Glenlossie 10 Years Flora & Fauna Review

“Simple Entry Level Speysider”

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside  
Brand: Glenlossie Flora & Fauna
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 10 Years
ABV: 43%

Colour: Light Gold/Hay

Nose: Young, Malty, Waxy, Fruity and Sweet with Barley Sugar, Buttered Toast, Breakfast Cereals, Sweet Red Apple, Banana Milk Shake, Straw, light Vanilla, Corn Syrup, Sugared Almonds, Plum Jam, Pineapple in Heavy Juice, Citrus Peel, Honey, Pencil Shavings, Floral tones and a hint of Varnish. It's quite predictable but I can see why it's such an important and regular supplier to the Blended Whisky industry. Because no one will feel in the slightest way offended by the Nose of this Glenlossie. The ABV is Spot-On.

Palate: Sweet and mildly Spicy with Malt, Toffee, Caramel, Syrup, Lemon Zest, Honey, Banana, Grapefruit, Nuts, light Oak, Dried Herbs, Nutmeg, Ginger and Pepper.  

Finish: Middle-Long, slightly Edgy and Sweet-and-Sour with Barley Sugar, light Oak, Nutmeg, Pepper, Light Licorice, Grapefruit Juice, Cocoa Powder, Butter and Dark Chocolate. After a little while, Waxy and Soapy tones appear. A bit Dry in the end.

With some Water I find more Malt, Fruit as well as some Coconut Juice on the Nose. But as the ABV of 43% is Spot-On, Palate and Finish do not require the added Water.

Rating: 82.5

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

General Remarks: The Glenlossie distillery was founded in 1876 by John Duff and is located in Birnie-Elgin (Morayshire). In 1919 DCL bought the distillery and subsequent mergers and take-overs brought it under the wings of the Diageo Group. The Spirit is recognised as an important Blending Whisky and is mainly used in the Haig and Dimple Blends. In 1990, the 10 Year Old I'm reviewing today was introduced as part of the Flora & Fauna Series. It sells at an average 70 US Dollars. Today it's the only available official Distillery Bottling.

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion: A simple Fruity and Malty Speysider. Pleasant on the Nose and Easy on the Palate and in the Finish. A Bit Grainy and Waxy for my liking. But it's a very nice Entry-Whisky for beginning Whisky drinkers as it kinda builds a bridge between Blended non-peated Whiskies and Speyside Single Malt. It's a bit too expensive for what it offers in my opinion!

Jan van den Ende                                                            January 22, 2015

Ardbeg 1998 Malts of Scotland Review

“Tea For Two at Ardbeg” 

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Ardbeg 1998 (Malts of Scotland)
Type: Single Cask Single Malt Whisky
Age: 16 Years
ABV: 56.3%

Colour: Golden Sunlight

Nose: This Ardbeg needs some time in the glass before you start Nosing. At first I mainly get Peat, Wet Clay, light Iodine, Campfire Smoke, Salted Pork on the BBQ, Brine, Tar and Demerara Sugar. But none of these Aromas is very  aggressive like they can be in young Islay Malt. The strong ABV forces you to Nose around the edges of the glass to better pick up the other Aromas. After a while I find Nuts, Buttered Toast, Toffee, Leather, Grapefruit Juice, Apple Vinegar, Berries, light Pineapple and light Sherry. 

Warehouse on the Waterfront

Taste: Sweet and Medium Strong Delivery with Demerara Sugar, Wet Clay, BBQ Smoke, light Iodine, light Tar, light Ashes, Orange Peel, Grapefruit, Oak, Leather, Black Pepper, Licorice, Tobacco and Mineral Notes. 

A Full Bottle of the 1998 (MoS)

Finish: Long and quite Sweet with Campfire Smoke, Wet Clay, Salted Pork, Ashes, Licorice, Demerara Sugar, Oak, Leather, Sweet Mustard, Sweet Tea, Menthol, Lemon Pepper, Nutmeg, Grapefruit and Caramel. Dry in the end.

Beautiful Ardbeg!

