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Hi, you're in the Archives, May 2013 - Part 2
       

May 2013 - part 1 <--- May 2013 - part 2 ---> June 2013 - part 1

 

May 31, 2013


Whiskyfun

Tasting three 1991 Bunnahabhain, or when purity wins

Still plenty of new Bunnahabhains around, this time we’ll have three 1991s, all German bottlings. According to the colours and the pedigrees, two are sherried and one’s not. We’ll start with the latter if you don’t mind…

Bunnahabhain 21 yo 1991/2013 (48.6%, The Whisky Cask, bourbon cask)

Bunnahabhain 21 yo 1991/2013 (48.6%, The Whisky Cask, bourbon cask) Four stars and a half Colour: white wine. Nose: a wee feeling of peat at first nosing, but there shouldn’t be any. This one’s unusually grassy, without much honey and with rather more medicinal notes as well, such as tincture of iodine and eucalyptus. It’s certainly coastal as well, with some oysters and seaweed. A fresh, very pleasant – albeit a little disconcerting – nose. Hard to pin down when nosed blind, it’s actually not totally different from Ardbeg’s lightly peated ‘Kildalton’ expressions. Mouth: very excellent arrival, there’s a feeling of peat again, a little salt, some vanilla, maybe Williams pears, acacia honey and then a rather ‘nervous’ lemony development. High quality Bunnahabhain. Finish: quite long, superbly grassy. Fresh walnuts, lemon and just a little brine. Comments: a great batch, perfect spirit that’s rather more ‘HP’ than akin to other, lighter Bunnies. Great surprise, my kind. SGP:463 - 89 points.

Bunnahabhain 21 yo 1991 (42.2%, Jack Wiebers, Ocean Liners, 120 bottles, 2013)

Bunnahabhain 21 yo 1991 (42.2%, Jack Wiebers, Ocean Liners, 120 bottles, 2013) Two stars and a half Colour: amber. Nose: a light and fresh kind of sherried Bunny, quite medicinal again (is that a vintage effect, after all?), becoming rather more leathery after a few seconds. Cigarette tobacco and then more earth and even a little dust, walnuts, old wine cellar…  A style that I enjoy, as long as the palate isn’t tired. Let’s check that… Mouth: this time it’s a sweet, very raisiny profile, maybe a notch weakish because of the low strength, but some aspects are interesting and unusual (no death words in my mouth, I swear). Maybe a little rubber? Peppercorn? There is a bitterness… Finish: medium, a little too grassy and bitter for my taste. Comments: I liked the nose much, much, and I mean much better than the palate. I actually loved the nose. Did I tell you about this one’s nose? ;-). The label’s lovely too. SGP:472 - 78 points.

Bunnahabhain 1991/2010 (54%, Scotch Single Malt Circle, cask #5447, 312 bottles)

Bunnahabhain 1991/2010 (54%, Scotch Single Malt Circle, cask #5447, 312 bottles) Two stars and a half Colour: deep amber. Nose: this one isn’t medicinal, rather chocolaty (milk chocolate) and raisiny; although it tends to become drier and closer and closer to the Jack Wiebers’. Walnuts and tobacco. With water: some earth coming out, we’re actually extremely close to the JWWW now. Pretty great nose. Mouth (neat): sweet and raisiny arrival, then the same kind of bittersweet development as in the JWWW. Somewhat acrid. There’s also something lavendery and geraniumy (yes I’m afraid of no barbarisms). With water: nah, same story as above. A little difficult. Finish: ditto. Comments: another Bunnahabhain only for nosing in my view. Same score (trying to be very single-minded). SGP:472 - 78 points.

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

 

Whiskyfun fav of the month

May 2013

Favourite recent bottling:
Bowmore 17 yo 1996/2013 (52.7%, The Whisky Agency, hogshead, 307 bottles)  - WF 91

Favourite older bottling:
Port Ellen 1969 (63.1%, Gordon & MacPhail for Donini, +/-1980) - WF 96

Favourite bang for your buck bottling:
Laphroaig 14 yo 1998/2013 (44.3%, Chieftain's, hogshead, cask #8601/8604, 1518 bottles)  - WF 89

 

 

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May 30, 2013


Whiskyfun

Hillary

Serendipitous tastings
Would you imagine that our latest tasting notes were our 8849th and were published 60 years after Sir Hillary - or was it his sherpa? - had defeated Mount Everest (8849m)? To think that I hadn't even noticed, thanks Bart for having advised me!

 

Six Laphroaig 1998 plus an aperitif

While there seem to be less new indie Caol Ila around than last year (maybe just a wrong impression), Laphroaigs still abound this year. We'll have a few young ones today, starting with a little undisclosed apéritif if you don't mind...

Islay 12 yo (40%, Marks & Spencer, +/-2012)

Islay 12 yo (40%, Marks & Spencer, +/-2012) Four stars I'm absolutely not sure this is Laphroaig, but the packaging is very Laphroaigy, so... Let's see. Colour: gold. Nose: yes, it's got these medicinal touches that Caol Ilas usually don't have, but it's all very mild so, not sure. What's sure is that it's very briny and only moderately smoky. In truth, it does make me think of the regular Laphroaig 10 @40%. Mouth: very good! Ripe pears and pineapples, brine, kippers, ashes and a mild smokiness. Good body and no feeling of flatness, it's great whisky. Cider apples. Finish: medium length, clean, rounded, smoky and briny. Kippery aftertaste, with also a little pepper. Comments: really excellent. Let me check the price online, I'll be back... (...)... Well, it's £29.00. Not exactly cheap but the whisky's well worth it in my opinion. Certainly Laphroaig. SGP:556 - 85 points.

Laphroaig 14 yo 1998/2013 (44.3%, Chieftain's, hogshead, cask #8601/8604, 1518 bottles)

Laphroaig 14 yo 1998/2013 (44.3%, Chieftain's, hogshead, cask #8601/8604, 1518 bottles) Four stars and a half Colour: white wine. Nose: there's more wildness in this one, more iodine, more oysters, more raw smoked malt ('visiting a working kiln'). You'd actually think you're at the distillery when nosing this baby, which is absolutely great of course (and much cheaper, ha ha). Mouth: amazing feeling of 'raw malt' again, you're really crunching peated malt here. There's the barley's sweetness and the peat's raw smoke, it's all very spectacular. A ticket to Islay, as they say. Finish: long, with (even) more brine and iodine. Cough syrup in the aftertaste. Comments: there are many excellent 1998 Laphroaigs but this one is really interesting. I don't know if the low strength is natural or if it's been reduced (I guess so), but I feel the end result is worth a very high score because it's really 'Laphroaig'. SGP:458 - 89 points.

