Google Whisky Fun by Serge and Angus, blog, reviews and tasting notes since 2002
Whiskyfun Malt Madness Malt Maniacs
 

Serge whiskyfun

 

Whiskies 17,178
Other spirits 2,440
Angus 1,535

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Index of whiskyfun


Whisky Tasting

 
Balblair (100)
Balmenach (42)
Balvenie (1
31)
Banff (5
2)
Ben Nevis (251)
Ben Wyvis
(3)
Benriach (1
94)
Benrinnes (
112)
Benromach (
81)
Bladnoch (
87)
Blair Athol (
97)
Bowmore (5
69)
Braes of Glenlivet (
52)
Brora (1
43)
Bruichladdich (320)
Bunnahabhain (
406)

Caol Ila (725)
Caperdonich (
100)
Cardhu (
40)
Clynelish (4
57)
Coleburn (2
5)
Convalmore (
30)
Cragganmore (84)
Craigduff (4)
Craigellachie (
105)
Dailuaine (91)
Dallas Dhu (41)
Dalmore (1
35)
Dalwhinnie (38)
Deanston (
60)
Dufftown (5
8)

Edradour (95)
Ladyburn (12)
Lagavulin
(1
88)
Laphroaig (
506)
Ledaig (1
37)
Linkwood (1
82)
Littlemill (1
27)
Loch Lomond (
80)
Lochside (72)
Longmorn (2
3
3)
Longrow (7
8)

Macallan (323)
Macduff (91)
Malt Mill
(1)
Mannochmore (
53)
Millburn (2
4)
Miltonduff (
103)
Mortlach (2
15)
Mosstowie (2
5)
Scapa (51)
Speyburn (
48)
Speyside (22)
Springbank (
418)
St-Magdalene (5
4)
Strathisla (
112)
Strathmill (
53)

 
 
Pete and Jack



2021
December 1 - 2
November 1 - 2
October 1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2020
December
1 - 2
November 1 - 2
October 1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1
- 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2019
December
1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2018
December
1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2017
December
1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2016
December
1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2015
December
1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2014
Music Awards
December
1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1- 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2013
Music Awards
December
1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2012
December
1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2011
Music Awards
December
1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2010
Music Awards
December
1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2009
December
1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2008
Music Awards
December
1 - 2 - 3
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2007
Music Awards
December
1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2 - 3
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
Feis Ile
Special
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2006
Music Awards
December 1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2 - 3
September
1 - 2
August
1 - 2
July
1 - 2
June 1 - 2
Feis Ile
Special
May
1 - 2
April
1 - 2
March
1 - 2
February
1 - 2
January 1
- 2

2005
Music Awards
December 1 - 2
November 1 - 2
October
1- 2
September
1 - 2
August
1 - 2
July
1 - 2
June
1 - 2
Feis Ile
Special
May
1 - 2
April
1 - 2
March
1 - 2
February
1 - 2
January
1 - 2

2004
December 1 - 2
November 1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September
1
August
1
July
1
June
1
May
1
April 1
March 1
February
1
January
1

No archives for 2002-2003

 
Malt maniacs goodies
 

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The Magical History
of the Great
Brora Distillery
1969 - 1983

   


 

Ye Auld Pages
that used to be here

   

 

 



Disclaimer
 

All the linked files (mp3, video, html) are located on free commercial or non-commercial third party websites. Some pictures are taken from these websites, and are believed to be free of rights, as long as no commercial use is intended.

I always try to write about artists who, I believe, deserve wider recognition, and all links to mp3 files are here to show you evidence of that. Please encourage the artists you like, by buying either their CDs or their downloadable 'legal' tracks.

I always add links to the artists' websites - if any - which should help you know more about their works. I also try to add a new link to any hosting website or weblog which helped me discover new music - check the column on the right.

I almost never upload any mp3 file on my own server, except when dealing with artists I personally know, and who gave me due authorizations, or sometimes when I feel a 'national' artist deserves wider recognition. In that case, the files will remain on-line only for a few days.

I do not encourage heavy consumption of alcoholic beverages, nor dangerous motorbike riding. But life is short anyway...

As they say here: 'L'abus d'alcool est dangeureux pour la santé - à consommer avec modération'

   
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Copyright Serge Valentin
Angus MacRaild
2002-20
22

 


Scotch Legal Announcement


 
 

January 23, 2022


Whiskyfun

Armagnac is back again

  Armagnac
As it happens, the fantastic – if a little pricey - new Glendronach 50 that we tried the other day made me want to try more armagnac. You must never resist your wills, you understand.

'1 bottle for 2 good glasses of Grande Fine d'Armagnac 25 years old.' Imagine the size of the glasses back then.

Domaine de Baraillon 2005/2021 (49.9%, Swell de Spirits, folle blanche, 100 bottles)

Domaine de Baraillon 2005/2021 (49.9%, Swell de Spirits, folle blanche, 100 bottles) Four stars
Folle blanche remains the star varietal of armagnac. It used to be too in Cognac but that was before phylloxera vastatrix. Glad to try a younger, and possibly fiercer Baraillon. Colour: amber. Nose: pretty chocolaty and earthy, robust for sure, with some mint liqueur and whiffs of old dunnage warehouse. Rum-and-raisin ice cream, then many mentholated, almost turpentine-y notes, fir honey, then miso and old walnuts. I suppose that sums it up. Mouth: big boy, even more robust but also sweeter and fruitier, more 'stewed', with many chocolates filled with many liqueurs. A lot of chestnut honey, then coffees, bidis and a feeling of thuja wood. It's even got something Moroccan, hard to describe. Tajine with prunes?  Finish: long, on Jaffa cakes, marmalade, and more menthol again in the aftertaste. Some chocolaty oakiness and heavier black tea in the aftertaste, plus liquorice wood. Comments: indeed, robust and even a tad rustic, but this is armagnac. Great for your hipflask. An old, precious, genuine silver hipflask.
SGP:562 - 87 points.

Château de Laubade 1975/2021 'Brut de Fût' (44.2%, OB, Bas-armagnac, barrique #77027)

Château de Laubade 1975/2021 'Brut de Fût' (44.2%, OB, Bas-armagnac, barrique #77027) Five stars
It's true that at these kinds of ages, in Scotland they would already use crystal, do Zooms and call Prince Charles. This is baco and ugni blanc, so no folle blanche here. Remember, brut de fût means cask strength. Colour: amber. Nose: bang-bang, butterscotch, mirabelle jam, quince jelly, preserved peaches, sultanas, touches of chalky earth and a lovely floral side, around the yellowest yellow flowers. The ones the bees like best. Splendid nose (the bees would agree, although bees prefer pastis – I'm not joking at all). Mouth: flabbergasting earthy honeyness, with cassata and just more mirabelles. Extraordinary herbal teas, soft liquorice, a little agave syrup, butterscotch again, wee touches of gentian (hurray) and then a rather soft, although pretty piney and mentholy oakiness. Touches of varnish too, not a problem, on the contrary. Finish: long, a notch oaky again (loses one point, there), a tad gritty and teaish, but then you remember this is armagnac. Comments: they can call Prince Charles.
SGP:571 - 90 points.

In the words of Chuck Yeager (?!), too high, we're too high…

Domaine de Saoubis 2007/2021 (46.1%, LMDW, Version Française, Bas-armagnac, cask #95, 208 bottles)

Domaine de Saoubis 2007/2021 (46.1%, LMDW, Version Française, Bas-armagnac, cask #95, 208 bottles) Three stars and a half
A wee estate that's entirely in biodynamy, in Ayzieu not too far from Eauze. It is very cool that La Maison du Whisky would make us discover new domaines, thank you LMDW. Colour: gold. Nose: so unusual! Where else in Armagnac would you find sesame oil and rice cakes? And homemade custard, greengages, citrons and acacia honey? And rose petals? Mouth: was this an ex-whisky cask, sincerely? Some kind of lemony and earthy smokiness (pine smoke), malt indeed, more vanilla, pancakes and nougat… We're pretty much in malty territories here, it's almost a kind of reverse malternative. Madeleines. Finish: medium, rounded, cakey, rather mellow. Oranges and lemons in the aftertaste, with touches of lemongrass. Comments: a tricky baby. For blind tastings – and your pleasure. I like it quite a lot.
SGP:551 - 84 points.

Laballe 1970 'Dame-jeanne baco' (48.5%, OB, Bas-armagnac, +/-2020)

Laballe 1970 'Dame-jeanne baco' (48.5%, OB, Bas-armagnac, +/-2020) Four stars
We're in the Landes now and this is pure baco and ex-demijohn. How much time it actually spent in wood, I don't know. Colour: amber. Nose: roasted honey-coated peanuts and almonds, praline, black nougat, then cane syrup and wee meaty touches, more on poultry than on beef. Stewed chanterelles, Vietnamese caramel pork, other lovely Asian dishes (love them all). Very singular, very nice. Mouth: a vinous touch at first, then indeed more Asian dishes, orange zests, sultanas, some earthiness, some peppermint… Did we already claim this was singular? Finish: medium, piney, chartreusey, a little gingery. Comments: very good caramelly fun here.
SGP:561 - 87 points.

S.Havion-Ehny 1968/2020 (50.1%, OB, HNWS Taiwan, Ténarèze, cask #3-301, 113 bottles)

S.Havion-Ehny 1968/2020 (50.1%, OB, HNWS Taiwan, Ténarèze, cask #3-301, 113 bottles) Four stars and a half
S.Havion-Ehny is a négociant, which you could translate as 'a broker'. Down there in or around the Gers, some say Ténarèze is the true connoisseur's armagnac, although they would tend to tell you that after quite a few glasses. Colour: bronze amber. Nose: another one that's a little malty, in the sense that you would rather find pastries, cakes, roasted nuts and plum jams. Not that we shall complain, we love this. Say a mirabelle pie with honey and sultanas. Hard to beat indeed. With water: it adores water, gets much meatier, bouillony, with only touches of nougat and maple syrup. I'm afraid we'll have to mention caramel pork once more. Mouth (neat): more a classic, traditional Armagnac, with some liquorice, a grapey side, raisins and prunes, and some earthy honey. With water: the old age still doesn't really feel. Lovely honeys and roasted nuts, with an oakiness that's rather kept at bay. Awesome liquorice and aniseed. Finish: rather long and very well balanced. Marmalade, syrups, liquorice and just a tiny touch of lavender. The aftertaste is a tad oaky but that's very normal. Comments: excellent. Great fun that this Frenchman would be able to try some old revolutionary Ténarèze from an Armagnac house he had never heard of, through some friends in Taiwan. The good side of globalisation!
SGP:561 - 89 points.

Bas-armagnac 1963 (46.2%, Grosperrin for The Auld Alliance Singapore, 2021)

Bas-armagnac 1963 (46.2%, Grosperrin for The Auld Alliance Singapore, 2021) Five stars
When one of the stars of Cognac would team-up with a star of Singapore (si, si, vraiment) to release a Bas-armagnac, that should tell you something. Nutshell, this shouldn't be just any Bas-armagnac. Colour: deep amber. Nose: this isn't just any Bas-armagnac and maybe I'm dreaming but I'm finding a Cognacqy side to this baby. These stewed peaches with honey sauce and honeysuckle syrup, plus these juicy sultanas. Exceptional floral/earthy development, rather uncommon but totally amazing. Sweet mushrooms and touches of morels and truffles, all moderato. Exceptional indeed. If the palate matches the nose, we've already found one of 2022's winners at Château Whiskyfun (even if it came out in summer last year). Mouth: oh. Blazing oranges, golden raisins, sweet roots, gentian, tiny ideas of parsnips, the blackest chocolates, bamboo shoots, heather honey, yellow chartreuse, a drop of genepy… Well I'm nearly stunned. Take in a hipflask when you go skiing or fishing. Finish: rather long, perfectly earthy. Utterly high drinkability (that's the problem). Gentian in the aftertaste, so even unemployed French wokists wouldn't complain. Comments: que c'est bon!
SGP:561 - 93 points.

What a wee session! Armagnac keeps creeping-up at WF Towers. Au revoir.

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

 

January 21, 2022


Whiskyfun

The little duos, today young Glenallachie

One OB, one IB. We like these tiny sessions, the long ones can become a little boring, both to the taster and to the poor reader. Are we not good at self-promotion? We'll have the IB first simply because it's lighter. So to speak.

Glenallachie 12 yo 2009/2021 (52.8%, Valinch & Mallet, Young Masters, bourbon, cask #900354, 316 bottles)

Glenallachie 12 yo 2009/2021 (52.8%, Valinch & Mallet, Young Masters, bourbon, cask #900354, 316 bottles) Four stars
Colour: white wine. Nose: breaking news, it seems that they've finally managed to distil croissants and biscuits. They've then added a little orange blossom water, a fistful of grist and tapioca, and then just a whole fresh baguette. I'm finding this wee baby very 'French', I have to say. With water: some chalk, a very common, and very pleasant development once good water's been added. Mouth (neat): impeccable spirit, especially when no wine ever got in its way. Same bready and doughy notes for starters (croissants and all that), then also a very lovely citrus, homemade limoncello, and a tight, very fresh yuzu-y development. A tad minimal, perhaps, but this purity is just perfect. Are we going to mention the Bauhaus again? With water: we're rather going to mention chalk again, as well as yeast and sourdough. Impeccable indeed. Finish: long, with a few greener spices and more sweeter breadiness. Comments: very classic and right up my alley.
SGP:451 - 87 points.

Glenallachie 2010/2020 (62.4%, OB for Trinity Wines Greece, Chinquapin barrel, cask #4558, 277 bottles)

Glenallachie 2010/2020 (62.4%, OB for Trinity Wines Greece, Chinquapin barrel, cask #4558, 277 bottles) Four stars
Very happy to try a cask that's been bottled for our friends in Greece who, not content with having invented philosophy and democracy, are knowing a thing or ten about whisky. Which, I agree, is pretty much the same thing when that's malt whisky. By the way, Chinquapin, as diligent followers of Glenmorangie (and former belonging Glen Moray Distillery) will know, is an eastern-American sub-species of white oak also called Quercus muehlenbergii. Ha. Oh and I've just seen that it's 'intolerant of shade', but I doubt our Greek friends would have chosen this one for that reason. Colour: very deep gold. Nose: I remember. A rich American oak, oily, with a wee resinous side (ala mizunara) and a deep breadiness. But, err, 62%+. With water: praline, nougat, a drop of benzine, macadamia nuts, maize flour, a little teak oil, but no excessive 'plankiness'. At all. Mouth (neat): a sweet and spicy oaky concoction for sure, but as far as I can tell at this strength, that worked. Garam masala and bami goreng. With water: awesome, with citrons and a spicier limoncello (proprietary recipe), more masala, allspice, ras-el-hanout, plus, let me try to find something Greek… Do we say feta with honey? Honest. Finish: long, a tad 'oaky' indeed, but that was probably the idea when Dr Bill or some of his acolytes had chosen this kind of wood. Comments: I find it excellent and would guess it'll become even better around the year 2060, once it's all mellowed down in glass. When are they going to allow amphora?
SGP:561 - 87 points.

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

 

January 20, 2022


Whiskyfun

Four Craigellachie

Let's have four of them, of various styles and origins.

Craigellachie 2007/2019 (46%, Scyfion Choice, Saint Daniel wine cask finish, 201 bottles)

Craigellachie 2007/2019 (46%, Scyfion Choice, Saint Daniel wine cask finish, 201 bottles) Three stars and a half
Our friends in Ukraine and their funny wine finishings! In this very case, red Saint Daniel, some Ukrainian wine that would blend 'Cabernet Sauvignon, Saperavi and Bastardo Magarachsky' varietals. We keep learning a lot about wine, thanks to our Ukrainian friends! Now vorsicht, this is red wine… Colour: straw (not rose-y hues!) Nose: really all right, in the style of Glenlivet 12 I would say, or of Macallan 12 'sherry'. No redberry invasion, rather a nice malty development, some oranges, ales, perhaps a touch of strawberry jam in the background? In any case, no wine against whisky fight in our glass, they seem to get along well. I have to find a bottle of red Saint Daniel, really curious about that Bastardo Magarachsky (why are we not surprised, S.) Mouth: cakey, with some fruitcake, soft spices, marmalade, goji berries and dried jujubes (what they call red dates in some places). I'm just having a pack from China at home, really love them. Finish: rather long, candied and yet fresh, with, I swear to Alfred Barnard's reincarnation, a lot of dried red dates. Comments: cool, good, and very educative. Now, onto Bastardo Magarachsky, it's open season so the hunt begins… 
SGP:641 - 83 points.

