Google Whisky Fun by Serge and Angus, blog, reviews and tasting notes since 2002
Whiskyfun Malt Madness Malt Maniacs
 

Serge whiskyfun

 

Whiskies 17,204
Other spirits 2,440
Angus 1,535

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Index of whiskyfun


Whisky Tasting

 
Balblair (100)
Balmenach (42)
Balvenie (1
31)
Banff (5
2)
Ben Nevis (251)
Ben Wyvis
(3)
Benriach (1
94)
Benrinnes (
112)
Benromach (
81)
Bladnoch (
87)
Blair Athol (
97)
Bowmore (5
69)
Braes of Glenlivet (
52)
Brora (1
43)
Bruichladdich (320)
Bunnahabhain (
4
16)
Caol Ila (725)
Caperdonich (
100)
Cardhu (
40)
Clynelish (4
57)
Coleburn (2
5)
Convalmore (
30)
Cragganmore (84)
Craigduff (4)
Craigellachie (
105)
Dailuaine (91)
Dallas Dhu (41)
Dalmore (1
35)
Dalwhinnie (38)
Deanston (
60)
Dufftown (5
8)

Edradour (95)
Ladyburn (12)
Lagavulin
(1
88)
Laphroaig (
506)
Ledaig (1
37)
Linkwood (1
82)
Littlemill (1
27)
Loch Lomond (
80)
Lochside (72)
Longmorn (2
3
3)
Longrow (7
8)

Macallan (323)
Macduff (91)
Malt Mill
(1)
Mannochmore (
53)
Millburn (2
4)
Miltonduff (
103)
Mortlach (2
15)
Mosstowie (2
5)
Scapa (51)
Speyburn (
48)
Speyside (22)
Springbank (
418)
St-Magdalene (5
4)
Strathisla (
112)
Strathmill (
53)

 
 
Pete and Jack



2022
January 1

2021
December 1 - 2
November 1 - 2
October 1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2020
December
1 - 2
November 1 - 2
October 1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1
- 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2019
December
1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2018
December
1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2017
December
1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2016
December
1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2015
December
1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2014
Music Awards
December
1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1- 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2013
Music Awards
December
1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2012
December
1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2011
Music Awards
December
1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2010
Music Awards
December
1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2009
December
1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2008
Music Awards
December
1 - 2 - 3
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2007
Music Awards
December
1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2 - 3
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
Feis Ile
Special
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2006
Music Awards
December 1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2 - 3
September
1 - 2
August
1 - 2
July
1 - 2
June 1 - 2
Feis Ile
Special
May
1 - 2
April
1 - 2
March
1 - 2
February
1 - 2
January 1
- 2

2005
Music Awards
December 1 - 2
November 1 - 2
October
1- 2
September
1 - 2
August
1 - 2
July
1 - 2
June
1 - 2
Feis Ile
Special
May
1 - 2
April
1 - 2
March
1 - 2
February
1 - 2
January
1 - 2

2004
December 1 - 2
November 1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September
1
August
1
July
1
June
1
May
1
April 1
March 1
February
1
January
1

No archives for 2002-2003

 
Malt maniacs goodies
 

Othe whisky stuff
 

Brora

The Magical History
of the Great
Brora Distillery
1969 - 1983

   


 

Ye Auld Pages
that used to be here

   

 

 



Disclaimer
 

All the linked files (mp3, video, html) are located on free commercial or non-commercial third party websites. Some pictures are taken from these websites, and are believed to be free of rights, as long as no commercial use is intended.

I always try to write about artists who, I believe, deserve wider recognition, and all links to mp3 files are here to show you evidence of that. Please encourage the artists you like, by buying either their CDs or their downloadable 'legal' tracks.

I always add links to the artists' websites - if any - which should help you know more about their works. I also try to add a new link to any hosting website or weblog which helped me discover new music - check the column on the right.

I almost never upload any mp3 file on my own server, except when dealing with artists I personally know, and who gave me due authorizations, or sometimes when I feel a 'national' artist deserves wider recognition. In that case, the files will remain on-line only for a few days.

I do not encourage heavy consumption of alcoholic beverages, nor dangerous motorbike riding. But life is short anyway...

As they say here: 'L'abus d'alcool est dangeureux pour la santé - à consommer avec modération'

   
Leave feedback
   

Copyright Serge Valentin
Angus MacRaild
2002-20
22

 


Scotch Legal Announcement


 
 

January 28, 2022


Whiskyfun

Caperdonich at night

Right. There hasn't been much Caperdonich (AKA Glen Grant II) around recently, it's true that the Distillery's been closed for good quite some years ago, in 2002. But they are making a comeback these days, whilst last time I checked, they hadn't restarted the Distillery - well it's true that it's been bulldozed in 2010.

Caperdonich 21 yo 2000/2021 (56.9%, Signatory Vintage for The Whisky Exchange, hogshead, cask #29485, 256 bottles)

Caperdonich 21 yo 2000/2021 (56.9%, Signatory Vintage for The Whisky Exchange, hogshead, cask #29485, 256 bottles) Four stars
My God, the year 2000, wasn't that just yesterday? Colour: gold. Nose: Spanish olive oil (Priorat?) aged in a first fill bourbon barrel, then blended with blood orange juice and some almond and pistachio syrups. Some kirschness (which is related to those almonds), also just some average 4-oil combo. With water: ceps and chanterelles stewed in acacia honey and pear juice. Or something like that. Mouth (neat): oh, but this is extremely modern! Some tight gingery sweet oak, touches of bananas and coconut, curry, butterscotch and plum sauce. Some kind of rejuvenation having taken place, perhaps? With water: water brings out oak spices in abundance. I'm most certainly wrong, but wasn't this recently reracked in new oak? Finish: rather long, sweet and spicy. Yuzu and ginger. Comments: super good but it is a modern reinterpretation, unless I'm wrong once more. I think I'll retire into a convent – well I'm sure they'd never want me in anyway.
SGP:551 - 86 points.

Caperdonich 21 yo 2000/2021 (55%, WhiskySponge, 260 bottles)

Caperdonich 21 yo 2000/2021 (55%, WhiskySponge, 260 bottles) Four stars
Colour: light gold. Nose: I don't quite know into which hole we should put these Caperdonichs. It's a strange feeling, and I'm sure it's me, but I just don't seem to manage to define 'a style' here. While, I'm sure we agree, life is all about style. Coconut, butter pears, golden delicious, sunflower oil, sweet maize, pancakes, then sourer woods and herbs. Plain yoghurt. With water: chalk and cactus and ginger. Woolite. Tarter than the TWE. Mouth (neat): let's be honest, this is very good. We're actually very close to the Signatory for TWE. Oak spices, ginger, nutmeg, zests, ginseng, sweet curry... With water: good fun with tiny citrus fruits and any herbs that would remind you of mint while not being mint. Stuff that you gather and chew in the wild. Finish: same, on yuzu and ginger. The aftertaste is more syrupy. Comments: very good shtuff for sure, it's just that these babies lose me a wee bit. I just can't seem to manage to categorize them.
SGP:551 - 86 points.

Caperdonich 23 yo 1997/2021 (60.1%, HNWS Taiwan, hogshead, cask #2949, 186 bottles)

Caperdonich 23 yo 1997/2021 (60.1%, HNWS Taiwan, hogshead, cask #2949, 186 bottles) Four stars and a half
According to the label, this is some kind of kung-fu fighter, so let's remain careful… Colour: gold. Nose: a little rounder, more on cakes, scones, brioches, biscuits… Now at 60%+, let's be extra-careful. With water: sublime citrus coming out. Tarte au citron with meringue, same with rhubarb, kumbawa, elderberries… add chalk, add plaster, add weissbeer… This nose is exceptional. Who's done this bottling for the very honourable HNWS?  Mouth (neat): a higher league, definitely. Stunning pink grapefruits, citrons, pink rhubarb… Oh wow. But then again, 60%+. With water: a tad on the richer side, but otherwise impeccably lemony. Finger lime, horseradish, kiwi cream… Finish: remains fresh, lemony, and smiling for a pretty long time. S.m.i.l.e. Comments: woo-hoo! So, who did do this bottle for our dearest friends in Taiwan? You'll have noticed that I haven't even mentioned their superb Wulong teas.
SGP:561 - 88 points.

Caperdonich 20 yo 1997/2018 (48.6%, La Distillerie Générale, cask #6502, 35cl, 468 bottles, +/-2018)

Caperdonich 20 yo 1997/2018 (48.6%, La Distillerie Générale, cask #6502, 35cl, 468 bottles, +/-2018) Three stars
This seems to be a peated Caperdonich. La Distillerie Générale is a wee series by Pernod-Ricard, some kind of own-IB line harbouring only their own spirits (malts, cognacs…) Colour: white wine. Nose: pretty costal and fresh, with ashes and beach fire coating green apples and  some green curry powder. Whelks, perhaps, plus some kind of smoked chartreuse. With sincere apologies to chartreuse lovers. Mouth: typical peaty unpeater, in the style of some Benriachs or other trials made on the mainland. Right, not Brora. Tends to become very ashy indeed, drying, gritty, scraping the back of your tongue a wee bit, rather salty as well. Touches of paraffin, not much fruitiness. But I find it good. Finish: medium, really very ashy. Comments: these peated Caperdonichs were very well made but then again, I would say it was neither Islay, nor Brora.
SGP:365 - 82 points.

Caperdonich 24 yo 1992/2017 (46.7%, Duncan Taylor, The Octave, cask # 4113283)

Caperdonich 24 yo 1992/2017 (46.7%, Duncan Taylor, The Octave, cask # 4113283) Three stars
A tiny oak-doped outturn here, but you never know… It's to be remembered that Duncan T. had had several luminous old Caperdonichs from their ex-Abe Rosenberg stock.  Colour: gold. Nose: oh well, that worked. No Ikea-y oaky extravaganza, rather a subtle herbal combination that would remind us of some old 'Tarragone' yellow chartreuse. Hey-hey! Only wee touches of coconut, chamomile, lemon tarte with meringue, stewed rhubarb, then wormwood and woodruff. That's all pretty perfect – an octave, you say? Mouth: very good. Herbal teas, lime, thyme, honeysuckle, pastis, absinth, verbena, then some mentholy honey of some sorts… It's just that it would tend to become a little bitter and seriously gritty. Bitter herbs, green pepper, cinnamon mints… Finish: long but frankly bitter this time. I'm not sure this baby could stand this much oak on the long run. Comments: a very fine dram, it's just that the oak would tend to be willing to take over after a short while, rather unsurprisingly. But it all started rather marvellously.
SGP:471 - 81 points.

And so…

Hold on, we were also having this…

Caperdonich 19 yo 1977/1997 (57.5%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, sherry wood)

Caperdonich 19 yo 1977/1997 (57.5%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, sherry wood)
Cadenhead have had several 1977s, but we had never tried this one. Colour: dark amber. Nose: oh, old Swiss cheese and re-fermented PX or something. Supermarket parmesan cheese and extreme vinegars. In short, WAR in your glass. But peace is near, I'm sure… With water: pemican, bresaola, chilli-flavoured beef jerky, prune liqueur, stale mead, metal polish… I mean, really, this is doom-metal-black-hardcore sherried malt whisky on the nose. But you never know, the palate might be more Vivaldi-y. Mouth (neat): no, it's huge, terrifying, monstrously acetic, prune-y, balsamic, tarry and just frightening. Not much whisky left in this ueber-extreme concoction. With water: no! Dead animals and stale embrocations, rotten tars, burnt plastics, sour liquorices… This is Dante's Inferno, only even worse. Finish: not short enough. Ten times overcooked office coffee. Comments: well, there was a 18 yo 1977/1996 at 57.7% that had been stunning in my book (WF 91) but this time, I would say rarely has such a liquid horror been encountered in the history of mankind. Okay, maybe durian juice mixed with natto, Starbucks' White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino and Bud Light Chelada??… Now it is not impossible that some problems have occurred with the bottle or the sample, so as always with old bottlings, please take any tasting notes with a grain of salt.
SGP:182 - (no points)

Better stop now, before we start to scratch the bottom…

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

 

January 27, 2022


Whiskyfun

Caol Ila, a wee sequel

Since we were still  having a little more CI that we wanted to try before they evaporate (yeah right)… Just two of them. Or three. And first, an apéritif…

Port Askaig 15 yo 'sherry' (45.8%, Specialty Drinks, First fill oloroso sherry butts, +/-2017)

Port Askaig 15 yo 'sherry' (45.8%, Specialty Drinks, First fill oloroso sherry butts, +/-2017) Four stars
Obviously, we should have tried this one earlier, but I always like to keep some wee apéritifs for future needs. Colour: gold. Nose: peat and sherry, the eternally uncertain combination. Could be brilliant, could also strike the wrong chord in your brain, like a beginning one-armed violinist (oh come on). But good news, this one's not dissonant, the sherry remained on fumes and a little burnt rubber, while the coastal peat would keep singing loud and clear for us. Say a fatter oyster with a little tabasco, walnut wine and, indeed, peaty whisky. Bandages. Mouth: a feeling of smoked salty oysters, walnuts, cigar ashes and just oloroso indeed. Very oxidative, a little leathery. Not extremely easy and certainly not 'clear'. Finish: long, spicier. Tobacco, walnuts, salt and tarry rubber. Bitter oranges in the aftertaste. Comments: totally good if a little extreme, but I'm not quite recognising Caol Ila's fresh and 'lighter' side. Sherry can be a tricky beast. Even the smoke's pretty heavy, in fact.
SGP:477 - 82 points.

