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Hi, you're in the Archives, November 2020 - Part 1

       

October 2020 - part 2 <--- November 2020 - part 1 ---> November 2020 - part 2

 

 

November 13, 2020


Whiskyfun

 

 

 

Angus's Corner
From our Scottish correspondent
and skilled taster Angus MacRaild in Edinburgh
Angus  
Benriach, Clynelish
& Ardbeg
Or: starter, main course and dessert? Not much to say, except that I’m no masochist and sometimes you just find yourself in the mood to taste (theoretically) good whiskies. 

 

Benriach 22 yo 1997/2020 (57.1%, The Whisky Cellar ‘Private Cellars Selection’, bourbon barrel + rum finish, 189 bottles)

Benriach 22 yo 1997/2020 (57.1%, The Whisky Cellar ‘Private Cellars Selection’, bourbon barrel + rum finish, 189 bottles)
A new series from local (to me at any rate) bottler Keith Bonnington. I’m not usually too hot on rum finishes but I think Benriach’s fruitiness lends itself better than many other makes to some rum treatment. Colour: bright straw. Nose: easy and rather natural to begin, close to the raw ingredients with vanilla foam, lemon peels, barley sugars and wee touches of chalk and canvass. Not too much in the way of rum apart form some nice notes of pineapple - but that could just be Benriach itself. With water: fabrics, ink, chalk, lemongrass, rhubarb and custard sweets and a hint of pomegranate. Mouth: syrupy, naturally sweet and even rather gooey with these notes of mashed banana, ripe pineapple, lemon icing and then some greener notes of cider apple, lime curds and freshly muddled herbs. There is a wee rum ‘accent’ now as you get hint of gingery dark n stormy. With water: bigger, spicier, some warming notes of green pepper and some demerara notes. The rum does come through more assertively here but it remains tastefully integrated. Finish: good length, bitter citrons and piths, cereals dusted with icing sugar, green muddled herbs, fruit teas and more ginger and rum cocktails. Comments: A nifty and smart finish that’s light on its feet. Something of a guilty pleasure. 
SGP: 641 - 86 points. 

 

 

Benriach 33 yo 1972/2005 (49%, OB, cask #4043, hogshead, 261 bottles)

Benriach 33 yo 1972/2005 (49%, OB, cask #4043, hogshead, 261 bottles)
Was it really 2005 that these bottles were emerging? I feel suddenly old. Colour: straw. Nose: just beautiful. A beehive full of waxes, honeys, pollens and soft, juicy ripe fruits. Star fruit, kiwi, papaya, mango, kumquat… you’d be here all day! You sense the ‘fatness’ of the distillate itself with this tension between honeyed, luscious fruits and a firmer, hefty waxiness that threads its way between everything. Mouth: drier than expected, more on chalks, dusty pollens, oily cereals and a leaner style of fruitiness. More on citrons, pithy citrus rinds, pink grapefruit, lemon infused olive oil and hessian. Definitely different in style to the 1976s; closer to an old school highlander such as Glen Ord in many respects. A touch of bitter oak towards the end which will prevent it from hitting 90, but this is by and large glorious old style whisky. Finish: long, peppery, gingery, waxy, a little green wood such as snapped twigs and more pithy citrus peels adding a nice bitterness. Comments: the nose was pretty luminous and the palate possessed a beautiful simplicity and directness of character. Just perhaps a little tired here and there, but these are minor quibbles. 
SGP: 561 - 88 points.

 

 

A good warm up. Let’s head towards deepest, darkest Sutherland… 

 

 

A Highland Distillery 10 yo 2010/2020 (58.4%, Watt Whisky, 280 bottles)

A Highland Distillery 10 yo 2010/2020 (58.4%, Watt Whisky, 280 bottles)
There are whispers on the wind that this was distilled in, or very near, the town of Brora… Colour: white wine. Nose: grassy olive oil, sandalwood, minerals, waxes. I’m afraid the disguise is not holding, the origins are rather loud and clear. Sharp, citric and with a blustery, unfussy coastal quality that I can only describe as ‘invigorating’. With water: fabrics, chalk, beach pebbles, sand, crushed seashells, bath salts and white flowers. Still a persistent tang of citrus too. Mouth: pow! Superbly thick, textural, oily, waxy, lemony and almost medicinal with these rather precise notes of herbal cough medicines, verbena and vapour rubs. Really totally superb, benchmark stuff. With water: perfect! Citronella wax, barley extract, juicy fruits, a touch of vanilla, lemon peel, rapeseed oil. I love it! Finish: long, peppery, waxy, coastal, cereal and super fresh! Comments: Quite simply a perfect, young Clynelish that reeks of distillery character. Personally I think big distilling companies are missing a trick when they prevent their distillery names appearing on such great bottles. 
SGP: 562 - 90 points. 

 

 

Clynelish 22 yo 1972/1995 (58.64%, OB ‘Rare Malts’, USA)

Clynelish 22 yo 1972/1995 (58.64%, OB ‘Rare Malts’, USA)
These early Rare Malts for the US are now pretty scarce, and their reputation only seems to grow as the years pass. There’s also a 58.95% version for the US which Serge rated pretty highly way back in 2005 (WF:93) Colour: straw. Nose: church candles dissolved in a tanker of kerosine! Pure, stark and almost Arctic white with these impressions of linens, white flowers, chalk, crushed sea shells and waxy citrons. Absolutely stunning purity and precision and controlled power. Feels like one of these whiskies that is invisibly and very deliberately pulling levers in the darkness and directing various aromas at you with strategic purpose. Continues with sea air, mustard powder, delicate medical embrocations and sharp, saline minerals. Stunning! With water: becomes extremely coastal and almost brittle with these taut, hyper-pure minerals and saline notes. Petrol, vapour rubs, camphor and seaweed crackers. Mouth: immense texture and power. Smoked olive oil mixed with umami broth, seawater, waxed canvass and tiny glimmers of dried and crystallised exotic fruits. Some herbal teas in the background too. Just beautiful. With water: huge, fatty, waxy and oily now. It is the texture and weight in the mouth of these old Clynelish which is often so thrilling and breathtaking. Dry, crisp and full of raw cereals, sheep wool oils, camphor, lanolin and medical ointments. Finish: long, starting become more herbal now, more waxes, metal and shoe polishes, menthol, lemon peel and the faintest glimmer of peat smoke. Comments: A gorgeous, somewhat brutal, yet precise wee masterpiece. Breathtaking, power, poise, structure and mouth-slathering texture. Sends almost all contemporary distillates - even the ‘great’ ones - back to school. 
SGP: 473 - 93 points. 

 

 

Phew, very happy with those two drams. Despite the different eras, it’s still heartening to note that there’s more than a little shared DNA. Now, a short break, and then: to Islay!

 

 

Ardbeg 10 yo (46%, OB, rotation 2003, for duty free, 1 litre) 

Ardbeg 10 yo (46%, OB, rotation 2003, for duty free, 1 litre)
I don’t have the full L code I’m afraid, but it’s a 2003 bottling for sure, so should be all early 1990s distillate and rather different from current batches. Colour: white wine. Nose: superb! A wonderful mix of seawater, petrol, farmyard, sheep wool oils and that classical ‘tarry rope’ Ardbeg vibe. Also some lime juice and other, softer coastal touches such as rock pools and white flowers. Gets increasingly tarry and peppery. Just great! Mouth: a dense fog of peat smoke, rather smothered in tar, boiler fumes, farmyard ‘muddy’ flavours, smoked sea salt, black pepper, some drops of iodine and camphor. Huge whisky, little wonder it found such deep and lasting favour with peat heads. Finish: long, tarry, fishy, salty and lemony with smoked barley and touches of smoky wort. Some green olives bobbing about in the aftertaste. Comments: raw, boisterous, powerful and deeply charismatic whisky that remains extremely enjoyable, evocative and fun. Very early 90s style Ardbeg. 
SGP: 367 - 89 points. 

 

 

Ardbeg 20 yo 2000/2020 (57.2%, Elixir Distillers ‘The Whisky Show’, cask #1087, bourbon barrel, 247 bottles) 

Ardbeg 20 yo 2000/2020 (57.2%, Elixir Distillers ‘The Whisky Show’, cask #1087, bourbon barrel, 247 bottles) 
Colour: gold. Nose: much lighter and much more dominated by the cask with these notes of ginger and lightly smoked vanilla. Camphor, wood resins, tar, pine cones. Feels altogether more syrupy and lighter in style, still very good, but a bit of a departure after the old 10yo. With water: ashes, seawater, grapefruit, citrons and some inky touches. A little persistent vanilla note too. Mouth: good arrival, all on seawater, mercurochrome, wet chalk, iodine, natural tar extract, TCP and hessain. Even some kind of smoked wax emerges. Still this rather dominant aspect from the cask though I think. Green pepper, graphite oil and putty. With water: a little dirtier, greasier and tarrier with more obvious peat smoke and things like wood ashes, lemon rind and curry powder. Finish: long, spicy, tarry, wood spices, ground peppercorns of various shades, camphor and  boiler smoke.  Some wood shavings and citrus peels in the aftertaste. Comments: Reminds me of the early-mid 2000s when everyone was raving about the 17yo and it was fashionable for young fools like me to say “Well, I prefer the 10”. Anyway, this is good stuff, but I find it a bit of a distillate-light and cask-heavy Ardbeg. For me I miss the raw ‘Ardbegness’ that you find in spades in the old 10yo.
SGP: 656 - 87 points. 

 

 

Hugs and gratitude to Gene, KC and Dirk!

 

 

 

Special Bonus

Some new Glenkinchie

There is a new official Glenkinchie – although all new Glenkinchies would be official anyway – so let’s try it with joy and elevation (excuse me?) The sparring partner will be a regular 12, naturally.

