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Hi, you're in the Archives, April 2022 - Part 1

       
 

March 2022 - part 2 <--- April 2022 - part 1 ---> April 2022 - part 2

 

April 14, 2022


Whiskyfun

Let's do a few secret HPs

Hagar

Hagar The Horrible, Chris Browne

They now come under several monikers, Secret Orkney, Highland Malt, Island Malt, Whitlaw, Man O' Hoy, Kirkwall Pearl, Heathery Mysteries, Northern Highlights, Korny Orkney, Captain Kirk's, Heather Weather, Viking King… (please note that not all names do exist in real life, yet, ha… The deal being one name = one beer)…

Probably Orkney's Finest 12 yo 2008/2021 (48.4%, Douglas Laing, Old Particular, refill hogshead, cask #DL 14290, 430 bottles) Probably Orkney's Finest 12 yo 2008/2021 (48.4%, Douglas Laing, Old Particular, refill hogshead, cask #DL 14290, 430 bottles)

Probably Orkney's Finest 12 yo 2008/2021 (48.4%, Douglas Laing, Old Particular, refill hogshead, cask #DL 14290, 430 bottles) Four stars
Only Only 'Probably' Orkney's Finest? That should please owners Edrington, hoist with their own petard! Isn't it all getting a little Shakespearian? Colour: white wine. Nose: no-fuss green apples, beeswax, light smoke, seawater, olive brine, chalk, grist and lamp oil. I do have the feeling that this will be fast and quick. Mouth: rather in the style of the official 10, only with more oomph thanks to a higher strength. Naked chalk, pepper, honey, apples, dough… Having said that it's also becoming a little raisiny and sweetish. Add water or not add water? Oh, let's try that… With water: that didn't quite work. Finish: rather long and smoky, but where did this honeyed sweetness come from? Comments: extremely good, just a tad sweet for me. Something mysterious here, but good smoke.
SGP:562 - 85 points.

Whitlaw 15 yo (47.7%, Forgotten Gems, Master of Malts, refill hogshead, 11 bottles)

Whitlaw 15 yo (47.7%, Forgotten Gems, Master of Malts, refill hogshead, 11 bottles) Four stars
Eleven bottles! Let's see if this one's rightly Nigel-Tuffnellian, or if they should have poured it into a blend instead. If I humbly may. Colour: white wine. Nose: full on paraffin, candles, then violets and lavender (right, 4711), plus white asparagus (high season is here) and similarly-shaped salsify. Love salsify, hope no one ever forgets salsify. Mouth: peat up mucho, salt as well, lemon ditto, and oysters to boot. Hope you'll understand this gibberish. Kerouac, deep apologies! Finish: rather long, salty and peaty indeed, while to be totally honest, I would suggest someone's been pouring two bottles of Ardbeg Ten into this wee vatting. Of course no one ever does that. The aftertaste is a little bitter. Comments: a very smoky HP. It is very good, wondering if Dr Sam was involved at some point, as there are tiny notes of guitar lacquer here and there.
SGP:464 - 87 points.

Orkney 13 yo 2007/2021 (50.2%, Whiskyfacile, Scylla & Charybdis, refill hogshead)

Orkney 13 yo 2007/2021 (50.2%, Whiskyfacile, Scylla & Charybdis, refill hogshead) Four stars and a half
I'd bet this Italian HP will be pretty Homeric. Another one from the peatier years, I would guess. Colour: white wine. Nose: minimal, a little Japanese in that respect, Bauhausian, ultra-clean, on fresh bread, one olive, grist and chalk, mercurochrome. With water: paint thinner and more grist and bread. Mouth (neat): riesling, chalk, green lemons and green apples, plus plasticine. With water: hints of williams pears. Very good but the hoggie didn't over-exert itself, did it. Finish: medium, salty. Liquid oysters, one olive in the aftertaste. Comments: a telegraphic note for a great young HP totally al natural. I'll dig into those Scylla and Charybdis matters later. Maybe.

SGP:363 - 88 points.

Orkney 13 yo 2008/2021 (53.2%, Thompson Bros., refill hogshead, 356 bottles)

Orkney 13 yo 2008/2021 (53.2%, Thompson Bros., refill hogshead, 356 bottles) Four stars
The brothers would tell us that this baby's spent an additional six months in a first fill barrel. I'm not sure we wanna know. Stunning label, nonetheless. Colour: white wine. Nose: from the same cloth, except that this one has got gentian, while I would kill for gentian. Like, say a swollen Russian dictator. With water: bandages, grapefruits, kelp and oysters. Undoubtedly coastal. Mouth (neat): pears and gentian, plus chalk and bone-dry riesling. A little juniper and pepper too, which I find a tad less enjoyable. With water: back to serious chalky and doughy matters. Hints of coconut and vanilla in the background (eh?) Finish: long, but this bitterness keeps bothering us a tiny wee bit. The rest is just perfect. Oysters, citrus pips and skins in the aftertaste. Comments: rather a hard nut to crack, but quality's high for sure. The barrelly (I know) touches only show from time to time.
SGP:362 - 85 points.

Whitlaw 5 yo 2016/2022 (60.8%, Whisky Is The Limit, 1st fill Latour, cask #240/2016, 440 bottles)

Whitlaw 5 yo 2016/2022 (60.8%, Whisky Is The Limit, 1st fill Latour, cask #240/2016, 440 bottles) Four stars
This by our late-night-fondue-loving friends in Geneva, Switzerland. Having said that, everything is scary here, especially the age (5) and the wood (Lafite, king of Pauillac, thus Bordeaux). Colour: apricot/salmon. Nose: pretty tight, the crazy Pauillac (why don't they tell us about the vintage, since they only use their barriques once???) remains rather unobtrusive, but some acetone's rather obvious. Now, the strength is high… With water: a lot of wood glue, acetone indeed, then blackcurrant buds, fig leaves (careful), poached white peaches, then easier scents, redcurrant jelly, peonies, distant echoes of horse and cow dung, horse saddle, hay… A little restless on your nose, but remember, only 5. Mouth (neat): huge, tight, pungent, aggressive, possibly good. Varnish, strawberries and pepper. With water: and there, peach syrup, smoky white cherries… These profiles usually tend to become very rubbery (in my meagre experience) but that's not quite the case here. Finish: long, grassy, leafy (that's the Bordeaux), pretty peppery and salty. Comments: some fight here, I mean, Lafite against Highland Park!. A little tough and very entertaining.
SGP:462 - 85 points.

Kirkwall 17 yo 2000/2017 (58.1%, WFFA, bourbon, cask #27, 266 bottles)

Kirkwall 17 yo 2000/2017 (58.1%, WFFA, bourbon, cask #27, 266 bottles) Three stars
I think I've been knowing what the acronym WFFA used to mean. Colour: light gold. Nose: dough, light heather honey, overripe apples, lime stones, beans, plaster, grass, cider apples… Not the easiest HP so far. With water: bandages and chalk, plus a wee glass of kirschwasser. Mouth (neat): way, way sexier than on the nose when neat, with superb citrus and lovely chalky doughs. With water: same, this is not a nosing whisky. Bone dry white wine, chalk, white pepper, lemons, more pepper… Finish: and more pepper yet, chilli, cactus, touch of soap, artichokes and eggplants… Comments: very good, but this very austere dram does push you a wee bit. Get converted – I'm not sure I will myself. Seriously, it is a little tough, rubbery, bitter, challenging...

SGP:462 - 82 points.

We could try a last one… Or two.., emptying the HP box…

Highland Park 1980/2013 (47.8%, Malts of Scotland for Der Feinschmecker, 1st fill oloroso, cask #MoS N°FS 7, 50 bottles)

Highland Park 1980/2013 (47.8%, Malts of Scotland for Der Feinschmecker, 1st fill oloroso, cask #MoS N°FS 7, 50 bottles) Five stars
How about an obscure old HP for some well-known German gastronome magazine? Indeed, Der Feinschmecker really is 'das führende Gourmet-Magazin'. Hoppla. We've already tried some magnificent 1980 HP. Colour: full gold. Nose: lovely! Shoe polish, teak oil, balsa wood, embrocations, eucalyptus, fir honey, old pears (no names), chocolate, more shoe polish, hints of glutamate, miso… It really is another era, almost another world. Less focused, less obvious, more complex, much more tertiary. Mouth: huge peat, salty wines (manzanilla) and kippers. Possibly one of the saltiest and smokiest HPs I've ever tried; this is almost brutal. At 33! Finish: intense and extremely long, geared towards lemon concentrate. Tough and tight boy. The aftertaste would be a notch difficult, really vey grassy and lemony. Comments: woo-ooh, what was that? Probably one of the most terrifying HPs I've ever tried. And thirty-three years old (age of Christ!) Ultra-dry old HP, while most used to be rather softly honeyed and waxy. Now then again, fifty bottles, should that count?

SGP:372 - 90 points.

We've found a 90+, we're happy, this is it.

(Thank you Henrik)

More tasting notesCheck the index of all Highland Park we've tasted so far

 

April 13, 2022


Whiskyfun

The Linkwood works, part dos

We've had a lot of young ones yesterday, all a little similar I have to say. Not the easiest session ever, but Linkwood's not a difficult whisky. As planned, let's have more…

Linkwood 14 yo 2007/2021 (55.3%, Golden Cask, bourbon, cask #CM276, 271 bottles)

Linkwood 14 yo 2007/2021 (55.3%, Golden Cask, bourbon, cask #CM276, 271 bottles) Four stars
A last young Linkwood, before we go down the vintages… Colour: white wine. Nose: vanilla, barley syrup, dandelions, mullein syrup, maize cream, brioche and cakes. All right. With water: lovely herbal and flowery touches. Shall we say daisies? Mouth (neat): marshmallows, jelly babies, cassata, nougat, candyfloss, granny smith… With water: oh, wonderful, with some mocha and cappuccino, plus chenin blanc (Savennières!) and pistachio nougat. Slightly balsamic. Finish: medium but creamy, nougaty, with a salty side, grapefruits and more pistachios. Comments: a pistachio-y and coffee-ish young Linkwood, that's really very cool! We say very excellent drop, golden indeed.

SGP:551 - 87 points.

Whoops, forgot another young one…

Linkwood 12 yo 2009/2021 (58.6%, The Whisky Exchange, barrel, cask #695, 205 bottles)

Linkwood 12 yo 2009/2021 (58.6%, The Whisky Exchange, barrel, cask #695, 205 bottles) Three stars and a half
Colour: white wine. Nose: mangos and varnishes, that's what we get. Sunflower oil and plaster as well. With water: grassier, more resinous. A drop of turpentine, a drop of Hampden. Really. Mouth (neat): excellent, more mineral, always extremely fruity, on yellow melons and a bag of citrons, plus rather a lot of peppermint (Get 27 and other refreshing boozes for partygoers). With water: sweeter, even a little sugary, syrupy… Strawberry jam, really? Cranberry syrup? Looks like mu faithful Vitell water unleashed some uncontrolled sugariness. Finish: rather long but a notch too sweet for me. Syrups. Comments: do not get me wrong, it is a superb young Linkwood, it's just that it may be for sweet teeth (owners) only.

SGP:641 - 84 points.

Linkwood-Glenlivet 21 yo 1997/2018 (55%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon hogshead, 270 bottles)

Linkwood-Glenlivet 21 yo 1997/2018 (55%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon hogshead, 270 bottles) Three stars and a half
Twenny-one years, that's starting to count. Colour: straw. Nose: Kahlua, Werther's Originals, madeleines and Jaffa cakes, then maracuja and damp chalk at school. It is not very complicated but water may make it complex. With water:  porridge and pancakes. In short, back to barley and oats, plus paraffin. Mouth (neat): banana cake, sauvignon blanc, tons of gooseberries, just grass and just green bananas. With water: sweeter and much rounder. Sweet barley and light molasses. Forget about water. Finish: medium, sweet, with a little mint, otherwise overripe apples and barley sweetness. Latte in the aftertaste. Comments: it's that there might be millions of similar casks sleeping in Scotland. Okay, hundreds of thousands, according to the Royal Bank of Scotland.

SGP:541 - 84 points.

Linkwood-Glenlivet 22 yo 1995/2018 (48.8%, Cadenhead, Small Batch, 500 bottles)

Linkwood-Glenlivet 22 yo 1995/2018 (48.8%, Cadenhead, Small Batch, 500 bottles) Four stars
This one from two hogsheads, woo-hoo! Colour: straw. Nose: light molasses, acacia honey, pancake sauce, barley, Golden Grahams, small-grain muscat, chalk, dough, hay… Mouth: spicier arrival, with mints, sweet garlic, then more mint and camphor. Very distinctive, unusual, mentholy, fresh. Finish: medium, beautifully sour, rather on sour cherries, branches, roots, wild carrots, perhaps even gentian. Some kind of peatiness in the aftertaste. Comments: some action in there. Not your classic Linkwood at all, not even sure the cask had not contained some heavies before, but there, it is an awesome and rather potent (despite the sub-50 strength) Linkwood. Great work at Cadenhead's.
SGP: 462- 87 points.

While we're at CAD's…

Linkwood-Glenlivet 23 yo 1992/2016 (55.3%, Cadenhead, Small Batch, bourbon hogsheads, 492 bottles)

Linkwood-Glenlivet 23 yo 1992/2016 (55.3%, Cadenhead, Small Batch, bourbon hogsheads, 492 bottles) Two stars and a half
It's amazing what you find in the boxes… Colour: light gold. Nose: it's a tighter batch, a waxier one, a more medicinal one too, more on chalky menthol, ointments, fresh butter, grasses… With water: okay. Herbs, dry wines, sour fruits, leaven… Nothing to write home about. Mouth (neat): mint and grasses, hay, touch of tar and plastic, rotting fruits, paraffin, propolis… This one's not too easy, despite the vatting that's been done, with much care I'm sure. With water: no, we get lost between peelings and bitter grasses. Finish: long, bitter, austere. Comments: much trouble with this tough guy that's been bitter and grassy, and probably pretty unnecessary.

