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Hi, you're in the Archives, June 2015 - Part 1



May 2015 - part 2 <--- June 2015 - part 1 ---> June 2015 - part 2


June 14, 2015


Sunday malternatives, rum from the French Caribbean

That's mainly Martinique and Guadeloupe

Reimonenq 6 yo 'Réserve Spéciale' (40%, OB, Guadeloupe, agricole, +/-2015)

Reimonenq 6 yo 'Réserve Spéciale' (40%, OB, Guadeloupe, agricole, +/-2015) Three stars Reimonenq are located in Guadeloupe, and distil sugarcane juice in a column still. Colour: deep amber. Nose: very typically agricole, with this half-leafy, half-sweet profile, and something very aromatic. A lot of bananas flambéed, liquorice, honey, then touches of tar and black olives, then rather sandalwood and, perhaps, ylang-ylang. Some hay as well. I find this really lovely, and extremely expressive. Mouth: thick, maybe a we bit oaky in the arrival, with bags and bags of liquorice allsorts, honey, cedar wood, orange marmalade and then various spices, especially cinnamon. Quite some vanilla as well. The back is a bit acrid and very leafy, but that just balances this huge candied palate. Finish: long, rather on concentrated honey sauce and more liquorice. Woody and chocolaty aftertaste. Comments: big, big rum, without any excessive sweetness. So thick, and yet absolutely not liqueury. Only the aftertaste was a little too woody for my taste. I remember I had tried an earlier batch and had found it rather too sweet. Not so anymore. SGP:561 - 82 points.

More Reimonenq please!

Reimonenq 9 yo 'Cuvée Prestige' (40%, OB, Guadeloupe, agricole, +/-2015)

Reimonenq 9 yo 'Cuvée Prestige' (40%, OB, Guadeloupe, agricole, +/-2015) Three stars Does older mean even oakier? Colour: dark amber. Nose: it’s rather quieter, less wham-bam-it’s-me, and consequently rather subtler, with more floral notes, more toffee, more precious honeys (I mean manuka and such…), some quince jelly, and touches of our friend Marcel’s favourite fruits, kumquats. Mouth: it’s rather oaky once again, but strangely, not any oakier than the 6 yo. What’s quite obvious is that there are many more oranges and other tropical fruits, and once again all these honeys, cane syrup, agave syrup… And golden raisins! Finish: long, rather sweet, fruity, raisiny. Once again, the aftertaste is a little oaky (big cinnamon, cardamom…), but also pleasantly earthy. That works. Comments: I’m not totally sure I like this older one better than the youngster. On the other hand, I enjoy these fruits. So… SGP:651 – 82 points.

Even more Reimonenq please!

Reimonenq 'Reserve RQL' (44%, OB, Guadeloupe, agricole, +/-2014) Two stars and a half This one is a 10 to 12 years old. Remember tropical aging goes fast, so it is already some pretty old rhum! Now it’s also quite expensive, around 150€ - but it comes in a decanter that’ll be an instant hit at the nearest garage sale. Once emptied, of course. Colour: amber. Nose: this one’s stranger, more phenolic, more tertiary, and certainly less immediate than its siblings. Starts with some copper and iron, whiffs of vase water, metal polish, overripe bananas (very overripe), and changes direction at once, with many marshmallows and fruit syrups. And, after three minutes, it becomes much grassier and olive-y, almost briny, which reminds me of indie Bellevues. More about that later… Mouth: liquid honey and fir liqueur for a start, then more oak spices, especially ground cinnamon. The wee problem is that I also find some sugar, not too sure where that came from. Some kind of proprietary jam added to the spirit during the fillings? Not too sure about this feeling of ‘Cointreau’. Finish: rather long, sweet and grassy at the same time. Cointreau blended with green tea? Comments: mixed feelings. I think I liked the younger expressions better, they were more vibrant, and certainly more spirit-driven. This RQL is much more liqueur-y on your palate, but I loved the nose. SGP:751 - 77 points.

So, what I wanted to add is that Reimonenq is actually Bellevue, which is the name that the indies use, while Reimonenq’s the owners’ brand name. Having said that, there is another Bellevue, so specialists (which I’m not at all) sometimes claim that ‘this’ Bellevue may well not be ‘that’ Bellevue, whilst even the bottlers get confused. So, it could be that some Bellevues aren’t Reimonenq’s Bellevues. Ooh my head…

Bellevue 1998/2010 (46%, L'Esprit, Guadeloupe, cask #3, 236 bottles)

Bellevue 1998/2010 (46%, L'Esprit, Guadeloupe, cask #3, 236 bottles) Four stars These very talented French bottlers have also issued a 1998 Bellevue in 2013, which I had enjoyed a lot (WF 87). But we’re having an earlier bottling today – don’t ask, we do not always do things in the right order at WF Towers. Colour: full gold. Nose: to be honest, we’re more or less in the same family, but not totally so, with these big honeyed notes, the bananas, the floral side, and then the more phenolic touches, liquorice, diesel, olives, tarmac… I have to say balance is perfect, this is both easy and ‘intriguingly terpenic’ (you need holidays, S.). Mouth: indeed. What’s sure is that this is kind of agricole, tropically fruity, and phenolic/grassy as well. The brine never stops growing, the whole getting saltier by the second. But the background remains relatively thick and sweet. Lost happening here, and some could even find this baby slightly stuffy. Finish: very long, salty, sweet, jammy, tarry… Really big. Comments: so, which Bellevue is this? What’s sure is that it’s excellent rum, whether agricole or traditional, and Bellevue or Bellevue. And maybe are there more important things in life… SGP:652 - 85 points.

Shall we move to another French distillery? And stay in Guadeloupe?

Domaine de Séverin 'VSOP' (42%, OB, Guadeloupe, agricole, +/-2015)

Domaine de Séverin 'VSOP' (42%, OB, Guadeloupe, agricole, +/-2015) Four stars Also called Habitation Marsolle. According to their website, they are in some kind of trouble, having been partly bought by a larger company that wants to raise the prices ‘insanely’. Where else have we already seen that? Well, it doesn’t seem that the old motto ‘make a great product, price it fairly, then cash in’ still works in the spirits world. Not very romantic times… Colour: gold. Nose: it’s a more elegant one, with finer touches of vanilla and toasted pastries, hints of smoky liquorice, and various tobaccos, from Havana cigars to latakia (poor Syria!) It’s the smoky side that I particularly enjoy here. Mouth: oily mouth feel, salty arrival, grassy development, and two olives. A perfect cocktail. Excellent agricole, very pure, very idiosyncratic. Très français. Finish: quite long, rather more citrusy. Oranges and salt, what could be better? Comments: it’s really the balance that’s perfect here. We’re close to malt whisky, in a way, and indeed it is a perfect malternative. Well done, Séverin! SGP:452 - 86 points.

Clément 2005/2014 (41.6%, OB, Martinique, agricole, bourbon, cask #20100201, 497 bottles)

Clément 2005/2014 (41.6%, OB, Martinique, agricole, bourbon, cask #20100201, 497 bottles) Two stars and a half One of the pretty rare single casks. Martinique has got an AOC (appellation d’origine controlée), which means that they can’t do what the whole world does anymore. Like, dumping saccharin, or adding oak extracts. A shame, really! ;-) But let’s only hope the consumer will be smart enough to understand the differences, and to not buy the plain and utter sweet junk that some are selling as ‘rum’ these days. You know, soleras… But what do I know? I’m just a whisky guy… Colour: deep gold. Nose: ah, fresh oak. Vanilla, coconut, ‘green’ sawdust, liqueurs… Did they hire a Scottish Master of Wood at Clément’s? The whole’s nice, just a little ‘international’. Let’s hope not all spirits in the world will start to deforest… I mean, to use active American oak extensively. Update: after ten minutes, some very lovely notes of blond tobacco come out. Our beloved (and deadly) old Camels. Mouth: nah, this is much, much nicer. Still a bit too sweet and polished for my taste, and sure there is quite some vanilla, but other than that, this is ‘cast iron’ agricole. Sawdust and vanilla on a lightish grassy agricole. Plus marmalade. Finish: quite long, maybe a little tannic. Sawdust and vanilla. Comments: all fine. Modern international taste, but at least they haven’t killed it with industrial sugary ‘things’. So, no night club rhum. SGP:551 - 79 points.

Speaking of quercus alba, let’s push our luck…

Saint James 1999/2011 (42.9%, OB, Martinique, agricole, American oak, cask #294-10-99)

Saint James 1999/2011 (42.9%, OB, Martinique, agricole, American oak, cask #294-10-99) Three stars and a half We’ve tried some old glories from Saint James’, I fondly remember the 1875. Wait, wasn’t that rather 1895? You say 1885? They’re using the wording extra-vieux on the label, which means extra-old (bravo!) And you know what, that’s got more meaning than in bonnie Scotland, where any whisky above 3 is called ‘very old’. Right, or very auld. Colour: deep gold. Nose: herbal teas and tobacco. It picked up where the Clément left us, with Camels, honeysuckle, lime tree blossom, raisins, honey, sugarcane juice… And peonies, geraniums… I find this most elegant, and pretty complex. No quercus push this time. Mouth: this is honey, flavoured with herbs and soft spices. That includes mint and caraway. Oranges are there as well, plus papayas and bananas. I find this goody good, eminently drinkable, and even if a bit of vanilla comes through after a while, never dull, and never ‘commercial’. Quality. Finish: quite long, with these touches of salt we’re expecting from an agricole. Maybe something like incense, or sandalwood. Definitely kind of oriental. Lovely. Comments: lovely indeed. Not much to add, it’s simply that I find this baby… very lovely. SGP:651 - 84 points.

