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Hi, you're in the Archives, July 2021 - Part 1

       

June 2021 - part 2 <--- July 2021 - part 1 ---> July 2021 - part 2

 

July 14, 2021


Whiskyfun

Celebrating Bastille Day
with a few Glen Moray

We could have had French whiskies but we went for some Glen Moray instead, since it's French group La Martiniquaise that bought the distillery and the brand from another French group, Glenmorangie Ltd, around ten years ago or a little more. Ha, the French. I believe the reputation of Glen Moray has improved, although the name always had its unapologetic aficionados. All you had to do was to avoid some of the really strange early wine finishings.

Plantu

Glen Moray 10 yo 'Fired Oak' (40%, OB, +/-2020)

Glen Moray 10 yo 'Fired Oak' (40%, OB, +/-2020) Two stars and a half
This baby's said to have been inspired by bourbon. What a funny idea. It's been finished in heavily charred American oak, not too sure if they've pushed it to alligator-grade burning. Oh and no chardonnay this time (WF 79). Colour: straw. Nose: absolutely not the sweetness and mellowness of bourbon, no caramel, no toffee, no big vanilla, no popcorn and no coconut or even rye-y touches, rather a very dry grassy and rooty combination, with a little fresh ginger and turmeric, then bags of autumn leaves and rather walnut skins. A little Campari. Mouth: same feeling, it is not sweet and rounded, rather on heavyish cinnamon and bitter herbs before it would, indeed, become a little more vanilla-ed, with some citrus. Some sawdust, pencil shavings, more grass. Finish: not that short but grassy. Pears. Comments: pretty okay. The price remains rather budgety (S.!) Not a bad drop at all.
SGP:351 - 78 points.

Glen Moray 12 yo 2008/2020 (49.5%, Fadandel.dk, 1st fill oloroso quarter cask, cask #28B, 135 bottles)

Glen Moray 12 yo 2008/2020 (49.5%, Fadandel.dk, 1st fill oloroso quarter cask, cask #28B, 135 bottles) Four stars
Colour: light gold. Nose: very nutty sherry, with a mix of walnut cake and chicory coffee. Some toffee too, touch of muscovado, a pinch of ground clove, and a little ras el hanout. That's all very fine and very well, this has been well made, with modern (albeit good) wood technology. Mouth: rich, spicy, very good if you like deep walnut liqueur and, indeed ras el hanout. More toffee and butterscotch too, fudge, café latte, even touches of garam masala. All is well. Finish: long, with even more walnuts, green ones this time, and a little curry perhaps. Comments: feels mike some charring's been going on, which seems to have worked extremely well.
SGP:461 - 86 points.

Perhaps another 12…

Glen Moray 12 yo 2007/2020 (53.6%, Golden Cask, bourbon, cask #CM258, 204 bottles)

Glen Moray 12 yo 2007/2020 (53.6%, Golden Cask, bourbon, cask #CM258, 204 bottles) Four stars
Colour: white wine. Nose: this one's all natural, totally spirit-driven, and really rather on grist and porridge, leaven bread, sourdough, wet plaster… Apples in the background. With water: more of all that, with perhaps more fruits, rather around shy ones, starfruits, gooseberries, greengages… Mouth (neat): very solid malt, on grapefruits, beer, bread and touches of yeast. Viva la nature! With water: surely less complex than the ex-oloroso, which is normal, but there's something very honest to this, something very… yeah, natural. Finish: same. Medium length, green fruits and bread doughs. Comments: it does not quite bring the house down, but I enjoy this style and appreciate the honesty in here. If you see what I mean…
SGP:441 - 85 points.

Another funny 12…

Glen Moray 2007/2019 (50%, Scyfion Choice, Areni Noir finish, 132 bottles)

Glen Moray 2007/2019 (46%, Scyfion Choice, Foursquare finish, 97 bottles) Four stars
There's a lot of literature on the back label but I'm afraid it's written in Cyrillic, since this is an Ukrainian bottling. Let's try this wee mixed (not sham) marriage… Colour: straw. Nose: the whisky's kept the upper hand, which is all that counts in my book. Ale, baguette and leaven bread, touch of butter, then apple pie, damson tarte, and then indeed notes of rum, rather around bananas flambéed and just rum baba. Blends well but to be honest, good malt whisky and Foursquare are not, in my book, complete strangers to each other. I mean philosophically. Mouth: a tad tenser and bitterer perhaps, with a faint feeling of toothpaste (mint, eucalyptus), then good well-behaved fruits, around apples and green bananas. Finish: long, on similar notes, with some unexpected touches of salt in the aftertaste. This one plays with your lips. Comments: a very excellent wee variant.
SGP:541 - 85 points.

I always liked Scyfion's funny proposals, let's have more…

Glen Moray 2007/2019 (50%, Scyfion Choice, Areni Noir finish, 132 bottles)

Glen Moray 2007/2019 (50%, Scyfion Choice, Areni Noir finish, 132 bottles) Three stars and a half
Tell me about a lousy wine enthusiast, would you believe that I had never, ever heard of Areni Noir? What I'm gathering is that it was an extremely old high-altitude Armenian varietal that's now been replanted. Sure the term 'noir' sounds a little French, but I do not think Areni Noir's ever been planted in my sometimes strange home country. Colour: onion peel, or 'partridge eye' (oeil de perdrix). Nose: the thing is, Glen Moray's no Ardbeg or Clynelish, so I would say it could take any finishing without many risks. In this case, and that's not only because of the colour, we're not that far from a rosé de Provence. So sure it smells a little vinous. With water: more than okay, it is pretty nice. Reminds me of Belgian Kriek beer, not only because of the colour. Mouth (neat): pretty good, doesn't quite feel like a premix, rather like if someone had thrown raspberries into the mash. So it remains whisky and I am not totally against this. Even if it's not my preferred style of whisky, naturally. With water: not bad at all, on the contrary. Sweet, malty, grapey. Finish: same with a peppery, also almost stalky side. Some liquorice too. Comments: I'm not saying I would choose this over Clynelish 1965, but there, it's a nice drop with a real feeling of 'some place'.
SGP:541 - 83 points.

Perhaps some brutes by the SMWS now?...

Glen Moray 18 yo 2001/2020 (56.7%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, 1st fill bourbon barrel, #35.265, 'Meditation Medication', 181 bottles)

Glen Moray 18 yo 2001/2020 (56.7%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, 1st fill bourbon barrel, #35.265, 'Meditation Medication', 181 bottles) Four stars
Meditation Medication, ha, I suppose that one was too good to miss and after all, both alliterations and rich rhymes do not kill anyone anymore. Colour: straw. Nose: I'm not sure we'd feel the older age, but it's got good flints, grist, chalk, weissbeer, then vanilla and 'barrel mangos'. I think it's pretty nice. With water: jelly babies, marshmallows, vanilla and orange cakes. The very spongey ones… Mouth (neat): really very good, rounder, yet tight, with a little varnish plus pear and pineapple liqueurs, and indeed rather a lot of vanilla. Foam bananas (apologies, dear SMWS). With water: swims extremely well. Fruit salad, fruit cake, jellybeans, earl grey, touch of cherry mints. Finish: of good length, sweet, fruity, bonbony. Comments: very good, very easy, very docile, very versatile.
SGP:641 - 86 points.

Glen Moray 24 yo 1995/2020 (53.5%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, The Gathering, 1st fill bourbon barrel, #35.259, 'Rumtopf, birnenbrot and stollen', 222 bottles)

Glen Moray 24 yo 1995/2020 (53.5%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, The Gathering, 1st fill bourbon barrel, #35.259, 'Rumtopf, birnenbrot and stollen', 222 bottles) Four stars
Sweet Wotan, shouldn't they have rather named this one 'Rumtopf, Birnenbrot Und Stollen'? Hoppla… Colour: light gold. Nose: I cannot not think of Glenmorangie here. Very soft, mellow, on soft banana cream, sponge cake, Jaffa cakes, overripe apples… Really the style of a malt that hasn't got much character, without being empty at all. Pears. Those tall stills, you know (we're talking 'bout Glenmo). With water: bonbons and Grand-Marnier, with a drop of gentian spirit. Which, as you very well know, will cure anything. Mouth (neat): tighter than expected and really totally on stewed orchard fruits. Mirabelles, apples, pears, plums, peaches, etc. plus some barley syrup. With water: williams pears, mirabelles, perhaps guavas, plus light corn bread and a drop of coconut water. Finish: short to medium, rather caky and very soft. Finger biscuits dipped into real Champagne (not shampanskoye, dear Mr Putin). Comments: another relatively lighter old Glen Moray. Not mindboggling, but very good.
SGP:641 - 85 points.

