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Hi, you're in the Archives, April 2010 - Part 1

March 2010 - part 2 <--- April 2010 - part 1 ---> April 2010 - part 2


April 14, 2010

Glen Elgin

Tasting three Glen Elgin

Glen Elgin 25 yo 1984/2009 (48.7%, The Whisky Agency, bourbon hogshead, 244 bottles) Four stars and a half Colour: straw. Nose: a very firm nose at first sniffs, close to most OBs in style, reminding me of the 19yo ‘Centenary’ in a certain way. There’s this kind of farminess (hay, garden bonfire), quite some smoke indeed, something roasted (nuts, bread) and something oily (linseed oil, graphite). It’s globally very malty, in fact, sort of close to the barley. Stout. I like it very much. Quite some menthol coming though after a while. Mouth: starts slightly prickly (lemon fizz), getting then more candied and citrusy. Orange marmalade. Tons of barley sugar as well, lemon pie, liquorice allsorts, something slightly fudgy (millionaire shortbread), cereal bars, Ovaltine… Finish: rather long, even more on Ovaltine! Comments: one of the maltiest malts I ever had. It’s excellent. SGP:442 - 88 points.
Glen Elgin 26 yo 1980/2007 (47.8%, Scotch Single Malt Club for The Scots Whisky Forum, bottling No.4, cask #3465, 111 bottles) Four stars and a half Colour: pale gold. Nose: we aren’t very far from the 1984 here, malty, with even more notes of stout and roasted nuts and brioche. Some candy sugar (crème brulée), charcoal, a little gunpowder, barley sugar… In the same league as the 1984, a malt like no other malt. More coal smoke after a while. Mouth: almost the same as the 1984. Maybe a tad more lemony, but other than that, please read above. Finish: long, a tad grassier and kind of sharper than the 1984. Comments: globally a tiny-wee tad less malty than the 1984 but otherwise in the same upper league. I can’t see why I would score it differently. SGP:442 – 88 points (and thank you Benjamin.)
Glen Elgin 16yo (58.5%, OB, +/- 2009) Four stars Colour: full gold. Nose: once again, we’re very ‘Glen Elgin’, which was to be expected as this one is an official version. Again quite some dark beer, Guinness, maybe a little more meat (bbq’ed beef), graphite oil, grass, corn syrup, malt, tar and smoke… With water: more smoke, struck matches and more tar. Sulphur? Maybe, a little… More grilled meat as well. Mouth (neat): same! A glass of Guinness with a little candy sugar and two lemon slices. Make that three. With water: excellent, more honeyed, just as malty and rather cotrusy once again, but more on oranges than on lemon this time. Finish: long, with a lasting creaminess. Orange liqueur and cane sugar syrup. Some kind of tannicity in the aftertaste. Comments: maybe a little more thickish and less complex than the two older IBs but I still like this official Glen Elgin a lot. SGP:541 - 86 points.
More distillery data Our tastings: all Glen Elgin that we tried so far
The complete distillery profile on Malt Madness

MUSIC - Recommended listening: no this isn't RL Burnside, it's the crazy one man band and Daft Punk look-alike Bob Log III (his shit is perfect!) doing the Log bomb. Please buy Bob Log III's music!

Bob Log III

April 13, 2010

Adventures in bourbon
Please remember that I’m highly inexperienced with bourbons so please take these notes with the obligatory grain of salt (right, tons of it).
Four Roses Yellow Label (40%, OB, Bourbon, +/-2009) Three stars Colour: pale gold. Nose: rather delicate but very fragrant, with quite some yellow flowers, mead, pollen and vanilled oak. Also strawberries, earl grey tea and quite some liquorice. The whole is rather more complex than expected and I must say I like it. Notes of corn syrup coming through after a while. Mouth: easy, smooth, fruity and vanilled. Mulled wine spices and butterscotch, the oranges and lemon marmalade. Not big whisky and yet it’s quite satisfying. Finish: medium long, with a little more oak now, cinnamon, black tea… Comments: a very good surprise, it’s not simple at all and very, very drinkable. An anti-Jack? SGP:530 - 82 points.
Heaven Hill 13 yo (61.6%, Cadenhead, Bourbon, 177 bottles, 2010) Three stars and a half Colour: pale amber. Nose: unexpectedly dry and very, very oaky, on newly sawn plank and sour wood (damp sawdust). It’s also quite farmy behind all that, with whiffs of fermenting grass. Some vanilla and liquorice in the background as well as hints of sandalwood and walnuts. Improves with a little breathing. With water: it got grassier and kind of milky and chalky. Also something a little metallic. And asparagus? Fern? A very unusual bourbon so far, but then again, I know next to nothing about bourbons. Mouth (neat): much nicer than on the nose when straight, very oaky for sure but the fruitiness makes for a pleasant compensation. Pineapples, vanilla fudge, fresh orange juice and honey, with a little ginger and nutmeg. Good. With water: explodes with dried fruits and spices. Kiwis, bananas, papayas, vanilla and liquorice. Spectacular. Finish: long, very fruity. Pear and banana drops. Comments: a spectacular bourbon. I thought the nose was okayish but the palate is, well, spectacular. SGP:640 - 84 points.
America 7 yo 1999 (62.3%, Cadenhead, Bourbon, distilled at Frankfort, Kentucky, 276 bottles) Three stars and a half 'Probably Heaven Hill'. Colour: pale amber. Nose: much rounder and smoother than the 13yo, the oak being more classical in a certain way (maple syrup, vanilla, honey). Notes of roasted chestnuts and peanuts, a little marzipan. Hints of sweet white desert wine. Certainly much easier than the 13yo so far. With water: more mint and dried bananas as well as hints of cooked vegetables. Very nice, quite complex. Mouth (neat): big and uberfruity. Pears, pineapples, honey, oranges and vanilla. Lactones, ginger. With water: ultra-sweet, more complex. Many fresh and dried fruits and an oakiness that’s now a little louder than in the 13, quite bizarrely. Quite some lactones, tannins. Finish: long, maybe a little drying now (tannins). Comments: very big and globally very sweet. For big boys with a big heart (how stupid is that, S.?) SGP:740 - 84 points.
William Larue Weller 2009 Release (67.4%, OB, Buffalo Trace, Bourbon) Three stars and a half Colour: amber. Nose: punchy but not really aggressive and not varnishy at all. The oak is big but smooth and not plankish. Vanilla, spearmint and mead on top of roasted peanuts and quite some praline. The mead gets then louder and louder. Honeycomb. With water: more sour wood, old empty barrel, old cellar. A little mouldy. Mouth (neat): extremely creamy, with a huge oak extraction. Vanillins, café latte, caramel, orange sweets, bubblegum. Slightly varnishy. With water: we’re very close to the 7yo here. More coconut. Finish: long, sugary (icing sugar). More coconut and white pepper. Comments: some very heavy wood extraction must have happened here. Very good but extremely sweet. SGP:730 - 83 points.
George T. Stagg (70.7%, OB, Buffalo Trace, Bourbon, bottled 2009) Four stars Colour: amber. Nose: much straighter and drier than the WL Weller, more elegant and more complex even if the very high ABV makes it a bit tricky to nose. Meaty and leathery, with also notes of cigarette tobacco, cigar box and pencil shavings. Very nice, very coherent nose. With water: gets meatier, on cured ham, liquorice and freshly brewed coffee. A little shoe polish. Very nice. Mouth (neat): extremely rich and unexpectedly drinkable at such high strength (right, sippable). Big notes of violet sweets, strawberry sweets, coconut and vanilla. Much less austere than on the nose when neat. With water: more of the same, only more drinkable. Finish: very long, sweet, fruity and spicy. A lot of coconut, nutmeg and pepper in the aftertaste. Comments: probably young spirit in ultra-active oak. Really sweet but works very well in my opinion, provided you take it with moderation. SGP:730 - 86 points.

