Tamdhu 1984 Scott's Selection Review

“Old and Wise”

Country: Scotland 
Region: Speyside
Brand: Tamdhu 1984 (Scott's Selection) 
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 27 Years
ABV: 49.6%

Colour: Golden

Nose: Mature and Floral with Heather Honey, Sherry, Dried Fruits like Raisins, Dates and Apricots, Sweet Barley, Golden Syrup, Buttered Toast and Orange Marmalade, Toffee, Butterscotch, Dry Earth, slightly Sour Red Apples, Peach, Vanilla sauce, Bourbon, Cinnamon, Ginger, Mint and distant hints of Leather and Tobacco. The Oak and Alcohol are present of course but they are quite nicely integrated with the other Aromas. Can a Whisky smell Creamy? This Tamdhu does in my opinion.  

Palate: Strong, Spicy and Sweet-Sour Delivery with Malt, Orange Marmalade, Sponge Cake, Red Grapes, Red Apples, Dried Fruits and Nuts, Heather Honey, Toffee, Vanilla, Mint, Pepper, Ginger, light Salty Licorice, Dry Earth and a bit of Lemon. The Alcohol and Oak are more noticeable here. 

Finish: Middle-Long, Woody and Spicy with Toast (the Dutch Beschuit) with little Aniseed balls, Pepper, Mint, Heather Honey, Orange Marmalade, Dried Apricot, Raisins, Malt and Oak. Quite Dry in the end. The Alcohol is more present here. 

I added a bit of Water and the Nose shows even more Floral - and Malty notes. Spice, Honey, Red Fruit, Licorice and Aniseed lead the way on the Palate and in the Finish. The Alcohol calms down this way. This Tamdhu certainly accepts a little Water.

Rating: 85 

Nose: 22.5 - Taste: 21 - Finish: 20 - Overall: 21.5

Stills at Tamdhu

General Remarks: The Tamdhu Distillery was founded in 1896 by a group of Whisky Blenders of which William Grant was the most important. It is located in Knockando/Aberlour in Morayshire. It closed from 1911 to 1913, 1928 to 1948 and 2009-2011 when it was bought by the current owners Ian MacLeod. Under the old owners (The Edrington Group) most of the Spirit went into Blends like Cutty Sark, Vat 69, White Horse, The Famous Grouse  and J&B. The new owners however are keen to put Tamdhu on the Whisky map as a premium Single Malt. But of course it will also be used for MacLeod's own Blends like King Robert II. The Tamdhu I'm tasting today was distilled in 1984 when the distillery was still owned by Robertson & Baxter (Edrington).

The Scott's Selection is a collection of Single Malts handpicked by Robert Scott, the former Master Blender at Speyside Distillers in Glasgow. This Tamdhu is bottled at Cask Strength and not Chill-Filtered. Scott's Selection organised its last Whisky Tasting Event on September 13, 2014 in Roosendaal, Holland. The Tamdhu I am reviewing today was distilled in 1984 and bottled in October 2011. It matured in an Ex-Sherry Hogshead (Cask # 2841) and costs an average 140 US Dollars. 

Drinking Experience Neat: Good 

Conclusion: This is my first Tamdhu and also one of the oldest Whiskies I've tasted so far. It certainly did not disappoint. The Barley is Fat and Juicy and I can see why Blend producers would like to include Tamdhu in the mix. I quite like the Nose that presents a mature, balanced and creamy mix of Fruit, Honey, Malt and Butterscotch. Palate and Finish are not quite as balanced. The age is showing and Oak and Alcohol are a bit too present there. The Finish is on the short side and quite Dry with a very distinctive Aniseed note. Despite the flaws, I enjoyed tasting this Tamdhu. Good Price/Age/Quality ratio.

