(Current entries)

Facebook Twitter Logo

Whisky Tasting


Copyright Serge Valentin
Angus MacRaild




Hi, you're in the Archives, July 2023 - Part 1

June 2023 - part 2 <--- July 2023 - part 1 ---> July 2023 - part 2


July 14, 2023


A book plus two Glenfiddich 21 year old,

Official vs. Independent

David Stirk Independent Scotch
I quietly revisited David Stirk's recent book, 'Independent Scotch, The History of Independent Bottlings' over the weekend, paying even closer attention this time, except for the preface because I found it a little average the first time around (well, that's probably because I wrote it). Actually, what I really love about this book is the absence of pontification and, above all, the fact that David never generalises. He never sings the praises of an industry that can sometimes be quite insular and often a little arrogant (in my opinion), nor does he engage in the kind of bashing that you can witness here and there.

Guilty as charged, well, let's move on, what I wanted to say, actually, is that many chapters in David's book are truly valuable and revealing, for example, the one that discusses the behaviour of some distillers towards independent bottlers and the increased control or even prohibition de-facto on using the names of the malts they had sold to them, directly or indirectly, as well as the use of wordings such as 'teaspooning', 'blended malts' or 'blended Scotch', and if that's all really legal from a tax perspective, which kind of traceability you should actually need and so on. You should really read this book! In any case, one of the most emblematic examples is the old (and not so old) series of Glenfiddich-Glenlivet by Cadenhead, a company where David had actually worked quite some years ago. And while rereading the book, I remembered that I still had one that I really wanted to taste again. Thank you for reminding me, David, but first, to be consistent, a sparring partner of the exact same age, completely official this time. No unnecessary provocation!



Glenfiddich 21 yo 'Gran Reserva' (40%, OB, +/-2020)

Glenfiddich 21 yo 'Gran Reserva' (40%, OB, +/-2020) Three stars and a half
Right, we had tried its predecessor 'Havana Reserve', which the American administration did not like too much because of its Cuban side, then the very early 'Gran Reserva' that was the same juice, made with the help of 'Rum distillers from Sancti Spiritus in the heart of Cuba'. That was around 2005, and then, we jumped straight to the latest inception, a moderately expressive 'Reserva Rum Cask Finish' bottled in 2021. But we've never tried the last 'Gran Reservas'… Oh and love this quote from LMDW: "Finishings are very trendy these days. While some of them are questionable, this Gran Reserva version is anything but showmanship." Colour: gold. Nose: you do feel the cross-influence, but then, Sancti Spiritus – provided the rum still stems from Sancti Spiritus – is a rather light style of rum, although pretty 'top of Cuba' in my book. Some sugar cane for sure, hay, touches of aniseed, fennel, then green bananas and not-too-ripe tropical fruits, papayas… a faint soapiness (hand cream, moisturiser), a little sesame oi, scones and pancakes… But it remains very light, it's true that bringing a 21 years old down to 40% vol. feels very…  2005. Mouth: mostly on dried fruits. Apple rinds, papaya cubes, banana slices, then liquorice and a tiny salty touch. A feeling of apple liqueur with a little honey or mead. Not that thin. Finish: some raisins, a slight fizziness, some milk chocolate, some cinnamon (cookies and rolls). Comments: a good batch for sure, it's just a little light.
SGP:541 - 83 points.

Glenfiddich-Glenlivet 21 yo 1973/1994 (54.9%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection)

Glenfiddich-Glenlivet 21 yo 1973/1994 (54.9%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection) Four stars
Classified as a 'Highland' back then but many Speysiders were. Colour: straw. Nose: great OBE for sure. I'll say it, I've tried this one before, from another bottle, and had been mildly disappointed, but that was around twelve years ago. This has more tropical fruits, bananas, also gooseberries and strawberries, plus whiffs of some kind of thick, creamy Belgian beer, geranium... With water: I'm sure it gained some complexity, especially small tertiary herbal notes, plus various oils, especially pistachio oil. Mouth (neat): wonderful aniseed, almost absinth. Absinth flavoured with strawberries, something like that. With water: whoops, perhaps not its best side, it is probably not a Port Ellen or a St. Magdalene from the same series. It's become a little cardboardy, dry, tea-ish… Finish: medium, still cardboardy. Comments: stunning nose, but otherwise, maybe not… Bottles vary indeed.
SGP: 551 - 85 points.

All right, the whiskies were good, but the book was better, ha.

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


July 13, 2023


Another basket of blends and unknown malts

There's more around. Apparently, either you buy or build your own distillery, or you create and market your own brand(s) of blends. Or you do both. The trick is not to bore us, humble consumers, to death.

Pete and Jack, originally published March 31, 2017

Pete and Jack

Blended Scotch Whisky 5 yo 2017/2023 (57.1%, Watt Whisky, blended Scotch, 2023)

Blended Scotch Whisky 5 yo 2017/2023 (57.1%, Watt Whisky, blended Scotch, 2023) Four stars
This one's nicknamed 'a tale of two cities and a wee toon'. Not too sure what that is, what's sure is that the 'Wee Toon' is the nickname of Campbeltown. Colour: light gold. Nose: fresh, malty, appropriately herbal, with good vanilla and whiffs of fresh-broken branches, then paraffin and soot, which would remind us of that malt starting with 'S'. With water: smoked meats and fish (moderately), porridge and sourdough, damps ashes, roots and wax. Carrots! Mouth (neat): bright and very citric, with a mineral and slightly petroly fatness coating all that. Gets a little bitter… With water: no, it's perfect now, sooty, lemony, and in my opinion, partly 'S'. Unless I'm wrong this time again. The dough is not 'S.' though. The grain is anecdotal. Finish: long, sooty and doughy. Comments: very excellent given that it's 'just a blend'. The best use of grain whisky ever. This should become a permanent expression.
SGP:552 - 86 points.

MacNairs 10 yo 'Lum Reek Cask Strength Batch 2' (55.8%, OB, blended malt, sherry casks, +/-2023)

MacNairs 10 yo 'Lum Reek Cask Strength Batch 2' (55.8%, OB, blended malt, sherry casks, +/-2023) Three stars and a half
A blend by Glenallachie's famous Billy Walker. It does come with a story and, apparently, with some peat. Colour: gold. Nose: smoke and soot and ashes and dough and tons of bacon. With water: lemon peel, grass, plasticine, hand cream, garden bonfire. Mouth (neat): Islay. That's the thing, when you add 5%, you feel it. When you add 10%, it's smoky. And when you add 20% and beyond, it's a peater. With water: an excellent, crisp, chiselled, uncomplicated citrusy peater. Finish: long and peaty. Zillions of companies are having such peaty blends these days, but I believe this one's particularly, err, peaty. And good. Walnuts and teas in the aftertaste, that should be the 'sherry'. Comments: of course it's good.

SGP:455 - 83 points.

NAS 17 yo (53%, Decadent Drinks, blended malt, sherry, 2023)

NAS 17 yo (53%, Decadent Drinks, blended malt, sherry, 2023) Four stars
A multi-vintage blend of Aultmore with some blended malt. Let's see if it's become Aultless (as they would say at Ardmore – I know what I'm trying to say). Colour: golden amber. Nose: some rejuvenated or fresh American oak at play, it seems, as we're finding some coconut and vanilla, otherwise croissants and brioches. Not too sure at all, especially given that there's also some lovely muesli and porridge, Fruit Loops, Golden Grahams… With water: good fun, some aniseed biscuits, anis bredala (that's the Sponge's Alsatian input), Basler Läckerli (that's the Sponge's Swiss input), Stolle (that's the Sponge's German input)… Mouth (neat): firm, spicy, oaky, modern. Pepperz and bitter orangez. With water: back to spicy pastries, ginger, turmeric, also some green oak, green tannins, uncharred fresh barrique, cinnamon… Finish: pretty long, mainly on fresh oak spices. Comments: hard to say – and I swear I am not in the know at all – but it feels as if someone's been playing with fresh oak. Very good, naturally.
SGP:361 - 86 points.

How do you pique the crowd's interest and curiosity with new blends and no brand aura? When you cannot visualize a Distillery? A location? Some people? Even cats or cows?

Blended Malt 1996/2022 (43.5%, The Maltman, Or Sileis & Drunk Choice, sherry hogshead, cask #1633, 291 bottles)

Blended Malt 1996/2022 (43.5%, The Maltman, Or Sileis & Drunk Choice, sherry hogshead, cask #1633, 291 bottles) Five stars
Colour: amber gold. Nose: superb dried fruits, oriental bread, dried figs, beeswax, a pack of menthol cigarettes, dried longans and rambutans, raisins, pack of Camels… What could this actually be? I am asking you! Mouth: Edrington stock? Mint, tar, raisins, dried dates and figs, a drop of retsina wine, a drop of Cointreau, a tiny bit of Parma ham, a droplet of cognac, a hint of chocolaty propolis (which wouldn't exist in real life)… Awesome! Finish: medium, perhaps even a tad short, but complex, on dried fruits, more old cognac (did we mention old cognac before?) and just raisins. Comments: almost whiskygnac, or cognacsky, really.  As you like, but the drop is top notch. Possibly not 'just a blend'.

SGP:551 - 90 points.

Speyside Malt 12 yo 2009/2022 (57.5%, Buds & Barrels, hogshead, cask #174, 142 bottles)

Speyside Malt 12 yo 2009/2022 (57.5%, Buds & Barrels, hogshead, cask #174, 142 bottles) Three stars and a half
Some undisclosed single malt from Speyside. The fact that this bottle seems to be about having fun in some way is much more interesting than the fact that it's 'another secret Speysider'. Buddies over barrels, anytime! Colour: white wine. Nose: the fact is, this is some good malty, doughy, average-in-the-best-sense-of-that-word malt whisky. In short, more fresh brioche, cider, ale and quince jelly. With water: cassata, melons, croissant and nougat. Mouth (neat): good, fruity, with sweets and syrups, toffee apples, some fruity spices (Szechuan pepper) and pink grapefruits. With water: sweeter and fruitier. Crystallised angelica and cherries. Fruit cake, doux/sweet cider. Finish: medium. More of all that, cakes and fruits. Comments: as they say, it's probably not totally earthshattering but it's jolly, pretty good.

SGP:541 - 83 points.

Oh, we were having this older one in the boxes…

Images of Dufftown 1988/2013 (53.2%, Malts of Scotland, 254 bottles)

Images of Dufftown 1988/2013 (53.2%, Malts of Scotland, 254 bottles) Four stars and a half
From the old days indeed, I hope they're doing just fine at MoS! The Clock Tower on the label, could this be 'fiddich? Colour: light gold. Nose: these aspects that both Glenfiddich and Balvenie do share, mirabelles, pears, vanilla… Not much else to say, except that this is a 'seminal' style. Hope they won't lose it by using only very silly two-pence wine-seasoned casks. I mean, the distillers. With water: pilsner, preserved peaches, sourdough, plums, vanilla… I find this awesome. Mouth (neat): awesome indeed, with grapefruits, greengages, rhubarb, granny smith and white peaches. Very singular, and possibly part of the endangered species, according to several recent and pretty lousy official bottlings that I could try. With water: amazingly fresh and fruity, with ripe kiwis and lemons. Finish: medium, awesome indeed, fresh, tart, elegant. Granny smith and grapefruits. Comments: holy Suzy, nostalgia is striking, already! Isn't this wonderful style gone, gone, gone?

SGP:651 - 89 points.

A Secret Speyside 2007/2022 (62.8%, Berry Bros. & Rudd, Kirsch exclusive, butt, cask #13910, 612 bottles)

A Secret Speyside 2007/2022 (62.8%, Berry Bros. & Rudd, Kirsch exclusive, butt, cask #13910, 612 bottles) Four stars and a half
I totally love it that they would have written 'FINISH: NONE' on the labels, congrats Ronnie, Doug, Jonny or whomever this concerns. F-that-S. Now whenever BB&R do a 'secret Speyside', that's usually Glenlivet. Colour: full gold. Nose: it could very well be Glenlivet, for it's all on cereals, cornflakes, cakes, honeys, sultanas, maple syrup and biscuits. And it's even noseable, at almost 63% vol. (which, in real life, should be lethal). With water: no changes, perhaps more ripe apples? Mouth (neat): grand but indeed, lethal. Some false route and your partner sends you to the hospital. With water: excellent, on wonderful apples, plums, honeys, cider, quinces… I'm sure it would be extremely good for the reputation of the Distillery if the bottlers could use the name on their labels. Finish: medium, mainly on artisanal cider. Comments: terrific, and wonderful after the secret Dufftown. Do we really have to count on the indies? Where are the distillers?
SGP:551 - 89 points.

