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Whisky Tasting




Hi, you're in the Archives, January 2022 - Part 1


December 2021 - part 2 <--- January 2022 - part 1 ---> January 2022 - part 2


January 14, 2022


Even more world travelling
Kicking this off from France…

Aikan 2017/2021 (50%, OB, La Maison du Whisky, France, Version Française, rum finish, cask #180128)

Aikan 2017/2021 (50%, OB, La Maison du Whisky, France, Version Française, rum finish, cask #180128) Three stars and a half
This is not a self-malt, it's been sourced. By the way, a question, when a whisky's very young and they did a finishing on it, does that make it double-maturation? Answer on a postcard (Facebook is so last year!) Colour: gold. Nose: looks like they've used some pretty assertive rum from Jamaica or Trinidad, according to these petroly smells, unless that was a very solid agricole. I have to say this works, I'm also finding some tobacco, sage, a drop of walnut liqueur, a little peach syrup, and some Stolle. I have to say this was well made, no doubt about that. With water: some pinewood coming out, lit cigars, bidis, seaweed (wakame) and borage… Pretty complex, and frankly nice. Why wouldn't we be allowed to use the word 'nice'? Mouth (neat): a carbon copy of the nose, salty and a little petroly, with more tannins, cloves, then cinnamon rolls and some small liquorice lozenges. A feeling of 'Mainland peat'. With water: a tad oak-forward this time, a little tea-ish, with a grassy green tannicity (apple peel, green oranges). The liquorice lozenges are back, together with a little ginseng powder. Cures everything, they say. Finish: rather long and below the limits of over-oakiness. Comments: not hundred percent sure it was Jamaican or Caroni, after all, what I'm sure about is that it's a very fine young meta-drop.
SGP:452 - 84 points.


To Sweden…

High Coast 'Solera Batch 2' (51%, OB, Sweden, 1500 bottles, 2021)

High Coast 'Solera Batch 2' (51%, OB, Sweden, 1500 bottles, 2021) Four stars
The Batch 1 had been excellent in my book (WF 85). I've seen this #2 is at 56% vol. on the Web but my official sample says 51%. We'll amend accordingly if necessary. Colour: light gold. Nose: pretty brutal, must be 56%. Ethanol, sawdust, varnish… This is a good example of a whisky that should need water. With water: I'm adding water as if it was 56%. Flour, grist, wholegrain bread, citrons, damp earth, autumn leaves and no straight ethanol and varnish anymore. Loves water. Mouth (neat): spicy and sweet. Pink grapefruit and rather a lot of ginger and nutmeg, so with a high, yet balanced wood impact. In truth you would believe it's juniper, teak or douglas fir that was used. With water: indeed it loves water. Essential oils, liquorice, violet syrup, wild leek, pastis, citron liqueur, all that with an oily, tick mouth feel. Syrupy texture, not syrupy taste. Finish: long, drier, beautifully and freshly spicy. Aniseed bread and juniper/caraway in the aftertaste. Comments: feels a bit lab but we've got strictly nothing against labs. Very well made by our Swedish friends, hope batch 3 will come out soon. I believe batch 1 was smoky but I'm not sure I found much smoke in batch 2.
SGP:561 - 86 points.


Perhaps a little rye from Canada?

Prospector (46%, Odd-Society, Canada, rye, +/-2021)

Prospector (46%, Odd-Society, Canada, rye, +/-2021) Four stars
Picture of an earlier batch. We're in British Columbia this time. That's the West. Colour: gold. Nose: the thing is, I absolutely adore all kinds of bread, while this one's breadier than bread. Oakier than bread too, for sure, but then come the tiny touches of caraway, lavender, rubbed orange zest (oils), citrus-scented paraffin (hippies' candles) and just eucalyptus coffee. Not sure Starbucks do that but they should. Mouth: and voilà, impeccable spicy spirit with some well-controlled oak, a lot of liquorice and caraway, cumin seeds, poppyseed bread, and just rye. These prospectors have found gold. Well, nearly. I'm a sucker for this style that no one is making (yet?) in France. Finish: rather long, with perhaps a little sawdust but also more violet-and-birch cologne, which works okay in finishes. Orange essence in the aftertaste, and perhaps a little too much tannicity. Comments: very cool young rye, very well made, pretty exotic in our latitudes and longitudes.
SGP:550 - 85 points.


To England…

Bimber 4 yo (58.7%, Cadenhead, England, London Annual Shop Release, 2021)

Bimber 4 yo (58.7%, Cadenhead, England, London Annual Shop Release, 2021) Four stars and a half
When in Rome… smart. We've been a little harsh on a Bimber the other day (I must be cruel only to be kind) so let's see…  Colour: rich gold. Nose: theeeeere. I'm so happy. Candied citrons and grapefruits, tons and tons of quince jelly (I'd kill anyone), a little plaster, heather honey, a drop of tequila (reposado-kind) then the most lemony kind of ginger. Or rather the most gingery kind of lemon. Brilliant. With water: peppermint! What's this witchcraft? Mouth (neat): thick, splendid, totally Jim-Swanian, shock-full of candied citrus and sweet grassy spices. Definitely something one should drink with dim-sum, even if the oak would tend to become a little loudish. With water: and there, impeccable, fresh, with the peppermint being back and the spicy oak kept under control. I believe it was a little close, but it worked. Finish: long and with these elusive flavours that sometimes appear in malt whisky, strawberry yoghurt and jam! Great fun here. Comments: double London whammy, baby. Sure you could call this oak juice, but you would a bit off the mark. Well done Cadenhead too.
SGP:661 - 88 points.


Oh while we're at it…

Bimber 'Bourbon Cask' (59.1%, OB for LMDW, England, Conquête, cask #89, 242 bottles)

Bimber 'Bourbon Cask' (59.1%, OB for LMDW, England, Conquête, cask #89, 242 bottles) Four stars and a half
This one's good friends with that ex-rye in the same range that I did not like 'too much' the other day. Once again, I find the very '1967' bottle absolutely superb, it changes from dragons, tigers, deer and geishas. Colour: light gold. Nose: pristine, on sunflower oil, vanilla pods, polenta, fresh peanuts and butter and popcorn and nougat. Bauhaus whisky (I know this is not Berlin). With water: citrus coming up. Those citrons that we enjoy so much, we'll have to find a good brand that makes top-notch citron liqueur. What you'll easily find in Corsica is a little lousy. Mouth (neat): indeed, very high-definition, or when simplicity would be an asset. Citrons, vanilla, spearmint, nougat, touch of radish from the oak, watercress. Impeccable. With water: perhaps a wee tad too spicy/oaky, although this sure goes with the times. Finish: long, really on citrus liqueurs. Some minty oak in the aftertaste, even half a drop of turpentine, perhaps. And gentian. Comments: I was having it at 90 but I'm afraid the oak sneakily kicked back towards the finish. Very superb young whisky, nonetheless. Oh, was it distilled before or after Brexit? I mean, is it still European whisky or is it red serge (ha) already?
SGP:551 - 89 points.


Another great wee world session today.


January 13, 2022


More crazy malty travelling (peacefully)
Let's visit a few friendly countries, at least we won't even need any Covid pass.

Stalk & Barrel (60.2%, OB, Canada, cask #105, +/-2021)

Stalk & Barrel (60.2%, OB, Canada, cask #105, +/-2021) Three stars and a half
This from the Still Waters Distillery in Concord, Ontario. I believe it's the first time I'm trying anything from those fine folks'. It is a single malt. Colour: light gold. Nose: rather singular, while that's rather a good thing. Starts a little butyric, perhaps, but I'm rather fond of this kind of leek purée to which someone well-intentioned would have added peanut butter and roasted malt. But at 60%, we won't take any further chances… (new policies at château WF). With water: the expected warm sawdust and vanilla custard, otherwise tons of brioches and croissants. How and why would we be against that? Mouth (neat): good, Stolle, butter, caraway, sweet curry paste, satay, mashed potatoes, vanilla cream, limoncello, praline and caramel creams… Attractive but then again, 60%+… With water: lemon bread and cake. The wood was well-controlled, it's an easy drop, attractive as I said, but we both know where the trap may lie… Finish: success, no excessive sawdust or tannicity, rather some sweet curry and lemon chutney. Comments: drink with pakora. I wouldn't recommend poutine. Seriously, it's a very lovely drop, I can't wait to try some slightly older ones.
SGP:641 - 84 points.


Did we just mention pakora? Off to India then…

Amrut 7 yo 2014/2021 'Brandy Finish' (60%, OB, India, LMDW, Conquête, cask #204, 150 bottles)

Amrut 7 yo 2014/2021 'Brandy Finish' (60%, OB, India, LMDW, Conquête, cask #204, 150 bottles) Five stars
Brandy? That's a little short, is that Cognac? Armagnac? Armenian brandy? Indian brandy? Brandy de Jerez? Now the voltage is high, once more. Colour: gold. Nose: this is meta! Not brandy, not exactly malt whisky, but a drop ridden with dried fruits of all kinds, which we just love. Anyone would love this. Raisins, naturally, also rambutans, litchis, figs, jujubes, dates, gojis… I find this sublime, I'm even sure this drop is good for your health. Let's dig a little deeper… With water: whiffs of damp earth very early in a summer morning. When water does this, that's good news. Mouth (neat): wow, who made this? Mr Ashok? It's just perfect, with exactly a perfect combination with dried fruits and anything from a so-called 'menthol' cluster. Look, rather than list descriptors and being likely to bore you to death, I'll just mention 'old Laphroaig'. Exactly. No, no typo. With water: exceptional. All aforementioned dried fruits plus chartreuse and eucalyptus. Finish: perfect, a tad more tropical. Candied mangos? Excellent. Mint in the aftertaste. Comments: sometimes Amrut would just lift you up from your seat. 'Woo hoo', but what was the brandy?
SGP:651 - 90 points.


Since we're in Asia… (cognitive myopia striking again)…

Yoichi 'Discovery Non-Peated' (47%, OB, Japan, LMDW, 4812 bottles, 2021)Yoichi 'Discovery Non-Peated' (47%, OB, Japan, LMDW, 4812 bottles, 2021)

Yoichi 'Discovery Non-Peated' (47%, OB, Japan, LMDW, 4812 bottles, 2021) Four stars and a half
Some unpeated Yoichi, so in a way, Nikka's equivalent of 'Highland Caol Ila' a.k.a. 'Caol Ila Unpeated'. But no age and no vintage statements here; my friends, the world is going badly. Colour: light gold. Nose: marshmallows, candyfloss, custard, all-flower honey, banana foam, then sweeter blonde beers. I was about to mention IPA but I'm using that descriptor all the time, I'll try to find alternatives. Mouth: let's be frank, this is rather awesome, with a very lovely balance between the fresh fruits (bananas, apples, gooseberries, plums) and the mentholy/herbal elements that would, at times, whisper 'I'm Japanese!'. I'll even dare mention sake and bean curds, if not barley shochu. Finish: medium, perfectly well constructed, with green bananas, sesame cake, plus rather curiously, wee notes of absinth and lemon liqueur in the aftertaste. Comments: on the one hand, I'm finding the absence of any indications related to one of any whisky's key ingredients, which is time, a little hopeless. On the other hand, let's be honest, this composition is rather f**** brilliant.
SGP:661 – 88 points.


Off to Denmark… What's the logic, you ask? Well this one too was bottled at 47% vol. There, got you.

Stauning 'Smoke' (47%, OB, Denmark, rye, +/-2021)

Stauning 'Smoke' (47%, OB, Denmark, rye, +/-2021) Four stars and a half
You cannot not love a Distillery that would name some of its whiskies 'Kaos' or 'Bastard'. Now 'Smoke' is a little more civilised, I'm wondering why they haven't used 'b**** smoke' or even 'f**** smoke' instead. Colour: gold. Nose: mega-LOL. Sauna oils, burning rubber (dragster after a race), bicycle inner tube, teak oil, glues and greases, gun oil, brand new Harley dealership, new Tesla… I'm sure you're following me. Love this. Mouth: huge fun. Wondering if they haven't used smoked water, or if they haven't kind of barbecued some unsmoked rye whisky of theirs, or used any other unmentionable processes. Who cares, I'm a fan of this 'whisky' that got off the beaten tracks long ago. Salty rubber? Snuff? Chewing tobacco? All-purpose industrial grease? Finish: long. Chewing salted tyres. I know. Comments: what's the price of fun? How many b*** 'points'? The question is, would I buy a bottle? Certainly not, I would buy a 6-case and present my five best friends with a bottle. Each.
SGP:372 - 88 points.


Since we were having high concoctions, let's try a modern German whisky that may remind us of… Nina Hagen. Whom I've met a long time ago, mind you.

St. Kilian 2017/2021 (61.2%, OB, Germany, for Whisky Folks, ex-Garrison Bros. cask, cask #498, 86 bottles)

St. Kilian 2017/2021 (61.2%, OB, Germany, for Whisky Folks, ex-Garrison Bros. cask, cask #498, 86 bottles) Four stars and a half
We've just had another cask, a very thick ex-oloroso that had been pretty overwhelming. Loved it but I mean, you had to use a pipette and three hours to drink your glass, serious. I'd wager this will be different…  Colour: light gold. Nose: goodbye, I'm leaving with my glass, see you when it's empty. Seriously, we're wandering throughout a barley field ready for harvest, while listening to… wait, let's remain specific, Amon Düül II on the Walkman ™. Stunning breads, cakes, rolls and brioches, with just a tiny banana and a little chalk. Now, 61.2%... Amon Düül or not, water is needed. With water: clean breads, bananas, scones, also wee fermentary notes, wort, beers… Mouth (neat): rather exceptional. Bananas and marzipan first, then a little varnish and a little kirschwasser, amaretti, bitter almonds, apricot spirit (watch prussic acid)… what's sure is that you have to enjoy almondy tastes as much as your truly does. With water: and there, it's a wrap. A few funky/varnishy tones. Finish: rather long, a tad disordered but that's youth. Orange squash and a few curry-like spices from the oak. Honey sauce. Some roasted almonds, rubber and popcorn in the aftertaste, isn't that the Garrison Bros. winking at us? Comments: a joyful mess at times, but the fun is huge and it loves talking to the Stauning. Very insane whiskies, both.
SGP:572 - 89 points.