Glenkinchie 12 yo (43%, OB, +/- 2018)

Glenkinchie 12 yo (43%, OB, +/- 2018) Three stars
Colour: pale gold. Nose: as we remember it, that is to say, soft, rather on vanilla and toasted oak, with cereals and fresh croissants. Fresh croissants cannot not work with a Frenchman, naturally. A little nougat, a little popcorn, a little apple compote, a spoonful of quince jelly, and perhaps half a drop of lemon balm essence. That’s not ugly at all. Mouth: I believe Glenkinchie, while still not the bluest chip ever, keeps improving. Good oaky vanilla, bread, croissants, lemon cake, Golden Grahams, sweeter beer, sourdough… Not that all that is very inspiring, but I don’t think you could catch this humble baby out. Finish: medium, perhaps a tad blendish. Green tea, vanilla, sweet maize. Quite some freshish oak in the aftertaste. Comments: more than just a better blend.
SGP:451 - 80 points.

Glenkinchie 16 yo (50.6%, OB, Four Corners of Scotland Collection, 2502 bottles, 2020)

Glenkinchie 16 yo (50.6%, OB, Four Corners of Scotland Collection, 2502 bottles, 2020) Three stars
This baby was matured in refill and freshly charred hogsheads. It is some commemorative bottling and to be honest, with malt whisky and as far as commemorations are concerned, any reasons are good reasons. By the way, Glenkinchie’s bottle makes the most thrilling ‘pops’ when you pour the first cls out. True Pink-Floyd-approved sound quality! Colour: gold. Nose: totally the 12, only at the power of two. That means more vanilla, more sawdust, more bread dough, more croissants, more popcorn, to which you would add quite some medicinal notes, which are coming unexpected. In the style of Vicks VapoRub. With water: water works greatly. Mint-filled pastries of some sorts and a whole panettone. I utterly adore good fresh panettone - I just wanted to get that on the record. Mouth (neat): pretty heavy on the oak, as if this was some young malt by some new ‘craft’ distillers. Feels boosted, oaked-up, but not unpleasantly so, it’s just very ‘modern’. Whether Glenkinchie’s distillate is big enough to stand such treatment is to be seen… once water’s been added. With water: no, we’re okay, sure the oak is loud and the spirit a little weak, but this has been composed with care. Nutshell: it is not just oak juice. Finish: quite long, tea-ish, oaky. Comments: not just some liquid plank. By the way, I didn’t know Scotland had only four corners, I had thought it would have had at least a good few dozens.
SGP:461 - 82 points.

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

 

November 12, 2020


Whiskyfun

A bag of Scapas or another Via Crucis

There aren’t that many Scapas around, unless many of those ‘Secret Orkneys’ that are now invading our shelves are not really HP, and would rather be, yes, Scapa. You never know. As usual, first, an aperitif…

Scapa 10 yo 1989/2000 (43%, Signatory Vintage, cask #1903)

Scapa 10 yo 1989/2000 (43%, Signatory Vintage, cask #1903) one star and a half
To be honest these batches have not got the highest reputation ever and many people wouldn't touch them with a bargepole. Colour: pale white wine. Nose: supermarket bread, plastic, sourdough, cherry syrup, baker’s yeast, stale ale, carbon paper, flour, sugar syrup. All right then. Mouth: not quite. Chewing on a conservative American magazine, sugar syrup, paper, saccharine, paraffin… No thanks. Finish: medium. Ale and yeast. Stale spices and molasses in the aftertaste. Comments: that was a long time ago, just after the Osmonds. I believe Signatory have issued around fifteen thousand stunners since this very humble Scapa was absent-mindedly bottled.
SGP:441 - 68 points.

A new one please…

 

 

 

Scapa 15 yo 2005/2020 (57.7%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseur’s Choice, first fill bourbon barrel, for LMDW, cask #465, 234 bottles)

Scapa 15 yo 2005/2020 (57.7%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseur’s Choice, first fill bourbon barrel, for LMDW, cask #465, 234 bottles)
G&M have had quite a few good Scapas in the past, and a few duds too if you ask me. Let’s see… Colour: light gold. Nose: light honey, raisin rolls, vanilla, fresh oak, orange squash, muesli, coconut water, acacia wood. Nice! With water: gets pretty doughish. White beer, bread, grist, ink, supermarket chocolate, planks at Ikea’s. Not as bad as that sounds tough. Mouth (neat): pretty strong, on lemon and fresh oak, with touches of liquorice and menthol and a hint of brine. The saltiness is rather intriguing here. With water: we got it now! Typical soft saltiness plus honeyed doughs, sweet maize, sweet beer, those croissants… The saltiness really is intriguing here. Finish: long and even saltier. Where does all this salt(iness) come from? Same cigarette tobacco too. Salted butter in the aftertaste, or salted nougat, should that exist. Comments: a malt whisky apart, not straight and easy if you ask me, but there’s something charming for sure. Reminds me of a few long-forgotten British cars. Say the Triumph Stag.
SGP:362 - 84 points.

 

 

 

Scapa 1979/1989 (62.4%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #17.3)

Scapa 1979/1989 (62.4%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #17.3) Two stars
Ten years old Scapa at lethal strength, a.k.a. old kerosene. Colour: white wine. Nose: totally and plainly on hot chocolate. Warm milk, cocoa, Hershey’s worst. That’s all so far, folks. With water: plaster and damp chalk, Van Houten’s powder, milk powder, concrete, graphite oil, baker’s yeast… Not too sure. Mouth (neat): too strong of course, but this has nothing to do with the nose. No chocolate this time, rather orange squash, Schweppes Lemon, and fizzy sweets. Not too easy. With water: some improvement, but this is extremely austere, ueber-grassy, dry, and indeed a little salty. Finish: long, dry, narrow, salty and bitter. Salted brown beer. Comments: really fun to taste, but I doubt anyone would quaff this extreme bone-dry juice while watching some stupid series on Dramazon Prime. Urgh!
SGP:272 - 75 points.

Take heart, S.!

Scapa 1977 (64.3%, Gordon & MacPhail, Meregalli Italy, +/-1990, 75cl)

Scapa 1977 (64.3%, Gordon & MacPhail, Meregalli Italy, +/-1990, 75cl) Three stars
64.3%, gulp! Always loved this ‘distillery label’ by G&M. But shall we survive this sneaky Scapa? It’s true that G&M have had many great ones in the past. Colour: gold. Nose: some remote beer perhaps, and a large brioche straight from the oven. We won’t take any further chances anyway at this strength. With water: herbs, grasses, essential oils (thyme), metal polish, old tools, iron… Mouth (neat): I seem to rather like this. Patchouli, chlorophyl, green tobacco, Brussels sprouts, bitter herbs… Yeah well… With water: oh, lime, mezcal, Jamaican rum, spearmint, sour and bitter herbs, artichokes, baked eggplant, Scottish moussaka (what’s that?)… What’s this monster, my friend? Finish: long, hard, bitter, harsh, grassy… Comments: to be honest, this is WTF whisky that you really need to intellectualise before you swallow more than three drops. And yet it’s pretty charming… cough, cough! Holy featherless crow, whisky by Boulez!
SGP:372 - 82 points.

(Merci KC)

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

 

November 10, 2020


Whiskyfun

New Ord 38 yo and helpers

There’s a new 38 years old Singleton that looks quite extra-ord-inary (oh wow!) but first let’s see what we can find as sparring partners. Maybe two little Cadenheads?

Ord 13 yo 2005/2018 (54.9%, Cadenhead, Single Cask, for Vinotek Massen, Flanders Finest Selection and others, bourbon hogshead, 306 bottles)

Ord 13 yo 2005/2018 (54.9%, Cadenhead, Single Cask, for Vinotek Massen, Flanders Finest Selection and others, bourbon hogshead, 306 bottles) Four stars
A bottling for many distinguished houses in the north. Colour: white wine. Cadenhead have had and are still having quite some casks of Glen Ord, as it appears. Colour: white wine. Nose: I’m finding rather a lot of plasticine and paraffin at first, then a grassy zestiness that would then lead us to various green fruits. Granny smith, greengages, gooseberries… With water: touches of earth, humus, autumn leaves (how appropriate) and the tiniest bit of rubber. Mouth (neat): it's pretty citric and ‘bonbony’. So lemon drops, touches of green walnuts, a chalkiness, some waxy elements too. With water: more of all that. Notes of orgeat/fresh almonds. Finish: rather long, on a leafier limoncello. Classic tight style. Comments: good tension in this one.
SGP:451 - 85 points.

Ord 12 yo 2006/2018 (55.3%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon hogshead, hogshead, 315 bottles)

Ord 12 yo 2006/2018 (55.3%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon hogshead, hogshead, 315 bottles) Two stars and a half
This ought to be pretty similar, so pretty good. Colour: white wine. Nose: this one’s clearly got more varnish, rubber, and even coal smoke. Tarmac, glue, sulphur (used matches)… And yet it is a bourbon hoggie. Much unexpected, let’s see how it would evolve… With water: ginger tonic! Schweppes… And always these bizarre whiffs of struck matches. Mouth (neat): indeed, big citric arrival, full of lemon squash and orange drops (or Fanta, there), with this glue-y layer over it all. The kind of flavours that you could sometimes find in patched casks, if I remember well. There’s even a little smoked ham. With water: gets really very leafy. Finish: long, leafy, bitterish. Curious notes of mutton suet. Comments: a challenging funny boy I would say. I’d love to know more about its pedigree.
SGP:362 - 79 points.

