mandag 21. april 2014

Macallan 20yo 1990-2011 48.5% Hellmanns Naturextrakte cask#1032

IB Macallans are rare these days. Thankfully Hellmanns Naturextrakte have gotten hold of a cask. I have only had one HN before, that was an Arran bottling which was much to my liking. The color is golden. It smells sweet, perfumy, sweet malty notes, barley wine, a bit austere, heather, white wine vinegar, swiss cheese, most of all perfumy. The taste is rich, malty, licorice, aniseed, leather, waxy, earthy, a more robust Macallan so to speak. Some oily notes as well. Lets add some water. Now it turns more vinegary, burnt, spirity, not my cup of malt anymore. The finish is well rounded with some sweet malty notes.

Scored neat: 7

Next tasting: Caol Ila Distillery

torsdag 17. april 2014

Laphroaig 13yo 2000-2013 57.8% Malts of Scotland cask#13010

Peat and sherry, not always a great combination, crossing fingers... The color is auburn. It smells peaty, dry, sulphur, yeast, perfumy, soapy, paint thinner. A raw beast, maybe bit young, I believe... The taste is all peat and sulphur, some burnt rubber and raw rhubarb. I'll add water, if not this is just a crash between peat and sherry wood influence, no medicinal or coastal notes, no Laphroaig that is. With two teaspoons of water added to 3cl of spirit, it turns thicker, creamier, more cinnamon, black pepper, dandelions, crayfish or other shellfish marinated in mulled wine, fortified red wine, much more interesting now. I know some of these notes seems a bit out there, but its how I experience this whisky with water added. The finish is peppery and short.

With added water, this bottling makes more sense: 6.5

Next tasting: The Macallan Distillery

mandag 14. april 2014

Blends and malts without distillery names...

I'm just clearing my archive a bit as I've recently found its been too long since this site exclusively focused on more or less available single malts. Here we go, a hotchpotch!

Bell's NAS 40% Blend Arthur Bell & Sons

No photo unfortunately, but you could easily find one online, no, I haven't tried, but I assume that would be possible. Another classic low-to-middle shelf blend, I must admit I haven't had one before. Let's explore. This one has some Caol Ila, Glenkinchie, Dufftown and even Inchgower in the mix, but most of all malts, there's Blair Athol. Ah, that just sounds confusing. The color is golden caramel. It smells grainy, wheat, turnips, hay, dried apricots, wet turf, earthy, rotting mascarpone, really basic blend stuff. And that just may be their goal, so whose to say its a miss? The taste is reluctant on stale beer, cocoa powder, ginger, raw garlic, yellow raisins and soap, quite a lot of soap in fact. I'm no blend expert, and neither will I ever be, but since I'm doing a blend review for mostly single malt drinkers, I guess my reference points can be verified. The finish is rather short, some stale beer yet again, and some nuances of cardamum. 

This is exactly why I prefer malts: 2

Peter Dawson Special NAS 40% Blend 

Back when I did some rather MOTR blends and other non-single malts, say The Fat Trout, Jim Beam, Tullamore Dew ad whatnot, I was many a time asked why I did these tastings. I responded to some that it was to reset my palate a bit, and update some of my referance points. Well, that was just partially true.  As it appears to me, the single malt whisky industry is heading down a bit of a slippery slope at the moment. Where the classic 12yo's and such are replaced by NAS-versions with make-up in form of different peat levels or cask finishings. Nothing new, mind you, but it's never been such a part of the norm as it seems nowadays. Therefore I'm having a go at some random blends, just to see what they can offer. Why? Well, although the age on the single malt are diminishing, the prices certainly aren't. Let's give the good old blends a go. I'll promise to try and stay objective. This one is one of the most popular i.e. most sold, but rather for its price tan the brand. Pter Dawson is a blending company in Glasgow and is named after a former distillery owner. Enough wikipedia. The color is tanned to golden brown. It smells light, grainy, some cloves and black pepper, old wooden boats, a certain zing of maritime, but thats about it. The taste is sweet, grainy, some lemon citric notes and maltiness. It's hard to detect much flavor in this, but its a flawless one, could be had as a cup of tea with a biscuit. It's a decent blend, but its not an alternative to single malt in my opinion. If there are any finish its a quick one on cardboard and nutmeg. 

