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

June 9, 2018





Angus's Corner
From our casual Scottish correspondent
and guest taster Angus MacRaild
More Assorted Pairings
I quite enjoy these quick-fire sessions of various duos. You see the similarities/variations within a single distillery but it’s also a good reminder that there’s still often a lot of variation from distillery to distillery. Even in an era where there is more than a little homogenisation within the Scottish mainland distilleries. 


Ardmore 8 yo 2008/2017 (46%, Berry Brothers, bourbon barrel, cask #708604)
Ardmore 8 yo 2008/2017 (46%, Berry Brothers, bourbon barrel, cask #708604)
Colour: White wine. Nose: lightly ashy and briny. An embery kind of peat mingling with Ardmore’s trademark farmyness. This one was one of many Ardmores from these vintages matured in ex-Laphroaig barrels which explains why this alludes to a certain Laphroaiginess. Some lemony notes, lots of fresh barley, maybe a few chopped green herbs as well. Very nice. Mouth: We’re in very consistent territory: soft wood ashes, some minerals, a pure kind of farmyard quality and also lemon skins and pure peat. Some sheep wool, hessian and a little green pepper as well. Finish: Good length. Oily, some resins and herbal notes, drying peat smoke and a kippery edge as well. Comments: The Laphroaig cask really makes itself felt here. Blind you might even say it could be a lighter style Caol Ila. I’m not sure it’s totally typical of classical Ardmore, but it’s a lovely peated malt in its own right. I feel it benefited from a lower bottling strength as well. Good selection!
SGP: 465 - 87 points.


Ardmore 1992/2012 (46%, Wemyss ‘Mellow Mariner’, barrel, 213 bottles) Ardmore 1992/2012 (46%, Wemyss ‘Mellow Mariner’, barrel, 213 bottles)
Colour: Straw. Nose: Far more classical with these notes of fermenting hay, green apple peelings, gorse flowers and soft waxes. Although, it’s more a pre-mid 1990s style of Ardmore I feel, not sure they’re making this sort of style today still? Maybe time will tell... Lovely notes of soot, orange oil, grass and old tool boxes. Very ‘old highlands’. Mouth: soft, waxy peats with more farmy and earthy notes up front in the foreground. Some green tea, lemon balm, vapour rub and even a few tropical fruits as well such as pineapple chunks and mango syrup. Goes on more towards hessian, wax and white flowers, chalk and mineral notes. Finish: Long, earthy, resinous, mineral and with some lovely echoes of farmy peat. Comments: Conversely, I wonder if this one shouldn’t have been bottled at a higher strength? Anyway, it’s a superb Ardmore, I adore this very balanced, subtle style that mixes peat, farmyard, wax and fruit aspects so fluently. I was swithering around the 88 mark but the finish just nudged it a notch higher in my book...
SGP: 552 - 89 points.


Mannochmore 16 yo 1977/1994 (61.4%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection) Mannochmore 16 yo 1977/1994 (61.4%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection)
Colour: pale gold. Nose: ouch! Hot gravel, new leather, burnt toast, plasticine, aspirin. Tough, hot and austere. A few drops of olive oil hinting at better things in the depths. Let’s not beat about the bush but rather add some water quickly... with water: it’s good news, there’s a nice lemon barley water streak emerging now. Some soot, a little watercress, more chalk, perhaps even a stray apple peeling or two. Mouth: perfectly clean malty malt whisky. Lots of cereals, sunflower oil, grass and a few stony notes. But there’s also some hints of plastic and even dung which is a little ‘wrong footing’. Something like sour spearmint and chemical vanilla as well. Tricky stuff. With water: better with water for sure. Some fresh sourdough bread, boiled lime sweets, coal dust, camphor, oatmeal and flapjack. Not shit, as we say in Leith; although there are multiple potential levels of ‘not shitness’. Finish: Medium length, some notes of hay, gravel and old biscuits. Comments: Mammothmore? A big tough dram. Not without it’s charms but probably one for your intellectual pals.
SGP: 351 - 77 points.


Let’s see what another couple of decades can do...



