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Hi, you're in the Archives, April 2012 - Part 1
       

March 2012 - part 2 <--- April 2012 - part 1 ---> April 2012 - part 2

 

April 13, 2012

Whiskyfun
Malternatives: tasting the last rums en passant
After the stunning old Demerara from Bristol's that we had the other day, let's see what's happeing at the other end of the scale. Fear not, fear not!
Madagascar
Rhum Blanc Supérieur Cazanove (40%, OB, +/-2010) White rhum from Madagascar that is or used to be bottled in Bordeaux. In France, anything that bears the word ‘supérieur’ is usually quite crappy… Now, you can find some ‘rhum blanc’ by Cazanove (not supérieur, that is) for 4.60€ a litre on ze Internet. Let’s try this superior version… Colour: water. Nose: sugar, sugar and sugar plus touches of lemon, mint and aniseed. Mind you, it’s far from repulsive despite the raw and slightly dirty molassy spirit. A bit of wood alcohol. Mouth: sugar and alcohol. Finish: not short, a little burnt, very sugary. Comments: for mixers. Not utterly disgusting when neat. SGP:520 - 29 points.
Sambo Rhum Supérieur (40%, OB) Colour: white. Nose: similar to the Cazenove but a little more fragrant and less dirty-ish. Sweeter and more lemony. Mouth: same comments. Finish: medium, sweet and lemony. Comments: I’m wondering if they added sugar to these brews. Anyway, this is more or less potable. SGP:630 – 35 points.
Mangoustan’s Carte Grise (42%, OB, +/-2010) A very old brand. I’ve seen that this used to be a blend of various origins (all French islands) but it seems that it’s all coming from Madagascar now. Colour: amber. Nose: slightly cheapish sugary aromas and cooked bananas at first nosing but it does improve after that, with more sugar cane and something slightly camphory. Eucalyptus? Works quite well so far… Mouth: round, rich, creamy mouth feel… Sugar cane, lemons and oranges plus touches of honey. Average but drinkable. Finish: medium long, sweet, clean. Cheap honey, fructose. Comments: as I sometimes write, I’ve tasted worse. They must be adding sugar to this according to the mouth feel. SGP:710 - 65 points.
N.K. Johnson ‘Spécial Réserve’ (43%, OB, +/-2010) Another very old French brand that now comes from Magadascar. Colour: gold. Nose: burnt wood and molasses. Doesn’t hold a candle to the Mangoustan! Mouth: better, similar to the Mangoustan. Too bad there are these burnt notes in the background. Finish: medium long, sugary and burnt. Comments: for mixers – I guess dedicated mixologists will start to complain if I keep writing this. SGP:610 - 39 points.
Conclusion: yes, there’s rum and rum, just like there’s whisky and whisky. But enough with rum, I’m afraid we’ve touched the bottom and this is Whiskyfun.

MUSIC - Recommended listening: the violin of Jean Luc Ponty can go anywhere, effortless. A good example is his rendition of Mory Kanté's Yéké Yéké (from Ponty's album Tchokola). Please buy Jean Luc Ponty's music...

Ponty
 

April 12, 2012

Whiskyfun
Tasting two old Ardbeg, in a fit of pique
All right, guess how many Ardbegs we’ve tried at WF since the beginning of 2012? Let alone new Ardbegs? Nada, niente, rien, nichts! In truth, Ardbeg’s getting very scarce and I haven’t seen any new old one since ages, while they used to be plentiful only three or four years ago. Is it the name’s twilight years? Shall we have to wait for a long time before the ‘new’ stock gets mature – while only a few youngish fresh-oak-bombs are issued here and there from time to time? I don’t have the answers but in the meantime, we may have to rely on old stocks, such as these babies…
Ardbeg 12 Ardbeg 12 yo (80 Proof, Cadenhead's, dumpy, black label, 75cl, +/-1977) Five stars It's a non-vintage version, probably distilled in the mid-1960s. Colour: full gold. Nose: it’s rather mellow, starting mainly on some putty and marzipan, with only the remotest whiffs of smoke and old cigar humidor. It’s only after two or three minutes that touches of old herbs liqueurs and motor oil come through. Old car engine, rubber bands, car polish, then more kumquats, pine resin… It’s growing bigger over time but the smoke remains relatively subdued. Unexpected whiffs of old roses after a few minutes, walnuts, morels… Old gewürztraminer? Very complex… Mouth: really punchy, without any tiredness or dryness from all this time in glass. Picks up where it stopped on the nose, with again touches of roses (Turkish delights) and kumquats, then more straight peat smoke, tar, liquorice and soot/ashes. Quite some salt as well, caraway seeds, prunes, black raisins (sherry wood, probably!) and bitter oranges, with a saltiness that never stops growing bigger. Touches of strong herbal digestif ala Underberg together with more and more salmiak. Amazingly big after all these years. Finish: endless, tarry and ashy, maybe a tad drying but it would be a very stupid thing to complain. Comments: it’s not technically überperfekt but you can hear Keith and Mick in these old Ardbegs from the 1960s. Having said that, I’ve had some from the same series that were less impressive. This one is quite great despite – or maybe because of – the odd notes of roses (and even litchis)! SGP:466 - 92 points.
Ardbeg 76 Ardbeg 1976/2008 (52.4%, OB, Europe, sherry butt, cask #2397, 519 bottles) Five stars A sister cask of our beloved #2390 for Feis Ile 2002, or of other 239*s for Japan, Italy or Feis Ile 2004 – all fab. Also one of the very last old officials, I don't think they ever issued another one after 2008. Colour: full gold. Nose: more brutal than the old Cadenhead, which is normal, and all on chocolate and wood smoke at first nosing, although the sherry isn’t too big. Also quite some oxtail stock, parsley, old oven, Chinese sweet and sour sauce, chives, even garlic… A funny one! Then more damp earth, mushrooms, pipe tobacco, soot, charcoal… And then more and more unlit Havana cigars. Well, a whole box. With water: same aromas, twice as much. The best use of water and the closest you can come to ‘nosing’ a full box of well-aged Habanos. Mouth: impressively assertive and perfectly in keeping with the nose, with more or less the same notes. Something Chinese over a thick layer of peat, tar and soot, with quite some cough syrup, old herbal liqueurs and beef stock. Amazing richness despite an oakiness that’s maybe a notch loudish (cocoa powder). Nuoc-mâm sauce. With water: a few green tannins (ginger, nutmeg) but other than that, it’s all very perfect. Please call the anti-maltoporn brigade! Finish: very long, greatly sourish (that Chinese sweet and sour sauce again), earthy, ashy, smoky… With a lot of pepper-flavoured chocolate in the aftertaste. The circle is now complete! Comments: ultra-dry. There are very few problems that an old Ardbeg can’t solve – maybe that’s why some call them ‘orgasmic’ ;-). SGP:277 - 94 points.
PS: as seen on many blogs, it seems that Ardbeg are having a Shackleton moment these days. Check the new joke and check what may come later on. The actual good news comes on the back label, the wee dog didn't die from cirrhosis years ago - or was it because of all that extra-peated dogfood?, it was just flown to the moon. Ah, brand content and brand substance... BTW, Pete and Jack already commented on this new trend on November 3, 2009.

