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Hi, you're in the Archives, April 2013 - Part 1

March 2013 - part 2 <--- April 2013 - part 1 ---> April 2013 - part 2


April 12, 2013


More Bunnahabhain, four of them

And first, a true baby…

Bunnahabhain 5 yo 2007/2012 (50.5%, Liquid Sun, refill hogshead, 298 bottles)

Bunnahabhain 5 yo 2007/2012 (50.5%, Liquid Sun, refill hogshead, 298 bottles) Three stars Colour: very pale white wine. Nose: peated pears with some mint and lemon, then more porridge. Obviously very young and quite mescalish, in a way. The good news is that it isn’t really raw or newmaky while it’s not a big sweet oak that’s doing the trick. So no ‘doping’ here. Young and (quite) mature, so to speak. With water: more iodine and lime. Very zesty. Mouth (neat): it’s the sweetness that comes first, it’s actually quite fruity yet not fully pearish. Rather oranges and lemons, then a kind of peat and pepper blast but it remains civilised. With water: more or less the same but with more salt coming through. A little spearmint as well, maybe oysters… Finish: not very long but always clean and zesty. Sweeter aftertaste. Comments: it’s quite impressive that maturity’s been reached after just 5 years. Well, almost. SGP:447 - 80 points.

Bunnahabhain 15 yo 1997/2013 (46%, Signatory for Waldhaus am See, cask #5565, 360 bottles)

Bunnahabhain 15 yo 1997/2013 (46%, Signatory for Waldhaus am See, cask #5565, 360 bottles) Four stars Colour: white wine. Nose: there’s more soot in these 1997 batches, more coal, more ashes and even traces of clean wet dogs now that they’ve reached 15 years (the whisky, not the dogs – and I’m sorry, dogs). Having said that, this one becomes more and more lemony after a few minutes, and these are lemons in all their possible forms (marmalade, juice, candied, whatever). Hints of raw wool as well. Very nice nose. Mouth: starts extremely gentiany – and I know some friends hate that but I for one am a sucker for gentian. Goes on with a lot of salt, some vanilla, some bitter herbs and then some rather drying ashes. ‘licking an ashtray’. Finish: the lemons are back but otherwise we’re fully on peaty, salty and ashy gentian spirit. Comments: it’s not the most complex peater ever but it’s quite spectacular, with all this earthy gentian (yeah yeah). SGP:357 - 86 points.

Bunnahabhain 23 yo 1989/2013 (44%, Abbey Whisky, Rare Casks, release 2, bourbon, 96 bottles)

Bunnahabhain 23 yo 1989/2013 (44%, Abbey Whisky, Rare Casks, release 2, bourbon, 96 bottles) Four stars and a half Colour: straw. Nose: haha, there’s a little peat in there as well. At my ripe old age I don’t seem to remember they were peating some batches back in 1989… Or have they used an ex-peater barrel? Anyway, there’s also this trademark flowery/honeyed profile, rather delicate, subtly fragrant, that goes on with more orange blossom and vanilla as well as touches of guavas and other tropical fruits. Honeysuckle. This could be even older than 23, I remember old ex-refill circa 1968 Bunnahbahains that were rather similar. Mouth: once again, this could be older. The oak brought some fine spices (white pepper, cinnamon) before more vanilla and orange cake come out. Not too sure about the peat anymore but I also enjoy these notes of Belgian gueuze beer, the touches of artisan cider and then the sweeter, more candied notes of, way Demerara sugar. It also reminds me a bit of the official XXV. Finish: medium, rather smooth, with some candy sugar and apple pie. Comments: a very delicate Bunnahabhain, quality’s high. It’s also very drinkable. SGP:552 - 88 points.

While we’re at it and since we’ve spoken of old Bunnahabhains, let’s have one… But it’ll be a monster!

Bunnahabhain 25 yo 1969/1995 (53.3%, Signatory, cask #2025, 140 bottles)

Bunnahabhain 25 yo 1969/1995 (53.3%, Signatory, cask #2025, 140 bottles) Five stars I already tried this baby back in 2004 and had found some ‘Loch-Dhuness’ to it. Well, that was nine years ago… Colour: mahogany/coffee. Nose: one of the olorosoest noses I’ve ever come across but what’s quite incredible is that it’s not exactly cloying, or aggressive, or too jammy. Having said that there are truckloads of prunes, black raisins and chocolate, too the point where not much else manages to come through. Maybe hints of old pinot noir or rather Bourgogne? Cherry liqueur? With water: black raisins all over the place, then more parsley and lovage, as often. ‘Maggi’. Mouth (neat): heavy and totally sherry-infused but once again, it’s no fatty-lumpy sherried malt whisky. Having said that, the dose of chocolate is massive. It’s also got this old-Armagnac side that’s sometimes to be found in old sherry monsters in my experience. With water: yeah, it’s what happens quite often with sherry monsters, water makes the oak come out more, which makes the whole a notch too drying and grapey. Grape seed. Finish: this is much better again, with more oranges, maybe star anise, tobacco… Comments: an excellent chocolaty sherry monster from Islay but I’ll only go for one more point wrt nine years ago (WF 89). That ain’t a great leap forward, is it!  SGP:561 - 90 points.

(Many thanks, Carsten.)

More tasting notes Check the index of all Bunnahabhain I've tasted so far



Block Today: BLUES. Performer: the sadly missed Magic Slim who left us in Februray. Track: So easy to love you. Please visit his website and buy his music...

April 11, 2013


Tasting the new NAS Macallan.
Two of them…

But first, we’ll have to find a kind of official benchmark and instead of just any recent ‘Fine Oak’ version or any old glory – that would be useless - I think we’ll rather choose a classic 12 year old from WF’s shelves. Then, we’ll have two of these new epitomically ‘NAS’ Macallans. I believe age, among many other factors, does matter but that’s not quite the same thing as desperately needing an age statement. After all, many people drive cars without knowing the sizes of their engines (it’s often not even written on the rears anymore). What may be a little more unpleasant is the feeling, be it justified or not, that ‘no age’ means ‘hiding the age’, which, in turn, may suggest an ‘undisclosable youth’. Or ‘more flavouring, less ageing’… But let’s try to test-drive... sorry, taste these new Macallans without too many prejudices or biases… But first:

Macallan 12 yo (43%, OB, Gouin SA, France, cork, +/-1992)

