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Hi, you're in the Archives, February 2014 - Part 1

January 2014 - part 2 <--- February 2014 - part 1 ---> February 2014 - part 2


February 14, 2014


Back from wonderful Scotland with a totally clogged nose. Palate isn’t much better. Even the dreadful Dufftown ‘SS Wallachia’ we had this week would smell of… nothing (quite an improvement). I’ve got plenty of other pre-war whiskies yet to taste but that’ll happen later on! In the meantime, we’ll have to publish older tasting notes that I had in stock, such as these…

A short verticale of Girvan grain

A verticale of grain whisky from one single distillery is something I seldom did. The distillates don’t display much character in the first place, and it’s usually the oak that does all the talking, even more so than with bourbon in my opinion. But I’ve had some great old grains, so let’s see what happens today… Oh and I won’t sort them by age or vintage, sadly (because of the strengths) so it won’t be a true verticale.

Girvan 25 yo 'Patent Still' (42%, OB, Launch Edition, 2013)

Girvan 25 yo 'Patent Still' (42%, OB, Launch Edition, 2013) Two stars A controversial new bottling because of many factors, first its very high price (£250 for some middle-aged grain, imagine) and second the fact that it’s been reduced down to 42%, while grains are usually filled in wood at around 70% or more if I’m not mistaken. Not to mention the absence of vintage, but I’m not sure vintages make much sense with grain whisky. Colour: straw. Nose: starts with some solvent and grass, remarkably un-fruity and un-marshmallowy for grain whisky. Rather some fresh oak and more and more cut grass, then cinnamon, lager beer and only faint touches of vanilla. How dry and even austere! Mouth: feels more than 42% vol. Some oak, some thick banana juice, a very creamy mouth feel indeed, some orange liqueur and some kind of cinnamon cake. Always a grassiness in the background. Finish: of medium length, on more or les the same aromas. A little banana liqueur, some white chocolate, a rather oaky aftertaste. Comments: not quite my cup of malt – obviously. Not my preferred style of whisky anyway, so please take my comments with a grain of salt. SGP:540 - 76 points.

Girvan 33 yo 1979/2013 (46%, Cadenhead, Small Batch, 222 botles)

Girvan 33 yo 1979/2013 (46%, Cadenhead, Small Batch, 222 botles) Three stars ‘Only’ £130 a bottle this time. Colour: white wine. Nose: a little solventy as well but then the oak starts to speak out, with quite some vanilla, coconut, some sawdust, green bananas, cider apples and then more toasted oak. Also a little porridge and even touches of malt, but I think they add quite some malted barley to their recipe before distillation. Also more and more chocolate. Mouth: much more ‘emphatic’ than the official, but style aren’t dissimilar. In fact, there’s much more liquorice (allsorts but also salmiak) and that makes it much ‘funnier’, provided grain whisky can be funny. Tinned pineapples. Finish: long, oaky but with a lingering sweetness. Some white pepper. Comments: no dead spirit! Again, it’s not quite my style but I can imagine that ‘grain-in-bourbon-wood’ lovers will love it. Good old sweet and fruity oak juice. SGP:640 - 80 points.

Girvan 1989/2006 (58%, James MacArthur, Old Masters, cask #110632)

Girvan 1989/2006 (58%, James MacArthur, Old Masters, cask #110632) Three stars Colour: white wine. Nose: rather aggressive, but that’s the higher strength. Otherwise I find a similar profile to that of the Cadenhead, only with less fruits and rather more grass. With water: it’s the oak’s lactones aka coconut that go really wild, plus some vanillin and quite a lot of fudge and white chocolate. Mouth (neat): very creamy, very liqueury, and actually very pleasing, even at high strength. A blend of pineapple, coconut and vanilla liqueurs with quite some white pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg. Big stuff. With water: simply good, easy, sweet, with added notes of overripe apples and quinces. Marshmallows. Finish: rather long, fruity, creamy, with a peppery and cinnamony aftertaste. Comments: on par with the 33 yo, I’d say. Goes down well. SGP:540 - 80 points.

Girvan 22 yo 1989/2011 (63%, James MacArthur, Old Masters, bourbon, cask #110633)

Girvan 22 yo 1989/2011 (63%, James MacArthur, Old Masters, bourbon, cask #110633) Four stars You can still buy this one for £68! Bargain? Fair price? Let’s see… Colour: gold. Nose: strong, a little varnishy, with some toasted bread and notes of bananas, but it’s hard to nose – and quite dangerous. That’s the high strength. With water: oh yes! The most complex of them all – although I wouldn’t say it’s complex whisky – with lovely notes of guavas and papayas besides the chocolate, coconut and vanilla. Very nice nose. Mouth (neat): ah yes, fudge, lemon, tangerines, even papayas, pepper… All that with an ultra-creamy body. A very tricky palate because the sweetness does mask the super-high strength and you’ll burn your throat in no time. Warning! With water: as good as grain whisky can get, I’d say, it’s even got something pot-stillish and Redbreast isn’t too far. Serious! Finish: quite long, fruity, creamy, with good spices and notes of jellybeans. Comments: the resemblance with Irish pot still whiskey is pretty striking. Easily my favourite, very well selected. SGP:641 - 86 points.

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



Block Today: REAL LIFE. Performer: Chris Watson. Track: a stunning El Divisadero. Please visit his website and buy his recordings... (thanks Dave)

February 12, 2014


Tasting Duo

  The Tandem Sessions
Or the joys of trying rare whisky with a co-taster and yet good friend, on location in Scotland.
Today: more very old ones with Emmanuel, Hideo, Tatsuya, Marcel, Angus, Jonny, Phil, Simon, Max and Geert

Ardmore 24 yo (OB, Old Highland Cream, 1950) Five stars With Emmanuel. A gift from Teacher’s Director presented in 1950 for Christmas. So this is obviously pre-war distillation, around 1925. Colour: amber in a sherry way. Nose: starts with notes of venison and rancio, sherry, pheasant, old cognac…


Then a little pine sap (as often with classy old bottles), raisins marinated in kirsch, wee touches of custard, prunes… A wonderful oloroso-style, probably from a genuine old butt. Very ample. After ten minutes, gingerbread and pepper. Mouth: starts rather creamy, with some treacle toffee, the strength was probably quite high and it hasn’t got the slightest weakness from old age/old bottle. A very elegant rancio, a little leather, fruits in liqueur (guignolet, prunes in Armagnac…), soft Moroccan spice mix tajine style (North-African stew)… Truly fresh, which is amazing, although it’s got a smoothness. Finish: very long, with more herbs this time as well as a little chocolate. The herbs don’t prevent it from being mellow and really beautiful. So long yet not powering. Comments: a very beautiful slice of distilling History, with an amazing freshness. The peat – if there was any peat in the first place – is hard to detect. Makes us think of a great old Macallan. SGP:462 – 93 points.

Glen Grant 1929 (43%, David Sandeman & Son, 1950s) Three stars and a half With Hideo and Tetsuya. Supposed to be lighter than the famous Glen Grant 1929 by Matthew Gloag. Colour: pale gold. Nose: very light. Starts on lemon peel, meringue, then old carpet, just wee touches of peat… Not a bad whisky but it’s a little hard to describe. Maybe a little indefinite? Also Spanish almonds, maybe does that comes from Sandeman?

Glen Grant Hideo

Fino sherry for sure. Mouth: a light arrival, with a light body as well. Fino sherry again, citrus zests and juices (that would be mainly grapefruit)… Very refreshing, ‘like morning whisky’. Or maybe that would be a good apéritif? Finish: very short and mellow, rather on peanut skin, with a small oiliness. Comments: an unusual old bottling that does taste like an old bottling, probably good with chamomile tea, say our Japanese friends. SGP:341 – 83 points.

Glenlivet 1938 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, licensed bottling, +/-1980) Five stars With Jonny and Angus. This is Jonny’s engagement bottle, presented to him by the lovely bride to be (who got a ring). Colour: dark gold (autumn sunrise). Nose: starts both concentrated and soft, on pineapple cubes, cola cubes and lots of tropical fruits. Overripe bananas, a lot of fruit syrups, the whole getting slightly smoky/almondy. Cigar boxes, a really beautiful rancio and some candy citrus peel.

Glenlivet Jonny

Also something coconuty. A compact and fantastic nose. Mouth: a little bit of smoke in the arrival, which is a little biting, as well as something from other spirits such as old rum and cognac. More tropical fruits (mango peel), creamy coconut, a kind of old orange liqueur.  The peat becomes a little resinous and pleasantly metallic and herbal (dried herbs). Feels rather viscous, an excellent mouth feel considering the 40%, engaging every part of your palate. Finish: maybe a little short, unfortunately, but it’s very nicely dry, tropical and herbal. Comments: another exemplary old brilliant pre-war whisky, one you could quaff litres of. SGP:542 - 91 points (and 100/100 to Jonny’s future bride!)


Longmorn 12 yo (91.4 US proof, OB, Hill Thompson & Co, before 1940)

Five stars With Geert, Simon and Phil An early bottle for the USA. It seems that there’s also a 28 and the 32 in this series. It’s great to taste a ‘Thompson’ with some Thompsons, isn’t it. Colour: deeply orangy,


Or Irn Bru that’s been sitting opened in the sun in the front of a Ford Transit van with a Sun newspaper next to it (right! – Ed.) Nose: starts on salted red cranberries and dusty bookshelf. Old gentlemen’s club. Also camphor, strawberries when they’re about to go too soft, earthy wood spices… So a soft, delicate fine peat plus plenty of red fruits, even a touch of light dried stone fruits, apricots, damsons, cinnamon… Also a touch of passion fruits in the end of the nose, as well as something slightly irony. Mouth: starts a little thin yet really f*****g good (excuse them), some tropical fruits, dried oranges plus cracked black pepper and strawberries as well as some saffron. The whole is very delicate, we also have a touch or iron and peat again. Finish: War and Peace. Very long and very exciting, in a way. Comments: travelling in time into the real soul of Longmorn. SGP:542 – 93 points.

