Glentauchers 2005 Dewar Rattray Review

“Ground Control to Major Tom”

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside 
Brand: Glentauchers 2005 (Bottler - Dewar Rattray)
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 8 Years
ABV: 46%

Colour: Golden Sunlight (Natural Colour)

Nose: The Ex-Sherry cask can't quite obscure the fact that there's a relatively Young Whisky in the glass. Nevertheless, the Puncheon left its marks and I find Dried Fruits, Orange Marmalade, Pancakes with Golden Syrup, Toasted Nuts, Toasted Barley, German Butter Biscuits (Butterkekse), Vanilla, Caramel, Toffee, Cocoa, Plums, Flowery Perfume and hints of Yeast and Herbal Tea. On the Nose this Glentauchers is mostly Sweet. Given its age, the Alcohol is reasonably well integrated.     

Taste: Slightly Thin delivery despite the adequate ABV. On the Palate, this Malt is Young and Bitter-Sweet with Toasted Barley, Toasted Nuts, Dried Fruit, Oak, Vanilla, Toffee, Treacle, Grapefruit Juice, Orange Marmalade, Pepper, Nutmeg Cinnamon and Dusty Road. Some Herbs and Chocolate as well as a light Metallic off-note. The Alcohol is more present here.     

Finish: Bitter-Sweet at first. Slightly Bitter, Metallic and Dry towards the end. I find Sweet Barley, Raisins, Caramel, Toffee, Vanilla, Grapefruit Juice, light Oak, Dried Herbs, light Pepper, Cardamom, Mint, Licorice and Nutmeg and a touch of Bitter Chocolate. 

I only had a very small sample so I just Nosed and Tasted it neat.

Rating: 81.5

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 20- Finish: 20 - Overall: 20

General Remarks: The Single Cask Glentauchers I'm tasting today was distilled on the 16th of September 2005. It matured in a Sherry Puncheon with Cask # 900389 and was bottled by Indie Bottler Dewar Rattray for The Specialists' Choice (NL) on the 17th of September 2013. It was not Chill-Filtered before bottling. It might be hard to find but it was for sale at around 60 US Dollars last time I saw it.

The Glentauchers Distillery was founded in 1897 by James Buchanan and W.P. Lowrie. Today it is owned by Chivas (Pernod-Ricard). At this moment, almost all of the spirit is used in Blends like Chivas and, especially, Ballantine's. As far as I know, no Distillery Bottlings are available at the moment.

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good 

Conclusion: Although the Nose is not bad, this Glentauchers is not quite my thing. Despite the influence of the Sherry Cask, I find this Single Malt to be Young, Nervous and slightly Acid. On the Palate it lacks balance mainly because of the absence of more Fruity notes. I'm not too fond of the Bitterness as well and I could easily do without the light Metallic Off-Note. If you like the Aroma and Flavour profile you could give it a try but I have launched this Glentauchers into space. Maybe Major Tom can wrap it up in his Tin Can and sell it as a Spaceside Single Malt to some Aliens.

Jan van den Ende                                                                February 4, 2016

The Singleton of Glendullan Liberty Review

“Body Without Soul”

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside 
Brand: The Singleton of Glendullan Liberty (Reserve Collection)
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: NAS 
ABV: 40%

Colour: Golden Amber

Nose: I would say that the Liberty matured in a mix of Refill Ex-Bourbon casks and some Refill Ex-Sherry casks. On the Nose, the main drivers are Sugared Breakfast Cereals, Buttered Toast, Toffee, Caramel, Nuts and Dried Fruits. I also find Refill Oak, light Vanilla, Pineapple Jam, Red Apple, Ginger Bread and traces of Leather and Tobacco. The Liberty has a Young and Light feel to it. It's quite Sweet as well. The Alcohol is not fully integrated.   

