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Hi, you're in the Archives, February 2013 - Part 2

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


February 28, 2013


Three little Littlemill

We’ll sort these babies by ascending theoretical sherriness ,-)…

Littlemill 24 yo 1988/2012 (52.9%, Liquid Sun, refill hogshead, 326 bottles)

Littlemill 24 yo 1988/2012 (52.9%, Liquid Sun, refill hogshead, 326 bottles) Five starsColour: straw. Nose: it’s a rather spirity and grassy Littlemill it seems, with something slightly soapy as well… Let’s give it time! zzz zzz zzz zzz. Right, there’s more grapefruit, lime and grass, it’s all extremely green and tart, almost acidic. Cologne… Not the easiest Littlemill ever so far but it’s got something spectacular. Cask strength limoncello? With water: herbs, mint, chives, dill coming out, which I enjoy. Mouth (neat): it’s a little sweeter and fruitier but we’re all on green lemons and lime. Probably one of the tartest malts I’ve ever tasted, honest. Also grapefruits, salt and white tequila. With water: perfecto! Swims like a champ, becoming a little rounder and easier. Nice rieslingness (c’mon, S.!) Finish: long, clean, pure, crisp and zesty. Slightly salty aftertaste, which adds even more fun. Comments: this baby took its time but then… An excellent value for money ratio in my view. SGP:641 - 90 points.

Littlemill 22 yo 1990/2012 (52.2%, The Whisky Agency, refill sherry butt, 719 bottles)

Littlemill 22 yo 1990/2012 (52.2%, The Whisky Agency, refill sherry butt, 719 bottles) Three stars and a half Colour: pale gold. Nose: an easier, rounder, fruitier Littlemill, well on oranges, lemons and tangerines. Fresh peaches, a little clay, a little vanilla and some minerality. With water: some strangish things happening, even after 15 minutes. Huge saponification. Behind all that, vanilla, almonds and marzipan. Mouth (neat): very good, with a little coconut (recharred oak?), then mangos, oranges, tangerines and passion fruits. Creamy mouth fill, it reminds a bit of the Midleton single cask for TWE that we tried the other day. With water: same, more or less. A little more grass and oak. Finish: long, rather mentholated, grassy. Comments: pretty nice palate but I had trouble with the nose. It’s to be said that the superb Liquid Sun may have had a bad influence ;-). SGP:551 - 83 points.

Littlemill 1990/2010 (53.6%, Riegger's Selection, first fill sherry butt, cask #2, 198 bottles)

Littlemill 1990/2010 (53.6%, Riegger's Selection, first fill sherry butt, cask #2, 198 bottles) Four stars Colour: amber. Nose: completely different, the sherry’s much louder and the whole is much more expressive. Marzipan, maraschino, tobacco, raisins and newly sawn precious wood ‘or brand new humidor, cedar wood…) Littlemill’s oranges are playing in the background, together with a little chocolate. Touches of rhum agricole. With water: top notch, I say no more. Even something rye-ish, clearly American. Or Stagg? Mouth (neat): rich, big, nervous, oaky, fruity, all falls into place. A true world whisky? There is a feeling of pencil shaving but when the wood’s top notch, no problems. Then oranges, a little tamarind, some cardamom, chocolate, raspberry jam… The sherry and the nervous spirit go very well together. I seem to remember an old Lochside ex-sherry that used to be more or less similar. With water: ah, maybe it became too dry now, water brought the tannins out. Heavy young rum. Forget. Finish: long, between rum and bourbon. What a funny beast! Mustardy aftertaste. Comments: easy with water. Correction, add no water at all even if it’s spectacular on the nose. Anyway, a very unusual kind of first fill sherry. American sherry? SGP:461 - 86 points.

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


Whiskyfun fav of the month

February 2013

Favourite recent bottling:
Karuizawa 1964/2012 (57.7%, Number One Drinks for Wealth Solutions, Poland, cask #3603, 143 bottles)  - WF 95

Favourite older bottling:
Glen Grant 1959/1999 (47.3%, Samaroli, sherry, cask #3790) - WF 95

Favourite bang for your buck bottling:
Littlemill 24 yo 1988/2012 (52.9%, Liquid Sun, refill hogshead, 326 bottles)  - WF 90



Block Today: EASY JAZZ. Performer: Yusef Lateef. Track: In A Temple Garden. Yusef Lateef has made a lot of unlikely yet fun music.This one's very fun. Please visit his website and buy his music...

