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Whisky Tasting




Hi, you're in the Archives, June 2021 - Part 2


June 2021 - part 1 <--- June 2021 - part 2 ---> July 2021 - part 1


June 30, 2021



Summer Duets
Today Bruichladdich
Actually, we'll have four of them, so this will be a double duet. Right, that's a quartet; let's go vertical whatever the strengths… (you just need to be slower in this case, because of decreasing strengths)…

Bruichladdich 10 yo 2009/2020 (60.2%, Whisky-Circle Pinzgau, bourbon barrel, cask #3614)

Bruichladdich 10 yo 2009/2020 (60.2%, Whisky-Circle Pinzgau, bourbon barrel, cask #3614) Four stars
Perhaps not the funniest label ever – did Gerhard Richter do it?, but there sure is some kind of elegance to it. The whisky shouldn't be bad either… Colour: white wine. Nose: ah there, plain and pure Bruichladdich, tight and tense, coastal 'in a way', on green and yellow fruits (melons)… But at 60+, it just burns your nostrils. Safe Nosing Procedure engaged (don't hold your horses, that's just adding water)… With water: as usual, croissant dough, sunflower oil, melon skins, plus a little vanilla. Impeccable. Mouth (neat): pure ethanol and vanilla and melons. Not meant to be swallowed 'like that', I hope… With water: pears, lemons, tonic water, a touch of fennel, a wee hint of salt, celery, pointed cabbage, salt, artichoke… Isn't it funny that it would display this many vegetables? What a lovely soup! Finish: medium, more on pastries. Earthy and bready aftertaste. Comments: high-character spirit that needs no assassination with wine. That's what I say, darling.
SGP:451 - 87 points.

Bruichladdich 27 yo (50.2%, Hunter Laing, The Kinship, refill American oak hogshead, 555 bottles, 2019)

Bruichladdich 27 yo (50.2%, Hunter Laing, The Kinship, refill American oak hogshead, 555 bottles, 2019) Five stars
The numbers remind me of a certain Subaru… What a fast (and yet ugly) car that was! Colour: white wine. Nose: same territories, which is interesting since this obviously stems from the 'old ' regime. Right, from Invergordon/Jim Beam Brands. A fresh, fruity, actually rather simple nose, on apples and broken branches and roots. Celery again, fennel, green melons, gooseberries… I'm even finding bamboo shoots here. With (just a drop of) water: earth, beach sand just after high tide, clams, whelks and 'stuff'… This is truly a coastal Bruichladdich. It's not always only in our heads, you see… Mouth (neat): brilliant, earthy, rooted and soupy, with some amazing 'Thai' notes, citronella, basil, lemongrass, soft chilli, coconut water, coriander… The nose was fine but the palate is almost stellar. With (just a drop of) water: there, impeccable, on fruit pastes, a salty touch, miso, focaccia… And many other tinier elements of flavour. Great complexity, should you give it a little time. Finish: medium and very salty. But can there be salt in whisky? Comments: pure Bruichladdichness, without any unnecessary winey stunts. Extremely brilliant.
SGP:551 - 90 points.

Bruichladdich 30 yo 1988/2019 (48.9%, Cadenhead, Single Cask, bourbon hogshead, 174 bottles)

Bruichladdich 30 yo 1988/2019 (48.9%, Cadenhead, Single Cask, bourbon hogshead, 174 bottles) Four stars
Why I haven't tried this one before, I couldn't tell you. Not much news from Cadenhead's these days, hope they're doing more than fine and that Covid didn't bite them too severely. Much love – your S. Colour: white wine. Nose: it is another fresh, grassy and fruity Laddie, but this time with rather less complexities and wee angles than in the fab Kinship. Don't get me wrong, these notes of melon liqueur and Danish pastries still work well, but I'm not finding the coastal notes this time. I agree, could be me. Mouth: oh good, fruity, almost syrupy, with more melons than on a melon tree (hold on, that does not exist, melons do not grow on trees!) Also apricots and peaches, with a wee metallic side that's not unseen in Bruichladdichs from that era. There's some fatness too, so much for the 'tall stills'. Also beer. Finish: relatively long, leafy, rather on beer and teas. Unexpected sultanas in the aftertaste, plus cracked pepper. Comments: feels a little more like 20, rather than 30. Quality remains pretty high anyway.
SGP:551 - 85 points.

And so we said a quartet…

Bruichladdich 15 yo 1965/1981 'Royal Wedding' (52%, OB, ceramic, 900 bottles)

Bruichladdich 15 yo 1965/1981 'Royal Wedding' (52%, OB, ceramic, 900 bottles) Five stars
I'm glad I could try this one and do a tutored tasting with it last year (they call that a masterclass, a word that I rather hate). As a Frenchman, I'm not too much into British fetishism and any inflated nostalgia, but I agree Lady Diana was a rather charming person and that things are going too fast. There. Colour: gold. Nose: Bruichladdich is Bruichladdich. Which means that inherently, they're all pretty similar, as long as they've not been force-fed with any wine. No, sherry, isn't wine, its sherry ;-). In this case, and that's often the case with old decanters, you would find quite some shoe and metal polishes, then vegetables (Brussels sprouts, artichokes, eggplants) and a lovely coastal combo, from clams to kelp and langoustines. I knew I would get you with those langoustines ;-). Also old coins, peaches, and a little cured ham. Mouth: rather sublime, a little smoky and meaty, with dried dates rolled in bacon and touches of pineapple liqueur, salty wine (manzanilla), old Comté cheese, some tobacco, garam masala, walnut liqueur, some kind of salted cough syrup, date arrack… It is really pretty surrealistic, untidy, and full of fun. Finish: medium, waxier, curiously richer. Beeswax and honey. Comments: cheers to Lady Diana! As for the prince, well, the only prince that counted was the one who once did that solo at the end of While My Guitar Gently Weeps at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony in 2004.
SGP:562 - 90 points.

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


June 29, 2021



Summer Duets
Today Clynelish
Clynelish, but of course. It's not surprising at all that TWE would have chosen the 14 as one of their 20 whiskies that changed the world. Between us, they could have chosen one of theirs instead, but they are smarter than that.

Clynelish 14 yo (46%, OB, +/-2021)

Clynelish 14 yo (46%, OB, +/-2021) Three stars
I remember I did not like the first rendition of Clynelish 14 at all. Things have changed quite a wee bit. Colour: gold. Nose: sour apples, weissbeer, vanilla, mead, beeswax and a little chardonnay. We're softer than expected here, much softer. Much, much softer… Mouth: I'm thinking Oban, and that's not only because of it being a 14 as well. I'm missing the waxy fatness here, the greasiness, the oils and all the citrus. On the other hand, some kinds of salty teas are there, dog rose… Finish: medium, with a little gritty oak. Green tea. Comments: a strange toned-down version, thinner, lighter, missing some of the markers (the waxes) and with more oak. Still an extremely fine dram, but isn't Clynelish 14 getting some wee rest?
SGP:341 – 81 points.