Taste: Young, Light, slightly Thin and Sugary Sweet. It's a Single Malt that on the Palate might appeal to beginning Whisky Drinkers. For more experienced Malt drinkers however, the Liberty does not offer sufficient Depth. It's all a bit boring and plain-vanilla. I get mostly Toast, Caramel, Toffee, Dried Fruit, Apple White Grape Juice, Hazelnuts Pepper and Ginger. I also find hints of Chocolate, Honey, Refill Oak, Dried Herbs, Tobacco and Malt.      

Finish: Short, quite Sweet in the beginning but slightly Bitter-Sweet and a little Dry towards the end. I find Cocoa Powder, Dried Herbs, Ginger-Flavoured Tea, Toffee, light Honey and Pepper.  

I added a few drops of Water and the Nose becomes Thin and slightly Floral. The Barley and Apple also come to the foreground. Palate and Finish become too Thin. Better sip it neat.

Rating: 81.5   

Nose: 20.5 - Taste: 20.5 - Finish: 20 - Overall: 20.5

General Remarks: The first Glendullan Distillery was founded in Dufftown by William Williams & Sons in 1896. In 1962, a second Glendullan Distillery was built next to the old one. They operated together until the old distillery was closed in 1985. The current owner is Diageo. Most of the Spirit of Glendullan was and is -used in Blends like Old Parr, JW, Dewar's and Bell's. As of 2007, the Single Malts produced at Glendullan, Glen Ord and Dufftown are marketed under the name "The Singleton". The standard Glendullan is the 12 years. In 2013 two special Travel Retail Glendullan Reserve Collection expressions were launched in the Americas, the Trinity and the Liberty. They were both created by Maureen Robinson, the Singleton Master of Malts. The 1 liter bottle of the Liberty is sold at an average 90 US Dollars (January 2016).  

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay

Drinking Experience on the Rocks: Okay/Good. As I got a full 1 liter bottle, I took the Liberty to enjoy it on the Rocks as well. And I must say it's simple but enjoyable.

Conclusion: The Glendullan Liberty is a Single Malt that is clearly composed to please as many people as possible, especially those who usually drink Blended Scotch and buy the occasional Glenlivet or Glenfiddich when they visit the Travel Retail Shops. I say this because the Liberty is smooth, easily drinkable, quite Sweet and without any aggressive notes. In this way the Liberty does what it's supposed to do although it's too expensive for what it really offers. For those of you though who enjoy Single Malts on a regular basis, the Liberty does not offer sufficient interesting Aromas and Flavours. It has a body but it ain't got Soul!
Jan van den Ende                                                                 February 1, 2016

Bowmore 17 Years Review

“The Way It Used To Be”

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Bowmore  
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 17 Years (The "Old" Version)
ABV: 43 %

Colour: Dark Gold with shades of Orange (Artificially Coloured)

Nose: Gentle Smoke and Delicate Coastal Peat form the welcome committee. I can't hide a smile as there are no young, immature, aggressive notes to be found. It's been a while since I've nosed such a pleasant and well-balanced Single Malt. I find light Iodine, light Brine, light Ashes, Leather, Buttered Toast, Toasted Barley, Toffee, Nutella, Dried Fruit (Plums), Apple, Pineapple, Mango, light Citrus, Rum, Floral Perfume and hints of Spices and Smoked Meat and Fish. The Alcohol and Oak are completely integrated. Quite a treat! 

Palate: It's almost a crime that this Single Malt wasn't bottled at 46%. It would have made this a great Bowmore. It's still good though but just a touch on the Thin side. I find Toasted Barley, Toffee, light Iodine, light Tar, light Smoke, Wet Clay, Ashes, Salted Butter, Chocolate, Hazelnuts, Dried Fruit (Apricot, Plum), light Pepper, light Menthol, Cinnamon, Lemon, Oak, Floral Perfume and hints of Smoked Meat and Fish.

Finish: Quite Long and Warming with Cold Smoke, Ashes, Wet Clay, Toasted Barley, Toffee, Chocolate, light Citrus, Dried Fruit (Apricot), Vanilla Flavoured Pipe Tobacco, Oak, light Pepper, Nutmeg, Licorice, Menthol and fine hints of Espresso and Smoked Meat. A few Mineral notes as well. A bit Dry in the end. After a while I get some Raspberry Flavoured Candies. I must say I didn't expect that!

