Google Whisky Fun by Malt Maniacs' Serge - Blog about Single Malt Scotch Whisky and Music
Whiskyfun Malt Madness Malt Maniacs
 

Serge whiskyfun

 

Tasting notes:
Whiskies 10,600
Others 708

Warning....

Facebook Twitter Logo

Index of whiskyfun


Whisky Tasting

 
Aberfeldy (35) - Aberlour (79)
Abhainn Dearg (2)
Allt-A-Bhainne (2
6)
An Cnoc (
20)
Ardbeg (3
38) - Ardmore (60)
Arran (6
9) - Auchentoshan (71)
Auchroisk (26) - Aultmore (29)

Balblair (63) - Balmenach (33)
Balvenie (
73) - Banff (43)
Ben Nevis (
90)
Ben Wyvis (
2)
Benriach (
137) - Benrinnes (43)
Benromach (
42) - Bladnoch (54)
Blair Athol (4
2) - Bowmore (379)
Braes of Glenlivet (
29)
Brora (
115)
Bruichladdich (2
17)
Bunnahabhain (
238)
Caol Ila (406)
Caperdonich (
81)
Cardhu (
31) - Clynelish (284)
Coleburn (
15)
Convalmore (1
8)
Cragganmore (
58)
Craigduff (3) - Craigellachie (
40)
Dailuaine (47) - Dallas Dhu (32)
Dalmore (85) - Dalwhinnie (19)
Deanston (22) - Dufftown (41)

Edradour (38)
Imperial (58) - Inchgower (44)
Inverleven (18)
Isle of Jura (85)

Kilchoman (20)
Kilkerran (
7) - Kinclaith (7)
Kininvie
(3)
- Knockando (
31)
Ladyburn (9) - Lagavulin (97)
Laphroaig (337) - Ledaig (73)
Linkwood (112) - Littlemill (79)
Loch Lomond (26)
Lochside (62)
Longmorn (172) - Longrow (52)

Macallan (233) - Macduff (51)
Mannochmore (2
5)
Millburn (1
9)
Miltonduff (
53) - Mortlach (114)
Mosstowie (1
7)
Scapa (34) - Speyburn (22) - Speyside (15)
Springbank (22
7)
St-Magdalene (46)
Strathisla (80) - Strathmill (2
6)
 
 
Pete and Jack


2015
April 1
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
 

Othe whisky stuff
 

Brora

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'

   
Leave feedback
   

Copyright Serge Valentin,
Nick Morgan,
Kate Kavanagh

2002-2015


Whiskyfun counter
 


Scotch Legal Announcement

 
 

April 21, 2015


Whiskyfun

Karuizawa 1980 1979 1978 bourbon

Today we’ll have three big Karuizawas from last year, all ex-bourbon to be as coherent as possible. And while we’re at it, we’ll do it as a short verticale.

Karuizawa 34 yo 1980/2014 (63%, OB, No.1 Drinks for LMDW, bourbon, cask #6476)

Karuizawa 34 yo 1980/2014 (63%, OB, No.1 Drinks for LMDW, bourbon, cask #6476) Four stars and a half Colour: amber. Nose: starts a wee bit solventy, which is normal at this strength. It’s even a notch acetic at first nosing, but everything starts to become smoother and rounder after a few seconds, with very lovely notes of café latte, warm sawdust, dried apricots and church incense. I also find a little botrytis, sultanas and just hints of dried roses. At some point I could not not think of some older Willetts. With water: a perfect shortbread/marmalade combination, with a great freshness and no overoakiness whatsoever. Takes water very well. Mouth (neat): hugely concentrated, to the point where it gets very mentholy and kind of lemony (bitter lemon marmalade with some ginger), but those flavours keep it rather fresh, and even approachable. Also Seville oranges, bags of cinnamon and quite some liquorice wood, with a little feeling of ‘sucking your pencil at school’. With water: some kind of cocktail made with cinnamon, various citrus liqueurs and just a touch of ginger. The freshness remains impressive. Finish: quite long, with a few more oaky spices, as almost always (teas), but the lemony signature keeps it ‘high’. A touch of maraschino in the aftertaste. Comments: I’d say these ex-bourbon versions aren’t as wham-bam as the sherried ones, but I find them lovely. Even at 63% vol.! SGP:661 - 89 points.

Karuizawa 35 yo 1979/2014 (58.8%, OB, No.1 Drinks, bourbon, cask #8187)

Karuizawa 35 yo 1979/2014 (58.8%, OB, No.1 Drinks, bourbon, cask #8187) Five stars Colour: amber. Nose: same ‘family’, obviously, but this one’s rather grassier, kind of more vegetal, with peelings and roots (beetroot, celeriac). After a few seconds, it’s some brioche that comes through, together with a very superb earthiness ‘out of nowhere’. That, I like. Black tea, pipe tobacco, menthol, a drop of turpentine, a little humus… All that on the usual marmalade and butterscotch. Croissants au beurre. With water: cough syrup! Love these hints of eucalyptus. Mouth (neat): oh lovely! Creamy limoncello and mandarine impériale plus pipe tobacco and earthy spices. Citron liqueur. The citrus is impressive, and reminds me of some old ex-active oak Rosebank. With water: even more to my liking. All things citrusy plus a few things earthy, especially liquorice wood. Finish: long, with a little caraway coming through. Probably the most expensive aquavit in the whole world ;-). Comments: seriously, this one’s just great. SGP:661 - 91 points.

Karuizawa 35 yo 1978/2014 (63%, OB, No.1 Drinks, bourbon, cask #8383)

Karuizawa 35 yo 1978/2014 (63%, OB, No.1 Drinks, bourbon, cask #8383) Five stars Colour: amber. Nose: even more acetic and solventy than the 1980 at first sniffs, this is almost a blend of nail polish remover and balsamic vinegar when unreduced. Let’s give it time… zzz… Well, nothing beats time with anything related to whisky, even a few minutes in the glass. Gone the solventy notes, hello fudge, marmalade, butterscotch, rancio (touches) and not-too-sweet raisins. Pretty often, these old ex-bourbon Karuizawas do display sherried notes, which is funny. With water: cough syrup, just like in the 1979, but this time the whole got even more medicinal. Some kind of secret concoction that would cure just anything! The croissants are back as well. Mouth (neat): as creamy as honey, rather spicy, marmalady and rather tannic. Ginger, cinnamon mints, cumin, strong tea…But once again, the citrusy side saves it. Even better, that comes with perfect earthy tones. With water: almost the same whisky as the 1979, with just a few more medicinal and kind of spiky touches. Peppermint? Finish: long, citrusy, earthy and spicy. Comments: I think I liked this one even better than the 1979. We’re approaching the best sherried versions! SGP:562 - 92 points.

More tasting notes Check the index of all Japanese I've tasted so far

 
Pete McPeat and Jack Washback
PJ

PJ

 

 

    Logo  
Block Today: JAZZ. Performer: the Billy Bang Quintet. Track: an extraordinary Chan Chan. Please visit his website and buy his music...
 
 

April 20, 2015


Whiskyfun

A fairly large bag of Benriach

There's a new official 10 yo entirely made by the current owners. As usual, we'll add a few other Benriachs to the line-up.

Benriach 10 yo (43%, OB, 2015)

Benriach 10 yo (43%, OB, 2015) Three stars and a halfI believe this is one of the first official Benriachs to have been distilled by the new owners, under the watchful eyes of Billy Walker. Colour: gold. Nose: a few bready/yeasty notes at first nosing, then some overripe apples and a blend of plum spirit and pale ale (some kind of IPA). A touch of wet limestone as well, but the whole’s very barleyish rather than plain fruity. Perhaps a few greengages? Mouth: more fruits, less ale. I find oranges and a creamy vanilla (butter cream, fudge), then rather touches of limoncello, while the sweet barley speak out again after a few seconds. Touches of white pepper, quite possibly from the oak. Finish: good length. Pepper, vanilla and malty beer, plus stone fruits in the aftertaste. Swiss Abricotine? Comments: rather firmer and more vigorous than expected. Not a smooth/easy one! I really like it. SGP:451 - 83 points.

Benriach 15 yo 'Pedro Ximenez Sherry Wood Finish' (46%, OB, +/-2014)

Benriach 15 yo 'Pedro Ximenez Sherry Wood Finish' (46%, OB, +/-2014) Four stars First tried this expression in 2007, when it was still nicknamed ‘Ximinez’. I had kind of liked it (WF 79). Colour: deep gold. Nose: I’m totally certain it’s improved quite a lot. I mean, in my book. This has depth and not many ‘in your face’ winey notes’, while subtle notes of chamomile, honeysuckle, roasted argan oil and dried figs are pleasantly playing together. There’s also a very fine oakiness, with some walnuts and a delicate vanilla. And marzipan, and blond tobacco. Very nice, as they say in whisky forums. Mouth: indeed, well done. Dried fruits and a little pepper, nutmeg and strong black tea, so the oak’s slightly obvious, then a spicy jam that would contain bitter oranges and strawberries. Let’s not forget cloves. Finish: long, a little caramelised – in a good way. Comments: a very fine dram, with a finishing that was done with care IMHO. They’re very good at that. SGP:551 - 85 points.