Jan van den Ende                                                                       July 30, 2015

Bunnahabhain 1989 C&S Review

“Old of Age but Young in Spirit”

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Bunnahabhain 1989 C & S Dram Collection - Dram Senior Series
Bottled by: Scottish Whisky Centre Ltd, Hilton, Bankfoot, Perth 
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 24 Years
ABV: 45.8 %

Colour: Light Golden

Nose: Heather Honey, Perfumed Soap, Herbs, Varnish, Orchard Fruit, Straw, Butterkekse, Toasted Barley, Brine, light Peat, light Smoke, Mandarin, Lemon Peel, Oak, Demerara Sugar, Toffee, light Vanilla, Wet Stones and Pineapple in Syrup. The Alcohol is not fully integrated. I like the subtle interaction between the light Peat, the light Smoke and the Brine with the other Aromas. The Nose is not bad but the rather strong Varnish note spoils a bit of the fun.

Palate: Sweet, Salty and Herbal with light Peat, light Smoke, Toasted Oak, Buttered Toast, Barley, Vanilla, Citrus, Dried Herbs, Hay, Espresso, Pepper, light Licorice, light Cinnamon and Mineral tones. 

Finish: Middle-Long and Warming with slightly Bitter Oak, Dirty Earth, light Smoke, Pepper, Salt, Cardamom, Licorice, Hay, Buttered Toast, Heather Honey, Vanilla, Toffee and a hint of Menthol.   

I added a couple of drops of water. The Nose becomes quite Floral and I also find some Grapefruit. Palate and Finish become a little Creamier. You can certainly experiment with a couple of drops!

Rating: 83

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

General Remarks: The Single Cask Bunnahabhain 1989 I'm tasting today was distilled on October 20, 1989, matured in an Ex-Bourbon Hogshead with Cask # 5710 and was bottled at Cask Strength on September 8, 2014 for German based Indie Bottler C&S (Caminneci) in their Dram Senior Collection. It is naturally coloured and Non Chill-Filtered. It sells at around 105 US Dollars.

Bunnahabhain (Mouth or Foot of the River) Distillery was founded around 1881 and is located close to Port Askaig. Usually, the Distillery dries the Malt with hot air or light Smoke, giving their whisky a more subtle flavour then most of its Peated neighbours on the island. 

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion: Quite Fresh for a 24 Years old Single Malt. I didn't find any Musty or Dusty elements. The light Smoke and light Peat work nicely together with some of the other Aromas and Flavours. I would have scored this higher but for the strong Varnish note on the Nose. I also find the Palate a little too Herbal. The Finish is quite nice and warming though. All in all a very decent Single Malt at a reasonable price considering its age.   

Jan van den Ende                                                                       July 27, 2015

Glenburgie 10 Years Review

“Glenburgie United 5 – Ballantine’s FC 2”

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside 
Brand: Glenburgie (Gordon & MacPhail)
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 10 Years
ABV: 40 %

Colour: Amber

Nose: A combination of fine Sherry, Fruit and fat Barley. I find Toasted Grain, Dried Fruits, Citrus Zest, Straw, Stone - and Red Fruit, Stewed Apples, Vanilla Sauce, Toffee, light Honey, Butterkekse and some Fresh Herbs. The Wood combines well with the other Aromas and the Alcohol is sufficiently integrated. It's not an extremely complicated Nose but it's pleasant and well-balanced. After a while in the glass I believe to detect a hint of Sulphur but it's not enough to spoil the Nosing fun. Some Floral notes as well.   

Taste: Creamy and mostly Sweet but with a little Bitterness in the back of the glass. I find Red Grapes, Dried Fruits, Nuts, Toasted Barley, Butterscotch, light Honey, Vanilla, Citrus, Straw, light Licorice, light Pepper and light Cinnamon.   

Finish: Short, Dry and slightly Bitter Sweet with Orange Juice, Grapefruit Juice, Toasted Barley, Fresh Coconut Water, light Pepper, light Cinnamon, Vanilla, Licorice and Oak. 

I added a few drops of Water and Vanilla, Barley and Oak start to dominate the Nose. Palate and Finish do not need the extra Water but you can add a few drops if you like.

