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Whisky Tasting




Hi, you're in the Archives, November 2018 - Part 2


November 2018 - part 1 <--- November 2018 - part 2 ---> December 2018 - part 1


November 30, 2018


Three wee Strathmill

We’re seeing even more Strathmill out there these days, as we actually do with almost all second or third-tier distillery names. First, let’s have a young Strathmill that should let the distillate shine…

Strathmill 9 yo (59%, James Eadie, recharred hogshead, cask #806273, 258 bottles, 2018)

Strathmill 9 yo (59%, James Eadie, recharred hogshead, cask #806273, 258 bottles, 2018) Two stars and a half
These recharred hoggies usually impart bigger vanilla notes. Colour: white wine. Nose: really raw and spirity at first nosing, extremely grassy, and wouldn’t change much over time. I guess water’s needed. With water: gets even grassier. A touch of mud, porridge, and yeah, cut grass. Mouth (neat): fairer, fruitier, very very (and I mean very) eau-de-vie de barley. Plum spirit, limejuice, cider apple, vanilla, orange squash, more eau-de-vie, tutti-frutti style. With water: water works well, we have some nicer apple brandy with drops of limoncello and always a fair share of grass. Lemon sweets. Less vanilla than I had expected. Finish: medium, burns a bit, still very tutti-frutti eau-de-vie. Williams pear in the aftertaste. Comments: rather pleasant, this young raw eau-de-vie de barley, but indeed it’s not quite Bowmore 1966.
SGP:551 - 78 points.

Strathmill 25 yo 1993/2018 (49.9%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, hogshead, 216 bottles)

Strathmill 25 yo 1993/2018 (49.9%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, hogshead, 216 bottles) Four stars
Colour: straw. Nose: this very grassy style again, but the years have worked their magic and made this raw baby rounder and subtler, while the oak’s added notes of coconut balls, banana sweets, and perhaps wee whiffs of rose petals. Very nice touches of newly sawn fresh oak in the back. With water: impeccable, with more fresh marzipan this time, fir liqueur, Japanese red bean paste (anko)… Mouth (neat): really good! It’s almost as if some mad soul had blended Chartreuse with limoncello and crème de menthe. Sure you could try that at home. Add a little honey and natural vanilla essence for good measure. With water: more a fresh fruit salad. Pears, apples, bananas, peaches… Very nice, I would say. Finish: medium, rather more on oranges, which always works. Comments: not an earth-shattering malt whisky, but I’m not sure any Strathmill is or was. Very good, very fruity, very easy.
SGP:651 - 85 points.

Strathmill 26 yo 1992/2018 (44.7%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon barrel)

Strathmill 26 yo 1992/2018 (44.7%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon barrel, 198 bottles) Four stars
Colour: straw. Nose: same-ish, just even fruitier, lush, fresh… Acacia honey, various preserved fruits (certainly plums), drops of green tea, custard, coconut water, pink bananas… Mouth: well you could believe this is some Irish single malt if you’re not paying attention. Jell-O and marshmallow at first, then the same very fruity things that we had found in the lovely nose. Fruit salad, light honeys, poached peaches, wine gums, a touch of grapefruit peel that would add a pleasant wee bitterness. Finish: medium, very fresh and fruity, a tad more on citrus this time. Same notes of peels in the aftertaste, which works extremely well. Comments: not very complicated, but rather adorable. Watch your intakes.
SGP:651 - 87 points.

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


November 29, 2018


A few Blair Athol, gently

Blair Athol’s not the biggest malt ever, but the OBs from 30, 40 or 50 years ago could be rather stunning, with a very singular fruitiness. Let’s see what we have on the table today…

Blair Athol 20 yo 1997/2018 (54.5%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseurs Choice, refill American hogshead, 255 bottles)

Blair Athol 20 yo 1997/2018 (54.5%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseurs Choice, refill American hogshead, 255 bottles) Two stars and a half
Colour: gold. Nose: light and alpine, really. Meaning that I’m finding whiffs of gentian, genepy, verbena, and truckloads of pears. Not that pears are particularly alpine, mind you. With water: grains, cereals, popcorns, barley. Allllllright then. Mouth (neat): it’s a fruity malt, a tad spirity, with apples, pears, and quite some fruity hops, IPA-style. Not mindboggling so far, but fair. With water: same. Sweet, malty, easy, a tad marshmallowy. It’s just that there isn’t a lot happening, it’s just good malt whisky. Finish: a tad short, malty and grainy. Touches of breakfast honey. Comments: love 95% of what G&M are doing these days (we're not tasting price tags anyway) and this one’s pretty good but just… A little mundane? MOTR? Unnoticeable? Unnecessary?
SGP:541 - 78 points.

Blair Athol 19 yo 1998/2017 (54.7%, Douglas Laing, Xtra Old Particular for SCSM China, sherry butt, cask #11637, 289 bottles)

Blair Athol 19 yo 1998/2017 (54.7%, Douglas Laing, Xtra Old Particular for SCSM China, sherry butt, cask #11637, 289 bottles) Two stars and a half
 Wondering if little WF isn’t getting Asia-centric these days. Which is a pleasant feeling, I have to say. Colour: gold. Nose: nope, not at this point. Closed, raw, ethanoly, shy. Havana Club’s got more body, which says a lot. With water: dough, baguette, porridge. For breakfast, perhaps? Mouth (neat): okay, good malt and lemon and sourdough and brioche, but that is pretty all. Wee bits of grapefruit, perhaps. With water: pears, marshmallows, and… and? Finish: medium, a tad sweet and a tad thin. Dried pears. Comments: the other malts for SCSM I’ve tried so far have been much more talkative and interesting, while this little Blair Athol is just, well, good-not-great. Well, it is malt whisky.
SGP:441 - 79 points.

Not much luck with Blair Athol today… Perhaps another try?

Blair Athol 30 yo 1988/2018 (51.4%, Maltbarn, bourbon cask)

Blair Athol 30 yo 1988/2018 (51.4%, Maltbarn, bourbon cask) Four stars and a half
Of course older means better! Oh and don’t Maltbarn have some of the nicest whisky labels these days? Wonderful job with the labels, Martin! And they’re all original, which is even better. 100 times better. Colour: gold. Nose: f**k it, this is a whole different league. Sour fruit bread, fermenting figs, pumpernickel, heather honey, mead, real ale… This is Prince after the Rubettes. With water: exceptional, totally pure fruity and bready maltiness. Maybe I’m amazed, as someone would have said (tsk, lame again, S.) Mouth (neat): yeah, there. Sour fruits, fruit wines, dried figs (really lorryloads), Christstolle. Indeed, f**k it (they’ll jail me one day). With water: perfect, but careful, please don’t add too much water. Two drops will do, or it would fall apart. Kind of. Finish: medium, malty, beautifully fermentary, bready… This is well distilled bear. Comments: indeed, a whole different league, but it almost hates water.
SGP:551 - 89 points.

Perhaps a last one for that famous road…

Blair Athol 1991/2017 ‘Apple Blossom’ (46%, Wemyss Malts, hogshead, 298 bottles)

Blair Athol 1991/2017 ‘Apple Blossom’ (46%, Wemyss Malts, hogshead, 298 bottles) Three stars and a half
Probably not a very disruptive malt whisky, but don’t we all hate that stoopid new word, ‘disruptive’? Colour: pale gold. Nose: go to orchard, take apples and pears. Press, take juice. Add liquid caramel and popcorn. Mix, nose. There. Mouth: good and easy. Apple juice, cider, pears, vanilla, tea. Finish: medium, on good fruits, pears, plums, apples, malt. Comments: really good. Have I used the word good already? Now last time I checked, apple blossom don’t exhale mucho. Good but me thinks me tasted better Blair Athols by Wemyss before, just saying.
SGP:441 - 80 points.

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


November 28, 2018


Some fun with Loch Lomond

Only a few years back we just wouldn’t have ‘touched’ anything from Loch Lomond’s, or only for the sake of maniacal research. But things have changed, first thanks to an extraordinary old Rosdhu by Murray McDavid, and then because of some much improved officials that started to come out around three or four years ago. But remember Loch Lomond actually harbor several sets of stills, so one could claim that they’re actually several distilleries, kind of amalgamated. We would mention Loch Lomond as such (grain and malt), but also Inchmoan, Inchfad, Old Rosdhu, Croftengea, Inchmurrin and Craiglodge…

Loch Lomond (46%, OB, single grain, 2016)

Loch Lomond (46%, OB, single grain, 2016) Two stars and a half
Right, I’m not holding my breath, but you never know… Now remember they use only malted barley for these grain whiskies… We’ve already tried a recent Lomond grain but that one had a cream label. Not too sure about the differences… Colour: white wine. Nose: it’s got rather more body than your average young grain whisky, with pleasant whiffs of toasted white bread, green apples, gooseberries, and vanillin. It’s all rather delicate, not dull and not totally ‘silent’. Mouth: fine! More popcorn this time, vanilla, limoncello, a touch of vanilla fudge, icing sugar, sugarcane syrup, touches of tinned pineapples… Finish: a little short, but clean and not ‘absent’. Bitterer aftertaste, with some green tannicity. Comments: really fair, I would say. A rather bolder grain.
SGP:540 - 78 points.

