Malt Whisky Yearbook 2022


                    “A Wee Book on Whisky with Tons of Information"

" In 2005, Ingvar Ronde set out on a quest to try and release the perfect one- volume annual Whisky Book. In 2021 we can safely say "Mission Completed".

Hi Everybody and Welcome at Best Shot Whisky Reviews!

As you all know the purpose of Best Shot Whisky Reviews is to give my personal opinion on Whiskies from all over the world. As it's important to maintain my independent position I'm not engaged in any commercial activity. But, as I have done over the last 7 years, I would like to make an exception to be able to share with you the new edition of The Malt Whisky Yearbook by Ingvar Ronde that has been released every year since 2005. As always, the Malt Year Book is packed with highly interesting stories, this time amongst others about Roasted Malt, the 1823 Excise Act, Local Community Whisky producers, Future Sales predictions based on history, Whisky Legislation & Japanese Whisky. The writers include Charles MacLean, Gavin D. Smith, Neil Ridley, Joel Harrison, Ian Wisniewski and Stefan van Eycken.

The most important part of the book remains the detailed description of Scottish and Japanese Distilleries & slightly shorter presentations about Single Malt Whisky Distilleries from the rest of the world. All in all, a total of 727 Malt distilleries are presented. 

And there's much more such as a new item called Trailblazers of Whisky featuring  seven Whisky icons, a presentation of 150 of the best Whisky Shops in the world, a comprehensive summary of the past whisky year and an entire chapter about the world's most important independent bottlers.

Whisky Statistics, Best Whisky Web Sites (including Best Shot Whisky Reviews 😃), Distilleries per Owner, Closed Distilleries & New Distilleries and Maps complete this Book that also contains more than 500 color photos and over 200 Tasting Notes.

Ingvar Ronde

Year after year, this book not only manages to inform you in depth about the Malt distilleries all over the world but it also gives you solid background info that gives you an idea of the state of today's Whisky market. That's basically all you need if you want to buy one book on Whisky. And that applies to both Whisky enthusiastics and people that work in the Whisky industry.

On top of that, this book is certainly not expensive for what it offers (US$ 20) and is sold in Whisky Shops, International Book Stores, Distillery Visitor Centers and of course at the editor's website:

Malt Whisky Yearbook 2022

I wish you lots of fun with the Malt Whisky Yearbook 2022!

Cheers!

Jan

Bruichladdich Octomore 09.1


”Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire” 


Whisky Review # 932

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Bruichladdich Octomore 09.1 (156 PPM)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky - 42.000 Bottles
Age: 5 Years (2012-2018)
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 59.1% (Cask Strength)
Maturation: First-Fill American Oak Ex-Bourbon/Whiskey casks
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 170-190 (October 2021)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👎 Way too expensive for such a young Whisky.
Buying Advice: 👎In this case better go for young Ardbeg, Caol Ila or Laphroaig.

Colour:

White Wine (Natural Color)

Nose:

Young, Peated Coastal Malt. Smoke and Peat are not overwhelming though. On the other hand, the Alcohol is quite noticeable which is not really a surprise given the high ABV. The Nose is a Light mix of Sweet, Sour, Coastal and Mineral notes. It's okay but I'm not particularly impressed.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Malted Barley, Slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Cold Campfire Smoke, Wet Earth, Brine, Soot, Iodine, Smoked Fish and Bacon, Lemon, Grapefruit, Green Apple, Dusty Oak, Pepper and Mint.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Toffee, Brown Sugar/Caramel, Honey, Grass and Straw, Toast with Banana/Peanut Butter, White Wine, Lemon-Tea, Pear, Nuts, Wet Rocks & Sand, Cinnamon, Ginger, Milk Chocolate, Leather and Olive-Oil.


Palate:

A Young and Nervous mix of Sweet, Bitter, Salty, Sour & Smoky notes. The Alcohol is quite strong. The 09.1 certainly does not rank among my favorite Octomores.

Main Flavours:

Sweet Malted Barley, slightly burnt Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Cold Smoke, Wet Earth, Soot, Iodine, Ashes, Charred Dusty Oak, Brine, Walnuts, Lemon, Grapefruit, Fish, Shell Fish and Bacon on the BBQ, Herbal Tea, Pepper, Salt, Ginger and Cardamom.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Caramel, Toffee, Nougat, Yeast, Grass and Straw, Pear, Coconut, Diesel Oil, PVC Pipes, Milk Chocolate, Leather and Cooked Brussels Sprouts.
 