January 12, 2022


War in your glass


A few recent world whiskies that I've found extremely, well, oaky in some way. Not kings of balance for sure, but remember, it's always only a matter of individual taste and my caviar may well be your natto and your langoustines my surströmming (are you following me?) Please, please, take these scores with a miountain of salt, they just reflect my tastes. Hope I won't ruffle too many friendly feathers today… What's more, in all these cases, I'll publish other expressions from the same distilleries that have been much, much more to my liking in the coming days.

Galaad 2018/2021 (53%, LMDW, Version Française, 485 bottles)

Galaad 2018/2021 (53%, LMDW, Version Française, 485 bottles) Two stars
This from Bretagne/Brittany. I'm sure I could find out about the Distillery – last time I checked there was no Galaad Distillery – but there are some more pressing affairs. Colour: straw. Nose: sawdust, vanilla, lager, croissants and, let's remain local, kouign amann. That's an insane Breton cake that would contain more butter than you could possibly imagine. A sin. With water: hints of pears, cider, fresh oak. Mouth (neat): easy, fresh, fruity, a tad on the oaky side (vanilla-driven). Banana cake. With water: more oak and pears. Finish: medium, some williams pear eau-de-vie aged in new oak. Comments: in fact, this one leaves me cold. Not bad at all but I think it's rather all about the oak. With encouragements, as some Chinese Olympic Games official would say.
SGP:441 - 75 points.

No comprendo mucho about that wee Galaad, but let's move on…

Cotswolds 'Sherry Cask' (57.4%, OB, England, small batch, 2020)

Cotswolds 'Sherry Cask' (57.4%, OB, England, small batch, 2020) Two stars and a half
We're becoming fans of Cotswolds at European WF Towerz. Why wouldn't they relocate to civilised regions? Like, to Alsace? Colour: gold. Nose: all what was nice in the 'Galaad', minus all what was lousy in the 'Galaad'. Banana cake, nougat, roasted sesame, amaretti and, to be honest, not much sherriness as such. With water: macaroons and, indeed, amaretti. They must have thrown quite a few handful amaretti into the cask while no one was watching. Some maraschino cherries too, while they were at it.  Mouth (neat): oh good. Mint, artichokes and honey (I know), bitter almonds, more amaretti, nocino… With water: good modern bright wood-driven sappy development. A little rubber, bay leaves, nutmeg… Finish: long, rather more oak-driven. The limits of the exercise, as they used to say in Soviet gymnastics (what?) Comments: started very well, the finish was harder. 2 much oak.
SGP:361 - 79 points.

These modern oak-driven whiskies are becoming boring and tiring, are they not? Too many corners cut? Let's try another English… And try to avoid oak fatigue.

Bimber 'Ex-rye whisky barrel' (58.5%, OB, England, 2021)

Bimber 'Ex-rye whisky barrel' (58.5%, OB, England, 2021) Two stars
The bottle is superb, is it not. Colour: gold. Nose: balsam, sandalwood, bubblegum. Tons of bubblegum and sweet cinnamon. With water: same. Some lavender, that's the rye speaking out. Rye bread (but naturally). Mouth (neat): good for sure, but too much for me. Too much oak, too many spices, too much pepper, too much extraction. Pretty tiring. With water: no. No to dominant oak, yes to balance. Finish: long, way too oaky and spicy for me. Comments: what works greatly with an average bourbon barrel just fails a little miserably when said barrel is too active. Very un-Bimber, this one, in my opinion, but watch the coming days.
SGP:261 - 70 points.

Enough with the Anglo-Saxon oaks (yeah rgiht), let's change continent…

Milk & Honey 2018/2021 (54.9%, OB, Israel, ex-Islay, private for Steven Winston, cask #2018-0687, 224 bottles)

Milk & Honey 2018/2021 (54.9%, OB, Israel, ex-Islay, private, cask #2018-0687, 224 bottles) Two stars
It took me a little time but I'm much impressed with what those people at M&H are doing. Colour: gold. Nose: ex-Islay usually means ex-Laphroaig. I don't quite know why Laphroaig are being so liberal with their casks. IKEA wood, teak, kippers, new parquet, eucalyptus wood. With water: same-ish. Turpentine and various terpenes. Mouth (neat): LOL and kind of good. Rubber, myrtle, bell pepper. A little tough, in fact, I suppose water is mandatory here. With water: a little too much for me, I'm afraid. Very heavy smoked rubber, hashish, oils… Finish: same. Comments: this one went wild. You could either (try to) drink it, or just smoke it in a nargileh or in a spliff. The most extreme whisky I've tried this far in 2022, but indeed this is just the beginning…
SGP:272 - 75 points.

To America…

Heaven Hill 12 yo (64.9%, Cadenhead, USA, World Whiskies, barrel, 240 bottles, 2021)

Heaven Hill 12 yo (64.9%, Cadenhead, USA, World Whiskies, barrel, 240 bottles, 2021)
Some varnish to be expected, if you ask me. Colour: gold. Nose: not quite varnish, rather popcorn, nougat, lavender, pancake sauce and 'grain whiskey'. Probably a little thin this far. With water: fine, intellectual, with some wisteria, old books, broom, copper polish… We're being a little posh here. Mouth (neat): raw ethanol, pinewood, black propolis. Extremely tough this time, almost cheapo grain whisky. Questionable. With water: once again, water works rather well, but it won't save his oaky brew. Finish: ouch. Comments: pretty disastrous. Empty spirit in terrible wood, this shouldn't have been bottled. I mean, holy featherless crow, Campbeltown!
SGP:261 - 50 points.

To our neighbours Germany. As we very well know in Alsace, Germany tends to deliver… (taking chances here…)

St Killian 2017/2021 (59.6%, OB, Germany, Wisky Folks, 1st fill oloroso hogshead, cask #674, 446 bottles)

St Kilian 2017/2021 (59.6%, OB, Germany, Whisky Folks, 1st fill oloroso hogshead, cask #674, 446 bottles) Three stars and a half
Nicknamed 'oloroso grandioso'. Colour: gold. Nose: some meaty fruitiness, doughs, orange blossom and honeysuckle, cauliflower beignets, pancakes, cappuccino, earthy vegetables (that's root vegetables, no?) and pipe tobacco. A lot of pipe tobacco. With water:  smoke, rubber, and the tyres and brakes of a good Porsche after a few rounds on the Nordschleife. Mouth (neat): heavy, very heavy, but it is the kind of heaviness that we think we enjoy. Thick clove-driven spiciness, many resins, essential oils, propolis, paint… Feels like everything's been heavily concentrated here. Perhaps a little tiring at this stage, but I suppose younger elves would handle this better. Guys, seriously? How thick is this? With water: takes water well, that's good. Now the oak's oils and spices keep calling the shots. Finish: very long, spicy, thick. Comments: right, this one was a little Wagnerian, was it not? Very spectacular, at the minimum. Makes Port Ellen feel like Glenkinchie, as we sometimes say. Auf wiedersehen.
SGP:472 - 84 points.

Well, all those rather dissonant babies would certainly please the most bored whisky enthusiast! But I'm not part of that crew... Please wait for another St. Killian right tomorrow... Tomorrow is a day of redemption...


January 11, 2022


A little bag of young barrelled Glen Moray

I believe the indies really did a lot for Glen Moray in recent years. The Distillery had some great small batches as well, but those used to fly under our radars. Having said that it was interesting to try variants of the experiments that they used to do at Glenmorangie under another flag, such as some with virgin oak, various kinds of American oak etc. I remember a good Mountain Oak, for example, but anyway, we'll rather have indies today…

Glen Moray

Glen Moray 12 yo 2007/2020 (46%, The Whisky Lodge, Orcines, bourbon barrel, cask #5450)

Glen Moray 12 yo 2007/2020 (46%, The Whisky Lodge, Orcines, bourbon barrel, cask #5450) Four stars
An impeccable, very coherent range of natural, drinkable malts. Always recommended. Colour: straw. Nose: stresses the mineral, more austere side of this malt, as well as white fruits, artisan bone-dry cider, graphite oil, crushed chalk, then some kind of camphorated porridge. Very nice, intriguing, but a little scary… Won't the palate be a little difficult?... Pure rethoric, I'm sure it won't. Mouth: we're fining the same kind of profile yet again, and indeed its austere, peely and chalky, but a few bonbons and marshmallows have made it easily approachable. Banana foam, pear drops, a little vanilla sugar… As usual, the 46% work very well, it's a perfect strength. Finish: medium, with bags of apple peel, green pears, ans a touch of thyme in the aftertaste. Or thyme honey. Comments: as expected, impeccably close-to-the-malted-barley.
SGP:551 - 86 points.

Glen Moray 13 yo 2007/2021 (52.5%, Maltbarn, bourbon cask, 160 bottles)

Glen Moray 13 yo 2007/2021 (52.5%, Maltbarn, bourbon cask, 160 bottles) Four stars
Maltbarn, another impeccable, very reliable little whisky house. Colour: straw. Nose: this one's pretty chalky too, I'm even finding tiny whiffs of washing powder. Very similar profile as that of the Orcines, both whiskies being almost identical. Green pears, apples, porridge, mineral oils… With water: would become grassier. Grape pips oil, white calvados, chalk… Mouth (neat): this time again the palate's a little sweeter and fruitier, although this one would be firmer and perhaps a little more on citrus, grapefruits, citrusy hops… Very good. With water: there, marshmallows and lemon and pear drops! Finish: very good indeed, rather long, a little hoppy. Apple peel in the aftertaste. Comments: a subtle variation on the very same theme.
SGP:551 - 86 points.

Glen Moray 13 yo 200/2020 (50%, Thompson Brothers, 2 first fill barrels, 532 bottles)

Glen Moray 13 yo 2007/2020 (50%, Thompson Brothers, 2 first fill barrels, 532 bottles) Four stars
Colour: straw. Nose: similar again, naturally, except that this one would be fruitier, more extravagant, with even more Haribo-y things, more Jell-O, wine gums and, indeed, some very citrusy hops. I cannot not think of Lagunitas. With water: chalk and wool. Funnily, the fruits went back into their shells, so to speak. Mouth (neat): a little chalky indeed, then once again on bags of sweets and jelly candies of all kinds. Candyfloss, fruit liqueurs, syrups. The texture is pretty syrupy indeed. Icing sugar. With water: once again, more citrus, more IPA, more hops, grapefruits… Finish: pretty long, chalky and fruity. Green melons, cantaloupes, citrus. Comments: as good as these batches get, you just have to like them fruity. But who doesn't?
SGP:651 - 86 points.

Perhaps a 2008 for a change?

Glen Moray 12 yo 2008/2021 (56.4%, C. Dully Selection, barrel, cask #5664, 185 bottles)

Glen Moray 12 yo 2008/2021 (56.4%, C. Dully Selection, barrel, cask #5664, 185 bottles) Four stars
Colour: white wine. Nose: it is different, rather grassier, more on skins, zests, peel, paraffin, lamp oil, green bananas… A coffee spoon of mashed turnip, perhaps, a little acidic yoghurt, fresh buns, whey… With water: gets much rounder. Vanilla cream, vanilla yoghurt, brioche, fresh panettone and barley sugar/candy cane. Mouth (neat): it's a tighter Glen Moray, and yet there's more fruit paste, jelly… Angelica, greengage jam, a touch of fudge, custard… I would suppose the cask was more active here. A little liquorice as well. With water: indeed, candy cane. Very good, if a tad regressive. We're all getting older, are we not? Finish: medium, with a little caramel, fudge, nougat and sesame + peanut bars. High proteins. Comments: I wasn't totally sure but indeed, it grew on me. Very lovely tipple, displaying awesome evolutions once you've added drops of proper Swiss glacier water. I'm joking now.
SGP:551 - 87 points.

An even younger one as the last drop…

Glen Moray 8 yo 2012/2021 (60.3%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #35.286, first fill bourbon barrel, 'Xanthous Symphony', 235 bottles)

Glen Moray 8 yo 2012/2021 (60.3%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #35.286, first fill bourbon barrel, 'Xanthous Symphony', 235 bottles) Three stars and a half
Picture of a previous bottling. Xanthous? Does that mean that this one's even paler than your average 8 yo ex-barrel malt? Colour: pale white wine. Nose: raw kirschwasser straight from the condenser. Sugar. Pear juice. I would believe water is mandatory, after all they haven't called this company the 'Scorch Malt Whisky Society', have they. With water: some grist, crushed barley, semolina, brioche dough… Mouth (neat): mirabelle eau-de-vie and sugarcane syrup. With water: it's very young but give it a little time and it'll become rewarding. This toddler will then shoot quince jelly, pear paste, curaçao, and indeed more sugarcane syrup. Or cane honey, as they sometimes say. Finish: medium, rather on bubblegum. Comments: I was scared but It turns out this youthful Glen Moray was having some pretty convincing arguments. Good, let's try to find more about the real meanings of the word 'xanthous' in this context. Would any natives be ready to help?
SGP:641 - 84 points.