Speaking of old Glen Moray, let's have a last one…

Glen Moray-Glenlivet 20 yo 1977/1997 (63%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection)

Glen Moray-Glenlivet 20 yo 1977/1997 (63%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection) Two stars
As I sometimes say, it's reassuring to learn from the label that CAD are using oak casks and not plywood straight from Ikea or, sob, Home Depot. Colour: light gold. Nose: it was a fatter, but also a feintier spirit, more on craft beer, low wine, sour fruit juice, fermenting cherries, whey, fermenting bananas… What an adventurous nose! With water: wood glue! Not sure we should have added water, my friend. Mouth (neat): oh the good old times when quality control was done at the pub. This is really extra-wacky, sour and acidic, very fermentary, with some metallic sides and something that's just not right. Anti-rust paint? Plastic? With water: doesn't improve mucho, except that you'll find more elderberry liqueur and some dried fermented litchis. Which is all an acquired taste, I would add. Finish: medium, on something like sweet wine that started to referment – or something. Fish oil, toothpaste, paper and carbon in the aftertaste. Comments: ah the good old times of free whisky. I mean, free whisky as in free jazz. It's got something very charming, but on the other hand, let's remain honest…
SGP:462 - 70 points.

(Thank you Pierre-Alexandre and Tim)

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

 

July 13, 2021


Whiskyfun

A tiny bag of super-young Caol Ila

We're approaching our 700th Caol Ila. We'll try to have our 1000th on location, if the God of whisky lets us live long enough. Anyway, we'll have these few at random, as there's plenty, as always…

Caol Ila 3 yo 2018/2021 (52.1%, The Whisky Jury, quarter cask, cask #Twj-ci03, 152 bottles)

Caol Ila 3 yo 2018/2021 (52.1%, The Whisky Jury, quarter cask, cask #Twj-ci03, 152 bottles) Four stars
Their cask numbers make me laugh. Don't we need laughter? But boy, three years of maturation, I mean the pot-stills are still warm and the cask wet… Colour: white wine. Nose: right. Green bananas, Roquefort, yoghurt, green pepper, pepper-and-salt mix, seawater, green smoke (garden bonfire), model glue, antiseptic, nail varnish… With water: more pear, then caraway, aniseed and mint. Clearly a little, ach, err, har, 'young'. Mouth (neat): green pears, seawater and almond milk, plus pepper and gentian. With water: bubblegum, jelly babies (pear flavour), papaya gum, and an unexpectedly soft smokiness. Liquorice allsorts and citron liqueur. Finish: medium, well balanced, rather sweet than monstrously peaty. Latex and whelks in the aftertaste. Comments: sometimes, infant peaters react extremely well to heavy doses of sweet active oak. This is another good example. Oh and it's a fun bottling.
SGP:646 - 87 points.

Caol Ila 7 yo 2011/2018 (60%, Fadandel, 1st fill Entre-deux-mers, cask #900056, 307 bottles)

Caol Ila 7 yo 2011/2018 (60%, Fadandel, 1st fill Entre-deux-mers, cask #900056, 307 bottles) Four stars
To be honest I didn't even know they were using oak to mature Entre-deux-mers, which is a very moderately reputed dry white Bordeaux. On the other hand, it's probably been rather harmless. Colour: gold. Nose: no wine that I can find at this point, rather a pristine, clean, young Caol-Ilaness. Seawater, oysters, smoke, clams, kelp, ashes, a little fat. With water: iodine and mercurochrome. How expected and anticipated. Mouth (neat): typical sweet smoky arrival, getting on green lemons and oysters, with some cigar ashes in the background. With water: very tight, acidic, green, with some green oils, perhaps even a touch of mezcal. Nothing not to like. Pink grapefruits. Finish: long, bright, blade-y. Perhaps, indeed, a few drops of white cognac, or blanche d'armagnac. Comments: no quibbles, this is awesome. Entre-deux-mers you say, okay… By the way, this is more proof that CI is not any less 'peaty' than its buddies on the south shore of the island.
SGP:557 - 87 points.

Caol Ila 8 yo 2013/2021 (54.2%, Fadandel, 1st fill PX octave finish, cask #301321, 66 bottles)

Caol Ila 8 yo 2013/2021 (54.2%, Fadandel, 1st fill PX octave finish, cask #301321, 66 bottles) Four stars
A PX octave finish? Should I really try this lousy thing? Why not strawberry-flavoured Pringles? Coal-tar-smoked Doritos? Sounds like the stuff they would sell on EasyJet flights, no? Colour: gold. Nose: the thing is, Caol Ila can handle anything. Butterscotch, rancio, lime juice, raisins, deep-smoked bacon, brine… With water: bright smoky lemons and seawater. No lousy PX that I can detect. Must be me… Mouth (neat): unlikely but good. Dates, Parma ham, pineapples, liquorice, tar, tobacco ashes… This is not totally normal but s***w the norms. With water: pretty good, let's say a young Caol Ila with more fudge and raisins than usual. The PX feels more once you've reduced this wee baby. Finish: rather long, sweet and raisiny but it has not lost all of its proverbial brightness. Comments: a very cool wee bottling, getting just a little stuffy (well, sweet) towards the aftertaste.
SGP:656 - 85 points.

Caol Ila 10 yo 2010/2021 (57.9%, Single Malts of Scotland, Elixir Distillers, hogshead, cask #319920, 317 bottles)

Caol Ila 10 yo 2010/2021 (57.9%, Single Malts of Scotland, Elixir Distillers, hogshead, cask #319920, 317 bottles) Four stars and a half
Colour: petit Chablis ;-). Nose: ultra-clean, minimal, almost Japanese, or perhaps 'Bauhaus' style Caol Ila, with nothing showing except kippers, oysters, mercurochrome and 'an ashtray'. With water: crushed chalk, wool, damp magazines. Mouth (neat): ueber-blade-y indeed. Tart, smoky, lemony, chalky, with pink pepper, well this one doesn't forgive. With water: a wee tad sweeter, otherwise similar. Textbook young peater of utter, unquestionably high quality. Finish: long. Once again, a lovely blade. Comments: some extra-points for this plain and utter purity that, indeed, would remind us of the best Chablis from a 'cool' vintage. I agree, there's Chablis and there's Chablis.
SGP:566 - 88 points.

Caol Ila 12 yo 2008/2021 (54.8%, Fable Whisky, The Ghost Piper of Clanyard Bay, Chapter One, hogshead, cask #309952, 294 bottles)

Caol Ila 12 yo 2008/2021 (54.8%, Fable Whisky, The Ghost Piper of Clanyard Bay, Chapter One, hogshead, cask #309952, 294 bottles) Four stars and a half
Boy do I love these labels, even if this very one would rather look a tad Oaxacan. Is this mezcal in disguise? It's true that between young CI and good mezcal, there are bridges; no, really. Colour: white wine. Nose: totally in the style of the Elixir, just even tighter and more austere. Flints, chalk, ashes, porridge, iodine, green lemons, crushed oyster shelves (that's a good fertiliser). With water: ultra-tight, grassy, lemony, ashy, smoky, chalky. Mouth (neat): shakes your spine and hits you right between your eyes. A tad brutal when unreduced, perhaps, and really very brine-y. Eating around 100 gherkins in a row. With water: unnegotiable. Ultra-tight. Finish: same. Count your vertebras. Comments: I'm not sure any distillers could go ay farer as far as smoky and tart tightness is concerned.
SGP:367 - 89 points.

