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Hi, you're in the Archives, July 2012 - Part 1

June 2012 - part 2 <--- July 2012 - part 1 ---> July 2012 - part 2


July 13, 2012


Tasting two Ardmore


Ardmore 18 yo 1992/2011 (46%, Mo Or Collection, bourbon hogshead, cask #5013, 286 bottles) Four stars Colour: white wine. Nose: ah, this very peculiar smokiness, between coal and wood! After that start, we get more grass and broken branches, roots, freshly sawn oak and leaves. Maybe green cigars? Green tea? Caraway? This one is rather more austere than other Ardmores so far, I get little fruits. Where are the peaches? Nestling in the smoke? ;-) Mouth: here are the fruits and this is typically Ardmore, with the right balance between peaches and melons and a ‘green’ peat smoke. There’s also a little grenadine, blood oranges, maybe touches of rhubarb (becomes tarty) and then a little cough medicine. Eucalyptus and lemon drops? Finish: medium long, fresh and clean, on smoked peaches. Yes, should that exist. Comments: very nice palate, typically Ardmore in my experience. I don’t think there are many malt whiskies that display smoky peaches ;-). SGP:565 – 86 points.


Ardmore 25 yo (51.4%, OB, +/-2010) Four stars Tasting notes for this baby were long due. Colour: white wine. Nose: it’s a rather rounder, more vanilla-ed version, with also more fudge and mint cake as well as rather less smoke. Unexpected whiffs of lemon sherbet and then almonds, maraschino and, indeed, peaches but rather the tree’s leaves than the fruits… With water: we get closer to the 1992 (that one was reduced) but this has a little more grass and grains. Mouth (neat): it’s rather more indistinct than the 1992, partly because the oak is much louder. It’s not oaky as such, but there’s a lot of coconut and you have to like, say pina colada. Hem… Other than that, I get the same combination of juicy garden fruits and smoke, even if that smoke’s a little softer. Also oranges, jelly beans, rosewater... With water: same comments. Maybe a bigger dryness, green tea… Finish: medium, greener, with more tea and herbs. Is this rosemary? More citrus fruits as well, the aftertaste being just as clean and fresh as the 1992’s. Quite zesty, in fact. Comments: we’re in the same ballpark. Very nice dram – I can’t wait to taste the fairly recent official 30yo. SGP:464 - 86 points.

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

MUSIC - Recommended listening: the amazing late Sam Rivers at his easiest on flute. It's called Verve and it's on 1979's album 'Contrasts' (ECM). Please buy Sam Rivers' music, thanks.

Sam Rivers

July 12, 2012


Tasting two Mortlach. Time gap, 46 years.

Mortlach can be an unusual spirit and I thought it would be nice to have two of them that would bear very little wood influence, according to their colours…


Mortlach 8 yo 2003/1012 (60.3%, Anam Na H-Alba, cask #31, 221 bottles) Two stars By another new German bottler, Anam Na H-Alba. Not an easy name, that… Colour: light white wine. Nose: oh yeah, it’s extremely new-maky. We just visited the distillery with the MMs and believe me, it does smell like this. So it’s rather sulphury and spirity – not talking about sulphur from wine casks -, quite feinty, slightly burnt and, well, relatively aggressive. Not very nice and very nice at the same time, depending on what you’re expecting. Pure pleasure or education? With water: porridge, porridge and porridge. Did I mention porridge? And a little soap, which is common in new makes. Mouth (neat): wham! Strong, fruitier, still very new-maky, with these burnt notes yet again and then some lemon squash but that may come from the high level of alcohol. No traces of oak, this could have been kept in demijohns. Interesting! With water: some kind of meatiness comes out and the lemons and oranges come out more as well, but it remains rough and pretty aggressive. Finish: shortish, grassier. Comments: a very interesting bottling, for education. I cannot score it high but I wouldn’t score it too low either, just because, well, education is power (or something like that). SGP:361 - 75 points.


