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Hi, you're in the Archives, June 2019 - Part 2

       

June 2019 - part 1 <--- June 2019 - part 2 ---> July 2019 - part 1

 

 

June 29, 2019


Whiskyfun

 

 

 

Angus's Corner
From our casual Scottish correspondent
and guest taster Angus MacRaild
Angus  
All the fun of the pairs...
I know, new lows! Surely the Geneva convention will have something to say about these titles?  Anyway, let’s try some more duos today, almost all of them being recent(ish) releases.

 

Daftmill 2006/2018 (46%, OB ‘Winter Release’, first fill barrels, 1265 bottles)

Daftmill 2006/2018 (46%, OB ‘Winter Release’, first fill barrels, 1265 bottles)
This is completing the recent Whiskyfun Daftmill tasting of new single casks as we were missing one due to a sample breaking in transit. Thankfully, I had ‘backup’ at home and this untasted earlier release to pair it with. Colour: white wine. Nose: after tasting a few Daftmill you really start to notice the distillery hallmarks. They’re in spades here. Things like abundant fresh fabrics and linens, bread dough, autolytic notes of wholemeal seed loaf, water biscuits, freshly peeled lemons, citrus oils, bay leaf, crushed aspirin, chalk and white pepper. It’s getting a bit boring to state this now, but it really does bring to mind old young Rosebanks. Lots of wet leaves, cut grass, lightly waxed canvas and soda bread. I find this style very good but it can be a tad demanding at times as well. Mouth: vitamin tablets, chalk, hay, straw, raw cereals, fresh wash, baking soda, aspirin, butter and freshly chopped herbs. It’s ironic that it’s a winter release as it’s just about the most summery kind of profile you can imagine. Goes on with notes of tarragon, dry earth, light sooty notes, tree bark and moss. Has this forest after a rainstorm petrichor character that I’m very fond of. Finish: medium and with plenty of bitter lemon, white pepper, cereals and a rather big grassy element. Comments: It’s good whisky, but I suspect it’s not for everyone. Although, I’m finding that Daftmill really possesses its own style which, for a new distillery, is undoubtedly a great asset.
SGP: 451 - 86 points.

 

 

Daftmill 2006/2019 (57.1%, OB UK exclusive, cask #21, bourbon barrel, 234 bottles)

Daftmill 2006/2019 (57.1%, OB UK exclusive, cask #21, bourbon barrel, 234 bottles)
This is the one we missed out of our recent ‘Daftmill Bonanza’. Colour: straw. Nose: same territories only even more pronounced. Cut grass, sunflower oil, sheep wool, aspirin, lemon curd, lime pith, dried banana chips, melon, fresh fabrics, coconut water and plain oatcakes. Purity and freshness are really the foundational qualities here. With water: plain breakfast cereals, freshly kilned malt, wort, moss and smooshed dandelions. Mouth: barley eau de vie mixed with young calvados. These notes of light mead, cider apples, pear cordial and elderflower champagne all mix together very nicely. Some tonic water, bitter lemon, more very light medical notes such as aspirin, then putty, marjoram and hawthorn. With water: going into herbal liqueur territory now with big notes of lemon thyme, bay leaf, parsley and sage. Some bitter herbal ointments, sheep wool, lemon infused olive oil and more punchy grassy notes. It’s actually becoming quite austere, not in a bad way but just rather punchy, brittle and uncompromising. From all the bottlings I’ve tasted so far I would argue that Daftmill is a rewarding but not an ‘easy’ whisky. It demands time and attention. Mind you, that’s more than can be said for some other new whiskies - which demand nothing... Finish: quite long and still with a lot of quinine, herbs, bitter lemon peel, cooking oils, plain cereals, sourdough and white pepper. Comments: I hope Mr Cuthbert can allow some of his casks to reach greater ages, it really feels like this kind of profile could explode into something quite remarkable at 20+ years. Not that I’m accusing the person who created a new distillery and waited 13 years before releasing a drop of being impatient mind you.
SGP: 461 - 88 points.

 

 

***quick bonus***

 

 

Rosebank 21 yo ‘The Roses Edition III - Jealousy’ (52.5%, Elixir Distillers, 695 bottles)

Rosebank 21 yo ‘The Roses Edition III - Jealousy’ (52.5%, Elixir Distillers, 695 bottles)
There seems to be quite a few comparisons between Daftmill and Rosebank emerging these days (mostly from Serge on these very pages it should be noted). So, seeing as I only have one sample of Rosebank, let’s quickly record some notes for this and see how proximate to Daftmill we are... Colour: pale white wine. Nose: there is indeed a slightly ‘Daftmillian’ aspect emerging here. Lots of freshly cut grasses, breads, lemon peel, butter, chives, cereals, hints of plain yoghurt, yeasty sourdough starter, delicate cough medicine notes and plain porrdige. All very good and rather pure and straight. With water: develops more towards plain cereals, plasticine, chalk and a kind of funny light cheesy note. Boiled sweets, hints of linseed oil and trail mix. Gets a little more herbal with time, touches of mint and marjoram. Mouth: sunflower oil, more lemon in the shape of lemon balm and lemon sweeties. Parsley, chalk, plain breakfast cereals, nutmeg and hints of pine needle. With water: better with water now I think. Bigger, fatter, oilier and more ‘full’ with these notes of white pepper, cider apple, dry mead, green banana and more freshly baked breads. Finish: good length, all on apples, cornflakes, mint julep, light ointments and a touch of soot. Comments: I must admit I’ve never been a massive fan of Rosebank. This is undeniably very good whisky, but I’m not sure I’d chose this over a Glenlochy or St Magdalene for the same money. Anyway, it’s undeniably similar in style to these new Daftmills.
SGP: 551 - 89 points.

 

 

Linkwood 27 yo 1991/2018 (55.6%, The Single Malts Of Scotland, cask #10340, hogshead, 212 bottles)

Linkwood 27 yo 1991/2018 (55.6%, The Single Malts Of Scotland, cask #10340, hogshead, 212 bottles)
I seem to hardly ever try Linkwood these days, not sure why. I’ve nothing against it as a whisky, sorry Linkwood. Colour: straw. Nose: extremely fresh. All on cut grass, leaves, cereals, pithy citrus peels, fresh breads, green tea, light herbal notes such as bay leaf and oregano and things like fabric, twigs and moss. Greenery and sunlight! A very appetising profile overall. With water: gets rather buttery with notes of zingy salad dressing, cornbread, pollen, chalk, white flowers and baking soda. Mouth: whereas the nose was elegance and subtlety the palate is somewhat richer and fatter. Lots of olive oil, sweet cereals, pollens, richer herbal notes, sun lotion, melon and trail mix. Enjoyably full and mouth-coating. With water: thins out a little but still retains this nice mix of meadow flowers, sweet butter, toasty cereals and pollens. Very good I think. Finish: long, slightly yeasty, lemony, lots of cooking oils, cereals, toasted seeds and more butter, infused with freshly chopped herbs this time such as chives and parsley. Comments: I should drink more Linkwood.
SGP: 631 - 87 points.