Craigellachie 13 yo 2007/2021 (48%, Dumangin & Fils, ratafia champenois finish, batch 015)

Craigellachie 13 yo 2007/2021 (48%, Dumangin & Fils, ratafia champenois finish, batch 015) Three stars and a half
We've already tried some of their finishings, one Bushmills (superb!) and one Greenore (not too bad!) This time they're tackling Scotch malt whisky, so a thicker, fatter base. Let's see… By the way, at WF we're die-hard fans of all the wee unusual specialties they're having in Champagne and in the north of Burgundy, ratafia indeed, Irancy, Rosé des Riceys, sauvignon de Saint-Bris, some Coteaux-Champenois… Great wee categories to explore. Anyway, let's move on… Colour: gold. Nose: yep. Remember ratafia is no wine, it's rather must plus eau-de-vie, which means that there cannot be any 'fermentary clashes'. Jaffa cakes, orange cake, big moist figs, sultanas, dried apricots, peach jam… and tangerine liqueur! Tangerine liqueur would end any wars, just ship some to the fighters on both sides. Very nice nose, with Jaffa cakes at the helm. Mouth: absolutely lovely. Dried fruits, dried citrus, sultanas, dried rambutans (really), rooibos tea (not quite tea but there)… What comes rather unexpected is that this wouldn't even be stuffy or thick or cloying. In short, balance and freshness were preserved. Finish: medium, rather more on yellow plums and quinces. Comments: I don't think this finishing changed much to the original spirit, it just made it louder and a notch thicker and warmer, in a good way. Like what a good tube amp would do to an old 45rpm by The Stones, if you will. Great job, I suppose we ought to have a few ratafias here one day. Oh and I would also try this on Hampden and call that 'Rastafia'. Just sayin', not my business…
SGP:641 - 84 points.

Craigellachie 12 yo 2009/2021 (52.5%, The Maltman, amarone finish, cask #8, 294 bottles)

Craigellachie 12 yo 2009/2021 (52.5%, The Maltman, amarone finish, cask #8, 294 bottles) Three stars and a half
Amarone, the stuffiest red wines in da world. Now some are pretty good, let's be honest, but to blend them with malt whisky, in my pretty narrow views, is like letting Ozzy Osbourne sing Mozart. Colour: gold. Nose: it was well mastered, once again this is no cherry extravaganza, no raspberry slaughter and no strawberry Stalingrad. In short, this remains malt whisky, in the style of some moderate sherry finishing. With water: fresh panettone, other doughs and orange-blossom-driven pastries… Just what we adore - we agree that's rather unavowable. Mouth (neat): but-this-is-good! Speculoos liqueur, I'm sure our Belgian friends are making that. Orange bitters, marmalade… Very very good! With water: even more good, as they would say in Paris. Some salty orange cordial. Finish: rather long, getting more complex, rather on all kinds of chutneys rather than jams. Comments: I'm dead sure this should go extremely well with champagne, in some kind of Bellini or Scottish Kir Royal. 1/20 this, 19/20 champagne. As high as any such winey concoction could go in my little tasting book.
SGP:651 - 84 points.

Craigellachie 15 yo 2005/2020 (56.5%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseurs Choice, for HNWS Taiwan, refill bourbon barrel, cask #16600309, 255 bottles)

Craigellachie 15 yo 2005/2020 (56.5%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseurs Choice, for HNWS Taiwan, refill bourbon barrel, cask #16600309, 255 bottles) Three stars
Come on, it's time our friends in Elgin called this legendary series 'Bloggers Choice', no? We agree, on second thought, no… Colour: straw. Nose: feels like holidays after the wineskies. Light cereals, barley syrup, fresh sawdust, grated coconut, custard, paraffin, sunflower oil, sesame, polenta… With water: same. Emphasis on 'sawdust'. Mouth (neat): whisky al natural sure is superior, even when there's a little too much fresh oak. Cakes and breads and woods and branches. To be honest the oak's a little loud, even if it was genuine refill indeed, which I'm sure it was. As we said before, casks move in mysterious ways. With water: easy sweet barley-y brew, plus some of those slightly stuffy oak-aged IPAs. No one has limits these days. Finish: long, oak getting even bigger. Comments: refill indeed? Feels like scratched and toasted, but not recharred. But what do I know… Very good, but I'm not an immense fan.
SGP:461 - 80 points.

Don't tell me I liked the wineskies better. No I'm not going to a shrink.

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

 

January 19, 2022


Whiskyfun

GlenDronach 50 yo and others

Glendronach

GlenDronach Distillery (photo GlenDronach)

Looks like GlenDronach 50 yo is the talk of the season and we're extremely proud and happy to be able to try it today. But first, as we like to do and even if this is going to be the most hackneyed cliché, let's build a stairway to heaven. Well, I doubt it's going to be an elevator to hell (yet another cliché that's worn to the fullest, we're specialists at WF). By the way, as GlenDronach only dropped direct firing in 2005/2006, only the new 12 and the Hart Bros. were 'steamed'.

Glendronach 12 yo 'Original' (43%, OB, +/-2021)

Glendronach 12 yo 'Original' (43%, OB, +/-2021) Four stars
We've last tried the 12 in 2017, so time for one of our periodic reviews… Colour: deeper gold. Nose: whiffs of pencil shavings at first, then a growing triple-secness (!?) coming with the usual walnuts and bitter almonds. That's all well and nice, with the pencil shavings going more and more towards cedarwood, which was to be expected. New cigar humidor, marzipan, orange zests... Frankly, this is lovely. Mouth: similar, on more cedarwood, bitter almonds, amaretti, then cracked pepper and a little juniper and caraway. Prunes and sloe. A little oak-led but that's all fine in this context, since the distillate is pretty big in the first place. 43% is a perfect strength here. Finish: rather long, with even more bitter oranges and almonds, caraway, pepper. Fresh oak again in the aftertaste. Comments: firmer and less raisiny than I remembered it, and spicier. Really to my liking, given that the oloroso part seemed to have the upper hand (over PX), even if it was in the minority.
SGP:451 - 85 points.

Perhaps a rare indie…

Glendronach 9 yo 2011/2021 (56%, Hart Bros., for High Spirits Netherland, first fill oloroso butt)

Glendronach 9 yo 2011/2021 (56%, Hart Bros., for High Spirits Netherland, first fill oloroso butt) Four stars
I'm not sure these very fine people have anything to do with Nadi Fiori's 'High Spirits'. Hart Bros always bottle unusual whiskies; they're never boring, I would say. Colour: deep gold. Nose: and indeed this is not boring. A lot of metal polish, silverware and copper, old guns, then shoe polish and coffee dregs, raw cocoa, demerara sugar and dry molasses, old coins, Kahlùa (coffee liqueur), black rum… I like this. With water: chestnuts and pinecones, glutamate, Maggi, walnut wine… Great old-school sherried nose. Mouth (neat): bell pepper, cumin, artisanal liquorice, chewing your black cigar, sipping your ristretto and licking your English shoe polish. Drop that last part. With water: excellent, more on liquorice and tobacco. Lovely thick bitterness (Underberg, artichoke liqueur, raw chocolate…) Finish: it's is even a little refreshing, quite some feat. Bitter oranges and loads of chocolate in the aftertaste. Comments: a great little 'monstrous' sherried drop at just 9. Did I write 'unusual'? I'm sure you could dip sushi into this, with success.
SGP:462 - 87 points.

Perhaps a few older official single casks from our boxes?...

GlenDronach 13 yo 2003/2016 (52.3%, OB, Pedro Ximenez sherry puncheon finish, cask #4034, 696 bottles)

GlenDronach 13 yo 2003/2016 (52.3%, OB, Pedro Ximenez sherry puncheon finish, cask #4034, 696 bottles) Three stars
Ouch, a PX finish. I remember why these have been remaining in the boxes for so long… Colour: amber. Nose: frankly, this is very okay, naturally, and even these notes of Bolognese sauce are funny, and the geraniums, and the tomato leaves, and the grass… Some muddy raisins or something would tend to balance that. Gunpowder. With water: fine. Old earthy vin doux, Rivesaltes perhaps. A little chicken stock. Mouth (neat): the Hart Bros. kills it. Bitterish leaves, stems… But then again, there's a nice spiciness as well, all clove-driven. Once again, water will tell. With water: gets green, leafy, artichoke-y. Eggplant gratin with not much white sauce. Finish: long, leafy. Acidic coffee, perhaps. Seville oranges in the aftertaste, that's better. Comments: I've never been a huge fan of this style. It's me. Oloroso all the way, anytime.
SGP:361 - 81 points.

GlenDronach 13 yo 2004/2016 (58.1%, OB, for Asian Palate Association, Pedro Ximenez sherry puncheon, cask #6628, 647 bottles)

GlenDronach 13 yo 2004/2016 (58.1%, OB, for Asian Palate Association, Pedro Ximenez sherry puncheon, cask #6628, 647 bottles) Four stars
One for Taiwan. Colour: Nose: a liquid Mars bar, more or less. Plus cigars, coffee, hazelnut liqueur, miso… Coal briquettes in the basement. With water: cedarwood and  once again these miso-y, glutamate-y notes. Parsley. Mouth (neat): good, firm, punchy, spicy. Like these touches of Chartreuse, with drops of ginger liqueur and just citrons. A little tighter and rougher than the 2003. With water: gets very grassy and liquoricy. Finish: long and even more on liquorice. Someone must have thrown a few lozenges into this fat puncheon. Comments: was it a finishing or was it not a finishing? Perhaps not one for subtlety, but I like it.
SGP:461 - 85 points.

GlenDronach 13 yo 2003/2016 (56.2%, OB, HNWS Taiwan, Oloroso sherry puncheon, cask #5949, 710 bottles)

GlenDronach 13 yo 2003/2016 (56.2%, OB, HNWS Taiwan, Oloroso sherry puncheon, cask #5949, 710 bottles) Three stars and a half
Oloroso, hurray! Colour: amber. Nose: I find this so vastly superior. All roasted nuts of the creation, the greatest chocolates, the liveliest coffees and the nicest Cuban cigars. So far, so good. With water: glazed chestnuts and touches of spicy oak, plus rubber and a box of pencils. Mouth (neat): lovely bitter oranges and ginger, chestnut honey and some kind of insane myrtle and sorb cordial. Would tend to become rather aggressively spicy after just five seconds, having said that. Big pepper. With water: fine but the wood's a little loud and bitter. Finish: long, grassy and bitter. Better than it sounds, but it's not one for Sundays. Comments: I was having deep hopes but the bitterer side took over. Still very good. The main problem is that we've tried the older, less 'oaked-up' official 'Dronachs.
SGP:361 - 83 points.

GlenDronach 12 yo 2004/2016 (54.1%, OB, for CC Taiwan, Oloroso sherry butt, cask #349, 653 bottles)

GlenDronach 12 yo 2004/2016 (54.1%, OB, for CC Taiwan, Oloroso sherry butt, cask #349, 653 bottles) Four stars
Don't our dear friends in Taiwan love their very heavy sherry? Hope this is not another lazy finishing, having said that. Colour: gold (hey!) Nose: there, bravo, barley (wow!), bread (extra-wow!), quinces and mirabelles (no comments), pastries… And, drum roll, panettone. If there's ever a Noah's Ark of gastronomy, I hope panettone will be on board. Oh and your truly. With water: awesome barleyness, ales, cakes and nougats. Walnuts would remind us that after all, this is a sherry cask. Mouth (neat): this tells you that GlenDronach is a great distillate and that it wouldn't obligatorily need the heaviest sherry casks. The old officials from 30 or 40 years ago were telling us the same thing. Lovely orange cake. With water: excellent. Bitter oranges, ginseng, ginger, white pepper, nutmeg. Good, perhaps has it become a little tough now. Finish: long, rather on walnut cakes and spicy liqueurs. Comments: the sherry cask has been most well-mannered this time; I mean until we added H2O.
SGP:461 - 87 points.

The 50 yo is getting close…

GlenDronach 13 yo 2003/2016 (55.8%, OB, for Taiwan, Oloroso sherry puncheon, cask #5950, 699 bottles)

GlenDronach 13 yo 2003/2016 (55.8%, OB, for Taiwan, Oloroso sherry puncheon, cask #5950, 699 bottles) Two stars and a half
I mean, weren't they selling all their casks to Taiwan, back in 2016? Colour: amber. Nose: sawdust, pencil shavings, walnuts, marzipan, cigars. With water: it's okay, on orange cake, fresh walnuts, chicken stock and a drop of miso and metal polish, 50/50. Mouth (neat): good start, gets then pretty spicy and rubbery. Rough and tough, oaky, spicy. With water:  whoops. Too much oak for me. Finish: tough oak. Comments: too much oak for me, not sure what happened.
SGP:371 - 77 points.

GlenDronach 23 yo 1993/2016 (59.1%, OB, for D.C. & T.D.M. Taiwan, Oloroso sherry, cask #41, 587 bottles)

GlenDronach 23 yo 1993/2016 (59.1%, OB, for D.C. & T.D.M. Taiwan, Oloroso sherry, cask #41, 587 bottles) Four stars and a half
1993, that's a whole different story. Colour: mahogany. Nose: and there, another world indeed. All those 2003-2004 were fine or very fine, but this is different. Less two-pence oak, more fruits, tamarind, damsons, black raisins, old armagnac… Well, just love this Ténarèze-y middle-aged (and well-mannered indeed) GlenDronach. With water: a gorgeous resinous herbalness with marrow quenelles and some kind of meat stew from the middle of old England. Mouth (neat): extremely good, if a tad 'dark' and 'bitter'. Stunning pine-y notes, turpentine, touches of salt, very heavy liquorice. With water: and voilà, excellent and truly 'the new Macallan', as we used to believe back them. That was before, well, you know… Finish: long and sweeter, with dried fruits of all sorts. Comments: I say any sherried dram that would not display 'dried fruits of all sorts' should get disqualified. In the meantime, I find this superlative.
SGP:461 - 89 points.

Good, thanks to our Taiwanese friends, I suppose we're now fully ready for the 50…

GlenDronach 50 yo 1971 (43.8%, OB, 198 bottles, 2022)

GlenDronach 50 yo 1971 (43.8%, OB, 198 bottles, 2022) Five stars
Believe it or not, as we were reminded during a nice wee official Zoom session that was done yesterday after I had written my lousy-as-ever introduction and tasted the first whiskies here, 1971 was indeed the year when LedZep's Stairway To Heaven was released. This old baby first spent its life in one Pedro Ximénez and one Oloroso sherry cask, both distilled on the same day, and was then blended and 'married' for around one year in a single new Spanish oak PX cask. It's just being launched although bottle #1 had already been auctioned for a just cause earlier in December and fetched no less than £40,000. So, I suppose it was actually bottled in 2021 but let's declare it's WF's first whisky released in 2022. Not a bad choice, what do you think? I'd add that we've already tried quite a few 1971s, including that superb Moon Import 'The Birds' bottled in 1990 and several OBs bottled between 2009 and 2013, amongst which 1971/2010 oloroso #489 and 1971/2013 PX #1246 have been my favourites with 92 points (right, 92%) each. But that's enough small talk, let's try the new wonder…  
Colour: coffee/mahogany. Nose: rather incredible, very fresh, you'd almost believe it's an old creamy yet vibrant V.O.R.S from before 1940. It is full of prunes, sloes, earthy mushrooms, with touches of tamarind jam and rather many Smyrna raisins. The freshness is very impressive indeed, while it would go on with Cuban cigars dipped into umami and walnut sauce (the oloroso speaking out, I would suppose), then more resins, pine, terpenes, eucalyptus, a little turpentine and just hints of very old armagnac blended with high-class brandy de Jerez. Like 90% armagnac and 10% brandy de Jerez. Someone may have thrown in a few Werther's Originals too. By the way, did anyone ever come across malts that had been finished in ex-brandy de Jerez casks? Mouth: it truly leaves you speechless, but this is WF. So, still no signs of over-oakiness whatsoever, rather a massive feeling of thin mints made by a very posh chocolatier, plus some perfect coffee, with drops of cough syrup and various small-berry eaux-de-vies. Sorb, holly, elder… Also orange cordial. Finish: medium, very subtle, never exactly oaky despite all the coffee, cocoa and piney notes. The aftertaste reminds me of hoisin sauce plus indeed, umami. Comments: one more point after ten more years, that's a good rhythm when you reach these very old ages. In theory, it should have gone downwards. No?
SGP:561 - 93 points.

