(Current entries)

Whisky Tasting


Daily Music entries



Hi, you're in the Archives, September 2010 - Part 2

September 2010 - part 1 <--- September 2010 - part 2 ---> October 2010 - part 1


September 30, 2010

Tasting the new Bowmore 40 and a worthy sparring partner

Bowmore 21

After the Highland Park 50yo that we had yesterday (a buy a bottle or buy a car whisky), let’s have a buy a bottle or buy a motorcycle bottling today, the brand new and lavishly packaged Bowmore 40yo. It may well be a 1970 (not sure!) so let’s simply oppose it to another official 1970, the very rare old 21yo. Between a 40 and a 21+19, which will win?
Bowmore 21 yo 1970 (43%, OB, Auxil, France, 75cl) Five stars I had never seen this bottle before, 1971, 1972, 1973 and 1974 being rather more common in my opinion. Well, sort of. It’s the manager of the Harry’s Bar in Paris who unearthed it in the cellar, where it was hiding in a case of… Glen Garioch 15yo blue label. With belated thanks to Morrison-Bowmore and/or Auxil!

Colour: full gold. Nose: holy featherless crow! It’s got everything you’re expecting from these old Bowmores, that is to say a fantastic combination of tropical fruits mingled (I’d also say interwoven) with a light but very marine peat. Not sure I ought to say more but while we’re at it, I’d mention passion fruits, mangos, mint, seashells, dill, tiny wet dogs (that’s a new discovery, small dogs and large dogs don’t smell the same when they’re wet ;-)), natural wool, damp earth, seaweed, tangerines, coffee… And myriads of other aromas. Mouth: yes, yes, yes, triple yes. It’s rather rawer than expected, which is a good thing as that means more ‘coastalness’ here, as well as more smoke and straight peat smoke. As for the rest, it’s all a combination of citrus fruits, soft spices, an obvious kipperiness and, well, an ‘old-Bowmoreness’. Enough said. Finish: long, extremely clean and fresh, with the peat in the aftertaste (with a little tangerine jam and a pinch of salt). Comments: state of the art, simply state of the art, and not complicated or too cerebral, with optimal balance. It’s really an almost perfect Bowmore, a little less ‘excessively fruity’ than some earlier vintages (such as 1966-68) in my opinion, but still from the great era. SGP:555 - 95 points.

Bowmore 40

Bowmore 40 yo (44.8%, OB, 53 bottles, 2010) Five stars From a single bourbon cask. According to the marketing blurb, ‘each bottle is individual and made of hand blown crystal glass adorned with images of rocks from Islay and sitting on a thick plinth of Islay slate.’ Irresistible, isn’t it! To think that we have at least 4000 years of art history behind us… ;-) Price: £6,500. Colour: gold. Nose: quite amazingly, this is almost the same whisky as the 21!!! It’s as if the further 19 years of maturing didn’t change anything – or as if the cask was less active, either way. Actually, this is maybe even fresher and slightly ‘lighter and more elegant’, but I’d guess that the 21 was caramelised. Ah well, please simply re-read the notes for the 21 and leave out the coffee. You may add touches of fresh almonds and grapefruit.

Mouth: ah yes, very same comments. Maybe a tad more citrusy, maybe a tad less rounded, maybe a little peatier… What’s sure is that it’s incredibly alive at such old age. Finish: long, very zesty and quite salty. Very nice herbal notes in the aftertaste, some earth as well. Comments: a surprise, really. It does not taste very old and as I wrote, it’s rather rougher than the 21yo, especially in the finish. Maybe the latter gained some roundness from bottle ageing, and maybe this 40 will be even greater around… 2029. Take it as an investment… cough, cough! Great dram anyway, only a notch below the 1964 ‘White’ that I enjoyed so much… Now, of course there were some old indie Bowmores that were as good and ten times cheaper. I mean, twenty or even thirty times cheaper (think Duncan Taylor only a few years back, think Signatory Vintage), but they weren’t delivered in a future lampstand, where they? Anyway, I think I’ll have to re-read my old university books about price elasticity of demand. SGP:566 - 93 points (remember I never take prices into account when scoring whisky)

More distillery data Our tastings: all Bowmores that we tried so far
The complete distillery profile on Malt Madness

MUSIC - Recommended listening: let's play a game, try to resist Canada's Terez Montcalm and her amazing version of Leo Ferré's C'est extra (that was on 2009's 'Connection') for more than 30 seconds. FAIL! ;-) Please buy Terez Montcalm's music...

Terez Montcalm
SHORT RAMBLINGS (too long for Twitter! ;-))

That's the number of visitors that dared connecting to little Whiskyfun yesterday and I think it's a record for this wee website. Was it a 'Highland Park 50yo effect'? To think that those notes weren't even Twitterised or Facebooked... Maybe I should only taste super-mega-ueber premium whiskies from now on? Not!


September 29, 2010

Very old Highland Parks: tasting the beauty and the beast (but which is which?)

Okay, there’s a new official 50yo Highland Park, which is only available at Harrods’ in London until the end of October if I’m not mistaken. It’s one of these ‘buy a bottle or buy a car’ bottlings that can be rather infuriating to some whisky lovers, but that are also very good (I know, I know, the least they can do). I also know that even wee reviews of such bottlings can be infuriating as they’re virtually useless or even kind of pornographic, but last time the excellent John Hansell asked his readers whether he should review such bottlings, I think the vast majority answered ‘yes’. Let’s simply assume that a similar answer would come from WF’s distinguished readers…

Highland Park 50

By the way, I didn’t want to try this extravagant bottling in a ‘solo tasting’ so I chose something equally very special as a hopefully worthy sparring partner: the legendary Dragon 1961. We’ll start with the OB as its strength is lower.
Highland Park 50 yo 1960/2010 (44.8%, OB, 275 bottles) Five stars Too bad I didn’t get this one for my birthday, it’s just as ol… young as yours truly. It’s a vatting of five casks (I believe it was done some time ago and further aged in a single cask, hence the 275 bottles) and it retails for £10,500. According to Harrods’ (quote): ‘Inspired by the elemental forces of Orkney and designed by renowned jewellery designer Maeve Gillies of MaeVona, New York, each of the 275 bottles produced is crafted by hand from sterling silver.’ And Harrods to add: ‘Regrettably, this product is non-returnable and non-exportable.’ Non-exportable? Missiles or cluster bombs are exportable, and this baby isn’t? This is a strange world… Or maybe does someone want to avoid paralleling?

