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Hi, you're in the Archives, September 2021 - Part 2

       

September 2021 - part 1 <--- September 2021 - part 2 ---> October 2021 - part 1

 

September 30, 2021


Whiskyfun

Special Releases Special, today Lagavulin

Seriously, I could almost publish scores without even tasting these, as I'm just dead sure about what's going to happen in the glass and on the nose and palate. But I won't do that, that wouldn't be very rewarding to this poor little taster. By the way, no need to find a sparring partner anywhere else, as Diageo provide it right within this new Special series. Now, which will make for that sparring partner, and which will be the star? The older one? Not too sure, let's see…

WH

Lagavulin 12 yo 'The Lion's Fire' (56.5%, OB, Special Release 2021, Untold Legends)

Lagavulin 12 yo 'The Lion's Fire' (56.5%, OB, Special Release 2021, Untold Legends) Five stars
Exclusively refill, a legendary age and a solid strength, I can't see what could go wrong. Maybe a stork making a low pass over WF's terrace and stealing my glass? Well, let me first get my old riffle and we shall then proceed… Colour: white wine. Nose: Lagavulin 12 CS always feels like home. Astounding mineral, tarry, slightly terpene-y arrival on the nose, then flints, peat, smoked turnips (why wouldn't one do that) and smoky grist. Very compact. With water: no one can beat a manzanilla-like profile. Please pass the langostinos! Mouth (neat): sends shivers down your spine, looks like they finally managed to smoke lemons. Then they added fresh almond paste and just sea water. Absolutely awesome. With water: all right, all right. Sublime saltiness, oysters, manzanilla indeed, flint smoke, drops of lime juice, a drop of Andalusian olive oil (obviously)… Have I written that I find this sublime? Finish: long, tight, greener, lemony, fresh. In the aftertaste, a feeling of having wolfed down a whole jar of pickled samphires. Comments: Lagavulin 12 CS may be like the iPhone, every year they raise the definition. The good news is that you don't need any cables to make it work. Seriously, this new one is totally splendid. Whichever the price, which I don't know about at time of writing, it's B-F-Y-B whisky.
SGP:467 - 92 points.

I know what some friends think, there would be too many high scores on WF lately. Well I'll tell you what, I'd utterly love to have only 90+% spirits assessed on this lousy old website de la muerte! What's dead sure is that there's more 87-92, and both less 93-99 and less 50-80. But don't ask me why, ask the whisky industry (in all modesty).

Lagavulin 26 yo 'The Lion's Jewel' (44.2%, OB, Special Release 2021, Untold Legends)

Lagavulin 26 yo 'The Lion's Jewel' (44.2%, OB, Special Release 2021, Untold Legends) Four stars and a half
From 1st fill ex-PX and oloroso-seasoned casks. Who cares, this is Lagavulin. I haven't got all other details at time of writing but this should be mid-1990s distillation - the next best piece of news would be peace in the Middle-East. Colour: gold. Nose: remember the old 12 cream label? Or that 15 yo ceramic for Italy? This is sublime, once again, despite, or maybe thanks to a few whiffs of barbecued bacon at first, and despite a slightly, say prognathic oak spiciness (ginger and so on). All the rest is first class, the resins, essential oils, pine needles, camphor, banana skins, marzipan, whelks and clams, wee whiffs of garlic brine, some spearmint, old yellow chartreuse… And that old Lagavulin (and Port Ellen) thing, new tyres. Mouth: watch it, they say 44.2 but it almost feels like 64.2% vol., not something that happens too often. We shall add water but in the meantime, it is very salty and coastal, with a feeling of smoked raisins indeed, and perhaps a wee chaos created by the encounter between the PX and the spirit. The most important word is 'perhaps' here. With just two drops of water: a little leather, salt, salted toffee… Finish: long, more on cough syrup, ginger and burnt raisins. Comments: absolutely excellent but I think the stunning 12 killed this one a little bit and that the PX may have helped. Could be that we shouldn't have tried them both within the same wee tasting session, after all. Aren't self-evident ideas often bad ideas? Nah it's still a glorious dram.
SGP:466 - 88 points.

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

 

September 29, 2021


Whiskyfun

A trio of Strathmill

I think we've tried more Strathmill within the last two years than any time before. Remember, "There are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last" (Lance Armstrong).  

Strathmill 12 yo 2008/2020 (46%, The Whisky Lodge, Orcines)

Strathmill 12 yo 2008/2020 (46%, The Whisky Lodge, Orcines) Four stars
Picture of another bottling by The Whisky Lodge's lovely Orcines range. Colour: white wine. Nose: pure cake-y young Speysider that's full of pear tarte, apple crumble, vanilla fudge, brioche, weissbeer, nougat and buttered popcorn. All this popcorn would suggest that you could bring this in your favourite hipflask whenever you go to the movies. Maybe not to watch Cannes' latest Palme d'Or, you would probably spill it all over the carpet. Mouth: like! Lemon tarte with meringue, queen of tartes. Excellently barley-y and citrusy, almost refreshing, with a little butterscotch, pancakes and scones. Absolutely lovely. Finish: medium, still very bready, with a little cinnamon and nutmeg, then lemon marmalade in the aftertaste. Comments: excellent young malt al natural from a cask that did its job to perfection. A honest, humble whisky that's not humble at all, if you see what I mean. Great surprise (but it goes down fast, that's the thing with those 46% vol.)
SGP:451 - 87 points.

This started faster than I had expected…

Strathmill 10 yo 2008/2018 (59.3%, James Eadie, recharred hogshead, cask # 806272, 266 bottles)

Strathmill 10 yo 2008/2018 (59.3%, James Eadie, recharred hogshead, cask # 806272, 266 bottles) Three stars
Oh by the way, I would suspect the Orcines came from a properly recharred cask too. Colour: straw. Nose: a little hot and varnishy at first – I'm sure that's the high strength – but all these croissants, brioches, shortbreads and banana skins work well already. With water: some grasses, grape pip oil, stems ans stalks… what you do feel here is that you would need a lot of time and almost an electronic pipette to bring this one down to an ideal strength. And in a way, that you're doing a part of the bottler's job (joking a wee bit…) Mouth (neat): a tad hot indeed. A little unpleasant because of the very high strength. Raw eau-de-vie and vodka. With water: we manage but we'll never get to the ideal balance that the Orcines was displaying. I'm a bit stuck on heavyish beer notes at 55, 50 and even 45%. And days have only 24 hours… (LOL). Finish: good length. Grassy bread. Comments: it's not that I've decided to throw in the towel, but in tasting conditions, you do need to be 'a little faster'.  And I remember J. Eadie's 11/2009 oloroso, that one was really something else! (WF 88)
SGP:461 - 82 points.

Please an older Strathmill, perhaps one from Cadenhead's latest heyday…

Strathmill 27 yo 1991/2019 (51.2%, Cadenhead, Small Batch, 678 bottles)

Strathmill 27 yo 1991/2019 (51.2%, Cadenhead, Small Batch, 678 bottles) Three stars and a half
This one baby stems from three bourbon hogsheads. Colour: straw. Nose: not the most active casks on earth, this is almost a wee tad vinegary at first, while it would then gear towards bone-dry cider, with whiffs of honeysuckle and beehive, sourdough, baker's yeast, apple skins, sweetened turnips and salsifies, and just sweet English white bread. With water: oh, baked eggplants and more salsifies. We could almost make a gratin. Or Scottish moussaka? Mouth (neat): very fine but it's lacking the immaculateness of the young Orcines. Lemon juice, sauvignon blanc, green gooseberries, more apple skins and a tiny pinch of salt. Pine nuts and pumpkin seeds. Doesn't quite feel 27 so far. With water: the vegetables are back. Artichoke leading the pack, then eggplants indeed. Finish: long and grassy. Comments: a style that you would have found in old bottlings of Glendullan or, say Glen Spey. Perhaps a little too cerebral? Now in the words of Mick J., 'but I like it'.
SGP:461 - 83 points.

Easiness won today.

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

 

September 27, 2021


Whiskyfun

Glen Grant, Major

Glen Grant

Slightly unlikely advert for Glen Grant, 1977.
Hope the Scots will make it to the European Parliament one day!
 

I'm not sure everyone knows that in the 1970s or even 1980s, Glen Grant was THE collectable malt and was commending higher prices than 'M' in Italy, home country of whisky geekdom. This has changed but tables keep turning so we will see what will happen in the future. In the meantime, let's try a few…

Glen Grant 'Arboralis' (40%, OB, +/-2021)

Glen Grant 'Arboralis' (40%, OB, +/-2021) Three stars
Just another uninteresting young NAS with a silly name and an even sillier story? Let's see… Now I just saw that they currently have a full bottle of this one at 23€ at Carrefour in France, so I suppose you cannot expect much from such a budgety malt. Let's see indeed… Oh by the way, 'Arboralis' seems to mean something like 'light that comes from within the trees'. Is that so? Colour: straw. Nose: perfectly all right, on apple juice, vanilla, sponge cake and just barley, plus whiffs of tarter fruits, granny smith, lime, rhubarb… Hey this is pretty pleasant, while it seems that they have not used cheapo hastily seasoned casks here. Mouth: yes, perfectly all right. Good vanilla, nice fresh oak, more apple juice, cakes, a little cinnamon. Tends to nosedive after five seconds but after all, you could always have another glass. Good and undemanding. Finish: almost none, but before you get to the finish and as I suggested, you've already poured yourself another measure. Comments: loyal and honest, no quibbles. Just a little weak.

SGP:441 - 80 points.

Glen Grant 22 yo 1998/2020 (55.1%, Lady of The Glen, refill butt, cask #13212, 444 bottles)

Glen Grant 22 yo 1998/2020 (55.1%, Lady of The Glen, refill butt, cask #13212, 444 bottles) Four stars
I have the impression that they really have upped their game at LOTG – Hannah Whisky Merchants. Colour: white wine. Nose: it's interesting that after probably 15 more years in wood and at a much higher strength, this baby would follow the same path as that of the … what was the name again? Same fresh citrus and green apples, vanilla, barley syrup.. With water:  great greenness, zests, apple peelings, green walnuts, star fruit… It's really slim, in a very good way. Mouth (neat): really tight and tart, with lemon drops and limoncello at first, white applejack, then rather coriander and Thai basil. Great zing. With water: almost sends shivers down your spine, like a proper bone-dry sauvignon blanc. I'm a sucker for that – plus, you can make sure you've still got all your vertebras while it goes down. It's the perfect malt with seafood, much better than peaters in my opinion (yeah I know everyone rather does Islay with oysters and such stuff). Finish: medium, lemony, refreshing, even if the aftertaste is a little creamier and fatter. Limoncello rather than lime juice. Comments: elementary, in a great way. Probably great in a Scottish misuwari.
SGP:551 - 87 points.

Glen Grant 24 yo 1997/2021 (52%, Whisky AGE, Taiwan, hogshead, cask #5044, 218 bottles)

Glen Grant 24 yo 1997/2021 (52%, Whisky AGE, Taiwan, hogshead, cask #5044, 218 bottles) Four stars
Looks like they're more and more active whisky-wise in Taiwan, which I find exactly brilliant. How many are they? 500 million? Great passionate folks with a penchant for action rather than chi-chat, well that's my feeling and I say bravo! Colour: gold. Nose: similar, yet again, perhaps a tad fatter and 'wider' with regard to the fruits. Vanilla and papaya, oranges, lemon syrup, otherwise barley syrup and various cakes. And overripe apples. Very nice compact and focussed nose. With water: back to citrus. Think that citrusy hops that more and more brewers seem to be using in their IPAs (yeah I just visited a wee brewery here in Alsace). Mouth (neat): same style as that of the 1998, only the wood was a tad more active, which translates into some fatter, creamier body. Vanilla, apples, lemons, honeysuckle honey, rhubarb… A little more pepper too. With water: limoncello aged in oak. Have to ask some Italian friends whether that would be a no-no or not. Finish: medium, on limoncello and vanilla. Comments: warning, very likeable but this goes down too well. Not overly complicated but excellent.
SGP:651 – 87 points.

Another one that's in its twenties…

Glen Grant 22 yo 1995/2018 (51.9%, Fadandel.dk, bourbon, cask #119460, 198 bottles)

Glen Grant 22 yo 1995/2018 (51.9%, Fadandel.dk, bourbon, cask #119460, 198 bottles) Four stars and a half
Colour: white wine. Nose: back to tartness and brightness, with really loads of lemons, rhubarb, gooseberries, perhaps a drop of benzine (where would that come from?) With water: a little rounder, almost floral at times. Jasmine and wisteria, lillies… Mouth (neat): tart again, but also grassier, almost gritty. Green plums, lime zests, lemon caviar, kafir, granny smith… With water: absolutely spitzenklasse, with a little syrup rounding it off while all those acidic fruits would get, yeah, rounder. There's a delicate earthiness, close to pu-her, that adds some extra-dimension (and one more point). Blame it on the bourbon cask. Finish: medium, perfectly fresh, citrusy, this time with a feeling of sandalwood. Comments: all these indies are excellent, this one being extra-excellent in my opinion.
SGP:561 - 88 points.

