Google Whisky Fun by Serge and Angus, blog, reviews and tasting notes since 2002
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Serge whiskyfun

 

Whiskies 18,099
Other spirits 2,800
Angus 1,724

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Index of whiskyfun


Whisky Tasting

 
Aberfeldy (62)
Aberlour (
136)
Abhainn Dearg (2)
Allt-A-Bhainne (
43)
An Cnoc/Knockdhu (3
7)
Ardbeg (4
68)
Ardmore (
131)
Arran (
121)
Auchentoshan (1
26)
Auchroisk (
45)
Aultmore (
81)
Balblair (102)
Balmenach (42)
Balvenie (1
3
6)
Banff (5
2)
Ben Nevis (2
72)
Ben Wyvis
(3)
Benriach (1
9
9)
Benrinnes (
112)
Benromach (
8
5)
Bladnoch (
8
9)
Blair Athol (
114)
Bowmore (5
88)
Braes of Glenlivet (
5
7)
Brora (1
4
7)
Bruichladdich (3
41)
Bunnahabhain (
4
25)
Caol Ila (760)
Caperdonich (
106)
Cardhu (4
5)
Clynelish (4
66)
Coleburn (2
5)
Convalmore (
30)
Cragganmore (
90)
Craigduff (4)
Craigellachie (
117)
Dailuaine (91)
Dallas Dhu (41)
Dalmore (1
3
7)
Dalwhinnie (
44)
Deanston (
6
6)
Dufftown (
65)
Edradour (95)
Ladyburn (12)
Lagavulin
(1
9
3)
Laphroaig (
5
28)
Ledaig (1
42)
Linkwood (
204)
Littlemill (1
33)
Loch Lomond (
116)
Lochside (7
3)
Longmorn (2
3
9)
Longrow (
85)
Macallan (331)
Macduff (9
3)
Malt Mill
(1)
Mannochmore (
57)
Millburn (2
5)
Miltonduff (
103)
Mortlach (2
22)
Mosstowie (2
5)
Scapa (61)
Speyburn (
53)
Speyside (22)
Springbank (
4
36)
St-Magdalene (
60)
Strathisla (
11
4)
Strathmill (
5
9)
 
 
Pete and Jack



2022
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

 
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'

   
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Copyright Serge Valentin
Angus MacRaild
2002-20
22

 


Scotch Legal Announcement


 

 

December 5, 2022


Whiskyfun

A
quintet
of
Laga
vulin

Not much to add about Lagavulin today. One of the star Distilleries, as everyone knows. Let's try a few…

Lagavulin

 

 

Lagavulin 8 yo (48%, OB, +/-2022)

Lagavulin 8 yo (48%, OB, +/-2022) Five stars
The first new 8, which they did to celebrate the Distillery's two hundred years back in 2016, had been excellent in my opinion (WF 90) but I haven't tried any subsequent releases, while quite some friends have been fearing this 8 was actually a sneaky little move to replace the popular 16 with a whisky half the age and at roughly the same price. I for one wouldn't care too much, both drops being equally excellent; what's more the 8 comes with some precious extra-5% vol. Colour: pale white wine. Nose: 'putting your head into a long-abandoned coal stove', or something like that. Then diving into the Irish sea, smelling oysters, nosing lemon juice, muscadet, beach sand, newly washed pull-over, old newspapers, plus the obligatory olive brine. There's a lot of purity and cleanliness, you could almost think 'Scottish mezcal'. Mouth: perfect, straight to the point, bold and tart, with this funny fat minerality that's very Lagavulin in my book, quite some saltiness, lemon, roots, earths, clam casserole, olives, tar and just smoked fish. Kippers. Finish: long, pretty peppery, maybe a little savoury now (miso), with olives and lemon twists. Mr Bond would approve, I suppose. Kippers and anchovies in the aftertaste, plus loads of smoke. Comments: a little uncomplicated but I would say that's an asset in this context where precision is the key. I can't see why we wouldn't keep those…

SGP:368 - 90 points.

Lagavulin 'Distillers Edition 2022' (43%, OB)

Lagavulin 'Distillers Edition 2022' (43%, OB) Four stars
Double matured in PX seasoned casks and now coming without any age or vintage statements, while last year's still had one, 2006. Gulp! At least it lasted from the glorious vintage 1979 to vintage 2006. Colour: golden apricot. Nose: nice, fresh, not quite PX-y, rather on lapsang souchong and pu-her, old hunting jacket, Barbour grease, lanolin, with a little game, Maggi, lovage, soy sauce… Some camphor and cough syrup too. Sadly I haven't got any older vintages at hand, but I have the impression that this is fresher and less on coffee and chocolate than its ancestors. Mouth: the sherry feels a little more on the palate but it's still a refreshing and lively Lagavulin, pretty smoky, with a growing toffeeness and a little pipe tobacco. Would tend to get then heavier and a little leathery, but with good marmalade and jams (plums). Finish: medium, a little medicinal, with a feeling of sweet cough syrup. No meatiness that I can detect on the palate. The aftertaste is a notch too jammy and sweet for me, this sweetness being new. Comments: nutshell, they cancelled the vintage and age statements and seemingly raised the price to +/-125€, while bottling a fairly better and possibly younger juice. Loved the lovage in it. Crikey, I just don't know whether we should start to complain or not.
SGP:656 - 86 points.

Lagavulin 12 yo 'The Flames of The Phoenix' (57.3%, OB, Special Releases 2022, Elusive Expressions, 2022)

Lagavulin 12 yo 'The Flames of The Phoenix' (57.3%, OB, Special Releases 2022, Elusive Expressions, 2022) Four stars and a half
From refill American and virgin oak casks. They love their legends, last year it was a lion on fire, this time it is a phoenix. I just adored last's years 12 yo SR (WF 92). Colour: white wine. Nose: goodness gracious, this is a blend of seawater, sorb and holly eaux-de-vie, gentian and chlorine (pool water). Some white asparagus too, shoe polish, sauna oils, new rubber bands and tyres, kerosene… And perhaps a little more fatness than in earlier releases. With water: some fresh paint this time, and even more new tyres and inner tubes, leatherette, benzine, kerosene (airport runway after a busy day) ... Mouth (neat): two-stroke Lagavulin, with citrus liqueurs and with straight peat smoke. Some kind of smoky limoncello, perhaps a little binary, but water should help. With water: this is funny, we've found the 8 in this 12, now that water's been added, but the 8 was a tad more in high-res, so to speak. Finish: long, with a little fatness from the woods (I suppose) and even something very marginally syrupy. Classic aftertaste, on iodine, tar, lemon and pure peat. Comments: some extra-sweetness in this variant. Awesome, as always, but the 8 has been a little nasty. Bugger!

SGP:557 - 89 points.

Lagavulin 30 yo 1991/2022 (44.3%, OB, Cask of Distinction, for Hong Kong Whisky Fellows, House Welley Whisky Bar, Christoph Kirsch, Sebastian Jaeger and Boris Borissov, 1st Fill PX/Oloroso seasoned European oak butt, cask #5403, 318 bottles)

Lagavulin 30 yo 1991/2022 (44.3%, OB, Cask of Distinction, for Hong Kong Whisky Fellows, House Welley Whisky Bar, Christoph Kirsch, Sebastian Jaeger and Boris Borissov, 1st Fill PX/Oloroso seasoned European oak butt, cask #5403, 318 bottles) Five stars
In a way, you could argue that this is another kind of 'world whisky'. Colour: mahogany. Nose: it's funny how our minds work, I'm reminded of another Lagavulin that I last tried in 2007 (!), a fairly musty yet very impressive NAS spring cap rotation 1958. Chinese mushrooms, old kettle, old coins, metal polish, old toolbox, old stove, various bouillons, soups and broths, cigars and coffees, mead, suet, marrow, a little paraffin, pu-her again, mint sauce, even lamb, raw chocolate, dried kelp on a beach at low tide… And so on! Long story short, the impression that this is a pretty old bottle. Mouth: takes a few seconds to find some kind of equilibrium on your palate, then unloads loads of secondary and tertiary flavours, including the expected walnut wine from the sherries. Mushrooms, precious black teas, tobaccos, dried meats, embrocations, old balms, polishes, spices (subtle turmeric and caraway), clams and affiliated shellfish, old waxes, old bottles of triple-sec and various herbal cordials… And old sherry, both dry ones and sweet ones. Perhaps some old cream, dulce, V.O.R.S…. Finish: medium to long, this time a little more on citrus and chocolate. Umami sauce, honey meat glazing, chocolate and yuzu, there. Comments: those were only the highlights of what I could find, could be that there's virtually every aromas and flavours in this Lagavulin, which, by the way, also reminded me a bit of Laphroaig 1974 for France.

SGP: - 93 points.

Let's celebrate with a super-young indie and then call this a proper Lagavulin session. Cheers.

Dubthach 6 yo (56.5%, La Table de Urs Hauri Selection, bourbon, 180 bottles, 2021)

Dubthach 6 yo (56.5%, La Table de Urs Hauri Selection, bourbon, 180 bottles, 2021) Four stars and a half
A bottle for Switzerland by The Stillman. La Table de Urs Hauri is a restaurant with an excellent reputation in the Swiss capital, Bern. They're making little secret about what's inside this little bottle… Colour: gold. Nose: starts with giving you a slap on the cheeks, gets then gentler, yet very smoky and much earthier than all officials. Humus, fresh compost, cigars, a little leather, a little camphor… I can't wait to add a little water. With water: we unleashed passion fruits, bananas and tangerines, sauna oils and once again a little fresh rubber (hevea). Bicycle inner tubes, raw wool, paint... Mouth (neat): we're not too far from some earlier versions of the 12 SR, with some rather massive tropical fruits (mangos this time), beyond the equally massive coastal, salty smoke. But once again, water is needed… With water: excellent, modern, young of course but already easily drinkable, as long as you add a few drops of water. More smoked tropical fruits. Finish: medium, on similar flavours, with more oak spices but everything remains under control. Szechuan pepper and cinnamon in the aftertaste. Comments: very excellent young Lagavulin, with good balance between the wood and the spirit. Note to self, go to Urs Hauri's as soon as we're in Switzerland again…

SGP:646 - 88 points.

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

 

December 4, 2022


Whiskyfun

A bag of seven rums

Rum remains a very fascinating and diverse category, with countless styles and origins, from old-style pure rums combining two main characteristics (cane juice or molasses, pot still or column) to new brands born just yesterday that would tend to blend faux Victorian designs and revolutionary names with more or less doctored industrial juices. Or rums from the distilleries vs. rums from the labs… As usual, too pretty designs tend to be no good signs, but there are many exceptions… Let's see if we ever come across some of these…

Cihatan
Mayan dog with wheels, found in Cihuatàn (National Museum of Anthropology San Salvador, fundar.org)

 

 

Cihuatàn 12 yo 'Cinabrio' (40%, OB, El Salvador, +/-2022)

Cihuatàn 12 yo 'Cinabrio' (40%, OB, El Salvador, +/-2022) Two stars and a half
We've tried one Cihuatàn 'Xaman XO' earlier this year, which we found pretty good if a little sweetish (WF 80). This Cinabrio seems to be paying tribute to some Mayan sun god, whilst Cihuatàn is the name of the largest Mayan site in El Salvador. What's more, cinabrio is cinnabar, so mercury sulphide (or some Estée Lauder perfume). Colour: light gold. Nose: very unusual at first, with rather a lot of anise and fennel seeds, surely some lime zests, then a metallic side (old tin box) and a curious herbal combination, with some angelica, Szechuan pepper, and just more star anise. Very intriguing – if this wasn't doctored in the lab. The palate should tell… Mouth: starts a little sugary, gets then drier, always very herbal, with more anise than on the nose, plus some coconut (from the wood or from the lab) and a little vanilla. The low strength feels, it is a little flabby. Finish: shortish, but with nicer notes of oranges and cinnamon liqueur. The aftertaste is rather peppery. Espelette pimento pepper, yes that exists. Comments: no cinnabar and that's probably better, I've seen it's toxic. A feeling of pepper and cinnamon liqueur overall, Egoïste de Chanel...

SGP:750 - 78 points.

Trinidad Distillers 8 yo 'Single Estate' (43%, Cane Island, Trinidad, +/-2022)

Trinidad Distillers 8 yo 'Single Estate' (43%, Cane Island, Trinidad, +/-2022) Two stars and a half
So Angostura, so molasses in column… Since I'm not familiar with the house Cane Island, I don't know whether they doctor their rums or not, let's see… Colour: deep gold. Nose: hey, nice! Some heavy fuel and some rotting bananas, not an unseen combination. Then liquorice, muscovado, some kind of tarry fudge and, perhaps, some sugar syrup, which is a little more frightening, but this nose is very pleasant altogether. Mouth: a little sweetness indeed, as if someone had added some banana and pineapple liqueur. Once again this is not unpleasant, but while other flavours would fade away, the sugariness remains on your tongue for a long time, which I do not like too much. The core is pretty lovely, too bad it's sweet. Finish: medium, with more cinnamon, and always rather a lot of cane syrup. Peppery aftertaste, once more. Comments: same ballpark.
SGP:751 - 78 points.

