold. Nose: oh! Sulphury, limestone-y, this ain’t easy. A gun that was just shot, used matches, new leather, cabbage stew… Not quite eggy, but we’re close. Hope water will help. With water: same, I’m afraid. New plastic, fumes… Mouth (neat): yes and no. Yes for the zesty and straight distillate, no for the sulphury, almost truffle-like coating. Really bizarre… With water: no changes. Finish: quite long, quite rubbery. A nicer aftertaste, with some smoky lemons. Comments: some un-rinsed sulphured wine casks must have been in use, I’m almost sure. I’ve had so many PCs that have been much more to my liking! Well, all of them… SGP:467 - 72 points. - UPDATE: it seems that there's been several bottlings and that whilst most were rather perfect, one of them had that sulphur indeed. Not too sure how to identify that one but I'll keep you posted. Thank you John.

Not much luck today, but we never back off at WF Towers! Let’s just play it safer…

Port Charlotte 2001/2013 (59.2%, Malts of Scotland, sherry hogshead, cask #MoS 13052, 292 bottles)

Port Charlotte 2001/2013 (59.2%, Malts of Scotland, sherry hogshead, cask #MoS 13052, 292 bottles) Five stars From PC’s first year of distillation. Hope the sherry won’t be too loud. Colour: pale gold. Nose: aaah, some purer, cleaner, zestier, more complex Port Charlotte! Coal smoke, charcoal, sea air, seaweed, chalk, flints, kelp, langoustines… Okay, perhaps not quite langoustines, but you got it, this is pristinely coastal. Aaah… With water: bandages, mud, muesli, porridge, grass smoke… All that is perfect. Mouth (neat): so very good! The sherry’s kept at bay, and there’s a very peppery yet lightish smoke that makes the whole experience just great. Grapefruit, drinking clay, lime, green pepper, ashes… Just perfect. With water: excellent limy smokiness. We’ll leave it at that. Finish: same. Fresh, smoky, lemony, coastal, ashy. Almost no sherry in sight. Comments: I feel that quite often and with many distilleries, the owners should thank the independents for their purer, and in a way more authentic bottlings that do enhance the images of their distilleries. I know that sounds strange and even contradictory – and yes the indies are using their quasi-brands for free - but this session was just another example. SGP:458 - 90 points.

Phew!

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

 

 

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July 12, 2016


Whiskyfun

Little duets, today new young Caol Ila

I know we usually do much larger sessions with big names such as Caol Ila, but I’m finding that more difficult to do when the weather gets hotter in Alsace. So, a wee duo will do today, if you don’t mind.

Caol Ila 8 yo 2007/2016 (46%, Signatory Vintage for The Whisky Exchange, bourbon barrel, cask #315325, 320 bottles)

Caol Ila 8 yo 2007/2016 (46%, Signatory Vintage for The Whisky Exchange, bourbon barrel, cask #315325, 320 bottles) Five stars I’m expecting a ‘mezcaly’, that is to say a totally distillate-driven youngster – all for the good and perhaps even the better. By the way this one was ‘hand picked by TWE’. Good that they don’t use machines, sniffers and such. Imagine, ‘Selected by an Iphone’… Colour: white wine. Good news already. Nose: I could keep this short and just write ‘yes’, but I’ll still mention seaweed, limey smoke, beach sand, iodine, grass smoke (garden bonfire) and oysters. Loch Gruinart oysters, of course. Mouth: but-it-is-totally-mezcaly. It’s even agave-y (kind of the same thing, S.) Smoked fish and olives, plus a thin coating made with custard and light honey. That’s the barrel speaking out. Finish: rather long, super clean, maritime, smoky, seaweedy, mezcaly… Some would call it a fishermans’s dram. A Mexican fisherman? Comments: BFYB. Well done TWE! Totally up my alley. SGP:457 - 90 points.

Caol Ila 12 yo ‘Feis Ile 2016’ (56.2%, OB, 1500 bottles)

Caol Ila 12 yo ‘Feis Ile 2016’ (56.2%, OB, 1500 bottles) Four stars and a half Matured in refill American oak hogsheads and European oak ex-Bodega sherry butts. I’m starting to wonder, do we really need to know? Or, on the contrary, do we need the name of that famous ‘bodega’? Colour: straw. Nose: 10 extra-% make for a huge difference, this is more aggressive, more full of antiseptic, seawater, Islay mud, wet beach sand, sour juices (from sour fruits), walnut wine (the sherry?)… And oak. Good oak. With water: another one that swims like a champ. Supreme stewed almonds and glazed chestnuts, some very fat smoked fish (salmon), and a pile of brown coal in an old basement. Mouth (neat): huge and sharp, but not without and citrusy roundness. Lemon tarte… With meringue, of course! To be honest I’m finding this very good. With water: typical young Caol Ila from some pretty active, yet not dominating oak. Oily mouth feel. Lime and lemon, oyster juice, seawater… Finish: long, rather oily again. Lemon-flavoured salted grape seed oil? Comments: totally excellent, as expected, it’s just that I enjoyed the 2007’s blade-y brightness even (a tiny-wee bit) better. With thanks to Pieter. SGP:457 - 89 points.

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July 11, 2016


Whiskyfun

Vatted stuff

Yeah, stuff. Scottish stuff.