Clynelish 2010/2021 (59.7%, The Single Malts of Scotland, cask #800204)

Clynelish 2010/2021 (59.7%, The Single Malts of Scotland, cask #800204) Four stars
Brand new stuff, not even sure about the data while the picture's just for illustration purpose. Colour: straw. Nose: the 2010s aren't the waxier of them all but we're already finding a very clean combination of sunflower oil, beeswax, grapefruits and white asparagus, plus touches of coconut and vanilla. With water: touches of white oak, coconut, bread, croissants, marshmallow, aniseed… Mouth (neat): bonbons aplenty, Haribo's best, marshmallows and bubblegum. Very young and very sweet. With water: yeah, there, it was in need of water. Herbs, rhubarb, sage, seaweed, samphire, salt, leaven and yeasts… Finish: long and spicier, with more pepper and, perhaps, ginseng. More sweetness again in the aftertaste. Comments: very good and way above the OB, just a tad young.
SGP:541 - 85 points.

I agree we need another one, thanks for your input…

Clynelish 1996/2020 (54.2%, Whisky Maniac, Sansibar Clans, bourbon hogshead, 282 bottles)

Clynelish 1996/2020 (54.2%, Whisky Maniac, Sansibar Clans, bourbon hogshead, 282 bottles) Four stars and a half
Clans. At least that's pretty Scottish, more Scottish than Kabuki dancers or Chinese samurais, for sure. Did Chinese samurais ever exist, by the way? Colour: straw. Nose: more profound, more on cereals, fatter, more on a beehive and anything that's inside, including honey. With water: more hay, perhaps. Mouth (neat): looks like this is pretty perfect. Meursaulty, with some grapefruit, chalk, tarter apples, a wee yeastiness, even beer… With water: dough, breads, mint, aniseed, cider apples, chalk…  Finish: same for a rather long time. Comments: this is Clynelish with a genuine Clynelish engine inside, bordering stardom.
SGP:552 - 89 points.

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


June 28, 2021



Summer Duets + apéritif
Today Old Grains
One of those old Invergordons that usually love sherry – or does sherry love old Invergordon - plus a rather rare old Cambus that's brand new. And perhaps a wee apéritif as the stepping-stone since we've been on vacation for quite some days and did not try any spirits while I'm always afraid of not keeping my hand in…

Hedonism (43%, Compass Box, blended grain, +/-2021)

Hedonism (43%, Compass Box, blended grain, +/-2021) Three stars
I last tried the regular Hedonism in 2006 (!) while it was still a 'vatted grain' and rather liked it quite a lot (WF 83 for an easy grain). As a side note, I'm not quite aware of what's been happening at Compass Box's lately, I suppose I need an update. Colour: white wine. Nose: really light but not 'empty', with touches of 'good vodka' at first, then immediately vanilla, popcorn and fresh cookies, plus croissants au beurre and whiffs of honeysuckle and probably elderberry flowers. Apricot pie. Nice nose, really, I know using the word 'nice' is a little lazy, but there, it's nice. Mouth: a feeling of bourbon, some oak, vanilla, more popcorn, some sourdough bread perhaps, some bitter herbs and some cordials made thereof… The whole's rather dry and bitter, in a pretty good way. Finish: medium, not wishy-washy. Vanilla and a blend of herbal teas. Comments: in my book, whisky without either malt and/or old age is never a good option, but I have to confess that just like, wait, fifteen years ago, I could indeed quaff this whenever the Clynelish is empty. Or there, CB's Peat Monster. Good grain whisky, neither empty nor silent.
SGP:341 - 81 points.

Cambus 41 yo 1979/2020 (53.2%, The Perfect Fifth, 283 bottles)

Cambus 41 yo 1979/2020 (53.2%, The Perfect Fifth, 283 bottles) Four stars and a half
If I remember well, The Perfect Fifth were having a tremendous Springbank a wee while back. This old Cambus is brand new and now that you mention it, I also remember a 42/1976 by The Perfect Fifth that had been excellent two years ago (WF 89). Oh and it's to be remembered that Cambus had been 'the' grain in the early 20th century and that the DCL had even marketed it as a 'single' back then. Seminal grain distillery. Colour: gold. Nose: rather wonderful, some kind of Hedonism at the power of two. Make that three. Many white and yellow flowers, some nougat and popcorn, certainly touches of fresh American oak, then macaroons and meringues, those croissants, and just anything in a good pastry shop around 7a.m. With water: goes even more towards nougat, halva, turon, pistachios, peanut butter… Mouth (neat): liquid orange cake, sponge cake, loads of nougats, a rather tense citrusy side, and no 'ethanol'. English breakfast tea – with a dash of milk. I know… With water: it takes water extremely well, does not sink, does not become cardboardy, neither does it get flattish… In fact it does not change much. Orange-flavoured nougat, tea... Finish: medium, rather fresh. Notes of orgeat syrup, touches of aniseed. What we call a 'mauresque' over here, that's pastis with a little orgeat. Comments: very slow-matured high-echelon grain whisky, as expected.
SGP:451 - 88 points.

Invergordon 46 yo 1972/2019 (49.6%, The Nectar of The Daily Drams)

Invergordon 46 yo 1972/2019 (49.6%, The Nectar of The Daily Drams) Four stars
Nice label. Colour: gold, so no heavy sherry this time. Nose: a curious combination, with notes of Port (cassis, strawberries, peonies) and something metallic (old coins). Rosehip tea too, stewed fruits, vine peaches, damson tarte (spread with cinnamon, please), old Meursault from an average vintage, olive oil… It's really intriguing, very curious about the palate now… Mouth: sameish. I mean, copper and strawberry jam, how unusual is that? This was some cask for sure. Turkish delights, more olive oil, old nuts (I'm not talking about anyone in particular), drops of coconut liqueur… For the sake of research, let's try to add a few drops of water if you don't mind… With water: gets fatter, oilier, sourer too… Shall we call this one 'muesli-y'? Always these metallic touches too, I'm reminded of some old tin boxes that grandmas used to use to hide sweets and cookies. And sometimes, err, banknotes. Finish: medium, without much change. Sour and metallic aftertaste, which is pleasant in this context. Comments: all very good, with this inherent thinness that's not a problem at all. It is an old grain that takes water well.
SGP:441 - 87 points.