Mortlach 21yo 1957/1978 (45.7%, Cadenhead's, Black Dumpy) Four stars Colour: light white wine. Nose: another planet, and that was to be expected. The originally sulphury profile turned into a stunning combination of citrons and kumquats with soot, metal polish, almond oil and high-end wulong tea, with a roaring coal smoke in the background. Beautiful and so old skool! Mouth: perfectly bitter and greatly acrid (yes that’s possible), grassy, nervous, ashy and smoky. Bitter herbs, pine sap, cough lozenges and cigar ashes, then more liquorice and smoked fish – yes I know where Mortlach lies, as I said I was there last month ;-). Finish: it’s the weakest part, it tends to become a little cardboardy and frankly too sooty/ashy. Drying aftertaste. Comments: really brilliant at times, austere, too bad the finish was a bit difficult. Definitely old-style, definitely from refill wood. I don’t think Mortlach changed a lot between 1957 and 2003, the wee witchie rules. SGP:272 - 87 points. (thanks Ron, thanks Konstantin)

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

MUSIC - Recommended listening: the uncategorizable French singer and poet Brigitte Fontaine does Brigitte around 1972. Very early 'French touch' methinks (Air and such bands...) Please buy Brigitte Fontaine's music.


July 11, 2012


Tasting three Jura, two from 1988


Isle of Jura 10 yo (40%, OB, +/- 2010) Three stars and a halfI haven’t tried Jura 10 since… ages. Colour: gold. Nose: a rather greasy, slightly phenolic start, with notes of orange marmalade and metal polish as well as some leather and dead leaves. Becomes more and more paraffiny, with hints of exhaust fumes as well as some kind of oil, between sunflower and grape pips. Becomes then much drier, malty and slightly cardboardy after a few minutes, the oranges having kind of vanished. Some character for sure, it’s quite peculiar. After ten minutes: became a little lactic, with also some chamomile. Needs time. Mouth: suffers from the low ABV but otherwise it’s an interesting malt despite the weakish mouth feel. Maybe touches of mustard, ashes, hay jelly (seriously, that’s good stuff, try it if you can find some – or make some) and then bitter oranges, liquorice and strong honey. Touches of bitter oak. Finish: unexpectedly long, with more honey and chestnut puree and then a bitterer aftertaste. Comments: I’ve often thought Jura had improved mucho since ten years or so, and this baby’s another fine example. But can we rather have 43 or 46%, please? SGP:462 - 84 points.


Isle of Jura 24 yo 1988/2012 (51.3%, Archives, bourbon, cask #752) Four stars and a half Colour: straw. Nose: a very different beast, this baby is nothing like the OB. Bigger (no wonder), much more focused, smokier and much grassier at first nosing, with a lot of hay, leather and tobacco. In the background, oranges and a little custard as well as hints of ale and eucalyptus, then these whiffs of oils again. With water: a burst of garden fruits. Greengages, gooseberries, tangerines (not that I have tangerines in WF’s garden, mind you)… Mouth (neat): starts big and, it seems, rather peaty, peppery and gingery. Then we have more liquorice wood and several herbal liqueurs, peppermint, Ricqlès mint (not sure you can find that outside France, but any very strong mint eau-de-vie would do), then some tarty grapefruit/lemon notes… It all becomes zestier and zestier, almost refreshing. With water: more of the same. Excellent. Maybe a greenness in the background is a tad ‘too much’. Finish: medium long, on lemon zests and various spices. Again an herbal aftertaste. Comments: a restless Jura of high quality, you just have to like herbs. SGP:472 - 89 points.


Isle of Jura 23 yo 1988/2011 (56.3%, Villa Konthor) Five stars Colour: gold. Nose: this is funny, it’s not unlike the official 10, only with more power. And more tobacco. And maybe more bacon and chocolate as well (sherry cask?) Oh, and patchouli. With water: more smoke, nutmeg (it’s really huge), orange blossom and old-style perfume. Joy de Patou? Mouth (neat): superb start, as punchy as an Islayer! Really big, on kumquats, ginger liqueur, walnut wine, ideas of Madeira, salty ultra-dry sherry, then these notes of herbal liqueurs that we already found in the ‘Archives’ version. Impressively restless! Did I mention peat? With water: perfect! Leather, peat, walnuts, tobacco, bitter chocolate… And god knows what else. Finish: long, with a salty tang and a greatly bitterish aftertaste. Comments: this is a beast, a beast! I don’t quite know where the peat came from, maybe an ex-Islay cask as they sometimes have/had at Jura? I don’t seem to remember they were making peated Jura back in 1988… Anyway, another great find by the fearless Limburgian squad. SGP:364 - 91 points.