Laphroaig 14 yo 1998/2012 (50%, Douglas Laing, Old Malt Cask, refill hogshead, 311 bottles)

Laphroaig 14 yo 1998/2012 (50%, Douglas Laing, Old Malt Cask, refill hogshead, 311 bottles) Four stars Colour: white wine. Nose: much to my liking, only rounder and 'sweeter', with more vanilla and mercurochrome, as well as a little tar, earth, agaves and seawater. Mouth: we're now closer to the Chieftain's but again it's a tad fruitier, with more grapefruits. A little icing sugar as well. All that makes the peatiness a notch less 'natural'... Oh well, I know what I'm trying to say. Finish: long, lemony, smoky, kippery, briny. Yeah I know, that's stating the obvious. Comments: very high quality again. It's just that the notes of working kiln were so impressive in the Chieftains, which may have created some sort of death seat effect... SGP:457 - 87 points.

Laphroaig 1998/2012 (52.1%, Svenska Eldvatten, bourbon hogshead, 147 bottles)

Laphroaig 1998/2012 (52.1%, Svenska Eldvatten, bourbon hogshead, 147 bottles) Four stars and a half Colour: white wine. Nose: cool! It's a mineral, narrow, chiselled, sooty and ashy one. Bags of samphires (google is your friend), tincture of iodine, oysters and mercurochrome. Greatly sharp (yeah, like a blade). Mouth: perfect. It's even narrower than on the nose but on the other hand, this feeling of a sharp blade is perfect. A Pouilly-Fumé by Didier Daguenau and family. Lemon and flint. Finish: long, even sharper and narrower. Yes narrowness can be an asset. Comments: really, it's a blade. Its utter simplicity will prevent me from going to 90 or higher but I'm tempted... Quick, a score... SGP:467 - 89 points.

Laphroaig 14 yo 1998/2013 (54.1%, Glen Fahrn Germany, cask #7981, 279 bottles)

Laphroaig 14 yo 1998/2013 (54.1%, Glen Fahrn Germany, cask #7981, 279 bottles) Four stars and a half Colour: white wine. Nose: same as above. Maybe a notch more mineral and a tad less smoky/ashy. Same production for sure. Mouth: same whisky. Same very high quality, same sharpness. Finish: same. Comments: ditto. We're saving kilobytes. SGP:467 - 89 points.

Laphroaig 13 yo 1998/2012 (54.2%, Archives, bourbon hogshead, cask #700228, 80 bottles)

Laphroaig 13 yo 1998/2012 (54.2%, Archives, bourbon hogshead, cask #700228, 80 bottles) Four stars and a half Colour: white wine. Nose: good, either I'll tell you the story about the chef who always cooks with whisky, or the whisky turkey, or I'll just ask you one question: is it better that independent bottlers try to find 'different' or unusual whiskies, hence come up with hits and misses, or do you prefer that they have all more or less the same whiskies - but great whiskies like these almost identical Laphroaigs? The debate is open. Mouth: so, what do you think? Finish: tough question, isn't it. Comments: I guess the jury's still out... SGP:467 - 89 points.

You know what? We'll try to find a sherry cask for a change...

Laphroaig 1998/2013 (56.8%, Malts of Scotland, sherry hogshead, cask #MoS 13005, 198 bottles)

Laphroaig 1998/2013 (56.8%, Malts of Scotland, sherry hogshead, cask #MoS 13005, 198 bottles) Four starsColour: gold. Nose: it's tricky, very tricky. On the one hand, the refill hoggies are absolutely perfect when the spirit was perfect in the first place, but they offer little variety since they aren't very active. On the other hand, the sherry casks, even hogsheads, offer much more variety but they may be less 'clean and sharp', less pure so to speak. What a cruel dilemma, Emma! It's true that in this case, like often, there's a kind of rubberiness that comes from the combination of heavy peat with the wine. There are also a few struck matches, or burnt gunpowder... Don't get me wrong, it's a pretty beautiful nose, it's just having trouble after the clean sharp ones. But things should improve on the palate... Mouth: yes they do, brightly so. Bitter oranges, smoke, burnt caramel, honey sauce, marmalade, liquorice... It's a big phat dram but it remains elegant. Finish: long, creamy. A lot of lapsang souchong tea. Comments: I'm afraid this baby got a bad seat. Anyway, another excellent 1998 Laphroaig by Malts of Scotland, and that's all. SGP:567 - 86 points.

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

 

 

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May 27, 2013


Whiskyfun

A mixed bag of sweet Glens

Please note that most of these notes (bravo, Serge) were taken separately, so please do expect a little less accuracy than usual - accuracy's a myth anyway, isn't it.

Glengoyne 21 yo (43%, OB, +/-2013)

Glengoyne 21 yo (43%, OB, +/-2013) Three stars and a half I've liked the new younger OBs, time to try the 21. Colour: deep gold. Nose: a rich and honeyed start, with touches of dark rum and then more and more tarte tatin and orange marmalade. Also regular apple pie, fudge and sweet white wine such as Rivesaltes. Touches of cinnamon. Ultra-classic nose. Mouth: maltier, more roasted and toasted. Brioche, Seville oranges and candy sugar, then more baked apples, cloves, cinnamon… The wood's also pretty apparent and adds a faint bitterness to the combination. Finish: good length but it becomes a little tannic and drying. Chestnuts, black tea and pepper, more coffee and dry sherry in the aftertaste. Comments: very good sherried whisky, on par with the 18, but I think I liked the new 15 better (WF 87). SGP:441 - 84 points.

Glendronach 17 yo 1995/2013 (56.6%, OB for The Whisky Exchange, PX puncheon, cask #4682, 631 bottles)

Glendronach 17 yo 1995/2013 (56.6%, OB for The Whisky Exchange, PX puncheon, cask #4682, 631 bottles) Four stars and a half As you probably know, sherry puncheons are some of the largest casks used in the whisky industry - while traditional British puncheons (aka firkins) were containing approximately 320 litters according to our good friends at Wikipedia. Colour: deep red amber. Nose: wonderful combination of toasted pastry and raisins, with only wee whiffs of rocks and wood smoke on top of all that. Total fruitcake in fact, with figs, pears, dates, sultanas and quite some Demerara sugar. Quite perfect so far, and it's not even too powerful. With water (with a profound viscimetry ;-)): some leather coming out, peach leaves and cherry stems, Virginia tobacco, walnuts and straight dry sherry - rather than PX. Mouth (neat): very rich and very sweet but not quite syrupy and certainly not cloying. Port. Having said that, it's very powerful and a tad hard to swallow just like that. So, with water: balance is kept despite the added sweetness. Bags of raisins plus other bags of raisins, then chocolate and bitter oranges. Finish: long and appropriately spicier. Cardamom, cloves and caraway seeds. Peppery, slightly prickly end of the finish. Comments: it's a rich dram but it's not as sweet as other ex-PX whiskies. The nose is particularly wonderful. SGP:562 - 89 points.