Glen Calder (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, +/-2015)

Glen Calder (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, +/-2015) Two stars A bizarre bottling, earlier bottles had ‘Fine Old Blended Scotch Whisky’ but this very recent one says ‘Fine Old Scotch Whisky from the Glenlivet District’. So blended malt? Not too sure… Colour: gold. Nose: It is rather Glenlivety indeed. Overripe apples, crumble, a bit of burnt wood, a little chocolate, some roasted malt… Mouth: a little sour wood, malt, apple compote, toasted bread… I do find it rather ‘blendy’. Some English tea. Finish: medium, with notes of sawdust, cinnamon, a little caramel… Nicer notes of apples in the aftertaste. Comments: totally ‘75’. Decent whisky for a decent price. Relatively dry. SGP:351 - 75 points.

Atholl Highlanders (43%, OB, blended malt, +/-2015)

Atholl Highlanders (43%, OB, blended malt, +/-2015) Three stars Bottled for the Atholl Highlanders, the only private regiment in Scotland if I’m not mistaken. This bottle may be found at Blair Castle. Colour: gold. Nose: very nice malty nose! Could be Blair Athol indeed. Cereals, apple juice, light honey, pastries, vanilla, barley, a wee touch of mint… All fine, smooth, easy, and certainly not dull. Well balanced. Mouth: yes, it’s pretty good, starting with oranges and apples, going on with a little honey and lemon curd, and getting then even maltier than before. Cornflakes and marmalade. Finish: medium, with a little mint again, which adds even more freshness to this, well, this fresh Midlander. Comments: really good, not just whisky for tourists. SGP:441 - 81 points.

Rìgh Seumas I 10 yo 2004/2015 (46%, Murray McDavid, blended malt, 882 bottles)

Rìgh Seumas I 10 yo 2004/2015 (46%, Murray McDavid, blended malt, 882 bottles) Three stars and a half A vatting of Auchentoshan, Arran, Tobermory and Rhosdhu. Strange combo. Colour: pale gold. Nose: soot and gravel, then burnt breadcrumbs, fresh concrete, then porridge and muesli, as well as a little lapsang souchong and coal. Totally unusual, which, in this case, sure is an asset. Mouth: totally unusual indeed. Notes of Swiss cheese at first, yoghurt, polenta, then sawdust and tapioca, then an even sootier smokiness, some green pepper, then lemon and bread… Almost unknown territories, quite fascinating. Okay, I may be exaggerating a bit, but I do like this indeed, it’s so unusual. Loch Lomond and Tobermory’s porridgeness (?) is well there (Rhosdhu). Good body. Finish: quite long, perhaps a little drying and plankish. Eating English bread without anything on it. Comments: a blended malt unlike any other. Some action, at last! SGP:452 - 84 points.

Light Creamy Vanilla 23 yo (51.6%, Cadenhead, Creations, No.2, blended malt, 2016)

Light Creamy Vanilla 23 yo (51.6%, Cadenhead, Creations, No.2, blended malt, 2016) Four stars Someone just asked me why I was tasting so many Cadenheads. I replied that that was like asking a test driver why he’s trying so many Porsches. Colour: gold. Nose: pure custard, compotes, ripe plums, acacia honey, and barley water. Creamy vanilla indeed. With water: totally on barley syrup, crème, butter croissants, and perhaps oriental pastries. Baklavas and such. Mouth (neat): very good. Something that you would make by blending Glentauchers, Imperial, or Glen Keith, stuff like that. Crystallized oranges, vanilla, quite some white pepper, drops of limoncello, orchard fruits… Now the oak’s a tad ‘bitterly green’, hope it’ll swim well on our palates… With water: quite a miracle, the oak got gentler, while the fruits came further out. A notch more citrusy (tangerine liqueur). Finish: medium, rather fresh, fruity. Comments: does this count as one of the 5-a-days? Very good. SGP:651 - 87 points.

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

 

 

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July 8, 2016


Whiskyfun

Little duets, today Imperial

Time gap today, 33 years.

Imperial 20 yo 1995/2015 (56.3%, Signatory Vintage, for Acla Selection, Switzerland)

Imperial 20 yo 1995/2015 (56.3%, Signatory Vintage, for Acla Selection, Switzerland) Four stars and a half Signatory already had several excellent 1995 Imperials. No small fish here! Colour: pale gold. Nose: what a distillate! Totally and plainly orchardy, with a solid background made out of beeswax and sunflower oil. Perfect maltiness. Mirabelle jam, crystallised quinces, overripe apples, hazelnuts… All is perfect in here. With water: gets farmyardy. Indeed, cities get boring, we all need simpler lives. Mouth (neat): how very perfect. Lemon, malt, cake, fresh nuts, oranges, perhaps a little patchouli, light vanilla, white pepper… The combo works to perfection. Perhaps a pinhead of mustard, which I already found in earlier Imperials. With water: swims like an athlete from the ex-USSR. More lemon, also kiwis, orange blossom honey, grapefruits… Finish: long, zesty, yet rather fat and ‘wide’. Some richness. Pepper aftertaste. Comments: really a perfect ‘average’ malt whisky. Average meaning ‘not extreme’ in this context. SGP:652 - 88 points.

So, an older bottling, we said. Like this?...