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

 

January 18, 2022


Whiskyfun

A good few Tomintoul

I'll always fondly remember Tomintoul, not that I've visited the Distillery the first time I drove to Scotland, around 1979 or 1980, rather because we went to that nice shop called The Whisky Castle in Tomintoul, probably the first real whisky shop where my feet have been. Believe me or not, I don't think they've ever hold it against me. Let's have a few Tomintouls, more or less at random… Remember, it is supposed to be 'The Gentle Dram'…

Castle

Tomintoul 'With a Peaty Tang' (40%, OB, +/-2018)

Tomintoul 'With a Peaty Tang' (40%, OB, +/-2018) Two stars and a half
We've already tried this expression, or a close relative, around 2008 and had thought it was a little average (WF 78), but I suppose they have improved the recipe as whisky's Eternally Dazzling Leading Light granted it with a 94/100 according to the brand's website. It was the beginning of the wave of the 'peated unpeated', when every distillery on the Mainland started to release peaty variations. Colour: straw. Nose: they may have improved the recipe indeed. It's a fine smoky malt, pretty briny too, with a little burnt rubber here and there, hot brake pads (after the Grampians) and just smells of 'a working malting plant'. Mouth: too light and that's because of the 40% vol. Reminds me of when the Old Guard at Laphroaig used to secretly pour the 10 at 43% vol., while the official UK version was at 40%. Good salty juice, well balanced if a little simple, nicely salty, smoky..; But yeah, it would nosedive after just three seconds, leaving some kind of bitterish tannicity. Finish: very short and ashy. Comments: brother Ballantruan demonstrates more oomph. One more point, there.
SGP:345 - 79 points.

Tomintoul 10 yo 2010 (56,1%, First Cask, WIN Dranken, hogshead, +/-2020)

Tomintoul 10 yo 2010 (56,1%, First Cask, WIN Dranken, hogshead, +/-2020) Three stars
Colour: white wine. Nose: oh boy, grassy wax, waxy grass, cactus, carbon, concentrated lemon juice, new electronics (new Oculus Quest, right) and just some kind of smoky porridge. Ueber dry. With water: nosing rapeseed oil and damp grist, or damp oatcakes after a whisky session that went a little awful. Mouth (neat): high tension, with some kind of green limoncello, bell pepper, kid's toothpaste, coconut liqueur (no names) and just more porridge. Pretty extreme but it has its charms, let's give it time and… with water: the caterpillar becomes a butterfly. Well, quite. Goof bitter and grassy and oily maltiness, green liquorice, moshi (with bean paste) and some sweeter bell pepper. Finish: rather long, with some paprika this time, and just many vegetal oils. Grapefruit zest in the aftertaste. Comments: challenging, in a good way. A dying style, I would say, you would have had many more such bottlings twenty years ago.
SGP:361 - 82 points.

Tomintoul 15 yo 2001/2020 (45%, Liquid Treasures, Living World, bourbon hogshead, 146 bottles)

Tomintoul 15 yo 2001/2020 (45%, Liquid Treasures, Living World, bourbon hogshead, 146 bottles) Four stars
Is that a tarantula on the label? Or is it Boris Johnson? (Keep your hair on, it's just another very silly joke – Ed.). Colour: white wine. Nose: syrups all the way this time. Agave, barley, sugarcane… Then preserved fruits and jams, rather plums, greengages, damsons, mirabelles… A wee fermentary side, beers, yeasts… That's lovely too. Someone should try to flavour beer with greengages one day, as they do with cherries or cannabis (what?) Forgot to say, I've just been elected the President of the Greengage Enthusiasts' Club. Mouth: very very, and I mean very close to the barley. Many breads, pumpernickel, dry fruitcakes, grass juice, mezcal… They could add a worm into the bottle, but I'm not sure the SWA would approve, as they're not exactly the Scotch Worm Association (gee, 2022 starts well). Finish: medium, a tad more on the fruity side. Limoncello. Comments: I rather loved this very loyal and honest dram, not just because of the greengages.
SGP:551 - 85 points.

Tomintoul 15 yo 2005/2020 (55.7%, Lady of the Glen, amontillado finish, cask #19A, 251 bottles)

Tomintoul 15 yo 2005/2020 (55.7%, Lady of the Glen, amontillado finish, cask #19A, 251 bottles) Three stars and a half
A 13 months finish in an amontillado barrel from Tanoaria Josafer. Good to know. BTW tanoaria means cooperage in… Portuguese. So this is Portuguese amontillado wood, which doesn't obligatorily mean that the wine wasn't Spanish in the first place. Let's proceed, casks move in mysterious ways anyway…. Colour: gold. Nose: hey hey hey, nice! The expected walnut cakes and wines, this soft mustard, the touches of curry and gunpowder, Seville oranges (we won't say Lisbon oranges, eh), copper coins, muscovado, speculoos… I believe I'm rather a fan. Fig bread too. With water: more earth, garden peat, compost… Mouth (neat): it's a fighter. Some metallic nuts, pecans, walnuts, some suet, ham, glazed chestnuts, gunpowder again, bits of tobacco, some Madeira-like touches, mustard, horseradish, BBQ sauce… This is really different. With water: metallic mustard and nuts. Indeed, a good name for a new-wave folk-rock band. Finish: rather long, oily, with a few clashes here and there but that's part of the charms. Comments: a nice, slightly unlikely ride.
SGP:462 - 84 points.

Tomintoul 15 yo (56,1%, Dram Mor, cask #32, refill bourbon / Sauternes finish, 317 bottles, 2020)

Tomintoul 15 yo (56,1%, Dram Mor, cask #32, refill bourbon / Sauternes finish, 317 bottles, 2020) Three stars and a half
Some genuine French ex-Sauternes cask, I'm sure. Colour: white wine. Nose: I'm not finding it particularly Sauternesy, no apricots or honeys or tropical flowers… Or just wee touches. Rather a nice solid malty dram, on cereals, biscuits, ales, nougat, halva, pine nuts perhaps… With water: wee whiffs of burnt rubber, but that may rather be botrytis. Not too sure, something grilled. Mouth (neat): much more assertive, rich, compote-y than on the nose, with indeed notes of vin doux naturel (which Sauternes isn't, but there). Apricot cream, mirabelle jam and sultanas, that's more than enough for me. Reminds me of a Braes finished in Sauternes (or was it Monbazillac?) that our friend Jean Donnay had done around twenty years ago in his 'Celtique Connexion' range. Unless I'm wrong, Jean really pioneered this style, even before Glenmo. With water: finishings do not always behave well when reduced. In this case I'm finding a little rubber again, leather, something marginally musty, and just 'mushrooms'. Finish: same, with an unexpected saltiness. Comments: really love some sides, like some other aspects a little less. Some say that doing a finishing on some small batches or single casks is like rolling the dice. Discuss…
SGP:561 - 84 points.

Time for a last Tomintoul. Let's make it an old Tomintoul…

Tomintoul 40 yo 1977/2017 (49.9%, OB, Quaich Bar Singapore Exclusive, 10th Anniversary, sherry, 270 bottles)

Tomintoul 40 yo 1977/2017 (49.9%, OB, Quaich Bar Singapore Exclusive, 10th Anniversary, sherry, 270 bottles) Five stars
A bottling for our friends in Singapore. Isn't it fabulous that in these Covided times, whisky would still make us travel close and afar? Colour: deep brownish amber. Nose: walnut cake as in walnut cakes, pecan pie as in pecan pies, and a lot chestnut purée. Which, I have to confess, I just adore. Tends to become more oloroso-y by the minute; there, we were in Singapore, we're now in Jerez-de-la-Frontera. Travelling in and from a wee tulip glass, how cool. Mouth: another fighter, and exactly not an old tired 40-something. Lovely meaty liquorice, prunes and chocolate liqueur, rather PX than oloroso – or say old cream sherry? Old amoroso? Crazy old VORS? Mozartkugeln? Wait, while we're in Austria, Sachertorte? I told you, some whiskies make you travel. This old Tomintoul sure makes for a great Airline – 1st class, naturally. Finish: long and totally on 1st-class chocolate. A drop of Jägermeister and one of soy sauce  in the aftertaste. I'd love to sing some Mozart, but I believe I will hold back. Comments: Singapore to Jerez to Salzburg and Wien, all in a wee glass of excellent old malt whisky. Who needs Air France anyway?
SGP:452 - 90 points.

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

 

January 17, 2022


Whiskyfun

Glen
far
clas
ses

 

GF
I believe no one's ever decided on the plural for 'Glenfarclas'. Is it Glenfarclasses? Is it Glenfarcli? Glenfarclii? Reminds me of that old joke 'Please one Glenfarclas! While you're at it, make that two...' Let's have a few more from our older boxes, completely at random…

Glenfarclas 10 yo 2005/2015 (60.9%, OB, Tiger's Finest Selection, China, cask #2424)

Glenfarclas 10 yo 2005/2015 (60.9%, OB, Tiger's Finest Selection, China, cask #2424) Four stars and a half
It was about time, I agree. The tiger is not me. Colour: dark amber. Nose: chocolate and coffee all over the place, with very tiny hints of gunpowder and new rubber. Gradually switches to meaty and fermentary sauces, hoisin, bulldog, also copper polish. Something metallic, not unpleasant at all. With water: autumn leaves and cigars, copper polish, magazines and just a load of bitter chocolate. Cocoa, Van Houten… Mouth (neat): thick and rich chocolate, malt extracts, stout, walnut wine and brandy de Jerez, with some salty sauce. Worcester. Some earlier batches of the famous '105' have been like this, as far as I can remember. With water: sweeter and fruitier, much more marmalade-y, as expected. Raisins. Finish: long, thick, raisiny. Comments: as some stupid writer would have, well, written, like brandy de Jerez but incomparably better than any brandy de Jerez. Great drop for Taiwan (I seem to remember), mega-good.
SGP:651 - 88 points.

Glenfarclas 1991/2007 (57.9%, OB, Family Cask, #5623, 613 bottles)

Glenfarclas 1991/2007 (57.9%, OB, Family Cask, #5623, 613 bottles)
An old sample from the Malt Maniacs Awards that I was still having. Frankly, they usually don't keep that long, decanting your best bottles into some wee 5 or 10cls mini-bottles is not a good idea if your aim is to keep them for years. Whisky's more fragile than you think and plastics, all of them, are your worst enemies. Never, ever believe makers or merchants' websites. Colour: amber. Nose: I've kept this one in my glass for a good one hour so that it could breathe. With success I have to say, these grassy raisins and figs being of erstwhile quality. Sweet mushroom sauce. With water: some paraffin - tsk tsk, that's the old sample. Paraffin is good when it's integrated, it's a bad sign when it  literally 'covers' everything. Mouth (neat): thick walnut wine, chestnut liqueur, plus some gravy and some oloroso from a good house. With water: Seville oranges and meaty liqueurs, but this paraffin gives it away: it's wrecked to some extend. Finish: forget. Comments: it's got some wonderful afterglows and stuff, but it's wrecked. What's great is that those flaws are extremely easy to detect. Having said that, keeping such a sample for more than ten ears is a terrible idea in the first place, unless you've cryogenised it. Now, cold kills oils…
SGP:481 – (no) points.

Glenfarclas 10 yo 2006/2016 (60.3%, OB, for Mr Tiger, China, sherry, cask #618, 640 bottles)

Glenfarclas 10 yo 2006/2016 (60.3%, OB, for Mr Tiger, China, sherry, cask #618, 640 bottles) Four stars
Let's pray… Colour: mahogany. Nose: chocolate everywhere, as a soup, as a drink, as a tea, as a sauce… With water: old guns and new books. How literary, eh! (that was lousy at best, S.) Mouth (neat): perfect state, ueber-rich, extremely gamey, full of soy sauce, hoisin, chocolate, tabasco, mole, Maggi, glutamate… With water: these ones would send you to Jerez rather than to Ballindalloch, and we shan't complain. A lot of chocolate, coffee, salty meaty sauces, ham, balsamicos, black olives, bitter chocolates… Finish: long, very dry, very chocolaty. Chewing your cigar. Comments: I seem to notice that these thickish styles are slowly drifting away and leaving today's whiskydom. We should discuss these issues, should we not. Oh yeah, this is very good.
SGP:362 - 87 points.

Glenfarclas 2006/2016 (60.4%, OB, sherry butt, cask #619, 561 bottles)

Glenfarclas 2006/2016 (60.4%, OB, sherry butt, cask #619, 561 bottles) Four stars and a half
 A neighbouring sister cask! How cool is that, after so many years? Colour: coffee. Nose: coffee, roasted chestnuts, pine needles, umami sauce. That's about it. With water: metal polish and an old Norton motorcycle. Beat this and we talk later. Mouth (neat): brilliant, aggressive, complex, salty, rustic, civilised, vinegary, friendly, chocolaty. Long story short, it was/is brilliant. With water: an extreme sherry monster, and yet there is some elegance in there. Glazed chestnuts, for example. Finish: long and very salty. It's gotten a soup. Comments: Glenfarclas, rather than Glendronach, have taken over from Macallan's, everyone's knowing that - this was just another element of proof. Cheques to 'Whiskyfun Barbados S.A.' please.
SGP:472 - 88 points.

Glenfarclas '105' (60%, OB, 100cl, +/- 2016)

Glenfarclas '105' (60%, OB, 100cl, +/- 2016) Three stars
Just for fun, we all know this one, which we're following year after year. So, we're simply filling a hole here, let's do this quickly… By the way, is it 8 or is it not 8? Colour: deep gold. Nose: butterscotch. I'd bet they've changed the way they're preparing the casks. More charring? With water: lovely maltiness, sweet and round beers, breads, focaccias, Mars bars, Twixes, millionaire shortbread… Mouth (neat): excellent. Cakes, nuts, malt, marmalade, touch of ginger. With water: careful, this is its Achilles' heel. The 105 never took water lightly, if you ask me, probably a matter of oils. Some struck matches and simply sulphur coming out. Finish: not great, vegetal… Comments: all batches are different, this is perhaps not one of the best. Comments: all batches are different, this is perhaps not one of the best. For example, one from 2020 has been much higher in my book (WF 87).
SGP:361 - 81 points.

Speyside's Finest 16 yo 2004/2020 (53.1%, The Whisky Mercenary, for Whisky Troef, refill sherry, 115 bottles)

Speyside's Finest 16 yo 2004/2020 (53.1%, The Whisky Mercenary, for Whisky Troef, refill sherry, 115 bottles) Two stars and a half
A drunken little bird told me this was Glenfarclas. Colour: white wine. Nose: the fatter side of Glenfarclas, otherwise an average barleyness and some breads. With water: putty and herbal teas. Mouth (neat): very good cakes, then some lousier leathers. Perhaps not the greatest indie GF. With water: a little better, beerish. Finish: rather long, unexpectedly grassy. Kirschwasser and tourist's slivovitz. Comments: perhaps not exactly Speyside's 'finest', perhaps not quite this time, if I may… And perhaps not even GF, I might be completely wrong.
SGP:461 - 79 points.

I have a bad feeling, but redemption might be close…

Glenfarclas 17 yo 2004/2021 (53.5%, OB, Autumn Edition, Netherlands, sherry cask)

Glenfarclas 17 yo 2004/2021 (53.5%, OB, Autumn Edition, Netherlands, sherry cask) Two stars and a half
Cross fingers, our dear Dutch friends deserve it, after all they're supposed to sink into the Atlantic anytime soon according to some lousy press… Colour: gold. Nose: modern and very nice. Lovely cappuccino and nougats, having said that this could be any Distillery up there. Butterscotch, Guinness, malt extracts, green walnuts… With water: ? Bitter beers. Mouth (neat): a tad oak-forward, frankly. Bitter, oak spices… Gets a little too spicy, difficult. With water: to be fair, someone very thirsty after having crossed the Sahara on a camel would drink a whole glass of this. Otherwise, I think it's a very heavy spicy drop. Finish: dry, grassy, a little unpleasant in my opinion, a little too concoctiony. Comments: something must have happened. Like, some alien life form has stolen this sample at WF Towers and replaced it with some Kazakh turnip and allspice eau-de-vie aged in some IBC with toasted pinewood chips. Or a wrecked sample indeed.
SGP:461 - 78 points.