Macallan 12 yo (43%, OB, Gouin SA, France, cork, +/-1992) Two stars and a half Bearing one of these back labels that used to tell us that ‘For reasons not even science can wholly explain, whisky has always matured best in oak casks that have contained sherry.’ And they were going on, ‘Journeying annually to the bodegas of Jerez, (the Directors) buy fresh oak casks into which they pour mature, carefully chosen sherries, then keep them for two further years in Spain before having them shipped over…’ Haha. Having said that, it’s also to be said that we’ve never found these batches to be as stellar as the, say 15s or 18s that were distilled up to the late 1970s, or the 12s or even 8s from before the late 1980s. So, no ‘good old days’ feelings here… Okay, enough babbling. Colour: amber. Nose: what’s a little tricky is not to take OBE into account. For example, do these very big, very obvious notes of watercress come from bottle ageing or not? Other that that, we have bags of prunes and chocolate, well in the ‘full oloroso’ style of the time, but then more and more dust and old papers. Old bookstore, a few dried porcinis, quite some coal smoke and then the chocolate is back, together with more cut grass. Very fine nose but it’s quite dry despite some touches of rum that do emerge after a while. Mouth: nah, it’s not its best side. The prunes and chocolate are back – big time – but it’s also a little too grapey, almost armagnacqy, and tends to fall apart after a few seconds. Some strawberry jam. Finish: shortish, with more blood oranges. A little quinine in the aftertaste. Comments: very fine but not the best batches, they were becoming thinner. Now, maybe earlier batches were actually older than 12? SGP:442 - 79 points.

Macallan ‘Amber’ (40%, OB, 1824 series, +/-2013)

Macallan ‘Amber’ (40%, OB, 1824 series, +/-2013) Three stars Nothing to do with Macallan’s discontinued Amber liqueur and not much to do with the more expensive ‘1824 Collection’. Colour: gold, so darker than the ‘Gold’ that’s more ‘pale gold’ (tried last year, WF 81). Nose: of course it’s not the same whisky as the old 12 but there are similarities such as the smokiness and the touches of old books. Other than that, there’s much more straight oak, some gingerbread, sultanas, a feeling of European oak (ginger) that may not come from European oak ;-) and then more tertiary notes such as a little camphor (very discreet). More and more praline and vanilla as well and lastly, whiffs of fresh sawdust and more and more porridge. We’re a little between two worlds, raisiny sherry and new spicy oak, with a raw barleyness that isn’t too far. Mouth: a sweet spiciness from the oak strikes first, with more ginger and nutmeg plus more and more cinnamon and cloves after that. Some raisins and orange peel too but there’s no ‘maple syrup’ effect. It’s all rather dry. Finish: medium length, with just the same spices except that it’s the cinnamon that took the lead. Touches of aniseed in the aftertaste, orange marmalade. Comments: it’s a very spicy one and in that sense it’s very ‘modern’. Oak-driven but well driven. SGP:461 - 81 points.

Macallan ‘Sienna’ (40%, OB, 1824 series, +/-2013)

Macallan ‘Sienna’ (43%, OB, 1824 series, +/-2013) Five stars Rumours say that this baby’s the best of the new bunch but you know, rumours… Colour: dark gold, so probably older and/or with more sherry, as all are untainted with caramel. Nose: remember we found a lot of praline in the Amber? Well, this one has even more praline and smells a bit like a tarte tatin fresh from the oven. There’s also some Demerara sugar, more wood smoke than coal smoke this time, orange skin, many dried fruits (and nuts), a little pine sap and honeydew, touches of peanut butter, then more oranges… All that isn’t big, it’s rather a whispering malt but it tells you long and entertaining stories. I have to say it’s a great surprise that does not smell ‘un-old’ at all. Mouth: it is quite spicy as well but it’s not just that, the base is very solid, rich, jammy, honeyed, raisiny… There’s some gingerbread (with a lot of honey!), then a feeling of sandalwood, funny touches of cranberry and pomegranate, a little pink grapefruit and then more wood spices, but never as many as in the Amber. Finish: quite long and instead of becoming too spicy or drying, it’s the orangey and jammy side that takes control. Excellent. Comments: it’s most probably not 30 years old but it does remind me a bit of the old ‘all-blue’ 30, remember? Next time I’ll try it in a large cognac glass, that usually works well with these complex Macs (not in WF-tasting conditions of course). Oh, I almost forgot, quite sadly, I like it a lot. So, Edrington, what’s the age again? You may tell us only about the average age if you prefer ;-)… SGP:551 - 90 points.

More tasting notes Check the index of all Macallan I've tasted so far

Pete McPeat and Jack Washback
(so yeah, whisky is like pizza)



Block Today: CLASSICAL (for once). The Ardeo Quartet plays Charles Koechlin's Quartetto no.1 op. 51. Charles Koechlin (1867-1950) was an Alsacian composer. Please buy the Ardeo Quartet's music...

April 10, 2013


Tasting three Miltonduff, good shtuff

Maybe I should stop using stupid headlines, what do you think?

Miltonduff 1980 (41.9%, Jack Wiebers, Prenzlow Portfolio Collection, bourbon, +/-2012)

Miltonduff 1980/2012 (41.9%, Jack Wiebers, Prenzlow Portfolio Collection, bourbon) Four stars Colour: dark straw. Nose: it’s a relatively light yet fragrant nose, with touches of melons and peaches ala Bruichladdich that mingle well with a little menthol and liquorice from the wood. Also a little vanilla and maple syrup, the whole remaining light and delicate, almost a little feminine. After fifteen minutes, touches of banana skin as well as marshmallows but it remains light and elegant. Hope the palate won’t be too drying or tannic… Mouth: there is, indeed, a little bitter oak at first sipping but I wouldn’t say it’s excessive, it even imparts some notes of chlorophyll that go well with a rather liquoricy profile. More and more liquorice, which makes it semi-extractive, I’d say. Then more and more walnuts, apple peels and then nutmeg and cinnamon. Barley water. Finish: medium long, clean, not too oaky. Green melons – they are back! Banana skin in the aftertaste, drops of Jaegermeister. Comments: a very interesting dram, sometimes fragile but the oak never manages to win. SGP:441 - 85 points.

Miltonduff 23 yo 1987/2010 (56.7%, Riegger's Selection, cask #7057)

Miltonduff 23 yo 1987/2010 (56.7%, Riegger's Selection, cask #7057) Four stars Colour: dark gold. Nose: this time we’re rather having a blend of chocolate and kirsch at first nosing, with a few overripe strawberries in the background. Goes on with stone fruits and the spirits made thereof (always a little almondy), then straight almonds and walnuts. The oak’s growing bigger over time, with whiffs of pencil shavings but never any varnish. With water: cinnamon cake, black tea and chocolate. The oak’s been tamed. Mouth (neat): big peppery oak, which gives this baby a profile that’s akin to… a peater’s! Seriously. Then more heavy liquorice, walnut liqueur and bitter chocolate, it’s a funny one provided you like bitter drams. With water: less ‘peat’ and more herbal tones, beautiful ones. A slight feeling of lapsang souchong mixed with tarry liquorice and drops of strong herbal liqueur. Actually, it reminds me of an old liqueur that my grandpa used to quaff forty or fifty years ago and that was called Danziger Goldwasser. There were gold flakes floating in it – yes, already. The junk vodkas that use that trick today and are claiming to a first are really hopeless. Finish: long, perfect, with more bitter oranges and a sweet spiciness. Comments: I was afraid this would be a little too extractive/oaky. It’s not. SGP:462 - 87 points.