Colour: mahogany. Nose: why am I not Steve Jobs or the Sultan of Brunei? As expected, this is quite stunning, rather drier and more mentholated and resinous than other very old HPs that I could already try. When I write ‘resinous’, I mean ‘good pine resin’, not what one can find in some fairly extreme young woodbombs. In short, no varnishy resin if you see what I mean. What’s quite striking is that it’s all rather medicinal at very first nosing, and rather closer to some old Islayers. Quite some camphor. As for the way it unfolds after that, it’s all rather epic I must say. At times wonderfully fruity (passion fruits and mango compote), sometimes waxy and ‘polished’ (furniture polish, sandalwood, humidor, tobacco), then we’re back on mint and camphor, then kumquats, then a magnificent spiciness (a precious mix), then roasted nuts (cashews, coffee beans)… It’s just endless. The complexity is amazing yet it’s all very coherent and sort of compact, as it does not go into several directions at the same time. As I sometimes say, it’s a movie-whisky, not a picture-whisky. Mouth: sure it shows its age a bit more than on the nose and sure it’s a tad too ‘concentrated’ (a little bitter oak, strong tea, strong liquorice) but I wouldn’t say that’s a problem, you just have to remember this is a 50yo whisky and respect it. Many spices, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, then bitter almonds, bitters, walnuts, orange zests… It’s also a tad artichoky at times (liqueur)… The background is fruitier, on more oranges and kumquats (crystallised). Finish: long, liquoricy and more herbal. Comments: right. The nose is absolutely fabulous in my opinion, while the palate is very, very nice but I think it’s maybe a tad woody and spicy. What’s sure is that it’s really high-end malt whisky and that no wealthy British resident will be disappointed. Remember, you can’t export it, at least if you buy it from Harrods’ ;-). SGP:372 – 91 points (95 nose, 87 palate).

Highland Park Dragon

Highland Park 1961/1997 ‘The Dragon’ (48.1%, S & J D Robertson Group Limited, Orkney, hogshead, cask #4493, 216 bottles) Five stars A 1973 Dragon that I could try last year was absolutely superb (WF 93). I don’t think we’ve ever tasted such contrasting packagings, have we? ;-) Colour: gold. Nose: all great as well but certainly less expressive than the 50 at first nosing, drier, waxier and globally more austere. Smokier as well, slightly sooty. Quite resinous as well, in a more mineral way (graphite oil, linseed). Gets then fruitier, with a little lemon and tangerines, then just faint whiffs of natural rubber. All great in fact, only a little less impressively magnificent than the 50. Oh, and it gets a little medicinal as well (antiseptic), and faintly briny as well. Mouth: this time the palate is all in line with the nose, only a tad fruitier. Beautiful wax, honey (I guess it’s heather, or maybe not), kumquats, almond oil, even a little olive oil, a little salt, lemon liqueur, mint flavoured tea, then cough syrup, liquorice… Very good mouth feel, oily, yet the whole is fresh and very lively. And again faint traces of rubber, nothing embarrassing of course. Finish: long, clean, very fresh at 36 years of age, with some orange and honeydew in the aftertaste. No obvious woodiness.

Comments: it’s globally of the same very high quality as the new 50 but it’s a very different whisky. Where the 50 was 95/87, this one is rather 90/92 regarding noses and palates. SGP:552 - 91 points.
(With heartfelt thanks to Martine, Gerry and Gunnar)

More distillery data Our tastings: all Highland Parks that we tried so far
The complete distillery profile on Malt Madness

Eddy Louiss

A gig not to miss

Jazzman and bluesman extraordinaire Eddy Louiss will celebrate his 50 years of (great) music at the Olympia in Paris on November 9, 2010. If you’re in Paris on that very day, don’t miss him, and if you aren’t, you should come! Eddy won’t be alone on stage, mind you, he’ll have 50 musicians playing around his roaring Hammond organ, including some distinguished reader of WF – big sound guaranteed. And now, while we're all booking our seats, let’s listen to some of Mr Louiss’ best...

September 28, 2010

Glen Mhor

Solo tasting – an old indie Glen Mhor

Glen Mhor 27 yo 1982/2010 (56.8%, Cadenhead, sherry cask, 236 bottles) Four stars Berry Bros had an excellent 1982 that they bottled last year (WF 89), it was unexpectedly floral.

Colour: gold. Nose: yes, here’s this typical austere, flinty and slightly unsexy old Highlands style! It’s mineral, it’s farmy, it’s slightly feinty, it’s grassy, it’s rawish… Well, you get the drift. There’s some mustard, touches of stagnant water, pepper, ink, wasabi, broken branch, radish… Hard to say whether I like this or not, water should help. With water: more on rabbit hutch, manure and cut grass but there’s also a little vanilla that smoothens up the whole thing a bit. Some beeswax as well and suddenly loads of pine resin, needles and eucalyptus… A whole new direction. Mouth (neat): yah! Extremely concentrated, it’s almost like a wood and herbs decoction in the attack. Mustard for sure and loads of pepper. A sweeter herbalness in the background but that’s all. Sweetened wasabi? With water: incredible how water made wonders here. Superb honey, orange blossom (oriental pastries), marzipan, touches of roasted argan oil (really), aged orange liqueur… Wow, what a change! Finish: long, smoother, rounder, between herbs and marmalade. Comments: well, this is History and how do you score History, I’m asking you? It’s a strange beast that really needs water, a style that’s probably not produced in Scotland anymore. In other countries? Even less so! SGP:372 - 85 points.

Bunnahabhain 68

Solo tasting - another great old Bunnahabhain

Bunnahabhain 41 yo 1968/2010 (40%, Malts of Scotland, bourbon hogshead, cask #12291, 164 bottles) Five stars After the excellent 1967 byt the same (excellent) bottler, here’s a 1968 – and there used to be a benchmark 1968, the official Auld Acquaintance! (WF 93)

Colour: full gold. Nose: wow! Starts on a fantastic combination of ripe and dried fruits (mostly bananas and figs), various honeys and touches of pine resin from the wood. Really beautiful. Rather more dried fruits after that, dates, dried litchis, a little tamarind… Also hints of strawberry jam, very ripe plums, then hints of soft spices flying around (cinnamon) but it’s amazingly ‘un-oaky’ at 41 years of age, even if the resinous notes grow bolder. Mouth: more spices, cinnamon, nutmeg but also more citrus fruits (pink grapefruits) that keep it surprisingly alive and even playful. It’s also a tad more tropical (ripe mangos) while the pine resin is well there, together with some herbs liqueurs (chartreuse, verbena) and a little tobacco and mint. Excellent body at just 40% ABV. Finish: quite long, a little more on liquorice, with the figs, honey and some white pepper in the aftertaste. A little green tea too. Comments: not quite a surprise but still! And it’s so drinkable… Which might be the problem here. SGP:661 - 91 points.

MUSIC - Recommended listening: after Deodato's Super Strut that we had the other day, here's another (and very similar) 'Strut' that was recorded in the same year, that is to say 1973. It's Joe Bataan and his Latin Strut. Please buy Joe Bataan's music...