Banner for Malt Maniacs and Whiskyfun from a few years back... >>>>>>
  Ardbeg

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Jerry Gonzalez
 

April 11, 2012

Whiskyfun
Tasting two Allt A Bhainne
After all these years, I still don’t know what’s the exact spelling of Allt A’Bhainne. Tell me about a whisky ‘blogger’. You see it with hyphens, you see it with apostrophes, you see it with accents, you see it with just nothing, you see it with combinations of all that… An no official bottling in sight to be clear in our own minds! But what we know is that the distillery’s working again since a few years, after having been mothballed in 2002 – although some people tend to think it’s more a distilling plant than a distillery. Not sure that makes any sense…
Allt A Bhainne Allt A'Bhainne 12yo 1992/2005 (57.6%, Cadenhead's Authentic Collection, bourbon barrel, 240 bottles) Two stars Colour: white wine. Nose: very pungent, with that feeling of oddly oak-chipped sauvignon blanc that can be found in rather immature Speysiders. And plenty of grass, apple skin and leaven. It’s not that it’s feinty, but… With water: almost silent now. Some vague reeks of cider. Mouth (neat): pungent again, on grassy bubblegum – or the other way around. Very vodka-ish, in fact. In the background, yeasty notes of white bread and then porridge and plain barley, but I must say that a rather pleasant fruitiness arises after a few seconds. Apples and peaches. With water: better. A bit of sweet oak, apples, pears and touches of cinnamon. Finish: medium, pretty clean but extremely simple. Sweetened apple juice, Strongbow. Comments: epitomical blending stock. Not bad but really average, maybe not quite what should be bottled as ‘single cask’? SGP:441 - 75 points.
Allt A Bhainne 1995/2011 (53.4%, Berry Bros & Rudd, cask #125284) Three stars I think this is brand new. Colour: straw. Nose: exactly the same whisky as the 1992, only more mature, softer and more complex. And there’s more vanilla – a pleasant, ‘natural’ vanilla. I guess that’s the whole point of maturing whisky in oak casks, isn’t it. Allt A Bhainne
With water: apple compote and barley water. Simple but pleasant. Mouth (neat): round and creamy, with still some bubblegum but also nice touches of melon and strawberries. A little grass as well, vanilla, touches of café latte… With water: it got really good now. Sweet barley, pineapple drops, ginger tonic… Finish: medium, clean, on quite some barley water and ripe gooseberries. Comments: maybe nothing to write home about but anybody willing to try Allt A Bhainne for the first time may choose this little baby. In short, neither thrills, nor flaws. SGP:541 - 80 points.
 
