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

Serge whiskyfun

 

Tasting notes:
Whiskies 12,940
Other spirits 1,321
Guests 66

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Index of whiskyfun


Whisky Tasting

 
Aberfeldy (43) - Aberlour (97)
Abhainn Dearg (2)
Allt-A-Bhainne (2
6)
An Cnoc (
27)
Ardbeg (3
68) - Ardmore (74)
Arran (
86) - Auchentoshan (96)
Auchroisk (
33) - Aultmore (46)
Balblair (76) - Balmenach (37)
Balvenie (
90) - Banff (47)
Ben Nevis (
106)
Ben Wyvis (
2)
Benriach (
160) - Benrinnes (46)
Benromach (
57) - Bladnoch (63)
Blair Athol (
62) - Bowmore (435)
Braes of Glenlivet (
37)
Brora (
119)
Bruichladdich (2
50)
Bunnahabhain (
272)
Caol Ila (494)
Caperdonich (
82)
Cardhu (
33) - Clynelish (317)
Coleburn (
15)
Convalmore (
24)
Cragganmore (
71)
Craigduff (3) - Craigellachie (
55)
Dailuaine (52) - Dallas Dhu (35)
Dalmore (104) - Dalwhinnie (24)
Deanston (30) - Dufftown (48)

Edradour (60)
Imperial (66) - Inchgower (52)
Inverleven (20)
Isle of Jura (98)

Kilchoman (31)
Kilkerran (
12) - Kinclaith (7)
Kininvie
(3)
- Knockando (
35)
- Lagavulin (124)
Laphroaig (384) - Ledaig (91)
Linkwood (125) - Littlemill (109)
Loch Lomond (41)
Lochside (65)
Longmorn (195) - Longrow (62)

Macallan (265) - Macduff (63)
Mannochmore (
37)
Millburn (
21)
Miltonduff (
64) - Mortlach (166)
Mosstowie (1
9)
Oban (25) - Octomore (16)
Old Fettercairn (29)
Old Pulteney (71)

Scapa (38) - Speyburn (30) - Speyside (16)
Springbank (2
64)
St-Magdalene (46)
Strathisla (
95) - Strathmill (30)
 
 
Pete and Jack



2017
August 1
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

   


 

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that used to be here

   

 

 



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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.

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

   
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Copyright Serge Valentin,
2002-201
7

 


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August 23, 2017


Whiskyfun

Five Tamdhu

I thought we could have a little bag of Tamdhus, what do you think?

Tamdhu 10 yo ‘Sherry Casks’ (46%, OB, 1000 bottles, +/-2104)

Tamdhu 10 yo ‘Sherry Casks’ (46%, OB, 1000 bottles, +/-2104) Four stars A limited edition that I had forgotten about. My bad. You’ll have noticed that the label was black instead of white. Colour: dark straw. Nose: bags and bags of red berries in this one, plus a lot of artisan muesli and some kind of IPA-ish feeling, with pineapples and, well, various hops. Then the expected raisins and pastries, brioche, and panettone. Nice nose, assuredly. Mouth: extremely good, and very easy. It’s a fruity sherry, but the malty side keeps all this balanced, with raisins, zests, and simply various pies and pastries. The kind of malt that go well in magnums, since they’re so drinkable. Finish: medium, fresh, orangey, with the malty side again in the aftertaste (Ovaltine). Jaffa cakes. Comments: I find it impressive, why have I been so late? SGP:651 - 87 points.

Tamdhu 3 yo 2013/2017 (58.3%, Malts of Scotland, hogshead, cask #MoS 17008, 359 bottles)

Tamdhu 3 yo 2013/2017 (58.3%, Malts of Scotland, hogshead, cask #MoS 17008, 359 bottles) Three stars Three years old! Either someone needed cash, or it’s the fastest whisky in the west. What’s good is that they said it (I mean, that it’s 3 years old). Colour: straw. Nose: porridge muesli custard bread barley. With water: and ripe apples. Mouth (neat): barley eau-de-vie, ale, ginger beer, leather, vanilla, Nescafé. With water: and ripe apples. Finish: medium, malty, a tad bitter(ish). More ale. Comments: ready, but maybe not totally fit. Perhaps not totally what we used to call an infanticide when the Web hadn’t been totally PC-ed yet. So, some more than fair whisky ‘reposado’. SGP:441 - 80 points.

Tamdhu 18 yo 1998/2017 (48.4%, Douglas Laing, Old Particular) Two stars and a half This one’s brand new, we haven’t got full data yet. Colour: white wine. Nose: maltier than malt, and more Guinnessy than Guinness. Over all that, some lovely whiffs of menthol, fern, lemongrass, and cappuccino. Mouth: excellent, very malty at first, then full of spearmint and lemon balm. That gives it a fresh side, while the backbone is very solid, very malty. Finish: loses a bag of points here, thanks to a rather gingery bitterness. Distilled Schweppes, Aperol. Comments: if you like your malt really very malty… SGP:451 - 78 points.

What else do we have in the library?...

Tamdhu 22 yo 1982/2005 (58.2%, Adelphi, cask #2453, 211 bottles)

Tamdhu 22 yo 1982/2005 (58.2%, Adelphi, cask #2453, 211 bottles) Two stars This baby from a refill hogshead. Colour: straw. Nose: not a lot. Cardboard and old papers, plus roasted chestnuts and barbecued herbs. A little weird I have to say. Unexpected whiffs of rose petals coming out after two minutes, but they would come together with a wee soapiness. With water: mild tea. Mouth (neat): a little angular, on oranges and icing sugar, plus burnt herbs. Really unusual. With water: a better, and more regular maltiness. One slice of homemade orange cake. Finish: medium, with a bitter side. Comments: a little dispensable, and way below Adelphi’s usual high profile, but who cares, this is an old thing. SGP:451 - 75 points.

Tamdhu 27 yo 1984/2011 (50.3%, Exclusive Malts, refill hogshead, cask #2839, 261 bottles)

Tamdhu 27 yo 1984/2011 (50.3%, Exclusive Malts, refill hogshead, cask #2839, 261 bottles) Four stars Another one that I had missed at the time. Colour: gold. Nose: oh nice, it smells of many oils, especially sunflower. Then white chocolate and pine nuts, sesame oil, and roasted peanuts. A touch of mayonnaise, which goes particularly well in this context. With water: butter, warm sawdust, more roasted nuts. Mouth (neat): I like this. It’s some kind of all-influence malt whisky, so not very focused, but rather entertaining. Mocha, roasted nuts, caramel, coffee liqueur, violet sweets, oranges… This one’s really fun to follow. With water: touches of oak, bourbon-style, and some coconut and vanilla. Oranges too. Finish: medium, with some pistachio halva. Comments: so a nutty one. I enjoyed it quite a lot. SGP:551 - 85 points.

