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

Serge whiskyfun

 

Whiskies 20,132
Other spirits 3,446
Angus 2,079

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Index of whiskyfun


Scottish Malts

 
Balblair (115)
Balmenach (
56)
Balvenie (1
51)
Banff (5
4)
Ben Nevis (
330)
Ben Wyvis
(3)
Benriach (
204)
Benrinnes (
11
4)
Benromach (
101)
Bladnoch (
95)
Blair Athol (
136)
Bowmore (
648)
Braes of Glenlivet (
69)
Brora (1
63)
Bruichladdich (3
70)
Bunnahabhain (
4
60)
Caol Ila (854)
Caperdonich (
115)
Cardhu (4
8)
Clynelish (
533)
Coleburn (2
6)
Convalmore (
30)
Cragganmore (
98)
Craigduff (4)
Craigellachie (
139)
Daftmill (25)
Dailuaine (
107)
Dallas Dhu (4
2)
Dalmore (1
44)
Dalmunach (6)
Dalwhinnie (
44)
Deanston (
74)
Dufftown (
67)
Edradour (105)
Ladyburn (13)
Lagavulin
(
215)
Laphroaig (
5
88)
Ledaig (1
49)
Linkwood (
257)
Littlemill (1
37)
Loch Lomond (
124)
Lochside (7
3)
Longmorn (2
56)
Longrow (
91)
Macallan (359)
Macduff (
114)
Malt Mill
(1)
Mannochmore (
72)
Millburn (2
5)
Miltonduff (
113)
Mortlach (2
37)
Mosstowie (2
5)

Other Whiskies
Secret/Blended malts (
939)
Grain (
415)
Blend (
496)
Japan (
672)
Irish (
469)
America & Bourbon (
442)
Other countries (1108)

Other Spirits
Rum (
2116)
Armagnac
(
368)
Cognac
(
628)
Other spirits
(
495)


 



2024
June 1
- 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2023
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

2022
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

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



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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'

   
       



Copyright Serge Valentin
Angus MacRaild
2002-20
2
4

 


Scotch Legal Announcement


 

 

July 19, 2024


Whiskyfun

On the hunt for Ben Nevis, Part Quatro

BN

Typical whisky tourist in front of the distillery (Ben Nevis)

 

One wonders if the expression 'to wax lyrical' wasn’t invented during a tasting of old Ben Nevis. Quite proud of this observation (S., it's just embarrassing  Ed).

 

 

Ben Nevis 23 yo 1999/2022 (53.8%, Limited, bourbon hogshead, cask #905, 276 bottles)

Ben Nevis 23 yo 1999/2022 (53.8%, Limited, bourbon hogshead, cask #905, 276 bottles) Four stars and a half
These new G&M-style bottles are truly lovely. Excuse me? Yes, it's what's inside that counts. Colour: gold. Nose: slightly less ‘present’ vintages, less idiosyncratic, but with a lovely oiliness, nougat, sesame and sunflower oils, apple, gooseberries, light IPA, a tiny hint of vanilla and cedarwood… With water: new pullovers in a pullover shop and waxed paper. Mouth (neat): full-on lemon juice, herb juice, green bell pepper, then grapefruit zest and a touch of fresh concrete. Melon skin and grape stalk. With water: the waxed paper returns, cedarwood, and even raw wool. Finish: long, somewhat austere, a bit yeasty, ending with notes of ouzo and pastis. Comments: not one of the most classic Ben Nevis, but looks like we're already flying at very high altitude.
SGP:562 - 88 points.

Ben Nevis 24 yo 1997/2022 (52%, Abyss Whisky Bar, Hong Kong, hogshead, cask #590, 274 bottles)

Ben Nevis 24 yo 1997/2022 (52%, Abyss Whisky Bar, Hong Kong, hogshead, cask #590, 274 bottles) Four stars and a half
Well, if it’s at the same level as their interstellar 1996, it’s going to be splendid, but is that even possible? Colour: white wine. Nose: lovely notes of fresh bourbon, vanilla, pina colada, coconut, mild herbal teas, sweet woodruff, mullein flowers, pink grapefruit… This is all magnificent, but it’s a much tamer style compared to most other Ben Nevis. With water: small pink bananas, pollen, tiny touches of new cardboard… Mouth (neat): soft and fruity, on mild citrus, tangerine, Sichuan pepper, papaya… Although the pepper gains speed, reinforcing that BN character. With water: sweet mint and anise appear, soft liquorice, curaçao, mango liqueur… Finish: medium length, sweet, peppery, and fruity. Comments: it doesn’t have the admirable tension of their 1996, but it’s still a very greatly excellent (!) whisky, let’s not be too picky.
SGP:651 - 89 points.

Ben Nevis 27 yo 1996/2023 (44.2%, Vintage Bottlers, hogshead, cask #1707, 189 bottles) Four stars and a half
Colour: white wine. Nose: quite perfect. Banana smoothie with fresh mint and linden honey. But really, who could be against that? A few touches of brioche dough and beeswax, but it remains fruity, easy, and irresistible. Mouth: it’s almost syrup, it’s so sweet, with an Irish side, mangoes, pear juice, prickly pears, meadow honey… Only in the far distance do you find some waxy, peppery, and ashy touches reminding you it’s a Ben Nevis. Finish: medium length but delicious, honeyed, with even a bit of fresh sugarcane juice. Comments: a Ben Nevis all about smoothness and drinkability. You could drink it like a wine, for instance with foie gras. Yes, I swear.
SGP:641 - 89 points.

Here, there is a little brother... We often talk about the vintage for barley, but I remind you that, with the dormancy periods and so on, generally, the distilled barley comes from the previous year. In other words, the vast majority of the 1997 batch should have been distilled from 1996 barley.

Ben Nevis 26 yo 1997/2022 (47.1%, Vintage Bottlers, hogshead, cask #416, 252 bottles)

Ben Nevis 26 yo 1997/2022 (47.1%, Vintage Bottlers, hogshead, cask #416, 252 bottles) Four stars and a half
Colour: white wine. Nose: there's a lovely tension here with notes of grapefruit, sauvignon blanc, and lime, accompanied by the faintest hint of high ester Jamaican rum. Throw in some fresh ink, paper, and those new jumpers we've mentioned before—remember them? Mouth: sweeter and softer but still maintaining that tension. It's not far off a grapefruit liqueur (grapefruitcello? Pompelmocello?), then comes a bit of paraffin oil, touches of rubber, and pencil lead, making it a classic yet intermediate BN style. Finish: medium length, slightly sweet perhaps, but excellent. Aniseed biscuits linger at the end—those Alsatian anis bredala (or bredele up north, but we're more south at WF Towers). Okay, I’ve noted you didn’t care. Comments: really rather extremely good.
SGP:652 - 89 points.

We're really entering nit-pickers’ territory with all these superlatives 199Xs...

Ben Nevis 27 yo 1996/2023 (49.4%, The Spirits Hunters, HNWS & Dadi Liquor, hogshead, cask #890, 235 bottles)

Ben Nevis 27 yo 1996/2023 (49.4%, The Spirits Hunters, HNWS & Dadi Liquor, hogshead, cask #890, 235 bottles) Four stars
Dadi Liquor? We used to have a stunning guitarist here in France named Marcel Dadi, who was one of the kings of fingerpicking. Check him out! Alas, he passed away in 1996 in the explosion of TWA Flight 800 shortly after its departure from New York. Colour: straw. Nose: initially, vegetal notes from the cask, melon rind, freshly cut grass, liquorice wood, fresh mint leaves, asparagus... then, only exotic fruits, but more on the peel side, with a certain subtlety. Banana skin, mango skin, a few flowers... All very elegant and full of self-control. Mouth: fruitier, more 'Irish', more on plums, quinces, apple and pear skins, then we find some saline touches reminding us it’s indeed Ben Nevis. Finish: quite long, with more wax, and some notes of candied sugar. The aftertaste is more bitter, peppery, more on leaves and peels. Comments: all in all, a very beautiful 1996, but rather more austere, more herbaceous, and less immediate than others. But great drop.
SGP:461 - 87 points.

Ben Nevis 26 yo 1996/2022 (51.9%, Nickolls & Perks, Inaugural Casks, refill hogshead, cask #854, 148 bottles)

Ben Nevis 26 yo 1996/2022 (51.9%, Nickolls & Perks, Inaugural Casks, refill hogshead, cask #854, 148 bottles) Five stars
Colour: pale gold. Nose: bananas of all kinds, apples as well, acacia flowers, honeysuckle, dandelions, prairie honey, South-Burgundian chardonnay (better and cheaper), beeswax and pollen... seems like something's cooking here... With water: an earthy side emerges, chalk, wool, stearin, lamp oil... Mouth: bingo, mangos, pink pepper, prime tea tannins, bananas, pomelos (why not?) ... With water: abfab tense citrus, yellow and white fruits. Hits our whisky G-spot. Finish: long, lemony and honeyed. Woodruff. Perfect. Comments: I suddenly realise this tasting note has been somewhat accelerated and that some nuances may have been overlooked. I apologise for that.
SGP:561 - 90 points.

Ben Nevis 26 yo 1996/2022 (53.2%, The Whisky Blues for Whisky Age, refill hogshead, cask #1694, 169 bottles)

Ben Nevis 26 yo 1996/2022 (53.2%, The Whisky Blues for Whisky Age, refill hogshead, cask #1694, 169 bottles) Five stars
Colour: vin blanc. Nose: fully on the distillate's DNA, that is to say chalk, wool, bread dough, soot, ashes, and sweet mustard. Nothing more, nothing less. With water: more of all that, chalk, wool, porridge, ink... Mouth (neat): much fruitier, with especially goji berries (I swear) and small plums. We're getting closer to those little berries we love so much, holly, rowan, service, sloe... They make the best eaux-de-vie in the world! And let’s not even mention sorb and jujubes (oops, too late). With water: I adore it. Magnificent tension, small white fruits, hints of passion fruit, but no mango. I think we can do without mango from time to time. Finish: quite long, subtle, more saline and peppery. After all, it's Ben Nevis. Comments: our friends in Asia have become, over the years, the kings of selecting 'natural' casks, bravo!
SGP:561 - 91 points.

