Hi, you're in the Archives, January 2008- Part 1
MINUTE - PANIC! SOME
FORGERS ARE CHANGING NAMES! (thanks
for the info, Patrick)
<-- If you ever spot this small
logo on eBay, please proceed with
WHISKY WATCHDOGS COUNCIL FOUNDED!
Good, we now do have a Whisky Watchdogs
Council! From now on it’s three
well-known – and true -Whisky
Experts who’ll help us finding
out about whether this or that bottling
is either genuine, or dodgy, or a
plain fake. These very serious people
are nobody else than:
Broom, the famous
and very knowledgeable writer (and
Singh, who handles
The Whisky Exchange in London with
much maestria and is a great bottler
and collector as well.
Ehrlich, famous co-organiser
of the Whisky fair Limburg, collector,
retailer and bottler.
Believe me, if these guys think a
bottle is a fake, it means that it
IS a fake! What’s more, we may
have one or two other genuine experts
in whisky history and antique papers
joining in the future.
So, don’t hesitate to send your
pictures, links and comments to this
special email address: waronfakewhiskies
Also, rather than downloading a 'suspicious'
page in html and send the file to
us, please favour making hardcopies
(screen captures) of any Web page
or parts of it (on PC, hold down the
‘Alt’ key and press ‘PrintScrn’
– on Mac press ‘Apple’
+ ‘shift’ + ‘4’).
On PC you can also use this handy
freeware. It’s also wise
to make such screen captures of Web
pages that may well disappear, rather
than taking the risk of seeing them,
well, disappear whenever you need
them later on. Anyway, we already
have many cases in, and will publish
them one at a time. Stay tuned!
forgeries on eBay or elsewhere to
be published on these pages, please
add pictures and/or links plus comments
on why you think it's a fake bottle
that you bought or spotted. "I
bought a fake Macallan from the seller
XXXX" just isn't enough to make
it a clear case. Thank you! Oh, of
course we won't disclose your name
if you don't want us to!
you have friends who don't understand
but who buy on eBay, it would be cool
if you could tell them what happens
and pass them the most vital pieces
of information - thanks!
BOTTLE CASE - CATEGORY: CLOSED SALES
15yo 1964/1979 (45.7%, for Samaroli)
of auction: 25.11.07,
eBay - Price: EUR 469.00
docccc, Munich, Germany.
marks on the twist cap and missing
‘paint’ on it may prove
that the empty bottle was probably
left, part of the original pictures
on eBay's page. Right: close views
of the screw cap, taken by the buyer.
No need to ask the WWC (Whisky Watchdogs
Council) for this one as the pictures
speak for themselves. The seller had
posted many pictures of various parts
of the bottle on the eBay page but
of course no close views of the cap.
So, this bottle is probably genuine
but the content probably isn't, and
the whole is dodgy at best. Also,
beware of private feedbacks, that
should mean that the seller has something
to hide. More enlightening cases later...
BOTTLE CASE - CATEGORY: CLOSED SALES
27yo 1967/1995 (46%, OB)
of auction: 18.11.07,
eBay - Price: EUR 427.99
docccc, Munich, Germany.
never existed with a twist cap.
left, fake bottle sold on eBay, with
Right: original bottles from
the 'same' series.
the WWC (Whisky Watchdogs Council)
says this never existed with a twist
cap. Probably a mundane bottle that's
been relabelled. We're sorry but with
two obvious fakes spotted already,
the eBay seller docccc a.k.a. 'Arnold
J. Rimmer' goes onto the blacklist.
NOTE: as our friend
Dominiek found out, this seller nicknamed
'docccc' has a good sense of humour!
Indeed, it seems that he already corresponded
with various buyers using both the
names 'Thomas Schwarzenegger' and
'Arnold J. Rimmer'. The clever Dominiek
suggested to switch first names and
we got... Arnold Schwarzenegger and
Thomas J. Rimmer! The latter is a
character played by Chris Barrie in
Red Dwarf, instantly recognisable
by the permanent sneer on his lips
according to wiki. Grin...
SCORES ON EBAY: DIRTY TRICKS, DADDY!
fakers on eBay seem to be very,
very clever people. Not only do
they seem to sell more Macallans
than the distillery itself, but
they also know how to manage a true
‘brand portfolio’, just
like any good old whisky company.
all these nicknames are often ‘brands’,
several being owned by one and only
person, and most smartly, these clever
people just raise new brands every
once in a while, in case their ‘old’
brands get suspicious and hence stop
How do they do that, you may ask?
Well, it’s simple. As nobody
will buy any 1954 Macallan from somebody
having a feedback of only 5 or even
15 on eBay, they will simply organise
fake sales between various nicknames,
including one or several ‘new’
nicks/brands, until the ‘youngsters’
have accumulated 30 or 50 positive
feedbacks and can be launched into
the market so to speak. Sometimes
it’s items that are more or
less normally priced (so they’ll
have to pay some fees to eBay) but
sometimes it’s also ‘buy
it now’ items, like a bottle
of single malt for only EUR 1! Better
be quick before any ‘normal’
eBayer buys it, eh! So, when checking
a seller's feedback, please check
who are the people who gave the feedback.