(Thanks Tom)

More tasting notes Check the index of all Tamdhu I've tasted so far

 

 

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August 22, 2017


Whiskyfun

Middle-aged Bruichladdich

I like Bruichladdich when it’s between 20 and 30 years of age. Unless when heavily sherried or drowned in heavy wine, they usually remain rather refreshing and ‘lightly’ fruity. Let’s find a few examples…

Bruichladdich 23 yo 1992/2016 (46%, Signatory Vintage, Un-Chillfiltered Collection, hogsheads, casks #3081 + 3097)

Bruichladdich 23 yo 1992/2016 (46%, Signatory Vintage, Un-Chillfiltered Collection, hogsheads, casks #3081 + 3097) Four stars and a half Remember, a vatting of two or three casks can get much more complex than a single cask. Colour: straw. Nose: so very Bruichladdich! Wonderful yellow and even green melons, lemons, a little dill, a few sticks of celery, and that famous ‘Atlantic freshness’ that’s often seen in the brochures and ads. And on location, of course. A little damp chalk as well. Like these high-definition bottlings. Mouth: someone invented the word ‘zesty’ for these Laddies. Sure it’s a little sharp and acrid, and perhaps a little too ‘green’, but these green apples and lemons work very well. The green melons too, all this is certainly ‘green’. And no vanilla in the way, which is cool. Finish: long, mega-chiselled. You just drank a glass of limejuice. Comments: I know not everyone enjoys these sharp ones, but I do. I also believe they did well to reduce it, some similar Laddies at cask strength have been hot and difficult. Even when you add water yourself, never the same. SGP:661 - 88 points.

Bruichladdich 25 yo 1991/2017 (48.2%, Cadenhead, Wine Cask, 192 bottles)

Bruichladdich 25 yo 1991/2017 (48.2%, Cadenhead, Wine Cask, 192 bottles) Four stars and a half From the funny range ;-). This time it’s been refill Burgundy – perhaps not red according to the colour – for 6 years. So, rather double-maturation than finishing. Colour: straw (hey!) Nose: right, the cask was ‘very refill’ and guess what, we shan’t complain about that. In fact, we’re extremely close to SigV’s, with just an added layer of fresh oak. That would be French oak in this context. Lovely grassy and lemony freshness, very Bruichladdich again. Mouth: yes indeed, extremely close. I may detect oranges in this one, which weren’t in the SigV, and a very faint paraffiny side. But it’s also a little more mineral. Finish: long, fresh, acidic, extremely clean. Some green pepper and a touch of salt. Pure lemon juice in the aftertaste, perhaps an orange drop. Comments: lovely lovely batches. If you like them pure, fresh and clean… SGP:661 - 88 points.

Let’s try to find a worthy opponent (as far as styles are concerned…)

Bruichladdich 24 yo 1992/2016 ‘Black Art 5.1’ (48.4%, OB, 12000 bottles)

Bruichladdich 24 yo 1992/2016 ‘Black Art 5.1’ (48.4%, OB, 12000 bottles) Two stars and a half Some ‘premium wine casks’ have been in use here, probably for finishing and not full-maturing. Let’s check this learned concoction… Colour: orange wine. Some red wine has been used. Nose: never been a fan of this popular series, because I’m not too fond of clear winey notes in my whisky. Some earth, old wine cellar, cassis buds, raspberries, strawberry-flavoured butter cream, peonies, liquorice roots… The mushrooms are nice, and actually all aromas are nice when taken separately, but the combo doesn’t quite click for me. Mouth: really not my thing. In theory, it’s good, but cassis, raspberries and green pepper don’t tango too well in whisky. Just an opinion! Blood oranges, ginger, pepper. Finish: rather long, leafy. More green peppercorn and raspberries, and a feeling of Cahors. Comments: I don’t think it’s that bad, really, I’m just not into this style. I know, I’m really pressing that point. Love the young clean OBs ten times better. SGP:651 - 79 points.

Back to nature…

Bruichladdich 23 yo 1992 (55.4%, The Single Malts of Scotland, hogshead, cask #3839, 237 bottles)

Bruichladdich 23 yo 1992/2016 (55.4%, The Single Malts of Scotland, hogshead, cask #3839, 237 bottles) Four stars and a half Colour: straw. Nose: a bit fatter than the first ones, and yet it’s no fat whisky, with a little more vanilla and rather less tart fruits. For example, the melons aren’t green, they’re orange. Having said that, the background remains similar, with lemons, some chalk, and a little dill. With water: cut grass, a little sea air, damp hessian. Mouth (neat): really much to my liking again. A fresh bright fruitiness, and then rather more aromatic herbs, rosemary, sage, even coriander. I guess this cask was fresher. Golden delicious. With water: mandarins! Love mandarins. Finish: long, with a little more syrup, preserved fruits, verbena, angelica… Very perfect finish. Comments: I was about to go for 87 but the perfect finish raised my mark. Three 88s today, that’s pleasing me. SGP:651 - 88 points.

More tasting notes Check the index of all Bruichladdich I've tasted so far

 

 

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August 21, 2017


Whiskyfun

A grainy session on a rainy summer day

There are more single grains around, old, young, middle-aged ones… And there are even blended grains mind you! Let’s have a few grains, and try to do it quick (indeed, we’ll probably fail to do so)... Oh and only have Invergordon.

Invergordon 26 yo (57.4%, Single Cask Collection, rum cask finish, +/-2016)

Invergordon 26 yo (57.4%, Single Cask Collection, rum cask finish, +/-2016) Three stars Sorry, couldn’t find a picture of this one, so I put something rather Austrian, since this is an Austrian bottler. Colour: pale gold. Nose: you really feel the rum at first nosing, while apparently, it was a rather funky one. That creates a feeling of, well, of rum, with something curiously medicinal. Band-aid, balms, then strawberry jam, bananas flambéed… As for the grain inside, well it rather keeps quiet. With water: gets gentler, and rather coherent. Nice notes of chamomile tea with sparks of orange zests. Mouth (neat): indeed, rum. It’s a little strange, but absolutely not unpleasant. Some icing sugar, Fanta, mint-flavoured tea, sugar cane, touches of slightly prickly ginger… With water: really intriguing. Orange zests and marshmallows, with a grassier cane-iness in the background. Finish: short to medium, and indeed a little grassy. Sweetened green tea. Comments: a transgender spirit that’s funny and interesting. And not half-bad. SGP:531 - 80 points.

