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

July 21, 2018





Angus's Corner
From our casual Scottish correspondent
and guest taster Angus MacRaild
Wee birthday duos
It’s my birthday (again!), so I’ll attempt to forget the fact by tasting my way through a few interesting pairs of drams. Some funny, some - hopefully - excellent. Although, I’ll be spending this weekend up on the north west coast of Scotland around Torridon - so I’ll not be complaining too much. Let’s kick off with some Mortlach...


Mortlach 21 yo (40%, Gordon & MacPhail for Sestante, 1990s, 70cl) Mortlach 21 yo (40%, Gordon & MacPhail for Sestante, 1990s, 70cl)
From G&M stock, but given the strength, it could go either way... Colour: gold. Nose: dusty but also with plenty honey, mirabelle, ripe melon, wee touches of soot, metal polish and cornbread. The porridge and dusty side starts to get a little louder with time - towards OBE territory. Still some grassy olive oil notes and a little quince. Mouth: green tea, waxes, more polish notes, honey, pollen and also a little cardboard and milky cereal. A whisky of two halves really. Finish: short-medium. More soft cereals, yoghurt, ink, light tea notes and a little pleasing bready aspect. Comments: There’s really two whiskies in here, a very lovely old Mortlach, and a slightly flabby old dram that’s afflicted by too low a bottling strength, filtration, caramel, OBE etc...
SGP: 351 - 77 points.


Mortlach 23 yo 1974/1997 (50.3%, Milroys Of Soho)

Mortlach 23 yo 1974/1997 (50.3%, Milroys Of Soho)
Colour: gold. Nose: It’s funny how, despite the difference in strength and bottling style, you can still feel a seam of identity running between the two. This is the same very Mortlach-esque mix of waxes, pollens, dried herbs, mead and polish notes. Only here it’s superbly clean, textural, concentrated and with a big, glistening oiliness and an elevated waxiness. With water: salted honey, stewed dark fruits, candied citrus peels and hints of clay and putty. Almost reminiscent of an old Balvenie at points. Mouth: beautifully concentrated waxiness, herbal liqueurs, precious hardwood resins, antique furniture polish, quince paste, citrons, pear liqueur and mint tea. A wonderfully fat green fruitiness underneath as well. With water: perfectly complex, oily, fruity, waxy; a more vigorous and pointed spiciness. Terrific! Finish: Long! Full of oily waxes, more citrus rinds, orange oils, natural tar, herbal essences and some more dried fruits. Comments: I wasn’t too sure what to expect, maybe I’ve just forgotten how terrific old Mortlachs can be. What a fantastic distillate.
SGP: 662 - 92 points.



Benriach 36 yo 1976/2013 (40.1%, OB for, refill hogshead, cask #3012, 118 bottles)

Benriach 36 yo 1976/2013 (40.1%, OB for, refill hogshead, cask #3012, 118 bottles)
Caught in the nick of time by the looks of things. Colour: light amber. Nose: as expected it’s a rather wonderful and nervous concentration of tropical and green fruits, wood spices, soft waxes and various oils and wood resins. Typical 76 Benriach. There are some pleasing wee tertiary notes of ripe melon, lamp oil and rye bread and orange cocktail bitters as well. Globally rather beautiful and well composed. Mouth: it’s undeniably soft but I’m impressed by the ‘togetherness’ of it all. Lots of hessian, cola cubes, lime oil, eucalyptus travel sweets, menthol and coconut. The waxiness is still there, almost like a glue holding everything together in the background. Finish: again impressive with a good length and plenty resinous citrus peel notes, kumquats, lemon sweets, cough medicine and a little white pepper. Comments: quite remarkable really in that the low abv didn’t seem to hinder it at any point. It’s not the best 76 Benriach by any stretch, but it’s the sort of dram you could drink a whole bottle of by mistake should you be suitably motivated.
SGP: 651 - 90 points.