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

Yes, an old one...

MUSIC - Recommended listening: John Zorn's Exodus (from The Dreamers). John Zorn never failed to amaze us. Please buy his music. Oh, and Marc Ribot's guitar never fails to amaze us either!


July 9, 2012


Tasting four high strength Linkwood

Linkwood's supposed to be one of the lightest malts in Scotland but just as with all distilleries, there are many exceptions which prove the rule. Here are a few...


Linkwood 15 yo (100° proof, Gordon & MacPhail, licensed bottling, +/-1975) Four stars and a half A very pale vatting, many 15yos were much darker I think. Colour: white wine. Nose: very spirity at first sniffs (cologne) but there’s also nice notes of brown sugar, tarte tatin and vanilla cake. Also a little metal and soot (OBE) and, maybe, touches of roses. Not easy to enjoy at full strength. With water: wonderful development on tar, smoke, iron and gravel. Was there ever a distillery called Linkwood on Islay? Mouth (neat): excellent attack, very nervous, very citrusy, sharp, ‘chiselled’… Impressive mouth feel. I wouldn’t say it’s a surprise but frankly, this is excellent. So much better than the darker versions so far… With water: more herbs, grass, smoke, tar… So you say there was never any distillery called Linkwood on Islay? Finish: long, very sooty. You have to like that but if you do… Sadly, the aftertaste is very drying and oddly salty in this context. Comments: almost a winner. G&M have always been filling a lot of Linkwood and obviously, they knew/know what they’re doing. SGP:263 - 89 points (90 without the dry aftertaste).


Linkwood 11 yo 1989/2001 (59.2%, James MacArthur for The Way of Spirits) Two stars Colour: straw. Nose: unexpectedly similar at first nosing. Then more porridge, grains, flints, green bananas and warm yoghurt sauce. Slight yeastiness, then lemon juice and sorrel. With water: it’s plain and pure manzanilla! Or a mixture of manzanilla and palo cortado? It’s quite smoky too (lit cigar). Earth. Mouth (neat): big, oily, lemony and then grassier and grassier. Truckloads of grapefruits and limes plus a very green spiciness and a lot of green pepper. Big dram! With water: oh no, water kind of wrecked it on the palate, it got kind of chemical and plastic-like. Very bitter too. Finish: long but, well, bitter. Comments: I’m in a moral dilemma. Some parts were great, while some others were a little disastrous – drink this without water? H’m!… SGP:461 - 75 points.


Linkwood 12 yo 'The Manager's Dram' (59.5%, OB, Refill Sherry) Four stars Colour: straw. Nose: very much the same style as the JMcA, this one being just a notch fruitier, with a little more lemon and grapefruit and rather less porridgy notes. Globally cleaner and rounder, I’d say. Vanilla, fur… With water: it got completely different from the JMcA now. Rather more mushroomy, in a great way. Amazing how Linkwood plays well with water on the nose (emphasis on nose). Also a lot of green tea leaves, tobacco... Mouth (neat): wham! Tons of lemon and pepper, a lot of chilli too… What a monster, water is obligatory. With water: that worked this time. Grassy, greatly bitter, lemony, earthy… To think that Linkwood is categorised as a ‘light’ malt! Finish: very long, very spicy, very grassy. Touches of bitter herbs in the aftertaste. Comments: let’s not get carried away, this is difficult whisky and the ‘pleasure ratio’ isn’t too high. An intellectual bottling, I’d say. SGP:272 - 85 points.

