tirsdag 29. mars 2016

Fettercairn & Friends in a strange session...

A small comeback on this site, with two malts from my favorite distillery alongside some other light malts and a blend that really shouldn't be in this session at all. I could throw in a Jim Beam too, just to take any possible sense away from this session. Lets do that!

Jim Beam NAS 40% for Weinbrennerei Scharlachberg

A square miniature. I'm not a big fan of this brand, but have had some alright ones that were bottled some decades ago. The color is nutty orange with a bright hue. It smells sweet, burnt sugar, prunes, honey, female perfume aromas and hints of cheap sweet rum. The taste is burnt, burnt molasses, grainy, some clay and more burnt sugar to finish it all of. Its perfectly drinkable, and I bet its one hell of a base for many mixed drinks, but on its own, it falls flat.

Industrial stuff: 2.5

Passport Scotch NAS 40% Blend

A cheap scottish blend that I believe contains a portion of Strathisla, but that could very well be wrong. This is one thats in very little demand, but rather pushed out in huge quantities to satisfy the masses in countries where other options are fewer. I've read somewhere that its a popular whisky in Africa. The color is adjusted with caramel, and has a golden hue. It smells quite heavy on apples, apple vinegar and hard cider. Touch of lemon as well, and a clear spirity antiseptic sting. The taste is sweet on vanilla and cinnamon buns, some tea notes and stale cranberries. A weird one, and just as the Jim Beam, probably not intended for those who are concerned with flavors much. The finish is short and adds nothing new to the experience.

I could just as well had a Vodka, but its pretty clean: 3

Singleton of Dufftown Tailfire NAS 40% OB

I miss the old Dufftowns the indies had some years ago. Time to try the contemporary. The name "Tailfire" makes me think this ones gonna have a bit of a burnt aftertaste, but the unnecessary information on the label calls for "vibrant, fruity, fresh". This one is said to have a big portion of european oak matured whisky in the mix. The color is bright orange, obviously adjusted with caramel. It smells of some dark berries and licorice, blueberry liqueur and leather, strange and different from other Dufftowns I've had, but then again, Dufftown doesn't really have that clear a profile, does it? The taste has hints of medium dry sherry, some yoghurt, sour juices, leather, cinnamon, sprat fat, coriander seeds. It has an old style that is very rare to find among all the current NAS-bottlings around, I'm pleasantly surprised. The finish is sweet and spicy, some chilli and corn syrup. A small burning sensation as well.

A good and contemponary NAS: 6.5

Tormore 14yo 2015 43% OB batch#A1509

Just as with Dufftown, I think Tormore is a whisky that is not much sought after, but has qualities which surpasses its general reputation. Since its owned by pernod-richard, its usually found in french supermarkets at very reasonable prices. The color is amber/golden-brown, with that E150 shine. It smells sweet and dry, hay and spun sugar, mint and vanilla sweetness, huge basil and minty notes, almost more of a herbal spirit than a malty one. The taste is quite drying, grassy, leather, old books, shelfdust and so on. Adding some water. Now it becomes more flinty, minty, clay, dry licorice, anise candy. It's a strange one for me, the flavors are good, its rustic and powerful, but really does not remind me of any sort of malt whisky I've ever had before. The finish is a bit rubbery and rather short.

Swell whisky, an everyday dram with a kick: 7

Fettercairn 13yo 1991-2004 50% Old Malt Cask Advance Sample Douglas Laing cask#1327

On the label it states that it has been approved for release, so there should be some of it in the Old Malt Cask range somewhere. From a refill hogshead. The color is light, hay, natural, which is a good thing. It smells vanilla, yeast, malty, wheat, a lot of "Fettercairn" here, close to the distillery's previous OB style, back when the 10yo and 12yo's were put out. The taste is rich on lavender, pungent acridity, vanilla, hummus, oyster juice, a kind of thick layer of flavors and also, probably due to it not being chill-filtered, it gives the perception of a richer and thicker consistency. Adding some water. Now it turns more peppery, more vanilla, less fettercairn in some ways. Avoid adding water please. The finish is light and peppery.