 

 

Linkwood 27 yo 1990/2018 (50.3%, Signatory Vintage 30th Anniversary, cask #9735, hogshead, 233 bottles)

Linkwood 27 yo 1990/2018 (50.3%, Signatory Vintage 30th Anniversary, cask #9735, hogshead, 233 bottles)
Colour: gold. Nose: there’s a thread of shared DNA with the 1991 with these light fruit and buttery / grassy notes but this one is globally richer, fatter and more towards a classical mature Speysider in profile. More honey, more wax, bags of dried flowers like pot pourri, incense, herbal and fruit teas, crystallised citrus peels, quince and jasmine. Really a beautiful nose. Develops these wee notes of chamomile and bergamot with orange bitters and tiny hints of gingerbread. Superb! With water: sun lotion, hand cream, rapeseed oil, bay leaf, dried herb mix, wildflowers, brown bread, barley sugar and more very delicate waxy notes. Superbly elegant stuff. Mouth: wonderfully resinous and thick. Full of waxes, spiced honey, juniper, exotic teas, polished hardwoods, quince, heather ale, mead, elderflower, cider apple, nutmeg, aniseed and pollens. With water: really great with water. Everything just falls in line. Honeys, waxes, pollens, sunflower oil, cupboard spices, sultanas, dried herbs, darjeeling tea... wonderful. Reminiscent of some older vintages from the early 70s. Finish: good length, all on honeycomb, beeswax, eucalyptus, dried mint, sage and dried fruits. Comments: It looks as if Andrew must have dismounted his fork lift truck to select this one! Yet another terrific selection from Signatory’s 30th birthday series. I just love the way it harks back to an early 1970s style of Speysider with these lovely waxy and honey tones.
SGP: 751 - 90 points.

 

 

Glen Moray 28 yo 1990/2018 (51.4%, The Whisky Agency for The Whisky Exchange, 138 bottles)

Glen Moray 28 yo 1990/2018 (51.4%, The Whisky Agency for The Whisky Exchange, 138 bottles)
Colour: gold. Nose: mmmmm! Warm custard pie with sultanas, mille-feuille, cut green apple, lime zest, bailed hay, some generic light dessert wines and wee notes of white bread, butter biscuits and lemon barley water. Perfect mature fruity Speyside malt whisky. The kind of easy and rather lush profile that it’s hard to imagine any whisky drinker being against. Develops some rather scented fruit notes of kiwi, melon and green banana. Also tangerine and apricot. The fruits seem to just gather pace with time. With water: more notes of golden syrup, lots of freshly glazed pastries, cinnamon swirls, croissant, sunflower oil, cut grass. Lovely and superbly fresh Glen Moray. In time some wee touches of chalk and white flowers. Mouth: lovely delivery, all on dense fruit jellies, quince, spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger and also notes of elderflower cordial, gooseberry and cider apple. A rather tart and zippy fruitiness than balances perfectly with the pepperiness of the wood. Some pollen and dandelions as well. With water: a tad drier with water, wee hints of white pepper, olive oil, gorse, cornflakes, dried thyme and mirabelle eau de vie. Still a little tart gooseberry note and more wildflowers. Finish: long, with bitter lemon, freshly milled grist, barley sugar and pumpkin seed oil. Comments: Excellent! The kind of session whisky which can be just deadly in the right company. Also, yet more proof of just how well Glen Moray ages in the right cask.
SPG: 641 - 89 points.

 

 

Glen Moray 32 yo 1986/2018 (45.8%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #35.226 ‘Nocturne du Elgin en Bflat minor’, refill hogshead / 1st fill oloroso hogshead, 227 bottles)

Glen Moray 32 yo 1986/2018 (45.8%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #35.226 ‘Nocturne du Elgin en Bflat minor’, refill hogshead / 1st fill oloroso hogshead, 227 bottles)
One of these cheeky wee finishes that the SMWS are increasingly putting out and which nobody can seem to agree on. Colour: deep orangey gold. Nose: bags of scented hardwoods and oak polish. Spiced blood oranges, mulled wine, cola cubes, hessian, mixed spice powder and wee allusions to pencil shavings and dusty workshops which hints at active oak in the finishing. However, globally it remains very in check and rather excellent. I also find some darker fruit tones such as prune and cranberry sauce. Mouth: graphite oil, dark fruit chutneys, a touch of brake fluid, oily rags, old tool boxes and some very old dessert wines on the cusp of losing their sweetness. Shoe polish, cracked leather, old books and pistachio ice cream drizzled with raspberry sauce. Funny stuff but pretty entertaining. Finish: medium in length and rather warming with lots of spice, old leather, gentle meaty notes, some very old pinot noir and wee hints of camphor and dried mint. Still a wee nibble of active oak just peeping round the corner. Comments: The debate about just how much these finishings fit with the Society’s ethos of the ‘single cask’ will no doubt go on for a while. What I would say is that, while I’m not 100% convinced that this whisky is better for the finishing (I would have been keen to try it before re-racking) the result is a rather fun and playful whisky which I know many people have waxed lyrical about recently and which certainly fits with the Society’s tongue in cheek sensibilities. I’d also say that, when it comes to finishing, at least the SMWS give their whiskies a proper length of time (around 2 years +) after re-racking.
SGP: 661 - 85 points.

 

 

Mortlach 21 yo (43%, Gordon & MacPhail, 2017)

Mortlach 21 yo (43%, Gordon & MacPhail, 2017)
Colour: light gold. Nose: very nice opening all on buttermints, shortbread, hawthorn, nettles and mint tea. The fatness of the Mortlach distillate is pretty upfront and does a good job of making it feel a bit more punchy and weighty than 43%. Some olive oil cake, apricot jam and toasted fennel seed. Mouth: indeed, you really do ‘feel’ the weight of the distillate here. There’s a slight rubberiness, which is pretty classic Mortlach in my book, and a fair bit of green pepper, cupboard spices, cooking oils, cereals, rubbed mint leaf and a hint of things like lamp oil and camphor. A few cider apples bobbing about in the background. Finish: a tad short perhaps and getting a bit meatier and beefy - once again pretty textbook Mortlach. Comments: good, bold and characterful malt whisky. Shows undeniably well at 43% but I can’t help but feel it would have notch up a few extra points if it had been bottled at 46%. But as it is, it’s still a very fine drop!
SGP: 561 - 86 points.

 

 

Mortlach 27 yo 1991/2018 (51.7%, Signatory Vintage 30th Anniversary, cask #4239, refill sherry butt, 542 bottles)

Mortlach 27 yo 1991/2018 (51.7%, Signatory Vintage 30th Anniversary, cask #4239, refill sherry butt, 542 bottles)
Colour: amber. Nose: pure dark fruit compotes, dates, prune juice, dunnage funk, damp wine cellars and dense, cognac-sodden lumps of Christmas cake. Concentrated beef stock, bouillon, marzipan, walnut extract and mint cordial mixed with fresh espresso. A pretty serious sherry cask, can only imagine what it must have been like on its first fill. Continues with red liquorice, raspberry cordial and coal scuttles. With water: anthracite, brown toast, wet leaves, petrichor and many cured meats. Mouth: big arrival, all on hessian, bitter chocolate, chocolate lime sweets, bitter orange peel, strong herbal ointments, black tea and star anise. Some pretty seriously dark and meaty notes emerging which start to nod in the direction of sulphur. To my palate it’s more the natural kind but some may find it a tad too much. There’s still plenty raisiny sweetness, black pepper, damp pipe tobacco and ranico. With water: tames this meaty side and elevates the peppery and coal smoke notes, lots of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and dried mixed herbs. A little maraschino and bitter herbal extracts. Finish: long and resurgently meaty, strong black coffee, mint syrup, black cherries, salty black liquorice, hessian and walnut oil. Comments: I sense this may well be a divisive dram. Some may find these meaty and earth aspects a little excessive. Sherry fiends on the hand will likely ‘lose their shit’. Perhaps loses a few points on technicalities but still a pretty stupendous and uncompromising dram!
SGP: 572 - 88 points.