Inchmurrin (46%, OB, Island Collection, Madeira finish, 2015)

Inchmurrin (46%, OB, Island Collection, Madeira finish, 2015) Two stars and a half
First time I’m trying one of these NAS Inchmurrins. I guess the word ‘Island’ refers to the wine, not to the whisky. Smart! No, seriously, it's related to those small islands on Loch Lomond. Colour: gold. Nose: whiffs of copper, old coins, passion fruit, chamomile, sour apples, then fresh sawdust. It’s relatively elegant, and more fermentary than the grain (eh, obviously). Mouth: unusual for sure. Sage and caraway mixed with custard and apple juice, I would say. Some porridge, ginger cookies, spicy bread… That’s the oak I suppose. Another one that’s fair. Finish: medium, pretty much all on oak spices, chiefly ginger and nutmeg, as well as the obligatory slightly heavy vanilla. Comments: another good dram that’s seen quite some active oak. No complains here.
SGP:551 - 79 points.

Inchmurrin 18 yo (46%, OB, Island Collection, 2015)

Inchmurrin 18 yo (46%, OB, Island Collection, 2015) Three stars
The previous ‘black silkscreened’ OB was good (WF 80). I think these new ones are a little expensive, but there… Colour: gold. Nose: same style as that of the NAS, just bigger as far as metallic/copper notes are concerned. Some nice camphory touches in the background, agave, young calvados… And oriental bread plus Seville oranges. Intriguing and nice. Mouth: indeed, this is better despite that oak that’s a tad loud. Quite some re-racking must have taken place (I wager). Otherwise apples and mangos, custard, vanilla fudge, and a little white chocolate. Finish: medium, rather more on speculoos and nutmeg. The oak speaking out again. Comments: it’s got something clearly modern (American oak) and it’s well made. No contradictions here, mind you!
SGP:551 - 81 points.

Loch Lomond 18 yo (46%, OB, 2016)

Loch Lomond 18 yo (46%, OB, 2016) Two stars
I know, being late again… Colour: gold. Nose: not much, the Inchmurrins had much more to tell us. Vanillin, sawdust, lactones, fresh baguette, cornflakes, furniture polish and beeswax… That’s all jolly nice, but it’s a pretty narrow profile, I would say. Mouth: vanilla, apple juice, slivovitz, wholegrain bread, and quite some oak tannins. I think the oak feels too much here, gimme back my Inchmurrins! Finish: a little nicer, meaning fruitier. Perhaps a touch of smoke, not too sure. Wood smoke. Comments: it’s pleasant, and it defeats many a blend, but as a proper single malt, it feels a tad too vanilla-ed to me.
SGP:441 - 76 points.

And so back to Inchmurrin (aren’t we very single-minded?)…

Inchmurrin 10 yo 2007/2018 (53.5%, Kintra, 1st fill bourbon, 234 bottles)

Inchmurrin 10 yo 2007/2018 (53.5%, Kintra, 1st fill bourbon, 234 bottles) Three stars and a half
Colour: gold. Nose: more’s the word here. More mangos, more fresh bread, more fudge, more ripe apples, and more cappuccino. All is well so far. With water: same, just fruitier and brighter. Mouth (neat): very good, with mangos, Danishes, apricots, and just touches of fresh oak. No complains here. With water: a little more fresh oak coming out again, together with some ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and all the rest. A pattern, it seems. Finish: medium, a tad tannic but the fruits are there to keep it very well balanced. Comments: feels modern, but that’s no real problem when the works were properly done.
SGP:551 - 84 points.

Inchmurrin 13 yo 2004/2018 (50.3%, OB for The Whisky Mercenary, cask #2231, 230 bottles)

Inchmurrin 13 yo 2004/2018 (50.3%, OB for The Whisky Mercenary, cask #2231, 230 bottles) Four stars and a half
Colour: straw. Nose: a good step up, we’re now finding fresher, clearer mangos and maracujas, some pinewood smoke, a touch of school glue, lovely whiffs of torrefaction (coffee being roasted), and some proper chocolate. Lovely, really, with no ‘modern’ oak in the way this time. With water: a little mint. Not sure water’s needed by the way. Mouth (neat): yes sir, this works a treat – and frankly and between us, I’d have never said ‘Loch Lomond’. Mango ice cream, barley sugar, honeysuckle, orange blossom water… Not a throwaway in the bunch. With water: excellent. Same combo, plus more fruity herbal teas. Finish: medium, a little more on orange cake. All this orange blossom is still there, while I do love that. Comments: indeed it is a surprise. Terrific Inchmurrin, extremely well selected (don’t tell me it was all done from spreadsheets!)
SGP:641 - 88 points.

Let’s try an older one (indeed, this could have been an Inchmurrin session)…

Inchmurrin 23 yo 1993/2016 (56.5%, Signatory Vintage, hogshead, cask #2854, 260 bottles)

Inchmurrin 23 yo 1993/2016 (56.5%, Signatory Vintage, hogshead, cask #2854, 260 bottles) Three stars
Some sister casks were pretty good. Colour: gold. Nose: unusual, in a pleasant way. A touch of young Comté cheese, then dandelions, vanilla, custard, fresh oak, and just wee whiffs of ink, or new book. Some white chocolate as well, is that an Inchmurrin thing? With water: it offsets almost everything, leaving us with vanilla and sawdust. So, please no waters. Mouth (neat): excellent, it’s just that the Mercenary was even more to my liking. This one’s got notes of oak-aged limoncello, if you see what I mean. With water: indeed, water’s not very necessary. Sawdust, vanilla… Drop that, if I may! Finish: medium, very nice and fresh when unreduced, almost plankish when reduced down to approx. 45%. Comments: you got it, keep your water for the geraniums.
SGP:451 - 82 points.

Time to put an end, perhaps with a wee peater?

Croftengea 10 yo 2007/2017 (56.6%, Jack Wiebers, Fighting Fish, bourbon, 324 bottles)

Croftengea 10 yo 2007/2017 (56.6%, Jack Wiebers, Fighting Fish, bourbon, 324 bottles) Four stars
Fighting fish? And why not? Colour: white wine. Nose: young ex-bourbon Ardbeg, with just a little more porridge and beer… for a while. Then dirtier, tarrier notes of burning wood, barbecued lambchops, cactus, and geranium leaves indeed. A bit odd, pleasantly so. With water: store closed. Really. Barley and wood smoke. Mouth (neat): what we would call ‘sweet peat’. Distilled IPA (who’s going to try that? Brewdog?), pears, elderflower jelly, fresh cardamom… It’s really unusual. With water: very good now! Smoked almonds, citrons, marzipan… Finish: quite long, almondy, yet fresh and citrusy. Something oriental, hard to describe. Oh, yes, aniseed, raki, ouzo and such stuff. Comments: a lot of fun to be had with some – not all – of these Croftengeas. Shall we call them ‘pleasantly deviant peaters’?
SGP:5556 - 86 points.

Bonus, a last minute entry from Israel

Inchmoan 14 yo 2004/2018 (52.4%, OB, for Holy Dram IL, bourbon hogshead, cask #68, 220 bottles)

Inchmoan 14 yo 2004/2018 (52.4%, OB, for Holy Dram IL, bourbon hogshead, cask #68, 220 bottles) Four stars
Nothing to moan about here, I’m sure, Inchmoan being one of the peated version of Loch Lomond. Colour: gold. Nose: very peculiar, rather on a lot of grass smoke, garden bonfire, tincture of iodine, fermenting kelp on a beach, then a little vinegar, cumin, green peppercorns and cider apples. It’s a rather unusual smoky/sour profile. Sour fruits, paraffin. With water: very nice, on lit cigars and rather more paraffin, linseed oil, used engine oil… Mouth (neat): it is more ‘normal’ on the palate, very smoky, slightly acrid and pungent, with huge amounts of grapefruits and lemons. Green tropical fruits (star fruits, perhaps), grass, leaves, lemon peels, juniper… With water: more towards fresh tropical fruits (maracuja), with a little salt and a bright earthiness. Reminds me of that slightly challenging celeriac eau-de-vie that some crazy Alsatian distillers are making when no one ‘s watching. Finish: long, green, smoky. Green mustard, even wasabi in the aftertaste… Comments: not a copy of any Islayers, not at all. I’m rather fond of this very green smoky baby, I have to say.
SGP:376 - 87 points.

(Many thanks, Gal and Lucero!)

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


November 26, 2018


Perhaps a few Scapa

We're trying Highland Park very often (WF's counter reads +/-450 tasting notes) but Scapa's much more sporadic, I would say. Time to remedy the situation...

Scapa 2005/2017 (43%, Gordon & MacPhail, distillery label)

Scapa 2005/2017 (43%, Gordon & MacPhail, distillery label) Three stars and a half
Still the older livery, and of course some are getting a bit nostalgic. Not us. Colour: straw. Nose: very fresh, on green fruits. Mostly gooseberries and kiwis, I would say, with touches of soot and coal smoke in the background, as well as a little lime. You could make a Scottish margarita out of this one. Mouth: same kind of combo, plus more vanilla. Kiwis, smoke, gooseberries, rhubarb, lime, a touch of salt... Indeed this Scapa's rather saltier than others. Finish: medium, rather more peppery this time. White pepper, a touch of leather. Comments: really fresh and good, with good coastal character. Got to love the old ship label.
SGP:552 - 84 points.