I added a bit of Water and on the Nose I find additional Tea and Menthol Notes. Some Tobacco perhaps. But Palate and Finish don't accept the added Water very well. Better sip it neat.

Rating: 86

Nose: 22 - Taste: 21.5 – Finish: 21 – Overall: 21.5

The Milling Floor

General Remarks: The Ardbeg I'm tasting today was distilled in 1998, matured in a Sherry Hogshead with Cask # MoS 14049 and was bottled by Malts of Scotland at Cask Strength in 2014. A total of 218 bottles were drawn. This Ardbeg is Naturally Coloured and Non- Chill Filtered. It is at least priced at around 210 US Dollars (January 2015) but on the Internet I've seen prices up up to 400 US Dollars as well.

Beautiful Nature around the Distillery

Drinking Experience Neat: Good 

Conclusion: I was expecting a lot when I started Nosing and Tasting this Ardbeg as it's one of my favourite distilleries. And I thought that the combination of the Ardbeg Spirit and 16 Years Maturation in an Ex-Sherry Hogshead would produce a wonderful balance between Peat and Fruity Sherry. What I found instead was a combination of the expected understated Islay Notes such as Wet Clay, Tar, Campfire Smoke, Iodine and Salted Pork and overwhelming Sweet Notes. But not Fruity - or  Sherry Sweet but more like Demerara Sugar or Sugared Tea. Was it the cask? In any case, it left the Spirit a bit off balance. Don't get me wrong, it's still a nice Single Malt and highly drinkable at that. But I wouldn't want to spend 200 US Dollars on a full bottle!

Brother in Law Jan Counting Casks!

Some Data: The name Ardbeg means "Small Promontory". It's located some 4 miles east of the Ferry Terminal at Port Ellen on the Isle of Islay. Starting in Port Ellen you first pass Laphroaig and Lagavulin before arriving at Ardbeg. Ardbeg started distilling as early as 1794 but the current Distillery was founded in 1815 by John MacDougall. During its history, Ardbeg changed hands a couple of times and many times stopped production. Things looked really bad for a while until the distillery was bought by Glenmorangie PLC (Lous Vuitton-Moet Hennessy) in 1997. Since then, Ardbeg is clearly back on track! The Distillery possesses a Stainless Steel Semi-Lauter Mash Tun, 6 Wash Backs made of Oregon Pine and 1 pair of Stills. Working 24/7, Ardbeg will be able to produce 1,2 million litres of Alcohol annually. Ardbeg is used in the Black Bottle Blend but more emphasis is put on the Single Malts. The Core Range include the 10 Y, Uigeadail, Blasda, Corryvreckan and Supernova. The visitor centre was opened in 1998. Today it includes a gift shop, a rather small tasting area and a very good Lunchroom called The Old Kiln.

Location of the Ardbeg Distillery

The water for the distillery is sourced from Loch Uigeadail and Airigh Nam Beist. From June to August, Ardbeg is open to the public from Monday to Sunday from 10.00 to 17.00 hours. From September to May it opens from Monday to Friday from 10.00 to 16.00 hours. The Standard Tour costs 4 Pounds. 

The Writer at the Entrance of the Visitor Centre

We visited Ardbeg on Wednesday, May 14 2014. Unfortunately it was raining for most of the time. We really weren't very lucky with the weather during our trip to Scotland. We did the Standard Tour. Our guide was very enthusiastic and friendly but not very knowledgeable. She didn't have the answer to various of the questions raised by our rather large group. Unfortunately it is not allowed to take pictures of the production process and Ardbeg is extremely rigorous in enforcing this internal rule. After the tour we enjoyed a nice Tasting Session where we sampled the 10, Uigeadail and Corryvreckan. Ardbeg seems to be located at the end of the world and the surrounding nature is really beautiful. Would love to come back there on a sunny day! A tasteful Lunch in the Old Kiln closed up our visit to Ardbeg. You should certainly go there when you're on Islay, if only for the beautiful location and a lunch at the Old Kiln!

Ardbeg Gift Shop

Jan van den Ende                                                             January 19, 2015

Ardbeg as we didn't see it!