Laphroaig 10 yo (91.4 US proof, OB, for Elsbach, California, early 1970s) Five stars With Marcel and Max. The cap and the glass code (SC803) are typical of that period. Colour: dark gold. Nose: immediately exploding tropical fruits plus iodine and maybe just a little bit of antiseptic. Mesmerising old style peat (did you know that Mesmer was an Austrian hypnotiser? – it’s good to have cultured co-tasters, isn’t it).


Bandages, coal fires, a kind of tincture, seashore, seaweed, very small yet beautiful notes of Virginian tobacco, kisses of kumquats, dried chestnuts (like they make in Modena, apparently)… What’s important is that there’s no smoke, only a perfect natural sweetness. Also a smear of manure. Mouth: a huge delivery, typically very tropical, medicinal and coastal. Then ‘good’ old papers, which makes it a little drying, but also very crisp on the palate. Candied peel, hints of gentian, herbal toothpaste as well as mouthwash. The body’s big, fat and creamy. Silky mouth feel. Finish: long and lemony. More iodine as well. Aged peat oils. Comments: not too sure about the aged peat oil, but it’s amazing all the same. SGP:653 – 94 points.


February 11, 2014


Tasting Duo

  The Tandem Sessions
Or the joys of trying rare whisky with a co-taster and yet good friend, on location in Scotland.
Today: a bunch with Tomas, Hans, Diego, Emmanuel, Angus and Max.

Special Club (Wilson & Son Glasgow, Italy, blend, 1930s) Three stars and a half With Tomas. This one bears an Italian fascist emblem so it’s not too hard to date, it’s from the 1930s (faccetta nera dell’abissinia aspetta e spera che gia’ l’ora si avvicina… ) Colour: gold. Nose: sweet, with oranges, bitter chocolate, green coffee, hints of hospital, soap, dust, ginger tonic, a little caraway, clove rocks, bitter citrus… Also burnt crème caramel. The coffee and the burnt sugar dominate.


Mouth: starts on prunes and cinchona, juniper, bitter oranges… Not very easy because of the bitterness. Finish: very long, still quite bitter, herbal… Comments: one of these old blends with a lot of power, but maybe not that much smoothness. Remains relatively easy to drink. SGP:362 – 84 points.

Linkwood 44 yo 1938 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, 75cl, +/-1984) Four stars With Hans. G&M had many superb old Linkwoods in the past, under various labels. Colour: gold. Nose: elegant and refined as often with Linkwood, rather on sultanas and ripe greengages, melons, then touches of cherries and Moroccoan spice mix (ras-el-knout). A little honey. Mouth: fudge and raisins, rum and raisins, touches of drying oak, light honey, watermelon, a touch of encaustic, a very discreet smoke, some liquorice, marmalade…

Linkwood GM

Finish: complex, with a long aftertaste. Comments: highly drinkable, in a Swedish way says Hans. SGP:452 - 87 points.

Linkwood 37 yo 1939 (43%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseur’s Choice, +/-1976) Five stars With Diego. 43% vs. 40% can make for a huge difference in power and general feeling. Colour: amber. Nose: superb combination of cigarette tobacco, tropical fruits (especially bananas) and a little coal smoke plus cocoa. Also pipe tobacco says a pipe smoker, a touch of chalk, mango chutney and milk chocolate. ‘A pastry shop with a coffee machine around 8:30am’.

Linkwood Doego

Mouth: very powerful, on more or less the same notes, especially chocolate, amarena, maraschino, roasted chestnuts… And dried bananas. Just a touch liquorice. Finish: quite long, chocolaty, with a sweet bitterness. Orange zests. Comments: a lovely old Linkwood, rather more powerful than others despite its old age. Perfetto. SGP:552 – 92 points.

Glen Greame 10 yo (86 proof, Row & Company, USA, unblended pot still malt, 1940s) Four stars With Emmanuel. There are suspicions that this could be Macallan, since Row & Co were agents for Macallan. Colour: amber. Nose: instant Macallanness. Ripe fruits, roasted nuts, smoke, pine resin, rum and raisins, slightly smoky/dusty, some liquorice allsorts, chocolate… The whole is very fresh. Also white peaches, while it gets more and more chocolaty. Hot chocolate.

Glen Greame

Mouth: starts mentholated and unusually earthy. Charcoal, raspberry, marmalade, touches of vin jaune and sweet mustard. Becomes drier but maybe also a little thinner. However, it’s always fresh. Chocolate-coated apricots. Finish: a little short and dry, very chocolaty, leathery and smoky. Coal smoke, cold tobacco. Comments: almost an old whisky that you could sip on the beach. Very Macallanesque, but a little drier and less emphatic than a classic old Mac. SGP:453 – 87 points.

Macallan 1937 (70°proof, OB, bottled by G&M, 75cl, late 1970s) Five stars With Angus. These bottles are often taken for G&M bottlings but they’re well officials of which the bottling part was simply subcontracted. Colour: full gold. Nose: first a lot of quince jelly, with big spice. Quite some typical notes that you normally get with these kinds of bottlings, rancio, dried fruits, tobacco, leather, old paper… Also a little milk chocolate, mandarine liqueur, Jaffa cake… Something slightly meaty. Mouth: maybe a wee tad too weak, a tad drying as well, but other than that, typically fantastic, tropical, elegant, peppery…

Macallan 37

White peaches, honeydew… Also delicately metallic, on old coins, steel wool, dusty phenols, fino sherry. Finish: medium length, quite beautifully oily, sappy and quite peppery. Black and green peppers. Comments: simply classic, fantastic old pre-war whisky yet again, not tired at all. SGP:452 - 91 points.

Macallan 1940 (43%, OB, twist cap, Rinaldi, +/-1980) Five starsThis is the famous ‘red stripe and red wax’ bottling. The 1938, the 1950 and the 1957 are pretty easier to find than this 1940. Colour: amber. Nose: ultra-classic honeyed fruits, powerful, very complex, peaty, ample, dense, silky, extremely refined. Very classy. Touches of tiger balm, oriental spices, heather, beeswax, chocolate. There’s a lot of chocolaty sherry. Mouth: a little monolithic, on raisins and coffee, with a little peach and mirabelle, a little kirsch, slightly farmy and earthy, a little rough. Lacks polishing, which is surprising. Finish: long, more elegant, balanced, on coffee and kirsch with a rooty kind of peat. Dark chocolate. Amusing hints of roses in the aftertaste. Comments: a rather rough one, chocolate-forward, peaty, very good. SGP:462 - 92 points.

Macallan 1940

Macallan 35 yo 1940 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, Pinerolo, mid 1970s) Five stars With Max. A bottle that's been standing on a coffee machine in an Italian bistro for many years. The accumulated smoke made the label brown. Colour: dark gold. Nose: immediate tropical fruits, then ganache, coffee and gewürztraminer from a good maker plus litchi. The freshness is incredible. All kinds of fruit syrups, also dried fruits (bananas, peaches, raisins). Also angelica, and also all kinds of things. Amazing, beats the official fair and square at this point.

Macallan Max

Mouth: rich, with a perfect and ample body, sweet, long, lots of character, on mangos, litchis, kiwis. We’re going more toward quince and spices after a few minutes, old leather… In truth this baby tastes rather more like an old Bowmore and that’s the general consensus. Amazing. Finish: long, ultra-fresh and clean, on spiced tropical fruits. Touches of salt in the aftertaste. Comments: yeah, beats the OB, but don’t drink this whisky like a cowboy (© Max). A mango extravaganza. SGP:652 – 96 points. (originally posted as a 37 yo, now corrected, thanks Giuseppe and Max)


February 10, 2014


Tasting Duo

  The Tandem Sessions
Or the joys of trying rare whisky with a co-taster and yet good friend, on location in Scotland.
Today: a bunch with Jon, Patrick, Olivier, Hans, Angus and Phil.

Port Ellen 14 yo 1974/1988 (43%, Gordon & MacPhail for Sestante) Five stars With Jon. We’ve already tried several 1974s by G&M but none at 43%. Colour: gold (Tuscan sunset – ha). Nose: an approachable Port Ellen, classic mid-seventies, with oysters, seashore, tincture of iodine and only little tar or heavy oils.

Port Ellen Jon

Yellow plums and green melon, salty pebbles, touches of fresh cardamom, green peppercorn in brine, then more and more hessian and paraffin. Smoky bandages ;-), embrocations, a little chlorophyll, cold ashes, lemon wax, preserved lemons Morrocan-style… Globally rather elegant and delicate for Port Ellen. Mouth: salty lapsang souchong with drops of lemon and oyster juices. Big ashiness and smokiness, chiselled, barbecue sauce, hickory smoke, rocket and peppery watercress, getting more kippery, with also smoked mussels and hints of flambéed pineapple. And the notoriously unknown clabbie dubh. Rather silky mouth feel. Finish: not huge but with nice grapefruit and liquid smoke. Tea-ish aftertaste. Comments: pure pleasure but it’s also not overly complex and maybe a little dry. SGP:356 - 90 points.