Benriach 15 yo 1996/2013 (47.5%, Whisky Spirits, Whisky Seasons)

Benriach 15 yo 1996/2013 (47.5%, Whisky Spirits, Whisky Seasons) Three stars and a half That was a pretty series! There’s been many very good indie 1996s. Colour: pale gold. Nose: starts with pineapples and pears plus a faintly solventy side, not unpleasant at all, and rather goes on with bananas and cut grass. Marshmallows. So it’s a fruity Benriach, but not quite a ‘tropical’ one. Typical mid-1990s. Mouth: it’s fruit syrup! Barley water, pineapples, peaches, apples, gooseberries… And all that. Plus a touch of lemon that adds freshness and ‘vivacity’. Finish: medium, sweet and fruity, with a little more oak in the aftertaste. Comments: easy, very loyal, and slightly summery, which can’t be bad. I’m sure it would take ice well. SGP:551 - 83 points.

Benriach 17 yo 'Solstice 2nd Edition' (50%, OB, +/-2014)

Benriach 17 yo 'Solstice 2nd Edition' (50%, OB, +/-2014) Three stars and a half A peated one this time, or better yet, it’s ‘heavily peated’. I remember the first Solstice, a 15 yo, was finished in Port, which is the most unlikely combination in my book. I mean, peat+Port. And yet, I had liked it (WF 84). Colour: apricot/salmon. Yeah well… Nose: indeed it is unlikely. Blackcurrant-flavoured Jell-O made with smoked water, Beaujolais that would have been stored near an old oil stove, smoked red peaches… And all that. And yet, there is a feeling of oneness that’s very… intriguing. Mouth: well, indeed, vive la difference. It’s a little rough around the edges, and there’s really a lot of bacon, cranberries and blood oranges, but the combo kind of works despite all these odd aspects. I also find a lot herbal tea, around cherry stems or blackcurrant buds. Indeed, it is ‘spécial’, in the French meaning of that word. Oh forget… Finish: quite long. I guess someone managed to smoke cassis. Comments: as long as there’s balance, I’m not against any form of experimentation. Not sure one would quaff a whole bottle in one go, but there. Score unchanged. SGP:645 - 84 points.

Good, we had PX and we had peat, let’s have both.

Benriach 1994/2013 (51.5%, OB for Independent Spirit, peated, PX sherry finish, cask #2993, 298 bottles)

Benriach 1994/2013 (51.5%, OB for Independent Spirit, peated, PX sherry finish, cask #2993, 298 bottles) Three stars Colour: amber. Nose: ah yes, it’s this combo that creates a lot of earth and leather, beyond any straight peat or straight sherry. More or less like nosing a box of sweetened cigars, or some strong Belgian Kriek beer. All sorts of old leather ware, saddles, bags, motorcycle jackets… There is a fruitiness as well, but it’s a little hesitant. Nectarines and cherries, perhaps? Mouth: rich, creamy, spicy and fruity. Its peaty but not that peaty – less so than some very lovely un-sherried 1994s by Signatory, for example. Or ex-hoggy OBs. Cigars, smoked ham, chutney, gingerbread, marmalade… Finish: long, rich, spicy. Lots and lots of smoky bitter oranges in the aftertaste. Comments: very good, I’d add ‘of course’, but I do prefer the zesty, straight, whistle-clean official hogsheads. Those often fetch 90-91 in my little tasting book. SGP:565 - 82 points. I know, forgot to add water. Too late.

Benriach 22 yo 1991/2014 (50.7%, The Whisky Agency, refill barrel, 182 bottles)

Benriach 22 yo 1991/2014 (50.7%, The Whisky Agency, refill barrel, 182 bottles) Four stars Aaahh, refill! BTW, I really like it that the bottlers decided to add their faces onto the labels. Apologies, guys. Colour: straw. Nose: yeah! Back to the distillate! It’s rather waxier and oilier than I would have thought, and unfolds on all orchard fruits known to Man. Plums are ahead in this case. Add a spoonful of light and delicate acacia honey, and you’ll have a good picture. Mouth: it’s almost light and liquid honey at first sips, before the fruits start to sing along. Apples and tangerines, so this one does have a tropical side. A touch of crystallised pineapples, also a little lemon. Finish: quite long, fresh and zesty. Like these touches of tobacco in the aftertaste. Comments: northern or tropical? I mean, the fruits? What’s sure is that this is some very good clean fruity Benriach. SGP:641 - 87 points.

Benriach 1991/2010 (57.2%, Scotch Single Malt Circle, bourbon, cask #32281, 209 bottles)

Benriach 1991/2010 (57.2%, Scotch Single Malt Circle, bourbon, cask #32281, 209 bottles) Five stars This one is for Bill Miller! Colour: pale gold. Nose: oh yes, this is complex, and goes beyond the fruits. Great notes of patchouli, tobacco, earthy tea, orange zests, old books… So it’s rather more tertiary than the Agency’s, but maybe that’s the higher strength. Let’s see. With water: sweet barley everywhere. Back to the roots! Mouth (neat): very creamy, rich, both thick and graceful. Moves like oil in your glass. Mandarin liqueur, limoncello, orange blossom water and sweet barley. Plus honey. With water: lemony barley goodness. Malt whisky as nature intended (are you sure, S.?) Finish: rather long. Overripe apples and gooseberries. Comments: I found this absolutely excellent. Pure clean well-distilled and well-aged malt whisky. Yeah, as nature intended. Well done Bill (and Maggie). SGP:641 - 90 points.

A last one for the road (always thought this expression was totally stupid, but there).

Benriach 29 yo 1984/2014 (50.3%, OB, Tawny Port Finish, cask #4051, 269 bottles)

Benriach 29 yo 1984/2014 (50.3%, OB, Tawny Port Finish, cask #4051, 269 bottles) Four stars and a half A peated one. There you go, the unlikelies are back. Tawny and peat? And why not Lady Gaga with Tony Bennett? Colour: red amber. Nose: I don’t know, I really don’t know. Some new leather for sure, bitter oranges as well, ditto marmalade, limestone, gunflints… But in truth, it’s more or less like opening a new pack of cigarettes. As far as I can remember… With water: nicer. Oriental spices, tobacco, old leather jacket, soy sauce, old teas, dirty oil… Mouth (neat): starts very well, on marmalade, but some kind of greenish spiciness is soon to take over. Green pepper, rocks, French beans, blackcurrants, sloe, caraway. Indeed, all that’s a little unusual. With water: forget. Leather, tobacco, dark chocolate, prunes, brine, peat smoke. We ended up on Islay, it seems. I cannot not think of some old sherried Laphroaigs. Finish: long, meaty, kippery, leathery. Great finish. More bitter chocolate and coffee in the aftertaste. Comments: ups and downs, but it all ended greatly. Needs time… and water plus a good pipette. SGP:564 - 88 points.

More tasting notes Check the index of all Benriach I've tasted so far

 

 

    Logo  
Block Today: JAZZ. Performer: Don Sebesky. Track: Psalm 150. Amen. Please visit his website and buy his music...
 
 

April 17, 2015


Whiskyfun

Another little bag of Irish

Well, just three of them but we won’t have ‘regular’ ones today.

Dunville's 'VR' (46%, OB, Echlinville Distillery, malt whiskey, PX cask, +/-2015) Two stars Pretty much like what’s happening in the US with sourced whiskies launched as pseudo-own distillates under ‘legendary old brands’, this is sourced Irish whiskey, most probably finished in PX. Now that doesn’t mean it can’t be good. Colour: pale gold. Nose: it’s okay, its okay, just rather light. Whiffs of copper, nuts, ripe bananas, and apple juice. A little more cardboard and almondy soap coming through after a few minutes, but I still find the whole rather okay. Mouth: more body than expected, some peppery oak, touches of tinned fruits (pears and pineapples, then a slightly gritty, gingery side. A little rough, the juice must have been relatively young. Finish: quite long, with some bitter tea and apple peelings. These almondy notes again in the aftertaste. Comments: I don’t find it extraordinarily Irish. The whole’s rather, well, okay. SGP:351 - 75 points.

Cooley 23 yo 1992/2015 (55%, Cadenhead, Irish)

Cooley 23 yo 1992/2015 (55%, Cadenhead, Irish) Five stars A brand new Cooley by Cadenhead. Please note that I’ve used the picture of an earlier (very good – WF 90) bottling. Probably a barrel as well. Colour: pale gold. Nose: well, how many times have I already told that story about a friend who was pouring young peated Cooley to punters on the parking place of a famous Islay distillery starting with an A, around twelve years ago, and managed to let everyone believe it was young whisky from that very Islay distillery? Indeed, you could think this is a slightly lighter and marginally fruitier A***. Especially love this smoky earthiness, these whiffs of lit cigars, the touches of garam masala and the horse saddle notes. With water: more fruits and more rooty notes. A little more barley as well. Mouth (neat): one of the fruitiest ueberpeaters I’ve tried. Shouldn’t work but it does. Smoky pineapples (not hand-grenades) and peppery litchis, then rather various oranges, especially bitter ones. And blood oranges. Really an unusual style, and this baby still roars like a tiger after 23 years. With water: perfect. Peat and fruits work in tandem, almost like… let’s see, say John Coltrane and Duke Ellington? (S., you’re afraid of nothing.) Finish: long, and rather more on fruits rather than peat this time. Strawberry yoghurt. A rather exceptional signature, as fresh as a baby’s… err, mouth. Comments: I absolutely love this style. Balance is deliciously perfect – what a tango! SGP:556 - 91 points.