Milton Duff 1964/1999 (49.5%, Samaroli, Cask# 1153, 240 bottles)

Milton Duff 1964/1999 (49.5%, Samaroli, Cask# 1153, 240 bottles) Four stars and a half That’s right, Miltonduff is sometimes spelled Milton Duff or Milton-Duff. Colour: gold. Nose: it’s a rather light one again, not too far from the JWWW, except that this one’s rather more floral, with roses and peonies on top of the melon, vanilla and marshmallows. Also something clearly bourbony, with a little coconut and, again, menthol. With water: yesss. Explodes with subtle herbal fragrances, vetiver, green oranges, orange blossom, fresh peppermint, lemon balm… This is quite superb. Mouth (neat): it’s really funny how bourbony this is. Coconut liqueur, creamy vanilla, sweet walnut cake, barley sugar… You get the picture. Good body, this is very quaffable, even without water. With water: excellent, delicately almondy and herbal. Finish: the oak becomes slightly drying know, which will prevent me from going over 89. Comments: a case where many enthusiasts wouldn’t have tried it with water because of the medium strength (49.5%) while water actually did wonders. Remember, water is whisky’s best friend (together with a glass). Too bad the finish was a tad cardboardy… SGP:541 - 89 points.

More tasting notes Check the index of all Miltonduff I've tasted so far



Block Today: JAZZ. Performer: Archie Shepp playing Trane in 1977. Track: Wise one. Please visit Archie Shepp's website and buy his music...

April 9, 2013


Tasting some Bowmore (yet again) including our 300th

Spring IS around the corner in Alsace. It just cannot not be. So maybe today is the last occasion to have some heavy wintery peaters at high strength, such as… A few Bowmores again? Yeah, any excuses, really, anyway, this time we won’t build a line-up and then taste them all back and forth like we usually do, we’ll rather choose one after the other, like we would all do in a bar. We’ll see how far we’ll manage to go…

Bowmore 15 yo 1997/2012 (53.7%, Whisky-Fässle, bourbon hogshead)

Bowmore 15 yo 1997/2012 (53.7%, Whisky-Fässle, bourbon hogshead) Four stars and a halfThe excellent Whisky Fässle (little cask) already had several no-less excellent middle-aged Bowmores in the past, including some 1997. Colour: straw. Nose: my, this session starts well! A crystal-clean, hyper-Bowmorean Bowmore, with everything that’s needed well in place. Peat smoke, very clean, sea air, a little vanilla cake, some seaweed, some lemon and then we’re back on peat smoke. Or when simplicity’s an asset. With water: becomes a notch farmier (hay) and more vegetal. There’s also more brine (with fish inside, hehe). Mouth (neat): perfect. Very peaty and salty, all that being coated with some kind of white chocolate flavoured with tropical fruits, especially maracuja. More walnuts after that, manzanilla (I guess it’s the saltiness that gives you this feeling, this is obviously no manzanilla cask). With water: a little rounder and sweeter. And indeed there’s a little maracuja. Finish: long and fruitier, which is a little unusual in finishes. Comments: I think another Bowmore has to be much, much older to beat this ultra-clean style. We’ll try later on ;-)… SGP:456 - 89 points.

Bowmore 16 yo 1996/2013 (52.7%, The First Editions, refill bourbon hogshead, 70 bottles)

Bowmore 16 yo 1996/2013 (52.7%, The First Editions, refill bourbon hogshead, 70 bottles) Four stars and a half Colour: pale white wine. Nose: the colour’s lighter but this baby’s actually got much more vanilla at first nosing, it’s certainly rounder, more civilised, with also more pastries (hot croissants!) Some toasted wood as well… Having said that, the coastal peatiness would wake up after a few seconds, together with notes of almonds, but everything remains gentle and civilised. With water: becomes wilder and drier. A lot of soot, ashes… The roundness disappeared, in a Jekyll and Hyde move. Mouth (neat): again, it’s sweet and creamy (mouthfeel) but it also becomes immensely citrusy, much more so than the 1997. Lemon and grapefruits, then pepper and peat. Quite perfect. With water: tropical fruits! I’m not saying this could be a 1966 but these grapefruits and passion fruits are welcome. Finish: long, slightly toasted again (bread). Very salty aftertaste. Comments: what’s not to like? SGP:556 - 88 points.

Bowmore 16 yo 1996/2013 (57.1%, Alexander, SwissLink 6, refill bourbon hogshead)

Bowmore 16 yo 1996/2013 (57.1%, Alexander, SwissLink 6, refill bourbon hogshead) Four stars and a half Colour: pale white wine. Nose: same whisky as above, more or less. Maybe a little bit less rounded but that may well come from the lighter %. With water: maybe a wee bit less sooty and a little more mineral? Not too sure… Mouth (neat): same profile yet again, this is just punchier and maybe a little more peppery. With water: yes, almost the same whisky. You could down two bottles of each to try to find nuances and differences, and you’d still need more. Finish: same. Comments: same. A lot of salt again. SGP:556 - 88 points.

Good, time to tackle some officials, don’t you think?

Bowmore '100 Degrees Proof' (57.1%, OB, +/-2013)

Bowmore '100 Degrees Proof' (57.1%, OB, +/-2013) Three stars and a half I’m scared because some batches of the older ‘NAS Cask Strength’ from ten years ago or so used to be absolutely repulsive. Okay, this can only be better, I doubt they would have added some old lavendery batches to this newer vatting. Colour: gold. Nose: we aren’t far from the indies, not far at all. This has just more vanilla and maybe a bigger spiciness (ginger), possibly from some more active wood. With water: as almost always, it’s Bowmore’s wilder side that comes out. Kelp, oysters, fisherman’s nets, peat..; Having said that, the ginger remains there. Mouth (neat): exactly the same comment, it’s more or less the same make as the indies, with more sweet oak, vanillin, oranges, ginger, touches of nutmeg… That makes it a little easier and sexier, but maybe a little less appealing to die hard Bowmore fans. With water: ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon come out. Oak! Finish: long and gingery. Comments: shall we say it’s a little more ‘commercial’ than the indies? I have to say I’m less a fan of the modernish gingery side. SGP:456 - 83 points.