PETE McPEAT AND JACK WASHBACK
PJ
PJ

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Camilo
 

April 10, 2012

Whiskyfun
More Caol Ila, ten by ten
Caol Ila Caol Ila 16 yo 1995/2011 (50%, Liquid Treasures, bourbon hogshead) Three stars Colour: white wine. Nose: sweet and raw, more on apple juice and a full bag of pear drops than the usual Caol Ila at first nosing. It’s only after a few seconds that a relatively subdued peat (smoke and ashes) comes through, together with the expected briny notes. Caol Ila for children? Ahem… Mouth: the exact opposite of the nose, even if it’s still quite sweet and almost sugary. Smoked herbs, fish, pine syrup, ginger liqueur… It’s all quite thick and sweet – not sickly sweet! Finish: long, with more pepper now. Sweet chillies in the aftertaste. Comments: good, big and flawless but relatively simple, while the finish was extremely peppery. SGP:655 - 80 points.
CI WM Caol Ila 20 yo 1988/2008 (46%, Wilson & Morgan Barrel Selection, cask#4224-4225) Four stars Colour: pale gold. Nose: it’s still got a few raw and slightly spirity notes at 20 years of age, with otherwise a lot of soot and ashes, although it’s not the biggest CI ever. Maybe a little austere in fact, despite the great notes of green olives. With water: sappy, resinous notes come out, as often (yes I waited), with also hints of fresh paint and soot. Mouth (neat): excellent attack, with interesting notes of barbecued fish and litres and litres of lapsang souchong tea. It’s almost liquid smoke, in fact. With water: all good, smoky, ashy, liquroricy, dry and salty. Finish: long, with even more ashes. Comments: I love ashes in my whisky. Well, this baby’s got quite a few of them. SGP:357 - 87 points.
Caol Ila Caol Ila 25 yo 1984/2009 (46%, Wilson & Morgan, barrel selection, cask #3132) Four stars and a half Sister cask #3128, issued at 23, was very good in my opinion (WF 89). Colour: straw. Nose: keyword balance. Just the right amount of olive oil, smoked fish, almonds, ashes, linseed oil, lemon, moss and putty. More motor oil and ‘good plastic’ after a while (new car). Mouth: easy and perfectly perfect. Relatively soft, tarry, greatly bitter (apple skin, walnuts), salty, liquoricy and ashy as it should be. Add grapefruits and kippers plus touches of olive oil again and you have it. Finish: quite long, with more straight brine. Ashy, salty, pleasantly drying aftertaste, Manzanilla style. Comments: highly drinkable peat, as my ex-neighbour would have said. I mean, he’s not dead, he just moved house ;-). SGP:356 - 89 points.
CI Svenska Caol Ila 1983/2011 (56.7%, Svenska Eldvatten, American hogshead, cask #4822, 252 bottles) Five stars This baby by a fairly new Swedish independent bottler – and the Swedes seem to know their peaters. Colour: straw. Nose: it’s still a nervous one, pretty young in the good sense of the word. I mean it’s not tired at all! Yet, it’s no peat bomb, as it rather starts on cut grass and lemon, with the obligatory briny notes in the background and touches of raw barley still present. Also whiffs of antiseptic, mercurochrome… Slightly a notch rough for a 28yo Caol Ila but otherwise typical. With water: works, with these touches of putty and linseed oil that are often to be found in these drams. Mouth (neat): excellent now, rounded but not too much, slightly medicinal again and then very briny and salty. A lot of lemon too, the whole becoming more and more zesty and, yes, nervous. Zing! With water: swims like a champ – should go to London. Lemon, brine and rather more ashes than before (a signature!) Finish: pretty long, balanced. Smoked lemonade on oysters. Comments: exactly what we expect from an almost-30yo Caol Ila. The peat is getting more discreet. SGP:556 - 90 points.
That one was very good, so let’s have what’s most probably a sister cask (yes we can read numbers!)…
CI BBR 83 Caol Ila 1983/2011 (54.9%, Berry Bros & Rudd, cask #4825) Five stars Colour: straw. Nose: well, I could have copied-and-pasted from the above. Same whisky. Maybe a notch more mineral? With water: a notch more dissimilar but I did not achieve exactly the same ABV, so that’s pretty meaningless. Maybe a little more wet dogs? Say halves (I’m deeply sorry, dogs). Mouth (neat): same, extremely similar. Maybe a little more earth and an even zestier lemoniness. Splitting hairs again at WF Towers. With water: no, frankly, it’s the same whisky. Finish: same. Maybe a tad more briny – no, a notch more lemony – no, slightly fruitier – no …. Comments: so same wood and same distillate (and probably same place of storage) may produce the same whisky after 28 years. Interesting ;-)… SGP:556 - 90 points.
Why not have another newish one by BBR now?
CI BBR 82 Caol Ila 1982/2011 (56.4%, Berry Bros & Rudd, cask #6514) Five stars Colour: straw. Nose: this, is different. Much sharper, zesty and mineral than the 1983s, more ‘chiselled’, less rounded (not that the 1983s were ‘rounded’ whiskies) and with more soot, smoke and ashes. It’s rather more coastal as well – more seawater than brine. With water: the differences with the 1983s are even more obvious. Bandages, kippers, graphite oil… Mouth (neat): exactly the same feeling as on the nose. Ultra-zesty, lemony, sharp like a blade (well, as sharp as a 29yo whisky can be) and absolutely wonderful if you’re an aficionado of this style. Rieslingesque, as barbarians would say. A lot of salt too. With water: perfect. Right between a slightly candied fruitiness (kumquats) and all things coastal/peaty. Finish: long, with touches of olives and tar. The lemon is back in the aftertaste. Comments: a good example of one of these old Caol Ilas that are true bang-for-the-buck whiskies. At less than £100 a bottle (google is your friend), it’s all almost ridiculous. In a great way ;-). Yeah, or it’s a mistake! SGP:457 - 92 points.
That did call for more 1982...
CI WS Caol Ila 26 yo 1982/2008 (55.7%, The Whisky Society, hogshead, 215 bottles) Five stars From a short-lived  - I think - range by the excellent people at the Whisky Exchange. Colour: pale gold. Nose: as expected, this is a slightly rawer, and even more nervous version. The olives are in the nose this time, together with litres of motor oil, fresh paint and turpentine. The peat isn’t too wham-bam this time, its even a little discreet – or transmuted. Sci-fi Caol Ila? Also a little caraway and cardamom – nice additional touches. With water: whelks ;-). Mouth (neat): an immense blast of soot, ashes, strong herbal liqueur and limoncello, with unexpected touches of marshmallows and Turkish delights coming through as well. A curious, but great feeling of pina colada as well. A peaty one, that is. With water: perfect creamy peat and again a little coconut and tangerines in the background. Maybe also lavender sweets? Finish: long, walking on the thin line just between fruit liqueurs and smoky salted liquorice. Comments: terrifically excellent, just a notch less classic and classy than the BBR in my opinion, albeit greatly different from the ‘usual’ old CIs. Fab, in fact. SGP:547 - 91 points.
Caol Ila Caol Ila 23 yo 1981/2004 (56.7%, Signatory, cask #471, 259 bottles) Two stars and a halfColour: straw. Nose: this one starts all on burnt herbs and barbecue marshmallows, which sounds a tad strange but which isn’t. Jelly beans, then more herbs, lit cigar, garden bonfire, a little apple compote, butter cream, fruity beer (Belgian faro), rose-scented soap… We’re far from a zesty and mineral CI here, but it’s indubitably an interesting variant. With water: some soap coming out, mashed potatoes, beer, feints, wet cloth… Mouth (neat): sweet, lemony start, soon to become bitter, medicinal and very tarry, not without reminding me of some old style Ardbeg in a way. Very creamy mouth feel. With water: soapy kippers – well, more or less but again, not as bad as it sounds. Finish: long, salty, moderately smoky. Comments: an unusual one, sort of midway between youth and maturity. The soapy tones are a tad too much. SGP:365 - 78 points.
Caol Ila Caol Ila 29 yo 1981/2010 (55.2%, Duncan Taylor, Rare Auld, cask #3491, 224 bottles) Four stars and a half Colour: straw. Nose: warm, smoky, sappy and tarry at first nosing. New tyres, orange liqueur Schweppes and a little camphor. Another one that’s pretty different. With water: more leaves, mushrooms, humus… Garden bonfire. Mouth (neat): crisp, big, ultra-zesty and jammy at the same time. Litres of orange marmalade, then coriander and lemongrass, honeydew, Jägermeister, genepy… Gets more and more herbal, with always a little (nice) rubber. Grapefruit skin. With water: a little sweeter and more liqueury, with also more medicinal tones. Cough lozenges. Finish: long, smoky, medicinal, citrusy. Quite perfect. Comments: a very big Caol Ila, pretty restless. As powerful (and good) as it gets at almost 30 years of age. SGP:456 - 89 points.
Good, maybe we could venture into the 1970s for this last Caol Ila that we’ll have today, why not with another W&M, a powerful one this time…
Caol Ila Caol Ila 15 yo 1978/1993 (60.2%, Wilson & Morgan, cask #1039, 336 bottles) Four stars and a half Colour: white wine. Nose: a tad newmaky at first nosing, and very smoky too, but frankly, it’s too powerful and difficult to nose. In other words, it’s very anaesthetic and, yes, medicinal. Water is needed… With water: white tequila and a lot of smoke. Beach sand, barbecue, charcoal and fresh sardines, then cut cactus (make that tequila again). Mouth (neat): perfectly grassy, smoky, chiselled, citrusy… And powerful. Impeccable ashy dryness. With water: extreme dry smoke and ashes plus a little lemon and grapefruit here and there. Sharp like a blade, as they say. Finish: long, sharp, extremely ashy. Comments: imagine you swallowed an ashtray and quaffed a little limoncello to sugar the pill, so to speak… Spectacular old youngster. Smokier than newer Caol Ilas. SGP:367 - 89 points.

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Auger
 

April 8, 2012

Whiskyfun

Tasting three 1990 Macallan

Let’s have some supposedly classic Macallan ‘sherry’ today, all from the same vintage, 1990. We’ll first have the 18yo OB as the aperitif and then two single casks, one ex-fino and one ex-oloroso.

Macallan

Macallan 18 yo 1990 (43%, OB, sherry, +/-2009) Four stars Long time no recent classic official Macallan. Apart from a few limited bottlings, the brand sort of fell out of our radar a few years back, hard to explain why. Colour: amber. Nose: a lot of rum and raisins at first nosing, some toasted bread, Seville oranges, chocolate, a little gunpowder, then earth, cigars and leather… It’s all rather aromatic and quite dry, I think the gunpowder wasn’t that obvious in earlier versions of the 18 (say pre-2000). A little bacon as well. Mouth: it does remind me of the ‘old’ Macallans, which is great news. A lot of roasted nuts, malt, Corinthian raisins, the famous fruitcake, kumquats, tobacco… Frankly, this is good stuff and the attack was relatively bold, but it all becomes slightly thin around the middle. Maybe it’s time to go for 45 or 46%? Finish: rather short but clean, very pleasantly on dried fruits and, above all, bitter oranges. A little wook smoke and cloves in the aftertaste. Comments: this baby remained a classic. High quality, no doubt, and with a little more power it might have reached 90 points in my book. SGP:562 - 87 points.