One last one before we move on to the older vintages...

Ben Nevis 27 yo 1996/2023 (54.9%, The Whisky Jury, refill hogshead, cask #843, 90 bottles)

Ben Nevis 27 yo 1996/2023 (54.9%, The Whisky Jury, refill hogshead, cask #843, 90 bottles) Five stars
The Rembrandts, Vermeers, and Rubenses of the spirit world. Colour: Full gold. Nose: This one’s bound to unite everyone. Think apricot tarte, mango peel, Meursault (get your wallet ready), clay, Riesling, fresh plastic, Marlboro, crushed slate, oyster mushrooms... With water: white chocolate and Darjeeling. Perhaps a hint of salsify, but that’s an acquired taste, isn’t it. Mouth (neat): Magical. Wonderful tension, apricot eau-de-vie (watch your prussic acid), green apple, Jamaican rum (fancy that?), lemon, bergamot, and citron liqueurs... With water: touches of chlorophyll (Wrigley’s gum) and skins of banana, mango, and even pear. Polish and cigar ash in the background, reminding us it’s unmistakably Ben Nevis. Finish: Good length and slightly camphoraceous with bitters, amaro, Cynar... Comments: What more can I say?
SGP:561 - 91 points.

Alright, we’ll meet again soon with older vintages of BN, if that suits you…

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

 

July 18, 2024


Whiskyfun

On the hunt for Ben Nevis, Part Drei

BN

Where are these? (Ben Nevis)

 

We still have a lot left to enjoy, a good twenty or so. And of course, we're not complaining. Let's try to focus a bit on the younger ones, even if it means encountering some wine, as is the current fashion...

 

 

Ben Nevis 8 yo 2014/2023 (47%, Signatory Vintage for Whic, Spirit of the Forest, Port pipe, cask #235, 811 bottles)

Ben Nevis 8 yo 2014/2023 (47%, Signatory Vintage for Whic, Spirit of the Forest, Port pipe, cask #235, 811 bottles) Four stars
Colour: straw. This was well-matured Port wood. Nose: one of the most mustardy yet, quite robust with plenty of watercress (garden cress) and sprouted seeds, just a hint of lavender essence (perhaps from the Port), followed by increasingly prominent leather, cracked pepper, and nutmeg. There’s a touch of smoked paprika and a hint of blackcurrant mustard. Overall, it’s far more ‘Ben Nevis’ than ‘Port’. Mouth: now we get to the cooked red fruits, and thus the Port, complemented by mustard and pepper. Then we move towards very dark chocolate, raspberry ganache, or crème de cassis, but the spices remain at the forefront, especially the pepper. Finish: long, with ripe strawberries and black pepper. Comments: a very fine result, I imagine someone watched over this Port pipe like a hawk.
SGP:662 - 86 points.

Ben Nevis 10 yo 2012/2023 (59.3%, OB, for LMDW New Vibrations, American wine cask, cask #2137, 268 bottles)

Ben Nevis 10 yo 2012/2023 (59.3%, OB, for LMDW New Vibrations, American wine cask, cask #2137, 268 bottles) Four stars
It’s amusing to see an American wine cask, given Ben Nevis’s history of installing concrete washbacks inspired by Californian winemakers. Colour: light gold. Could it have been American white wine? Nose: the wood and fruity varnish are very pronounced, but not bothersome, after all, the cask comes from the land of bourbon. Plenty of coconut milk, hints of green tea, and perhaps even touches of pineapple. It’s curious but delightful. With water: more on pancakes covered in redcurrant jelly. Mouth (neat): very powerful, very spicy, and very fruity. Cranberry juice with oak chips, clootie dumplings, very ‘red’ muesli, red beets… it’s fun. With water: the distillate shines through, with pepper, leather, mustard, nutmeg, saffron, soot, and ashes. Finish: similarly long-lasting. The redcurrants return right at the end. Comments: doubly new-world, this little official Ben Nevis. I quite like it, it’s well-made, no complaints, quite the opposite.
SGP:662 - 85 points.

Ben Nevis 7 yo 2015/2023 (57.1%, Milroy’s, Soho Selection, refill bourbon Hogshead, 353 bottles)

Ben Nevis 7 yo 2015/2023 (57.1%, Milroy’s, Soho Selection, refill bourbon Hogshead, 353 bottles) Four stars
The 12-year-old from Milroy’s was very pleasant last time. Colour: very pale white wine. Nose: a magnificent, very young Ben Nevis, entirely natural and unadulterated. We’re left alone with the distillate (ha), and it’s brimming with wet chalk, soot, peat, mustard, seaweed, lemon, and green apples. Amen. With water: brake dust, Formica, linoleum, and litres of engine oil. Say Veedol. Mouth (neat): my goodness, it’s delicious. Smoked pepper, peat, lemon, green pepper, horseradish, mild chili… perfect texture, oily yet fresh and refined. With water: who had the brilliant idea of pouring mezcal and gentian into the cask while everyone was looking away? Finish: long, with bitter almonds, soot, cinders, pepper, and lemon liqueur. Comments: there’s peat, but it’s much more integrated than in the very ‘punk’ 4-year-old 2019 ‘heavily peated’ we had last time.
SGP:664 - 87 points.

Ben Nevis 9 yo 2014/2023 (59.7%, James Eadie, first fill oloroso butt finish, cask #367508, 656 bottles)

Ben Nevis 9 yo 2014/2023 (59.7%, James Eadie, first fill oloroso butt finish, cask #367508, 656 bottles) Four stars and a half
These guys are wizards; one must be wary. Indeed. Colour: gold. Nose: oh blimey, boot polish! And hand cream, lanolin, preserved lemon, faux leather, marjoram, lemongrass… With water: almond milk with a hint of seawater and metal polish. It’s perfect. Mouth (neat): that sensation of lemon-scented boot polish and caraway, with added walnut wine, then, increasingly, green Chartreuse and fir bud. With water: lemon zest and soot. And that slightly rough edge from the oloroso and its green walnut side. Finish: long, perfect, on similar notes. Orange liqueur in the aftertaste. Comments: I must remember this one for our Bang for your Buck ranking this month.
SGP:562 - 89 points.

Ben Nevis 10 yo 2013/2023 (57.4%, Dràm Mor, 1st fill palo cortado finish, cask #136, 180 bottles)

Ben Nevis 10 yo 2013/2023 (57.4%, Dràm Mor, 1st fill palo cortado finish, cask #136, 180 bottles) Four stars
They are also rather adept at finishings; in my opinion, they are among the few small companies to have truly elevated the practice. Colour: gold. Nose: here we have fudge, slightly smoked, nougat, Nutella, praline, toasted sesame, and butterscotch… I had forgotten that palo cortado could do this; we’re not dealing with the salty, tarry mustard of a big fino, or indeed a typical Ben Nevis. With water: more wet earth and low-tide beach. Mouth (neat): it combines well, it’s much more vigorous this time, with pencil shavings, green walnuts, green lemon juice (not lime), and indeed mustard. With water: even better. Lemons, soot, fino. Finish: same. Seaweed mustard in the aftertaste. Seaweed mustard is very good. Only the aftertaste is very slightly dusty. Comments: it must be said that BN is the perfect partner for sherries aged under flor.
SGP:662 - 87 points.

Here’s a little taste of what’s yet to come...

Ben Nevis 27 yo 1996/2023 (48.8%, Abyss Whisky Bar, Hong Kong, hogshead, cask #877, 215 bottles)

Ben Nevis 27 yo 1996/2023 (48.8%, Abyss Whisky Bar, Hong Kong, hogshead, cask #877, 215 bottles) Five stars
These splendid folks are situated in the Charterhouse Hotel in Hong Kong. As for the 1996 vintage at Ben Nevis, does it even need yet another introduction? Plus, no sherry in sight, it seems… Colour: straw. Nose: one of the hallmarks of these years at Ben Nevis is the tropical fruit, particularly mango, which weaves itself beautifully between leather, anything from the sea, and ashes. And that’s precisely what we have here, just spot on. There are a few hints of small bananas, rose petals (just a couple), viognier, Sauternes… But all of that is distillate-driven. It also reminds me a bit of the later years’ Brora, like the ones we tasted on-site a fortnight ago. Grand Cru whisky. Mouth: oh, how delightful! The subtle ‘dirty’ side of Ben Nevis, which we adore, is very much present, with a touch of watercress, mustard seeds, soot, banana skin, lime zest… Finish: long and intensely vibrant, you’d never guess this BN is nearing thirty years. Charcoal, soot, cigar ashes, wax, then grated zest and those usual tiny mustard notes. A more saline and mineral aftertaste. Comments: the entirety of this parcel of casks is sublime. It’s far more the Olympus than the abyss, if I may say so… (lousy at best, S.)
SGP:652 - 91 points.

I don't know how we're going to manage with all these other very glorious 'BNs' that are about to appear on these pages in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...

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

 

July 17, 2024


Whiskyfun

On the hunt for Ben Nevis, Part Two

 

We have already learned, or had confirmed, that Ben Nevis needs neither wine nor peat. Of course, whiskies can still be very good, but they are nonetheless degraded by the flavouring process. At least, in my humble opinion. Let's carry on, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet…

 

 

Ben Nevis 10 yo 2012/2023 (57.1%, Milroy’s Soho Selection, first fill French oak oloroso hogshead finish, 278 bottles).