Perhaps…

Port Askaig '100° Proof' (57.1%, Elixir Distillers, +/-2018)

Port Askaig '100° Proof' (57.1%, Elixir Distillers, +/-2018) Four stars
Colour: white wine. Nose: ziiing. Kiwi juice, lime, granny smith and wakame, plus touches of beech-smoked salmon. A little mercurochrome, iodine… Much nicer than I remembered (but that was an earlier vatting). With water: very medicinal, I'm sure this one would expel Omicron for good. Mouth: big fruity smoke, or smoky fruitiness. Lemons, sauvignon blanc, seawater and ashes. A little kiwi juice again. With water: no complaining, this is a perfect young, salty and ashy dram, tense and tight. Feels a little 'reposado' rather than 'aged', but that's for the good. Finish: very long, very good, very tight, smoky, salty. Twenty-four oysters in the aftertaste. Comments: very bright and pretty demonstrative. For your neighbours who've never tried peat before.

SGP:456 - 86 points.

Caol Ila 10 yo (60.6%, James Eadie, USA exclusive, 2021) Four stars
No picture, sorry. Colour: pale white wine. Nose: even tighter! Damp chalk, lime juice, wee flat oysters, unripe gooseberries and bandages. It's that sharp that even the smoke doesn't quite get through at this stage. With water: crushed chalk and scoria. It's even a little basaltic. Mouth (neat): a little newmakey but since Caol Ila's a perfect distillate, we shan't file a complaint. Lemon juice, granny smith, a touch of menthol, oysters and seawater, ashes. With water: I may have used this around two hundred times already, but I'll say 'smoked limoncello'. Gets really rounder and sweeter after water's been added, perhaps a wee tad simplistic now. Finish: long, with nots of pear syrup that we weren't expecting. Us, not them. Lemon juice in the aftertaste. Comments: perhaps another one for those lucky neighbours.
SGP:567 - 85 points

Caol Ila 8 yo 2013/2021 (60.6%, Elixir Distillers, Whisky Trail, Silhouettes, hogshead, cask #304580, 291 bottles, 2021)

Caol Ila 8 yo 2013/2021 (60.6%, Elixir Distillers, Whisky Trail, Silhouettes, hogshead, cask #304580, 291 bottles, 2021) Four stars
Lovely label, very 1966 up-design. Colour: straw. Nose: pretty sour, on riesling, rhubarb juice, muscadet (nothing to do with muscat) and sour cream. (Paperback) raita. With water: gets very chalky. Whiffs of green barley. Mouth (neat): sweeter, smokier as well, full of dry ashes, with even some coal dust (good, a feeling of said thing) and a good glass of… drumroll… limoncello! With water: lovely herbal liqueurs, genepy, Bénédictine (it's a scandal that so few people would drink Bénédictine these days), plus a tiny bit of barely ripe Victoria pineapple. Do not mock me. Finish: long and very ashy. Very Caol Ila. Comments: the utter youth don't quite feel here. A lovely spirit-driven drop that belongs with the gentians, mezcals and white Jamaicans. Forgot to mention crushed kippers, but never apologize (says a certain Boris J.)
SGP:367 - 87 points.

I know we've said two or three, but since we're in full flow… A last one, from Asia this time…

Caol Ila 13 yo 2007/2021 (57.4%, Whisky AGE, refill hogshead, cask #320323, 289 bottles)

Caol Ila 13 yo 2007/2021 (57.4%, Whisky AGE, refill hogshead, cask #320323, 289 bottles) Four stars
Colour: white wine. Nose: probably the most medicinal of them all. Ointments, tincture of iodine, just medicinal alcohol, bandages, plaster, plasticine, linseed oil, a touch of turpentine, cider apples… With water: raw wool and crushed chalk. Typical. Mouth (neat): sends shivers down your spine when you swallow your first drop, but that's not an unpleasant feeling, mind you. What's sure is that this is a super-tight salty-lemony drop. Crushed tinned sardines drizzled with lemon juice, then stuffed vine leaves. With water: totally vertical, minimal, ultra-tight, salty and smoky, with just a drop of, wait… Limoncello! A few years ago the AOILP (association of Italian limoncello producers) had said that they would ship one of those orange Lamborghinis to me, but I haven't even got a free pin. And yet I keep quoting them, as the caravan keeps moving on. As long as they wouldn't ship a bottle, I'm fine.  Finish: long, pure, tight, with a drop of olive oil in the aftertaste. Well, an olive-green Aston Martin would be nice too… Comments: excellent Caol Ila, really, very pure and pretty impressive.
SGP:566 - 87 points.

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

 

January 26, 2022


Whiskyfun

Caol Ila again

BL
Caol Ila superstar. There's a lot, let's have a few at random, for more fun (s***w verticales and any other kinds of unnecessary logics).

I'd also like to take this opportunity to toast the birth of Angus's first wee lass, who was just born, right on Burn's Night ! Congratulations to the happy parents, that's going to be one lucky baby.

Caol Ila 10 yo 2011/2021 (52.7%, Thompson Bros. for Kirsch Import, Germany, 328 bottles)

Caol Ila 10 yo 2011/2021 (52.7%, Thompson Bros. for Kirsch Import, Germany, 328 bottles) Four stars
Did you know that the Thompson Brothers do speak German and that they could recite Goethe or Schiller (or Caol Ila) without blinking an eye? Next time you're up there in Dornoch, just ask them. Colour: gold. Nose: pristine, ultra-ashy, bordering rubberness. A wee acetic side, lovely. With water: shoe polishes of all colours. Pretty woke. Mouth (neat): fattish, rich, oily, tropical. Guava and avocado syrup coating lemony marzipan and a very rubbery ashiness. Burnt tyres and cigar ashes. Perhaps a little thick, no? With water: no. Many polishes, which I always enjoy. Also the greenest lemons and, indeed, oysters (check the label). And a drop of Tabasco, naturally. Finish: long, rooty, a little gritty. Comments: it's young but it's got the attributes of an older one. Like, 15 instead of 10. Rather a fat one.
SGP:466 - 87 points.

Caol Ila 11 yo 2010/2021 (58.2%, Signatory Vintage for The Whisky Exchange, refill sherry butt, cask # 316662, 558 bottles)

Caol Ila 11 yo 2010/2021 (58.2%, Signatory Vintage for The Whisky Exchange, refill sherry butt, cask # 316662, 558 bottles) Four stars
Everything should go well here, although, sherry and peat… Colour: amber. Nose: sour oloroso and coal tar, cigars, green walnuts, carbolineum, varnish, cider vinegar and, well, onion soup. Feels a bit like Thin Lizzy at 5am. Yep, I know this is not Irish. With water: old guns and new umami sauce. Pretty glutamate-y. Mouth (neat): sherry and peat that work. Roasted chestnuts, caramelised pecans, black nougat, a tiny olive and some pipe tobacco. With water: caramel and demerara sugar all over the place, even the smoke's been kept under wraps here. Finish: very long, soupy. More smoky onion soup and hoisin. Tar and smoke in the aftertaste. Comments: you never know, after thirty years in glass, these could reach 93+. Whisky's about long term anyway, is it not.
SGP:556 - 87 points.

Caol Ila 9 yo 2012/2021 (54.6%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon hogshead, 300 bottles)

Caol Ila 9 yo 2012/2021 (54.6%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon hogshead, 300 bottles) Three stars and a half
My God, 20212, that's last night! Colour: light gold. Nose: very typical young Cola Ila. Mercurochrome, oysters, granny Smith, seawater, a little vanilla fudge, aaaaand repeat. Mercurochrome, oysters, granny Smith… With water: flour, oats, porridge, hessian, and back to mercurochrome, bandages, oysters and new sweater. Mouth (neat): ultra-clean, well-streamed, flawless Caol Ila. Limoncello, oysters, Worcester sauce, fudge from the oak. With water: perhaps a little fat, but really good. Finish: long, salty. Notes of smoked salmon. Comments: surely very good but I prefer them even cleaner and rather ex-dead wood. Still up there with the better ones.
SGP:545 - 84 points.

Caol Ila 11 yo (58.9%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #53.361, 'Ham in a peat kiln', 302 bottles, 2021)

Caol Ila 11 yo (58.9%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #53.361, 'Ham in a peat kiln', 302 bottles, 2021) Two stars and a half
A Queen Street Exclusive. That's Edinburgh, where the food is fabulous and the staff rather entrancing (believe me). Colour: white wine. Nose: I'm a little sorry, but hello? Butter, kelp, whelks and fresh almonds. That's all nice, but a little simple. With water: bitter almonds and a terpenic side. Not utterly flabbergasting. Mouth (neat): good salty seafood. Very salty, actually, which is a little intriguing. Some bitterish herbs. Not too sure. With water: a little bitter, a little burnt, a little unpleasant. Finish: long and a little burnt. Acidic aftertaste. Comments: very tough young boy from near Port Askaig. Feels a bit like a random, unnecessary  cask, if I may.
SGP:356 - 79 points.

Another downward spiral, it seems… We need to act!

Caol Ila 13 yo 1996/2009 (46%, Chieftain's, Médoc finish, cask #90301/307, 2490 bottles)

Caol Ila 13 yo 1996/2009 (46%, Chieftain's, Médoc finish, cask #90301/307, 2490 bottles) Two stars
We agree, a Médoc finish doesn't make the slightest sense, unless it would have been one of the very rare white Médocs such as white Margaux, white Chasse-Spleen (very good by the way) or Mouton's Ailes d'Argent. Or else… But sadly, it was probably a red… Colour: gold with salmony hues. Nose: good, okay, I agree, this is not unpleasant, with some fresh hazelnuts, sunflower, tapioca and just grist. No lousy red berries this far, that's sorted (don't get me wrong, love them… in my red wine). Mouth: dissonant, honestly. Metallic, oddly herbal, with notes of geranium and cherry stems. Finish: medium, on no-notes. More geranium leaves, green figs, things like that. Comments: a concoction of the past, I believe no one's making them like this anymore. This is why we've got immense faith in progress.
SGP:364 - 72 points.

Caol Ila 10 yo 2010/2021 (58.1%, Whisky Facile, 'Nobody Ever Sailed Past Me', refill sherry butt, cask #216624)

Caol Ila 10 yo 2010/2021 (58.1%, Whisky Facile, 'Nobody Ever Sailed Past Me', refill sherry butt, cask #216624) Four stars
Sounds like a statement by Sir Francis Chichester. Colour: amber with red hues. Nose: truffles, gas, old guns, exhaust, game (poultry, grouse), Maggi, raspberry vinegar. With water: more Maggi, miso, old Pauillac, cabernet, rubber. Frankly, it's a little tough and Falstaffian. Utterly adore this definition found on the Web: "having the qualities of Falstaff, especially his robust, bawdy humour, good-natured rascality, and brazen braggadocio". Hurray, love that!!! Mouth (neat): a little monstrous. Raspberry wine, soot, rubber and bell pepper. With water: rather around Nebbiolo, in fact. Cassis leaves and buds. Finish: long more on cherries and almonds. Comments: as Biden or Trump would say, to be honest, this is not my preferred style of Caol Ila. Now within this style, it is probably one of my favourites. All right, I know you got the drift. What's rather low here is the drinkability index.
SGP:375 - 85 points.

More CI very soon.
(Merci Lucero)

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

 

January 25, 2022


Whiskyfun

A trio of Allt-a-Bhainne

Always a joy, I would sometimes like these obscurer sessions better than doing 'nineteen Ardbegs' or 'thirty-seven Macallans'.  Who said I'm always exaggerating, who?