Millonario '10 Anniversario Reserva' (40%, OB, Peru, +/-2022)

Millonario '10 Anniversario Reserva' (40%, OB, Peru, +/-2022)
Many websites or retailers are advertising this one as a tenner, but nowhere does it say that the number '10' is related to this baby's age. It's even funny to read stuff such as '2/3 of this 10 years old consist in rums aged for 6 years in ex-Heaven Hill barrels. Love them still. We had tried the 15 back in 2010 and, as it seems, thought it was shockingly sweet (WF 60/65). Colour: gold. Nose: burnt tyres, tar liqueur, bananas flambéed, old copper, shoe polish, then prickly pear syrup and once again, this feeling of sugar load that you would get right on, and in the nose. Mouth: starts okay, on pepper, tar and oils, but the sugar gets massive and frankly cloying. More Cointreau than in Cointreau. I'm not sure anyone could actually quaff this without two tons of ice, or at least one litre of fresh cool water. Finish: long, much too sugary. Coffee liqueur and triple-sec. Comments: no, three tons of ice. Even Coca-Cola is not this sweet. Next Millonario, perhaps around 2035. Actually, I am joking, we've got more Millonario on the desk. Next time, okay?

SGP:920 - 45 points.

Renegade 'Etudes Dunfermline' (55%, OB, Grenada, 1,200 bottles, 2022)

Renegade 'Etudes Dunfermline' (55%, OB, Grenada, 1,200 bottles, 2022) Four stars
Ex pot still and eighteen months of ageing. Colour: straw. Nose: Laphroaig. Not saying that because this baby would share some traits with the famous Islayer, rather because you immediately get this feeling of 'love it or hate it'. In this case the fresh fermented cane juice is just all over the place and would come with a blend of roasted sesame oil, olive oil, lanoline (there, Laphroaig), diesel oil and some very fruity compost. As well as, in the background, some kind of camphor and menthol-based balm. With water: no changes, same rum, unless, wait, would this be anchovies?... Mouth (neat): what tinned sardines? What anchovies? What aspirin tablet? What pomegranate and pink grapefruit juice? This should go well with some Portuguese dishes (anchovy and garlic paste or something). And Puttanesca, naturally. Seriously, I'm a fan of high-character spirits, and this is one of them. Finish: long, salty, on benzine and anchovies. Overripe bananas and.. gentian (!) in the aftertaste. Comments: a lot of fun in this one. High presence and a style of its own, a tiny wee tad reminiscent of grogue and/or clairin here and there. I'm too close to Renegade to feel allowed to come up with an 'official' (well…) score, but let's say we're well in the high eighties already.

SGP:463.

Karukera 4 yo (54.3%, OB for LMDW, Antipodes, Guadeloupe, cask #576, 2022)

Karukera 4 yo (54.3%, OB for LMDW, Antipodes, Guadeloupe, cask #576, 2022) Three stars and a half
Karukera is the old Indian name of the island of La Guadeloupe. This is pure cane juice, while 'Karukera' is an offshoot of Longueteau, with their own methods of aging etc. We've already tried some excellent Karukeras. Colour: light gold. Nose: some presence, but this is much gentler and softer than the Renegade, perhaps also subtler. Fresh cane juice, broken branches, sunflower oil, notes of preserved peaches and mirabelles, a little crème brulée…  It really is a very gentle and elegant agricole so far. With water: remains a little restrained, hard to pin down, with rather many small aromas but perhaps no real guideline. That or I'm very tired. Mouth (neat): oh this is a cognac finish, capeesh. The oak's a tad heavy too, maybe… Cloves, peaches, kumquats, Timut pepper… With water: some kind of citrusy oak, with some olive oil, pumpkin seeds, lemon oil, eucalyptus wood… This baby really needs your attention if you'd like to get a good grasp of it. Not an easy one. Finish: medium, with things from the cognac (praline and raisins)… It's really hard to handle. Peppery olive oil and lemon essence in the aftertaste. Comments: rather soft and subtle, and yet tough and rough (ooh!) This one really requests all of your attention.

SGP:451 - 84 points.

To some heavier hitters…

Long Pond Cambridge 12 yo 2010/2022 'STCE' (57%, National Rums of Jamaica, LMDW, 5,153 bottles)

Long Pond Cambridge 12 yo 2010/2022 'STCE' (57%, National Rums of Jamaica, LMDW, 5,153 bottles) Four stars and a half
A vatting of fifteen (15) bourbon barrels. That's almost as many as in a batch of Johnnie Walker Blue, no? Now, as for this little rum and as I understand it, the name Cambridge refers to an old distillery whose make they're replicating at Long Pond, the marque STCE meaning 'Simon Thomsom Cambridge Estate'. Good, and the name 'continental flavoured' refers to one of the four styles they're making altogether, namely a rather high-ester one (500 to 700 gr/hlpa). Good, hope I've got everything more or less right, let us proceed… Colour: full gold. Nose: varnishes, acetone, polishes and carbon dust (a Porsche after the Nürburgring, as they say). Gosh they'll cancel us too one day. Then the expected rotting (well, rotten) bananas, artichokes, black olives, and Scotch tape. With water: more of all that, with perhaps a different balance. More Scotch tape. Mouth (neat): massive loads of rotting tropical fruits, with a feeling of ammonia, and certainly more varnish, plus coal tar and just diesel oil (right, a feeling of diesel oil, or rather something reminiscent of diesel oil). With water: sorrel juice (yep) and guava juice taking over. Very unusual – well I'm not familiar with these makes anyway. Acidic and rather sour. Finish: long, with more tart fruits of all kinds. Sour, gherkiny aftertaste. More liquorice in the aftertaste. Comments: extreme. Quaffing dressers often comes with a challenge, this is an excellent (and actually excellent) example.
SGP:463 - 88 points.

We need a 90+ to call this a rum session. Sure bet…

Uitvlugt 30 yo 1991 (56%, Jack Tar, Dream Catcher, Illusion Series, Guyana, cask #3)

Uitvlugt 30 yo 1991 (56%, Jack Tar, Dream Catcher, Illusion Series, Guyana, cask #3) Five stars
Aged in Europe. This from the Port Mourant double wooden still when it was still at Uitvlugt. In a kind of way, all these +/-30 yo Uitvlugts remind me of all these +/-30 yo Lap… I mean Secret Islays that are all so good these days. Colour: straw. Nose: it's got this coastal purity, these old forgotten fruit liqueurs and pastes, this amazing mentholy earthiness, lip balm, these touches of camphor and these traces of olives filled with anchovy paste. I know we keep mentioning these… With water: yeah, old magazines, ink, stale rainwater, new tarmac, Barbour grease and olives… There's even a little butterscotch. Mouth (neat): I won't say there aren't any similarities with the Cambridge, especially on the diesel oil side. Stunning briney unfolding here but then again, this came expected. Olives, rotting fruits, carbon, varnish… With a relative softness. Cough syrup. With water: glorious. A few pencil shavings, some molassy Demerara sugar (how come) and a little tobacco. Finish: long, fantastic, salty. Very funny notes of butterscotch and toffee in the aftertaste, now THAT came unexpected. Comments: some butterscotch in an old Port-Mourant-at-Uitvlugt, by gum, I think we've seen it all now.
SGP:563 - 91 points.

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

 

December 3, 2022


Whiskyfun

 

 

 

Angus's Corner
From our correspondent and
skilled taster Angus MacRaild in Scotland
Angus  
Glenmorangie
& Westport
Glenmorangie would, I suspect, struggle to sell every cask at the price they seem to think bottles of their official single casks should command. Perhaps that goes some way to explaining why there's a few of these Westport batches about the indy bottler market these days. It also perhaps explains why they are called 'Westport' and not 'Glenmorangie'. I remain fond of Glenmorangie as a whisky generally speaking, although I've always felt that it should perhaps be a slightly 'bigger' personality than it is, given its coastal and Highland location.

 

Glenmorangie 10 yo 1982/1992 (58.8%, OB, cask #5341)

Glenmorangie 10 yo 1982/1992 (58.8%, OB, cask #5341)
I have to admit a soft spot for these totally gorgeous old Glenmorangie single cask labels. And, as I recall, the whiskies weren't too shabby either, but it's been a long time since I tasted this one… Colour: straw. Nose: you just cannot imagine Glenmorangie issuing such a cask officially these days. This is extremely pure and honest whisky that, with its abundant green and orchard fruits, light waxes and easy cereal tones, cleaves wonderfully close to the raw distillate character. Also some white stone fruits coming now, wee chalky and wool touches, white flowers. Humble and subtly beautiful. With water: gets more citrusy with orange and lemon vitamin tablets, boiled lime sweets, then more hints of soft leather, mineral oils and a touch of hessian. Feels like it needs quite a bit of water and time. Mouth: rather raw and sharp at first, spiritous but very clean with trebly white stone fruits, citrus rinds and tiny flinty mineral qualities. Struck stones, chalk dusters, chamois leather. Again you just think of purity and raw ingredients and honesty. With water: rounder, more on grassy olive oil, eucalyptus, tarragon and tiny medical notes of lanolin and Elastoplast. Still terrifically pure, direct and chiselled. A sort of brittle and sharp profile that really makes you think of some top notch dry Chablis. Finish: medium, back on raw ingredients, freshly milled grist, malt syrup, old shilling ales and dried flowers. Comments: really in that 'barley eau de vie' territory with all this crisp, chiselled purity. I would take this over pretty much any of the highly oak-infused Glenmorangie single casks. Although, I would say it needs water to fully shine. I find it pretty sad that the distillery would just never in year of Sundays release this sort of single cask bottling anymore, probably because - like every other big whisky company these days - they're very keen to maintain the impression that their OB single casks are worth more than gold, despite the fact they pump out gazillions of litres of the stuff each year! This one is entirely about humility and charm.

SGP: 451 - 88 points.

 

 

Westport 17 yo 2005/2022 (57.1%, Watt Whisky, 198 bottles)

Westport 17 yo 2005/2022 (57.1%, Watt Whisky, 198 bottles)
Colour: pale amber. Nose: a very nicely sticky and jammy sherry profile which also feels rather light on its toes with roasted nuts, sultanas, hot chocolate and a few blackcurrant wines gums in the mix. Juicy and easy, which is always good news. With water: juicy fruits, jelly beans and also wee hints of liquorice and aniseed, also a few bready and beery touches. Mouth: still on this very jammy profile, but there's earthier notes and some tobaccos in the mix now too. I find leaf mulch, black coffee and some more bitter chocolate notes too. Balances robustness with more playful red and dark fruit notes. With water: goes towards fruit loaf and boozy Christmas cake, more tobacco leaf, sultana and marzipan. Finish: medium, and back on those nice easy jammy vibes, milk chocolate and treacle. Comments: excellent, I like it just as much as the old 10yo, even though they are wildly different beasts.

SGP: 651 - 88 points.

 

 

Thanks to Martin!

 

 

 

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

 

December 2, 2022


Whiskyfun

A case of Glenburgie
Part Two

Because we were having more…


(Picture, Loretta Lynn - Decca Records)

Lynn

Glenburgie 21 yo 1998/2020 (56.7%, Elixir Distillers, The Whisky Trail, hogshead, cask #751398)

Glenburgie 21 yo 1998/2020 (56.7%, Elixir Distillers, The Whisky Trail, hogshead, cask #751398) Four stars and a half
This one came with a very funny label, paying tribute to Loretta Lyne (arm). Sad news since this one was released, Lorretta Lynn passed away just a few weeks ago. To Loretta Lynn! According to the high scores fetched by its sister bottlings, everything should be fine… Colour: white wine. Nose: a grassier one this time, in other words there's no mango extravaganza, rather green gooseberries, apples and rhubarb playing around, followed by vanilla and a little sorb eau-de-vie. With water: funny whiffs of aniseed and mint. Artisanal Scottish pastis – quite. Mouth (neat): tight, citric, with a bag of lemon drops, the obligatory limoncello, and then passion fruits, plus indeed rhubarb wine. Rhubarb wine, when well made, could really fool wine freaks and make them believe it's some kind of riesling or grüner. Good fun guaranteed when tasing blind. With water: wonderful citrus and maracuja. Finish: long, fresh, zesty, even refreshing. Comments: excellent. Thinking of Loretta Lynn…

SGP:651 - 88 points.

