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November 2011 - part 2 <--- December 2011 - part 1 ---> December 2011 - part 2


December 14, 2011


Tasting a few light ones

Blair Athol

Blair Athol 10 yo (40%, Douglas Laing for Fortnum and Mason, +/-2010) Two stars Fortnum and Mason is a famous department store in London. Fairly posh therefore usually infested with tourists (including yours truly). Colour: straw. Nose: light and porridgy, with hints of ripe bananas and gooseberries. Not unpleasant but rather mundane. Also some grass and metallic touches. Mouth: light, slightly toasted, growing on liquorice (rolls) and malt. Ovaltine and apple juice. Again, not bad but not much happening. Finish: short, on more apple juice and liquorice. Comments: an okayish, harmless dram, pretty narrow aromatically. Exactly our definition of a 75-points whisky. SGP:441 - 75 points.


Mannochmore 1991/2011 (46%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseur's Choice, refill sherry butts) Two stars and a half Colour: white wine. Nose: we’re not far from the Blair Athol in style. Very close, actually, with the same kinds of notes of malt and toasted bread, porridge, gooseberries, leaven custard… What’s nice is that there’s also a slight sherriness in the background, with whiffs of freshly squeezed oranges and even something faintly musky. Very porridgy globally. Mouth: sweet malt, barley, liquorice and a little marmalade, possibly from the sherry. More oomph than in the Blair Athol. Something slightly drying, cardboardy. White pepper and cinnamon. Finish: fairly short, but with more oranges and pepper. Peppery and yogurty aftertaste. Comments: I quite like it but it’s very ‘middle-of-the-road’ in my opinion, although it’s rather more interesting the Blair Athol. SGP:441 - 78 points.


Balmenach 18 yo (43%, The Maltman, +/-2011) Two stars and a half A no-vintage version by a ‘new’ bottler. Colour: straw. Nose: and yet again a similar profile, very close to the barley (and yeast and water ;-)) Apple juice, porridge, muesli and toasted bread. And maybe oranges yet again. Mouth: a tad creamier than the others, with a little more happening and a slightly superior zestiness. Tea, cinnamon, pepper, apple pie and a little lemon crème. Fairly pleasant, I’d say. Finish: medium, on more or less the same flavours. Liquorice. Tea-ish aftertaste. Comments: another malt that’s a bit in blended territories, that is to say maybe a tad indefinite (I’m not talking about high-end blends for whisky freaks!) Having said that, I’ve got other whiskies by The Maltman and some are really good in my view – stayed tuned! SGP:441 - 79 points.

Isawa 10

Isawa 10 yo (43%, OB, Japan, +/-2011) one star and a half Isawa is a single malt made by the Monde Shuzo distillery, in Fuefuki. It's rarely seen in Europe - well, it's the first time I've seen any. Colour: gold. Nose: it’s very ‘world’, whatever that means. Well, that means it’s neither Scottish/Irish/Japanese, nor bourbony. A fruity profile that reminds me of several European attempts, with a very porridgy/yeasty style and a sweetness that’s more akin to ginger ale. Mouth: starts rather cardboardy and very tea-ish, with more ginger and even cardamom in the background. Paprika, cinnamon, sweet and sour sauce (dim-sum stuff)… Very odd but not repulsive. Finish: medium long, with even more dry spices. A very cardboardy aftertaste. Comments: I think it’s honest whisky but again, we’re far from well-known styles. SGP:232 - 69 points. Let’s try an older Isawa now, maybe it’ll be more to my liking?...

Isawa 83

Isawa 25 yo 1983 (43%, OB, Japan, +/-2009) Two stars Colour: gold. Nose: the style is the same as the 10’s but this is obviously more complex, and fruitier as well. Smells a bit like hops eau-de-vie, with very unusual notes of green bananas and date liqueur plus a little horseradish and English mustard. A lot of vanilla custard too, and cardamom yet again. Interesting nose, I’ve never nosed something like this. Mouth: starts on very funny notes of… burnt cardboard? Then more walnuts and these mustardy tones yet again, dry white pepper, some kind of tea (earl grey but not quite) and a little cocoa powder. Maybe even tapioca. Muscat grapes. Finish: medium, on more cardboard, ginger and sweet mustard. Comments: frankly, I don’t quite know what to think, I’m lacking references. Let’s score this strange baby ‘in a conservatory way’. SGP:442 - 75 points. All right, let’s try a last Japanese for today…


Karuizawa 17 yo (40%, OB, +/-2010) Three stars Will this official match the wonderful single casks that are hitting our shores since three or four years? Colour: gold. Nose: this is more ‘our style’ but frankly, I wouldn’t say there’s much happening. I get quite some cardboard and gunpowder, struck matches, raisins, orange marmalade and something that reminds me of tamarind jam, then more light honey and blood oranges. It’s quite becoming quite nice after the sulphury notes have vanished (or we got used to them) but it remains very light. Mouth: more happening, with more spices and jams. Sultanas and pepper, dark chocolate, liquorice, heavily sweetened black tea and maybe even prunes. This, is pleasant. Finish: medium long, a tad more grapy and raisiny. Liquorice in the aftertaste. Comments: it’s fairly good stuff, easily 80-material, but I think we’re far from the single casks that we know. SGP:432 - 81 points. All right, that’s enough light ones for today, let’s try something bigger and we’ll be finished. But let’s remain ‘world’… I think I have an idea…


Cradle Mountain 15 yo (57.9%, Cadenhead, Individual Cask, Jim Beam barrel, 186 bottles, 2011) Three stars and a half Just bottled, this comes from the ‘Small Concern Whisky Distillery’ in Tasmania. Colour: gold. Nose: coffee-schnapps! And bourbon, as the toasted American oak is very ‘loud and clear’. I think it’s another funny one, with these unusual eau-de-vie-ish notes (maybe kirsch? Slivovitz?) that sort of contradict the bourbon notes. Also whiffs of old rose perfume, musk and then grenadine. Yes, a lot of grenadine syrup! Mouth: very, very funny and, I must say, rather to my liking. Starts right on grenadine and golden syrup, then we have more pineapple liqueur and cranberry juice, while the American oak stays quieter than on the nose although there’s something pina-colada-ish. Ahem. Finish: long and sweet, fruity and frankly more tropical (coconut oil, pineapple). Comments: fun whisky! Well selected, Cadenhead! SGP:731 - 83 points.


