(Current entries)

Scottish Malts


Other Whiskies
Secret/Blended malts

Grain whisky




America & Bourbon

Other countries

Other Spirits
Other spirits

Copyright Serge Valentin
Angus MacRaild


Daily Music entries

Petits billets d'humeur
(in French)



Hi, you're in the Archives, July 2004

June 2004 <--- July 2004 ---> August 2004

July 31, 2004


Teaninich 21 yo 1983/2004 (50.8%, Cadenhead, 96 bottles) Colour: amber. Nose: quite pungent and spirity at first. Notes of varnish, shoe polish, freshly sawn oak. Very bourbonny. Otherwise a nice freshness. Notes of burnt candy sugar, fresh herbs (parsley). Hints of tequila. Not unlike the Rare Malts Teaniniches. Mouth: punchy, quite bold, on burnt sugar and caramelised apples. Not overly complex but most enjoyable. Quite a lot of vanilla notes. Long finish on caramel and sugar. Again a very good malt, but lacking a little definition for my tastes. Serge: 83, Olivier: 83.

July 30, 2004


...yes but not just any…
Glen Garioch 34 yo 1966/2000 (46%, Moon ‘In the Pink’) A malt Michiel already poured me in Limburg. Colour: surprisingly light (straw). Nose: very minty and medicinal. Camphor, tiger balsam, eucalyptus. Very fresh. Hints of marzipan, fresh almond. Very special, very interesting, and very different. Mouth: fresh and again these medicinal notes, certainly from a good shot of heavily peated malt. Quite some white fruit too, but much less than last time. Another batch? Hints of hydrocarbons and stone. Medium long finish, on stony flavours. Not a total high flyer, but it still deserves 88 points on my scale (instead of 87 formerly). Olivier gives it 89 points.

Glen Garioch 16 yo 1985 (51.9%, OB for The Whisky Exchange, cask 1585) Colour: dark amber. Nose: we have a sherry monster here. Overripe orange, seaweed, white pepper. Lots of fine wood. This one is sort of austere, which is quite amazing for such an heavily sherried malt. Great elegance, and no trace of some sherry monsters’ usual lumpiness. Amazing balance. Mouth: starts a little sugarish, but it’s soon to develop on all sorts of overripe fruits, coffee liquor, Malaga, Madeira… beside the sherry, no need to say. Some great sweet and sour notes, like in some Chinese dishes. How complex! Long finish, on coffee and burnt cake. Well, I had very few sherry monsters that were as good as this one, as I particularly like the latter’s huge complexity. A work of art. Serge: 92, Olivier: 90.


Glen Garioch 1984 (55%, OB) Colour: strawish. Nose: big, bold caramelised peach. Develops on white fruits (apple, pear), with always a nice freshness. Quite youthful and elegant. Notes of fresh butter, wild flowers. Almost no trace of peat this time. Gets a little soapy. Mouth: strong and very punchy, but a little sweetish. Hints of lavender perfume (yes, on the palate) and rosewater. A little antiquated, perhaps. Medium finish, on perfumy notes. Another very good Glen Geerie, even if this is another style again. It’s very fragrant and perfumy this time, but not in the 1990’s Bowmore style. Who said thank God? Serge 86, Olivier 87.

Glen Garioch 1971 (59.6%, Samaroli, 2280 bottles, sherry, 75cl) Colour: almost mahogany. Nose: again a sherry monster, but this time with a big, bold peat, somehow a la Ardbeg. Haha! Incredibly rich and complex. But what a nose! Lots of meaty aromas (grandma’s meatloaf). Top notch Italian coffee, garden bonfire, Worcester sauce, tabasco, humus, burnt tyre a la Port Ellen, brand new tyre… The list could be endless… And this beautiful sherry! Triple wow, but will the mouth stand up to this extraordinary nose? Mouth: oh yeah! A cathedral, even better than the nose. I don’t know where to start… Ok, first you have all these coffeeish notes: coffee itself, burnt cake, coffee liquor, dark toffee… Then you have the peat – but one of the most subtle and magnificent peat I ever came accross. Different woods’ smokes, seaweed smoke… And finally lots of cooked fruits. No need to tell you which, they’re all in there. As for the finish, it’s long of course, but also very complex and subtle, on ‘smoked’ fruitcake. Bloody hell, that’s whisky. Okay, okay, I’ll calm down, sorry, but this one really turns me on. Ratings? Yes… Serge: 96, Olivier: 97. Yes, no less. The Brora 22 yo 1972 Rare Malts still reigns supreme on my list, with 97 points, but it could well have been given the bum’s rush this time…


Glen Garioch 29 yo 1968/1997 (57.7%, OB, cask #7) Colour: cognac. Nose: again an absolute beauty. Peat, sherry and old wood. What a superb combination! It makes me think of the Auchentoshan OBs distilled in the sixties – but not of the Bowmores. Loads of dried herbs (camomile, tea), trucks of beeswax, tankers of burnt leaves… The whole being greatly underlined by one of the most elegant sherries one has ever tasted. Well, you get the picture, I guess. The mouth is, of course, beautiful as well. Punchy yet balanced, with again a perfect mixture of sherry and peat, with lots of liquorice. The perfect balance, really. And a superb, salty finish! But I guess you’re fed up with my adulatory praises, so let’s rush to these last ratings: Serge 94, Olivier 94.