Invergordon 40 yo 1977/2017 (47.8%, Hunter Laing, The Sovereign, cask #13278, 390 bottles)

Invergordon 40 yo 1977/2017 (47.8%, Hunter Laing, The Sovereign, cask #13278, 390 bottles) Four stars Colour: gold. Nose: classic, rather fresh, with bananas and vanilla at first, then coconut balls and wee red berries. A touch of menthol as well, and a little patchouli as well. These dried bits of strawberries that they’re now adding to many a blended herbal tea. Mouth: a sweet and rounded pina colada, with pineapples, coconut water, quite some vanilla, some white chocolate, and a few cls of freshly squeezed orange juice. In other words, some kind of high-end cocktail. Finish: medium, with a little more lemony and grassy oak, but we’re way beneath the limits of oakiness. Very nice, fresh and very fruity. Notes of mangos. Comments: some very good and very easy old grain that would easily please someone who’s not too much into grain. SGP:630 - 86 points.

Invergordon 30 yo 1984/2015 (64.3%, Blackadder, Riverstown, cask #215-44, 276 bottles)

Invergordon 30 yo 1984/2015 (64.3%, Blackadder, Riverstown, cask #215-44, 276 bottles) Three stars and a half Colour: gold. Nose: very grassy and very solventy, with some earth behind. Feels a bit like if this was and ex-Ardbeg cask. With water: indeed, there is some smoke. A smoky grain! Mouth (neat): funny. Extremely strong, with a creamy mouth feel, and a feeling of earthy/rooty oranges. Celeriac? Water is obligatory. With water: got really peat-forward. Quite good, actually! Finish: rather long, ashy, with these earthy oranges again in the aftertaste. Comments: technically, I’m sure this is a blend. Legally, probably not. It’s almost as peaty as a light Talisker, mind you. SGP:453 - 84 points.

Invergordon 44 yo 1973/2017 (48.5%, Maltbarn, bourbon, 135 bottles)

Invergordon 44 yo 1973/2017 (48.5%, Maltbarn, bourbon, 135 bottles) Four stars and a half In theory, these are the best grains you could find these days. Just after Haig Clubman. Err… Colour: gold. Nose: a little wood varnish at first sniffs, which is normal, then a rather lovely range of light floral scents, dandelions, white flowers, then soft bananas, light custard (no in-your-face vanilla), stewed rhubarb covered with meringue, and some fresh Virginia tobacco from the box… of Virginia tobacco. Mouth: superb. There’s a citrusy side that gives it a malty side, quite bizarrely, some oranges, the faintest coconutty notes, and once again a feeling of high-end blended herbal tea. You know, these things they have for hipsters in city centres. No, it’s exceptionally good giver that this is a grain whisky, and that it wasn’t even sherried. Finish: medium, clean, fruity, with the tiniest bits of speculoos and macaroons. Comments: simply extremely good, says this guy who’s not into grain whisky. SGP:641 - 88 points.

Invergordon 43 yo 1973/2017 (50.5%, The Whisky Fair 2017, hogshead, 180 bottles)

Invergordon 43 yo 1973/2017 (50.5%, The Whisky Fair 2017, hogshead, 180 bottles) Four stars and a half Colour: straw. Nose: this one’s different, its got much more patchouli, pot-pourri, linseed oil, camphory balms, and even pinesap. So I guess we could say the cask was more active. Or differently active. But watch it, any cask’s previous content will have a huge impact on some very light grain whisky, as we could see with the Riverstown. With water: barbecued coconuts and marshmallows. Mouth (neat): a fruity bonanza. A fruit salad, with grapefruits and pink bananas, papayas, and probably greengages. Did Haribo have interests in Invergordon Distillery at some point? With water: lemongrass and coconut, nice combination. Finish: medium, rather fresh. A drop of limoncello in the aftertaste. Comments: as good as it gets, just the body is a tad thin, as (almost) always with grain whiskies. Otherwise it would have fetched 90 in my little book. SGP:651 - 89 points.

More tasting notes Check the index of all grain whiskies I've tasted so far

 

 

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August 20, 2017


Whiskyfun

Rums as they come

That is to say, totally randomly. Well, quite.

El Ron del Artesano 8 yo (43.8%, Riegger’s Selection, Panama, peated whisky cask finish, cask #37, 428 bottles)

El Ron del Artesano 8 yo (43.8%, Riegger’s Selection, Panama, peated whisky cask finish, cask #37, 428 bottles) Four stars The idea sounds strange but I’ve already tried some HSE ex-Islay cask that had worked very, very well. Colour: straw. Nose: great idea, you can make some good ‘phenolic’ rum out of some neutral all-column central-American juice by using peaty casks! Funny notes of burnt herbs, burnt wires, green liquorice, smoked oils, truffles, and yeah, Korean smoked oysters. All that gives this little Panamanian a ‘high-esters’ side that works very well. Great idea, really. Mouth: indeed, that works very well. Sure, there’s some remaining sugariness from the original rum, and indeed it’s a little ‘wobbly’ at times, but it seems that they almost managed to recreate a Jamaican rum. Now, there would be this much pineapple in a Jamaican, agreed… Finish: medium, and tends to lose a little steam because of the sugar. Comments: superb idea. It would be cool to try it on some unsweetened light rum. SGP:743 - 85 points.

And for due comparison, a Jamaican of the same age…

Jamaica Rum 8 yo (45%, Labat GMBh Zürich, +/-2017)

Jamaica Rum 8 yo (45%, Labat GMBh Zürich, +/-2017) Four stars This from the same vein as the excellent rums by Cave Guildive. But watch it, I don’t think this Labat is the Labat from Marie-Galante, unless I’m missing something. Colour: white wine. Nose: totally. Crisp and fat at the same time, with some tar, olives, grass smoke, brine, engine oil, and all that. Worthy Park? Mouth: perfect salty and smoky and tarry development. Rotting bananas in a corner, plus the usual olives. Perhaps a wee bit sweeter than others, but that may be the consequences of reduction. Finish: long, salty, olive-y, tarry, you name it. Comments: great, relatively simple, but totally flawless. And indeed, more ‘high’ than the funny Panamanian. SGP:562 - 87 points.

Caroni 18 yo 1998/2017 (63.2%, Hunter Laing, Kill Devil, Trinidad, 233 bottles)

Caroni 18 yo 1998/2017 (63.2%, Hunter Laing, Kill Devil, Trinidad, 233 bottles) Five stars Wish me luck! Colour: amber. Nose: it’s relatively soft at first nosing (forget about the alcohol), with notes of bourbon, vanilla, encaustic, cane juice… You’ll have to wait a bit before the olives, the coal tar and the diesel oil kick in. It seems to be rather complex, in fact. With water: oh, sandalwood, incense, pot-pourri, black olives, rose petals, Cuban cigars… Wonderful. Mouth (neat): amazing. Sure it’s a tad too strong (an understatement) but the profile is fantastic, reminding me of some very old Long Pond I had tried a few years ago. Perfect combination involving fresh eucalyptus and mint, liquorice, bananas flambéed, and drops of seawater. Really perfect. With water: and it swims well. No wood gets in the way, the brine is perfect, the tar is perfect, the pineapples are perfect, and the olives are more than perfect. Finish: very long, salty, olive-y, and yet rather fruity (ripe bananas and pineapples). Benzine in the aftertaste. Comments: kind of obvious. Reminds me of some of Velier’s. SGP:663 - 91 points.