Allt-a-Bhainne 12 yo 2008/2021 (49.7%, Chapter 7, Islay cask finish, 298 bottles)

Allt-a-Bhainne 12 yo 2008/2021 (49.7%, Chapter 7, Islay cask finish, 298 bottles) Three stars
We sometimes call this set-up 'in-cask blending' or 'pre-disgorging blending' but naturally, the whole whisky industry will disagree. By the way they called this one a 'monologue' but I'm sure that'll be a dialogue. Colour: white wine. Nose: well, this is not exactly diluted Laphroaig and to be honest, it doesn't quite feel like it's been botoxed, we're rather on some slightly paraffined grist, porridge, then melon and grapefruit skins, then the usual limoncello with a drop of chartreuse. A wee sour touch in the background (baby bottle, baby's milk). Mouth: the thing is, this is pretty good, if a little unlikely at this stage. It is an unknown style, both mashy and with tarry notes, vanilla yogurt, a curious ashy smokiness and a wide range of root vegetables, including our beloved turnip and celeriac. One could call this one 'Baldrick's Tipple'. Finish: medium, a little uncertain, with the Islayer make this is a little 'dusty and dirty'. Comments: pretty experimental. Some sides are very good, some others interesting, and other yet a little challenging. As long as they would tell you on the bottle, I'm fine. Pretty much un-scorable anyway, we're lacking references.
SGP:363 - 80 points.

All-a-Bhainne 20 yo 1995/2017 (46%, Murray McDavid, Benchmark, cask #130002, 219 bottles)

Allt-a-Bhainne 20 yo 1995/2017 (46%, Murray McDavid, Benchmark, cask #130002, 219 bottles) Two stars and a half
Fabtastic, they were still having this at MoM's. Now whether this would be a 'benchmark' or not, we don't know and we shall see… Especially since this was finished in claret wood, namely an ex-Talbot barrique. Gasp, we may need air… Colour: apricot. Nose: metal polish, old coins, bell pepper (that's the St Julien's cabernet), then strawberry yogurt and just fresh Swiss cheese. Now it improved a lot after some breathing, with notes of cherry clafoutis and battelman that are right up my alley. A true Madeine de Proust. Mouth: sour wood, sour cherries, more yogurt and sourdough. We shall wait, let's check what they have on Netflix… Of course we're joking. This wee Doritos-whisky remains a little unlikely on the palate, with some sour oranges with some chlorophyl and some rubber, but it is not all awful, as long as you like young cabernet-sauvignon. Remember, wine, including the best clarets, age in their bottles, not in their barriques where they are kept only for one or two years, sometimes three. Finish: long, spicier and even more on bell pepper and strawberries. Comments: interesting, sometimes even good, but remember than 'in the good old days' and unless I would be wrong once more, the claret barriques they were having in Scotland were very often transport casks, not 'château' barriques. Anyway, a funny Allt-a-Bhainne.
SGP:561 - 78 points.

Allt-a-Bhainne 23 yo 1997/2020 (52.4%, Whisky Nerds, barrel, cask #102589, 114 bottles)

Allt-a-Bhainne 23 yo 1997/2020 (52.4%, Whisky Nerds, barrel, cask #102589, 114 bottles) Four stars and a half
These lovely labels always remind me of my schooldays. I suppose that was the idea in the first place. Colour: pale gold. Nose: there, cakes, barley, fudge and toffee, roasted peanuts, honey cake, tarte tatin, maple syrup. Need I say more? With water: mosses, fern, earth and mushrooms. A+ development here. Mouth (neat): call me a traditionalist if you like, but this is another league, even if there are some unlikely touches of gunpowder, flints and even thick sour beer flying around in the arrival. You could believe this was ex-sherry but it was not. More tarte tatin, a family pack of speculoos (that's 25 kilos in Belgium), black nougat, high-level Turkish dried figs (can't beat those), dried dates as well… I find this totally excellent. With water: even better, even if it would become a little dry and sour here and there. Very malty. Finish: long and indeed, very malty. Ovaltine/Ovomaltine and Guinness, with a drop of Cointreau. Comments: absolutely excellent. No time for double-checking but I'm sure it's become one of my favourite Allt-a-Bhainnes. Now, such a small outturn…
SGP:552 - 88 points.

More tasting notesCheck the index of all Allt-a-Bhainne we've tasted so far

 

January 24, 2022


Whiskyfun

Glen Spey of Campbeltown

So to speak. Glen Spey's not one of the bluest chips but I have to say we came across some pretty good ones in recent years. All these ones were bottled by some Campbeltowners, let's do them vertically, if you please...

Glen Spey Distillery in Rothes (Colin Smith)

Glen Spey 13 yo 2008/2021 (53.6%, Watt Whisky, sherry hogshead)

Glen Spey 13 yo 2008/2021 (53.6%, Watt Whisky, sherry hogshead) Four stars
Apparently, this baby was finished for a few months in that sherry hogshead. Colour: gold. Nose: very leafy, sour, with many green walnuts, thick ale, then a little menthol and Chinese sour prune sauce. A touch of fresh paint; some fresh-sawn pinewood. Actually firm and much nicer than it sounds, don't worry. With water: takes off, almost literally. Large moist northern-Alsatian walnut cake (any walnut cake, really), rum-soaked marzipan, Mozartkugeln, perhaps a little salsify for good measure. Mouth (neat): punchy, rather thick, with nice bitters, burnt raisins, bitter cherries, peppers, bell pepper, sweet and spicy sauce (Chinese again)… Pleasantly hardy, I would say. With water: the large walnut cake is back, while the peppers wouldn't have left the scene. So, green walnuts. Notes of grape stalk, perhaps. Finish: long, with some peppered and gingered cappuccino, should anyone ever make that. Grassy aftertaste. Comments: it loves water.
SGP:371 - 87 points.

Glen Spey-Glenlivet 17 yo 2001/2019 (53.3%, Cadenhead, Small Batch, 2 bourbon hogsheads)

Glen Spey-Glenlivet 17 yo 2001/2019 (53.3%, Cadenhead, Small Batch, 2 bourbon hogsheads) Four stars
Colour: white wine. Nose: a grassy and chalky naked one, with a bold medicinal side. Aspirin tablets rather than bandages or ointments, then myrtle and borage. These medicinal notes are extremely spectacular and unusual. With water: this feeling of freshly mown lawn that we've found in quite a few Glen Speys before. All from Cadenhead's, if I remember well. Mouth (neat): fully on some kind of dry limoncello. Quite spectacular again. Grapefruit. With water: very tense, dry, lemony and grassy. This chalk again in the background. Finish: the driest white Sancerre, just at a rather higher strength. Fully on sauvignon-blanc mode! Comments: I'm a fan of this very tart style. Some very young Rosebanks used to be like this, some St. Magdalenes too.
SGP:561 - 87 points.

Glen Spey-Glenlivet 17 yo 2001/2019 (54.5%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon hogsheads, 294 bottles)

Glen Spey-Glenlivet 17 yo 2001/2019 (54.5%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon hogsheads, 294 bottles) Two stars and a half
Colour: white wine. Nose: rather similar, but with much less of that chalky/Aspiriny side, which would make it much narrower and less interesting. Once again, the wonders of small batches of 2-5 casks over single ones are showcased. With water: lettuce and rucola, plus a touch of metal polish and eggplants. Mouth (neat): tight, extremely lemony, with abundant zests (good name for a dub-techno band, no?) With water: falls a bit. Porridge. Finish: medium, pretty nice, just very narrow. Nice earthy aftertaste, though. Comments: the limits of this 'all about the distillate' concept. Given that this is not Clynelish, right. Now I still quite like this one.
SGP:471 - 79 points.

Glen Spey-Glenlivet 16 yo 2001/2018 (55.6%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon hogsheads, 294 bottles)

Glen Spey-Glenlivet 16 yo 2001/2018 (55.6%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon hogsheads, 294 bottles) Three stars
In theory, this could be pretty similar… Colour: light gold. Nose: no, there's more cask impact, some roundness, vanilla, lemon curd, then some unexpected sulphur (candles) and rucola again. Spinach leaves. With water: fried butter. Eh? Mouth (neat): I like this one. Chalky lemons and some funny touches of ham and smoky oils, while it would then get a little buttery. Suet, margarin… Perhaps a tad bizarre. With water: good fun, with a few tiny flaws actually being assets. Buttery sulphur, for example, ham fat, small green apples… Those very tart notes do actually balance the fatness. Funny guy. Finish: rather long, rather unlikely. Leaves your palate with a feeling of 'what did we just try'? Comments: to be sipped while listening to Marvin Gaye. Like, Got to give it up, extended live version.
SGP:461 - 80 points.

Let's try to find some older vintage…

Glen Spey-Glenlivet 23 yo 1995/2019 (57.3%, Cadenhead, Single Cask, bourbon hogshead, 222 bottles)

Glen Spey-Glenlivet 23 yo 1995/2019 (57.3%, Cadenhead, Single Cask, bourbon hogshead, 222 bottles) Four stars and a half
Colour: gold. Nose: yep, instantly. Warm praline, pecan pie, soft liquorice, red prunes (jujubes), wet limestone sand, bulldog sauce, dried porcinis, hoisin sauce… Love this. With water: awesome chalky development, with touches of gentian and fresh-crushed mint. Grass. Mouth (neat): just totally yes. Do I really need to explain why? Think manzanilla (I'll be back there pretty soon!) With water: tightens. Bison vodka and more manzanilla. Finish: bone dry, walnuts, cider apples, grasses… Comments: an anecdotal bottle but I'm sure anyone can still find it, should you need a champion of the grassier style. Certainly not as common as houseflies in these rather oak-inflated days. Very recommended, in fact.
SGP:371 - 88 points.

A last one would be in order…

Glen Spey-Glenlivet 22 yo 1995/2018 (57.9%, Cadenhead, Small Batch, 2 bourbon hogsheads)

Glen Spey-Glenlivet 22 yo 1995/2018 (57.9%, Cadenhead, Small Batch, 2 bourbon hogsheads) Three stars and a half
Colour: light gold. Nose: aren't we becoming Glen-Speyists? Typical top-notch filler, as unsexy as Boris, but rich with tiny herbs and grasses, green peppers, green lemons and oranges, with a rather astounding earthiness. Wandering throughout a well-catered-for garden center (on a Saturday morning in the month of march, right). With water: no further developments, on the contrary. Just grass. Eh? Mouth (neat): a little hot and rough around the edges, this time. Too much beer in this one, I would say. Orange bitters and just thick ale. With water: gets rounder, clearer as well, easier, maltier and cakier. Perhaps some speculoos dipped into champagne, a very Belgian thing indeed. Finish: oh, cherries! Heering, guignolet and such. Comments: some ups and some downs but it's still a very charming grassy dram. A l'ancienne, do we say in French.
SGP:461 - 83 points.

Signing off, but my my, Glen Spey! Thank you Campbeltown!

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

 

January 23, 2022


Whiskyfun

Armagnac is back again

  Armagnac
As it happens, the fantastic – if a little pricey - new Glendronach 50 that we tried the other day made me want to try more armagnac. You must never resist your wills, you understand.

'1 bottle for 2 good glasses of Grande Fine d'Armagnac 25 years old.' Imagine the size of the glasses back then.

Domaine de Baraillon 2005/2021 (49.9%, Swell de Spirits, folle blanche, 100 bottles)

Domaine de Baraillon 2005/2021 (49.9%, Swell de Spirits, folle blanche, 100 bottles) Four stars
Folle blanche remains the star varietal of armagnac. It used to be too in Cognac but that was before phylloxera vastatrix. Glad to try a younger, and possibly fiercer Baraillon. Colour: amber. Nose: pretty chocolaty and earthy, robust for sure, with some mint liqueur and whiffs of old dunnage warehouse. Rum-and-raisin ice cream, then many mentholated, almost turpentine-y notes, fir honey, then miso and old walnuts. I suppose that sums it up. Mouth: big boy, even more robust but also sweeter and fruitier, more 'stewed', with many chocolates filled with many liqueurs. A lot of chestnut honey, then coffees, bidis and a feeling of thuja wood. It's even got something Moroccan, hard to describe. Tajine with prunes?  Finish: long, on Jaffa cakes, marmalade, and more menthol again in the aftertaste. Some chocolaty oakiness and heavier black tea in the aftertaste, plus liquorice wood. Comments: indeed, robust and even a tad rustic, but this is armagnac. Great for your hipflask. An old, precious, genuine silver hipflask.
SGP:562 - 87 points.

Château de Laubade 1975/2021 'Brut de Fût' (44.2%, OB, Bas-armagnac, barrique #77027)

Château de Laubade 1975/2021 'Brut de Fût' (44.2%, OB, Bas-armagnac, barrique #77027) Five stars
It's true that at these kinds of ages, in Scotland they would already use crystal, do Zooms and call Prince Charles. This is baco and ugni blanc, so no folle blanche here. Remember, brut de fût means cask strength. Colour: amber. Nose: bang-bang, butterscotch, mirabelle jam, quince jelly, preserved peaches, sultanas, touches of chalky earth and a lovely floral side, around the yellowest yellow flowers. The ones the bees like best. Splendid nose (the bees would agree, although bees prefer pastis – I'm not joking at all). Mouth: flabbergasting earthy honeyness, with cassata and just more mirabelles. Extraordinary herbal teas, soft liquorice, a little agave syrup, butterscotch again, wee touches of gentian (hurray) and then a rather soft, although pretty piney and mentholy oakiness. Touches of varnish too, not a problem, on the contrary. Finish: long, a notch oaky again (loses one point, there), a tad gritty and teaish, but then you remember this is armagnac. Comments: they can call Prince Charles.
SGP:571 - 90 points.

