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Hi, you're in the Archives, August 2018 - Part 2

       

August 2018 - part 1 <--- August 2018 - part 2 ---> September 2018 - part 1

 

August 31, 2018


Whiskyfun
Whiskyfun fav of the month

August 2018

Favourite recent bottling:
Teaninich 32 yo 1983/2016 (51.8%, Adelphi, for Paul Ullrich Switzerland, cask #6753, 211 bottles) - WF 92

Favourite older bottling:
None this month

Favourite bang for your buck bottling:
Port Charlotte 15 yo 2002/2018 (60.2%, Whisky Broker for Spirit of Islay, refill sherry hogshead, cask #1161, 254 bottles)  - WF 91

Favourite malternative:
Hampden Estate 7 yo (46%, OB, Jamaica, 2018)  - WF 89

 

Glenallachie. I mean, The GlenAllachie

A little name until rather recently, but since it’s just been Glendronised, we’re seeing more of it around, both officials and indies. Oh by the way, that would rather be The GlenAllachie from now on (which reminds me a bit of Aesop’s Frog and Ox…) And let's hope some hyperactive wood/wine has not been used, as you know the saying, 'those who live by the oak shall die by the oak! (what what what?)

GlenAllachie 12 yo (46%, OB, 2018)

GlenAllachie 12 yo (46%, OB, 2018) Three stars
I’ll spare you the The. The old official 12 from the 1980s was weak, in my opinion, but I haven’t tasted it since a long, long time. The older new Glenallachie ‘Distillery Edition’ from last year was really fine (WF 80). Colour: pale gold. Nose: it’s really down to earth, so to speak, with some clay, even mud, crushed grains, aspirin tablets, mown grass, raw barley, and notes of rainwater. A little paraffin as well, lemon peel, fresh hazelnuts and almonds… In short, it feels very natural and not tampered with at all (not flavoured with quick sherry or active wood). Now there is a little vanilla coming through after ten minutes, but you’ll find that in most whiskies, won’t you. Mouth: very good, potent, ‘natural’ again, on some kind of mineral barley, fresh bread, bitters, touches of artichoke, and something slightly Aperol-y. No prosecco please, thank you. Finish: rather long, on just the same flavours. I do enjoy this mineral grassiness. Seville oranges in the aftertaste, a little bitter oak. Comments: I do like this, well, this naturality. No obvious quick sherriness in the way!
SGP:361 – 81 points.

Perhaps an older one at low strength…

Glenallachie 21 yo 1996/2017 (43%, Signatory Vintage, hogshead, cask #5266)

Glenallachie 21 yo 1996/2017 (43%, Signatory Vintage, hogshead, cask #5266) Three stars
I may have written before that I always enjoyed this very approachable series. Don’t we all remember the cheap Port Ellens and Broras within? Colour: white wine. Nose: porridge and apple juice, that’s what we’ve been expecting and that’s what we’re getting. As well as concrete, earth, gravel, and raw malt. Perhaps hints of that old Scottish jacket that’s seen many walks and even more rains. Mouth: very good! Pure raw malt whisky, very grassy and gravely, with a bitter/biting side that’s close to that of the new official 12. This style will never help you convince your mother-in-law (the one that’s on Drambuie), but it just rocks. Finish: long, very grassy, pretty austere, bitterish, with a lemony signature. Well, that would rather be lemon peel yet again. Comments: same style, same ballpark, this one’s just a tad more difficult – but it’s also older.
SGP:361 – 81 points.

Glenallachie 25 yo 1992/2018 (50.6%, Douglas Laing, Old Particular, refill barrel, cask # DL 12397, 206 bottles)

Glenallachie 25 yo 1992/2018 (50.6%, Douglas Laing, Old Particular, refill barrel, cask # DL 12397, 206 bottles) Three stars and a half
Looks very pale as well, not sure anyone ever poured Glenallachie into some high-end sherry wood… Colour: straw. Nose: we’re well in the same family (of aromas), but this one’s a little brighter and fruitier, with more grapefruits and kiwis beyond the expected mineral/grassy combo. Wee touches of cake as well. With water: ah more vanilla, easy aromas, sponge cake, biscuits, shortbread… Good use of water, me says. Mouth (neat): punchy, malty, with notes of lemon cake, and more lemon cake, and even more lemon cake. On top of them, this bitterish grassiness again. Unsweetened green Chartreuse, perhaps, I would love to be able to try that one day, even if I’m sure that would just strip our oesophagus (and make holes in our shoes). With water: once again, it gets easier, rounder, with some sweet green tea, cakes… And hints of green raw chocolate, that crazy thing that Parisians are so found of these days. Finish: rather long, malty, cake-y, very good. Jaffa cake. Comments: just all good.
SGP:451 - 84 points.

Oh well, since we’ve also got the new 18 OB…

GlenAllachie 18 yo (46%, OB, 2018)

GlenAllachie 18 yo (46%, OB, 2018) Two stars and a half
Colour: gold. Nose: oh this is different, much rounder than the 12, and rather more on tinned peaches, pear cake, dried papayas, ginger cookies, some kind of not-too-sweet honey, perhaps even a drop of mead… It partly reminds me of those wonderful older Glenallachies that some indies were having around eight years ago (Whisky Agency and compadres). Great touches of walnut-like sherry too, Ovaltine… Mouth: I’m afraid it’s a little more difficult, grassy, bitter, slightly sour, gingery, leafy… Some oak spices, sucking tobacco leaves… Well, once thing they couldn’t add to the label is the killing word ‘smooth’. Finish: long, but rather very bitter. Bitter oranges, old walnuts, grape pips, new oak. Curious about the layer of ‘wood treatment’ they’ve added to these batches, which should have been rounder and fresher, according to the lovely nose. Comments: quite good, but I was expecting more complexity, and less bitter/spicy rawness. I liked the 12 a little better, as it appears.
SGP:361 - 79 points.

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

 

August 30, 2018


Whiskyfun

Five Glendullan from 12 to 24

Not the biggest name in malt whisky, but I always enjoy doing such wee sessions…

Singleton of Glendullan 12 yo (40%, OB, +/-2016)

Singleton of Glendullan 12 yo (40%, OB, +/-2016) Three stars
Thought it was pretty fine last time we tried this baby, in 2013 (WF 80). Never quite understood everything around these Singletons (first Auchroisk, then the others) but that may have been me. Colour: pale gold. Nose: it’s got this cactussy grassiness right from the start, which is pretty Glendullan as far as I can tell, but it tends to bet rounder, with the obligatory vanilla, notes of sponge cake, honey cake, biscuits (what we call boudoirs in in France), and then touches of malt with a very faint umami-y side. Mouth: seems that they made it a tad rounder, more in the vein of, say Glenlivet 12 (if I may), with rather more raisins than before, pecan pie, then an unexpected touch of salt, then, indeed, the expected grassiness. Dry hoppy beer, more malt, Ovaltine… Do they still make Ovaltine/Ovomaltine by the way? I’m asking because we wouldn’t want to sound too outdated ;-). Finish: a little short, a tad bitterer. Beer. Comments: I wouldn’t change my score. A fine dram with some malty character.
SGP:351 - 80 points.

Glendullan 2004/2016 (46%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseurs Choice)

Glendullan 2004/2016 (46%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseurs Choice) Three stars
Still the older livery. Colour: straw. Nose: this one’s very grassy indeed, much more austere, mineral, chalky, with wheelbarrows of cut grass, plus a lot of porridge, and just a wee orange slice. Glendullan as we’ve known it from the olden days, I would say. Mouth: more fruit, but that would only be green and tart ones, dry lime and rhubarb, for example. Other than that, we’ve got even more grass, but I have to say this very blade-y combo works well, as long as you’re not expecting any forms of smoothness. Finish: rather long and rather on some kind of green limoncello. Does green limoncello even exist? The aftertaste is perhaps a tad too bitter (artichoke). Comments: sharp, acidic, for lovers of the genre. I think I am such a one.
SGP:561 - 82 points.

Glenlivet-Glendullan 19 yo 1996/2016 (53.4%, Cadenhead, Small Batch, 480 bottles)

Glenlivet-Glendullan 19 yo 1996/2016 (53.4%, Cadenhead, Small Batch, 480 bottles) Four stars
This baby from two bourbon hogsheads. Colour: straw. Nose: this is lovely, clean, a little simple but in a very good way, with a perfect balance between some softer lemon/vanilla combo, and a grassier maltiness. A rather wonderful freshness here. With water: gets a little more timid, quite bizarrely. In essence, there is more grass and chalk. Mouth (neat): yes, perfectly sharp, blade-y, very lemony, tart, grassy, perfectly well carved, chalky, with a few tropical hints on the back, perhaps not-so-ripe mangos… With water: not too sure it needs water, water makes it a tad shaky and it would need time to regain its balance. No big deal… Finish: medium, rather of fruit peeling, lemon, more grass, a little almond oil perhaps… Comments: simply very good, sometimes going towards the fruitier Littlemills. No complains.
SGP:451 - 85 points.