Let's cut to the chase here, it was  downward spiral anyway. But accidents happen and as always, all a matter of individual taste. What's more, this many sherry monsters within one single session might not be a good idea. Sherry fatigue? Pace e salute.

HOLD ON. Would you believe this, as soon as I was finished with this spiralling session, a new Glenfarclas rang at the door (so to speak). And since I hadn't published my session yet, I could just add this wee newcomer at the last minute…

Glenfarclas 43 yo 1977/2021 (43.1%, OB, private for Jeroboams, fourth fill oloroso sherry hogshead, cask #7288, 215 bottles)

Glenfarclas 43 yo 1977/2021 (43.1%, OB, private for Jeroboams, fourth fill oloroso sherry hogshead, cask #7288, 215 bottles) Five stars
These are interesting vintages because 1977 was, as far as I know, the very beginning of the so-called whisky loch. The fact that they knew it was 4th fill is great too (that would suggest they had always been using the cask themselves). And we tend to love refill, after the aforementioned heavy sherry monsters… Colour: light gold; Nose: echoes of some older 'white label tall bottle' expressions, which is pretty good news. Especially this floral side (dandelions, acacia) mingled with many things almondy, such as, well, almonds but also plum spirits, apricot spirit, marzipan, small berries (sorb)… In truth it reminds me of my grandmother's mirabelle tarte, which she would have scattered with ground almonds because 'almonds would soak up the juice'. After five minutes, roasted peanuts and pecans would show up, together with sugarcane honey and maple syrup. After ten minutes, whiffs of old hessian and old wine cellar emerging. Old tools, old paint pot, old putty. It's a movie-malt, it keeps changing and telling you stories. Mouth: the wonders of refill. There's quite some oak but it expresses itself through many infusions (rosehip, lime-flower), embrocations, the same kinds of almondy notes as on the nose… Then we have roasted and caramelised nuts as well as roasted raisins – I suppose the first fill version was a true sherry monster – and many honeys, plus some lighter tangerine liqueur and syrup. Zests. Finish: longer and fresher than expected, rather more honeyed, with a little mint. No straight tannicity whatsoever. Limoncello in the aftertaste. Comments: truly exceptional and wonderfully drinkable (careful!) The fruitiness is remarkable. I remember a 1977/2017 'Family Cask' that came from a 4th fill hogshead as well and that had been brilliant indeed. I'd love to know when the cask was filled for the first time, having said that. Even before WWII?
SGP:651 - 91 points.

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

 

January 16, 2022


Whiskyfun

Rum is back

On WF, after quite an assortment of brilliant old Cognacs and Armagnacs in the end of last year – we'll have more of them soon as well. Let's see what we have in the boxes and on the shelves… And perhaps start this from Cabo Verde with a grog/grogue!.
Al
so, you may watch this.and listen to this.

Barbosa Amado & Vicente 'Grogue' (45%, OB, Cabo Verde, +/-2018)

Barbosa Amado & Vicente 'Grogue' (45%, OB, Cabo Verde, +/-2018) Four stars
We've had a 'Monte Negro' a few years back that was bearing the same label. It's been rather stunning, as these grogues are distilled in small pot stills using pure cane juice, as they do with Haitian clairin. Colour: white. Nose: terrific notes of rotten bananas, model glue, acetone, 'chemical' marshmallows, engine oil, metal polish and even antirust paint, then earthy olives and crushed pickled anchovies (on good bread and butter, yummy). Mouth: throat is okay, that's sorted. No taste distortions either, phew. So, more crushed anchovies, brine, olives and bananas 50/50 (something to try?), margarita, soju and baiju… Things like that. Very fermentary and right up my alley. Finish: really salty, with olives and just more pickled anchovies. The rotting bananas are back in the aftertaste, a little varnish as well. Comments: awesome spirit, even closer to clairin, and probably to Madeiran agricole rum than I remembered. Would that be the influence of the Atlantic Ocean?
SGP:462 - 87 points.

Arruco 'VSOP' (40%, OB, Spirit Drink, Spain, +/-2020)

Arruco 'VSOP' (40%, OB, Spirit Drink, Spain, +/-2020) Two stars
This is an 'hybrid spirit' you understand, 70% rum plus 30% cognac, made in Spain. We've already tried their 'XO', which is rum plus armagnac, and thought it was actually pretty, pretty good (WF 80). Let's keep an open mind here (as Zappa used to say, minds are like parachutes, they only work when they're open). Colour: gold. Nose: a little light and 'matt', rather with some vanilla, cake and sawdust, rather reminiscent of the cheapo Scotch blends that you would find at the bar in ** hotels. You're right, when there's a bar. So, it's not off-putting, but there isn't much happening. Probably not an 'hybrid' aimed at nosers… Mouth: this rather works on the palate, there's a nice cane, some salty bits, olives, a little liquorice, now I don't think the cognac's got much to tell in this context. Finish: short, with a few sucrosey notes. A little flat. Comments: I believe the XO was more to my liking. This is largely acceptable, though, but it would need ice, as well as a few extra-% ABV.
SGP:352 - 76 points.

Let's talk.

Bielle 10 yo 2009/2019 (49.4%, Rasta Morris, Marie-Galante, bourbon cask, cask #RM020, 226 bottles)

Bielle 10 yo 2009/2019 (49.4%, Rasta Morris, Marie-Galante, bourbon cask, cask #RM020, 226 bottles) Four stars and a half
Technically and administratively, Marie-Galante is Guadeloupe, but to many, it's different. We've tried a 2011/2019 by Rasta Morris that had been su-perb (WF 90), so there's no reason…  Oh and I agree we should have tried this one earlier, but I seem to remember they only released it a few months ago. Colour: bronze. Nose: a lot of metal polish, you'd believe you're at a Harley-Davidson gathering. Then coffee, cedarwood, cane juice, sandalwood, a new box of small cigars, and whiffs of agave syrup, bizarrely. I'm also reminded of the best Cubans (rums this time, not cigars), which is bizarre as well, I agree, and of some triple-sec. A little intriguing, perhaps softer than expected, let's see… Mouth: it is extremely agricole, loaded with liquorice and varnishy tones, green bananas, teas, some caraway and ras-el-hanout, plus some very strong mint tea. Some green tannicity, not unpleasant at all, on the contrary. Finish: long and still full of liquorice, especially liquorice root. Some ginseng powder too. Comments: love this liquoricy earthiness. A little tough here and there but that's part of its charms.
SGP:462 - 88 points.

A Scotsman in The Tropics 2008/2021 (53.9%, Dramful!, Dominican Republic, 100 bottles)

A Scotsman in The Tropics 2008/2021 (53.9%, Dramful!, Dominican Republic, 100 bottles) Four stars
We're always scared when we see rums from the DomRep (they're usually flat and sweetened-up to the eyes) but this time it's Dramful!, and second, they've done a 2-year finish in Laphroaig wood on it. Sounds a bit like adding foie gras to a Big Mac, but let's see… Colour: dark amber. Nose: haven't I already used the word 'intriguing' today? I'm finding eggplant gratin, artichoke liqueur, leaves, cactus, white asparagus (only four months of waiting…), chestnut burr, orange peel… And certainly something medicinal. With water: old ointments and coal tar! Mouth (neat): LOL. Laphroaig imposing its magic, with a deep earthiness, seaweed (wakame salad), a tarry smoke, and a wee rum that's just… the canvas of the whole painting. Aged gentian eau-de-vie. Spectacular, wondering how much 'L' was remaining in the cask. With water: eggplant and gentian. Some moussaka! Touches of candy sugar too, after all this is rum from the Dominican Republic. Finish: tarry caramel, liquorice root. Sriracha in the aftertaste. That's chilli. Comments: the spirit wasn't thick and the L cask may have done all the work. Well, it's possibly my favourite rum from the DomRep, ever. Good fun.
SGP:363 - 85 points.

Renaissance 2018/2021 (62%, OB, The Whisky Exchange, Taiwan, fino cask finish)

Renaissance 2018/2021 (62%, OB, The Whisky Exchange, Taiwan, fino cask finish) Four stars
Taiwanese rum! Let's quote the very excellent TWE website: 'this traditional pot-still rum was distilled on 17 September 2018 and bottled in May 2021; it's made using molasses refined from local Taiwanese sugar cane, which was fermented with wine yeast for 15 days with dunder; it was distilled on the lees and matured in a new 225-litre American white-oak cask and finished in a fino sherry cask; and it was bottled at full cask strength with no added colour, sugar or flavourings.' Capeesh?! Colour: office coffee. Nose: of course we're wondering if this is 'the Kavalan of rum'. Everything's there, petrol, oils, liquorice, ferments, olives, rotting bananas, brine, eucalyptus wood… Well some may have tried to benchmark Caroni. With water: sour sauces, bull-dog, hoisin, some kind of mentholated satay, massage balm, eucalyptus… Mouth (neat): thick, rich, perfumy, with some kind of mentholated oranges, cough drops, rose bonbons… Watch it it's a tricky pony, because this profile could make you believe it's an easy drink. It's not, remember, 62%. With water: excellent. Minty woods, tar, salty fruits, salt-and-orange paste, terpenes, turpentine… Finish: very long, holds very well. Comments: not sure I got the fino. It's a big distillate, any finish may have been a little superfluous and redundant. I couldn't not admit that I'm finding this brilliant, some sides remind me of our crazy friends at Lost Spirits in the good old USA. Worth checking out.
SGP:472 - 87 points.

Who's mentioned Caroni?

Caroni 20 yo 1998 (54.2% C. Dully Selection, Trinidad, 280 bottles)

Caroni 20 yo 1998 (54.2% C. Dully Selection, Trinidad, 280 bottles) Five stars
This is heavy Caroni. Colour: amber. Nose: luminous caramel, nougat, the exhaust of a… wait, say an AC Cobra, copper and cast iron, praline, roasted sesame… I have to say I'm rather a fan. With water: no changes. You may just add a few reheated French beans. Mouth (neat): superb earthy and coastal humus and sand, liquorice, petroly savours, green lemons, tar, over-stewed spices and mushrooms, perhaps some plastics and glues (branded 'IKEA'). There's some brutality to this, something that would feel like… Some 20 years old Port Ellen. Yep. With water: bingo, salt, lime concentrate, benzine, tar, concrete… This is well Port Ellen. I mean, heavy Caroni. Finish: long, even saltier. Come on, they must have added seawater. Comments: very heavy, brutal, hard to tame, but hey, there's nothing we can't pull off.
SGP:364 - 90 points.

Good, out of the frying pan and right into the fire…

Caroni 22 yo 1998/2021 (60%, Rum Sponge, Trinidad, 230 bottles)

Caroni 22 yo 1998/2021 (60%, Rum Sponge, Trinidad, 230 bottles) Five stars
The Sponge admits that this was 'heavy' Caroni too, and that they've bottled it 'with slight reduction'. Slight reduction at 60% vol. don't they sound like reverse headshrinkers? (I'll explain the concept later) Colour: light amber. Nose: 60% vol. is not a good nosing strength because the imperious taster may still believe he could overcome the challenge and find 'nuances' in such kerosene. No, don't try, you'll burn what Covid's left. With water: gets very dry. Miso and engine oil, new boots, blue cheese (hints). Mouth (neat): same as the C. Dully, really. Liquorice, petrol, glue, salty tar… With water: salty glue, vinegars, two-stroke petrol/oil mixture… Not that I've ever drunk any but I would have done anything to get one of those crazy new Kawasakis back in the early 1970s (later to become 'the widowmakers'). Finish: long, salty, briny, terpene-y. Comments: yeah, we could call these Caronis 'the widowmakers' too. No wonder this was 'early landed', many Kawa-riders have been 'early landed' too.  Anyway, another great bottle by The Sponge.
SGP:355 - 90 points.

Eanie meenie…

Clarendon 14 yo 2006/2021 (63.2%, Sample X, Jamaica, refill bourbon, 283 bottles)

Clarendon 14 yo 2006/2021 (63.2%, Sample X, Jamaica, refill bourbon, 283 bottles) Three stars and a half
In other words, Monymusk. Colour: amber. Nose: it's always fun to have these heavy Jamaicans after some Caronis, or the other way 'round. The Jamaicans, including this one, are less tarry, and more briny. They're not exactly as thick, but they have this added minerality, this higher verticality, if I may. Anyway, white asparagus, chalk, peanut oil, petrol, graphite oil, Brussels sprouts, new books… With water: soap, Barbour grease, black olives, and perhaps marshmallows brochettes. A very regressive thing that we used to make when we were boy scouts. Mouth (neat): very extreme. I mean, extremely extreme, ultra-dry and mega-drying… Water may be needed. With water: I'm always having trouble with these extreme Monymusks. I mean, even the most extreme Ardbegs or Port Ellens were sweet and mellow in comparison. Did you see that I didn't say 'smooth'? Eating concrete, crunching chalk, drinking motor oil. Finish: long, totally drying. I think I need a drink. A cup of salt in the aftertaste. Comments: weren't they meant to use this as dressers? Seasoning agents?
SGP:276 - 83 points.

I think we need an 'easy' Jamaican now, so to speak…

HD-MJH3 2012/2021 (55.8%, The Whisky Jury, Jamaica, refill barrel, cask #TWJ-HA-03, 279 bottles)

HD-MJH3 2012/2021 (55.8%, The Whisky Jury, Jamaica, refill barrel, cask #TWJ-HA-03, 279 bottles) Five stars
With all these Hs, I would wager this is Hampden. Sure I deserve a medal. Colour: gold. Nose: fresh paint, barley water, pistachio oil, black nougat, stout, new Kia garage, Tesla batteries, gherkin brine. With water: carbon dust, Muscadet, new tyres, cucumbers, floorcloth… Mouth (neat): sublime, best-in-the-Caribbean, of Ardbeg 1972-1975 quality. Do they use purifiers at Hampden? High-precision smoky and briny unfolding, very coastal too, balanced, mildly tarry, with a few acidic fruits (star fruits, lemons, green gooseberries)… I'm trying very hard and yet I cannot find any flaws, this is perfect spirit. With water: a blade. Tarry and smoky olives, plus wild garlic (bear's) and smoked oysters. There's something irresistible in here. Finish: very long, salty, with the expected liquorice and then just kippers and sardines. Comments: this Jury sure isn't out. Holy Bob Marley, what a rum! By the way, one day someone will tell you the story about Bob Marley, the Wailers, snow, and Scotland. In the meantime…
SGP:365 - 91 points.

We found an utter winner, so see you and happy Sunday to you!