Bowmore 'Springtide' (54.9%, OB, sherry, +/-2013)

Bowmore 'Springtide' (54.9%, OB, sherry, +/-2013) Two stars Same comment as above and this time we’re thinking of the dreaded ‘Darkest’ from years gone by. Terrible stuff (in my humble opinion, as always). Colour: amber. Nose: blow, trumpets, there’s no links whatsoever to the evil Darkest. We rather have a very dry, chocolaty and smoky profile, some dried kelp, notes of Seville oranges and maybe just tiny-wee touches of pencil shavings. So no old bodega butts involved, I guess ;-). With water: ouch, the ginger and the pencil shavings become loud and do not seem to go too well with the brine that’s included here. Having said that, there are also rather beautiful camphory touches, parsley, balsamico... Mouth (neat): well, it is a little bizarre. Heavy cinnamon, bitter chocolate, a lot of ginger again, all that clashes a bit with the saltiness and even with the smokiness. Becomes a little bitter (Fernet Branca). With water: not quite. Dissonant. Salted blackcurrants, liquorice and anchovies in brine. Finish: long, on the same kinds of notes. Comments: peat + sherry can be a winning combo but sometimes that doesn’t quite work. A weird, pretty quirky dram that does not take water well in my opinion. Bring the Tempests over! (but yeah, it’s a funny one). SGP:555 - 75 points.

So mixed feelings, let’s call the cavalry. Or rather heavy artillery… Because I’ve just checked that this will be Whiskyfun’s 300th tasting note for a Bowmore…

Bowmore 1964 (43%, OB, Soffiantino, +/-1985)

Bowmore 1964 (43%, OB, Soffiantino, +/-1985) Five stars Colour: mahogany. Nose: the opposite of the Springtide, or Beethoven vs. Slipknot. We’re in ‘Bicentenary’ territories here, this is amazingly complex, rather peatier than other Bowmores from the mid-1960s, and more herbal too. I get some vetiver, some spearmint, various sweet Swiss or Italian cheeses (no heavy ones, do not worry), Spanish ham, then more raisins and prunes, Virginia tobacco, leather polish, maybe a little tamarind, old Port and other such wines, touches of old roses, incense… Oh well, the list of aromas is endless. Stellar nose. Mouth: would make anyone cry. This palate is even more spectacular than the nose, which does not happen very often with old or oldish whiskies. Amazing combination of dried fruits (figs first, then two thousand other dried fruits), longans… All that together with the most subtle herbal liqueurs and cough syrups. Better leave it at that, or you’d need to call the anti-maltoporn brigade. One could write pages and pages about this s.t.u.n.n.i.n.g. whisky. Magnificent sherry (what pajarette???) Finish: its only slightly weaker point, it’s not the longest ever. The Bicentenaries, for example, are a little longer. Chocolaty aftertaste, raspberry ganache... Comments: loses one point at the finish. Yeah I know… Anyway, it’s astounding, legendary whisky and everybody knows that. SGP:655 - 94 points.

I think we should now stop this session. We may have many other old Bowmores later but it would be very difficult to climb over the 1964 right now…

More tasting notes Check the index of all Bowmore I've tasted so far



Block Today: ROCK. Performer: Quebec's ex-brewer Robert Charlebois. Track: Petroleum. That's a rare piece from the 197o's, recorded when Frank Zappa was around in the studio. Can you hear him? Please visit the website and buy the music...

April 8, 2013


Time to try more Teaninich, in sync with the news

I’m sure you’ve heard the news, Diageo are about to both expand the existing Teaninich Distillery and build another, larger one in the immediate neighbourhoods. A good excuse for us to do a little Teaninich verticale today… Although it’ll be more horizontal… nevermind…

Teaninich 28 yo 1983/2012 (49.1%, Duncan Taylor, Dimensions, cask #6719, 274 bottles)

Teaninich 28 yo 1983/2012 (49.1%, Duncan Taylor, Dimensions, cask #6719, 274 bottles) Three stars and a half Colour: straw. Nose: it’s a relatively earthy one, quite mineral too, with a lot of grass, apple peel and lemon zest (moderate). The cask has been very lazy because this smells very young. Not saying it isn’t nice of course. Keeps changing, becoming a little fruitier, mainly on greengages and not-too-ripe gooseberries, with growing whiffs of wood and coal smoke. Mouth: once again the profile is youngish, with pears, lemon drops and marshmallows, before a grassy bitterness starts to take over. Green pepper but also lime. All that is very green, agreed. Finish: quite long, still bitter and even more lemony. Comments: it’s a nervous and youthful one, to think that it’s almost 30 years of age. An interesting, zesty distillate nonetheless. SGP:571 - 83 points.

Teaninich 1982/2011 'Winter Spice' (44.4%, Wemyss Malts, hogshead, 201 bottles)

Teaninich 1982/2011 'Winter Spice' (44.4%, Wemyss Malts, hogshead, 201 bottles) Four stars A relatively low 'natural cask strength'. Colour: straw. Nose: very interesting to check what a more active wood can do. So we have more vanilla, as expected, but also more butter and green tea, then rather fresh almonds and walnuts plus a little mint and eucalyptus as well as fragrant flowers, roses, peonies... It’s a rather complex one that’s worthy of your time. Give it to it (as always, yes). Mouth: once again we’re not far from the 1983, only with more body, more roundness and, yes, more oak (vanilla, toasted pastries). It’s also a notch more ‘tertiary’ again, with a little cough syrup, green cardamom… Also green apples, dry cider, lemon balm. Finish: quite long, with touches of wormwood and even more lemon balm. Apple liqueur. Comments: all fine and pretty drinkable. Not tiring. SGP:551 - 85 points.

Teaninich 1982/2011 (50.5%, Liquid Sun, bourbon hogshead, 114 bottles)

Teaninich 1982/2011 (50.5%, Liquid Sun, bourbon hogshead, 114 bottles) Four stars Colour: white wine. Nose: almost the same whisky as the Wemyss. Maybe a little less walnuts? The higher strength does not change anything. Mouth: same comment, it’s only a notch bigger but that must be the higher strength. Pretty grassy and leafy. Finish: same, quite long. Comments: same. That was quick. SGP:551 – 85 points.

Teaninich 36 yo 1971/2007 (50%, Douglas Laing, Old Malt Cask, cask ref #3914, 122 bottles)

Teaninich 36 yo 1971/2007 (50%, Douglas Laing, Old Malt Cask, cask ref #3914, 122 bottles) Four stars Colour: dark gold. Nose: same territories yet again but this has more smoke and more coffee, and then wee metallic touches, maybe a few herbs such as sorrel or chives. The smokiness never stops growing and this nose is becoming quite wonderful. Also more orange cake, oriental pastries… (orange blossom and rosewater). Mouth: much more, say quirky, with this metallic side that became more obvious while the rest remains both smoky and orangey. More and more pepper too, it’s really becoming big. Slightly cardboardy as well. Finish: long, mainly on pepper and oranges, while the metallic notes (silver spoon) and the cardboard become even more obvious in the aftertaste. Having said that, they’re far from representing straight flaws, they’re even kind of enjoyable. Comments: no classic, on second thought there’s something that reminds me of marc de Bourgogne or from Jura (grapes, eh!) It’s a very smoky one as well. SGP:563 - 86 points.