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

 

September 26, 2021


Whiskyfun

Another wee bag of five rums

I suppose that world-class headline was rather self-explanatory.

Santos-Dumont 'XO Palmira' (40%, OB, Brazil, +/-2020)

Santos-Dumont 'XO Palmira' (40%, OB, Brazil, +/-2020) one star and a half
Feels a bit 'pushed' on the marketing side but why not, we prefer aviation pioneers over unlikely heroes of some long-forgotten revolutions. This one spent some time in vin doux naturel casks. Colour: gold. Nose: really nice, cane-y, a little 'Cuban' rather than South-American, with a rather lovely earthiness and whiffs of old well-taken-care-of humidor, overripe bananas and drier molasses. Good surprise this one, even if we're not flying in the stratosphere yet (S., it's Santos-Dumont! Right…) Mouth: blimey, it was sweetened up. Easy coconut and pineapple syrup, Toplexil, kid's mouthwash… And to be fair, a little sugarcane syrup. Finish: short, sugary, pretty cloying. Comments: to be honest it wasn't that bad, and the nose was really nice. Now the very sugary palate rather needs a whole iceberg.
SGP:730 - 69 points.

Immediate measures have to be taken…

Diamond 2017/2018 'MPM' (85%, L'Esprit, Guyana, Cuvée Edgar)

Diamond 2017/2018 'MPM' (85%, L'Esprit, Guyana, Cuvée Edgar) Four stars
Sweet Vishnu! Isn't this the strongest spirit we've ever tried in this life and on this planet? MPM means 'Main Port Mourant'. It's not often that these rums come to us virtually unaged. And at, cough, 85% vol… Colour: white. Nose: diesel oil, olive oil, cactus juice and acetone. Well more or less, we're not trying too hard… With water: pears, mezcal, sugar cane, sour wine, crushed anchovies… That's all fine. Mouth (neat – because we must): pears. Any spirits at this strength will display pears. And aged spirit, you ask? Well I don't think there's any aged spirit at this strength, which, by the way, you could only achieve with columns, I would suppose – and yet, this is pot still rum! A double pot still that is. You read that right. With water: 50% spirit, 50% water, that's new to me (except in pastis). The result is excellent, between lime juice, brine and with an oily side. Turpentine and drawing gum. Finish: extremely long and unexpectedly salty. And very good. Comments: seriously, you get two bottles for the price of just one here. I find the juice superb and the idea wonderful, you only have to make sure you've got water on the side, and that your spectacles won't get opaque because of the vapours. Wonderful drop, really, I would just suggest you put the bottle into the fridge. And add no ice then. Oh and with caviar…

SGP:473 - 87 points.

One day we'll do a large session with only newmakes or quasi-newmakes of world. I'll just have to first call the insurance company.

Tiba 13 yo 2008/2021 (57%, Tamosi, Panama)

Tiba 13 yo 2008/2021 (57%, Tamosi, Panama) Four stars
Panama sounds awkward, but Tamosi does not, at all, so let's keep an open mind…  Colour: deep gold. Nose: triple-sec and sultanas all over the place, with whiffs of dill and orange blossom. Feels pretty light this far, as far as styles are concerned. With water: oh cool, vegetables, salsify, celeriac, manioc… Pretty complex, this. Panama, really?  Mouth (neat): oh nice! Many fresh tropical fruits, white pineapples, bananas, mangos, all that within a rather tart and nervous style. Some radish. Very intriguing. With water: oh great, subtle and complex, with fruits and vegetables that are rather well-behaved. Do you know white raspberries, for example? And sweet carrots. Notes of beets too, which is as lovely. Finish: medium, perhaps even a tad short – this ain't Hampden – but the style is wonderful, with a very delicate – and unexpected - saltiness. Comments: Panama? Are we sure? Great work at Tamosi's.

SGP:462 - 86 points.

Jamaica 11 yo 2010/2021 'WP' (63.4%, Rasta Morris, bourbon, cask #RM014)

Jamaica 11 yo 2010/2021 'WP' (63.4%, Rasta Morris, bourbon, cask #RM014) Five stars
More from the Belgian connection. They would tend to do it right. Colour: gold. Nose: oh! White asparagus and fennel seeds over engine oil and thyme tea. Emphasis on thyme tea, that's extremely unusual. And awesome, hope that won't vanish in the air once we've added water. With water: I see that partly came from the oak. Some rosehip too, prickly pears, a little vetiver and menthol, wormwood, absinth… What a wonderful complexity, 11 is a great age. Mouth (neat): whole generations will quibble over this most important issue, Worthy Park or Hampden? In truth this WP is luminous and thrilling, not just 'bacteria-loaded', with for example notes of jasmine that are rarely seen to this extent. Well, in my own little book. With water: just extremely good. Earthy liquorice, anchovies in brine, olives, tinned sardines… Finish: long, salty, with a lot more liquorice and always these preserved fish, anchovies… Comments: impressive drop, I've tried hard to find something bad to say, but I failed once again and we have no alternative but to concur with the general opinion (S, you talk like Biden).

SGP:363 - 90 points.

Let's call Hampden…

JHK Rum 12 yo 2009/2021 (62.1%, Thompson Bros., Jamaica, 322 bottles)

JHK Rum 12 yo 2009/2021 (62.1%, Thompson Bros., Jamaica, 322 bottles) Four stars
It's said that this would be 'very high ester' Hampden. I mean, 1500 g/hlpa or more, so the marque <DOK>. Colour: white wine. Nose: this feeling of nosing a freshly opened can of gherkins plus a lot of carbon paper and brake pad dust (after the Monaco Grand Prix). We're rather getting into love-it-or-hate-it thresholds here, I would way. With water: sameish. You cannot do much to this,  even a lot of water wouldn't shake it in any sorts of ways. Mouth (neat): too much for me. Your whole body, not only your brain, is sending warning messages. In short, this is extremely extreme. With water: very salty, dry, gritty, tarry… We've walked beyond the limits here. Finish: as long as a speech by Fidel, as we used to say when he was still alive and (kind of) kicking. Comments: I don't know what to say. In the end of the day, the seminal question needs be asked: "would I ask for another glass?" Not too sure. Now, let's be clear, this is ultimately excellent very extreme rum, but not for the fainthearted as they say. Rather a top-of-the-top dresser.
SGP:273 - 85 points.

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

 

September 25, 2021


Whiskyfun

 

 

 

Angus's Corner
From our correspondent and
skilled taster Angus MacRaild in Scotland
Angus  
A quick visit to Japan
No time for prevarication today, let's just attack a small pile of various Japanese whiskies which have accumulated here at Whiskyfun Fife HQ (I know, who thought such an outpost would ever exist?)

 

Japanese Blended Whisky No.1 21 Year Old 'Batch 5' (47.7%, That Boutique-y Whisky Company, bottled 2018, 3257 bottles)Japanese Blended Whisky No.1 21 Year Old 'Batch 5' (47.7%, That Boutique-y Whisky Company, bottled 2018, 3257 bottles)

Japanese Blended Whisky No.1 21 Year Old 'Batch 5' (47.7%, That Boutique-y Whisky Company, bottled 2018, 3257 bottles)
So, is this Japanese, or is this 'Japanese'? Colour: gold. Nose: I have to say, this is rather excellent with a lot of creamy coconut and spiced fudge up front. Some aged orange peel, chai tea, bergamot, wintergreen and aniseed. You do feel the grain component but it's very well integrated and the whole does indeed speak with a Japanese accent. Mouth: this impression of delicate spiced teas, hardwood resins, dried herbs, bergamot and winter spices continues on the palate. Some more coconut and rum-like sweetness, and then wee touches of caramelised banana and dried exotic fruit pieces. In fact it becomes rather rum like with time. Finish: medium, sappy, herbal, towards eucalyptus and tea tree oil with more hardwood resins and strong brewed teas. Comments: An excellent blend that does retain a strong feeling of 'Japan' about it. I think the strength is also a key asset here.

SGP: 652 - 85 points.

 

 

Chichibu London Edition 2020 (53.5%, OB, bourbon, 1736 bottles)

Chichibu London Edition 2020 (53.5%, OB, bourbon, 1736 bottles)
Colour: straw. Nose: fresh, youthful, modern, excellent malt whisky with a lot of clear detail from the raw materials on display. Freshly malted barley, bailed straw, rice cakes and even wee hints of turmeric and saffron. There's this tension between dusty and fresh which I find quite captivating. With water: fresher still, greener, on chlorophyl, grapefruit, crushed oatcakes and touches of cider apple. Mouth: excellent arrival, weighty and even with slightly medicinal aspects coming through such as herbal mouthwash, antiseptic and crushed aspirin. You feel there's some peated components at work here. A light salinity, citrus fruit acids and white flowers. With water: mentholated and becoming almost a little waxy with some green herbs, aniseed, green apple and slightly riper orchard fruit notes. Finish: medium, lightly peppery, still plenty raw barley flavours, malt extract, IPA and breakfast cereals. Comments: Chichibu is at its best from this type of wood I think.
SGP: 562 - 88 points.

 

 

Chichibu 2012/2019 (62%, OB for Black Rock bar & Selfridges, cask #2074, 2nd refill Hogshead ex-Hanyu then ex-Chichibu, 154 bottles)

Chichibu 2012/2019 (62%, OB for Black Rock bar & Selfridges, cask #2074, 2nd refill Hogshead ex-Hanyu then ex-Chichibu, 154 bottles)
Quite cool to know the detailed history of the cask's prior fillings I think. Colour: pale gold. Nose: there's a particular, highly aromatic and narrow spice quality about this which feels like it comes from hotter climate maturation in refill wood, I really love this style. Wood resins, juicy fruit chewing gum, exotic fruit teas, crystallised citrus peels, eucalyptus and menthol rolling tobacco. Quiet a precise and aromatic nose. With water: develops notes of shoe leather, dried flowers, caraway and dried mango. Also an impression of pumpernickel bread and bitter ales. Mouth: remarkably easy despite the strength, dangerous in other words! Wonderfully soft exotic fruits, wood spices, hardwood resins, herbal teas, fruit salad juices, tea tree oils and sandalwood. In time becoming waxier, more intricately spicy and fatter. With water: wow! Opens up magnificently now, incorporating medicines, waxes, putty, herbal extracts, cocktail bitters and menthol qualities. Amazing complexity with water. Finish: long, on aniseed, old herbal liqueurs, wintergreen, wormwood and bergamot. Persistently complex and thrilling. Comments: I had it at a sold 90 but water comfortably propelled it higher. I love that menthol / medicinal profile that emerges with water. I also like that it has something of old school Japanese whiskies about it that sits perfectly alongside these nicely modern beery and bready aspects. A great cask!
SGP: 662 - 91 points.

 

 

Chichibu 2013/2020 (62.1%, OB for Sskaya at Pan-Technicon, cask #2661, 1st fill barrel, 100 bottles) 
Chichibu 2013/2020 (62.1%, OB for Sskaya at Pan-Technicon, cask #2661, 1st fill barrel, 100 bottles)

Chichibu 2013/2020 (62.1%, OB for Sskaya at Pan-Technicon, cask #2661, 1st fill barrel, 100 bottles)
Anther rather rare and cool bottling exclusive to this elegant wee Sake and Japanese whisky bar that you can find located within this larger Japanese / Scandi themed department store/cafe in London. Quite a mouthful I think you'll agree, but the bar is certainly worth popping your head into if you're passing. Oh, and what's more, this one is peated. Colour: pale gold. Nose: peated, but elegantly so, a rather scented aroma that incorporates sandalwood, incense, smoked teas and earthier tones such as dried mushrooms and dried seaweed. I'm also finding an old school coconut and dried exotic fruit mix which I find rather gorgeous. With water: creamier and really focussing now on scented woods, smoked teas, dried herbs and rather ethereal wee medicinal touches. Totally brilliant nose if you ask me. Mouth: even at such a high ABV this one is quite silky upon arrival, sharper notes of citrus peels, salt-cured fish, miso, herbal infusions and Maggi liquid seasoning - soy sauce also. This high level, concentrated and umami style of peat that is pretty intense and wonderful. With water: becomes extremely intricate and complex now. A slightly crisper edge to the peat smoke, many crystallised citrus fruits, more dried herbal notes - almost like umami paste and herbal broths infusing - aniseed and slightly weightier notes of camphor and hessian that nod more towards some Scottish styles in fact. Finish: long, wonderfully concentrated and rich peat smoke, herbs, exotic hardwood resins, tea tree oils and herbal extracts. Comments: An outstanding wee Chichibu - the equal of cask #2074. I wonder if there wasn't a bit of hot climate maturation at work here too, there's a strong feeling of concentration about the whole thing, while globally it remains also very balanced and cohesive.
SGP: 575 - 91 points.