In the words of Chuck Yeager (?!), too high, we're too high…

Domaine de Saoubis 2007/2021 (46.1%, LMDW, Version Française, Bas-armagnac, cask #95, 208 bottles)

Domaine de Saoubis 2007/2021 (46.1%, LMDW, Version Française, Bas-armagnac, cask #95, 208 bottles) Three stars and a half
A wee estate that's entirely in biodynamy, in Ayzieu not too far from Eauze. It is very cool that La Maison du Whisky would make us discover new domaines, thank you LMDW. Colour: gold. Nose: so unusual! Where else in Armagnac would you find sesame oil and rice cakes? And homemade custard, greengages, citrons and acacia honey? And rose petals? Mouth: was this an ex-whisky cask, sincerely? Some kind of lemony and earthy smokiness (pine smoke), malt indeed, more vanilla, pancakes and nougat… We're pretty much in malty territories here, it's almost a kind of reverse malternative. Madeleines. Finish: medium, rounded, cakey, rather mellow. Oranges and lemons in the aftertaste, with touches of lemongrass. Comments: a tricky baby. For blind tastings – and your pleasure. I like it quite a lot.
SGP:551 - 84 points.

Laballe 1970 'Dame-jeanne baco' (48.5%, OB, Bas-armagnac, +/-2020)

Laballe 1970 'Dame-jeanne baco' (48.5%, OB, Bas-armagnac, +/-2020) Four stars
We're in the Landes now and this is pure baco and ex-demijohn. How much time it actually spent in wood, I don't know. Colour: amber. Nose: roasted honey-coated peanuts and almonds, praline, black nougat, then cane syrup and wee meaty touches, more on poultry than on beef. Stewed chanterelles, Vietnamese caramel pork, other lovely Asian dishes (love them all). Very singular, very nice. Mouth: a vinous touch at first, then indeed more Asian dishes, orange zests, sultanas, some earthiness, some peppermint… Did we already claim this was singular? Finish: medium, piney, chartreusey, a little gingery. Comments: very good caramelly fun here.
SGP:561 - 87 points.

S.Havion-Ehny 1968/2020 (50.1%, OB, HNWS Taiwan, Ténarèze, cask #3-301, 113 bottles)

S.Havion-Ehny 1968/2020 (50.1%, OB, HNWS Taiwan, Ténarèze, cask #3-301, 113 bottles) Four stars and a half
S.Havion-Ehny is a négociant, which you could translate as 'a broker'. Down there in or around the Gers, some say Ténarèze is the true connoisseur's armagnac, although they would tend to tell you that after quite a few glasses. Colour: bronze amber. Nose: another one that's a little malty, in the sense that you would rather find pastries, cakes, roasted nuts and plum jams. Not that we shall complain, we love this. Say a mirabelle pie with honey and sultanas. Hard to beat indeed. With water: it adores water, gets much meatier, bouillony, with only touches of nougat and maple syrup. I'm afraid we'll have to mention caramel pork once more. Mouth (neat): more a classic, traditional Armagnac, with some liquorice, a grapey side, raisins and prunes, and some earthy honey. With water: the old age still doesn't really feel. Lovely honeys and roasted nuts, with an oakiness that's rather kept at bay. Awesome liquorice and aniseed. Finish: rather long and very well balanced. Marmalade, syrups, liquorice and just a tiny touch of lavender. The aftertaste is a tad oaky but that's very normal. Comments: excellent. Great fun that this Frenchman would be able to try some old revolutionary Ténarèze from an Armagnac house he had never heard of, through some friends in Taiwan. The good side of globalisation!
SGP:561 - 89 points.

Bas-armagnac 1963 (46.2%, Grosperrin for The Auld Alliance Singapore, 2021)

Bas-armagnac 1963 (46.2%, Grosperrin for The Auld Alliance Singapore, 2021) Five stars
When one of the stars of Cognac would team-up with a star of Singapore (si, si, vraiment) to release a Bas-armagnac, that should tell you something. Nutshell, this shouldn't be just any Bas-armagnac. Colour: deep amber. Nose: this isn't just any Bas-armagnac and maybe I'm dreaming but I'm finding a Cognacqy side to this baby. These stewed peaches with honey sauce and honeysuckle syrup, plus these juicy sultanas. Exceptional floral/earthy development, rather uncommon but totally amazing. Sweet mushrooms and touches of morels and truffles, all moderato. Exceptional indeed. If the palate matches the nose, we've already found one of 2022's winners at Château Whiskyfun (even if it came out in summer last year). Mouth: oh. Blazing oranges, golden raisins, sweet roots, gentian, tiny ideas of parsnips, the blackest chocolates, bamboo shoots, heather honey, yellow chartreuse, a drop of genepy… Well I'm nearly stunned. Take in a hipflask when you go skiing or fishing. Finish: rather long, perfectly earthy. Utterly high drinkability (that's the problem). Gentian in the aftertaste, so even unemployed French wokists wouldn't complain. Comments: que c'est bon!
SGP:561 - 93 points.

What a wee session! Armagnac keeps creeping-up at WF Towers. Au revoir.

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

 

January 21, 2022


Whiskyfun

The little duos, today young Glenallachie

One OB, one IB. We like these tiny sessions, the long ones can become a little boring, both to the taster and to the poor reader. Are we not good at self-promotion? We'll have the IB first simply because it's lighter. So to speak.

Glenallachie 12 yo 2009/2021 (52.8%, Valinch & Mallet, Young Masters, bourbon, cask #900354, 316 bottles)

Glenallachie 12 yo 2009/2021 (52.8%, Valinch & Mallet, Young Masters, bourbon, cask #900354, 316 bottles) Four stars
Colour: white wine. Nose: breaking news, it seems that they've finally managed to distil croissants and biscuits. They've then added a little orange blossom water, a fistful of grist and tapioca, and then just a whole fresh baguette. I'm finding this wee baby very 'French', I have to say. With water: some chalk, a very common, and very pleasant development once good water's been added. Mouth (neat): impeccable spirit, especially when no wine ever got in its way. Same bready and doughy notes for starters (croissants and all that), then also a very lovely citrus, homemade limoncello, and a tight, very fresh yuzu-y development. A tad minimal, perhaps, but this purity is just perfect. Are we going to mention the Bauhaus again? With water: we're rather going to mention chalk again, as well as yeast and sourdough. Impeccable indeed. Finish: long, with a few greener spices and more sweeter breadiness. Comments: very classic and right up my alley.
SGP:451 - 87 points.

Glenallachie 2010/2020 (62.4%, OB for Trinity Wines Greece, Chinquapin barrel, cask #4558, 277 bottles)

Glenallachie 2010/2020 (62.4%, OB for Trinity Wines Greece, Chinquapin barrel, cask #4558, 277 bottles) Four stars
Very happy to try a cask that's been bottled for our friends in Greece who, not content with having invented philosophy and democracy, are knowing a thing or ten about whisky. Which, I agree, is pretty much the same thing when that's malt whisky. By the way, Chinquapin, as diligent followers of Glenmorangie (and former belonging Glen Moray Distillery) will know, is an eastern-American sub-species of white oak also called Quercus muehlenbergii. Ha. Oh and I've just seen that it's 'intolerant of shade', but I doubt our Greek friends would have chosen this one for that reason. Colour: very deep gold. Nose: I remember. A rich American oak, oily, with a wee resinous side (ala mizunara) and a deep breadiness. But, err, 62%+. With water: praline, nougat, a drop of benzine, macadamia nuts, maize flour, a little teak oil, but no excessive 'plankiness'. At all. Mouth (neat): a sweet and spicy oaky concoction for sure, but as far as I can tell at this strength, that worked. Garam masala and bami goreng. With water: awesome, with citrons and a spicier limoncello (proprietary recipe), more masala, allspice, ras-el-hanout, plus, let me try to find something Greek… Do we say feta with honey? Honest. Finish: long, a tad 'oaky' indeed, but that was probably the idea when Dr Bill or some of his acolytes had chosen this kind of wood. Comments: I find it excellent and would guess it'll become even better around the year 2060, once it's all mellowed down in glass. When are they going to allow amphora?
SGP:561 - 87 points.

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

 

January 20, 2022


Whiskyfun

Four Craigellachie

Let's have four of them, of various styles and origins.

Craigellachie 2007/2019 (46%, Scyfion Choice, Saint Daniel wine cask finish, 201 bottles)

Craigellachie 2007/2019 (46%, Scyfion Choice, Saint Daniel wine cask finish, 201 bottles) Three stars and a half
Our friends in Ukraine and their funny wine finishings! In this very case, red Saint Daniel, some Ukrainian wine that would blend 'Cabernet Sauvignon, Saperavi and Bastardo Magarachsky' varietals. We keep learning a lot about wine, thanks to our Ukrainian friends! Now vorsicht, this is red wine… Colour: straw (not rose-y hues!) Nose: really all right, in the style of Glenlivet 12 I would say, or of Macallan 12 'sherry'. No redberry invasion, rather a nice malty development, some oranges, ales, perhaps a touch of strawberry jam in the background? In any case, no wine against whisky fight in our glass, they seem to get along well. I have to find a bottle of red Saint Daniel, really curious about that Bastardo Magarachsky (why are we not surprised, S.) Mouth: cakey, with some fruitcake, soft spices, marmalade, goji berries and dried jujubes (what they call red dates in some places). I'm just having a pack from China at home, really love them. Finish: rather long, candied and yet fresh, with, I swear to Alfred Barnard's reincarnation, a lot of dried red dates. Comments: cool, good, and very educative. Now, onto Bastardo Magarachsky, it's open season so the hunt begins… 
SGP:641 - 83 points.

Craigellachie 13 yo 2007/2021 (48%, Dumangin & Fils, ratafia champenois finish, batch 015)

Craigellachie 13 yo 2007/2021 (48%, Dumangin & Fils, ratafia champenois finish, batch 015) Three stars and a half
We've already tried some of their finishings, one Bushmills (superb!) and one Greenore (not too bad!) This time they're tackling Scotch malt whisky, so a thicker, fatter base. Let's see… By the way, at WF we're die-hard fans of all the wee unusual specialties they're having in Champagne and in the north of Burgundy, ratafia indeed, Irancy, Rosé des Riceys, sauvignon de Saint-Bris, some Coteaux-Champenois… Great wee categories to explore. Anyway, let's move on… Colour: gold. Nose: yep. Remember ratafia is no wine, it's rather must plus eau-de-vie, which means that there cannot be any 'fermentary clashes'. Jaffa cakes, orange cake, big moist figs, sultanas, dried apricots, peach jam… and tangerine liqueur! Tangerine liqueur would end any wars, just ship some to the fighters on both sides. Very nice nose, with Jaffa cakes at the helm. Mouth: absolutely lovely. Dried fruits, dried citrus, sultanas, dried rambutans (really), rooibos tea (not quite tea but there)… What comes rather unexpected is that this wouldn't even be stuffy or thick or cloying. In short, balance and freshness were preserved. Finish: medium, rather more on yellow plums and quinces. Comments: I don't think this finishing changed much to the original spirit, it just made it louder and a notch thicker and warmer, in a good way. Like what a good tube amp would do to an old 45rpm by The Stones, if you will. Great job, I suppose we ought to have a few ratafias here one day. Oh and I would also try this on Hampden and call that 'Rastafia'. Just sayin', not my business…
SGP:641 - 84 points.

Craigellachie 12 yo 2009/2021 (52.5%, The Maltman, amarone finish, cask #8, 294 bottles)

Craigellachie 12 yo 2009/2021 (52.5%, The Maltman, amarone finish, cask #8, 294 bottles) Three stars and a half
Amarone, the stuffiest red wines in da world. Now some are pretty good, let's be honest, but to blend them with malt whisky, in my pretty narrow views, is like letting Ozzy Osbourne sing Mozart. Colour: gold. Nose: it was well mastered, once again this is no cherry extravaganza, no raspberry slaughter and no strawberry Stalingrad. In short, this remains malt whisky, in the style of some moderate sherry finishing. With water: fresh panettone, other doughs and orange-blossom-driven pastries… Just what we adore - we agree that's rather unavowable. Mouth (neat): but-this-is-good! Speculoos liqueur, I'm sure our Belgian friends are making that. Orange bitters, marmalade… Very very good! With water: even more good, as they would say in Paris. Some salty orange cordial. Finish: rather long, getting more complex, rather on all kinds of chutneys rather than jams. Comments: I'm dead sure this should go extremely well with champagne, in some kind of Bellini or Scottish Kir Royal. 1/20 this, 19/20 champagne. As high as any such winey concoction could go in my little tasting book.
SGP:651 - 84 points.