Finish:

Quite Long, mainly thanks to the Peat/Smoke. A bit of an Alcohol kick. Medium-Dry towards the end.  A mix of Sweet, Salty and Sour notes. I find Sweet Malted Barley, slightly burnt Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Toffee, Treacle, Cold Smoke, Wet Earth, Soot, Brine, Ashes, Green Apple, Lemon, Grapefruit, Gooseberry, Sultanas, Herbal Tea, Walnut Shells, Smoked Fish/Shell Fish & Bacon, Milk Chocolate, Dusty Oak, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Licorice, Salt, Cardamom, Wet Rocks & Sand, Stale Espresso, PVC Pipes, Diesel Oil and Cooked Brussels Sprouts.

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and although the Nose hardly presents changes, the Alcohol is toned down on the Palate and that's a good thing. The Finish becomes a lot shorter though. Taken everything into account my advise would be to add a few drops of Water to this Octomore.

Rating: 83

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good

Conclusion:

Bruichladdich was founded in 1881 by Barnett Harvey. During its history it was mothballed various times, the last time in 1998. In 2012 the Islay distillery was bought by Remy Cointreau (France). Since, Bruichladdich is showing a healthy growth again. The distillery produces 3 types of Single Malt, i.e. the unpeated Bruichladdich & the heavily peated Port Charlotte & Octomore. The basic core range includes Classic Laddie and a 10-year old Port Charlotte. The annual production amounts to around one million litres. About 10% of that is Octomore. Octomore by the way means " The Big Eighth". This is a medieval division of common ground.

The Octomore 09.1 was distilled in 2012 with 100% Scottish Concerto Barley from the 2011 harvest. It matured in Ex-Bourbons casks, mainly from Jim Beam & Jack Daniels.

This is certainly not one of my favorite Octomore expressions. It's basically about Youth, Alcohol & Peat Smoke. A bit one-dimensional in my opinion. There's a saying that "There's no Smoke without Fire" and indeed you get lots of both with the 09.1. You will have to dig deep to find the additional Aromas and Flavors. You will have to dig deep in your pocket as well to buy this Bruichladdich. You get way better value for money with young Ardbeg 10, Caol Ila 12 and Laphroaig 10!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                      October 13, 2021

All pictures were taken during our visit in May 2014

Inchmoan 10 Years



”We Will Rocks You”


Whisky Review # 931
Country: Scotland
Region: Western Highlands
Brand: Inchmoan (Peated - Around 50 PPM)
Distilled at: Loch Lomond Distillery
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: 10 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46%
Maturation: Ex-Bourbon American Oak casks
Chill Filtration: No
Price Average: US$ 50 (October 2021)
Price/Quality Ratio: 😑Okay
Buying Advice:😔 Good on the Rocks but not sufficiently good as a sipping Malt.

Colour: Chardonnay (Artificially Colored)

Nose:

The first impression is that of a Young, Peated Malt. Somewhere between Laphroaig and Glen Scotia or Ledaig. There's definitively a light Maritime character to this Inchmoan and that's a bit of a surprise. The Alcohol is quite noticeable and it feels a bit Thin despite the adequate ABV. I detect a few Salty, Sour, Dairy, Green & Plastic notes. The fruit is hidden behind the Peat.

Main Aromas:

Malted Barley, Salted Caramel, Cold Smoke, Wet Mud, Forest Floor, Grass, Yeast,  Salted Fish/Bacon, Tart Apple, Grapefruit, Gooseberry, Lemon, Plastic, Herbs de Provence, Cardboard Boxes, White Chocolate, Mint and Nutmeg.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Vanilla, Coconut, Iodine, Tar, Brine, Wet Rocks, Mandarin, Pear, Rubber, Dusty Oak, Iron, Leather, Tobacco, Cinnamon, Camembert, Almond Oil and Licorice.


Palate
:


Young. A mix of Bitter, Sweet, Sour, Salty and Green notes. A little Rubber and PVC Pipes as well. Remarkably Dry. The Alcohol is quite noticeable.

Main Flavours:

Malted Barley, Salted Caramel, Cold Smoke, Wet Earth, Brine, Salted Fish/Bacon, Wet Newspaper, Wet Rocks/Sand, Lemon, Mandarin, Gooseberry, Grapefruit, Tart Apple, Herbs de Provence, Camembert, Yeast and Pepper.  

