Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Benromach Traditional (no age statement) 40%

Nose: elegant, restrained, faint meadows, a whiff of smoke. Tantalising.
Mouth:  honey, malt, oiliness, cereal/grasses, restrained peat. Just the very faintest hints of more... but it's getting beyond the limits of what my palate can detect.  Doesn't quite live up to the promise of the nose in terms of complexity, and there's a slight harshness, but still— it's interesting and pleasant.
Finish: There's warmth, and honey. Doesn't really linger, but no off notes either.

Actually, this is pretty good. For the price, it's really very good. I'll be coming back to this.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Bowmore 18 yo, 43%

Lots of peat/smoke on the nose, but then sherry and a surprising amount of fruit coming through on the palate, and a progressively smoother, longer, sweeter and warmer finish through the rest of the glass. Pulls off the smoke/sherry integration rather well. Balanced and complex.

A very nice whisky.

9 December 2012
Had this again at a recent Bowmore tasting. As above, really. There's definitely salt in there too. Mix of dried fruit and orchard fruits. The subtlety and complexity I think makes this my favourite of the evening— at least of the regular distillery bottlings on offer.

Benrinnes 15 yo. Flora and Fauna, 43%

Wow, this is good. Lots of sherry, with chocolate, toffee, dried fruits, but not nearly as filling/cloying as that sounds. Finish fades a little quickly, but still— I might just get a bottle of this.

Teaninich 10 yo. Flora and Fauna, 43%

Again, a standard measure wasn't really enough to get to grips with this. Spirity cereal, the sweetness builds, some subtler flavours coming through towards the end of the glass. Another grower I'll have to come back too.

Glendronach 15 Year Old Revival. 46%

Muscular. This is a sherry monster, for sure. Big tasting all round— thought it was cask strength at first. Suspect there's a lot more than sherry going on with this one, but I'll have to come back to it. One measure in the Whisky Club isn't enough, and it's a little overwhelming at first try.

Longrow 18 yo. 46%

1 October

Strong peaty nose melts into an inoffensive, pleasantly smooth mouth. Warm and sweet finish.

I think it's nice, but this was sampled towards the end of the 'dregs party' at the Dufftown Whisky Shop, when my tastebuds were getting thoroughly burnt out.

Auchentoshan Valinch. No age statement, cask strength. 57.5%

1 October

Intenser cask strength version of the rather nice entry level un-aged Auchentoshan. Honey, very smooth, dangerously easy to drink for a cask strength.

Bruichladdich Black Art

1 October

Interesting. Smoke, peat and grape admixture— though not particularly well integrated.

Bruichladdich 12 yo (2nd edition?) 46%

1 October

Grassy/spirity nose. Not very promising. Peat and fruit on the mouth. Redeemed by a warm sweet finish.

Bunnahabhain 12 yo 46.3%

1 Oct

Oak, salt, barley, and honey. Slightly prickly.

Glenfiddich 15 yo. 40%

1 October

Light, smooth, pleasant, forgettable. I've forgotten already.

Convalmore 1984/2010 G&M Connoisseurs Choice, 43%

1 October

Woody, cereal/barley, honey. There's supposed to be sherry in there, but it's quite subtle. And my discriminatory powers are fading towards the end of the dramble.

Kininvie 1992/2012. Duty paid sample cask number 7950. 50.2%

1 October

A 'dramble only' special bottling— generally, all of Kininvie's output goes into blends.

Interesting: grassy spirit, light cereal, and faint smoke. Not a typical Speysider.

Mortlach 16 yo. Flora and Fauna, 43%

1 October

Lovely all round. Sherry. Raisins and other dried fruit. Complex. Warm, lingering finish.

Singleton of Glendullan 12 yo. 40%

1 October

Like Singleton of Dufftown, but a little better. Longer finish, too.

Singleton of Duffown 12 yo. 40%

1 October

A by-the-numbers malt, this: easy to drink and easy to forget. Syrupy sweet and smooth sherry. Fades quickly.

Pittyvaich 18 yo 1993/2011. G&M Connoisseurs Choice 43%

1 October

Clean, light cereal. Vanilla and wood. Orchard fruits too.

Pretty good.

Longmorn 23 yo 1969/1993 Gordon and Macphail, 61.2% (?)

30 September

Nose: lovely clean vanilla, oak and honey.
Mouth: all the above, with extra wood and light orchard fruits. Very smooth.
Finish: it all mingles together amicably; long and warming.

Very, very good.

Bowmore 12 yo. Adelphi bottling, 56%

30 September

Smoke and seaweed dominate the nose. Gentler and sweeter on the mouth— there's sherry fruitiness. The sherry and peat fight a little on the finish, but overall it's good.

Lochside 46 yo. Adelphi 50/50 grain and malt 'blend at birth' 54.6%

30 September

Barley and honey on the nose. Very fresh for the age. Rum-like mouth.


