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Hi, you're in the Archives, October 2022 - Part 2

       
 

October 2022 - part 1 <--- October 2022 - part 2 ---> November 2022 - part 1

 

October 31, 2022


Whiskyfun

A few Bruichladdich

Do not expect any form of logic here.

 

 

Bruichladdich 7 yo 'Waves' (46%, OB, 2006)

Bruichladdich 7 yo 'Waves' (46%, OB, 2006) Three stars
We've tried another 'Waves' that was not carrying any age statement and which I had rather enjoyed twelve years ago (WF 82), but this one's clearly advertised as a 7 on the label. I bought it on location back then and couldn't help wondering where this distillate was stemming from, as the former new owners restarted production in 2001 after a pretty long hiatus. In whisky, mysteries come in… waves. Colour: apricot gold. Nose: they've used Madeira and that feels. Mustard, walnuts, some varnish and even some glue, plus an unusually grassy smokiness. Mouth: punchy, with once again some smoke, ashes, touches of varnish, then melons and walnuts plus some cracked pepper. Finish: rather long, a little bitter. Some fruit skins and some zests. Comments: this wee smoke is interesting. Are we sure it couldn't have been the 'new' Bruichladdich already, after all? I remember they did make it rather peaty in the very early days.
SGP:552 - 80 points.

Bruichladdich 'High Noon' (48.7%, OB, Feis Ile 2015, 1881 bottles)

Bruichladdich 'High Noon' (48.7%, OB, Feis Ile 2015, 1881 bottles) Four stars
Funny outturn, remember the Distillery was originally built in… 1881. Not too sure about the casks that have been in use here… Colour: deep gold. Nose: plenty happening, with some dry and sweet Madeira, once more, whiffs of rum (why not some of those agricoles from Madeira, precisely), then rather a lot of sweeter gravy, English-style, as well as prunes and ripe damsons. Zwetschke pie, also a little lighter pipe tobacco. A little unusual, but very, very nice for sure. Mouth: a little tougher than expected, rather in the style of some Juras, with a saltiness, some leather, tobacco, bitter zests, then raisins of all kinds, especially black ones. Touches of dried porcinis, and perhaps chicory coffee. Very solid body at 48% vol. Finish: long and much spicier, predominantly on mustard and cracked pepper. Bitter artichoke cordial in the aftertaste. Comments: very peculiar, and very different on the palate, after a pretty civilised and really awesome nose.

SGP:462 - 85 points.

Bruichladdich 15 yo 2006/2022 (58.9%, Private Cask, first fill bourbon barrel, cask #1222)

Bruichladdich 15 yo 2006/2022 (58.9%, Private Cask, first fill bourbon barrel, cask #1222) Four stars
This private cask from one of Norway's finest whisky connoisseurs, Michael Alvarez, who celebrated his 60th birthday right yesterday (but yesterday was malternative day at WF). Colour: gold. Nose: typical, with fresh broken branches, sea air, grape pip oil, melon skin, some stearin, fresh cut grass, green apples… Certainly a little austere, but I believe that is an asset here. Water may/should unleash the melons… With water: vanilla, then popcorn, then mirabelles and quinces, then indeed, honeydew melon... Mouth (neat): a typically fruity, orchardy Bruichladdich, but once again there's rather a lot of grass and peelings. Green apples, pears, greengages… With water: gone is the main grass, welcome more apples and sweet roots, apricot liqueur (apricotine) and just a drop of bison vodka. A pretty pure Bruichladdich that's not very far from the earlier makes, say distilled in the early 1990s. Finish: medium, clean, half-way between plums and vegetal oils. Comments: excellent Bruichladdich, totally al natural. Cheers Michael!

SGP:551 - 87 points.

Bruichladdich 17 yo 2004/2021 (56.2%, The Maltman for HNWS Taiwan, bourbon hogshead, cask #640, 201 bottles)

Bruichladdich 17 yo 2004/2021 (56.2%, The Maltman for HNWS Taiwan, bourbon hogshead, cask #640, 201 bottles) Four stars
Colour: light gold. Nose: this doesn't happen very often, but it is the same whisky on the nose. Trying to find any differences, even very subtle ones, would mean splitting hairs, or trying to be smart. Nah, the 2006 and this 2004 are organoleptically identical this far. Mouth (neat): once again, identical whiskies. The oily texture is remarkable. With water: ditto, same whisky. Lovely grass, fruit peel, plums, beets… Finish: even the finish is identical (not taking into account any unnecessary personal elucubrations that could have occurred). Comments: and they weren't even sister casks.

SGP:551 – 87 points.

(Thank you Arild, Otto!)

 

October 30, 2022


Whiskyfun

  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!

 

 

A few rums as they come

No preconceptions, no plans, no fears. As he used to say, preparing for the worst, expecting the best, taking what's coming.

 

 

San Miguel 'Extra Anejo – Solera 1952' (43%, OB, Ecuador, +/-2022)

San Miguel 'Extra Anejo – Solera 1952' (43%, OB, Ecuador, +/-2022) Two stars
Right right right, this from a solera that was started in 1952. How many drops? I've only ever tried two other Ecuadorian rons, a Cimborazo (WF 68) and a Cotopaxi (WF 70). There's room for improvement (with love to Ecuador!) I've seen that this was matured in altitude… Colour: deep gold. Nose: some good fun, with some fumes from an old two-stroke engine (a Kawasaki, naturally) and some metallic molasses, chestnut purée, muscovado sugar, a box of cheap chocolates, a little coffee liqueur… Well, you just never know… Mouth: not too bad! First, it's not cloyingly sugary, second it's got some pretty good grassiness, all that before a vast amount of rotting bananas would take over. Then a lot of sugarcane syrup. Nothing against that, but it's frankly sweet. Finish: a little short, a tad indefinite. I would suppose ice should have been added at this stage. Comments: progress! (being a little positive here, I'd love to visit Ecuador one day).

SGP:630 - 72 points.

To Trinidad…

Ten Cane 2008/2022 (63.4%, L'Esprit, Trinidad, cask #BB 12, 264 bottles)

Ten Cane 2008/2022 (63.4%, L'Esprit, Trinidad, cask #BB 12, 264 bottles) Four stars and a half
From Ten Cane Distillery, a short-lived operation started by LVMH in 2005 and closed in 2015, said to have produced for Angostura. It is supposed to be 'light'. We've tried only one Ten Cane in the past but liked it a lot (WF 88). And Brittany's L'Esprit is always a sure bet. Colour: dark amber. Nose: light my hat. Lots of plastics, plywood, putty and paint, engine oil… But no chances taken at WF Towers. With water: more petroly notes, varnishes, dirty oils, then black chocolate and coffee, sailing away towards thick molasses. Mouth (neat): perfect, on petrol, varnish, olives, tar and very heavy liquorice. But boy is it strong. With water: mad. Salt, soups, varnish, heavy tar, acetone, carbon, burnt sugar, glues, coal tar… Finish: very long, on exactly the same flavours (in the same order). Heavy chocolate + liquorice in the aftertaste. Comments: very thick rum, you'd almost need a knife. What happened at (and to) Ten Cane, exactly?

SGP:563 - 88 points.

Bielle 13 yo 2009/2022 (47.7%, David's Rum Selection, Elegant, Marie-Galante, cask #24, 194 bottles)

Bielle 13 yo 2009/2022 (47.7%, David's Rum Selection, Elegant, Marie-Galante, cask #24, 194 bottles) Five stars
I can't see what could go wrong here. Colour: deep gold. Nose: unusual, with some sandalwood, tiger balm, lemon curd, tangerine liqueur, ylang-ylang and vetiver, green oranges… In truth I'm reminded of a lovely eau-de-toilette by Hermes, 'Eau d'Orange Verte' (green orange water – well you got it I'm sure). Touches of cumin and caraway too. Mouth: some piney wood, green liquorice, turmeric, beeswax, some salty elements, a soft tarriness, liquorice allsorts, peppermint, drop of bitter, drop of crème de menthe… You would almost believe a high-league mixologist composed this. Finish: medium, all on fruits and soft liquorice. Bielle's class speaks. Comments: really intriguing at first, but in the end, this is a perfect, deep, almost classic Marie-Galante. It feels a little older than just 13, in my little book and, well, I love it. Bielle is class.

SGP:662 - 90 points.

Uitvlugt 1999/2021 (52.6%, The Colours of Rum, Wealth Solutions, cask #54, 184 bottles)

Uitvlugt 1999/2021 (52.6%, The Colours of Rum, Wealth Solutions, cask #54, 184 bottles) Five stars
I should be in Warsaw when I publish this. Colour: straw. Nose: awesome grassy and petroly start, very typical, with even asparagus, leek, wisteria, honeysuckle and above all, elderflowers. Whiffs of new shoes, leatherette… With water: perfect sauna oils and myrtle, plus more asparagus, plus grapefruit skin. Unquestionably perfect combo, as far as combos go (what?) Mouth (neat): these are just superb. Lemons, brine, riesling, liquorice, green bananas, smoked fish, tar… With water: the saltiness further comes out, sardines, anchovies, salted liquorice, some varnish… Finish: long, saltier. One of the saltiest spirits, no one does this on Islay. Perhaps 'some' Bowmores. Comments: shortage stress starting to strike us. Do they still have many from these quasi-continental batches?
SGP:463 - 91 points.

Guyana 19 yo 2002/2022 (49.2%, Continental Rum Line, The Navigator, bourbon, cask # EN02KFM33, 280 bottles)

Guyana 19 yo 2002/2022 (49.2%, Transcontinental Rum Line, The Navigator, bourbon, cask # EN02KFM33, 280 bottles) Five stars
This one was aged in Europe. Distilled in that single wooden pot still, so most probably Enmore. Colour: white wine. Nose: new tyres, caraway and fennel seeds, this is well Enmore. Then new sneakers, aniseed, anchovies in brine, olives, plastic, and a small tomato leaf. Mouth: all these ones range from utterly terrific to rather terrific. This one's got a lighter fruitiness, around plum eau-de-vie, then these adorably subtle briny notes, with olives, tar, and some kind of smoked toffee. Excellent. Finish: long, saltier yet, perhaps fatter, with notes of limy putty or something. Drops of Grand-Marnier in the aftertaste. Comments: just brilliant. This is Major Tom to ground control, we remain in the stratosphere – as far as rums go.
SGP:563 - 90 points.

