Talisker 57 Degrees North Review

Post # 500

Country: Scotland
Brand: Talisker 57 Degrees North
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Region: Highland (Island: Skye)
Age: NAS
Alcohol: 57%

Colour: A combination of Gold, Amber and Orange

Nose: Young, Edgy, Sweet, Sour and Salty all at the same time. I find Mild Sweet Peat, Wet Clay, Campfire Smoke, Sea Water, Raw Bacon, Fish and Shellfish, Mineral Tones, Leather, Caramel, Malt, New Spirit, Orange, Lemon, Dried Herbs, Pepper, Oak and hints of Plastic and used Matches. Lots of Strong Alcohol around. Still, I like it! It's similar to the 10 Years but it feels younger and more nervous. It's as rough as the location where it was distilled.

Taste: Strong Delivery. A bit of Sweet Fruit (Apricot perhaps) is followed by Wet Clay, Peat, Smoke, Orange and Lemon Zest, Butter Biscuits, Vanilla, Oak, Black Pepper, Aniseed, Licorice and a hint of Dark Chocolate.

Finish: Undeniably Talisker with strong Jalapeno Peppers, Smoke, Sea Water, Herbs, Menthol, Licorice, Lemon, Black Espresso and Dark Chocolate. Quite Dry and Salty in the end! 

I added a bit of Water and the Nose becomes a bit less Edgy with Floral Tones, Honey and Citrus. It also gets Sweeter on the Palate with some (Dried) Fruit and Toffee. Nice Pepper and Sweet Earthy Peat as well. The Finish is quite a bit shorter. I advise you to try it both ways!

Rating: 86.5

Nose: 22 – Taste: 21.5 – Finish: 21.5 – Overall: 21.5

General Remarks: Today we are celebrating Post # 500 on Best Shot Whisky Reviews that started its activities on November 11, 2011. Of these 500, 375 posts are Whisky Tasting Notes/Reviews. I would like to thank all of you for the interest and support you have given me right from the beginning. I hope I will be able to continue this great hobby for a long time. Because I simply love Nosing and Tasting Whisky and write about it. Cheers to all of you! And since Talisker is one of my favourite distilleries, I chose the 57 Degrees North as Post Number 500. Enjoy!

The Talisker distillery is located in Carbost on the shores of Loch Harport on the Isle of Skye. It was founded in 1830 by Hugh - and Kenneth MacAskill and produces 2,6 million litres per year. It’s part of the Diageo Group. The Talisker 57 Degrees North was launched around 2008, initially as a Travel Retail Special. It matured mainly in Refill Ex Bourbon Casks but I suspect some Ex-Sherry Casks were used as well. It is bottled somewhere near Cask Strength. The name and ABV refer to the exact latitude of the Isle of Skye. It costs around 90 US Dollars.

Drinking Experience Neat: Good 

Conclusion: The 57 Degrees North is not as Peaty and not quite as Peppery as the 10 Years and not as sophisticated as the 18 Years. But I believe it is solid enough to justify its own place in the Talisker line-up, helped without any doubt by the strong ABV of 57%. Thanks to its obvious youth, the 57 Degrees North shows a nervous roughness that simply combines with its place of birth. It smells and tastes a bit "Unfinished" at times but it gets away with it. The 18 Years still remains my favourite but if you like the Distillery profile you won't be disappointed with the 57 Degrees North. It's a bit different for sure but still a fine Talisker!

Jan van den Ende                                                       September 28, 2014

Glen Grant 1975 Review

“A Grant Old Lady”

Country: Scotland 
Region: Speyside
Brand: Glen Grant 1975 (Archives) 
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 36 Years
ABV: 46.6 %

Lord Jan and Lady Grant

Colour: Light Gold

The Semi Lauter Mash Tun

Nose: Fruity, Floral and Mature. Alcohol, Wood and Spices are nicely integrated. I find Pineapple, Peach, Banana, Orange, Mandarin, Red Fruit, Heather, Honey, Barley, (Lemon) Grass, Straw, Espresso, Toast, Fruit Cake, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Cream and hints of Espresso, Leather and Dusty Shelves.