If they are 'dodgy' people, you know
what not to do...
– TWO 1992 GLEN SCOTIAS
Glen Scotia 15 yo 1992/2007 (53.4%,
Exclusive Malts, cask #424, 241 bottles)
Colour: pale gold.
Nose: this one starts very punchy,
phenolic and grassy. Huge notes of
lamp petrol, linseed oil, fresh almonds
and wet newspaper, with hints of aniseed
in the background as well as freshly
cut green apples. If you like it raw,
this is for you. With water: a rather
superb wax arises, as well as hints
of wet hay, peat smoke, ale and wet
cardboard. One from the country, we
like this. Mouth (neat): harsh and
extremely ‘green’, hugely
grassy and peppery. In other words,
extremely austere without water, like
tequila at cask strength or something
like that. With water: it gets even
waxier, pleasantly bitter (chlorophyll
gums) and almondy, but the huge grassiness
remains. Finish: long, still very
grassy and waxy, with a faint saltiness.
Good, raw malt for lovers of good,
raw malts. SGP:273 –
Scotia 14 yo 1992/2007 (64.4%, Scotch
Malt Whisky Society, 93.24, 171 bottles)
Colour: gold. Nose: raw like raw alcohol
or even kerosene, with just hints
of beer, kirsch and soaked grains
emerging as well as used matches and
wet stones. It’s not that I
don’t like it but water is needed...
With water: nicer as expected. Added
notes of coffee and milk chocolate,
wet wool, beer, ‘not so dirty
vase water’ and fermenting grass.
Rougher than the Exclusive Malts.
Mouth (neat): yawn! Is this legal?
Grass juice and surgical spirit. Quick...
With water: better! Sunflower oil.
Close to it’s bro but sharper
and more spirity, slightly salty and
peaty. And of course extremely grassy,
especially at the very long but very
raw finish. Little wood influence
it seems – and not the most
balanced malt ever for sure.
SGP:172 – 76 points.
WAR ON WHISKY FAKERS HAS STARTED
Since we started our 'crusade' (I
hate that word but hey, this is a
crusade indeed) – and yes, that
was only yesterday - against the disgusting
pricks who keep selling faked bottles
of whisky on eBay, we already received
dozens of emails from people who bought
expected the same sellers - names
and pseudonyms - appear here and there
and we will definitely pillory them
in the coming days! We’ll need
a little time to edit all the pieces
of evidence we got and are still getting
but meanwhile, let’s just listen
to the very worthy pieces of advice
that two knowledgeable luminaries
give us about old whiskies:
“Maybe this latest initiative
will persuade collectors to stop believing
in the impossible. As I've said (too)
many times before, if it looks too
good to be true it probably is. Sadly,
the wisest manner in which to approach
any of these bottlings is with deep
suspicion. Ask questions and check
provenance before buying. The information
is often out there and there are many
specialists who are willing to help.
If the vendor is unwilling to enter
into a discussion then walk away.”
– Dave Broom
“Just assume they're all
fakes unless someone can prove otherwise.
Sad but true.” - Dr. Nicholas
also built a special
page that you’ll
find there, and we’re afraid
that this page will keep growing for
months, as it’s not only a bunch
of Italians (and Germans, and even
Americans it seems) who are trying
to scr*w us on a daily basis, but
also some of the hundreds of buyers
who are now trying to get rid of their
fake bottles while they can, sometimes
unknowingly that is. So, please, don’t
just check the sellers, check the
bottles as well! Anyway, stay tuned,
it’ll be crispy so to speak.
even try to have a Fake-O-Meter, thanks
to a few famous experts who'll help
us flushing the frauds out! But back
to 'normal' whisky for now...
– TWO 1991 ARDBEGS
Ardbeg 13 yo 1991/2004 (46%, Murray
McDavid, MM426, Bourbon)
Colour: white wine. Nose: a softer
Ardbeg it seems, starting on vanilla
cake and porridge but getting then
more phenolic, tarry and earthy. Also
notes of fat oysters, fresh hazelnuts,
ripe apples and marzipan. Good stuff
on the nose but maybe it lacks the
sharpness of earlier versions by Murray
McDavid – a matter of taste
of course. Mouth: sharper now, peppery,
lemony, earthy and almondy, with these
typical tarry notes that only Ardbeg
and sometimes Port Ellen can display.
Classic. Finish: long, with more pepper,
bitter almonds and salt. One for your
hipflask. SGP:248 –
16 yo 1991/2007 (50%, Douglas Laing
OMC, finished in rum cask, 334 bottles,
Another odd finishing if you ask me,
why o why would a 16yo Ardbeg need
rum? Colour: pale straw. Nose: call
me stupid but this is quite interesting
actually. Sure it’s more a cocktail
than single malt but I must say I
quite like this 3rd dimension. Indeed,
the rum notes fit the Islayer quite
well here, creating ‘something
else’ that displays notes of
soot, wet candy sugar, dried bananas,
liquorice, celery, wet earth, leather
and mint. Gets more Ardbeggian after
that (Laphroaiggish actually), with
notes of bandages, antiseptic, tiger
balm, cough syrup and tar. Totally
unorthodox but very interesting and
pleasant I’m afraid ;-). Mouth:
err... again, this is quite excellent.