Hampden 12 yo 2010/2022 'HCLF' (61.3%, OB, Rare Casks Series, LMDW Antipodes, cask #80, 252 bottles)

Hampden 12 yo 2010/2022 'HCLF' (61.3%, OB, Rare Casks Series, LMDW Antipodes, cask #80, 252 bottles) Five stars
It is fascinating to read LMDW's latest catalogue. You would learn that Hampden's rums had never been aged, let alone bottled on location until 2009, and that the first aged OBs only came out in 2018. Colour: gold. Nose: heavy glues and varnishes, acetone, ammonia, in the back some banana liqueur. HCLF means between 500 and 700 gr ester/HLPA, so say upper-middle-echelon esterness. With water: olives chiming in, together with carbon dust. Mouth (neat): whatever the marque, there's no light Hampden. Certainly not this one. Varnish and high-concentration raspberry spirit, rotten bananas, liquorice… With water: soft landing with liquorice and a stunning floral side. Gorse and acacia blossom, perhaps. Finish: long, saltier and brinier. In short, more on olives. Hampden owe big time to olives. Comments: they should start to use marks/marques in Scotland too. As far as this wee Hampden goes, I can only bow my head. I know, boringly predictable; having said that, we can only wonder, would the heavy-esterers be this successful if the heavy-peaters had never met, well, success as singles? After all, the stories are extremely similar.
SGP:553 - 91 points.
 

October 29, 2022


Whiskyfun

 

 

 

Angus's Corner
From our correspondent and
skilled taster Angus MacRaild in Scotland
Angus  
Checking in on Daftmill
It's been a while since we Daftmilled here on Whiskyfun. Always fun to check in with what Mr Cuthbert has been up to…

 

Daftmill 2008/2021 (56.6%, OB for Master Of Malt, cask #25, bourbon barrel)

Daftmill 2008/2021 (56.6%, OB for Master Of Malt, cask #25, bourbon barrel)
Colour: pale gold. Nose: this has the slightly more assertive grassiness of those earlier Daftmill vintages but combined with a similarly overt fruitiness from the Summer batch. Rather a lot of tinned pineapple rings in syrup, lemon curd, fruit sherbets, wee touches of eucalyptus and spearmint. Familiar notes of crushed nettle and lime as well. Quite excellent! With water: very green and aromatic now, lots of ferns, wet moss, grass, nettles, green tea with lemon and touches of bergamot and citrus rinds. Mouth: rather sweet up front, lots of sweet fruit juices and more lemon jam, also some nibbles of ginger and cinnamon from the oak. There's some furniture oil and boot polish as well which is new to me from Daftmill. The whole evolves towards things like cough syrup and golden syrup. An active but very good cask. With water: those oaky touches are swept aside in the favour of warm grist, green pepper, lemon cough drops, wintergreen and sweet breakfast cereals. Finish: long, peppery, warming, quite herbal, trademark grass and nettles, and also more very slight mentholated and minty things in the aftertaste. Comments: water definitely adds a single fat point here in the way it opens everything up. Excellent levels of complexity and development on display here.
SGP: 651 - 89 points. 

 

 

Daftmill 2009/2021 (60.7%, OB for Kirsch Import, 1st fill oloroso butt, cask #024/2009, 627 bottles)

Daftmill 2009/2021 (60.7%, OB for Kirsch Import, 1st fill oloroso butt, cask #024/2009, 627 bottles)
Colour: deep orangey gold. Nose: marmalade on pumpernickel toast and various roasted nuts, Brazils and walnuts spring immediately to mind, beyond that some freshly roasted coffee beans and dark chocolate. I'm also finding quite a bit of strawberry jam with just a hint of hardwood sawdust and also bouillon powder. With water: some lovely aromatic wood spices and dark spiced teas coming through. Bouillon, treacle, plums baked in Armagnac, nicely rustic in fact. Mouth: very jammy with some stewed dark fruit, more bitter chocolate and cocoa notes, fig paste and walnut oil. Veers nicely between umami and sweet with a sherry profile that is a halfway house between old school and modern. Some nicely gooey and fudgey qualities about it as well, also I can't help but get impressions of Nutella - which is very fitting for a German market bottling. With water: still nicely dark, jammy and fruity with this earthy and nutty undercurrent. Well balanced, punchy and hearty sherry. Finish: good length, back on breads, dark beers and roasted nuts with chocolate sauce. Comments: very hard not to think of early A'bunadh batches when tasting these big sherried Daftmills. Francis seems to get some excellent sherry casks it would seem - and of course makes very tidy whisky too, although overall I think I prefer the bourbon ones.
SGP: 561 - 88 points.

 

 

 

 

October 27, 2022


Whiskyfun

Royal Brackla is back!

I mean, on little Whiskyfun. Advertised as 'The King's Own Whisky', but he was William IV. We'll see if Charles III will follow suit.

William 4

 

 

Royal Brackla 18 yo (46%, OB, palo cortado finish, +/-2022)

Royal Brackla 18 yo (46%, OB, palo cortado finish, +/-2022) Three stars and a half
We've never tried this 18 but I believe it's a fairly recent expression. Yet another finishing, looks like more and more official whiskies need some extra-seasoning, or flavour adjustments. That could be a global  issue, the SWA should be on the alert! Colour: gold. Nose: indeed, there are walnuts, some earth, some toasted bread, then gooseberries, not unseen in Brackla, and wildflower honey. It is not a very demonstrative malt whisky. A bittersweet feeling. Mouth: firm, nutty, with walnuts, toffee, then more of those honeys and a growing spiciness, towards cinnamon. Also bitter nuts, almonds, bitter apples… Finish: medium, spicier, with more sweet and sour notes, probably from the sherry. Bitter and peppery aftertaste. Comments: the price is very high and perhaps even a little pretentious (150€), but indeed it is a fine drop, in my book. But I would never finish a 18, that sends a wrong message (like, after 18 years of careful maturing, our whisky needed some seasoning).

SGP:451 - 83 points.

As usual, the indies are the guardians of the natural ones (I was about to say 'of the distillates')…

Royal Brackla 13 yo 2007/2020 (54.8%, Blackadder, 25 Years of Blackadder, hogshead, cask #309226, 240 bottles)

Royal Brackla 13 yo 2007/2020 (54.8%, Blackadder, 25 Years of Blackadder, hogshead, cask #309226, 240 bottles) Four stars and a half
Not sure we did not forget to wish them much good back in 2020. Cheers Robin! Colour: white wine. Nose: pure, gorgeous barleyness, with some banana skin, plus bread, chalk, grist, pancakes and wee lemons. It may well not be the most complicated malt whisky ever, but what it does it does well, so far. With water: more flints, in a Sancerre-y way. Or, there, Chablis, this could have been a sharper, cleaner Chablis from the left bank (say Côte de Léchet!) Mouth (neat): pure indeed. Citrus, baguette, more pancake, green bananas, oatcakes, lemon cake… Love love love lemon cake. With water: bingo. That wee Chablis, plus a touch of spearmint, plus oranges, plus just sweet bread. Finish: long and more lemony. Comments: bull's eye, and proof that Brackla's distillate does not obligatorily need finishings. Superb young whisky.
SGP:551 - 88 points.

Just to be on the safe side, let's try that again…

Royal Brackla 13 yo 2009/2022 (56.1%, Fadandel.dk, barrel, cask #304130, 281 bottles)

Royal Brackla 13 yo 2009/2022 (56.1%, Fadandel.dk, barrel, cask #304130, 281 bottles) Four stars
Colour: white wine. Nose: well this one's grassier, less bready, rather more on fresh roots (beets, celeriac, turnips, carrots). That's just fine as well, if you ask me, love this simple, even simplistic rooty side. With water: same, plus fresh croissants. Very doughy, very nice, with these roots… Perhaps even a drop of gentian eau-de-vie? Mouth (neat): back to Chablis! Not making this up! Sweet barley and zesty chardonnay, plus lemons. With water: some grasses kicking in, not obligatorily for the better, we've lost a little precision. But this time I'm definitely splitting hairs, it is a superb fresh and rooty dram. Finish: long, malty, bready, rooty and citrusy. What more does the people want? Yeah I know, democracy… Comments: why would anyone product-oriented (so, normal people) decide to dump this awesome make into some cheapish sherry or else for a few weeks? What would the message be?

SGP:561 - 87 points.

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

 

October 26, 2022


Whiskyfun

Little Duos, today bitter-sherried Oban

There's an Oban within this year's Special Releases, which I find pleasing. We could call this wee session a worm tub-special. Did you ever see Oban's?

Rabbit

 

 

Oban 2007/2021 'Distiller's Edition' (43%, OB, Montilla fino finish, batch #OD 170.FC)

Oban 2007/2021 'Distiller's Edition' (43%, OB, Montilla fino finish, batch #OD 170.FG) Four stars
I've never quite realised that in Montilla-Moriles, they do make fino out of PX grapes. A sudden flash, you know. I've always rather enjoyed Oban's 'DE'. Colour: deep gold. Nose: the fino's even more obvious than before, but we do just love fino while Oban would be the perfect make to get married to these wines. Not too sure who had this idea back then, Dr Jim? Dr Maureen? See, I'm not always complaining about finishings… tobacco, mustard, walnuts, chalk, putty, roasted sesame, old magazines, petrol, marmalade… Mouth: mustard up, with some salt, chutneys, touch of cardboard, capers, green walnuts, drop of seawater… There's something clearly west-coast, even if that would be, partially, the west coast of Spain. Finish: rather long, much drier, on pepper and tobacco. Ashes and a little cardboard, mustard sauce in the end (sauce à la diable). Comments: as I said, I'm fond of this salty and smoky combination. This would be huge at approx. 50% vol.

SGP:362 - 87 points.

Oban 10 yo 'The Celestial Blaze' (57.1%, OB, Special Releases 2022)

Oban 10 yo 'The HIdden Paradise of Black Rock' (57.1%, OB, Special Releases 2022) Four stars
This one was finished in amontillado this time. There is some kind of purple rabbit on the label, maybe is this the return of the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog. Not sure I'm fully getting the 'story' that's coming with this year's SRs…  Colour: white wine. Nose: there's this fruitier, err, fruitiness that's rather reminding us of the older OBs, the ones that used to come in 'diamond' bottles. Great stuff. Whiffs of soft varnish, sherries, cranberries, melons, the smoky coastalness being toned down here. With water: Oban's smoky mustard and walnuts coming out. Some fig jam too, from the sherry? New tweed jacket. Mouth (neat): powerful, hot, on marzipan and kirschwasser, then wine gums and marshmallows, all that on a creamy texture. With water: some grassier bitterness, walnut skin, peppers, allspice… Finish: long, a little rugous and tough. Closer to the DE now, but I'm finding that DE a little superior. Comments: excellent young Oban, but with a similar combo, I thought the Distiller's Edition had rather more to tell, and that it was a little more complex. Bah, both great drops, while Oban remains rare, as far as numbers of different expressions go.