Let’s have an older – hopefully smoother – one to wrap this up…


Linkwood 27 yo 1984/2011 (57%, Single Cask Collection, bourbon hogshead) Four stars and a half Colour: gold. Nose: well, it’s no smooth one either, but indeed the oak’s more discernable, with touches of vanilla and even coconut as well as quite some tobacco. Other than that, we have hay and earth everywhere and that’s very nice. White chocolate. With water: it’s a well-known song, several tertiary aromas start to appear, including shoe polish, tobacco, new leather, earth… A nice woodiness too (freshly broken branches). Mouth (neat): excellent attack, very fruity, with bags of oranges and then the spices kick in, pepper, cloves, nutmeg, ginger… It’s a funny combination of some big spirit with some lightness inside – or isn’t it the other way ‘round? With water: quite perfect and perfectly Linkwood, with these flavours that I usually associate with Linkwood, that is to say Turkish delights, orange blossom water and some very fresh fruits (blood oranges?) It’s only in the background that something that might not be 100% perfect shows up. Paraffin? Finish: long, all on grapefruits and bitter oranges, with touches of cardamom and ginger. Comments: this baby’s within a hair’s breadth of the 90-mark. Ha, paraffin! SGP:461 - 89 points.

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

MUSIC - Recommended listening: the crazy Brazilian funkateers of the Banda Black Rio are playing Tico-Tico No Fuba. A strange mix that worked greatly! Please buy all of the Banda's music...

Banda Black Rio

July 5, 2012


Tasting four contrasting Glenrothes


Glenrothes 13 yo 1994/2007 (46%, Hart Bros) Two starsColour: white wine. Nose: starts very light, all on garden fruits. The casks were quite lazy for sure, and this baby could be 5, but it makes for some kind of pleasant spirit, very fresh and clean despite the touches of nail polish and bubblegum in the background. Also notes of abricotine (apricot eau-de-vie, quite excellent when it’s well made but some say it can be harmful because of the heavy doses of prussic acid in the stones – we could argue that they could simply remove the stones before fermentation but that may change the taste quite a lot… Err, wandering off the path a bit now…) Mouth: light and fruity, all on barley sugar, apple juice and a little white pepper and grass. As natural as it can be. It’s not bad at all, it’s just totally uninspiring in my opinion. You know, when you wonder ‘why?’ Finish: medium long, dry, grassy. Comments: the nose was quite nice but the palate does not deliver. I’m not sure this should have been bottled as a single malt. SGP:341 - 74 points.


Glenrothes 23 yo 1988/2012 (53.4%, Archives, refill sherry hogshead, cask #7318)  Three stars Colour: white wine. Nose: well, this isn’t much more mature than the 13yo I must say, the profiles being very similar although this one has more raw barley and sweetened porridge on top of the fruity notes. The sherry is very discreet, maybe it wasn’t even a second fill. No instant pleasures, I’d say. With water: a little more earth, clay… Mouth (neat): it’s on the palate that this baby leaves its younger bro behind. Much fuller and more complex – but it’s not complex whisky – with a wider fruitiness that involves not only apples and pears but also apricots and sultanas. The oak becomes a tad louder after a few seconds, with quite some pepper and mint, then bitterish herbs (tarragon?) With water: swims very well. Sweeter herbs, sweeter pepper. Finish: medium long, with orange drops and always this pepper. Comments: no easy/sexy malt but it does its job, provided you like them, well, a little restrained or even neutral. SGP:451 - 82 points.


Glenrothes 37 yo 1968 (45.5%, Murray McDavid, Mission, mourvèdre/syrah finish, 300 bottles) Four stars It was a very strange idea to fill some very old Glenrothes into such a cask. A mix of the very spicy mourvèdre and syrah probably came from the south of the Rhône valley. Colour: gold. Nose: well, it’s a surprise, this nose works and you do not get these ‘disjointed’ aromas that I sometimes find in wine-finished whiskies. And above all, it’s not winey! Finely spicy, with notes of sweet sherry (yes), orange liqueurs, very ripe mangos, then more cigar box and whiffs of old cellar. Also touches of thuja wood and cured ham, with just hints of truffles. Very pleasant nose. Mouth: starts a little unlikely, with this feeling of old wine cellar on the palate, which is a little strange (yet it’s not mushroomy). Then quite a lot of gingerbread and mulled wine before it becomes kind of tannic and acrid, but that’s no flaw I this context in my opinion. Bitter oranges. Finish: quite long, with the oak being louder and kind of greener. Green spices, cardamom, sweet curry, pepper… Artichokes in the aftertaste (Cynar?) Comments: the nose is quite beautiful and the palate’s very oak-driven but curiously, it’s not exactly drying. It does have something of the heaviest reds from the south of Rhône. So, unlikely but nicely entertaining. SGP:471 - 86 points.