 

 

Laphroaig 20 yo 1998/2019 (55.6%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #29.262 ‘So long and thanks for all the medicine’, 2nd fill barrel, 231 bottles)

Laphroaig 20 yo 1998/2019 (55.6%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #29.262 ‘So long and thanks for all the medicine’, 2nd fill barrel, 231 bottles)
Someone at the SMWS seems to have tripped and spilled all these 1998 Laphroaigs onto the market in the past month or so. You’ll hear no complaints from me. Let’s see if this one is up to the same kind of scratch as its recent siblings... Colour: white wine. Nose: In the words of a certain Alsatian marketing guru: millimetric! That is to say, purity and blade-like precision. A wonderfully thick smokiness that recalls buckets of hot tar, black pepper on smoked mackerel, still warm bonfire embers, seawater, dried kelp and crushed aspirin mixed with seashells and chalk. I just adore this kind of profile which manages to be simultaneously pure, precise, coastal, invigorating and yet also very aromatically complex and rather elegant. There’s also this rich seam of medicine running through it. Bandages, embrocations, antiseptic, floor cleaners and various no-nonsense ointments that are usually confined to hospitals. Some farmyard as well with these hints of raw peat and sheep wool. With water: dilution really brings out the farminess now. There’s dung, silage, mud, clay and big wafting peat smoke. Still in the background though is brine, burning rosemary wood, black olive tapenade and anchovy paste. Totally thrilling Laphroaig! Mouth: wow! Superb oiliness. It really has everything: medicine, peat smoke, grease, engine oils, farmyard, seashore brilliance and sharp notes of lemon juice, ash, tar, iodine, seawater and smoked grist soaked in brine. There’s a kind of seesaw between a heavier, greasier profile, the weight of which pulls at the more elevated, sharper, precise qualities of salinity, citrus, sea air, earth, raw barley and smoke. With water: really perfect now with water. Olive oil mixed with brine, green olives, preserves lemons, antiseptic, more iodine, TCP, mercurochrome, bandages. Classical Laphroaig only bigger, broader and more complex. You never get away from this feeling of being caught between the hearth of a peat fire and the seashore. Finish: long, lemony, very oily, tarry, briny and full of kiln smoke, engine grease, mineral salts and lots of thick, smoked fish notes. Comments: We definitely got a bit carried away there and I appear to have written yet another novella. Apologies for that! However, this is undeniably an excellent wee Laphroaig and goes to show that they were still making some stellar distillate in the late 1990s. As always, great distillate + refill wood + time = serious whisky!
SGP: 477 - 91 points.

 

 

Laphroaig 20 yo 1998/2018 (58.3%, Signatory Vintage 30th Anniversary, cask #700392, refill sherry butt, 573 bottles)

Laphroaig 20 yo 1998/2018 (58.3%, Signatory Vintage 30th Anniversary, cask #700392, refill sherry butt, 573 bottles)
Colour: light amber. Nose: this one opens with a more directly greasy and tarry profile. Smouldering twigs, roasted peanuts, mint chocolate, umami seasonings, black olive bread, antiseptic and a kind of wooly, sooty peat profile. It’s also more herbal, these big, dense herbal extract notes and herbal bitters - the kind that make Jagermeister look like Angel Delight! Normally I’m a bit reticent about modern peat and sherry together, but this refill profile really works so far. With water: smoked juniper, pub carpets, squid ink, hot gravel, BBQ sauce, raw seawater, old creel nets and some kind of smoked mussel broth. Mouth: a big, grizzly, sore-headed arrival! Hugely tarry, full of black pepper, smoked teas, meat stocks, damp earth, TCP, iodine drops and smoked beef jerky. Also something like smoked cola syrup (calling all mixologists please...) smouldering pine cones and charcoal. With water: now it sways like pissed Viking on a pub crawl between bitter herbal teas, cough medicine, farmyards, a mechanic’s workshop, the seashore and eventually the hospital I suppose. But it never stumbles or looses balance. You just have to kind of follow it because there’s no way in hell you’d be crazy enough to fight the fucker! Finish: long and full of ashes, brine and black olives. Superbly herbal, tarry, meaty and greasy. No hangover and the police decided it was best to just let it go... Comments: What I love is that despite the cask-induced differences you can really feel the Laphroaig accent in both of these drams. The shared DNA is registering somewhere around ‘Jurassic Park level’ (ps: please direct all enquiries about cultural references to Serge). Overall though, same level of magnificence as the SMWS. Thankfully, I hear Andrew Symington still has around 30 casks of this Laphroaig, just next to that gorda of Parkmore he pours for his beloved tourists, on the left as you go in the warehouse...
SGP: 488 - 91 points.

 

 

 

 

June 28, 2019


Whiskyfun

 

 

 

Angus's Corner
From our casual Scottish correspondent
and guest taster Angus MacRaild
Angus  
The Scottish Heatwave Brigade: Caperdonich!
Apparently it’s hot in Alsace. Serge’s jazz LPs are warping to the extent that they’re starting to sound like Justin Bieber playing an extended Hurdy Gurdy solo! Not sure if that's an improvement or not... Either way, let’s send in a wee relief tasting from Edinburgh in the form of two recentish Caperdonich.

 

Caperdonich 26 yo 1992/2018 (51.4%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #38.23 ‘Kissing a pear’, refill barrel, 277 bottles)

Caperdonich 26 yo 1992/2018 (51.4%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #38.23 ‘Kissing a pear’, refill barrel, 277 bottles)
Colour: straw. Nose: fresh laundry in an airing cupboard, pollen-heavy lilies, honeysuckle, watermelon, some diluted pastis, brioche and quite a few biscuity notes such as digestive and shortbread. Lemon bonbons, barley water and some plain cereals with a wee buttery aspect. Very nice, if a little simple. With water: vitamin tablets in mineral water. This kind of cereal-scented effervescence and notes of cornflour, water biscuits, white meadow flowers and canvas. Very light. Mouth: sweet condensed milk, cornflakes, Weetabix, a little more generic melon, lemon peel and a slight cardboard note which isn’t too spectacular. More pollen, light runny honey, hints of heather and some new world IPA. With water: better! It sheds this cardboard note and goes towards pollens, grasses, cereals, freshly chopped herbs and more lemony and biscuity qualities. Finish: a bit short and a tad flat. Buttermilk, plain cereals, raw sunflower seeds. Not a whole lot happening I’m afraid. Comments: It had its moments but we’re a long way from the glories of early 70s Caperdonich. Good for summer and an ice cube though I’d suggest Serge...
SGP: 431 - 78 points.