Go talk to that one. Unless…

Worthy Park 2007/2016 (55.9%, L’Esprit, cask #BB10, 203 bottles)

Worthy Park 2007/2016 (55.9%, L’Esprit, cask #BB10, 203 bottles) Four stars From that very excellent small French bottler in Brittany (where it never rains). Colour: gold. Nose: not the expected tarry/olive-y avalanche, rather some fine herbs and fruits, just a little ‘phenolised’. Oh well, I know what I’m trying to say. Roasted almonds, bitter chocolate, cigars, dried parsley, tamarind, calf leather, patchouli… A rather gentler Worthy Park, so far. With water: chocolate and cigars. And rum, at the Club. Mouth (neat): indeed, not a monster, rather an incredible tropical fruit bomb. Papayas, guavas, pineapples, and quite a lot of vanilla ice cream. Barley water, oak, citrons… With water: fully on cane juice and bananas now. Cane syrup. Finish: long, fruity, slightly un-Jamaican in the sense that it’s rather low-esters. Comments: a bit surprised, it’s much softer than expected. But just as good. SGP:641 - 86 points.

T.D.L. 16 yo 2000/2016 (63%, Compagnie des Indes, Trinidad, cask #TT96, 281 bottles)

T.D.L. 16 yo 2000/2016 (63%, Compagnie des Indes, Trinidad, cask #TT96, 281 bottles) Four stars T.D.L. stands for Trinidad Distillers Ltd. I have to say the ones I’ve already tried had been a little weak. Mind you, this is not Caroni. Colour: gold. Nose: some very light-style rum indeed, with some ylang-ylang and orange blossom at first, then rather tinned peaches and papayas, plus bananas. I have to say this fresh and pretty elegant, even quite bonbony. With water: very fine, with fresh herbs and not-so-aromatic fruits. There, rhubarb. Mouth (neat): a little firmer, and yeah, very good. Fresh parsley, coriander, Thai basil, lemon balm, peaches and bananas… The opposite of a fat rum, and yet there’s a lot happening. Would that be seen as a sexist remark if I said that it’s a little ‘girly’? In the best sense! With water: a fruit salad, really, with an unexpected salty touch. Bags of all kinds of bananas. Finish: sort-medium, a touch mentholy. Nice fresh and herbal signature. Verveine du Velay. Comments: one word comes to mind, ‘lovely’. What an amazing world, the rum world, when it’s clean, honest rum. SGP:730 - 86 points.

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August 19, 2017


Whiskyfun

 

 

Angus's Corner
From our casual Scottish correspondent
and guest taster Angus MacRaild
Angus  
Blair Athol
50 Years Apart
Blair Athol is one of those whiskies I tend to mentally categorise as humble, dependable and ‘highland’ in a modern sense of the word. The kind of whisky you can easily turn to in a pub or round the kitchen table after a meal when something relatively easy is called for.

 

It’s also a distillate which has really changed quite remarkably over the decades. Lets have what may prove a slightly unfair pairing of two examples at similar ages and identical strengths but distilled several decades apart.  

 

Blair Athol 2007/2016 (46%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseur’s Choice)

Blair Athol 2007/2016 (46%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseur’s Choice) I’m pleased G&M finally upgraded this great series to a proper bottling strength and dragged it kicking and screaming into the 21st century; only took about 40 years. Colour: Light gold. Nose: Ginger biscuits, milky tea, some bread, toasted pumpkin seeds and some buttery cereals and grains. Honest and rather simplistic malt whisky in other words at first nosing. A rather basic green fruitiness emerges along with restrained touches of vanilla and honey. There’s also a sense of hay and horse stables about it (perhaps a suitable bottling for your hipflask at the Blair Horse Trials...?) Mouth: good richness for a whisky that’s only 9 years old. A sense of natural, barley sugar sweetness which is held nicely in check and never dominates. Some mead, a little pumpernickel bread, English bitter beer, a little orange peel, more biscuity notes but digestive this time and a slight grassiness. There’s also more than a little spiciness about it nibbling around the edges of the palate and a slightly drying cereal aspect like plain oatcakes and a touch of aspirin. Finish: medium length and still quite drying with spice, chamomile and a few splinters of wood. Comments: Decent malt whisky. I liked the fact that it was pleasantly drying and not too sweet. The sort of whisky that shows the better aspects of youth, although it’s not exactly a thrill ride. SGP: 442 - 78 points.

 

 

Blair Athol 8 yo (80 proof, OB, UK market, bottled early 1960s) This livery appears to have been used for quite a long time from the 1950s into the late 1960s so I suspect there are quite a number of variations. Needless to say most are spectacular and there are high expectations here... Colour: Gold. Nose: Doing this kind of head to head is often unfair but this just totally crushes the poor CC. It’s hard to emphasises just how utterly, utterly different this style of whisky is. It’s all on soot, coal hearths, bergamot, old chartreuse, coins, tool boxes and a bewilderingly intense, herbal, earthy, old style peat. Seriously the peat in this is reminiscent of some extremely old OB Highland Parks with this kind of heathery, drying smokiness overlying dusty phenols and and oily, black heart of peat. Goes on with camphor, furniture polish and all manner of waxes, resins and oils. A poetic and totally captivating nose. Mouth: Immediate and intense old style peat. Herbal, menthol, gently mineral, a deft oily sweetness, tar liqueur, hessian and again the most complex kind of waxiness. A huge, fat and dense distillate but at the same time it’s astonishingly easy and shows beautiful composition and poise on the palate. The kind of whisky you can just hold in your mouth for Richard Pattersonian lengths of time. Little flecks of fruit emerge as well: tangerine, kiwi, stewed apple and guava to name but a few. More little flavours keep darting out: earthiness, stables (again with the horses Blair Athol!), steel wool, smoked teas, gorse and caraway. Finish: Apocalypse Now Redux is shorter. A cavalcade of peat, oils, waxes, resins, teas and earth. A lick of mint in there somewhere as well. Majestic! Comments: I never tried such a peaty example of this old bottling before. We really should have called the anti-maltoporn brigade but it somehow slipped my mind. I think these have become quite hard to find in recent times; it’s not hard to understand why when you taste something like this. SGP: 467 - 93 points. (Big thanks to brother Phil)  

 

 

August 18, 2017


Whiskyfun

Even more old Bunnahabhains

Because you just cannot have enough old Bunnahabhain. Let’s see what we can find in the library… (rummage rummage…) and do this vertically…

Bunnahabhain 36 yo 1978/2015 (50.4%, Murray McDavid, Mission Gold, bourbon barrel, Willi Opitz finish, cask #1, 269 bottles)