Macallan 14 yo. Adelphi bottling, 51.6%

30 September

Subtle honey and sherry on the nose. Rich, warming, dried fruit— but not too heavy. Oily, smooth, fills the mouth. Long finish.

Very nice.

Tamdhu 17 yo. Adelphi bottling, 58.8%

30 September

Sherry-sweet nose. In the tasting room, people are saying things like treacle, toffee, nuts, and butterscotch. I'm not sure— though it's certainly sweet. Cloying, even. Something slightly harsh on the finish, though overall fairly smooth given the strength.

Longmorn 21 yo. Adelphi bottling, 55%

30 September

Malt and honey. Gentle, floral, dry on the palate. Fruitier and sweeter on the finish.

A good 'un.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Fettercairn 7 yo, peated 1/4 cask ?%

30 September

This was the 'mystery' malt in the White and Mackay tasting. It was also the last of seven in one sitting.

Sherry and peat- but the peat dominates. Smoky and smooth. A long finish, for the age. Interesting.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Isle of Jura 1993 Sherry JI finish. 54%

30 September

Nose: smoke, sherry and orange fight it out.
Mouth: complex. The fight continues.
Finish: some ginger and cloves enter the fray.

Complex and interesting, but hardly balanced.

Isle of Jura 21 year old. 43%

Spirity orange on the nose. Seaside salt/phenol comes through on the palate, though there's plenty of honey too. Slight harsh note on the finish.

Dalmore King Alexander III. 40%

30 September

Complex nose. Sherry, orange, oak, vanilla and honey. The sherry dominates the palate a little too much. Long, sweet and warming finish. Nice, but too sweet/sherried for me.

Dalmore Spey Dram. 40 %

30 September

Underwhelming nose- spirity. Clean orange and honey on the palate. Fruity. Short-ish finish, but overall, it's nice.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Balvenie Signature 12 yo, 40%

30 September

Much like the doublewood, but there's a bit more going on here.  Honey, vanilla, smooth oak, restrained sherry, but with more obvious spiciness. Very palatable, but fades quickly.

Balvenie Doublewood, 12 yo, 40%

30 September

Tasted in the cramped but friendly and appropriate surroundings of the Balvenie Castle ticket/souvenir booth.

Honey, vanilla and oak. That's about it, really. Oh, and a little sherry. Fine, as far as it goes.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Rosebank 21 yo Special Release 1990, 53.8%

29 September

Nose: clean honey, very alluring.
Mouth: incredible smoothness and complexity. Less obviously floral than the 12 yo Flora and Fauna, but there's still something remarkably fresh, clear and meadow-like about it.
Finish: long, lovely. Citrus and herbs.

A lot going on in this one; something different with each sip. Outstanding.

Craigellachie 20 yo Single Cask Berry Brothers. Bottled 1991. 55.8%

29 September

Grassy, unassuming nose. Cereal, cream, and a crisp sweetness on the palate. Very faint floral notes. Light and smooth-ish. Although geographically Speyside, this is much closer to a lowland style malt. Not a patch on Rosebank, though.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Hanyu 'King of Hearts' bottled 1986, 55.4%

Smoke and sherry on the nose- reminiscent of the Karuizawas.

Rich and hefty on the mouth; sweet toffee. Some peat lingering underneath. There's something a little harsh in there, too. But overall- it's good.

Glenrothes 21 yo. Whisky Castle Cask collection, 54%

Sherry, of course. Clean tasting, very smooth. A grower- the full orchard fruit complexity takes about a standard Highlander Inn measure to develop.

Very good.

Glendronach 12 yo 43%

Good news- the current bottling is more or less as I remember the circa 1995 bottling. This was the whisky that first hooked me into single malts.

There's barley and restrained sherry in pleasant, even harmony. Lovely peppery/gingery finish.

Even allowing for sentimental attachment, very nice indeed.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Autumn Speyside Whisky Festival 2012

This was my third dedicated 'whisky trip' to Scotland, but the first since I've started recording these notes, and the first time to a whisky 'festival'. Previous visits entailed driving around the countryside doing distillery tours. On the last trip there were three of us (one not particularly keen on whisky) and it was all interspersed with walking/kayaking and some general sightseeing. This time, just with A, it was a more serious whisky-focussed affair.

For now I've just listed all the whiskies I sampled, for which I made any kind of note- however brief- and where they were tasted. I'll gradually add new entries over the next few weeks as I transfer the notes across from my phone. Not everything is listed below: there were a handful that slipped the net and didn't get any kind of note, and I took away a bunch of sample bottles that I haven't broken into yet. The latter, at least, will get their own entries as and when they are tasted.

Frankly, by the end of the trip my never-particularly-discriminating palate was getting overloaded and the length and quality of the notes will likely diminish towards the bottom of the list.