If you find a pinch of salt in the soup just a bit excessive, this should be a whisky for you: 3

The Lord Balliol 20yo 40% 

The Lord Balliol is a commemoration malt after John Balliol, a king of Scots. Other than that I find no mention about him that leads to clues about what distillery this comes from other than it's a single cask single highland whisky. Cask#1 actually, not the distillery's reference, I'm sure. Maybe a Dalmore? King Alexander III was somehow related to John Balliol if I'm not wrong. The color is amber. It smells rich, heather, fresh thyme, chives, leeks, müesli, onions, caramel, dust, hay, leather, chalk, quite perfumy. The taste is thin, porridge, mushroom stew, wheat, rotten parsley, ginger beer, never unpleasant, though very light and mellow for its age. It should've been bottled at a higher strength, in my opinion. The finish is light on some licorice and basel leaves.

Comme ci comme ca: 4

Ferintosh 10yo 40% Invergordon Distillers

Ferintosh was a distillery, now long gone, that is used as a name for some undisclosed single malts these days. It's been known to be Fettercairn. Invergordon Distillers are a part of Whyte & Mackay who owns Fettercairn. The only problem is that Fettercairn is a highland distillery, not a speysider, and as of now, Whyte & Mackay have no speyside distillery in their portfolio. It could however be a Tomintoul, as they were owned by W&M not that long ago. The color is golden. It smells starchy, chlorophyll, paint, cardboard, gin, lemon juice and polyester. The taste is malty, smooth, caramel, honey, sauternes, sweet white wines, banana liqueur, a light and sweet palate with no off-notes and very little personality. The finish is short with some candy mints and plum chutney.

Utterly forgettable, well into blend territory this one: 4.5

"As We Get It " 8yo 59.4% J.G.Thomson & Co

Well, first of all, the screw cap tells me this whisky comes from a time when "pure malt" was thrown around a lot, and could very well be mentioned on a cask carrying single malt whisky. I know very little about this series and rarely see it anymore, but I remember a Balvenie that was rather spirity. This one is neither colored nor chill-filtered, and bottled at CS, hooray! The color is light golden, hinting at white wine. It smells citric, ginger, grapefruit, lime rind, chives, vanilla, glue, paint thinner, the alcohol is quite obvious. Remember this was most likely bottled at least 3 decades ago. It's a rougher and more demanding spirit than most youngsters these days. The taste is sweet, bananas, caramel, tart, oils, chili oil, kiwi, pistachio, strong rum, honey. A very sweet and spicy whisky, almost a bit of a crash here, some good flavors, but totally unbalanced. The finish is peppery and malty, rather gentle in comparison to the palate. Let's add some water. Now it turns more spirity, ammonium, chlorine, licorice, burnt oil, rubber, all these off-notes... Certainly one to enjoy bare.

I will not speculate in the origin of the spirit, but its a fine young whisky: 6

Intravagan'za NAS 50% Michel Couvreur Meldrum House

I've gotten a some complaints, 4 and still counting, on the matter that I stated the Clearach from same bottler as a 3yo, though that's not stated anywhere on the bottle. Better do a NAS this time. The information of this being 3yo I got from the seller, but he also told me it was bottled at CS. That might be true, but that reduction in only 3 years? Rather unlikely... This is a spirit from Glen Garioch that's been exclusively matured in a Burgundy Cave(a dry one), in France, and therefore cannot be called a Whisky. Old Meldrum is the town in which Glen Garioch Distillery stands. The reason that I'm doing this tasting of a non-whisky is that its a drink that probably won't be repeated for a very long time, if ever. First of all, Michel Couvreur sadly passed away last year, his sons will now keep bottling wine and brandy, but not malt. Also, exporting casks of spirit from Scotland is furthermore banned by law these days. The color is auburn/orange, from a sherry cask btw. It smells dry red wine, tannins, cigar smoke, cedar wood, roasted herring, sun-dried tomatoes, fish oil. It seems less malty than Glen Garioch, more like a dry Brandy. How strange... The taste is sweet, peppery, cinnamon cloves, parsnips, chestnuts, pine nuts, honey, chili, phenols. It's a rich one, and I'd say it makes for a great alternative to a brandy. The finish is sweet and perfumy with a kick of cinnamon. Oh yes, this seems much more matured than any 3-5yo from Scotland. Perhaps it's a result of the maturation terroir. I'm upping this 1.5 points from last tasting, seriously!

It's a great dram, I can't help wonder if the Scots maybe handicap their produce by law: 8.5

Next tasting: Laphroaig Distillery

fredag 11. april 2014

Longmorn 12yo 1995-2008 46% The Warehouse Collection

From a bourbon hogshead. Longmorns seems more and more available at independent bottlers these days. I remember just a decade ago where there were almost only OB's and G&M-bottlings available. New owners? The color is pale white wine. It smells spicy, coriander, cinnamon, chili, red onions, peat, burnt, toasted oak, garlic. The taste is even spicier, dried onions, rhubarb, black pepper, chili, ginger, heather, smoke, vanilla, rich and powerful whisky. The finish is peppery, restrained, chillies, cedar oak, raw onions. This is a single cask, and thus a great selection by Whisky Warehouse #8. I wonder how it was at CS? I guess we'll never know...