SHORT RAMBLINGS (too long for Twitter! ;-))
Experimental whiskies?
The excellent John Hansell over at the Whisky Advocate Blog just posted about a new ‘Experimental’ whiskey and found it ‘unpleasant’, while some commentators added that that was no problem since it was ‘experimental’ anyway.

Well, I’m wondering, do we know of any other industry that would actually sell their experiments for a hefty price? Sure experimenting and innovating are great and even obligatory in any fields but usually, companies tend to check their experiments first and sometimes let panels and focus groups try their new stuff for free (well, THEY pay them) before launching them – or not. Frankly, I believe no company should try to sell just anything they make under the rather fallacious line: ‘we’ve tried this, what do you think?’ – sometimes while thinking they’re being very cleverly Web 2.1. And remember the famous ‘halo effect’ works both ways. Good call, John!


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December 13, 2011


Tasting that Port Ellen and another, younger one

So there’s this new official Port Ellen ‘11th Release’ that arose more buzz and online comments than the rarest Ardbegs. Some retailers have been suspected of having sold their allocations on eBay for twice the amount (so probably five to ten times their mark-ups), while others have been struggling to keep their customers happy – and probably failed. But is it any good? Is it really worth all the breath and megabytes? We’ll see but I’ve been thinking (hard) about the ‘set-up’ we’d use for this little tasting. Having other new PEs? Nah, too easy. Other OBs? I think we’ve already tried them all, more or less. Hold on, why not have a young PE instead? What better way of checking to which extend PE benefits from longer ageing? So let’s try to find a young one with a great reputation that we’ve never tried before… Such as this one…

Port Ellen

Port Ellen 1983/1997 (50%, Moon Import, Dovr-Toutes-Mares, 820 bottles) Five stars Approx fourteen years old, let’s say that’s young! Colour: white wine. Nose: well, this is pure smoked brine, and yet it’s absolutely wonderful, well in the style of some well-known young PEs such as the ‘Scottish Wildlife’ 10yo. Ashes, soot, anchovies in salt, kippers, hessian, tarry ropes, oysters, grandma’s old coal stove (!), green olives, wet clothes… A beautiful sharpy yet profound profile. With water: we’re gearing towards wet dogs (apologies, dogs) and natural wool plus more shellfish (I’m sorry, sh… not!) Say clams and whelks. Whatever. Also clay and chalk. Mouth (neat): bang, riesling, pure smoked riesling from the best terroirs. Hydrocarbons, flints, litres of lemon juice, brine, oysters, more lemon juice… An immense zestiness here, fabulous. With water: double-whammy. Intense, lemony peat. Not much else at this point, but that’s more than enough. Finish: long, clean, tarry and salty. May I write ‘salmiaky’? A little candy sugar in the aftertaste. Comments: absolutely fantastic despite the (very) relative lack of complexity on the palate. The good people at Moon Import used to know how to select a few whisky casks. SGP:458 - 93 points.

Port Ellen

Port Ellen 32 yo 1978/2011 (53.9%, OB, 11th Release, 2988 bottles) Five stars Will this be anywhere near last year’s stunning 10th release, that was already a 1978? (WF 95). Colour: gold. Nose: well, I don’t want to shower praise on myself but I think it was a good idea to have this baby after a youngster, because this is so different yet so close. I mean, the background is more or less the same despite the different vintages, but this is much more polished, rounded and complex. Starts with a lot of fresh walnuts, almonds, apples and butter as well as some cigar smoke, and develops on fresh ink and paint, coal stove (yep, grandma’s), shellfish, motor oil and leather polish. The peatiness is starting to fade away, which was already happening with the 10th release, but I think that brought a bigger complexity to the whole.

With water: pure brine and seawater, which was a little unexpected. We’re so close to the Moon (Import) now, it’s as if water took 15 years away. Funny and brilliant. Maybe a little sootier, in fact. Mouth (neat): yahh! Frankly, it’s still a beast on the palate, and the peat is much more vivid than on the nose. Greatly acrid, very ashy, kippery (yeah I know) and lemony, with in the background, fabulous notes of marzipan, olive oil, pine sap and putty. What strikes me is the way it becomes more citrusy after that, not just on lemon but also on tangerines and even kumquats and bergamots. With water: like smoking the best early Cohibas. Quite ashy indeed – and there are many other flavours. Finish: long, with a fab sweet and sour and ashy profile that, again, usually rather belongs to the wine world in my opinion. Great briny/almondy aftertaste, rather smooth. Comments: fab and look, we don’t do halves so we shall keep the same score as last year, even if I think we might well be a wee tad lower in fact. Just a iny-wee tad... (last year's was maybe a minuscule notch more complex.) I also liked the fruitiness that starts to come out – taking the place of peat? SGP:467 - 95 points. (and now, this to the pure speculators who don’t really care about whisky: please *** off! ;-))

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December 12, 2011


Downing the unknown peaters

You know them, the undisclosed peated malts. There are more and more of them around, some are undisclosed single malts, others are vattings and all are usually interesting and very fairly priced. Well, they should be. Let’s try a few of them today…