Nah go climb over such a thing… Unless, unless, this…

Limerick 23 yo 1991/2015 ‘Slaney Malt’ (58.1%, Adelphi, Irish single malt, cask #8265, 202 bottles)

Limerick 23 yo 1991/2015 ‘Slaney Malt’ (58.1%, Adelphi, Irish single malt, cask #8265, 202 bottles) Five stars The label states ‘Slaney Malt’. Colour: gold. Nose: more fruity than fruits. Or one of the fruitiest malts ever. Guavas, papayas, bananas, mangos and all that. But not only that, there’s a fair amount of sweet and soft tea that support that extravagant fruitiness, and it never becomes cloying or simply ‘too much’. I don’t know if that rings a bell to you, but in Switzerland, they have some sweets named ‘Sugus’ that just smell like this. Well, you need at least twenty unwrapped Sugus to match this. Ah, childhood memories… With water: meadow flowers, nectar, and tinned fruits. All of them. Mouth (neat): extreme fruits, but with elegance. Would make a Lochside 1966, a Clynelish 1972 or a Benriach 1976 taste bitter and grassy in comparison. Well, quite. More citrusy than on the nose, with mainly tangerines and pink grapefruits. Oh and Sugus. And you don’t even notice that it sings at 58% vol., which may be a little dangerous. With water: less dangerous – and just as great. Finish: rather long, very fresh, very fruity. Spring in Provence. Comments: very ‘cool**’. It’s absolutely fab to be able to taste both the thesis and the antithesis from the very same distillery. Great work Adelphi and Cadenhead. SGP:751 - 91 points.

More tasting notes Check the index of all Irish I've tasted so far

 
Pete McPeat and Jack Washback
PJ

 

 

    Logo  
Block Today: JAZZ. Performer: Ed Thigpen. Track: a Milesian Action-Re-Action. Please visit his website and buy his music...
 
 

April 16, 2015


Whiskyfun

Undisclosed Peat Monsters – Part Two

Let’s simply go on, no need to wait any further. ‘Things that are done need not be done’, used to say my grandma in her impeccable middle-Alsatian dialect.

Islay 8 yo 2005/2013 (46.1%, Sansibar, single malt, 188 bottles)

Islay 8 yo 2005/2013 (46.1%, Sansibar, single malt, 188 bottles) Three stars and a half Many great whiskies already in this Sansibar series from northern Germany. Colour: white wine. Nose: we’re really on the smoky side, it’s almost like nosing the exhaust pipe of an old English car, into which some little rascals would have hidden a few lemons. Oh and on the beach, that old car’s on a beach, but the whole isn’t as coastal as it could have been. Touches of band-aid as well but again, not too much. Mouth: sweet smoke. Remember that old psych-rock band? Plus salt, almonds, almonds, and a few kippers. Good strength that makes it highly drinkable. Finish: long, very smoky, with a briny and almost olive-y aftertaste. Comments: a very solid young Islayer, offering nothing but smoky pleasure. SGP:357 - 84 points.

Smoking Islay (58.2%, Blackadder, single malt, cask #BA2013/451, 370 bottles, 2013)

Smoking Islay (58.2%, Blackadder, single malt, cask #BA2013/451, 370 bottles, 2013) Four stars Let’s only hope this baby will be as much to our liking as the other Smoking Islay we had the other day. Colour: straw. Nose: it’s a rather fatter one, starting with candy sugar and some kind of caramelised apple pie, before more peaty and coastal goodness comes out, with also a clear and loud medicinal side. Oysters, lemons, bandages, antiseptic, shortbread… rings a bell. Mouth: perfect in its immaculate peaty nakedness (wot?) Lemon drops, a little fennel, plenty of smoke, eucalyptus syrup and seawater. Stir well. Finish: very long, chiselled, peaty and very zesty. The candied side that we had found in the nose is gone. Comments: excellent whisky in an excellent series. In my opinion. Great bitterish aftertaste that keeps it ‘nervous’. SGP:357 - 86 points.

Classic of Islay 14 yo (60%, Vintage Malt Whisky Co, for Jack Wiebers, single malt, cask #3007, 2006)

Classic of Islay 14 yo (60%, Vintage Malt Whisky Co, for Jack Wiebers, single malt, cask #3007, 2006) Four stars and a half I know, an old bottle, but it is one of the indy malts that are said to be Lagavulin. Colour: gold. Nose: some perplexity at WF Towers, since this is much more acrid, dryly smoky and ashy than Lagavulin, without that epitomical sweetness. Well, at first nosing, because indeed, it all becomes deeper, with wonderful whiffs of overripe apples in an old seaside cellar, or something like that. Lovely touches of humus and wild spicy mushrooms (there are some that I adore and that grow late in the season, that we call pieds-bleus AKA Lepista nuda. Mouth: that unmistakable combination of a big peatiness with wee tart oranges and a ‘cigar’ smokiness. In a way, it’s akin to the official 12, but with a little more roundness, with hints of raisins coming through. Refill sherry or something? Finish: very long, on, well, peated oranges and raisins. Comments: how could anyone be against such whisky? Unless you’re severely against peat, of course. And Lepista nuda. SGP:557 - 89 points.

Islay 14 yo 1994/2008 (53,1%, The Daily Dram)

Islay 14 yo 1994/2008 (53,1%, The Daily Dram) Four stars and a halfAnother older bottling that was said to be Lagavulin. And 14 years old to boot. Colour: pale gold. Nose: yes this is perfect. Starts with broken branches and fresh hazelnuts, goes on with some sweet kind of cough syrup, then we find a much bigger minerality that comes with whiffs of farmyard and hay under the rain. There’s also rather a lot of iodine for Lagavulin, but why not. Mouth: starts sweet, on candied ginger and bitter oranges, and rather goes on with some kind of smoky sloe gin, gentian, horseradish, then some very strong lemon. Some salt as well, while the mouth feel remains oily, almost thick(ish). Finish: very long, still walking on this thin Lagavulinian line between civilised sweetness and raw peated madness. More cough syrup again in the aftertaste. Funny pineapples at the retro-olfaction. Comments: smashes you and leaves you breathless. Having said that, it doesn’t quite go into subtleties, but the fullness is impressive. SGP:457 - 88 points.

Peat Reek (60.6%, Blackadder, hogshead, cask ref #PR20132-3, 216 bottles, 2013) Four stars Right, a peat reek, just what we needed ;-). Colour: white wine. Nose: easy, sweet peat, with cut apples and fresh almonds, as well as clams, perhaps. Much gentler than the name suggested, unless I’m starting to suffer from peat fatigue. Mouth: sweet and easy, even at such high strength. Grapefruits and tangerines covered with liquid smoke and barley water, with a little marzipan in the background. I find it quite Caol-Ila-esque. Well, very Caol-Ila-esque. Finish: long, clean and zesty, with a peaty gentleness and always these lovely tangerines, especially in the aftertaste. Comments: what, you say that was bottled at more than 60% vol.? I just haven’t noticed. Soft as smoky silk – or consensually peated? SGP:556 - 86 points.

Images of Islay 'Ruvaal Lighthouse' (53,2%, Malts of Scotland, 217 bottles, +/-2014)

Images of Islay 'Ruvaal Lighthouse' (53,2%, Malts of Scotland, 217 bottles, +/-2014) Three stars and a half What’s sweet with this series by the very excellent Malts of Scotland is that they make you revise your Islay geography. So, Ruvaal (actually spelled as Runaal on this label) is located on the northeastern tip of Islay, which suggest Bunnahabhain. Unless, unless… Colour: pale white wine. Nose: yeah, sweet peat with whiffs of peat syrup and then damp hessian in an old cellar. It’s not a deep peater, but it’s got this je-ne-sais-quoi (how do you like my French?) that makes it elegant and, well, smart. Mouth: simple, rather immaculate, with a sweet side again. I’d say this baby would make for a good introductory peater. Made in high stills, most possibly, because it hasn’t got much congeneric fatness. Finish: medium length, with more sweet peat – but the peat’s quite big. Comments: all good, I’d say. Peated whisky to drink like that. SGP:546 - 83 points.

Images of Islay ‘Kildalton Cross’ (53,2%, Malts of Scotland, 195 bottles, +/-2014)

Images of Islay ‘Kildalton Cross’ (53,2%, Malts of Scotland, 195 bottles, +/-2014) Three stars and a half Right, with a name like that, this should be Ardbeg. But how could we be sure? Colour: white wine. Nose: curiously gentle and vanilla-ed at first nosing, with indeed a touch of hessian and seaweed-on-the-beach-near-an-old-boat, and indeed something marginally campfire-y, but yeah, all that remains gentle and very polite. Mouth: more happening, but it’s probably very young, because sweet fruits are leading the race, as jams and as syrups. Some fudge as well, a little lemon marmalade, smoky fruits… It’s also got something of that cherry-flavoured pipe tobacco I used to smoke thirty years ago. Ah yes, Borkum Riff, that’s the name. Finish: long and as sweet as sweets. The peat’s somewhat  buried beneath those fruits. Comments: very interesting, and probably from blending stock. Whether the purifier was on or off, I couldn’t tell you ;-). SGP:646 - 83 points.

Islay (41%, Natural Color, France, +/-2000)

Islay (41%, Natural Color, France, +/-2000) Two stars and a halfAn oldish French thing I had in my library. I believe this series has been dead for a long time. You don’t break codes with complete impunity, do you ;-). Colour: straw. Nose: immediate Coal-Ila-ness, with these sweet almondy notes, the mild coastalness, the elegant smoke and these touches of cut apples. Nice delicate nose, it’s just a little, say too discreet. Mouth: very mild, but the profile’s pleasant. A tiny bit of sardine in a glass of a cocktail made out of lemon juice, almond oil, apple juice and sweet barley water. Not much body, sadly. Finish: unexpectedly - and relatively – long, salty, briny, sardine-y. Comments: fine. This baby had its moments, but the lack of oomph and drive was a little problematic. SGP:345 - 79 points.

That’s all, folks. Unless we do a Part 3.

 

 

    Logo  
Block Today: JAZZ. Performer: Martial Solal. Track: Charles Trenet's Que Reste-t-il De Nos Amours. Please visit his website and buy his music...
 