Great Longmorn, as usual from them I'd say: 7

Next tasting: Bunch of blends and disguised malts.

torsdag 10. april 2014

Imperial 1991 40% Gordon & Macphail

Imperial Distillery is down for good it seems. But its one that's often fairly priced, still. I'm not sure when this was bottled, but I'm assuming its a young spirit, with coloring, chill-filtration and heavy amounts of added water prior to bottling. The color is golden. It smells grassy, herbal, notes of wet hay and rye bread. Also grind pumpkin and lemon seeds. It's a rater big whisky for what I expected. Some tart, spirity notes and heavy oak. Feinschmeckers beware! I think it portrays more realistically how Imperial used to be, with its highs and lows. But I really couldn't tell. Lets taste. Creamy malty notes on the palate, starchy, sawdust, layers of malt and raw oak. The finish is malty, peppery. Short. Let's add some water. Now it turns lighter, sweeter, more vanilla and yeast.

No wine finishing or heavy strength, there will soon be less and less of these around: 6.5

Next tasting: Longmorn Distillery

søndag 6. april 2014

Slyrs NAS 46% OB No1 Sherry Edition

To be honest, I had to take a short break after that Old Hobart, I felt a bit disillusioned what comes to international malts. Let's have a sherried one at low strength. A young german single malt finished in Pedro Ximenez sherry casks. So, its not a 100% sherried edition then. Remember its the superyoung, diluted, finished 1st edition, so we'll make no judgement of Slyrs based on this review alone. The color is amber orange. It smells sweet sherry, bitter vinegar, kirsch, orange peel, orange liqueur, sure its young, but this finish seems to have had its effect. The taste is sweet, raisins, plums, honey, sweet sherry, red onions, cinnamon, a really nice sherry finished youngster. The finish is on heather, turmeric and honey.

A nice surprise, I usually don't enjoy cask finishes as much as this: 6

Next tasting: Imperial Distillery

lørdag 29. mars 2014

Old Hobart NAS 60% Tasmania Distillery

This is a "Pure Single Malt Australian Whisky", which was bottled at cask strength. No age, but it could very well be an older one, remember, plastic bottles like this was more likely in the 80's/90's. It's Actually my second ever Australian malt. Some evaporation. The color is white wine. It smells kinda raw and spirity, grassy, tangerine, burnt rubber, lighter fluid, I can't smell this no more, sincerely, I've fueled my car with gasoline that smelled more appetizing than this. The taste is extremely sweet, burnt sugar upon burnt sugar, and a finish of sugar and glue that way overstays its welcome. Let's add a drop of water to see if there's any salvation to be found here. Now it turns even sweeter, and spirity as it gets

Yeah, yeah, yeah, gotta crawl before you can walk and all that, but its horrible whisky: 1

Next tasting: A sherry-matured german single malt...

tirsdag 25. mars 2014

Bourbon again...

Bulleit Frontier Whiskey NAS 45% Bulleit Distilling Co.

A bourbon that's yet to make a name for itself here in Norway. It consists of corn, malted barley and rye. It should be made from an old recipe. Well, so they say, don't they. The color is orange brown. It smells coffee, syrup, wort, caramel, young cognac, mango chutney, vinegar, jalapenos. The taste is peppery, cardboard, mineral, tannic, dry, pretty poor in my opinion, but then again, I'm pretty much a stranger to bourbon. The finish is sticky sweet, caramel pudding and burnt sugar.

Time to renew their recipe?: 2

Knob Creek 9yo 50% Small Batch Knob Creek Distillery

This does at least look the part. I don't know wether smaller batches are generally better in flavor than bigger batches, or its just a selling point due to its hints at bigger exclusivity. The color is light copper. It smells very oaky, cedar wood, apple peel, pineapple juice, apple cider, calvados, young champagne. The taste is sweet, caramel, brown sugar, rice starch, dark chocolate, vanilla, caramel. This one is much more to my liking. The finish is peppery, fish sauce, dark roast coffee, a nice edge to this otherwise very sweet bourbon.

