Caperdonich 18 Years Review - Glen Keith 19 Years Review - Strathmill 21 Years Review


“Anam na h-Alba Special”

Introduction:

Most of you know that I mainly use samples and miniatures when preparing my Reviews. I usually buy these in Holland and sometimes in Germany or the UK. Sometimes I receive samples from friends or readers or independent bottlers. In only two cases I received a few samples directly from distilleries. When planning my reviews for the coming months I always try to give attention to all Scottish Whisky regions as well as other Whisky/Whiskey/Bourbon producing regions all over the world with special attention to the USA, Ireland and Japan. And last but not least the blends. At the request of many readers I give preference to more recent expressions. As a result my backlog of older samples has increased quite a bit. To do justice to those samples I will review them in the format of Specials. These specials will deal with a specific bottler like today or with specific regions, countries or distilleries. The reviews in these Specials will concentrate on the Whisky and won't go into details about distilleries, maturation etc. I do hope you will like these Specials just as much as my regular reviews and I look forward to your reactions and suggestions. Today's special will look at three Single Malts from Speyside, bottled by German Indie-Bottler Anam na h-Alba. Enjoy! 

Anam na h-Alba (The Soul of Scotland)

Anam na h-Alba (The Soul of Scotland) was founded in 2011 by Tom Skowronek in the city of Oberhausen in the German Ruhr area. It's the first independent bottler in that part of Germany. The goal of the company is to identify selected casks of Whisky all over Europe but particularly in Scotland. These casks will then be bottled at Cask Strength under the Anam na h-Alba label. All Malts are coloured naturally and Chill-Filtration is not applied. The company grew steady over the years and in 2015 a small Tasting Shop was opened in Oberhausen. In June of 2018 the company will organise Edition # 4 of "Just Whisky", the Whisky Fair in Oberhausen. You can find their Web Shop here: Anam na h-Alba.

In today's Special I will look at three of their older Single Cask releases. They are no longer available in the shop but you might find the odd bottle on the Internet or in auctions.

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Whisky Review # 636

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Caperdonich 1994
Status Distillery: Closed in 2002. Demolished in 2010
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Whisky
Age: 18 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 49.2%
Maturation: Bourbon Barrel (155 Bottles)  
Chill Filtration: No  
Price Range: Around 100 US Dollars. (August 2017)
Sample received from Tom in Germany. Many Thanks!
Buying Advice:😏 Typical Aperitif Malt. Too expensive for what it offers. 

Colour: Pale Straw/White Wine (Natural Colour)

Nose: Fresh, Crisp and Clean. Sweet but also with a few Sour and Herbal notes. A typical Summer Dram to enjoy before Lunch or Dinner. I find Toasted Barley, Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Toffee, Caramel, Apple-Juice, Unripe Pear, Melon, Lemon Peel, Heather-Honey, Grass, Straw, Fresh Mint, light Aniseed, Cinnamon, Ginger, light Cocoa Powder, Dried Herbs and hints of Nail Polish, Charred Oak and Bitter Lemon (Soft drink). A few Floral notes that I can't put a name to. Uncomplicated is the best way to describe this Caperdonich. Caperdonich was often referred to as Glen Grant 2 and with reason. This is quite similar to a Glen Grant 16 Years I tasted earlier.

Palate: Mainly Sweet and a little Edgy. The Alcohol is a bit Sharp. I find Sweet Barley, Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Caramel, Heather-Honey, Green Apple, Unripe Pear, Lemon, Grapefruit, Nut Shells, Grass, Straw, Charred Oak, Wet Stones, Herbal Tea, Pepper, Ginger, Cinnamon, Cardamom, light Licorice and traces of Tobacco and Cocoa Powder. 

Finish: Middle-Long, Bitter-Sweet, Creamy, slightly Sharp and Dry towards the end. The Alcohol is more noticeable by now.  I find Sweet Toasted Barley, Toffee, Vanilla, Caramel, Heather-Honey, Gooseberries, Lemon, Grapefruit, Nut Shells, Tobacco, Grass, Charred Oak, Mint, light Aniseed, Ginger, Cardamom, Pepper, light Licorice, Wet Stone and Dried Herbs.     

Rating: 81.5

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

Conclusion

This Caperdonich was distilled on the 9th of July, 1994 and bottled on the 17th of August, 2012. It is not a very intriguing Single Malt. Quite Floral and Lemony with a few Spices and Herbs for balance. Nice aperitif on a sunny day. The Finish is a tad too bitter and the Alcohol becomes more noticeable towards the end. It's okay I guess but not really my favourite type of Malt.
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Whisky Review # 637

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Glen Keith 1992
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Whisky
Age: 19 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 51.9%
Maturation: American Oak Barrel (217 Bottles) 
Chill Filtration: No   
Price Range: Around 110 US Dollars. (August 2017)
Sample received from Tom in Germany. Many Thanks!
Buying Advice: 😏 A bit too Aggressive and Sharp for a Speyside Malt. 