Tally Ho Blend (70°proof, A.A. Muirhead, 1960s?) Five stars With Angus. A very weird bottle bearing an Italian tax seal from the 1950s, a shiny black plastic cap, a bottle code from the early seventies and a charming 1920s-style label. No wonder Angus bought it ;-). Colour: Scottish suntan. Nose: we think it’s very Taliskerish and we cannot not wonder if it isn’t actually Talisker. Maybe did the funny name hint at that?

Takky Ho

Beautiful cigary smoke, very clean, with dry wood spices, winter spices, seaweed, old tarry ropes, a dockside and maybe salty lemons or something. Blood oranges, maybe a little wild strawberries… Quite punchy at 70 proof, good staying power. More extravagant raisins after a few minutes, dried dark fruits, a little pine resin or perhaps retsina… Wonderful.  Mouth: big delivery, starts peppery ala Talisker indeed, punchy, quite fat, resinous, with marmalade, crystallised orange peel, a little sesame oil, mint-flavoured liquorice, earth, just a little rancio… All very fantastic. Finish: long, zesty and kind of dirty (forresty dirt), with all previous flavours flashing back. Comments: a huge surprise and a mystery but it’s phenolmenal whisky. SGP:564 – 92 points.

The Dragon 1973 (56.4%, Robertson, +/-1990) Five stars With Olivier. There are several versions of this famous undisclosed Highland Park, esp. two lovely 1973s (unless that would be three?) It’s the first time we’re having this one, but one at 56.6% was superb (WF 93).

Dragon Olivier

Colour: rich amber (Angus, who’s passing by, says ‘rusted fuselage’). Nose: starts right on ripe tropical fruits with a little honeydew and ‘ideas’ of fennel, as well as quite some cut hay, encaustic, beeswax… Slightly prickly, with also a little tar, tarry/smoky ropes, touches of peat, cold tobacco ashes… It’s all very elegant and pure. Keeps going on with some rancio, mildly sour fruits, tangerines… Nutshell, firm yet very fine and elegant. Mouth: slightly leathery arrival, all being powerful and lively, without any heaviness, the sherry being very ‘accurate’ and clean. No rancio this time but a lovely woodiness (cigar box, cedar wood), this light smokiness… At the fruits department we have a little quince but the whole remains dry and pretty malty. Some shoe polish, more wax, smoke, dried orange zests… Light tannicity. Compact rather than wide. Kind of cigary (?) Finish: long, pleasantly drying and woody. Liquorice, pepper, ginger and tea in the aftertaste. Comments: a very nice yet slightly challenging sherried expression of HP that lets the original distillate shine through. ‘Respectful sherry’ says Olivier. SGP:463 – 91 points.

Cape Wrath (70% proof, bottled for Cape Wrath Hotel in Inverness, 1930s) Four stars and a half With Patrick. Or maybe 1940s. One of the pleasantly unlikely and extremely rare whiskies our friend Patrick is famous for ;-). Not too sure this is a blend, but it should be. The Cape Wrath Hotel doesn’t exist anymore. Colour: gold.

Cape Wrath

Nose: incredibly ample at barely 40% vol, without any weak spots, with some honey and motor oil (and many other oils, very ‘old style’), a little dust, a little metal, old papers, ‘old peat’, old books, some mint, dried herbs such as tarragon, peppermint tea… Not straight OBE though, it remained fresh, clean and crisp. The smoke comes out more and more (fireplace after the ski – ha.) Mouth: starts very creamy, on mint, apple peelings, apricot liqueur, old yellow chartreuse and heather honey. Extremely well balanced, soft, slightly Sauternes-y. Also cashew nuts coming through after a while. Finish: not extremely long but gentle and very elegant. Gently fades away. Comments: very elegant. The customers at the Cape Wrath, while being probably all dead, had it good. SGP:541 - 88 points.

Mortlach 1938 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, 75cl, +/-1985) Four stars With Hans. We’ve already tried the 50yo decanter, but never this ‘regular’ version bearing the famous eagle label. Our friend Hans Ekström is helping this time. Colour: rich gold. Nose: lovely mentholated nose, with a little burnt wood and whiffs of coal smoke.


Some thuja wood too, more heavy liquorice, raisins, pine needles, touches of liquorice wood, cigar boxes, cloves, vetiver, chocolate… Very typical. Mouth: some maple syrup, liquorice, fudge and mint liqueur, then touches of coal again, this very particular tar, some leather (new shoes). Tends to become much drier, with a lot of cocoa powder, slightly chalky, more camphory as well. Cloves. Finish: medium length, rather drying, quite chocolaty. Charcoal tablets in the aftertaste. Comments: lovely nose and arrival, the rest was a notch too dry and sooty. SGP:462 – 87 points.

Dufftown-Glenlivet ‘SS Wallachia’ (Peter Dawson, Scotch Whisky, sunken 1895 in the Clyde) With Patrick. The distillery’s name is embossed in the bottom of the bottle, but there aren’t any pieces of label left of course. This one was retrieved by sport divers from the wreck of the SS Wallachia, a cargo ship that sank in the firth of Clyde on September 25, 1895 after having been rammed in the bows by a Norwegian steamer.


We had tried another whisky from the same shipwreck, a Robert Brown that had remained kind of fresh and clean after more than 100 years under 34 metres of dirty water. But this one is another bottle, with a dark glass that’s seemingly covered with a thin layer of tar… Colour: gold. Nose: some kind of stale diesel oil mixed with rotten cabbage, Chinese 1000 years old eggs, long forgotten Japanese nato, durian, surströmming, decomposing flesh and rotting floated wood. Also burnt tyres. Utterly awful, makes you cry. Instantly. Mouth: burnt plastic, rotten mud, dead animals of many kinds including aquatic (of course), rotten cabbage, sludge, rust… And death. Finish: totally foul. Fading traces of damned souls. Comments: utter abomination. Probably toxic. Please call our lawyers. SGP:022 – minus 20 points.Honest.


Probably Talisker (bottled or received 1913, Berry Bros & Co) Five stars

With Phil. The bottle comes from Trelissick House, Cornwall, and the data could be found in the cellar’s records. No label left but it was Berry’s old ‘barrel label’. The company wasn’t named Berry Bros & Rudd yet. This could well be 1885 Talisker according to company records and old Berry price lists, but we haven’t any dead proof. Colour: gold. Nose: starts with bitter almonds and linseed oil, as well as a little peppermint, oily hessian, fresh pine resin, Demerara sugar and touches of ‘good’ detergent....

Probably Talisker (bottled or received 1913, Berry Bros & Co)

Fresh wet bracken, both earthy and floral, a little rye beer, elderberries… Also cigars and hints of sandalwood, barley sugar, damson. The longer you wait the more sweetness you get. Also very tough pear (calvados pears). Just superb. Mouth: very punchy, drier than expected, smoky, earthy and woody, a notch acrid but in a nice way, with many herbal liqueurs, deep fried sage, fried baby capers… It’s really some kind of drier old bénédictine or chartreuse. Lovely dustiness Also touches of roots. More and more peppermint and wax, it just never stops developing, never losing steam. Bitter grapefruit liqueur. Amazing and perfectly dry like many old malts used to be.

Finish: Geert, who’s assisting, says good. Thank you Geert. We say sweet red fruits, around red currents, pomegranates. Sweet and dry and the same time. More white pepper in the aftertaste, as well as something slightly spirity. After all these years! Comments: fantastic, with a very long development, which is amazing after all these years. Could well be some triple distilled, mildly peated Talisker indeed (as Talisker used to be in those days). SGP:462 – 91 points (but emotional score 99).

Similar label

February 8, 2014


Tasting Duo

  The Tandem Sessions
Or the joys of trying rare whisky with a co-taster and yet good friend, on location in Scotland.
Today: pre-1907 OVG with Hideo and Dalmore 20 with Jeroen

Old Vatted Glenlivet Whisky (44.2%, OB, blend, Andrew Usher & Co, pre-1907) Four stars One of the earliest versions of the seminal OVG. The cork was driven, the ABV was measured with an electronic device at Whythe & Mackay’s right yesterday. No ABV was mentioned on the label. The composition of this blend was said to be 80% Glenlivet and 20% grain. Colour: straw. Nose: we get some green bananas and glycerine, touches of plasticine, very fresh vegetables such as freshly chopped celeriac, cabbage (not cooked mind you), sweet potatoes (old bottle of sochu), green beans…


Then more dust, carbon paper, coconut husk, fennel, dill, a little iron, machine oil… Globally quite subtle and discreet, but very complex. Mouth: starts rather soft and a little camphory, also with some peach juice and quite some barley sugar, a little tinge of lime, crystallised citrus, grapefruit peel, mildly salted liquorice, then rather starchy water. A little gleutenous. Finish: relatively short, maybe slightly mustardy (Dijon). The vegetables are back as well, together with a little pepper and touches of plain sugar. Comments: a rather delicate oldie, but it’s far from having lost all its teeth. SGP:342 – 86 points.

Dalmore 20 yo (43%, OB, Duncan Macbeth, 1950s)

Five stars This line used to be stunning, there were an 8, a 12 and a 20. The 20yo is Colour: gold. Nose: starts with wheelbarrows of grapefruit and orange peel, then a little iron and an obvious peatiness, a bit in the style of the old Bowmores (tropical peat, haha). Touches of scented soap (Dove?), a little gravel, thyme, cut grass… Keeps unfolding rather on more aromatic herbs, aniseed, dill, ‘old Ricard’, then rhubarb, olive oil, old sauvignon blanc (Mission-Haut-Brion blanc 1953 – and why not?)