Joe Bataan

September 27, 2010

Tasting three 1969 Glenrothes by DT plus one 1965


Glenrothes 39 yo 1969/2008 (42.7%, Duncan Taylor, Lonach) Five stars Colour: gold. Nose: starts slightly woody but that doesn’t last for long, a whole basket of both fresh and dried fruits starting to show off after only a few seconds including some ripe bananas and a little coconut, then all things honeyed, with something of a middle-aged Sauternes and maybe mead (faint sourness). In the background: soft spices and a little wood polish (beeswax). Also litchis and roses, ala gewürztraminer. Superb nose, not far from the old OBs here – but not at the same price of course. Mouth: not as vibrant as on the nose, and maybe a little less complex, but it’s all there, the honey, the fruits, the orange cake, the oak’s spices, the figs… Excellent. Finish: medium long, with more citrus fruits that give it a zesty and fresh signature, which is always welcome. Comments: excellent vatting here, great Glenrothes, especially the nose was almost out of this world. The palate was a little more ‘normal’ in my opinion. Perfect example of a 90 pt malt in my book. SGP:641 - 90 points (and thanks Bernhard).

Glenrothes 40 yo 1969/2010 (45.5%, Duncan Taylor, Rare Auld, Germany, cask #12884, 101 bottles) Five stars Colour: gold. Nose: a different personality – probably more personality actually, and less smoothness than in the Lonach. Certainly more complex as well, with these unusually great metallic and even smoky notes. Also roasted nuts, toasted bread and a little mint sauce. Other than that we have the typical honeyed and fruity notes. Great nose. Mouth: perfect, smoothly punchy (does that make any sense?), different from other versions as it’s got an unexpected earthiness on top of the trademark fruity and honeyed notes. Also a little more leathery, with also some tobacco, cloves, ginger… A full-bodied old Glenrothes, of very high quality. Finish: long, superbly balanced, between honey’s smoothness and sweetness and these leafy and earthy tones. Comments: simply admirable, I think this is one of my favourite Glenrothes. It’s also a tad more phenolic than other versions but that may come from the wood. SGP:552 - 92 points (and thanks, Herbert!)

Luckily, I had a sister cask on my shelves… Will it be on par?
Glenrothes 36 yo 1969/2006 (51.8%, Duncan Taylor, Rare Auld, cask #12885, 200 bottles) Five stars Colour: gold. Nose: much more vanilla and oak influence here, this one hasn’t got cask #12884’s complexity and zestiness but it’s still a very nice one. Some caramel, vanilla custard, honey, ginger, cinnamon… Wait, there’s something behind the vanilla (ha, vanilla!)… Let’s use water. With water: indeed, this is fab! It’s not that the oak disappeared but both superb herbal notes and a wide array of fresh fruits came to the front, together with the expected and enhanced honeyed variations (including fir honeydew, always great). Mouth (neat): we’re close to #12884 now, we’re very close. Very, very close. Very, very, very close. Please read above (S., you lazy b.!). With water: sweet Vishnu! Finish: endless. Comments: fantastic. I think I like it even better than the already stunning cask #12884. Good, all casks #128** are fab, okay? ;-) SGP:561 - 93 points (and thanks Philipp).

And also Glenrothes 1965/2006 (43%, Gordon & MacPhail,  MacPhail’s Collection) Four stars and a halfI’m sorry, it’ll be very trick for this baby to ‘survive’ after the 1969s… Maybe it will? Colour: full gold. Nose: right, this oldie hasn’t got the 1969s’ ‘singularities’ and is probably more in line with other old Glenrothes, that is to say more on stewed fruits and honey (a whole beehive, actually) as well as on floral notes (dandelions, other ‘yellow’ flowers). It’s also got very nice notes of sweet curry and something such as Indian coconut sauce. Mouth: it’s on the palate that it loses points in my view, not because it’s particularly tannic but because it’s simply a little less complex and ‘wide’ than the 1969s. Cinnamon cake and orange marmalade. A lot of cinnamon cake. Also nicely candied and resinous (oriental pastry). Finish: medium long, still on cinnamon, with hints of lemon zests and ginger in the aftertaste. Comments: it is good, very good, it’s just that the 1969s were so great! SGP:551 - 88 points.

More distillery data Our tastings: all Glenrothes that we tried so far
The complete distillery profile on Malt Madness

MUSIC - Recommended listening: I don't know how many versions of Jobim's Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars have been recorded but Django Bates' sure is one of my favourites. It was on 1997's CD 'Quiet Night's', with Swedish singer Josephine Crønholm on vocals. Please buy Django Bates' music (the whole Quite Nights CD is stunning).

Django Bates

September 26, 2010

Solo tasting – experimental Indian cuisine


Amrut 'Kadhambam' (50%, OB, 234 bottles, 2010) Four stars So the Western Scots aren’t the only ones to come up with strange names for their no-age-statement whiskies! Kadhambam means ‘mixture’ in Tamil and this baby is quite a mixture indeed. Let’s quote the press release, for once: ‘Kadhambam is the result of Amrut Single Malt Whisky and a small portion of Amrut Peated Single Malt Whisky being initially matured in ex-Oloroso sherry butts. It was then put in ex-Bangalore Blue Brandy casks and matured for a further period. Next it was emptied into ex-rum casks and matured for a further period. Both the brandy and rum casks had previously been used to mature Amrut’s own rum and brandy – which are immensely popular in the Indian market.’ Some recipe! But let’s try it now…

Colour: gold. Nose: starts fresh and quite caramelised, with notes of black cherries and kirsch as well as quite some coffee. Gets then a tad meaty, with also a little strawberry sauce and dark chocolate. Orange blossom. Sort of multidimensional. With water: unusual herbal notes come through now, with a little ginger tonic, capsicum and maybe peat... All that on a bed of barley sugar. Rather smooth. Mouth (neat): rather oily, rich, with again notes of cherries and chocolate. Goes on with some toasted brioche and quite some malt as well as roasted nuts. With water: some pleasant notes of cinchona, the whole being quite sweet. Candy sugar and sweet pepper. Finish: rather long, perfectly balanced, with a sweet spiciness. Sweet mustard and peat in the aftertaste. Comments: it has something of some recent Highland Park from refill sherry, such as the St Magnus 12yo. A rather complex dram, with a profile that’s quite unique in its ‘wideness’. SGP:552 - 85 points.

MUSIC - Recommended listening:A bit of rare heavy funk from the good old 1970s with Edwin Birdsong and his Rising Sign (I believe around 1973). Please buy Edwin Birdsong's music.