Macallan

Macallan 1990/2011 (51.5%, Malts of Scotland, fino sherry hogshead, cask #1135, 254 bottles) Three stars and a half Colour: pale gold. Nose: this baby’s completely different and certainly as dry and leafy as some true fino – or manzanilla for that matter. Bags of fresh walnuts, apple peelings, almonds and plain grass as well as something faintly coastal, maybe beach sand. Goes on with some hay and leaves, leather and just touches of orange squash. Not really lush, to say the least, one of the drier Macallans out there, even if it does get a little fruitier over time. Mouth: rounder and sweeter, and very pleasantly citrusy, with also quite some ginger and cinchona, with something slightly fizzy. Also a little resinous and maybe eau-de-vie-ish (plum spirit) before it starts to gear towards bitter oranges. Walnuts. Finish: long, gingery and grassy. Pepper and bitter oranges in the aftertaste. Comments: not a very sexy one but the fact that it’s a fino cask is interesting anyway. An interesting variant but I liked the palate better than the nose. SGP:451 - 83 points.

Macallan

Macallan 1990/2011 (49.1%, Malts of Scotland, oloroso sherry hogshead, cask #1134, 184 bottles) Four stars Colour: amber. Nose: we’re much, much more in the style of the official now, even if this is less aromatic and rather more on leaves, grass and nuts. Other than that, there are the same notes of rum, raisins, oranges and chocolate plus, indeed, quite some gunpowder. Maybe a little eucalyptus as well. Mouth: almost exactly the same profile as the old official 10yo CS. Tons of Seville oranges and the marmalade made thereof, raisins, prunes, hints of that famous brownish soda that we all love to hate, fruitcake, a little strawberry jam, chocolate, toasted brioche, cloves, hints of aniseed… Indeed, ultra-classic. Finish: long, balanced, with a nearly perfect sherriness. More Seville oranges and kumquats in the aftertaste, mulled wine… Comments: an official kind of indie bottling, so to speak. Bigger than the official 18 but maye a notch less complex. Anyway, quality is high and scores will be the same. SGP:561 - 87 points.

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Watson
 

April 6, 2012

Whiskyfun

Tasting two youngish Ledaig

Ah, Ledaig. There are three kinds of whisky lovers on Earth. The ones who do not know Ledaig, the ones who hate Ledaig, and the ones who’ve tried Ledaig 1972 ;-). But let’s taste some younger ones today…

Ledaig

Ledaig 7 yo 2004/2012 (61.9%, Archives, hogshead, cask #90009, 302 bottles) Three stars I guess you noticed that this is very young! I’m curious because usually, ‘they’ only bottle such very young peaters when they’re heavily sherried (you may not need so much ageing when you have heavy peat + heavy sherry ;-)). Colour: white wine. Nose: sooty brine, that’s it. And sauvignon blanc, muesli, yogurt and lemon juice. Not complicated so far and, above all, not as dirty-ish as earlier young Ledaigs. In short, no whiffs of old floorcloth ;-). No, they weren’t in the 1972s (1973s, 1974s)… With water: more brine and a little more menthol. Mouth (neat): young sweet peat, Islay-style. Smoked pears and more smoked pears, plus a little salt. With water: that worked. Became oily, honeyed and very pleasantly fruity. Peach and pear jam and compote, plus touches of liquorice. Maybe our bellowed whelks as well? Finish: rather long, full, not really multidimensional but what, it does it does it well. Comments: what’s sure is that it’s already very drinkable. I’m just wondering, this could make for a great alternative to gin in a dry martini. Please pass the olives… SGP:526 - 82 points.

Ledaig

Ledaig 16 yo 1994/2011 (46%, Mo Or Collection, bourbon hogshead, 330 bottles) Three stars and a half Colour: pale straw. Nose: interesting. It’s more mature than the 2004, obviously, but also displays many more fresh herbs, first dill and wild carrot tops, then star anise and even fresh mint. I don’t remember having found that in Ledaig until now. There’s also quite some seawater and fresh almonds, but the smoke is minimal. No yeasty/porridgy/feinty notes, in case you’re wondering. And a little sauvignon, just like in the 2004. Quite straight! Mouth: first, I’d say it’s very clean, no mean achievement. Then, it’s not much smokier than on the nose, but it’s definitely more salty/coastal, and a little sooty/ashy as well. Third, there’s a nice rounded fruitiness behind all that, with tinned peaches and a little candy sugar. It’s also slightly sappy. So, it works. Finish: rather long, with a little more brine, anchovies, kippers… While the aftertaste is peatier. Apple peelings. Comments: a medium peated Ledaig that’s well on par with the ‘average’ Islayers. Not really an alternative (as Brora or Longrow could be, for example) but it’s, well, really nice and clean. SGP:535 – 83 points.

 

Previews

  Short Previews, a mixed bag
nothing too solid yet ;-)

Benrinnes 17 yo 1994/2011 (55.1%, Douglas Laing, Old Malt Cask for Whisky Shop Dufftown, sherry butt, 300 bottles) Four stars and a half Rich, creamy sherry with a lot of Grand-Marnier and touches of menthol over some dried pears and dates. Tiny-wee hints of gunpowder and leather in the background. High quality.

Bladnoch 1992/2011 (46%, Berry Bros & Rudd, cask #2159) Four stars A fresh, sweet, rather rounded yet zesty Bladnoch. Crystallised grapefruit and lemon, something mineral (chalky), white pepper… Then herbs, moss (in the nose), lemon oils…

Bunnahabhain 19 yo 1991/2011 (51.9%, Adelphi for The Whisky Shop Dufftwon, refill sherry butt, cask #5458, 120 bottles) Four stars Another of these 1990 or 1991 heavily sherried Bunnies. This one has a lot of cigar tobacco and earthy tea (pu-erh) as well as bitter chocolate and tar. Heavy for Bunnahabhain but neither heady nor too thick.

Clynelish 1997/2012 (46%, Berry Bros & Rudd, cask #6864) Four stars Textbook youngish Clynelish, already a little rounded, yet very mineral, Riesling-style. Nice drinking strength. Need I say more?

Gin Liquid Pearls 13 yo 1998/2012 (64.2%, Glen Fahrn, Switzerland) Three stars Not whisky, gin, but gin that's been matured in wood and finished in an ex-Port Ellen cask. The nose is appropriately medicinal, with juniper and this wee soapiness plus tar and oak. The palate is quite something. Celeriac, dill, ginger, cloves, juniper, smoke, coriander… Frankly, it's fun and quite good but don't expect to taste anything following this wee monster.