July 29, 2004


Ardmore 1985/2000 (40%, G&M OB) Colour: light gold. Nose: lots of peat right at the start, even if a little subdued. Beautifully balanced. Hints of pepper and wood, with a little dried orange. Most enjoyable nose, a perfect balance a la Glen Garioch. Mouth: balanced, even if a little weak. Great peat again, pepper, orange marmalade. Quite smoky. A very nice whisky, but I think Ardmore is always good – far too underestimated! Medium long finish. Again and again, too bad they didn’t bottle it at 43 or 46%. It would have scored at least 3 points higher. But it’s still got quite some swing. Serge 84 points, Olivier 82.
Ardmore 1981/1995 (40%, G&M OB) Colour: light gold. Nose: even better than the 1985. Subtler, with peat of course, but also a very nice wood and some tropical fruit (passion fruit, kiwi). Surprisingly ‘maritime’, not unlike some great Lochsides. What a subtle nose! Mouth: again, a little too weak – a shame. Peat, orange juice, pepper, melon, apple. Gets quite peppery and woody, in a good way. Medium long finish. I’d love to taste this one un-reduced. Again, a shame, if you ask me. Serge 86, Olivier 86.
Ardmore 22 yo 1977/1999 (43%, Signatory, cask 1184) Colour: strawish. Nose: less expressive than the G&Ms at first, but quite interesting. Somewhat fresher and cleaner. Some peat, even if not too much, mixed with white fruit (apple, white melon) and milk. A little yeasty. Develops on lemon peel, lemon grass. Nice vivacity. Mouth: quite punchy, but lacks the G&M’s complexity. A little pepper and quite some tannins. Some peat, but not many fruits. Not that enjoyable, just a shadow of the nose. Long, but spirity finish. A good malt, that’s for sure, even if not the best Ardmore can do. Serge: 80, Olivier: 81.

July 28, 2004

DRINKS – 1944 - sixty years ago - a French civilian pours a British soldier a drink (must have been cider, probably not whisky). Seen at an outdoor exhibition at Les Jardins du Luxembourg, Paris.

July 26, 2004


Highland Park 36 yo 1966/2002 (43.2%, Peerless, cask #4627,174 bottles) Colour: amber. Nose: tropical fruit. Bananas, passion fruit, guava, mango, pineapple. A little weak but still enjoyable. Little wood influence. Nice hints of eucalyptus and mint. Mouth: quite spicy. Clove, nutmeg, kiwi, passion fruit. Quite a lot of wood. Long, spicy finish, getting a little dry. Very fresh for a 36yo. Not a champion but not bad at all. 86 points (Davin 88, Olivier 86).
Miltonduff 21 yo 1978/1999 (59.2%, Signatory, butt #1685) Colour: light amber. Nose: great sherry and wood. Cigar box, sandal wood, beeswax, rum, dried orange, molasses, bitter chocolate. Very nice. Mouth: bold, on Tia Maria liqueur. Lots of sherry (oloroso), old cardboard, bitter chocolate. Long finish, very bold, on some nice woody notes, with a salty feeling on the tongue’s tip. 85 points (Davin 86, Olivier 84).
Benriach 10 yo (43%, OB) Colour: straw. Nose: lots of aniseed. Dill, celery… really vegetal. Gets then fruitier, with some pear and apple. Mouth: a little bitter. Grassy, mesclun salad. Medium and bitter finish. Not much more to say, let’s forget this one as quickly as possible. 71 points (Davin 77, Olivier 78).
Benriach 1982/1995 (40%, G&M Connoisseur’s Choice old map label) Colour: amber. Nose: sherry and fruit, with some cooked butter notes and hints of wood. Mouth: creamish, lightish, sweetish, toffeeish… You know that song, don’t you? Medium finish on sherry, getting dry. Just uninteresting. 75 points (Davin 76, Olivier 76).