Benriach 28 yo 1975/2004 (56.3%, Signatory Vintage, Cask Strength Collection, sherry hogshead, cask #7217, 221 bottles)

Benriach 28 yo 1975/2004 (56.3%, Signatory Vintage, Cask Strength Collection, sherry hogshead, cask #7217, 221 bottles)
Colour: light amber. Nose: although there is an initial abundance of honey and pollen, you could almost say it is a little closed to begin with. It certainly needs time to open up. But it does come eventually - fresh brown bread, aged calvados, a lick of balsamico, tutti fruit, pink grapefruit and some damp earthy notes underneath it all. There’s also a meaty and slightly leathery note along with some old boal madeira rising up from the depths. With water: some ripe nectarine, orange liqueur, brown sugar, fruit loaf and a saline, long-aged oloroso sherry note. Mouth: golden syrup, spun sugar, olive oil, aged Sauternes and some buttered white toast all come forward initially. There’s sweetness but also autolytic aspects vying for dominance. Aged muscat, some prune juice, dates, fig jam, black cherry, ointments and dried rosemary. Even a wee hint of black olive. I find it pretty complex really. With water: superbly dry, earthy, salty and darkly fruited. Lots of bramble, damson, sour cherry, mirabelle, old plum wine, salty liquorice, dried mint and a little tropical pineapple note emerging. Water really makes it sing. Finish: Long and full of damp earth, preserved lemons, cigar boxes, wet leaves, dried prunes, ointments and camphor. Comments: quite a ride! In some ways it’s not at all what I was expecting and now that we’re at the end I’m not really that surprised in retrospect. A wonderfully complex but at the same time rather demanding old Benriach - you need to be willing to go at the whisky’s pace rather than your own.
SGP: 661 - 91 points.



Tormore 30 yo 1984/2015 (55.8%, Cadenhead Small Batch, 432 bottles)

Tormore 30 yo 1984/2015 (55.8%, Cadenhead Small Batch, 432 bottles)
Colour: gold. Nose: many ripe green and garden fruits: gooseberry, green and red apple, brambles, ripe pears, mirabelle and then lots of fresh vanilla custard. Rather lovey and pretty typical Tormore I’d say. Wee tertiary touches of gauze, hessian and ink with soft dried herbal side as well. With water: lillies, pollen, ink, toffee sweeties, foam shrimps, candy floss, a little fresh butter. All perfectly lovely. Mouth: lots of biscuity notes such as digestives and milk chocolate tea biscuits. Milk bottle sweeties, caramel logs, rye bread, coconut and some creme caramel. I suspect the wood is doing much of the heavy lifting here; although it is doing it commendably well I should say. With water: the sweetness is still abundant but it’s never cloying or unnatural. Lots of honey, a little green pepper, some pencil shavings, a touch of ginger and cinnamon, potpourri. Finish: good length. All on pink marshmallows, apple pie, more custard, a little freeze dried raspberry and some slightly grassier aspects towards the aftertaste. Comments: Decent, solid Tormore. I recently scored an older 1984 Tormore by Cadenhead 80 points here on Whiskyfun, I would imagine this is from sibling stocks. Much improved in the interim I’d say.
SGP: 531 - 87 points.



Tormore 33 yo 1984/2017 (51.7%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, bourbon barrel, 132 bottles)

Tormore 33 yo 1984/2017 (51.7%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, bourbon barrel, 132 bottles)
Colour: gold. Nose: we’re not far off. The same kind of sweet/milky/cereal profile. Condensed milk, cinnamon grahams, milk bottles sweeties, custard, white pepper. There’s fewer fresh fruits around in the nose, but maybe the extra 3 years and being from a single barrel has done that. Some green apple peelings, tart cider and gooseberries but also some soft earthiness, marshmallow and a little damp sack cloth. With water: geraniums and warm greenhouses, a tomato vine, milky tea and digestive biscuits. Mouth: indeed, the wood is a little more biting here, but it’s still of the clean and polished variety. Lots of rather plush natural sweetness, syrupy notes, custard, cocoanut milk, olive oil, hessian. Some vase water and green pepper come through in time as well. With water: milk chocolate, rosewater, a little hemp, some dried lavender and cornbread. Finish: good length, still pretty sweet, some gomme syrup, young calvados and rhubarb and custard boiled sweets. Comments: I find it perfectly good but I think it misses the fruits of the small batch.
SGP: 441 - 84 points.