Rating: 84   

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 21 - Finish: 20.5 - Overall: 21

General Remarks: The Glenburgie distillery was founded as Kilnflat in 1810 by William Paul. It only became Glenburgie in 1878 and is located in Glenburgie, Forres (Morayshire). It exchanged hands a couple of times before being bought by Chivas Brothers (Pernod Ricard) in 2005. Glenburgie is one of the principal malts in Ballantine's. The only official distillery bottling is the 17 Years Cask Strength. For other expressions we have to look to Independent Bottlers and the Glenburgie 10 Years I'm tasting today was selected by - and bottled under the responsibility of Gordon and MacPhail of Elgin. I bought the 5 cl miniature bottle at the G&McP Shop in Elgin last year May. It shows that this Glenburgie was bottled in 2013. It matured in a mix of First Fill and Refill Ex-Sherry Casks and costs around 45 US Dollars (July 2015).  

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion: I was pleasantly surprised by this Glenburgie 10 Years. It's not a spectacular Single Malt but it's well-made and well-balanced, especially on the Nose. The Finish is a bit Short and slightly messy but all in all the Price-Quality ratio is excellent. This is a great day to day Malt and an excellent place to start your Whisky experience. It's a pity that so many Glenburgie spirit is "lost" in the Pernod Ricard Blends. Because this Glenburgie 10 Years by Gordon & MacPhail shows that this Spirit has Single Malt potential. I for one prefer this Glenburgie over the Standard Ballentine's any time of the day!

Jan van den Ende                                                                       July 23, 2015

Auchentoshan 1998 CWC Review

“Another One Bites The Dust”

Country: Scotland
Region: Lowlands 
Brand: Auchentoshan 1998 (Creative Whisky Company - The Exclusive Malts)
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 13 Years
ABV: 56,5 %

Colour: Pale Gold

Nose: The Auchentoshan 1998 is a Single Malt of course but at first I get an Aroma that is similar to a Single Grain Whisky. After a while the Nose opens up and Fruity and Flowery notes pop up. I'm quite sure this Spirit matured in an Ex-Bourbon Cask. I find Barley and Cereals in general, Butterkekse, Straw, Oak, Grass, Vanilla, Dusty Road, Perfumed Soap, Nectarine, Pineapple, Lemon and a sprinkle of Cinnamon. The Nose is a bit timid. The Alcohol is not fully integrated.

Taste: Orchard Fruit, Perfumed Soap, Toffee, light Vanilla, Straw, Grass, Grain, Dried Herbs, light Licorice, Pepper, Ginger, Cinnamon, Oak and Lemon. The ABV seems to be a bit high for this Spirit.

Finish: Middle-Long and Edgy with Dried Herbs, Oak, Toffee, Pepper, Ginger Powder and a hint of Varnish.  

I added a few drops of Water and on the Nose I get some Peach and extra Barley. Palate and Finish do not benefit from the added Water 

Rating: 80.5  

Nose: 21 - Taste: 20 - Finish: 19.5 - Overall: 20

General Remarks: The Auchentoshan 1998 CWC I'm tasting today was distilled on the 2nd of December 1998 and matured in Cask # 102387. This Single Cask Malt was bottled at Cask Strength in 2012 by Indie Bottler CWC (The Creative Whisky Company) in their Exclusive Malts series. It is Uncoloured and not Chill- Filtered. It sells at around 70 US Dollars (July 2015). 

The Auchentoshan distillery was founded in 1823 and is located in Dalmuir, close to Glasgow. It exchanged hands a couple of times before being bought by Morrison (Bowmore) in 1984. Morrison of course was bought by Suntory from Japan in 1994. From then on the distillery has become very popular again. It's one of the few remaining Lowland distilleries and it's the only Scottish one that maintains triple distillation.