More tasting notesCheck the index of all Glen Moray we've tasted so far


January 10, 2022


I say Tomatin…

Indeed, one of the jokes we used to like to tell twenty years ago was going like 'You say Tomah-tin, I say Tomay-tin… (…) let's call the whole thing off…' And we would add 'as Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong used to sing'. Until a young cat once asked me, 'I know Tomatin, but who the h*ll are Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong?' Innocent youths!

'I don't give a damn about fashion!... I enjoy Muscat de Rivesaltes!' (French magazine advert, 1987) ->

Tomatin 2008/2021 (46%, OB, French Collection, Rivesaltes Cask)

Tomatin 2008/2021 (46%, OB, French Collection, Rivesaltes Cask) Three stars and a half
More than just a finishing as this baby spent three long years (with whisky all years are long) in Rivesaltes wood, Rivesaltes being a sweet 'vin doux naturel', where they stop fermentation to preserve some sweetness by adding eau-de-vie. They also make a muscat de Rivesaltes. Colour: light gold. Nose: rather bizarrely, I'm reminded of some Cognac finishes, as I'm finding rather a lot of raisins as well as preserved peaches and plums. Then something a little musty (old cellar, old barrel), some butter, mashed sweet potatoes, red kuri squash, rooibos tea and hazelnuts. Since some very mild, harmless Omicron hit me I'm finding more rooibos in my whiskies. No, really. Mouth: same feelings, with a little more sourness from the wood (they would tend to use very old casks for Rivesaltes but I'm not sure that's what's been used for this finishing). More raisins, triple-sec, liquorice, with a little bitter ale, even Aperol. Finish: medium, with more bitters. Oh and rooibos. Seville oranges and a little mustard in the aftertaste. Comments: very fine, well made, not as extreme or deviant as I had thought.
SGP:551 - 83 points.

Tomatin Cù Bocan 'Creation #2' (46%, OB, Japanese Shochu & European Virgin Oak Casks, 2019)

Tomatin Cù Bocan 'Creation #2' (46%, OB, Japanese Shochu & European Virgin Oak Casks, 2019) Three stars and a half
A very strange bottle. Looks like this was a full – probably short – maturation in these two unlikely woods, 'an experiment where the Far East and Europe meet' according to the website. I used to call that a night club, but there… Colour: light gold. Nose: cracked pepper, brake dust, carbon, yogurt, kebab sauce, banana skin. It's actually also very much on white beer with a twist of lemon and a touch of grapefruit. IPA? Pleasant nose, pretty fresh. Mouth: I don't quite know why and for what, or where these flavours were coming from, but I'm not against this slightly tarry, citrusy, grassy and peppery combo. Touches of iced tea and melon syrup, some sauvignon blanc too. Finish: medium, rather refreshing. A good IPA, really, and some sake in the aftertaste. Comments: the virgin oak never really got in the way, phew! I'm not a fan of the idea but I enjoy the result. Better that than the other way 'round, no?
SGP:552 - 84 points.

I think we'll add a few indies from the boxes…

Tomatin 11 yo 2007 (43%, Gordon & MacPhail 'Discovery', bourbon, +/-2019)

Tomatin 11 yo 2007 (43%, Gordon & MacPhail 'Discovery', bourbon, +/-2019) Three stars and a half
This wee one should be all natural… Colour: straw. Nose: rather some fresh almonds here, bitter ones included, melon skin, macaroons, custard, amaretti… All real fine. Mouth: more classic fruity Tomatin, with even echoes of ancient vintages (1976, anyone?) on apples, cherries, pears, a little tarte tatin, then citrus. Rather fresh, easy as expected, pretty flawless, going down extremely well. Watch these wee drops at 43% vol., for they do still shelter alcohol! Finish: medium, clean, fresh, half-zesty, the rest being ripe apples and a little candy sugar. Comments: a very good easy drop.
SGP:541 - 83 points.

Tomatin 12 yo (46%, Cadenhead, Original Collection, 100% bourbon, 2020)

Tomatin 12 yo (46%, Cadenhead, Original Collection, 100% bourbon, 2020) Four stars
Colour: straw. Nose: millimetric citrusy malt whisky. No quibble, no fuss, no complains, malt and limoncello in the glass. Mouth: tarter. Wonderful lemons and limes, perhaps a little rhubarb too, with a little hotness. Lemon tarte with meringue, lemon curd, and yeah, limoncello. I know I'm always quoting limoncello, I would think the Limoncello Association of Italy now owe me the latest Ducati. Signor presidente, please call to make arrangements. Finish: quite long, with lovely lemony zing. Comments: great high-definition work.
SGP:651 - 86 points.

Tomatin 2015/2020 (50%, Skene, oloroso, 186 bottles)

Tomatin 2015/2020 (50%, Skene, oloroso, 186 bottles) Four stars
Colour: light gold. Nose: it is much younger but actually, we're well within the style of that lovely Cadenhead's, only with a little more sherry (walnuts and raisins). All that works pretty well. Whiffs of leaves and rubber. With water: Belgian waffles, clotted cream, custard, caramel, fudge, demerara sugar. Impeccable, I would almost call this 'a surprise'. Mouth (neat): very good! Butterscotch and butter cream, cappuccino, raisin rolls, orange cordial, biscuits… Really very good! Feels like the cask had seen some charring. With water: and there, once again it takes water very well. Walnut wine, mocha, more raisin rolls, kougelhopf… Finish: long and back on butterscotch. Earl grey later on. Comments: bang, five years old. Someone's been doing a great job here. To whom it may concern, felicitations!
SGP:651 - 87 points.

Tomatin 10 yo 2011/2021 'Apollo 12 SCE to AUX' (56.4%, The Whisky Barrel, 1st fill oloroso, cask #TWB1019, 271 bottles)

Tomatin 10 yo 2011/2021 'Apollo 12 SCE to AUX' (56.4%, The Whisky Barrel, 1st fill oloroso, cask #TWB1019, 271 bottles) Four stars
The name refers to some famous conversations between Apollo 12 and some NASA engineer. It all went well. Colour: gold. Nose: a style pretty similar to that of the Skene, full of butterscotch, custard, fudge and pastries. Millionaire shortbread. With water: a little warm sawdust coming out but that's all fine. Also mosses, autumn leaves, 'a walk in the woods'… Mouth (neat): excellent work on the cask. Awesome citrus and grassy spices (fresh-made curry, perhaps a tad loud) over a most candied and fudge-y spirit. Pickled lemons, shortbread, butterscotch, praline. With water: takes water extremely well. Lovely oak spices and darker honeys, perhaps a touch of varnish Finish: medium, cleaner and fresher than expected. Stolle in the aftertaste. Comments: lovely modern style, very well done even if I'm not sure anyone would have said 'Tomatin'. Space calling Earth, "s.u.c.c.e.s.s!"
SGP:651 - 87 points.

Young Tomatin is an excellent base malt, you could do almost anything to it. Let's go on…

Tomatin 10 yo 2009/2021 (59.9%, Fadandel.dk, 2nd fill oloroso octave finish, cask #1837B, 69 bottles)

Tomatin 10 yo 2009/2021 (59.9%, Fadandel.dk, 2nd fill oloroso octave finish, cask #1837B, 69 bottles) Four stars
A wee Sputnik this time… Colour: white wine. It was a well-behaved octave. Nose: more austere, grassier, more on peelings, chalk, concrete, green tea… Touches of aniseed and liquorice in the back of the background, even a little pastis, but at 60% vol., anything could happen. With water: icing sugar and sugarcane syrup. I'm sure one could make a Scottish mojito out of this one. Mouth (neat): I would suppose they did the octave thing for sport as I'm not finding any obvious wood/sherry impact, rather a bright, lemony and grassy profile that I rather enjoy. With water: excellent, we're on a stroll with these wee young ones! Finish: long, lemony, very good. Comments: another very lovely young one that's integrated octave-y oak effortlessly. Excellent quality/price ratio with these wee young Tomatins.

SGP:551 - 86 points.

We could have many more youngsters, but… wait, a last one, this intriguing Cadenhead, which we'll do quickly since we've got some older ones to tackle as well…

Tomatin 10 yo 2009/2019 (59.1%, Cadenhead, Chilean red wine, 294 bottles)

Tomatin 10 yo 2009/2019 (59.1%, Cadenhead, Chilean red wine, 294 bottles) Three stars
Chilean red wine? Well I hope it's a typical Chilean wine, why not one of those Carmenères, instead of another faceless Bordeaux blend or else. Colour: gold. Nose: adios Chilean red, this is another rather immaculate young citrusy Tomatin, with almost no red berries in sight. Phew, I was about to wonder about the cask's carbon footprint. With water: we're still okay. Some sour touches, strawberry yoghurt (very common in some whiskies), dairy cream… Mouth (neat): pretty good, just a tad on the oaky side this time. Bitter oak, pine resin, blood oranges… With water: more gassy spices, tomato leaves, spent lees… Not the prettiest side. Finish: rather long, but with notes of old wood, oversteeped tea… Comments: it's a good one, don't get me wrong, but I'm not sure it was really a love marriage. Hugs to Chile.

SGP:461 - 81 points.

So, we said older ones…

Tomatin 28 yo 1990/2018 (40.2%, Whiskybroker, refill bourbon barrel, cask #10812, 143 bottles)

Tomatin 28 yo 1990/2018 (40.2%, Whiskybroker, refill bourbon barrel, cask #10812, 143 bottles) Four stars and a half
At 40.2, it's been tight. Colour: white wine. Nose: ooh, old Tomatins, lovely fruit bombs, liquid fruity and floral salads… Williams pears, lilac, jasmine, red apples, wisteria, summer meadows honey, papayas, guavas… There's only one fear after this most elegant and entrancing nose, that's that the palate would fall flat. Mouth: not exactly but once again, it was tight. Very mellow, almost discreet arrival on acacia honey and mullein syrup, then totally on preserved or tinned fruits, especially pears, plums and peaches. Some ripe gooseberries too. How elegant! But this time again, watch these, you could well down a whole bottle while watching a lousy Scandinavian mini-series on Netflix. Or a French one for that matter (even worse). Finish: this is where it would lose one or three points, which was to be expected. Gets a little dry and tea-ish. Let's move on… Comments: delicate and fragile like an old painting from the quattrocento. And as charming and precious.

SGP:531 - 88 points.

Tomatin 21 yo 1999/2020 (52.4%, The Whisky Agency, hogshead, 311 bottles)

Tomatin 21 yo 1999/2020 (52.4%, The Whisky Agency, hogshead, 311 bottles) Four stars
Colour: straw. Nose: pure orchard fruits with some chalkiness. Apples, green plums, gooseberries, chalk and plaster, green melons and then rather a lot of eucalyptus and mint leaves. A little rustic for Tomatin at 20 yo, perhaps. Like, 'what did you do to the cask? – nothing'.) With water: rubber and leaves coming out. Was it a sherry hogshead? Mouth (neat): tight, vertical, not void of any limoncello-y sweetness, with a little barley sugar, pink grapefruits, kiwis, melons and peaches. Very good, naturally (never mess with THE agency). With water: liquorice lozenges, lemon drops, orange liqueur, cough medicine. Very nice. Finish: medium, creamier, more syrupy, almost liqueury. I would say peaches and a little mint. All a matter of proportions indeed. Comments: excellent, just a little more rustic.

SGP:551 - 87 points.

I think that's ten Tomatins. Tomah-tins? Tomay-tins?

(Merci Lucero)

More tasting notesCheck the index of all Tomatin we've tasted so far


January 9, 2022





Angus's Corner
From our correspondent and
skilled taster Angus MacRaild in Scotland
Cognacs - and all the rest! 
As mentioned in my last Cognac post on Boxing Day last year - I had gathered quite a lot! This isn't even all of them, but it's enough that I think we can safely say no more Cognac from me until 2023 at least. 


Otard Dupy & Co Cognac  (OB, -/+ 1900)

Otard Dupy & Co Cognac  (OB, -/+ 1900)
A very old bottle that came from a job lot of 'stuff' I bought at auction this year. The label is beautiful and notably says 'England. America. Australia' on it. Probably bottled for some kind of submarine deal I expect… Colour: orangey gold. Nose: undeniably this has faded somewhat in bottle as the level wasn't too great, but it is still showing some bright notes of crystallised orange peels, flower blossoms and honey. Rather sweet, simple and elegant. Mouth: what's amazing is that what is clearly keep it alive is the sugar rather than the alcohol, probably closer to a liqueur than an actual Cognac in some ways. Orange oils, a mix of long aged Benedictine and Drambuie, very herbal, lots of honey fortified with alcohol and many more preserved citrus rinds and peels. Not bad at all, but certainly a slightly fragile old antique bottle, and a rather fascinatingly 'old fashioned' style that I'm not sure you'd find commercially available today. Finish: short, sweet, herbal, honeyed and once again very much towards liqueur. Comments: it's an old bottle that is more anecdotal than for serious sipping. However, I'm pleasantly surprised, I must say. It's probably drifted a long way from what it was when freshly bottled so I don't think we'll bother with a score on this occasion. Oh, the wonders - and frustrations - of sugar! 
SGP: 840 - no score. 



Cognac Grande Fine Champagne (40%, J P Menard et Fils, 2 litres, early 1970s)

Cognac Grande Fine Champagne (40%, J P Menard et Fils, 2 litres, early 1970s)
From a large format 2 litre bottle that they seem to be very fond of in both Cognac and Armagnac. Not sure the correct name in France for a 2 litre bottle, but in Scotland we would say 'party size'. Perhaps that's also why there are far fewer old bottles of whisky than Cognac still out there… Colour: ruddy amber. Nose: rather autumnal with this strong leafy and tobacco vibe, but also a feeling of too much boise. A sticky and slightly unnatural sweetness pervades the nose. There's also some nice notes of sultan and milk chocolate as well. Mouth: indeed, a bit too 'over dosed' I'd say, these flavours of simple caramel, sweetened coffee and milk chocolate are bound up with the usual tobaccos and sultana flavours. Quite herbal too, but overall it's simple and not too interesting. Finish: literally, short and sweet. Comments: perfectly fine for a party I suppose, but this is a good example of the type of Cognac I find both frustratingly sweet and more than a little boring. 
SPG: 740 - 72 points.