Ben Nevis 10 yo 2012/2023 (57.1%, Milroy’s Soho Selection, first fill French oak oloroso hogshead finish, 278 bottles) Four stars
With such a finishing, it should pack a punch, let's have a look... Colour: gold. Nose: it's as if someone threw fifty Lindt chocolate bars into the cask. Besides that, pepper and coriander seeds lead the dance, along with the usual mild "à l'ancienne" mustard. A bit of damp earth. With water: yeast, sourdough! Magnificent. Mouth (neat): I believe the distillate tames the cask, and we won't complain about that. Very pretty lemons and grapefruit, green pepper, a hint of horseradish, brine and green walnuts. It's a little rough, which we love. With water: not too much water please. Green apples, pepper, ashes, charcoal. Finish: the same, with a bit of curry and, let's say it, some very maritime sherry. Pass the langoustines... Comments: careful with water. This baby doesn't swim very well... Otherwise, it's excellent.
SGP:462 - 87 points.

Ben Nevis 2013/2022 (67%, The Single Malts of Scotland, Kirsch Exclusive, sherry butt, cask #1271, 790 bottles).

Ben Nevis 2013/2022 (67%, The Single Malts of Scotland, Kirsch Exclusive, sherry butt, cask #1271, 790 bottles) Four stars
Pretty good feelings here, despite the lethal strength. And a nice outturn from a single butt! Colour: gold. Nose: ashes, charcoal, truffles, struck matches, mocha, bitter chocolate, asparagus water, brake dust, polenta… In a nutshell, there's a sulphuriness, but an awesome one. With water: Brussels sprouts, leeks, exhaust fumes, but also huge and unexpected notes of botrytis. What’s not to like? Mouth (neat): only good things, bitter oranges, turpentine essence, an abundance of pepper, industrial glue… It’s just extremely strong and not drinkable, if you will. With water: it’s quite a task to properly reduce a spirit down from 67% in your glass, I assure you. The trick is to avoid a 'snap'. We might talk about that again. Not sure we can tame it, even if we get a bit towards raisins and dried apricots. No time to dig deeper into this one. Finish: long. Blimey, what a job it takes! Comments: I think this whisky is a bit of a provocation from all involved. If our lawyer wasn’t out golfing once again, we’d draft a letter. But we love its quirks (the whisky’s, not the lawyer’s).
SGP:462 - 85 points.

Ben Nevis 21 yo 2001/2023 (58.2%, Hunter Laing, The First Editions, refill hogshead, cask #HL19833, 195 bottles)

Ben Nevis 21 yo 2001/2023 (58.2%, Hunter Laing, The First Editions, refill hogshead, cask #HL19833, 195 bottles) Five stars
Colour: gold. Nose: well then, banana wine, ripe white peaches, apricots, all on a base of wood glue, soot, coal dust, and slag. The whole ensemble is just marvellous. Indeed. With water: all sorts of bread, freshly baked in the morning. Mouth (neat): but how good is this! Mint, lemon, white pepper this time, small oysters, sea water, coriander... But how good is this. With water: perfect. And this time, we've managed our reduction like champions (modesty isn’t what it used to be). Finish: long, taut, but also rich and enveloping. And so ‘BN’. Sublime citrus. Comments: this score might seem high, but I assure you it’s justified. Cross my heart and all that. Thoughts to Colin Ross.
SGP:562 - 91 points.

But by Jove, it was delightful!

Ben Nevis 1998 (48%, Limited, bourbon hogshead, cask #696, 300 bottles, +/-2023)

Ben Nevis 1998 (48%, Limited, bourbon hogshead, cask #696, 300 bottles, +/-2023) Four stars
We have a good feeling about this one, once again. It must be reminded that the vintages 1995 - 1996 - 1997 - 1998 were quite superlative at Ben Nevis, for reasons unknown to us. Colour: white wine. Nose: very pure, precise, almost monastic. Green apples, ashes, paraffin, pepper, linoleum. Mouth: a bit of a slip-up at first (strange plastics) but the salinity and lemon quickly put us back on track. Petrol, artichoke, hearts of palm, salsify, and increasingly more salinity. Finish: long. Lemon, rubber, artichokes, samphire, bitterness increasing in the aftertaste. Comments: another Ben Nevis that’s a bit mad and, consequently, very difficult to score. Well, let’s take the plunge...
SGP:362 - 86 points.

Ben Nevis 27 yo 1996/2023 (48.8%, The Whisky Jury, refill hogshead, cask #912, 211 bottles)

Ben Nevis 27 yo 1996/2023 (48.8%, The Whisky Jury, refill hogshead, cask #912, 211 bottles) Five stars
Ah, the revered 1996 vintage, shrouded in a mystery that only Mother Nature herself could conjure. The Whisky Jury has previously bottled several BNs from this vintage, so it makes sense they would continue with this one (why, S?) Colour: gold. Nose: ripe mango, clover honey, and aged Sauternes. Simply marvellous. Mouth: an intriguing dance of green and pink peppercorns, with a hint of medicinal camphor, followed by an avalanche of exotic fruits, all kept in check by vibrant lime and that aforementioned pepper. Absolutely magnificent. Finish: long, with notes of rubber, quite typical, and even a hint of glue, but the citrus and mango notes bring it all together harmoniously. Honey ensures a lasting impression in the aftertaste. Comments: scandalously sublime. A sister cask #1813 was slightly less impressive, but this one commands deep respect. Good heavens!
SGP:652 - 91 points.

Didn't we agree on six per session?

Ben Nevis 26 yo 1996/2023 (54.7%, OB for Alambic Classique, sherry butt and refill hogshead, cask #01, 264 bottles)

Ben Nevis 26 yo 1996/2023 (54.7%, OB for Alambic Classique, sherry butt and refill hogshead, cask #01, 264 bottles) Five stars
This official bottling is indeed probably a delight, and we can look forward to some official surprises (does that make any sense, S?) … Mind you, Alambic Classique is a German independent bottler, despite the French name. But who cares, this is Europe, right? Colour: light gold. Nose: starting with a whiff of native sulphur, which is neither surprising nor bothersome, followed by freshly cut grass, asparagus, charcoal, celery, and lemons… It certainly has that wild edge we adore. With water: those early morning bakery notes come to the fore. Eternal gratitude to our bakers. Mouth (neat): lemons, coriander, Madras curry, kumquats, earth, Pu-erh tea… It's magical, truly. With water: forget it, it's exceptional. Finish: long, sublime, chalky, lemony, peppery, with absolute verticality. Comments: Ben Nevis is the most oenological of malt whiskies by far. In twenty years, these bottles will be works of art, each with its own NFT (f****g what?). At the pinnacle.
SGP:62 - 92 points.

Isn’t it starting to heat up? See you.

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

 

A new section, to shake things up a bit. Not sure if we'll keep it for long, we'll see, it might be a silly idea.

TBTB

 

The Bottle To Buy
Ben Nevis 26 yo 1996/2023 (54.7%, OB for Alambic Classique, sherry butt and refill hogshead, cask #01, 264 bottles) Five stars
SGP:62 - 92 points.
Provided there's any left...

 

July 16, 2024


Whiskyfun

On the hunt for Ben Nevis, Part Un

Official shot. Not sure the weather's always like this.

 

There are many of them, and we have a lot at Château Whiskyfun that we have never tasted. It's time to reduce the stock, not without joy, as we love Ben Nevis. I take this opportunity to congratulate and thank the owners, Nikka, for allowing independents to use the name, which only enhances the fame and reputation of this malt that can be quite grandiose. We have avoided, for now, these Secret Highlanders From The West Coast. In any case, we will do this randomly, without any predetermined order, for more fun and surprises. But we will avoid placing a BN at 40% ABV (if there is one) after a sibling bottled at 60% ABV or more. We are not savages...

 

 

Ben Nevis 2014/2023 (46%, Signatory Vintage, Un-chillfiltered Collection, casks #277-278)

Ben Nevis 2014/2023 (46%, Signatory Vintage, Un-chillfiltered Collection, casks #277-278) Four stars and a half
Colour: straw. Nose: bingo, just the right amount of porridge, soot, dough and brioche, lemon juice and baker's yeast. It's immaculate while being slightly dirty and fermentative, which is exactly what one expects from BN. Mouth: a mix of apple and cherry juice, black pepper, cigarette ash, then lemon, all with a perfectly balanced texture. Finish: those lovely hints of mustard, leather, and coal that we adore so much come through now. Comments: it starts very well, and despite its young age and modest presentation, we're already in the top 80s.
SGP:552 - 88 points.

Ben Nevis 8 yo 2015/2024 (46%, James Eadie, Small Batch, first fill bourbon hogshead, 1,301 bottles, 2024)

Ben Nevis 8 yo 2015/2024 (46%, James Eadie, Small Batch, first fill bourbon hogshead, 1,301 bottles, 2024) Four stars and a half
Colour: light gold. Nose: the first fill bourbon adds more roundness, vanilla, and ripe bananas, which slightly softens the Ben Nevis character, but it remains present, still with porridge, overripe apples, soot and ashes, a mustardy touch, and real pizza dough. Mouth: lovely tension, ashes, a very slight vinegar touch, pepper, a bit of seawater, then more and more lemon. It’s still 100% Ben Nevis and we’re not complaining. Finish: very long, distinctly more peppery, and even more so in the aftertaste, along with a hint of Fanta (no worries). Comments: I’d love to try this little Ben Nevis with oysters, in lieu of Tabasco. Got any oysters handy?
SGP:562 - 88 points.