I would love to find a 90+ before we call this a tasting session. Oh, I've got an idea…

Caol Ila 1978/1989 (55%, R.W. Duthie for Samaroli)

Caol Ila 1978/1989 (55%, R.W. Duthie for Samaroli) Five stars
This is one of the famous 'oval labels' but naturally, the extraordinary 1968 is the most famous of them (WF 96). So, this one was distilled shortly after they had rebuilt, extended, and restarted the distillery. Colour: light white wine. Nose: naturally, the #1 question is 'what's the difference' between this and the newer ones. The answer is that this would be both more mineral and grassier, and less 'brutally smoky and coastal'. Besides, you wouldn't quite know about what's only the consequence of bottle ageing. What's obvious is that this nose is more complex, with more lamp oils, polishes, fresh almonds and pine nuts, ink, gums, linseed oil, other oils, also anything camphory and ointmenty (I apologise), while we'd even find notes of beef grease and mutton suet. Yeah, Belgian French fries. With water: we're on pine saps and resin and retsina and stuff. Raw Islay lambswool. Mouth (neat): amazingly ueber-peated, with a spectacular and unexpected herbal side. Loud verbena and old green chartreuse. Bang. With water: there, the coastal side, sardines and anchovies, oysters, samphires, spirulina, then lemons and limes. Then metal polish, ink, wee hints of Brussels sprouts perhaps… Finish: very long, more on green citrus. Lime and green grapefruit. Cough syrup in the aftertaste. Comments: exceptional young whisky. Samaroli was a master at bottling young to very young whisky, letting it mature in glass for a few decades, and then just stunning you. That's playing with time and with the philosophical aspects of whisky… Remember, whisky is TIME (Ed: hold your horse, S.)
SGP:467 - 94 points.

(Merci beaucoup Aaron!)

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

 

July 12, 2021


Whiskyfun

summer

Summer Duets
Today young Balblair
Let's see if more recent distillations have retained that 'fruit bomb' side that we all loved a lot. Balblair's probably the fruitiest northern Highlander, is it not?

Balblair 8 yo 2011/2020 (54.8%, Dram Mor, 1st fill PX, cask # 359004)

Balblair 8 yo 2011/2020 (54.8%, Dram Mor, 1st fill PX, cask # 359004) Three stars
It's first fill PX but according to the very light colour, it did not go into extremes. Phew. Colour: white wine. Nose: boy is it hot, raw and eau-de-vie-ish! Isn't this actually artisanal kirschwasser straight from an old Holstein? Also blackcurrant buds, hot porridge (50% porridge, 50% moonshine, a perfect breakfast), sour cherries, grape stalks… I suppose water would be mandatory here. With water: typical whiffs of rubber and paraffin, plus fresh leaven bread. This is really raw, but I rather like leaven bread. Mouth (neat): more raw kirsch spirit, this time with pears as well, raw wine brandy, marc… all that with a long cut. With water: there, garden fruits, around green plums and more sour cherries. A touch of lemon skin, green pears... Finish: medium, grassier. Stalks, stems and pips. Comments: totally raw style, with a PX that's as expressive as Bill Wyman. PX, really? Needs water.
SGP:361 - 80 points.

A few more years of maturation please…

Balblair 2005/2021 (48.5%, OB for The Whisky Exchange, cask #213, 180 bottles)

Balblair 2005/2021 (48.5%, OB for The Whisky Exchange, cask #213, 180 bottles) Four stars
The earlier official 2005/2016 was very good but it was too young too and rather akin to eau-de-vie de barley indeed (WF 83). A few more years may have helped… Colour: white wine. Nose: well, it is still raw and indeed eau-de-vie-ish, without the kind of fruity bonanza that used to happen with earlier Balblairs, on the other hand these notes of coconut balls, marzipan and thin mints work very well, they 'lift' it. Some hops too, pink grapefruits… in moderation. No fruit bomb here, but it keeps improving, getting even to gentian and other rooty/earthy delicacies. Mouth: same feelings as with the nose, starts a little raw and grassy, if not a wee tad feinty, but vanilla, coconut, zucchini flowers, crystallised violets and once again pink grapefruits and hops are soon to come to the rescue. A two-step malt, really, so please do not rush it. Finish: some rawer grassiness is back and would come together with green, bitter pears and apples. Barley syrup in the aftertaste, perhaps even agave syrup. Or there, gentian syrup! Comments: this one loves to play with you, it's a real kitten. A kitten with long claws…
SGP:461 - 86 points.

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

 

July 11, 2021


Whiskyfun

Caution

A word of caution
Let me please remind you that my humble assessments of any spirits are done from the point of view of a malt whisky enthusiast who, what's more, is aboslutely not an expert in rum, brandy, tequila, vodka, gin or any other spirits. Thank you – and peace!

  Four Foursquare + three
I like to taste rums from various sources better as there's more fun to be found in such sessions, but after all we could also do some 'single distillery' sessions from time to time. For example, we've now got wee bags of indie Foursquare coming our way, so time to try to unload the stash…  (which we'll never manage to do anyway).

Foursquare 10 yo 2010/2021 (52.8%, Liquid Treasures, Barbados, Rum Session 9, Sauternes finish, 293 bottles)

Foursquare 10 yo 2010/2021 (52.8%, Liquid Treasures, Barbados, Rum Session 9, Sauternes finish, 293 bottles) Four stars
I suppose this is a single blend Foursquare but not sure (batch + continuous). Colour: brownish amber. Nose: I don't know if that's the Sauternes but this one seems to be rather richer and fatter, and more jammy than others. It seems that the 'moderately heavy' style of FS does let the sweet wine sing pretty loud, in this case rather with mirabelle jam and quinces. Raisin rolls too. What's funnier yet is that the combination could let you believe this is cane juice-led agricole from Martinique. But then again, I'm no expert, I'm easily misled. With water: more agricoleness, with some café latte too. But really, you would have said Martinique and would have replied 'spot on'. Mouth (neat): indeed, the combo seems to have worked very well, except that what was possibly newish French oak seems to have made this pretty spicy and bitter. A little varnishy too. Let's see what water does to it… With water: no, cancel that, water makes it much more playful, sweeter, a tad thinner too (column). Jelly baby vodka, orange liqueur… Finish: medium, with more tea again, possibly from the Sauternes wood. Comments: a funny one that keeps changing. But does good rum need wine? To be discussed…
SGP:641 - 85 points.

Foursquare 13 yo 2007/2021 (59.8%, Kintra Spirits & The Rum Mercenary, Sample X, Barbados, refill bourbon, 290 bottles)

Foursquare 13 yo 2007/2021 (59.8%, Kintra Spirits & The Rum Mercenary, Sample X, Barbados, refill bourbon, 290 bottles) Four stars and a half
No wine was involved this time. Colour: full gold. Nose: typical ex-bourbon, fresher, fruitier, cleaner, more straightforward, closer to the raw materials, with some cane juice indeed, apricots, honey, and even notes of… Sauternes. I am not joking, there's no Sauternes and yet there is Sauternes. Funnily absurd. With water: perfect. Vanilla, mead, plums, cane juice, orange blossom water, cassata… All is just top notch here. Mouth (neat): really very good, sweet and yet firm, citrusy, with more honey too (heather), sorb liqueur, honeysuckle syrup… With water: there, excellent. Remains full bodied and on sugarcane, as if no column rum was blended in this time, which I doubt having said that. Finish: long, with notes of that lovely liqueur they have in Belgium, Mandarine Impériale (or Mandarine Napoléon). Some say that when the Red Devils lose, that's because they've had too much of that. Comments: super excellent all-natural Foursquare. Refill bourbon anytime over wine anytime!
SGP:641 - 88 points.

Foursquare 2007/2021 (61.6%, Wealth Solutions, The Colours of Rum, Barbados, Edition No.1, 328 bottles)

Foursquare 2007/2021 (61.6%, Wealth Solutions, The Colours of Rum, Barbados, Edition No.1, 328 bottles) Four stars
Colour: deep gold. Nose: rather very hot but it seems that the style is similar to that of the previous 2007. So on vanilla, soft dried fruits, raisins, plum jam… With water: we almost recreated the 'Sample X', which is good news indeed. Honey, orange blossom water, earl grey, mead, raisins… Some awesome grassy notes in the background, rather around eucalyptus. A wee metallic touch as well, which always works in my book. Oh and hay, farmyard… Mouth (neat): too rounded and sweet, too easy, too dangerous. Quick… With water: there, we tamed it. It's a tad more 'columny' than the Sample X this time, so a wee notch thinner perhaps, but as usual we're splitting hairs. Very good. Finish: same. Mandarins and liqueurs once again. Comments: another excellent and rather easy one. Wondering if they're importing molasses from various states or if all comes from one same source abroad. Would that change the favour profiles?
SGP:641 - 87 points.