JA Hennessy & Co X.O. (OB, -/+1930s)

Jas Hennessy & Co X.O. (OB, -/+1930s)
Colour: amber. Nose: a beautiful aroma that involves peaches, apricots, roses, pollens, leaf mulch, damp pipe tobaccos and cocoa. The definition of elegance and finesse. I also find tiny notes of hand lotion and many softer dark fruits. Stunning freshness after decades in glass. Mouth: perfect arrival, all on soft dark fruits again, more flowers, rosewater, lemon balm, yellow herbal liqueurs, mineral oil, hessian, ointments and a beautifully gentle cocoa note. These herbal qualities combined with darker fruit flavours are just beautiful. Finish: long, with warming spices beginning to emerge, more cocoa, dark fruits and flowers in the aftertaste and a persistent herbal quality. Comments: It's not only in whisky where old bottles can be outstanding. I don't have a current bottling of the Hennessy XO to hand for comparison, but from recent memory, I'm pretty confident it would be sorely matched against this old beauty. 
SGP: 751 - 90 points.  



Pierre Ferrand 'Abel' (40%, OB, Grande Champagne, -/+ 2018)

Pierre Ferrand 'Abel' (40%, OB, Grande Champagne, -/+ 2018)
Said to be 'up to' 45 years old and named after the cellar master who distilled it. Colour: ruby amber. Nose: one of these very lovely and rather decadent noses that feels extremely damp and mulchy, almost soggy with cellar must, rancio, tobacco leaf and gentle earthiness. Also some elegant dark fruits such as sultana and prunes in Armagnac. Mouth: good arrival, despite the low ABV, rather richly on liquorice, treacle, walnut stain and dark fruit loaf. There's even a slight salinity that points towards sherry bodegas! More walnuts, prunes and suggestions of old leather tobacco pouches. Finish: medium, a little bitter, on strong black teas, black pepper and a rather spice-oriented rancio vibe. Comments: all very fine and an extremely sippable old drop - it's just these same issues with ABV and that nagging feeling of some sugar. 
SGP: 561 - 84 points. 



Audry XO (40%, OB, Fine Champagne, -/+ 2015)

Audry XO (40%, OB, Fine Champagne, -/+ 2015)
Created from around 50/50 mix of Petite and Grande Champagne and aged between 12 and 30 years. Colour: orangey gold. Nose: I like this somewhat different and more expressive style that showcases a tad more youthfulness. By which I mean many notes of apricots, peaches in syrup, yellow plums, quince and treacle. There's also flower nectars and pollens in abundance. Quite impressive, feels like a more pure and un-sweetened style. Mouth: once again the younger components are a little more assertive, there's some grippy tannin, earthy black teas, crystallised ginger and citrus rinds, spun sugar and peach syrup. Impressive weight for 40%. Finish: good length, orange marmalade, flower honey on brioche, sweet plums and nectarine. Comments: a very fine and well-balanced drop. I find this slightly fruitier and drier style much to my liking.
SGP: 551 - 87 points. 



Domaine Chainier Très Vielle Reserve (40%, OB, Petite Champagne, +/-2020)

Domaine Chainier Très Vielle Reserve (40%, OB, Petite Champagne, +/-2020)
Aged for around 30 years. Colour: coppery amber. Nose: I find this extremely classy at first, this slightly more elegant rustic quality that feels very Petite Champagne. Lots of glazed orchard fruits, sultanas, peach stones and touches of walnut wine and yellow Chartreuse. Retains some excellent freshness with some lovely notes of orange blossom and pollen. Mouth: good, clean and rather taut arrival. Some clean tannin, pepper, liquorice root, dried herbs and unlit cigars. There's a robustness here that's very appealing. Finish: medium, softer and on leaf mulches, tobaccos and cocoa. Comments: runs out of steam ever so slightly in the finish, but it's otherwise an excellent and nicely charismatic wee drop that feels like a more natural presentation. 
SGP: 561 - 87 points. 



Gourry de Chadeville (40%, OB, Grande Fine Champagne, -/+2015)

Gourry de Chadeville 'Héritage' (40%, OB, Grande Fine Champagne, -/+2015)
Not too much info about this one, but it appears to be 100% Grande Champagne and around £220 online - so probably quite old. Colour: bright amber. Nose: old indeed, an immediate rush of sticky dark fruits, tobaccos and old herbal liqueurs and extracts. Roots, herbs, cocktail bitters and wee touches of fennel, liquorice and quince paste. Rather opulent and direct in style - which I'm not against! Mouth: not quite as impressive as the nose, there's a slight burnt note which suggests rather a lot of sugar, some bitter marmalade, kumquat and pine resins. Looses some of these classier, more elegant qualities. Finish: medium and still quite herbal but also now a bit bitter and cloying. Comments: the nose was pretty great, but the palate falls short I think. Quite an old fashioned style that just feels a bit too sweetened for my palate. 
SGP: 641 - 78 points. 



Hermitage Marie Louise (43%, OB, Grande Champagne, 50 bottles, -/+ 2016) 

Hermitage Marie Louise (43%, OB, Grande Champagne, 50 bottles, -/+ 2016) 
Said to be 60 years old. Colour: bright amber. Nose: ah yes, another territory altogether. Age and Limousin oak brings in rancio and a quality you might describe as 'wood acidity' (what?). Then there's these highly scented notes of furniture polish, oranges baked in Sauternes, hints of rosewater, pressed flowers and pine resins. Beautifully structured and impressively floral. The epitome of a style in Cognac I'd characterise as 'scented'. Mouth: the oak is rather grippy on arrival. Yet the whole remains extremely pure, cleanly spicy, perfectly bitter - bitter herbal extracts - leather, mineral oils and camphor. Then many wee things like cedar wood cigar boxes, winter spices, fig jam and umami paste. Given a little time more fruits dominate, sticky preserved fruits, dried apricot, yellow plums and dried mint. Some kind of slightly extractive exotic fruit teas as well. Finish: medium, a warming peppery glow, some herbal bitterness again, shoe polish and more subtle flower and dried fruit notes. Comments: at times beautifully expressive and at other times on the fragile side. It's gorgeous, but the wood is just a little too dominant to go to the 90 mark I think. 
SGP: 461 - 88 points. 



Vallein Tercinier 43 yo 'Lot 75' (46.9%, Maltbarn, Petite Champagne, 171 bottles, 2020)

Vallein Tercinier 43 yo 'Lot 75' (46.9%, Maltbarn, Petite Champagne, 171 bottles, 2020)
Colour: orangey gold. Nose: superbly bright, fresh and full of apricots, peaches, nectarines in honey and yellow mirabelle. In fact there is quite pronounced 'plummy' fruitiness which ripens towards jams and preserves. Add to that a few apple slices, earth and sultanas and hey presto! Mouth: leaner, tougher and more assertively on freshly baked breads, toasted seeds, cigarette tobacco, dried mint, cumin and mixed dried herbs. Some crystallised citrus fruits and a nice resinous side that also incorporates some umami, miso vibes and a little damp earthiness. Finish: long, full on citrus fruits, oranges, bergamot, blood orange and deeper, earthier flavours of roots and herbs - even a tad medicinal in some places. Comments: high class and totally delicious. Feels nicely rusting and slightly rugged at times. 
SGP: 661 - 89 points. 



Jean-Luc Pasquet 'Lot 62' (40.4%, OB, for Wu Dram Clan, Petite Champagne, +/-2021)

Jean-Luc Pasquet 'Lot 62' (40.4%, OB, for Wu Dram Clan, Petite Champagne, +/-2021)
Colour: mahogany. Nose: superbly exotic, gently spiced and opulently fruity. All the while never loosing sight of these very elegant and quite specific earthy and mulch Petite Champagne characteristics. Lots of aged flower honey, rancio, crystallised exotic fruit chunks, extractive tropical fruit teas and touches of old leather and incense. Gorgeous nose! Mouth: a tad extractive up front, but these wonderfully exotic fruit qualities are persistent and come through on the back of some very pure and bitter dark chocolate and tannic black tea notes. Pure liquorice root, herbal wines and aniseed. In time it gains more of these leaf mulch and damp tobacco qualities while the tannins slacken off slightly. Finish: good length, rather dark, damp, tannic, peppery and full of dried out herbal extracts, rancio, furniture oils and crystallised orange peels. Comments: A totally stunning nose, it's just the slight dryness on the palate that prevents it going past 90 in my book. But it's a wonderful old Cognac, no doubt about it. 
SGP: 661 - 89 points.



Jean-Luc Pasquet 'Nostalgie' (45.6%, OB, Grande Champagne, 500 bottles, 2017)

Jean-Luc Pasquet 'Nostalgie' (45.6%, OB, Grande Champagne, 500 bottles, 2017)
From a mix of vintages, married in 2008 for a further 9 years before bottling. Colour: deep gold. Nose: younger and fresher GC cognac (which would be quite old in whisky terms) more robust and focussed on an even mix of breads, honeys, pressed flowers, tobacco leaf and wee touches of dried apricot and mirabelle. Also a wee hint of marzipan and bouillon. Mouth: cupboard spices, green tea with lemon, herbal wines, cocoa powder, eucalyptus bark and more impressions of dried flowers, crystallised orange peels and linseed oil. The best, bitter seville orange marmalade, kumquat and tangerine. Finish: good length with more classical honeyed qualities, sweet flower nectars, warm brioche, lemon cordial and peach schnapps. Comments: it's amazing how these distillates start to come alive and sing the moment they are presented at a proper bottling strength. Extremely quaffable and classy stuff! 
SGP: 561 -  88 points. 



Petite Champagne 'D67 A52' (49%, Jean Grosperrin for C. Dully, cask #F15, 2020)

Petite Champagne 'D67 A52' (49%, Jean Grosperrin for C. Dully, cask #F15, 2020)
Another selection from Grosperrin's cellars by our friends from Switzerland. What could go wrong here? Colour: amber. Nose: wonderfully scented, highly polished and perfectly poised. Full of gentle aromas of sultanas, dates, quince and candied blood orange peels. Mentholated tobaccos, liquorice root, fruit loaf and a beautifully herbal-accented rancio. A complex and highly detailed aroma that I find totally beautiful. Mouth: power and assertiveness immediately upon arrival, but it remains balanced and fresh too. There's spices and power from the wood, but these remain in check with many studded fruit flavours, crystallised exotic fruits, citrus rinds, peach stones, almond oils and more mentholated touches. This tension between the spices and the fruits is really what creates beauty in these kinds of old, natural strength Cognacs. In time parts of it start to evolve more towards old demerara rums. Although, you also find yourself thinking of 1972 Caperdonich at times as well! Finish: long, perfectly spicy, tannic, herbal, polished and with many wee earthy, mulchy and bitter touches. Terrific! Comments: balanced and beautiful, with everything in its place. Power, structure, fruit, spice, complexity, tension: check! 
SGP: 561 - 91 points.



Font-Borne 1950 (40%, OB, Grande Champagne, 375 bottles, -/+ 2015)

Font-Borne 1950 (40%, OB, Grande Champagne, 375 bottles, -/+ 2015)
Colour: mahogany. Nose: rather deep and plummy with plenty dark, sticky preserved fruits. Fig compote, damson preserve, freshly brewed espresso, hessian cloth and rancio that incorporates very old balsamic and walnut oil. A rather splendid nose that feels quite classy, if a little restrained. Mouth: easy and elegant arrival, more coffee, expensive dark chocolate, black miso, Maggi, herbal seasonings, pu erh tea and mushroom powder. Some ancient Fernet Branca with crystallised citrus peels. It's excellent and feels like a cohesive whole - I'd just say it's lacking a bit of oomph. Finish: good length, more dark fruits, sultana, prunes stewed with spices, even parts that go more towards rustic old Armagnac at points. Comments: I can't shake this feeling that I should be enjoying this more. Everything is in its place and there's a wealth of pleasurable 'stuff' going on. I just can't help but feel a Cognac like this should have been bottled at a higher ABV. Anyway, I'm already a broken record on this matter. 
SGP: 651 - 87 points. 



Hermitage 50 yo (44%, OB, cognac, Grande Champagne, +/2019)

Hermitage 50 yo (44%, OB, cognac, Grande Champagne, +/2019)
From this house that seems to have a lot of older vintage and age stated bottlings but not too much info on origin. Still, quality has been pretty high so far from what I've tasted… Colour: deep amber. Nose: rich and concentrated on old leathers, herbs, spices and dark fruits such as sultanas stewed in old rum, long aged Calvados and peach liqueur. Those few extra degrees of alcohol make a significant qualitative impact on the nose here. Mouth: this impression of very old Calvados comes across on the palate at first as well. Impressions of apple pips, and long aged apple brandy with liquorice root, verbena and damp mentholated pipe tobaccos. Heading very classically towards rancios, plum wine and bitter dark chocolate. Finish: good length, if a little brief in the aftertaste. But a lovely earthy dampness, spiciness and more things like chocolate and herbal bitters. Comments: exactly what you would hope for and expect from a 50yo Grande Champagne cognac - very classy stuff that you can imaging quaffing with abandon from an oversized brandy balloon glass. 
SGP: 561 - 89 points. 