Scapa 2005/2017 (45%, Gordon & MacPhail for LMDW 60th Anniversary, barrel, cask #438, 336 bottles)

Scapa 2005/2017 (45%, Gordon & MacPhail for LMDW 60th Anniversary, barrel, cask #438, 336 bottles) Four stars
Colour: white wine. Nose: a slightly smokier batch, more mineral as well, and more medicinal to boot. We're even closer to the Atlantic, in short. Kiwis are there too, as well as rhubarb. An adorable freshness, with even touches of waxes coming through. Acacia gum. Mouth: really a bolder and fresher expression, even if we're very close to the large batch, obviously. Lime peel, green melons, brine, hoppy pils, pine sap and just a touch of fresh coriander. Finish: medium, very fresh, coastal. You could make an even better Scottish margarita out of this one. More pepper again in the aftertaste. Comments: fresh!
SGP:552 - 86 points.

Scapa 23 yo 1992/2015 (58.4%, OB, Chivas Bros, Distillery Reserve Collection, butt, cask #1069, 780 bottles)

Scapa 23 yo 1992/2015 (58.4%, OB, Chivas Bros, Distillery Reserve Collection, butt, cask #1069, 780 bottles) Three stars and a half
Some robust, almost tart whiskies in this understated official series. Pernod's Rare Malts, if you will. Colour: gold. Nose: well, I was wrong, this is all fruits and syrups at first nosing, and despite the higher strength. A fruit salad with fresh melons and pears, tinned pineapples, green apples, and only then a tartier development, on concentrated lemon juice and green malt. With water: varnish, wine vinegar, green apples. It got narrower and greener indeed, but without the coastal side that was in the G&Ms. Mouth (neat): very strong, starting with a little glue and vinegar (no worries, just touches), getting then a little marshmallowy, with an acrid oak in the background. Very sharp. With water: yes, that worked this time. Sour apples, vanilla, acacia honey, hawthorn tea, melon skin, lime. Finish: long, very vertical, on lime and green tea. Comments: not a very easy one this time, it's been quite some work. Sharp style, less smoky.
SGP:461 - 83 points.

Scapa 30 yo 1988/2018 (53.8%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseurs Choice, refill bourbon barrel, cask #10585, 148 bottles)

Scapa 30 yo 1988/2018 (53.8%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseurs Choice, refill bourbon barrel, cask #10585, 148 bottles) Four stars
This one's brand new. As I understand it, as soon as a malt's 30 or more, it now goes into some kind of ueber-Connoisseurs Choice category, with wooden boxes and all that. Colour: gold. Nose: this one's really very leafy for a few seconds, more so than the OB, but it gets then frankly rounder, more honeyed, cakier, and rather more mentholy. Whiffs of Vicks Vapo Rub - some Vicks that some mad scientist would have aged in active oak. With water: leaves and moss, some sour wood. Mouth (neat): it's rather oak-driven and that would be mentholated oak, should that exist. Green tea, eucalyptus, lime, fruit skins, fresh walnuts, manzanilla, a wee drop of mustard... Indeed all this is very dry and green, which I certainly enjoy. With water: similar. Lovely grassy bitterness, most fresh and tense. Not a lot of salt this time. Finish: long, on more leaves and green spices, pepper, cardamom, green curry, aniseed, fennel, lime... Marzipan in the aftertaste. Comments: this one's excellent. I've even considered trying it as a highball, I'm sure that would work just as well as with Port Ellen ;-).

SGP:461 - 87 points.

Why not a much older one?

Scapa 1958/1985 (46%, Samaroli, 180 bottles)

Scapa 1958/1985 (46%, Samaroli, 180 bottles) Five stars
Angus, that little bugger, managed to jump my queue with this one, so to speak. Apparently, he just adored it back in August this year (WF 95!). Please note that the picture is that of the 452% version. Colour: gold. Nose: yes, sure, it's hard to beat uch a perfect composition. Wonderful whiffs of moss after a rain, old herbal liqueurs, pine cones, old tools, leather polish, copper coins, a grassy and oily smoke (burning seaweed, I would guess), waxed fabric somewhere on an old ship, old unguents, beeswax... In short, a perfect style. Mouth: game, set and match. Extraordinary herbal and pine-y notes, more ointments, dried porcinis, billionaire's cough syrup (I'd wager), angelica, dill and fennel, crystallised citrus, snuff, a drop of olive brine... Oh we could go on and on and on. Marvellous whisky, one of the best there ever was, I would say. The earthiness is just flabbergasting. Finish: long, amazing. Lemon, mint, olives, herbs, honeydew and propolis, very old Chartreuse without all the sugar... Comments: this is simply divine. But you see, I like to argue, so...
SGP:562 - 94 points. Indeed, probably the best Scapa ever.

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


November 25, 2018


A few mezcals

It’s true, we like mezcal, it’s often quite close to malty territories, hence making for pleasant malternatives. Unless, of course, you dislike olives, earth, and roots. Do you?

Los Cuerudos ‘Reposado 2015’ (38%, OB, mescal)

Los Cuerudos ‘Reposado 2015’ (38%, OB, mescal)
This one was aged for a little less than one year in oak barrels. The brand also have a joven ‘con gusano’, that is to say with a stupid worm inside the bottle. Very bad news to us… Colour: straw. Nose: some slightly bizarre notes of smoked ham at first, some new plastic as well, then some vanilla, pears, overripe bananas and touches of light molasses, probably from the casks. Not the first time I’m thinking that vanilla-y oak plus some robust distillate such as tequila or mescal just wouldn’t fit, unless there’s been some proper long-term aging having taken place. Mouth: not bad, but too strange and dissonant to me. Salted custard, smoked ham, pickled pears, and other bizarre combinations. Finish: medium, smoky, very dry. Salted black tea and cranberry juice – a mistake, surely. Comments: not saying this is bad spirit, not at all, it’s just that it doesn’t tick many boxes in my book. That’s all personal, as you know.
SGP:462 - 62 points.

I think we have a properly aged one in the boxes, hold on…

Nucano ‘Anejo Espadin’ (40%, OB, mezcal, +/-2018)

Nucano ‘Anejo Espadin’ (40%, OB, mezcal, +/-2018) Three stars
This one was aged for five years, which is already a lot by Central American standards. Colour: full gold. Nose: it’s a rather soft mezcal, with a feeling of milk chocolate flavoured with lavender or violets, which gives it a rather tequila-y side. A little fudge as well, butterscotch, cappuccino… It’s got even less raw mezcalness than the Los Cuerudos, but on the other hand, everything’s in place and well-balanced. Mouth: good arrival, agave-y and mildly rooty, with some brine and more violets (or Parfait Amour liqueur), then rather Jaffa cakes and orangettes. Perhaps one small olive in a far distance. Finish: medium, rather on salted chocolate, which works extremely well as soon as some kind of balance has been achieved. Smoky herbs on the aftertaste, and more black tea. Comments: not totally my cup of agave eau-de-vie but I think we’re flying rather high already. Hey, that’s a figure of speech!
SGP:452 - 80 points.

While we’re at Nucano’s, let’s have some of their jovens!…

Nucano ‘Espadin-Cuishe Ensemble’ (45.34%, OB, mezcal, joven, +/-2018)

Nucano ‘Espadin-Cuishe Ensemble’ (45.34%, OB, mezcal, joven, +/-2018) Four stars
We’ve already tried both their pure espadin (WF 82) and their pure cuishe (WF 86) earlier this year. This is, as I understand it, a blend of those two varietals. Colour: white. Nose: you don’t beat a good joven. Perfect notes of soft pickled gherkins, fresh pineapple, green olives, damp beach sand, Brussels sprout, zucchini, and indeed violet sweets (from Toulouse). The whole’s rather elegant, delicate, fragrant, some would say ‘feminine’. Mouth: perfect, flavourful, starting with fennel seeds, pink olives, drops of pastis, a touch of custard, and violets again. Then smokier elements, a wee feeling of peat smoke, lapsang souchong, samphires, green tea, and various herbs. A touch of gentian. Finish: rather long, even earthier, but never rustic. Some well-mannered mezcal. Comments: excellent, flavourful and civilised.
SGP:362 - 85 points.

Nucano ‘Espadin-Tobala Ensemble’ (45.7%, OB, mezcal, joven, +/-2018)

Nucano ‘Espadin-Tobala Ensemble’ (45.7%, OB, mezcal, joven, +/-2018) Four stars
Tobala is a small, flavourful wild agave, as far as I can remember. Nucano’s single-varietal tobala is excellent (WF 86). Colour: white. Nose: it’s fruitier for sure, we’re rather wandering throughout a western orchard, with many pears and juicy apples. Very lightly olive-y and earthy, this really seems to be some gentler mescal, for the lounge. Unless… Mouth: there’s more happening on the palate indeed, but it remains rather fruity, and rather less rooty/olive-y indeed. There’s more citrus for sure, rather tangerines than the tartest lemons this time. Agave syrup, a touch of papaya juice, some unexpected wild raspberries. Finish: medium, very fruity, even going towards artisanal marshmallows now. Comments: an easy, posh version that’s delicate and rather easy to quaff. Which do I like best? I couldn’t tell you!
SGP:551 - 85 points.

Perhaps some single varietals?...

Nucano ‘Tepextate’ (46.7%, OB, mezcal, +/-2018)

Nucano ‘Tepextate’ (46.7%, OB, mezcal, joven, +/-2018) Four stars
Tepextate is another wild agave, quite big I think, that grows high in the mountains. I think it’s the first time I’m trying a tepextate. Colour: white. Nose: very different, and rather on fresh vegetables this time. Little brine or olives or smoke, rather fresh French beans and peas this time. Organic, of course. Brilliant nose! Well, looks like I’ll have to try to distil peas one day (stay tuned!) Mouth: very lovely, with more citrus this time, peppermint, chives, a touch of white peach, and once again not a huge mezcalness. Geranium and zucchini flowers. Excellent spirit, if not extremely earthy and, well, mezcaly. Finish: a little short, perhaps, but very good. Rather on grapefruit and violets bonbons. Peels. Gherkins are back in the aftertaste, though (and afternose!) Comments: a different kind of high-quality mezcal. A Rosebank of mezcal, if you like.
SGP:641 - 86 points.