The thickness and concentrated aromas reminds me of earlier glorious Fettercairns: 7.5

Fettercairn 11yo 2003-2014 54% OB cask#3392

A sherry matured one from casks previously owned by the Gonzalez Byass bodega. Its sold at the distillery, and Ive got my sample in an exchange. If I'm not mistaken its natural colored, but the cask has given it a reddish brown hue. It smells oregano, tobacco, cinnamon, chillies, red onions, brick dust, sweat (yes, that is a smell). It obviously carries a lot of juices from the cask, but the Fettercairn isn't all lost here. The taste is very powerful, peppery, plum spirit, honey, chillies, bell peppers, sweet chilli sauce, pecan nuts, cinnamon, leather. This is not far from a winner in my book, perhaps a small drop of water will elevate i further. With water it turns into a perfect bittersweet sauce. Worchestershire sauce, balsamico, chestnut honey, leather, meaty, roastbeef, turpentine, oil, flinty, dark chocolate, cocoa. Impressive to say the least. The finish is long and spicy.

Fettercairn at its best: 9

fredag 23. januar 2015

Glenesk 26yo 1981-2007 59% Duncan Taylor cask#934 btl.112/439

Glenesks are seriously becoming rarer and rarer, and yet it seems to never grasp any interest in whisky circles. A shame.. Now lets try this one, but don't let the color fool you, it's only a sherry "finish". The color is dark brown, chocolate/thin coffee. It smells mustard, grainy, coffee bitterness, orange peel zest, fresh thyme, lime, coriander, mint, hazelnut, caramel, wax, peat, engine oil, sweet sulphury notes, gasoline. I'm amazed, never had a finished whisky quite like this. It literally reeks of sensational sherry, but let's first have a taste. The taste is sweet at first, some camphor and caramel, honey and nutmeg, then it turns all on peat and peppery notes, some wax and sharp vinegar notes as well, hard to pin down. Please remember, 59%abv. after 26 years, I'm only saying.. Let's add some water. With a teaspoon of added water it turns sweeter, cinnamon, chillies, grape soda, coffee bitterness, herbal tea, spices, linseeds, turmeric, garam masala, earthy notes of indian spices, cumin. If there's any Glenesk casks left, please finish them in... no. But this is quite a powerful Glenesk, it has the distillate-driven sharp edges and yet a lot of characters from the casks. The taste is powerful, yet the flavours are always distinguishable. The finish is herbal, grassy, longlasting, again with this bitterness I find in very strong coffees, peppery at the end. 

I just know I'll have to crush my piggybank now, to go look for more Glenesks: 9

Next tasting: I think that's it, thanks for now, perhaps I'll be back here someday...

søndag 18. januar 2015

Talisker 20yo 1981-2002 62% OB btl.#4571

This one was exclusively matured in sherry casks, and if you look at the strength, well, I think I'm in for a beast! I've seen these go for upwards of 1000€ at auctions these days. This one I purchased in Denmark a couple years ago for about 200€, and that says a bit about the increase in scotch whisky prices. The color is amber+. It smells rich, sweet, cinnamon, red onions, a bit perfumy, lavender, thyme, shortbread, caramel, chipotle, honey, nougat, almonds, like a spicy chocolate with these hints of syrup. The taste is supersweet at first, cinnamon, caramel, honey, beeswax, ginger, earthy notes, vanilla. Then after that initial sweetness, there's peat, iodine, smoke, ashes, peppery notes, tar, lime rind, balsamic vinegar, tobacco. A devious malt, seems so sweet and light at first, then hits me with everything that makes Talisker Single Malt so special, in excess of what I've found in other bottlings. I'll add some water. Now it does not change much with water, other than both the sweetness and the extreme coastal/peaty notes becomes more restrained. Please skip the water if you can handle this neat, but its a damn fine whisky when watered down too. The finish (neat) is peat and tar, quite simple, but it just goes on and on, almost like a strong cigar, it just stays on the tongue. A Talisker that in style, I see little hope will ever resurface. Get one while you still can! 

