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Whisky Tasting


Copyright Serge Valentin
Angus MacRaild




Hi, you're in the Archives, June 2023 - Part 2

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


June 30, 2023


WF's Little Duos, today Aultmore

Not much to say, not much to add. The Flora & Fauna 'Cask Strength' was really good when the Distillery was still belonging to Diageo. Bacardi/Dewar's current official 12 is really good too in my opinion.

Some excellent Rosé des Riceys by the house Boizel. No bubbles in the rare Rosé des Riceys! (Champagne Boizel)

Riceys Boizel



Aultmore 10 yo 'Discovery' (Gordon & MacPhail, bourbon cask, +/-2021)

Aultmore 10 yo 'Discovery' (Gordon & MacPhail, bourbon cask, +/-2021) Three stars
G&M never did a lot of Aultmore, it's intriguing that they would have added one to their 'entry-level' range. No, we've stopped using the word 'budget' for Scotch malt whisky. Colour: white wine. Nose: vanilla, biscuits, English tea, chamomile, dried flowers, overripe apples, Golden Grahams, malty beer. Mouth: it could have been an official, it is well in the style of Speyside's heavy sellers, especially ex-refill Glenlivet. Some nuts, a little marmalade, cakes, beers, a little chocolate, then vanilla and cold tea. That's right, peach-flavoured cold tea. Perhaps zucchini flower fritters? Finish: medium, with citrus now at the helm. Marmalade and cinnamon in the aftertaste. Comments: it's good, its fresh, it's flawless, and it does what it says on the labels.
SGP:441 - 82 points.

Aultmore 12 yo 2010/2023 (55.7%, Infrequent Flyers, independentspirit.de, ruby Port hogshead, cask #6351, 325 bottles)

Aultmore 12 yo 2010/2023 (55.7%, Infrequent Flyers, independentspirit.de, ruby Port hogshead, cask #6351, 325 bottles) Four stars
A finish in shiny red ruby Port. Those keep popping out these days, but we've already stumbled upon good surprises. Red surprises… Colour: dark rosé wine (Burgundy, Riceys) with partridge-eye and onion-peel hues. A whole new vocabulary to build! Nose: fermenting red fruits and garden compost, plus mushrooms (oyster mushrooms) and pipe tobacco seasoned with cherry. Purists will frown but I used to enjoy that when I was an avid pipe smoker (circa 1985, ahem). With water: it takes water with grace, which is not always the case. Pralines, white asparagus, beets, cherries. Nice earthiness. Mouth (neat): the premix works. Don't we keep claiming that we can make our own mixes, like 90% malt and 10% Port or 95% new malt and 5% Laphroaig or… whatever… But us blusterers  never do. Good spices from the oak, some cherries, blood oranges, clove, crème de cassis, pepper… With water: it really swims well. Old boy's jam, pepper, rooibos and cherry stem tea… Finish: medium, grassier and spicier, with a rooty background, on various beets. Comments: very good winesky. It really loves water and never gets disjointed. Excellent, within its own style.

SGP:651 - 85 points.

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


June 29, 2023


Another Ben-Nevis-thon, part 3 and last

Last short flight, I swear, I promise! Or I eat my beret, some haggis and some surströmming… But as far as the shortness of this last session is concerned, I may fail once more...
(WF Archive)

Ben Nevis



Ben Nevis 10 yo 1996/2007 (46%, Chorlton Whisky, joint release with Hop/Scotch Liverpool, hogshead, 234 bottles)

Ben Nevis 10 yo 1996/2007 (46%, Chorlton Whisky, joint release with Hop/Scotch Liverpool, hogshead, 234 bottles) Four stars
I would suppose this one had been kept in bottles (or in an IBC, ha) until recent release. Colour: light gold. Nose: plastic indeed, paraffin, new jumper, hand cream, honeysuckle, lime blossom, rainwater, 7up… This is all pretty Ben Nevis indeed. Mouth: putty, more hand cream, more paraffin, chlorophyl, sour purées, shoe polish, shampoo, salt, tobacco… Finish: rather long, on salty plastics, with a wee taste of glass indeed. Comments: it's got some of these flaws that we love so much in Ben Nevis. I would say rather a joint gig between the New York Dolls and the Flamin' Groovies, perhaps a little cerebral in fact. Excellent fun(k).

SGP:362 - 86 points.

Ben Nevis 1995/2022 (49.5%, The Whisky Jury, refill hogshead, cask #960, 251 bottles)

Ben Nevis 1995/2022 (49.5%, The Whisky Jury, refill hogshead, cask #960, 251 bottles) Four stars and a half
Their 1996 was something yesterday, this might be gentler… Emphasis on 'might'. Colour: light gold. Nose: indeed it is an easier, tropical one, with crushed bananas and papayas, these classic metallic touches (old penny book, old tools) and just a good brioche as well as drops of rum. A softer, gentler BN this far.  Mouth: it is another whisky, much tighter, more austere, bitter, grassy, with a lot of turmeric, ginger, peppers, then lemons and grapefruits, peel, green peppercorn, bitter roots… sending shivers down your spine. Finish: long, tight and a little tough, grassy, with bitter waxes… And lemony/grassy varnish in the aftertaste. Comments: here's one that's a tough old guy! Bordering provocation, really, but it's true that we love that. Ha, those masochistic tasters…

SGP:462 - 89 points.

Ben Nevis 24 yo 1998/2023 (51.2%, The Taste of Whisky 10th Anniversary, Poland, 1st fill sherry hogshead, cask #1357, 175 bottles)

Ben Nevis 24 yo 1998/2023 (51.2%, The Taste of Whisky 10th Anniversary, Poland, 1st fill sherry hogshead, cask #1357, 175 bottles) Five stars
We were able to verify on the spot that our Polish friends were very knowledgeable about Ben Nevis! Colour: amber. Nose: heavy mustardy walnuts, acetone, soot, tobacco, toffee, soy sauce and turmeric are back. Fantastico and more proof that BN and heavy dry sherry do tango extremely well together. With water: even more towards umami, soy sauce, Marmite, walnut wine, nocino… All things we like. Mouth (neat): very tight, highly concentrated, peppery, extractive, with more tobacco and walnuts plus the trademark varnishy dirtiness. Cracked pepper. I would dare say that only Ben Nevis can take this much of this kind of heavy wood. With water: back on bitter oranges and some slightly gentler old walnuts. Finish: very long, very spicy. Chilli, bitter almonds, more turmeric… Comments: you could use this as some sort of Tabasco or Worcester sauce. With oysters, I'm sure (but I haven't tried that - yet). Monster BN.
SGP:472 - 91 points.

Back to bourbon, perhaps…

Ben Nevis 26 yo 1996/2022 (54.9%, Sansibar for Whisky-Maniac, bourbon hogshead, cask #1595, 216 bottles)

Ben Nevis 26 yo 1996/2022 (54.9%, Sansibar for Whisky-Maniac, bourbon hogshead, cask #1595, 216 bottles) Five stars
Lovely label. Colour: gold. Nose: it's true that Ben Nevis can take both heavy sherry and some clean bourbon. This is another perfect example, with wonderful fruity varnishes, gummy bears, banana skins, root and anise, gentian, wormwood, gorse, wisteria… This is simply utterly lovable. B****y Ben Nevis! And b****y 1996s… We're also reminded of the best Nikkas, naturally. With water: doughs, chalks and porridge coming out. Perfect and expected – we're not bragging. Mouth (neat): exceptional tart lemons and more varnish, even a little glue. Other than that, bananas, gooseberries, guavas, vine peaches, white pepper, gentian, a little sea salt, some classic sooty dirt, in moderation this time… With water: pear tarte, fresh brioche… Now do not add too much water, or it may get a little tea-ish.  Finish: long, this time with mangos and cigarette tobacco, plus pepper in the aftertaste. Comments: we've come dangerously close to the 92-barrier this time. I suppose we shouldn't have tried to bring it down to approx. 45% vol. My mistake.

SGP:651 - 91 points.

Perhaps a slightly older vintage, for a change?

Ben Nevis 24 yo 1990/2015 (55.8%, SCOMA, bourbon hogshead, cask #67, 227 bottles)

Ben Nevis 24 yo 1990/2015 (55.8%, SCOMA, bourbon hogshead, cask #67, 227 bottles) Four stars
We're still in Germany. SCOMA also had a wonderful '90 for their 40th anniversary, but only Angus tried it – and loved it. This one was bottled a few years earlier. Colour: gold. Nose: fully on varnish and even on white vinegar and lemon juice at first, then on much gentler blancmange, scones, banana, manioc, dandelions, greengages, then chalk and asparagus… So it is not quite a 'dirty' Ben Nevis, but it is still lovable. With water: indeed, it's a less Ben-Nevissy Ben Nevis, if you will. It could have been a Highland Pa… I mean, a Secret Orkney just as well, or even a Pulteney. Mouth (neat): awesome rootiness, mint, verbena, gentian, celeriac, white pepper… You'd almost believe they went up Ben Nevis to distil this. Or to the Alps. Or to Orkney. With water: firmer, earthier, rootier, spicier. Loses a little focus when watered down. Finish: long, a little saltier. Ripe apples, honey and celeriac. Comments: great, great drop, but with a little less character. It's always tough after the 1996s (but who believes in vintages in whisky?)

SGP:551 - 87 points.

Ding-dong! Last one, let's choose a really old OB…

Ben Nevis 38 yo 1975/2014 (53.8%, OB, for Kirsch Import, bourbon hogshead, cask #941)

Ben Nevis 38 yo 1975/2014 (53.8%, OB, for Kirsch Import, bourbon hogshead, cask #941) Four stars
It's interesting that the back-label would mention a filling strength of 63.6%, and not just 63.00. I would add that these older vintages, in my meagre experience, could be more fragile or 'off-road', let's see while not expecting the utter brightness of most 1996s... Colour: gold. Nose: probably refill, which is good. This is both more acetic and earthier, more on mud and humus, garden earth, then mushrooms and coffee dregs, Nescafé, musty old wood, old attic, roasted chestnuts, old menthol (cough) syrup, old pinewood… What it hasn't quite got is fruit. With water: rounder, mellower, with some honeycomb, sweet cider, almond cake… Mouth (neat): indeed, it is pretty piney, resinous, with a salty side, some bitter tobacco, more acidic coffee, old woods… Not an easy old baby for sure, even if a few peppery mangos would then make a late appearance. With water: please add only a tiny drop, it's not the greatest swimmer ever, getting dry and tea-ish. Many very old whiskies suffer the same fate, having said that. Finish: rather long, fresh if a little piney when undiluted, forgettable when watered down. Comments: extremely hard to score. For the record.
SGP:272 - 85 points.

Good, I'm sure we'll do another similar Ben-Nevis-thon before the end of the year.  We do rejoice in advance, we should have more 1996s...

(Thank you, Tom)

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


June 28, 2023


Another Ben-Nevis-thon,
part 2

Into the glorious 1990s vintages, although accidents may happen…

Some great whiskies maturing in the mist (2006, WF Archive)



Ben Nevis 26 yo 1997/2023 (49.7%, East Village W.C., 5th Anniversary of Whisky Maniac, sherry butt, cask #143, 490 bottles)

Ben Nevis 26 yo 1997/2023 (49.7%, East Village W.C., 5th Anniversary of Whisky Maniac, sherry butt, cask #143, 490 bottles) Five stars
Fantastic label, at WF we're utter suckers for retro-futurism, as the design for this website, done around 1950, should testify. Colour: gold. Nose: you can smell amontillado from a distance of five metres. And old walnuts, soot, burnt caramel, cigarettes, curry, leather, mustard, vegetal dirt (compost), old barrels… Mouth: rich, this time starting with bitter oranges, marmalade, bits of pipe tobacco, plus seawater and aniseed, salty liquorice, old wood (chewing an old pencil), the traditional mustard… It's moving more and more towards amontillado, I believe Ben Nevis together with its colleagues from Campbeltown, is the make that can really take all this the most gracefully. Finish: long, this time spicier, with notes of salted and buttered tea, some acidic coffee, and just tobacco. A funny touch of bubblegum and strawberry sweets in the aftertaste. Ah, that molecule! Comments: classic, splendid, perhaps just not for anyone. Good, more for us.

SGP:562 – 90 points.