The mixture works very well but it’s
maybe because Ardbeg really gets the
upper hand here. Tar, peat, liquorice,
salt, lemons and candy sugar (but
not too much). Big presence. Finish:
long, totally Ardbeggian this time,
with quite some salt and almost no
rum influences whatsoever anymore
except for some faint bubblegummy
notes in the aftertaste. Nutshell:
a big one that will make for an interesting
variant in your bar - yes, Serge speaking.
SGP:438 – 88 points.
– Recommended listening: oh
well, I know I shouldn't like this
kind of 'jazz' and sample fiddling
but hey, at least it doesn't make
you scratch your head too much and
is rather nicely 'crafted'. It's
Cam and he's doing Rebirth
of the cool.mp3. Miles ahead indeed...
Please buy his music.
sorry, no tastings and no music, I
think this will be long enough for
ON EBAY ITALY: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!
true whisky lovers know that several
Italian sellers on eBay are shameless
forgers. Many old Macallans for, instance,
are fakes, whether official bottlings
or G&M bottlings. A pre-war Macallan
for 200 or 300 Euros? Come on! Same
with old Cadenheads dumpies, Laphroaigs
30 or 40yo, Ardbegs Very Old, Springbanks,
Highland Parks, Taliskers... Fakes,
fakes, fakes all over the place!
I wouldn’t have imagined that
one of these rotten sellers would
go as far as forging an old bottle
of Suntory. A bottle that I bought
here’s the whole story. You’ll
see, it’s really scary...
1 – Buying the old Suntory
December 12, 2007, I spotted this
marvellous old bottle of Rare Old
Whisky by Suntory, bottled for the
American forces, supposedly in 1945.
That’s what the seller wrote,
that is... Sure, the Italian tax
stamp around the neck looked suspicious
but both label and bottle seemed
to be genuine. What’s more,
it was quite cheap for such a piece
of History and I knew that some
GI’s were stationed in Italy
at the end of the war, so, well,
I bought the bottle from the Italian
seller ‘caposiux’, for
GBP 50. The price was quite low
but I thought that maybe nobody
was really interested in an old
dusty Japanese bottle. Anyway, a
few days later, I got the bottle,
in perfect conditions. As I’m
a very creative person, I immediately
posted a positive comment on the
seller’s page on eBay and
just typed ‘perfect’.
So far, so good...
few days later, I wrote to my excellent
friend Chris at Nonjatta (Mr. Japanese
Whisky!) and told him about the
bottle, asking him if he had details
about the US Army and Japanese whisky.
He came to the conclusion that it
may well have been a bottle gathered
by a GI while stationed in Japan,
that he then brought to Italy in
his bag while being transferred
to another American military base.
the claim made by the seller about
the bottle being from 1945 was maybe
a bit dodgy, said Chris, because ‘there
was no "Made in Occupied Japan"
mark. Between 1945 and 1952, Japan,
which was not really considered a
proper country but rather an occupied
territory of the US, carried that
mark on all/most/many of its products'.
Anyway, the bottle still looked good
to me, and after all, WWII or the
Korean war didn’t really matter
to me. Remember, only 50 Bristish
pounds... Yes, but...
2 – The revelation
I decided to ask the seller whether
he had any other information about
the bottle and its origins or not.
So, on January 7, 2008, I wrote
exactly this to signore ‘caposiux’:
the very same day, the very quick
Mr. caposiux answered this:
no big deal, lotteries are quite common
and maybe the ‘1945’ claim
was just a wild guess. Nothing too
serious, I thought, until I got this
second, very mysterious message from
Another – different, I’m
sure you noticed – answer to
the same question, by another person
whom I had never heard of before and
with whom I had no eBay activity before.
Strange, very strange to say the least.
Maybe it was the same person? A person
having such a poor memory, that he
would have answered the same question
twice? (albeit with a different version)...
Bizarre... Anyway, maybe flea markets
and lotteries are sort of the same
thing in Italy? But I smelled a rat
(who wouldn't?) and decided to browse
eBay a little further. Believe me,
that was to be no waisted time because
here's what I was soon to find...
that’s right, the very same
bottle (albeit EMPTY) was sold for
only USD 6.99 by an American gentleman
right on November 19, to that‘portokalo2023’
who had bizarrely sent a second answer
to my request for more information.
Obviously the very same person as
‘caposiux’ or a close
friend! But wait, was it really the
same bottle? Well, yes and no... Please
have a closer look at these pictures...
the empty bottle sold on November
19 to 'portokalo2023' by an American
gentleman (who had it from his Dad
who had brought it home from the war)...
the bottle refilled by the buyer,
with an added Italian tax stamp (carefully
made dirty for good measure, or maybe
soaked off an other old bottle) and
sold to me by 'caposiux' right on
December 12, that is to say way less
than one month after the empty bottle
left the good old USofA for Italy.
to say that this obvious forgery
says long about the sharp practices
of these/this people named 'caposiux'
and 'portokalo2023'! Would you buy
anything else from him/them from
now on? Or any Florentine old whisky?