Craigellachie 15 yo 2005/2020 (56.5%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseurs Choice, for HNWS Taiwan, refill bourbon barrel, cask #16600309, 255 bottles)

Craigellachie 15 yo 2005/2020 (56.5%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseurs Choice, for HNWS Taiwan, refill bourbon barrel, cask #16600309, 255 bottles) Three stars
Come on, it's time our friends in Elgin called this legendary series 'Bloggers Choice', no? We agree, on second thought, no… Colour: straw. Nose: feels like holidays after the wineskies. Light cereals, barley syrup, fresh sawdust, grated coconut, custard, paraffin, sunflower oil, sesame, polenta… With water: same. Emphasis on 'sawdust'. Mouth (neat): whisky al natural sure is superior, even when there's a little too much fresh oak. Cakes and breads and woods and branches. To be honest the oak's a little loud, even if it was genuine refill indeed, which I'm sure it was. As we said before, casks move in mysterious ways. With water: easy sweet barley-y brew, plus some of those slightly stuffy oak-aged IPAs. No one has limits these days. Finish: long, oak getting even bigger. Comments: refill indeed? Feels like scratched and toasted, but not recharred. But what do I know… Very good, but I'm not an immense fan.
SGP:461 - 80 points.

Don't tell me I liked the wineskies better. No I'm not going to a shrink.

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

 

January 19, 2022


Whiskyfun

GlenDronach 50 yo and others

Glendronach

GlenDronach Distillery (photo GlenDronach)

Looks like GlenDronach 50 yo is the talk of the season and we're extremely proud and happy to be able to try it today. But first, as we like to do and even if this is going to be the most hackneyed cliché, let's build a stairway to heaven. Well, I doubt it's going to be an elevator to hell (yet another cliché that's worn to the fullest, we're specialists at WF). By the way, as GlenDronach only dropped direct firing in 2005/2006, only the new 12 and the Hart Bros. were 'steamed'.

Glendronach 12 yo 'Original' (43%, OB, +/-2021)

Glendronach 12 yo 'Original' (43%, OB, +/-2021) Four stars
We've last tried the 12 in 2017, so time for one of our periodic reviews… Colour: deeper gold. Nose: whiffs of pencil shavings at first, then a growing triple-secness (!?) coming with the usual walnuts and bitter almonds. That's all well and nice, with the pencil shavings going more and more towards cedarwood, which was to be expected. New cigar humidor, marzipan, orange zests... Frankly, this is lovely. Mouth: similar, on more cedarwood, bitter almonds, amaretti, then cracked pepper and a little juniper and caraway. Prunes and sloe. A little oak-led but that's all fine in this context, since the distillate is pretty big in the first place. 43% is a perfect strength here. Finish: rather long, with even more bitter oranges and almonds, caraway, pepper. Fresh oak again in the aftertaste. Comments: firmer and less raisiny than I remembered it, and spicier. Really to my liking, given that the oloroso part seemed to have the upper hand (over PX), even if it was in the minority.
SGP:451 - 85 points.

Perhaps a rare indie…

Glendronach 9 yo 2011/2021 (56%, Hart Bros., for High Spirits Netherland, first fill oloroso butt)

Glendronach 9 yo 2011/2021 (56%, Hart Bros., for High Spirits Netherland, first fill oloroso butt) Four stars
I'm not sure these very fine people have anything to do with Nadi Fiori's 'High Spirits'. Hart Bros always bottle unusual whiskies; they're never boring, I would say. Colour: deep gold. Nose: and indeed this is not boring. A lot of metal polish, silverware and copper, old guns, then shoe polish and coffee dregs, raw cocoa, demerara sugar and dry molasses, old coins, Kahlùa (coffee liqueur), black rum… I like this. With water: chestnuts and pinecones, glutamate, Maggi, walnut wine… Great old-school sherried nose. Mouth (neat): bell pepper, cumin, artisanal liquorice, chewing your black cigar, sipping your ristretto and licking your English shoe polish. Drop that last part. With water: excellent, more on liquorice and tobacco. Lovely thick bitterness (Underberg, artichoke liqueur, raw chocolate…) Finish: it's is even a little refreshing, quite some feat. Bitter oranges and loads of chocolate in the aftertaste. Comments: a great little 'monstrous' sherried drop at just 9. Did I write 'unusual'? I'm sure you could dip sushi into this, with success.
SGP:462 - 87 points.

Perhaps a few older official single casks from our boxes?...

GlenDronach 13 yo 2003/2016 (52.3%, OB, Pedro Ximenez sherry puncheon finish, cask #4034, 696 bottles)

GlenDronach 13 yo 2003/2016 (52.3%, OB, Pedro Ximenez sherry puncheon finish, cask #4034, 696 bottles) Three stars
Ouch, a PX finish. I remember why these have been remaining in the boxes for so long… Colour: amber. Nose: frankly, this is very okay, naturally, and even these notes of Bolognese sauce are funny, and the geraniums, and the tomato leaves, and the grass… Some muddy raisins or something would tend to balance that. Gunpowder. With water: fine. Old earthy vin doux, Rivesaltes perhaps. A little chicken stock. Mouth (neat): the Hart Bros. kills it. Bitterish leaves, stems… But then again, there's a nice spiciness as well, all clove-driven. Once again, water will tell. With water: gets green, leafy, artichoke-y. Eggplant gratin with not much white sauce. Finish: long, leafy. Acidic coffee, perhaps. Seville oranges in the aftertaste, that's better. Comments: I've never been a huge fan of this style. It's me. Oloroso all the way, anytime.
SGP:361 - 81 points.

GlenDronach 13 yo 2004/2016 (58.1%, OB, for Asian Palate Association, Pedro Ximenez sherry puncheon, cask #6628, 647 bottles)

GlenDronach 13 yo 2004/2016 (58.1%, OB, for Asian Palate Association, Pedro Ximenez sherry puncheon, cask #6628, 647 bottles) Four stars
One for Taiwan. Colour: Nose: a liquid Mars bar, more or less. Plus cigars, coffee, hazelnut liqueur, miso… Coal briquettes in the basement. With water: cedarwood and  once again these miso-y, glutamate-y notes. Parsley. Mouth (neat): good, firm, punchy, spicy. Like these touches of Chartreuse, with drops of ginger liqueur and just citrons. A little tighter and rougher than the 2003. With water: gets very grassy and liquoricy. Finish: long and even more on liquorice. Someone must have thrown a few lozenges into this fat puncheon. Comments: was it a finishing or was it not a finishing? Perhaps not one for subtlety, but I like it.
SGP:461 - 85 points.

GlenDronach 13 yo 2003/2016 (56.2%, OB, HNWS Taiwan, Oloroso sherry puncheon, cask #5949, 710 bottles)

GlenDronach 13 yo 2003/2016 (56.2%, OB, HNWS Taiwan, Oloroso sherry puncheon, cask #5949, 710 bottles) Three stars and a half
Oloroso, hurray! Colour: amber. Nose: I find this so vastly superior. All roasted nuts of the creation, the greatest chocolates, the liveliest coffees and the nicest Cuban cigars. So far, so good. With water: glazed chestnuts and touches of spicy oak, plus rubber and a box of pencils. Mouth (neat): lovely bitter oranges and ginger, chestnut honey and some kind of insane myrtle and sorb cordial. Would tend to become rather aggressively spicy after just five seconds, having said that. Big pepper. With water: fine but the wood's a little loud and bitter. Finish: long, grassy and bitter. Better than it sounds, but it's not one for Sundays. Comments: I was having deep hopes but the bitterer side took over. Still very good. The main problem is that we've tried the older, less 'oaked-up' official 'Dronachs.
SGP:361 - 83 points.

GlenDronach 12 yo 2004/2016 (54.1%, OB, for CC Taiwan, Oloroso sherry butt, cask #349, 653 bottles)

GlenDronach 12 yo 2004/2016 (54.1%, OB, for CC Taiwan, Oloroso sherry butt, cask #349, 653 bottles) Four stars
Don't our dear friends in Taiwan love their very heavy sherry? Hope this is not another lazy finishing, having said that. Colour: gold (hey!) Nose: there, bravo, barley (wow!), bread (extra-wow!), quinces and mirabelles (no comments), pastries… And, drum roll, panettone. If there's ever a Noah's Ark of gastronomy, I hope panettone will be on board. Oh and your truly. With water: awesome barleyness, ales, cakes and nougats. Walnuts would remind us that after all, this is a sherry cask. Mouth (neat): this tells you that GlenDronach is a great distillate and that it wouldn't obligatorily need the heaviest sherry casks. The old officials from 30 or 40 years ago were telling us the same thing. Lovely orange cake. With water: excellent. Bitter oranges, ginseng, ginger, white pepper, nutmeg. Good, perhaps has it become a little tough now. Finish: long, rather on walnut cakes and spicy liqueurs. Comments: the sherry cask has been most well-mannered this time; I mean until we added H2O.
SGP:461 - 87 points.

The 50 yo is getting close…

GlenDronach 13 yo 2003/2016 (55.8%, OB, for Taiwan, Oloroso sherry puncheon, cask #5950, 699 bottles)

GlenDronach 13 yo 2003/2016 (55.8%, OB, for Taiwan, Oloroso sherry puncheon, cask #5950, 699 bottles) Two stars and a half
I mean, weren't they selling all their casks to Taiwan, back in 2016? Colour: amber. Nose: sawdust, pencil shavings, walnuts, marzipan, cigars. With water: it's okay, on orange cake, fresh walnuts, chicken stock and a drop of miso and metal polish, 50/50. Mouth (neat): good start, gets then pretty spicy and rubbery. Rough and tough, oaky, spicy. With water:  whoops. Too much oak for me. Finish: tough oak. Comments: too much oak for me, not sure what happened.
SGP:371 - 77 points.

GlenDronach 23 yo 1993/2016 (59.1%, OB, for D.C. & T.D.M. Taiwan, Oloroso sherry, cask #41, 587 bottles)

GlenDronach 23 yo 1993/2016 (59.1%, OB, for D.C. & T.D.M. Taiwan, Oloroso sherry, cask #41, 587 bottles) Four stars and a half
1993, that's a whole different story. Colour: mahogany. Nose: and there, another world indeed. All those 2003-2004 were fine or very fine, but this is different. Less two-pence oak, more fruits, tamarind, damsons, black raisins, old armagnac… Well, just love this Ténarèze-y middle-aged (and well-mannered indeed) GlenDronach. With water: a gorgeous resinous herbalness with marrow quenelles and some kind of meat stew from the middle of old England. Mouth (neat): extremely good, if a tad 'dark' and 'bitter'. Stunning pine-y notes, turpentine, touches of salt, very heavy liquorice. With water: and voilà, excellent and truly 'the new Macallan', as we used to believe back them. That was before, well, you know… Finish: long and sweeter, with dried fruits of all sorts. Comments: I say any sherried dram that would not display 'dried fruits of all sorts' should get disqualified. In the meantime, I find this superlative.
SGP:461 - 89 points.

Good, thanks to our Taiwanese friends, I suppose we're now fully ready for the 50…

GlenDronach 50 yo 1971 (43.8%, OB, 198 bottles, 2022)

GlenDronach 50 yo 1971 (43.8%, OB, 198 bottles, 2022) Five stars
Believe it or not, as we were reminded during a nice wee official Zoom session that was done yesterday after I had written my lousy-as-ever introduction and tasted the first whiskies here, 1971 was indeed the year when LedZep's Stairway To Heaven was released. This old baby first spent its life in one Pedro Ximénez and one Oloroso sherry cask, both distilled on the same day, and was then blended and 'married' for around one year in a single new Spanish oak PX cask. It's just being launched although bottle #1 had already been auctioned for a just cause earlier in December and fetched no less than £40,000. So, I suppose it was actually bottled in 2021 but let's declare it's WF's first whisky released in 2022. Not a bad choice, what do you think? I'd add that we've already tried quite a few 1971s, including that superb Moon Import 'The Birds' bottled in 1990 and several OBs bottled between 2009 and 2013, amongst which 1971/2010 oloroso #489 and 1971/2013 PX #1246 have been my favourites with 92 points (right, 92%) each. But that's enough small talk, let's try the new wonder…  
Colour: coffee/mahogany. Nose: rather incredible, very fresh, you'd almost believe it's an old creamy yet vibrant V.O.R.S from before 1940. It is full of prunes, sloes, earthy mushrooms, with touches of tamarind jam and rather many Smyrna raisins. The freshness is very impressive indeed, while it would go on with Cuban cigars dipped into umami and walnut sauce (the oloroso speaking out, I would suppose), then more resins, pine, terpenes, eucalyptus, a little turpentine and just hints of very old armagnac blended with high-class brandy de Jerez. Like 90% armagnac and 10% brandy de Jerez. Someone may have thrown in a few Werther's Originals too. By the way, did anyone ever come across malts that had been finished in ex-brandy de Jerez casks? Mouth: it truly leaves you speechless, but this is WF. So, still no signs of over-oakiness whatsoever, rather a massive feeling of thin mints made by a very posh chocolatier, plus some perfect coffee, with drops of cough syrup and various small-berry eaux-de-vies. Sorb, holly, elder… Also orange cordial. Finish: medium, very subtle, never exactly oaky despite all the coffee, cocoa and piney notes. The aftertaste reminds me of hoisin sauce plus indeed, umami. Comments: one more point after ten more years, that's a good rhythm when you reach these very old ages. In theory, it should have gone downwards. No?
SGP:561 - 93 points.

