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

September 11, 2019


Five whiskies incognito

In other words, more blends, blended malts or undisclosed single malts. Not that knowing where one whisky’s been distilled changes anything to its inherent qualities, but the old guard, of which I definitely am a part, keeps thinking that it’s better to know. After all, we now know where our lettuce was grown or our chicken raised, don’t we? Let’s see what we have on WF’s ‘???’ shelves…

Creations Blended Grain 10 yo (59.2%, Cadenhead, hogshead, 2018)

Creations Blended Grain 10 yo (59.2%, Cadenhead, hogshead, 2018) Three stars
Made out of one cask of young Girvan (what?), another cask of young Girvan (what what?) and one cask of Strathclyde (what what what?) further matured together for one year. I agree, this is hardly undisclosed, but since we’re at it (and the whisky’s already in the glass…) Colour: white wine. Nose: always the same question with such young silent babies, what did the marrying casks previously contain? Because this is relatively lovely, softly malty, with notes of Weetabix, custard, cut grass, fresh asparagus and Chinese green tea. Certainly not un-nice. With water: fresh croissants and butter cream. No ‘dumb’ marshmallows. Mouth (neat): a tad hot and spirity, as expected, but we don’t experience the feeling of drinking varnish remover this time. We’ve had young Girvans that have been pure ethanol and varnish, mind you! With water: yeah, it’s pretty good, with a good slice of lemon tarte, with meringue s’il-vous-plaît. Finish: medium, balanced, not rough, with drops of limoncello. Comments: certainly better than the sum of its parts. Which, I’ve read, is the point with any blends. From some theoretical 70 points up to…
SGP:540 - 80 points. (Oh and watch the 22 yo!)

The Circle (46%, Compass Box, blended malt, 6151 bottles, 2019)

The Circle (46%, Compass Box, blended malt, 6151 bottles, 2019) Four stars
Louis XIV on the label! A French king on some pre-Brexit British whisky! Apparently, some kind of mixologist was involved in this one, but no worries, I’m sure we’ll be safe. It’s been said that it’s a Tamdhu base with Clynelish and HP as dressers. The price is hefty (£120), so I suppose it’s old, but while the distilleries are disclosed, the age isn’t. So some blended NASs rather than a NAS blend. Are you following me? Colour: white wine. Nose: it’s a very smart mixture, no doubt about that. Some very natural maltiness, many cakes and other pastries (Danishes, raisin bagels), a large bag of apple peels, ripe gooseberries and greengages (always works) and just a small amount of wax plus aniseed drops. More Tamdhu than Clynelish or HP, but there’s strictly nothing to complain about. Mouth: the dressers are rather more in action this time, with more mineral notes, chalk, paraffin (just a little), lime juice, grape pips. Some sunflower oil as well. Finish: medium, grassy/chalky. Bitter grass in the aftertaste. Comments: rather angular given it’s a Circle (pff…) and, naturally, very good.
SGP:451 - 87 points.

McWarrior (43.5%, House of McCallum, 2018)

McWarrior (43.5%, House of McCallum, 2018) Four stars
An NAS undisclosed single malt finished in PX. This baby’s really ticking all boxes ;-) but you just never know… And the price is relatively fair. Colour: light gold. Nose: no bursts of raisins and cherry stems, rather some balanced cake-y development, with fruit cakes (the forbidden descriptor), panettone,  and well, some raisins too, actually. Some sides remind me of that very unostentatious Speyside distillery bearing a name that starts with an M and that now specialises in wonderful crystal decanters (with stunning minimalist, quasi-organic designs). Mouth: a little mindboggling, for it’s way more to my liking  than I had thought. Awesome old-school sherry goodness, raisins, dried figs, honey, cinnamon rolls, maple syrup, elderflower syrup, malt bars… Finish: medium, just a tad more grapey. Goji berries. Comments: if you don’t like this, you don’t like whisky at all. There. 
SGP:551 - 87 points (yes, for an NAS undisclosed single malt finished in PX, and yes, Serge at the keyboard, not my little nephew or the cat).

Black Bull 10 yo (50%, Duncan Taylor, blend, +/-2018)

Black Bull 10 yo (50%, Duncan Taylor, blend, +/-2018) Two stars
This baby’s been finished in ex-rum casks. Remember, in Scotland more than anywhere else, nothing is wasted, everything is transformed ;-). Let’s see if that was Hampden… Colour: white wine. Nose: it’s lightly grainy, not exactly mineral or olive-y, with, maybe, touches of sugarcane indeed. Hard to pin down at this point. With water: some grassy rum. Mouth (neat): you feel the rum really a lot this time, this is almost a rum+whisky cocktail. I’m sure that must exist somewhere, at least in the head of a mad mixologist. With water: pure rumsky. Finish: medium, with welcome notes of oranges. Comments: I don’t quite know what to say, I’m a bit lost. I’m sure it’s a good blend.
SGP:651 - 75 points.

Vega 41 yo 1976/2018 (46.1%, North Star Spirits, blended malt, 400 bottles)

Vega 41 yo 1976/2018 (46.1%, North Star Spirits, blended malt, 400 bottles) Five stars
The 40/1977 bottled last year had been very much to my liking (WF 90), so the odds are… Colour: full gold. Nose: stop this, halt, vorsicht, clear the path please! Acacia honey, orange juice, mangos, sultanas, angelica, apricot confit, citrons, just a few fresh walnuts… This does not feel very ‘blended’. Unless, as some old guys used to say, it was ‘blended with warehouse air’. Mouth: love these oaky and mentholy touches over a carpet of honeys, dried fruits, fresh almonds and mangos and guavas. Let’s keep this short and sweet, it’s brilliant fresh old-Speyside-style very lightly ‘grained’ blended Scotch whisky. The friend who’ll detect grain whisky in this is a genius. Finish: even more lovely since the oak never takes over, even in the very end of the aftertaste. What’s the trick? Comments: listen good folks at NSS, why not cancel the Aston-Martin, and rather find an old Facel? Like a Facel… Vega? (no, I’m not particularly proud of that one).
SGP:651 - 91 points.Update: That did not make much sense, this is well a blended malt. Blame tasting fatigue! But naturally, I’ll keep the note and score unchanged.

We might find more undercover whiskies tomorrow…

More tasting notes
Check the index of all undisclosed or blended malts we've tasted so far







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