(Merci Tim)

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


June 27, 2021



Summer Duets
Today Bois of Cognac
Kind of. I mean, the two Grande Champagne by Grosperrin that we've had last week had been just fabulous, so I thought we could rather try some younger Cognacs from some lesser appellations by them, both from 1990. Mind you, these aren't that common…

Bois Ordinaire N°90 'Oléron' (46.2%, Jean Grosperrin, L 817, magnum, +/-2021)

Bois Ordinaire N°90 'Oléron' (46.2%, Jean Grosperrin, L 817, magnum, +/-2021) Four stars
Great. Oléron's an island in the West of Cognac, so in a way, Cognac's Islay. Except that it hasn't got such a high reputation and to be honest and just like the île de Ré, where they grow vines for Cognac too, it hasn't got any reputation at all. But this is Grosperrin, right… Colour: gold. Nose: I love it already. We're closer to malt whisky, with rather more vanilla at first, then gentle oils (sunflower, grape pips), then the usual peaches, a wee touch of rubber (new wellies), dandelions, mirabelles, white chocolate, cornflakes, popcorn, nougat… Indeed this is dangerously sexy and I wouldn't have bottled this in magnums without an explicit warning sign. After fifteen minutes, a dollop of soy sauce. Mouth: excellent, if a tad rough and rustic. Lees, stems, a drop of kirsch and one of plum eau-de-vie (damsons), a grassy side, young 'calva'… It's getting a little hot, perhaps, but this really works. Maybe chilled on smoked salmon or even oysters? Finish: rather long, still rustic, but that's something we rather crave. A little burnt sugar. Comments: it is, indeed, a tad 'ordinary' but rather in the better sense of that word. No-fuss Cognac, perhaps? What's great too is that it hasn't been caramelised and boiseed up to its ears. Very good.
SGP:561 - 86 points.

Fins Bois 1990 (49%, Grosperrin, L 838, 2021)

Fins Bois 1990 (49%, Jean Grosperrin, L 838, 2021) Four stars
Not sure at all this is the proper label, but seriously, only whisky people care about labels these days. Some will soon start to sell empty bottles sporting shiny artsy labels. Just pour tea. Some kinds of pre-NFTs if you like. So, Fins Bois, that's supposed to be better than Bois Ordinaires. I mean, in the old books… Colour: gold. Nose: something Asian in this one, I'm thinking garam masala and Thai coconut and coriander sauce. But after that, it's all on classic raisins, ripe plums, praline, rum, molasses, liquorice… It is not very complicated on the nose, but everything's in place. Mouth: less rustic than the Oléron, and rather more on varnish and polishes, mint, liquorice, herbs (a feeling of chartreuse, really), bourbon once again… Let's try to add a drop of water, for the sake of research… With water: no real changes, it remains some very good youngish (boy isn't it 30 already?) Cognac of excellent style and freshness, with a hint of jasmine tea and marmalade. Finish: rather long, rather fresh, very natural, pretty moreish. Comments: another one that's a little dangerous since you could quaff litres without noticing. Like, while listening to a speech by BoJo or Macron. Excuse me? Yeah or Mrs Merkel. Now I'm afraid to say that I just couldn't tell you which one I like best, between, the Fins Bois and the Bois Ordinaire. I'm ordinaire myself anyway and both are excellent, if not outtadisworld.
SGP:551 - 86 points.

Once again we 've got a wee bonus…

Maison Prunier 1979/2021 (53.7%, The Whisky Jury, Petite Champagne, 570 bottles)

Maison Prunier 1979/2021 (53.7%, The Whisky Jury, Petite Champagne, 570 bottles) Five stars
In Cognac time, 1979 is a recent vintage. I mean, Blondie, Talking Heads, the Voidoids, Television… No wait, Television stopped in 1978 and did it again only fifteen years later. Anyway, Prunier seem to be getting some traction within whisky circles these days, I believe we have to catch up… Now this is 'Maison Prunier', not 'Prunier', so it could be reconditioned old stock from the Parisian restaurant instead of Cognac from the house Prunier in the Cognac region. Are you follow me? Good for you, I'm not even sure I understand all this myself. Colour: gold. Nose: oh tropical fruits, aromatic herbs (verbena in majesty, love that) and big juicy peaches and oranges. Touches of Armenian incense paper. Rather a little very sublime, as Dadaists would have said. With water: menthol, liquorice wood, cider apples, perhaps a thin slice of banana (yep), sultanas, beeswax, rubbed spearmint… Rather sublime, akin to a great old malt whisky. Say very old Tomintoul (what?) Mouth (neat): immediate, immaculate fruitiness with astounding herbal backbone. Grapefruits, peaches, rhubarb, white asparagus (season's over, sob sob sob), a drop of maraschino. Instant pleasures here. With water: water enhances the citrusy side and would bring more medicinal herbs. More verbena, otherwise, dill and fennel. A funny coastal side too; 'nosing kelp'. Finish: long, unusually citrusy for Cognac. Oranges, liquorice, crystalised tangerines, menthol, and even a wee maltiness… White pepper. Comments: very impressive, really. Do they now grow grapes in Sutherland? I mean, were they doing that back in 1979 (while listening to Nazareth)?
SGP:661 - 91 points.

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


June 25, 2021



Summer Duets
Today Super Blends
We don't taste many blends.

Johnnie Walker 'Blue Label' (40%, OB, +/-2021)

Johnnie Walker 'Blue Label' (40%, OB, +/-2021) Four stars
Are you seated? Well, we've never formally tasted Blue Label. We've tried special editions, such as the stunning Baccarat (WF 92), the Casks Edition (WF 87), or there, the Brora & Rare (WF 88), but never the regular Blue. I mean, of course we've had some on many occasions – such as at birthday parties, as we all do, but I never, ever wrote any notes. Boo to me, but I'm really glad TWE have included this expression to their 'Twenty' kit. Well thought of! Colour: full gold. Nose: malts, not grains. I mean, breads, pastries and fruits, both stewed and as jams. Preserved plums, apples, oranges, small berries… And then sauna oils, touches of vegetal smoke, a little camphor, fir honey, eucalyptus… Tends to become empyreumatic, would then gear towards rose petals, litchis and gewurztraminer. Good fun, good complexity. Mouth: frankly, I find this very good and doubt they would have added a lot of grain whisky. This time we're more on various honeys, old herbal liqueurs, sponge cake, rum baba, then roasted pecans and peanuts, teas, bergamots… Some Dutch friends would even add kumquats, but I'm not too sure. Anyway, lovely honeyed palate. Finish: a little short, frankly it's hard to fathom why they wouldn't have brought this one to 43 or 44% vol. Feels a little stingy, even if they have good reasons. Such as, well, avoiding taxes. Comments: great NAS composition. I could quaff gallons, really, well done Dr Jim and team. Love the blue glass too, I'm sure you can make lovely bud vases out of these bottles.
SGP:552 - 87 points.