The "Old" 17 Years

With a couple of drops of water, you will get a bit more Plums, Tropical Fruit, Barley and Citrus on the Nose. On the Palate and in the Finish, Raspberry and Strawberry Flavoured Candies become even more noticeable. I prefer it neat but you can play with a little Water.  

Rating: 88.5 

Nose: 23 - Taste: 22 - Finish: 21.5 - Overall: 22

The 17 Years Distillers Choice Expression

General Remarks: The Bowmore Distillery was founded in 1779 by John Simpson. It's the oldest Islay distillery, located in Bowmore. Since 1994 it is completely owned by Morrison Bowmore Distilleries, part of the Japanese Suntory Group. I'm reviewing the "old" Bowmore 17 Years today. It was replaced in 2007 by the 18 Years. There was also a 17 Years Distillers Choice around but it's discontinued as well. More recently, a "new" 17 Years Travel Retail expression was released under the name "White Sands". The "old" 17 Years matured in a mix of Ex-Bourbon and Ex-Sherry casks. It's still around in some places with prices between 100 and 300 US Dollars (January 2016).

Drinking Experience Neat: Very nice. I really liked the Nose.

Conclusion: With an ABV of 46% this would have been a stunner. As it is, the Bowmore 17 years is still a very good, delicate and well-balanced Single Malt. No immature, aggressive notes are to be found. Alcohol and Oak are blended in naturally. This is the way a mature medium peated Islay Malt should be. What a pity this type of Whisky has become rare and/or unaffordable. If you find this Bowmore somewhere, just buy it. You won't regret it!

Jan van den Ende                                                               January 28, 2016

Bowmore  (Our visit in May 2014)

Glenmorangie The Duthac Review

“Saint Duthac Deserves Better”

Country: Scotland
Region: Highlands 
Brand: Glenmorangie The Duthac
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: NAS 
ABV: 43%

Colour: Golden Amber (Artificially Coloured)

Nose: Light and Young. The trademark Oranges are there but really in the background. I don't think many people would recognise the Duthac as a Glenmorangie in a Blind Tasting event. There's not a lot going on really. I find 
light Malt, Toast, Pastry, Dried Fruit, Nuts, light Honey, Toffee, Treacle, light Cocoa Powder, Peanut Butter, Dried Herbs, Orchard Fruit, Refill Oak, Floral Soap, Pine Needles, Cinnamon and Ginger. 

The Aromas are not very pronounced and you need lots of patience. The Duthac needs an hour or so in the glass before you start Nosing. The Alcohol is not fully integrated.    

Taste: Thin and Young. The Alcohol stings a bit. It's all rather dull with Toffee, Treacle, Brown Sugar, Cocoa Powder, Milk Chocolate, light Vanilla, light Malt, Refill Oak, Nuts, Dried Herbs, Dried Fruit, Orange Peel, light Pepper, Ginger, Nutmeg and hints of Honey, Pear Drops and Aniseed. 

Finish: Short. Sugary Sweet at first but Dry and slightly Bitter towards the end. I find Treacle, Wax, Toffee, light Vanilla, Chocolate with Nuts, light Citrus, Refill Oak, Dried Fruits, ripe Banana, Licorice, Pepper, Cinnamon and Ginger.  

Though I found many Flavour components on the Palate and in the Finish, they are not very strong and mostly mere hints.

I added a few drops of Water and on the Nose you get a bit more Barley and Vanilla. Palate and Finish become too Watery. I also find a little more Licorice in the Finish. Better sip it neat.