Ben Nevis 26 yo 1996/2022 (46.6%, Limited, bourbon hogshead, cask #1726, 120 bottles)

Ben Nevis 26 yo 1996/2022 (46.6%, Limited, bourbon hogshead, cask #1726, 120 bottles) Five stars
Bourbon this time. A time of writing we've already tried an excellent Deanston by the same new 'Limited' company. Having said that, coming up with a Ben Nevis 1996 might be a much safer bet (as long as your aim is not to convince the whole whisky world). Colour: light gold. Nose: it is pretty different from the 'sherry', that is to say rather more metallic, with notes of soot and concrete, musty old cellar, grapefruits, green melons, then wild herbs, woodruff for example, chalk, porridge, muesli… I have to say this doughier style is just as much to my liking. As long as they are faultless, these Ben Nevis are all splendid in my book. Mouth: indeed, this one's more on putty and paraffin, but just as salty. It is very chalky and lemony too, you would almost believe this is some limoncello aged for a few years in amphoras. Ideas ideas. A brilliant Ben Nevis anyway. Finish: long, citrusy, not overly spicy, clean, almost refreshing in fact, despite the fatness. More paraffin in the aftertaste, even a touch of new plastic. Comments: you could believe these kinds of sessions are great to do since the whiskies are all fantastic, but in fact they are not because they put you into 'drinking mode'.
SGP:551 - 90 points.

Ben Nevis 1996/2023 (46.8%, The Whisky Jury, refill hogshead, cask #1813, 205 bottles)

Ben Nevis 1996/2023 (46.8%, The Whisky Jury, refill hogshead, cask #1813, 205 bottles) Four stars and a half
More retro-futurism! Colour: white wine with black/green hues. A patched cask? Nose: there is a feeling of 'old rust' indeed, old magazines, soot, fermenting tropical fruits, then mint cordial, yoghurt, and a little fresh paint. Please note that I'm exaggerating the 'differences' here, but indeed it is pretty different. Very curious about the palate… Mouth: it is not 'that' different on the palate, but it is a little tougher, rusty, metallic, with some bitters, ginger tonic… Then pistachios and a little varnish, orgeat, grapefruit juice… It is still not a very 'usual' Ben Nevis, but can Ben Nevis be 'usual' anyway. What's more it never stops improving. Finish: back to whackier notes, dirt and dust, old pepper and nutmeg perhaps, lemon squash, stuff by The Coca-Cola Company, and something a little metallic once more in the aftertaste. Comments: hard to assess. Perhaps a little squinty, but that is part of its charm. So, patched cask or not?
SGP:651 - 88 points.

Ben Nevis 26 yo 1996/2022 (48.6%, Maltbarn, bourbon, 158 bottles)

Ben Nevis 26 yo 1996/2022 (48.6%, Maltbarn, bourbon, 158 bottles) Five stars
I'm always finding a lot of elegance in Maltbarn's bottlings. The photos are so beautiful, and original as well, that one sometimes wonders if these bottles aren't merely pretexts to showcase beautiful images. Fortunately, the overall quality usually proves otherwise. Colour: straw. Nose: I'm afraid I'll have to use the word elegance once more. Not even sure that word fully corresponds to Ben Nevis, but this is a soft, civilised, fruity BN, with even williams pears and mirabelles, quinces, and only then a little green tea, chlorophyl, and more quinces yet. We enjoy quinces almost as much as we love retro-futurism at WF Towers. Awesome softer BN. Mouth: a cleaner one, zesty, with grapefruits, greengages, only then a saltiness, seaweed, a very moderate sootiness, also tropical fruits, slightly metallic mangos (plane mangos), guavas… Finish: and there, a little paraffin and elderflower spritz. Comments: excellently upright for BN, very elegant (you said that three times already, S.)
SGP:552 - 90 points.

Why not a little OB from the same vintage?

Ben Nevis 21 yo 1996 (48.8%, OB, for UK, cask #1407, +/-2017)

Ben Nevis 21 yo 1996 (48.8%, OB, for UK, cask #1407, +/-2017) Five stars
Angus has already tried this one but I shan't check his note. Colour: white wine. Nose: good fun that the Distillery would have rather chosen a clean, quasi-crystalline one, which has its eyes on Islay with some oysters, granny smith, soft almondy peat and clean bright ashes. Some fresh mint too, and a so a certain kind of CaolIlaness. If I may. Mouth: and voilà, lemon, ashes, smoked tea, peat (like), paraffin, salty fino, vin jaune, amaro, roots, radish, celeriac… Strength and body are perfect. Finish: long, sharp, zesty, clean, chiselled, bladey, precise, vertical (that'll do S.) Gentian and raw liquorice in the aftertaste – kills the game for good. Comments: I told you this could become boring.
SGP:562 - 90 points.

Ben Nevis 26 yo 1996/2022 (49.5%, The Whisky Blues, hogshead, cask #874, 231 bottles)

Ben Nevis 26 yo 1996/2022 (49.5%, The Whisky Blues, hogshead, cask #874, 231 bottles) Five stars
Do Christmas-themed labels keep working in June? Discuss… Well I'm sure the whisky inside does. Colour: white wine. Ten points for the colour alone! Course I'm joking… Nose: rather on the chalky and doughy side, with even whiffs of washing powder, mud, crushed slate, clay, oyster shells, chives, lime blossom, fresh bamboo shoot… I think this is exceptional. Totally a top Sancerre or Pouilly-Fumé, I'm in awe. Mouth: not even sure we should go on. Stunning roots, earths, green lemon, ultra-tart apples, chalk, paraffin again and again, old mint and herbs cordial, some tar… Any resistance would be futile. Finish: long and ultra-bladey. As we say more often than not, this one cuts you into halves of exactly the same size. Comments: rather a cleaner BN 1996. Exceptional cask – exceptional blues – very well done.

SGP:562 - 91 points.

Ben Nevis 25 yo 1996/2022 (53.9%, Murray McDavid for Tyndrum Whisky, Mission Gold, hogshead, cask #1582, 250 bottles)

Ben Nevis 25 yo 1996/2022 (53.9%, Murray McDavid for Tyndrum Whisky, Mission Gold, hogshead, cask #1582, 250 bottles) Four stars
'Finish: - '. Love it when they finish a whisky in its own cask. Colour: light gold. Nose: however, there's more vanilla and coconut than in the others, it could have spent three or four years in virgin or short-1st fill American oak. Bananas, metal polish, a little patchouli, peach peel, well this one's completely different, not extremely 'BN' for sure. Unless… With water: hold on, there is some leather polish, metal polish, old bits of copper and stuff… Mouth (neat): way better on the palate, tart, lemony, metallic, very powerful, ultra-tight… Raw power BN. With water: do not add too much water. Almond, putty, oils, puréed chickpeas, right, houmous, touch of brine… Finish: rather long, rather salty and rooty. A little coconut again in the aftertaste. Comments: it struggled a little bit after the exceptional Whisky Blues. Well, I struggled for sure, but it still is a very fantastic malt whisky.
SGP:551 - 87 points.

I think it's best that we stop here and do a third BN session right tomorrow. They are stunning but they are tough guys.

(Merci KC)

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


June 27, 2023


Another Ben-Nevis-thon, part 1

One of the joys of Ben Nevis is that while it's one the very best malt whiskies in the world, it's currently widely available, especially from the best indies. Plus the fact that it may stand the whackiest finishings and that's it's not even afraid of zinfandel or shiraz/syrah. Not to mention new, or dechar-rechar American oak. Brave, brave Ben Nevis! Good, first, let's get rid of a bizarrely named NAS OB, as the apéritif… Core-less, really?



Ben Nevis 'Coire Leis' (46%, OB, +/-2022)

Ben Nevis 'Coire Leis' (46%, OB, +/-2022) Three stars
Nice story about some rocks around the distillery, not to mention waters and springs, but it's still only NAS. Shall we call it an access-Ben-Nevis bottling? Colour: pale white wine. Nose: big on porridge, mash and pears, plus dough, leek, eggplant, fennel, soot and mead. Some vanilla too. Feels really young and probably cleaner than your 'average' BN. Mouth: very good maltiness, with burnt herbs, burnt honey, then Ovaltine, then dried fruits and burnt fruit tartes. Some sweet peppers and some mustard too, this is well Ben Nevis, probably boosted with some rather active wood. Finish: long, rather rich, full of toffee and Ovaltine. Malty beer, spicy liquid caramel, cardamom… Comments: not much to add, this modern, extractive, boosted version of Ben Nevis works very well, it's even got a Japanese side (how surprising). By the way, did you ever read Compton Mckenzie's novel "Ben Nevis goes East"? Nah it's got nothing to do with whisky...

SGP:551 - 82 points.

Ben Nevis 10 yo 2012/2023 (48.5%, Decadent Drinks, Equinox & Solstice, refill hogshead)

Ben Nevis 10 yo 2012/2023 (48.5%, Decadent Drinks, Equinox & Solstice, refill hogshead) Four stars and a half
Refill wood! Colour: pale white wine. Nose: more austere, less boosted, more elegant, more on greases, porridge, mud, paraffin, I was about to write it is 'more Ben Nevis'. Mouth: still a bit young on the nose but perfect on the palate, close to that-other-lovely-distillery-down-in-Campbeltown, in the style of the latest LB if that rings a bell. Perfect peppers, wax, oils, clay, whelks, perhaps even smoked eel, a teaspoon of seawater, a drop of concentrated lemon juice, some earth… Finish: long, absolutely perfect, coastal style major, one of Scotland's aces. Comments: I've seen the bottlers wrote that it was 'simple'. I beg to disagree! Bordering excellence at only ten. Do double-magnums.
SGP:452 - 88 points.

Ben Nevis 9 yo 2012/2022 (52.4%, Morisco Spirits, Marble Collection, cask #1660, 260 bottles)

Ben Nevis 9 yo 2012/2022 (52.4%, Morisco Spirits, Marble Collection, cask #1660, 260 bottles) Four stars
Colour: pale white wine. Nose: in the style of the Decadent one, obviously, just a tad hotter and, consequently, a little less elegant. With water: ah, mud, fruit peel and paraffin, plus chalk and grist. Everything we like. Mouth (neat): a tad maltier, with more coffee… With water: perfect, once again just a tad more 'active', somewhat a 'sweeter and rounder', but we're splitting hairs once more. It is, obviously, a very lovely young Ben Nevis. Finish: long, still a tiny bit fattish, but we should not care. Paraffin, grapefruit, seawater, pepper, chalk, drop of mocha (so oak more active indeed)… Comments: another one that's dazzling at not even 10.

SGP:552 - 87 points.

This is not good for our list. We used to have a wonderful top-quartet with HP, Clynelish, Ben Nevis and Springbank from north to south, but since many are now bottled by the indies as 'Secret' ones, the ones that are not (yet?) are rising to the top. Ben Nevis, #1? Could happen anytime if you ask me… And hey, what's the value of an unsigned Picasso?

Ben Nevis 8 yo 2013/2022 (48%, The Single Malts of Scotland, Reserve Cask for Kirsch Import)

Ben Nevis 8 yo 2013/2022 (48%, The Single Malts of Scotland, Reserve Cask for Kirsch Import) Four stars
From 3 casks, no less. Colour: gold. Nose: touches of fudge, nougat and aniseed/pastis, cut grass, mint leaves, coriander… Then paraffin, new boots, grist, chalk, drop of wine vinegar… Mouth: oranges this time! Plus all the rest, wax, oils, paraffin, porridge, pepper, polish… And indeed, triple-sec. That's wonderful and 'different'. They must have poured a few bottles of Grand-Marnier when they were doing this vatting. Of course they are going to deny all this. Finish: this one's a little bit sweeter, but it's still full of Ben-Nevisness. Citron liqueur and clementines in the aftertaste. Comments: this one takes you to Corsica. Altitude very high, once more. Excuse me? Ah, it was Cointreau!

SGP:651 - 87 points.

Ben Nevis 8 yo 2014/2022 (54%, Chapter 7, bourbon barrel, cask #543, 267 bottles)

Ben Nevis 8 yo 2014/2022 (54%, Chapter 7, bourbon barrel, cask #543, 267 bottles) Three stars
Colour: pale white wine. Nose: back to an austere, grassier style. Cactus, silverware, paraffin, 'peat', chalk, seawater, oyster shells… Did they tweak the stills in 2014? Towards Islay? Or did this baby spend some time in an ex-Laphy cask? With water: mud, draft, more paraffin, rubber… Mouth (neat): peat indeed! I think they did some peated batches, did they not? I find it a tad geraniumy, leafy, with something that reminds me of peated Glenturret, in some way. Not too sure, really not too sure… With water: nicer, fresher. Salty seaweed, oysters, pepper; smoke… Finish: rather long, on 'smoked peppers'. Comments: very good, but pretty un-Ben-Nevis. A variant, I would suppose, reserveless congrats for having bottled this. I mean, Ben Nevis al natural is so good that you just cannot improve it. No? For research, thank you Chapter 7.
SGP:464 - 82 points.

How about a little wine and a blood-tub? The smallest casks I've ever seen used, real leaking nightmares but some results have been stupendous, especially with Port Charlotte.