Last one, peated one…

Islay Single Malt Peated (50%,, Hart Bros., +/-2022)

Islay Single Malt Peated (50%,, Hart Bros., +/-2022) Four stars and a half
We've got zillions of un-named NAS peaters but let's have only one, just because we like to showcase Hart Bros. every once in a while for they are another old and seminal name. Plus, the price is fair, so the whisky should be fair (what???) It is a secret single malt (so Caol Ila, ha). Colour: white wine. Nose: nosing an ashtray with drops of lemon juice and some very chalky sauvignon blanc. Perfect. With water: wool, new jumper, perfect. Mouth (neat): crabs, oysters, green pepper, ashes, seawater and even more ashes. Simplistic, yet utterly perfect. With water: ashes, lemon amaretti cookies, seawater, oysters. That's four aces. Finish: awesome tart and gritty grassiness, lime skins, lemony smoke. Comments: well done Hart Bros., total and utter respect. What's more, no wine's been harmed or killed for the production of this wonderful peaty malt whisky. Bang-for-your-buck award guaranteed (should we ever do that). Buying alert.

SGP:466 - 88 points.

(Thank you, Tom)


July 12, 2023


WF's Little Duos, today sherried Aberlour

Aberlour is back again, as we've just found an old official bottle we had never written any proper tasting note for. But first, a recent indie as the sparring partner

At the Real Escuela Andaluza del Arte Ecuestre in Jerez (2022 - WF Archive)




Aberlour 9 yo 2013/2022 (47.5%, Carn Mor, Strictly Limited, oloroso sherry, 1798 bottles)

Aberlour 9 yo 2013/2022 (47.5%, Carn Mor, Strictly Limited, oloroso sherry, 1798 bottles) Four stars
Colour: full gold. Nose: a little shoe polish, walnut skins and tomato leaves at first nosing, then rather chocolate and classic walnut cake. Also the usual bitter oranges and a touch of tannic chestnut honey, plus a little more shoe polish, or rather horse saddle polish since we're in Jerez, somehow. They have amazing horses down there, ever been to the Horse Show? It's called Real Escuela Andaluza del Arte Ecuestre and was founded by the Domecq family. It's rather amazing. Mouth: more on marmalade, with touches of ginger and cloves, and a peppery background. Cinnamon, nutmeg, chilies… The strength is perfect, it drinks well despite the heavyish oak spices. Finish: raw chocolate, marmalade and cloves plus pepper. A salty tang and more spices yet in the aftertaste. Comments: some punchy spicy sherry, with some sides close to the OBs. A'bunadh isn't always very far away.
SGP:562 - 85 points.

And so that older bottle from the shelves, since we were mentioning A'bunadh…

Aberlour '100 proof' (57.1%, OB, sherry, +/-1997)

Aberlour '100 proof' (57.1%, OB, sherry, +/-1997) Four stars and a half
I believe this was a kind of  A'bunadh's prototype bottling. Although I really liked it a lot when I first tried it, I've just never written any proper notes – or maybe on the Malt Maniacs' old website? Quite possibly… Colour: gold. Nose: it's funny that I would find a little shoe polish again, but other than that I'm finding it maltier and more on cakes and oranges than the usual sherried Aberlours. With water: sherry coming out, walnuts for sure, some lighter pipe tobacco, with a discreet and awesome fino character, damp chalk (albariza, naturally) and a little paraffin. Mouth (neat): big punch, in your face, with more earths and rocks than usual, barley, bitter orange aplenty, and even a little sugarcane. Is that OBE in the making? With water: excellent, rather on oranges, roots, lemons, touch of turmeric… And ginger cookies. Finish: rather long, with more oranges, ginger, turmeric, walnuts, wax, and a 'Highlands' style. Peppery aftertaste. Comments: I'm a little surprised, I find it more complex, tighter and deeper than last time. We may check it again around the year 2045.

SGP:552 - 88 points.

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


July 10, 2023


Eight Amrut on the tasting table


I still remember the first time we stumbled upon an Amrut, that was at one of, if not at the very first Whisky Live festival in Paris. At that time, the only 'other' proper malt whiskies were the Japanese (and a few Bushmills). To be honest, we tried that first Amrut rather reluctantly; well, it was pretty awesome already. And the rep was world-class, which never hurts. Cheers Ashok.



Amrut 'Master Distiller's Reserve' (50%, OB, single cask, limited edition 2023)

Amrut 'Master Distiller's Reserve' (50%, OB, single cask, limited edition 2023) Four stars
Isn't a single cask a limited edition by definition? Right, splitting hairs once more… Colour: gold. Nose: it is a peater, and rather a peater from the earth, not a coastal one. Some tar, some shoe polish, roots, roasting coffee… I'm really fond of these smells of torrefaction. Also walnut wine and cake, which should suggest the use of ex-sherry wood, but it's no sherry monster. With water: a few fumes, then roasted raisins and almonds. Marginally burnt cakes, then the expected mangos. Soft mangos. Mouth (neat): good fun, good interplay between the smoke and the sherry. More walnut cake, charcoal, roasted nuts, chestnut honey, a little pipe tobacco, cigarette ashes… With water: once again some tropical fruits coming out. Smoked yuzu – should anyone ever try to do that. Finish: medium, with a little tar, you could almost call it 'wee Lagavulin' at this stage. Comments: excellent, a little 'trans' (Bangalore x Islay).
SGP:646 - 87 points.

Amrut 'Kurinji' (46%, OB, limited edition, 16,000 bottles, 2023)

Amrut 'Kurinji' (46%, OB, limited edition, 16,000 bottles, 2023) Four stars
It is not extremely clear whether this Indian malt was distilled at Amrut or sourced elsewhere in India, what's sure is that it's 'matured and bottled by Amrut'.  Colour: straw. Nose: liquid brioche and croissant au beurre, sunflower oil, buttercream, poached pears, dandelions, mirabelles, quinces, vanilla fudge… Some sides remind me of Glenmorangie, which is no bad news. Mouth: fresh young malt, with more pears, apples, gooseberries, grapefruit, lime, orange blossom water… I'm rather reminded of some fresh young Rosebank of old this time. Finish: medium, very zesty, refreshing. A tiny feeling of Kool-Aid in the aftertaste. Comments: it's less complex than the Master Distiller's, but since this is the month of July, I like it just the same for it is so refreshing (so, careful).

SGP:651 - 87 points.

Amrut 5 yo 2017/2022 'Ex Madeira Cask' (60%, OB, La Maison du Whisky, cask #8844, 200 bottles)

Amrut 5 yo 2017/2022 'Ex Madeira Cask' (60%, OB, La Maison du Whisky, cask #8844, 200 bottles) Five stars
Colour: full gold. Nose: punchy, starting with a little sweet mustard not unseen in ex-Madeira whiskies, unfolding on ripe mangos, viognier, gewurz and lavender honey. Brilliant. With water: still a little mustardy, otherwise on pastries and with rather less boisterously aromatic wines. Couldn't have been more of that. Mouth (neat): hugely tropical, citrusy, with even more mangos and bags of oranges. Very 'Amrut'. With water: totally lovable, top Amrut, top tropical jams, it's full or ripe bananas and mangos, but never, ever, well, shall I say it, 'slutty'. Wonderful cask. Finish: long, richly aromatic and yet very fresh. Some ready-made fruit cocktail for ***** hotel bars. Perhaps London's Lanesborough? First time I ever stumbled upon a £1,000 dram, I think it was an old Bowmore, around the year 2000. I chose something else. Comments: superb, very typical Amrut.

SGP:651 - 90 points.

Amrut 7 yo 2015/2022 'Ex Oloroso Cask Lightly Peated' (60%, OB, La Maison du Whisky, cask #3822)

Amrut 7 yo 2015/2022 'Ex Oloroso Cask Lightly Peated' (60%, OB, La Maison du Whisky, cask #3822) Four stars
Colour: full gold. Nose: smoked bacon! Plus ripe bananas and, once more, mangos, but I find it a tad closed, quite possibly because of the hight strength. With water: indeed, smoked bacon, plus gunpowder, struck matches, coffee beans, beef jerky, raw toasted chocolate beans (that's so good!), the usual old walnuts, lit cigar… Mouth (neat): indeed it is a little strong. Smoked oranges or something? Plus clove and bay leaves? Cracked pepper? With water: something else, something a little unusual. Smoked tropical fruits, perhaps, bits of toasted wood, dark tobacco… Remember when we used to smoke untipped cigarettes, quite some years ago? Craven 'A', Senior Service, Bensons, Gauloises… Finish: long, a little salty, with more old walnuts and bits of tobacco (coming out of those untipped cigarettes). I'm afraid we're going to end up having problems with anti-smoking leagues even before the anti-alcohol ones. Comments: perhaps a little extreme, in fact. A wee death-seat-effect after the Ex Madeira.

SGP:364 - 87 points.

Perhaps a few older ones, without spending too much time on them…

Amrut (61.2%, Blackadder, Raw Cask, cask #BA27-2017, 162 bottles, 2017)

Amrut (61.2%, Blackadder, Raw Cask, cask #BA27-2017, 162 bottles, 2017) Four stars and a half
This is a peater but actually, it was only finished in ex Islay peated cask. That nasty trick that works! Silver at the MM Awards 2017. Colour: gold. Nose: ripe tropical fruits with a thin layer of peat smoke. Awesome and very strong. With water: we're on Islay. Mud, chalk, bandages, kelp, porridge, tarry ropes, hessian, dunnage, oysters… Mouth (neat): you do feel the extra-layer of salty, coastal peat. A lot of lemon. Nah, it's beautiful. With water: beautiful indeed, very Islay. After all, Laphroaig and Bowmore could display a lot of tropicalness too. Finish: long, smoky, citrusy, coastal. Comments: perfect mutant in-cask blend. This was done in 2017, otherwise I would have asked 'wasn't the set-up suggested by ChatGPT?'.
SGP:555 - 88 points.

Amrut 4 yo 2014/2018 (56.5%, OB for Tiger's Selection Taiwan, PX sherry, cask #4683, 360 bottles)

Amrut 4 yo 2014/2018 (56.5%, OB for Tiger's Selection Taiwan, PX sherry, cask #4683, 360 bottles) Four stars and a half
Colour: office coffee. Nose: walnut wine, PX, dried figs, prunes, armagnac Ténarèze, Corinth currants, rose petals (just three of them). Perfect. With water: ten litres of fig wine, plus beef stock and biltong. Mouth (neat): full juicy sultanas with a little caraway and menthol. And old PX, rather towards Malaga. With water: all raisins of the creation, Carole Bouquet's Pantelleria (check it), moscatel, PX. And it is not stuffy, mind you. Finish: long, sweet, thick, very raisiny but with some elegance. Comments: was that fast enough for you? Great sweet young PXed Amrut.

SGP:751 - 88 points.

Amrut 2012/2017 'Double Cask Bourbon & Port Pipe' (46%, OB, 1,850 bottles, 2017)

Amrut 2012/2017 'Double Cask Bourbon & Port Pipe' (46%, OB, 1,850 bottles, 2017) Two stars and a half
They still have this one at Bezos's currently, which I find a little scary. I believe they've vatted the two casks together, it's not just a finishing or double-maturation. Colour: light amber. Nose: totally on clove, caraway and tomato leaves, with some peat smoke in the background. Funny one. Mouth: spicy and smoky cassis and more caraway and pepper. Perhaps not the epitome of integration. Finish: long and very spicy. Comments: a little un-Amrut, if I may Take this, Bezos!

SGP:373 - 79 points.

Last one…

Amrut 8 yo 'Greedy Angels' (50%, OB, ex-bourbon, 1,350 bottles, 2017)

Amrut 8 yo 'Greedy Angels' (50%, OB, ex-bourbon, 1,350 bottles, 2017) Four stars and a half
There was a 12 yo 'Greedy Angels' in 2016, and a 8 yo 'Little Greedy Angels' in 2022, but we've never tried this 8 yo 'Greedy Angels' from 2017 before. They're all 'chairman's reserves' but in India too, chairmen are very generous, altruistic and ready to part with they own stocks. Colour: gold. Nose: fully on honeys, mango jam, vanilla, maize bread, dried coconut, peanut butter and nougat. With water: same, perhaps a tad more vanilla-ed yet. Mouth (neat): excellently fruity, on oranges and mangos, very typically Amrut. More nougat, sweet maize, praline, fudge… With water: bananas and even pineapples. Very fruity. Finish: medium, fruity, joyful, easy, tropical. Almost some Indian daiquiri. Comments: very easy drop, very good, perhaps just a little too quaffable. Of course not.

SGP:641 - 88 points.

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


July 9, 2023


  A word of caution
Let me please remind you that my humble assessments of any spirits are done from the point of view of a malt whisky enthusiast who, what's more, is aboslutely not an expert in rum, brandy, tequila, vodka, gin or any other spirits. Thank you – and peace!



Rums on Sunday

San Antao

San Antao, Cabo Verde (Lonely Planet)


First, a grogue from Cabo Verde.