Ben Nevis 4 yo 2019/2023 ‘Heavily Peated’ (57.1%, Signatory Vintage, refill oloroso sherry butt, 2,988 bottles)

Ben Nevis 4 yo 2019/2023 ‘Heavily Peated’ (57.1%, Signatory Vintage, refill oloroso sherry butt, 2,988 bottles) Three stars
Really, only four years? I knew our friends in Scotland liked to replace age with new wood and more or less improbable wines, but now with peat? Let’s see… Colour: white wine. Nose: I’m not sure what to think of these peated batches outside of specialised distilleries. Twenty or thirty years ago, it was fun, entertaining, often very good (Longrow, Brora…) but if everyone’s doing it, no distillery will have a unique style anymore, and each will become the malt supermarket. Anyway, it’s nice, but curiously much cleaner than a traditional BN. Beech smoke, coal… Not bad, but we move on. With water: careful, it’s much better with water, bringing out the slightly metallic side of some much older Ben Nevis. Like an old kettle. Mouth: apples and smoke, plus pepper and lemon. Very drying (oversteeped Lapsang Souchong). Do we really need another Caol Ila? With water: once again, better with water. There’s a hint of very young Jamaican rum. More pepper. Finish: fairly long but simple. Soot, ashes, pears in the aftertaste. Comments: it’s a bit circular, the BN character being naturally close to some peated ones. So, it’s somewhat redundant, if you like. But of course, it’s still very good.
SGP:646 - 82 points.

Since we're in the prime of youth...

Ben Nevis 5 yo 2017/2022 (67.1%, Cut Your Wolf Loose, STR American oak barrique, cask #7877A, 190 bottles)

Ben Nevis 5 yo 2017/2022 (67.1%, Cut Your Wolf Loose, STR American oak barrique, cask #7877A, 190 bottles) Three stars
At this strength, we’ll be cautious. With an STR cask, we’ll be cautious too. And at 5 years old, we’ll be even more cautious. Ha. Colour: gold. Nose: green walnuts, loads of very green olive oil (we quite like this style too), then touches of green pepper and chocolate, a combination that works much better than one might think. It's all rather green (as you might have guessed). With water: Swiss cheese, it's almost a fondue. A hint of acetic prickle in the background. Now that's unusual. Mouth (neat): sharp lemon and paraffin mingled with pepper. It’s strong but you sense it has potential. A bit of a carbon note. With water: back to a more classic BN, with soot, coal, very ripe fruits, and a hint of tapioca. Finish: very long, on apple and green pepper. A touch of rennet at the end, a bit quirky. Comments: an odd fellow, with a punk side. It has some very good qualities.
SGP:472 - 80 points.

Ben Nevis 10 yo 2013/2023 (58.6%, Truth & Consequences, Sauternes finish, cask #256R, 215 bottles)

Ben Nevis 10 yo 2013/2023 (58.6%, Truth & Consequences, Sauternes finish, cask #256R, 215 bottles) Four stars
Putting Ben Nevis in Sauternes, to me, is the equivalent of a triple axel in figure skating. If it works, it's superb. If not... well. Anyway, we've already tasted some excellent Australian whiskies selected by this new, philosophically-named company. Colour: light gold. Nose: typical Sauternes. It adds a lovely aromatic layer without transforming the whisky too much, unlike, say, Tokay or PX. But I couldn't explain why. Pastry dough, brioche, ripe banana, mirabelle, papayas, streusel... All's well. On the flip side, the distillate is indeed gentler, much less 'dirty'. With water: boom, yeasts and beers respond. Mouth (neat): you can really taste the Sauternes, but we love Sauternes. Tons of apricots, a very light muscat note, very ripe peaches, and just those touches of soot and black pepper from BN. It’s very good. With water: balance is found, apricots, very ripe pears, a bit of rose jelly, pink pepper and... champagne. Seriously, there's a champagne-like quality. Finish: long, sweet, jammy. Maybe not the best moment, it gets a bit too much. Comments: a rather beautiful success. And above all, not the slightest sulphur note. Just saying.
SGP:641 - 85 points.

All is well, it’s coming back up.

Ben Nevis 2000/2022 (49.2%, Limited, bourbon hogshead, cask #1002, 311 bottles)

Ben Nevis 2000/2022 (49.2%, Limited, bourbon hogshead, cask #1002, 311 bottles) Four stars and a half
Can you believe it, no wine! Just whisky! Colour: straw. Nose: feels like home with porridge, chalk, clay, bread dough, soot, baker's yeast, then ripe apples, grapefruit, pils beer, autumn leaves, apple peels, and brake dust… All is well, all is well… Mouth: it’s so good! Pepper, paraffin, modelling clay, more pepper, lemon juice, touches of toasted sesame oil, Japanese green tea powder (matcha-style), soot, cider… And yes, champagne. Ultra-brut, zero dosage. Finish: long, taut, vertical with sea water, carbon, green apple, etc. Nothing to complain about. Comments: back to the high level. I swear we didn't do it on purpose (well, maybe a bit...)
SGP:562 - 89 points.

Alright, let's stop here. We'll meet again for the next Ben Nevis session. Shall we say tomorrow? Or sooner? See you.

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

 

July 15, 2024


Whiskyfun

Some of the best French Whiskies to celebrate Bastille Day

A day too late, as Bastille Day was yesterday, the 14th of July, but it was also Malternative Day on WF. Besides, at Château WF, we're not particularly nationalistic or even "patriotic," given that we believe if there's one act in our lives from which we can derive absolutely no personal merit, it's being born somewhere. We have currently more than 130 distilleries making whisky in France.

  Lafayette
Within the French National Assembly, in 1789
the marquis de La Fayette aka Lafayette, drafted
the first Déclaration des Droits de l'Homme
(Declaration of the Rights of Man), which was
heavily inspired by the American Declaration.
(Joseph-Désiré Court — Réunion des
musées nationaux.)

 

 

Cezallier ‘Zagat Fils du Feu’ (52.1%, Le Faiseur de Malts, France, lot #TT18A, 436 bottles, 2023)

Cezallier ‘Zagat Fils du Feu’ (52.1%, Le Faiseur de Malts, France, lot #TT18A, 436 bottles, 2023) Four stars
Here we are in Auvergne with a whisky distilled in a pot still heated over a naked flame, a blend of 4 malted grains: triticale, barley, rye, and spelt. Aged in refill oak casks and presented in a very lovely bottle. Colour: deep gold. Nose: an impressively thick and rich profile, with a pronounced note of rancio, dark nougat, pumpernickel, and banana cake drizzled with caramel, alongside a faint metallic and earthy hint. We then drift towards the aged agricoles Rums from Martinique and slightly old school whiskies marked by an equally old school sherry, reminiscent of Michel Couvreur's old malts. With water: intriguingly, it smells like a still in full swing. Mouth (neat): a rather rich attack, with ample dark chocolate, pepper, malt extracts, and an array of diverse breads, particularly dark ones. Roasted chestnuts and a touch of old oloroso dulce emerge. With water: much fruitier, almost gentle, but the burnt bread crust note lingers in the aftertaste. Leather. Finish: long, with a pleasing bitterness. A very light herbal liqueur note, then more orange liqueur and rancio. Comments: rich and pleasant. It remains to be seen which of the four malts stands out. Perhaps the spelt? I’m not sure, but I recently had spelt bread, and it somewhat reminds me of that.
SGP:561 - 85 points.

Artesia ‘Tourbé’ (46%, OB, Whisky des Hauts de France, France, +/-2023)

Artesia ‘Tourbé’ (46%, OB, Whisky des Hauts de France, France, +/-2023) Four stars
Of course, 'tourbé' means peated. We tasted two Artesia whiskies two years ago and found them quite good. The Hauts de France are in the north of France. Colour: pale white wine. Nose: very lovely lemon sprinkled over chalk and ashes. Adding to this are very expressive notes of Sauvignon blanc, as well as lime, rhubarb, and slightly underripe kiwi. The overall impression is very clean and works perfectly, I assure you. I forgot to mention, the peated barley malt comes from Scotland. Better that than North Korea, I suppose. Mouth: a mix of Caol Ila, mezcal, and gentian if you know what I mean. The body is very slightly thin, but that's absolutely not a problem. Oysters arrive a few minutes later. Finish: rather long, with lemony ashes, oysters, and a bit of white pepper. A light vanilla note comes in a bit later. Comments: it's ultra-clean.
SGP:565 - 86 points.

Wambrechies ‘Madeira’ (44.5%, OB, France, +/-2024)

Wambrechies ‘Madeira’ (44.5%, OB, France, +/-2024) Four stars
Here’s another malt from northern France, aged 8 years in Madeira casks. Wambrechies/Claeyssens, who have been making genever for two centuries, were pioneers of whisky in France since the 1990s. I remember they were among the very few names that didn’t come from the big four whisky countries we used to mention on the early internet forums. Happy to see them back in our glass, the north has always been a land of grains! Colour: gold. Nose: so typically Madeira. Walnuts and mustard, plus a bit of leather, nutmeg, cigar tobacco, and a very, very slight vinegar note. Add a touch of damp earth, crushed slate, and orchard leaves, especially peach. Mouth: excellent, unique, with even more walnuts and leather, plus mustard and tobacco. A hint of fruit-flavoured liquorice (oranges) completes the profile and adds a fresh touch. A hint of fennel. Finish: medium length, similar profile, always refreshing. More oranges and grapefruit in the aftertaste. Comments: I love it, it’s perfect. The use of Madeira is done with the precision of a Chaux-de-Fonds watchmaker. Really glad to see them again – I mean Wambrechies.
SGP:661 - 87 points.