Glencadam 1972/2011 (46%, Van Wees, The Ultimate, cask #7822, 192 bottles) Three stars and a half Fine, mushroomy, waxy. Bitter oranges, herbal teas, putty. Greenish finish (!?)

Glencadam 37 yo 1974/2011 (41.58%, Whisky-Fässle, refill sherry) Four stars Very high quality, smooth, almondy, candied, rather light but not weak. Complex and elegant, lacks just a little more bite in my opinion.

Glenrothes 41 yo 1970/2011 (43.5%, Duncan Taylor for Whisky Shop Dufftown, cask #491630, 69 bottles) Three stars and a half From an American oak octave seasoned with sherry. It worked pretty well, the whole being neither too winey nor plankish. Toasted cake and toffee in the nose, more roasted nuts and raisins on the palate. Strawberry jam.

Glen Scotia 1991/2012 (54.5%, Malts of Scotland, bourbon hogshead, cask #MoS 12009) Three stars and a half As often, it’s a very interesting dram. A lot of herbal liqueur and then some leather and shoe polish in the nose, and some orange marmalade and cardamom on the palate. Candied spiciness. Finish a tad more waxy and very slightly rubbery.

Imperial 16 yo 1994/2011 (57.4%, Gordon & MacPhail Exclusive for Whisky Shop Dufftown, refill bourbon, cask #7300, 267 bottles) Four stars It’s one of the fruity ones. Very punchy, with a little varnish in the nose but then it’s a rather creamy one, with limoncello and kiwi on the palate. Vanilla and corn syrup.

Littlemill 22 yo 1989/2011 (55.1%, Glen Fahrn Germany, cask #007, 310 bottles) Five stars It’s one of those very fruity and ultra-clean ones, akin to many recent Littlemills by the best indies. Lovable and very sippable.

Säntis ‘Lucerne’ 2012 (47%, OB, Switzerland, cask #1154/12, Merlot) Three stars and a half A cask done by Säntis in Switzerland’s Appenzell canton for Lucerne's Whiskyschiff festival. I like Säntis, the Swiss Highlanders. This one tastes a bit like American rye, with heavy wood extraction and quite a lot of ginger liqueur and touches of rose jelly, maybe from the merlot. Vive la difference!

MUSIC - Recommended listening: Gary Bartz plays Funked Up some time in the early 1970s. It seems that this was not issued at the time and only brought out around 2005, after having been remastered. Well, if that's true, Gary Bartz was well ahead of his time. Please buy Gary Bartz' music...

Gary Bartz
 

April 5, 2012

Whiskyfun

Tasting three Aberfeldy

Let’s have three of this fairly popular Midlander. Some recent official single casks have been much to my liking I must say, and raised the distillery’s profile within connaisseur circles (yup, that’s us my friend)…

Aberfeldy

Aberfeldy 1975/1993 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseurs Choice, Old Map Label) Four stars Colour: gold. Nose: a very waxy start and it goes on all on apple peelings and candle wax, with whiffs of lime tree tea and vanilla, then a little fresh oak, fresh oranges and liquorice wood. It’s quite full, quite unexpectedly. Nice nose! After fifteen minutes, a lot of black tea, Russian style! Mouth: very good attack, not weak at all, on orange liqueurs and cinnamon, then lemon grass, quinces and a little nutmeg. As often, it becomes drier and narrower after a few seconds, tea-ish (dry), but it never loses these very nice notes of quince and orange. Finish: relatively short but clean. Nice orange/spices combo and some Turkish delights in the aftertaste. Comments: extremely drinkable. SGP:531 - 85 points.

Aberfeldy

Aberfeldy 14 yo 1997/2011 (58.1%, OB, Sherry Finish, cask #3618, 185 bottles) Three stars Colour: gold. Nose: not too sure… the malt’s fruity lightness is sort of dominated by some rather rubbery sherry at first nosing, although all that improves over time, with some camphor coming through. Big whiffs of peach tree leaves and even blackcurrant buds, which might not be appropriate in this context in my opinion. Having said that, it keeps improving, with more marmalade and honey after all that. Becomes quite heady! With water: now we’re talking! No more rubber and more fresh spices and fruits. Mouth (neat): very rich and very creamy, with an unexpected salty tang and an unusual spiciness. A lot of ginger and cardamom, even turmeric powder, I’d be curious to know more about the oak that’s been used for making the sherry cask. In short, it does not taste like some classic sherry-matured or finished malt at all. Some kind of experiment? With water: remains oddly spicy. A lot of bitterish wood extracts. Finish: same, for a long time. Comments: I think there’s too much newish oak in this one, and it’s no creamy/sexy/easy bourbon wood. Too bad because some parts are brilliant. Yeah, of course, all a matter of taste anyway. SGP:471 – 81 points.

Aberfeldy

Aberfeldy 26 yo 1975/2001 (57%, Cadenhead, Chairman's Stock, Sherry hogshead, 234 bottles) Five stars I liked the G&M, let’s have another 1975. Colour: gold. Nose: less wham-bam than the youngster but more complex as well, more classic fruity sherry, that is to say that we have bags of sultanas, then apricots, bergamots, quinces, honey, guavas, orange blossom… Smells like a patisserie in Istanbul (whatever). With water: wonderful! Very complex, fragrant, with some patchouli, dried orange zests, lilac, Wulong tea, maybe some black radish… An amazing nose, this baby swims like a champ. Mouth (neat): perfect attack, creamy, with tons of oranges, both bitter and regular, and rather wonderful spices from the oak, first pepper, then cloves and nutmeg. Oh, and baklavas while we’re in Istanbul. Good stuff! With water: beautiful unfolding. Soft spices and a rather Indian feeling this time. Korma sauce, cashews, soft chillies. Finish: long, honeyed, a notch grassier now. Comments: I don’t think it’s a secret that Cadenhead had/has only great ones in this ‘Chairman’s’ series. This Aberfeldy I just another great example… SGP:662 - 91 points.

 

SHORT RAMBLINGS (too long for Twitter! ;-))

Questions and answers
Quite foolishly, the good people at All Things Whisky decided to ask me a few questions a few days ago. I only hope the answers made a little sense… or not, you decide.

MUSIC - Recommended listening: the fabulous Mister Dewey Redman plays an entrancing (literally) Unknown Tongue. Please buy Dewey Redman's music.

Dewey Redman
 

April 4, 2012

Whiskyfun

Tasting two 27 yo Benrinnes

First a supposedly light one from days gone by, then a recent 1984 by Berry Bros.