 

 

Caperdonich 23 yo 1995/2018 (58.4%, Signatory Vintage 30th Anniversary, cask #95050, refill sherry hogshead, 265 bottles)

Caperdonich 23 yo 1995/2018 (58.4%, Signatory Vintage 30th Anniversary, cask #95050, refill sherry hogshead, 265 bottles)
Colour: gold. Nose: much bigger and ‘fatter’ than the SMWS. This is all on golden syrup, hot cross buns, buttery crumpets, Golden Grahams breakfast cereal, a drizzle of olive oil and after a short while a few more mechanical aspects as well. Hints of oily rag and tool boxes. I also get wee touches of caraway, mint julep, ginger biscuits and various kinds of fruit teas. Some kind of spiced mead and a few other stewed garden fruits. With water: now the fruits come to the fore. In the form of fruit salad juices, fruit jellies, kiwi, plum jam and gooseberry. Perhaps a couple of pineapple cubes from the sweetie shop as well. Also some drier autolytic notes of bread dough and baking soda in the background. Mouth: lean, sleek and rather syrupy with white pepper, star anise, jasmine tea, black olive, some very delicate ointment notes and spicy cocktail bitters. Unusual and very good I think. Develops towards freshly baked breads - wholemeal - and notes of dried dark fruits such as date and sultana. With water: lemons and limes. Sunflower oil, green tea, hibiscus, parsley and bay leaf. Again it’s treading this tightrope between drier, more tertiary elements and various fruity subtleties. Holds your attention well. Finish: good length. Lots of lemon cough drops, orange cordial, cocktail sugar syrup, butter biscuits and a few dried herbs. Comments: Unusual, interesting and very good latter era Caperdonich. Seems the distillate didn’t quite run out of steam after all! Yet another solid selection for Signatory’s 30th birthday bottlings.
SGP: 561 - 88 points.

 

 

Ok Serge, you can get back in the pool now...

 

 

 

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

 

June 25, 2019


Whiskyfun

 
 

June 24, 2019


Whiskyfun

The little four hand sessions

Today Port Ellen old and new (hence very old)

We know what we're trying to say. It’s always cool to taste a new Port Ellen, but aren’t they becoming a little old indeed? We’ll see, but first, the usual aperitif…

Port Ellen 25 yo 1982/2007 (52%, Old Bothwell for Jens Steinert)

Port Ellen 25 yo 1982/2007 (52%, Old Bothwell for Jens Steinert) Five stars
Colour: deep gold. Nose: woo-ooh, whaaah… This is stunning! Lots of hessian, canvas, rope, fishing nets, tar, it’s really fat, smoky and greasy, and extremely Port Ellen. This natural dirtiness that’s very typical, rubber boots full of seawater, pipe tar, sheep wool, kippers smothered with butter and lemon juice (says Angus, who’s about to get hungry, apparently), peat embers… With water: some extreme kind of smoked curry, embrocations, mercurochrome, coal smoke, smoked mackerel covered in black pepper (says Angus, why ask), lots more tar, lots more hessian, lots more smoke, oilier smoke, engine oil, mechanical, smokes… Mouth (neat): rich, heavy, ridden with pepper and more tar, fish sauce, very oily, like creosote, olive oil mixed with brine, black tapenade, pipe juice, gentian cordial, smoked mussels… It’s all excellent but quite extreme, some kind of Black Sabbath of whisky shall we say. Ozzy pre-Sharon, says Angus. With water: salted honey, salted bitter ale, medicine and chalk, beach pebbles, some bitter oranges… Finish: very long, with more greener spices, juniper, curry leaf, bonfire smoke, caraway… Take that, Jägermeister! Comments: one of hundreds of very very good Port Ellens. Quite extreme. And well done Jens, retrospectively.

SGP:376 – 91 points (Angus 91).

Port Ellen 39 yo 1978/2018 (50.9%, OB, Untold Stories series, 1500 bottles)

Port Ellen 39 yo 1978/2018 (50.9%, OB, Untold Stories series, 1500 bottles) Five stars
This ex-bourbon and refill sherry. What to say? Well it’s said to be the oldest Port Ellen ever but there’s also a new private 40 for some kind of Chinese dude. Great guy, I’ve heard, also that everyone’s buying him rounds in the bars these days ;-). Colour: gold. Nose: the wonders of some great casks blended together. Fantastic smoked honeys, many oils including rapeseed and grape pips, beach wood, sandalwood, dried seaweed, many elegant teas, bergamot, earl grey, hessian, perhaps a little hashish, then unfolding citrus, exotic hardwood resin, jasmine, green banana… Really intricate nose, superbly complex, you could even find, somewhere in there, a little kumquat from the Flatlands. With water: green olives, anchovies, a little squid ink, salted pistachios, and a delicate mildly smoky nuttiness. Smoked almonds and beeswax. Mouth (neat): looks like some casks had gotten too woody, but that other casks managed to offset that effect. Angus finds his beloved preserved lemons, something mechanical which may allude to that PE dirtiness which seems to disappear after 30 years, then a perfect salt/mint/lemon combination. Some English mustard powder, adds Angus. With water: the palate opens really beautifully with water, it becomes wider and even more powerful. Bitter oils, mead, heather, dried litchis and longans, a little bit of tarragon as well… Finish: long, on lemon peel, gentle medical notes, embrocations, smoked olive oil (provided such thing exists, Angus), salted cookies, smoked salmon, tiger balm… It really is endless, Port Ellen’s always got some of the longest finishes. Comments: these batches of casks that made up many Special Releases just seem to be evergreen.

SGP:455 – 92 points (Angus 92).

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

 

June 21, 2019


Whiskyfun

A Daftmill bonanza finally

One of the hot names these days, partly thanks to a fresh and tart spirit and to some proper ageing. The marketing’s pretty fine too, since there isn’t much of it. By the way, Angus is at WF Towers these days, so he's joining us...

Daftmill 2006/2019 (54.9%, OB, Taiwan Exclusive via Kingfisher/Longlife, First fill ex-bourbon cask, cask #48, 186 bottles)

Daftmill 2006/2019 (54.9%, OB, Taiwan Exclusive via Kingfisher/Longlife, First fill ex-bourbon cask, cask #48, 186 bottles) Four stars and a half
Kingfisher is no one else than our very good old friend and compadre at the malt maniacs, Ho-cheng. Colour: straw. Nose: quite a bit of fruity bubblegum but also lemon sherbet and barley sugar, lemon barley water says Angus, it’s like the raw ingredients but with this layer of added natural sweetness over the top. Once again it reminds me of some young Rosebanks at high strength, I remember an 8 by Adelphi, for example… Some glazed pastries (Angus). With water: Angus says it goes towards freshly laundered fabric, while we both get some water-diluted pastis. Some lemon meringue pie and a little bit of grass. Wonderful. Mouth (neat): a creamy barley, some bitterer lemon liqueur, a touch of eucalyptus, some American Cream Coda (says Angus), some pineapple as well, and a wee chalk and aspirin combination. With water: gets grassier and drier, we’re also finding all-vitamin tablets, soda bread, Berocca (don’t Bayer need a little help these days?) and some starchy autolytic character, as well as some bone-dry Champagne. Finish: good length, with cereals, lemon zests, still a bit chalky and with these light medicinal notes… Very good. Comments: a very solid 89 but we’re looking in the direction of ninety.
SGP:551 – 89 points (Angus 89).