February 27, 2013


Tasting eight 1992 Longmorn ex-bourbon wood, all bottled in 2012. Wish me luck…

In the old days, there were a handful of independent bottlers bottling more than a hundred distilleries. Today it’s more or less the opposite. Now, if the whiskies are great, many aficionados may not care and I’m not sure they should, because what’s better after all, a very whacky Glenflagler (a random example) or one of these very good Longmorn 1992?...
Longmorn 1992
Longmorn 1992/2012 (46%, Boisdale, cask #71762, 260 bottles) Three stars and a half Colour: gold. Nose: typical garden fruits, apples, cherries, gooseberries, with only faint touches of honey (those would become bigger with more ageing) and a sharpish grassiness that remains, together with a little raw barley, ale and notes of kirsch or plum eau-de-vie. Whiffs of damp earth. A very pleasant nose, mostly on ‘western orchard fruits’ as often at Longmorn in my experience. Mouth: a creamy mouth feel and good fruits in a slightly peppery and gingery white-oakiness. Tarte tatin, peaches, apple compote, grass and then a little watermelon (including the green part ;-)). Finish: of medium length, consistent, on these western fruits and quite some grass. Some beer, white pepper and a little bitter liquorice in the aftertaste. Comments: good. Hard to say more. The finish and aftertaste are a notch too bitter for my taste. SGP:551 - 83 points.
Longmorn 1992/2012 (48.5%, Archives, bourbon, cask #86607) Three stars and a half Colour: straw. Nose: same base as the Boisdale, with simply more fresh vanilla and toffee (Werther’s Originals). Other than that, we’re very close, which was expected. Mouth: same comments. I mean, exactly the same comments, although the vanilla-ed layer feels a little lighter on the palate. Finish: same. Comments: one extra-point because of a little more roundness – and because I love Werther’s Originals. SGP:551 - 84 points.
Longmorn 1992/2012 (50.2%, Berry Bros & Rudd, cask #149094) Four starsColour: pale gold. Nose: this time it’s the Boisdale with a little more mint and dill and rather less vanilla than the Archives. Also touches of gentian, coconut (freshish oak) and sugar cane. Quite lovely I must say. Mouth: once again, same comments. More grass and mint, herbs, crème de menthe… All that isn’t extravagantly mentholated but well, it’s there. Other than that, same combo as the others. Finish: ditto, it’s just a little longer, simply because it’s stronger. Comments: I’m fond of menthol in my malts so zoom, one more point! SGP:561 - 85 points.
Longmorn 20 yo 1992/2012 (52.5%, The Whisky Agency, Liquid Library) Four stars Colour: straw. Nose:  a sharper one again, toward the Boisdale, only with much more power. Fermented apples. Right, cider. Whiffs of manure as well this time – clean manure, that is. That’s an asset. And fresh almonds. Mouth: ah, no, this is pretty different, zestier, better chiselled, with more tangerines and lemons. Finish: same, for a pretty long time. Icing sugar. Comments: once again, we gain one point, all that because of a better-defined palate. Much to my liking even if we’re still nowhere near the greatest old Longmorns. SGP:651 - 86 points.
Longmorn 1992/2012 (52.6%, Malts of Scotland, bourbon hogshead, cask #MoS 12011) Four stars Colour: straw. Nose: same as the Whisky Agency, only with more vanilla, which should mean than the oak was a notch fresher. Maybe… Anyway, we’re very close. Mouth: we’re in the same territory as with the BBR. It’s actually almost the same whisky. Finish: same comments. Touches of coconut and korma sauce. Comments: I’m starting to scratch my head… (I should have known better, this horizontale was a stupid idea). And it’s not over yet… SGP:561 - 85 points.
Longmorn 20 yo 1992/2012 (55.5%, Master of Malt, refill bourbon hogshead, 259 bottles) Four stars Colour: pale gold. Nose: a mix of the Whisky Agency’s and the Berry Bros’. Actually quite superb, with some strawberries on top of the apples/gooseberries/cherries. Also touches of coconut again, from bourbon wood, maybe strongly charred. I enjoy these strawberries… Very nice nose. Mouth: excellent blend of zesty fruits and spicy oak. Works very well despite an oakiness that’s maybe just a notch ‘too much’. Nice bubblegum and ripe strawberries as well, and ideas of some very green, acidic wine. English white? (guys, apologies, we love you all ;-)). Finish: rather long, herbal and oaky in a sweet way. Touches of coconuts. Comments: good fun! What’s not to like? SGP:661 - 87 points.
Longmorn 20 yo 1992/2012 (57.2%, Adelphi, cask #48433, 285 bottles) Four stars Colour: Nose: ha-ha, and now for something different… Starts on apple vinegar and sour cream and wood, goes on with more ripe fruits and fresh oak, then mint and overripe pineapple. Entertaining, especially when approaching the end of a loooong horizontale. Maybe a tiny-wee touch of soap. Mouth: oh my, it’s plain eau-de-vie, and Alsatian eau-de-vie at that. It’s a feeling I already had with some young Longmorns. Pears, cherries – yup, genuine kirsch -, even sorb or sloe, with this lovely almondy side… Another funny one. Finish: long, almondy. Comments: Longmorn is a classy spirit. I know, hardly news… One to go… SGP:561 - 85 points.
Longmorn 19 yo 1992/2012 (58.8%, Berry Bros & Rudd for whisky.com.tw, cask #71769) Four stars I think this baby got Silver at the MM Awards 2012. Colour: pale gold. Nose: same as the Adelphi minus the soap. I like all this sour fresh wood a lot, it’s all getting akin to mushrooms and humus after a little while. Sloe like in the Adelphi. Mouth: well, more or less the same ‘of course’, but this one’s got more herbs, most probably from the wood. Between verbena, mint and aniseed. Maybe even wormwood. The rest is similar to all the others, with green apples, gooseberries, peaches, rhubarb… Finish: a wee almondy touch again. Good kirsch. Comments: very good again. SGP:651 - 86 points.
General conclusion: as expected, no absolute stunners in my book but they were all pretty excellent and very honest whiskies. Sure it was all a little boring (yawn…) but that’s all my fault, after all. To think that we have quite a few other Longmorn 1992 yet to taste...

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



Block Today: JAZZ FUSION. Performer: The Mahavishnu Orchestra (at their easiest). Track: Radio Activity(1984 - yes it sounds more like Weather Report). Please visit the website and buy the music...

February 26, 2013


A southern Irish duet

Jameson 'Gold Reserve' (40%, OB, blend, +/-2012)

Jameson 'Gold Reserve' (40%, OB, blend, +/-2012) Two stars and a half It's a rather pricey blend (£50++) with a high pure pot still content. Colour: gold. Nose: very typical, relatively light but quite aromatic, all on overripe apples at first nosing and developing notes of rhum agricole and verbena. Some dried flowers too, chamomile (very obvious here) and lime blossom. Lastly, some wee metallic touches (copper?) that I enjoy, as well as a little eucalyptus. So yes, it’s light but there’s quite a lot happening. Mouth: again, it’s relatively light and rather starts with some butter cream and toasted bread before it would go on with apple compote and liquorice, more cakes, pastries, touches of strawberries and coconut (oak?) The middle is a notch weakish, most probably because of the low strength. Finish: not the best part, because of the lack of oomph that lets the oak’s bitterness stand out rather than fruits. Mint lozenges in the aftertaste. Comments: great whiskey on the nose lacking zing and oomph on the palate in my opinion. SGP:441 – 78 points.

Midleton 20 yo 1991/2012 (54.1%, OB, The Whisky Exchange, bourbon, cask #48750)

Midleton 20 yo 1991/2012 (54.1%, OB, The Whisky Exchange, bourbon, cask #48750) Five stars Blow, trumpets! This is one of the first, if not the very first single cask bottling from Midleton if I'm not mistaken. Well, the first to come my way, in any case. Single pot still whiskey, of course... Colour: gold. Nose: awww… It seems that this is a fruit bomb and yet, it’s all elegance and precision. It’s not too easy to spot what comes from active American oak and what comes from the spirit and time but what’s absolutely sure is that it’s a brilliant nose. Fantastic notes of blood oranges, passion fruits and very ripe kiwis, then ripe nectarines and maybe zwetschke, all that in a gangue of sweet natural vanilla (no vanillin blast) and rose essence. With water: fresh fruits on overdrive. Mouth (neat): more a fantastic liqueur than whiskey, and this is no pity and no shame. Thick, coating, jammy fruits, between chutneys and jellies. That would include oranges, passion fruits again (or rather this spectacular maracuja ice cream when it’s well made), a very Irish banananess (?!) and a little Muscat plus some honey and maple syrup. It also seems that some spices are roaring in the background, waiting to be unleashed. Let’s see… With water: there are some oaky spices indeed but they’ll never defeat the fruits, so this remains purely fruity. Orange honey. Finish: quite long, with a little more cinnamon this time. Comments: evident and even unanswerable. I’m wondering if this isn’t the best Irish I’ve ever tasted. I mean, my favourite. SGP:741 - 91 points.

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



Block Today: FUNK. Performer: Prince Nafa and his Polynesians. Another forgotten band that's been unearthed thanks to geeks. Track: Watcha feel is watcha get. Please buy this music...