Hordeum 2019/2023 ‘Cerealis’ (48%, LMDW, Version Française)

Hordeum 2019/2023 ‘Cerealis’ (48%, LMDW, Version Française) Three stars
Distilled in an Armagnac-style column still from Scarlett spring barley and aged in new French oak. No time to figure out which distillery this is from, possibly from the Jura region, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Colour: gold. Nose: fresh bread, fresh sawdust, sponge cake, then a slightly overripe apple. It's very straightforward, very compact, without much sticking out. Mouth: fruitier on the palate, a bit warm, with ripe plums, vanilla, a bit of nutmeg and cinnamon, then apple tarte. A touch of cane sugar. Finish: medium length, burnt wood, apple turnover with honey and maple syrup. Comments: pleasant, flawless, doing its job very well but perhaps not with tons of character, as they say.
SGP:551 - 80 points.

Biersky (59.6%, OB, Distillerie Bertrand, France, beer and malt eau-de-vie, 2023)

Biersky (59.6%, OB, Distillerie Bertrand, France, beer and malt eau-de-vie, 2023) Four stars
A blend of young malt spirit (40%) and beer spirit (60%) made here in Uberach in Alsace by Bertrand and their wizard Jean Metzger. So, it is not exactly whisky, but it’s not exactly not whisky either (don’t quote me). I’ve tried earlier batches before, Biersky being a favourite in many Alsatian restaurants, but I’m not sure I’ve ever written any notes. Perhaps in an old forgotten notebook? Colour: full gold. Nose: we’re in whisky territory, it’s not the ultra-floral side of some very hoppy beer spirits, but rather bags and bags of mirabelles and apricots. A very nice earthy side, though I can’t say if it comes from the beer. With water: slight saponification after adding Vittel, then sweet apples and perhaps a hint of hops. Hops are an Alsatian specialty; I remember when I first tasted Lagunitas in California long ago, I found out the hops were from... Alsace. Mouth (neat): a distinct pear eau-de-vie character, but also masala and other spices, curries, ras-el-hanout… I really like this. Lots of fruit peels. With water: excellent, even more on pear, vanilla, and a bit of wood. Finish: similar. Comments: I love this Biersky, and it feels like this recent batch is even better than the previous ones. If you're at a restaurant and torn between an eau-de-vie and a whisky, choose a Biersky!
SGP:640 - 85 points.

Armorik ‘Classic’ (46%, OB, France, bourbon, +/-2022)

Armorik ‘Classic’ (46%, OB, France, bourbon, +/-2022) Three stars
Here we are with Warenghem in Brittany, one of the undeniable leaders of French whisky. I’ve tasted the Classic back in 2011, and it was already quite good (WF 82). And I like it when a whisky isn’t given an overly fancy name, even when it’s NAS. Colour: white wine. Nose: fresh, with gooseberries, apples, a discreet touch of vanilla, and some freshly cut grass, with a hint of pastis. Breton pastis, of course. It’s simple, precise, and pleasant. Mouth: nice fruitiness, indeed classic, with apples, plums, peach, fresh barley, white pepper, and tea (wood). Finish: medium length, apple and barley. Comments: I still agree with myself (and that’s no small feat). A very good young malt, not extravagant at all.
SGP:441 - 82 points.

Without a doubt, the contrary...

Warenghem 9 yo 2014/2024 (59.6%, Swell de Spirits, Wild Nature series, France, 1st fill oloroso butt, cask #3531)

Warenghem 9 yo 2014/2024 (59.6%, Swell de Spirits, Wild Nature series, France, 1st fill oloroso butt, cask #3531) Four stars and a half
Yep, Warenghem = Armorik. Another superb label from Swell d.S. Colour: full gold. Nose: a tad warm but the pecan nut pie, slightly sweet and salty, and peanut butter notes seem quite perfect. Water is needed to explore further. With water: dill, fennel, mint, dried seaweed, walnut wine, cigars… Mouth (neat): it seems top-notch, sharp, lemony, very lively while being robust, very much on bitter and roasted nuts… With water: a festival! Salt, lemon, nuts, pecans, a touch of brine, very dry raisins, pipe tobacco, bitter oranges, artichoke liqueur, and so on. Finish: long and even more bitter. Wonderfully bitter and peppery. It should be tried as an addition to beer (Breton beer, of course). Comments: a lovely beast, somewhat the opposite of the very gentle ‘classic’, as expected.
SGP:472 - 88 points.

Armorik 13 yo 2009/2023 (60.6%, The Auld Alliance, France/Singapore, cask #8241)

Armorik 13 yo 2009/2023 (60.6%, The Auld Alliance, France/Singapore, cask #8241) Four stars and a half
I like this motto on the label, "Ne Jamais Dire Jamais." Never say never, feels a bit like a James Bond movie. Like, shipping some French whisky to a famous bar in Singapore. Colour: full gold. Nose: a few hints of cherry brandy, then some damp earth, but it's a bit strong to nose without restraint. With water: earthy notes, tobaccos, linseed oil, paraffin, toasted sesame oil, old leather (Connolly, of course) … Mouth (neat): ah, excellent! Lovely earthy and spicy character, nuts in all their forms, cherries, more cherries, drops of seawater, quince… With water: hazelnut cake, walnuts, almonds, pecans, macadamias, pine nuts… And a hint of fir wood indeed. Very light sulphur, suggesting a wine cask. Finish: long, more on leaves, stems, fruit skins, and the everlasting nuts. Comments: extremely different, but more or less on the same level as the "Swell."
SGP:461 - 88 points.

Break…

St Palais ‘Pointe Blanche’ (43%, Le Cercle, single malt, France, +/-2023)

St Palais ‘Pointe Blanche’ (43%, Le Cercle, single malt, France, +/-2023) Three stars and a half
Distilled in Cognac stills in the Cognac region, and finished in ex-peater casks - in-cask blending as we say - which is not quite my preferred method but there, I suppose only the results count. Colour: white wine. Nose: it seems to work, it's very light, there are a few whiffs of cigarette smoke (remember cigarette smoke?) and pear. This peaty pear side can also be found in very young Caol Ila, for instance. Other than that, it seems quite harmless… Mouth: more presence, a bit of ginger liqueur, elderflower liqueur too, citron, muesli, white pepper, a bit of peppery apple juice… Frankly, it's pleasant and goes down easily. Finish: almost refreshing, slightly salty, with hints of buckwheat and even a touch of pineapple. Comments: perhaps the gentlest peated whisky in the world. As Nick & Nick wrote on your WF a long time ago, (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding?
SGP:543 - 83 points.

Wait, there is also a boosted version...

St Palais ‘Pointe Blanche - OLO’ (50.2%, Le Cercle, single malt, France, oloroso finish, 2,400 bottles, +/-2023)

St Palais ‘Pointe Blanche - OLO’ (50.2%, Le Cercle, single malt, France, oloroso finish, 2,400 bottles, +/-2023) Three stars and a half
As long as it’s oloroso, we’re fine. Just saying. Colour: gold. Nose: leather, tobacco, green walnuts, equally green apples, being inside a flower and vegetable greenhouse, fresh almonds, asparagus and turnips… this very vegetal side suits me perfectly. Also, notes of honey and fresh gingerbread. With a bit of water: kougelhopf and fresh panettone. We're getting there, full speed ahead… Mouth (neat): very good. Many distilleries nowadays produce similar whiskies, from Japan to Argentina via South Africa and Italy, but that takes nothing away from their respective merits. With water: very good. Honey, candy sugar, cakes, icing, nuts, vanilla, apple jelly… Finish: medium length, sweet, pleasant, flawless. More nuts and oak in the aftertaste. Comments: reminds me of some of the new Irish whiskies. Excellent, perhaps just not extremely memorable.
SGP:541 - 84 points.

I deeply regret not having the time to delve into the subject of French whiskies, let alone visit the distilleries. Some lie less than 50 kilometres from WF Towers, and yet I cannot really go to see them. There are just so many… Right, back to Brittany we go…

Eddu 2017/2023 (54%, OB, for LMDW New Vibrations, cognac cask, cask #W08109, 300 bottles)

Eddu 2017/2023 (54%, OB, for LMDW New Vibrations, cognac cask, cask #W08109, 300 bottles) Four stars
Pure 'blé noir'/buckwheat whisky. The use of a cognac cask might seem a tad disappointing, but it’s a multi-fill cask, so probably quite insignificant. As for the seminal question, "is buckwheat a cereal?" let's just say we don't really care. Colour: white wine. Nose: violets, pineapples, Szechuan pepper, hibiscus and jasmine, then the ultimate IPA, bursting with ultra-aromatic hops. With water: even more beer-like. Mouth (neat): I love it, it’s got everything except ‘whisky’. Calvados, pear liqueur, aquavit, rosewater, mandarin liqueur, Mei Kwei Lu... is sorghum close to buckwheat? An eternal novice's question. With water: pear and rose take the lead. It's like a cocktail sipped on the Bosphorus, watching the boats sail by. Finish: mandarin liqueur, pink pepper, roses, flower liqueurs. Comments: a somewhat mad whisky, terribly smooth but never cloying, quite the opposite. Some parts reminded us of Biersky! Quite crazy, love this one too.
SGP:830 - 85 points.

No need to leave Brittany, especially since we still have Kornog. We loved Kornog, but they disappeared from our radar. I hope all is well over there, and that they continue to distil according to the founder's principles. Good luck, Kornog!