 

 

Miyagikyo 2003/2014 (62%, OB, cask #121902, sherry)

Miyagikyo 2003/2014 (62%, OB, cask #121902, sherry)
Not too sure I've got the order of this tasting correct here, hopefully this one won't struggle to make it over those two killer Chichibu… Colour: deep amber. Nose: I think we're safe. This is a big, sticky morass of stewed dark fruits, plum wine, soy sauce, leather and damp tobacco leaf. Thick, distinctly umami and with plenty bitter cocoa, espresso and mushroom powder. An outstanding sherry cask, judging from the nose. With water: aged teas, slated liquorice, umami paste, black olive bread and more soy sauce. A totally superb nose! Mouth: as often seems the case with these Japanese malts, they wear high ABVs very lightly. This one is immediately chewable with these wonderfully dense earthy and meaty tones, game meats, beef stock, mushroom powder, coffee grounds and bitter dark chocolate. Perhaps it leans a little too heavily on these gamey and meaty aspects? With water: cleaner and more balanced with water, these meaty qualities dial down considerably and we're left with some very dry earthy notes, strong espresso, very bitter chocolate, herbal bitters too and black pepper. I would say it's excellent but feels almost too extreme on the palate. Finish: long, leathery, earthy, slightly minty and towards bitter herbal extracts, more cocoa and more leather and soy sauce. Comments: A total beast, at times the nose approaches 92 point material, but the palate feels a tad too extreme in my book. Lovers of these Japanese sherry bombs would no doubt fire their grandmothers into the heart of the sun to acquire a bottle though.
SGP: 472 - 88 points.

 

 

Big thanks to Timo and KC!

 

 

 

September 24, 2021


Whiskyfun

Old Mosstowie vs. young Miltonduff

We shan't explain how and when Mosstowie was made, we did that several times already and I'm sure you know. Bingo, well done, a pair of Lomond stills at Miltonduff, from 1964 to 1981. There's a brand new one at LMDW but since we haven't got any other yet-untasted Mosstowie anywhere at Château WF, we'll rather have a young Miltonduff instead as the steppingstone…

Miltonduff 11 yo 2009/2021 (59.7%, Infrequent Flyers, PX puncheon, cask #6341, 646 bottles)

Miltonduff 11 yo 2009/2021 (59.7%, Infrequent Flyers, PX puncheon, cask #6341, 646 bottles) Two stars and a half
Nice newish label by Alistair Walker, in the style of LMDW's Transcontinental Rum Line or Jack Wiebers' Great Ocean liners. Ah, travelling with style… Colour: brownish amber. Nose: raisins and raisin cake, a little gunpowder, black nougat, Christmas cake (apologies), millionaire shortbread, bettelman, clafoutis… Well you see what I mean, there's a high yet rather cleaner PX impact. With water: more raisins and some walnut wine, triple-sec, fig wine and peonies early in the morning, then lavender and liquorice. Very nice but perhaps a tad heady. Mouth (neat): extremely sweet and raisiny, and extremely strong as well. Rather stuffy this far, but let's see what water will do to this shameless concoction… With water: it's cool, many wood spices coming out, pencil shavings, cedarwood, some black tea… That suggests active oak, either new or classically rejuvenated, if not STR. Finish: long, the buoyant oak having taken over. Comments: pretty good and certainly flawless, but this modern soup, as it was prepared, is not quite my preferred style.
SGP:641 - 79 points.

So, the old uncle…

Mosstowie 40 yo 1979/2021 (51%, La Maison du Whisky, Artist, bourbon, cask #12758, 150 bottles)

Mosstowie 40 yo 1979/2021 (51%, La Maison du Whisky, Artist, bourbon, cask #12758, 150 bottles) Four stars and a half
So remember, Lomond stills at Miltonduff, from 1964 to 1981. Indeed, you could gather that after these late-1970s vintages, they decided to cut their losses, so to speak. Oh and I know the numbers do not quite add-up, but remember the fine folks at LMDW like their funny rituals, such as rounding down the ages of some of their bottlings. Yeah, just like ageing Hollywood actresses do. Colour: gold. Nose: I would wager that any Lomondness would be lost after more than 40 years, not even sure I could describe that Lomondness in the first place, as I'm not sure I ever actually noticed any increased 'lightness' or 'floralness'. What we get here is rather some nice ripe yellow fruits (mirabelles, peaches, apricots, quinces) and a very distant mentholy side brought by the old wood. Doesn't feel re-racked at all, but I could be wrong. Notes of bananas. With water: nosing some precious fresh green tea from a genuine old wild tea tree, also fresh nuts, cashews, almonds, even homemade peanut butter... Mashed potatoes as well, grand-chef style. A lot of butter. Mouth (neat): pretty good, a tad gritty thanks to the oak, almost cigary, with a feeling of biting cider apples. With water: starts to sing. Pineapples and pink grapefruits, oranges, a little eucalyptus (cough medicine), sage, fresh parsley, chlorophyll… Some sides remind me of some all-herbs pesto, I should try to sprinkle some spaghetti with this one. I shall (may) report back. Finish: medium, rather on yellow fruits, then chestnut purée and halva in the aftertaste. Touches of menthol. Comments: pretty intellectual, not easy to read (well it's not Hegel either), without any 'obvious' aspects or sides. In a way, it'll all depend on how you would like to see it; to taste it. We shouldn't score these.
SGP:551 - 89 points.
 

September 23, 2021


Whiskyfun

Caol Ila, #1 on WF

I mean, as far as numbers of different expressions go. Given what's in the boxes, I doubt that's going to change in the near future. Ready for a little more colailafun.com, randomly? To the very average taster such as yours truly, randomness brings a bit of salt and would lower the odds of coming up with too many almost identical whiskies, which would make it all boring as Boris (apologies, couldn't resist).

So, eenie…

Caol Ila 10 yo 2011/2021 (46%, Signatory Vintage for Whisky Live Paris, first fill bourbon barrel, cask #310866, 300 bottles)

Caol Ila 10 yo 2011/2021 (46%, Signatory Vintage for Whisky Live Paris, first fill bourbon barrel, cask #310866, 300 bottles) Four stars
This is this year's official bottling for WL Paris, an excellent choice I'm sure. I hope to see you in there at the weekend, the last whisky festival I could attend, pre-Covid, having been Ulan-Bator 1927. Or was it 1926? Colour: white wine. Nose: roasted almonds this time, roasted sesame, roasted pine nuts, then the expected limoncello and seawater, with the appropriate quantities of tincture of iodine, creosote and just barbecue ashes. Fresh kelp and oysters too. Mouth: excellently fresh, with a little varnish and really a lot of limoncello at first (feels higher than 46%), then more rustic notes of paint and, well, even more varnish. It's rather brutal, in fact, but that's a clear asset since we've all already got around 726,845 'regular' and 'gentler' bottles of Caol Ila in our drink cabinets. Finish: very long, varnishy, medicinal, ashy, salty and with some chillies. Comments: I just couldn't imagine how this boisterous young CI would be at cask strength. Probably illegal anyway, unless you've got a firearms licence. See you at Whisky Live Paris!
SGP:467 - 87 points.

Caol Ila 8 yo (46%, James Eadie, Small Batch, export exclusive, 2021)

Caol Ila 8 yo (46%, James Eadie, Small Batch, export exclusive, 2021) Four stars
Colour: white white wine. Yep. Nose: much gentler, cleaner, on classic oysters, lemons, ashes and fresh almonds. Seawater, mercurochrome, riesling and whiffs of nail polish. Mouth: impeccable, salty, maritime, slightly sour, with some grapefruit juice and the tightest sauvignon blanc. Ziiiing. Finish: long, ashier, a tad gritty. Some turpentine, some white spirit, some concentrated lemon juice. Comments: you can't resist these kinds of paint thinners, can you.
SGP:466 - 87 points.

Caol Ila 9 yo 2011/2021 (50.4%, Chapter 7, Monologue, first fill barrel, 297 bottles)

Caol Ila 9 yo 2011/2021 (50.4%, Chapter 7, Monologue, first fill barrel, 297 bottles) Four stars
A monologue? In that case, to be, or not to be, that is the question. Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles and of Caol Ila… Colour: white wine. Nose: a walk on the beach at 6am. Incredibly fresh and refreshing, pretty lighter in truth, with whiffs of chablis on oysters, riesling on langoustines and champagne on lobsters. More or less. With water: lemon-sprinkled oysters. How very classic. Mouth (neat): immediate and evident, even if a little fattish and dirty here and there, which is not very CI. Grilled bell pepper and barbecued bananas. Perhaps a little uncertain and un-smoky this far, let's see… With water: no, cancel all that, it was just in need of a little H2O. Lemons, oysters, ashes; I repeat… Finish: medium, lemony. Comments: excellent, even if a tad less 'evident' than others. Just like Shakespeare.
SGP:456 - 85 points.

Caol Ila 8 yo 2012/2021 (51.4%, Chapter 7, Monologue, hogshead, 301 bottles)

Caol Ila 8 yo 2012/2021 (51.4%, Chapter 7, Monologue, hogshead, 301 bottles) Four stars and a half
2012? That's yesterday, no? An no, no Shakespeare. Colour: white wine. Nose: it is somewhat younger but believe me, this is easier, rounder, cleaner, 'better' Caol Ila by WF standards. Linseed oil, Woolite, bandages, brake fluid, whelks and oysters, lambswool… In short a whole different dimension. With water: ointments, carbon dust, limestone and linseed oil. Mouth (neat): terrific ultra-clean young CI, very salty, coastal and with even a wee green olive in the middle (they'll soon grow some around Ullapool, believe me). With water: salty as salty mezcal, a little rough around the edges, perhaps a tad eau-de-vie-ish. Raw plum spirit (better after midnight). Finish: long, tough and salty. Am I not finding capers in the aftertaste? Comments: this one's a little insane. Love it at times, hate it at times, what's sure is that CI is absolutely not the 'gentle Islay' from the whisky books anymore.
SGP:366 - 88 points.

Caol Ila 13 yo 2007/2021 (54.1%, The Whisky Blues and Dram Youth Whisky Bar, refill hogshead, cask #320555, 276 bottles)

Caol Ila 13 yo 2007/2021 (54.1%, The Whisky Blues and Dram Youth Whisky Bar, refill hogshead, cask #320555, 276 bottles) Four stars
Love these labels, they remain both different and elegant. I mean, some of the new indie labels just make you want to poke your own eyes out, do they not? Colour: white wine. Nose: huge varnish, nail polish remover, ammonia and gherkin juice. All is fine, is it not? With water: no changes. More ammonia and antiseptic, paint thinner, green lemons, model glue… Mouth (neat): wham! Extreme arrival, extremely acetic, close to the 'highest' Jamaican rums. Barely legal, I say. With water: way nicer, easier, and yet extremely salty and acetic – I'm not saying vinegary on purpose. Oysters are soon to take over,  together with lemons and the tightest white wines. Finish: you cannot get rid of so much varnish, can you. Crazy stuff. Comments: reminds me of some New Yarmouths I tried the other day. How do you score these bacter… I mean this whisky? Of course I love this extreme CI, still.
SGP:377 - 87 points.

This is getting tough, a last one please…

Caol Ila 13 yo 2007/2021 (57.8%, The Whisky Blues, refill hogshead, cask #320319, 160 bottles)

Caol Ila 13 yo 2007/2021 (57.8%, The Whisky Blues, refill hogshead, cask #320319, 160 bottles) Four stars and a half
Another one by, or rather for our friends in Taiwan. Colour: white wine. Nose: this is so much gentler, rounder, more on grasses and fresh nuts, whelks and crabs, ripe apples, hand cream, Chablis, almond 'milk' (you can't call that 'milk' anymore in the EU)… With water: oil paint and fresh marzipan plus white asparagus, branches and celeriac. High-class. Mouth (neat): completely different, ultra-tight, acidic and acetic. Calls for hectolitres of water. With (hectolitres of) water: hard to tame, with ammonia again (cheese), acids, concentrated brines, Sicilian capers, various ferments, earth, roots, gentian… Boy is this a fight! Finish: iodine, vinegar and concentrated lemon juice. Sharp and ultra-tight, almost bacterial once again. Love this style but you have to be in shape. Comments: another new-wave mad and pretty challenging Caol Ila. You just cannot binge-try too many of them or they'll force you out of business. No, really, they're incredible.
SGP:367 - 88 points.