February 25, 2013


Tasting a few natural Glenburgie

Quite a few sherried Glenburgies are famous but these will all be ‘lighter’…

Glenburgie 1989/2002 (45%, Samaroli, cask #6760, 408 bottles)

Glenburgie 1989/2002 (45%, Samaroli, cask #6760, 408 bottles) Three stars This one isn’t too common. Another creative label by the Italian master… Colour: white wine. Nose: saying this is very young and almost newmaky would be an understatement. Raw barley, baker’s yeast, porridge and touches of lemons and pears. Yet, all that is pleasantly clean and sometimes, being so close to the raw material can be, well, pleasant. Not spirity or harsh as such. Mouth: sweet barley and grass, then lemon and cider apples. Where have I already seen this? ;-) It’s good average malt whisky, that is to say some not too stylish yet pretty flawless unpeated malt from some not too active bourbon oak. Hard to say more. Finish: medium, barleyish, malty, sweet, with a grassier aftertaste. Comments: cool, my exact definition of an 80-point malt whisky. Does its job but we may not remember it forever. SGP:551 - 80 points.

Glenburgie 23 yo 1989/2012 (52,6%, Maltbarn, bourbon barrel, 115 bottles)

Glenburgie 23 yo 1989/2012 (52,6%, Maltbarn, bourbon barrel, 115 bottles) Three stars and a half Colour: straw. Nose: exactly the Samaroli with more age, more roundness, more vanilla. Maybe a little more herbs as well, putty, walnuts… In any case, it remains very barleyish. We love barley, don’t we? With water: it’s the yeasty, porridgy, almost sour side that got stronger, but there’s also more citrus fruits, grapefruits, citrons, then even mangos and passion fruits… Becomes more and more tropical, which is very cool. Mouth (neat): sweet… barley, sweet lemon drops and hints of other drops (strawberries?), all that on a little grass and something slightly resinous. Pinesap. Certainly more complex than the Samaroli but let’s remember it’s ten years older. With water: a copy of the Samaroli! I can’t find much tropical fruits in this palate but the herbs/lemon/barley combo works well. Finish: long, grassier again. Bitterish aftertaste (strong green tea). Comments: well, I think it’s flawless malt whisky au naturel. SGP:561 - 84 points.

Glenburgie 1984/1994 (59.2%, Gordon & MacPhail, Cask series, casks #2255-2256-2260)

Glenburgie 1984/1994 (59.2%, Gordon & MacPhail, Cask series, casks #2255-2256-2260) Two stars and a half Colour: gold. Nose: closed. Some grass, it seems, but this is quite spirity and not easy to enjoy. May need water, must need water. With water: what a beast. Becomes unexpectedly smoky, sooty, with whiffs of charcoal and lemon juice, grass, tequila… All that in all sharpness. Mouth (neat): once again, it’s the power that speaks. Aggressive, raw and kind of bitter, acrid. Too bad because behind all that there seems to be a few nice flavours, let’s see… With water: well, it didn’t get any easier. Bags of grass, green tea, apple peeling… Finish: long, acrid, grassy. Comments: no flaws in this one but it’s young raw spirit without much charm in my opinion. But then again, this baby was only 9 or 10 when bottled. SGP:461 - 78 points.

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





Block Today: JAZZ. Performer: when your name is David Reinhardt, son of Babik and grandson of Django, you cannot not play like a star. Track: Chaumont. Please buy all the Reinhardts' music...

February 22, 2013


Tasting two no-age-statement Talisker, very new and very old

So there’s a new no-age-statement Talisker called Storm. It’s probably quite young on average but I’ve often noticed that Skye’s wonder can be wonderful at both very young and very old age. I could have compared it with the regular 10yo but I’ve already tried some 2012 stock of the latter (WF 90) so I thought I should rather try to find something more unusual. Like, why not, another NAS Talisker bottled at the same strength… around fifty years earlier!…

Talisker (80° proof, Cadenhead, 1960's)

Talisker (80° proof, Cadenhead, 1960's) Five stars This is very rare, I had never seen it before. There’s at least one other ‘tall bottle black label’ that’s relatively well-known (yeah well, at least five bottles have been spotted here and there through the decades;-)) but again, we’re in terra incognita this time. Proprietors on the label: Dailuaine-Talisker Distillers (sometimes ‘TD’ on old official labels). Colour: gold. Nose: some old Taliskers, such as the other famous black labels (G&M’s) can have lost their peat or a part of their smokiness but it’s absolutely not the case here. What we have is rather a lot of wood smoke (various woods, including resinous, pine, maybe eucalyptus) interwoven with some soot and coal ashes, quite some dark chocolate and then a blend of old metallic touches (old toolbox) and various old-style herbal liqueurs, Bénédictine, Chartreuse, maybe even Suze (light gentian liqueur). There’s also a growing meatiness (beef with mole sauce) but very little sweet/fruity notes. Either those were never there or they’ll all vanished. Anyway, an ultra-dry smoky nose, very curious about the palate. After fifteen minutes: maybe passion fruits and maybe a light coastal side… very light. Mouth: good, this has power, all the teeth are there. I mean smoke (a kind of liquoricy smoke this time), bags of salt, no obvious pepper but quite a range of greenish spices, maybe juniper, capsicum… All that tends to become more and more medicinal, with some cough syrup, a feeling of antiseptic… As for fruits, there’s a little lemon or grapefruit like in many old peaters but it’s no fruity whisky as such, not at all. After fifteen minutes: the peppery side is coming out, it’s well Talisker. Oysters with pepper, lemon and just one tiny pickled onion. An ashy side as well. Finish: good length, with some dry liquorice and again a salty/peppery and dry aftertaste. A few tannins playing around. Comments: maybe it’s not utterly brilliant because of a relative narrowness, but it’s still a very impressive old Talisker, with a finish that’s not too drying. SGP:365 - 91 points.

Talisker 'Storm' (45.8%, OB, 2013)

Talisker 'Storm' (45.8%, OB, 2013) Four stars and a half From the distillers: ‘We wanted to focus on distillery character  (…) So we sought out some great mature Talisker, enriched and mellowed by time spent in carefully rejuvenated casks, and brought that together with some very fresh distillery character preserved by maturation in refill casks.’ Interesting… Price is just above the 10yo. Colour: gold. Nose: ah! This is obviously different. Different from the regular 10 and, should I add of course, very different from the old CAD. There’s a feeling of ‘creation’, in a way, it’s not a typical or traditional Taliskerian profile. It hasn’t got this feeling of sweetness either (what can be found in modern fresh-wood-driven young Islayers from the south shore), I’d even go as far as saying that it could be the mature output of a new, secret distillery, located right between Islay and Skye as far as styles are concerned (not Mull!) All that waffle to tell you that it’s rather peatier than Talisker, maybe more akin to Caol Ila, and very coastal, with some sea water and oysters plus, greatest of news, only a little vanilla. Also quite some dried kelp, then brine and even anchovies (do you know Provençal anchoïade?). Touches of ginger (from the rejuvenated casks?) Mouth: same feeling on the palate, although the fresh-oaky part is a tad louder than in the nose. That translates into rather more ginger and capsicum but not exactly more vanillin, sweet heavens! Touches of passion fruits, light brine, then more and more fresh spices, fresh walnuts, bitter almonds and these notes of capsicum again. A growing saltiness as well, beyond brine. Salty oysters. Finish: quite long with, quite bizarrely, more sweetness and even fruitiness while in my experience, finishes are usually drier. Peppery and salty aftertaste, very much Talisker. Comments: there’s some youth, roughness and Islayness that come through the (spicy) rejuvenated oak. I guess that was the whole point – or they’d have called it Scrabble rather than Storm. SGP:367 - 88 points.