SGP:362 - 85 points.

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

 

October 25, 2022


Whiskyfun

Little Duos, today old Glenturret IB vs OB

Glenturret is another name that we're seeing more often since the owners of crystal makers (and blowers and cutters) Lalique have taken over the Distillery that used to belong to Edrington. The new bottlings, although obviously not distilled by the new owners, have shown some improvement in my book.

Lalique
Radiator cap for automobiles, Lalique, 1928 (Tajan)

 

 

Glenturret 30 yo 1989/2019 (47.1%, Signatory Vintage, for Kirsch Whisky, hogshead, cask #230, 282 bottles)

Glenturret 30 yo 1989/2019 (47.1%, Signatory Vintage, for Kirsch Whisky, hogshead, cask #230, 282 bottles) Four stars
I seem to remember Kirsch have won an important award just a few weeks ago. Colour: straw. Nose: totally and plainly Glenturret, starting appropriately dirty, fermentary, mustardy and sooty, while you would find at least 1m3 of fresh concrete and a large basket of artichokes in the background. Even more mustard's soon to kick in too, together with paint, flints, an old pipe, old stone pots, bandages, Vaseline gauze and just a lot of damp chalk. How very Glenturret indeed! Mouth: indeed, indeed. Sweet mustard mixed with chalk, cider apples, plain cider, white beer, clay, sourer lemons, grasses, soot and ashes, bitter green tea, bitter oranges, coffee dregs… Finish: pretty long, sweeter, pretty much on some kind of chalky marmalade, also with something a little metallic, which is pretty much GT as well. Regular marmalade in the aftertaste. Comments: 100% true to the Distillery's old style, and in that respect very commendable. On the other hand, you need to like them a little dirty… Now it is much better than rather many OBs from the 1990s or 2000s.

SGP:462 - 87 points.

The Glenturret by Lalique 33 yo (43.7%, OB, Trinity, Provenance, 320 decanters, 2021) The Glenturret by Lalique 33 yo (43.7%, OB, Trinity, Provenance, 320 decanters, 2021)

The Glenturret by Lalique 33 yo (43.7%, OB, Trinity, Provenance, 320 decanters, 2021) Four stars and a half
A very art déco decanter that is extremely 'Lalique' indeed. I would add that the Lalique Manufacture is located here in Alsace, it is a truly fantastic place to visit. The nearby restaurant in Wingen-sur-Moder, Villa René Lalique, is fabulous too, while I've heard their more recent restaurant at Glenturret was pretty sublime as well (End of commercial break). Colour: deep gold. Nose: there's more smoke in this one, certainly more roasted nuts and toasted bread, more walnuts too, but the core remains similarly mustardy, metallic, medicinal and sooty, although there would be another dimension too, around umami, savoury sauces, dried vegetable mix for ready-made soups… also, perhaps, touches of overripe bananas… What's sure is that this is complex. Mouth: a rounder and earthier '1989', with more leather and tobacco too. Otherwise mustard, some smokiness, walnut wine, fino, chalk, ale, bitters (amer bière Picon) and bitter chocolate. Finish: once again the finish is a little rounder, I'm even finding a handful of sultanas and a few dried figs. The aftertaste is a little mustardy and leathery again, but peppery marmalade is achieving the signature, so to speak. Comments: truly excellent and still very peculiar, while the decanter, once emptied, sure is a keeper.
SGP:552 - 89 points.

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

 

October 24, 2022


Whiskyfun

Little duos, today crazy young OB vs crazy
old IB

Glen Moray really seem to be coming out of the woods these days. Today we'll have only two of them, but none exactly 'average'. Is this Whiskyfun or not?

 

 

Glen Moray 2016/2021 'Rye Cask Finish' (46.3%, OB, Curiosity Edition, 1637 bottles)

Glen Moray 2016/2021 'Rye Cask Finish' (46.3%, OB, Curiosity Edition, 1637 bottles) Three stars and a half
This baby was finished in some Kentucky rye whisky casks, which means that that was not obligatorily 100% rye (American rye must be distilled from 51 percent rye or more). Colour: white wine. Nose: the nose feels 'sweeter' than usual, less malty, more floral, and rather spicier and breadier, with then cups and cups of maple syrup and honey taking over after ten seconds. There sure is some vanilla, also allspice and cinnamon cake, also fresh sawdust, but balance has been maintained despite the very young age. Mouth: no feeling of Scottish bourbon, rather a honeyed sweetness, some apple liqueur, some fresh oak and related spices, and perhaps a drop of Southern Comfort. Yep. Oh and cinnamon rolls. Finish: medium, still sweet, never exactly oaky or too spicy. Comments: very good modern stylistic composition (given the age). Are our friends the Scots going to turbo-charge like this all their malt whiskies in the future? Time-to-market five years, my goodness!
SGP:651 - 83 points.

Probably the opposite now…

Glen Moray 32 yo 1989/2021 (52.8%, Berry Bros & Rudd for HNWS, barrel, cask #5217)

Glen Moray 32 yo 1989/2021 (52.8%, Berry Bros & Rudd for HNWS, barrel, cask #5217) Five stars
It's true that we've tried some splendid old official Glen Morays in the past, such as the 1960 or the flabbergasting 1974/2002 'Manager's Choice' (WF 94!) So, with confidence and élan… Colour: straw. Nose: very soft, all on barley, tangerines, Danishes, mirabelle jam, quince jelly, acacia honey, oak sugars, even a little candyfloss perhaps, fresh bark, fresh sliced button mushrooms, marzipan, amaretti… It is really becoming complex, in all softness. With water: virtually no changes. Perhaps a little more grist and porridge, bread and all that. Mouth (neat): really tight, on sweet herbs, acidic apples and grapefruits. Lazy casks do active whiskies, they say (not too sure about that saying, though). With water: some sweet barley goodness, dried apples and pears, apple pie, drops of amontillado (yep we've noticed it was a barrel) and a lot of nougat. Nougats of all kinds. Finish: medium, a tad more herbal, superbly malty and just never oaky. Some tea with a splash of milk, as our dear friends in England do. Comments: a model of barley-y complexity and elegance. It's true that this baby wasn't that old, after all.
SGP:551 - 90 points.

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

 

October 23, 2022


Whiskyfun

Another wild bunch of cognacs

Remember, in French, that's well 'cognac' without a capital C. They make cognac in the city of Cognac, comprenez-vous? Now in Globish, which is the language I'm usually using (see) in these pages, I'm not too sure… By the way, it looks like the category is in full swing again, after a tougher 2020.

Puccini

 

 

Claude Thorin 'VSOP' 40%, OB, Grande Champagne, +/-2020)

Claude Thorin 'VSOP' 40%, OB, Grande Champagne, +/-2020) Two stars
Not a house I'm very familiar with. They're located in Segonzac and this is an own-estate blend of colombard, folle blanche and ugni blanc. They have it on Amazon. Colour: gold. Nose: very light, and consequently pretty fresh, rather on nougat, stewed peaches, golden raisins and cut apples, while some caramel would tend to take over then. Also a little vanilla, ripe plums, and a tiny cup of breakfast tea stemming from the oak. Mouth: sweet, even a tad sugary at first, then on tarte tatin and just apple pie. Notes of sour cider in the background, as well as Grand-Marnier. Finish: short to medium, rather sour and sweet. Stewed cider apples and caramel. Comments: rather fair cognac, at a fair price. The sweet side did bother me a little bit.
SGP:640 - 75 points.

Another VSOP please…

De Luze 'VSOP' (40%, OB, fine champagne, +/-2022)

De Luze 'VSOP' (40%, OB, fine champagne, +/-2022) Two stars and a half
Remember fine champagne is usually a blend of grande and petite champagne. De Luze, in Angeac-Champagne, have got their own cooperage! The brand belongs to cognac Boinaud, who are now at the helm of a huge distillery that shelters no less than 41 (forty-one) stills. Colour: deep gold. Nose: a little more rustic, also more on fresh fruits, especially berries (red and green gooseberries, for example) and just greener apples, cider apples, yellow peaches… There's also a floral and honeyed side, with dandelions and acacia honey, but those gooseberries keep running the show on the nose. Mouth: same comments, it's a little more rustic, which I enjoy here. More cut apples, gooseberries, also apricots, vanilla, and tiny bits of liquorice and rubber (which may suggest some young cognac's been used within this blend). Finish: medium, on sameish notes. Comments: already on the upper part of the scale as far as VSOPS are concerned.

SGP:651 - 78 points.

Let's try De Luze's XO then…

De Luze 'XO' (40%, OB, fine champagne, +/-2022)

De Luze 'XO' (40%, OB, fine champagne, +/-2022) Three stars
In larger houses, the gap between their VSOP and their XO can be really huge, let's see… Colour: deep gold. Nose: the core is rather similar (apples, pears and gooseberries) but there's more depth, more flowers (wisteria, dandelions, lilies) and many more honeys, heather, clover, even manuka… Lime blossom too, orange blossom, the expected preserved peaches, and even a drop of younger rancio (doré). Lovely nose here. Mouth: same feeling of a similar juice as that in the VSOP, but with more depth, more years (obviously), better polishing, waxes and honeys, mirabelles, triple-sec… And certainly a few drops of quince eau-de-vie. The 40% don't feel, there's enough body and structure. Finish: medium, on sameish notes this time again. A little caramel in the aftertaste. Comments: very fine drop! Remember, XO's are usually pretty young cognacs, contrarily to popular belief. Ve've also got a De Luze 'Infini' that's infinitely terrific, but we'll have it next time.
SGP:641 - 82 points.

Something else…

Frapin 25 yo 1995 (41.4%, OB, grande champagne, +/-2021)

Frapin 25 yo 1995 (41.4%, OB, grande champagne, +/-2021) Four stars
One of the pretty rare age-and-vintage-stated cognacs out there. The French administration remains tough in that respect, much tougher than, for example, the people in Armagnac. As for the house Frapin and their Château Fontpinot, no need to remember that their reputation's pretty high. Colour: gold. Nose: pure stewed peaches, apricots, sultanas, tangerines, citrons and prickly pears, with a few drops of heather honey. Simple and bordering perfection. Mouth: a little less chiselled and polished, with a few more liqueury notes than on the nose, but all these dried fruits are working very well. Raisins and prunes, naturally, also pears, bananas and pineapples. Finish: medium, the peaches being back, coated with some honeyed liquorice. A little caramel yet again in the aftertaste. Comments: just excellent and well in the style of the house (as far as I can tell).