Of course not!
Now, this isn't it yet,
as I also decided to spend a little
more time browsing eBay to look
for other possible empties bought
by these fuckers... And I just couldn't
believe my eyes...
3– Plain disgust
Yes, there, on evilBay,
was the complete whisky forger's tool
kit, all bought by 'portokalo2023'
within a few weeks. For example, cool
like these beautiful Pulteneys (GBP
2.20, that's cheap)...
maybe an old Glendronach or a Tamdhu?
You may make reservations right now...
And I'm asking you, why not an old
Glen Grant, or even a blend?
this Talisker 'Robert Watson' that
a friend bought later on as a full
and of course an old Macallan 1937
by G&M... Even easier to make
laser copies out of flat, unused or
carefully kept in albums labels...
and we almost forgot Highland Park!
Of course, the St Patrick label is
Not to mention a few stars from
Islay... Nice Lagavulin, eh!
it's a genuine industry! Here are
a few simple but old Macallans...
(we told you, beware old Macs on eBay
can hear you complaining: no Glenfarclas?
again? Your choice, OB or G&M?
The old 8 is very nice...
enough labels... But what to do with
all these labels? Right, you need
bottles and, of course, whisky in
case a buyer decides to open and taste
his bottle. Pff, easy, just buy old
blends! Old blends are cheap and their
bottles are more or less the same
as most single malts'. Like, say,
this cheap old Match whisky, of which
you'll buy as many bottles as you
one bottle on December 6 - 1 Euro
only! Gosh, that's cheap indeed!...
another one on December 28... (expensive,
a third one on December 29... (you
never know... wait, no, it's the same,
just a matter of time zone. Anyway,
who would buy two bottles of this?
A match collector?)
course, you may also buy some 'ready
to fake' like this empty bottle of
Grand Reserva with its original box.
The problem is that it's much more
expensive! 63.60 Euros... and 27 bids!
Holy crow, are there so many fakers
out there? Or is it our multiple-personality
friend who put all the bids using
his various pseudonyms?
yet another empty Macallan. See, the
people actually drink the stuff! (no
wonder, it's quite good, yeah, yeah...)
a very old Irish with a beautiful
label... Why not!
imagine you just bough a beautiful
old label like, say an old pre-war
Macallan OB 'Handwritten' and you
want to make shiny laser copies
out of it to stick them on some
cheap bottles of blend. Right, how
will you handle the 'numbered label'
issue? Indeed, it's too tricky to
sell two bottles or more bearing
the same numbers, isn't it? (although
we already saw that happen). Anyway,
all this is very easy, just buy
an ancient stamp machine with 'rolling'
numbers. 7,50 Euros, that's really
nothing considering the beast...
is it now? Didn't you have enough?
What capsules? Ah, yes, the capsules
to put onto the corks... It's true
that they are usually destroyed when
anybody opens a bottles. No big deal,
you can buy 60 of them, all ancient,
for less than 10 Euros! Plain pewter,
finally (I swear), you may well consider
buying boxes to give more value to
your forged bottles. Like a beautiful
box for a 40yo Laphroaig... And cheap,
Or this (ha-ha-ha, the fucker bought
the 30yo for more money than the 40!
yes, we've had enough, I agree. No
further comments needed I guess...
Except that sure McTears (despite
the dodgy moves like that Mutter Bowmore,
or the recent Ben Wyvis) and whiskyauction.com
are a bit more pricey than eBay, but
at least you can bid safely there.
Whereas eBay may well be plain rotten,
and not only in Italy. Apologies to
the honest eBay sellers - we know
there are some - but frankly, this
is too much. Because no, 'portokalo2023/caposiux'
is NOT the only one...
THREE OLD PULTENEYS
Pulteney 8 yo (40%, Gordon & MacPhail,
Colour: pale gold. Nose: very austere,
mineral and ‘coastal’,
with a big smoke. Wet stones, linseed
oil, sea breeze, iodine, walnut skin
and matchbox. No sweetness/mellowness
whatsoever in this one even if there
are beautiful whiffs of church incense
and sandalwood arising after a while.
More wood smoke as well. Mouth: oily,
fat and very salty at the attack but
a little short after that, with a
discreet middle (just a little wax
and a little salt). Other than that
it’s very good, especially at
the finish that’s spicier and
bigger again. Very ‘Northern
– 82 points.
Pulteney 15 yo (40%, Gordon &
MacPhail, circa 2007)
Colour: pale gold. Nose: completely
different, starting all on ultra-big
notes of lemonade and orange soda
and developing more on wet wood and
oysters. Truly maritime but falls
apart a bit after a moment, getting
almost silent whilst the old 8yo kept
picking up steam. Mouth: starts on
the same big notes of orange soda,
then oak and ginger but gets a bit
stale again after that, as if Pulteney
needed a little more than 40% to express
itself. Finish: shortish, with a few
spices (pepper) and a little cardboard.
Lacks oomph but the profile is pleasant.
SGP:242 – 78 points.