For late afternoons, with some shortbread and a cup of tea: 6.5

Next tasting: Going down under

søndag 23. mars 2014

Bourbon time! Jim Beam & Wild Turkey

Jim Beam NAS 43% Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Its stated on the left side of the label that this whiskey is 4 years old, which is half the age of the Wild Turkey. An export bottle for Germany. Maybe I'm a bit of a romantic, but I think the squared bottles are much cooler when it comes to bourbon than scotch. The color is brown amber, probably adjusted. It smells grainy, spirity, charcoal, soot, burnt wood, burnt sugar, rye grain, oatmeal. It seems a bit rough and unfinished at this point. The taste is acidic, earthy, vinegary, grassy, plain spirit, starch. Raw and heavy on a lot of flavors, that when they do work on a tasting profile, seems somewhat better measured, or balanced if you like. The finish is on sawdust and alcohol, thankfully rather short.

I'm far from being a Jim Beam fan, and this doesn't bring me any closer: 2

Wild Turkey 8yo 50.5% Kentucky Straight Bourbon

This was distilled at the Austin Nichols Distillery.. Did I get that right? Distillery and Distilling Company is the same..? Bourbon whisky is not my strong point, I'll easily admit that. The color is just the same as the Jim Beam. It smells heather, oatmeal, mashed grain, baby food, porridge, yeast, peppery, hints of some sweet tart, cranberries, raisins, kirsch. The taste is hazelnuts, almonds, dry licorice, honey, wax, vanilla, dark chocolate, heather, a rich and very welcome surprise. I could easily enjoy this one any day of the week. The finish is honey, cinnamon and charcoal.

The nose was a bit off, the rest was great: 7

Next tasting: Even more American whiskey

onsdag 19. mars 2014

Pommerscher Greif NAS 43% OB/IB? Germany

"Single Malt & Grain"?!? That seems a bit over the top. If its is a single malt mixed with grain thay could just call it a blend. Or if both the malt and grain are "singles" from the same distillery, Mönchguter Hofbrennerei, then I guess its a single blend. "Distilling since 2007". A young whisky I presume, but at least its unchill-filtered, ahem, "unfiltered" it says. Matured in both bourbon and sherry casks. The color is golden, no shine. It smells sweet, vanilla, custard cream, wheat, floured sugar, marshmallows, more candy than whisky it seems. The taste is light, marshmallows, vanilla, butterscotch, cinnamon, meringue, custard, sweet malty notes, cereal, syrup. Utter blend style! The finish is sweet on sweet on sweet. Oh yes, this is batch#2 and it was bottled in 2012, 5 years old then. I bet this would climb higher on my rating if it was at a higher strength.

Serve chilled on a hot summers day: 5

Next tasting: Whiskey from the US of A

søndag 16. mars 2014

Jameson NAS 40% OB

The only need a Jameson fulfills in this household, is the whisky part of an irish coffee. But then one day, as this plastic container caught my eye, I thought of the Statesman blend a couple months back. It took me by surprise as a drinkable and not off-putting cheap blend. So why not try a bigger brand of mass-produced, watered-down blend (Do they call it blended in Ireland?). Jameson it is! The color is golden. It smells grainy, spirity, light perfume, burnt toast, not much more.. The taste is nutty, sugar, palm sugar, oak, vanilla. No finish. I was wondering why some of my irish coffee had little or no whisky flavor. I imagine even a strong tea could overpower the taste of this whisky.

Light, gentle, I'm amazed this holds even 40%abv.: 4

Next tasting: Germany

mandag 10. mars 2014

short session including Islay peat, Island peat, Ireland peat, Highland peat and a dark horse...

Tasting a series of some peated whiskies from different regions, and a small surprise in the mix, from a distillery which I haven't tried an a good while... Remember, initial score only, based on just the tiniest sip and no water added.

1. Benriach 12yo 2009 46% OB Heredotus Fumosis

Did they run out of gaelic names? This is a peated Benriach finished in a PX sherry hogshead. The color is golden. It smells peat, dry, slightly Ben Nevis, rhubarb, turmeric, phenols, leather, tobacco, a rather polished peat monster. The taste is malty, sweet, malt syrup, ginger, honey, white peppercorns, wasabi, root vegetables, boiled cabbage. The finish is peaty, phenolic, tannins, rather unpleasant.

Initial score: 3

2. Glen Peat Class 18yo 50% Malts of Scotland Batch#2

Since there are no "Glen-distilleries" on Islay, or any other Island, I guess this should be a peated Highlander or Speysider? Maybe its not even a single malt? I have little info on this one. The color is auburn. It smells sweet, waxy, heather, floral, cinnamon, vanilla, custard, mustard, a whole other story. The taste is peppery, marzipan, vanilla, black pepper, waxy, salty, some Clynelish here? Once again, it could just as well be an Islay malt with this kind of profile. The finish is lemon, sour, drying, some peat and dry licorice as well.