 

April 15, 2015


Whiskyfun

Undisclosed Peat Monsters (we go in hot)

We’ll have them as Hell’s Angels would do it (although I used to have a friend who was a Hell’s Angel and who… would never touch alcohol). So no order, no water,  everything like savages. Ready? Charge!...

Images of Islay 'McArthur’s Head Lighthouse' (53,2%, Malts of Scotland, single malt, 236 bottles, 2014) Three stars Well, that lighthouse is located at the entrance of the Sound of Islay, so this could be Bunnahabhain. Unless the name’ McArthur’ rather refers to Lagavulin’s Iain McArthur AKA Pinkie. But I doubt it. Or it’s Caol Ila. Colour: almost as white as water. Nose: from 20cm, a hospital, where tons of antiseptic would have just been poured onto the ground. From closer, more briny smoke and ashes, as well as a little paint thinner and some kind of fruity varnish. Grenadine syrup. Mouth: extremely oily and coating, like syrup indeed. Limoncello, then those medicinal notes again, with some plasticine and lemon-flavoured marzipan. Fruit stones aplenty (plum spirit). Finish: long and salty. Anchovies in salt plus lemon. A lot of salt in the aftertaste. Comments: very young and frankly brutish. Maybe more demonstration whisky for your guests who’ve never tried peated whisky before. Yeah, future ex-friends, perhaps. SGP:448 - 81 points.

As We Get It 8 yo 'Islay' (58.1%, Ian Macleod, +/-2014) Three stars Some are claiming that this is Laphroaig. I won’t take any responsibility for it. Colour: very very pale straw. Nose: sweeter, a wee bit more acetic and butyric than the McArthur’s, with a touch of white balsamic vinegar, then a lot of lemon juice, brine and ‘whiffs of a working kiln in the distance’. Bizarrely, it’s much less medicinal than the MoS. It’s got a little more sweet oak as well. Mouth: bang, now we’re talking! Huge peat and smoke and pear bonbons, some kind of acrid pineapples (maybe not totally ripe), then brine and this feeling of ‘drinking iodine antiseptic’. Absolutely massive – and simple, but that’s almost an asset in this brutal context. Finish: extremely long, ashy, lemony, with a very drying aftertaste. It’s probably a good idea to drink a glass of water - or three – before it keeps dragging on for hours. Comments: same comments as above. How many friends do you have? SGP:448 - 82 points.

Smoking Islay (55%, Blackadder, cask #BA2013/450, 386 bottles, 2013)

Smoking Islay (55%, Blackadder, cask #BA2013/450, 386 bottles, 2013) Four stars Many great ones in this series. As for what it is, the label states ‘The Spirit of Legend’, so… Nah, they all say that. Colour: straw. Nose: it’s a little gentler and it’s rather more complex, with hessian, smoked barley, oysters and other shellfish (including our beloved whelks), campfire and in the background, a little mocha and shortbread. The other ones weren’t balanced at all, this one is. Mouth: oh yes, this is excellent. Much more depth, with some earthy things, citrusy stuff, and briny… substances. The smokes better integrated as well, the grapefruits are singing loud, and, well, everything’s pretty perfect. No feeling of immaturity whatsoever. And love the fresh almonds. Finish: long, very clean, and yet complex. Love this freshness. Comments: not quite a surprise, but really, I find this excellent. Well done again, Sir Blackadder. And loved the coastalness, at times it was ‘wetter than a haddock’s bathing costume’ indeed. SGP:357 - 87 points.

Big Smoke '60' (60%, Duncan Taylor, +/-2012) Three stars Yeah, all indies have young NAS bastard peaters… Colour: straw. Nose: both sweet and candied (caramel, Demerara sugar) and a little more farmyardy than the others, with perhaps less coastalness and more hay, soaked grains, wet earth and humus. I find this different, and just as pleasant, even if it hasn’t got the Blackadder’s (very relative) complexity. Mouth: again, it’s rather sweeter and more farmyardy, with aspects that may remind us of that distillery that sits (very) near Dunnyvaig Castle. Plays the coastal/medicinal card a little less than the others, while sweeter fruits are a little more apparent. Tangerines, perhaps. But don’t get me wrong, at 60% vol., this is quite a monster. Finish: very long, but not ‘fat’. Imagine I manage to find some lightness to some whisky at 60% vol. Should I worry? Comments: very good, obviously, but it had a bit of a hard time after the Smokin’ Islay. SGP:547 - 80 points.

Sheep Dip 'Islay Malt Whiskies' (40%, OB, blended malt, +/-2014) Three stars Of course I should have had this one before the monsters. I make many mistakes. And imagine this would be a blend of Bruichladdich and unpeated Bunnahabhain, we’d be toasted! Colour: gold. Nose: please note that I’ve made a 20 minutes break. Yet, this is a gentle peater, right between stewed fruits (rhubarb first, which I just adore) and some lightly briny smokiness, with ideas of an old boat and smidgens of… a seafood platter. Agreed, that would be one langoustine. At times, older Laphroaig 10 would ‘nose’ like this. Not the older glories from the 1960s/1970s, let’s not dream. Mouth: well I find this good, balanced, harmoniously peaty and coastal, only the low strength kind of clashes with the smoky profile. Some kind of coitus interruptus, which is a shame because… Finish: very unexpectedly, it takes off again, with plenty of smoke and ashes, and a salty aftertaste. Comments: a rollercoaster at times, with highs and lows, but the composition works pretty well. Can we have a high-strength version? SGP:446 - 80 points.

Big Peat (55.7%, Douglas Laing, 2014)

Big Peat (55.7%, Douglas Laing, 2014) Three stars and a half So this is the XYZth rendition of the ever-popular Big Peat that keeps proving that whisky mustn’t always be taken too seriously. There’s some Port Ellen in this late 2014’s vatting, probably a large proportion! (I told you, not too seriously.) Colour: white wine. Nose: of course it’s f***g nice, and naturally, it’s in your b***y face. What I especially like in this batch is the feeling of having great lemon on great oysters while some peat’s burning in the fireplace. Mouth: absolutely huge, chiselled, self-evident, irrefutable and admirably ‘Islay’. Some might claim that it’s bit young and rough, and those wouldn’t be totally wrong, but that’s often what peatheads are looking for in such whiskies. Finish: long, unexpectedly sweet and fruity, with pears and even pineapples that usually suggest young age. Comments: let’s not quibble, this is about fun and a refreshing unseriousness. Still, I find it a little immature… SGP:448 - 83 points.

Peat Bog 4.3/4 yo 2009/2014 ‘Part II’ (59%, The Whisky Cask, single cask, +/-2014) Two stars and a halfHa-ha-ha, 4.3/4 years old, love that. Maybe not totally legal, but at least this baby’s older than some well-known newish official NAS from the entrancing island of Islay. Colour: white wine. Nose: my, are we sure it’s not rather 4.1/2 years old? Because beyond the pristine clarity and cleanliness of this spirit, and the very Pirelli-like tar and smoke, I do seem to detect some youth indeed. And something that, indeed, reminds me a bit of Dunnyvaig Castle, but I’m probably wrong. Enjoy the whiffs of old mop in the background. Mouth: totally young, as it starts with pears and would go on with pears. Can you cook pears in a mix of salted water, lemon juice and heavy/tarry liquorice? Finish: very long, brutal, peary and smoky. Comments: right, let’s not exaggerate, I’d say this funny baby’s rather immature. Maybe what we used to call a ‘whisky infanticide’ when everything wasn’t yet polished on the Web. Now, there is some fun for sure. SGP:648 - 78 points.

Speyside 13 yo 2001/2014 'Heavily Peated' (53.2%, The Whisky Fair, single malt, 193 bottles)

Speyside 13 yo 2001/2014 'Heavily Peated' (53.2%, The Whisky Fair, single malt, 193 bottles) Two stars and a half I’m so sad I can’t make it to Limburg this year, partly because the Bundespolizei took my driving license. No, nothing to do with whisky. So, what could this be? Possibly an ex-Seagram distillery… Colour: pale white wine. Nose: it’s funny how a non-Islayness shows once you’ve had quite a bunch of Islay peaters. This is a tad flatter, fruitier, sweeter, grassier, and certainly less coastal. Barbecued peaches, perhaps? Mouth: same feeling, but it delivers more on the palate. The fruits are bigger and fatter, around tinned peaches, while the smoke’s more, say towards ashes. I also find bananas. Nothing briny/coastal this time. I have to say I’ve had some Ardmores that were a bit akin to this. Finish: same, the palate is a little shorter – and fruitier. Comments: it’s hard to try this after the Ileachs. And yet it’s most certainly excellent peated malt, but the fruits stand out as the nose on your face. SGP:655 - 78 points.

We’re losing steam, better stop now. But we’ll have more of those soon, including a wee bunch of undisclosed L*g*v*l*n. I can’t wait.

 

 

    Logo  
Block Today: JAZZ. Performer: a certain FZ. Track: King Kong. (the Make a Jazz Noise version). Please visit his website and buy his music...
 
 

April 14, 2015


Whiskyfun

A bed of roses, or a bag of Littlemill

It’s a bottomless pit! There’s more late 1980s – early 1990s Littlemill around, and I’m sure nobody will complain. BTW, remember Littlemill, before it was closed and then destroyed for good by a fire, was the oldest working Scottish distillery (1772 and some luminaries even wrote circa 1750.)