Edwin Birdsong

September 24, 2010


Solo tasting – a 1974 Inchgower

Inchgower 36 yo 1974/2010 (50.4%, The Whisky Agency, sherry wood, 180 bottles) Five stars These pretty citrusy 1974 Inchgowers are usually very good – not that I could try dozens, mind you. By the way, I like the bottlers’ new label, it’s even more ‘Italian’ than before. A Da Vinci thing again?

Colour: pale gold. Nose: starts rather more vanilled than any other old ex-sherry malt, and certainly more citrusy indeed. I just had a 1975 Glenlossie by the same bottlers and the profiles weren’t dissimilar. This one has quite some lemon oil and various herbs such as verbena and wormwood – yes, even a little absinth. There’s also whiffs of moss, forest, fresh mushrooms and damp earth as well as touches of gentian and liquorice wood. The oak is well there but it’s unexpectedly fresh and vibrant, as they say. Also fresh mint. Superb nose. Mouth: perfect. Punchy and zesty, very citrusy, with a good deal of fresh spices, coriander, maybe a little celery, dill, lemon marmalade, orange marmalade… Then more oaky spices, pepper, cardamom, nutmeg… Cinnamon on a lemon pie. Finish: long, just as zesty, with an added fruitiness, which is unusual in the finish of an old malt, they usually get spicier and drier at this stage in my experience. Cranberries? Great lemony signature. Comments: simply great stuff. Our German friends over an der Lahn never fail to amaze me. SGP:461 - 91 points.


Solo tasting – a 1975 Glenlossie

Glenlossie 35 yo 1975/2010 (49.3%, The Whisky Agency, bourbon hogshead, 151 bottles) Four stars and a half This one is a joint bottling with ‘The M.I.K.E.’ Who’s this Mike? I hope he’s not the guy from the Quattrocento who’s on the label, and that this Glenlossie won’t make your chin grow. Anyway, if this is as great as Berry Bros’ latest 1975 Glenlossie, well, it’s great.

Colour: gold. Nose: this baby’s very aromatic, starting all on lemon, grass and freshly sawn old wood (rather complex). These three main aromas mingle particularly well, it gives some brio to the whole. There’s something pleasantly ‘wet’ after that, clothes, wool… Also something slightly sour, in a very nice way, which makes it zesty. No vinegar at all, rather dry white wine such as sauvignon, which goes well with the lemon. Also hints of vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon. Mouth: the attack is very consistent with the nose. As much lemon and as much grass, the whole being even zestier than on the nose. In the background, some fresh green spices, lemon balm, coriander, sorrel… All that being coated with a touch of honey and lemon marmalade. The oak’s a bit green as well but that goes very well in this context. Finish: long, just as lemony, with added hints of liquorice and hints of cumin in the aftertaste. Comments: it’s a rather nervous oldie, certainly not smooth and certainly not oaky/cardboardy. Excellent stuff, I think water is purely optional here. SGP:561 - 89 points.

MUSIC - Recommended listening: the much too rare Robert Wyatt (remember Soft Machine and Matching Mole) and his fantastic song Maryan that was on 1997's album Shleep. Please buy Robert Wyatt's music!


September 23, 2010

Glen Elgin

Solo tasting - an indie Glen Elgin

Glen Elgin 25 yo 1984/2010 (43,8%, The Nectar of the Daily Drams) Four stars Colour: straw. Nose: it’s a rather austere Glen Elgin but it’s got this slight smokiness and that very unusual oiliness that are to be found in many official Glen Elgins. It’s also pretty grassy, with even notes of cut cactus (agave again?) Also motor oil, orange zests, waxed paper, green bananas (or plantains), muesli, leather, limestone, chalk… Kind of unsexy, with little fruits or sweetness. This kind of profile can be great but it’ll probably all happen on the palate.

Mouth: more fruits for sure but it’s still grassy and rather old-style, waxy, mineral and grassy, with only some lemon and maybe grapefruit at the fruits department. Maybe hints of pomegranate. Gains power and zestiness over time, with also some bitter spices, herbs liqueur, bitter oranges… Reminds me of old Dantziger Goldwasser (the one with gold leaves inside the bottle, a concept that’s been stolen by many cheapo yet trendsetting vodka makers in recent times). Keyword: bitter oranges. Good body. Finish: rather long, quite concentrated, even more on bitter oranges and a little pepper. Funny fruity signature (pomegranate again?) Comments: very good ‘naked’ (or natural) Glen Elgin, close to the spirit. In other words, a malt with lots of personality, and Glen Elgin is not so common as an indie. Very well selected. SGP:362 – 87 points.

More distillery data Our tastings: all Glen Elgin that we tried so far
The complete distillery profile on Malt Madness

MUSIC - Recommended listening: the most pillaged Pulses by Steve Reich (from 1976's 'Music for 18 Musicians'). Please buy Steve Reich's music.

Steve Reich

September 22, 2010

Day of mourning on Whiskyfun

Bowmore 1967

Bad luck Jean-Michel. Courage!
PS: always hold old presentation boxes by their bottoms!
(as seen on the excellent whisky-distilleries.info forum)


Solo tasting - Glengyle’s newest

Kilkerran 'Work in Progress' (46%, OB, 2nd batch, 15,000 bottles, 2010) Four stars and a half From Glengyle distillery. Batch #1, that was issued last year at 5yo (or was it 4?), was already impressive (WF 86) so I have high expectations… This one’s a 6yo.

Colour: white wine. Nose: what’s great with the current bottlings by Springbank and company is their ‘old-styleness’, I think it’s quite unique in Scotland. This is no exception, it’s greasy, fatty, oily, waxy… I love this profile. Some graphite, linseed oil, ‘good’ porridge, apple peelings, fresh walnuts, sour apples, rocks… And then what the oak has to say, vanilla, ginger and such. Truly old style, you may find these kinds of aromas in some very old bottlings of some unsherried Highlanders. Mouth: this is probably a tad more modern, thanks to some rather active wood in my opinion. Oily again, peppery, lemony, almondy, grassy, with maybe wee hints of blue agave (right, tequila)… gets then earthier, even rooty and kind of medicinal, with some gentian… aaaah, gentian! Finish: long, zestier, cleaner, ‘narrower’ (comet’s tail effect, I’d say). Great as it leaves your palate as fresh as a baby’s. Okay, not quite. Comments: very singular and wonderful old style malt whisky. The only other malt that’s more or less in the same cluster in my opinion is… Springbank. Impressive – only the label isn’t – well, a matter of taste ;-). SGP:552 - 88 points.

MUSIC - Recommended listening: the great (but sadly little-known) late American crooner Clyde Terrell singing Cottage for sale. Between Tony Bennett and Frankie Sinatra... Please buy Clyde Terrell's music.