Blended Scotch Whisky 38 yo 1980/2019 (44.9%, Thompson Bros., sherry butt, 490 bottles)

Blended Scotch Whisky 38 yo 1980/2019 (44.9%, Thompson Bros., sherry butt, 490 bottles) Five stars
Rather bizarrely, this one was 'blended into butts' in 2007. I do not know if this is ex-Edrington stock indeed, but it could well be one of those 'Ms' that have been liberated in recent years, all ranging from pretty good to very good (but never stellar) in my little book. Colour: deep gold. Nose: touches of varnish, then roasted nuts and burnt raisins, orange jam, balsa wood, a tiny drop of camphor essence, sugarcane juice, praline, turon, nougat, then parsley and lovage… It would surprise me that this would not be indie, ex-blending stock 'M'. Mouth: I do persist. Praline, caramel, tobacco, rum, tighter herbs (lovage again), marmalade, more nougat, both black and white, rum, maraschino (very typical)… The body is just perfect and the oak would just never get in the way. This deserves a decanter by Van Cleef or any other luxury brand, but then the price wouldn't be the same. Finish: long, extraordinary. Comments: I had thought that, whilst the nose was spectacular, it would then nosedive on the palate, as quite some sister casks already did. It did not, I was wrong (who said 'again', who?)
SGP:562 - 92 points.

Great little session, I'm really happy about those 'blends'. Not sure any grain's been used, having said that. CU.

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


June 23, 2021



Summer Duets
Today Balvenie
We had Glenfiddich the other day and we are rather logical persons. So, it's Balvenie's turn…

Balvenie 12 yo 'DoubleWood' (40%, OB, +/-2021)

Balvenie 12 yo 'DoubleWood' (40%, OB, +/-2021) Three stars
I'll say it, I had thought an earlier expression, probably bottled just one or two years before this one, had been disappointingly weak (WF 76), while the first batches of the DoubleWood had rather been cruising along the 82/83 line… Colour: gold. Nose: some spicy pear cake, mead and cider, kriek beer, a wee glass of mirabelle eau-de-vie, then rather English breakfast tea and slightly sour old wine barrels. All that isn't unpleasant mind you, on the contrary. Was 'last year' just an accident?... Mouth: phew, I'm really happy to report that despite some gritty greenish and tea-ish notes here and there, it's back, with some black raisins, pear cake indeed, cherry tea, sour cherries, a few drops of brandy… Sure, those lousy 40% won't lift it to any kinds of heights, but I'm finding it just fine and well made. Finish: a little short, on more English breakfast tea. Oh, and marmalade, naturally. Comments: I'm really glad it's back. Remember it was one of the earliest 'finished' malts.
SGP:451 - 82 points.

Let's find an indie Balvenie…

Burnside 25 yo 1994/2019 (51.1%, The Whisky Cask Company, bourbon hogshead, cask #5114, 246 bottles)

Burnside 25 yo 1994/2019 (51.1%, The Whisky Cask Company, bourbon hogshead, cask #5114, 246 bottles) Four stars
Officially a blended malt, as it had been 'teaspooned' prior to bottling. Did you notice all those teaspoons they have at the entrances of their warehouses, next to the valinches, copper dogs, bung extractors and other nifty tools? Or even at the filling stations? Me neither. Colour: light gold. Nose: bursts with overripe golden delicious, ripe apricots, plums, vanilla, stewed greengages, then rather white pepper and cinnamon. It is very Balvenie for sure, I'm reminded of the official 15 Single Casks (you know the ones that could actually be 20 years old while still being labelled as 15s). With water: very nice. Some lighter acacia honey, vanilla, fresh sawdust, a touch of umami sauce, green tobacco, lime leaf tea… Mouth (neat): very good if a tad rough around the edges, rather close to a fruit bomb ala old Benriach or Bushmills, with a growing tropical side that's not that common in Balvenie. Mangos, bananas, passion fruits. Also something bitter (chlorophyl, liquorice wood) that's not unpleasant. With water: once again more grassiness, fruit peelings, teas… But it's all remaining tight and focussed. Finish: rather long, on similar aromas, between fruits and teas. A drop of Starbucks' Vanilla Coffee, a nasty thing, really. Better try that combo from this little Burnside. Comments: perhaps not totally a high-precision Balvenie, but I find it very very good.
SGP:651 - 86 points.

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


June 21, 2021



Summer Duets
Today Macallan
How's Macallan doing when it goes back to its former USP, the one that made it what it is, so 'all sherry'? Discuss while we're quaffing these neat little babies…

Macallan 18 yo 'Sherry Oak' (43%, OB, 2019)

Macallan 18 yo 'Sherry Oak' (43%, OB, 2019) Four stars
I see no vintage here, as if they had abandoned that tradition too. This was matured integrally in casks that had been seasoned with sherry and the price is pretty much a joke if you ask me. I know no friend who's ever bought any of these, I suppose they ship them all to Mars, together with Musk, Bezos et al. Colour: amber. Nose: joking aside, this is a great nose, delicately metallic and smoky at first, then roasted and fruity, with some cereals, maple syrup, roasted raisins, and some kind of smoky muesli. Macadamia nuts, cashews, halva, nougat… Let's remain honest and impartial, this is a great nose for sure. Just not £500-great, but there… Mouth: too bad it's a little too dry, too much on black tea, tobacco, bitter chocolate, toffee… Now it remains very good, with jams chiming in, marmalades, herbal teas… Oranges keep lifting it, a phenomenon that's also to be seen at Dalmore's. Oranges rule! Finish: medium, a tad dry and bitter. A little too much bitter black tea, but once again oranges save it. Comments: I believe we're being a little harsh on Macallan, some expressions are keeping the flame alive and this one sure isn't too far away.
SGP:561 - 87 points.

Let's rummage… Oh, this…

Macallan 15 yo (52.3%, Master of Malts, Darkness!, +/-2015)

Macallan 15 yo (52.3%, Master of Malts, Darkness!, +/-2015) Four stars and a half
This baby's been transferred to '50 litre first-fill Pedro Ximénez casks for an additional 3 months'. All right, that's like using paxarette then, which, after all, did build Macallan's huge reputation. Quite. Let's see… Colour: gold. So, not dark at all. Nose: smoke, warm coffee dregs, sauna oils, hot chocolate, Corinthian raisins… It is true that we aren't far from those older 'Gran Reservas'. Some menthol and liquorice too. With water: walking in an eucalyptus forest on a hot, steamy day. Hints of myrtle, typically ex-active oak. Mouth (neat): I'm afraid everything worked out fine here. Great figs, sultanas, dried bananas, muscat wine, tangerine liqueurs, sweet yellow curry and perhaps even masala, muesli… With water: same plus a few more sweeter spices, cinnamon cookies, some good agricole rum, crushed bananas, a touch of crème brulée… Finish: long, good, just a tad on the oakier side now. That had to happen, given the process they've used, everything comes out in the finish. Comments: blind, this could have been an OB, easily. I suppose all these modern little monsters have been drunk at time of writing.
SGP:561 - 88 points.

Special Bonus! I know we said only duets, but sometimes you just cannot resist a good opportunity. This baby was part of a virtual session I did with LMDW. Good fun, but no Covid is better.