Imperial 18 yo 1962/1980 (46%, Cadenhead, Dumpy, Black Label, 75cl)

Imperial 18 yo 1962/1980 (46%, Cadenhead, Dumpy, Black Label, 75cl) Five stars We already tried this baby here on this lousy website, but that was ten years ago. I’ve been mildly disappointed, so let’s give it another go. From a different bottle, of course. Colour: amber-coffee. Nose: ceps and other wonderful wild mushrooms, black trumpets, morels… That’s just the start, because it tends to go towards rhum agricole after that, with black olives and some sugar cane, then rather beef cooked in honey sauce, spare ribs in chilli sauce, soy sauce, umami, a box of cigars, very old oloroso (there must be some inside), or perhaps antique palo cortado… What an astounding complexity! Mouth: yeah, I know what may have bothered me a bit last time, it starts a little soapy and even ‘lavendery’, ala Bowmore from the 1980s. What’s much better is that it gets then immensely complex, totally deep, and fantastically tertiary. More cigars, more oils, more coal tar and pitch, more resins and saps, and more meaty, bouillony things. Like, indeed, wee pieces of ceps and morels, marrow, lard, chives, summer truffles… And chocolate. Yes, chocolate. Finish: medium, very chocolaty. Reminds me of that Mexican chocolate sauce, mole. Liquorice in the aftertaste. Comments: many modern malts are pictures, this is an odyssey. And it was a much better bottle than ten years ago, thanks a lot Carsten. SGP:462 - 92 points.

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

 

 

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July 7, 2016


Whiskyfun

Little duets, today Tamdhu

Time gap today, 55 years.

Tamdhu 10 yo (43%, OB, +/-2015)

Tamdhu 10 yo (43%, OB, +/-2015) Four stars I really enjoyed the new 10 by Ian McLeod when it first came out, and that was even one at 40% vol., while this one should be bigger. Love this very Victorian statement on the box, ‘industry and endeavour’. Colour: full gold. Nose: really very malty and cake-y, with some Ovaltine and some café latte. Then rather marmalade and a good slice of soft cinnamon cake. A beehive isn’t too far either. There’s quite some sherry, for sure, which translates into not-too-sweet raisins and the usual walnut cake. Mouth: excellent arrival, with some mint and some sultanas, while it would rather unfold with more cinnamon and walnut cakes, as well as a little pipe tobacco. Dried figs. I find this excellent. Finish: medium, very lightly smoky, then with even more raisins. Kugelhopf and panettone. Comments: excellent, really. One of the very better entry-level official Speysiders if you ask me, less dry than the first batches. Perfect daily dram. SGP:451 - 86 points.

Shall we find some kind of parentage with this baby?...

Tamdhu 23 yo 1950/1973 (83° proof, OB, Highland Distillers)

Tamdhu 23 yo 1950/1973 (83° proof, OB, Highland Distillers) Five stars Another very interesting example of an early official ‘vintaged’ single malt Scotch whisky. No need to tell you how rare these old bottles are. Colour: light gold. Nose: as often with these older distillates, there’s more smoke, more soot, more phenols, more depth, and less fruits. It’s not that it’s metallic, it’s a whole box of old kitchen utensils, with some aluminium, tin, silverware… And then there’s some used engine oil, old stale spices, dried flowers, and a growing meatiness, between chicken and beef soups and bouillons. Totally ‘very old malt whisky’, as you can see. Mouth: exceptional. The fruits take the lead, with kumquats (#1 fruit in the Netherlands, I’ve heard), dried longans and litchis, figs, raisins, even dried pears and bananas… And all that is coated with some kind of peppery herbalness. Do you know Indian long pepper? And do you also know Timut pepper? Magnificent spices! They’re in there. Finish: medium, superbly fruity/spicy. It’s not fruity and spicy, both are totally integrated, like in, yeah, Timut pepper. Really, if you haven’t yet, try Timut pepper. Comments: the nose was very nice, yet akin to those of many old bottles, while the palate was simply out of this world, with a flabbergasting complexity. Amazingly astounding (I think we got you, S.). Thank you mucho, Mr Angus. SGP:562 - 94 points.

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

 

 

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July 6, 2016


Whiskyfun

Three independent Auchentoshan

Getting ready for summer, which should last from July 15th to August 15th this year in Alsace (who said just like in Scotland, who?) Indeed June’s sunny days are gone already.

Auchentoshan 13 yo 2002/2015 (46%, Douglas Laing, Provenance, refill hogshead, cask #1096)

Auchentoshan 13 yo 2002/2015 (46%, Douglas Laing, Provenance, refill hogshead, cask #1096) Three stars Colour: white wine. Nose: starts very citric, lemony, with whiffs of muscadet (on lees) and then rather cut cactus, grass, cider apples, not too ripe gooseberries... So very angular, almost blade-y one, let's see... Mouth: a wee bit sweeter and rounder, but globally very tart, 'green' Sancerre-like, with plenty and plenty of lemons and grapefruits. One of the most lemony whiskies I could try this year - so far. Finish: same, for a moderately long time. After just five minutes, you're thinking you've just had a glass of limoncello. Comments: neither deep nor complex, but pristinely lemony. SGP:551 - 80 points.

Auchentoshan 23 yo 1992/2015 (45,7%, Eiling Lim, 132 bottles)

Auchentoshan 23 yo 1992/2015 (45,7%, Eiling Lim, 132 bottles) Four stars Colour: white wine. Nose: similar style, except that the tart fruitiness is wider, possibly thanks to the extra-years of maturing. So lemon and grapefruit again, but also peaches and pink bananas, as well as touches of guavas. In a way, it's a rather Littlemilly Auchentoshan, if I may. Which is good, of course. Mouth: same feelings, even if it's more citric again. Lemon, both as fresh fruits and as drops, marshmallows, green apples, and once again a development that's rather tropical, around passion fruits. or there, passion fruit sherbet, how summery is that? Good body, perfect drinking strength. Finish: medium, very refreshing, with more passion fruits and touches of citrons. Corsican citron liqueur? Comments: really very good, the fresh fruitiness is impeccable. Where have I put my swimsuit? SGP:641 - 87 points.