Glenallachie 17 yo 1995/2013 (57.5%, A.D. Rattray, cask #93, 213 bottles)

Glenallachie 17 yo 1995/2013 (57.5%, A.D. Rattray, cask #93, 213 bottles) Three stars and a half There are more Glenallachies around these days, which can't be bad. Colour: straw. Nose: a curious, half grassy and half waxy/oily style, between sunflower oil, freshly mown lawn, graphite and then we have more mildly fragrant flowers, very soft 'hotel breakfast' honey and a few spoonfuls of custard. Second fill bourbon? Nice freshness. With water: funny notes of mescal, very vivid. Acacia honey, stewed apples… Mouth (neat): a very pleasant, very fresh arrival despite the high strength. Sure it's mildly varnishy but other than that, all this custard, these notes of apples and these slightly waxy notes (beeswax) are very fine. A little lemon as well. With water: not many changes, maybe the lemony side grew bigger. It got also a little bitter. Finish: long, grassier and more peppery. Comments: it's pretty narrow whisky but the very barleyish fruitiness is extremely pleasant. SGP:431 - 83 points.

Glen Elgin 21 yo 1991/2013 (52.5%, Dun Bheagan, cask #8294, 558 bottles)

Glen Elgin 21 yo 1991/2013 (52.5%, Dun Bheagan, cask #8294, 558 bottles) Four stars I'm very late with my Glen Elgins, I think a pretty deep vertical should soon be organized. Colour: full gold. Nose: a bit shy for a little while but then some unexpected whiffs of menthol and eucalyptus syrup arise, together with touches of white rhum agricole. Behind all that, a few kumquats and bergamots, maybe a little orange blossom water and quite some sweet custard. Nice sweet nose, refill sherry. With water: honey and pepper, a nice combo. Spicy raisins. Mouth (neat): very good! Oranges galore, zests, orangettes, marmalade… In the background, quite some pepper and cumin as well as drops of maple syrup. Maybe a tannicity. With water: same development as with the nose, a little more pepper, raisins and honey. Spicy Indian curry? Finish: quite long, on peppercorns but the honey remains strong and balances it. Comments: I simply like this one. What's more, I think the price is very fair. SGP:441 - 86 points.

Glen Keith 21 yo 1991/2012 (53%, Adelphi, cask #85170, 228 bottles)

Glen Keith 21 yo 1991/2012 (53%, Adelphi, cask #85170, 228 bottles) Four stars Colour: straw. Nose: we're talking vanilla and warm sawdust here, maybe maple syrup as well, then we have rather big notes of pears, bananas and pineapples. We're actually nosing a freshly opened bag of jelly beans ;-). With water: not a bag, a whole lorry, straight from Haribo's headquarters. Mouth (neat): indeed a huge bag of jelly beans! And many sweets, with the same notes of pears, pineapples and bananas as in the nose. I think chemists call that 2,5-Dimethyl-4-Hydroxy-3(2H)-Furanone ;-). With water: I like the way the texture became creamy, it's almost jam now. Was there some agar-agar thrown into the cask? Finish: not the longest but we're still on these ueber-fruity notes. Comments: bags of fun, almost whisky for kids. SGP:741 - 85 points.

Glenburgie 23 yo 1989/2012 (54.8%, Chester Whisky, bourbon barrel, 212 bottles)

Glenburgie 23 yo 1989/2012 (54.8%, Chester Whisky, bourbon barrel, 212 bottles) Four starsThere aren't that many un-sherried Glenburgies around, are there? Colour: white wine. Nose: this time it's the barley that speaks. Grains, muesli, grass, porridge, yoghurt, baker's yeast, then hints of soot, rocks, rain water… And then more apple peelings and fresh walnuts. Heavily contrasting after the Glen Keith. With water: gets a wee tad sweeter. Cane sugar syrup? Acacia honey? Mouth (neat): is this the same whisky? It's completely different, almost as fruity and playful as the Glen Keith. Marshmallows of all kinds, especially lemon-flavoured ones, jelly beans again, crystallized papayas, limoncello… With water: and now it's superb! A lot of jams and syrups, especially plums and maybe melons. Sweet barley. Finish: medium length, with a few more spices as always. White pepper and cinnamon, a leafiness in the aftertaste. Comments: this baby started a tad boring but never stopped improving after that. Reminds me of some novels of late. SGP:641 - 87 points.

Glencadam 39 yo 1973/2013 (44.1%, The Perfect Dram, bourbon hogshead, 221 bottles)

Glencadam 39 yo 1973/2013 (44.1%, The Perfect Dram, bourbon hogshead, 221 bottles) Five stars Colour: gold. Nose: I don't seem to remember having found so much pineapple in a malt whisky. Pineapples in all forms, tinned, fresh, mixed in smoothies, in a pina colada... There's even the kind of mild sourness that's to be found in overripe pineapple. All that is very spectacular but of course, you have to like pineapple. Mouth: and here you go again, pineapple all over the place, although I do find oranges and grapefruits as well, then a slight bitterness from the oak, between cardamom and ginger. A bit narrow but extremely spectacular. Finish: rather long, now with more coconut. I told you, pina colada. More mint and liquorice in the aftertaste. Comments: it's not very balanced, it's not quite complex and it's rather not subtle and yet I think it's worth 90 points in my book, for it's so unusual and fun. An un-boring malt. SGP:741 - 90 points.

 

 

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May 26, 2013


Whiskyfun

Three rather old Glenlossie

Glenlossie is another name I've been neglecting a bit in the past, shame on me. But now that new bottles from the silent stills are really getting scarcer, former underdogs should get more exposure on this lousy little website.

Glenlossie 25 yo 1984/2011 (56.9%, Artist by La Maison du Whisky, sherry butt, cask #2531, 516 bottles)

Glenlossie 25 yo 1984/2011 (56.9%, Artist by La Maison du Whisky, sherry butt, cask #2531, 516 bottles) Three stars and a half Colour: deep gold. Nose: we're having a combination of ripe western fruits, especially apples and gooseberries, with a rather mentholated, fragrant oak. I get sandalwood, for instance, as well as quite some caramel and café latte. Humidor, silverware. With water: plenty of liquorice now, as well as a little rubber (bands). Mouth (neat): very rich, very fruity and only slightly rubbery (faint tastes of distillation). Sweet barley, cherries, Guinness, bitter oranges and 'spices for mulled wine', especially cinnamon and cloves. Maybe also a little nutmeg and juniper berries. It's pretty heavy. With water: I'm afraid it does not swim too well on the palate, the rubber comes out a bit. Finish: long, maybe a tad sour? Overripe oranges and pepper. Comments: it's a fairly rough spice game, a spectacular one. Very good but maybe a little more smooooothness would have been welcome? SGP:552 - 84 points.