I had a full bag of other Martiniquans, but I think we’ll do them next week, if you don’t mind.

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



Block Today: JAZZ (to go witn the rums). Performer: partly Martiniquan band Sakesho. Track: Ewa Belia. Please buy their music...

June 12, 2015


A few Amruts and one compatriot

Let’s have a few superstars of India today, starting with an unusual recipe. So, liqueur or not liqueur?...

Amrut 'Naarangi' (50%, OB, 900 bottles, 2014)

Amrut 'Naarangi' (50%, OB, 900 bottles, 2014) Two stars and a halfThis funny baby was bottled in December last year. Some orange peel had macerated in sherry casks, in which the spirit has then been finished. So, it’s well whisky, and not a liqueur or a flavoured spirit. I find this rather creative, but lets’ hope it won’t be sweet… Colour: reddish gold/copper. Nose: no obvious sweetness and no feeling of triple-sec or other orange-based liqueurs, which is just great. Rather some malty goodness, a touch of cardboard and sawdust, then plenty of dried fruits, including orange zests, obviously. A chalky side in the background, wet concrete perhaps. With water: wood and tealeaves, cardamom, caraway... Mouth (neat): it’s well whisky and not a liqueur, but I find it a little weird, really peppery, clove-y, slightly pungent, bitter… I cannot not think of some artichoke-based drinks such as Cynar, beer bitter, ultra-dry sherry… Maybe the strongest mulled wine ever? With water: gets rounder and sweeter – and, dare I say, better. Marmalade and green tea plus ginger and more cardamom. Sinking your teeth into a thick-skinned orange. Finish: rather long, fruitier, but this leafy side never leaves. Caramel in the aftertaste. Comments: a bit of an UFW (unidentified flying whisky), with very pleasant sides, and others that are more, say unlikely. SGP:461 - 78 points.

Amrut 2009/2013 (62.8%, OB, PX sherry cask, cask #2699)

Amrut 2009/2013 (62.8%, OB, PX sherry cask, cask #2699) Four stars According to the label, this baby’s lost 42% to the angels. Within four years! Colour: deep gold. Nose: it may be a sherry cask, but it’s rather oak that talks first, with pencil shavings aplenty and perhaps a little varnish. Behind that, butterscotch and raisins, but indeed it’s the oak that speaks out. At this strength… With water: almost perfect! Shortbread, Werther’s Originals, chocolate, oranges, sultanas, vanilla… It may have been sherry-treated new oak, or something equivalent. That works, once you’ve added water. Mouth (neat): powerful, fruity, and oaky. We’re somewhere between Scotland and Kentucky. Spices, marmalade, chutneys, as much cardamom as in the Naarangi… Big, big stuff. With water: became as thick as syrup, fresh, fruity, clean… and to be honest, more orangey than Naarangi. That’s funny. Finish: quite long, spicy and very orangey. Marmalade and chutneys. Comments: I find this very good, but water is obligatory. SGP:551 - 85 points.

Amrut 2009/2013 (62.8%, OB, bourbon, cask #3437)

Amrut 2009/2013 (62.8%, OB, bourbon, cask #3437) Four stars and a half There, plain bourbon this time. Colour: gold. Nose: a powerhouse. Dry oak, some wood smoke, some honey, some vanilla, some bananas and some papayas. Typical Amrut. With water: creamy vanilla-ed goodness, acacia honey, papaya jam. We’re on holiday. Mouth (neat): this, is the style we all enjoy so much. Creamy vanilla and passion fruits – and mangos – plus a growing zesty side. I don’t know why, but I have the impression that had someone let some casks of Littlemill age in Bangalore, this is what they would have come up with. With water: did I mention melons? And oranges? I find this fresh and excellently fruity. Finish: long. I seem to find pineapples this time. Comments: maybe not extremely complicated or ‘contemplative’, but everything’s very sexy in this ueberfruity Amrut. SGP:651 - 88 points.

That one called for more…

Amrut 'Portonova Batch No. 5' (62.1%, OB, 2014)

Amrut 'Portonova Batch No. 5' (62.1%, OB, 2014) Four stars and a half You may know about the story, this wee baby was first matured in American oak, then Port pipes, then American oak again. I remember the first batch did win Silver and a Best Cask Innovation Award at the Malt Maniacs Awards 2011. My own score for that one: 89. Colour: deep gold. Nose: one of those unlikely tries that just work. Perfect nose, fresh and fruity, with blood oranges, a winey touch, some tobacco, and then glasses and glasses of multi-vitamin fruit juice. There’s also a perfect toffee/café latte note. With water: having Kaffee-Kuchen with good friends and a great bottle of PX. Mouth (neat): not too syrupy, very fruity (grapes), fresh… and very hot, almost burning. I need my throat, so… With water: a little less ‘immediate’ than the bourbon that we just had, but the fresh fruitiness just works again. Cranberries, other small berries, sweets, and then a spice mix that may well be Indian (some kind of great curry)… Finish: long, with a perfect balance between the fruits and the spices. Comments: same score as four years ago, no doubt about that. They have a great recipe, worth the trouble. SGP:651 - 89 points.

We’ve got several more but one peater will do….

Peated Amrut (58.1%, Blackadder, cask #BA19/2014, 138 bottles, 2014)

Peated Amrut (58.1%, Blackadder, cask #BA19/2014, 138 bottles, 2014) Three stars and a half It was such a good idea to have some Amruts, well done Blackadder! Colour: dark copper (not just peat!) Nose: so funny, so funny… It’s more medicinal than the most medicinal Laphroaig, you’re almost nosing a pot of embrocation, mixed with some Barbour grease, some weird medicated oil, eucalyptus syrup, band-aid, and litres of walnut stain. And then comes the smoke, quite massive. Graphite and charcoal. There’s something going on here! With water: oh lovely, old leather, clean cow stable, walnut wine, soy sauce… If you think umami just now, you might be in the right direction. Mouth (neat): frankly, it’s a notch too extreme for me. Acrid and pungent, smoky and woody ‘thing’, very extreme, ‘concoctiony’ (the British Academy will manage to jail me one day). With water: well, it is extreme. Oils and fats and greases, plus herbal stuffs and concentrated liquorice. Plus drops of our beloved Finnish tar liqueur. Finish: very long. Very very long. Almost endless. Coats your palate, it’s almost an oil slick. Comments: very funny, very extreme. Imagine pouring this to your beginner friends while asking them ‘who wants to try whisky?’ SGP:477 - 84 points.

Oh well, while we’re at it…

Paul John 'Peated' (55.5%, OB, 2013)

Paul John 'Peated' (55.5%, OB, 2013) Four stars Amrut peated vs. Paul John peated, Bangalore vs. Goa… Let’s see… Yes I know, peat plus India sounds as unlikely as Lady Gaga plus Tony Bennett. Wait… Colour: full gold. Nose: it’s rounder and softer (but that couldn’t be the other way ‘round anyway), and I’d swear we are quite close to the older Laphroaig 15 yo. Serious. Subtle medicinal notes, passion fruits, seawater, mangos… My, this works! With water: softer, less smoky, with some vanilla. So, easier, but no less pleasant. Mouth (neat): oh yes this works. Once again, not much complexity, but the balance between the peat and the tropical fruits is just perfect. One day, we’ll try to smoke passion fruits… With water: honey, Cointreau and smoked fish. Although I wouldn’t say this is very coastal. Finish: quite long, honeyed. Smoked mead or something. Comments: in India, it’s the weather that cuts corners. This is terribly drinkable. May we see the papers? SGP:556 - 86 points.



Block Today: JAZZ. Performer: Bill Watrous. Track: Zip City. Please buy his music...

June 11, 2015


More Bowmore and we're done

With this very last Bowmore session (this month, ha ha), we’ll pick it up around where we stopped yesterday, that is to say in the early 1990s. And the pirates of Cadenhead are on again…

Bowmore 22 yo 1992/2014 (50.8%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon hogshead, 204 bottle)

Bowmore 22 yo 1992/2014 (50.8%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon hogshead, 204 bottle) Four stars Colour: straw. Nose: starts with brine and sawdust, which is an unusual combo. The smoke’s a little ‘flat’ and the lemon’s not that zesty and vivid, and yet it’s a pretty big one. A V8 firing on seven cylinders, I’d say, but water may change that. With water: hessian and old potato bags in an old basement. See what I mean? And damp chalk, a rather light smoke, touches of fresh nuts, broken branches, bark… You may add one caper and half a herring. Mouth (neat): same first feelings, there’s an oaky mattness, somehow, but this time it’s quicker to become sharper and zestier. But there’s also this feeling of eating cigar ashes, charcoal, and plain coal. With water: ah yes, the fruits are coming out, one after the other, and they’re all sprinkled with mint extracts. Lemons, grapefruits, plantains… Finish: good length. The mint became camphory and eucalyptussy (!!), which I enjoy. Smoky vanilla in the aftertaste. Comments: a different one, perhaps a little milder, and yet it’s big, and yet it’s lighter, and yet… SGP:565 - 87 points.