Sodade 'Botanic Joao' (40.8%, OB, Cabo Verde, grogue, 700 bottles, +/-2023)

Sodade 'Botanic Joao' (40.8%, OB, Cabo Verde, grogue, 700 bottles, +/-2023) Four stars
Right, I'm not sure this is pure grogue but we love grogue anyway. This is red cane 'rhum' fermented for 12 (twelve!) days with lemongrass, ginger, mint and basil. Not too sure at which stage they added those distinguished vegetals, having said that, but let's try it. It's made in Cha de Pedras on the island of Santo Antão. Colour: light gold. Nose: amazingly entrancing, very fermentary, feeling a little sweet indeed but this feeling of having many fermenting fruits in your glass is perfect. Pineapple wine, rhubarb wine, agave syrup… Amazing nose, really. Mouth: a little sweet, but not sugary at all, see what I mean? Bags of liquorice, half-rotten banana (which I love), lemongrass indeed, pineapple… Finish: long, sweet indeed but not sickly so. Pineapples and rosehip tea. I have to say the aftertaste is a tad syrupy, though, which makes it a little too long. Comments: a very treacherous grogue. You would believe it was bottled at 15% vol. and consequently, gulp down your bottle within minutes (and when on ice, within seconds). Do not. Huge fan of this crazy spirit.
SGP:750 - 86 points.

Good, you may remember we've had an excellent Hardy 'Vieux' a few weeks ago. Good news, we've now got its XO counterpart…

G. Hardy 'Rhum Vieux XO' (43%, OB, Martinique, agricole, +/-2023)

G. Hardy 'Rhum Vieux XO' (43%, OB, Martinique, agricole, +/-2023) Four stars and a half
Love the label that's probably been done by a little nephew around the year 1965. Remember Hardy's made at Saint James. Colour: deep gold. Nose: a very distinctive kind of old agricole, rather on shoe polish, old furniture, pine tar, engine oil, thuja wood, old varnish, Chinese lacquer, then parsley, chives, tarragon… this nose is just exceptional. Mouth: a tad less flabbergasting on the palate – the opposite would have been impossible – but should you enjoy your liquorice blended with lime and pine resin, this is for you. Lovely varnish and wood glue. Some pencil shavings too. Finish: extremely long at just 43% vol. Lovely liquorice and varnish. Some bitterness in the aftertaste. Comments: very impressive. Oh and don't ever change the label – and I hope the little nephew has grown all right.

SGP: 472- 88 points.

We might be a little fast today. But since we're in Martinique…

Château Depaz 'Les 100 Ans' (45%, OB, Martinique, agricole, 1,400 bottles, 2022)

Château Depaz 'Les 100 Ans' (45%, OB, Martinique, agricole, 1,400 bottles, 2022) Four stars
Ten casks from three rather young vintages to celebrate their centenary. It is a lovely art-déco bottle but everyone's using it these days. Right, not quite everyone… yet. The canes here are grown on volcanic soils. Colour: deep gold. Nose: star anise first, liquorice second, earthy marmalade and citrus liqueurs third. Then many aromatic herbs and flowers, wormwood for sure, elderflowers, verbena… And whiffs of old books and magazines, with a rather lovely dusty side. Oak and cedar shavings in the background. Mouth: rather tight, think limoncello aged in pinewood (yeah right, give them ideas), then more caney but always led by citrus, oranges, pink grapefruits, and of course, liquorice. It is not very wide, but it is not very old either. Finish: long, spicier, woodier. Cinnamon mints and cedarwood, ginger… Comments: it's been a tad tough after the very surprising Hardy XO, but it turned out extremely all right. Mind you, 100 years, we're only 20. Well, almost 21.
SGP:551 - 87 points.

Renegade 'Etudes – New Bacolet' (55%, OB, MicrOrigin, terroir 'Upper Combe', Farm 'Goat Hill', Grenada, +/-2023)

Renegade 'Etudes – New Bacolet' (55%, OB, MicrOrigin, terroir 'Upper Combe', Farm 'Goat Hill', Grenada, +/-2023) Four stars and a half
Lacalome Red (that's the cane varietal, not the name of the manageress), distilled in pot stills. We've loved the 'Pearls' the other day, but it is the first time we're trying this New Bacolet after a bit of aging in wood. Colour: straw. Nose: sameish rotting things and petrol. Ripe pineapples macerated in diesel oil, with a little olive oil and a few black truffles. Once again, a feeling of high precision, with some freshness and even a coastal side (but I'm sure they will tell us it's grown high in the mountains). With water: oh, no changes. Mouth (neat): more paint here, grapefruits, gloss varnish, green gooseberries, rhubarb… It's tight and pretty vertical, perhaps a tad acetic. With water: and there, anchovies in brine, sardines, olives, pickled lemons, peat smoke (peat smoke?) and salted liquorice. Finish: long, salty, liquoricy. Comments: I'm having the Pearls in another glass as we speak, it is widely different, probably a little fatter, easier and more 'immediate', while this Bacolet would be tighter and brighter. Not the same rums at all, I'd almost dare say there's more differences than between different Jamaican distilleries. Speaking of which…

SGP:462 - 89 points.

Jamaican Rum 10 yo 'MJH3' (56.5%%, Watt Rum, Belgian Exclusive, The Nectar, barrel, 2023)

Jamaican Rum 10 yo 'MJH3' (56.5%%, Watt Rum, Belgian Exclusive, The Nectar, barrel, 2023) Five stars
Why Belgium again? But the country's gonna drown if we're not careful! This should be Hampden. Colour: gold. Nose: feels middle-estery, with some cider vinegar, varnish, new-sawn pinewood, green lemons, carbon and linoleum. Oh and langoustines. With water: wood varnish, a new delivery at Ikea's, formica, sawn plywood, then white vinegar, olives and capers… Mouth (neat): sharp, ultra-lemony, with some acetone and ashes. With water: same. Pure ultra-tight Hampdenness, lime, ashes, varnish, lamp petrol, tar. Finish: same for a rather long time. Comments: first, it did not destroy the Renegade at all, and second, I'd love to try this with shrimp croquettes. That was a secret message to our Belgian friends on the coast. Message over.
SGP:363 - 90 points.

So, MJH3, he said… Phoo, we'll soon all need PhDs in this game, but this one spirit could be lethal at almost 60.00% vol…

HD 10 yo 2012 'MJH3' (59.9%, The Whisky Blues, cask #40, barrel, 235 bottles)

HD 10 yo 2012 'MJH3' (59.9%, The Whisky Blues, cask #40, barrel, 235 bottles) Four stars and a half
Blues or hardcore death metal de la muerte? Colour: gold. Nose: it's a little rounder, with a little more vanilla, a tad more oak impact, a little more bourbonness… But we're splitting hairs, nutshell, we're still at Ikea's when they're getting all the wonderful new stuff that's full of glue, varnish and plywood. And which we love in our glass. With water: sauvignon blanc at its bestest, as they say. Very green, very stalky. Mouth (neat): hell and putrefaction, this is strong. Salted glue (I imagine) and lemon concentrate blended with crude oil (I imagine). Death metal spirit for spielers, indeed. With water: wonderful classic Hampden, shall we say, but it might be a tad too salty. Indeed, it is very, very, and I mean very salty, you'd almost believe some beach sand shrimps are going to jump out of your tasting glass. Finish: long, tight, lovely, chemical, difficult. Huge varnish in the aftertaste. Comments: it was not really high-ester, but it was e.x.t.r.e.m.e.
SGP:363 - 89 points.

Good, a very last one and something I've always wanted to do, try some proper Grand Arôme after a proper extreme Jamaican… Without a net.

Grand Arôme 8 yo 2013/2021 (55.6%, Rom de Luxe, La Réunion, cask #8, 304 bottles)

Grand Arôme 8 yo 2013/2021 (55.6%, Rom de Luxe, La Réunion, cask #8, 304 bottles) Two stars and a half
Some secret French high-ester (500gr/hlpa+) rhum from Savanna (whoops), matured or finished in red wine wood (which might be the tricky part). Red wine vs. grand arôme? We have no fear here, have we. Colour: apricot. Nose: there's probably five times more esters in this one than in the Hampdens we've just tried, but the red wine is mellowing everything down, which is absolutely not unpleasant as we're finding tons of juicy ripe peaches and quite some patchouli and incense. We're about to put Donovan on the stereo, by the way… With water: apricot cake? Pears poached in sweet wine? Peonies? Mouth (neat): I believe the cask pushed the rhum towards cognacness, really. More preserved peaches, melons, even raisins and overripe bananas… With water: rather weird now. I mean, it's now tough and unusual, very spicy, peppery, with some chilli even. Don't get me wrong, it remains a fine hot and punchy rum, and indeed I know more about, say French bees than about rum/rhum, but I believe they've gone a little too far here, with peppers and chilli take over now. Finish: long and difficult. Too much tannicity, too much pepper. Comments: some ups and some downs, but I believe first the Hampdens, and then the red wine cask just killed the baby. Please no red wine (if I may).

SGP:372 - 79 points.

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


July 8, 2023





Angus's Corner
From our correspondent and
skilled taster Angus MacRaild in Scotland

Mixed Pairs for Saturday

It's been a while since we've selected some random pairings from the sample stash. Let's have a rummage and see what takes our fancy. I always enjoy this way of doing tastings.





Glenburgie 27 yo 1995/2022 (57.7%, Signatory Vintage for Wu Dram Clan 3rd Anniversary, cask #6668, hogshead, 193 bottles)

Glenburgie 27 yo 1995/2022 (57.7%, Signatory Vintage for Wu Dram Clan 3rd Anniversary, cask #6668, hogshead, 193 bottles)
What is the Wu Dram Clan tartan I wonder…? Colour: pale gold. Nose: a tad shy at first, but gives a sense of syrupy texture that I love in these mid-age Speysiders. Opens gently with melon, hints of lemon balm and delicate beeswax. Further impressions of sweet flower nectars and runny honey. Very classy! With water: on cedar and sandalwoods, dried flowers, possible with honey and crystallised fruits. Mouth: tight, very fruity and on rich, sweet cereals such as caramelised porridge oats, honey flapjack and fruity-heavy muesli. Great balance of fruity sweetness and deeper, thicker waxier impressions. Rather nicely peppery and warming too. With water: indeed, the whole becomes a tad drier and the fruits are more dried and crystallised in style, alongside that there's a leathery note and some weightier tobacco leaf and mustard powder vibes. Finish: good length, rich, warming and peppery with lemon rind, sweet cereals, soft waxes and dried flowers. Comments: extremely good and extremely classy Glenburgie, I love the weightier and more texture components which add a lot of pleasure.
SGP: 651 - 89 points.



Glenburgie 27 yo 1995/2022 (58.4%, Lady Of The Glen, cask #6721, hogshead, 218 bottles)

Glenburgie 27 yo 1995/2022 (58.4%, Lady Of The Glen, cask #6721, hogshead, 218 bottles)
On paper, this should be pretty similar… Colour: pale gold. Nose: similar indeed, but I find this one dustier, waxier and generally a tad drier and more austere. Going towards earthier tones, some rolling tobacco and things like gorse flower and desiccated coconut. With water: the wood gathers a tad more pace now with some juniper and ground ginger, but also some nice herbal touches and honey liqueur notes. Mouth: more wood influence in this one, but it manifests wonderfully as coconut milk, eucalyptus and more assertive mentholated notes and resinous fir wood. There's still a nice level of fruitiness though, it's more confined to green fruits such as tart gooseberry and baked apple with custard. With water: big and thick, lots of pollens, crystallised honey, camphor and wood spice. Finish: good length, again the wood just hitting the upper threshold for me, but remains big, fat and impressively rich. Comments: I think I prefer the fruitier aspects of the Signatory cask by a single notch, but this is still big, hearty and pleasurable old Glenburgie.
SGP: 561 - 88 points.



Glendronach 12 yo (43%, OB, sherry, 1980s)

Glendronach 12 yo (43%, OB, sherry, 1980s)
Let's try to be quick with this one… Colour: mahogany. Nose: stunningly fruity and vibrant old sherry, full of prunes, figs, plums and sweet raisins and sultanas. All underpinned by a soft, mulchy earthy and tobacco quality. Sheer class and totally pure, clean, vibrant old school sherry greatness. Mouth: same feeling of super clean and wonderfully rich old style sherry, a slight tang of balsamic acidity, salted almonds, pickled walnuts and further impressions of herbal liqueurs. All the while full of the same dark fruits stewed in old Armagnac. Finish: long, very gently salty, still on many walnuts, bodega funk, game meats and full on rancio. Comments: none!
SGP: 661 - 92 points.