MUSIC - Recommended listening: from the Blind Pig racing stable Coco Montoya and his Gotta Mind To Travel. Powerful blues! Please buy Coco Montoya's music...

Coco Montoya
SHORT RAMBLINGS (too long for Twitter! ;-))

Rum just in
27 samples of high-end rums just in thanks to Master-Of-All-Spirits Alexandre (sounds Sioux, doesn't it!)

Damoiseau, Caroni, Basseterre, Mocambo, Courcelles, Dennery, Blairmont, Enmore, Mahiki, Opthimus, Port Mourant, QRM, Santero, Uitvlugt, Unhiq, Bastidas, Albion... And Santa Teresa (tell me about saints!).
I think it's going to be Rumfun here sooner or later - albeit temporarily - stay tuned...

Santa Teresa

April 12, 2010

by Nick Morgan

Stamford Works, Dalston, London, February 10th 2010

I wouldn’t like any Whiskyfun readers to think that we’re overly obsessed with age. True, the combined age of some of the bands we’ve seen (played in? Ed.) might  exceed Methuselah’s 969 years, but as we know, longevity doesn’t always equate to quality or worth, or in this instance, greater musical prowess.  And we all know, ageism aside, that the lifeblood of the music industry is the vigour and excitement introduced by the creativity and imagination of younger performers. 

Chapel Club

And so it was that we trekked to a semi-derelict warehouse in northeast London’s forever ‘up and coming’ Dalston, for an NME-sponsored gig by the much-vaunted Chapel Club.  And make no mistake, it is a warehouse, with a small stage and banks of sound equipment and lights dropped in for the night.  Somewhere someone was selling cans of warm beer; the unisex loos had got ‘Methuselah wuz ere’ written on the walls in a rather unsteady scrawl, and the youth (that’s a generous assessment, as many of the ‘youth’ were firmly in their thirties and forties), almost to the last person, were smoking as if Doomsday was on hand.  “Isn’t it fantastic?  You can smoke in here!” said one, puffing away madly.  Well, I wasn’t going to leaf through my handy copy of the English anti-smoking laws in order to contradict her, but I have to say there was no wistful nostalgia about the once mandatory change of clothes and intense defumigating shower upon arrival home.   As for the audience, they’re largely London cool.  Icy stares. Occasional appreciative nods of the head.  Not much clapping.  But the place is packed.  Signed by a major label after only a couple of gigs in pub up the road, Chapel Club carry the expectations of not just pundits, but also a cynically unforgiving industry on their shoulders.  Failure, as they say, is not an option.

Chapel Club

Liam Arklie (L) and Mike Hibbert (R)

This isn’t what I’d call the happiest of nights.  There aren’t many jokes in the Chapel Club oeuvre at the moment; not too much room for humour amongst the angst, gloom and general air of pessimism that infuses almost all of their songs.  And the performance doesn’t leave much beyond the music and the lyrics to engage with.  Singer Lewis Bowman might have muttered “thank you” at the end of the set, but otherwise not a word is spoken as the band work through a short set in a forensically workmanlike fashion;  that, I suppose, is what ‘showcases’ are all about.  They have a big sound, built on persistent bass lines (Liam Arklie sounding sometimes like Jah Wobble speeded up to 78rpm) and from Rich Mitchell powerful drumming, the canvas upon which guitarists Mike Hibbert and Alex Parry weave their sounds and Bowman splashes his lyrics.  Occasionally, this is impenetrable stuff (‘Machine Music’), dominated by screaming industrial guitars, but only occasionally.  For the most part, there is more than sufficient interest in Bowman’s thoughtful lyrics, cleverly put together and peppered with literary and musical references, pleasing melodies, and Hibbert’s sometimes dreamy guitar holding the attention (‘Oh maybe I’).  Deadpan he may be, but Bowman is a solid frontman, with a strong expressive voice, which sometimes suggests echoes of a young Morrissey.  Hibbert’s versatile and committed guitar playing is harder to classify, but like Bowman, he both looks and sounds the part. 

Chapel Club

Alex Parry (L) and Lewis Bowman (R)

We left gasping for air, grasping copies of a one track EP (?) ‘Don’t look down’.  In a fit of extravagance the Photographer bought the last four, each one a true collector’s item.  Chapel Club are currently in the studio recording that first album, and are about to hit the road in the UK, but will also visit Paris, France, and other famous continental European venues.  They are worth seeking out by those of you who are fed up with the old stuff, and would rather try a drop of something younger. - Nick Morgan (photographs by Kate)

Listen to Chapel Club on MySpace



Tasting 1974-1964 Old Pulteney

The old 8yo 100°proof by G&M rules supreme on my list (WF93), let’s see if these much older ones will manage to compete…