Stellar whisky, the nectar of gods: 10

Next tasting: Glenesk Distillery

mandag 12. januar 2015

Dailuaine 31yo 1975-2006 55% Gordon & Macphail Reserve cask#4374


They do not come much darker than this, but a dark whisky, at least in my experience, isn't always a sweet oloroso-driven one. I've found that it's as well to do with the size of the cask. The smaller the cask the more likely to get a more oaky, volatile and bitter sherried dram. Octaves on the other hand, I find, often smears the sherry on a bit gentler. The color is almost coca cola, a dark marsala wine perhaps. It smells a bit burnt, sulphur, cinnamon, cardamum, phenol, honey, coffee, cigar smoke, a more than decent oloroso-driven malt it seems, without being too sweet. The taste is creamy, licorice, hot cinnamon, burnt, sulphury, it's one of these thick sherry-monsters that often needs some water. Let's add two teaspoons right away. Now it goes on with more sweetness, dates, figs, plum juice, cinnamon, beetroots, ginger, leather, peat, quite some peaty notes actually, also black pepper, cocoa and chillies. The finish is long and bittersweet, a bit like genevers. 

The best sherried one I've had since long, much better than the A'bunadhs for example: 9

Next tasting: Talisker Distillery

onsdag 7. januar 2015

Arran 14yo 46% OB

Its gaining some age now, and the prospects have promised good things, let's have the 14yo Arran. I've tried this once before, but then in a rather heavy vertical tasting, time to try it on its own. The color is natural light golden, also no chill-filtration. It smells moss, smoke, earth, clay, bonfire, chopped onions, garlic, leather, cloves, ginseng, hints of mortar, brimstone (sulphur). The taste is at first sweet, honey, ginseng, ginger, plum syrup, coriander, Jameson, smoked cheddar, cauliflower, red bell peppers, cardamum, coriander, sweet chillies. A lot going on here, and with a real punch in the finish, its a massive 14yo. My dream would be that this was available at CS, maybe it is, must check upon things. Lets add a small drop of water. The taste is now more vegetal, more herbal, some bitter notes of hay and rotting cauliflower. I must say I preferred it neat. The finish is on both occasions rather short and peppery. 

A very decent dram at 14yo, no beginners malt: 7

Next tasting: Dailuaine Distillery

torsdag 1. januar 2015

Macallan 23yo 1976-1999 56.9% Cadenhead's

An old Macallan from sherried oak, certainly ought to bring back some fine memories. I'm wondering how many bottles of sherried Macallan we're about to see in the years to come. I've understood that the number of sherry casks at Macallan warehouses are on decline. The color is auburn. I'm not expecting an overly sweet-ish oloroso matured one. It smells leather, rubber, chalk, gun powder, honey, red bell peppers, kiwis, raspberries, simply mouthwatering in my opinion. The taste is peppery, peaty, tar, wax, clay, raspberry liqueur, a strange sweetness of that liqueur and malt syrup. Oh, and some tobacco and coffee notes too. Adding water. Now it turns sweeter, more honey, floral notes, ashy, soap, really decent, but its lost its bite. I do not recommend adding water to this dram. The finish is long on peppery notes, hot cinnamon, spices and leather.

 If you love the new NAS Macallans, hold on to that notion for awhile, then try this: 9

Next tasting: Arran Distillery

lørdag 27. desember 2014

St. Magdalene 25yo 1982-2008 61.8% Blackadder Raw Cask cask#2180 btl.220/603

A very high strength, which often has to do with the size of the cask. I remember a 36yo Inchgower at nearly 66%abv. That one also came from a butt. I don't know wether its a sherry or bourbon butt. St. Magdalene is often stated as one of the most beloved closed distilleries. Personally I've had both ups and downs with it, but a youngster from Cadenhead's once made it very clear to me that at its best, st. Magdalene/Linlithgow can be stunning. The color is pale golden. It smells sweet, lemon, limonade, craft cider, ginger peel, some bitterness, fino sherry wood? It's not as spirity as I feared on the nose, rather a mellow one. The taste is malty, lemon peel, fresh lime juice, ginger, sherry bitterness, sour ale, lowland-style through and through with this one. I'd say it doesn't need water, but I also believe it could be opened up a bit. With water it instantly becomes more sour, unripe apples, lime, lemon, vegetable stock. I will say this is the most citric dominated whisky I've ever had. The finish is long and citric. I think this is just lacking a small hint of caramel, vanilla or anything sweet and savory to elevate it into a perfect dram.