The Oregon Pine Wash Backs

Palate: Still Fruity with Red Fruit, Pineapple, Banana, Cherry, Orange and Coconut. Some Honey, Cream, Malt, Tea and Caramel as well. But Oak and Spices like Pepper, Nutmeg and Cardamom are much more present now. The great balance that I found on the Nose is mostly lost on the Palate. And that's a pity.  

A Spirit Purifier

Finish: Middle-Long and quite Dry towards the end. There's still some Red Fruit left and perhaps a little Mango. I also find Honey. But slightly Bitter Oak and Spices like Pepper, Cinnamon and Nutmeg start to dominate. Fortunately, some Dark Chocolate arrives after a couple of minutes.

The Magnificent Stills

I added a bit of Water and that further enhances the Fruity and Floral tones on the Nose. But Palate and Finish do not benefit from the added Water. I do get some Licorice now. But better enjoy this Glen Grant neat.

Rating: 87

Nose: 23 - Taste: 21 - Finish: 21 - Overall: 22

The Initial Distance Was Bridged Rapidly!

General Remarks: The 1975 Glen Grant I am tasting today was distilled on the 18th of April 1975 and was bottled at Cask Strength on the 4th of January 2012. It matured in an Ex-Bourbon Hogshead with Cask # 5476 out of which 81 bottles were sold via the Independent Whisky Bottler Whiskybase in Rotterdam. Archives is their relatively young own label. This Single Malt is naturally coloured and not Chill-Filtered. I believe it's Out of Stock right now at Whiskybase. It was sold at around 170 US Dollars.

Drinking Experience Neat: Very Nice.

The Spirit Safes

Conclusion: This is one of the oldest Single Malts I've tasted so far. Great Balance and Depth on the Nose. Fruit, Floral Tones, Wood and Spices are fully in Harmony. Unfortunately, this is not the case anymore on the Palate and in the Finish. There the Wood and Spices start to dominate and we can conclude that Cask # 5476 was an active one. Despite this, the Glen Grant remains a well-crafted Single Malt and it was a pleasure Nosing and Tasting it. What a pity I only had a very small sample. If you like the flavour profile and you have the Cash, go for it if you can still find it! 

Some Data: Glen Grant is the only Scottish Distillery that was named after its founders/owners John and James GrantThe Distillery is located just off the A 941 in Rothes, Morayshire, around 10 miles South of Elgin. It was founded by the Grant Brothers in 1840 and since 2006 it belongs to the Italian Campari Group. Glen Grant is mostly known as a Single Malt, especially in Italy but it's also a part of the Chivas Regal and Old Smuggler Braemar Blends. The Glen Grant Distillery possesses 1 Stainless Steel Semi Lauter Mash Tun, 10 Oregon Pine Wash Backs and 4 Pairs of Stills. In 2013 their total production amounted to around 3,2 million litres.

Old Warehouses

The water for the distillery is sourced at the Back Burn and Tobar-Dhomhnaich Well. From Mid January to Mid December, the Distillery opens from Monday - Saturday from 9.30 to 17.00 hours and from May to October also on Sunday from 9.30 to 17.00. The Standard Tour costs 3,50 Pounds. Glen Grant's new nice and modern Visitor Centre opened in 2008. You can also visit the Victorian Garden (22 acres). It rained Cats and Dogs again when we visited the distillery so we refrained from the outdoor activities. 

The Bottling Facility

We visited Glen Grant on a rainy Thursday May 22, 2014. We were very early (9.30) and got ourselves a private Tour. We really enjoyed it and our guide was both friendly and knowledgeable. My brother in law Jan was able to shoot some nice pictures. The new bottling facility was opened in April 2013 and is very impressive. At the end of the Tour we experienced the NAS Major's Reserve, the 10 Year and the 16 Year. If you're only going to visit a few distilleries in the Speyside region, I can fully recommend to include Glen Grant! 

Jan van den Ende                                                       September 24, 2014

In the end it all boils down to this!!!!

Chivas Regal The Century of Malts Review

Country: Scotland
Brand: Chivas Regal The Century of Malts
Type: Blended Malt Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol: 43%

Colour: Golden Sunlight

Nose: Sweet with Sherry, Dried Fruits, Nuts, Dark Chocolate, slightly Burnt Toast, Honey, Marzipan, Watermelon flavoured Chewing Gum, Toffee, Oak, Baking Spices, Dry Earth, Straw and Orange Peel. The Alcohol is not fully integrated. The Nose is balanced but also rather simple considering that there are a 100 Single Malts reunited in this Blend.