Old Pulteney 1974/2009 (43%, Gordon & MacPhail) Five stars Colour: pale amber. Nose: mamma mia! Exceptional start on many soft spices, quinces and figs plus these whiffs of sea air that are so typical of Pulteney, even when the casks never saw any seashore. Truly superior nose, eminently complex. At random, we have also cigar box, orange blossom honey, menthol, jamon Iberico (I kid you not), earl grey tea, caramel fudge, leather polish, hints of clams or dog cockles (serious!) Very, very complex. Wow. Mouth: maybe not 100% as magical as on the nose and probably a little oakier than what would have been perfect but these notes of orange liqueur and green tea mingle very well. Also quite some liquorice, marzipan and cough syrup but the whole remains very elegant. Finish: medium long, with a little more tannins (cinnamon) and quite some oranges in the aftertaste. Peppered blood oranges? Comments: a superlative nose and a very nice palate. A great postprandial Pulteney to sip until the wee hours of the morning, if you’re so inclined. Recommended! SGP:451 - 92 points.
Old Pulteney 1970/2008 (43%, Gordon & MacPhail) Four stars Colour: straw (much lighter than the 1974, which is strange). Nose: nothing to do with the fabulous 1974, much more on easy and ‘humble’ notes of vanilla and oak, with a little of herbal tea, mint and yellow flowers. Now, it does get more complex after first nosing, with faint whiffs of sea air once again but it doesn’t stand comparison with the glorious 1974 on the nose. Mouth: more in line with the 1974 but in a different style, with more lemon and grapefruit plus the expected oakiness. Good body. Notes of lemon grass, a little spearmint, cinnamon… Very okay, I’d say, even if some oak there is. Finish: medium long, on the same notes of lemon sweets and tannic tea. Comments: very good old Pulteney but I’m afraid I should have tried it before the oh so stunning ’74. SGP:461 - 86 points.
Old Pulteney 34 yo 1964/1999 (50%, Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask, 197 bottles) Four starsColour: pale gold. Nose: very nice, with more oomph and complexity than the 1970 but we’re still nowhere near the 1974. This one has more coconut and vanilla from the wood, notes of bananas that give it something unexpectedly Irish (don’t ask), hints of light honey and Demerara sugar and touches of nutmeg. It’s all very pleasant but not hugely complex. With water: it’s the oak that stands out more but it’s a fresh kind of oak. Faint mouldiness. Mouth (neat): starts very much alike the 1970, only bigger. Same notes of lemon and spearmint, hints of liquorice allsorts and maybe a little salt that I didn’t have in the G&Ms. Nice freshness. With water: more liquorice allsorts and even Haribo bears plus a little lemon liqueur (limoncello). Funny, actually. Finish: long and even fruitier, with an appeased oakiness which isn’t what usually happens with such oldies. Comments: this old Pulteney is surprisingly fruity and in that sense quite spectacular, even if it’s no very complex old whisky. Warning, very drinkable because of the high fruitiness. SGP:641 - 87 points.
More distillery data Our tastings: all Pulteney that we tried so far
The complete distillery profile on Malt Madness

April 9, 2010

Tasting three Bruichladdichs from the 1960s (almost)
Bruichladdich 15 yo 'Mayflower '80' (43%, OB for Samaroli, ceramic decanter, 1980) Five stars This has been distilled in 1965 or before, obviously. Colour: amber. Nose: what strikes you first is the rather obvious smokiness that may suggest that some parts were distilled when Bruichladdich was still peated, that is to say in the very early 1960s or late 1950s. Quite some leather, walnuts, cigar tobacco, fir cone smoke, genuine, balsamic vinegar, palo cortado, smoked ham, cured ham, lovage (or Maggi), old red Burgundy… The whole is very dry and quite splendid I must say. Almost a very old dry sherry, without the slightest heaviness. Mouth: holy featherless crow! Extremely creamy, thick, sherried, chocolaty, coffee-ish and Armagnacky, with many fruit jams and bags of prunes. That lasts a long time, before it gets much drier, on espresso coffee and biter chocolate, with a lot of cinnamon starting to invade your mouth. Yet, it’s anything but drying. Cold heavy coffee? Finish: long, clean, dry. Fino-ish! And quite a peatiness again as well as some pepper sauce. Comments: wow, usually I would be suspicious of any old ceramic bottle (not always perfectly airtight) but this one is magnificent. Fabulous old-skool malt whisky. SGP:254 – 93 points. (and grazie mille, Giovanni)
Bruichladdich 36 yo 'DNA' (41%, OB, 2009) Four stars and a half A vatting of old Bruichladdichs from the 1960s and early 1970s, finished in almost-garage Pomerol Le Pin (very expensive - £2,500+ a bottle of 2005 but if you buy 6, Berry Bros will let you save £1,601.88 ;-) ). Surprisingly, no Scot ever tells you the vintage when one-fill-only ex-wine barrels are used. Colour: pale amber. Nose: this one is very different from the Mayflower, much more ‘Bruichladdich’ as we know it that is to say fresher, more ‘coastal’ and with more fresh fruits such as melons and peaches as well as hints of pine resin this time. Yet, there are some similarities such as these notes of old wine that may come from the Le Pin casks and these faint whiffs of wood smoke. No ‘winey’ notes, though, rather a globally very elegant and finely honeyed nose. Very complex! Hints of marshmallows and liquorice allsorts coming through after 15 minutes. Merlot!? Mouth: there’s more wood in the attack, with a greenness (strong green tea, cinnamon), some mint and even notes of cough syrup but unexpectedly, it’s the fruity part that takes over whereas it’s usually the opposite that happens. Melon compote, tinned peaches, light honey, Turkish delights and wine-poached pears. Then the tannins come back, together with a lot of cinnamon and white pepper. Finish: rather long, with a lot of cinnamon once again. Peppermint in the aftertaste. Comments: a totally wonderful nose and a palate that’s a tad oakier, no wonder at such old age. SGP:471 - 89 points.
Bruichladdich 1964/1993 (50.5%, Gordon & MacPhail, casks #3670-2) Four stars Colour: dark gold. Nose: this is rather bigger but not more aromatic, starting rather on chocolate and coffee. Quite some gunpowder as well, struck matches, then a little kirsch and raspberry spirit, melon liqueur, these notes of ham again, brioche… Opens up after a few minutes, getting kind of tropical and honeyed. Pineapple flambéed. Very, very nice again even if a tad rawer than both the Mayflower and the DNA. With water: wow, a fistful of fresh mint leaves! The oak is talking back. Mouth (neat): punchy and rather unusual, for it starts on many fruit liqueurs, both tropical and ‘local’ (for lack of a better term). Obvious notes of strawberries, some tar, coffee, toasted cake, orange drops (ultra-huge notes!), the expected melon… With water: once again, the oak got louder but not really drying. Always these big notes of strawberry drops. Jellybeans? Haribo bears? Finish: long, mildly oaky now, with an aftertaste full of sweets. Comments: very good. A little rougher than the DNA but not less oaky enough on the palate to overtake the latter in my opinion. SGP:462 - 87 points. (and thank you, Patrick B.)
More distillery data Our tastings: all Bruichladdich that we tried so far
The complete distillery profile on Malt Madness
SHORT RAMBLINGS (too long for Twitter! ;-))

Genuine high-tech whisky maturing
No April fool’s trick: since two or three years I’ve been experimenting with ‘glass maturing’. The idea came from the way we Alsatians mature our fruit eau-de-vie: in demijohns that we put into the attic, where the temperatures are very cold in winter and very hot in summer. 

