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

June 13, 2020


Whiskyfun

 

 

 

Angus's Corner
From our Scottish correspondent
and skilled taster Angus MacRaild in Edinburgh
Angus  
More assorted single malt pairings
Another raid of the sample stash, two by two as usual. 

 

Milton-duff-Glenlivet 12 yo (43%, OB, German import, -/+ 1980)

Milton-duff-Glenlivet 12 yo (43%, OB, German import, -/+ 1980)
I find these batches a little variable, but many can be pretty good. Colour: pale gold. Nose: definitely an older style, lots of wet grains, cooked vegetables, mashed, slightly overripe fruits and things like dried banana chips in mixed nuts. Perhaps a tad milky as well. Mouth: not the most inspiring. Rather flat, teaish, touches of cardboard, some flabby green fruitiness like pear skin peelings. Touches of glue and damp grain. Some decent power from the ABV carries it over the finish line though. Finish: short, rather rough and sharp with some bready and cooking oil notes. Comments: Not the most inspiring old Miltonduff we’ve had over the years I’m afraid. Living up to its name I would say. 
SGP: 431 - 69 points. 

 

 

Miltonduff 8 yo 2009/2018 (62.1%, The Whiskyfind ‘Filmnik - District 9’, cask #701586, bourbon barrel, 240 bottles)

Miltonduff 8 yo 2009/2018 (62.1%, The Whiskyfind ‘Filmnik - District 9’, cask #701586, bourbon barrel, 240 bottles)
District 9 is a dystopian science fiction film about aliens that crash land on Earth while searching the galaxy for whisky investment opportunities. Or maybe that’s something else. Anyway… Colour: bright straw. Nose: kind of hyper modern in some ways with these rather light and sweet - almost fizzy - notes of bubblegum and glazed fruits. Barley sugar, vanilla foam, sweetened whipped cream and buttermilk. Obviously the cask was pretty active here. Indeed, in time you get some freshly ground green pepper as well. Although, I would say the cask activity shields us quite well from the high abv. With water: still rather spicy but it becomes warmer, gentler and rounder. More earthy too with these notes of bread, pinecones and turmeric. Mouth: Ouch! Very hot and peppery straight away. Lots of pepper of various shades. Nutmeg and powdered ginger, and cinnamon pastries. All very spicy and pungent. With water: much better, although still pretty sugary and spicy and prickly. Some hints of green chilli, cloves and more cinnamon. Finish: medium, lots of cooking oil, chilli, green pepper and some hints of something like spiced porridge? Comments: I am a big fan of the labels and concept behind this wee Filmnik series but the whiskies can often be quite whacky. I will set them a challenge, seeing as they always pick a film released in the year the whisky was distilled, for your next release guys, the film has to be ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still’ (the remake with Mr Keanu Reeves doesn’t count I’m afraid). God’s speed! 
SGP: 661 - 79 points. 

 

 

Glen Elgin NAS (43%, OB ‘White Horse’, for Japanese market, -/+ 1990)

Glen Elgin NAS (43%, OB ‘White Horse’, for Japanese market, -/+ 1990)
Colour: gold. Nose: rich, syrupy and rather fat with this kind of polished maltiness. Quite straightforward but very clean and balanced with plenty of evidence of the raw materials on display. Some sweeter biscuity notes of gingernuts and digestives, then wee touches of camphor and leather. Very easy and attractive. Mouth: quite fulsome with a lot of shoe polish, bold cereals, malt extract, freshly baked breads, light metallic touches, mineral oil, balsa wood and clay. A kind of vague but alluring waxiness as well; feels impressively textural. Finish: good length, getting drier, earthier and more towards leaf mulch, mushrooms, tobacco and more leathery notes. Comments: Something of a surprise, rather full bodied, rich and extremely satisfying to quaff. It’s not particularly complex but it feels very well composed and is the kind of dram you could very happily nurse in a tumbler while binge watching nonsense on Netflix. It’s also a good reminder that Glen Elgin used to be a rather more full bodied malt. 
SGP: 562 - 85 points. 