Macallan 1962 (80°proof, OB, Campbell, Hope & King, Rinaldi Italy, circa 1977)

Macallan 1962 (80°proof, OB, Campbell, Hope & King, Rinaldi Italy, circa 1977) Five stars
We'll do this quick and only for decoration, as we've already tried this glory quite a few times. This was much probably a 15 years old. Colour: gold. Nose: more mangos than on a mango tree, otherwise tangerines and myriads of tinier aromas. Incredible nose (pipe smoke, oranges, woodruff, maracuja, honeysuckle, fudge, hibiscus, roses, pink grapefruits, old Sauternes, mushrooms, chocolate, coffee, plums, stewed rhubarb, basil, black nougat, peanut butter, peaches, litchis…) Oh boy oh boy… Mouth: yeah these wee soapy tones that may come out from these old bottles from time to time. Otherwise, superb! Finish: long, drier, more on teas. Comments: one of the most extraordinary noses there ever was in Whiskydom, possibly the nose of noses. The palate's more anecdotal. We'll keep our older score, but should we score only noses, we would be approaching the 100-mark here.
SGP:552 - 93 points.

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


June 20, 2021



Summer Duets
Today Grande Champagne
Indeed this is Malternative Day at Château Whiskyfun. Since we'll have only two Grande Champagne today - remember Grande Champagne is NOT another name for a magnum of champagne – let's focus on masters of selection and "élevage" Jean Grosperrin, if you don't mind.  

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

Grande Champagne N.33-39 (47,4%, Jean Grosperrin for Wu Dram Clan, 2021) Five stars
We have absolutely no doubts about the fact that this was distilled in the 1930s and that consequently, this Cognac is at least eighty years old, but the small outturn (26 litres) may suggest that it's spent a part of that time in a paradis, so in a demijohn. We'll have to enquire (well I think we won't). Maybe is it to be remembered that Grande Champagne is possibly the finest of all Crus and that it's entirely located in the Charentes. Where they also make excellent butter, by the way, but that's another story. Yeah great, I'll find notes of butter now… Colour: rich amber Nose: tiny whiffs of cellulose and varnish at first, then perhaps a little bourbon (Pappy's best, anyone?) before the pendulum would stop swinging above a stunning, firm and rather tight combination of ripe apricots, peaches, melons and mirabelles. Then many ripe figs and touches of menthol, liquorice, glazed chestnuts (marrons glacés) and old pineau. Superb fruity freshness and tightness here. Mouth: oh, sucking cigars, cinnamon bark, coffee beans, tarry lozenges, then it would unfold towards more fruits and an obvious floral side, on those flower jellies that go so well with foie gras (are you guys really going to ban foie gras in the UK?) Once again this is a firm combination, with heavy liquorice, perhaps a touch of molasses, maybe a few drops of old Neisson (believe me). In short, this one's firing on strictly all cylinders while it's got quite a few of them. Finish: long and tight. Superb wood, extremely well integrated. More coffee in the aftertaste, a drop of brown beer (say Paulaner's Salvator, had one last night, great stuff I think, although I'm no beer guy at all.) Comments: I've been looking for flaws and found none.
SGP:462 - 91 points.

Alright, back to the Roaring Twenties…

Grande Champagne N.24 (42.8%, Jean Grosperrin, L 846, +/-2021)

Grande Champagne N.24 (42.8%, Jean Grosperrin, L 846, +/-2021) Five stars
I'm not sure this is the right picture as the great people at Grosperrin seem to be putting much more effort into selecting and maturing great cognacs than into providing 'the world' with appropriate pictures of their new releases. But shh, don't tell them but I believe it is better and smarter that way, you need to deserve these, they're never 'obvious' and I believe their marketing budget must be equivalent to the price of a bottle of Macallan NAS for Venezuela. Anyway, this is a 1924, not a 1824 (ha!) Even Keith Richards wasn't born… Colour: deep amber. Nose: fascinating, as fresh as the Wu Dram Clan, as fruity, perhaps a notch more on peonies and peaches, with a little more incense, cedarwood, various stewed fruits and 'dark' honeys, plus very old vintages of Sauternes, with sublime botrytis and 'grilledness'. Rose petals after a few minutes, old perfume (I'm often quoting Joy), ylang-ylang… This is really fabulous. Mouth: more 'classic' Cognac than the 1933-1939, with raisins, preserved peaches and plums, some old rancio, a touch of old amontillado, some coffee, chocolate, walnuts, tobacco, liquorice… It tends to become a tad more 'closed' and dry, a little more on coffee, and I cannot not think of that genuine Luwak that my daughter brought back from Indonesia. Old walnuts and other nuts. Roasted pecans, perhaps. The low strength does not feel, it's got good body and texture. Finish: medium, rather more on black tea, Russian-style, tobacco, filter coffee… A little more sweetness in the aftertaste, around prunes and raisins perhaps. Comments: it's not impossible that this one would have spent more time in wood. Splendid very old Cognac that you could quaff just like that. Which is dangerous, we agree.
SGP:461 - 90 points.

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


June 18, 2021


Seven Teaninich on the table

Because Teaninich is pretty close to Clynelish… architecturally.

Teaninich 9 yo (46%, James Eadie, Small Batch, 1084 bottles, 2020)

Teaninich 9 yo (46%, James Eadie, Small Batch, 1084 bottles, 2020) Four stars
From three casks, barrels and hoggies. We do know that James Eadie are extremely good at bottling young malts that would be 'ready'. Colour: pale white wine. Nose: they did it again. Immaculate, totally barley-driven, gristy and doughy malt, with good structure and just the right amounts of sweet yeastiness and ripe apples. A perfect beer, just a wee bit stronger. Mouth: excellent. Touches of coffee (dregs), earth, fresh baguette, then bread indeed, vanilla fudge, ale, beeswax… A very warming dram that, having said that, you could quaff like Champagne. So, careful… Finish: pretty long and extremely barley-y. That's the whole point, is it not. These coffee-ish notes in the aftertaste, café latte, cappuccino… Comments: perhaps a tad Starbucksian, but in the words of Pete Rodriguez, I like it like that.
SGP:551 - 86 points.

James Eadie had another proposition last year…

Teaninich 12 yo 2008/2020 (51.5%, James Eadie, 1st fill oloroso hogshead finish, cask # 354556, 246 bottles)

Teaninich 12 yo 2008/2020 (51.5%, James Eadie, 1st fill oloroso hogshead finish, cask # 354556, 246 bottles) Three stars
So, the opposite I suppose… Colour: coffee. Nose: not that extravagant, rather well-mannered, rather on coffee and pipe tobacco, then rather on herbs such as parsley and coriander. A little rosemary too, mole sauce, hoisin… With water: sawn oak and walnut stain, I would say. Not sure it needs water. Mouth (neat): some dry Jägermeister and a large bag of cocoa and coffee. Walnuts as well, of course, and touches of pencil shavings. I suppose the finishing time has been relatively short. With water: very fine but I believe we're touching the limits of this set-up. Some bonbons, oily herbs, liquorice cordial, Ricola (do you know of Ricola?) … I have the feeling that we've left Whiskydom. Finish: rather long, on coffee and herbs, which is not, mind you, as emetic as you would think. Comments: I'm a little lost here. What to think of this? Some kind of readymade coffee-schnapps? And who would recognise Teaninich? The Distillery Manager?
SGP:461 - 80 points.

