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

October 12, 2019





Angus's Corner
From our casual Scottish correspondent
and guest taster Angus MacRaild
Duos until we drop!
Let’s do battle with the sample pile once more and stick to our tried and tested formula of mixed pairings.


Kamiki Blended Malt Whisky (48%, OB, Batch 2, 2018)

Kamiki Blended Malt Whisky (48%, OB, Batch 2, 2018)
One of these ‘Bastard’ Japanese blended malts on first inspection, although, in all fairness, they do at least state it is blended with ‘other malt whiskies’. But does that really count as transparency? This one is also finished in ‘yoshino-sugi’ or ‘Japanese Cedar’ wood casks. An oddity and I’ve no idea what to expect… Colour: gold. Nose: it could be the power of suggestion, but there really is something very cedar-centric about this nose. Freshly opened cigar boxes, fir trees, pine air freshener and Uhu glue sticks. Also some putty, curry leaf, pencil shavings and hints of jasmine and incense. It’s perfectly pleasant but the oak does feel rather boisterous and jarring. Mouth: here the wood becomes a bit too intense for me. More glue, papier mâché, over-sugared tea and again this rather lumpy, plasticky cedar note. Tastes like a fake Christmas tree. Finish: Pretty brief, sawdusty, cardboardy and with some thin notes of cheap sugar syrups. An oddly astringent aftertaste. Comments: I’ve no idea whether a single teaspoon or a whole bottle of Japanese malt went into this but, whatever is in there, it’s all been flattened under the weirdly sweet woodiness. Not a fan I’m afraid. But then, I’ve not doubt this is not aimed at the geekier end of the whisky spectrum.
SGP: 730 - 66 points.



Campbeltown Blended Malt 5 yo 2014/2019 (50%, Thompson Brothers, refill hogshead, 386 bottles)

Campbeltown Blended Malt 5 yo 2014/2019 (50%, Thompson Brothers, refill hogshead, 386 bottles)
This seems to have been another wee parcel which is slowly making its way about the indy market. Nose: very pure and fresh on linens, fabrics, canvas, wet rocks, gravel and hints of petrol and plain cereals. I like this combination of innocence and extreme purity. There’s some chalk, gorse flower and rapeseed oil too. With water: new shoes, sunflower oil, trail mix and ink. Mouth: a tad rough but with some pleasing notes of root vegetables, putty, coarse minerals, raw oatmeal and tequila blanco. With water: some lemon cough drops in soda water. More cereals, cut grass, freshly chopped herbs and getting increasingly austere and punchy - a minor youthful tantrum perhaps? Finish: Medium and featuring rather a lot of dusty cereals, caraway, wet leaves and putty. Comments: It’s a very fine young drop although I’m not sure how easily I’d make it through a whole bottle. You get the sense that with these casks a few more years would make a lot of difference.
SGP: 352 - 78 points.



Glen Spey 17 yo 2001/2019 (53.3%, Cadenhead Small Batch, 2 bourbon hogsheads, 546 bottles)

Glen Spey 17 yo 2001/2019 (53.3%, Cadenhead Small Batch, 2 bourbon hogsheads, 546 bottles)
Good old Glen Spey, long overshadowed by Speyburn which lies but a single mile to the north… Colour: pale straw. Nose: definite notes of malt whisky! Plain cereals, barley, a touch of yoghurt, a suggestion of vanilla. Did you see that Mr Donald might finally be getting impeached? Some grass… The great thing about being self-employed is getting to enjoy British daytime TV, let me tell you about Homes Under The Hammer… With water: I think there may be a cactus growing in the corner (Stefan!) And perhaps a stray geranium that lost its way. Mouth: Yes. This is definitely malt whisky. Phew! So, the thing about trying to buy property in Edinburgh these days is… Did I mention something vaguely lemony? With water: plain barley mixed with oatcakes, putty and a midget miser’s thimble of golden syrup. But anyway, as I was saying about Brexit… Finish: Zzzzzz… Comments: Not sure this whisky has helped Glen Spey shed it’s reputation for being boring. The sort of cask that would probably have been more comfortably leading a quiet life of Johnnie Walker cloaked anonymity.
SGP: 441 - 76 points.