It's too citric to reach a perfect score, but it's damn close: 9

Next tasting: Macallan Distillery

mandag 22. desember 2014

Glen Moray NAS 40% OB Elgin Classic

Glen Moray now has a NAS bottling, really? Who doesn't these days? Oban maybe? I don't know, but lets have a go at this. Think I've read somewhere that Glen Moray uses primarily ex wine oak, could be interesting. The color is pale straw, perhaps natural color, a positive! It smells big on ginger and chopped onions, some lemongrass and hints of mint as well, a vegetal whisky! It's light and easy at first, no off-notes, but seems very young and distillate driven. The taste is burnt, hints of sour leaves, tobacco, ginger, rhubarb, chestnuts, white beans. It's not a bad dram, it's just underdeveloped, I think it reminds me a bit of gin. Unfortunately, I believe I'm now sitting with the future for most working class whisky drinkers, for this could've been great with a couple more years on oak. With added water it collapses into a mild minty aperitif style drink. There is very little to non finish.

More wood please: 4

Next tasting: Linlithgow/st.Magdalene Distillery

tirsdag 16. desember 2014

Clarke's Westpoint NAS 40% Clarke's Distilling Company

First of all, let me tell you I'm no expert on bourbon whiskey, and I often find them rather bland. So how will this ultra-cheap supermarket bourbon fare? The CDC was established in 1866 so they've been in the game for some time. The color is golden orange, certainly not natural. It smells leather, flint and gunpowder, not much else, perhaps its one of those to add coca cola to. The taste is more leather, smoked ham, balsamic vinegar, some positive meaty notes here. Also crayons, full fat milk, black pepper, caramel, astringent waxy notes. This is far from the worst I've had, and at about 12$ a bottle its not a bad deal. But the finish leaves a little to be desired. It's short what flavor is
concerned, but leaves a bitter soapy note that hangs for awhile.

Half decent whiskey for a less than decent money: 4

Next tasting: Back to Scotland! (Glen Moray)

torsdag 11. desember 2014

Fettercairn 30yo 1972-2002 53.6% OB cask#2895 btl#219

This one comes from an oak butt, could be sherry, could be bourbon, who knows. And it was chosen by The Nose himself, blending legend Richard Paterson. I believe this one was bottled exclusively for the Japanese market. The color is golden auburn, dark golden if you like. It smells toffee pudding, resinous, camphor, vanilla, onions, beef jerky, bbq-sauce, rather huge on the vanilla, also some mint, malt syrup, green tea and heather. There's no nutty notes as one often find in younger versions. The taste is strawberries, honey, caramel, sage, vanilla, toffee pudding, dark chocolate, custard cream, onions, boiled stout, raspberries, butter, ginger, sugar snaps. Most of all there is a heavenly vanilla going on here. One could not add water here in my opinion, but let's try for fun. With water it becomes more bitter-sour, some vinegar notes emerges, but still a very goo dram.  The finish is long, malty, cinnamon, coffee, baking ammonia. Richard, splendidly chosen!

A spirit that's still fresh, yet the cask influence is massive, and altogether a perfect match: 9.5

Next tasting: America!

torsdag 4. desember 2014

Kilchoman 5yo 2006-2012 60.7% OB Exclusively for Denmark/for FC Whisky cask#314

Matured in a sherry butt. Bottled for FC Whisky which imports most, if not all the SC Kilchomans going to the danish market. I remember getting the rests in this bottle, after a tasting with John Maclellan, for a very small money, mind you, nothing wrong with that. I remember it as one of the most interesting bottlings there. The color is amber golden. It smells mildly peaty and minty, mint julep, after eight, leather, ashes, oaky, phenolic, licorice, kiwi, heather, rubber eraser, nice dry rubber notes. Seems to me this cask has worked fast and effective. The taste is immensely dry, peaty, reminds me instantly of older CS Lagavulins, even some drier versions of Laphroaig, its so coastal, salty, smoky, tarry, ashes, waxy, heather, phenols, smoked cod liver, tobacco, salty licorice, dark chocolate, buttery, just so rich, seems at least 4 times its real age. I remember one Laphroaig for a whisky shop in germany, in port wood a couple years ago which this one resembles very well. I gave that one 10points. Think it was Whisky & Cigars, the shop it was bottled for. The finish is on salty iodine, musty salty notes, garlic, saffron, longlasting. I wonder how many more 2006 Vintages like this there are left at Kilchoman.