 

 

Glen Elgin 12 yo 2006 (55.6%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society #85.51 ‘Elbow grease and bath salts’, refill hogshead, 278 bottles)

Glen Elgin 12 yo 2006 (55.6%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society #85.51 ‘Elbow grease and bath salts’, refill hogshead, 278 bottles)
Colour: pale white wine. Nose: it is indeed a lighter style of distillate, but it’s also rather more expressive with lots of warm greenhouse aromas, trampled ferns, cut grass, green apples, vase water, geraniums and pollen. With a little time it develops a more biscuity backbone and a little more malty sweetness. Sunflower seeds, dried herbs, hay and freshly laundered fabrics. I have to say, I find this humble Glen Elgin rather complex, in an un-showy kind of way. With water: straighter and more fully on plain, crisp cereals. Un-sweetened breakfast cereals, putty, chalk, limestone, gravel and more crushed flowers and greenery - even some aloe vera. Mouth: very in keeping with the nose, lots of greenery and sharp green fruits. Gooseberry, Granny Smith apple, sour cider, yeasty bread dough, malt extract, hibiscus, lime tea and dried lavender. Again this mix lightness and complexity in a rather humble presentation. We’re almost on pure distillate here with all these barley eau de vie vibes. With water: dried flowers, turmeric, pollen, rice wine, dried tarragon, mineral oil, pastis, lemon peel, verbena and wee sooty touches. The texture and other facets remain light and deft. Finish: medium and rather full of plain cooking oils, cereals, tiny citrus notes, yeast and malty qualities. Comments: Humble is the word here. Very impressed by this quietly complex and extremely pure wee Glen Elgin. Very different to the old OB, but pretty much exactly the same quality I think. 
SGP: 351 - 85 points. 

 

 

Macduff 10 yo (50.2%, The Boutique-y Whisky Co ‘Batch 8’, 1160 bottles)

Macduff 10 yo (50.2%, The Boutique-y Whisky Co ‘Batch 8’, 1160 bottles)
Colour: pale gold. Nose: rather rich, biscuity and with a sort of greasy sweetness. Cooking oils, some dried herbs, some fruity muesli with a bit of runny honey through it. There’s also a slightly suggestion of rubber and new leather underneath as well. Rather ‘Macduff’, if you see? With water: greener, more peppery, more earthy, more of these putty notes, playdough, crushed green asparagus and turmeric. A little odd. Mouth: feels a bit disjointed on arrival, these rubbery notes are heavier and more dominating now. Also more of this greasiness and slightly artificial sweetness. Feels as though there may have been some re-racking going on. Graphite, putty, wine gums and some vegetable cuppa soup. With water: cleaner and more classical, also a little easier. Quite a few notes of barley water, various old man beers such as bitter and stout, touches of camphor and more putty and light earthiness. Finish: medium, doughy, oily, greasy again, very faintly medical and with some slightly overripe oranges and suggestions of concentrated orange juice. Comments: Hmmm, the nose showed promise but I find this Macduff a bit hard word to be honest. It’s characterful distillate, but it’s not particularly a character I want to spend a lot of time with. 
SGP: 562 - 75 points. 

 

 

Macduff 1982/1994 (60%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #6.17)

Macduff 1982/1994 (60%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #6.17)
Colour: straw. Nose: quite different, a leaner, more directly medical and punchy profile. Lots of chalk, herbal toothpaste, tiger balm, malt extract, shilling beers, camphor, lamp oil and some rather punchy herbal cough medicines. It’s also getting more minty as we go along, spearmint and mint tea. I find this style still rather unusual but undeniably more attractive and interesting. With water: greener, fresher, slightly more mineral and with a lot more cut grass, cactus, crushed fern, nettles and vase water. Almost a crisp young Loire sauvignon. Mouth: wow! Really a lot more mentholated, medicinal and even rather peaty in some ways. Minty chewing gum, waxes, putty, citronella candle, limoncello and hessian. Herbal jellies, mineral oil and pine sap. Quite bewildering and somewhat extreme whisky, but this is undeniably a lot of fun. With water: once again, greener, more crisp, direct and chiselled. Very sharp, almost tart with green acidity, brittle minerals and things like struck flints, chalk, aspirin and dry cereals. Finish: long, green, tart, cereal, lemony, mineral, lightly mentholated with eucalyptus, freshly muddled herbs and various cupboard medicines. Comments: Pretty whacky stuff. But unlike quite a few of these more recent bottling of Macduff - which I think are just plain difficult - this has some real charm behind its weirdness. Worth trying if it ever crosses your path. 
SGP: 353 - 86 points. 

 

 

Glenlossie 42 yo 1975/2017 (44.3%, Cadenhead Single Cask ‘175th Anniversary’, hogshead, 138 bottles)