Glendullan-Glenlivet 20 yo 1996/2017 (52.4%, Cadenhead, Wine Cask, 252 bottles)

Glendullan-Glenlivet 20 yo 1996/2017 (52.4%, Cadenhead, Wine Cask, 252 bottles) Three stars
This one was finished in ‘Château Lafitte wine cask’. Whether that’s actually the great Château Lafite with a typo, I couldn’t tell you. If it’s a ‘Lafitte’ indeed, it’s one of the smaller, virtually unknown châteaux in Bordeaux. But does that matter? Colour: amber/apricot. Nose: limestone, blackcurrant buds, raw sulphur (not burnt), stewed apricots, redcurrant jelly… I have to say we’ve seen worse whiskies that had seen too much red wine in our life. With water: water seems to kill the wine. Earthier and closer to natural Glendullan, this is a very positive development. Mouth (neat): oh hell, why not! More stewed red fruits, rosehip tea, some cloves, Belgian Kriek beer (I’ve heard their football team was running on that), apple compote, a touch of ginger from, supposedly, some French oak… It is a tad too eau-de-vie-ish for me, but again, we’ve tasted much worse. With water: better not, I mean the whisky does not need water. Believe me, I tried. Finish: medium, rather on blood oranges and more Kriek. Comments: I think it’s not a bad red finishing at all, and will add one or two points, as a sign of encouragement. Ha.
SGP:551 - 80 points.

Glendullan 24 yo 1993/2018 (56.6%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseurs Choice, refill hogshead, cask #8339, 171 bottles)

Glendullan 24 yo 1993/2018 (56.6%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseurs Choice, refill hogshead, cask #8339, 171 bottles) Three stars and a half
Colour: gold. Nose: there’s a funny feeling of raw artisan Cognac at first, with sultanas and peaches, then rather grass again, crystallised angelica, and some quinces from some quince cake (what?) Perhaps touches of icing sugar, or Jell-O powder, a touch of cinnamon bark, strawberry yogurt… That Kriek beer again (the one the mighty Belgian footballers like so much)… With water: rather more raw malt, wash, vanilla, sweet oak… Quite some nutmeg too. Mouth (neat): rather very good! It’s got more spices this time, cloves and pepper, this lemony tartness again, it just tends to become a tad oaky and tannic, which adds up to the original grassiness. The arrival was nicer, I think. With water: indeed, ginger, nutmeg, caraway… You would almost believe it was European oak. Finish: rather long, rather spicy. Some kind of cocktail with elderberry liqueur, ginger tonic and prosecco. Oh drop the prosecco, will you. Comments: a little les oak, perhaps…
SGP:561 - 83 points.

By the way, my favourite Glendullans ever were Douglas Laing’s 1966s, in their Platinum range. Try to find those!

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

 

August 28, 2018


Whiskyfun

Some excellent peaty Bruichladdich

They come or came under several names, including Bruichladdich – the first batches by the previous owners were lightly peated in 2001 – or perhaps 2002, Lochindaal, Port Charlotte, Octomore…

Lochindaal 10 yo 2007/2018 (53.1%, Hidden Spirits, bourbon, cask ref #LH718, 235 bottles)

Lochindaal 10 yo 2007/2018 (53.1%, Hidden Spirits, bourbon, cask ref #LH718, 235 bottles) Four stars and a half
Hidden Spirits are a fairly recent Italian bottler who’ve already got a reputation. This might be the first time I’m trying one of their whiskies. Colour: pale gold. Nose: a tiny wee tad medicinal at first, with also touches of rubber, but gets then fresher and more maritime, with really a lot of kelp, and then a growing touch of fresh menthol that would come together with hints of fresh crushed almonds. And, maybe, a little maracuja. It started a tad simple but never stopped unfolding, almost like a peacock’s tail. With water: fresh, with a wee touch of raw wool. Mouth: very good! Punchy, really all on smoked limoncello at first, but those lemons would explode (what?) into various citrus fruits, tangerines, citrons, mandarins, blood oranges… That’s really lovely, and very fresh. With water: perfect, it swims extremely well. Almonds, oranges, smoke, clams, papayas. Finish: long, almondy, slightly waxy. Perfect citrus, rather ala old Laphroaig if that rings a bell to you. Comments: I’m not familiar with Lochindaal, but this is really very good. BTW, watch it, some indies used to call some Bowmores Lochindaal as well twenty years ago or so.
SGP:455 - 88 points.

Port Charlotte 2008/2017 (55.5%, Maltbarn, for Japan, red wine cask, 140 bottles)

Port Charlotte 2008/2017 (55.5%, Maltbarn, for Japan, red wine cask, 140 bottles) Three stars
Hold on, red wine on peat? Fasten your seat belts please… Colour: gold. Not pink! Not apricoty! Not roséed! Gold! Nose: what is this… It’s pretty nice, there’s some kind of feeling of smoked peonies and other red flowers, lilies, various herbal teas for sure (hawthorn), some cured ham (couldn’t say Parma or Bellota), perhaps a little iron (as in syrah), smoked strawberries… Well, you see the scene, I’m sure… With water: smoked mirabelles, perhaps, Sauternes rather than red wine, vin de paille… Mouth (neat): so very Bruichladdich! Only them dared doing this. Blood oranges, caraway, strawberries, Timut pepper, juniper, raspberries, more blood oranges, salted fruits… Strange, yet not bad, just, well, strange… With water: a tad easier and more ‘regular’, not something we would complain about, mind you. A wee sour note from the wood, though. Finish: rather long, on more slated fruits. Something sweet and sour. Comments: do they have this with natto over there in the land of the rising sun? Not totally my thing, but it’s far from being one of the worst red finishes if you ask me.
SGP:556 - 80 points.

I think we need another PC…

Port Charlotte 15 yo 2002/2018 (60.2%, Whisky Broker for Spirit of Islay, refill sherry hogshead, cask #1161, 254 bottles)

Port Charlotte 15 yo 2002/2018 (60.2%, Whisky Broker for Spirit of Islay, refill sherry hogshead, cask #1161, 254 bottles) Five stars
I think the good people behind this bottle know a thing or two about Islay and its whiskies, as I could observe for myself in the past.… Colour: gold. I mean, serious gold. Nose: I don’t know if the word ‘immaculate’ means much in the case of a sherry hogshead, but I would still use it. Lemon curd, custard, seawater, and this thing you should absolutely taste one day, Corsican citron liqueur. And then, a wide range of tinier aromas, cigarettes, quinces, wulong, Grisons meat, cigars, the obligatory old walnuts, dried apricots… Between us, I find this rather stunning. With water: it’s not that it changes much, it just gets a tad easier. Well done. Mouth (neat): exceptionally well balanced, which doesn’t happen very often with peat plus sherry. Of course we all know legendary hyper-sherried peaters, old Laphroaigs and such, but I wouldn’t say those are or were the norm. Anyway, this works a treat, with more walnuts, oranges, tobacco, and this luminous almost lemony smokiness that everyone loves. Light toffee too. With water: hurray! Splendid saltiness – you would almost believe someone added real salt – plus tobacco, dried fruits such as quinces and apricots, figs, a wee drop of Worcester sauce… Well all is well (oh, S.!)  Finish: long, salty, with just a little more bitterness. Or even more tobacco and walnuts if you like. Comments: bang, serious stuff here! You could have called the anti-maltoporn brigade, they’re getting a bit rusty these days.
SGP:467 - 91 points.

Good, let’s have one Octomore and call this a session. These whiskies are great but they can be a tad tiring if you ask me…

Octomore 6 yo 2011/2018 (62%, Dram Fool, Islay Festival 2018 Release, bourbon barrel, cask # 4552, 253 bottles)

Octomore 6 yo 2011/2018 (62%, Dram Fool, Islay Festival 2018 Release, bourbon barrel, cask # 4552, 253 bottles) Three stars and a half
150 ppm peat in the barley, they say, so rather a muscle whisky. Colour: white wine. Nose: once again, the ppms don’t make the smokiness, and once again, we’ve had a Port Charlotte that was smokier. But this is clean, slightly fermentary/yeasty – which I enjoy - curiously bready, and pleasantly lemony. I also think the ABV’s a little high, and that it could do with a few drops of H2O. With water: fresh almonds, perhaps. Damp fabric… Mouth (neat): huge, extremely pungent. I used to know a Russian dentist, she was making her own crazy vodka out of stuff she was using in her practice. This Octomore’s even stronger. With water: good, we tamed it (barely, cough, cough)… It’s still raw and a tad spirity, but a nice saltiness comes out. Plus fusel oil, tincture of iodine, and raw peach eau-de-vie. Ah, artisanal peach eau-de-vie, that would strip the fur off a badger! Finish: long, salty, raw, spirity, extreme. A tad monstrous, I would say, this would make the loco-est mezcal distiller give up the trade. Comments: holy featherless crow, what was that?
SGP:447 - 84 points.

(Thank you Mike and Tom!)

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

 

August 27, 2018


Whiskyfun

Two celebratory Mortlach

Have you heard the news? Gordon & MacPhail are celebrating the 50th anniversary of their seminal ‘Connoisseurs Choice’ range (well I always thought the word ‘seminal’ was a tad pornographic, but I’m no native writer, am I?) Anyway, G&M have decided to celebrate accordingly, with a range of older CCs, namely a Mortlach, a Caol Ila, a Linkwood, an Ardmore, a Glenburgie, a Glenglassaugh, a Miltonduff and a Stromness. Okay, drop the Stromness. It’s the Mortlach that we’ll have today, but first, a fitting aperitif, like we like to do whenever we’ve got a very old bottle at hand, in this very case it is the…

CC
A typical connoisseur (WF Archives)

Mortlach 12 yo (43%, OB, Johnnie Walker Kilmarnoch, decanter for Daimaru, Japan, +/-1975?)