Bowmore 25 yo (50.1%, The Whisky Exchange, retro label, 2014)

Bowmore 25 yo (50.1%, The Whisky Exchange, retro label, 2014) Three stars A funny label, this one, some kind of older ‘oval’ Caol Ila with some kind of old Bowmore lettering. And why not? This is most probably late 1980s vintage(s), so let’s be careful, there might be lavenders and violets back on the prowl… Colour: straw. Nose: yaaah! As an example of that style, it’s perfect. Orange bonbons, Parma violets, lavender ice cream (a trendy thing in Provence, but mainly British tourists like that… wait, that may explain a few things about these Bowmores ;-))… Then ink and chalk. New plastic pouch at the supermarket (well where they still use those). With water: doesn’t swim too well, gets very chalky/inky. Mouth (neat): not that bad, not that bad – and even Saint Columba of Iona knows I’m not a fan of this style. I find it chemical and plastic-like again, but I feel I need to add that the citrusy/candied notes as well as the peaty smoke work well on the palate. In any case, it’s probably a late-period ‘Bowmore-of-that-style’, because earlier ones had less peat – and even more lavender. With water: rounder and sweeter. Grapefruit marmalade, plus some salt and some ashes. Finish: long, ashy. The lavender and the violets are still there. Comments: it’s like a late-period Picasso. Historically interesting, but certainly not from the artist’s best period. What’s sure is that we’ve tasted much worse – and, by the way, how do you score a last-era Picasso? SGP:574 - 80 points (bonus for the historical side).

… And now the very last one (cross my heart), and not just any Bowmore…

Bowmore 12 yo ‘Bicentenary’ (43%, OB, for Germany, 1979)

Bowmore 12 yo ‘Bicentenary’ (43%, OB, for Germany, 1979) Five stars An extremely rare bottle that I had never seen before this year. The 1964 and the blend of vintages (NAS) are well-known, while the square cask strength versions as well as the ‘Bowmore blend’ aren’t unknown, but this 12 yo is a first to me. That doesn’t mean that it couldn’t be the same juice as either the 1964 or the NAS, but the neck label is very different indeed. So, without further ado… let’s try this very rare baby, and we’ll be done with our Bowmore week. With a little panache, hopefully.

Colour: full gold. Nose: starts a little more leathery and tobacco-like than I remember from the other versions, with a little more, say tallow and even marrow, plus hints of new tyres and ‘old herbal liqueur that went dry over the years’. The tropical fruits are there, lurking in the shadows, but they do not seem to be wanting to come into the light. Maybe time will do the trick… zzz… zzz... We’re back. So, indeed, the fruits came out, but they remained kind of resinous, which I find very lovely and totally undull (does that word exist?) Mouth: it is a Bicentenary, no doubt, and a powerful one at that. Stones and tropical fruits, salt, old oils and liqueurs, bouillons, then rather jams, blackberries, honeydew, chlorophyll, apricots, mint, ripe plums, cough pastilles, sultanas, liquorice, a very discreet chalkiness… The mouth feel is thick and coating, all Bicentenary versions were thick anyway. Extreme goodness, astounding complexity, excuse me, but ‘wow!’ Finish: not eternal, sadly, but it’s one of the longest ‘43s’ I’ve ever tasted. Pure sappy, slightly smoky honey and liqueurs. Wow again. Comments: most sadly, I haven’t got any opened ‘regular’ Bicentenaries at hand these days, so I won’t do any comparisons, apart from stating that it seems to be rather gentler and rounder than the multi-vintage NAS (1950-1966). But we are up there with the highest stars of whiskydom, absolutely no doubts about that. SGP:554 - 93 points.

And vielen Dank, Marcel! Mfg…

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



Block Today: JAZZ. Performer: Dianne Reeves. Track: Detour Ahead. Please visit her website and buy her music...

June 10, 2015


Young Bowmore, continued

So we had some NAS (boo), some 2003, 2002, 2001, 1999… Let’s be creative and try some 1998…

Bowmore 1998/2014 'Cacao Geyser' (46%, Wemyss Malts, butt, 737 bottles)

Bowmore 1998/2014 'Cacao Geyser' (46%, Wemyss Malts, butt, 737 bottles) Two stars and a half Yup, they really called this ‘Cacao Geyser’. Yet other bottlers who are doing too much quality control ;-). Colour: deep gold. Nose: well well well, as a former scout, I haven’t got anything against used matches, but we might be wandering beyond the borders. Frankly, this starts rather sulphury, not that that’s an obvious flaw, but well, you have to like that. Then chocolate, cocoa indeed, burning tyres, and two dozens new leather jacket straight from Turkey. That’s called ‘a style’. Mouth: things are better on the palate, as always when you come across some pretty sulphury whisky. Marmalade, black olives, tar liqueur, liquorice. Not exactly four aces in my book, but indeed that’s a matter of taste. Finish: long, leathery, tarry and smoky. Comments: spectacular in its own style, I remember some older official Darkests were a bit like this. Let’s call it a controversial Bowmore, since I know some friends loved this baby – we’ll have another Wemyss later anyway, we’ll see. SGP:466 - 78 points.

Let’s try another sherried 1998… Tremble, mere mortal…

Bowmore 15 yo 1998/2013 (52.1%, The Whisky Agency, refill butt, 719 bottles)

Bowmore 15 yo 1998/2013 (52.1%, The Whisky Agency, refill butt, 719 bottles) Four stars I know I should have tried this baby two years ago, I know. Colour: full gold. Nose: no gunpowder, little leather, no struck matches, rather a fresh clean, coastal Bowmoreness with bags of Seville oranges (I ‘stole’ some while in Seville a few weeks ago, and tasted them – gosh they were bitter) and indeed a little leather, coffee beans, bitter chocolate and then touches of black mustard. Old walnuts. Bone dry oloroso. With water: hay, tobacco, black tea. Mouth (neat): balance! I think we all forget that balance is the most important word in whisky. Granted, there are a few stone-y, leathery, leafy notes, but the cocoa and coffee work well, even if Bowmore + sherry might well be the trickiest combination ever. A matter of balance indeed, like with any peater from Islay. With water: chocolaty, tobacco-ish, leathery, dry. Finish: long, salty, chocolaty. Comments: probably not an easy one. The butt added some kind of leathery dryness. SGP:465 - 85 points.

No 1997, no 1996 (I’m feeling shameful…) But Wemyss are on again!

Bowmore 1995/2014 ‘The Rockpool’ (57.2%, Wemyss Malts, hogshead, 226 bottles)

Bowmore 1995/2014 ‘The Rockpool’ (57.2%, Wemyss Malts, hogshead, 226 bottles) Five stars Cask strength? That’s an interesting move… Colour: gold. Nose: there seems to be everything. Tangerines, olives, oysters, bandages, camphor, ‘old fisherman’s boat and pipe’, old cigars, teas… And walnuts. With water: mangos come out. We’re well at Bowmore’s. Mouth (neat): I think you call this an epitomical Bowmore. Brilliant, rich yet zesty and fresh, orangey, smoky, kippery, very coastal… Nutshell: I find this greatly great. With water: swims with honour and palms. Quinces, grapefruits, mangos… Finish: long, jammy, yet fresh, full, citrusy, smoky, salty… Comments: what a glorious idea to not reduce this down to 46% vol. Amazing bottle, akin to the best official Tempest – if I remember well. Kudos, Wemyss, it was very smart not to dilute this wonderful Bowmore. SGP:556 - 90 points.

And now, something odd…

Bowmore 19 yo 1995/2014 (54.9%, Riegger's Selection, Nicaragua Rum Cask finish, 330 bottles)

Bowmore 19 yo 1995/2014 (54.9%, Riegger's Selection, Nicaragua Rum Cask finish, 330 bottles) Three stars This baby reminds of when the mayor of the isle of Islay, Peru, came to visit Bruichladdich Distillery. I was there and believe me, it was fun… but very odd. In truth, finishing a Bowmore in Nicaraguaian rum is probably even weirder. Colour: gold. Nose: the rum sings and that kind of works. In fact, you aren’t too sure, is this rum? Is this whisky from Islay? Sure Bowmore’s big spirit, but never underestimate sugarcane. Right, or molasses. With water: Bowmore wins, but there are touches of plastic pouches and ‘new electronic device’. Remember when we were buying a new stereo and were pulling it out of its box? Mouth (neat): fun stuff. Orange squash with salt, brine, green bananas and a little rubber. Not quite unknown territories, but we’re almost feeling like we’re Dr. Livingstone. With water: not too sure bananas and oysters go well together, but this ain’t bad. Finish: rather long, cane-y and briny. Comments: a mutant? In truth, this is no bad juice at all. And it’s funny. Well done Riegger’s boyz, you must have had fun. SGP:555 - 80 points.

Goody good, we may not manage to reach the end today. Bat there’s always a tomorrow, so let’s have a last one. For today.

Bowmore 19 yo 1994/2014 (55.7%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #3.212, refill sherry butt, ‘Anti-aphrodisiac’, 534 bottles)

Bowmore 19 yo 1994/2014 (55.7%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #3.212, refill sherry butt, ‘Anti-aphrodisiac’, 534 bottles) Four stars I’m not 100% sure an anti-aphrodisiac is something grown men will need. Or is this bottling only for still-wet youngsters with more cojones than brain? Colour: straw. Nose: refill sherry? Rather fourth fill if you ask me, and that’s great news. Having said that, I’ve rarely nosed whisky that was this much on smoky porridge. I’m starting to understand why they called this an ‘anti-aphrodisiac’. With water: smoke, rocks, the driest porridge, wet fabric, carbon paper. Mouth (neat): perfect, wild, rough, raw, medicinal Bowmoreness. Stuff for blending, stuff for grown men. And I love the camphory citrons in this. With water: excellent, with raw power (hi Iggy) and cerealy smokiness. Finish: long, salty barleyish, earthy. No manners whatsoever, but that’s a part of its charms. Comments: one raw one for the hipflask. Don’t try this at home. SGP:366 - 86 points.

We might have had enough, so we’ll go on tomorrow. When will this Bowmore frenzy end?

