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

May 5, 2014


Three unclassifiable Scottish malts

And fun ones at that, well hopefully. Organic, teaspooned, nameless… But not everything at the same time. Phew… And we'll even have an Alsatian bonus!

Loch Lomond 12 yo 2000 (46%, Dà Mhile, organic single malt, +/-2013)

Loch Lomond 12 yo 2000 (46%, Dà Mhile, organic single malt, +/-2013) Two stars This company also issued a very young organic Springbank quite some years ago, in 1999. I had quite enjoyed the idea and the spirit (WF 80), but Loch Lomond isn’t Springbank, is it? Colour: dark gold. Nose: typical Loch Lomond at first nosing, that is to say porridgy and a little sour/mashy. As yeasty as some ale, but I wouldn’t say it’s feinty whisky. Also metallic touches, but it remains a very barleyish malt, which I quite enjoy. Also custard. The whole is pretty expressive and, indeed ‘natural’, but I doubt that’s the organic side. Or is it? Mouth: rather raw, relatively salty, with flavours of distillation, plum spirit, some vanilla, a little fudge and a little liquorice. Gets rather grassy after a few seconds, and slightly prickly, with also a faint soapiness. Finish: rather long, raw and a little new-maky. Some bitter oak. Comments: no bad juice at all, but I think it’s all rather rough and gritty. Ah, nature! SGP:351 - 75 points.

Burnside 24 yo 1989/2014 (51.7%, Whiskybase, barrel, cask #12452, 207 bottles)

Burnside 24 yo 1989/2014 (51.7%, Whiskybase, barrel, cask #12452, 207 bottles) Four stars This baby was bottled to celebrate Whiskybase’s 50,000th whisky on record. As you know, Burnside is officially teaspooned Balvenie, so legally blended malt. There are rather more new Burnsides than Balvenies these days, by the way… Colour: gold. Nose: ah yes, it’s one of these bright ones, ridden with yellow flowers, apricots, ripe plums and honey, while it gets then rather tarter, on gooseberries and even kiwis, while a layer of butterscotch and fudge that keep it gentle. With water: more flowers, soft new grass, and a little marzipan. Mouth (neat): you cannot be more Balvenie than this. A gigantic apricot pie (please call the Guinness Book). With water: acacia honey, quince jelly, liquorice rolls and plums aplenty. And apricots. Finish: medium length. It’s a little grassier at this stage. Herbs bonbons in the aftertaste, probably from the oak. Comments: I find the ones that are not fully ‘Balvenie’ a little boring, but this one’s pretty perfect in my opinion. SGP:551 - 86 points.

The Nameless One 18 yo 1995/2014 (46.8%, The Whisky Mercenary, Speyside single malt sherry)

The Nameless One 18 yo 1995/2014 (46.8%, The Whisky Mercenary, Speyside single malt sherry) Four stars No, not all unnamed single malts from Speyside are Glenfarclas! Or that would be too easy, as a bottler, you’d just source the cheapest way-below-the-line Speysider, not publish the name et voilà, everybody would think it’s Glenfarclas. Having said that, I’m not saying this one isn’t, I just don’t know. Colour: pale gold. Nose: starts with some very peculiar whiffs of tar and pitch plus an apple pie and cherries in eau-de-vie. It’s rather big spirit. Goes on with whiffs of peonies, tinned pineapples and just traces of heavy rum, Caroni-style. Cool! Mouth: rich and rather fat, starting on cherries again, cider apples, guava juice and… well, cherries again. Develops with a more ‘usual’ profile, with raisins and overripe apples, but the cherries I never lost. I love my cherries! Finish: good length, clean, with a little more grass, oak, malt and liquorice, as almost always. And always these lovely cherries. Comments: this baby’s rather ‘different’, in an intriguing and lovely way. But of course, if you don’t like cherries… SGP:651 - 87 points.

And now the Alsatian bonus, hoppla...

Biersky (44.4%, OB, France, Bertrand/Uberach, magnum, 2013)

Biersky (44.4%, OB, France, Bertrand/Uberach, magnum, 2013) Three stars There’s a strange, but interesting idea behind this new spirit, blending Alsatian beer eau-de-vie and Alsatian malt whisky. Colour: straw. Nose: very interesting, it reminds me of Polugar, that excellent potstill vodka. Plenty of barley, malt, porridge and mashed potatoes, which makes it very ‘natural’. We’ve rarely been closer to the cereals, and it’s absolutely not new-maky. Mouth: very nice again! Liquorice drops with a little black pepper, brioche, grass and white pepper at first sipping, before it gets a little more drying. Apple peelings, green tea… Bites you a bit, but it’s not an unpleasant thing. Finish: long, clean, grassy. Maybe a notch bitter and tannic, especially towards the aftertaste, but it all remains very fine. Banana skin. Comments: nice trick! We’re far from the ‘craft’ new-oak-doped baby whiskies, this feels fully natural and unfiddled with. There should be some hops, but I couldn’t quite find it. Must be me. SGP:361 - 81 points.







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