Benrinnes

Benrinnes 27 yo 1962/1989 (44%, Cadenhead, mini)Five stars I don’t think this was ever bottled as a ‘full’ 75cl bottling. It’s got quite a reputation, though… And it was the only other 27yo Benrinnes I had ;-). Colour: gold. Nose: yahoo! (no edvertising!) Wonderful earthy and fruity profile, incredibly fresh, with something that reminds me of the best ryes. Superb whiffs of hops, hay, farmyard, camphor, embrocations, celeriac, gentian, clay, honey… Stunning nose, really. Why oh why didn’t they bottle this as a ‘full’ one? Mouth: same feelings, although it’s now a tad rawer, les complex. Beautiful earthy notes, green tobacco, horseradish, various sweet vegetables, maybe even carrots (not kidding), pepper, honeydew, menthol… Quite brilliant and pretty unusual, which is always welcome when you try a lot of whiskies (who needs just another botoxed young Glen Bland?) Finish: long and just as earthy. Kumquats in the aftertaste. Comments: the good thing when a cask was only issued in minis is that they’re easy to find, even after all these years. Really worth it but watch the levels with these old Cadenhead’s! SGP:562 - 90 points (the nose was worth even more!)

Benrinnes

Benrinnes 1984/2011 (56.5%, Berry Bros & Rudd, cask #2270) Four stars I’m afraid it’s gonna be tough for this baby… Colour: straw. Nose: well, it’s certainly not un-nice. It’s pretty sulphury (warning, not the kind of sulphury notes that one can get from sherry casks, this is ‘good’ sulphur), with also quite some warm milk, vanilla, grains, butterscotch and muesli. Extremely natural I’d say, and a bit rough. With water (I tried to reach approx 44%): we’re getting closer. Humus, apple juice, touches of celeriac, grass… Mouth (neat): ah well, we’re much closer to the old glory this time, even if this is a tad less earthy and a notch more on vanilla. A sweet grassiness, some ginger, lemon zests, lime, white pepper, a little mustard… It’s all pleasantly bitter, in fact. With water: a lot more earth! And old-style apples, barley sugar, touches of ginger liqueur… Finish: long, with some sweet mustard and more sweet ginger. Comments: yeah, it was tough after the wonderful 1962 but this baby got away very honourably. SGP:551 - 85 points.
 
PETE McPEAT AND JACK WASHBACK
PJ
PJ
 

Previews

  Short Previews, new Islanders
nothing too solid yet ;-)

Arran 8 yo 'McCulloch' (49%, OB for Chester Whisky & Liqueur Company, cask #772, 2010) Three stars Feels young and barleyish, still a bit spirity, but there was some sherry involved and there are pleasant notes of raisins.

Arran 1999/2012 'Golden Eagle' (46%, OB, 6000 bottles) Three stars and a half Very easy, sexy, rich, sweet, on barley, vanilla and maple syrup plus a little orange cake and other citrus fruits. The American oak feels. Oily mouth feel as often.

Arran 1997/2011 (56%, OB, sherry cask, cask #675, 599 bottles) Three stars A single cask OB. Quite spirity and estery on the nose, still raw. Eau-de-vie, barley water, apples and pears. The sherry isn’t big but it’s there.

Bunnahabhain 1991/2011 (54.2%,  Svenska Eldvatten, first fill sherry butt, cask #5452) Four stars Good rich Bunnahbhain that did not lose distillery character. Honey and roasted nuts, black pepper, raisins and milk chocolate. Strawberry jam, a little kirsch… Very spicy finish.

Bunnahabhain 21 yo 1990 (54.4%, The Whisky Barrel, cask #35) ???? Very unusual, very un-Bunnahabhain. Big notes of herbs, Jaeger, new kirsch, Slivovitz, cork… Not quite my cup of malt but I know some people who'll like it. Maybe the sample bottle is corked, in fact. I'll find out…

Bunnahabhain 1990/2012 (53.1%, Berry Bros & Rudd, cask #18) Four stars Very richly sherried Bunny. Roasted chestnuts, honeydew, tobacco, parlsey, walnut liqueur, Corinthian raisins and plain armagnac. Great balance despite the heavy style, high quality as often at BBR's.

Bunnahabhain 32 yo 1979/2012 (51.4%, Signatory for Waldhaus am See Switzerland, cask #9516, 603 bottles) Four stars Caramely and rather toasted (brioche) with a lot of liquorice and burnt honey sauce. A heavy Bunnahabhain, richer than many other 1979s.

Highland Park 11 yo 2000/2012 (50,9%, Archives, bourbon hogshead, cask #800005, 129 bottles) Three stars and a half A very young, distillate-driven HP. Pretty naked despite some vanilla from the oak but I guess that’s the whole point. The good news is that HP’s distillate is first class.

Highland Park 22 yo (46%, OB for Waldhaus am See, Switzerland, 2011) Four stars From a single cask but no further details are provided. Maybe a tad on the woody side but there’s also some old style HP, honey, leather, raisins…

MUSIC - Recommended listening: smoooth sound and powerful drumming, he's Billy Cobbham, doing Jah Spirit (from Drum 'n' Voices). Please buy Billy Cobbham's music.

Cobbham
 

April 3, 2012

Whiskyfun

Port Charlotte, 132.5% in only two whiskies

Remember Bruichladdich fill Port Charlotte at much higher strength than the standard 63.5%, which means that youngish PCs – and they all are – can be real monsters when bottled unreduced. Let’s move all matches and lighters away and try two of them today…

PC

Port Charlotte 6 yo 2003/2010 '127.6' (65,2%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, 'Send out an SOS!') Four starsAn SOS? Save our Scotch? Colour: straw. Nose: not un-nosable, I must say. Pure brine and liquid smoke with just a little lemon juice, or so it seems. Seaweed. With water: same ingredients, just not in the same order. Grapefruit and lemon juices, brine and a very vegetal smoke, verging on putty and fresh walnuts. Remains very simple at 6 years of age but stylistically, it’s pretty perfect. Kind of abstract – constructivism in whisky! Mouth (neat): yah! It’s gentian spirit. I love gentian spirit. Also a feeling of ‘ashtray’. Cigarette ash. With water: brine, lemon juice, kippers, ashes, liquorice, gentian. Cool. Finish: long, rather more kippery. Comments: you need not send an SOS, you just need water ;-). SGP:367 - 87 points.

PC

Port Charlotte 2001/2011 (66.3%, Malts of Scotland, white Rioja hogshead, cask #11017, 345 bottles) Three stars and a half Almost bourbon strength! White Rioja sounds plain weird in this context but it’s a hogshead, so it should have been re-toasted or charred, so little wine should have remained. Unless they treated a hoggie using white Rioja, but I highly doubt it. Colour: gold. Nose: strange. Anchovies, capers, butter, porridge and milk. Hmm, not sure I like this, but let’s add water. With (a lot of) water: not quite. It’s too strange, too paraffiny, kind of feinty. Madeirised chardonnay, then bags of eucalyptus but in a chemical way. Not my style – for once! Mouth (neat): much less unlikely than on the nose when undiluted, but b****y strong. That burns and hurts! With water: works much, much better than the nose suggested. Clean peat smoke, lemon and many smoked fish, even oysters.  Faint touches of fresh butter and fudge, then more salt. Another planet after the whacky nose. Finish: long, candied, fudgy and very smoky. Comments: well, it’s different. Things tend to improve on the nose after quite a few minutes, but I liked all the other PCs by MoS better. Me, a purist? SGP:457 - 83 points.