Bunnahabhain 36 yo 1978/2015 (50.4%, Murray McDavid, Mission Gold, bourbon barrel, Willi Opitz finish, cask #1, 269 bottles) Two stars and a half Not too sure about the sweet wine finish, why would one do that? We sure have the answer, haven’t we? Willi Opitz is a well-reputed winemaker in Illmitz, Austria. Colour: reddish amber. Nose: perplexed, frankly. There are apricots and grape juice, but also these weirdish notes that stem from some good wine casks (good for wine doesn’t obligatorily mean good for whisky). Strange herbal teas, dog rose, blackcurrant leaves, wee hints of geranium, butter, mashed salsify and Jerusalem artichoke, leather, grenadine… The jury’s still out. With water: a little nicer, with earthier touches. Old wood. Mouth (neat): weirdish. Sour and fruity, with raisins and leather, black tobacco, touches of litchis, roasted beans, stewed red peaches… Really not sure. With water: it’s okay, really okay. Butter cream, apricot pudding, custard tart, zucchini flower fritter… Finish: medium, with some old oak and these funny fruity/vegetal notes. Say Jerusalem artichoke pie – and why not? Comments: some funny winesky, not quite for this humble taster though. SGP:461 - 78 points.

Bunnahabhain 40 yo 1974/2014 (47.2%, Maltbarn, bourbon)

Bunnahabhain 40 yo 1974/2014 (47.2%, Maltbarn, bourbon) Five stars This baby’s slipped through my fingers when it came out, but time is on my side (gee, man!) Colour: straw. Nose: back to normality, and in the case of an old Bunnahabhain, normality can be a dream. The quinces are back, there are even touches of well-ripen seabuckhrouberries (I know, I know), some salinity, rather mild orchard fruits (apples), green bananas… All that is very subtle, very elegant, and needs your time. Never rush these and they’ll reward you. Mouth: perfect! A very fresh, lively, subtly fruity Bunnahabhain, with some sweeter/rounder coastal notes (clams, perhaps?) as well as fresh almonds, and more of those moderately expressive fruits, quinces, apples… And yes my friend, seabuckhrouberries (after the first frost). Finish: medium, clear as Mozart, delicately fruity, and very complex indeed. Comments: elegance made whisky. An exceptional old Bunnahabhain that took its complexity from time. SGP:651 - 91 points.

Bunnahabhain 31 yo 1979/2011 (48.5%, Adelphi, 516 bottles)

Bunnahabhain 31 yo 1979/2011 (48.5%, Adelphi, 516 bottles) Five stars Looks like I made a mess of my verticale. Colour: coffee. Nose: fantastic prune-y sherry, close to some old armagnac, with perfect notes of roasted hazelnuts, black raisins, and this smokiness that can stem from old sherry – so not quite smoke. Old tools, a drop of engine oil (Veedol – joking), drops of soy sauce and Modena balsamico (so it was a Ferrari), and the usual walnut cake. Perfect unrushed sherriness, far from any ‘quick finishing’. Mouth: ah wow! Cherries and oranges are coming together with praline and, above everything, a truckload of all-honey gingerbread. Spectacularly Christmassy. Dried figs, bananas, pears, dates, raisins… The spices are very soft too, star anise, soft cinnamon, a touch of cumin… Finish: long, and all on candied cherries. Those big fat black cherries, just love them. We’re almost in Nuits-St-Georges instead of the east coast of Islay. Comments: we all know that Bunnahabhain takes great sherry extremely well. This was a good example. I’ve known an official 1963… SGP:652 - 92 points.

But back to nature…

Bunnahabhain 1965/1987 (50%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #10.5)

Bunnahabhain 1965/1987 (50%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #10.5) Five stars One of the early SMWSs, with those black screw caps. Expectations are high. Colour: pale gold. Nose: once again, we’re finding these amazing waxes that could be found in old Bunnahabhains, and there are many of them. Encaustic, beeswax, church candles (a lot of paraffin)… There’s also a yeasty side, with ales, sour dough, leaven… And then green apples, raw cider, and a growing metallic side. Cast iron teapot. It’s a very naked early Bunnahabhain, has it even seen any oak during its life? But it’s a style that we enjoy mucho at WF Towers… With water: pure clean amazing barleyness. It’s always good when whisky reminds you that it was made out of barley. Possibly some older variety. Mouth (neat): bb! (meaning bloody brilliant). Mango juice, banana and avocado cream, wee herbs, a touch of iron, a drop of crème de menthe, and the most perfect barleyness. A-m-a-z-i-n-g. With water: awe. Did you keep the AMB’s number? Please call them! Finish: truly a signature. Perfect freshness, fruit essences and peelings, and one drop of good beer. Amazing grassier signature. Sweet Belgian endive. Comments: did humans make this? These amazing early SMWS remind us that the Society has been totally seminal. SGP:561 - 93 points.

I should stop now, but I just can’t. How bad is it, Doctor?

Bunnahabhain 33 yo 1980/2014 (45.8%, The Whisky Agency and La Maison du Whisky, sherry, 495 bottles)

Bunnahabhain 33 yo 1980/2014 (45.8%, The Whisky Agency and La Maison du Whisky, sherry, 495 bottles) Four stars See how many Bunnies I missed when they were coming out. What a lazy ‘whisky blogger’! Colour: gold. Nose: it hasn’t got the 1965’s total and utter class, and it sure is a little rougher, but all remains well, with apples and other orchard fruits again, sweet mash (beet?), artichokes, and just a touch of gunpowder. Some sweet beer too. Mouth: better. Sour and sweet beers, certainly an idea of fino sherry, the obligatory walnuts, some tobacco and leather, and then more sweet fruits, around oranges and tangerines, but it never becomes ‘sweet’ as such. Finish: medium, a little brighter. Oranges and a little thyme. A funny feeling of wild leek and a little metal in the aftertaste, as well as more beer. Comments: not a pristine, well-carved old Bunnahabhain, it’s even rather rough. But very good it is – of course. In my humble opinion, as always. SGP:451 - 85 points.

Time to call this a tasting session, don’t you think? One should never push these things… Excuse me? No, no Bunnahabhain tomorrow.

(Gracias Angus, Greg, and Paul)

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August 17, 2017


Whiskyfun

Bunny's back

Didn’t we say we’d have more Bunnahabhain? We might even do a little random whisky archaeology in the Library, as we always like to do…

Bunnahabhain 28 yo 1977/2005 (49.7%, Riegger’s Selection, cask #7865)

Bunnahabhain 28 yo 1977/2005 (49.7%, Riegger’s Selection, cask #7865) Four stars Not a very common vintage, but we’ve already tried a few. Some have been very good. Colour: gold. Nose: I believe Bunnahabhain was a little fatter and oilier at that time, and this is a good example. Linseed oil. There’s also a little metal (iron), and many dead leaves. Autumn’s around the corner! (not quite yet). Some white truffles too, old wood… In short, this one’s more austere on the nose, but quite intriguing. Mouth: old woods all over the place, damp floated wood, liquorice root, lemon peel, and only then the expected honey and lemon. Some kind of peat as well, this is firmer and tenser than current offerings. Finish: long, rather bitter, grassy, and quite salty. Haven’t they tried to mimic Highland Park at some point? Comments: very interesting, and rather to my liking. Indeed, an intriguing ‘pre-vanilla’ old Bunnahabhain… SGP:372 - 86 points.