Glenlossie 38 yo 1975/2013 (46,6%, The Whisky Agency 'Private Stock' 2013, bourbon hogshead, 91 bottles)

Glenlossie 38 yo 1975/2013 (46,6%, The Whisky Agency 'Private Stock' 2013, bourbon hogshead, 91 bottles) Four stars and a half Colour: gold. Nose: maybe there's something slightly coastal at first nosing, which is funny. Seashells? Would rather go on with quite more beeswax, plums, pollen and a little cough syrup. Also manzanilla, walnuts, cigar tobacco... It's a very complex nose. Mouth (neat): it's a case where the oak's very obvious right from the start but doesn't represent a problem. So a lot of cinnamon again, orange zests and apple peelings, nutmeg... The fruits come later, first tangerines and then papayas, all that with a funny fizziness. It's almost sparkling! Right, not quite... Also fresh melons. Finish: long and grassier. Some cinchona, cumin and touches of artisan gin. No soap though ;-). Comments: I'd say this baby's very entertaining. It's no polished old dram, it's all rather restless and even provocative. SGP:561 - 89 points.

Glenlossie 1961/2007 (43%, Gordon & MacPhail, Rare Old, Refill Sherry)

Glenlossie 1961/2007 (43%, Gordon & MacPhail, Rare Old, Refill Sherry) Three stars and a half Some quick maths tell us that this baby's more than 45 years old, while it's still for sale here and there for... +/-155 b****y Euros. Colour: deep gold. Nose: lovely nose! Starts with a huge cinnamon cake, then we have earl grey tea, a little sawdust, custard, rum baba, touches of earth and humus... It's all quite subtle, we're somewhere between an old wine cellar and a carpenter's workshop. Let's only hope the palate won't be weakish or too drying. Mouth: an apple pie with plenty of cinnamon and mint. Sure the oak's loud, but it's more than bearable. Black tea, then orange squash. Finish: shortish, on a blend of orange juice and ginger tonic. The aftertaste is a little drying, as expected. Comments: a crying shame that I do not take prices into account with my little scores! Maybe I should? SGP:361 - 84 points.

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

 

 

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May 23, 2013


Whiskyfun

Six new Littlemill for some fruity fun

The Littlemill revolution isn't over! The indies keep issuing new casks every month or even week and that pleases me because many, if not all of them, are excellent. We'll have six new ones today... And that'll be even easier since, in my experience, Littlemill does not need much water. Rather than by vintage, we'll have them by ascending strength, that's easier as well.

Littlemill 27 yo 1985/2012 (46%, Coopers Choice, hogshead, cask #116, 250 bottles)

Littlemill 27 yo 1985/2012 (46%, Coopers Choice, hogshead, cask #116, 250 bottles) Four stars Colour: straw. Nose: lovely combination of pink grapefruits, mild honey, vanilla, fresh mint and apple peelings. Freshness, balance, fruitiness, elegance, everything is there, in a genuine old Lowlands style. Mouth: perfect citrus explosion, plus juicy raisins in the background. It does actually taste a lot like juicy raisins, there's even a slight muscaty side. A very dangerous dram. Finish: medium but ultra-citrusy. Tangerines and grapefruits all over the place. Comments: textbook ueber-fruity Littlemill. As I said, it's dangerous whisky coz it's so drinkable. Coopers Choice had a 25yo from the very same vintage two years ago that was much less to my liking but this one's pretty perfect. Simple fruity pleasures... SGP:651 - 87 points.

Littlemill 21 yo 1991/2013 (47.1%, Whisky Spirits, WhiskySeasons, June 2013)

Littlemill 21 yo 1991/2013 (47.1%, Whisky Spirits, WhiskySeasons, June 2013) Four stars Colour: white wine. Nose: a more restrained, more mineral version, probably from a less active cask. That may suggest that Littlemill's usual exuberant citrusy side is enhanced by the oak. Having said that, this is just as lovely, with maybe a little more bubblegum as well after a few minutes. Mouth: quite a lemony bomb again, we're extremely close to the 1985, just a notch rougher. And again these raisins... In short, another dangerous one, much too easy to quaff. Finish: rather long, very fruity. Crystallised lemons and oranges plus a few herbs. Maybe savory? Comments: it's one of these 'riesling' malts that I quite enjoy. Goes down a treat. SGP:551 - 87 points.

Littlemill 21 yo 1991/2013 (50%, Douglas Laing, Old Malt Cask, refill hogshead, 262 bottles)

Littlemill 21 yo 1991/2013 (50%, Douglas Laing, Old Malt Cask, refill hogshead, 262 bottles) Three stars Colour: straw. Nose: we're much closer to the Whisky Spirit than to Coopers' 1985. This one's even a little porridgy and yoghurty in comparison. Some paraffin and 'artificial' vanilla too. Mouth: yeah, this baby's more difficult. There's a little plastic and then some odd notes of... coconut-flavoured yoghurt? Too bad because otherwise it's a fine Littlemill. Finish: again, crystallised lemons, and for a long time, except that some paraffin remains in the aftertaste. Comments: the general feeling is actually nicer than what you'd think when reading my notes, it's just a little weird at times. SGP:461 - 80 points.

Littlemill 24 yo 1988/2013 (50.3%, The Whisky Agency, refill bourbon hogshead, 309 bottles)

Littlemill 24 yo 1988/2013 (50.3%, The Whisky Agency, refill bourbon hogshead, 309 bottles) Five stars Colour: gold. Nose: this is more complex than the others, less straight, wider... Bags of lemons as usual, also herbs such as parsley (I also get, I swear, a little soy sauce and balsamic vinegar while this is no sherry wood), touches of dairy cream and then distinct notes of young sauvignon. As I said, this one's a little more complex so far. Mouth: perfect unfolding. A perfect fruit salad with oranges, tangerines, lemons... And a few slices of pineapple, a little candy sugar and some caramelised barley. Yeah, should that exist, does it? Finish: long, perfect, candied citrus fruits. Comments: perfect age, perfect spirit, perfect wood that lets the spirit talk. We're reaching perfection. SGP:641 - 90 points.