Foursquare 2005/2021 (59.1%, Wealth Solutions, The Colours of Rum, Barbados, ex-bourbon, Edition No.2, cask #111, 272 bottles)

Foursquare 2005/2021 (59.1%, Wealth Solutions, The Colours of Rum, Barbados, ex-bourbon, Edition No.2, cask #111, 272 bottles) Five stars
Colour: gold. Nose: a rather cakier style, perhaps a tad fatter, with more orange liqueur. With water: earth, liquorice, a little humus… This was a great cask. Mouth (neat): good! Lovely oranges with a mentholy touch plus a little cinnamon liqueur. With water: yes, excellent, tight and rich, oilier than most other Foursquares that I could try. Finish: long, superbly jammy. Marmalade and drops of mint liqueur. Less mandarins, having said that, rather oranges. Comments: superb cask! There's a purity to this one, and yet a fatness that are just perfect. Well selected, Polish friends!
SGP:651 - 90 points.

Good news, Wealth Solutions have just bottled many Foursquares, so we might be able to go on for a while (if we survive the high voltages)… So after Editions #1 and 2 comes…

Foursquare 1998/2021 (59.9%, Wealth Solutions, The Colours of Rum, Barbados, ex-bourbon, Edition No.3, cask #12, 244 bottles)

Foursquare 1998/2021 (59.9%, Wealth Solutions, The Colours of Rum, Barbados, ex-bourbon, Edition No.3, cask #12, 244 bottles) Four stars
Colour: deep gold. Nose: this one seems to be softer, but then again, at this strength, we shan't nose it deeply. Some fudge, apparently, roasted peanuts, praline and nougat… We'll see… With water: some gentle meaty tones, roast chicken (KFC - apologies), otherwise sweet herbal liqueurs, a wee rooty side… Mouth (neat): rather Cuban-style, it seems. A higher proportion of column rum? With water: super good lighter style, without much body but within this very style, it's probably on the podium. Caramelised popcorn in your glass. Finish: medium, rather light, sweet. I'm reminded of elderberry liqueur. Comments: light rum at its best. Even die-hard malt aficionados would enjoy this, though.
SGP:640 - 86 points.

Foursquare 2009/2021 (64%, Wealth Solutions, The Colours of Rum, Barbados, ex-bourbon, Edition No.4, cask #10, 267 bottles)

Foursquare 2009/2021 (64%, Wealth Solutions, The Colours of Rum, Barbados, ex-bourbon, Edition No.4, cask #10, 267 bottles) Four stars
Colour: gold. Nose: 64% vol. It's not that it's immensely aggressive, it's just that not many aromas do come through. Some sweetness… With water: I would say it needs a lot of water, time and oxygen to become more complex, but that does happen eventually. Slow motion rum. Earth, hay, orange syrup, a little Nutella… Mouth (neat): very sweet, very strong. With water: sweet, herbal, gaining complexity, towards citrus, liqueurs, marmalade, jams, genepy, aniseed… It never stops improving, this is almost a saga by Scorcese. Give it time (and good water)! Finish: medium, with even more aniseed. Comments: it seems that this is a blend of column and pot. Not that easy to control but it's excellent once you've found the right proportions – and the timing.
SGP: 651 - 87 points.

Foursquare 2008/2021 (60.3%, Wealth Solutions, The Colours of Rum, Barbados, ex-bourbon, Edition No.5, cask #6, 235 bottles)

Foursquare 2008/2021 (60.3%, Wealth Solutions, The Colours of Rum, Barbados, ex-bourbon, Edition No.5, cask #6, 235 bottles) Four stars and a half
Colour: gold. Nose: some action here, this is completely different, sour, acetic, with some cheese, porridge, sour wines, something clearly bacterial… No muck or dunder though, this is more akin to rotting strawberries. Not obligatorily bad news, mind you, let's see… With water: even more of all that. Fondue with mushrooms, weissbeer, a drop of miso... Mouth (neat): so clearly different! Pure pot still Foursquare, perhaps? It is much greasier, phenolic, salty, fermentary, and indeed on Swiss cheese. I'm thinking appenzeller, or perhaps gorgonzola. With water: seems to find the road, with more sultanas, Muscovado sugar, molasses, milk chocolate, maple syrup… Finish: rather long, this time with some coffee liqueur and drops of crazier white rum. Comments: was it the spirit? Was it the cask? What's sure is that this is different and, in my book, excellent. We want more.
SGP:572 - 89 points.

Good, we've got quite a few more but I believe this is the right time to put an end to this.

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

 

July 9, 2021


Whiskyfun

summer

Summer Duets
Today Glendronach
Two regular OBs including the controversial 15 Revival, and then of course we'll add a bonus.

Glendronach 10 yo 'Forgue' (43%, OB, +/-2020)

Glendronach 10 yo 'Forgue' (43%, OB, +/-2020) Three stars
I've never tried this wee 10 for travel retail. It says it's ex-sherry but the colour's pretty light. Colour: light gold. Nose: no big sherry indeed, rather a lot of porridge, grist, burnt cereals, and only then the obligatory walnuts as well as touches of sour cherries. Some tea as well, burnt cake… It's all pretty pleasant but indeed a little 'travel retail'. I don't mean travel retail whiskies taste of kerosene! Mouth: a little harsh and oaky, with oranges and damsons plus a touch of cardamom. Burnt cake, burnt raisins, roasted almonds, bitter almonds. Ginger and cinnamon from the oak. The body's okay. Finish: medium, a tad on bitter beer, nutmeg, more cinnamon. Nicer oranges in the aftertaste. Comments: average Speysider, not in the bad sense of the word average. Not mindboggling but fine, there.
SGP:451 - 80 points.

Glendronach 15 yo 'Revival' (46%, OB, +/-2020)

Glendronach 15 yo 'Revival' (46%, OB, +/-2020) Four stars
I had thought it had lost a large part of its original oomph when I last tried the 15, back in 2018 (WF 81). That was already a version to which they had added PX. Seems that our friend Ralfy had noticed that it is now not 'non chill-filtered' anymore, not too sure why a bottler would take that away while still bottling at 46% col. But sometimes whisky is like wurst or the law, you wouldn't want to know how they make it. Colour: gold. Nose: same path as that of the 10, only a little hotter and with more raisins I would say. Same cherry stems, nuts, grist, burnt cake, a little metal polish… The first Revivals had been stunning more than ten years ago, but rumour had it that they had added much older whiskies to the vattings. As B.B. King would have said, the thrill is gone now. Mouth: still a pleasant whisky and I think I actually like it better than last time. I'm particularly fond of these mentholy and liquoricy notes, the sour oranges, this earthiness, and certainly the orange blossom (our pals the panettones, I love panettone and my birthday is… joking). Roasted nuts. Frankly, I find this pretty good, if not as thick and wide as the early batches. Finish: rather long, with a retro style. Earth and soot on top of sherry and all that. Roasted nuts in the aftertaste. Comments: Glendronach, you had me worried for a minute…
SGP:551 - 86 points.

Good, let's celebrate the possible revival of the Revival with a single cask…

Glendronach 26 yo 1993/2019 (51%, OB, for The Whisky List, Australia, First Fill Oloroso Sherry, cask #392, 657 bottles)

Glendronach 26 yo 1993/2019 (51%, OB, for The Whisky List, Australia, First Fill Oloroso Sherry, cask #392, 657 bottles) Five stars
You're never quite sure if these are full-matured sherries or only finishings but that doesn't always matter. Few companies are totally transparent in that respect, well Diageo are. Colour: reddish amber. Nose: yep, rosehip tea, peonies, shoe polish, orangettes (zests dipped into chocolate), camphor and soft liquorice, then black earth and boletus. Even hints of black truffles. That's all fine and well, if not extremely oloroso-y. With water: oh what a wonderful earthiness! Would you forgive me if I wrote that it reminds me some ex-sherry Karuizawas? Mouth (neat): excellent! Huge walnuts, touch of burnt cakes and nuts, bags of liquorice, blood oranges, more orangettes, raisins, chouchen (remember, that's more or less distilled mead), touches of copper, pepper, mustard/Madeira… Excellent, really. With water: once again, it got earthier and a tad more mentholy, which is just superb indeed. Finish: long, the oranges being back and mingling with the liquorice, the mint and some tobacco. Comments: superlative 1993 Glendronach. I hate to add 'as expected'. Well selected, Australia!
SGP:562 - 91 points.