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



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June 9, 2015


Young Bowmore extravaganza reloaded

Remember a very extreme 2003 by Cadenhead just killed our session yesterday. But this is another day, so let’s try to find one youngster that’s a little less monstrous…

Bowmore 2002/2011 (46%, L'Esprit, hogshead, cask #20148, 392 bottles)

Bowmore 2002/2011 (46%, L'Esprit, hogshead, cask #20148, 392 bottles) Three stars and a half Colour: white wine. Nose: starts very fruity and only marginally smoky, while the briny side’s well there. Some pears and gooseberries, plus plenty of sea air, seawater, seaweed, floated wood… Well, anything from the sea. The whole’s perhaps not utterly complex, but it’s very fresh and easy. Should go well on oysters. Mouth: there are very discreet touches of lavender or rather violet sweets that may hint at the 1980s, but they’re soon to be offset by a very salty and briny rush/ Like eating oysters indeed, with drops of Tabasco and lemon juice. The whole is very, very coastal. Little oak influence. Finish: long, very salty. You just had a dozen oysters without even noticing. Comments: classic fresh and clean young Bowmore. I’m all for it. SGP:456 - 84 points.

Bowmore 13 yo 2001/2014 (57.1%, Cadenhead, Swiss Special, 282 bottles)

Bowmore 13 yo 2001/2014 (57.1%, Cadenhead, Swiss Special, 282 bottles) Four stars and a half I really find it funny that they’ve put the year of bottling so big on the label. I imagine some people might believe this is new make ;-). Colour: white wine. Nose: completely different, this one is very chalky, mineral, rather on beach sand and limestone at first nosing, with also a very fresh manzanilla-like profile, with ultra-fresh walnuts and then rather seaweed. And I’d swear I also find anchovies. With water: some custard coming out, shortbread crumbles… The colour had made me think there would be no oak at all, but there is some vanilla-ed sweetness. Mouth (neat): perfect. Huge lemon, sea salt, grapefruits, kippers and… a little aspirin. Not that you need any, mind you. Immaculate fresh Bowmoreness. With water: makes it more drinkable than the best water. The aspirin/chalk notes remain there. Finish: long, ultra zesty. An Islay mojito. Comments: no quibbles, this is pristine young Bowmore. And it’s not monstrous. SGP:457 - 88 points.

Bowmore 12 yo 2001/2014 (57.9%, Signatory Vintage for La Maison du Whisky, refill sherry, cask #1368, 595 bottles)

Bowmore 12 yo 2001/2014 (57.9%, Signatory Vintage for La Maison du Whisky, refill sherry, cask #1368, 595 bottles) Four stars and a half Colour: gold. Nose: the base is a young Bowmore, with added raisiny/apricoty touches that, in fact, seem to generate medicinal notes. Embrocations, some kind of lemony camphor… The winey side never stops growing after that, and we’re kind of cycling along the River Loire. That’s right, there’s some chenin blanc aplenty. Unusual, and fun. And nice. With water: a working kiln somewhere between Saumur and Angers. Mouth (neat): oh the chenin (yeah I know there’s no chenin in this) and Bowmore’s whistle-clean coastalness seem to work a treat. They’re tangoing. With water: quinces, salty oysters, golden raisins, grapefruits, brine… Having said that you have to be careful with water, it swims but not like a champ. Finish: long, a wee tad sweet. Comments: yeah right, sherry. I’m sure it was a cask from the houses Papin or Nicolas, or something like that. Vouvray? Montlouis? Savennières? Please tell us! SGP:546 - 88 points.

Bowmore 13 yo 2001/2014 (57.2%, Blackadder, hogshead, cask #20066, 292 bottles)

Bowmore 13 yo 2001/2014 (57.2%, Blackadder, hogshead, cask #20066, 292 bottles) Four stars and a half I know I had promised we’d quote Black Adder every time we’re having a whisky by Blackadder. How about this: "It's up to you. Either you can shut up, or you can have your head cut off." No no no, that had nothing to do with whisky bloggers. Colour: white wine. Nose: different, much harsher, almost acetic. Rather bone-dry sauvignon from the west coast than chenin, I’d say. Seawater, smoked stones, caper juice… What a difference a cask makes! With water: dusty limestone, hessian, nylon trousers. Mouth (neat): very blade-y, this is almost a pair of scissors. Very sharp smoky and mineral lemon juice. Bang! With water: gets a tad sweeter and gentler. Well, no, not really, despite the touches of pears and peaches, it remains some blade-y Bowmore. Finish: long, sharp, angular. Angular? Comments: this baby would stand up to the artisan-est mezcals or clairins. You see, it’s all about the distillate. SGP:467 - 89 points.

Agreed, we’ve had enough 2001s. But we have no 2000 at hand, let’s jump to 1999…

Bowmore 14 yo 1999 (54.5%, Exclusive Malts, bourbon, 347 bottles)

Bowmore 14 yo 1999 (54.5%, Exclusive Malts, bourbon, 347 bottles) Three stars and a half Colour: pale gold. Nose: this one’s really more austere, almost closed, with only a little lemon zest, broken branches, maybe green olives in brine… Water should wake it up! With water: it’s rather the barley that comes out, barnyard, kiln, porridge… So let’s call it ‘a shy young Bowmore’. Mouth: not sleeping at all on the palate, and it’s rather a fruity one, ridden with lemons, oranges, tangerines, touches of passion fruits… All that on a bed of seaweed and, once again, an obvious minerality, around limestone. But yeah, it’s rather a fruity one. With water: fruit syrup with drops of brine and smoked water. Rather mild globally, civilised, gentle. The opposite of the 2003 by Cadenhead we had yesterday. Finish: still pretty long, a little leafy and herbal. The fruits have left. The aftertaste is more coastal and grassy. Comments: very good ‘of course’, but I found this baby rather less ‘obvious’ than most others. High quality anyway. SGP:555 - 83 points.

Let’s try another 1999 just to be sure…

Bowmore 15 yo 1999/2014 (56.4%, The Single Malts of Scotland, bourbon, cask #800215, 266 bottles)

Bowmore 15 yo 1999/2014 (56.4%, The Single Malts of Scotland, bourbon, cask #800215, 266 bottles) Four stars Colour: straw. Nose: a little bizarre, as if some tropical fruits (especially bananas) were trapped somewhere… There are interesting echoes of 1966-1968, if you see what I mean, also plenty of fruit peelings, and a very moderate ‘modern’ Bowmoreness (coastal, mineral, lemony). What’s the trick? With water: water! Seriously, it reeks of seawater blended with tinned peaches and barley water. Loses me a bit, are we sure about the vintage, London?  Mouth (neat): gentle fruits indeed, from mangos to passion fruits. As if the wizards in London had blended it with some 1976 Tomatin or Benriach. A very discreet touch of soap in the background. Oh and some seawater. With water: very gentle. Salty sweets, not-too-ripe mangos, and even bits of vanilla fudge. Finish: quite long, saltier. The smoke’s relatively minimal. Yes I wrote ‘relatively’. Comments: I’d call it a mindboggling young Bowmore. To be poured blind to your friends. SGP:655 - 85 points.

Let’s not overextend our forces, time to call this a session. We’ll have more tomorrow. In fact, we may have Bowmores all week…

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



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June 8, 2015


Another young Bowmore extravaganza

Plenty of Bowmore to taste, and frankly, I don’t quite know what we’ll select. Let’s improvise. The only thing I’m sure about, is that we’ll end this session with a super-duper-ultra-rare old one that not many seasoned whisky connoisseurs know about – let alone have tasted. Oh and that question again, how do you build a verticale with these all these new NAS whiskies? Consider they’re 3 years old? Let’s do that…

Bowmore 'Black Rock' (40%, OB, travel retail, +/-2015)

Bowmore 'Black Rock' (40%, OB, travel retail, +/-2015) Three stars No age, 40%, a dark colour, travel retail… Sounds a bit like a pimped Trabant, doesn’t it. It’s partly aged in sherry casks. Colour: amber. Nose: not a lot, not a lot. Some seawater, blackcurrants, whiffs of bay leaves, orange blossom, seaweed fire, ginger… It’s all relatively discreet, and rather spicy/grassy. I enjoy these notes of dried kelp on a beach, though. A little sandalwood. Mouth: what I find very satisfying is that the off notes that we used to find in the sherried Bowmores from the 1990s or early 2000s are gone, totally gone. Now, this caramel, millionaire shortbread (there used to be a wee bakery opposite the distillery in Bowmore where you could find some excellent Millionaire shortbread, but it seems that they’re not there anymore) and marmalade make it a little thick. But balance is there, and there’s no excessive sweetness, nor is it oaky. In fact, it’s pleasant. Finish: a little short and maybe a notch drying (you feel it on the sides and back of your mouth), but this smoky caramel is good. Comments: not bad at all. Probably not for die-hard Bowmore fans, but no one should be disappointed. A little low in strength, and maybe in peat. SGP:554 - 80 points.

Bowmore 'Gold Reef' (43%, OB, travel retail, +/-2015)

Bowmore 'Gold Reef' (43%, OB, travel retail, +/-2015) Three stars and a half Mainly ex-first fill bourbon. And 43% vol. is better than 40% vol., isn’t. Colour: gold. Nose: American oak. Everybody loves American oak, it’s easy, it’s sweet, it’s vanilla-ed (hence a little regressive, perhaps)… In this case we’ve got a fairly medicinal profile, coated with custard, coconut and warm sawdust. The whole is fresh, just rather discreet and light. Hello? Somebody home? Mouth: cast-iron citrusy Bowmore, more or less the Tempest at a much lower strength. Vanilla, oranges, mandarins, seawater, white pepper, whelks (oh not again!), kiwis, rhubarb, smoked tea. You cannot be against this. Finish: of good length, fresh, citrusy, salty, moderately smoky… Only the aftertaste is a wee bit oaky/drying. Comments: I shouldn’t like this modern thing, I shouldn’t. But let’s be honest, it’s very well crafted and not void of any character. I could sip this – but what’s the age again? SGP:554 - 83 points.