Kornog 2016/2023 (52.7%, Swell de Spirits, Wonders of the World series, 90 bottles) Five stars
A double maturation, apparently, but I'm sure that's not a problem. Colour: white wine. Nose: the impressive smoky purity of Kornog, between new plastic, lime zest, and seawater. Voilà. With water: sublime, one of the greatest European malts along with Millstone and Smögen. No, the United Kingdom has left Europe, didn’t you know? Mouth (neat): insanely elegant. Rosemary, thyme, lemon, menthol cigarettes, oysters, crab… With water: very impressive. It’s Venus emerging from the sea, in whisky form. Imagine, only 6 or 7 years old. Finish: a little warm and disordered, almost rustic, but that adds another dimension. I'm sure it’s the fault of that double maturation. Comments: absolutely sublime, even if it lost 1 point on the finish. I agree, there are more important things in the world right now.
SGP:566 - 91 points.
Update:
this from a bottle that's been breathing for a few months.

A wee last one…

Kornog 8 yo 2015/2023 ‘Quelque Part Dans le Ciel’ (57.9%, La Maison du Whisky, Ex Libris, France, 1st fill bourbon, cask #21008)

Kornog 8 yo 2015/2023 ‘Quelque Part Dans le Ciel’ (57.9%, La Maison du Whisky, Ex Libris, France, 1st fill bourbon, cask #21008) Five stars
Somewhere in the skies indeed. Just hope it is not a testament. One of the most elegant series of whiskies ever bottled, in my humble opinion. Okay, okay, maybe it's just a tad elitist, dear La Maison. Colour: white wine. Nose: wheat, hay, white tea, green tea, and a curious hint of game and truffle. Poularde, chardonnay, mushrooms, rubber… With water: ink and wax emerge. Modelling clay. Mouth (neat): my goodness! It’s less assertive than the 2016, but perhaps more elegantly lively, shall we say. Elastic bands, salt, zest, and turpentine. Olive oil, basil, lemon. With water: and more olive oil! Olive oil will save the world (together with lemon). Finish: long but well-mannered, rather on almond milk and barley syrup. A few winkles in the aftertaste, after all, we are in Brittany. Comments: that’s the crazy thing about great whiskies, it’s as if someone sent you a letter in 2015, and you’re reading it in 2024. That said, with the very relative performances of the ultra-unionised La Poste, we wouldn’t even be surprised. No, of course, we love them, we send them thousands of kisses and hugs.
SGP:555 - 90 points.

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

 

July 14, 2024


Whiskyfun

A new range of rums of all kinds

We set off on an adventure, noses in the air and minds clear and light (I'm sorry?)


Disel

Rhum Island ‘XO’ (45%, OB, Saint-Martin, +/-2023)

Rhum Island ‘XO’ (45%, OB, Saint-Martin, +/-2023)
This concoction is a blend of rums hailing from Guadeloupe and Marie-Galante, Marie-Galante technically being part of Guadeloupe anyway. The blend’s taking up residence on Saint-Martin. The last distillery on Saint-Martin ceased operations in the early 20th century, and though the northern part of the island was administratively linked to Guadeloupe until 2007, it remains under French sovereignty. This rhum, perhaps a touch too exquisite for a casual apéritif, should demand attention. Colour: full gold. Nose: a harmonious blend featuring stewed peaches intertwined with liquorice and cane honey, complemented by balsa wood, a hint of fudge, a drizzle of olive oil, an earthy, gentian note, praline, nougat, and a dash of crème brûlée – balanced and distinctly Guadeloupean. Mouth: regrettably, a tad too sweet for my palate, almost as if enhanced with syrup. However, this sweetness may well cater to popular taste. Nonetheless, the sugarcane liqueur aspect is somewhat disappointing. Finish: fairly long but, to my dismay, excessively sweet, compelling one to crave gallons of Perrier. This, of course, is merely my personal impression. A syrupy aftertaste lingers. Comments: I did enjoy the nose!
SGP:730 - 65 points.

Tarasque (57%, OB, Maison AL, France, +/-2024)Tarasque (57%, OB, Maison AL, France, +/-2024)

Tarasque (57%, OB, Maison AL, France, +/-2024) Four stars
Here we have a molasses-based rhum crafted in mainland France, specifically the southwest, and matured in Muscat de Rivesaltes casks. It's always a bit of a surprise to see rhums produced in regions where there's nary a sugar cane in sight (much like Islay, ha!), but this phenomenon isn't uncommon in the Caribbean either, making the concept of terroir rather relative. The muscat, however, is indeed local (in the broad sense). Colour: straw. Nose: it's quite amusing! Notes of olive oil, a hint of cider vinegar, diesel fuel, capers, a touch of fermented apple, natural liquorice, freshly cut plywood, a bit of carbon dust... In short, it's unmistakably rhum. With water: the muscat remains discreet (thankfully) and we venture towards brake dust and even more olive oil. Mouth (neat): oily character, salty liquorice, very green olive oil, a bit of seawater, cider apple, and spicy hints... With water: a touch of glue – quite enjoyable – and a sort of olive oil seasoned with liquorice and sea salt. Perhaps a bit of muscat in the aftertaste. Finish: fairly long but with a rather light structure. Lemon in the aftertaste. Comments: I find this very good, unique, well-crafted, and surprising.
SGP:462 - 85 points.

Isautier 7 yo (40%, OB, La Réunion, +/-2022)

Isautier 7 yo (40%, OB, La Réunion, +/-2022) Two stars
This is a traditionel rhum, not agricole, so it’s derived from molasses and aged in ex-French oak. Colour: white wine. Nose: lovely, with notes of sesame oil, nougat, hints of green asparagus and white tea, pine nuts, vanilla, and toasted brioche... Quite impressive for a modest 40%. However, it's amusing when distillers proclaim exceptional spirits and then label them at 40% vol. It's like calling a Diesel Golf a Grand Prix car. Mouth: good but light, somewhat thin, which is a pity. Sweet touches of orange liqueur, vanilla, a bit of sweetened black tea, and a tiny hint of menthol... Finish: short, with a bit of fresh wood emerging. Slightly sweet aftertaste. Comments: far from the excellent cask strength versions of last year. A young, loyal, honest rhum though, with a very pleasant nose nonetheless.
SGP:630 - 75 points.

Since we’re in la Réunion…

Île de la Réunion 6 yo 2017/2024 (60%, Rasta Morris, cask #RM033)

Île de la Réunion 6 yo 2017/2024 (60%, Rasta Morris, cask #RM033) Five stars
One might surmise, without any concrete evidence, that this is from Savanna. Colour: full gold. Nose: new baskets, rubber boots, and salted and lemony mangoes? That seems about right. With water: vegetable juice, liquorice wood, lemon zest, wood varnish, tapenade, anchovies, and a hint of black garlic. Superb style, both rich and taut. It's grand arôme, I suppose. Mouth (neat): wonderful smoked and candied lemon, kumquats, lime juice, petrol, and an abundance of orange zest. About twelve tonnes, give or take. With water: a perfect blend of olive oil, oranges, and multi-flower honey. It's the magic triangle, or at least one of them. Finish: long and even more on various citrus fruits, without ever losing the petrol notes. Comments: a grandiose young Réunionnais that’s passed through Belgium. The Belgians, again!
SGP:662 - 90 points.

We'll let it rest a bit. Right, let's move on to the Cubans while there's still time… I mean, before we tackle the Jamaicans and compadres.

Cuban Rum 30 yo 1993/2024 (49.7%, Chapter 7, Spirit Library, 313 bottles)

Cuban Rum 30 yo 1993/2024 (49.7%, Chapter 7, Spirit Library, 313 bottles) Five stars
One can't be quite certain where all these delightful old Cubans that have surfaced in the past year or two are coming from. Colour: full gold. Nose: a tad light at first, but the herbs emerge from the wood one by one, starting with dill, then parsley, Thai basil, sweet woodruff, and coriander… Then comes the café latte, tobacco (not necessarily Cuban puros), and sweet liquorice. Following that, root vegetables make an appearance, celery, wild carrots, black radish, and porcini powder… It’s really quite charming, complex, and most importantly, in its natural state, without any apparent tinkering. Mouth: a delight, not as light as the nose suggests, with more oranges, cinnamon, crème caramel, again café latte, then indeed those herbs, this time dominated by liquorice and lemon. A hint of lemon balm. Finish: medium in length but very elegant, dominated by fresh small citrus fruits and an aftertaste of cane juice and roasted pecan. Even a touch of petrol. Comments: could it be from San José? In any case, it’s absolutely adorable.
SGP:551 - 90 points.

Trois Rivières 2006-2014-2016/2023 ‘Triple Millésime’ (42%, OB, Martinique, agricole)

Trois Rivières 2006-2014-2016/2023 ‘Triple Millésime’ (42%, OB, Martinique, agricole) Four stars
I’m a bit sceptical about this 'triple millésime' concept; it's something any distiller might do, but in Scotland, for instance, you can no longer mention the vintages, only the age of the youngest component. So, this would be a 6 or a 7-year-old. Colour: full gold. Nose: actually, it’s quite lovely, with cedarwood, sweet liquorice, ylang-ylang, iris, and freshly crushed mint leaves. Add touches of cinnamon, ginger, pink pepper, and turmeric. Very fragrant. Mouth: the lower ABV works well here as the spirit is very aromatic. Pineapple, mango, then all the notes found on the nose, with a slight earthy quality that is always appealing. Finish: medium length, with salted liquorice taking control. Comments: it’s honestly very, very good.
SGP:562 - 86 points.

Let's move on to the wilder ones...

