Serge whiskyfun
Thousands of tastings,
all the music,
all the rambligs
and all the fun


Facebook Twitter Logo
Guaranteed ad-free
copyright 2002-2013


Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

August 8, 2014


An unusual session,
a verticale of North British

That’s right, grain whisky from North British Distillery in Edinburgh, from a young 2000 to an old 1962. The distillery, a Diageo-Edrington joint venture, produces almost 70 million litres of pure alcohol per year, mainly for Johnnie Walker and Famous Grouse, so it’s not Edradour or Kilchoman, is it? But those figures include vodka according to some sources. I also remember North British used to distil maize, but not too sure that’s still the case today.
North British
North British 2000/2013 (55.6%, Malts of Scotland, sherry hogshead, cask #MoS 13030, 242 bottles) Two stars and a half Colour: gold. Nose: it’s relatively winey at first nosing, but in no way a sherry monster. No fruitcake or raisins, rather notes of kirsch and even zwetschke spirit, with a wee oaky spiciness. Touches of Belgian kriek beer – the cherries again. Sour apples. With water: a few struck matches, artichokes, rubber… Mouth (neat): rather hot, starting on strawberry jam with a lot of ginger thrown in, black pepper, then more marzipan and again this feeling of cooked cherries, kirsch... It’s a rather rough grain whisky, indeed a little eau-de-vie-ish. Also funny and unexpected touches of mustard, probably from the cask. With water: becomes a little more complex, with some malty touches, always welcome. Finish: medium length. Rather cleaner, with notes of maraschino. Comments: this is what I’d call a fine whisky, but always remember that I’m not really a grain fan. SGP:641 - 79 points.
North British 1994/2013 (52.6%, The Pearls of Scotland, cask #309880, 260 bottles) Three stars Colour: white wine. Nose: not a lot happening here, even if there are very pleasant touches of dill, lilies and custard. A little sawdust too, vanilla, grated coconut, apple peelings… Not a nosing whisky, but no problems! With water: more or less the same, but a little more on the grassy side. Leaves and almonds too. Mouth (neat): sweet, rather creamy, all on sweet oak. Marshmallows, vanilla, coconut, white pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon… You know the song, don’t you. With water: notes of oranges come out, this works. Finish: rather long, sweet and zestier than most grains. Comments: classic sweet grain whisky. If you like coconut… SGP:830 - 82 points.
North British 30 yo 1978/2009 (55.2%, Duncan Taylor, Rare Auld, cask #38472, 267 bottles) Two stars Colour: straw. Nose: same ballpark as the 1994 at first nosing, then even more coconut and vanilla, light honey, sweets, marzipan, touches of mint-flavoured green tea Moroccan-style… As always with grains, the wood did all the work, but it did pretty well so far. With water: no changes this time, or maybe a little dust. Breadcrumbs. Mouth (neat): quite a lot of varnish this time, bitter grass, oak, fruit skins, jellybeans, pepper… With water: same. A lot of raw alcohol. Finish: medium length. Tutti frutti spirit. Comments: I think it’s fair, but not more than that. To use in cocktails? SGP:550 - 75 points.
North British 50 yo 1962/2013 (53.3%, Douglas Laing, Director's Cut, refill sherry butt, cask #9783, 150 bottles) Four stars There were quite a few very old North British in the shops two years ago, and most have been very good in my opinion. Colour: bronze amber. Nose: this is obviously much more complex than the others, wider as well, more ‘tertiary’, with tobaccos and teas plus leather and cedar wood. There’s also something balsamic and waxy, as well as a little ham. Me like this very much. With water: something akin to OBE. Iron, earth, oils… Mouth (neat): starts with touches of gentian and coffee, then something that’s not very far from the 2000, around kirsch and plum spirit. In the background, loads of cinnamon from the oak, which tends to make this baby a little drying. With water: it’s the earthy side that grows. More gentian – we won’t complain. Finish: a little short but less drying than expected. Funny touches of ouzo/pastis. Comments: the nose was greatly complex, whilst the palate was just fine. Some very nice old juice in my book. SGP:561 - 86 points.







Whiskfun's Home
Whiskyfun's Facebook page Whiskyfun's Twitter page Whiskyfun's RSS feed