The Singleton of Glen Ord 38 yo (49.6%, OB, Master’s Casks, 1689 bottles, 2020)

The Singleton of Glen Ord 38 yo (49.6%, OB, Master’s Casks, 1689 bottles, 2020) Five stars
This is the new wonder, composed by one of Diageo’s main – albeit discreet – top slingers, Mrs Maureen Robinson. It is a kind of reverse-finishing, meaning that she decided to re-rack some bourbon casks into various seasoned woods (including PX, naturally) after just 12 years, and to let that ‘finishing’ period last for 26 further years. The owners are talking about ‘finishing’ but that’s actually double-maturation, is it not? Anyway, we all remember the old ‘square’ Glen Ord 30yo, so expectations are super-high. There should be beeswax in the menu! Colour: full gold. Nose: that old 30 yo instantly springs to mind. Beeswax in abundance, old Sauternes, a few medicinal touches (camphor, embrocations), a lot of orange blossom water, earl grey, kumquats, heather honey, orange zests, a touch of plasticine, petit manseng (white wines from Jurançon), old waxed papers, ‘opening a beehive’… Well this nose is extra-ord-inary indeed (oh no, not again!) Mouth: we’re in old liqueurs territory, really. I suppose a world-class mixologist could almost replicate this for a wealthy patron. Let’s try, I would select old yellow chartreuse, triple-sec, a little pine bud liqueur, a few drops of Scandinavian tar liqueur, probably some fig arrak, and perhaps a few drops of old blue curaçao. But don’t fear, this old Ord is not blue. But shake or stir? No ideas, I’m anything but a mixologist (as you could just notice). Finish: rather long, creamy, with a little more vanilla, apricot jam, quinces, more beeswax and honeys… The pine-y and camphory notes are back in the aftertaste. Comments: very interesting because you might feel that there’s both something old and something pretty fresh in this one. A senior athlete, in other words. I find it absolutely superb.
SGP:671 - 92 points.

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

 

November 9, 2020


Whiskyfun

Another wee bag of high-flying Chichibu

How do you say ‘wee’ in Japanese? (UPDATE, that's 'oshikko', thank you xdo!) We’ll sort these Chichibus by ascending strength by the way, not sure that makes too much sense but there…

 

 

 

Chichibu ‘Paris Edition 2020’ (52.8%, OB, for LMDW, 1831 bottles)

Chichibu ‘Paris Edition 2020’ (52.8%, OB, for LMDW, 1831 bottles)
Probably a 7 years old. This is a small batch of 8 casks, quite a recipe by the way. Imagine, one 2013 first fill bourbon peated, three 2013 virgin oak, one  2013 Port pipe, two 2014 quarter casks and one 2014 red wine casks. Are you following? Last year’s Paris Edition had been pretty fantastic in my opinion (WF 90). Colour: deep gold. Nose: smart, very smart, and complex, very complex. After all, this is a self-blended malt, is it not. I couldn’t list all aromas I’m finding – and WF is too cluttered anyway – but I’ll simply mention peonies, chlorophyll, eucalyptus, beeswax, dried banana, honeysuckle and lime blossom, some chalk and some clay, custard, clover honey, old chardonnay… and myriads of other small smells. Rather flabbergasting. Oh, and smart. With water: gets narrower and tighter but in a wonderful manner, with more chalk, vanilla, crushed slate, and yes, chardonnay. Just south of Beaune! Mouth (neat): a bit tougher on the palate, spicier than expected, rustic for sure, leafy and leathery… I’m wondering if that’s not the Port and the red wine’s tannicity. Water should help… With water: it does, it makes it rather better focused, although I’m still finding a little sour wood. Custard, fresh oak, banana, raisins, drops of latte… I really like it, but I think I like the more vertical, tighter Chichibus even better. Finish: medium, on pretty much the same flavours, with an unexpected feeling of vin jaune and leaves (cherry, peach). Comments: absolutely excellent for certain, but I’m not sure the red wines didn’t bother me a wee bit on the palate. That’s me.
SGP:461 - 87 points.

 

 

 

Chichibu ‘London Edition 2020’ (53.5%, OB, for The Whisky Exchange, 1736 bottles)Chichibu ‘London Edition 2020’ (53.5%, OB, for The Whisky Exchange, 1736 bottles)

Chichibu ‘London Edition 2020’ (53.5%, OB, for The Whisky Exchange, 1736 bottles) Four stars and a half
A vatting of seven casks this time, mostly refill bourbon barrels, some having had their heads replaced with new mizunara oak as I understand it. So no red wine this time, but they have Boris J.. You can’t have it both ways, I suppose. Colour: straw. Nose: tighter, more intense as well, more millimetric, slightly mentholy and camphory, with a simpler but maybe better defined profile. Sour fruits, sauvignon blanc rather than chardonnay, green walnuts, grass… With water: an excellent Sancerre, perhaps from Chavignol. Mouth (neat): works for me. Slight smoke, brine, olives, leaves, eucalyptus tea, grapefruits, more sauvignon blanc… No long literature needed here. With water: more of all that, with a little more chlorophyl. I suppose that’s the mizunara. Finish: rather long, tight, lemony and grassy, with touches of salted chocolate and a little mint. Smoked mint? Comments: clean and tight, with no unnecessary extra-flavours in the way. That’s my preferred way. On the other hand, they have Boris.
SGP:562 - 89 points.

 

 

 

Chichibu 10 yo (56.5%, La Maison du Whisky, Artist #10, bourbon barrel, cask #423, 164 bottles)

Chichibu 10 yo (56.5%, La Maison du Whisky, Artist #10, bourbon barrel, cask #423, 164 bottles)
A little birdie told me this was a 2009. Expectations are higher this time, as this is a proper unadulterated barrel… Colour: gold. Nose: you bet. Focaccia dough, asparagus and a tiny olive, custard, acacia blossom, zucchini flower, fresh brioche… Well this is just otherworldly so far. A natural beauty, as they say in Hollywood. With water: mangos, sunflower and olive oils, crushed macadamias, eucalyptus, lime blossom… I find this absolulety stunning. I mean, absolutely. Mouth (neat): of course. Crushed bananas, touches of violets, custard, many breads and doughs, croissants, a little wax, some good earth, the obligatory drop of miso… Perfection incarnated in my faithful tulip glass. With water: you’ll find all these tiny metallic, mineral and earthy touches that make the greatest malt whiskies. Finish: rather long, a tad grassier, earthy, with oils and a few flower extracts… Isn’t that borage? Comments: this is of Old Clynelish quality, if you ask me. It’s just a wee tad young(ish). Hope they’ll keep a few early barrels until at least 2025.
SGP:561 - 92 points.

 

 

 

I’ve read my horoscope this morning. “More ex-bourbon Chichibu for you”, it said…

Chichibu 2008/2018 (60.8%, OB, Malt Dream Cask, for Bar Tee-Airigh, bourbon barrel, cask #180, 183 bottles)

Chichibu 2008/2018 (60.8%, OB, Malt Dream Cask, for Bar Tee-Airigh, bourbon barrel, cask #180, 183 bottles) Five stars
This is where you learn that the barley was Optic. All right then. Colour: gold. Nose: things are a bit more complicated at this high strength, but the overall feelings are pretty positive. Custard, good sawdust, melons and peaches, acacia honey and just a drop of cellulosic varnish. No worries, that’s the high strength… With water: oh good, tangerines, bananas, custard, panettone, dandelions, Danishes, orange blossom water. Mouth (neat): too strong and a tad rubbery this far. Water please… With water: success. Orange juice, touch of ginger, cider, grape pip oil, funny notes of kiwis… Finish: pretty long and rather all on greener fruits, rhubarb juice, more kiwis, gooseberries… Grapefruits in the aftertaste. Comments: that one was pretty citrusy and almost citric when watered down. And very clean. I find it excellent, but do not even consider tackling it without a proper quantity of H2O. Excellently tart, really.
SGP:561 - 90 points.

Chichibu 2012/2019 (62%, OB, for Selfridges, cask #2074, 200 bottles)

Chichibu 2012/2019 (62%, OB, for Selfridges, cask #2074, 200 bottles) Five stars
For Selfridges, really? This baby first spent a large part of its life in an ex-Hanyu cask (did you hear there were plans to re-start Hanyu?) and was then transferred to a refill Chichibu hogshead. In Scotland some would call this ‘a family cask’ for lesser reasons. Colour: bright straw. Nose: peat, loud and clear. I suppose the last cask had sheltered some peated Chichibu. Tar, hessian, seaweed fire, Worcester sauce, brine, chillies, black olives… This is not what I was expecting at all, but I am a fan. With water: even more clean and bright peat. Wait, wasn’t this peated Chichibu in the first place? Vicks VapoRub, brine, oysters, tar, sea air, ‘a walk on the beach’, etcetera. Mouth (neat): burns you a wee bit -Selfridges, really? – and displays an Ardbeggy side that’s pretty obvious to me. Tarmac, hessian, old engine, kelp, seawater… But boy is it strong! With water: tar, liquorice, lemon liqueur, salt, a little cardamom. The closest thing to Ardbeg is Ardbeg – barely (S., that doesn’t make any sense). Finish: long, clean, smoky, salty, very coastal. Notes of passion fruits and grapefruits in the aftertaste. Pink pepper too. Comments: so I suppose it was a peated Chichibu (I’m telling you, Einstein reincarnated!) I’m glad we had it as the last one within this wee session. Great young peater.
SGP:556 - 90 points.

(Thank you mucho, Dornoch Castle and Whisky Bar and Friendship Dispensers!)

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

 

November 8, 2020


Whiskyfun

Some cognac for Joe B.