Should this one've matured longer? I couldn't tell, but its pretty close to perfect in my opinion: 9.5

Next tasting: Fettercairn Distillery

lørdag 29. november 2014

Port Ellen 26yo 1983-2009 54.2% The Golden Cask cask#126 btl.218/316

It's one of those 26-27yo's that didn't receive much pr when it first was released, mainly due to that in 2008-2010 were released a huge array of different IB Port Ellens. And which ones got the most attention, I feel, often could just as well be a result of the range it was released as the quality of the spirit. The color is golden, with no shine, which means its natural color. It smells dry, wheat, salty, bitter vinegar, burnt, rotting eggs, hay, I must be honest, I find this one a bit difficult, I guess it comes from some very bitter sherried cask. Fino? I'll admit, on another occasion I'd just might go for a dilution before trying this neat. Well, when neat it is surprisingly fresh, potato starch, peat smoke, dry, leather, smoked pork grease, black pepper, heather, I'm leaning more towards this coming from bourbon oak, but a very tired one in that case. Let's add water. Now it turns sweeter, mango, caramel, creamy banana, vanilla, peaty notes, burnt rubber, ashes, a rather nice mix of dry peaty notes and tropical fruits. Nowhere near as coastal and Islay-driven as many of the best PE's, but this is still a fine dram. The finish is oaky and peaty, just shy of plain boring.

You could easily trick me into thinking this was an Old Ballantruan or anything alike: 6.5

Next tasting: Kilchoman Distillery

mandag 24. november 2014

Lord Calvert NAS 40% OB

To try to reinstall my faith in affordable Canadian whisky, after the Hamilton affair, I've now picked one from the back of my shelf. Lord Calvert, I have very little information on him, as I still have on Lord Balliol or other Lords of different countries. At least, the maple leaf leaves little doubt about its provenance. I found this to be an intriguing option after having a spectacular Canadian Club awhile ago. It's all from barrels, which means it matures rapidly, good! The color is golden. It smells sweet, cinnamon, sugar, honey liqueur, mint, mint leaves, quite refreshing, some spearmint and lemongrass. It says "smooth & round taste", that very well be true in this. The taste is oaky, some astringent spirity notes, cotton and perfume, slight hints of licorice. I've had better... Lets add some water. Now it turns more rubbery, some herbal notes, basil leaves, grass, cardamom, nestles, cream fudge. More rubber in the finish. 

Easy-drinking, light stuff, but very hard to enjoy: 3.5

Next tasting: Surprise, but guaranteeing some scotch!

tirsdag 18. november 2014

Hamilton 3yo 40% OB Canada

There's something refreshingly honest about this cheap blended whisky. There is an age statement, 3yo, nevertheless, it's not one of those old traditional whisky from the best casks in scotland with no age statement. Its mantra is "Distinctive Flavour", which today is a modest statement for any whiskylabel. The color is non-natural, golden. It smells spirity and sweet, vanilla flavoured vodka, hint of licorice liqueur, some nice toffee notes after awhile, along with mint and basil. The taste is quite spirity, some grainy notes, reminds me a bit of some young grain whisky, black barrel from Girvan anyone, maybe a young loch lomond? I would not add water to this as it seems the casks have influenced very little. Maybe an ice cube will do the trick. Now it turns more bitter, less sweet, actually a bit hard to swallow. I get that notion of being sick, that I often get from some vodkas. I'm sorry for the lack of "taste" notes here, but its just one of those that words hardly can describe how unpleasant is.

I will stay clear of Hamilton in the future, I think: 1.5

Next tasting: Can't leave Canada on this note, let's have another canadian.

torsdag 13. november 2014

Highland Queen NAS 40% Scotch Whisky Company

This is the whisky that I currently use whenever I serve Irish Coffee. It's a cheap blend, it's been made since 1561, apparently, and I've never had it straight before. Let's have a go then. The color is reddish golden with that E-shine. The company that blends this is called "Scotch Whisky Company", which to me sounds like a tall order. Perhaps they rely on foreigners not being able to distinguish between "Scotch" and "Scottish". It smells quite sweet, gingerbread, milk chocolate, cocoa, maple syrup, corn starch, butter, all very light and easy, touches of camphor. Sweet and light thus far. The taste is quite spirity, some stale white wine, stale wheat beer maybe, its not good on the palate, in any sense, but very easy. Perhaps one that goes around between weary men at a harbor somewhere. 