Rating: 81  

Nose: 20.5 - Taste: 20 - Finish: 20  - Overall: 20.5

General Remarks: The Duthac was launched early last year as the first of a new Glenmorangie Series, initially only available in the Travel Retail Shops. This is the story behind the Duthac as you can find it on the Web Site of the Distillery:

"At the centre of the Royal Burgh of Tain, Ross-Shire in the far North of Scotland where the Glenmorangie Distillery has stood proudly since 1843, lies the resting place of St. Duthac. During the Middle Ages, the legends of his workings drew travellers from far and wide on pilgrimages to the ancient burgh. A Whisky fit for a king, this expression honours the annual pilgrimage made by King James IV to the shrine of St. Duthac in Tain and is part of Glenmorangie Legends, a collection of Single Malt Whiskies exclusive to Travel Retail inspired by the legendary lands that have been home to the Glenmorangie Distillery since 1843".

The spirit for the Duthac initially matured in Re-Fill ex-Bourbon casks before being married with some Whisky that matured in Ex-Sherry PX casks and some Whisky that matured in Charred Virgin Oak casks. I can't tell you exactly the percentage of each type of Whisky used. The Duthac is not really cheap at an average 80 US Dollars (January 2016). And as it does not deliver, the Price Vs. Quality ratio is not all good. 

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Average  

Conclusion: I'm afraid that the Duthac is another of those lifeless NAS Travel Retail expressions that flood the market. Nice packaging and story but not delivering on Aromas and Flavours. The Sherry Casks and the Virgin Oak did not get enough time to hide the fact that we are talking about a young, unfinished Spirit. If you like a young Glenmorangie, just stay with the Standard 10 years. 

Jan van den Ende                                                                January 25, 2016

Hyde 10 Years Sherry Cask Finish Review

“No Need To Hyde This Whiskey”

Country: Ireland
Brand: Hyde Batch # 1 Presidential Cask (Sherry Cask Finish) 
Type: Single Malt Irish Whiskey
Age: 10 Years
ABV: 46%
Sample provided by: Hibernia Distillers, Ireland. Many Thanks!

Colour: Golden Amber

Nose: Please give this Hyde 10 Years sufficient air contact before Nosing to enable it to release its Aromas. It doesn't smell as clean as your average Triple Distilled Irish Whiskey but also not quite as complex and balanced as your average 10-12 Year old Standard Scottish Highland Single Malt. The First Fill American Oak is quite noticeable and remind me a bit of some German, Dutch and Swiss Whiskies I have nosed over the years. The Sherry Cask influence is there but it certainly does not dominate the Spirit. On the Nose, the Hyde 10 Years is mostly Sweet and Fruity but I detect some Sour accents as well. I find assorted Fruit Candies (Peach, Nectarine, Orange, Grapes, Banana, Orchard Fruit), Heather-Honey, Floral Perfume, Grass, Yeast, Buttered Croissant, Vanilla, Wood Shavings, Varnish, light Barley, Ginger Ale and hints of Dairy, Dusty Road and Fresh Mint.

Palate: Sweet at first but a little Edgy and Bitter later on. Again, the First Fill American Oak shows its presence. The Alcohol is a bit on the Strong side as well. I find Sweet Barley, Vanilla, Toffee, Butter Biscuits, Nectarine, Apricot, Orange, Banana, Grapes, Floral (Honey) notes, Pepper, Ginger and Nutmeg.  

Finish: Middle-Long. Sweet and a little Hot at first. In the end a light Dry Bitterness pops up. I find Toasted New Oak, Toasted Grain, Ginger-Bread, Toffee, Vanilla, Orange, Nectarine, light Menthol, Licorice, Pepper, Salt and a hint of Dark Chocolate.

I added a bit of Water and on the Nose the Fruity notes are reinforced. I find some additional Sweet Red Apple. The Barley is more noticeable as well. Palate and Finish do not benefit from the added Water however.