Mortlach 12 yo (43%, OB, Johnnie Walker Kilmarnoch, decanter for Daimaru, Japan, +/-1975?) Three stars
A very nice and pretty rare ‘unblended pure malt’ that’s carrying the Johnnie Walker flag, which wasn’t that common, I think. It was made for Daimaru, a large and rather old chain of department stores in Japan. Colour: full gold. Nose: it’s often the case when you taste from a stone flagon or decanter, you ‘think you find’ notes of stoneware or clay, but are they really there? Well, they are indeed, this is almost like nosing an old teapot into which someone would have also poured some banana juice or something. Some green tea for sure, mint tea, hints of sage, perhaps, papayas… Rather lovely, but let’s check the palate, it’s where thing may have gotten awfy awry, as they say in Tokyo. I mean, in Glasgow. Mouth: not too sure. It got dry, very mentholated and chalky, with some rather bizarre notes of chocolate-flavoured liquorice, chicory, a little tar, a very meaty smokiness that’s quite ‘Mortlach’ indeed, some tobacco that you would have kind of sucked out of an untipped Senior Service (as far as I can remember)… Now there’s also some salty meat (beef jerky) that’s rather Mortlach as well. Intriguing. Finish: rather long, on some kind of meaty liquorice. Comments: intriguing, interesting, surprising etc. You know those words.
SGP:272 - 80 points.

Mortlach 31 yo 1987/2018 (54%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseurs Choice, refill sherry hogshead, cask #425, 200 bottles)

Mortlach 31 yo 1987/2018 (54%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseurs Choice, refill sherry hogshead, cask #425, 200 bottles) Five stars
Look at that lovely colour! Now 1980s vintages could be tricky here and there, so let’s see… Colour: bronze amber. Nose: more dried beef, jerky, pemmican, also a little rubber and struck matchsticks (Mortlach indeed), burnt raisins and cakes, burning cigarette, bakelite, old electronics, cigars, chocolate, very black toffee… I know not everything sounds nice, but when everything’s in sync, it’s all getting beautiful. With water: really beautiful. Much fewer matches, and more raisins, cakes, soft tobacco, earl grey, and that note that I always cherished, old books and magazines (in that old attic in that old house…) Mouth (neat): perfect. Treacle toffee, burnt bread, black olives, leather, tobacco, huge cloves and juniper berries, burnt raisins (on a burnt kougelhopf), perhaps some charcoal… This is all pretty black, if you see what I mean. If it’s refill it’s first refill – or yeah, simply second fill, you’re right. With water: wonderful dry sherry, with flying walnuts and rampant tobacco (what what what?) Quite some proper black tea as well. Finish: long and dry, very oloroso-y. Seville oranges, liquorice. Only the aftertaste is perhaps a wee bit dusty, which will prevent me from going above the 90 mark… Comments: happy anniversary, Mister Connoisseur – or perhaps Monsieur Connaisseur?
SGP:461 - 90 points.

(Thank you Hideo)

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

 

August 26, 2018


Whiskyfun

Our usual Sunday rum tasting

What shall we find today? Let’s see, rummage rummage… I’d bet there will be some Hampden again, if all goes well…

Kirk & Sweeney 23 yo (40%, OB, Dominican Republic, +/-2018)

Kirk & Sweeney 23 yo (40%, OB, Dominican Republic, +/-2018) Two stars and a half
Another scary bottle, although it reputation seems to be quite high. The age statement is hard to believe (doesn’t it remind us of a certain ‘Z’?), while the provenance makes us frown (most rums from the Domrep are usually heavily doctored). Now the decanter is really lovely, and I have to say it would look nice in our favourite Chinese restaurants, between the lucky cat with its solar-powered arm and the jade dragon that’s not really made of jade. Colour: amber. Nose: hold on, no wacky molasses, no unlikely two-pence liqueurs, rather a fine cane-iness and touches of café latte, although there would be a little too much bubblegum and marshmallows behind all that. Not too sure, let’s see… Mouth: pretty fine indeed, a little thin, but honest, not additived (as far as I can see), with notes of rum agricole, praline, chicory, dried bananas, raisins, candy, roasted pecans, oranges… It’s really easy, smooth, and not dull. Finish: short, but clean, cane-y, coffee-ish. More roasted nuts. Comments: looks like my fears were unfounded, this one’s really fine, even if it may lack character. Now at approx. 60€ a bottle, this just cannot be 23 years old. Maybe is there a drop of 23 yo inside?
SGP:430 - 79 points.

Let’s try another one from the Domrep…

Opthimus 21 yo (38%, OB, Dominican Republic, 2015)

Opthimus 21 yo (38%, OB, Dominican Republic, 2015)
Ouch! Some Opthimus (Opthimi?) have been rather to my liking a long time ago (the 25) but others have been way too fiddled with for me (read flavoured and sweetened up). The label says it’s ‘ron artesanal’, which we just won’t believe, Pinocchio. Colour: dark amber. Nose: pretty nice, I have to say, a little bourbony (fruity varnish, coconut, vanilla, popcorn) and pretty fresh, rather on tinned pineapples and golden syrup. Jaffa cakes, bananas flambéed. Nice, really. Mouth: this is where it goes all pear-shaped, with some rather vulgar sugar upfront, then pure cane syrup, molasses, corn syrup, young PX, parfait amour liqueur… This stuff calls for a lot of ice! Finish: medium, sticky, cloying, embarrassing. Another bottle that should come with a free toothbrush, if you ask me. Comments: seriously, the nose was pretty nice, and I’ve been having high hopes for a few seconds, but the palate is just sickly sweet. One for the Rubettes, perhaps.
SGP:710 – 60 points.

While we’re having sweeter rums, why not a funny Floridan that’s seen some Moscatel?

Florida 13 yo 2004/2018 (45%, Compagnie des Indes, moscatel cask finish, cask #FMSC1, 387 bottles)

Florida 13 yo 2004/2018 (45%, Compagnie des Indes, moscatel cask finish, cask #FMSC1, 387 bottles) Three stars
The name of the distillery is secret, but I’m sure we could find out, should we be able to spare some fifteen minutes. A moscatel finish, that’s funny, reminds of the first time we tried Caol Ila DE (a true ‘what?’ moment). Colour: gold. Nose: it’s pretty light, there’s some sultanas indeed, touches of bananas, sugar eggs, Haribo’s best, as well as a pleasant floral side, rather around honeysuckle and perhaps rosewater. Mouth: it’s a good sweet one, meaning that you wouldn’t actually find ‘sugar’ as such, although it’s quite sweet. Wee touches of small-berry muscat, Cointreau, honey, baklavas (orange blossom)… This works, even if we’re very far from my preferred styles. Finish: medium, very sweet I have to say, very bonbony. Comments: not a style that I usually enjoy, but I’m sure it’s perfect rum… for good people who do enjoy this style – which is, of course, perfectly and utterly fine.
SGP:720 - 80 points.

More funk please…

Caroni 2000/2018 ‘Navy Rum Extra-Strong’ (51.4%, La Maison and Velier, 100th anniversary, Trinidad)

Caroni 2000/2018 ‘Navy Rum Extra-Strong’ (51.4%, La Maison and Velier, 100th anniversary, Trinidad) Four stars and a half
This new baby spent its whole life in Trinidad, while the livery’s a replica of Tate & Lyle’s original bottling. Colour: deep gold. Nose: exactly as expected, a blend of petroly and cedary aromas. We’ve already tried some that had gone a little too much towards cedar wood (right, pencil shavings) but that’s not the case here, balance is rather perfect. Olive oil, liquorice wood, petrol/oil mixture for 2-stroke engines (ah those old Kawas…), then a combination of very ripe bananas and sweet spice mix, perhaps something Indonesian, garam masala... Great nose. With water: some mint, aniseed and eucalyptus coming out. The casks (and the climate) have been very active. Mouth (neat): it seems that someone’s been mad enough to let a blend of diesel oil and camphor mature in some kind of cedar wood cask. Or wasn’t it one of those exotic woods some are using to mature cachaça? On top of all that, there’s a lot of cinnamon. With water: more tar and smoke, I would say, and probably more oak as well. Finish: very long and very liquoricy. Notes of pastis, cinnamon, star anise, smoke (almost peat), brine, and again quite some cedar wood. Comments: the wood feels more than in any ‘European’ Caronis of similar ages, which may make it a little more segmenting, but I for one do enjoy this style a lot. But not too sure these parcels could take five more years in the tropics… By the way, this is extremely expensive (just south of 300€).
SGP:462 - 88 points.

You know about our new motto, right? Not a session without some Hampden…

Hampden Estate 7 yo (46%, OB, Jamaica, 2018)

Hampden Estate 7 yo (46%, OB, Jamaica, 2018) Four stars and a half
This is the new official. 100% pot still, naturally, and 100% un-doctored, or say un-dosed, or perhaps un-tampered-with. Colour: gold. Nose: game, set and match. Same feeling as when we found the first new Ardbeg 10. Remember, ‘Introducing Ten Years Old’? There is some gentleness, but also this exceptional combination that would have involved crushed olives (picholines are all the rage these days), tinned anchovies, liquid tar, and liquorice. It’s also a brighter, fresher spirit after the Caroni. Mouth: naturally. Actually, it’s not very complex, it’s even a tad narrow and kind of self-restrained, but what it does it does perfectly. More crushed anchovies and olives, liquorice, and smoky tar, then more lime juice. Excellent. Finish: long, salty, lemony, tarry. Comments: pretty exceptional, uncomplicated, and the price is right. Plus, it’s easier than some single casks that were sometimes having a ‘paint thinner’ side. There should be one bottle of this in just any home!
SGP:363 - 89 points.