Ben Nevis 8 yo (57.1%, Dram Mor, 2nd-fill Madeira blood-tub, cask #1092, 2022)

Ben Nevis 8 yo (57.1%, Dram Mor, 2nd-fill Madeira blood-tub, cask #1092, 2022) Two stars and a half
I believe it was 'only' a finishing, which explains why the number of bottles, after 8 years, isn't equal to… zero. Colour: amber. Nose: mud, walnuts, humus, moss, mushroom, metal polish, clutch grease (new descriptor on WF!), mustard and bitter oranges… With water: old coins, copper, cured ham (say Parma), exhaust fumes… Mouth (neat): extremely thick and rich, to be honest a little deviant, with massive amounts of cardamom and 'unknown curries', chestnut honey, Jägermeister, pine resin, walnut wine… With water: we kind of tamed it but I'm not sure Ben Nevis is still in control, not even sure it ever was. I would call this 'The Mad Cask Series'. Finish: very long, very leafy. Comments: tough baby. Not too sure what to say. Anyway, it was only a wee experiment – and rascal casks 'blood-tubs' can be bastards indeed.

SGP:372 - 78 points.

Perhaps one older one, to give you an idea of what's coming next. Eenie weenie…

Ben Nevis 23 yo 1998/2022 (54.1%, Nanyang Whisky & Rejo Beverages, The Peninsula Collection, Singapore, hogshead, cask #662, 207 bottles)

Ben Nevis 23 yo 1998/2022 (54.1%, Nanyang Whisky & Rejo Beverages, The Peninsula Collection, Singapore, hogshead, cask #662, 207 bottles) Four stars
A very lovely bottle. I hope you could effortlessly remove the label and frame it once the bottle is empty. Or, even better, before the bottle's empty (and stained)… Colour: straw. Nose: Ben Nevis in its purest form. No time to waste in conjectures, it is unquestionable. Soot, tangerine liqueur, olives, paraffin (but there's always paraffin in BN), porridge, pine needles, new sneakers, dirty mud… With water: empty oil barrels, turpentine, almonds, fumes, stearin, kippers (indeed)… Mouth (neat): these vintages, say 1995-1999, were just amazingly dirty, petroly, salty, very waxy, and pretty untameable. This is another perfect example. It really is a little dirty. Stale pepper. With water: chalk and orange zests. Not the most common combination, but it works greatly. Bitter almonds. Finish: long and leafier. Green tea and tobacco. Salty leaves. Comments: maybe it lost a bit of clearness and became a little leafy in the end, but we'll sure break the 90-barrier right tomorrow, stay tuned.
SGP:372 - 87 points.

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


June 26, 2023


Wines, beer, bourbon and a little Dailuaine

So sports, almost. Dailuaine's not the easiest drop, is it, so this will be like reading Kierkegaard, I suppose… On wine!

Dailuaine Distillery (Ann Harrison, geography.ork.uk)



Dailuaine 11 yo 2010 (48%, Thompson Bros. for Black Isle Brewery, 10 months Black Isle Imperial Stout Cask, 261 bottles)

Dailuaine 11 yo 2010 (48%, Thompson Bros. for Black Isle Brewery, 10 months Black Isle Imperial Stout Cask, 261 bottles) Four stars
Holy smokes, I don't even exactly know what an Imperial Stout is. I believe the last proper stout I've had was a Mackeson's, in 1980. Colour: white wine, so no blackness this far. Nose: dry earth, roasted grains and vegetables, suet, crude cocoa, burnt eggplants, morels perhaps, scoria, pot ale… Mouth (neat): extraordinarily burnt, sour, gherkiny, dirty, earthy… Add a few drops of water and it'll become basaltic, smoky, ashy and very sooty. Finish: there, more raw cocoa and coffee, cracked pepper, and touches of black garlic. I totally adore black garlic, but maybe not in my whisky… Comments: pretty experimental (and in experimental, there's 'mental'). As if Dailuaine wasn't whacky enough as such, ha. Seriously, great fun.

SGP:472 - 85 points.

Dailuaine 18 yo 2002/2021 (57.4%, Quaich Bar Singapore, Signature Reserve, hogshead)

Dailuaine 18 yo 2002/2021 (57.4%, Quaich Bar Singapore, Signature Reserve, hogshead) Four stars
The great Frank McHardy, of Springbank fame, was behind this lovely series. Colour: white wine. Nose: very dry. Fern, eggplants, artichoke, burnt malt, old walnuts, hardboiled eggs, soy sauce… With water: mud, plaster, washing powder, new sweater, new sneakers, paraffin, shampoo… I'm not surprised some luminary who used to be behind Springbank would have chosen this. Mouth (neat): excellent chocolaty malt, dry sour vegetables, burnt vegetables, extreme coffee, fried basil and parsley leaves, oyster sauce, asparagus… This sure isn't Glenmorangie, neither is it Glenkinchie. With water: wonderful recovery, gentler cakes, pistachios, walnuts, bitter citrus, Campari (didn't we say no brand names?) Finish: long, appropriately sulphury, mineral and petroly. Lemons to the rescue in the aftertaste. Comments: rather intellectual whisky, probably rather for aesthetes, but great fun too. Well done, Frank!
SGP:462 - 87 points.

Dailuaine 10 yo 2010/2021 (55.8%, The Collaboration, viognier barriques finish, cask #310224, 277 bottles)

Dailuaine 10 yo 2010/2021 (55.8%, The Collaboration, viognier barriques finish, cask #310224, 277 bottles) Three stars and a half
Viognier is the main white varietal in the northern part of the Rhône valley. Think Condrieu! It's usually extremely aromatic… Colour: white wine. Nose: pink grapefruits, sour lemon yoghurt, dough, tequila, fumes, porridge, carbon, honeysuckle… No logic whatsoever, but great fun nonetheless. With water: very dry porridge, damp oats, coal ashes… I'm not 100% sure I'm getting the viognier, rather raw wool, plaster, slate, baking soda… Mouth (neat): holy royal stovepipe! Bitter rubbers, leaves, stems, plus sweeter plums, bitterer spices, artichoke, green peppercorn… With water: better, with grapefruit and limoncello. Coriander. Finish: long, muddy, chalky, gristy and leafy. Grass and peppers… and no real viognier that I can detect. Comments: Dailuaine's insane anyway. Why not viognier then? Do not expect any orthodoxies within these 'creative' bottlings where good is bad is good is bad is good…

SGP:561 - 84 points.

Dailuaine 13 yo 2009/2022 (46.5%, House of MacCallum, bio Pomerol cask finish, cask #6015-17, 1010 bottles)

Dailuaine 13 yo 2009/2022 (46.5%, House of MacCallum, bio Pomerol cask finish, cask #6015-17, 1010 bottles) Three stars and a half
Great fun, some organic Pomerol finish! So merlot galore, I would suppose. Colour: light apricot. Nose: cherry stems and washing powder, peonies, bakers' yeast, kriek beer… Indeed this is totally improbable once more, but there is some fun to be had. A Nigerian afrobeat band from Lagos doing Mozart. Mouth: cherries, lime tea, rubber, tar? Rather Beethoven, in fact. Rather a lot of rubber and chlorophyl too. Finish: rather long, with some blood oranges and bitter peppers. That's good. Comments: mad trans-category stuff once more. It's true that should you do this thing, rather do it to Dailuaine as it's already mad malt in the first place.

SGP:651 - 83 points.

Mad. More madness please…

Dailuaine 25 yo 1997/2022 (48.8%, Whisky Sponge, refill hogsheads, 365 bottles)

Dailuaine 25 yo 1997/2022 (48.8%, Whisky Sponge, refill hogsheads, 365 bottles) Four stars and a half
Colour: white wine. Nose: ah there, pure Dailuaine, that is to say mustard and paraffin plus capsicum and undergrowth. Moss, fern, mushrooms, tiny herbs, bear garlic, woodruff, pumpkin seed… Mouth: no more fooling around indeed, this is salty and malty and sulphury and herbal Speyside whisky, with mints, malt extracts, rocket leaves, bitter oranges and roasted chestnuts. Weren't those hoggies ex-oloroso or amontillado, Mr. Sponge? Finish: long, wonderful, rather nutty, with some fatty waxiness and more salty walnuts and roasted chestnuts. Comments: doing a good Caol Ila is easy but finding such a brilliant Dailuaine probably ain't a piece of cake. Almost sublime – and I say everyone needs a Dailuaine in his/her bar. Real enthusiasts do not always take the easiest slope.

SGP:562 - 89 points.

Dailuaine (44.5%, Murray McDavid, Craft Series, bourbon finish, Koval quarter cask, 2022)

Dailuaine (44.5%, Murray McDavid, Craft Series, bourbon finish, Koval quarter cask, 2022) Three stars
The epitome of NAS-ness, we know about everything here, just not about the age/vintage. Colour: white wine. Nose: totally porridgey, with some grist, chalk, lager beer and asparagus (natural sulphur). Lemon peel. Mouth: paraffin, parsley, basil, chalk, oatcakes, ripe apples, oak shavings, clover honey, bananas. Fine. Finish: medium, chalky and gristy. Banana skins and tea tannins. Comments: like it more than I should, because of this very doughy profile. Would we have to thank Koval? Not too sure why and how all these ex-Koval casks found their ways to Europe.

SGP:451 - 82 points.

I think we're ready for a very last Dailuaine. Coz you can't have a dozen, can you… Let's make it an old one.

Dailuaine 31 yo 1989/2020 (49.8%, Thompson Bros., bourbon barrel, 117 bottles)

Dailuaine 31 yo 1989/2020 (49.8%, Thompson Bros., bourbon barrel, 117 bottles) Four stars and a half
I agree I should have tried this one earlier. Colour: gold. Nose: pine bark and camphor, that's beautiful. Plus carbon, linoleum, pistachio syrup, pine nuts, orgeat syrup and root vegetables. Say we add wild aniseed-driven carrots and some crushed mint leaves. Beautiful herbal nose, fresh and complex.  Mouth: excellently piney, a tad bitter, with capsicum and juniper, pine needles, absinth, aniseed, gentian and liquorice root. A little green pepper that would burn your tongue just a little bit. Old peppermint cordial. Finish: long and very piney. I say it takes a little water at this stage, and would then become rootier, with more liquorice too. Comments: muddy carrots glazed with honey and pine liqueur. How very Dailuaine indeed.

SGP:561 - 88 points.

Let's remember Dailuaine rather remains a 'dresser component' of many a big blend by Diageo. A fat dirty baby.

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


June 25, 2023


10 cognacs

I know, another boring featherlight headline, but it's no secret that we hate clickbait wordings and despise the entities that are using them. So, here's what you've avoided today (congrats):
The Cognac Your Banker Doesn't Want You To Know About
Las Vegas Mixologists' Favorite Cognacs When Beyoncé's In Town
If You Don't Buy These Cognacs, You'll Regret I In Ten Years
The Secret Behind Putin's Favorite Cognac
You Should Never Order #4 In A Bar, According To Bartenders
The Cognac That Even American Rappers Will Never Taste
Cognacs That Even Beat Aldi's Whiskies At Blind Tastings
The Cognac That Permanently Angered My Mother-in-law
Some Of These Are Worth More Than Your House
The Cognac That Could Crush Macallan 1926
Could These Cognacs Be Deadly?
I Almost Divorced Because Of One Of These Cognacs
Ten Cognacs You'll Wish You Knew Before
The Cognac Donald Trump Would Drink If He Weren't Abstinent
The Terrifying Mystery Behind This Petite Champagne
And of course...
The 10 Best Cognacs In The World (buy them while you still can)
Good, no more BS, let's have a petit apéritif…


Stillhouse, Uniré, Île de Ré (picture BNIC)



Rémy Martin 'V.S.O.P.' (40%, OB, fine champagne, +/-1990)

Rémy Martin 'V.S.O.P.' (40%, OB, fine champagne, +/-1990)
I haven't tried many Rémy, same with any large company by the way, but they have a good reputation, even if a more recent VSOP had been pretty disappointing in my book. Colour: dark gold. Serious obscuration, ha. Nose: rather lovely nose, with lovely sultanas and honeys, plus touches of liquorice and orange blossom water. A very tiny bit of spearmint and some putty. The bottle's still fresh after more than thirty years, maybe some good OBE at play? Not a caramelly cognac on the nose in any case. Mouth: right, there's more cardboard and black tea on the palate, it lost a large part of its raisiny freshness. A few sour fruits in the background (sloe?) and a little rubber and soap, but that may be 'bad' OBE indeed. Finish: short, slightly soapy, a little sugary too. Comments: nice nose but other than that, it may have got out of the road. I suppose a higher strength would have preserved it way better but anyway, these bottles are absolutely not expensive.

SGP:250 - 65 points.