Glenrothes 1979/2011 'The Editor's Cask' (52.1%, OB, cask #3828, 300 bottles) Four stars I did preview this baby back in April and I must say it had its moments. What’s sure is that it should propose a different kind of oak than the old MMcD. Colour: amber. Nose: at first sniffs, it could be almost any old aged spirit, whether cognac, armagnac, malt whisky or, yes, rum, such is the casks’ influence. That means there’s a little of all those spirits plus bags of raisins (all kinds) and other dried fruits, such as dates and prunes. I find this nose remarkably rounded and sexy. After that, more chocolate and whiffs of wood smoke, bonfire, more old rum, old pinot noir… In short, an almost perfect nose, quite magnificent. Mouth: even the attack is sexy, liqueurish, oily, thick, sweet (ginger liqueur, orange liqueur) but crash! The oak becomes so invading and the tannicity is so loud that it becomes difficult to sip. I mean, one drop is fine but more than that makes it almost painful. Oak infusion. Finish: long but as bitter as Underberg. Did you ever try Underberg?  Comments: schizophrenic! The nose and even the very first sip were absolutely wonderful but after that, it all got ueberoaky. That’s enough to warrant 85 in my book but not one iota more. Having said that, I can well imagine that a panel of ‘editors’ would select such a cask after a nice meal (Scotch bonnet pepper anyone? ;-) The nose IS brilliant. SGP:481 - 85 points.

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


Chat and banters with Ralfy
Ralfy Serge Ralfy had some very good questions, I'm happy I could come up with average answers - seemingly. The interview is there.

MUSIC - Recommended listening: the good old French band Ange is at it again with some pure French pop (with a heavy McCartney influence!) It's called Les Mots Simples and it's on 2012's CD 'Moyen-Age'. Please buy Ange'smusic...


July 3, 2012


Tasting two Swiss whiskies

There are quite a few distillers who are making whisky in Switzerland, using Holstein stills or even Charentais… Let's have two very different ones today, they're probably both quite extreme.

Two Ravens

Two Ravens 3 yo (43%, OB, Switzerland, +/-2012) one star and a half It's beer from the Rosengarten brewery that's distilled by the Kümin bros in Freienbach, in German-speaking Switzerland.  It seems that they're using Swiss oak for maturation. Colour: gold. Nose: typical distilled beer, with a mixture of porridge, yoghurt, orange marmalade and ginger plus a kind of soapiness. This is obviously young and not very 'whisky' but it's kind of likeable, provided you're not firmly against fresh oak.  What's sure is that there's no 'puky' notes in this one. Mouth: I'll tell you what, this is no whisky, but it's a pretty nice spirit, at least for a while. Pepper, cinnamon, ginger and tankers of orange liqueur infused with fresh oak and pinewood.  Sadly, it tends to nosedive after a few seconds, lacking body, with a bitterish oak that invades all sides of your mouth. Unbalanced. Finish: short and drying. Comments: there might be some technical flaws here, but other parts were really nice. Maybe less time in newly toasted wine oak, more use of refill wood and then a few more degrees would work better? SGP:470 - 69 points.