And that’s not Joe Bonamassa. But why not? Couldn’t we try a few new French brandies to celebrate the win of good sense and care, even if we may be on the verge of losing quite some worthy laughing matter, what do you say? Good, good, but first, an older aperitif, to push the gas in real smooth ;-)…

Hennessy ‘Fine Champagne VSOP’ (40%, OB, Cognac, +/-1985)

Hennessy ‘Fine Champagne VSOP’ (40%, OB, Cognac, +/-1985) one star and a half
A very large-volume expression that international travellers could have found just anywhere in the world, especially in travel retail and hotels. Moderate hopes here… Colour: amber (caramel). Nose: well in the expected style, that is to say ridden with raisins, liquid caramel, then melon and peach liqueurs, plus a wee metallic touch as well as notes of old middle-range sweet wine. There, Monbazillac. Some heather honey too. In fact, this is a pleasant nose, I can’t remember why we weren’t liking these when they were to be found just anywhere. You’re right, maybe because they were to be found just anywhere. Bunch of snobs! Mouth: too much caramel by today’s standards, really, and too much ‘liqueur’. That makes it a little cloying and in 2020, you would be soon to ask for a few ice cubes. Lots of raisins, maple syrup, corn syrup, and just a touch of tobacco. Finish: short and kind of going nowhere. A little rubber and some pancake syrup. The sugar wrecks the aftertaste. Comments: let’s not be too harsh, one could drink this but a sweet tooth would be needed. Yeah I know many households have still got such bottles under the telly… Just drop the telly!
SGP:730 - 68 points.

Good, let’s tackle some real stuff…

 

 

 

Delamain ‘Collection Revelation Malaville’ (45%, OB, Grande Champagne, cask #709-01, 460 bottles, 2020)

Delamain ‘Collection Revelation Malaville’ (45%, OB, Grande Champagne, cask #709-01, 460 bottles, 2020)
Delamain have got a huge reputation. They wouldn’t display the vintage here but they claim this is ‘very old’. Given that it’s Delamain, we believe them. Colour: gold. Nose: single cask, single vineyard cognac from a great house, how would anyone beat this. Sublime flowers (gorse, broom), plus loads of pollen, some mentholy touches, heather, tangerine, lemongrass, orange blossom, apricots, acacia and clover honeys, green oranges (Hermès’s). Sublime freshness, extremely aromatic but without the tiniest iota of headiness. Mouth: look, first you put the bottle back into the cupboard, and only then you take your glass in your hands. Wonderfully oriental (baklavas, mint tea), with touches of tobacco, halva and nougat, tangerine liqueur, quince jelly… It may get a wee tad grassier and a touch more tannic over the minutes, but that’ just nothing. Finish: medium, fresh, always on this rather stunning combination that would involve tangerines, honeys and various mints. Comments: we may be a little too fast already. Lost one or two points after the middle on the palate.
SGP:651 - 90 points.

 

 

Oh while we’re at it…

 

 

Delamain 50 yo 1965/2015-2020 ‘Collection Apogée’ (44%, OB, Grande Champagne, dame-jeanne #339-01, 42 bottles, 2020)

Delamain 50 yo 1965/2015-2020 ‘Collection Apogée’ (44%, OB, Grande Champagne, dame-jeanne #339-01, 42 bottles, 2020)
This one stems from a vineyard in Verrières. It was decanted into a demijohn in 2015, and bottled this year. Oh how we hope our friends in Scotland would do this too! Well, actually some did with some old bottles (Macallan or Glenmorangie, for example). That’s the whole idea behind an ‘apogee’, stopping wood maturation just when the spirit reached its peak. Colour: red amber. Nose: well it may be only 50, but it’s already gathered notes of varnish, cellulose, or old pinecones for example. On the other hand, these notes of old cigars, rancio, chocolate and coffee are just superb, provided you like them dry – I know I do. Some tamarind jam, starkrimsons and overripe damsons at the fruit department. Less ‘obvious’ than the Revelation, perhaps a little more ‘reflective’. Do you say that? Mouth: oh you just feel it was the right time. Loads of thin mints, black Assam, ground coffee and even touches of chicory, then various chocolates, dry black raisins, then the expected spices, cloves, cinnamon… What’s really funny is how the fruits are arriving later this time, especially citrons and blood oranges. All this chocolate and all this citrus lead us straight to Jaffa cakes I believe. Which I love. Finish: rather long and rather more on teas and chocolate again, as expected. Crunching coffee beans and roasted cocoa pods, torrefaction. Comments: wondering if I didn’t enjoy the younger sibling even better. Now you can have ten glasses of the latter, whilst you’ll just have two of this 1965. That’s much cheaper.
SGP:461 - 90 points.

 

 

 

Back to a younger one…

Jean-Luc Pasquet ‘Le Cognac d’Elisabeth L.89’ (46.3%, OB, Petite Champagne, 398 bottles)

Jean-Luc Pasquet ‘Le Cognac d’Elisabeth L.89’ (46.3%, OB, Petite Champagne, 398 bottles) Four stars and a half
This one from a small domaine called ‘La Grange du Bois’ which just stopped producing cognac. Their last harvest was 2015. It’s absolutely thrilling that the house Pasquet managed to save this cask and to bottle it in its full singular glory under their ‘Esprit de Famille’ banner. Colour: amber. Nose: back to freshness, this time with a rather elegant, somewhat self-restrained style that would rather gather ripe orchard fruits such as mirabelles, quinces, yellow peaches, then acacia honey and just a wee handful of juicy sultanas. This one totally stays on track. Whiffs of rose petals arising after a few minutes, with even touches of muscat grapes. Lovely nose. Mouth: firmer and tighter, starting with lemon balm and a little peppermint, in a style that’s a tad more rustic than that of the Delamains. Now I rather dig rusticity. Old apples, rhubarb, a few walnuts and bitter almonds, quite some tobacco for sure (chewing on your untipped Craven A, circa 1975 ;-))… At times you’d almost believe this is apple brandy. Great apple brandy, naturally. Finish: long, still a little rustic. Comments: excellent Sunday morning cognac, I would say. After church, of course.
SGP:561 - 89 points.

Another Petite Champagne please…

Cognac Sponge ‘Edition No.2 Heritage N.69’ (48.8%, WhiskySponge, Grosperrin, Petite Champagne, 250 bottles)

Cognac Sponge ‘Edition No.2 Heritage N.69’ (48.8%, WhiskySponge, Grosperrin, Petite Champagne, 250 bottles) Five stars
This is well Cognac Sponge, not Konjac Sponge mind you. Of course that’s a real thing. Now that a subject of her most gracious majesty would add old Napo to one of his labels remains hard to understand on this side of the Channel. As for the vintage, well, Serge Gainsbourg, come out of this body! Colour: amber. Nose: back to the older ones, with fruits that get kind of subdued while coffee, tobacco and chocolate are coming to the front. But it remains a fruity old cognac, with ripe damsons, glazed chestnuts, overripe apples… Mouth: it’s amazing how close we are to the Pasquet, despite these extra twenty years. Same slightly rustic style, with grasses, tobacco, leaves, some peppers, black raisins, pipe tobacco, black tea, fruit peelings. Wee menthol and liquorice too. Finish: rather long, still leafy and, well, rustic in a good way. What’s perfect is that it would gear towards wild honeys in the aftertaste. Purple-heather honey, for example. Bang, two more points! Comments: you could have two after church, no? A tad rough and tough yet splendid, to be poured into your favourite hipflask.
SGP:561 - 90 points.

Brandy 27 yo 1993/2020 (52.3%, Thompson Bros., 409 bottles)

Brandy 27 yo 1993/2020 (52.3%, Thompson Bros., 409 bottles) Four stars
This brandy was bottled in Scotland and was ‘early landed – late bottled’, which will prevent it from being labelled as ‘cognac’ – provided it’s cognac indeed. No cognac that wasn’t fully matured in the region can be called cognac these days, I believe only Hine were still benefitting from a temporary derogation. Have to work on this… Colour: amber. Nose: wait, it does not quite smell like cognac. Rather armagnac, or maybe even Spanish brandy, with these rather huge coffee notes. Or Armenian brandy? Tobacco, chocolate, coffee, Bovril, metal polish… With water: chocolate, mint, Maggi, pu-her, dried porcinis. Mouth (neat): could be cognac on the palate, really. More fruits, peaches, maple syrup, black nougat, sultanas, pinesap… I’m absolutely not an expert but I think this is quite in the style of some ‘extreme’ cognac makers, such as Bouju or Forgeron. With water: I’m not sure. Probably cognac, but a rather mentholy one. Icy mint and dark chocolate, or some crazy stuff by Starbucks. Finish: long, rather all on chocolate and tobacco. You rather have to fight it. A drop of bervea or even genepy liqueur in the aftertaste. Comments: you could almost call this a liquid cigar. I kind of thought it was a Jerezian on the nose, but the palate’s way too dry for that. We might never know…
SGP:461 - 86 points.

That’s enough. Many more cognacs soon on WF, stay tuned.

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

 

November 7, 2020


Whiskyfun

 

 

 

Angus's Corner
From our Scottish correspondent
and skilled taster Angus MacRaild in Edinburgh
Angus  
Closed distilleries and silent stills
It’s always good to revisit these names from time to time when the sample pile allows. It’s true that not all closed distilleries were great all the time, indeed, many could be pretty unlikely and often difficult. But, as so often with ‘old style’ whiskies, when they’re on top form they can really fly high. It looks like quite the mixed bag today but it’s always a pleasure - and fun - to try these makes…

 

Imperial 26 yo 1994/2020 (45.3%, The Whisky Exchange for ‘The Whisky Show’, cask #5874, barrel, 198 bottles)

Imperial 26 yo 1994/2020 (45.3%, The Whisky Exchange for ‘The Whisky Show’, cask #5874, barrel, 198 bottles)
It’s great news that there’s quite a few Imperial still coming out, worth enjoying while it lasts I would say. Colour: straw. Nose: super clean with fresh barley, cereals and chalky and waxy tones. Rather a lot of citrus peels, bergamot, clay and wee touches of honeycomb and furniture polish. Light but very expressive and undeniably quite old school and even ‘Clynelish-esque’. Mouth: bitter lemon, citrus rinds again, mineral oils, chalk, limestone, hessian and waxed fabrics. These impressions of various cooking and mechanical oils with lighter cereal tones still fading in and out. On the lighter side but still very good. Finish: medium, with some green herbs, floral teas, dried mint, white pepper and more polished cereal notes. Comments: Fragile but very beautiful and elegant. These more distinctive old style waxy qualities sit very deftly alongside the lighter cereal and citrus aspects. A little more oomph would have propelled it higher I suspect.
SGP: 461 - 88 points.