Littlemill 20 yo 1992/2013 (54.9%, Berry Bros & Rudd, cask #10)

Littlemill 20 yo 1992/2013 (54.9%, Berry Bros & Rudd, cask #10) Four stars and a half Colour: straw. Nose: this time it's rather the vanilla that speaks first, then we have the expected bag of citrus fruits. No I won't list them all. Maybe hints of coconut like in the 1991 by Whisky Spirit? I'm tempted to add water but I'll play today's silly game: no water. Mouth: unusual, in a good way. Not easy to pin down, wait... Some wormwood for sure (absinth), aniseed, then orange liqueur (rather John Glaser's excellent Orangerie, are they still making it?), raisins, ouzo (not kidding)... A lot of fun in this one, and it's not dissonant in any way. Very oily mouth feel. Finish: long and pretty perfect. Old Sauternes this time, it's spectacular. Comments: this baby hasn't got the 1988's purity and total 'Littlemillness', but there are bags of fun. Try it if you can! SGP:651 - 89 points.

Littlemill 21 yo 1992/2013 (55.6%, Single Cask Collection, cask #20, 318 bottles)

Littlemill 21 yo 1992/2013 (55.6%, Single Cask Collection, cask #20, 318 bottles) Four stars and a half Ha ha, after cask #10, let's have cask #20. Colour: straw. Nose: look, no disrespect meant to this other superb Littlemill but it's quite the same as above, so long story short, it's a great nose. Mouth: slightly different now, we have rather less wormwood and other herbs, while the candied citrus fruits got comparatively a little louder. It's also a notch thicker and creamier, but that could be the extra 0.7%. Just kidding. Finish: long, a notch more on straw wine than on Sauternes but hey, I may well be trying to be smart. Comments: Seriously, it's another superb Littlemill. To think that the distillery, one of the oldest in Scotland (1772!) got closed less than two years later... (sob!). SGP:641 - 89 points.

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

 

 

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May 22, 2013


Whiskyfun

Can you have too much Miltonduff?

I haven't got much to say about Miltonduff, maybe because I haven't found many very inspiring bottlings in the past. But never say never... Oh, I remember, I had a great one in January, a very old 20yo for Forth Wines. And a Samaroli in April...

Miltonduff 22 yo 1989/2012 (50%, Chieftain's, hogshead, cask #6, 8 & 10, 1058 bottles)

Miltonduff 22 yo 1989/2012 (50%, Chieftain's, hogshead, cask #6, 8 & 10, 1058 bottles) Three stars and a half Colour: gold. Nose: bags and bags of apples, juicy ripe ones and green ones as well. And cider apples. And plain cider. The fact is that I like apples, so I do enjoy this nose. Also the touches of vanilla and warm sawdust, as well as this cinnamon (pie)... More oranges after ten minutes. With water: orange juice with added custard and cinnamon. It's a cake! Mouth (neat): much in line with the nose, on just the same notes of apples, oranges, vanilla and cinnamon. The whole's quite big and powerful. With water: same, more or less. More apple juice, maybe cherries. Finish: not too long, with a little more sawdust and grass coming through. Liquorice in the aftertaste, as often. Comments: it's not a very wide profile but pleasure is there. Some classic 'medium' Speyside. SGP:451 - 83 points.

Miltonduff 30 yo 1982/2013 (50,1%, The Whisky Agency, refill bourbon hogshead, 269 bottles)

Miltonduff 30 yo 1982/2013 (50,1%, The Whisky Agency, refill bourbon hogshead, 269 bottles) Three stars and a half Colour: white wine. Nose: unusual. The grass, vanilla and the fresh oak are loud, and so are the porridge and the muesli. As always with The Whisky Agency, there's something happening in the whisky. There's also something bizarrely metallic (copper coins) and touches of dust, as well as a little washing powder. Or is it Woolite? A very funny nose! With water: makes a U-turn and becomes much akin to the 1989, that is to say to some orange cake straight from grandma's oven. Aspirin tablets (wee whiffs). Mouth (neat): we're very close to the 1989 now, with the very same oranges and apples and then more cider. That's right, it's a kind of ultra-powerful cider and you cannot not think of Calvados. Tastes rather younger than it actually is. With water: same plus a little mint and other fresh herbs. Finish: of medium length, a notch grassier and more bitter. Comments: a notch wackier than the 1989 and so a little funnier and more entertaining, but I don't think it's very sexy whisky. SGP:461 - 84 points.

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

 

 

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May 21, 2013


Whiskyfun

Sechs Bowmore aus Deutschland

I've planned to do another kind-of-articulate Bowmore verticale in a few weeks but in the meantime, maybe we could have a mixed bag of various recent vintages straight from Germany? As long as no weird finishings are done to them, and no weird batches from the 1980s are involved, I tend to like them all so let's be quicker than usual. Well we'll try to be quicker, I often get carried away with b****y Bowmore…

Bowmore 11 yo 2001/2012 (53.6%, Maltbarn, sherry, 175 bottles)

Bowmore 11 yo 2001/2012 (53.6%, Maltbarn, sherry, 175 bottles) Five stars Colour: full gold. Nose: a good example of a dram where spent matches and even notes of truffles - and maybe even a little mercaptan - work very well. They complement the briny and smoky profile perfectly and the whole really makes me think of some old motor oil for vintage cars (say old Motul ;-)). Yeah, or of some old fisherman's boat. Mouth: some sherried Bowmore are 'too much' in my opinion, but this one's quite perfect. Creamy bitter orange liqueur, crystallized ginger, brine, lemon and lime, salt… Very oily mouthfeel, you'd almost need a spoon. Quite. Finish: very long, with a perfect mix of limoncello and seawater. I'll have to try that one day ;-). Some tropical fruits as well, hinting at the glorious 1960s. Comments: perfect, I think you can't do much better with some eleven year old malt whisky. This little session starts well. SGP:557 - 90 points.

Bowmore 12 yo 2001/2013 (52.9%, The Whisky Agency, Liquid Library, refill butt, 484 bottles)

Bowmore 12 yo 2001/2013 (52.9%, The Whisky Agency, Liquid Library, refill butt, 484 bottles) Five stars Colour: gold. Nose: same as the Maltbarn, more or less, and guess what, we won't complain. Maybe the truffles/leather are a tad less obvious, maybe not. Mouth: fantastically identical. Brilliant whisky. Maybe I do seem to detect added touches of licorice, but other than that both are just the same whisky. Finish: ditto, Beth. Maybe this one is a tiny-wee-bit more roasted/fudgy? Comments: nah, great whisky. It wouldn't be surprising that both whiskies came from the very same Butt, or at least from sister butts. Coming up with a different score and SGP would be totally insane. SGP:557 - 90 points.