Glendronach 26 yo 1993/2019 (51.1%, OB for The Whisky Exchange 20th Anniversary, cask #6853, PX sherry puncheon, 722 bottles)

Glendronach 26 yo 1993/2019 (51.1%, OB for The Whisky Exchange 20th Anniversary, cask #6853, PX sherry puncheon, 722 bottles)
Colour: amber. Nose: it's a slightly more contemporary sherry profile now, in that you feel the wood a little more clearly, but also it's earthier, drier and more towards things like Guinness cake, chocolate sauce, gamey notes and spiced dark fruits. I would say within that style it is still pretty brilliant and holds up well against the 12yo. With water: duskier and sootier now I'd say, but still with some lovely plummy fruitiness that also includes pomegranate molasses and liquorice. Mouth: really excellent, not at all in the cloying style of some of the other PX casks from these vintages, instead this is all about soft stewed dark fruits, sultanas, fruit liqueurs, old cigar humidor and damp pipe tobaccos. Still with many of these earthier qualities and more over chocolatey notes as on the nose. Superb! With water: perfect balance of dark fruits, leather earthy notes, a touch of salty dark chocolate and more of these lovely rancio and tobacco vibes. Finish: long, perfectly bitter, herbal, earthy and with a nicely resinous touch. Comments: this one already seems to have been very well received in various quarters, I don't buck the trend, it's a terrific cask.
SGP: 562 - 91 points.



Seeing as we are in Huntly…



Ardmore 24 yo 1997/2022 (53.7%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society 66.217 'Cliche, but who cares?', refill hogshead with 1st fill oloroso hogshead finish, 259 bottles)

Ardmore 24 yo 1997/2022 (53.7%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society 66.217 'Cliche, but who cares?', refill hogshead with 1st fill oloroso hogshead finish, 259 bottles)
Colour: deep gold. Nose: the sherry is nicely discreet, and works quite well with that light Ardmore smokiness to create notes of tobacco leaf, ginger liqueur and slightly dusty old medicine cabinets. I also get some smoked teas and old furniture wax. Nothing at all cloying or disjointed so far. With water: the smoke is clearer now, a very nice wispy, dry and gentle peat note with a little mint leaf and camphor. Mouth: we aren't left in doubt this is from the era when Ardmore was Ardmore, which is to say moderately peated somewhere between Springbank and Talisker, and distilled using direct coal firing - as opposed to steam and then filled into ex-Laphroaig barrels! Anyway, this is lovely. Lots of salted treacle, damp leaves, earthy black teas as well as lapsing souchong, crystallised citrus rinds and things like putty, mineral oil and strop leather. With water: nicely sooty, smoky, spicy and still with these nicely Ardmorish herbal peat and dry medicinal tones. Finish: medium length, a little tarry, a slightly bigger peat note and lovely dry smokiness in the after taste. Comments: this is a really nice parcel of casks. I think these batches of Ardmore really show a true 'direct fired' distillate character when compared to later batches. Probably still pretty underrated in my book. Oh, and a very respectful and nicely handled finish by the SMWS, kudos to Mr Campbell.
SGP: 464 - 88 points.



Ardmore 24 yo 1997/2022 (56%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society 66.226 'Citrus-marinated beef and fruit kebabs', refill hogshead with 1st fill oloroso sherry hogshead finish, 258 bottles)

Ardmore 24 yo 1997/2022 (56%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society 66.226 'Citrus-marinated beef and fruit kebabs', refill hogshead with 1st fill oloroso sherry hogshead finish, 258 bottles)
Colour: pale amber. Nose: very similar but there's a clear and more assertive sherry influence here, lovely salty and gamey sherry notes with slated almonds, toasted walnuts and then some very typical Ardmore sooty and medicinal combinations. With water: very precise now, only salty bodega earthiness, tobacco leaf, unlit cigar and cough medicines, great stuff! Mouth: a lovely fusion of salty, earthy and slightly spicy sherry with a nice undertone of dry, earthy and herbal peat smoke. Lots of camphor, some pickled chillis and cupboard spices such as clove and ginger. You do feel the wood a little from the finish I think, but it remains well integrated and there's still plenty of Ardmore character on display here. Reminiscent of some rather old school Highland Park in some respects. With water: really wonderful fusion of sherry and peat here, subtle, clean and wonderfully balanced between saltiness, spices, herbal medicinal notes and dry peat. Finish: long, very slightly tarry, still with this nervous, resinous and salty sherry in the background and herbal peat in the aftertaste. Comments: this one really worked very well, great finish and great overall cohesion.

SGP: 564 - 90 points.



Over to Islay…



Bunnahabhain 1989/2015 (43.4%, Berry Brothers, cask #5738, hogshead, 115 bottles)

Bunnahabhain 1989/2015 (43.4%, Berry Brothers, cask #5738, hogshead, 115 bottles)
A bottle that was given to me and comes with my name on the front. I can't remember why a number of good whisky folk were kindly gifted these by Berry's, but I decided to crack mine at my wedding recently. Colour: pale straw. Nose: lovely, typical and slightly soft old Bunnahabhain. Which is to say, lots of green fruits, fresh barley, a subtle waxiness, peanut brittle and waxy lemon rinds. I also find a slightly more pronounced medicinal streak than usual in these batches. Slightly herbal too - lovely nose. Mouth: indeed, rather herbal now. Lots of herbal tea, bergamot, wintergreen and impressions of herbal cough syrup and old liqueurs - 1940s Drambuie anyone? Otherwise a few wee roots and earthier tones with a slight coastal edge. Finish: medium, ever so slightly sappy and minty with those same rootier and slightly vegetal notes. Comments: I love the nose, the palate is tad on the soft side, but the overall feeling is of old Bunnahabhain flavoured glugging juice. I'm a sucker for these lovely herbal and medical touches.
SGP: 462 - 86 points.



Bunnahabhain 40 yo (51.6%, Masam, cask #7229, 520 bottles, 2019)

Bunnahabhain 40 yo (51.6%, Masam, cask #7229, 520 bottles, 2019)
Colour: straw. Nose: rather austere and on things like clay, overripe oranges, crushed nettles and aspirin. There's a medicinal side, a green side and a rather tough mineral aspect as well. I also find wee touches of things like shoe leather and plasticine. With water: fresher, livelier and more coastal - so also more classical as well. Still some slightly rough edges, but honest and pleasurable. Mouth: big improvement! I find it far more obviously Bunnahabhain up front with these nicely salty peanut notes, salted honey, aged mead, camphor and putty. Also these nice simple green and orchard fruit vibes which I find very typically 'old Bunny'. With water: a little more peppery and dry, on sandalwood, a touch of carbolic acidity, more of these salted and dried out honey qualities, face cream and lanolin. A tiny cardboard note too. Finish: medium, drying, peppery and with a little nut oil and salinity. Comments: a tad all over the place, but the heart remains very charming and delicious old Bunna. Probably one to just pour and quaff without too much prevarication with water.
SGP: 351 - 87 points.



Why not a couple of old Ords to round off this rather excellent session?



Glen Ord 32 yo 1972/2004 (50%, Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask, 242 bottles)

Glen Ord 32 yo 1972/2004 (50%, Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask, 242 bottles)
Are we expecting Diet Clynelish…? Colour: fat and almost juicy waxiness that's also shot full of honey, delicate salty traces, dried flowers, fruit teas, herbal broths and ointments. Big, old school and rather emphatically 'highland' malt whisky. Nothing 'diet' about it. With water: very focussed on waxes, oils and things like furniture polish, fir wood resins and ointments now. Mouth: pin sharp mineral salt notes, grassy olive oil, shoe polish and clay, then more of these dried flowers and pollen vibes and a big dollop of heather honey run through some porridge. Indeed the whole does become more heathery, beery and waxy given time. With water: creamier in texture, more waxes, more medicines and things like white flowers, pebbles, mineral oils and dried herbs. Finish: medium but very waxy, peppery and camphory. Comments: I say Clynelish, but really this starts to resemble old Talisker at times too with these peppery and medical waxy combinations. Gorgeous old highland malt. These old Glen Ords can really deliver.

SGP: 463 - 91 points.



Ord 20 yo 1962/1983 (92 US proof, Cadenhead 'dumpy', for USA)

Ord 20 yo 1962/1983 (92 US proof, Cadenhead 'dumpy', for USA)
A super rare bottle with a super reputation. This is the parcel of casks that also delivered the Samaroli Ord Bouquet lest we forget… Colour: gold. Nose: stunningly resinous and immediately chock full of waxes, herbs, umami seasonings, bone marrow and medical balms. Also many mentholated notes such as dried mint, eucalyptus and tea tree oil. Even starting to express medicinal tinctures such as iodine and tiny hints of mercurochrome. Then also pine needles, Barbour grease, lanolin and exotic hardwood resins. Stunning and utterly, effortlessly brilliant. And, of course, totally old school, a world away from anything that exists today. Mouth: same immediate focus on precious hardwood resins, mechanical oils, waxes, herbal liqueurs, medicinal embrocations and ointments and even a stunningly subtle saltiness. However, now there's also some dried exotic fruits in the mix and a delicate peat note as well. Just stunning and pure pleasure! Finish: perhaps not the absolute longest but this is splitting hairs. It still glows with soft waxes, herbal cough syrup, gooey exotic fruit pulp, mineral oils and wee salty and resinous notes. Comments: I've tried a few of these old Cadenhead 62 Ords now and they never fail to thrill, this one is just as stunning as expected. A rather textbook example of 'old style' in every sense. I'll dock it one point for the ever so slightly shortened finish, but otherwise…

SGP: 563 - 93 points.



Thanks to the San Francisco Whisky Club and Jonny.





July 7, 2023


More peated Japan

Remember, all over the world, 'peated malt whisky' is not equivalent to 'whisky made from peated malt' anymore. As we may have said earlier, we're just surprised no one's ever used smoked water (a.k.a. liquid smoke) for reduction yet, that would probably be legal in some liberal whisky countries – and much cheaper.



Akashi White Oak 3 yo 'Beer Cask Finish' (50%, OB, 900 bottles)

Akashi White Oak 3 yo 'Beer Cask Finish' (50%, OB, 900 bottles) Four stars
Hold your horses, this is a simple finishing in a beer cask, from the Kotobuki brewery in Osaka. A common set-up all over Mitteleuropa… With mixed results in my humble opinion. But not too sure the beer was smoky… Colour: straw. It was not a dark beer. Nose: nice! I was not a heavy beer, it even rather feels like sake, being very pleasantly fermentary, with these unusual tertiary touches we're not really used to in Europe. Love it, though. A very moderate rubber, pretty lovely, as well as tiny tones of lapsang souchong indeed. With water: massive paraffin and a brand new iPhone (plus the hundreds of power cords you'll need). Mouth (neat): something else. Salty, umami-y, rubbery indeed, extremely fermentary… We'll try to bring it down to sake-like strength later… With water: feels like sake - but I'm sure my Japanese friends will disagree and call me a Philistine. At +/-17% vol.: works very well! I'm finding sweet turnips and other root vegetables. Beeswax. Finish: long, salty, elegant, fermentary, with some bread dough, more sake, and more paraffin. Comments: very unusual. I'm a fan, but I'm not sure I'd drink a case.

SGP:462 - 85 points.

Shizuoka 2018/2022 'Jwhisky Goldfish' (52.4%, OB, peated, bourbon, cask #2018-2084, 46 bottles)

Shizuoka 2018/2022 'Jwhisky Goldfish' (52.4%, OB, peated, bourbon, cask #2018-2084, 46 bottles) Four stars and a half
Remember that 'For whiskies nobly born valour doesn't await the passing of years.' (Corneille). Right, that's 'souls' instead of 'whiskies' in the original quote. Colour: gold. Nose: explosive bananas (figuratively) and fresh varnishes, gummy bears, curaçao, mango ice cream, then, progressively, small vegetables and herbs replacing the fruitiness. Little straight peat this far. With water: glue and varnish are back, you cannot not think of some Jamaican rum, but various pastries are soon to put things right, this is well whisky (genius, S.) Mouth (neat): massive bourbon fruitiness and, this time, some chiselled peatiness plus pepper. Simple and pretty sublime. With water: and voilà. Smoky bananas, peated mangos, all-grain bread, touch of stewed rhubarb, quince syrup… Finish: medium, just running on. A hint of coconut but no obvious vanilla. Comments: rather moderately peaty. Was it well peated barley? Excellent, nonetheless.
SGP:553 - 89 points.