 

 

Caperdonich 22 yo 1997/2020 (60.5%, Lady Of The Glen, cask #19130, bourbon barrel, 171 bottles)

Caperdonich 22 yo 1997/2020 (60.5%, Lady Of The Glen, cask #19130, bourbon barrel, 171 bottles)
Colour: pale gold. Nose: extremely punchy and chiselled, austere but not in a monolithic way. Lots of wet fabrics, linens, chalk, limestone, putty, sourdough and soda bread. Wee notes of ink, newspaper and mineral water with lemon slices. Extremely pure and with an encroaching minerality that quickly becomes quite assertive and punchy. With water: crisp cereals, fresh butter, parsley, green tea, yellow flowers - very organic, natural and a touch more elegant now. Mouth: snapped twigs, hessian, malt extract, barley water, bitter lemon, carbon paper - this is big, punchy, rather complex and very distillate driven. I’m a fan! With water: grassy with some expensive olive oil, mineral oils, sunflower seeds, hints of camphor and shoe polish. Powerful but well restrained and controlled. Getting sharply peppery now too. Finish: long, bready, rich, malty, cereal and full of taut yeasty notes and wee hints of wax, white pepper and bitter lemon again. Comments: Impressive and powerful Caperdonich that has no shortage of charisma but requires water, attention and patience.
SGP: 361 - 87 points.

 

 

Lochside 37 yo 1981/2018 (50.7%, Gene’s Dram, cask #766, sherry butt, 210 bottles)

Lochside 37 yo 1981/2018 (50.7%, Gene’s Dram, cask #766, sherry butt, 210 bottles)
We don’t get to try too many Lochsides anymore these days, sadly. Colour: light coppery amber. Nose: it’s the sherry that speaks first with lots of lovely soft bready and chocolate vibes. Then those very typical Lochside fruits such as guava, pineapple and papaya. Hints of green banana and star fruit as well. This wonderful impression slightly overripe and texturally ‘pulpy’ fruits. A wee scatter of sultanas and raisins too. With water: mango jam, very fragrant, background waxiness, rapeseed oil, herbal and exotic fruit teas and some rosewater. Dammit! I miss Lochside! Mouth: superb arrival! Big thick oily fruitiness, with little flashes of wood spices, espresso, herbal cocktail bitters, dried mango, metal polish. Like many old Lochsides from these vintages, parts of it are reminiscent of some very old Irish pure pot whiskeys with these slightly mechanical, oily and bready complexities. Although here the fruits are riper and much more voluptuous. With water: more nervous, more spicy, more thready notes of brittle waxes, eucalyptus bark, fir wood, tea tree oils and long aged cheng pi. This impression of lightly spiced treacle and golden syrup over crystallised tropical fruits. Finish: long, perfectly bitter and herbal, getting earthier with more firm notes of dark teas, brown breads, bitter chocolate and liquorice. Comments: Superb, what I really love is that at no point do you feel the whisky is tired. Instead it just kind of keeps evolving and revealing new pockets of flavour and character, yet you never lose sight of the Lochside DNA.
SGP: 651 - 91 points.

 

 

Glenury Royal 35 yo 1984/2020 (49.1%, Gordon & MacPhail ‘125th Anniversary’, cask #2335, sherry butt, 397 bottles)

Glenury Royal 35 yo 1984/2020 (49.1%, Gordon & MacPhail ‘125th Anniversary’, cask #2335, sherry butt, 397 bottles)
While it is wonderful that many newer and smaller indy bottlers are able to issue casks from closed distilleries still, its unquestionably Gordon & MacPhail who remain the kings of this kind of latter day lost distillery release. This quartet of bottlings for their 125th anniversary have been causing some chatter so far this year, but let’s taste rather than chat (what?!) This Glenury hails from the penultimate year of the distillery’s production. Colour: amber. Nose: deep, unctuous and wonderfully earthy sherry that also expressed many dense and sticky dark fruits. Plums drizzled with old balsamic, raspberry wine, green walnut liqueur, Irish coffee and this very particular kind of leathery, almost tarry, rancio. The kind of aroma that just seems to grow in complexity and keeps evolving in simultaneous directions. Now showing gamier sides and hints of very old Burgundian pinot noir. I believe ‘sumptuous’ is the word. Mouth: rich and deeply earthy, bitterly herbal and peppery. More gamey and leather notes and a very assertive bitterness that could arguably be too much. Cured meats, natural tar extracts, black pepper, strong back tea and some high-cocoa content dark chocolate. The meaty and bitter herbal qualities tend to dominate here; you get the sense of the cask closing in and a whisky left raging against the dying of the light. Finish: long, bitter, rancio, herbal, punchy tobacco notes, fruity black coffee and bitter cocoa powder. More gamey and animalistic cured meat tones in the aftertaste. Comments: this kind of meatiness is a rather divisive style I find, however, personally I rather find the bitter aspects on the palate more problematic. But this really is nit-picking. Like so many older drams, the nose was a 93 point sensation, whereas the palate was slightly more disjointed by age. But fans of dark and dusky old sherry bombs will undeniably require spare trousers and an armchair…
SGP: 572 - 89 points.

 

 

Mosstowie 40 yo 1979/2020 (49.8%, Gordon & MacPhail ‘125th Anniversary’, cask #20323, refill sherry hogshead, 164 bottles)

Mosstowie 40 yo 1979/2020 (49.8%, Gordon & MacPhail ‘125th Anniversary’, cask #20323, refill sherry hogshead, 164 bottles)
Mosstowie was, of course, a single malt produced on Lomond stills at Miltonduff distillery between 1964 and 1981. Colour: deep gold. Nose: shy at first with a slowly unfurling resinous quality that takes in long-brewed fruit teas, lemon infused olive oil, hessian and citronella wax. Indeed, these lemon and tea impressions continue to grow with time. I also find some matcha, pot pourri, sandalwood and very subtle notes of dried tarragon, bergamot and lapsing souchong. Fragility but also complexity - an undeniably compelling combination that forces you to pay attention. In time more obvious and classical notes of waxes, polish and honeys emerge. Mouth: it’s cool how Mosstowie - always a rather funny make - remains charmingly unusual even at this kind of age. There’s an initial punch of white pepper, but also pressed wildflowers, strong green tea, slightly bitter herbal notes, greengage, lamp oil and some rather umami and savoury notes like bouillon and mushroom powder. This deceptive lightness certainly harbours complexity. As on the palate it evolves more towards honeys, pollens and various fruit resins. Bitter citrus fruit piths, kumquat, grapefruit and herbal teas again. Finish: long, leafy, peppery, bitter fruits, dried tarragon, wormwood, more assorted teas and a warming, herbal and once again resinous aftertaste. Comments: The kind of whisky that you could just totally miss if you came across it mid-session with many other more obvious whiskies on the table. But there is a shyness, a sense of charm and almost an invitation about this whisky that is worth taking time over. I find this fragile complexity extremely beautiful.
SGP: 551 - 90 points.

 

 

Glencraig 44 yo 1975/2020 (54.2%, Gordon & MacPhail ‘125th Anniversary’, cask #9868, refill hogshead, 110 bottles)

Glencraig 44 yo 1975/2020 (54.2%, Gordon & MacPhail ‘125th Anniversary’, cask #9868, refill hogshead, 110 bottles)
As with Mosstowie, Glencraig was a malt made on Lomond stills but this time at Glenburgie distillery and between 1958 and 1981. Colour: gold. Nose: beautiful and classical, an ode to time + refill wood. This great big knotted fusion of precious honeys, pollens, nectars, waxes and tiny notes of hibiscus, juniper, wormwood, lanolin and camphor. Deep, syrupy, texturally thick and revealing all these wonderfully concentrated notes of various green and exotic fruit syrups and cordials. With water: menthol tobacco and slightly medicinally herbal qualities such as wormwood, wintergreen and cough syrup. Fragrant, elegant but still firm and assertive. Mouth: superb arrival, all on waxes, peppery warmth, nervous fruits, even a very tiny thready note of salinity. Lemon rind, kumquat, jasmine tea, turmeric and dried flowers. Tense and rather nervous but not tired. There’s wood here but it’s this wonderfully clean, fragrant and elegantly spicy oak that goes with the whisky rather than against. With water: terrifically textural, waxy, full of honeycomb, olive oil, clay, mineral oils and lanolin. Finish: long, leafy, waxy, herbal, medicinal, dried out honey and these camphor and hessian qualities. Comments: there are undoubtedly aspects of this where the character has rather converged on ‘generic old style, long aged malt whisky’ flavour. However, given Glencraig was never exactly the ‘Lagavulin of Lomond Still’, this isn’t really a criticism. The overriding impression is just one of exquisite elegance, poise and pure, old style class.
SGP: 652 - 91 points.