Littlemill 22 yo 1992/2014 (46.7%, Archives, hogshead, cask #43, 59 bottles)

Littlemill 22 yo 1992/2014 (46.7%, Archives, hogshead, cask #43, 59 bottles) Five stars A micro-bottling, and probably a shared cask. Colour: gold. Nose: this will be quick. Clay and oranges, with touches of passion fruits in the background, then lilies. Obvious and ‘irrefutable’. Mouth: irrefutable indeed. These Littlemills represent one of, if not the sexiest style of malt whisky ever, with both the emphatic fresh fruitiness that some Irish can display, and the fatter, perhaps better textured and earthier body of Scotch. Well the style of the bigger Lowlanders, especially since this one’s rather more full-bodied than others. A la Rosebank, if you will. I may be dreaming, but I even find some kind of peat. Finish: long, both fruity and perfumed, with one marshmallow – or is that icing sugar – and a grassier aftertaste. Tinned pineapples in the aftertaste. Comments: bingo again. Hope this little session won’t be too boring. SGP:651 - 90 points.

Littlemill 21 yo 1996/2014 (52.9%, The Whisky Mercenary, bourbon cask)

Littlemill 21 yo 1992/2014 (52.9%, The Whisky Mercenary, bourbon cask) Five stars Colour: gold. Nose: it’s a slightly more aromatic, fatter, jammier Littlemill after the Archives, but styles are – of course – similar. This cask was probably a little more active, since I can find a touch of menthol and a little more vanilla, but other than that, this is a fruit exotique extravaganza. Also big table Muscat grapes, then a little more clay, chalk and paraffin, which adds texture. Another irrefutable one. With water: this is pure multi-vitamin fruit juice. Mouth (neat): pure Littlemillness (read above) plus something a little more almondy/waxy. Ideally, some great Slivovitz could taste like this. With water: we got extremely close to the Archives. Both are almost undistinguishable when at roughly the same strengths. Finish: same comments. Comments: I’m afraid this session will be a bed of roses indeed. Let’s see of we’ll manage to go… under 90 points ;-). SGP:651 - 90 points.

Littlemill 21 yo 1992/2014 (53.6%, Lady of the Glen, bourbon, 320 bottles)

Littlemill 21 yo 1992/2014 (53.6%, Lady of the Glen, bourbon, 320 bottles) Four stars and a halfColour: gold. Nose: oh interesting, there’s less extravagant fruits in this one, and rather more grassy/herbal notes, with some patchouli, something like eucalyptus-scented candles, honeydew, green bananas (or plantains), wax… That’s all pretty interesting I have to say. And nice. With water: oh, no, wait, it was kind of shut down by water. But I enjoy these discreet hints of sunflower oil. Or something like that. Perhaps sweet maize. Mouth (neat): lovely and unusual! More like raisins dipped in grapefruit-and-mint jam. I also find notes of brandy, as if this was an ex-armagnac cask – which it wasn’t, obviously. Fun and pretty pretty good. With water: becomes a little more citrusy. Finish: rather long and even more citrusy. Grapefruits reign supreme. Comments: a different early 1990s Littlemill, perhaps a little less ‘instantly wow’ but very very good, nonetheless. SGP:551 - 88 points.

Littlemill 22 yo 1991/2013 (47.2%, Eiling Lim, 4th Release)

Littlemill 22 yo 1991/2013 (47.2%, Eiling Lim, 4th Release) Four stars and a half A Malaysian bottling, how cool is that? To think that between Glasgow and Kuala Lumpur, there are 10,537 kilometres as the crow flies! Colour: white wine (ah!) Nose: it’s a discreeter one, more secretive, with interesting hints of vegetables (tomatoes, for example, or fresh asparagus), peelings, lemon skin… We’re very far from the wham-bam Littlemills, and that is kind of refreshing if you ask me. Now the tropical fruits do come out a bit, but they remain elegant and subtle. Mouth: nah, there, this is how to disabuse oneself. Full zesty/fruity Littlemill, on lemons, grapefruits, maracuja, mandarins… Having said that, there is a delicate herbalness, and indeed wee touches of vegetables again. Maybe sweetish celeriac? Finish: rather long, and I cannot not think of some lighter Jamaican rum. Must be the celeriac. Or this earthy side that takes off. Comments: great tipple, great tipple. Not all +/-1990 Litlemills are the same, after all, which is just great. SGP:561 - 89 points.

Littlemill 23 yo 1991/2014 (48%, The Whisky Agency, refill hogshead, 275 bottles)

Littlemill 23 yo 1991/2014 (48%, The Whisky Agency, refill hogshead, 275 bottles) Five stars Colour: white wine. Nose: another interesting one, this time with rather more waxy notes, although I wouldn’t say there aren’t almost as many vegetables as in the Eiling. That would be fresh white asparagus again (season is open, hear, hear!), then almond oil and broken branches and roots. There are some tropical fruits, but that’s the most discreet side of this baby. Mouth: nah, once again, my palate proves me wrong. There are pink grapefruits, even a wee feeling of smoked/dried bananas, some very great notes of blond tobacco, an unexpected drop (or two) of manzanilla, and even a pinch of salt. And a drop of earthy mezcal. In fact, this is a rather coastal Littlemill. Finish: long, earthier. That’s lovely. I even find a little gentian. Comments: takes its time, and hates to be rushed, but especially the aftertaste and retro-olfaction are totally magical. Maybe a little intellectual for a Littlemill. But there. SGP:561 - 91 points.

That’s five of them already. Shouldn’t we go on a bit? What do you say?

Littlemill 24 yo 1990/2014 (50.6%, Maltbarn, 158 bottles)

Littlemill 24 yo 1990/2014 (50.6%, Maltbarn, 158 bottles) Four stars and a half Colour: straw. Nose: quite similar. There are vegetables, peelings, then a mineral side that I hadn’t found in the others, an earthiness for sure, some mineral oils and other liquids (wait, brake fluid?), something almondy and waxy… And fresh cultivated mushrooms? Vieille prune? Quite different, in fact. Mouth: superb. Earth, with vieille prune indeed (but infinitely better than all vieilles prunes I’ve tasted), marmalade, some kind of grassy and earthy citrus fruit (that can’t be kumquats, can it?), pu-erh tea, then papayas and dried apricots… What’s sure is that this baby’s much more muscular than many Littlemills, and did not play it ‘just passion fruits and basta’.  Finish: long, with some saps and resins that I had not expected. It’s also a tad heavier and fatter. Comments: another rather different Littlemill. They ain’t all the same, definitely. SGP:551 - 89 points.

I’ve also got quite a few from the late 1980s, but we’ve already tried quite a bunch of Littlemills, haven’t we. Better call this a session.

More tasting notes Check the index of all Littlemill I've tasted so far

 

 

    Logo  
Block Today: JAZZ. Performer: Mike Westbrook. Track: Part IX of Metropolis (1971). Please visit his website and buy his music...
 
 

April 13, 2015


Whiskyfun

A row of Longrow

How’s that possible that WF hasn’t won the World Crappiest Headline Award yet? Anyway, let’s have a few (more or less) peaty Longrows by Springbank Distillery.

Longrow (46%, OB, +/-2014)

Longrow (46%, OB, +/-2014) Four stars and a half Loved this baby when it first came out three years ago (WF 88). Sure it’s NAS but it’s also priced like NAS, which they were already doing with the CVs, which is totally and utterly kosher in my book. Colour: pale gold. Nose: very, and I mean very lovely. There’s a steely touch at first nosing, then a light briny smokiness, then lime, chalk and Band-Aid. I don’t find as much ‘good’ sulphur as in the earlier batch, but this is even cleaner and fresher. Indeed, lovely. Mouth: amazingly zesty and briny, always with a perfect freshness. Drops of passion fruit juice in olive brine, seawater and liquid smoke. Also a little earth, tobacco (when a little piece of tobacco goes into your mouth while you’re smoking an untipped cigarette – remember untipped cigarettes?), and oyster. Finish: long, with this mineral signature (graphite or something) and more brine. Comments: I simply adore this style. Could be 3 years old, I’d still adore it. It’s also peatier than earlier Longrows. SGP:356 - 88 points.

Longrow 11 yo 'Red' (53.7%, OB, Australian shiraz, 2013)

Longrow 11 yo 'Red' (53.7%, OB, Australian shiraz, 2013) Two stars and a halfHum, the former ‘Cabernet’ version did not please me at all (WF 70), but it’s to be said that on my very own palate, red wine in whisky usually works just as well as mustard in my coffee. Colour: bright orange. Nose: ah, this seems to work! Maybe does the metallic and spicy side of a proper syrah/shiraz work better? No red fruits, rather butterscotch and walnut cake, on a sooty/smoky bed, then touches of balsamic vinegar and old humidor, as well as pot-pourri and old roses. So far, so good, despite something slightly unusual. That’s the roses! With water:  gets rounder, rather on shortbread and cake. How strange – and pleasant. Mouth (neat): it is a little more unlikely, with quite a lot of green tannins and pepper, grape pips, apple peelings and all that. Beneath all that, I find blood oranges and a gingery smokiness that’s a tad dissonant. Maybe. With water: ginger mints and ginger cake, the spices won. Finish: long, spicy. Bitter oranges and pepper in the aftertaste. Comments: really something else. Liked some parts rather a lot, but I think it’s having a hard time after the immaculate NAS. SGP:364 - 79 points.

