Thursday, 30 August 2012

Caol Ila, distillery only. 58.4%

Well, it turns out you don't actually need to go to the distillery- just order a sample bottle from a well-known supplier.

Wow. The peat wafts across the table as you pour. The power of the nose is softened as earth, ash and smoke fill the mouth. Sweetness comes through on the finish. Well-balanced.

This one seems capable of winning over Islay doubters. While strongly peated, there's a lot else going on besides, and no harsh medicinal overlay. Goes down very well- easy to forget it's cask strength.

Very good indeed.

Glenugie "Dun Bheagan" 30 year old, 50%

Rich, warm and fruity nose. Smooth honey, fruit and oak on the mouth. Long warm finish, with just a slight harsh catch at the end.

Very pleasant, but not particularly characterful. Another closed distillery— but at least you can get similar stuff elsewhere.

Rosebank 12 year old (Flora and Fauna). 43%

Recently I had another opportunity to taste this. An old favourite.

Nose- first it's just spirit and cereal. It takes time for the floral, herbal complexity to come through.
Mouth- subtle, closely intermingled with the nose: summer meadows and a crisp, smooth (but not overwhelming) sweetness.
Finish- all the above, overlain with long drawn-out honey. The complexity lingers.

I have neither the palate nor the vocabulary to identify and describe all the subtleties in this malt whisky. It's just as lovely as always. One day I hope to find a malt that does something similar— only in production from a securely extant distillery.

Ledaig, no age statement. 42%

Very pale in colour.

Nose- not much. A little peat, some cereal, young spirit. Not particularly promising, at first sniff.
Mouth- getting better... Clean, sweet, some smoke and grass.
Finish- better still. Warm, long. Herbs, ginger and honey.

And it gets better again as you get through the glass- ginger, smoke and warm honey building and harmonising with every sip. An unexpectedly pleasant— and I should add, cost effective— surprise.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Deanston 12 year old, 46.3%

Bought this sample on a whim, because I'd never heard of the distillery.

Nose: oily, grainy.
Mouth: barley, spirit, grass. Some honey and lemon.
Finish: disappointing.

A big nothing special.

Redbreast 15 yr old, single pot still. 46%

Nose: vaguely fruity
Mouth: sherbert, fruit, honey. Clean and fun.
Finish: incredibly smooth.

Well, single pot stills are supposed to use less malted barley, or something. But I'm not sure I could reliably distinguish a "single pot" from, say, a clean tasting lowland Scottish "single malt".

I enjoyed the 12 year old Redbreast a while ago, and liked it. This one's good too.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Bunnahabhain (Single and Single) 1976 31 yrs 47.9%

Nose: sea and smoke, but lightly fragrant spices, fruit and grasses too.
Mouth: complex. All of the above, and more. The sherry is there but not overwhelming.
Finish: satisfying and long, the fruit and salt linger together nicely.