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

 

January 14, 2022


Whiskyfun

Even more world travelling
Kicking this off from France…

Aikan 2017/2021 (50%, OB, La Maison du Whisky, France, Version Française, rum finish, cask #180128)

Aikan 2017/2021 (50%, OB, La Maison du Whisky, France, Version Française, rum finish, cask #180128) Three stars and a half
This is not a self-malt, it's been sourced. By the way, a question, when a whisky's very young and they did a finishing on it, does that make it double-maturation? Answer on a postcard (Facebook is so last year!) Colour: gold. Nose: looks like they've used some pretty assertive rum from Jamaica or Trinidad, according to these petroly smells, unless that was a very solid agricole. I have to say this works, I'm also finding some tobacco, sage, a drop of walnut liqueur, a little peach syrup, and some Stolle. I have to say this was well made, no doubt about that. With water: some pinewood coming out, lit cigars, bidis, seaweed (wakame) and borage… Pretty complex, and frankly nice. Why wouldn't we be allowed to use the word 'nice'? Mouth (neat): a carbon copy of the nose, salty and a little petroly, with more tannins, cloves, then cinnamon rolls and some small liquorice lozenges. A feeling of 'Mainland peat'. With water: a tad oak-forward this time, a little tea-ish, with a grassy green tannicity (apple peel, green oranges). The liquorice lozenges are back, together with a little ginseng powder. Cures everything, they say. Finish: rather long and below the limits of over-oakiness. Comments: not hundred percent sure it was Jamaican or Caroni, after all, what I'm sure about is that it's a very fine young meta-drop.
SGP:452 - 84 points.

fr

To Sweden…

High Coast 'Solera Batch 2' (51%, OB, Sweden, 1500 bottles, 2021)

High Coast 'Solera Batch 2' (51%, OB, Sweden, 1500 bottles, 2021) Four stars
The Batch 1 had been excellent in my book (WF 85). I've seen this #2 is at 56% vol. on the Web but my official sample says 51%. We'll amend accordingly if necessary. Colour: light gold. Nose: pretty brutal, must be 56%. Ethanol, sawdust, varnish… This is a good example of a whisky that should need water. With water: I'm adding water as if it was 56%. Flour, grist, wholegrain bread, citrons, damp earth, autumn leaves and no straight ethanol and varnish anymore. Loves water. Mouth (neat): spicy and sweet. Pink grapefruit and rather a lot of ginger and nutmeg, so with a high, yet balanced wood impact. In truth you would believe it's juniper, teak or douglas fir that was used. With water: indeed it loves water. Essential oils, liquorice, violet syrup, wild leek, pastis, citron liqueur, all that with an oily, tick mouth feel. Syrupy texture, not syrupy taste. Finish: long, drier, beautifully and freshly spicy. Aniseed bread and juniper/caraway in the aftertaste. Comments: feels a bit lab but we've got strictly nothing against labs. Very well made by our Swedish friends, hope batch 3 will come out soon. I believe batch 1 was smoky but I'm not sure I found much smoke in batch 2.
SGP:561 - 86 points.

sw

Perhaps a little rye from Canada?

Prospector (46%, Odd-Society, Canada, rye, +/-2021)

Prospector (46%, Odd-Society, Canada, rye, +/-2021) Four stars
Picture of an earlier batch. We're in British Columbia this time. That's the West. Colour: gold. Nose: the thing is, I absolutely adore all kinds of bread, while this one's breadier than bread. Oakier than bread too, for sure, but then come the tiny touches of caraway, lavender, rubbed orange zest (oils), citrus-scented paraffin (hippies' candles) and just eucalyptus coffee. Not sure Starbucks do that but they should. Mouth: and voilà, impeccable spicy spirit with some well-controlled oak, a lot of liquorice and caraway, cumin seeds, poppyseed bread, and just rye. These prospectors have found gold. Well, nearly. I'm a sucker for this style that no one is making (yet?) in France. Finish: rather long, with perhaps a little sawdust but also more violet-and-birch cologne, which works okay in finishes. Orange essence in the aftertaste, and perhaps a little too much tannicity. Comments: very cool young rye, very well made, pretty exotic in our latitudes and longitudes.
SGP:550 - 85 points.

cn

To England…

Bimber 4 yo (58.7%, Cadenhead, England, London Annual Shop Release, 2021)

Bimber 4 yo (58.7%, Cadenhead, England, London Annual Shop Release, 2021) Four stars and a half
When in Rome… smart. We've been a little harsh on a Bimber the other day (I must be cruel only to be kind) so let's see…  Colour: rich gold. Nose: theeeeere. I'm so happy. Candied citrons and grapefruits, tons and tons of quince jelly (I'd kill anyone), a little plaster, heather honey, a drop of tequila (reposado-kind) then the most lemony kind of ginger. Or rather the most gingery kind of lemon. Brilliant. With water: peppermint! What's this witchcraft? Mouth (neat): thick, splendid, totally Jim-Swanian, shock-full of candied citrus and sweet grassy spices. Definitely something one should drink with dim-sum, even if the oak would tend to become a little loudish. With water: and there, impeccable, fresh, with the peppermint being back and the spicy oak kept under control. I believe it was a little close, but it worked. Finish: long and with these elusive flavours that sometimes appear in malt whisky, strawberry yoghurt and jam! Great fun here. Comments: double London whammy, baby. Sure you could call this oak juice, but you would a bit off the mark. Well done Cadenhead too.
SGP:661 - 88 points.

en

Oh while we're at it…

Bimber 'Bourbon Cask' (59.1%, OB for LMDW, England, Conquête, cask #89, 242 bottles)

Bimber 'Bourbon Cask' (59.1%, OB for LMDW, England, Conquête, cask #89, 242 bottles) Four stars and a half
This one's good friends with that ex-rye in the same range that I did not like 'too much' the other day. Once again, I find the very '1967' bottle absolutely superb, it changes from dragons, tigers, deer and geishas. Colour: light gold. Nose: pristine, on sunflower oil, vanilla pods, polenta, fresh peanuts and butter and popcorn and nougat. Bauhaus whisky (I know this is not Berlin). With water: citrus coming up. Those citrons that we enjoy so much, we'll have to find a good brand that makes top-notch citron liqueur. What you'll easily find in Corsica is a little lousy. Mouth (neat): indeed, very high-definition, or when simplicity would be an asset. Citrons, vanilla, spearmint, nougat, touch of radish from the oak, watercress. Impeccable. With water: perhaps a wee tad too spicy/oaky, although this sure goes with the times. Finish: long, really on citrus liqueurs. Some minty oak in the aftertaste, even half a drop of turpentine, perhaps. And gentian. Comments: I was having it at 90 but I'm afraid the oak sneakily kicked back towards the finish. Very superb young whisky, nonetheless. Oh, was it distilled before or after Brexit? I mean, is it still European whisky or is it red serge (ha) already?
SGP:551 - 89 points.

en

Another great wee world session today.

 

January 13, 2022


Whiskyfun

More crazy malty travelling (peacefully)
Let's visit a few friendly countries, at least we won't even need any Covid pass.

Stalk & Barrel (60.2%, OB, Canada, cask #105, +/-2021)

Stalk & Barrel (60.2%, OB, Canada, cask #105, +/-2021) Three stars and a half
This from the Still Waters Distillery in Concord, Ontario. I believe it's the first time I'm trying anything from those fine folks'. It is a single malt. Colour: light gold. Nose: rather singular, while that's rather a good thing. Starts a little butyric, perhaps, but I'm rather fond of this kind of leek purée to which someone well-intentioned would have added peanut butter and roasted malt. But at 60%, we won't take any further chances… (new policies at château WF). With water: the expected warm sawdust and vanilla custard, otherwise tons of brioches and croissants. How and why would we be against that? Mouth (neat): good, Stolle, butter, caraway, sweet curry paste, satay, mashed potatoes, vanilla cream, limoncello, praline and caramel creams… Attractive but then again, 60%+… With water: lemon bread and cake. The wood was well-controlled, it's an easy drop, attractive as I said, but we both know where the trap may lie… Finish: success, no excessive sawdust or tannicity, rather some sweet curry and lemon chutney. Comments: drink with pakora. I wouldn't recommend poutine. Seriously, it's a very lovely drop, I can't wait to try some slightly older ones.
SGP:641 - 84 points.

can

Did we just mention pakora? Off to India then…

Amrut 7 yo 2014/2021 'Brandy Finish' (60%, OB, India, LMDW, Conquête, cask #204, 150 bottles)

Amrut 7 yo 2014/2021 'Brandy Finish' (60%, OB, India, LMDW, Conquête, cask #204, 150 bottles) Five stars
Brandy? That's a little short, is that Cognac? Armagnac? Armenian brandy? Indian brandy? Brandy de Jerez? Now the voltage is high, once more. Colour: gold. Nose: this is meta! Not brandy, not exactly malt whisky, but a drop ridden with dried fruits of all kinds, which we just love. Anyone would love this. Raisins, naturally, also rambutans, litchis, figs, jujubes, dates, gojis… I find this sublime, I'm even sure this drop is good for your health. Let's dig a little deeper… With water: whiffs of damp earth very early in a summer morning. When water does this, that's good news. Mouth (neat): wow, who made this? Mr Ashok? It's just perfect, with exactly a perfect combination with dried fruits and anything from a so-called 'menthol' cluster. Look, rather than list descriptors and being likely to bore you to death, I'll just mention 'old Laphroaig'. Exactly. No, no typo. With water: exceptional. All aforementioned dried fruits plus chartreuse and eucalyptus. Finish: perfect, a tad more tropical. Candied mangos? Excellent. Mint in the aftertaste. Comments: sometimes Amrut would just lift you up from your seat. 'Woo hoo', but what was the brandy?
SGP:651 - 90 points.

in

Since we're in Asia… (cognitive myopia striking again)…

Yoichi 'Discovery Non-Peated' (47%, OB, Japan, LMDW, 4812 bottles, 2021)Yoichi 'Discovery Non-Peated' (47%, OB, Japan, LMDW, 4812 bottles, 2021)

Yoichi 'Discovery Non-Peated' (47%, OB, Japan, LMDW, 4812 bottles, 2021) Four stars and a half
Some unpeated Yoichi, so in a way, Nikka's equivalent of 'Highland Caol Ila' a.k.a. 'Caol Ila Unpeated'. But no age and no vintage statements here; my friends, the world is going badly. Colour: light gold. Nose: marshmallows, candyfloss, custard, all-flower honey, banana foam, then sweeter blonde beers. I was about to mention IPA but I'm using that descriptor all the time, I'll try to find alternatives. Mouth: let's be frank, this is rather awesome, with a very lovely balance between the fresh fruits (bananas, apples, gooseberries, plums) and the mentholy/herbal elements that would, at times, whisper 'I'm Japanese!'. I'll even dare mention sake and bean curds, if not barley shochu. Finish: medium, perfectly well constructed, with green bananas, sesame cake, plus rather curiously, wee notes of absinth and lemon liqueur in the aftertaste. Comments: on the one hand, I'm finding the absence of any indications related to one of any whisky's key ingredients, which is time, a little hopeless. On the other hand, let's be honest, this composition is rather f**** brilliant.
SGP:661 – 88 points.

jap

Off to Denmark… What's the logic, you ask? Well this one too was bottled at 47% vol. There, got you.

Stauning 'Smoke' (47%, OB, Denmark, rye, +/-2021)

Stauning 'Smoke' (47%, OB, Denmark, rye, +/-2021) Four stars and a half
You cannot not love a Distillery that would name some of its whiskies 'Kaos' or 'Bastard'. Now 'Smoke' is a little more civilised, I'm wondering why they haven't used 'b**** smoke' or even 'f**** smoke' instead. Colour: gold. Nose: mega-LOL. Sauna oils, burning rubber (dragster after a race), bicycle inner tube, teak oil, glues and greases, gun oil, brand new Harley dealership, new Tesla… I'm sure you're following me. Love this. Mouth: huge fun. Wondering if they haven't used smoked water, or if they haven't kind of barbecued some unsmoked rye whisky of theirs, or used any other unmentionable processes. Who cares, I'm a fan of this 'whisky' that got off the beaten tracks long ago. Salty rubber? Snuff? Chewing tobacco? All-purpose industrial grease? Finish: long. Chewing salted tyres. I know. Comments: what's the price of fun? How many b*** 'points'? The question is, would I buy a bottle? Certainly not, I would buy a 6-case and present my five best friends with a bottle. Each.
SGP:372 - 88 points.

dk

Since we were having high concoctions, let's try a modern German whisky that may remind us of… Nina Hagen. Whom I've met a long time ago, mind you.

St. Kilian 2017/2021 (61.2%, OB, Germany, for Whisky Folks, ex-Garrison Bros. cask, cask #498, 86 bottles)

St. Kilian 2017/2021 (61.2%, OB, Germany, for Whisky Folks, ex-Garrison Bros. cask, cask #498, 86 bottles) Four stars and a half
We've just had another cask, a very thick ex-oloroso that had been pretty overwhelming. Loved it but I mean, you had to use a pipette and three hours to drink your glass, serious. I'd wager this will be different…  Colour: light gold. Nose: goodbye, I'm leaving with my glass, see you when it's empty. Seriously, we're wandering throughout a barley field ready for harvest, while listening to… wait, let's remain specific, Amon Düül II on the Walkman ™. Stunning breads, cakes, rolls and brioches, with just a tiny banana and a little chalk. Now, 61.2%... Amon Düül or not, water is needed. With water: clean breads, bananas, scones, also wee fermentary notes, wort, beers… Mouth (neat): rather exceptional. Bananas and marzipan first, then a little varnish and a little kirschwasser, amaretti, bitter almonds, apricot spirit (watch prussic acid)… what's sure is that you have to enjoy almondy tastes as much as your truly does. With water: and there, it's a wrap. A few funky/varnishy tones. Finish: rather long, a tad disordered but that's youth. Orange squash and a few curry-like spices from the oak. Honey sauce. Some roasted almonds, rubber and popcorn in the aftertaste, isn't that the Garrison Bros. winking at us? Comments: a joyful mess at times, but the fun is huge and it loves talking to the Stauning. Very insane whiskies, both.
SGP:572 - 89 points.

D
 

January 12, 2022


Whiskyfun

War in your glass

WAR

A few recent world whiskies that I've found extremely, well, oaky in some way. Not kings of balance for sure, but remember, it's always only a matter of individual taste and my caviar may well be your natto and your langoustines my surströmming (are you following me?) Please, please, take these scores with a miountain of salt, they just reflect my tastes. Hope I won't ruffle too many friendly feathers today… What's more, in all these cases, I'll publish other expressions from the same distilleries that have been much, much more to my liking in the coming days.

Galaad 2018/2021 (53%, LMDW, Version Française, 485 bottles)

Galaad 2018/2021 (53%, LMDW, Version Française, 485 bottles) Two stars
This from Bretagne/Brittany. I'm sure I could find out about the Distillery – last time I checked there was no Galaad Distillery – but there are some more pressing affairs. Colour: straw. Nose: sawdust, vanilla, lager, croissants and, let's remain local, kouign amann. That's an insane Breton cake that would contain more butter than you could possibly imagine. A sin. With water: hints of pears, cider, fresh oak. Mouth (neat): easy, fresh, fruity, a tad on the oaky side (vanilla-driven). Banana cake. With water: more oak and pears. Finish: medium, some williams pear eau-de-vie aged in new oak. Comments: in fact, this one leaves me cold. Not bad at all but I think it's rather all about the oak. With encouragements, as some Chinese Olympic Games official would say.
SGP:441 - 75 points.

No comprendo mucho about that wee Galaad, but let's move on…

Cotswolds 'Sherry Cask' (57.4%, OB, England, small batch, 2020)

Cotswolds 'Sherry Cask' (57.4%, OB, England, small batch, 2020) Two stars and a half
We're becoming fans of Cotswolds at European WF Towerz. Why wouldn't they relocate to civilised regions? Like, to Alsace? Colour: gold. Nose: all what was nice in the 'Galaad', minus all what was lousy in the 'Galaad'. Banana cake, nougat, roasted sesame, amaretti and, to be honest, not much sherriness as such. With water: macaroons and, indeed, amaretti. They must have thrown quite a few handful amaretti into the cask while no one was watching. Some maraschino cherries too, while they were at it.  Mouth (neat): oh good. Mint, artichokes and honey (I know), bitter almonds, more amaretti, nocino… With water: good modern bright wood-driven sappy development. A little rubber, bay leaves, nutmeg… Finish: long, rather more oak-driven. The limits of the exercise, as they used to say in Soviet gymnastics (what?) Comments: started very well, the finish was harder. 2 much oak.
SGP:361 - 79 points.

These modern oak-driven whiskies are becoming boring and tiring, are they not? Too many corners cut? Let's try another English… And try to avoid oak fatigue.

Bimber 'Ex-rye whisky barrel' (58.5%, OB, England, 2021)

Bimber 'Ex-rye whisky barrel' (58.5%, OB, England, 2021) Two stars
The bottle is superb, is it not. Colour: gold. Nose: balsam, sandalwood, bubblegum. Tons of bubblegum and sweet cinnamon. With water: same. Some lavender, that's the rye speaking out. Rye bread (but naturally). Mouth (neat): good for sure, but too much for me. Too much oak, too many spices, too much pepper, too much extraction. Pretty tiring. With water: no. No to dominant oak, yes to balance. Finish: long, way too oaky and spicy for me. Comments: what works greatly with an average bourbon barrel just fails a little miserably when said barrel is too active. Very un-Bimber, this one, in my opinion, but watch the coming days.
SGP:261 - 70 points.