Bache Gabrielsen 5 yo 'VSOP Bio' (40%, OB, batch #1, 1920 bottles)

Bache Gabrielsen 5 yo 'VSOP Bio' (40%, OB, batch #1, 1920 bottles) Three stars
A blend of organic fins bois and petite champagne and a cognac that's fully 'eco-designed', from the vines to the bottle. We'll see whether all that will transcend the low strength. Colour: straw. Nose: I have to say I enjoy this utter youth and freshness that would let both oranges (fresh-squeezed juice) and a lavender + liquorice combo run the show, while juicy raisins and yellow flowers (dandelions…) would rather sing within the choir, together with apples, pears, peaches, grapes and plums. Lovely and pleasantly 'modern'. BTW what I feel is that modern cognacs would rather display less wood, while modern malts would do exactly the opposite. But indeed some Cognaçais are going the Scotch way too (sweet active oak). Mouth: no problems with this low strength and a palate that's very similar to the nose, with liquorice, violet, lavender, raisins, also a little cough syrup. Gets then a tad leafy. Finish: not that short, with touches of orange zests. Always some fresh liquorice in the aftertaste. Comments: very good drop, I believe it could also take one or two ice cubes or be quaffed as a mizuwari. Or, indeed, as our grandpas' beloved 'fine a l'eau'.
SGP:441 – 82 points.

Bourgoin 2012/2022 'Marée Haute' (43%, OB)

Bourgoin 2012/2022 'Marée Haute' (43%, OB) Four stars and a half
Own estate cognac this time, straight from St. Saturnin in the Charente, from 100% ugni blanc and with a reduction done on the new moon partly using… drinkable seawater! And why not? There are many stories about barrels rolled in the sea or spread with seawater during transportation on old sail ships or puffers. Not to mention seawater used while mashing or some old experiment we did ourselves more than twenty years ago with a blend of whiskies from Islay reduced using water from Loch Indaal (but it wasn't officially drinkable water). As for the expression 'Marée Haute', it just means high tide. We can't wait, can we… Private note to friends, there might not be any salt in salty whiskies, but there sure is in this intriguing wee cognac! Colour: gold. No small sardines or seaweed detected. Nose: I'm not sure it's on the nose that the seawater should be noticed, although this sure is rather coastal, in the style of some cognacs from Ré or Oléron. Fruit peel, liquorice wood, beet and celeriac, green walnuts, fresh bark, peach peel, hay, touches of skin lotion perhaps, some green banana… Mouth: pretty 'cross'! If I may, this could be a rested trans-blend with 90% natural cognac, 5% Jamaican rum and 5%, say south Islay. Really! But it does not feel like a blend, rather like a whole, a oneness, a unicity (I think we got you, S.) What's mainly coming out of this adventure is salmiak, salted fudge and… perhaps cachaça and mezcal. Some kind of salted nougat too. What's sure is that it feels stronger than just 43% vol. Finish: very long, you'd almost believe this was matured in some very coastal amontillado cask (Sanlucar indeed). The aftertaste is saltier yet, with a little horseradish. Comments: more than just fun. I believe this works wonderfully with a young cognac, but I'd be curious to check what would happen if you do this to a tired old brandy that's gone past its prime. Could be invigorating, and they could use even more seawater…  
SGP:462 - 88 points.

Prunier 1989/2023 (45.9%, OB for Wine4You The Purist, grande champagne, 42 bottles)

Prunier 1989/2023 (45.9%, OB for Wine4You The Purist, grande champagne, 42 bottles) Four stars and a half
A work of goldsmith here, a mini-bottling drawn from a 350-litres cask. These Pruniers rarely disappoint (did they ever disappoint?) Colour: gold. Nose: back to nougat and even popcorn, brioche, then apricot pie. The largest apricot pie we've ever come across. Then classic preserved peaches, slightly resinous honeys, old mead and rather a lot of hay and dried meadow flowers. This pretty old cognac smells like summer. Didn't Zeus drink mead? Mouth: the wood feels a little bit at first, with quite some apple peel, menthol and greener tannins (like), but let's remember 1989 was not right yesterday, that was thirty-four years ago. The rest is impeccable, with old herbal liqueurs, angelica, sweet roots, liquorice wood, some ginseng (I know I'd need ginseng), cinnamon… Finish: medium, with both more jams and more spices. Comments: I would say this marvellous cognac was taken out of the wood right on time.
SGP:561 - 89 points.

Let's jump to the good old years of jazz-rock and punk.

Prunier 1977/2023 (61%, OB for Wine4You The Purist, fins bois, 42 bottles)

Prunier 1977/2023 (61%, OB for Wine4You The Purist, fins bois, 42 bottles) Five stars
61% vol. at +/-46 yo! So probably dry chai and lazy old wood, which does absolutely not suggest this should be second-class cognac, it could well be absolutely marvellous. Colour: copper amber. Nose: oh yes, varnish, acetone, bourbon, banana, black nougat, pu-her, old rum… Just love this indeed this far, this is clearly old cognac for whisky geeks. With water: terrific. Chartreuse verte, Unicum, artichoke and fir bud spirit, Maggi, krauters, tar… Mouth (neat): very high power, high bitters too (no prob) and heavy spices that bite your tongue. I'm really curious… With water: possibly not exactly cognac for cognac lovers, but hey, more for us. Splendid tea-ish tannicity, clove and cinnamon, chlorophyll aplenty, angelica, then crystallised grapefruit and heavy genepy. Finish: long, herbal, spicy. Only the aftertaste is gentler, on menthol and marmalade. Comments: I'm thinking of some Scottish distilleries but those distilleries weren't working in 1977, as the loch was already filling up... Very crazy whis…, I mean, varn… I mean, fins bois. Much love. This to Larry Coryell.

SGP:661 - 92 points.

Petite Champagne 73 (54.8%, Zero Nine Spirits, Grosperrin, Samurai series, 2023)

Petite Champagne 73 (54.8%, Zero Nine Spirits, Grosperrin, Samurai series, 2023) Four stars and a half
Don't samurais always work on labels? Zero Nine Spirits a.k.a. Zn09 are some rather new, passionate indie bottlers, long live Zn09! Colour: full gold. Nose: oh yes, it's rather early Soft Machine this time, or perhaps Gong, with some patchouli and some pataphysical earthy meats, broths, bouillons, incense and infusions. Then classic marmalade, kumquats, honey and raisins. I love to think that brandies taste like music from their vintages, which doesn't make any sense, I agree, but we're not rational animals, are we. With water: superb passion fruits, touch of silver and copper, vegetal earth, minty mushrooms (the name escapes me just now – excuse me? No, not peyotl), dried and pressed dates and figs, cashew…Mouth (neat): absolutely excellent, spicy and fruity and jammy old cognac, with great herbal teas and spices and a lot of punch once more. Water is needed to get into the subtleties, I would suppose… With water: do not add too much, these could become grassy. Otherwise perfect earthy fruits and herbs, nicely rustic. Well I would suggest you do not add any waters at all. Finish: long, punchy, a tad grassy and on fruit peel, also green spices. Leaves your palate clean and ready. Comments: excellent, especially on the nose, well done. Reduction is a tad tricky to the palate, unless you've got five litres and plenty of time. There's also a 1980 Bons Bois, we'll have it next time, we can't wait.
SGP:561 - 89 points.

Perhaps another '73…

Petite Champagne 'Lot N°73 Les Bons Vivants' (53.6%, Malternatives Belgium & Asta Maurice, Grosperrin, cask #lbv2, 492 bottles, 2023)

Petite Champagne 'Lot N°73 Les Bons Vivants' (53.6%, Malternatives Belgium & Asta Maurice, Grosperrin, cask #lbv2, 492 bottles, 2023) Four stars and a half
In theory, this should be close. I'll spare you any lousy considerations about Soft machine, Hatfield and the North or Ian Carr's Nucleus; better like this. Colour: deep amber gold. Nose: not exactly the same, but very similar cognac indeed. Let's say it is a tad more mentholated on the nose, with more moss as well, but indeed it is extremely close, and brilliant. No water needed. Mouth (neat): indeed, so close. Green tea, tannins, herbal tea, spicey marmalade, some rusticity. With water: catch me once… Finish: just totally excellent. Who remembers the band 'Egg'? (S., drop it, don't bore our friends). Comments: official apologies to Malternatives Belgium, but indeed both 1973 PCs are extremely close and equally excellent.
SGP:561 - 89 points.

J.P. Limouzin 'Powered by Pasquet 61 carats Lot 62' (50.4%, Asta Maurice, cask #AMF009, 342 bottles)

J.P. Limouzin 'Powered by Pasquet 61 carats Lot 62' (50.4%, Asta Maurice, cask #AMF009, 342 bottles) Five stars
Right this is either a 62 year old 1961 or a 61 year old 1962. And not 100% sure our dear Belgian friends got the word 'Limouzin/Limousin' right, but after all we're having a hard time writing Westwleteeren too. UPDATE: label just in it's well 'Limouzin', apologies! Colour: deep gold. Nose: high precision, almost in all simplicity here and now. Quince jelly, acacia honey and mirabelle jam. That's pretty all but no probs, on the contrary. Bauhaus spirit, as we sometimes say. With water: who's been using a cognac stencil on an early-to-mid-sixties refill cask of Balvenie? Acacia and elder blossom honey and liqueurs may have been added too. Mouth (neat): same kind of narrow high-precision profile that works greatly. Angelica, grapefruits and pine needles this time. Brrr… With water: it's the freshness that remains impressive but I'm not sure water was needed. We'd like to meet the cask. Flower jellies, oriental pastries, mirabelles, some tea tannins… Finish: done and dusted, do not add any water to this one. Comments: amazing. Sadly I've waisted a part of what I was having using Vittel, entirely my bad (no it's Vittel/Nestlé's fault, naturally). Very great drop, the Belgians are stealing the show once more.
SGP:561 - 91 points.

We may have come up with a new rule at WF HQ. Whisky above 49.99% vol. needs water (secondarily, as a complement), whereas brandy should wait until it's reached 54.99% vol. and upwards. What do you say?

Jean Fillioux 'Le Prince des Vignes Lot 60/70' (43.1%, Malternatives Belgium, TasTToe, grande champagne, 2023)

Jean Fillioux 'Le Prince des Vignes Lot 60/70' (43.1%, Malternatives Belgium, TasTToe, grande champagne, 2023) Five stars
No issues here, I swear to Osiris that we'll keep our water afar from this one. Colour: deep gold. Nose: fruity perfection. This will be fast, quick and easy. Maracuja, mangos, pink bananas, peaches, spearmint. Simple and exceptional. Mouth: same plus a little tea-ish, mentholy oak, which is totally normal. Amazing notes of some fruit that's not that common, white currant. Which I find stunning. Finish: same. Comments: not much to add, this is princely indeed. White currants, remember!? Now wondering if one of the vintages hadn't gone underproof and was rescued by the other one. Not sure anyone, except the cellar master, should care. But 60/70, that's the Stones meeting Elvis, no? (which, apparently, never really happened).

SGP:651 - 91 points.

Last great old cognac please, we keep revolving around the 90-line anyway…

Vallein Tercinier 'L'attente 52' (43.9%, OB for Jack Tar & Lux Coin, grande champagne, 2023)

Vallein Tercinier 'L'attente 52' (43.9%, OB for Jack Tar & Lux Coin, grande champagne, 2023) Five stars
Straight from Chermignac. We must remember that Vallein Tercinier was one, if not the first, cognac house to capture our attention as whisky enthusiasts, while the decanters and silly crystal – not to mention the quality of the liquids and the funky marketing - of the big houses had rather made us laugh before. Oh and 1952, what a vintage in jazz! Colour: amber. Nose: you don't nose this cognac, you listen to it. The wind in the mango trees, the bees protecting their hive, the mirabelles falling from their trees and the wines fermenting in the casks. And young Miles Davis and Chet Baker… (S., wake up!) Mouth: miraculous, wobbly, uncertain, fragile and precious. I don't know if this was drawn from wood or from a demi-john, I would wager it was the former rather than the latter, which would make it a 70 year old. Well I had mentioned bees and hives before, and that's exactly the driving inspiration here. Beeswax, honeycomb, pollen (pollen is not often mentioned but I for one believe it's a main marker in many spirits), then old pinewood and infusions. Perhaps sandalwood, soft tobacco, fruit peel… When you take a few drops, it's a bit delicate, but with a good gulp, it literally explodes but that's a slightly expensive tasting method. Ha. Finish: medium, beehivey, honeyed, with overripe apples making a notable appearance. Aftertaste is much more bitter and piney. Comments: I'm hesitating between the deference that age (and Miles) imposes and just justice. I think it's gonna be deferent justice (S., you Jesuit).
SGP:561 - 91 points.

I agree, time to put an end to this.

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


June 23, 2023


A couple of indie Deanston

We try to taste Deanston as often as possible, but no smart official cask-driven ones today, rather some new indies indeed (pff…)

Honeysuckle at WF HQ (I know you know what honeysuckle is).