Clyde Terrell

September 21, 2010

SHORT RAMBLINGS (too long for Twitter! ;-))

Hard times ahead
High season, festivals, Malt Maniacs Awards 2010 (it seems that more or less 60 bottlers and distillers are participating this year, most with several bottlings!), a long trip to China, loads of work… All that means that I won’t be able to keep WF’s usual ‘vertical’ or ‘horizontal’ tasting formats alive and will probably have to focus on single bottlings every now and then for a few weeks. I hope you’ll understand this unfathomable reality ;-).

Amrut sherry

Solo tasting - a surprise from Bangalore

Amrut 'Intermediate Sherry Matured' (57.1%, OB, 2010) Five stars This one was first matured in bourbon and new oak, then in sherry, then in bourbon again. Interesting, especially the way the distillery ‘treated’ the sherry casks.They ordered casks from Spain but instead of letting the suppliers burn sulphur into them – which I believe is the normal procedure – they shipped cases of Amrut CS to Spain and asked the Spaniards to fill each butt with some whisky and then roll them, so that the distillate would protect the wood from bacteria and mould during transportation from Jerez to Madras and then Bangalore.

What’s funny is that with my friend and winemaker Olivier, who does it with some of his own wine casks, we had already told several Scots that they should do that with their own spirits, so that they could avoid the dreadful sulphury notes. Not sure they ever followed our advices, as it’s a very expensive method! But let’s try the result now… Colour: deep gold. Nose: it’s sherried but not that much. Notes of cherries, raspberry, kirsch, a little orange liqueur, rosehip tea... Maybe old roses as well. All that is very clean, fragrant... Notes of raspberry ganache. With water: more spices from the wood, ginger and lemon balm. The oak was quite active here. Mouth (neat): rich and creamy, very appealing, sweet, more aromatic than the “average” sherried malt. Notes of Turkish delights, rose water, orange marmalade... Very pleasant spiciness (star anise, cinnamon). Again, it's very clean, almost a little zesty. With water: very nice citrusy notes and many spices. Most unusual but perfect. Liquorice, pepper, ginger and marmalade. Finish: long, on the same notes, with a faint saltiness and maybe a little peat. Comments: this new style is impressively to my liking. Perfect first fill sherry without any cloying elements, and no single traces of burnt matches/rubber whatsoever. SGP:553 - 91 points.

MUSIC - Recommended listening: a lot of sunshine over Alsace these days (no wonder it's a wine region) so maybe it's time to listen to some very, very easy but cheerful music by famous Martinican band Malavoi. It's called Case à Lucie (1986), it's all sung in creole but the general feeling is rather... Brazilian. Please buy Malavoi's music.


September 20, 2010

Seven old Ardbeg for my birthday

It's my 50th birthday today. Right. Several friends have been asking what I would taste for my birthday, or at least what I would publish, and I've been thinking hard about that. First, I had thought I would try something that's not whisky. Or that I would not try anything unusual. And then I thought I'd simply taste some very good whisky.

Ardbeg 1963

Not something from before World War II, or from long closed distilleries, rather something that’s still active, that can be fabulously good and that's sadly not quite available anymore: some old-style Ardbegs. After all, Ardbeg still rules my global rankings! But which old Ardbegs? As I wanted this to be both fun and easy, I decided to go for 'low strength' ones, i.e. old Ardbegs that I could enjoy just like that, without any need of water or naughty pipettes. I finally went for one 1963, one 1966, one 1973, one 1974, two 1975s and one well-known NAS expression at 'easy strength'. What's more, natural low strengths usually come from the greatest casks.

Ardbeg 1963/1994 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseur's Choice, old map label) Five stars Colour: orange gold. Nose: ah yes. It's hard not to describe this baby just with 'old Ardbeg', it's exactly the antithesis of any recent NAS Rollsancenovabeistdail. Despite the low strength, it's actually much more aromatic and complex than most new versions, but also more dry, phenolic and empyreumatic. The first aroma that's quite obvious in these old Arbbegs and that's seldom to be found in new ones is camphor and even tiger balm, then soot, ashes and bonfire. Then more metal polish, graphite, cider apples, 'old car engine', high-end green tea... Anyway, this is simply beautiful. Mouth: good punch and a lot of salt in this one, all that on top of quite some leather and bitter chocolate. Does 'the peacock's tail' after that, with some camphor, mint drops, orange blossom water, cured ham, liquorice, clams... and God knows what else. Like most of these 1963-1965 Ardbegs by G&M, it's almost unbelievable that this was bottled at 40%. Probably more like 68%, rounded down to 40%. Just kidding. Finish: impressive, more on quince jelly and mint, always with this tar, this salt and this liquorice. Comments: extremely impressive, proof that you can have fabulous whisky that's reduced to 40%, chill filtered and caramelised. SGP:357 - 95 points.

Ardbeg 32 yo 1966/1999 (42.6%, Cadenhead's Authentic Collection, 120 bottles) Five stars Colour: gold. Nose: yah! It's the wood that talks first in this one, which is pretty unusual with old Ardbegs. Starts on varnish, plain oak and pineapple liqueur, which is even more unusual! It's only after quite a while that Ardbeg's sootiness comes through - and beautifully so. Also a little tar, eucalyptus and seashells (oysters). To be honest, this isn't very complex whisky, it'll all happen on the palate - hopefully. Mouth: ho-ho-ho, this is immensely medicinal and absolutely stunning. High concentration, loads of resinous and herbal flavours (spearmint, chlorophyl gums, marzipan, smoked lemon (and why not?), mint and chocolate (After Eight), eucalyptus drops, salmiak, lemon-flavoured fudge, clams, more mint, aniseed, dill, ginger and cloves (dentist's)...) Simply amazing. Please call the anti-maltoporn brigade! Finish: long and wide yet fresh, herbal, mentholaded and kippery. Comments: okay, a more perfect nose would have propelled this baby above the 95-milestone. Amazing palate, nec plus ultra. SGP:367 - 94 points.

And now the 1970s...

Ardbeg 1975

Ardbeg 25 yo 'Lord of the Isles' (46%, OB, 2004, L4) Five stars I must confess I only ever tried the earlier batches of the Lord of The Isles - I think it all started around the year 2000. Colour: pale gold. Nose: it's an easier whisky than the 1966, with more fruits and herbs and less sooty/tarry notes. Typical good Ardbeg from the years when the output wasn't hugely peated, not too far from the well-known official 1978s, only with more kick. Quite some burning grass, apples and fresh walnuts... Then hints of clay and maybe touches of curry. No monster despite the coffin it was delivered in. Mouth: starts relatively easy, almost smooth, but the peat blast is soon to happen. It's not very complex, but it's very complete (right, try again S.) with a sooty peatiness, fresh almonds, some lemon, green apples, touches of salt and a little pine resin. Gets rather more briny and kippery after that. Finish: it's long, saltier and more lemony. Almond and pine resin the the aftertaste. Comments: it's not a hugely complex old Ardbeg but other than that everything's totally perfect here. SGP:458 - 92 points.