Nucano ‘Arroqueno’ (47%, OB, mezcal, +/-2018)

Nucano ‘Arroqueno’ (47%, OB, mezcal, joven, +/-2018) Three stars and a half
Another varietal I had never heard of before. How many different kinds of wild agaves are there? According to proper websites, Arroqueno’s ‘the mother’ of the cultivated Espadin, and is a huge wild agave that takes more than twenty years to become an adult. It seems that it’s getting rarer these days, thanks to the success of artisan mezcals (who said tequila for hipsters, who?) Colour: white. Nose: really very gentle, this time, and rather floral, with some geranium (which I often find in mezcal) and wisteria. Agave syrup, stewed apricots… It’s really very mild. Mouth: remains floral and fruity, with minimal earthiness and roots. Almost no brine, rather pink grapefruits, greengages, medlars, prickly pears, oranges… Finish: medium, sweet, fruity, a tad syrupy. The smallest olive in the aftertaste. Picholines? Comments: very easy, rather sweet, fruity… Excellent, just a tad too easy for me, as I tend to prefer earthier, smokier mezcals.
SGP:631 - 83 points.

Those excellent Nucanos got gentler as the strengths went up, isn’t that funny? But this is not over…

Alipús ‘San Juan’ (47.5%, OB, mezcal, lot SJR 104/15, 2100 bottles, 2015)

Alipús ‘San Juan’ (47.5%, OB, mezcal, joven, lot SJR 104/15, 2100 bottles, 2015) Four stars
This one’s famously double distilled in small copper pot stills. I think it’s espadin. Colour: white. Nose: immediately wilder, rawer, much more fermentary and even feinty than all Nucanos, earthier, yeastier, more ‘gherkiny’ (I know), kind of acetic, with even touches of acetone and, well, gym socks, mud, musty old fabric… Whether that’s all nice or not will be decided on in a few seconds… Mouth: well, this batch is a wee tad sweeter than expected, but otherwise all is pretty perfect. Cucumber juice, green bananas, olives, grapefruits, gherkins, and a touch of honey that keeps it sweet and rounded. Not an extreme mezcal for sure, but we’ll see if we can find some pechuga… Finish: rather long, a tad less well-chiselled than the high-def Nucanos, but quite perfect. Candied pineapples here and there, with a sweeter aftertaste on, well, candied pineapples. Oh and olives. Comments: just excellent. A gentle wrestler.
SGP:562 - 86 points.

So, pechuga he said…

Pierde Almas ‘Pechuga’ (50.3%, OB, mezcal, joven, lot no. 07-P) Two stars
When making these pechugas once a year in November, the distillers add the breast of a wild turkey inside the still. Not sure they do the same in the US with that famous bourbon, by the way. I have to say I never quite fell in love with any of the (very) few pechugas I’ve tasted so far. Colour: white. Nose: yeah well, there’s some aniseed, fennel and dill, coated with vanilla sauce and genepy, that’s what I’m finding. Absinth and verbena. Did that wild turkey drink something before it was remorselessly slaughtered? Ouzo? Raki? Mouth: what mezcal? This is not mezcal, it is rather herbal liqueur. How very strange! Grapefruits topped with wormwood, liquorice, aniseed, and kummel. Not too sure… Finish: rather long, herbal. Mexican toothpaste? Comments: something strange happened here. I shall have to give a call to Dr. Watson. Could some chicken breast impart so many herbal, almost mentholy notes to a mezcal?
SGP:671 - 74 points.

What was that? Bah, basta cosi, as they say in Oaxaca.

(Gracias Jürgen and Lucero)

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


November 23, 2018


A few Ballechins by Edradour

We’ve tried some very excellent Edradour the other day, maybe should we also try some Ballechin? That’s right, Ballechin is the name of the peated Edradours…

Ballechin 2011/2018 (59.9%, La Maison du Whisky, 20 Rue d’Anjou, bourbon barrel, cask #312, 218 bottles)

Ballechin 2011/2018 (59.9%, La Maison du Whisky, 20 Rue d’Anjou, bourbon barrel, cask #312, 218 bottles) Three stars and a half
Seen the strength? Tremble, mere mortal… Colour: white wine (tremble more, mere mortal). Nose: okay. Wood smoke, ashes, burning and burnt cardboard, ashtray. With water: gets a little tenser, with some iodine (iodine in Pitlochry?) and simply mercurochrome. Mouth (neat): it is the kind of fruitier peater that are to be found in the mainland, especially at Benriach, or at An Cnoc/Knockdhu. You know, this feeling of smoked pears and pineapples… With water: good for sure, going towards some kind of sweeter Coal Ila, I would say. But despite the strength, it remains a little thin. Thinner than Edradour, for example, which is a little surprising indeed. Finish: medium, smoky, with some chlorophyll and rather less pears this time. Comments: very good whisky for sure, but we’ve had fatter Ballechins that had been rather more to our liking.
SGP:547 - 80 points.

Ballechin 12 yo 2005/2018 (61.5%, Signatory Vintage for The Whisky Barrel, sherry hogshead, cask #160, 291 bottles)

Ballechin 12 yo 2005/2018 (61.5%, Signatory Vintage for The Whisky Barrel, sherry hogshead, cask #160, 291 bottles) Three stars and a half
I see, assassination attempt on a humble whisky blogger, it’s going to cost you! Colour: gold. Nose: a little too strong, I wouldn’t say there’s much to nose. Some earth, probably. With water: ah, no, it does unfold, with some kinds of wild embrocations, smoked walnuts, smoked meats, camphor, balsam, and really a lot of pinewood smoke. I guess you could almost use this as some sauna oil. Mouth (neat): very strong, but at least some elements are coming through, such as menthol and demerara sugar. A funny combo, that, but there should be more coming out once we reduce it… With water: yesss! Proud of my Vittel, it got sharp, mineral, vertical, blade-y, lemony, salty, brine-y… What is this sorcery? Finish: long, grassier, with some grass smoke, grapefruits… Comments: lemon saves all peaters, that is a proven fact.
SGP:467 - 83 points.

Ballechin 10 yo (46%, OB, +/-2014)

Ballechin 10 yo (46%, OB, +/-2014) Four stars and a half
Indeed, the regular Ballechin from a few years ago. And indeed, it was about time. Colour: gold. Nose: very nice, on smoked teas such as lapsang souchong, herbal liqueurs such as Bénédictine, and various herbs, branches, and peels. A very elegant nose, well balanced, well composed, and rather fresh. No excesses here, I would say. Mouth: gents and lasses, I’m sorry but I prefer this. It’s perfect, it’s fresh, it’s briny, it’s got green apples and it’s got coriander, it’s got rather sublime notes of fresh almonds and walnuts, and I would add that you just cannot be against this, unless you enjoy Diplomatico or Don Papa. Ahem. Finish: pretty long, clean, branche-y, brine-y… Love these notes of anchovies, for example. Comments: just excellent. And a good example of a small batch that’s probably vastly superior. Remember, single casks only make sense when those casks are literally ‘extra-ordinary’.
SGP:456 - 89 points.

I agree, we could have a little more…

Ballechin 11 yo 2004/2015 (54.6%, OB, for Vintage Wines, USA Manzanilla finish, 507 bottles)

Ballechin 11 yo 2004/2015 (54.6%, OB, for Vintage Wines, USA, Manzanilla finish, 507 bottles) Four stars
Manzanilla, hurray! Colour: gold. Nose: oh perfect, it seems that this spirit and manzanilla do go along just like, say Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire (that was lame at best, S.). Light mustard, walnuts, kippers, wood smoke, olive brine, hessian. With water: a wee touch of burnt plastic, perhaps, but rather bizarrely, that works well in this context. Mouth (neat): totally excellent, even if a tad too biggish, and probably a little tiring to some. Bitter almonds, mustard, lemon peel, leather, salt, seawater… Perhaps proof that to make a coastal whisky, you don’t always need… a coast. Umpff. With water: yeah, very good for sure. Salty mustard, walnuts, seawater, and indeed manzanilla. Which, agreed, is kind of the same thing. Finish: very long and totally manzanilla-y. Almonds. Comments: tjah, grape and grain. It’s not often that that works, but when it does, we’re in for a treat. But in this very case, you sure have to like manzanilla. Very well done!
SGP:377 - 87 points.