 

 

Coleburn 47 yo 1972/2020 (62.4%, Gordon & MacPhail ‘125th Anniversary’, cask #3511, refill sherry puncheon, 363 bottles)

Coleburn 47 yo 1972/2020 (62.4%, Gordon & MacPhail ‘125th Anniversary’, cask #3511, refill sherry puncheon, 363 bottles)
Needless to say, this is the bottling that has garnered the most attention. And it’s not hard to see why - 47yo closed distillery single malts at over 60% aren’t exactly clogging up the whiskysphere. I’m told that the reason for the rather mental ABV is that the warehouse this cask was stored in just so happens - through reasons of poor ventilation - to be very good at retaining alcohol levels. Not sure about that, but if this is really G&M’s final cask of Coleburn, it’s extremely cool and smart that they saved this one till last. Colour: deep gold. Nose: it’s almost like two whiskies standing side by side. On one hand some high alcohol insanity - on the other: some beautifully honeyed, deftly waxy, incredibly subtle old style, long aged dram. You really have to wait for them to link up; the alcohol behaves almost as if is shedding years from the overall profile. Given blind you could say this was 15 or 25yo. It just really needs time I think. With patience there’s some stunningly complex and thick herbal jellies, wood resins, precious hardwoods, exotic teas, camphor, lanolin, rosewater and long aged dry Gewürztraminer. With water: stunning! Resins, herbs, waxes, medicines, wood oils, crystallised fruits, new world hops, natural tar. Amazing development and a continually building complexity. Mouth: immense, crazy! And yet… it also rather makes sense, beautifully high end, estery, green and waxy fruits. Green banana, cider apple, mango, lime pith, pineapple tinned in its own syrups, hessian, pumpkinseed oil - the kind of whisky you could go on dissecting for literally hours. With water: totally spellbinding development, and the texture is just incredible. Like molten wax mixed with the best olive oil. Tar, herbs, umami paste, honeys, delicate medicinal tones, some kind of ancient mead. Pure, rivetingly complex, ancient highland style malt whisky. The texture is really just immense, you almost feel it dripping from your teeth! Enough of this madness, you know who to call…! Finish: wonderfully long, immensely honeyed and beautifully warming. Flashes and pops of everything that’s gone before. A paean to complexity and time. Comments: Hard to know what to say about this whisky. A dram with many shades and personalities that you could spend literally hours and several stages of dilution picking apart - I suspect you could easily make an open bottle last a decade. We’re really at the crossroads where intellect meets pleasure - exactly where and why I’m into whisky. 
SGP: 662 - 93 points.

 

 

 

 

November 5, 2020


Whiskyfun

A large bag of blended whiskies

Blended whiskies of various brands and origins, some not really ‘blends’ and rather single malts in disguise, some others totally malt-driven, some with stories and others rather not… In short, a real hotchpotch of bastards (yep).

Jane Walker 10 yo (41.9%, OB, blended malt, +/-2019)

Jane Walker 10 yo (41.9%, OB, blended malt, +/-2019) Two stars and a half
This baby that came with a fashionable ‘natural strength look-alike’ is ‘a celebration of the pioneering women who stretched boundaries throughout the history of Johnnie Walker’. I don’t know if our dear whisky friends who, incidentally, also happen to be women really approve this kind of ‘message on a bottle’. We should ask them… although I seem to remember there was severe backlash when this came out. Colour: gold. Nose: it’s a rather light and fruity one, a tad acidic, rather on green fruits, white peaches, kiwis or gooseberries, with good tart freshness. I’m reminded of some fresh young indie Glendullans or Glen Speys. Nice nose, not particularly ‘feminine’, as we used to say before, say 2010. Mouth: more tart and with acidic fruitiness, granny smith, greengages, rhubarb, and a little saccharose. Finish: medium, with some malt and apple pie. Cider apples. Comments: I find it pretty decent. And I won’t add to the incredible volume that has gone before about this little whisky. Let’s move on.
SGP:451 - 78 points.

Johnnie Walker 12 yo ‘Black Label Lowlands Origins’ (42%, OB, Origin series, blended Scotch, 2019)

Johnnie Walker 12 yo ‘Black Label Lowlands Origins’ (42%, OB, Origin series, blended Scotch, 2019) Two stars
Of course we’d prefer to have the Islay, which happens to be a blended malt whilst this one’s a blend, but there. Possibly an even softer Glenkinchie, let’s see… Colour: gold. Nose: shall we call it summery? There’s some light grain whisky for sure, apples, something metallic (cutlery), a little bourbon oak, dandelions, whiffs of border liqueurs (liqueurs they sell at border shops, rather tax-free)…  Possibly the exact opposite of, say Clynelish. Mouth: a little sweet, very light, on vanilla, shortbread, orange drops and a little cinnamon and ginger from the oak. I believe the casks were ‘bigger’ than the spirit. Finish: short and sweet, a little liqueury indeed. A little coffee and vanilla. Comments: a fair blend that may, indeed, reproduce the current average profile of the Lowlands if you take the few active malts and the various grain distilleries into account. And, agreed, not quite the new Lowland cats such as Daftmill. Very light, Black Label without much smoke isn’t exactly Black Label, is it?
SGP:431 - 75 points.

Blended Scotch 26 yo 1993/2019 (44.9%, Chapter 7, blended malt, sherry butt, cask #16, 618 bottles)

Blended Scotch 26 yo 1993/2019 (44.9%, Chapter 7, blended malt, sherry butt, cask #16, 618 bottles) Four stars
From their ‘Monologue’ series, let’s see if we find any grains… (me looking for grain whisky, imagine!) Colour: gold. Nose: does feel like a blend indeed, with a lighter side (Nescafé, a little coconut, vanillin, old coins, varnish) but also some firmer malts, with some green tea, melons, nuts, earth and roasted nuts. Nice menthol and tiny herbs too, which is most pleasant. A complex nose, wondering how it was married – and for how long since this is a single butt. Mouth: definitely old-school, we’re remembering some much older blends, perhaps White Horse, White Heather… The aristocracy! Soot, wax, earth, minerals, fruit peelings, Seville oranges, a touch of salt, a drop of mead… Some upper-echelon blend for sure. Finish: medium, malty, rather on walnut wine, coffee and indeed, dry sherry. Earthy aftertaste. Comments: a mysterious blend that’s certainly not a wet noodle, if you allow me.
SGP:452 - 85 points.

Blended Malt 18 yo 2001/2020 (46.4%, Les Grands Alambics, Birds Series, sherry butt)

Blended Malt 18 yo 2001/2020 (46.4%, Les Grands Alambics, Birds Series, sherry butt) Four stars and a half
Birds rule! Flowers too. Les Grands Alambics (either ‘the tall stills’ or ‘the great stills’) is a fairly new French bottler who’s undoubtedly committed to quality. Colour: deep gold. Nose: game and old copper, balsa and cedar woods, old humidor, marmalade, roasted pecans and walnuts, chocolate, a little beef stock, cigars, walnut wine, a touch of shoe polish… This could well be an excellent single mind from around Aviemore… Or Craigellachie. Emphasis on ‘could’. Mouth: classic cigary and meaty sherry at first, going on with tobacco, mushrooms, moss, tea and bitter oranges. Droplets of Chartreuse and more chocolate coming through over time. This time I’m reminded of some fine chocolates that used to shelter verbena liqueur. Not sure anyone’s still making those delicacies. Finish: medium, tidy, with dry/burnt raisins and cakes. As an Alsatian, I cannot not mention kougelhopf. Cracked pepper and bitter chocolate in the aftertaste. Comments: superb. No we won’t mention any distillery.
SGP:561 - 89 points.

Whisky Works Quartermaster 11 yo (46.4%, OB, Whyte & Mackay, blended Scotch, 2134 bottles, 2020)

Whisky Works Quartermaster 11 yo (46.4%, OB, Whyte & Mackay, blended Scotch, 2134 bottles, 2020) Four stars and a half
This is a blend of two Speysiders (ex-bourbon and ex-sherry) plus one grain (ex-rum and partially PX). Some Invergordon in there, I suppose, and possibly some Fettercairn, which should be recognisable, let’s check that out… Colour: gold. Nose: like! Wait, we aren’t on Facebook, but I seem to find some Fettercairny aromas indeed, around, say metallic burnt nuts, damp black earth and leather, plus rather a lot of black cigars (remember the Italian Toscani?) and dried mushrooms. I wouldn’t stake my life on it but I would say there’s quite a lot of Fettercairn in there indeed. Works extremely well in a blend. Mouth: hold on, this is rather awesome indeed! Many roasted and slightly burnt nuts of all kinds, leather, cigars, bitter chocolate, ristretto coffee (last time I let some Italian friends taste some ‘ristretto’ by Nespresso they burst out laughing), and then a meaty/gamy side. Could be that there ‘would’ be a little Jamaican rum in there. Finish: rather long, a tad metallic and certainly earthy. Crunching your cigar while you weren’t paying attention. Touches of chilli in the aftertaste. Comments: who made this little blend? Dear Richard P.? Very smart, truly characterful composition. I’m most certainly dreaming but I’m also reminded of that great old official Glen Mhor 10 yo now… (bang, one more point).
SGP:362 - 88 points.

 

 

 

This Is Not a Festival Whisky (49%, Compass Box, excusive to LMDW, blended Scotch, 1260 bottles, 2020)

This Is Not a Festival Whisky (49%, Compass Box, excusive to LMDW, blended Scotch, 1260 bottles, 2020)
Magritte has struck again. This is meant to be a 15 years old blend, with four malts and two grains inside, most older than 15. Let’s check the proportions of Clynelish ;-)… Colour: straw. Nose: of course it’s great. There was no Whisky Live Paris this year but this IS a whisky. Superb freshness, with kelp, wax, beach bonfire, bread dough (Parisian baguette obviously), menthol, soot, chicken soup, mud, earth, hessian… Mouth: smokier than expected, as there was a good proportion of Islay malt I’m sure, waxy and ‘marrowy’, with some pepper, seashells, plasticine, lemon liqueur, almond oil, some soot, chalk, salt, brine, olives, roots… Woo-hoo! Finish: perhaps a tad shorter than expected - and that’s most certainly because of the grains – but the shape is perfect. Comments: I think they may have recreated, willingly or not, some of A&H’s old malt-driven blends. Ainslie’s (not Royal Edinburgh), or Glen Brora… Superb work, very ‘Compass Box’. Strength and body were perfect too. I just hope they would have done this even if Paris hadn’t been cancelled. No bad karma in whisky!
SGP:464 - 90 points.