Hampden Estate 7 yo ‘Overproof’ (60%, OB, Jamaica, 2018)

Hampden Estate 7 yo ‘Overproof’ (60%, OB, Jamaica, 2018) Four stars and a half
Not totally sure if this is the same rum, just bottled at a higher proof, or a whole different composition… Colour: gold. Nose: less expressive, or rather more closed than the 46%, which is totally normal at 60% vol. Perhaps more notes of plastic, new Nike sneakers, paraffin… I think it really needs water, and so matching conduct to words… With water: not exactly easier, rather a little more on plasticine, or brake fluid… Seriously, it’s much simpler to buy the bottle at 46% vol.! Mouth (neat): works better on the palate when neat, but it’s curiously sweet now, you would believe someone’s let a whole pack of liquorice allsorts dissolve in overproof vodka. So, with water: yep, we managed to almost recreate the 46% this time, but it’s really not easy to get the right spirit/water proportions. It’s usually much easier with malt whisky! Finish: long, salty, lemony, tarry. Comments: this bottle should come with a free pipette, if you ask me. Some excellent Hampden once again, but just between us, I believe 55% vol. would have been sufficient. Plus, the overproof version also needs a lot of oxygen. But yeah, it’s very great rum, of course, nothing new. Hampden is currently becoming Ardbeg, don’t you agree?
SGP:363 - 88 points.

(Merci beaucoup Fabrice)

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

 

August 25, 2018


Whiskyfun

 

 

 

Angus's Corner
From our casual Scottish correspondent
and guest taster Angus MacRaild
Angus  
A mini Miltonduff Odyssey
Miltonduff is one of these names that’s getting a bit more light shed on it these days since the indy’s are pretty much out of ‘big’ names. In my experience it’s something that’s well deserved as many Miltonduffs I’ve tried have been pretty good. Not to mention the very old official bottlings from the 1970s and earlier, most of which contain totally stellar old school malt whisky.

 

What’s more, it’s a well-known fact that Miltonduff is one of the preferred tipples of the legendary Mr Dick Beach, the ‘Don of Drumnadrochit’. Now, it’s true that his son prefers Speyburn. But, I suppose parenting is never 100% successful...

 

 

Miltonduff 28 yo (46.1%, That Boutique-y Whisky Company, Batch 3, 149 bottles) Miltonduff 28 yo (46.1%, That Boutique-y Whisky Company, Batch 3, 149 bottles)
Colour: white wine. Nose: we’re still quite close to the raw ingredients. That is to say: lots of raw barley, grist, hot wort, honey and lemon sweets, a touch of wax paper and a little camphor. All very lovely but a tad vague perhaps. There’s also a fair bit of dry hay, straw, sack cloth and a wee slosh of lemon barley water. A summery / afternoon-ey malt. Mouth: a little tart and dry at first. Some rather chalky and flinty aspects. More rugged gristy notes and some background pastry flavours. Green tea with lemon, some hibiscus, muesli and a few dry cereals. A suggestion of sunflower oil as well. Finish: not too long. Some very light fruits, more chalk and some slightly peppery, grippy tannins. Comments: All good clean malt, but perhaps not the easiest. Feels as though it’s trying to fight back, especially on the palate.
SGP: 351 - 80 points.
 

 

That was find for an aperitif. Let’s get a bit more serious now. I think we’ll go young before we go old...

 

 

Miltonduff 13yo 1978/1992 (59.4%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection) Miltonduff 13yo 1978/1992 (59.4%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection)
Colour: straw. Nose: Rather taught and austere. Very much in keeping with style of many of the young malts released by Cadenhead in this era. Chiselled, petroly, notes of white flowers, very light antiseptic, some bright mineral tones and lighter olive oil and grassy notes. This more ‘brutal’ style - that is to say: high filling strength into pretty inactive plain hogsheads - is totally fine when the distillate is well made and has character, as appears to be the case here. Some lanolin, toasted sunflower seeds, muesli, crisp cereals. All very clean, chiselled and crisp. A big, mineral-heavy Gruner Veltliner. A background waxiness gets louder with time. With water: cereals, stone fruits, soft wax, loft insulation, hummus, a hint of lime zest and a peach stone. More minerals as well. Mouth: surprisingly oily and fat. A slightly strange, almost chemical waxiness, plasticine, more very light antiseptic, green peppercorns in oil and brine, aspirin, cornflakes, a very light menthol freshness and a more brittle and taught minerality. Quite unusual and quirky, again we’re really in an early 1990s ‘Cadenhead style’ here. With water: that strange waxiness is still here but everything is oilier and kind of fatter. A more gloopy cereal quality - rather light ever so slightly sweetened porridge with a grinding of white pepper. Finish: long, slightly acidity, lemony, fabric softener, elegantly saline, barley sugar and even a hint of quinine. Comments: these sorts of whiskies are a real puzzle to score. As you can see, they are easy to write about and you really have to take care not to over intellectualise them. However, I do think this was, at it’s core, good and characterful malt whisky - although I can imagine other’s disagreeing with me. Batches such as this would show in a far more ‘obvious’ way 5-10 years later in Diageo’s Rare Malts series. It also makes the next three drams rather interesting...
SGP: 262 - 85 points.
 

 

Miltonduff-Glenlivet 36 yo 1978/2015 (44.9%, Cadenhead Single Cask, hogshead, 126 bottles) Miltonduff-Glenlivet 36 yo 1978/2015 (44.9%, Cadenhead Single Cask, hogshead, 126 bottles)
Probably from the same parcel of casks. Colour: light gold. Nose: a world apart. And yet... you can see a thread of DNA running between them. Lots of typical aged refill characteristics. Honey, pollens, sweet pastries, rhubarb crumble, apple pie, custard, aged Muscat, some fig jam. All beautifully elegant and layered. A background waxiness clotting it all together. The kind of seductive aroma that can only come from good distillate and many years in refill wood. Mouth: nicely waxy and textural arrival. Quite spicy as well, although not overtly woody. More sandalwood, quince paste, clove and orange peel. Some blood orange as well along with a slightly bitter grapefruit pith tang and a twist of pink peppercorn. Superbly drinkable but perhaps not the most complex. Finish: Long, mentholated, some drying crystalised fruits, earthy turmeric and more slightly resinous wood spices. Warming. Comments: It’s delicious and very good. Just not stellar. I really enjoy that you can spot familial resemblances with the 13 year old.
SGP: 551 - 89 points.
 

 

Miltonduff-Glenlivet 38 yo 1978/2017 (46.5%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, Hogshead, 180 bottles) Miltonduff-Glenlivet 38 yo 1978/2017 (46.5%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, Hogshead, 180 bottles)
Colour: gold. Nose: same ballpark. Lots of honey, pollens and spicy quince but with some crushed hazelnuts and perhaps a more aromatic waxy profile. A few more residual minerals as well in the form of chalk and flints. Some sandalwood, dry rosemary and warm, buttery croissant. Quite some guava, pineapple and nectar. Mouth: those two extra degrees of strength make the difference. This is spicier, more peppery and overall a little bigger and more weighty. A touch of soot, some mushroomy earthiness and hessian sack cloth. Pineapple cubes and mirabelle. Finish: medium with notes of lemon oil, warm buttery toast, sunflower oil, camphor and soda bread. Comments: Very good. Punchier on the palate but perhaps loses a point in the finish. Still extremely enjoyable, lovely old malt whisky.
SGP: 561 - 88 points.
 

 

Miltonduff-Glenlivet 39 yo 1978/2018 (44.6%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, Hogshead, 204 bottles) Miltonduff-Glenlivet 39 yo 1978/2018 (44.6%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, Hogshead, 204 bottles)
Colour: light gold. Nose: more herbal. Some subtle notes of wood ash, furniture polish, ripe banana and linseed oil. Again waxiness, some green fruits, a few golden sultanas, dates, muesli, some residual fresh maltiness. All very lovely and still in keeping with its younger siblings. Mouth: ahh, a notch more elegant and concentrated than the others. More intense fruit syrups, mead, guava, pineapple, some assorted fruit jellys, lemon balm and quince. Quite harmonious and elegance. Honeysuckle and aged Sauternes. Finish: Medium-long in length again with warming wood spices, waxes, glazed fruits and old sweet wines. Comments: A bit short the flavours are at their most distinct and beautiful in this one I think.
SGP: 661 - 89 points.
 

 

Unsurprisingly, a vatting of all three of the older 1978s is really superb, easily around 91. The virtues of the vatting over the single cask: discuss... Anyway, back to the good folks at Disas... err... Master Of Malt...  

 

Miltonduff 40 yo (47%, That Boutique-y Whisky Company, Batch 4, 478 bottles)

Miltonduff 40 yo (47%, That Boutique-y Whisky Company, Batch 4, 478 bottles)
I have it on reasonably good authority that this should also be a 1978. Colour: bronze. Nose: a deep, clean and earthy sherry riddled with prunes, figs, dried mushrooms, balsamic and earthy, dunnage and hessian notes. Walnut wine, soft rancio, salted almonds and a dusting of dark chocolate powder. Also more figs and maraschino cherries. Just about everything you could wish for from a good, aged sherry matured malt whisky. A library in a glass. Mouth: earthy, drying, chocolatey, lots of espresso and many, many dark fruits. Fruit loaf, Dundee cake, fig jam, damson jam, all the jams really. Raspberry sauce, nutmeg, mineral oil, camphor, damp earth, more rancio. Very, very good! Finish: Long, leathery, slightly sooty, wonderfully chocolatey perfectly drying, nervous, darkly fruity, some old demerara rum sloshing about in the depths... Comments: A wonderful old Miltonduff from a perfect sherry cask. It’s just a shame about the 50cl bottle size, maybe if you buy three and bring them back to Master Of Malt they’ll make a bespoke magnum for you...?
SGP: 661 - 91 points.

 

 

I was going to finish here, but what I said in my intro about the old official bottlings of Miltonduff has sparked something in my memory...‘rummage rummage’...  