The Creative Whisky Company was founded in 2005 by David Kirk, a whisky connoisseur and writer. CWC specialises in Scottish Single Cask Malt Whiskies. All casks are selected by David himself. The expressions in the Exclusive Malt series are all bottled at Cask Strength. Every year only around 20 casks are selected to become an Exclusive Malt.  

Drinking Experience Neat: Average

Conclusion: Auchentoshan is not one of my favourite distilleries so far. And this 1998 CWC bottling does nothing to change my mind. The Nose is okay with Fruits, Cereals and Perfume but Palate and Finish don't impress me at all with lots of Herbs and Spicy Oak and a hint of Varnish. The Alcohol is very present everywhere. This spirit would probably benefit from a slightly lower ABV. A lot of people like this Distillery so perhaps the problem lies with me. But I would not dream of spending 70 US Dollars or so on a Malt like this. Just let me know any Auchentoshan expressions you would recommend!

Jan van den Ende                                                                       July 20, 2015

Jameson 2015 Review

“King Without A Crown”

Country: Ireland
Brand: Jameson
Type: Blended Irish Whiskey
Age: NAS. The distillery puts it around 7 Years.
Alcohol: 40%

Colour: Pale Gold

Nose: Light and Sweet but not unpleasant with Sweet Grains, Toasted Oak, Barley, Buttered Toast, Resin, Toffee, Honey, light Vanilla, light Sherry, Orange Marmalade, Canned Peach, Roasted Nuts, Hay, Dried Herbs, Cinnamon and Ginger. There is a light Metallic Note in the back and the Alcohol is not at all integrated. I noticed that I'm better able now to describe exactly what I'm smelling when I compare my notes with my earlier Review from October 2011. The scoring for the Nose remains the same though. 

Taste: Sweet Sugared Grains, Toast, Resin, Refill Oak, slightly Bitter Nuts, Hay, Pear Drops, slightly Sour Orange Juice, Herbal Tea, Toffee, light Vanilla, light Honey, Alcohol, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger and a hint of Milk Chocolate. 

Finish: Middle-Long. The Alcohol burns a bit. I find Sweet Grains, Butterscotch, Toffee, light Vanilla, light Honey, Refill Oak, Dusty Road, Nuts, Cinnamon and Pepper. It's a little Bitter towards the end.

Rating: 78.5

Nose: 20.5 – Taste: 19.5 – Finish: 19 – Overall: 19.5

Stills at the Old Jameson Distillery Museum

General Remarks: The Old Jameson distillery was founded in 1780. Today this Whiskey is produced at the Middleton Distillery. This Blend contains both Malt - and Grain Whiskey and matures in a mix of Ex-Bourbon, Ex-Sherry and Ex-Port Casks. Jameson is Triple-Distilled and it's the best selling Irish Whiskey world-wide. It's not expensive at around 30 US Dollars per bottle. (July 2015).

No need to add Water to this Blend. 

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay

Drinking Experience on the Rocks: Okay 

Conclusion: The good thing about the Jameson Standard Expression is that it’s not an expensive Whiskey. It’s also slightly better in my opinion than most of the cheaper Scottish blends such as Johnny Walker Red Label, White Horse, Grant’s Family Reserve, Ballantine’s Finest, Chivas 12 Years and Dewar’s White Label. So it scores high when it comes to value for money. On the other hand, I like to see things happen in a Whiskey and that’s not the case here. Too much Sweet Grain, Toffee, Refill Wood, Resin, Alcohol and Spices and very little else. But if you're looking for a cheap and reasonable Blend you might give it a chance. I actually slightly increased the final rating when compared to 2011. This is mainly the result of the fact that my Palate has developed over the years and I am more able to detect Flavours and Aromas. Still, it's a pity that lots of people measure Irish Whiskey on the basis of this Jameson. Whatta Mistake to Make! Please try some Red Breast or Green Spot and you'll know what I mean. Then you'll realise that the Jameson Standard is merely a King Without a Crown!

Jan van den Ende                                                                       July 17, 2015