Glenburgie 20 yo 1998/2020 (55.3%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseurs Choice, refill American hogshead, cask #4036, 245 bottles)

Glenburgie 20 yo 1998/2020 (55.3%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseurs Choice, refill American hogshead, cask #4036, 245 bottles) Four stars
Colour: straw. Nose: a little more oak, which would translate into a little more banana, vanilla, and some syrup (barley syrup). The rest is as fruity, rounder, more on ice cream and liqueurs. Orchard fruits, something very faintly officinal if not medicinal, touches of earth and grist, a little silage perhaps… All that before some louder lemons would make a comeback, not mention that Italian lemon liqueur that we keep mentioning. With water: damp fabric, old jacket, wool, grist and husk… Mouth (neat): a tad more rustic than the TSMOSs, leafier, and certainly much grassier. Apple peel. With water: gets gentler, softer, meaning that tangerines and oranges would come to replace all this grass and all these lemons. Finish: medium, fruity, with more pepper and just cinnamon. Chalkier aftertaste. Comments: excellent, it's just that the TSOS were bombs.
SGP:561 - 86 points.

Let's change vintage (barely) and cask…

Glenburgie 21 yo 1997/2018 (51.5%, Douglas Laing, Old Particular, sherry butt, cask #DL12572, 607 bottles)

Glenburgie 21 yo 1997/2018 (51.5%, Douglas Laing, Old Particular, sherry butt, cask #DL12572, 607 bottles) Three stars and a half
So sherry, but we might not be as 'heavy' as the ones we started this two-part session with. Colour: gold. Nose: cakes and oils, Ovaltine, Nut***a, butterscotch, shortbread… No actual raisins though. Wasn't it a refill butt? With water: rather a little rubber coming out, could be that water was not mandatory here. Mouth (neat): walnuts and hazelnuts in all there guises, roasted, baked in or on cakes, as liqueurs, as spreads, in pralines, in nougats… With water: chocolate chiming in, cranberries perhaps, also that little rubber, leaves, leather… But all that remains gentle. Finish: medium, grittier, but walnuts are back in the aftertaste. In all their guises. Comments: very fine, it's just a little tough to have these after 'the fruit bombs'. My bad.
SGP:452 - 84 points.

Glenburgie 24 yo 1995/2020 (56.7%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseurs Choice, first fill sherry puncheon, cask #6347, 543 bottles)

Glenburgie 24 yo 1995/2020 (56.7%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseurs Choice, first fill sherry puncheon, cask #6347, 543 bottles) Four stars and a half
Well, some previous ones had some Nut***a flavours, while this one looks like Nut***a. A darker Nutella, you could almost pour it into a beer glass, they'll think it's Guinness. Or Mackeson Stout.  Right, I'm exaggerating again, but you get the picture… Colour: bronze-ish amber. Nose: someone's mixed chocolate liqueur, coffee liqueur, triple-sec, black tea, walnut wine, hay, pipe tobacco, then thrown cloves into that, well, that brew. A few old copper coins too. With water: earth, undergrowth, humus, mushrooms… And a lot of chocolate. Mouth (neat): creamy mouth feel, while this time, we're more on oranges, hay indeed, fudge and toffee, raisins and PX… We're clearly more in the style of those old Glenburgies that had been bottled for Italy by.. Gordon & MacPhail. Gordon & MacPhail have NOT broken their moulds, so to speak. With water: marmalade and honey at the helm. Gets easier. Finish: long, very honeyed this time. Raisins, old rancio, and some molasses in the aftertaste. Comments: a classic, richer one that will remind some of us of the good old days. You'd almost believe this cask was used in a solera.

SGP:651 - 88 points.

Glenburgie 23 yo 1995/2019 (57.5%, Signatory Vintage for The Whisky Exchange, bourbon hogshead, cask #6585, 272 bottles)

Glenburgie 23 yo 1995/2019 (57.5%, Signatory Vintage for The Whisky Exchange, bourbon hogshead, cask #6585, 272 bottles) Four stars
Colour: white wine. Nose: back to TWE/Elixir's favourite style, with a very clean nose, full of orchard fruits and small seeds and nuts. Perhaps pumpkin, perhaps sesame, perhaps pine nuts? Otherwise greengages and apples. With water: more greengages, a little earth, more apples and cider, some chalk… I wouldn't say there's a lot happening at this point, not an usual selection by the TWE gang. Mouth (neat): there, buckets of citrus and tart tropical fruits! Where have they been? Passion fruits, oranges, papayas, lemons… With water: and voilà, mangos and touches of tar and mint. Phew! Finish: medium, with some marzipan and putty, but the tropical fruits are back in the aftertaste. Comments: very funny two-step Glenburgie. Very funny and very good, as expected.
SGP:551 - 87 points.

Further down the vintages…

Glenburgie-Glenlivet 26 yo 1992/2018 (50.2%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, hogshead, 216 bottles)

Glenburgie-Glenlivet 26 yo 1992/2018 (50.2%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, hogshead, 216 bottles) Five stars
Colour: white wine. Nose: more fun, this time with some tomato sauce, even Bolognese sauce, before some secondary fruits would kick in, vine peaches perhaps, fruit wine, bits of mangos, acacia honey, beeswax, ripe damsons, gorse… You would almost believe we're in Northern Ireland. With just a little water: tiny whiffs of peppermint. Mouth (neat): fruit bomb alert! Blood oranges, mangos, heather honey, mirabelles, quinces, pinot gris… I'm sorry, but wasn't it rather 'Glenbushmills' on the stencil? With water: could have been Littlemill from the same vintage just as well. Finish: medium, very fruity, also floral, also herbal. White chocolate and just a little coconut in the aftertaste. Comments: nah, no water was needed. But why haven't I tried this one when it came out? The good news is that we have another one…
SGP:751 - 90 points.

Glenburgie-Glenlivet 27 yo 1992 (48.9%, Cadenhead, Single Cask, bourbon hogshead, 222 bottles)

Glenburgie-Glenlivet 27 yo 1992 (48.9%, Cadenhead, Single Cask, bourbon hogshead, 222 bottles) Four stars and a half
As the other guy said, with this charming way of adding 'Glenlivet' to many a Speyside name (except to 'Glenlivet', naturally), WM Cadenhead are offering you two whiskies for the price of one! Colour: white wine. Nose: very similar, almost identical. This one's just a tad chalkier and with a little more custard. Perhaps a notch less extravagant hitherto, less 'Irish'.  Mouth: it's rather firmer this time, before it would become more honeyed, with a little mead as well, and even a salty touch. Finish: medium, with hints of sweet wine and even a little cognac in the aftertaste. Comments: this one too is rather sublime, but in the end of the day, my preference goes to the Authentic Collection, by a whisker.
SGP:651 - 89 points.

I believe it is time to put an end to the Glenburgian madness, let's find a really old one…

Glenburgie 44 yo 1975/2019 (41.8%, Hunter Laing, Old & Rare, Platinum Selection, 159 bottles)

Glenburgie 44 yo 1975/2019 (41.8%, Hunter Laing, Old & Rare, Platinum Selection, 159 bottles) Five stars
The Platinum Selection used to gather the first really expensive independent malt whiskies. Mind you, they were sometimes selling for north of £100! But if I remember well, the price for an Ardbeg and that of a Glendullan were the same. As they still should be, only its age should make the price of a whisky, no? As for this 1975 vintage, remember they were having two Lomond stills until 1981. The output has always been treated separately, under the name Glencraig, but you never know (S. please, no conspiracy theories on WF!) Colour: gold. Nose: and voilà, anything from a beehive, as some other malts from that period could showcase ('donich, 'livet, 'grant…) Nectar, honey, beeswax, propolis, pollen and old pine wood, in that order. Plus a little fresh putty, marzipan, ripe apples, Turkish delights, camphor… It is a sumptuous nose, and of course, an ode to age. Mouth: two steps, first dried coconut, wine gums and honey, then many more oak spices but it'll always stay below the limits. In short, no proper tannicity will ever show up, which is rather incredible. We find many different old wines, especially sweet ones that got drier over the years, then cinnamon rolls and earl grey. Plus myriads of smaller flavours which will remain between me and this old glory. Finish: medium, perhaps a tad tea-ish and tannic here and there, but once again it behaves. Awesome honey and bitterer resins (black propolis) in the aftertaste. Bees are so important. Comments: it is admirable that no one ever thought that this marvellous old malt should be housed in a Crystal decanter and released with an asking price of £9,999.

SGP:561 - 91 points.

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

 

December 1, 2022


Whiskyfun

A case of Glenburgie

I've just checked when I last did a Glenburgie session. Shock, horror, damnation, putrefaction and pestilence, that was three or almost four years ago, in January 2019. So we'll do this one by way of an apology, and take them as they come out of the box… (or not, we'll see…)

Juicy

 

 

Glenburgie 8 yo 2012/2021 (54.5%, Cooper's Choice, marsala cask finish, cask #128, 312 bottles)

Glenburgie 8 yo 2012/2021 (54.5%, Cooper's Choice, marsala cask finish, cask #128, 312 bottles) Three stars and a half
Colour: pale white wine. Nose: I would suppose it was some dry white marsala. We're rather on young smells here, porridge, a little mustard Madeira-style, bitter almonds, a little leather, morello cherries, then we find light fruitier smells,  perhaps dragon fruit? The wine would tend to become more obvious, but always gentle. With water: wool, earth, baker's yeast, bloom… Mouth (neat): full young malt, on green apples, pears and grapefruits. It's almost as if wine and whisky are almost 100% overlapping. With water: a little sweet and fruity beer. Perhaps Belgian Kriek? Finish: medium, with those cherries that we already found on the nose. Drops of Heering or guignolet. Leafier aftertaste. Comments: very good, but I believe 8 remains very young. 8 isn't the new 12, it's not even the new 10. But yeah, this one's very good, with nice cherries.
SGP:551 - 83 points.

Glenburgie 10 yo 2008/2019 (52%, Asta Morris, Caroni finish, cask #AM106, 259 bottles)

Glenburgie 10 yo 2008/2019 (52%, Asta Morris, Caroni finish, cask #AM106, 259 bottles) Three stars and a half
More proof that our economy is becoming more and more circular. Colour: pale white wine. Nose: the high-petrol, quasi-smoky side of some Caronis would indeed impart some smoky notes, or rather tarry ones to a gentler Speysider, as is the case here. Tarmac, new rubber, then plain grass and grape pip oil. Not an easy Glenburgie, but water may help. With water: porridge and grapefruit pips, soot, touches of fennel seeds and caraway. That's a funny touch. Mouth (neat): the whisky's having the upper hand this time, but it remains very grassy, tarry, and even a tad metallic. The rubber is back too. Some friendlier notes of bananas flambéed arising. With water: chalk and diesel oil, over grass, bananas and grapefruits. Finish: long, greener and always tarry. Comments: rather feels assembled, but I find it good.

SGP:552 - 83 points.

A sibling please…

Glenburgie 13 yo 2008/2021 (52%, Asta Morris, sherry, cask #AM096, 676 bottles)

Glenburgie 13 yo 2008/2021 (52%, Asta Morris, sherry, cask #AM096, 676 bottles) Four stars
I remember G&M have had some wonderful sherried Glenburgies in a rather distant past. Colour: full gold. Nose: a little gunpowder and varnish, as often in such young sherried malts, but that goes away quickly, leaving room for some chocolaty liquorice of some sort, pistachio crème, pipe tobacco, and buckets of roasted nuts of all kinds. Walnut tarte and honey-roasted pecan nuts (which is a sin, padre), also cereals; cornflakes... With water: lovely! Miso soup and old red Bourgogne, civet, Marmite, American smoked barbecue sauce… Mouth (neat): very 'high game' at first, switching to chocolate, millionaire shortbread, brownies, more roasted pecans… With water: funny that some varnish would come out once you've added water. Thyme tea too, white vermouth, chicken bouillon, dried meat… The sourness here is awesome. Finish: very long, very dry, much on pipe tobacco. Old walnuts in the aftertaste. Comments: as powerful as the 'Caroni', and more coherent in my book.

SGP:362 - 86 points.

Glenburgie 11 yo 2008/2019 (57.5%, Hart Bros., for Switzerland, selected by Gianni MIgliore, first fill sherry butt, 312 bottles)

Glenburgie 11 yo 2008/2019 (57.5%, Hart Bros., for Switzerland, selected by Gianni MIgliore, first fill sherry butt, 312 bottles) Four stars
Colour: apricot. Nose: a much gentler and softer sherry, on raisins, cakes, roasted peanuts, coffee, and chocolate. There isn't much to say, except that it's rather awesome this far. With water: a pack of Mars bars, with some sate sauce (peanuts) and the moistest Cavendish. That's pipe tobacco. Mouth (neat): indeed a sweet, very raisiny sherry, as if they had used cream sherry. Lovely orange liqueur in the background, as well as fir honey (honeydew). With water: we almost recreated… cream sherry. Touches of strawberry liqueur and mushrooms behind that. Finish: rather long, a tad more on leather and tobacco, which is normal. Some pepper and a little mustard. Comments: the easier side of ex-sherry, eve, if it is a little PX-y. Only good things to say.
SGP:651 - 86 points.