Pulteney 21yo 1983 (46%, OB)
Colour: pale gold. Nose: more oak,
more vanilla, more marzipan, more
fresh putty and less orangey/coastal
notes. Maybe a very faint soapiness
in the background. We start to get
the same kinds of incense and wood
box as in the 8yo after a moment but
those never get big. Ends with walnut
skin, candle wax and ginger beer.
Mouth: good body this time, with a
very gingery and rather salty attack,
soon to get very spicy (pepper, cloves).
Hints of oranges again (both bitter
and blood), a little cardamom, quite
some iodine (big oysters, urchins)
and then its back to big spicy notes.
Rich and fat mouth feel. Finish: long,
peppery, gingery and salty. A big
Pulteney of high quality. SGP:462
- 86 points.
– Recommended listening: while
some mad, mad things happen in Africa
these days, let's listen to one of
the most brilliant musicians from
that continent, the utterly fabulous
Ibrahim doing Namlhanje.mp3.
Please support Africa and its artistes.
Miltonduff 8 yo (43%, Duncan Taylor
Colour: pale gold. Nose: smoky, grassy
and a little sugary (cane sugar syrup),
with quite some character. Notes of
hazelnuts, toast, mint and liquorice
as well as smoked tea, cider apples
and bitter oranges. Priced like a
blend but exactly the contrary as
far as the aromas are concerned. We
like this. Mouth: sweet, malty and
‘simply’ fruity (apples,
pears). Good body. Nougat and praline,
notes of maple syrup, the whole getting
spicier over time (nutmeg). Excellent
balance. Finish: long, clean, still
full-bodied, slightly salty. At around
£15 a bottle, this is very excellent
– 83 points.
11 yo 1996/2007 (54.1%, Exclusive
Malts, finished in a Châteauneuf
du Pape wine cask, cask #5566, 327
David Stirk’s bottlings keep
improving but it seems that he just
jumped on the wineisers’ bandwagon.
Let’s see what gives... Colour:
pink. Nose: powerful but very milky,
yeasty, porridgy and then very ‘vinously’
fruity. Pipe tobacco, raspberry jelly
and cooked strawberries (lots). This
is far from being unpleasant but I’m
sorry, I think it just does not smell
like Scotch whisky. Mouth: exactly
the same aromas, with added liquoricy
notes (plus hints of kirsch as often)
and also something earthy. Long and
similar finish. Frankly, this will
please many winesky lovers because
the Rhône’s spiciness
really shines through here, but I’d
better sip either a natural Miltonduff,
or a Châteauneuf (do you know
Clos du Caillou? Not as expensive
as others and very good), or even
a Marc de Châteauneuf. SGP:431
– 79 points.
8 yo 1999/2007 (55.7%, Whisky-Doris,
Colour: straw. Nose: pretty much in
the Battlehill’s genre, only
a little grassier and more austere,
maybe thanks to the higher strength.
Gets then very gingery, vanilled,
grassy and kind of dusty but I feel
this needs water so let’s not
lose time. With water: this is funny,
it’s wood smoke that comes out
now (Miltonduff?) as well as aniseed,
dill and more vanilla crème.
Mouth (neat): round and punchy at
the same time, excellent! Again, close
to the Battlehill but with more oomph,
more liquorice and more caramel toffee.
Nice bitterness on the back of your
tongue (chlorophyll). With water:
less development than on the nose
with water, the profile staying the
same, except for maybe more spices
(soft curry and pepper). Finish: long,
pleasantly grassy and spicy, with
a pinch of salt. Peppered and honeyed
cooked apples (let’s try that
one day). SGP:443 –
– Recommended listening: another
cool voice from the north, she's Jeanette
Lindstrom and she's singing
(with a very tasty Hammond organ in
the background). I'm melting... Please
buy this lady's music!...
– TWO 1963 GLEN ALBYNS + TWO
Albyn 21 yo 1963 (40%, Gordon &
MacPhail for Sestante)
Glen Albyn is a distillery I’ve
always had problems with but maybe
that’ll change this time...
Colour: full gold. Nose: well, this
is bizarre indeed, going into all
directions right at first nosing.
Something ‘chemical’ (lemon
soda starting with ‘7’
and ending with ‘up’),
something curiously perfumy (musk
and rosewater), something chalky and
cardboardy... A bit fuzzy I must say
but it gets better focused after a
moment, switching to oranges and wax
as well as newly cut grass and something
like damp peat smoke plus mint. Gets
surprisingly beefy after a few minutes.
Certainly old style and way above
average this time. Mouth: excellent
attack, rather punchy at just 40%,
on kumquats, bitter oranges and cough
syrup plus loads of dried ginger.
Beautiful peat, wax and various kinds
of pepper (I should ask Martine, she’s
an expert in pepper – and not
only in pepper of course). Excellent
grassiness as well, crystallized lemons,
pine resin... Top notch, by far my
best Glen Albyn ever (my favourite
used to be the old official 10yo,
at a only 80 points). Finish: long,
with an exceptional bitterness (superb
resinous notes). A rather fantastic
Glen Albyn, I’m so glad I could
finally find one that’s really
to my liking. SGP:473 –
Albyn 15 yo 1963/1979 (80° Proof,
Cadenhead's Dumpy, Black Label, 75cl)
Colour: gold. Nose: ah yes, here’s
one of these heavily ‘chemical’
Glen Albyns. Starts on new plastic,
ginger tonic, aspirin and wet chalk,
goes on with notes of a handful of
old coins, coal oven and wet stones...