Colour: Chardonnay (Natural Colour)

Nose: Be sure to give this Glen Keith sufficient time in the glass before Nosing. The Alcohol is present and you will need to find your way around it. On the Nose, this Glen Keith is Sweet, Fruity and Floral. I find Toasted Malt, Butterkekse (German Butter Biscuits), Vanilla, Toffee, Heather-Honey, Straw, Grass, Fresh Pastry, Latte Macchiato, Charred Oak, Bourbon, Banana Ice Cream, Stewed Apple, Pineapple, Pear, Nectarine, Mandarin Peel, Lemon Juice, Cinnamon, light Pepper, light Aniseed and Mint.        

Palate: Bitter-Sweet and slightly Sharp with a few Mineral - and Sour notes as well. I find Toasted Barley, Toffee, Caramel, Vanilla, Heather-Honey, Oak, Grass, Straw, Melon, Lemon, Grapefruit, Sour Berries or Grapes, Wet Rocks, Cocoa Powder, Pepper, Ginger, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Apple-Vinegar, Menthol and light Licorice.  

Finish: Middle-Long, slightly Sharp and Bitter-Sweet. Quite Dry in the end and a tad too Bitter. I find Sweet Malt, Caramel, Toffee, Vanilla, Heather-Honey, Nut-Shells, Lemon/Grapefruit Juice, Grass, Charred Oak, Apple-Vinegar, Wet Rocks, Cocoa Powder, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Cardamon, Menthol and light Licorice.  

Rating: 82.5  

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 20.5 - Finish: 20 - Overall: 20.5 

Conclusion

This Glen Keith was distilled on the 1st of October, 1990 and bottled on the 28th of August 2012. It's not a bad Single Malt but I find it to be a little Aggressive and Edgy for a Speysider. The Alcohol is quite present. The Sweetness of the Fruit is clearly overpowered by the Bitterness of Wood - and Wood spice, most notably on the Palate and in the Finish. Not a perfect interaction between Cask and Spirit in my opinion.

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Whisky Review # 638

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Strathmill 1990
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Whisky
Age: 21 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 54.5%
Maturation:Re-Fill Sherry Butt (171 Bottles)  
Chill Filtration: No   
Price Range: Around 75 US Dollars. (August 2017)
Sample received from Tom in Germany. Many Thanks! 
Buying Advice: 😐 If you're into Wood and Spice Go for it! Price is okay!

Colour: Golden Amber (Natural Colour)

Nose: Mature Nose. Certainly not a Sherry Bomb though. The Refill Butt did leave some mild Sherry notes like Raisins, Marzipan and Nuts. The Oak is there of course but not at all in a dominant way. The Alcohol is reasonably integrated. I find Sweet Toasted Barley, Caramel, Toffee, Butterscotch, Vanilla, Heather-Honey, Straw, Grass, Citrus Peel, Cocoa Powder, Dried Apple and Pineapple, Dirt Road, Pastry, light Pepper, Cinnamon and Ginger. A hint of Espresso.     

Palate: Bitter-Sweet and Spicy with some Sour and Mineral notes as well. I find Toasted Barley, Butterscotch, Vanilla, Green Apple, Nectarine, Nuts, Dried Fruit (Raisins), Cocoa Powder, Pepper, Ginger, Nutmeg, light Aniseed, Lemon Peel, Grapefruit, Wet Rocks and Oak.    

Finish: Middle-Long, Bitter-Sweet, Spicy and Creamy. Quite Dry in the end. The Oak and Wood spice are more present now. I find Toasted Malt, Butterscotch, Treacle, Dried Fruit (Raisins), Hazelnuts, Straw, Green Apple, Nectarine, Dried Herbs, Lemon/Grapefruit Juice, light Ashes, Wet Rocks, Pepper, Nutmeg, light Aniseed, Ginger, Cardamom and Menthol. 

Rating: 82

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 20 - Finish: 20 - Overall: 20.5 

Conclusion

This Strathmill was distilled on the 4th of May 1990 and bottled on the 10th of April 2012. Although this Refill Sherry Butt was not the most active around, I still believe this Strathmill was bottled a couple of years too late. Unless you are an absolute fan of Wood and Wood spices on the Palate and in the Finish. For me personally it was a bit too much Bitter Oak and Nutmeg. The Strathmill spirit is mostly used in Blends like J&B. You don't find a lot of Single Malts around. I believe I can see why as the Spirit does not have sufficient personality to absorb 21 years in the cask. Drowned in Wood!  


Drinking Advice:
Due to the fact that I merely had small samples at my disposal, I only Nosed and Tasted these three Single Malts neat.

Jan van den Ende                                                                   August 28, 2017

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