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

Glen Spey 17 yo 2001/2019 (54.5%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, bourbon hogshead, 294 bottles)
Oh goody! A sibling cask! Colour: pale white wine. Nose: A tad more grassy and punchy. A little more chalky and some more interesting notes of lemon powder and fresh fabrics. But otherwise we’re struggling through the same ballpark. With water: some vase water, a dried flower or two? Water seems to kind of obliterate any remnant character. Mouth: a little more buttery with some nice notes of fresh herbs. But it’s overall pretty austere and plain. With water: some lemon rind, quinine and a slightly astringent bitterness. Getting weird and a bit difficult now, developing something like molten plastic. Finish: Mercifully short and empty. Comments: I had this one initially a couple of points above the SB but it really fell apart with water I thought. I know I often talk about the merits of refill wood, but if the distillate is this plain and hollow to being with, I doubt you’ll ever get anything more than mundane whisky.
SGP: 341 - 74 points.



Let’s try to climb out of this hole we seem to be digging for ourselves.



Irish Single Malt 17 yo 2001/2019 (57.2%, Rolf Kaspar for Hotel Eissener, cask #10821, sherry, 290 bottles)

Irish Single Malt 17 yo 2001/2019 (57.2%, Rolf Kaspar for Hotel Eissener, cask #10821, sherry, 290 bottles)
Theoretically a couple of Irish will freshen things up around here… Colour: amber. Nose: tobacco leaf and butterscotch to begin. Expensive rum cocktails, caramelised brown sugars, sultanas and chopped dates. A slight flinty and grassy edge to the sherry as well which keeps things lively. With water: nuttier now, some milk chocolate, praline and bramble jam. Mouth: Ooft. Lovely syrupy, lightly grassy and earthy sherry with this very typical old Irish quality of metal polish, plush cereals and cod liver oil. Some walnuts, hessian, soot, prune juice. It’s kind of all over the place but in a very enjoyable fashion. A giddy wee Irish! In time the sherry develops a rather fat and earthy profile with notes of bicycle inner tube and beef stock. With water: wee touches of mint appear in the sherry, along with more assertive notes of old agricole rhums, mineral oil, graphite, chai tea and mushroom powder. Finish: Long, earthy, very leathery and developing notes of mutton cooked with prunes, sultanas and a little more fresh rubber. Comments: I know these rubber notes won’t be to everyone’s taste, but I find it to be on the ‘natural’ side of dirtiness. If you see what I mean? I really liked how, despite the punch of the sherry, it never lets you forget that this is Irish Whiskey.
SGP: 561 - 87 points.



Ireland 28 yo 1990/2018 (47.3%, Archives ‘The Fishes of Samoa’, cask #578, barrel, 102 bottles)

Ireland 28 yo 1990/2018 (47.3%, Archives ‘The Fishes of Samoa’, cask #578, barrel, 102 bottles)
Dear Whiskybase. For your next bottling series, please could you do ‘The Kebabs of Glasgow’. That is all. Love and Kisses. Angus. Colour: pale gold. Nose: Oh for goodness sake! These old Irish are almost embarrassingly fruity sometimes. Lush, ripe and direct tropical fruit salad juices. The usual suspects of mango, guava, melon, banana, papaya and passion fruit. The funny thing is that it’s not a hugely complex whisky, there’s a touch of clean cereal and a wee drop of posh olive oil, but otherwise everything seems to have fallen in line behind the fruits here. Which is absolutely an asset in this case. A touch of orange blossom and maybe a stray bay leaf as well. Mouth: interestingly it’s the spices that come first, at this age and outturn you’d expect the wood to have a voice and it certainly does but it’s lovely, clean and delivering a warmth of gentle spices. Behind that comes the fruits, more syrupy and fleshy now. Ripe banana, tinned peaches, kiwi, star fruit and kumquat. Probably caught at just the right age, much longer and you feel this might have started to fade. But as it is, this remains the height of fruity decadence. Finish: medium and on things like quince, spiced honeys, creme caramel, golden sultanas, boiled lime sweets and dried mango. Comments: We all know the deal with these stocks by now. This is quite simply another excellent and extremely pleasurable example of these great mature Irish single malts.
SGP: 641 - 90 points.