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

 

July 8, 2021


Whiskyfun

summer

Summer Duets
Today young Glengoyne
Always like to try Glengoyne, especially since the name seems to have become a little less, say prevalent in recent years. We used to see many more Glengoynes ten or twenty years ago. So, me happy now…

Glengoyne 'Cask Strength Batch 008' (59.2%, OB, 2020)

Glengoyne 'Cask Strength Batch 008' (59.2%, OB, 2020) Four stars
From sherry casks and bourbon barrels. This one too was 'unhurried Since 1833' but I'm asking, isn't that starting to feel a little long? (Ed: S., oh please!) The first and the second batches (2013 and 2014) have been my favourite. BTW, this #008 comes with a new livery. Colour: light gold. Nose: a little raw, on porridge and muesli, with touches of rubber, stems, apple peelings, cider, a little muscovado sugar, wisteria, scones… Rather all-natural, with rather minimal sherry impact. With water: gets almondy and a little mentholy. Cedar wood, some patchouli and some beedis. Peace, love! Mouth (neat): close to the barley, with good citrus and other acidic fruits, citrons, Seville oranges, then a little caramel and indeed touches of fresh sherry. Some pepper. With water: on citrus and caramel, some kind of lemony chilli – I suppose that does exist – and walnut wine. Finish: long, rather on toasted bread, pecan pie, toffee, chocolate… Some butterscotch in the aftertaste. Comments: a pretty good batch, I would say. Plays well with H2O.
SGP:551 - 85 points.

Glengoyne 2009/2020 (57.1%, OB, The Family Legacy, PX hogshead, cask #1009, 318 bottles)

Glengoyne 2009/2020 (57.1%, OB, The Family Legacy, PX hogshead, cask #1009, 318 bottles) Five stars
This is a single cask, obviously. Colour: amber. Nose: reminds me of the olden days, with this lovely, slightly varnishy sherry, a lot of toffee and nougat, old furniture and old books, thuja and cedar wood… I'm rather impressed I have to say. With water: classic development on mushrooms, earth, cigars and lamp oil. Superb. Mouth (neat): superb indeed! Shoe polish, triple-sec, fudge, menthol, cough syrup, heather honey… Love this, really. Some single cask! With water: and there, as expected it took water extremely well, getting more citrusy and more herbal. Citronelle, proper limoncello, green walnuts… This is perfect. Finish: rather long, tense and curiously vertical (in the best sense) given the pedigree. Perhaps the less schmalzy ex-PX malt whisky ever. Quite. Comments: we need the papers to make sure this was PX and not fino or amontillado. I am not joking. Okay, I am. Splendid young Glengoyne, makes me very happy. Indeed I've expurgated this note.
SGP:462 - 90 points.



Straight from the Whiskyfun Archive, this magazine ad for Glengoyne, I believe circa 1995. Indeed the engines in the 911s used to be air-cooled until 1997 while Glengoyne's malt was 'air-dried', so unpeated. Porsche switched to water-cooling in 1997; Glengoyne could then have put a picture of their stills, but it's true that all stills are water-cooled, are they not. Their used to be a variant of this ad with Cohiba cigars instead of a red 911.

Glengoyne

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

 

July 6, 2021


Whiskyfun

summer

Summer Duets
Today Mannochmore 2008
Could we have a little love for Mannochmore? Please go like and propagate this post worldwide, on all social networks! (S., we didn't know you were in this nasty business…)

Mannochmore 12 yo 2008/2021 (55.4%, Fable Whisky, The Ghost Piper of Clanyard Bay, Chapter One, hogshead, cask #7040, 283 bottles)

Mannochmore 12 yo 2008/2021 (55.4%, Fable Whisky, The Ghost Piper of Clanyard Bay, Chapter One, hogshead, cask #7040, 283 bottles) Five stars
I find this label utterly stunning, given that I'm a huge fan of woodcuts and antique ex-libris. Stunning, extraordinary, greatest label this year and so far… Hope they'll sell the artwork as prints. Colour: white wine. Nose: and the whisky's not half bad! Perfect mentholy and lemony and gristy doughs and breads, wonderful whiffs of fresh sourdough, lovely ueber-fermentary profile… This is almost orange whisky, as in orange wine. Indeed, homemade yoghurt too. Weissen beer. With water: we're bordering gym socks at times, but that's no problem. Fermentary, he said. Mouth (neat): and there, some lemony sweetness, limoncello, lemongrass, more white beer, dough, proper porridge… With water: butterscotch! Some wizard of cask management was involved here, I'd bet the farm on that. Finish: and there, praline, shortbread, beer, panettone, limoncello, tiny touch of soy… Comments: riiiiight up my alley. But Mannochmore? As in Loch Dhu?
SGP:461 - 90 points.
PS: isn't that rather the hound of the Baskervilles?

Good, let's select some other wizards of wood technology for a proper fight…

Mannochmore 11 yo 2008/2019 (56.8%, James Eadie, PX hogshead finish, 311 bottles)

Mannochmore 11 yo 2008/2019 (56.8%, James Eadie, PX hogshead finish, 311 bottles) Four stars
This is black from Black's, as they say at Black & Black's. Colour: mahogany. Nose: coffee, roasted nuts, cigars, chocolate, good gunpowder, marmalade, engine oil, jabugo (a wee bit), truffles, roasted sesame… It's less bright than the previous 2008, but I find it just as perfect. With water: gets a little simpler and tighter. Glenfarclas 105, Mac 10 CS, early A'bunadh and all that. No bad refences mind you. Mouth (neat): oh, old Demerara! El Dorado without sugar. No, absolutely, rum. With water: maltier and more on tobacco, perhaps a wee tad more disjointed shall we say, but it's still an excellent sherried drop. Finish: long, getting grassier and spicier. Ginger and turmeric. Comments: I think I preferred the other one's immaculateness, but this mighty sherried Mannochmore would still bust up the 'official party', if you see what I mean. Upon reflexion, however, it did not need any waters.
SGP:461 - 87 points.

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

 

July 5, 2021


Whiskyfun

summer

Summer Duets
Secret Single Malts from 2007 and rarest bonuses
Just two of them and then maybe some rare bonuses indeed, depending on our mood…

Secret Highland 13 yo 2007/2020 (52.7%, Les Grands Alambics, hogshead, 141 bottles)

Secret Highland 13 yo 2007/2020 (52.7%, Les Grands Alambics, hogshead, 141 bottles) Five stars
And another lovely original label. These secret highlands are often Clynelish and sometimes Glenmorangie, both being pretty close indeed. I mean, geographically. Colour: white wine. Nose: tense and tight, gritty and gristy, with nice grass, lemon peel and melon skin on top of some leaven bread. You may add a touch of pastis and crème de menthe, just the equivalent of one pinhead of each. With water: linseed oil, beeswax and a wheelbarrow of fresh barley, plus this sour touch that's always so pleasant in many young expressions of this make. Although 13 is not that young indeed, how time flies! Mouth (neat): waxy from the start, tight and yet with an oily mouthfeel and rather a lot of grass and fruit peel once again. Barley, lemon and tangerines. That the distillery would start with a C would not surprise me at all here. With water: yes, absolutely impeccable, with a sooty, earthy and peppery side that's not without reminding me of Old Clynelish. Finish: long, even waxier, always with this lovely lemon + grass combo. Flints, dough and paraffin in the aftertaste. Comments: I'm not well acquainted with the 2007s but I find this deeper than the 2010 or 2011s, which are more common. Oh well this is perfect malt whisky; indeed these stills are grand (and so is the receiver, ha.) Top malt for me.
SGP:562 - 90 points.