Also jamon iberico, more pastis, more peat, touches of damp earth… Amazing nose, but that was to be expected. Mouth: wonderful arrival, smoky and mentholated, quite peppery as well (with some cinnamon sweets), and then it’s rather an explosion of vibrant citrus and other tropical fruits such as passion fruits, pineapples… Many soft spices with delicious drops of tar liqueur and more and more liquorice lozenges. All right, let’s call the anti-maltoporn brigade! Finish: long, with more or less the same flavours plus maybe a little more peppermint. Comments: a whisky to marry. Nose and palate lived happily ever after… SGP:552 – 92 points.


February 6, 2014


A Gaussian verticale of Tamdhu

We’ll try to go deep today, because Tamdhu used to be a magnificent spirit. I’m not saying it isn’t anymore, not at all, but there’s probably much inspiration to be found in the distillery’s past…

Tamdhu 8 yo 2005/2013 (59.6%, The Ultimate, Van Wees, sherry, cask #347, 724 bottles)

Tamdhu 8 yo 2005/2013 (59.6%, The Ultimate, Van Wees, sherry, cask #347, 724 bottles) Four stars Colour: gold. Nose: butterscotch, butterscotch and perhaps butterscotch. Really like opening a brand new pack of butterscotch. Did I mention butterscotch? With water: it’s the barley that comes out, together with some coffee and a little melon. The whisky became completely cloudy. Mouth (neat): punchy but very pleasant. I’d dare mention butterscotch, Werther’s Originals, Ovaltine, bags of sultanas and just a wee grittiness in the background. Must be the alcohol! With water: fresher and fruitier. Oranges, vanilla, juicy pears, raisins. Finish: long, mainly on sweet malt and, again, Ovaltine and… say what? That’s right, b*********h. Comments: an excellent example of a very young malt from excellent wood that became excellent despite the fact that it’s not really complex. Excellent, I think. SGP:551 - 86 points.

Tamdhu 23 yo 1990/2013 (52.9%, Blackadder, Statement, hogshead, cask #10928, 224 bottles)

Tamdhu 23 yo 1990/2013 (52.9%, Blackadder, Statement, hogshead, cask #10928, 224 bottles) Four stars Colour: gold. Nose: it’s fruity and malty whisky but it’s also got a fatness that makes it stand out. Sunflower oil, vanilla, touches of earth, touches of toasted oak, then more caramelised beer. Who said Guinness? Also hints of antiseptic, as if it was an ex-Laphroaig cask, but it probably wasn’t. With water: it’s camphor that comes out, tiger balm, antiseptic… Mouth (neat): fat and malty again, sweet, with some sugar cane then more burnt brioche and a growing grassy earthiness. Pink grapefruits as well, that lifts it and it’s all getting very nice. With water: doesn’t change much, except that it got smoother and easier. Finish: long, malty, could be some cold-distilled malt beer. Comments: it’s probably got more body than the ‘average’ Speysider. A whisky that needs your attention but then it really delivers. Same ballpark, I’d say. SGP:552 - 86 points.

Tamdhu 24 yo 1988/2012 (57.2%, Riegger's Selection, bourbon, cask #417, 199 bottles)

Tamdhu 24 yo 1988/2012 (57.2%, Riegger's Selection, bourbon, cask #417, 199 bottles) Three stars Colour: gold. Nose: similar, except that it’s got more vanilla and more maple syrup. So a more civilised version – without that medicinal side of course. Very fine. With water: some earth and some sand coming out, but I wouldn’t say it became more expressive. Mouth (neat): punchy, fruity, with orange liqueur and kirsch, then vanilla sauce and caramel. Big stuff with a fattish mouth feel, water is needed. With water: well this time water really changed it. Even thicker mouth feel, a lot of sweet vanilla, marshmallows, drops of orange soda… Finish: long, a little grassy and green. Cardamom, ginger and pepper in the aftertaste. Comments: the oak had a lot to tell. Very fine stuff nonetheless. SGP:561 - 82 points.

All right, one last recent Tamdhu and then we’ll try to find a very old one. If you don’t mind, of course…

Tamdhu 25 yo 1988/2013 (50.7%, Whisky-Fässle, bourbon hogshead)

Tamdhu 25 yo 1988/2013 (50.7%, Whisky-Fässle, bourbon hogshead) Four stars and a half Colour: straw. Nose: more austere, more elegant, maybe closer to the distillate, with some fresh almonds, stone berries eau-de-vie (sorb, rowan and such), maybe even a little maraschino, all that on a bed of grass and fresh butter. With water:  more grass. I wouldn’t say water does wonders. Must be the water. Ha, Vittel! ;-). Mouth (neat): very funny feeling of tinned litchis and blood oranges, plus some earth, some gentian, other roots, apricots… Excellent! With water: superb, fruits and earth and honey and roots. Finish: quite long, fresh, clean, fruity but not sweetish at all. Comments: a surprise, not because of Whisky-Fässle of course, quite the contrary, but because of Tamdhu. SGP:651 - 89 points.

And now, a big jump, with a Tamdhu of similar age but from a much earlier vintage. And this one’s got quite a reputation I have to say…

Tamdhu 26 yo 1970/1996 (51.5%, Signatory, butt, cask #378, 390 bottles)

Tamdhu 26 yo 1970/1996 (51.5%, Signatory, butt, cask #378, 390 bottles) Five stars Colour: mahogany. Nose: get out of here! Massive fruity sherry on a bed of precious woods and rare spices. Some adjectives will be needed, it seems… No, drop that, it’s an amazing nose full of Smyrna raisins, the best cuvees of Grand-Marnier, the oldest chartreuses and the widest assortment of oriental pastries and Turkish delights. That may involve quite some rosewater and orange blossom. Amazing. With water: how is that possible that it further improved? 500 year old balsamico. Okay, 50. Mouth (neat): instant marvel. Fantabulous combination of oak-smoked salmon (serious), toasted bread, many oranges and the liqueurs made thereof, three dozen spices and the most stunning pipe tobacco ever. Really stunning. Oh, forgot my beloved tar liqueur. With water: please call the anti-maltoporn brigade twice. Finish: is a finish an end? Then there isn’t any, this lasts for hours and leaves your palate very ‘minty’. Comments: if I may, I think Signatory should do a ‘retro’ series – retro’s the future, baby – and reuse these old dumpies. That would be a hit. As far as this Tamdhu’s concerned, I’ve got nothing to add. Except that it makes me think of the greatest old Springbanks. There. SGP:652 - 96 points.

What shall we do now? Given that it’s probably impossible to ‘climb above’ that glorious sherried Signatory, let’s just try to find an old naked one. Maybe like this…

Tamdhu-Glenlivet 29 yo 1963/1992 (49.4%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection)

Tamdhu-Glenlivet 29 yo 1963/1992 (49.4%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection) Five stars Colour: white wine. Naked indeed. Nose: it’s the chartreusy side that stands out, without all the fruitcaky aromas that we had in the fab Sig. There’s some fresh mint, some chives, probably wild carrots, tons of grass, gravel, clay and other mineral aromas, linseed oil, limestone… And lastly, a huge quantity of fresh concrete. So yeah, it’s very chalky, very interesting, and exactly the opposite of the 1970. Great. Mouth: oooh! Not exactly a duel, that would be impossible, but his baby’s far from ridiculous, it’s even high-class, full of tiny tertiary flavours revolving around smokes, oils and minerals, before more grapefruit and even more scented oils take the lead. Mandarin zests, bergamots, drops of Campari… It actually just keeps improving, on and one, for a long time. Another amazing one for sure, that reminds us yet again of the very old official 10s ‘white label’ that used to be so fabulous. Something to do with direct-firing, perhaps. Finish: long, straight, chiselled, now ultra-rieslingesque. Astounding. And the aftertaste is really peaty/smoky. Comments: ha-ha-ha. That was close! SGP:463 - 94 points.

It is totally unreasonable to go on after those two glories, but we’ve got this even older baby that’s shouting ‘try me!’…

Tamdhu 1961/2000 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, Rare Old)

Tamdhu 1961/2000 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, Rare Old) Five stars All right, old whisky, low strength, let’s take it eeeeeasy… Colour: dark amber. Nose: oh f*****g no! Another one that reminds us how great Tamdhu is/was. An utterly stunning combination of jams and flowers, artisan coconut liqueurs (no junkish supermarket brands of course) and juicy dried fruits. Indeed fruits can be both juicy and dried, just think about the dried golden muscats they have in lovely Greece. Add blood oranges, ripe blackcurrants, tamarind and just distant whiffs of old cigars and humidors (red cedar) and there, you have it. And it’s not even light at 40% vol. Mouth: good, perhaps there’s a little too much coconut now, it’s almost arranged rhum mixed with liquorice water, but other than that what a lovely, fresh, easy-drinking old malt! Cointreau or maybe curaçao, cinnamon cake, blood oranges, Muscat again… And it’s still not weak. Finish: even the finish stays the course, which is quite a miracle. More praline and chocolate this time. Comments: I don’t think this could happen at 40% and after 40 years in wood and 15 years in glass (I’m rounding up) if the spirit wasn’t absolute first class in the first place. Watch old Tamdhus… SGP:551 - 91 points.

An even older one? Are you serious? Your wish is my command… (but this will be the last one, cross my heart.)