Teaninich 1999/2019 (49.7%, Dutch Connection, Michiel Wigman, They Inspired, 238 bottles)

Teaninich 1999/2019 (49.7%, Dutch Connection, Michiel Wigman, They Inspired, 238 bottles) Four stars
With his bottlings our friend Michiel is paying tribute to people who really counted, Gandhi, Mandela, Churchill, Kennedy, Jim McEwan… Colour: white wine. Nose: light, clean, almost diaphanous malt whisky, on crushed bananas, bread, pastries, oatcakes, porridge… I'm not sure you could come any closer to 'the barley'. With water: wonderful earth, flour, concrete dust, paper... Mouth (neat): a wee dusty/cardboardy feeling at first, then rather a lot of coffee and kirschwasser. Raw in the good sense. With water: sour juices, weissbeer, cherry juice… Finish: medium, pretty yeasty and sour/sweet. Comments: this one's very close to nature. Excuse me, to Nature.
SGP:351 - 85 points.

Teaninich 12 yo 2008/2021 (48.5%, WhiskySponge, refill hogshead, 257 bottles)

Teaninich 12 yo 2008/2021 (48.5%, WhiskySponge, refill hogshead, 257 bottles) Four stars
Colour: white wine. Nose: even more natural and raw than Michiel's, this is almost ink mixed with chalk and M&S's pancake mix. Do M&S make any pancake mix? Then paraffin, plasticine, limestone, lambswool and fresh-broken branches. Perhaps a little intellectual? Do sponges have brains? Mouth: understood. The cask having its say now, with café latte and roasted hazelnuts, sesame oil, touches of triple-sec, curaçao, then more herbal and spicy touches, thyme perhaps, juniper… Finish: rather long, rather herbal and rather bitter. Comments: very intellectual but I kind of like it. Same feeling as when you would read War and Peace in German, only much faster. So all in all, this wee whisky saves you time!
SGP:351 - 85 points.

Teaninich 11 yo 2008/2020 (60.4%, The Single Malts of Scotland, Elixir Distillers, hogshead, cask #715790, 313 bottles)

Teaninich 11 yo 2008/2020 (60.4%, The Single Malts of Scotland, Elixir Distillers, hogshead, cask #715790, 313 bottles) Two stars
I've called my lawyer, we may proceed… Colour: white wine. Nose: no really, bread, ink… Are we supposed to destroy our olfactory bulb and brain to try to detect any clear aromas or even molecules here? Wood alcohol, grasses… With water: no. Whisky for masochists, which we are not. Mouth (neat): raw, ethanoly, harsh, unethical, dictatorial, unsexy, grassy, almost fascist whisky. No really, try this one, we'll talk later. With water: a little better, fruitier, but frankly, we would indeed only drink this if we would have run out of Absolut, Jägermeister, Tanqueray and Havana Club. Finish: medium, grassy, sour, unnecessary. Comments: good fun, but these are the limits of malt whisky. You could intellectualise anything but at the end of the day, would you have another glass? The answer is a clear and resounding 'no' here. For once, but London, everything alright?
SGP:451 - 70 points.

Teaninich 13 yo 2007/2020 (55.8%, Adelphi for Hotmalt Taiwan, cask #301265, 522 bottles)

Teaninich 13 yo 2007/2020 (55.8%, Adelphi for Hotmalt Taiwan, cask #301265, 522 bottles) Two stars and a half
Looks like this is coffee liqueur… BTW we don't hear much of our dear friends at Adelphi's these days, hope they're doing fine! Now they must be very busy with their own distillery… Colour: reddish coffee. Nose: wood oils, teak, balsam, gianduja, café latte, Bulldog sauce, fresh-sawn MDM or plywood, prunes… With water: rather similar, only with more meaty and herbal touches. Chicken broth, bouillons, miso and stuff… Mouth (neat): very thick, extremely extractive (nice, S.!) and really pretty harsh. These high-extraction whiskies can be fun, but this time we're in doom-metal-black-hard-rock territory. Even Ozzy would be afraid; no, of course not Keef. With water: meat and chocolate. A new business idea, some chocolate flavoured with beef, chicken, veal, pork, shrimp, foie gras… What would you say? Good, let's do it 50/50… Finish: very long, bitterer, brutal, green, salty… Comments: funny and even motivating, but extreme; would we take another glass? Is it really moreish? NO.
SGP:672 - 79 points.

A much older Teaninich and we're done. Boy, Teaninich!

Teaninich 27 yo 1958/1985 (46%, Cadenhead, dumpy)

Teaninich 27 yo 1958/1985 (46%, Cadenhead, dumpy) Four stars
This one from when Cadenhead were still in Aberdeen. Was the 'old lady' still at the helm? By the way, while we're at t it, many entities are claiming that they've pioneered the whole 46% vol. idea. Yeah right. It is also to be noted that this was distilled before Teaninich doubled its capacity of production, in 1962. Maybe also that Teaninich is an extremely modern Distillery, but that wasn't the case back in 1958. Colour: straw. Nose: that's the thing, all these 'black dumpies' by Cadenhead do share some common traits and after 30 or 35 or 40 years in glass, it's hard to say whether some aromas or flavours were there when the casks were disgorged, or If it was all generated during bottle aging. In this very case, we've got big notes of metal polish, old copper coins, old toolbox or even 'old motorcycle'. But is this Teaninich or is it Cadenhead?  Mouth: old broths, oils, ointments.. Some inks, herbs, bouillons, some saltiness, some meat, marrow, cold cuts, leek soup… No easy malt whisky for sure, and no fruits to be seen. There's even something oxidative, dry sherry style. Finish: rather long, rather on salt, paraffin, marrow, putty, walnuts, oloroso and bitter oranges. Is this a little unlikely? You bet! Comments: this was bottled 35 years ago. It's beginning to nosedive, I'm sure. Secure your investments, friends; bottles of whisky, whether the level is okay or not,  are not eternal!
SGP:263 - 85 points.

(Merci a lot, Tim!)

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


June 16, 2021



Summer Duets
Today Glenfiddich
The Whisky Exchange in London (UK) just had another brainwave, composing some nifty, beautifully packaged and perfectly curated tasting sets that should please everyone, from beginners to even the most blasé enthusiasts such as this very one.

For example, I've got one on my tasting table that's named '20 Whiskies That Changed The World' and that gathers well-known drams that are always interesting either to discover, or to follow if you already know them well. I also believe they'll make for perfect gifts, especially since anything a little Victorian seems to have become extremely fashionable these days. At least in the UK! Anyway, we're more than happy to retry some of these famous expressions as parts of some 'Summer Duets', now that both the weather and our workload have become a little less favourable to longer, more excessive line-ups.