Bonus, this one just in at time of writing…

Ballechin 13 yo 2004/2017 (52.5%, Signatory Vintage, Straight From The Cask, for Caveau d’Ostwald, 1st fill Burgundy pinot noir, cask #26)

Ballechin 13 yo 2004/2017 (52.5%, Signatory Vintage, Straight From The Cask, for Caveau d’Ostwald, 1st fill Burgundy pinot noir, cask #26) Four stars
Peat and Pinot Noir… Let’s proceed with caution! Le Caveau d’Ostwald is an excellent and very friendly wine and spirit shop here in Alsace, close to Strasbourg. Colour: copper. Nose: really something else. There’s some big peat and some big pinot noir, and guess what, for once one does not reject the other party. Phew! So we actually have a true feeling of smoked Nuits-St.-Georges, if you like. Cassis jelly, smoked beef, drops of pomegranate and cranberry juice, dried Chinese black mushrooms, and really a lot of moist marzipan. With water: pipe tobacco and potpourri, Kriek beer, more marzipan and candied cherries. Mouth (neat): some kind of ham oiled up with olive oil, smoked jams and cassis, and a touch of rosemary. Notes of buds and leaves, as well as morello cherries, or rather the jam made thereof. Port. With water: a smoky cherry cake and some rosehip syrup. Finish: rather long and leafier. Blackcurrant buds and some very black black tea, as well as unexpected notes of fino sherry. Game. Comments: it’s quite miraculous, this Burgundied peater.
SGP:566 - 85 points.

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


November 22, 2018


Mixed bags

Whiskyfun's mixed bags Session Two

Let's have a little rye today, and see where that will lead us, if you agree...

Juuri ‘Unaged Rye Spirit’ (46.3%, OB, Kyrö, Finland, +/-2018)

Juuri ‘Unaged Rye Spirit’ (46.3%, OB, Kyrö, Finland, +/-2018) Four stars
I know this is more than just rye vodka, since I’ve tried an earlier ‘Verso’ back in 2015 and thought it was very good (WF 82). Colour: white. Nose: some kind of gin at first, but much better than any gin (don’t shoot, you hipsters), with these obvious and expected notes of fresh bread and Scandinavian dry rye bread. All they would have to do is to add fibres to their ryes and presto, alcohol for our health! In truth this is pure liquid bread, which I just adore. Mouth: they invented bread eau-de-vie! With green bananas, liquorice wood, gentian, perhaps a chunk of pineapple, a touch of sloe, and a little vanilla. Vanilla in a spirit that’s never seen any oak? Apparently, that’s possible. OH and it was smart to bottle this at 46.3% vol., it’s a perfect strength. Finish: long, a wee tad more on pears this time. A touch of celeriac in the aftertaste, making it even rootier. Comments: impressive distillate. Not sure it would need oak.
SGP:541 - 85 points.

More rye, perhaps…

WhistlePig ‘FarmStock Rye’ (43%, OB, USA, Crop No. 002, 2018)

WhistlePig ‘FarmStock Rye’ (43%, OB, USA, Crop No. 002, 2018) Three stars and a half
Apparently, there’s terroir ahead, but no age statements. Are we ready to trade age statements for terroir? And is it Canadian terroir or American terroir? If it’s well a blend, can a blend showcase terroir? Is multiple terroir still terroir? Phew… Colour: gold. Nose: much softer than the Juuri, more bourbony, obviously, with more ginger cake and speculoos, vanilla, soft brown bread, barley syrup, then much more geranium flowers, pine needles, fusel oil, turnips and a little gravel. But it remains all soft and very approachable. Mouth: very good, no doubt, and pretty dry. No assaulting vanilla here, rather breads, caraway, oak, grist, buckwheat again (Breton crêpes), and a very moderate cologne-y touch. Wev’ve had ryes that had been much more cologne-y, and not only in Germany (ha!) Finish: medium to long, with these typical touches of geranium and even lavender. Comments: I preferred the punch and the obviousness of the Finn, but indeed this one’s very good too. Just a little shy, I would say, but maybe was it a shy terroir?
SGP:541 - 83 points.

More rye, perhaps…

Black Maple Hill Rye (47.5%, OB, USA, +/-2018)

Black Maple Hill Rye (47.5%, OB, USA, +/-2018) Three stars and a half
A brand from Oregon. And handmade! Not sure about who distils what, but we have no time to try to find out. Colour: dark gold. Nose: earthy rooty bread, carrots, turnips, celeriac, bitter caramel, coffee, sloe, juniper, big menthol, and more carrots. That’s a funny nose, but the palate will be either great, or wrecked. Mouth: well, I for one like this, because I love bread (I insist) in my whisky and in this case, that bread works well with all the liquorice and mint liqueur someone has added to it. Notes of blood oranges, more carrots, more celeriac, even beetroots. Cherry candies too, cinnamon mints… Probably a controversial whisky, but I for one rather enjoy this. Finish: long, earthy, woody, spicy, with this cherry quality that I enjoy. Don’t they have great cherries in Oregon? Comments: that’s what I enjoy about these whiskeys, they are very singular. And bready.
SGP:551 - 84 points.

Oh let’s stay in America…

Ironroot Republic ‘Texas Legation Batch No2’ (46.2%, Berry Bros & Rudd, USA, bourbon, 2000 bottles, +/-2018)

Ironroot Republic ‘Texas Legation Batch No2’ (46.2%, Berry Bros & Rudd, USA, bourbon, 2000 bottles, +/-2018) Three stars
This is ‘accredited in London’, which I find excellent. Batch No1 was really good (WF 80). Colour: deep gold. Nose: it is a sweet-oak-fuelled whisky, so to speak, with a lot of popcorn, sweet bread, brioche, maple syrup, and various fudges. Roasted peanuts too. Marzipan as well, then spicier elements, and even touches of lavender that hint at rye. Mouth: it’s a fruity kind of bourbon, full of violet liqueur and tangerines at first, then rather on sour bread dough, heather honey, and maple syrup again. Quite a lot of caramel too, treacle toffee, praline… Finish: rather long, and certainly full of violets. Not exactly Parma violets, rather violet candies from Toulouse, France. The aftertaste is a little caramelly. Comments: a tad heavy on caramel, perhaps, but otherwise all is very fine. Some thicker bourbon.
SGP:641 - 81 points.

Bulleit 10 yo ‘Frontier Whiskey’ (45.6%, OB, Kentucky Straight Bourbon, +/-2018)

Bulleit 10 yo ‘Frontier Whiskey’ (45.6%, OB, Kentucky Straight Bourbon, +/-2018) Three stars
Always thought the NAS was really nice, so this should very nice. Colour: gold. Nose: much lighter than all the other ones that we just tried, in truth it was probably a mistake not to have it as #1. Soft breads, a little flour, wholegrain bread, a little caramel, corn syrup, one crushed overripe banana, a few herbs. Oregano, perhaps? Mouth: there’s this odd fruity edge, between cranberries and oranges, not too sure about those. Various candies, lavender sweets, touches of white pepper, cinnamon rolls, vanilla… Finish: medium, rather breadier. Comments: playful, just a little thin at times. But I like it.
SGP:641 - 80 points.

A last one…

Knob Creek 2004/2017 (60%, OB, for Flask, USA, bourbon)

Knob Creek 2004/2017 (60%, OB, for Flask, USA, bourbon) Three stars
These barrels are bottled for various wine and spirit shops throughout the USA. In this case, it’s Flask. Colour: gold. Nose: this is much rougher, earthier, almost dirty and dusty, with some roasted chestnuts and quite a lot of raw chocolate. Some bread as well, and not a lot of vanilla. In theory, we should enjoy this once water’s been added. With water: some bready rye coming through. Mouth (neat): it’s heavy but it’s natural, whatever that means, rather sour in fact, on stewed apples and green plums, with unexpected notes of white wine and some raw molasses behind that. Some cinnamon cake and surely some varnish. With water: indeed it’s raw, but rather more on oranges this time. Oranges, cinnamon, chocolate, molasses, and touches of violets and lavender. Finish: medium, a little thin, which I find really strange. Comments: a rawer bourbon, I would say, a little spirity for me.
SGP:551 - 80 points.

(Thanks a bunch Jay and Lucero)


November 21, 2018


Mixed bags

Whiskyfun's mixed bags Session One

We usually prefer to have flights of whiskies from the same distilleries or countries, but that may sometimes slow things down, especially when there are loads of new whiskies reaching WF Towers...

Which is what’s rather happening these days, so I thought we’d do a few ‘mixed bag’ sessions until things go back to normal, choosing various new or recent whiskies at random. Well, more or less, let's see what we have... Perhaps start with an Irish?

Redbreast 21 yo (46%, OB, Irish, 2017)

Redbreast 21 yo (46%, OB, Irish, 2017) Four stars and a half
I first tried this when the first batch came out, in 2013, and had thought it was superb, but maybe not as utterly stunning as ‘the doxa’ has it (WF 89). Colour: gold. Nose: maybe even more ‘pure pot still’ than before, with this very unusual mix of metallic notes with ripe topical fruits, such as mangos and passion fruits. It may be a tad spirity as well, which is a little surprising, while some rather obvious oaky tones do shout out (new sawdust). But it’s more or less a bed of roses after that, with, err, rose petals indeed, orange blossom, and ripe apricots. Mouth: pure fruity Irishness, with the same kinds of tropical fruits plus bananas (bananas are always obvious in these makes – to me) and tinned litchis. Which may impart some wee notes of gewürztraminer, if you like. Other than that, the oak’s less apparent now, and the whole’s fresh and soft. I was about to add ‘smooth’ but you may have noticed that innocuous little word is now streng verboten in Whiskydom. Finish: medium, jammier, a tad spicier. Cinnamon, coriander, a wee touch of saffron (at that price, there could be much of it). Comments: it remains excellent and deliciously smo…
SGP: 641 - 88 points.

More Irish please...