July 23, 2004


After having been overshadowed by both Macallan and Highland Park for years, Glengoyne changed proprietors since a few months, and Ian McLeod, the new owners, put all their PR skills at promoting their new flagship brand. Glengoyne’s high quality never was a secret amongst the Maniacs, and for instance Craig, our Master from Oz, has always been a standing groupie. I just got four cask samples from Glengoyne’s, and called fellow Maniac Olivier and friend Christophe for some help. Let’s see whether there are some true gems among these casks now…
Glengoyne 1989 (59.7%, cask sample, cask #1220) Colour: golden amber. Christophe thinks it’s beautiful. Nose: elegant sherry, very fresh and fragrant. Lots of light flowery notes: dandelion, daisy, buttercup. Hints of caramelised apple, vanilla, with whiffs of white pepper and a little nutmeg. Nice and very elegant indeed. Gets a little winey but in a good way. Olivier found some very nice caramel, some apple cooked in butter, lots of flowers and a little pepper. Mouth: bold and almost pungent. Less complex than on the nose. Hot, spicy and peppery, with tannins. Not unlike rum. Some vegetables (French beans), getting quite earthy. Hints of chicory. Olivier thinks it’s powerful, dry, with some heavy tannins, spicy, peppery and very spirity. Not that compelling. Gets earthy, with hints of turnips. In a nutshell, the mouth is a little deceptive compared to the beautiful nose. Finish: long, on coffee liquor and raw spirit. Ratings: Serge 84, Olivier 83, Christophe 84.
Glengoyne 1989 (57.8%, cask sample, cask #702) Colour: amber/orange. Nose: stronger sherry than in the previous puppy. Overripe orange, tangerine, crystallised kumquat. Develops on cooked butter and vanilla fudge. Much less complex a nose than cask 1220’s, but still very enjoyable. Hints of wood and sulphur. Christophe found it to be sherried and sort of dusty, with lots of dried orange, while Olivier found some overripe apple, caramel, wood, sherry, cooked orange and some hints of matchstick sulphur. Mouth: bold and powerful again, in the same style as the previous cask. Just more sherried. Tannins, pepper… Lots of wood, coffee. Gets a little dusty. Olivier says it’s strong, classy sherry with lots of tannins, getting dry, but nothing really special. The finish is long, on drying tannins. Ratings: Serge 83, Olivier 82, Christophe 84.
Glengoyne 1985 (57.4%, cask sample, cask #1227) Colour: golden yellow, Christophe likes it a lot. Nose: very flowery (wild flowers). Acacia honey, pollen, lime-tree flowers. Hints of butter, freshly cut cider apple. Gets more and more flowery, yet it’s a little less complex than the first sample. Christophe thinks it’s quite aggressive but flowery, with lime-tree and fermenting cider notes. Olivier says it’s quite neutral right at the start, with just a little sulphur, developing nicely on flowers and cider. He finds it to be quite complex and elegant, in fact. Mouth: rich and bold, and this time much more complex than #1 and 2. Lots of fruits, cooked apples, ripe melon, butterscotch. Notes of apricot. It’s fruity but in an austere way, not too easy, and I like that. Nice freshness. Hints of vanilla fudge, and even turnip-mash. Really interesting and multi-dimensional. Less cask influence, but much more class. Christophe likes it as well, even if he also gets the turnip notes ;-). He finds lots of cooked apricot and toasted bread too, with hints of Muscat de Beaume de Venise. Olivier thinks it’s purely superb, complex and rich. He likes its sweetness, and the fact that there’s no wood or tannins, but spices and some nice grainy and vegetal notes. Our ratings for this great cask, which I hope they’ll bottle immediately ;-): Serge 90, Olivier 90, Christophe 89.
Glengoyne 1985 (53.8%, cask sample, cask #625) Colour: deep amber, which Christophe, again, likes a lot. Nose: big sherry, but in a very special way. Strong rubber, overcooked coffee, crystallised orange. Crème brûlée, bitter chocolate. Notes of Mandarine Imperiale, and always this ‘funny’ strong rubbery note. Olivier finds it to be a sherry monster, with butterscotch, mocha, dried bananas and rubber. Christophe agrees, but says it’s rather overripe bananas than dried ones. We won’t argue. Mouth: much smoother than the three previous ones. Lots of sherry and tannins, but less than in #2. Coffee, spices (clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper). A very nice full-sherried malt, with a long, spicy finish. Olivier thinks it’s beautiful, very classic, with lots of chocolaty notes. The mouth is much in line with the nose. Olivier feels there’s lots of dried bananas in this one too, and claims it’s rare to get so much sherry with absolutely no drying tannins. Christophe finds also some buttery notes. In short, the sherry is very strong but not as loathsome as in many sherry monsters. One would think it’s much older than it actually is, but that doesn’t mean it’s tired at all. Another one which is perfectly ready for bottling, it appears. Ratings: Serge 88, Olivier 89, Christophe 88.
Final ranking:
90 points - Glengoyne 1985 (57.4%, cask sample, cask #1227)
88 points - Glengoyne 1985 (53.8%, cask sample, cask #625)
84 points - Glengoyne 1989 (59.7%, cask sample, cask #1220)
83 points - Glengoyne 1989 (57.8%, cask sample, cask #702)

So, what’s the conclusion? First, that all these Glengoynes are nothing but interesting malts, always far from being middle-of-the-roadish. Second, that they seem to need quite a lot of maturing, but that they get a beautiful complexity both on the nose and on the palate when around 20yo. Third, that heavy sherry can make quite subtle malt, far from some puff-puff sherry monsters we all know. And last that these Glengoynes are, above all, very, very drinkable. Well, that might be the drawback.