More tasting notes Check the index of all Teaninich I've tasted so far



Block Today: BLUES. Performer: the Dirty blues band. Track: You've got to love her with a feeling. Please buy all their music...

April 7, 2013


Two middle-aged and pretty harmless Braeval

Braeval aka Braes of Glenlivet is quite uncommon. Some older first fill sherry (Signatory) have been kind of legendary but today we’ll have two lighter ones, one bourbon and one (refill) sherry. We’ll have the ex-bourbon first even if it’s older – if you don’t mind.

Braeval 15 yo 1995/2011 (46%, Mo Or Collection, bourbon hoghsead, cask #186018, 480 bottles)

Braeval 15 yo 1995/2011 (46%, Mo Or Collection, bourbon hoghsead, cask #186018, 480 bottles) Two stars and a half Colour: straw. Nose: it’s not a lightish, fruitish, easy-ish youngish Speysider as it rather starts with a lot of grass and leaves, before it becomes rather more vanilla-ed and only slightly lemony. Wee whiffs of coal dust and flour as well, ‘un-milked’ muesli and maybe touches of banana skin – that would rather be green bananas. Not a lot happening but it’s decent, honest nose. Mouth: malt whisky. No I’m not only stating the obvious, this really taste like sweet malt. The body’s good, the feeling is pretty ‘full’, there’s even a slight honeyness and wee traces of green oak but that’s pretty all. Becomes a little grassier and bitterer over time. Finish: medium, grassy. Touches of salt. Comments: no flaws, no thrills, good body and good maltiness, my exact definition of a 78-points whisky. SGP:341 - 78 points.

Braeval 11 yo 1999/2011 (46%, Douglas of Drumlanrig, sherry butt, cask #7064, 317 bottles)

Braeval 11 yo 1999/2011 (46%, Douglas of Drumlanrig, sherry butt, cask #7064, 317 bottles) Two stars and a half Colour: straw (indeed, far from first fill). Nose: interestingly, the sherry added more buttery scents, more vanilla and a little more butterscotch or sponge cake. A little baker’s yeast as well, custard and then ‘ideas’ of walnuts and tiny-wee whiffs of camphor. You got it, it’s no big dram either but it’s not unpleasant at all. Mouth: a marginally sweeter and thicker – and creamier – version, but it grows a little harsher and hotter than the 1995, possibly because it’s younger. A little maple syrup on a bed of apple peelings. Finish: medium, with maybe a little more sherry roundness. Comments: once again we went a bit into Blandoland but no doubt it’s honest malt whisky. Maybe these honest but simple casks should rather go to blends? Anyway, same score in my book. SGP:441 - 78 points.

More tasting notes Check the index of all Braeval I've tasted so far



Block Today: JAZZ. Performer: Shirley Horn. Track: I wanna be loved. Please buy Shirley Horn's music...

April 5, 2013


Tasting Highland Park Loki
and two siblings. Impressive.

I have to say I’m completely lost with all these Norse gods, semi-gods, drakkars, goblins and fairies, but this is Europe, isn’t it. We’ll have the new ‘Loki’ today but first, two other new official HPs, one being NAS. By the way, these NASes can also be a pain in the hat when you want to build a line-up for a tasting, since you just can’t take ages into account anymore. But enough jeremiads…

Highland Park 10 yo (40%, OB for Germany and Holland, 35cl, +/-2013)

Highland Park 10 yo (40%, OB for Germany and Holland, 35cl, +/-2013) Four stars and a half Less than 20€ a bottle, be it a half, that’s fair. Colour: dark straw. Nose: impeccable and implacable young clean straightforward Highland Park with all its attributes. Not many distilleries can do that, I’d say. The spirit’s natural complexity and ‘wideness’ shine through, with lemon, peat (it really comes though here), linseed oil, wax, minerals, sea air, oranges, almonds and then some funny balsamic/herbal touches. And some parsley? Mouth: more Highlander than the most Highlander Highlanders and even if it’s not punchy, this crisp, zesty, coastal and mineral profile makes wonders. Good, I agree it tends to lose steam after quite some seconds but then we have a very pleasant salty/almondy feeling as well as a little crème brulée. Finish: shortish, that’s true. Almonds and a little olive oil and honey. Salty aftertaste. Comments: such a half? Pfff, one evening with some good friends. I mean, one bottle each of course. Love it when it’s so spirit-driven (when the distillate is first class) and would love to try this at a higher strength. SGP:363 - 88 points.

Highland Park ‘Cask Strength Edition’ (56%, OB for Sweden, 2013)

Highland Park ‘Cask Strength Edition’ (56%, OB for Sweden, 2013) Five stars Colour: full gold. Nose: it’s funny how this smells just like the 10, only at cask strength and maybe with a few more drops of sherry added to the combo, which gives it a better rounded, more polished and, bizarrely, easier profile despite the much higher strength and the whiffs of gunpowder. Refill sherry? More raisins and some kind of smoked honey plus eucalyptus after a few minutes. What, can’t you smoke honey? With water: we’re even closer to the ten. Got more mineral. Mouth (neat): terrific, all the power that was missing in the 10 is there, nestled in sappy honeys (dews), oranges, bitter herbs, green apples and a little cough syrup and liquorice. This punchy sweet bitterness is very pleasant. A slight liqueury feeling, quite herbal in fact. With water: becomes frankly excellent. Between freshly squeezed oranges and fresh mint, with all the rest in the background. Finish: long and similar. Maybe touches of gunpowder and metal again but that’s clearly an asset in this context. Comments: my kind, I say no more. Maybe it’s not much older than the 10, maybe its even younger, but I think the distillers managed to avoid the ‘all wood’ pitfall. Happy Swedish friends! SGP:363 - 90 points.