West Cork ‘Peat Charred Cask’ (54%, OB for La Maison du Whisky, The Chronicles, Irish blend, 2018)

West Cork ‘Peat Charred Cask’ (54%, OB for La Maison du Whisky, The Chronicles, Irish blend, 2018) Two stars
This one matured in some ex-peater wood. It was one of the strangest whiskies I could try at Whisky Live Paris this year, but let’s see what gives in a proper tasting environment… Colour: gold. Nose: strange indeed. Some soot, green spices, vanilla (char), rhubarb, hay, green cardamom, a little horseradish, sorrel… Unusual indeed. With water: sour cream, sourdough, fermenting grass, porridge, some friends I know would have added ‘gym socks’… It’s only after a good minute that some smoother, more vanilla-ed and fruitier touches come out. Melons? Mouth: starts oaky and very spicy, in a green kind of way. Mustard, wasabi, green pepper, lemon peel, green pears… This style bites you a bit, I would say. With water: dichotomous, I would say. A grassy peat and some lighter fruits on the other hand. Finish: medium, a tad acrid. Comments: a strangely grassy whisky, but at least it’s a new style. Perhaps we’ll just need a little more time to get used to it.
SGP:563 - 76 points.

Let’s fly to Tasmania to find another LMDW exclusive…

Hellyers Road 14 yo 2004/2018 ‘Peated’ (64.5%, OB, Tasmania, The Chronicles, cask #4036.12)

Hellyers Road 14 yo 2004/2018 ‘Peated’ (64.5%, OB, Tasmania, cask #4036.12) Four stars
I’ve last tried Hellyers Road back in 2010 (indeed, woof) but I remember their peater was quite good (WF 80). But this one is a beast… Colour: gold. Nose: immediately more coherent than the Irish, fresher, brighter, much more precise, with a combo around coal smoke and a rather lovely chocolaty development. Some fresh gingerbread as well, fudge… With water: it wouldn’t change much even after I’ve reduced it down to approx. 42% vol. Nothing to worry about, it’s extremely nice. Mouth (neat): excellent. See, age matters. Some kind of spicy rhubarb cake with notes of maize bread and perhaps even a wee chunk of poppadum. Grapefruits keep it fresh. With water: rather brilliant, it’s not always that wood and bread spices and heavy peat dance this nicely together. Finish: long, always rather chocolaty. Black with 90% cocoa. Some marmalade too, Jaffa cakes… Comments: pretty impressed here – while it wasn’t even that devilish (ha, good one S. Not.)
SGP:456 - 87 points.

Let’s fly to India…

Paul John 6 yo 2011/2018 (56.3%, Cadenhead, refill barrel, 330 bottles)

Paul John 6 yo 2011/2018 (56.3%, Cadenhead, refill barrel, 330 bottles) Four stars
This baby was matured for five years in Goa and one year in Campbeltown. Some hippie whisky? Colour: gold. Nose: starts with some spicy bread and oak (ginger bread), gets then more cereally, with some maize and perhaps some ray buckwheat and rye, and gets then much more citrusy, with some citron and lime. A few raspberries in some fresh homemade custard. With water: a large pack of assorted wholegrain breads… Or, as I sometimes say, ‘breakfast in the Tyrol’. We could almost start yodelling, but better not. Mouth (neat): very good, which doesn’t come unexpected. Lemon pie with meringue, kiwis, grapefruit juice, peat, and a grassy kind of vanilla, with a few drops of good aguardiente, or say cachaça. With water: impeccable fresh and spicy peatiness, with good citrus to keep it balanced. Super good, really. Finish: rather long, moderately smoky, bready, with a little muscovado sugar and marmalade (or chutney!) Comments: not a surprise, but still, this is excellent. On par with the Tasmanian in my book.
SGP:554 - 87 points.

And to Taiwan for another peater…

Kavalan 2008/2016 ‘Solist’ (52.4%, OB, Taiwan, peaty cask, cask #R080807112, 143 bottles)

Kavalan 2008/2016 ‘Solist’ (52.4%, OB, Taiwan, peaty cask, cask #R080807112, 143 bottles) Four stars
These peaty casks are rather uncommon. It’s not the distillate that’s peated, it’s the cask that used to harbour peaty whisky. Well, I suppose. Colour: gold. Nose: more often than not, this kind of combo works, and it does here, even if there’s a feeling of blended malt. Not that we’ve got anything against blended malts, mind you. Vanilla, brine, smoked fish, camphor, a little ink, a little hessian. With water: a curious Ardbeggian note, really. Old hessian bag that used to be full of eucalyptus leaves. Mouth (neat): very good, with a lot of smoky coffee and cocoa. It’s a little simple, but you do feel that it’s going to become a terrific bottle, after ten more years in glass or more. One to put into your cellar. But yeah, it’s really very chocolaty, and not in a oloroso-y kind of way at all. With water: smoked caraway this time, angelica, turmeric… All that inside chocolate. Ideas ideas… Finish: long, with touches of menthol and grapefruits this time. Chocolaty and somewhat salty aftertaste. Comments: same high score yet again, I’m afraid. All these deviant peaters were excellent.
SGP:553 - 87 points.

Perhaps another Kavalan and we’re done.

Kavalan 2008/2012 ‘Solist’ (56.3%, OB, Taiwan, bourbon cask, cask #B080616034, 203 bottles)

Kavalan 2008/2012 ‘Solist’ (56.3%, OB, Taiwan, bourbon cask, cask #B080616034, 203 bottles) Four stars and a half
An older bottling. Colour: gold. Nose: it’s a fresher one, rather going towards fresh spices for a start, cardamom, ginger… It’s only after fifteen seconds that rounder fruity notes appear, rather with apricots and preserved plums. Even in Taiwan, 4 years isn’t much. With water: a tad oaky, which is normal. So a little sawdust. Mouth (neat): they’re masters at making very young whiskies that are assertive, balanced, jammy, and perfectly drinkable already. Sure they use active wood, but in this case that translates into lovely jammy/spicy notes that are void of any roughness. Mango chutney and preserved greengages, with a touch of pine-y honey. With water: perfect. A fruit salad and all their jams and jellies. Bananas, papayas, apricots, plums… Finish: rather long, and technically utterly perfect. Comments: let’s be fair and forget about ages and casks and processes and stuff, this is rather marvellous at just 4.
SGP:651 - 88 points.

Oh and perhaps another Indian?

Amrut ‘Amaze’ (50%, OB for Single Malt Amateurs Club India, 120 bottles, 2018)

Amrut ‘Amaze’ (50%, OB for Single Malt Amateurs Club India, 120 bottles, 2018) Four stars and a half
Indeed, this is an official bottling of Amrut for an Indian whisky club, which sounds only natural. And yet, it is a first! Colour: amber. Nose: I know it’s a tad, say frightening when tasters would use words such as ‘intriguing’ or ‘interesting’, but this is both, in a totally positive way mind you. Indeed I’m finding touches of roses and preserved litchis at first, with hints of precious wood sawdust (sawn rosewood?) then rather blood oranges and various roasted honey-coated nuts, plus marshmallows and indeed various honeys. I’d add that you just cannot not find some hints of high-end sweet curries, but that may simply be your brain playing tricks on you. With water: spicier. Caraway liqueur, perhaps, pink peppercorns, Szechuan... A box of fresh cinnamon rolls. Mouth (neat): it’s as if not only oak has been in use, although you couldn’t quite tell much more. A feeling of cedar, or even rosewood again. Or thuja (thujone)? Eucalyptus wood? Other than that, we have various jams, syrups and chutneys, cherries, mangos, then rather spices such as cinnamon and sweet ginger. Touches of Madeira. With water: the wood spices come even more to the front, but they remain all fresh and kind of fruity. This would work on foie gras. Finish: rather long and pretty fruitier, but the background remains sweet/spicy. Comments: just excellent, and certainly pretty ‘Indian’ as far as flavours are concerned. Malt that’s really showcasing ‘a sense of the place’, how great is that? With a nod to my old friend Krishna.
SGP:651 - 89 points.

(Thank you Cato, Hermanth, Lucero and other friends)


November 19, 2018


New Inverleven and friends

Would you imagine that Gordon & MacPhail got me again? Mind you, they just released a new Inverleven (wow!) while I simply do not have any other yet-untasted Inverlevens in the library. Which means that I'll have to find other sparring-partners, let's see what could make a little sense... Perhaps one or two Littlemills?

Littlemill 16 yo 1991/2007 (46%, Murray McDavid, bourbon, 900 bottles)

Littlemill 16 yo 1991/2007 (46%, Murray McDavid, bourbon, 900 bottles) Five stars
Will this be another tangerine bomb? Let's see... Colour: straw. Nose: not quite a fruit bomb, rather a sooty/oily one at first sniffing, but indeed it is quite vertical, with whiffs of chalk on top of it. It's actually got this wax and tangerine combo that makes it partially resemble Clynelish. Yes my friend. Also fern and moss, damp leaves, humus and all that, which is always stunning. In fact, I would say this nose is fantastic and right up my alley. Mouth: there, lemons, lime, oranges, tangerines, riesling, chalk, clay, yellow peaches, essential oils... Frankly, this wee baby's glorious, and it's not impossible that these ten years in glass have done it much good. Finish: medium, waxy, citrusy... I wouldn't have cried wolf, should you have said this was Clynelish '83. Comments: not quite a surprise, actually, as almost all 1988-1992 indie Littlemills have been flying very high. But still, what a malt!
SGP:551 - 90 points.

So rather single-mindedly...