Cask Islay Vatting #1 (46%, AD Rattray, +/- 2011) Three stars and a half Colour: white wine. Nose: very young, very sweet peat with a big Laphroaigness in my opinion – but don’t worry, we won’t be playing the guessing game for long. Soot and antiseptic on a bed of damp barley and other grains plus touches of barley sugar and sweetened apple juice. Simple, nice and fresh. Mouth: ultra-sweet young peat. Apple juice and kippers, brine, pears and corn syrup. This could be only 4 or 5 years of age in my opinion. Finish: medium long, on an easy, sweet peat. Comments: the simplest expression of a peated Islayer, which is already quite a lot when there’s no flaws whatsoever. SGP:648 - 83 points.
Breath of Islay 12yo 1999/2011 (56.1%, Adelphi, cask #5877, 329 bottles) Four stars and a half A single cask so a single distillery I guess. Colour: gold. Nose: a much rounder and more mature whisky, with more fudge, vanilla and caramel plus a coastal profile. Oysters, seaweed, grass and then mint and clay… Mouth: rich, nervous, flinty, developing on huge notes of kippers. What an extreme kipperiness! ;-) Unusual and very good. Finish: long, with anchovies on top of the kippers. Also some fructose, icing sugar… Comments: superb whisky. See, you don’t need a name – but it’s true that Adelphi’s already quite a name! SGP:457 - 89 points.
Big Peat (57.8%, Douglas Laing, +/- 2011) Four stars There’s been many batches since I first tried this humorous bottling two or three years ago. That one was fab (WF 88), but it was bottled at 46% while this is at cask strength. It’s a vatting of Ardbeg, Caol Ila, Bowmore and Port Ellen. Colour: white wine. Nose: maybe it’s a tad younger than the first release, as this doesn’t nose ‘old’ at all, and probably not even totally mature, but the profile is quite perfect, with a complex smoke and a very appealing combination of medicinal and tarry notes. Mouth: big, punchy, sweet, fruity yet very smoky attack. Smoked pineapple juice. Many tinned fruits, papayas… Also a little cranberry. All that with a massive, ashy peatiness. Finish: long, balanced. Big fruits, big peat. Very nice lemony signature. And maybe something pleasantly Haribo-ish. Comments: a sin of a little peat monster but I feel it’s much younger on average than earlier batches. SGP:557 - 86 points.
Smoking Islay 11 yo 2000/2011 (59.4%, Blackadder, Raw Cask, cask #BA2011/429, 278 bottles) Three stars and a half Colour: gold. Nose: rawer, drier, leafier, grassier and consequently much less fruity than the previous ones. Notes of pencil shavings, then pure grass and kelp as well as loads of ashes. Mouth: sweeter this time but these notes of fresh oak, plank and pencils make it very different and certainly less sexy than the others – despite funny notes of banana sweets in the background. Finish: long and brinier. Lemony aftertaste. Comments: maybe a little simple and the fresh oakiness came a tad unexpected but otherwise it’s a very, very fine peat monster, no doubt. SGP:357 - 84 points.
Let’s try a few older ‘bastard peaters’ while we’re at it…
Big Smoke
The Big Smoke ‘40’ (40%, Duncan Taylor, +/-2010) Three starsColour: pale white wine. Nose: easy, light, smoky whisky, with a nice presence and certainly no weakness. Between coastal notes and grapefruits, then fresh almonds and even touches of olives. More complex than I had thought. Mouth: light but not weak – although it tends to drop after a few seconds -, on brine, lemon juice, a little yeast or bread leaven and an ashy smokiness. Finish: medium, clean, smoky and salty. Comments: this is very, very all right and I’m sure it would go very well with smoked salmon or even caviar when chilled. Better than smoky vodka. SGP:346 - 80 points.
Peat Reek 'Islay Malt Whisky' (46%, Blackadder, hogshead, cask #BA302361, 440 bottles, +/- 2010) Four stars A single cask, obviously young. Colour: almost white. Nose: nice, easy, slightly honeyed peat. Then more apple juice and wet cloths. It’s fairly simple but it’s flawless. Mouth: easy, sweet, candied (and sugar cane), with excellent body. Vanilla and maple syrup plus a lot of peat, iodine, tar… Finish: long, clean, briny and peaty. Comments: sure it’s just another young peater, but it does what it says on the tin and in that sense it’s perfect whisky. SGP:447 - 85 points.
Big Peat (46%, Douglas Laing, +/- 2010) Four stars This is last year’s batch (or one of last year’s). Bottled at 46%. Colour: white wine. Nose: I think it’s a tad more complex and ‘wide’ than this year’s version, with added notes of fresh herbs and shellfish. Seaweed… Mouth: easy, rounded, fruity, briny and smoky, with good body and complexity. I think it’s rather less sweet and fruity then this year’s version. Finish: long, very briny. Comments: I think I like this one a notch better than the CS version despite – or maybe because of – the lower strength, but that’s not enough to give it a different scores. Unless I start to use halves… Not! ;-) SGP:457 - 86 points.
Finlaggan 'Old Reserve Cask Strength' (58%, Vintage Malt Whisky Company, +/-2008) Four stars and a half Single malt. It’s always been rumoured that Finlaggan came from an Islay distillery that started with an L and did not end with a G. Colour: straw. Nose: both closer to the grain and closer to garden fruits than all the other ones, and then rather sootier, with also whiffs of tarmac. More austere, more discreet and maybe also more elegant, in some way. Nice notes of fresh walnuts and almonds after a few minutes. Mouth: good, no medicinal notes here and rather little brine, rather more overripe apples, liquorice, leather and tobacco. A great feeling of fullness. Finish: long, ashy, smoky, with a lemony and salty signature. Comments: it’s definitely not impossible that this malt came from that distillery. One of the best bang for your buck peaters out there in my opinion (it’s very cheap!) SGP:447 - 88 points.
Smokehead 18 yo 'Extra Black' (46%, Ian McLeod, +/-2010) Five stars A single malt. The whisky world already lost itself in conjectures about what this one is. Some swear it starts with an A. Colour: gold. Nose: a polished, tarry peat, rather subtle and beautifully almondy and waxy. Goes on more on old oils, banana skins, apple peelings, hints of shoe polish and then a little camphor and Vicks. I think the origin is quite obvious on the nose. Mouth: perfect combination of a soft peat with several tropical fruits, papayas, guavas, bananas… then more plums and ripe apricots. On of the fruitiest ‘peat monsters’ out there – which makes it anything but a peat monster. In short, easy and rather delicious. Finish: medium long, extremely smooth and wonderfully balanced. Salty aftertaste. Interestingly liqueurish, in fact. Comments: I think it seems to remind me a bit of the old official Ardbeg 1978 but I haven’t had that once since a long time. So, there... Warning, it’s a very dangerous whisky for its’s so drinkable. SGP:547 - 90 points.
I think this is enough, my palate feels like an ashtray and I believe we won’t find any better ‘peated bastard’ anyway.

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December 11, 2011

Tasting a few raging youngsters


Deanston 'Finished In Virgin Oak' (46.3%, OB, +/- 2011) Two stars and a half Will this be just another woodsky? Colour: pale gold. Nose: well, the distillery’s very peculiar character still shines through, in the form of an immense plate of warm porridge sprinkled with vanilla custard and maybe a little yoghurt and Swiss cheese. Add a little grated ginger and touches of cardamom and it’s ready. Bon appétit! Mouth: less whacky and certainly influenced by the new oak, with some, well, oak as well as ginger and yet again these notes of porridge. Becomes grassier and globally drier over time. Quite some pepper and something a little sour in the background. Muesli this time? Finish: shortish, peppery and kind of ‘Indian’. Popadoms? A yeastiness and a tannicity in the aftertaste. Comments: unusual and kind of fun. SGP:461 - 79 points.