 

 

While we’re at it…

 

 

The Peat Monster ‘Arcana’ (46%, Compass Box, blended malt, 8328 bottles, 2020)

The Peat Monster ‘Arcana’ (46%, Compass Box, blended malt, 8328 bottles, 2020)
This is the classic Peat Monster, further aged for two years in ‘custom French barrels’. Love the little monster on the label, very reminiscent of the Rhenish renaissance and of Matthias Grünewald’s paintings. Hieronymus Bosch isn’t too far either. Colour: white wine. Nose: cross, or meta. In this case the French oak imparted aromas that are seldomly found in Scotch whisky. This is almost a blend of young peated Islay (south shore) with some mezcal, genever and gentian eau-de-vie. Mud, grasses, caraway, juniper, lime, raw buckwheat, a little mustard… Mouth: I’m a little less into these kinds of ‘forward’ spices, but it’s still great whisky, great composition, with great salty smokes. I prefer them with a little less peppers and chillies, shall I say, less cloves, less juniper berries… But that’s me. Finish: long, spicy. Comments: was the chef in love? The various Peat Monsters usually cruise along the 87-88 line, this one’s a tad less for me. Just a tad.
SGP:456 - 85 points.

 

 

A young undisclosed Speysider to flush all that peat away and we’ll be done…

 

 

Speyside Malt 10 yo (48%, The Single Mats of Scotland

Speyside Malt 10 yo (48%, The Single Mats of Scotland, Reserve Casks, LMDW, Parcel No. 4, 2020)
The colour suggests this is Glenfarclas (of course I’m joking, colours won’t tell). Colour: amber with reddish hues. Nose: burnt cake, millionaire shortbread, pancake syrup, milk chocolate, roasted black currants, a touch of earth, ad few bits of pipe tobacco. Clean rounder sherry. Mouth: more burnt cakes and raisins, lorryloads of gingerbread and speculoos, then notes of cloves, caraway and juniper. When is Christmas again? Feliz Navidad! (we might be a little early…) Finish: rather long, thick. You just had some Christmas cake. Spicier aftertaste. Comments: some no-fuss heavily sherried young malt, strictly flawless. £250 with an M on the bottle.
SGP:551 - 85 points.

 

 

 

Unless, a last fine bastard…

Black Tartan 31 yo 1988/2020 ‘88’ (48%, Black Tartan, Skene, blended malt, hogshead, cask #16, 337 bottles)

Black Tartan 31 yo 1988/2020 ‘88’ (48%, Black Tartan, Skene, blended malt, hogshead, cask #16, 337 bottles) Four stars and a half
This is Edrington stock, that is to say Macallan, Highland Park and Glenrothes ‘blended at birth’. That’s absolutely not impossible, but there are quite a few such casks around and some say they’re actually rather single… Oh forget about that part, on to the whisky! Colour: light gold. Nose: awesome, fresh and soft, with some honey and some barley syrup, touches of varnish and raw kirsch (stone fruit spirit), a little pine resin and eucalyptus, pine needles, then more fruits, around peach and melon jams. There is a little oak (sawdust and vanilla) but I’m not even sure I should have mentioned that. Lovely nose indeed. Mouth: picks up where the nose ended, on some moderate oakiness and some pine resin and cough syrup, while the jams would appear a little later. Peach and melon again, something tropical (bananas)… There’s some very good honey too, while some black pepper’s getting a little louder over time. Bitter oranges straight from the tree (never do that). Finish: rather long and spicier. More pepper and cinnamon, a little green and dry. Comments: excellent, in the same very good vein as several other indie ex-Edrington blended malts I could try, but this one is probably around the top of the pile. As for my humble score, it is not a joke at all, honestly.
SGP:462 - 88 points.
 

November 4, 2020


Whiskyfun

 

 

 

Angus's Corner
From our Scottish correspondent
and skilled taster Angus MacRaild in Edinburgh
Angus  
Ben Nevising
It’s quite funny how Ben Nevis is all of a sudden such a trendy name, especially in light of how it was considered at best quaint and obscure for many years, and at worst difficult and weird. While it is a distillate and a distillery that’s always had its charms, I don’t find it altogether surprising that it has found its moment in the spotlight.

 

In many ways it’s a notable bellwether for this increasing recognition of, and rising desire for, characterful, more individualistic single malts that buck the vanilla trend. Now, I admit that a large part of this is down to almost a single parcel of quite stunning 1996 casks, but there’s also plenty evidence emerging that even relatively new youngsters are also showing attitude and panache. It’s all good news I would say, provided the Japanese don’t ruin it, but that’s another (as yet incomplete) story.

 

 

Today we’ll have some more examples of these highly reputable 1996s but also a few older ones, including some of the distillery’s old brands…

 

 

MacDonald’s Glencoe 8 yo Malt Whisky (100 proof, OB, R N MacDonald & Co, early 1970s)

MacDonald’s Glencoe 8 yo Malt Whisky (100 proof, OB, R N MacDonald & Co, early 1970s)
According to my trusty Schweppe’s Guide To Scotch, this brand should have launched in 1970 so I suspect this may be one of its earliest iterations. How much Ben Nevis is actually inside is anyone’s guess, but the brand and the distillery have long been associated, and remain so to this day. Colour: pale gold. Nose: old style in the sense that this is very raw, gravelly and without too much in the way of cask polish. Instead you get shoe polish (oh dear) and concrete, some wet grains and fabrics and clay. Some vegetal notes that point towards OBE as well. Not super impressive and rather on the austere side. With water: some earthy and dry spices such as turmeric, overripe orange peel, mashed potatoes. Not the most inspiring. Mouth: hmmm, I’m finding a lot of hot plasticine, pain porridge and an undeniably thread of soapiness. Which is just on the verge of too much for me; I’m pretty sensitive to soapiness in whisky. Cooking oils, wet grains, a bit of cardboard - which again points to OBE. With water: better and a bit cleaner with water. The soap fades right back and there is indeed a little more waxiness and notes of bouillon and buttery toast. More towards what you might hope for or expect in such a bottling I suppose. But globally remains rather tough, austere and sharp. Finish: short, gritty, rough and with cooking oils, ink and vegetal notes. Comments: Quite simply, a disappointment.
SGP: 251 - 67 points.

 

 

MacDonald’s Glencoe 8 yo ‘100% Malt Pure Highland Malt Scotch Whisky’ (100 proof, OB, R N MacDonald & Co, -/+ 1975)

MacDonald’s Glencoe 8 yo ‘100% Malt Pure Highland Malt Scotch Whisky’ (100 proof, OB, R N MacDonald & Co, -/+ 1975)
There’s an original price sticker on the back on this bottle declaring a retail price of £7.60, which despite sounding laughable today, was actually quite expensive for that era. Colour: orangey amber - caramel? Nose: there’ s a similar line of austerity, but overall this is purer, slightly more polished and with a greater sense of richness. Some breads, waxes, cereals, flints - a general sense of ‘Highland’ malt whisky indeed. Also these wee sooty and camphory touches. With water: more subtle and supple. Engine oils, toasted seeds, breads, old workshop aromas of rusty toolboxes, oily rags and hessian. Mouth: feels like there’s more sherry in this vatting. RIcher, oilier, fatter, waxier, notes of bone marrow, bouillon, mustard powder, shoe polish, new leather, natural tar and ink. It’s still an austere style, but there’s more charisma and complexity to make it interesting, and it’s also cleaner than its earlier sibling overall. With water: some winter spices such as cloves and cinnamon, alongside rye bread, cooking oils, bitter herbs and a wee touch of cardboard and plain porridge. Finish: medium, rather gingery and spicy, new leather again, white pepper, more herbs and camphor. Comments: I think the batches under this livery were undeniably superior. Although, this is still more of a historical curiosity than an essential box tick. Probably best suited to soggy hill walks in actual Glencoe.
SGP: 462 - 80 points.

 

 

Not the most inspiring start to a tasting session. But I suspect things are about to improve…

 

 

Ben Nevis 1970/1996 (52.2%, OB, cask #4537, 232 bottles)

Ben Nevis 1970/1996 (52.2%, OB, cask #4537, 232 bottles)
One of many now pretty obscure old official single casks that the distillery issued during the 1990s. Colour: deep coppery gold. Nose: orange marmalade, shoe polish, old leather, hessian and an almost gelatinously textural impression of camphor and vapour rubs. Thickness is what this whisky impresses upon you - a sense of texture and fatness. Barbour grease, waxes, olive oil, putty and a hint of leaf mulch and damp tobacco. With water: gravel, mineral oils, animal furs, blood orange, bone marrow, metal polish, steel wool - charismatic but quite mad. Mouth: it has this quality that I can only describe as being reminiscent of very old pure pot Irish whiskey. Immensely grassy olive oil notes, metal polish, soot, coins, camphor, lamp oil and lanolin. Toasted wood spices, natural tar and yet more camphor. Unlike almost any other whisky really - although there are similarities with some old Loch Lomond makes perhaps (no, not in a bad way). With water: here it begins to align more with contemporary Ben Nevis styles, there’s more easy waxiness, cooking oils, mineral oils, hessian, pepper and some green fruits. Becomes a little straighter and more easy, but this is still a rather far out malt whisky. Finish: long, very peppery, lightly medical, oily, camphory, tarry, mentholated and showing more notes of orange peel and bitter marmalade. Comments: You can really get a sense of why whisky lovers in the 90s and 00s never really knew what to make of Ben Nevis. The whisky was every bit as ‘out there’ as the distillery was geographically separate from most others. Totally idiosyncratic, totally bonkers and totally charming. Quite a hard thing to score, please take mine with a pinch of salt.
SGP: 562 - 89 points.