Daftmill 2006/2019 (56%, OB, Royal Mile Whiskies Exclusive, First fill ex-bourbon cask, cask #44, 216 bottles)

Daftmill 2006/2019 (56%, OB, Royal Mile Whiskies Exclusive, First fill ex-bourbon cask, cask #44, 216 bottles) Four stars
I may have had a few drops of this one a few days ago while on the Royal Mile. Colour: pale gold. Nose: this bubblegum is still there but there’s more American oak influence as well, with touches of coconut liqueur, some melon, gorse bush says Angus (which has got a coconut aroma – not Angus that is), some kind of minty herbal bitters such as old Fernet Branca, these milk bottle sweets, and something that reminds me of some old young ex-bourbon Yamazaki. Angus adds that it also gets more pollen and nectary. With water: coconut cream, soda bread, maybe a little bit of white pepper?... Mouth (neat): the wood is bigger again, but it’s very clean and spicy, mentholated, with dried mint leaves, sunflower, some tea for sure, green tea with lemon… With water: goes a wee bit towards a bourbon character, spiced oranges, a lot of dried flowers, pot-pourri, oatcakes… Some leafy tobacco says Angus. Finish: rather long and rather more ‘craft’, breadier, spicier, on cinnamon cake and black tea. Green pepper. The aftertaste is a little drying. Comments: could this one be too old already? I’m joking… A superb one again.
SGP:451 – 87 points (Angus 88).

Daftmill 2006/2019 (56.9%, OB, Europe Exclusive, First fill ex-bourbon cask, cask #77, 198 bottles)

Daftmill 2006/2019 (56.9%, OB, Europe Exclusive, First fill ex-bourbon cask, cask #77, 198 bottles) Three stars and a half
Europe, that still includes the UK at time of writing, but Angus still got special permission from Boris, just in case. Colour: straw. Nose: we’re fully on cereals this time, with buttered toast, brown bread, lemon curd, grass, olive oil, mint tea, then rather mashed carrots and butternuts. Impeccable. Really excellent, says Angus who’s very inspired. Rather brittle, like the EU, does he add. With water: gets very biscuity, with some marshmallows as well. Lemon slices in soda water, says Angus. Mouth (neat): pure barley eau-de-vie, almost like a new-world European whisky (Junker’s?), then chalk, lemongrass, putty, and that aspirin note again. With water: some very light cough medicine, while it flattens a bit with water, getting a little cardboardy. Plain oatmeal. Finish: medium, nicer when unreduced (like the EU, adds Angus), otherwise a little flat, maybe. Cereals. Comments: a very technical Daftmill, excellent stuff, but maybe lacking a little bit of soul.
SGP:451 – 84 points (Angus 85).

Daftmill 2006/2019 (57.4%, OB, Luvians Exclusive, First fill ex-bourbon cask, cask #89, 216 bottles)

Daftmill 2006/2019 (57.4%, OB, Luvians Exclusive, First fill ex-bourbon cask, cask #89, 216 bottles) Four stars
Luvians in Fife is one of Scotland’s older whisky shops, one of the first to specialise in malt whisky. Colour: pale gold. Nose: fabric, limoncello, marzipan, chalk, barley, a touch of pink grapefruit (fruity IPA), some bitter lemon, Angus also finds a very light waxiness. Some fresh butter. With water: Angus finds a little rosewater while I’m rather finding sweet porridge with honey. Go figure. Eucalyptus. There’s always something eucalyptus/menthol in these Daftmills. Mouth (neat): bigger, spicier, bolder, more biscuity (buttery shortbread), with some crystalised angelica, a little marzipan as well maybe, a touch of menthol cigarette... With water: I’m finding gingerbread, cookies, something a little more medical than the others (elactoplast), warm grist, a distillery character, a little plasticine… The texture is a tad fatter here. Finish: rather dry, medium again, with plain dry toast, a little grass, some flower seeds maybe… Comments: tends to run out of steam in the end but overall quality remains high.
SGP:451 - 86 points (Angus 84).

Daftmill 2006/2019 (57.4%, OB, Berry Bros. retail exclusive, First fill ex-sherry cask, cask #39, 606 bottles)

Daftmill 2006/2019 (57.4%, OB, Berry Bros. retail exclusive, First fill ex-sherry cask, cask #39, 606 bottles) Five stars
The first ex-sherry Daftmill we’ve ever tried! Colour: amber. Nose: wow! Chocolate sauce and Maggi (says Angus, who’s really delighted now), black olive bread, dry black raisins, bitter herbs, Jägermeister, walnut wine, fruity black coffee, sultanas… It is a wonderful nose! With water: chopped dates, more of this miso thing, coffee cake, sweet biltong, lovage and parsley, dried mushrooms, cigarette ashes, Chinese green tea… Truly wonderful. Mouth (neat): really rich, bitter in a good way, with herbal extracts, cough syrup, rancio, more of this big savoury umami, litres of green walnut liqueur (nocino), a lot of pepper too, tar liqueur… Angus also finds strawberry wine. For some modern sherry cask, it’s impressive. With water: a lot more green walnuts says Angus, dried rosemary, and a sensation of sour cherry beer (Kriek). Maybe some hessian and certainly some speculoos, Demerara rum… Finish: much longer as well, with some chocolate and an appetizing bitterness. Prunes, tobacco… Comments: these kinds of clean yet bold distillates take sherry the best. This is more proof. The level of complexity is noticeably higher than with the bourbon casks.
SGP:561 – 90 points (Angus 90).
 

June 19, 2019


Whiskyfun

Glenfiddich vs. Wardhead,
the fight of the century

Oh come on, S.! That’s simply going to be two official Glenfiddich vs. two indie ‘bastards’.

Glenfiddich 12 yo (40%, OB, +/-2018)

Glenfiddich 12 yo (40%, OB, +/-2018) Three stars and a half
Would you imagine that I last formally tried this heavy seller more than five years ago? It was very okay (WF 79). This is still the previous livery, while there is a brand new one out these days. No worries, nothing earthshattering, except that the age statement got much bigger. A very good sign! Colour: gold. Nose: as I remembered it, really. Light, on overripe apples and pears, melons, brioche, light honey, and a touch of vanilla. It’s well, it’s nice, and it leaves you alone, if you see what I mean. Mouth: hold on, this is very good! Ho-ho-ho! Lovely apple juice, soft spicy cakes (ginger and cinnamon pie), notes of mead, vanilla cake, a handful of sultanas, a drop of all-flower honey, and perhaps one of proper ale. Really, I find this excellent, even if they may produce millions of cases. Finish: sure it’s short, but it’s clean and refreshing. Hints of oranges in the aftertaste, that always works. Comments: what a surprise! I used to have this baby and its previous inceptions at 75-78 points in the past, but this is a different league. I’m almost about to recommend it. No, no one hacked little WF, not even the FSB or the CIA.
SGP:541 - 83 points.