These heavy changes do smoothen the spirits without imparting any undesirable wood influence and I thought I should check what happens with 30 litres of three years old malt whisky from the Isle of Islay (highly peated, around 64% vol.), except that I put this demijohn in the open, against a wall. It’s oriented towards the south so the temperatures can go as high as 40° Celsius in July or August while they can go down to minus 20°C in winter. See the photograph, it was taken in January this year and the demijohn was covered with ice! You’ll have noticed that I used a long-lasting silicon bung but that I added a piece of cloth between the bottle and the bung, so that the spirit can breathe (which is key!) Of course, I kept some sealed samples of the original spirit for future comparisons. Did I notice any changes so far? Well, it seems that it got a tad smoother indeed but I’m not quite sure. Anyway, it’s a long process and I hope it’ll be ‘ready’ around 2037. I’ll let you know ;-).


MUSIC - Recommended listening: a little straight ahead vocal jazz today with Russia's Olga Osipova doing Night Butterfly (and thanks, EJN!) Yeah yeah yeah. Please buy Olga Osipova's music.

Olga Osipova

April 8, 2010

Tasting five old Bunnahabhain (a short verticale)
Bunnahabhain 25 yo (43%, OB, +/-2009) Four stars Last time I tried the 25 that was in 2006 and I thought it was a bit underwhelming (WF80) while the 18 was much more to my liking. Time to try a newer batch, don’t you think? Colour: full gold. Nose: niiice! Much smokier than I remembered and fully on the distillery’s markers in my opinion, that is to say light roasted honey, nuts, barley sugar and various stewed fruits such as peaches and apples (compote). The whole is fresh and very clean, although there’s a faint farminess in the background (bonfire and wet grains here.) Extremely easy and appealing, I like this ‘global nuttiness’. Mouth: rounded and soft but not dull at all, starting with a good dose of sherry and something of an old golden rum. More cane sugar than barley sugar? Also liquorice, orange marmalade, molasses, roasted peanuts, crystallised oranges… Rather perfect mouth feel and good body at 43% vol. Finish: rather long, drier now, more roasted and malty. Some oak but not too much and a slight smokiness in the aftertaste. Maybe even a little salt. Comments: way better than I remembered. I’m sure they improved the vatting. SGP:452 - 87 points.
Bunnahabhain 29 yo 1979/ 2009 (44.8%, The Single Malts of Scotland, barrel, cask #28811, 205 bottles) Four stars Colour: pale gold. Nose: some similarities with the OB (barley sugar, light honey) but the rest is rather more on fresh fruits, vanilla, wax and herbs. Ripe apples, not-too-ripe bananas, fresh mint leaves, hints of almond oil, marzipan and something faintly coastal (sea air). Not a wham-bam old Bunnhabhain, it seems that the cask wasn’t too active, but it’s all very elegant and rather subtle. Whispering aromas… Gets then a little grassier. Mouth: exactly the same differences with the OB. More fresh fruits, more liveliness, maybe a little less complexity. Sweet cider (genuine cider from a farm, not the junk that one can sometimes find in some supermarkets) and creamy vanilla sauce. A little liquorice. Some guavas and papayas as well. It’s all very good. Finish: long and coating, juicy, vanilled, sweet and fruity. It’s almost confectionary! Comments: maybe not mindboggling but all good. It’s also half the price of the official 25 – but certainly not half the points. Actually, it scores the same on my scale. SGP:541 - 87 points.
Bunnahabhain 30 yo 1978/2009 (53.8%, The Bottlers, refill sherry hogshead, cask #7586) Four stars A new label for The Bottlers. I must say I liked the older one a lot. I always thought The Bottlers’ whiskies were extremely good, you couldn’t go wrong with them – when you could find them! Colour: pale gold. Nose: a punchier version of the 1979, with a little more candied fruits (pineapple drops) and rather less herbs and almond. Other than that, we’re in the very same league so far. With water: indeed. It’s just a little fruitier, more on pineapple and orange. A little more smoke as well. Mouth (neat): big, a little spirity, much rougher than the 1979 and a little bubblegummy as well. With water: exactly the same whisky as the SMOS. Finish: same. Comments: same, but as far as prices are concerned, this one will cost you 225 Swiss francs, that is to say £140, while the SMOS is at £77. Well, I shouldn’t write about money, it’s all a tad too common, isn’t it? SGP:541 – 87 points.
Bunnahabhain 35 yo 1974/2009 (44.3%, AD Rattray, bourbon, cask #7111, 164 bottles) Five stars Colour: straw. Nose: it’s insane how this one noses like a less sherried version of the official 25 at first nosing! But then it develops into another direction, more complex than the 1978/79, much more on all things floral and honeyed. Dandelions, nectar, honeycomb, apricot jam, mirabelles, chamomile tea, high-end green tea, a little nutmeg and cinnamon… This could be too oaky on the palate, or maybe not. Let’s see… Mouth: sure there’s some oak but in no way one could say this is an oaky whisky. It’s all very coherent with the nose, with good oomph and loads of light honey, jams, marmalades and dried fruits. Some cinnamon of course but we’re well below the limits of straight oakiness. Finish: rather long, exactly on the same notes. Not any added drying/spicy notes. Comments: perfect un-sherried old Bunnahabhain. Maybe no real magic but excellent it is. SGP:541 - 90 points.
Bunnahabhain 40 yo 1968/2008 (40.8%, Duncan Taylor, cask #7013, 423 bottles) Five stars I think this series was nicknamed ‘glorious forties’. Colour: gold. Nose: we’re somewhere between the 1978/79 and the 1974 here. Not as expressive as the latter and rather more herbal and mentholated but more complex. Many tiny notes, honeys, flowers, soft spices, figs, quinces, patchouli and pot-pourri, a little leather, cigarette tobacco, tea… Once again, it could be over-oaked on the palate… or not! Mouth: not at all! An even wider version of the 1974, even fresher, with more fresh fruits and once again an oakiness that’s below the limits. Added notes of pink grapefruits and mangos on top of these honeyed and light jammy notes. Of course there’s some tea and cinnamon but I insist, no excessive tannins at all. Finish: rather long, with the expected notes of mint and liquorice kicking in. Comments: simply another excellent oldie. Very low abvs can be scary (some many tired oak juices) but in this case it all ended perfectly well. Rather glorious indeed. SGP:541 - 90 points.
More distillery data Our tastings: all Bunnahabhain that we tried so far
The complete distillery profile on Malt Madness

MUSIC - Recommended listening: Tony Adamo is wondering What is hip? (from What is hip, 2010). Funk is hip, obviously. Please buy Tony Adamo's music.

Tony Adamo

April 7, 2010


Tasting two old Tomintoul

Tomintoul is quite humble, not one of these trumpeting brands distilleries at all. Go, Tomintoul!