Not sure if I should like this or
not I should say, it’s so different...
Let’s let the palate decide
on this. Mouth: hmm, this one really
suffers from the comparison with the
21yo, especially at the attack that’s
a little too bitter and cardboardy
I think. Green tea, green olives,
white pepper, lemon zest, grape skin...
Not as bad as other Glen Albyns but
too bitter and green for my taste.
Finish: long but still very bitter.
I know some other Maniacs liked this
one a lot but I’m sorry, I don’t.
SGP:272 – 77 points.
Albyn 27 yo 1979/2006 (53.2%, Part
des Anges, Closed Distilleries, cask
This one was distilled when the Cadenhead’s
was bottle - not that it matters :-).
Colour: pale straw. Nose: rather close
to the old Cadenhead’s but less
metallic and certainly more cereally
and peaty. Fresh nuts, wet clay, wet
stones, ginger tonic, seltzer, plaster,
lime juice, grass, green tea, beer...
I guess you get the picture, it’s
not easy-easy whisky. Mouth: a bizarre
attack, rather powerful but quite
weak in the middle, acrid, grassy,
lemony, cardboardy, metallic, dry.
Really lacks ‘fullness’.
Bitter liquorice sticks. Finish: ‘ampler’
but still bitter, a little too acrid
and heavily gingery. This one reminds
me of an herb liqueur but not one
of the best ones I’m afraid.
Now, it’s interesting malt whisky,
different from any other distillery.
The other bottlings by this new bottler
were much better I think (Glenugie,
Port Ellen and so on). SGP:181
– 74 points.
Albyn 25 yo 1979/2005 (58.7%, SMWS,
69.10, 'Flamenco dancer with slow
Colour: pale straw. Nose: yes, this
is another hard Glen Albyn, less complex
this time but very typically grassy,
lemony and stony/mineral. A bigger
sourness after that (cooked yoghurt,
sour dairy cream), whiffs of stale
lemon juice, heavy cardboard, dust,
warm milk... This is hard. Mouth:
a surprisingly sweet attack but the
rest is rather poor, cardboardy, dusty,
dry and too herbal. And prickly at
that. Long but truly acrid and unbalanced
finish. One to forget as quickly as
possible if you ask me. Even the slowest
flamenco dancer doesn’t deserve
to be compared with this poor ‘thing’!
SGP:170 – 59 points.
– Recommended listening: Catherine
Deneuve singing? Yeah,
sort of... It's quite good actually,
it's called Toi
jamais.mp3 and it was in François
Ozon's 2002 movie '8 women'. Please
buy Catherine Deneuve's works.
- FORZA SINGLE MALTS!
all these new wineskies around, and
as I don’t think Scottish wine
casks are available yet (with global
warming that’ll happen sooner
or later), we’re seeing more
and more single malts having dual
nationality – well, sort of.
Today and while we’re wondering
if we shouldn’t rename our humble
little website ‘Whiskywinefun’,
we’ll have four Scottish-Italian
whiskies, coming from three distilleries
that are in the forefront of wine
cask finishing, namely Bruichladdich,
Arran and Edradour.
14 yo 1993/2007 'Bolgheri French oak'
(46%, OB, The Italian Collection,
This one was matured in Bourbon cask
and then ‘enhanced’ in
Gaja’s Bolgheri casks (Ca’
Marcanda). It is a Bordeaux ‘taste-alike’,
made out of traditional Bordeaux grapes
(Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet
Franc) and matured in French oak from
the Allier region. Colour: salmony.
Nose: it’s the wine that strikes
first, with rather deep notes of peonies
and ripe strawberries, but the whisky
takes control after that. Muesli,
ripe peaches and rather big notes
of raw leather and gunpowder. Frankly,
this is rather interesting. Mouth:
more than often, I think that wine
finished whiskies are nicer on the
nose than on the palate and this is
no exception, as I don’t like
the strawberry sweets/malt and liquorice
combo too much, but I wouldn’t
say this isn’t good, quite the
on with raspberry jam, caramel, nougat
and even bigger malty notes. Finish:
rather long, not vinous as such but
certainly wine-influenced. It works
– again, if you like this kind
of profile. SGP:542 –
83 points. By the way, doesn't
the wine's label have something...
14 yo 1993/2007 'Brunello French oak'
(46%, OB, The Italian Collection,
Again, this was matured in Bourbon
casks and then enhanced in Italian
wine casks, this time Angelo Gaja’s
Brunello di Montalcino – I believe
it’s Rennina - made out of Sangiovese,
the latter being matured in French
oak again. Colour: apricot. Nose:
the wine is a bit more discreet than
in the Bolgheri here but the whole
is a little more exuberant, which
means that there’s a bigger
maltiness (obviously). Nice oak, vanilla
and hints of blood oranges. Somewhat
rounder and heavier than the Bolgheri.