 

Milton-Duff 100% Malt 13 yo (85 proof, OB, 1950s)

Milton-Duff 100% Malt 13 yo (85 proof, OB, 1950s)
This was from a bottle that I opened for this rather crazy trip we organised back in 2014 called the ‘Pre-War Whisky Tour’. It should be noted that the image here is of one of the tall bottles that came slightly later in the 1960s. The label is extremely similar but not exactly the same as the earlier 1950s ones. I just cannot find an image of the exact bottle I opened (I know, what kind of whisky nerd am I?!?). For now this one will suffice.

 

 

Colour: light gold. Nose: just another world! An astonishing combination of various sooty notes, metal and furniture polish, dense waxiness, fresh and dried herbs, organic, earthy peat, cannabis resins and hugely oily and fatty mineral notes. Just a massive, dense and extraordinarily fulsome whisky. Many tiny tertiary notes as well such as leather, shoe polish, concrete, ancient yellow Chartreuse, flinty smoke, lemon peelings and salted butter.  Mesmerising. Mouth:... maybe just call the anti-maltoporn brigade and be done with it. An almost syrupy waxiness. The kind you could wrestle from a pot with a trowel and eat with a sturdy spoon. Glazed fruits, many various oils, syrups, embrocations, herbal, oily peat resins. Eucalyptus, menthol, tea tree oil, saline minerals, nervous crystalised fruits, brine, tar, a bouquet garni of dried herbs, earth... a spellbinding old dram! The flavours just continue forever on wave after textural wave. Finish: Looooooong. Mentholated wax, coconut, a whole coal hearth, lemon oils, a singe drop of some ancient creme de menthe. Tropical fruit oils and syrups. Poetry! Comments: well...stick a wick in my mouth and call me a candle, what an incredible whisky! Serge wrote notes for this very same bottle last year and was similarly impressed. It’s really liquid history in the truest sense of that term. A preserved example of whisky made by different methods, different equipment, different ingredients and by different people who led different lives. All while part of an industry with a totally different framework and mode of operation than today - pre-modernisation; pre-centralisation of process etc... This was my very last sample and, I have to say, it’s rather emotional to say goodbye. If anyone has a bottle of this (or the even rarer 10yo variant) I would do awful, sinister, dark, unspeakable and devastating things to possess another... For now though...
SGP: 583 - 95 points.
 

 

 

August 23, 2018


Whiskyfun

Another bag of funny whiskies of the world

What’s sure is that these sessions are rarely boring. I mean, to organize and to do…

Canadian Club (40%, OB, Canada, +/-2018)

Canadian Club 'Imported' (40%, OB, Canada, +/-2018) Two stars
So according to the label, this is some ‘imported blended Canadian whisky’, which is a tad troubling. Imported from where and to where? I mean, is it Canadian or not? Now what I remember is that my dad used to bring back CC from his numerous trips abroad. Oh that and Southern Comfort. Colour: gold. Nose: very light, a tad grassy, with a little sawdust and a little vanilla. This is relatively nice and something’s actually happening, more so than in a young Scottish grain whisky, I would say. But this is not Brora, naturally… Mouth: no, this is too light and too weak, while only the oak’s imparting a few gingery flavours. I’m not saying we couldn’t quaff this on (a lot of) ice, and there are even pleasant fruity notes (cranberries?) but I’d say it’s not whisky-y enough, as if some juicy/fruity ‘stuff’ was added. Finish: short, a tad sawdusty. Comments: frankly, I had thought this would be much worse. Again, perhaps not a sipper, but it’s technically rather well made, and you don’t even feel any caramel!
SGP:530 - 72 points.

Yushan (40%, OB, Taiwan, blended malt, +/-2018)

Yushan (40%, OB, Taiwan, blended malt, +/-2018) Three stars
This NAS baby’s said to be made at Nantou distillery, of Omar fame, but why would it be a blended malt and not a single then? The whiskies of the world are full of mysteries, aren’t they… Colour: pale gold. Nose: a pleasant touch of sulphur, some paraffin, a feeling of raw tar, then all things bready and yeasty, which I always enjoy. Very pleasant maltiness, which they did not burry under tons of oak and vanilla, as can be seen elsewhere. So far, so nice. Mouth: simple and technically perfect. Nice breadiness, perhaps a tad too much US oak, croissants, oatcakes, vanilla, melon jam, soft cinnamon, orange squash, panettone… All is well despite the obvious youth. Finish: medium, clean, on more orange squash, and more croissants. Comments: not totally dazzling of course, but tip-top, flawless young ‘world’ malt whisky, made with great care. The equivalent of a very good Australian chardonnay, if you will.
SGP:441 - 81 points.

Togouchi 9 yo (40%, OB, ‘Japanese’ blended malt, +/-2018)

Togouchi 9 yo (40%, OB, ‘Japanese’ blended malt, +/-2018) Two stars
Labelled as some Japanese blended whisky, but let’s say it, this is some fake Japanese, it’s just a blend of Canadian and Scottish whisky ‘aged’ and bottled in Japan. Togouchi’s become the laughing stock of the whole whisky community, but naturally, the general public’s still falling for it hook, line and sinker. For the time being, Kanjis sell, you understand. Colour: pale gold. Nose: of course this is okay, you’ve got some bread, some vanilla, and lighter touches of fennel seed, as well as a little soot. Mouth: it’s okay. Bready whisky with touches of orange liqueur and a little ginger and cinnamon. Not good, but indeed, okay. Okay? Finish: medium, a tad sour and slightly dirty. Comments: of course we’ve tasted worse whiskies, including genuine Japanese whiskies. Well, you’re never totally sure...
SGP:441 - 72 points.

All right, since we’ve reached the dungeons of the whisky world…

Kamiki (48%, OB, ‘Japanese’ blended malt, +/-2018)

Kamiki (48%, OB, ‘Japanese’ blended malt, +/-2018) Three stars
And yet some unlikely ‘Japanese’ whisky that’s certainly not totally Japanese. Perhaps is it not Japanese at all, but it’s hard to know. No age statement either, and a hipster-style logo that was all the rage in London around five years ago. Ha-ha. Oh and north of 70€ a bottle, mind you. I told you, kanjis sell. Colour: gold. Nose: funny stuff, this. Cinnamony cologne, thuja wood, balsa, juniper berries. In truth this is extremely unusual and reminds me a bit of the wackiestest (ha) mizunara experiments. Mouth: funny. Juniper for sure, cologne again, fresh cloves, caraway liqueur, sucking pinewood… I have to say all this isn’t unpleasant, it’s even properly intriguing. Not just a ‘Japanese swindle’ this time, it seems that they actually tried to produce something different. Finish: too many pencil shavings in the finish, to be honest, but that’s okay in my book. Comments: okay I changed my mind, this is worth hunting down and tasting, even if the wood seems to have done all the work here. I do support and even endorse this little Kamiki, after all. Plus, there’s always some plus for any extra-fun.
SGP:471 - 82 points.

Hibiki ‘Japanese Harmony Master’s Select’ (43%, OB, Japanese blend, +/-2018)

Hibiki ‘Japanese Harmony Master’s Select’ (43%, OB, Japanese blend, +/-2018) Three stars
Some NAS blend and a loco-loco price of more than 100€ a bottle – 250€ at some online crooks’. Of course the older age-stated Hibikis are/were great whiskies, but this is just very scary and feels a bit like extreme cow milking, if you see what I mean. But okay, let’s assume some kind of master actually selected this, and proceed… Colour: gold. Nose: your average American-oak doped young whisky at first, but I have to admit it develops nicely and with unusual traits, such as genever, tapioca, and soft cinnamon. Lacks depth though, while it feels a little too ‘technological’ for me. Nice hints of new tyres, though. Mouth: right, this is good despite the wood that’s too apparent for me. Feels wood-flavoured. Then tangerines and papayas, nectarines, and Greek muscat. And why not? Finish: medium, with a little cedar wood, Turkish delights, and more peaches or nectarines. Comments: feels a bit like whisky made in a lab – you’re right, aren’t they all these days – but of course, they made it well. Very well, actually. Honestly, it’s still worth a solid 82 in my book.
SGP:640 - 82 points.

Box ‘Quercus II’ (50.8%, OB, Sweden, 9806 bottles, 2018)

Box ‘Quercus II’ (50.8%, OB, Sweden, 9806 bottles, 2018) Three stars
One of the last ‘Boxes’ since the distillery does need to change names, and will be rebranded ‘High Coast’ – unless that already happened – after Bacardi-bought Compass Box Whisky asked for that to happen. Hope Bacardi won’t buy High West Distillery anytime soon… This expression of Box was finished in small 40l American oak barrels. Colour: gold. Nose: definitely modern, bready, brioche-y, vanilla-ed, and gently spicy. Cinnamon rolls, vanilla pods, croissants, Danishes… I think I like this nose better than that of last years’s Quercus I. There’s also this fruit that often comes with active American oak in my experience, melon. With water:  creamy custard and barley syrup. Mouth (neat): you do feel the sweet oak, for sure, and that leads us to spicy sweet breads and citrons and quinces rather than melons. Feels ‘crafted’. With water: all spices coming out, namely cinnamon and nutmeg first, then ginger and white pepper. Finish: medium, bready and spicy. Gingerbread, Stolle. Comments: I enjoy the quieter Boxes better (such as the very excellent Dàlvve) but this was well made. Unless, of course, we’d firmly be against deforestation. I think Quercus I was much smokier, wasn’t it?
SGP:451 - 80 points.