Hermitage 1960 (47%, OB, Grande Champagne, +/-2019)

Hermitage 1960 (47%, OB, Grande Champagne, +/-2019)
Going further back into Hermitage's extensive archives… Colour: mahogany. Nose: now we are really talking. A wonderfully concentrated and vividly expressive profile. Long aged sauternes, plum wines, rancio, green walnut liqueur, mentholated tobaccos, herbal liqueurs and raisins. There's a combination of salty earths and cured meats that makes your mind wander towards Jerez. I also find something like sticky toffee pudding - which feels a lot closer to home but very welcome nonetheless. A beautiful, rather poetic nose. Mouth: yes, very old, slightly dried out sauternes that has taken on a very leafy edge. This Jerez aspect is still present with some very old Spanish brandy suggestions. Then green Chartreuse, mushroom powder, wormwood and hardwood resins. Perfectly bitter and even a tad salty at times. Finish: long, a full of rancio, mint tea, eucalyptus, concentrated dark fruits, tobaccos and top quality dark chocolate. Comments: extremely pleasurable and impressive venerable old Cognac. 
SGP: 461 - 90 points. 



Hermitage 1948 (44.4%, OB, Grande Champagne, +/-2019)

Hermitage 1948 (44.4%, OB, Grande Champagne, +/-2019)
Colour: orangey amber. Nose: noses almost younger than the 1960, which seems to happen often in Cognac. Here there's more pressed flowers, peach stones, exotic fruit teas, dried herbs and unlit cigars. Fresher sweet wine notes, a lighter rancio profile and more specific notes of yellow plums, raisins and sultanas. Pleasurable and very beautiful. Mouth: lighter in style once again, many crystallised fruits, bitter herbal extracts, earthy dark teas, umami seasoning powders, mirabelle eau de vie and touches of hessian, bitter cocoa and eucalyptus bark. Some fir resin and walnut extract as well. Finish: good length, resinous, herbal, nicely bitter and showing some rather precise wood spices like liquorice root, nutmeg and clove. Comments: very, very good, but I think I prefer the cohesiveness of the 1960 by a single notch. 
SGP: 561 - 89 points. 



Hermitage 1923 (43%, OB, Grande Champagne, +/-2019)

Hermitage 1923 (43%, OB, Grande Champagne, +/-2019)
We are going back some distance in time here. Not sure how long this would have spent in cask vs glass… Colour: deep amber. Nose: fuzzy peaches, pot pourri, pressed wild flowers still holding pollens, golden sultanas and top quality Seville orange marmalade. In time there's some more herbal and rooty qualities, liqueurs, bitters, extracts and even some medicines. A sappiness from the wood that is nicely mentholated and balances well with softer spices and damp earthiness. A harmonious and very lovely nose. Mouth: there's a wonderful and subtle sweetness upon arrival, the whole is on flower honeys, peaches, crystallised fruits, wood resins, mead and flower nectars. Even wee hints of things like maple syrup and tea tree oil. Beautiful concentration and fusion of all these wee flavours and characteristics. Finish: long, many wee tertiary earthy, medical, rooty and herbal vibes, raisins, aged marsala and liquorice in the aftertaste. Comments: another top notch very old GC. It starts to display these fresher floral and fruit aspects which, conversely, seem to only appear (or re-appear) with great age. 
SGP: 651 - 90 points.



Grande Champagne N.33-39 (47,4%, Jean Grosperrin for Wu Dram Clan, 2021)

Grande Champagne N.33-39 (47,4%, Jean Grosperrin for Wu Dram Clan, 2021)
There are not many places you can go to order 1930s Cognac that's still in cask! Colour: ruby/amber. Nose: another level. Everything here is deeper, more rounded, more complex and more 'sensual' (if you'll excuse me dipping into the Whisky Bible lexicon for a moment). A beautifully cohesive nose that incorporates date syrup, fig jam, quince jelly, pomegranate molasses and molten liquorice. You can also add bergamot, citrus cordials, exotic fruit teas and some rather ancient, complicated herbal liqueurs. Given time there's also layers of tobaccos, darker, earthier teas, flower nectars and pot pourri. Exquisite, would be the word! Mouth: a tad bigger and more punchy than the nose suggests, surprisingly full of complex, intricate spices, dark grained breads, flower honeys, old madeira, many more mentholated and herbal qualities and the most beautiful dark chocolate. This syrupy orange oil and cocktail bitter side arises over time - almost like drinking a very expensive old fashioned. Lemon lozenges, herbal throat sweets and marzipan. Finish: long, clean, tense and full of bitter chocolate, wood spices, dried herbs and toasted walnuts. Stays the course to the very end! Comments: the trouble with these very old Cognacs, is that you have to kind of pinch yourself every so often and remember what you are drinking. A style that obviously converges at points with some very old whiskies or rums, yet ultimately remains its own, very beautiful, thing. 
SGP: 461 - 92 points.




More tasting notesCheck the index of all cognac we've tasted so far


January 8, 2022





Angus's Corner
From our correspondent and
skilled taster Angus MacRaild in Scotland
Three Glen Moray
I have a big soft spot for Glen Moray, they rarely disappoint I find. And even today, there are quite a few casks around which stand above many other Speysiders I think. Let's try three of them today.


Glen Moray 2008/2021 (54.9%, Francis Cuthbert private cask, cask #5576, bourbon barrel, 233 bottles)

Glen Moray 2008/2021 (54.9%, Francis Cuthbert private cask, cask #5576, bourbon barrel, 233 bottles)
Colour: straw. Nose: quite sweet, but naturally so, a very classy modern 1st fill barrel at first nosing. Lots of posh custard made with dessert wines, coconut water, gorse flower, barley sugars and lemon curd. The epitome of very good modern whisky, a profile which it is hard to be against when presented humbly like this. With water: a little firmer, a notch drier and a few more subtle things like lemon peels, dried herbs and miso. Still overall quite sweet and fresh though. Mouth: good arrival, rather fat and juicy. Lots of vanilla cream, custard pastries, light grassiness, sunflower oil, buttered oatcakes and some hints of sandalwood and mineral oils. With water: as on the nose it's more chalky, grassy, citric and herbal with touches of tiger balm and wintergreen. Very good. Finish: medium in length, sweet but balanced, lemon marmalade, barley sugar again, malt extract and sweet breakfast cereals. Comments: Have you noticed how modern Glen Moray actually tends to be very good?
SGP: 641 - 87 points.



Glen Moray 23 yo 1996/2020 (55.5%, The Whisky Cellar, cask #7849, bourbon barrel, 115 bottles)
Glen Moray 23 yo 1996/2020 (55.5%, The Whisky Cellar, cask #7849, bourbon barrel, 115 bottles)

Glen Moray 23 yo 1996/2020 (55.5%, The Whisky Cellar, cask #7849, bourbon barrel, 115 bottles)
Colour: straw. Nose: one of these extremely natural and charming Speyside noses that's just riddled with straw, freshly kilned malt, crushed oatcakes, breakfast cereals and things like runny honey and golden syrup. You can also add to that some granny smith apples and cider apples smooshed together with a few drops of pumpkinseed oil. A nose you could describe as simple but also complex (what?) I find it effortlessly charming, a style it's impossible to be against. With water: goes further down this route of crispness and sharpness with things like nettle, spearmint and a little mentholated tobacco. Mouth: dusty malt bins (which I eat regularly) watercress, fennel, dried mint and barley sugars with lemon peel. A feeling of crunchiness as well which is quite funny and some nicely tart green acidity, white pepper and gooseberry notes. Fun stuff! With water: becomes fatter and oilier in texture which is very appealing. Olive oil, bouquet garni of dried herbs, flower pollens and quite a few notes of beers such as IPAs and old school shilling ales. Finish: medium in length and becoming rather savoury, on soda breads, fruit scone mix and touches of turmeric and tarragon. Comments: playful, unassuming and effortless - which seems to increasingly be my watchword for these extremely charming Glen Morays. Same quality as the Cuthbert Cask.
SGP: 551 - 87 points.



Glen Moray 10 yo 1986/1997 (59.1%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #35.15)

Glen Moray 10 yo 1986/1997 (59.1%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #35.15)
An random oldie from the middle years of the SMWS - there were sublime whiskies during this era, and also total clunkers. Let's see which end of the spectrum this wee Glen Moray strays towards… Colour: pale straw. Nose: quite a different style, this is bolder, fatter, drier and more petrolic. A richer style of distillate overall but still rather classy I think. Barley sugars, lemon barley water, chalk, putty and pressed flowers. With water: really now on white flowers, chalk, pollens, sunflower oil, bread dough and oatcakes. Austere, but lightly so. Mouth: there's old style, then there's modern style, and then there's something like this, which we should perhaps start calling 'middle style'. A rather lovely mix of petrols, cooking oils, mineral oils, putty, linseed oil, lemon peel, citronella and toasted seeds, brown bread and various types of scone dough. Some wee hints of white stone fruit as well. Quite different from the other two but this is high quality distillate. With water: nutty muesli, more thick cooking oils, watercress, lanolin and suet. The texture is really quite thick now, emphasising all these oils and putty vibes. Finish: good length, rather dry, chiselled, sharp and peppery with chunky cereals and toasted breads. Comments: the fun side of intellectual whiskies. A definite departure in distillate style from the other two, but this is still high quality, very fun, characterful whisky. I doubt there's too many other Speysiders from this production era that would stand up well at this age in relatively restrained wood. 87 again, so: strike!
SGP: 461 - 87 points.




More tasting notesCheck the index of all Glen Moray we've tasted so far


January 7, 2022



Four More Aultmore

I haven't been doing these extremely lousy alliterative headlines for months (they work with Bowmore and Ardmore too, and let's not forget Convalmore or Tormore) but I would suspect they have been missed by exactly no one. Right. So, a few more Aultmore, at random…


Aultmore 14 yo 2006/2021 (52.5%, Maltbarn, bourbon, 160 bottles)

Aultmore 14 yo 2006/2021 (52.5%, Maltbarn, bourbon, 160 bottles) Three stars and a half
Colour: light gold. Nose: awesome soft oiliness (peanut and sunflower oils) with whiffs of fresh panettone and kougelhopf. Then nougat and macaroons, and then rather some tighter citrus, grapefruit and tangerines, plus some grist at a distillery. With water: some unexpected candlewax and even some raw paraffin. Mouth (neat): more austere on the palate, very much on beers and lemons, and rather grassier than on the nose. Mint tea with a slice of lemon, apple peel... With water: a little bitterer, with some green tea, grass, perhaps a little spinach and certainly a lot of chlorophyl, green pepper, then a chalky side. Finish: medium, very grassy. Comments: this rather austere baby was very good, but maybe a little hard to reach. Perhaps rather part of the intellectual malts.
SGP:451 - 84 points.

Aultmore 8 yo (67.5%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, sherry,  #73.116, 'Nobody Expects The Spanish Inquisition', 579 bottles, 2020)

Aultmore 8 yo (67.5%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, sherry,  #73.116, 'Nobody Expects The Spanish Inquisition', 579 bottles, 2020) Two stars and a half
Bottled for The Spanish Inquisition. I mean, it was a Bath Street Exclusive. I've heard the guy responsible for finding the names had just found quite a few magic mushrooms in his garden. Colour: gold. Nose: acidic, hurting a bit, with some chocolate as well, and really a lot of ethanol. I mean, no wonder even the Spanish inquisition passed up the proposal… With water: butterscotch and chocolate ale, caramel cream, Demerara sugar, roasted peanut, turon… Mouth (neat): ouch. Caramel vodka and huge quantities of nutmeg. Really tough. With water: easier but still a little rough, with a sherry that's full of bay leaves and cloves. Finish: rough, grassier, with some burnt bread and caramel. Feelings of cough medicine, spend grapes and lees in the aftertaste. Comments: rather brutal young malt whisky. Tends to improve over time but it would remain a very rustic young sherry monster. Tough guy.
SGP:372 - 77 points.

Aultmore 22 yo (58.9%, Master of Malts, Darkness, oloroso finish, cask #10358/3600, +/-2020)

Aultmore 22 yo (58.9%, Master of Malts, Darkness, oloroso finish, cask #10358/3600, +/-2020) Two stars
A three month finish in octaves, what could go wrong? Colour: amber. Nose: moss, eucalyptus, humus, even compost, Christmas tree, pine needles, retsina… With water: putty, fresh paint, terpenes, young spruce… Mouth (neat): pine liqueur, chocolate, genepy, aniseed, old ham and turpentine. Rather a lot of turpentine… With water: same kind of combo. I'm sure the oak was oak, but you cannot not think of softwood. Finish: long but very resinous, with some cloves too, a lot of juniper, cumin, leaves, bitter mint, chewing tobacco… Comments: holy featherless crow, what was that? Some sides are intriguing, some being even 'good', but it's really very experimenthol (claps!)
SGP:271 - 70 points.

We got to try to stop the point loss…

Aultmore 10 yo 2010/2020 'My Name Is Nobody' (51.2%, Whisky Facile, PX sherry barrel, cask #9918001)

Aultmore 10 yo 2010/2020 'My Name Is Nobody' (51.2%, Whisky Facile, PX sherry barrel, cask #9918001) Four stars
'Eccentric Drinks for Space Travel', that's how they define their range so I would suppose we'll find some musk in there, although the name of this bottle would also suggest spaghettis… And the PX, PX. Colour: gold. Nose: clearly wine, but not PX, rather some semi sweet Tokaji or something. The earthiness behind that works well and so do the roasted pecans, pine nuts and barley. Some pan-fried polenta too (not saying that because the honourable bottlers are Italian) before it would then calm down and get back to breads and cakes. Success so far. With water: leather, tobacco, patchouli and garden earth, or potting soil. Old Madeira, or any old white wine that started to oxidise while remaining very drinkable. Mouth (neat): a tad hot, on kirschwasser and slivovitz, with a feeling of ultra-fortified PX or, you're right, brandy de Jerez. Chocolate, Mon Chéri, some leaves and some small sour and bitter fruits. Wild berries. With water: it is the best part once you got it down to 45% (approx.) Gets very dry and nutty, with a lot of tobacco and then black olives or even capers. Sicilian capers, naturally. Finish: long and dry. Some old Sauternes that went totally dry. Comments: Hallelujah! I mean, like that famous chorus in Haendel's Messiah.
SGP:561 - 86 points.