Mouth: exactly the same happens on
the palate. Bigger, oakier, maybe
a tad bitterish now (un-sugared green
tea, rubber). A wilder version –
maybe it’s the Sangiovese. Finish:
very long, liquoricy, with big notes
of blackcurrant leaves tea invading
your palate. Well, this is big, to
say the least. SGP:462 - 82
'Fontalloro Wine Cask finish' (55%,
is made in the Chianti region but
is an IGT (or a so-called Super-Tuscan),
not a Chianti, but is more expensive
than Felsina’s regular Chianti
Classico. Like in Bolgheri, the grapes
are Sangiovese. Colour: apricot. Nose:
very, very close to the Bruichladdich
Bolgheri, just more powerful, thanks
to the higher strength I guess. Not
uninteresting at all, reminding us
a of a wood-matured grappa. Hints
of gunpowder again. Mouth: more or
less the same again but with a much
bigger spiciness (mostly pepper).
Other than that it’s all on
blackcurrant leaves and strawberry
jam, especially at the very long but
slightly tannic and drying finish.
This was maybe finished for a little
longer than both Bruichladdichs. SGP:451
– 78 points.
11 yo 1996/2007 (56.7%, Signatory,
Super Tuscan finish, 467 bottles)
This time it’s casks from the
famous Ornellaia that were used. Again,
it’s a Bordeaux-inspired Super-Tuscan
made out of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon
in the coastal region of Tuscany (remember
the stupid British ‘wine journalist’
in the movie Mondovino? No, no names,
we’re sorry) Colour: apricot
with reddish hues. Nose: oh, this
is, again, exactly in the same vein
on the nose (err...) but with an even
bigger punch. Blackcurrant buds mixed
with gunpowder, oak and vanilla. The
fact that a Bruichladdich, an Arran
and an Edradour smell more or less
the same when finished in similar
wine casks may say long about the
wine’s influence, but again,
they all work if you like this kind
much heavier than the three previous
ones, much more concentrated, thick,
oily, flavourful. Very extreme but
very pleasant as such. Heavy nougat,
kumquats, blackcurrant jelly and strawberry
jam. Chewed cigar. Finish: extremely
long and totally restless, slightly
‘cooked’. A wine monster
but one that works very well if you
like... heaviness. Marco Materazzi?
SGP:732 – 87 points.
– Recommended listening:
have some very good jazzy flute today
Zombie et ses bisons
It's true that they sound a bit like
Magma, so blease buy the blazin' bisons’
– A QUICK SHORT LAPHROAIG
Islay 8 yo 1998/2007 (53.7%, Exclusive
Malts, cask #103, 708 bottles)
The label tells us this one was
distilled at Laphroaig. Colour:
pale straw. Nose: very direct, smoky,
medicinal and farmy as it should
be. Antiseptic, seawater, wet wool
and peat smoke – one of the
most medicinal modern Laphroaigs
I could nose I think. Mouth: powerful,
wild, peppery and extremely peaty.
Kippers, smoked oysters, salt (reminds
me of potash). Finish: more of the
same for a very long time plus notes
of ‘salted marzipan’.
Exactly what we’d expected
from a young Laphroaig. SGP:158
- 86 points.
12 yo 1993/2006 (54.5%, Scotch Malt
Whisky Society, 29.58, 'Sweet Meat')
Colour: gold. Nose: a little more
marked by the wood (vanilla) and more
orangey, also somewhat sharper and
more spirity. Hints of metal and ink,
dried meat (Grisons). A bigger smokiness
as well, but I liked the 1998 a little
better. Mouth: strangely cardboardy
at the attack, dusty, bitter... Over-grilled
beef. The rest is quite perfect but
these strange dusty notes make the
whole quite lame I think. Finish:
even dustier (quite some cinnamon
and mint as well). There are so many
great young Laphroaigs around that
I feel that we just didn’t need
this, err, rather strange (and almost
flawed I think) one. SGP:357
- 69 points.
11 yo 1991/2003 (55,4%, Scotch Malt
Whisky Society, 29.28, ‘Deep
Colour: pale straw. Nose: like the
1998 but with added almondy notes.
Medicinal almonds? Also green apples,
wet earth and a full plate of oysters.
Great! Mouth: ah yeah, now we’re
talking. Pure peat, almonds, green
apples, oysters, smoked fish and salt.
I’m sure you’re getting
the picture. Finish: again, more of
the same but with an added mintiness
just like in the 29.58. ‘Great
young stuff’. SGP:158
- 89 points (and thanks,
15 yo 1991/2007 (54.6%, Signatory)
Drat! I forgot to write down both
cask number and number of bottles
for this one and wouldn’t like
to disturb the bottler for such unimportant
matters... Anyway, all previous 1991
Laphroaigs from this series I could
try were truly excellent so let’s
not bother. Colour: pale straw. Nose:
very, very close to the 29.28, with
maybe added hints of lemon juice and
bolder notes of smoked fish. Brilliant
whisky. Mouth: yes, it has got ev’rything,
from cough sweets to kippers and from
salted liquorice to fresh almonds
and apples (and lemons). And a great
finish of course, with a great tarry
aftertaste. I’m sure all these
1991 Laphroaigs by Signatory will
become true blue chips after a good
fifteen years of bottle mellowing
– should the large corks behave
well. Future 1966’s or1967’s?