Ciao.

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

 

September 22, 2021


Whiskyfun

(Republished September 30, 2021)

Special Release 2021 Special,
today young Talisker

(Or a stellar session for a friend in the stars)

The SRs are out. I would tend to rather try the lighter, unpeated ones first but since all previous Taliskers in these series had been wonderful, well, I just unilaterally and univocally decided to have the Talisker first. There are also two Lagavulins this time, I cannot wait. This wee session to our dearest friend Dr Peter Silver, malt enthusiast extraordinaire, formidable jazz trumpetist and band leader, and dentist to the stars. Here's to you, Peter.

Peter

Talisker 8 yo (59.7%, OB, Special Releases, Untold Legends, refill casks, 2021)

Talisker 8 yo (59.7%, OB, Special Releases, Untold Legends, refill casks, 2021) Five stars
These come with some pretty immersive web pages that you could marvel at while sipping your dram. Rather well done, those pages. This baby is said to be particularly smoky, while each expression within this year's SRs comes with a nickname, this time it is 'The Rogue Seafury'. Aren't we shaky now… Colour: very pale white wine. Nose: it doesn't feel like they've been using rum wood, which they did last year. We're rather experiencing an extremely narrow style, in the best sense of that expression (as some great Chablis can be narrow). A lot of mercurochrome, seawater, oysters, crushed chalk and just a load of peat. I think I had already wondered if they weren't Islayising Talisker… With water: oh this wonderful brine! Plus olive oil and a drop of mezcal. Even mezcal cannot beat this. Mouth (neat): a total blade, sharp like a katana (whatever) and with a lot of lemon juice, brine and just 'peat'. A citrusy fruitiness too after a few seconds, perhaps citrons? Again, very simple, almost abstract, and just terrific. With water: 4/4 (nose neat, nose diluted, palate neat, palate diluted). Stunning purity, I suppose the only thing you could do to further improve this make is wait. All the rest is total absolut ganz perfect. Finish: long, well, not that long actually but sublimely pure. Comments: a diamond distillate, this is the perfect cut, a kind of grail that only time could further polish (you're rambling on, S.) Just add time… By the way I couldn't find any vintage but there could be one, I shall amend accordingly. Cheers Peter, you would have loved this one.

SGP:457 - 91 points.

Talisker 10 yo 2011/2021 (57.6%, Hunter Laing, The First Edition for Whisky Picnic Bar Taiwan, refill hogshead, cask #HL18304, 274 bottles)

Talisker 10 yo 2011/2021 (57.6%, Hunter Laing, The First Edition for Whisky Picnic Bar Taiwan, refill hogshead, cask #HL18304, 274 bottles) Five stars
Both branches of the Laings seem to have some great young Taliskers. They were still a little brutal as they first became available, at +/-5 years of age, but now that these batches have reached 10 or more, we can only marvel… Colour: pale white wine. Nose: nutshell, this one's rather (even) more medicinal, and rather less coastal/briny. A little more bacon and ashes, perhaps capers and wakame. In fact, this is even narrower than the 8, always in the best sense of that word and in this context. With water: that walk on the beach at low tide. Razor clams and cockles, how coastal has it become? Mouth: we're much closer to the 8 on the palate, but this time it is a little less clean, perhaps slightly burnt here and there (grilled bacon) and really very lemony and medicinal (slight camphor). Don't get me wrong, it's brilliant, I'm just 'comparing'. Try these apart within two days and you'll find them extremely similar, if not identical. Well, I know I would. With water: a little more fatness, otherwise bacon and lemons plus edible seaweed and a grittier liquorice (wood). Finish: long, back on mercurochrome and with a little lemon liqueur. That's right, limoncello. Comments: a little less 'polished' but really brilliant too. Marvellous young Talisker, which is one of those distilleries that can really shine both when very young and very old. No, there aren't that many of them.
SGP:467 - 90 points.

Forever, Peter.

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

 

September 21, 2021


Whiskyfun

Clynelishes, candles and kittens

I agree that sounds a bit like a list of accessories for a voodoo mass, but sadly, the name Clynelish too is disappearing from the indies' labels, which can only, on the long run, generate bad-will and resentment towards the owners. Mind you, the terms 'single malt' make only sense when you know about said 'single malt' and I have to say it's not really surprising that the best IBs are starting to bottle 'foreign' whiskies that are telling their names instead of former-first-tier Scotch malts that wouldn't. In any case, between an indie, say  Smögen and a Secret Islay, I know where my heart lies. But this is Clynelish… Warning, I'm a fan of Clynelish (that's news, S.)

Equinox & Solstice 10 yo 2010/2021 'Candlekitty' (48.5%, Decadent Drinks, summer edition, first fill barrels, 973 bottles)

Equinox & Solstice 10 yo 2010/2021 'Candlekitty' (48.5%, Decadent Drinks, summer edition, first fill barrels, 973 bottles) Five stars
Equinoxes and solstices really seem to be a big thing to our friends in the north of Europe, Scandinavia, Scotland… Which is clearly understandable! To us who are more in the middle, it's rather just something that's mentioned in our datebooks and in poems. Colour: white wine. Nose: I would like to report that there's been a mistake here and that they've probably disgorged some rare casks of 'Old' Clynelish instead of fresh ones. At least, that's what I'm gathering from all this soot, metal polish, iron fillings, mutton fat or engine grease. Having said that, some lighter, fruitier notes do manage to come through later on, together with just vanilla, barley syrup and paraffin. Mouth: but really, Old Clynelish! Complete with brine, ashes, more soot, minerals, touches of copper polish, sucking old coins (never do that), chalk, limes, marrow, ham fat (Spanish)… And this time, no vanilla in the way, it would just stay the same eternally. Well, I suppose. Finish: rather long and really very salty. Comments: this resemblance is very troubling, I don't know what happened, I do not quite recognise modern Clynelish. Maybe I'm dead and was resurrected in 1970? Let's check if they have the Doors on the radio… Please take my score as one by a troubled man.
SGP:363 - 90 points.

Kittenish 20 yo 2000/2021 (55.2%, The Whisky Blues and Whisky Wave, hogshead, cask #1424, 324 bottles)

Kittenish 20 yo 2000/2021 (55.2%, The Whisky Blues and Whisky Wave, hogshead, cask #1424, 324 bottles) Five stars
With a series named like that I had thought there was a trumpet on the label but I looked closer and that's actually a still (how very interesting, S.!) Colour: light gold. Nose: modern Clynelish this time, to the brim, with extra-tart apples and peelings, rhubarb, plasticine and citrons. A little mercurochrome too, earth, the tiniest touches of coconut. A very obvious nose, no questions to be asked, brilliant whisky. We could almost leave it at that. With water: these muddy touches, lambswool, plasticine, chalk and just a touch of coconut once again. The wood was not inactive. Mouth (neat): waxes, citrons, grapefruits, plasticine, a little iodine, lemon tarte, macaroons, a little chalk… Absolutely excellent. With water: anchovies coming out! Lovely maritime fatness. Finish: long, really very fat, almost syrupy as far as the texture's concerned. Quite some salt in the aftertaste. Comments: so far away and so close. In a way, this reminds me of the early 1970s Brora vs. Clynelish situation, the best ever against the best ever. Mindboggling.
SGP:562 - 90 points.

Kittenish 25 yo 1996/2021 (49.5%, The Whisky Blues and Whisky Land, hogshead, cask #7, 322 bottles)

Kittenish 25 yo 1996/2021 (49.5%, The Whisky Blues and Whisky Land, hogshead, cask #7, 322 bottles) Five stars
Colour: light gold. Nose: tighter, more austere, more on chalk, limestone, gunflints, also patchouli and lime blossom, vetiver for sure, green oranges… This is a different era at Clynelish, perhaps a little less 'focused' but also rather more complex, more medicinal as well, with more iodine, bandages, a little creosote. In fact we're rather closer to the 2010 than to the 2000. Could also be that this cask was about to fractalize (you know, main aromas giving birth to several smaller aromas, which in turn…)  Mouth: the most limey, citric, tart, blade-y and just vertical. I would tend to love this tyle too. In fact, at this age and unless sherried, these vintages would tend to start to resemble 1960s Laphroaigs. No, really, sublime citrus plus seawater. Finish: medium, superbly salty and citrusy. Quite some wax too and perhaps a touch of white sugar in the aftertaste. No worries. Comments: with the coastalness of Clynelish becoming clear, I say this is grand whisky. Add twenty years of bottle aging and this will be a big hit in our MetaWorld to come.
SGP:661 - 91 points.

Good, such an incredible trio just did the job, no need to go any further unless, just for sake of whisky research…

Ainslie's Royal Edinburgh (86.8 US proof, Ainslie & Heilbron, blend, Hulse Import San Francisco, USA, spring cap, +/-1960)

Ainslie's Royal Edinburgh (86.8 US proof, Ainslie & Heilbron, blend, Hulse Import San Francisco, USA, spring cap, +/-1960)
Just in case you wouldn't be in the know, Ainslie & Heilbron were the proprietors and license holders for Clynelish Distillery. This is a spring cap bottle that I'm opening for the first time, so while the level is super-high, as almost always with spring caps, we have to make sure that no metal contaminations happened. In short, that the liquid remained crystal clear and not green/brown/bronze. Colour: deep bright gold (success!) Nose: no nails broken while opening this one, but we find some whiffs of baked eggplants and artichokes, not unseen in Royal Edinburgh having said that. Notes of old tools, coins, engine oils, old silverware, then fermenting pineapples and just something 'sulphury but it is not sulphur'. Right, the jury's still out, I wouldn't say I'm able to detect Old Clynelish in there, neither am I finding any markers of Glenury Royal or Coleburn. I'm bragging, not sure I could, anyway. Mouth: really a strange blend while several other Royal Edinburghs I could try, even some old pre-black label ones, had been a bit like this, unlikely, a little cardboardy… Having said that the very old ones were stellar (pre-war). What's more this one seem to have some sugar, almost as if it had been some kind of liqueur. In short, I should have kept it closed, forever. Finish: medium, with once again notes of fermenting pineapples, even pineapple liqueur… What a strange old blended Scotch, you would almost believe this was rum. Comments: it has its charms but that's mostly self-motivation. Some other blends by A&H have always been way better, such as Ainslie's, Real McTavish, Glen Brora of course, and even King's Legend. And so older Royal Edinburghs. Oh there…
SGP:641 – 65 points.

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

 

September 20, 2021


Whiskyfun

A few more baby distilleries

I mean, Scottish whiskies from rather new distilleries, so whiskies that should be at least 3 years of age. I have to say it's not easy to keep up with all these new cats that are popping out of the blue almost every week (don't exaggerate, S.!) 

Highland calf

Lindores 'MCDXCIV' (46%, OB, 2021)

Lindores 'MCDXCIV' (46%, OB, 2021) Two stars and a half
From bourbon, sherry and wine barrique. Either the great folks at Lindores would like to stress some kind of Roman heritage with the name, which I doubt, or the name refers to 1494, which was the year when the Exchequer Rolls of James IV of Scotland recorded the granting of malt to friar John Cor in order to make the first 'official' water of life in Scotland, at Lindores Abbey in the Lowlands. Those Exchequer Rolls, in their great wisdom, did not mention any kind of PX or red wine casks, but I'm sure that's been done parsimoniously here. Colour: straw. Nose: starts with rather a lot of weissbeer, some porridge, then sourdough and leaven bread, buckwheat crepes, just grist… Then more lemon juice, fresh cider and a few drops of wine vinegar. I believe you can't do it any more natural. The barriques have been very civilised, I find no merlot and no cabernet whatsoever. Phew. Mouth: pretty good indeed, very much on grains and breads, with only a drop of lemon juice, bitter ale, then really a lot pf pepper and nutmeg from the oak. Perhaps not totally integrated and balanced yet, but that should come. Finish: anecdotal, with some bitterish oak and notes of eggplant and artichoke. Comments: not sure it's totally ready yet, but when the base is nicely bready like this, beyond the oak, the future should be bright.
SGP:272 - 78 points.

Eden Mill '2019 Release' (46.5%, OB, 3000 bottles)

Eden Mill '2019 Release' (46.5%, OB, 3000 bottles) Three stars
Mostly ex-oloroso hogsheads, PX hogsheads and ASB. I agree I should have tried this earlier, but all this PX everywhere scares me. I've even heard the most common first name in St Andrews and beyond has become 'Pedro'. Colour: straw. Nose: there are similarities on the nose but this is a little rounder, with more vanilla and preserved cherries, certainly elderberry eau-de-vie an syrup, a few drops of retsina wine and even ratafia de Champagne as well as touches of acetone, which is not unpleasant in this context. Other than that, the breadiness is impeccable and the PX only starts to express itself after a good five minutes, imparting biggish notes of moist gingerbread and raisins. Mouth: once again, the oak's a little too much for me but indeed, just a little. Burnt gingerbread, cinnamon rolls, juniper and turmeric, ginger, raisin rolls… It is a whole pastry shop. Feels a bit 'craft whisky of the world' – I know what I'm trying to say, it is not extremely Scottish. Finish: rather long, very okay, not exuberantly oaky and raisiny. Comments: what I don't know yet is whether this is some kind of variant, or if this is Eden Mill's proprietary style. We may check that in the coming months or years.
SGP:551 - 80 points.