Initial score: 4.5

3. Arran 6yo 2005-2011 55% OB for the Nectar Belgium

A young peated Arran from a Bourbon cask. I don't know wether this was bottled at CS or not. The color is golden. It smells vanilla, caramel, syrup, butter, very sweet and less peaty than what I expected. Reminds me a bit of the 1997 Fettercairn from cask#2320. After some breathing, there's a small punch of peat on the nose. The taste is all on gingerbread, peat, ashes, tobacco, malt syrup, camphor, cinnamon, caramelized bananas, brown sugar. The finish is bitter, ginger, grassy, herbal notes.

Initial score: 4.5

4. Connemara NAS 2010 58.2% OB Turf Moor

An Irish peated whisky, not much of that around, but its coming along. The color is white wine. I wouldn't be surprised if this is another 5-7yo. It smells peaty, wool, ashes, struck matches, burnt cedar wood, sweet white wine, sauternes, bananas. The taste is burnt oak, raw, spirity, peppery, a mixture of peat and little influenced spirit. Reminds me of a peated newmake from Bladnoch which I had a couple of years back. The finish is grainy and austere.

Initial score: 3.5

5. Mannochmore 15yo 1984-1999 60.7% MacKillop's Choice cask#3696

Long time, no Mannochmore. Time to change that. The color is dark amber. It smells chili oil, burning, roasted cumin, tarragon, dry sherry, amoroso sherry notes, coal. The taste is honey, apple cider, cinnamon, prunes, sweet vinegar, cranberry juice. The finish is peppery, vinegar, soy sauce.

Initial score: 7.5

6. House Malt 9yo 2003-2012 43% Wilson & Morgan Born on Islay cask#12592,12593,12594,12595,2596,12597

Another one from an undisclosed distillery, could very well be a Bunnahabhain, with no peat at all. Quite some casks in the mix. But please remember, single casks aren't necessarily better than a mix of different casks. The color is dark amber. It smells leather, vanilla, butterscotch, dark chocolate, perfumy, satin, rich and clean. The taste is on licorice, rubber and bath salts, light and clean, nothing advanced here. The finish is light and easy.

Initial score: 3.5

7. Kilchoman 3yo 2011 50% OB Inaugural 100% Islay

Since Kilchoman is a farm distillery and have their own malting floor, I wonder when they'll release a 100% Kilchoman bottling. The color here is white wine. It smells peaty, flinty, pear cider, coastal, sea salt, brine, stilton, much more Islay indeed! The taste is vanilla, maritime peat, salt water and clay, wheat biscuits, Islay gin (you know the distillery). The finish is peppery, coastal, smoke, ashes, seal salt, cod liver, rubber boots, tarry.

Initial score: 7

8. Kildalton Cross NAS 53.2% Malts of Scotland Images of Islay

I'm utmost positivt this is a whisky from Ardbeg Distillery. It's been a while since I last had an Ardbeg. The color is white wine. It smells heavy peat, ashes, leather, chalk, used spunge, coal, really peaty, reminds me of older batches of the TEN. The taste is coal, ashes, peppery, sea salt, cedar wood, struck matches. The finish is on ashes, vanilla, honey drops and black pepper. I so hope for more IB Ardbegs in years to come.

Initial score: 7.5

9. Bowmore 10yo 55.1% OB Tempest batch#4

Fourth batch of this series of 1st fill bourbon matured Bowmores. I remember batch#1 very well, one of the better I had from this distillery. The color is golden. It smells peppery, chili, buttery, peat, stamp glue, sulphur, ashes, cooked bananas, hairspray, caramel. The taste is burnt, peppery, rubber, ashes, coal, licorice, juniper berries, burnt. This seems a bit younger than what I remember from previous batches. The finish is peaty, ashes, drying, pretty humble for an Islay whisky.

Initial score: 6

Next tasting: One Irish whiskey before taking on some other countries...

lørdag 8. mars 2014

Ardbeg 10yo 46% OB L07

L07 means this comes from a batch of Ardbeg bottled in 2007. Which again means the youngest whisky in this mix would be distilled in 1997. But remember, since there's no vintage, there could very well be older whisky than 10yo mixed in here. The color is white wine. I've heard that the 10yo have become a bit more pungent in the last years. This one smells tarry, coastal, salty. smoked haddock, earthy, clay, less peaty than how I remember it. The taste is tarry, oil, salty, peat, waxy, coastal, gasoline, earthy, smoked cinnamon, envelope glue, vinegary chowder, it's still not as feisty as I remember it, salty licorice on the finish. I rarely add water to "pre-diluted" young whiskies with this level of peat, but perhaps it could help this one open up a bit, showing more of its origin that is. With water, now it shows more peat, tar and peppery notes on the palate, just a notch I might add, and that is about it.