SGP:361 - 78 points.

Let us speed up things…

Linkwood 24 yo 1997/2021 (56.6%, Signatory Vintage for The Whisky Exchange, hogshead, cask #7566, 225 bottles)

Linkwood 24 yo 1997/2021 (56.6%, Signatory Vintage for The Whisky Exchange, hogshead, cask #7566, 225 bottles) Four stars and a half
In theory… Colour: light gold. Nose: surprisingly, it is a regular Linkwood, on doughs, bananas, breads, cakes and softer waxes. With water: blueberries and just fresh focaccia, pizza dough, Comté cheese… Ooh that's nice, if a little unusual. Mouth (neat): good, sweet, fruity, on gooseberries and white currants, plus blueberries and rhubarb. It seems that it's rather happening on your palate. With water: blueberries and cassis. Think and dig deeper, and you'll find notes of Nuits-St-Georges, that is to say the utter epitome of pinot-noir-iness. Exceptional notes of red wine, without any red wine. That's the way! Finish: just long. We need to talk about this bottling, rather around a little foie gras, truffles and morels. Comments: bam-bam, TWE and SigV!
SGP:561 - 89 points.

Since we're in London…

Linkwood 27 yo 1991/2018 (55.6%, The Single Malts of Scotland, hogshead, cask #10340, 212 bottles)

Linkwood 27 yo 1991/2018 (55.6%, The Single Malts of Scotland, hogshead, cask #10340, 212 bottles) Three stars
Boy are we late, this time again. Colour: straw. Nose: not a lot, varnish, cider, chalk… With water: more earthiness, French beans, samphire, wakame… Mouth (neat): ah yes, mint, parsley, eucalyptus, wild carrots and celeriac, gentian, some grassy smoke… With water: sweeter barley-y action, figs and raisins… Well this is not exactly Botticelli's Birth of Venus, is it. Finish: medium, sweet, a notch indefinite. Blended honeys and waxes, plus overripe apples. Comments: not much to say. A good drop, but I'm not sure I'll remember it forever. Remember what?

SGP:551 - 81 points.

Linkwood 30 yo 1986/2016 (41.4%, Sansibar, 96 bottles)

Linkwood 30 yo 1986/2016 (41.4%, Sansibar, 96 bottles) Three stars
Sansibar! I hope those great folks up there are still active and doing it right and fine! Much and many hugs. Colour: gold. Nose: beeswax, artisan cider, buttery chardonnays of Bourgogne, floorcloth, mushrooms, mint tea… In truth there is some fragility to this one, but this buttery Burgundian side remains extremely pleasant. Hope it won't crumble down on our palates… Mouth: no, not at all, but it sure is a little fragile, with teas, teas and teas, plus white chocolate. Soft oaks, leaves, and more teas indeed. Finish: a little short and very tea-ish. I would say this baby went to another world. Adios, baby. Comments: fragile and dry, this is almost cider in my little book. Remember, always and only a personal opinion.
SGP:451 - 80 points.

Let's try to stop this downwards spiral for good…

Linkwood 27 yo 1983 (46%, Mo Or Collection, 352 bottles, +/-2010)

Linkwood 27 yo 1983 (46%, Mo Or Collection, 352 bottles, +/-2010) Four stars and a half
These great folks were just too early, the world wasn't ready yet. Bah, it all got dumber anyway. We bow before them and send them much love and empathy – provided they keep listening. Colour: gold. Nose: the best, fair and square. Benzoin, banana skins, lime blossom, teak oil, 2-stroke benzine mix, cough mixture, overripe apples, coal tar and Sylvaner. Holy Suzy! Mouth: after all those years, it would still crush all the others, despite a slightly excessive leafy and medicinal dryness. Eucalyptus, linseed oil, camphor, salty and smoky almond oil, leafy salted teas, and all that. Brine, with large almond-stuffed olives. An easier and lighter Speysider, they said… B.S. alert! There's so much B.S. in whisky these days… Finish: yep. Oils running the show  - no oils, no whiskies. Comments: do you really need any?

SGP:462 - 89 points.

More tasting notesCheck the index of all Linkwood we've tasted so far

 

April 12, 2022


Whiskyfun

The Linkwood works,
part uno

Pistachio
They had tended to pile up and it is with much joy and desire (don't exaggerate) that we'll tackle a few, starting with some lighter apéritifs. Michael Jackson had written that one would find roses in Linkwood and I've been trying to detect those ever since. Dear Michael Jackson…
Pistachio syrup ->


Linkwood 12 yo (43%, OB, Flora & Fauna, +/-2021)

Linkwood 12 yo (43%, OB, Flora & Fauna, +/-2021) Three stars and a half
I've never quite followed what Diageo have been doing with this old series, sometimes you would believe that they're all gone, when a new batch would just pop out of nowhere. Well, not quite nowhere, but there, in any case, they seem to keep doing the Linkwood… Colour: white wine. Nose: swans on the label, but I'm sure this won't be a swansong (not a good start, S.) Michael Jackson was right, it's certainly pretty floral, light, delicately perfumy, with whiffs of fresh dandelions early in the morning (before the bees would come and plunder it all) and acacia honey, bananas, fresh sponge cake, touches of marshmallows… Mouth: yess, roses! As in gewurztraminer! Also litchis, vanilla, soft sweet beers (I keep mentioning IPAs), madeleines… Finish: medium, with a little tea and sawdust. Bubblegum in the aftertaste. Comments: extremely fine, with rather a Lowlands style, perhaps. I suppose we would ask for a version at 46%, or why not one of those older CSs?

SGP:641 - 84 points.

46% vol.? Just ask the indies…

Linkwood 12 yo 2008/2020 (46%, Signatory Vintage, Un-Chillfiltered Collection, hogsheads, casks #803617-18)

Linkwood 12 yo 2008/2020 (46%, Signatory Vintage, Un-Chillfiltered Collection, hogsheads, casks #803617-18) Three stars and a half
Colour: white wine. Nose: good one, this is almost exactly the F&F. Perhaps a little more plums, and little less flowers. Perhaps… Mouth: once again, the F&F, this time with a few more earthy touches, and indeed a little less gewurz. I'm afraid the extra 3% do not change much in this one. Bah, both are very good drops in any cases. Finish: medium, fruity, this time again with a little tea and sawdust, and bubblegum in the aftertaste. Comments: all easy pleasures from a very good eau-de-vie de barley aged in oak. Listen: maybe Donovan?

SGP:541 - 84  points.

In the same vein, I would suppose…

Linkwood 12 yo 2008/2020 (46%, DS Tayman, Second Edition, Israeli red wine finish, 384 bottles)

Linkwood 12 yo 2008/2020 (46%, DS Tayman, Second Edition, Israeli red wine finish, 384 bottles) Four stars
I know I always say that red wine is one of the worst options as far as maturing or finishing malt whisky are concerned, but that's mostly true with full-bodied malts, especially peaters or waxy ones. Which would suggest that lighter malts, such as Linkwood, may welcome red and black berries indeed, let's see, while keeping an open mind… Colour: blush. Nose: bingo. Strawberry cake, what we call a 'fraisier', pink bananas, pomegranate jelly, cheesecake, grenadine and poppy jelly, all that on brioche… This works, so far. Mouth: success, despite a few green spices from the oak. Goji berries, strawberry cake, bananas, and even notes of rosé wine, really, you would believe you're in Provence. I'll try to bring what remains down to 12% vol. and serve it chilled to my friends this summer, I'll see what they say… Finish: medium ans still clash-less, rather miraculously. Comments: if there was one malt that would have been ready for such a treatment, that's Linkwood. Smartly done. Yes, this is S. at the MacBook.

SGP:641 - 85 points.

More easy light ones please…

Linkwood 8 yo 2012/2021 (43%, Signatory Vintage, Un-Chillfiltered Collection, Very Cloudy, for Navigate World Whisky, South Africa, bourbon barrels, 634 bottles)

Linkwood 8 yo 2012/2021 (43%, Signatory Vintage, Un-Chillfiltered Collection, Very Cloudy, for Navigate World Whisky, South Africa, bourbon barrels, 634 bottles) Three stars and a half
Remember they have to bottle these at 43% vol. (or less), or they just would not turn 'very cloudy'. Colour: white wine. Nose: all malt, brioche, Chablis, whiffs of flints, crushed bananas, pears and the tiniest touches of spearmint. Light and immaculate on the nose. Mouth: surprisingly smoky, as if one of the barrels was an ex-peater, with a medicinal side, then pears and bananas, more brioche, herbal tea, pink grapefruits and a touch of heather honey. Finish: medium, curiously coastal. Comments: more Ardmore than Linkwood,  as far as Speyside is concerned. It's excellent, just a little troubling (ha).

SGP:642 - 84 points.

Linkwood 10 yo (46%, James Eadie, 1st fill bourbon and refill Hogsheads, casks #308678 & 304607, 651 bottles, 2019)

Linkwood 10 yo (46%, James Eadie, 1st fill bourbon and refill Hogsheads, casks #308678 & 304607, 651 bottles, 2019) Four stars
Colour: white wine. Nose: this is Linkwood totally al natural again, on soft maize bread, acacia honey, dandelions, bananas, cereals, marshmallows, vanilla, and just a tiny rubbery side in the back of the back. Moisturizer and night cream (is it still allowed to use those descriptors?) Mouth: perfect, creamier this time (the barrels were more active), on sweet beers, hops, bananas, apples, peaches, cakes, oranges, then a grassier side. Skins and peel. More earth in the background, which is very nice. Finish: rather long, a little bitterer, with green oak spices, green pepper, perhaps a little greener tobacco... Comments: very good, well in the style of James Eadie's slightly creamier and fatter malt whiskies. Modern style, as we sometimes say.

SGP:551 - 85 points.

Let's crank up the voltage…

Linkwood 10 yo 2011/2021 (55.7%, Thompson Bros. for Select Spirits Australia, dechar/rechar hogshead)

Linkwood 10 yo 2011/2021 (55.7%, Thompson Bros. for Select Spirits Australia, dechar/rechar hogshead) Four stars
I'm not sure this is the right label but I'm sure it's not a lame duck anyway. Colour: white wine. Nose: pears, porridge and chardonnay. All right. With water: white asparagus, grist, chalk, green bananas and more porridge. Mouth (neat): prickly pears, proper pears, fruit peel, chalk, sweet beer and more Chablis. With water: gummi bears, williams pear liqueur, lime tea, brioche. Finish: long, grassier. Comments: average malt whisky, in the best sense of the word 'average'. Great filler.

SGP:551 - 85 points.

Linkwood 11 yo 2010/2021 (60.9%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #39.222, first fill bourbon barrel, 'Delicate Latticework', 224 bottles)

Linkwood 11 yo 2010/2021 (60.9%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #39.222, first fill bourbon barrel, 'Delicate Latticework', 224 bottles) Four stars
Never heard of the word 'latticework' before, but then again, I'm no native English speaker. I had first read 'lettucework', to be honest, which was a little scary. Colour: light gold. Nose: banana, varnish, fresh almonds, putty, sauna oils. With water: back to dough, vanilla, and just crushed barley. Mouth (neat): wonderful fruity creaminess. A record-sized bag of jelly babies by Haribo, all yellow. As usual, flavours are not really recognisable. With water: Danish cake, apricot and mirabelle jams, more sweet barley, and drops of gueuze. Finish: medium, grassier as usual, more on apples towards the aftertaste. Comments: excellent, but I'm starting to wonder if we'll ever get out of the 84-86 bracket.
SGP:551 - 85 points.

Linkwood 12 yo 2009/2021 (53.5%  Fable Whisky, Old Folk Chapter #2, hogshead, cask #548160, 203 bottles)

Linkwood 12 yo 2009/2021 (53.5%  Fable Whisky, Old Folk Chapter #2, hogshead, cask #548160, 203 bottles) Four stars
Colour: white wine. Nose: of course this is similar. Bananas, brioche, bubblegum, sunflower oil, hints of beech smoke, granny smith, croissants… With water: hey viognier! Pink bananas, a wee muscaty side, dried litchis, rosehip tea, in short, viognier indeed. Mouth (neat): sweet, fruity, this time a little more tropical, with mangos and papayas. That's cool! With water: boom, more sweetness, plus eucalyptus. Lime tea, elderflowers, bananas, tinned litchis, and even drops of Tokaji. Oh, and rose jelly, Michael Jackson was right. Finish: medium, very fruity, bordering liqueurdom. Comments: this is almost bottled fruit paste. I'm thinking quince, my favourite.

SGP:641 - 86 points.

Hold on, we've got the sister bottle too…

Linkwood 12 yo 2008/2021 (54.8%  Fable Whisky, The Ghost Piper of Clanyard Bay, Chapter #1, hogshead, cask #300860, 269 bottles)

Linkwood 12 yo 2008/2021 (54.8%  Fable Whisky, The Ghost Piper of Clanyard Bay, Chapter #1, hogshead, cask #300860, 269 bottles) Four stars
I'll say it again, what a great work with the labels! The designer is called Hugo L Coellar – well, kudos, Hugo! Colour: white wine. Nose: more on oils, sunflower, perhaps sesame, also nougat, popcorn, vanilla, sweet maize, fresh brioche and croissants, latte… With water: same, very nougaty. All-flower honey. Remember, bees are our friends, let's save the bees! Mouth (neat): sweet, perhaps even a notch syrupy. Barley syrup, limoncello, those sorts of things. Honeysuckle and Turkish delights. Great work with the cask. With water: very sweet, perhaps even a tad too sweet. Sweet pinot gris instead of Tokaji, this time, which means more quince jelly. Finish: rather long, with more teas and then quite some apple compote. Near quinces. Comments: another adorable sweet drop. Only hits and no misses this far.

SGP:651 - 85 points.