SGP:641 - 86 points.

Conte & Filles 2010/2022 'A12' (46.3%, Cognac-Expert, L'Essentiel, Petite Champagne, cask #49, 400l)

Conte & Filles 2010/2022 'A12' (46.3%, Cognac-Expert, L'Essentiel, Petite Champagne, cask #49, 400l) Four stars
They would give you a lot of data, such as the fact that the vines are located in Nonaville, that this is pure ugni blanc, that the oak came from forêt de Tronçais, and that the house is located in Poulignac. Colour: gold. Nose: fresh and really very fruity. We're wandering throughout a large orchard around the month of august, while smoking a small pipe and sipping a double expresso. Various plums in there, greengages, damsons, the usual mirabelles, the no-less usual peaches, melons… Mouth: no ideas if that's the Tronçais oak but I'm finding rather a lot of liquorice, plus a little sandalwood, then all those fruits, with a lovely freshness. Plums running the show, peaches and ripe apples being strong contenders, both as fresh fruits and as puréed fruits and jams. You could pour a few drops of this fresh young cognac in some champagne and come up with a nice variation on a Bellini. You could call that 'champagne petite champagne'. Finish: medium, fresh, on more stewed orchard fruits. Liquorice again in the aftertaste, plus some minerality (chalk). Comments: excellent young cognac, with some kind of verticality.
SGP:641 - 86 points.

Jean-Luc Pasquet 41 yo 'Lot 79' (52.3%, Grape of the Art, Grande Champagne, 273 bottles, 2022)

Jean-Luc Pasquet 41 yo 'Lot 79' (52.3%, Grape of the Art, Grande Champagne, 273 bottles, 2022) Five stars
Pure ugni blanc, Limousin oak, humid cellar, stunning albeit a little artsy label, and cool folks at all stages. What else does the people want? (Please don't answer 'ask French unions'). Colour: deep gold. Nose: sublime, beehive-y, very narrow and very complex at the same time. Fab figs, fab raisins, fab honeys, fab sweet vegetables (red kuri squash) and a little milder tobacco. That's all folks, but that's a lot. Mouth: starts with a little resin, propolis and liquorice wood tannins, but gets then fruitier and more on jams, with some marmalade and then our beloved mirabelles and quinces. Mirabelles and quinces will save the world one day, you shall see! And peaches will help, as almost always, peaches would tend to try to seize control here. Finish: the resins are fighting back, but in the end, it is a draw. Blood oranges are signing peace in the aftertaste. Comments: the arrival on the palate was a notch frightening, but that was just me being a little impatient. In truth it is difficult to find much better cognac...

SGP:661 - 91 points.

… But we shall try!...

Fins Bois 1980/2022 (53.3%, Jean Grosperrin, Lot 993)

Fins Bois 1980/2022 (53.3%, Jean Grosperrin, Lot 993) Four stars and a half
I give up, Grosperrin are busier maturing and bottling some of the greatest cognacs you could find, rather than spending any time feeding the Web with proper pictures of their bottlings. We won't cast the stone at them… Colour: deep gold. Nose: this more rustic, yet fresher side, with frozen medlars, apples and pears, peaches yet again, buttered and salted fudge, and a faint salty, almost coastal touch. With water:  medlars, really! And mead, raisins, small berries, sorb… Mouth (neat): some unexpected citrus, oranges, cranberries… The freshness is really awesome here, and even surprising. Orange starbust, tangerine candy… With water: flowers chiming in, plus more overripe apples and pears. Quinces are not left behind. Finish: orangey things are back in the aftertaste. Jaffa cake? Honeycomb in the aftertaste (the beekeeper's chewing-gum). Comments: excellent, we're actually pretty close to an old chardonnay. These fins bois are always very interesting and rather different.
SGP:551 - 89 points.

And so…

Château de Beaulon 1988/2022 (55.2%, Through The Grapevine, LMDW, Fins Bois)

Château de Beaulon 1988/2022 (55.2%, Through The Grapevine, LMDW, Fins Bois) Four stars and a half
This is a single cask. Let's see if we find medlars again… Colour: deep gold. Nose: so close! Medlars indeed, a coastal touch that's also a tad medicinal this time, some natural rubber (bicycle inner tube), those apples and peaches, buttercups… Wonderful, delicate, and frankly, a little intellectual, whatever that means. With water: oils, grape pips, sunflower, even sesame, plus these small berries, sorb, rowanberry eau-de-vie (hi!)… Mouth (neat): I wouldn't use the word 'rustic' too often but honestly, this is a little rustic, in a very great way. Holidays in the countryside… And we're even closer to Grosperrin's Fins Bois, with these superb oranges and those 'things from a beehive'. With water: quinces and propolis, what's not to like? Finish: oranges, liquorice, propolis, and… drumroll… medlars! Mead and puréed chestnuts in the aftertaste. Comments: strikingly similar, and excellent. Wondering if Grosperrin's awesome 1980 was not a Beaulon too.

SGP:551 – 89 points.

Jean-Luc Pasquet 1958/2022 'L58' (43.1%, Wu Dram Clan, Grande Champagne, 256 bottles)

Jean-Luc Pasquet 1958/2022 'L58' (43.1%, Wu Dram Clan, Grande Champagne, 256 bottles) Five stars
No suspense here, you know who's gonna win. We'll keep this extra-short. Colour: gold. Nose: well, someone smart has blended some old Balblair, old Lochside and old Bushmills with some proper old cognac. Which would translate into a whole tureen of mangos, melons, oranges, heather honey and stewed peaches. Mouth: same, plus zillions of tinier flavours, some grassy (oyster plant, basil, coriander), some spicy (cardamom, cinnamon, juniper), some fruitier yet (rambutans?) and some infinitesimal ones more resinous and rubbery (resin and rubber, ha). But we said we'd keep this extra-short… Finish: medium, with some cedarwood and perhaps even echoes of incense (reminiscent of a Chinese Buddhist temple). Keyword, 'reminiscent'. Comments: there is a little fragility here and there, but let's remember this is almost sixty-four. Will you still need me, Will you still feed me, When I'm sixty-four… Nah, as brilliant as The Beatles.
SGP:651 - 91 points.

A last one…

Vallein Tercinier 'Rue 34' (42%, OB, for LMDW, Antipodes, Grande Champagne, cask #034, 50 bottles)

Vallein Tercinier 'Rue 34' (42%, OB, for LMDW, Antipodes, Grande Champagne, cask #034, 50 bottles) Five stars
1934 was a magical vintage in France, but the occupying forces have downed most of it, except when winegrowers would have quickly built new walls at the back of their cellars, to hide parts of their stocks. It happened several times to me, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, that grandchildren would have found real treasures when having some work done in their cellars, especially in Burgundy. We've downed so many unlabelled bottles back then! Brilliant wines, even if pretty often, we wouldn't even have known what they were, the grandfathers or fathers having sometimes died during the war without leaving any records. Fixin? Latricières? Charmes? Griotte?... Some sad and joyful stories at the same time… Anyway, 1934 is a vintage that's close to my heart… Colour: amber. Nose: how's this possible? Shall I even try to describe this? The nuts, the flowers, the precious fruits, the nougats, the oils, the toffees… Was this survivor even made by men or women? Mouth: I'm not going to 'judge' this, I don't think I'm qualified. Maybe give you the name of a piece of music that would kind of echo this? Please let me think this through… Finish: wait… Comments: there, Puccini, La fanciulla del West, the introduction.

SGP:572 - 94 points
(I dared).

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

 

October 21, 2022


Whiskyfun

A trio of Glen Scotia

I'm really glad to find more Glen Scotia, and that indie bottlers would be more interested in the make that's becoming more than just 'the alternative Campbeltowner'. After all, the Distillers themselves smartly call it 'Whisky from the Whiskiest Place in the World.'
(Photograph Glen Scotia)

Glen Scotia

Glen Scotia 15 yo (46%, OB, +/-2022)

Glen Scotia 15 yo (46%, OB, +/-2022) Three stars and a half
Ex-American barrel. A lot of love for this mention on the label: "Distiller's Note: rich & smooth". That's all, you may guess that they haven't hired any senior copywriter from Madison Avenue here (who have become a little overrated anyway). Colour: gold. Nose: we often quote liquorice allsorts, but this time it is a whole warehouse full of those that we're finding in our wee glass, then the expected porridge (Glen Scotia has sometimes been extremely porridgey, this one's gentler), pancakes, silverware, butterscotch, metal polish, sea spray, beach pebbles, then a classic vanilla and baked apples combo… Mouth: there's this very peculiar medicinal side, iodine, bandages, then pancakes and rum sauce, corn syrup, some gentle, slightly mustardy spices, a little fudge… It really is different malt whisky, perhaps one to have in the open. Finish: medium, with a little sour sawdust, vanilla, and wee coastal side. Perhaps some whelks? We love the humble whelks at WF Towers. The aftertaste is a little saltier yet, and earthier. Comments: bonus point for its idiosyncratic side.
SGP:451 - 84 points.

Glen Scotia 5 yo 2015/2021 (59.1%, OB for Or Sileis, first fill bourbon barrel, cask #1366, 251 bottles)

Glen Scotia 5 yo 2015/2021 (59.1%, OB for Or Sileis, first fill bourbon barrel, cask #1366, 251 bottles) Four stars and a half
Boy is this young. Colour: white wine. Nose: grass, fresh-mown lawn, white asparagus, salsify, chalk, lemon peel. With water: crème de menthe and custard, no coconut (hurray). Mouth (neat): completely different, full of lemon drops and limoncello, with a little Thai basil. Simple pleasures. With water: as good as it gets at such young age, reminding me of some much older 5s, such as Clynelish 5, Glen Grant 5, Springbank 5… In the 1960s or very early 1970s! No small feat, we agree. Perfect chalk + lemon combination here. Finish: rather long, grassier again, excellent. Comments: great work with the cask here. Pour it blind, have a poker face and ask your friends about the age… Spectacular quality/age ratio.

SGP:661 - 88 points.

