Saturday, 28 April 2012

Speyburn 10yrs 40%

Another miniature. Drinking alone, cold and rainy outside.

Flat, pear drops/ester chemical-y on nose, mouth not much better (a bit of honey maybe), something bitter/unpleasant on the finish.

Won't be going back.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The Glenlivet 15 yr old French Oak Reserve 40%

One from the cupboard. Suspiciously rich, dark brown colour.

Nose: warm, rich, some lighter citrus fruit there too.
Mouth: warm, rich, heavier fruit- I don't think it's sherried but still got that familiar Speyside fruity fullness.
Finish: pleasant- warm and sweet- but not particularly complex or lingering.

In conclusion: rather nice.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Dun Leire 8 yo (Sainsburys) 40%


Produced by the Irish distiller Cooley, for Sainsburys. I'm on my second, if not third, bottle since it came out a year or two ago and it's stayed consistently good. A really distinctive, light and flavoursome malt. And readily available from your friendly local supermarket. Would still be a great whisk(e)y at three or four times the price.

Nose: not much. A bit zesty.
Mouth: lovely- smooth, sweet honey, citrus fruits. Very smooth.
Finish: lingering, complex, not a hint of sharpness.

Malt whisky doesn't have to be expensive to be really very good indeed.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Karuizawa 1981/2011 57.5%

A friend's recent acquisition sampled in his company a few days ago. This is a recently issued bottling from a now-closed Japanese distillery: think it was the 1981 but I'll confirm the details and amend/add to the title at a later date.

A dark brown sherry monster.

Nose: Outstanding. Warm dried fruits, sherry. A hint of smoke but it fits right in.
Mouth: As above. A little overpowering at first sip, might try adding some water next time.
Finish: Awesome, complex, lingering. Too much going on to adequately describe here.

Many thanks A.

Drumguish, no age statement, 40%

March 2012

Another one of the miniatures.

Dull. Not actively unpleasant (though almost there).

Won't bother going back.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

The Speyside 12yo 40%

April 2012

One of the miniatures for my first entry. A solo tasting at home, and a pleasant surprise.

Nose: honey, warm, welcoming.
Mouth: much the same- honey and barley. Fills the mouth. Stays very pleasant.
Finish: warm, lingering flavours as above, nothing unwanted at the end.

OK, it's not the most complex malt out there. Never heard of the distillery before I got the gift set, and it's hardly a memorable experience, but still— it's nice. It's an example of one I would certainly forget about if I hadn't started this blog, which would be a shame, because it's a very reasonable find and one I'd happily revisit.

Tasting notes for the casual whisky drinker

I must have been drinking single malt whisky for seventeen years now. I love the stuff. But I'm a casual drinker. I don't have a big collection: currently it stands at two full sized bottles, one 35cl bottle, and a gift set of miniatures I got at Christmas. Usually I drink common-or-garden malts of the kind readily available in the larger supermarkets. But I'm lucky enough to have one or two friends who also like whisky and have decent collections of more interesting and obscure malts, and I live close enough to central London to attend the occasional tasting event or visit a well-stocked whisky bar. In short: over the years I've probably tasted a fair few. And now I'm getting tired of not remembering what a particular malt tastes like, or even whether I've tried it before. The great ones I remember of course, and the awful ones too— but there have certainly been some quirky inbetweeners that deserve to be acknowledged.

Hence these online notes.

I don't generally go in for long flowery descriptions or complex star diagrams— sometimes the most coherent thing I can say about a malt is "like" or "don't like." But at least that's something. Generally I'll try to stick to the nose, mouth and finish format, but reserve my right to go off on weird tangents, whisky-related or otherwise.

Another thing that I think is very important for casual whisky fans like me is context: whether the tasting is solo or with friends, at home or in a pub or bar, at a formal tasting, after a busy day at work, on a cold winter's evening or a warm summer afternoon. I believe my perception of a malt's qualities varies with mood and setting. So where relevant, I will make a note of the context of the tasting.

For now, these are my notes for my benefit. But if you want to read and comment, please feel free.