Bowmore 14 yo 1998/2012 (50.9%, The Whisky Cask, bourbon barrel)

Bowmore 14 yo 1998/2012 (50.9%, The Whisky Cask, bourbon barrel) Four stars Colour: white wine. Nose: wait, isn't this a little soap? Plastic? Asparagus water? Beetroot? Cod liver oil? Not the nicest nose, let's wait, maybe oxygen will do it some good. zzz zzz zzz. Indeed, that worked. Grapefruits do emerge, rocks, aspirin tablets, wet gravel… The peat isn't big. Mouth: quite a revolution - and a revelation - after the rather unlikely nose. Hyper-briney and lemony, sharp, well-chiseled and very punchy. A very narrow but very well defined style, you just have to like it. Finish: it's almost seawater now. Very long. Gherkins. Comments: a restless baby, with ups and downs. Pretty extreme, in fact. I liked the palate a lot more than the nose. SGP:365 - 85 points.

Bowmore 15 yo 1997/2013 (52.5%, The Whisky Agency, The Perfect Dram, barrel, 153 bottles)

Bowmore 15 yo 1997/2013 (52.5%, The Whisky Agency, The Perfect Dram, barrel, 153 bottles) Four stars Colour: white wine. Nose: oh, an herbal Bowmore! I get dill, parsley, maybe chives, seaweed for sure (kelp), then beach sand, wet cardboard, old books, maybe a little turpentine… Who said all youngish Bowmores were the same? Hope it's not me! ;-). In short, another adventure… Probably a little less expressive than the previous ones. Mouth: there are echoes of lavender, so to speak, very distant echoes, but the rest is all on brine and some kind of multi-vitamin fruit juice. Cranberries? I have to say this sweetness is quite unusual, it's one of the sweetest young Bowmores I've ever tried. Also a little coconut from the US oak, I guess. Finish: long, sweet. The coconut is even more obvious. Comments: kind of un-Bowmore but extremely entertaining and mucho quaffable. A funny one, I'd say. Have fun! SGP:555 - 87 points.

Bowmore 17 yo 1996/2013 (52.7%, The Whisky Agency, hogshead, 307 bottles)

Bowmore 17 yo 1996/2013 (52.7%, The Whisky Agency, hogshead, 307 bottles) Five stars Why did they put a portrait of Jacques Brel onto the label? Seriously, it's quite wonderful. "In the port of Amsterdam, there are sailors who sing…" Colour: white wine. Nose: stop it, turn off the lights, this is it. Perfect sooty, smoky, ashy Bowmore. No need to say more. Mouth: utter perfection, everything's there. The smoke, the tropical fruits, the brine and god knows what else. It's rather more complex than others, balance is absolutely perfect, well everything's perfect. Finish: sadly, yes. Maybe it's a wee-tad too sweet and 'grapefruity' for Bowmore, but you see, I just had to find something I do not totally like in this little whisky. Comments:  "And when they are too drunk, they plant their noses to the sky, they blow their noses in the stars and they piss like I cry on unfaithful women…" Ah, Maître Jacques… SGP:556 - 91 points.

Bowmore 1995/2012 (58.9%, Malts of Scotland, sherry hogshead, cask #MoS 12057, 185 bottles)

Bowmore 1995/2012 (58.9%, Malts of Scotland, sherry hogshead, cask #MoS 12057, 185 bottles) Four stars This little baby should be a notch heavier than the others ;-)… A huge string of pearls is forming when you pour it into your glass. Colour: amber. Nose: I do like them cleaner and less sherried, I think peat+sherry can make utter wonders (think Laphroaig 1974 or the first Lagavulin 21) but the result can also be a little whoooof, I mean, dissonant. Yet it's not quite the case here, it works pretty well but the leathery notes are quite big. A lot of pencil lead too, chocolate, artichokes… It's a style, it's a style. I had planned not to use any water but let's not be silly this time. With water:  plenty of gunpowder. Both Pu-erh and lapsang souchong teas. Old motorcycle (Norton?)  Mouth (neat): good, I won't deny it, this is spectacular. A blend of tar liqueur, walnut liqueur, Cointreau and Fernet-Branca or Cynar. It's extremely heavy. With water: works, but not spectacularly so. There's a kind of gingery bitterness/leafiness that remains there. Finish: long, leafy, faintly metallic and 'gunpowder'. Comments: MoS already issued several other casks of heavily sherried 1995s. My favorite were #113 from 2009 and #177 from 2010 (both WF 91). This one won't go that high despite its, well, very spectacular side. SGP:476 - 86 points.

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

 

 

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May 20, 2013


Whiskyfun

Two young Balvenie, official and independent

It's always a joy to taste Balvenie because I think it's one of the easiest malts around, in a good way of course. Even when it's very old, or very young. Having said that, the regular Doublewood has always been the one that I found a little less convincing, but I last tried it in 2008 (WF 78). Time to try to revise my feelings...

Balvenie 12 yo 'DoubleWood' (40%, OB, +/-2012)

Balvenie 12 yo 'DoubleWood' (40%, OB, +/-2012) Three stars Colour: gold. Nose: well, it's a little too malty/coffeeish for my taste, it's a profile that needs more power in my experience or you get something cardboardy or even a little soapy. Having said that, some aspects are very pleasant, especially the touches of orange liqueur and the chocolate. As they say, the jury's still out. Mouth: light, easy, malty, chocolaty, raisiny... A little honey too. Balance is achieved, this time I think it's a pretty perfect 'access-category' malt whisky. Finish: not the longest but there's good body and I enjoy these dry raisins. Comments: the nose was frankly weak - but is it whisky to nose? - but I found the palate pretty impressive, fuller than before. Extremely sippable. SGP:441 - 80 points.

Burnside 1994/2012 (56.7%, Scott's Selection)

Burnside 1994/2012 (56.7%, Scott's Selection) Two stars Please don't tell anyone, but Burnside is Balvenie. Colour: amber. Nose: what a strange one! It's a kind of metallic sherry, hard to describe. There's some coffee for sure but also a weird leather, some plastic (brand new Renault ;-)) and huge notes of aspirin. Like four tablets in 5cl of water. There's quite some meat too, beef jerky, ham, prunes... Not too sure what to think so far, we'll have to dig deeper. With water: rubber and raisins come out, classic but not too nice in my opinion. Mouth (neat): wham! Pencil shavings and coffee galore, plus some bitter herbs in the background. Huge bitterness, would make Jaegermeister taste like diluted rosewater in comparison. With water: okayish now, but there's an odd gingery side and the bitterness just wouldn't go away. Finish: very long, bitter and herbal. Green oak. Comments: I've had some excellent recent Scott's but this one just doesn't click on my nose and palate, so to speak. For adventurous whisky lovers only? The distillery is hard to detect. SGP:372 - 70 points.

