Google Another bag of undisclosed whiskies

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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

July 18, 2018


Another bag of undisclosed whiskies

You don’t know what they are, but some can be very good. Let’s see what will jump out of the shelves…

Bealach Ruadh 10 yo (57.1%, Chorlton Whisky, bourbon hogshead, 159 bottles, 2018)

Bealach Ruadh 10 yo (57.1%, Chorlton Whisky, bourbon hogshead, 159 bottles, 2018) Four stars
Colour: white wine. Nose: massive raw and tarry peat that reminds me of the last distillery on the right when you’re driving towards Islay’s most famous Celtic Cross. Tarry ropes, old paint pots, fresh putty, smoked almonds, sundried flatfish (and why not?) With water: beautiful sourness, artisanal cider, beginner’s ale, grist… Mouth (neat): sweet, pearish, lemony, tarry and very smoky. Someone tried to kiln lemons – or what? With water: sweet peat, even peaches, lemons, limes, ashes, tar… Now it’s not very coastal, not very brine-y… Finish: long, very ashy, with some peppers and some cinnamon. Comments: whatever this is, it’s very good. As for the name, it means a reddish narrow mountain’s pass (am I good or not – thank you!), and indeed, that kind of landscape’s rather to be seen towards Port Askaig. Well well well, the plot thickens…
SGP:457 - 87 points.

Islay Malt 2007/2015 (51.6%, Sansibar for S Spirit Shop Selection, bourbon)

Islay Malt 2007/2015 (51.6%, Sansibar for S Spirit Shop Selection, bourbon) Four stars
Colour: white wine. Nose: gentler than the Chorlton, with more sweetness, cake, tartes… The cask was more active, and this vanilla adds a feeling of limoncello that’s anything but unpleasant. Notes of basil. With water: grass and seaweed, burnt and smoked. Brake pads. Mouth (neat): a bit hot, otherwise rather rounded, on smoked citrus, tartes, peaty jams, lemon marmalade… With water: very good, with loads of grapefruits. Another existential question, may you smoke grapefruits using dried kelp? Did anyone try that? Finish: long, a tad candied. And now it seems that they have smoked sugarcanes… (who will try that? I’m sure someone will, after all innovation is always good). Comments: another very good young one. No quibbles.
SGP:556 - 85 points.

Look, the plan was not to have peaters today. How shall we go on? Perhaps with a lighter peater, and then undisclosed unpeated whiskies from other regions… let’s see…

The Big Strand (46%, Morrison & MacKay, +/-2017)

The Big Strand (46%, Morrison & MacKay, +/-2017) Four stars
No age and no distillery name, but this is a single malt from Islay and the strength is right, so no need to gather our courage… Colour: pale white wine. Nose: rather gentle, seemingly very young, pretty briny. Olives, smoked cuts, carbon paper, ink, clams, kelp, smoked argan oil. Mouth: pears and pineapples, then lemons, then a drop of Tabasco over a fat Islay oyster, then some rather drying ashes that make you feel the need to clear your throat. Almost. Finish: medium, clean, with notes of green apples. Comments: easy, very good, flawless, and vibrant young peat that anyone will enjoy. And screw nitrosamines! (S., please…)
SGP:556 - 85 points.

As we get it (64%, Ian MacLeod, Highland, +/-2017)

As we get it (64%, Ian MacLeod, Highland, +/-2017) Four stars
Love everything in this series of single malts, especially since we’ve already had many utter stunners. I especially remember a Balvenie… oh well of well oh well… But yeah, whisky’s changed… Colour: gold. Nose: get-out-of-here! This will burn your nostrils. Kerosene, apple juice, cow dung, nail polish remover, ammonia… Seriously, is this legal? It sure will post-Brexit, but right now? With water: ah yes! Hay, malt, hops, ale, stewed brussels sprouts, artichokes… What’s not to like? Mouth (neat): you just met Mike Tyson. With water: phew! It swims very well, with some cider, tobacco, myrtle, barley sugar, a little camphor… I would really love to know what this is, I have to say I’ve tried some modern Glenturrets that were a bit like this. Very good. Finish: long, a tad challenging, but we’re always willing at WF Towers. Lovely uncommercial whisky – but I certainly do hope they sell many cases. Comments: a bit brutal, but it’s über-honest. As we drank it.
SGP:461 - 86 points.