Auchentoshan 17 yo (55.5%, Cadenhead, Small Batch, 2016) Four stars A brand new one. Vintage and picture are yet to be found by this lazy whisky blogger at time of writing. Colour: white wine. Nose: makes the two previous ones round and soft. This one cuts you in two halves, with an extreme, very cactussy (come on!) grassiness, and twenty wheelbarrows full of lime and green grapefruits. With water: becomes gentler, very fruit-salady. Cut apples, pears, oranges, tangerine sweets... Mouth (neat): lemon juice mixed with the sharpest green tea, plus a dash of wasabi powder. What's great is that you can count your vertebras while it goes down. One, two, three... With water: I'm not sure anybody ever tried to distil lemon. I've tasted orange eau-de-vie, and it was a little nasty. This is way nicer!  Finish: medium, ultra-zesty, clean, fresh, getting extremely lime-y. Comments: some kind of readymade Scottish mojito. Another one for the poolside. SGP:651 - 86 points. UPDATE: it's a 1999/2016

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

 

 

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July 5, 2016


Whiskyfun

Undisclosed or vatted Islays

That's the thing with what we used to call 'the bastard malts', there isn't much to say about them. Or only speculations. But perhaps is that a good thing? (yes I'm reading your mind.)

Loch Fyne ‘The Living Cask 1745’ (43.6%, Loch Fyne, blended malt, Feis Ile 2016)

Loch Fyne ‘The Living Cask 1745’ (43.6%, Loch Fyne, blended malt, Feis Ile 2016) Three stars Colour: white wine. Nose: feels much Caol Ila driven, if you ask me. Cut apples, fresh almonds, citrons, smoked salmon, wood ashes, seaweed… All that is rather fresh and relatively light. Mouth: starts a notch dissonant, on orange drops and smoked fish – not obligatorily a winning combo – but it tends to gather its thoughts, becoming ashier and smokier, with a touch of salt in the background. Light body. There’s rather a Bowmoreness this time. Finish: medium, quite fresh, easy, a little drying towards the aftertaste. A little salt again. Comments: fine – or rather, fine. SGP:456 - 80 points.

Finlaggan 2006/2016 ‘Feis Ile’ (50%, Vintage Malt Whisky Co., 350 bottles)

Finlaggan 2006/2016 ‘Feis Ile’ (50%, Vintage Malt Whisky Co., 350 bottles) Four stars Colour: straw. Nose: definitely medicinal, with some antiseptic and camphor, bandages, a touch of lime, grapefruits, green apples, mint, seawater, a little lavender (as in lavender sweets, no soapy/perfumy lavender)… I have to say I like this nose a lot. With water: inked paper, soot, ashes, gravel, porridge… Mouth (neat): really sharp and powerful, very medicinal again (tincture of iodine and lemon juice), and very smoky. Bitter and acidic cider apples. Very sharp and blade-y. With water: perhaps a touch of mango? Other than that, salty ashes and smoke, green apples, iodine… Finish: long, on the same notes, while it tends to become even more ashy and smoky. Comments: very good. There. SGP:467 - 87 points.

Islay Malt 7 yo 2007/2014 (51.9%, Liquid Treasures, 159 bottles)

Islay Malt 7 yo 2007/2014 (51.9%, Liquid Treasures, 159 bottles) Four starsColour: white wine. Nose: much more violent, tarry and rubbery (bicycle inner tube), acrid, extremely smoky. A working kiln while some old English cars are passing by. Tsk tsk, those carburettors… With water: oh, gas, fumes indeed, more tyres… Mouth (neat): first a fruity, citrusy blast that really suggest very young age (it’s got an age statement, S.!) then this acrid smokiness. Really extreme, unpolished, and raw. With water: this feeling of a smoked cocktail, 50% lemon juice, 50% seawater. And a lot of tar. Finish: this feeling of having eaten the ashtray – inadvertently, of course. Comments: probably from the south shore (East) but there’s also an Octomore-y feeling to it. SGP:358 - 86 points.

Images of Islay ‘Finlaggan’ (53,2%, Malts of Scotland, single malt, 256 bottles, 2014)

Images of Islay ‘Finlaggan’ (53,2%, Malts of Scotland, single malt, 256 bottles, 2014) Five stars Colour: as white as very lightly peated water. Nose: very different, starting with a very metallic edge, and going on with wet rocks and gravel, clay, chalk, concrete… Probably one of the most mineral malts I could try. Whitewash. With water: liquid ink, new plastic pouch, carbolinium, anti-rust paint… Mouth (neat): very very good. Limejuice and smoked seawater, with perhaps one cranberry. Hard to describe, but believe me, it’s very very good. With water: perfect spirit, with no cask pollution. Okay, okay, little oak influence. Finish: long, perfect, with a little tar. Grapefruits and more carbolinium in the aftertaste. Oh, and an extreme smokiness. Comments: I haven’t tasted the whole series by MoS yet (yep, lazy), but I think this one’s my favourite so far. Perfect young distillate. Painters too will love it. SGP:259 - 90 points.

Undisclosed 7 yo 2007/2014 (56.7%, Single Cask Nation, refill bourbon hogshead, cask #613, 280 bottles)

Undisclosed 7 yo 2007/2014 (56.7%, Single Cask Nation, refill bourbon hogshead, cask #613, 280 bottles) Four stars Colour: white wine. Nose: it’ll surprise no one that we’re in the same territories as with the Liquid Treasures. Huge smokiness and tarry tyres, brake pads after the Nürburgring (or, there, Indianapolis since we’re in the US), and fumes. Some lemons as well. With water: Vicks’ best ;-) and an old muscle car after a run. Mouth (neat): same feeling of youth, with ‘fresh’ lemon drops and some salt, then this smoky/tarry/sooty development that tends to lose your tongue. And there’s some pepper as well. Brutal, I’d say. With water: oh, it gets as gentle as a miniature poodle. Quite. It’s actually very good. Finish: very long, very tarry and sooty. Comments: another ashtray. You cannot not think of that distillery where they have that great café where they serve that great seafood chowder, and that lovely lady that is taking care of that great café where they serve that great seafood chowder. SGP:358 - 87 points.