July 22, 2004

MALTS AND MUSIC - After the beer bottle organ (see June 6), here's the whisky cask guitar. Im' not joking. It's made by Fylde out of washbacks and casks from Talisker, and I wouldn't say it's the prettiest guitar I've ever seen. But you know, tastes and colours... Ideal to play 'Whiskey in the Jar'? (thanks Paul).

July 21, 2004

MALTS - The new Malt Maniacs Monitor is on-line, with 2560+ different malts rated!

JAZZ - Special Flecktones - Canadian friend Johanna recently told me she just enjoyed an amazing concert by Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. It's true that few jazz bands are as 'special' as Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. In which sense? Well, first they play some rather odd instruments, like the banjo or the drumitar (a 'drum-guitar'). Second, they often play on the edge of folk, rock or even classical music. And third, they aren't afraid of getting quite innovative. I must say I like them a lot, especially because of their 'difference'. But Bela Fleck is quite famous, so let's rather focus on his deluxe sidemen.

Jeff Coffin is the saxophone player, and he's got his own, great solo records. Listen to Get Up & Dance (mp3), a composition that makes me think of Carla Bley's writing, where Coffin gets gets alternatively Parkerian and Dolphy-esque.

Futureman - alias RoYel - is the drummer, and it's him who invented the famous drumitar. Listen to his fantastic playing on the great AIFF tracks to be found here. Please note that these aren't mp3s, but full, high-quality recordings of a recent Flecktones gig.

Victor Wooten is the bass player, and is said to be the best since Jaco Pastorius died. What's sure, is that his playing is most energetic and very 'technical'. You can listen to a few sample clips (mp3) here, here, here or here.

While we're at it, I also happened to attend a great concert by French Jazzman Bernard Lubat and his Compagnie de Gasconha while in Brittany last week (see photo). A master of the accordion, piano, drums and... scat, Lubat led an operation of 'cross-fertilisation of deep popular musics', and happily blended salsa, free jazz, funk and poetry during this great show. You can listen to Bernard Lubat's much more classical, but very good rendition of Quincy Jones' 'For Lena and Lennie' here (mp3 to download, with Maurice Vander and Pierre Michelot, recorded in 1984).

July 19, 2004


Caol Ila 11 yo 1992/2003 (43%, Chieftains, cask #7240-7243, 1662 bottles) Nose: fresh, clean and smoky. Some flowery notes, getting slightly buttery and a little yeasty. Not overly expressive, nor complex, but its cleanliness is quite charming. Mouth: quite sharp and sweet, with some nice peat. Green apple, a certain grassiness, and quite a lot of smoke. Again, not overly complex, just a classic young Caol Ila with very little wood influence. Medium-long, grassy and smoky finish. A good dram if you don’t want to have to think too hard. 82 points.
Caol Ila 11 yo 1992/2003 (46%, Eilan Gilan, bourbon) A new indie bottler, owned by French Cognac company Leopold Gourmel. Nose: much in the same vein, just a little more spirity, and somewhat more mono-dimensional. Clean and smoky. Nice. Mouth: much punchier than the Chieftains, and also a little less clean. Is that the influence of just three more degrees? A little burning, spirity. Pastry, butter, cold coffee. Lots of smoke of course, but less freshness than in the Chieftains. Long finish, on smoke, caramel and pear drops. Again a good Caol Ila, even if not a winner. Not unlike a young Springbank. 82 points again.

July 18, 2004

MALTS - With more than 2000 sailships, Brest 2004 is said to be the largest gathering on Earth. Impressive! What was almost as impressive as that, was the number of bottles Springbank's Kate Wright, who was keeping a tiny whisky stand, opened to pour the thirsty sailors some good measures of whisky. Conemarra, Ardbeg, Springbank and Black Bottle were highly appreciated, and all four seemed to have kept many sea people warm...

July 17, 2004

The sea near Pleubian, at 21:30.