Let's kick this off with a little Glenfiddich, maybe not a brand that malt aficionados keep bearing in mind now that there's so much new 'craft' stuff everywhere in the world, including in Scotland. Now I'm not saying it is an endangered species, of course it isn't.  

Glenfiddich 15 yo 'Our Solera Fifteen' (40%, OB, +/-2021)

Glenfiddich 15 yo 'Our Solera Fifteen' (40%, OB, +/-2021) Two stars and a half
Oh, no, I just noticed that I last tried this well-known expression in… 2010 (WF 78). 'Not really for malt freaks' had been my conclusion, but I'm not sure it was the same recipe, while the name was different as it used to be 'Solera Reserve'. I would believe they're now using more fresh or rejuvenated oak. Colour: gold. Nose: I'm brought back straight to the 1990s, when 'commercial' whiskies were softer and probably more barley-y, with less oak influence. Many kind or ripe or overripe apples and pears, which has always been very Glenfiddich, hints of kiwis and jelly babies, fruity hops (IPA), vanilla fudge, a few sultanas, and some well controlled oak. I'm starting to understand why TWE would have included this baby amongst their Twenty Whiskies etc. Mouth: fine but far from the nose, grittier, more on green teas, burnt bread, apple peelings, with a little sawdust, allspice, bitter caramel… All that with a rather thin body. Finish: short, rather on tea and cardboard, with a slightly yeasty aftertaste. Comments: I found the nose almost splendid, but I find the palate of the regular 12 brighter and simply superior. Still, a little progress within twelve years… The 40% vol. did not help either.
SGP:331 - 79 points.

Glenfiddich 14 yo 'Bourbon Barrel Reserve' (43%, OB, 2020)

Glenfiddich 14 yo 'Bourbon Barrel Reserve' (43%, OB, 2020) Three stars
Matured in bourbon but sadly, finished in virgin oak as it seems. Hope that didn't kill it. Some honourable distillers have started complaining as soon as we first wrote about 'the bourbonisation of Scotch', saying that it was pure codswallop. Well well well… By the way they were having a 14 'rich oak' a few years back, which I had enjoyed 'with moderation' (WF 79). Less oak is better whisky. Colour: pale gold. Nose: nice, fresh, fruity, on marshmallows and limoncello, with some custard, lemon curd… So very modern and indeed pretty nice, well-engineered. I suppose there's also been some heavier charring done at some point. Mouth: above the 15 as sure as 1+1=2. Some easy but very pleasant vanilla, ripe fruits, melons, apricots, mirabelles, earl grey tea, butterscotch, madeleine, and just Ovaltine. Contemporary wood technology well mastered, even if the whole isn't exactly rocking our world or bringing us to extasy. Finish: rather short but clean, on cider and vanilla, with some allspice. No cardboard. Comments: good work at a fair price, this one won't displease anybody.
SGP:441 - 82 points.

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


June 15, 2021


A bunch of Bastards and Blends

The only thing I could tell you is that I don't quite know what to tell you about these babies since the makers would keep quiet anyway. Now if the game consists in selling the same juices for half the price, not sure anyone should complain…

Blended Malt 19 yo 2001/2020 (45.8%, The Whisky Agency 'Keep Going', sherry butt, 389 bottles)

Blended Malt 19 yo 2001/2020 (45.8%, The Whisky Agency 'Keep Going', sherry butt, 389 bottles) Four stars
Blended malts entirely matured in a single cask are always my favourites. Ha. Colour: amber. Nose: classic sherry indeed, with prunes, raisins, chocolate, café latte and perhaps Mars bars. Not deep-fried though, even if this is Scotch. Wee whiffs of mint and tar, thin mints, armagnac… We're reminded of some 'stuff' some are making in Ballindalloch. Mouth: rather light-bodied but really full of raisins, marmalade and chocolate. A drop of Guinness and a wee bit of cured ham. Fruitcake and a drop of espresso coffee. Finish: medium, sherried. More raisins and chocolate, with a sweetness that also reminds us of brandy de Jerez. Comments: not much to add, this is indeed very classic and pretty good. A tad gentle-ish.
SGP:641 - 85 points.

Blended Malt 18 yo 2001/2020 (46%, Les Grands Alambics, sherry butt)

Blended Malt 18 yo 2001/2020 (46%, Les Grands Alambics, sherry butt) Four stars
This is a crane, is it not? They're amazing when they take a rest near your house during their migration. Colour: amber. Nose: extremely close to the TWA, perhaps a tad more on menthol and camphor. But indeed, extremely close. Perhaps a little more fudge and toffee as well, and fewer raisins? Perhaps not… Mouth: same whisky this time, they're virtually undistinguishable to this humble taster. Finish: same. Comments: I could tell you more about cranes, especially about the noises they make hen there are hundreds of them squatting the lawn. It's well a crane, right?
SGP:641 – 85 points.

Equilibrium 10 yo (52%, WhiskySponge, single malt, 2021)

Equilibrium 10 yo (52%, WhiskySponge, single malt, 2021) Four stars and a half
This is supposed to be 'a balance of sherry and peat' while it is a single malt, or rather a 'single blended malt', should that category ever exist.  It is Edradour plus Ballechin. Not sure the owners of the Distillery (well, distilleries now) have ever done this under their own flag, but it could indeed be a brainwave. Imagine, Old Clynelish plus Brora… I believe Springbank plus Longrow has been done several times already, undercover. Colour: dark amber. Nose: dried meats, engine oil and a drop of Irn Bru, the signature is matching the blurb! Bresaola, beef jerky, I would even dare adding haggis to the list, tiger balm, lorryloads of chocolate… What's rather troubling is that it would then get very tropical, which comes totally unexpected. Blood oranges and something metallic. With water: cool, on metal polish, umami, Parma ham, moussaka… Mouth (neat): readymade coffee-schnapps. It's a rather heavy beast, very meaty, sooty, with some juniper, Schinkenhäger-style. A lot of pipe tobacco too, artichoke liqueur, smoky bitters… With water: artisanal chocolate with great pepper and some salty, petroly smoke. Finish: very long. Old tools, chocolate, acidic coffee, bitter oranges, rather a lot of pepper, English mint sauce… Comments: I'm sure post-Covid urban mixologists will love this. it would be cool to also try the same combo with refill bourbon rather than heavy sherry. Anyway, I find this extremely fun and smart – if a tad, cough, robust.
SGP:576 - 89 points.