Back to the coffee, Queen!: 2.5

Next tasting: Canadian everyday dram..

lørdag 8. november 2014

Glenglassaugh 23yo 1984-2007 46% Wilson & Morgan cask#187

Glenglassaugh is one of the whiskies that didn't necessarily become more available after the distillery closed. Now that its reopened, the owners have released a lot of older stock, perhaps a bit of genius speculation? That means you can try the new spirit along with that from days gone by and compare, sublime! I've had the spirit drink that... of various age and on various occasion, it's really not that comparable. This one comes from a sherry butt. Remember, if you got one of these at home, sherried malts of considerable age will become increasingly rarer in years to come. Hold on to it then! The color is dark amber, nutty brown. It smells figs, dates, pineapple juice, poached pears, cognac/brandy, honey, sweet red wine, caramel, malt syrup, coffee beans. It's quite frankly one of the better (and sweeter) I've nosed in a while. Reminds me of old style sherried malts. The taste is on camphor, coffee, dark chocolate, chives, grainy, beef, a lot of sherry though never sulphury. Adding water. Now it turns more peppery, sultanas, chili flakes, ashes, butter, reminds me a bit of some Glenfarclas from the early 90's. The finish is irony and flinty, drying, ashes, dust, a serious dry highland profile, how charming in old fashion.

I can't give it credit for high class, but rather for its unusual speyside-coastalness, rare indeed: 8.5

Next tasting: Another one of those blends

mandag 3. november 2014

Highland Park 10yo 40% OB

From what I've understood, and please correct me if I'm wrong, is this one based on the same premises as the old 15yo, which means that only bourbon casks have been used. Now I've had official HP's at 8yo, 12yo, 14yo, 15yo, 16yo, 18yo, 21yo, 25yo, 30yo and 40yo, but never a 10yo before, should be interesting. The color is auburn golden, and looks natural to me, no shine. It smells sweet, honey and vanilla, tobacco, fruit gums, cinnamon, turnips, grass, lavender, and some spearmint. A multi-faceted 10yo, more so than what I usually encounter in stronger young spirits. For a 10yo at 40%abv., this is brilliant so far. The taste is on leather, cinnamon, honey, a little peat, caramel, dark chocolate, bourbon reduction, brine, tannins, another positive surprise, but the leather notes are quite dominating so you'll have to enjoy that style. The finish is smoky, peppery, some peat, ginger and rubber. Initially a smooth and easy-drinking malt, but use time, and you'll find there's plenty of personality in this little gem.

Excellent value for money, quality!: 7

Next tasting: Glenglassaugh Distillery

torsdag 30. oktober 2014

Banff 34yo 1975-2010 44.1% A. D. Rattray Cask Collection cask#3354

Can you believe it?!! Another fragile-corked oldie, I'll vote for any political party that proposes rubber corks to the whisky industry at next election. The color on this one is deep brown/auburn. It smells sweet, lemon liqueur, caramelized onions, butternut squash, dried herbs, figs, sage, mould, dust, quite a modest 34yo. Perhaps it needs some water, lets try it neat first. The taste is burnt, sandalwood, nectarine, wax, peat, leather, sawdust, charcoal, at first a bit nervous, then comes on like a bomb on the palate. It's strangely salty'n'sour as well, tarry cream? With water it becomes sweeter, more stearic, waxy, grenadine, caramel, banana, hops, barley grain, toffee. I must admit, I have no idea how much the problems with the cork really have affected this whisky, but to me, it seems much less vague than I usually find a whisky at this age. That being said, with enough time, just time, no water, it becomes a little special something with them tarry cream notes...