Enough with the Anglo-Saxon oaks (yeah rgiht), let's change continent…

Milk & Honey 2018/2021 (54.9%, OB, Israel, ex-Islay, private for Steven Winston, cask #2018-0687, 224 bottles)

Milk & Honey 2018/2021 (54.9%, OB, Israel, ex-Islay, private, cask #2018-0687, 224 bottles) Two stars
It took me a little time but I'm much impressed with what those people at M&H are doing. Colour: gold. Nose: ex-Islay usually means ex-Laphroaig. I don't quite know why Laphroaig are being so liberal with their casks. IKEA wood, teak, kippers, new parquet, eucalyptus wood. With water: same-ish. Turpentine and various terpenes. Mouth (neat): LOL and kind of good. Rubber, myrtle, bell pepper. A little tough, in fact, I suppose water is mandatory here. With water: a little too much for me, I'm afraid. Very heavy smoked rubber, hashish, oils… Finish: same. Comments: this one went wild. You could either (try to) drink it, or just smoke it in a nargileh or in a spliff. The most extreme whisky I've tried this far in 2022, but indeed this is just the beginning…
SGP:272 - 75 points.

To America…

Heaven Hill 12 yo (64.9%, Cadenhead, USA, World Whiskies, barrel, 240 bottles, 2021)

Heaven Hill 12 yo (64.9%, Cadenhead, USA, World Whiskies, barrel, 240 bottles, 2021)
Some varnish to be expected, if you ask me. Colour: gold. Nose: not quite varnish, rather popcorn, nougat, lavender, pancake sauce and 'grain whiskey'. Probably a little thin this far. With water: fine, intellectual, with some wisteria, old books, broom, copper polish… We're being a little posh here. Mouth (neat): raw ethanol, pinewood, black propolis. Extremely tough this time, almost cheapo grain whisky. Questionable. With water: once again, water works rather well, but it won't save his oaky brew. Finish: ouch. Comments: pretty disastrous. Empty spirit in terrible wood, this shouldn't have been bottled. I mean, holy featherless crow, Campbeltown!
SGP:261 - 50 points.

To our neighbours Germany. As we very well know in Alsace, Germany tends to deliver… (taking chances here…)

St Killian 2017/2021 (59.6%, OB, Germany, Wisky Folks, 1st fill oloroso hogshead, cask #674, 446 bottles)

St Kilian 2017/2021 (59.6%, OB, Germany, Whisky Folks, 1st fill oloroso hogshead, cask #674, 446 bottles) Three stars and a half
Nicknamed 'oloroso grandioso'. Colour: gold. Nose: some meaty fruitiness, doughs, orange blossom and honeysuckle, cauliflower beignets, pancakes, cappuccino, earthy vegetables (that's root vegetables, no?) and pipe tobacco. A lot of pipe tobacco. With water:  smoke, rubber, and the tyres and brakes of a good Porsche after a few rounds on the Nordschleife. Mouth (neat): heavy, very heavy, but it is the kind of heaviness that we think we enjoy. Thick clove-driven spiciness, many resins, essential oils, propolis, paint… Feels like everything's been heavily concentrated here. Perhaps a little tiring at this stage, but I suppose younger elves would handle this better. Guys, seriously? How thick is this? With water: takes water well, that's good. Now the oak's oils and spices keep calling the shots. Finish: very long, spicy, thick. Comments: right, this one was a little Wagnerian, was it not? Very spectacular, at the minimum. Makes Port Ellen feel like Glenkinchie, as we sometimes say. Auf wiedersehen.
SGP:472 - 84 points.

Well, all those rather dissonant babies would certainly please the most bored whisky enthusiast! But I'm not part of that crew... Please wait for another St. Killian right tomorrow... Tomorrow is a day of redemption...

 

January 11, 2022


Whiskyfun

A little bag of young barrelled Glen Moray

I believe the indies really did a lot for Glen Moray in recent years. The Distillery had some great small batches as well, but those used to fly under our radars. Having said that it was interesting to try variants of the experiments that they used to do at Glenmorangie under another flag, such as some with virgin oak, various kinds of American oak etc. I remember a good Mountain Oak, for example, but anyway, we'll rather have indies today…

Glen Moray

Glen Moray 12 yo 2007/2020 (46%, The Whisky Lodge, Orcines, bourbon barrel, cask #5450)

Glen Moray 12 yo 2007/2020 (46%, The Whisky Lodge, Orcines, bourbon barrel, cask #5450) Four stars
An impeccable, very coherent range of natural, drinkable malts. Always recommended. Colour: straw. Nose: stresses the mineral, more austere side of this malt, as well as white fruits, artisan bone-dry cider, graphite oil, crushed chalk, then some kind of camphorated porridge. Very nice, intriguing, but a little scary… Won't the palate be a little difficult?... Pure rethoric, I'm sure it won't. Mouth: we're fining the same kind of profile yet again, and indeed its austere, peely and chalky, but a few bonbons and marshmallows have made it easily approachable. Banana foam, pear drops, a little vanilla sugar… As usual, the 46% work very well, it's a perfect strength. Finish: medium, with bags of apple peel, green pears, ans a touch of thyme in the aftertaste. Or thyme honey. Comments: as expected, impeccably close-to-the-malted-barley.
SGP:551 - 86 points.

Glen Moray 13 yo 2007/2021 (52.5%, Maltbarn, bourbon cask, 160 bottles)

Glen Moray 13 yo 2007/2021 (52.5%, Maltbarn, bourbon cask, 160 bottles) Four stars
Maltbarn, another impeccable, very reliable little whisky house. Colour: straw. Nose: this one's pretty chalky too, I'm even finding tiny whiffs of washing powder. Very similar profile as that of the Orcines, both whiskies being almost identical. Green pears, apples, porridge, mineral oils… With water: would become grassier. Grape pips oil, white calvados, chalk… Mouth (neat): this time again the palate's a little sweeter and fruitier, although this one would be firmer and perhaps a little more on citrus, grapefruits, citrusy hops… Very good. With water: there, marshmallows and lemon and pear drops! Finish: very good indeed, rather long, a little hoppy. Apple peel in the aftertaste. Comments: a subtle variation on the very same theme.
SGP:551 - 86 points.

Glen Moray 13 yo 200/2020 (50%, Thompson Brothers, 2 first fill barrels, 532 bottles)

Glen Moray 13 yo 200/2020 (50%, Thompson Brothers, 2 first fill barrels, 532 bottles) Four stars
Colour: straw. Nose: similar again, naturally, except that this one would be fruitier, more extravagant, with even more Haribo-y things, more Jell-O, wine gums and, indeed, some very citrusy hops. I cannot not think of Lagunitas. With water: chalk and wool. Funnily, the fruits went back into their shells, so to speak. Mouth (neat): a little chalky indeed, then once again on bags of sweets and jelly candies of all kinds. Candyfloss, fruit liqueurs, syrups. The texture is pretty syrupy indeed. Icing sugar. With water: once again, more citrus, more IPA, more hops, grapefruits… Finish: pretty long, chalky and fruity. Green melons, cantaloupes, citrus. Comments: as good as these batches get, you just have to like them fruity. But who doesn't?
SGP:651 - 86 points.

Perhaps a 2008 for a change?

Glen Moray 12 yo 2008/2021 (56.4%, C. Dully Selection, barrel, cask #5664, 185 bottles)

Glen Moray 12 yo 2008/2021 (56.4%, C. Dully Selection, barrel, cask #5664, 185 bottles) Four stars
Colour: white wine. Nose: it is different, rather grassier, more on skins, zests, peel, paraffin, lamp oil, green bananas… A coffee spoon of mashed turnip, perhaps, a little acidic yoghurt, fresh buns, whey… With water: gets much rounder. Vanilla cream, vanilla yoghurt, brioche, fresh panettone and barley sugar/candy cane. Mouth (neat): it's a tighter Glen Moray, and yet there's more fruit paste, jelly… Angelica, greengage jam, a touch of fudge, custard… I would suppose the cask was more active here. A little liquorice as well. With water: indeed, candy cane. Very good, if a tad regressive. We're all getting older, are we not? Finish: medium, with a little caramel, fudge, nougat and sesame + peanut bars. High proteins. Comments: I wasn't totally sure but indeed, it grew on me. Very lovely tipple, displaying awesome evolutions once you've added drops of proper Swiss glacier water. I'm joking now.
SGP:551 - 87 points.

An even younger one as the last drop…

Glen Moray 8 yo 2012/2021 (60.3%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #35.286, first fill bourbon barrel, 'Xanthous Symphony', 235 bottles)

Glen Moray 8 yo 2012/2021 (60.3%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #35.286, first fill bourbon barrel, 'Xanthous Symphony', 235 bottles) Three stars and a half
Picture of a previous bottling. Xanthous? Does that mean that this one's even paler than your average 8 yo ex-barrel malt? Colour: pale white wine. Nose: raw kirschwasser straight from the condenser. Sugar. Pear juice. I would believe water is mandatory, after all they haven't called this company the 'Scorch Malt Whisky Society', have they. With water: some grist, crushed barley, semolina, brioche dough… Mouth (neat): mirabelle eau-de-vie and sugarcane syrup. With water: it's very young but give it a little time and it'll become rewarding. This toddler will then shoot quince jelly, pear paste, curaçao, and indeed more sugarcane syrup. Or cane honey, as they sometimes say. Finish: medium, rather on bubblegum. Comments: I was scared but It turns out this youthful Glen Moray was having some pretty convincing arguments. Good, let's try to find more about the real meanings of the word 'xanthous' in this context. Would any natives be ready to help?
SGP:641 - 84 points.

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

 

January 10, 2022


Whiskyfun

I say Tomatin…

  Rivesaltes
Indeed, one of the jokes we used to like to tell twenty years ago was going like 'You say Tomah-tin, I say Tomay-tin… (…) let's call the whole thing off…' And we would add 'as Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong used to sing'. Until a young cat once asked me, 'I know Tomatin, but who the h*ll are Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong?' Innocent youths!

'I don't give a damn about fashion!... I enjoy Muscat de Rivesaltes!' (French magazine advert, 1987) ->

Tomatin 2008/2021 (46%, OB, French Collection, Rivesaltes Cask)

Tomatin 2008/2021 (46%, OB, French Collection, Rivesaltes Cask) Three stars and a half
More than just a finishing as this baby spent three long years (with whisky all years are long) in Rivesaltes wood, Rivesaltes being a sweet 'vin doux naturel', where they stop fermentation to preserve some sweetness by adding eau-de-vie. They also make a muscat de Rivesaltes. Colour: light gold. Nose: rather bizarrely, I'm reminded of some Cognac finishes, as I'm finding rather a lot of raisins as well as preserved peaches and plums. Then something a little musty (old cellar, old barrel), some butter, mashed sweet potatoes, red kuri squash, rooibos tea and hazelnuts. Since some very mild, harmless Omicron hit me I'm finding more rooibos in my whiskies. No, really. Mouth: same feelings, with a little more sourness from the wood (they would tend to use very old casks for Rivesaltes but I'm not sure that's what's been used for this finishing). More raisins, triple-sec, liquorice, with a little bitter ale, even Aperol. Finish: medium, with more bitters. Oh and rooibos. Seville oranges and a little mustard in the aftertaste. Comments: very fine, well made, not as extreme or deviant as I had thought.
SGP:551 - 83 points.

Tomatin Cù Bocan 'Creation #2' (46%, OB, Japanese Shochu & European Virgin Oak Casks, 2019)

Tomatin Cù Bocan 'Creation #2' (46%, OB, Japanese Shochu & European Virgin Oak Casks, 2019) Three stars and a half
A very strange bottle. Looks like this was a full – probably short – maturation in these two unlikely woods, 'an experiment where the Far East and Europe meet' according to the website. I used to call that a night club, but there… Colour: light gold. Nose: cracked pepper, brake dust, carbon, yogurt, kebab sauce, banana skin. It's actually also very much on white beer with a twist of lemon and a touch of grapefruit. IPA? Pleasant nose, pretty fresh. Mouth: I don't quite know why and for what, or where these flavours were coming from, but I'm not against this slightly tarry, citrusy, grassy and peppery combo. Touches of iced tea and melon syrup, some sauvignon blanc too. Finish: medium, rather refreshing. A good IPA, really, and some sake in the aftertaste. Comments: the virgin oak never really got in the way, phew! I'm not a fan of the idea but I enjoy the result. Better that than the other way 'round, no?
SGP:552 - 84 points.

I think we'll add a few indies from the boxes…

Tomatin 11 yo 2007 (43%, Gordon & MacPhail 'Discovery', bourbon, +/-2019)

Tomatin 11 yo 2007 (43%, Gordon & MacPhail 'Discovery', bourbon, +/-2019) Three stars and a half
This wee one should be all natural… Colour: straw. Nose: rather some fresh almonds here, bitter ones included, melon skin, macaroons, custard, amaretti… All real fine. Mouth: more classic fruity Tomatin, with even echoes of ancient vintages (1976, anyone?) on apples, cherries, pears, a little tarte tatin, then citrus. Rather fresh, easy as expected, pretty flawless, going down extremely well. Watch these wee drops at 43% vol., for they do still shelter alcohol! Finish: medium, clean, fresh, half-zesty, the rest being ripe apples and a little candy sugar. Comments: a very good easy drop.
SGP:541 - 83 points.

Tomatin 12 yo (46%, Cadenhead, Original Collection, 100% bourbon, 2020)

Tomatin 12 yo (46%, Cadenhead, Original Collection, 100% bourbon, 2020) Four stars
Colour: straw. Nose: millimetric citrusy malt whisky. No quibble, no fuss, no complains, malt and limoncello in the glass. Mouth: tarter. Wonderful lemons and limes, perhaps a little rhubarb too, with a little hotness. Lemon tarte with meringue, lemon curd, and yeah, limoncello. I know I'm always quoting limoncello, I would think the Limoncello Association of Italy now owe me the latest Ducati. Signor presidente, please call to make arrangements. Finish: quite long, with lovely lemony zing. Comments: great high-definition work.
SGP:651 - 86 points.

Tomatin 2015/2020 (50%, Skene, oloroso, 186 bottles)

Tomatin 2015/2020 (50%, Skene, oloroso, 186 bottles) Four stars
Colour: light gold. Nose: it is much younger but actually, we're well within the style of that lovely Cadenhead's, only with a little more sherry (walnuts and raisins). All that works pretty well. Whiffs of leaves and rubber. With water: Belgian waffles, clotted cream, custard, caramel, fudge, demerara sugar. Impeccable, I would almost call this 'a surprise'. Mouth (neat): very good! Butterscotch and butter cream, cappuccino, raisin rolls, orange cordial, biscuits… Really very good! Feels like the cask had seen some charring. With water: and there, once again it takes water very well. Walnut wine, mocha, more raisin rolls, kougelhopf… Finish: long and back on butterscotch. Earl grey later on. Comments: bang, five years old. Someone's been doing a great job here. To whom it may concern, felicitations!
SGP:651 - 87 points.

Tomatin 10 yo 2011/2021 'Apollo 12 SCE to AUX' (56.4%, The Whisky Barrel, 1st fill oloroso, cask #TWB1019, 271 bottles)

Tomatin 10 yo 2011/2021 'Apollo 12 SCE to AUX' (56.4%, The Whisky Barrel, 1st fill oloroso, cask #TWB1019, 271 bottles) Four stars
The name refers to some famous conversations between Apollo 12 and some NASA engineer. It all went well. Colour: gold. Nose: a style pretty similar to that of the Skene, full of butterscotch, custard, fudge and pastries. Millionaire shortbread. With water: a little warm sawdust coming out but that's all fine. Also mosses, autumn leaves, 'a walk in the woods'… Mouth (neat): excellent work on the cask. Awesome citrus and grassy spices (fresh-made curry, perhaps a tad loud) over a most candied and fudge-y spirit. Pickled lemons, shortbread, butterscotch, praline. With water: takes water extremely well. Lovely oak spices and darker honeys, perhaps a touch of varnish Finish: medium, cleaner and fresher than expected. Stolle in the aftertaste. Comments: lovely modern style, very well done even if I'm not sure anyone would have said 'Tomatin'. Space calling Earth, "s.u.c.c.e.s.s!"
SGP:651 - 87 points.