Ardnamurchan AD/07.21:05 (46.8%, OB, 2021)

Ardnamurchan AD/07.21:05 (46.8%, OB, 2021) Four stars
This new one is a vatting of peated and unpeated Ardnamurchan and consists in 2/3 ex-bourbon and 1/3 ex-sherry wood. They wouldn't say if the latter was treated with paxare…, I mean PX or not. Last year's 'AD/09.20:01' (boy they do not make our lives easy, do they) had been quite splendid already (WF 86). Colour: white wine. Nose: visiting a working distillery that's still got malting floors. Barley, grist, husk, mash, yeast, wash, low wines, spirit and the manager's old Range Rover stalled in the Distillery's car park. Of course this is complete fiction, but this nose is pretty perfect, with a whole pool of oil in the background. Mouth: feels much peatier than on the nose, vegetal, a tad curry and wasabi-like, with some umami, savoury notes, tobacco, black tea leaves, Seville oranges, bell pepper, black pepper, horseradish (or more wasabi), and even a wee feeling of bison grass. Remember Zubrowka? I find it rather austere, rather wonderfully austere. Finish: long, peaty, grassy, vegetal, with some saltiness and just a touch of kumquat. Comments: wonderful pepperiness here, I'd wager it's not easy to get this kind of balance right.
SGP:465 - 87 points.

Perhaps an Irish?

Method and Madness 'Micro Distilled' (46%, OB, Ireland, rye and malt, 2021)

Method and Madness 'Micro Distilled' (46%, OB, Ireland, rye and malt, 2021) Four stars
This brand new Irish baby stems from Midleton Distillery, so you could believe that's anything but a 'new cat', but in reality Pernod, six years ago, had opened a new micro-distillery within the complex. This is their very first double-distilled release, which the owners themselves call a 'distillate-driven whiskey'. I can only say 'bravo, formidable, bien joué!' It is 60% rye and 40% malt and integrally ex-bourbon cask. What's more, apparently they launch it right today (which happens to be my own birthday, well, just saying, the number is UBS #8537…) Colour: chardonnay. Nose: very soft, floral, relatively fragrant, with tiny touches of lavender (that's probably the rye speaking) and crushed buckwheat, a little caraway, wee bits of vanilla fudge, chamomile, the softest hints of fresh American oak shavings, and behind all that, a huge fresh panettone bursting with juicy sultanas and orange blossom water (well done, I'm hungry now). Mouth: help, the panettone is back on the palate! It doesn't feel too rye-driven, actually, neither does it mimic MGP-style bourbon, it is rather a delicate 'new' combination – but they mention older recipes – with some earl grey, the faintest hints of coconut, blond tobacco, and then cinnamon and white pepper from the oak. Touches of papayas too, but we're not in Redbreast territories at all. Pear cake, which I like a lot. Finish: medium, with a little more ginger, and some rye bread with chestnut honey. More sawdust in the aftertaste but that was to be expected. A hint of pineapple too, which is more 'classic Midleton' in my book. Comments: I don't know how old this very well-balanced crafty baby is, maybe 6? It cannot be any older anyway, but really, 'bravo, formidable, bien joué!' Very convincing in-house craft whisky.
SGP:551 - 87 points.

Oh while we're in Ireland…

Waterford 'Micro Cuvée Lòmhar' (50%, OB, Ireland, 1100 bottles, 2021)

Waterford 'Micro Cuvée Lòmhar' (50%, OB, Ireland, 1100 bottles, 2021) Four stars and a half
A three years-old that comes with an extensive story and a rather complex cask-bill. We're absolutely not against that, naturally, but we're even more in favour of good whisky. Remember, In Poculo Veritas (the truth lies in the glass). Colour: straw. Nose: it's rather fascinating that we would be in similar territories as those of the M&M, but this is rather firmer and deeper, most certainly much maltier (no rye here, obviously), fatter, earthier, much more barley-y, with various fresh nuts and roots. Salsify, hazelnuts, macadamias, celeriac, white peaches, nougat… With water: a fresh baguette and three croissants, straight from your favourite bakery. Mouth (neat): on steroids. Huge earthy tones (we adore that, we're countrymen), plantains, high-class polenta, white pears, red kuri squash, bamboo shoots, bananas, heart of palm… It's all a little 'different', a little 'unusual'. Un-boring whisky, that's the future. With water: swims like a champ and gets fruitier, with notes of Alsatian mirabelle eau-de-vie (which the owners may have benchmarked – I'm joking) and more white pears. Some raisins too, possibly from some ex-sweet-wine casks. Finish: not that long but clean and cakey. May I mention panettone once more? Comments: almost on par with the formidable Gaia 1.1. Looks like I forgot to mention proper purée de pommes de terre.
SGP:451 - 89 points.
 

September 19, 2021


Whiskyfun

Armagnac is back on the tasting desk

Croix de Salles

'Christmas Hen'
1920s, the années folles, 'saucy' little advert
for armagnac La Croix de Salles (Dartigalongue)

This not only because in 'armagnac', there's 'maniac'. I mean, phonetically. I'm noticing that armagnac, as well as artisan or small-batch cognac, keeps attracting whisky enthusiasts, and I'm sure there's room for much more, especially for products that have been well-aged as new whisky distillers do not have any, by definition, while old malts will now really cost you an arm if not worse. Yes, that.

J. de Malliac 'vsop' (40%, OB, armagnac, +/-1990)

J. de Malliac 'vsop' (40%, OB, armagnac, +/-1990) one star and a half
The house de Malliac is located in Montréal. I mean Montréal-du-Gers, obviously. Another old bottle I used to have in the stash, sporting a proper traditional basquaise shape, a.k.a. 'the tennis racket'. Sadly less and less houses are using these, or only for their entry-level ranges. Colour: gold with copper tones. Nose: old-school entry-level armagnac indeed, feeling a little sauced-up with honey or any other stuff they were having in the 'kitchens' back then. Other than that, raisins and a wee vinous side, rather around pineau des Charentes (with apologies to our friends in the Cognac region). Mouth: really sweet, almost liqueury, not too bad but it doesn't feel natural by today's standards. Triple-sec and more pineau, fortified grape juice, figs, prunes… Finish: medium, a little cloying because of the unnatural sweetness. Sweet muscat wine and coffee in the aftertaste. Kitchen coffee. Comments: kind of acceptable because of its clean side but other than that, it' rather doped-up old-style armagnac, as some rum brands still do.
SGP:740 - 68 points.

Aurian 'A25' (45.9%, OB, armagnac, 2021)

Aurian 'A25' (45.9%, OB, armagnac, 2021) Four stars
All armagnacs in this new vatting are at least 25 years old. They've used stone for their stopper, which I find much more elegant than plastic and posher that wood that doesn't hold anything on the middle run. The house Aurian in Condom has been recently revived and we could try some very good juices already. Colour: full gold. Nose: lovely touches of cedarwood and hibiscus at first, a brand new 50-box of Turkish delights, some curious touches of viognier, then a classic blend of preserved peaches, heather honey, apricots and wisteria, with wee whiffs of fresh rubbed mint leaves. That's all pretty elegant and yet relatively dense. Mouth: creamy, rather singular, starting with some kind of creamy oak (cigars, cloves) and a feeling of oak-aged marc, which is extremely pleasant once you get past the surprise. Rather a lot of black Wulong tea, more cigars, some coffee, dried apricots, black currents (Smyrna), almond cream… Finish: long, pretty dry, on more oak and tobacco, walnuts, with an unusual fruitiness in the end. Say blood oranges. Comments: the better side of the oakier style. A singular armagnac indeed, I'm fond of it.
SGP:362 - 86 points.

Delord 1997/2021 (50%, Bottles & Legends, Bas-armagnac)

Delord 1997/2021 (50%, Bottles & Legends, Bas-armagnac) Five stars
We're still in the Gers, in Lannepax this time. This one was selected for Belgium, while we all know that our friends over there are particularly fond of French brandy. Colour: deep gold. Nose: wham! Coffee, marmalade, turpentine, cappuccino and molasses. Pretty heady armagnac, with developing whiffs of rose petals, ylang-ylang and peonies. Rather an aromatic bomb, shall we say. With water: moves towards sorrel soup, ham, lovage, marrow, chicken soup – right, rather goose. Mouth (neat): terrifyingly heavy, rich, and exactly armagnac, in the sense that it's absolutely not cognac. I know what I'm trying to say. More molasses - you would almost believe this is an old Port Mourant - prune juice, heavy chestnut honey, and once again touches or roses. Rose petal confit, a thing they make in Provence but try to avoid the ones they make for tourists. With water: unusual and pretty sublime. Some tighter oak in the style of the Aurian, some menthol cigarettes (a feeling of -), high-end black tea, really a lot of bitter chocolate… Finish: and naturally, coffee and Cointreau in the aftertaste. Perhaps also artichokes. Gets even tighter and rustic. As I said, armagnac. Comments: very highly recommended, this is pure armagnacness in my little book.
SGP:561 - 90 points.

Let's try another Delord since we're in Lannepax (so to speak… if only… sob…)

Delord 'Création N° 11' (43.8%, OB, Bas-armagnac, 1158 bottles, 2020)

Delord 'Création N° 11' (43.8%, OB, Bas-armagnac, 1158 bottles, 2020) Four stars
This is a blend of 2003, 1995 and 1983. Colour: amber. Nose: a tiny-wee bit of soap at first nosing, not something we never experienced with brandies, then a rather wonderful composition that would have involved preserved apricots, honey and dandelions. The soap's gone, we are happy. Mouth: warning, this baby goes down a little too well (as we could realise at my company's latest party), even if it's carrying its rusticity like a flag. I'm often mentioning Jaffa cakes but this time it's ten kilograms of Jaffa cakes. Sponge cake, chocolate and orange jam. Tends to get a little oaky having said that, I'm afraid the Belgian 1997 was brighter. Belgium, we need talking. Finish: long, a little bit oaky, but still rather delightful. Some menthol in the aftertaste, that too isn't unseen in good brandies. Comments: I should have had this one before the 1997. When do we talk, Belgium?
SGP:561 - 87 points.

A little more power, by Aurian this time…

Aurian 'XXO Réserve Spéciale' (60.4%, OB, Armagnac, 2020)

Aurian 'XXO Réserve Spéciale' (60.4%, OB, Armagnac, 2020) Five stars
This pretty rare baby was bottled in September last year. What's particularly rare is the strength of 60.4% vol. since armagnac is usually filled (entonné) at anywhere between 52 and 60% vol. Colour: red amber. Nose: terpenes and varnishes at first, which is perfectly normal at this strength – and which we enjoy anyway – then rather sublime whiffs of peaches stewed in honey sauce, as well as cedar and sandal woods. Even a little incense ala Yamazaki. With water: no, ala old Karuizawa, I double-super-swear on the tail of Whiskyfun's current First Mouser, named Soba. Believe me, Soba is safe. Lovely pipe tobacco, earth, umami, prunes (after all this is armagnac). Mouth (neat): it doesn't even really burn, but this is one hefty spirit. Echoes of burnt rubber (tyre) and old Pinot Noir, which we can only applaud. But it is strong… With water: excellent balance between oak spices (bordering coffee dregs in this case) and brighter blood oranges, with some chocolate and more coffee. Perhaps not quite as flabbergasting as on the nose but we keep flying pretty high. Finish: very long, with herbs now, Thai basil, lovage, fresh coriander… Probably more robust and rustic, as almost always with armagnac. Comments: top class punchy armagnac and yeah, really, Karuizawa on the nose.
SGP:462 - 90 points.

Let's go on…

Dartigalongue 2002 (46%, OB, Bas-armagnac, cask #436, 445 bottles, +/-2020?)