Tomintoul-Glenlivet 21 yo 1971/1992 (43%, Signatory, cask #3374, 1200 bottles) Three stars and a halfColour: white wine. Nose: very nice, old Highlands style nose, that is to say rather flinty and waxy, with some smoke, soot and whiffs of shoe polish (Kiwi’s light brown – hey, joking). Some porridge as well, muesli, burning hay, grass, fresh parsley… The whole is dry and maybe a tad ‘severe’ but not many newer malt whiskies do display this kind of unsexy albeit rather attractive profile. Mouth: as often, more fruits on the palate, and a little more oak as well. Many herbs (thyme, rosemary, also some cardamom) and touches of limejuice and orange zests. Maybe a tad simpler than on the nose but it’s all good. The strength is perfect. Finish: medium long, just a little drying now, with quite some, er ‘dry’ cinnamon and a faint chalkiness in the aftertaste. Comments: a very good ‘little malt whisky’ from the old days. Maybe no splendour but I like it. SGP:351 - 83 points.
Tomintoul 33 yo (43%, OB, +/-2009) Three stars and a halfColour: gold. Nose: this one is much fruitier and jammy, on warm apricot jam that’s just been cooked, notes of figs, a wee smokiness (wood), some chamomile tea, a little lemon balm, vanilla custard, orange cake… Rather expressive! Also hints of mint and pine resin from the wood but no obvious oakiness as such. A very, very pleasant nose, sexier but also a little more ‘commercial’ than the 1971’s, although I’m not sure those considerations make much sense here. Mouth: rather unusual, with a very nice combination of yellow garden fruits and oak and herbs. Quite some peppermint, tangerines, poached pears and light honey. Hints of cough lozenges. Finish: medium long, nicely citrusy, with more mint and ‘just the start of a dry oakiness’. Comments: very nice old dram, easy, very drinkable. The mint is quite big. SGP:451 - 84 points.
More distillery data Our tastings: all Tomintoul that we tried so far
The complete distillery profile on Malt Madness

BHK 4, 5 AND 6

I was in Havana last month for the launching of the three new Cohiba BEHIKE (BHK). If I am more and more sceptical with the growing number of special editions (limited, regional, reserva … ) in Cuba, I must admit that the Cohiba Gran Reserva launched last year is a fantastic cigar.


The original Behike, launched in 2006, despite his astronomical price, is already a legendary cigar. I was lucky enough to smoke it twice, and each time I was really impressed by three hours of BIG, DEEP and RICH smoke! Aficionados’ expectations are huge for these three new Behike made with a filler of four leaves: 1 Ligero (harvest 2001), 1 Medio Tempo (harvest 2002), 1 Seco (harvest 2001) and 1 volado (harvest 2004). They are old reserve leaves of six to nine years old. That ‘s already exceptional.


Tasting infos: I smoked each cigar twice. Once in Havana end of February, once in Singapore mid of March. My notes are from my tastings in Singapore. I tasted them in three days.





Length: 119 mm   diameter: 20,64 mm (Cepo 52)
Format: Laguito N 4
Vintage: 2010

The wrapper: colorado, shiny, beautiful
Dry Smoke: vanilla, toasted, coconut, white chocolate.
Draw: excellent
Combustion: perfect, beautiful white- grey ash. The cigar is very steady and does not require to be rectified or relit.
Strength: strong
Aromas: woody, floral, spices (ginger), hint of mint then honey, vanilla, toasted notes. Finish on precious wood, vegetal (thyme), macadamia, walnut, burnt notes.
The three thirds: 1) rich, generous smoke, dry medium body 2) become more unctuous and balanced, superb. 3) gains in body and strength, but becomes slightly unbalanced and bitter.

Conclusion: the tempo of this cigar is quite free but the whole is rich and complex. An excellent cigar with a very good potential for vintage. 93/100 (the rating of a cigar can only be the evaluation of a unique cigar smoked at a unique moment.)



Length: 144 mm   diameter: 21,43 mm (Cepo 54)
Format: Laguito N 5
Vintage: 2010

The wrapper: colorado, shiny, beautiful
Dry Smoke: vanilla, toasted, coconut, white chocolate, with a hint of pepper ....
Draw: excellent
Combustion: perfect, nice grey ash. Does not require to be rectified or relit.
Strength: strong
Aromas: woody, floral then vanilla, caramelised nuts, honey, hint of fresh leather. Finish on cedar, macadamia, chocolate, coconut . 
The three thirds: 1) medium body,dry, complex, elegant, quite close to the BHK4. 2) great second part that gains in creaminess and body, more Cohiba aromas, nice volume of smoke. 3) the woodiness reappears but the cigar keeps it creaminess . Less burnt notes than in the BHK4. A more balanced finish also.

Conclusion: the two first third are quite similar to the BHK4 but the last third is deeper and more subtle than the BHK4. The format ? Probably. I smoked it until I burnt my fingers! A great cigar full of promises. 96/100



Length: 166 mm   diameter: 22,22 mm (Cepo 56)
Format: Laguito N 6
Vintage: 2010

The wrapper: colorado, shiny, beautiful
Dry Smoke: vanilla, toasted, coconut, white chocolate, smooth....
Draw: excellent
Combustion: perfect, beautiful compact grey ash. Does not require to be rectified or relit.
Strength: strong
Aromas: refined, nutiness, vanilla, floral, hint of fruitiness, sweet spiciness then honey, toffee, cedar, chocolate, coconut, toastiness and more on the leather on the finish
The three thirds: 1) beautiful start, creamy, full-bodied, complex, very rich. Solid. 2) More and more mingled and balanced, generous, becomes for a while softer (honey, toffee) and then changes for more power, woodiness, cedar, chocolate … 3) not too strong, still balanced, unctuous, with a long finish

Conclusion: a wonderful cigar, definitely Cohiba but also Behike in depth and tempo. Indeed, the BHK 6 imposes its rythm.  At the moment the third third is not as impressive as the original Behike, but for sure this great cigar will get better and better in the future. A must. 97/100



Ardbeg 1977 (46%, OB, 70cl, 2001): rating by Serge 89/100. A gentle and refined 1970’s Ardbeg.
On BHK 4: delicious, a perfect match. Gives more volume to the cigar. The vanilla and caramel of the cigar and the saltiness of the whisky bring some beautiful toffee notes. 5/5
On BHK 5: great pairing too. Maybe more from the second third. 5/5
On BHK 6: even with this BIG cigar, the whole is perfectly balanced. Yummy! 5/5

  Cohiba BHK  

Clynelish 24yo 1965/1989 (49.4%, Cadenhead's for Sestante):
rating by Serge 95/100. A legendary Clynelish from the original Clynelish distillery.
On BHK 4: the Clynelish is great, complex (liquorice, ripe fruits, fresh mintiness …) but the whole doesn't mingle so well together (because of the burnt notes from the cigar ?).  3/5
On BHK 5: a much better match, more balanced. Some very interesting candied orange notes appear from the whisky. 4/5
On BHK 6: even slightly better. In fact, the whisky was simply asking for more and more from the cigar!   4.5 /5

Rosebank 20yo (57%, OB, white label, Red letters, Zenith import Italy, 75cl):
rating by Serge 93/100. One of the best Rosebanks ever bottled.
On BHK 4: the pairing brings some notes  of spices and incense in the begining, but same as with the Clynelish, the burnt notes on the third third doesn’t really suit the whisky at the end.  3/5
On BHK 5: curiously great match here. Big difference with the BHK4. The whole is more unctuous and floral. 4.5/5
On BHK 6: beautiful pairing, close to the previous one. 4.5 /5

Conclusion: it is never easy to pair great products together. Having the two best players in a same team, doesn’t always make the best team! The best whisky was without doubt the Clynelish, however the Ardbeg less complex owns an aromatic identity that suits perfectly the three cigars. Except for the BHK4, we can notice that the cigar is able to match beautifully with different style of whiskies. - Emmanuel


MUSIC - Recommended listening: some warm and grooovey music and a big new sound from Mozanbique by Deodato Siquir. This is properly called Harmony (check the bass and drums!!) and it's on the 2007 CD 'Balanço'. Please buy Deodato Siquir's music!