Deanston 26 yo 1996/2023 (49.7%, Limited, bourbon hogshead, cask #1521)

Deanston 26 yo 1996/2023 (49.7%, Limited, bourbon hogshead, cask #1521) Four stars and a half
This is a new line, filled in rather lovely art-déco bottles. It should be Deanston totally al natural, a style that doesn't quite seem to be in favour at the owners these days, inless I'm wrong once more. Colour: white wine. Nose: it seems that we're rather nosing riesling, at least for a while. Fresh white grapes, chalk and limestone, honeysuckle, grapefruit, tiny touch of petrol, even tinier hints of fennel and dill… I find this extremely intriguing and, well, appealing. In a way, you may get closer to great wine when not using wine casks. Whisky making can be very counterintuitive. Mouth: instant love for this peppery, then fattish and buttery (in a good way), then very fino-y malt whisky. Excellent zing, with lemons, chalk and seawater plus a touch of mustard. I know I'm often quoting manzanilla somewhat blindly, but this superb high-precision old Deanston is close. Say manzanilla and riesling, 50/50. Finish: perfect tight signature, with some mustard indeed, lemon, some saltiness, and then liquorice root, aniseed and fennel in the aftertaste. Comments: faultless pure and clean and yet characterful Deanston, right up my alley. Perfect age, this baby's clearly toying with the 90-limit.

SGP:452 - 89 points.

Deanston 11 yo 2011/2023 (59.3%, Best Dram, 1st fill PX barrel, cask #800036, 215 bottles)

Deanston 11 yo 2011/2023 (59.3%, Best Dram, 1st fill PX barrel, cask #800036, 215 bottles) Three stars and a half
Colour: dark gold. Nose: hotter, but that's the strength. Some sour fruits and spices, but that should be the PX. Some leather and pipe tobacco too, rather a lot of nutmeg, cracked pepper, umami sauce…  With water: kind of makes a U-turn, moving towards grist, porridge, beer, mashed potatoes (I often mention Joël Robuchon's recipe, 50% potatoes and 50% butter – und Muskatnuss, Herr Müller!)… Mouth (neat): rather massive, very spicy, with really a lot of green peppercorns, plus leaves. With water: perhaps with a little Ben-Nevis-dirtiness, but that may be the PX. I'm not sure it's very partial to water. Rather a lot of pepper and nutmeg indeed. Finish: long, spicy. Some very dry herbal cordial and more green peppercorns. Bitter oranges in the aftertaste. Comments: very lovely, just a tad tough, perhaps.
SGP:371 - 84 points.

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


June 22, 2023


A new world session (France Denmark Finland England Spain)

Picture: Distillery Liber, Granada, Spain (Liber)

Just visiting several whisky countries – but all countries have become whisky countries, more or less – starting from France as usual. It is true that as the dear Scots use more and more wine casks and other peculiar finishings, techniques that are within reach of any distillery in the world, their uniqueness could tend to diminish more and more. Who is more legitimate to use, for example tequila casks, a Scottish distillery or a brand new Mexican whisky maker? Fortunately, it takes a lot of water to make whisky...



Aikan 2017/2022 'Petit Lot' (46%, La Maison du Whisky, Version Française)

Aikan 2017/2022 'Petit Lot' (46%, La Maison du Whisky, Version Française) Three stars and a half
This funny one has been distilled in Lorraine, France (most probably at currently expanding Rozelieures), and matured in Martinique, France, but not in a rhum cask. So in a way, there is some coherence… Colour: light gold. Nose: it is very fragrant, with some raisins and ylang-ylang, roasted bananas, rose petals, lemongrass, softer liquorice, anise bread, wisteria… It is a little unusual, but that's an asset I would say. Mouth: some spicy and sweet oak, probably pretty fresh, liquorice and green oak, and green oak honey, honeydew… I'm also finding rather a lot of pepper and even touches of chilli, but thank God, not these ultra-strong ones they use in Martiniquaise cuisine, such as bird pepper. Love that, but perhaps not in my whisky. Finish: long and spicy, rather oak-forward, with some grass smoke coming through at this point and which I hadn't noticed before. Ginger and cinnamon in the aftertaste. Comments: perhaps a little bit on the oaky side, but very good I think, unusual, intriguing… I hope they've kept some juice and filled a few refill casks for a few extra-years of polishing.
SGP:462 - 83 points.

Speaking of Mexican finishes… And since Pandora's Box has been opened by the Scots themselves…

Stauning 'Bastard Mezcal Finish Batch #2' (46.3%, OB, Denmark, 2022)

Stauning 'Bastard Mezcal Finish Batch #2' (46.3%, OB, Denmark, 2022) Three stars and a half
I believe this is predominantly rye. Well, they call it 'Bastard' themselves, that's showcasing plain, pure and laudable lucidity. Having said that we had enjoyed Batch #1 a while back (WF 83). Colour: gold. Nose: a lot of rye, perhaps some mezcal (but do the Mexicans mature a lot of mezcal in wood?) and surely some lavender, pine resin and liquorice. Lovely breadiness, as always, and something coastal, some light mentholy smoke or something. Also peach liqueur coming through. Mouth: a tad thick flavour-wise, but that's really all right, as I do enjoy these bready liquorice and aniseed, the juniper, the mezcal (olives, earth) and just the rye. I could quaff this for sure. Finish: rather long, more lemony. Sweet new oak. Lavender sweets and a little salt in the aftertaste, plus one olive. Comments: I should have had some un-mezcalled Stauning rye on the side to better isolate the mezcalness. Nobody's perfect. Rather a fan.
SGP:562 - 84 points.

Further North…

Teerenpeli 2009/2018 'Hilkka' (43%, OB, Finland, ex-Laphroaig cask)

Teerenpeli 2009/2018 'Hilkka' (43%, OB, Finland, ex-Laphroaig cask) Three stars
Colour: straw. Nose: strange and fun. Smoked pineapple, perhaps, sourdough, some sweet bacon wrapping roasted pineapple, peppermint, and really a lot of lemony gin before a little gas and truffles come out of the woods (both figuratively and literally). Mouth: good feeling of lemon drops smoked over a peat fire. So a lot of lemon and rather a lot of peat. Right. Finish: medium, clear, lemony and smoky. A drop of seawater. Comments: Laphroaig did its job, not much else to say about this pretty good in-cask blend.

SGP:554 - 81 points.

To Yorkshire…

Filey Bay 2018/2023 'Madeira' (53.6%, OB for Whisky Bibliothek, England, cask #950, 288 bottles)

Filey Bay 2018/2023 'Madeira' (53.6%, OB for Whisky Bibliothek, England, cask #950, 288 bottles) Four stars
A 'Double Oak' has been pretty fantastic the other day. Colour: light gold. Nose: rather impressed with Filey Bay, I have to say. This one's got some lovely breads, doughs, pancakes, plus earthy root vegetables (from the Madeira?) and wild carrots, as well as touches of pink grapefruit, wine gums… Classic fresh maltiness, no obvious vinosity. With water: hints of metal polish, toolbox… always loved this. Mouth (neat): good, a rather exuberant fruitiness on the palate, with notes of lychees and pineapple, also mangos, honey, sweets, wine gum indeed, poppy jelly… With water: green tea and a little humus, which is lovely and calms everything down within seconds. Lime tea. Finish: medium, fresh, fruity, with some eucalyptus syrup. One small strawberry. Comments: I don't think they've just dumped the spirit into an old Madeira cask, there might have been some smart wood technology at play. The end result is pretty perfect, in my opinion.
SGP:651 - 87 points.

Last one, down to Spain…

Liber 15 yo 2006/2022 'El Diablito Sulfuroso' (58.7%, OB, The Cask Hound, Spain, old PX, cask #71, 320 bottles)

Liber 15 yo 2006/2022 'El Diablito Sulfuroso' (58.7%, OB, The Cask Hound, Spain, old PX, cask #71, 320 bottles) Four stars
Scary but fully matured in that old PX cask. Some earlier Libers have been a tad difficult I think, but a recent 'Great Sherry Xperience Chapter 5' had been only wonderful (WF 87). Let's check this sulphurous little devil… Colour: deep gold with copper hues. Nose: where's that diabolic sulphur? This is all right! Granted, there is some Marmite, malt extract, sour wine, perhaps truffles indeed, even three or four struck matches, a lot of old rancio, pickled mushrooms, balsamic vinegar (do they make that too in Jerez?)… But it remains kind of civilised. Unless, with water: gets very gamey. Well-cured grouse, pheasant, ham… Also thick raisins, passerillage… Mouth (neat): extremely rich. Blackberry jam, clove and juniper sauce, smoky barbecue sauce, tobacco and, first and foremost, a lot of rancio indeed. Rather Malaga? With water: sweeter yet, ridden with all kinds of raisins, which works well here, actually. I had first thought it would move towards old armagnac, but it's rather tar liqueur and, indeed, old PX or VORS that are at the end of the road. Finish: long, thick, heavy, but with some lovely notes of pine liqueur, peppermint and camphor that would lift it and make it almost fresh. Kind of. Chocolate in the aftertaste. Comments: no one else is making this. Perhaps Millstone? It's challenging at times but all things considered, it is to be loved. And a little mad.
SGP:762 - 86 points.

(Thank you Henrik)


June 21, 2023


A vertical septet of single grains
(some frankly crazy)

A few years ago I used to be afraid 'single grain' whiskies would invade the shelves, counting on the fact that for the general public, the important word is 'single,' without even mentioning the growing use of regional terms such as Highland or Lowland. Let's admit that 'Highland Single Grain Whisky' has a ring to it! It's good news, if you ask me, that there was no grain distillery in Speyside last time I checked, or, of course, on the Isle of Islay.

Grain Whisky

But I had worried for nothing; things seem to remain under control, and grain still represents a small minority among the coveted 'single' whiskies. So, let's taste a selection with a light-hearted spirit... (and yes, some grains are excellent!)



North British 13 yo 2009/2023 (46%, Signatory Vintage for Kirsch Import, bourbon barrel, casks #260481 to 260484)

North British 13 yo 2009/2023 (46%, Signatory Vintage for Kirsch Import, bourbon barrel, casks #260481 to 260484) Four stars
Not too sure they were still distilling only maize in 2009. Not certain we could tell anyway… Colour: pale white wine. Nose: not that much on marshmallows and sweet varnish, I'm rather finding some intriguing notes of white asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, aguardiente (Cuban-style), or bison vodka. Only in the background, a little grated coconut and a curious smokiness (burning papers, barbecue). Mouth: same feeling, this is not some Scottish Jack Daniel's at all, there's even a kind of malty firmness to it, some smoke indeed (and cigarette ashes), touches of williams pear Schnaps, a little popcorn, sesame seeds, Japanese rice crackers… Finish: medium, dry, herbal, rooty. Not a liquid bonbon for sure, even if the aftertaste would be sweeter. Berry eau-de-vie, sorb perhaps, elder… Comments: surprise surprise !
SGP:562 - 85 points.

Port Dundas 22 yo (57.1%, Watt Whisky, Taiwan Exclusive, barrel, 2023)

Port Dundas 22 yo (57.1%, Watt Whisky, Taiwan Exclusive, barrel, 2023) Three stars and a half
Colour: white wine. Nose: it is a sweeter one, much more on nougat, vanilla fudge, coconut balls, white chocolate, biscuits… But once again, it is not liquid marshmallows (or Red Bull vodka, ha). A little hay, always pleasant. With water: gets more vegetal, grassy, with touches of glue (model glue) but in moderation. Perhaps a little Bakelite/old car (from the 1960s). Mouth (neat): creamy, sweet, with some pear and pineapple liqueurs, some hay jelly, blancmange, more nougat yet… With water: sweet citrus coming through. Finish: medium, with more nougat. Perhaps even fresh croissants. Comments: these grains can take a lot of water, this one should be good with some (Taiwanese) dim - sum. Like it better than many other Port Dundas.
SGP:641 – 84 points.

Cambus 31 yo 1991/2022 (58.4%, The Whisky Cask Company, bourbon hogshead, 267 bottles)

Cambus 31 yo 1991/2022 (58.4%, The Whisky Cask Company, bourbon hogshead, 267 bottles) Three stars and a half
Did you know that Cambus was also making malt in the beginnings? It was closed in 1993 and then became Diageo's rather fascinating new cooperage plant. We visited it not too long ago, it's quite incredible. Anyway, this is one of the last Cambus Grains… Colour: white wine. Nose: back to a more herbal, rather more austere style, with also sour fruits (white cherries) and indeed fresh-mown lawn, liquorice wood, broken branches, a little charcoal… With water: sweet maize, chocolate, nougat, fudge… All that, plus hay and dried herbs. That's the part I always prefer. Mouth (neat): some readymade Cuban mojito. Indeed, rum, lime, mint… and no soda water. It is particularity citrusy and our friend limoncello would also make an appearance. With water: gentle, sweet, with moe coconut and nougat. Finish: medium, sweet. White chocolate and sweet maize. Comments: it could have been one of those casks they were using to season their first fill bourbon barrels before filling them with their precious malts. Because not too long ago, the game was to have less oak influence rather than more oak influence, mind you. Anyway, higher-class grain once more.
SGP:641 - 84 points.