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



Block Today: FOLK ROCK. Performer: Mike Beck. Track: Dylan's I want you. Please visit Mike Beck's website and buy his music...

February 21, 2013


A few Glen Garioch and a lot of fun

Glen Garioch is a name that tasters like, because there’s always something happening, sometimes something quite unusual. Let’s see…

Secret Stills 'Highland' 1993/2008 (45%, Gordon & MacPhail, Van Wees, first fill sherry butt, cask #779, 860 bottles)

Secret Stills 'Highland' 1993/2008 (45%, Gordon & MacPhail, Van Wees, first fill sherry butt, cask #779, 860 bottles) Four stars This is most likely Glen Garioch. There were some utter gems in this shortlived series by G&M. Colour: rich gold/bronze. Nose: more rum at first nosing, I guess that comes from the combination of Glen Garioch’s particular fruitiness with some pretty active oak. Maybe that created some kind of tropicalness? Many stewed fruits including mangos, bananas and papayas, also some soot, tobacco, eucalyptus, liquorice, moss… It goes in all directions, I wouldn’t say it’s focussed whisky. Quite spectacular, in a way, a kind of fruity cough syrup. Mouth: rich, first jammy and stewed (pears, figs, apples) and then more caramelly, with also bags of raisins, butterscotch, millionaire shortbread, marmalade… It’s also one of these whiskies that hint at old slightly muscaty sweet wines such as Rivesaltes or Banyuls. Finish: long, with touches of smoke, more jams and more spices. Cloves, caraway seeds… Slightly drier aftertaste (black tea). Comments: a thick and rich concoction that remained elegant. It’s got something of the glorious old GGs (1960s and early 1970s), which cannot be bad news. May need breathing, as often with these profiles. SGP:652 - 87 points.

Glen Garioch 1989/2012 'Fruit Bonbons' (46%, Wemyss Malts, hogshead, 325 bottles)

Glen Garioch 1989/2012 'Fruit Bonbons' (46%, Wemyss Malts, hogshead, 325 bottles) Four stars Colour: pale gold. Nose: oh, this is lovely! The opposite of the 1993, clean and very focussed yet quite unusual. Actually, there are the same notes of eucalyptus from the oak as in the G&M but the fruitiness goes much more toward western garden fruits, apples, peaches, melons (big melons!), cherries and then we have more pine sap and thuja wood, in a spectacular way. New humidor, varnish, almond oil… After a few minutes: much more coconuts. Mouth: simpler. New oak and fresh fruits, that’s it. More seriously (show respect, S.!), there’s some vanilla, coconut, melons, orange blossom, barley sugar and vanilla. Creamy mouth feel. Finish: long, with more cinnamon and vanilla. Comments: screams freshish American oak but it does it very well and without a sour note – so to speak. I’d say quality’s similar to that of the G&M, that is to say very high. SGP:551 - 87 points.

Glen Garioch 21 yo 1990/2012 (48.8%, Master of Malt, refill bourbon hogshead, 245 bottles)

Glen Garioch 21 yo 1990/2012 (48.8%, Master of Malt, refill bourbon hogshead, 245 bottles) Two stars and a half Colour: white wine. Nose: and now for something completely different: cheese, vinegar and maybe even traces of gym socks. After that funny start – to say the least – more pickle juice, lemon and ultra-fresh green cigars. Quite an experience! Mouth: there’s still something slightly acetic/acidic but other than that, we’re closer to some modern fruity Glen Garioch, that is to say to apples, cherries, peaches and rhubarb. Quite some green oak as well. Finish: quite long, slightly acrid, herbal, oaky. Comments: extreme stuff, esp. on the nose. However, it’s got some very interesting, entertaining and frankly funny sides and that’s why I’ll remain ‘cool’ with my score. Yeah, fun! SGP:371 - 78 points.

Glen Garioch 21 yo 1991/2012 (52.5%, The Whisky Agency, Liquid Library, bourbon, 243 bottles)

Glen Garioch 21 yo 1991/2012 (52.5%, The Whisky Agency, Liquid Library, bourbon, 243 bottles) Four stars and a half Colour: white wine. Nose: this one is more mineral, sharper, more on rocks, aspirin tablets, chalk, grass, iron (old toolbox)… This could be great or completely off, water will be needed to find out. Some parts are close to the Wemyss’ but there’s much less coconut and vanilla, i.e. less fresh oak. With water: oh, it’s locked now. Doesn’t seem to swim too well… (and yes I’m using my usual Vittel!) Mouth (neat): impeccable! Perfect fruits on perfect mineral notes, with a perfect mouth feel. Ultra-chiselled, (one of) my kind(s). Cool climate Riesling (I mean, Alsatian climate) or white from the eastern Loire valley. Sancerre, Pouilly and such. With water: becomes a notch rounder and earthier at the same time, which isn’t un-normal. Finish: long, waxier ala Clynelish. Hurray! Comments: we’re bordering perfection, well done! Too bad it doesn’t respond too well to water (well, to Vittel), or it would have made it to 90+ in y book. SGP:462 - 89 points. PS: what I like about these clean labels by The Whisky Agency is that they stress that age is important ;-).

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



Block Today: MUSIC FOR WHISKY FESTIVALS (well, we've known such festivals ;-)). Performer: Korpiklaani. Track: Let's drink. Please visit their website and buy their music...

Pur Sang 2010

Wine (for Whisky Lovers)
Dagueneau's Pouilly Fumés are always splendid and this Pur Sang 2010 in Magnum was no exception despite its very young age. More pink grapefruit than in pink grapefruits yet it's the exact opposite of lab wine. Ultra-chiselled, as expected.
If it was a whisky: a young Rosebank from excellent refill wood.


February 20, 2013


Upon request, a Yamazaki frenzy

So I’ve been (gently) accused of neglecting my Japanese whiskies and I had promised we’d do a large Yamazaki session soon. Now’s the time...