MALTS - A few days in Brittany, and a good occasion to visit Celtic Whisky Compagnie's Martine and Jean Donnay at their ravishing location on the sea. Lots of great news considering their new Glann ar Mor distillery, but it's not the place, nor the time to talk about them. Let's rather taste a few of their very good 'Scotch' bottlings.
Speyside 1989/2002 Armagnac Finish (43%, Celtique Connexion, 361 bottles) Balanced, with a great interplay even if the Armagnac isn’t really noticeable as such. A very good malt, with a little extra-depth. The ‘base’ malt sure was quite good before it's been re-racked. 88 points.
Speyside 1990/2003 Sauternes Finish (43%, Celtique Connexion, 235 bottles) Sauternes maturing pioneer Jean thinks this one should have been bottled at 46%, but I think it works as it is. Less ‘sweetish’ than the Glenmorangie Sauternes Finish, and somewhat cleaner than a previous version we had for the Malt Maniacs Awards 2003. 82 points.
Speyside 1989/2002 Jura Vin de Paille Finish (43%, Celtique Connexion, 383 bottles) Lots of herbal tea notes, plus some dried tropical fruit (guava, pineapple). Quite special. Again, Jean proves to be really skilled at stopping the second maturation at the right moment, to keep as much ‘whisky’ character as possible, rather than letting the wine overwhelm the spirit. An interesting double matured malt. 82 points.
Glenlossie 1993/2003 (43%, The Spirit Safe, 374 bottles) Youthful, with some interesting notes of old rose, lavender and violet. Very flowery, even a little Linkwoodish. Great freshness, with little wood influence. 85 points.

July 14, 2004

Knockando 1990/2002 (43%, OB) Knockando is very big in France, and it’s always been seen as a good lift from the high-end blends to the single malt whiskies. Let’s taste this version now… Colour: dark straw. Nose: light, fresh and grassy. Aniseed, dill, celery. Hints of soy sauce, Worcester sauce, sour cherries. Some vanilla. Really light but quite enjoyable. Mouth: balanced, sweet and rounded. Grainy and nutty. Notes of caramel, fudge, cake. Medium finish, on caramel. In short, sure it’s a little MOTR, but it’s a good introduction to the single malts indeed, that deserves no less than 80 points on my scale.

July 13, 2004

FASHION - Just saw this T-shirt. A brand new perspective on water and whisky? Teaser: Deviant, being abnormal is natural to me.

July 12, 2004

MUSIC - Michael Marra is another great Scottish singer. His new CD, strangely named 'Posted Sober', is really excellent, and makes you wonder why Marra isn't more famous abroad. Well, I hope he's famous in Scotland, at least! Here's a very nice sample clip (short mp3). Nice voice, eh? And thanks for this new tip, Nick!

Ben Nevis 10 yo 1992/2002 (55,2%, OB, cask #2613, 587 bottles) This version ought to be sold at the distillery only, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a regular cask strength version hits the shelves one day or another, as C/S malts seem to be quite trendy these days. Let’s taste this one now. Colour: golden amber. Nose: fresh and quite subtle. Lots of caramel and toffee, fruits… Not overpowering and rather elegant, even if not overly complex. Mouth: bold, yet nicely balanced. Some liquorice. Gets a little sugarish. Sherry, fruit salad, cooked apple, cake. Long finish, getting a little peppery. Again, not overly complex, but highly enjoyable for just £35. 87 points (Olivier 88).

July 11, 2004

Arran NAS ‘Robert Burns’ (40%, OB) A special release, paying tribute to Robert Burns, who’s birthplace isn’t very far from Arran, although on the mainland. Colour: white wine. Nose: very spirity (pear drops), with some ‘caramelised’ peat. A little grainy, getting even grassy. Mouth: pear eau de vie. Quite fruity! Some woody notes but not too many. Quite nutty. Rather long finish, getting peppery. A good, clean and simple whisky. 78 points (Davin 74, Olivier 74).

July 10, 2004

Susana Seivane

MUSIC - She's Galician (Spanish), hence Celtic, and she's playing the bagpipe. I guess the camparison with the Islay Pipe Band stops here ;-). Susana Seivane's compositions and playing are both quite modern, and most interesting. Kind of a mixture of Hermeto Pascoal, Goran Bregovic and Jim Motherwell. Have a listen to Começo Do Verâo (mp3, downloadable) and make up your mind yourself. Interesting, I told you...

Correns, a beautiful village in Provence

RESTAURANT - Back from three days in Provence. Hot and sunny, (very) few whiskies, some very good wine (Commanderie de Peyrassol cuvée Marie-Estelle) and the greatest hotel - restaurant I've been to since le Jardin des Sens in Montpellier, four years ago. The place is called 'l'Auberge du Parc' and it's in Correns, not very far from Saint Tropez. Fabulous is the only word I can come up with. Don't miss it if you ever want to avoid the overcrowded French Riviera, and go to Green Provence, the beautiful arrière-pays. And oh, don't forget to ask for the Menu à la truffe, if you like truffles. A sin...