Secret Islay 14 yo 2007/2021 (51.7%, M. Wigman, Monbazillac cask,  355 bottles)

Secret Islay 14 yo 2007/2021 (51.7%, M. Wigman, Monbazillac cask,  355 bottles) Four stars
Monbazillac is one of those sweet wines they make in the south-west of France, here around the city of Bergerac. The best ones will remind you of Sauternes as they share more or less the same grape varietals and the same methods of production. The prices are extremely reasonable, in my humble opinion. Miles Davis on the label is very cool, I just hope this wee whisky is not full of mistakes (If you do a mistake, repeat it and everyone will believe you did it on purpose – Miles.) Colour: full gold. Nose: it totally reminds me of Jean Donnay's Islays that he sometimes used to finish in sweet wines such as Sauternes, Cadillac, Monbazillac, Cérons et al. That was under his Celtique Connexion label, and that was a long time ago. Just imagine you would deep-smoke a combination of ripe apricots, muscat, mirabelles and perhaps elderberries and guavas. Fun stuff. With water: it's funny that just like in some old vintages of these wines, quite some menthol and lime blossom would come out. Mouth (neat): one of those extremely unlikely combos that do actually work, in my opinion. The wine is loud but it's more its citrusy side that bursts out, so we're pretty fine. With water: and there, menthol and lime tee, a wee mushroomy side, apricot kernel oil (that's uncommon and watch the prussic acid!)… Finish: rather long, still very expressive and pretty well balanced. Comments: a very cool combo. Wondering about what Miles would have said, maybe 'repeat these mistakes, son!' ;-).
SGP:656 - 87 points.

So we said some bonus and indeed, speaking of secret malts and odd finishings, we've got something very special, extremely rare, and probably even 'illegal' (but who cares?)

Coilltean 14 yo 'Acacia Aroma' (46%, RW Duthie for Enoteca Creminati Brescia, cask #1, 1989)

Coilltean 14 yo 'Acacia Aroma' (46%, RW Duthie for Enoteca Creminati Brescia, cask #1, 1989) Five stars
Some crazy experiment conducted by Sig. Samaroli quite some years ago, bottled for the Enoteca Creminati, which is located in Samaroli's hometown, Brescia. So in 1986, some 12 yo malt whisky was selected in Scotland and further matured in four different 100l casks made out of four different woods: acacia, ash, cherry and mulberry. Of course many are dreaming of using such 'deviant' woods these days but with Scotch, that's verboten, unless you're ready to give up any such appellations. Colour: coffee with reddish hues. Nose: I'm not sure I would recognise acacia wood, while acacia honey, which I know well, is much, and I mean much lighter than this heavy and heady resinous concoction. How would I describe this? Say a blend with chestnut honey, chocolate, coffee, turpentine and pine resin. More or less. With water: oh, teak and sauna oils, hoisin sauce, umeshu… That's all lovely and indeed, rather a little Asian. I mean, perhaps not the sauna oils. Mouth (neat): very interesting. Big raisins upfront, then a pine-y development that would go from resin indeed, to cough medicine and some juicy red peaches. In truth, I would have said old armagnac, hand on heart. With water: what I don't quite know is if this baby was already some kind of sherry monster before it was transferred to acacia wood. Most probably. More wild armagnac, perhaps Ténarèze. Finish: long, and in the own words of Rowan Atkinson, 'very nice'. Comments: loved it, really. It's sometimes even a little mizunara-y, I'm wondering if this could be replicated in a way in some liberal whisky countries – but all countries have become whisky countries, have they not? You're right, perhaps not North-Korea. Yet?
SGP:552 - 90 points.

PS that was actually robinia, so pseudo-acacia.

Oh, while we're at it…

Coilltean 14 yo 'Ash Aroma' (46%, RW Duthie for Enoteca Creminati Brescia, cask #2, 1989)

Coilltean 14 yo 'Ash Aroma' (46%, RW Duthie for Enoteca Creminati Brescia, cask #2, 1989) Five stars
I know some eau-de-vie makers are using beech and, indeed ash, which is light in colour and, I believe, easy to cooper. The idea is rather to benefit from the proper 'maturing' effects of wood, without gathering much additional flavours, let alone dark colours. Having said that I'm sure whisky makers would shake their heads at the very idea of using wood not to flavour their juices (ha). Colour: a tiny tad lighter than the acacia. So, still very dark. Nose: ooh, old Glenlivet from some proper oloroso butt! Brilliant, with soups, coffee, cigars, pu-ehr, walnut wine, chestnut honey once again, fir cone smoke, marrow, umami… With water: and porcini! Mouth (neat): a marginally earthier old Glenlivet indeed, with loads of first-class oloroso sherry. I'll say no more. With water: or perhaps old Glen Grant? G&M, 1950s, Book of Kells labels? Finish: long, marvellous, with more marmalade and richer honeys. Honeydew. Fir honey from the Vosges mountains. Comments: utterly splendid. Not sure about what that ash did to this wee whisky, and I'm not even sure anyone would notice that 'something unusual happened to it', but there, it is a fab old-school sherried Speysider. But Glenlivet, Glen Grant or Longmorn? Shall we ever know? To be sipped while tapping your feet to Edoardo Bennato's number one hit, 1989's 'Viva la Mamma'.
SGP:551 - 92 points.

There were four of them in this little-known series, but we'll only try one of the two remaining expression. That would be the cherry…

Coilltean 14 yo 'Cherry-Wood Aroma' (46%, RW Duthie for Enoteca Creminati Brescia, cask #3, 1989)

Coilltean 14 yo 'Cherry-Wood Aroma' (46%, RW Duthie for Enoteca Creminati Brescia, cask #3, 1989) Four stars and a half
Our friends at Miclo here in Alsace do finish some of their Welche whisky in cherry casks, but that's not cherry wood, its oak that had been seasoned with cherry liqueurs and/or eau-de-vie… But this time, it is well cherry wood, which is hardwood as you know. To cooper cherry wood must be a nightmare… So sherry + cherry? Perhaps, let's see… Colour: back to darker, brandy de Jerez-like colours. Nose: even more presence than in the Acacia, but instead of pine and fir, it would rather gear towards tar, perhaps even latex, some peonies and hibiscus, hawthorn, very ripe damsons, wood soke, darker cigars, and… fresh coriander! That coriander came unexpected. Also paprika goulash… Good fun, really. With water: total umami this time, plus liquorice. Mouth (neat): my I'm getting cherries now… A trick of the mind? Morellos, kirsch, maraschino, all that… And even the almondy side from the stones, amaretto, marzipan… How funny and spectacular. With water: gets a wee tad more resinous. Finish: long and rather on very old cognac this time. Old cognac from old bottles… Comments: superb once again, but perhaps my least favourite within the bunch. A little sweeter than the others. We'll try to unearth the 'Mulberry Aroma' and report back, but I'm not sure we'll ever manage since these are so rare. What's sure is that Silvano Samaroli did something wonderful with this very unlikely series, back in 1986-1989. But should this really be 'illegal', by the way? And what's less traditional after all, using woods that are not quercus (which is not grown in the country anyway, Scottish oak being extremely scarce), or seasoning oak with unlikely liquids that were actually never aged in oak, let alone shipped in bulk to the UK?… Should that debate begin (again)?
SGP:651 - 89 points.

Cincin!

(Grazzie mille, caro Diego!)

 

July 4, 2021


Whiskyfun

Summer Session
American whiskies
to celebrate 4th of July

Did you know that I was born in the same city as Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, the sculptor who designed the Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World, before Gustave Eiffel, of Eiffel Tower fame, built it and let it being shipped to New York? Isn't that cool? And yep I walked up to the crown – and needed a wee bourbon after that. But that was a long time ago and we now need a few more…

Michter's 'US*1 Single Barrel' (42.4%, OB, USA, straight rye, +/-2021)

Michter's 'US*1 Single Barrel' (42.4%, OB, USA, straight rye, +/-2021) Three stars and a half
I last tried this rye in 2015 and rather enjoyed it (WF 84) but naturally, this is a newer cask. It is always a little difficult, when you're not quite a connoisseur in American whiskies, to remember who's distilling, who's not distilling, who's only distilling a part of what they bottle, and who says they're distilling while they are not. That's a full-time job, in Ireland too! Oh and in Scotland as well, with the rise of non-distilling single or blended malt brands, I suppose it'll keep becoming tougher for the new enthusiasts to keep track. Anyway, rambling on already… Colour: gold. Nose: as often with American whiskies, you first get some oak, varnish, and perhaps a little acetone, before fruit, spices and flowers start to get in. Touches of coconut, cinnamon and turmeric, surely some gingerbread, buckwheat crêpes, rye bread… It is really fine. Mouth: honey, mead and sour spices and fruits in the arrival, then rather rich beers, oak, touches of pineapple, a little beeswax, liquorice, orange liqueur and cloves… Finish: medium, spicier, candied, getting gently floral. Comments: I think I'll stick with my initial score. Very fine rye whisky.
SGP:451 - 84 points.