 

Short previews, you say?
Yeah, the problem with our set-up is that while we can be much faster than magazines, let alone books with publishing tasting notes for new bottlings, it remains hard for this taster to come up with complete descriptions of everything that reaches WF Towers and some single cask bottlings will be sold out way before I’ve even touched them.

No big deal of course, nobody can taste just everything – especially not on time -, but I’ve just decided to publish ‘previews’ of some new or newish whiskies from time to time, just like I used to do a few years ago. These notes will be short and rudimentary and in no way I’ll add ‘official’ (yeah well) scores, just broad indications, i.e. stars. Most of these whiskies, sadly not all of them, will then be tasted again in WF’s usual ‘comparative’ conditions. Hope that’ll work, which me luck…

Previews

  Short Previews, new Speysiders
nothing too solid yet ;-)

Aberlour 1992/2012 (55.5%, Berry Bros & Rudd, cask #3919) Four stars Well in the ‘fruit salad’ style that young or middle-aged unsherried or lightly sherried Aberlours can display in my experience, with no obvious eau-de-vie-ish notes this time. It seems that BBR are issueing many spirit-driven bottlings these days, bravo!

Aultmore 14 yo 1997/2012 (54.8%, James MacArthur, bourbon wood, cask #3592) Four stars An unusual smoky nose (garden bonfire, burning pine wood), almonds and a palate that’s more on creamy jams and jelly beans. All pleasure, this little baby. The American oak shows.

Caperdonich 16 yo (53.5%, Jack Wiebers Brass and Mining Collection, sherry, 132 bottles, +/-2012) Three stars and a half Pleasant notes of dates and figs plus a wee smokiness and coffee. Roasted nuts, raisins and then more rubber. Nice rubber in this case!

Craggamore 2000/2011 (56.8%, Berry Bros & Rudd, cask #3673) Two stars and a half BBR had several great Crags in the past, from various vintages. This one is rather gingery and maybe still a tad too young. Cherries and apples, with a greenness, something slightly bitter. Apple spirit, strong cider…

Glen Grant 39 yo 1972/2011 (51.2%, Jack Wiebers Old Train Line, refill sherry) Five stars Beeswax and honey galore, the whole remaining greatly elegant. Fruit salad, sultanas, touches of liquorice. Classic!

Glen Grant 1974/2012 (49.3%, Berry Bros & Rudd, cask #7646) Four stars A curious Glen Grant but many 1974s were. Grassier and less rounded and appealing than, say the 1972s. Apple skin, almonds, lemon squash on the palate, maybe a faint soapiness, gin fizz... I like it but it tastes rather younger than… Wait, isn't this baby almost 40!

Glen Grant 1974//2012 (47.8%, Berry Bros & Rudd, cask #7643) Four stars Pretty similar to cask #7446, maybe a wee tad earthier and oakier.

Glenlivet 1973/2012 (47.6%, Berry Bros & Rudd, cask #10822) Five stars Classic and excellent. Smooth, fragrant, honeyed and 'stewed'. Nice spices, jams, bitter oranges… And super-drinkable. Perfect strength.

Glenlivet 1973/2012 (48.6%, Berry Bros & Rudd, cask #10658) Four stars Similar but with more oak and more a feeling of calvados. Very good but rather rougher around the edges, less of a classic old Glenlivet.

Glenlossie 25 yo 1984/2011 (56.9%, Artist by La Maison du Whisky, sherry butt, cask #2531, 516 bottles) Four stars Coffee-schnapps and chocolate plus orange marmalade and tobacco. Rather complex, I can’t wait to give this baby more time.

Glen Moray 1991//2012 (57.3%, Berry Bros & Rudd, cask #5654) Four stars Good, oily and waxy character. Almond oil, beeswax, cider, grapefruits. A notch bitterer towards the finish (green tea). Another indie Glen Moray that's an excellent surprise.

Glenrothes 1979/2011 'The Editor's Cask' (52.1%, OB, cask #3828, 300 bottles)Four stars A very pricey bottle. Very nice nose on date liqueur, raisins and something armanacqy. Palate starts well but becomes too oaky, with also too much ginger, pepper, camphor and eucalyptus in the finish. May lack balance for an official Glenrothes.

Glentauchers 30 yo 1981/2011 (56.5%, Signatory, refill butt, cask #1057, 321 bottles) Four stars and a half Again one of these slightly estery and pleasantly youngish middleaged/old Speysiders from refill wood. A lot of garden fruits and mild honey and apple compote. Corn syrup, ginger, earth, bitter oranges. Very nice spirit, complex and full.

Inchgower 1982/2011 (54.5%, Berry Bros & Rudd, cask #6967) Five stars An interesting one, different from the richly sherried ones. Very herbal and citrusy, chartreuse, genepy, lemon liqueur, coriander, lemongrass… I kind of luv'it.

Longmorn 1969/2011 (59.4%, Gordon & MacPhail Reserve for Van Wees, Holland, cask #5294, 402 bottles) Five stars Classic, punchy, fruity, elegant. One of these unbeatable old Longmorns by G&M at very high strength.

Longmorn 1972/2011 (53.4%, Gordon & MacPhail Reserve for Van Wees, cask #1084, 422 bottles) Five stars Another great one, with more rancio, spices and a fino-ish character. A lot of tobacco too.

Longmorn 1997/2012 (55.4%, Berry Bros & Rudd, cask #163310) Four stars The spirit talks. Putty and pears, wax, vanilla, almond oil and maybe a little incense in the nose. Fruit salad and soft spices on the palate. All fine.

Macallan 21 yo 1990/2011 (52.7%, Douglas Laing, Director's Cut, refill hogshead, DL Ref #7565, 267 bottles) Three stars and a half Almondy and a little spirity on the nose, apple juice, white cherries. Big bodied, does not taste like 21 years. Quite good but a little too estery.

Macduff 2000/2011 (59.8%, Svenska Eldvatten, first fill sherry butt, cask #5787) Three stars and a half A nice heavily sherried young Macduff, similar to the many that were issued last year. Fruitcake and oak spices, ginger, juniper berries, raisins… A power pack.

Miltonduff 1989/2012 (54.3%, Berry Bros & Rudd, cask #449009) Three stars and a half The definition of an all-rounder in my book. Fruit juices, a little yeast, cake and barley sugar. An easy, rather mellow one.

Mortlach 1998/2012 (56.8%,  Berry Bros & Rudd, cask #3798) Four stars An interesting and very fragrant nose (‘good cologne’) and a wonderful fruity palate, cleaner and straighter than usual with Mortlach, although there is a meatiness and a little smoke on the palate. A lot of character.

Strathmill 21 yo 1990/2012 (54.1%, James MacArthur, bourbon wood, cask #101112) Three stars and a half A fruity, youngish Speysider. Bursts with pears and bubblegum, then tangerines. One of the pleasant Strathmills.