Young Tomatin is an excellent base malt, you could do almost anything to it. Let's go on…

Tomatin 10 yo 2009/2021 (59.9%, Fadandel.dk, 2nd fill oloroso octave finish, cask #1837B, 69 bottles)

Tomatin 10 yo 2009/2021 (59.9%, Fadandel.dk, 2nd fill oloroso octave finish, cask #1837B, 69 bottles) Four stars
A wee Sputnik this time… Colour: white wine. It was a well-behaved octave. Nose: more austere, grassier, more on peelings, chalk, concrete, green tea… Touches of aniseed and liquorice in the back of the background, even a little pastis, but at 60% vol., anything could happen. With water: icing sugar and sugarcane syrup. I'm sure one could make a Scottish mojito out of this one. Mouth (neat): I would suppose they did the octave thing for sport as I'm not finding any obvious wood/sherry impact, rather a bright, lemony and grassy profile that I rather enjoy. With water: excellent, we're on a stroll with these wee young ones! Finish: long, lemony, very good. Comments: another very lovely young one that's integrated octave-y oak effortlessly. Excellent quality/price ratio with these wee young Tomatins.

SGP:551 - 86 points.

We could have many more youngsters, but… wait, a last one, this intriguing Cadenhead, which we'll do quickly since we've got some older ones to tackle as well…

Tomatin 10 yo 2009/2019 (59.1%, Cadenhead, Chilean red wine, 294 bottles)

Tomatin 10 yo 2009/2019 (59.1%, Cadenhead, Chilean red wine, 294 bottles) Three stars
Chilean red wine? Well I hope it's a typical Chilean wine, why not one of those Carmenères, instead of another faceless Bordeaux blend or else. Colour: gold. Nose: adios Chilean red, this is another rather immaculate young citrusy Tomatin, with almost no red berries in sight. Phew, I was about to wonder about the cask's carbon footprint. With water: we're still okay. Some sour touches, strawberry yoghurt (very common in some whiskies), dairy cream… Mouth (neat): pretty good, just a tad on the oaky side this time. Bitter oak, pine resin, blood oranges… With water: more gassy spices, tomato leaves, spent lees… Not the prettiest side. Finish: rather long, but with notes of old wood, oversteeped tea… Comments: it's a good one, don't get me wrong, but I'm not sure it was really a love marriage. Hugs to Chile.

SGP:461 - 81 points.

So, we said older ones…

Tomatin 28 yo 1990/2018 (40.2%, Whiskybroker, refill bourbon barrel, cask #10812, 143 bottles)

Tomatin 28 yo 1990/2018 (40.2%, Whiskybroker, refill bourbon barrel, cask #10812, 143 bottles) Four stars and a half
At 40.2, it's been tight. Colour: white wine. Nose: ooh, old Tomatins, lovely fruit bombs, liquid fruity and floral salads… Williams pears, lilac, jasmine, red apples, wisteria, summer meadows honey, papayas, guavas… There's only one fear after this most elegant and entrancing nose, that's that the palate would fall flat. Mouth: not exactly but once again, it was tight. Very mellow, almost discreet arrival on acacia honey and mullein syrup, then totally on preserved or tinned fruits, especially pears, plums and peaches. Some ripe gooseberries too. How elegant! But this time again, watch these, you could well down a whole bottle while watching a lousy Scandinavian mini-series on Netflix. Or a French one for that matter (even worse). Finish: this is where it would lose one or three points, which was to be expected. Gets a little dry and tea-ish. Let's move on… Comments: delicate and fragile like an old painting from the quattrocento. And as charming and precious.

SGP:531 - 88 points.

Tomatin 21 yo 1999/2020 (52.4%, The Whisky Agency, hogshead, 311 bottles)

Tomatin 21 yo 1999/2020 (52.4%, The Whisky Agency, hogshead, 311 bottles) Four stars
Colour: straw. Nose: pure orchard fruits with some chalkiness. Apples, green plums, gooseberries, chalk and plaster, green melons and then rather a lot of eucalyptus and mint leaves. A little rustic for Tomatin at 20 yo, perhaps. Like, 'what did you do to the cask? – nothing'.) With water: rubber and leaves coming out. Was it a sherry hogshead? Mouth (neat): tight, vertical, not void of any limoncello-y sweetness, with a little barley sugar, pink grapefruits, kiwis, melons and peaches. Very good, naturally (never mess with THE agency). With water: liquorice lozenges, lemon drops, orange liqueur, cough medicine. Very nice. Finish: medium, creamier, more syrupy, almost liqueury. I would say peaches and a little mint. All a matter of proportions indeed. Comments: excellent, just a little more rustic.

SGP:551 - 87 points.

I think that's ten Tomatins. Tomah-tins? Tomay-tins?

(Merci Lucero)

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

 

January 9, 2022


Whiskyfun

 

 

 

Angus's Corner
From our correspondent and
skilled taster Angus MacRaild in Scotland
Angus  
Cognacs - and all the rest! 
As mentioned in my last Cognac post on Boxing Day last year - I had gathered quite a lot! This isn't even all of them, but it's enough that I think we can safely say no more Cognac from me until 2023 at least. 

 

Otard Dupy & Co Cognac  (OB, -/+ 1900)

Otard Dupy & Co Cognac  (OB, -/+ 1900)
A very old bottle that came from a job lot of 'stuff' I bought at auction this year. The label is beautiful and notably says 'England. America. Australia' on it. Probably bottled for some kind of submarine deal I expect… Colour: orangey gold. Nose: undeniably this has faded somewhat in bottle as the level wasn't too great, but it is still showing some bright notes of crystallised orange peels, flower blossoms and honey. Rather sweet, simple and elegant. Mouth: what's amazing is that what is clearly keep it alive is the sugar rather than the alcohol, probably closer to a liqueur than an actual Cognac in some ways. Orange oils, a mix of long aged Benedictine and Drambuie, very herbal, lots of honey fortified with alcohol and many more preserved citrus rinds and peels. Not bad at all, but certainly a slightly fragile old antique bottle, and a rather fascinatingly 'old fashioned' style that I'm not sure you'd find commercially available today. Finish: short, sweet, herbal, honeyed and once again very much towards liqueur. Comments: it's an old bottle that is more anecdotal than for serious sipping. However, I'm pleasantly surprised, I must say. It's probably drifted a long way from what it was when freshly bottled so I don't think we'll bother with a score on this occasion. Oh, the wonders - and frustrations - of sugar! 
SGP: 840 - no score. 

 

 

Cognac Grande Fine Champagne (40%, J P Menard et Fils, 2 litres, early 1970s)

Cognac Grande Fine Champagne (40%, J P Menard et Fils, 2 litres, early 1970s)
From a large format 2 litre bottle that they seem to be very fond of in both Cognac and Armagnac. Not sure the correct name in France for a 2 litre bottle, but in Scotland we would say 'party size'. Perhaps that's also why there are far fewer old bottles of whisky than Cognac still out there… Colour: ruddy amber. Nose: rather autumnal with this strong leafy and tobacco vibe, but also a feeling of too much boise. A sticky and slightly unnatural sweetness pervades the nose. There's also some nice notes of sultan and milk chocolate as well. Mouth: indeed, a bit too 'over dosed' I'd say, these flavours of simple caramel, sweetened coffee and milk chocolate are bound up with the usual tobaccos and sultana flavours. Quite herbal too, but overall it's simple and not too interesting. Finish: literally, short and sweet. Comments: perfectly fine for a party I suppose, but this is a good example of the type of Cognac I find both frustratingly sweet and more than a little boring. 
SPG: 740 - 72 points.

 

 

JA Hennessy & Co X.O. (OB, -/+1930s)

Jas Hennessy & Co X.O. (OB, -/+1930s)
Colour: amber. Nose: a beautiful aroma that involves peaches, apricots, roses, pollens, leaf mulch, damp pipe tobaccos and cocoa. The definition of elegance and finesse. I also find tiny notes of hand lotion and many softer dark fruits. Stunning freshness after decades in glass. Mouth: perfect arrival, all on soft dark fruits again, more flowers, rosewater, lemon balm, yellow herbal liqueurs, mineral oil, hessian, ointments and a beautifully gentle cocoa note. These herbal qualities combined with darker fruit flavours are just beautiful. Finish: long, with warming spices beginning to emerge, more cocoa, dark fruits and flowers in the aftertaste and a persistent herbal quality. Comments: It's not only in whisky where old bottles can be outstanding. I don't have a current bottling of the Hennessy XO to hand for comparison, but from recent memory, I'm pretty confident it would be sorely matched against this old beauty. 
SGP: 751 - 90 points.  

 

 

Pierre Ferrand 'Abel' (40%, OB, Grande Champagne, -/+ 2018)

Pierre Ferrand 'Abel' (40%, OB, Grande Champagne, -/+ 2018)
Said to be 'up to' 45 years old and named after the cellar master who distilled it. Colour: ruby amber. Nose: one of these very lovely and rather decadent noses that feels extremely damp and mulchy, almost soggy with cellar must, rancio, tobacco leaf and gentle earthiness. Also some elegant dark fruits such as sultana and prunes in Armagnac. Mouth: good arrival, despite the low ABV, rather richly on liquorice, treacle, walnut stain and dark fruit loaf. There's even a slight salinity that points towards sherry bodegas! More walnuts, prunes and suggestions of old leather tobacco pouches. Finish: medium, a little bitter, on strong black teas, black pepper and a rather spice-oriented rancio vibe. Comments: all very fine and an extremely sippable old drop - it's just these same issues with ABV and that nagging feeling of some sugar. 
SGP: 561 - 84 points. 

 

 

Audry XO (40%, OB, Fine Champagne, -/+ 2015)

Audry XO (40%, OB, Fine Champagne, -/+ 2015)
Created from around 50/50 mix of Petite and Grande Champagne and aged between 12 and 30 years. Colour: orangey gold. Nose: I like this somewhat different and more expressive style that showcases a tad more youthfulness. By which I mean many notes of apricots, peaches in syrup, yellow plums, quince and treacle. There's also flower nectars and pollens in abundance. Quite impressive, feels like a more pure and un-sweetened style. Mouth: once again the younger components are a little more assertive, there's some grippy tannin, earthy black teas, crystallised ginger and citrus rinds, spun sugar and peach syrup. Impressive weight for 40%. Finish: good length, orange marmalade, flower honey on brioche, sweet plums and nectarine. Comments: a very fine and well-balanced drop. I find this slightly fruitier and drier style much to my liking.
SGP: 551 - 87 points. 

 

 

Domaine Chainier Très Vielle Reserve (40%, OB, Petite Champagne, +/-2020)

Domaine Chainier Très Vielle Reserve (40%, OB, Petite Champagne, +/-2020)
Aged for around 30 years. Colour: coppery amber. Nose: I find this extremely classy at first, this slightly more elegant rustic quality that feels very Petite Champagne. Lots of glazed orchard fruits, sultanas, peach stones and touches of walnut wine and yellow Chartreuse. Retains some excellent freshness with some lovely notes of orange blossom and pollen. Mouth: good, clean and rather taut arrival. Some clean tannin, pepper, liquorice root, dried herbs and unlit cigars. There's a robustness here that's very appealing. Finish: medium, softer and on leaf mulches, tobaccos and cocoa. Comments: runs out of steam ever so slightly in the finish, but it's otherwise an excellent and nicely charismatic wee drop that feels like a more natural presentation. 
SGP: 561 - 87 points. 

 

 

Gourry de Chadeville (40%, OB, Grande Fine Champagne, -/+2015)

Gourry de Chadeville 'Héritage' (40%, OB, Grande Fine Champagne, -/+2015)
Not too much info about this one, but it appears to be 100% Grande Champagne and around £220 online - so probably quite old. Colour: bright amber. Nose: old indeed, an immediate rush of sticky dark fruits, tobaccos and old herbal liqueurs and extracts. Roots, herbs, cocktail bitters and wee touches of fennel, liquorice and quince paste. Rather opulent and direct in style - which I'm not against! Mouth: not quite as impressive as the nose, there's a slight burnt note which suggests rather a lot of sugar, some bitter marmalade, kumquat and pine resins. Looses some of these classier, more elegant qualities. Finish: medium and still quite herbal but also now a bit bitter and cloying. Comments: the nose was pretty great, but the palate falls short I think. Quite an old fashioned style that just feels a bit too sweetened for my palate. 
SGP: 641 - 78 points. 

 

 

Hermitage Marie Louise (43%, OB, Grande Champagne, 50 bottles, -/+ 2016) 

Hermitage Marie Louise (43%, OB, Grande Champagne, 50 bottles, -/+ 2016) 
Said to be 60 years old. Colour: bright amber. Nose: ah yes, another territory altogether. Age and Limousin oak brings in rancio and a quality you might describe as 'wood acidity' (what?). Then there's these highly scented notes of furniture polish, oranges baked in Sauternes, hints of rosewater, pressed flowers and pine resins. Beautifully structured and impressively floral. The epitome of a style in Cognac I'd characterise as 'scented'. Mouth: the oak is rather grippy on arrival. Yet the whole remains extremely pure, cleanly spicy, perfectly bitter - bitter herbal extracts - leather, mineral oils and camphor. Then many wee things like cedar wood cigar boxes, winter spices, fig jam and umami paste. Given a little time more fruits dominate, sticky preserved fruits, dried apricot, yellow plums and dried mint. Some kind of slightly extractive exotic fruit teas as well. Finish: medium, a warming peppery glow, some herbal bitterness again, shoe polish and more subtle flower and dried fruit notes. Comments: at times beautifully expressive and at other times on the fragile side. It's gorgeous, but the wood is just a little too dominant to go to the 90 mark I think. 
SGP: 461 - 88 points. 

 

 

Vallein Tercinier 43 yo 'Lot 75' (46.9%, Maltbarn, Petite Champagne, 171 bottles, 2020)

Vallein Tercinier 43 yo 'Lot 75' (46.9%, Maltbarn, Petite Champagne, 171 bottles, 2020)
Colour: orangey gold. Nose: superbly bright, fresh and full of apricots, peaches, nectarines in honey and yellow mirabelle. In fact there is quite pronounced 'plummy' fruitiness which ripens towards jams and preserves. Add to that a few apple slices, earth and sultanas and hey presto! Mouth: leaner, tougher and more assertively on freshly baked breads, toasted seeds, cigarette tobacco, dried mint, cumin and mixed dried herbs. Some crystallised citrus fruits and a nice resinous side that also incorporates some umami, miso vibes and a little damp earthiness. Finish: long, full on citrus fruits, oranges, bergamot, blood orange and deeper, earthier flavours of roots and herbs - even a tad medicinal in some places. Comments: high class and totally delicious. Feels nicely rusting and slightly rugged at times. 
SGP: 661 - 89 points. 

 

 

Jean-Luc Pasquet 'Lot 62' (40.4%, OB, for Wu Dram Clan, Petite Champagne, +/-2021)

Jean-Luc Pasquet 'Lot 62' (40.4%, OB, for Wu Dram Clan, Petite Champagne, +/-2021)
Colour: mahogany. Nose: superbly exotic, gently spiced and opulently fruity. All the while never loosing sight of these very elegant and quite specific earthy and mulch Petite Champagne characteristics. Lots of aged flower honey, rancio, crystallised exotic fruit chunks, extractive tropical fruit teas and touches of old leather and incense. Gorgeous nose! Mouth: a tad extractive up front, but these wonderfully exotic fruit qualities are persistent and come through on the back of some very pure and bitter dark chocolate and tannic black tea notes. Pure liquorice root, herbal wines and aniseed. In time it gains more of these leaf mulch and damp tobacco qualities while the tannins slacken off slightly. Finish: good length, rather dark, damp, tannic, peppery and full of dried out herbal extracts, rancio, furniture oils and crystallised orange peels. Comments: A totally stunning nose, it's just the slight dryness on the palate that prevents it going past 90 in my book. But it's a wonderful old Cognac, no doubt about it. 
SGP: 661 - 89 points.