Glen Scotia 10 yo 'Campbeltown Malt Festival 2021' (56.1%, OB, Bordeaux Red Wine Cask Finish)

Glen Scotia 10 yo 'Campbeltown Malt Festival 2021' (56.1%, OB, Bordeaux Red Wine Cask Finish) Two stars and a half
Gasp, red Bordeaux, I can't breathe… I am joking, they may have STRised this one, and at least it is not a peater. Colour: gold. No blush… Nose: something like peach cake, poached pears (pears poached in wine, naturally), VDN – vin doux naturel, clafoutis… I have to say this one's absolutely not unpleasant and to be honest, it's not impossible that the times of wine finishing feeling like playing Russian roulette with casks would be over. With water: not the greatest swimmer, more wood spices are coming out. Ground coffee and cocoa powder. Mouth (neat): I find it a little dissonant (pepper and peaches? Not too sure…) but not shockingly so. Having said that, the spiciness is growing huge. Cherry stems, cloves, pepper and cinnamon, unbridled. With water: it's okay but getting a little sour and too porridgey. Finish: long, drying. Tomato leaves and cherry stems. Comments: right, perhaps more the Bordeaux Wine Feast (should that exist) than the Campbeltown Malt Festival, but I won't deny that some aspects were pleasant. Was that PC enough?

SGP:371 - 78 points.

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

 

October 20, 2022


Whiskyfun

Time

The Time Warp sessions,
today Ardbeg Ten vs 10

 

Just because I've never done this. Let me add, pre-emptively, that there's no scientific value to this kind of session, that all opinions are mine, that I'm one man only, that I've got very personal tastes, and that WF's principal cat is currently on vacation (saying that just for the sake of completeness). And we'll simply add that we won't mention the Distillery's famous purifier.

Ardbeg

 

 

Ardbeg 10 yo 'Ten' (46%, OB, +/-2022)

Ardbeg 10 yo 'Ten' (46%, OB, +/-2022) Five stars
I don't think Ardbeg Ten has ever disappointed me, I believe it's the most reliable expression of them all (and what's more, there shouldn't be any 'Cote Rotie' inside, ha). Having said that, last time we formally tried it, that was in 2018 (WF 90 – loved it indeed). Colour: white wine. No attempts to use any 'boosted' oak, apparently. Nose: gorgeous. Oats, lemon cream, ashes, new wool, soot, tarry ropes, seawater. This remains exactly perfect indeed, even more so since this time, I'm also finding a tiny olive. Or is that fresh kelp? Mouth: it may have changed over the years, but every time I'm trying this expression, I'm reminded of 'Introducing Ten Years Old'. Circa 2000, no? They may have cranked up the peat, having said that, and the bitters and the very dry vegetables (artichokes and eggplants), as well as the small bitter lemons and, first and foremost, these mountains of ashes. As usual, there are also litres of lapsang souchong, the usual oysters and kippers, bitter almonds, and a massive tar-and-smoke combo. Finish: very long, with the usual suspects and, hurray, that tiny olive. Some superb candied citrus. Comments: one extra-point for that olive, what would you say, is that fair? Always such a joy to taste Ardbeg Ten (approx. 50-55€ in France) after having recently tried many very expensive whiskies on these modest pages.
SGP:368 - 91 points.

Ardbeg 10 yo 'Guaranteed 10 years old' (40%, OB, green glass, bulky neck, Rossi & Rossi Italy, 75cl, +/-1985)

Ardbeg 10 yo 'Guaranteed 10 years old' (40%, OB, green glass, bulky neck, Rossi & Rossi Italy, 75cl, +/-1988) Five stars
In my experience these old 10s were wildly variable, with scores spread between, say 80 and 95. We tried this very bottle within our 'Three Blind Men Again' session at The Whisky Show in London this year (the excellent Dawn and Hideo replaced Charlie and Dave this time). Colour: white wine, but slightly darker than the new Ten. Nose: completely different, much more on benzine, petroly riesling, flints and chalk, some proper chardonnay as well, fresh putty, a little salted caramel, husk, roots (celeriac)… There sure is some 'peat', but it's been digested, so to speak. Mouth: we're much closer to the new one, much, much closer, with almost as many ashes, lapsang souchong, tar, smoke, bitter almonds, lime, seashells… It's really fascinating that all this 'peat' wouldn't have decomposed into various fruits, especially tropical ones, which usually happens with most other Islayers, especially Laphroaig. Indeed, even in glass! Finish: pretty long and only marginally sweeter. Bitter beers, orange cordials, salty vegetables, and a very ashy aftertaste that 'sticks your tongue to your palate'. Comments: terrific and incredibly big at 40% vol. and after all these years in glass. Bur believe it or not (well, better believe it), I liked the new Ten a notch better, which does please me immensely.
SGP:367 - 90 points.

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

 

October 19, 2022


Whiskyfun

Old Lochside and Lochnagar

Another wee session that doesn't make much sense, except that both names start the same (how clever, S.), while we haven't got any proper (meaning old enough) sparring partners for any of those. But we have no shame whatsoever, so we'll simply pair these two… What's more, both places are in Aberdeenshire.
(photograph Colin Smith)

Lochside

 

 

Lochside 40 yo 1981/2022 (49.2%, Gordon & MacPhail, Private Collection, The Recollection, refill sherry hogshead, 141 bottles)

Lochside 40 yo 1981/2022 (49.2%, Gordon & MacPhail, Private Collection, The Recollection, refill sherry hogshead, 141 bottles) Five stars
We're in Montrose this time, and who says Lochside says Ben Nevis, and owner Joseph Hobbes well before the Spanish company DYC bought Lochside and launched a slightly lacklustre official 10 years old. Colin Ross told us many funny stories about Joseph Hobbes, especially how he would have delivered casks to private jets, right under the noses of excise officers. We'll tell you other funny stories later… Colour: deep gold. Nose: only Clynelish could compete, there, I said it. Amazing mint + tropical fruits combination, plus pine needles and heather honey. I'll say no more, Lochside is another name that could make us cry. Well, maybe I'm exaggerating a bit... With water: toasts and cigars, cherry wood, humus;, stewed vine peaches… Mouth (neat): fruit bomb alert. Some oak for sure, some tea tannins as well, but you cannot beat this superb mango-y arrival. Add stewed bananas and a little cedarwood that's adding some dryness… With water: not that water was needed, but this saltiness, sardines, anchovies, olives… Well they just come unexpected. Finish: medium, on a fruit salad, plus herbal teas and once again a salty touch. Comments: sublime Lochside, it's just that the St Magdalene and the Glen Mhor in the same series were even more to my liking (and amongst 2022's utter stars for sure).

SGP:661 - 91 points.

Didn't we say a Lochnagar?

Royal Lochnagar 42 yo 1978/2020 (48.1%, OB, Cask of Distinction, for Gareth Christopher, American oak hogshead, cask #722, 90 bottles)

Royal Lochnagar 42 yo 1978/2020 (48.1%, OB, Cask of Distinction, for Gareth Christopher, American oak hogshead, cask #722, 90 bottles) Five stars
An extremely rare bottle that even those tax evaders at Google (bang, page rank further down) do not seem to find. But it is real! Colour: gold. Nose: it's already gone to the other side, but what a lovely side, with mosses, fern, many mushrooms, ceps, kumquats, cedarwood, old books, pinecones, and really many herbals teas, from chamomile to cinnamon and thyme. A very old bottle of chartreuse, gunpowder tea… And perhaps elves… The other side indeed. Mouth: it's inverted. I mean, in general, very old whiskies may remain bright on the nose, and dry and woody on the palate. On the contrary, I'm finding this palate rather fresher, even if some old oak starts to feel, with cigars, old teas… But there are also citrons, lemongrass, combava, guava, citron eau-de-vie (we've tried some 'Cédrat' by Brana the other day, it was very nice)… In short, this old Lochnagar remained very much alive. A bit oaky for sure, but totally alive. Finish: no changes, just more herbal teas, perhaps rosehip? I'm also thinking of cherry stem tea, which I just adore. It seems that it's rather big in Beirut. Poor Beirut… Pickled lemons in the rather rugous aftertaste. Comments: we sometimes call these 'intellectual malts'. A little pretentious, perhaps? Technically 89/100, but it is a 42 years old Lochnagar, a  lovely Distillery that sits very near to Balmoral Castle as you very well know. So, given what happened there only a few weeks ago, and since there are/were only 90 bottles, that'll be…

SGP:461 - 90 points.
 

October 18, 2022


Whiskyfun

A trio of Braes

We've developed a fondness for Braes of Glenlivet. Should I worry? We'll have three of them today, vertically, two IBs and one of those rather rare OBs that keep flying under the radars.
(Photograph Anne Burgess)

Braes

Braeval 12 yo 2009/2022 (52.1%, Whisky-Fässle, butt)

Braeval 12 yo 2009/2022 (52.1%, Whisky-Fässle, butt) Four stars
Unnecessary 101: Braeval is Braes of Glenlivet. Got to see what the duck is saying… Colour: white wine. Nose: it's a civilised butt that lets the distillate shine through, with a mix of light wax, green fruits (our usual suspects greengages and gooseberries) and then some soft fats (light suet) before lemons and grapefruits would start to take over, adding much freshness and zestiness to this combo. Some flints too. With water: some smoke! Barbecue, then chalk and wool, grist, more grapefruits. Mouth (neat): it's fruitier on the palate, this time with some melon liqueur, pink grapefruit, St Germain, and a fruity hoppy side, IPA-style. The butt was a gentleman. With water: takes water extremely well, even better than pastis. Geared towards grapefruit liqueur. Giffard in France are making a good Crème de Pamplemousse Rose, for example. Finish: medium, clean, maltier. Comments: more proof that Braes is underrated, and that, in my opinion, it is worthy of more praise (that's the same thing S., no?) Excellent distillate.
SGP:551 - 86 points.

Braeval 23 yo 1997/2021 'The Drink Malt' (52.2%, Pin-Xin Wine Shop, barrel, cask #126750, 92 bottles)

Braeval 23 yo 1997/2021 'The Drink Malt' (52.2%, Pin-Xin Wine Shop, barrel, cask #126750, 92 bottles) Four stars
Hurray, our friends in Asia are into Braeval as well! Colour: light gold. Nose: this one's a little 'Glen-Granty', with rather more leaves and zests (kumquats), all that from a more active cask. Some bananas too, even banana foam, marshmallows… And even coconut balls. With water: same, with just a little more fresh bread, croissants au beurre… Mouth (neat): spectacular fruity and liqueury arrival, with a mix of 50% bananas and 50% papayas. Well, more or less. Some bitterness chiming in then (citrus zests) and grapefruits are soon to take over. We shall not complain, this is simple and perfect. Right, simply perfect. Was the barrel deep-charred? With water: more citrus, perhaps sweeter ones this time, oranges, tangerines, some custard… Finish: same, plus touches of green tea and, this time again, Szechuan pepper. Clean zesty Lagunitas-like aftertaste. Comments: perfect make, highly quaffable, perhaps even a little dangerous because of that.
SGP:651 - 87 points.