Tomatin 1991/2012 (54.8%, Berry Bros & Rudd, cask #51) Four stars The fruitiness that shows in older Tomatins is already there, together with quite some grass. But no tropical fruits (yet?) rather ripe gooseberries and greengages. High quality again at BBR’s.

MUSIC - Recommended listening: another superb Japanese 'free' blower is altoist Akira Sakata. Let's listen to his Friendly Pants (!) and then buy his music.

Sakata
 

April 2, 2012

Whiskyfun
SHORT RAMBLINGS (too long for Twitter! ;-))

Whiskyfun not hacked?
Yeah well,we've got quite a few alarming messages yesterday, warning us that WF had been hacked by some obscure people. Well, remember yesterday was April 1st. Apologies...

 

Unusual old and new old Glen Grant

Grant

Glen Grant 30 yo (45%, OB, 150th Anniversary, 1990) Five stars Bottled for the distillery’s 150th Anniversary. The label was deliciously old-world but those are coming back these days anyway, not only at Glen Grant’s. Nostalgia sells. Colour: dark gold. Nose: Glen Grant is sometimes said to lack character – which is pretty undetectable when there’s a thick layer of sherry anyway – but this is a good example of just the opposite. Granted, there’s a good deal of ripe apples and gooseberries but the very pleasant metallic touches as well as the combination of tropical fruits (mangos…) with plain OBE make this baby quite superb. Add a few spoonfuls of honeydew, mint, parsley and a little leather and you get this winning result. Very little sherry if any, which was a little unusual in old Glen Grants in my experience. Mouth: excellently excellent! It’s very big whisky, very potent, spicy and fruity at the same time, with many herbs and spices nestling in the background. Wonderful combination of passion fruits and mangos with thyme, menthol, liquorice and a little sage. Some bitter oranges as well then a little capsicum. Finish: long, with the fruits even more in the forefront. Spicy/leathery aftertaste. Comments: you’d expect distilleries to bottle only their best for important anniversaries such as 100, 150 or 200. Remember Bowmore’s 200… What’s sure is that it’s what Glen Grant did as well. Big dram! SGP:651 - 91 points.

Grant

Glen Grant 39 yo 1972/2012 (54.1%, Malts of Scotland, Angel’s Choice, sherry hogshead, cask # MoS 12006, 78 bottles) Four stars Colour: gold. Nose: very unusual, starting kind of soapy and paraffiny in a good way. Think old Cadum ;-). Then we get more almond oil and marzipan, together with some wax polish and certainly quite some oak sawdust. Lactones. It’s only after quite a few minutes that more fresh fruits come out, papayas, pears, greengages… A funny two-step nose. Mouth: rich, with many citrus fruits talking first this time, including some orange squash and tonic water that aren’t that far from the soapy notes we had in the nose. Campari, bitter oranges and a lot of nutmeg then, and I really mean a lot. Finish: long, jammier, with some limoncello and something faintly metallic in the aftertaste, similar to what we found in the old OB. Peppery aftertaste. Comments: a different old Glen Grant, maybe it was reracked in newer wood at some point. What’s sure is that it’s excellent whisky, like everything in these series. SGP:562 - 87 points.
(With thanks to Jeroen)

 

Previews

  Short Previews, new Highlanders
nothing too solid yet ;-)

Glengoyne 24 yo 1987/2011 (54.8%, OB, European oak sherry, cask #354, 515 bottles) Five stars Very dark colour. Wonderful old style sherry, extremely rich. Great herbal notes and bags of liquorice and prunes. A true sherry monster.

Dalmore 21 yo 1990/2011 (54.7%, Douglas Laing, Director's Cut, sherry butt finish, DL Ref #7152, 297 bottles) Three stars From DL's newish series. A little varnish in the nose, then more fresh fruits and jams. Becomes very spicy and a tad bitter. Only a finishing.

Loch Lomond 1966/2011 (40%, OB, 1640 bottles) Three stars and a half The oldest Loch Lomond ever bottled, it seems. Rather unusual, resinous, with also quite some banana crème. Reminds me of the old Dungourney (Irish, 1964/1994). Interesting!

Glenlochy 31 yo 1980/2012 (53.1%, Signatory, hogshead, cask #3021, 164 bottles) Five stars Almond oil and putty in the nose, more kumquats, mangos and tangerines on the palate. Beautiful oiliness, another great old-style Glenlochy.

Springbank 10 yo 2001/2012 'Rundlets & Kilderkins' (49.4%, OB, 9000 bottles) Four stars Quite coastal and rich at the same time, with walnuts, chocolate and tobacco. Pecan pie, millionnaire shortbread.

Glenturret 17 yo 1994/2011 (50%, Douglas Laing, Old Malt Cask, sherry butt, 298 bottkes) Two stars and a half A Glenturret that's cleaner than others but it's still very unusual. Touches of soap in the finish, after quite some nuts, cider and pear compote.

 

Whiskyfun fav of the month

March 2012

Favourite recent bottling:
Bunnahabhain 43 yo 1968/2011 'Dram Together'
(46.5%, The Whiskyman, 120 bottles)  - WF 92

Favourite older bottling:
Macallan 15 yo 1946
(80°proof UK, OB, R Kemp, Campbell Hope & King, +/-1961) - WF 94

Favourite bang for your buck bottling:

Bowmore 14 yo 1997/2012
(51.8%, Whisky-Fässle, Duck Edition, bourbon hogshead)  - WF 90

MUSIC - Recommended listening: even more bass-driven than Jaco's biggest works, this is Scorpio Twins by great ex-Max Roach saxist Odean Pope aka the tenor terror, with Gerald Veasley on bass. It's on the very perfect album 'Almost like me', recorded in 1982. Please buy Odeon Pope's music.

Pope

March 2012 - part 2 <--- April 2012 - part 1 ---> April 2012 - part 2


C
heck the index of all entries:
Whisky
Music
Nick's Concert Reviews

 

 

Best malts I had these weeks - 90+ points only - alphabetical:

Aberfeldy 26 yo 1975/2001 (57%, Cadenhead, Chairman's Stock, Sherry hogshead, 234 bottles)

Ardbeg 12 yo (80 Proof, Cadenhead's, dumpy, black label, 75cl, +/-1977)

Ardbeg 1976/2008 (52.4%, OB, Europe, sherry butt, cask #2397, 519 bottles)

Benrinnes 27 yo 1962/1989 (44%, Cadenhead, mini)

Caol Ila 1983/2011 (56.7%, Svenska Eldvatten, American hogshead, cask #4822, 252 bottles)

Caol Ila 1983/2011 (54.9%, Berry Bros & Rudd, cask #4825)

Caol Ila 1982/2011 (56.4%, Berry Bros & Rudd, cask #6514)

Caol Ila 26 yo 1982/2008 (55.7%, The Whisky Society, hogshead, 215 bottles)

Glen Grant 30 yo (45%, OB, 150th Anniversary, 1990)