Linkwood 12 yo 2009/2021 (57.6%, The Whiskyfind for Whisky Picnic bar, Taiwan, bourbon barrel, cask #559329, 223 bottles)

Linkwood 12 yo 2009/2021 (57.6%, The Whiskyfind for Whisky Picnic bar, Taiwan, bourbon barrel, cask #559329, 223 bottles) Four stars
I have a feeling… Colour: white wine. Nose: ah, no, no fruit bomb this time, rather subtler floral tones, almonds, even olives (well, one tiny olive), putty, fresh croissant, doughs, pistachio cream… I'm even finding focaccia and amaretti, this one's definitely a little Italian. With water: olive oil, washing powder, vase water and mint tea. Cassis buds too. Mouth (neat): panettone! And tighter honeys, honeydew, marzipan… Excellent, who's behind this bottling? With water: super good, focused, slightly resinous, with one drop of myrtle liqueur and two drops of eucalyptus tea. Finish: long a little oilier. Did you ever try pistachio syrup? Rather grapefruits ans some earthiness in the aftertaste. Comments: earth and citrus will save the whisky world.

SGP:561 - 87 points.

Perhaps a last one, but we'll have more Linkwoods tomorrow and try to go down the vintages, vertically…

Linkwood-Glenlivet 11 yo 2006/2018 (59.3%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon hogshead, 294 bottles)

Linkwood-Glenlivet 11 yo 2006/2018 (59.3%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon hogshead, 294 bottles) Three stars and a half
Colour: white wine. Nose: pure barley, bread, biscuits, tree bark, banana skins, pancakes and chalk. With water: extremely doughy, almost acetic, fermentary, with a lot of sourdough and porridge. We're almost nosing a very fresh baguette. Where's the butter? Mouth (neat): hot, a little vinegary, with a touch of piney varnish, bone-dry cider and just a feeling of UHU glue. UHU, queen of all glues. With water: ah, sweeter, more citrusy, easier, on those yellow jelly babies by Haribo, then tighter notes of chenin blanc, white pepper (rather a lot of that) and fresh rhubarb. It is getting pretty acidic, even when watered down, and is almost sending shivers down your spine. Finish: medium, tight, grassier, a little austere. Comments: very good again, but not quite an easy young Linkwood. I'm sorry, Linkwood-Glenlivet.

SGP:461 - 84 points.

That's eleven Linkwoods, Nigel. We'll have more tomorrow, good night.

More tasting notesCheck the index of all Linkwood we've tasted so far

 

April 11, 2022


Whiskyfun

Two Glenturret
and the Devil


DEvil
Really glad to see them back. After their first 'new' officials, called Maiden Release or something (reminds me of Herbie Hancock, don't ask me why) there are newer 'regular' releases. Today we've got the new 15 on the table, as well as a wee bunch of IBs so that it wouldn't feel alone. The last one is something

Glenturret 15 yo '2021 Release' (53%, OB, European oak)

Glenturret 15 yo '2021 Release' (53%, OB, European oak) Four stars
The Maiden Release was very good in 2020 (WF 85). They had bottled it at 55% vol. but they've cranked down the volume a wee bit this time. Mind you, ethanol is money. Colour: gold. Nose: these peppery, mustardy and walnutty notes at first, very Glenturret, then many kinds of roasted nuts (pecans and chestnuts for sure) and honey-glazed hams. I find it very complex, as notes of dry pipe tobacco would come out too, together with some amontillado, brown trappiste beer and just earth. With water: similar territory, with a little more soups, broths, soy sauce perhaps, English brown sauces… Mouth (neat): very rich and very bittersweet. Starts with pepper and leather, goes then towards pepper and walnuts, then pepper and honey, then pepper and marmalade. Indeed, pepper running the show this far. With water: gets rounder and sweeter. Honey sauce and spices, including pepper indeed. Finish: long, grassy, more mustardy again. Pepper and honey, unmentionable BBQ sauces (no worries) and some kind of peppery and honeyed beef jerky. Dry aftertaste, with some chlorophyll. Comments: we've had a few Glenmorangies just before this one. Well, this is just the opposite, notwithstanding any peaters.

SGP:571 - 86 points.

Glenturret 8 yo 2012/2021 'Ruadh Maor' (63.1%, Berry Bros. & Rudd for La Maison du Whisky, butt, cask #468, 698 bottles)

Glenturret 8 yo 2012/2021 'Ruadh Maor' (63.1%, Berry Bros. & Rudd, cask #468, 698 bottles) Two stars and a half
Ruadh Maor kind of means peated in Gaelic. Just one question, do all these distinguished distillers and marketers actually speak Gaelic? Colour: gold. Nose: hot mentholated butterscotch and sauna oils. That's all I'll try to find at this murderous strength. With water: you could add a magnum of Vittel, Highland Spring or Evian and it would still feel strong. Many oak spices, juniper, turmeric and ginger, bitter oranges, burnt tyre, Glenturret's mustardiness… Mouth (neat): feels rounded and easy, which is the dirtiest trick I've seen this season. Boy does it burn you – BB&R and LMDW, letters from our lawyers are in the mail. With water: we tamed it, but it's still hot and very spicy. It is really some kind of sauce that you could pour over your venison burgers or leg of camel. I mean, mutton. Leg of mutton. Finish: long, very spicy and smoky. Tennessee-style spicy BBQ sauce. Pencil shavings in the aftertaste. Comments: what-was-this most thickest (!) retro-craft smoky whisky? Possibly for below-40s only. Conservative score, grain of salt yadda yadda…

SGP:475 - 78 points.

Since we're doing crazies…

Glenturret 22 yo 1994/2017 (55.5%, Whiskybroker, Barolo finish, cask #220, 264 bottles)

Glenturret 22 yo 1994/2017 (55.5%, Whiskybroker, Barolo finish, cask #220, 264 bottles)
My, Nebbiolo a.k.a. the whisky-breaker! I'm thinking of the casks of Longrow, for example, that this otherwise sublime Italian varietal has already killed in the past… Even if this Glenturret spent only 2 years in its Barolo/Nebbiolo cask… Potent red on potent malt, well, we'll see. Colour: apricot. Nose: interesting, which is not only a PC way of saying 'an utter wreck'. It is, indeed, interesting, much smoother than expected, seemingly balanced, and surely very floral. Three hectares of peonies in full bloom! Sadly a touch of rose-scented soap is starting to come through too… Quick… With water: old tools, old greases, black propolis, soap, leather polish, sage, tarragon, plasticine… Not too sure, really not too sure. Mouth (neat): no way. Soap de la muerte and pepper dell'inferno. With water: what's appreciable here is that it would be close to the whackiest older officials. Other than that, this utter soapganza just kills your evening, if not your day if you had it for breakfast, which only Russian field marshals do these days, apparently. Finish: way too long. Comments: it's been a long time since I last tried such a nasty, totally undrinkable malt whisky. I'm sure the otherwise very excellent bottlers did it just to show the world that malt whisky can be very crazy too. For research, philosophy, peace and mankind. Thank you, Whiskybroker!

SGP:273 - 15 points.

We'll stop this right here, thanks for your understanding.

(Merci Henrik)

More tasting notesCheck the index of all Glenturret we've tasted so far

 

April 10, 2022


Whiskyfun

Six Bas-Armagnac

In French, as soon as some things, identities, geographical locations or else are substantivised, you stop using capital letters. They make armagnac in Armagnac, right? Unless that substantive would be brandified again or used in a headline.

I agree, let's try a few...

Vignobles Fontan *** (40%, OB, Bas-armagnac, +/-2015)

Vignobles Fontan *** (40%, OB, Bas-armagnac, +/-2015) Three stars and a half
The youngest, cheapest category, similar to 'V.S.', but that doesn't mean that they can't be good, on the contrary. Having said that I do not think they still make these at Fontan's, the entry-level seems to have become VSOP. Colour: full gold. Nose: indeed, a fruitier side, full of sultanas and peach liqueur, dandelions, nectar, liquorice allsorts, pancake sauce, treacle toffee… Well its even pretty complex, let's just hope the low strength won't be a handicap on the palate. Now by design, these wee *** cannot be over-oaked (I don't think they already do STR in Armagnac, ha). Mouth: ha, fine! No deep coffee and chocolate this time, rather mirabelle jam with a little liquorice, fudge and toffee, drop of chicory coffee, touch of black tobacco, the obligatory raisins and the no-less obligatory stewed peaches. No weakness and no nosediving. Finish: even kind of long, a tiny bit metallic, otherwise a little toasty. Otherwise same flavours. Comments: not earthshattering, but positively balanced and just extremely drinkable. Good surprise – but it may have been pretty older than just '***'.

SGP:641 - 84 points.

Since we're doing youngsters…

Domaine de Baraillon 'Eau de Vie de Vin' 2020/2021 (57%, OB)

Domaine de Baraillon 'Eau de Vie de Vin' 2020/2021 (57%, OB) Four stars
I don't know why they don't call this wee baby 'Blanche d'Armagnac' as everyone used to do. Perhaps aren't they allowed to use the word 'armagnac' anymore when it's unaged? No ideas… Colour: white from White's, as we used to say in the 1990s. Nose: it is a rustic drop for sure, I can't seem to remember whether they de-stem the grapes or not before pressing in Armagnac. Having said that, from grassy and stalky it would go towards rambutans and pink bananas, perhaps even litchis, and surely caraway, with an aquavit side. With water: white agricole, honest. Mouth (neat): extremely good, with an aniseed side, violets, touch of juniper, and 'herbs we don't know'. I'm even finding notes of white cachaça and white rhum agricole. With water: towards williams pears and elderberry spirit. Finish: long, back on aniseed, caraway and fennel seed. Comments: fascinating. One day I'll try to taste their various grape varietals as 'blanches'. Right, as rested new make. I would quaff this, it sure is less exuberant than expected.

SGP:462 - 86 points.

Domaine Lous Pibous 2005/2021 (56.5%, L'Encantada, Bas-armagnac, cask #193, 621 bottles)

Domaine Lous Pibous 2005/2021 (56.5%, L'Encantada, Bas-armagnac, cask #193, 621 bottles) Four stars and a half
Some new Encantadas are in, which is some news as good as those of The Stranglers going on for a little while. I mean, the rock band known as 'The Stranglers'. Colour: golden orange amber. No worries, no caramel in there. Nose: the vibrancy of youth mingled with the deepness of well-aged armagnacs. Good, that would be praline, quince jelly, pecan pie, a few rose petals and a drop of muscat, orange blossom water,  then a litre of maple syrup with one drop of peppermint liqueur. Pretty aromatic. With water: the peppermint got a tad louder and so did the orange blossoms. Beeswax appearing in the aftertaste. Mouth (neat): extremely singular, very liqueury, starting with rose as they have in the Middle-East or, I believe, in Cyprus, plus tangerine liqueur. Tangerines are really running the show here. A feeling of deep-charred American oak, but I totally doubt this baby's ever seen that kind of wood. With water: going back to its roots, with raisins, peaches, toffee and, there, some tobacco and oak. Finish: very sweet and liqueury when neat, more on early grey when reduced down to approx. 45%. Comments: it's really funny how it would have reacted to any addition of water. Great fun and great drop, as expected.

SGP:751 - 88 points.

Château de Laubade 1992/2021 'Brut de Fût' (50.8%, OB, Bas-armagnac, cask #82075)

Château de Laubade 1992/2021 'Brut de Fût' (50.8%, OB, Bas-armagnac, cask #82075) Five stars
Baco and ugni blanc, from warehouse No.1 and from 'tirage' No.1' (first disgorging). Since we now have the basics, let's proceed… Colour: full gold. Nose: stunning. Wisteria, dandelions, aromatic pansies, homemade fudge, spearmint, quinces, bergamots (big time) and, drumroll please, panettone. This is lousy website is slowly becoming panettonefun.com. With water: no water, it would make it a tad tea-ish and bring out some unnecessary tannicity. And a little camphor, which is obviously better. Mouth (neat): how good is this? Amazing spices, liquorice, all sorts of raisins and dried fruits… Astounding drop. It does not utterly and desperately need any water, but since we're at it… With water: no to water. I've tried, it's tough to get it right. Finish: at full strength – forget about water – it's just a rather sublime, totally malternative, and perhaps even a little Cognacqy well-aged armagnac. I's true that it's about to become 30 years old, I've always got the feeling that anything from the 1990s is 10. Pff… Comments: rather extraordinary indeed. One bad thing to say though, even cats like water better.

SGP:651 - 90 points.

Château Laballe 1990 'Ugni Blanc' (50.4%, OB, Bas-armagnac, +/-2020)

Château Laballe 1990 'Ugni Blanc' (50.4%, OB, Bas-armagnac, +/-2020) Four stars
First a question, are the prices for armagnac too low or are the prices for malt whisky too high? I mean, the other day we tried some new Scotch (Nc'Nean, Daftmill and consorts) that are selling a 5 for £150, while a superb armagnac 30 would go for £100. There's too much BS in the world of (sometimes barely) aged booze, no? Colour: red amber. Nose: indeed this one has more cedarwood, 'a box of Romeos Cedros', then piles of dried jujubes, litchis and rambutans; dried goji, as well as a little wood smoke, chocolate and there, our Romeos are back. With water: lime leaves, pistachio halva or turon, a drop of chicken soup… This sure isn't some 'formatted' armagnac. Mouth (neat): a tad paraffiny at first, strangely salty too (bean soup), then all on soft liquorice and triple-sec. And raisins and prunes, 'of course'. Rather excellent. With water: a few leafy tones, perhaps; stalks, tea… This one too might not really need any waters. Finish: medium, touch of rubber and orange skin, mint tea, then raisins and peppered marmalade. Perhaps a wee bit too much oak. Comments: it's much trickier to reduce, or say water down wine brandies than whiskies, I would say they would react more abruptly and uncontrollably. IT's also more 'sport'. Anyway, no water to be added to this one.