A giant insect? No, it's just a machine they use to treat the vines. Not very romantic, I'm afraid...

July 7, 2004


Auchentoshan NAS ‘Select’ (40%, OB) Colour: light straw. Nose: very grainy. Light and somewhat fragrant (eau de Cologne). No fruity notes that I can smell except, perhaps, a little pear. Mouth: smooth and slightly sugary. Notes of wood. Medium, grainy finish. We really are in blend territory here, but some blends are better than this one. 69 points (Davin 76, Olivier 78).

Auchentoshan NAS ‘Three Wood’ (43%, OB) A love it or hate it malt, it appears when reading most maniacs’ prose. Colour: caramel. Nose: sherry. Notes of cheap rum. Kind of a weakness that makes you sniff deeper and deeper… Somewhat buttery, with some hints of raisins and rancio. Mouth: starts correctly but it’s soon to become quite bitter, perhaps due to the heavy wood treatment. You feel like if they did let infuse a lot of things into the casks (mostly raisins). Medium finish, on sherried notes. Nod as bad as I thought, in fact. Even drinkable! ;-). But it’s a designer’s whisky, that’s for sure. 78 points (Davin 79, Olivier 80).

July 6, 2004

MALTS - Here's a bottle I just bought in Italy. Although I already had another cask of this Lagavulin 'Moon Import' series, I couldn't help tasting this 'new' one a.s.a.p. Yes, another case of sudden maltmania...
Lagavulin 1988/2000 (46%, Moon ‘in the pink’, cask #2028, 340 bottles) Nose: extremely special, like no Lagavulin I know. Big, bold liquorice and lots of smoke, but with almost no maritime notes. Develops on coffee, old rum and, most strangely, broccoli. Really, really special. Gets then grassier and grassier: fern, dill, wild carrot… Mouth: bold and powerful, on peat, liquorice stick, cooked fruit, burnt cake. Very good, even if again, not like any other south shore Islayer I know. Very, very long finish, on heavy ‘Dutch’ liquorice, with a lot of salt. Special and superb, a great variant. 90 points (Olivier 90)

July 5, 2004

JAZZ - Easy tunes for an easy summer... Take a young Rosebank (don't be afraid to add an ice cube) or prepare a margarita, take your favourite book, relax... and listen to any of these three nice songs (pictures from left to right): 'Just the two of us' by Sara Latendresse, 'Bem Bom' by Emilie Claire Barlow or 'I've got completely lost in you' by Elena Suchankova. All songs do have a Brazilian feeling, none aims at the Jazz Top 50 of all times, but all are quite enjoyable. Again, easy...


Old Pulteney 12 yo (40%, OB, >2000) Nose: very fresh, even if less robust than what they claim on the label. Very vegetal (dill, fern, celery). Gets then a little grainy. Notes of cold coffee. Mouth: a little dusty at first, but nicely balanced. Some spices and some hints of sherry and caramel. Well, this batch is far from being ‘coastal’ again, but it’s quite enjoyable, that’s for sure! Medium but balanced finish. 80 points (Olivier 80).
Old Pulteney 12 yo 1990/2002 (55.6%, Hart Bros) Nose: fresh and pungent. Sharp notes of fresh tangerine, lemon peel, ti punch, tequila. Develops on beautiful fresh fruits like strawberry or kiwi. Some grainy notes do arise them, but nothing vulgar here. Very, very nice nose. Mouth: very strong and powerful. Eau de Cologne, rose water, smoke, wood… Quite complex but pure. Notes of Kalhua. With water, develops on butter, cream, caramel creme. Very interesting. Long and bold finish. 86 points (Olivier 88 points).

July 4, 2004

MOTORCYCLES - Some friends told me I really don’t talk about motorcycles as much as expected on whiskyfun.com. Yes, right… the Ducati Scrambler road test is still to be done. The bike’s in my garage, but it’s not running properly yet. So, okay, here’s a picture taken during a recent international mountain climbing race at Le Gaschney. No, I didn’t participate, but I was part of the few bikes that were opening the road. Some say that the Harleys are fat, slow and ‘lumpish’. Yeah, right, most Harleys are fat, slow and lumpish. But when properly ridden, they can be quite quick in the curves. Hey, my Ducati friends, I said ‘quite’ quick! Details: Harley Davidson 1340 Road King, 1994, with various engine improvements.