Speyside 18 yo 1998/2016 (53.4%, The Whisky Mercenary for BYOB-C, bourbon) Four stars
Some funny wee club bottling, always enjoy these, when no one will do them anymore whisky will be dead. Colour: white wine. Nose: there is some rubber, then some grass, white truffles, gas, new wellies, wort, pot ale, leaven… Well this is rough! With water: it’s improving. Fresh brioche, croissant dough, old magazines, soot… Mouth (neat): much, much, much, much, much (that’ll do, S.) better than on the nose. Hops, IPA, pink grapefruit, tangerines… With water: and bingo! Oranges, pink bananas, mangos… Finish: medium, rather on mangos and oranges, as well as the sweets made thereof. Nice combo. Comments: water is our friend. Very funny baby that needs water more than pastis, ouzo and raki do.
SGP:651 - 86 points.

Speyside Region 8 yo (50%, Chinese Zodiac, sherry cask, 14 bottles, +/-2017)

Speyside Region 8 yo (50%, Chinese Zodiac, sherry cask, 14 bottles, +/-2017) Three stars
That’s right, fourteen bottles altogether. Colour: gold. Nose: hold on, this is angular and sharp. Uhu glue, varnish, cider apples, spent lees, bread dough, porridge, wort, baker’s yeast, weissen bier… With water: it’sss porridge. Mouth (neat): funny and unlikely. Who would blend grapefruit and pineapple juices with Champagne yeast (the strongest) and formula milk? With water: no water. Finish: medium, very yeasty. Comments: a fun bottling that’s all about whisky geekdom, excesses, and loyalty. I say fiscally-optimised booze multinationals should listen to these wee guys. Sure I’m part of those ‘guys’.
SGP:451 - 82 points.

Speyside Region 19 yo 1988/2017 (52.3%, Maltbarn, 177 bottles)

Speyside Region 19 yo 1988/2017 (52.3%, Maltbarn, 177 bottles) Four stars
Colour: gold. Nose: on many oils. Sunflower, grape pips, rapeseed… This is very unusual indeed, and what’s even more unusual is the way it would go on with some hay, farmyard in august, raw pizza dough, manzanilla… With water: wonderful maltiness, tobacco, fino sherry… Well always watch what these Maltbarn guys are selecting, they would never fail you. Just the opposite of their Fußballmannschaft (oh, no, please S., do show a bit of compassion!)  Mouth (neat): excellent, if a bit too punchy for this sissy of a taster. Feels like 62.3% rather than just 52.3! Actually, this is all about proper sundried sultanas. With water: careful with water, please add just one or two drops, as it’s not quite a swimmer. Otherwise, lovely malty/barley-y style. Finish: rather long, nice, a tad rough. A bit waxy, a notch ale-y. Comments: all good.
SGP:551 - 85 points.

Perhaps a last one now… And perhaps a glorious old one…

Glen Fraser 1956 (49.9, Gordon & MacPhail for Strathnairn Whisky ltd., +/-1992)

Glen Fraser 1956 (49.9, Gordon & MacPhail for Strathnairn Whisky ltd., +/-1992) Four stars
No one knows, or will tell you what this is. Some say it’s a single malt, some others would swear it’s a blended one… As for Strathnairn Whisky, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was one of G&M’s sub-companies. Not too sure and after all, that is totally unimportant. Colour: amber. Nose: amazing, this is XIXth century Cognac. Really. Old prune liqueurs, sloe, damsons, sultanas, then marrow bouillon, very old Sauternes, old books, light soy sauce, balm, cigars, sandalwood, incense, fir honey… That’s what’s missing from many contemporary whiskies, it’s called complexity. Mouth: bwah bwah bwah, this is incredibly resinous, sappy, and indeed pine-y. You’re almost drinking turpentine, actually. Too much for me, let’s try to add a wee drop of water… With water: that works, albeit partially. Black tea, walnut stain (not that I’ve ever sipped any), coffee… Finish: medium, and pretty dry. Eating cocoa. We’ve tried some very old Glenfarclas that were a bit like this. Comments: a slightly difficult bottle, I would say, although quality’s extremely high, in true G&M fashion. Some colleagues would call it ‘a challenging dram’.
SGP:362 - 85 points.

(Thank you Aaron!)






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