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

 

 

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May 19, 2013


Whiskyfun

Tasting three excellent new Teaninich 1973

There's been quite a few old Teaninichs around in recent months and I've always found them interesting. I also like the fact that the strength is so low, no need to fiddle around with water, spoons or pipettes, but won't the whiskies be weak? Le's see...

Teaninich 39 yo 1973/2013 (40.1%, The Whisky Cask, bourbon, cask #6068)

Teaninich 39 yo 1973/2013 (40.1%, The Whisky Cask, bourbon, cask #6068) Four stars and a half Colour: gold. Nose: lovely! Yellow flowers, nectar and pollen, fresh sultanas, ripe apples, greengages, Sauternes, orange blossom and vanilla crème. Impressive freshness, it's all playful and superbly fruity. Let's only hope the palate will stay the course. I cannot not think of some similarly aged Benriach. Mouth: sure the oak shows up, and it's even quite green and tea-ish, but the fruits are big enough to make the whole enjoyable and still fresh and lively. Also funny notes of camphor and eucalyptus, rosehip tea... It's actually got something of some old Irish pot still. A little incense and cedar wood as well. Finish: shortish but clean, while the oak hasn't got any louder. Some lemon balm in the aftertaste. Comments: only the slightly oaky arrival on the palate makes it lose two or three points in my book, otherwise it would have been a sure 90. SGP:551 - 88 points.

Teaninich 40 yo 1973/2013 (40.4%, The Nectar of the Daily Drams)

Teaninich 40 yo 1973/2013 (40.4%, The Nectar of the Daily Drams) Four stars and a half Colour: gold. Nose: we're very close, finding differences is tough. Maybe a notch less sultanas or other round aromas and rather more grassy tones. Otherwise just as fresh and pleasantly vibrant. The very low natural strength has no impact so far. Mouth: same whisky as above now, I cannot find any differences and believe me, I'm trying hard. Finish: maybe this one is a notch grassier? A little more green tannins? Maybe not. Comments: same as above, a pretty miraculous old whisky. SGP:551 - 88 points.

Teaninich 40 yo 1973/2013 (42%, The Whisky Agency, refill sherry hogshead, 213 bottles)

Teaninich 40 yo 1973/2013 (42%, The Whisky Agency, refill sherry hogshead, 213 bottles) Four stars and a half Colour: gold. Nose: we're obviously very close again. Sultanas, plums, sweet white wine, maybe honeysuckle... Lovely, lovely... Mouth: same as above. Maybe added touches of coconuts but I may well be dreaming - or need holidays. Finish: same. Maybe a little more white pepper. Comments: scratching my head. Anyway, this consistency after 40 years is quite spectacular and its not the first time this happens. That was a quick session! ;-) SGP:551 - 88 points.

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

 

 

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May 17, 2013


Whiskyfun

Two Tobermory, more quirky fun

Yes, let’s have two independent Tobermory (ies?) today. One will be relatively young while the other one will come from the famed 1972 vintage that gave us so many stunning glories from so many Scottish distilleries.

Tobermory 17 yo 1995/2013 (54.9%, Single Cask Collection, bourbon hogshead, cask #699, 251 bottles)

Tobermory 17 yo 1995/2013 (54.9%, Single Cask Collection, bourbon hogshead, cask #699, 251 bottles) Four stars and a half Do we have to expect a porridge bomb? Colour: white wine. Nose: interesting. I know interesting often sounds like a death word but it’s not here. The first thing that’s very obvious is that this is no porridge bomb, no beer bomb and no yeast bomb, although there is a little bit of all that. No, what’s quite striking is the freshness and, above all (so to speak), the coastal side, with sea breeze, iodine, fresh oysters… It’s even a little ledaigy, maybe it was a ‘transitional’ batch between Ledaig and Tobermory? Pure speculation… Also graphite oil, linseed… With water: became more mineral and still not much yeast. A youngish Tobermory that’s not feinty/yeasty at all! Mouth (neat): hey hey! Lovely lemony arrival, with a good acridness – provided you like that as much as I do – and a feeling of these high-end mescals from Del Maguey, between olives and capers. Splendidly unsexy, I’d say. With water: sweeter, rounder, but all this lemon remains there. Actually more grapefruits now. Finish: long, rather more briny. Very good. Comments: very good indeed, quite a surprise I have to say. Perfect coastal style with, maybe, a Clynelishopultenesque side. Oh, forget about that. SGP:452 - 88 points.

Tobermory 39 yo 1972/2012 (49.9%, Alambic Classique, oloroso sherry cask, cask #12307, 139 bottles)

Tobermory 39 yo 1972/2012 (49.9%, Alambic Classique, oloroso sherry cask, cask #12307, 139 bottles) Four stars The small German bottlers Alambic Classique have always had some great old Tobermories and Ledaigs. Oh and 1969 Port Ellen but that’s another story… Colour: mahogany. Nose: ah yes, we’re between Kikkoman sauce and old balsamic vinegar, that was to be expected. Also a lot of old rancio, old-Cognac style, a lot of old leather (say WWII flying jacket – whatever), old Bourgogne, cigars, old walnuts, pipe tobacco, cherry liqueurs… All that is quite superb. Chocolate (no, not old). Let’s try it with water: as often, it’s the meatiness and the walnuts that grew bigger. Superb now. Mouth (neat): there is a feeling of sipping some kind of oak decoction but that won’t last for long since there are also beautiful sweeter spices, bitter oranges, bitter chocolate and then bags of cumin and cloves. Not the easiest old dram, especially because there’s more and more salt coming to the front after a few minutes, but it’s really a… a… well, a style of its own. With water: sure the oak is loud but balance is kept, thanks to the not-so-drying spices and all the tiny tertiary notes that keep appearing. Kumquats, caraway, cocoa, lime, black cherries, more walnuts. Nah, yeah, it does become a little too drying after a while but we’ve seen worse, haven’t we. Finish: medium, really drying now. Sawdust, strong tea and cocoa powder. It’s the weakest part, as often with very old whiskies. Comments: probably a little past its prime, with a wood that already took control, but it’s still a kind of moving old whisky. Coz they don’t make them like this anymore… (wot?) SGP:372 - 85 points.