Clarendon Estate 19 yo 2004/2024 ‘EMB’ (59.8%, DNC by Precious Liquors, Jamaica, cask #5)

Clarendon Estate 19 yo 2004/2024 ‘EMB’ (59.8%, DNC by Precious Liquors, Jamaica, cask #5) Four stars and a half
All right, this needs explanations. The marque EMB indicates rather low ester content, around 200 gr/HLPA, while DNC stands for Do Not Collect. What’s more, this one was aged in the British Isles (is Jamaica a British Isle? I think not…) Colour: pale white wine. Nose: it’s pretty new-makey but I find it brilliant to discover pears and cherries in an old Jamaican. Especially these cherries and their stones that lead us towards almonds and varnish. Huge cherries! With water: new rubber, boots, trainers, cheap kitchen devices straight from Aldi’s or Temu, etc. Mouth (neat): oh, great fun! Kirsch, Williams pear spirit, varnish, yuzu, radishes. With water: heading towards malt whisky! Think pure Highland Park when no crazy wood interferes. Finish: not that long but perfectly varnishy. The cherries remain present. Comments: of great simplicity in concept and perfect precision. In short, the opposite of a Rolex. Ha.
SGP:562 - 88 points.

Hampden 12 yo 2010/2022 ‘C<>H’ (63%, Velier, Jamaica, cask #17, 246 bottles)

Hampden 12 yo 2010/2022 ‘C<>H’ (63%, Velier, Jamaica, cask #17, 246 bottles) Five stars
Fully aged at the distillery and notably ‘robot free’ according to Velier. Are robots really taking jobs and ruining families? Perhaps. Anyway, C<>H refers to an ester content of 1300-1400 gr ester/HLPA. Colour: deep gold. Nose: an intriguing array of burning tyres, burning rubber boots, brand new UHU glue, freshly sawn MDF, intense black olives, and sharp vinegar. With water: a bouquet of fresh paint, fresh plywood, new wellies, and ashes - not as extreme as first thought. Mouth (neat): I hate it that I love it. Grapefruit juice with a smoky edge, like it's been wafted with the exhaust of an old Porsche, mad kirschwasser, and seafood left from last week. Even Bayer AG wouldn’t dare to produce this much ammonia. With water: a tidal wave of salinity, rotting fruits, vinegars, offbeat natural wines, glues, and varnishes. Finish: it seemingly never ends, like an old diesel engine with self-ignition. Comments: as I said, I hate it that I love this.
SGP:563 - 91 points.

Dring dring, last one…

Hampden ‘Oloroso 2023’ (63.4%, The Colours of Rum, Jamaica, cask #18, 1500-1600 gr/HLPA, 323 bottles, 2024)

Hampden ‘Oloroso 2023’ (63.4%, The Colours of Rum, Jamaica, cask #18, 1500-1600 gr/HLPA, 323 bottles, 2024) Four stars and a half
An ultra-young DOK, not even a year old. Let’s see if the oloroso has anything to tell us in this extreme context. Colour: deep gold. Nose: I get it. If you're going to go for a 'paille' or 'reposado' style, you might as well use ultra-active casks, as long as you don't end up with too much wood influence. That's not the case here, the DOK shines through, but the green walnuts of the oloroso seem to mingle and even... invite it to dance a tango. It’s quite amusing but, to be honest, it remains an extreme Hampden. The Hell’s Angels of rum. With water: seawater, clams, barnacles, anchovies, and boat varnish. Mouth (neat): sublimely salty, giving the impression they’ve distilled salty liquorice steeped in ultra-dry oloroso. You’d have to be mad. The fruits are jostling in the background, but this ultimate liquorice paired with fresh walnut is holding them back for now. With water: hyper-salty, hyper-tarry, full-on rubber and brine... It’s perfect. Finish: very long but extremely salty. Could the oloroso have come from the seaside? Sanlúcar? Comments: almost impossible to score, it’s totally love it or hate it, one again. Not easy following the magnificent Velier, but it does stand proudly.
SGP:463 - 89 points.

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

 

July 12, 2024


Whiskyfun

A couple Auchentoshans

When I think of a summer malt, I think of Auchentoshan. This was especially true when the malts were purer, sometimes also enhanced by wonderful sherries. Nowadays, it’s less so, as most are boosted by strange wine casks. But they are not the only ones...

Hugo

 

 

Auchentoshan ‘Sauvignon Blanc Finish’ (47%, OB, +/-2024)

Auchentoshan ‘Sauvignon Blanc Finish’ (47%, OB, +/-2024) Two stars and a half
This baby proudly proclaims itself as ‘vibrant and fresh’, which is exactly what we’d expect from a proper Auchentoshan. That’s why I find the idea of adding Sauvignon Blanc rather disheartening, especially without even knowing the region of the Sauvignon Blanc that’s been used—perhaps it's English? Auchentoshan is a lovely malt; does it really need such tinkering? Colour: straw. Nose: lemonade, honeysuckle, elderflower, limoncello, and mandarins. Of course, it's well-made, but what's the point behind this? It almost smells like a Hugo spritz. Heaven help us! Mouth: here we get a bit closer to the Auchentoshan character, and yes, it's pleasant enough, slightly earthier with notes of sage, parsley, watercress, and especially elderflower. Rest assured; we won't be quoting Monty Python again. Finish: medium length with a fresh, herbaceous, and lemony zest. A hint of fennel in the aftertaste. Comments: the worst part is, it's not even bad at all (really?) But essentially, these are almost cocktails where prosecco has been replaced with young malt whisky. It's quite clever... and not bad at all (I insist), though it might land you in a drunk tank. Then in front of a judge.
SGP: 740 - 79 points.

Well then, on to the real stuff…

Auchentoshan 2000/2020 (51.5%, Malts of Scotland, refill sherry hogshead, Cask #MOS 20023, 283 bottles)

Auchentoshan 2000/2020 (51.5%, Malts of Scotland, refill sherry hogshead, Cask #MOS 20023, 283 bottles) Four stars and a half
Colour: Gold. Nose: quite complex, as expected, with touches of copper, coins, a hint of polish, then yellow peaches, cherries (kirsch), a wee bit of varnish, damp wood (old stump), canned pineapple juice... It’s really quite intricate. With water: scented candles! Rose, orange blossom… Mouth (neat): very good, with the typical citrusy side, but also a certain creaminess, honey, maple syrup, peach cream… That famous Irish side from triple distillation, very pronounced here. With water: it becomes a bit sweet again, particularly with fruit creams, especially peach, but it remains very clean. Finish: medium length, a bit syrupy, but that’s inherent to these drams. Comments: I appreciate it a lot, this one could also lead you to a night in the cells and a date with the judge, but at least that would have been worth it.
SGP:651 - 88 points.

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

 

July 11, 2024


Whiskyfun

A Trio of Kilkerran full of Port and Sherry

Among the three distilleries in Campbeltown, and while waiting for the new distilleries that are in the pipeline and will finally grant the small region its own appellation of origin or GI (the day it happens), here is the one that is still the least known, Glengyle, which perhaps suffers a bit from the duality of names in terms of reputation (Glengyle = Kilkerran). Of course, it is Springbank that is in charge. By the way, soon there will be another nice batch of excellent independent Springbanks on WF... For now, here are these Glengyle releases, which are arriving a bit (a bit?) late on WF.

Glengyle
(Glengyle)

 

 

Kilkerran 13 yo 2004/2017 (54%, Cadenhead, Warehouse tasting)

Kilkerran 13 yo 2004/2017 (54%, Cadenhead, Warehouse tasting) Three stars and a half
Colour: onion peel, let’s say. Nose: strawberries, cherries, and blackcurrants, nicely melded together with cake notes that might be from the bourbon cask. I suppose that was the idea. A few touches of leather and used matchsticks complete the picture, without overwhelming. The red wine + malt whisky equation seems to work here. With water: hints of black truffle, potting soil, maraschino, cigars, a slight barnyard note, even a bit of compost... I find that quite pleasant. Mouth (neat): very fruity, quite sweet. The classic duo of overripe strawberries and black pepper takes the lead, before orange marmalade and a hint of sangria, in the same vein, join in to round things out. This time, we're not running in the opposite direction, even though it's not entirely our preferred style. With water: ginger and Campari come forward, adding a spicy kick. Ginger ale. It's rather unusual, actually, likely the influence of the port cask, but not quite of port itself. Finish: medium length, lovely sweetness, figs and strawberry jam, plus green pepper and still a bit of ginger. Comments: actually, it's not totally our thing, but it's nice in a "variant" kind of way. I didn’t really find any very obvious peat.
SGP: 661 - 83 points.

Kilkerran 15 yo 2004/2019 (51.5%, OB, 15th Anniversary, oloroso wood, US release, 280 bottles)

Kilkerran 15 yo 2004/2019 (51.5%, OB, 15th Anniversary, oloroso wood, US release, 280 bottles) Three stars and a half
We know that this series was met with a bit of circumspection, but that’s all we know. Colour: red amber. Nose: quite close to the Warehouse Tasting, but drier, more earthy, and definitely heavier on the green nuts, cigar box, crushed pepper, and glutamate. Let’s see if a bit of water can coax out some fruits… Ah, there's the fruitcake starting to peek through. With water: touches of old camphor syrup, or aged yellow Chartreuse, and even some old Heering Cherry. How about that! Mouth (neat): a kind of mix of Coca-Cola, liquorice, vegetal tar (pine), and Corinth raisins. It finishes rather sweet and almost light. With water: a hint of anise and mint this time, mint sauce (English, of course), and still those raisins. Touches of caramelised onions. Finish: medium length, sweetness, chocolate, walnut wine, liquorice, and salted mint. Earthier aftertaste again. Comments: not at all a classic malt, it goes off in all directions but also brings a charming and very unusual character. Reminds me a bit of the Springbank and Longrow releases from the early 2000s.
SGP: 661 - 84 points.