Yamazaki 'Bourbon Barrel 2011' (48%, OB)

Yamazaki 'Bourbon Barrel 2011' (48%, OB) Three stars Colour: gold. Nose: typically bourbon wood, with quite some vanilla and marzipan at first sniffs, then even more vanilla, and then tons of vanilla. A few marshmallows as well, touches of cinnamon, nutmeg, custard… Mouth: thick and sweet, oaky… Marzipan, sweet ginger, a little coconut (really not much), corn syrup, vanilla… You can really taste all this sweet oak. Becomes a tad drying after a while, a little too gingery and simply tannic. Finish: long, a little tea-ish. A part of the sweetness is gone. Comments: typical high-quality fresh American oak maturing, fully oak-driven. No flaws, little thrills, I’d say. Great as an experiment or as a one-off bottling, let’s simply hope it’s not where malt whisky as a whole is going. SGP:451 - 82 points.

Yamazaki 'Puncheon 2011' (48%, OB)

Yamazaki 'Puncheon 2011' (48%, OB) Three stars Colour: straw. Nose: it’s a fresh nose, starting with quite some varnish and bubblegum, then bags of apples and gooseberries, plums, touches of oranges and quite a lot of barley water. Some vanilla too. I’d have rather said this is ex-bourbon rather than sherry puncheon! Or bourbon puncheons, can that exist? Mouth: malty and sweet, slightly porridgy, with ripe apples, pear drops and vanilla, then more sweet barley. Good roundness. It’s sweet and barleyish malt whisky, perfectly polished but maybe it lacks ‘wildness’ (for lack of a better word). Finish: medium length, sweet and barleyish. Comments: simply very solid, good quality malt whisky but I don’t think there’s much character. Where/what’s the puncheon? SGP:441 - 81 points.

Yamazaki 'Sherry Cask 2011' (48%, OB)

Yamazaki 'Sherry Cask 2011' (48%, OB) Four stars Colour: deep amber. Nose: the exact opposite of the ‘puncheon’, starting on crushed ripe strawberries (and the jam made thereof) and roses. Also notes of marc, marmalade, touches of juniper berries, kirsch and big black cherries. Also incense and sandalwood. Mouth: this is really fun! There’s a bourbonesque spiciness and bags of dried fruits and jams, the whole being quite thick and even extravagant with all this richness. Juniper berries, caraway seeds, cherries, kumquats, tons of blackcurrant jelly, touches of pencil shavings from some obviously fresh oak, sweet pepper and then quite some orange squash that’s a little strange in this context (Fanta-ish, if you see what I mean). But anyway, it’s an explosive palate. Finish: long, more nervous and citrusy. Quince fruit jelly. Comments: there’s something technological but I wouldn’t call this lab whisky. In fact I enjoy it quite a lot (yes, despite the Fanta). SGP:741 - 87 points.

Yamazaki 'Mizunara' (48%, OB, +/- 2010)

Yamazaki 'Mizunara' (48%, OB, +/- 2010) Four stars Mizunara is Japanese oak. Colour: rich gold. Nose: it’s not the first time I feel this, Japanese oak can actually impart some notes of… rum and cane sugar. It’s very vivid and obvious here, there are even touches of bananas and coconut oil. Other than that, we have incense, sandalwood and then more fresh orange juice. It’s a lovely nose. Mouth: there is something a notch too tannic and tea-ish, but otherwise it’s all very fine, delicately spicy (cardamom) and with just a wee touch of dustiness (or is that sawdust?) These spices are unusual, it’s hard to put some names on them… Maybe I should hire some Asian friends? Finish: long, probably a little too tannic and drying now but hey, the profile remains fun. Comments: unlikely at times but always fun and interesting. We cannot be against that, can we? SGP:561 - 86 points.

Good, the ‘sherry’ was the most impressive, maybe we could go on with a bunch of sherried Yamazakis, all Owner’s Casks? What do you think? And would six of them do? We’d tackle other woods on another day, that would be too much for today.

Yamazaki 1992/2005 'Owner's Cask' (51%, OB, sherry butt, cask #2L3002)

Yamazaki 1992/2005 'Owner's Cask' (51%, OB, sherry butt, cask #2L3002) Four stars Colour: dark amber. Nose: unusual notes of rosewater, lilies of the valley, green oranges and vetiver on a bed of juicy plums and fruit jams and jellies. Then more leather, old ham and tobacco. Quite superb! With water: the ham comes out more, together with rosehip tea. Superb indeed. Mouth (neat): full, rich, fruity and spicy, with high extraction and yet an elegant profile. Mulled wine, cloves, blood oranges, chocolate, oriental pastries, pepper… Lots happening. With water: same plus more marmalade and spicy jams. Chlorophyll, cassis liqueur. Finish: long, rich, jammy. The spices are back in the aftertaste. Comments: quality is equivalent to the recent NAS version, so high. They master sherry, don’t they? SGP:741 - 87 points.

Yamazaki 1992/2007 'Owner's Cask' (63%, OB, sherry butt, cask #2S70058)

Yamazaki 1992/2007 'Owner's Cask' (63%, OB, sherry butt, cask #2S70058) Four stars and a half Colour: coffee. Nose: a little difficult at this strength, it’s rather the leather, the varnish and bags of pencil shavings that come through – we don’t get that often from sherry butts, do we? Or was this baby a designer’s fresh sherry butt? With water: sadly, it becomes a tad vinegary but there are also wonderful gamy notes. Hare? Mouth (neat): George T. Stagg ex-sherry wood ;-). I’m not joking… This is massive, ueber-extractive, amazingly spectacular. What a concoction! With water: the most spectacular fruit jams mingled with the same spicy/extractive bourbon notes, ginger, cinchona, coriander… Finish: long, akin to that of a tropical-aged old Demerara. Comments: these casks, when they’ll be 30 or 35, will rock the whisky world (but maybe re-racking into refill wood will be necessary – yes, I know should mind my business). SGP:752 - 89 points.

Yamazaki 1990/2008 'Owner's Cask' (55%, OB, sherry butt, cask #OL3042)

Yamazaki 1990/2008 'Owner's Cask' (55%, OB, sherry butt, cask #OL3042) Four stars Colour: light coffee ;-). Nose: and yet another style. Drier, more on chocolaty oloroso, cigars, humidor, newly varnished wood, thuja, grass, fern, moss… Very impressive. With water: oh, it’s locked! The cigars remain there but the rest has vanished. Strange… Mouth (neat): it’s a funny kind of earthy fruitiness, with bitter oranges and roots, a little Chartreuse, maybe touches of rose-scented soap and then wheelbarrows of raspberries. It’s all very sweet while the nose was so beautifully dry… With water: even sweeter! Liqueurs and eaux-de-vie, litres of them. Finish: quite long, sweet, on blood oranges and pastis. Really, there’s now a lot of aniseed and liquorice. Comments: what a strange whisky, it’s hard to find much coherence but I won’t deny it’s all very spectacular. In other words, ‘fun’. SGP:741 - 86 points.