Bunnahabhain 28 yo 1988/2016 (46.8%, The Single Malts of Scotland, hogshead, cask #100229, 344 bottles)

Bunnahabhain 28 yo 1988/2016 (46.8%, The Single Malts of Scotland, hogshead, cask #100229, 344 bottles) Four stars and a half This bottling’s not that old… TSMOS already had an excellent 88/14 (WF 87). Colour: straw. Nose: it’s an austere one as well at first nosing, but white orchard fruits are soon to come to the rescue. They come with hay, cut flowers from last Sunday, and hints of cigars. Rather dry, with a nice earthiness. Mouth: there, the expected honeyed citrus and other tart fruits. Green apples, perhaps a little plasticine… A nutty side as well, toasted walnut cake, some grass, green tea… It’s a rather big Bunnahabhain. Finish: long, a little sharp, but with the trademark grassy honeyness, and more easy fruits in the aftertaste. Comments: excellent, and rather complex. Great balance between the honey and fruits, and the grassier side. SGP:561 - 88 points.

Bunnahabhain 35 yo 1980/2015 (47.1%, Sansibar for Spirit Shop Selection, sherry, 165 bottles)

Bunnahabhain 35 yo 1980/2015 (47.1%, Sansibar for Spirit Shop Selection, sherry, 165 bottles) Four stars This one should be heavier. Colour: deep gold. Nose: a blend of beeswax and plasticine at first, furniture polish, then meaty cigars, Grisons meat, leather, and the expected old walnuts. It’s a traditional dry sherried Bunnahabhain, quite earthy as well. Whiffs of late-season quinces and medlars. Mouth: starts a bit brutal and dirtily earthy (which is not that bad), develops with more leather and tobacco (and the usual walnuts), and tends to become bitter-chocolate dry, although a few touches of oranges make it a tad lighter. It’s also rather very peppery. Finish: rather long, grassier, but also with more fruits. Perhaps those quinces? Comments: It’s not an easy one, but to tell you the truth, there is some profoundness. The opposite of a modern rich yet flat vanilla bomb. SGP:462 - 87 points.

Bunnahabhain 27 yo 1987/2014 (51.3%, Liquid Art, 115 bottles)

Bunnahabhain 27 yo 1987/2014 (51.3%, Liquid Art, 115 bottles) Four stars and a half A pleasant design. Colour: straw. Nose: perhaps a higher category, with more precious waxes, some pollen, a mentholy earth, more furniture polish, then rather turpentine and linseed oil. Perhaps a little fresh paint too. You’ve got the feeling that you’re nosing some very old oloroso. With water: balsam and thuja wood, then moss and leaves after the rain. Mouth (neat): firm, mushroomy and earthy at first, then more marmalade-y, with a little chocolate (filled with Grand-Marnier) and these touches of menthol again. Excellent. With water: all goes according to plan. Marmalade, honey, pepper, dried mushrooms, tobacco. Finish: same flavours for quite a long time. The waxes are coming back in the aftertaste. Comments: perfect. The label alone is worth one extra point (of course I’m joking). SGP:551 - 89 points.

Bunnahabhain 15 yo 2001/2017 (48.4%, Douglas Laing, Old Particular, cask #11604, 611 bottles)

Bunnahabhain 15 yo 2001/2017 (48.4%, Douglas Laing, Old Particular, cask #11604, 611 bottles) Four stars Whoops, this is a new one. With this many bottles, it must have been a butt. Colour: gold. Nose: straighter, obviously simpler, more nutty, more brioche-y, and more Mars-bar-y (oh, no, S.!) Then a tad metallic and mossy. Cut grass and very dark chocolate (like minimum 85% cocoa solids). Mouth: raisins and tobacco, earthy tea, cinnamon roll, then a little coffee and a lot of bitter chocolate, with sparks of orange zest. Very good. Finish: long, always with this lovely earthiness. Black tea, chocolate, tobacco, marmalade, cinnamon cake. Comments: this baby was anything but ridiculous after the older ones. Well done! Good butt, probably second fill. SGP:551 - 87 points.

Back to the 1970s…

Bunnahabhain 35 yo 1973/2011 (49.4%, La Maison du Whisky, Artist, sherry butt, cask #12153, 426 bottles)

Bunnahabhain 35 yo 1973/2011 (49.4%, La Maison du Whisky, Artist, sherry butt, cask #12153, 426 bottles) Five stars Colour: deep gold. Nose: it’s a 1973 but we’re rather in the 1960s, and the Auld Acquaintance isn’t very far away. Lilies, strawberry jam, honeydew, dried figs, a wee wood smoke, a little seaweed in a corner, then more dried fruits, orange jam, a drop of old Sauternes (and botrytis!), raisins, zwetschke/damson plums, and some mild pipe tobacco. Plus a little camphor and eucalyptus. What’s not in there? Mouth: amazing jams with a light oakiness and many soft spices. In a way, it’s a little winey (pinot noir?) but that works extremely well. Crème de cassis, marmalade, cherry jam, figs, blueberry pie, a wee feeling of clay and slate… I especially love this dried figs. I’m a sucker for figs. Finish: sadly, everythinh has one end. Ja, nur die Wurst hat zwei. Comments: close to some brilliant sister casks that Signatory Vintage have also issued. I’ve been hesitant a few years ago, I was silly. SGP:661 - 92 points.

I have to go, more old Bunnies later…

(You were right, Tom!)

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August 16, 2017


Whiskyfun

Some Bunnahabhain!

There are many around, and that’s a joy. Love the place too, they should have shot episodes of Game of Thrones over there. Imagine, the John Snow Edition, that would have looked real good. Let’s choose a semi-random set-up today, if you agree (just meaning that I don’t know yet what I’m going to find in the library…)

Bunnahabhain ‘Stiuireadair’ (46.3%, OB, 2017)

Bunnahabhain ‘Stiuireadair’ (46.3%, OB, 2017) Four starsOkay, now close this page and try to remember the name of this newish bottling. Good luck. Don’t we all love Bunnahabhain’s contra-marketing? And I spared you the grave accent that’s on one of the letters. More seriously, this baby was ‘intended as a partial replacement for the 12 yo’. Sob… Colour: pale gold. Nose: what’s nice is that it’s typically Bunny, with these roasted nuts, heather honey, puréed chestnuts, and malt drink (Ovaltine/Ovomaltine). And then it’s getting more and more chocolaty, it’s almost as if Van Houten had bought the distillery. Touches of lemon balm in the back, even nicer, that lifts it. Mouth: creamy, rounded, soft, citrusy and very cake-y. More of all what was in the nose, especially the chestnut purée. Cappuccino and Starbuck’s terrible hazelnut hot drink (only much better, which ain’t hard to do). Finish: medium and a tad grassier. Very nice maltiness. Comments: success! They may be better at making whisky than at finding names, but indeed, better like that. A shame that we haven’t got a recent 12 at hand. SGP:551 - 85 points.