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

 

January 18, 2022


Whiskyfun

A good few Tomintoul

I'll always fondly remember Tomintoul, not that I've visited the Distillery the first time I drove to Scotland, around 1979 or 1980, rather because we went to that nice shop called The Whisky Castle in Tomintoul, probably the first real whisky shop where my feet have been. Believe me or not, I don't think they've ever hold it against me. Let's have a few Tomintouls, more or less at random… Remember, it is supposed to be 'The Gentle Dram'…

Castle

Tomintoul 'With a Peaty Tang' (40%, OB, +/-2018)

Tomintoul 'With a Peaty Tang' (40%, OB, +/-2018) Two stars and a half
We've already tried this expression, or a close relative, around 2008 and had thought it was a little average (WF 78), but I suppose they have improved the recipe as whisky's Eternally Dazzling Leading Light granted it with a 94/100 according to the brand's website. It was the beginning of the wave of the 'peated unpeated', when every distillery on the Mainland started to release peaty variations. Colour: straw. Nose: they may have improved the recipe indeed. It's a fine smoky malt, pretty briny too, with a little burnt rubber here and there, hot brake pads (after the Grampians) and just smells of 'a working malting plant'. Mouth: too light and that's because of the 40% vol. Reminds me of when the Old Guard at Laphroaig used to secretly pour the 10 at 43% vol., while the official UK version was at 40%. Good salty juice, well balanced if a little simple, nicely salty, smoky..; But yeah, it would nosedive after just three seconds, leaving some kind of bitterish tannicity. Finish: very short and ashy. Comments: brother Ballantruan demonstrates more oomph. One more point, there.
SGP:345 - 79 points.

Tomintoul 10 yo 2010 (56,1%, First Cask, WIN Dranken, hogshead, +/-2020)

Tomintoul 10 yo 2010 (56,1%, First Cask, WIN Dranken, hogshead, +/-2020) Three stars
Colour: white wine. Nose: oh boy, grassy wax, waxy grass, cactus, carbon, concentrated lemon juice, new electronics (new Oculus Quest, right) and just some kind of smoky porridge. Ueber dry. With water: nosing rapeseed oil and damp grist, or damp oatcakes after a whisky session that went a little awful. Mouth (neat): high tension, with some kind of green limoncello, bell pepper, kid's toothpaste, coconut liqueur (no names) and just more porridge. Pretty extreme but it has its charms, let's give it time and… with water: the caterpillar becomes a butterfly. Well, quite. Goof bitter and grassy and oily maltiness, green liquorice, moshi (with bean paste) and some sweeter bell pepper. Finish: rather long, with some paprika this time, and just many vegetal oils. Grapefruit zest in the aftertaste. Comments: challenging, in a good way. A dying style, I would say, you would have had many more such bottlings twenty years ago.
SGP:361 - 82 points.

Tomintoul 15 yo 2001/2020 (45%, Liquid Treasures, Living World, bourbon hogshead, 146 bottles)

Tomintoul 15 yo 2001/2020 (45%, Liquid Treasures, Living World, bourbon hogshead, 146 bottles) Four stars
Is that a tarantula on the label? Or is it Boris Johnson? (Keep your hair on, it's just another very silly joke – Ed.). Colour: white wine. Nose: syrups all the way this time. Agave, barley, sugarcane… Then preserved fruits and jams, rather plums, greengages, damsons, mirabelles… A wee fermentary side, beers, yeasts… That's lovely too. Someone should try to flavour beer with greengages one day, as they do with cherries or cannabis (what?) Forgot to say, I've just been elected the President of the Greengage Enthusiasts' Club. Mouth: very very, and I mean very close to the barley. Many breads, pumpernickel, dry fruitcakes, grass juice, mezcal… They could add a worm into the bottle, but I'm not sure the SWA would approve, as they're not exactly the Scotch Worm Association (gee, 2022 starts well). Finish: medium, a tad more on the fruity side. Limoncello. Comments: I rather loved this very loyal and honest dram, not just because of the greengages.
SGP:551 - 85 points.

Tomintoul 15 yo 2005/2020 (55.7%, Lady of the Glen, amontillado finish, cask #19A, 251 bottles)

Tomintoul 15 yo 2005/2020 (55.7%, Lady of the Glen, amontillado finish, cask #19A, 251 bottles) Three stars and a half
A 13 months finish in an amontillado barrel from Tanoaria Josafer. Good to know. BTW tanoaria means cooperage in… Portuguese. So this is Portuguese amontillado wood, which doesn't obligatorily mean that the wine wasn't Spanish in the first place. Let's proceed, casks move in mysterious ways anyway…. Colour: gold. Nose: hey hey hey, nice! The expected walnut cakes and wines, this soft mustard, the touches of curry and gunpowder, Seville oranges (we won't say Lisbon oranges, eh), copper coins, muscovado, speculoos… I believe I'm rather a fan. Fig bread too. With water: more earth, garden peat, compost… Mouth (neat): it's a fighter. Some metallic nuts, pecans, walnuts, some suet, ham, glazed chestnuts, gunpowder again, bits of tobacco, some Madeira-like touches, mustard, horseradish, BBQ sauce… This is really different. With water: metallic mustard and nuts. Indeed, a good name for a new-wave folk-rock band. Finish: rather long, oily, with a few clashes here and there but that's part of the charms. Comments: a nice, slightly unlikely ride.
SGP:462 - 84 points.

Tomintoul 15 yo (56,1%, Dram Mor, cask #32, refill bourbon / Sauternes finish, 317 bottles, 2020)

Tomintoul 15 yo (56,1%, Dram Mor, cask #32, refill bourbon / Sauternes finish, 317 bottles, 2020) Three stars and a half
Some genuine French ex-Sauternes cask, I'm sure. Colour: white wine. Nose: I'm not finding it particularly Sauternesy, no apricots or honeys or tropical flowers… Or just wee touches. Rather a nice solid malty dram, on cereals, biscuits, ales, nougat, halva, pine nuts perhaps… With water: wee whiffs of burnt rubber, but that may rather be botrytis. Not too sure, something grilled. Mouth (neat): much more assertive, rich, compote-y than on the nose, with indeed notes of vin doux naturel (which Sauternes isn't, but there). Apricot cream, mirabelle jam and sultanas, that's more than enough for me. Reminds me of a Braes finished in Sauternes (or was it Monbazillac?) that our friend Jean Donnay had done around twenty years ago in his 'Celtique Connexion' range. Unless I'm wrong, Jean really pioneered this style, even before Glenmo. With water: finishings do not always behave well when reduced. In this case I'm finding a little rubber again, leather, something marginally musty, and just 'mushrooms'. Finish: same, with an unexpected saltiness. Comments: really love some sides, like some other aspects a little less. Some say that doing a finishing on some small batches or single casks is like rolling the dice. Discuss…
SGP:561 - 84 points.

Time for a last Tomintoul. Let's make it an old Tomintoul…

Tomintoul 40 yo 1977/2017 (49.9%, OB, Quaich Bar Singapore Exclusive, 10th Anniversary, sherry, 270 bottles)

Tomintoul 40 yo 1977/2017 (49.9%, OB, Quaich Bar Singapore Exclusive, 10th Anniversary, sherry, 270 bottles) Five stars
A bottling for our friends in Singapore. Isn't it fabulous that in these Covided times, whisky would still make us travel close and afar? Colour: deep brownish amber. Nose: walnut cake as in walnut cakes, pecan pie as in pecan pies, and a lot chestnut purée. Which, I have to confess, I just adore. Tends to become more oloroso-y by the minute; there, we were in Singapore, we're now in Jerez-de-la-Frontera. Travelling in and from a wee tulip glass, how cool. Mouth: another fighter, and exactly not an old tired 40-something. Lovely meaty liquorice, prunes and chocolate liqueur, rather PX than oloroso – or say old cream sherry? Old amoroso? Crazy old VORS? Mozartkugeln? Wait, while we're in Austria, Sachertorte? I told you, some whiskies make you travel. This old Tomintoul sure makes for a great Airline – 1st class, naturally. Finish: long and totally on 1st-class chocolate. A drop of Jägermeister and one of soy sauce  in the aftertaste. I'd love to sing some Mozart, but I believe I will hold back. Comments: Singapore to Jerez to Salzburg and Wien, all in a wee glass of excellent old malt whisky. Who needs Air France anyway?
SGP:452 - 90 points.

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

 

January 17, 2022


Whiskyfun

Glen
far
clas
ses

 

GF
I believe no one's ever decided on the plural for 'Glenfarclas'. Is it Glenfarclasses? Is it Glenfarcli? Glenfarclii? Reminds me of that old joke 'Please one Glenfarclas! While you're at it, make that two...' Let's have a few more from our older boxes, completely at random…

Glenfarclas 10 yo 2005/2015 (60.9%, OB, Tiger's Finest Selection, China, cask #2424)

Glenfarclas 10 yo 2005/2015 (60.9%, OB, Tiger's Finest Selection, China, cask #2424) Four stars and a half
It was about time, I agree. The tiger is not me. Colour: dark amber. Nose: chocolate and coffee all over the place, with very tiny hints of gunpowder and new rubber. Gradually switches to meaty and fermentary sauces, hoisin, bulldog, also copper polish. Something metallic, not unpleasant at all. With water: autumn leaves and cigars, copper polish, magazines and just a load of bitter chocolate. Cocoa, Van Houten… Mouth (neat): thick and rich chocolate, malt extracts, stout, walnut wine and brandy de Jerez, with some salty sauce. Worcester. Some earlier batches of the famous '105' have been like this, as far as I can remember. With water: sweeter and fruitier, much more marmalade-y, as expected. Raisins. Finish: long, thick, raisiny. Comments: as some stupid writer would have, well, written, like brandy de Jerez but incomparably better than any brandy de Jerez. Great drop for Taiwan (I seem to remember), mega-good.
SGP:651 - 88 points.

Glenfarclas 1991/2007 (57.9%, OB, Family Cask, #5623, 613 bottles)

Glenfarclas 1991/2007 (57.9%, OB, Family Cask, #5623, 613 bottles)
An old sample from the Malt Maniacs Awards that I was still having. Frankly, they usually don't keep that long, decanting your best bottles into some wee 5 or 10cls mini-bottles is not a good idea if your aim is to keep them for years. Whisky's more fragile than you think and plastics, all of them, are your worst enemies. Never, ever believe makers or merchants' websites. Colour: amber. Nose: I've kept this one in my glass for a good one hour so that it could breathe. With success I have to say, these grassy raisins and figs being of erstwhile quality. Sweet mushroom sauce. With water: some paraffin - tsk tsk, that's the old sample. Paraffin is good when it's integrated, it's a bad sign when it  literally 'covers' everything. Mouth (neat): thick walnut wine, chestnut liqueur, plus some gravy and some oloroso from a good house. With water: Seville oranges and meaty liqueurs, but this paraffin gives it away: it's wrecked to some extend. Finish: forget. Comments: it's got some wonderful afterglows and stuff, but it's wrecked. What's great is that those flaws are extremely easy to detect. Having said that, keeping such a sample for more than ten ears is a terrible idea in the first place, unless you've cryogenised it. Now, cold kills oils…
SGP:481 – (no) points.

Glenfarclas 10 yo 2006/2016 (60.3%, OB, for Mr Tiger, China, sherry, cask #618, 640 bottles)

Glenfarclas 10 yo 2006/2016 (60.3%, OB, for Mr Tiger, China, sherry, cask #618, 640 bottles) Four stars
Let's pray… Colour: mahogany. Nose: chocolate everywhere, as a soup, as a drink, as a tea, as a sauce… With water: old guns and new books. How literary, eh! (that was lousy at best, S.) Mouth (neat): perfect state, ueber-rich, extremely gamey, full of soy sauce, hoisin, chocolate, tabasco, mole, Maggi, glutamate… With water: these ones would send you to Jerez rather than to Ballindalloch, and we shan't complain. A lot of chocolate, coffee, salty meaty sauces, ham, balsamicos, black olives, bitter chocolates… Finish: long, very dry, very chocolaty. Chewing your cigar. Comments: I seem to notice that these thickish styles are slowly drifting away and leaving today's whiskydom. We should discuss these issues, should we not. Oh yeah, this is very good.
SGP:362 - 87 points.