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Vanilla, Tare, Ashes, Soot, Iodine, Iron, Salted Almonds, White Chocolate, Nutmeg,  Cinnamon, Iron and Tobacco.

Finish:

Middle-Long. A mix of Sweet, Bitter, Sour & Salty notes. The Alcohol is very present I'm afraid. Quite Dry after a while. The Young feeling remains right until the end. I find Malted Barley, Salty Caramel, Vanilla, Salted Almonds, Cold Smoke, Wet Mud, Wet Rocks/Sand, Wet Newspaper, Iodine, Soot, Rubber, Ashes, PVC Pipes, Stewed Apples, Grapefruit, Lemon, Mandarin, Gooseberry, Dried Herbs de Provence, Dusty Oak, Salted Bacon/Fish, Camembert, Tobacco, White Chocolate, Pepper, Nutmeg & Mint.

Drinking Advice:

I added a bit of Water and that helps to calm down the Alcohol. But you're left with a Peppery, Peaty Vodka. So better sip it neat or, preferably, on the Rocks.

Rating: 83

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good

Drinking Experience on the Rocks: Good

Conclusion:

The modern Loch Lomond Distillery was constructed in 1965 by Littlemill Distillery Company but Whisky has been distilled on the shores of Loch Lomond since 1814. In 2014 it was sold to Exponent Private Equity and, finally, in 2019 to Hillhouse Capital Management. Loch Lomond uses four types of Stills including Straight Neck Pot Stills and a Single Grain Coffey Still. It produces both Single Malt & Single Grain Whisky. Around 2,8 million litres of the first and 2 million litres of the latter. Loch Lomond possesses two sub-Brand Names namely Inchmurrin for Fruity and Sweet Malt and Inchmoan for Peated and Spicy Malt. Inchmoan uses a combination of Malt Whisky from their traditional Swan neck pot still and the straight neck pot still.

In general I'm not too fond of Young Single Malts that present a relatively high ABV and/or are heavily peated. On many occasions these features try to hide the Youth and the indifferent Cask management. I feel that's very likely the case here with this Inchmoan. Unfortunately the peat conceals most of the Fruity notes as well. It's not really a bad Single Malt and the Rubber/Plastic/Iron off-notes are within limits. But the reasons mentioned above do prevent this Inchmoan from being a truly enjoyable sipping Malt. On the Rocks it's just fine though and that's the way I'm going to enjoy this bottle of Inchmoan!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                         October 6, 2021

Compass Box Great King St. Glasgow Blend



”Where the Streets Have No Name”


Whisky Review # 930

Country: Scotland
Brand: Compass Box Great King St. Glasgow Blend
Type: Blended Scotch Whisky - Batch GB 209 - Bottled: 2020
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 43%
Maturation: Mix of Bourbon & Sherry Wood with new French Oak Finish (3%)
Chill Filtration: No
Average Price: US$ 47 (September 2021)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👍 Okay/Good given the variety of the components.
Buying Advice: 😐 It's okay I guess but too Thin and Bland for me.

Colour:

Golden Amber (Natural Color)

Nose:

Young and on the Thin side. A mix of Sweet and Sour notes with Tart, Mineral and Smoky accents. The Sherry influence is rather limited. I pick up various Aroma and Flavor nuances but it takes a lot of time and patience.

Main Aromas:

Grain Alcohol, Malted & Toasted Barley, slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Dried Fruit like Apricots and Raisins, Toasted Pineapple, Lemon & Orange Zest, Smoked Fish, Shellfish & Bacon, Cold Campfire Smoke, Wet Mud, Grass, Leather, Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Mint.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Honey, Demerara Sugar, Nectarine, Tart Apples, Strawberry-flavored Yogurt, White Chocolate, Roasted Nuts, Oak, Brine, Wet Rocks/Sand, Ashes, light Iodine, Pepper, Cloves, PVC Pipes and Olive Oil. Some Bananas from time to time.


Palate:

Young, slightly Oily and on the Thin side. The Grain Alcohol is clearly noticeable. The Malt cask influence is limited. Laphroaig is the only Malt you can pick up reasonably easy. The Palate presents a mix of Bitter-Sweet and Sour notes with Salty, Herbal, Spicy and Smoky nuances.