Ardbeg 1975/1993 (46%, Duthie's) Three stars Colour: pale gold. Nose: okay, not all 1975 Ardbegs are fab, this is a good exampe. Starts rather sour, on much more cider apples than what's normal in Ardbeg, and gets then too flinty and too mineral, which can be nice but not on top of these sour notes. Also hints of cheese, gym socks... Improves after a while - or you get used to it - but never makes it to standard levels. So much for the good old days. Mouth: much better, which was to be expected, even if some slightly sourish notes do remain in the background. Briney and lemony, with also notes of lager beer, maybe even tinned gherkins, more lemon juice, more brine, olives... Not unpleasant I must say, just different. Finish: medium long, very briney and lemony. Comments: well, this one is for brine lovers - are there any out there? Somebody must have thrown some salt into this cask. SGP:276 - 80 points.

Ardbeg 19 yo 1974 (46%, First Cask, Direct Wines, cask #4380) Four stars and a half I believe First Cask used to be some sort of direct mail club. Colour: straw. Nose: oh, this one's funny! Well, sort of, it just smells like at the dentist's. You know, clove extracts, something gin-alike, new plastic... It's not unpleasant, rather enjoyable actually, especially since all that mingles with something mineral, damp sand, chalk... Then hints of camphor as always, apple peelings as often and a very moderate peatiness. Also a little ham, kippers, brine... A true coastal malt. Oh, and quite some sweet mint syrup. What's sure is that it's very complex whisky. Mouth: very good, very good, only a tad cardboardy and cinnamony at first sips. After that we have the traditional combination of peat, lemon, salt, fresh almonds and green apples. No more, no less. Finish: medium long, more on salted lemon juice (tequila-style, I guess) and smoked fish. Comments: not one of the best Ardbegs from the 1970s I ever had but it's still great malt whisky, just like almost all Ardbegs from the 1970s. Rather less peated than other versions. SGP:355 - 89 points.

Ardbeg 29 yo 1975/2004 (47.3%, Douglas Laing, Platinum, for UK, 255 bottles) Five stars Colour: gold. Nose: the more austere side of Ardbeg, remind me of several other 1975s by Douglas Laing. All this is very mineral and grassy, with aromas such as graphite oil, wet rocks, wood ash or charcoal, diesel oil, fresh walnuts and these very faint whiffs of new plastic pouch that are sometimes to be found in these old Islayers. Hints of camphor, mint and apple peelings, then sea breeze. A rather austere classic. Mouth: once again, it got more talkative on the palate, which happens quite often with these old Islayers in my opinion. Very nice, typically zesty and phenolic profile, maybe a little more complex than other casks, more lemony and kippery as well, sooty, tarry, grassy... Some green curry as well, gets frankly 'green' after a while (green apples, green tea, lime...) The zestiness is fantastic here. Finish: long but even greener. As often, a big saltiness and litres of lime. Also a lot of liquorice. Comments: not the sexiest Ardbeg ever and probably one of the sharpest, but quality is extremely high. In truth, it's spectacular malt whisky that was offered 'time to get great'. Let's only hope that will go on in Scotland. SGP:367 - 93 points.

Ardbeg 36 yo 1973/2009 (44.7%, Douglas Laing, Platinum, 78 bottles) Five stars more or less sixty litres, that's all was left in this noble old cask. Let's hope it's not too woody or tired. Colour: pale gold. Nose: it's not woody and it's not tired. Perfectly 'Ardbeg', starting with rather more lemon and apples than in the other ones that we just had, and also with more wax, almond oil and marzipan. Quite some soot as well, quite some shoe polish, then more grass, clay and chalk, the whole getting drier by the minute. Also pretty much the same medicinal notes as in the 1974 (cloves, gin, tincture of iodine). Globally austere, it'll all happen on the palate I guess. Well, I hope. Mouth: hmm... Does Ardbeg keep above 30yo? Good questing, eh!? I must say I've had quite a few Ardbegs that had spent more than 30 or even 35 years in wood - many have been disappointing. I believe Ardbeg (well, old-style Ardbeg) shines at 25 to 30 years of age but sort of nosedives after that, whish is... not the case here (S., you s** s**!) Still perfect, still pretty nervous, even if it became thicker and even kind of liqueur-ish after 36 years. A lot of earth, peat, leather, lemon marmalade, a saltiness, tar, ham, smoked salmon, salted liquorice, oysters... The bigness of this is actually pretty incredible. Finish: very long and kind of penetrating. Really an Ardbeg liqueur at very high strength. Funny notes of kippers in the aftertaste. Comments: I had thought that there was no more great Ardbeg (I mean really great) in the Scottish warehouses. Are 78 bottles enough to prove me wrong? SGP:367 - 95 points.

With thanks to Bert V., Geert and Konstantin

More distillery data Our tastings: all Ardbeg that we tried so far
The complete distillery profile on Malt Madness

MUSIC - Recommended listening: a little gem, Aziza Mustafa Zadeh playing and singing Ladies of Azerbaijan live at 3sat television in 2002. Please buy all of the Azeri princess' music!

Aziza Mustafa Zadeh

September 18, 2010

Tasting a bunch of Bruichladdich

Sorry about the silly alliteration.


Bruichladdich 7 yo 2001/2006/2009 (46%, OB, Cask Evolution Exploration, for Scandlines, Madeira finish, cask #36) Three stars and a half This one was first matured in a bourbon cask until 2006 and then further matured in an ex-Madeira cask. Colour: pale gold. Nose: the wine's rather discreet here, the whole being fresh and pleasantly mineral albeit a tad spirity and slightly rawish (eau de vie). Gets then rather grassy, with also notes of fresh butter and apple peelings. It's no easy/fruity whisky so far but the profile is enjoyable. Mouth: the fresh and fruity spirit and the Madeira wood seem to be nicely integrated here. Apple pie, a little vnailla fudge, notes of sweet wine, a little nougat and hints of white cherries plus touches of juicy bears and bubblegum. Works well. Finish: rather long, with a little salt mingling with the fruits. Some cinnamon, liquorice and cardamom in the aftertaste. Comments: well made, rather fruitier than other young Bruichladdichs in my opinion. SGP: 541 - 83 points.