Bunnahabhain 27 yo 1989/2017 (41.9%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon hogshead, 192 bottles)

Bunnahabhain 27 yo 1989/2017 (41.9%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon hogshead, 192 bottles) Five stars In theory, nothing could go wrong here. Colour: white wine/straw. Nose: and nothing goes wrong. The utter wonders of good refill wood, with an amazing lightness and many fresh fruits crushed into some honey and barley juice. Apples, peaches… Totally love these slightly acidic, almost vinegary touches. Lemon and infused tobacco. Some coastal air coming through (early morning on Bowmore’s pier, etc. etc. etc.) Mouth: firmer, but wonderful. Many herbs, dill, fresh parsley, mint, verbena… I find this supremely elegant, complex, and well-chiselled. And tangerines, gotta love tangerines in malt whisky. And pickled samphires. Finish: medium, a tad grassier, which always works. Comments: all elegance. Perfect cask, perfect spirit, perfect age. A wine-malt. SGP:451 - 90 points.

Bunnahabhain 30 yo 1986/2017 (52.6%, North Star Spirits, bourbon hogshead)

Bunnahabhain 30 yo 1986/2017 (52.6%, North Star Spirits, bourbon hogshead) Five stars Thirty, that’s another good age for malt whisky. Colour: pale gold. Nose: in the very same league. Same slightly acidic start, bordering vinegar and solvents (but in a great way!) and then same cut apples, mead, honey vinegar, and just old wine cellar. Old barrels, vin jaune, manzanilla. Not common, and I like this really a lot. And yep I’ve noticed that this as a barrel. With water: a fantastic sour profile. We’ve all known artisan piscos… Mouth (neat): exceptional. Please call the anti-maltoporn brigade. Raw Calvados, sour apples, bone-dry Madeira, and more vin jaune. Pinches you a bit, but that’s a pleasure. With water: gets a little rounder and fruitier. Guavas leading the dance. Finish: medium, and really perfect, in this sour/acidic/fruity style. Comments: luminous, it reminds of a few old casks that we could taste at the distillery with dear John MacLellan when he was the Manager. Cheers John-up-there-in-the-skies! SGP:561 - 92 points.

Bunnahabhain 28 yo (56.2%, Hunter Laing, The Kinship, bourbon cask, 214 bottles, 2017)

Bunnahabhain 28 yo (56.2%, Hunter Laing, The Kinship, bourbon cask, 214 bottles, 2017) Five stars Colour: dark amber. Nose: some gunpowder but not too much, some walnut stain for sure, and a totally umami-esque development. Yes, a palate thing but you’ll find this in the noses too. Soy sauce, cocoa, nori, dried parsley, and some proper old balsamico. Almost forgot to mention pipe tobacco, and perhaps the tiniest drop of Marmite ever. Ever! With water: prunes and cigars. Rather less dry. Mouth (neat): punchy, this. Concentrated orange juice and caramel, prune sauce, a drop of proper old PX from Jerez, and glazed chestnuts. This baby would make many other so-called sherry monsters take dictation. With water: prunes and raisins, it’s becoming much sweeter and rounder. Marmalade and the tiniest pinch of salt in the background. Finish: long, cocoa-ish. Herbal aftertaste. Artichokes, which often come with oloroso. Comments: aren’t we flying a little high already? SGP:461 - 90 points.

Bunnahabhain 25 yo 1990/2015 (44.2%, Douglas Laing, Xtra Old Particular, refill hogshead, cask # DL 10984, 269 bottles)

Bunnahabhain 25 yo 1990/2015 (44.2%, Douglas Laing, Xtra Old Particular, refill hogshead, cask # DL 10984, 269 bottles) Five stars Once again, I can’t quite see what could go wrong. Colour: white wine. What could go wrong? Nose: it’s rather one of those Bruichladdichesque Bunnies. Melons and peaches, barley syrup, sea air, sauvignon blanc, green gooseberries. Not one ounce of woodiness, this is as fresh as some properly aged malt whisky can be. Mouth: wonderful fresh fruits, more melons, more apples, mandarins, barley syrup, a drop of coffee (probably from the cask), some mild vanilla, maple syrup… We’re right in the centre of malt-whiskydom. Finish: medium, a tad more syrupy. Compote-y and honeyed aftertaste. Comments: I’m-finding-this-so-good! All-natural well-aged malt whisky at its very highest. Nothing stands out, yet all is perfect. Well done DL! SGP:551 - 91 points.

Bunnahabhain 24 yo 1990 ‘Blossom’ (51%, Vintage Malt Whisky Co., for Hot Malt Taiwan, hogshead, cask #7398, 270 bottles, +/-2015)

Bunnahabhain 24 yo 1990 ‘Blossom’ (51%, Vintage Malt Whisky Co., for Hot Malt Taiwan, hogshead, cask #7398, 270 bottles, +/-2015) Four stars A nice arty label, but it’s what’s inside that counts. Colour: white wine/straw. Nose: there, roots! Celeriac, turnips, potatoes, gentian… Lots of fun to be had here, provided you’re rather down-to-earth. Ha. Then apples, fudge, and malt. With water: not many changes. Perhaps a little wax and plastic? It does not need water. Mouth (neat): brilliant again, I’m afraid. Very earthy and rooty - which goes to show how versatile Bunnahabhain can be – and even becoming kind of smoky, while it isn’t. Don’t ask. Some mineral notes too, limestone, chalk… With water: careful with water, that could make it too grassy and too rooty. Finish: long and a little sharp. Lemon, grass and clay. Comments: some brilliant coastal malt that doesn’t swim too well, how bizarre. Careful! SGP:461 - 86 points.

How about some older younger ones straight from the library?

Bunnahabhain 12 yo 1997/2009 (48%, Duncan Taylor, NC2)

Bunnahabhain 12 yo 1997/2009 (48%, Duncan Taylor, NC2) Three stars I have to say I haven’t heard or seen much of Duncan Taylor’s recently, I hope they’re doing well! Colour: white wine. Nose: it’s a peater, a soft peater. Clay and aspirin tablets, then grapefruit and a little soot, then ashes. Mouth: sweet and easy peat, with pears and lemon drops. Not much else to add, this is good, but it’s a bit narrow and simple. Finish: medium, peaty, fruity. More smoked pears, in other words. Comments: a fair young peater, lacking deepness and complexity. Perhaps, because this one’s totally anecdotal anyway. Who would still try to find this wee bottling? SGP:545 - 80 points.