Yamazaki 2010/2021 'The Essence of Suntory Whisky' (54%, OB, Volume 5, Islay Peated Malt)

Yamazaki 2010/2021 'The Essence of Suntory Whisky' (54%, OB, Volume 5, Islay Peated Malt) Four stars and a half
For this one they seem to have imported Optic barley that was peated on Islay. In Bowmore's kiln? Having said that, other trustworthy sources are mentioning Optic malted in Japan using peat imported from Islay. Oh well, as long as they don't import the whole fillings… Colour: gold. Nose: medium peat, fresh oak, menthol, touches of soy sauce, camphor, eucalyptus, pine sap, sauna oils, bath salt, new sneakers… Well, it isn't Bowmore-y, in any kind of way. With water: custard and pistachio cream make it a little rounder. I shall not mention mochi, as that would surely be some kind automatic brain connexion at play, but there, indeed, mochi. Mouth (neat): once more, rather medium-peated and very citrusy, which would just always work, either on Islay or in Japan. Citrons, lemons, grapefruits, then pine sap again, eucalyptus drops… Probably an excellent keeper that'll gain much complexity over the years. Yep, just like young Bowmore (unless killed in crazy woods). With water: just impeccable. Let's call it a 'resinous peater'. Lemon curd keeps it, well, lemony. Finish: rather long, in keeping with the palate… Comments: I think I liked yesterday's flabbergasting 'Golden Promise' a little better, but this peater remains a terrific malt. And age and vintage only add value.

SGP:565 - 89 points.

Nagahama 2019/2023 (62%, OB, Islay Quarter Cask, cask #23)

Nagahama 2019/2023 (62%, OB, Islay Quarter Cask, cask #23) Four stars
Picture is that of an earlier cask of Nagahama 'Islay Quarter Cask'. Naturally, any 'Islay Quarter Cask' is hinting at Laphroaig. In any case and in our book, this should be more in-cask blending. Colour: white wine. Nose: naturally, it works. It is medicinal indeed, it has got some seaweed, lemons, oysters, iodine ointments, bark, floated wood, a touch of ginger, gentian, roots, Suze… Do you know Suze? It's all working well at, wait, 62% vol.! With water: some metal polish those old coins, toolbox, perhaps a small glass of white currant wine… (rare and superb, ever tried that?) Mouth (neat): really magnifico, ultra-sharp, sweet, tart, perfect. I believe they just shouldn't tell that it's been dumped into some 'Islay Quarter Cask', I find that a little demeaning – although indeed, it's perhaps more honest and transparent. With water: very good indeed. More a grassy and fruity kind of peatiness than some straight medicinal 'phroaig on the palate. Finish: long and very tight. Salty aftertaste. Comments: if you ever attended a blending session, you'll have noticed that even 10% Laphroaig would make any blend very peaty. I remember we did one with John Glaser around twenty years ago. I started my own 'light coastal blend' with 50% Laphroaig (or was it Ardbeg?) So silly… Excuse me? Yes naturally, this wee Nagahama is excellent.

SGP:565 - 87 points.

Since we're at Nagahama, let's have another 'boosted' one…

Nagahama 2019/2023 (61%, OB, Oloroso sherry, cask #24)

Nagahama 2019/2023 (61%, OB, Oloroso sherry, cask #24) Four stars
Once more, picture of an earlier batch. Holy Suzy, the colour of this new one!... Colour: ristretto coffee. Really. Nose: massive amounts of chocolate and prunes at first, a little gunpowder, then some kind of tarry gravy, fried onions, walnut stain, hoisin sauce, potting soil, tar liqueur… I find it really difficult to forget about the colour when finding descriptors in such cases, but it is a lovely nose. Where have we put our blue ISO glasses? With water: coffee dregs, roasted chestnuts, dried parsley, a little garlic (black, eh), game (grouse, eh), brake pad dust, more gunpowder… Mouth (neat): extremely heavy, bone-dry, ueber-salty, immensely peppery, you would almost wonder whether they wouldn't have bottled walnut stain instead, indeed. By mistake, naturally. Concentrated Worcester sauce, umami sauce, plus some very old oloroso (solera started by Plato himself in about 400 BC). With water: some much drier Jägermeister and a lot of raw chocolate, like 90% cocoa. Finish: extremely long, saltier, meatier, with even more gunpowder and just sulphur in the aftertaste. Comments: extremely extreme, great fun, just not immensely moreish. Forgot to mention artichoke liqueur, Cynar...

SGP:273 – 86 points.

No other whisky could climb over that crazy one, so, session over. Cheers. No, you say heavy sherry, wait…

Yamazaki 'Sherry Cask 2016' (48%, OB, oloroso, 5,000 bottles)

Yamazaki 'Sherry Cask 2016' (48%, OB, oloroso, 5,000 bottles) Five stars
I'm just realizing that I have never, ever published any proper tasting note for this one. It had only won Silver (granted, high silver with 89/100) at The Malt Maniacs Awards 2017, having been defeated fair and square by Yamazaki 25 yo (Gold and Best Sherried Whisky). I've seen they're selling this simple NAS for north of 5,000€ these days, but-of-course. Now while the 2011 was only 'very good' in my book (WF 87), the 2013 has been highly appreciated (WF 90). Colour: office coffee. Nose: more chocolate and prunes, armagnac, polished hardwood, mocha, then Bovril and sweeter raisiny notes, old PX, old rancio, brown sauce, indeed hoisin sauce… Nah let's be honest, it is a marvellous, pretty complex brandy-de-Jerez-like nose. Old furniture polish, walnut liqueur, nocino… Mouth: it's a rather thick sherried whisky on the palate, with quite some black tannins at first (strong black tea), chocolate, walnuts, with some marmalade, then more chocolate, even more chocolate, more chocolate yet, and old plum eau-de-vie, slivovitz, dark toffee… I had feared it would feel a little 'lab' as they may have aimed at recreating the '2013', but no, it's pretty perfect. Wonderful notes of blueberry tarte too (blue teeth, anyone?) and even blueberry muffins. Some people like cupcakes better; I for one care less for them! Sorry about that lousy Zappa quote, now who remembers The Muffin Man?
"Girl you thought he was a man
But he was a muffin
He hung around till you found
That he didn't know nuthin'
Girl you thought he was a man
But he only was a-puffin'
No cries is heard in the night
As a result of him stuffin'"
Finish: long, very similar. Prunes, brandy, chocolate, black raisins, rancio… And blueberry muffins! Mint and liquorice in the aftertaste. Comments: all right, well done S., yet another useless, un-quotable tasting note.

SGP:562 - 90 points.

(Nochmals vielen Dank, Chris at Sushi+Soul)

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


July 6, 2023


Another little tour of Japan

Nagahama Distillery (Sato Casa)

There are more and more hybrid whiskies in Japan too with, for example, several young makes seasoned in ex-Islay casks (in-cask blending), a stunt seen just all over the world these days. We'll avoid them just now, but make no mistake, we'll soon try a few as well, even if the whole world will possibly make exactly the same whiskies pretty soon, as it's really becoming all about wood, while they still use the same woods. Yep, ranting on. In the meantime…



Mars 'The Y.A. #1' (52%, OB, Japanese blended malt, Yakushima ageing cellar, 12,000 bottles, 2023)

Mars 'The Y.A. #1' (52%, OB, Japanese blended malt, Yakushima ageing cellar, 12,000 bottles, 2023) Four stars
This one is new. It is one of the rare genuinely Japanese blended malts, without any whiskies sourced from abroad as they've only used Tsunuki and Komagate (Mars Shinshu), and then aged the casks on the island of Yakushima, where 'it's raining for 35 days per month'. That's more or less like Islay except during Feis Ile, no? Colour: straw. Nose: rather a lot of fresh bourbon wood at first, which would include the usual vanilla, bananas, brioche dough, possibly papayas, then a chalky side, some buckwheat flour, muesli, cassata… I find it well in the style of many Mars ex-bourbon. With water: tiny whiffs of pine and menthol, otherwise it's all the same. Perhaps a little gianduja or something like that. Mouth (neat): sweet, pure, with gummy bears, bitter, tart apples (cider apples) and rather a lot of green pepper. I find it a little hot, I have to say, perhaps is it very young? The joys of NAS. With water: rounder for sure but the bitterish wood – and the island – was very active. Having said that, apples and bananas maintain control. Finish: medium, classic ex-bourbon. A touch of salty chutney in the aftertaste. Comments: excellent, as is almost everything from Mars, perhaps just a notch on the oaky side.

SGP:551 - 86 points.

Nagahama 'The First Batch' (50%, OB, single malt, 2022)

Nagahama 'The First Batch' (50%, OB, single malt, 2022) Four stars
We've only ever tried some new makes from Nagahama. For this first batch, they've used vintages ranging from 2017 to 2019. Apparently, they have actually used a small cask of ex-Islay (oops, I told you, you cannot escape them) together with mizunara (same comment) and the usual bourbon and sherry. Nagahama lies in the Shiga prefecture, West of Nagoya and North of Osaka, on the shore of Lake Biwa. Colour: gold. Nose: undergrowth, moss, old stump, old pu-her, damp pipe tobacco, then overripe fruits, bananas, fermenting figs… I think this is lovely and I'm happy to report that I haven't found any obvious Laphroaigness so far. With water: towards spicy doughs. Mouth (neat): very sweet and spicy, on cinnamon and raisin rolls, candied pineapple, more pu-her tea, eucalyptus, a feeling of thuja wood, nutmeg, a little rancio (what?)… With water: cedar shavings and more eucalyptus, wondering if that's not the mizunara. Perhaps a little Islay smoke indeed. Finish: long, spicy, with a teaish spiciness. Say oversteeped Assam. Comments: excellent drop but it's more about the master blender than about the master distiller, if you ask me. Highly cask-driven single malt, well I'm sure the malt hidden within is excellent too.
SGP:562 - 85 points.

Yamazaki 2009/2021 'The Essence of Suntory Whisky' (53%, OB, Volume 5, Golden Promise)

Yamazaki 2009/2021 'The Essence of Suntory Whisky' (53%, OB, Volume 5, Golden Promise) Five stars
It seems that there used to be close ties between Suntory and Macallan, hence the idea of distilling Golden Promise barley at Yamazaki, although I would doubt that Macallan were still using that strain in 2009. Colour: straw. Nose: pure, raw, fat barleyness, right up our alley. It's extraordinarily bready, with superb five o'clock pastries (scones and stuff) and really, malt, malt and malt. With water: same plus almond milk and sesame oil. Superb. Mouth (neat): amazing barley sweetness, some limoncello and triple-sec, Szechuan pepper, stronger honeys… With water: small mosses and leaves coming out, herbs, edible flowers, borage… Finish: medium, fat, with some wax now. Tiny touch of brine in the aftertaste, perhaps even seashells, whelks… Comments: top of Japan. I'm reminded of the best Yamazakis 'Owner's Cask' ex-bourbon from the 2000s. You wouldn't imagine how glad I am, this is almost a time machine.

SGP:551 - 91 points.

We also have a strange and possibly very Bowmorian Yamazaki Essence of Suntory Islay Peated Malt, but I think we'll have it later.

Akashi White Oak 5 yo 'Spanish Oak Sherry' (50%, OB, cask #5117, 1,000 bottles)

Akashi White Oak 5 yo 'Spanish Oak Sherry' (50%, OB, cask #5117, 1,000 bottles) Three stars and a half
Single malt from White Oak Distillery. Indeed, you may get 1,000 50cl bottles from a butt or a puncheon – easy. Colour: straw. Nose: straight bicycle inner tube, struck matches, gunpowder… Indeed, sulphur, but we're not moving towards stewed cabbage and gas, on the contrary, we're rather finding bitter oranges and truffles, tonic water, then game, gravy, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar. And even parmesan cheese! With water: a little gentler, rather on burnt muffins and scones, plus Timut pepper and touch of raspberry. Mouth (neat): doesn't taste like its colour at all. Heavy ginger, smoke, turmeric, toffee, oak spices, cinnamon liqueur… it's pretty massive. With water: some awesome twists and turns but it's frightening at times. Sulphury rubbers still there, even if in infinitesimal amounts. Finish: long and rather similar. Sulphury and tarry aftertaste. Comments: some say this style is 'not for everyone'.
SGP:463 - 84 points.

Shizuoka 'Pot Still K Japanese Barley 1st Edition' (55.5%, OB, 2022)

Shizuoka 'Pot Still K Japanese Barley 1st Edition' (55.5%, OB, 2022) Three stars and a half
Naturally, 'K' means Karuizawa, not, say, Kinclaith (ooh that's smart, S.) We've loved 'Pot Still W' earlier this year (WF 89) but that was imported barley. Colour: straw. Nose: so Japanese! I mean as seen from here in Alsace. Thuja wood, macha tea (well, tea), green bean curd, mochi… I do solemnly declare that I am not making this up. With water: banana skins, magazines, ink, hay, dried flowers… That's a little less purely Japanese indeed – again, as seen from Alsace. Mouth (neat): very punchy, slightly fizzy and rubbery, with notes of beer bitter, genever, then more classic lemony barleyness… It is very unusual indeed. The jury's still out… With water: mashed turnips, a little rubber, fruit peel, more green mochi… Finish: medium, pretty doughy. Comments: pretty good, but far from being my favourite Shizuoka.
SGP:462 - 83 points.