We were also having this variation…

Cambus 33 yo 1989/2022 (62.7%, Alambic Classique, refill bourbon barrel, Laphroaig finish, cask #22063, 169 bottles)

Cambus 33 yo 1989/2022 (62.7%, Alambic Classique, refill bourbon barrel, Laphroaig finish, cask #22063, 169 bottles) Five stars
This baby was finished for 3 years in Laphroaig wood so technically, they could have said 'matured in ex-Laphroaig wood', that would have been legit. Good ethos, Mr. Alambic Classique, let's check this wee 'in-cask blend' now… we know this could work. Colour: gold. Nose: the peater adds some rooty and medicinal notes, for sure, but given the high strength, let's take no chances. With water: just superb. Delicate smoky fruits and flowers, perfect integration, slight camphor, cough medicine, ointments, eucalyptus honey... Indeed, this is superb. Mouth (neat): you 'feel' it's good, and it isn't even a proper flame-thrower at almost 63% vol., but… With water: excellent. Citrusy smoke, herbs, old liqueurs (ever heard of Arquebuse?), some saltiness… Finish: not that long but perfect. Smoked lemons and grapefruits, should anyone ever decide to make that. A hint of bacon in the aftertaste. Comments: they could have used Lagavulin instead and go full UD/Diageo, no? I hope I won't get a letter (joking).

SGP:563 - 90 points.

Girvan 41 yo 1977/2018 (63.4%, OB, William Grant & Sons Rare Cask Reserves, Begnoni & Gargano private cask, cask #17048, 412 bottles)

Girvan 41 yo 1977/2018 (63.4%, OB, William Grant & Sons Rare Cask Reserves, Begnoni & Gargano private cask, cask #17048, 412 bottles) Five stars
Probably not just any Girvan, with Giuseppe and Luca behind it. Colour: dark amber. Nose: another lovely example of an old whisky that's moved towards both old rhum and old cognac. In truth it smells like the interior of an old Jag, with hardwood, leather, several layers of polish and just a few drops of old engine oil, plus old rags and some chocolate in the glove compartment. But where have we put the keys… With water: the most precious pipe tobacco and thousands of different herbs, some even unknow to Man (what?) Mouth (neat): thick as honey and indeed, close to some old rum, probably from Guyana, also perhaps to those stunning Very Old Fitzgerald bourbons. What's sure is that, let's be honest, I'd have never said 'grain whisky'. Even the insanely high strength doesn't quite feel. With water: did Girvan have a subsidiary along the Demerara River? And another one at Stitzel-Weller's in Louisville, Kentucky? Finish: long, brilliant, on coffees, honeys, chocolates, meaty extracts and more pipe tobacco. Comments: perhaps my favourite grain ever, have to check that when I have a chance.
SGP:562 - 93 points.

Ayrshire Single Grain 47 yo 1968/2015 (50.9%, OB, William Grant & Sons Rare Cask Reserves, Velier 70th Anniversary, cask #61669, 372 bottles)

Ayrshire Single Grain 47 yo 1968/2015 (50.9%, OB, William Grant & Sons Rare Cask Reserves, Velier 70th Anniversary, cask #61669, 372 bottles) Five stars
This must be Girvan too, not too sure why the owners wouldn't have used the name, but don't we love a mystery? Unless I'm wrong the name/stencil 'Ayrshire' was usually rather used for embedded malt whisky Ladyburn. Colour: coffee. Nose: I don't quite know what to say. Good acetone and toffee in perfect sync. I think I'll have to cancel anything I have been writing about grain whisky for more than twenty years. This is sublimely tertiary, let me just mention a few aromas, say umeshu, Marmite, Partagas, umami, sticky toffee pudding, salmiak, new tyres… And so on. I think I'll have to remain seated after this one. With water: sublimely sublime. Extraordinary mentholy and liquoricy meatiness. Mouth (neat): incredible. Very old pre-Mao pu-her tea, pre-Castro cigars, and just myriads of acetic, varnishy, fruity, earthy, very tertiary flavours. With water: I'll say no more. Finish: and I try to keep my promises. Comments: gee, this is unjust, but it looks like the flabbergasting Girvan 1977 has remained my favourite grain whisky ever for only fifteen minutes.
SGP:563 - 94 points.

Not sure I should, but we said 'a vertical septet'…

Dumbarton 40 yo 1964 (52,1% Clan Denny, Hunter Hamilton, cask #HH1891, +/-2005)

Dumbarton 40 yo 1964 (52,1% Clan Denny, Hunter Hamilton, cask #HH1891, +/-2005) Four stars
A bottling by Douglas Laing. We've tried some older Dumbarton 1964 by 'the brothers' and some have been pretty awesome. The majestic (yet somewhat industrial) Dumbarton Distillery stopped working in 2002 and was demolished in 2005. Colour: gold. Nose: little death-seat effect, even if it's not quite as enthralling as the old official Girvans, this smoother, lighter, easier old Dumbarton remains lovely, on herbs and roots, celeriac, parsnips, wild carrots, with some macchiato in the background. Chicory coffee. With water: coconut water. I'm not sure this one should get reduced. Mouth (neat): typical varnish, mangos, vanilla, sour wood, pineapples… You would never say this baby's is 40, but it's doing its job. After all, it's Ballantine's, in a way. With water: all good, easy, with some presence, popcorn and nougat, some musty old wood perhaps, coconut… Finish: medium, on vanilla, cappuccino and 'old wood'. Nougat and coconut liqueur in the aftertaste, or Malibu. After all, Malibu's made by Pernod-Ricard too (but this Dumbarton wasn't made by them, I believe it was still Hiram Walker in 1964). Comments: very good, just not as complex as we would have expected. Now, after the Girvans…
SGP:551 - 86 points.

No Invergordon today, next time?

(With thanks to LMDW and Morten)

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


June 20, 2023


Another world session
(France India Taiwan Korea Israel)
Starting from France again… (saving petrol and kerosene) …



Rozelieures 3 yo 2019/2023 (60.3%, Whisky Is The Limit, France, Jurançon barrique, cask #L485)

Rozelieures 3 yo 2019/2023 (60.3%, Whisky Is The Limit, France, Jurançon barrique, cask #L485) Four stars
Jurançon is an amazing white wine from the South-West of France, either very dry or sweet – they've used sweet here. It's mainly made out of manseng grapes (grand and petit). Colour: full gold. Nose: imagine some apricot tarte covered with cinnamon and a little curry. Not much else but that should be the very high strength. With water: indeed, we're finding clementines now, honeysuckle, mullein, certainly elderflower (St.-Germain), ginseng, yuzu, borage, atsina cress (anise)… But then again, we love Jurançon and compadre white Irouléguy. Mouth (neat): tight, citrusy (as the wines are, even the sweet ones) and with once again, some curry, cinnamon and turmeric. I don't think you should drink this naked. With water: absolutely, water is mandatory. Liquorice wood, zests, edible flowers of all kinds, small citrus, touch of passion fruit, and some greenish tannins playing with your lips. Finish: long, more or less on spicy citrus. That atsina cress again in the aftertaste. It's a wonderful little herb that really tastes like some fresher aniseed. Comments: let's say it, I'm not really a fan of the idea, but I'm rather a fan of the end result. Much better than the other way 'round, I suppose.
SGP:661 - 86 points.

Let's move East this time…

Indri 'Trini - The Threewood' (46%, OB, India, 2022)

Indri 'Trini - The Threewood' (46%, OB, India, 2022) Four stars
A first at WF Towers, a new Indian single malt, made by sugar makers 'Piccadily Agro Industries Limited' in Haryana, just south of New Delhi. We might have some Amrut too, we've got quite a few new ones to try. Anyway… Ah yes, they've used three woods like anyone else, namely bourbon, French wine and PX. But what is French wine? Colour: gold. Nose: you cannot escape mangos in most Indian malts (including Solan No.1!) and this one's full of mangos, vanilla, apricots, oranges, acacia blossom, honeysuckle… It is very seductive. Mouth: but yes it's very good. More tropical fruits, mangos 'of course', passion fruits, guavas, a little mint (leaves), vanilla, soft spices (mild masala), plus apple peel, lemongrass… Seriously, let's be fair, this is very good, no question. Finish: long, a notch spicier, otherwise all on citrus and mangos. Comments: to be honest, I would have said Amrut. Or to be even more honest, Bushmills malt. Honestly.

SGP:751 - 86 points.

Amrut 'Fusion XI' (50%, OB, India, limited edition, 970 decanters, 2023)

Amrut 'Fusion XI' (50%, OB, India, limited edition, 970 decanters, 2023) Four stars and a half
A very funny porcelain decanter that reminds us of Glenfiddich's famous Wedgewood one. I suppose that's the colour. This peaty Fusion has been matured in bourbon and Port, and it is a multi-age self-blend. Colour: deep gold. Nose: it is highly unusual, with some patchouli, gunpowder, new tyres, coriander leaves, Barbour grease, new rubber bands, eucalyptus, hashish and bananas and mangos in the background. With water: thuja wood and incense, more rubber, sandalwood, various herbal teas… Mouth (neat): potent, rather leafy and rubbery (good rubber) at first, then on citrus, mint, green bananas and guavas. Smoked guavas, touch of Parma ham. With just a drop of water: grapefruits leading the pack now. Finish: rather long, a little leafier, on grass smoke, lime and eucalyptus. A glass of champagne 'zero' in the aftertaste. Really! Comments: superb Amrut. I still remember when I first stumbled upon the first Amrut in Paris, circa 2000. Or was it 2001? 2002? They've kept blowing us away since back then.

SGP:664 - 89 points.

Maybe to Taiwan? What do you say? We'll soon unload a lot of tasting notes for Kavalan, but in the meantime, let's have some Omar by Nantou…

Nantou Omar 2015/2022 (58.7%, OB, Taiwan, virgin oak, cask #01150382, 199 bottles)

Nantou Omar 2015/2022 (58.7%, OB, Taiwan, virgin oak, cask #01150382, 199 bottles) Four stars
Nantou is owned by the Taiwanese state. We've already tried some superb Omars by Nantou, for example the Keeper Richard's Choice II (WF 90). Keeper to Keeper. As for the monkey on the label here, no ideas who that could be, I'll have to ask. It can't be Hanuman, can it? Oh and it seems that there's also an NFT. Colour: deep rich gold. Nose: fudge, madeleine, biscuits, scones, white chocolate, nougat, halva… You get the picture I'm sure. With water: picture-perfect vanilla-ed and nougaty development. Mouth (neat): bourbon from Taiwan. Vanilla, corn syrup, varnish, bitter oak spices… Water should help big time, it's even deeply needed. With water: still Taiwanese bourbon of some sort, with just ripe papayas pushing through. Sweet spices too. Finish: medium, with more of the same, bananas, vanilla, sweet oak, fruit skins and peel… Comments: totally perfect but possibly a notch too perfect, perhaps lacking a little more… emotion? You name it.

SGP:551 - 85 points.

Last one, further North-East, playing it safe…

Kimchangsoo 'The Private Cask' (50.5%, OB, Korea, 276 bottles, 2023)

Kimchangsoo 'The Private Cask' (50.5%, OB, Korea, 276 bottles, 2023) Four stars and a half
I think we've already told you about all the good we were thinking of the tiny Kimchangsoo Distillery. The first casks have been stupendous, this very one matured in a recharred Chardonnay cask, possibly an ex-Montrachet pièce from Domaine Leflaive (I'm joking here). Colour: full gold. Nose: you cannot not think of some kind of peated Clynelish. I'm not saying Brora, of course not. Waxy kumquats and bergamots, pollen, Gudang Garang cigarettes (Kretek), mead, indeed some marc de Bourgogne (not destemmed!) and then some kind of Laphroaigness, really. Coal tar, dried kelp, embrocations, iodine. With water: bingo, old copper coins, old kettle, garage, Pu-ehr tea, perhaps umeshu… It's getting tertiary, already. Mouth (neat): ueber-top spicy and smoky arrival, feeling stronger than 50.5%, with dried bananas, beeswax, banana skin, eucalyptus, cough lozenges, green tar… And indeed Kretek cigarettes (clove and tobacco). Yes, I know Kretek have nothing to do with South Korea, but I've smoked my share when I was young (yeah, not too long ago). With water: absolutely exceptional given the young age. Leathers, old spices, paprika, bay leaves, caramel and caraway (alliteration alert!)… It's even getting better and better, only the wood is starting to become a little strong and spicy. Otherwise we would have reached Manzanillaness. Finish: long, perfectly spicy, with some smoky rubber and some clove. The aftertaste might be a little bitter, but what the hell. Comments: love this, really love this.