Tamdhu 42yo 1958/2000 (40.8%, Hart Brothers)

Tamdhu 42yo 1958/2000 (40.8%, Hart Brothers) Four stars Colour: gold. Nose: one notch lower down this time, which was to be expected. I suppose the low strength is natural and not the result of reduction with water, although you never know. Especially these days, distillers tend not to use round strengths anymore, to try to make us believe that their strengths are ‘natural’. Like 49.9 or 50.1% instead of 50% vol. Booh! But back to the Tamdhu, it’s quite weak and flat, I’m afraid. Around cold tea and old papers, if you see what I mean, but there’s also a little fruit, around papayas, melons and gooseberries, then a little coconut. Also a little mint, as often in these very old malts. So very fine, but a little light.  Mouth: this is completely different from all the others, although there are some resemblances with the 1961, particularly the grated coconut. Or coconut balls. A kind of soft mix of tropical juices, first mangos, then maybe avocados. I also find a little sesame oil, which is quite unusual, and maybe tinned peaches, cognac-style. The problem is that it tends to lose steam in your glass, oxygen seems to kill it. Finish: a little short, with afterglows of coconut and now passion fruits. Comments: a rather fragile old malt, to handle with much care. On the other hand, the oak remained shy and discreet, all for the better. SGP:431 - 86 points.

(with heartfelt thanks to Bert, Konstantin, Olivier, and Ulli)

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



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February 5, 2014


A new bunch of middle-aged Clynelish

There’s more middle-aged Clynelish and we won’t complain. Today we’ll have some from 1995, 1996 and 1997, but we won’t follow a vertical order, rather sort them by increasing strength. Safer like that…

Clynelish 17 yo 1995/2013 (43%, Signatory, Decanter Collection, cask #12796, 859 bottles)

Clynelish 17 yo 1995/2013 (43%, Signatory, Decanter Collection, cask #12796, 859 bottles) Four stars Colour: straw. Nose: you would think they would have selected lightish Clynelish (rich rhyme, well done, S.) Not so. Typical sooty and waxy apple juice, with a little hessian and drops of old-style engine oil. Maybe even some castor oil, as well as something such as almond liqueur. Mouth: it’s really a fat one, very oily, pretty acrid – yet lovely – with something of Old Clynelish, with all this austerity. A feeling of ink, engine oil again, coal smoke, and then more salt. A little toffee as well, possibly from refill sherry. Extremely coastal and almost as smoky as, say a lightly smoked Talisker. Finish: long, dry, pleasantly bitter. Smoky apple peeling. Saltier aftertaste. Maybe a little carboardy now, loses points now. Comments: excellent despite the lowish strength and the weaker aftertaste. This session starts well. SGP:363 - 86 points.

Clynelish 15 yo 1997/2013 (49.2%, Jack Wiebers Great Ocean Liners, bourbon cask)

Clynelish 15 yo 1997/2013 (49.2%, Jack Wiebers Great Ocean Liners, bourbon cask) Four stars and a halfColour: straw. Nose: it’s a very sooty one, very mineral, austere, sharp, accurate, chiselled, concise… Well I’m sure you see what I mean. Gravel, clay, coal, unripe gooseberries… And just the faintest whiffs of grapefruits. Mouth: fat mouth feel, with the citrus talking first (grapefruits again) and then more and more grass and salty/sooty stuff. Old oils and waxes, a feeling of newspaper, linseed oil, bitter chocolate… I simply like. Finish: long, with a kind of blend of lemon juice with liquid wax and pepper. Sort of. Comments: very full, very satisfying, very Clynelish. SGP:463 - 88 points.

Clynelish 17 yo 1996/2013 (49.7%, Acla Selection, sherry hogshead)

Clynelish 17 yo 1996/2013 (49.7%, Acla Selection, sherry hogshead) Three stars and a half Colour: gold. Nose: sooty sherry, that’s all I’ll say. Chocolate and smoke, fumes, old coal stove, grasses and herbs (moss, fern), a few pine needles… No citrus or any other fruits this time, the rather dry sherry’s doing all the talking and may even add a very discreet soapiness. Household soap. Mouth: probably a little, say controversial, because there are a few clashes between the sooty spirit and the fruity wine. That creates a feeling of geranium at times, maybe also blood oranges, but other than that, the spirit wins it in the end. Cool. Finish: long, smoky, curiously candied. Tarry liquorice. Comments: not exactly my preferred kind of Clynelish, not sure sherry’s the way in this case, but it remains an excellent whisky ‘of course’. SGP:552 - 84 points.

Clynelish 16 yo 1997/2013 (50.4%, The Whisky Agency, Liquid Library, sherry hogshead, 235 bottles)

Clynelish 16 yo 1997/2013 (50.4%, The Whisky Agency, Liquid Library, sherry hogshead, 235 bottles) Five stars Colour: light gold. Nose: this one is a very waxy one, meaning that we have all kinds of waxes, esp. beeswax but also linseed and lamp oil. After that, an avalanche of citrus and grass, blending tangerines with cut grass and even an agavy touch. Some damp earth too, wee touches of manure, a little leather… Mouth: fab! Very full, lemony and citrony, with a touch of salt and this very specific minerality that I always link to the greatest Alsatian Rieslings. Indeed it’s also slightly petroly. Superb. Finish: long, spicier and grassier, which concludes everything in a perfect manner. Always quite some citrus in the aftertaste, as well as quite a lot of pepper. Comments: this new one is absolutely terrific, I think (what a lousy conclusion, S.!) OH and I forgot to add water… SGP:463 - 90 points.

Clynelish ‘Batch 2’ (50.6%, Boutique-y Whisky Co., 319 bottles, 2013)

Clynelish ‘Batch 2’ (50.6%, Boutique-y Whisky Co., 319 bottles, 2013) Four stars No age statement on this one but it’s ‘probably’ from one or several similar late-90s vintages. Colour: light gold. Nose: similar and yet a little rounder, with more butterscotch and vanilla fudge, possibly from some more active wood. Also unexpected touches of rhum agricole, then cherry stems and peach leaves (teas), and quite some brine. Maybe a little sunflower oil as well. Mouth: same feeling, it’s a round, oily, creamy Clynelish, with some limoncello and golden raisins, a biscuity touch, maybe a little vanilla fudge again… And then the cavalry arrives, with some brine, smoky oils and sharpish lemons. Such a distillate is hard to tame! Finish: long, sweet, bitterer this time but that ain’t a problem. Cardamom and a little leather. Sharper for sure. Comments: a very fine variation on Clynelish. Maybe it hasn’t got the limpidity of others, but provided you’ve already got three or five, this one’s a cool variation. And excellent it is, in my opinion. Oops, forgot to add water once again… SGP:552 - 87 points.

Clynelish 14 yo 1997/2012 (53%, Hart Bros, Finest Collection) Five stars Colour: straw. Nose: starts more or less like the Liquid Library version, but this one’s a little beafier and gamier, I’d say. For example, I find a little beef stock, lovage, parsley, chicken bouillon, marrow, pemmican… (that’ll do, S.) Also a camphory earthiness, which makes it all a little unusual if not unlikely. Interesting nose for sure. Mouth: what is this? The peat is bigger than usual, and so are the many lemons that are roaming the place. I’m not joking, this could be mistaken for Ardbeg. An excellent Ardbeg, I have to say. Finish: long, peaty, salty, lemony, sharp… And chartreusy. Comments: doesn’t taste much like Clynelish, but it’s superb spirit. Ex-Islay cask? Oh no, and I forgot to add water yet again. SGP:465 - 90 points.

Clynelish 15 yo 1997/2012 (57%, Blackadder, Raw Cask, hogshead, cask #5724, 230 bottles)

Clynelish 15 yo 1997/2012 (57%, Blackadder, Raw Cask, hogshead, cask #5724, 230 bottles) Four stars Colour: gold. Nose: ouch, it seems like water will be needed this time. I get some fresh mint, rubbed orange peel, unexpected notes of cured ham, Spanish-style, then a lot of leather and grass. A little un-Clynelish I have to say, but water may help. Water should help. Water will help! With water: indeed, Clynelish is back, with waxes, oils, earths and citrus. Having said that, the waxes are verging on soap, just a bit. Mouth (neat): huuuge. Extra-powerful, smoky, salty, lemony and… curiously sweet. A lot of fructose, or icing sugar. Maybe that’s the high strength. With water: another whisky, but an excellent one. Tequila and lemon and salt. There. Very briny. Finish: long, briny with water, almost sugary when neat. Comments: ups and (relative) downs with this one, water really is its friend. SGP:453 - 86 points.

Clynelish 16 yo 1996/2013 (57.1%, Berry Bros, Charles Hofer SA, cask #8783)

Clynelish 16 yo 1996/2013 (57.1%, Berry Bros, Charles Hofer SA, cask #8783) Five stars Colour: gold. Nose: it’s one of these Clynelishes that are starting to resemble heavy rum, Caroni-style, or Jamaican. Do they use some dunder (google is your friend) at Clynelish? Actually, the receivers… Anyway, this tarry, petroly side is striking. And much to my liking. Also pinesap, oils, pitch… With water: whoops, all that has gone away and we just have some ‘normal’ Clynelish, which isn’t a bad thing either, is it? Wax and earth plus clay and almonds or putty. Mouth (neat): wham! Thick and very powerful, with even a metallic side, for the first time. Copper coins. Then liquorice and tar lozenges, heavy marmalade, salt… A true beast. With water: absolutely lovely waxy and orangy palate. Smoother, earthier, even somewhat simpler but it keeps delivering. Finish: quite long, with some salt this time, especially when diluted. Comments: we’re approaching perfection again. Greater if you’ve got a good pipette and good water. SGP:464 - 90 points.