Glenfiddich 14 yo ‘Rich Oak’ (40%, OB, +/-2017)

Glenfiddich 14 yo ‘Rich Oak’ (40%, OB, +/-2017) Two stars and a half
Some new American oak and some new Spanish oak involved here, so let’s remain careful. It’s only since a few years that our Scottish friends are claiming that new or rejuvenated oak is good, while they used to state that they were to be avoided only ten years ago. How truth changes, don’t you agree? Now, that was only a lousy finishing in this very case, so things may have remained all right, let’s see… Colour: gold. Nose: not as brightly immediate as the 12, but I have to say that I do not hate this inflated ‘fiddich, not at all. Pleasant notes of cakes, custard, raisins, malt extract, stout, pears and apples, and mead. Perhaps a drop of calvados for good measure. It’s all fine. Mouth: yes, it’s good once again. Granted, the 12 was fresher and better balanced, while this one has these slightly ugly oaky tones that would make you think of, well, I don’t know, new furniture? But really, the rest is fine and fresh and fruity, and was not totally slaughtered. Phew. Finish: a little short, but with good honey and mead. A little, say lovey-dovey, perhaps. Comments: I find it pretty good, but the regular 12 is so much better! It’s like potato crisps, regular’s always better. No?
SGP:541 - 79 points.

Wardhead 21 yo 1997/2018 (46%, Spirit & Cask Range, cask #25, 420 bottles)

Wardhead 21 yo 1997/2018 (46%, Spirit & Cask Range, cask #25, 420 bottles) Four stars
This is a blended malt, as it’s been teaspooned, you understand? That means that they hire retired ladies from Dufftown who, after tea time, would wander throughout the warehouses and add drops of Balvenie or Kininvie to each designated cask of Glenfiddich. A part-time activity that is more entertaining than the Scrabble Club if you ask me. Colour: white wine. Nose: hold on, have they rather used Ailsa Bay? Not sure the numbers add-up but I do find a little peat here, certainly some earth, some camphor, and really huge notes of fresh croissants and marzipan. Mouth: raw sweet malt, on sweet beer, apples and pears, mead, sweet wine, a touch of pink pepper, a drop of pineapple liqueur, and quite a lot of cider. It does remind me of the older official 15 years old at C/S, in some way. Candy apple at the fair. Finish: fresh and fruity, fully on some very good apple pie, with real bits of apples inside. My dear grandmother used to bake some and… Oh drop that. But she did sprinkle her apple pie with some cinnamon indeed. Same here. Comments: some extremely fine all-natural Glenfid… I mean, Wardhead. Well done, Dufftown ladies!
SGP:451 - 85 points.

Wardhead 21 yo 1997/2019 (54.8%, Valinch & Mallet, bourbon hogshead, cask #19-2101, 339 bottles)

Wardhead 21 yo 1997/2019 (54.8%, Valinch & Mallet, bourbon hogshead, cask #19-2101, 339 bottles) Four stars
This is a single cask, so I’m wondering, can you be both a blended malt (coz teaspooned means blended) and a single cask, unless those Dufftown ladies have committed their crimes while the casks were being filled? Colour: pale gold. Nose: some kind of cold-distilled IPA, with pineapples and grapefruits, apples and pears, custard, acacia honey (no acacia honey this year over here, sadly), then really a lot of praline, shortbread, and café latte. Very sexy yet elegant. With water: more grassy and herbal. Banana skin. Mouth (neat): no, it’s ridden with soap! But hold on, I’ve got another sample from another bottle, which comes handy doesn’t it… Yeah, right, no soap whatsoever. I think I’ll write a few lines about sample bottles after these notes… Anyway, this is tense, on all things apples especially cider, then praline, custard, oranges, marzipan… With water: perfect! Bitter oranges, orangettes, Jaffa cakes, marzipan, apple pie, a drop of walnut wine… Finish: more apple pie, covered with powdered almonds this time. Comments: I think the distillery should release such single casks, they’re super good!
SGP:551 - 86 points.

So yeah, please dear bottlers and distillers, never use soap, never use caps that have glue inside, and try to avoid scotch tape around the necks of your wee bottles unless those are perfectly sealed. It’s okay when those soapy/glue-y notes are obvious, as any proper taster will just discard the sample, but in many cases they are not and will just influence the notes, while remaining unnoticed.

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

 

June 18, 2019


Whiskyfun

A bag of Glencadam

We’re seeing more indie Glencadams than before, and more officials as well. No one will ever complain, it’s a very fine distillate as long as no one’s burying it under tons of oak. Or drowning it in silly cheap wines.

Glencadam 13 yo ‘The Re-awakening’ (46%, OB, 6000 bottles, 2017)

Glencadam 13 yo ‘The Re-awakening’ (46%, OB, 6000 bottles, 2017) Three stars
Sounds like the title of a free jazz album circa 1967. Colour: white wine. Nose: a wee bit of feints, perhaps, some sourdough for sure, lemon juice, bone-dry sauvignon, mashed potatoes, barley, fresh wholegrain bread, those sorts of things. As close to nature as malt whisky can get, I would say. Mouth: a little more difficult, for it became extremely grassy, harsh, rather cardboardy, bitter, sour… Notes of plaster, lemon squash, more sauvignon, grass juice, a drop of miso… It’s a rather controversial style, I tend to rather enjoy this, but some other aficionados may just walk away. Finish: rather long, with a little mustard, fino sherry, even more plaster and cardboard… Comments: some kind of statement, maybe. Free whisky, perhaps, as in free jazz indeed. An Ornette of malt whisky?
SGP:371 - 80 points.

Glencadam 6 yo 2011/2018 (65.3%, Master of Malt, bourbon)

Glencadam 6 yo 2011/2018 (65.3%, Master of Malt, bourbon) Three stars
Master of Malt have surprised us before with some extremely young malts that have been pretty good. I remember an ex-newish BB Aultmore, for example. Colour: white wine. Apparently, it’s refill, which is even more intriguing. Nose: ex-peater wood? Some peat indeed, cider apples, pears, some coastal notes (kelp), then various herbs (lovage, sage) and quite some custard. With water: a pack of liquorice allsorts, a pack of marshmallows, and a pack of Haribo crocodiles. Add some raw barley, and no peat this time. Woosh, gone! Mouth: careful, S.! Well we’re sucking a whole pack of marshmallows that have been smoked over some kind of bonfire. And it is, cough, strong. With water: once again, the smoke is gone (but the thrill’s still there), leaving only some kind of earthy lemon sweets and green teas. Finish: medium, rather on lemongrass and, perhaps Thai basil. Sweeter, rounder aftertaste. Crystalised angelica. Comments: very young yet very good, as long as you’re not looking for something very complex. In this case, quality knows no age, but it’s still an exception if you ask me.
SGP:651 - 82 points.