Tormore 14 yo 1996/2011 (46%, Mo Or collection, release #47) Four stars Tormore, another malt that we don’t see very often, do we? And another one from this crazily packaged new series… Colour: white wine. Nose: young malt whisky. I mean, really, this is young malt whisky without much fioritura – so to speak – and no flaws either. Porridge, tinned pineapples, apple juice, ale and maybe rhubarb. Mouth: good body and good feeling now, this palate being more complex than the nose. Very enjoyable fruity combo involving fresh oranges (big time!), tangerines, papayas and passion fruits. Quite a surprise, in fact, this is pretty excellent in my opinion. Even the spiciness behind is quite perfect, with a little nutmeg, white pepper, coriander, lemon balm… Finish: medium long but perfectly clean, fruity and nicely spicy. Blueberries? Comments: frankly, I think the nose had nothing special but the palate was perfect and reminded me of the best old Tormores for Dreher in Italy (white labels). Worth trying – but beware, it’s immensely moreish. SGP:631 - 86 points.

Glen Spey

Glen Spey 12 yo 1999/2011 (59.8%, Blackadder, Riverstown, cask #125, 298 bottles) Two stars and a half Ah, Glen Spey, there’s so few of them around. Only for that the bottlers deserve much praise. Colour: white wine. Nose: oh, but this is quite nice! Between the best white rums and tequilas, with only touches of custard and then a lot of barley sugar and corn syrup. It’s globally quite narrow but very pleasant. With water: even grassier, even more on white tequila and rum. A lot of hay and even whiffs of manure in the background. Mouth (neat): a punchy and spirity spirit, with notes of cherry liqueur and Turkish delights that make it very unusual. Super estery? I must say I quite like this even if we’re starting to be quite far from ‘Scotch’ and closer to ultra-premium vodka (right, sounds like an oxymoron). With water: same notes, plus something slightly cologny. Rosewater? Finish: medium long, spirity. Comments: this is extremely young. I wouldn’t say it’s great, but it’s extremely funny even if it’s quite newmaky. SGP:630 - 78 points.


Macduff 10 yo 2000/2011 (50%, Whisky-Doris, dark sherry butt) Three stars and a half Have you noticed that there are quite a lot of young sherried Macduffs around – and that many are excellent? Let’s check this new one… Colour: pale amber. Nose: a dry, very flinty kind of sherry, with whiffs of gunpowder, rocks and leather above some more delicate touches of marmalade and raspberry jam. Also whiffs of old wine cellar (say at Lafite ;-)) and then more parsley and lovage as well as something a little walnutty. Mouth: probably a little more… say strange, with these notes of sangria and mulled wine. Yes, both summer in Spain and Christmas in Germany. Then more classic sherriness but with youth’s unpolished oomph… and unexpected notes of Ricola. Do you know Ricola? Also a flintiness, more gunpowder… Finish: rather long, a notch fruitier, with these notes of mulled wine back in the aftertaste. Cloves. Comments: a tad rough but all good and not expensive. Maybe a little more roundness from more ageing would have further improved it? SGP:552 - 84 points.


Glenfarclas 2002/2011 (58%, OB, casks #1575-1576, 630 bottles) Four stars and a half With a rather funny ‘flamenco’ label that may be there to remind us that sherry comes from Spain (and not from Portugal like Gary Vaynerchuk said last time he tasted some Scotch. Hum.) Colour: mahogany. Nose: well, this is proof that whisky doesn’t obligatorily have to be old to be wonderful (a proposition that only feeble minds will translate into ‘age doesn’t matter’). Perfect combination of jams, teas and meaty/tertiary aromas that re more to be found in older sherry monsters in my experience. Also very nice whiffs of both balsamic and raspberry vinegars. With water: more on horse sweat and leather. Make that a saddle. Mouth (neat): rich and creamy, bold, with rather more honey than usual and some rare herbs. What could this be? Maybe wormwood… Also a rather big flintiness, almost a little fizzy. With water: it’s still not immensely complex but everything’s there and it’s perfectly half-sweet, half-dry. In short, balanced. Finish: long, with vinous touches. Capsicum? Comments: all very good at such young age. Well done Glenfarclas – it seems they’re not only kings of old Speyside. It is to be noted that unsurprisingly, this won the Best Sherry Cask Award (Daily Drams) at the MM Awards 2011. SGP:552 - 88 points.

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December 9, 2011


Tasting two 1974 Strathmill

Very, very (very) curious about these ones. Well, the ‘Swiss’ one was one of the stars of Whiskyschiff Zürich, as some Russian friends had rightly told me…


Strathmill 37 yo 1974/2011 (44.4%, The Perfect Dram for Whiskyschiff 2011 Zürich, bourbon) Four stars and a half Colour: gold. Nose: reeks a bit of new oak at first nosing, with quite some coconut and vanilla, but it’s soon to become perversely fruity (ahem), with pretty much everything of a fruit bomb. That includes bananas, pineapples, tangerines and papayas and then more chocolaty notes. Rather white chocolate in fact. Also a little honeydew and maybe ripe kiwis. It’s not complicated whisky and age doesn’t really show on the nose, but what it does it does it to perfection.  Mouth: a full blown fruit bomb indeed, with all the flavours that we already had in the nose and a vanilla that’s maybe a tad louder now. And maybe the coconut as well. I’m wondering if this hasn’t seen a little new oak in recent years. Anyway, it’s excellent. Finish: medium long, with a lot of tinned pineapple. Unexpectedly, there’s no bitterness or tea-ishness in the aftertaste whatsoever, just a little ginger. Tell me about a 37yo whisky. Comments: for lovers of fruit bombs exclusively. Count me in. SGP:751 - 89 points.


Strathmill 37 yo 1974/2011 (44.5%, Archives, Inaugural Release, Bourbon Hogshead, cask #1231, 180 bottles) Four stars and a half Colour: gold. Nose: as expected, this one is extremely close to the Perfect Dram, with maybe only a global profile that’s a wee bit more herbal and wee tad less fruity. Well, maybe I’m dreaming… And maybe they’ll diverge more on the palate. Mouth: hmm… Yes, they’re more different now. Less of a fresh fruit bomb, more towards earth and grass. I’m talking about nuances here, this is still very fruity! Maybe a little more citrusy as well, with some very pleasant tart notes. Finish: medium long, citrusy and herbal. A rather grassy aftertaste, with also some green tea. And lime? Comments: very excellent again, maybe just a notch less spectacular than it’s sibling (and quite obvious sister cask). On the other hand, it’s maybe a wee bit more complex… Hum… Very slight differences between the two. Okay, let’s be lazy, same ratings. SGP:651 - 89 points.