Highland Park 15 yo ‘Loki’ (48.7%, OB, Valhalla Collection, 2013)

Highland Park 15 yo ‘Loki’ (48.7%, OB, Valhalla Collection, 2013) Five stars So the sequel to last year’s Thor and let me tell the most stupid joke ever: I hope it’s not low key (diving to even newer lows, S.!) Colour: gold. Nose: not a very different profile, in fact we’re almost right between the 10 and the CS. Actually a little closer to the 10. It’s less cask-driven than last year’s Thor, it’s cleaner, it’s probably more citrusy and certainly more mineral as well as a little medicinal, between iodine and camphor. Some farmy elements as well, something obviously coastal, a blend of various honeys and honeydews, then Virginia tobacco, leather, wax, a few spices (curry?), tiger balm…  Mouth: no, this is great shtuff. Perfect, zesty and lemony yet rich, mineral yet honeyed, wide yet crystalline, coastal yet farmy (that will be it, S.) It’s a HP that’s more islands than highlands, whatever that means. And I’m not saying this because these weeks it’s the 30th anniversary of Brora’s closure, but it is also pretty Brora-esque, in a way. No, I know Brora isn’t on an island, don’t start to quibble with me over trivial issues please. Finish: long and even more coastal. Comments: look, I know I should write lukewarm comments because of the price, because of the unlikely packaging (sure it’s all a matter of taste) and so on, but I’m sorry, I love it. Now, who’s that Loki? A girl? What’s sure is that she beats Thor in my book, fair and square. SGP:464 - 92 points.

Good, I must say I thought these three new HPs were very impressive, but I just found this charming representation of the very friendly (apparently), very sober (in true tradition), very elegant (horns make it) and most probably very empathetic 'Loki'. Wondering whether I shouldn't take two or three points away from my score... Aaaargh...
Next, can we rather have a Highland Park 'Botticelli' for Italy or something?


More tasting notes Check the index of all Highland Park I've tasted so far



Block Today: JAZZ FUSION. Performer: the glorious Kraan. Track: Vollgas Ahoi. That was recorded live in 2009 - there's life after Krautrock! Please visit the band's website and buy their music...

April 4, 2013


Tasting two 1997 Dailuaine and one bonus

I’ve only tried two 1997 so far, a Hart Bros bottled in 2008 that was okayish in my opinion (WF 79) and a Douglas of Drumlanrig (DL) that was superb (WF 87).

Dailuaine 15 yo 1997/2012 (46%, Signatory, Un-chilfiltered Collection, hogshead, cask #6015+6016, 795 bottles)

Dailuaine 15 yo 1997/2012 (46%, Signatory, Un-chilfiltered Collection, hogshead, cask #6015+6016, 795 bottles) Three stars Colour: pale gold. Nose: a firm yet pretty naked yet relatively ‘thick’ malty nose, very natural, quite close to raw barley and various oils (linseed, sunflower), then apple pie and a little marzipan. Some beer, leaven… Pretty much the opposite of a light and fruity Speysider. Mouth: starts on Muscovado sugar and peanuts, then there’s a little corn syrup, vanilla and apple compote. It’s no wide whisky but the general feeling is pleasant, it’s all quite full-bodied. Finish: rather long, candied and unexpectedly salty. Some liquorice wood in the aftertaste and a slight feeling of stout beer. Comments: an interesting spirit-driven heavy Speysider. SGP:451 - 82 points.

Dailuaine 1997/2012 (46%, The Ultimate, cask #6012, 372 bottles)

Dailuaine 1997/2012 (46%, The Ultimate, cask #6012, 372 bottles) Three stars and a half Obviously a sister cask of the Signatory. Colour: straw (which, indeed, suggests a less active cask). Nose: we’re extremely close to the Signatory, this is maybe just a notch lighter and grassier (hints of asparagus), while it tends to become a little waxier after a few minutes. Apple peelings.  Mouth: same as the Signatory, maybe just a notch more herbal and earthy again. Slightly gentiany, which I just cannot not like. Finish: long, slightly bitter. That gentian again? Comments: one more point because of the gentian ;-). SGP:451 – 83 points.

Dailuaine 34 yo 1973/2007 (50%, Douglas Laing, Old Malt Cask, refill hogshead, cask ref #3976, 238 bottles)

Dailuaine 34 yo 1973/2007 (50%, Douglas Laing, Old Malt Cask, refill hogshead, cask ref #3976, 238 bottles) Four stars Colour: pale gold. Nose: this baby does not quite smell twenty years older but it does display more sweetness and fruitiness. I really enjoy these whiffs of cut apples, the rhubarb, the touches of raw potatoes and then the development on candy sugar, marzipan and tinned pineapples (hints). There’s also a little stone-fruit eau-de-vie, between kirsch and zwetschke, quite close to these marzipan/almond notes. Beeswax. Very nice, fresh and quite complex nose. Mouth: most funnily, this palate makes me think of some pure potstill Irish. It’s got this sour fruitiness (or, well, fruity sourness), with pineapples and bananas, touches of pomegranates, vanilla, apples, then more coriander, maybe sorrel, chervil and dill, tarragon… All that is really funny! Any excessive oakiness is kept at bay. Finish: not the longest but it remains perfectly balanced between these sweet and sour fruits and all these herbs. Comments: it’s relatively light for Dailuaine but it’s most enjoyable to quaff. Don’t say “Redbreast”! SGP:551 - 87 points.

More tasting notes Check the index of all Dailuaine I've tasted so far



Block Today: FUN GIPSY AND KLEZMER JAZZ. Performer: Les Doigts de L'Homme (Man's Fingers). Track: Zinedine Tzigane (!). Please visit the website and buy the music...

April 3, 2013


Tasting three big sherried Aberlour

Aberlour 12 yo 'Non Chill-Filtered' (48%, OB, 2012)

Aberlour 12 yo 'Non Chill-Filtered' (48%, OB, 2012) Four stars It’s the bigger version of the popular 12 but I’m not sure this one was double-matured. Well it probably is. Colour: full gold. Nose: starts quite winey (old Madeira) and with traces of gunpowder, so there’s probably quite some sherry involved. The good news is that all that tends to vanish while more earthy and even mushroomy touches arise. I also get some spearmint, honeydew, then ripe apricots, warm apple pie, liquorice, blackberry jam and just touches of Williams pears… It just wouldn’t stop improving and becoming more lively, given you give it a little time. Also bergamots, earl grey… A very elegant nose! Mouth: maybe not as bold as expected but it’s very nicely chocolaty and coffee-ish. I also enjoy all these orangey notes a lot, there’s some marmalade, kumquats, then even touches of absinth and fennel. Medium oak, a little leather, cloves… All good. Finish: medium, all on chocolate this time, with the oranges more in the aftertaste. Comments: this baby isn’t expensive so it’s probably the best entry-level Aberlour that one can find, especially since it’s easier to quaff than A’bunadh. SGP:651 - 85 points.