Aultmore 8 yo 1989/1997 (60.8%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection)

Aultmore 8 yo 1989/1997 (60.8%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection)
As ever, always reassuring to know the cask was made of oak. Colour: pale white wine. Nose: this falls on the elegant and pleasing side of austere to my nose. Lots of lemon scented bath salts, raw barley, cereals, chalk, pebbles and fresh lime zest. All the usual suspects you get in this kind of profile: putty, petrol, ink, wool and paper. Some tiny embrocations too. Very nice so far. With water: more chalky notes, white flowers, chalk dusters, fabrics and cooking oils. Mouth: A tad tougher on the palate. It’s not that it’s youthful or rough but there are some funny notes of plastic, porridge, kitchen cloths and cleaning fluids. Bit weird really. With water: it improves with water but it’s got this rather typical old Cadenhead AC brutality about it. Granitic and rather monolithic. Finish: Medium, gravely and a bit cardboardy. Extremely austere; George Osborne would be a fan. Comments: Started nice, but things got a little whacky after that. Although, it’s perfectly sippable with a decent splash of water - probably more highball than hip flask material. Same story for many such Cadenhead bottlings from this era.
SGP: 361 - 77 points.



Aultmore 20 yo 1997/2018 (53.2%, Cadenhead Warehouse Tour, hogshead)

Aultmore 20 yo 1997/2018 (53.2%, Cadenhead Warehouse Tour, hogshead)
Distilled the same year the previous one was bottled, I always find this weirdly poetic and pleasing in a nerdy kind of way. Colour: white wine. Nose: What’s fun is that I find more of these kinds of mineral and bath salt notes in the nose that I got in the 1989. However, here they are more pronounced, more floral, more zesty citrus notes and with more background greenery like trampled ferns and chopped parsley. Very bouncy and springy. With water: light pollens, vase water, chalk, sunflower oil and some underripe green apples. Mouth: richer than expected. Good malty sinew, an elegant sweetness like malt extract and barley sugars, some more freshly chopped herbs and hints of white stone fruits and white jelly beans - or pineapple I suppose. With water: develops towards the cereal tones with notes of oatmeal and muesli with a drizzle of runny honey. It’s lovely but I feel there are probably a gazillion casks like this lying around warehouses in Scotland. Finish: a tad short and all on plain cereals, cooking oils and soft grassy and floral notes. Comments: I feel that had the 1989 been left to reach a similar age we’d be in the same ballpark of quality. With this kind of slightly more mundane distillate and refill hoggies time really is everything. It’s very easy and pleasant but just a tad ‘malt whisky flavour’.
SGP: 441 - 80 points.



Back in the hole it seems. Time to shake things up with some Glenturret if you please.



Glenturret 29 yo 1989/2019 (44.6%, Signatory Cask Strength Collection, cask #234, hogshead, 250 bottles)

Glenturret 29 yo 1989/2019 (44.6%, Signatory Vintage Cask Strength Collection, cask #234, hogshead, 250 bottles)
Colour: straw. Nose: Excuse me? Fruits galore? Seriously, this is a wonderful aroma of ripe banana chopped in muesli, lots of sultana, star fruit, green apple, gooseberry and pear eau de vie. Harmonious, dangerously easy and elegant. Not unlike these old Irish Whiskeys in that you can simply nose and sip them without a care in the world and without over-intellectualising. Mouth: Pah! Superbly rich, oily and full of the same ripe garden and orchard fruits that dominated the nose. Even a few tropical inflections as well and a lovely undercurrent of delicate waxiness. And the weight and texture in the mouth feel far greater than 44.6%. Just marvellous and superbly quaffable whisky. Finish: long, lemony, exotic and full wee medical and waxy qualities. Comments: The great frustration with Glenturret is that when it’s good it can really be superb. But with the inconsistency over the years you just daren’t buy without tasting. I really loved this one!
SGP: 651 - 91 points.