Säntis ‘Lucerne’ 2012 (47%, OB, Switzerland, cask #1154/12, Merlot)  Three stars and a half A cask done by Säntis in Switzerland’s Appenzell canton for Lucerne's Whiskyschiff festival. I previewed it a few months ago and really liked it. I'm a Säntis fan! Colour: gold/amber. Nose: smells like rye from hyperactive oak, and that works.  For example, I've tried the young Willett the other day and we aren't very far apart.  Sure we're extremely far from our beloved Scotch - the Two Ravens was actually a little closer - but again, it works. Cinnamon, vanilla, ginger, bitter oranges and violet-flavoured sweets. Ein Amerikaner aus Appenzell! Mouth: quite excellent, very sweet, playful, not unlike the Charbay that we had the other day. The oak's a tad loudish but other than that,  we have a very nice and much unexpected combo of ginger and litchi liqueurs, blood oranges, pepper, Turkish delights and cinnamon. Oh, and rye again. Finish: long, fruity and spicy. Comments: not quite sure about what came from the merlot but it works. If you gather whiskies from all over the world and need a Swiss, a Säntis would be the best choice in my opinion. By the way, Lucerne's Whiskyschiff (whisky ship) festival is one of my favs. SGP:651 - 84 points.

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

MUSIC - Recommended listening: can the blues be 'avant-garde'? Let's listen to Tom Cora and Hans Reichel (both deceased, how sad) playing Premonitions and try to find out... I say 'yes', what do you say? Please buy Tom Cora's and Hans Reichel's musics!

Tom Cora

July 2, 2012


Tasting more blends:
Buchanan 18 vs. Old Parr 18

Both have high reputations, let's check why…


Buchanan Special Reserve 18 yo (40%, OB, blend, +/-2012) Four stars and a half According to the owners Diageo, 'the brand now stands for prestige and tradition that suits the taste and values of the Latin community'. Well, I'm Latin - more or less… Colour: full gold. Nose: quite superb, starting with a combination of various oils (olives, graphite, linseed) and a very Islay-esque smokiness. Goes on with various herbal teas (chamomile, rosehip, many others…) before it gets beautifully mushroomy (dried porcinis) and leathery. There's also something dirty but it's beautiful dirt! (unexplored attic…)  Walnuts. What a nose! Mouth: perfect. Smoky, mineral, jammy, candied, phenolic… It's got this big old style that, until very recently, I thought was only to be found in, well, old bottlings.  Finish: long, creamy, orangey, smoky… Fab! Comments: I think I'll buy me a ticket to Buenos Aires right tomorrow… Who blends Buchanan? Dr. Jim Beveridge? SGP:553 - 89 points.

Old parr

Old Parr Superior 18 yo (43%, OB, blend, +/-2012) Four stars Old Parr is popular in Japan and South America. Oh, and amongst whisky lovers, especially the older bottles, maybe because Mr. Parr lived for 152 years and married for the second time at the age of 122. Colour: full gold. Nose: very different from the Buchanan, sweeter, fruitier, less 'tertiary', with a lot of orange liqueur and then some brine, game, peat, a little ginger ale, touches of molasses, hay, a little chalk, cut grass… It's very complex but I liked the Buchanan's focus (even) better. Mouth: high peat content, high quality. It's a big blend, really punchy, slightly rough (in the sense that it's not as polished as most blends), that develops mostly on bitter oranges, cloves, juniper berries, pepper and then green tea.  Very powerful. Finish: long, gingery and peppery. Certainly not what you'd expect from some blended Scotch, but we won't complain! Comments: probably one of the biggest blends out there. I liked the Buchanan a little better because I thought it was more complex and a little silkier. SGP:463 - 87 points.

BONUS: One of these pricey blends in which they sacrifice our much cherished old malt whiskies!

Windsor XR

Windsor ‘XR’ (40%, OB, blend, +/-2012) Three stars A high-end decanter for Asia (or only Korea?) that's advertised as containing Royal Lochnagar and Rosebank. Wot? Our dear old Rosebank? Ah, the wonders of combined premiumisation and asianisation (yup that's a genuine marketing term)… Shouldn't we add 'cognacqisation'? Colour: full gold. Nose: well, we're nowhere near the fab Buchanan and Old Parr but this is much nicer than the Windsor 17 yo indeed. There's a little more happening, but it remains indefinite and rather cardboardy.  Flints, orange zests, orange squash…  Something slightly winey… Mouth: it's an extremely easy whisky on the palate, rather rounded and fruity, very sweet, almost liqueurish. Mandarine Imperiale and Cointreau, with just touches of crystallised ginger, then more vanilla and apricot jam. Easy, jammy, sweet. Goes down extremely well. Finish: medium long, first sweet and jammy, then sweetly spicy. Ginger liqueur and bitter oranges. Comments: a rather absent nose and a very easy, very sexy palate.  Very good globally, but maybe a notch too simplistic.  Ah well, it's just a drink after all… SGP:651 - 80 points.