I've earlier given Ardbeg TEN an healthy 8, but this one is just not up there: 6

Next tasting: Big mix of peated whiskies

søndag 2. mars 2014

Knockdhu 10yo 1998-2008 46% The Warehouse Collection

Whiskies from Knockdhu Distillery are usually bottled under the name "an Cnoc". This one comes from a single bourbon hogshead. The color is white wine. It smells rich, spicy, butter, vanilla, honey glazed almonds, pistachio, caramel, peanut butter, syrupy, rubber, rich and sweet with a hint of tart, a sure winner in my book. The taste is butter, garlic, vanilla, heather, asparagus, tonic water, grapefruit, bittersweet, green bell peppers. This is a refreshingly simple whisky without being too spirity or oak-driven. The distillate and cask plays well together. The finish is licorice, peppery, malty, not far from the an Cnoc 12yo imho.

I was a bit worried with a diluted 10yo from an IB, now I have no worries: 6.5

Next tasting: Ardbeg Distillery

mandag 24. februar 2014

Ardmore 17yo 1993-2010 56.2% Gordon & Macphail Reserve cask#5747

I have no former experience with this "Reserve" series from G&M. It looks like a copy of the Cask-series, but maybe there's some distinguishing differences I'm not aware of. Anyhow, Ardmore is one of my favourite malts, frankly because it carries peat well and rarely loose its barley origin flavour. This one comes from a first fill bourbon barrel. The color is amber orange. It smells peaty, coffee beans, oregano, vanilla, ashes, garlic, raw onions, dried white wine, citron tea, black pepper. This is just what I'd expect from a great Ardmore, time to taste! The taste is vanilla, honey, ginger, ashes, pear juice, smoked caviar, menthol, grainy, white wine, aged white wine vinegar. I mean, this sure isn't the most complex whisky you'll find, but it's a clear winner if you compare the alcohol level with the clean flavours. The story of a good cask. The finish is peaty and peppery with longlasting notes of dry licorice.

Simply a great Ardmore, the alternative to coastal peat, for sure: 8

Next tasting: Knockdhu Distillery

mandag 17. februar 2014

Talisker NAS 45.8% OB Port Ruighe

I'm a bit terrified of this one. It seems to like wine finishing is not so "hot" anymore. High strengths, natural cask, young whisky mixed with small amount of older stocks, high peat levels, young whiskies from wine casks and so on. Even Bruichladdich don't seem to do much wine finishing anymore. So why have Talisker started now all of a sudden? I thought that the Classic Malts editions were enough from Diageo. The color is amber/reddish. It smells caramel, tannic, dry port, vinegar, rusty nails, licorice, perfumy, lavender, kirsch. Difficult one, it's rather unbalanced it seems. The taste is mustard seeds, red wine vinegar, leather, cinnamon, some herbal notes, caramel sauce. This is right between overly sweet and harsh vinegary. Yet it still seems unbalanced. Lets add some water. Now it turns much milder and gentler, some tannins and heather, clover and sweet red wine. The finish is on white pepper and spirity notes. Molasses too. A frustrating one that shows very little sign of Talisker, cask doped to the fullest.

Nonetheless, a good reminder of why Talisker should stick to what they do best: 4

Next tasting: Ardmore Distillery

tirsdag 11. februar 2014

The Fat Trout NAS 40% Blend

The Fat Trout first hit the Norwegian whisky market aka Vinmonopolet as a 12yo single malt I think. Now its a NAS blend. Particularly constructed to lure whiskydrinking flyfishers. The color is amber, adjusted that is. It smells grassy, light, citron peel, wool, soap, soften fabric, clean and neutral malt, with a hint of lowland-ish flair. The taste is sweet, caramel, honey, cinnamon, syrupy, sweet mint, cumin and turmeric. I can't see how this should fit more for a fishing trip than for any other recreational activity, aside from the label. But its a nicely done blend. The finish, if I can find any, must be some sour notes, lemon peel, lime peel and a touch of hickory smoke. Adding water to this seems like adding starch to a potato. All in all its a light whisky made to satisfy a broad segment of whisky drinkers, but then again marketed for just a narrow few with a certain hobby. The taste is what counts anyway, and it's rather MOTR however I put it.

A waiting dram, but when you got that trout, please celebrate a notch or two up: 4.5

Next tasting: Talisker Distillery

onsdag 5. februar 2014

Rob Roy NAS 40% blend Stanley P Morrison Ltd.