Clynelish 16 yo 1996/2013 (57.1%, Berry Bros, LMDW, cask #6421)

Clynelish 16 yo 1996/2013 (57.1%, Berry Bros, LMDW, cask #6421) Five stars Yes that's the retro label. Colour: light gold. Nose: this time it’s rather candy sugar that strijes first, then leather and grass. This baby was probably distilled within the same weeks, and yet it’s very different. In a way, it’s straighter, but it’s got a rum-side as well, just more candied, more on brown sugar and more on barley sugar. With water: fresher, more coastal, with even wee touches of porcinis. Otherwise seashells and olive oil. Mouth (neat): oh no! A stunning earthiness, that’s what I get. Gentian and liquorice plus citrons and sea salt. Pure magic. With water: fabulous. Many herbs, earths, waxes, some olive oil again, some salt, citrons, cider apples… In short, pure Clynelish. Finish: long, with more raw peated malt, some liquorice, some salt, a slight chalky side and then even more earth. The aftertaste is even earthier and more gentiany. Comments: these whiskies may be for aficionados only, but I’m one of them and you should too, if I may. Anti-dull. SGP:364 - 92 points.

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



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February 4, 2014


Some Irish, most from Midleton

Midleton and Irish Distillers keep pushing it with several new versions of Midleton. We won’t complain, many have already been excellent in 2012 and the year before – in my own little book of course.

Powers 'Gold Label' (43.2%, OB, Irish blend, +/-2013)

Powers 'Gold Label' (43.2%, OB, Irish blend, +/-2013) Three stars With a new strength of 43.2 instead of 40 or 43% vol. I like the ‘hand crafted’ mention on the lable, when you know the size of Midleton Distillery ;-). Colour: gold. Nose: what I get is mostly burnt wood and caramel, as well as a little honey and brioche. Feels light despite the improved strength and the touches of wood smoke. Mouth: this is much nicer! Some pot still character, a fattiness, a lot of honey, vanilla and maple syrup, touches of overripe bananas and a few slices of tinned pineapple. Good body. Finish: quite long, sweet and creamy. A little bubblegum. Comments: there’s no need to try to nose these babies, I imagine. I really liked the palate. I had the Gold Label at 79 pts for a 40% version, this should be higher. SGP:541 - 81 points.

Paddy 7 yo 'Centenary Edition' (43%, OB, Irish Pot Still, 2013)

Paddy 7 yo 'Centenary Edition' (43%, OB, Irish Pot Still, 2013) Three stars This baby by Midleton ‘of course’ and it is pure – or rather single - pot still this time, while the regular Paddys are blends. Colour: gold. Nose: firm and yet rounded and rather tropical, with also this very idiosyncratic blend of hay and metal that I often find in pure pot still. Bananas, coconut milk, pineapples, maple syrup, then pine needles and drops of eucalyptus oil. Very nice fresh signature in this nose. Mouth: fatter and bigger than the Powers, a little drier as well, with some chocolate and coffee before we’re going on with more oranges and pineapples plus vanilla and honey. Quite some cinnamon too, which suggests there’s quite some active oak involved. Finish: rather long and grassier. Apple peel. Comments: the Powers was easier on the palate, while the Paddy had a nicer nose in my opinion. Very good stuff anyways. SGP:551 – 82 points.

Powers 'Signature Release' (46%, OB, Pot Still, 2013)

Powers 'Signature Release' (46%, OB, Pot Still, 2013) Two stars and a half Single pot still matured in bourbon wood with the addition of a few sherry casks. Colour: gold. Nose: I liked the Paddy better, I think there’s a little too much sweetish vanilla and fudge in this nose, it’s a little overpowering, and there’s even quite some warm sawdust. I remember Powers John’s Lane very well, that one had much more depth and complexity. Mouth: I have the same feeling, this is too rounded and kind of ‘inflated’. Vanilla, maple syrup, other syrups, marshmallows… Don’t get me wrong, it’s very easy and pleasant but I find it simply too sweet. Finish: rather long, with some white pepper. Comments: the oak shows, so not my favourite Powers… Oh, and the regular 12 is much more to my liking too. SGP:541 - 77 points.

Midleton 'Very Rare 2013' (40%, OB, Irish blend)

Midleton 'Very Rare 2013' (40%, OB, Irish blend) Three stars Isn’t it a little bizarre that they keep bottling the ‘Very Rare’ at 40% while all other ‘deluxe’ Midletons are comeing out at 43 or 46 or more? Or maybe the owners just want to respect traditions… Colour: gold. Nose: maybe the Irishest of them all at this point, this baby bursts with coconuts, bananas, vanilla and blood oranges. Add a little honey and beeswax and you’ve got an extremely easy and sexy nose. And it’s not even weak. A touch of wood smoke in the background. I like this much better than older versions of the Very Rare that I’ve always found wishy-washy. Mouth: extremely easy and seductive, and not weak. All-fruit compote, acacia honey, tinned fruits, mangos and guavas. This is almost fortified fruit juice. Finish: a little short but clean and fruity. Not much aftertaste, maybe a little cinnamon… Comments: in great progress, even if some parts remain a little weak because of the low strength. SGP:730 - 82 points.

Teeling Vintage Reserve 21 yo 'Silver Bottling' (46%, OB, Irish, 2013)

Teeling Vintage Reserve 21 yo 'Silver Bottling' (46%, OB, Irish, 2013) Four stars and a half Maybe ex-Cooley stock as Mr Teeling used to own the distillery. First-hand selection? Or another distillery? Let’s see… It also seems this baby was finished in Sauternes casks, which could make senses (or not?) as Irish whiskeys and Sauternes often share some characteristics in my opinion. Colour: gold. Nose: woohoo! A whole basket of fruits with some earth and a little iron in the background to prevent it from becoming too, well, too fruity. Pineapples, papayas, apricots, quinces, mirabelles… yeah well, everything yellow, really. No, wait, also blood oranges, then earthy tea, pu-erh-style and indeed something Sauternes-y in the back of the back. My kind. Mouth: a combo that works perfectly. It’s very fruity but it hasn’t got that dullness that some ueber-fruity whiskies can display. I cannot not think of banana wine like they make in Guadeloupe, or coconut liqueur, touches of muscat, kiwi and strawberry jam… Also sandalwood and cinnamon from the oak, as well as a little ginger. Hard to resist! Finish: medium length, with more tropical fruits and more cinnamon in the aftertaste. Comments: just superb, now I understand why my compadres from the Malt Maniacs have granted this baby with a big fat MM Award. Not too sure about the original distillery though, but it says ‘single malt’… SGP:651 - 88 points.

All right, I think we have some room for one or two high-strength Irish…

Writer's Tears Cask Strength (52%, Irish, Pot Still, 1800 bottles, 2012)

Writer's Tears Cask Strength (52%, Irish, Pot Still, 1800 bottles, 2012) Four stars I found the first version at 40% absolutely excellent (WF 87) so I have deep hopes… Colour: gold. Nose: pure honey and fruit liqueurs. Imagine all the fruit liqueurs you know about, blend them ‘mentally’, add some honey and some vanilla cream and there, you have it. With water: I really like these notes of earth and even the minerality that comes out, all those are clear and obvious plusses. Mouth (neat): sure it’s bigger than the lighter version (bravo, Serge!) but it’s also more citrusy, it seems. But other than that, it’s all on the expected pineapples, coconuts, bananas and marshmallows. With water: a lot of saponification happening, you have to wait for a good fifteen minutes. But then it keeps going on herbs and earth and peelings. Finish: quite long, grassier. Comments: so it’s not one that’s fully on fruits. I’d say quality is similar to that of the 40% version. SGP:551 - 87 points.

And a last one…

Midleton 1997/2013 (59.5%, OB, LMDW, 1st Fill Bourbon Cask, cask #7102, 228 bottles)

Midleton 1997/2013 (59.5%, OB, LMDW, 1st Fill Bourbon Cask, cask #7102, 228 bottles) Two stars and a half I think these single casks are horribly expensive (around 340€ a bottle). Colour: straw. Nose: I don’t know if that’s the high strength but this one rather starts with gewürztraminer notes, including litchis and ripe nectarines. And then it becomes more bourbony, with a massive vanilla, coconut and litres of maple syrup. Maybe apricot liqueur too. American oak in full swing. With water: same. A little more toasted oak. Mouth (neat): bourbon, that’s all I can say. Good bourbon for sure, and sure the fruitiness is quite immense, but it’s got something a little ‘too much’ for me. Sweet oak liqueur, or ultra-strong pina colada. With water: the cinnamon comes out. Finish: quite long, with a ‘greener’ tannicity. Comments: probably excellent, but certainly not my preferred style. Maybe I should add that I’m not a huge fan of pina colada. I tried a 1991 for TWE a while back that, while displaying a similar profile in principle, got much more complex, which completely changed the outcome. SGP:641 - 78 points.

(with thanks to the excellent Mr Keith Wood for most of those pictures)

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



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February 3, 2014


A few unpairables

Either singletons, that is to say malts I haven’t got any counterparts or sparring partners for, or undisclosed single malts.

Mosstowie 34 yo 1979/2013 (49.9%, Signatory, bourbon barrel, cask #1305, 182 bottles)

Mosstowie 34 yo 1979/2013 (49.9%, Signatory, bourbon barrel, cask #1305, 182 bottles) Four stars and a half Only one Mosstowie left in WF’s sample library! You remember what Mosstowie was, don’t you? That’s right, malt distilled in Lomond stills at Miltonduff between 1964 and 1981. Colour: straw. Nose: as usual (not that I’ve tried hundreds, mind you) it starts on menthol and really a lot of fern, which gives the whole a funny chartreusy side. After that, not the expected marshmallows or bubblegum, rather some lemon, aniseed, grass and fresh wood (broken branches). A little feeling of Greek ouzo. Mouth: remains very fresh, mentholated and limy, but this time there are a few jellybeans, or even blackcurrant sweets. Touches of dry chenin wine blended with herbal liqueurs. Galliano? Finish: moderately long, fresh, lemony and sweet at the same time. Good limoncello. Comments: why did they stop making Mosstowie again? An excellent Rosebank-like malt. SGP:571 - 88 points.