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December 8, 2011

Tasting three young independent Auchentoshan

Ahchantoshan Hart

Auchentoshan 11 yo 1999/2010 (46%, Hart Brothers) Three stars and a half Colour: pale gold. Nose: fresh and fruity with something Irish, maybe from triple distillation. Touches of pineapples and apples, then something slightly rubbery and kirschy that one can find in some artisanal eaux-de-vies. Then more and more bubblegum. Relatively nice but I think we’re in rather humble territories here. Mouth: I like it better on the palate despite these unusual notes of… wait, could this be Red Bull? Then more pears and apple juice. Good body, good mouthfeel. Finish: rather long, very estery I’d say. A candy shop sensation. Comments: I had it below 80 but the pleasantly fruity palate lifted it to 80 in my book. Youthful spirit. SGP:641 - 80 points.

Auchentoshan 1999/2011 (57.9%, Malts of Scotland, sherry hogshead, cask #155, 175 bottles) Five stars Colour: amber. Nose: frankly, it’s the sherry that does all the talking here, and it’s a rather beautiful sherry, very pure and pretty much on all things roasted and tobacco-like. That means Havana tobacco, pipe tobacco, gunflints, leather and then rather kumquats and marmalade. Big, aromatic yet ‘chiselled’ sherry. The distillate? What distillate? ;-) With water: perfect, compact sherriness. Spectacularly nice. Mouth (neat): a sherry beast with something bourbony, which is a tad unlikely but it works. Notes of chewed pencil, then more Demerara sugar and rum as well quite some cinnamon. In the background: Seville oranges and a little leather. With water: more of the same, with a again a rather bourbony profile. Sazerac stuff from sherry casks? (yeah I know that’s not possible). Finish: long, clean, with just a slightly greenish/grassy touch in the aftertaste. Comments: I wouldn’t say this is a surprise – knowing the bottlers. Hell, it is. Bigger than Auchentoshan, I’d say. SGP:651 - 90 points.


Auchentoshan 12 yo 1998/2011 (62.9%, James MacArthur, Old Masters, Bourbon, cask #102338) Three stars and a half Colour: white wine. Nose: the least expressive of them three but that may come from the very high ABV. Then more and more bubblegum. Truckloads of bubblegum, Jell-O and fruit jams! With water: becomes purer and fresher, closer to the very pure and fruity distillate. Then a very pleasant earthiness, maybe from the cask. Mouth (neat): explosive icing sugar and lemon squash. Really powerful and mega-fruity, with very, very little oak influence. With water: same, just even fruitier, with touches of ginger in the background. Apples, papayas… Finish: short to medium, with a little apple peeling and cinnamon. A notch rubbery in the aftertaste. Comments: more than all right. An easy Auchentoshan but it needs water. SGP:631 - 81 points.

MUSIC - Recommended listening: who blended traditional Chinese music with blues and gospel at perfection? Of course it's Jon Jang and The Pan Asian Arkestra.This is called Butterfly Lovers Song and it was on their wonderful album 'Tiananmen!' (1994). Please buy Jon Jang's music.

Jon Jang

December 7, 2011


Tasting two new Brora

I think I’ve been exegeting prattling about Brora for long enough in the past, so without any ado, let’s simply try these new babies…

Brora 30

Brora 30 yo (52.9%, The Whisky Exchange, 2011) Five stars Colour: gold. Nose: it’s not one of thoses Broras that hit you right between the eyes, in fact it’s more akin to an old Caol Ila at first nosing, although this baby would be rather sootier and ‘straight smoky’. Then whiffs of burning hay, touches of manure (Brora’s trademark farmy side), and then hints of kumquats and grapefruits. Maybe ripe kiwis, vanilla custard. Surprisingly delicate and kind of gentlemanly, so to speak, without the yeasty side that could be found in some older indie 1981s, for example. With water: yes, camphor, lemon grass, eucalyptus, smoked tea and just distant whiffs of wet dogs (I’m sorry, dogs).

Mouth (neat): now it really screams ‘Brora!’ Wilder, farmier, peatier, with this slight acridness that’s so pleasant (to us Brora fans, at least). I’ve read it was ‘milder’, but I don’t think it really is. In fact it’s quite close to last year’s official 30 at this point. With water: the citrusy side comes out even more, together with some green tea, almonds and various herbs, while the smokiness got rather more discreet. Finish: long, on… Brora. I know, that was easy but it’s true. Slight saltiness, putty. Comments: lovable whisky, as expected. SGP:455 - 92 points.

Brora 32

Brora 32 yo (54,7%, OB, Special Release, 1500 bottles, 2011) Five stars From refill both American and European oak casks. I’m trying this new baby with last year’s 30yo on the side (WF 91). Colour: gold. Nose: starts a bit like the TWE, sooty and ashy, but develops into another direction, with much less fruits and much more smoke, coal, bonfire and more mineral ‘things’. It’s more austere, in fact, without being very, very big either. It’s also a tad more medicinal (camphor, antiseptic). After a few minutes: some white fruits, peaches… Then eucalyptus… And wait, there, some menthol… And there, a little game, and a little petrol, flints… Truly a movie-malt (as opposed to picture-malts, I’m sure you get my drift). What’s sure is that it’s more complex than last year’s 30. With water: fab development, very complex, long, on all kinds of herbs, minerals and oils. Plasticine. Now it’s all rather subtle (the TWE was a tad more talkative at this point).

Mouth (neat): bang bang. Strong, peaty, farmy, wonderfully pungent and acrid, with a 1972-ness in the background. Pine sap, ashes, tar, liquorice… Then the kind of citrus fruits that one can only find in old peat monsters, rather between lemon and passion fruits (without being any of those), with a global profile that really starts to resemble last year’s 30 now, but with some extra-depth. With water: magnificently austere and sharp, extraordinarily compact, the best use of water. Please call the anti-maltoporn brigade. Finish: long, dry, peaty and a little peppery ala Talisker. Comments: rather more oomph than in the already wonderful TWE, more towards 1972. Brora lovers will understand. But warning, this baby mustn’t be rushed, because it takes its time to unfold. And it’s definitely more complex than last year’s 30 – while it’s got something of the 22yo-1972s Rare Malts. Yes I just checked. Ahem, to think that I had wanted to write a short note for this one. SGP:467 - 94 points.