April 6, 2010

Santis Castle Belgian Owl

Tasting two Swiss and one Belgian single malts

The Swiss use to say that we Alsatians are Belgians who never made it to Switzerland, whilst the Belgians claim the opposite. Oh well…

Whisky Castle 'Terroir' 2006 (43%, OB, Switzerland, cask #477, 2010) Two stars The back labels states that it’s made out of smoked barley from Bünderland (okay, that’s the terroir part I guess), that it’s been double distilled in September 2006 (okay), and that it’s been aged for 5 years in casks made out of wood from the Fricktal (more terroir, great!) Well, I guess you just cannot be good both at terroirisation and at math, can you? Colour: gold. Nose: not much smoke and not much peat, rather a big sour fruitiness, between cider and ale, with quite some vanillin and a faint ‘plankishness’. Also hints of gooseberries and gueuze (yeah I know gueuze is Belgian beer, not Swiss.) Not unpleasant but we’re very, very far from traditional Scotch malt. Mouth: better attack, rather creamy, with notes of mirabelle plums and quite some vanilla. Goes on with notes of toasted brioche and a little marzipan and nougat, with just hints of sour oak in the background as well as a little bacon and, indeed, a tiny sooty smokiness. Not really complex but perfectly drinkable, well made. Finish: a little short but creamy and vanilled, with a clean aftertaste. Comments: nice palate. I’m sure this baby will become even better once it’s really 5 years old or more ;-). SGP:531 - 75 points.
Säntis Malt 'Schwarz' (52%, OB, Brauerei Locher, Switzerland, 2010) Four stars Another peated malt, a ‘Swiss Highlander’ from Appenzell in the northeast of Switzerland. It’s been matured in old beer casks. In case you don’t know, ‘schwarz’ means black in Schwiizertüütsch. Colour: dark gold. Nose: extremely unusual and most interesting. Starts on a lot of smoke and tar as well as something briney and some unexpected spicy notes (juniper, cardamom, capers?) The oak gets then a little more obvious (some kind of rejuvenation?), as well as a most unusual combination of capsicum, kummel and always these big notes of ‘sour tar’ (or something like that). It’s the first time I nose something like this and I must say I like it despite – or maybe because – its quirkiness.  Mouth: exactly the same feeling as on the nose. Please re-read above and just add wee notes of pineapple drops and lemon. Finish: long, tarry and ashy. Some smoked ham in the aftertaste. Comments: spectacular, unlike any other whisky I’ve tried, sometimes closer to some kind of herbal liqueur than to ‘whisky’ but much to my liking. Recommended if you’re looking for something really ‘different’. SGP:555 - 85 points.
The Belgian Owl 3 yo (46%, OB, Single Malt, Belgium, 2009) Three stars This one isn’t peated. Colour: straw. Nose: this one starts rather fresher than both Swiss and much more on bubblegum, strawberry sweets and vanilla custard. Develops more on other kinds of fruits, pears, plums and dried bananas, while the bubblegummy notes tend to disappear. A few mashy notes, muesli (isn’t that Swiss?), a little praline. Very faint earthiness that goes well here. Good balance. Pleasant. Mouth: ah yes! More body, more oomph, more creaminess and more ‘fullness’ than on the nose. Throw some tinned pineapples, some lemon, some vanilla cream and a little nutmeg and ginger into a jar, stir well and that’s it. Works well. Finish: rather long, sweet and a tad more appricoty. A little olive oil in the aftertaste. Comments: obviously young but I’m curious to try this when the bubblegummy and pearish notes will have disappeared. Already very quaffable. In other words, quality spirit with a future. SGP:630 - 80 points.

MUSIC - Recommended listening: we're in 1978 and king of trumpet Don Cherry records a wonderful session with Indian tabla player Latif Khan, named 'Music Sangam'. My favourite track is Untitled, Inspiration from home. Please buy Don Cherry and Latif Khan's musics.

Don Cherry
SHORT RAMBLINGS (too long for Twitter! ;-))

No more idols
That the fearless Mr Osterberg aka Mr Pop, Iggy did this totally weird advert for a car insurance company really puzzled me (iPhone capture taken March 2010 in Marylebone Station, London). He should rather work with Ardbeg or any other cask strength peatmonster maker! Didn’t he sing ‘Raw Power’?


April 5, 2010

Glen Turner Imperial Tribute

Tasting two different approaches to luxury

Glen Turner 18 yo (40%, OB, single malt Scotch, +/-2009) Two stars and a half A 'bastard deluxe' single malt by La Martiniquaise that’s widely available in French supermarkets for +/-30 € a bottle. Colour: ‘that’ gold. Nose: light, not weak, rather honeyed, nutty and malty, with hints of orange marmalade and a little wood smoke. Faint sourness in the background, damp wood and cardboard, grass. Also a little liquorice and chicory. Not unpleasant at all, I must say, even if it’s probably not a ‘nosing’ whisky as such. Mouth: nah, it’s rather weakish and bizarrely roasted (burnt chocolate cake, toffee)… Let’s say the attack is okayish but it’s soon to drop, and severely at that, leaving only a few notes of orange juice and vanilla. Finish: almost non-existent I’m afraid. Traces of oak and vanilla cake. Comments: absolutely not unpleasant but lacks oomph. Let’s say ‘very average’. SGP:331 - 77 points.
Imperial Tribute (46%, Spencer Collins & Co, Scotch blended malt, +/-2009) Three stars and a half Probably the funniest new Scotch around, 'a new genre of luxury malt whisky' blending all sorts of weird marketing tricks including far-fetched ‘legends’ (‘The legend of Imperial Tribute begins with the most northerly battle ever fought by the Romans in Britain’- ugh!), customizable labels, twisted keywords (‘We have distilled a lifetime’s experience of crafting the world’s finest whiskies into this unique bottle’) and, well, special prices (£127 a bottle for a NAS blended malt, whilst the younger whisky in the vatting is 10 years old – but others ’20, 30 or 40’. In which proportions, one may wonder?) Anyway, let’s try this wonder of wonders… Colour: gold. Nose: nice, pleasant and relatively complex nose, with rather more smoke than in the Glen Turner. Grassier and leafier, with notes of cooked butter, beeswax, peat, whiffs of lamp oil, green coffee, linseed oil… Also various herbs (a little thyme for sure), walnuts, a little vanilla… It’s not particularity malty but it’s nicely composed for sure. Obvious peatiness. Mouth: creamy attack, all on orange liqueur, mead and roasted peanuts. There’s less peat than on the nose, the whole being rounder and smoother than expected. Some honey, ‘Irish coffee’, even Bailey’s, wee notes of cognac. More body than the with the Glen Turner but it’s no big whisky. Good balance, though. Finish: medium long, pretty fresh and clean, orangey, with a pleasant sweetness in the aftertaste (fruit liqueurs, Turkish delights). Comments: maybe not totally ‘imperial’ but very well composed for sure, reminding me of Johnnie Walker Green Label at times. I won’t score the funny marketing. SGP:442 - 84 points.
More distillery data Our tastings: all Blends that we tried so far
SHORT RAMBLINGS (too long for Twitter! ;-))