Glenburgie 14 yo 2007/2021 (62.5%, La Maison du Whisky, Plume, Conquête, sherry)

Glenburgie 14 yo 2007/2021 (62.5%, La Maison du Whisky, Plume, Conquête, sherry) Four stars
Colour: amber gold. Nose: this one's more on walnut cake and nougat at first, while it would then become a little Martiniquan (rhum agricole). Then chocolate and peonies. But we won't ush our luck, did you see the ABV? With water: catches up with the Hart Bros., becoming very chocolaty. Hoisin and pipe tobacco in the background. Mouth (neat): terrifyingly thick, huge, brutal, earthy and a little acetic (balsamico). But not a belter without water, as they say… With water: you'll need to add a lot of water and shall then find prunes, armagnac, chestnut honey and black nougat. Finish: very long, with a curious sweet earthiness, more prunes, a few pencil shavings, the blackest dried dates, then some heavy; chocolaty stout in the aftertaste. Comments: it's not that this style cannot be a little tiring at times, but this bottling too was perfectly executed.
SGP:561 - 86 points.

Glenburgie 14 yo 2007/2021 (62.2%, Signatory Vintage for Kirsch Import, 1st fill sherry butt, cask #900079, 543 bottles)

Glenburgie 14 yo 2007/2021 (62.2%, Signatory Vintage for Kirsch Import, 1st fill sherry butt, cask #900079, 543 bottles) Four stars
In theory, we should be close. There was a feather on the LMDW, well there are two on this one. Are they trying to suggest these are light whiskies? That's almost misleading advertising! Colour: darkish amber. Nose: chocolate, beef soup, Maggi, pine needles, walnut stain, porcinis. I would suppose water is needed here too… With water: some walnut wine and cake, a good glass of amontillado, some beef jerky, and some pumpernickel. Where have you put the butter? Mouth (neat): it is almost peaty! Very tarry for sure… Someone's forgotten the old kettle full of lapsang souchong on the stove. Other than that… 62.2%. With water: whoops, not too sure, water brought out pine resin and some very bitter, earthy black chocolate. Perhaps is it all a little excessive? Finish: very long, rather smoky this time again, salty, with some of the amontilladoest amontillado, salty and peppery. Once again, pencil shavings and tar in the aftertaste. Comments: ups and downs and twists and turns, but in the end, and since we remember a few ultra-sherried Glenburgies for Italy that were not that different, it is still a remarkable whisky. If a brutish lout at times.
SGP:463 – 86 points.

Mind you, we haven't even made it into the 1990s… But as regard to the wood, let's make an about-turn…

Glenburgie-Glenlivet 14 yo 2004/2018 (53.6%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon hogshead, 294 bottles)

Glenburgie-Glenlivet 14 yo 2004/2018 (53.6%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon hogshead, 294 bottles) Four stars
Colour: white wine. Nose: some simple, crystalline, softly fruity malt, with vine peaches and mirabelles, some hoppy beer, apples, cantaloupes… and light vanilla. Typical and typically nice. With water: soft doughs, croissant, brioche, cheesecake… Mouth (neat): cakes, touches of grapefruit and pineapple, lemongrass, green tea, just grass… With water: some apple liqueur and limoncello coming out, plus some tropical fruit cocktail. Say mango, guava and papaya, with a dollop of very soft honey (no, I didn't say 'and 10cl of Neisson white'). Finish: medium, this time with a little leafy green oak, beyond all the fruit peelings, banana skins etc. Comments: classic ex-BB HHD quasi-youngster, no quibbles whatsoever.
SGP:651 - 85 points.

Last one from the current millennium…

Glenburgie-Glenlivet 15 yo 2004/2019 (54%, Cadenhead, Small Batch, two bourbon hogsheads, 570 bottles)

Glenburgie-Glenlivet 15 yo 2004/2019 (54%, Cadenhead, Small Batch, two bourbon hogsheads, 570 bottles) Three stars and a half
Colour: pale white wine. Nose: elderberries! This one's more naked than its single-cask counterpart, there's mainly stewed rhubarb, ripe gooseberries, maple syrup, a little icing sugar, fresh sourdough bread, touches of fresh mint… With water: whoops, it kind of snap shuts. Well, no, you just have to wait, but I find no new aromas. Mouth (neat): grassy and zesty, in the style of some older vintages of Bladnoch. Shall we mention limoncello again? Green apple liqueur? Tonic water? Schweppes? With water:  same as the single cask once water's been added. Finish: same. Comments: careful with your pipette, Yvette.

SGP:651 - 84 points.

Let's add one from the 1990s and then call this a session. We have many, many more, including very old ones, we'll see what we can do…

Glenburgie 20 yo 1998/2019 (51.1%, Elixir Distillers, The Single Malts of Scotland, bourbon hogshead, cask #900899, 248 bottles)

Glenburgie 20 yo 1998/2019 (51.1%, Elixir Distillers, The Single Malts of Scotland, bourbon hogshead, cask #900899, 248 bottles) Five stars
Colour: white wine. Nose: clearly different, more 'tropical', with more bananas and bamboo shoots, clementines, maracuja and a few earthy vegetables and roots (gentian), which is very welcome as some full, dead-on tropicalness can get too heady, quickly. With water: splendid. You would almost believe this is petit manseng; wine freaks, think Jurançon or Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh (the latter being scandalously unknown). Mouth (neat): mango, passion fruit and blood orange juices, this is almost all-vitamin fruit juice. Sits between old Bushmills and Bowmore, and I am not joking. With water: superb. Finish: medium, stupendously fruity. Juicy Fruit. Comments: I will pray to St. Magdalene that Elixir keep issuing such wonderful, err, wonders.

SGP:741 - 90 points.

I think I heard you…

Glenburgie 21 yo 1998/2019 (59.4%, Elixir Distillers, The Single Malts of Scotland, hogshead, cask #900887, 298 bottles)

Glenburgie 21 yo 1998/2019 (59.4%, Elixir Distillers, The Single Malts of Scotland, hogshead, cask #900887, 298 bottles) Four stars
Colour: white wine. Nose: no. I mean yes, but it is not one of those stupendous fruit bombs this time, as this sister cask seems to be much chalkier, earthier, possibly more common… With water: we're getting there, but its rather all about bananas this time. No Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh, I'm afraid. Mouth (neat): too powerful for me, almost acidic when neat. Watch it, it could detach your tongue from your palate if you're not careful. With water: casks are as unpredictable as people, aren't they. This time we're nearing the younger sister, but without that wowowow effect from the mangos. Now, I've just seen on Wikipedia that there were 55 (fifty-five) types of mangos. Finish: medium, very fruity, just less immaculately precise than the 20 yo. Comments: and so we'll have many more Glenburgies very soon…
SGP:641 - 87 points.

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

 

WF Favourites
Whiskyfun fav of the month

November 2022

Serge's favourite recent bottling this month:
Caol Ila 32 yo 1990/2022 (51.5%, OB, Casks of Distinction, Wu Dram Clan, Pierrick Guillaume and The WhiskyNerds, refill American oak hogshead, cask #6223, 181 bottles) - WF92

Serge's favourite older bottling this month:
Speyburn-Glenlivet 15 yo 1975/1991 (63.1%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection) - WF92

Serge's favourite bang for your buck this month:
None

Serge's favourite malternative this month:
Le Notoire (44.8%, Fanny Fougerat, très vieux fins bois, hors-série, 680 bottles, 2022)  - WF91

Serge's Lemon Prize this month:
Aberfeldy 18 yo 'Tuscan Red Wine' (43%, OB, batch #2922/A, +/-2022) - WF72
 

November 30, 2022


Whiskyfun

Strathisla 10 - 15 - 20 - 25 - 30

A kind of session we very rarely do, a proper single-Distillery, single-Bottler verticale. Well, it was just too tempting and Strathisla is a great make. Kudos to La Maison du Whisky for having bottled these five Strathislas simultaneously, they remind us of that 'Millennium' series by Springbank. Right, in a way…

(Photograph, Lepista Nuda, Jardiner Malin)

Lespista

 

 

Strathisla 10 yo 2012/2022 (62.2%, Artist by LMDW, first fill bourbon barrel, cask #209668, 210 bottles)

Strathisla 10 yo 2012/2022 (62.2%, Artist by LMDW, first fill bourbon barrel, cask #209668, 210 bottles) Four stars
Colour: white wine. Nose: sure it's a little numbing at such high strength, but you do get full baskets of both red and green gooseberries, as well as granny smith, greengages, white peaches (not too ripe) and just cider and clay. Very fresh and youthful. With water: some roundness now, around custard and barley syrup, as well as the expect porridge and, of course, croissants au beurre. Are we in Paris here or not? Mouth (neat: extra-punchy, but if you're careful enough, you'll find stewed rhubarb and once more, gooseberries. Granny smith apples are there too, and probably a little agave juice as well. With water: some fresh barley speaking out, some tiny herbs too, especially wormwood. It's almost as if some special envoy from LMDW would have poured a bottle of absinth into the cask before bottling. Not a bad idea, that! Finish: medium, very fresh, still very much on gooseberries and rhubarb. A little clay is back in the aftertaste. Comments: pretty immaculate, with some extremely well controlled wood that really behaved. We're pretty high already – a figure of speech.

SGP:651 - 87 points.

Strathisla 15 yo 2007/2022 (62.7%, Artist by LMDW, first fill sherry butt, cask #205217, 553 bottles)

Strathisla 15 yo 2007/2022 (62.7%, Artist by LMDW, first fill sherry butt, cask #205217, 553 bottles) Four stars and a half
I would suppose there's been some debate between those who would have liked to pick only bourbon barrels, and those who preferred more variety. The latter won, apparently, on the other hand, Strathisla and sherry form another seminal combination. Colour: amber. Nose: oh! The high ABV blocks it a little bit but you do get old copper (kettle), metal polish, walnuts, tobacco, eucalyptus smoke (to be experienced in Corsica), blood oranges. I may be wrong but all that bodes extremely well for a relatively young whisky, I can't wait to add water. With water: bits of meat (bresaola, Grisons meat) and drops of spicy liqueur, with a little juniper and clove inside. Some shoe polish too. Mouth (neat): heavy, on butterscotch and fruity varnish, strawberries, tamarind, kirschwasser, roasted bitter almonds… I think it really needs water. With water: winner. Spicy and sweet, with fruitcakes and oriental pastries, but without any flabbiness. It's tight and it knows it (what?) Finish: long, a little more on walnuts, bitter tobacco, amontillado, and indeed a little clove. Comments: did the same gentleman (or lady!) from LMDW pour a bottle of very old genever into this one, after having dealt with the ten? I find it pretty exceptional (nose 90, palate 88). To cellar for twenty years and presto, 90+.
SGP:562 - 89 points.

Strathisla 20 yo 2002/2022 (55.4%, Artist by LMDW, first fill bourbon barrel, cask #27057, 192 bottles)

Strathisla 20 yo 2002/2022 (55.4%, Artist by LMDW, first fill bourbon barrel, cask #27057, 192 bottles) Four stars and a half
Back to bourbon (well observed, S.) Showing the back label this time. Colour: white wine. Nose: it is fascinating to compare this one with the 10, as you would experience exactly the effects of ten extra-years of maturation. Same core, on ripe gooseberries and greengages, or even preserved greengages, but with an added layer of shortbread, banana cake, vanilla, honeysuckle, acacia flowers... It's also to be said that 55% do work much better than 60+, in my humble opinion. With water: classic ex-bourbon, rounder than the 10, much cakier as well, with some sunflower oil, nougat, roasted pumpkin seeds and pears poached in Sauternes. Mouth (neat): oh sweet and tart, I think I'll need mentioning limoncello, as well as more greengages, also mirabelles, our beloved quinces, williams pears, perhaps a wee bit of banana foam… With water: seems to tighten, which I find interesting and certainly pleasant, as it gets zestier, with some tangerines beyond the mirabelles and pears. Finish: Comments: this other excellent one really reminded me of a Distillery in Dufftown that starts with a B. Certainly not a bad reference.
SGP:651 – 89 points.