July 3, 2004


Mortlach 10 yo 1994 (43%, James Mac Arthur) Nose: caramel and coffee. Gets very grainy and a little milky. Notes of burnt cake… Not much else. Mouth: a little weak, on plank. Gets sugarish and quite dull. Not a total swill, but no interest whatsoever. Medium, dusty finish. 76 points (Olivier 76).
Mortlach 10 yo (43%, Scottish Wildlife) Nose: feinty, on grain, yeast, hot milk. Quite spirity, getting more and more grainy. Very little wood influence. Sort of enjoyable. Mouth: spirity and a little simple, on grainy notes and on porridge. Medium finish, on muesli. Not bad. 77 points (Olivier 77).
Mortlach 12 yo 1988 (43%, Signatory, butt #2636, 930 bottles?) Nose: same style of whisky, with just much more sherry. Wood, dried orange, beer. A little yeasty (sweet and sour). Quite nice, in fact. Mouth: nice balance, a little Macallanish. Great sherry, fudge, coffee, with a nice lightness. A very good all-rounder, with a long finish. 85 points (Olivier 87).
Mortlach 14 yo 1988/2003 (43%, Signatory, sherry butt #4724) Nose: very creamy and buttery. Nice notes of sherry. Some grassy notes as well (hay). Develops on some great tropical fruits (passion fruit). Very nice dark tobacco (Toscani extra-vecchi). Really rich andd complex. Mouth; great balance. Nice sherry, with a lot of complexity. All sorts of dried fruits with a whiff of smoke. Brilliant finish on fruits and refined wood. And what a great nose! 88 points (Olivier 88).
Mortlach 12 yo 1990/2003 (46%, Hart Bros, sherry cask, dist May 1990) Nose: much more discrete at first, but develops nicely on herbs and cold coffee. Some sulphur. Hints of Havana tobacco, old books. Very nice. Mouth: great sherry, very elegant. Dried plum, white pepper or even chilli growing really strong after a while. Very nice wood. Very interesting! Highly recommended… 89 points (Olivier 89).
Mortlach 1989/2002 (59.4%, Blackadder Raw Cask, sherry butt #5149) Nose: very powerful and spirity. Notes of strong rum… Extremely pungent! Not unlike the Austrian Stroh Rum (80% ABV, that’s true). Lots of raisin, milk chocolate. Good, even if quite extreme. Mouth: extremely strong. One can feel it’s good whisky, but it’s just undrinkable like that. With a little water, it becomes more drinkable of course, but also even heavier regarding the flavours. How strange! Anyway, quite a beast… Difficult to come up with a rating…Let’s say 85 points (Olivier 86).
Mortlach 13 yo 1990/2003 (58.6%, SMWS) Nose: dark chocolate and dried orange… great, great sherry. Perfect balance, very, very classy, even if it’s a little strong, obviously. Great dust (yeah, strange but I like that), raisins, coffee. Great. Mouth: great, with a lot of vivacity, which is great for such an heavily sherried malt. In the same league as the Macallan cask strength, or even a little better. Very creamy, in fact. Notes of old rum, and even great old armagnac. Long finish, on some interesting grassy notes. 89 points (Olivier 89).

July 2, 2004


When a Linkwood's good, it's really good would have said Mr de Lapalisse. These three expressions won't change his/our mind, even if the usual aroma of 'old rose' isn't always very present this time...
Linkwood 12 yo 1990/2003 (46%, Hart Bros, sherry cask) Nose: nice balance wood/sherry. Caramel, praline ice cream, overripe melon, apricot and fresh walnut. Nice nose. Mouth: nicely balanced, extremely creamy, on great sherry and roasted peanuts. Caramel ice cream. Gets a little hot, but in a great way. Gets bolder and bolder, to the point that some bitterness from the wood is soon to appear. What a cask! Gets just a little too dry. A great Linkwood, even if the usual floral notes aren’t there this time. 88 points (Olivier 88).
Linkwood 12 yo 1989/2002 (59.2%, Blackadder Raw Cask, c. #5624) Nose: again very strong, on old rum and old walnut skin. Very strong sherry. Irish coffee. Some flowery notes (violet, lavender). Nice nose, even if not overly complex. Mouthfeel: bold and rich. Creamy but less than the one we had just before. A great sherry cask for sure, although not too complex. The alcohol burns the tongue. Gets a little sourish. Let’s try it with a drop of water: it doesn’t get especially more complex. Too bad. But it’s a nice heavily sherried Linkwood, that’s for sure, with a long, bold, and slightly phenolic finish. 85 points (Olivier 86).
Linkwood 27 yo 1975 (50.3%, SMWS, 39.40) Nose: like an old Sauternes. Extremely ‘precious’ and refined. A little antiquated but that’s great. Lots of honey, ancient rose, quince jelly. Apricot jam, dried banana. Develops on superb wood that underlines the whole. Brilliant nose, that will please any sweet wine aficionado. Mouth : extraordinary. Very rich and complex, not unbalanced in any way considering its age. Dried longan or litchi. Lots of ‘wooden’ spices too. Quince jam and white pepper, with bitter chocolate. Really great. 91 points (Olivier 91).