Allt-á-Bhainne 21 yo 1991/2012 (55%, Signatory Vintage, hogshead, cask #90114, 282 bottles)

Allt-á-Bhainne 21 yo 1991/2012 (55%, Signatory Vintage, hogshead, cask #90114, 282 bottles) Three stars There’s more Allt-a-Bhainne around than before. Colour: straw. Nose: touches of varnish at first nosing, then rather apples and white cherries, gooseberries, some fresh oak (vanilla) and quite some grass. After ten minutes, more barley. With water: more of all that plus touches of pears. Mouth (neat): sweet beer and a little candy sugar, vanilla fudge, grass, malt, barley sugar… It’s lacking a bit in personality, but it’s fair malt whisky. With water: eating a pack of marshmallows. Finish: good length, this time with a little citrus. Comments: simple and balanced, fair and loyal. Neither big assets nor the tiniest flaws. Scoring this is very easy, it’s exactly a 80 in my book. SGP:441 - 80 points.

Glenesk 25 yo 1983/2009 (55.7%, Duncan Taylor Rare Auld, Sherry, cask#4931, 294 bottles)

Glenesk 25 yo 1983/2009 (55.7%, Duncan Taylor Rare Auld, Sherry, cask#4931, 294 bottles) At the rate new Glenesks or Glen Esks are launched these days, I’ll still have this one to try around 2025 if I keep wanting to do a head-to-head. Better have it now. Colour: gold. Nose: a strange mix of burnt herbs with a little Guinness and notes of soy sauce. And some paraffin, maybe a few walnuts. Not very sexy, I have to say. With water: same. Waxy grasses, more paraffin… Mouth (neat): strange again. Chemical, very cardboardy, bizarrely peppery and more and more resinous. Too resinous, in fact. Also a feeling of After Eights, then bitter oranges and mocha. With water: a little better with water but there’s also more geranium (leaves), which does not work. Also lavender sweets. Finish: quite long, bitter. Comments: sister cask #4390 was much more to my liking (WF 86). This one’s odd. SGP:341 - 65 points.

Tullibardine '500' (43%, OB, sherry finish, +/-2013)

Tullibardine '500' (43%, OB, sherry finish, +/-2013) Three stars NAS. No, 500 isn’t the price, that refers to the size of the buttes where the whiskies been finished. And why not? ;-). Colour: gold. Nose: it’s not unpleasant. Stout, Demerara sugar, treacle and roasted nuts, without any dirty-ish notes. A little chalk after a few minutes, and more beer. Mouth: fine, malty, candied, with the same notes as in the nose, more or less. Corn syrup, honey sauce, brownies, touches of molasses… Finish: quite long, with more Demerara sugar, millionaire shortbread, praline… Comments: a clean and nicely composed  Tullibardine with a pleasant candiness. Guinness with Ovaltine, we’re quite far from the very whacky Tullibardines from times gone by. SGP:541 - 80 points.

Grand Castle 18 yo 1993/2012 (56.7%, The Scottish Independent Distillers Co., sherry cask, cask #3598, 600 bottles)

Grand Castle 18 yo 1993/2012 (56.7%, The Scottish Independent Distillers Co., sherry cask, cask #3598, 600 bottles) Four stars and a halfWe had a sister cask last year and just loved it (#3593, WF 89). It’s an undisclosed single malt. Colour: dark amber. Nose: a lot of sweet grapy sherry that makes it resemble an old Armagnac of pretty outstanding quality. Some blackcurrant jelly, bags and bags of big black raisins, wheelbarrows of prunes and then more coffee and just touches of gunpowder. With water: typical development with now a little mint, marmalade and touches of cedar wood. Mouth (neat): excellent big sherry, with some flints and bitter herbs in the background as well as a lot of coffee again, molasses, prunes, chocolate… What you call a sherry monster but balance has been met. With water: more bitter oranges, marmalade, touches of ginger. Finish: long, with more, say fruitcake. Pepper in the aftertaste. Comments: could be a Glendronach (blended with a little Glenfarclas – not since it’s a single). Very much to my liking again. SGP:651 - 88 points.

Black Snake 'VAT No1 - First Venom' (59.1%, Blackadder, 390 bottles, 2012)

Black Snake 'VAT No1 - First Venom' (59.1%, Blackadder, 390 bottles, 2012) Four stars A blended malt that’s finished in a sherry butt that’s refilled once a first two-thirds are bottled. So a kind of solera, or ullaged cask. Let’s see if it’s more Sir Edmund’s or rather Baldrick whisky… Colour: gold. Nose: it’s lightly sherried, although there’re plenty of dried fruits. There’s a floral side that make me think of Balvenie, with some acacia honey, nectar, apricots, mirabelles… Very nice nose for sure. With water: more tobacco and leather. Swims very well. Mouth (neat): rich and creamy, but with a feeling of sour apples and not-too-ripe plums. Greengages, perhaps. Over all that, some candy sugar, butterscotch and orange sweets. With water: some kind of brine coming out, with a smokiness too. Works better with water. Fresh oranges and almond oil. Or orange-flavoured marzipan. Finish: long, rather complex, with more oranges and quite some cinnamon. Comments: the sherry’s relatively discreet, the rest is excellent. SGP:651 - 86 points.

Speyside 30 yo '5th Edition' (43%, Master of Malt, single malt, 2013)

Speyside 30 yo '5th Edition' (43%, Master of Malt, single malt, 2013) Four stars Colour: full gold. Nose: there’s more sherry this time, but it’s a pretty floral and fruity sherry again. A lot of ripe plums, apricots and quinces, plus some honey and earl grey tea. Orange juice, sultanas, vanilla fudge. Very easy, very light but firm and certainly not weak. Mouth: very drinkable, on honey, mead, orange juice, with touches of bananas and then a little cinnamon and ginger. Reminds me of some old lightly sherried Glen Grants, I’d say, but it could be many other distilleries of course. Tends to become a little drier, the cinnamon getting bigger. Finish: good length, with more raisins and honey. A little more cloves and liquorice in the aftertaste. Also drying cinnamon and black tea. Comments: another very good one, only the finish is a notch too drying/oaky for my taste. Good price too. SGP:551 - 85 points.

Speyside 40 yo '2nd Edition' (43%, Master of Malt, single malt, 2013)

Speyside 40 yo '2nd Edition' (43%, Master of Malt, single malt, 2013) Five stars Colour: amber. Nose: how I like it when whisky smells like some great old rum at first sniffs! So sugar cane, obviously, and then rather dried flowers (roses) and various spicy herbs, all dry/dried. Chamomile is very obvious, then we have cedar wood or ‘new humidor’, then whiffs of old wine cellar and damp earth, a little saltpetre, touches of clay… All that works extremely well and the whole has got an ‘old-Macallan’ side. I’m not saying this ought to be Macallan! Mouth: could be Macallan indeed, serious. Some sweet herbs, a touch of iron, a lovely kumquaty side, bergamots, marmalade, dried pears, Corinth raisins… I enjoy this a lot and in a way, it feels less ‘oaky’ than the 30. Finish: quite long, with soft spices and a touch of minerality, as well as a little menthol in the aftertaste, as often. Comments: quality old spirit from a very good cask. It remained very vibrant and fresh. Typical 90, so… SGP:561 - 90 points.

Since we’re having ‘old undisclosed’, why not have just one ‘old old’ version before we call it a proper tasting session…

MacPhail's 24 yo 1965 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, decanter, +/-1989)

MacPhail's 24 yo 1965 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, decanter, +/-1989) Five stars MacPhails’ are now single malts but I’m not 100% sure they already were when this baby was bottled. I mean, when it was decanterised. Colour: gold. Nose: paw! Instant jammy fruitiness that reminds me of many an old malt by G&M, Glen Grant for sure but also Glenlivet or Strathisla. Very hard to say but all these honeys, light waxes, dried fruits and soft spices are really lovely. Too bad there’s also a growing feeling of old papers or even plain cardboard, but all that remains way below the limits. After ten minutes, more raisins and teas, bergamots… It never gets too cardboardy. Mouth: excellent. No weakness, no cardboard, no flatness, only jams, syrups and honeys. It’s very compact for an old malt (and an old bottle), very straight, very fruity. Generations have been enjoying this style, why wouldn’t we stay true to tradition? Finish: quite long, never too dry, never flat. Cointreau and drops of ginger liqueur, then a little cumin and cloves, as well as a little linctus. Comments: it’s amazing, and I have to say it’s quite a surprise. Incredible body at just 40% vol. and after almost 25 years in a probably-less-than-airtight decanter. But warning, you could quaff litres of this without even noticing… SGP:651 - 91 points.



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February 2, 2014


A battle of 15 years old rums

It's Sunday, it's rum time. So let's do a little horizontale and try to find some good (relatively) dry ones, so genuine malternatives...