I think I'll give Shizuoka another try…

Shizuoka 2018/2022 'Chagata Park' (64.5%, OB, peated, bourbon, cask #2018-2016, 226 bottles)

Shizuoka 2018/2022 'Chagata Park' (64.5%, OB, peated, bourbon, cask #2018-2016, 226 bottles) Five stars
This is one of the famed private casks, it is not a 'single still' bottling (K or W). The strength could be lethal, let's be careful. Colour: straw. Nose: pure tarry smoke, somehow in the style of some (not all) of the young PEs. A little burning rubber, burning tyres, 'the start of a dragster race', French riot (the things we wouldn't do for tourists!), camphor and bandages, and so on. With water: even greater smokes, burning herbs, tarmac, rubbers, tyres, small lemons, yuzu… Mouth (neat): amazing despite the strong, err, strength. Someone's smoked lemon zests. With water: jaw dropping raw smoke and tar, bitter zests, seawater, 'eating an ashtray', the bitterest liquorice, burnt BBQ herbs… Finish: very long, very smoky, very tarry. Comments: I think they have distilled tyres, in fact. Bridgestone, naturally.
SGP:468 - 90 points.

All right, indeed, we could have a last J-malt. Why not another Mars?

Mars Komagatake 'Shinshu Aging 2022 Edition' (50%, OB, single malt)

Mars Komagatake 'Shinshu Aging 2022 Edition' (50%, OB, single malt) Four stars
Let's have it before the 2023 edition comes out. Ex-bourbon, plus a little sherry and Port. Only NAS but the pedigree is impeccable. Colour: light gold. Nose: it's James Taylor after Led Zeppelin, really. Smooth brioches and pancakes, banana cake, apple pie, battelman, panettone, harmony… With water: straight to grist and wheat bran, plus more pancakes and crêpes. Mouth (neat): high-class Mars, as expected. More banana cake, panettone, Jaffa cakes, mint tea, thyme tea… This is so smartly composed, really. With water: all-flower honey, cane honey (which is not honey as you know), hay wine… It would tend to lose a little stamina in truth, but it remains excellent. Finish: medium, a tad oaky and drying perhaps when watered down. Comments: I'm not sure this little Mars is a good swimmer. It's not Neptune, after all. Pretty perfect at 50% vol.
SGP:551 - 86 points.

(Thank you very much, Chris at Sushi+Soul in Munich and LMDW in Paris!)

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


July 5, 2023


More young Mannochmore
and wood technologies

Gonna be a tough session, don't try this at home! Now Mannochmore is not a top-tier distillery but it remains in permanent recovery mode on WF, since the inception of Loch Dhu 10 Years Old 'The Black Whisky' and what we wrote about it. I think we have a debt, that's why we keep tasting as many Mannochmores as we can, sometimes a little nihilistically. (Photo WF Archive)




Mannochmore 11 yo 2010/2022 (46%, James Eadie, UK, small batch, The Rising Sun, recharred hogsheads)

Mannochmore 11 yo 2010/2022 (46%, James Eadie, UK, small batch, The Rising Sun, recharred hogsheads) Four stars
Kings of wood technology and management, but unless I'm wrong once more, they never said malt was only about wood. That's the way, if we humbly may… Colour: white wine. Nose: it's hard to escape and resist these croissants, sourdough, porridge, soot, bananas, apples and fruit peel. There. Mouth: excellent, very malty, very much on cereals, strong ales, chocolaty coffee (or the other way 'round) and salt. Some kind of liquid Scottish moussaka (excuse me?) Finish: rather long and even maltier. Ovaltine/Ovomaltine and Nescafé. Even smoke and ashes in the aftertaste. Comments: perfect on all accounts. I would suspect they've used some kind of AI, no? (nah love you James Eadie). Incredibly good. Man-noch-more, baby!
SGP:562 - 85 points.

And in Mannochmore, there's 'more' (after having been a judge for them for several years, we wanna win the World Whisky Awards' Lousy Blog Post Double Gold Medal this year, or we quit for good and forever!)

Mannochmore 12 yo 2009/2022 (55%, The Red Cask Co., sherry hogshead, cask #9320, 250 bottles)

Mannochmore 12 yo 2009/2022 (55%, The Red Cask Co., sherry hogshead, cask #9320, 250 bottles) Three stars and a half
They say it was 'partly matured' in oloroso, which is the honest way while so many distillers and bottlers are using the word 'matured' for anything that's spent more than 3 years in said wood. No, no names, but kudos to whomever is onboard the 'Red Cask Co.' Colour: amber. Nose: fully winey, yet rather classically 'sherry,' complete with tomatoes, tobacco, raspberries, gunpowder, earth and just a lot of  charcoal. With water: burnt woods of all kinds, pine and fir, cedar, also lit cigar, basil, more tomato leaves, grilled chorizo (seriously)… Mouth (neat): very rich, you would believe someone's deep-smoked yoghurt, strawberries and goji. I don't think I've ever tasted anything like this. With water: ah good! Spicy fruit creams, popadums, that red Indian sauce or spice mix they put around seekh kebab (help me, Indian friends!)… Love that, I've always believed I must have had some Indian ancestors. And Scottish ones, naturally. Oh and Spanish ones too, as I'm finding some sangria as well. Finish: long, spicy, new, adventurous, creative and innovative. Comments: the European way, I would believe. To be honest, this is absolutely not my favourite style of whisky; on the contrary, but this time I feel I have to bow.

SGP:751 - 83 points.

Mensa 10 yo 2012/2022 '1 122° U.3.1 1971.2' (55.6%, Scotch Universe, decharred - recharred hogshead)

Mensa 10 yo 2012/2022 '1 122° U.3.1 1971.2' (55.6%, Scotch Universe, decharred - recharred hogshead) Three stars and a half
Mind you, probably the first secret Mannochmore ever, almost a marshal's baton for this rather discreet distillery! Well, they could have written 'secret M', everybody would have believed it was M****an, but I think they're more honest than that at Scotch Universe. Colour: white wine. Nose: yeah, porridge and stuff. And gooseberries, cider apples, soot, muesli… With water: total porridge, with a nip of whisky inside (why not Mannochmore). Mouth (neat): much soot, lemons, malt, pepper and, well, pepper. Malt whisky in its most natural form, as they were drinking it around the year 1850. Don't ask, we know, ChatGPT told us. With water: it loves water. Danish pastries, limoncello, sour fruits and herbs, grass, leaves and stems… Finish: rather long, on lemon tarte and hay. Comments: sure it's not Clynelish 1965, but I still love the honesty behind this very fine young malt whisky. Yeah despite that de-charr/re-charred thing, not even sure they should tell us. Cheers good folks!  
SGP:551 - 83 points.

Mannochmore 10 yo 2008/2018 (56.1%, Mossburn, No.16, hogshead, cask #16.0708.16)

Mannochmore 10 yo 2008/2018 (56.1%, Mossburn, No.16, hogshead, cask #16.0708.16) Three stars
Also love it when they bottle Mannochmore as if it were Lagavulin or Springbank, but I swear we have no preconceptions… We bought a bottle of this so that we can show our beginning guests what 'malt whisky' without any brand B.S. or insulting wood really is. The bottle's lovely, though. Colour: white wine. Nose: pure citric porridge, chalk and concrete, beans and peas, proper yoghurt (no supermarket junk), lemon juice, ink. Sums it up nicely, I would say. With water: crayons, plasticine, hay and more porridge. Not the Katy Perry or the Dua Lipa of whisky for sure. Mouth (neat): excellently citrusy and doughy. Lemon brioche – we believe lemon brioche could put an end to any wars. Superb waxiness and green peppers too. With water: there, epitomical malt whisky, a little sweet, a little spicy, a little yeasty, and pretty malty. No complains, no useless praise either. Finish: a little sweet (barley syrup), of moderate length, with ripe apples and a little 7up in the aftertaste. That's the tricky part, I know. Comments: it's just very all right.
SGP:551 – 81 points.

Last one, quickly…

Mannochmore 10 yo 2011/2022 (57.1%, James Eadie, UK, 1st fill bourbon hogshead, cask #6698, 320 bottles)

Mannochmore 10 yo 2011/2022 (57.1%, James Eadie, UK, 1st fill bourbon hogshead, cask #6698, 320 bottles) Three stars
Right, we know these good folks could make a VW Golf diesel win Le Mans thanks to their bespoke turbos, let us proceed… Colour: gold. Nose: grass, hay, leaves, stems, peels, linoleum… Very austere, that's unexpected. With water: fresh barley, a walk in the fields, a handful of marshmallows in the pocket. Perhaps not totally earthshattering, though. Mouth (neat): lemons and doughs, plus pepper and tiny touches of vanilla and coconut. Again, it's probably not totally Homeric this far. With water: I liked the 'small batch' better, this one being a little 'yawn', honestly. Which distillery was it, by the way? Finish: vanilla and Tesco cakes. Drop of rum, some peaches and melons. What's on Tv tonight, by the way? Comments: peaches and melons saved it but good, I think we still liked the Small Batch ten times better – kind of. Having said that, having five or six young Mannochmore in a raw does trigger this very Nietzschean question, 'Is life not a thousand times too short for us to bore ourselves?' TBD.

SGP:551 - 80 points.

Yeah, all right, but of course, sherry, you're right, what wouldn't we do for our common cause…

Mannochmore 12 yo 2009/2021 (52.5%, The Coopers Choice, refill sherry cask, cask #1446, 264 bottles)

Mannochmore 12 yo 2009/2021 (52.5%, The Coopers Choice, refill sherry cask, cask #1446, 264 bottles) Two stars
Always been a fan of The Vintage Malt Whisky Co Ltd. and of their Coopers Choice range, since the early Lagavulins. Colour: gold. Nose: deep porridge, ink, walnut skins, apple peel, mown grass, dry yoghurt and sour juices. Damp clay, chalk and concrete. All right then. With water: butter, vanilla, American lager and grass. Not too sure. Mouth (neat): the sherry sure helped, making it a little sweeter, beyond the chalky and very grassy malt. Nah, it's still tough malt whisky. With water: ah, this is better, with pink grapefruits and Szechuan pepper, but the background is drying, tough and hard. A lot of cardboard. Gets more and more peppery and cardboardy. Finish: rather long, green, bitter, peppery. Pretty tough. Comments: the arrivals on nose and palate are nice and pleasant, but the bitterness is soon to take over. I suppose it's a good way for the otherwise brilliant Coppers Choice to show that malt whiskies aren't obligatorily always brilliant.
SGP:351 - 75 points.

Mannochmore fatigue, most probably. Next session around the year 2035, if grace favours us.

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


July 4, 2023


Happy Independence Day, USA!

Another little bag of American whiskies

We do this every now and then, whenever we've got a good bunch, but we do not really try to keep up with the new releases, regrettably. Maybe one day… I think we'll do this randomly…

tres hombres



Catoctin Creek 'Roundstone Single Barrel Virginia Rye' (40%, OB, USA, +/-2022)

Catoctin Creek 'Roundstone Single Barrel Virginia Rye' (40%, OB, USA, +/-2022) Two stars and a half
This is 100% rye grown locally. I don't quite know why they chose to bottle it at 80 US proof/40% vol., but at least it should be, as the distillers say themselves, 'very sippable'. Colour: gold. Nose: maybe a tad hot despite the low strength, but this blend of sawdust, vanilla and fudge works well. A little cologne, rye bread indeed, some corn syrup (but indeed it's fully rye), bits of amaretti and macaroons, marzipan… Indeed it is pleasant, but not extraordinarily rye-y this far. Mouth: sweet, easy indeed, with some vanilla and some sawdust again. I've always had the impression that fresh wood was not very easy to balance when the whisky is heavily diluted, as it is here. Some sour spiciness, ginger… Touches of lavender and pepper coming out.  Finish: medium, first on tea tannins, then with more fruitiness, orange drops, more corn syrup… Comments: it's really fine but I'd say it would need a little ice, perhaps. It may be 'very sippable', but I'm not sure it's perfect sipper.

SGP:440 - 78 points.

Evan Williams 2014/2022 'Single Barrel' (43.3%, OB, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey)

Evan Williams 2014/2022 'Single Barrel' (43.3%, OB, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey) Three stars
Generally and in my opinion, with single barrel bourbons, all barrels are more or less the same. Earlier vintages have been a little 'plankish' in my book. Colour: light gold. Nose: classic varnishes, vanilla, popcorn, vanilla fudge, corn syrup, pine nuts, buttercream, dried coconut, white chocolate, Starbucks sweet stuff. Mouth: not big, a tad soapy at first, then more on tinned pineapple juice, corn syrup, ice cream and cheesecake, liquorice allsorts… I have the feeling that there's less sawdust than in other vintages. Finish: medium, very sweet, on bonbons, jelly babies, sweet maize… Comments: I like this sweet and easy one much better than the 2010, which was the last one we had tried (WF 77).
SGP:630 - 80 points.