July 1, 2004

MALTS - Malt Maniacs #10 is online! A great issue, I can tell you...

MUSIC - I had forgotten how much Beth Gibbons' one and only CD, 'Out Of Season', impressed me when it was out in 2002. And now I just found out that Amazon lets you download my favourite tune for free! Quick, download 'Tom The Model' (free mp3 on this page), enjoy the great Portishead singer's magnificent voice, and then buy the CD, if you didn't yet!

MALTS - If, by any chance, you're a hardcore Springbank collector, these two unknown (yet) 25 and 30 yo Springbanks 'books' have been found in Taiwan. Any information about these two versions would be very welcome. Please drop me a line (remove 'nospam') if you've got any precisions. Thanks!


Glen Moray 12 yo (40%, OB, wine mellowed - chenin) Colour: straw. Nose: grassy and honeyed, getting feinty and buttery. Develops on sweetish notes. Mouth: quite weak, on grass and liquorice. Short finish. Well… hard to imagine both Glen Moray and Ardbeg do belong to the same group, and that Stuart Thompson was at Glen Moray before he went to Islay’s south shore to succeed so brilliantly. 72 points (Davin 72, Olivier 72)
Glen Moray 16 yo (40%, OB, mellowed in wine barrels - chenin) Not much to say. Sweetish and mellow, with notes of toasted wood. Short, quite weak finish. 72 points (Davin 74, Olivier 73)

Tormore 11 yo 1989/2001 (43%, Signatory, butt #920260) Colour: white wine. Nose: hot milk, feints, yeast, bread, and crab apple. Hints of almond milk. Not very mature, certainly thanks to an x-fill cask. Mouth: dusty, a little spirity, very close to a new make. Another one to drink chilled like vodka! Hints of old wood… Medium finish on sourish and yeasty notes. 74 points (Davin 73, Olivier 74).
Dalwhinnie 1980 ‘Distiller’s Edition’ (43%, OB) Colour: amber. Nose: very light, on fresh orange juice and muesli. Mouth: light but balanced, getting a little woody. Some sourish woody notes, plus some melon and some apple. Quite enjoyable but a little weak, and with a rather short finish. An okay malt. 79 points (Davin 78, Olivier 76).
Banff 24 yo 1978 (50%, DL Old Malt Cask) We’re very curious now, as we already had some very good old Banffs (and some bad ones as well). Colour: strawish. Nose: surprisingly smoky and peaty. The peat is even developing, which makes this Banff smell like a Talisker or a nice Brora. Wow! Some grassy, farmy notes (happens in Brora too), and hints of seaweed. Excellent surprise! Mouth: great, peaty and peppery malt. Great sweet notes of cooked apple, heather and melon. Long, splendid finish. Olivier says ‘This one has been bottled at perfect age’ He’s right, as always. And as Dave Broom would write: ‘Can we have some more?’ 92 points (Davin 90, Olivier 92).

Balvenie 25 yo 1974/2001 (46.9%, OB, c #15230) Colour: dark straw. Nose: burnt cake, lots of sherry as well as some smoke. Crystallised orange, bitter chocolate. Gets a little woody and dry. Some sour notes, but nice ones. Mouth: nicely balanced, on milk chocolate, oranges, cream (Bailey’s) and curaçao. Long finish mainly on dried orange. Very good Balvenie! 88 points (Davin 82, Olivier 83).
Brora 20 yo 1981/2001 (43%, Signatory, cask #576, 380 bottles). Colour: white wine. Nose: light, grassy, smells like plastic. Very weak nose, alas. Not the Brora I know, in any case. Mouth: grassy and sugary. The worst Brora I ever had, as long as I can remember. What a disappointment! Medium, lactic finish. Too bad! 72 points (Davin 71, Olivier 73).

June 2004 <---
July 2004 ---> August 2004 




heck the index of all entries:
Nick's Concert Reviews

Best malts I had these weeks - 90+ points only - alphabetical:

Banff 24 yo 1978 (50%, DL Old Malt Cask)

Glen Garioch 16 yo 1985 (51.9%, OB for The Whisky Exchange, cask 1585)

Glen Garioch 1971 (59.6%, Samaroli, 2280 bottles, sherry, 75cl)

Glen Garioch 29 yo 1968/1997 (57.7%, OB, cask #7)

Glengoyne 1985 (57.4%, cask sample, cask #1227)

Lagavulin 1988/2000 (46%, Moon ‘in the pink’, cask #2028, 340 bottles)

Linkwood 27 yo 1975 (50.3%, SMWS, 39.40)