Dartigalongue 2002 (46%, OB, Bas-armagnac, cask #436, 445 bottles, +/-2020?) Four stars and a half
It is absolutely fabulous that distillers everywhere in France would start to do proper single casks, thus vintage bottlings, but pst, all this would be even more perfect with the mention of when it was bottled (the year is fine). In twenty years' time, if God lets us live, we won't remember whether this was a 10, à 20, a 30 or a 40 years old. Just saying… Colour: red amber. Nose: rather rounder, with peaches again, also fresh mint, heather honey, cedarwood, well taken care of humidor, and few notes of rhum agricole, which is good news. A little Spanish ham as well, and perhaps hints of strawberries. Mouth: this is rather a palate armagnac I believe, meaning that its really ridden with ripe fruits, various honeys, and a few bonbons (violet bonbons – nothing to do with Parma Violets). Apricot jam, fig jam, a touch of liquorice… All that is perfect. Finish: medium, fresh. A drop of gewurztraminer, pardon my Alsatian. Turkish delights, rose jam, liquorice allsorts… Comments: I had no doubts this would be excellent.
SGP:641 - 89 points.

Dartigalongue 1988 (45%, OB, Bas-armagnac, cask #446, 492 bottles, +/-2020?)

Dartigalongue 1988 (45%, OB, Bas-armagnac, cask #446, 492 bottles, +/-2020?) Four stars and a half
High hopes. Colour: red amber. Nose: a little shier and more austere than the boisterous 2002, with even more cedar and sandal woods, certainly more tobacco, unexpected mineral notes (crushed slate) and then a little cough medicine, eucalyptus, a little camphor becoming clear, old barrels, or just 'visiting an old chai in the Gers'. We need do that soon. Mouth: oh, much more fruits, this is almost a rich man's sangria, with many oranges, cinnamon, star anise, liquorice, well-frozen prunella (sloe), rancio wine, and perhaps drops of very old sweet Malaga. That's right, Pedro. Finish: rather long, jammy, with some raw chocolate and some coffee, walnut wine, and just a little black Wulong in the aftertaste. Hint of tar. A lot of liquorice in the retro. Comments: I like both 2002 and the 1988 the same, they're both superb in their own ways.
SGP:561 - 89 points.

I have to say one feels well at Dartigalongue, so let's simply go on for a wee while (vertically, of course)…

Dartigalongue 1975 (44%, OB, Bas-armagnac, cask #025, 358 bottles, +/-2020?)

Dartigalongue 1975 (44%, OB, Bas-armagnac, cask #025, 358 bottles, +/-2020?) Five stars
Colour: red amber. Nose: it is utterly fascinating to check how these armagnacs change when they get older, I'm wondering if it was the goal of the Maître de Chai in the first place. Fruits fading away, dried herbs and hardwoods coming to the front, tertiary aromas chiming in, such as mushrooms, barks, old slump, pipe tobacco, old books and just very old balsamic vinegar. Also teak oil and wee whiffs of new rubber boots. Rather masterful. Mouth: 90 points, see you later. Seriously, we're experiencing just the same, complex spices and tertiary elements appearing, teas, spices, cocoa, coffee, tobaccos, dried porcini, honey-glazed ham (very mwah), dry black raisins, plus a wee slice of that thing that's scaring us all, Christmas cake. Finish: medium, fruitier. The fruits never actually gave up, apricots, marmalade, peach confit… with some honey and sticky toffee pudding in the aftertaste. Comments: what a series. As it appears, Dartigalongue are one of the very few true jewellers of armagnac.
SGP:461 - 90 points.

We've got several others, what do we do? -You're right, why break a verticale?

Dartigalongue 1967 (43%, OB, Bas-armagnac, bonbonne #3, 83 bottles, +/-2020?)

Dartigalongue 1967 (43%, OB, Bas-armagnac, bonbonne #3, 83 bottles, +/-2020?) Five stars
That's the thing, bonbonnes a.k.a. dames-jeannes a.k.a. demijohns will prevent any old juice from getting too tired and woody, while still allowing some light, subdued, subtle changes to happen. So, maturation goes on (albeit at a much, much, and I mean much slower pace, unless they let them breathe using bits of hessian between the stopper and the glass) while flavouring with oak is stopped. Exactly what the Scots should do as well, should that be allowed (just my opinion). Colour: amber. Nose: top-notch acetone and model glue, ala very great old bourbon, then stunning vine peaches and jujubes. Broom, wallflower, then damp earth and a drop of miso soup, as well as a little walnut wine and amontillado. Respect. Mouth: it's all moving – and loving - around herbal teas, tobaccos and cinnamon, I would say. Would love to learn when the cask was disgorged, probably not that long ago. It's rather incredibly bright having said that, which would rather suggest, well, just the opposite. You never know, these old armagnacs are like real people, all different and unpredictable. Raisins and a lovely wee smokiness (cigar-smoked salmon, ever tried that?) Finish: medium but incredibly fruity and fresh. Peaches, sultanas, hints of mangos, cinnamon, tea and a little nutmeg. Hints of varnish and high esters are back in the aftertaste, which I find very funny. Comments: pretty focussed and compact, in fact. The Jimi Hendrix Experience, 1967 indeed. Much love.
SGP:562 - 91 points.

In truth I had planned to go even further down the years, but I now think that would be a little 'too much'. If you don't mind, we'll keep a few glories for our next armagnac session…

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

 

September 18, 2021


Whiskyfun

 

 

 

Angus's Corner
From our correspondent and
skilled taster Angus MacRaild in Scotland
Angus  
New Ben Nevis 10yo plus sparring partners
There's a new Ben Nevis 10yo out and about which is very pleasing, let's try it today along with a few other suitable Ben Nevi. Sadly I don't have the new NAS bottling to hand so can't do them head to head.

 

Ben Nevis 10 yo (46%, OB, 2021)

Ben Nevis 10 yo (46%, OB, 2021)
A tasteful and confident looking re-branding if you ask me. I always think lots of blank space is rather cool and powerful on a label. Although, it does look quite 'Japanese', if I may say so… Colour: straw. Nose: impressively, and immediately, 'old school'. Lots of chalk, waxes, plaster, limestone and white flowers. Feels closer to these late 90s batches in profile than some of the sweeter recent batches. Goes on with some lemon peel, waxy citrons, hay, and barley water. Wonderfully natural and, if I may say so, uncommercial. Mouth: lovely fat and waxy arrival, lots of olive oil, light ointments, natural barley derived sweetness and encroaching exotic fruits ala the 1996s. Wonderful texture in the mouth and 'presence', makes you wonder if they haven't added one or two older casks to the mix? Finish: good length, oiliness, malt extract, waxes, citrus oils, very lightly medicinal and gently herbal. Comments: I dread to think how many far, far more expensive whiskies would be unceremoniously slaughtered by this and Springbank 10yo. This is charming, hugely characterful, precise, distinctive, extremely well balanced and, most importantly, totally delicious. Someone dangerously clever was behind this…
SGP: 562 - 89 points.

 

 

I don't do a monthly 'Bang For Your Buck' bottling on Whiskyfun, but if I did, it's hard to imagine what might topple that wee Ben Nevis.

 

 

Glencoe 8 yo 'Highland Blended Malt' (58%, OB, 2021)

Glencoe 8 yo 'Highland Blended Malt' (58%, OB, 2021)
I purchased this bottle at the distillery last time I was passing, only because they had no single malt available whatsoever - oh, apart from stupid miniatures. Dear Nikka… cough *hand fill / distillery exclusive* cough…please. Colour: gold. Nose: I actually find it highly reminiscent of the very same brand's 1980s batches. A lot of hot grist, concrete, porridge, aspirin, crushed ferns - all rather big, powerful and austere. Takes no prisoners and probably more 'challenging' than many peated malts. Goes on with a funny mix of golden syrup and mashed potatoes. With water: not particularly 'easier' by any stretch, but perhaps more rounded, more bread, oils, toolbox rags, metal polish and a slightly sweeter side. Mouth: big, grizzly and hot. Lots of sweetened cooking oils, pink pepper, vase water, mineral oils and wee touches of camphor and putty. Chunky whisky that you might break a tooth on if you're not careful. With water: still very peppery, spiky and hot. But quite a bit of golden syrup on brown bread now too, which adds richness and weight. Barley sugars and some fudge. Finish: medium, spicy, peppery and with some sweet malt extract and stout beer. Comments: it's rather charming that this is still every inch the unsexy and tricksy monster as it was in the 80s and earlier. No idea what proportion of Ben Nevis goes into this - or which other malts. I've heard Tomintoul mentioned before but that seems fanciful given how boisterous this is. Good fun for highballs and rusty nails probably.
SGP: 571 - 81 points.

 

 

Ben Nevis 9 yo 2012/2021 (53%, Dram Mor, cask #115, 1st fill palo cortado finish, 351 bottles)

Ben Nevis 9 yo 2012/2021 (53%, Dram Mor, cask #115, 1st fill palo cortado finish, 351 bottles)
Colour: pale gold. Nose: a rather tart, crisp and sharp sherry influence that leaves an impression of salinity and even acidity at first nosing. Brown bread, hessian, lambic ales, preserved dark fruits and a quite dry, punchy earthiness. With water: a sprig of mint, some eucalyptus, sugary black tea and hessian. Mouth: red berries, more bready notes, pickled walnuts, camphor, tarragon, aniseed and various roots and herbs. So far it feels a tad simple but punchy and pretty good. With water: sweeter, some citrus curds, barley water, bitter marmalade - solid! Finish: rather long and on cinnamon and aniseed boiled sweets, cough mixtures and barley sugars. Suddenly all rather old school confectionary focussed! Comments: a bit tough at times and rough round the edges in places, but I think the finish worked quite well here, there's a ruggedness about it which is enjoyable.
SGP: 562 - 84 points.

 

 

Ben Nevis 10 yo 2010/2021 (56.7%, The Duchess, Shiraz cask finish, cask #1800020, 317 bottles)

Ben Nevis 10 yo 2010/2021 (56.7%, The Duchess, Shiraz cask finish, cask #1800020, 317 bottles)
No shortage of Ducks and assorted other wildlife on whisky labels since the 1980s it would seem… Colour: rose gold. Nose: slightly lactic at first, some kind of sour cherry beer, forest fruits yoghurt, sourdough bread starter, rose champagne and wee touches of hessian and mineral oil. I find it a wee bit disjointed and sharp, but not without its charms. Thankfully the wine isn't too over the top. With water: slightly dusty, on plasticine, plain barley, digestives, white flowers. Also chlorophyl and red chilli oil. Getting rather hot and spicy now in fact. Mouth: good body on arrival, oils, putty, damsons, dried flowers, pot pourri. Becomes a tad more unlikely with red fruit gums and red liquorice. Grains and cereals, mashed potato, olive oil, putty. Funny stuff, but more 'fun' than 'stuff' (Angus, WTF?!) With water: at its best I would say, there's some nicely oily, spicy and lightly waxy Ben Nevis coming through loud and clear, but there's this slight but definite wine influence that I do struggle with a bit it must be said. Finish: good length, returning to chilli, strawberry sherbet, white pepper, olive oil and mustard powder. Comments: Quite a lot of fun overall, but these kinds of wine finishes aren't really my cup of malt I'm afraid.

SGP: 651 - 82 points.

 

 

 

Let's have a few more if you don't mind…

I have to say Angus's excellent tasting note for the new 10  have kind of teased me while there's only one way to retaliate, try a few more Ben Nevisses (Ben Nevi?), more or less as they come and even if Saturday is not my official day…

Ben Nevis  5 yo 2016/2021 'Peated' (46%, Signatory Vintage for LMDW, The Un-chillfiltered Collection, cask #202, 350 bottles)

Ben Nevis  5 yo 2016/2021 'Peated' (46%, Signatory Vintage for LMDW, The Un-chillfiltered Collection, cask #202, 350 bottles) Four stars
Very young and yet already finished with wine, this time Montravel, a little-known French wine, which is part of Bergerac in the south-west (Dordogne, not too far from Bordeaux). As I sometimes say, would you like to learn more about wine? Buy Scotch whisky! Colour: gold. Nose: it does take it and probably became really earthier, while touches of overripe bananas would start to appear, as well as all kinds of Christmas tea mixes. Like star anise, cinnamon, cardamom, clove and ginger. Use good water at 80°C, brew that tea slowly, filter out, throw away and have this Ben Nevis instead. There's also a pretty coastal saltiness, 'a walk on the beach at low tide with your wet dog' and so on. Mouth: some kind of curry sauce, really. Chili, wasabi, curry indeed… I would recommend dim-sums or even tandooris, and a lot of water. Loads of green bell pepper too, some dried green apples, quite some leather and rather a few bits of cigarette tobacco. Untipped Craven "A" (whatever).Finish: long, you'd almost believe you've just eaten some water pipe tobacco.  Something Turkish or Egyptian, perhaps. Comments: extremely unusual, at times a little challenging, very spicy, and pretty 'meta'. Very difficult to score, you cannot just think inside the box.

SGP:664 - 85 points.