SGP:561 - 85 points.

Domaine Artigaux 1986/2021 (44.1%, L'Encantada, Bas-Armagnac, cask #16, 235 bottles)

Domaine Artigaux 1986/2021 (44.1%, L'Encantada, Bas-Armagnac, cask #16, 235 bottles) Four stars and a half
1986, great vintage in Pauillac and more generally in Médoc, so perhaps further north too? Colour: Nose: oh, mushrooms! I mean morels, truffles and porcinis! All that in some kind of Madeira sauce, with a tiny drop of beef bouillon and three spoonfuls of clotted cream. Stew, season, have fun. Forgot to mention Caesar's mushrooms (we say oronges). Stunning nose, but it could happen that with these kinds of bouquets, the palates would head south of the border. Let's see… Mouth: oh no no no. Awesome soupy, vegetal, glutamatey arrival, then very old raisins that you would have found in an old tin box in grandma's kitchen (I speak from personal experience), with a drier development on cigars, black teas and liquorice wood. And umami sauce. Finish: rather long, dry, salty, oaky in a beautiful way, also on more crude chocolate. The aftertaste is saltier yet, this is almost some kind of beef stock. Drop of amontillado in the aftertaste (hurray). And triple-sec (hurray). Comments: salty and a little funky and punky here and there, but bordering perfection. You do get the terroir of armagnac. Hold on, this baby's 35 years of age, give or take!
SGP:372 - 89 points.

CU for more armagnac soon.

More tasting notesCheck the index of all armagnacs we've tasted so far

 

April 9, 2022


Whiskyfun

 

 

 

Angus's Corner
From our correspondent and
skilled taster Angus MacRaild in Scotland
Angus  
Six Definite Clynelish and Two Possible Clynelish
After all these years, does Clynelish need either an introduction or a reason to appear on these pages? Probably not. Suffice to say, it's always a pleasure to do wee sessions like this once sufficient samples accrue.

 

Clynelish 10 yo 2011/2021 (59.1%, The Whisky Exchange, cask #800293, bourbon barrel, 205 bottles)

Clynelish 10 yo 2011/2021 (59.1%, The Whisky Exchange, cask #800293, bourbon barrel, 205 bottles)
Colour: bright straw. Nose: it's a sweeter one that feels as though the wax is dialled down in the mix, with more juicy fruits, bubblegum and wee notes of green orchard fruits and flower nectars to the fore. It's fresh and extremely 'immediate' and appealing, but perhaps a Clynelish that looks more 'inland' that out to sea… With water: opens up with wet bracken, tree bark, lemon verbena and citronella wax. Mouth: again a lighter take, with more pollens, honeys, vase water and an impression of sweetened olive oil and golden syrup. The cask is reasonably active but not pushy. With water: a little more classical waxiness but also quite a few cooking oils, peppery watercress, miso and buttered white toast. Finish: medium and nicely peppery, warming and oily with some sweeter malt extract tones. Comments: an extremely fine drop, with a really gorgeous neat nose. Although, I think the 2010s have been a bit more impressive overall.
SGP: 651 - 87 points.

 

 

Speaking of 2010…

 

 

Clynelish 10 yo 2010/2021 (59.7%, Elixir Distillers 'The Single Malts of Scotland', cask #800204, bourbon barrel, 226 bottles)

Clynelish 10 yo 2010/2021 (59.7%, Elixir Distillers 'The Single Malts of Scotland', cask #800204, bourbon barrel, 226 bottles)
Colour: straw. Nose: fresher and more citric. Lemon air freshener, bath salts, mossy tree bark and freshly starched linens. There's also a sense of beach pebbles, chalk and a little clay. Overall a sharper and slightly more chiselled profile. With water: sandalwood, pebbles, green herbs, heather flowers and plain cereals. A nice sense of weight about it. Mouth: waxier for sure but still with these clear impressions of olive and sunflower oils, also mineral oils, menthol tobacco, pine wood and some medicinal herbs such as wintergreen. With water: thicker in texture now, more oils, light medical herbal notes, white miso, peppery heat and a wee touch of sandalwood. Finish: medium and nicely drying, gently waxy, pepper, mineral and chalky. Comments: definitely my favourite of these two. I do feel these 2010s have something a little extra' about them in terms of overall distillery charisma.
SGP: 562 - 88 points.

 

 

Clynelish 23 yo 1997/2012 (53.3%, Milroy's, cask #12359, hogshead)

Clynelish 23 yo 1997/2012 (53.3%, Milroy's, cask #12359, hogshead)
Part of a lovely series they did recently revisiting the old Milroy's labels. Everything else I tried from this run of bottlings so far was pretty terrific so high hopes here… Colour: pale gold. Nose: wonderfully honeyed and resinous at first nosing. Honeycomb and an impression of aged meads and pressed wildflowers. Then it continues with many wee notes of mineral oils, lanolin, Barbour grease and touches of bouillon, dried herbs and Maggi. Love this very savoury and expressive profile. With water: face cream, sunflower oil, citronella candles, gorse flower and shoe polish. Perfectly dry and beautifully composed. Mouth: outstanding arrival! Fully classical Clynelish waxiness. Dry, oily and wonderfully mineral - like some bone dry aged chenin - then tiny wee buttery and toasty notes, crystallised citrus rinds and more slightly salty and honeyed vibes. With water: wonderfully oily in texture now, with great peppery, spreading warmth, eucalyptus and tea tree oils, herbal teas and tiger balm. These gorgeously syrupy and gentle medicinal vibes that sit beneath everything. Finish: long, full of waxed canvas, olive oils, medicinal herbs, exotic fruits teas and again this perfectly elegant dryness, waxiness and peppery qualities - with an aftertaste that makes you think a little more of Talisker. Comments: outstanding, benchmark 1990s Clynelish. Just adore this drier profile that teeters between some aged Riesling and aged Talisker - any adventurous mixologists out there…?
SGP: 562 - 91 points.

 

 

Clynelish 24 yo 1996/2020 (54.6%, Sansibar for Japanwhisky, bourbon hogshead, 281 bottles)

Clynelish 24 yo 1996/2020 (54.6%, Sansibar for Japanwhisky, bourbon hogshead, 281 bottles)
Love the label on this one! Colour: pale gold. Nose: it does not quite scream 'CLYNELISH' in the manner of that 1997. This is more leafy and generously on green orchard fruits, honey, pollens and vase water. In fact these fruity notes of gooseberry, kiwi and apple start to become really quite pronounced and gorgeous with a little time. With water: a little sturdier and thicker now, with freshly bailed hay, boot polish and some heather ales and honey. Also a wee camphory touch. Mouth: again a leaner, more cereal driven and greenly fruity Clynelish. There's a waxiness but it's down in the mix and is well-balanced by these olive and sunflower oil tones which seem common not at this age with these vintages. Some impressions of shoe leather and mineral oils. With water: again a notch fatter and 'wider'. Some more overt waxiness and a nice sense of plush, polished cereals and malt extracts. Juicy and perfectly sweet now. Finish: medium and with a slightly surprising coffee note, some green herbs, grapefruit, tangerine and pithy citrus. Comments: there's no doubt this is some terrific, rather fruity and very fun Clynelish, it's just that it perhaps suffered a wee bit after that superb 1997. Anyway…
SGP: 651 - 89 points.

 

 

Clynelish 24 yo 1996/2020 (54.9%, Whisky Nerds, bourbon hogshead, 282 bottles)

Clynelish 24 yo 1996/2020 (54.9%, Whisky Nerds, bourbon hogshead, 282 bottles)
I suspect this is a sibling cask, or from a very proximate batch… Colour: pale gold. Nose: yup, very similar profile. Green orchard fruits, light honey notes, flower pollens, heather ales and a nice impression of chlorophyll and gentle but growing waxy impressions. Lemon verbena, herbal teas and sandalwood. With water: breads, waxes, cereals, pollens and a more scattered beery scents. Again this is perfectly lean and nicely punchy. Mouth: drier, leaner and more chiselled. A slightly brittle and peppery waxiness, toasty cereal tones, bitter ales, some robust bready notes and classical impressions of hessian and olive oil. With water: again this improvement in the texture, seems to be a thing with Clynelish, nicely oily, mouth-coating and with a lovely medium-dry balanced profile that's warm, peppery and showing a great waxiness. Finish: long and chunky on malt extract, waxes, rye breads, beers and fatty cereal tones. Comments: no quibbles here. Top notch, rather punchy Clynelish.
SGP: 462 - 90 points.

 

 

Highland Single Malt 27 yo 1994/2021 (47.9%, Thompson Bros, refill hogshead, 231 bottles)

Highland Single Malt 27 yo 1994/2021 (47.9%, Thompson Bros, refill hogshead, 231 bottles)
Those cats up in Dornoch are very fond of… well… cats. Very cool label! But will they get sued for copyright by the Goodies? Colour: pale gold. Nose: one of these older examples that begins to show a more resinous side, soft drying waxy tones, rapeseed oil, suet, camphor and sandalwood. Also some quite clear notes of mead and heather flowers. Mouth: simple and directly on waxes, breads and beers. This lovely oiliness that strays into metal polish and copper coins with impressions of oily rags and tool boxes. Feels almost rather mechanical in the best sense. Finish: a tad on the shorter side but full of barley sugars, waxes and metal polish. Comments: a lovely, rather more mechanical take on Clynelish, simple but at this ABV it goes down with perilous ease. Wax juice for your hipflask.
SGP: 462 - 89 points.

 

 

Clynelish 26 yo 1993/2020 (52.7%, Carn Mor, cask #11215, bourbon barrel, 173 bottles)

Clynelish 26 yo 1993/2020 (52.7%, Carn Mor, cask #11215, bourbon barrel, 173 bottles)
Colour: pale gold. Nose: a beautifully fruity and waxy profile at first. Perhaps the most immediately 'Clynelish' of them all so far. Citrons, waxes, aged sauternes, salted honey and flower nectars. A really immaculate and totally enchanting nose. With water: just as good but even wider and more complex. A generous and pulpy waxy quality with white stone fruits, yellow plums and fir wood. Mouth: what I was not expecting was the power on arrival here. Lots of waxes, soots, polishes, furniture oils and citrus rinds, but backed up by a sense of precision and power that's quite striking. These wonderful polished mineral qualities, feelings of petrol, aged dry riesling with these lovely honeyed and buttery vibes and background notes of lanolin, sandalwood and medicinal herbs. Terrific! With water: same comments as on the nose. Holds together perfectly but just becomes a wee tad fruitier, a little more peppery and these lovely, gooey wax qualities become sweeter and slicker. Finish: long, honeyed, showing lovely fresh heathery and coastal flower notes along with herbal and exotic fruit teas. Comments: totally outstanding Clynelish that feels like it was captured at a perfect age. Is it just me, or are these 1993s generally outstanding? Almost 92 points.

SGP: 462 - 91 points.

 

 

Highland Single Malt 36 yo 'Alice In Wonderland' 1983 (51.1%, Club Qing 'Fairy Tale Series', cask #7751, hogshead, 163 bottles)

Highland Single Malt 36 yo 'Alice In Wonderland' 1983 (51.1%, Club Qing 'Fairy Tale Series', cask #7751, hogshead, 163 bottles)
Honestly, I have no proof whatsoever that this is Clynelish, but there are whispers, and such a tasting seems as good a place as any to do this one… Colour: gold. Nose: certainly superbly old school at first nosing with big, plush waxiness, tiny medicinal complexities, ointments, hessian cloth, candied citrus rind and even these impressions of long aged dessert wines. With water: all on lanolin, hessians, salted olive oil, aged mead and tiny notes of aniseed and fennel. Superb! Mouth: could almost be displaying OBE, but that cannot be, this is superbly on metal polish, bouillon, marrow, herbal ointments, camphor, fir wood resins and chamomile tea. If you'd given me this and told me it was an old Cadenhead dumpy I would not have issued one single blink. With water: again nicely oily, fatty, herbal and even a little bready now, seed bread and wholemeal scones. Many dried herbs and exotic fruit teas as well. Finish: surprisingly good length, and really medicinal now as well with many herbs, waxes and oils. Comments: honestly, I'm not really convinced this is Clynelish. Feels more akin to some old Glenlochy. But whatever it really is, it's a gorgeous and extremely delicious old style highlander. What is it doing on Hong Kong I ask you? Surely that's illegal?
SGP: 463 - 91 points.

 

 

Clynelish 23 yo 1983/2007 (57.1%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society 26.50 'Heather, hay and honey', refill hogshead)
In my experience many casks from these batches by SMWS were outstanding… Colour: pale gold. Nose: pure, fatty, waxy distillate. Marrow, suet, Bakelite, plasticine, metal polish, steel wool and coal dust. Add to that bruised green apples, sheep wool and oily hessian sackcloth. There's also a background sense of intricate spiciness, like chai tea and winter mulling spices. What can I say? It's a profile I love and find extremely classy and high quality. With water: funny how dramatically it swings towards coastal qualities now. Bath salts, rock pools and wee coastal flowers bringing freshness. Mouth: as so often with these older Clynelish, it's the texture that impresses most - and strikes most immediately. Animal fats, cooking oils, glycerol, waxes and putty. Also cough syrup and mineral oils, a warmth of mustard powder and suggestions of lactic acid and sugar dusted breakfast cereals. Quite a lot going on and all wrapped up in terrific, controlled power. With water: perfect balance between oily, mouth-coating texture, fatty waxy qualities and warming flavours of mustard, medicine and soft herbal liqueurs. Finish: long, tingling with medicines, some herbal teas and things like sandalwood, dried seaweed and camphor. Comments: I'm sure many old chainsaw engines would cheerfully accept this liquid, but what a waste that would be! Huge, powerful and terrifically textural old Clynelish. A little more complexity would have easily propelled it past the 92 mark, but as things stand…
SGP: 363 - 91 points.