Old Grand-Dad (43%, OB, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky, +/-1975)

Old Grand-Dad (43%, OB, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky, +/-1975) Two stars and a half
An old bottle from the house, straight from Frankfort, KY, through their German importer (who's not in Frankfurt mind you). Colour: gold. Nose: a little OBE, with unexpected plasticine and drawing gum, but otherwise fine, roasted and pretty fragrant, with touches of lavender and wisteria. Wondering if it wasn't high-rye content bourbon. Some brown bread and drops of rum too, plus a tiny touch of soap (OBE for sure in this context). Mouth: rather light, floral, with soft caramel, molasses, more rye bread, and quite some liquorice. Rather less coconut/vanilla than in more modern bourbons, I would say. Orange juice. Finish: medium, on popcorn and cereals, with echoes of cinnamon mints and more rye bread. Less OBE than on the nose. Comments: not a glorious oldie for sure, and the bottle was about to get tired, but it is still a pleasant, if pretty anecdotal little bourbon.
SGP:441 - 79 points.

Bonus: this little Blanton that we did not like at all last time we tried it, because of a very excessive woodiness, but this is a newer batch and we're not stubborn (are we not?)

Blanton's Gold Edition (51.5%, OB, USA, single barrel, Bourbon, +/-2021)

Blanton's Gold Edition (51.5%, OB, USA, single barrel, Bourbon, +/-2021) Four stars
A very expensive bottle (100 to 200€ here in France). This one's made by Buffalo Trace and is said to contain higher proportions of rye; most sadly, we haven't got the cask #. Colour: gold. Nose: that's it's rather about oak is pretty obvious, as I'm finding tons of pencil shavings, oak chips, new-sawn planks and all that. Having said that, I'm not finding this too offensive this time, let's see what water will do to it. With water: earthy wood, I would say, old barrel, new barrel, cedarwood, also some moss, earth, and even mushrooms, which is obviously nicer. I believe that's what was missing in our latest Blanton's Gold that had been all about wood. Mouth (neat): really tight, almost biting, with hardwoods, oak, heavy liquorice, long-infused black tea… Having said that some pleasant notes of candied oranges and violet drops do counterbalance that heavy woodiness. Could work… With water: that really worked this time. Lovely liquorices flavoured with either mint, or violets, or just salt. Finish: long, on candies, liquorice, orange zests, chocolate… Comments: I'm really happy I came across this one, I wasn't too proud of my latest tasting note for this 'Golden' Blanton. Even if it's still pretty much on the carpenters' side…  
SGP:361 - 85 points.

Second bonus:

Tennessee Bourbon 17 yo 2003/2020 (51.8%, Les Grands Alambics)

Tennessee Bourbon 17 yo 2003/2020 (51.8%, Les Grands Alambics) Four stars and a half
George Dickel, I suppose. I also suppose that's a bald eagle on the label. Colour: light amber. Nose: it's pretty interesting that these batches would be rather maltier than your average bourbon. More bread, more doughs, more walnuts, more pistachio paste… All things that we enjoy a lot. It is also pretty earthy, which is lovely too, not to forget these artisanal nougats. Awesome bourbon so far, I'm also reminded of those old Very Old Fitzgeralds that some very good friends in the US did let me try. Glorious bottles, those Very Old Fitzgeralds. With water: lovely spicy and floral earth, with even a touch of wet garden smoke. Autumn leaves burning. Mouth (neat): just excellent, sure the oak shows, but after all this is bourbon. Sour peaches, blood orange liqueur, pomegranates, prickly pears… All rather unusual flavours in whisky, so double applause here. With water: orange cordial and glazed chestnuts, plus rye biscuits, speculoos and Demerara sugar. A wee molassy side. Finish: medium, rather on spicy marmalades, flower jams and dried sultanas. Liquorice in the aftertaste. Comments: excellent bourbon, wider, fresher and less cake-y than others.
SGP:551 - 88 points.

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

 

July 3, 2021


Whiskyfun

 

 

 

Angus's Corner
From our Scottish correspondent
and skilled taster Angus MacRaild in Edinburgh
Angus  
Trusty Ardmore
I'm not sure Ardmore is trusty at all really. But there is plenty of it about these days, and despite it being a characterful make, it doesn't seem to have too much traction amongst whisky geeks. Perhaps that is because of branding and that it is perceived as ubiquitous, or cheap? Perhaps it is because it occasionally tastes slightly like poo. Who knows? What I do know, is that I retain a sizeable soft spot for Ardmore and that, despite some occasionally stylistic 'unlikeliness', I'm always entertained by it and happy to try it. More importantly, the distillery itself is well worth a look round if you ever get a chance to visit, the people there very lovely and genuine folk.

 

Ardmore 9 yo (59.5%, A D Rattray 'Warehouse Collection', bourbon)

Ardmore 9 yo (59.5%, A D Rattray 'Warehouse Collection', bourbon)
Colour: pale white wine. Nose: this rather familiar sooty 'mustiness' that does indeed take in mustard, sack cloth, sheep wool and hints of mud. Also these familiar farmyard vibes of hayloft and goat. With water: sandalwood and hessian bung cloth. With some further impressions of damp moss and lanolin. Mouth: very good, rather a lot of wet chalk, plaster, smoked olive oil, sheep wool oils again and a restrained peat smoke. Quite oily and mineral - mineral oil you might say. With water: a nicely oily and satisfyingly 'full' texture in the mouth now. Some bitter lemon, camphor, putty and limestone too. Finish: good length, slightly fatty, salty, herbal and still with this lighter, background peat. Comments: humble, solid, dependable Ardmore. I think the only thing with these batches is that the peat never seems to know if it's coming or going.
SGP: 474 - 84 points.

 

 

Ardmore 14 yo 2006/2020 (58.9%, The Whisky Cellar, cask #801024, hogshead, 276 bottles)

Ardmore 14 yo 2006/2020 (58.9%, The Whisky Cellar, cask #801024, hogshead, 276 bottles)
Colour: pale white wine. Nose: similar territories but the extra few years of age seem to magnify these mineral and chalky aspects of the profile. Mineral oils, wet chalk, pebbles, camphor and even a wee mechanical side with things like oily toolbox rags. Once again this rather ethereal peat smoke. With water: plain cereals, cooking oils, damp smoke - we're getting into early 90s Cadenhead territories of petrol-driven austerity here. Mouth: rather sharp and taut on arrival. Also something a little towards plasticine and plain porridge. Rather more unlikely territories I think. With water: a little 'straighter' and more classical but still extremely raw, austere and distillate driven. Ideological almost. Finish: medium, acrid, drying, peppery and very focused on plain cereals. Comments: The rare occasion where I'd say a slightly more active cask would have helped. The kind of whisky that Serge would categorise as 'intellectual' I suspect. Now, it's not without its charms…
SGP: 352 - 81 points.