SGP:473 - 89 points.

I think we have room for a quick M&H. I know, no logic whatsoever…

Milk & Honey 2019/2022 (59.1%, OB for The Duchess, Israel, ex-Caroni cask, cask #2019-1907)

Milk & Honey 2019/2022 (59.1%, OB for The Duchess, Israel, ex-Caroni cask, cask #2019-1907) Four stars
So some secret love between Israel and Trinidad & Tobago. Contrarily to what many lazy minds believe, this is becoming a better world; remember it's always true if you believe it (Costanza's law). Colour: straw. Nose: roots, fresh woods, turnips, acacia wood, gentian, spent engine oil, black soap… Boy is this dry! With water: sameish, with some fresh butter, ink, tar, celeriac, artichoke, linoleum… Boy does this remain dry! Mouth (neat): peat and benzine, lime, gherkins, heavy tar… We've known Port Ellens that used to be a bit like this, seriously. With water: and there, lemons (hurray), grapefruits (hurray), eggplants (hurray – hold on…) Nah it's still dry but the tar is perfect. Please add any waters parsimoniously. Finish: very long, salty, peaty, with good tight lemon and a drop of engine oil. A little drying then (strong green tea). Comments: it's all happened on the palate, which is not that common in my book. Don't nose it, just drink it. Almost no sweetness at all, we'll all get a break as we say in France.

SGP:173 - 85 points.

June 19, 2023


Balvenie and Burnside

These Burnsides are Balvenie-driven teaspooned blended malts, they are not Eaglesome/Cadenhead's Burnsides, which where Springbanks, although Cadenhead would also use the name Burnside for their own Balvenies. I mean, for their teaspooned Balvenies… Ooh it's getting complicated indeed, but we'll first try one or two newish young Balvenie OB…



Balvenie 'The Creation of a Classic' (43%, OB, Balvenie Stories, +/-2022)

Balvenie 'The Creation of a Classic' (43%, OB, Balvenie Stories, +/-2022) Three stars and a half
NAS, ex-bourbon, finished in oloroso, so indeed a contemporary classic. Not sure it would have been a classic thirty years ago. Except the Tuns, they haven't done many NAS yet at Balvenie, apart from those old flat 'basquaise' bottles. Colour: pale gold. Nose: quite herbaceous, on beer and hay, malt, green walnut, brown toast and some spices. I miss a little honey, mirabelle plums and quince that I love so much at Balvenie, but it's not so bad. A little sour apple, a little sour cream… Mouth: it is malty and quite sweet, you can feel the sherry well, walnut liqueur, cinnamon liqueur, mead, plum tart and the peppery side of a fairly active wood. Then there is more and more tarte tatin, and we won't complain. Finish: the woody side is a bit present, with cedar wood, tobacco, lots of cinnamon and black tea. But it works pretty well. Vanilla and a drop of young Sauternes in the aftertaste. Comments: it's good, remains to be seen who will pay much more for a version that has lost all mention of age. Perhaps all the other distilleries that have already implemented this little trick now very widespread in Scotland should be asked. 
SGP:551 - 84 points.

Balvenie 12 yo 'Triple Cask' (40%, OB, +/-2022)

Balvenie 12 yo 'Triple Cask' (40%, OB, +/-2022) Three stars and a half
This is a vatting, a.k.a. a marriage of first-fill bourbon, refill bourbon and sherry. So a pretty regular set-up, but it seems that the masses want to hear about casks these days. Double, triple, quadruple, quintuple, sextuple, seventuple (what?)… Not joking, remember Isle of Jura's Seven Wood?! I suppose they have an Eight Wood version for dear China.  It reminds me a bit of when cars needed to gather the mentions 'injection', 'sixteen valves or 16V' and, naturally, 'turbo' on the trunk. But back to this little Balvenie, if you please… Colour: straw. Nose: it's light and has pretty notes of ripe apple, pears, mead again, roasted peanuts, cider and indeed mirabelles. Also a little honey and cinnamon cookie. Nice nose, really. Yes, yes, I insist. Mouth: it suffers a tiny bit after the NAS, mainly due to these 40% vol. which make it slightly flat, even if Balvenie resists well to wild reduction, as always shown by their 21 years 'Portwood'. Nice notes of cider again, and vanilla plus cinnamon. Finish: barely short, still on this cider, on apple pie sprinkled with cinnamon and brown sugar… Comments: frankly, it's not bad at all, it's quite tasty and above all very approachable. But we want four oaks next time, please! And five the year after…
SGP:541 - 83 points.

And so, this old Burnside…

Burnside 28 yo 1994/2022 (47.8%, The Whisky Blues, blended malt, cask #5139, hogshead, 229 bottles)

Burnside 28 yo 1994/2022 (47.8%, The Whisky Blues, blended malt, cask #5139, hogshead, 229 bottles) Four stars and a half
Isn't this one ticking all the boxes? I remember we had tried an awesome Burnside 1994 by Le Gus't earlier this year. And since this very one is by 'The Whisky Blues', naturally, we'll listen to something by R.L. Burnside while trying this baby. We should have listened to Sonny Boy Williamson when last we tried Laphroaig! Colour: pale gold, straw. Nose: it's much more tense than the official ones, with more wet chalk and brew, and even a little raw wool, then melon, white peach, a little cherry, white beer, fresh bread… In other words, the 28 years don't really feel, but it's a very 'natural' nose, which even becomes slightly mentholated over time. It reminds me a little of a non-alcoholic beer by Kronenbourg called Tourtel that we have in France. It's not too bad with a little lemon, I can assure you! Malt: very very good, still quite tense, with just as much chalk and grist, but also green apple this time. Greengage, small white fruits, elderberry, lemon zest… It's really very pretty, with some perfect and quite unusual tension that makes it almost refreshing (watch out!). Finish: medium length, still fresh and fruity, this time a little more honeyed. Really very good. A small touch of coconut as a signature. Comments: excellent, even if it's dangerously refreshing. I think you have been warned.
SGP:651 - 88 points.

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


June 18, 2023


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



Yet another rum Sunday

I can't seem to remember why we had decided that malternatives would be tasted on Sundays. Nothing to do with the church, I can assure you. But as usual, we'll do easies, nasties, and heavies, possibly in that order.

Médine Distillery, Mauritius (
Business Magazine)




Flor de Cana 14 yo (40%, OB, Nicaragua, +/-2022)

Flor de Cana 14 yo (40%, OB, Nicaragua, +/-2022) one star and a half
This one's carbon-neutral and fair-trade certified, as it says on the label. It's cool that they would have started all that 14 years ago already, no? No? I would suppose some countermeasures were needed, after all the stories about the cane fields and all that. Colour: amber gold. Nose: light. Caramel, fudge, milk chocolate, nuts, cane syrup, Nutella. Not a lot happening, but no problems, we're content with the fact that we do not increase global warming when trying this one. Mouth: typical light 'Spanish-style' ron, surely thin but not too sweet this time, with some earthy caramel, sugarcane syrup and… Well that's pretty all. Finish: short, with some triple-sec, Cointreau… Too much sugar in the aftertaste, that's the difficult part(. Comments: the fourteen years don't feel at all, but I swear this tasting note was fair-taste certified. Meaning that we wash our glasses by hand, that we make minimal use of water, and that our second-hand 2017 Macintosh is put on low-consumption mode. This wee rum was not bad.

SGP:740 - 69 points.

Damoiseau 'VO Rhum Vieux Agricole' (42%, OB, Guadeloupe, +/-2021)

Damoiseau 'VO Rhum Vieux Agricole' (42%, OB, Guadeloupe, +/-2021) Four stars
In my book, this young expression used to be a little light ten years ago. But this is 2023 and it is back on the tasting table… And remember that in booze speak, VO means Very Old, so barely aged. Colour: gold. Nose: dandelions, sémillon (Sauternes), mirabelles, in short all things yellow. Lovely fresh and fragrant – and uncomplicated - nose. Mouth: good, more on oranges, lime blossom tea, honeysuckle, yuzu, tangerines. Where does all this citrus come from? Enzymes? Finish: medium, fresh, very citrusy. More mineral aftertaste (basalt), a little oak and nutmeg. Comments: in case you haven't noticed, I find this fresh little Balvenie-y VO excellent. But it's true that this is La Guadeloupe…

SGP:651 - 85 points.

Penny Blue 2006-2008/2022 (55%, Navigate World Whisky, Mauritius, casks #57-#136, 84 bottles)

Penny Blue 2006-2008/2022 (55%, Navigate World Whisky, Mauritius, casks #57-#136, 84 bottles) Four stars
A lovely multi-vintage bottle from Medine Distillery for our friends in South Africa. Colour: deep gold. Nose: they've always been making rum on Maurice, but it seems that things improved mucho lately. For example, this is less clean than in the old days (remember the existential question, is rum dirty ? Only if it's done right!) The earthiness is superb, the tars and menthols are perfect, and the salty, meaty sauces do add a lot of complexity. I'm thinking Maggi. With water: and pencil shavings. Mouth (neat): olives, tar and liquorice are pointing the tips of their noses, as they say on Maurice (what?)  The rest is classic, pepper, rubber, plum jam… With water: salty olives, caramel, black nougat, pancake sauce… That's rather the old way. Finish: long, mentholy, with some honeys too, propolis… Comments: one of the best Mauritians I've ever tried, but indeed I haven't tried hundreds, regrettably. Just between us, older Mauritians used to be nasty sugar bombs. Not Penny Blue, though, I remember BBR were having some very good ones quite a few years ago already.

SGP:562 - 87 points.

Travellers 13 yo 2007/2021 (61.8%, Sample X, Belize, 259 bottles)

Travellers 13 yo 2007/2021 (61.8%, Sample X, Belize, 259 bottles) Four stars
Sample X is a brand by the excellent Whisky/Rum Mercenary. I'm sorry I'm a little late with this one. Colour: deep gold. Nose: in my humble book, Travellers is often pretty close to Foursquare, really. This very one's pretty floral, it's got triple-sec, buttercups, honeysuckle, light white nougat, whiffs of church incense (amen) and that thing that works like Proust's madeleine, Armenian Paper. But whoops, just noticed the ABV… With water: vanilla, fresh sawdust, maple syrup, fudge. Easy. Mouth (neat): focused, on Cointreau aged in oak and kept at 70% vol. More or less. Big vanilla. With water: liquid nougat, pistachio syrup (another sin), sesame syrup as well (yet another sin…) Finish: medium, on sweet nuts. I'm reminded of that killing chocolate bar called Snickers, by Mars Incorporated. Don't we all remain kids forever? Comments: I think I'll send an invoice to Mars Incorporated. After all, some call me an influencer (where have I put my gun?)

SGP:651 - 87 points.

Let's push the esters…

Enmore 1994/2021 'REV' (48.5%, S.B.S., Guyana, cask #1423, 124 bottles)

Enmore 1994/2021 'REV' (48.5%, S.B.S., Guyana, cask #1423, 124 bottles) Five stars
The marque stands for Rum Enmore Versailles, so Versailles' wooden pot still when it was at Enmore. Colour: red amber. Nose: huge varnish, embrocations, 'old' acetone, turpentine, thuja wood… All things that I cherish and love. With water (although that's not needed): liquorice! Mouth (neat): extraordinary. Some black-olive-and-heavy-liquorice-driven spirit. I need not say more. With water: it needs no water. Finish: long. Comments: I've decided to keep this note short and, hopefully, sweet. Salted liquorice alert!
SGP:462 - 91 points.

Please another Versailles, your majesty…

Guyana 2012/2022 'VSG' (62.3%, Barikenn, Guyana, 246 bottles)

Guyana 2012/2022 'VSG' (62.3%, Barikenn, Guyana, 246 bottles) Five stars
From the same wooden still, after it was moved to Diamond Distillery, the only remaining distillery in Guyana. Colour: gold. Nose: a pilot's rum, as there's so much tarmac, warm tyres, then young cognac, ointments, liquorice, brake fluid, new leather… With water: waxed paper, new books, tar and rubber… Isn't it funny that descriptors that would suggest that any whisky was faulty would work this well with rum? Mouth (neat): high-precision lime concentrate and liquorice juice, plus cellulosic varnish and thyme oil. A tad stubborn perhaps, but deep down it's good. With water: salty butter, caramels and Breton fudge (why Breton, S.?) Finish: sadly. Comments: I totally hate it that such a young rum would be this good. I've heard the Versailles still was one hundred years old, well, here's to the next hundred years!
SGP:463 - 90 points.