(Thank you Tim!)

More tasting notesCheck the index of all Aultmore we've tasted so far


January 6, 2022


A couple of Braeval 1997

I'll say it again, we love these moderately notorious distilleries at Whiskyfun and shall seize any opportunity to try some of their output 'that would tend to fly under the radars'. Braes of Glenlivet was built in 1974 by Chivas (part of Seagram at that time), mothballed in 2002 and restarted by new owners Pernod Ricard in 2008. Pernod have changed the name to Braeval to avoid any confusion with their flaghsip distillery Glenlivet but many keep using both names. Including, err, us.

Braes of Glenlivet 22 yo 1997/2020 (57.8%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, refill bourbon hogshead, #113.35, 'Lemons on the lawn', 237 bottles)

Braes of Glenlivet 22 yo 1997/2020 (57.8%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, refill bourbon hogshead, #113.35, 'Lemons on the lawn', 237 bottles) Four stars 
Oh they already had thirty-five Braes/Braeval at the SMWS! Not too bad! But is it Braeval or Braes? You wouldn't know since the Society only uses numbers. This one was part of their Advent Calendar 2021. Colour: white wine. Nose: this time the name's really spot on. Lemons and cut grass, apple peel, raw white calvados, limestone and chalk, then porridge and ink… I don't quite know why, I'm reminded of Glen Spey. With water: porridge and chalk all the way. Mouth (neat): ultra-tight, more vertical than any tower in Dubai and more grassy than all the lawns at Wimbledon. Some raw myrtle too, dry bean curd, and indeed a lot of lemon but first rather raw zests this time, and only then as limoncello. With water: sweeter, with more limoncello and lemon gumdrops. They may have distilled sauvignon blanc, actually. Finish: medium but tensed like a bow. Lemons on the lawn indeed. Comments: wasn't the cask rather some kind of concrete egg, as some use in wine? In any case, I like this really a lot.

SGP:561 - 87 points.

Braeval 24 yo 1997/2021 (49.3%, Quaich Bar Singapore, hogshead, 190 bottles)

Braeval 24 yo 1997/2021 (49.3%, Quaich Bar Singapore, hogshead, 190 bottles) Four stars and a half
This one was selected by legendary former Springbank manager Frank McHardy, let's see if he chose a fatter, waxier, sootier Braeval…  Colour: gold. Nose: not quite, this is tight, citrusy and grassy as well, which is not bad news mind you. So it is rather similar, only with a little more dough indeed, raisin rolls, perhaps streusels, as well as whiffs of banana skin. A few easter small eggs too. Mouth: same similarities and same differences, well Lemons on the lawn indeed. Apple peelings and limoncello, Lemon Drop (the cocktail) and lemon drops (the sweets), green tea, a tiny mentholated touch (peppermint) and perhaps one drop of Bénédictine. No wonder this was done for a high-class bar. Finish: pretty long, a tad fatter, with faint echoes of coconut and banana, otherwise all on limoncello and Bénédictine. And peppermint liqueur in the aftertaste. Very refreshing. Comments: could be that an excellent mixologist could reconstruct this one using ingredients he/she would have got behind the bar. I find it really brilliant, if not surprisingly brilliant.

SGP:661 - 89 points.

We'll have some sherried Braevals next time. In the meantime…

More tasting notesCheck the index of all Braeval we've tasted so far


January 5, 2022


A trio of Knockando


Always a joy to try this easier malt that remains a big hit in France. Sometimes you need easier sessions, especially during this very busy season…

1983 ->
Remember that in Scotch whisky, age doesn't matter but time does. Sure, be my guest.

Knockando 15 yo 2005/2020 (43%, OB, Richly Matured)

Knockando 15 yo 2005/2020 (43%, OB, Richly Matured) Two stars and a half
This one's 'Richly Matured', while other official Knockandos are rather 'Slow Matured'. This is a familiar label in our wee country… Colour: light gold. Nose: I find it rather less sherried and rather grassier and nuttier than before. Some pils and some bitterer black teas, walnut skins, whiffs of button mushrooms, toasts, and just a mocha-spoon of dark honey… Mouth: rather light, malty and on beers, with some toffee, Nescafé, breads and leaves. Something a little bitter, some green walnuts, a wee dustiness, some oak spices, Seville oranges… I find it pretty fine, perhaps actually a tad rounder than last time, not too sure. Finish: a little short and tea-ish. More oak spices, leaves and a little cardboard in the aftertaste. Remains very okay, though. Comments: nothing earthshattering but a rather good drop.
SGP:451 - 79 points.

Knockando 18 yo 2001/2019 (43%, OB, Slow Matured)

Knockando 18 yo 2001/2019 (43%, OB, Slow Matured) Four stars
I believe this is the latest vintage of the 18. Colour: pale amber. Nose: a whole different game, with some richer sherry, perhaps drops of moscatel, various honeys and nougats, pastries, orange blossom water, Turkish delights, old wine barrels, Jaffa cakes… Well this is really pleasant on the nose. Mouth: really better than I remembered it from earlier vintages, with indeed more honey, sweet wine (gewurz VT), some apricot jam, also something exotic with some mango jelly… Lovely notes of homemade marmalade too, then some cocoa powder. Finish: medium, more drying because of that cocoa powder, but very fine, with these jams that are still here. Honey-coated roasted pecans in the aftertaste, really a hit in any household. Some Smyrna raisins too. Comments: really better than I remembered the 18, is there an actual vintage effect? High quaffability ratio.
SGP:541 - 85 points.

Signatory are having some indie Knockandos from time to time, which is cool…

Knockando 12 yo 2007/2020 (46%, Signatory Vintage, Un-chillfiltered Collection, hogsheads, casks #304095-304097)

Knockando 12 yo 2007/2020 (46%, Signatory Vintage, Un-chillfiltered Collection, hogsheads, casks #304095-304097) Three stars
Colour: virtually white. Nose: pure crushed barley, grist, porridge, then white asparagus and granny smith. A drop of lime juice, a little yoghurt, something slightly acetic. A toddler's gym socks. Mouth: very little wood, rather a mentholy and sugary development, some curaçao perhaps, peppermint syrup, white chocolate, apple juice… It's actually pretty simple, and even a little newmakey here and there, but it is a good eau-de-vie de barley. Finish: medium, pretty naked. Barley syrup. Cappuccino in the aftertaste. Comments: sadly, the very good official 18 would tend to try to kill this one. I remember a sister batch (casks #304102-304106) that had been more to my liking. Still a perfectly good one, in my humble opinion.
SGP:541 - 80 points.

Next Knockando session, perhaps in 2023.

More tasting notesCheck the index of all Knockando we've tasted so far


January 4, 2022


Tormore at random

Tormore at random as we sometimes like to do this, one at a time and as they come out of the boxes and off the shelves, without any form of logic. For more fun.

Tormore 27 yo 1992/2020 (43.7%, Berry Bros. & Rudd for Kirsch Import, Odessa Black Wine cask, cask #101153)

Tormore 27 yo 1992/2020 (43.7%, Berry Bros. & Rudd for Kirsch Import, Odessa Black Wine cask, cask #101153) Four stars
I would suppose the wine was one of those thickish Crimeans, Massandra-style. Or, yes, PX-style. Let's see if this is for the Czars amongst us… Colour: between apricots and proper Scottish smoked salmon. Nose: touches of cellar earth and saltpetre at first, while peonies and nectarines are soon to jump to your nostrils. Peaches, raisins, prickly pears and cranberry juice, bruised bananas, crystallised cherries and liquorice allsorts, then sweet soft mustard sauce, walnut wine, moist gingerbread, and just a wee touch of tar… Mouth: sweet and very fruity, we're almost in gewurztraminer territory. Some cherry jam, more cranberries, honeysuckle, a little banana liqueur… Would become meady after a short while, with a little pine resin too. Cough syrup. Finish: medium, rather rich but the citrus keep it fresh. Figs and muscat grapes, plus oranges in the aftertaste. Oranges will save the world. Comments: a pretty scary set-up that ended very well. I'm really pleased with this one ans shall now check what that Odessa Black Wine really is. I know I'm turning this job inside out.
SGP:741 - 87 points.

Tormore 22 yo 1995/2018 (46%, The Whisky Lodge, Orcines, hogshead, cask #20035)

Tormore 22 yo 1995/2018 (46%, The Whisky Lodge, Orcines, hogshead, cask #20035) Four stars and a half
Colour: gold. Nose: first whiffs of wood smoke, then an impeccable fruitiness (orchard fruits, plums and apples…) and what we call oriental pastries, which are all led by honey, orange blossom and rosewater. A big fat honey cake straight from the oven and some preserved mirabelles that would remind me of middle-aged Balvenie. Now, there are hardly 15 miles between Tormore and Dufftown, which is like a 7 hour drive. Of course I'm joking, that would rather be twenty minutes. Mouth: real good, sweet, rather rich and syrupy, full of liqueurs, jams and syrups. I'll mention mirabelles again, quinces, and certainly figs. Very good and the 46% vol. work extremely well. Finish: rather long, with a wee smokiness once more (botrytis?) and just more mirabelle jam. More citrus in the aftertaste. Comments: some bottled sin that would tend to jump into your throat if you're not careful. I find this really excellent.
SGP:641 - 88 points.

Tormore 31 yo 1990/2021 (50.2%, Chapter 7, bourbon barrel, 239 bottles)

Tormore 31 yo 1990/2021 (50.2%, Chapter 7, bourbon barrel, 239 bottles) Four stars and a half
Colour: gold. Nose: sameish, wonderfully fruity, western, perhaps with a little more pastry dough, fresh brioche, otherwise indeed, mirabelles, quinces and orange blossom water. With water: vegetal oils, peanut oil, croissants… Mouth (neat): rather sublime, and different this time. Fresh broken branches, white asparagus, sunflower oil, mirabelles, earl grey, marzipan, blancmange, bananas… Sublime, really sublime. It doesn't really need any water, but since we're here and since our stocks of Vittel have been replenished… With water: pure, gorgeous, exceptional malty barleyness, and just a few gritty, leafier elements. Green tea, unsweetened, and green bananas. Finish: perhaps a notch less 'wow' because of all this green tea, otherwise it would have made it to 90 in my wee book. Comments: this, I suppose, is where blenders would have added a little oomph using 15% younger Tormore. But then you would have lost the lovely age statement and would have had to come up with both a silly name and an unlikely story. An elf roaming the warehouses at night, etcetera.
SGP:551 - 88 points.

Tormore 31 yo 1990/2021 (53%, Whisky Spunge, 1st fill barrels, 422 bottles)

Tormore 31 yo 1990/2021 (53%, Whisky Spunge, 1st fill barrels, 422 bottles) Four stars and a half
The Sponge's, I mean the Spunge's take on retro labelling. What will future generations of whisky lovers think and believe when they'll see this as whiskysuperauctiondelamuerte.com? They'll say it's a fake since they've written Spunge instead of Sponge. Now if this lousy website is still up, they'll find the answer. Colour: gold. Nose: this is a rather breadier offering, while the core would have remained mostly on orchard fruits, plums, apples… Brioche-y bread running the show. Brioche-y bread is perfect with foie gras when toasted. Then some mentholy lemons, which would just lift it, and perhaps touches of candied turnips in olive oil and honey sauce. With water: gooseberries and greengages! Mouth (neat): richer, waxier than the previous 1990, fatter as well. Beeswax, mead, Meursault and mirabelles. I agree there's not a throwaway here. With water: gets wilder, earthier, and waxier yet. Finish: rather long. More rustic, fermentary, and with more stewed apples. A touch of coconut in the aftertaste – there, down twenty points. I'm joking. Comments: very good. Careful with water though, don't add more than one or two drops or it may react bizarrely.
SGP:551 - 88 points.

We're rather on a stroll, are we not? Let's check an OB…

Tormore 16 yo (48%, OB, +/-2020)

Tormore 16 yo (48%, OB, +/-2020) Four stars
There are batch numbers but I've missed that one this time. Last time I tried the 16 that was a '2014' and I really liked it (WF 83) even if we were far from the indies we've just tried. Colour: gold. Nose: very nice, on patchouli, IPA, hops, tangerines and custard. There's something ooh-ah here, or as we would say in Mittelleuropa, something with quite some hoppla. Imagine, there are even mangos! Mouth: hey but this is excellent. Wonderful syrupy tropical fruits, flowers (lime), honey, citrons, mangos indeed, and a feeling of… both Bushmills and Redbreast. Is that normal? Is that me? Finish: long, with always as many tropical fruits led by mangos. Juicyfruit. Comments: right, Tormore belongs to Pernod and so does Redbreast… There might be a plot there… But it's a wonderful drop for sure, this newer batch of Tormore 16. Oh and don't Pernod own mango fields? The plot thickens…
SGP:641 - 87 points.