St Nicholas Abbey 15 yo (40%, OB, Barbados, +/-2012)

St Nicholas Abbey 15 yo (40%, OB, Barbados, +/-2012) Four stars It's from a single cask but I'm not sure there's much inviduality in each and every cask. Colour: gold. Nose: it's a very elegant one that hints at some great bourbon with these notes of coconut and vanilla, then polished wood, sandalwood and only a moderate sweetness. It's also quite floral, with some honeysuckle touches of acacia honey. All rather delicate and, I have to say, elegant indeed. Mouth: starts on cranberry juice and some kind of spiced mangos (some kind of chutney), then we have more soft wood spices, first cinnamon then vanillin and touches of cloves (speculoos). Also ripe bananas, touches of liquorice, a little vanilla fudge... The sweetness is quite perfect, balance was found. Finish: maybe a little short but clean and quite 'tropical'. Bananas, liquorice, raisins and vanilla in the aftertaste. Comments: this rum session starts well, for once. It's complex and perfectly balanced rum, only the 40% vol. aren't quite enough. How many times have I written that? Now, it's also expensive rum, around €250 a bottle. SGP:551 - around 86 points.

Borgoe 15 yo (40%, OB, Suriname, Single Barrel, +/-2013)

Borgoe 15 yo (40%, OB, Suriname, Single Barrel, +/-2013) Four stars It's the first time I'm trying some rum from Suriname. The country's very close to Guyana, so maybe this is Demerara-style rum? Colour: amber. Nose: indeed, this is akin to a good, fairly rounded Demerara, with something such as smoked molasses and quite a few overripe tropical fruits. Bananas. Some tar as well, some liquorice, some pipe tobacco and some raisins. A little hay as well, this one is quite elegant once again, albeit of a heavier style than the St Nicholas Abbey. Mouth: a fairly smoky start, with quite some burnt sugar, candy sugar and liquorice. Once again, no cloying sweetness in this one, all fine. Goes on with this a little tar and a few drier notes, around unsweetened black tea. Some black raisins too. Finish: rather long, spicier and more chocolaty. A little toffee and a little coffee. Caramel in the aftertaste. Comments: another excellent one, Demerara-style indeed, just a little rounder than the 'average' Demerara. More candied than the Barbadian. SGP:541 - around 85 points.

Speaking of Demerara...

Uitvlugt 1998 (40%, Mezan, Guyana, Demerara, +/-2013)

Uitvlugt 1998 (40%, Mezan, Guyana, Demerara, +/-2013) Three stars Uitvlugt was the last of the Demerara distilleries to close down, in 2000. I really liked Mezan's blended Jamaican last year (WF 86). Colour: whiter wine. No caramel added! Nose: a little light at first, but it shows Uitvlugt true colours, with some tar and pitch, grass fire and green olives, then sugar cane, black truffles and some plasticine. Smoky brine. Love this style. Mouth: absolutely excellent, with the same flavours as in the nose, only the low strength is frustrating. Very frustrating! Love the saltiness, the olives, the petroly and tarry side, the smoke... Finish: shortish, very briny. Smoked almonds, olives, touches of horseradish... Comments: I don't think it should be allowed to reduce these rums that much. A scandal! This is potentially 88-89, but it was drowned. SGP:452 - around 82 points.

Opthimus 15 yo (38%, Oliver & Oliver, Dominican Republic, +/-2013)

Opthimus 15 yo (38%, Oliver & Oliver, Dominican Republic, +/-2013) one star and a half I wasn't a fan of the Port finished version last year, it was much too sweet for my taste. Colour: light gold. Good news? Nose: classic sweet, smooth and rounded rum, on molasses, bananas and raisins. A lot of candy sugar, banana flambéed and vanilla. All fine so far despite a certain lack of character. Mouth: extremely smooth and sweet, this is a blend of cane sugar syrup with honey and pineapple/banana juice. Another one that's very liqueury, and the low strength makes it a little flat I'm afraid. A shame because the profile is very okay if you like your rum very sweet and rounded. Finish: short, not a lot happening. Maybe oranges? Comments: good rum but it's too light, easy and sweet for my taste. Pass. SGP:730 - around 68 points.

Dzama 15 yo 'XV' (45%, OB, Madagascar, +/-2013)

Dzama 15 yo 'XV' (45%, OB, Madagascar, +/-2013) Two stars Dzama is said to be the best African rum. I've already tried a 3 yo back in 2009 and for such a young spirit, I found it very good (WF 80). It's made in the northern part of Madagascar. Sadly, this 15yo is very expensive, around €250. Colour: dark gold. Nose: it's a rum that's rather on coffee liqueur and earth at first nosing, and that would then develop on grass, eucalyptus, mint and leather. Also touches of cigar smoke and pinewood smoke. An elegant nose for sure. Mouth: stewed fruits and many spices, globally a little sour and maybe a tad disjointed. Overripe apples and liquid caramel, a feeling of Guinness, overripe bananas, orange squash and then a little icing sugar. Orange sweets. Certainly good but not extraordinary, especially when considering the price. Finish: rather long, on stewed fruits, with more spices, esp. black pepper. Vanilla. Comments: I have to say I'm a little disappointed. May lack structure. SGP:641 - around 74 points.

Zacapa 'Solera Centenario 15' (40%, OB, Guatemala, +/-2013)

Zacapa 'Solera Centenario 15' (40%, OB, Guatemala, +/-2013) Two stars and a half I've been caught, I've just seen that the '15' was misleading, this one is actually a blend of rums aged between 6 and 15 years. Sneaky! Colour: amber. Nose: a rounded, molassy nose, full of candy sugar and corn syrup. Also roasted peanuts, maybe, a little orange blossom water, dried apricots and figs, then faint whiffs of curry powder. Also a floral side, with peonies and not-too-fragrant roses. Mouth: sweet but not too sweet, maybe a tad thin. Raisins and bananas, earl grey tea, oranges and a mix of sweet spices. Less complex than the nose. Also strawberry jam, orange liqueur, a little cardamom... It's certainly good rum, but a little more oomph would have been welcome. Finish: medium length. Brown sugar, honey sauce and dried fruits. Comments: certainly very good but not quite my stuff, and conversely. SGP:630 - around 79 points.

Let's have a last rum for today, a slightly older one for example...

Flor de Caña 18 yo 'Centenario' (40%, OB, Nicaragua, +/-2013)

Flor de Caña 18 yo 'Centenario' (40%, OB, Nicaragua, +/-2013) Three stars Colour: dark amber. Nose: a rather rich, tarry and earthy start, much to my liking. There's also some burnt oak, some coffee, then more tangerines and roasted nuts, esp. pecans, something faintly metallic that I quite enjoy and lastly, quite some burnt sugar and chocolate sauce (mole). Maybe also a little camphor, but not much. All very fine so far. Mouth: a little too much sugar in the arrival but balance is found just two seconds later, although again and again, the low strength is a disadvantage. A lot of chocolate, burnt caramel, orange zests, drops of limejuice and then more oak spices. Cloves and cinnamon. The oranges bring a welcome freshness, that's maybe what's missing in many clumsy rums. Finish: not too short, curiously fresh. The oranges again. A little drying oak in the aftertaste. Comments: I found this one simply very pleasant despite the lack of oomph and body. SGP:550 - around 82 points.

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



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Whiskyfun fav of the month

January 2014

Favourite recent bottling:
Talisker 27 yo 1985/2013 (56.10%, OB, Special Releases, 3000 bottles)  - WF 92

Favourite older bottling:
Longmorn 16 yo 1972/1988 (58.8%, Intertrade, 507 bottles) - WF 94

Favourite bang for your buck bottling:
Caol Ila 30 yo 1982/2013 (53%, Signatory, hogshead, cask #6487, 226 bottles) - WF 91

January 2014 - part 2 <--- February 2014 - part 1 ---> February 2014 - part 2



Best malts I had these weeks - 90+ points only

Ardmore 24 yo (OB, Old Highland Cream, 1950)

Clynelish 14 yo 1997/2012 (53%, Hart Bros, Finest Collection)

Clynelish 16 yo 1997/2013 (50.4%, The Whisky Agency, Liquid Library, sherry hogshead, 235 bottles)

Clynelish 16 yo 1996/2013 (57.1%, Berry Bros, Charles Hofer SA, cask #8783)

Clynelish 16 yo 1996/2013 (57.1%, Berry Bros, LMDW, cask #6421)

Dalmore 20 yo (43%, OB, Duncan Macbeth, 1950s)

Glenlivet 1938 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, licensed bottling, +/-1980)

The Dragon 1973 (56.4%, Robertson, +/-1990)

Laphroaig 10 yo (91.4 US proof, OB, for Elsbach, California, early 1970s)

Linkwood 37 yo 1939 (43%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseur’s Choice, +/-1976)

Longmorn 12 yo (91.4 US proof, OB, Hill Thompson & Co, before 1940)

Macallan 1937 (70°proof, OB, bottled by G&M, 75cl, late 1970s)

Macallan 35 yo 1940 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, Pinerolo, mid 1970s)

Macallan 1940 (43%, OB, twist cap, Rinaldi, +/-1980)

MacPhail's 24 yo 1965 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, decanter, +/-1989)

Port Ellen 14 yo 1974/1988 (43%, Gordon & MacPhail for Sestante)

Speyside 40 yo '2nd Edition' (43%, Master of Malt, single malt, 2013)

Probably Talisker (bottled or received 1913, Berry Bros & Co)

Tally Ho Blend (70°proof, A.A. Muirhead, 1960s?)

Tamdhu 26 yo 1970/1996 (51.5%, Signatory, butt, cask #378, 390 bottles)

Tamdhu-Glenlivet 29 yo 1963/1992 (49.4%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection)

Tamdhu 1961/2000 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, Rare Old)