While we’re doing youngsters…

Bunnahabhain 7 yo 2005/2012 (46%, Spirit of Scotland, cask #5002237, refill sherry hogshead)

Bunnahabhain 7 yo 2005/2012 (46%, Spirit of Scotland, cask #5002237, refill sherry hogshead) Four stars Colour: white wine. Nose: the Tatin sisters may have invented tarte tatin just for Bunnahabhain. So tarte tatin, fudge, roasted nuts, and some kind of earthy honey. Mouth: really extremely good despite the young age. Sweet malt, kougelhopf, marmalade, raisin bread. Well in the style of G&M, straight, round, and very good of course. Finish: rather long, a tad more citrusy. Oranges, malt, raisins, caramel. Comments: one of those usual no-fuss young malts by G&M that will just please you, as long as something’s remaining in the bottle. Very hard to beat at this price (when it came out). SGP:541 - 85 points.

Injury time! But we’ll have more – and older – Bunnies later, stay tuned.

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August 15, 2017


Whiskyfun

Bladnoch in the spotlight

An earlier session I did a few months ago had been quite disastrous, so I thought we should consider working through this issue once more. Especially since we haven’t even tried the newish OBs yet.

Bladnoch ‘Samsara’ (46.7%, OB, 2017)

Bladnoch ‘Samsara’ (46.7%, OB, 2017) Two stars Is this strange bottle a nod to Guerlain? Or should we reach nirvana with this wee NAS that’s supposed to be ‘luxuriously smooth’, according to the label? What’s a bit scary is that it was partially matured in Californian red. California, sure, red wine, no! But enough with prejudices, you never know… Colour: pale gold, not pink. Good. Nose: really not very Bladnochian, as instead of citrus, barley and wild flowers, I’m rather finding muesli and crushed strawberries, then sour porridge and artisanal cider. One pink marshmallow, one prune. Mouth: there is this citric start that’s rather Bladnochian indeed, also sweets and blackcurrant buds and leaves, as well as a bit of green pepper. The Californian red speaking out, I’d wager. Pink peppercorns, then blood oranges. Finish: medium, spicier. Wine gums and black pepper. Comments: I find it a little strange that they would have used red wine for a re-launch. I’m sure the distillate inside’s more interesting. Fair, though, but we haven’t reached nirvana yet… SGP:551 - 76 points.

Bladnoch 15 yo ‘Adela’ (46.7, OB, 2017)

Bladnoch 15 yo ‘Adela’ (46.7, OB, 2017) Two stars This one was ‘oloroso cask matured’. Colour: gold. Nose: struck matches, soot, brake pads, old walnuts, roasted chestnuts, supermarket balsamic vinegar, beef jerky, and then a lot of rosemary and thyme. More and more vinegar – while sulphur should have kept the casks clean and fresh. It’s only after a good five minutes that things improve a bit – or that you got used to those unlikely notes and your brain starts to filter them out. Nice(ish) notes of old oloroso and crushed pine needles. Mouth: not too bad, peppery and very walnutty… No, wait, it gets astringent, with some bitter almonds and those very old walnuts that you still had in the cellar. A touch of green peat, where does that come from? Very bitter chocolate. Finish: quite long, acrid, very peppery, with some cardboard and clove. Comments: which one did I like best? A difficult decision, and a cruel dilemma, Emma. SGP:362 - 76 points.

That’s enough, dear IBs, the floor is yours…

Bladnoch 1992/2013 (51.9%, Malts of Scotland, sherry hogshead, cask #MoS13038, 156 bottles)

Bladnoch 1992/2013 (51.9%, Malts of Scotland, sherry hogshead, cask #MoS13038, 156 bottles) Three stars and a half They had a good 1990 the year before. Colour: pale gold. Nose: one of the wacky ones again, but there’s more action. Sour apples, yoghurt sauce, turnips, bags of pine needles, and a nice humussy, earthy side. Rotting leaves. Whiffs of sour wine as well. I know it doesn’t sound any better than the OBs, but believe me it is. With water: marzipan, orange juice, and cornflakes. sour cereals and more humus. Mouth (neat): ah, this is completely different. Candyfloss and wine gums, plus mum’s orange syrup. Well, any mum. Some wax, some pepper and some Schweppes, this is not extremely Bladnoch but it works. With water: gets much drier, with some very malty brown beer and some coffee. Finish: medium, dry, with some coffee and fruitier notes in the aftertaste. Very ripe cassis. Comments: a whole different league, even if this baby was a tad ‘uncertain’ as well, in my humble opinion. SGP:451 - 84 points.

Bladnoch 26 yo 1990/2016 (48.5%, Archives, barrel, cask # 30336)

Bladnoch 26 yo 1990/2016 (48.5%, Archives, barrel, cask # 30336) Four stars and a half We know these batches could be top notch, but let’s double-check that. For our common cause! Colour: pale gold. Nose: when sourness can be perfect. Many sour fruits, gooseberries, plums, whitecurrants, some mud, some chalky porridge, some freshly crushed mint, and bags of freshly cut grass. The lawn is clean! Mouth: really very good, and very Bladnochian this time. Lime and mint, with a wee medicinal side. Brushing your teeth with clay. More bitter herbs in the background. And wheelbarrows of grass. Finish: long, really bitter. Artichoke cordial and grass juice. Love this. Comments: top clean Bladnoch this time, well in the style of some much older bottlings. SGP:461 - 89 points.

Bladnoch 26 yo 1990/2017 (49%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon hogshead, 246 bottles)

Bladnoch 26 yo 1990/2017 (49%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon hogshead, 246 bottles) Four stars Colour: white wine. Nose: a funnier one again, with some sour fruits and certainly quite a lot of unusual aromatic herbs, plus massive notes of marzipan and gingerbread. Where do those come from? Some kind of lemon curry, Thai basil, and a lot of sour dough. This baby’s got something to tell us, let’s see!... Mouth: indeed, it’s a ‘wacky’ Bladnoch again. Paraffin first, then lemon and lime, then some kind of forgotten medicine. Antique mouthwash and pre-WWII hygienic liqueurs, I would say. Pinesap, fir liqueur, notes of rosewater-flavoured pastries, Turkish delights… Quite a ride, and it all works, even if there’s this fragile equilibrium at times. And hey, notes of tinned sardines in Bladnoch!? Finish: rather long, and cleaner, fruitier, and easier. As if it wanted to make amends. Very hoppy beer in the aftertaste. Comments: very funny, very entertaining, and very good. Just not very orthodox. SGP:461 - 86 points.

More tasting notes Check the index of all Bladnoch I've tasted so far

 

 

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