NAS? We also have this…

Bw4 (51.6%, Speciality Drinks Ltd, Elements of Islay, 2014)

Bw4 (51.6%, Speciality Drinks Ltd, Elements of Islay, 2014) Four stars Colour: straw. Nose: crystal-clean fresh salty maritime Bowmore. ‘A walk on the beach while some seaweed smoke rises from nowhere’. Oh well you know what I mean. With water: the sea. Mouth (neat): perfect young Bowmore. Perhaps very young. Tropical fruits, peat smoke, sea breeze, and all that. Perhaps even mangos. The 1960s are back! With water: hello citrons, brine, oysters and clams! The mangos are gone. Finish: quite long, very clean very zesty, salty and fresh. Who needs a ticket to the Atlantic? Comments: immaculate young Bowmore. Forget about all that official chitchat about oak or wine, that can only alter an otherwise pristine distillate. Now, this baby’s perhaps a little less smoky/peaty than its earlier siblings. No too sure, I haven’t got them all on my tasting table… SGP:556 - 87 points.

Good, after the NAS, the young ones…

Bowmore 9 yo 2003/2013 (46%, Orcines, cask #20057)

Bowmore 9 yo 2003/2013 (46%, Orcines, cask #20057) Four starsRemember Orcines is a series by Lyons’ very skilful whisky merchants The Whisky Lodge. So, this is a French bottling. Colour: white wine. Nose: it’s a fresh, young, and pretty raw one that’s still got notes of pears and pineapples. That means that the wood wasn’t too active, not obligatorily a bad thing since the spirit has more to tell us in this context. Seaweed, capers, green olives, gherkins, hessian, sauvignon blanc. One to sip on oysters! Mouth: excellent. Sharp, zesty, salty, smoky, coastal, briny… It’s all there, rough and vibrant (what?). Not the best-polished young Bowmore, but the style is perfect and unspoilt by oak and/or wine. Finish: long, zesty, briny, smoky, Bowmore. Comments: a fun one, a wee-tad youngish (pears) – sure its no 1957 or 1966 – but in a way, it’s a highly demonstrative Bowmore. What a classy distillate. SGP:546 - 86 points.

Well, what shall we do now? Go by ascending strengths or favour vintages, which is a little trickier? But are we afraid? Let’s go by vintages…

Bowmore 11 yo 2003/2014 (58.7%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon hogshead, 240 bottles)

Bowmore 11 yo 2003/2014 (58.7%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon hogshead, 240 bottles) Four stars I have to say the colour is intimidating… Colour: dark red amber. Nose: Bowmore? Could be Craigellachie, Scapa or Dalwhinnie, such is the oak’s impact. Pencil shavings, cedar wood, cigars, thuja, black tea, tar liqueur, new tyres, fino sherry. The wood’s in charge so far. Very terpenic, I’d say. With water: even more of all that. Partagas cigars macerated in unreduced gentian eau-de-vie. Just to give you an idea… Mouth (neat): what a thick monster! All the Van Winkles would feel naked in comparison, this is extremely extractive, and it even gets bitter and very clove-y. Concentrated bitter oranges. Very, very extreme stuff. With water: you have to get it down to +/-30% vol. to make it approachable, and even then, it still roars like a tiger. Did they cook it or something, up there in Campbeltown? Finish: extremely long, even the Meistersinger feel shorter than this. Comments: a session killer. You just can’t taste anything else – perhaps gasoline – after such a thick monster. In a way, it’s like pastis or ouzo, you can make five litres out of a single bottle. Pretty un-scorable, let’s be conservative… SGP:576 - 85 points.

Well done Cadenhead, this session is over, we’ll have to try again tomorrow. Pfff…

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



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June 7, 2015


Sunday malternatives,
today ‘French-Indian’ rums

All these rums do come from French islands or former French islands in the Indian ocean, that is to say La Réunion in the Indian ocean, formerly know as L’île Bourbon (the Bourbon island), and other islands not too far from Madagascar. Including Madagascar! Speaking of La Réunion, let’s start with…

Isautier 10 yo ‘rhum vieux’ (40%, OB, La Réunion, +/-2015)

Isautier 10 yo ‘rhum vieux’ (40%, OB, La Réunion, +/-2015) Two stars This is proper rhum agricole, made out of vesou (cane juice) and not molasses. Other rhums by Isautier may be blends of agricole and ‘traditionnel’ (molasses based). Colour: full gold. Nose: it’s relatively light and rather better rounded that other agricoles, and there are very elegant whiffs of vanilla, fudge, butterscotch, ultra-ripe bananas, cassata ice cream and liquorice allsorts. A little vanilla-ed toffee as well. Pretty delicate and rather harmless. Mouth: indeed, it is rather lighter than ‘western’ agricoles, and rather more on oranges and tangerines, with a relatively thin body. The 40% vol. might be a little too low for this style. Tends to become a little dry (tea). I do also find touches of fennel. Finish: rather short, light, with a little sandalwood and a touch of lavender. Cinnamon from the oak. Comments: a rather complex one that would have benefitted from a little extra-punch in my opinion. SGP:451 - 74 points.

A strange idea, having a white one from Thailand…

Chalong Bay 2014 (40%, OB, Phuket, Thailand)

Chalong Bay 2014 (40%, OB, Phuket, Thailand) Three stars and a half White agricole-like rhum distilled in Phuket by some passionate young French rum makers. Colour: white. Nose: pure grassy, phenolic, greatly ‘dirty’ rum that’s definitely got a Jamaican style. I’ve heard they use a secret dunder wherein they throw two or three inebriated European tourists per year, that’s why you may find tiny bits of sandals in some bottles. Haha. Seriously, it’s a great nose, between a Haitian clairin and a high-ester Jamaican. An excellent surprise. Mouth: top notch, ‘dundery’, grassy, fruity, salty… Balance is perfect and there aren’t any off notes, neither is there any burn or feinty side. Only the strength, once again, might be a little low. Finish: good length, though. A discreet meaty side, some salt, fermenting bananas or other tropical fruits, something olive-y and smoky… Comments: the style that I prefer. Very well done – to think that this was only harvested and distilled last year! SGP:362 - 83 points.

Mauritius Club 2014 (40%, OB, Mauritius, 2015)

Mauritius Club 2014 (40%, OB, Mauritius, 2015) Two starsThere is some French heritage in Mauritius/Maurice. This new and probably young rum matured in South-African casks. Colour: full gold. Nose: there’s more maraschino and marzipan than in maraschino and marzipan. That means that must have been some kind of flavouring going on, but I have to say it worked. It’s just not ‘pure’ rum, but this nose is very pleasant. Remember Cherry Heering? Mouth: very sweet and sugary, not unlike those rum liqueurs named Don papa or A.H. Riise, but as I like maraschino, amaretto, marzipan and… Haribo, I won’t complain. I like Turkish delights too. So, I find this rather good, but I don’t think you could drink it without ice. Finish: good length, sweet, cherried (not sherried, haha)… The Kriek Lambic of rum? Comments: obviously not my thing, no doubt it’s very well made. Some people will fall in love with it. SGP:730 - 70 points.

Gold of Mauritius (40%, OB, Mauritius, +/-2015)

Gold of Mauritius (40%, OB, Mauritius, +/-2015) Two stars Made by the same company as Mauritius Gold, this rum is aged in Port casks from South-Africa. So rather Port-like. Colour: amber. Nose: starts with some caramel and toasted bread, goes on with vanilla and pipe tobacco plus a slightly earthy tea, and keeps developing on roasted cashews – which is unusual indeed. Rather toasty, this seems to work. Mouth: really sweet, liqueury, and nutty. Some Bailey’s made with candy sugar, peanut butter, walnut cake, and triple-sec… Way too sweet for me, but I enjoy the nutty backbone. Finish: medium, sweet, always very nutty. Praline, drops of banana liqueur. I do not seem to find much Port. Comments: same kind of very sweet style as the Mauritius Club, but with nuts instead of cherries. I don’t feel like I should score it differently. Good stuff, just not for me. SGP:740 - 70 points.

Dzama 1998/2008 (45%, OB, Madagascar)

Dzama 1998/2008 (45%, OB, Madagascar) Two stars and a half This one comes in an ach, err, lovely bottle hand-covered with banana leaves. Colour: full gold. Nose: I had already tried some Dzamas, and I find this one bigger, earthier, with more complexity and less of that sweetish flowery fruitiness. Having said that, it is rather floral. I also like all these tiny ‘tertiary’ aromas, old coins, beeswax, a little shoe polish… So it’s not just ‘sweet’. Mouth: okay, it is sweet, which won’t make it a proper malternative in my book, but it all works fine, from ripe bananas (and the liqueur made thereof), to kiwi jam, vanilla cream, sweet pink pepper, and even a faint grapy side. Like moscatel, perhaps. Finish: good length, even a little hot, and well on some ‘eastern’ sweet and spicy notes. Vanilla, pepper, cloves, sweet chilli. Comments: quality rum for sure – and Madagascar needs to be supported! SGP:651 - 78 points.

Session over. It bothers me a bit that a white Thai (ha, ha) won it. Again, from a malt drinker’s POV. No, not at all!

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



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June 5, 2015


Tasting indie Macallan
plus yet another NAS

Macallan. Do you remember? Let’s have a wee bag totally at random…

Macallan 14 yo 1998/2012 (53.8%, Hart Brothers)

Macallan 14 yo 1998/2012 (53.8%, Hart Brothers) Four stars Colour: white wine. Nose: porridgy and minty, then grassy and very barleyish, with honey notes and touches of barley water. Getting more flowery, with nectar, more honey, yellow flowers, then more vanilla. With water: works. Grass, cereals, farmyard, very lovely whiffs of grapefruits, malty honey (or honeyed malt), beeswax… It is classy spirit. Mouth (neat): good malty and citrusy arrival, with sultanas soaked in rum and sweet white wine, pink grapefruits, and more heather honey than in Highland Park. Indeed, I find this good. With water: not many changes. Finish: medium, sweet and malty, with good citrusy background and always this honeyed side. Comments: I was joking, Macallan was, and remains a very classy spirit. It just became overpriced and marketingly boring. SGP:551 - 86 points.