Glencadam 7 yo 2011/2019 (52.6%, Valinch & Mallet, bourbon barrel, 176 bottles)

Glencadam 7 yo 2011/2019 (52.6%, Valinch & Mallet, bourbon barrel, 176 bottles) Three stars
This other youngster should be more approachable. Colour: white wine. Nose: a similar profile, as expected, only with the sweets upfront, and no smokiness whatsoever this time. Mashed carrots, bubblegum, fresh bread, some kind of banana cream, a selection of Haribo’s finest (I get 10cents each and every time I quote Haribo, I’m currently testing product placement in tasting notes – smart, isn’t it) … With water: touches of raw barley, hints of natural soap (saponin, varnish), brioche dough, and all those sweets and candies again. Mouth (neat): extremely sweet and bonbony. More marshmallows, Juicy Fruits, candy floss… With water: same, this is almost bottled fruit juice. Cranberry juice, for example. Finish: medium, all on sweets. Comments: some rather flawless super-young eau-de-vie de barley. Much better than vodka-Red Bull.
SGP:641 - 82 points.

Another baby Glencadam, and we are done.

Glencadam 2011/2019 (65.6%, C&S Dram Collection, bourbon barrel, cask #800130, 254 bottles)

Glencadam 2011/2019 (65.6%, C&S Dram Collection, bourbon barrel, cask #800130, 254 bottles) Three stars
Sourced from Morrison & MacKay, most probably from the same parcel of casks, so possibly similar feelings and score here. Kings of baby whiskies these days. Colour: white wine. Nose: you bet! Sweet Belgian beer, marshmallows, sourdough, fresh baguette, bubblegum… With water: some decadent English cheesecake. Mouth (neat): at what strength do they fill their barrels? Same feeling of sweet varnish and glue, bonbons, candy floss, all that. And it is, cough, strong. With water: bottled fruit juice once again. Perhaps a little more on citrus this time, blood oranges… Finish: medium, extremely Haribo-y. The yellow and orange ones. Comments: very same-ish eau-de-vie de barley. Not sure I should have tried all these very good baby whiskies together, but there, provided the prices are fair, which I haven’t checked, they’re worth having in your bar. But one of them, any of them, is enough.
SGP:641 - 82 points.

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

 

June 15, 2019


Whiskyfun

 

 

 

Angus's Corner
From our casual Scottish correspondent
and guest taster Angus MacRaild
Angus  
Back To The Duos
It’s been a while since we’ve done a few pairs on Whiskyfun. Let’s remedy that today.

 

Macduff 13 yo 1964/1977 (80 proof, Cadenhead Dumpy)

Macduff 13 yo 1964/1977 (80 proof, Cadenhead Dumpy)
Colour: straw. Nose: very ‘Cadenhead dumpy’ with these sooty and metallic OBE touches but it’s also classical old style, distillate driven malt whisky which I can’t fail to love. Lots of grass, olive oil, mineral touches, old tool boxes, hessian, old ink wells, chimney grime and a touch of cereal sweetness still peeping through after all these years. There’s this sense of fatness and a deeper base character that you often miss in modern whiskies. Mouth: very cereal on arrival. Lots of porridge, grass, buttered toast, unsweetened flapjack, oatmeal and things like straw and bailed hay. Cornflour, green tea and a hint of lemon peel. Also still this metal polish, sooty and old oily rag character that seems to have taken up residence in just about every old Cadenhead dumpy bottling these days. Finish: a tad short and still on cereals, light waxes, mineral oils and hessian. Comments: A lovely and very textbook ‘old style malt whisky’. Also a pretty emblematic old Cadenhead dumpy that seems to embody many of the characteristics of this great series. Perhaps overall a tad simple but extremely quaffable and charming.
SGP: 461 - 88 points.

 

 

Macduff 15 yo 2002/2018 (53.9%, Acorn, cask #900936, hogshead)

Macduff 15 yo 2002/2018 (53.9%, Acorn, cask #900936, hogshead)
Acorn are a Japanese indy bottler and I always liked their minimalist labels, sadly I don’t get to try too many of their bottlings. Colour: straw. Nose: what’s really interesting is that there is a thread of DNA between this and the 1964. Big, clear notes of fresh cereals, barley sugars, straw, lemon peel, cut grass, sunflower oil, chopped herbs and corn flour. Very nice, easy and classical malt whisky that any whisky drinker could enjoy with ease. With water: now there’s an abundance of fabrics, linens, breakfast cereals, muesli, pollen and meadow flowers. Mouth: a very nice sharpness that’s both citric and peppery. Lots of lemon barley water, bay leaf, dried cereals, toast, touches of yeasty sourdough and more biscuity autolytic edges. Hints of dried thyme, various cooking oils and bags of fresh cereals. An extremely pure style that lays bare all the raw materials in a very lovely fashion. With water: a little richer and more towards boot polish, very light suggestions of waxiness, more wild flowers, cereals, fresh breads and fresh herbal notes in the background. Finish: good length. Crisp cereals, fresh butter, grass, olive oil, hints of nutmeg and a light chalky note in the aftertaste. Comments: I find this naked, distillate forward style extremely charming. An excellent wee Macduff that you could quaff with dangerous abandon on a summer afternoon.
SGP: 551 - 87 points.

 

 

Glen Grant 11 yo 2007/2019 (60.9%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #9.161 ‘Cream tea at the patisserie’ for Spirit Of Speyside 2019, 2nd fill bourbon barrel, 228 bottles)

Glen Grant 11 yo 2007/2019 (60.9%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #9.161 ‘Cream tea at the patisserie’ for Spirit Of Speyside 2019, 2nd fill bourbon barrel, 228 bottles)
Colour: oaky white wine. Nose: pear juice, plums, apricots, barley sugars and orange blossom. Despite the high strength it’s rather approachable in a simple and easy fruity way. Some nice touches such as chalk, grist and fruit pastilles. Gets increasingly lemony with time, lemon polenta cake and lemon jelly. With water: peach schnapps, pink lemonade, rosehip tea and some rather young and spritely calvados. Also bailed hay, pear drops and gooseberry. Mouth: very sweet and syrupy on arrival. More lemon jelly, chalk, aspirin, grass, white pepper, boiled lime sweeties, white flowers and buttered white toast. Hot but rather good! With water: really lovely with water, lots of lemon infused fruit teas, juicy fruit chewing gum, pine cones, sherbet and a few hints of cough drops and ointment. Finish: long, buttery, lightly peppery, bready and lemony. Comments: I have to say, this is a little bit of a surprise. Seems that this was an excellent wee refill barrel and that Glen Grant distillate still has some character when it wants to.
SGP: 641 - 85 points.

 

 

Glen Grant 1995/2018 (46%, Wemyss Malts ‘Zesty Effervescence’, barrel, 252 bottles)

Glen Grant 1995/2018 (46%, Wemyss Malts ‘Zesty Effervescence’, barrel, 252 bottles)
Colour: oaky white wine. Nose: cider apples, bailed hay, glazed fruits, chopped hazelnuts and freshly baked brown bread. Some rhubarb and custard notes, along with sharp gooseberry, new world IPA and perhaps some green melon. Fresh tarragon, nettles and some toasted pumpkin seeds. It’s all perfectly nice but not particularly characterful or thrilling. Mouth: some rather dry cereals, more toasty notes, plain gristy qualities, turmeric, green tea, some herbal infusions, a hint of lime and some grapefruit pith. Develops more towards clay, pastries and plasticine after a while. Finish: medium and on some rather rich bready notes, fudge, toffee apples and sunflower oil. Comments: It’s all perfectly fine, easy and drinkable but it’s just a bit boring I’d say.
SGP: 441 - 80 points.