Strathisla 25 yo 1997/2022 (50%, Artist by LMDW, refill hogshead, cask #78844, 269 bottles)

Strathisla 25 yo 1997/2022 (50%, Artist by LMDW, refill hogshead, cask #78844, 269 bottles) Five stars
Colour: light white wine. Nose: brilliant exposé, really, you really get the wee earths and tertiary elements that appear after many years of aging, while another brilliant idea was to select a shier cask for this 25. Lovely whiffs of young ale, cider apples, lime blossom, spicier mushrooms (pied bleu mushrooms – lepista nuda, they're growing now in the Vosges mountains), some fermentary notes too (yoghurt), dough, chalk… you would almost believe this is a Highlander, but in a way, it is. With water: chalk and wool chiming in, always a great sign in my book. Mouth (neat): absolutely superb, getting mentholy, almost phenolic, with quite some liquorice wood, gentian, otherwise muscat and melons at the fruit section. Lemon marmalade too, a thing that I just adore but that's not easy to find in Alsace (while post-Brexit, it would come heavily taxed if I tried to get me some from sweet U.K.) Why are governments only making our lives more complicated and never simpler? With water: indeed, ginseng, chalk, green pears, grapefruits, and perhaps sorb eau-de-vie? Finish: medium, pure, with a few dried fruits, papayas, perhaps bananas… While the background would remain beautifully chalky. Comments: fantastic and very smartly selected. I don't think that special envoy from LMDW poured anything 'extra' into this very cask.
SGP:561 - 91 points.

Strathisla 30 yo 1991/2022 (42.3%, Artist by LMDW, refill barrel, cask #1014, 146 bottles)

Strathisla 30 yo 1991/2022 (42.3%, Artist by LMDW, refill barrel, cask #1014, 146 bottles) Five stars
Hurray, they've chosen a refill barrel to cap this wonderful little verticale off. Colour: pale white wine. Nose: woo-ooh… Some beeswax this time, paraffin, wee whiffs of caraway and poppy seed bread, then eucalyptus and spearmint, then lime blossom and Wulong tea (blue-green tea), then fresh-cut hay and citron liqueur (plus touches of myrtle). Something clearly Corsican here. I bow to this nose. Mouth: ho-ho-ho. It's not oak that's joining in, it's sandalwood, or fir, myrtle indeed (I know myrtle is an acquired taste, but this is perfect), then bitter oranges, walnuts, yellow chartreuse, verbena, perhaps a little rubber of high quality, oils, balms, even a drop of seawater… Finish: medium, with more oils, chlorophyll and propolis, bitter almonds,  also blancmange, perhaps. Comments: at times you would have believed it was an old peater. Or did this barrel use to shelter a peater before they re-filled it, in 1991? In any case, it is a brilliant, slightly more 'resinous' than usual old Strathisla. Smart selection, if you ask me.
SGP:462 - 92 points.

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

 

November 29, 2022


Whiskyfun

New world tour

Because there's more and more whisky all over the world, and more and more good whisky as well. As usual, we'll take off from France…

Rozelieures 'Origine Collection' (40%, OB, France, +/-2021)

Rozelieures 'Origine Collection' (40%, OB, France, +/-2021) Three stars
This is Rozelieures' core bottling. The Distillery is located in Lorraine, very close to Alsace. The reputation is good. They've been bottling this expression for a good fifteen years. The prices remain fair, they do not behave as if they were thinking they are producing whisky's Romanée Conti (because some do indeed). Let's add that they've also started malting their barley themselves. Colour: gold. Nose: some freshness, pears, apples, plums, then custard and softer raisins. It's not complicated but it works effortlessly, shall we say. Some peach as well, a little hay, fresh almonds, fresh walnuts, plus a little candlewax.  Mouth: rather drier than expected, malty, a little oaky. A little green pepper, apple peel, green tea. Finish: not too long but the maltiness is back, a few raisins, walnuts and bits of peach as well. Comments: grassy, does the job. Some higher-echelon Rozelieures have more cachet, having said that, no surprises here. What's sure is that this 'Origine' has not been pump)up in any sorts of way.
SGP:351 - 80 points.

To Korea!

Kimchangsoo 2021/2022 '02' (48.7%, OB, South Korea, 2022)

Kimchangsoo 2021/2022 '02' (48.7%, OB, South Korea, 2022) Four stars
We've already tried another Kimshangsoo this year, it had been absolutely excellent (WF 87). This one is new, and indeed not whisky yet upon European laws. It's stemming from the city of Gimpo and was made from 100% Korean Barley and 100% Korean oak. No lousily sourced whiskies here! Colour: gold. Nose: a wonderful freshness. This baby's bursting with pears and jujubes, really a lot of old pu-her tea and, as a consequence, damp earth and humus, plus muscovado, butterscotch, liquorice and liquid caramel. It is much softer than that earlier bottling of Kimchangsoo that had been bottled at 54.1%, but I believe it's as complex. This liquoricy caramel is quite something, rather love it. Mouth: very creamy texture and rather a lot of lemony, piney and mentholy wood, perhaps even thuja. Not a profile we're accustomed too, or perhaps at some American craft distillers? Some heavy herbal tea, with also some thyme and rosemary, sweetened with some very powerful and aromatic honey. Our favourite, chestnut! Finish: long, still rather spectacular, with some chocolate, mead, and some kind of juniper liqueur, perhaps. The aftertaste is rather on those 'lemony, piney and mentholy woods' that were already in the attack on the palate. Comments: to think that Kimchangsoo is a one-man operation! I'd bet that's not going to last like that… Read Kim's moving story at 88bamboo. Fantastic spirit, in all senses of that word.

SGP:561 - 87 points.

To England…

Oxford Rye 2017/2022 'batch 7 - Easy Ryder' (50%, OB, England)

Oxford Rye 2017/2022 'batch 7 - Easy Ryder' (50%, OB, England) Four stars
Made from 'Heritage Grains', or so it says on the label. We've already tried a few excellent ryes by the Oxford Artisan Distillery, now why an 'Easy Ryder', I'm not too sure, beyond the play on words. Should we start to sing 'Corn To Be Wild'? (ooh S., better drop it right away). Colour: gold. Nose: love it, as expected. Model glue, almonds, manzanilla, rye bread, touches of lavender and violet (sweets), drops of Danish aquavit… With water: gingerbread and more rye bread. Mouth (neat): even more model glue, varnish, paint, then spices and indeed lavender, as well as pumpernickel and almonds. Oranges in the background are adding some freshness, and obviously some fruit. With water: it could happen that water would have made some a little too oaky for us, but that's not the case this time, water would rather push the oranges (and violets) forward. Finish: rather long, rootier and earthier. Gentian and ginger – and oranges. Comments: excellent batch; Peter and Dennis (and Jack) would love it. Please one at 80% vol. so that we can pour it into our old Harleys…
SGP:462 - 85 points.

Let's stay in England…

Cotswolds 2017/2022 (OB, England, for the French cavistes, charred virgin oak, cask #1157, 255 bottles)

Cotswolds 2017/2022 (OB, England, for the French cavistes, charred virgin oak, cask #1157, 255 bottles) Four stars
I'm afraid we do not have the ABV and couldn't find it anywhere. We'll add it when we can. Colour: full gold. Nose: probably high. Crème brûlée, custard, sunflower oil. With water: some saponification, let's wait… … … zzz… Good, spring flowers and fresh fruits coming out, citrus blossom, magnolia perhaps… Plums and green apples wrt fruits. Mouth (neat): rich and oily, with some mangos, in the style of some Bs from London or Cs from Japan. Some green tea. With water: some delicate sweets, artisan marshmallows, jellybeans, more apples, both green a white/yellow… Finish: a curious note of rye (not from that Oxford Rye!) and pineapple sweets. Something between young fresh muscat and viognier. Comments: they are really mastering these charred new oaks. Only twenty years ago, everyone in Scotland would have cried wolf! Right, this is not Scotland at all… But this is an excellent modern single cask.
SGP:651 - 87 points.

Why not Denmark, as we've been mentioning aquavit…

Copenhagen Distillery 'RAW Edition Batch No.2' (51.6%, OB, Denmark, 2022)

Copenhagen Distillery 'RAW Edition Batch No.2' (51.6%, OB, Denmark, 2022) Four stars
This new baby – new to me – was distilled from local barley and aged in virgin oak. The back label also states that they have a 'distinct process' at Copenhagen Distillery. This one was finished in sherry cask (which ain't too distinct, is it). Nice cubic bottle. Colour: full gold. Nose: a lot of raw chocolate and burnt wood, fresh-roasted coffee, then prunes and drops of raw armagnac (Ténarèze). Seems heavy, without being heavy, if you see what I mean, with chocolate at the helm. They could almost call it 'chocolate shock' (S, please…) With water: chocolate shock indeed, plus a drop of Maggi and one of old balsamico. Some apricots in the background are adding some freshness. Mouth (neat): more craftiness, this time with full black raisins and even more chocolate, plus clove and a little smooth and gentle capsicum. I'm reminded of some Australians (or rather Tasmanians). Feels like STRised Port or PX wood. No? What's sure is that that worked out. With water: the spices are coming out, but gently. And always a lot of chocolate, and coffee. Finish: wonderful, with new flavours coming to the front, Ovaltine, more clove, aquavit (wink, wink), juniper, caraway, and even a little umami spray. Indeed, umami sprays are available. Comments: surprise. A proper craft movement is really taking off all over the world, let's just hope that Pernod and Diageo are not going to buy them all.
SGP:462 - 87 points.

Who's mentioned Tasmania, who? We've got several Hellyers Road but let's choose the cleanest and tightest of them all (in theory…) as this will be our last whisky today.

Hellyers Road 14 yo 2007/2022 (58.5%, OB, for LMDW, Australia, bourbon barrel, cask #7260.17, 167 bottles)

Hellyers Road 14 yo 2007/2022 (58.5%, OB, for LMDW, Australia, bourbon barrel, cask #7260.17, 167 bottles) Four stars and a half
Back to bourbon wood. We've already tried many Hellyers Road that we've just adored, but as shipping is becoming so costly (on all accounts), I'm wondering if the best remote distillers, such as Hellyers Road, shouldn't start to organise franchised distilling in Europe or elsewhere, as brewers do. Would that be doable? (No worries, I'm wearing my bullet-proof vest, and sorry if I sound Euro-centric, it would work both ways). Colour: light gold. Nose: oh, banana wine! And condensed milk, starfruit, guava (big) and wormwood (big as well). Moves then towards vanilla essence and those chocolaty stouts that crazy brewers are sometimes making, as well as manioc. Crazily unusual – I doubt you could franchise the making of this. With water: sour fruits everywhere, plus a lot of beeswax and of the craziest IPAs. Mouth (neat): immense pineapple and banana with white chocolate, vanilla and chenin blanc. Huge. With water: so singular! Chocolate chiming in, otherwise the same crazy fermentary fruitiness. Finish: long, a tad gentler, more on vanilla and cakes. Moist banana and pear cake in the aftertaste, fino and rustic flours in the aftertaste (wood). Comments: mad whisky. This sour fruitiness is incredible, I think I love it – but it's no consensual whisky.
SGP:761 - 89 points.

Good, we've tried several extremely extractive (pff…) malts today. We'll try to go gentler next time, see you.

 

November 28, 2022


Whiskyfun

Long time no world tour!

Mind you, we're not the Rolling Stones…
Let's kick this off from France, as we often do.

Heriose 'Le Classique' (46%, OB, France, 2022)

Heriose 'Le Classique' (46%, OB, France, 2022) Three stars and a half
A new single malt whisky by Maison Boinaud in the heart of the Cognac region, where more and more fine folks are thinking (and making) whisky. Most, if not all, are using their Charentais stills, although I'm not sure they're not disconnecting the 'chauffe vin' or wine heater or pre-heater, which is the big bowl that's located between the still and the worm tub. Anyway, let's try this little Heriose… Colour: white wine. Nose: very spirity at first, which is an asset I find, as it means that no one's tried to 'aromatise' this very young whisky with any boisterous casks. And indeed, it would then rather display a lot of barley and fresh bread, honeysuckle, acacia beignets, some custard, custard tarte, mirabelles, then rather young leaves and fern. Tiny whiffs of fig leaves. In short, malt whisky au naturel. Mouth: totally au naturel. Some sweeter beers, barley indeed, more custard and acacia honey, apple pie, a little cider as well, and only a faint grittiness from the oak, in the back of the back. Finish: medium, on similar flavours and a little muscovado. A little cider again in the aftertaste. Comments: at last, a very young malt that no one's ever tried to pump-up using STR or virgin or PX or whatever. Already excellent, while it's probably only 3 or 4. As our friend and #1 French whisky writer Christine once told me, watch the Cognaçais!
SGP:441 - 83 points.