Longrow 11 yo 'Red' (51.8%, OB, fresh Port, 2014)

Longrow 11 yo 'Red' (51.8%, OB, fresh Port, 2014) Two stars and a half Port is the enemy! Don’t get me wrong, I love good Port, just not in my whisky. Colour: golden/apricot. Nose: the masters seem to have exercised restraint here, which the colour already suggested (no girly pink/rosé colour). Even more walnuts than in the shiraz, maybe two strawberries, some soft mustard and tobacco, some nutmeg for sure, more and more muesli, and then some rather penetrating (?) oranges. It’s fruitier than the shiraz, but all remains fine. With water: no luck, I now find notes of old vase water. Not too sure… Something a little sulphury as well. Mouth (neat): very oily mouth feel. Plenty of spices once again, rather around cumin and juniper this time, tannins, spicy oak, pepper, cinnamon… Bitter oranges as the fruity base. I’m not sure the spirit, however characterful, has a lot of room here. With water: swims pretty well. Some kind of orange cake with ginger and caraway. Finish: same profile, for a rather long time. Comments: very spicy and tannic. Not the most spirit-driven malt in da world ;-) and indeed some might be wondering about this baby’s algorithm, as we say these days. SGP:364 - 78 points.

Longrow 15 yo 1998/2014 (48.1%, OB, Distillery Release, Open Day, Madeira hogshead, 186 bottles)

Longrow 15 yo 1998/2014 (48.1%, OB, Distillery Release, Open Day, Madeira hogshead, 186 bottles) Four stars and a half In my book Madeira’s one of the wines that work with whisky, although there are several kinds of Madeira, from bone dry to totally sweet. It’s like sherry, between fino and PX. Let’s see. Colour: full gold. Nose: dry Madeira! So this is straighter, drier, much earthier and full of tobacco than the reds. In short, a better planet to live on. Perfect leather, old box of Cuban cigars, then dried kelp, pu-erh tea… All that, I rather love. Mouth: oh yessss. Old vin jaune, fino, walnuts, tobacco, peppermint sauce, dried porcinis, liquorice wood, crystallised ginger (but not too much of that!), bitter chocolate… This earthiness is just superb. The spirit’s smokiness is roaring in the background. Finish: long, with ginger, tobacco, sweet mustard, a touch of wasabi, bitter oranges… Perfect. It’s even kind of fresh, despite the fairly ‘heavy’ style. Comments: killed the Reds. No, not a matter of politics or sports. SGP:355 - 89 points.

Good, this is going to get tricky since I wanted to end this wee session with an un-winised Longrow. Let’s try to find a big ‘natural’ one…

Longrow 18 yo 1990/2008 (54.1%, OB, private bottling for Magnus Fagerström, cask #178, 237 bottles)

Longrow 18 yo 1990/2008 (54.1%, OB, private bottling for Magnus Fagerström, cask #178, 237 bottles) Four stars I remember some older Longrows - not talking about the 1970s here - could be a little too sulphury. Let’s see… Colour: pale gold. Nose: there’s some Demerara sugar at first nosing, which is a little surprising but just fine. I also find more linseed oil, bandages, black earth (not a matter of colour of course, rather a matter of fatness), then some very unexpected whiffs of crème de cassis, these Cuban cigars again, prune sauce, champignons… And yet it remains kind of light and fresh. Very intriguing. With water: seawater with candles and orange zests. How very 1990 Longrow. Mouth (neat): there are traces of a kind of wackiness that I used to find in these vintages indeed, such as notes of rotting oranges, of bitters, and of paraffin… And yet that works, it’s just that the combo’s pretty unusual. With water: same, with just an added sweetness. Finish: rather long, with that Demerara sugar again (where does that come from) and a ‘leathery coastalness’ (yeah right). Comments: one of my favourite early 199Os Longrows. Well done Magnus. SGP:464 - 87 points.

(Mucho danke schoen, Konstantin and Morten)

More tasting notes Check the index of all Longrow I've tasted so far

 

 

    Logo  
Block Today: JAZZ. Performer: Lonnie Liston Smith. Track: Sunbeams. Please visit his website and buy his music...
 
 

April 12, 2015


Whiskyfun

Malternatives on Sunday,
today rowan eau-de-vie

While ‘obvious’ fruit eaux-de-vie and spirits, such as pears or raspberries, do not make for serious malternatives in my book, because of their one-dimensional style - however great they can be - that’s less the case with small berries of various sorts, sometimes because their stones add much more complexity. Right, sometimes a little too much prussic acid as well, that’s why one should not drink too much of them. And as some statistician would say, the smaller the berries, the bigger the stones. Relatively, of course. Right, let’s have some rowan today…

Sorbier des Oiseleurs (43%, OB, René de Miscault, eau-de-vie, Alsace, +/-2013) Two stars and a half Also called sorbier des oiseaux, simply sorbier, or Vogelbeer in German, or rowan in English. The small red berries first macerate in neutral spirit (apple) and are then distilled, although some old guys used to make some ‘pure’ fermented sorbier as well. Imagine the yield, would make a Scottish accountant cry – or worse. Colour: white. Nose: ah yes, this is wonderfully almondy. The stones are doing the largest part of the job here, but these notes of marzipan, barley water, fresh artisan-made varnish and maraschino are just beautiful. It’s a delicate and complex spirit. Mouth: sadly, there’s a little too much sugar in the arrival, which I’ve already noticed with this maker, but apart from that slightly liqueury side, there’s a perfect earthy/almondy development, with touches of absinth, marzipan, grapefruit liqueur and sweet liquorice. Good body, and a perfect strength. It’s even a little hot. Finish: long, almondy, with these varnishy touches that aren’t detrimental, quite the contrary. A salty touch in the aftertaste. Comments: very good rowan eau-de-vie, we’re approaching the realm of the great white tequilas, in a way. A pity that there’s this sugar.  SGP:551 - 79 points.

Sorbier 'Tradition' (40%, OB, Miclo, eau-de-vie, Alsace, +/-2014)

Sorbier 'Tradition' (40%, OB, Miclo, eau-de-vie, Alsace, +/-2014) The house Miclo’s located in Lapoutroie, which is in the Welche part of Alsace, which is its tiny French-speaking part. The Pays Welche is Celtic and not Germanic – and by the way, my ancestors were Welche, which is why my name doesn’t sound Germanic. So kind of French in Germanic Alsace, which lies in France. Complicated enough? I can do worse ;-). Colour: white. Nose: it’s a fresher and earthier style, with whiffs of roots and gentian (didn’t they just distil gentian and not thoroughly cleaned the pipes? I’m joking.) Then a touch of celeriac, as well as, perhaps, more fruitiness. A nose that’s a little less easy/sexy, but that usually suggests a nicer palate. Yeah, same as with whisky. Mouth: not 100% sure, there’s a whacky dirtiness, and a lack of definition, with something meaty and burnt. Not what you’re looking for when you make fruit eau-de-vie, even out of small berries. Finish: medium, with some caraway this time. Pepper. Indeed, unexpected. Comments: not too impressed. SGP: 461 – 60 points.

Vogelbeer (42%, OB, Lantenhammer, Bavaria, +/-2014)

Vogelbeer (42%, OB, Lantenhammer, Bavaria, +/-2014) Three stars Lantenhammer are also the owners of Slyrs Distillery in Schliersee, but they’ve been smart enough to not distil whisky in their fruit stills – and conversely. So, this is a different distillery. Great people by the way, with a lot of attention to detail. Colour: white. Nose: back to the style of the Miscault, with rather aromatic notes of fruit stones, almonds, varnish, barley water, and amaretti. It’s fresh and clean, and relatively easy, it seems. Mouth: it is a little bit too sugary again, but not that sugary. The rest is rather excellent, earthy and almondy, with some fresh touches of myrtle and gentian (again), fennel, bay leaves… Finish: rather long, a wee bit bitter (Campari) but that’s all fine. The sugar doesn’t feel – provided there was any in the first place, and only the aftertaste is a little soapy, but that almost always happens with stone fruits, it’s not a flaw. Comments: sehr gut in meiner Meinung. SGP:361 - 82 points.

Sorbier des Oiseaux (45%, OB, J. Nussbaumer, eau-de-vie, Alsace, +/-2014)

Sorbier des Oiseaux (45%, OB, J. Nussbaumer, eau-de-vie, Alsace, +/-2014) Three stars Again, maceration instead of fermentation here. Nussbaumer is a highly reputed house that’s located in Steige, a wee place where just everybody used to distil fruits or else in the old days. You’re right, life expectancy was not so high at the time. Colour: white. Nose: first these celeriac-like notes that come together with some fennel and a very wee hint of catnip, then a brand new box of amaretti. We’re relatively close to some good kirsch (cherry) at this point. Maybe a tiny touch of rubber. Mouth: big! An ‘Islay’ of eau-de-vie, with big earthy flavours, some roots, almonds of course, more kirsch, a little cinchona or quinine, and then hints of triple-sec/Cointreau that will prevent the finish to become too bitter. Well, in theory, let’s check that. Finish: indeed, the slightly orange-y side adds some roundness, while the almondy/rooty side keeps singing loud. A long, almost invading finish. Comments: it’s a tad brutal at times, a tad peasant, but that adds authenticity. And I don’t feel any added sugar. Same league as the Bavarian. SGP:461 - 82 points.

 

 

    Logo  
Block Today: JAZZ. Performer: Horace Silver. Track: Incentive. Please visit his website and buy his music...
 
 

April 10, 2015


Whiskyfun

Tasting beef broth. I mean, Mortlach.

As usual, 1. a worthy aperitif and 2. a few stronger beasts.