MUSIC - Recommended listening to match the Broras: something very different today, with Louis XIV's court composer Jean-Baptiste Lully and his pump. It's En vain j'ai respecte la celebre mémoire from his opéra Atys, here in a famous rendition by William Christie's Arts Florissants. Play it loud and then please buy Les Arts Florissants' music.

Arts Florissants

December 6, 2011


Tasting four new Cardhu

Cardhu? I think that name is a good example of how independent bottlers can put a distillery back onto the geeks’ map. I don’t think it was possible, ten years ago, to taste four different new Cardhus! And although Cardhu is a heavy seller in some markets, the name never really appealed to us aficionados but now that some excellent bottlers could put their hands on a few casks, I think the name’s getting really bigger among the, err, cognoscenti. Ahem, cough, cough… So let’s have a few today, two officials I had never even heard of before, and then two new indie single casks. Of course the idea isn’t to compare them, they’re probably rather incomparable ;-).


Cardhu 15 yo (40%, OB, +/-2011) Two stars and a half As I suggested, the 12 is well known, but the 15? Colour: full gold. Nose: frankly, this smells like a good blend. Rather light, a little malty, a little earthy, a little honeyed, a little toasted/roasted and even a little smoky. And I quite like these notes of roasted pecans and fresh putty. It’s all very light but, as they say, it’s quite ‘pleasant’. Mouth: light but, again, ‘pleasant’. Orange and honey cake, a little gingerbread, earl grey tea, roasted nuts, Ovaltine (aka Ovomaltine in France) and just hints of sweet beer. Again, it’s rather ‘blendish’ than ‘malty’ but it’s perfectly honest whisky in my opinion. Finish: short but very clean and even fresh, on sweet gingerbread. Touches of cloves in the aftertaste. Comments: my definition of a 78 points whisky. ‘Good, loyal stuff but not very interesting’. SGP:431 - 78 points.


Cardhu 18 yo (40%, OB, +/-2011) Three stars and a half Colour: full gold. Nose: other territories here, there’s much more happening, and much more individuality, although it is light whisky again on the nose. Starts with notes of Cointreau and vanilla cream, develops more on floral notes (orange blossom) and keeps going on with a little coffee, fudge and toffee. Much more aromatic globally than the 15. Mouth: again, this baby has nothing to do with the 15 (and all the more the 12). Good body and appealing malty/honeyed sweetness, with a development on orange cake and liquorice and a faint earthiness that brings it more complexity. Some black tea as well. Finish: short to medium, clean, with more caramel and herbal teas. Aniseed? The aftertaste is rather peppery. Comments: I wouldn’t say this is a surprise but it’s certainly my favourite recent official Cardhu. SGP:551 - 83 points.


Cardhu 25 yo 1986/2011 (54.8%, Duncan Taylor, cask #789, 202 bottles) Four stars Colour: white wine. Nose: absolutely nothing to do with the OBs as this is almost naked, without any ‘roasted’ oak, vanilla or honey (or caramel). In fact, it’s very grassy malt whisky, with also quite some waxy, mineral and even phenolic notes that rather remind us of some wild yet austere old-skool Highlanders. Interesting! With water: maybe the relative lack of maturation shows more now, even if these notes of pears, plums and apples are very nice. In fact, it got much fruitier but maybe a notch simpler at the same time. Mouth (neat): rather hot and even spirity, eau-de-vie-ish, kirschy, raw… Almost as if it was distilled yesterday. Right, the day before yesterday. Now, the fact is that it’s rather beautiful ‘young’ spirit, especially if, like me, you like mirabelle, quetsche, or even this Swiss plum eau-de-vie called damassine (my MM compadre Patrick is THE specialist of damassine!) With water: a big, very sweet maltiness. Truckloads of barley sugar, orgeat and maple syrup and then all these rather beautiful eau-de-vie-ish notes yet again. Finish: medium long, all on garden fruits and the spirits made thereof. Comments: this naked (or ‘natural’) Cardhu is really worth tasting. Very high quality distillate – now, it tastes much younger than 25 in my view. SGP:641 - 86 points.


Cardhu 27 yo 1984/2011 (52,6%, The Whisky Agency, bourbon, 199 bottles) Five stars Colour: pale gold. Nose: oh no, they did it again. More vanilla and more oak, but the waxy and mineral profile shines through again, together with bags of overripe apples, lemon marmalade, tobacco and grass. Lovely (if you like this style). With water: superb, more mineral, more waxy, more earthy, more citrusy, more herbal… Superb nose. Mouth (neat): perfect. Full, assertive, compact, fruity but not too much, with these touches of mint and liquorice and then citrons, grapefruits, bitter almonds and this waxiness again. With water: little changes this time. Maybe hints of white rum? Finish: long and rather grassy now. Agave? An unexpected peaty smokiness in the aftertaste (well, ideas of a peatiness). Comments: all very good. I mean, my kind. Not very far from the 1986 in style but with more maturity and more fullness. SGP:562 - 90 points.

MUSIC - Recommended listening: a double wow today with two WF favourites, Archie Shepp and Abdullah Ibrahim (here under his former name, Dollar Brand). It's called Ubu-Suku and it's on their album 'Duet' (1978). Unbeatable if you ask me. Please buy all of these wonderful musicians' music.

Shepp Ibrahim

December 5, 2011


Tasting two new middle-aged
Highland Park


Highland Park 1987/2011 (43%, The MacPhail's Collection) Three stars and a half Should we call this a ‘budget’ series? Colour: white wine. Nose: it’s one of these ‘natural’ HPs, most probably from refill hogsheads. So it’s rather mineral and waxy, with a moderate smokiness in the background and whiffs of both heater honey and garden fruits, mainly apples and gooseberries. Also touches of graphite oil. The whole is pleasingly light and rather elegant. Mouth: starts a little dry and then rather citrusy, with also quite some cinnamon. Some tea as well, more cinnamon, touches of nutmeg… And then more pepper. It’s no sweet HP, the dry oak being rather louder on the palate than on the nose. Good body at 43%. Finish: medium long, a little drying and grassy but with some very nice notes of lemon and even a little salt in the aftertaste. A little mint as well. Comments: a fairly delicate HP, with little sherry that I can feel. SGP:341 – 84 points.