 

 

Big thanks to Phil S.

 

 

 

 

April 8, 2022


Whiskyfun

Glenmorangie, includes an Ukrainian

 

Two partly undisclosed independent ones (under the name Westport) including an Ukrainian, plus one fairly recent official that had flown under our radars when it came out. Perhaps start with the latter, as it should be 'lighter' in style.

Odessa
Odessa ->

Glenmorangie 'Allta' (51,2%, OB, Private Edition, 2019)

Glenmorangie 'Allta' (51,2%, OB, Private Edition, 2019) Three stars
Some young Glenmorangie that fermented thanks to some wild yeast instead of distiller's or even brewer's, allta meaning wild in Gaelic. Not too sure whether that wild yeast had still been cultivated locally, or if it was just flying around, or if it had colonised the walls and/or the barley etc. Tricky matters as stronger yeasts are said to just eradicate weaker ones; not too sure, fermentation is a whole world. Colour: straw. Nose: pretty acetic, varnishy, extremely grassy, with some whiffs of the greenest leaves and stalks, then a touch of cologne. With water: gets very chalky, with a little custard, in the style of a petit Chablis. Mouth (neat): fruity, tart, peppery, grassy, feeling rough and very young. Biting into some lemons and the greenest green apples. With water: lemon squash, fizzy lemon candies, and cider apples. The kind of apple you would normally not eat 'like that'. Finish: medium, with more lemon peel, bell pepper, Seville oranges, cider apples, but also more of Glenmorangie's trademark softness, with some custard and orange sherbet in the aftertaste… Comments: certainly very good but I would believe these experiments with yeasts would show better either as a newmake, or as some well-matured 15 or 20.
SGP:361 - 82 points.

Westport 1996/2019 (50%, Berry Bros for Scyfion Choice, Bashta charred cask finish, 77 bottles)

Westport 1996/2019 (50%, Berry Bros for Scyfion Choice, Bashta charred cask finish, 77 bottles) Four stars
A Ukrainian bottling! No need to say that these mean a lot to us. I deeply hope that our whisky friends will go through this madness unharmed and that their relatives and own friends will be safe. Also that they will then build dozens of whisky distilleries, I'm sure the free world will grant them huge support. As for Bashta, I haven't tried any but it seems that it is some desert wine from Odessa (Odessa, the pearl of the Black Sea!) It is made out of Cabernet-Sauvignon and Merlot, but it seems that it's a white wine, so possibly done without any maceration. To a free Ukraine! Colour: deep gold. Nose: lovely, with some fresh squeezed pink grapefruits at first, then rounder raisin-like notes, dried apricots, quince jelly, quite a lot of white chocolate (those large white Toblerone bars) and dried lichis and jujubes. There was a touch of sulphur for a tiny moment but that just went away after only three seconds. With water: a little cigarette tobacco. I don't know of any Ukrainian brands but those sure do exist! So, Ukrainian blond cigarettes… Mouth (neat): an unexpected balance between everything tart and bitter (peel, lemon, peppers, spices) on the one hand, and just beeswax, raisins and maraschino on the other hand. With water: more spices, probably from the wine task, but those would rather rotate around pink pepper, Szechuan, Timut and all. Right, not exactly pepper… Finish: medium, more on marmalades and indeed, Szechuan pepper. Comments: this worked beautifully, Glenmorangie's soft and easy style goes pretty well with wine finishes. And I'll make sure to source some sweet Bashta wine. 100 emotional points here. Go Ukraine!

SGP:651 - 87 points.

Westport 24 yo 1997/2021 (50.1%, Thompson Bros., refill hogshead, 176 bottles)

Westport 24 yo 1997/2021 (50.1%, Thompson Bros., refill hogshead, 176 bottles) Four stars
I've heard some young friend tell that this was a 'teaspooned' Glenmorangie, meaning that they would have added small quantities of some malts from another Distillery that's also owned by the company. Well, that would be Ardbeg then, and that should feel. LOL, as we used to say when the Internet was still just a chatterbox. By the way, good fun with the giraffes and their 'long necks' on the label. If they ever put a honey badger, that'll be a Dornoch then. Ha. Colour: white wine. Nose: some similarities with the Allta at first, especially this feeling of tart green and white fruits. That would include the invincible green trio (gooseberry, kiwi, rhubarb) while it would then become Chablis-like even without any water. Chalk, limestone, honeysuckle, touch of fennel. Very 'natural'. With water: just more of all that. Chalky dough and apples with hints of aniseed. Right, fennel. Mouth (neat): absolutely excellent, pungent, tart, blade-y, just a little hot and eau-de-vie-ish. I'd have never said twenty-four years. Bags of apples of many kinds. With water: keeps swimming inside its lane. Chalk, green apples, aniseed. Finish: rather long, a little greener. Lime and porridge. Fennel, aniseed and caraway in the aftertaste (as touches). Comments: these naked 'blending' Glenmorangies are rather uncommon. Some of them are a little unnecessary, but this one is a very fine example.
SGP:461 - 87 points.

More tasting notesCheck the index of all Glenmorangie we've tasted so far

 

April 7, 2022


Whiskyfun

Eight Fettercairn for fun and from a fan

 

Fettercairn stills
It's always a joy to try some 'bizarre' Fettercairns, although it must be said that we've stumbled upon some recent expressions that have been much more 'very good' than, well, 'pretty bizarre'. Today, let's add randomness to the fun…

Fettercairn 16 yo (46.4%, OB, 2nd release, +/-2022)

Fettercairn 16 yo (46.4%, OB, 2nd release, +/-2022) Four stars
We've tried the new 16 back in 2020 but this is a newer batch. Let's do this quick… Colour: gold. Nose: lovely and unusual. Dry Madeira, mustard, carbon dust, roasted sesame oil, pinewood, plasticine and paraffin, drop of vinegar, garden peat, black cigars, sour wine… Really a malt like no other. Good fun. Mouth: highly different, starting right on thick stout and smoked mussels, going on with the expected mustard, cedar wood, oude (old) genever, more wax, then a lot of marmalade and earth. A drop of amontillado too, some cinnamon... I find this very good. Finish: long, with bitter almonds, walnuts and paraffin running the show, then bitter oranges in the aftertaste, with a little linseed oil. Comments: careful, these unusual Fettercairns will grow on you, as they did and still do with me. Great improvements for quite some years now.

SGP:472 - 86 points.

Fettercairn 12 yo 2008/2021 (51.5%, Asta Morris, refill oloroso, cask #AM113, 240 bottles)

Fettercairn 12 yo 2008/2021 (51.5%, Asta Morris, refill oloroso, cask #AM113, 240 bottles) Four stars
A new livery at Asta Morris's and always a funny frog on the label. I have to say this ongoing tribute to the French remains highly appreciated at Château Whiskyfun. Colour: gold. Nose: funny glues, putties, acetone, nail polish, walnuts, varnishes and glutamate. Maggi and Trappiste beer (but of course). With water: drier, more mustardy, rather more on plasticine too. Notes of black truffles. Mouth (neat): very rich, thick, all on chocolate, coffee, more walnuts and some chicken bouillon plus triple-sec. Loads of fun, chill this and have with shrimp croquettes! With water: a little rounder and sweeter, towards English brown sauce perhaps, more triple-sec, sweet bitters, a little salt, tangerine skin (chen-pi)… Finish: very long, a little sweeter yet. Kumquats are back, some liquorice wood, a little salt and pepper, a drop of miso soup. A touch of lavender in the aftertaste. Comments: immense fun and a great variant after the OB, while it remained extremely 'Fettercairn'.
SGP:462 - 87 points.

Please even more laughter, we all need some… And let's stay in Belgium…

Fettercairn 12 yo 2008/2021 (53.4%, The Whisky Mercenary, Draconological Society, bourbon hogshead)

Fettercairn 12 yo 2008/2021 (53.4%, The Whisky Mercenary, Draconological Society, bourbon hogshead) Four stars
Looks like pataphysics have found their homeland in Belgium, let's give our friends a rousing ovation. But draconological? Colour: white wine. Nose: do you know white balsamico? Right, and UHU glue? Rotting strawberries and bananas? Lily flowers? Prickly pears? With water: much more fermentary. Sourdough, wash, beers and then plasticine. Mouth (neat): much less 'whacko' on your palate but a little brutal, hot and grassy. Loads of pear and apple peelings, plus a glass of muscadet and one of bone-dry Breton cider. Salud. With water: sweeter fruits, especially blood oranges. Notes of barley syrup. In the background, Old Fettercairn's peppery mustards and waxy walnuts playing Statler and Waldorf. Finish: long, peppery. Pears in the aftertaste. Comments: you'd almost swear there was some very dry sherry in there, while apparently, there was none. Great drop, nonetheless.

SGP:562 - 86 points.

Fettercairn 12 yo 2009/2021 (53.7%, Liquid Treasures, Winter Edition, refill sherry, 132 bottles)

Fettercairn 12 yo 2009/2021 (53.7%, Liquid Treasures, Winter Edition, refill sherry, 132 bottles) Three stars and a half
A winter edition, so we ought to be quick as spring is here! Colour: white wine. Very refill, that sherry. Nose: no. More modern, with some butterscotch and café latte beyond the expected bouillons, soups, sauces, parsleys, gunpowder, struck matches, truffles, mustards and varnishy esters. I can't wait to add a little water… With water: old guns and cabbage soup, artichokes… Mouth (neat): salty and almost peaty, certainly very peppery, mustardy, sour and somewhat sulphury. Not in a bad way, mind you. With water: a fight on your palate. Tobacco, Jerusalem artichoke, celeriac, leather, tobacco, bouillons, mustard… Finish: lime juice, caipirinha and truffles. Comments: like a lot but this one was a little more challenging, perhaps a little unlikely at times. Maybe rather for the genuinely adventurous whisky enthusiast.

SGP:372 - 83 points.

Fettercairn 14 yo 2007/2021 (55.3%, Cadenhead, Annual Shop Release, Baden, Palo Cortado Hogshead, 288 bottles)

Fettercairn 14 yo 2007/2021 (55.3%, Cadenhead, Annual Shop Release, Whisky & More Baden, Palo Cortado Hogshead, 288 bottles) Four stars
This baby was finished, not fully matured in palo cortado. Colour: gold. Nose: it seems that the sherry somewhat tamed Fettercairn's fiery character, as we're rather finding shortbread, puréed chestnuts, butterscotch, some slightly meaty toffee, café latte and a couple of Mars bars. A light leathery earthiness in the background. With water: no, a wonderful earthiness, in the front. Compost, tobacco, cracked pepper, umami sauce. It loves water! Mouth (neat): rather in the style of some recent OBs, between oranges, sweet mustard sauce, walnut wine and malt extracts. Ovomaltine/Ovaltine, perhaps. With water: some saltiness, more bouillons, parsley, chives, lemon, Szechuan sauce, touch of caramel… Finish: long, on similar notes, going towards salt and lemon marmalade in the aftertaste. Comments: terrific. The palo cortado feels but that's all great news, with some great tangoing between the spirit and the wine.
SGP:462 - 87 points.

Please another 14 yo…

Fettercairn 14 yo 2007/2021 (55.1%, Thompson Bros., 2 refill barrels, 508 bottles)

Fettercairn 14 yo 2007/2021 (55.1%, Thompson Bros., 2 refill barrels, 508 bottles) Four stars
Aren't the Thompsons' labels becoming even more artsy these days? And a unicorn, does that bode well? Colour: white wine. Nose: another one that does not nose as it looks. It feels much 'darker', with rather a lot of walnut wine, oloroso (yes I've noticed these were barrels, refill at that), a pack of thin mints, gravy, just malt, ras-el-hanout, vanilla-ed chestnut cream and burnt demerara sugar. With water: earthier. Compost this time again, the blackest black chocolate, coffee dregs, deep-roasted nuts… Mouth (neat): superb mustardy and earthy arrival, very tense, then huge pepper. What a monster. Café latte in the background. With water: fruits have been unleased but this malty and peppery earthiness remains huge. Cloves and juniper in abundance. Finish: very long and saltier. Chive and onion soup, oloroso. I know, I know, barrels. Comments: this one should make for an utter star at blind tastings. I would suppose only Fettercairn may taste this heavily sherried while it's not at all. Crazy malt whisky.
SGP:372 - 87 points.

Perhaps a monstrous older one…

Fettercairn 21 yo 1996/2018 (63.5%, Fadandel.dk, Selected by the Swede, hogshead, cask #4333, 218 bottles)

Fettercairn 21 yo 1996/2018 (63.5%, Fadandel.dk, Selected by the Swede, hogshead, cask #4333, 218 bottles) Four stars and a half
Assuming they filled the cask at 63.5% vol., this should be the most conservative malt whisky ever. So to speak. Colour: light gold. Nose: grassy, strong, hot. With water: earthy notes, bouillon, liquorice… It's probably a little hard to get right – we'd need an electronic pipette – but there are similarities with umami sauce. Oh, and with Ben Nevis. Mouth (neat): malt, oranges, Red Bull and coffee, and a lot of ethanol. With water: ah yes, Ben Nevis. Bitter oranges, tobacco, waxes, salty soup, touch of coffee, miso, pepper, a dollop of seawater, lime juice… Finish: even more of all that while it's getting ultra-tight. Pepper and riesling in the aftertaste. Comments: I'm not sure it was showing that I loved this one. Mind you, it's a 1996. Well, wasn't it a mislabelled Ben Nevis, by any chance?

SGP:462 - 89 points.