Main Flavours:

Grain Alcohol, Toasted Malt, Salted Toffee, Vanilla, Grass & Straw, Campfire Smoke, Charred Oak, Wet Mud, Lemon, Grapefuit, Seville Orange, Toasted Pineapple, Smoked Fish, Shellfish and Bacon, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Licorice and Menthol.

Supportive Flavour Accents:
   
Honey, Ashes, Iodine, Wet Rocks/Sand, Dried Fruits like Raisins and Apricots, Wax, Roasted Nuts, Dried Coconut, Herbal Tea, Leather, Tobacco, Nutmeg, Aniseed and Cloves. A hint of PVC Pipes.

Finish:

Short/Middle-Long and again on the Thin side. The Grain Alcohol is clearly present. The same can't be said from the Sherry casks unfortunately. The Finish is a rather disappointing mix of Bitter-Sweet and Sour notes laced with Herbs, Spices and Salt. Quite Dry in the end. I find Grain Alcohol, Toasted Malt, Burnt Toast, Vanilla, Salted Caramel, Honey, Lemon, Grapefruit, Seville-Orange, Roasted Nuts, Dried Fruit like Raisins and Dates, Campfire Smoke, Wet Earth, Ashes, Charred Oak, Herbal Tea, Espresso, Dark Chocolate, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Cloves, Licorice, Aniseed & Menthol. A hint of PVC Pipes.


Drinking Advice:

Added Water turns this Glasgow Blend into a Laphroaig infused Grain Alcohol. Better sip it neat or, preferably, on the Rocks.

Rating: 82

Nose: 21 - Taste: 20.5 - Finish: 20 - Overall: 20.5

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay

Drinking Experience On the Rocks: Good

Conclusion:

First of all some information on this Blend and the series as mentioned on the label.

" The Great King St Range from Compass Box is dedicated to creating contemporary Scotch Whiskies in the full-flavored style of the great 19th century Blending Houses. In creating these Blends we drew on archive recipies from the golden age of Whisky making then updating them with our own 21st century custom cask maturation techniques. The result is a style of Blended Scotch unlike anything else available today".

"In the Glasgow Blend we have combined the smoky marine character of mature Islay Malt Whisky with the rich Fruitcake character of Sherry cask matured Speyside Scotch and the deep Vanilla richness of aged Lowland Grain. The combination is bold, peaty and sherried, a quite fitting Blend for the people of Glasgow who have historically preferred fuller bodied and more flavor-packed whiskies than their counterparts in other areas of the world".

This Glasgow Blend consists of 35,2% Single Grain Whisky from the Cameronbridge distillery matured in First-Fill Bourbon Barrels, 29% of (most likely) Aberlour Malt matured in First-Fill Sherry Butts, 18% of Laphroaig Malt that matured in Refill Ex-Bourbon casks, 9,9% of Clynelish Malt matured in First-Fill Ex-Bourbon barrels, 5,1% of (most likely) Benrinnes matured in Re-vatted Sherry Butts and 2,6% of a Highland Malt Blend containing (in the specific 2020 Bottling) 60% Glen Moray, 25% Tomatin and 15% Balmenach. Earlier batches contained Clynelish, Teaninich and Dailuane. The information provided by Compass Box is truly unique in today's Whisky world and highly commendable.

This is not an easy Blend to review. The P/Q ratio is quite okay and it's not bad when compared to the average Scottish Blends. But it's clear to me that Compass Box aimed to keep the price at a reasonable level and that shows of course in the ultimate Aroma and Flavor profile. The casks used for maturation of the various Malts were certainly not the most active ones, especially the Sherry Wood. As a result the Grain Alcohol and the Laphroaig Malt are the main drivers of this Blend. The ABV of 43% is not quite enough to carry sufficient other Aromas and Flavors to our Nosing and Tasting systems, resulting in a rather Thin profile. Compass Box wanted to produce a full-bodied and flavor-packed Blend to honor the tradition of the Glasgow people. I don't think they quite succeeded in doing so. This Blend will probably be more popular in areas Where the Streets Have No Name!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                  September 29, 2021

Adelphi The Winter Queen II


”Sherry Oh Baby” 


Whisky Review # 929

Country: Scotland/The Netherlands

Region: Mix of Islay, Speyside, Highlands and The Netherlands
Brand: Adelphi The Winter Queen II
Bottled By/For: Adelphi (AD) - Fusion Whisky Series in 2018 - 400 Bottles
Type: Blended Malt Whisky
Age: 19 Years* (See Text Below)
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 54.5% (Around Cask Strength)
Maturation: Mix of First-Fill and Re-Fill Ex-Bourbon and Ex-Sherry Casks
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 315-360  (September 2021)
Price/Quality Ratio: 😐It can't be cheap but it is quite expensive!
Buying Advice: 👍Well-made. A treat for Sherry-Bomb lovers!