Säntis Malt ‘Edition Sigel’ (40%, OB, Switzerland, +/-2018)

Säntis Malt ‘Edition Sigel’ (40%, OB, Switzerland, +/-2018) Two stars
I think Säntis, in Appenzell, are making some of the craziest whiskies in the world. Again, in my book, as soon as there is some fun in my whisky, I could swallow many smaller flaws. Colour: gold. Nose: IPA! We’re really nosing some kind of Californian India Pale Ale, such as one of my favourites, Lagunitas (which, hurray, we can now find in France). A little juniper as well, cloves, Szechuan pepper… and certainly a load of highly-aromatic hops. Mouth: good, this is not my favourite Säntis, I’m feeling a kind of soapiness that’s a little disturbing, beyond all the juniper. Cranberry juice, pomegranates… It is, indeed, rather unlikely. Experimental, perhaps? Finish: rather long, rather bonbony. Grenadine. Comments: these whiskies are extremely hard to score, for they are so different, and really went off the beaten tracks. So please take mine with a grain of salt.
SGP:651 - 75 points.

A last one, perhaps, and some Swiss whisky again…

Langatun 6 yo 2010/2017 (49.1%, OB, Switzerland, wine cask, cask #140)

Langatun 6 yo 2010/2017 (49.1%, OB, Switzerland, wine cask, cask #140) Two stars and a half
This baby from between Basel, Bern and Zürich was aged in ex-pinot noir casks, which isn’t obligatorily good news, but you never know. It’s to be said that I’ve already tried some very good Langatuns, though. Colour: gold (no pink, no red, hurray). Nose: it is okay, I would say. Praline cake from Lyons, blood oranges, apricot cake, some fresh pastries (Danishes, perhaps), then the thinnest slice of pumpernickel, some pink pepper, the mildest chilli… Actually, it does improve – or you get used to it, you never quite know what’s the cause and what’s the consequence, do you.  Mouth: spicy and fruity, and pretty good, if a tad unlikely and too berry-ish. We’re talking raspberries, for example. Fruitcake, muesli (of course), some cardamom, cloves, black pepper, more pumpernickel… Finish: rather long, on pretty much the same flavours, plus black raisins. Comments: what’s really good is that the breadiness of the whisky and the red berries of the pinot noir do not totally clash here. While that already happened many times elsewhere, in my humble opinion.
SGP:651 - 79 points.

Hoppla, tip-top.

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

 

August 22, 2018


Whiskyfun

Young Caol Ila

In other words, fun, joy, freshness, and smoke. And peace.

Caol Ila 10 yo 2007/2018 (46%, James Eadie, Small Batch, bourbon, casks #314428 + 314430)

Caol Ila 10 yo 2007/2018 (46%, James Eadie, Small Batch, bourbon, casks #314428 + 314430) Four stars
Colour: white wine. Nose: anchovies and oysters crushed in lemon juice and the driest riesling, with just distant scents of woodruff after a long summer day (no, that’s not a load of rubbish!) Mouth: sometimes some good folks are calling this style ‘sweet peat’,  and I rather agree, it’s both sweet (in a lemony way) and indeed peaty. This one’s rather uncomplicated, but it’s pure and it’s perfectly carved, in an almost eau-de-vie-ish way. Eau de vie de l’île d’Islay? Finish: medium, with a touch of potassium salt over these oysters and all the lemon juice we’ve poured over them. Comments: simple but so very good, so very Caol Ila. And always this entrancing freshness…
SGP:456 - 85 points.

Cola Ali 9 yo 2008/2018 (58.4%, Dramfool, finished in 1st fill oloroso hogshead, 150 bottles)

Cola Ali 9 yo 2008/2018 (58.4%, Dramfool, finished in 1st fill oloroso hogshead, 150 bottles) Two stars and a half
I’m asking you, why would anybody in full possession of his faculties decide to finish some young Caol Ila in some ‘1st fill oloroso hogshead’? Some kind of artsy provocation? Or did our friends just happen to have 1. some Caol Ila and 2. a 1st fill oloroso hogshead? Colour: gold. Nose: there’s something I do not understand, we’ve been to Jerez and we’ve visited bodegas that specialise in treating/seasoning bespoke sherry casks for the whisky industry, never did we find any cask that was this tobacco-y, this earthy, and this un-raisiny. There must be something I do not understand, really. Nice nose though, spicy, mustardy, and very umami-esque. At times you could almost believe there is some of that slightly stupid oak called mizunara (mizunara as such isn’t stupid, but the way whisky marketers are, well, marketing it totally is). With water: wood-smoked cold cuts and fish. Mouth (neat): a bit weird. Fanta, mustard, cloves, marmalade, smoked meats, leather. With water: same, with something slightly soapy. Finish: long, spicy. A long story cut short. Comments: well, I’ve already tried several fantastic whiskies by Dramfool, but this one really freaked me out. The Berliner Philharmoniker playing Rammstein. I’m reminded of my meals as a student, when we used to ‘shake the cupboard’ and make a gratin out of anything that had fallen out of it. Like, spaghettis with some mustard, raisins, pepperonis, and gherkins. Apparently, we survived.
SGP:465 - 78 points.

Caol Ila 12 yo 2006/2018 (54.6%, North Star Spirits, refill bourbon hogshead, 276 bottles)

Caol Ila 12 yo 2006/2018 (54.6%, North Star Spirits, refill bourbon hogshead, 276 bottles) Four stars and a half
We really like – and totally endorse – what North Star Spirits have been doing for two years or three. Just one thing, the new Aston Martin Vantage is really ugly, so please guys, forget about our contract until there’s a newer model, we can wait. Colour: straw. Nose: a rather fatter young Caol Ila, with some fresh butter, then limoncello, almond oil, and oyster juice. Love these touches of rubbed mint and eucalyptus leaves, as well as the ashes and the charcoal, as well as the raw wool. With water:  relatively light, rather on cut apples and sunflower oil. Mouth (neat): just totally and immaculately unquestionable (wow!) Smoke, pepper, lemon, green apples, oysters, langoustines. Not too sure about the langoustines. With water: exceptionally sauvignony. Yes this is International Adverb Day. Clams, lemon, almonds, ashes… Finish: same for a pretty long time. Very fresh and brine-y. Comments: bordering perfection this time.
SGP:456 - 89 points.

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

 

August 21, 2018


Whiskyfun

Tamnavulin, Tamnavulin, and Tamnavulin

Tamnavulin’s another name we do not know much about. Imagine that within sixteen years of blogging and even more years of whisky commenting, I’ve only formally tasted… err, what, 14 Tamnavulins! That’s less than one per year mind you, and I’m trying a good 1000 whiskies every year that God makes!

Tamnavulin ‘Double Cask’ (40%, OB, +/-2018)

Tamnavulin ‘Double Cask’ (40%, OB, +/-2018) Three stars
Double Cask sure is a difficult name for any whisky, it’s like if you’d have named your newborn son Donald J. or Adolf. And boo, there’s no age statement either… Colour: gold. Nose: wait, this is nice! There’s this typical vanilla-ed and banana-y profile that screams US oak, but there are good pastries underneath, and marmalade and quince jelly, and then raisins with a touch of mint (leaves). This may have seen some sherry-seasoned oak at some point. It’s a nice, well-carved nose. Mouth: a little more kick would have been welcome, especially since treatments with active wood demand stronger spirits and do not favour heavy reducing too much, in my humble experience. What I’m trying to say is that it’s all a tad too modern for me (again, bananas, vanilla, raisins, coconut), but I agree it’s still a very fine dram, done with care, and very pleasant to drink. Indeed it is a drinker. Finish: short, a tad tea-ish, pleasant. Apricots. Comments: I was having fears – not just because of the unimaginative name – but I was wrong, it really is a fine dram.
SGP:441 - 80 points.

Tamnavulin-Glenlivet 25 yo 1992/2017 (52.9%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon hogshead, 216 bottles)

Tamnavulin-Glenlivet 25 yo 1992/2017 (52.9%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon hogshead, 216 bottles) Two stars and a half
I remember some earlier 1992s by Cad, but it looks like I’ve never written any proper notes. I may have some left, but we’ll deal with that another time. Colour: straw. Nose: well this is naked spirit, you’ve got apple and pear juice, some bread, notes of peaches, perhaps one dollop of honey, and that’s it. Nice and simple. With water: paraffin and nicer notes of tangerines. Mouth (neat): not too sure, it’s got some tonic water, bitter oranges, something slightly metallic, 7up, and porridge. Pretty much in the style of what most indies were having twenty years ago, you know, one great bottle, one that’s so-so, one great bottle, one that’ so-so… Well this one’s rather so-so. With water: some tropical fruits, papayas, maracujas… But it’s all a tad jumbled. Finish: medium, quite good. Oranges. Comments: good but a little disconcerting and lacking focus, I would say.
SGP:541 - 79 points.

Another try…

Tamnavulin-Glenlivet 14 yo 1992/2006 (58.2%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon hogshead, 258 bottles)

Tamnavulin-Glenlivet 14 yo 1992/2006 (58.2%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon hogshead, 258 bottles) Two stars
In other words, a sister cask that’s been bottled ten years before. Could be interesting… Colour: white wine. Nose: well, this is pure grass juice, pressed bark, Muscadet, crushed aspirin tablet, fresh baguette, and damp chalk. Forgot to mention the freshest walnuts. With water: concrete, old abandoned basement, a musty pile of old Soviet magazines… Mouth (neat): really, not too sure. Lemon juice kept in Tupperware’s wackiest plastic jugs for a few years, perhaps? And more aspirin. With water: lighter gas, stale lemon juice, plastic, and no, no, no… Finish: very long, ultra-lemony, and with a lot of plastic. Some kind of bone-dry sauvignon that’s been kept in a Chinese-made bag-in-box container for a good twenty years. Comments: we knew Cadenhead had upped their game a few years back, and today we have proof.
SGP:371 - 70 points.

Better call this a tasting session.