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

 

 

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July 4, 2016


Whiskyfun

Five big Bruichladdich

Some distilled by the older owners and some by the former new owners.

Bruichladdich 15 yo 2001/2016 ‘PHD_135’ (50%, OB, Feis Ile 2016, 1881 bottles)

Bruichladdich 15 yo 2001/2016 ‘PHD_135’ (50%, OB, Feis Ile 2016, 1881 bottles) Two stars and a half A very cryptic bottling for this year’s Feis! It seems that ‘135’ is simply the age of… the distillery. It also seems that this vatting was finished in virgin oak. Colour: gold. Nose: and this sweet custardy and lemony oak does feel a bit, but balance has been found and I wouldn’t call this ‘vulgarly over-oaked’. Sure there’s a little green sawdust and damp tealeaves (or old teapot), but I’m also finding Bruichladdich’s usual melons and tangerines. Also a little eucalyptus, that may be the virgin oak as well. Orange sweets. With water: planks and a little soap, which tends to go away. Doesn’t seem to swim too well. Mouth (neat): the oak feels more, with some ginger, sawdust, white pepper, and really a lot of nutmeg. That’s a little too much for me, especially given that the distillate’s relatively light, even if that’s part of the original ‘lightly peated batches’. Around 8ppm if I remember well. With water: same feelings, the oak’s a little too obvious for me, and did not quite have enough time to mingle with the spirit. A lot of cinnamon. Finish: relatively short, with a green tannicity. Comments: I really prefer my Bruichladdich au naturel, monsieur. SGP:371 - 78 points.

Bruichladdich 22 yo 1993/2016 (48.9%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon hogshead, 228 bottles)

Bruichladdich 22 yo 1993/2016 (48.9%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon hogshead, 228 bottles) Four stars Colour: straw. Nose: there, melons, peaches, and the Atlantic. Perhaps I need not say more. Mouth: very fruity, peachy, melony, with some green tea, hints of lavender and violet sweets, and a growing citrusness, more around sweets and syrup than around fresh juices. A little green oak in the background, but we’re nowhere near the extravagant… What was the name again? Ah yes, PHD_135. Finish: medium, fruity, with a little more greenness. Fruit peelings and more green tea. Comments: I think I liked last year’s 1992 a little better, but this fruity Laddie remains tops, as far as fresh and fruity unpeated Islays go. SGP:551 - 86 points.

Bruichladdich 2004/2015 (59.2%, Svenska Eldvatten, fresh bourbon barrel, cask #1407)

Bruichladdich 2004/2015 (59.2%, Svenska Eldvatten, fresh bourbon barrel, cask #1407) Four stars and a half Colour: white wine/straw. Nose: it’s got this bonbon-like thing that was already in the 1993, but it’s also got raw grass, hay, and grains. Barley sprinkled with drizzles of lemon. Burns a bit, that’s the high alcohol. So… With water: amazing, it just loves water! Perfect pot-pourri, Swiss cheese, hay, horse saddle, turnips, beef bouillon… Really amazing what water can do. Mouth (neat): sweet and lemony, with some plum eau-de-vie. That’s a sign of youth in my book. Very strong stuff, water is needed indeed. With water: and once again, water does wonders. Fantastic crisp lemony camphory herbal… Finish: long, ueber-zesty, but becoming a little smother after a while. Comments: forgot to mention grapefruits. I’d have reduced it straight away, it really loves my faithful Vittel water. SGP:651 - 88 points.

Bruichladdich 2006/2016 ‘Islay Grown’ (61%, OB, Feis Ile, valinch, Dunlossit Farm, cask #3304, 410 bottles)

Bruichladdich 2006/2016 ‘Islay Grown’ (61%, OB, Feis Ile, valinch, Dunlossit Farm, cask #3304, 410 bottles) Three stars Oh, a valinch! How many funny ones have we tasted already? This one might be ‘funny’ as well, it comes from a Rivesaltes cask. It’s been distilled from Chalice barley. Colour: gold. Nose: a lot of butter cream, custard, perhaps touches of new plastic, hand lotion, butterscotch… Not too sure… With water: another one that swims pretty well. Frankly, I quite hated the nose when it was unreduced, but this is nicer, pleasantly leathery, orangey, and raisiny. And thank god, the wine (I love a good Rivesaltes) is kept at bay. More or less. Mouth (neat): strange stuff indeed. Marc de gewürztraminer aged in oak, sloe gin, raisins, leather, black pepper… I have to confess I’m a bit lost. With water: once again, thank you, H2O! Good spicy fruits. Finish: long, peppery, gingery, and orangey. Comments: phew! I’m just wondering, if you want to put terroir and provenance on a pedestal – which is smart indeed, why use sweet wine casks from the South of France, instead of good old refill hogsheads? SGP:561 - 80 points.