Last one please…

Long Pond 24 yo 1998/2022 'ITP' (56%, Rest and Be Thankful, LMDW exclusive, Jamaica, barrel, 178 bottles)

Long Pond 24 yo 1998/2022 'ITP' (56%, Rest and Be Thankful, LMDW exclusive, Jamaica, barrel, 178 bottles) Four stars and a half
I think we've already written that they should do T-shirts. ITP, that's 60-120 grams esters per hlpa, so pretty low. But we're not ester freaks (are we not?) Colour: light gold. Nose: bicycle inner tube and rubber bands, then paint, ink, charcoal and drawing gum and linseed oil. This one's culturally impeccable (oh-my-God). With water: ink, chalk, concrete. We're almost on Islay. Mouth (neat): in my book, Long Pond hasn't quite got the depth of Worthy Park or Hampden, but there are exceptions. Lovely lime, fennel, pointed cabbage, aniseed, bone-dry white wine (Mosel sylvaner) and just charcoal and liquorice wood. Absolutely awe-inspiring. With water: mud, olives, cough syrup, whelks (my favourite animals) and green lemons. Finish: long and saltier yet. Comments: it's just that the Guyanians (well, the Versailles) were more complex, more elegant… But this Long Pond was as good as any. It's so hard to build acceptable line-ups!

SGP:472 - 89 points.

As you may imagine, if we're having this last one after some Guyanese (cheers Lance) and even a Jamaican, that's because we have faith in it. In all fields, brands and manufacturers will try to justify their primarily economic or practical choices with somewhat twisted arguments. "The origin of raw materials doesn't matter because distillation destroys the differences." "We use hyperactive casks because in whisky, only the wood matters." "We buy our molasses from abroad because the aging location is the most important factor." "We add sugar because our ancestors always did." "The different types of sugarcane or barley are of little importance because they can't be detected when tasting the spirits." And so on. However, a part of the new wave of distillers thinks differently and tries to make more qualitative choices than economic ones as selling points. It's up to the consumer to follow them and reward them by not being falsely conservative and stingy! The most glaring example is undoubtedly Waterford in Ireland and its 'kind of' twin distillery on the island of Grenada, the highly disruptive Renegade, which we shall try now...

Renegade 'Etudes – Pearls' (55%, OB, Grenada, 2022)

Renegade 'Etudes – Pearls' (55%, OB, MicrOrigin, terroir 'Flats', single field 'Grapefruit', Grenada, 2022) Five stars
In a way, it is 'agricole' but distilled in pot stills, not in colonnes créoles. What's sure is that the closest concept 'in spirit' is that of the best Martiniquais or Guadeloupeans, that is to say own cane fields, fresh juice, and the isolated use of several cane varietals and fields or 'terroirs'. In any case, this is a single field from a single farm (Pearls, in the coastal plains) and single varietal rum (Yellow Lady, reminds me of Jose Feliciano, ha). I would add that I'm a little late but that's because of the several glasses and samples of Pearls I've got within the last months, which I've just drunk while sharing them with friends. Yeah, tell me about a 'blogger' but remember, people over spirits, always. Colour: gold. Nose: this is obviously young but they managed to limit the oak impact as such, it is not overtly extractive at all, there are just a few discreet pencil shavings. What pleases me most is the appearance of black olives and diesel oil, engine grease, rotting pineapples and bananas (love this), tiny touches of acetone and some kind of liquoricy fudge. A little dirty earth  too, which is another favourite at WF Towers. In short, it's pure but it's absolutely not clean. I know what I'm trying to say. With water: a little charcoal, a little capsicum, tomato leaves… Mouth (neat): now I remember why I drank it all. Wonderful pink grapefruits, touch of varnish, our friends the olives, liquorice, brine, green pepper, gherkins, capers, tiny bit of salmiak… And back to grapefruit (I swear I wrote this before I learned that the name of the field was 'Grapefruit'). With water: all salty elements to the front stage. Finish: long but no further changes, which is normal as this is only one or two. I was afraid those pencil shavings would be back and run the show, but no. More pepper and even chilli in the aftertaste, was to be expected. Purity and precision preserved. Comments: after all, they just do at Renegade what they did at Waterford. Easy (yeah right). Oh and I've noticed that other distillers were starting to frown, I say that's a good sign. Love this juice but sadly, it drinks too well; at a pretty moderate price, that can be a problem. Of course not.
SGP:562 - 90 points.

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


June 17, 2023





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

Eight Recent Daftmill

Daftmill is very firmly in its stride these days. Let's simply work our way through eight recent bottlings today. By now I have confidence that we can anticipate grass, flowers, honey and cosplay Rosebank!


Daftmill 2010/2023 'Winter Release' (46%, OB, 6550 bottles)
Colour: straw. Nose: very Daftmill! Which is to say cut grasses, yellow flowers, yellow plums, citrus curds and jellies and some sharper touches of crushed gooseberry and nettle. Hyper-summery! The kind of dram that you could put an ice cube in, dare I say! Mouth: sweet and extremely easy, on yellow and green fruits, touches of custard, dessert wines, chamomile tea and a little putty and linseed oil. Still this overwhelming feeling of sunshine and grassy, summery vibes. And I swear it's not because it is presently very hot outside while I'm writing these notes. Finish: medium, still sweet but starting to involve some slightly drier suggestions of pressed flowers and their pollens and more fruit teas. Comments: perhaps on the simpler side, but when everything is this easy and pleasurable that's really an asset. A Winter Daftmill that's perfect for summer - go figure!
SGP: 641 - 87 points.



Daftmill 2012/2022 (57.7%, OB for 'The Drambusters', cask #086, PX Sherry hogshead, 341 bottles)
Colour: pale bronze. Nose: it's not a sticky or overly cloying PX profile, rather this is on sultana jam, creme de cassis, banana bread and walnut oil. Also some very nice background notes of rancio and plum wine. In time there's one or two wee bacon frazzles as well. With water: slightly peppery now and leaner, with more focus towards game meats and leafy tobacco notes. Mouth: up front notes of camphor, hazelnut puree, cocoa and fruity black coffee, also some sweeter notes of dark fruits stewed in Armagnac and a little flower honey. With water: excellent development with some lovely herbal complexity - tarragon and fennel seed - with more bitter chocolate, coffee and black pepper warmth. Still some classical sultanas and walnuts too. Finish: long, warming and gingery with wood spices, treacle, brown bread and more impressions of walnuts and stewed dark fruits. Comments: Daftmill continue to have very impressive sherry casks, even if the results don't always feel as immediately 'Daftmilly' as the bourbons. This one really sings with water - or should that be swims?
SGP: 561 - 88 points.



Daftmill 2011/2022 (60.3%, OB for Sweden, cask #100, 1st fill oloroso sherry butt, 646 bottles)
Colour: pale amber. Nose: a drier and more earthy and mulchy profile of sherry, which makes sense. More on wet leaves, forest mulch, bitter chocolate and walnut oil. Some fruit scented pipe tobacco and notes of dried strawberry too. With water: goes further towards this earthier and more organic profile, with impressions of earthy dunnage and old potting sheds. Unlit cigars, dried sultanas and hints of sandalwood. Mouth: sweeter but still very rich, earthy, bready and nicely spicy. Just these additional background notes of fruit syrups and crystallised fruits as well, which adds a nice feeling of complexity. With water: veers more towards sweeter and fruitier notes now, along with walnut wine, clove, blackjack chews and liquorice. A rather superb syrupy texture as well. Finish: long, on liquorice, treacle, bitter dark coffee, cloves and brown bread with a meagrest scraping of Nutella! Comments: I generally prefer these ex-oloroso casks, but I find it hard to pick between these two to be honest, I love the way this one veers about with water. As such: same score.
SGP: 461 - 88 points.



Daftmill 2011/2022 (60.4%, OB for Milano Whisky Festival, cask #095, 1st fill oloroso sherry butt, 667 bottles)
Colour: pale amber. Nose: very similar to the Sweden cask, only here perhaps a tad more sticky and giving a feeling of more overt sweetness with these slightly more concentrated dark fruits in syrup, also walnut liqueur, strawberry wine and sweetened black coffee. With water: becomes even more aromatic with lemon oil, bergamot, thyme and things like brown bread and aniseed. Mouth: indeed, sweeter in profile and diverging a little more with notes of chocolate sauce, walnut liqueur, herbal cough syrup and sweet black liquorice. Also some tiny notes of mint tea and clove oil. With water: beautifully syrupy, herbal, leafy and earthy with aged dessert wines, camphor, fir resin, treacle and marzipan. Finish: long, nicely sweet and thick, with sultanas, plum jam, more dessert wine notes and more walnut oils. Comments: this one started out along the same rails but went off in its own extremely charming direction. A really excellent sherry casked Daftmill, is all I can really say.
SGP: 651 - 89 points.



Daftmill 2010/2022 (59.2%, OB for Berry Brothers, cask #013, 1st fill bourbon barrel, 227 bottles)
Colour: bright straw. Nose: a hot toddy! Bags of lemon and honey, throat lozenges, nectarines, crushed nettle and some herbal / medical suggestions such as wintergreen and eucalyptus. I would say there's a level of complexity with these bourbon ones that the sherry ones sometimes miss. With water: even more 'Daftmillness' with cut grass and nettles, along with pithy citrus rinds, white flowers and some elegant background notes of young sauternes. Mouth: gorgeous! Pure citrons, waxes, flower honey, touches shilling ales, herbal teas, dried mango and papaya. Feels older than 12 years and showing some wonderfully vibrant citrus fruit notes. With water: superbly syrupy and mature still, but with a lovely natural sweetness that still manages to involve a lot of citrus and dried exotic fruits - tropical fruit teas and dried herbs! Finish: good length, with more sweet lemony vibes now - lemon curd - and more notes of sweetened herbal teas and linseed oil. Comments: this one seems to get this balance of sweetness, fruitiness, grassy notes and dryness just perfect. Hugely pleasurable stuff!
SGP: 641 - 89 points.



Daftmill 2010/2022 (60.1%, OB for Japan, cask #090, 1st fill bourbon barrel)
Colour: bright straw. Nose: a little leaner and drier, on shoe polish, face cream, white flowers full of pollens and also touches of canvass and dried flowers. Perhaps a slightly more austere style of Daftmill? With water: flower stems, vase water and toasted fennel seeds along with hints of lemongrass and turmeric. Mouth: a notch sweeter, but still a more even profile that involves richer cereal and malt extract notes, more beers, slightly bitter hops and pithy citrus rinds. A bigger and once again more austere take on Daftmill. With water: still this more austere profile, but I like these drier, earthier tones of cigarette papers, turmeric and dried flowers along with those still present beer notes. A feeling of weight and richness. Finish: medium in length and rather green, on more cereals, a touch sappy and with more of these turmeric, face cream and putty notes. Comments: not as convinced by this one, it's a more austere take on Daftmill than we are used to.
SGP: 451 - 85 points.



Daftmill 2009/2022 (58.8%, OB for Poland, cask #030, 1st fill bourbon barrel, 211 bottles)
Colour: straw. Nose: a softer and more gentle example, on sandalwood, gentle green fruitiness such as green apple and gooseberry, then touches of new shoe leather and sun cream as well. Elegant, gentle and very 'lowland' conceptually. With water: dilution seems to unlock some richer components such as maltier and more cereal bones, sweet ales, heather honey and muddled green herbs also all get a look in. Mouth: lovely sweetness, full of yellow fruits, custard made with sweet wines, lemon jelly, hibiscus flower and hints of mint and eucalyptus. Delicate but complex. With water: same feeling of elevated richness once water is added, sweetened olive oil, clove rock, malt syrup, shoe polish and heather ales with a big slug of sweet mead. Finish: medium and on dried flowers, honey, mineral oil and slightly buttery cereals. Comments: starts out delicate and gentle, but seems to become bigger and juicier with water as it goes along. Another excellent one.
SGP: 561 - 88 points.



Daftmill 2009/2022 (60.2%, OB for UK, cask #026, 1st fill oloroso sherry butt, 630 bottles)
Colour: pale amber. Nose: obvious dark fruits up front, all full of prunes, dates and fig jam with some sultanas and also a lovely gamey, earthy, slightly rancio touch as well. I really like that Daftmill's sherry casks never spill over into excess. With water: even more on leather, dried dark fruits, game salami, treacle and rancio. Mouth: still on all these lovely sticky dark fruits, but balanced by those gamey notes and meatier things like venison sausage and cranberry gravy. Also caramelised brown sugar and delicately salted liquorice. With water: the wood feels a little more overtly now, but there's still many lovely notes of salted almonds, salty liquorice, toasted walnuts and game meats. Finish: long, still slightly salty, gamey and earthy with a nicely drying quality. Comments: top notch sherry cask once again. I love the feeling of salty old oloroso in this one.
SGP: 471 - 89 points.



I feel like Daftmill might be becoming one of those distilleries that has a very clear 'bourbon profile' and a 'sherry profile', that both manage to be excellent but quite distinct from each other. Not unlike Glendronach used to be. Anyway, an excellent and rather illuminating wee session!




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


June 16, 2023