Yeah for some action and something different in Scotch whisky. Not like 'we believe in innovation, we're about to launch a PX finish!' But let's move on…

Secret Speyside 32 yo 1988/2021 (55.3%, Le Gus't, blended malt, sherry butt, cask #50, 609 bottles)

Secret Speyside 32 yo 1988/2021 (55.3%, Le Gus't, blended malt, sherry butt, cask #50, 609 bottles) Five stars
A little bird told that this could be either Ard***, or Mac*****. Colour: deep gold. Nose: it is not Ard***. Now, not all of these casks that I could already try have been out of this wee world, but you cannot do more classic well-aged sherry than this. Huge loads of toffee, coffee fudge, cherries in kirsch, roasted pecans, Corinthian currants, humidor, prunes, toasted brioche, a bit of butterscotch, coffee liqueur… In truth this is exactly the style of the old official 30, only with a little less citrus, and a little more toffee. With water: oh, moss, fern, leaves, tobacco and mushrooms, that's the kind of development we crave. Mouth (neat): intense, rich, with excellent caramel, a creamy mouth feel, some chestnut honey (my favourite), more cherries in kirsch, old bachelor's jam (remember what that is?), marmalade, pepper and cinnamon, touch of clove… With water: impeccable. Flawless old Speysider in the style of the best old Glen Grants or Longmorns by G&M, or indeed Mac*****. Finish: rather long, rather on orangey and coffeeish flavours. Which just always works. Comments: buy an old crystal decanter from eBay, transfer this juice, and indulge like a billionaire (the Lambo's not necessary).
SGP:662 - 92 points.

As a rule, you may consider that these vintages, at this moment and when labelled as blended malts from Speyside and not as single malts, would probably be Edington stock, so Macallan. Good, 99.99999% Macallan. Prove me wrong!

Secret Speyside 31 yo 1989/2021 (40.8%, Asta Morris Heritage, bourbon hogshead, cask #AM153, 144 bottles)

Secret Speyside 31 yo 1989/2021 (40.8%, Asta Morris Heritage, bourbon hogshead, cask #AM153, 144 bottles) Five stars
A single malt, not a blended one. Colour: light gold. Nose: completely different, this is a whole fruit salad and three names are crossing my mind, Tomatin, Benriach and Glenrothes. I'm sure I'm totally wrong, but there. Apples, papayas, mangos, bananas, touch of soft varnish, Juicy Fruit… This is softer than 'M', even than ex-hogshead 'M'. Indeed, a playful fruit salad. Mouth: it's barley juice plus indeed, a fruit salad and some acacia honey. We've known many Benriachs from 'the first wave' that were rather like this, including much earlier vintages, on the other hand this has a little more straight malt and biscuits. Yeah go play the guessing game, there are around fifty b****y distilleries in b****y Speyside! (S., please calm down…) Finish: not even short at less than 41% vol. Comments: extremely seductive fruit juice, but with a lot of elegance. Now a word of caution, it is extremely drinkable and you could even think of quenching any thirsts with it this summer. Don't.
SGP:741 - 90 points.

Secret Speyside 26 yo 1994/2020 (54.2%, Les Grands Alambics, puncheon)

Secret Speyside 26 yo 1994/2020 (54.2%, Les Grands Alambics, puncheon) Four stars and a half
A carrion crow? This is a single malt too. Colour: gold. Nose: this one's earthier, drier, with roasted nuts and some thyme, cocoa, coffee beans (when you open a new pack), stout, malt, cigars, beef stock… Well in the style of that family-owned distillery. Na, no guessing game… With water: lovely sour grains, beers, ales, pu-her tea, earth, chocolate… Mouth (neat): very good, dry, with some bitterness and a lot of burn bread, black chocolate, liquorice, bitter oranges, marmalade, Russian tea, a little salt… With water: grassy and malty, bitter, roasted… The sherry was dry but I've never noticed that puncheons were drier than butts. That wouldn't make any sense, what do you think? Finish: long, on a lot of bitter chocolate. Comments: the lighter colour suggested a lighter malt. That's a rule that almost never works. I'm rather a fan of this neat little brute.
SGP:361 - 88 points.

A last one, this time from the old boxes…

Speyside 19 yo 1990/2009 'House Malt ' (53.2%, The Whisky Agency, bourbon, 180 bottles)

Speyside 19 yo 1990/2009 'House Malt ' (53.2%, The Whisky Agency, bourbon, 180 bottles) Four stars
It used to be said, at that time (the good old times of glossy paper), that these parcels were Balvenie. Naturally, twelve years later, memories have faded away and there is a statute of limitations. So, Balvenie. Colour: full gold. Nose: very typically Balvenie indeed. Vanilla and ripe mirabelles, quince jelly and pie, soft honey (acacia) and a handful of fresh barley. A little grapefruit as well, and a feeling of lighter chardonnay. Petit Chablis from a good maker's. With water: wee touches of metal polish and ointments, vegetable bouillon, then more plums and yellow fruits, preserved and as jams. Mouth (neat): I mean, you couldn't quite miss Balvenie. More mirabelles and apricots, quinces, golden cereals, vanilla, gueuze… With water: same, with a little more citrus, zests, and beer indeed. More gueuze. Finish: long, very barley-y. Comments: a little OBE appearing but it is a top drop. Balvenie were pioneers of bourbon-led Speyside, were they not?
SGP:551 - 87 points.

Very quick bonus:

Abrachan 4 yo 'Triple Barrel' (42%, LIDL, Clydesdale Scotch Whisky Co., blended malt, +/-2020)

Abrachan 4 yo 'Triple Barrel' (42%, Clydesdale Scotch Whisky Co. for LIDL, blended malt, +/-2020) Two stars
I like it that they would state the age, albeit in small letters and on the back label, and add that it contains 'ordinary caramel' (caramel ordinaire). Friends who tried it claim that 'it's not too bad given the price', which was probably the conclusion they have been aiming for in the first place. Colour: gold. Nose: caramel indeed, some marmalade, tea, a little dusty wood, more black tea, molasses… Indeed, 'not too bad'. Mouth: caramel and molasses again, slightly vulgar, but black cherries and tea make it drinkable and even kind of pleasant. Finish: short and a tad drying and bitter. Comments: in this very case, solid doses of caramel clearly play a rather large part in the construction of the palate. My friend said the price was 16€. It's not too bad given the price.
SGP:341 – 73 points.

June 2021 - part 1 <--- June 2021 - part 2 ---> July 2021 - part 1




Best spirits Serge tried those weeks, 90+ points only

Bruichladdich 27 yo (50.2%, Hunter Laing, The Kinship, refill American oak hogshead, 555 bottles, 2019)

Bruichladdich 15 yo 1965/1981 'Royal Wedding' (52%, OB, ceramic, 900 bottles)

Macallan 1962 (80°proof, OB, Campbell, Hope & King, Rinaldi Italy, circa 1977)

Blended Scotch Whisky 38 yo 1980/2019 (44.9%, Thompson Bros., sherry butt, 490 bottles)

Secret Speyside 32 yo 1988/2021 (55.3%, Le Gus't, blended malt, sherry butt, cask #50, 609 bottles)

Secret Speyside 31 yo 1989/2021 (40.8%, Asta Morris Heritage, bourbon hogshead, cask #AM153, 144 bottles)

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

Grande Champagne N.24 (42.8%, Jean Grosperrin, L 846, +/-2021)

Maison Prunier 1979/2021 (53.7%, The Whisky Jury, Petite Champagne, 570 bottles)