Bruichladdich 2006/2015 (60.2%, Svenska Eldvatten, oloroso sherry hogshead, cask #511)

Bruichladdich 2006/2015 (60.2%, Svenska Eldvatten, oloroso sherry hogshead, cask #511) Four stars and a half Colour: dark amber. Nose: fine oloroso. I’m not sure the distillate has much to say in this context, but I also remember some wonderful totally oloroso-ed Bruichladdich 1964. Or was it 1965? Chocolaty and flinty, with pipe tobacco and bitter oranges (skins). With water: perfect game-y, bacony, chocolaty, walnutty sherry. Could have been almost any unpeated distillate, but the end result is superb. Great sherry cask. Mouth (neat): huge and pretty perfect, mentholated and bacony. Strong snuff tobacco, leather, dried cardamom, bitter oranges, caraway. Plenty. With water: a perfect sweet and sour soup, Thai-style ;-). Really very very good. Finish: its always in the finishes that things may go awry, and it indeed it’s becoming a little rougher and perhaps a tad too grassy/herbal, but as a friend uses to say, you could always pour another dram before the finish even starts. Let alone the aftertaste (which is perhaps a tad bitter). Comments: just wonderful old-style dry sherry. SGP:362 - 89 points.

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

 

 

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July 3, 2016


Whiskyfun

Looking for malternatives
in Central and South America

And Central America. Well, there isn’t much hope, as we won’t have any artisan cachaça, or mezcal today, rather some of these sweet and thick rums that some call ‘Spanish style rons’. But you never know, with a little luck, we might come across some gems.

SA

 

Medellin 8 yo (37.5%, OB, Colombia, +/-2016)

Medellin 8 yo (37.5%, OB, Colombia, +/-2016) Two stars From Antioquia Distillery, some rum that’s supposed to be made from cane honey, which isn’t bee honey but rather concentrated cane juice, or ‘light molasses’. Colour: deep gold. Nose: I’m finding it rather simple, yet pretty pleasant, a little floral, and indeed slightly honeyed. What it hasn’t got is a huge vanilla-ness, or these notes of coffee that are really ‘too much’ in many others. So, so far, it’s rather fine. Mouth: indeed, pretty fine, light and probably a notch too sugary for me, not really flavourful, and with some honey and maple syrup, plus touches of oranges. Sadly it tends to lose steam, and to become thin. Finish: short and sugary. Candy sugar. Comments: average, but what’s good is that it doesn’t quite feel ‘doped’ or ‘boosted’, unlike so many others. Rather honest and loyal. SGP:630 - 72 points.

Colombia done.

Fortin 8 yo (40%, OB, Paraguay, +/-2016)

Fortin 8 yo (40%, OB, Paraguay, +/-2016) Two stars Another one that’s made out of light molasses. Colour: gold. Nose: even less aromatic than the Colombian, a little grassier and earthier, with less molassy/honeyed notes. Perhaps green bananas? Certainly a little butterscotch. A rather shy rum so far. Mouth: it’s quite funny, starting with quite a lot of aniseed and liquorice, not unlike some pastis or ouzo. Some pinesap too, apples, a touch of our beloved tar liqueur… It’s really different, but I’m wondering if these flavours haven’t been ‘added’ at some point. Like this caraway that tends to come out. Finish: short, with a little burnt caramel. A little crème de menthe, which keeps it pretty fresh, and even a pinch of salt in the aftertaste. Comments: a different rum, and maybe some kind of spiced rum. In truth I find it quite good, and I’m sure it takes ice very well. SGP:540 - 74 points.

Colombia and Paraguay done.

Centenario 9 yo ‘Commemorativo’ (40%, OB, Costa Rica, +/-2014)

Centenario 9 yo ‘Commemorativo’ (40%, OB, Costa Rica, +/-2014) What this bottle commemorates, I’m not quite sure. What’s sure is that previous Centenarios have always been too sweet for me, let’s see if this younger one is more distillate-driven. Colour: gold. Nose: I have to say it’s got a little sugar cane, and touches of earth. Other than that, not much I’m afraid. Some burnt sugar, perhaps. Potato peel. Mouth: thick and syrupy. Moves like oil in your glass. Caramel, coffee liqueur, and traces of oak, plus some kind of concentrated sugar cane juice. Not my thing, really not my thing. Finish: short and thin, apart from the oily texture that remains. Perhaps some gingerbread and a few oranges in the aftertaste, which is better. Comments: drinkable, and technically acceptable, or it would have get less than 50 points. But as they say, why bother. SGP:720 - 60 points.

Colombia, Paraguay, and Costa Rica done. Yeah, things aren’t going too well, are they…

Mombacho 12 yo ‘Reserva Especial’ (40%, OB, Nicaragua, +/-2015)

Mombacho 12 yo ‘Reserva Especial’ (40%, OB, Nicaragua, +/-2015) one star and a half I had found their 8 yo extremely coffee-ish, but that was seven years ago. It’s molasses rum. Colour: orange amber. Another one that moves like if it was oil. Nose: ah, this is quite nice. Nice vanilla and orange juice, Nutella, butterscotch, café latte straight from you-know-whom, banana liqueur… All that is extremely easy and, I have to say, seductive. Mouth: but this is a liqueur! Feels glycerined, thick, sticky, with too much coffee liqueur, too much banana liqueur, too much cane syrup, and actually not enough body. Very ‘peripheral’, if that makes any sense. Now while it’s very thick, it’s not very syrupy. Glycerine indeed? Finish: short, candied. Burnt sugar and burnt coffee. Some vanilla in the aftertaste. Comments: no my style at all, but let’s be honest, within that style, it’s far from being one of the worst. SGP:530 - 68 points.

Colombia, Paraguay, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua done.