No wonder some Swede selected that baby. Anyway, let's have that famous last one for the road… (I'm sure they'll jail me one day)…

Fettercairn 2006/2017 (45%, L'Esprit, Golden Barley, cask #107733, 350 bottles)

Fettercairn 2006/2017 (45%, L'Esprit, Golden Barley, cask #107733, 350 bottles) Four stars
This French one should be gentler. We do need gentleness these days, do we not. Colour: white wine. Nose: softer indeed. Mustard and sunflower oil, cardboard, chalk, pepper, almond milk, chalk, sourdough, pancakes and fresh croissants. Mouth: just very good, brighter than the others, fruitier and easier (pineapples, apples and pears), malty, just a little less Fettercairny, if we may use those 2-pence barbarisms. Finish: medium, fruitier. Danishes, pineapple tarte, lemon tarte, green pepper… Lemon juice in the aftertaste. Comments: great malty and fruity drop, a little cleaner than the others. Once again, I would have cried wolf, should you have said this was a young Ben Nevis.
SGP:652 - 85 points.

Viva Fettercairn! (never thought I'd write that one day).

More tasting notesCheck the index of all Fettercairn we've tasted so far

 

April 6, 2022


Whiskyfun

Longmorn
2005 to 1969

Longmorn
There will be some Glenlivet soon, but let's first have a few Longmorns. The officials don't find their ways easily, but we do have some quasi-OB by G&M in lieu of the traditional apéritif…

Longmorn 2005/2020 (46%, Gordon & MacPhail, Distillery label)

Longmorn 2005/2020 (46%, Gordon & MacPhail, Distillery label) Three stars
G&M cranked up the volume here, as the former 2005, bottled in 2019, was at 43% vol. Good move, loud applause. By the way, we used to call these series 'licenced bottlings' but the new denomination is 'Distillery label', however you won't find a picture of the Distillery on those labels. Just to make things clear (more or less). Colour: gold. Nose: very malty, very much on pot ale, bitter beer, the usual walnuts, then fudge and a thin slice of pumpernickel, allspice or rather as-el-hanout. Whiffs of old wine cellar, with some mustiness. Old hessian bags lying in a corner. Mouth: a feeling of kriek beer at first, muscovado, then cooked beer, cherries, malt, some mentholy toffee and a wee feeling of old wood. Some chlorophyl and some tobacco. Finish: a little short, more on walnut cake. Artichoke liqueur in the aftertaste. Comments: I find this baby pretty dry and bitter and believe earlier, lighter vintages had been a little easier. Very good drop though.
SGP:361 - 82 points.

Longmorn 15 yo 2004 (60.4%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #7.246, 'Conversations and ruminations', 157 bottles)

Longmorn 15 yo 2004 (60.4%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #7.246, 'Conversations and ruminations', 157 bottles) Four stars
This baby was finished in a refill rum cask. Colour: white wine. Nose: you do feel a pretty varnishy rumness, certainly not unpleasant. That almond-smelling glue that we were having at school in the 1970s, does it still exist?  Rather wonderful notes of nougat, custard and white chocolate. With water: more sweet rum coming out, but do not expect Hampden or Worthy Park. Orange squash, earl grey, cane syrup, sourdough and grist. Mouth (neat): tight, very almondy at first (marzipan), then with a little acetone and sweet varnish once more. With water: grassier but very good, with a tarry side in the background. Finish: medium, well between the two worlds. Comments: the word 'conversations' was spot on. The rum chatting up the malt.

SGP:551 - 86 points.

Longmorn 16 yo 2003/2020 (59.8%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, Gathering, #7.243, 'Twinning', 396 bottles)

Longmorn 16 yo 2003/2020 (59.8%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, Gathering, #7.243, 'Twinning', 396 bottles) Four stars
This time it was finished in first fill PX, so let's be extra-careful. Colour: full gold. Nose: acetone and varnish this time again, then the largest and moistest panettone ever, old Bénédictine, and indeed proper old PX (as in PX, not as in whisky finished in PX-seasoned wood). Very pleased this far. With water: great fun, with gentian, leaves, tobacco, old tea, Smyrna raisins, rancio, cherry liqueur, potpourri… I find this nose extremely nice indeed. Mouth (neat): bold, creamy, extremely on nougat and, once more, panettone and bergamots. A little cinnamon liqueur, perhaps baklavas, orange blossom water… With water: perhaps not as majestic as on the nose, but these oranges; marmalades and pickled ginger work well and in sync. Finish: long, a tad grittier and leafier. Bean curd, mochis… Comments: success, once more. One of the nicest PX finishes I tried lately.
SGP:651 - 86 points.

Hold on, here, we do have a quasi-OB…

Longmorn 48 yo 1969 (44.4%, La Distillerie Générale, 2nd fill hogshead, cask #22717, 372 35cl bottles, +/-2018)

Longmorn 48 yo 1969 (44.4%, La Distillerie Générale, 2nd fill hogshead, cask #22717, 372 35cl bottles, +/-2018) Five stars
La Distillerie Générale is actually an in-house independent operation within Pernod Ricard, where they harbour some lovely cognacs, rums and, indeed, malt whiskies from their portfolio. They are rather hard to find and, I believe, exclusively for the French market. I'd add that we've already tried quite a few stupendous 1969 Longmorns, many from G&M's racing stable. Colour: full gold. Nose: that point where propolis, chlorophyl and teas are about to take over, but have not yet. I believe you could say that's an ideal moment. Subtle pine resins, fir honeydew, certainly patchouli, lime tea, then citron jam, late-harvest riesling, glazed chestnuts (marrons glacés)… A really fabulous nose, while we had rather tried some old sherry monsters as far as Longmorn 1969 was concerned. Mouth: same comments, word for word. That very particular moment… Marmalade, putty, marzipan, teas, mint, eucalyptus, camphor, juicy sultanas, earthier and more balsamic honeys, orgeat, fig jam… And old cognac! Finish: a tad drier, getting a little piney, which is normal, even if it loses one or two points here. Comments: perhaps a little more fragile than the sherry monsters from similar vintages and ages, but it is gloriously subtle. Gainsbourg would have added, 'and erotic'.
SGP:561 - 91 points.

Perhaps a chaser, for the road. Let's check the older boxes…

Longmorn 21 yo 1992/2014 (52.1%, Acla Selection, Bourbon Hogshead, 144 bottles)

Longmorn 21 yo 1992/2014 (52.1%, Acla Selection, Bourbon Hogshead, 144 bottles) Four stars
An older bottling from our distinguished neighbours Switzerland. Colour: gold. Nose: I remember those orchardy, meursaulty, mineral, flinty batches. Apples, plums, pears, acacia honey, peanut oil, chalk, a tiny handful of Haribo bears, preserved mirabelles… Everything's in order here. With water: apple and quince jelly. Mouth (neat): perfect firm fruits, greengages, granny smith, green pears, starfruit, all that spread with chalk. With water: did I mention apple and quince jelly? Finish: rather long and totally on orchard fruits, plus lemon and vegetal oils in the aftertaste. Very fresh signature. Comments: just 'very good' and totally au naturel. Hoppla.

SGP:651 - 87 points.

More tasting notesCheck the index of all Longmorn we've tasted so far

 

April 5, 2022


Whiskyfun

Little duos, today Old Rhosdhu

Some lighter juice from Loch Lomond's, which was not not quite desirable from any enthusiast's point of view, until some indies such as Murray McDavid started to have some rather lovely older Old Rhosdhus. We'll have one of those today, but first, the benchmark, so to speak…

Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond Distillery
(Lairich Rig)

Old Rhosdhu 5 yo (40%, OB, +/-2005)

Old Rhosdhu 5 yo (40%, OB, +/-2005) Two stars
Deliciously 'no efforts' as far as design and packaging were concerned. A very humble bottle by Glen Katrine, I don't think we've ever been making fun of it, having said that, as it's always been dirt cheap. Colour: gold. Nose: English breakfast tea, tinned soft corn, sawdust, sunflower oil, overripe apple and supermarket cakes. Mouth: no, a little hard. Artificial vanilla, sawdust, drops of cologne, bottled apple juice and just cardboard. Interesting saltiness in the aftertaste – well, it does trigger a saltiness on your tongue. Finish: short, with a little sugar, sawdust and more bottled apple juice. Molasses honey in the aftertaste, as well as a little soap. Comments: sits at a pivotal point in my tasting book. Not good, not bad, drinkable, forgettable, kind of honest. And it is a single Highland malt!
SGP:431 - 70 points.

Let's talk…

Old Rhosdhu 29 yo 1990/2020 (48.2%, WhiskyNerds and Wu Dram Clan, refill hogshead, cask #416, 346 bottles)

Old Rhosdhu 29 yo 1990/2020 (48.2%, WhiskyNerds and Wu Dram Clan, refill hogshead, cask #416, 346 bottles) Four stars
Colour: light gold. Nose: good unusual fun, with whiffs of bicycle inner tube, bidis and patchouli at first (would please any old hippies), then cream cheese and mangos about to start to rot. We're almost in Goa! Seriously, it's an unusual but very nice nose, very pleasantly different. Notes of IPA and citrusy hops as well. Mouth: excellent, very fruity, tropical, with just touches of camphor, rubber and eucalyptus that do generate some lovely dissonances in this one. Otherwise, bananas, mangos, passion fruits and guavas, this drop is Club Med ready (that's where old hippies go, which is good timing). Finish: medium, very fruity, with a little more menthol over ripe bananas. Comments: where have my put my old Soft Machine and Gong LPs? Especially Gong's Flying Teapot?
SGP:751 - 87 points.

(Merci beaucoup, KC)

More tasting notesCheck the index of all Loch Lomond we've tasted so far

 

April 4, 2022


Whiskyfun

Five World Duos
for Peace

Feeling like I'm Peter Garbiel now. Anyway, Angus likes to do these kinds of pairs. Let's try this set-up too, remember, change is the spice of life. First, perhaps sail North, to Sweden…

Mackmyra 'Björksaw' (46.1%, OB, Sweden, 15000 bottles)

Mackmyra 'Björksaw' (46.1%, OB, Sweden, 15000 bottles) Four stars
Because of the names of all the Mackmyras I've already tried, I believe I have become fluent in Swedish. Proof, watch this, 'Får jag låna din 1972 Ardbeg?' See, I told you. A part of this crazy vatting spent many years in casks that had previously contained birch-sap wine, which is very idiosyncratic, is it not. When should we expect the much anticipated ex-surströmming barrels? What's good here is that I have strictly no references as for the smells and flavours of birch sap. As for the name Björksaw, according to Google, that should mean jig saw. Colour: gold. Nose: not extremely different from a tight malt that would have matured in good riesling wood, or chenin blanc. Also a few notes of applejack, raisins, cinnamon rolls… It is rounded and soft, and pretty pleasant.  Mouth: there is indeed something 'a little different' but I would say we remained in malt whisky territory, which is fine. Sweet beer, sweet barley wine, apple cake, and perhaps just some peppermint and white pepper that are a little louder here than usual. Finish: medium, curiously rounded and peppery at the same time. You do feel the pepper going down your throat. Reminds of some sweet and spicy Indian foods in that respect. Comments: smart and very good, much more than whisky with 'funny local asperities'.

SGP:661 - 85 points.

Perhaps an indie Mackmyra?

Mackmyra 8 yo 2013/2021 'The Easy Sipper' (49.5%, The Whisky Cellar, Sweden, virgin American oak, cask #172179)

Mackmyra 8 yo 2013/2021 'The Easy Sipper' (49.5%, The Whisky Cellar, Sweden, virgin American oak, cask #172179) Four stars
You would believe the label was done by some Deadhead (no worries, that's how the followers of the Grateful Dead used to call themselves). Colour: gold. Nose: much bizarrely, this indie is closer to the classic Mackmyra style, with some soft sawdust, touches of pinewood and ginger, caraway, a little lavender, fennel bread… What's really nice here is that it never feels 'pushed', it's all balanced and natural. Mouth: creamy and sweet, not that far from the birch one, with lovely anise-type spices, fennel, carrot tops, then citron liqueur and perhaps those tart starfruits or physalis. Yes, the ones we never really eat at restaurants. Finish: medium yet creamy, more citrusy, with a few gin-like touches. Spicy cake in the aftertaste. Comments: same ballpark. I remember pretty well the first Mackmyras. Boy did they up their game!

SGP:561 - 86 points.

To Cotswolds in England, okay?

Cotswolds 5 yo 2016/2021 (60.6%, OB for Kirsch Import, England, 1st fill STR barriques, cask #705, 285 bottles)

Cotswolds 5 yo 2016/2021 (60.6%, OB for Kirsch Import, England, 1st fill STR barriques, cask #705, 285 bottles) Four stars
Remember, STR means shaven, toasted and recharred. In general, I don't like the idea but I often love the results. Only fools never… etc. Barrique, normally, means Bordeaux, but many other regions and countries have adopted them. Colour: gold. Nose: probably too strong, as I'm finding soap, hand cream, paraffin and just 'Covid sanitizer', plus just a little creamy custard. I'm sure that's the strength, so… With water: there, the largest pack of jelly beans, crocodiles, babies or bears they would have at Tesco. Plus a good drop of dry white wine, say Austrian Grüner Veltliner. Mouth (neat): It is probably not totally untrue that given the generalised use of those STR casks, or of deep-charred virgin oak, ala Dr. Swan;  many new first-tier Distilleries, in all corners of the world, do display similar styles. Similar but awesome, or awesome but similar, the way you see them is up to your mood and attitude. Brioche, butterscotch, banana wine, limoncello, custard… With water: it's a marshmallow extravaganza. Finish: medium, very marshmallowy (what?) Limoncello in the aftertaste, and I mean limoncello indeed. Comments: totally impeccable and integrally flawless.
SGP:651 - 87 points.

It would be a little strange that in ten or twenty years' time, you would have myriads of small craft Distilleries all around the world, all producing the same excellent whiskies.