Tormore 28 yo 1992 (47.3%, Thompson Brothers, refill hogshead, 252 bottles, +/-2020)

Tormore 28 yo 1992 (47.3%, Thompson Brothers, refill hogshead, 252 bottles, +/-2020) Five stars
Love the label, it makes me think of Del Maguey's mezcals. It's true that with global warming, they'll soon grow magueys/agaves around Ballindalloch, as well as in Dornoch for that matter. Colour: gold. Nose: this is purer, rather all on peaches, bananas, mangos and honeys, but not in a wham-bam way. Wonderful but having said that, it's got an Irish side as well. A little sandalwood and incense. Mouth: pure indeed, even if there's a saltiness growing here, sardines stewed in mango and blood orange juice, pink grapefruits, small seashells (whelks and winkles)… This sure comes unexpected, this much coastalness in a Tormore! Absolutely wonderful cask. What was in there before they filled the Tormore, I don't know. It would be cool to know. Finish: medium, superb. Salty citrus and maracuja, with some liquorice in the aftertaste. Comments: we've found a 90, so our soul is tranquillo but our heart is still willing… Amazing drop, well done Phil and Simon.
SGP:552 - 90 points.

Tormore 32 yo 1988/2020 (47.1%, The Whisky Agency, Keep Going, hogshead, 187 bottles)

Tormore 32 yo 1988/2020 (47.1%, The Whisky Agency, Keep Going, hogshead, 187 bottles) Four stars and a half
Keep Going, isn't that a very Johnnie-Walker kind of motto? Colour: gold. Nose: once you've got those fab old Irish in your mind (Midleton, Bushmills) you're virtually dead as you just couldn't get them out. Mangos honey patchouli earth prickly pears eucalyptus bidis Juicyfruit all-vitamin juice puréed passion fruit and Kools. Mouth: the oldness feels a little more, with a little more pine-y oak, mint, heavy liquorice and mocha. Having said that the very expressive fruits are still there as well, together with assorted honeys and fruity herbs. That woodruff that we'll cherish forever until we join our friends in the Whisky Walhalla. Finish: medium, but with a similar saltiness as that in the stunning Thompson's. Which is intriguing… Comments: loved the tobacco in the nose. Kools, do they still make them?
SGP:661 - 88 points.

Oh, we still had this older one from Cadenhead's…

Tormore 33 yo 1984/2017 (51.7%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon, 132 bottles)

Tormore 33 yo 1984/2017 (51.7%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon, 132 bottles) Four stars
Colour: gold. Nose: much, much, and I mean much leafier than the others. A lot of chlorophyll, leaves, stems, grasses… well you see what I mean. Loads of patchouli, apple peel, fresh walnuts, melon skin… That's absolutely not bad news, but water will have to put its acts together… With water: malt, bread, beer. I know, doesn't sound too extravagant, but after 33 years, finding bread in a malt whisky is like finding water on Mars. Is there life on Mars? A God-awful small affair indeed (S., that last part was just plain ridiculous). Mouth (neat): oh good, it is now full of fruits and herbs, citrus, mint, eucalyptus, liquorice, aniseed… What a wonderful arrival. Let's see what Vittel will do to it (Nestlé, where's that bloody Lamborghini?) With water: provided you do not add too much H2O, you'll be left with a very liquoricy and citrusy malt. Just one drop please, or… Finish: yeah it doesn't swim too well. Keep it neat. Mentholy, herbal finish. Comments: the nose was a little uncertain but the palate was stunning. Well, water rather kills it (tannins coming out like gremlins from under your desk).
SGP:571 - 87 points.

Tormore 27 yo 1988/2015 (50%, Golden Cask, cask #CM225, 226 bottles)

Tormore 27 yo 1988/2015 (50%, Golden Cask, cask #CM225, 226 bottles) Four stars
We know they don't swim, so we won't add any waters this time. So much for viscometrical observations! I mean, viscimetrical ones. We learn, that's evolution in motion, is it not. Colour: white wine. Nose: more on peelings, herbs, grasses and leaves. Mouth: more citrus, tart lemons, limoncello, manzana verde liqueur. Finish: long, grassy and lemony. Very very zesty. Comments: it's not a matter of water, this is an excellent ultra-tart Tormore, it's just that it would cut you into halves if you're not careful enough. Big acidity.
SGP:651 - 85 points.

Good, a last one. Perhaps another Golden Cask…

Tormore 26 yo 1988/2015 (53.3%, Golden Cask, cask #CM226, 278 bottles)

Tormore 26 yo 1988/2015 (53.3%, Golden Cask, cask #CM226, 278 bottles) Four stars
A sister cask, obviously, and more lemons, I would presume... Please fasten your seatbelt… Colour: gold. Nose: he-he, no, this is rounder one, with more honey and mangos, more Irishness in a way, a little more beeswax as well, meadow flowers, soft custard, orange blossom… No, we said no waterz. Mouth: I really like this, it's got this sauvignon-blanc-like kind of backbone, this lovely uncompromising tartness, and yet these luscious oranges and grapefruits, with even a little litchi in the end of the end (of the end). Finish: long and realty very grassy. Green peppers and lemon zests. A lot of pepper in the aftertaste, you would almost believe you've just had the harshest chilli con carne in Chihuahua. Whatever.  Comments: it went back to the tightest lemons, but it's a superb juice for sure. I'm sure you could make some billionaire's margarita out of this.
SGP:661 - 87 points.

Ten Tormores of good age and of high quality, that's what I would call a tasting session. Hugs.

More tasting notesCheck the index of all Tormore we've tasted so far


January 3, 2022


a few

What's a little difficult is to avoid the peaters as some are labelled as 'Bunnahabhain' instead of Moine or Staoisha or stuff. Unless we would just let it all go and see what happens…


Bunnahabhain 14 yo 2004/2019 (46%, The Whisky Lodge, Orcines, refill sherry butt, cask #3599)

Bunnahabhain 14 yo 2004/2019 (46%, The Whisky Lodge, Orcines, refill sherry butt, cask #3599) Four stars
Always happy with this series, many are pretty 'pure', whatever that means. Colour: light gold. Nose: it is a very coastal one, it's not that often that you come across this style that would display some kelp, seashells, then grass and cider apples as well as a little mineral wax, or engine oil. It is not a peater. Mouth: as always the 46-strength is perfect. This is very salty, to the point where you would almost believe that there's some peat too, while there isn't any. Other than that we find leaves and peelings, grass, seaweed (wakame), lemon zests and, for sport, a small oyster. Finish: long, tight, pretty peppery and salty, 'green', and indeed still coastal. Grassy, greatly bitter aftertaste, with some quinaquina. A touch of coconut in the final signature. Comments: a lovable tight and bitterish drop, without much sherry if any. I'm sure this would go well with oysters or gravlax.
SGP:361 - 86 points.

Bunnahabhain Moine 8 yo 2012/2021 (57.6%, The Whisky Blues, cask #0001349, 315 bottles)

Bunnahabhain Moine 8 yo 2012/2021 (57.6%, The Whisky Blues, cask #0001349, 315 bottles) Three stars and a half
Charming label but there, this is a peated Bunnahabhain. Colour: straw. Nose: we often mention Laphroaig's medicinal side but we're almost in a hospital here. Huge tincture of iodine, mercurochrome, arnica, various embrocations, bandages, then seawater and a rather rubbery smoke, although it would all remain tight and highly focused. Celeriac in brine. With water: more coal tar, old ropes, Barbour grease… Mouth (neat): extremely compact, on tar, smoke, seawater and lemons. Millimetric drop (not saying it's small, naturally). In the background, a grassy grittiness that would remind me of some style of the Jamaican rum Monymusk. This feelings of crunching some unripe olives and Seville oranges from the trees (which all tourist would do… once.) With water: sweeter, easier, with a little menthol. Finish: long, a little medicinal again. Raw rhubarb and lemon. Comments: perhaps a little W.I.P., but excellent, if still a wee tad simplistic at this point.

SGP:466 - 84 points.

Bunnahabhain 11 yo 2009/2020 (50.2%, Earlskine, 1st fill sherry, 132 bottles)

Bunnahabhain 11 yo 2009/2020 (50.2%, Earlskine, 1st fill sherry, 132 bottles) Four stars
With one of Da Vinci's flying inventions on the label, or is it Baron Munchausen's? Colour: gold. Nose: oh cool, long time no old copper coins and metal polish on little Whiskyfun! Add red cabbage stewed in liquid shoe polish plus probably a little eggplant-and-asparagus soup and you'll get the picture. Some lamp oil too, as well as the expected walnut wine from the sherry. Tricky nose, I mean the nose is lovely but this style doesn't always bode well for the palate, let's see… With water: classy and very amontillado-y. Pass the olives and the jabugo please. Mouth (neat): well, there's a big sherryness for sure and indeed truffles and spent engine oil, but that's all very fine, not excessive at all, and rather part of a registered style, if I may say so. Love the walnuts and the notes of bone-dry Madeira. With water: indeed, all fine, dry sherry all over the place, oak spices, cinnamon mints, more walnuts… Finish: long, with some tobacco, walnuts, spicy raisin bread and more dry Madeira in the aftertaste. Comments: exactly the opposite of the ultra-clean Orcines, but I find it just as excellent. Not a very common style of sherry monster.
SGP:461 - 86 points.

Bunnahabhain Staoisha 7 yo 2013 (58.9%, The Collaboration, Whisky Shop Neumarkt, Port Charlotte wine barrique finish, 284 bottles)

Bunnahabhain Staoisha 7 yo 2013 (58.9%, The Collaboration, Whisky Shop Neumarkt, Port Charlotte wine barrique finish, 284 bottles) Four stars
Do you believe in circular economy? All we'd need now is a winemaker who'd make wine again in this barrique, and presto. I would just guess that you'd need to do a little rejuvenation from time to time, so a little scratching and charring. Until the staves have become as thin as cigarette paper… By the way I don't know if there are any differences between the Moines and the Staoishas. Colour: white wine. Nose: no wine in sight and as far as the PC's concerned, I'm sure I could feel it in an Auchentoshan, but certainly not in a Staoisha. Or I would be bragging… Long story short, iodine, bandages, rubber boots, seawater, green lemons, kippers, peat smoke. Simply pristine and pristinely simple. With water: I'd swear I'm feeling a Port-Ellen side. A slightly acetic side, quite some tar, fresh concrete, tarmac, muddy fields… Mouth (neat): pure peat and limoncello, with one or two oysters. Fat mouth feel. With water: the Port Charlotte may feel a wee bit. Graphite oil, some fattish tar… Not too sure, really. Finish: long and really very tarry. Ashy aftertaste. Comments: it's good fun to try to find your bearings here. I'm wondering if that barrique wasn't rather made from Allier oak rather than Tronçais. Why do you say I must be jesting?

SGP:557 - 85 points.

Bunnahabhain Staoisha 7 yo 2013/2021 (64.1%, La Maison du Whisky, Artist Collective 5.0)

Bunnahabhain Staoisha 7 yo 2013/2021 (64.1%, La Maison du Whisky, Artist Collective 5.0) Four stars
Boy are these all young. I've known vodkas that were older back in the 1970s. Colour: white wine. Nose: a modern boosted one. Butterscotch gives it away, always. Smoked mocha, cappuccino, much more butterscotch yet, a pack of Werther's Original, then spearmint and crab cakes. With water: back to the seashore, with seaweed and oysters. Bandages are back too. Mouth (neat): massive, this is almost limoncello, distilled and aged in heated new oak. Now careful, 64%+… Hold on, wouldn't it destroy Omicron? With water: I see, more limoncello, fudge, olive brine, and just a huge amount of smoke. Finish: very long, peaty, lemony, salty… Some eucalyptus syrup too. Comments: totally in the style of Dr Swan. What's miraculous is that we haven't found any vanilla. By the way, whether modern or not, I think it's a brilliant drop at just 7. The style of a smart new world distillery made in Victorian facilities on Islay. A little mad…

SGP:567 - 87 points.

Bunnahabhain 12 yo 2009/2021 (67.1%, Quaich Bar Singapore, sherry butt, 520 bottles)

Bunnahabhain 12 yo 2009/2021 (67.1%, Quaich Bar Singapore, sherry butt, 520 bottles) Three stars
They had an excellent OB for them a few months or years ago. This one's been bottled at a murderous strength (let me call my lawyer) and was probably stored in a dry and warm place, as the strength sure went up. In a gallery right below Glasgow Central Station? Colour: gold. Nose: cakes and black nougats, it seems, but we won't push our luck. Vittel, to our rescue! With water: I'm having a little trouble finding the right dilution, but I do find a little miso beyond all the walnut wine and cake. There's some coconut (bourbon style) but to be frank, I'm not sure you could bring down such a spirit from 67 to 45% vol. within only minutes. That's the limits of this kind of exercise. Mouth (neat): feels good, nutty and cakey. Perhaps some ginger marmalade? But… With water: a wee feeling of old grain whisky, bourbon indeed, with notes of varnish and coconut. It kind of lost me. Finish: medium. Comments: look, we'll put a conservatory score and keep a few cls that we'll now reduce and rebottle until the next Bunny session. Something isn't exactly right and that's not the original spirit.

SGP:630 - 80 points.

Bunnahabhain 19 yo 2001/2021 'Ester Elektion' (54.3%, The Whisky Show London 2021, Superheroes of Flavour, sherry butt)

Bunnahabhain 19 yo 2001/2021 'Ester Elektion' (54.3%, The Whisky Show London 2021, Superheroes of Flavour, sherry butt) Four stars
With a portrait of our friend Dawn Davies MW on the label. I've first read 'Easter Elections' and couldn't not think of Monsieur Macron here... Colour: gold. Nose: back to earth, literally. Awesome earthy and rooty notes, turnip and celeriac, then patchouli and bidis (zen!), then raisins and a little mint sauce. Some mead too, as well as a little linseed oil. With water: typical 'easy' Bunnahabhain, honeyed and nutty. A drop of ale, one of stout, one of PX. Mouth (neat): a little hotter and richer, rounder too, with a slice of pecan pie, some chicory coffee (Ricoré), muscovado, fruitcake, chestnut honey, cinnamon and raisin rolls… With water: same, with more malt and cough syrup. Some sweet thick beer in the aftertaste. Finish: medium, with oranges starting to show up. Oranges do work in any finish. Comments: the rounder side of Bunnahabhain, super-good.
SGP:551 - 86 points.