Tarry cream? Yes, I've not really tasted all my references: 7.5

Next tasting: Highland Park

lørdag 25. oktober 2014

Glenugie 32yo 1977-2010 58.6% Signatory Vintage cask#1 btl.257/670

This is a sherry finished Glenugie, one of those distilleries with too few casks left after mothballing, so there's far too little to go around these days. The cask#1 is the sherry butt in which I guess 3 or 4 hogsheads were finished for 90 months. Yes, 90 months is excactly 7 years and 6 months. If I did my math correct... All in all quite a long finish. Yeah, yeah, less numbers, more tasting notes. Color is dark golden/amber. It smells waxy, leather, honey, dark chocolate, nougat, malty, a bit spirity, as I'd imagine with this strength, vinegar and plum liqueur. The taste is quite on the bitter side, some rubber, phenols, gasoline, glue, starch, raw ginger, crayons, soap. An extreme one, lets try it with some water. Now it turns more rounder, some cotton notes, vodka premium, mashed/mushed veggies, mushroom broth, peppery, salmi, green peppers, grassy, floral, concentrated malty vinegar notes. Oh yes, after a while of breathing there's sawdust, orange marmalade, beetroot liqueur, cointreau, a bit unpleasantly sweet.

I know Glenugie can be superb, but this doesn't nearly enrich my evening: 4.5

Next tasting: Banff Distillery

lørdag 18. oktober 2014

Rosebank 16yo 1991-2008 57.9% Gordon & Macphail Cask cask#2104,2105,2106,2107

This Rosebank was all matured in refill bourbon barrels, that, and at a considerable young age for a Rosebank, could make for a whisky with much of the distillate character left. Rosebank seems to be closed for good, but there were some rumours about Arran, I think it was, opening it again, but then as a brewery, I've gotta read up on how that went. The color is golden. It smells vanilla, caramel, honey, butterscotch, walnuts, nutella, popcorn, waxy, one can hardly feel the strength in this one. But its far from bland, just no off-notes. The taste is salty, licorice, salmi, peppery, floral, herbs, salt and herbs are big in this one. I now discover more of the strength, and I believe a bit of water could open this whisky a bit more to the palate. But it's not shy of excellence bare, either. Now it turns sweeter, perfume, butter, vanilla, marshmallows, coffee cream, kiwis, honey, perhaps a bit more lowland-style, but there sure was life left in those casks. The finish is long, honey lozenges, dry white wine, white peppercorns.

Sad such great whiskies from closed distilleries, but would we otherwise have found them?: 8

Next tasting: Glenugie Distillery

mandag 13. oktober 2014

Laphroaig 18yo 1990-2008 55.6% Berry Bros & Rudd cask#2248

I got this one one for a very fair price at around 55 quid about a year ago, in a whisky shop in Herning, Denmark. So I guess its been sitting on their shelves for a while..? But damn, show me anywhere you get an 18yo CS SC Laphroaig at this price, fantastic! The color is white wine. It smells peat smoke, cinnamon, earl grey tea, lemon lozenges, vanilla, chlorine, acrid, bitter apple juice, iodine, medicinal, dry licorice, guava paste, malt. The taste is very sweet, vanilla, meringue, honey, sweet white wine, ashes, basil leaves, chili, cinnamon, oysters, white wine vinegar. The finish is all on medicinal peaty notes, quite intense. I'll add some water. Now it turns more Islay-ish, salty, charcoal, gunpowder, lime zest. Hardcore laphroaigness now, more complex when bare. It's a bit strange how they've spelled "Scots Whisky"...

I'd say this one belongs up there with the best bourbon-matured Laphroaigs: 8.5

Next tasting: Rosebank Distillery

onsdag 8. oktober 2014

Ardbeg 18yo 1990-2008 46% OB Airigh Nam Beist

The label doesn't state 18yo, which means it could be 17yo actually, for the rigid ones of you. Here we go then, I remember this was my second ever bottle of Ardbeg that I purchased. Back then I got it for 60€. Oh, how prices are sky-rocketing. In 1990 Ardbeg only produced spirit two months a year, so I think there can't be many 1990-vintages around? The color is acacia honey. It smells damp, musty, chlorophyll, sweet sherry, tobacco, coffee beans, vanilla, whipped cream, sugar, hints of peat smoke. The taste is caramel, peat, honey, peanut butter, vanilla, butterscotch, praline, milk chocolate, I can hardly recognize the distillate in this one. The finish is peppery, some peat and sherry. It's a fine dram, but knowing this is an Ardbeg sort of ruins a bit of the joy. One can't have an Ardbeg without expecting a bit more of coastal or peaty notes.