One in a while I love to try these old 80's, early 90's blends that really can be anything from stellar to crap. Many Morrison blends includes some Bowmore, and hopefully this one also does. The color is golden, with that adjusted shine. It smells very little, some mushrooms and a tad oily, but that's about it. Maybe it needs to breath a bit more, or the evaporation you see in the picture has gotten the best of it. After about 15 minutes of breathing, no changes. The taste is sweet, marcipan, peppermint, peat, salmi, licorice, white peppers. I can definitively see some Bowmore in this one, but it isn't very complex. The finish is peppery with quite some dry licorice/salmi again. 

A pretty sleepy dram, not much going on, but its not boring thanks to the peat and salmi notes: 6

Next tasting: More blend, but this time a recent one...

mandag 3. februar 2014

Jura NAS 40% OB

I've had many a Jura, 8yo, 10yo, 12yo, but never this one. I don't think it was a long running edition. Although the NAS Statement is pretty modern, the 40%abv and lack of gaelic names sure aren't. Jura Distillery is now in the portfolio of Whyte & MacKay, and I think they've done quite some changes within its range to reinvigorate peoples interest for this distillery. The color is golden. It smells cabbage, earthy, mustard, boiled brown rice, ground coffee beans, peat, leather, earthy, mouldy in a good way. The taste is peppery, pumpkin seeds, mustardy, earthy, licorice and wasabi paste. Also there's a taste of blue toothpaste, like pepsodent if you ever heard of it, the one that suited children that couldn't handle mint flavor. With water added this turns into a sweet mess of palm sugar and caramel. Too sweet for me.

The toothpaste flavor nearly killed me, but don't add water, I beg you: 3.5

Next tasting: An old blend with Bowmore in it.

onsdag 29. januar 2014

Redil Whisky NAS 43% Italy

I know little to nothing about this one, other than that its bottled for a company based in Bologna, Italy. It holds mere 3cl and has a plastic cork top. The color is white wine. It smells sweet, sweet colourants, spirit, cheap cologne, grassy, chalkdust, stale beans. I can't get this notion of wet, rotting hay out of my mind... The taste is plastic, cheap vodka, spinach, grassy, mild on flavor and heavy on alcohol is what I'm getting on the palate. I could very well add water to this, for opportunists sake. Now it turns into some bland pear-ish, perhaps even apple-juicy, thing.

It was fun to try, but by now I should know better: 1.5

From Seagram's, it's quite an established brand. The decanter apart, it could be a rather appreciated one.  The color is golden. It's adjusted by caramel, as I'm sure most of you will be aware of by now. It smells caramel, cinnamon, honey liqueur, apple cider, meringue, syrup, willow sap, camphor. It's far from complex, but seems rather delicate initially. The taste is sweet, green peppers, burnt onions, earthy/burnt veggies. Boring? No, well, yes, I mean, it seems more a whisky for a shot bar than one to enjoy in the long hours till dawn. The finish is peppery, starchy, licorice, quite pleasant.

Everyday blend style: 3

Next tasting: Isle of Jura Distillery

mandag 27. januar 2014

Royal Lochnagar 12yo 40% OB

Hard to find Royal Lochnagars these days, a miniature will do. I do however believe that Royal Lochnagar is one of the most overlooked distilleries when it comes to what quality they can produce. I've not had many, but I've never been disappointed. Let's have another go at the 12yo. The color is golden and non-chill filtered. It smells malty, peppery, wheat biscuits, heather, cinnamon, orange zest, porter/stout, unripe bananas, dark chocolate, dry white wine. The taste is caramel, hazelnuts, malt syrup, port jello, camomile tea, vanilla, potato starch, leather. It's a traditional whisky in many aspects, no fuzz and bottled at perfect sipping strength. The finish is malty, dry and peppery.

The nose was good, the palate had its parts, but the finish dropped the whole experience for me: 5.5

Next tasting: Whisky from Canada and Italy (weird combo...)

tirsdag 21. januar 2014

Fettercairn 23yo 1989-2012 46.3% Blackadder Raw Cask cask#1348 btl.20/210

Time to try this one. I've actually had it one time before, and I remember it was a rather gentle one. But that time I had it at a shop right after a Ledaig. Quite possibly it could also be light due to greedy angels. I thought for the Raw Cask-series, a low strength whisky from one of the lightest distillate characters in Scotland, is a bit of an unusual choice. From a bourbon hogshead. The color is light golden. It smells heather, wax, gasoline, ashes, linseeds, parmesan cheese, hazelnuts, dried fruits. This nose shows character aplenty! The taste is flinty, oaky, burnt knitting wool, you know that harsh smell of burnt wool, thats the notion I get on my palate now. Also chili peppers, ginger, earthy, pine wood, rhubarb, quince jelly, bacon. My oh my, it's a flawless one, even though the burnt wool notes might send some conservative tasters of the coach. The finish is minty, peppery, cigar smoke, mulled wine, heather, light oaky notes. I won't add water as I see it will not improve on this whisky, I can't explain why, its just that sometimes a whisky tells you that it ain't thirsty.