Yamazaki 1990/2005 'Owner's Cask' (61%, OB, 25th anniversary AMANT, sherry butt, cask #OV70403)

Yamazaki 1990/2005 'Owner's Cask' (61%, OB, 25th anniversary AMANT, sherry butt, cask #OV70403) Four stars and a half I don’t quite know what Amant is, what’s sure is that in French, that word means ‘lover’. Favourable auspices or not? Colour: reddish amber. Nose: there is a little gunpowder, flints and broken rocks but that’s all subtle and an asset. No struck matches. Other than that, fruit jams and red berries all over the place, then more fig liqueurs. Quite nosable at such high strength. With water: it’s a lovely gamey profile now, with Spanish ham, pheasant (I think), a little oyster sauce – a drop -, cigars… Also quite some humus. Beautiful. Mouth (neat): very powerful, which gives it a slightly brutal kirschy side. Bitter grassy notes. Quick… With water: sweet and even zesty, and very complex now. Tangerines, touches of litchis, rose jelly, kumquats… All good. Fresh herbs after that, esp. fresh coriander. Maybe a little dill? Finish: long, with a little more bitter herbs again. Liquorice. Comments: a very, very good ‘lover’, if I may say so. Roars or cuddles, depending on the amount of water you’re willing to add. Playful! SGP:651 - 89 points.

Yamazaki 1990/2006 'Owner's Cask' (63%, OB, sherry butt, cask #OS70389)

Yamazaki 1990/2006 'Owner's Cask' (63%, OB, sherry butt, cask #OS70389) Two stars and a half Colour: even redder dark amber. Nose: another one that’s quite blocked by the high strength. It seems to be rather chocolaty, but water is really needed. With water: bang, gunpowder everywhere. And struck matches… Mouth (neat): ultra heavy and strong, brutal, bitter, infused… I that artichoke liqueur? Nah, let’s add water… With water: this is better now but these matchsticky notes remain, burnt bread, heavy liquorice… No, it’s no easy Yamazaki. Finish: long, and I must say I find bitter artichoke liqueur again. Oh and used matches. Comments: for amateurs of heavy gunpowder only. Were the NRA the owners of this cask? (what a silly joke, S.!) SGP:463 - 78 points.

Yamazaki 1989/2006 'Owner's Cask' (62%, OB, sherry butt, cask #9V70061)

Yamazaki 1989/2006 'Owner's Cask' (62%, OB, sherry butt, cask #9V70061) Five stars Colour: dark coffee, almost ristretto. A little scary…Nose: we’re rather on chocolate and raspberry jelly again here, then on cigars as often. No matches or guns. Becomes a little more herbal after a few seconds, with some dried parsley and then more and more game and ham. It’s all very powerful, so let’s not spend too much time over our glass without water… With water: a spicy oakiness comes out, ginger, then soy sauce, balsamic vinegar. Rather dried dates at the fruit department. Mouth (neat): yooh, old Demerara rum and bags of liquorice everywhere. Massive attack (hehe). With water: quite perfect, rather more complex than others. Cinnamon at first (usually cinnamon does not come first), then liquorice, grapefruits, prunes, chocolate, orange liqueurs, kumquats and this ginger. Finish: long, more herbal, as often with these heavy not-too-old sherry monsters. Comments: my favourite within the flight. SGP:652 - 90 points.

PS: I’ll have to try to understand how the cask numbering works one day. The first letters or figures should mean warehouses and/or rows… More work for the future!
(With heartfelt thanks to Miiiiiisteeeeeer Bert V.)

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



Block Today: ACOUSMATIC. Performer: Denis Dufour. Track: Variations Acousmatiques. Please visit his website and buy his music...

February 19, 2013


Tasting two middle-aged Glencadam

I had thought Glencadam would become a little more of a blue chip a few years ago when the name was relaunched, but it remained discreet and rather unassuming despite high praises from luminaries such as Jim McEwan.

Glencadam 25 yo 1985/2010 (46%, Mo Or Collection, bourbon hogshead, cask #3997, 341 bottles)

Glencadam 25 yo 1985/2010 (46%, Mo Or Collection, bourbon hogshead, cask #3997, 341 bottles) Four stars Colour: gold. Nose: it’s got something of the recent official 21, this mossy freshness mixed with toffee… All that becomes rounder after a while, with quite a lot of vanilla and maple syrup, apple pie, caramelised pears… Yet, these mossy tones remain, with also a little liquorice wood, maybe rhubarb and greengages… It’s all very nicely balanced and rounded at the same time. Also cane sugar. Mouth: excellent sweet yet responsive palate, all on honey, malt, vanilla and maple syrup. A little muesli as well. Good body, very slightly syrupy, which is nice here. Finish: medium long, with grassy/herbal touches, maybe a little pastis or aniseed? Touches of smoke in the aftertaste. Comments: all good enjoyable and very drinkable maltiness. SGP:551 - 86 points.

Glencadam 1991/2012 (53.9%, Berry Bros & Rudd, cask #4762)

Glencadam 1991/2012 (53.9%, Berry Bros & Rudd, cask #4762) Four stars Colour: straw. Nose: a rather similar profile, as often with BBR we’re staying quite close to the distilleries’ ‘official’ styles, even with heavy sherry. A spirit-driven bottler, does that exist? ;-) Anyway, this baby displays more or less the same aromas, maybe it’s just a notch grassier/wilder but that may come from the higher strength. A little less vanilla-ed as well. With water: a rather superb maltiness, we’re all on barleyish sweetness. Mouth (neat): more citrus fruits, lime, sorrel… It’s unexpectedly zesty in fact, certainly less rounded than the 1985 this time. With water: quite perfect in all simplicity. Honeyed oranges, malt, candy sugar. Finish: medium, candied, with again dried oranges and syrups and honeys. Comments: it’s not a very wide profile but it’s a perfect example of a whisky that displays a perfect sweet maltiness. SGP:651 - 87 points.

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



Château Doisy-Daëne 2008

Wine (for Whisky Lovers)
Many châteaux in Sauternes and Barsac have also dry whites, sometimes from young vines. One of the most famous being Y d'Yquem. This one is Denis Dubourdieu's dry and crisp version of Doisy-Daëne, a 'simple' Bordeaux of very high quality even if it's quite 'technical'. Château Doisy-Daëne 2008.
If it was a whisky: a crystal-clean middle-aged Benriach ex-refill bourbon



Block Today: NON CLASSIFIABLE ;-). Performer: Sonny Sharrock. Track: Dick Dogs. That was on 1982's Dance With Me Montana album. Please visit his website and buy his music...

February 18, 2013


First an excellent Glen Grant for Taiwan and then a short yet quite insane verticale

And why not, I ask you? (that was useful, S.!)