Let's make sure…

Evan Williams 'Bottled-in-Bond' (50%, OB, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, +/-2022)

Evan Williams 'Bottled-in-Bond' (50%, OB, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, +/-2022) Two stars and a half
More sweet bourbon by Heaven Hill… This one's said to be four years old. Colour: gold. Nose: much more austere, less boisterously sweet and aromatic, more on teas and sawdust, perhaps coconut cookies, a little earth… It's not very strong but it tells us it would need water. Happy to oblige… With water:  gets grassier, almost closed and a little metallic. The 2014 rather kills it now. Mouth (neat): good, with some citrus, lavender (rye), this time again a little cologne, pineapples, fresh pepper… With water: a little indefinite, with some oak, pineapples again, sweet apples… Finish: medium, a little sugary. Syrups and black tea. Comments: I believe we should have had this one before the good Single Barrel. The body remained a little thin but then again, this is not Springbank of course.

SGP: 530 - 77 points.

To Buffalo Trace please…

Eagle Rare 10 yo 'Single Barrel' (45%, OB, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, +/-2022)

Eagle Rare 10 yo 'Single Barrel' (45%, OB, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, +/-2022) Three stars and a half
Same comments about the 'Single Barrel' trick, there shouldn't be any variations at all. We liked Eagle Rare 10 last time we tried it, in 2016. Colour: gold. Nose: classic coconut cake, Scottish fudge, maize bread, gingerbread, buttercream, peanut butter and drops of triple-sec. Very engaging nose, without the varnish-and-sawdust side that many young bourbons do share. Like! as they say on Facebook. Mouth: it definitely slaughters the EW B-in-B on the palate, with many more fruits, plums, grapefruits, orange zests, ginger cookies, muscovado, sweet masala, ras-el-hanout, orange blossom water, baklava… I find it pretty middle-oriental, in fact. Finish: medium, a little more on caramel and fudge, with notes of sweet brandy in the end. Comments: really good. The Evans worked as perfect stepping-stones.
SGP:641 - 83 points.

To Texas…

Balcones 'ZZ Top Tres Hombres' (50%, OB, Texas Whisky, cask # ZZ21-1, 2021)

Balcones 'ZZ Top Tres Hombres' (50%, OB, Texas Whisky, cask # ZZ21-1, 2021) Four stars
I remember I was in high school when Tres Hombres came out. We had never heard of ZZ Top but my dear father used to fly to the States very often and he brought me back the record before it was available in France. Instant success, as you may imagine, it even crushed Ted Nugent (I know, I know), especially 'La Grange', some friends even believed it was a French band since the name of the song was French. Lol. Colour: gold. Nose: huge spice bread, pumpernickel, wholegrain bread, maize bread, then oranges and melons, cinnamon cookies, sourdough, leaven... It is, indeed, extremely bready, which I just adore. And it never stops improving and getting more complex. No we won't add any water, remember this is ZZ Top. Mouth: amazing Balcones. Grapefruit juice sprinkled over many breads, cinnamon, gingerbread, cloves, peppers… And the oak's under control. Very successful wee batch. Finish: long, spicier, excellent. Comments: just love this baby, a-haw, haw, haw, haw; A-haw, haw, haw, haw (we got it, S.)…
SGP:651 - 87 points.

Did ZZ Top kill the show? Let's see…

Shenk's Homestead '2022 Release' (45.6%, OB, Michter's Distillery, Kentucky Sour Mash Whiskey, 1834 bottles)

Shenk's Homestead '2022 Release' (45.6%, OB, Michter's Distillery, Kentucky Sour Mash Whiskey, 1834 bottles) Four stars
Naturally, this baby comes with a story as long as your arm. Remember sour mash means they add a portion of the old mash to the new mash, it shouldn't be 'sour' as such. Colour: amber. Nose: delicate, fragrant, with notes of old roses, tinned lychee, even muscat grapes, then cakes and some maltiness. Indeed, malt. Gets then more complex, with some tobacco, dried meats, beef jerky, soy sauce, a tiny whiff of lavender, gorse… It is a beautiful nose. Mouth: much simpler on the palate, but that's not obligatorily a bad thing. Gingerbread and marmalade, spicy jams, nougats, roasted sesame oil… Well I believe it was rather all about the nose. Fab nose. Finish: medium to long. Dried figs, nutmeg, Stolle, ginger cookies. Comments: I've read they've used French oak from the Vosges, which is located very close to WF HQ mind you. I think this nose is sublime, while the palate is not half-bad either. The Balcones was more rock and roll, naturally.
SGP:562 - 87 points.

It's all going up, perfecto! More Michter's…

Bomberger's Declaration 'Small Batch 2022' (54%, OB, Michter's Distillery, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey)

Bomberger's Declaration 'Small Batch 2022' (54%, OB, Michter's Distillery, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey) Three stars and a half
This classic bourbon has seen some Chinquapin oak, which reminds us of the good Dr Bill's works with Glenmorangie. Colour: gold. Nose: I don't think it's got the depth and complexity of the Shenk, this is more on vanilla, coconut, sawdust, white chocolate, sweet maize, fudge, popcorn… It is perfectly fine, but it's to be seen at many places and in many bottles. With water: lovely, not earthshattering. Classic bourbon nose. Mouth (neat): indeed, the Shenk beats it fair and square. This one's good, even very good, but it's not surprising. Maybe this spicy honey? With water: it is perfect, maybe too perfect. Boy that Shenk! Finish: medium, sweet, on vanilla, maple syrup, and so on, and so on… Comments: they should add a sticker, 'try this before the Shenk'. And on the Shenk, 'first try the Bomberger'. Yeah right…

SGP:531 - 84 points.

A last one, please, back to Buffalo Trace…

Blanton's 'Single Barrel 1' (63.35%, OB, La Maison du Whisky, barrel #1, Antipodes, 210 bottles)

Blanton's 'Single Barrel 1' (63.35%, OB, La Maison du Whisky, barrel #1, Antipodes, 210 bottles) Four stars
Barrel #1, from warehouse H, from rick no.56. How posh is that? Now we haven't got the vintage, but do we need to care? Colour: deep gold. Nose: it's a rather earthy and doughy bourbon it seems, and indeed we do find some vanilla, fresh oak and coconut, but at 63%, everything remains a little blurred, including the humble taster. With water: great cask indeed, on cedarwood, incense, ylang-ylang and vetiver (very vivid), touches of white truffle (Alba), beet, sweet potato… A very subtle earthiness. Very lovely nose, provided you got the reduction right (+/-48% vol. here). Mouth (neat): I think this is good. Some heavy liquorice and a feeling of bergamot, but at 63%, everything remains rather distorted, including the humble tas… not! With water: excellent, flowery, citrusy, with some citrus liqueurs and a little 'good' varnish. Touches of liquorice and lavender from the rye (I would suppose). Finish: long, balanced and even gentle (right, at 48% vol.) Orange-led. Comments: great cask, probably #1 in all acceptations.

SGP:650 - 86 points.

Mr. Gibbons' Balcones has really been hard to beat.

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


July 3, 2023


A trio of unpairable malts


Ladyburn Distillery, the stillhouse, early 1970s (William Grant & Sons/Forbes)


As you may know, we always try to compare similar whiskies, especially whiskies from the same distillery. We believe that's the best way of letting nuances and subtleties come out, but it's also a difficult method when the whiskies are rare, or even tremendously rare. Indeed many names have become almost extinct, for example when the distilleries were closed a long time ago, or when they've always been very rare, which is the case with one of the whiskies we'll have today. In fact, I always try to keep one expression that I haven't tasted yet for each and every distillery, in case a new one would turn up, but with Glenlochy, Glen Mhor or indeed Ladyburn, I'm afraid that's become useless as even old bottlings that we haven't tried yet are nowhere to be found these days. That's why I've decided to bundle these three wee whiskies today… In desperation! (quite)


Glen Mhor 38 yo 1965/2000 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, licensed bottling, screw cap)

Glen Mhor 38 yo 1965/2000 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, licensed bottling, screw cap) Four stars and a half
We'll be cautious, as some of these Glen Mhors have been a little difficult in the past. It's a big, dirty distillate that does not always stand heavy reduction, in my experience, but we're mainly talking about younger expressions bottled in the 1980s, for example. Having said that, the old official 'Jura-shaped' 10 years old was superb, and Valentino Zagatti's favourite tipple. The new enthusiast may like to know that the Inverness distillery got closed in 1983 and demolished in 1988. This very one was distilled when Glen Mhor was still independently owned, and while they were still using their Saladin maltings. G&M have bottled several 1965s at various ages throughout the years (early 1990s till mid 2000s). Let us proceed… Colour: golden amber. Nose: bingo, typical black earth, roasted chestnuts, old kettle and stove, fresh mushrooms of all kinds, soot, coffee and dark tobacco, black teas, old woods, old books, dried parsley… You'd almost believe you've entered an old antique shop in China. It's wonderful on the nose, but the palate will tell us more, especially if it did not get weakish. Well, according to the nose, the answer might be 'no'. Mouth: weird. It's a profile that's nowhere to be seen anymore these days, with rather a lot of polish, even soap, also bonbons, also dried mushrooms, coffee and tobacco, orangettes, even some yoghurt, more parsley, more soot, some ashes, some kind of meaty toffee, treacle pudding… In fact it rather stands the 40% vol. Finish: medium, saltier, with some kind of coal smoke, more tobacco and black tea, beef bouillon, ramen… The finish is lovely. Comments: a very dry whisky that the honest man (and woman) should have tried at least once. What a useless conclusion, I do agree.
SGP:462 - 89 points.

Next one, Glenlochy.

Glen Lochy 15 yo 1967/1982 (92 U.S. proof, Cadenhead, black dumpy, 75cl)

Glen Lochy 15 yo 1967/1982 (92 U.S. proof, Cadenhead, black dumpy, 75cl) Five stars
Mind you, we haven't even tasted thirty Glenlochy/Glen Lochy in our entire life. It was the other distillery in Fort William and, at some point, it was sharing Ben Nevis' owner Joseph Hobbs. It closed in 1983 just like Glen Mhor, while the largest part of the distillery was demolished later on, the other part becoming flats (wouldn't we all love to live in an ex-distillery?) It is to be said that we've tried several utterly stupendous Glenlochies by Signatory Vintage in the past, especially the extraordinary 1965 'Silent Stills'. Just like, for example Glenugie, Glenlochy's become totally cult these days, but pretty much, paradoxically, virtually unknown. Us bloggers haven't done our job! Oh and I've never tasted any Glen Lochy by CAD, so this is a first after so many years… Colour: white wine. Nose: get-out-of-here. Amazing lemons, aspirin tablets, chalk, grist, grapefruits, this sooty coal ala Ben Nevis indeed, high-end sauvignon blanc, old cough medicine, camphor, bandages, blood oranges… There is some old-Laphroaigness in there, think the old white 10s. What a nose, who's kept the moulds? Mouth: there is this tiny metallic soapiness that's quite common in many old 'black dumpies' by Cadenhead, which is no problem. It's also lost a little power it seems, but the core remains exceptionally citrusy and waxy, with old liqueurs, chartreuse, some lemongrass, fresh peppermint, a feeling of linseed oil, and a growing noble chalkiness. I would suppose they've used barley grown around the Montrachet (but of course). Finish: amazingly compact, tight, yet fat, waxy, chalky, lemony. Comments: top of the tops within this gorgeous old distillate-driven style. We expect the new distilleries to revive it! Astounding bottle by Wm. Cadenhead of Aberdeen.

SGP:652 - 93 points.

And we said Ladyburn…

Ladyburn 45 yo 1973/2018 (45.5%, OB, William Grant's Rare Cask Reserves, Velier 70th Anniversary, cask #3183, 93 bottles)

Ladyburn 45 yo 1973/2018 (45.5%, OB, William Grant's Rare Cask Reserves, Velier 70th Anniversary, cask #3183, 93 bottles) Five stars
This is very rare, in truth Ladyburn was already rare when we started Whiskyfun, even if some indies have then come out under the name 'Rare Ayrshire' or 'Ayrshire'. We've already tried some official 1973s having said that, as owners William Grant had issued some in the year 2000. Mixed feelings at that time but this incredible official 45 years old might be something else. As for the short-lived Ladyburn distillery, it was built withing Girvan grain distillery in 1963, ceased production in 1975 and was dismantled in 1976. I only saw a picture of the stills once, in dear Peter Hofmann's stunning book 'Whisky Die Enzyklopödie', sadly nur auf Schwyzerdütsch (but not the pictures!) UPDATE: William Grant released another picture just last year, see introduction. Oh and of course, we're in the Lowlands here… Colour: gold. Nose: incredibly fresh and vibrant, thanks to some very well-behaved refill wood, I would suppose. Think ripe bananas, papayas, spearmint, touch of fruity varnish/strawberries, sauna oils, almond paste, fresh putty, marzipan (Mozart Kugeln), then raisins, late-harvest pinot gris, quinces, baklavas, orange blossom water, very old cognac, vine peaches… By Jove, this is endless! Mouth: some mentholy oak at first, as in almost all very old spirits, but that's absolutely not detrimental to the amazing citrus and tarter tropical fruits that would then appear one after the other. Also many herbal teas looping back around to the gracious old oak, chamomile, thyme, cinnamon and aniseed, melissa, green tea… It would then get a little more piney and resinous, still very gracefully. Finish: medium, with some rather sublime cough medicine, old Bénédictine, lime juice… And cognac. Comments: the convergence of really old spirits always dazzles. After all, the best ones will outlive us. Bravo William Grant and bravo Velier!
SGP:661 - 92 points.