SGP:258 - 91 points.
McPEAT AND JACK WASHBACK
1967, RJS McDowall wrote
that an ingredient ‘will
continue to be used. It
would take a particularly
good whisky to do entirely
What was it?
– Recommended listening: Azerbainjani
pianist extraordinaire Aziza
Mustapha Zaddeh plays
and sings Stars
dance.mp3. Or when Bach meets
Asia and Bill Evans... Please buy
Miss Zadeh's music.
– Yes, we’re back from
Whiskyfun’s usual New Year holidays
in southern Morocco and we can now
resume normal activity. ‘Any
whisky out there?’ you may ask...
Well, we had planned to do only a
bit of ‘dopy whisky dramming’
on the terrace - we like to spice
up old, slightly tired but still very
good whiskies by adding 5 or 10% of
a young cask strength Islayer to them;
this year, for instance, we had some
30yo Highland Park MacPhail’s
Collection containing 10% of Berry
Bros’ recent Badger and I must
say this ‘home vatting’
was going beautifully with watching
the dromedaries on the beach at twilight
(picture) – but alas, we just
couldn’t escape our Maniacal
influences as we also spotted these
strange bottles on some shelves. Prince
Charlie MacLean? Davin Napoleon? Gasp,
you just can’t avoid the MM’s,
– OLD SCAPAS
1963 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail,
Colour: full gold. Nose: a superb
start, very floral (dandelions, mullein
syrup, light honey) and with loads
of nectar, ripe apricots and high-end
apple juice. The oak is very discreet.
Develops on notes of riesling, chardonnay
(buttery toastiness), hints of sea
water, apple peelings, very soft liquorice,
marzipan and puty. Nice hints of fresh
vanilla pods. A very beautiful freshness
in this very honeyed and very floral
old Scapa. Mouth: very soft and maybe
a bit weakish at the attack but other
than that it's very delicate and very
subtle whisky. Vanilla, a little salt,
good oak, liquorice, apple juice...
Gets much saltier after a moment,
as if somebody had thrown a pinch
of salt into your glass. Finish: shortish
but pleasant, on vanilla, soft tannins,
apple juice and again quite some salt.
As often with old whiskies, this one
was more interesting on the nose but
it's still a rather wonderful Scapa
globally. SGP:451 (wazzat?)
– 86 points.
1965/1988 (45%, Moon, "The Sea
Series", Hogshead, cask #2879,
240 bottles, 75cl)
Colour: gold. Nose: this one is much
weaker at first nosing, with just
hints of oak (plank), flour, chalk
and cardboard. Not much development
after that, except a little green
tea and a little mint. Rather a disappointment
so far. Mouth: undubitably better,
with more oomph and a nice vanilla
at first sipping as well as excellent
herbal notes (mint, lemon balm) Good
balance, with also hints of rum and
coffee toffee. Finish: long, warming,
spicier now (ginger, cloves, dried
cardamom). Well, the nose wasn't too
nice but the rest is quite superb.
Patience needed with this one. SGP:442
– 85 points.
37 yo 1965/2003 (45.4%, Scotch Malt
Whisky Society, 17.25)
Colour: full gold. Nose: much, much
bigger at first sniffing, starting
right on oak extracts (rather heavy
varnish, walnut skin, apple peelings,
strong tea). Goes on mainly on resinous
and almondy notes, getting a little
closer to the 1963 (yellow flowers,
vanilla, white wine and marzipan)
and quite 'coastal' as well (seashells)
A classy old Scapa. Mouth: ah, this
is close to the Moon (so to speak)
but oakier and spicier. Dried fruits,
oak, pepper and mint, getting more
resinous after that (chlorophyll as
well). Growing pepperiness. Finish:
long, on old oak, pepper and grape
pips - quite drying in fact. In short,
excellent if you like oak in your
whisky and aren't put off by a litle
tartness. Pleasant notes of apple
juice and walnuts in the aftertaste.
SGP:361 – 87 points.
22 yo 1982/2005 (46%, Chieftain’s,
Amontillado cask, cask #549, 558 bottles)
Nose: a very, very pleasant Scapa
where the malt and the sherry merge
beautifully. Semi-dry, semi-sweet,
with a very pleasant ‘coastality’
and quite some honey. Mouth: complex,
with a lot of honey and enjoyable
notes of flor. Very good body. Very
faintly drying at the finish. Unusual
and very recommended! SGP:642
- 88 points.
– Recommended listening:
stunning song by Tunisian oud player
and singer Dhafer
Youssef called Al-Hallaj.mp3.
Let's buy African music!
the index of all entries:
malts I had these weeks - 90+
points only - alphabetical:
Albyn 21 yo 1963 (40%,
Gordon & MacPhail for Sestante)
15 yo 1991/2007 (54.6%, Signatory)