Aberlour (54.6%, That Boutique-y Whisky Company, 175 bottles, 2012)

Aberlour (54.6%, That Boutique-y Whisky Company, 175 bottles, 2012) Four stars Another one from this extremely clever series by Master of Malt. Colour: light amber. Nose: classic chocolaty and orangey Aberlour, I cannot not think of A’bunadh. Then a lot of honeydew as well (fir) and humus, which really lifts it. Sultanas, apricots, a little candied angelica, then pinewood, cedar wood (humidor), flowers (freesia, hyacinth)… A lovely, complex nose that just wouldn’t stop becoming more fragrant, not unlike the official 12 UCF. More and more sherry. With water: became very balsamic. A little sour wood, old wine barrel, just touches of raspberry vinegar… Mouth (neat): excellent and unusually chartreuse-y. Heavy mint on sweet wine and capsicum, ginger, pastis, aniseed… A lot of fun in this one. With water: sweeter again, with raisins and figs. Strong honey, a little walnut. Finish: long, spicier. Barley sugar, caraway seeds, nutmeg. Rather drying aftertaste, with also bitter oranges and apples cooked with cinnamon. Comments: we’re very much in A’bunadh territories. Good news, obviously! SGP:561 - 87 points.

Aberlour 'A'bunadh' Batch #39 (59.8%, OB, 2012)

Aberlour 'A'bunadh' Batch #39 (59.8%, OB, 2012) Four stars and a half Colour: light amber. Nose: similar, maybe a notch more closed at very first nosing and less winey. Pinewood again, mint, cough syrup, blackberries, chestnut honey, earth… It’s rather oakier than the two others, with also more leather and less sherry although some very nice whiffs of mentholated oloroso start to rise after a few minutes. With water: more mentholated oloroso (should that exist). Mouth (neat): very rich, very spicy. A combination of Armagnac-soaked prunes and earthy spices, cardamom, ginger, black pepper and sweet Moroccan allspice mix. And let’s not forget the oranges and the raisins. With water: perfect earthy/spicy profile, with many bitter oranges, milk chocolate, mocha and raisins. Spices from the oak. Finish: long, peppery. A little curry. Cardamom and bitter chocolate in the aftertaste. Comments: the latest batch I had tried was #35 and I had already noticed that there was rather more oak. Same here but it remains of very high quality. Perfect Quality/Price ratio as almost always. SGP:561 - 88 points.

More tasting notes Check the index of all Aberlour I've tasted so far



Block Today: JAZZ. Performer: Michel Doneda and Daunik Lazro. Track: Le Serpent d'Avril. Please visit their websites and buy their music...

April 2, 2013


Tasting three superb official Pulteney

Hope this will be enough to say adios to our very silly April fools' jokes from yesterday.

Old Pulteney 1991/2007 (57.6%, OB, cask #0030)

Old Pulteney 1991/2007 (57.6%, OB, cask #0030) Four stars and a half Colour: straw. Nose: maybe it’s the power of mind but there’s a lot of sea air arising from your glass, while all the rest remains austere, quite sharp, grassy and mineral. Apple and walnut skins, flints, touches of earth and then more citrons and grapefruits. The high alcohol may block it a bit, let’s see… Although after a few minutes, some wonderful notes of genepy and other herbal liqueurs start to show up. With water: becomes gentler but maybe also a little papery. Notes of olive brine and just a little coal smoke, then more lemon, sea water and a little antiseptic. Mouth (neat): high power, ultra-leafy and grassy, spectacular bitterish start. Grapefruit zests, cider apples, then more and more earth, with this trademark salty tang in the background. More and more lemon as well, melissa extract… It’s all sharp and ultra-zesty! With water: very good and, as quite often with Pulteney, rather Clynelishesque. Who said regional styles did not exist? ;-). Waxy lemons. Finish: long and very zesty. Chenin blanc! Comments: top notch zesty Pulteney, very, mmm… Pulteney (you should be proud of that one, S.). SGP:462 - 89 points.

Old Pulteney 15 yo 1982/1998 'Millenium' (60%, OB, Japan, sherry, cask #1300)

Old Pulteney 15 yo 1982/1998 'Millenium' (60%, OB, Japan, sherry, cask #1300) Five stars A popular series of single casks issued to celebrate the Millenium (remember?), some casks were more sherried than others. This is a relatively light one. Colour: gold. Nose: very powerful and just as austere as the 1991 despite the sherry, very leafy, grassy, with some menthol, lemongrass, maybe touches of cardboard, a little aspirin (tablets), graphite oil, gin fizz… Also wonderful notes of mushrooms and moss. Water should make wonders… With water: ho-ho, literally explodes with notes of fino sherry, manzanilla, vin jaune, walnuts… That came unexpected! Great. Mouth (neat): wonderful! We’ve got everything that was in the 1991 – esp. lemony notes - but all that is coated with fudge and quince jelly. It’s heavy stuff but it remains elegant despite the high power. Touches of date spirit and then even ouzo or raki (aniseed). With water: perfect. Love the touches of plum spirit in the back of the back of the background (slivowitz). Finish: long, rather more candied. Lemon marmalade. Funny touches of lemon liqueur in the aftertaste. Comments: top notch, impressive Pulteney, big and complex at the same time, with just the right amount of (dry) sherry. SGP:561 - 90 points.

Old Pulteney 40 yo (51.3%, OB, 2012)

Old Pulteney 40 yo (51.3%, OB, 2012) Four stars and a half Colour: amber. Nose: stays the course after the younger and heavier ones, thanks to a rather stunning herbal profile that would involve eucalyptus, waxy varnish, mint leaves, celeriac, fennel, dill and then more and more seaweed and hay. Then we have a little tar, pitch, hints of new leatherette and latex and at the fruits section, rather quinces and honey melons. We’ll try to keep this short and sweet but it’s a very, very complex old Old Pulteney. With water: more of the same. Also notes of thick buttery chardonnay, barley sugar, wood polish, essential oils from the wood, it’s not impossible that some new oak was involved at some point, maybe even at the very beginning, 40 years ago… Mouth (neat): a little too much wood extracts at first sips (Jaegermeister), with even an unexpected coconutty side, but all that starts to mingle in the most beautiful manners after just a few seconds while some perfect almondy and sappy notes start to shop up. Also a lot of tea, then cough lozenges of all kinds and quite some chamomile. With water: tends to become a little dry and drying, leafy and leathery. I’m not sure it’s the best swimmer ever – tell me about a coastal distillery ;-). Finish: medium length, rather tannic, almondy. Comments: quality’s extremely high but I think it’s a relatively fragile whisky that does not necessarily like oxygen or water. Exactly the opposite of its younger brothers! SGP:461 - 89 points.

More tasting notes Check the index of all Old Pulteney I've tasted so far


Whiskyfun fav of the month

March 2013

Favourite recent bottling:
Grand Castle 18 yo 1993/2012 (57.4%, The Scottish Independent Distillers Co., cask #3593, 631 bottles)  - WF 89

Favourite older bottling:
Macallan 1946 (80° proof, OB, Campbell Hope & King, cork, 26 2/3 fl ozs, +/-1961) - WF 94

Favourite bang for your buck bottling:
Glengoyne 'Cask Strength' (58.7%, OB, +/-2013)  - WF 89



Block Today: GARAGE ROCK (for a change). Performer: some kind of very good French Dr Feelgood called Little Bob Story. Track: Hightime (live, around 1976). Please visit the website and buy the music...