Mortlach (40%, OB, 75cl, +/-1985)

Mortlach (40%, OB, 75cl, +/-1985) Four stars This old NAS Mortlach could have been bottled a little earlier than 1985, not too sure. Anyway, the market was low at the time, so there may be some old Mortlach inside. Colour: white wine. Nose: very interesting! Starts with whiffs of bicycle inner tube, which isn’t quite rubber mind you, certainly some ‘mineral’ sulphur (not eggy notes at all), then we find the trademark meaty things (rather cured ham), and lastly, some fresh butter with linseed oil, plums and fresh mint. Never found so many plums in Mortlach. What’s great is that no sherry’s there to kind of mask the spirit. Mouth: it’s amazing how meaty this is. Beef and chicken bouillons, miso soup – you might call this umami – then Chinese dumplings, chives, parsley, salt, Maggi, lovage, more ham… This is no whisky, it’s a sandwich! Sure the low strength feels a bit but the spirit’s really fat. I mean, its style is fat. Finish: kind of long, very bouillony. Ha! Comments: very hard to score, we’re extremely far from any contemporary malt whiskies. There’s not one ounce of sweetness in the palate, only the finish had half a raisin. SGP:262 - 85 points.

Mortlach 19 yo 1995/2014 (46%, The Warehouse Collection, ex-bourbon finish octave, cask #W8/1208, 72 bottles)

Mortlach 19 yo 1995/2014 (46%, The Warehouse Collection, ex-bourbon finish octave, cask #W8/1208, 72 bottles) Two stars Not to sure about what an ‘ex-bourbon finish octave’ exactly is, but as G.W. used to say, who cares? Colour: pale gold. Nose: there are whiffs of bourbony vanilla at first nosing indeed, and those come with a little coconut and warm sawdust, as usual. After that, I do find floral touches (dandelions), then maybe violets (not sweets), and then just a little yoghurt. Or rather that yoghurt sauce that our Turkish friends make. I wouldn’t say you find much Mortlachness in this, but it is a pleasant nose. Mouth: sure the oak is singing loud, but I think this works well… for a while. Because there’s a green tannicity as well… well we remain below the limits. So, fine. Other than that, a green kind of liquorice and plenty of green tea. Green’s the keyword here. Liquorice wood. Finish: long and tannic. Comments: fine but that’s the problem with these octaves. I’m glad I could try other new whiskies by The Warehouse Collection that have been much more to my liking. More about them soon on WF! SGP:371 - 74 points.

Mortlach 15 yo 1999/2014 (56.6%, Wilson & Morgan, Barrel Selection, sherry butt, cask #2)

Mortlach 15 yo 1999/2014 (56.6%, Wilson & Morgan, Barrel Selection, sherry butt, cask #2) Four stars W&M like oloroso, this should be oloroso. We like oloroso too. Colour: pale amber. Nose: chocolate and oak, I’d say. Does cocoa wood smell like this? Like these notes of dried mushrooms as well, but the whole remains a tad closed. So… With water: yess. Maggi and oxtail soup, plus drops of soy sauce. What one would expect from a Mortlach + dry oloroso combination. Mouth (neat): big fat chocolate and walnut eau-de-vie (should that exist). Distilled Marsala, or dry Madeira, or Manzanilla, or something like that. Very heavy, and yet kind of approachable, should you enjoy high extractions and, well, walnuts. A little mad, perhaps. With water: swims like a champ. Sure the oak got a tad too loud for my taste (walnut stain) but these notes of coffee, miso soup, soy sauce and Chinese plum sauce (the one they serve with Peking duck, always forget the name) are spectacular. What a concoction! Finish: very long. I know salted coffee’s not supposed to work too well, but there, salted coffee and I like that. Comments: extreme and spectacular. Some sides were a little unlikely, but I loved its… say assertiveness? SGP:462 - 87 points.

Mortlach 25 yo 1988/2014 (56.8%, Cadenhead, Sherry Cask, 576 bottles)

Mortlach 25 yo 1988/2014 (56.8%, Cadenhead, Sherry Cask, 576 bottles) Two stars I just loved the latest 1994/2015 ‘small batch’ (WF 91) but that one was almost totally spirit-driven. Might not be the case here. Colour: gold. Nose: these bicycle inner tubes that were in the old official NAS. I mean, it’s more a dragster than a bicycle. A box of rubber bands, then a box of cigars, then a box of prunes. A lot of boxes, I know. Not 100% convinced so far. With water: not a few inner tubes, a whole factory! Mouth (neat): yah. A strange beast, with some bitter oranges, Worcester sauce, reduced caramel and green peppercorns. This is extremely extreme, not for the fainthearted and maybe not for overly sophisticated palates. Good news, we’re not one of them. With water: really, it’s rather Pirelli 25 yo. Finish: long and probably a little tyre-ing (yeah, well done S., like, how much do we owe you?) Comments: I think you really need to be into these sorts of heavily rubbery drams. But if you do, this is paradise on earth. SGP:373 - 76 points.

Not an easy session, not an easy one. Last try, and this should be quite heavy too… Wish me luck!...

Mortlach 27 yo 1987/2015 (56.8%, Adelphi, refill sherry, cask #3104, 271 bottles)

Mortlach 27 yo 1987/2015 (56.8%, Adelphi, refill sherry, cask #3104, 271 bottles) Four stars and a half Utterly loved some sister casks, some others a little less so. High expectations anyway… Colour: amber. Nose: the oak first imparts some heavy bourbony notes, ala Pappy and stuff. Really. We’re meaning pencil shavings and all that, gunflints and vanilla pods… And very little sherryness. How very un-Jerez! Not even the hints of cured ham (that would be bellota, obviously) make it Andalucian, but on the other hand, there are very lovely whiffs of pot-pourri, Cuban cigars and vin jaune. Right, manzanilla. BTW I will fly to Jerez in three weeks, I can’t wait. With water:  there, chicken bouillon and all that, plus a touch of mint sauce. Something English, perhaps. Mouth (neat): very high impact sherry and oak, with a very thick mouth feel and plenty of Wurst/sausages. Never had such as sausage-y whisky. Add cloves, add cumin, and add juniper berries. Yeah, and even sauerkraut (choucroute or sürkrüt in Alsatian). With water: works. I had feared the oak would have become too loud, but it’s the opposite that happens. Cool! Finish: long herbal, spicy, and bouillony. Marmalade in the aftertaste, that was welcome. Comments: spicy sausage-y malt whisky, how gastronomic is that? Fun and funny – while probably quite unorthodox. SGP:372 - 88 points.

Well, Mortlach sure isn’t for vegetarians!

(and thanks a lot, Tomislav)

More tasting notes Check the index of all Mortlach I've tasted so far

 

 

    Logo  
Block Today: BLUES. Performer: Linda Hoyle. Track: Backlash blues. Please buy her music...
 
 

April 9, 2015


Whiskyfun

Glenfiddich 12, NAS and 1961

Our Glenfiddich section urgently needs an upgrade. Let’s hope that it wont, like at most software companies (Adobe, I’m looking at you), actually be a downgrade.

Glenfiddich 12 yo (40%, OB, +/-2014)

Glenfiddich 12 yo (40%, OB, +/-2014) Two stars and a halfThat’s right, the #1 malt whisky in the world, and with an age statement at that. In the past, it had tended to improve in my book (from WF 75 to 79) but I had last formally tasted it in… 2005. I know, ten years, but hey, I have no yearly book to feed. Colour: gold. Nose: extremely light, extremely gentle, extremely friendly. Apple juice, compote, very light honey, a touch of earl grey tea, some kind of sweet hay and then trademark pear liqueur. I find it delicate, and certainly not bland or too ‘all-purpose’. Mouth: it starts rather creamy, malty, a wee tad sugary, with good honey and maple syrup, then a half grassy, half citric profile. Orange zests in green tea? Tends to get dry. Finish: not too long, more on ripe apples and some tea. Not the best part, as often with ‘core-range’ malt whiskies, but that’s still very all right. Dry and grassy aftertaste. Comments: at the top end of the bracket. A fuller finish would have granted it with some solid 80 or 81 points. SGP:441 - 79 points.

Glenfiddich ‘Select Cask' (40%, OB, Cask Collection, travel retail, +/-2014)

Glenfiddich ‘Select Cask' (40%, OB, Cask Collection, travel retail, +/-2014) Two stars and a half As I understand it, this is from some kind of solera involving Californian red wine casks. Love California, love red wine, and love Californian reds (most), but arghh… NAS, naturally. As for the name ‘Select’, well… ;-) Colour: pale gold. Nose: a slightly harsher, less polished Glenfiddich at first nosing, with less of the aromatic gentleness that was in the 12, and certainly more vanilla and fresh nuts. Fairly nice, but modern. Tends to become rounder, all on butterscotch. Mouth: we’re closer to the 12, and styles are very similar, but this Select has got some vanilla-ed coating that may block the spirit’s fruity character. On the other hand, the mouth feel’s a little better. Hay and overripe apples. Finish: a tad longer than that of the 12, but I find a little too much sour/spicy oak. Comments: I did not get anything Opus One or Screaming Eagle, but there. It’s more than fair, but I did not like the finish too much. Yup, once again. SGP:451 - 77 points.

Good, let’s try to find an old glory… I think we have something at hand…

Glenfiddich 21 yo 1961/1984 (45%, Zenith, Italy)

Glenfiddich 21 yo 1961/1984 (45%, Zenith, Italy) Five stars I know, maths are not always our dear whisky bottlers’ stronger point. Colour: gold. Nose: great OBE in action, on some relatively fat and ‘inspired’ spirit. So that would be old leather jacket (in an old wardrobe in an old attic in an old house…), tin box, metal polish, tinned tropical fruits (papaya juice?), menthol cigarettes… Sadly, there’s also something too dryly herbal, I’d say. Grass juice and old damp cardboard? Could be a bad sign, but let’s see… Mouth: no no no, it’s very fine. Much bigger than contemporary Glenfiddich, starting with wheelbarrows of liquorice and sweet herbs and spicy sweets (there’s this ginger-based soft bonbon that they make in… Isn’t that Japan?), then salty mint, even high-strength tequila (that’s hard to find but it’s rather mind-blowing)… It even gets saltier and saltier, which really comes unexpected. Salty Glenfiddich??  Finish: very long, waxier, salty, rich, spicy… and endless. There’s also quite a lot of peat smoke, and had you claimed this was an old Islayer, I wouldn’t have cried wolf. Comments: the power and the fatness were a little disconcerting, given that this is Glenfiddich, but there, other whisky days, other ways. SGP:463 - 90 points.