Next stop, America…

Rabbit Hole 4 yo 2017/2022 (54.1%, Distillerie Générale, USA, Bourbon Heigold L17K24, #4, Antipodes, half bottle)

Rabbit Hole 4 yo 2017/2022 (54.1%, Distillerie Générale, USA, Bourbon Heigold L17K24, #4, Antipodes, half bottle) Three stars
We'll soon do a very large American session, so take this as an apéritif. This young bourbon shelters 70% maize, 25% rye and 5% malted barley. The Distillery is located in Louisville, KY, while Distillerie Générale is an 'inhouse trans-category IB line' (my words) owned by Pernod Ricard. Which simply tells us that Rabbit Hole belongs to Pernod Ricard (since 2019, as it appears). Colour: gold. Nose: some spicy oak, rye, a little lavender, a drop of cologne, juniper, clove, nutmeg… while it would then become softer by the minute, towards soft liquorice, meadow flowers, panettone (here you go again) and cinnamon rolls. Works. With water: the oak coming to the front, hardwoods, thuja wood… Mouth (neat): punchy and spicy, not without oak at first (to say the least), then rather on some kind of liquorice and lavender blend. With water: back to rounder pastries, while the rye feels a lot while it would only count for one quarter of the mashbill. Tends to be become drying, but also nicely citrusy (small stuff, yuzu and bergamots and such). Finish: rather long but it's become frankly plankish. I would suppose you shouldn't add any water to it. Comments: good young American whisky but I liked the purity of the young Heriose better. The finish was difficult here.
SGP:461 - 80 points.

To Japan…

Akashi 3 yo 2019/2022 (62%, OB, Japan, Eigashima, Selected by Stefan van Eycken & Hideo Yamaoka, 1st fill bourbon, casks #101857+58)

Akashi 3 yo 2019/2022 (62%, OB, Japan, Eigashima, Selected by Stefan van Eycken & Hideo Yamaoka, 1st fill bourbon, casks #101857+58) Four stars and a half
Some heavily peated Akashi (50ppm peat in the malted barley) selected by two engaging whisky luminaries and high-connoisseurs, while we've just seen that the label was featuring Yoshitoshi's 'The Ghost of Wicked Genta Yoshihira Attacking Namba Jiro at Nunobiki Waterfall'. That's exactly what I had thought… Colour: white wine. Nose: an extremely medicinal smokiness, very singular, which would almost make Laphroaig feel like Glenkinchie in comparison. That plus some lemon in abundance and some oysters and seawater, and wee smells of horse saddle. With water: water brings the barley to the front, and tames the horses, so to speak. Mouth (neat): very straightforward, very smoky, salty, medicinal again, but getting then rounder, with pastries and, perhaps - but that's probably my mind playing tricks - moshi. With water: bitter almonds, lapsang souchong and more sweetness. Moshi again?? Finish: rather long, a tad minimal perhaps, but remember it is only 3. Comments: superb ultra-young distillate. It's important not to score or rate any 'potential' and to focus on what it is at time of tasting, but I would say the potential is massive.

SGP:467 - 89 points.

Back to Europe (of course it is)…

The Lakes 'Whiskymaker's Reserve No.5' (52%, OB, England, 5,500 bottles, 2022)

The Lakes 'Whiskymaker's Reserve No.5' (52%, OB, England, 5,500 bottles, 2022) Four stars
No.1 was good, No.2 was very good, and No.3 was very good as well. I may have missed No.4. In any case, this No.5 was aged in oloroso, PX and red wine casks, which to me, sounds a bit like Blue Öyster Cult and their three guitars (plus bass) rather than Hendrix OR Page. Are we boomers or not? Colour: very deep gold. Nose: the casks had been well taken care of, we get no screeches or wrong notes, rather a jammy unfolding with blackberry jelly, molasses and maple syrup, raspberry ganache or truffles (chocolate) and pecan pie. Some floral tones coming out too, such as iris and lilac, plus jasmine, and then rather a lot of various halvas, pistachio, peanut…. With water: not that massive, which is not a bad thing. Pumpernickel. Mouth (neat): coffee, raspberry eau-de-vie and cartloads of chocolate. Then fudge, a little orange squash, and a lot of praline, nougat and, yeah, halva. Good creamy texture. With water: a savoury, salty, nutty side popping out, is that the oloroso taking the lead? Finish: long and spicier, as expected. Lemons plus rather a lot of ginger, nutmeg and turmeric. A little mocha in the aftertaste. And chocolate! Comments: I find it excellent; it avoided all the pitfalls of this kind of set-up. Three guitars and all…
SGP:661 - 86 points.

Since we're doing extractive ones…

Milk & Honey 2018/2021 'Grumpy Dram' (59.4%, OB, Israel, Liron Aizik Shai Gilboa, Craignan Red Wine Cask, cask #2018-0713, 267 bottles)

Milk & Honey 2018/2021 'Grumpy Dram' (59.4%, OB, Israel, Liron Aizik Shai Gilboa, Craignan Red Wine Cask, cask #2018-0713, 267 bottles) Four stars
Pst, ladies and gentlemen, in good spirits and you know how much we love you, between us, is 'Craignan' some kind of Israeli wine, or isn't it actually 'carignan' the red grape varietal? Just writing this before a few dozen good people start to look for Craignan… Colour: blood orange. Nose: blood orange. Seriously! Then chocolate and old woods, some mustiness, a gamey side (fowls, venison), coffee, a few struck matches, green pepper and even gazpacho, mushrooms, undergrowth… At times you would believe this is old pinot noir, rather than carignan. Now if you tell me that there's a Craignan Estate where they do pinot noir… With water: miso and Bovril! Mouth (neat): rather spectacular, creamy, liqueury, this time rather on crème de cassis, with also a little genever and caraway. Some thick bready notes too, around pumpernickel once more. With water: more spices jumping out, plus those blood oranges. Oranges and clove. Finish: long and chocolaty. Well-ripened damsons in the aftertaste. Comments: another slightly bombastic construction. Probably the best you could do with these kinds of cask – and this funny varietal I won't mention again. Pace e salute.
SGP:561 - 87 points.

Good, since we're doing funny casks, let's fly to India…

Amrut (61.3%, Blackadder, Raw Cask, India, Ex-Jura cask finish, cask #BA33-2021, 201 bottles)

Amrut (61.3%, Blackadder, Raw Cask, India, Ex-Jura cask finish, cask #BA33-2021, 201 bottles) Four stars and a half
Not so fast, this looks brilliant but was the Ex-Jura cask from the Isle of Jura, Scotland, or did it come from the Jura region of France? Malt whisky of vin jaune? I'm not even sure we'll find out, as in some cases, Jura's whiskies and those vins jaunes, Château-Châlon or even simple savagnins grown under veil/flor can share some traits (mustard, walnuts, green apples, curry and such). Oh well let's try it, we'll ask the guilty parties later on… Colour: gold. Nose: we'll never be able to tell. Mashed potatoes, mashed carrots, mango jam (that's Amrut), earth, iris, hyacinth, ylang-ylang, orange blossom, sourer doughs, apricot cake… No we can't tell! With water: some medicinal touches, ointments, indeed a little mustard… Mouth (neat): it is extremely Amrut. The sweetness would suggest this was indeed Jura the whisky. More mangos, papaya, guava juice… And bananas. Not much proper Juraness, unless that would have been one of those fantastic 21 yo that they were having two or three years ago. With water: typical cedar and sandalwood, plus mangos. Finish: long, with marshmallows and banana foams. How very Amrut. Comments: top Amrut, top drop, and another unresolved (for now) mystery.
SGP:751 - 89 points.

Why not stay at Amrut's for our last one today?

Amrut 8 yo 'Little Greedy Angels' (50%, OB, India, Chairman's Reserve)

Amrut 8 yo 'Little Greedy Angels' (50%, OB, India, Chairman's Reserve) Four stars
I would not know when this little sister of the Greedy Angels 12 yo was bottled, even if they were having it at The Whisky Show in London this year, while I had never seen it before. But remember, no proven data means no data. We should tell a few politicians, don't you agree? Colour: full gold. Nose: some fruity smoke, unless that would be some smoky fruits. It's very unusual, much unlike those old peaters that were wonderfully fruity as well (Bowmore, Laphroaig). Think a blend of lapsang souchong with green earl grey, plus half a glass of the trademark mango juice. Very curious about what water will do to it… With water: rather sour fruits, citrus, yuzu again… The smoke is becoming more furtive.  Mouth (neat): barbecued marshmallows and, indeed, that blend of lapsang souchong with green earl grey tea. Or a smoky daiquiri on steroids. With water: very good, despite a peat that sometimes feels slightly out of place, as it does in several 'new' smoked Speysiders, for example. But I'm really nit-picking once more new, it's a lovely dram. Finish: long, more on custard and masked pumpkin. The mango-y smoke returns in the aftertaste, together with some green tea and sesame oil. Comments: almost talking in morse code, with a peat that goes on and off and on and off. Unusual, fun and very good.

SGP:665 - 87 points.
 

November 27, 2022


Whiskyfun

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

Top of French fines

Well, only cognac today. All things considered, I prefer to use the word 'fine' for cognac or armagnac, rather than the word 'brandy', which some good people seem to use either loosely, or whenever they mean to sound pejorative, like in 'cheap brandy'.

(Picture, poster by La Malulo Factory in La Rochelle)


Oleron

Grapediggaz 'VSOP' (46.3%, Wu Dram Clan and Kirsch Import, cognac, 2022) Grapediggaz 'VSOP' (46.3%, Wu Dram Clan and Kirsch Import, cognac, 2022)

Grapediggaz 'VSOP' (46.3%, Wu Dram Clan and Kirsch Import, cognac, 2022) Four stars
It says that this baby is stemming from the Vallein Tercinier Cellars, and that it is a 'natural product without bullshit'. I find all that a little pleonasmic, no? Colour: light gold. Nose: the fresher side of cognac, without any additives or any kind of obscuration (there, more pleonasms), starting with juicy peaches and some fresh mint leaves, and going on with some soft liquorice and a little earth, before it would start to dab at modern pink-banananess, complemented with juicy raisins and a very minimal amount of fresh oak. A little custard tart. The very best side of modernity in cognac. Mouth: very coherent, fresh, with more peaches, mint and liquorice at first, then a little lemon, which is pretty uncommon in cognac, in my meagre experience. Then various cakes, the usual raisin rolls, a chunk of mirabelle tarte, and just a good glass of proper pinot gris. Finish: medium, still very fresh, with some quince jelly this time. A little liquorice and vanilla are back in the aftertaste. Comments: warning, drinkability index very high here. To be honest, I wouldn't touch 95% of all the VSOPs you could find in shops, but this one's rather 'VVSOP' (very, very special – or superior - old pale).
SGP:651 - 87 points.

Grapediggaz 'XO' (46.3%, Wu Dram Clan and Kirsch Import, cognac, 2022)

Grapediggaz 'XO' (46.3%, Wu Dram Clan and Kirsch Import, cognac, 2022) Four stars and a half
No, VSOP or XO are not exactly 'NAS', they do stand for minimal ages. VSOP = minimum 4 years, XO minimum 10 years. Naturally, all houses claim that their own are much older. In the case of Vallein Tercinier, I would tend to believe them. Colour: gold. Nose: more rounded, more on various pastries and cakes, and whilst the VSOP could make you think of some malt whiskies at times (at times!) this XO is rather geared towards rum (at times!) Some honeys at first, some cane juice, some riper peaches this time, some earthy liquorice, quinces, ripe greengages, then stolle (cake) and a little tobacco. The bananas too have ripened. Mouth: pretty much in the same style as that of the VSOP, that is to say full of fresh aromatics, juicy fruits and all sorts of cakes that would shelter raisins (including kougelhopf, naturally). It's just got more honey, including chestnut honey, one of our favourites. Finish: rather longer than the VSOP, with some roasted nuts this time, as well as several dried fruits in the aftertaste. And a little liquorice this time again. Comments: like them almost equally. I've just noticed that the prices for both were extremely fair, while Christmas is around the corner. Need I say more? (I receive a token for each bottle they sell, and against 50 of those tokens I'll get a Grapediggaz baseball cap, against 100 tokens a T-shirt.)

SGP:641 - 88 points.