Braes of Glenlivet 25 yo 'Rare Release' (48%, OB, batch #BG/002, first fill American oak barrels, 2020)

Braes of Glenlivet 25 yo 'Rare Release' (48%, OB, batch #BG/002, first fill American oak barrels, 2020) Four stars
I find it just a little strange that they wouldn't have gone for sherry, as we know that Braes takes sherry very well. But there… Colour: light gold. Nose: it is much more discreet than both OBs, very gentle, more on cereals, cookies, sunflower and sesame oils, broken branches, croissants, muffins 'at the Balmoral', a fresh pack of Jaffa cakes, nougats… This is all nice, but really gentle and almost shy. Ish. Mouth: closer to the Pin-Xin but less 'obvious', with a little more sourness (sour apples), even notes of cider, but don't get me wrong, it's excellent whisky. The 25 years don't quite feel or show, having said that. Apples are ruling this baby. Finish: medium, with touches of coconut from the first fill barrels, then passion fruits. A little late. Comments: very good, very easy, balanced drop; not too sure about the 450€, having said that.
SGP:651 - 85 points.

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

 

October 17, 2022


Whiskyfun

Little Duos, today Macallan IB vs OB

The IB does carry a vintage statement, the OB does not, but the latter's said to shelter quite some old vintages of Macallan. I've also heard good things about this very expression, so with a willing heart and no preconceptions whatsoever…

rancio

 

 

Macallan 2001/2022 'Speymalt' (55.4%, Gordon & MacPhail, LMDW Antipodes)

Macallan 2001/2022 'Speymalt' (55.4%, Gordon & MacPhail, LMDW Antipodes) Four stars and a half
It is to remember that Gordon & MacPhail are filling and maturing their own woods, I don't think they buy ready-made whiskies. The French would call them 'négociants-éleveurs' (not to mention their own Distilleries of course). It is also to be noted that this is an unusual 'Speymalt' at C/S. Colour: amber. Nose: plain and pure butterscotch and chocolate, plus some mocha and moka. My favourite these days would stem from Ethiopia. That's all, but watch what will happen once we've added water… With water: amontillado! More walnuts, roasted peanuts, black nougat, then espresso, raw chocolate, flints, notes of sour cherries. A nose that's displaying touches of Chambertin. Oh and I cannot not think of Benromach here and there, but that's probably my mind playing tricks on me. Mouth (neat): really punchy and extremely cakey. Slightly burnt brownies, pecan pie, some meat (say well-aged grouse meat, minimum two weeks!) and rather a lot of malt. Pretty gamey this far. With water: even more on game, rocks, peppers and cloves, caraway, earth, eggplants, mint sauce, more sour cherries, pipe tobacco… Finish: long and meatier/flintier yet. Venison plus retsina, liquorice and marmalade. Comments: some rusticity in this one. I like it a lot, not just because of that (we're very rustic at Château WF).

SGP:562 - 89 points.

Macallan 'M - 2022' (45%, OB)

Macallan 'M - 2022' (45%, OB) Five stars
Fully ex- sherry-seasoned Spanish oak casks, the old way would we add. The decanter is made by Lalique. The high price, around £5K, would suggest some very old Macallans have been used, as some do in Cognac with their poshest decanters, although 'we have no proof'.  There's also a Macallan M 'Black' and a Macallan M 'Copper', so colours seem to count here. Lastly, we've tried what I believe was the first M, released around 2013, and just loved it (WF 91). So, all in all, hopes are high here… Colour: brown amber. Nose: time-warp effect, we're in 1990. The sherry's pretty sublime, these notes of metal polish, old coins, old copper kettle and all that are fantastic, these tobaccos are lovable (old plain Dunhill's, shall we say) and so are these bouillons full of marrow, mushrooms, lardo di Colonnata, leek, and perhaps even garlic. A tiny touch. Beyond that, we'll find the usual raisins, figs, dates, plum pudding and fruitcake. Brilliant. Mouth: I don't know why, this reminds me of the old 30 'blue label and blue box', but this M is a little better. Tobacco and liquorice, earl grey, Jaffa cake, orange blossom water, oriental pastries, a thin slice of kougelhopf, while we cannot not mention also panettone this time again. Certainly also fortified mustos, pineau and such, and old rancio, Rivesaltes, old sweet grenache, Maury… Anyway, you see what I mean. Finish: medium, on ultra-classic 'sweet' sherry, a little 'cream' perhaps. Cappuccino and marmalade in the aftertaste. Comments: only the strength could have been a tad higher, say around 47-48%, but we're splitting hairs (no, we don't change). Fantastic Macallan.
SGP:661 - 92 points.

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

 

October 16, 2022


Whiskyfun

Again, rum at random

As they come, with just one relatively silly apéritif… But first...

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!

 

 

Abuelo XII anos 'Two Oaks' (40%, Panama, +/-2021)
Is this really XII – 12 – twelve? As long as it's not 2 years and 12 oaks… Colour: orange gold. Nose: molasses everywhere, plus corn syrup, stuff from Kellogg's, and a grassy development that I'm certainly not finding un-nice. Towards sugarcane, which is obviously pleasant. Nutshell, a pleasant nose. I know, minimum service. Mouth: way too sweet, as expected, but with a ton of crushed ice and the juice of one large lemon, I would imagine I could drink a small glass of this. Finish: long but extremely sweet and cloying. Perhaps at 5 or 6°C? Comments: ridden with spirit caramel and probably for cocktails only. Very unpleasant sugariness remaining on your tongue for a long time.
SGP:830 - 60 points.

Right, everything will fetch 90+ now… (grin)

Mount Gay 6 yo 'The Madeira Cask Expression' (55%, OB, Barbados, Master Blender Collection, 2706 bottles, 2022)

Mount Gay 6 yo 'The Madeira Cask Expression' (55%, OB, Barbados, Master Blender Collection, 2706 bottles, 2022) Three stars
Not a brand we're trying very often, and that's probably a shame. Colour: gold. Nose: it's true that as whisky drinkers, we'd rather have our rums without any obvious wine influence, al natural. On the other hand, as it is in Scotland, it is traditional to reuse empty wine barrels that used to be shipped to the Caribbean. In this case, the result is rather dry and shy, grassy, certainly pleasant, but with a feeling that it'll rather happen on the palate. With water: leafy. Some cigars, some fruit skins (banana), a touch of camphor. Mouth (neat): way more expressive than on the nose, with bananas stewed in curry sauce, some tobacco, and some lovely citrusy notes that would indeed lift it. With water: gets a little sweetish, which is not quite for us, but there's a nice balance and once again, some bananas in curry sauce, with a touch of mustard and honey. Finish: medium, a little sweet indeed. Comments: wondering if it's been 'adjusted' at some point, but if they've used sweet malmsey casks, well, we do know the attacker.
SGP:641 - 82 points.

Foursquare 2021 'LFT White' (62%, Habitation Velier, Barbados, 2022) Five stars
Right, 100% pot still, 100% Barbados cane and half a kilo esters per hlpa, I think we've been expecting this since around 1920, even if it's only white… Colour: white. Nose: full on acetone, ammonia, crushed olives, brand new wardrobe from Ikea's, Russian-made wood varnish, capers, elderflowers, gherkin brine and then the blackest black salted liquorice. I can't see what we shouldn't like here. With water: little change. Mouth (neat): superb. Salted strawberries, tarry peaches, smoked bananas, and indeed olives, gherkins, tiny pickled lemons and onions, plus capers everywhere. Have we mentioned varnish? With water: even better, with pure sugarcane juice chiming in (yet it was molasses, right?) as well as small earthy pears as they have in Domfrontais calvados. A little less on gasoline when skilfully reduced (yeah yeah yeah). Finish: long, with some salted lemon now, and those pears but that may be the youth. Salty finishes work better than a Jimmy Page solo. Acetone is back in the aftertaste; this baby wouldn't leave you alone. Comments: hell and pestilence, this is perfect white rum!

SGP:563 - 90 points.

Let us just insist…

Foursquare 17 yo 'Isonomy' (58%, OB, Barbados, 2022)

Foursquare 17 yo 'Isonomy' (58%, OB, Barbados, 2022) Four stars and a half
Seventeen years, that's a proper age! This is a 'single blend', so batch + column, so I suppose we shouldn't expect the same kind of knack this time. As for the name here, I would suppose the next bottling will be named 'Democracy'. We cannot wait… Colour: amber. Nose: the tropical aging starts to feel, with some thicker tar, more concentrated flower essences, whiffs of sandalwood, even incense, garam masala… It's as if at this age, the pot-still part would be winning over, although this remains delicate and 'kind of lighter'. Well, after the White, they're all going to be lighter. With water: flowers and varnish, honeysuckle, acacia... Mouth (neat): caramel, curry, allspice. With water: indeed, fudge, Frappuccino (apologies), hazelnut liqueur, even Bayley's (renewed apologies), and triple-sec. The column is having the upper hand this time. Finish: medium, easier, sweeter… And moreish. Comments: I don't think you could really beat the white LFT, but we're close. I hope they are keeping some mature 'pure' pot-still FS for later.
SGP:641 - 89 points.

Well, Barbados it is…

Foursquare 16 yo (61%, La Maison & Velier, Barbados, Magnum series #1, Elliot Erwitt Edition, 2022)

Foursquare 16 yo (61%, La Maison & Velier, Barbados, Magnum series #1, Elliot Erwitt Edition, 2022) Four stars
A story about the Magnum agency and magnum bottles. We've been at the launch event in Paris, it was lovely. But we are Philistines… Colour: gold; Nose: whiffs of burnt tyres (Avons, not the best) and cakes, pinecones, Golden Grahams, then hibiscus and jasmine (a little)… With water: some notes of piney cognac or something. Young Borderies ex-new Limousin. Mouth (neat): very Foursquare this time, close to the Isonomy, with something a little earthier. Perhaps. With water: a sweeter Foursquare, more on triple-sec (triple sec is not sec at all, go figure) and cane syrup. Finish: rather long, with touches of liquorice and menthol on top of cane syrup. Comments: a tad more sweet and syrupy, but still super-good. Oh and 1.5 litres!  
SGP:651 - 86 points.