Glenturret 30 yo 1988/2018 (52.4%, Signatory Vintage 30th Anniversary, cask #532, hogshead, 234 bottles)

Glenturret 30 yo 1988/2018 (52.4%, Signatory Vintage 30th Anniversary, cask #532, hogshead, 234 bottles)
So far everything else in this series has been pretty cracking. Let’s see if this one can match the 1989 though… Colour: gold. Nose: similar ballparks but this one is a tad shier initially. More on metal and shoe polishes, ripe guava, melon, elderflower cordial and sunflower oil. In the background there’s hints of fennel, caraway and some oils sheep wool. Excellent but more subtle and playful. With water: develops beautifully towards jasmine, dried herbs, passion flower, nutmeg and waxes. Beautiful. Mouth: Did I say subtle and playful? Actually this is just another fruit bomb in waiting. Only here the extra strength adds layers of syrups, oils, waxes and fat medical tinctures. Mead, lime oils, treacle pudding, banana bread, light notes of vegetable stock, honeysuckle and mint tea. Just superb! With water: fruits, oils, medicines, waxes and herbs all come together perfectly. A brilliant, cohesive, fat, textural whole. Finish: Long and oily, you really feel the texture in this whisky, like its gloopyness is hanging around and sticking to things in your mouth. Various exotic fruit teas, menthol tobaccos, pine wood, camphor and fruit cordials. Comments: I really thought the 1989 would be victorious but this 1988 is just a total killer! Seriously, Glenturret, where have you been all my life!
SGP: 662 - 92 points.



Some peat to finish I think.



Ledaig 2008/2018 (53.3%, The Good Spirits whisky shop Hong Kong, hogshead, 62 bottles)

Ledaig 2008/2018 (53.3%, The Good Spirits whisky shop Hong Kong, hogshead, 62 bottles)
Not to be confused with the excellent Good Spirits Co in Glasgow, this is in fact a recent bottling by some good folk in Hong Kong. Colour: pale straw. Nose: lovely mix of carbolic smokiness, fermenting hay, cider apples and salt and vinegar crisps at first nosing. There’s something rather Caol Ilaish about it to begin in fact. Continues with these rather nice mineral and saline notes of wet rocks, chalk, mineral salts and bath bombs. A sort of floral-accented peat smoke. With water: all on mercurochrome, rock pools, beach sand and dried seaweed flakes in ramen broth. A lovely savoury/salty/umami profile emerges. Still retaining this lighter and more elegant quality. Mouth: It’s really a lighter Ledaig I feel. An elegant floral and farmy smokiness with a few touches of kippers and brine. Petrol, lemon juice, disinfectant and salty pistachios. Goes down extremely easily! With water: smouldering pine cones (I eat them all the time!) preserved lemons and a surprisingly fuller texture and mouthfeel with this waxiness emerging. More petrol, plain peat smoke and bonfire embers. Finish: Long, lemony, sooty and with a gentle white peppery quality. More of these saline, umami notes like miso and soy sauce. Comments: Serge is often comparing contemporary Ledaigs to Ardbeg. However, this one cleaves closer to Caol Ila I think, and all the better for it. Impeccable distillate! Although, sadly only 62 bottles.
SGP: 465 - 90 points.



Ledaig 10 yo 2008/2018 (54.9%, Archives, cask #700001, hogshead, 248 bottles)

Ledaig 10 yo 2008/2018 (54.9%, Archives, cask #700001, hogshead, 248 bottles)
This one features a very attractive butterfly on the label, sadly it will pale in comparison to the new ‘Kebabs of Glasgow’ series once it arrives… Colour: white wine. Nose: initially we have these similarly sharp and fermentary notes. Smoky sourdough bread, smoked sea salt, fermenting hay, carbolic wash, lemons preserved in brine and crushed seashells. This one is slightly more acidic, sharper and more austere with these assertive saline qualities. With water: fabric, seawater, chalk, white flowers, hessian, squid ink and pure brine cut with lemon juice. Mouth: this is the bigger and more muscular side of Ledaig. Pure, beefy peat smoke, tarry ropes, embrocations, lemon infused oils, paraffin and petrol. A slightly greasy and mechanical side as well. Excellent! With water: a raw oyster wrapped in newspaper and malt vinegar. The saltiness yields to a tiny inclusion of sweetness. The texture is also a tad more syrupy now as well. Finish: Long, very salty and hugely on umami and various stocks, broths, dried herbs and black pepper. Serious, someone should make Ledaig Ramen! Comments: The ‘Ardbeg’ side of Ledaig for sure. Seriously, Whiskybase, I know we agreed on the Samsung QE82Q950R, but I’m starting to think maybe ‘home cinema system' instead...?
SGP: 366 - 90 points.



Thanks, as ever, to Dirk!









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