About this whisky I can only say good things: 9

Next tasting: Royal Lochnagar Distillery

onsdag 15. januar 2014

Re-tasting my first ever Ledaig, paired with a newer one, not even half its age.

I remember back in 2007, I think it was, when I purchased a similar miniature at the Cadenhead's whisky shop in Covent Garden, London. The shop is now moved elsewhere, but I still to this day remember bickering with the clerk that day. I insisted Smokehead was a single malt whisky, whilst he refused that stating that only whisky bottles with distillery names on them could be single malts. He was not very far off his pension age, and I was a cocky young man. How times flies by, back then I guess it was a discussion between recently gained knowledge and experience from days gone by. Needless to say, that Smokehead I bought was my first ever full bottle of whisky, and it was all distilled at Caol Ila distillery. :-)

Ledaig 6yo 2005-2012 53.6% Malts of Scotland cask#12027

Only 6yo and already dropped well below 55%abv? Greedy angels.. The color is pale straw. It smells coastal, sea salt, smoked salmon, smoked herring, cigar smoke, peat, bonfire, ashes, earthy, damp, licorice, stale grass, compost. It's not very spirity, as one could suggest at this age. The taste is peaty, peppery, very powerful, salty, green peppercorns, pickled onions, sweet vinegar, wasabi, oaky, lime peel, lime juice, very bitter citric notes on the finish. Let's add some water. Now it turns a bit oakier, more salt, bacon grease, smoked meat, it improves by becoming gentler, and dressing up like a much more mature malt. Well done!

Without water it's a 5.5, with added water it becomes a: 6

Ledaig 15yo 56% Cadenhead's

No vintage on this thing, but I'm guessing it was bottled around the mid nineties. The color is golden. It smells peaty, vanilla, smoke, ashes, mild minty, spearmint perhaps, sweet white wine, a much more rounded and well mannered Ledaig, but its not as coastal either. Reminds me a bit of Ardmore from bourbon wood. The taste is more on lemon, sour, grapefruit, slightly bitter, grenadine, white rum, oaky, The finish is bitter. With water it turns sweeter, sodapops, honey, fizzy drinks, really a lot of weird swetness now. One to keep bare.

I can't remember my initial score, but this time its a: 4.5

Next tasting: Fettercairn Distilery

fredag 10. januar 2014

Teaninich 20yo 1974-1994 56.9% James MacArthur's

I have no photo of this miniature as blogger won't accept the file. Poor... However, the reason why I'm trying this whisky is not that I believe it necessarily is a great whisky, I've had my ups and downs with Teaninich. But the other day I received a rather strange e-mail. I could not understand the letters in the mail, so I pasted it into google translate and chose languages until I got to Arabian. From what I understand, a blog reader in Egypt had (...) to say about me tasting too many widely available malts these days. And with my recent half-assed attempt to sample the range of Diageos Classic Malts, I guess thats kinda true. Therefore, here's a tasting of a Teaninich from James MacArthur's, distilled almost 40 years ago and bottled 20 years later... The color is light amber. It smells rich, peppery, vanilla, honey, ashes, peanut butter, red onions, fried red onions to be more precise, smoked paprika, very complex nose. The taste is all on peppermint, licorice, salmi, quite drying, dry sherry, ginger, wheat crisps, dried onions. I'd say its definitely no classic malt, but it's a supreme whisky in its own right. This is a whisky to enjoy on any rainy autumn day, pair it with a cheese platter and some pesto, then top it with a dram of this dry, nutty whisky and a cigar, and you're home. The finish is sort of drying and leathery, old books, dust.

Thank you Gahiji H., it was really worth it: 9

Next tasting: Tobermory Distillery

mandag 6. januar 2014


I've got a couple of reactions on my last tasting note, Chairman's Choice Speyside Distillery. It's now come to my attention that this might be a whisky from another Speyside Distillery as it lacks the "The" in front of the "Speyside Distillery" on the label. A bit like "Glenlivet" were changed to "The Glenlivet"? I'm not sure, but I suppose that could be. So, if you know where this was distilled, except The Speyside Distillery, please feel free to drop me a line on the subject. If not, keep dramming and enjoy every drop. ;-)