Another one from that spectacular Magnum series by Velier…

Hampden 5 yo 2016 (60%, La Maison & Velier, Jamaica, Magnum series #1, Elliot Erwitt Edition, 2022)

Hampden 5 yo 2016 (60%, La Maison & Velier, Jamaica, Magnum series #1, Elliot Erwitt Edition, 2022) Four stars
This should be a HLCF, which means 500-700gr esters/HLPA, so pretty high. This note will be very short, I haven't much of it even if it's a originally a magnum. Ha! Colour: light gold. Nose: the usual olives kept in mango vinegar and brine, plus a softer side, with quinces, mirabelle tarte, some mint and some camphor… It is pretty delicate, not an Hampden that will tear you apart. With water: some chocolate liquorice. Or chocolate-flavoured liquorice allsorts. Mouth (neat): heavy yet elegant, starting with williams pears, going on with a lot of salted liquorice and even a wee cup of mezcal. With water: same plus pineapples and more olives. Finish: long and pretty coastal. Seawater, olives, liquorice, chocolate, grapefruits. Comments: very classy, feels rather older than just 5.
SGP:562 - 87 points.

Saint James 15 yo 2004+2006 (45%, La Maison & Velier, Martinique, Magnum series #1, Elliot Erwitt Edition, 2022)

Saint James 15 yo 2004+2006 (45%, La Maison & Velier, Martinique, Magnum series #1, Elliot Erwitt Edition, 2022) Four stars and a half
In my modest experience, some relatively lighter strength goes well to Saint James' agricoles. Colour: orange amber. Nose: epitomically agricole indeed, with some warm praline and marmalade, some chiselled cane juice honey, then an extremely long savoury and mentholated development. Extremely brilliant and even pretty fascinating. Sumptuous notes of caraway, clove, jasmine, old unlit Virginia cigarettes and beeswax. A lot of beeswax, always for the better. Mouth: a little extractive, with touches of sour old wood, but that's not a problem at all and would rather remind us of some very old cognacs. Many dried fruits, pears, apricots, raisins, pineapples, then a touch of leather and the aforementioned tobaccos, with some liquorice progressively moving to the front. Finish: long and indeed pretty much on liquorice, tobacco and marmalade. Some fresh citron eau-de-vie in the aftertaste, plus that old cognac. Comments: probably my favourite within the magnums. There's also a Mount Gay but we'll try that one next time.

SGP:661 - 88 points.

Another French rum please…

Bellevue 23 yo 1998/2021 (61%, HNWS Taiwan, Guadeloupe, bourbon barrel, cask #17, 109 bottles)

Bellevue 23 yo 1998/2021 (61%, HNWS Taiwan, Guadeloupe, bourbon barrel, cask #17, 109 bottles) Four stars
This baby was bottled in Scotland. We've already tried some stupendous Bellevues, it is the largest distillery in Guadeloupe (which indeed includes Marie-Galante), with almost 1mio litres of rum of agricole type per year. … Colour: gold. Nose: perhaps a little blocked, shy, but I'm sure that's the high ABV. Gentle and vanilla-ed. Let's move on… With water: and bingo, dandelions, beeswax, honeysuckle, wisteria… Mouth (neat): a little hot. Pineapple liqueur, caramel, a little varnish, even notes of gin? Nah… With water: and voilà, salted liquorice, olives, pinewood, pepper… Having said that, I believe it remained a little softer than other Bellevues 1998, even if some chili-like touches would pop out too later on.. Finish: long and really very caney this time. Oranges and chillies in the aftertaste. Stings a little. Comments: this is why God invented water after having invented rum/rhum (gee-ee-ee, S.!)…
SGP:651 - 86 points.

Let's make the last one a Caroni, as we often do…

Caroni 24 yo 1998/2022 (61.9%, Whisky Concerto, refill American oak, cask #12)

Caroni 24 yo 1998/2022 (61.9%, Whisky Concerto, refill American oak, cask #12) Five stars
Aged for 11 years in the Tropics, then in Europe I would suppose. Bottled for our friends in Hong Kong. Colour: full gold. Nose: it is a rather deviant and intellectual Caroni, really all on old books, furniture polish, old library, miso soup and umami sauce, old pinewood, parsley, turpentine, old black tea… A monk's study (from any religion, really). With water: more of all that, with a beautiful dryness. An old humidor full of old Cuban puros… Mouth (neat): you would be forgiven for believing this is a very old agricole. Thick and heavy pine resin, propolis, pipe juice, miso indeed, wax, half-evaporated triple-sec and chartreuse, even Underberg…… With water: rather huge camphor, liquorice, cough syrup, then apricot liqueur and jam to round this off. Or what our Swiss friends call Apricotine. Finish: rather long, appropriately softer, with a citrusy signature, plus black tea. Comments: did it come through that I liked this very herbal one really a lot?

SGP:572 - 91 points.

 

And a bonus session...

Because life is short. And this time again, this will start with a humble apéritif...

 

Old Man 'Project Three Dark Expression' (40%, OB, blend, +/-2021) Two stars
Some blended rum by a fairly recent German company named 'Spirits Of Old Man'. Colour: gold. Nose: rounded and molassy, with hints of chicory coffee and pancake syrup, plus rather a lot of caramel and chocolate. Nothing bad to say, well not much to say altogether. The devil usually lies on the palate… Mouth: light and sugared, pretty much all on coffee and caramel, as if Starbucks would be behind this brand. It is not totally unpleasant, but it's clearly too sugary to the malt drinker. Kahlúa! Finish: medium, too caramelly and liqueury, but it's rather clean. Comments: I would suppose no one's using this  baby as a sipper anyway but I'd say it's a good rum – within this style of rum.

SGP:720 - 72 points.

Good, the gloves are off…

Outlaw Rum 'Double Cask 2021 Edition' (43%, Outlaw Rum Co., 1400 bottles)

Outlaw Rum 'Double Cask 2021 Edition' (43%, Outlaw Rum Co., 1400 bottles) Three stars
Some Caribbean rum aged in Speyside and Highland single malt casks and bottled in Scotland. We tried their Islay Cask earlier this year and thought it was pretty good (WF 82). This should be gentler and more logical, in a way. Colour: light gold. Nose: fresher, more on pears and apples, with touches of putty and paraffin. Very pleasant sugar cane, vanilla, camphor, menthol… All this really works, with a pleasant freshness. Mouth: rather grassier, with some liquorice this time, marmalade, soft liquorice, a tiny bit of black olive too, then rounder flavours, toffee apple, fudge, butterscotch… Finish: medium, fresh, a little more on oranges, liquorice again, touch of salt (olives)… Comments: very fine. I would suppose a version at 46% vol. would work a little better yet.
SGP:551 - 82 points.

Vieux Sajous 5 yo 2017/2022 (52.14%, La Maison & Velier, clairin, Haiti, Caroni cask)

Vieux Sajous 5 yo 2017/2022 (52.14%, La Maison & Velier, clairin, Haiti, Caroni cask) Four stars and a half
A Caroni cask ? I would suppose with this new mania of reusing 'branded' casks, we'll keep seeing the name 'Caroni' on bottles even after the year 2100. I mean, what's the lifespan of a 'refill ex-Caroni cask', from a marketing POV? And does a clairin need Caroni anyway? But at least this is fully aged in that cask, so enough chitchat… Colour: white wine. Nose: enough twaddle indeed, this is immense, shock-full of  acetone and olives, with mangos, green tobacco and vanilla waiting in ambush. With water: some more delicate notes of vegetables, artichokes and eggplants, plantain, then turpentine and many kinds of varnishes, plus fermenting fruits. Fermenting plums, perhaps? Mouth (neat): oh! Whether you should rather call this a Haitian-Trinidadian blend or not, I just love this olive + liquorice + varnish combo. No prisoners taken. With water: special woods, pine perhaps, some kind of mango liqueur with a little tar, olives… Finish: same for a very long time. The varnishes have never totally left, but they would just work. Comments: massively good. Now go try to tell what was Caroni and what is clairin in this fantastic combo…

SGP:562 - 89 points.

Caroni, they said…

Caroni 20 yo 1999/2019 (47%, Alambic Classique, Trinidad, cask #19099, 123 bottles)

Caroni 20 yo 1999/2019 (47%, Alambic Classique, Trinidad, cask #19099, 123 bottles) Four stars
Colour: deep gold. Nose: it is a more extractive one than usual, with more pine and fir woods, more tar, turpentine and linseed oil (a painter's workshop), putty, carbolineum, fir bud liqueur, Fernet Branca… A little intriguing, but as far as I'm concerned, this old-school herbal-liqueur-type nose just does it. Let's check the palate… Mouth: some rather heavy wood, more fir, cones, needles, also rotting oranges and bananas (no big deal), and first and foremost, a lot of tar. I'm not sure the entire world would like this as much as I do, but after all, there are/were only 123 bottles. Finish: long, tarry, extractive, piney. In short, not changes. Pretty drying aftertaste. Comments: extreme in its own, tarry way.
SGP:473 - 87 points.

Ghana 2020/2022 (66.5%, The Nectar of The Daily Drams for LMDW, Antipodes, Ghana)

Ghana 2020/2022 (66.5%, The Nectar of The Daily Drams for LMDW, Antipodes, Ghana) Four stars
The great people at The Nectar etc. were particularly proud of this young African rum at Whisky Live Paris this year, and if you ask me, rightly so. It's made from fresh cane juice, with some long fermentation and a distillation in pot-stills. Colour: gold. Nose: massive but noseable, with a little acetone once more, ylang-ylang (and bigly!), green oranges and really a lot of kirschwasser. That could be the young age and the high strength, let's see… With water: fresh sawn plywood, paraffin, pumpernickel, young malt whisky, even rye… Another one that's a little 'meta'. Mouth (neat): oh… Lapsang souchong, overripe bananas, menthol cigarettes, guavas, mirabelles, apricots… And varnish. Let's tame it. With water: back to pure rum, back to varnish, liquorice, overripe bananas, olives, putty, paraffin… Tends to lose a little bit of focus now, but it is only 2 and is probably already better than 99.9% of the world's production. Finish: long, on putty and paraffin, with some saltiness in the aftertaste., as well as a floral side. Geranium and banana. Comments: rather a revelation.
SGP:562 - 87 points.