 

 

Ardmore 1998/2018 (43%, Gordon & MacPhail 'Distillery labels')

Ardmore 1998/2018 (43%, Gordon & MacPhail 'Distillery labels')
Easy to forget about these licensed series from G&M these days, but I believe they shelter many very fine every day quaffing drams. Colour: gold. Nose: these 90s vintages are a different kettle of malt from the late 2000s batches I think. This is more on gingery, mentholated, leafy sherry, roasted nuts, game meats, golden syrup on brown toast and wee touches of leather, sultana and shoe polish. Feels like a more old fashioned type of bottling, which I mean in a positive sense. Some lovely softer medicines and peat smoke too. Mouth: once again, there's some good casks at play here I think. This impression of chocolate gingers, tobacco leaf, soft earthiness, pulpy stewed dark fruits and a few pickled walnuts. Extremely easy to drink, and still feels quite 'Ardmoreish'. There's a nicely soft, leathery peat note underneath the sherry which works well. Finish: good length, some bitter chocolate, caffe latte, praline, toasted walnuts and herbal teas with lemon. Comments: great feeling of maturity. And the ABV feels like it's very much designed as something uncomplicated to quaff from a tumbler of an evening - a style which G&M seem to have mastered with these types of bottlings. I find a lot of pleasure in this wee Ardmore.

SGP: 463 - 87 points. 
 

 

 

Ardmore 24 yo 1996/2021 (52%, Gordon & MacPhail 'Spiritual home exclusive 6th edition', cask #3515, refill sherry hogshead, 219 bottles)

Ardmore 24 yo 1996/2021 (52%, Gordon & MacPhail 'Spiritual home exclusive 6th edition', cask #3515, refill sherry hogshead, 219 bottles)
Colour: amber - pretty dark for a refill. Nose: did they refill one of their 1950s Talisker sherry casks?    I'm sorry but this is a stunning mix of soy sauce, natural tar, mentholated pinewood resins, pu erh teas and salted liquorice. An exceptional sherry profile that, given blind, I'd probably have said was 60s or earlier. With some time there's a tiny more 'Ardmore' accent emerging, but it's wrapped up so beautifully in all this sherry. With water: evolves more towards old leather, dunnage must, hessian and smoked meats. A slight but distinctive farmyard voice at the back from Ardmore. Mouth: beautiful arrival! Perfectly clean, pure and vivid sherry. More soy sauce, umami paste, green walnut liqueur, root beer, more natural tar, black pepper, game meats. Hugely concentrated and yet also beautifully well balanced against the distillate and ABV. More of these impressions of earthy, aged black teas and exotic hardwood resins. Some tiny threads of peat smoke. With water: softer, more dried dark fruits, black pepper, dried flowers, herbal teas, walnuts and a lightly saline rancio. Finish: long and quite complex, all on dried citrus peels, hessian, subtle medicines, herbs, pot pourri, touches of caraway, paprika and more walnut liqueur. Comments: what a cask! Brilliant, old school sherry - reminiscent of some 60s Springbanks. I would love to know its history and what the first fill was? Either way, a totally stunning Ardmore: balanced, deeply complex, clean, fresh and captivating.
SGP: 562 - 91 points.  

 

 

 

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

 

July 2, 2021


Whiskyfun
WF Favourites
Whiskyfun fav of the month

June 2021

Serge's favourite recent bottling this month:
Ardbeg 40 yo 1979/2020 (56.8%, Signatory Vintage, bourbon barrel, cask #9861, 82 bottles)  - WF93

Serge's favourite older bottling this month:
Ardbeg 30 yo 1967/1997 (50.3%, Signatory Vintage, USA, dark oloroso, cask #1141, 510 bottles) - WF96

Serge's favourite bang for your buck this month:
Kilchoman 'Loch Gorm 2020' (46%, OB) - WF89

Serge's favourite malternative this month:
Grande Champagne N.33-39 (47,4%, Jean Grosperrin for Wu Dram Clan, 2021) - WF91

Serge's Lemon Prize this month:
None
 

July 1, 2021


Whiskyfun

summer

Summer Duets
Today young vs.
old Dailuaine
In my humble little book, Dailuaine's not the easiest malt whisky ever, especially when sherry's on the streets. Sulphury greases and oils may roam the neighbourhood… or not… Let's first try a young one and then a very old one, if you please…

Dailuaine 12 yo 2008/2021 (54.8%, Fable Whisky, The Ghost Piper of Clanyard Bay, Chapter One, cask #307138, 267 bottles)

Dailuaine 12 yo 2008/2021 (54.8%, Fable Whisky, The Ghost Piper of Clanyard Bay, Chapter One, cask #307138, 267 bottles) Four stars and a half
I'm not dead sure I'm getting the whole story here, but I find the label pretty. Yeah right, when the wise man shows the moon, the fool looks at his finger… Colour: white wine. Nose: no 'S', rather a lot of nougat and popcorn, roasted pecans, peanut butter, fudge and toffee, butterscotch… That's all in safe territory, let's go on… With water: perfect. Raw wool, grist, fresh bread, linseed oil, perfect development with water. Mouth (neat): oh very, very good, really. Perfect roasted cereals, cornflakes, nougat, firmer honeys, touch of earth, liquorice, a smidgen of smoked tea, half a spoonful of marmalade… Modern witchcraft here, perfectly executed. With water: sweet breads, liqueurs, soft spices, citrus, teas… Finish: rather long, perfectly balanced, malty and citrusy. Comments: I'm afraid I've used the word 'perfect' too many times this time again. I'll need to buy a proper dictionary of synonyms! And of antonyms while I'm at it. Any suggestions? Ah, yes, this young Dailuaine… Well, it was just perfect.
SGP:551 - 88 points.

Dailuaine 46 yo 1973/2019 (45.1%, Hunter Laing, Platinum Old & Rare, 231 bottles)

Dailuaine 46 yo 1973/2019 (45.1%, Hunter Laing, Platinum Old & Rare, 231 bottles) Five stars
Always loved this series. Oh, the Broras, oh the Port Ellens! And imagine, a newish 1973 Dailuaine, isn't this very… Led Zeppelin? Colour: gold. Nose: the kind of complex secondary and tertiary aromas that only old whiskies can give to the world. Wonderful whiffs of teak oil (just worked with that funny liquid), beeswax, leather polish, then rather manuka honey and mangos, honeysuckle, fresh-sawn cherrywood, zucchini and elderberry flowers, a drop of pink olive oil perhaps, balsa wood… Well all is wonderful and good, but as we both know, with very old whiskies the devil lies on our palates… Mouth: well, no devils in sight, rather a few aesthetes pondering the respective merits of oils, waxes, leaves and softer ointments in old whiskies. It is not even fragile (it's true that 45% vol. remains a safe strength.) Rather a combination of fruit peelings and skins (melon, apples) with various herbal teas, and several kinds of waxes. No obvious wood in the way, only wood oils, which is so much nicer. Banana skin. Finish: not even short, with more waxes and leaves and fruit peelings. What's even greater is that fruits would gather in the aftertaste, bananas, oranges, apples… Comments: you always handle these old rockers with much care and quite some apprehension, but in this very case, that was not needed. Imagine, 1973, that's Goats Head Soup, Berlin, Dark Side Of The Moon, Brain Salad Surgery, Houses of the Holy, Aladdin Sane and quite a few others!
SGP:451 - 90 points.

I promise we'll do a super-large Dailuaine session later in the year.

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


June 2021 - part 2 <--- July 2021 - part 1 ---> July 2021 - part 2


 

 

 

Best spirits Serge tried those weeks, 90+ points only

Caol Ila 1978/1989 (55%, R.W. Duthie for Samaroli)

Dailuaine 46 yo 1973/2019 (45.1%, Hunter Laing, Platinum Old & Rare, 231 bottles)

Glendronach 26 yo 1993/2019 (51%, OB, for The Whisky List, Australia, First Fill Oloroso Sherry, cask #392, 657 bottles)

Glengoyne 2009/2020 (57.1%, OB, The Family Legacy, PX hogshead, cask #1009, 318 bottles)

Mannochmore 12 yo 2008/2021 (55.4%, Fable Whisky, The Ghost Piper of Clanyard Bay, Chapter One, hogshead, cask #7040, 283 bottles)

Coilltean 14 yo 'Acacia Aroma' (46%, RW Duthie for Enoteca Creminati Brescia, cask #1, 1989)

Coilltean 14 yo 'Ash Aroma' (46%, RW Duthie for Enoteca Creminati Brescia, cask #2, 1989)

Secret Highland 13 yo 2007/2020 (52.7%, Les Grands Alambics, hogshead, 141 bottles)

Foursquare 2005/2021 (59.1%, Wealth Solutions, The Colours of Rum, Barbados, ex-bourbon, Edition No.2, cask #111, 272 bottles)

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 
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