Zacapa 'Centenario XO Solera Gran Reserva Especial' (40%, OB, Guatemala, +/-2016)

Zacapa 'Centenario XO Solera Gran Reserva Especial' (40%, OB, Guatemala, +/-2016) Ah. We tried an earlier batch and thought it was pretty okayish (WF 74). The packaging is very ‘stuffy’, so travel retail-oriented, while the name could have been more, say minimalistic. Colour: dark amber. Nose: honey, caraway, cloves, ginger liqueur, ripe bananas, litchis, rosewater, arak, molasses, super-sweet natural wine (sweet moscatel?)… Noses liqueury, but I’m finding it rather complex and fragrant. Now, it’s on the palate that things happen… Mouth: oh my, this is liqueury! Feels very unnatural, in no way can a straight spirit that would have been aged in wood and then bottled be like this. Unpleasant notes of rotting fruits, stale sweet wine, raisins, and orange liqueur. I’m finding this hard to swallow, literally. Finish: short, and yet it leaves a bad taste. Something burnt. Sugar? Comments: I was very generous a few years back, unless the quality just went downhill. A shame, I thought the nose was quite pleasant. SGP:720 - 50 points.

Colombia, Paraguay, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Guatemala done.

Santa Teresa ‘1786’ (40%, OB, Venezuela, +/-2016)

Santa Teresa ‘1786’ (40%, OB, Venezuela, +/-2016) Two stars Poor, poor Venezuela… Apparently, Santa Teresa 1786 is one of the many rums that have been voted ‘best rum in the world’. Ha! Colour: deep gold. Nose: a bit in the style of the Zacapa, just drier, with more toasted bread and a welcome earthy touch. Old roses and benzoin come through when you nose more deeply. Also peonies, and blond pipe tobacco. Mouth: well, it is way too sweet for me, but it’s also got some kind of balance. Dried pineapples, bananas, bits of papaya, raisins… All that is covered with quite some coffee liqueur, and crumbles of toasted bread. Burnt sugar. Finish: medium, bitterish – which is an improvement, actually – and rather more honeyed. Comments: I liked the humbler and more natural ‘claro’ that we had last Sunday better! SGP:630 - 70 points.

Colombia, Paraguay, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Venezuela done.

Abuelo 'Centuria' (40%, OB, Panama, +/-2016)

Abuelo 'Centuria' (40%, OB, Panama, +/-2016) Two stars and a half A prestige bottling, celebrating the brand’s centenary. It’s supposed to contain rums as old as ‘up to 30 years’, which, as we all know, means just nothing. Hot air. Now, I had found Abuelo’s 12 yo pretty okay a few years back (WF 70). Colour: amber. Nose: wait, there is something happening in there! A pleasant old-bourbon like vanilla-ness, various herbal teas (honeysuckle but also greener ones, fruit stems…), even a wee phenolic touch, some tobacco, sandalwood, earthy teas, a touch of camphor… Really a lovely nose, complex and appealing, let’s just hope that, you know… Mouth: it does contain too much sugar indeed (and again), and a sugary arrival is never good news in my book, but on the other hand, this herbal/fruity combo kind of works. Pineapple liqueur, a touch of leather and tobacco, a little cumin, perhaps, green tea… Nah, it’s kind of fine. Finish: medium, a little more molassy. Corn syrup and marmalade. Comments: again and again, not my style, but within this style, it’s very far from being one of the worst. Where have I already heard that? SGP:740 - 78 points.

Colombia, Paraguay, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Venezuela, and Panama done. May I take this opportunity to remind you that we’re tasting rum from a malt drinker’s point of view? So in our world, dry is good, sweet is bad. Very roughly, and this is only an opinion. Let’s move on…

Millonario ‘Solera 15’ (40%, OB, Peru, +/-2016)

Millonario ‘Solera 15’ (40%, OB, Peru, +/-2016) Of course it’s not 15 years old, contrarily to what the labels tries to make you think. Nasty tactics. Colour: orange amber. Nose: interesting. It’s got a steely and tarry side, all for the better. Even something like black olives coated with burnt sugar and coffee, imagine. And something extremely unusual, fresh cut turnips and beetroots. A funny nose, really. Have we found a winner? Mouth: immensely sweet and sugary. And yet, some flavours emerge, such as stewed roots, most certainly raw carrots (amazingly carroty, this!) and roasted peanuts. Really unusual, I’d kill someone to be able to taste this ‘au naturel’, that is to say without the insane amount of sugary stuff that’s been added. Finish: medium, very sugary, but the raw carrots are standing up, so to speak. Comments: very unusual. We might buy a few cases and redistill them to get rid of all this killing sugar. I’m sure we’ll come up with a great spirit. SGP:930 - 65 points.

So, where were we? Ah yes, Colombia, Paraguay, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Venezuela, Panama, and Peru done. Let’s move north…

El Ron Prohibido (40%, OB, Mexico, +/-2016)

El Ron Prohibido (40%, OB, Mexico, +/-2016) Two stars and a half Ah yes, pure marketing. A gracious old-style label that looks like if it was found at a flea market, the moniker ‘Habanero’, plus a name that will make you feel like a rebel as soon as you’ve bought one single bottle, and some buzz that suggests that it is 12 years old – which it most probably isn’t. So, just another Don Papa? Let’s see… Colour: coffee. Nose: ah, no, it’s nice. Cane-y, dry, full of cigars and other tobaccos, with some mocha, bitter chocolate… It does have something of the excellent Mocambos, stars of Mexican rum (according to this humble taster). Mouth: well, there is some sugar, but there’s also a much unexpected – and unbalanced – winey-ness, with some kind of pinot noir, cassis, black cherries… Really very bizarre, as funky as possible, and it’s not this kirschy side that will offset this feeling. Having said that, it’s totally fun. Free rum as in free jazz. Finish: medium, bitter, a little sour, and certainly winey. Old style aperitifs, Gancia, Dubonnet… Comments: I’m not finding it good, but all this fun makes it un-boring. Hoch is already quite a lot, given the ‘pedigree’. SGP:551 - 78 points.