Barbados 21 yo 2000/2022 (49%, Rum Sponge, 241 bottles)

Barbados 21 yo 2000/2022 (49%, Rum Sponge, 241 bottles) Five stars
Our friend The Sponge is at it again, this one too was a hit at WL Paris. Colour: deep gold. Nose: a thicker, heavier Bajan, with more tar, violets, liquorice, rye, linoleum, turpentine, thin mints, amaretti… It is really intriguing because you would expect something lighter and less 'fat' from Barbados. Let's dig deeper… Mouth: totally, unexpectedly, superbly fat and heavy, petroly, salty, almost thick, oily… And these notes of tarry butterscotch (I'm sure I've had something like this when I was a kid, in the 1960s…) are very lovely too. Big surprise. Finish: long, salty, tarry. Marmalade and tar liqueur  in the background, to keep it civilised. Superb piney oak integration. Comments: I'm absolutely not sure about the distillery here, and sure it is actually a tad oaky/piney, but I just love this kind of tarry heaviness. And 49% vol. is a perfect strength too.

SGP:472 - 90 points.

Since we were in Ghana just two minutes ago…

Mhoba 2017/2022 'Rare Cask' (60.8%, LMDW, South Africa, Antipodes Collection, cask #9, 286 bottles)

Mhoba 2017/2022 'Rare Cask' (60.8%, LMDW, South Africa, Antipodes Collection, cask #9, 286 bottles) Four stars
Pardon me? South Africa? We've only tried a Mhoba once, two years ago, and it was a white one at 43%. There was a little too much strawberry yoghurt, according to my note, but (troubled) waters have passed under the bridge since back then, have they not… Colour: deep gold. Nose: carbon dust, fresh concrete, olives and capers, spent engine oil, leatherette… Well this is a little 'Jamaican', is it not? With water: between hardwood sawdust and damp plaster, with these tarry and piney notes flying around in the background. Mouth (neat): between us, I find it great that many young niche-y distilleries around the globe would now try to kind of replicate the Jamaican (and Caroni's) style, Carbon, diesel oil, tar, olives, varnish, high-concentration raspberry spirit… With water: well done, even if you should not add too much water. Brine, wee bits of Swiss cheese (or rather Comté), a little caraway, violets and lavender sweets… Would tend to become gentler over time. Finish: sameish. Butterscotch in the aftertaste. Comments: once again, I am impressed. The whole world is making excellent spirits these days, if global warming and wars do go on, this will all end like a gigantic monk orgy. Amen.
SGP:363 - 85 points.

Indeed, spirits are like Champagne, in victory you deserve them, in defeat you need them (W. Churchill). Anyway, a last one…  Let's make it a Jamaican.

Jamaican Rum 14 yo 2007/2021 'JMWP' (58.1%, The Whisky Blues, for The Alcohol Bar & The Whisky Seeker, cask #025, 274 bottles)

Jamaican Rum 14 yo 2007/2021 'JMWP' (58.1%, The Whisky Blues, for The Alcohol Bar & The Whisky Seeker, cask #025, 274 bottles) Four stars and a half
With a marque such as JMWP, this cannot not be Jamaica's Worthy Park, let's see…  Colour: deep gold. Nose: someone's smoked butterscotch and charred beechwood while we weren't watching. There's rather a lot of custard too. With water: metal polish, putty, engine oil, wee olives (those small pink ones). Mouth (neat): absolutely splendid. Varnish yet again, deep-steeped green tea, some bitter pine needles… Actually the jury's still out, this is getting a little tough – but yeah, 58.1%. With water: we got it exactly right (no, no shame at all) with some bananas coated with liquorice and tar syrup. Finish: long, dry, excellent, salty. Comments: WP's got a narrower and straighter style, no? Unless JMWP would rather mean something else, it is not an official Worthy Park marque/mark anyway, those would rather look like WPL, WPM, WPH, WPE etc.

SGP:462 - 88 points.

And naturally…

Hampden 12 yo 'HGML' (63.6%, OB for LMDW, bourbon barrel, cask #23, 2022, 275 bottles)

Hampden 12 yo 'HGML' (63.6%, OB for LMDW, bourbon barrel, cask #23, 2022, 275 bottles) Five stars
The marque HGML suggests 1000 to 1300 grams esters per hectolitre pure alcohol (HLPA), which is pretty huge, but not the hugest. Colour: gold. Nose: these heights lead to carbon notes, ammonia, brake pad dust, lots of leaves, or fig stems and leaves (with that 'milk')… With water: glue and varnish, bitter almonds, olives, rosehip… Mouth (neat): acrid, rather extreme, with notes of herring, rollmops, pipe tobacco, rotting fruits, black olives… With water: rotting fruits and more pipe tobacco, as well as very heavy and heady molasses. Muck! Finish: long, a tad sweeter, full of liquorice and even more pipe tobacco. Olives are back in the aftertaste. Comments: olives running the show. Do they grow olives within Hampden Estate? This one's just superb.
SGP:373 - 90 points.  
     

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

 

October 15, 2022


Whiskyfun

 

 

 

Angus's Corner
From our correspondent and
skilled taster Angus MacRaild in Scotland
Angus  
Three quick Tomatin
A spin round Tomatin this week. Always a distillery worth following, especially when it is on full fruity form…

 

Tomatin 1999/2013 (57.6%, OB for Royal Mile Whiskies,  Hungarian Oak finish, 302 bottles)

Tomatin 1999/2013 (57.6%, OB for Royal Mile Whiskies,  Hungarian Oak finish, 302 bottles)
Colour: pale amber. Nose: slightly spiritous, sawn rosewood, treacle, bitter orange marmalade and then wee notes of kumquat and tangerine. Gets a little more playfully fruity and spicy with cloves and cinnamon with some time in glass. With water: dates, plums and a general sense of 'sticky' fruitiness, some blood orange marmalade impressions too. Works well with water. Mouth: sticky dark fruits, a little sharp oak spiciness and also some greener notes of pepper and snapped twig. However, the fruitiness remains nicely juicy and just the right side of jammy. With water: develops some interesting teaish and beery notes. Shilling ales, jasmine tea, hibiscus, tea tree oil and something a little leathery. The oak feels a little too dominant now for me. Finish: medium in length, rather spicy and still with this dark, sticky and jammy fruit feeling. Comments: many attractive qualities, you just have to like them on the spicier / oakier side.
SGP: 551 - 84 points.

 

 

Tomatin 36 yo 'Batch 10' (46.2%, OB, 2022, 1200 bottles)

Tomatin 36 yo 'Batch 10' (46.2%, OB, 2022, 1200 bottles)
As with most of these releases, it's a mix of bourbon and sherry casks. Colour: deep gold. Nose: classically and lusciously full of Tomatin fruits. Green and orchard fruits with overripe yellow fruits and also wee exotic components too. Gets more and more exotic and generously lush with time - almost to the point of being rather estery and pineapple driven. Blind you might very well say a 1976 Tomatin. Mouth: same story! Abundant green apples, gooseberry and melon, also yellow plums, fruit pastilles and many fresh and dried exotic fruits. Specifically quite a bit of papaya and mango. Finish: medium but still rather overtly on fruits, a feeling of gelatinous texture and 'gloopiness' about that fruitiness as well. Comments: in some ways this is a very simple and at times slightly light profile, but the sheer force of its fruitiness is just totally gorgeous and hugely pleasurable. Highly recommended!
SGP: 741 - 90 points.

 

 

Tomatin 36 yo 'Batch 5' (46.8%, OB, 2019, 800 bottles)

Tomatin 36 yo 'Batch 5' (46.8%, OB, 2019, 800 bottles)
Colour: gold. Nose: I would say this one is not as wham bam exotic as batch 10, rather more on overripe green and yellow fruits with a nicely pulpy 'fruit salad goo' vibe about it. Add to that some honey, wood resins and maybe a little camphory side too. Still extremely charming and impressively fresh on the nose. Palate: richer, oilier and waxier than batch 10 I would say, going more towards polish, old furniture, lanolin and soft waxes with again this feeling over fleshy, overripe fruits lurking in there. Some well-extracted exotic fruit teas and things like aged citrus rinds. Lovely and reminiscent of some rather more old school bottlings from yesteryear. Finish: medium, slightly tangy fruitiness, wood saps, mineral oil, sandalwood and crystallised green and exotic fruits. Comments: lovely and really very charming, but I think I prefer the juiciness of batch 10 by a single notch. This is still an excellent composition though.
SGP: 651 - 89 points.

 

 

 

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


October 2022 - part 1 <--- October 2022 - part 2 ---> November 2022 - part 1


 

 
   
 


Best spirits Serge tried those weeks, 90+ points only

Ardbeg 10 yo 'Guaranteed 10 years old' (40%, OB, green glass, bulky neck, Rossi & Rossi Italy, 75cl, +/-1988)

Ardbeg 10 yo 'Ten' (46%, OB, +/-2022)

Glen Moray 32 yo 1989/2021 (52.8%, Berry Bros & Rudd for HNWS, barrel, cask #5217)

Lochside 40 yo 1981/2022 (49.2%, Gordon & MacPhail, Private Collection, The Recollection, refill sherry hogshead, 141 bottles) 

Macallan 'M - 2022' (45%, OB)

Royal Lochnagar 42 yo 1978/2020 (48.1%, OB, Cask of Distinction, for Gareth Christopher, American oak hogshead, cask #722, 90 bottles) 

Barbados 21 yo 2000/2022 (49%, Rum Sponge, 241 bottles)

Bielle 13 yo 2009/2022 (47.7%, David's Rum Selection, Elegant, Marie-Galante, cask #24, 194 bottles) 

Caroni 24 yo 1998/2022 (61.9%, Whisky Concerto, refill American oak, cask #12)

Foursquare 2021 'LFT White' (62%, Habitation Velier, Barbados, 2022)

Guyana 19 yo 2002/2022 (49.2%, Transcontinental Rum Line, The Navigator, bourbon, cask # EN02KFM33, 280 bottles)

Hampden 12 yo 'HGML' (63.6%, OB for LMDW, bourbon barrel, cask #23, 2022, 275 bottles)

Hampden 12 yo 2010/2022 'HCLF' (61.3%, OB, Rare Casks Series, LMDW Antipodes, cask #80, 252 bottles)

Jean-Luc Pasquet 41 yo 'Lot 79' (52.3%, Grape of the Art, Grande Champagne, 273 bottles, 2022)

Jean-Luc Pasquet 1958/2022 'L58' (43.1%, Wu Dram Clan, Grande Champagne, 256 bottles)

Uitvlugt 1999/2021 (52.6%, The Colours of Rum, Wealth Solutions, cask #54, 184 bottles)

Vallein Tercinier 'Rue 34' (42%, OB, for LMDW, Antipodes, Grande Champagne, cask #034, 50 bottles) 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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