A nice old ad for Buchanan (1976). We cannot not agree with the headline, can we? In this case, the malts are Glentauchers, Balmenach, Benrinnes, Cragganmore, Dailuaine, Cragellachie, Glenlossie, Glen Elgin, Lochnagar, Teaninich, Mortlach and Coleburn.

Ad for Old Parr, straight from the early 1980s. 'All I can give a man who has everything is more of the same'.

Old Parr

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

MUSIC - Recommended listening: Zé Ramalho's very unusual and very beautiful voice sings Metamorfose. Differently brazilian, that's the Nordeste! Please buy Zé Ramalho's music, thanks...

Ze Ramhalo

July 1, 2012

Whiskyfun fav of the month

June 2012

Favourite recent bottling:
Clynelish 1989/2012 (53.5%, Thosop by The Whiskyman, bourbon barrel, 138 bottles)  - WF 92

Favourite older bottling:
Glenfarclas 29 yo 1971/2001 (47%, Cadenhead, Chairman's Stock, Bourbon hogshead, 198 bottles) - WF 91

Favourite bang for your buck bottling:
Littlemill 22 yo 1989/2011 (55.4%, Whisky Box)  - WF 91


A cheapo for a rainy Sunday,
Glen Fergus 3yo

“You’re tasting too many rare and expensive whiskies!” That’s what I hear quite often and I must say that’s understandable, but look, as I always try to remind WF’s distinguished readers, this is not a job, I’m not writing a buying guide, I’m not trying to promote brands or products (including myself – don’t some people always seem to taste themselves rather than the drinks they’re supposed to assess?), I’m just trying to have fun with whisky and to share that fun – which isn’t always easy to do. Anyway, from time to time I’m trying to balance those excesses with a perfect ‘el cheapo’, and I think I’ve just found one that should be perfect for bringing down WF’s averages…


Glen Fergus 3 yo (40%, OB, pure malt, +/-2012) one star and a half I know, this should have been labelled as a blended malt, which it is according to the back label. It’s distributed by Monoprix in France, and they’re not afraid of displaying this baby’s canonical age in big bold golden letters. Price: 12.59€. Colour: straw. Nose: well, it’s not un-nice. Sure there’s something rough and frankly too porridgy (yeah, it’s rather baby puke) but at least, the barley is loud and clear. Behind that, quite some caramel (I imagine the whisky was almost white before the famous colouring agent was added) and the usual pears. Bah, it’s not whisky for nosing anyway, but this is no utter disaster. Mouth: the attack is sort of pleasant, creamy, with some toffee and vanilla and a good maltiness but sadly, it becomes a little too bitter and oddly liquoricy (allsorts), with these notes of burnt cake that are often to be found in entry-level blends. Finish: as almost always with these kinds of babies, it’s the worst part, burnt, grassy and bitter but again, it’s not repulsive. Besides, it’s short… Comments: I think it’s better than many cheap blends and I must say it reminds me of the old Isle of Jura 10, before they improved the recipe ;-). I also think that the added caramel shows in the finish, which is not good. SGP:341 - 69 points.

Where are the sparring-partners, you ask? Well, I think one cheapo at a time is more than enough.

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

MUSIC - Recommended listening: absolute king of ambient and sound collage Ryuichi Sakamoto does War & Peace. Please buy Ryuichi Sakamoto's music...


June 2012 - part 2 <--- July 2012 - part 1 ---> July 2012 - part 2

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



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

Isle of Jura 23 yo 1988/2011 (56.3%, Villa Konthor)