Glenfarclas 2006/2016 (60.4%, OB, sherry butt, cask #619, 561 bottles)

Glenfarclas 2006/2016 (60.4%, OB, sherry butt, cask #619, 561 bottles) Four stars and a half
 A neighbouring sister cask! How cool is that, after so many years? Colour: coffee. Nose: coffee, roasted chestnuts, pine needles, umami sauce. That's about it. With water: metal polish and an old Norton motorcycle. Beat this and we talk later. Mouth (neat): brilliant, aggressive, complex, salty, rustic, civilised, vinegary, friendly, chocolaty. Long story short, it was/is brilliant. With water: an extreme sherry monster, and yet there is some elegance in there. Glazed chestnuts, for example. Finish: long and very salty. It's gotten a soup. Comments: Glenfarclas, rather than Glendronach, have taken over from Macallan's, everyone's knowing that - this was just another element of proof. Cheques to 'Whiskyfun Barbados S.A.' please.
SGP:472 - 88 points.

Glenfarclas '105' (60%, OB, 100cl, +/- 2016)

Glenfarclas '105' (60%, OB, 100cl, +/- 2016) Three stars
Just for fun, we all know this one, which we're following year after year. So, we're simply filling a hole here, let's do this quickly… By the way, is it 8 or is it not 8? Colour: deep gold. Nose: butterscotch. I'd bet they've changed the way they're preparing the casks. More charring? With water: lovely maltiness, sweet and round beers, breads, focaccias, Mars bars, Twixes, millionaire shortbread… Mouth (neat): excellent. Cakes, nuts, malt, marmalade, touch of ginger. With water: careful, this is its Achilles' heel. The 105 never took water lightly, if you ask me, probably a matter of oils. Some struck matches and simply sulphur coming out. Finish: not great, vegetal… Comments: all batches are different, this is perhaps not one of the best. Comments: all batches are different, this is perhaps not one of the best. For example, one from 2020 has been much higher in my book (WF 87).
SGP:361 - 81 points.

Speyside's Finest 16 yo 2004/2020 (53.1%, The Whisky Mercenary, for Whisky Troef, refill sherry, 115 bottles)

Speyside's Finest 16 yo 2004/2020 (53.1%, The Whisky Mercenary, for Whisky Troef, refill sherry, 115 bottles) Two stars and a half
A drunken little bird told me this was Glenfarclas. Colour: white wine. Nose: the fatter side of Glenfarclas, otherwise an average barleyness and some breads. With water: putty and herbal teas. Mouth (neat): very good cakes, then some lousier leathers. Perhaps not the greatest indie GF. With water: a little better, beerish. Finish: rather long, unexpectedly grassy. Kirschwasser and tourist's slivovitz. Comments: perhaps not exactly Speyside's 'finest', perhaps not quite this time, if I may… And perhaps not even GF, I might be completely wrong.
SGP:461 - 79 points.

I have a bad feeling, but redemption might be close…

Glenfarclas 17 yo 2004/2021 (53.5%, OB, Autumn Edition, Netherlands, sherry cask)

Glenfarclas 17 yo 2004/2021 (53.5%, OB, Autumn Edition, Netherlands, sherry cask) Two stars and a half
Cross fingers, our dear Dutch friends deserve it, after all they're supposed to sink into the Atlantic anytime soon according to some lousy press… Colour: gold. Nose: modern and very nice. Lovely cappuccino and nougats, having said that this could be any Distillery up there. Butterscotch, Guinness, malt extracts, green walnuts… With water: ? Bitter beers. Mouth (neat): a tad oak-forward, frankly. Bitter, oak spices… Gets a little too spicy, difficult. With water: to be fair, someone very thirsty after having crossed the Sahara on a camel would drink a whole glass of this. Otherwise, I think it's a very heavy spicy drop. Finish: dry, grassy, a little unpleasant in my opinion, a little too concoctiony. Comments: something must have happened. Like, some alien life form has stolen this sample at WF Towers and replaced it with some Kazakh turnip and allspice eau-de-vie aged in some IBC with toasted pinewood chips. Or a wrecked sample indeed.
SGP:461 - 78 points.

Let's cut to the chase here, it was  downward spiral anyway. But accidents happen and as always, all a matter of individual taste. What's more, this many sherry monsters within one single session might not be a good idea. Sherry fatigue? Pace e salute.

HOLD ON. Would you believe this, as soon as I was finished with this spiralling session, a new Glenfarclas rang at the door (so to speak). And since I hadn't published my session yet, I could just add this wee newcomer at the last minute…

Glenfarclas 43 yo 1977/2021 (43.1%, OB, private for Jeroboams, fourth fill oloroso sherry hogshead, cask #7288, 215 bottles)

Glenfarclas 43 yo 1977/2021 (43.1%, OB, private for Jeroboams, fourth fill oloroso sherry hogshead, cask #7288, 215 bottles) Five stars
These are interesting vintages because 1977 was, as far as I know, the very beginning of the so-called whisky loch. The fact that they knew it was 4th fill is great too (that would suggest they had always been using the cask themselves). And we tend to love refill, after the aforementioned heavy sherry monsters… Colour: light gold; Nose: echoes of some older 'white label tall bottle' expressions, which is pretty good news. Especially this floral side (dandelions, acacia) mingled with many things almondy, such as, well, almonds but also plum spirits, apricot spirit, marzipan, small berries (sorb)… In truth it reminds me of my grandmother's mirabelle tarte, which she would have scattered with ground almonds because 'almonds would soak up the juice'. After five minutes, roasted peanuts and pecans would show up, together with sugarcane honey and maple syrup. After ten minutes, whiffs of old hessian and old wine cellar emerging. Old tools, old paint pot, old putty. It's a movie-malt, it keeps changing and telling you stories. Mouth: the wonders of refill. There's quite some oak but it expresses itself through many infusions (rosehip, lime-flower), embrocations, the same kinds of almondy notes as on the nose… Then we have roasted and caramelised nuts as well as roasted raisins – I suppose the first fill version was a true sherry monster – and many honeys, plus some lighter tangerine liqueur and syrup. Zests. Finish: longer and fresher than expected, rather more honeyed, with a little mint. No straight tannicity whatsoever. Limoncello in the aftertaste. Comments: truly exceptional and wonderfully drinkable (careful!) The fruitiness is remarkable. I remember a 1977/2017 'Family Cask' that came from a 4th fill hogshead as well and that had been brilliant indeed. I'd love to know when the cask was filled for the first time, having said that. Even before WWII?
SGP:651 - 91 points.

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

 

January 16, 2022


Whiskyfun

Rum is back

On WF, after quite an assortment of brilliant old Cognacs and Armagnacs in the end of last year – we'll have more of them soon as well. Let's see what we have in the boxes and on the shelves… And perhaps start this from Cabo Verde with a grog/grogue!.
Al
so, you may watch this.and listen to this.

Barbosa Amado & Vicente 'Grogue' (45%, OB, Cabo Verde, +/-2018)

Barbosa Amado & Vicente 'Grogue' (45%, OB, Cabo Verde, +/-2018) Four stars
We've had a 'Monte Negro' a few years back that was bearing the same label. It's been rather stunning, as these grogues are distilled in small pot stills using pure cane juice, as they do with Haitian clairin. Colour: white. Nose: terrific notes of rotten bananas, model glue, acetone, 'chemical' marshmallows, engine oil, metal polish and even antirust paint, then earthy olives and crushed pickled anchovies (on good bread and butter, yummy). Mouth: throat is okay, that's sorted. No taste distortions either, phew. So, more crushed anchovies, brine, olives and bananas 50/50 (something to try?), margarita, soju and baiju… Things like that. Very fermentary and right up my alley. Finish: really salty, with olives and just more pickled anchovies. The rotting bananas are back in the aftertaste, a little varnish as well. Comments: awesome spirit, even closer to clairin, and probably to Madeiran agricole rum than I remembered. Would that be the influence of the Atlantic Ocean?
SGP:462 - 87 points.

Arruco 'VSOP' (40%, OB, Spirit Drink, Spain, +/-2020)

Arruco 'VSOP' (40%, OB, Spirit Drink, Spain, +/-2020) Two stars
This is an 'hybrid spirit' you understand, 70% rum plus 30% cognac, made in Spain. We've already tried their 'XO', which is rum plus armagnac, and thought it was actually pretty, pretty good (WF 80). Let's keep an open mind here (as Zappa used to say, minds are like parachutes, they only work when they're open). Colour: gold. Nose: a little light and 'matt', rather with some vanilla, cake and sawdust, rather reminiscent of the cheapo Scotch blends that you would find at the bar in ** hotels. You're right, when there's a bar. So, it's not off-putting, but there isn't much happening. Probably not an 'hybrid' aimed at nosers… Mouth: this rather works on the palate, there's a nice cane, some salty bits, olives, a little liquorice, now I don't think the cognac's got much to tell in this context. Finish: short, with a few sucrosey notes. A little flat. Comments: I believe the XO was more to my liking. This is largely acceptable, though, but it would need ice, as well as a few extra-% ABV.
SGP:352 - 76 points.

Let's talk.

Bielle 10 yo 2009/2019 (49.4%, Rasta Morris, Marie-Galante, bourbon cask, cask #RM020, 226 bottles)

Bielle 10 yo 2009/2019 (49.4%, Rasta Morris, Marie-Galante, bourbon cask, cask #RM020, 226 bottles) Four stars and a half
Technically and administratively, Marie-Galante is Guadeloupe, but to many, it's different. We've tried a 2011/2019 by Rasta Morris that had been su-perb (WF 90), so there's no reason…  Oh and I agree we should have tried this one earlier, but I seem to remember they only released it a few months ago. Colour: bronze. Nose: a lot of metal polish, you'd believe you're at a Harley-Davidson gathering. Then coffee, cedarwood, cane juice, sandalwood, a new box of small cigars, and whiffs of agave syrup, bizarrely. I'm also reminded of the best Cubans (rums this time, not cigars), which is bizarre as well, I agree, and of some triple-sec. A little intriguing, perhaps softer than expected, let's see… Mouth: it is extremely agricole, loaded with liquorice and varnishy tones, green bananas, teas, some caraway and ras-el-hanout, plus some very strong mint tea. Some green tannicity, not unpleasant at all, on the contrary. Finish: long and still full of liquorice, especially liquorice root. Some ginseng powder too. Comments: love this liquoricy earthiness. A little tough here and there but that's part of its charms.
SGP:462 - 88 points.

A Scotsman in The Tropics 2008/2021 (53.9%, Dramful!, Dominican Republic, 100 bottles)

A Scotsman in The Tropics 2008/2021 (53.9%, Dramful!, Dominican Republic, 100 bottles) Four stars
We're always scared when we see rums from the DomRep (they're usually flat and sweetened-up to the eyes) but this time it's Dramful!, and second, they've done a 2-year finish in Laphroaig wood on it. Sounds a bit like adding foie gras to a Big Mac, but let's see… Colour: dark amber. Nose: haven't I already used the word 'intriguing' today? I'm finding eggplant gratin, artichoke liqueur, leaves, cactus, white asparagus (only four months of waiting…), chestnut burr, orange peel… And certainly something medicinal. With water: old ointments and coal tar! Mouth (neat): LOL. Laphroaig imposing its magic, with a deep earthiness, seaweed (wakame salad), a tarry smoke, and a wee rum that's just… the canvas of the whole painting. Aged gentian eau-de-vie. Spectacular, wondering how much 'L' was remaining in the cask. With water: eggplant and gentian. Some moussaka! Touches of candy sugar too, after all this is rum from the Dominican Republic. Finish: tarry caramel, liquorice root. Sriracha in the aftertaste. That's chilli. Comments: the spirit wasn't thick and the L cask may have done all the work. Well, it's possibly my favourite rum from the DomRep, ever. Good fun.
SGP:363 - 85 points.

Renaissance 2018/2021 (62%, OB, The Whisky Exchange, Taiwan, fino cask finish)

Renaissance 2018/2021 (62%, OB, The Whisky Exchange, Taiwan, fino cask finish) Four stars
Taiwanese rum! Let's quote the very excellent TWE website: 'this traditional pot-still rum was distilled on 17 September 2018 and bottled in May 2021; it's made using molasses refined from local Taiwanese sugar cane, which was fermented with wine yeast for 15 days with dunder; it was distilled on the lees and matured in a new 225-litre American white-oak cask and finished in a fino sherry cask; and it was bottled at full cask strength with no added colour, sugar or flavourings.' Capeesh?! Colour: office coffee. Nose: of course we're wondering if this is 'the Kavalan of rum'. Everything's there, petrol, oils, liquorice, ferments, olives, rotting bananas, brine, eucalyptus wood… Well some may have tried to benchmark Caroni. With water: sour sauces, bull-dog, hoisin, some kind of mentholated satay, massage balm, eucalyptus… Mouth (neat): thick, rich, perfumy, with some kind of mentholated oranges, cough drops, rose bonbons… Watch it it's a tricky pony, because this profile could make you believe it's an easy drink. It's not, remember, 62%. With water: excellent. Minty woods, tar, salty fruits, salt-and-orange paste, terpenes, turpentine… Finish: very long, holds very well. Comments: not sure I got the fino. It's a big distillate, any finish may have been a little superfluous and redundant. I couldn't not admit that I'm finding this brilliant, some sides remind me of our crazy friends at Lost Spirits in the good old USA. Worth checking out.
SGP:472 - 87 points.