No wine this time…

Ben Nevis 7 yo 2013/2021 (46%, Signatory Vintage, The Un-chillfiltered Collection, barrels, casks #421+423)

Ben Nevis 7 yo 2013/2021 (46%, Signatory Vintage, The Un-chillfiltered Collection, barrels, casks #421+423) Three stars
Colour: whiter than the whitest white wine. Nose: Ben Nevis to the bone, extremely dry, grassy, with a lot of paraffin and porridge, but rather little bread. Damp oatcakes (something went wrong) and gravel, concrete…  Mouth: a yes and no malt, I would say. Very nice if you enjoy 'millimetric' malts (I've heard Boris wanted to reintroduce old British measures? I they ever relaunch the Morris Marina, I shall tell you right now that I won't buy any!) Lemon and granny smith juices, a feeling of plaster, notes of green pears, green tea. Finish: medium, with a little more straight ethanol. The glories of young ex-ueber-refill malt. Comments: I think this works – because it does - because it is Ben Nevis.
SGP:361 - 81 points.

Ben Nevis 10 yo 2010/2021 (59%, La Maison du Whisky, Artist, bourbon, cask #401, 240 bottles)

Ben Nevis 10 yo 2010/2021 (59%, La Maison du Whisky, Artist, bourbon, cask #401, 240 bottles) Four stars
Another brand new one, I'm not even sure it's out yet. Lovely labels, as usual with this arty series. Hope they'll do a 'Christo' one day, with the bottles wrapped in tent canvas. Colour: straw. Nose: surgical spirit at first, then grain whisky (yes) with quite a lot of coconut and marshmallows. You could also believe this is bourbon at times, but I'm sure that's all mostly due to the very high strength. Rather un-Ben Nevis so far. With water: absolutely not the same whisky, as Ben Nevis's greasy, mineral fatness is starting to come out, with some pistachio oil, plasticine, new iPhone box (warning, may contain a new iPhone), sourdough, fresh lemon cake from this morning… Mouth (neat): oh great. Hard to say why, because of the strength, but there's a lemon-drop quality to this that's very pleasant. With water: once again things get tighter, more mineral, still lemony, more tropical as well. Passion fruits and 'plane' mangos, white tea… All in all it remains a rather civilised Ben Nevis, no mad horse this time. Is that a general trend in Fort Williams? Some peatier batches ala Longrow and on the other hand, some gentler ones ala Hazelburn? And no more 'Springbanks'? (with apologies to all brand owners and entitled partners). Finish: medium, sweet and easy. Gets even more floral, violet bonbons from Toulouse, poppy bonbons, orange squash… Comments: I like this style a lot too, it's just much softer and rather less idiosyncratic. Ha, that word.

SGP: 641- 87 points.

Let's double-check that…

Ben Nevis 2012/2021 (59.3%, Swell de Spirits, Wonders of The World, first fill oloroso, cask #1902)

Ben Nevis 2012/2021 (59.3%, Swell de Spirits, Wonders of The World, first fill oloroso, cask #1902) Four stars and a half
Colour: light gold. It's really a new thing that 1st fill oloroso would impart this little colour. Nose: I seem to spot some sootier tones here and there but it's hard to say whether that stems from the spirit or from the cask. It's clearly fermentary, having said that (bread dough, beer). With water: yess! Bidis, green cigars and walnuts – the sherry doing its job in a rather fino-y way – sourdough, a little mint tea, some chalkiness… This is more classic Ben Nevis. Mouth (neat): big, fat, lemony, waxy, quite pungent. Wasabi aged in wood. Green oranges too. It's actually a little brutal but remember, almost 60%. With water: lovely indeed. Chalky lemons, soot, ashes, green pepper, paraffin, horseradish, then orange blossom water and earl grey. Peppery rhythm section. Finish: long, rather on bitter oranges. Turmeric and ginseng powder, perhaps (I'm feeling better already)… Comments: a wee step above, I would say.

SGP:461 - 88 points.

Ben Nevis 22 yo 1998/2021 (47.4%, The Whisky Blues and The Alcohol Bar, hogshead, cask #1574, 237 bottles)

Ben Nevis 22 yo 1998/2021 (47.4%, The Whisky Blues and The Alcohol Bar, hogshead, cask #1574, 237 bottles) Four stars and a half
Lovely wee label, those are twenty Beethovens, are they not? By the way, these lovely people are located in Taiwan. No, not Ben Nevis of course. Colour: pale white wine. Nose: oh, rubber boots and new scuba diving outfit! Isn't it funny that some notes would be deemed as faulty in other whiskies, and not in Ben Nevis? Candles, copper polish, exhaust pipe, soot, concrete, dunnage warehouse… So typical pre-Y2K Ben Nevis, and with flying colours. Mouth: there, chalk, soot and paraffin, plus a few olives and rather a lot of horseradish and pepper. Implacably Ben Nevis, hope they keep making this style too… Finish: long, with more lemon beyond the rather huge peppery and chalky side. Comments: glorious vintages. I really hope they haven't broken – or lost – the mould.
SGP:462 - 89 points.

I think we should go on for a little while and keep on tackling the greater vintages…

Ben Nevis 24 yo 1997/2021 (43.2%, Thompson Bros., refill hogshead,  357 bottles)

Ben Nevis 24 yo 1997/2021 (43.2%, Thompson Bros., refill hogshead,  357 bottles) Four stars and a half
An unusually low strength. Yes this must be natural cask strength, I'm willing to put my badge on it. Colour: pale gold. Nose: oh, marzipan and plasticine, how typical indeed. Pistachio oil indeed, camphor, broken branches, moisturiser, crushed strawberries, then wood oils, teak, thuja, cedar… Also jasmine… It's really complex, these noses are often wonderful, I mean when the strength got low, but naturally, it's on the palate that the truth should lie… Mouth: it is a little lightish indeed, but this lime-y development and some increased overall acidity just keeps it high in the skies. Exactly what would happen with some scary and yet fabulous low-strength northern-German rieslings. Hoppla! Secondary notes: papayas, granny smith, star fruit, green tea, fresh almonds, seaweed, nori… Finish: with medium length but saltier yet. Comments: near perfect.

SGP:552 - 89 points.

A final 24 yo for the road…

Ben Nevis 24 yo 1996/2021 (45.8%, Hunter Laing, First Editions for KHK, refill hogshead, cask #HL08139, 266 bottles)

Ben Nevis 24 yo 1996/2021 (45.8%, Hunter Laing, First Editions for KHK, refill hogshead, cask #HL08139, 266 bottles) Four stars and a half
In malt whisky, pink's in fashion, it seems. Colour: white wine. Nose: it's a straight, austere, waxy, oily one, rather on those fresh almonds indeed, broken branches again, asparagus peel, lemon peel, green walnuts, then a little lemon oil and avocado cream. Oh and touches of chalk and soot, naturally, plus a little barley sugar, syrup, a wee glass of mash... Mouth: we're pretty close to the Thompson's, naturally, this has just a little more acidity, lemons, grapefruits, granny smith, star fruit, green gooseberries… On the other hand, and rather consequently, it's a notch less complex. Finish: medium, on chalky grapefruits, with touches of icing sugar and sweetened or rather honeyed herbal teas, lemongrass… The aftertaste is relatively sweet. Comments: so, 1996, Ben Nevis or Clynelish? That's your homework over the weekend, good luck.

SGP:552 - 88 points.

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

 

September 17, 2021


Whiskyfun

summer

Summer Duets
Today Mannochmore
Another Distillery that does not seem to gather much love is Mannochmore and that's exactly why, rather perversely, we keep trying to taste it every once in a while. What's more, we've had some good ones in the past if we do not take the Distillery's most infamous sub-product into consideration. Loch Dhu, of course!

Mannochmore 18 yo 1999/2018 (46%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseurs Choice, refill sherry butt, cask #10686, 670 bottles)

Mannochmore 18 yo 1999/2018 (46%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseurs Choice, refill sherry butt, cask #10686, 670 bottles) Two stars and a half
Colour: gold. Nose: a little kirschy, with cherries, stalks and stems and something rough and a little hot. Notes of wine and mead too, perhaps a little peanut butter. Not too easy to pin down. Mouth: sameish, that is to say a little raw and hot, with more eau-de-vie, a feeling of cider, some oak pepper, polenta, then raisins from the sherry I suppose. Feels a little PXed but I wouldn't bet my bottom Euro on that. Tends to become green and a little too peppery. Finish: medium, raw, kirschy. Cherry stem tea in the aftertaste. Comments: a rather tough, un-modern baby. For your old pewter hipflask.
SGP:461 - 78 points.

Un-modern? Let's try one by some of the kings of modern maturing…

Mannochmore 11 yo 2009/2021 (55.1%, James Eadie, PX finish, cask #356850, 299 bottles)

Mannochmore 11 yo 2009/2021 (55.1%, James Eadie, PX finish, cask #356850, 299 bottles) Three stars
I had liked a sister cask a lot back in July (WF 87). See, we taste Mannochmore often. Colour: rosé copper amber. Nose: not too sure this time. Something metallic, curiously sooty, with whiffs of peonies and blood oranges, chalk, raisins, gravy, brown sauce, Bulldog sauce... Indeed quite a mixture, a tad tumultuary perhaps but water may help big time to tidy it up, so to speak. OH and by the way, some sides do remind me of… Loch Dhu. Ha. With water: things are better but it remained a little kirschy and not that different from the G&M, in fact. More sourness, cherries, mud and clay… In fact, I'm not too sure. Mouth (neat): maraschino and butterscotch at first, Mon Chéri, then various liqueur-filled chocolates and a feeling of chewing pipe tobacco. With water: better, it seems that we managed to get to the 80-mark this time. Raspberry Jell-O, purple cola (yep, blueberries), cherry jam… Works with our inner child. Finish: medium, more on cherry jam. Damson plums in ambush. Comments: a lot of fun here, but you need to be a cherry and blueberry freak.
SGP:751 - 80 points.

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

 

Australia

Eleven Australian whiskies

There are many superb whiskies from Down Under around, Australia's really becoming one of the major whisky nations. After the lovely rums from Beenleigh that we could recently try, let's now try eleven Australian whiskies, in good spirits… ;-)

 

September 16, 2021


Whiskyfun

Isn't Bladnoch back?

Bladnoch is one of those distilleries that I've never quite understood. I've tried some marvellously clean distillates in the past, some feinty ones as well, but all the recent bottlings that had been sabotaged with very silly wine casks have been totally sub-par in my book.  But we keep faith, while remembering the very engaging Raymond Armstrong.

Bladnoch

Bladnoch 'Vinaya' (46.7%, OB, +/-2020)

Bladnoch 'Vinaya' (46.7%, OB, +/-2020) Four stars
My god, Vinaya, what a name. Why not Vinassery? Winganza? What's even odder is that this is classic ex-bourbon, with only a little 'old sherry' thrown into the mix. So despite the lack of age statement, there's hope here… Colour: light gold. Nose: mashed turnips, new sneakers, magazines, margarine (rather proud about that quasi-alliteration), then sourdough, leaven, soot and grist, which is obviously nicer. A tad tough but I rather enjoy this sooty side. Mouth: we're far from the old Bladnochs' fat citrus, but I rather like this newer style, which shows more oak spices, ginger, cinnamon, but also this doughy, bready, fermentary side that's always very pleasant in malt whisky. I have to check but this could well be my favourite recent 'cubist' Bladnoch. Talking about the bottle, not about the whisky. Finish: medium, on fresh bread and oak spices, with touches of rye. Of course there's no rye. Comments: good, I'm deeply happy, I know I've said bad things about Bladnoch, but this time I'm extremely positive. Great progress in Wigtown, humblest kudos deserved.
SGP:451 - 85 points.

Bladnoch 11 yo 'First Release' (46.7%, OB, bourbon and red wine, +/-2019)

Bladnoch 11 yo 'First Release' (46.7%, OB, bourbon and red wine, +/-2019) Four stars
Vorsicht, some Californian red wine in sight! I'm sorry but unless carefully STRised, red wine is to malt whisky what pineapple is to pizza. Colour: light gold, with no roséness, hurray. Nose: sour and fermentary, a little feinty at first, but getting nicer, with some lime juice, dairy cream, notes of burrata, distant, fleeting whiffs of baby vomit, then a little caraway, aquavit, and pink grapefruits. Not your usual malt whisky, which is a clear asset as long as the palate's okay, let's see… Mouth: starts fine, fruity, clean, lemony, but the lactic notes do show up after just three seconds, with some yoghurt and double cream. That's not bad at all, in fact, since it would then be geared towards lemon tarte, with meringue s'il-vous-plaît. The nearest good thing in life after white truffles and Brora. And Frank Zappa. Finish: rather long and very lemony, with a green foundation that works very well. Green grapefruits and oranges – love green oranges as long as your gums are in good shape. Comments: I wasn't quite sure at first but I believe this is very excellent. Looks like Bladnoch is back, but we'd need confirmation.
SGP:561 - 86 points.