 

 

Jean-Luc Pasquet 'Nostalgie' (45.6%, OB, Grande Champagne, 500 bottles, 2017)

Jean-Luc Pasquet 'Nostalgie' (45.6%, OB, Grande Champagne, 500 bottles, 2017)
From a mix of vintages, married in 2008 for a further 9 years before bottling. Colour: deep gold. Nose: younger and fresher GC cognac (which would be quite old in whisky terms) more robust and focussed on an even mix of breads, honeys, pressed flowers, tobacco leaf and wee touches of dried apricot and mirabelle. Also a wee hint of marzipan and bouillon. Mouth: cupboard spices, green tea with lemon, herbal wines, cocoa powder, eucalyptus bark and more impressions of dried flowers, crystallised orange peels and linseed oil. The best, bitter seville orange marmalade, kumquat and tangerine. Finish: good length with more classical honeyed qualities, sweet flower nectars, warm brioche, lemon cordial and peach schnapps. Comments: it's amazing how these distillates start to come alive and sing the moment they are presented at a proper bottling strength. Extremely quaffable and classy stuff! 
SGP: 561 -  88 points. 

 

 

Petite Champagne 'D67 A52' (49%, Jean Grosperrin for C. Dully, cask #F15, 2020)

Petite Champagne 'D67 A52' (49%, Jean Grosperrin for C. Dully, cask #F15, 2020)
Another selection from Grosperrin's cellars by our friends from Switzerland. What could go wrong here? Colour: amber. Nose: wonderfully scented, highly polished and perfectly poised. Full of gentle aromas of sultanas, dates, quince and candied blood orange peels. Mentholated tobaccos, liquorice root, fruit loaf and a beautifully herbal-accented rancio. A complex and highly detailed aroma that I find totally beautiful. Mouth: power and assertiveness immediately upon arrival, but it remains balanced and fresh too. There's spices and power from the wood, but these remain in check with many studded fruit flavours, crystallised exotic fruits, citrus rinds, peach stones, almond oils and more mentholated touches. This tension between the spices and the fruits is really what creates beauty in these kinds of old, natural strength Cognacs. In time parts of it start to evolve more towards old demerara rums. Although, you also find yourself thinking of 1972 Caperdonich at times as well! Finish: long, perfectly spicy, tannic, herbal, polished and with many wee earthy, mulchy and bitter touches. Terrific! Comments: balanced and beautiful, with everything in its place. Power, structure, fruit, spice, complexity, tension: check! 
SGP: 561 - 91 points.

 

 

Font-Borne 1950 (40%, OB, Grande Champagne, 375 bottles, -/+ 2015)

Font-Borne 1950 (40%, OB, Grande Champagne, 375 bottles, -/+ 2015)
Colour: mahogany. Nose: rather deep and plummy with plenty dark, sticky preserved fruits. Fig compote, damson preserve, freshly brewed espresso, hessian cloth and rancio that incorporates very old balsamic and walnut oil. A rather splendid nose that feels quite classy, if a little restrained. Mouth: easy and elegant arrival, more coffee, expensive dark chocolate, black miso, Maggi, herbal seasonings, pu erh tea and mushroom powder. Some ancient Fernet Branca with crystallised citrus peels. It's excellent and feels like a cohesive whole - I'd just say it's lacking a bit of oomph. Finish: good length, more dark fruits, sultana, prunes stewed with spices, even parts that go more towards rustic old Armagnac at points. Comments: I can't shake this feeling that I should be enjoying this more. Everything is in its place and there's a wealth of pleasurable 'stuff' going on. I just can't help but feel a Cognac like this should have been bottled at a higher ABV. Anyway, I'm already a broken record on this matter. 
SGP: 651 - 87 points. 

 

 

Hermitage 50 yo (44%, OB, cognac, Grande Champagne, +/2019)

Hermitage 50 yo (44%, OB, cognac, Grande Champagne, +/2019)
From this house that seems to have a lot of older vintage and age stated bottlings but not too much info on origin. Still, quality has been pretty high so far from what I've tasted… Colour: deep amber. Nose: rich and concentrated on old leathers, herbs, spices and dark fruits such as sultanas stewed in old rum, long aged Calvados and peach liqueur. Those few extra degrees of alcohol make a significant qualitative impact on the nose here. Mouth: this impression of very old Calvados comes across on the palate at first as well. Impressions of apple pips, and long aged apple brandy with liquorice root, verbena and damp mentholated pipe tobaccos. Heading very classically towards rancios, plum wine and bitter dark chocolate. Finish: good length, if a little brief in the aftertaste. But a lovely earthy dampness, spiciness and more things like chocolate and herbal bitters. Comments: exactly what you would hope for and expect from a 50yo Grande Champagne cognac - very classy stuff that you can imaging quaffing with abandon from an oversized brandy balloon glass. 
SGP: 561 - 89 points. 

 

 

Hermitage 1960 (47%, OB, Grande Champagne, +/-2019)

Hermitage 1960 (47%, OB, Grande Champagne, +/-2019)
Going further back into Hermitage's extensive archives… Colour: mahogany. Nose: now we are really talking. A wonderfully concentrated and vividly expressive profile. Long aged sauternes, plum wines, rancio, green walnut liqueur, mentholated tobaccos, herbal liqueurs and raisins. There's a combination of salty earths and cured meats that makes your mind wander towards Jerez. I also find something like sticky toffee pudding - which feels a lot closer to home but very welcome nonetheless. A beautiful, rather poetic nose. Mouth: yes, very old, slightly dried out sauternes that has taken on a very leafy edge. This Jerez aspect is still present with some very old Spanish brandy suggestions. Then green Chartreuse, mushroom powder, wormwood and hardwood resins. Perfectly bitter and even a tad salty at times. Finish: long, a full of rancio, mint tea, eucalyptus, concentrated dark fruits, tobaccos and top quality dark chocolate. Comments: extremely pleasurable and impressive venerable old Cognac. 
SGP: 461 - 90 points. 

 

 

Hermitage 1948 (44.4%, OB, Grande Champagne, +/-2019)

Hermitage 1948 (44.4%, OB, Grande Champagne, +/-2019)
Colour: orangey amber. Nose: noses almost younger than the 1960, which seems to happen often in Cognac. Here there's more pressed flowers, peach stones, exotic fruit teas, dried herbs and unlit cigars. Fresher sweet wine notes, a lighter rancio profile and more specific notes of yellow plums, raisins and sultanas. Pleasurable and very beautiful. Mouth: lighter in style once again, many crystallised fruits, bitter herbal extracts, earthy dark teas, umami seasoning powders, mirabelle eau de vie and touches of hessian, bitter cocoa and eucalyptus bark. Some fir resin and walnut extract as well. Finish: good length, resinous, herbal, nicely bitter and showing some rather precise wood spices like liquorice root, nutmeg and clove. Comments: very, very good, but I think I prefer the cohesiveness of the 1960 by a single notch. 
SGP: 561 - 89 points. 

 

 

Hermitage 1923 (43%, OB, Grande Champagne, +/-2019)

Hermitage 1923 (43%, OB, Grande Champagne, +/-2019)
We are going back some distance in time here. Not sure how long this would have spent in cask vs glass… Colour: deep amber. Nose: fuzzy peaches, pot pourri, pressed wild flowers still holding pollens, golden sultanas and top quality Seville orange marmalade. In time there's some more herbal and rooty qualities, liqueurs, bitters, extracts and even some medicines. A sappiness from the wood that is nicely mentholated and balances well with softer spices and damp earthiness. A harmonious and very lovely nose. Mouth: there's a wonderful and subtle sweetness upon arrival, the whole is on flower honeys, peaches, crystallised fruits, wood resins, mead and flower nectars. Even wee hints of things like maple syrup and tea tree oil. Beautiful concentration and fusion of all these wee flavours and characteristics. Finish: long, many wee tertiary earthy, medical, rooty and herbal vibes, raisins, aged marsala and liquorice in the aftertaste. Comments: another top notch very old GC. It starts to display these fresher floral and fruit aspects which, conversely, seem to only appear (or re-appear) with great age. 
SGP: 651 - 90 points.

 

 

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

Grande Champagne N.33-39 (47,4%, Jean Grosperrin for Wu Dram Clan, 2021)
There are not many places you can go to order 1930s Cognac that's still in cask! Colour: ruby/amber. Nose: another level. Everything here is deeper, more rounded, more complex and more 'sensual' (if you'll excuse me dipping into the Whisky Bible lexicon for a moment). A beautifully cohesive nose that incorporates date syrup, fig jam, quince jelly, pomegranate molasses and molten liquorice. You can also add bergamot, citrus cordials, exotic fruit teas and some rather ancient, complicated herbal liqueurs. Given time there's also layers of tobaccos, darker, earthier teas, flower nectars and pot pourri. Exquisite, would be the word! Mouth: a tad bigger and more punchy than the nose suggests, surprisingly full of complex, intricate spices, dark grained breads, flower honeys, old madeira, many more mentholated and herbal qualities and the most beautiful dark chocolate. This syrupy orange oil and cocktail bitter side arises over time - almost like drinking a very expensive old fashioned. Lemon lozenges, herbal throat sweets and marzipan. Finish: long, clean, tense and full of bitter chocolate, wood spices, dried herbs and toasted walnuts. Stays the course to the very end! Comments: the trouble with these very old Cognacs, is that you have to kind of pinch yourself every so often and remember what you are drinking. A style that obviously converges at points with some very old whiskies or rums, yet ultimately remains its own, very beautiful, thing. 
SGP: 461 - 92 points.

 

 

 

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

 

January 8, 2022


Whiskyfun

 

 

 

Angus's Corner
From our correspondent and
skilled taster Angus MacRaild in Scotland
Angus  
Three Glen Moray
I have a big soft spot for Glen Moray, they rarely disappoint I find. And even today, there are quite a few casks around which stand above many other Speysiders I think. Let's try three of them today.

 

Glen Moray 2008/2021 (54.9%, Francis Cuthbert private cask, cask #5576, bourbon barrel, 233 bottles)

Glen Moray 2008/2021 (54.9%, Francis Cuthbert private cask, cask #5576, bourbon barrel, 233 bottles)
Colour: straw. Nose: quite sweet, but naturally so, a very classy modern 1st fill barrel at first nosing. Lots of posh custard made with dessert wines, coconut water, gorse flower, barley sugars and lemon curd. The epitome of very good modern whisky, a profile which it is hard to be against when presented humbly like this. With water: a little firmer, a notch drier and a few more subtle things like lemon peels, dried herbs and miso. Still overall quite sweet and fresh though. Mouth: good arrival, rather fat and juicy. Lots of vanilla cream, custard pastries, light grassiness, sunflower oil, buttered oatcakes and some hints of sandalwood and mineral oils. With water: as on the nose it's more chalky, grassy, citric and herbal with touches of tiger balm and wintergreen. Very good. Finish: medium in length, sweet but balanced, lemon marmalade, barley sugar again, malt extract and sweet breakfast cereals. Comments: Have you noticed how modern Glen Moray actually tends to be very good?
SGP: 641 - 87 points.

 

 

Glen Moray 23 yo 1996/2020 (55.5%, The Whisky Cellar, cask #7849, bourbon barrel, 115 bottles)
Glen Moray 23 yo 1996/2020 (55.5%, The Whisky Cellar, cask #7849, bourbon barrel, 115 bottles)

Glen Moray 23 yo 1996/2020 (55.5%, The Whisky Cellar, cask #7849, bourbon barrel, 115 bottles)
Colour: straw. Nose: one of these extremely natural and charming Speyside noses that's just riddled with straw, freshly kilned malt, crushed oatcakes, breakfast cereals and things like runny honey and golden syrup. You can also add to that some granny smith apples and cider apples smooshed together with a few drops of pumpkinseed oil. A nose you could describe as simple but also complex (what?) I find it effortlessly charming, a style it's impossible to be against. With water: goes further down this route of crispness and sharpness with things like nettle, spearmint and a little mentholated tobacco. Mouth: dusty malt bins (which I eat regularly) watercress, fennel, dried mint and barley sugars with lemon peel. A feeling of crunchiness as well which is quite funny and some nicely tart green acidity, white pepper and gooseberry notes. Fun stuff! With water: becomes fatter and oilier in texture which is very appealing. Olive oil, bouquet garni of dried herbs, flower pollens and quite a few notes of beers such as IPAs and old school shilling ales. Finish: medium in length and becoming rather savoury, on soda breads, fruit scone mix and touches of turmeric and tarragon. Comments: playful, unassuming and effortless - which seems to increasingly be my watchword for these extremely charming Glen Morays. Same quality as the Cuthbert Cask.
SGP: 551 - 87 points.

 

 

Glen Moray 10 yo 1986/1997 (59.1%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #35.15)

Glen Moray 10 yo 1986/1997 (59.1%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #35.15)
An random oldie from the middle years of the SMWS - there were sublime whiskies during this era, and also total clunkers. Let's see which end of the spectrum this wee Glen Moray strays towards… Colour: pale straw. Nose: quite a different style, this is bolder, fatter, drier and more petrolic. A richer style of distillate overall but still rather classy I think. Barley sugars, lemon barley water, chalk, putty and pressed flowers. With water: really now on white flowers, chalk, pollens, sunflower oil, bread dough and oatcakes. Austere, but lightly so. Mouth: there's old style, then there's modern style, and then there's something like this, which we should perhaps start calling 'middle style'. A rather lovely mix of petrols, cooking oils, mineral oils, putty, linseed oil, lemon peel, citronella and toasted seeds, brown bread and various types of scone dough. Some wee hints of white stone fruit as well. Quite different from the other two but this is high quality distillate. With water: nutty muesli, more thick cooking oils, watercress, lanolin and suet. The texture is really quite thick now, emphasising all these oils and putty vibes. Finish: good length, rather dry, chiselled, sharp and peppery with chunky cereals and toasted breads. Comments: the fun side of intellectual whiskies. A definite departure in distillate style from the other two, but this is still high quality, very fun, characterful whisky. I doubt there's too many other Speysiders from this production era that would stand up well at this age in relatively restrained wood. 87 again, so: strike!
SGP: 461 - 87 points.

 

 

 

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

 

January 7, 2022


Whiskyfun

 

Four More Aultmore

I haven't been doing these extremely lousy alliterative headlines for months (they work with Bowmore and Ardmore too, and let's not forget Convalmore or Tormore) but I would suspect they have been missed by exactly no one. Right. So, a few more Aultmore, at random…

Aultmore

Aultmore 14 yo 2006/2021 (52.5%, Maltbarn, bourbon, 160 bottles)

Aultmore 14 yo 2006/2021 (52.5%, Maltbarn, bourbon, 160 bottles) Three stars and a half
Colour: light gold. Nose: awesome soft oiliness (peanut and sunflower oils) with whiffs of fresh panettone and kougelhopf. Then nougat and macaroons, and then rather some tighter citrus, grapefruit and tangerines, plus some grist at a distillery. With water: some unexpected candlewax and even some raw paraffin. Mouth (neat): more austere on the palate, very much on beers and lemons, and rather grassier than on the nose. Mint tea with a slice of lemon, apple peel... With water: a little bitterer, with some green tea, grass, perhaps a little spinach and certainly a lot of chlorophyl, green pepper, then a chalky side. Finish: medium, very grassy. Comments: this rather austere baby was very good, but maybe a little hard to reach. Perhaps rather part of the intellectual malts.
SGP:451 - 84 points.

Aultmore 8 yo (67.5%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, sherry,  #73.116, 'Nobody Expects The Spanish Inquisition', 579 bottles, 2020)

Aultmore 8 yo (67.5%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, sherry,  #73.116, 'Nobody Expects The Spanish Inquisition', 579 bottles, 2020) Two stars and a half
Bottled for The Spanish Inquisition. I mean, it was a Bath Street Exclusive. I've heard the guy responsible for finding the names had just found quite a few magic mushrooms in his garden. Colour: gold. Nose: acidic, hurting a bit, with some chocolate as well, and really a lot of ethanol. I mean, no wonder even the Spanish inquisition passed up the proposal… With water: butterscotch and chocolate ale, caramel cream, Demerara sugar, roasted peanut, turon… Mouth (neat): ouch. Caramel vodka and huge quantities of nutmeg. Really tough. With water: easier but still a little rough, with a sherry that's full of bay leaves and cloves. Finish: rough, grassier, with some burnt bread and caramel. Feelings of cough medicine, spend grapes and lees in the aftertaste. Comments: rather brutal young malt whisky. Tends to improve over time but it would remain a very rustic young sherry monster. Tough guy.
SGP:372 - 77 points.