Highland Park 22 yo (46%, OB for The Hotel Waldhaus am See, St. Moritz, 250 bottles, 2011) Five stars A very minimal label on this brand new OB for the famous Swiss hotel, let’s hope it’s big whisky. Colour: full gold. Nose: more oomph than in the G&M, not only because of the higher ABV. In fact, it’s very beautiful and very ‘old HP’, rather in the style of the old dumpy bottles that used to bear those strange round black labels. Yes, that says a lot (thanks Angus). Beautiful smoke, honeydew, oranges, oriental pastries, pinesap, eucalyptus, ripe plums, roasted pecans… All very great, rather in the style of the latest official 25 after a few minutes. Mouth: big, rich, creamy yet nervous, very honeyed, spicy, fruity, coastal, smoky… In short, pretty perfect. Seville oranges, salted fudge, liquorice, touches of kippers, cough syrup, figs, cloves… I don’t know, this tastes like a perfect Christmas malt. Finish: long, smoky, citrusy and honeyed. Quite some peat in the aftertaste. Comments: brilliant, too bad it’s quite expensive at 289 Swiss francs (around 230 Euros I think). Otherwise it would have been a genuine Christmas malt indeed. SGP:653 - 92 points.

HP 33

BONUS: and older recent HP.
Highland Park 33 yo 1978/2011 (55.7%, Douglas Laing, Old & Rare, sherry butt, 207 bottles) Four stars Colour: gold. Nose: we’re somewhere between both worlds here, with both the grassy smokiness that one can find in some independent HPs and the roundness and honeyness that’s more to be found in the OBs. There’s also a roasted side (toasted bread, grilled herbs), quite some dark chocolate, some menthol and then a slightly rough combination of hay and grains, with touches of rubber and leather from the butt. A little beeswax as well. With water: the rubber and the hay come out more. Mouth: big, rich and nervous, very citrusy and chocolaty, with touches of salt and then a rather fizzy spiciness (pepper, ginger). With water: softer, with more bitter oranges and toffee. Finish: medium long, rather honeyed, with that greenness remaining in the aftertaste, together with some orange marmalade. Comments: this baby had a bit of trouble after the splendid 22yo OB but anyway, it’s excellent old Highland Park for sure. SGP:562 - 87 points.

MUSIC - Recommended listening: what could be more approoriate than a good slice of funk soul by The Haggis Horns (yes babe!) It's called Way Of The Haggis (LOL!) and it's on their album 'Keep On Movin'. Please buy The Haggis Horns' music...

Haggis Horns

December 4, 2011

Tasting Springbank 21 yo, old vs. new

So we have a new Springbank 21! I’d have liked to try it along with the previous version of the 21 but sadly and to my shame, I’ve only got the older 21 ‘black ceramic’ at hand.


Springbank 21 yo (43%, OB, ceramic jug, early 1990s) Four stars A well known bottling that, I think, can still be found in some shops in Scotland, maybe because some of us whisky lovers are a bit wary about ceramics and accelerated evaporation. It’s true that it’s not always easy to vigorously shake an old bottle in front of a shopkeeper just to check the way it sings ‘glug-glug’. Colour: full gold. Nose: well, it hasn’t lost anything it seems as it’s rather aromatic and probably more honeyed/candied than other 21s at first nosing. Nectar, dandelions… Even quite kumquatty. What’s quite beautiful is the way it develops, all on blond tobacco, dates and a fairly big smokiness. Charcoal? Also a little pine sap in the background, wax, putty… Nutshell: it’s rather big whisky even if it’s no real ‘springbang’!

Mouth: a smooth, honeyed attack, with bags of sultanas. And I mean bags! Over all those raisiny notes, a little mint and liquorice and the most delicate smokiness. Too bad it tends to drop quite sharply after just a few seconds, becoming a little dryish and even cardboardy. Lacks oomph. Finish: short and rather dry, with only a few raisiny echoes. Comments: the nose was beautiful and even magnificent at times, but the palate was a little tired in my opinion. The ceramic effect? But hey, what a nose! Beautiful enough to warrant 85 points in my book. SGP:531 - 85 points.


Springbank 21 yo (46%?, OB, 2011) Four stars and a half So this is the brand new one and I’m not even 100% sure about the ABV. It seems it’s from a combination of sherry and bourbon casks. I have no picture yet so I just put a portrait of a famous Scotsman instead ;-). Colour: light amber. Nose: at first sniffing, it’s kind of rougher and much less polished than the old one, with a sherry that’s more vinous and more at the front. That suggests that the sherry proportions are high. Underneath that sherriness, Springbank’s ‘modern’ profile, with whiffs of farmyard, paraffin, motor oil, brine, ashes, putty and just touches of ginger tonic. After a few minutes, more bacon and balsamic vinegar as well as notes of old books, a faint mustiness (not unpleasant at all) and then more and more menthol. A long development for sure, which is always great news.

Mouth: starts rich, nervous, sherried and slightly gingery. Again, it’s a rather vinous sherriness, with blackcurrants (both fruits and leaves/buds) and then fairly grassy notes. The smokiness is quite big as well, and so are the farmy notes. And leather, liquorice stick, cinnamon, ginger… Finish: medium long, grassy and leathery. The blackcurrant leaves (or rather the tea made thereof) are back in the aftertaste. Comments: a rather wild one, maybe for your hipflask rather than for your lounge. Some kind of statement? SGP:462 - 89 points.

MUSIC - Recommended listening: some old greasy French rock and roll - and Keith-Richardsian guitars - today, with Jacques Higelin and his Fais-moi l'amour (on 1975's LP 'Irradié'). Please buy Higelin's music.


December 2, 2011

Another mixed bag of young peaters


Talisker 10 yo (45.8%, OB, +/- 2011) Five stars I think it’s been two years since I last tasted this popular malt. Let’s see… Colour: gold. Nose: yeah well, it’s simply great whisky, with this peatiness that’s less ‘in your face’ than others and yet it’s big and assertive whisky. Soot, ashes, smoke, brine and seaweed, that’s what’s on the menu. Wherever they mature this, it’s definitely coastal. Mouth: excellent, nervous, ashy, smoky and very briny, with a citrusy background that, well, puts everything sort of straight. A malt that’s both unsexy and desirable. Do you understand what I’m trying to say? Finish: medium long but very compact, very precise, chiselled… Lovely. Perfect lemony/salty aftertaste, with maybe a little less pepper than before. Comments: some punters dislike it because it’s so widely available but put this blind into any competition and you have a dangerous killer (which happened again at the MM Awards 2011). One of the very, very best quality/price ratios out there in my opinion – unless you dislike peat, of course. I’d even score it one more point than 2009’s version. SGP:466 - 90 points.