Confirmation he said, Charlie (Parker)…

Bladnoch 11 yo '2020 Release' (46.7%, OB, bourbon)

Bladnoch 11 yo '2020 Release' (46.7%, OB, bourbon) Four stars
Hurray, they've dumped the red wine! A brainwave if you ask me… Colour: light gold. Nose: absolutely lovely that I could double-check the influence of the red wine, just by comparison, even if this cask mix seems to have been a little more active, with rather more vanilla and ripe bananas. Globally, this is cleaner, less fermentary, more on cakes, breads, panettone, croissants, also flowers, acacia, zucchini, nectar… The former expression actually had quite some bubblegum, which would only come out when you compare them. I insist, comparison is reason. Whiffs of burnt pinewood here, teak, eucalyptus… A wee smokiness for sure. Mouth: very good, firm, solid, fruity, creamy, malty, modern, with more bananas, guavas, apples, even pears, vanilla, shortbread… It's clearly lost its yeasty side, but there is no reasons to complain. Finish: rather long, more herbal, lovely. More citrus in the aftertaste, while in my old book, citrus was Bladnoch's main marker. Ah the old 10 white label! Comments: it kind of got into line, which means that it's maybe a little less 'different' than before, but this kind of orthodoxy can be good, coz not all malts can be Springbank if you see what I mean. First-rate young malt whisky, I think I'm going to buy a bottle.
SGP:551 - 87 points.

I'm so happy, a malt enthusiast needs be enthusiastic. A 2021 Edition is out, I'll try it as soon as I can but don't hold your breath.

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

 

September 15, 2021


Whiskyfun


Glenlivet to
the power
of 7

An ueber-classic, the mother of all 'Glenlivets'. I've always believed, while so many other Distilleries were using the name as a suffix (Macallan-Glenlivet and so many others), that the former owners should have started to call their make 'Glenlivet-Glenlivet' instead of just 'Smith's Glenlivet'. Nah, I agree, bad idea I suppose, let's rather spend our energy trying to find a proper apéritif…
Magazine ad, USA, 1983. $20 back then >

Glenlivet 15 yo 'French Oak Reserve' (40%, OB, +/-2020)

Glenlivet 15 yo 'French Oak Reserve' (40%, OB, +/-2020) Three stars
40% vol. feels a little stingy for a 15, but let's see… Apparently, it's not all only about French oak, some American oak has been used too at some point. We've last tried the 15 'French Oak Reserve' back in 2011 and had thought it was pretty good (WF 81). Colour: light gold. Nose: typical Glenlivet, rather soft, with quite a lot of cereals, cornflakes, a little crème brûlée and even bananas flambéed, going then rather towards English tea, with a tiny whiff of warm paraffin. Pleasant soft and yet full nose. Mouth: creamy and rather 'American oak', quite bizarrely, with some custard and nougats. Tends to become grassier and a little sour over time, with this feeling of 'quick sherry' that's often encountered in whiskies that have spent a small part of their lives in conditioned 'sherry' casks. Finish: short, soft, light, not unpleasant at all. Just, yup, light. A little cinnamon. Comments: really light and easy, in the style of, say Cardhu or Knockando. Perhaps for those eternal beginners that we all have as friends ('do you have one that's not smoked?') Score unchanged.

SGP:341 – 81 points.

Perhaps another, more intriguing OB before we tackle a few IBS…

Glenlivet 12 yo 'Illicit Still' (48%, OB, The Original Stories, 2020)

Glenlivet 12 yo 'Illicit Still' (48%, OB, The Original Stories, 2020) Four stars
Did you already try the varnis… I mean the whisky they make in their wee 'illicit still' at the Distillery? Well, I did and you would believe it was rather made at the Castle of Aargh, if you ask me. But I believe this is just a 'tribute' bottling and that it does not shelter that juice. Colour: gold. Nose: pleasant, buttery, a little eau-de-vie-ish (raw kirschwasser), on cereals again, not too far from the 15 as far as the overall profile is concerned. I'm finding rather a lot of beeswax, those touches of paraffin again, kougelhopf and orange blossom water. A fresh box of Turkish delights straight from Istanbul, and those ripe apples that aren't unusual in Glenlivet. Nice. Mouth: very creamy, very candy-like, pretty waxy again, going towards honey sweets and preserved peaches and pears. A little icing sugar, cane syrup, then grassier notes, green tea, wee touches of turmeric and ginger from some oak that must have been pretty active… And vanilla. Finish: rather long, with more bubblegum and a few marshmallows. Pears as well, then spices and teas again. Comments: a more modern Glenlivet that they could as well have bottled in their Distillery Reserve Collection if you ask me. I find it very good. We're ready for the IBS (that should really be IBs, thank you Maurice)
SGP:551 - 85 points.

Glenlivet 17 yo 2003/2021 (46%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseurs Choice, refill bourbon barrel, cask #800356+58, 510 bottles)

Glenlivet 17 yo 2003/2021 (46%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseurs Choice, refill bourbon barrel, cask #800356+58, 510 bottles) Four stars
Colour: white wine. Nose: we're really very close to the Illicit one, with a similar fruity and cereally arrival on the nose, then rather honey and herbal teas. Apples, peaches, and once again a little beeswax. Wondering if they haven't been cranking-up the wax at Glenlivet in the early 2000s, maybe did they install some old cast-iron receivers? Because remember, it is in the old pans that the best soups are made. A drop of gewurz. Mouth: really good, a little more singular than the illicit one, that is to say with a little more piney oils and resins at first, then wild thyme and then gentler, easier notes of vanilla and indeed beeswax. Let's not forget the trademark apples. Finish: medium, rather oily, with notes of, well, waxed apples. Of course they do wax apples. Comments: it is really family.
SGP:551 - 85 points.

Glenlivet 16 yo 2004/2021 (46%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseurs Choice, refill bourbon barrels, casks #800671-72, 510 bottles)

Glenlivet 16 yo 2004/2021 (46%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseurs Choice, refill bourbon barrels, casks #800671-72, 510 bottles) Four stars
Colour: white wine. Nose: a little more stamina and more bread, we're kind of closer to the barley here. The paraffin is louder too, there are church candles (amen), butterscotch and shortbread, plasticine, then a few crushed pine needles… Oak oils. Mouth: excellent, rather firmer than your usual Glenlivet, with an unexpected meatiness (nah it's no T-bone steak), then bitter ales and some tobacco. Gets then gentler though, on apple compote and vanilla. Some action in this one. Finish: rather long, on sliced apples, beeswax, a little marmalade, and soft cinnamon tea. A curious vinosity (fattish chardonnay) in the aftertaste, but of course there isn't any wine in there. Comments: very good and a little 'different'. What's the value of difference in whisky? You've got thirty minutes.

SGP:451 - 86 points.

Perhaps a bomb…

Glenlivet 12 yo 2007/2020 (66.3%, Signatory Vintage for The Whisky Exchange, Un-chillfiltered Collection, first fill sherry hogshead, cask #900171, 309 bottles)

Glenlivet 12 yo 2007/2020 (66.3%, Signatory Vintage for The Whisky Exchange, Un-chillfiltered Collection, first fill sherry hogshead, cask #900171, 309 bottles) Four stars and a half
I find it splendid that at 66% vol., the extremely distinguished bottlers would have decided to not chill-filter this insane baby. Colour: amber. Nose: more shoe polish than in a barracks and more spent engine oil than under an old Jag. We won't take any further chances… With water: sometimes pure magic happens when malt whisky encounters dry sherry. Bovril, umami sauce, beeswax, charcoal (BBQ) and deep-roasted beef, and really a lot of engine oil. Massive amounts of engine oil and metal polish. Mouth (neat): a mix of coffee, marmalade and gun oil. Oh and ethanol. With water: gentler, with much more marmalade and compote, chamomile tea, hawthorn, and just 'cakes'. Roasted pecans and chestnuts too. And there, burnt kougelhopf. And cloves and juniper berries. Finish: very long, bone-dry, very oloroso-y. Coffee, meat, tobacco and bitter chocolate. Comments: looks like TWE have diverted quite a few of these raw yet fantastic 2007 'livets by SigV. Rather in the style of the earliest A'bunadhs, GF 105, Mac 10 C/S…
SGP:561 - 88 points.

Some older ones…

Glenlivet 1978 (41.7%, The Perfect Fifth, cask #13523, 2021?)

Glenlivet 1978 (41.7%, The Perfect Fifth, cask #13523, 2021?) Four stars
I haven't seen this one online yet, but there, we have it. Picture of another bottling in the same range. Colour: greenish gold. Nail? Copper? Patch? Nose: crème au beurre and rhubarb wine, rusty nails and screws, sweetened sour fruits, plastic bags (remember?), leatherette, sour cream… All that works pretty well on the nose despite all those rather deviant notes, but as far as the palate's concerned, well, we're scared now… Mouth: well, it works, but once again we're far from what was to be expected (before we saw the colour). Old sweet wines, old Sauternes, raisins, Tuscan vinsanto, stuff like that, all bottles being very old. Old pine liqueur too, linseed oil… Now the low strength does not obligatorily raise a problem. Finish: medium and actually pretty good. Imagine raisins macerated in old yellow chartreuse (except that this whisky is green, I mean, literally). Comments: sometimes whiskies come my way while they would never make it to the market. This is a very unusual yet very good whisky, the kind that you sometimes encounter while touring warehouses, valinch in hand. They tend never to come out, especially since the colours will scare off many potential patrons.

SGP:471 - 85 points.

A last one…

Glenlivet 45 yo 1976/2021 (43.9%, Gordon & MacPhail, Private Collection, refill American hogshead, cask #1565)

Glenlivet 45 yo 1976/2021 (43.9%, Gordon & MacPhail, Private Collection, refill American hogshead, cask #1565) Five stars
45 years, we are really adding up here. Colour: light gold, the magic of refill. Nose: great old Meursault with a dollop of absinth. Honeysuckle, butter cream, beeswax, then various old apples and plums, an old rectory's orchard around the end of the month of august, vanilla, liquorice wood and fennel seeds, carrot tops, hay smoke, wood smoke, miso… As often when a whisky's this old, aromas tend to decompose into many tinier notes, some being almost inexpressible and yet there are there. What we sometimes call a 'fractal nose' (ouch). Mouth: fractal indeed, but rather drier this time, with more oak than the colour had suggested. Quite some wood oils, thuja, eucalyptus, pine and fir, some tobacco, hints of turpentine-like notes, then last year's apples, walnuts… What's particularly funny here is that this baby tends to improve over, say fifteen minutes, becoming brighter and fruitier, while very old whiskies would rather tend to lose steam and become drying. You know, the 'black tea effect'. I'm glad I'll manage to keep it around the 90-mark in my book. Finish: a little short, which is absolutely normal, but wonderfully herbal. Raisins marinated in herbal liqueur plus chicken soup. The aftertaste is particularly wonderful, with some lime popping out. It's always great when lemons, grapefruits and limes do that. There, one more point. Comments: this old glory never stopped improving, gaining one point every three or four minutes. Respect.

SGP:461 - 90 points.

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


September 2021 - part 1 <--- September 2021 - part 2 ---> October 2021 - part 1


 

 

 

Best spirits Serge tried those weeks, 90+ points only

Equinox & Solstice 10 yo 2010/2021 'Candlekitty' (48.5%, Decadent Drinks, summer edition, first fill barrels, 973 bottles)

Kittenish 20 yo 2000/2021 (55.2%, The Whisky Blues and Whisky Wave, hogshead, cask #1424, 324 bottles)

Kittenish 25 yo 1996/2021 (49.5%, The Whisky Blues and Whisky Land, hogshead, cask #7, 322 bottles)

Glenlivet 45 yo 1976/2021 (43.9%, Gordon & MacPhail, Private Collection, refill American hogshead, cask #1565)

Lagavulin 12 yo 'The Lion's Fire' (56.5%, OB, Special Release 2021, Untold Legends)

Talisker 8 yo (59.7%, OB, Special Releases, Untold Legends, refill casks, 2021)

Talisker 10 yo 2011/2021 (57.6%, Hunter Laing, The First Edition for Whisky Picnic Bar Taiwan, refill hogshead, cask #HL18304, 274 bottles)

Aurian 'XXO Réserve Spéciale' (60.4%, OB, Armagnac, 2020)

Dartigalongue 1975 (44%, OB, Bas-armagnac, cask #025, 358 bottles, +/-2020?)

Dartigalongue 1967 (43%, OB, Bas-armagnac, bonbonne #3, 83 bottles, +/-2020?)

Delord 1997/2021 (50%, Bottles & Legends, Bas-armagnac)

Jamaica 11 yo 2010/2021 'WP' (63.4%, Rasta Morris, bourbon, cask #RM014)

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 
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