Right, we'll try to do more 'unpairable' sessions in the coming months, but please don't hold your breath. Perhaps Convalmore vs. Glenugie vs. Old Clynelish, what do you say?

You may also check this admirable website all about Glen Mhor.

(With thanks to KC, to LMDW and to Whisky Bibliothek)


July 2, 2023


  A word of caution
Let me please remind you that my humble assessments of any spirits are done from the point of view of a malt whisky enthusiast who, what's more, is aboslutely not an expert in rum, brandy, tequila, vodka, gin or any other spirits. Thank you – and peace!


Sunday, rum Day


Amburana cearensis (Marcelo Costa)

Not sure rum geeks are getting into whisky too, what's sure is that whisky freaks seem to delve into rum more and more, even if the rising prices may have dampened some enthusiasm lately. Milking a cow without killing it remains a difficult exercise… Now we could lift our spirits by listening to Kingston's Alpha Boys School Radio on Radio Garden.



Barbados 'aged 5 years' (40%, Plantation, +/-2022)

Barbados 'aged 5 years' (40%, Plantation, +/-2022)
We've tried a 5 'Grande Réserve' that had been really too sweet, but that was ten years ago. Colour: light gold. Nose: a lot of burnt hay, or garden bonfire, that's not unpleasant at all. Whiffs of fresh-pressed cane juice too, even if this is not 'cane juice rum'. In short, a most pleasant caney nose, with notes of pistachio syrup in the background. Fine!  Mouth: things are getting tougher. Read 'sugary'. It may not be as offensive as it used to, but you still have the impression of having swallowed five sugar cubes at once or drunk a litre of Coca Zero/Light or equivalent. Finish: short and sugary. Sugarcane syrup and pineapple liqueur. Comments: do you think you could rather add stevia to your rums? What's good is that you could make a Ti punch or a Daiquiri without having to add any sugarcane syrup. This with hugs to all mixologists in the world.

SGP:720 - 65 points.

Epris 11 yo 2011/2023 (53.6%, Chorlton Whisky, joint release with Hop/Scotch Liverpool, Brazil, amburana/bourbon, 265 bottles)

Epris 11 yo 2011/2023 (53.6%, Chorlton Whisky, joint release with Hop/Scotch Liverpool, Brazil, amburana/bourbon, 265 bottles) Four stars
Huge distillery near Sao Polo. Amburana is a tropical wood that they also use to mature cachaça or beer, or to finish bourbon, but indeed this is proper rum. We've had some very nice Epris a while ago, I believe they're using cane juice. Colour: gold. Nose: it's very vegetal, slightly acetic, with gherkins, samphires, whiffs of petrol, tequila, olives for sure… This is right up my alley. With water: new sneakers, burning pinewood, dragon fruit and dried longans, figs, arrack… Mouth (neat): love this. It's different, it's a tad 'burnt', with notes of burnt, say strawberry cake, plus liquorice, coal tar, more tequila, a few metallic touches, more olives… You wouldn't find any other rum like this one. Perhaps mezcals? Sotols? With water: wee soapiness, mouthwash, fir bud, grass smoke, bay leaves, liquorice allsorts… Everything's abnormal in this one. Finish: medium, on similar flavours, with a little metal in the aftertaste. Comments: fun rum, like no other. Perhaps some of the Madeirans? Careful with water.

SGP:362 - 85 points.

Rhum Series Cyberpunk Rh02 2007 (69.4%, Zero Nine Spirits, Belize, 2023)

Rhum Series Cyberpunk Rh02 2007 (69.4%, Zero Nine Spirits, Belize, 2023) Four stars
What what what? Assassination attempt? These good people have their own worlds, at least they do not innovate using innovations that all innovators (so say 95% of the global market) are using too. But did they know water existed? Colour: amber gold. Nose: typical Travellers at very high strength, close to bourbon. Moderate varnish, a lot of vanilla, fudges, cedarwood, copper, buttercream… And indeed, almost 70% vol. With water (viscimetry is immense): gentle cake, roasted peanuts, pecans, marzipan… Mouth (neat - our lawyer is currently writing a letter): pineapple liqueur, perhaps? Smoked ham? Walnut stain? Turpentine? But let's not push our luck… With water: some sweetness coming out, triple-sec, peanut butter, pancake sauce, molasses honey… Finish: medium, sweet, with some protein bars, pressed fruits, fudge, nuts… Do you know the brand 'Nakd'? Comments: I don't quite know what to say, it's very good for sure. Fun experience – but don't use live flames, candles and so on while tasting. Perhaps not even electricity – don't drink in a Tesla! Very good little Belize.

SGP:651 - 86 points.

Privateer 4 yo 4 months (57%, OB for Kirsch Import, USA, Letter of Marque, cask #574, 228 bottles)

Privateer 4 yo 4 months (57%, OB for Kirsch Import, USA, Letter of Marque, cask #574, 228 bottles) Three stars
Long story short, this is Guatemalan molasses distilled in Massachusetts and then matured in new American oak and then exported to good old Germany. Could we see the carbon footprint, please? Colour: deep gold. Nose: a Saturday morning at Ikea, some sauna oils, new jumper, nougat, fresh-sawn plywood, bok-shoi, turnips, eggplants… With water: cakes, nougat, roasted peanuts. Mouth (neat): it's amazing how close we are to the Travellers. Peanut butter, cornflakes, liqueurs, Cointreau, maple syrup… With water: molasses indeed, corn syrup… Finish: yes, medium; with some vanilla and just a little metal polish. Sweet root vegetables in the aftertaste. Comments: non comprendo mucho here, I must be very slow today. What was the idea, again? It is absolutely very good, but the very similar-in-style Travellers was in a higher league. Now, we've got more Privateer, we'll try again soon.

SGP:641 - 80 points.

Good, off to Jamaica!

Long Pond 18 yo 2004/2022 (60%, Rum Sponge, Jamaica, #17)

Long Pond 18 yo 2004/2022 (60%, Rum Sponge, Jamaica, #17) Five stars
Colour: deep gold. Nose: someone's been smoking mangos using dried kelp and floated wood. Great idea, hurray – well, I for one wouldn't have thrown benzine onto the fire. With water: superb. Piney petrol, fir buds, rotting bananas, kerosene and Chinese dried fish sauce. Perhaps a few pencil shavings too. Mouth (neat): very straight, petroly, olive-y, salty, a little tough but that's the strength. But careful, it does actually drink well at 60% vol., which could be lethal. Don't. With water: it's like old Laphroaig 10 yo Cask Strength, except that it's Long Pond. See what I mean? Finish: long, clean, streamlined, leading to smoked oilive oil. Don't tell me you've never heard of smoked olive oil! Comments: seriously, it's a tight, focussed, marvellously compact Jamaican with an unusual smokiness. Great bottle by the Sponge…
SGP:563 - 90 points.

Oh well, since we're doing some extreme ones…

Great House Distillery 13 yo 2007/2021 (66.9%, The Duchess, Jamaica, cask #6)

Great House Distillery 13 yo 2007/2021 (66.9%, The Duchess, Jamaica, cask #6) Five stars
We've tried cask #18 in March, it was splendid. Remember, the 'Great House' is either Buckingham Palace, or Hampden Distillery. What are the odds… Seriously, whenever a Distillery forbids the use of its lousy name, it just feels like they're not proud of their output. Come on, wrong path, openness and transparency are true modern values, this is not 2010. Colour: white wine. Nose: pure vinegar, snail butter, riesling, olive oil, carbon dust, diesel oil, new bicycle inner tube and glue for patch chambers. With water: leek juice, bisphenol, phthalates, glues. There. Mouth (neat): boringly excellent, with very high esters (like <DOK), UHU glue and ultra-tight limey varnish. A shame that we couldn't be sure about the name of the Distillery that made this splendid, albeit slightly extreme juice. Or was it a German chemicals Konzern? With water: smoked gherkins coated with Pattex, Sikaflex and Loctite super Glue. Forgot to mention coriander leaves. Finish: long, chemical and gluey. Drinking walnut stain. Pure acetone and liquorice in the aftertaste. Comments: rather schizophrenically, we hate it that with love it so much.
SGP:363 - 90 points.

Oh well, since we're tackling the extremities (careful, S.!)

Clarendon 26 yo 1995/20225 (63.6%, The Colours of Rum, Wealth Solutions, Jamaica, 111 bottles)

Clarendon 26 yo 1995/2022 (63.6%, The Colours of Rum, Wealth Solutions, Jamaica, 111 bottles) Five stars
Information diverges about this one, but who cares, The Colours of Rum / Wealth Solutions have gathered an incredible collection of old rums within the last few years. Great work, let's try this appealing Wedderburn...  Colour: dark gold. Nose: totally incredible. Amazing oils, embrocations, mangos, bananas, liquorices, rubbers and mints…  The liquorice is sublime here. Extraordinary nose, plainly and simply. With water: hey, bear garlic? And salmiak, model glue, incense, tangerines… What a nose. Mouth (neat): extreme liquorice and pine essences, should we really swallow this? With water: takes water effortlessly, moving towards charcoal, ashes, pinewood, raw chocolate, easy turpentine and indeed, even more extreme salmiak/salted liquorice. … Finish: liquorice, olives and caviar. Superb natural bitterness. Comments: totally of Ardbeg-1975 quality. Looks like this baby has spent twenty-three years in the tropics, before someone thought it would be a good idea to ship the cask to Europe. Amazing turpentine-y Clarendon.
SGP:373 - 92 points.

What a trio of Jamaicans, once more! CU.

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


July 1, 2023



WF Favourites
Whiskyfun fav of the month

June 2023

Serge's favourite recent bottling this month:
Springbank 26 yo 1996/2023 (53.5%, Whisky Sponge, Special Edition, 1st fill sherry butt, 365 bottles) - WF 93

Serge's favourite older bottling this month:
Glen Scotia 8 yo (80° proof UK, OB, +/-1960) - WF 95

Serge's favourite bang for your buck this month:

Serge's favourite malternative this month:
Prunier 1977/2023 (61%, OB for Wine4You The Purist, fins bois, 42 bottles) - WF 92

Serge's thumbs up this month:
Kimchangsoo 'The Private Cask' (50.5%, OB, Korea, 276 bottles, 2023) - WF 89

Serge's Lemon Prize this month:
Flor de Cana 14 yo (40%, OB, Nicaragua, +/-2022) - WF 69

June 2023 - part 2 <--- July 2023 - part 1 ---> July 2023 - part 2



Best spirits Serge tried those weeks, 90+ points only

Glen Lochy 15 yo 1967/1982 (92 U.S. proof, Cadenhead, black dumpy, 75cl) 

Ladyburn 45 yo 1973/2018 (45.5%, OB, William Grant's Rare Cask Reserves, Velier 70th Anniversary, cask #3183, 93 bottles)

Blended Malt 1996/2022 (43.5%, The Maltman, Or Sileis & Drunk Choice, sherry hogshead, cask #1633, 291 bottles)

Amrut 5 yo 2017/2022 'Ex Madeira Cask' (60%, OB, La Maison du Whisky, cask #8844, 200 bottles)

Shizuoka 2018/2022 'Chagata Park' (64.5%, OB, peated, bourbon, cask #2018-2016, 226 bottles)

Yamazaki 'Sherry Cask 2016' (48%, OB, oloroso, 5,000 bottles)

Yamazaki 2009/2021 'The Essence of Suntory Whisky' (53%, OB, Volume 5, Golden Promise)

Long Pond 18 yo 2004/2022 (60%, Rum Sponge, Jamaica, #17)

Jamaican Rum 10 yo 'MJH3' (56.5%%, Watt Rum, Belgian Exclusive, The Nectar, barrel, 2023)

Great House Distillery 13 yo 2007/2021 (66.9%, The Duchess, Jamaica, cask #6)

Clarendon 26 yo 1995/2022 (63.6%, The Colours of Rum, Wealth Solutions, Jamaica, 111 bottles)