Bruichladdich 17 yo 1992/2009 (46%, OB, Sherry Edition, PX, 6000 bottles) Three stars Colour: amber. Nose: another Laddie that's less exuberant than anticipated and rather grassy and spirity at first nosing. Gets then smoother and a tad rounder, with notes of plum jam and blackcurrant buds. Also cherry stem tea and leather. No big aromatic notes so far. Mouth: much richer now, but also much more winey - although all that isn't excessive in my opinion. Quite some jams, cinnamon, bubblegum and blackcurrant. I've always wondered why these notes of blackcurrant that are usually to be found in red wines (cabernet first) can be so obvious in sherry-finished whiskies. I guess you know that sherry is a white wine. Finish: long, just a wee tad rubbery at some point. Comments: I quite like it but I liked the 2001 much better. SGP:551 - 80 points.

Bruichladdich 1992/2008 (51.3%, Whisky Kanzler) Four stars A tribute to a wee dog named Islay. Colour: straw. Nose: fresh clean Bruichladdich, moderately fruity, with some grass, green melons and white peaches at first nosing, then more juicy fruits such as apricots and butter pears (pears that aren't too pearish, if you see what I mean.) Also a little vanilla and rocks. With water: as often, Bruichladdich's 'marineness' comes out with water, which makes sense (c'mon!) There are also some beautiful notes of good kirsch, marzipan and barley sugar. Very nice nose now. Also crystallised ginger. Mouth (neat): creamy and very fruity, almost like a full bag of Haribo bears. Also quite some crystallised lemons and hints of kiwis. Really youthful and joyful. With water: indeed, this is delightfully fruity. Probably not hugely complex but the profile is perfect, between sugar cane syrup and sweets. Finish: rather long, a wee tad sugary but all pleasure. Comments: excellent fruity Bruichladich au naturel. SGP:641 - 87 points.

Bruichladdich 13 yo 1991/2004 (50%, Lombard, Jewels of Scotland, bourbon) Four stars Colour: white wine. Nose: we're more or less in the same category as with the 1992 here, except that this one's a tad more on fruits and displays (even) less wood influence. Whiffs of sea air as well. I think this is classic 'natural' young Laddie. Just like the 1992, it gets then more mineral. With water: indeed, water didn't make it even fruitier as with the 1992. It got rather closer to the grain and kind of mashy, all that being quite beautiful if you like this kind of profile. Refreshing, I'd say. Mouth: we're very close to the 1992, with more or less the same clean, fresh fruitiness from the Laddie's tall stills. With water: exactly, same feelings. This is very good. Finish: rather long, all on candy sugar and sweets. Comments: in the same vein as the 1992. Quality is high. SGP:641 - 87 points. (and thanks, Bill)

Bruichladdich 2003/2009 (63.9%, Alexander, SwissLink 1, cask #254) Four stars and a half From a small but competent Swiss independent bottler. Colour: white wine. Nose: it's pretty noseable at such high strength, and even if it's obviously very young, the crisp fruitiness is quite beautiful. We have some tinned pineapples, then not too ripe melons, apples, pears, gooseberries and finally a nice layer of cut grass and wee touches of seaweed. Also a little coffee but that may come from the very high strength. With water: it seems that the current owners' distillation is fatter and bigger than the previous ones', as far as I can tell from this 'natural' cask. Some aspects remind me a bit of Springbank, with some oily 'things', something slightly phenolic, rocks, wax, linseed oil... Interesting for the future! Mouth (neat): an explosive fruitiness but this is too strong for this poor taster. With water: there is some peat now, lemon, spices, coriander... Finish: long, fat yet vibrant, very zesty in the aftertaste. Faint earthiness, which is perfect here. Comments: this is a surprise. Not that I didn't already know that the 'new' distillate was excellent, but I beleive this bottling is the first '100% natural' version I could try. It rocks! Watch this series of casks. SGP:531 - 88 points.

More distillery data Our tastings: all Bruichladdich that we tried so far
The complete distillery profile on Malt Madness

MUSIC - Recommended listening: this was great fun, trombonists Bill Watrous and Albert Mangelsdorff doing an extraordinary Mississippi Mud. Please buy these luminaries' music.

Watrous Mangelsdorff

September 17, 2010


Tasting bubbles
No whiskies, rather a Champagne for once, a Champagne that I tasted yesterday and that was utterly brilliant in my opinion. It’s Boizel’s ‘Joyau de France 1996’ and it had something of some great old malt whisky, with touches of smoke (not kidding), mint, camphor… And of course everything you’d expect from a high-end 14yo vintage Champagne, including perfect balance. I believe it’s still available here and there, at around 60 to 70 Euros a bottle, which is much less that what you’d have to pay for some similar cuvee at other famous houses’. Enough said.


September 16, 2010


Tasting two Lowlanders

Our dear Belgian friends boast on Facebook that ‘their’ new bottling of Littlemill 1990 is the best whisky in the world – or something like that ;-). Let’s find out now, but instead of ‘opposing’ it to another Littlemill, which would maybe be too easy, we’ll oppose it to another very rare old Lowlander that very little people could try so far (grin….)

Rosebank 12 yo (86°proof, George Strachan, 26 2/3 fl. Oz, 1960s) Two stars and a half George Strachan used to be an early independent bottler as well as a shop in Aboyne. I believe they do not bottle any malts anymore. Colour: white wine. Nose: so typically Rosebank, and so fresh after all these years in glass! Rather amazing start on marshmallows and lemon squash, notes of grapefruits and pineapple drops, maybe a little porridge (lemon-sprinkled)… Develops more on an unexpected smokiness as well as whiffs of tarmac, but always with these trademark citrusy notes. To be honest, it’s not immensely complex but this profile is beautifully ‘chiselled’, and probably a thing of the past as no obvious oak/vanilla/sherry influence is to be detected here. Mouth: some OBE appearing and an obvious weakness/dryness, but the original malt still glows in the background. Lemon, something flinty, wax, grass, tonic water, green tea… But also, alas, quite some cardboard and ‘weak tea’, which are usually indications of tired bottles. Having said that, it’s still good whisky! Finish: short, but the lemony notes are still there in the aftertaste, as well as a peatiness. Comments: great, great nose but the palate is probably only a (large) fragment of its former self. Too bad, we’re probably 30 years late. SGP:452 - 78 points.