Unexpected Ardbeg: 7

Next tasting: Laphroaig Distillery

tirsdag 30. september 2014

Port Ellen 26yo 1982-2009 50% Old Malt Cask Douglas Laing cask#5398

Port Ellen Distillery needs no introduction, I believe. This one comes from a refill butt holding no less than 712 bottles. Butts have usually matured sherry or wine prior to whisky. I remember this one was sold at norwegian Vinmonopolet for about 100GBP back in 2009 when I bought it. And at that time it was seen as very cheap Port Ellen. Nowadays, any single malt whisky over 18yo at 100GBP is seen as an affordable one in Norway. How time flies... The color is golden. It smells coastal, seaweed, sea salt, dried fish, dry white wine, malt syrup, peat smoke, tar, smoked bacon. The taste is peppery, peat, cinnamon, ginger, honey, chillies, mushroom soup, earthy, leather. What a great surprise, 26 years on oak usually tames the peat quite a bit, but not in this one. The finish is caramel, black pepper, soy sauce. Adding some water. Now it turns simpler, more malty notes and a subtle peppery character.

What a whisky, seems younger than 26, a real beast: 8

Next tasting: Ardbeg Distillery

torsdag 25. september 2014

Fettercairn 33yo 1975-2009 50% Old Malt Cask Douglas Laing cask#4939

First things first, I'm sorry about the crappy photo, but that's what I get when I forget to bring my camera to the cabin, and use my cellphone instead. This one comes from a bourbon hogshead, and have previously gotten my attention because it was quite cheaper than many other old bottlings in this series. Time to see if that's just, or was this another affordable liquid treasure. The color is auburn. It smells cream cracker, butter bisquits, heather, honey, vanilla, oranges, figs, dates, vanilla curd, meringues, light perfumy, toffee, coconut oil, peppermint, marzipan, caramel. I could sit and nose this for hours, it reveals just a bit more with every new sniff. It's not a rough whisky, and it's not a massively sherried or oaky one, it's just perfectly refined in every sense of the word. Not an off-note in sight, but still massively complex due to all the layers of different light/sweet aromas.  The taste is heather again, vanilla sweetness, waxy, stearic, ginger, beetroot, banana liqueur, oaky, leather, hay. Leaves a little more to be desired. Time to add some water. Now it turns sweeter, more honey, lavender, syrup, floral, camphor, nougat, cinnamon, lime peel, sweetness and bitterness in harmony. The finish is cinnamon and peppermints, herbal lozenges too.

A bit too gentle for some, I presume, but use your time and it'll show there's magic to be found: 9

Next tasting: Port Ellen Distillery

lørdag 20. september 2014

Laphroaig 11yo 1998-2010 61.3% C&S Dram Collection cask#700286 btl#168

There you go, another CS Laphroaig vintage 1998. Finding these were like catching fish in a pond a couple of years back. And many has been great! I remember I had a sherried one from same vintage and same series a while back, great stuff. The color is golden, natural, of course. It smells burnt, peat smoke, camphor, gasoline, burnt, vanilla, herbal tea, ashes, but most of all it's gasoline. I've never found such a strong scent of petrol in any malt before, at least none that I can remember. The taste is very strong, salmi, dry licorice, leather, charcoal, smoky, burnt rubber, gun smoke, burning tires, very extreme. Its like, I'd imagine, chewing on gunpowder. Not very medicinal, coastal, or typical Laphroaig, but a beast nonetheless. Lets add a few drops of water. Now it turns richer, sweeter, more vanilla, scented candles, cinnamon, leather, hay, some mineral notes, greens, junipers, a bit waxy and floral, coats my tounge well and leaves this thick sumptuous sweetness in the finish. When neat, the finish was too strong to really enjoy for me. I have to admit I'm still impressed by the young CS Laphroaig bottlings.

A bit unusual in style, a rich, complex Laphroaig, yet extreme in every way: 9

Next tasting: Fettercairn Distillery