Colour: Dark Amber (Natural Color)

Nose:

Quite Sweet with loads of Dark Sherry notes. The Bourbon casks are still noticeable as well though. Dark Red Fruits, Bitter Chocolate and Molasses lead the way. Nice touches of Old Wood. Quite Dry actually. The Alcohol is well-integrated.

Main Aromas:

Toasted and Malted Barley, Buttered Toast, Molasses/Syrup, Dark Red Fruit such as Blueberries, Blackberries and (Maraschino) Cherries, Sweet Apple, Dark Chocolate, Nutella, Roasted Coffee/Dark Espresso, Polished Old Wooden Floor, Dunnage Ware-House and Violets.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Toffee, Vanilla, Marzipan, Dried Fruit such as Sultanas, Raisins, Coconuts & Apricots, Fortified Red Wine, Nectarine, Toasted Pineapple, Wet Forrest Floor, Dried Herbs, Salty Bacon, Leather, Mint, Wax and a faraway hint of Smoke. 


Palate:

Full, Mature and Oily. Quite Dry. Mainly Sweet but with a few Bitter, Sour and Salty notes for balance. The Dark Red Fruits are now joined by Spices and Wood.

Main Flavours:

Sweet Malted and Toasted Barley, Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, Molasses/Syrup, Dark Red Fruit like Blueberries, Blackberries and (Maraschino) Cherries, Dried Fruit like Sultanas, Raisins and Apricots, Dark Chocolate, Polished Old Wooden Floor, Pepper, Cloves, Menthol and Licorice.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Toffee, Vanilla, Dark Honey, Seville-Orange, Roasted Coffee, Forrest Floor, Musty Dunnage Warehouse, Salted Smoked Bacon, Violets and hints of Munster Cheese and Cold Smoke.


Finish:

Quite Sweet, Long & Dry. A few light Bitter, Salty & Sour notes offer a little balance. This is Sherry country though! I find Sweet Malted and Toasted Barley, Buttered Toast, Molasses, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Dark Honey, Sultanas, Seville-Orange, Dark Berries & Cherries, Dark Chocolate, Roasted Coffee/Strong Espresso, Polished Old Wood, Cigar Ashes and Box, Menthol, Licorice, Cloves, Nutmeg and Pepper.

Drinking Advice:

You can add a little Water but you don't have to. The Alcohol is well-integrated and carries and develops the main Aromas and Flavors.

Rating: 88

Nose: 22 - Taste: 22 - Finish: 22 - Overall: 22

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion:

This is the second Winter Queen release. The first one, released in March 2018 was a 9 year old Blend of Scottish and Dutch Single Malts. The Winter Queen II that I'm reviewing today contains much older whisky.

*Its stated age is only 19 years old as the Dutch Zuidam distillery could not contribute with older Malts. The Winterqueen II contains parts of 2 refill ex-Bourbon casks distilled at Teaninich in 1983, part of a 20 Year old Bowmore that matured in a refill Ex-Sherry bud, part of a Sherry-But matured Mortlach distilled in 1993, part of a 19 year old Zuidam that matured in a First-Fill Ex-PX Sherry hogshead and part of a refill Ex-Sherry Butt that contained a blend of matured Highland Malts.

The name of today's Blend refers to Elizabeth Stuart, the oldest daughter of the Scottish king James VI. She was born in 1596 in Fife, Scotland but spent a great part of her life in The Hague in The Netherlands, hence the blend of Scottish and Dutch malts.

The Winterqueen is a well-made and consistent Blended Malt from Nose to Finish. It's quite Sherry driven although the Ex-Bourbon casks prevent it from going over the top. If you're not into Sherried Whisky you should not touch this queen but if you're a Sherry-Bomb adept you're in for a royal treat. Personally I would have added a bit more of Bowmore as it would have enhanced the Smoky touch. But in general this cooperation between Scotland and Baarle Nassau worked out pretty well!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                    September 8, 2021