Ardmore 2003/2010 (56.2%, Whisky & Rhum, L'Esprit, Refill Bourbon, cask# 6487, 60 bottles) Three stars and a half A micro-bottling by a very nice whisky shop in the Breton city of Rennes, France. If you’re ever in the neighbourhood… Colour: pale gold. Nose: typical Ardmore, that is to say all on a combination of white fruits (mainly peaches) and soot and ashes. Granted, there’s still a little too much porridge and yeasty ‘stuff’ in the background (it’s very young!) but this profile is otherwise very pleasant if you’re seeking a peated alternative. With water: not much changes. Maybe more sweetness. Barley sugar? Mouth (neat): punchy, sweet peat with a lot of fructose, lemon juice and then more grass and maybe agave (tequila). All good. With water: same but with an even bigger feeling of ‘fullness’, not often to be found in such young babies. Finish: long and sweet and smoky. The sootiness is back in the aftertaste. Comments: it’s not grand whisky, it can’t be grand whisky, but the quality at such young age is pretty impressive. Bottling this was no infanticide! SGP:546 - 83 points.


Kilchoman ‘Spring Release 2011’ (46%, OB) Four stars Yes I know this is wintertime…  I’m behind, I’m behind! Colour: straw. Nose: I know this is stating the obvious but this youngster noses pretty mature. No wham-bam peat this time, no extreme profile, it’s rather a subtle (well relatively so) combination of brine and coal and peat ashes. Also beach sand, fisherman’s boat, fish market, then touches of cough syrup, eucalyptus… Relatively speaking, it’s rather more mature than the wee Ardmore that we just had. Mouth: it’s like eating a handful of peated barley. We’ve all been into kilns on Islay, and we’ve all crunched barley while there (while listening to wonderful stories – ahem). Well, this tastes exactly like that, plus maybe just a little lemon juice and quite some salt. It’s simple but the ‘naturalness’ is very pleasant. Finish: long and even brinier. I like the very ashy signature. Comments: I’ve heard this was very young, in that case it’s pretty tasteful youth, for once (please don’t tell my kids I wrote that). SGP:257 - 85 points.
Good, that called for another Kilchoman. I’ve got a few OBs yet to try but why not have an IB this time? Isn’t it the very first independent Kilchoman?


Kh1 (59.7%, Specialty Drinks, Elements of Islay, 2011)Four stars … okay, provided Kh1 means Kilchoman. Colour: straw. Nose: well well well, it’s more or less the official Spring Release that we just had, only at cask strength and with maybe even less sweetness. In other words, it’s ridden with ashy and sooty notes at first nosing, then with tankers of seawater. All that is a little narrow but beautifully compact. In short, maybe it does little, but it does it well. With water: added notes of ‘good’ plastic. Indeed there’s bad plastic in my opinion (say supermarket bags) and good plastic (brand new car interior). Yes tasting whisky is very personal. Mouth (neat): we’re extremely close to the OB despite the higher strength that might only give it more tart notes. Exactly the same feeling as with the nose, doesn’t do much but does attain perfection. Maybe something faintly medicinal as well. Antiseptic? With water: but this is almost exactly the spring release! Finish: long, briny, smoky. We’re on Islay. Comments: stylish young whisky. How much would we pay to be able to taste a 25yo Kilchoman just now? SGP:257 - 86 points.

MUSIC - Recommended listening: what do we need today? Maybe the Mantra of Great Compassion... Please... Ahem...


December 1, 2011



Malt Maniacs Awards 2011
The results are out!

I wasn't on board as a taster this year (hectic times in Turckheim) but all I can say is that I agree 100% with the results. Great job guys, especially by our chief logistician Miiiiisteeeeer Keith Wood (and Sabine) plus Krishna, Davin and Johannes and all the tasters.
You can find all the results at Malt Maniacs.

Now, what didn’t surprise me at all was that the official ‘non-plus-ultra-ultra-premium-winner’ of the MM Awards 2011 is another old Glendronach, just like last year. Both disclosed and blind, these babies are almost always wonderful, only a few start to be a little, well, maybe a tiny-wee tad tired. Anyway, let’s try this winning winner to celebrate my MM compadres’ wonderful performance this year.

Glendronach 1972

Glendronach 39 yo 1972/2011 (49.9%, OB, Oloroso Sherry Butt, cask # 712, 466 bottles) Five stars Colour: mahogany. Nose: a wonderful profile, very much in line with last year’s winner, cask #700. Same kind of big yet subtle notes of peonies and roses, then raisins, raspberry ganache, ‘good’ gunpowder, old leather, praline, chocolate and then hints of cured ham and more and more prunes.

Quite masterly, maybe not utterly stunning but certainly very consensual. Typical winner of a 100% blind multitaster competition ;-). Mouth: it’s big and quite powerful drier than on the nose, rather more leathery and kind of smoky/mineral, becoming a little mentholated and liquoricy. Then we have the expected dried fruits, dates, raisins, prunes, then chocolate, peppermint. In short, classic. Finish: long, with the leather and the spices more obvious, as almost always. Quite some liquorice and chlorophyll in the aftertaste. Comments: as I said, a typical winner. Only anti-oloroso people may not like this in my opinion. SGP:552 - 91 points.

MUSIC - Recommended listening: Eddie Vaan Shaw Jr (son of the great, err, Eddie Shaw) playing and singing Mornin' Rain live (that's on his CD Ass Whoopin!!). Flying guitars... Please buy Eddie Vaan Shaw Jr's music, thanks.

Eddie Shaw

November 2011 - part 2 <--- December 2011 - part 1 ---> December 2011 - part 2

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



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

Auchentoshan 1999/2011 (57.9%, Malts of Scotland, sherry hogshead, cask #155, 175 bottles)

Brora 30 yo (52.9%, The Whisky Exchange, 2011)

Brora 32 yo (54,7%, OB, Special Release, 1500 bottles, 2011)

Cardhu 27 yo 1984/2011 (52,6%, The Whisky Agency, bourbon, 199 bottles)

Glendronach 39 yo 1972/2011 (49.9%, OB, Oloroso Sherry Butt, cask # 712, 466 bottles)

Highland Park 22 yo (46%, OB for The Hotel Waldhaus am See, St. Moritz, 250 bottles, 2011)

Port Ellen 32 yo 1978/2011 (53.9%, OB, 11th Release, 2988 bottles)

Port Ellen 1983/1997 (50%, Moon Import, Dovr-Toutes-Mares, 820 bottles)

Smokehead 18 yo 'Extra Black' (46%, Ian McLeod, +/-2010)

Talisker 10 yo (45.8%, OB, +/- 2011)