Glen Grant 37 yo 1975/2012 (49.6%, Exclusive Malts for Whisky.com.tw, hogshead, cask #5477, 140 bottles)

Glen Grant 37 yo 1975/2012 (49.6%, Exclusive Malts for Whisky.com.tw, hogshead, cask #5477, 140 bottles) Four stars Colour: gold. Nose: starts rather more brutal than expected, with some kind of spirity orange eau-de-vie at very first sniffs, before it starts to develop on the much anticipated pollen, beeswax, ripe apricots, meadow flowers, vanilla and shortbread, and lastly, more on some leather, tobacco, putty, cider apples, walnuts and earth. A pretty complex ‘movie-nose’, curious about the palate. Mouth: totally in keeping with the nose, it starts a little harsh but is soon to become smoother, with more or less the same aromas, beeswax, honey, tobacco, walnuts… All that with touches of oranges again in the background, which makes it rather zestier than the ‘usual’ old Glen Grants. Also a little mint-flavoured tea and liquorice from the oak. Finish: medium long, a notch greener and drier (oak). Comments: what can I say? This is very fine old Glen Grant. Not past its prime yet. SGP:451 - 87 points.

Ornithological update by our friend Tobias: "this lovely little bird on this excellent Glen Grant from Taiwan is an other endemic Taiwanese species. It's a Collared Bush-Robin (Tarsiger johnstoniae), which is closely related to our European flycatchers, like the Red-Breasted Flycatcher (Ficedula parva) or the European Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca). The Collared Bush-Robin is insectivorous and inhabits thick high mountain forests (2000 - 2800m). It is also closely related to our Common Redstart, the European Robin and even to the Common Nightingale...."

Good, after that very nice old apéritif, let’s do something funny (hopefully) and unlikely: a short verticale of three rare old Glen Grants 1969-1959-1949, all of very high quality (I did some pre-nosing, hehe…). Sadly, I haven’t got any 1939, not too sure I ever saw any anyway.

Glen Grant 11 yo 1969/1980 (75° proof, Averys, sherry wood)

Glen Grant 11 yo 1969/1980 (75° proof, Averys, sherry wood) Five stars Averys’ bottlings are now becoming very scarce, but their reputation remains quite huge. The old company (1793) is located in Bristol and is still very active in wine but I don’t think they’ve bottled any malt whiskies in recent years. Colour: coffee. Nose: full sherry, as the colour suggested. There’s this amazing complexity for a young whisky that can only come from bottle ageing (11 years + 33 years, not a bad combination, especially with sherry monsters.) So what do we have? First, it’s hard to believe that this was bottled at only 43% vol. And second, it just wouldn’t stop talking, throwing aromas at your nostrils one after the other. Dried fruits of course (black raisins first) but also all things sappy and resinous (old herbal liqueurs) as well as the most exquisite combination of high-end pipe tobacco, wood smoke and leather polish. I’m summarising! Very little gamy/meaty tones, those usually come with older sherry monsters in my experience. In other words, polished youth… Mouth: yes! That’s the advantage of old young whiskies (unless they got stale or too dry), you get some age but you don’t get too much oak. Granted, there’s quite some chocolate but that does not come from the oak here. It’s actually all very ‘Chambertin’ and I’m not making this up. Fantastic combination of ripe black cherries, cassis, chocolate, toasted bread, prunes and then this thick black bread our friends the Germans make: sweet pumpernickel! Love that… Finish: sadly, it’s a little too short and dry, probably this great whisky’s Achilles’ heel. Otherwise we’d have approached the 95-mark in my little book. Having said that, the mint in the aftertaste is great. Comments: I don’t want to wax lyrical about he wonders (and risks, agreed) of bottle maturation again, so I won’t. Please hold me… SGP:662 - 93 points.

Glen Grant 1959/1999 (47.3%, Samaroli, sherry, cask #3790)

Glen Grant 1959/1999 (47.3%, Samaroli, sherry, cask #3790) Five stars The label tells us that 'this cask was discovered by change in a corner of a bond.’ Really? ;-) Colour: coffee with red hues. Nose: it’s absolutely thrilling to compare this baby with the young 1969, because beyond many similarities, there are also obvious differences that may have come from longer ageing in wood, although I wouldn’t say this is clearly more mature or older. So it’s globally drier, more herbal, more tertiary which is logical (metal polish, shoe polish, mushrooms, humus), and then much more mentholated and cigar-like. Newly opened box of habanos, toasted farmhouse bread, mandarin liqueur, tobacco smoke... It’s a kind of profile that I really cherish, it’s absolutely wonderful and not without reminding me of some old Macallans. BTW, you may expect a string of very old Macallans on WF in a few weeks... I say no more. Mouth: pah pah pah… It’s so unusual! Sure the oak’s louder than in the 1969 but this mentholated symphony is utterly amazing. If this doesn't get yer tongue a flappin' then you're already dead ;-). Please call the anti-maltoporn brigade! Finish: long and, granted, a little oakier (strong tea) but who cares, at 40 years old? (the whisky, the taster’s older). Amazing notes of cardamom, oregano and caraway seeds in the aftertaste. Comments: one of Mr Samaroli’s Mona Lisas (there were several of them, it seems). This is one of the whiskies why I’ll never grant just any cheapo blend or malt with 95 points, even if I (ever) get a nice cheque in the mail. What a sad joke… SGP:661 - 95 points.

Glen Grant 1949 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, +/-1980)

Glen Grant 1949 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, +/-1980) Five stars Another Glen Grant for Italy, remember Glen Grant used to be huge in Italy and their older bottlings were commending high prices. I hope this baby will stay the course after the two utter glories we just had. In any case, both the lower strength and the lighter colour (less sherry) will be taken into consideration. Oh, and let’s see whether there’s some peat or not, because remember many distilleries reverted to peat after the war, as fuel was so rare and costly. Oh, and this is more or less a ‘30 years + 30 years’, should be interesting… Colour: deep gold. Nose: peat indeed! Not a raw and roaring peat of course, but I’m sure the whisky was quite peaty when it was distilled. Second good news: no weakness, no lightness, no wobbliness at 40% or (now) a little less. Splendid mint again, putty, metal polish, figs, kumquats, beeswax, leather, cough syrup (evolved peat?), a little antiseptic… Now, it does tend to become a little more cardboardy or ‘old-bookish’, but that also comes with more mint, verbena, aniseed, dill or even… straight absinth? Quite fabuloso. Mouth: ha! This baby is tireless and it’s even big, imagine… There’s a saltiness, bitter herbs, crème de menthe… All quite superb. However the middle is a notch weaker, kind of jumbled up, and what comes out after that is more salt and bitter oils. I’d have never said this was Glen Grant. Finish: of medium length, very phenolic, dry, slightly metallic, smoky. Salty aftertaste. Also chlorophyll and agaves. Comments: a very unusual old Glen Grant, quality’s stratospheric like many post-war malts. Only some parts of the palate were a little humbler. Imagine this at 50% vol… SGP:373 - 92 points.

Peace and love (and merci beaucoup, Diego)

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



Block Today: BLUES. Performer: Johnny Heartsman. Track: Let Me Love You, Baby. Please buy Johnny Heartsman's music...