Macallan 1993/2010 (56.4%, The Whisky Cask, bourbon, Germany) Five stars Sorry, no picture. Colour: gold. Nose: ah yes, it got this warm profile, with cornflakes and café latte from Starbuck’s (I’m sorry). Also plenty of hot chocolate, hazelnut cake, fresh malt, touches of tinned pineapples and some fudge. Irrefutably very nice, I say. With water: hay, tobacco, more malt, a farmyard on August 15 around lunchtime (in the northern hemisphere), ripe barley… It’s to be liked. Mouth (neat): great, really. Huge sweet malty, banana-ish, cake-y, honeyed and orangey profile. Very oily mouth feel. Nah, it’s great spirit. With water: indeed. Sweet malt, honey, maple syrup and artisan custard. Finish: long, thick, honeyed and barleyish. Comments: the kind of little bottle we should all buy when we come across them. Great whisky. SGP:651 - 90 points.

Let’s find a similar one… There:

Macallan 20 yo 1989/2009 (46%, Whisky-Doris, The Dram, bourbon barrel)

Macallan 20 yo 1989/2009 (46%, Whisky-Doris, The Dram, bourbon barrel) Four stars and a half Mrs and Mr Debbeler always selected great whiskies. Colour: white wine. Nose: same style, with a fat, oily, beautifully barleyish style, some yellow flowers – and we cannot not think of sunflowers – and touches of oranges. This reminds me that in the olden days, we were very keen on ex-bourbon Macallan, because all the officials were sherried. A normal blogger would add ‘how time flies!’. End of the nostalgic sequence. With water: some butter cream, custard, even a little margarine… Mouth (neat): indeed, same style. Fattish, oily, very barleyish, slightly orangey, malty style. With water: chamomile, crème au beurre, custard, honey, very buttery cake… Finish: long, oily, as if you just downed a cup of sunflower oil with some honey thrown in. Comments: Macallan is a phat spirit. That was more evidence. SGP:551 - 88 points.

And another Germanic 1989 then…

Macallan 1989/2002 (43%, Strathblair Collection, Switzerland, sherry hogshead) Two stars No picture either! Colour: dark gold. Nose: something a little metallic, perhaps, on top of some raisins and sweet wine. Also oranges, hay, very sweet rum (Zacapa – ach, excuse me), and a little Virginia tobacco. Mouth: okay, raisiny and resinous, with marmalade, sweet tobacco, more raisins, a little fudge… Very good, of course, but with this style, balance has to be perfect. In this case, the tobacco’s a little too loud, IMHO. Finish: good length, but with a little too much rubber coming out. The aftertaste is frankly rubbery. Loses a lot of points here. Comments: it all started very well… SGP:561 - 76 points.

Macallan 19 yo 1987/2006 (52.4%, Duncan Taylor, Rare Auld, cask #9793, 306 bottles)

Macallan 19 yo 1987/2006 (52.4%, Duncan Taylor, Rare Auld, cask #9793, 306 bottles) Three stars As you can see, we’re churning out the oldies that we’ve never had the opportunity to bring onto the tasting table. Colour: gold. Nose: smells of overripe apples and ‘old’ teas. Grandma’s cupboard, waxed tablecloth, cider… That’s not unpleasant. With water: indeed. Some honeydew. Mouth (neat): rather tight, honeyed and waxy, slightly cigarette-y, with a wee feeling of manzanilla. Good, let me tell you about the great manzanillas I’ve tasted in recent times, I’d advise you to try La Gitana’s En Rama and Pastrana, as well as Equipo Navazo’s 54 and La Goya XL En Rama. There, back to this Mac. Well, it’s quite good. With water: tobacco. Finish: good length. Oily tobacco extract and sappy honey. Comments: very okay. So, manzanilla, if you ever go to Sanlucar de Barrameda, do not forget to visit Bodega Hidalgo and ask for Rafael – on my behalf. Yeah, this little Mac was rather okay. SGP:551 - 80 points.

This session is becoming a little tiring. Okay, one recent official and we’re done.

Macallan 'Reflexion' (43%, OB, first-fill sherry hogshead, decanter, +/-2014)

Macallan 'Reflexion' (43%, OB, first-fill sherry hogshead, decanter, +/-2014) Three stars All right, the kind of bottling that any true whisky geek will just hate. No age, a fancy decanter, low strength, an unneeded story, laudatory reports on the shadiest ‘luxury’ websites probably operated in Nigeria, and around 1,200.00 Euros a bottle. Codswallop that would make even a Kazakh millionaire laugh, if you ask me. Colour: dark amber. Nose: the first word that comes to my mind is ‘cognacqy’. In truth, this is cognac. Raisins, prunes, raisins, prunes, raisins, prunes, raisins, prunes, raisins, prunes… And one Mars bar. The most expensive Mars bar ever. Mouth: better. Sure it’s good whisky. Raisins, prunes, raisins, prunes… Yeah well! Touches of oranges, honey, oranges, honey, oranges, honey (S., that’ll do). And guess what, there is some malt in there. The body’s pretty okay. Ish. Finish: gets a little bitter, a tad too liquoricy, and oddly leafy. Strange aftertaste with burnt notes and quite some coffee. Comments: pretty average oldish malt – and malty – whisky. Forgot to mention marmalade, £1.29 for 340G at Tesco at time of writing. So it’s pretty good, but slightly boring NAS whisky in a fancy decanter. As ‘luxury’ as a necklace by Swarovski or a gold-plated pocket watch by Franklin Mint. Only my own humble opinion, of course. SGP:551 - 81 points.

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



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June 4, 2015


More young and middle-aged Glendronach

Not much to say. Perhaps that Glendronach was the coup of the 2000s. And 2010s… Or how to revive an old brand name and an old distillery.

Glendronach 8 yo 'The Hielan' (46%, OB, 2015)

Glendronach 8 yo 'The Hielan' (46%, OB, 2015) Four stars A brand new one, apparently less sherried than the rather famous ‘Octarine’ according to their respective colours. But Glendronach have often been doing this in the past, offering a lighter, less sherried option. Colour: gold. Nose: indeed, this is much more ‘naked’ Glendronach, almost spirit-driven, even if the vanilla’s rather big. Some sides remind me of Macallan ‘FO’, if you see what I mean, but this Glendronach packs more punch. Nice malty notes, butterscotch, golden raisins, cake, shortbread, a little beeswax, a flowery side (dandelions)… It’s nice, it’s really nice. Like this maltiness a lot. Mouth: there is some punch, something slightly rougher than what’s in ‘colleagues’ Macallan or, say Glenmorangie, with roasted nuts, Ovaltine, gingerbread, touches of stout beer, walnut cake… In fact it’s rather clearly more ‘Highlands’ than ‘Speyside’. But we’re in the Highlands indeed, aren’t we? Finish: more malty goodness, more Ovaltine, tobacco, a wee leathery side, raw peanuts… All good. Grassier, even leafier aftertaste. Comments: I find this a ‘central’ malt whisky, whatever that means. Perhaps because it is very malty ;-). Oh and it’s good that they’ve put the age, rather than only a silly name straight from Wikipedia. So, what’s a hielan? SGP:552 - 87 points.

Glendronach ‘Cask Strength’ (54.7%, OB, batch 4, 2015)

Glendronach ‘Cask Strength’ (54.7%, OB, batch 4, 2015) Five stars Liked batches 1, 2 and 3. This should be quick… Colour: gold. Nose: same family, perhaps a little more sherry, apples, and pencil shavings. Balance is perfect though, this ‘noses’ so easily, ‘ frightening. With water: some pencil shavings coming out, which often happens with ‘modern’ Glendronach, but they come together with nuts, malt, raisins and honey. What’s not to like? Great feeling of warm praline too. Mouth (neat): absolutely excellent. Full bodied, orange-y, malty, raisiny, slightly grassy, nutty… Yeah, I find this excellent. Only boring side: I’m not surprised. With water: a bourbony side (active oak may have been used), but that works greatly on a rather potent distillate. Love these hints of rhubarb. Finish: long, nutty, malty, raisiny, honeyed. Do Kellogg’s own Glendronach now? Comments: some say it’s a sherry monster. Well, it’s not, not at all. I find it a little better than batch 3. That is to say rather less oaky, unless I’m mistaken. SGP:551 - 90 points.