Littlemill 1990/2010 (53.9%, Malts of Scotland, Clubs, Fulldram Belgium, cask #736, 183 bottles) Five stars Colour: pale straw. Nose: you know what? This one is strikingly similar to the Rosebank at very first sniffs, except that there’s more oak influence (albeit only a little influence) and of course more power. Other than that, it’s Rosebanky whisky in my opinion, with a very nice cortege of lemony notes as well as something pleasantly mineral that’s probably less to be found in other versions of Littlemill. It’s also a little ashy. And again a little bubblegum. With water: water killed the fruitiness a bit, it got a little grainier and grassier but nicely so. Also a little mouldy (basement in an old house). Humus. Mouth (neat): how zesty and zingy! It’s almost distilled lemon at first sips, the whole developing towards other green and zesty fruits such as green gooseberries, white currants and grapefruits. Some fresh ginger as well. It’s quite spectacular. With water: water works much better than with the nose and didn’t kill the fruitiness at all here. Brings out nice resinous notes, lemon balm, a little marzipan and a faint saltiness. Finish: long, still very lemony. Between lemon marmalade and lemon drops. Rocks. In the aftertaste: traditional Oostende shrimp croquettes. NOT! Comments: it’s a rather spectacular Littlemill, like most of its sister casks that are already in the market. Certainly very different from the ‘average’ Littlemill. SGP:641 - 90 points.

More distillery data Our tastings: all Littlemill that we tried so far
The complete distillery profile on Malt Madness

MUSIC - Recommended listening: one of the most well-known Scottish bands from the early 1970s, Stone the Crows (no, no that one!) and their singer Maggie Bell - the Scottish Janis - doing the famous Danger zone in 1970. Please buy Stone the Crows' music...

Stone the Crows

September 15, 2010


Tasting three 1970 Caperdonich by Duncan Taylor

These 1970 Caperdonich are rather less well known than the excellent 1972s, maybe because Duncan Taylor have fewer of them?

Caperdonich 38 yo 1970/2009 (42.3%, Duncan Taylor, Rare Auld, cask #4376, 158 bottles) Five stars Colour: gold. Nose: we're close to a fruitbomb at first nosing, the oak being quick to kick in but in a gentlemanly manner. Develops very classically after a few seconds, with the expected honey, mirabelle jam, quinces, beeswax, yellow flowers and just a little cinnamon and ginger plus vanilla and mint. Archetypical, as they say. Mouth: perfect attack, superbly fruity, fresh, hugely complex right from the start, with all things around bees and their products, many dried and stewed fruits and a wide asortment of secondary notes such as tobacco, lime, pina colada, longans, mead... All perfect. Finish: medium long, clean, easy, honeyed. White pepper, mint and cinnamon in the aftertaste, as almost always with these oldies. Comments: ha-ha, the 1972s have serious competition! But warning, this is very drinkable. SGP:641 - 91 points.

Caperdonich 38 yo 1970/2009 (45.9%, Duncan Taylor, Rare Auld, cask #4377, 205 bottles) Four stars and a half Colour: gold. Nose: this is going to be short: less fruits and honey, more nutmeg, eucalyptus and vanilla than in its sister cask. Still very nice on the nose but suffers from the comparison with its fruitier twin... Until it starts to become a little rounder and herbal at the same time. Hints of dill and celery and then a little ginger, as if it was re-racked in newer oak - which I doubt would have happened. Mouth: we aren't too far from #4376 but this is rather less luxurious and 'wide'. A little more on plums and on oaky spices, cinnamon, nutmeg... But there a very nice citrusy notes in the background. Finish: a tad longer that cask #4376 but also a little narrower. Quite some pollen. Comments: all good and even almost perfect, it's just that #4376 was in its way. SGP:541- 89 points.

Caperdonich 38 yo 1970/2009 (46.8%, Duncan Taylor, Rare Auld, cask #4381, 153 bottles) Five stars Colour: gold. Nose: hold on, this is funny, this one's even grassier and less fruity than cask #4377. Don't get me wrong, it's beautiful whisky, it's just that you can't beat an old fruitbomb that aged to perfection. After a few minutes: more quinces and orange marmalade as well as a little soot and something pleasantly metallic. Citron jelly. Globally fruitier. Mouth: it's now really wunderbar, rich, punchy, fruity, honeyed, spicy... Old liqueurs, various honeys, lemon marmamalde, herbs, thyme, mint, liquorice... Even hints of 'mojito' - yes. Finish: long, punchy, fruity, citrusy, with just the right amount of spices. Comments: right, maybe it was a tad more austere than the others at very first sniffs but it just would stop improving after that. Frankly, this is perfect whisky at almost 40 years of age. As I may have suggested before, buy one, pour it into a shiny crystal decanter (you can find some nice ones for EUR 10 each in any flea markets but watch lead) and there you go, you have your prestige bottling (and just saved a few Ks). SGP:541 - 92 points.

More distillery data Our tastings: all Caperdonich that we tried so far
The complete distillery profile on Malt Madness

MUSIC - Recommended listening: according to the great Mickey Baker, Trouble is a woman. Please buy Mickey Baker's blues... (PS: this is not Ralfy)

Mickey Baker

September 2010 - part 1 <--- September 2010 - part 2 ---> October 2010 - part 1

heck the index of all entries:
Nick's Concert Reviews



Best malts I had these weeks - 90+ points only - alphabetical:

Amrut 'Intermediate Sherry Matured' (57.1%, OB, 2010)

Ardbeg 25 yo 'Lord of the Isles' (46%, OB, 2004, L4)

Ardbeg 1963/1994 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseur's Choice, old map label)

Ardbeg 32 yo 1966/1999 (42.6%, Cadenhead's Authentic Collection, 120 bottles)

Ardbeg 36 yo 1973/2009 (44.7%, Douglas Laing, Platinum, 78 bottles)

Ardbeg 29 yo 1975/2004 (47.3%, Douglas Laing, Platinum, for UK, 255 bottles)

Bowmore 21 yo 1970 (43%, OB, Auxil, France, 75cl)

Bowmore 40 yo (44.8%, OB, 53 bottles, 2010)

Bunnahabhain 41 yo 1968/2010 (40%, Malts of Scotland, bourbon hogshead, cask #12291, 164 bottles)

Caperdonich 38 yo 1970/2009 (42.3%, Duncan Taylor, Rare Auld, cask #4376, 158 bottles)

Caperdonich 38 yo 1970/2009 (46.8%, Duncan Taylor, Rare Auld, cask #4381, 153 bottles)

Glenrothes 36 yo 1969/2006 (51.8%, Duncan Taylor, Rare Auld, cask #12885, 200 bottles)

Glenrothes 39 yo 1969/2008 (42.7%, Duncan Taylor, Lonach)

Glenrothes 40 yo 1969/2010 (45.5%, Duncan Taylor, Rare Auld, Germany, cask #12884, 101 bottles)

Highland Park 1961/1997 ‘The Dragon’ (48.1%, S & J D Robertson Group Limited, Orkney, hogshead, cask #4493, 216 bottles)

Highland Park 50 yo 1960/2010 (44.8%, OB, 275 bottles)

Inchgower 36 yo 1974/2010 (50.4%, The Whisky Agency, sherry wood, 180 bottles)

Littlemill 1990/2010 (53.9%, Malts of Scotland, Clubs, Fulldram Belgium, cask #736, 183 bottles)