Glenlossie 42 yo 1975/2017 (44.3%, Cadenhead Single Cask ‘175th Anniversary’, hogshead, 138 bottles)
Colour: gold. Nose: one of these old Speysiders that has morphed into a beehive - wax, pollen, honey and all. Pure acacia honey spread over warm brioche, a little bite of rye spice, ginger biscuits dunked in Earl Grey tea and then things like citrons and some very delicate earthy notes. Quite straightforward in some ways but very beautiful! Mouth: superbly rich, resinous, honeyed and almost like cannabis resin. Lots of eucalyptus, mint julep, beeswax, pollens, furniture wax, heather ale, mint leaf, hints of very old mirabelle eau de vie from glass and tiny notes of dried tarragon and toasted fennel seed. Earthy, lightly peppery and getting more complex and superbly elegant, also quite bit richer and with many more notes of breads and savoury pastries. Not tired at all. You do feel the wood but it’s really morphing into this stunning peppery and herbal liqueur profile you get from very good quality refill after many years. Finish: medium, very honeyed and full of fruit salad juices, peaches in syrup, nectars, pollens, concentrated herbal cough medicines, waxes and various lightly tannic fruit teas. Comments: A rather sublime old glory captured at just the right time I’d say. I’ll never tire of this combination of sweet honey, waxes and drier fruit notes. 
SGP: 651 - 91 points. 

 

 

Glenlossie 33 yo 1984/2018 (56.7%, Signatory Vintage 30th Anniversary, cask #2533, refill sherry butt, 530 bottles)

Glenlossie 33 yo 1984/2018 (56.7%, Signatory Vintage 30th Anniversary, cask #2533, refill sherry butt, 530 bottles)
Colour: amber. Nose: a wonderful mix of chestnuts, truffled risotto, dried wild mushrooms, black tea, miso and herbal cocktail bitters. Elegant, wonderfully balanced and complex. A wee paean to good refill sherry wood. Gets a little more earthy and nutty with time, walnuts, almonds and Brazil nuts with a few more dried herbs and some cured game meats. Maybe a splash of café latte too. With water: more savoury, more notes of breads, soft wood spices, bitter dark chocolate, balsamic, black coffee, cinnamon bark and some rather leathery touches of camphor, praline and hessian. Mouth: quite a big arrival but well presented in a very silky texture. Really velvety notes of chocolate, coffee cake, green walnut liqueur, black olive tapenade and herbal cough syrup. Tarragon, dark fruit chutney, lime curd and some very old Calvados. Again the word that springs to mind is: balance! With water: again this evolves the complexity very well and it becomes drier, spicier and a little more bitter. More coffee, dark chocolate, walnuts, black olives, soy sauce and various cocktail bitters and dried herbs. Finish: long, rather leathery, bitter herbal medicines, black pepper, pu erh tea, walnuts, rancio and Irish coffee with cream. Comments: I think top quality refill sherry plus time has really equated to the epitome of balance and complexity in this instance. It’s the depth and evolution of flavour which is most striking here. Same quality as the Cadenhead I think, but they are very different styles I would say. Another total gem in this series. Can’t wait for the Signatory 32nd anniversary series later this year! 
SGP: 561 - 91 points. 

 

 

Glenglassaugh 40 yo 1978/2018 (40.9%, Signatory 30th Anniversary, hogshead, cask #258, 154 bottles)

Glenglassaugh 40 yo 1978/2018 (40.9%, Signatory Vintage 30th Anniversary, hogshead, cask #258, 154 bottles)  
Colour: deep gold. Nose: a mix of herbs, honeys and slightly lactic waxy notes. In addition these notes of candied nuts, chocolate lime sweets, sweetened coffee, milk chocolate, digestive biscuits dunked in milky tea and subtle aromas of pollen and candied citrus fruit peels. In time it also becomes more herbal with things like mint tea and touches of cannabis resin. Perhaps also some vase water and pressed flowers. It’s pleasant but feels a tad tired. Mouth: quite a soft arrival, again on candied nuts, sorrel, dried mint and some rather toasty cereal notes too. More of these milky tea and soggy biscuits vibes. Chocolate covered Brazil nuts, lime pith, desiccated coconut, treacle pudding and some sweet coffee cream liqueur. You do start to feel the low abv a bit much here. Finish: medium and on milk chocolate, Earl Grey tea with milk, more mixed nuts, candied peels, breakfast cereals and some orange liqueur. Comments: Some parts are very quaffable in a simple ‘nice old whisky’ kind of way, but I think it has perhaps just sat too long in the cask. This low abv, milky tea vibe is a bit much. Still, every great series needs a weak link in the chain. 
SGP: 451 - 77 points. 