Cotswold 'Peated Cask' (60.2%, OB, England, 2021)

Cotswold 'Peated Cask' (60.2%, OB, England, 2021) Four stars and a half
Wait wait wait, the distillate wasn't peated, the casks were. Same trick that several other new Distilleries have already used (and a few old ones, like some in Dufftown). It is not impossible that in the future, just like some bodegas in Jerez do, some coopers would start to produce bespoke smoke-seasoned casks for the industry. Sorry, you say they already do that? In-cask blending may have a bright future… Colour: straw/white wine. Nose: naturally, this works. What's more, we're totally fine with this since they would remain totally transparent and open. Not like… ach, err… No names. This far, I'm finding this baby rather Ardmore-y. Smoked peaches. With water: hate it that I'm finding this rather fantastic. Boo to myself. Mouth (neat): smoked limoncello, totally. You cannot not wonder about the way they empty/rinse the casks, but there. With water: and it would be an exceptional swimmer. Have I already mentioned Grüner Veltliner? Finish: long, vertical and fat at the same time. Sublime citrusy aftertaste and retro-olfaction. Comments: pretty Laphroaiggian. Superbly done. It is a true peater, not a malt that's vaguely, remotely smoky-ish.

SGP:655 - 88 points.

Next? Do we say India? There's a new name…

Neidhal 'Single Malt of India' (46%, OB, LMDW, India, +/-2022)

Neidhal 'Single Malt of India' (46%, OB, LMDW, India, +/-2022) Four stars
The label states that it is 'matured and bottled by Amrut', but they don't say they distilled it. It's probably 'a secret', but what it says is that it is peated. Colour: light gold. Nose: what I'm about to say is probably a little far-fetched, but this reminds of Currach, these ex-seaweed-charred barrel Irish whiskeys that came out last year and that I've found surprisingly good. Eucalyptus smoke, menthol cigarettes, carbon dust and brake pad, a wee mojito (lemon and mint), sawdust, touch of rubber, ointments and balms, fresh thuja wood… Mouth: more tropical, but with a salty, coastal side. I would say this is truly a wine-malt, you could put a bottle on the table and drink it with many kinds of dishes. Excuse me. You say you already do that, every day? Mangos, lemons, camphor, honeysuckle, brine, seaweed (wakame)… Hold on, with good sushi? Finish: medium, a tad rubbery (not in a bad way), resinous, otherwise all on mint and mangos and lemons and seawater. Comments: a very interesting and excellent bottle, some kind of white wine at 46% vol. Oh, and most certainly with goat cheese too.

SGP:563 - 86 points.

Amrut 'Bagheera' (46%, OB, India, 2021)

Amrut 'Bagheera' (46%, OB, India, 2021) Three stars and a half
I find it funny that they would have felt the need to tell you that this was made out of 99% unpeated and 1% peated malted barley. We do know that peat tends to dominate, even when in small proportions, but 1%? Or is this an homeopathic peater? Ha-ha, yet a new concept! Colour: gold. Nose: a few sulphury touches at first (from some sherry wood, not form those 1% I'm sure… or wait, am I wrong, Amrut?) then some mentholated raisins and salted fudge, bicycle inner tube, the old unused coal pit in the basement, ye auld fireplace...  Mouth: I like it ten times better on the palate. And guess what, the peat does feel. Truffle and smoke, salted lemon marmalade, sweet Thai soup (coconut, coriander, pepper, bouillons…) Finish: long, still a little 'unusual', I would suppose we'll need a little time to get accustomed to this new homeopathic style, but there sure is a thing here. Bottom line, 1% feels a lot! Comments: I'm glad I tried this one. It reminds of Miles, remember, if you do a wee mistake, repeat it many times and everybody will applaud and believe you did it on purpose (loosely reported, of course he said it better).
SGP:552 - 84 points.

Perhaps to Japan again, with some Kaiyo?

Kaiyo 'The Kuri no.1' (46%, OB, Japan, Ariake Wood Collection, 2021)

Kaiyo 'The Kuri no.1' (46%, OB, Japan, Ariake Wood Collection, 2021) Three stars and a half
They are actually 'growers', or 'éleveurs' rather than distillers. We are totally fine with that as long as they wouldn't pretend to the contrary. This was integrally aged in Japanese 'kuri' wood, which is a subspecies of chestnut. Chestnut is intriguing, in the old days some winemakers would have used chestnut for transport and some say you still find the odd chestnut casks in the Scottish warehouses. I have to say I've never seen any personally. Colour: gold. Nose: it is dry and spicy. You would believe you're nosing some multiple-grain bread in a remote German farm (what?) and, of course, walnut wine, green walnuts... Whether that really comes from the chestnut wood, I couldn't tell. So, nutshell, it is dry and spicy, although tiny touches of rose petals and gewurztraminer would come through too after five minutes and with oxygen.  Also a touch of pinewood smoke and caraway liqueur. Mouth: much, much , much sweeter and this time totally on glazed chestnuts (marrons glacés). Whether this is pure witchcraft or not, I don't know.  All you need to add is meringue and whipped cream and presto, a dreamy desert. Finish: medium, just as sweet, but rather with some orange and pepper and ginger liqueurs. I believe there is a name for such a cocktail, but I'm no mixologist so I couldn't tell you more. Comments: the sweetness might be a little over the top on the palate, but it is a lovely whisky. Let's remember those great Scottish folks who, one century ago, would have sometimes quaffed ex-chestnut Scotch. Unknowingly, naturally. Great fun here.

SGP:740 - 83 points.

Kaiyo 'The Sheri' (46%, OB, Japan, Japanese Mizunara oak finish, +/-2021)

Kaiyo 'The Sheri' (46%, OB, Japan, Japanese Mizunara oak finish, +/-2021) Four stars
I believe this is the second edition. This time again, the wood is Japanese while the whisky is probably not. No problems, they are rather open about that and would never write 'Japanese Whisky' on their labels, kudos to them. Colour: pinkish amber. Nose: there's some sweets that are basically butterscotch flavoured with mint. That's exactly what we're finding here, plus walnut wine and raisins, most probably from some sherry action. I would suppose 'sheri', means 'sherry' with a little welcome coquetry. Mouth: bang on caramelly sherry, amontillado and palo cortado, walnuts, toffee, butterscotch, kougelhopf, plus always this very tiny mentholy side, as well as the smallest pinch of salt. Possibly the mizunara oak. Finish: rather long, extremely cakey. Twix and Mars bars and Golden Grahams and millionaire shortbread. Please keep out of reach of children. Comments: great modern whisky, extremely well made. I was about to write 'concocted'.

SGP:651 - 87 points.

Very happy with these unusual stateless Kaiyos, so maybe to Langatum in Switzerland now, before we say goodbye?

Langatum 11 yo 2010/2022 'Founder's Reserve' (49.12%, OB, Switzerland, sherry, cask #135, 382 bottles)

Langatum 11 yo 2010/2022 'Founder's Reserve' (49.12%, OB, Switzerland, sherry, cask #135, 382 bottles) Four stars
49.12% vol., how very Swiss! Do they use a device made by Patek Philippe or Vacheron Constantin to come up with this kind of accuracy? I also like the fact that, just like the Scots, the Swiss founders are always ready to part with their very own stashes, pretty altruistically. Colour: amber. Nose: them too upped their game. Lovely praline, ganache, gianduja, milk chocolate (I would recommend Lindt's regular 'Excellence'), then touches of pipe tobacco, old cream sherry and gravy. Mouth: extremely good. Excellent chocolate and bouillon combo, minty molasses, a touch of rum agricole, a saltier gravy, and always a lot of chocolate. Remember, we're in Switzerland. Finish: medium, never too thick despite a thickish profile, creamy, with some honey and maple, syrup this time, then a salty drop again in the aftertaste. Maggi, hoppla Geiss. And pencil shavings, which is many 'crafty' malt's' final signature. Comments: forgot to mention Jaffa cakes and ginger cookies.

SGP:561 - 87 points.

Langatum 'Old Crow' (46%, OB, Switzerland, batch #312/02/22, 2022)

Langatum 'Old Crow' (46%, OB, Switzerland, batch #312/02/22, 2022) Four stars
This from peated barley, not from peated casks. Just saying, as these issues are becoming more crucial these days. Probably much younger than the Founder's (Generous) Reserve. By the way, the Distillery's located in Aarwangen, in Higher-Aargau. I've got family in Aargau myself (not that that should matter to you) and believe me, they know how to hold a glass. Colour: amber. Nose: doped-up and boosted for sure, but with success. Pinecone smoke, barbecue, chocolate fondue (hoppla), Guinness and thicker stouts. I'm not too sure they make proper stouts in Switzerland, having said that. Mouth: a battle between piney spices and chocolaty sauces. Very thick, very creamy, salty and bouillony, I'm sure you could pour this over spareribs, as with its smokiness it really reminds me of some Tennessee-style whiskey glaze. Finish: long, thick, more on wood spices, curry, bitter chocolate, with puréed chestnuts in the aftertaste. Chestnuts, again. Comments: top stuff, even if the wood's spices are a little bit loud for me, holy featherless (old) crow!

SGP:462 - 85 points.

And so we had duos from Mackmyra (Sweden), Cotswolds (England), Amrut (India), Kaiyo (kind of Japan) and Langatum (Switzerland). What a lovely planet, let us protect it.

 

April 3, 2022


Whiskyfun

Cognacs and armagnac, intertwined

carambar
I agree it is more orthodox to have only cognacs for example, or even only Borderies or Petite champagne, but life is short and we're no experts. Our aim on Sundays is to maximise our fun, that's all. Thanks for your attention and understanding.

1st Quarter

Drouet et FIls 7 yo 2010/2017 'Fine Méline' (40%, OB, cognac, grande champagne, 1500 bottles)

Drouet et FIls 7 yo 2010/2017 'Fine Méline' (40%, OB, cognac, grande champagne, 1500 bottles) Three stars
This is the earlier release, they've then done a 2012 at 42% vol. which sounds, well, sounder, but this is, indeed, the earlier, lighter one at 40%. It is pure ugni blanc and, apparently, was well-filtered before distillation, or at least distilled without the lees, for lighter, rounder results. Colour: golden amber. Nose: very soft indeed, rather all on jams and liqueurs (melon and peaches), with a few raisins and a small toasted side, as well as a little cigarette tobacco (opening a new pack, when we were still doing that, twenty years ago, those smells seem to remain unforgettable). Also dandelions and orange blossom. I believe Drouet is a very fine house. Mouth: very light and fresh, but not too thin, with rather a lot of caramel, fudge, raisins and a touch of menthol and liquorice. Some white chocolate and a little muscovado and williams pears. The middle is thinner, while the… Finish: is short, with a little butterscotch, marmalade  and chestnut honey. Comments: very good composition, I think, but the wattage is really too low for us. It's like when we were trying to move some big AR speakers using those new Japanese 2 X 25W amps, back in the early 1970s. Right.
SGP:531 - 82 points.

Dupeyron 2004 (40%, OB, armagnac, +/-2020)

Dupeyron 2004 (40%, OB, armagnac, +/-2020) Four stars
These are sometimes branded Dupeyron, sometimes J. Dupeyron and sometimes Ryst-Dupeyron. The house is located in Condom and I really like it that they would still use those old flat 'basquaise' bottles, a.k.a. tennis bottles. Colour: golden amber. Nose: there are vast differences, especially a firmer, earthier profile, some acetic, acetone-y notes that would remind us of high-ester spirits (is this grand arôme armagnac?) as well as some calvados and sour wines, old barrels, musty old cellar, acidic coffee and 'older' oranges. All things that we enjoy a lot on the nose, mind you. Mouth: same profile on the palate, varnish and acetone, apple wine, liquorice wood, brunt wood, green pears, toasts… Only the low strength, this time again, is pretty frustrating by malt whisky standards. Finish: a little short, but with lovely notes of old rancio, very old Rivesaltes and, for that matter, calvados. Comments: the house is very much in the business of birthday bottles, but that does not mean that the juices aren't good. On the contrary, I find this superbly old-school.

SGP:451 - 85 points.

End of 1st Quarter

Cognac 0 - 1 Armagnac

Pierre Ferrand 2009/2021 'Single Cask' (48.4%, OB, Grande champagne, for 15th Anniversary The Nectar, 354 bottles)

Pierre Ferrand 2009/2021 'Single Cask' (48.4%, OB, Grande champagne, for 15th Anniversary The Nectar, 354 bottles) Four stars
Ex- 100 years old oloroso casks, so obviously proper ex-solera, but it wouldn't say whether this is full-maturation or only a finish, here you go. Colour: deep gold. Nose: apricot liqueur, big juicy sultanas, rose petals, Turkish delights, gewurztraminer, a curious muscaty side, also one of our beloved fresh panettones. It is very aromatic, not oloroso-y (as in an ex-oloroso malt whisky) and without much walnut wine, but I do also find some pipe tobacco. Very nice nose, feeling a little older than just 10 or 11.  Mouth: a little syrupy at first, but pine honeydew, pistachios, walnuts and liquorice are soon to seize control, which works a treat and would even lead to a little old pu-her tea. Walnuts would even tend to become dominant; the fact is, I'm the life President of the French Walnut Club (yeah yeah). Finish: rather long, on walnut liqueur, with more liquorice and a touch of sweet mustard. A little leather in the aftertaste. Comments: I got a little scared at first, but those wonderful walnuts did a great job.

SGP:561 - 86 points.

Veuve Goudoulin 2000/2021 (48.3%, LMDW, Version Française, Bas-armagnac, 300 bottles)

Veuve Goudoulin 2000/2021 (48.3%, LMDW, Version Française, Bas-armagnac, 300 bottles) Three stars and a half
Veuve Goudoulin, in Courrensan in the Gers, are négociants, they do not grow their own vines or distil themselves. They belong to the Miclo family, who are famous distillers here in Alsace. Colour: gold. Nose: a large pack of honey candies and just proper all-flower honey. I don't think I've ever nosed a spirit that was this much on honey, not even Highland Park from 'that' era. A few touches of sweet cider as well, much later on… Mouth: much more floral and grassy, with winey touches, a drop of apple vinegar, edible pansies, a little blond tobacco, then more leaves, while it's really getting dry and completely at the other end of the spectrum after that hugely honeyed nose. Finish: dry, rather oaky. Comments: as a fan of bees, I totally adored the nose and even the arrival on the palate, but I believe the rustic woodiness rather took over later. Still of pretty high quality.
SGP:551 - 83 points.