April 1, 2013


Less booze, more news!
Our most loyal readers may know that tasting all these whiskies was slowly becoming wearisome to me.

Mind you, almost eleven years and not far from 9,000 different whiskies and a few other spirits, that was really getting tedious. That’s why I’ve decided to turn Whiskyfun.com into a news website from now on, that’ll be much easier to maintain and much better for both my liver and my soul.

So with no further ado,

Here's the news!
(stay tuned, we may add more...)


Duncan ‘The Valve’ Mackintosh
, a former master blender at a famous whisky distillery in the Highlands is filing a suit against his employer for unfair dismissal. Mr. Mackintosh says he was ‘abruptly fired’ because, while he had been asked to do a finishing, he had transferred by mistake the whiskies from five hundred hogsheads into other hogsheads that had previously contained the very same make. The former Master Blender explained, ‘They say I’m useless, I can’t see why!’

<< Mr. Duncan ‘The Valve’ Mackintosh


Dal Riada
Huge skull found in what's believed to have
been the Marketing Department
(responsible for the pricing policies.)

Archaeologists have just found the remains of an unknown whisky distillery near John O’Groats in Scotland, most probably the first to have operated in the country as even Alfred Barnard himself didn’t mention it in his famous book ‘The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom’. Could it be the legendary Dal Riada Distillery that used to sell the most expensive whiskies in ancient Scotland, according to scribes and storytellers? We’ll keep you updated as the researches go on.


Breaking news, former pope Benedict just announced that he’s decided to make good use of his free time by writing a whisky book titled ‘My Own Whisky Bible’ (Vatican Publishers, Inc). This new book is a collection of around 15,000 tasting notes ‘with a spiritual twist’ according to the publishers.

Wee Ruari

250 bottles of the Bruichladdich 'Wee Ruari' Cask #1 are now available at Loch Fyne (in exclusivity). This is the first Bruichladdich that was ever filled by the new owners in 2001. It is quite unique not least because it was somewhat 'accidentally' distilled from lightly peated barley (10-15 ppm), so a sort of in between Port Charlotte and Bruichladdich. It was some cock up to do with not having ordered unpeated barley in time for the opening and so having to do with what they had available at Port Ellen Maltings.

Glenn Miller

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) is claiming that the Glenn Miller Orchestra is misleading consumers all around the world by using the term “Miller” and, more specifically, the term “Glenn” while the famous band is purely American. Further evidence has been found in the band’s current track list, which includes songs such as Auld Lang Syne, Barrel Polka, Glen Island Special, High On A Windy Hill, In A Little Spanish Town (Jerez?), Jumpin' At The Woodside, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, Stormy Weather and The Spirit Is Willing. A representative of the Glenn Miller Orchestra commented: “Dude, I’m not in the mood, we’re also playing Moonshine Over Kentucky, this is getting ridiculous!” Mr Miller himself was unavailable. It appears that should the Orchestra refuse to change its name, the mighty SWA is considering filling a suit.


Arran Distillers to Launch Oldest Malt to Date. Independent Scotch whisky producer, Isle of Arran Distillers, is set to release its oldest malt to date this month (April 2013). The 16 Year Old single malt is some of the first spirit distilled by the award-winning business. Available as a very limited edition with just 9,000 bottles released worldwide, it is the first in a trilogy of special malt whiskies planned the countdown to the Arran 18 Year Old malt, scheduled for spring 2015. Made from un-peated malted barley and matured in a mixture of ex-Bourbon and ex-Sherry casks, this highly anticipated whisky has a unique flavour with a light golden colour. Commenting on the latest release James MacTaggart, master distiller at Arran, said: “Our first 16 year old whisky encapsulates everything that is great and unique about Isle of Arran malt whiskies. The spirit is non-chill filtered and contains no artificial colours so it retains a full range of aromas and flavours – it smells of honey and ginger and has a smooth taste with waves of sweetness and spice.” Priced at £59.99 for 70ml, the Arran Malt 16 year old has an ABV of 46% and is a collectible bottle. Next spring will see the release of the Arran Malt 17 year old, with the 18 year old released the following year.

Malt Mill

A lost barrel of Malt Mill 1960 has just been found hiding behind a few casks of more mundane spirits in a private warehouse in Ayrshire. According to the barrelhead and as was customary in those days, it may have been filled to celebrate the birth of a private individual. Malt Mill specialist Charles MacLean could taste the spirit and commented: ‘Reminds me of auntie Elisabeth’s Christmas cake moistened with Yquem 1937 while a smokiness akin to the fumes of Uncle Jock's 1927 Rolls-Royce is stimulating your tongue and warming your sore throat. It appears that Ken’s film The Angels’ Share was not pure fiction, after all!’ Stay tuned for more developments.


The European Commission is preparing new rules to further protect the Scotch Whisky appellation, similar to what’s been enforced for wines such as Bordeaux, Bourgogne or Alsace quite a few decades ago. From 2014 on, all Scotch Whiskies will have to be bottled in regular traditional cylindrical liquor bottles while any other shapes, especially decanters, will be prohibited. The use of artefacts such as animal heads, seals, bagpipes or thistles in plastic or metal will no longer be tolerated after January 1st, 2016.

What’s more, years of foundation or any other dates that wouldn’t be actual vintages will be prohibited on labels, while the display of average ages instead of minimum ages or no age statement at all will be made mandatory. In case a whisky was filled into a wine cask, the proportion of wine remaining or poured into the cask prior to filling will have to be stipulated in percentages. When more than 4.99%, the spirit will lose the ‘Scotch Whisky’ appellation and will be labelled as ‘Winsky’ instead, except if the wine was Scottish. In the latter case, the bottlers could use “Scotch Winsky’. In case the barley and other cereals were not, or only partly harvested in Scotland, the spirit will have to be labelled as ‘Whisky Distilled in Scotland’ instead of ‘Scotch Whisky’. Our comments: and caramel?

March 2013 - part 2 <--- April 2013 - part 1 ---> April 2013 - part 2



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

Bowmore 1964 (43%, OB, Soffiantino, +/-1985)

Bunnahabhain 25 yo 1969/1995 (53.3%, Signatory, cask #2025, 140 bottles)

Highland Park ‘Cask Strength Edition’ (56%, OB for Sweden, 2013)

Highland Park 15 yo ‘Loki’ (48.7%, OB, Valhalla Collection, 2013)

Macallan ‘Sienna’ (43%, OB, 1824 series, +/-2013)

Old Pulteney 15 yo 1982/1998 'Millenium' (60%, OB, Japan, sherry, cask #1300)