Mannochmore 37 yo 1977/2015 (49.4%, Cadenhead Single Cask, 210 bottles) 
Mannochmore 37 yo 1977/2015 (49.4%, Cadenhead Single Cask, 210 bottles)
Colour: Gold. Nose: Typically older, refill matured malt whisky with all these honeys, quinces, citrons and wildflowers. Although, there’s still something restrained about it and a slight sense of tiredness. Some nice bready notes, a little savoury pastry, parsley, sunflower oil and a curious chunk of cheese scone. I find it good but a little simple so far. Mouth: a lovely, highly silky textured malt. Lots of clove oil, hardwoods, spices, menthol, tea tree oil, mint jelly and a few drops of cannabis resin. More quince paste, some soot, barley sugar and an elegant but restrained waxiness. Finish: Good length, all on white pepper, mead and dried herbs. Comments: The nose was shy but the palate was really lovely. The total inversion of what normally happens with older malt whiskies. If these were indeed sibling casks then the extra years of maturation definitely had a positive effect.
SGP: 541 - 89 points.


Wolfburn 2014/2018 (57.1%, OB for Dornoch Castle Whisky Bar, bourbon barrel, cask #694, 292 bottles) Wolfburn 2014/2018 (57.1%, OB for Dornoch Castle Whisky Bar, bourbon barrel, cask #694, 292 bottles)
Colour: Pale straw. Nose: Bags of chalk, limestone, lemon zest, raw barley, sheep wool and plenty freshly bailed hay and assorted minerals. It’s very good, probably about as good as it’s possible to do at this kind of age without peat or anywhere else to hide. With water: some nutmeg, sunflower seeds, chives and straight vanilla. Mouth: There’s a sootiness and even a light waxiness which I find extremely appealing here. Some boiled apple sweeties, rhubarb and custard, clove rock, light hessian, green banana and more hay and chalk. With water: spiciness in the form of white pepper, some lilies, pollen, white fruits, more lime notes such as lime curd and a touch of ink. Finish: Good length, a nice balance of white fruits, spices, flinty mineral aspects and a residual barley sweetness. Comments: Very impressive and about as good as natural malt whisky can be at this sort of age I think. Wolfburn appears to be one to watch...
SGP: 441 - 85 points.


Wolfburn Peated 2014/2018 (57.1%, OB for Dornoch Castle Whisky Club, bourbon barrel, cask #807, 284 bottles) 
Wolfburn Peated 2014/2018 (57.1%, OB for Dornoch Castle Whisky Club, bourbon barrel, cask #807, 284 bottles)
According to the label this one was peated to 10ppm. Colour: pale straw. Nose: the peat is indeed discreet. Lots of coal dust, wood char and sooty chimneys. Aromas of lanolin, medical tinctures and a very light and slightly herbal fragrant peat smoke. Underneath you feel the usual lemon and raw barley aspects which seem common to most Wolfburns at this stage in its maturation. With water: still this very coal dusty profile, some smoky wort and a single preserved lemon. Mouth: Wow, the peat is much, much louder on the palate! Lots of hot, blade like, ashy peats. Lemon juice, oysters, farmyard and pure hessian. Surprisingly powerful given the discreet propensities of the nose. Some notes of kipper, dried sage and sea water and maybe a green olive or two. With water: becomes more farmyardy with water. Lots of dry earth and lapsang souchong. More kippers. Finish: Long with a deep, lingering smokiness. Still lots of peat ash, black olives and dried herbs. Comments: I cannot lie, I am impressed. This distillate from a refill cask at around 8-12 years of age should be something quite delicious.
SGP: 366 - 87 points.


Glenburgie 24 yo 1993/2017 (53%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, refill claret hogshead, 216 bottles) Glenburgie-Glenlivet 24 yo 1993/2017 (53%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, refill claret hogshead, 216 bottles)
Colour: Light gold. Nose: It’s good news! There is no sign of any red wine. Rather this is all  on grass, buttered pastries, barley sugar, orange oils and a touch of coconut. With water: no massive changes, perhaps a little more earth and a dried mushroom or two. Some creeping gamey notes as well. Mouth: pleasingly vibrant and herbal with a good, natural barley driven sweetness. Some hints of old sauternes and a little runny honey. Perhaps a chocolate lime or two as well. With water: dry cider, some mead, a little turmeric and some mustard powder as well as a suggestion of black pepper. Finish: good length with more barley sweetness, a few green fruits and some yellow wild flowers. Comments: In the words ‘refill claret hogshead’ I’m pleased to report that ‘refill’ has been the most relevant. Honest, very tasty, well-made, mid-aged malt whisky.
SGP: 441 - 84 points.