LIttlemill 27 yo 1991/2018 (50.4%, Cadenhead, barrel)

LIttlemill 27 yo 1991/2018 (50.4%, Cadenhead, barrel) Two stars and a half
This is so very Cadenhead, issuing a new 27 yo Littlemill just like that, without fanfare. Colour: dark straw. Nose: a tad hotter, which is normal, a tad more sugary as well, with hints of bubblegum and barbecued marshmallows that weren't in the MMcD, but that are not unseen at Littlemill's. Behind that, some lovely hints of preserved litchis and whiffs of peonies and lilac. And one dab of lavender if you like. With water: Achtung baby, it wouldn't swim. Gets oddly pine-y. Mouth (neat): indeed it is not a typical Littlemill. Well, some parts are (lemon peels, mangos) but this flowery development is a little uncommon, and may have come from the cask. You could even wonder if they haven't reused a cask of circa 1982 Bowmore, for there is a little lavender deep underneath the citrus. With water: but-what-is-this? The mystery thickens... Crunching pine needles while drinking a whole glass of new green Chartreuse after having just brushed your teeth. What? Finish: long and extremely pine-y indeed. Tourist retsina in the aftertaste. Comments: lost, I am lost.
SGP:481 - 78 points.

And so G&M's new Inverleven...

Inverleven 33 yo 1985/2018 (57.4%, Gordon & MacPhail, Private Collection, refill bourbon barrel, cask #562, 130 bottles)

Inverleven 33 yo 1985/2018 (57.4%, Gordon & MacPhail, Private Collection, refill bourbon barrel, cask #562, 130 bottles) Four stars and a half
This is the brand new art-déco livery for G&M's Private Collection. Very dapper, very premium, just hope they are not, and will never discontinue the Book of Kells label. No one will ever draw a better label, not in Glasgow, not in London, not in New York, perhaps in Paris (I am joking...) BTW, remember Inverleven was a distillery that was embedded in Ballantine's huge Dumbarton complex and was closed in 1991. The stills are now at Mark Reynier's Waterford Distillery in Ireland. Colour: straw. Nose: balms, hand creams, marzipan, ointments, citrons, verbena, a drop of miso soup, smoked salmon and dill, then more tropical fruits, rather guavas and papayas than mangos. A few drops of yellow Chartreuse this time (the easier one). With water: cumin bread, poppy seeds, fermenting plums (have some in the garage, will distil before this month is over). Mouth (neat): but this was distilled last year! Intense lemony arrival, with a few fermentary touches (yoghurt, sourdough), then a grassy hotchpotch that would include agave, grass, and green tea. Fresh banana bread. With water: opens up like a flower, getting exactly tropical, with a style that is close to that of the fruitiest Littlemills indeed. Melon skin, mangos, tangerines, maracujas... Finish: medium, with the same tropical/citrusy notes. Comments: loves water. I think many are really starting to regret these fruity Lowlanders these days, Rosebank, Littlemill, Inverleven... No, St. Magdalene is a whole different story - and style.
SGP:561 - 88 points.

St. Magdalene? Did anyone just mention St. Magdalene?...

St. Magdalene 34 yo 1982/2017 (50.4%, Malt Musketeers)

St. Magdalene 34 yo 1982/2017 (50.4%, Malt Musketeers) Five stars
This is a very small batch of just a few small bottles. Long time no see a new St. Magdalene, I have to say... Colour: white wine. Nose: it's instantly recognisable, with vast quantities of autumn leaves over old lemons starting to rot and a pile of rusty old tools in the corner of an old garage. You could add some brake fluid, old tyres, and notes of very old riesling that got just a tad mushroomy. You may also add some hay (very typical) and very wee soapy notes that are not exactly soapy. Say soapwort. St. Magdalene's always been complex and slightly challenging, no exception here. With water: fantastic, reminding me of Cadenhead's latest 1982s. Pine sap, menthol, fir liqueur, pipe juice, quinine, more dead leaves, mosses, old fallen branches... Mouth (neat): brilliant, really. Lemon juice, herbal liqueurs and teas, pencil erasers, pine sap, bitter teas... Indeed, it is a little challenging and would almost wrestle you, but it is malt whisky that'll make you smarter, whatever that means. The opposite of a sexy, sometimes whoreish contemporary malt (no, no names!) With water: bioethanol? Fish oil? Chalk? Grapefruit peel for sure. Finish: long, very green, very leafy. Apple peels, tobacco... Comments: one of the grassiest malt whiskies out there. So was St. Magdalene.
SGP:372 - 91 points.

(Thank you Tom!)


November 18, 2018


Another barrow of rums

As regards malternatives, we rather had Armagnac and Cognac lately, so back to rum, if you don't mind...

Monymusk 'Classic Gold Rum' (40%, OB, Jamaica, +/-2018)

Monymusk 'Classic Gold Rum' (40%, OB, Jamaica, +/-2018) Two stars and a half
This NAS baby just to get warmed up. It's supposed to be 'distinctively smooth'. Ha. Colour: deep gold. Nose: it's one of the brinier Monymusks, going towards the young official Worthies or Hampdens, I would say, but with rather less brio and power. Fermenting fruits, olives, brine, soot, but also a little cardboard and old magazines. Ink. Mouth: it's a tad too 'caramelised' for me, whether they actually did that or not. Molasses and burnt sugar, caramel indeed, bananas, and just very remote notes of earthy, briny Jamaican rum, although those would start to surface after thirty seconds. A shame that the caramel and toasted notes rather have a hold on those. Finish: medium, hesitating between ripe flambéed bananas and more estery flavours, which I find frustrating. Comments: in the right direction, but not quite there, I would say, if I may.
SGP:641 - 78 points.

Demerara Vertical 03-04 (45%, Samaroli, blended Guyanan, 2017)

Demerara Vertical 03-04 (45%, Samaroli, blended Guyanan, 2017) Three stars and a half
Many would like you to believe that these bottlings were done by the late maestro Silvano Samaroli. That's plain wrong, he had let go of the helm quite some years before he passed away. So while this is well a Samaroli bottling, it's got nothing to do with Silvano. Colour: amber. Nose: this is nice, though. Some moss, pine needles, black olives, roasted pistachios, then caraway and sloe gin, musty cellar, touches of thyme... Mouth: really a very good blend, firm, with one foot on each continent. I mean, one foot on phenolic/estery ground, and one foot on more cane-y, cake-y, banana-y soils. Almost a blend of good agricole with Jamaican high-ester stuff. Seriously, this is very good, if a tad schizophrenic. Finish: medium, a tad saltier and metallic. Olives in chocolate - would you please try that and report back? Comments: loses you a bit, but I find the end result really nice.
SGP:562 - 84 points.

Guyanan Rum 15 yo 2002/2018 (46%, Cadenhead, Green Label, barrel, 2018)

Guyanan Rum 15 yo 2002/2018 (46%, Cadenhead, Green Label, barrel, 2018) Three stars
Colour: white wine. Nose: rather light, with a touch of wine vinegar, lemon juice, linseed oil and paraffin, and then simply regular apples. Golden delicious. It's really very soft and light given its pedigree, but indeed they don't only make monster rums over there in Guyana. Mouth: nah, it's good, it's got more apples and touches of pineapples, icing sugar, lemons, bubblegum, marshmallows... Finish: rather short, fruity, bonbony, almost Cuban in fact... A salty touch and even green olives in the aftertaste, but that's a little late, isn't it. Comments: around the El Dorados, just without any added sugars, which is obviously better.
SGP:630 - 80 points.

Monymusk 11 yo 2007/2018 (52.5%, The Rum Mercenary, Jamaica)

Monymusk 11 yo 2007/2018 (52.5%, The Rum Mercenary, Jamaica) Four stars
Crazy labels, excellent rums (and whiskies) at the freebooter's. I mean, the mercenary. Colour: white wine. Nose: yup, higher-ester Monymusk, just what the doctor ordered. Wonderful green olives and fresh almonds, fresh barley (yes), orgeat, citrons, vegetal inks, spearmint. Luminous rum that does not need much literature. With water: would anyone mature olive oil in oak and manage to avoid any rancidness? I suppose that would be impossible... Or, perhaps, in olive wood, which is one of the tightest and hardest woods? Mouth (neat): a rather hotter style than that of Worthy Park or Hampden (or high-ester Long Pond for that matter), more spirity, with notes of the rusticmost aguardientes and plum eaux-de-vie. Well, any distilled stone fruits. With water: very good, almondy, rooty, and... very rustic. Some uncommercial clairins are a bit like this. Finish: long, grassy, very grassy actually. Comments: a rather extreme, very rustic rum. To be sipped alfresco only, I would say. Like it a lot, yes I'm a country boy (I hear you laughing my friend).
SGP:362 - 86 points.

Worthy Park 7 yo 2010/2018 (57.5%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, Jamaica, #R11.2, ‘Absolutely Fabulous’, refill ex-Bourbon barrel, 309 bottles)

Worthy Park 7 yo 2010/2018 (57.5%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, Jamaica, #R11.2, ‘Absolutely Fabulous’, refill ex-Bourbon barrel, 309 bottles) Four stars and a half
Colour: gold. Nose: no, really, mussels cooked in curry? Green peppercorns? Smoked green tea? Capers? A crazy, funky rum, with aromas that you would never find in any whiskies (or brandies for that matter), and that's why we enjoy rum, punto basta. With water: amazing. Burning woods, dim-sum sauce, caraway, menthol cigarettes, pinewood... Mouth (neat): pickled olives, garlic paste, brine, smoked fish, lemons, and probably many illegal flavours. With water: sadly, it gets a little too bitter, which means that we won't be able to give it a 90. Finish: very long, a tad less focussed, and perhaps a little too 'burnt'. Bang, one less point. Comments: amazing whisky, and all are pretty great, R11.1, R11.2, R11.3...
SGP:362 - 88 points.