We're now expecting a Napoléon by Grapediggaz. But in the meantime…

De Luze 'Infini' (40%, OB, cognac, Grande Champagne, +/-2022)

De Luze 'Infini' (40%, OB, cognac, Grande Champagne, +/-2022) Five stars
An extremely prestigious crystal decanter by Saint-Louis and a blend of very old cognacs by De Luze in Angeac, up to 100 years old. Some say that the neck is cased in 24carat solid gold. The juices stem from Domaine Boinaud, now owners of De Luze, while Domaine Boinaud gather no less than 430ha of vines in Grande Champagne, making them the largest independent estate in the Cognac region (thanks for all the data, Glenfahrn!) Colour: apricot. Nose: very soft, almost whispering, rather a sum of many smaller aromas, including floral ones (dandelions, acacia, wisteria, honeysuckle), some nougats (black, white, pistachio, almonds, hazelnuts…), many soft honeys (clover, acacia, sunflower…)… In the background, some subtle old wines, such as that Reliquia by Barbadillos that we cracked open just two weeks ago, plus the usual suspects prunes and chocolate. This nose is absolutely wonderful, as expected, just give it time. But who would rush such an old glory? Mouth: citrus! Which is amazing. Tangerine jam, triple-sec, Jaffa cakes, kumquats and bergamots… The touches of old wood, combined with those citrusy notes, could make you believe that your tasting the rarest earl grey around. Precisely, there's also some orange blossom water, many subtle herbal teas, and while there would be some super-old wine on the palate as well, that would rather be a very old Sauternes than that sherry that we found on the nose. Why not the greatest château! We won't mention all the dried fruits, the list would be endless. The 40% vol. do work, by the way, even if we would have preferred 45%, but I suppose 45% are extremely hard to fetch in Cognac (and in a wet cellar) when the spirits are this old. Finish: right, it cannot be very long, but at least the oak never gets in the way, you wouldn't even actually mention black tea. Love the aftertaste on sultanas and tangerine marmalade, as well as the touches of Szechuan pepper. Comments: I wasn't expecting this much citrus, that's fantastic. Some of these extremely old cognacs have started to nosedive, but that's absolutely not the case here. As for the price, it's around ten times lower than those of similar Macallans or Dalmores. Indeed, It is all a matter of perspective.

SGP:651 - 91 points.

We've been too low down the vintages, let's try to right this ship…

Prunier 'Lot 51' (58%, OB, wine4you 10th anniversary, Grande Champagne, 2021)

Prunier 'Lot 51' (58%, OB, wine4you 10th anniversary, Grande Champagne, 2021) Five stars
Nowhere does it say that this is a 1951. Colour: red copper. Nose: just as sublime, only a tad more for the countryside (no crystal decanter, you see), with more straightforward fruits, tobaccos, hardwoods and polishes. Including metal polish, rust remover and olive oil! Plus blood oranges, ripe figs, and Figolu biscuits. If you don't know Figolu, well, you should. The most beautiful side of rusticity, shall we say. With water: figs and raisins in abundance, then humus and mushrooms, even a little compost. Mouth (neat): high-power arrival, with varnish, orange zests, pepper, then hay and leather, apple peel, blood oranges… To think that this was probably distilled more than seventy years ago, it is almost a yearling when not reduced. With water: a perfect little monster incredibly fresh and rocking for its age. There's even some coffee. Finish: long, a notch grassy and earthier, otherwise on marmalade and fruitcake. Something reminiscent of patchouli and rose petals in the aftertaste, perhaps its feminine side (if I may, of course cognac is gender-neutral). Comments: in my book, this is simply of the same very high level as that of De Luze's Infini.
SGP:661 - 91 points.

Le Notoire (44.8%, Fanny Fougerat, très vieux fins bois, hors-série, 680 bottles, 2022)

Le Notoire (44.8%, Fanny Fougerat, très vieux fins bois, hors-série, 680 bottles, 2022) Five stars
This is a blend of +/- 40 years old fins bois from Saint-Bris-Des-Bois in the Charente-Maritime. Le notoire means something like 'the well-known', not exactly 'the notorious'. Nothing to do with 'le notaire' (the solicitor – although French solicitors have a reputation for drinking a lot of cognac; well they used to). Colour: gold. Nose: these 'bois' are a little more restrained, less exuberant than the Champagnes, probably more on grasses, apples, plums, gooseberries, green tea, also, in this case, grapes, muscat, lilies, jasmine, liquorice wood, with perhaps a drop of rosewater…  and wait, Turkish delights. We're almost in Istanbul now. Mouth: blasted, I can feel another 91 coming. You would almost believe this is a Clynelish, with citrons and beeswax, some lemongrass, melissa water, the usual raisins (not quite to be met in Clynelish), then liquorice and a drop of absinth. It is a perfect palate, fresh, complex, very elegant, well-mannered, redolent of long walks… in the Charente-Maritime. Finish: medium, class, fresh, elegant, balanced to perfection. Comments: the Grosperrin folks already convinced me that there were glories to be found amongst the ordinaires, bons and fins bois, this is just some super-proof. I'd add that the price for this +/-40 is scandalously low and that Christmas is the 25th of December.
SGP:551 - 91 points.

There, just for fun, we could try a middle-aged bois ordinaires by Grosperrin…

Bois Ordinaires 18 yo (51.5%, Jean Grosperrin, Lot 917, 2022)

Bois Ordinaires 18 yo (51.5%, Jean Grosperrin, Lot 917, 2022) Four stars and a half
Watch this one, it is a Bois Ordinaires from the Isle of Oléron, which lies off Rochefort if you will. It stems from a very small estate that stopped its activities in 2007. They say old cognacs from the isles are 30 times rarer than Grandes Champagnes of similar ages, so indeed, this is a rarity, kudos to Grosperrin (and Fanny Fougerat, and probably the house Camus and others) for keeping the flame alive. Colour: deep gold. Nose: one engaging baby (in the old days we would have written 's**y'), rather on nougats, preserved peaches, very soft liquorice, barrelled chardonnay, plus the compadres mirabelles and quinces, for sure. Almost forgot to mention tarte tatin. This is anything but ordinary, so far. With water: but-this-is-a-chardonnay. Bring it down to 13% vol. and presto, you've got a Meursault (without any guarantees). Mouth (neat): pretty much in the style of the Grapediggaz XO, just with more knack, oomph and zing. It is almost a little hot, while there are a few oak spices (ginger, nutmeg) flying around. With water: gets gentler, civilised, more on honey, cake, rum baba, sponge cake, cheesecake (we add raisins!)… Finish: medium, fresh, perhaps less 'different' at this point. Those light oak spices remain in the aftertaste. Comments: I've seen this came from a dry chai/warehouse, which would make the spirits a little drier and spicier, as I understand it. Nonetheless, it's another rather fabulous cognac, and a rare one at that. Price? Pff…

SGP:551 - 88 points.

Since we're having our favourite houses today (which is the very definition of a favourite house, no?)…

Jean-Luc Pasquet 'L.64 - Le Cognac de Claude' (47.4%, OB, Grande Champagne, 377 bottles, 2022)

Jean-Luc Pasquet 'L.64 - Le Cognac de Claude' (47.4%, OB, Grande Champagne, 377 bottles, 2022) Four stars and a half
A single cask gathered at Mr Claude Duluc's in Touzac. It is very moving to read these small growers' stories, which the house Pasquet collects and keeps for posterity. Not many houses do that! Now whether this was really distilled right in the middle of the Beatlemania, I don't know. Colour: very deep amber. Nose: this one's extremely floral, aromatic, very clean, very seductive, with peonies and orange blossom, then rose petals and guavas, mangos, a little black nougat (still warm), pecan pie (still warm as well), botrytis, late-harvest gewurz, old muscat… Well, you see. Exactly the opposite of the very lovely 'Bois' that we just tried. Mouth: it's fruit juice. Say cassis, mango, cranberry and pomegranate, all kept in wood. There is a little oak indeed, perhaps towards rosehip tea, then ripe apricots and oranges, that gewurz VT yet again, Sauternes (especially sémillon), and more and more rosehip tea. This huge fruitiness balances the old oak very well here, I'm sure they could keep chatting together for hours in your glass.  Finish: medium, with that balance preserved all the way till the end of the aftertaste. Comments: this cognac is a tightrope walker. Was Claude a tightrope walker in his young days?
SGP:751 - 89 points.

Last one today, another Grande Champagne that may have known The Beatles…

Jean Fillioux 'Lot N°63' (44%, Through The Grapevine, Grande Champagne, 543 bottles)

Jean Fillioux 'Lot N°63' (44%, Through The Grapevine, Grande Champagne, 543 bottles) Four stars and a half
A famous house in Juillac, with a fairly large estate (25ha). This one should almost be 60, but you never quite know, when they don't tell you, whether the spirit has been spending all its life in wood, or if it was, partially or totally, transferred to demijohns at some point. Colour: dark amber. Nose: this time the oak speaks first, with a lot of liquorice, heavy and heady floral notes (peonies and roses), cedar and pine woods, sandalwood and incense, then we're moving towards chestnut and thyme honeys, varnish, walnut wine, old PX, hoisin sauce, prunes, even a little Marmite… Well, it's pretty thick on the nose, but there are no heavy tannins at this point, so perhaps is it just 'a desired style'. Mouth: rather in the style of the Pasquet, with rather a lot of wood, only balanced with jams and liqueurs instead of fruits this time. Blackberry jelly, crème de cassis, our beloved Austrian plum-filled chocolates, or even that incredible thing they also make in Austria, called 'Styx', which is 'dark chocolate filled with poppy, plum jam and muskateller brandy.' I'm quoting from their website ('a desirable sweet temptation'). It is also a little vinous (merlot, rancio, more PX…) So all in all, a spectacularly heavy cognac. Finish: very long, piney, jammy. Some vieille prune, some heavy honey, some cherry liqueur, and perhaps drops of a muscular red Bourgogne. A Nuits-Saint-Georges, for example. Strawberry jam in the aftertaste; no, really. Comments: very wonderful, although a little tiring. Tiring, but truly wonderful.
SGP:761 - 88 points.

You couldn't climb over that one. Cheers.

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

 

November 26, 2022


Whiskyfun

 

 

 

Angus's Corner
From our correspondent and
skilled taster Angus MacRaild in Scotland
Angus  
Ten Imperial
Imperial is a name that's gathered a heftier reputation since the distillery's demise - wasn't it ever thus with closed distilleries? There's many tasty examples around from the 1990s vintages at the moment, many of them thanks to this large parcel that Elixir Distillers are slowly digesting, but of course also various notable other indy examples too. We'll have ten of them today, so expect to see the words 'wax' and 'honey' repeated liberally throughout the rest of this post…

 

Imperial 'Marriage' 28 yo (40.8%, Elixir Distillers 'The Single Malts Of Scotland', a marriage of five bourbon barrels, 600 bottles)

Imperial 'Marriage' 28 yo (40.8%, Elixir Distillers 'The Single Malts Of Scotland', a marriage of five bourbon barrels, 600 bottles)
I'm always a fan of small batch bottlings like this, although low ABVs such as this can sometimes be problematic… Colour: pale gold. Nose: as expected, pure waxes, honeys, pollens, sheep wool and various tinned fruits in syrup. Some graphite and tea tree oil as well. Has this lovely profile that sits between resinous and gloopy in terms of how its fruitiness presents. I also find old shoe leather and mineral oils. A simple but satisfying nose. Mouth: there is some fragility here, which was to be expected, which brings a slightly brittle and drier edge to the palate. A slightly dusty waxiness, some mustard powder, dried out honeycomb and touches of citrus pith and fennel seed. Attractive and charming, but a little tea-ish and soft at the same time. Finish: short, delicately medical with lanolin and then chamomile tea, pollens and a little malt extract. However, it tends to become a little too drying for my taste. Comments: elegant, charming and easy - just a little fragile and drying.
SGP: 451 - 83 points.

 

 

Imperial 22 yo 1998/2020 (48.4%, Club Qing 'The Gambler' for Rudder & Club Qing, cask #103929, 182 bottles)

Imperial 22 yo 1998/2020 (48.4%, Club Qing 'The Gambler' for Rudder & Club Qing, cask #103929, 182 bottles)
Colour: white wine. Nose: lively and fresh, one of those ones that goes more decisively towards fabrics, sun lotion, snapped twigs, potting sheds and vase water. Also hints of strop leather and tiger balm. Natural but also rather big and well-structured. A wee glimmer of mint tea with honey. Mouth: more classically on waxes, honeys, pollens and olive oil, a nice balance between sweet and dry aspects, then wee impressions of yellow fruits and herbal wines. Lovely and superbly sippable at this ABV. Finish: medium, back on raw ingredients, yeasty bread dough, breakfast cereals drizzled with honey and an impression of crushed oatcakes. Comments: a nicely naked and well-chiselled Imperial. Another one that makes you really think of Clynelish, and just what a lovely and impeccable distillate Imperial was.
SGP: 461 - 88 points.