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

 

August 19, 2018


Whiskyfun

 

 

 

Angus's Corner
From our casual Scottish correspondent
and guest taster Angus MacRaild
Angus  
Rum: the good, the bad and the funky. Part 1.
I have a LOT of rum samples that I have been doing a very good job of putting into a large box underneath my desk and pretending do not exist. It’s not because I don’t like rum, in fact, when it’s good - that is to say characterful, distillate driven examples that have not been shagged into a sticky stupor by a tanker load of sugary gunk - I love it!

 

However, I’m limited in my outlets for writing reviews and whisky often takes precedence by quirk of pragmatism. So, let’s do some stretches, roll up our sleeves and commence battle with this sample pile. We’ll begin in Panama...  

 

Rum Malecon ‘Reserva Imperial’ 21 yo (40%, OB, Panama, -/+ 2016) Rum Malecon ‘Reserva Imperial’ 21 yo (40%, OB, Panama, -/+ 2016)
The Malecon brand makes quite a bit of noise about its Cuban heritage, although it’s made in Panama. Maybe they are the ones providing a certain famous whisky reviewer with a steady supply of hats? Colour: amber. Nose: not much going on. Some soggy cardboard with cheap brown sugar, sugary tea and sweetened cheap coffee. Really rather ‘empty’. If I’m honest it’s the exact epitome of the kind of rum I really dislike. Perhaps a few notes of bandages and ointment in the distance. Mouth: rather harsh and gritty, although the 40% probably eases things in this sense. Some overripe, bruised banana, cheap coffee liqueur, amaretti and plain sugar syrups. Really not enjoyable, it’s not even a pleasing sweetness. I’ve nothing against sweetness in spirits if it’s naturally derived and at least displays some modicum of balance. Finish: pretty minimal I find, more cheap sweetened coffee and milky tea aspects. Comments: Pretty bad. If it were a cheap bargain thing for drowning in cola and ice then I’d say fine but it seems it’s north of £50 in the UK.
SGP: 641 - 55 points.
 

 

Rum Malecon ‘Reserva Imperial’ 25 yo (40%, OB, Panama, -/+ 2016) Rum Malecon ‘Reserva Imperial’ 25 yo (40%, OB, Panama, -/+ 2016)
Everything seems to be ‘Reserva Imperial’, which rather saps the phrase of meaning, if it ever had any to being with. Colour: Amber. Nose: not hugely different from the 21 really. Maybe a tad richer, a glimmer of bread, some chocolate sauce, a slightly firmer medical profile - again hints of bandage and embrocations. There’s also this sweetened coffee aspect as well. Still globally pretty sickly sweet. But definitely ‘nicer’. Mouth: again a little richer and with a weightier ‘presence’ on the palate. But these slightly stale and cardboardy aspects are still present. Some lime oil, some generic foam sweeties, cooking oils and condensed milk. Finish: longer than the 21, even surprisingly long in fact but also full of condensed milk, sugary coffee, cheap liqueurs and various slightly sickly confectionary notes. Comments: It’s a bit better than the 21 for sure, but I still struggle with this style. It’s just not for me. Although, I should say, I also don’t think it’s very good from a technical sense either, in terms of balance, complexity, texture, length etc...
SGP: 651 - 64 points.
 

 

DISCLAIMER: I probably should point out, as Serge often does, that I taste Rum from the perspective of a whisky drinker who likes characterful, often drier, distillate-forward spirits. So, if you are a crazy fanatic for these sorts of sweeter Rums, please feel free to take my scores with a pinch of sugar.  

 

Ron Centenario ‘Edicion Limitada’ 30 yo (40%, OB, Costa Rica)

Ron Centenario ‘Edicion Limitada’ 30 yo (40%, OB, Costa Rica)
Made from molasses and aged in a solera system so 30 yo may well refer to the age of the oldest component rather than the youngest. This is the problem with rum, a lack of clear legal definitions means there’s a lot of vagueness about it. Colour: amber. Nose: a more punchy caramelised brown sugar aroma with touches of bandage, lighter fluid, a few raisins and plenty of sugary sweetness. Sweetened cappuccino, creme de menthe, Nutella, hazelnut liqueur. Not bad but another one that’s too stodgy and sickly in style. Mouth: we’re really in liqueur territory here. This could seriously be some mix of a cheap coffee liqueur, praline, condensed milk and mint syrup. Not unlike the sort of cocktail that Alan Partridge might nervously invent (don’t ask Serge). Some curious mix of sugar glazed nuts. Finish: rather long, syrupy and fudgey. A molten marshmallow perhaps. Comments: I find it a bit better than the Malecons simply because it’s cleaner, but it’s still a bit of a struggle.
SGP: 720 - 70 points.

 

 

Even after only three of these sweeter ones it’s getting tough. Let’s move on...  

 

Trinidad Distillers 6 yo 2000/2006 (45%, Alambic Classique, Trinidad) Trinidad Distillers 6 yo 2000/2006 (45%, Alambic Classique, Trinidad)
Probably column distilled rum from Angostura. Colour: white wine. Nose: indeed this is a lighter and leaner style of rum, not an earthy, medical bruiser like Caroni. Here there’s more a delicate, slightly salty medicinal profile with background notes of brake fluid, WD40 and rather a few nice lemony notes. Some grassy qualities as well such as dry hay and sage. Overall rather simplistic and straightforward but good and quite clean I think. Mouth: nice texture and weight. Some mineral and lemony notes, lemon bonbons, clay, olive oil and lime. An interesting salty/sooty combination. Again good but a tad simple. Finish: good length, lots of black olives, some dried herbs and a touch green Chartreuse. Maybe some graphite oil as well. Comments: I like it, the kind of rum you can sip without the need for ice or too much concentration. Serge previously scored this one 78 but I think it might be worth an even...
SGP: 451 - 80 points.
 

 

Foursquare 10 yo 2007/2017 (45%, Alambic Classique, Barbados, cask #17806, 147 bottles) Foursquare 10 yo 2007/2017 (45%, Alambic Classique, Barbados, cask #17806, 147 bottles)
Colour: light gold. Nose: Ahhh. Now we’re talking. This is a superbly minty and herbal concentration - like a mix of aged yellow Chartreuse and Fernet Branca (we’re straying into cocktail territories again, thankfully Alan Partridge is nowhere in sight). Some green fruits, ripe banana, apple peeling, pear drops, brake fluid, many ointments and rather a lot of black olives and camphor. I love it. Mouth: still extremely herbal, almost like herbal resins and syrups, some cannabis oil, damp earthiness, light antiseptics, brown bread, coal dust, lanolin and a touch of creosote. Finish: long, lemony, earthy, edging towards coastal and with this rather lovely menthol freshness. Comments: A bit of a surprise. I like Foursquare but I don’t often find it this characterful. Loved all those herbs.
SGP: 552 - 87 points.
 

 

Hampden 17 yo 2000/2018 (52%, Thompson Brothers / Bar Tre Hiroshima, Jamaica, 220 bottles) Hampden 17 yo 2000/2018 (52%, Thompson Brothers / Bar Tre Hiroshima, Jamaica, 220 bottles)
A new bottling from those sibling licit distillers up in Door Knock that they’ve done in partnership with Bar Tre in Hiroshima. Colour: gold. Nose: pure Hampden! A wonderful byzantine of tropical esters, sea salt, brine, anchovies, diesel engine aromas, brake fluid, ointments and fermenting tropical fruits. There’s even something like salted honey in the background, just wonderful concentration and aromatic depth. With water: stunningly salty, briny and fruty - some citrus rinds and passionfruit juice. Mouth: typically terrific. Brown bread smothered in anchovy paste, a pencil eraser, spraying the inside of your mouth with WD40, various medicines, cough syrup, black olive tapenade, chopped fresh herbs, black pepper... the list goes on and on. With water: perfect. Complex, balanced, harmonious and yet still with this superb, thrilling concentration of flavour. Finish: Extremely long. Big, bassy echoes of natural tar, embrocations, ointments, sardine oil, bonfire ash, menthol gum and saline minerality. Comments: One of the great distillates of planet Earth! Check it out if you’re ever visiting. I adore Hampden and this one is no exception.
SGP: 662 - 92 points.
 

 

That Hampden kind of put the brakes on this session. But more rum from me soon(ish)...  

 

 

August 18, 2018


Whiskyfun

 

 

 

Angus's Corner
From our casual Scottish correspondent
and guest taster Angus MacRaild
Angus  
Scapa in triplicate
Scapa is a bit of a bewildering distillery in my book. It seems to me that, if you are blessed with a distillery somewhere as incredible as Orkney, you might as well make the effort to make a characterful distillate that befits its origins. However, I tend to find many contemporary examples a tad ‘flat’. Now, as we’ll discover today, older examples can be pretty spectacular...

 

Scapa 2001/2014 (43%, Gordon & MacPhail, Ship Label) Scapa 2001/2014 (43%, Gordon & MacPhail, Ship Label)
Colour: White wine. Nose: A curious combination of grass and mustard seed with vanilla and some green apple behind it. A splash of limoncello, some white flowers and a little mineral edge as well. Quite pleasant. Moves towards marc de gewurtz and hints of lychee after a while. Mouth: surprisingly dry and malty. A dusty kind of maltiness, floury grist, some chiselled chenin, lemon rind, a little olive oil and some yellow flowers and ripe plums.  Still surprisingly good I feel - I’m not really that excited by Scapa these days generally. Continues with more crisp cereals, some violets and a spoonful of salty porridge. Finish: medium length and full of fresh malt, lemon barley water and cider apple peelings. Comments: I find this a surprisingly quaffable and characterful Scapa, it has something of the sea about it at times which I always find I crave in Scapa but so rarely encounter. I certainly enjoy this purer style than most of the official oak-doped bottlings these days. If ever there was a distillery which should be better...
SGP: 551 - 86 points.
 