Old Ardbegs in Bourgogne
The other day, with my most deserving wife Frédérique, we went to Dijon in Burgundy where I’ve been studying between 1979 and 1983.

We used some spare time to go see the apartment where I used to live at the time, which I hadn’t seen since those (not so) glorious times. Just next to it there was this small grocery store that didn’t exist back then. Guess what I found on its shelves? Yes, a stash of Ardbeg OB 1975 and 1978 at their original prices (which I won’t quote, I’m no sadist)! Of course they are now in my whisky bunker but I couldn’t help wondering why the Burgundians, who are well known for their impeccable ‘liquid’ tastes, never paid any attention to these nice bottles. Imagine, more than ten years! Maybe a grape and grain thing, or an aversion to khaki?
IPhone capture (we can't call this a photograph, can we?): in a London taxi, March 2010


MUSIC - Recommended listening: Niagara was a famous French band in the 1980s, they used to blend 'hard' rock sounds with clever electronic effects and some powerful singing by Muriel Moreno. Please have a go at Je Suis De Retour (from their album 'La Vérité') and then buy Niagara and Muriel Moreno's music.


April 4, 2010


Tasting two Canadians

Crown Royal 'Limited Edition' (40%, OB, +/-2009) Two stars A premiumised version of Seagram’s popular Canadian blend. Colour: full gold. Nose: starts a tad dusty and grainy, with notes of burnt wood and alcohol (cologne), the whole being rather dry. Now, there’s also a pleasant earthiness and a little chocolate. Gets finally smoother, with many more roasted nuts, coffee and notes of yellow flowers. Rather undemanding but not unpleasant. Mouth: easy, nutty, slightly sour (cider apples) and moderately honeyed. Rather thin mouth feel. Notes of oak, fudge, vanilla crème and a little orange liqueur. The whole is very soft. Finish: short, a little leafier now, with notes of apple peelings and always these hints of burnt wood. Comments: I can well imagine somebody sipping this on a lot of ice (why not an ice ball?) Very undemanding, maybe a tad too fleshless for ‘Scottish’ palates. SGP:331 - 75 points.
Canadian Club 6 yo (86.8 USProof, OB, bottled 1970) Two stars and a half Colour: gold. Nose: this is much fresher and ‘cleaner’ than the Crown Royal, more aromatic as well but there are similarities such as these notes of burnt wood and cologne. Gets much drier after a few seconds, slightly smoky and caramelly, with hints of vanilla and a little mint. Also notes of overripe apples. The whole is quite nice, globally more talkative than the Crown Royal. Mouth: much richer and creamier than the Crown Royal now. Vanilla crème and orange liqueur (Cointreau) with a little liquorice and milk chocolate plus a little apple juice. Slightly grainy as well. Finish: medium long, now more on apples and strawberries, very faint kirschiness. Some liquorice again in the aftertaste. Comments: a clean and relatively potent old Canadian Club, with a pleasant creaminess. A good dram. SGP:431 - 79 points. (and thanks, Patrick)

MUSIC - Recommended listening: muched missed good old fiddler extraordinaire Papa John Creach (Airplane, Hot Tuna) doing Up in the alley (from his superb 1972 album 'Filthy'). Please buy Papa John Creach's music.

Papa John Creach

SHORT RAMB-LINGS (too long for Twitter! ;-)) Ardbeg
First Ardbeg shop window in Taiwan
This is a photograph or the first Ardbeg-sponsored shop window in Taiwan, with the famous 'BDSM' display that we can sometimes admire at whisky festivals or in shops. It was completed on April 2 and the happy shop owner is whisky.com.tw (very, very cool people by the way - and thanks, Ho-cheng!)

April 2, 2010

Springbank CV

Tasting two new Springbank

Springbank 'CV' (46%, OB, +/-2010) Three stars From a bottle, not from the mini-pack. Colour: straw. Nose: a tad strange at first nosing, rather sooty and mineral ‘in the Springbank way’ but also very grassy and mashy, dry… Notes of sour porridge, asparagus, wet hay, sour cream, coal ashes and linseed oil, with just hints of struck matches. Wild carrots, lemon peel. Austere and not very sexy to say the least. Mouth: sweeter and, in my view, more appealing than on the nose. Lemon, ginger tonic, vanilla, green apples, bitter oranges and just hints of salt and pepper. Faint waxiness. Finish: long, with more pepper and bitter oranges. Comments: to be honest I didn’t like the nose too much but the palate was good, rather compact and coherent. Well, not sure I’d swap one single bottle of the most recent batches of the 10 (or of Longrow CV for that matter) for one case of this new baby but it’s a good dram. SGP:262 - 80 points.
Springbank 12 yo 1997/2010 'Claret Wood' (54.4%, OB, 2360 bottles) Four starsThis one spent 9 years in refill bourbon and 3 years in bordeaux casks (original châteaux are unknown – or weren’t they château barrels?) Colour: full gold. Nose: another rather dry and vegetal version of Springbank at first nosing but there’s more happening in this one as it unfolds and becomes rounder and richer. The ‘base’ descriptors are there (flintiness, wax, grass) but there’re also notes of mint, dried figs and wet fabric (a little musty), with also oranges, walnuts and damp wood. Very ‘organic’, neither thick nor jammy - at all. With water: as often, it gets wilder and farmier, even after quite some breathing. Notes of game, farmyard, ‘old suitcase in the attic’. Mouth (neat): very creamy and very spicy at first sipping, with a lot of ginger, cumin and Chinese anise. The cumin is really big! Goes on more on kumquats, eglantine and orange marmalade, with also something slightly resinous (pine sap). Chery stem infusion. With water: excellent, with the spices even more to the front. Old style herbal liqueur, salmiak. Finish: very long, mostly on bitter oranges, ginger and cumin. Comments: funny how the claret didn’t impart any winey notes to this one. I say great news! It’s a big dram, maybe a tiny-wee tad monolithic but globally very excellent. SGP:552 - 87 points.
More distillery data Our tastings: all Springbank that we tried so far
The complete distillery profile on Malt Madness

MUSIC - Recommended listening: imagine you're in the 70s and you put together Cameroon's main blower Manu Dibango and kings of salsa the Fania All Stars on stage. Then you ask them to do Manu's huge hit Soul Makossa... What would the result be? Something frienzied, obviously! Please but all these luminaries' music.