Uitvlugt 20 yo 1997/2017 (53.4%, Hunter Laing, Kill Devil for Rum Rarities, Demerara, 158 bottles)

Uitvlugt 20 yo 1997/2017 (53.4%, Hunter Laing, Kill Devil for Rum Rarities, Demerara, 158 bottles) Five stars
Always watch the Kill Devils, they gather the best of European-aged rums. Colour: white wine. Nose: that's the thing with rums aged in Europe, they're less romantic, and possibly more 'colonial' according to some current doxa, but on the other hand, they're rarely pure oak juices, and are much more distillate-driven. Everyone's entitled to his own rationale, I suppose, but I digress. So, this Uitvlugt is very pure, with superb whiffs of smoky cakes, asparagus, smoked salmon, warm praline, salted walnuts and almonds, and the obligatory olives. Wee softer pink olives. With water: inks! I love the smells of fresh ink. Or, indeed, new books, magazines and newspapers. Mouth (neat): wonderful, as expected. Salty fish, nuts, olives, lemons, Thai basil, soot, bitter oranges, elderberries, holly eau-de-vie... With water: salty cardboardy olives. Older olives, perhaps. Finish: long. Comments: why argue, this is one of the most wonderful distillates on this little planet.
SGP:352 - 90 points.

I think we could have a last one, since we do have some kind of momentum going... (no?)...

Enmore 30 yo 1988/2018 (47.9%, Silver Seal, Demerara, 150cl) Five stars
So this one from a magnum. Colour: reddish amber, copper. Nose: tropical cognac! Bananas flambéed and prunes, raisins, peonies, geranium flower, orange blossom, preserved peaches and apricots, old precious woods (thuja, rosewood...), pipe tobacco, fresh gingerbread, garden peat, humus... There is the amazing complexity of old age here. With water: no, really, isn't this some old cognac? We do know that old spirits tend to converge, but this is really intriguing. Various currants and raisins, old sweet wines, Tokaji, Sauternes, pinot gris SGN... Mouth (neat): what!? Never quite tasted something like this. Burnt cannabis cake, chestnut cake, pecan pie, marmalade, black tapenade, mildly salty liquorice, amaretti, raw chocolate, blue mountain coffee, beeswax, maraschino... Some adventurous old spirit, this. With water: exceptional, roasted, raisiny, cane-y, slightly pine-y... At times you would also believe this is one of those extremely old Saint-James from Martinique. Finish: long, with strong honeys and saps. A tad more rustic now, some would say Armagnacqy. Comments: some stunning rum, and some pretty metanoical well-aged spirit. Very well done, Massimo and Silver Seal!
SGP:561 - 92 points.

(Thank you Lance!)

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


November 16, 2018


Two indie Ardbeg

Nothing to add. One needs Ardbeg from time to time, you know.

Ardbeg (50.9%, That Boutique-y Whisky Company, batch #2, 422 bottles, +/-2012)

Ardbeg (50.9%, That Boutique-y Whisky Company, batch #2, 422 bottles, +/-2012) Five stars
Time to try this older one that wasn’t bearing any age statements (they did put things straight later on). Colour: straw. Nose: of course. Smoked ginger, camphor, bandages, damp hessian, those famous tarry ropes, smoked almonds, whelks and clams, and burning kelp. To old whisky enthusiasts, this noses like… home. With water: gentler. Marzipan and barley water, then charcoal, beech-smoked salmon and Cadum. New Wellies, but small size. Mouth (neat): of course. Lapsang souchong, lime juice, ginger tonic, kippers, cough syrup, grapefruit peels, smoked salmon. With water: natural rubber (chewing rubber bands at school), kippers, almond paste, Seccotine. Did you know of Seccotine? Finish: long, smoky, salty, almondy, rather less lemony than other Ardbegs. Comments: of course, Ardbeg.
SGP:367 - 90 points.

Ardbeg 18 yo 2000/2018 (55.9%, The Whisky Show London, 225 bottles)

Ardbeg 18 yo 2000/2018 (55.9%, The Whisky Show London, 225 bottles) Four stars and a half
New regime Ardbeg at a proper age, this should be interesting (now was the purifier on or off?) Also love the extremely understated – and minimalist - packaging. Colour: gold. Nose: cigarette smoke (dear Stuart Thompson’s?) plus smoked salmon and damp hessian. This is millimetric, totally vertical, and utterly brilliant. No further literature needed, I would say. With water: damp old fabric, hessian, and halva/turon. Mouth (neat): ah and ha. Now go try to describe this… First, it’s not Ardbeg as we all know it, it’s sweeter and fruitier, even kind of lighter (so the purifier was on, I would guess). In fact, it’s almost Kildalton-style Ardbeg, with these notes of melons and plums, but there’s some big smoke as well. Rather troubling, this one, but very good it is, no doubt. With water: don’t add too much H2O, it actually doesn’t need any. I know, 55.9%. Finish: long, rather more medicinal. Iodine and green chartreuse. The aftertaste is a little bitterer, as if you had just quaffed a pint of Underberg. Comments: it wasn’t that immaculate, after all, but it remains one of the greatest distillates in Scotland. Now, HP, Clynelish, Springbank, Lagavulin, Ben Nevis, Mortlach, Benromach… Well, the fighting’s getting thicker!
SGP:377 - 89 points.

(Thank you Tom!)

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


November 15, 2018


Three Glen Moray

Another name that recently gathered more traction. Elgin's Glen Moray has been been sold by Glenmo to French company La Martiniquaise in 2008.

Glen Moray 18 yo (47.2%, OB, +/-2018)

Glen Moray 18 yo (47.2%, OB, +/-2018) Four stars
An intriguing strength for a relatively high-volume OB. I had really enjoyed the 16 two years ago (WF 84). Colour: straw. Nose: not at all the lightish Speysider we used to be used to, this has some body, some breadiness, oak tree leaves, chestnut honey, touches of cooked pumpkin, hay, and a solid porridge-y foundation. Mouth: fine, that's the word I would use. It's left the 'blend-y' universe of days gone by (this 18 is rather new having said that), and got appropriately full-bodied, malty, cake-y, showcasing its raw ingredients with pride and panache. No, really, I mean that. Touches of caramel and maple syrup, possibly from American oak. Finish: medium, malty, cake-y. Coffee toffee in the aftertaste. Comments: malt whisky that really tastes of malt. This will disappoint no one, believe me, while the price remains fair.
SGP:451 - 86 points.

Glen Moray 2006/2016 (55%, OB, Private Edition for Germany, Sauternes cask matured, cask #5337)

Glen Moray 2006/2016 (55%, OB, Private Edition for Germany, Sauternes cask matured, cask #5337) Two stars and a half
This baby was fully matured in Sauternes, this should be interesting as Sauternes often works in my little book. Colour: gold. Nose: I have to say I do not quite get the Sauternes, rather some maize bread and a kind of leafy porridge, with a yeasty, sour side. Yoghurt, sour wood... No fruits this time and rather more leaves than on a tree. With water: same, plus baker's yeast and slightly stale ale. Mouth (neat): firm, but with some bizarre notes of aspirin tablets, bitter teas, leaves, green wood, plasticine... This one isn't easy! With water: where's the Sauternes? Granted, we might have found half an apricot in a corner, but that is pretty all. Finish: medium, a tad indefinite. Beer, malt, grass, green oak. Comments: this one's rather austere, while we were expecting a debauchery of apricots and plums. Nothing serious, it's still rather fine.
SGP:451 - 78 points.

Glen Moray 10 yo 2007/ 2018 (62.2%, Archives, barrel, cask #5713, 237 bottles)

Glen Moray 10 yo 2007/ 2018 (62.2%, Archives, barrel, cask #5713, 237 bottles) Four stars
Colour: white wine. Nose: biscuit, lemon cake and pie, fresh hazelnuts, moisturiser, bergamots, fresh almonds. Not a throwaway. With water: whoops, notes of new plastic come out but that's only temporary. This one really saponifies, as they say (who says that, S.?) Then creamy vanilla and lemon pie with meringue and a glass of sweet chenin blanc. Mouth (neat): immaculate vanilla-ed barleyness, with good drizzles of limoncello. Extremely simple and perfect, perfectly simple, simply perfect (sure they're all amazed, S.) With water: takes water very well. Pure barley-y goodness. Finish: long, a tad grassier, which is normal and actually welcome. Comments: go buy and drink this.
SGP:451 - 85 points.

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

November 2018 - part 1 <--- November 2018 - part 2 ---> December 2018 - part 1



Best spirits Serge tried those weeks, 90+ points only

Ardbeg (50.9%, That Boutique-y Whisky Company, batch #2, 422 bottles, +/-2012)

Littlemill 16 yo 1991/2007 (46%, Murray McDavid, bourbon, 900 bottles)

Scapa 1958/1985 (46%, Samaroli, 180 bottles)

St. Magdalene 34 yo 1982/2017 (50.4%, Malt Musketeers)

Enmore 30 yo 1988/2018 (47.9%, Silver Seal, Demerara, 150cl)

Uitvlugt 20 yo 1997/2017 (53.4%, Hunter Laing, Kill Devil for Rum Rarities, Demerara, 158 bottles)