February 17, 2013


Tasting the new An Cnoc
and some Glenfarclas

There’s a new An Cnoc (or is it anCnoc, or Knockdhu which is the name of the distillery?) and it is a 22 yo. Let’s have it along a popular Glenfarclas of similar age, the very lightly sherried 21yo, which should be quite similar in my experience. Having said that, the last time I’ve formally tried the latter it was in 2006… Tell me about a lazy whisky ‘blogger’.

Glenfarclas 21 yo (43%, OB, +/-2012)

Glenfarclas 21 yo (43%, OB, +/-2012) Three stars Colour: gold. Nose: ah yes, I remember… It’s a fruitier and rather lighter GF than usual, starting with apple pie and ripe gooseberries, with then more ale notes, sweet porridge and touches of tinned pineapple. Also something floral, dandelions, then more butterscotch and light vanilla fudge or toffee… The fudgy notes grow bigger while the fruits are toned down a bit. Mouth: good first impression, more on toasted brioche and malt, then honey cake and roasted nuts (loads!) Becomes a little narrower after the first sips, maybe a little drier as well. Liquorice and touches of cardboard/cinnamon. Finish: medium, malty, with some chocolate and maybe peanuts. Barley sugar. Comments: the 21 isn’t my favourite within the ‘entry’ range, I tend to like the 15 much more. But no doubt, it’s fine whisky. SGP:451 - 80 points.

An Cnoc 22 yo (46%, OB, 2013)

An Cnoc 22 yo (46%, OB, 2013) Three stars and a half Colour: gold. Nose: more presence but a very similar style indeed. There is some sherry but it’s very discreet, there’s also a little more mint and maybe sorrel than in the GF. A little more honey too but other than that, we have baked apples, gooseberries, ale and butterscotch again. Corn syrup? Also touches of liquorice. After fifteen minutes, it’s clearly more expressive than the GF, and rather maltier (ovaltine). I also found touches of Calvados that I’ve already found in other expressions. Nice nose, I’d say. Mouth: creamy, with a sweet sherriness that’s a little louder now. Some pepper too, apple juice, touches of ginger and caraway seeds (from some newish oak?), honey and liquorice. Quite some malt too, peppery toffee… Finish: quite long, between malt, pepper and ginger cake. A little more (pleasantly) bitter oak in the aftertaste. Comments: another lovely dram by An Cnoc. You can feel the oak but that’s no problem. SGP:551 - 84 points.

While we’re at it…

Glenfarclas 20 yo '105' (60%, OB, 2012)

Glenfarclas 20 yo '105' (60%, OB, 2012) Four stars I had tried this baby last year but did not take any proper notes, while thinking I’d taste it again soon anyway… And then I forgot. How could I? Colour: dark gold. Nose: good, I like this way better than when I first tried it, maybe because it was just bottled at the time. In fact this is an explosion of chocolaty and coffee-ish shrapnels over a bed of rocks, soot, gravel and struck matches. Walnut stain. And it’s quite strong… With water: not much change, except a little more tobacco and touches of Parmesan cheese. Mouth: big, heavy, concentrated, jammy and spicy. Malt, caramel, coffee fudge, Christmas cake and marmalade. And power! With water: there’s some dirtiness over all this and I think I like that. Hard to describe, between Parmesan cheese again and maybe beef jerky. Other than that there are also more raisins and dried dates. Finish: long, with more crystallised and candied fruits. Also angelica? Notes of PX in the aftertaste. Comments: it’s not a smooth and silky one, even with water. Not unlike the NAS 105, it’s got something bestial ;-). And fun! Again, I like it much better than the first time. Unsurprisingly, I think it sits between the NAS 105 (WF 85) and the very, very stunning 40yo 105 (WF 94). SGP:652 - 87 points.



Block Today: JAZZ. Performer: Céline Bonacina. Track: WakeUp. Or when a charming young lady plays the barytone sax with gusto... Please visit her website and buy her music...

February 15, 2013


Youngish Clynelish reloaded

More new Clynelish… This is gonna become clynelishfun.com one day… Not too sure that would be a bad move… haha…

Clynelish 1997/2012 (46%, Berry Bros & Rudd, cask #6470)

Clynelish 1997/2012 (46%, Berry Bros & Rudd, cask #6470) Three stars I think I’ve already tried a good twenty different casks of Clynelish 1997 and what’s sure is that they rarely disappoint. Colour: straw. Nose: Clynelish is like a good friend, you’re always happy to see him. This one is beautifully mineral, moderately waxy, developing more on lime juice, clay, walnuts and whiffs of garden bonfire. It seems that it’s rather smokier than others but I wouldn’t call it ‘peaty’. Just a little vanilla. Mouth: it’s rather a dry one now, austere, slightly bitter and peppery. Unexpected touches of bubblegum come through after a few minutes, then more lemon and always this bitterness that makes it a tad more difficult than others in my opinion, and blocks the zestiness that seems to be there in the background (grapefruits). Finish: medium, rather grassy. Comments: sure it’s very good Clynelish – which is almost a pleonasm – but I think we’re not quite near the rather stunning recent sister cask #6473 by the same excellent bottlers, for example. Must be this bitterness… SGP:472 - 82 points.

Clynelish 1998/2012 (49.5%, Maltbarn, bourbon barrel, 123 bottles)

Clynelish 1998/2012 (49.5%, Maltbarn, bourbon barrel, 123 bottles) Four stars The small German bottler Maltbarn sell their whiskies directly, you’ll find them at maltbarn.de. Colour: white wine. Nose: pretty different, this has more grass, barley, hay, mint and earth than the 1997. Also touches of ink and then more and more gentian, with a medicinal side that’s quite lovable. Marzipan. Mouth: sure it’s grassy and grapefruity (?), and even bitter, but that works well now. It’s a typically chiselled, mineral, sharpish Clynelish, becoming fruitier over time, with cider apples, maybe even green pears. Finish: long, zesty, fruitier. Grass and tangerines. More pepper in the aftertaste. Comments: classy spirit, as almost always. Big personality. SGP:462 - 87 points.

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



Block Today: JAZZ. Performer: Seu Jorge. Track: Fruta Estranha (Strange Fruit). Sadder than Billie Holiday? Please visit Seu Jorge's website and buy his music...

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



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

Glen Grant 1949 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, +/-1980)

Glen Grant 1959/1999 (47.3%, Samaroli, sherry, cask #3790)

Glen Grant 11 yo 1969/1980 (75° proof, Averys, sherry wood)

Littlemill 24 yo 1988/2012 (52.9%, Liquid Sun, refill hogshead, 326 bottles)

Midleton 20 yo 1991/2012 (54.1%, OB, The Whisky Exchange, bourbon, cask #48750)

Talisker (80° proof, Cadenhead, 1960's)

Yamazaki 1989/2006 'Owner's Cask' (62%, OB, sherry butt, cask #9V70061)