Kilkerran 15 yo 2004/2019 (52%, OB, 15th Anniversary, oloroso wood, Japanese release, 276 bottles)

Kilkerran 15 yo 2004/2019 (52%, OB, 15th Anniversary, oloroso wood, Japanese release, 276 bottles) Four stars and a half
Again, a double maturation with Oloroso and bourbon, it seems. Colour: dark amber. Nose: so far yet so close to its sister cask, more classic, undoubtedly better balanced, more akin to Springbank (there, I've said it), with pecan pie and just roasted almonds. Nothing beats roasted almonds, right? With water: fresh praline and dark nougat, with just a hint of soot and cigar ashes in the background, and a tiny touch of cured ham. Mouth (neat): very good, rich, leaning more towards orange zest, dark honey, cedarwood (those pencils we used to chew at school), and tobacco. Oranges then dominate, and we’re certainly not complaining. With water: indeed, very good. Roasted nuts of all sorts, with caramel and a slight salty note. Impeccable. Finish: not immensely long but sweet, balanced, and firm at the same time. Returning to tobacco, ham (a thin sliver of Parma ham) and oranges. The aftertaste is drier, with a hint of clove and that slight 'dirty' side we love so much. Comments: very beautiful cask.
SGP:661 - 89 points.

That's good, we've caught up on a (very small) part of our delay.

(Merci Andy, Merci Tim)

 

July 10, 2024


Whiskyfun

Time

The Time Warp Sessions,
today new vs original Linkwood

Linkwood

The original Linkwood distillery as it appears on the 25-year-old
Sestante we are tasting today.

 

It is important to remember that Linkwood was completely rebuilt in 1962, and then a second distillery was added in 1971-1972. The original distillery was closed in 1985. Therefore, today we will have some Linkwood from the contemporary distillery, which was expanded in 2012 by the way, exactly when our first whisky today was distilled, and some Linkwood from the original distillery, before it was rebuilt.

 

 

Linkwood 11 yo 2012/2023 (57.4%, Signatory Vintage, LMDW New Vibrations, first fill oloroso sherry butt finish, cask #106, 683 bottles)

Linkwood 11 yo 2012/2023 (57.4%, Signatory Vintage, LMDW New Vibrations, first fill oloroso sherry butt finish, cask #106, 683 bottles) Four stars
Here's a young Linkwood that should be brimming with vigour and sherry. Colour: dark amber. Nose: initial notes of coffee-schnapps, or even raspberry eau-de-vie followed by chocolate stuffed with raisins, then the usual green walnut liqueur (or nocino) and hints of tomato leaves. It’s quite soft for now, despite the high alcohol content, and well integrated. With water: it remains soft, moving towards chocolate dessert cream, Nutella, and kirsch. Mouth (neat): much more powerful on the palate, rather understandably, with marmalade, a small moka-spoonful of raspberry jelly, sultanas, coffee again, even Nescafé (found only in hotel rooms without espresso machines, right?), and definitely chocolates filled with liqueur or brandy. One is reminded of the excellent RumbaPfaumle from Kastner. With water: very good, very classic, rather mature for its young age. Lovely citrus notes in the background. Finish: continues on citrus, some candied, with a surprising salinity in the aftertaste. Comments: very representative of young independent Speysides matured in active, good quality sherry casks. Always works, everything seems under control.
SGP:551 - 86 points.

Linkwood 25 yo (40%, Sestante, 75cl, +/-1985)

Linkwood 25 yo (40%, Sestante, 75cl, +/-1985) Four stars and a half
Here’s the original Linkwood. There was also a very good version ‘yellow brick label’ (not road) at 40% by Sestante, with the label borrowed from the famous Clynelish Royal Marine, which was much older. Beware though, one should be cautious with 40% vol. in such an old bottle... Alas, the 40 and 45 years in the same series are rather tired in my opinion, especially the 45. Colour: reddish amber. Nose: this time it’s not far from the style of Macallans of the era, with a slightly smoky side and sherry leaning heavily on fruitcake. Loads of dried figs, a hint of metal polish, very large and dark raisins, dried apricots, pipe tobacco, and high-class Darjeeling tea. It’s deep and complex, very seductive, elegant, with hints of peat, but of course, it’s on the palate where it all happens in these kinds of cases. Mouth: I think this is one of, if not the best in the series, even if we don’t have them all in front of us. The slight smokiness and all those dried fruits, and even the pipe tobacco, are well present. One would expect it to nosedive a bit in the middle of the palate, which it does. However, it doesn’t become too dry, too cardboardy, or overly caramelised. Some touches of honeyed ham. Finish: short but pleasant, more malty and leaning towards quality coffee and chocolate. The ham reappears at the very end with a hint of chicken broth with parsley and leek. Not bad at all! Comments: you know the refrain, what a pity it wasn’t bottled at a higher strength! But you can feel the extra complexity, texture, and 'dimensions' typical of those years in Scotland. A different time.
SGP:452 - 89 points.

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

 

July 9, 2024


Whiskyfun

An imperial sequel

Nothing to do with the British crown, right? Well, as a result, we felt guilty about keeping so many undrunk Imperials in the sample library, especially since we had already taken so long previously. So, we are going to add two or three more, but we’ll go quiiiickly...

Imperial 100

 

 

Imperial 23 yo 1995/2019 (45.2%, The Whisky Exchange ‘The Magic of The Cask’, refill bourbon barrel, cask #7896, 125 bottles)

Imperial 23 yo 1995/2019 (45.2%, The Whisky Exchange ‘The Magic of The Cask’, refill bourbon barrel, cask #7896, 125 bottles) Four stars and a half
One that Angus already liked a lot. I think the label was working with UV, I hope that’s not the case with the whisky. Colour: straw. Nose: full of mandarins, orange zests, green melons, plus acacia honey and whiffs of butterfly lavender. Touch of paraffin. All perfect. Mouth: sweets, cream eggs, pink grapefruits, lemon drops, then white pepper and a touch of turmeric. A few touches of eucalyptus syrup and citron liqueur. Finish: medium length, more paraffin and candlewax, plus white peaches. A very delicate touch of violet liqueur, I mean proper violet liqueur, not ‘parfait amour’. There’s no perfect love anyway, is there? Of course there is (you never know who’s reading your blog…) Comments: certainly one of my favourites.
SGP:651 - 89 points.

Remember that excellent ‘licensed’ Imperial from G&M’s?

Imperial 18 yo 1995/2014 (43%, Gordon & MacPhail, licensed bottling, AD/JFGD)

Imperial 18 yo 1995/2014 (43%, Gordon & MacPhail, licensed bottling, AD/JFGD) Four stars and a half
One day we’ll publish something again about ‘how to read G&M codes’. Colour: gold. Nose: very beautiful, very delicate, between a young Chardonnay from Burgundy and white asparagus, then more lemon. Much fresher, fruitier, and less marked by the casks than the 1979 from the last session. Whiffs of honeysuckle and wisteria. Mouth: one of the best ‘licensed bottlings’ of G&M, yet one of the least known. This time we’re on all types of oranges, in all their forms, particularly as simple juice. Also a bit of Earl Grey and, once again, a hint of lavender. Not the lavender of 1980s B., mind you. Finish: medium length but very well balanced. Orange cake, biscuits, some grated zest and chen-pi (dried and aged mandarin peels, a marvel). Comments: perfect classicism, and it goes down so easily. The base is very close to TWE’s ‘UV’.
SGP:651 - 88 points.

Imperial 25 yo 1995/2021 (50.1%, The Whisky Exchange, cask #7845, bourbon barrel, 165 bottles)

Imperial 25 yo 1995/2021 (50.1%, The Whisky Exchange, cask #7845, bourbon barrel, 165 bottles) Four stars and a half
One either likes it or not when bottlers add tasting notes on their labels. In this case, they mention pineapple. So off we go on a pineapple hunt... Although it’s possible Mr Abbott wrote these notes on the label, and we know that Mr Abbott is an excellent taster. Colour: straw. Nose: we remain on our course, after all it’s another 1995, with citrus, melon, light honeys, a touch of chalk, young Chardonnay, a bit of paraffin and, drumroll please, apple juice with a few drops of pineapple juice. Indeed. Mouth: classic Imperial, very fruity, tight, a bit nervy, refreshing, with beeswax, apricots, pink grapefruit... and fresh pineapple. Mind you, Victoria pineapples, not pineapple candies or liqueurs. Finish: long with a bit of lemonade and blood orange. Lovely green pepper in the aftertaste. Comments: it seems we have a tight-knit group today.
SGP:651 - 88 points.

Alright, we’re changing vintages for the last one. Just barely...

Imperial 23 yo 1996/2019 (48.3%, The Single Malts of Scotland, Belgium exclusive, bourbon barrel, cask #18, 129 bottles)

Imperial 23 yo 1996/2019 (48.3%, The Single Malts of Scotland, Belgium exclusive, bourbon barrel, cask #18, 129 bottles) Four stars
A bottling for The Nectar. Colour: white wine. Nose: it seems there was a bit of peat in the previous cask content, but it’s discreet and delicate, a bit like HP. Besides that, green apples, citrus, green apples, citrus, green apples, citrus... We love both. A slight waxy touch that reminds us of that famous distillery from Sutherland that starts with a ‘C’. Cardhu is not in Sutherland. Mouth: same impressions, a bit of peat and an unusual medicinal salinity for Imperial, but it works. Green apples, citrus, ashes, green apples, citrus, ashes, green apples, citrus, ashes... and some beeswax. Nothing to add. Finish: same. It’s excellent, salty, ashy, lemony, waxy. Comments: you might say it’s the effect of the vintage.
SGP:552 - 87 points.

We’re changing vintages again… It’s important to remember that Imperial was closed in 1998 and demolished in 2013. How could anyone demolish such a distillery...

Imperial 24 yo 1994/2019 (43.8%, The Single Malts of Scotland, barrel, cask #5869, 178 bottles)

Imperial 24 yo 1994/2019 (43.8%,