Colombia, Paraguay, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Venezuela, Panama, Peru, and Mexico done. Look, we haven’t found one single 80+ amongst all these officials, better put an end to this lightly depressing tasting session. Excuse me? Ask the independents? Not a bad idea, I have to say, especially since the good indies won’t add any sugar or other nasty additives. Yeah, good idea, but just one if you agree… And let’s say… Panama? (to celebrate the new canal!)

Panama 11 yo 2004/2015 (60%, Compagnie des Indes, for Denmark, cask #MRS265, 365 bottles)

Panama 11 yo 2004/2015 (60%, Compagnie des Indes, for Denmark, cask #MRS265, 365 bottles) Three stars The distillery’s ‘secrete’ here, which may mean that it’s either Glenfarclas or Lagavulin (oh come on, S., what a stupid joke!) Colour: gold. Nose: kills the Abuelo, instantly. Green bananas, hay, patchouli, apple peelings, ‘green’ leather, more apples, Indonesian green cigars (no, not those), eucalyptus… It’s all very refined and subtle, actually, it doesn’t shout. With water: fresh, citrusy, grassy… It’s really light spirit, but there’s some profoundness. Does that make any sense? Mouth (neat): there, this is ‘good’ sweetness. It’s a sweet fruitiness that’s been imparted by the spirit, and that’s supported by a lovely mentholy grassiness. Oh and sugar cane! Shouldn’t any rum be at least a little sugar-cane-y? With water: bonbons, herbs, teas, and indeed freshly pressed sugar cane juice. Finish: rather short, light, fresh, with some citron. Perhaps. Comments: this goes to show that even light ‘columny’ rums can be very pleasant, provided you don’t bury them under tons of caramel, sugar, glycerine, and any other unavowable substances. SGP:341 - 82 points.

We made it, we made it!

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

 

 

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July 2, 2016


Whiskyfun
Whiskyfun fav of the month

June 2016

Favourite recent bottling:
Glenlochy 35 yo 1980/2015 (51.1%, Signatory Vintage, hogshead, cask #3232, 218 bottles) - WF 93

Favourite older bottling:
Glenfarclas 26 yo 1970/1997 (56.7%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #1.77) - WF 93

Favourite bang for your buck bottling:
Clynelish 17 yo 1997/2015 (46%, Signatory Vintage, Un-chillfiltered Collection, casks #4624-4625, 607 bottles)  - WF 90

Favourite malternative:
Diamond 10 yo 2005/2015 (46%, Hunter Laing, Kill Devil, 310 bottles) - WF 91
 

July 1, 2016


Whiskyfun

Little duets, today Craigellachie

Not much to say about Craigellachie, I’m afraid. Mind you, I’ve only tasted forty-seven of them so far, and I needed almost fifteen years to achieve that.

Craigellachie 14 yo 2000/2015 (50%, Hunter Laing, Old Malt Cask, sherry, cask #2439)

Craigellachie 14 yo 2000/2015 (50%, Hunter Laing, Old Malt Cask, sherry, cask #2439) Four stars Colour: gold. Nose: typical raisiny and chocolaty refill sherry, with some fudge and some brioche, plus quite a lot of roasted malt, Ovaltine, cappuccino, Mars bar (not deep fried this time)… With water: as usual, a little more hay, raw barley, grains… Mouth (neat): creamy, malty, with everything it needs, including maple syrup, honey, roasted peanuts, fudge, butterscotch, cake, café latte… You know that song. With water: a tad more orangey. Orange cake, orange blossom tea, earl grey… Finish: medium, firm, malty and pastry-like. More orange cake in the aftertaste. Comments: very good. There might be millions of casks like this one lying over there, but yeah, it’s very good, no doubt, even if the distillate isn’t exactly characterful. Average in the best sense of that word. SGP:541 - 85 points.

Craigellachie 12 yo 2003/2015 (59.9%, Ceder & Tjeder, Dram Good Whisky, refill bourbon hogshead, cask # 124/2003, 299 bottles)

Craigellachie 12 yo 2003/2015 (59.9%, Ceder & Tjeder, Dram Good Whisky, refill bourbon hogshead, cask # 124/2003, 299 bottles) Four stars and a half In theory, with refill BB hogsheads, distillery character should shine through. Colour: white wine (hurray). Nose: you bet! You’ve got all grains in there, from wheat to barley and rye, and even quasi-grains, buckwheat and such. Plus baker’s yeast, leaven, porridge, artisan ale, a little chalk… After all, this is distilled malted barley! With water: it is pure ale! Love these whiffs of raw wool, sour dough, porridge… Mouth (neat): excellently close to the raw materials. No oak pollution, totally barley, plus white cherries and lime. In fact, it is totally ‘craft’, as if this was distilled by some ex-hippies (now lawyers or plastic surgeons) somewhere near Boulder or Ithaca. With water: even more of all that. And it is mature. Finish: long, quite mineral, cerealy, porridgy, greatly yeasty… Comments: some craft industrial malt, what’s the trick? It’s not often that you can feel the barley this much. As you feel pears in pear eau-de-vie. Totally love it. SGP:451 - 88 points.

(Thank you Tom)

 

Pete McPeat and Jack Washback
PJ

PJ

 

 

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