Manu Dibango
SHORT RAMBLINGS (too long for Twitter! ;-))

To the cool people who've been wondering about yesterday's entries, yes, I'm afraid it was April 1st. Now, I have to answer a few questions that I got:

- Of course the Manager's Choices have been photoshopped. My secret hope is that the fake news gave Diageo an idea: to have a good rummage around their warehouses looking for that Malt Mill or this Parkmore. Maybe they have them? ;-)

- No Survivor: The Distillers, I'm afraid (at least not on Islay, maybe at Whisky Live?)
- Billy Walker's records do exist, no Photoshopping involved! But of course he's not 'our' Billy Walker, who's very much alive and kicking whereas Billy Walker the country singer sadly passed away four years ago.
- The 'Whisky Babe of the Month' was not photoshopped either! She was at some sort of knees-up in Taiwan in 2006. More here and there (we didn't have the most unlikely shot yesterday, did we?)

April 1, 2010



Managers Choice

Today Diageo have stunned the world of whisky connoisseurs and collectors with the release of a previously unannounced selection from their single-cask collection, The Manager’s Choice.  Each of these newly released casks, all seventy years old or more, comes from one of Diageo’s portfolio of long-closed distilleries, and many will astonish commentators.  Names such as Parkmore, Auchtertool and Lochruan will draw gasps of delight from aficionados around the world, but the presence of a cask from the legendary Malt Mill Distillery on Islay is simply a tour-de force, and is perhaps the single-most important event in the world of malt whisky for many years.

In line with other offerings in the range the casks were carefully chosen by a group of managers and owners from each of the distilleries, although rather than meeting in Scotland a séance and virtual tasting was required to garner the necessary views and opinions from all of those involved in making the whiskies, before the final selections were made.  Commenting on the Malt Mill 1909, founder the late Sir Peter Mackie said he thought it was “quite surprising, but particularly splendid”. Age and the Angels have taken their toll on some of these precious liquids; the Malt Mill 1909 being reduced in the cask to only seventy bottles at 40.000001% abv. The Clockserrie, dating from 1924, delivered a mere ninety-nine bottles, with an abv of only 38%, leading Diageo and the Scotch Whisky Association to agree to designate it as ‘Nearly Single Malt Scotch Whisky’ in line with the new Scotch Whisky Regulations.

Malt Mill
In line with previous bottlings these new expressions have been priced to reflect their scarcity and rarity.  With the Parkmore (1926) at the modest price of £49,999 per bottle, the others rise to £120,000 for the Clockserrie, and a staggering £135,000 for the Malt Mill.  A Diageo spokesperson explained, “We’re trying to make these fantastic products available to as many drinkers and collectors as we possibly can.  That’s why we’re instituting the first ever rental scheme for whiskies as prestigious as these.  On the payment of guaranteed sureties of £250,000 consumers will be able to rent two of the selection, at modest terms, for a period of six months.  This means that everyone can have a bottle of Malt Mill in their collection, at least for a moment.  I’m sure our loyal drinkers will be delighted at this news, and appreciated the efforts we have gone to on their behalf”.  Commenting on these and the previous bottlings in the collection he continued “we’re touched by the response from consumers all over the world to the Manager’s Choice, a revolutionary concept that has redefined the parameters of luxury goods marketing in the world of single malt whisky.  The commercial success of the range, and the critical acclaim we have received has more than justified the work we have undertaken to bring these most precious liquids to the market”.
Auchtertool 1926 (Lowland)
Clockserrie 1924 (Highland)
Lochruan 1919 (Campbeltown)
Loch Dhu 1929 (Speyside)
Malt Mill 1909 (Islay)
Parkmore 1926 (Speyside).




A new season of popular reality television game show ‘Survivor’ has just been shot on the island of Islay, Scotland and will be broadcasted later in September 2010.

Two ‘tribes’ of distillers, blenders and brand ambassadors of various ages and experience had to survive in a very hostile environment (howling gales, voracious seals, painfully slow motor homes, erratic Calmac ferries, sneaky oystercatchers, wandering whisky freaks, lustful sheep), with very little food and tool supplies and while wearing winter kilts and matching ties and handkerchiefs. Various nerve-racking tests were put on, such as:


- Tell a story about whisky without quoting your brand’s name more than fifty times.
- Talk about your whiskies for ten minutes without using the words ‘delighted’, ‘exciting’ and ‘amazing’.
Read one whole issue of Whisky Magazine and one whole issue of Malt Advocate.
Spell the words ‘Sauternes’, ‘Barolo’ and ‘Pomerol’ without making any mistakes.
Say bad things about your distilleries’ owners.
Say good things about the Malt Maniacs.
Cancel your Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Buy 20 genuine sherry butts.
Talk about the English without spitting on the floor.
Drink a whole measure of one of your own whiskies (your pick).
And many others!

Survivor: The Distillers will be broadcasted both on CBS and Single Malt TV, starting September 20th.



Billy Walker

The whole whisky world is in shock: famous master distiller and Benriach - Glendronach manager Billy Walker just announced that he left the company to start a new career in music as a country and western singer. Billy’s first two CDs (20 Golden Country Hits and 20 Great Western Hits), both recorded in Mashville, Tennessee are to be officially launched during Feis Ile later in May. Famous whisky writer Dave Broom isn’t surprised, though, as he told The Scotsman: ‘Insiders always knew that Billy had a golden voice and the names of two of his whisky successes, namely Glendronach ‘Revival’ and Benriach ‘Curiositas’ had left no doubt about his ultimate goals. He has always been a cowboy at heart.’ We wish Billy Walker a huge success in his new ventures.



Whisky Babe


March 2010 - part 2 <--- April 2010 - part 1 ---> April 2010 - part 2

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



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

Bruichladdich 15 yo 'Mayflower '80' (43%, OB for Samaroli, ceramic decanter, 1980)

Bunnahabhain 35 yo 1974/2009 (44.3%, AD Rattray, bourbon, cask #7111, 164 bottles)

Bunnahabhain 40 yo 1968/2008 (40.8%, Duncan Taylor, cask #7013, 423 bottles)

Old Pulteney 1974/2009 (43%, Gordon & MacPhail)