Taste: Acceptable Delivery. Sweet, Fruity and Spicy with Sweet Barley, Toffee, light Sherry, Heather, Honey, light Smoke, Dried Fruit, Nuts, Pepper, Nutmeg and Orange. It's difficult to pinpoint the Fruit but it tastes a bit artificially like Fruit Flavoured Chewing Gum.  

Finish: Middle-Long, Sweet, Fruity and Spicy with Sweet Barley, Dried Fruits, Nuts, Pepper, Nutmeg, Ginger, light Smoke, Oak, Orange, Menthol and a hint of Espresso Coffee.

I added a bit of Water and you get a bit more Smoke, Spices, Orange and a hint of Leather on the Nose. On the Palate and in the Finish you find more Fruit and Toffee and a hint of Licorice. Try it out both ways!

Rating: 83

Nose: 21 - Taste: 20.5 - Finish: 20.5 - Overall: 21

Strathisla, the Home of Chivas might well be the heart for The Century of Malts

General Remarks: This unique Blend was launched in 1995 and contains 100 different Single Malts from the Highlands, Speyside, the Islands and the Lowlands. At the bottom of this post you will find a list with all participating Distilleries. The Century Malt will be difficult to find at the moment and you can expect to pay around 250 US Dollar. 

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion: The Century of Malts is a good Blend. If only all Blends were like this! Still I feel a bit disappointed. I somehow imagined that a Blend of a 100 Different Single Malts from all the main Scottish production areas would create sheer magic. Instead I find the Century to be a slightly "common" blend of mainly Speyside- and Highland Malts with an understated Islands component. It's got balance but it misses depth and complexity. The Fruit Aromas and Flavours are a bit artificial. When the Blend was launched in 1995 it was sold at around 60 US Dollars and that was certainly a reasonable price. But I would not advise you to spend 250 US Dollars on the Century. For that kind of money you can find yourself a very nice Singe Malt or two!

Jan van den Ende                                                      September 21, 2014  

Below you will find the 100 Distilleries that contributed to this unique Blend. You will find quite a few that don't exist anymore. As Chivas is one of the most successful Blending companies worldwide, it always possesses large quantities of Malt Whisky from lots of Distilleries to be able to maintain their desired Aroma and Flavour profile. Here we go:  

Aberfeldy, Aberlour, Allt-A-Bhainne, Ardbeg, Auchentoshan, Auchroisk, Aultmore, Balblair, Balmenach, The Balvenie, Banff, Ben Nevis, BenRiach, Benrinnes, Benromach, Blair Athol, Bowmore, Royal Brackla, Braeval, Brechin, Bunnahabhain, Caol Ila, Caperdonich, Clynelish, Convalmore, Cragganmore, Craigduff, Craigellachie, Dailuaine, Dallas Dhu, Dalmore, Dalwhinnie, Deanston, Dufftown, Fettercairn, Glen Albyn, Glenallachie, Glenburgie, Glencadam, Glen Craig, Glen Elgin, Glenesk, Glenfarclas, Glenfiddich, GlenGarioch, Glenglassaugh, Glen Grant, Glengoyne, Glenisla, Glen Keith, Glenkinchie, Glenlivet, Glenlochy, Glenlossie, Glen Mhor, Glen Moray, Glenrothes, Glen Scotia, Glen Spey, Glentauchers, Glenturret, Glenugie, Glenury Royal, Highland Park, Imperial, Inchgower, Inchmurrin, Inverleven, Isle of Jura, Kinclaith, Knockando, Ladyburn, Lagavulin, Laphroaig, Ledaig, Linkwood, Littlemill, Longmorn, the Macallan, Macduff, Mannochmore, Miltonduff, Mortlach, Mosstowie, Ord, Pittyvaich, Pulteney, Rhosdhu, Scapa, Speyburn, Springbank, Strathisla, Strathmill, Tamdhu, Tamnavulin, Teaninich, Tomatin, Tomintoul, Tormore and Tullibardine.

Tullibardine Distillery