Highland Parks... there appears to be no shortage of them at the moment. Not something you’ll find me complaining about any time soon.  


Orkney Malt 12 yo 2006/2018 (57.8%, North Star, refill hogshead, 362 bottles)

Orkney Malt 12 yo 2006/2018 (57.8%, North Star, refill hogshead, 362 bottles)
Colour: light gold. Nose: raw, gristy, fresh barley! The kind of aroma that comes when strolling through a working distillery - lots of hay, straw, fermenting wash, hot underbacks, salted butter, salted caramel, ointments, clay, wet beach pebbles and hessian. In time it becomes more honeyed, with notes of heather ale, a glimmer of this very particular Orcadian herbal peat and some taramasalata. With water: chalk, butter, limestone, bath salts, burnt kelp, fresh linen and bonfire ash. Some green peppercorns in brine and a lick of mercurochrome as well. Mouth: wonderfully thick, oily and saline. Some petrol scented aged riesling, peat embers, soot, sea water, salted lemons, a hint of truffle oil and caraway. With water: lots of olive oil, smoked cereals, lemon barley water, lime oil, natural tar and sardines. Also quite a few dried herbs. Finish: long, softly ashy, herbal, lemony, slightly waxy and with various oils and black olives. Comments: Yet another top notch, thrillingly naked HP. Wonderful distillate.
SGP: 463 - 89 points.



Highland Park 28 yo 1989/2018 (48.8%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, bourbon hogshead, 270 bottles)

Highland Park 28 yo 1989/2018 (48.8%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, bourbon hogshead, 270 bottles)
Colour: pale gold. Nose: heather honey, anthracite fires, dry roasted peanuts, lemon jam, bay leafs and camphor. A rather beautifully aromatic nose. Continues with wildflowers, hessian, dunnage, old paper, mineral oil, dried herbs and an increasing waxiness. A delightfully soft and elegant HP. Mouth: a lighter textured example but the flavours are really beautiful. All sorts of heathery and waxy notes with old mead, medicine, salted caramel and herbal liqueurs. An expensive mint julep, some lapsang souchong tea, shellfish and a good Scottish IPA. Terrific stuff. Finish: long and bristling with lemons, waxes, honeys, teas, seashore notes and an increasing saltiness. Comments: compelling mid-aged HP. Or, are we calling 28 ‘old’ these days? A wee gem nonetheless.
SGP: 562 - 91 points.



A birthday like your 33rd commands a certain amount of humility I’d say, and what could be more humble than good old, unassuming, Glencadam. It’s even owned by Angus Dundee, which I suppose is appropriate if you put stock in meaningless and utterly trivial coincidences.  


Glencadam 13 yo ‘The Re-awakening’ (46%, OB, 6000 bottles, 2017)

Glencadam 13 yo ‘The Re-awakening’ (46%, OB, 6000 bottles, 2017)
I’m not sure whether a brief silent spell between 2000 and 20003 - when this one was distilled - necessarily justifies the heft of a title like ‘re-awakening’. But then, I suppose marketeers have to earn their crust somehow... Colour: straw. Nose: rather pleasingly it’s extremely close to the raw ingredients. That is to say: lots of fresh barley, lemon barley water, yeasty sourdough notes, watercress, white asparagus (not that they put watercress or asparagus of any shade in whisky mind you - well, maybe in Alsace...) Cream crackers, a smidgen of custard, some oatmeal, runny honey, geraniums. All very curious, funny and slightly unusual. Mouth: ink, aspirin, crushed oatcakes, daffodils and custard creams. A strange experience. There’s also some porridge, a lick of cardboard and even an inkling of wood glue which is somewhat concerning. Putty, some paper mâché paste and a few white jelly babies. In time it becomes more savoury, bready and with a kind of powdery texture. Finish: reasonably lengthy but also slightly sour, strangely buttery and full of something like off sweeties. Comments: I am unsure what to make of this. It is not entirely impossible my sample was iffy, but I doubt it. Things started well but then kind of...‘veered off’, so to speak. A strange one.
SGP: 351 - 74 points.