Glenburgie 13 yo 1978/1992 (59.8%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection) Glenburgie-Glenlivet 13 yo 1978/1992 (59.8%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection)
Colour: White wine. Nose: More austere and punchy at first as expected. Lots of soot, gravel, a cheesecloth and wee touches of hessian, camphor and marzipan. With water: greener and more floral with these notes of wild flowers and pollen. There’s also a creeping waxiness emerging as well. Mouth: oddly creamy with a vegetal touch giving a curious note of creamed asparagus, which isn’t as unpleasant or strange as it probably sounds. White pepper, nutmeg, soot, olive oil, toasted pumpkin seeds and mustard powder. With water: at it’s best now I’d say. Thick in texture, clean, naturally sweet, deftly waxy and taking on a refreshing mineral edge. There’s also a more pronounced earthiness about it as well. Finish: Long and slightly acrid. Some drying notes of lemon peel, hay, dry earth and soot. Increasingly chalky. Comments: I think this one is technically probably better than the 93, although that one was perhaps easier, simpler and more ‘drinkable’. Whereas this one has an undeniable tough edge. But it’s in that toughness that its charms really lie I feel.
SGP: 351 - 86 points.


Longmorn 23 yo (48%, OB, 2017)
Longmorn 23 yo (48%, OB, 2017)
Released last year, this was another of Pernod’s attempts at the ‘Mortlachification’ of Longmorn. It came in a silly box with enough metal bits to keep Magneto busy for a week. Anyway... Colour: gold. Nose: Ripe pears, mirabelle, vanilla and a few gooseberries. It’s rather straightforward, decent, quite modern Speyside whisky. There’s a fruitiness that harks back to some older Longmorns but the wood is loudest here in this instance. You might also find some green pepper, some lemon peel and a slice of white bread. All perfectly fine. Mouth: Lots of white pepper, green fruits and fresh cereals. A few white and yellow flowers, a drop of mead, pollen, granny smith apples and sunflower oil. The higher strength is definitely an asset here and thankfully the wood is a little more restrained on the palate. Although it is still globally rather sweet and you still get this cocoanut / creme brulee aspect coming through rather notably. Continues with a little mustard powder and some custardy notes. Finish: Good length, all on orchard and green fruits with some citrus peel notes and more of this gloopy custardy quality. A little wood spice biting in the aftertaste. Comments: It’s a perfectly fine and supremely drinkable modern Speysider, I’m also pleased to report that there are some definite Longmorn-esque fruity qualities about it. However, it is still a silly bottling and was scoff-inducingly overpriced if you ask me.
SGP: 541 - 86 points.


Longmorn 15 yo (43%, OB, 1980s) Longmorn 15 yo (43%, OB, 1980s)
From a litre bottling most likely produced for duty free around the mid-late 1980s. Colour: gold (some things never change). Nose: another galaxy. Troughs of tropical and green fruits - papaya, mango, guava, melon, banana, star fruit, pineapple - you name it! A truly beautiful, luscious and classically ‘old Longmorn’ aroma. Goes on with notes of blood orange, crystallised lemon peel, a very light waxiness and some freshly bailed hay. Just superb! Mouth: Majestic fruitiness again. Pure, luscious, tropical, full of honey, freshly malted barley, toasted cereals, pumpkin seeds, olive oil and wee hint of chalk. Also some freshly baked breads of various varieties - a warm bakery. Finish: Long, earthy, tropical, faintly waxy and with more lemony and mineral aspects. More of these cereals and hay notes in the aftertaste. Comments: Stellar old Longmorn. Seriously, why don’t contemporary distillers try these bottlings and look to chase after this style of exuberant tropical fruitiness in their own makes? It’s a sorely missed character in whiskies all over the world today if you ask me. Which I know you’re not, so I’ll shut up now.
SGP: 761 - 91 points.



Whiskyfun fav of the month

May 2018

Favourite recent bottling:
Ar10 2001/2018 (52.4%, Elixir Distillers, Elements of Islay, bourbon barrels) - WF 92

Favourite older bottling:
Highland Park (98°proof, John Scott, pure malt, +/-1950) - WF 94

Favourite bang for your buck bottling:
Caol Ila 2006/2017 (59.8%, Gordon & MacPhail, Cask Strength, first fill sherry butt, casks 306189, 306191, 306195) - WF 90

Favourite malternative:
Vallein Tercinier 27 yo ‘Lot 90’ (49.7%, Maltbarn, Grande Champagne, 2018) - WF 91






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