Who's mentioned Caroni?

Caroni 20 yo 1998 (54.2% C. Dully Selection, Trinidad, 280 bottles)

Caroni 20 yo 1998 (54.2% C. Dully Selection, Trinidad, 280 bottles) Five stars
This is heavy Caroni. Colour: amber. Nose: luminous caramel, nougat, the exhaust of a… wait, say an AC Cobra, copper and cast iron, praline, roasted sesame… I have to say I'm rather a fan. With water: no changes. You may just add a few reheated French beans. Mouth (neat): superb earthy and coastal humus and sand, liquorice, petroly savours, green lemons, tar, over-stewed spices and mushrooms, perhaps some plastics and glues (branded 'IKEA'). There's some brutality to this, something that would feel like… Some 20 years old Port Ellen. Yep. With water: bingo, salt, lime concentrate, benzine, tar, concrete… This is well Port Ellen. I mean, heavy Caroni. Finish: long, even saltier. Come on, they must have added seawater. Comments: very heavy, brutal, hard to tame, but hey, there's nothing we can't pull off.
SGP:364 - 90 points.

Good, out of the frying pan and right into the fire…

Caroni 22 yo 1998/2021 (60%, Rum Sponge, Trinidad, 230 bottles)

Caroni 22 yo 1998/2021 (60%, Rum Sponge, Trinidad, 230 bottles) Five stars
The Sponge admits that this was 'heavy' Caroni too, and that they've bottled it 'with slight reduction'. Slight reduction at 60% vol. don't they sound like reverse headshrinkers? (I'll explain the concept later) Colour: light amber. Nose: 60% vol. is not a good nosing strength because the imperious taster may still believe he could overcome the challenge and find 'nuances' in such kerosene. No, don't try, you'll burn what Covid's left. With water: gets very dry. Miso and engine oil, new boots, blue cheese (hints). Mouth (neat): same as the C. Dully, really. Liquorice, petrol, glue, salty tar… With water: salty glue, vinegars, two-stroke petrol/oil mixture… Not that I've ever drunk any but I would have done anything to get one of those crazy new Kawasakis back in the early 1970s (later to become 'the widowmakers'). Finish: long, salty, briny, terpene-y. Comments: yeah, we could call these Caronis 'the widowmakers' too. No wonder this was 'early landed', many Kawa-riders have been 'early landed' too.  Anyway, another great bottle by The Sponge.
SGP:355 - 90 points.

Eanie meenie…

Clarendon 14 yo 2006/2021 (63.2%, Sample X, Jamaica, refill bourbon, 283 bottles)

Clarendon 14 yo 2006/2021 (63.2%, Sample X, Jamaica, refill bourbon, 283 bottles) Three stars and a half
In other words, Monymusk. Colour: amber. Nose: it's always fun to have these heavy Jamaicans after some Caronis, or the other way 'round. The Jamaicans, including this one, are less tarry, and more briny. They're not exactly as thick, but they have this added minerality, this higher verticality, if I may. Anyway, white asparagus, chalk, peanut oil, petrol, graphite oil, Brussels sprouts, new books… With water: soap, Barbour grease, black olives, and perhaps marshmallows brochettes. A very regressive thing that we used to make when we were boy scouts. Mouth (neat): very extreme. I mean, extremely extreme, ultra-dry and mega-drying… Water may be needed. With water: I'm always having trouble with these extreme Monymusks. I mean, even the most extreme Ardbegs or Port Ellens were sweet and mellow in comparison. Did you see that I didn't say 'smooth'? Eating concrete, crunching chalk, drinking motor oil. Finish: long, totally drying. I think I need a drink. A cup of salt in the aftertaste. Comments: weren't they meant to use this as dressers? Seasoning agents?
SGP:276 - 83 points.

I think we need an 'easy' Jamaican now, so to speak…

HD-MJH3 2012/2021 (55.8%, The Whisky Jury, Jamaica, refill barrel, cask #TWJ-HA-03, 279 bottles)

HD-MJH3 2012/2021 (55.8%, The Whisky Jury, Jamaica, refill barrel, cask #TWJ-HA-03, 279 bottles) Five stars
With all these Hs, I would wager this is Hampden. Sure I deserve a medal. Colour: gold. Nose: fresh paint, barley water, pistachio oil, black nougat, stout, new Kia garage, Tesla batteries, gherkin brine. With water: carbon dust, Muscadet, new tyres, cucumbers, floorcloth… Mouth (neat): sublime, best-in-the-Caribbean, of Ardbeg 1972-1975 quality. Do they use purifiers at Hampden? High-precision smoky and briny unfolding, very coastal too, balanced, mildly tarry, with a few acidic fruits (star fruits, lemons, green gooseberries)… I'm trying very hard and yet I cannot find any flaws, this is perfect spirit. With water: a blade. Tarry and smoky olives, plus wild garlic (bear's) and smoked oysters. There's something irresistible in here. Finish: very long, salty, with the expected liquorice and then just kippers and sardines. Comments: this Jury sure isn't out. Holy Bob Marley, what a rum! By the way, one day someone will tell you the story about Bob Marley, the Wailers, snow, and Scotland. In the meantime…
SGP:365 - 91 points.

We found an utter winner, so see you and happy Sunday to you!

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

 

January 14, 2022


Whiskyfun

Even more world travelling
Kicking this off from France…

Aikan 2017/2021 (50%, OB, La Maison du Whisky, France, Version Française, rum finish, cask #180128)

Aikan 2017/2021 (50%, OB, La Maison du Whisky, France, Version Française, rum finish, cask #180128) Three stars and a half
This is not a self-malt, it's been sourced. By the way, a question, when a whisky's very young and they did a finishing on it, does that make it double-maturation? Answer on a postcard (Facebook is so last year!) Colour: gold. Nose: looks like they've used some pretty assertive rum from Jamaica or Trinidad, according to these petroly smells, unless that was a very solid agricole. I have to say this works, I'm also finding some tobacco, sage, a drop of walnut liqueur, a little peach syrup, and some Stolle. I have to say this was well made, no doubt about that. With water: some pinewood coming out, lit cigars, bidis, seaweed (wakame) and borage… Pretty complex, and frankly nice. Why wouldn't we be allowed to use the word 'nice'? Mouth (neat): a carbon copy of the nose, salty and a little petroly, with more tannins, cloves, then cinnamon rolls and some small liquorice lozenges. A feeling of 'Mainland peat'. With water: a tad oak-forward this time, a little tea-ish, with a grassy green tannicity (apple peel, green oranges). The liquorice lozenges are back, together with a little ginseng powder. Cures everything, they say. Finish: rather long and below the limits of over-oakiness. Comments: not hundred percent sure it was Jamaican or Caroni, after all, what I'm sure about is that it's a very fine young meta-drop.
SGP:452 - 84 points.

fr

To Sweden…

High Coast 'Solera Batch 2' (51%, OB, Sweden, 1500 bottles, 2021)

High Coast 'Solera Batch 2' (51%, OB, Sweden, 1500 bottles, 2021) Four stars
The Batch 1 had been excellent in my book (WF 85). I've seen this #2 is at 56% vol. on the Web but my official sample says 51%. We'll amend accordingly if necessary. Colour: light gold. Nose: pretty brutal, must be 56%. Ethanol, sawdust, varnish… This is a good example of a whisky that should need water. With water: I'm adding water as if it was 56%. Flour, grist, wholegrain bread, citrons, damp earth, autumn leaves and no straight ethanol and varnish anymore. Loves water. Mouth (neat): spicy and sweet. Pink grapefruit and rather a lot of ginger and nutmeg, so with a high, yet balanced wood impact. In truth you would believe it's juniper, teak or douglas fir that was used. With water: indeed it loves water. Essential oils, liquorice, violet syrup, wild leek, pastis, citron liqueur, all that with an oily, tick mouth feel. Syrupy texture, not syrupy taste. Finish: long, drier, beautifully and freshly spicy. Aniseed bread and juniper/caraway in the aftertaste. Comments: feels a bit lab but we've got strictly nothing against labs. Very well made by our Swedish friends, hope batch 3 will come out soon. I believe batch 1 was smoky but I'm not sure I found much smoke in batch 2.
SGP:561 - 86 points.

sw

Perhaps a little rye from Canada?

Prospector (46%, Odd-Society, Canada, rye, +/-2021)

Prospector (46%, Odd-Society, Canada, rye, +/-2021) Four stars
Picture of an earlier batch. We're in British Columbia this time. That's the West. Colour: gold. Nose: the thing is, I absolutely adore all kinds of bread, while this one's breadier than bread. Oakier than bread too, for sure, but then come the tiny touches of caraway, lavender, rubbed orange zest (oils), citrus-scented paraffin (hippies' candles) and just eucalyptus coffee. Not sure Starbucks do that but they should. Mouth: and voilà, impeccable spicy spirit with some well-controlled oak, a lot of liquorice and caraway, cumin seeds, poppyseed bread, and just rye. These prospectors have found gold. Well, nearly. I'm a sucker for this style that no one is making (yet?) in France. Finish: rather long, with perhaps a little sawdust but also more violet-and-birch cologne, which works okay in finishes. Orange essence in the aftertaste, and perhaps a little too much tannicity. Comments: very cool young rye, very well made, pretty exotic in our latitudes and longitudes.
SGP:550 - 85 points.

cn

To England…

Bimber 4 yo (58.7%, Cadenhead, England, London Annual Shop Release, 2021)

Bimber 4 yo (58.7%, Cadenhead, England, London Annual Shop Release, 2021) Four stars and a half
When in Rome… smart. We've been a little harsh on a Bimber the other day (I must be cruel only to be kind) so let's see…  Colour: rich gold. Nose: theeeeere. I'm so happy. Candied citrons and grapefruits, tons and tons of quince jelly (I'd kill anyone), a little plaster, heather honey, a drop of tequila (reposado-kind) then the most lemony kind of ginger. Or rather the most gingery kind of lemon. Brilliant. With water: peppermint! What's this witchcraft? Mouth (neat): thick, splendid, totally Jim-Swanian, shock-full of candied citrus and sweet grassy spices. Definitely something one should drink with dim-sum, even if the oak would tend to become a little loudish. With water: and there, impeccable, fresh, with the peppermint being back and the spicy oak kept under control. I believe it was a little close, but it worked. Finish: long and with these elusive flavours that sometimes appear in malt whisky, strawberry yoghurt and jam! Great fun here. Comments: double London whammy, baby. Sure you could call this oak juice, but you would a bit off the mark. Well done Cadenhead too.
SGP:661 - 88 points.

en

Oh while we're at it…

Bimber 'Bourbon Cask' (59.1%, OB for LMDW, England, Conquête, cask #89, 242 bottles)

Bimber 'Bourbon Cask' (59.1%, OB for LMDW, England, Conquête, cask #89, 242 bottles) Four stars and a half
This one's good friends with that ex-rye in the same range that I did not like 'too much' the other day. Once again, I find the very '1967' bottle absolutely superb, it changes from dragons, tigers, deer and geishas. Colour: light gold. Nose: pristine, on sunflower oil, vanilla pods, polenta, fresh peanuts and butter and popcorn and nougat. Bauhaus whisky (I know this is not Berlin). With water: citrus coming up. Those citrons that we enjoy so much, we'll have to find a good brand that makes top-notch citron liqueur. What you'll easily find in Corsica is a little lousy. Mouth (neat): indeed, very high-definition, or when simplicity would be an asset. Citrons, vanilla, spearmint, nougat, touch of radish from the oak, watercress. Impeccable. With water: perhaps a wee tad too spicy/oaky, although this sure goes with the times. Finish: long, really on citrus liqueurs. Some minty oak in the aftertaste, even half a drop of turpentine, perhaps. And gentian. Comments: I was having it at 90 but I'm afraid the oak sneakily kicked back towards the finish. Very superb young whisky, nonetheless. Oh, was it distilled before or after Brexit? I mean, is it still European whisky or is it red serge (ha) already?
SGP:551 - 89 points.

en

Another great wee world session today.

 

January 13, 2022


Whiskyfun