 

 

And so, we bid farewell to ‘old shiz’ and enter the realm of peat…

 

 

Glenglassaugh 2011/2018 (53.5%, Bramble Whisky Company, 1st fill sherry, 376 bottles)

Glenglassaugh 2011/2018 (53.5%, Bramble Whisky Company, 1st fill sherry, 376 bottles)
I don’t know much about cocktails, but I do know that if you find yourself in Edinburgh and in the mood for boozy potions, then it is to Bramble, or one of its sibling bars such as The Last Word or The Lucky Liquor Co, that you should swiftly take yourself! Colour: coppery gold. Nose: you couldn’t really be further from the 1978 if you tried. This is immediately all on gruff, leathery, earthy modern peat smoke. Lots of tar, burnt bracken, hot car tyre, gentian distillate, ground black pepper and hessian sack cloth. Some black olives in brine sloshing about in the darkness. It’s really a collision of powerful peat and pretty active modern style wood, which cannot help but bring to mind the notion of ‘an unstoppable force meets an immovable object’. However, for whatever reason, it works pretty well I think. In time you get these notes of graphite oil, mechanical fluids and singed sawdust. With water: ahh, everything settles very nicely. There’s more smoky cohesion, kippers, tree bark, smoked coffee and pure tar. Mouth: the screech of Aston Martin tyres! This kind of clean hot rubber vibe mixed with pure kerosene, pencil shavings, black pepper, salt and malt vinegar crisps and potatoes baked in wood embers. Rather mad but a lot of fun. I time there’s some young balsamic vinegar glaze, green olives and herbal toothpaste. Some brake fluid in the mix as well. With water: smoked olive oil, smoked tea, hot smoked salmon, smoked chillies - smoked everything really! Tabasco on an oyster, sweetened iodine, herbal cough syrup, wholegrain mustard and long cured meats. Finish: rather long, tarry, this light rubbery note back again, more soot, kippers, meats and coffee. Comments: Where to begin? I think the problem here is that this is not really my cup of malt, but that’s a very personal judgement. It’s very much the kind of dram that lovers of this rather monolithic, modern peated style will guzzle like it would re-open the pubs. One thing is for sure, it is a huge amount of fun, but perhaps the kind of thing you need to be in the mood for. Anyway, please support great bars like Bramble when they are eventually able to re-open. 
SGP: 577 - 82 points.  

 

 

I think we need a short break after that. One or two months should do it…

 

 

Aerolite Lindsay 10 yo (46%, Atom Brands, 2019)

Aerolite Lindsay 10 yo (46%, Atom Brands, 2019)  
A funny bottling from Atom that is an anagram of ’ten year old Islay’ and apparently hails from one Islay distillery after maturation in 70% bourbon barrels, 25% Spanish oak ex-sherry quarter casks and 5% ‘mystery casks’. The label also mentions ‘peat smoke-breathing dragons’. Let’s hope no one tells the SWA as I’m pretty sure that would not be permitted under their current production regulations. It’s possible the good folks at Atom were also smoking something. Colour: white wine. Nose: clean, coastal and fresh. Smoky grist, barley, heather, soot, wet rocks and sheep wool. Modern, clean, peaty Islay whisky in other words. It’s just a little unremarkable perhaps. Some nice lemony notes emerge in time. Mouth: rather autolytic and slightly yeasty. Smoked biscuits or something like that. Again this sheep wool oiliness, some carbolic acidity, heather ale and more smoky/sooty notes. Touches of lemon juice and a light tarriness. Finish: decent length, coal embers, heather smoke, peat and some peppery and briny notes. Comments: Yes, it all sounds a tad silly. But the whisky is perfectly quaffable and pretty typical modern Islay single malt. For the £45ish price tag I think it’s a fair drop. Let’s all buy some so we can keep those good folks from Tunbridge Wells in suitably jazzy narcotics! 
SGP: 465 - 84 points.

 

 

Islay #3 13 yo ‘Batch 4’ (48.6%, That Boutique-y Whisky Co, 1479 bottles)

Islay #3 13 yo ‘Batch 4’ (48.6%, That Boutique-y Whisky Co, 1479 bottles)
There seem to be some rumours floating in the digital ether that this could be Laphroaig. Colour: white wine. Nose: Indeed, this has that rather meandering bassline smokiness that feels rather ‘Laphroaiggy’. Lots of squid ink, iodine drops, seawater and coal smoke. Dried seaweed, salted white fish, malt vinegar and a very attractive peppery tarriness. Simple, pure and very attractive. Mouth: wonderful arrival, all on soft, greasy peat smoke. Natural tar, petrol, iodine, TCP, lemon juice and seawater. Also kelp, green olives in pickling juices and preserved lemons in brine. Some grizzly kiln smoke accumulating in the background. Finish: long, sooty, deeply earthy, salty and with this rather herbal and rooty peat smoke. Lightly kippery and with some lingering malt vinegar notes. Comments: No nonsense here. This is a terrific wee dram that, quite frankly, reeks of top notch modern Laphroaig from refill wood. Love the purity balanced with the sense of restrained power. 
SGP: 468 - 89 points.  

 

 

Big, hearty thanks to Andy.

 

 

 

 

 

 
   

 

 

 

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