Once you start with Glendronach…

Glendronach 20 yo 1994/2014 (54.8%, OB, for Abbey Whisky, cask #3400)

Glendronach 20 yo 1994/2014 (54.8%, OB, for Abbey Whisky, cask #3400) Four stars and a half Abbey Whisky had a great 1993 the year before (WF 90). Colour: mahogany. Oloroso! Nose: oloroso! Walnuts, pecan pie, chocolate, raisins on a cake (kugelhopf!), marmalade, then earth, wet stones, pu-erh tea, pipe tobacco and, guess what, no struck matches. With water: perfecto. More pu-erh, cigar box, beerawecka (Alsatian Christmas cake), dried dates… Mouth (neat): rich fruit cake on concentrated orange juice, earl grey tea (a bit overinfused, perhaps), leather, tobacco and marmalade. A little pepper. Classic from Classic’s. With water: some saponification happening, let’s wait… (indeed, I’ll say it again, when you add water, it can happen that some soapy molecules are created, but those go away and quick). Zzz… zzz… We’re back. Indeed, the soap has gone away. The whole got a little leafier. Finish: long, tobacco-ish, raisiny, leafy. Rather dry, leafy and, in that sense, oloroso-ish indeed. Comments: perfect sherried work, as often. They really do it well. Just, careful with water. SGP:461 - 89 points. But let’s have more…

Glendronach 23 yo 1990/2014 (52.3%, OB for Independent Spirit, Pedro Ximenez sherry puncheon, cask #1374, 717 bottles)

Glendronach 23 yo 1990/2014 (52.3%, OB for Independent Spirit, Pedro Ximenez sherry puncheon, cask #1374, 717 bottles) Four stars These good people already had some excellent Glendronach – and Benriach. Colour: mahogany. Nose: same kind, just a wee tad fruitier, lighter, and easier. Plus a discreet rubbery side, which may go away once water has been added, let’s see. With water: not totally gone, but it’s better balanced. Like the dried figs in this. Mouth (neat): many oranges, as fresh ones, as marmalade, as squash, as liqueur… In fact, it is very different from the 1994. Fruitier, lighter – but it is heavy whisky -  and rather grassier. With water: honeydew, pinesap, raisins, young armagnac, oranges. Finish: long, with peppery oranges and more armagnac. Comments: whisky for armagnac lovers. Good news, there are more and more armagnac lovers – whom we might call the armaniacs ;-). SGP:561 - 86 points.

More Glendronachs… later! Stay tuned.

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



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June 3, 2015


A bunch of Glen Scotia

Glen Scotia’s always been ‘the other malt from Campbeltown’, living more or less in the shadows of Springbank. It seems that the owners are trying to push it a little more since a few years, but there’s now also Glengyle with their excellent Kilkerrans. More shadows?…

Glen Scotia 1991/2014 'At Anchor in a Cove' (46%, Wemyss Malts, barrel, 304 bottles)

Glen Scotia 1991/2014 'At Anchor in a Cove' (46%, Wemyss Malts, barrel, 304 bottles) Two stars and a half Wemyss have already issued several 1991 Scotias, and I liked them. Colour: dark straw. Nose: a fresh and fruity one, with apples and gooseberries on grass and a little clay. There’s also Glen Scotia’s typical rubbery notes, as well as oranges and just touches of lavender. Mouth: clay and chalk again, always this little rubber that’s absolutely not a flaw in this context, some beer, some pepper, orange and pineapple zests, then a little ginger and nutmeg. Tends to become much grassier over time, so maybe a little unsexy. Finish: quite long, on pepper, grass and zests. A little bitter. Comments: very good, but not too sure this was the best cask within the lot, it’s a little austere and a tad too grassy for me. SGP:361 - 79 points.

Let’s try another one…

Glen Scotia 1991/2013 'Merchant's Mahogany Chest' (46%, Wemyss Malts, butt, 807 bottles)

Glen Scotia 1991/2013 'Merchant's Mahogany Chest' (46%, Wemyss Malts, butt, 807 bottles) Four stars Colour: dark amber. Nose: indeed, there is a lot of polished wood and chocolate in this one, as well as glazed chestnuts, dry raisins, amontillado and tobacco. Some kind of dry fruitcake, with just a touch of gunpowder. Also ripe black cherries. Mouth: rich and yet not fat, starting with something mineral blended with bitter oranges and quite some leather, then mint flavoured green tea, then black chocolate, then ginger and clove cake. Goes more towards mint and liquorice after a while, which goes well with the rather dry sherry. Good mouth feel, very satisfying. Finish: long, with a little acidic coffee (luwak?), then more tobacco and bitter chocolate. Very oloroso-ish. Comments: excellent chocolatiness (?) on a bitter/acidic base. Oops, forgot to mention walnuts. SGP:372 - 86 points.

Glen Scotia 22 yo 1991/2013 (50,4%, The Whisky Agency and The Nectar, Spirits in the Sky Festival, refill hogshead, 279 bottles)

Glen Scotia 22 yo 1991/2013 (50,4%, The Whisky Agency and The Nectar, Spirits in the Sky Festival, refill hogshead, 279 bottles) Four stars and a half It was a bout time I tried this Germanobelgian baby, don’t you think. Colour: straw. Nose: it’s a narrower, but also cleaner, racier, perhaps more elegant nose. Golden Delicious, fresh walnuts, candle wax, sunflower oil… So really the cleaner side of Glen Scotia. Fresh almonds. With water: superb whiffs of cigars, mentholated cream, a little thuja wood… Mouth (neat): a very oily mouth feel and a development on tangerines, freshly squeezed blood oranges, fresh coriander, leaves, and early grey. And green tea. Very elegant indeed, with a very pleasant zesty side. With water: almond paste, drops of fir liqueur, a drop of liquid tar, some green tea. Really very elegant. Finish: quite long, almondy and herbal, with a lemony signature that keeps it high and fresh. Comments: excellent when you give it a little time. Love this very specific kind of grassiness. SGP:362 - 88 points.

Glen Scotia 22 yo 1992/2014 (57.6%, Silver Seal, refill sherry)

Glen Scotia 22 yo 1992/2014 (57.6%, Silver Seal, refill sherry) Three stars Whisky is art, says the label. May it remain so for centuries, and not become simply a manufactured product like any other. Colour: dark amber. Nose: rubber and gunpowder strike first, together with pipe tobacco and wood varnish. It’s only after one good minute that our beloved fruitcakes come through, while the tobacco-like woodiness is calming down. Makes me think of some kind of sherry-treated bourbon at full strength, if I may. With water: heavy walnuts, gravel, gunpowder. Mouth (neat): heavy, woody, very mentholated and extremely raisiny. This is like some old PX matured in new wood. Heavy tobacco, spices (mulled wine), quince paste, raisins. All raisins of the creation and some heavy tannins. Quite a monster! With water: gets smoother, with unexpected notes of tinned pineapples, but the bottom remains pretty tannic and raisiny. Finish: very long, almost stuffy. Comments: extremely extreme and not the epitome of balance and elegance. In a way, it’s the opposite of the Whisky Agency/Nectar. I know some friends who’d adore this heady and heavy concoction! SGP:562 - 80 points.

Let’s try a colleague…

Glen Scotia 1992/2013 (56.3%, Malts of Scotland, sherry hogshead, cask #MoS 13032, 175 bottles)

Glen Scotia 1992/2013 (56.3%, Malts of Scotland, sherry hogshead, cask #MoS 13032, 175 bottles) Five stars Colour: mahogany. Nose: so similar, and yet so different (yeah, come on). In fact, this one’s totally balsamic, which is strange since you’d rather expected that from Silver Seal, since that distinguished company’s so close to Modena. Oh well, I know what I’m trying to say. And to the old balsamic vinegar, you may add Corinthian raisins and some hot chocolate. With water: fab! The priciest chocolate with a lot of cured ham (Iberico), more balsamic vinegar, plum sauce, and very old Sauternes that got black. Mouth (neat): some kind of syrup made out of honey, raisins, tobacco, black tea and rum. And indeed, drops of balsamic vinegar. And maybe Madeira. With water: balance is kept. Chocolate, cigars, prunes, raisins, and a little Marmite. Finish: long, with flinty notes that prevent it from getting stuffy. You can still try other whiskies after this bomb! Comments: well done! A great monster from Campbeltown that, at times, reminds us of the heaviest sherried Springbanks. SGP:562 - 90 points.

Good, we found a winner, let’s leave it at that.

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



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June 2, 2015


Ardbeg Perpetuum and others

So there is this new Perpetuum that just everyone has bought - and, as far as I can see, that many will not open. Something will happen one day with these kinds of private buffer stocks that have been built through the years, as if there were tens of thousands of mini whisky lochs all over the world. Yes I'm talking about your cupboard or cellar ;-). Anyway, I wanted to find a proper sparring partner, so obviously a young one and one that was bottled at a similar strength (cask strength look-alike, if you see what I mean). And I found this:


Ardbeg 12 yo (46.6%, Angelshare, Switzerland, +/-2007) Four stars This is early to mid 1990s distillate, so Ardbeg made by the Laphroaig crew when they used to intermittently reactivate the closed distillery every once in a while to keep the equipment (and the purifier ;-)) kind of fit. And to make whisky, of course. Colour: white wine. Nose: very briny, very smoky, pretty austere. A lot of old hessian, crumbled coal, old tools (those in the old toolbox), then rather chalk and plaster as well as perhaps a touch of plastic. After ten minutes, we find more and more pine needles, and even washing powder, which makes it a little acrid.  Also a little white high-ester rum, Jamaican-style. Which we enjoy, no need to say. Mouth: massive salt and brine, a pungent smoke, plenty of green grapefruits and a feeling of 'eating clay'.  There's a wee sweetness (pear juice) but it's minimal, it remains a dry Ardbeg. Finish: long, smoky, still a bit pungent even at 46% vol., with some tar/liquorice in the aftertaste that makes it clearly Ardbeggian. Comments: a good one. It hasn't got the complexity of the older vintages, but it's clearly, well, good Ardbeg. SGP:458 - 86 points.