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

 

 

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May 16, 2013


Whiskyfun

Trying four 1997 Clynelish, or the joys of consistency

1997 was a good year at Clynelish and it’s always a joy to try these zesty, nervous and often very mineral drams. Especially when you’re a lover of genuine Alsatian Riesling… But warning, there can be lame ducks…

Clynelish 1997

Clynelish 15 yo 1997/2012 (46%, The Coopers Choice, sherry butt, cask #9112, 360 bottles) Three stars Colour: gold. Nose: fresh and zesty but the (light) sherry tends to make it lose a part of that freshness in my opinion. It’s also a tad too butyric, so not my favourite 1997 Clynelish so far. It’s got something slightly sour in the background, even if there are also nice whiffs of menthol, which I enjoy. Mouth: I like this better. The candy sugar blends well with the moderately waxy profile, we’re also having a little white chocolate and then this feeling of limoncello that we often get in youngish Clynelish. A little Demerara sugar. This is good. Finish: rather long, candied again. Crème brûlée in Clynelish? Peppery aftertaste. Comments: maybe it’s a notch unlikely, and the nose may well not be very typical, but it remains a very fine, full-bodied dram. SGP:451 - 81 points.

Clynelish 15 yo 1997/2012 (53.2%, Chester Whisky, bourbon hogshead, 197 bottles) Four stars Colour: white wine. Nose: mineral and waxy, a tad paraffiny as well, which may not be absolutely great here. Whiffs of sea water, then grass and maybe agaves. With water: nah, now its great, it just needed to swim a bit. Shoe polish, rocks and lemon. Mouth (neat): yeah, a crisp, zesty, precise, full-bodied Clynelish that takes no prisoners, as they say. Big lemon, wax and… Riesling. Just wee touches of bubblegum as well. With water: no more bubblegum, rather kumquats and bergamots. Finish: long, clean, pure and fresh. Comments: I won’t wax lyrical ;-). There are (even) better ones out there but this one is just great. SGP:362 - 87 points.

Clynelish 14 yo 1997/2012 (54.8%, Whisky Tales, cask #6473, 120 bottles) Four stars Colour: straw. Nose: same as above, only a notch crisper, maybe… With water: same comments. Superb nose. Mouth (neat): again, almost the same whisky as above. I won’t copy-and-paste everything, mind you. With water: same. Maybe this one’s a wee notch rounder and sweeter? Maybe the cask was a tad more active? Finish: same comments. Comments: same ballpark, obviously. No reasons to score this differently. SGP:462 – 87 points.

Clynelish 14 yo 1997/2011 (55.5%, Berry Bros & Rudd, USA, casks #4654-61) Four starsColour: straw. Nose: there, almost the same whisky again. Good, maybe this one is even more mineral and crisp than the others… Maybe a notch grassier as well. With water: no, it’s just the same whisky as above. Variations are infinitesimal. Mouth (neat): same as the other ones. Maybe a tad fruitier? I seem to find strawberries and pomegranates. With water: indeed, it’s a little fruitier now. Goes well. Finish: it’s actually got a Tasliker-y side. Excuse me. So a little more pepper. Comments: fruitier at times, sometimes a little rougher… Ah, the joy of tasting ‘remote sister casks’! Even if these babies make you scratch your hair a bit. SGP:462 - 87 points.
(and thank you, Todd)

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

 

 

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May 15, 2013


Whiskyfun

Two Tullibardine and no finishing

Tullibardine was probably a little understated in recent years and I have to say that some older bottlings haven’t really convinced me, either the spirit was a little unlikely (feinty/dirty and soapy at the same time, which takes the biscuit, ha ha), or the wood/wine influence was too strong. Having said that, I’ve heard that things have much improved in very recent times, so this is a good occasion to have another go at the distillery, with two brand new official expressions. There are also new wine-finished NAS bottlings – you know, Sauternes, Bourgogne and such - but I think we’ll manage to avoid them. Hurray!

Tullibardine 'Sovereign' (43%, OB, +/-2013)

Tullibardine 'Sovereign' (43%, OB, +/-2013) Two stars and a half Another new no-age-statement malt whisky, from first fill bourbon, apparently. Don’t we expect young age and bags and bags of vanilla? Colour: straw. Nose: bags and bags and vanilla (well, it’s no vanilla bomb, don’t get me wrong), on a soft and unexpectedly clean malty base. The use of first fill American oak worked pretty well, there’s no excessive coconut or ginger and there are even pleasant touches of rocks and wool under the rain. Also freshly broken branches. Mouth: no weakness at 43%, notes of both overripe and fresh apples, some cider, a little ginger, maybe cardamom and cinnamon (typical freshish oak), quite some pear eau-de-vie, barley water and sugar and then more bitter herbs, probably from the oak again. Finish: rather long, on walnuts and raw malt, with cinnamon in the aftertaste. The oak speaking. Comments: the older official no-vintage – and sometimes vintage - Tullibardines used to gather scores ranging from 60 to 70 in my book. This is another world, although we’ll probably have to try the older ones to find… err, more sovereignty. SGP:441 - 78 points.

Tullibardine 20 yo (43%, OB, +/-2013)

Tullibardine 20 yo (43%, OB, +/-2013) Three stars Also from first fill bourbon casks, it seems. Colour: gold. Nose: the ‘American’ vanilla is obviously more intense than in the Sovereign but the maltiness in the background is big enough not to make this baby smell bourbony, it isn’t at all. We’re rather on leaves, white chocolate, tobacco, fresh almonds and walnuts, grass and just a wee dirtiness (notes of fermentation, beer, yeast) that goes quite well in this context. Adds bigness. Also touches of coconut oil this time, as well as ‘yellow’ flowers such as dandelions. Mouth: this is different. Less clean, young and classic than the Sovereign, it’s got these slightly unlikely notes that used to be found in old bottlings. A wee feeling of burnt plastic and stout for a while, but then there’s more honey and chocolate, together with ginger, bitter oranges and a slight Chartreuse-y feeling. A little walnut liqueur too, I quite like this palate, it’s got some personality despite the use of first fill casks. Finish: rather long, with an oiliness and more ginger. Comments: I think it’s a very encouraging bottling. Nothing to do with the unlikely older versions. SGP:461 - 80 points.

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

 

 

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May 2013 - part 1 <--- May 2013 - part 2 ---> June 2013 - part 1


 

 

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

Bowmore 12 yo 2001/2013 (52.9%, The Whisky Agency, Liquid Library, refill butt, 484 bottles)

Bowmore 11 yo 2001/2012 (53.6%, Maltbarn, sherry, 175 bottles)

Bowmore 17 yo 1996/2013 (52.7%, The Whisky Agency, hogshead, 307 bottles)

Glencadam 39 yo 1973/2013 (44.1%, The Perfect Dram, bourbon hogshead, 221 bottles)

Littlemill 24 yo 1988/2013 (50.3%, The Whisky Agency, refill bourbon hogshead, 309 bottles)