More tasting notes Check the index of all Glenfiddich I've tasted so far

 

 

    Logo  
Block Today: GNAWA (kind of). Performer: Souad Massi. Track: Amessa. Please buy her music...
 
 

April 8, 2015


Whiskyfun

Quite possibly the last genuine verticale of Glenlochy we’ll ever do

A little verticale of Glenlochy, that’s unusual. Remember, the old Fort Williams distillery was closed for good in 1983, together with many colleagues. At some point it used to belong to the owner of the neighbouring distillery, Ben Nevis, before joining the DCL/SMD team. We’ll start, as usual, with a wee aperitif at rather low strength. And today, that’ll be…

Glenlochy 14 yo 1968 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseurs Choice, +/-1982)

Glenlochy 14 yo 1968 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseurs Choice, +/-1982) Four stars and a half Colour: gold. Nose: a really smoky nose at first, before oranges and perhaps ripe guavas start to blend in. In the background, old copper coins, tin boxes, old toolbox and all those sorts of greasy/sooty/metallic things, then more ink and carbon paper. There might be some OBE, especially since there’s also a little pinesap arising, cough medicine, leather… All that is quite complex, let’s only hope the palate won’t be a bit tired and flat. Mouth: tired? Not at all, quite the contrary in fact. Starts tarry and smoky, a bit salty as well, with an obvious ‘old Highlands’ feeling, displaying plenty of waxes and oils, a refreshing acridness (chewing tobacco) and all these sappy notes that we already found in the nose. And it wouldn’t even lose steam, rather remaining firm and phenolic/metallic, without ever becoming dusty or cardboardy. As for the fruits, they’re still oranges. Finish: granted, this isn’t the longest finish ever, but everything remains in place, with the salt and the smoke dancing in the aftertaste. Comments: not a surprise, but quite a bit of a surprise, still. Big fat malts never die, apparently. This starts well. SGP:463 - 89 points.

And now the main courses…

Glenlochy 27 yo 1980/2008 (53.9%, Signatory Vintage, Cask Strength Collection, hogshead, cask #2823, 231 bottles)

Glenlochy 27 yo 1980/2008 (53.9%, Signatory Vintage, Cask Strength Collection, hogshead, cask #2823, 231 bottles) Five stars Colour: dark straw. Nose: starts with a big sucrosity but that may be the high strength. Plenty of tinned fruits, oranges, zests, all that coated with some putty/marzipan (as opposed to putty/plasticine) and then more and more crystallised oranges. I do not get much smoke, soot, tar or metal this time, but water may change that. With water:  cancel that, there they come, old tools, rusty old machines, long forgotten paint pots, then oranges and herbal teas (lime tree, chamomile, the usual suspects). Definitely old ‘sooty’ Highlands. Mouth (neat): bonbons, bonbons and bonbons, plus a bitterish mint and a little leaven, perhaps. A little ink as well. With water: perfect, don’t we all love water. Soot, wax, tobacco, tar and smoke, liquorice… Finish: same, for a rather long time. Comments: a big bodied old Highlander indeed. Water tamed it. Quality’s very high. SGP:463 - 90 points.

While we’re at it… All these 1980s by Signatory were great anyway (well done Signatory!)…

Glenlochy 32 yo 1980/2012 (60.1%, Signatory Vintage, Cask Strength Collection, refill butt, cask #1759, 499 bottles)

Glenlochy 32 yo 1980/2012 (60.1%, Signatory Vintage, Cask Strength Collection, refill butt, cask #1759, 499 bottles) Four stars and a half A butt this time, so this might be a bit rounder. But have you seen the strength! Colour: pale gold. Nose: little, if not no sherry influence, this baby’s very close to its sibling, with maybe just more ‘silence’ because of the very high strength. A little sour wood, perhaps, but water will tell. With water: it’s a fighter, certainly less friendly than the ex-hoggie, it reminds me a bit of a Corsican friend – but that’s another story. The grass smoke is perfect, though (ha-ha). Mouth (neat): bang! A blade, really. Lemons and iron, plus silver and grapefruits. Extremely strong, ala old Rare Malts (more about those later). With water: perfect, lemons and grapefruits come out, with a bit of mentholated polish – or would that rather be… toothpaste? Finish: long, lemony, grassy and smoky. Comments: just excellent again, with just a little more austerity. As for the sherry, well there’s more sherry in northern Greenland. SGP:362 - 89 points.

Good, shall we go back in time?...

Glenlochy 25 yo 1969/1995 (62.2%, OB, Rare Malts, 20cl)

Glenlochy 25 yo 1969/1995 (62.2%, OB, Rare Malts, 20cl) Five stars This wee baby from the utterly lovely sets of 20cl bottles that could be found in the mid-90s. Why haven’t we bought more of those, why? Colour: pale gold. Nose: astounding, just astounding. You’re eating high-quality apples near a working coal stove, while polishing your shoes and quaffing some kind of heavily hopped IPA. With water: question, can you make shoe polish out of lemons? Also love these notes of concrete dust after a heavy shower. Mouth (neat): ooh this is good. It’s from the countryside, it’s got hay, smoke, dairy cream, barley, shoe polish, engine oil… And, yes, gunflints (well the ideas of gunflints as quoted when tasting white wine, because I’m not sure I’ve ever come across actual gunflints). With water: best of lemons and limestone. Finish: long, a bit minimal in a way, but supremely elegant. Comments: yeah, Pouilly-Fumé. Let’s spare a thought for the talented distillers who made this while listening to Honky Tonk Women. SGP:463 - 92 points.

Further back…

Glenlochy 21 yo (55.2%, James MacArthur, Fine Malt Selection, 5cl, 1991)

Glenlochy 21 yo (55.2%, James MacArthur, Fine Malt Selection, 5cl, 1991) Three stars and a half That’s right, a miniature. It’s said to be a rebottled 1967, but I’m afraid we have no proof. But as this is a miniature, our notes will be short… (what?) Colour: gold. Nose: there are similarities, but this baby’s unexpectedly medicinal, with a lot of antiseptic, then funny whiffs of damp gravel and chalk, then rather wet wool and, here they are again, our beloved wet dogs (we’re deeply sorry, dogs). Fun stuff indeed. With water: even more damp chalk, clay, gravel and herbs. Nosing freshly cut grass. Mouth (neat): it’s a copy of the Rare Malts, but indeed there’s something funnier. Perhaps some kind of caraway-flavoured butter cream? Some speculoos for sure. With water: indeed, speculoos covered with mint sauce. Finish: same, plus funny hints of chives. Comments: a bit unlikely at times, but yeah, it’s fun. And it’s only a miniature. Loved some parts. SGP:372 - 84 points.

And further back…

Glenlochy 30 yo 1963/1993 (52.1%, Signatory Vintage, sherry, cask #761, 190 bottles)

Glenlochy 30 yo 1963/1993 (52.1%, Signatory Vintage, sherry, cask #761, 190 bottles) Four stars and a half It seems that the great people at Signatory always had a crush on Glenlochy. I think we can understand why, can’t we. Colour: deep gold. There must be a bit of sherry in there. Nose: more old Highlands than the aforementioned old Highlanders. Massive shoe polish and gravel, then rising whiffs of mild tobacco and some kind of oriental orange-blossom-based jam, plus touches of wormwood and verbena that add lightness and, hum, femininity to the combo. Maybe a little dust as well, but let’s see… With water: no changes whatsoever, what a waste of Vittel water. Ha-ha. Mouth (neat): smashing oranges, grapefruits, minerals and polishes, with a very oily mouth feel, a touch of salt, always this sooty side and always these herbs, both minty and grassy/green. It’s the texture that’s most impressive, whether that came from floor maltings, direct firing, old yeast strains or the captain’s age. That’s, in my opinion, the main difference with contemporary distillates. With water: useless water! Its rare that water doesn’t change anything, neither for the better, nor for the worse. Finish: long, with the oranges singing louder – especially bitterish zests. Comments: just excellent, but in truth, I liked Signatory’s first 1980 even better. And of course the precious little Rare Malts. SGP:462 - 88 points.

More tasting notes Check the index of all Glenlochy I've tasted so far

 

 

    Logo  
Block Today: JAZZ (is that really jazz?). Performer: Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dog. Track: Pinch. Please visit his website and buy his music...
 


Previous entries (archived)

 

 

 

 
There's nothing more down there...
 

Nick Morgan's Concert Reviews



Whiskyfun FAQS
Whiskyfun Links

Check the
latest News at

Whisky Intelligence

We want spittoons

iPhone whiskyfun
Read Whiskyfun's daily
posts on your mobile

Whiskyfun's top whiskies

MM

Join Malt Maniacs

The GlenWonka

SGP on whiskyfun

Interactive map Scotland




Whiskycast

Canadian Whisky

Michael Jackson

war on whisky fakers


FTC disclosure

Drink Blog Code

Whiskyfun ad free blog

PostRank

Foodista Drink Blog of the Day Badge

Minds and whisky

Art no ads

Top 10

Connsr