Ardbeg ‘Perpetuum’ (47.4%, OB, Ardbeg Day version, 2015)

Ardbeg ‘Perpetuum’ (47.4%, OB, Ardbeg Day version, 2015) Four stars This is the new 'Ardbeg Day' version of the NAS Perpetuum. I find it funny to use a name that implies a notion of eternity, or at least of old age, while doing an 'unaged' (I know) version. Or maybe is that extremely smart. Colour: white wine. Nose: simpler and narrower than the Angelshare, with less depth, and probably a little less flaws (no pine-y notes, no washing powder). It's relatively light, but there's good peat smoke, coated with a little vanilla. A very light medicinal touch (eucalyptus). I find it nice, simple, and rather gentle for Ardbeg, despite the high smoke. Mouth: full, immediate, ashy and smoky, with sweeter fruits and vanilla in the back. I seem to feel a rather young spirit (the white fruits) and some slightly prominent oak (tea tannins, vanilla, white pepper). Other than that, it's lightly medicinal and briny, but less tarry/phenolic than older bottlings, while the Angelshare still had a bit of that. Anyway, I find it very good. Finish: rather long, and pretty saltier and brinier. Olive brine and white mezcal - which, again, is good in my book. Comments: that's the problem with NAS, you can't help trying to guess the ages of these babies.  Bah, all we can be sure of with an NAS is that it’s 3 years old. As for scores, it's a tie. I think the Perpetuum is simpler but the 'easy straightforwardness' is pleasant, and the smoke is well Ardbeggian. I’m pleased. SGP: 557 - 86 points.

Yeah, while we're at it, we could as well add an old one...

Ardbeg 25 yo 1974/2001 (58%, Bloomsbury Spirit, Japan, sherry cask)

Ardbeg 25 yo 1975/2001 (58%, Bloomsbury Spirit, Japan, sherry cask) Five stars Warning, I'm not trying to compare these babies. Well, maybe I am, but that wouldn't be fair. Indeed, this is one of the legendary vintages. Colour: full gold. Nose:  bwah! Candied fruits (none in the young ones), waxes and oils (none in the young ones), the best tobaccos (same), old turpentine (ditto), long forgotten pots of paint, cough syrup, chartreuse and other herbal liqueurs, amaretti, Barbour grease, smoked oysters, some kind of mint-flavoured fudge, lit black cigars (these maduros, or rather the Italian ones, the toscanis)... The complexity is amazing, this one leaves you breathless. And we haven't even taken a drop. With water: it reminds me of some very - and I mean very - old Sauternes that are becoming mentholy and waxy.  Old almond liqueur with drops of crème de menthe and cough syrup. Shall we call it Vicksy? Mouth: huge and elegant. That's the miracle with these whiskies, they are like elephants dancing a ballet... and dancing it right! Fabulous herbal, waxy, sappy, smoky style. Tar liqueur, smoky old chartreuse - no I don't think anyone ever tried to smoke chartreuse - some salt, a very spritzy lemon, oysters... All is superb. The mouth feel is incredible. Oops, forgot to mention marmalade that adds a rounded fruitiness. With water: same flavours, plus rather more salt, kippers, salty seaweed, more cough syrup... Finish: sadly. Let's not rub salt in the wound, but indeed, the saltiness is fab. Only flaw, I find some soap in the aftertaste, which will make it lose one or three points. Comments: I think we should start to retry the old ones that we've already tasted - just to make sure. Hey, good idea! Oh, or perhaps we’ll have the new Ardbeg 1815, we'll see... (although 1815 sounds a bit too ‘Waterloo’ to us Frenchmen ;-)) SGP: 577 - 91 points.

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



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June 1, 2015


Tasting the three
Inverness distilleries again

You know, if you’ve got a whisky blog, you may have noticed that ‘big names’ pull much more traffic towards your pages than virtually unknown ones, such as the babies we’ll try today. But since at WF Towers, we’re more into quality than into quantity as far as visitors are concerned (proof, you’re reading this – yeah I know, that’s very lame), we’ll dare trying these three forgotten names today. Well, not everyone has forgotten about these Inverness distilleries, but it’s true that we haven’t seen any new bottlings since… around 2012. Not that we’re seeing them all, but let’s simply hope we’ll be able to do this again in the future…

Glen Albyn 1976/2012 (43%, Gordon & MacPhail, licensed bottling)

Glen Albyn 1976/2012 (43%, Gordon & MacPhail, licensed bottling) Three stars Closed in 1983, destroyed a few years later. Only G&M can still pull out an old Glen Albyn these days. Amazing… Especially since they may have more. Now, I wouldn’t say Glen Albyn’s my favourite Scottish distillery… Colour: gold. Nose: more old school than this, you die, as we say in France. Hay juice, cardboard, chamomile, concrete dust, these fruits that are half oranges, half lemons (aren’t they called pomelos?), plenty of grass, a little engine oil… There’s some oak as well after 36 years, but it doesn’t dominate. Its just not some very sexy whisky – unless you find History sexy. Mouth: starts with cardboard, white pepper, lemon juice and soft mustard, not something you’d see been poured to models in Ibiza, would you. In fact  it’s very dry and rather drying, with little brightness, but I have to say these notes of petrol and metal polish make it movingly old school indeed. In short, this is a rare style by these days’ standards. Finish: a little short, but relatively clean for Glen Albyn, thanks to some rather lovely touches of grapefruits and citrons. I’m sorry, of pomelos. Earthier aftertaste. Comments: this dry old beast is not just a curiosity. And the price is fair, I think. And anyone needs a Glen Albyn in his cabinet – while that’s still possible. SGP:361 - 82 points.

Glen Mhor 34 yo 1975/2010 (43.3%, Mo Or Collection, bourbon hogshead, cask #4036, 170 bottles)

Glen Mhor 34 yo 1975/2010 (43.3%, Mo Or Collection, bourbon hogshead, cask #4036, 170 bottles) Four stars and a half Glen Mhor used to be one of Glen Albyn’s two cousins. It was closed in 1983 as well, and demolished in 1986. I’d say it’s rather less rare than Glen Albyn, but I always liked it a little better. Colour: white wine (after 35 years!) Nose: much fruitier, livelier, ampler and more complex than its cousin, despite these whiffs of engine oil again, plastic, porridge, brine and mixed greens. Plenty of fruit peelings, hints of papayas, then raw rhubarb, a very funny rummy side (raw white agricole), and this chalky thing that’s always there in Invernesses whiskies. Lamp oil, graphite… Mouth: oh but this is excellent! The fruits took over, with lemons and, indeed, papayas, but it hasn’t got what the modern fruity whiskies have, that is to say a slightly dullish fruity simplicity. Lovely acridness, with some tar and liquorice, lime, earthy tea, sucking an untipped menthol cigarette (as far as I can remember), and then a lot of green tea. And green bananas – or plantains. Impressed. Finish: not too long but the vibrancy (yeah) is amazing at this age and at this strength. It remained very fresh – but remember Glen Mohr was the key component within Shackleton’s McKinlay’s. Comments: big surprise. Well, a half surprise, I’ve already tried a few great 1975s, such as Duncan Taylor’s. SGP:562 - 88 points.

Millburn 1978/1997 (65.6%, Gordon & MacPhail, Cask Series, cask #3166)

Millburn 1978/1997 (65.6%, Gordon & MacPhail, Cask Series, cask #3166) Four stars A bottle from the good old times when G&M’s Cask series and United Distillers’ Rare Malts were often fighting above the 65% vol. limit. Explosive whiskies that used to take no prisoners! As for Millburn, it was closed for good two years after Glen Albyn and Glen Mohr, so in 1985, and became a restaurant smartly called The Auld Distillery. Colour: straw. Nose: a time machine. We’re back to the times when cars, motorbikes and whiskies were truly dangerous. A lot of ethanol (and maybe other alcohols, some more lethal) on top of what seems to be a combination of tropical fruits and ripe orchard ones. Bananas and apples, if you will. Other than that, well, it burns your nostrils. With water: dust, chalk, concrete, fabric, barley, earth, gravel, clay… This is very Invernessy – I’m talking about the city’s malts. Mouth (neat): thick, very lime-y, ultra-grassy, sweet (but that may be the sweetness from alcohol) and more and more Haribo-ish. Say those little purple crocodiles… With water: it got unlikely once again, but in a sexier way. No chalk, rather citrusy fruits, or rather the jellies and jams made out of them. Spanish apple liqueur plus limoncello plus sauvignon blanc – or something like that. The strongest lemonade ever made? Finish: long, ultra-zesty. Really, very very zesty. Comments: the cask was just a vessel. The whisky’s spectacularly old-school, with a huge personality. Not 100% sure about its Haribo-ish side, though. SGP:562 - 87 points.

We’ll try to do another Glen Mohr vs. Glen Albyn vs. Millburn session this year.


Whiskyfun fav of the month

May 2015

Favourite recent bottling:
Laphroaig 15 yo '200th Anniversary' (43%, OB, 2015) - WF 90

Favourite older bottling:
Glenlivet 7 yo (75° proof, Peter Thompson, early 1970s) - WF 92

Favourite bang for your buck bottling:
Talisker 10 yo (45.8%, OB, +/-2014) - WF 91

Favourite malternative:
Caroni 34 yo 1974 (46%, Bristol Spirits, Trinidad, +/-2008) - WF 91



Block Today: BLUES. Performer: Phil Upchurch. Track: What We Call The Blues. Please visit his website and buy his music...

May 2015 - part 2 <--- June 2015 - part 1 ---> June 2015 - part 2



Best malts I had these weeks - 90+ points only

Ardbeg 25 yo 1975/2001 (58%, Bloomsbury Spirit, Japan, sherry cask)

Bowmore 12 yo ‘Bicentenary’ (43%, OB, for Germany, 1979)

Bowmore 1995/2014 ‘The Rockpool’ (57.2%, Wemyss Malts, hogshead, 226 bottles)

Glendronach ‘Cask Strength’ (54.7%, OB, batch 4, 2015)

Glen Scotia 1992/2013 (56.3%, Malts of Scotland, sherry hogshead, cask #MoS 13032, 175 bottles)

Macallan 1993/2010 (56.4%, The Whisky Cask, bourbon, Germany)