 

 

Glendronach 12 yo 2006/2019 (58.5%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society #96.25 ‘Fruitilicious!’, 2nd fill barrel, 162 bottles)

Glendronach 12 yo 2006/2019 (58.5%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society #96.25 ‘Fruitilicious!’, 2nd fill barrel, 162 bottles)
Colour: very pale gold. Nose: a curious mix of butter biscuits, shortbread, linen and pot plants. Lots of fabric, pineapple jelly babies, moss, touches of wood glue and chopped parsley. Gets fruitier with a bit more breathing, towards bubblegum and fruit salad juices. Rather good I think. Or is that the bottling name being inceptively suggestive? There’s still some more austere aspects such as cornflour and baking soda lingering in there. With water: more fabric and fresh linen notes. Joined now by pine air freshener, clove rock, jelly beans, green twigs and a touch of hessian. Mouth: richly sweet with golden syrup and a curious note of herbal toothpaste in the background. Boiled cherry sweets, red cola, Tizer even (do you have Tizer in Turckheim Serge?) also elderflower cordial, breakfast cereals and some juicy fruit chewing gum notes. Anyone who enjoys the kind of ridiculous pick n’ mix sweeties they sell at cinemas should like this. With water: icing sugar, white flowers, hessian, lemon peel, delicate soot notes, lemon thyme and sweetened cough mixtures. Finish: medium in length and on light herbal notes, vanilla ice cream, cream soda, lemon and aspirin. Comments: A strange but oddly charming wee thing. In many ways it’s rather artificial with all these confectionary notes, but then don’t we all secretly enjoy some sweeties now and then...
SGP: 631 - 83 points.

 

 

Glendronach 26 yo 1992/2019 (50.8%, OB for Whisky Online, cask #8318, PX puncheon, 233 bottles)

Glendronach 26 yo 1992/2019 (50.8%, OB for Whisky Online, cask #8318, PX puncheon, 233 bottles)
Colour: amber/bronze. Nose: wow, lovely mix of walnut stain, bitter chocolate, verbena, wormwood and a kind of sooty herbal combo. Thick, almost tarry layers of green Chartreuse, herbal ointments, sour cherries, black coffee, molasses, damp pipe tobacco and freshly made strawberry jam. Excellent stuff. With water: carnations, vase water, bouillon stock, old leather, camphor, mint syrup and Dundee cake. Still extremely silky and clean. Mouth: Nicely textured arrival. All on Brazil nuts, chopped dates, coffee and walnut cake, mint leaf, Guinness cake and chewing tobacco. There’s also praline, bitter mints, some very old balsamic and bags of fruity cough medicines. Did I mention liquorice? Well, there’s a fair few chunks of top quality liquorice in there too. With water: cherry cough drops, bitter herbal extracts (Unicum etc...), some rye spice and things like mustard powder, pot pourri, rolling tobacco, some extremely bitter dark chocolate and freshly made espresso. Wonderfully bitter in this continuing herbal and cough medicine-accented way. Finish: Good length and rather peppery, salty, herbal and gently earthy. Comments: I’m not always a fan of the PX Glendronachs, I normally prefer the oloroso casks. However, this one is a sure fire winner. Clean, precise, quite complex and manages to tread a very fine, well balanced line with these bitter herbal notes that manifest in all the right ways and never become too tiring or cloying.
SGP: 461 - 90 points.

 

 

Ben Nevis 22 yo 1996/2019 (44.4%, Thompson Brothers, refill sherry butt, 531 bottles)

Ben Nevis 22 yo 1996/2019 (44.4%, Thompson Brothers, refill sherry butt, 531 bottles)
Colour: gold. Nose: ahh yes! Superbly fat, buttery, grassy, mineral, sooty and waxy. Overripe green fruits, esters, hints of green banana, lime, pineapple, exotic cocktail syrups and ripe papaya. I just cannot help but adore these late 90s Ben Nevis, it’s a level of idiosyncrasy and character that is sorely missing from many other contemporary malts in my humble opinion. Develops a herbal edge like sage and chives, and also hints of elastoplasts and brake fluid. Top notch stuff! Mouth: a tad soft on arrival given the low strength but there’s an immediate and rich fruitiness. Then it moves quickly onto the sherry with notes of damp leaves, bicycle inner tube, moss, mushrooms and clay. A fragrant, herbal-edged waxiness holding it all together. There’s this wonderful gloopy oiliness in the mid-palate which gives a wonderful sense of texture, even though overall it feels rather light. Finish: medium length, sappy, oily, some bitter herbal extracts, more tropical fruit and various shades of pepper. Comments: Superbly characterful whisky. If the finish had been a tad longer or the strength a notch higher I’ve not doubt we’d be at 91+. Having said that it’s still and a rock solid...
SGP: 661 - 90 points.

 

 

Ben Nevis 22 yo 1996/2019 (50.7%, Caora, cask #1381, refill hogshead, 321 bottles)

Ben Nevis 22 yo 1996/2019 (50.7%, Caora, cask #1381, refill hogshead, 321 bottles)
Colour: straw. Nose: not as immediately lush as the Thompson Bros bottling, this is leaner, more chiseled, grassier and more on lime, kiwi, crisp sauvignon blanc, passion fruit and pin-sharp cereal notes. Lemons and limes in green tea, bandages, mineral oils and stone fruits with fragrant wild flowers on top. Another terrific 96 Ben Nevis! With water: wonderfully sooty, oily, waxy, estery, lightly tropical and mineral. Mouth: fabulously oily and textural delivery! Mint julep, olive oil, mineral salts and then various exotic fruits - both ripe and in syrup form. Verbena, citrus juices, herbal liqueurs, subtle waxy notes and some rather flinty and chalky mineral aspects. With water: superb now! Really perfect with water, leaps like one of Jon Beach’s personal racing salmon. There’s a richness and a fatness to it that comes with dilution and that mineral/waxy side recalls early 80s Clynelish in some ways. More floral, chalky, pollens, waxes, salted mead and camphor. Finish: long, fatty, oily, greasy, mechanical, waxy, oily hessian rags and various shades of wildflower. Some bitter citrus piths in the aftertaste. Comments: Yet another really superb 96 Ben Nevis that takes water like a champ. You can almost buy these bottlings blind. This one is worth seeking out I’d say.
SGP: 661 - 91 points.

 

 


June 2019 - part 1 <--- June 2019 - part 2 ---> July 2019 - part 1


 

 

Best spirits Serge tried those weeks, 90+ points only

Daftmill 2006/2019 (57.4%, OB, Berry Bros. retail exclusive, First fill ex-sherry cask, cask #39, 606 bottles)

Port Ellen 25 yo 1982/2007 (52%, Old Bothwell for Jens Steinert)

Port Ellen 39 yo 1978/2018 (50.9%, OB, Untold Stories series, 1500 bottles)

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 
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