Monday, 2 September 2013

Auchentoshan 18 year old. 43%

Nose: Something lighter, quickly drowned out by solid honey, spice and a touch of fruit.
Mouth: honey, nutty, woody, spices (ginger and cinnamon), something raisin-y (just maybe some sherry in there?). I think there are some lighter grassy/floral notes too, but they're almost drowned out by the rest.
Finish: smooth. Cereal, honey and vanilla.

I want to love this, I really do. It's certainly not a bad malt- indeed, very drinkable. I rather like the lowland style and some of the younger 'toshans. But the lighter, grassier influences here are almost completely swamped by the wood-influenced heavier Speyside-esque stuff. It's a pleasant fireside dram, but Speysides do the Speyside thing better, and it just doesn't quite gel for me.

Monday, 12 August 2013

English Whisky Co. Chapter 6, St Georges Distillery, 3 yo, 46%

Lots of oak, some honey sweetness, and surprisingly smooth. It's more mature than it has any right to be, with little of the spirity new make taste you might expect in a 3 year old. Maybe climate does make a difference when it comes to maturation. (See Amrut)

But ultimately it's still— somewhat painfully— lacking in depth or complexity. You'll get far more enjoyment for the same, or less, money with almost any >10 yo single malt Scotch whisky.

Give it a few years though...

Monday, 27 May 2013

Amrut 7 yo, Double Cask (bottled 2010) 46%

Nose: faint tropicalness, maybe some coconut.
Mouth: dense, syrupy.
Finish: rich wood and vanilla notes.

Astonishingly grown up, for its age. Blame those greedy tropical Angels...  Only betrayed somewhat by its lack of complexity.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Lagavulin 12 yo Special Release. 56.1%

Ballsy. Very ballsy. Smoke and peat by the bucketload, and very spirity. Yet something fruitier and complex sneaking in too. A long and smoky finish.

I think I could learn to like this.

Talisker Storm

Cereal and oil flavours cloying the palate. Sure, there's plenty of Talisker smoke and spice too, but still— the 10 year old is better balanced and, well, better.

Caol Ila 12 yo Special Release. 60ish% (?)

Oily exotic fruit with a big dollop of cereally new-make spirit. A lot of burn.

On a single dram basis, at least, this falls into the interesting-rather-than enjoyable category.

Cragganmore Distiller's Edition. 40%

Complex fruity tobacco flavours and gentleman's club oakiness. Part matured in a port cask, though it's pleasingly restrained.

Clynelish 14 yo, 46 %

Nose- grass and orchard fruit.
Mouth- more fruit, pepper, oily. Restrained smokiness.
Finish- warming, peppery.

A lot going on. Rather good.

Mannochmore 13 yo, Old Malt Cask (Douglas Laing). 50%

Cereal, sherbet-y sweetness.


Saturday, 30 March 2013

Glenfiddich 12 Year Old. 40%

It's been a while since I've tasted the world's most popular single malt. There's clean vanilla and citrus fruits. Surprisingly light and refreshing.

Lacking in depth and complexity, maybe— but rather pleasant nonetheless, and much nicer than I remember.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Big Peat, Douglas Laing.

Surprisingly restrained peat on the nose, mostly sweet young spirit.

Heavy ash and peat in the mouth, aftertaste of burnt toast.

Not convinced.

Springbank 20 yo, Douglas Laing (Old and Rare) 52.9%

What a nose- smelly socks, with some smoke and ash. In the mouth there's ripe stilton and rich fermenting fruit, mixed with smoke and peat.

Certainly interesting, if not immediately likeable.

Linkwood 25 yo, Douglas Laing (Old Malt Cask) 50%

Vanilla and fruit on the nose. Perhaps something tropical. Wood and vanilla predominate in the mouth. Peppery finish.

Not bad.

Allt-a-Bhainne 18 (15? 21?) yo, Douglas Laing (Old Malt Cask)

Another malt from the same tasting which doesn't seem to have a match when I checked the Douglas Laing website. Anyway— it wasn't that great. Fruity/esters on the nose, but quite harsh in the mouth, and not much of a finish.

Arran 13 (15?) yo. Douglas Laing (Old Malt Cask) 50%

The sheet at the tasting said 13, but the Douglas Laing website says 15. Either way, it was my favourite of the evening. Nose- vanilla fudge. Mouth- spicy, warming, smooth, and sweet. Fades quickly on the finish.

Nice, if un-memorable.

Glendullan 12 yo, Provenance (Douglas Laing) 46%

Pleasant sweet and fruity nose, let down by a forgettable mouth and finish. Some burn.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Enjoyable single malt whiskies of 2012

In 2012, I probably tasted a wider range of malts than in any year previously. But which did I like the best?

Read below.

Note: this is a small, non-systematic selection of single malt whiskies I tasted last year and particularly enjoyed. They are not the 'best overall', and are certainly not restricted to malts 'released' last year.

The inclusion criteria are:
1. They are all single malt whiskies
2. I tasted them in 2012
3. I liked them, and
4. They came to mind readily for the purposes of writing this post.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Lagavulin 16 yo. 43%

Nose: peaty, smoky, slightly oily.
Mouth: smoky and rich. Woody.
Finish: rich and long. Nuts and coffee.

Nicely savoury.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Bruichladdich Octomore 5 yo (61%)

Well well well.


Very peculiar.

There's a peaty assault across the bar as the glass is poured. This is going to be a beast.

On the first few sips, only grassy young spirit flavours manage to punch through the 61% ABV and fearsome smoky/peatiness.

But nothing too unpleasantly medicinal, at least.

After the initial adjustment, there's a flood of sweet grapiness. I'm told it's matured in some high end dessert wine casks, so that makes sense.

So there's smokiness, sweetness, grassy young spirit, grape, and a big punch of alcohol. Does it all work? I'm not sure. It holds together much better than it should, but a sweet tooth as well as a sense of adventure are required to properly appreciate this.

I won't be rushing back, but it's been an experience.

Convalmore 32 yo 1975. Old Malt Cask 50%

Sherbet, floral, citrus/orange. Sweet and something a bit spicy. Clean and peppery finish.

No real woodiness, despite the age. Very nice indeed.

Tamdhu 30 yo. Gordon and MacPhail 43%

Clean sherry, mince pies and other rich Christmas aromas on the nose.
A lovely mouth: sherry and oak.
Nutty, chocolatey finish.

Nothing brand new here, but still— it's a good 'un.

Balblair 24 yo. 1979/2003. 46%

Nose: Lively orchard fruit and honey
Mouth: Smooth wood and sweet honey.
Finish: Long and pleasant.

An easy drinker, this. Rather nice.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Benromach 10 year old. 43%

Herbal grassy notes jostling with subtle sherry on the nose. It all comes together rather nicely in the mouth: lighter flavours balanced by understated sherry and soft spiciness. Long, warm and satisfying finish.

Seems to lack the tantalising smokiness of the Benromach 'Traditional', but otherwise it's strikingly complete and complex considering its age. Very good.

1st Feb 2013
Seemed to get smokiness coming through fairly strongly tonight, particularly on the nose. Hey ho.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Mortlach 17 year old. Adelphi 57.5% Cask 5945

20 Dec 2012

Sherry, pine needles, chocolate truffles, rich raisins.

It's Christmas in a bottle.