 

 

Ben Nevis 23 yo 1996/2020 (46.1%, Whisky Nerds, cask #954, hogshead, 75 bottles)

Ben Nevis 23 yo 1996/2020 (46.1%, Whisky Nerds, cask #954, hogshead, 75 bottles)
Colour: pale white wine. Nose: very typical and I’m also extremely glad I did this directly after the 1970 as you really see the descended DNA. This big, fatty, grassy, olive oil profile that alludes once again to Irishness, but here it’s buoyed by exotic and green fruits that add lusciousness and a more direct and easy waxiness. In short: it’s sexier, easier and a notch more balanced. Mouth: banana, papaya, mango, lychee, olive oil, wax, mineral oil, some dried bitter herbs, some soot and some touches of camphor and chalk. Just superb! Finish: good length, on the dry side with bitter herbs, waxes, mechanical oils, some gentle medical touches, putty and minerals. Comments: It’s this additional fruitiness in these batches which elevates them I think - totally brilliant whisky.
SGP: 652 - 90 points.

 

 

Ben Nevis 21 yo 1996 (48.8%, OB private bottling, cask #1407)

Ben Nevis 21 yo 1996 (48.8%, OB private bottling, cask #1407)
Colour: straw. Nose: chalk and lemon zest at first. Quite direct and simple and focussed to begin but given time it opens onto a more generous and pulpy ripe fruitiness featuring kiwi, lime, guava and pineapple. This lovely tension between green and exotic fruits. Some mango yoghurt, green banana and a fragrant waxiness that goes alongside some dried wildflowers and wee mineral touches. Mouth: this same sense of directness and narrowness. All on chalks, limestone, bitter citrus piths, freshly muddled green herbs, aspirin, pebbles and slightly sharp medicines. Then you get waxes, herbal bitters, menthol and underripe green fruits. Finish: long, peppery, waxy, bitterly herbal, mentholated, oily and mineral. A real sense of ‘highland style’ malt whisky. Comments: It’s a leaner and more punchy example with a little less opulence and more taut mineral assertiveness, but still the same wonderful quality.
SGP: 562 - 90 points.

 

 

Ben Nevis 20 yo 1999/2020 (53%, The Single Cask, cask #170, hogshead, 274 bottles)

Ben Nevis 20 yo 1999/2020 (53%, The Single Cask, cask #170, hogshead, 274 bottles)
Colour: straw. Nose: brighter, lighter and more citric. On rubbed lemon skin, chalk, limestone, buttery cereals, white pepper, a gentler more background waxiness and wee notes of putty and white stone fruits. Some sunflower oil and hand creams. With water: becomes very lean and mineral, some brittle, chalky notes, cereals, bitter citrus piths, grapefruit and furniture polish. Mouth: big, emphatic, oily, textural, slightly minty, waxy, putty, camphor yet again, mashed overripe banana, green herbs and some lighter cereal tones. With water: wonderfully peppery, oily and perfectly bitter and herbal. Watercress, rapeseed oil, green tea and star fruit. Finish: long, oily, peppery, waxy and with many more of these lightly bitter citrus fruit notes and olive oil hints. Comments: The 1996s are rightly lauded, and it’s true I did prefer the previous two by a tiny iota, but this is still wonderful, charismatic and deeply pleasurable whisky.
SGP: 651 - 89 points.

 

 

 

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

 

November 3, 2020


Whiskyfun

 

The Reconfined Sessions - 2
A trio of Ballechin

You have to reckon with the peated Edradour these days. It’s getting better and better and never feels ‘forced’. I mean, like ‘there’s a market for peat, let’s make some’.

Ballechin 2009/2019 ‘Vintage’ (46%, OB, First Fill bourbon barrels)

Ballechin 2009/2019 ‘Vintage’ (46%, OB, First Fill bourbon barrels) Four stars and a half
The Edradour 2009 in the same series is superb, and according to some whisky chatteratti, this is not bad either. Colour: straw. Nose: we sometimes use the expression ‘farmy peat’ and indeed, this is a farmy peat, and yet it’s rather pure, clean, not manure-y at all, and void of any dunginess (excuse me?) On the other hand, there’s a feeling of smoked hay that’s pretty perfect, a little lovage and soy sauce that, for once, doesn’t stem from sherry wood, and perhaps Provence herbs, the ones you would throw onto your BBQ when you’re… in Provence. Some lovely oils and waxes too, I knew this was going to be an awesome nose and almost a statement. Perfectly distillate-oriented. Mouth: perhaps, since Brora isn’t running yet, the finest peat on the mainland. Citrus, ink, a wee touch of fish oil, lemon oil, camphory syrup, peach leaf tea, a touch of white currant, a little tar… I would say this is not ‘gratuitous’ peat as seen elsewhere, it's fully integrated and ‘a whole’. Finish: rather long, zesty, with a little rapeseed oil. Comments: I’m a fan of Ballechin, and it’s improved very mucho since the early days. One of my dreams would be to be able to do an ‘old Ballechin’ (from the old distillery) vs. ‘new Ballechin’ session one day. Isn’t it good to have goals in life?
SGP:565 - 88 points.

And now a crazy new one that was meant to make an appearance at Whisky Live Paris 2020…

 

 

 

Ballechin 2005/2020 (60%, OB, for LMDW, Burgundy, cask #18)

Ballechin 2005/2020 (60%, OB, for LMDW, Burgundy, cask #18)
I know, there’s pinot noir in action here, but I’m sure we’ll be fine. After all, we’ve had other such concoctions and we’re still alive… Colour: amber with reddish hues. Nose: stewed nectarines and oranges with bits of leather and tobacco thrown in. More or less that. In truth they’ve much improved the recipe, I remember a Port Ellen Burgundy Finish that had been as strange as a footballer’s haircut. No, really. I’m also finding puréed chestnuts and assorted stuffed dates. With water: gunpowder comes out, used fireworks, marrow, salsify… Mouth (neat): a little strange indeed, on peppered coffee perhaps, ginger tonic, cassis buds, cabernet sauvignon rather than pinot noir, tar, roots (turnips), a meaty smokiness… Not too sure, it’s a little daring I would say. With water: water helps because it would pull out oranges. More ginger tonic as well. You’re right, Schweppes-orange. What did you expect? Finish: long, greener, leafier. Comments: a death seat after the ex-bourbon expression for sure, but it rather pulled through given the odd pedigree (after all, it’s more or less the offspring of the crossing of a giraffe with an anti vaxxer).
SGP:465 - 82 points.

 

 

 

Ballechin 15 yo 2004/2019 (52%, OB for Independent Whisky Bars of Scotland, bourbon, casks #74-76, 462 bottles)

Ballechin 15 yo 2004/2019 (52%, OB for Independent Whisky Bars of Scotland, bourbon, casks #74-76, 462 bottles) Five stars
Colour: chardonnay. Right, white wine. Nose: yess. A very waxy peatiness, greasy, with engine oils and other lubricants, paraffin aplenty, then lemon and hints of seawater, samphires, seaweed. Yeah I know where Pitlochry lies. Fern. Perfect, as often with very small batches that are often more complex than single casks. With water: new cracked pepper on top of all that. Mouth (neat): huge, almost brutal, very pungent, spiky, peppery, hugely mentholy… Feels 62% rather than just 52. With water: citrus taking over, lime and lemon, lemongrass, some ginger, green lapsang souchong, just green tea, green pepper… How green is all that? Finish: long, precise, with a little pistachio oil, which is just a sin. Holy Bessie, mother of Scotch, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death… Very smoky aftertaste. Comments: exactly.
SGP:466 - 90 points.

(Merci Lucero)

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

 

November 1, 2020


Whiskyfun
WF Favourites
Whiskyfun fav of the month

October 2020

Serge's favourite recent bottling this month:
Port Ellen 35 yo 1983/2020 (47.9%, The Character of Islay, The Stories of Wind and Wave, cask #11535)  - WF93

Serge's favourite older bottling this month:
Bruichladdich 36 yo 1966/2002 'Legacy I' (40.6%, OB, 1500 bottles) - WF91

Serge's favourite bang for your buck this month:
Glenallachie 10 yo ‘Cask Strength Batch 4’ (56.1%, OB, 2020)  - WF88

Serge's favourite malternative this month:
W.I.R.D. 33 yo 1986/2020 (58.8%, Silver Seal, Barbados) - WF91

Serge's Lemon Prize this month:
Tenjaku (40%, OB, 'Japanese', +/-2020)  - WF60

October 2020 - part 2 <--- November 2020 - part 1 ---> November 2020 - part 2


 

 

 

Best spirits Serge tried those weeks, 90+ points only

Ballechin 15 yo 2004/2019 (52%, OB for Independent Whisky Bars of Scotland, bourbon, casks #74-76, 462 bottles)

The Singleton of Glen Ord 38 yo (49.6%, OB, Master’s Casks, 1689 bottles, 2020)

Chichibu 2008/2018 (60.8%, OB, Malt Dream Cask, for Bar Tee-Airigh, bourbon barrel, cask #180, 183 bottles)

Chichibu 2012/2019 (62%, OB, for Selfridges, cask #2074, 200 bottles)

Cognac Sponge ‘Edition No.2 Heritage N.69’ (48.8%, WhiskySponge, Grosperrin, Petite Champagne, 250 bottles)

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 
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