Perhaps one or two older Bunnies…

Bunnahabhain 31 yo 1989/2021 (41.5%, The Whisky Blues, hogshead, casks #5759+5770, 265 bottles)

Bunnahabhain 31 yo 1989/2021 (41.5%, The Whisky Blues, hogshead, casks #5759+5770, 265 bottles) Five stars
Stunning gloomy label. More death metal than blues if you ask me, but aesthetically stunning indeed. Colour: straw. Nose: hold on, watch this! Haut-Brion blanc, or Laville right, with some honeysuckle, colza oil, kiwis, a little iron, pebbles, cider, a drop of Jerez vinegar, a lot of humus, damp earth, old wine barrel, dough roll, mead… Well I'm finding this nose just glorious, complex, and so very old-Bunnahabhain. Mouth: such lower natural strengths are always a little scary (unnatural ones too I have to say), and indeed it's uncommon that these ones would fetch 90+ in my book, but this very one's refreshingly alive, full of tiny herbs and white, green or yellow berries, with various pale honeys, softer beers, plums, and indeed a feeling of wine. An old white Pessac-Léognan, for example… Finish: medium, perfectly nervous, even a little tart, complex, with just drops of coconut and vanilla essences from the cask. Comments: drinks like wine. As for a good blues, why not that rather unknown lazy track by The Stranglers, not exactly blues but certainly bluesy, called 'Another Camden Afternoon'? The LP's cover was as gloomy as this Bunny's label, check it out, it's on YouTube.

SGP:551 - 90 points.

A last one…

Bunnahabhain 33 yo 1987/2021 (53.4%, Michiel Wigman, Prometheus, 94 bottles)

Bunnahabhain 33 yo 1987/2021 (53.4%, Michiel Wigman, Prometheus, 94 bottles)Five stars
A small outturn but small is often beautiful in whisky. Colour: gold. Nose: waxes made on Islay, well I believe these batches have been the waxiest anyone ever made on the Queen of the Hebrides. Indeed, there's a Clynelish-quality to this, plus citrons and quinces to boot. This is beeswax and overripe apples galore. With water: apple juice, beeswax, pollen, fresh quinces, greengages. Typical soft Bunnahabhain from that era. The official 12s that came out in the mid-to-late 1990s have become incredibly drinkable, by the way. Mouth (neat): splendid, salty, lemony, with quinces, honeydew, mead again and again, and dried bananas. You may add to that a dollop of old cognac. With water: reacts very well to water and starts to display lime leaves, camphor… and a little leek. Finish: not the longest ever but it's complex and even refreshing. Something chartreuse-y and a little oak in the aftertaste. Oh and overripe apples. Comments: hope our friends in the Netherlands are doing well and that they don't drink too much now that they're in lock-down again. We are not at time of writing, but things may have changed before we publish these lousy lines…
SGP:461 - 90 points.


Hold on, another very young Staoisha just in, let's have it as a bonus…

Bunnahabhain Staoisha 6 yo 2013/2019 (59.1%, Whisky Facile, bourbon hogshead, cask #10536, 'I'm the Fury of the Storm')

Bunnahabhain Staoisha 6 yo 2013/2019 (59.1%, Whisky Facile, bourbon hogshead, cask #10536, 'I'm the Fury of the Storm') Four stars and a half
There's a lot of Staoisha around, is there not. Colour: very pale white wine. In truth you won't find any white wine this pale. Nose: sweet easy peat. Smoked granny smith, lemons, a little brine, and an old coal pit in an old house (in an old town, yeah right). Narrowness and simplicity are some of this style's main assets. With water: chalk and wool. Mouth (neat): pristine, perfect. Don't get me wrong, it's very narrow and perhaps even a little dumb, but it's like a Rolex, all you're asking I that it would remain accurate. This is very accurate, focussed, on oysters, lemon juice and kippers. Smoked almonds too. With water: does it need water. Once again it got chalkier. More oyster juice too, plain seawater… Finish: long, sharp, ultra-vertical. And accurate. Comments: I suppose you get it, it's the accuracy that's pretty remarkable in this one. Or the purity. A mere grain of dust in the movement and it would lose, say 3 points. And a lot of accuracy.

SGP:367 - 88 points.

More tasting notesCheck the index of all Bunnahabhain we've tasted so far


January 2, 2022





Angus's Corner
From our correspondent and
skilled taster Angus MacRaild in Scotland
Glen Garioch to
start the year
Glen Garioch feels like the ideal distillery with which to see in 2022, it seems to me a name that's as much about the past as the future. After all, it has delivered us stunning highs and abysmal lows over the decades. However, in keeping with its Islay sibling, Bowmore, it seems to have only improved since around the start of the 1990s.


What's also heartening news is that the work taking place this past year at the distillery will bring back floor maltings and direct-fired wash distilling. That's much smarter and far more interesting than just another blend-fodder capacity expansion. As such, I think Glen Garioch will continue to be a fun distillery to follow throughout the 2020s.

Glen Garioch



McClelland's Highland Single Malt 16 Year Old (40%, OB, US import, 1990s, 75cl)

McClelland's Highland Single Malt 16 Year Old (40%, OB, US import, 1990s, 75cl)
(Picture illustrative only, it was actually a screen printed label but Angus tthrew the bottle out before taking a photograph. Bah... Ed.) This should be Glen Garioch, but you never know… Colour: orangey gold - caramel! Nose: definitely feels like some kind of old 'transitional' Glen Garioch. That is to say some earthy peat sloshing about in the depths, but also some barley water, mashed potatoes and things which stray a little too close to washing up liquid for my liking. A mix of pre-75 and later vintages perhaps? Mouth: it's ok actually, this anticipated soapiness doesn't strike. Instead, however, you get emptiness instead. And this impression of bitter, slightly rancid marmalade. Touches of cardboard and cheesecloth and plastic. Weird and not good to be honest. Finish: medium but altogether too long as it's sour, acidic and focussed on these plastic notes, almost like fresh nappies dropped in dishwater. Weird! Comments: It probably was Glen Garioch and almost certainly drawn from some of these highly unlikely vintages from the late 70s / early 80s. Not particularly soapy, but not good either!
SGP: 431 - 58 points.



What a way to start the year! Theoretically, we can only go upwards from there…



Glen Garioch 8 yo (55%, Dram Mor, bourbon, 241 bottles, 2020)

Glen Garioch 8 yo (55%, Dram Mor, bourbon, 241 bottles, 2020)
Colour: buttery white wine. Nose: wonderfully fresh distillate that's totally dominated by raw and natural ingredients. Freshly malted barley, lemon barley water, freshly baked baguette, white flowers, nectars, pollens, sweet oatcakes and barley sugars. A lovely natural sweetness pervades the nose. With water: leaner, more on pure cereals, sunflower oil, hand lotion, mineral oils and things like cactus and sheep wool. Mouth: lovely arrival, same as the nose but with added waxes, grassiness, cooking oils and touches of carbon paper and hessian. Fat and chunky, high calibre distillate! With water: still nicely tense, natural and pure. Some lemon peel emerges now, also wee touches of ink, soot, dried herbs, putty - rather a lot going on really. Finish: medium, on bison grass, lemon rind, white pepper, lighter waxes and mineral oils again. Comments: I'm slightly taken aback by how much I enjoy this extremely classy, humble and totally charming wee Glen Garioch. Great distillate that recalls some older, fully naked, 100 proof Glen Grant bottlings by G&M and an easiness that makes it wonderfully drinkable. Top work by the good folk at Dram Mor!
SGP: 462 - 88 points.



Glen Garioch 18 yo 1979/1997 (50%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #19.14 'Germoline, peat and strawberry jam')

Glen Garioch 18 yo 1979/1997 (50%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #19.14 'Germoline, peat and strawberry jam')
1979? Glen Garioch? This could really go either way… Colour: coppery amber. Nose: well, mercifully there's no trace of soap so far. In fact this is actually pretty lovely, all on roast nuts, porcini, ham, black coffee with caramel sauce and pu ehr teas, game meats and indeed something medicinal that does recall germoline at points. No doubt some trace amounts of peat sloshing about in the mix somewhere. With water: mentholated, full of various shades of fruit tobaccos, jams, pot pourri, spiced blood orange marmalade and these rather voluptuous and fruity waxes. Mouth: very funny! This is red kola with Tizer, Irn Bru sweeties, cherry cough medicine, strawberry syrup, wintergreen, medical vapour rubs and red liquorice. Also some pink pepper, waxes and pine wood resins. more than a little mad but nevertheless quite enjoyable. With water: red fruit teas, crusted port, madeira loaf, pomegranate sorbet - what is going on? Finish: medium, mentholated, jammy, herbal, full of cough syrups, fir resins, winter mulling spices and some kind of Buckfast diluting juice! Comments: I could not tell you what sort of cask this was matured in, or what on earth just happened. But… I can confirm it is clean, slightly peaty, very funny, quite weird and almost embarrassingly fun! Should this random old bottle cross your path, I would recommend you try it.
SGP: 653 - 89 points.



Glen Garioch 1972 (43%, OB for Oddbins, mid 1990s)

Glen Garioch 1972 (43%, OB for Oddbins, mid 1990s)
One of a series of vintage releases, supposedly all single casks, for Oddbins in the 1990s - they've had some totally stunning exclusive bottlings in their time Oddbins. I have very fond memories of when I worked in the Hillhead, Glasgow branch around 2007. Although, at that time we were generally drinking cases of Super Bock directly from the freezer, not so much 72 Glen Garioch. Colour: bright amber. Nose: yup! Exquisite. A pure and vivid expression of older style peat character that brings to mind 1950s Highland Park or 1960s Ardbeg. A wealth of dried up roots, herbs, ointments and embrocations. Tar liqueur, fir resins, ancient herbal extracts, roof felt and slightly mentholated tobaccos. The kind of nose that endlessly subdivides, from which you can extract any number of aromatic details. Let's not also forget waxes too! Mouth: wonderful arrival, fully on camphors, tars, peat oils (if such things do exist) but also deeply complex earthy and bitter chocolatey components from the sherry. There's also fruits as well, exotic and dark ones that manifest as crystallised and preserved. The texture is thick, with a resinous salinity, umami pastes, bouillon, meats, tar… immense, detailed, beautiful and yet also gentle thanks to the bottling strength which feels like an asset here. Finish: long, deep, warming and glowing with peat embers, tar, medicinal roots and herbs, earthy black teas, salted liquorice and walnutty rancio. The sherry and peat being completely fused into a perfect whole. Comments: immense whisky that's probably a perfect illustration of why we talk about 'old style' peat and sherry characteristics. This gathers both into a poetically beautiful single dram.
SGP: 664 - 94 points.



Glen Garioch 1966/1997 (43%, Samaroli, casks #1309-1299, 696 bottles)

Glen Garioch 1966/1997 (43%, Samaroli, casks #1309-1299, 696 bottles)
Colour: straw. Nose: very different in style, a rather fragile, vapoury and floral smokiness that shows brittle chalky and seashell aspects along with coal smoke, sooty embers, minerals and beach wood. A style that suggests a distant influence of peat which has broken down - decayed almost - under the eroding influence of decades in both cask and bottle. There is beauty here, but also a background suggestion of violets and soap. Mouth: ok, in all honesty, I find this too soapy for me. I'm quite sensitive to it anyway, and this is a good example where it tips into flawed in my book. There's other stuff going on too, waxes, citrons, wet rocks, smoked green teas - pleasure in other words. It's just that these don't gel with, or dominate, those more floral soapy tones. As such the impression is one of dissonance. Finish: rather long but it tends to be the soap that dominates sadly, floral smoke, touches of violets again and coal dust. Comments: what a totally fascinating whisky Glen Garioch can be. To make such luminal, genius whiskies like that 1972 (and many others don't forget), while in neighbouring vintages producing such funny, complicated and problematic spirit such as this which defy easy explanation, makes for a frustrating and head scratching experience. It's worth noting that Serge enjoyed this one quite a lot more back in 2007 (WF 88), so perhaps it is my sample, or perhaps it's a whisky which suffers from prolonged exposure to air? Perhaps it was this particular bottle? I'd like to try this one again sometime from another bottle, that's for sure. But these batches do tend to have a certain…'reputation'. Now, the nose and the palate both had some very pretty aspects as well, so…
SGP: 563 - 75 points.



Thanks to KC and Iain!



Happy new year to all friends and readers of Whiskyfun!




More tasting notesCheck the index of all Glen Garioch we've tasted so far


January 1, 2022


December 2021 - part 2 <--- January 2022 - part 1 ---> January 2022 - part 2




Best spirits Serge tried those weeks, 90+ points only

Bunnahabhain 33 yo 1987/2021 (53.4%, Michiel Wigman, Prometheus, 94 bottles)

Bunnahabhain 31 yo 1989/2021 (41.5%, The Whisky Blues, hogshead, casks #5759+5770, 265 bottles)

Tormore 28 yo 1992 (47.3%, Thompson Brothers, refill hogshead, 252 bottles, +/-2020)

Amrut 7 yo 2014/2021 'Brandy Finish' (60%, OB, India, LMDW, Conquête, cask #204, 150 bottles)