Glencadam 28 yo 1972/2001 (55.4%, Blackadder, cask #7633, 222 bottles)

Glencadam 28 yo 1972/2001 (55.4%, Blackadder, cask #7633, 222 bottles)
Let’s see if we have ‘better humility’ with this one... Colour: gold. Nose: another world! Dandelions and a wealth of other meadow flowers, churned butter, honey on brown toast, sunflower seeds, cinnamon powder, rosewater and lemon bonbons. Some soft waxes, old ink and a little chalkiness as well. With water: tobacco leaf, soft earths, white blossoms and things like chamomile and mirabelle eau de vie. Really quite lovely. Mouth: lots of coal dust, some figs, wax, prune juice, eucalyptus resin, tea tree oil and milk chocolate. Paraffin wax, lamp oil and muesli as well. Different but pretty good I think. With water: honeycomb, victoria sponge, various citrus jams, some wood resins and plenty hessian and camphor. Finish: long, resinous, lemony, earthy, some white fruits and wildflowers re-emerging towards the end. Comments: Probably one of the better Glencadams out there. (happy birthday to me... etc...)
SGP: 551 - 87 points.



Ok, maybe one totally crazy wee bonus dram for the road...  


Glenfiddich 2003/2017 (59%, OB for Spirit Of Speyside festival, fresh sherry butt, cask #33643, 356 bottles)

Glenfiddich 2003/2017 (59%, OB for Spirit Of Speyside festival, fresh sherry butt, cask #33643, 356 bottles)
Heavily sherried, heavily peated Glenfiddich... well, this is whiskyfun after all, isn’t it? Colour: a slapped rosewood arse. Nose: take some pork scratchings, a few packets of bacon frys (you can find them ubiquitously in Scottish pubs), several strips of spiced African biltong, a handful of potpourri, some of the saltiest liquorice imaginable, some red diesel syphoned from a tractor, a scrunched up copy of the Daily Record and several preserved lemons with associated brine. Combine and distill. Now simply garnish with a rosewood piano and you should have something approaching this ridiculous whisky. But seriously, this is bonkers. Continues with black olive tapenade, petrol, old furniture, turpentine and some kind of black peppercorn eau de vie. With water: smouldering hay, cow pats, silage, a strawberry bonbon or two, a smoked pancetta smoothie and some mustard powder. Mouth: ... good news - for some - I am not dead! It’s just that I’m probably giving myself some kind of salty bacon overdose (please send kidneys!) Tarry old rope, new leather, make up, peated lip gloss, raw tar, iodine, burned salt, cigarette ash, creosote and bitumen. There’s also salted almonds, bicycle inner tube, wet earth and mushroom powder. With water: ashes, smoked carpet (what?), old medicines, peated oils, more tar, lighter fluid, bitter wood resins and camphor. Finish: Long in a kind of affectionate ‘fuck you’ sort of way. Comments: I think it is safe to say, the sherry and the peat didn’t ‘quite’ integrate on this occasion. A totally pointless, and impossible, whisky to score. No doubt some people will think it is the best thing since Buckfast finished Octomore and some will react as though they just swallowed a large and very pissed off scorpion. Although, I do think kudos is due to William Grants for having released something as fun and totally crazy as this. But maybe the UN should be informed about any further casks of this lurking in their warehouses...
SGP: 388 - 83 (meaningless) points.



(Thanks Marcel, Dirk and Hans.)  







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