End of 2nd Quarter

Cognac 1 - 1 Armagnac

Maison Prunier 1996 (49.5%, OB, Fins bois, for Wine4you, +/-2022)

Maison Prunier 1996 (49.5%, OB, Fins bois, for Wine4you, +/-2022) Four stars and a half
Maison Prunier are négociants/blenders in the city of Cognac since the 18th century, with a vast – but we've never seen it ourselves – paradis. We'll have a rather 'young' one today instead,  keeping in mind that for some friendly Scottish houses, this would already be 'extremely old'. Colour: gold. Nose: I like it when you're around oils, sunflower, peanuts, even colza… And maize bread, Assam, almonds, amaretti, peaches, acacia flowers, woodruff, honeysuckle, chamomile… I just love all these flowers that you would not quite find in older cognacs. Mouth: excellent! Fig jam, more flowers, honeys, stewed peaches and tangerines, a little pepper, liquorice, touch of mint and pine resin… Finish: medium, fresh, fruity, on pretty much the same notes. Citrons and tangerines in the aftertaste, which is awesome. Comments: I was having this feeling… Now remember this is 25 years old, already.

SGP:651 - 89 points.

Let's try to find a worthy opponent…

Dartigalongue 1993/2021 (46.3%, OB, Bas-armagnac, 932 bottles)

Dartigalongue 1993/2021 (46.3%, OB, Bas-armagnac, 932 bottles) Four stars and a half
A well-known house in Nogaro in the Gers, where you can also race your cars (before you drink armagnac).  I mean, perhaps not your Twingo or your Tesla… This one's pure folle blanche, and it's interesting that they would write 'récolte 1993', stressing the fact that vintages are about harvests, contrarily to what they would do in Scotland, where they could use older barley, or ever re-dry some. Well, not sure they keep doing that. Colour: amber. Nose: this is traditional armagnac, with varnish, tobacco, chocolate, coffee, prunes, then marmalade and liquorice. It is both full and compact, a bit rustic and elegant, and just sufficiently grapey to remind you that armagnac is made out of grapes. Well, out of wine. Mouth: a tad tougher, spicier than the cognac, grittier, but that's also what you're expecting from some armagnac (even if that cognac was a fins bois, while in my book the three 'bois' can be reminiscent of armagnac, but we shall discuss this later, perhaps). Good, one thing is sure, this is excellent armagnac, with just the right amount of everything, coffee, grass, tobacco, prunes, raisins, chocolate… Finish: same. Very good, very much 'on location', as say Ardbeg can be. Comments: I would need two magnums of each to be able to tell you (maybe) which I like best, but that would be a little unreasonable.

SGP:551 - 89 points.

End of 3rd Quarter

Cognac 2 - 2 Armagnac

Daniel Bouju 'Le Brûlé Lot 60' (50.5%, Malternative Belgium, Grande Champagne, 2022, 246 bottles)

Daniel Bouju 'Le Brûlé Lot 60' (50.5%, Malternative Belgium, Grande Champagne, 2022, 246 bottles) Five stars
A brand new one so I haven't found much online at time of writing, but what I know, when we try our own eaux-de-vie that we're making with friends every year since the early 1990s, is that when we say 'le brûlé' that would refer to a batch that's been a little overcooked in a still 'that went too hot'. And yet you could have good surprises a few decades later… Colour: LOL, le brûlé could also refer to the colour, this is like coffee. Nose: no 'burnt' notes, rather lovely clean molasses, really a lot of chocolate by all the best makers in the world, a large pack of dried dates, and some soy sauce, Maggi, gravies, onion soup and whatnot. With water: it adores water and just takes off. Say peonies and chocolate. What an awesome combination on the nose. Mouth (neat): it happens that beginners would claim that all cognacs are the same (same with whisky by the way, just ask my dear wife), but this beautiful rich concoction that's full of chocolate and tobacco will just prove the contrary. Notes of tamarind, wee black figs, Russian (I know) black tea… With water: oh, subtle earths, coffees, chocolates… Finish: medium and never too dry, despite all this coffee and chocolate. A touch of Nutella in the aftertaste (you're fired!) Comments: totally fond of this. They'd forgive you if you said this was a 1950s/1960s Longmorn or Strathisla by G&M.

SGP: 651- 91 points.

We'll rather choose a younger armagnac in this tricky situation…

Château de Millet 1989/2019 (42%, OB, Bas-armagnac)

Château de Millet 1989/2019 (42%, OB, Bas-armagnac) Five stars
Some single-estate Armagnac made from baco and ugni in Eauze, possibly the capital city of Armagnac (please no politics, there are several other capital cities!) As often, they would fill a few bottles whenever there's demand, which explains why you would find the same juice with various dates of bottling. The price here is insanely low, possibly that of a miniature of Mac****n from the same vintage. Colour: red amber. Nose: explodes with butterscotch, caramel and chestnut honey. Then pu-ehr, varnish, teak oil, liquorice, grilled marrow, toffee, glutamate and that crazy thing we may only know of in France, 'Carambar'. Mouth: scandalously salty, soupy, chocolaty and fruity. This is some sauce that you could pour over foie gras, Bordeaux ceps, morels or black truffle. Need I say more? Finish: rather long, more fermentary, vegetal, almost tarry. Wonderful chocolate and always these touches of monosodium glutamate. Please forgive me. Comments: not my business but all distillers are my friends, so I say I would 1. Bottle at 45% and 2. Ask for 300€ (good, 299€) instead of, ach, how embarrassing… 69€. Not even sure you get a miniature of 1989 Mac****n for that price. The world is such a rotten place.
SGP:451 - 90 points.

End of 4rth Quarter.

Cognac 3 - 2 Armagnac

Bonus bottle…

Swell de Spirit 1990/2022 'Flashback' (46%, Bas-armagnac)

Domaine de Maouhum 1990/2022 'Flashback' (46%, Swell de Spirit, Bas-armagnac) Four stars
100% baco. Baco's said to drive you crazy… but possibly only if you drink it as wine. Hold on, Bureau National Interprofessionel de l'Armagnac (a.k.a BNIA), our lawyers need to talk… Colour: reddish amber. Nose: varnish, old upholstery, restored dashboard of an old Jaguar, then gentler caramel cream, ganache, one black olive (hurray) and some old high-proof amontillado, complete with acetic traits and the greenest green walnuts. Mouth: on the oaky side for sure, and that's perhaps why they called this series 'flashback', as this is rather armagnac as my family used to drink it, before crazy whisky people such as your truly started to ask for fruits, jams, flowers and, well, 'vanilla'. Finish: long and old-school indeed, that is to say with much more grassy and varnishy woodiness. Comments: hard to score. It's like if you would judge that old Jag we were talking about as if it were a Lexus or an hybrid BMW.  Or a Tesla Model 3, or a Hyundai Kona… LIfe is not funny anymore, is it.

SGP:362 - 87 points.

There…

Cognac 3 - 3 Armagnac

It's a draw!

Happy Sunday to you… (What, what trick?)

(Thank you Michael and all other friends)

More tasting notesCheck the index of all cognacs and armagnacs we've tasted so far

 

April 2, 2022


Whiskyfun

 

 

 

Angus's Corner
From our correspondent and
skilled taster Angus MacRaild in Scotland
Angus  
Another pair of Pulteney
I had been planning a mini Pulteney tasting for this weekend, but then Serge went and beat me to it. Although, I did not realise Whiskyfun was approaching the 100th Pulteney milestone. Not sure you can really have too many Pulteneys anyway, it's an extremely charming distillery and frequently an excellent dram that still shows a good bit of evocative coastal character in my book.

 

We'll have a couple of older ones today, including one I opened for this year's Whisky Show Old & Rare tastings.

 

 

First up is one of the beautiful old 'tall' bottlings by Cadenhead, from the era before they were purchased by Hedley Wright and still located in Aberdeen. This should comfortably be 1950s distillate so properly before any major modernisation works at the distillery and when their floor maltings were still operational - 'liquid history', as we're so often fond of saying. Incidentally, the strength '85 proof' is equivalent to 48.5% in today's money and is a strength that seemed primarily used for early single malt bottlings in the 60s and 50s (see also the gorgeous official Miltonduff 13 year olds from similar era). It's a strength that seems to work very well for most spirits, and why I like to often use it for my own bottlings. Anyway, enough prevarication…

 

 

Old Pulteney (85 proof, Cadenhead, 1960s)

Old Pulteney (85 proof, Cadenhead, 1960s)
Colour: palest of pale white wines - almost new make. Nose: raw, pure and completely unvarnished distillate. Totally in this style we often like to call 'barley eau de vie', which is to say everything here is about the DNA of the distillate. Brining to mind all sorts of things like oily sheep wool, mechanical rags, tool boxes, heather flowers, old ink wells, carbon paper and bone marrow. Greasy, oily and weighted with a sense of texture and body. There's also a metallic edge to it, rather like metal polish, soot and a few old coins, which I would say is more an aspect of old bottle effect. A wonderful and emotional nose. Mouth: perfect, raw, pure and evocative distillate. Natural barley sweetness alongside paraffin, waxed hessian and impressions of chalky beach pebbles and white coastal flowers. This inherent oiliness and weight in the mouth is most impressive, really now on olive oil, ink, bread starter and old school bitter ales. Bare bones, back to basic ingredients whisky. Finish: perhaps a tad on the short side but still showing some lovely wee coastal elements, peppery watercress warmth and this lovely glowing, waxy aftertaste. Comments: being honest, I suppose there's an element of disappointment as I had hoped for a total knockout old glory with this bottling. But having said that, it is clearly a very youthful, humble dram, an almost raw snapshot of old style distillate that's feels invisibly pecked by wood. What's great is that it displays wonderful directness of flavour, terrific body and a whole heap of charm. Old style but still showing some heartening nods towards today's younger Pulteneys.

SGP: 462 - 90 points.

 

 

Old Pulteney 15 yo 1974/1989 (57.6%, Gordon & MacPhail for Intertrade, 288 bottles)

Old Pulteney 15 yo 1974/1989 (57.6%, Gordon & MacPhail for Intertrade, 288 bottles)
An old bottle with a big reputation. Colour: pale gold. Nose: essentially this is a G&M CASK profile. Big, sappy, mineral and peppery on the nose with impressions of hot leather strop, sandalwood, dried out beeswax and honeycomb. There's also a totally superb and almost elusive saltiness running right between everything. Petrol, honey, sea air and the faintest of phenolic and medicinal touches. This nose is brilliant, brimming with coiled power and totally beautiful! With water: opens beautifully onto a wine and generous profile that includes many beers, honeys, herbal teas, bouillon broths, umami and salty vibes and rather chunky impression of waxiness. Mouth: great arrival, all on salted honeys, aged meads, bitter heather ales, pumpkinseed oils, mechanical touches, herbal wines, cough medicines and natural tar. Feels like there is some peat involved deep, down in the basement levels of this distillate somewhere. A fat, slathering texture that sticks to the teeth and leaves some wonderfully tingling saltiness. With water: what's great is that it manages to feel both relaxed, big, open and generous in its flavours and textures, while at the same time giving this impression of taut, controlled salinity and precise power. Hugely impressive whisky that manages to feel both technical and soulful. Finish: long, lingeringly waxy, beer, salty, herbal, medicinal and persistently big and 'fat' all the way into the distance… Comments: When they are on form, these old school western and eastern highland malts are just unstoppable. This gorgeous Pulteney just oozes effortlessness, class and beauty. I really adore the way it manages to feel so big and powerful without leaning on any one extremity of flavour, like peat for example, it manages to achieve this power with nuance and balance. An overall style which feels as though it has been pretty absent for a long time now, but I think there's quite a few new distilleries which inspire a lot of hope for the future. Anyway, great to try this one formally at last.

SGP: 463 - 93 points.

 

 

Big sloppy kisses to Enrico!

 

 

 

More tasting notesCheck the index of all Pulteney we've tasted so far

 

WF Favourites
Whiskyfun fav of the month

March 2022

Serge's favourite recent bottling this month:
Glen Grant 72 yo 1948/2020 (52.6%, Gordon & MacPhail, Premier Whisky Hong Kong, American oak sherry cask, cask #440, 290 bottles) - WF94

Serge's favourite older bottling this month:
Laphroaig 15 yo 1967/1982 (57%, Duthie's for Samaroli, sherry)- WF98

Serge's favourite bang for your buck this month:
Glen Moray 18 yo (47.2%, OB, +/-2021)  - WF86

Serge's favourite malternative this month:
Vallein Tercinier '53 Carats Lot 68' (47.2%, Asta Maurice, cask #AMF006, 168 bottles)  - WF92

Serge's Lemon Prize this month:
Longrow 10 yo 'Red' (52.5%, OB, refill malbec finish, 2020) - WF60
 

April 1, 2022


Whiskyfun

Putin


March 2022 - part 2 <--- April 2022 - part 1 ---> April 2022 - part 2


 

 
   

 

 

Best spirits Serge tried those weeks, 90+ points only

Highland Park 1980/2013 (47.8%, Malts of Scotland for Der Feinschmecker, 1st fill oloroso, cask #MoS N°FS 7, 50 bottles)

Longmorn 48 yo 1969 (44.4%, La Distillerie Générale, 2nd fill hogshead, cask #22717, 372 35cl bottles, +/-2018) 

Daniel Bouju 'Le Brûlé Lot 60' (50.5%, Malternative Belgium, Grande Champagne, 2022, 246 bottles)

Château de Laubade 1992/2021 'Brut de Fût' (50.8%, OB, Bas-armagnac, cask #82075)

Château de Millet 1989/2019 (42%, OB, Bas-armagnac)

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 
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