Rating: 81.5  

Nose: 20.5 – Taste: 20 – Finish: 20.5 – Overall: 20.5

General Remarks: Hibernia Distillers Ltd was founded in March 2014 by the current managers Conor and Alan Hyde. The Head Office is located in Cork. In early 2015 they released the Hyde 10 Years Presidential Cask, paying homage to Ireland's first president Douglas Hyde (1938-1945).This Irish Single Malt was double-distilled in Copper Pot Stills, using 100% Malted Irish Barley. It matured for around 10 Years in Flame-Charred First Fill Ex-Bourbon casks before being finished for around 6 months in First Fill Ex-Oloroso casks from Southern Spain. It's a limited edition with 5000 bottles only. In the meantime Batch # 2 has been released as well. It's also a 10 Year old Single Malt Whiskey, this time with an Ex-Dark Caribbean Rum cask Finish. Both expressions are not Chill-Filtered. 
As Hibernia Distillers was only founded in early 2014, they will only be able to present their own Whiskey in 3-5 years. The Spirit used for the Hyde Batch # 1 and 2 was purchased from the Cooley Distillery. The Sherry Finishing was done by Hibernia. The Hyde 10 Years Sherry Finish is not cheap at an average 60 US Dollars (January 2016).    

Drinking Experience Neat: Good  

Conclusion: The Hyde 10 Years is an interesting Whisky without any doubt. It's certainly not as Irish as many of the Irish Whiskies I have tasted so far and it's also different from Scottish and West European Whiskies. It is a combination of all of those really. It's not a very complicated Single Malt though and Sweet Fruit Candies, Virgin Oak and Floral - and Pastry notes are the main drivers. As such I find the price a bit stiff. Still, it's a good enough first effort from a brand new company. "No Need to Hyde this Whiskey". I wish Hibernia Distillers all the best for the future and look forward to their first "own" expressions in the years to come. It's good to see Ireland exploring new Whiskey roads! 

Jan van den Ende                                                                 January 21, 2016

Arran 100° Proof Review

“To Be … Discontinued”

Country: Scotland 
Region: Highland - Islands - Arran
Brand: Arran 100° Proof
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: NAS (Around 8 Years)
ABV: 57%

Colour: Straw/Pale Gold (Natural Colour) 

Nose: Give this Arran sufficient air contact as the Alcohol is very strong. The first impressions are Barley, Floral Soap, Straw, Grass and Refill Oak. On the Nose the 100° is both Sweet and slightly Sour. After a while I also find Toffee, Caramel, Salted Butter, Biscuits, light Vanilla, Citrus Peel, Sour Green Apples, Apricot Jam and hints of Milk Chocolate, Nuts, Espresso and some Strawberry Yogurt. It's clear that the 100° is still a young Whisky. 

Palate: Young, quite Oily and Hot. The Alcohol is very strong. I find Caramel, Toffee, Sweet Barley, light Heather-Honey, Strawberry Jam, Floral Soap, Refill Oak, Dairy, Ginger, Pepper, Cinnamon and Citrus Peel.    

Finish: Short, Hot and slightly Sour and Bitter towards the end. I find Sweet Barley, light Vanilla, light Cocoa, Lemon Peel, Orange Juice, Pepper, Nutmeg, Salt, Refill Oak and Espresso.

I added a little Water and that helps control the Alcohol of course. The Orchard Fruit and Floral notes become more evident. On the Palate, the 100° remains slightly Hot but the Malt, Heather-Honey and Strawberry notes shine brightly. In this case I would advise you to add a little Water.   

Rating: 81

Nose: 20.5 - Taste: 20 - Finish: 20 - Overall: 20.5

General Remarks: Arran is a very young distillery and only started selling Single Malts in 1995. It is located on the Isle of Arran, off the Scottish West Coast. The 100° Proof was their first Cask Strength expression. It was launched early 2007 but has been discontinued in the meantime. It matured in Ex-Bourbon casks and was not Chill-Filtered before bottling. You can still find it in some places at the price of around 60 US Dollars (January 2017). 

Drinking Experience Neat: Average/Okay. 

Conclusion: I can't get excited about this Arran. The combination of a Young and Light Spirit with a high ABV does not work very well here and leaves the 100° slightly off-balance. This is one of the few whiskies I have had so far that I liked a bit better with some added Water. On the positive side, the Barley makes a very strong impression and in due course I would love to taste a 15 Year Old Cask Strength produced at this distillery. For the time being you are better off with the Standard 10 Years expression.  

Jan van den Ende                                                                 January 18, 2016