 

 

Imperial 23 yo 1997/2020 (45.4%, Elixir Distillers 'The Single Malts Of Scotland', cask #2798, bourbon barrel, 151 bottles)

Imperial 23 yo 1997/2020 (45.4%, Elixir Distillers 'The Single Malts Of Scotland', cask #2798, bourbon barrel, 151 bottles)
Colour: pale gold. Nose: gently honeyed at first with some impressions of hand cream, putty, sandalwood, lemon barley water and mineral oils. A fresh and nicely fatty distillate at a good age. Goes on with a little linseed oil and camphor, also we dollop of lemon marmalade. Mouth: good balance with some sweeter cereal and citrus tones against slightly bitter herbs, peppery warmth and wee medicinal touches such as tiger balm and lanolin. Also a drop of cod liver oil and hessian. Finish: medium, a little minty and herbal with grassy and lemony touches, also still nicely waxy and oily. Comments: easy and delicious, like the majority of these 90s batches of Imperial. Similar story to these parcels of 90s Ben Nevis in my view.
SGP: 552 - 89 points.

 

 

Imperial 26 yo 1996/2022 (51.5%, The Whisky Exchange 'The Whisky Show', cask #1053+1189)

Imperial 26 yo 1996/2022 (51.5%, The Whisky Exchange 'The Whisky Show', cask #1053+1189)
Sadly I couldn't make the show this year, turns out having a baby is quite time consuming… Colour: gold. Nose: this one has a slightly sappier and greener profile up front. Crushed flower stems, pollens, vase water and mead, then shoe polish and damp hessian. Narrower, tenser and more powerful, which I rather enjoy. With water: lemon verbena, tea tree oil, hardwood resins and wee touches of orange sherbet and dried mango. Mouth: yes! Big syrupy fruit salad juices with olive oil and a superbly fat waxiness that incorporates mead, camphor and putty. Wonderful notes of lemons and limes in syrupy form, yellow flowers and their nectars, cedar wood and softer medicinal tones. Superb! With water: oranges, limes and lemons with waxes, pollens and some exotic fruit teas. Just great! Finish: good length, a little leaner, more bitterly herbal and on honeycomb and pepper now. A touch of eucalyptus in the aftertaste. Comments: top notch! A wonderful wee small batch composition and showing a great balance of sweetness, spice and nicely fat distillate.
SGP: 662 - 90 points.

 

 

Imperial 24 yo 1995/2019 (42%, Valinch & Mallet, cask #20-2402, bourbon barrel, 181 bottles)

Imperial 24 yo 1995/2019 (42%, Valinch & Mallet, cask #20-2402, bourbon barrel, 181 bottles)
Colour: pale straw. Nose: immediately bright, fresh and citric with many fresh cereal and freshly malted barley impressions. Natural sweetness, feelings of summer, bailed hay, barley water, lemon cordial and these gentle but clear background waxy and honey notes. In keeping with the best of these 90s Imperial batches so far. Mouth: gorgeous medley of sweet barley sugars, waxes, pollens, honeycomb and the feeling of sweetened olive oil and breakfast cereals dusted with icing sugars. Natural, well matured malt whisky that is still full of the raw ingredients but manages to balance that with more mature complexities such as waxy and honey flavours. It's just lacking a tiny bit of power at this strength, but otherwise extremely pleasurable. Finish: a little short here, but still very freshly on barley, cereals, caramelised oatmeal, lemon rinds and a little waxiness. Comments: very typical Imperial and a totally scoff-able drop that would probably evaporate unfeasibly fast if you had a bottle in the house. Just lacking a wee bit of power in the finish, otherwise a certain 90 pointer.
SGP: 551 - 89 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)
Colour: pale gold. Nose: this one feels a little shy, on softer earthy and peppery notes, wet leaves, cocoa and a little flower honey. A leaner and slightly more organic profile. Some sandalwood, lemon rind and gorse flower coming through as well. I don't detect the usual waxier notes so far. With water: pressed flowers, hand cream, lanolin and various fabrics like hessian and oily toolbox cloth. Also a touch of soot and green tea. Mouth: those familiar waxes and honeys are more clearly present here but it still feels like a slightly lighter take on this Imperial profile. Sappier, more fir resins, pot pourri, bitter marmalade and touches of clay and ointment. With water: feels drier, a little more brittle and also more peppery and warming now. More teas, dried flowers, linens, ink and some rolling tobacco. Finish: medium, again quite drying and peppery, some gritty waxiness and a few traces of honey. Comments: all very fine, but I think it suffers from comparison with some of its neighbours. The drier side without the balancing honey sweetness that many of the others display.
SGP: 451 - 87 points.

 

 

Imperial 25 yo 1995/2021 (53.6%, Elixir Distillers 'The Single Malts Of Scotland', cask #7851, bourbon barrel, 142 bottles)

Imperial 25 yo 1995/2021 (53.6%, Elixir Distillers 'The Single Malts Of Scotland', cask #7851, bourbon barrel, 142 bottles)
Colour: gold. Nose: a more weighty and assertive style that's more about concentrated honeys, medicines and waxes. Also dried heather flowers, vase water, ink and putty. A fatty and distinctly full-bodied distillate at a perfect age. There's also sandalwood, coconut and hessian coming through now. A style that makes you think of Clynelish in many ways. With water: a slightly more savoury profile now that incorporates pastries, white bread and lightly hopped IPAs. Waxed canvass and cedar wood. Mouth: excellent arrival, precisely waxy, honeyed, slightly salty, notes of sandalwood, camphor, putty and also dustier notes of pollens, citrus rinds and wormwood. With water: outstanding now, on eucalyptus resins, mentholated tobaccos, salted honey, aged mead and mustard powder. Blind you might have said an old Banff. Finish: long, peppery, mustardy, waxy and with some nicely drying notes of fruit teas, pithy citrus rinds and a few more dried flowers. Comments: above 50% seems to be where these Imperials really shine, this one was outstanding, tastes like it could have been distilled 20-30 years previously.
SGP: 662 - 91 points.

 

 

Imperial 24 yo 1995/2020 (53.9%, Elixir Distillers 'The Single Malts Of Scotland' for Kensington Wine Market, cask #7850, bourbon, 148 bottles)

Imperial 24 yo 1995/2020 (53.9%, Elixir Distillers 'The Single Malts Of Scotland' for Kensington Wine Market, cask #7850, bourbon, 148 bottles)
Colour: pale gold. Nose: gorgeous once again, on linseed oils, fruity waxes, pulpy exotic fruits, mineral oils and sandalwood. Also those familiar layers of honey and flower nectars. Perhaps a slightly neater and more compact profile, but still hugely pleasurable and elegant. With water: leaner, drier, sootier and more on minerals, stones, dried out and crystallised honeys and subtle notes of ales and cloves. Mouth: same feeling of precision waxiness with peppery warmth, cedar wood, linseed oils, dried exotic fruits such as papaya and mango, then some desiccated coconut and various teas of the green, herbal and fruit varieties. With water: a lovely, easy fruitiness now that incorporates kiwi, lime and star fruit. Some runny honey and a few drops of yellow Chartreuse. Finish: good length, warming, delicately medicinal, herbal and with mineral oils and camphor. Comments: same terrific quality juice, I just preferred the slightly more abundant and 'energetic' style of cask 7851 by a notch.
SGP: 561 - 90 points.

 

 

Imperial 29 yo 1991/2020 (45.7%, Elixir Distillers 'The Single Malts Of Scotland', cask #280, bourbon barrel, 194 bottles)

Imperial 29 yo 1991/2020 (45.7%, Elixir Distillers 'The Single Malts Of Scotland', cask #280, bourbon barrel, 194 bottles)
Colour: pale gold. Nose: softer and behaving almost like some aged dry Riesling of Chenin, with these honey on toast vibes, oils, waxes, dried lemon thyme, mineral oil notes and a feeling of waxed canvass and dried out old ointments. A more subtle and shy take but still with many charms.  Mouth: juicy and on fruit salad flavours, heather honey, a little bubblegum and then impressions of yellow flowers and their nectars, mango lassi and lemon-infused olive oil. Excellent, but perhaps lacks a little of the assertiveness of character that the 95s seem to have, whether that's age or production style I couldn't tell you. Finish: medium, peppery, a little sappy and with dried exotic fruits and herbal teas. Comments: another excellent one, but again just a tad on the soft side to nudge past the 90 mark.
SGP: 551 - 88 points.

 

 

Imperial 30 yo (54.8%, Elixir Distillers 'Director's Special', bourbon barrel, 140 bottles)

Imperial 30 yo (54.8%, Elixir Distillers 'Director's Special', bourbon barrel, 140 bottles)
Colour: gold. Nose: honeys, dried exotic fruits, these lovely soft and malleable waxy impressions and then wee touches of leather, tree bark and cedar wood. Sappy, sharp and even slightly mustardy. Everything precise and in its place with an overarching impression of elegance and poise. With water: cooking oils, salted honey, wood resins, pickled fruits and aniseed. Mouth: big arrival, same honeyed profile as on the nose but it's more medicinal and almost salty here. Lapsang souchong tea, herbal extracts, mineral oil, wee sooty touches and camphor. Big, fatty and swaggering old school malt whisky! Quite a few tertiary wee notes such as hand cream, hibiscus and lemon verbena. With water: excellent concentration and power, citrus liqueurs, crystallised honey, camphor, tea tree oil and beeswax polish. Finish: long, earthy, drying waxiness, warming peppery notes and some ideas of spiced breads and hessian. Comments: I can see why they would isolate this cask for something a bit more 'Special', it certainly stands apart with this more powerful profile that is a tad drier, bigger and more assertive. Although, it does kind of demand you sit up and pay attention.
SGP: 462 - 90 points.

 

 

 

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

 

November 25, 2022


Whiskyfun

Caol Ila by the bucketful, part four and hopefully last

 

In truth we were having a secret goal, which was to try our 800th Caol Ila before the end of the year. I think we shall succeed… In the meantime, more wine (and Caol Ila, ha)…

Smoked Oysters

Caol Ila 9 yo 2013/2022 (48%, Artist Collective, LMDW, recharred wine cask, 1388 bottles)

Caol Ila 9 yo 2013/2022 (48%, Artist Collective, LMDW, recharred wine cask, 1388 bottles) Four stars
The label's been done by painter Yanis Khannoussi, but the wine, no ideas… Colour: light gold. Nose: not so much wine, but recharring probably did offset any obvious wineyness, while we're having a rather perfect young and fresh Caol Ila under our nose, with ashes in abundance and a good basket of fresh almonds. You may add the right amount of camphor and naturally, some seawater. Mouth: a tad sour in a good way, with lemon and apple juices, a curious touch of mustard, the expected saltiness, and the no-less expected oysters. These 48% vol. always work well as far as, well, strengths are concerned. Finish: medium, very briney. More oysters, ashes and zests. Comments: were those Champagne casks? I'm asking because Champagne with oysters always works well.

SGP:556 - 86 points.

Caol Ila 11 yo 2010/2022 (59.1%, Artist Collective, LMDW, refill sherry butt, 1191 bottles)

Caol Ila 11 yo 2010/2022 (59.1%, Artist Collective, LMDW, refill sherry butt, 1191 bottles) Four stars
Two butts have been used here. Right, peat and sherry, let's see… Colour: gold. Nose: hottish and rather fermentary, doughy, with the expected old walnuts and miso hiding a part of the Caol-Ilaness here. This is an intriguing nose… With water: even more old walnuts, earth, dried porcinis, menthol tobacco (Mum's Kools), whiffs of verbena and wormwood… Mouth (neat): big peppery and leafy smoke, over some thick marmalade. Some cedarwood too (or remember when we were sucking our pencils at school or elsewhere). With water: touches of leather, salty cockles, more walnuts and more marmalade and bitter oranges. Finish: long, with more marmalade (lovely in this context) and seashells. Walnuts in the aftertaste, as almost always with unsweet sherried peaters. Comments: you would have thought it would have been one of those very leathery 'sherry' peaters, but the butts behaved. This one too is excellent.
SGP:556 - 86 points.

How consistent aren't they all indeed? Let's go one, but this won't be exactly wine…

Caol Ila 2013/2022 (47.2%, Dumangin & Fils, ratafia champenois finish)

Caol Ila 2013/2022 (47.2%, Dumangin & Fils, ratafia champenois finish) Three stars
Picture of another bottling by Dumangin. Actually, the label tells us that this young Caol Ila was 'double barreled' in ratafia champenois casks. You may remember, since we've already tried a few very good whiskies that had been treated like that by the Champagne House Dumangin, that ratafia is grape must fortified with eau-de-vie such as marc de Champagne. It's an old-school apéritif that's currently gaining traction again. Colour: pale gold. Nose: once again, this seems to work, the ratafia having seemingly cooled down everything, rounded the malt off, and generated notes of the moistest panettone (since we're entering high season). In short, liquid panettone, how great is that? Also raisin rolls, the ratafia has really tamed the peater. Mouth: perhaps a little wilder, with walnut skins and leaves fighting back, green pepper, juniper and cloves, acidic coffee… Still lovely,