 

Scapa 28 yo 1977/2006 (59.4%, Duncan Taylor, cask #2832, 186 bottles)

Scapa 28 yo 1977/2006 (59.4%, Duncan Taylor, cask #2832, 186 bottles)
Colour: pale gold. Nose: good! Salted caramel, again this suggestion of aged chenin, some honey, pollen and aged mead. Develops a nicely heathery and floral aspect as well. Some sweet plum wine, oatcakes, orange blossom and sweetened mascarpone. All very lovely but perhaps lacking a sense of definition. With water: lime boiled sweeties, barley sugar and quite a few lemony notes such as curds and lemon drizzle icing. Mouth: there’s more honey and plenty perfectly nice fresh cereals, some buttery toast, more mead, a hint of vegetable stock and a rather good heathery quality but it also still feels slightly flat and kind of ‘mono’. There’s even a touch of cardboard about it I find. A wee nibble of white pepper. With water: geraniums and other flowers, some vase water, carbon paper, ointments, tea tree oil and a lick of soot. Perhaps some cornflour and a little vanilla as well. Finish: The length is moderate and perfectly fine but again it’s a little flat. Some brown bread and custardy notes. Comments: I always want to like Scapa which makes scoring some of these older ones rather tough, especially when, like this one, they can be a tad ‘MOTR’. Still, it’s a perfectly drinkable old drop, it just lacks the necessary character and oomph.
SGP: 541 - 82 points.

 

 

Scapa 1958/1985 (46%, Samaroli, 180 bottles) Scapa 1958/1985 (46%, Samaroli, 180 bottles)
I think it’s safe to say that this one is - to borrow an expression from our New York friends - a ‘unicorn’. Colour: Gold. Nose: A plunge pool full of honeys, nectars, pollens, polished hardwoods, waxes, fruit syrups, sea air, yellow Chartreuse, old mead, nutmeg, almond oil, wood resins, old earthen floor wine cellars and some very old Sauternes (let’s say 1900). The kind of nose you could write a novel about. It keeps evolving and changing and developing and constantly throwing up endless tertiary complexities. Just totally stunning. The way it veers between delicate peat, coastal aspects and waxier more resinous and fruit characteristics is the very definition of compelling in malt whisky. Mouth: an astonishing cocktail of saline peats, pure citrus fruit rinds, waxes, hardwood resins and then all these kinds of yellow wild flowers, sunflower seeds, toasted cereals and light autolytic, bready notes. There’s mushroom powder, sea air, umami paste, dried mango and pineapple syrup. I feel we should simply relent and fall back on the anti-maltoporn brigade... Finish: Endless; honeyed; menthol; coastal; sticky with wax; stunning! Comments: It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise, these kinds of bottlings by the late Silvano S Samaroli were so often liquid poetry such as this. There is a 52% version bottled at the same time that is the same whisky bottled at 46% and full strength. Anyone who doubts the more visionary aspects of Samaroli’s attitude to bottling whisky and thinks of him as just a guy ‘there at the right time’ should bear in mind these kinds of details.
SGP: 762 - 95 points.
 

 

 

August 17, 2018


Whiskyfun

Two little Dalmore

Sadly, it looks like the source of indie Dalmores is exhausted, as we haven’t got any left in WF’s sample library. Maybe it’s us, not having been careful enough. Anyway, there’s a newish official NAS+Port version (‘arf) but let’s start this with a newer well-known 12, which we follow almost every year.

Dalmore 12 yo (40%, OB, +/-2018)

Dalmore 12 yo (40%, OB, +/-2018) Three stars and a half
I liked the 12 last year (WF 81). I usually find Dalmore’s distillate sumptuous, it’s just that it’s sometimes buried under tons of… ach, how shall we put this… under some thick stuff, shall we say. Colour: gold. Nose: caramel, chestnut purée, fudge, raisins, a wee touch of eucalyptus, roasted peanuts, gingerbread, nonnettes (that’s a wonderful specialty, it’s some kind of glazed gingerbread filled with honeyed marmalade). Mouth: I’ll tell you what, I really enjoy this, and they may well have further improved the recipe. Honey cake, chocolate, Cointreau, orange jam (not quite marmalade), Ovaltine, cinnamon rolls, brownies… What’s really striking is that it never feels weak or even lightish, despite the low strength. Finish: medium, very chocolaty. Wonderful nutty dryness that, indeed, hints at proper oloroso. Comments: up three points within one year, there! Never underestimate Dalmore, just avoid about their hyper-hyperbolic marketing flannel. It is a great whisky.
SGP:551 - 84 points.

Dalmore ‘Port Wood Reserve’ (46.5%, OB, +/-2018)

Dalmore ‘Port Wood Reserve’ (46.5%, OB, +/-2018) Two stars and a half
I know, that’s scary. No age and a finishing in red wine… Because as you know, sherry’s white while Port, unless white, is red (well said, S., top form I see!) But you never know… Colour: golden with apricoty hues (trying my best). Nose: used matches and brake pads after the Nürburgring, as I sometimes say. Earth, mud, black currants, leather, green peppercorns, cloves, big black currants (Smyrna). Warm praline and caramel and toffee. Actually, it’s okay, but way behind the 12 at this poiunt. Mouth: I don’t know. Liquorice, cardboard, cloves, burnt rosemary, bitter chocolate, and a wee bit of brined anchovy. More burnt matches as well, more bitter chocolate… What’s nicer is that there aren’t any big notes red wine. Love red wine, but not in my whisky. Finish: a bit vague and loose. Caramel, chocolate and raspberry liqueur. The matches are still there. Comments: not ‘bad’, of course, but let’s pass on this one, if you don’t mind. A bottle of 12 over a case of this anytime.
SGP:361 - 77 points.

As I said, no indie in sight, sob sob sob… I'll also add that my relatively low score for the little Port Wood has nothing to do with the news of owners Whyte & Mackay's very recent, and pretty ungracious move at Invergordon Distillery. The rather sad story's there.

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

 

August 15, 2018


Whiskyfun

Two ex-bourbon Aberlour

Always a joy to taste Aberlour, it’s one of the most fantastic fruity distillates there are, sadly you won’t find many different expressions and the indies don’t seem to have much. Which, in my opinion, cannot be too good for any brand’s notoriety…

Aberlour 14 yo (50.2%, OB for The Whisky Lodge, Edition N°3, 1st fill bourbon, cask #36573, 179 bottles, 2017)

Aberlour 14 yo (50.2%, OB for The Whisky Lodge, Edition N°3, 1st fill bourbon, cask #36573, 179 bottles, 2017) Four stars and a half
The Whisky Lodge is a great shop in Lyon/Lyons, do not miss it next time you’re cruising along River Rhone. Colour: white wine. Nose: ah yes, Aberlour’s sublime waxy fruitiness that would blend apples, pears and peaches with, well, wax. Candlewax, beeswax, then honey and a touch of brioche dough… Everything’s just perfect. No, not all Speysider always need sherry. With water: chalk and clay! Mouth (neat): terrific clear/clean and yet wide fruitiness, with crushed bananas, apples, pears, white cherries, and always this beeswax. Notes of blood oranges emerging after ten seconds, which cannot be bad. With water: it gets even creamier, almost fat, with touches of melon liqueur and manzana verde, while the chalky and waxy backbone keeps it elegant and simply straight. Finish: medium, perfect, on waxy fruits (nutshell). Comments: many Aberlours have seen a lot of sherry, that’s why such ex-bourbon versions are so crucial if you’d like to get to the distillate’s truest taste. Perhaps rather less active indeed.
SGP:551 - 89 points.

Aberlour 21 yo (59.8%, Which, Architecture of Taste, bourbon hogshead, 2018)

Aberlour 21 yo (59.8%, Whic, Architecture of Taste, bourbon hogshead, 2018) Four stars and a half
Colour: straw. Nose: quite curiously, this baby’s both older and a tad rougher than the OB, but I suppose the cask had been rather less active. Some wonderful whiffs of ripe melons, honeysuckle, elderberry flowers, quinces, and then a slightly yeasty minerality. Limestone after a rain. Funny hints of rum as well, this is actually a little cane-y. With water: bread, dough, ales, mullein, elderberry flowers again, fresh pollen… Mouth (neat): splendid half-honeyed, half-citrusy arrival, with then a little tobacco, touches of nutmeg and cinnamon, and several dried tropical fruits. Sliced coconut and pineapples, for instance. With water: the fresh fruit are having the upper hand again. Rather gooseberries, rhubarb, perhaps a little fresh oak… Finish: medium, and really very rhubarby (apologies). We’re talking stewed rhubarb. Comments: folks could die before they’ve agreed on which Aberlour was the best today. What’s sure is that it’ hard to beat a proper ex-bourbon Aberlour, and I remember, around fifteen years ago, when you could choose between bourbon and sherry when filling your own bottle at the distillery. Those who had chosen bourbon were the true winners (that’ll teach you pal)…
SGP:551 - 89 points.

Really impressed with those little Aberlours!
(Merci Fabien)

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


August 2018 - part 1 <--- August 2018 - part 2 ---> September 2018 - part 1


 

 

Best spirits Serge tried those weeks, 90+ points only

Mortlach 31 yo 1987/2018 (54%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseurs Choice, refill sherry hogshead, cask #425, 200 bottles)

Port Charlotte 15 yo 2002/2018 (60.2%, Whisky Broker for Spirit of Islay, refill sherry hogshead, cask #1161, 254 bottles)

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 
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